Day At The Track
Cover Horse Flesh high res.jpg

8th excerpt from novel HORSE FLESH

Tina Sugarman, author of one of the top equine novels of 2016-2017, Horse Flesh, has agreed to share excerpts of her book with Harnesslink. Horse Flesh is a thriller mystery fiction novel based around a Standardbred racetrack in Ontario, Canada. It is the first novel ever penned by horsewoman, Tina Sugarman. Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here. Here is this week’s 8th excerpt from Horse Flesh! Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman THE BET On a calm evening in late August, Theo Vettore’s cousin, Lara Vachon, was standing down by the rail beside Iroquois Downs’ oval track, waiting and watching as Theo put Southview Sabre through his paces. It was 7 p.m. The plan was to take Southview Sabre a slow warm-up mile, but speed him up for the last eighth. Any hint of trouble and Lara was going to scratch her boy from the race and take him home. On the night, Theo had stumbled into Ferme Victoire afraid for his life, Lara had been on a vigil at Rivers Training centre, soaking Southview Sabre’s red hot right front foot in a tub of ice water. Lara treated all the horses she trained like her children, not that she had any of her own yet. She was only twenty-eight, after all. Unlike most trainers, Lara did not have the luxury of picking out yearlings at the Annual Sale. Instead, she took on whatever her father Bernie Vachon decided to give her: well-bred fillies with broodmare potential or colts who hadn’t found a buyer. Once in Lara’s barn, they were under her protection. She gave them as much time as they needed to get to the races and treated them all with equal affection, regardless of their talent (or the lack of it) on the racetrack. As Southview Sabre flew past the tote board, looking like a ghost in the dusk, Lara anxiously scrutinized him for any sign on lameness, any break in the horse’s rhythm. She found none. A pus pocket trapped deep inside his hoof had plagued Southview Sabre for weeks, unknown to anyone. After Dr. Winterflood had lanced it, the lameness disappeared overnight. The track lights kicked in, flooding the scene with colour: the green number pad flapping at the horse’s ribcage, the red and black of Theo’s racing jacket and the pale blue sulky with its white wheel discs spinning. Though his warm up run was over, Southview Sabre showed no sign of wanting to slow down. He sailed by a horse flashing four white stockings. Hurriedly, Lara consulted her overnight sheet. It was Mountain Boy, the 3 horse in the second. As both drivers swung their charges through a 180° turn and headed back to the Race Barn, a figure huddled in the shadows at the edge of the track sprang into life. A greater contrast between equine athleticism and human imperfection would have been hard to find. Lara recognized him immediately. As the man shuffled forward and reached out for Mountain Boy’s bridle, she shuddered involuntarily. She had made the mistake of hiring Crawfish Brown as a groom a couple of years back, in an act of charity. But she had discovered to her cost that despite his pitiful appearance, Crawfish was no saint. His left leg was crooked. His left eye was offset and half closed. He was missing several teeth and he always had a plug of tobacco in his mouth. The only time he went anywhere near water was when he was bathing the horses. But that wasn’t the real problem. Crawfish had generally showed up for work on time, unless he’d been out on a binge the night before. He was fairly good tempered, especially on pay day. He was conscientious too, unless he wanted to get away early. He was polite to Lara, unless he had a particular grudge to air. He was loyal, until Lara rumbled him, or as Crawfish put it, asked him to do a lot of things which weren’t a groom’s responsibility. . . She came out of her reverie just in time to avoid being knocked flat by Southview Sabre, who was throwing his head around like he’d had the time of his life out there. Hastily, she grabbed the bridle before she was decapitated. “Was he okay?” she asked anxiously. “He went his last eighth in thirteen seconds! That good enough for you?” Theo replied with a smile, handing her the lines. “I gotta go,” he added, a frown furrowing his brow. “Eh bien! Go!” Lara said, glancing at the tote board clock and wondering why Theo was in such a hurry. Post time for the first race was twenty-five minutes away. Inside the Race Barn, even though they were right next to one another, Crawfish ignored Lara. He busied himself, attaching his horse tightly to the cross-tie chains, as if the meek Mountain Boy was going to try and make a break for it. Lara couldn’t help noticing that, unusually, Crawfish appeared to have spruced himself up for the races. He was wearing a T-shirt without a rip in it, baggy black sweat pants which did their best to cover a pair of filthy, torn trainers and a lurid yellow baseball cap at war with his straggly brown hair, which she happened to know he cut with a razor, rather than getting a proper haircut. As for a visit to the dentist to fix his missing teeth, that was about as likely as a trip to the moon. Crawfish prided himself on being self-sufficient. Lara steeled herself not to feel guilty about firing him. She had to put the welfare of the horses first, she reminded herself firmly. Theo reappeared just as Lara was putting Southview Sabre’s bridle on, prior to race two. It was a struggle as the horse kept throwing his head around. His eyes were on fire. “Easy now, boy,” Theo said, holding onto the horse’s nose and steadying him. “Can’t wait to get at it, eh? Listen,” he added as Lara slipped the bit into the horse’s mouth. “I put three grand on him to win.” “You did what?” Lara hissed. “You do not bet!” “Hey! Lighten up!” Theo replied. “I got 12-1 online. After this race, God willing, I’ll be a free man.” “But they will think I ’ave been cheating with him!” Lara said, feeling outraged. “How could you do this to me, Theo?” “You want me to end up dead?” Theo muttered. Lara gulped. “How’s his foot?” Theo added nervously. “I am not telling you,” Lara replied angrily, glancing at Crawfish Brown in the next stall. She was certain he’d overheard their conversation. If so, everyone in the Race Barn would soon know all about it. “Hey! What d’you think you’re doing? You’ve hooked the lines up to the head halter, instead of the bit, you dumb idiot!” trainer Tom Larson growled at Crawfish, as Mountain Boy’s driver appeared. “Can’t get it right all the time,” Crawfish grumbled, hurriedly fixing the mistake. “What are you standing there grinning for? Lead ’im out!” Larson shouted. Crawfish jumped to it. But Lara noticed him hanging back after Mountain Boy had left the Race Barn, his left eyelid blinking rapidly. Her heart sank. Wherever Crawfish was, trouble was sure to follow. Outside the Race Barn, a crowd of horsemen had gathered to watch the running of the second race. Lara joined them, her heart beating faster. What if she’d got it wrong? What if Southview Sabre was no good tonight? There was so much at stake, not just for the horse, but for her cousin as well. She understood Theo needed to get the money from somewhere to clear his debts. But why did her horse have to be involved? As the starting car sped away, Theo grabbed the lead and opened up four lengths. The move did not go unnoticed. “I got the first eighth in thirteen seconds,” trainer Keith Lazer exclaimed, staring at his stopwatch. “Arrogant bastard,” Tony Hall exclaimed. “He’s as good as won!” Crawfish said excitedly. He was clutching a betting ticket, evidently dreaming of cashing it in. “My horse is getting a great trip!” Tom Cowboy Larsen said happily, watching Mountain Boy narrow the gap with the leader. “Jesus!” he added, ripping his Stetson off his head. “What’s that fool Harper think he’s doing?” Mountain Boy’s driver, Harry Harper, had brought his horse up to challenge Theo for the lead. The horse’s white stockings were pumping like pistons. Lara uttered a sigh of relief when Mountain Boy got to the top. A grudge match was the last thing her horse needed. To her consternation, Theo immediately swung Southview Sabre out to retake the lead and the two horses pulled away, fighting it out head to head. Suddenly Mountain Boy fell back. The crowd screamed. Mountain Boy had dropped like a stone, catapulting Harry Harper up and over the horse’s head. The driver landed hard and lay still. Unaware of the mayhem behind him, Theo carried on. Not for long! “Accident! Accident!” the track announcer called out urgently. “Stop your horses!” With a heavy heart, Lara watched as one of the outriders set off at a gallop, urging her pony on to intercept Theo, who was now fifteen or twenty lengths ahead of the pack. The other drivers were finally slowing down. The racetrack was suddenly crowded with horsemen, running to help the injured. Harry Harper and Mountain Boy lay strewn across the track, both of them ominously still. The vet ran over to Mountain Boy, who lay on the stone dust track, looking like he was made out of stone himself. Soon afterwards, Harry Harper got to his feet, looking a little dazed, too much cheering and clapping. Mountain Boy was stirring too. Tom Larson plonked himself down on the horse’s head and immediately began bawling Crawfish out. “Get this sulky off ’im before he comes to, you retard!” he cursed. “This is all your fault! Take a good look at that hopple hanger! No wonder he fell. It’s popped right out of the keeper. What d’you think I gave you that tape for eh?” Crawfish stood motionless, his face working, as if he had a great deal to say but was afraid to voice it. “You’re damn lucky he’s only winded,” Larson continued angrily. “You could’ve fuckin’ killed him!” “That’s it! I quit,” Crawfish declared, throwing down the bath bucket he’d been carrying and shuffling off. “Hey! Come back ’ere,” Larson said. “I ain’t done with you yet!” Crawfish kept right on going. Leaving Larson in the lurch did little to make up for a thoroughly disappointing evening. But it did cheer him up, just a bit. Stay tuned in to Harnesslink every week for another excerpt from Horse Flesh! Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here.

Anwar Hanover

Anwar Hanover springs 20-1 upset

WILKES-BARRE PA – Anwar Hanover ($42.40), riding great second-over cover for harness racing driver Andrew McCarthy, caught the first-over Cruise Patrol by a neck to lower his mark by a tick to 1:51.1 in winning the $18,000 featured pace Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The winning son of Well Said had been highly-enough regarded to try the Levy Series in March, but breaks in three of his last four starts had discouraged the bettors, resulting in his long price here. Frank Kamine (who ironically once was the trainer of Saturday night’s Levy champion Keystone Velocity) conditions Anwar Hanover for owner Mike Romanelli. There were a trio of $16,000 co-features on the Sunday card, one each for trotters of both sexes and one for pacing males.   Libertarian, a five-year-old altered son of Donato Hanover who was making only his 20th lifetime start, continued to make up for lost time, now having won half of his eight 2017 starts after a wire-to-wire 1:55.1 victory. Rich Gillock trains the promising trotter for owners Thomas Brice and Charles Receski. (Earlier in the card, Gillock also conditioned another Donato Hanover winner, the filly Icy Crystals, who finally broke her maiden in her  15th start and paid $63.60 under the guidance of Marcus “I Don’t Want To Be Known As The King Of The Longshots” Miller.)   Libertarian’s female counterpart was the Manofmanymissions mare Haileysgonedancing, who swung wide approaching headstretch and caught the pacesetting Catch All nearing the wire while equaling her lifetime mark of 1:55.4. Tom Jackson had sulky duties for trainer Susan Marshall, co-owner with James Matheos.   The Somebeachsomewhere colt Highalator won in the first two preliminaries of his Weiss Series competition, then kept out of the box last week and dropped in the pacing co-feature Sunday to keep his confidence high. And the strategy worked for trainer Jenny Bier as Highalator went wire-to-wire for his eighth straight victory, tallying in 1:53 for driver Victor Kirby and owners Daryl Bier and Charles Dombeck.   The Bobby Weiss Series preliminary action reclaims the spotlight on Monday and Tuesday at The Downs. Pacers of both sexes will have two divisions on Monday (minus Highalator); the trotters follow the next day with three divisions for each.   PHHA / Pocono

Sir Lincoln

First winner for Sir Lincoln (Lincoln Royal)

A decision taken just over 12 months ago returned a major dividend when Our Royal Lady made a harness racing winning debut in the 2017 Trotsguide.Com.Au SA Sapling Stakes (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. Trained by Alan Cronin and driven by Ken Rogers, Our Royal Lady finished brilliantly to score a short half-head win from The Fifth Ace ($10.50) with Bulletproof Boy ($40.10), five metres away third. Cronin, who trains at Monarto, south of Adelaide, regularly has a small team in work but just over 12 months ago had a discussion with longtime stable client Greg Moy. A former Ballarat Harness Racing Club president, Mr Moy now resides at Glenelg in South Australia. “We have had good success with the likes of Try Some Magic, Jakkara Magic and Burning Desire but they were coming to the end of their racing lives,” Cronin said. “Greg asked me if I would like to have a go with a few two-year-olds and I accepted the challenge. “Consequently, we haven’t been to the races for quite a while but tonight has made the break worthwhile. “Greg went to yearling sales last year to pick out a few horses but ironically found Our Royal Lady in a paddock. “He went to look at yearlings which were going to the sales and saw this filly in a paddock, asked about her, and purchased her on the spot.” Cronin said the filly had always shown ability. “She is still a bit immature but should continue to improve with racing and will be even better suited over trips such as 2230m.” Our Royal Lady had trialled well in preparation for the Sapling Stakes and punters were happy to make her a strong favourite. Rogers had her away well from gate one and took the trail behind Paris Scene which began quickly from gate four. Don’t Tell William also got away quickly from gate nine and driver Lisa Ryan took him to the spot outside the lead resulting in 31.4 and 30.8 for the first two quarters which ensured Our Royal Lady remained comfortable third on the fence. Ryan Hryhorec, on the Ray Holberton-trained The Fifth Ace, sprinted sharply coming off the back and dashed to what looked to be a winning break in the home straight. When Don’t Tell William began to tire, Rogers took Our Royal Lady off the fence but gave her about 50 metres to keep balanced before asking her to take out after The Fifth Ace. “I did think I might have left it a bit late,” Rogers said. “The filly sprinted brilliantly once I asked her for an effort and on the line I wasn’t sure she had arrived but I was delighted when her number went up. “With the good tempo she settled beautifully but because she is still learning I was careful not to push her out of her stride when I came off the inside. She has a lot of upside.” Cronin added that he need to thank fellow trainer Lance Holberton. “Lance has been fantastic. Whenever I have had an issue, Lance has been only too ready to help out with information when I’ve given him a call.” The Sapling Stakes has been a feature two-year-old race in South Australia for many years with some champion winners, including Inter Dominion winner Richmond Lass, but sadly had only been able to be run once in the past three years through insufficient nominations. The 2017 version was a wonderful race with an exciting finish and hopefully the Sapling Stakes has regained its prestige of past years and won’t suffer again going forward. Our Royal Lady is the first winner for the son of Mach Three, Sir Lincoln or in Australia called Lincoln Royal. The Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln has a small crop of just 19 two-year-olds in Australia so his effort to leave a Sapling Stakes winner and a filly at that is impressive. Our Royal Lady was one of only three fillies in the race. Graham Fischer

Mark Yole mud-slattered

Vision impaired drivers survive meeting

There could be nothing worse than having your vision impaired when driving a pacer at a harness racing meeting which is what Tasmanian drivers had to deal with at the meeting in Devonport on Tasmania's North-West Coast on Sunday night. Constant rain throughout the day had turned the Devonport Showground circuit into a bog by race five on the 11-event card and all drivers were hoping to find the front. However the rain eased and while the track was extremely rain-affected, stewards deemed it safe for racing. Needless to say many of the winners led throughout on what was one of the wettest days in the region this year. Mark Yole steered Jane Grant to an all-the-way win in the $10,000 Sheffield Cup after which he declared it would be almost impossible for anything to win coming from behind. "They won't be making any ground here tonight,' Yole said after winning the Sheffield Cup. Even though Jane Grant led throughout, Yole still had to lift his mud-splattered visor during the race to see where he was going. As Yole where's spectacles when he drives he had the other problem of having his glasses speckled with grit from the track that further impaired his vision. However, it made no difference to the outcome as Jane Grant set a solid clip in front and was never seriously challenged on her way to a comfortable win over Red Sun Bliss and Lord Jones. Peter Staples

Further to events at Yarra Valley trots on 9 February, 2017, and the subsequent apology by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board Member Danny Frawley, HRV wishes to advise the following. The matter was referred to the three independent members of the Integrity Council in February.  The HRV Board has accepted all recommendations from this Integrity Council investigation, including the imposition of a $4000 fine upon Mr Frawley for his conduct, which involved inappropriate comments made towards licenced participant Greg Sugars. In addition, Mr Frawley, of his own volition, has enrolled in an AICD Director’s course, which will take place in October this year. HRV CEO David Martin said: “We are pleased the independent members of the Integrity Council have reviewed this matter and this outcome provides closure for all parties. I thank everyone involved for their cooperation throughout this investigation.” HRV Board Member Danny Frawley said: “My comments were regrettable and I accept the decision of the independent members of the Integrity Council. My role is to serve the industry as a member of the HRV Board and I look forward to putting this behind me and getting on with the job of helping the industry thrive. I’d also like to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for Greg Sugars and I thank him for his candour throughout this process.”  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

Charmed Life (Majestic Son) cruised to victory in the Sunday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard trainee was the public's overwhelming favorite in the wagering as she made her second start of the season while coming off a win at Pocono Downs earlier in the month. Billy Dobson drove Charmed Life in the $14,500 Open Trot and moved her out to the early lead, a lead she would never relinquish. The 1-5 favorite coasted to victory in 1:55.1, the fastest mile for any trotter thus far at the Spa this year. Cash Me Out (Jimmy Devaux), already a two-time Open winner this season, had to settle for second on Sunday while longshot Lucid Thoughts (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. The seven year old Charmed Life, who has career earnings of over $1 million, is now two-for-two in 2017. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a 4:00pm first post time. Mike Sardella

DAYTON, OH. - Jailhouse Sam was crowned champion of the annual Robert J. Brown Memorial trotting series on Sunday afternoon (April 23) at Miami Valley Raceway. Although harness racing trainer-driver Hugh 'Sandy' Beatty believes his colt's best races may come from off cover trips, he made a last second decision to point him directly to the front when the starting gate swung open in this $17,500 final. A homebred of owner Casey Clemens, the 3-year-old Victory Sam-Jailhouse Broad gelding sailed through fractions of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.4 before tacking on a final panel in :28.4 to hold off fast-closing Goldfinger (Dan Noble) in 1:56.3. Deweyknowigotit (Derek Watiker) parlayed a pocket trip into a third place finish. "This colt made a little over $50,000 last year including winning the $25,000 Ohio Fairs Final at Dayton Raceway," said Beatty after the race, "so we have high hopes for him this year. His next start will be in the first leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes right here at Miami Valley next Monday (May 1)." "I'm really pleased to win this race honoring R. J. Brown," Beatty related. "My parents were great friends with 'Skeeter' and he was an outstanding Ohio horseman. It doesn't hurt that his colors were blue like mine, either, so the commemorative blanket will come in handy." Gregg Keidel    

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Harness racing fans attending live or wagering via Off-Track-Betting and on the internet for the opening day 2017 program Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R were met with a surprise as the only racetrack in Quebec has done away with show wagering. H3R became only the second racetrack in North America and the first in Canada to do away with show wagering. Pompano Park did it for a short period back in 2004. Track management cited that over the past years there was little wagering done in the show pools and elected to end the wager in 2017. Doing away with show wagering also prevents possible 'bridge jumpers", people who risk large show wagers to make the mandatory $0.05 payout for a $1.00 wager. Sunny skies greeted fans and horsemen and the very first race of the year put the photo finish camera to work as Norvena Hanover and driver Stephane Brosseau barely held off two moves by Lucies Pet and driver Richard Simard, winning by a scant nose and paying $7.30 to win. The fastest mile on the day went to Solid Performance ($5.00) and veteran driver Gaetan Lamy, who captured the 8th race Open Pace in 1:56.2. Bazinga Brad (Stephane Gendron) was first on the lead from post seven to a quick opening quarter in :27.3 and then backed it down to the half mile marker in :58.3. But Lamy had Solid Performance on the move first-over and they were able to grind it out and take the lead from Bazinga Brad at the three-quarters in 1:27.2 before scoring an easy triumph. It was the first win in ten starts for Solid Performance, an eight-year-old gelding by Armbro Deuce, who is owned and trained by Marc Andre Cormier of Princeville. In the fifth race Open Trot, Torches Angel and driver Pierre Luc Roy were able to grind it out first-over against race leader Rocky Boy (Marc Bellanger) and then hold off Caroluzzo (Stephane Gendron) to win in 2:02.2. It was the third win this year for Torches Angel, a seven-year-old gelding by Angus Hall, trained by Yves Tessier and owned by Francois Morin of Beauceville, paying $3.70 to win. TRACK NOTES: Driver Stephane Gendron wasted little time posting his first win of the new race meet, winning the second race pace Sunday with Reposession and is now just 12 wins away from scoring his 4,000th career win. Stephane Brosseau had the hot hands of all the drivers on the day, winning three races. Last year's leading trainer at H3R, Yves Tessier, picked up right where he left off last season, on top of the training standings with two wins from his stable. Live racing resumes next Sunday, post time 12:50 pm. Visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com for more information. From the Quebec Jockey Club

April 22, 2017 - Jerry Riordan’s trainee Twister Bi (5m Varenne-Lorraine Bi-Lemon Dra) took today’s harness racing Gr. I Seinajoku Race (Finland) (purse €108,000, first prize €60,000, 2100 meters autostart) timed in 1.13kr. The Italian bred campaigner is owned there by Pasquale Ciccarelli and now has a 2-1-0 slate in just three 2017 appearances and 18-6-1 in 41 career starts for €274,072 earned. Twister Bi led from the quarter post and drew off easily after a challenger went offstride in the final bend. Christoffer Eriksson piloted the winner, that bested Vasterboonthenews (9g Credit Winner-Sandra Dime-Alf Palema) reined by Peter Ingves. Third was fast-closing Anna Mix (7f Ludo de Castelle-Ires-Tenor de Baune) teamed by Jorma Kontio for owner Franck Leblanc. Twister Bi is next to race in Helsinki in two weeks. Twister Bi Jerry Riordan Thomas H. Hicks

April 22, 2017 - 1.8/1 Tobin Kronos (5m Muscle Hill-Zarnia FC-Sugarcane Hanover) took Saturday’s Umaker V75 day harness racing featured Berth Johanssons Memorial (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) with Orjan Kihlstrom aboard for trainer Daniel Reden and owner Brixton Medical. Tobin Kronos is two for two in 2017 and 11 for 26 lifetime for 2,531,836SEK earned. 4.6/1 Cruzado dela Noche (5m Muscle Massive-Alidade-Credit Winner) earned second money for driver Per Linderoth, trainer Stefan Melander and for owner Courant AB. Third was 3.6/1 In Vain Sund (5m Revenue-Staro Yasmine-Supergill) reined by Erik Adielsson  for trainer Reden. On the undercard was the V75 Gold Olympiatravet Test#4 (150,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) and the 1.2/1 favorite Propulsion (6m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) scored victorious timed in 1.12.7kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the Reden trainee for owner Stall Zet. Propulsion secured his first 2017 win in four starts and now has 20 wins in 41 career starts for 6,842,599SEK earned. 6/1 Fire To The Rain (6g Yankee Glide-Adelaide Hall-Conway Hall) took second for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Reijo Liljendahl. Third was 43/1 Cool Keeper (7m Broadway Hall-Missys GoGo-Yankee Glide) trained by Leif Witasp and driven this day by Kenth Akerlund. Thomas H. Hicks

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - When the 92-year-old boss flies in from San Diego, you don't want to disappoint him. Good thing Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) held up her end of the bargain Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $310,600 harness racing final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, Mackenzie A watched as Lispatty (Brian Sears) leave hard from the pylons, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) second and 9-10 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) third...all three away in post position order. Meanwhile, Regil Elektra (Yannick Gingras) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) tried to leave, only to get parked for their troubles (the latter badly compromised by the former). It was Lispatty leading at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile before Mach it a Par move to take the baton approaching the :55.1 intermission. Down the backside, Shesjustadelight N took out of third, with Mackenzie A third and Medusa (Matt Kakaley) staying in. Mach it a Par was seemingly in control in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with the uncovered rival pacing in place, forcing Mackenzie A wide. It was Mach it a Par owning a length-and-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. Mackenzie A blew on by, widening to win the ninth Matchmaker by 2¾ lengths in in life-best 1:53.1. Medusa, who had left the cones, failed to match strides with the winner but was a rallying second, with 81-1 rank outsider Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno) a closing third. That one found her way into the final after original eight-holer Empress Deo came up ill. Mach it a Par faded to fourth, with Shesjustadelight N fifth and Lispatty, Regil Elektra and Bedroomconfessions bringing up the rear. For co-second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by the nonagenarian Harry von Knoblauch (a fine TV interview) and his daughter, Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $167, the triple returned $6,251 the superfecta paid $19,960 (base $2 payout). "I thought I have to race her from off the pace," Stratton said. "The trip worked out perfect for us. I knew there were horses behind and I wanted to move." Stratton won the inaugural edition of the race in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels. Mackenzie A A $75,000 series consolation was won by Hidden Land (Bartlett, $9.50) in 1:54.1. Hidden Land Saturday night's $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.70) in 1:56.4. Barn Doll Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $24.80) was hard-used early and hard-headed late Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $529,000 final of the harness racing George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The sport's richest race of the season to date again honored the memory of the Hall of Fame founder of Roosevelt Raceway. At the outset of the 30th Levy, pole-sitting McWicked (Matt Kakaley) was-not surprisingly-put into play. He was joined by Keystone Velocity, who from post position No. 4, forged to the lead just after a spiffy :26.1, opening quarter-mile. Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett), leaving right outside of Keystone Velocity, was caught three-wide and forced to wrangle back to fourth. McWicked, who had retaken the lead in the second turn, found a :54.4 intermission before longshot Blood Brother (Brian Sears) moved from third. He uncoupled stablemate Somewhere in L A latched from second-over, with even-money choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick) and last season's champion, Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton), at the back of that train. McWicked maintained his advantage through a 1:22.3 intermission three-quarters (:27.4 third station), taking a tenuous lead into the lane. However, his night was about to come to a unsatisfying conclusion. McWicked was done early off final turn, but not before taking Keystone Velocity to the promised land of the passing lane. It was Keystone Velocity fighting off the race's other tough mile, beating Somewhere in L A by a head in 1:51.2. Missile J settled for third, beaten a length, with a very-wide Bit of a Legend N fourth and 107-1 proposition Soto (Brett Miller) grabbing the final pay envelope. Blood Brother, Pcovocativeprincen (Yannick Gingras) and McWicked completed the order. For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned (as Allard Racing) by trainer Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr and VIP Internet Stable, it was his third win (as the fifth choice) in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $135.50, the triple returned $593 and the superfecta paid $2,406. "Rene (Allard) and I talked before the race and we decided we had to leave the gate," Dube said. "I was just hoping Matt (Kakaley, with McWicked) could get me to the lane. My horse felt very strong, but I did see the other one (Somewhere in L A) coming." The driver/trainer combination won this race two seasons ago with Domethatagain, also with a two-hole trip. Keystone Velocity A $100,000 series consolation was won by Clear Vision (Miller, $8.40) in 1:51.3. Clear Vision Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 22, 2017) - The Meadowlands winner's circle was painted orange on Saturday night as Andy Miller swept the co-featured upper level paces en route to a four-win night during the 11-race harness racing program. Miller scored in the $18,000 conditioned pace with the red-hot Special T Rocks by a head in 1:50.4 over the narrow 2-1 favorite Alberto Contador. That came two races after Miller prevailed in a three-way finish with Artful Way, who shipped down from Saratoga for the victory in the co-featured $18,000 event. In between those races, Iwillmakeyousaywow lived up to his name by surviving brutal fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:21.4 to win the $17,500 Dash For The G-Notes Final from post 10. The biggest fireworks of the night came in Race 10 when Pat Lachance steered 13-year-old Semalu Express to a last-to-first win at 111-1 odds. He was followed by fellow 13-year-old Stormin Rustler, who was 95-1. The lucky $2 exacta returned $5,231.60 while the $2 trifecta with 6-5 favorite Camturo Beach came back $25,279.20. Corey Callahan and Jim Marohn, Jr. each had two driving wins while Eric Foster and Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. each had two training wins. Total handle was $2,326,485 for the 11-race card. Racing resumes next Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

LEBANON, OH. - McRaven, the hard luck harness racing colt that was sidelined after just two starts-both Ohio Sires Stakes victories-as a two-year-old, is back bigger and better than ever. The son of McArdle captured the championship of the 46th annual edition of the James K. Hackett Memorial for Buckeye bred sophomore pacers on Saturday (April 22) at Miami Valley Raceway, stopping the timer in 1:51.4 despite significant winds and chilly 48-degree temperatures. Following a third place finish in his initial 2017 outing, an elimination heat of the Hackett a week ago, trainer Brian Brown had McRaven primed for a big effort in his first major test of this season. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. settled the winner third at the pylons well before the quarter-mile marker was reached and saved ground inside all the way to the head of the stretch before swinging three-wide for the stretch drive. Despite drifting a couple lanes in the lane, McRaven paced four lengths faster than any of his rivals in the final furlong to edge Barley Up (Peter Wrenn, Ronnie's uncle) by a half length in 1:51.4. Heracer (Josh Sutton) also finished strong to claim the show money. Pacesetter Major Nemesis (Tony Hall), who had established a local track record of 1:51.2 in his elimination, made an untimely break in midstretch after cutting fractions of :26.2, :55.1 and 1:23.2. The Findlay, Ohio partnership of Country Club Acres Inc. and L & H Management Services own McRaven. His next start is expected to be in the first leg of the 2017 Ohio Sires Stakes series on Tuesday, May 2. If all goes well, he has an invitation to the new $50,000 Scarlet and Gray Invitational for Ohio-sired 3-year-olds on Miami Valley's closing day program May 8. McRaven Kiss Of Terror (Kyle Ater) swept from far back early to triumph for the second straight week in the $20,000 Open Handicap on the same card. Due to his outside post, the 5-year-old Western Terror gelding was dispatched at 12-1 odds, but managed to beat Control Tower (Dan Noble) and Gerries Sport (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) for his ninth seasonal victory. Kirk Nichols and Seth Downing own Kiss Of Terror, who is trained by Dan Ater. Kiss Of Terror Gregg Keidel

WILKES-BARRE PA – Major Uptrend has now won four times in a row, and is a nose away from having won eight straight, after he made the 181-mile ship from Dover to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono a profitable one Saturday night, taking the harness racing $25,000 winners-over pace in 1:50. Trainer Tim Crissman acquired this horse to condition in early February after a purchase and quickly found his key to success, which mostly has been to go to the front and improve on that position – during his almost-eight-race winning streak (he lost a nose to Limelight Beach at Dover on 3-16) he’s led at every call past the quarter except in that nose defeat. Driver Tony Morgan, who is now 6-for-6 teaming with Crissman behind the royally-bred winner (Somebeachsomewhere out of $1M winner Tricky Tooshie), rushed the favorite towards the lead after the quarter but was kept out by (ironically) Limelight Beach, who forced the Major to the half in 53.2. But from there, Major Uptrend was in command, winning by 1¼ lengths over Orillia Joe, who had set the Pocono seasonal standard of 1:49.4 from the pocket in this event last week, but had to come first-over here and settle for the deuce. The gelding, who went over $350,000 in career earnings with the victory, has shown a Major Uptrend in his form to the degree that Crissman Inc., in which Tim is part-owner, purchased the horse in combination with Niss Allen Inc. on March 26, and that ownership team 3-for-3 with the sharp pacer. Major Uptrend Top trotting event of the night was a $16,500 conditioned contest, which saw the Crazed gelding Crazshana brought back to the races nicely by trainer Jeff Bamond Jr., having to go first-over and trot his last half in 56.3 in his 2017 debut, yet still having enough to defeat pacesetting ABC Muscles Boy by 1½ lengths in 1:55.1 for driver Eric Goodell. Crazshana also broke an earnings plateau with his win, eclipsing the $250,000 lifetime bankroll mark for Bamond Racing LLC.   PHHA / Pocono

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Tina Sugarman, author of one of the top equine novels of 2016-2017, Horse Flesh, has agreed to share excerpts of her book with Harnesslink. Horse Flesh is a thriller mystery fiction novel based around a Standardbred racetrack in Ontario, Canada. It is the first novel ever penned by horsewoman, Tina Sugarman. Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here. Here is this week’s 8th excerpt from Horse Flesh! Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman THE BET On a calm evening in late August, Theo Vettore’s cousin, Lara Vachon, was standing down by the rail beside Iroquois Downs’ oval track, waiting and watching as Theo put Southview Sabre through his paces. It was 7 p.m. The plan was to take Southview Sabre a slow warm-up mile, but speed him up for the last eighth. Any hint of trouble and Lara was going to scratch her boy from the race and take him home. On the night, Theo had stumbled into Ferme Victoire afraid for his life, Lara had been on a vigil at Rivers Training centre, soaking Southview Sabre’s red hot right front foot in a tub of ice water. Lara treated all the horses she trained like her children, not that she had any of her own yet. She was only twenty-eight, after all. Unlike most trainers, Lara did not have the luxury of picking out yearlings at the Annual Sale. Instead, she took on whatever her father Bernie Vachon decided to give her: well-bred fillies with broodmare potential or colts who hadn’t found a buyer. Once in Lara’s barn, they were under her protection. She gave them as much time as they needed to get to the races and treated them all with equal affection, regardless of their talent (or the lack of it) on the racetrack. As Southview Sabre flew past the tote board, looking like a ghost in the dusk, Lara anxiously scrutinized him for any sign on lameness, any break in the horse’s rhythm. She found none. A pus pocket trapped deep inside his hoof had plagued Southview Sabre for weeks, unknown to anyone. After Dr. Winterflood had lanced it, the lameness disappeared overnight. The track lights kicked in, flooding the scene with colour: the green number pad flapping at the horse’s ribcage, the red and black of Theo’s racing jacket and the pale blue sulky with its white wheel discs spinning. Though his warm up run was over, Southview Sabre showed no sign of wanting to slow down. He sailed by a horse flashing four white stockings. Hurriedly, Lara consulted her overnight sheet. It was Mountain Boy, the 3 horse in the second. As both drivers swung their charges through a 180° turn and headed back to the Race Barn, a figure huddled in the shadows at the edge of the track sprang into life. A greater contrast between equine athleticism and human imperfection would have been hard to find. Lara recognized him immediately. As the man shuffled forward and reached out for Mountain Boy’s bridle, she shuddered involuntarily. She had made the mistake of hiring Crawfish Brown as a groom a couple of years back, in an act of charity. But she had discovered to her cost that despite his pitiful appearance, Crawfish was no saint. His left leg was crooked. His left eye was offset and half closed. He was missing several teeth and he always had a plug of tobacco in his mouth. The only time he went anywhere near water was when he was bathing the horses. But that wasn’t the real problem. Crawfish had generally showed up for work on time, unless he’d been out on a binge the night before. He was fairly good tempered, especially on pay day. He was conscientious too, unless he wanted to get away early. He was polite to Lara, unless he had a particular grudge to air. He was loyal, until Lara rumbled him, or as Crawfish put it, asked him to do a lot of things which weren’t a groom’s responsibility. . . She came out of her reverie just in time to avoid being knocked flat by Southview Sabre, who was throwing his head around like he’d had the time of his life out there. Hastily, she grabbed the bridle before she was decapitated. “Was he okay?” she asked anxiously. “He went his last eighth in thirteen seconds! That good enough for you?” Theo replied with a smile, handing her the lines. “I gotta go,” he added, a frown furrowing his brow. “Eh bien! Go!” Lara said, glancing at the tote board clock and wondering why Theo was in such a hurry. Post time for the first race was twenty-five minutes away. Inside the Race Barn, even though they were right next to one another, Crawfish ignored Lara. He busied himself, attaching his horse tightly to the cross-tie chains, as if the meek Mountain Boy was going to try and make a break for it. Lara couldn’t help noticing that, unusually, Crawfish appeared to have spruced himself up for the races. He was wearing a T-shirt without a rip in it, baggy black sweat pants which did their best to cover a pair of filthy, torn trainers and a lurid yellow baseball cap at war with his straggly brown hair, which she happened to know he cut with a razor, rather than getting a proper haircut. As for a visit to the dentist to fix his missing teeth, that was about as likely as a trip to the moon. Crawfish prided himself on being self-sufficient. Lara steeled herself not to feel guilty about firing him. She had to put the welfare of the horses first, she reminded herself firmly. Theo reappeared just as Lara was putting Southview Sabre’s bridle on, prior to race two. It was a struggle as the horse kept throwing his head around. His eyes were on fire. “Easy now, boy,” Theo said, holding onto the horse’s nose and steadying him. “Can’t wait to get at it, eh? Listen,” he added as Lara slipped the bit into the horse’s mouth. “I put three grand on him to win.” “You did what?” Lara hissed. “You do not bet!” “Hey! Lighten up!” Theo replied. “I got 12-1 online. After this race, God willing, I’ll be a free man.” “But they will think I ’ave been cheating with him!” Lara said, feeling outraged. “How could you do this to me, Theo?” “You want me to end up dead?” Theo muttered. Lara gulped. “How’s his foot?” Theo added nervously. “I am not telling you,” Lara replied angrily, glancing at Crawfish Brown in the next stall. She was certain he’d overheard their conversation. If so, everyone in the Race Barn would soon know all about it. “Hey! What d’you think you’re doing? You’ve hooked the lines up to the head halter, instead of the bit, you dumb idiot!” trainer Tom Larson growled at Crawfish, as Mountain Boy’s driver appeared. “Can’t get it right all the time,” Crawfish grumbled, hurriedly fixing the mistake. “What are you standing there grinning for? Lead ’im out!” Larson shouted. Crawfish jumped to it. But Lara noticed him hanging back after Mountain Boy had left the Race Barn, his left eyelid blinking rapidly. Her heart sank. Wherever Crawfish was, trouble was sure to follow. Outside the Race Barn, a crowd of horsemen had gathered to watch the running of the second race. Lara joined them, her heart beating faster. What if she’d got it wrong? What if Southview Sabre was no good tonight? There was so much at stake, not just for the horse, but for her cousin as well. She understood Theo needed to get the money from somewhere to clear his debts. But why did her horse have to be involved? As the starting car sped away, Theo grabbed the lead and opened up four lengths. The move did not go unnoticed. “I got the first eighth in thirteen seconds,” trainer Keith Lazer exclaimed, staring at his stopwatch. “Arrogant bastard,” Tony Hall exclaimed. “He’s as good as won!” Crawfish said excitedly. He was clutching a betting ticket, evidently dreaming of cashing it in. “My horse is getting a great trip!” Tom Cowboy Larsen said happily, watching Mountain Boy narrow the gap with the leader. “Jesus!” he added, ripping his Stetson off his head. “What’s that fool Harper think he’s doing?” Mountain Boy’s driver, Harry Harper, had brought his horse up to challenge Theo for the lead. The horse’s white stockings were pumping like pistons. Lara uttered a sigh of relief when Mountain Boy got to the top. A grudge match was the last thing her horse needed. To her consternation, Theo immediately swung Southview Sabre out to retake the lead and the two horses pulled away, fighting it out head to head. Suddenly Mountain Boy fell back. The crowd screamed. Mountain Boy had dropped like a stone, catapulting Harry Harper up and over the horse’s head. The driver landed hard and lay still. Unaware of the mayhem behind him, Theo carried on. Not for long! “Accident! Accident!” the track announcer called out urgently. “Stop your horses!” With a heavy heart, Lara watched as one of the outriders set off at a gallop, urging her pony on to intercept Theo, who was now fifteen or twenty lengths ahead of the pack. The other drivers were finally slowing down. The racetrack was suddenly crowded with horsemen, running to help the injured. Harry Harper and Mountain Boy lay strewn across the track, both of them ominously still. The vet ran over to Mountain Boy, who lay on the stone dust track, looking like he was made out of stone himself. Soon afterwards, Harry Harper got to his feet, looking a little dazed, too much cheering and clapping. Mountain Boy was stirring too. Tom Larson plonked himself down on the horse’s head and immediately began bawling Crawfish out. “Get this sulky off ’im before he comes to, you retard!” he cursed. “This is all your fault! Take a good look at that hopple hanger! No wonder he fell. It’s popped right out of the keeper. What d’you think I gave you that tape for eh?” Crawfish stood motionless, his face working, as if he had a great deal to say but was afraid to voice it. “You’re damn lucky he’s only winded,” Larson continued angrily. “You could’ve fuckin’ killed him!” “That’s it! I quit,” Crawfish declared, throwing down the bath bucket he’d been carrying and shuffling off. “Hey! Come back ’ere,” Larson said. “I ain’t done with you yet!” Crawfish kept right on going. Leaving Larson in the lurch did little to make up for a thoroughly disappointing evening. But it did cheer him up, just a bit. Stay tuned in to Harnesslink every week for another excerpt from Horse Flesh! Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here.
The Sunday harness racing action at Harrah's Philadelphia was centered around upper-conditioned level pacers, featuring two divisions of both non-winners of $21,500 in their last 5 starts and non-winners of $15,000 in their last 5, going for purse monies of $17,500 and $15,000 respectively. The first division of the non-winners of $21,500 went to the Ron Burke trainee Rock N' Roll World (Yannick Gingras). The 5-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover was able to clear the lead before the quarter, before yielding to Blaise MM Hanover (George Napolitano Jr.). After a slight second quarter rating (28.2), Rene Allard Trainee Crafty Master (Simon Allard) floated out first-over, but was unable to make serious headway. As they turned for home, Rock N' Roll World used the passing lane to get up in time over Blaise MM Hanover (2nd) and a closing Fashion Bythebeach (3rd), stopping the clock in 1:51, a seasonal mark. Rock N' Roll World is owned by Burke Racing, M1 Stable, Larry Karr, and Silva Stable 45. The second division went to the upset minded Mattamerican (Dave Miller). The 6-year-old son of Allamerican Native was able to use the cover of Validus Deo (Yannick Gingras) to get into position, before unleashing a sweeping move in the stretch to score by a head in 1:52.1. Second place finisher Hall Bro (Brett Miller) had powered his way to the front past the quarter, but came up just a head short. Dojea Solo (George Napolitano Jr.) settled for third. It was the second straight win for the Andrew Harris trainee, who payed $24.00 to win, keying a $130 exacta payoff. He is owned by Rob Key. Robbins Nest Farm's Gallic Beach sprung the upset in the first of two divisions of the Non-winners of $15,000 in their last 5 races. The John Wilkerson charge went right to the front and set a deliberate pace (:26.4, :55, 1:22) before stopping the clock in 1:50.2. That clocking was tied for the fastest of the day with Bettor Memories (Dave Miller) victory in the second division. Bettor Memories enjoyed a pocket journey behind the speed of Katies Rocker (Andy McCarthy) before powering away to win by 5 lengths in the end. The 4-year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight is owned by Gus Dovi and trained by Nifty Norman. Drivers Tim Tetrick, Dave Miller, and George Napolitano Jr. each had three wins on the program. Trainers Ron Burke and Matias Ruiz each had two. Live racing returns Wednesday, with a first post of 12:40 PM. Michael Bozich
Westfield, IN- With the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's May 15 camp application deadline rapidly approaching, students are not the only ones scrambling to prepare. The harness racing organization's stable of Trottingbred horses is being prepped for its cross-country tour. Our two newcomers, Cindy Jodine (with the Brett Bittle Stable) and Gold N Rose (with the Travis Ceppaluni Stable) are prepping in New Jersey. Also prepping in the Garden State is Pokie's Topshot with the Chris Ryder Stable. The Trottingbreds in have invaded Delaware in full force, with five HHYF horses training there. CD's Miss M (with the Jody Stafford Stable), Ima's Hit (with the Don Brittingham Stable), Royal Attire (with the Eddie Dennis Stable) and I want Another (with the Ron Millman Stable). The fifth Delaware trainee, LR Trixie, is again with the Andrew Stafford Stable and she is carrying on an HHYF tradition of getting youngsters engaged in all aspects of horse care. Just as the entire Giberson family was totally involved in the prepping of Sweet Karen for several years, so are the Staffords. Ten-year-old Ethan Stafford recently used Trixie in a 4-H harnessing demonstration, further cementing the four-year long friendship he has developed with the Trottingbred. And, speaking of HHYF's twenty-year-old goodwill ambassador, Sweet Karen (www.facebook.com/HHYFSweetKaren?ref=hl) will be doing several meet and greets this year, starting with the Diamond Creek Farm Open House on June 3. "Just like racehorses, our horses can't just show up at camps and be expected to work hard," says HHYF Executive Director Ellen Taylor. "They need to be legged up and in good physical condition. We could not possibly do the outreach we do without the voluntary work of our trainers each year. We are especially appreciative of Brittany Farms for providing an off-season home for our Trottingbreds during the last decade, as well as Diamond Creek Farm who will be assuming that responsibility this fall." The trainers will work with the horses for about two months before the HHYF camp season begins at Harrington Raceway in Delaware. From there the HHYF road show moves on to Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey before returning home before Labor Day. For a complete schedule of events, go to http://hhyf.org/schedule-applications. Now in its fifth decade of service to harness racing, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. For more information contact HHYF Project Manager Keith Gisser at 216-374-1392 or keith@hhyf.org  
WILKES-BARRE PA – Anwar Hanover ($42.40), riding great second-over cover for harness racing driver Andrew McCarthy, caught the first-over Cruise Patrol by a neck to lower his mark by a tick to 1:51.1 in winning the $18,000 featured pace Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The winning son of Well Said had been highly-enough regarded to try the Levy Series in March, but breaks in three of his last four starts had discouraged the bettors, resulting in his long price here. Frank Kamine (who ironically once was the trainer of Saturday night’s Levy champion Keystone Velocity) conditions Anwar Hanover for owner Mike Romanelli. There were a trio of $16,000 co-features on the Sunday card, one each for trotters of both sexes and one for pacing males.   Libertarian, a five-year-old altered son of Donato Hanover who was making only his 20th lifetime start, continued to make up for lost time, now having won half of his eight 2017 starts after a wire-to-wire 1:55.1 victory. Rich Gillock trains the promising trotter for owners Thomas Brice and Charles Receski. (Earlier in the card, Gillock also conditioned another Donato Hanover winner, the filly Icy Crystals, who finally broke her maiden in her  15th start and paid $63.60 under the guidance of Marcus “I Don’t Want To Be Known As The King Of The Longshots” Miller.)   Libertarian’s female counterpart was the Manofmanymissions mare Haileysgonedancing, who swung wide approaching headstretch and caught the pacesetting Catch All nearing the wire while equaling her lifetime mark of 1:55.4. Tom Jackson had sulky duties for trainer Susan Marshall, co-owner with James Matheos.   The Somebeachsomewhere colt Highalator won in the first two preliminaries of his Weiss Series competition, then kept out of the box last week and dropped in the pacing co-feature Sunday to keep his confidence high. And the strategy worked for trainer Jenny Bier as Highalator went wire-to-wire for his eighth straight victory, tallying in 1:53 for driver Victor Kirby and owners Daryl Bier and Charles Dombeck.   The Bobby Weiss Series preliminary action reclaims the spotlight on Monday and Tuesday at The Downs. Pacers of both sexes will have two divisions on Monday (minus Highalator); the trotters follow the next day with three divisions for each.   PHHA / Pocono
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