Colts Neck Family Reheats ‘The Crockpot Cook-off’

first_imgWithout missing a beat, Ryan said, “I want to have the Harvest Party.” So Dowd dragged out her giant tub of outlet extenders and boosters and started planning. Over the years she’s blown so many fuses she’s lost count. This year’s party almost didn’t happen thanks to a faulty GFI on the back patio where she sets up all the tables and less than stellar weather. “Every year I set up tents,” said Dowd, “and every year the weather was beautiful. This year I didn’t bother and it was threatening rain all day.”But that certainly didn’t dampen the fun. Guests came from as far south as Florida and North Carolina and from as far north as Canada. A fall tableau with mums, a scarecrow and a chalkboard sign invited guests to “strike a pose.” Once pictures were taken they could be posted to Snapchat with a special Harvest Party 2018 filter designed specifically for the party. Printed cups touted “Happy fall, y’all” and “Patti and Ryan’s Harvest Party.”But the food is definitely the star. “It’s really the best buffet ever,” said Dowd. Over the years there have been some great dishes and some not so great ones.A chocolate cake Dowd compared to a “chocolate slug” lives in infamy. A vegan tofu miso soup Dowd hated got the judges’ vote one year. Rice balls caused some controversy as they weren’t actually cooked in the slow cooker, just placed in there for serving. And cosmos in a crockpot were so strong one year everyone got a little drunk. By Elizabeth Wulfhorst |COLTS NECK – Gathering friends and family together for a party is nothing new. Asking everyone to bring a dish isn’t a novel concept either – potluck, anyone? But hosting 125 people lugging 35 slow cookers in your backyard requires some serious planning, a feat township resident Patti Dowd has accomplished nine times, most recently last month in her backyard.Dowd’s son Ryan was just 3 years old when their annual Harvest Party was born. What began as a small fall party for family and a few friends – a precursor to Halloween, really – quickly grew.“It got bigger exponentially,” Dowd said.“The first year we had four crockpots, then 10, then 20. Eventually I said, ‘Let’s just go for it.’ ” Going for it meant erecting tents, hiring a service to do set up and clean up, ordering lots of desserts and planning games for the kids. And turning the party into a competition.Dowd said by the second year, everyone was bragging about their dish, saying it was the best. So she suggested a contest and her guests rose to the challenge. They eventually introduced independent judges because people were stuffing the ballot box and cheating. One year Dowd’s sister-in-law made Irish stew. She dressed the kids at the party in kilts, hired a bagpiper and had them march around just to try and influence the vote.Each year someone is crowned the grand champion by the judges. That person takes home a trophy, called The Patti Crocker, consisting of a Barbie doll dressed in a bandana, surrounded by pumpkins and leaves. Initially the trophy was passed from winner to winner each year, like the Stanley Cup, but the original one ended up in Wisconsin so this year’s trophy was new. There are also prizes for the most popular dish, voted by all the guests in attendance, and a winner chosen by kid judges.Patti Dowd, right, and the author, the winner of the 2018 Harvest Party grand champion prize The Patti Crocker, posed for photos after the judges’ decision was announced.About seven years ago the party got so big – at one point reaching 200 guests and 47 slow cookers – Dowd decided to call it quits. Ryan was almost a teenager and life was just getting in the way. Then, at the end of this summer, Dowd asked her son what he wanted for his 18th birthday and high school graduation. They hadn’t had the chance to celebrate either thanks to Dowd’s treatment at the time for cancer.center_img e winning entry in the 2018 Harvest Party competition got a new name thanks to a clever helper. The dip was one of 35 dishes vying for three prizes.This year’s dishes ranged from a venison chili to a cheesy beer dip to apple cider sangria and a peanut butter chocolate cake. A creative family member was assigned to give the dishes clever names as they arrived: The dip became “In Queso You Need a Beer” and the venison chili was designated “Chili con Bambi.”Dowd even hired an ice cream truck this year to dispense treats after the judging was over and all the slow cookers were packed away.And was Ryan happy with his choice of birthday/graduation celebration? “He had the best time,” said Dowd.Full disclosure: The author was the winner of the 2018 Harvest Party grand champion prize. Her triumphant dish was the cheesy beer dip, accompanied by homemade soft pretzel bites.This article was first published in the Nov. 8-14, 2018 Colts Neck section of the print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more

Middletown Turns Its Attention to Route 36

first_img“This is an area of our town that has suffered economically for several decades. I think the idea is to come up with zoning and design ideas that will incentivize developers to come in and work with a lot of vacant lands and underutilized properties. These are properties that are not the most attractive right now,” said township administrator Anthony P. Mercantante. At its June 17 meeting the township committee kicked off a process to determine if the stretch of highway from Palmer Avenue to Leonardville Road is an area in need of redevelopment. So what can the township offer to incentivize economic development in the area? The first section runs from the border of Keansburg at Palmer Avenue to Main Street in Port Monmouth. Section two extends to an area near 9th Street in Belford, just before the beginning of naval base lands. The final section consists of lands spanning from Broadway Avenue in Belford to the intersection of Leonardville Road and Route 36, just shy of the Bayshore Shopping Center in Atlantic Highlands. Though Hazlet’s Airport Plaza Shopping Center on Route 36 is successful – an easily accessible extensive mall with eateries, a Department of Motor Vehicles branch, commercial outlets and a bowling alley – just south sit two vacant parking lots on either side of the highway, one the empty husk of what was once the Bradlees department store complex and the other the vacant site of a former supermarket. Just a short drive south is the vacant Holy Family School and a tract of undeveloped farmland, both of which have been eyed by the township for speculative affordable housing developments. Further south, among gas stations and fast food chains, is the global International Flavors and Fragrances head-quarters in Union Beach, followed by more residential properties, food vendors and small service centers. Mercantante said other Route 36 municipalities will not be included in this study and noted the township would issue an request for proposal for a consulting firm to lead the study this week. MIDDLETOWN – A longstanding vision to create architectural continuity and economic vitality along the township’s Route 36 corridor is headed to the planning board for further investigation. But history is not on the township’s side. Like Middletown, other Bayshore municipalities have struggled to generate economic growth in this area. “We can’t be sure what there is to offer yet,” Mayor Tony Perry said in a June 10 interview. “I want a model that’s unique, just like our town. It could include elements you’re able to find in other towns around the state or it could be some- thing that no one’s ever seen. But whatever it is, it can’t be short-term thinking. This needs to be a model that’s viable for the next 50, 60, 70 years.” According to planningdocuments outlining thestudy area, the townshiphas divided the corridorinto three sections. Naval Weapons Station Earle is another tract of undevelopable acreage that Middletown must contend with, but Mercantante is hopeful the investigation will yield ideas and recommendations to help developers view these quirks as opportunities. “In some ways the trail is a physical constraint and contributes to the narrowness of the area. But on the other hand it’s one of the most heavily utilized trails in Monmouth County. If you can provide services of interest, the trail users are just another captive audience,” Mercantante said. “The same can be said for Earle. It’s an active naval base. How can we provide those servicemen and women more access to businesses and restaurants?” Since December 2016 Middletown has mulled a transformation of the residential and commercial properties spanning the 5-mile portion of state thoroughfare. This complicated corridor is located close to the Sandy Hook Bayshore, an area that includes beachfronts, protected wetlands, waterways like Pews Creek and Compton Creek and other environmental factors that hinder residential development. The neighboring boroughs of Atlantic Highlands and Highlands have had similar issues creating economically viable offerings on their portions of Route 36, with downtown areas located off the state roadway. “It’s a blank canvas right now. You can expand the types of development that are allowed, like mixed-use buildings. You can get creative, and the developers can tell you. The market can dictate what is economically viable,” Monmouth County Freeholder, State Assembly-hopeful and former Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said. Maybe it’s a model thatdoesn’t exist yet. The following year Maser Consulting unveiled a conceptual rendering of what the Main Street intersection in Belford could look like with Victorian-style mixed-use developments perched at each corner, complete with decorative thermoplastic crosswalks connecting one side of the highway to the other, as well as new curbing and sidewalks with grass cutouts. Another factor that limits development and shrinks the consumer market is the location of the Henry Hudson Trail, a 10-foot-wide biking and walking path that extends from Highlands to part of Freehold. At certain points, the Middletown section of the trail is located just yards from the shoulder of the highway, which would otherwise be valuable real estate for potential developers. “By the end of June we should have responses and we’ll be ready to appoint a consultant for the investigation at our first meeting in July,” Mercantante said.last_img read more

Once a One-Man Mission, Barn for the Poor Now Feeds Thousands

first_imgSt. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Keansburg feeds 120 to 130 people each week, Gerry Duffy said. “Many of them can’t do much for themselves. These people really need the food.” As it says in the New Testament, faith can move mountains. Similar little miracles continued to happen. Although it is a spiritually grounded mission, the Barn gives and receives support from many churches and other organizations that serve the poor. It was the first of many visits he would pay to the South Bronx convent and he never arrived empty-handed. Now the Barn has more than 150 volunteers. Nearly every day of the week volunteers collect, sort and package donated products for delivery to 44 locations in New Jersey and New York. Together the volunteers collect and distribute some 8 tons of surplus food each year. There are no paid employees. “It’s not just Catholic,” Gerry Duffy stressed. “We support the Methodists, Presbyterians, Long Branch Schools, Lunch Break, St. Anthony’s, St. Mark’s Soup Kitchen, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army.” Tucked away in a corner of a parking lot on Kanes Lane in Middletown, the Barn is actually a warehouse where a well-organized army of volunteers sort and pack surplus food they have collected from area supermarkets, farms and bakeries for daily delivery to food pantries, homeless shelters, religious institutions and other charities that serve the poor. Founded in 1981 by Barney Welch, who was then a caretaker for the Haskell estate in Middletown, the goal of the Barn is as simple as it gets: Feed the hungry. It can also move mountains of food. Rather than consigning it to the dumpster, several local markets began setting aside usable food for Welch to pick up. Meanwhile, other charitable organizations serving the poor heard about what he was doing for the Missionary sisters and asked him for help. With the need expanding, Welch began looking for a few like-minded volunteers. When he offered them the fish, the sister who answered the door responded, “Thank God you’re here. We’ve been praying for food all day.” By Eileen Moon Today, after more than three decades of volunteering for the Barn, Gerald Duffy, a retired accountant, is now the executive director of the organization, a role he accepted after Welch’s death in 2010.center_img Welch strongly believed in the concept of “Divine Providence,” the Duffys said. He had a favorite saying he credited to Mother Teresa that he liked to use to explain his philosophy: “If you are worrying, stop praying. If you are praying, stop worrying.” Through their involvement with the Barn, they were introduced to Mother Teresa during one of her visits to the convent in the South Bronx. When the nun learned that Karin Duffy was a convert to Catholicism, she presented her with a set of rosary beads and gave her a blessing. In 1987, Karin Duffy saw a notice about the Barn in her church bulletin, St. Mary’s in New Monmouth. It proved to be a life-altering step for each of them. He began salvaging discarded but still edible food from grocery store dumpsters, a practice that supermarket managers were understandably less than happy about. One day, while rummaging in a dumpster, Welch was approached by a man who asked what he was doing. When he explained, the man identified himself as a salesman for Arnold’s Bakery in Lakewood. Soon, Welch was receiving regular donations of baked goods from Arnold’s. “People are in it for the right reasons,” said Gerry Duffy. “Just to give time and service.” And in 2016, when Mother Teresa was elevated to sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church, the Duffys were invited to Rome for her canonization. Feeling uncomfortable about going alone, Karin asked her husband to come along. Recently a local Girl Scout troop approached the Barn with the idea of planting a vegetable garden to provide fresh produce for the Barn. Just ask Gerald and Karin Duffy, veteran volunteers at the Barn for the Poorest of the Poor, a quietly powerful nonprofit organization that has been delivering food to people in need since 1987. When Karin inquired, she was invited to visit Welch in his living quarters above the barn. The garden they planted behind the warehouse will be dedicated Sunday, July 14 during a celebration scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. At the time, Welch had a small side business selling fish that his brother-in-law caught to buyers in New York City. One day, when he’d finished his work, Welch decided to stop by the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order established by Mother Teresa that a niece of his had joined. He had some fish remaining from the day’s sales and thought he’d see if they would like it. To donate or inquire about volunteering at the Barn, call 732-671-4163 or email Learn more about the organization online at read more

Active Transportation Plan Takes Great Strides Forward

first_imgRecently, two “spurs”, or small connecting trails, or shortcuts, have been completed. One connects the end of Second Avenue to the Rail Grade and another connects Columbia Kootenay Road with Eight Avenue. The latter was just completed last week. The local Interact club aided with funding for those two projects, and the students in the club also helped brush-clear the area where the trail went in before the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society (KCTS) came in to do the actual trail building.   The next big project for the ATP, which will soon be put out to tender, is the LeRoi Hollow Trail, which will connect lower Rossland to just below Ferraro’s. Behind Ferraro’s there is a steep embankment ending in a flat section, currently used for snow dumping in the winter. From this flat section, there is a length of city-owned land that extends down to where Cook Avenue and Queen Street meet, and this is where the proposed trail would end.   With the 2009 completion of the Centre Star Gulch Trail, which connects with the Centennial Trail and comes out next to Esling Park Lodge on Spokane Street, the addition of LeRoi Hollow and the Trail Creek Trail will create a “spine” of trails through town that could mean those with epic biking aspirations can conceivably cycle (or hike, if you’re really ambitious) right from Red Mountain to Warfield and eventually to Trail, using a combination of ATP trails and KCTS trails like Centennial and the Wagon Road.   Other recently-completed ATP routes, or “trunk” trails, leading east-west through town connect Nevada Street to the museum through the ballpark, and Centennial Park with Nevada Street. Yet another trail connects Nevada with the Miner’s Hall through an old alley-way.   The ATP was submitted to council in January 2009 and approved, leading to the city allocating funds in its budget to help build the trail system, though, as mentioned in this story, funds from grants and organizations like Interact have been key in seeing some of these projects through. For more information on the ATP, you can visit the city’s website to view and download the entire ATP plan, which includes details of proposed trails, photos of potential trail sites, and lots of maps that give a good idea of what the future might hold for pedestrian and cycling traffic in town. On July 18, the province’s Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program’s Bike BC Program announced that the city of Rossland is one of 16 communities to receive grant money to help build and improve local cycling infrastructure. Rossland’s portion of the grant is $25,000.   “We’re committed to investing in community cycling infrastructure to improve the health and well-being of all British Columbians. This investment will help make cycling a viable transportation option for families and communities, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom, in a news release.   The city of Rossland will be applying the grant money to the new Trail Creek Trail, which will connect lower Rossland, starting at the corner of Victoria and Washington, with the clubhouse at Redstone. Phase One of the project was completed last year. It saw the trail built from the trailhead to Redstone Drive. Part of the grant money will be used to complete this section with top dressing, but the larger part of the funds will go towards completing phase two of the trail, which will extend the run from Redstone Drive to the Redstone clubhouse. Phase two of this particular project will begin in earnest August 15, the goal being to have the trail complete by mid-autumn.  The building of Trail Creek Trail is one of several of the city’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP) projects that are designed to reclaim the city’s legal right-of-ways through the town to improve recreation and also to better pedestrian access to services and destinations.   last_img read more

Mallard’s Team of the Week — LVR Bombers Sr. Girls Basketball

first_imgThe L.V. Rogers Bombers take flight this weekend to Invermere to participate in the David Thompson Lakers Invitational Girl’s Basketball Tournament. This is the first taste of East Kootenay opposition for LVR, which has attended two tournaments this season in Vernon. Staff at Mallard’s Source for Sports would like to give the girl’s grand send off with Team of the Week honours. The team includes, back row, L-R, coach Val Gibson, Erica Augsten, Brittany Wheeler, Melinda Halstead, Jayden Roch and Rachel McKenzie. Front, Samantha Einarson, Devyn Parker, Kiandra McLaren, Taryn Scarff and Kylie Mirva. Missing assistant coach Sarah Fuhr.last_img read more

Saints run win streak to 12 with 6-1 shellacking of Victoria

first_imgThe Selkirk College received an early Christmas present Saturday night in the Sunflower City.The Saints tied the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League record for the longest regular season win streak at 12 games with a 6-1 win over the University of Victoria Saturday at the Castlegar Recreation Complex.Ironically the Saints tied the Vikes for the record. UVic accomplished the feat during the 2007/08 season.”As a group, coming into the season we knew we had all the ingredients to be a contending team,” said Saints head coach Jeff Dubois. “It’s all come together a lot quicker than we expected, and now the challenge is to approach the second half of the season with the same work ethic and intensity that we saw over the past two months.”You don’t win championships based on how you play in October or November, but it’s also satisfying to go into a long break with lots of positives.” The Saints’ offence came alive in the second period after Beau Taylor and Mark Prest had traded goals in a tight opening 20 minutes.Nick Cecconi started the rally, putting Selkirk ahead 2:16 into the frame when he banged home a loose puck from the side of the crease off a Matt Luongo feed.Connor McLaughlin tipped home a Justin Sotkowy point shot on the power-play midway through the period to extend the lead to two, and Logan Proulx added another just 1:23 later off a nice set-up from linemate Jackson Garrett. Thomas Hardy, in his first game back from injury, and Mason Spear capped the scoring in the third period. “We came out of the gates a little slow tonight but the guys found their legs in the second period and really dictated the speed and tempo of the game from there,” said Dubois.  “”It was good to close out the first half of our schedule with a complete team effort — we got goals from all four of our forward lines and solid performances on the blueline and in goal.”Alex Sirard stopped 26 shots to pick up his eighth win in as many appearances for the Saints. Former Beaver Valley goalie Sunny Gill took the loss for the Vikes, allowing six goals on 43 shots.Saints’ fans will have to wait for the opportunity to see the new record set as Selkirk is idle until January 12th when the team against Simon Fraser University.SAINTS NOTES: With BCIHL play completed until January, a total of six Saints feature in the Top 10 in league scoring. Jordan Wood and Logan Proulx lead the way with 26 and 24 points respectively, while Kam Crawford, Connor McLaughlin, Cody Fidgett and Thomas Hardy sit sixth through ninth. . . .Selkirk sits tops in the six-team BCIHL, seven points ahead of SFU. The Clan have a pair of games in hand, which they will make up on January 4-5 before heading to Castlegar to face the Saints on January 12th.last_img read more

‘This is a huge and sudden shock for everyone’

first_imgIn the short time he was at Mt. Sentinel, Mr. D made a huge impact on bullying, the well-being of the students, and the energy and optimism of the school. It is a shame that he died before he could make a greater impact on everybody, as I’m sure he would have. Thank you, Mr. D, for all the help and humour you’ve given us these short years.                -posted by Sylvain G. on the Mount Sentinel High School website. When someone dies we like to comfort ourselves by suggesting, “He’s in a better place now”?This one hurts so much more because Blair D’Andrea was in the prime of his life.The sad news of the passing of the Mount Sentinel VP flowed quickly through hallways of SD 8 schools.An email sent out from Mount Sentinel Pac Secretary Linda Verishine said it this way:“I am so very sad to tell you that Blair D’Andrea passed away from a massive heart attack at home on Wednesday night. This is a huge and sudden shock for everyone.”I can still hear that loud, happy voice of Drey.Hey Bruc-i-Fur . . . how’s it goin?If you didn’t hear the voice, it was easy to spot the happy man with the shaved head coming from miles away.Blair D’Andrea was a picture of happiness and what’s positive about life.The guy always looked on the bright side of life. Tomorrow was always going to be better.Whether it was at L.V. Rogers with the Aspire program, holding down the vice-principal job at Salmo where he led the mighty Falcons into battle on the hoop court or in the South Slocan where just walking down hallways at Mount Sentinel the SD 8 administrator had the kids smiling. Ditto for games at the Lakeside Ball Diamonds while pitching for his slopitch team.My first time spent getting to know Drey came when I assisted Lorne Wuori at Trafalgar coaching the Totems Grade 9 Boy’s Basketball team.Drey’s older L.V. Rogers Junior Bombers didn’t like younger Totems very much and the crosstown competition turned into one of the greatest rivalries of the ages in Nelson basketball.The Totems, unable to beat Drey’s Junior Bombers all season, got the last laugh when LVR was upset by Grand Forks in the West Kootenay High School Junior Boy’s Championship semi final.Trafalgar got past J. Lloyd Crowe before outlasting the Wolves in the final.The Totems continued their remarkable play by shocking the province and winning the B.C. Juvenile Boy’s Basketball title at the NBA Grizzlies Centre in Richmond.The next season it was Drey’s turn to coach arguably the best team in Nelson High School Basketball history.The LVR Junior Bombers overcame hurdle after hurdle, refusing to lose and surprising their coach game after game to finish the season with an amazing 38-0 record.Not a single loss against teams from the rest of the province, although there were a few potential bumps in the road.But for the most part an unblemished record as the players took to Drey like a young child to candy, capturing the provincial title in in a walk over New Westminster.Drey was most proud to share the title with Lonnie, Eric and Jason in the stands at Dover Bay High School in Nanaimo.But Drey didn’t do his best work on the basketball court, although winning a provincial title is nothing to sneeze at.Where he shined was in the classroom as a great motivator with a great heart.I saw many a wandering young mind who Drey put back onto the rails stop to give a huge “thank you” many a time.But not only was Drey a teacher, a mentor and an administrator, he was also a great father to his two boys Jason and Eric and a loving husband to his caring wife Lonnie.I know right now it’s not much comfort to anyone knowing Drey’s in a better place now.But one thing for sure, everyone who knew Drey is happy they were part of his ride.last_img read more

Calling all basketball players to Bomber Camp

first_imgThe camp is open to girls and boys from Grades 4 to 9 — with younger kids from Grades 4-6 ending at noon and the older players continuing through the afternoon.For the cost of $125 before the July 1, 2017 deadline or $150 after July 1, campers receive instruction on basketball fundamentals, including shooting, passing and ball handling skills.There will be 1-on-1, 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 competitions through the week and prizes throughout the day.L.V. Rogers Junior Boy’s coaches Bruce Fuhr and Fred Brown are hosting the camp, with additional support from graduating Junior Bomber players. Fuhr has coached and officiated the sport of basketball extensively in the Kootenays while Brown coached high school varsity teams in Ontario.Former LVR Bomber grad Sarah Fuhr is also part of the camper coaching staff.To register send e-transfers to or cheques to Nelson Youth Basketball at 5600 Wapple Road, Nelson BC V1L 6Y3.For more information email Bruce Fuhr at or call 250-354-7025. Basketball in Nelson has been a popular as candy over the years in the Heritage City.Young basketball enthusiasts can improve those skills at the 2017 Bomber Basketball Camp set for July 10-13 at the L.V. Rogers gymnasium.The summer camp runs beginning Monday, July 10 at the LVR Hangar from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.last_img read more


first_imgThe majority of North America’s best racehorses are scheduled to be in action that day, with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, California Chrome, likely to square off against Pacific Classic and Malibu Stakes victor, Shared Belief, in the San Antonio Stakes, while Lea targets a repeat in the Donn Handicap against last year’s Florida Derby winner, Constitution. January 28, 2015 (Washington, PA) – Leading online wagering provider, Xpressbet, in conjunction with Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park and the Stronach Group, is excited to announce its plans to offer horseplayers the opportunity to play a special Pick 4 on Saturday, February 7. The all-stakes, $500,000 guaranteed ‘X-Country’ (Cross Country) Pick 4 will combine the best races that day at Gulfstream – the Donn Handicap and Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap – and Santa Anita – the San Antonio Stakes and San Marcos Stakes – and will coincide with a live broadcast of those races on Fox Sports 1. “With world-class cards at both Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park on February 7, horseplayers can expect some great wagering opportunities, including the X-Country Pick 4.” said Santa Anita President, Tom Ludt. “We are very excited for a potential rematch of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes and an exciting day of racing.” About XpressbetXpressbet provides legal and secure online wagering services to horseplayers in the United States.  It is the industry’s most comprehensive and user-friendly wagering site, allowing customers to wager on more than 300 of the world’s best racetracks from their computer, phone or mobile device.  Xpressbet operates XB SELECT, the industry’s premier destination for high-volume wagering, and XB Net, which connects bet shops and wagering sites from around the world to North American racing.  Xpressbet is a Stronach Group company, which also owns and operates Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, the award-winning Adena Springs operation, AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and Monarch Content Management. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network. Customers who play the X-Country Pick 4 at Xpressbet will also receive 0% takeout for their winning wager, as well as 4-times XB Rewards Bonus Points. To sign up for an Xpressbet account and to receive an enhanced $150 Welcome Bonus, please visit and enter promo code XCOUNTRY. P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group and General Manager of Gulfstream Park, added, “It’s going to be a huge weekend. Not only will our fans see four of the country’s most prestigious races and top horses, but another unique wager from The Stronach Group with a $500,000 guarantee. We’re looking forward to working with our partners at Santa Anita and Xpressbet to make this a memorable day.” In addition to the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Gulfstream Park’s February 7 card also includes the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Stakes, the Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes and the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint. Santa Anita’s February 7 card also features the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, as well as the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes and Grade 2 San Antonio. “February 7 is a day that many horseplayers and racing fans circled on their calendars weeks ago,” said Xpressbet President, Ron Luniewski. “Not only do these races historically draw exceptional fields, but this year is truly special with so many of the world’s best horses planning to run. We’re excited that the X-Country Pick 4 has become a reality, and we’re excited that horseplayers will have the opportunity to bet on all of these great horses and races as part of one wager.” New and Exciting Wager will include a $500,000 Guaranteelast_img read more


first_imgCALIFORNIA CHROME IS READY, WEATHER OR NOTUFC SUPERSTAR MCGREGOR SETS PEGASUS ‘BUZZ’HEAVY RAINS CAUSE THURSDAY CANCELLATION TIZ A KISS EYES FIRST STAKES WIN ON DOLLAR DAY Craig Dollase720029%29%$68,925 Jeff Mullins421050%75%$106,945 Victor Espinoza2044420%60%$236,130 -30- Richard Baltas3044513%43%$273,463 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Luis Contreras2333613%52%$159,834 Tyler Baze4896419%40%$363,082 THURSDAY RACING CANCELLED DUE TO HEAVY RAINS Santa Anita Park officials announced that Thursday’s eight-race program has been cancelled due to continued heavy rainfall in the Arcadia area which has resulted in local flooding and road closures. Santa Anita has already received seven inches of rainfall from significant winter storms over the past week and up to two additional inches are predicted to fall along the San Gabriel Mountain foothills throughout the remainder of the day.According the National Weather Service, the most recent storm is scheduled to move out of the area later this evening resulting in predicted sunny skies over the three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.Santa Anita was open for simulcast wagering on Thursday, with free parking and admission available. .Santa Anita has notified horsemen that substitute races will be offered in the coming days for all horses that were entered on Thursday’s program.First post time at Santa Anita on Friday is at 1 p.m., while first post time on Saturday, Sunday, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be at 12:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to visit for the latest track condition updates as well as entry and morning line information. Norberto Arroyo, Jr.3872018%24%$303,780 Rafael Bejarano3843911%42%$375,663 William Spawr940244%67%$134,541 Mark Glatt1624213%50%$119,865 Corey Nakatani1532020%33%$167,690 TIZ A KISS EYES FIRST STAKES WIN IN MEGAHERTZRichard Baltas hopes Tiz a Kiss continues to outrun her odds when she goes in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday feature, the Grade III, $100,000 Megahertz Stakes for older fillies and mares scheduled for one mile on turf.A victory would result in her first stakes win. She was second by a nose in the restricted Solana Beach last August at Del Mar.A seven-year-old California-bred daughter of Cee’s Tizzy, Tiz a Kiss has been favored only once under the direction of Baltas, that in her first start for him on Sept. 5, 2015. In 11 starts since, she has never been the favorite, going off at 10-1 when second in the Grade II Goldikova Stakes last Nov. 6 and at 21-1 when a respectable seventh in the Grade I Matriarch at Del Mar Dec. 4.“She was sitting on the rail in the Matriarch,” said Baltas, who has four wins through the first nine days at Santa Anita’s Winter Meet. “She got through and they weren’t going that fast (a mile on a firm course in 1:35). They were kind of walking, actually, I thought.“Twenty-three and change, 48 and 1:12 for Grade I horses. It was a little step up. They were the best fillies in the country she ran against.”Kent Desormeaux, who has ridden Tiz a Kiss nine times, winning twice, is back aboard.Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita. Beer, sodas and hot dogs will be a buck apiece. First post time is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. (Current Through Sunday, Jan. 8) Gary Sherlock920122%33%$48,720 TrainerMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Philip D’Amato1533420%67%$356,325 Mike Smith1121318%55%$262,930 Stewart Elliott342466%35%$119,190 Brice Blanc1433121%50%$125,125 Joel Rosario823125%75%$302,945center_img Peter Eurton820025%25%$78,320 Drayden Van Dyke3746011%27%$234,060 Agapito Delgadillo1220017%17%$64,785 Martin Pedroza2955317%45%$185,520 John Sadler1354338%92%$237,104 Jamie Theriot222209%18%$60,220 Peter Miller2365326%61%$317,780 Kent Desormeaux3363518%42%$537,173 Kristin Mulhall921022%33%$27,760 FINISH LINES: Congrats to Hollywood heavyweights Gary Barber, Kevin Tsujihara and Les Moonves, CEO’s of MGM, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and CBS, respectively, on winning Sunday’s third race with Forest Blue, a chestnut gelding trained by Peter Miller. Forest Blue, who won by nearly three lengths as the $5.40 favorite, was claimed for $16,000 out of the six furlong race by trainer Jeff Mullins. “He’s a solid horse and I wish the new owner and trainer well,” said Miller, tied for the training lead through nine days with six wins and leading in stakes victories with four . . . With seven inches of rain pelting Santa Anita in just over a week, Thursday’s live races were cancelled. Live racing resumes Friday at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. UFC SUPERSTAR MCGREGOR CREATES PEGASUS ‘BUZZ’            Reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Connor McGregor, who was at Santa Anita this past month to star in a series of four short comedic films entitled “The 13th Jockey,” which is intended to promote the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park, has already helped to generate five million views via Episode 1 across Pegasus World Cup and McGregor social media platforms.More importantly, these views are generating a high percentage of “shares,” which indicates The 13th Jockey is being seen by millions of people who perhaps have little or no familiarity with racing. These “shares” are thus exposing the sport in a very significant way to the highly coveted 25-34-year-old demographic that is so vital to racing’s future.In addition to wide-ranging social media exposure, Episode 1 has generated mentions in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, US Weekly, Extra TV, the Washington Post, Irish Independent, Globo Brazil, the Herald Sun (Australia), Maxim, USA Today, Yahoo, the Paulick Report, Thoroughbred Daily News, America’s Best Racing and other media outlets.Due as much to his magnetic personality as his phenomenal fighting skills, McGregor is currently one of the most highly recognized athletes in the world. His co-star in The 13th Jockey is comedian Jon Lovitz. Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) directed the four-part series.Episode 2, which was also shot on location at Santa Anita, was unveiled yesterday, while the remaining two episodes will be distributed on Jan.18 and on Pegasus World Cup Day, Jan. 28. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, which could include as many as 12 horses, is scheduled to feature an epic rematch between Breeders’ Cup Classic Champion Arrogate and 2014 Horse of the Year, California Chrome.In conjunction with The 13th Jockey advertising campaign, fans can now take a chance at winning a $1 million prize by participating in the Pegasus Win-Win Contest at JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won J. Keith Desormeaux1022220%60%$254,915 Doug O’Neill4063715%40%$258,548 Tiago Pereira1824211%44%$90,675 Mario Gutierrez2232414%41%$151,116 Robert Hess, Jr.1021020%30%$150,145 Jeff Bonde720129%43%$58,395 Patrick Gallagher621133%67%$143,890 Jerry Hollendorfer2747515%59%$514,489 Flavien Prat4494820%48%$618,043 CHROME AWAITS PEGASUS AT GULFSTREAM PARK            The Chromie Countdown is on.It’s just over two weeks until the world’s most popular race horse, California Chrome, makes his final start before going to stud, this in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28.            The six-year-old California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit has been in Florida with assistant trainer Alan Sherman since Jan. 6, preparing for the inaugural race at 1 1/8 miles. His trainer, Art Sherman, heads to the Sunshine State a week from today.Meanwhile, like everyone else inundated in Southern California recently, Sherman was holed up at his Los Alamitos base early Thursday morning, thankful that the highest-earning Thoroughbred in North America history ($14,502,650) was safe and sound and not at the whim of the weatherman.“He galloped this morning and he’ll work five-eighths Saturday and probably gallop out three-quarters,” Sherman said. “The horse is doing great.”Arrogate, who overtook front-running California Chrome in deep stretch to register a dramatic half-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 5, is scheduled for a rematch in the Pegasus which will be his first start since the Classic.The four-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song trained by Bob Baffert for Juddmonte Farms had a public workout before the first race Sunday, and with rain due to abate over the next few days, could breeze again before departing for Florida.Fortunately, Sherman has no such concern. Wet weather didn’t bother him, especially when he was a jockey back in the day.“One meet in Vancouver it rained for 30 days and we never missed a day,” said the Brooklyn native, who turns 80 on Feb. 17. “I used to wear five sets of goggles.”But that was then and this is now.Sherman’s primary focus is on California Chrome and his well-being coming up to the Pegasus. Of course, adding a 2016 Horse of the Year title to the one he captured in 2014 would be more than welcome.“It would be a great honor to win it a second time,” Sherman said. “He won $8 million last year and no horse has done that, plus he won seven out of eight races. I don’t see how he doesn’t deserve the Eclipse Award.”That, of course, still must play out. The votes are in and Eclipse Award winners, along with Horse of the Year, will be announced at the 46th annual ceremony at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 21.There is one done deal, however. California Chrome is on site at Gulfstream to prepare for the Pegasus. “It’s the best move I ever made,” Sherman said about getting him there early and not having to fidget over the weather. “I would have had a heart attack,” he said.last_img read more