Day At The Track
Amaru Boko, harness racing

Harnesslink photo coverage of Elitloppet Weekend

It's ELITLOPPET WEEKEND in Sweden! Harnesslink founder, John Curtin, along with renowned equine photographer Karolien Van Hauwermeiren, the daughter of Belgium owner, breeder, trainer, driver Filip Van Hauwermeiren, are both at Solvalla Racetrack in Sweden. They will be providing readers with photographs and video throughout the Elitloppet Weekend in Sweden. This page will be updated with photos Saturday and Sunday and with stories to come. You can check out all the Elitloppet Weekend racing via photos and video on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Drafnet-377311416114861/  SWEDEN CUP GOES TO ITALY ON SATURDAY! (From the USTA) Italian trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro stole the show at Solvalla Saturday afternoon (May 26) as he won the Sweden Cup as well as a V75 final and was beaten in second place in a photo finish. In the Sweden Cup, Gocciadoro raced the 11-year-old gelding Arazi Boko, who has found his second youth since he joined the Gocciadoro stable late last year. Arazi Boko, sired by Varenne, won his elimination as well as the final. The elimination was won in 1:53.2f, while he was timed in the final in 1:53f. The win was worth $70,000. In the final, Swedish driver Ôrjan Kihlström tried to take the lead with Love Matters, who had finished second to Arazi Boko in the elimination, but just as Love Matter hit the front, he went off stride and was disqualified. Then the race was an easy task for Swedish-bred Arazi Boko. Later on the day Gocciadoro won an impressive victory with the 4-year-old Volnik du Graz, he too sired by Varenne, who got a very tough trip, but still managed to win the 1-5/16th mile event by a head in 1:54.2f (mile rate). Gocciadoro was also in the spotlight driving the mare Peace of Mind, but USA-bred Double Exposure (she by Donato Hanover), driven by Ôrjan Kihlström, just managed to get by at the finish line to win in a new record of 1:52f. Within the last couple of years Gocciadoro has stamped himself as the leading trainer and driver in Italy. In Italy he has won 100 races so far in 2018 and has a win percentage of 41.6. The richest race of the day, The Harper Hanover raced over two miles, was won by Platon Face (sired by Raja Mirchi), driven by trainer and breeder Lutfi Kolgjini. Platon Face went off stride around the first bend, but managed to come back to win the race in 1:57.3f (mile rate). The purse for the winner was $105,000. Harnesslink Media

Ben Wallace, harness racing

Star pacer has Wallace back on center stage

London, ON... May 26 - When Easy Lover Hanover lines up behind the gate in the inaugural Camluck Classic, trainer Ben Wallace admits he's quite humbled to be involved in the Grand Circuit.   Following the devastating barn fire at Classy Lane Training Center in January of 2016, which claimed the lives of more than 40 horses, including 15 of Wallace's, the veteran conditioner is thankful to be in the sport.   "In one day I was out of business," Wallace said. "Just like that, but I'm certainly thankful to where we're at today and just being able to see my name on the program."   Wallace lost his standout pacer Apprentice Hanover ($1 million) in the tragic fire, but he soon found another superstar in the making.   His name is Easy Lover Hanover.   "That was the very first horse we bought following the fire," Wallace said. "He certainly was a turning point for me and helped with some bad memories of the past."   Purchased for $70,000 by long-time owner Brad Grant, Easy Lover Hanover made an immediate impact in the Wallace barn.   The son of Somebeachsomwhere captured his first six races early in his three-year-old year with a sign of bigger and better things to come.   The 28-time winner capped off his sophomore season with a victory in the $314,000 Progress Pace before continuing his success as an aged horse.   "He's always showed high speed and I think giving him the proper time off has paid off well. We had to give him a break at some point during his three-year-old year because he started racing very early otherwise it's such a long season for him. "   Last season, the Wallace trainee earned $215,000 and ended his campaign with six consecutive wins at the Preferred level on the WEG Circuit.   The now five-year-old picked up right where he left off winning his first three starts of the season, before tasting defeat for the first time last week.   "I was disappointed with his effort," said Wallace. "I wish I had some sort of reason for the effort, but I don't. He simply got beat."   When mapping out the schedule for Easy Lover Hanover, Wallace had the inaugural Camluck Classic on the radar as the horses first major stakes event.   "It's definitely something that Brad and I had talked about for this season. He's bigger and stronger this year and he's become a man. I think he can do some pretty nice things this season and we're hopeful."   Easy Lover Hanover will line up from post five in the Camluck Classic and will be reunited with regular pilot Doug McNair.   "I think you're always worried about coming to the half, because it all depends on the draw and trip. I think any trainer will tell you that. We're excited to be a part of the night and we're hoping for the best."   The field for the Camluck Classic (which includes post positions, horses, drivers, trainers and morning line odds) appears below.   CAMLUCK CLASSIC (Post - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds) 1 - Sunfire Blue Chip - T. Henry - J. Takter - 9-2 2 - Isitfridayyet - A. Carroll - R. Moreau - 8-1 3 - Killer Martini - S. Coulter - R. Bucci - 10-1 4 - Rockin Ron - L. Roy - R. Burke - 5-2 5 - Easy Lover Hanover - D. McNair - B. Wallace - 7-2 6 - Evenin Of Pleasure - J. Bongiorno - J. Bongiorno - 4-1 7 - Dr J Hanover - Ja. MacDonald - T. Alagna - 8-1 8 - Bit Of A Legend N - J. Stratton - P. Tritton - 2-1   by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway    

Fox Valley Gemini, harness racing

Fox Valley Gemini scores twelve straight wins

Stickney, IL - Leg one action of the Night of Champions series kicked off on Friday night at Hawthorne as three divisions of the Robert F. Carey Memorial pace for Illinois Conceived or Foaled three-year-olds were conducted. The highlight of the evening came in the final division of the Carey as last year's Illinois Champion Fox Valley Gemini took to the track in search of his 12th consecutive victory to open his racing career. He didn't disappoint as Casey Leonard guided him home to a five and a quarter length score in 1:51.4. Trained by Terry Leonard and owned by Jim Ballinger, Fox Valley Gemini was sent off as the 1-9 choice in the field of nine and settled well off the early pace which was set by Heza Real Shooter through the opening quarter in :28.0 and Talk About It after a half in :55.4. On the move in the turn, Fox Valley Gemini was picking off horses, but was still in fourth through three quarters in 1:24.0. In the blink of an eye, Fox Valley Gemini took over in the stretch and won in hand. Sagebrush Shocker closed to finish second while Yougotitfiguredout was third. In the first division of the Carey Memorial, a battle ensued between Fox Valley Hijinx, Molina, and Dandy Dude. Those three battled the pace as Dandy Dude cut the mile through fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:26.4. In the stretch, Molina pushed the leader, but it was Kyle Husted and Fox Valley Hijinx who closed fastest of all to get up by a nose on the wire. Molina was a game second while Dandy Dude was a neck back, finishing third. The final time was 1:53.4. Fox Valley Hijinx is trained by Kyle Husted and owned by David Brigham. The second division of the Carey turned out to be the fastest division of the night. Favored was You'remyhearthrob as he was sent to the lead, covering fractions of :28.2, :55.2 and 1:23.1. Leading the field into the stretch, You'remyhearthrob was headed by Backstreet Lawyer and Kyle Husted as Backstreet Lawyer took command. Stopping the clock in a quick 1:50.4, Backstreet Lawyer was a winner by two and a half lengths at the wire. You'remyhearthrob held on for second while Al's Briefs finished third. Backstreet Lawyer is trained by Tom Simmons and owned by Engel Stable of Illinois LLC, J.D. Graham, and Benita Simmons. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

Harness racing

Doug McNair reaches 3,000th career win

MILTON, ON May 25, 2018 - Doug McNair steered 25-1 longshot Jdcyril to victory in Friday's final-race at Woodbine Mohawk Park to register his 3,000th career driving victory. Canada's reigning harness racing Driver of the Year entered the evening just two wins shy of the 3,000 wins mark. After winning the evening's ninth-race with pacing mare E R Rhonda ($4.30), McNair reached the milestone in dramatic fashion by making a big three-wide move on the far turn and ultimately prevailing in a three-horse photo with claiming pacer Jdcyril ($54.40) in the evening's final dash. A resident of Guelph, McNair is currently in his 11th season of driving and has been racking up the victories since day one. His 2017 season saw him earn his first O'Brien Award after posting 325 wins and a career-high $6.5 million in earnings. McNair also captured his first Woodbine Entertainment driving title in 2017 and currently leads all reinsmen in wins this season at Woodbine Mohawk Park with 34. McNair reaches 3,000 career wins at just the age of 28. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine@Mohawk Park              

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued two charges against licensed trainer Graeme Mengler under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) which states:     A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse ‘Heza Reddy’ was presented to race at Mildura on 28 November 2017 by Mr Mengler not free of cobalt, a prohibited substance when evidenced at a concentration above the allowable threshold. It is further alleged that the horse ‘Heza Reddy’ was presented to race at Mildura on 28 December 2017 by Mr Mengler not free of cobalt, a prohibited substance when evidenced at a concentration above the allowable threshold. HRV Stewards have also issued a charge under AHRR 190B, alleging that Mr Mengler failed to keep and maintain a log book. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.   Harness Racing Victoria

Will Take Charge charges into Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphi off a win in a leg of the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters; a victory that saw the 5-year-old gelding make a four-wide move around the final turn to complete a last-to-first rally after a few missteps at the start of the race. "He can trot the turns as fast as any horse I've ever had," trainer Jeff Gillis said. "He's like a hobbled pacer almost. You can move him anywhere; he's very handy. He's just got a lot of good qualities that make him very versatile." Will Take Charge joined Gillis' stable after owner Mac Nichol purchased the horse in November. The gelding was previously trained by John Bax and was runner-up in the Ontario Sire Stakes championships at ages 2 and 3. For his career, Will Take Charge has won 17 of 60 races, going 8-for-14 with Gillis, and earned $561,169. He made a splash with his seasonal stakes debut on May 5 by finishing second to defending Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover in the Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. His Great Northeast Open win at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono followed on May 13. "There were a couple issues with his blood that we got corrected and he's just been a nice horse for us," Gillis said. "There were a lot of things that I liked about him. Obviously, his gate speed, and he looked like a really sound horse that carried good flesh. He was the kind you like to try to buy. "The other thing was I knew Bax had kept him through his 4-year-old year because he really liked him. Sometimes horses get stale and need a change. To say that he would be this good, no I didn't really expect that. But I thought he could be a nice horse." Will Take Charge is a son of Kadabra out of Celebrity Angel, who is a half-sister to Dan Patch Award-winner Almost An Angel. He is fully staked this year. "We'll let him tell us," Gillis said. "We intend to race him in all of those (stakes) if he's healthy and sound. Of course the big ones for us are the Maple Leaf Trot and the Breeders Crown. Hopefully he will be good for those." The Maxie Lee is part of an invitational tripleheader at Philly with the Commodore Barry for older male pacers and Betsy Ross for older female pacers. In addition, the card includes a Great Northeast Open Series event for trotters -- featuring 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover -- and Great Northeast Open Series races for male and female pacers. There also will be two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. Action begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT). Will Take Charge will face a deep field in the Maxie Lee, where two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Marion Marauder is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Will Take Charge is the 3-1 second choice, followed by the event's defending champion, Crazy Wow, at 7-2. Broadway Donna, another multiple Dan Patch Award-winner and the only mare in the race, is 6-1. "I think we drew well," Gillis said, referring to Will Take Charge's post four starting spot with driver Tim Tetrick. "I think it's a good spot. I'm pretty confident in him based on what he's done the last couple times on a small track. He's shown the ability to race on or near the lead as well as off the pace. I feel confident in whatever Timmy decides." Broadway Donna will try to join Buck I St Pat as the only female winners of the Maxie Lee Invitational, which debuted in 2008. Buck I St Pat, herself a multiple Dan Patch Award-winner, was a two-time champ. Other Dan Patch Award-honorees to capture the event were Obrigado, Father Patrick, Market Share, Chapter Seven, and Lucky Jim. "I was very happy with the way she got started," trainer Jim Campbell said about 5-year-old Broadway Donna, who won her seasonal debut in 1:51.4 at the Meadowlands on May 12. "There are no easy spots for her. No matter where she goes it's going to be tough racing. That's the way it is and you just have to adapt to it." The Maxie Lee is named after longtime horsemen Maxie Lee. A native of North Carolina, Lee made a name for himself as a trainer and driver in the Philadelphia area at Liberty Bell and Brandywine. He had back-to-back Delaware Valley Harness Horse of the Year winners in the mid-1970s with Black Gamecock and Valley Ken. In 1990, Lee became the first African-American with a starter in the Hambletonian, with the Peter Haughton Memorial winner Backstreet Guy. Following is the field for the Maxie Lee Invitational with drivers, trainers, and morning-line odds. 1. Marion Marauder, Scott Zeron, Paula Wellwood, 5-2; 2. Rubber Duck, Joe Bongiorno, Jennifer Bongiorno, 15-1; 3. I Know My Chip, Victor Kirby, Walter Haynes Jr., 12-1; 4. Will Take Charge, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Gillis, 3-1; 5. Crazy Wow, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 7-2; 6. Warrawee Roo, Dan Dube, Luc Blais, 9-1; 7. Broadway Donna, David Miller, Jim Campbell, 6-1; 8. Tuonoblu Rex, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 8-1. Caviart Ally looks to step up in Betsy Ross Friday, May 25, 2018 - by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent Trainer Noel Daley does not seem too concerned about Caviart Ally making the jump to racing older horses, and feels his confidence will be proven as the year goes on. "People say sometimes it's a little harder for the 4-year-olds to actually go against the older mares," Daley said. "Physically and mentally I think she'll do the job. I don't think she's going to out-muscle them straight away. She's going to have to have a bit of luck the way the races go and all that. But I think as the season goes on especially, I really think she'll match it up with them. "She's a very hearty mare. If anything, she always looks too big. She's not one you have to worry about eating and things like that. You've got to worry about her being too big, actually." Caviart Ally is coming off an outstanding 3-year-old season in which she was the straight-heat winner of the Jugette, and also captured a division of the Bluegrass Stakes along with two legs and the final of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. She won seven of 20 races and finished second in the Breeders Crown, Lynch Memorial, Glen Garnsey and Shady Daisy. For her career, Caviart Ally has won 11 of 36 races and earned $828,510. After winning her first two starts this year, she faces the first stakes-level race of her 4-year-old season Sunday in the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Betsy Ross is part of an invitational tripleheader at Philly with the Commodore Barry for older male pacers and Maxie Lee for older trotters. In addition, the card includes a Great Northeast Open Series event for trotters -- featuring 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover -- and Great Northeast Open Series races for male and female pacers. There also will be two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. Action begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT). Caviart Ally will get a stern test as the Betsy Ross field includes three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Pure Country, Blue Chip Matchmaker Series champion Shartin N, and stakes-winners Agent Q, Darlinonthebeach, and Blue Moon Stride. Caviart Ally will start from post No. 2 with Andy McCarthy in the sulky. "It's a very competitive race which makes it good," Daley said. "No one's going to be able to waltz around and do their own thing. There's too many in there that can win. There's very few in there that can't win it; in my estimation anyhow. Whoever has a good trip and has a good day. It's a deep field, there's no dominant one there, I don't think." Owned by Caviart Farms, Caviart Ally was sired by Bettor's Delight. She was purchased at Harrisburg -- at Daley's recommendation -- for $35,000 by Buck and Judy Chaffee, who were looking for a broodmare but figured they would race the horse if she showed potential. In her two wins this year, Daley liked her in the first at Philly on May 9, but was not thrilled with her second race at the same track on May 18. She won her seasonal debut in 1:50.4 and her second start in 1:52. "She was very good the first start; she bounced a bit the second start and was just OK," he said. "She switched off the last little bit but she can do that. I think we'll be fine on Sunday." Her opening races this year sound a little like a microcosm of her career. "She's a funny mare," Daley said. "She can have an average day here and there, she's been disappointing a couple times and then obviously she can be very good. The first part of the year she was solid last year. I think she really stepped out there when she won the Sire Stakes final, she was just super that day. "She was very good in the Breeders Crown, she got outdrawn there and had to come first over and stuck in very well. She went fifth in the last one of the year in the Matron. If she had won the Matron, I think she would have probably got the (3-year-old filly pacer) of the year. To me it was a three-way battle between Agent Q and (divisional award-winner) Blazin Britches." And although she was not an award-winner last year, Caviart Ally showed enough to get heavily staked in her first year with the older horses. "We have her in everything," Daley said. "If you're going to bring them back and try to race them...she's in a lot, she's in every race an older mare could be in. She's paid up. I'll be shocked if she doesn't come back very good. She's a beautiful type of mare, she's just a big strong mare; has a great temperament." And Daley is excited for the upcoming big races, as the only people he would rather be other than himself are the Chaffees. "I'm happy to have her," he said, adding with a laugh, "I wish I owned her." Following is the field for the Betsy Ross with drivers, trainers, and morning-line odds. 1. Pure Country, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-1; 2. Caviart Ally, Andy McCarthy, Noel Daley, 12-1; 3. Divas Image, Joe Bongiorno, Jennifer Bongiorno, 15-1; 4. Shartin N, Tim Tetrick, Jim King Jr., 9-5; 5. Agent Q, Brett Miller, Chris Oakes, 7-2; 6. Apple Bottom Jeans, Victor Kirby, Kevin Switzer, 20-1; 7. Darlinonthebeach, David Miller, R. Nifty Norman, 9-2; 8. Blue Moon Stride, Corey Callahan, Mark Harder, 8-1. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

The New Zealand Oaks may have had an Australian flavour to it, however the New Zealand undertones to the success are prominent throughout. Australian breeder George Tennent was at Addington having travelled from Victoria to watch his pride and joy take on the best fillies in New Zealand on Friday night, and his recipe for success is one of many highs and lows. George bred Shez All Rock after eying up her mother at the New Zealand Yearling sales in 2011. “I bought the mare Irish Loch at the Yearling Sales where I had up to six people check her over and nobody could fault her," he said. “Murtel McCarthy told the people I had inspecting the filly she was looking for a huge amount which had me worried, but I managed to pick her up for $11,500. “And then the Earthquake happened, and I was thrown to the ground and had never experienced anything like it before!” “I’d been doing research on a filly that had been racing with Hamish Hunter and he had a horse called Timely Loch and I’d seen her race a bit. Next thing I see the sale book over there and here’s Irish Loch." Irish Loch is the Mach Three dam of Shez All Rock and was out of the lightly tried Falcon Seelster mare, Lady Loch. While the Mach Three/Falcon Seelster cross was lightly tried at the time, it would go on to produce the likes of Fly like An Eagle, Fiery Falcon and Venus Serena. Timely Loch (Christian Cullen) was easily the best of the Lady Loch foals who were seven fillies no less. Timely Loch would win three races for Hamish Hunter and one for Michael House before racing in New South Wales and retiring with 12 wins to her name. The irony and good fortune for her owners is she has just this season left her first foal, a colt by Rock N Roll Heaven no less but we come back to them shortly via the Shez All Rock purchase! There had been a slew of good horses come out the family and you don’t have to look much further then Shez All Rock’s fifth dam Heatherloch (Lumber Dream) who was an honest mare that won six races. She was sold by Roydon Lodge at a dispersal sale after failing to set the world alight as a broodmare, but that would soon change. She was sold with a Yankee Reb colt at foot whose deeds among her other progeny would credit her with New Zealand Broodmare of the Year in 1989. Yankee Loch (Yankee Reb colt sold at foot with mare) was the only trotting bred foal from the mare but he would win the Rowe Cup, Interdominion Trotting Final and New Zealand Trotter of the Year in the same season his mother was awarded Broodmare of the Year. Other good performers from the maternal family included Scottish Loch, Patches, Global Force and Black Loch who was injured after winning the Sapling Stakes and prematurely being retired from racing. While it was a solid family, it wasn’t a great one given the number of foals that were bred and the top sires many of them were by. However, patience was eventually rewarded for those that have persisted with the family. Tennent unfortunately never got the opportunity to try his acquisition as a racehorse after taking her home to Victoria. “I should have left her in New Zealand with Ernie Knight to be broken in but I made a big mistake before bringing her back to Australia," he said. "Usually I do a lot of research with the people I send my horses to be educated with. But someone told me to send it to such and such and it was the biggest mistake I ever made because they wrecked the filly before she could even get started and she never recovered. “I tried with various trainers to correct her issues and bad habits but a Mach Three filly who had that much speed was never to recover from being broken in poorly. She never even qualified. She has developed into a beautiful mare but you move on and we made the decision to breed from her. “I then had contact with a man in South Australia called Robert O’Court who does breeding analysis and sets up the bloodlines, and he reckoned Rock N Roll Heaven was the one. “She was prepared for the sales and she had only had a few people inspect her over the three days the sales were on. "Frustratingly she went for only 12,500. It was disappointing because other ones we had bred were averaging around $30k, and I guess she was quite small and I’m not sure if the white blaze on her face put people off. “She’s missed at stud and slipped at stud, but is safely in foal to Pet Rock this season,” he said. Pet Rock currently sits fourth on the USA 3 year old sires list and stood his first season at stud in New Zealand this year. “When we sell our yearlings, sometimes my wife will say kiss er goodbye because they can go to the wrong people. “But Mark Pitt whose a lovely fella and we get on well, he purchased the filly even though a lot of people were trying to turn him off buying her. But his family are part of a very famous harness family in New South Wales called the Dieberts, and they purchased Timely loch, and that’s where the connection come up. “They knew all about the family and originally Timely Loch was trained by Hamish Hunter down south where she broke down. Somehow or another Timely Loch ended up in Michael House’s care and he was able to get her to win in a very fast time at Ashburton over a mile (1:55.5) and sold her to the Dieberts. Shez All Rock must have shown some ability because they sent her to Rock N Roll Heaven,” he said. “They had a few problems breaking her in I believe but I got a call some months later asking me if there any more progeny out of the mare which in hindsight tells you she might have been a bit special." Shez All Rock was looking to join a very select list of fillies to complete the New Zealand, Victorian and new South Wales Oaks on Friday night. Dream About Me, Fight For Glory, Copper Beach and Pullover Brown have pulled off the Victorian/NZ Oaks double in recent years and Elect To Live and Under Cover Lover had done the NSW/NZ Oaks double. Only Bonnie Frost in 1970 had ever done the three-peat showing just how remarkable the accomplishment is. “Mark Pitt called me on Friday before the Oaks and told me that Mark was happy with how she was working. And it was such a thrill to travel over and watch her win the New Zealand Oaks from the birdcage. The hospitality we experienced was unbelievable and you people treated me like royalty it was just remarkable. “When she won the Victorian Oaks there was only one board member present and there wasn’t even an official presentation,” he said. The filly with a blaze Sweet Lou would be proud of was hard to miss as she made her way around Addington in the green Harness Jewels colours, and even harder to miss were the tears of joy in Tennent's eyes as he tried to take it all in. It is what we breed horses for and the emotion and buzz from seeing your stock win races like that is not a thrill you can get from a bottle. Tennent says the mare will be mated this season with Art Major as it is a cross he is keen to try before the stallion retires. “There is plenty of time to go back to Rock N Roll Heaven,” he joked. Whoever Irish loch is served by, you can bet George Tennent who is a seller of his stock will do better than the $12,000 he got for her first foal when he takes the next one to the sales! This article featured in the Breeders Update, click here to read the most recent issue: https://goo.gl/oG7S8N Click here to subscribe: https://goo.gl/qDyGev   Courtesy of Brad Reid NZ Standardbred Breeders Association  

The Swedish media has quite openly admitted it knows very little about the form and ability of Australian mare Maori Time in the lead up to Sunday’s Elitloppet.  The Brent Lilley trained mare has attracted a lot of publicity and interest in Sweden but she has been given little chance of getting past the elimination stage by the local press. While the mare is being shunned by the locals, the common feeling amongst the Maori Time crew headed up by Lilley is contentment. “Since we have arrived I don’t think we could have asked for things to go better than they have,” Lilley said. “She has settled in perfectly at Stig’s (Johansson), she has eaten everything, her work has been great.  We won’t have an excuse in the world on Sunday.” Maori Time will have her last serious hit-out on Friday morning before she competes on Sunday. “Stig drove her earlier in the week for me and he was really impressed with her and the way she worked.  Watching her I was really happy with the way she got through it. “I’ve got the farrier coming this afternoon (Thursday).  She is trotting really well at the moment so we will just get him to put the front shoes back on and she can have a new set of aluminiums put on behind.” Maori Time has drawn barrier six in her heat on Sunday directly outside overall series favourite Bold Eagle.  The French trotting star won his heat impressively in 2017 before fading in the final to finish behind Timoko. After racing outside the leader in his heat last year the question has been raised in the Swedish media whether Bold Eagle’s driver Franck Nivard would be less aggressive in the heat this year in an attempt to save something for the final. If Nivard is not as aggressive as he was a year ago it could be a chance for Maori Time to use her speed to get into the race early. Owner Fred Crews understands his mare Maori Time is facing a huge task racing arguably the world’s best trotter in Bold Eagle. “I know Australia has had better trotters come to the Elitloppet in the past.  The last Australian horse to come was Sundons Gift and he was a better horse than Maori Time but what my mare does have is gate speed and she can put herself into the race,” Crews said. “It isn’t ideal that we have drawn directly outside Bold Eagle but it is an honour to be representing Australia, I know there are a lot of people back home who will be staying up late on a Sunday night watching Sky to cheer her on and I’ve had great support from gentleman like Duncan McPherson from Aldebaran Park who have made this trip possible.” Sky Racing will cover Solvalla on Saturday and Sunday night with Anthony Manton broadcasting the races live from the track.  Maori Time will compete at 11:22pm (AEST) on Sunday night.   Greg Hayes

After spending the better part of the past four years at home in Indiana, returning Breeders Crown champion Beckhams Z Tam is ready to step out for what trainer Jamie Macomber hopes is the first of numerous road trips this season. Beckhams Z Tam will leave Indiana for only the second time in his life when he visits Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday for the $150,000 Commodore Barry Invitational for older male pacers. Beckhams Z Tam's only previous road trip came last year for his elimination of the North America Cup in Ontario, where he finished ninth. Following that race, Beckhams Z Tam hit the board in 14 consecutive starts, winning seven, including the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers on his home turf at Hoosier Park. Overall in 2017, Beckhams Z Tam won 11 of 20 races, was top three a total of 18 times, and earned $512,545. This year, the 4-year-old stallion is ready to give the Grand Circuit a try on a regular basis. "We're going to give it a shot," said Macomber, who trains Beckhams Z Tam for owner Bill Matz's Z Tam Stables. "As long as he seems to be OK with the traveling and racing at the high-competition level, then we'll continue on the stakes season. You always wonder how they're going to handle the travel and the hard races every week, but for some reason, it doesn't concern me with Beckham. I think he will handle it fine. "He's a relaxed horse, so as long as I don't change his schedule too much -- he likes to eat breakfast and then go back to sleep, take a nap, and then get up to do his work -- I think he will be OK. I don't plan on changing much, except where he sleeps at night." The Commodore Barry Invitational, named in honor of American Revolution hero Commodore John Barry, a native of Ireland who lived in Philadelphia and was the first commissioned officer of the U.S. Navy, is part of an invitational tripleheader at Philly with the Betsy Ross for older female pacers and Maxie Lee for older trotters. In addition, the card includes a Great Northeast Open Series event for trotters -- featuring 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover -- and Great Northeast Open Series races for male and female pacers. There also will be two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. Action begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT). Beckhams Z Tam heads to the Commodore Barry off a second-place finish in his seasonal debut in the May 11 Invitational at Hoosier Park. He will start the Commodore Barry from post No. 1 in a field that includes Confederation Cup winner Filibuster Hanover (unbeaten in three races this year) and two horses with more than $2 million in career earnings, Mach It So and McWicked. "I would have liked a couple more starts, but we're happy with the one start that we did have," said Macomber, who turns over the driving lines to her husband, Ricky. "He didn't get a lot bigger (over the winter). He filled out some, but not a lot. His personality is still awesome. If anything, he is just a little bit more mature." Macomber hopes that maturity helps Beckhams Z Tam make the transition to racing against older foes in stakes competition. Beckhams Z Tam, a son of Always A Virgin out of Sara's Lucky Charm, has won 11 of 27 lifetime starts and earned $565,494. "When he's racing he's all business," Macomber said. "He's not been raced a lot, so hopefully he's got plenty of good miles left in him." Following is the Commodore Barry Invitational field with listed drivers and trainers. 1. Beckhams Z Tam, Ricky Macomber Jr., Jamie Macomber; 2. Western Joe, Scott Zeron, Christopher Choate; 3. Heaven Rocks A, David Miller, Ross Croghan; 4. Filibuster Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5. Rockeyed Optimist, Brett Miller, Jake Leamon; 6. Rodeo Romeo, Andy McCarthy, Chris Ryder; 7. McWicked, Brian Sears, Casie Coleman; 8. Mach It So, George Napolitano Jr., Jeff Bamond Jr. For Sunday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Yonkers, NY-- Post positions have been drawn for the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace and $111,444 Lismore Pace set for Yonkers Raceway this Saturday night, May 26th.   The 28th edition of the Rooney, one of Yonkers' premier event's for the sport's glamour division, offers six 3-year-old colts and two geldings. Inaugurated 1989, the Rooney pays homage to the Hall of Fame founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers and patriarch of the Rooney Family.   Elimination winners Trump Nation with "Maine Man" Jason Bartlett in the bike drew post position four, while Decoy, Dave Miller handling the reins, is saddled with the outside eight hole.   Miller, who has won this race three times, including last season with Downbytheseaside will have his work cut out for him behind the son of Somebeachsomewhere. Jimmy Takter trains for Brixton Medical, R A W Equine and Joe Sbrocco. Decoy won his elim going away, by 8½ lengths in a 'good' 1:54.   Bartlett, the perennial leading driver at Empire City Casino's historic half mile oval, has never won the Rooney. Trump Nation took over early a week ago, making the lead from an eventual breaker and holding sway. He won by a head in 1:53.3. his fastest purse mile of the season.   The Betterthancheddar colt enters the final with new co-ownership (Evan Katz and Crawford Racing) and a new trainer in Chris Oakes.   The field, with declared drivers is as follows: 1-Minnie Vinnie (Tim Tetrick), 2-Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton listed), 3-Springsteen (Brian Sears), 4-Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett), 5-Jimtastic (Eric Goodell), 6-Major Authority (Yannick Gingras), 7-Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller), 8-Decoy (Dave Miller).   The 14th Lismore, companion event to the Rooney, was carded as the fifth race. Lone elimination winner Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube) landed in post No. 2 among the octet of 3-year-old pacing.   The field, with declared drivers...1-Solitary (Brent Holland), 2-Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube), 3-Believe in Me (Brian Sears), 4-Pass Line Bluechip (Jason Bartlett), 5-Python Blue Chip (George Brennan) 6-Alexa's Power (Tim Tetrick), 7-Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald), 8-Reign on Me (Brett Miler).   First post for the 12-race card is the usual 6:50 PM.   by John Cirillo, for Yonkers Raceway  

ON Monday 30 April 2018, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards commenced an Inquiry into reports received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that O-desmethylvenlafaxine had been detected in the post-race urine samples taken from the following horses: MAORISFAVOURITESUN following its win in Race 7 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 7 October 2017; MAORISFAVOURITESUN following its win in Race 9 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 11 November 2017; CHARLIE MACHSHEEN following its win in Race 8 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday 14 November 2017 The ‘B’ samples were confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. O-desmethylvenlafaxine was not detected in the control samples. Mr Aiken appeared at the Inquiry and presented evidence in relation to his registered training establishment. Mrs Colleen Aiken, a licensed stablehand, was also present and provided evidence as a representative of Mr Aiken’s stable and as an owner of the horse MAORISFAVOURITESUN. In addition, licensed stablehand Mr Malcolm Locke was present and provided evidence to the Inquiry. A number of documents were entered into evidence at the Inquiry including the Certificates of Analysis in relation to each of the post-race urine samples and a number of exhibits obtained by HRNSW Stewards, including the analytical results for recycled water samples obtained from the paddock utilised by Mr Aiken within the Menangle Park Training Centre. HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Martin Wainscott, was also present and provided evidence to the Inquiry that the presence of O-desmethylvenlafaxine detected in the urine samples had resulted from contamination within the stable environment. HRNSW Stewards issued three (3) charges against Mr Aiken and Mr Locke pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 (1), (2), (3) & (4) as follows: AHRR 190.  (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. (2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence. (3)  If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence. (4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse. Mr Aiken and Mr Locke were each found guilty of those charges and provided submissions in relation to the matter of penalty. The Inquiry was adjourned for Stewards to determine the matter of penalty. On 21 May 2018, Mr Aiken was informed by written decision that HRNSW Stewards had imposed a period of disqualification of four (4) months for each offence. The circumstances of this matter including evidence of Dr Wainscott in relation to contamination; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; Mr Aiken’s licence history, offence record, training record during a 42-year involvement in the harness racing industry; Mr Aiken’s personal subjective facts; Mr Aiken’s prior prohibited substance offence in 2000; Mr Aiken’s not guilty plea. On that date, Mr Locke was also informed by written decision that HRNSW Stewards had imposed a period of disqualification of six (6) months for each offence. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; The circumstances of this matter including evidence of Dr Wainscott in relation to contamination; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; Mr Locke’s licence history and offence record; No previous prohibited substance matters; Mr Locke’s personal subjective facts; Mr Locke’s not guilty plea. Due to the fact that Mr Aiken and Mr Locke were informed of the first sample irregularity following the date of the second sample having been obtained and on the same day that the third sample was obtained, Stewards ordered that the three (3) periods of disqualification be served concurrently. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MAORISFAVOURITESUN and CHARLIE MACHSHEEN were disqualified from the abovementioned races. Mr Aiken and Mr Locke have lodged appeals against these decisions. Mr Aiken has been granted a Stay of Proceedings by the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal.   MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au

Stewards today inquired into the results of analysis of samples taken from DASHER HOULI following its win in Race 5 at the Launceston Pacing Club on 11 March 2018. Evidence was heard from representatives of Racing Analytical Services Limited, Racing Chemistry Laboratory and from consultant veterinarian Dr Peter Horridge. Evidence was also heard from Mr Reggett in relation to his horse husbandry practices. Mr Reggett pleaded guilty to  charges pursuant to AHRR 190(1),(2) and (4) for  failing to present DASHER HOULI free of the  prohibited substance Arsenic,  and pursuant to AHRR 190(B)(1) for failing to maintain a logbook which met the requirements of the rule. In determining penalty Stewards took into consideration Mr Reggett’s guilty plea, his licence history, his personal circumstances and the need that any penalty reflect the serious nature of prohibited substance offences. Stewards were also mindful of a report produced by Melbourne University which showed that the ingestion of CCA timber could lead to an elevated level of Arsenic in equine urine, and of notices published in September 2017 warning Tasmanian Harness trainers of the danger of allowing horses access to CCA treated timber. Mr Reggett was fined the sum of $3000 for the breach of the prohibited substance rule and $200 for the breach of the Logbook rule. Acting under the provisions of AHRR 195 Stewards ordered that DASHER HOULI be disqualified from the subject race and the placings will be amended accordingly. Adrian Crowther CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS – Harness

Ravenswood horseman Nathan Turvey simply cannot believe his good fortune when he was contacted completely out of the blue last year by Karl Deiley, who asked him to train a young pacer by the name of Simba Bromac. “I had never met him and I don’t know why he picked me out,” said Turvey. “That’s the million-dollar question.” Turvey was more than happy to accept the offer from Deiley, a West Australian businessman, to train Simba Bromac, a New Zealand-bred pacer who had raced six times in Victoria for one win (at Cobram in February of last year) and three placings. Turvey is delighted at the progress shown by Simba Bromac, who has had 17 starts for him for 13 wins, three seconds and one fourth. And he is excited at the four-year-old’s potential, saying that he was hopeful that the gelding would develop into a realistic prospect for the rich feature events at the Christmas carnival next summer. “Simba Bromac is pretty smart and I haven’t had a Christmas feature horse before, but he could be the one,” Turvey said. Simba Bromac is in superb form and has excellent prospects of extending his winning sequence to five by proving the master of his nine rivals in the $25,000 Caporn Electrical Pure Steel final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is the only M0-class runner in the field, but should carry too many guns for his rivals, all of whom have an M1 classification. He has drawn perfectly at the No. 1 barrier on the front line and Chris Lewis will attempt an all-the-way victory. “Simba Bromac is jumping out of his skin and to lead, that’s the plan,” said Turvey. “Touch of Success (barrier five) has good gate speed, but I think that Simba Bromac will hold up. He’s very fast out. It’s a good field and if Simba Bromac has to do a bit of work early, it could bring smart horses like El Jacko into the race.” One of Simba Bromac’s main rivals appears to be Mister Versace, who has struck a purple patch for Banjup trainer Annie Belton, with two wins and a fast-finishing third at his past three starts. He will start from barrier three on the front line with Chris Voak in the sulky. Mister Versace was most impressive last Friday night when he led for the first 220m and then sat behind the pacemaker Mista Shark before finishing with a powerful burst to beat that pacer by 2m at a 1.56.5 rate over 2130m. Belton is in fantastic form, winning with each of her past four starters at Gloucester Park (Mister Versace and Lady De La Renta last Friday night and Lady Valasca and Dior Mia More on Tuesday evening). Whenmechief, trained by Michael Brennan and driven by Michael Grantham, gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Ohoka Darcy at a 1.57.5 rate over 2130m last Friday night. He faces a sterner test this week from the No. 7 barrier. The in-form Skye Bond-trained pair of Messi and El Jacko fared poorly in the random draw and will need plenty of luck from barriers eight and nine, respectively. Ken Casellas

Champion harness driver Dexter Dunn is set to try to establish himself in North America again. And he hasn't ruled out a permanent move there should his winter campaign prove an enormous success. Dunn has won the last 10 national drivers' premierships but will relinquish his title to good friend Blair Orange this season, with the latter 28 clear on the standings after bringing up win 200 for the season at Manawatu on Tuesday. Orange's numbers this season have been so staggering he now has Dunn's national record 229 wins for a season in his sights and barring injury or suspension should probably set a new mark. But Dunn says the end of his premiership domination isn't why he is heading to New York in a few weeks. "I spent a few months up there driving a few years ago and really enjoyed the experience and always wanted to come back," says Dunn. "But the right opportunity never really presented itself until now." That finally did come when Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder, who is now based in North America, approached Dunn about driving in the US with his support. "Chris has been a long-time family friend and suggested the time was right and he would support me and try and help me get outside drives. "There has been a bit of visa paperwork to get through and I still have to go for a final interview at the US consulate in Auckland in a few weeks. But if and when the paperwork is finalised, hopefully I can get up there sooner rather than later. "Their [US] really good horses, the ones that will be racing in the better races later in the summer, are all starting to come out in the qualifiers at the moment so I'd love to be able to get some serious drives and the sooner I am there the more likely that is to happen." Dunn expects to be away from New Zealand from around mid-June until maybe just before the New Zealand Cup carnival in November, which would mean could drive at the rich Breeders Crown on October 27. But if the trip turned out to be an enormous success he could be tempted to stay. "I intend being back for the Cup carnival and driving like normal here over the summer. "But you never know what can happen. Anything is possible, including basing myself up there fulltime. "But I don't expect that to happen on this trip." After 10 remarkable years during which Dunn has emerged from obscurity to win 10 premierships and win 2180 races in New Zealand alone, the superstar of the sulky admits the time for a new challenge has come. "I still love the big carnivals, our summer racing and some of the special days we have, like Kaikoura for example. "But you do have the odd time when driving so much gets stale, especially when you have been travelling as much as I have for the last five years. "It usually only lasts a weekend and you are back fine the next week, but it does happen. "So this will be a good freshen up for me, a new challenge and a chance to learn some new things." Although Dunn has already seen his premiership run ended by Orange this season, any longer-term North American ambitions from him would put Orange in the perfect position to start his own premiership domination. The pair are so far in front of their rivals in numbers of drives and races won in the last couple of years it would be hard to envisage a new serious premiership contender emerging. So if Dunn tastes success during his upcoming US trip and decides to spend more winters there in the years to come, the national premiership would appear to be Orange's to own. Michael Guerin

Chester, PA - The $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia is one of the main pitstops of talented older trotters, and this year is certainly no exception. This year's race is highlighted by Triple Crown Winner and 2017 Aged Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder. The 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill was impressive on seasonl debut over the suburban Philly oval, stopping the clock in 1:52.1 in a Great Northeast Series Event. The Paula Wellwood trainee is up to $2.5 million plus in career earnings, with 15 wins in 39 career starts. Top contenders include twice millionaire and defending Maxie Lee Champion Crazy Wow, and Mac Nichol's Will Take Charge. Crazy Wow, 6-year-old son of Crazed, is looking for his second win of the season after coming off of a disappointing 5th place finish last week in a Great Northeast Series Event. He did battle to a :54.1 half mile, before ceding ground the final quarter of a mile. The Ron Burke trainee has 21 wins in 62 career starts. The Jeff Gillis trained Will Take Charge has been solid in 10 starts this season, with 5 resulting in wins, and a near-miss second to Harness Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover in the Cutler Memorial at The Meadowlands. He won last week in a Great Northeast Series event despite breaking at the start. Two-time Dan Patch Award winner Broadway Donna took care of business in her seasonal debut. The 5-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover came off of a pair of good qualifiers against Hannelore Hanover, winning her debut in 1:51.4 in a Preferred Handicap at The Meadowlands. The Jim Campbell trainee is hoping to rebound after a one win season as a 4-year-old. Other contenders include Blair and Erna Corbeil's Rubber Duck, star Indiana trotter I Know My Chip, Canadian invader Warrawee Roo, and the Andy Miller charge Tuonoblu Rex. Post Time on Sunday, May 27th at Harrah's Philadelphia is 12:40 PM Eastern. Patrons are encouraged to bring the family for a fun filled afternoon which will include clowns, face painters, balloon animals, and much more. There will be food and beverage specials on the patio. ACTION AT HARRAH'S TODAY Dr J’s Kiss, knocking on the door with seconds in her last two starts, sprung an 11-1 upset in the $17,000 featured pace for mares Wednesday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, stopping the timer in 1:52.3. David Miller locked to have the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere in good position, second-over behind favored Obvious Blue Chip, but by mid-backstretch it was apparent that the chalk would not have enough in her seasonal bow, forcing Miller to send his filly three-wide to reach two-wide uncovered status by the far turn. Through the stretch Dr J’s Kiss proved the strongest, winning by ¾ of a length over pocketsitting Windy Sport, a 66-1 proposition who came up the inside to nip pacesetting Moments Of Joy for the deuce. A five-time winner in thirteen seasonal starts last year, Dr J’s Kiss needed until this, her tenth start of 2018, to finally break through to Victory Lane. Trainer Joe Pavia Jr. co-owns the winner with Steven Held and the namesake inspiration of the horse, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky. David Miller had four wins on the Wednesday card; the father-son/trainer-driver combination of Erv and Marcus Miller teamed for three victories. by Michael Bozich, for Harrah's Chester

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It's ELITLOPPET WEEKEND in Sweden! Harnesslink founder, John Curtin, along with renowned equine photographer Karolien Van Hauwermeiren, the daughter of Belgium owner, breeder, trainer, driver Filip Van Hauwermeiren, are both at Solvalla Racetrack in Sweden. They will be providing readers with photographs and video throughout the Elitloppet Weekend in Sweden. This page will be updated with photos Saturday and Sunday and with stories to come. You can check out all the Elitloppet Weekend racing via photos and video on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Drafnet-377311416114861/  SWEDEN CUP GOES TO ITALY ON SATURDAY! (From the USTA) Italian trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro stole the show at Solvalla Saturday afternoon (May 26) as he won the Sweden Cup as well as a V75 final and was beaten in second place in a photo finish. In the Sweden Cup, Gocciadoro raced the 11-year-old gelding Arazi Boko, who has found his second youth since he joined the Gocciadoro stable late last year. Arazi Boko, sired by Varenne, won his elimination as well as the final. The elimination was won in 1:53.2f, while he was timed in the final in 1:53f. The win was worth $70,000. In the final, Swedish driver Ôrjan Kihlström tried to take the lead with Love Matters, who had finished second to Arazi Boko in the elimination, but just as Love Matter hit the front, he went off stride and was disqualified. Then the race was an easy task for Swedish-bred Arazi Boko. Later on the day Gocciadoro won an impressive victory with the 4-year-old Volnik du Graz, he too sired by Varenne, who got a very tough trip, but still managed to win the 1-5/16th mile event by a head in 1:54.2f (mile rate). Gocciadoro was also in the spotlight driving the mare Peace of Mind, but USA-bred Double Exposure (she by Donato Hanover), driven by Ôrjan Kihlström, just managed to get by at the finish line to win in a new record of 1:52f. Within the last couple of years Gocciadoro has stamped himself as the leading trainer and driver in Italy. In Italy he has won 100 races so far in 2018 and has a win percentage of 41.6. The richest race of the day, The Harper Hanover raced over two miles, was won by Platon Face (sired by Raja Mirchi), driven by trainer and breeder Lutfi Kolgjini. Platon Face went off stride around the first bend, but managed to come back to win the race in 1:57.3f (mile rate). The purse for the winner was $105,000. Harnesslink Media
Vernon, NY - A sampling of top Hambletonian prospects will lead the charge to Monday's $500,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) trotting finals at Vernon Downs as part of the Memorial Day matinee card beginning at 1:05 pm. The imposing Muscle Mass colt Six Pack (PP#2) equaled Market Share's track record of 1:52.1 in last week's elimination race and needed every bit of that strong effort to get past Helpisontheway by just a half-length on the wire for the win. He's won both of his seasonal starts at Vernon and heads into the $223,673 final (race 8) in top form for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt who owns the colt in partnership with Jeff Gural's Little E, LLC, Stall Kalmar and Lars Berg. Trainer Linda Toscano sends out a pair of leading contenders, both sired by her 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven. The aforementioned Helpisontheway (PP#3 Tim Tetrick) did much of the work before succumbing very late to Six Pack. He's owned by the trainer (as Camelot Stables) and The Bay's Stable. Local owner Ken Jacobs will watch his colt Seven Iron (PP #4 David Miller) who won the second EBC elimination. He's a rock solid trotter who gives an honest effort every time he puts his nose on the gate, was a Grand Circuit winner at The Red Mile and second in the Kindergarten final last season. The route to the $238,613 EBC filly final (race 9) winners circle appears to go through Atlanta, not the city but Rick Zeron's wicked fast Chapter Seven filly. She absolutely cruised to victory in 1:53.1, fastest of three elimination divisions for driver Scott Zeron and appeared to have plenty left. Atlanta will leave from post 4 as she carries the hopes of HA Taylor, Holland Racing and Brad Grant who own her in partnership with trainer Rick Zeron. Svanstedt manages the other two elim winners in Natalie Hanover and Plunge Blue Chip (Svanstedt) who start from the inside most posts respectively on Monday. Plunge Blue Chip was the state's top freshman filly trotter last season and also won the Grand Circuit stake Goldsmith Maid final, earning more than $400,000 at two for the trainer and his partners Blue Chip Bloodstock and Tomas Andersson. Natalie Hanover (Mark MacDonald) took a lifetime mark with her 1:54.1 score last week and seeks her biggest payday for Van Camp Trotting Corp, Anders Olsson, Lars Berg and Bjorn Nasstrom. The supporting card includes consolations for both EBC finals and a $120,000 New York Sires stake divided into three divisions, it's the first battle of the year for the state bred 3-year-old colt pacers. Vernon and the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative have joined to offer a $3,000 guaranteed pool on a Pick 4 wager on races 6-9 that includes both EBC finals. Free program pages for the races included in the wager will be available on the web. From the press box at Vernon Downs    
Stickney, IL - Leg one action of the Night of Champions series kicked off on Friday night at Hawthorne as three divisions of the Robert F. Carey Memorial pace for Illinois Conceived or Foaled three-year-olds were conducted. The highlight of the evening came in the final division of the Carey as last year's Illinois Champion Fox Valley Gemini took to the track in search of his 12th consecutive victory to open his racing career. He didn't disappoint as Casey Leonard guided him home to a five and a quarter length score in 1:51.4. Trained by Terry Leonard and owned by Jim Ballinger, Fox Valley Gemini was sent off as the 1-9 choice in the field of nine and settled well off the early pace which was set by Heza Real Shooter through the opening quarter in :28.0 and Talk About It after a half in :55.4. On the move in the turn, Fox Valley Gemini was picking off horses, but was still in fourth through three quarters in 1:24.0. In the blink of an eye, Fox Valley Gemini took over in the stretch and won in hand. Sagebrush Shocker closed to finish second while Yougotitfiguredout was third. In the first division of the Carey Memorial, a battle ensued between Fox Valley Hijinx, Molina, and Dandy Dude. Those three battled the pace as Dandy Dude cut the mile through fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:26.4. In the stretch, Molina pushed the leader, but it was Kyle Husted and Fox Valley Hijinx who closed fastest of all to get up by a nose on the wire. Molina was a game second while Dandy Dude was a neck back, finishing third. The final time was 1:53.4. Fox Valley Hijinx is trained by Kyle Husted and owned by David Brigham. The second division of the Carey turned out to be the fastest division of the night. Favored was You'remyhearthrob as he was sent to the lead, covering fractions of :28.2, :55.2 and 1:23.1. Leading the field into the stretch, You'remyhearthrob was headed by Backstreet Lawyer and Kyle Husted as Backstreet Lawyer took command. Stopping the clock in a quick 1:50.4, Backstreet Lawyer was a winner by two and a half lengths at the wire. You'remyhearthrob held on for second while Al's Briefs finished third. Backstreet Lawyer is trained by Tom Simmons and owned by Engel Stable of Illinois LLC, J.D. Graham, and Benita Simmons. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, continues the summer harness season through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 5 through December 29. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  
East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands Saturday night card features three series finals and the great Foiled Again's quest to reach 100 career wins. The $47,000 "Escort" final (race 6) pits eight 3-year-old colts & geldings with the very fast but green Thinkbig Dreambig the 9-5 choice on Dave Brower's morning line in just his second career start. Sent away as the 3-5 choice in his maiden voyage last week, Thinkbig Dreambig was ranging up toward the leader in mid-stretch but doing so somewhat erratically then suffered interference in an eventual 4th placed third finish. Trainer Jimmy Takter will take the lines tonight for owners Brixton Medical, Fielding, Anderberg and Falk. KJ's Justine has come to hand in the Rainbow Blue series for sophomore pacing fillies and is the favorite for the $42,500 final (race 7), having swept the two preliminary legs including a 1:52.1 lifetime record last week. She races out of the Linda Toscano barn for owner Ken Jacobs and Eric Abbatiello drives tonight from post 3. The $32,500 Hot Lead final (race 8) for older pacing horses and geldings could be a dogfight and Ballerat Boomerang comes into it off a crushing 5 ¾ length win over the field in leg two. Driver Vinnie Ginsburg put up a perfect steer last week, providing a cover trip and when tipped, the "Boomerang" took flight by the field. He'll begin from post position 8 tonight for Nick Surick who trains for Engel Stable of Illinois and JL Benson Stable. The ageless war-horse Foiled Again has certainly had a storybook career for trainer Ron Burke and partners Weaver Bruscemi and the JJK Stables. Now facing mandatory retirement after this season at age 14, he is the richest Standardbred in history with a career bankroll of $7,573,178. It has taken 309 starts to get there with his win total stuck on 99 since January, so after a few sub-par efforts Burke prescribed a freshening of four months leading up to tonight's return. He'll face a field of six rivals in the fifth race from post two with Jim Pantaleano becoming the 36th driver over his 309 start career. All of the guaranteed wagers are in place for the card and the last race Super Hi-5 Jackpot carry-over has eclipsed $236,000. You may download free program pages here. Post time is 7:15 pm. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands  
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