Day At The Track
Lot 122 (Captaintreacherous), a $250,000 purchase from Tardina Stud.

NZB Standardbred enters uncharted territory

Day One of NZB Standardbred’s second ever National Standardbred Yearling Sale kicked off at Karaka on Monday, with record-breaking results rounding out the Auckland Sale.  The Sale broke records today after four Lots sold for in excess of $200,000, with the median increasing on last year’s results closing at $36,250. NZB Director and Operations Manager James Jennings was thrilled with the outcome of the results on Day One held at Karaka. “The average is on par with last year and an increased median shows good depth to the Sale. “There were pleasing results for a number of vendors, highlighting that the buyers were prepared to pay for quality yearlings. “We are very happy with the momentum of the Sale so far and look forward to it carrying through to Christchurch over the next two days,” commented Jennings. The highlight of the session was Lot 122 (Captaintreacherous), a bay colt purchased for $250,000 by Emilio and Mary Rosati from Tardina Stud’s draft. Leading the buying bench at Auckland was Lincoln Farms Bloodstock, securing six yearlings for a total spend of $597,500. Included in John Street's purchasers were two colts, Lots 49 and 63 for $210,000 and $200,000 respectively, both were from the draft of Woodlands Stud. The fourth $200,000 purchase was Lot 113, a brown colt from Georgia Brooke Lodge secured by Jean Feiss.   Second on the leading buyers list was Stonewall Stud, purchasing 11 horses for an aggregate of $587,500. The leading vendor by aggregate were 2019’s title holders Woodlands Stud, selling 34 yearlings of their 36 offered for a total of $1,648,500. Sire power was evident at Karaka today, with demand for Captaintreacherous continuing from 2019 results as leading pacing sire by average (three or more sold) at the close of selling, averaging $96,250 for four horses sold. Second on the leading sires table by average was champion stallion Bettor’s Delight, selling 31 yearlings for an average of $68,226. The Christchurch Sale commences tomorrow with Lot 132 to Lot 179 going under the hammer from 4.00pm. Selling will be beamed to viewers on Freeview Channel 200, with up-to-the minute coverage streamed live at www.nzbstandardbred.co.nz and on NZB Standardbred’s Facebook page. View the Sale day action here. All horses purchased at the National Standardbred Yearling Sale are eligible for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Series, with approximately $1 million in prizemoney on offer for graduates of the Yearling Sale Series. To make enquiries about any Passed Lots, contact Cam Bray on +64 21 737 199. NZB Standardbred 2020 National Yearling Sale Statistics – Auckland Sale   2020 Auckland Combined 2019 Auckland Combined Aggregate $4,348,000 $4,675,000 Average $46,255 $46,750 Median $36,250 $34,000 Clearance 73% 73% Catalogued 131 145 Sold 94 100 Top Price $250,000 Lot 122 (B.C) Captaintreacherous - Hi Ho Silver Lining $190,000 Lot 18 (B.C) Art Major - Goodlookinggirl   Top Lots – Auckland Sale Lot Type Breeding Vendor Purchaser Price 122 B.C Captaintreacherous / Hi Ho Silver Lining Tardina Stud E & M Stride (New South Wales) $250,000 49 B.C Bettor's Delight / Royal Gem Woodlands Stud Lincoln Farms Bloodstock (Auckland) $210,000 63 B.C Bettor's Delight / Splendid Deal Woodlands Stud Lincoln Farms Bloodstock (Auckland) $200,000 113 BR.C Bettor's Delight / Georgia Brooke Georgia Brooke Lodge Mrs JL Feiss (Victoria) $200,000 102 B.C Bettor's Delight / Daisy Dundee Woodlands Stud Stonewall Stud (Auckland) $115,000 124 B.C Bettor's Delight / Holly Madison Breckon Farms Lincoln Farms Bloodstock (Auckland) $110,000 42 B.C Art Major / Spanish Armada Hollis & Robertson Equine Services Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli (Western Australia) $105,000 13 B.C Bettor's Delight / O Baby Breckon Farms PI & GJ Kennard Bloodstock (Canterbury) $100,000 32 B.F Bettor's Delight / Precious Rose Old Ridge Services No. 4 Stonewall Stud (Auckland) $95,000 35 BR.F Bettor's Delight / Sossusvlei Breckon Farms Mr M J Anderson (Canterbury) $95,000   Leading Purchaser by Aggregate – Auckland Sale Purchaser Bought Aggregate Average Top Price Top Lot Lincoln Farms Bloodstock (Auckland) 6 $597,500 $99,583 $210,000 49 Stonewall Stud (Auckland) 11 $587,500 $53,409 $115,000 102 E & M Stride (New South Wales) 1 $250,000 $250,000 $250,000 122 Mrs JL Feiss (Victoria) 2 $235,000 $117,500 $200,000 113 PI & GJ Kennard Bloodstock (Canterbury) 4 $227,500 $56,875 $100,000 13 Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli (Western Australia) 3 $210,000 $70,000 $105,000 42 Rogerson Bloodstock (Waikato) 4 $181,000 $45,250 $70,000 95 Mr M J Anderson (Canterbury) 3 $180,000 $60,000 $95,000 35 Diamond Racing (Auckland) 4 $146,000 $36,500 $45,000 62 Dawe Contracting (Canterbury) 3 $125,000 $41,667 $75,000 10   Leading Vendor by Aggregate – Auckland Sale Vendor Sold Aggregate Average Top Price Top Lot Woodlands Stud 34 $1,648,500 $48,485 $210,000 49 Breckon Farms 20 $944,000 $47,200 $110,000 124 Hollis & Robertson Equine Services 11 $498,500 $45,318 $105,000 42 Tardina Stud 5 $400,000 $80,000 $250,000 122 Georgia Brooke Lodge 1 $200,000 $200,000 $200,000 113 Highfields Bloodstock 4 $155,000 $38,750 $45,000 4 Old Ridge Services No. 4 2 $130,000 $65,000 $95,000 32 Leanach Lodge 4 $92,000 $23,000 $40,000 119 Alabar 2 $65,000 $32,500 $45,000 62 Top Notch Lodge 2 $62,000 $31,000 $50,000 67   Leading Vendor by Average (three or more sold) – Auckland Sale Vendor Sold Average Aggregate Top Price Top Lot Tardina Stud 5 $80,000 $400,000 $250,000 122 Woodlands Stud 34 $48,485 $1,648,500 $210,000 49 Breckon Farms 20 $47,200 $944,000 $110,000 124 Hollis & Robertson Equine Services 11 $45,318 $498,500 $105,000 42 Highfields Bloodstock 4 $38,750 $155,000 $45,000 4   Leading Sire by Average (three or more sold) – Auckland Sale Sire Sold Average Aggregate Top Price Top Lot Captaintreacherous 4 $96,250 $385,000 $250,000 122 Bettor's Delight 31 $68,226 $2,115,000 $210,000 49 Muscle Hill (T) 3 $56,667 $170,000 $90,000 89 Art Major 14 $47,321 $662,500 $105,000 42 American Ideal 7 $28,857 $202,000 $45,000 1 Sweet Lou 13 $24,231 $315,000 $52,500 25 Always B Miki* 7 $18,429 $129,000 $40,000 103 He's Watching 3 $13,667 $41,000 $18,000 18 (T) Trotting Sire  * First Season Sire

Jason with the cup and Marg with Code Bailey as happy connections celebrate the Terang Cup win,Harness racing

Mother, son take honors in hometown Cup

Exuberant south west Victorian reinsman Jason Lee combined with his mother Marg to snatch the duo’s most coveted trophy at the weekend – a victory in their hometown harness racing pacing cup. Five-year-old stallion Code Bailey gave Jason his first Terang Pacing Cup and he confirmed it was one of his sweetest victories. Marg won it in 2013 with Keayang Cullen, driven by Glen Craven. “It has been at the top of my bucket list for a while,” Jason said. “Even though it may not be the biggest race on the calendar, it’s no secret that I wanted the Terang Cup, then an Inter Dominion and after that any other G1 event,” he said. The brilliant young reinsman blasted Code Bailey (Christian Cullen-Taffeta Bromac (Badlands Hanover) to the head of affairs soon after the mobile barrier despatched the field in the $50,000 feature. Jason was determined to make it a solidly run race, setting a cracking pace and making it awfully hard for those back in the field to make any ground. The mile rate of 1.56-8 over the marathon distance of 2680 metres was super, but the last mile of 1.52-7 was quite sensational. Code Bailey cruised to the line with an 18-metre advantage over recent SA Cup victor Pat Stanley (Kerryn Manning) with a further two metres back to A G’s White Socks (Greg Sugars). “We were travelling pretty good a fair way out. I was really happy coming up the home straight—perhaps it more relief than anything,” Jason said. “There was that expectation that we had our big chance to win our hometown cup. You just don’t always get the opportunity to do that,” he said. “I can tell you that I was very nervous. I’ve probably never been that nervous in the past. But we are just over the moon that we’ve now ticked it off.” Jason said his nan had always told him he would win the Terang Cup one day. “So now she’s right. Even back when I was younger doing the pony trots, I always loved the Terang Cup meeting,” he said. “But sometimes you find these races are harder to win than a feature that you’ve been aiming for. Ever since I got my metro licence, I’ve pretty much taken part in it every year.” Harness racing identity Paul Campbell presenting the Terang Pacing Cup trophy to trainer Marg Lee The Lees are based at Ecklin South (15 minutes from Terang), and Jason said he loved living in such a harness racing stronghold. “The town always puts on a big show, particularly cup night. We are a close-knit harness racing region down here. We’re like a big family,” he said. “Win, lose or draw we’ll always go and shake their hand. “But it’s probably best said that Harness Racing is really like a big family too. You just have to see what’s going on with Gavin (champion driver Gavin Lang who is currently in hospital battling a rare form of blood cancer). “The industry has really got behind him with financial support for the best treatment.” Code Bailey, who was sent out as the $1.80 favorite, gave a carbon copy performance when he won the Garrards Horse and Hound Bendigo Cup on January 3 with a bold front running display. Jammed in between the two Cup victories was a solid fifth in the Ballarat Cup (beaten 7m) and a close-up fourth (4m) in the prestigious Hunter Cup. Jason said that provided Code Bailey pulled up okay, a campaign in Sydney for the coming big races was on the cards. Code Bailey is part-owned by two popular AFL players in Darcy Gardiner of the Brisbane Lions and his former teammate Louie Taylor, who this season lines up with the Sydney Swans. It was a big night for Marg who in addition with taking home the gold cup, also trained two other winners on the program in Keayang Liberty and Keayang Livana. Trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, fresh from an overseas holiday, took the honors in the Terang G3 Trotters Cup. Chris got the money with Magicool (Tennotrump-Free Rider), while close friend Glen Craven was runner-up with stablemate Kyvalley Finn (Skyvalley-Kyvalley Paris).   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Lot 122 Im Cushty (Captaintreacherous – Hi Ho Silver Lining), Bay Colt sold for $250,000,Harness racing

2020 Standardbred Yearling Sale - Live blog

NZB Standardbred’s 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale is underway at Karaka and will showcase the very best harness racing yearlings New Zealand has to offer over four action-packed days of inspections, parades and selling. The Auckland Sale on Monday 17 February will be broadcast live on Freeview Channel 200 and www.nzbstandardbred.co.nz  from 10.45am with a Preview Show hosted by Greg O'Connor.  Live updates here from 10:45am Please refresh your browser to check for latest additions to the live feed updates  Good start to the sales with Lot 1 Jesse J (American Ideal – Jessies Cullen), Bay Filly going for $45,000 to the bid of Steve Stockman.  Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd were the vendors Lot 1 Jesse J Lot 3 Hoppy's Way (Art Major – Joanne's A Delight)Brown Colt, sold for $65,000 to Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli – Western Australia , Hollis & Robertson Equine Services the vendors. Lot 3 Hoppy's Way   Lot 10 Ebury Delight (Bettor's Delight – Meet Me In Mayfair) Bay Filly sold for $75,000 to Dawe Contracting Ltd – Canterbury, Hollis & Robertson Equine Services the vendors. Lot 10 Ebury Delight    Lot 13 Manchild (Bettor's Delight – O Baby) Bay Colt sold for $100,000 to PI & GJ Kennard Bloodstock Ltd – Canterbury, Breckon Farms Ltd were the vendors Lot 13 Manchild Lot 25 Sweet Spirit (Sweet Lou – Major Spirit), Bay Filly, Sold for $52,000 to Mr RW Todd – Canterbury, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd were the vendors Lot 25 Sweet Spirit    Lot 32 Precious Belle (Bettor's Delight – Precious Rose), Bay Filly sold for $95,000  Old Ridge Services No. 4 Ltd the vendors Lot 32 Precious Belle   Lot 33 Gossip Girl (Bettor's Delight – Our Melody), Brown Filly  sold for $50,000, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Lot 33 Gossip Girl   Lot 35 Cover Girl (Bettor's Delight – Sossusvlei), Brown Filly sold for $95,000,Breckon Farms Ltd the vendor Lot 35 Cover Girl   Lot 42 Maddys Nino (Art Major – Spanish Armada), Bay Colt sold for $105,000 to Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli – Western Australia,Hollis & Robertson Equine Services the vendors Lot 42 Maddys Nino   Lot 44 Splice The Mainbrace (Captaintreacherous – Twilight Beauty), Chestnut Colt sold for $55,000, Tardina Stud Ltd the vendor Lot 44 Splice The Mainbrace   Lot 49 Argyle (Bettor's Delight – Royal Gem), Bay Colt  sold for $210,000, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd the vendor Lot 49 Argyle   Lot 63 Next To Me (Bettor's Delight- Splendid Deal ) continues the strong run of Woodlands Stud and sells for $200'000. The family is well known with Maixm and Splendour both group 1 performers.   Lot 71 Casino Action (Bettor's Delight- Super Deal) goes to USA interests for $80'000. That's a good indication of the increased market attention that New Zealand breeds are generating across the globe.  Lot 79 Big Boy Louie (Bettor's Delight- Big Lucy) sells for $60'000 to Phil Kennard. Big Lucy being an 8 time winner. It carries on what has been a busy time for the Kennards as purchases.   Lot 89 Instant Classic (Muscle Hill- Classic Armbro) proves just that and brings a $90'000 bid from G Hope. The colt is a brother to Tailored Elegance.  Lot 102  Bo Duke (Bettor's Delight - Daisy Dundee) sells for $115'000 to Stonewall Stud. The colt is a brother to Jesse Duke and calls upon the Deborah Dundee dam-line.   Lot 112 Whiskey On The Rocks (Art Major-Double Shot) stripped a grand prospect and is hammered down at $65'000. It continues the strong showing by Art Major and is closely followed by Lot 113, Georgias Bettors, a Bettor's Delight colt who threatens to top the action with a bid of $200'000 registered by Jean Feiss who has a strong record for selecting the very best come sales time.  Lot 122  Im Cushty (Captain trecherous- Hi Ho Silver) sets a new high for the sale today with a $250'000 bid from Australian interests. The Captain certainly making an impression at Karaka. That lot is followed by Lot 124 Pasquale (Bettor's Delight - Holly Madison) which makes $110'000 for Breckon Farms.   Lot 122  Im Cushty The last lot of the day is passed in. That's wrap of the day here. Day two sees the action travel down to Christchurch where the trotting bloodlines will be present for sale before pacing blood is offered on Wednesday.    Harnesslink Media

Frustrated

Small relief from National Ratings review

Harness Racing Australia’s “tweaking” of its controversial new National Ratings system will bring some small consolation to industry participants frustrated their views are not being heard. But the sport’s peak body has missed the opportunity make the more significant changes this contentious system so desperately needs to regain the confidence of passionate industry participants. Harness Racing New South Wales chief John Dumesny is so far the only State chief to report back to industry participants on the outcomes of last week’s HRA Executive meeting, and the intense debate at the Ratings Review team meeting that preceded it. It was the job of the Review Team three weeks ago to make recommendations on any changes required, six months after the NR system was rolled out – and the executive, reportedly, duly adopted the review recommendations last week. The decisions of the HRA executive can be read here:  While other State bodies have had little to say to their constituencies about the impact and timing of the amendments, Dumesny was frank in his HRNSW Blog last week. “Is it absolutely what we wanted in NSW?  No, but we got somewhere towards the requests of our participants and that is not always easy as these meetings go.  And I’m talking about a meeting that lasted six hours, of pretty deliberate discussions,” he said. “Some states rely heavily on the data and that is pertinent…but there is another point that always must be respected, and that is your stakeholder satisfaction -- it is a balance,” he said. “We want wagering turnover, we want to provide even racing but without participants we don’t have a sport. Certainly, I played that card within reason at the Ratings Review team meeting.” Industry participants in Victoria, in particular, have been enraged by the lack of consultation by the State body.  Debate on social media about the NR system has been “white hot”, but Harness Racing Victoria has provided no formal process or opportunity for industry to provide feedback to inform its position at the Ratings Review. And while the HR executive might not have been receiving the grass roots input via some State bodies that many industry participants wanted, there were some concessions to appease critics. The major change relates to the iniquitous “points for second place” conditions of the new NR system, and there are some welcome amendments to the NR matrix. Now, for races less than $10,000 the NR point for second place will disappear.  In addition, horses winning races with lower levels of stake money will be awarded fewer NR points. But Dumesny’s blog comments indicate, despite the compromise, not all States were fully on board to the level of NSW. “This was a concern across Australia that for running second you are actually penalised a point and while some didn’t want to lift the prizemoney level higher than $10,000, everyone was sensible about the end result,” Dumesny said. John Dumesny The Executive also approved a significant and common sense change for two year old racing, in that the system will be modified to reduce the starting point rating from 40 to 35 National Rating Points. However, efforts to get a similar concession for three year olds failed. The impact on three year olds, and the lack of protection they are provided in their juvenile season, has been one of the most hotly-debated issues around the new NR system. But Dumesny indicated the solution required by participants for three year olds was not going to get past all members of the review team. “The easiest outcome from our participants’ point of view for three years olds was to drop down (the three year old ranking) from 50 points to 45 points,” Dumesny said. “I didn’t get much traction on that with the other States – but we came up with a pretty good compromise in my opinion.” The “compromise” solution allows States to “potentially” program races that allow for a five-point concession for three year olds racing against older horses. “It was about the experience and maturity of horses, so when these three year olds do win their three year old races and they have to race against the older horses they will get a five point concession,” Dumesny said. The frustration for many industry participants currently racing three-year olds (already mid-way through their 3YO season), will be in the likely lag time for adoption of the compromise conditions. Dumesny pointed to likely further delays in the rollout, due to the time necessary for modifications to the national industry database. That is, the time it takes for RISE to change the HARVEY System. “It’s a bit of a case of when we can get it into the system – there needs to be changes to the HARVEY system because we really want it to be all automatic.  We don’t want it to be a manual system because errors will occur,” he said. It will then be up to the States (particularly those not necessarily enthusiastic about amendment of the conditions) to enact the new policy. Amendments to programming necessary to accommodate the new three-year-old concessions will also become a State-by-State responsibility.  A separate issue is how effectively the race conditions are amended to provide enough realistic racing opportunities for three year olds. Dumesny said he was “quite prepared” for further feedback on the system from industry participants. Harnesslink Media

An exceptional racing program highlighted Sunday’s Paris-Vincennes celebration of the Middle East featuring Lebanon and Turkey, as described in a section below. The groupe level races began with the Prix du Pontavice de Heussey (monte Gr. III, 90,000€, 2175 meters, European eligibles). 1.4/1 favorite Boss du Meleuc (9g Lucky Blue-Rafale du Meleuc) scored timed in 1.11.kr for jockey Alexandre Abrivard and owner/trainer Yannick Alain Briand. The winner secured his 20th career win in 70 starts now for 788,100€ earned. The 3.9/1 Mindyourvalue WF (7g Hovding Lavec) was next for trainer Robert Bergh and with Yoann Lebourgeois in the irons. 26/1 Eros de Chene was third for P.Ph. Ploquin with 10/1 Exotica de Retz home fourth. Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes continued its policy of affinity events with a novelty, this the Feast at the 100% Oriental Hippodrome. This 2020 edition presented gourmet tables with couscous, tagines, mint tea, Lebanese and Turkish specialties; dance performances; oriental music; and Bedouin village -the world of the Sahara with carpets, lanterns, copper lamps, veils, palm trees. The atmosphere also entertained the little ones with the free activities of Superdimanche (mini commentators, rodeo racing, pony baptisms (from 1pm to 5.30pm), pedal sulkys, stable tours, workshops pedagogical stake). The race named the Prix de Fete 100% Orientale (purse 43,000€) went to 16/1 Egerie Quesnot (6f Sam Bourbon) with Matthieu Abrivard up timed in 1.14.7kr. This was the day’s Quinte+ race and there were 20 exact order winning tickets that each paid 46,384.20€. The Q+ pool reached 4,935,606€ and over 10,644,000€ was wagered in the race (all wagering pools). Egerie Quesnot The Prix Comte Pierre de Montesson (Criterium des Jeunes Gr. 1, purse 170,000€, 2700 meters, three year olds) was the racing showcase of this day and victory was earned by 1.1/1 favorite Havana d’Aurcy (3f Royal Dream-Avila) as she scored for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire for breeder/owner Cyril Lelarge. Havana won for the sixth time in 10 starts now for 253,200€ earned. The 14/1 Hooker Berry (3m Booster Winner-Osaka Berry) was second with Franck Nivard up for trainer Bazire. 9/1 Heartbreaker One (3m Alto de Viette) was placed third due to a rival miscue dq, with Bjorn Goop aboard for trainer Luc Roelens. 48/1 Hora Beji and 10/1 Heavens Pride completed the top five. Havana d’Aurcy Replay - https://www.letrot.com/fr/replay-courses/2020-02-16/7500/6   The Prix d’Orthez (Gr. III, purse 80,000€, 2700 meters, European four year olds) was the next groupe level event and Italy showed up strongly. Even money favorite Always EK (4m Filipp Roc-Nike EK) scored in 1.15.6kr with Bjorn Goop aboard for trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro and owner Scuderia Efflebi, his third win in France and his life earnings are now 104,826€.   The 25/1 stablemate Aramis EK (4m Nad Al Sheba) was next for the same owner and trainer and with reinsman Pietro Gubellini. Gamble River, off at 4.3/1 odds, was third for Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Gerard Manzi. Always EK The Prix d’Arras (purse 51,000€, 2700 meters, 16 European starters) saw 1.14.3kr timed and 2.6/1 odds Moni Viking (7m Maharajah-Jeunesse Doree) score gamely for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and owner Jan Lyng. Moni Viking has five wins in 14 outings in France and today lifted his life earnings to 241,041€. 15/1 Dream Cash took second for Gabriele Gelormini up for trainer Jean Michel Bazire. 2.1/1 Desperado (7g Kesaco Phedo) was third, this one also a Bazire trainee, for pilot Alexandre Abrivard, Moni Viking The program completed with the coldbloods competing in the Prix des Trotteurs Sang Froid (purse 18,000€, 2100 meters autostart) with the victory to 10/1 HV Tuuri (10m Turo-HV Kipina) handled by Iikka Nurmonen for trainer Ossi Normonen. HV Tuuri LeTrot, PMO., JMB files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

By Jonny Turner    Waikouaiti mare Sheeza Sport helped raise money for ovarian cancer research and earned herself a reprieve from retirement when winning at Oamaru on Saturday. The Amber Hoffman-trained pacer defied her $18 win odds when rattling home from deep on the inner to win race 7 for driver Charlotte Purvis. Purvis was one of four women who combined to win six races wearing teal driving pants as part of Harness Racing New Zealand’s Team Teal Campaign. Sheree Tomlinson led the charge with three wins. Samantha Ottley and Jessica Grant-Young each notched wins to contribute to the ovarian cancer research drive. Each win in the sulky by women drivers results in a donation of $400 to the campaign, which runs until March 15. Hoffman had not given Sheeza Sport a big hope of helping Purvis contribute to Saturday’s $2400 total. "Her work during the week was pretty average and coming into the race and I thought she might be heading towards retirement," Hoffman said. "But she got a soft run and she just kept taking the gaps for Charlotte. "So she won’t be getting retired just yet." Hopes for the 5yr-old, who is raced by the trainer and stable employee Madeline Seuseu-Musgrave, took a 180 degree turn following her win. The victory was penalty-free, which meant Sheeza Sport can still compete against the same kind of horses she beat in her next run. "The way she won, you would think she might be able to pick up another win in her next few starts," Hoffman said. Hoffman won the next event when she produced Kiwi Crusher to win race 8. The 6yr-old was among the winning treble Sheree Tomlinson produced to contribute $1200 to the total. Kiwi Crusher produced a swooping win to make it two victories and second and fifth placings from four starts for her new trainer. Hoffman took the mare on after she was bought by Invercargill owner Art Shirley out of Graeme Anderson’s Westwood Beach stable. "Art is mates with Andrew Suddaby, who works for me," Hoffman said. "He does a lot of the work with her and she seems to have settled into a pretty good routine since she got her." Anderson produced Da Moon’s Mission to run second to Kiwi Crusher. Hoffman’s winners will get the chance to continue their form on the Oamaru grass when her home club, the Waikouaiti Trotting Club, races at the North Otago track on Sunday and Tuesday of next week. Hoffman’s winning double came after she produced Zedaam to run third in the Invercargill Gold Cup at Ascot Park. The 5yr-old ran home strongly from beyond midfield after suffering interference early in the race. Tomlinson combined with her grandfather, Ken Ford, in her two remaining wins on Saturday. The reinswoman drove Uno Mia to win race and Rocknpop to win race 10 in Ford’s colours. Ford and Hoffman joined Weedons trainer Chris McDowell in training a winning double at the Oamaru meeting. McDowell prepared Play Dough to win race 1 and Barkley to win race 2. Both were driven by Leo O’Reilly. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    There was a good old-fashioned upset at Winton on Sunday when Targaryen cut corners to beat out a field of maidens in a slick 1.54.9 mile. His trainer and driver, Kirk Larsen, says the $53.30 price was perhaps a little unjustified for the three-year-old son of Big Jim. “I thought he went pretty good last start and had actually been ok in all three starts this campaign,” he said. “In his first start back he galloped behind the gate and then the next start he got caught behind a stopping horse on the bend. “Then last time he drew six and ended up doing a bit of work going forward to the lead. “He still found the line pretty good I thought, so he’s been racing well without a lot of luck.” Still, being an eight-start maiden drawn the second line against some ‘fresher’ maidens over a mile meant punters deserted him. Larsen was unperturbed though and weaved a path from four back on the markers to get the win off a hot tempo. “When I went for the gap I thought we might have been going to run second to be fair, because he had a bit of work to do. “But he really sprinted when he got some space.” Targaryen was a Karaka weanling sale buy back in 2017 by Larsen, the main reason being he was closely related to our then best racehorse. “He’s from a good family; Lazarus is on the pedigree page, so there’s a fair bit of blood there. “And I’ve always thought a bit of him, so it’s no surprise to see what he did today.” Larsen’s wife Michelle owns Targaryen and that usually means one thing – the horse will be sold if the right offer comes along. “We’ll see what happens, but I guess selling him would be a logical step if we got the right price.” It’s just the fourth winner for Larsen this season – the same as last term – as the Branxholme trainer goes through a period of regeneration. His stable is made up of mostly youngsters, though good things are on the horizon. “We sold quite a few over the last couple of years and that sort of only left us with The White Rabbit, Tolkien, Duke Of Dundee and this fella racing. “So we went to the sales last year and put together the Own The Moment Syndicate, which has given us a lot of new people to the game. “Many first time owners. “At the end of the day, the success of that syndicate will be determined by the horses doing a good job and whether those same owners then come in to another horse after that. “We are trying to get more people involved because the days of siting back and horses coming to you are gone. “You’ve got to get out there and do it yourself.” The syndicate has three horses. Two purchased from last year’s yearling sales that have both trialled, named Mr McLaren (Mach Three) and Oneloveonelife (Somebeachsomewhere), the latter being a son of champion race mare One Dream and currently unbeaten through three trials. A third horse, Major Disruption (Art Major), has been leased from Breckon Farms and she, too, has been to the workouts. Larsen also trains the full brother to star pacer Field Marshal, called Forsure, and has a three-year-old half-sister to Sovereignty called Andover The Keys, both of which have placed on race day from limited starts. “I’ve actually got a couple of nice three-year-old trotters there -  Andover  The Keys and King Of The North, who run fourth at his first start and then won the next one for us. “He’s due back in now and I think could go a fair way.” The Larsens had reason to celebrate last week when their son, Tristan, had his first day of driving as a fully-fledged junior driver. “He’s keen as mustard; he knows the pedigrees better than I do. “He gives us a hand first thing then goes and works for Brett Gray then comes back in the afternoon and works a few of his own. “He had has first day of driving last week and it was a big experience for him. “It’s a step up from four or five-horse heats at the workouts to a proper race, but he did well. “He’s going to make it as a driver, I’m sure.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Today’s Karaka yearling sale is being keenly anticipated by those connected with rookie sire, Always B Miki. The former champion American racehorse has his first New Zealand crop going through the ring this week and if results from his homeland are taken as a guide, he’s in for a good showing here. “His first crop of yearlings sold for huge money in North America,” said Graeme Henley, head of Alabar Stud, which stands the shuttle stallion. “He was third overall on average behind Somebeachsomewhere and Captaintreacherous and I think had at least 11 lots sell for over US$100,000. “Then at the first APG sale in Brisbane, he broke the record there for the highest-priced colt and he sold solidly in Melbourne.” Henley says the biggest sign that buyers and breeders like Always B Miki is that in this most recent breeding season, his third, he defied the usual ‘third year slump’. That is the season where he is yet to have a yearling in the sales, but is no longer the exciting new stallion, so numbers would inevitably take a hit. It’s been that way since Moses wore short pants. “But this year he served his biggest book ever. “It means people are liking what they see and they’ve seen the results in North America.” Henley sees Always B Miki, in time, as the Stud’s replacement flagship stallion for the great Art Major, who is now 21 and starting to struggle a bit with fertility. “He’s just so well lined up to succeed down here and will certainly have his opportunity.” There are 12 of his stock that will go through the Karaka ring today, and the standout on paper is the half-brother to star mare Princess Tiffany, named Miki Diamonds. Nigel Fahy is the new studmaster at Breckon Farms, and he’s handled six of the 12 Always B Miki yearlings for the sale. He says buyers are showing immense interest in all of them. “A lot of people who turned up at the farm, including a few major clients, all said the same thing. “We want to see the Bettor’s Delights, the Art Majors and the Always B Mikis. “That’s what you want – a lot of the good judges, and those that buy at the top end of the market, looking at them.” Fahy says Miki Diamonds has had his fair share of interest and he has no doubts he will sell well. “He’s a big strapping colt and the type of horse the high end buyers will be after. “He is really big though and that may just prevent him from being in the top few lots.” Another sure to get the attention of buyers is Cos I Can, a half-sister to juvenile filly Town Echo, who has turned heads with some scintillating trials performances recently. Connections confirmed over the weekend that a $300,000 offer had been declined for the Matt Anderson-trained filly, so her Always B Miki half-brother will surely generate plenty of interest. The first to go throw the ring will be Thug Rose, a half-sister to Eamon Maguire offered by Henley’s son, Tate. “It’s a bit of a shame she has to go through so early as lot 6, but she’s a really nice filly and I’m sure will sell well,” said Henley. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Standardbred Canada reports that So Much More, sent off as the 7-5 favourite, fired off cover to land first at the finish in the $36,000 Preferred Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday (Feb. 15). Kendall Seelster led the field to a :27.2 first quarter with Easy Lover Hanover sitting in the pocket. Driver James MacDonald lagged So Much More off the gate and sat seventh around the first turn, but caught cover to race third over into a :56.1 half. Fixed Idea led the overland charge around the final turn, drawing on near-equal terms with Kendall Seelster past three-quarters in 1:23.1 and taking a narrow lead into the stretch. MacDonald angled So Much More off cover and dashed down the centre of the track to the lead in the final stages, winning by a length over pocket-popper Easy Lover Hanover. Fixed Idea settled for third. A four-year-old mare by Big Jim, So Much More won her 22nd race from 40 starts, surpassing $300,000 in earnings. Trainer Don Beatson co-owns the $4.90 winner with Kenneth Beatson and Cole England. Trainer Richard Moreau claimed victory five times during the 11-race card. He began with back-to-back victories midway through the card, with Blu Crew ($6.00) winning in near wire-to-wire fashion and Legion Seelster ($3.30) winning in wire-to-wire fashion. Two races later, Sylph Hanover ($15.50) won in near gate-to-wire style while Wheels On Fire ($5.30) capped Moreau’s evening with a first-over grind to victory. The finale on the program, giving Moreau his fifth win on the night, featured a mandatory payout to the Jackpot Hi-5. Moreau trainee Peace Out Posse ($30.20) ripped off cover to win, with Play Jet Ray finishing second, 66-1 shot Ramblingamblinman closing for third, Foot Soldier finishing fourth and Freddy Bear rounding the ticket. With over $300,000 bet into a $150,000 carryover, the ticket combo of 9-4-2-8-3 returned $41,354.03 on a $.20 ticket. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

The first of three groupe level contests this day at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes was the Gr. III monte Prix Holly du Locton (purse 60,000€, 2175 meters, three year old females) and 3.3/1 Harley Rock (3f Bird Parker-Victoire du Biwetz) prevailed in 1.14.9kr for jockey Benjamin Rochard and breeder/owner/trainer Tony LeBeller. She won for third time in four career starts now for 55,350€ earned. The 1.8/1 Happiness Ellis (3f Opus Viervil) was second with Mathieu Mottier aboard. Horee d’Ar (3f Uriel Speed) was third for jockey Damien Bonne and breeder/owner/trainer Sebastien Guarato.  Harley Roc The three year old males contested the Gr. III monte Prix Edouard Marcillac (purse 60,000€, 2175 meters) and the game front striding 3.7/1 Hudson Vedaquais (3m Thorens Vedaquais-Beilsa Vedaquaise) held on to score in 1.14.2kr with Yoann Lebourgeois in the irons. Philippe Allaire owns and trains this J.P. Guay bred youngster that posted his third career win now for 67,680€ earned. The 2.6/1 Heart of Gold (3m Bird Parker-Corsica) was second for David Thomain and owner/trainer Allaire. 17/1 Hugh de Banville (3m Akin di Cap Vert) was a distant third for jockey Alexandre Abrivard and owner/trainer Franck Anne. Hudson Vedaquais The Gr. III Prix de Nevers (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters) drew a large talented field of older trotteurs with 2.1/1 Violetto Jet (6m From Above-Nocciolaia Jet) the winner reined by Franck Niavrd for Scuderia d’Alessandro Raffaele and trainer Philippe Billard. Violetto won his third straight and eighth in France now for life earnings of 353,942€. The 28/1 Elvis du Vallon (6m Reve de Beylev) followed for Charles Cuiller and third home was 5.3/1 Velvet Gio (6g Nad Al Sheba) for Gabriele Gelormini. 25/1 Portland and 9/1 Calina completed the top five. Well regarded Classic Connection was a miscue dq late in the stretch drive. Violetto Jet The Quinte+ race this day was the Prix de Chateaurenard (purse 67,000€, 2700 meters, European) and 15/1 Diablo du Noyer (7m Jasmin de Flore-Une et Indivisible) scored impressively timed in 1.13.5kr with Eric Raffin at the lines. William Bigeon trains the winner for Claude Guedj as he raised his life earnings to 365,050€. The 9/1 Dostoievski (7g Ganymede) rallied for a nose beaten second with Francois Lagadeuc up for trainer Jean Michel Bazire. 4.1/1 Cyrell d’Atom (8g Otello Pierji) took third for Yoann Lebourgeois beaten less than a half length. The next two on the line were off at 57/1 and 88/1 respectively and that set up a Q+ exact order payoff of 146,477.80€ for four winning tickets. The Q+ pool was 3,691,474€ and over 8,136,000€ was wagered on the race. Diablo du Noyer LeTrot, PMU files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

The good news for vendors at the Karaka standardbred sale on Monday is even when Kiwis have been losing this summer, they have been winning. Harness racing's sales week starts with a parade at Karaka tomorrow before the northern sale on Monday followed by two days of selling in Christchurch. It will be the second year of harness sales for New Zealand Bloodstock since they opened their standardbred division and quickly cornered the market, winning rave reviews last year for their promotion and the streamlining of the sales series payments for what is now known as the Harness Millions. But why they were still getting their feet under the table last season, NZBS has had longer to prepare for next week's sales and as they did with the recent thoroughbred sales they have heavily targeted the Australian market. And they have had plenty of help on the racetrack. Kiwi-bred horses have dominated every facet of Australian harness racing in the last 12 months, even when our best have not turned up or even been beaten. New Zealand quinellaed the Miracle Mile last season, had great success at the Breeders Crown with a smaller than usual team and even though many of the big guns were beaten at the recent Victorian carnival still almost every major race was won by if not a New Zealand-trained horse, one bred and often raced here before being sold. Even when Australian-trained horses won the Hunter Cup (King Of Swing) and the Great Southern Star (Tornado Valley) at Melton two weeks ago, both started their careers here so are an equine advertisement for our breeders' superiority. New Zealand-bred horses won 64 group one races in Australia alone last season. Even the most bias Australian harness racing fan only has to scan their local fields, particularly the better races, to see the NZ attached to so many names to realise why so many Australian trainers, and many of their biggest-spending owners, will be coming to New Zealand tomorrow. "We have definitely targeted that market and I am confident there will be even more Australians here than last year," says NZBS boss Andrew Seabrook. "The results our horses have recorded in Australia have been incredible, and that is right across the spectrum from young horses to the Cups and Inter Dominions and of course the Miracle Mile." The quality of stock won't be a problem, with sales and racetrack king Bettors Delight leading the world class stallions on show while over 90 lots offered this week are either out of group race winning dams or dams who have left group race winners. The mild winter and brilliant summer of the last few months have been perfect horse growing weather and reports from our leading trainers suggest their are plenty of well-developed yearlings while some of the lesser commercial families that were hanging on a decade ago have disappeared from the catalogue. While repeating last year's huge results at Karaka would be a win, bettering them may be difficult because it was so strong. But the standardbred industry looks in for a good week. Standardbred sales Monday: Karaka sale, first lot at 11am, coverage starts at 10.45am. Tuesday: Parade and then all-trotters sale in Christchurch starting at 4pm. Wednesday: Pacing sale starting at 11am. Watch: All sales will be shown live on Freeview Channel 200 as well as www.nzbstandardbred.co.nz   By Michael Guerin

The Regan Todd trained mare Cheezel won the Robin Dundee Club Mobile Pace at Winton today. Regan is currently in Auckland looking over yearlings for tomorrow’s Auckland Sales at Karaka, he wasn’t on course, and left Cheezel in the care of his father Barry who brought her south yesterday. Todd has had the mare since November and has now won three races with her. She was previously trained by her part-owner Brian Fahey. The other owner is Trevor Casey. “He just sent her out here for a bit a change of scenery. We’ll give her one or two more races before she hits the breeding paddock. She’s done a good job,” Regan Todd said. Driver Blair Orange was three wide early after chasing Cheezel out of the gate. After the first 400 metres he was in front. He eased up on the speed, but things started to heat up when Amore Lancome moved up beside her on the outside, and the two went head to head between the 800 and the top of the straight. Cheezel shook Amore Lancome off but had to withstand the challenge of Yankee Party which had enjoyed a cosy run behind the leader. Cheezel held on to beat Yankee Party by half a length with Amore Lancome another half-length back in third. The mile was run in 1-57.8 with the last 800 metres run in a slick 56.1. “We had a scare a couple of weeks ago. She had a heart fibrillation at Addington so I’ve had to be a bit easy on her, but she’s bounced back.” Todd indicated that Cheezel could be back for the last heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series at Wairio on 21st March. In other races on the card Carnegie Hall lived up to her international breeding and cleared maiden ranks in the Lamb and Cattle Grazier Trot. The four year old trained by Bob Butt was sent south to Lauren Pearson’s Winton barn and was driven by her partner Brent Barclay. The Andover Hall mare trailed early before Barclay went to the front with 1300 metres to run. The winning margin was a length from T Bone Rawhide. Long shot Targaryen made the most of an economical trip on the inside to come up the passing lane and beat second favourite Croesus by three quarters of a length. The Big Jim gelding owned by Michelle Larsen and trained and driven by husband Kirk was at odds of 53-1. Favourite Triple VC appreciated the drop in class when he won the Regent Car Court Pace. The winner of four races was up against primarily one win horses. He was patiently handled by Sheree Tomlinson who settled the six year old at the back of the field before bringing him down the outside to win by three quarters of a length. The Washington VC gelding is owned by local breeder Cleland Murdoch and The Fanny Allen Family Trust. He’s trained at Ascot Park by Murray Brown. The Interceptor completed a profitable weekend for Kenny Baynes. The Mach Three gelding trained by Brett Gray, driven by Jonny Cox and owned by Baynes Bloodstock Limited (Kenny and sister in-law Penny Baynes) lead all the way to win easily by five lengths. The Interceptor was having his ninth start today and looked comfortable in front. At Addington on Friday Miss Mucho owned by Kenny upset at odds of 54-1. The well-bred The Optimist won her first race for Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis. Out of the twelve win Armbro Operative mare Special Ops and by Christian Cullen the five year old was in the one one early before Barclay took her to the lead. She held out Sunset Red and Rakarippa. Barclay and Ellis have just recently taken on the training of The Optimist and have started her four times.  She was previously trained by Jack Harrington. The day ended with Lilac Becky winning for Southland Ambassador for Team Teal, Ellie Barron. It was one of two winning drives for her.   This will be the third running of the Team Teal campaign in New Zealand. Founded by Duncan McPherson in Victoria in 2014, the campaign was started to help raise awareness and funds for research of ovarian cancer. McPherson lost his wife to ovarian cancer. He vowed to continue her fight, and has grown the movement from Victoria, to nationwide Australia and now New Zealand. Every female driver in New Zealand wore the Teal Pants during February and March 2019, with each win receiving $400 in donations, $200 from Harness Racing New Zealand, $100 from Woodlands Stud and $100 from the respective Club. Other female drivers Kirstin Barclay (The Optimist) and Sheree Tomlinson (Triple VC) contributed to this great cause today as well.   Bruce Stewart

Monkey Bones mare Seekie Monkey was back in the winners circle at Winton today after recording a handful of placings in her last six starts. Owned by Kevin Strong and Trevor Little the five year old began well from the fifteen metre handicap and settled sixth early. With a lap to run trainer driver Nathan Williamson moved her off the running line to sit parked. At the 800 leader Whatwillbewillbee galloped, leaving Seekie Monkey in front. “I was quite happy to sit parked but when that horse broke. It left me in front which turned out okay,” said Williamson. Just after turning in, he pulled the ear plugs on Seekie Monkey and she let down nicely to hold out Chloe Rose and Full Noise. “She’s a lovely mare and did it all right today.” The winning margin was one and a half lengths and the time for the 2400 metres was 3-04.3 with the last 800 metres run in 58.4. “She got beaten last start by a pretty nice horse (Cuchulainn) but I wasn’t 100% happy with her. Since then we’ve changed a few things so we came here today confident that she was right on track. She had a bit of vet work done which has made a big difference. We also altered her shoeing slightly so I’ll have to give Franksie (farrier Brendan Franks) a bit of a plug.” Kevin Strong and Trevor Little with Seekie Monkey and Nathan Williamson    -Bruce Stewart photo Williamson said Seekie Monkey will continue to race through the Southland handicap grades. It was the Branxholme trainer’s sixteenth win of the season and he currently leads the Southland Trainers Premiership.   Bruce Stewart

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 15, 2020 -- Favored Swansea (Austin Siegelman, $3.70) and Ostro Hanover (Dan Dube, $7.50) both lasted on the lead Saturday night (Feb. 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $40,000 Open Handicaps. Swansea, without a sub-par performance in forever, won the post position Nos.6-thru-8 draw in the week's marquee trot. He didn't squander it, working around Now's the Moment (Jason Bartlett) and leading through early intervals of 28 seconds and a :58.2 intermission. It was Melady's Monet (George Brennan), who had found a four-hole seat, then moving again. 'Melady' engaged Swansea toward a 1:26.1 three-quarters, but in all fairness did not get that close at first. Hill of a Horse (Brent Holland) was lurking wide from second-over when he misbehaved. Meanwhile, Swansea opened a pair of lengths in and out of the turn...and would need it. Swansea was tested late by a resurgent Melady's Monet before holding sway by a head in 1:54.4. Arabella's Cadet (Jordan Stratton) closed for third, with Barry Black (Joe Bongiorno) and Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the minors. For Swansea, a 5-year-old Swan for All gelding co-owned (as Triple D Stables) by (trainer) Scott DiDomenico and Dana Parham, it was his third win in five seasonal starts (career 23-for-50). The exacta paid $17, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returned $57.50. Swansea Ostro Hanover disposed of his rivals in the weekly adult-table pace. From post No. 5, he vaulted over Tookadiveoffdipper (Stratton) and finished what he started (:27.2; :56.3; 1:24, season's-best 1:51.4). Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett) saved to the lane, then closed well for second. Ostro Hanover, who owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane, prevailed by a diminishing half-length. Tookadiveoffdipper, wide-down-the-backside Trump Nation (Brennan) and a returning-to-town Harambe Deo (Marohn Jr.) came away with the small envelopes, while 17-10 choice Italian Delight N (Holland) came first-up and faded to sixth. For third choice Ostro Hanover, a 5-year-old Betterthancheddar gelding co-owned by Go Fast, B&I and VIP Internet Stables & Kapildeo Singh and trained by Rene Allard, it was his second win in three '20 tries. The exacta paid $21.80, with the triple returned $111.50 and the superfecta paid $433. Ostro Hanover Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Maybe the trip didn't go exactly as driver Yannick Gingras had hoped, but he made it work nonetheless in the Saturday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands, scoring with I'm Some Graduate in a $31,250 high-end conditioned pace. The 7-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate, dismissed by the bettors at odds of 14-1, was away in good order, sitting second to the quarter behind 9-5 second choice McThriller in :27.2. Brushing to the top before the half was Eddard Hanover, pushing I'm Some Graduate back into the three-hole, and as the train developed on the rim with Stonedust providing a live tow for 8-5 favorite Americanprimetime, I'm Some Graduate was in a tough spot approaching the head of the stretch. Off the far turn, Gingras guided I'm Some Graduate into the three-path as Eddard Hanover and Stonedust weakened. Americanprimetime tipped off his cover and grabbed the lead with an eighth of a mile to go and looked like the winner, but I'm Some Graduate swung to that one's outside late and with a final burst of speed, nailed the favorite by a head in 1:50.3 on a 28-degree night with a track variant of -1. Decision Day rallied to grab third.   I'm Some Graduate returned a healthy $31.40 to his backers as the fifth choice in the seven-horse field, but clearly belonged if you take Gingras' word for it. "I believe he won the last time he raced [at the Meadowlands] at a higher class." Gingras was right, of course, as I'm Some Graduate won the Preferred for pacers in his last Big M appearance in December of 2018. "They race him at Yonkers most of the time but he loves this track," said Gingras. "He's just a nice horse." The Ron Burke trainee, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Lawrence Karr, has now won 21-of-98 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $453,383. A LITTLE MORE: It only took two weeks to create some 20-cent Pick-6 buzz. The new wager was not hit, creating a carryover of $14,376 heading into the next race card. Those who had five out of six cashed in for $165.24. ... Driver Andy Miller had a natural hat trick, winning the sixth, seventh and eighth races. Corey Callahan also recorded three wins on the card. ... The remarkable Preppy Art won the 13th and final race of the night, giving him 10 wins in his last 15 starts after registering zero victories in his previous 59 tries. He was claimed out of the race for $10,000 by trainer Nick Surick. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,665,111, marking the sixth time in the last seven cards that wagering exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

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WILKES-BARRE, PA - The second preliminary rounds of two of the levels in the Game Of Claims Series took place on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and sharp horsemen looking for potential thronetakers in the Game Of Claims Championships two weeks hence claimed all three of the night's series winners. The Game Of Claims pacing horses who went for a basic price of $12,500 drew one division of ten horses (scratched down to nine), making for a rare trailing starter at Pocono. At the wire, the field was trailing the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Grandpa Don, who after being last at the half made a huge looping move on the far turn and paced past everybody in 1:56.2 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Susan Marshall, the latter co-owner with John Marshall - and was then claimed out of the race. Both horses who won last week in the Game Of Claims group that started for a basic price of $9000 on Sunday were again victorious, but as opposed to last week both horses headed to new barns after Sunday's successes. First to Victory Lane was the Rambaran gelding Speedling, now 2-for-2 in 2020 after a 1:56 win for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Lou Pena and his Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. Then it was the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic who was again to parlay a pocket journey into a victory, here in 1:55.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud, and owner Alexa Renaud. With two claims from each of the $9,000 fields, four $12,500 purchases from that event, and three horses haltered out of a claiming handicap trot (perhaps looking towards the trotting Game Of Claims Series in March), 11 horses went through the box for a total of $124,125, running the totals over the four days of 2020 Pocono racing to 47 claims and $812,900 - keeping horsemen and handicappers on their toes to be in the right place at the right time. One place you didn't want to be at Pocono on Sunday was on the front end, as the speed held up only once in thirteen races. The lone horse making every pole a winning one was the very impressive four-year-old Sweet Lou mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who was sent to the top in a $15,000 distaff pace by Tyler Buter in :27.3, got a rest to a :57.1 half, then motored home in :55.3-:27.2, needing all that speed to hold off the invading Tango Dancer N by a neck in 1:52.4. Darn Tootn Hanover entered the year with only one victory to show in 17 starts as a freshman and sophomore, but this year she's turned things around and is now 3-for-3 for trainer Nik Drennan and Yankeeland Partners LLP. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs
LEBANON, OH. - Three divisions of second round action in the George 'Red' Owens Memorial late closing harness racing series were featured on the Sunday (Feb. 16) matinee at Miami Valley Raceway. The results of the trio of $12,000 splits determined the nine finalists for next Sunday's $20,000 championship tilt. The Owens Memorial is one of nine Lebanon Legends series that honor the memory of notable horsemen, now deceased, who were among the early heroes at nearby Lebanon Raceway which now serves as a training center for many Miami Valley participants. A total of 27 horses, all fillies or mares that were non-winners of two races or $20,000 at the start of the series, were nominated. Jazzie Babe (Trevor Smith) copped the first division in 1:54.4, edging Pray The Rosary (Luke Ebersole) and Valendougha (Sam Widger). It was the fifth win in 15 starts for the late-blooming 8-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway, who didn't commence her racing career until age seven. She is owned and trained by Perry Smith. Crowntimerockette (Brett Miller) was the quickest of the three winners, turning the tables from Leg 1 on runnerup Hilary Barry N (John DeLong) in 1:53.4. It was the third lifetime success for the 3-year-old daughter of Pet Rock, trained by Tom Blankenship for owner Jason Shumway, who lowered her career best time by over three seconds. Rockinattheryman (Trace Tetrick) closed well to secure the show finish. Big Bad Mosa (Tetrick) became the only two time winner in the series when he scored in 1:55 over Onspeed N (Tyler Smith) and Sweet Ginger (Josh Sutton). Ronnie Roberts trains the 3-year-old filly by Big Bad John for the Watson Stables. She, too, lowered her lifetime best clocking with her fourth triumph in just 13 trips behind a starting gate. The field for the championship finals in the Legends series is determined by money earnings in the two preliminary legs. The 'Red' Owens Memorial finalists, in order of earnings, will be Big Bad Mosa, Crowntimerockette, Jazzie Babe, Hilary Barry N, Pray The Rosary, Onspeed N, Rockinattheryman, Lookintomyeyes and Sweet Ginger. Racing resumes Monday afternoon at Miami Valley featuring two divisions of the second round of the Omar Hiteman Memorial series, as well as the final two elimination heats in the popular Survivor Series for $5000 male claiming pacers. Post time is 2:05 p.m. From Miami Valley Raceway        
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ -- February 16, 2020 -- Service arrangements for Amanda Harris will be held on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at the Peppler Funeral Home in Allentown, NJ. Visiting hours will be held from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Funeral Services will begin at 6 pm. The Peppler Funeral Home 114 South Main Street, Allentown, New Jersey 08501. The Pepper Funeral Home website: https://www.pepplerfh.com/.  by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  
Sunday marked the start of the 2020 harness racing season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. A ten-race program was highlighted by the $15,000 Open Trot on a day that included a long sleeve t-shirt giveaway at the track. The Open featured a field of just five participants, one of which was the track's defending Horse of the Year Cash Me Out. The millionaire trotter was assigned post position five for his first start of the season and wound up making a break after suffering broken equipment. Invader Shorething Fashion (Andover Hall) drew the rail for the season's first feature and though the Mike Eaton trainee got away third in the early going, the six year old came storming home in the stretch to record the win in 1:58.1 on a pleasant February afternoon in the Spa City. Mister Muscle (Mark Beckwith) carved out reasonable fractions on the lead in the Open but wound up having to settle for second-best while Mr Cool Seaeyre N (Larry Stalbaum) finished third. Shorething Fashion's driver Jay Randall piloted a pair of winners on opening day as he sat behind Certify (Credit Winner) who was the winner of the first race of the 2020 racing season. In the Open, Shorething Fashion paid $8.60 to win and led an exacta with Mister Muscle that returned $31.20. Live racing continues on Monday with a President's Day matinee that is set to kick off at 12 Noon. The afternoon will feature several $1 food and beverage specials as well as a $5,000 guarantee in the Pick Five pool. The Pick Five begins in the matinee's first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  
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