Wiggle It Jiggleit

Wiggle It Jiggle now with $3,833,157 banked

The clubhouse was sold out seven days ago, the denizens of the apron stood shoulder-to-shoulder despite the deluge the area had withstood  14 of the last 24 hours and before the first race went off on the harness racing card at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway on Friday (Sept. 30) all people could discuss was how fortunate they were to witness live the most elite equine athletes on the continent. In fact, one young lady explained to her young son just how significant the upcoming $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby truly was. “You need to remember this night,” she said. “This is the time you will see the greatest horses in the world race with your own eyes. Don’t you want to see Wiggle It Jiggleit in person?” So did thousands of others at the Ohio oval and Wiggle It Jiggleit repaid their reverence and homage with a dazzling photo finish triumph in a track record 1:49.1 by the slimmest of nostrils over Always B Miki. The public’s sentimental selection, Freaky Fete Pete, checked in a quarter-length behind in third. Owner George Teague, summed the electrifying performance in which Wiggle It Jiggle reversed a similar loss at Scioto Downs to the same rival, succinctly. “He delivers,” he said. As the crowd chanted his name his stridently it deafened the public  address system, Wiggle It Jiggleit and pilot Montrell Teague prepared to leave from post position five. The second choice at odds of 6-5, the defending Horse of the Year was unhurried at the start and settled into fourth behind race leader Luck Be Withyou (Eric Goodell), third selection Freaky Feet Pete (Trace Tetrick) and even money favorite Always B Miki (David Miller). After establishing fractions of :26.2 and :54.4 in their first tour around the track, Miller decided he had waited long enough and sent Always B Miki first-over. Teague immediately grasped the golden opportunity for live cover and pulled Wiggle It Jiggleit from his position to follow Always B Miki’s assault on the top two. After ranging alongside Luck Be Withyou momentarily, Always B Miki took control after three-quarters in 1:22.1 with Wiggle It Jiggleit right on his flank. This locked Freaky Feet Pete in along the rail and shuffled him to fourth with Luck Be Withyou in second and Wiggle It Jiggleit in third as the drive for the wire ensued at the top of the homestretch. As Always B Miki appeared poised to pull ahead never relinquish the lead, Wiggle It Jiggleit loomed menacingly on the outside. Those two one again waged war through the length of the homestretch and at the finish line, left the exhilarated crowd puzzling over which horse captured the battle. Within minutes, that seemed much more lik hours, Wiggle It Jiggleit was declared the victor and the fans demonstrated their appreciation for his monstrous effort with a round of cheers that drowned out any other sound. “I always felt like I was in a good position,” Teague said in the winner’s circle. “I liked where Miki was and felt very comfortable all the way around the track. I just feel very fortunate to have been associated with this horse at such a young age and to have this kind of opportunity. He has already accomplished so much and done so many things. All I can hope for that is he continues to go on and do these things. “He’s not really a people horse. But I do think he really likes hearing the crowd cheer for him.” Conditioned by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit paid $4.40 to win, while Always B Miki provided $2.20 to his supporters.  The 4-year-old gelding has now amassed a staggering $3.612 million lifetime and his 36th win from 48 career trips to the post. The exacta $6.60 and the trifecta, rounded out by Freaky Feet Pete, who once again closed on the inside, paid $3.00. One race prior to yet another fantastic show-down between Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit, Obrigado made his own strong statement by emphatically capturing the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for conditioner and co-owner Paul Kelley. With regular reinsman Mark MacDonald holding the lines, the public’s second wagering selection (8-5) behind only Shake It Cerry, commenced trotting from post position five and swiftly settled into second place behind Homicide Hunter (Eric Goodell). As Homicide Hunter set all the fractions heading in the stretch clicking off panels of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.2, Obigado was content to remain in the pocket for the entire journey. As Wind Of The North (Matt Kakaley) made his first-over bid heading into the lane, Obrigado was briefly overtaken, but that is when MacDonald pushed the button. At that juncture, the rest of the field was all competing for second place as the gelding glided to the wire to stop the clock in 1:53.2 Centurion ATM (Aaron Merriman) closed from the clouds to finish second, while Wind Of The North was relegated to third after his early move. Also owned by Srf Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45, Obrigado increased his bankroll to $1.362 million with his 77th lifetime win. His connections were obviously overjoyed with the victory, but were also relieved as the horse did not have the easiest of transport experiences on his way from Lexington, Ky. due to the heavy rains. “It was some kind of trip,” Kelley said. “But this horse is so intelligent and easy on himself. In fact, he is almost lazy and is kind of lazy training. He knows when it is time to race though. I think it’s a shame he did not get invited to the International Trot at Yonkers, because I think he would have won. We will take him back to Lexington, put him in the Allerage and then race on the undercard at Yonkers on International Trot night. From there we will just see what happens.” With one of the largest crowds in its three-year history, if not the largest ever, the Dayton Raceway tallied an all-time high in handle with $416,458 wagered on the evening’s card. Gregg Keidel

Mach it a Par

Mach Three miss takes $45,000 Distaff Open

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 30, 2016 - Harness racing favored Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) was hard-used early and hardly-used late Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's soggy $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from her assigned post position No. 6, Mach it a Par was out into the second turn before finally making the lead. She did so from Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) after that one threw down a 27-second opening quarter-mile. From there, it turned into a two-speed number (:55.4, 1:24.3, 1:52.3), with Mach it a Par easily prevailing by 3¾ lengths. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) was a first-up third, with Devil Child (Dan Dube) and Al Raza N (Eric Abbatiello) grabbing the minors. For Mach it a Pair, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her ninth win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.40, with the triple returning $63. Frank Drucker

Eldorado Scioto Downs

Memorable season at Eldorado Scioto Downs

Columbus, OH --- As the season wrapped up on Saturday (Sept. 10) at Eldorado Scioto Downs, the harness racing action was never hotter. Scioto Downs saw track records, a world record, a leading driver’s battle and a wagering increase that will make the 2016 season go down as one of the most memorable. Drivers Chris Page and Josh Sutton gave horsemen, gamblers, and fans a driving showcase during the 2016 meet. Chris Page was on top of the leading drivers standing most of the year; however Josh Sutton had other plans leading into the last week of racing. While being seven victories behind, Sutton got to work reeling Page in night after night. Going into the final race of the year, Page and Sutton were tied at 171 victories apiece. When it was all said and done, Sutton guided Perma Grin while Strange Hanover and Chris Page settled for second. Sutton finished the 2016 meet with 172 victories in 933 starts and purse earnings of $1,778,884. For the 23rd consecutive year, Virgil Morgan Jr. led all trainers with 86 victories in 378 starts and purses of $825,054. The racing action was fast all year as nine track records fell, led by Always B Miki tying his own world record of 1:47 in the Jim Ewart Memorial. It was a race that the on-track fans will not soon forget as fan favorite Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki battled head to head for most of the mile. When track announcer Barry Vicroy said three-quarters in 1:19, the crowd erupted. The two champions battled all the way to the wire with Always B Miki getting the victory. Out of the 1,159 races at Scioto Downs this summer, 68 percent of them were full 10 horse fields and the betting public responded with a 6.9 percent increase in all source handle -- even with five less racing days compared to 2015. Scioto Downs finished the 2016 season with the percentage of favorites winning 37.74 percent of the time. Purses also grew in 2016 to a total of $15,900,588 over the course of 90 days. The average daily purse at Scioto Downs was $176,673 per day. Scioto Downs would like to thank the gamblers, fans, horsemen, owners and caretakers for their continued support in 2016 and we hope to see you back in 2017. Even though there is no live racing this winter, the penthouse will remain open all year for simulcasting needs. Eldorado Scioto Downs is also planning a grand opening for the new 118 room Hampton Inn Hotel slated for December. Eldorado Scioto Downs 

John Franco, Pat Lachance

"John Franco, meet Pat Lachance"

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 30, 2016 - Apparently, Yonkers Raceway has a new incentive plan...win a race at a triple-figure harness racing mutuel, meet a former major league baseball All-Star. That was the carrot at the end of the Friday night (Sept. 30) stick for trainer/driver Pat Lachance after his last-to-first, 53-1, eight-hole upset with Ace of Clubs. The bombardier paid an even $108 to win the fifth race going away by 3¼ lengths. The soggy, hotly-contested fourth race saw 3-10 choice Cartoon Daddy (Jason Bartlett) dueled into submission and finished seventh as Ace of Clubs circled his rivals to earn his first seasonal win in his 16th seasonal start (1:58.2). Just outside the winner's circle was an impromptu meet-and-great with New York Mets' Hall of Famer John Franco. Franco, a native New Yorker and one of baseball's all-time standout relief pitchers, was visiting Empire City Casino @ Yonkers Raceway. Franco and Amazin' fans were at Dan Rooney's Sports Bar as the Mets took on the Philadelphia Phillies in a game with wild-card playoff implications. Spirited conversation and autographed photos (of Franco, not Lachance. Sorry, Pat) was also included in the evening.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 30, 2016 - In this election season, the votes have been counted...for the harness racing Yonkers Raceway's International Trot. The complete field of 10 world-class invitees/acceptances for the million-dollar event, set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 15th, is now final. The seats at the table (alphabetically), with country of representation... BBS Sugarlight - Norway Explosive de Vie - Sweden Flanagan Memory - Canada Hannelore Hanover - USA (mare) Jonesy -- Finland Oasis Bi -- Italy On Track Piraten -- Sweden Resolve - USA Ringostarr Treb -- Italy Tano Bork - Denmark Three of the entrants - BBS Sugarlight (4th), On Track Piraten (7th) and Oasis Bi (5th) competed in this race a season ago. Last season's winner, Norway's Papagayo E, is injured and unable to defend his title. The international horses are scheduled to arrive in New York next Wednesday (Oct. 5th), and after a couple of days of quarantine, get Raceway-situated Friday (Oct. 7th). Please note post time for the rare afternoon program is 1:10 PM, with International Trot No. 38 set to go at 3:20 PM (numbers of races on card and race number of International Trot both TBA). Also note and make use of the race-dedicated website, www.InternationalTrot.com as an excellent resource. The race is to be drawn Tuesday, Oct. 11th, along with a pair of $250,000 Invitationals (1¼-mile trot [10 horses] and flat-mile pace, [eight horses]). More information regarding all these races in the coming days. Frank Drucker

Champion driver Maurice McKendry described Hughie Green’s return to harness racing at Alexandra Park last night as “perfect.” But while the Magic Man might have been happy with the nail-biting win remarkably plenty of punters weren’t after one of the strangest betting drifts in recent New Zealand pacing memory. Hughie Green opened the $2.80 favourite last Thursday night for the $20,000 Spring Cup, which even then seemed overs considering this was the horse who pushed Have Faith In Me so close in last season’s Auckland Cup, beating home the likes of Smolda, Ohoka Punter and Tiger Tara. But things got really strange in the hour before the race, with Hughie Green drifting wildly to start $4.10 on the tote, with Start Dreaming shortening into the clear favourite. The latter had no luck so her run is best forgotten but the fact a horse who could rightly claim to be the North Island’s best pacer didn’t start favourite, especially after a sizzling last 400m when winning at the workouts the Saturday before, is an inexplicable punting oddity. The punters who did stay strong had a nervous few moments at the top of the straight as Hughie Green, who began brilliantly before trailing No Doctor Needed, lost momentum up the passing lane at the same moment the greatly-improved The Faithful shot clear. But it was a sign of his class that the big fella was able to gather himself up and make up two lengths in the last 200m, even with the final 400m in 26.9 seconds. “It was a bit touch and go there but he sprinted well,” said McKendry. “And that was a perfect return. His manners were good, he didn’t have a hard run but he still go the win.” Hughie Green wouldn’t be out of place in the New Zealand Cup but trainer Brian Hughes told HRNZ not only will he not head to the great race but that Cup week has been ruled out all together. So he can expect a solid diet of Alexandra Park racing aimed at the Auckland Cup on a December 31. No Doctor Needed was a close up third and remains on track to be the sole northerner in the Cup. It was a good night for Hughes’s small racing team as Neighlor recorded an impressive win earlier for McKendry. The three-year-old made up for a luckless performance in the first Sires’ Stakes heat at Cambridge, where he was trapped three wide, with a last stride win and will likely head to the second northern heat of that series. One horse who was already heading south to chase further riches but only sweetened that trip was Realmein, who overcame a 40m handicap to win Friday’s main trot. He bolted home in his best performance for at least a couple of years, trotting 3:27.1 for the 2700m standing start after never being on the marker pegs. The eight-year-old son of Real Desire looks back to his best and will head south for the elite trots over the next six weeks.   Michael Guerin

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway wrapped up its 13th live harness racing season on September 28. The track raced 48 days in 2016 - one less than in 2015 when the track's wager was up a record 36 percent over 2014. The all-sources wager in 2016 totaled $9,493,601 and the on-track wager was $934,279. While the number of races decreased from 509 to 491 (a difference of 3.5 percent) in 2016, the wager per race increased by 3.6 percent (all-sources) and three percent (on-track). The wager per card of racing increased two percent. According to statistics provided by Standardbred Canada, the number of horses which started at Grand River Raceway in 2016 was down seven percent (from 4,323 in 2015 to 4,034 in 2016). The number of unique starters was down 11 percent (from 1,603 to 1,425). The numbers reflect an average number of starters per race from 8.5 in 2015 to 8.2 in 2016. The Elora, ON track kicked off the live racing season on a high note, having recently won a prestigious 2016 Business Excellence Award in the category of Hospitality/Tourism. The award was presented by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Of Commerce. The race meet featured many new and annual events, including the 26th annual Industry Day celebration on the afternoon of August 1. The fan-favourite event saw a record handle of $481,230 wagered on the 11-race card, an increase of 54 percent over the record set in 2015. A crowd of approximately 4,000 people on-track wagered $87,890. Award-winning equine photographer Dave Landry took the third annual Media Race during the first Friday night of the card on June 3. Guelph resident James MacDonald was a big winner when Grand River Raceway hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship on June 24. MacDonald and runner-up Trevor Henry advance to the National Driving Championship on October 14 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in hopes of representing Canada in the 2017 World Driving Championship. MacDonald was back in the winner's circle a few weeks later for a tiny-yet-huge victory. Despite the weather, the second annual Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races showcased between the horse races on July 8, drew a record crowd. Tank, owned by MacDonald and his wife Jenna, emerged the winner of the 30 tiny entrants. In cooperation with the Hands On Horses Program, more than 500 people drove a Standardbred racehorse on the track at Grand River Raceway this season during events such as the annual Open House and Wanna Drive nights. The race season saw four new track records, all set during Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) action. L A Delight paced to her seventh consecutive OSS Gold victory with a track record-equaling performance of 1:53.1 for filly sophomores during the Industry Day card. On August 10, freshman miss Sweet Of My Heart trotted to a new divisional record of 1:58.4. On the same card, Sass recorded his sixth career win in 1:56.3, a new best for three-year-old trotting colts. In the following race, Will Take Charge won in 1:55.2 to replace the track record for sophomore trotting geldings. Driver Bob McClure of Elora topped the driver standings for the duration of the meet to secure his second consecutive title with 84 wins. Hall Of Famer Bob McIntosh won his first Grand River Raceway training title with 12 wins. During the shoulder season, Grand River Raceway continues to provide simulcast wagering seven days/nights a week. The track's Meetings & Events Services also operate year-round, offering unique rental spaces and amenities with complete catering options for business and social gatherings. The off-season special events line-up includes a Terror Trivia Halloween Party on October 22, when teams of four square off for $250 in prizes. The popular Musical Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre productions will be showcased in November and December, plus February, March, September, November and December (of 2017). Although a confirmed schedule is not yet available, live racing is tentatively set to return to Grand River Raceway at the beginning of June 2017. Kelly Spencer

Harness racing owner Bob Tambur enjoys watching his horses compete, but even more than that he delights in simply watching them grow up. "I just have a love for raising these horses; I get a big kick out of it," said Tambur, a northeast Pennsylvania resident whose homebred Boogie Shuffle races out of the training stable of Mark Harder in Saturday's first of five Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male pacers at Lexington's Red Mile. "I tell Mark all the time, I get as big a kick out of breeding these horses as I do watching them race. I get a kick out of seeing how they turn out. It's more special when they do well, but I'm just so happy to be competitive." Boogie Shuffle has been competitive for Tambur's Fox Hollow Farm, with a total of six on-the-board finishes in eight starts and earnings of $72,633. He has one win and four second-place finishes, with three of the runner-up efforts coming on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit to Huntsville, Downbytheseaside, and Fear The Dragon. Huntsville went on to win the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, with Downbytheseaside second and Fear The Dragon third. Those three horses also are among the four fastest 2-year-old male pacers of the season; the other is Ocean Colony. Boogie Shuffle and driver Scott Zeron will see Huntsville, Fear The Dragon, and Ocean Colony in their seven-horse Bluegrass division Saturday. Huntsville, from the Ray Schnittker Stable, is the 2-1 morning line favorite while Boogie Shuffle is 6-1. The division features five horses with at least $69,000 in purses; no other division has more than two. "If you want to be a top horse you've got to race with the top horses," Tambur said about Boogie Shuffle's difficult draw. "There are no breathers, not in today's world. I'd like to win them all, but that's not how it goes." Tambur, whose business ventures include a financial company and real estate development, got started in harness racing a little more than 20 years ago and enjoyed success in the mid-1990s with stakes-winning female pacer Sweetgeorgiabrown. Other notable horses have included stakes-winner Sutter Hanover (in partnership) and hard-knocking homebred Bullet Bob, who has earned $359,095. Boogie Shuffle is a son of stallion Well Said out of Tambur's mare Ciela Hanover. Boogie Shuffle's 3-year-old full brother Senator Charlie has earned $77,690 for Fox Hollow Farm and a Well Said-Ciela Hanover yearling named Kaboom Pow will soon start preparing for his racing career. Ciela Hanover this year produced a Sweet Lou-sired filly named Sweet Anna Banana. "I have high hopes for the two on the ground, the filly and the colt," Tambur said. "The brother to Boogie is bigger at this stage. He's a good-looking colt. We hope he does well. We hope he's got the speed and the desire Boogie has. It's all about the heart." Tambur thought highly of Boogie Shuffle from the time he was born. "I saw that horse an hour after he was born and he was standing up and he was so correct," Tambur said. "From day one, he looked fabulous; from hour one. I always felt because of how correct he was that he was going to be a well-gaited horse." Boogie Shuffle heads to the Bluegrass off a fourth-place finish in a division of the Liberty Bell Series in which he encountered traffic trouble in the stretch. The colt's remaining stakes schedule includes the International Stallion, Breeders Crown, and Matron. "We're hopeful, but we know the competition is keen," Tambur said. "He is getting stronger and he's grown a little bit. We just hope he continues to get faster and get better. He's got a good motor, and he's got a good heart, so we'll see what happens. Hopefully he continues to do well." The favorites in the remaining four Bluegrass divisions for 2-year-old male pacers are, in race order, Erv Miller's R J P, Jimmy Takter's Blood Line, Brian Brown's Downbytheseaside, and Ron Burke's Miso Fast. There also are four divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers, headlined by Takter's She's A Great Lady champion Idyllic Beach. For Saturday's complete card, click here. Ken Weingartner  

Rider Vanessa Karlewicz did this superstitious act before racing in her first fair final and the outcome was great for the 36-year-old and her mount, Admirable Hanover, because the duo ended the night in the harness racing winner's circle at Batavia Downs. Karlewicz, of Florida New York, called the experience "surreal." "When I crossed the line there was a massive roar, but I had no idea if I had won by half a second, by 1,000th of a second or even lost," she said. "As we slowed our horses up on the backside, I was still unsure as to who would be continuing on to the winner's circle," she continued. Then the placings were announced... I had won! It finally sunk in and that's when I became emotional... My first meaningful win on a bigger track. I was overtaken with joy and gratefulness." As the race moved off the last turn, Karlewicz pulled Admirable Hanover and drew alongside last year's fair final winners Andrea Pratt and My Friend Charlie. Admirable Hanover edged his way past the wire and won by a neck in 2:03.4. My Friend Charlie was second and Jeanie Marie closed sharply for third after an early race miscue in the non-betting event. Karlewicz said it is natural to envision yourself winning, but said she also tried to keep her expectations grounded. "We have had a few wins this year, but those were all on fair tracks," she said. "I also knew that there was a competitive field of horses in the final, not to mention last year's winner. Certainly I knew I had my work cut out for me, but was going to give it my best shot." This marked the third year RUS New York has organized a fair series. It included 12 races at nine fairs across the state, a race at Saratoga Harness Track (a part of their fair day) and the championship race. It was a historic event because it was the first time Batavia Downs had ever held a racing under saddle event. The win was the third in six starts under saddle for Admirable Hanover this year. The horse is owned by Peter Gerry and is trained by his rider, Karlewicz. This is the fourth year the 9-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall has competed in RUS and the 2:03.4 time was a new lifetime RUS mark for him. The win was a little extra special for Karlewicz because it came the night before her birthday. "Admirable certainly gave me the best birthday gift ever," she said. "I was so overwhelmed with both people congratulating me on the win, along with birthday wishes. To say I was on cloud nine is probably still an understatement. Everybody's kind words and support was very meaningful." Karlewicz has not always been in the racing business and still considers herself to be somewhat of a "newbie." In fact, Karlewicz's full-time job is managing her family's horse farm "The Stables at MiraBella." It is primarily a hunter/jumper facility. The farm houses about 40 horses: A mixture of boarders, lesson horses and young stock as breeding is also a big part of the business. Karlewicz said she initially got introduced to Standardbreds three years ago through Connor Racing Stables. "I started out jogging a few horses once in a while for fun. The more I was around it, the more fascinated I became. I was intrigued to learn about a different side of the sport and I was certainly drawn into the speed and thrill of racing," she explained. According to the horse enthusiast, she received a lot of support while learning the sport and was ultimately able to get her trainers/driving license. Karlewicz said she was graciously supplied with horses to drive and race from both the Connor Stables as well as owner/driver Peter Gerry. "RUS specifically was something I never knew existed until I saw a race one day during the Goshen matinees," Karlewicz said. "I knew instantly that I had to try it." Gerry's horse was stabled with the Connors where Karlewicz said he never quite developed into a horse for the "big races" so they gave her the chance to drive him in an amateur series. "He has proven to be a bit of a quirky horse in that he has struggled with the starting gate and he tends to get nervous and makes breaks especially when starting from the rail (the post position the duo had in the fair final)," Karlewicz said. This was a challenge being new to the sport, according to Karlewicz. However, she said, figuring the horse out has made her a better horsewoman. The rider/trainer said everyone at the Connor Stables and Gerry are supportive of RUS and were willing to try different horses in their program to see how they would fair doing it. Both Jennifer and Brian Connor have ridden horses under saddle themselves. "It always seemed like something Admirable was good at and seemed to like," Karlewicz said. "This year I decided to put most of my efforts towards RUS versus driving and made arrangements to take over Admirable's care and training schedule myself." "Being Admirable's full-time trainer brings a great sense of pride in that I feel his wins this year solidify my horsemanship skills in a field that's relatively new to me," Karlewicz added. Admirable and Karlewicz have had time to bond. She says she has had a lot more experience driving him, but feels he is much calmer while working under saddle. "One of the greater challenges driving him is that he is a very hot horse: Both jogging and in the race bike." Karlewicz said. "The under saddle work, I feel, keeps him calmer and therefore he's easier to handle. He is a horse that we towed a lot instead of jogging in an attempt to avoid him overworking himself in a jog cart every day. This is where I'm happy to offer him the under saddle work off the track. I think he really enjoys that." Coming down the stretch to the wire. Racing Strategy: Every horse has a preferred racing style or at least one that lets the horse perform at its best. For example, some like to leave, while others do better if tucked in a hole with cover and conserving energy until the end. So what is the secret to Admirable Hanover? Karlewicz said she always has to ease Admirable into the race and is not one that she likes to leave the starting gate with too fast. Her strategy for the final was to try and be patient off the starting gate and make it around the first turn. She said, "Once we make it that far, I can usually ease up and start participating in the race. There are usually always horses that like to leave so It works out for me to tuck behind someone. Addie generally races better mid pack so getting away third suited us. I knew going down the back stretch for the second time that I needed to start to make my move if I stood a chance. I pulled his ear plugs and he nicely filled the gap. Coming around the final turn I was really happy with where we were. I felt my horse had more in him, so I pulled to the outside and urged him on. Crossing that line first in that close of a race is a thrill I will never forget." How Karlewicz Began Riding: Karlewicz started riding when she was 8 years old. She said jumping has always been her main focus. However, she said she has dabbled a little with dressage, eventing, western, thoroughbreds, Arabians... "Jumping has always been my passion. Years later it's intriguing to be learning yet another side of the sport," she said. Karlewicz said she would love to see RUS continue to grow and one day evolve into a betting sport here in the U.S. "I would love nothing more than to be able to continue to participate in this sport, hopefully get more rides, and expand to racing at new tracks," she said. The rider/trainer said she has always been and adrenaline seeker so that is why racing under saddle "spoke to her." She said, "Once I got a taste of racing, both driving and RUS, I was instantly hooked." Now that the fair series has come to an end, Karlewicz said she is looking forward to starting back up in the NAADA Amateur Driving Series that takes place at Monticello, Yonkers and Freehold this fall. BY MICHELLE MILLER, RUS NEW YORK  

There are not that many mystery novels on the bookshelves (or internet) that center around harness racing, but recently author Tina Sugarman penned Horse Flesh, a novel that for many will be an enticing read. This fiction novel enters the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, and is an exhilarating debut from an insider.  While many in the industry may take offense to the outright knocks on the industry, one must remember this is fiction and the author’s right to “jazz it up” to make it a riveting read to outsiders, should be taken into consideration. Then again, with all the recent controversy surrounding the Little Brown Jug last week, the events in this novel may seem to be spot on. The story features a brilliant harness racing driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, and a veterinarian caught between two worlds. These are just some of the players in Horse Flesh, where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred.  I found the book to be fascinating, very fast paced and with shocking twists and turns. At first I was turned off as the book did not “grab me” right off the bat and I was not happy with some of the demeaning references to the industry as an insider. As I read on and understood the characters that made up the novel, I had trouble at times to put the book down. It drew me into the read to see where the story was going, what was going to happen to some of the stars and how was author Tina Sugarman going to tie this all together in the end. She did a superb job with some great insights that people in the industry should consider. She got the job done and her HORSE FLESH is a breakthrough debut novel set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh read.  Tina’s blending of the life events of four yearlings into becoming racehorses was very well done and woven nicely into the novel. The paperback version is very thick, over 700 pages of small type, so some might want to get the Kindle or Nook version. And don’t expect to read this one overnight! Tina Sugarman writes from her personal experiences and gives a compelling insight into the world of harness racing. She has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm nearby Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. This novel is available through all major booksellers. by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

LEXINGTON, KY-- Shake It Off Lindy surged first over around the final turn to pass pacesetter Southwind Cobra, upsetting in one of the six $334,500 Bluegrass splits for harness racing two-year-old trotting colts on Thursday, September 29 in a lifetime best of 1:55 at The Red Mile. With Eburry Street and Sortie breaking before the first turn, Moonshiner Hanover inherited the lead, keeping Southwind Cobra parked while Shake It Off Lindy sat in the pocket. Rough-gaited clearing the lead, Southwind Cobra maintained his stride passing the quarter in :29.1, and was unchallenged through a :58.1 half. Sitting in third, Shake It Off Lindy pulled to the outside approaching the three-quarter pole and was up to Southwind Cobra's wheel within a matter of strides. Past the third-quarter in 1:27.3, Shake It Off Lindy had taken the lead, and was holding off Moonshiner Hanover splitting horses and Signal Hill coming down the center of the track. In front by a length, Shake It Off Lindy finished in front of Moonshiner Hanover and Southwind Cobra. The Frank Antonacci trainee won his second start in six tries this season, earning $45,250 this season. By Crazed out of the Love You mare Nashville Lindy, he is owned by K R Breeding LLC and was driven by Tim Tetrick. He paid $29.60 to win. "He's been training down good and we didn't stake him too heavy," Antonacci said. "He was a $17,000 yearling that was part of my dad's experiment with the French mares. We gave him every chance he could possibly have to be a good horse, and he's showing a good turn of foot and he has a good head on him." "Anytime you're involved with these horses multiple generations; train the mare and train the father, it's definitely a little special," Antonacci also said. "He'll probably be back here next week," Antonacci also said. Brushing to the lead after the half, Long Tom maintained control as he advanced to a 1:55.2 win over Bill's Man and Equestrianconxtion. Bill's Man parked around the first turn and was forced to move to the lead, clearing in :28.3. Approaching the half, driver Tim Tetrick edged Long Tom, sitting in third, off the pylons and rushed towards Bill's Man through a :58 half. Shuffled to third, Equestrianconxtion moved first over midway through the final turn. Long Tom passed three-quarters in 1:26.3 as Bill's Man tried to weave out of the pocket and Equestrianconxtion hanged to his outside. The two struggled to approach Long Tom and couldn't get by, as Long Tom hit the line a half-length in front of Bill's Man and Equestrianconxtion in 1:55.2, a lifetime best. Owned by Amg Stable Oy, trained by Marcus Melander, and driven by Tim Tetrick, the colt by Muscle Hill from the Windsong's Legacy mare Ilia scored his third win out of four tries this season, earning $46,875. Sent off the 2-5 favorite, he paid $2.80 to win. "When I was home in February, he told me 'I have a good horse I want to send over,'" Marcus Melander said. "A trainer in Sweden bought him at Harrisburg and he brought him overseas to Sweden. I was there for my visa, and I happened to go there for just a week and we talked. We sent him over as soon as possible, and he came to my barn at the end of March." "I thought he had potential after the first time he raced," Melander also said. "He had a little time off; trouble getting to the races and then he raced great at Freehold [in the $29,000 Harold Dancer Memorial] after a month off, and then he raced great again at the Meadowlands. After that, I decided to bring him down here and try him in the Grand Circuit." "We'll have to look at him after this race to see if he's good, but he'll probably be back here next week," Melander said. Snowstorm Hanover took the lead into the first turn and managed to hold command, trotting a 1:55.3 mile, a lifetime best, over Buckeye Boss and International Moni. Trotting the first quarter in :29 and the half in :59.2, Snowstorm Hanover was unchallenged on the lead. Buckeye Boss, sent off the even-money favorite, drafted from the pocket, Meme Hanover trotted third and International Moni sat fourth. Into the final turn, Buckeye Boss tipped outside attempting to sling to command, but Snowstorm Hanover began to accelerate at three-quarters in 1:28.3. Buckeye Boss challenged Snowstorm Hanover through the stretch. As Buckeye Boss advanced, Snowstorm Hanover steadfastly remained on the lead, staying about a half-length in front of Buckeye Boss at the wire. Returning $13.40 to win, Snowstorm Hanover, by Muscle Massive from the Andover Hall mare Snow Angel Hanover, won her third race in eight starts this year, earning $86,869. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Peter Collura & Weaver Bruscemi, trained by Ron Burke, and driven by Matt Kakaley. Waiting to pursue the lead until the top of the stretch, Fly On easily gained command midway through the stretch, besting Dunbar Hall and Southwind Woody in a 1:55 lifetime-best performance. Taking the lead through a :29.1 quarter, Fly On soon yielded to Southwind Woody brushing to the lead into the backstretch. He was unchallenged off a :57.1 half and was unchallenged up until the three-quarter pole, when Fly On inched towards the lead with Always A Good Time on his back. Fly On met strides with Southwind Woody at three-quarters in 1:27. Fly On drifted through the stretch, eventually sprinting clear of Southwind Woody clinging to second while Always A Good Time hanged in fourth and Dunbar Hall flew up the pylons from fourth, edging by Southwind Woody to claim second. Winning his sixth race in ten starts this year, Fly On, a Muscle Hill colt out of the Credit Winner mare Calchips Finisher, has now earned $88,747 this year. Owned by Andy Miller Stable Inc., Arden Homestead Stable and Gaitway Stable, trained by Julie Miller and driven by Andy Miller, Fly On paid $2.60 to win. "He has been a model of consistency," Julie Miller said. "He didn't really like the track at Freehold that day on the half [in the Harold Dancer Memorial]... he didn't maneuver the track well; that's the only mishap he has had. We've been real pleased with him. He has willingness to go and we're pretty excited about him." "Julie Miller called me about a year ago, after she and Andy bought him, and said that they were looking for a partner," Peter Gerry of Arden Homestead Stable said. "We have had such wonderful luck with the Miller's Stable." "There was one horse we didn't have any luck with," Gerry also said, "and that was because we kind of pressured them into buying him, and that was the brother of a good horse they bought from our consignment. We felt so guilty, but they have always been so kind to us. What fun it is to have an investment with the Miller family." Going wire to wire, New Jersey Viking finished in front of Muscles Jared and Explosive Ridge, trotting his Bluegrass division in 1:56.1. Holding an uncontested lead through a :28.3 quarter and :59 half, New Jersey Viking led Muscles Jared, who raced from the pocket, and What The Hill, who was sent off the 4-5 favorite. Fraser Ridge, caught on the outside since the start, gradually advanced towards the leader from first over, carrying Explosive Ridge on his tail. Fraser Ridge reached New Jersey Viking's wheel into the final turn. What The Hill tried to sprint off the pylons, but lost stride. Fraser Ridge began to falter, forcing Explosive Ridge three wide, chasing after New Jersey Viking in 1:27.4. In the stretch, New Jersey Viking held control while Muscles Jared dipped towards the cones and edged to the outside, attempting to slide to the lead, but New Jersey Viking held him off by about half a length. New Jersey Viking, by Muscle Hill out of the Broadway Hall mare Hall Of Wishes, won his fourth race in seven starts this year, earning $111,893 for owners Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Little E LLC. Trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, he paid $8.40 to win. Clearing control at the quarter, Dover Dan stayed in front as he trotted a lifetime-best 1:55 mile in the final Bluegrass division. Setting a :28.2 quarter, Dover Dan brushed by Soho Hanover to take the lead into the backstretch. Eternal Patrol trotted third in front of the 1-2 favorite King On The Hill in fourth. After a :57.1 half, King On The Hill led a two-wide charge into the far turn. King On The Hill reached Dover Dan's neck midway around the final turn, but Dover Dan accelerated toward a 1:27.1 third-quarter and drew separation at the top of the stretch. Soho Hanover attempted to sneak by at the pylons while King On The Hill faltered and Patton, riding his cover, tried to close down the center of the track. Dover Dan held off Soho Hanover, while Patton finished third. John Butenschoen trains the colt by Andover Hall out of the Royal Troubador mare Cr Kay Suzie. Winning four of eight starts this season, he has earned $108,579 for owners William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick. Driven by Corey Callahan, he paid $8.40. "I think Corey [Callahan] and I were a little bit aggravated after our first two races," Butenschoen said. "They both raced well, but neither one really got a big shot to race. Bill's Man was second and tried to sneak up the wood there, and then Simply Volo had no shot; he had a horse on the long side of him the whole mile, so I think it was in Corey's mind that if we get beaten [to the lead], they're going to beat us." Live racing resumes on Friday, September 30 at The Red Mile with five divisions of the $298,000 Bluegrass Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies slated on the nine-race card. First race post is at 7:00pm. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

Queensland harness racing horseman Brendan Barnes is returning home. But it’s a brief visit only. The in-form reinsman landed another Gr.3 victory last weekend with his winning drive behind Freyberg in the Les Chant Cup at TABCORP Park, Menangle in a time of 1:51.0 defeating Stormont Czar and Blazin N Cullen. Freyberg is prepared by Kevin Pizzuto, for whom Barnes works for in Sydney. “I’m coming home for a friend’s wedding this weekend but I’ve taken an extended break and will be based in Brisbane for about two weeks all-up but I’m hopeful of taking a few drives during that time.” Barnes said. The 19yo continues to improve and the winners are arriving at a rapid rate which follows his solid season which netted him 82 victories for the 2015/16 season. He has already landed 6 winners for the current season. The natural lightweight landed a Gr.3 triumph earlier this month with a polished display behind the Pizzuto trained Match Point in the Club Menangle Final. “That was a massive thrill winning that feature with him because he’s such a cool horse and he’s been a massive part of my success in Sydney. It’s my biggest moment in the sport to date and I’m pumped it came via this horse. “I’ve won six races with this horse and they’ve all come at Menangle so he’s played a big role in helping me get established down here. He continues to race in good form so hopefully he’ll keep racking up the victories in the coming months along with Freyberg. “Another horse that continues to do a very good job for Kevin is Blow A Cloud, he’s a former New Zealand pacer that has wicked speed and I believe he’s best horse I’ve driven to date. I know Kevin has nominated both Freyberg and Blow A Cloud for the Inter Dominion series in Perth later this year so that underlines the faith we all have these horses. “I’ve really enjoyed making the move south and the experience has been huge for my race driving, I’ve got no doubt that Menangle is the best track that I’ve driven but I’m looking forward to driving back at Albion Park and competing against some excellent drivers like Shane Graham and the like.” Another bonus in his return home is the opportunity to renew his rivalry with his brother Hayden. Both possess natural talent and continue to improve with every opportunity they’ve been presented to date. “I’m really looking forward to catching up with Hayden and going against him on the track is an added bonus because we’re both competitive as each other. He’s a good driver and we’re always keeping an eye on each other’s results. “I’m sure if we get the opportunity to race each other it will give us the extra purpose of trying to outdo one another. We both love to win, that’s always been the way we’ve looked at our race driving.” *Hoofnote; Barnes has returned for the marriage of Bart Cockburn and Megan Armour on Sunday.   by Chris Barsby

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 29, 2016 - Harness racing driver Eric Abbatiello, who reached the 2,000-win milestone early in the day, was duly recognized by Yonkers Raceway. Proving it's nothing if not a good sport, the Raceway offered congrats to Abbatiello, who arrived at his latest plateau at Freehold Raceway. The 47-year-old Abbatiello, whose Harness Hall of Fame father, Carmine, won a few Yonkers races in his day, is actually at 2,001 wins and more than $13.2 million in career purses. His single-season bests are 212 wins (2014) and $1.6 million in purses (2008) in career which began in 1999, but wasn't 'full-time' until 2005. Yonkers' Thursday Pick 5 wager, beginning with a double-carryover of just under $8,200, attracted $25,620 of fresh funding. The winning combination of 5/1/2/1/4 paid $217.50 for every correct half-a-buck wager. Frank Drucker

SEPT. 29, 2016 - In spite of a harness racing track soaked by a full day of rain, two-year-old trotting fillies Magic Presto and On A Sunny Day put on an impressive show at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. Competing on a surface rated three seconds slower than normal, Magic Presto fired away from Post 5 to a :27.3 opening quarter in the first $105,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series division. Driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON eased off on the tempo through the :59.1 half and 1:29.1 three-quarters and then let the fan favourite accelerate home to a four and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.4. Holiday Promise closed hard to be second and Gravitator trotted into third. "She raced really good, I was really happy that she dealt with the conditions like that. She's got flip-flops on and you never know how they'll handle a track like that with flip-flops on," said trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman, referring to the style of horseshoe the filly sports. "Trevor was very, very happy with her, said she's getting better all the time." The win was Magic Presto's third lifetime, with two of her wins coming in the Gold Series and one in the Grassroots. The filly spent the month of September competing against the best young trotting distaffers in North America and logged a fourth-place result in her Sept. 1 Champlain Stakes division, a second in her Sept. 8 Peaceful Way Elimination and a third, from Post 10, in the Peaceful Way Final one week later. "She never really raced really hard in those races, she had bad draws, she was just basically racing for a cheque, but she looks competitive against some better horses there," noted Norman. "So if she can do some good in the Super Final that'll be me, I'll be very happy with that." The Allentown, NJ-based trainer conditions Magic Presto for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. The filly was a $160,000 acquisition from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale and has returned $169,549 through her first seven starts, finishing no worse than fourth. Her connections are looking forward, not just to the Super Final, but to the long-legged youngster's sophomore season. "She's really big anyway, she doesn't want to grow up anymore, but she has got stronger, she looks better, she's filled right out and I think next year she's going to be really nice and strong," said Norman. "She's really professional; she does everything, handles everything, very well." The daughter of Kadabra and In The Mean Time wraps up the regular season with 125 points earned in her three Gold Series starts and heads into the season ending Super Final sitting fourth in the division standings. Magic Presto On A Sunny Day was equally sharp off the starting gate in the second Gold division, firing away from Post 6 to a :27.3 quarter. The filly sailed along to a :58.4 half and 1:28.1 three-quarters and then powered away from the field to a four and one-half length victory in 1:56.3. Fan favourite Winter Sweet Frost had to settle for second, while Stuck In My Spanks was 11 lengths back in third. Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion piloted On A Sunny Day to the win for trainer and breeder Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. While her peers battled in the open stakes during September, On A Sunny Day enjoyed a mid-season rest following the Aug.10 Gold event at Grand River Raceway. The filly qualified at Mohawk on Sept. 13 and 20 in preparation for Thursday's regular season finale. The daughter of Muscle Mass and Dicent No leads the two-year-old trotting fillies into the Oct. 15 Super Final with 225 points and $183,750 earned from four wins and one second in her five Gold Series starts. The top 10 point earners will return to Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Oct. 15 for the $250,000 Super Final. On A Sunny Day Gold Series action continues at Mohawk on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1 as the three-year-old pacing fillies and two-year-old pacing colts wrap up their regular season over the Campbellville oval. Post time for both programs is 7:30 pm, with the pacing fillies batting in Races 3 and 9 on Friday and the colts competing in Races 2 and 10 on Saturday. Ontario Racing

Two consolations for two year old trotters took center stage at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday evening as several New York Sire Stakes horses wrapped up their harness racing stakes campaign. Top Flight Angel (Archangel) and Teasin N Pleasin (Cr Excalibur) emerged victorious, each setting a lifetime mark on Thursday in their $50,000 New York Sire Stakes Consolations. Top Flight Angel and driver John Cummings Jr. closed up the passing lane to edge out the favored Another Chapter (Jim Morrill Jr) in the colt and gelding final. The Megan Wilson-trained trotter set a lifetime mark of 1:58.1 in what was the second victory in his freshman campaign. Jeff Gregory picked up the catch drive behind the Tom Corelli-trained Teasin N Pleasin who secured the win in the two year old filly consolation. The freshman highstepper scored for the fifth time in eight 2016 tries and did so in a career best 1:59. There were also four Excelsior Series Finals for two year olds which each went for a purse of $45,000. Percy's Z Tam (American Ideal) and trainer-driver Pat Lachance scored in the colt and gelding pace final while Barn Winner (Credit Winner) and Jeff Gregory scored in the trot final for colts and geldings. The filly finals were both won by reinsman Stephane Bouchard as Royal Oaks (Rc Royalty) bested the freshman trotting fillies and Pirinhea's Princess went last to first in the two year old filly pace final. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

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The clubhouse was sold out seven days ago, the denizens of the apron stood shoulder-to-shoulder despite the deluge the area had withstood  14 of the last 24 hours and before the first race went off on the harness racing card at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway on Friday (Sept. 30) all people could discuss was how fortunate they were to witness live the most elite equine athletes on the continent. In fact, one young lady explained to her young son just how significant the upcoming $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby truly was. “You need to remember this night,” she said. “This is the time you will see the greatest horses in the world race with your own eyes. Don’t you want to see Wiggle It Jiggleit in person?” So did thousands of others at the Ohio oval and Wiggle It Jiggleit repaid their reverence and homage with a dazzling photo finish triumph in a track record 1:49.1 by the slimmest of nostrils over Always B Miki. The public’s sentimental selection, Freaky Fete Pete, checked in a quarter-length behind in third. Owner George Teague, summed the electrifying performance in which Wiggle It Jiggle reversed a similar loss at Scioto Downs to the same rival, succinctly. “He delivers,” he said. As the crowd chanted his name his stridently it deafened the public  address system, Wiggle It Jiggleit and pilot Montrell Teague prepared to leave from post position five. The second choice at odds of 6-5, the defending Horse of the Year was unhurried at the start and settled into fourth behind race leader Luck Be Withyou (Eric Goodell), third selection Freaky Feet Pete (Trace Tetrick) and even money favorite Always B Miki (David Miller). After establishing fractions of :26.2 and :54.4 in their first tour around the track, Miller decided he had waited long enough and sent Always B Miki first-over. Teague immediately grasped the golden opportunity for live cover and pulled Wiggle It Jiggleit from his position to follow Always B Miki’s assault on the top two. After ranging alongside Luck Be Withyou momentarily, Always B Miki took control after three-quarters in 1:22.1 with Wiggle It Jiggleit right on his flank. This locked Freaky Feet Pete in along the rail and shuffled him to fourth with Luck Be Withyou in second and Wiggle It Jiggleit in third as the drive for the wire ensued at the top of the homestretch. As Always B Miki appeared poised to pull ahead never relinquish the lead, Wiggle It Jiggleit loomed menacingly on the outside. Those two one again waged war through the length of the homestretch and at the finish line, left the exhilarated crowd puzzling over which horse captured the battle. Within minutes, that seemed much more lik hours, Wiggle It Jiggleit was declared the victor and the fans demonstrated their appreciation for his monstrous effort with a round of cheers that drowned out any other sound. “I always felt like I was in a good position,” Teague said in the winner’s circle. “I liked where Miki was and felt very comfortable all the way around the track. I just feel very fortunate to have been associated with this horse at such a young age and to have this kind of opportunity. He has already accomplished so much and done so many things. All I can hope for that is he continues to go on and do these things. “He’s not really a people horse. But I do think he really likes hearing the crowd cheer for him.” Conditioned by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit paid $4.40 to win, while Always B Miki provided $2.20 to his supporters.  The 4-year-old gelding has now amassed a staggering $3.612 million lifetime and his 36th win from 48 career trips to the post. The exacta $6.60 and the trifecta, rounded out by Freaky Feet Pete, who once again closed on the inside, paid $3.00. One race prior to yet another fantastic show-down between Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit, Obrigado made his own strong statement by emphatically capturing the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for conditioner and co-owner Paul Kelley. With regular reinsman Mark MacDonald holding the lines, the public’s second wagering selection (8-5) behind only Shake It Cerry, commenced trotting from post position five and swiftly settled into second place behind Homicide Hunter (Eric Goodell). As Homicide Hunter set all the fractions heading in the stretch clicking off panels of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.2, Obigado was content to remain in the pocket for the entire journey. As Wind Of The North (Matt Kakaley) made his first-over bid heading into the lane, Obrigado was briefly overtaken, but that is when MacDonald pushed the button. At that juncture, the rest of the field was all competing for second place as the gelding glided to the wire to stop the clock in 1:53.2 Centurion ATM (Aaron Merriman) closed from the clouds to finish second, while Wind Of The North was relegated to third after his early move. Also owned by Srf Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45, Obrigado increased his bankroll to $1.362 million with his 77th lifetime win. His connections were obviously overjoyed with the victory, but were also relieved as the horse did not have the easiest of transport experiences on his way from Lexington, Ky. due to the heavy rains. “It was some kind of trip,” Kelley said. “But this horse is so intelligent and easy on himself. In fact, he is almost lazy and is kind of lazy training. He knows when it is time to race though. I think it’s a shame he did not get invited to the International Trot at Yonkers, because I think he would have won. We will take him back to Lexington, put him in the Allerage and then race on the undercard at Yonkers on International Trot night. From there we will just see what happens.” With one of the largest crowds in its three-year history, if not the largest ever, the Dayton Raceway tallied an all-time high in handle with $416,458 wagered on the evening’s card. Gregg Keidel
YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 30, 2016 - Harness racing favored Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) was hard-used early and hardly-used late Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's soggy $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from her assigned post position No. 6, Mach it a Par was out into the second turn before finally making the lead. She did so from Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) after that one threw down a 27-second opening quarter-mile. From there, it turned into a two-speed number (:55.4, 1:24.3, 1:52.3), with Mach it a Par easily prevailing by 3¾ lengths. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) was a first-up third, with Devil Child (Dan Dube) and Al Raza N (Eric Abbatiello) grabbing the minors. For Mach it a Pair, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her ninth win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.40, with the triple returning $63. Frank Drucker
Batavia, NY --- Justgottogetthere was one of the best resident trotters in western New York last year, however 2016 has been a bit of a different story. But it was like old times for the harness racing gelding on Friday night (Sept.30) as he won the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs. Justgottogetthere (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front at the start of the race and remained there until the end. While setting early panels of :28.2 and :58.4, the only challenge the leader got came from Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) who pulled near the half and tried to engage the front. But the closest he could get was a half-length from second seated Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) who was tracking there the whole mile. After they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2, Justgottogetthere got busy and extended his lead around the far turn and just trotted away in the lane to win by three in 1:57.1. Noble Legend was second and Snapshot Springs finished third. It was the fourth win of the year and a seasonal mark for Justgottogetthere ($11.20), and the first trip to the winner's circle with him for new owner Mike Torcello, who privately purchased the son of Valley Victor on September 3rd. Gerry Sarama trains Justgottogetthere. In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Serious George ($5.50) came early to press the front running Socialdelight (Ray Fisher Jr.) before running her down to win in 1:57.4. Serious George is owned by James Palladino and is trained by Richard Mays. John Cummings Jr. won four races Friday night. He had pictures taken with Gun Show ($4.00, 1:56.2), Hez a Buckeye ($5.60, 1:59), V I P ($9.20, 2:02) and Northern Matador ($13.20, 1:59). Shawn Gray and Jim Morrill Jr. both chimed in with two wins apiece. The Batavia Downs early Pick-5 which on Friday was part of the USTA Strategic Wager with a guaranteed $4,000 pool, recorded the track's largest handle ever by 50%. The 3-2-1-2-6 combination returned $202.00. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1) with a guaranteed early Pick-5 pool of $1,500. Post time is 6:15 p.m.   Tim Bojarski
Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) continued her sensational 2016 harness racing campaign on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Richard Banca-trained mare recorded win number 17 on the season as she went coast to coast in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Velocity Vespa is a dominant force when she makes the lead but has been a non-factor when having to come from off the pace. That trend continued on Friday night when the six year old mare marched out to the early lead in a first quarter of 27.1 and never looked back. Facing a bid from the first over favorite Mosquito Blue Chip (Bruce Aldrich Jr), Velocity Vespa dug in and put that one away turning for home. So Nice (Austin Siegelman), maybe the most consistent force in the Friday feature this year, closed sharply up the inside and finished second. She has now been the runner up in four consecutive tries in the local Open. Velocity Vespa's 17th seasonal score came in 1:53.1. The race's second choice in the wagering at odds of 8-5, Velocity Vespa led an exacta that paid $26.40 and a triple that returned $69.50 in the six horse feature. The standout distaffer was piloted to the win by Jimmy Devaux. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella
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