A sneak peek at presents under the tree

by Dean Towers

When you work for Harness Racing Update you get a lot of perks: An ability to state a weekly opinion about a sport you care about, a chance to have your spelling and grammar edited by a real writer like Dave Briggs, and of course, numerous random emails from someone in cyberspace telling you your ideas are worse than New Coke.

But I have a secret. The best perk of this highfalutin writing gig is that with top-notch connections I know what everyone is giving everyone else for the Holidays. This might be breaking their trust, but I’ll share what my spies have told me with all of you right here.

First up, Woodbine Entertainment has given Kris Platts and the entire WEG TV Department sunglasses. Mercifully, they will no longer have to be blinded by Woodbine anchor Chad Rozema’s Christmas suit. Happy Holidays indeed!

The Hambletonian Society’s Moira Fanning will be happy to open her present on Christmas morning. With the news that the Dan Patch Awards for Horse, Pacer and Trotter of the Year will be announced on awards night this year, she will no longer have to answer the question, “why do you announce horse of the year months before the awards ceremony” 3,871 times from now until awards day.

Yonkers’ Cammie Haughton received a great gift from Joe Faraldo this year. With the removal of the passing lane — and the soon to be copious complaints whenever someone’s horse got locked in that wouldn’t have last year — Cammie now has a new set of ear plugs. Enjoy walking the paddock in peace Cammie, and Merry Christmas.

John Campbell’s lovely wife Paula graced him with the perfect gift – a set of juggling balls so he can practice for his recently begun second career.

Howard Taylor and Jeff Gural exchanged books this holiday season. Howard sent Jeff “Due Process and Its Importance” while Jeff countered with “How to Grow a Business With Broken Window Theory – Stopping the Little Problems from Becoming Big Ones.”

I’m ecstatic to report that Corey Callahan’s family has purchased him a new Fuzzbuster. Enjoy Corey!

Standardbred Canada’s Dan Gall recently created a committee to streamline and unify the harness racing rulebook, so his co-workers at SC presented him with a great gift: A portable cat herder.

I don’t know if the purveyor of the #senditin hashtag on twitter — Pompano’s own Gabe Prewitt ‘— actually got a pair of these #senditin socks, but it would be an absolute travesty if he didn’t.

Aaron Merriman sent Christmas cards this year titled, “How I got to 1,000 wins while getting fewer speeding tickets than Corey Callahan”. Congrats on another big year Aaron!

The Little Brown Jug Society received an excellent new gift from a software provider this year. The technology blocks all emails containing the question, “When will the Jug have a one million dollar purse?” Enjoy ladies and gents!

There are no bobblehead dolls for harness racing executives, but the crack staff at the USTA offices found a perfect doll for Mike Tanner – yes, Stretch Armstrong. Now he can pull himself in four directions, just like everyone else does.

Nick Salvi got a great gift this year from the U.S. Government. His name change to Jack Ofalltrades was finally approved. Congrats Nick… or should I say, Jack!

Yonkers Raceway sent a strapping nice package of assorted Big Apple fare to the Pari-Mutuel Urbain. Heck, I’m hoping it’s pretty spiffy, because those export handles are magnifique!

We’re happy to announce that the Ron Burke stable’s new computing system to keep track of the horses in his barn is being installed, just in time for the New Year!

Woodbine-Mohawk announcer Ken Middleton gave driver Jody Jamison an early Christmas present. Ken, a Bruins fan, will no longer call Jody “that guy wearing green who likes an awful hockey team” during his race calls. Glad you buried the hatchet Ken!

Lastly (and finally, seriously) I’d like to wish a happy holiday from my family to yours. And a special thank you to everyone for continuing to read my column here at Harness Racing Update this past year. It’s an honor that’s truly appreciated.