Why you need to check out Barn Cat Trivia and other dispatches

by Dave Briggs

Shameless plug alert: If you like trivia and haven’t tried Barn Cat Trivia (www.barncattrivia.com), you should.

I say this not because HRU is a sponsor — as Barn Cat Trivia is of HRU — and not because the woman that created it, Kelly Spencer, is a friend. I say it simply because it’s well done and great fun and unique to our shared passion of harness racing.

Spencer, the long-time publicity wiz for Grand River Raceway, now has her own marketing firm, True Nature Communications (www.truenaturecommunications.com) that does terrific work handling the PR for www.TheStable.ca.

She did not put me up to this. I make this recommendation based on actually playing Barn Cat Trivia a couple of times and loving it.

The technology is cool — you answer multiple choice questions right on your screen. The questions are challenging and a fantastic deep dive for anyone that loves harness racing. Spencer is a terrific and fun host and there’s even weekly interviews with interesting harness racing personalities such as James MacDonald, Randy Waples, Ken Warkentin, Clive Cohen and Aaron Merriman — who did the interview while driving (of course) between The Meadows and Northfield Park.

A new hour-long game featuring 40 questions is held each Sunday night at 7 p.m. (Eastern) and harness racing contestants from around the world do battle. Each week, Spencer crowns a champion and the winner receives a cool Barn Cat beanie and a key chain denoting their status as champ.

Yes, there’s a cost for all that. Subscribers pay $10 (Cdn) per month, plus tax. But, the first Sunday of every month is a free-to-play night (next opportunity April 3). Plus, given all that Spencer puts into Barn Cat Trivia, $10 isn’t a lot for something this tailored to harness racing.

The oft-heard lament is harness racing is devoid of new ideas, doesn’t embrace technology and rarely comes up with unique and interesting ways we can celebrate our shared love. Barn Cat Trivia addresses all of those criticisms and deserves support.

There’s a new game tonight at 7 p.m. Check it out.

The line on Linedrive Hanover

When Woodbine Mohawk Park announcer Ken Middleton, Jr. drops you a note about a horse that deserves some love, you pay attention. Middleton rarely does this — with me at least.

Middleton, Jr. is also known as the trainer of OSS Super Final winner Bob Loblaw, who is eligible to the North America Cup — and wouldn’t that be a good story? He is correct that 4-year-old gelded pacer Linedrive Hanover deserves some ink.

The Tony Beaton trainee, who raced just one time as a 2-year-old and not at all at 3, is a perfect six-for-six at Mohawk with James MacDonald at the reins. The son of Betting Line—Lillian Hanover, a $75,000 purchase at the 2019 Standardbred Horse Sales Company sale, was winless prior to 2022, but won the $32,548 Snowshoe Series by 8-and-a-quarter lengths on Feb. 4. He’s followed that up with three straight wins in Mohawk overnights and now sports earnings of $55,854 for West Wins Stable (Ross Warriner and Casie Coleman), McKinlay & Fielding and Mac Nichol.

He’s certainly one to watch.

All aboard the Jimmy Freight train

Also, from Woodbine Mohawk Park, it’s great to see Ontario stallion Jimmy Freight back racing and winning in the track’s top ranks. (read story here).

Owner Adriano Sorella’s passion is infectious and I wish Jimmy Freight success in this year’s stakes — and as a stallion. He continues in that duty at Winbak Ontario.

A sign of Spring

The Deck at Sunshine Meadows in Florida hasn’t been quite as popular of late — I blame the pandemic — as it has been in the past. So, it was nice to receive a photo from David Reid Saturday morning showing a good turnout at The Deck.

The Hambletonian Society winter meetings are in town and there was a very strong turnout of those folks to watch the babies train on a beautiful morning.

Stakes season must be just around the corner.