Day At The Track
Christen Me.jpg

Down Under star's arrival has owner upbeat

Freehold, NJ --- Richard Poillucci has admired harness racing pacer Christen Me from afar. With this week’s arrival of New Zealand’s 2015 Horse of the Year on U.S. soil, Poillucci looks forward to appreciating Christen Me’s talents from much nearer proximity. An 11-time Group 1 winner Down Under with nearly $2.5 million in purse earnings, Christen Me was recently purchased by Poillucci from the stable of New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety. Christen Me, a 9-year-old gelding by stallion Christian Cullen out of the award-winning broodmare Splendid Dreams, will be trained in the States by the husband-and-wife team of Jim King Jr. and Jo Ann Looney-King in Delaware. Tim Tetrick will drive Christen Me. Christen Me won 32 of 68 races in Australasia including the Miracle Mile, Auckland Cup, Victoria Cup, Hunter Cup, and Easter Cup. He hit the board a total of 53 times. He was trained by Dalgety and driven by Dexter Dunn for owners Charles Roberts and Vicki Purdon. “We’re very excited about him,” Poillucci said. “I’ve been trying to buy him for a long time. He’s quite the horse. There aren’t too many horses with his credentials to arrive in America. Dexter Dunn told Tim Tetrick that he’s the best horse he’s ever driven. If this guy is what we think he is, we could have a lot of fun.” Although he is 9 years old, Christen Me’s 68 starts are relatively few for a horse of that age. “He’s like a spring chicken,” Dalgety said on his website. “He is working great and looking fantastic. “We probably won’t realize quite how good he was until he’s gone. Not many earn $2-million plus in Australasia; only about seven or eight.” The sale of Christen Me came to fruition after it was confirmed the gelding was suffering from minor exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhaging. Lasix, which is permitted to treat the condition in North America, is not allowed Down Under. “A few races back, (Christen Me) was second to Lazarus, who is probably one of the best horses to ever race Down Under,” Poillucci said. “If he can finish second with bleeding issues to arguably the best horse in Australasia, what can we do here with Lasix and treating for bleeding? “They can’t do anything about it there, so why not give him the opportunity to be the shining star that he is? He could come back to be a very exciting horse in North America. If it all works it could be something really special. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that he’s the guy.” Poillucci said the Kings will take their time preparing Christen Me for this year’s racing in North America. “I did stake him to a few stakes that are later on so his acclimation could be a nice slow process,” Poillucci said. “It takes time. The first year is a very tough year for these horses. You’ve got to hope that everything goes well. Their clock is completely different. They’re going into fall; we’re coming into spring. They don’t know whether to grow hair, not grow hair. You’ve got to do the right thing by the horses. “He’s in tip-top shape. He’s a great looking animal, an absolutely gorgeous horse. Cran does an amazing job with his horses. We’re not going to go overboard with him this year. We’ll race him in some major races and see how he fares.” Christen Me is Poillucci’s latest purchase from Down Under, joining New Zealand-bred mare Nike Franco. Poillucci bought Nike Franco last year and she went 4-for-4 on the Delaware circuit, with a 1:51 victory over the boys in the Dover Downs Open Preferred Handicap to close out the season. The 7-year-old daughter of McArdle-Nearea Franco was one of the favorites in this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, but was sidelined because of a virus after her first start in the event. Nike Franco finished seventh in that start, but was beaten by only 2-1/2 lengths. She will miss the remainder of the series. “She has so many good races ahead of her that it doesn’t make sense to try to rush her back,” Poillucci said. “I think she could be arguably one of the top three mares in North America. That’s from Timmy, Jimmy. She was the best pacing mare in all of Australasia last year. She’s very, very talented. “Just what she did in her last start, being sick, was pretty amazing as well. That shows you her desire and heart.” Poillucci has downsized his stable to feature Christen Me, Nike Franco, and 5-year-old trotter Maestro Blue Chip, who won 13 of 20 races last year and earned $238,000. Maestro Blue Chip is being pointed to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial on May 6 at the Meadowlands. In addition to those three horses, Poillucci has two 2-year-old pacers in training. “The plan was to keep the cream of the crop,” Poillucci said. “I wanted a good trotter, a good mare, and a good Open pacer. I have Maestro, Nike, Christen. I have a couple of babies that are coming. We’ll see where we end up. I sold four very good horses (recently). I’ve decided to try to stay with the upper echelon and see how that works. “Whether that works or not, I can’t tell you,” he added, laughing. “But it sounds good. I like what I’ve got.” What Poillucci does know is that he’s looking forward to this year. Poillucci lives in Massachusetts, where he runs several businesses, including a luxury auto body center and real estate development company. He first became interested in harness racing while playing hockey in Canada. “If you don’t get excited about stuff like this in this business,” Poillucci said, “then you don’t belong in it.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Dr David Meirs, II, harness racing

Walnridge Farms Dr. David Meirs, II passes

Dr. David A. Meirs, II, who established Walnridge Equine Clinic, passed away on Monday, March 27 at the age of 87. Dr. Meirs inherited Walnridge from his aunts Lucretia, Elizabeth and Mary Ann in 1952 while he was a student at the Veterinary School of the University of Pennsylvania. At the time Walnridge was a struggling dairy operation in Cream Ridge, New Jersey. After graduation Dr. Meirs was associated with a mixed veterinary practice in Freehold while trying unsuccessfully to resurrect the farm.r. Meirs established the Walnridge clinic in 1965. With the advent of the New Jersey Sire Stakes program in 1972, he decided to become active in New Jersey’s Standardbred Industry. The first stallion to stand at Walnridge was Peerswick, a horse imported from New Zealand and acquired through Stanley Dancer. The equine clinic is known worldwide and truly serves as a lasting legacy to ‘Doc.’ Besides having started the equine clinic, Dr. Meirs served on numerous veterinary and agricultural boards to support, most importantly, the young veterinarians he helped to become the professionals they are today. Walnridge is now recognized throughout the Standardbred world as a pre-eminent breeding farm and an excellent veterinary facility. Services will be held on Saturday, April 1. More details to follow. by Geoff Dubrowsky

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Sailer Eddie ekes out photo finish win

Pompano Beach, FL...March 27, 2017...Sailer Eddie, driven by harness racing owner-trainer Kevin Wallis, barely held off the late charging Sooo Handsome, with Rick Plano in the bike, to escape with a photo finish victory in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot on Monday night (March 27). The official margin was a "nose" at the conclusion of the 1:54 journey with Boli and driver Wally Hennessey teaming up for show honors, 2¾ lengths away. Celebrity Maserati, trotting an even mile throughout, finished fourth while Explosive Muscles picked up the nickel in a field scratched down to six. At the outset, Sailer Eddie, leaving from Pompano Park's coveted post five, left with his usual alacrity and zipped into an early lead as Sooo Handsome, starting from post four, also showed some speed off the gate and settled in the garden spot. Explosive Muscles, Celebrity Maserati, Boli and Winding Hill completed the order through an opening quarter in :27.3 with positions unchanged past the half in :56.2 and three quarters in 1:25. Turning for home, Sailer Eddie cut the corner trying to protect his lead while Sooo Handsome left the coziness of the pocket and began gnawing away. The wire came just in time for Sailer Eddie and a stride too late for Sooo Handsome as the photo finish camera separated the pair by a whisker. After the race, driver Kevin Wallis said, "What helped tonight was the scratch that put us in the five post, a spot where it's beneficial to leave. "My horse likes to race in front. Just about all of the wins I have had with him have been on the front end and, when he's on, he can be pretty tough. "This is the fastest he's gone in quite some time and I am proud of his performance tonight." In garnering his fourth win of the year in eight starts, this seven year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall pushed his seasonal earnings to $20,910 and $360,351 lifetime. As the 2 to 1 third choice, Sailer Eddie paid $6.40 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Noble Anthony, driven by Mike Simons, by a nose over the feisty long-shot Commentary (John MacDonald) in 1:55.4. Massive Lightning (Mickey McNichol) finished a fast closing third, less than a length away, while Kabu and Pocket Trip picked up the final awards in the octet. The winner, a seven year-old gelded son of Andover Hall, survived a first over trip the entire last lap to get up in the last stride over the pace-setting Commentary, who had carved well rated fractions of :28.2, :58 and 1:26.3 before succumbing in the last stride. Noble Anthony is also trained by Simons and co-owns with Albert Abdala III. The win was the fourth of the year for Noble Anthony to push his 2017 bankroll to $19,525 and $120,255 lifetime. As the even money favorite on the tote-board, Noble Anthony paid $4.20 to win. In other Monday night action, the Florida Amateur Driving Club went to the starting gate in two divisions with The Budster and JLS Too Hot Taj, both owned by Oldford Racing and driven by Steve Oldford, winning their respective events. The Budster, a rugged 12 year-old altered son of Broadway Hall, took advantage of an early miscue by the 2 to 5 favorite, A Crown For Lindy, and went on to score a near gate-to-wire win in 1:58.4. The winner scored a 2¼ length victory over Chip Chip Page (Tony Dinges) with Flaming Yankee ("Touchdown" Teddy Bowman) another half-length back in third. Tymal Recap finished fourth while Frenchman finished fifth. The Budster won for the 45th time in his career stretching 229 starts, vaulting his career bankroll to $651,476. As second choice, The Budster paid $8.80 to win. JLS Too Hot Taj, took command after a brief tussle with Garlandsandpearls (Dein Spriggs) to score a gritty win in a career best 1:56.2--that winning margin a head with B Cor Thomas (Billy Muggleston) third, just a half-length away. This five year-old daughter of Pilgrims Taj won for the fourth time this semester in 11 starts, pushing her bounty to $13,271. Career-wise, this Mike Deters trainee has $63,798 on her card with 10 wins. As the slight even-money favorite on the tote-board, JLS Too Hot Taj paid $4.20 to win. The Amateur Club pushed their donations well over the $180,000 plateau with a sizable contribution to Equine Assisted Therapies, an organization that specializes in Therapeutic Riding, Hippothearpy, Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Psychotherapy, including a Wounded Warrior program. Molly Murphy, Executive Director of the Organization, was on hand in the winner's circle to accept the donation. Racing continues on Tuesday night with mares in the spotlight in the $8,500 Open Trot. This classy sextet features McKenzie's Star, Serendipitious, Bad Angel, Diamond Dagger, Celebrity Artemis and She's All In, the latter seeking a repeat victory. The track will also offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick-4, conducted on races 6 through 9, as well as a carryover of $33,732.89 on the Super Hi-5 finale. That entire Super Hi-5 jackpot can only be claimed when there is only one ticket sold on the winning combination. Multiple winners share 50% of that night's pool with the balance added to the existing carryover. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Connors’ Comments at Pocono Downs

Temperatures held in the mid/low 40s throughout the night … “+0” variant on Saturday 25th of March; what water there was in the harness racing track that caused it to be rated “good” for races 1-4 gradually worked out because of the atypical stretch tailwind, and the surface was rated “fast” thereafter … ALLBEEF N NOBULL left some, then got a great second-over trip, three-wide to headstretch, strong through the lane. HALL BRO left strongly, forced a tuck, then strung a rival out most of the way to the 3/8, yielded for the pocket, cleared in the Pocono Pike but only after the winner had momentum going for him, finished steadily. AMERICAN RAGE was third-over, couldn’t quite keep with the winner late turn and into the stretch, but then came on with a good gain. RATHER SWELL sat in, went to the path behind the winner but was never clear to the wire. BIG GAME HUNTER left between horses, took the early pocket 3/16, came out raw off the second turn, fought the leader and had an advantage, but not the rail, on the far turn, held well. JOHNNY O gapped at the ¾. MACHTU N, a bit rank behind the gate, was three-wide to the 3/16, then pressed on to command before the 3/8, didn’t get much rest on the lead, gave way in the stretch. SPORTSKEEPER was never a major player. SECOND RACE – LUNATIC FRINGE came first-up into the second turn, speed-grinded in 27.2 down the backstretch against the wind and kept up the relentless pressure, showed fine gameness as the twilight’s last gleaming approached to get the job done. WINTER BLAST was second-over, struggled a little bit during the quick third quarter then was closer, three-wide headstretch, just not quite enough. JACKSON BRADY stayed in, then came out two-wide ¾, did not tip wide, came through a thin hole and finished well while not clear. DAVID THE SAINT left and indeed had the lead towards the first turn, but was forced into the pocket by an insistent polesitter in a 26.4 vs. the wind, sat in the pocket, cleared in the Pike but didn’t have enough. VICEROY HANOVER was fourth-over, did OK+ from an impossible spot. AMORA BEACH insisted on the lead and forced a tuck in a 26.4 quarter, had the winner grinding at him, was a beaten horse before headstretch but still only missed 2¼ lengths. IM SO HANDSOME was third-over, ducked to the Pocono Pike, evenly. FEEL MY PAIN gapped. THIRD RACE – REAL ROCKER spotted fourth early, then quarter-moved to 3/8 command, opened a clear lead at the 5/8, got on a line significantly coming out of the final turn and hit a pylon, but quickly got straightened away and drew further clear. KEYSTONE CAMARO was looped leaving, briefly had cover then went up uncovered to gain the lead just past the ¼, yielded to the winner, couldn’t go with that one but still held well for second. NITTANY NATION sat last until the ¾, then made a nice three-wide move on the turn and passed a lot of horses to be third. ONE MORE MIRACLE outleft everybody from the outside post, yielded, inside, struggled in the fast mile for this class. CANE RIDGE left some, then came uncovered at the ½ but never got near the leader. MACHMILLIONS spotted then moved second-over, inside on the far turn, not prominent. WANT ME was empty inside at the ¾. SHADOW’S IMAGE was never close and finished far back. FOURTH RACE – SWISHNFLICK went right to the top and improved her position from there, strong to the wire. FLEET BUMBLEBEE was looped, took back to tuck third 3/16, out again ¾, trotted well in the lane bur was up against a powerful winner. FOR YOU ALMOSTFREE defended the pocket past the 1/8, then weakened in that spot through the lane, still far clear of the rest. TREASURE KEYS K came out 5/8 to try to pass a gapping MAJESTIC STONE, eventually did late. ANAFFAIRTOREMEMBER looked to be considering leaving but broke early. THE OTHERS were always far back. FIFTH RACE – CRAFTY MASTER was outermost of four leavers, quickly took back to tuck fourth at the 1/8, then moved uncovered towards the second turn, was a bit on a line on that turn but then went on to get the lead 9/16, had an easy time of it the last 3/8 for a Simon-Rene consecutive triple. OUR JERRY LEE N left and was three-wide to the 3/16, where he backed off and got a 3-tuck, stayed in until headstretch then fanned wide, finished solidly in a quality mile. BONFIRE BLISS sat in and used the Pocono Pike to win a three-way photo for the distant third. IN COMMANDO left, yielded nearing the 1/8, regained at the 3/8 but then yielded again at the 9/16, couldn’t keep pace the last 3/8. BOLD AND BRAVE was between horses to the lead shortly before the fast quarter, yielded and stayed in, outside stretch but little to offer. FREENEASY HANOVER was first-over, never reached the horse sitting third. THE OTHER PAIR did not make their presence felt. SIXTH RACE – QUICK FUN N led from the first step to the last and strung the field out in the fastest mile of the young local season – 1:51.4 (in a bottom conditioned pace). DR C’S Z TAM did his best to keep up with the super-strong winner, clearly second. SB IDEAL IN ART didn’t have good cover, went three-wide midturn, easily third. MUST BE THE BUNNY came raw into turn two but never made a dent. JET PASSING stopped staying semitight in third at the 5/8. THE REST were scattered up the track behind this riproaring mile. SEVENTH RACE – TECHTOR HANOVER left, yielded near the ¼, came out raw 3/8 to regain command at the ½ after snappy fractions, had a bunch of horses coming at him in the stretch but had enough to go on gamely to the wire for the tally. RUFO started first-up from next-to-last on the second turn, got cover past the 5/8, swung wide off that cover headstretch and raced strongly late to be second. GRAND THEFT was looped and three-wide most of the 3/16, then went on and made the lead only after very hard work 3/8, yielded for the pocket, OK in the stretch considering the hard early price paid. IDEAL MATTERS was out much of the ¼ to reach the front after being looped, yielded, came out raw past the 5/8, held stubbornly. HERE COMES SWIFTY stayed in, angled out in the stretch behind the winner then angled wider very late and continued to gain. YANKEE DEVIL sat in, never had a clear path in the stretch. THE OTHER PAIR were in the two-wide flow but didn’t reach. EIGHTH RACE – DW’S NY YANK left, went into the pocket for a few steps just past the 3/16 then quarter-moved (perhaps fearing a quarter-move from the horse behind him), kept going at a good clip, had one challenger late in the form of pocketsitting SKATES N PLATES and showed his millionaire gameness in taking the win. SKATES N PLATES did not want to yield and went 27.1 to the ¼, finally accepted the pocket, stayed tight, went to the Pocono Pike and was gaining, very good race. ZOOMING tucked third, gapped in the second quarter, came uncovered 5/8, outtrotted by the top two but well-clear of the others. KARETS gapped second-over, evenly late. THE OTHER FOUR never made their presence felt. NINTH RACE --  PHIL YOUR BOOTS left then parked a foe much of a very fast quarter, reclaimed the lead 3/8, had pressure down the backstretch, briefly drew clear to headstretch, but rocked to the wire to keep safe. THAT’S MY OPINION started uncovered at the 3/8 and rushed up quickly, battled with the winner, lost ground to headstretch but then found a second wind and gained some back late in a sharp outing. HIGHVIEW CONALL N gapped the latter part of the swift opener, inside, swung out in the stretch and just got past STARLITE KID late for third. The latter left, outside 3/16 in the 26.2 opener, yielded to the winner, evenly late. PANSFORMATIVE had more pace than the others in the stretch to get the last payday. ONE BAD NIGHT was hindered by dull cover. PIERCE plodded along midpack outside the mile, empty at the ¾. CHARGER BLUE CHIP gapped at the back. TRADING UP was third-over, three-wide early on the turn but had very little. TENTH RACE – CITY HALL was four-wide leaving but had taken back to two-wide covered into the first turn, briefly three-wide around the trouble nearing the ¼ then motored up to grab hold of the lead to the 3/8, urged ¾ and had enough response to withstand CASIMIR JITTERBUG. The latter was three-wide leaving, bore down into ONTARIO SUCCESS 3/16 and caused trouble, yielded to the winner for the pocket, charged up the Lightning Lane and was solid late. A judges’ INQUIRY was originally posted against ONTARIO SUCCESS, because he was the one who went offstride, but eventually it was determined that that horse jumped because CASIMIR JITTERBUG had a wheel under him, and CASIMIR was jitterbugged from second to fourth. ONTARIO SUCCESS was two-wide leaving to the top, looked ready to yield when crowded and suffered an “ix,” regained stride fairly quickly though falling back from second to fifth, launched uncovered, couldn’t reach the winner down the back but was very game through the drive considering the trouble he had. QUALITY CLOSER left and yielded, had to snatch up a bit behind the late first turn trouble, inside, fair. COWBOY TERRIER was briefly wide just before the ¼ in the confusion, tucked in, then went to second-over, not quite enough. LEAN ON YOU sat in, evenly. BESTJETYET was in a very tough spot. UNCLE BEN N jumped offstride 100 feet before the start. ELEVENTH RACE – A fast pace and constant movement helped STONEHOUSE ADAM (not to be confused with STONEBRIDGE ADAM in race twelve), who came four-wide from fourth-over past midturn and had enough in the decelerating pace to get home first – a triple for the team of Goodell and Burke. ROCKEN CAMNATION, four-wide off the gate, left quickly but was forced to go 26.4 to make the lead, yielded to the retaker, sat the pocket, came clear in the Pocono Pike and looked to have a brief lead past midstretch but couldn’t quite get it all. VISIBLE GOLD sat in, found a small path between horses past midstretch and finished steadily. LISCLOON had a fine second-over trip, three-wide past midturn, OK but no real excuse. ETHAN HANOVER was three-wide early, raced with cover until tucking third 3/16, then went first-up 3/8, had the lead but couldn’t cross over from before the ¾ and through the turn, gave way. TOPCORNERTERROR was never a contender. DIRTY DEVIL forced a fast quarter, yielded but quickly retook, under intense pressure most of the last 3/8 and tired. GREAT SOUL gapped third-over. TWELFTH RACE – CARDIAC FASHION came uncovered into the second bend, then stormed 27.3 against the wind down the backstretch to clear to the lead before the ¾, kept an open margin. THEREISAPACEFORUS came all the way up the inside from last, including using the Pocono Pike, and had solid late steps. MAJOR HOMER was first away from the gate but was four-wide and was put under restraint to take back for a tuck, stayed in, angled three-wide midturn and did pretty well. MOJO TERROR improved position at the start, struggled o keep up from the 11/16. STONEBRIDGE ADAM (not to be confused with STONEHOUSE ADAM in race 11) forced wholesale tucks as the innermost leader, rated the half, but could do nothing about the winner late backstretch and faded. JC KINGDOM made the pocket before the 3/16, moved outside on the turn but had little left to give. BACK ON BOARD N was hindered by the poor cover of TWINSPEAK. THIRTEENTH RACE – RUDDY RUSTY sailed right to the lead and went on at a good clip, opened a big lead but was getting a bit weary late and needed rocking to hold off LINDYLICIOUS, with those two far ahead of the others. The latter came out before the 5/8, didn’t advance much until the last 1/8, then came on steadily to be a clear second. A LISTER maintained the pocket until unplugging before the ¾. HAILEYSGONEDANCING started uncovered into turn two, got cover nearing the 5/8, evenly. BY CANCE HANOVER and PEGASUS POINT were never in the main action. TAROT ran about 100 feet before the start, caught by the start line but never got back in the race. LASER LUCY took a while to settle to the inside, then moved out but had no trot. SHEZA TIM TOO went offstride down the back.    

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 4th excerpt from Horse Flesh! Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman CORNERED Theo sprinted to his car through the pouring rain. He fumbled with the key, shaking like a leaf. He knew all about those guys in dark glasses. If they thought he hadn’t done his best to win, however untrue that was, he’d be in big trouble. He’d been feeling pretty low about losing with Heart of Darkness. That now seemed insignificant. Somehow, he got out of the horsemen’s parking lot without running into anything. Then he hit the road. The rain was cascading down like Niagara Falls. It had grounded every sane driver, so he was alone out there. The windshield wipers simply couldn’t cope with the torrent, but he desperately needed to put some distance between him and the racetrack. Moose had scared the shit out of him! Things were getting way too complicated at Iroquois Downs. There was plenty to worry about driving in a horse race without all that. He took the Indian Trail. It was slow going, as the road meandered through the bush. But Theo struggled on, using the blurred, watery house lights that appeared from time to time to guide him. At length, he reached open country and a straight road. The rain was easing up. He breathed a sigh of relief. He was almost home. Ferme Victoire, his Uncle Bernie’s place, was just around the corner. His relief was short lived. A pair of headlights materialized out of thin air. He had a fleeting glimpse of a vast combine harvester coming straight at him, as he slammed on the brakes. He put his hand down on the horn and held it there, but the headlights kept on coming. Was the maniac at the wheel deaf as well as blind? And what the hell was it doing out at this time of night, in this weather? Suddenly he knew. A split second later, another set of lights shone in his rear-view mirror, half blinding him. He was trapped! He had to get off the road! He swung left and instantly regretted his decision. An ugly looking barbed wire fence lay on top of a steep bank. He swerved to the right. His tires squealed in protest, but he put his foot down hard on the accelerator and prayed. There was a deafening crash. The air around him exploded. Theo watched, fascinated, as tiny air bubbles floated slowly across his line of vision. The car rocked violently, then landed right side up. Everything stopped. His headlights were shining on a sea of green corn. It was eerily quiet. The passenger door was pressing right up against his right arm. But by some miracle, he was still in one piece. He forced his way out and glanced up at the road. What he saw there made his heart stop. Two massive guys were silhouetted in the headlights streaming from a long black limousine that looked like a hearse. But the men looked nothing like undertakers. They were wielding powerful flashlights which, in their hands, looked like lethal weapons. But it was the sight of the long knives hanging from their belts which really scared him. He didn’t wait to find out more. He pushed his way through corn stalks, floundering on the heavy ground, ankle deep in mud. He’d heard stories about these guys, terrifying stories. He struggled on, his progress maddeningly slow, his imagination running riot. But despite his urgent need to put in as much distance as possible between him and them, he could feel that he was running out of steam. He and his cousin Lara had been in plenty of scrapes as kids, but this was no game! He hunkered down, listening intently. Smash! Bang! They were trashing his car, breaking the windows, slashing the tires. The headlights dimmed, then died. A piece of Theo died with it. Apart from his race bike, the car was the only thing he owned. Bastards, he cursed silently, afraid to make a sound. Suddenly everything went quiet again, a silence filled with menace. Now they were through with the car, they’d come after him, he guessed. He froze, peering through the rows of corn, hearing nothing, seeing even less. After what felt like an eternity, a powerful engine no hearse would ever possess roared into life, its dark outline menacing, even from a safe distance. This was no ordinary vehicle, Theo realized. Its front end was built like a battering ram. He shuddered as it rolled away down the road, its red tail lights glowing in the dark. Theo rose cautiously to his feet and looked about him, wondering what to do next. There was no sense going back to his car. It was a total write off. As he squelched through the mud to higher ground at the edge of the field, he realized the rain had stopped. He sat down and emptied the water out of his shoes. What now? he asked himself. Dave Bodinski waited for a break between cloudbursts before setting off for home, a one-bedroom walk-up on Erinsville’s east side. It didn’t bother him so much that he had to go see the judges in the morning. He and Scotty McCoy had to sing from the same hymn book, is all. But the rumour running around the Race Barn about some guys losing a big bet in the fourth, that had bothered him. Big time! He knew in his gut that Raiders Moon’s win had a lot to do with it and, thanks to the judges practically arresting him in the grandstand, there was a big fat finger pointing directly at him. Every couple of minutes he took a peek in his rear view mirror, looking out for a guy on his tail, even though he had no idea what he’d do if he was being followed. To his relief, he reached his building without incident. On his way up the stairs, the phone started ringing. He unlocked his front door in record time and ran inside, but the phone cut out, right after he picked up. Normally he’d have cared less, but he had to wonder. Who’d be calling at this time of night? And why? When no one called back, he assumed the worst. He locked all the windows and double bolted the front door. He was thankful that his apartment was on the second floor. It gave him a sporting chance. He decided to take Scotty McCoy with him to cash in the tickets. Scotty wasn’t big, but he was stronger than he looked. He was bull headed too. If anyone tried to jump them, Scotty wouldn’t take it lying down. Hoping for the best, Dave switched off his phone and barricaded himself in the bedroom. He fell into a fitful doze, listening to the sound of the rain on the window panes. The road was far too dangerous, Theo realized. He went in the opposite direction, walking along the narrow ridge of grass on the edge of the field, listening intently to every sound, trying to ignore the sinister rustling in the corn stalks. He was doing okay till an owl hooted in his ear. Eventually the corn field gave way to bush. He hesitated for a moment. Then he began fighting his way through the undergrowth, feeling very much alone. The moon, his only source of light, had disappeared behind the clouds. If he’d got it right, his uncle’s farm wasn’t far off. If not…he’d just have to hole up in the woods and wait till dawn. He’d reckoned without the coyotes. The first howl, too close for comfort, sent shivers down his spine. It was quickly joined by others. A deer came bounding towards him, nearly running him down. The pack was on the hunt. The clouds rolled back and he made out the shadowy forms of the coyotes snaking in and out of the trees, their eyes glinting. They were after something. He just hoped it wasn’t him! For the fifth time that night, Scotty McCoy left the pay phone and made his way back to his barn. He was cold, wet and worried sick. Where was Dave when he needed him? Raiders Moon wasn’t acting right. If she got any worse, he’d be forced to call the vet and that was the last thing he wanted to do right now. It was like calling the police after you’d committed a crime. Nevertheless, after looking over the mare one more time, Scotty knew he had to bite the bullet. Things had gone too far. Even Dave couldn’t help him now. Coyotes didn’t generally attack people, but they’d take a puppy or a pet cat in a heartbeat. Better safe than sorry, Theo reasoned, getting down on his hands and knees and groping around for something to throw at them. Eventually, his fingers closed on a dead branch. Pretty soon he spotted the coyotes’ intended quarry: a clutch of round eyed baby raccoons, trying to shimmy up a tree trunk, the picture of innocence. As the pack edged forward, he brandished his tree branch, yelling at the top of his lungs. To his relief, the coyotes turned tail and ran. Ousting them gave him a much-needed boost, but when he looked around for the raccoons they had disappeared. There’s gratitude for you, he thought. A hundred metres further on, the outline of his uncle’s hay barn loomed up, it’s reassuring light shining like a beacon through the mist. He was almost home! Then the barn light cut out, plunging him into darkness. Minutes ticked by. Theo was afraid to make a move. Was this an ordinary power cut, or were the Undertakers out there somewhere, waiting for him? Rain hit veterinarian Jay Winterflood smack in the face the moment he left the comfort of his truck. Getting to Scotty McCoy’s barn was like fording a swollen river, something he’d had plenty of practice at on the Cree Reserve in Quebec, where he had spent the first fifteen years of his life. Inside the barn, a man was sprawled on a rickety chair, half asleep. He jumped up when he saw Jay. “Doc!” he exclaimed. “Scotty McCoy?” Jay asked. Scotty nodded. “She’s bad, Doc, real bad,” he said hurrying over to one of the stalls and opening the door. The horse inside was obviously in distress. She’d backed herself into a corner. Her head was almost touching the floor and her flanks were heaving. There was a chill in the air which had nothing to do with the temperature. It clung to the hay bales stacked in the aisle way and lingered on the upturned jog carts and the harness bags hanging from the rafters. Involuntarily Jay shivered.  “I don’t understand it!” Scotty said, scratching his head. “She raced great tonight. She won!” “How long has she been like this?” Jay asked, gesturing at the cowpat-like manure strewn around her stall. Scotty hung his head. “Two, three hours,” he confessed. “I figured she’d come out of it, see.” “I need to know exactly what she was given today,” Jay said gravely. “Nothing!” Scotty replied indignantly. “If you want me to save your mare, you’d better tell me the truth!” “Three boxes of baking soda,” Scotty mumbled. “An’ a box o’ cake sugar.” “You know,” Jay said, “you guys think that baking soda is harmless.” “I never used it before!” Scotty cut in. “And in small doses, it is harmless,” Jay continued “But you can see now, used in excess, it can have a devastating effect.” “You take cash?” Scotty asked, evidently anxious to put a stop to the lecture. “You need to bring her into the clinic right away,” Jay said firmly. “My preliminary diagnosis is intestinal distress and extreme dehydration. I can’t treat her here.” “The clinic!” Scotty exclaimed, looking horrified. “They killed the last one I sent in there. Stuck me with a bill for three grand anyway.” “Not on my watch,” Jay replied. “I’ll meet you there in twenty minutes.” He picked up his bag. “I’m hoping we won’t have to operate,” he added, walking towards the door. “Operate!” Scotty repeated. Time was slipping away, Jay could feel it. He was blessed and cursed by an uncanny ability, a sixth sense. The gift had come to him from his mother’s people. It made most Canadians uneasy, so he’d learned to keep it to himself. “I don’t want no trouble, Doc!” Scotty said. “Load her up,” Jay replied, losing patience. “The sooner I start treatment the better her chances.” “You mean she might not make it?” Scotty asked, looking terrified. “I’m not making any promises,” Jay replied grimly, heading out into the downpour. The house was pitch black. Even the porch light was out. Clawing his way through the dark, Theo clambered up the porch steps, trying to avoid the one that creaked, a legacy from his teenage days. Uncle Bernie used to leave an emergency key in a flowerpot. He groped his way towards it and felt around. To his surprise, it was still there, buried in the earth. Gingerly, he opened the heavy front door only to be bombarded by the thud of boots and blinded by a flashlight. This time there was nowhere to run. He was cornered! “Theo?” he heard Uncle Bernie’s voice ask uncertainly. “What’s going on? It’s two o’clock in the morning! Look at you!” he exclaimed. “Marta!” he called out. “It’s alright! It’s only Theo.” A few minutes later Theo was sitting at the kitchen table wrapped in a horse blanket, drinking hot milk with a slug of brandy. Shadows cast by the candlelight were dancing on the walls. The electricity was still out. “You look very bad,” Marta pronounced. “Tell him Bernie. It is true, yes?” “You got yourself in some kind of trouble?” Bernie asked, looking worried to death. “I’ll tell you,” Theo replied shakily, finishing off the brandy. “I’ll tell you the whole sorry story. You’re not going to believe this!” André Fontainbleu was sitting in his private study watching the video he had secretly made of him and Anya making love earlier that night. He was pleased with his performance. Two females had given him pleasure tonight: Anya and the filly, Jolie Dame. Stay tuned in to Harnesslink every week for another excerpt from Horse Flesh!

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 27, 2017 - You just have to admire someone who was in a sow barn by day and a Yonkers Raceway harness racing winner's circle by night. "She's the best horse we've ever had," owner Jeffrey Williamson said after not-quite-death-and-taxes Cousin Mary (Jordan Stratton, $2.70) easily disposed of her seven rivals in Monday's (March 27th) final of the $61,000 Petticoat Pacing Series. The series was open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers who are/were non-winners of four races or $40,000 through last Dec.1 and pretty much closed once 'Mary' strutted her stuff. After hat-tricking her three Petticoat prelims, Cousin Mary won the draw for the final. Yielding early to St. Kitts (Jason Bartlett), the people's choice took over eight before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. From there, is was quite simple (:57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54.3) after putting away a first-over bid from Vintage Babe (Yannick Gingras). The margin, a length-and-a-half entering the lane, was 2¾ lengths at the wire. St. Kitts was second, with a closing A Crafty Lady (Dan Dube) third. Vintage Babe and Real Diva (George Brennan) settled for the minors, while Northern Soiree (Matt Kakaley), Rei's Star Cross (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) rounded out the order. For Cousin Mary, a 4-year-old daughter of Camluck owned by Williamson-a hog farmer northwest of Toronto-and trained by Andrew Harris, it was her seventh win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13.20, the triple returned $170 and the superfecta paid $704. "Honestly, when she first came to me, I didn't think that much of her,' Harris said. "She was handling (Yonkers') lower conditions, but not going that fast. When she moved up from non-winners of four (races) to non-winners of eight, she lost but raced better than she did when she was winning. "That's when I thought she had a future. Tonight was the first time the series Jordan (Stratton) popped her plugs, and I don't know where her bottom is." A $30,000 series consolation was won by a Winners Over MacDonald, $36.60) in 1:55.1. Monday night's Pick 5, which began with a $5,353.51 carryover, attracted $22,248 worth of fresh investors. The winning combination of 4/1/4/5/1 paid $60.87 for every winning half-a-buck-wager. The $61,800 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series goes Tuesday night (March 28th). Frank Drucker

DOVER, Del.--- The 2017 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Three-Year-Old $20,000 preliminaries got underway on Monday, March 27at Dover Downs on March 27 with Master Clave and Moonshine Lavec posting totting wins. Kin the first division, Master Clave quickly responded after breaking stride at the start making up 10 length before taking the lead on the final turn on the way to a 2:01.1 victory. Ross Wolfenden guided the Master Lavec-Dilly Dally Delia gelding owned by Ben Brooks and trained by John Wilkerson. It was the first start of the year for the winner of five races in eight starts last season. He has now earned $106,750 in his career. Master Kingpin (Art Stafford Jr.) piloted the second-place finisher. Kirby In Command (Jared Moyer) took third. Moonshine Lavec was too much in the $20,000 second section. Sean Bier directed the three-year-old by Master Lavec-Chocolate N Roses trained by Erika Paradee who owns the gelding with Francisca Munoz and Chrissy Crissman. Crosby (George Dennis), last November's upset winner of the $100,000 DSBF freshman final, was second in front of Jiggs (Vic Kirby). It was the third start and first win of the year for Moonshine Lavec who has won $66,401 lifetime. Crissman Inc.'s Fancy Colt won the fastest event pm the regular program pacing a 1"50.4 mile. The Always A Virgin Fanciful Hanover gelding scored his third victory of the year with Tony Morgan in the bike. The seven-year-old has a lifetime bankroll of #227,355. Delaware Hanover (Wolfenden) was second with Bad Man Sam (Corey Callahan) third/ Frank Milby drove the day's longest shot 20-1 Big Secret for owner-trainer Jeff Clark and David Clark, a 1:52.1 victory. Ross Wolfenden, Tony Morgan and Corey Callahan notched driving doubles. FOUR $20,000 DSBF FILLY PACE 1ST LEG PRELIMS ON TUESDAY CARD The Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) spotlights four $20,000 Three-Year-Old Filly Pace 1st leg  preliminary divisions are led by the first- second and third-place finishers in last Fall’s $100,000 finals. Logan’s Girl was the winner upsetting favorite Spanish Dream who finished third with Magicinthemoonlite second.  Logan’s Girl won seven of nine starts last year winning $147,840 in purses. She is fresh from a 1:53.1 victory in a prep last week. Vic Kirby will drive for trainer Jim King and owner JoAnn Looney-King in the opening section. Scott Woogen’s KJ Dale, a freshman prelim winner and third in the consolation, is in the hands of Tim Tetrick. Thomson Sisters Racing’s Free Flight Fran is another contender. The second $20,000 DSBF event finds Mangicinthemoonlite and Tetrick leaving from the outside for trainer Arlene Cameron and owners Linda Condor and Kevin Freeman. She meets George Teague’s Bad Mama with Montrell Teague from the rail. She’s No Spinster had a pair of prelim wins in November for owners Ashley, Cain, Yenser and driver Allan Davis. George Leader’s Diva Demands is fresh from a win last week at Rosecroft and will be driven by meet leader Corey Callahan in the third $20,000 leg. JoAnn Looney-King’s Lillisbagsrpacked with Vic Kirby and breeder, owner, trainer Virginia Louthan’s Giga Spin head the opposition.   The final DSBF prelim is led by Spanish Dream for the King owned and trained with Kirby driving from post 1. Joel and Dianne Halpern’s homebred Westwind Roddylee and Tim Tetrick and George Teague’s I Won Them Both with Montrell Teague are the major challengers.   . The DSBF 2nd leg prelims are set for next week. Topping the non-stakes program is a $20,000 Mares Open Handicap pace featuring a hard-hitting field of seven. Five-times winner Bryan Truitt’s Enhance Your Mind (Kirby), stakes winner Newborn Sassy (Tetrick) racing for CC Racing and JoAnn Looney-King, JFE Enterprise’s Scandalicious (Tony Morgan) and KDK Standardbred’s Apple Bottom Jeans (Teague), who set a Rosecroft 1:50.3 track record last week, have upset credentials. An terrific supporting card is on the 15-race Tuesday program.      Monday through Thursday live racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are ‘dark days’ at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     <<<DOVER DOWNS>>> Contact Marv Bachrad 302-857-3294   e-mail: mbachrad@doverdowns.com Fax 302-734-3134   MASTER CAVE, MOONSHINE LAVEC WIN 20,000 DSBF 1ST LEG DIVISIONS   DOVER, Del.--- The 2017 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Three-Year-Old $20,000 preliminaries got underway on Monday, March 27at Dover Downs on March 27 with Master Clave and Moonshine Lavec posting totting wins.   Kin the first division, Master Clave quickly responded after breaking stride at the start making up 10 length before taking the lead on the final turn on the way to a 2:01.1 victory. Ross Wolfenden guided the Master Lavec-Dilly Dally Delia gelding owned by Ben Brooks and trained by John Wilkerson. It was the first start of the year for the winner of five races in eight starts last season. He has now earned $106,750 in his career. Master Kingpin (Art Stafford Jr.) piloted the second-place finisher. Kirby In Command (Jared Moyer) took third.       Moonshine Lavec was too much in the $20,000 second section. Sean Bier directed the three-year-old by Master Lavec-Chocolate N Roses trained by Erika Paradee who owns the gelding with Francisca Munoz and Chrissy Crissman. Crosby (George Dennis), last November's upset winner of the $100,000 DSBF freshman final, was second in front of Jiggs (Vic Kirby). It was the third start and first win of the year for Moonshine Lavec who has won $66,401 lifetime.       Crissman Inc.'s Fancy Colt won the fastest event pm the regular program pacing a 1"50.4 mile. The Always A Virgin Fanciful Hanover gelding scored his third victory of the year with Tony Morgan in the bike. The seven-year-old has a lifetime bankroll of #227,355. Delaware Hanover (Wolfenden) was second with Bad Man Sam (Corey Callahan) third/       Frank Milby drove the day's longest shot 20-1 Big Secret for owner-trainer Jeff Clark and David Clark, a 1:52.1 victory.       Ross Wolfenden, Tony Morgan and Corey Callahan notched driving doubles.       Tuesday; Logan's Girl, Bad Mama, Diva Demands and Spanish Dream are program favorites in four DSBF $20,000 filly prelims while Enhance Your Dreams, Newborn Sassy and Apple bottom Jeans head the $20,000 Mares Open..       DSBF 1st-leg prelims continue all this week with 2nd leg $20,000 prelims Monday through Thursday next week. The top eight point-getters in each of four divisions then return for $100,000 finals the last week of the Dover Downs 2016-2017 meet, April 10 through closing day April 13.       Weekday post time, Monday through Thursday, is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission are free. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant's acclaimed Buffet and for the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Top harness and thoroughbred races are featured in the Racing and Sports Book daily for 12 Noon until 12 Midnight.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission at Dover Downs is free. Reservations are suggested for the popular Winner's Circle Restaurant and its acclaimed Buffet. . For reservations, call 302-674-4600.       The Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book features simulcasting of top harness and thoroughbred racing from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight daily.                                       Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission at Dover Downs is free. Reservations are suggested for the popular Winner's Circle Restaurant and its acclaimed Buffet. . For reservations, call 302-674-4600.       The Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book features simulcasting of top harness and thoroughbred racing from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight daily.  

Young musicians giving their all and Harness racing at Globe Derby Park circuit all on Saturday April 1st. No fooling! The night will have a strong youth focus and hopefully be the first of monthly acoustic nights to be held at the park as part of a campaign to draw younger people to the sport. Local talent Billy Burns, who played his first gig at age 11, will be the feature artist fresh from the Fringe. Plenty of other local young musicians will be entertaining the crowd and these young musicians are some of the best in the land, already performing at major events. The event, held monthly over various Adelaide venues, promotes and gives experience to up and coming young bands and artists from all over the state. Niko Rallis is a young upcoming bass guitarist who will entertain the crowd with his amazing presence on the stage at such a young age. Adam Slater is another home brewed talent that has spent years playing gigs and touring the country with high energy performances. Georgina Mannion is a singer songwriter, has proven her talent playing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2016, as well as other South Australian Events. Tahlia Borg first played the drums at age 7 and has an unbelievable voice and proudly strong vocals will also be performing on the night. Supported by the whole music industry, we might just see the beginning of a new South Australian music icon, the likes of the Master’s Apprentices or Jimmy Barnes. SAHRC are focusing on the younger generation and will be supporting the night, hopefully making it a monthly gig.   It will be the perfect night for anyone wanting to see the best next generation of musicians honing their skills.  Entry is free and the fun starts at 7:00pm. Bookings for the restaurant are filling fast, so make sure you don’t miss out on what will be a great night. by Max Beasley for SAHRC

Goggo Gee Gee has gone from paddock pet to harness racing star in the eyes of his owner Adam Rattray. When Goggo Gee Gee was a foal playing amongst many in a paddock on the Rattrays' Karalta Pacing Stables at Pateena Road Longford he took a shine to Adam Rattray and they formed a bond. It isn't an odd occurrence but one that ensured plenty of emotion when Goggo Gee Gee emerged triumphant in the Harry Holgate Memorial final at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. With his trainer Todd Rattray in the sulky, the gelding worked home three-wide for the last lap with the favourite Courageous Jamane on his back. But when the driver released the deafeners and called on the Bettor's Delight gelding for the supreme effort he sprinted clear of the favourite and then outgunned race leader Christian Jaz over the final 100 metres to win narrowly with the favourite closing late to grab third. "I just sat there three wide and I knew the favourite was on my back and that he was the one to beat, so when he pulled out on the corner I went for home in an attempt to out sprint him," Todd Rattray said. It was Goggo Gee Gee's seventh win but clearly his best and his owner is hoping for more. "He came up to me in a paddock and we bonded and from then on he was pretty much a pet," Adam Rattray said. "He is a small horse with a big heart and I thought it was a tough win." Peter Staples

WASHINGTON, PA, March 27, 2017 -- Lincolnjames gobbled up the leader with a powerful first-over move, then drew off late to capture Monday's $20,000 harness racing Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Lincolnjames was fourth when Dave Palone sent him after Dapper Dude, who was rendered vulnerable by a 26.3 opening panel. The 6-year-old Northwest-Winbak Lucy gelding had little trouble clearing and opening a daylight lead. He triumphed in 1:51.1, 3-1/4 lengths better than 23-1 long shot Gallant Seelster, with Purdy Sam third. Ron Burke trains Lincolnjames, who won for the third time in his last four starts and extended his career bankroll to $180,987, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Jim Pantaleano collected four wins on the 13-race card while Dan Rawlings enjoyed a triple, including a pair of victories for trainer Dirk Simpson. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

More than 20 years have passed since John Wilkinson and some fellow harness racing owners won the 1995 Mildura Pacing Cup with Newsbreaker. This year, Wilkinson and some other members of the Newsbreaker crew are hoping their horse, Messini, can take out the time-honoured event. “It would be a great thrill to compete in the Mildura Cup given the history of the race and our involvement in the race with Newsbreaker a number of years ago when we were lucky enough to win it,” Wilkinson said. Messini bounced back to winning form at Ouyen on Sunday after a turbulent summer preparation, which saw the six-year-old entire battling to regain his best form. But trainer Brent Lilley persisted and had the two-time Vicbred Super Series winner in cherry ripe order for Sunday’s Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup, Messini breaking the track record despite a wide run for the last lap – notching a slick mile rate of 1:56.0. Driven by Anthony Butt, Messini collared race favourite Im Corzin Terror metres before the post to win by a short half-head in the 2423-metre Group 3. The Mildura Cup Carnival starts April 4 with the Group 2 Mildura Cup run on Saturday April 8. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

WEST CORK, Ireland - The Red John Memorial was set up in 2015 following the tragic death of "Red" John O Donovan in January 2015. John was only 27 when he passed away but was a life long supporter of Harness racing in his native Cork and far beyond. The 2015 Memorial was a one day event but in 2016 the Red John Memorial became a two day event with the main race of the weekend The Red John Memorial Handicap carried a total purse of  €5000. In 2017 all records will be broken with prize money in excess of  €90,000. The Red John Memorial weekend takes place on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August. This year Lyre, approx 2 miles from the bustling town of Clonakilty, will be the venue for what promises to be the biggest ever harness meeting staged in the West Cork region. The venue is owned by Ger Hegarty who has long being involved in the sport and boasts a natural grand stand which gives race goers a panoramic view of this half mile all grass oval. Clonakilty is around an hours drive from Cork International Airport and is on the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork. The Red John Memorial Handicap is for pacers born in 2013 or before, is of course, the feature of the weekend. The final which will be made up of eight qualifiers from elimination heats and will have a total purse of  €20,000 with a winners prize of €10,000 making it the richest handicap race in all of Ireland and the UK. The committee are indebted to Bill Donovan from Florida who has generously agreed to sponsor the event for the next three years .Donovan is president of a large trucking business based in Boston and has links to several more transport companies. His passion for standardbreds both trotters and pacers has put him in a position of one of the leading owners on the USA harness racing circuit. Bill has ancestoral links in Skibbereen and has forged strong links with the Murphy family from Baltimore through IB Coyote a mare jointly owned by Bill and the Murphy brothers Tadhg and Donal who won the prestigious Vincent Delaney Memorial two year old championship in 2016 and this was the catalyst for him getting involved in sponsoring the weekend. Bill has also sent a few of his own horses over from the USA to be trained and raced here in Ireland. Bill has also stepped in to sponsor "The Maven Derby" another handicap event this time for trotters born in 2014 or before. Maven was one of the greatest trotting mares ever to race in the USA and actually raced for a time in Etilop in Sweden. In 70 lifetime starts, Maven earned $2,005,369. With 31 wins, 14 second place finishes and 4 thirds. Her lifetime record is her world record performance over the Delaware track when she scorched that surface in 1:51.4h. In 2013, she was honoured to receive the USTA's Dan Patch Award and Canada's Joe O'Brien Award as the sport's top older trotting mare. This will be ran on the same lines as The Red John Handicap with eliminations and the grand final also for a total purse of €20,000. The Le Trot organisation from France are joint sponsors with Mr Donovan for this race which honours Maven, a horse owned by Bill Donovan. Bill says himself "Maven was a dream come true for me a mare of a lifetime but I have been blessed to have owned some great horses besides Maven including Ashleys Husband p,1.49.1 $250,736, Band Of Angels p,3 1.50 $487,150 , Bettor B Lucky p,3 1.50 $750,936 , Holier Than Thou p,3 1.50.1 $152,778 (World Champion) , Im On Cloud Nine p,3 1.54.2 $214,374 , Jolene Jolene p,2 1.52 $239,637 (World Champion) Lauderdale p,1.53.2 $386,189 , Medusa p,1.49 $432,012 Mistery Woman p,4 1.51 (World Champion) and Shared Past p,3 1.53 $416,606. "They have all given me so much success in harness racing and coming here to Cork to support the Red John Weekend gives me a chance to give something back to racing here where my fore fathers emigrated from many years ago " With the success of The Vincent Delaney Memorial in Portmarnock,The Red John Memorial weekend takes place on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August which is the week after The Delaney weekend and it gives harness racing followers a week long of top class racing both in Dublin and here In Cork and The overseas visitors will be guaranteed a great time . Both The Red John and Maven Derby will see owners paying three sustaining fees of €100 per horse. The organisation of such a big event could not happen without the help of so many people and the harness racoing community here in West Cork are really pulling out all the stops to ensure this weekend will grow from humble beginings and become "The One" all owners and trainers want to win. "No matter what we ask of people putting up the track, sourcing stables for the visiting horses and garning sponsorship, there is always a positive outcome and without all this help such a weekend would not happen "said Micheal O'Donovan (brother of the late Red John) "What can we say, only Bill Donovan has put us in a great position with his generous sponsorship and I'm sure Red John will be looking down on us smiling on how big the weekend has become," added Caroline Collins of the Red John Committee. Following on from last year, Oakwood Stud will again sponsor the Three Year Old Grass Pacing Championship, which was a huge success in its first year. "Derek Delaney rang me last year and said why not try a three year old series which he and his brother James would sponsor, so we did and hopefully that grows just the way the VDM has." said Tim Kelleher of the committee "This year Derek rang and said they were again coming on board and to be honest we must mention all the rest of our sponsors from near and far who have been so generous " added Kelleher " We are always looking for new sponsors and The Clonakilty Chamber Of Commerce have been most helpful " The programme of events reads as follows THE RED JOHN MEMORIAL HANDICAP 1 ¼ MILES Heats €1600 (Estimated) Final €20,000 Consolation Final €5000 THE MAVEN TROT DERBY 1 ½ MILES Heats €2800 Final €20,000 Consolation Final €8000 THE OAKWOOD STUD IRISH 3YO GRASS PACING CHAMPIONSHIP Estimated prize fund €5000 THE PJI ENGINEERING FREE FOR ALL Estimated prize fund €3000 There will be a full supporting programme on both days with bumper prize money for all races. The on-line entry system will be available shortly as will details of Stabling and hotels. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink    

WILKES-BARRE PA - Maybe Hall of Fame harness racing horseman John Campbell might want to reconsider that July 1 career change he's talked about.   Set to become the president/CEO of the Hambletonian Society on the first of July, Campbell showed he still has plenty of sulky magic left at his command, sending Muscle Diamond right to the front in the $20,000 handicap trotting feature Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, backing off the half, then sprinting home to be a very easy winner over odds-on favorite Melady's Monet in 1:53.3.   Campbell had the winning son of Muscle Hill in high gear early and quickly made the top, forcing tucks while going to the quarter in 27.1. With no challengers looming, Campbell gave Muscle Diamond a huge breather on the front end in quarter two, hitting the half in 57.4, with Melady's Monet starting up uncovered. The favorite got to within just over a length of Muscle Diamond on the far turn after a 1:25.4 clocking at the ¾, but in the stretch Muscle Diamond sparkled with a 27.4 kicker, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. Melady's Monet claimed second, a length to the good of the pocketsitter Crazy About Pat.   Muscle Diamond would fit any definition of impeccably-bred, a Muscle Hill out of millionaire / world champion / divisional champion Windylane Hanover, and his career earnings of $662,899 have been achieved in but 31 starts - if trainer Brett Bittle can find the key to an extended campaign for the fast trotter, who was second in his Breeders Crown at two and then third at three, you'll hear much more from him and owners Brett and Dan Bittle and the Charles Kellers, III and IV.   The victory was #10,637 of Campbell's storied career; more importantly, his lifetime earnings are now at $299,366,442, and that number that begins with a "3" looming on the horizon does seem attainable.   The biggest purse race of the night for pacers was an $18,000 "nw 7 races or $70,000" contest, which went to the four-year-old gelding Dash Of Danger, who took a new mark of 1:52 for the hot connections of trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Marc Reynolds. Matt Kakaley rushed up down the backstretch with the sidewheeler, also with top-shelf breeding (a Western Terror half-brother to the $2M+-winning mare Glowing Report), paced on to a big lead late on the final turn, then held off the bold late rush of Shane Adam, who trailed most of the way, by a half-length.   PHHA / Pocono  

Talented three-year-old pacer Usain Jolt tuned up for this Sunday's harness racing Tasmanian Derby with an effortless win in a C2-C3 event over 2200 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. The Tony Petersen-trained gelding settled near the rear of the field in the one-out line before driver Ricky Duggan eased him out three-wide to make his move a lap from home. Usain Jolt crept into the race and when the leader Tiz A Jamane tried to kick clear at the top of the home straight Duggan released the reins and the three-year-old powered clear of the field and went on to score untouched by over 12 metres from Charlie James that tracked the winner all the way during the last lap. Usain Jolt and archrival Scooterwillrev will clash for the first time this season in next Sunday's $30,000 Tasmanian Derby and it would appear any interstate invader will have to be very good to deny either one of the Tasmanians the joy of victory. Usain Jolt has won six of his seven starts this season with an average winning margin of almost 19 metres with his only defeat coming in Launceston when beaten 1.8 metres by Buster William at what was his third start for the season. Scooterwillrev is unbeaten from five starts this season and overall he has an unblemished record from 13 starts in the state with his only defeats coming in Victoria while campaigning in the Breeders Crown 2YO series last year. The Craig Hayes-trained gelding's latest win was in a C2-C4 event in Hobart when driven by Gavin Lang who will make the trip from Melbourne to Hobart on Sunday to be reunited with the son of Somebeachsomewhere. Peter Staples

Pompano Beach, FL...Sunday, March 26, 2017...Drachan Hanover, confidently handled by harness racing driver Wally Hennessey, scored a handy 1:51 win in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Pace on Sunday night (March 26.) The five year-old son of Jereme's Jet, leaving from the coveted post five, darted off the Hummer's wings into an early lead, yielded at the hot :26.1 opening station to Sing For Me George (Kevin Wallis), re-took a few long strides later and carved subsequent panels of :54.3 and 1;23.2 before an effortless :27.3 sprint home sealed the issue by 3½ lengths over Pointsman (Rick Plano) with Sing For Me George another nose back in third. King Of The Crop, last for much of his journey in this classy quintet, finished fourth while Rockntouch picked up the nickel, five lengths off the winner. In a post-race interview, driver Wally Hennessey related, "last week when I drove him, he had missed a week and was just a little short at the end. "Tonight, he felt determined behind the gate and I let him do what he does best--and that's go! "The pace was pretty hot but he felt strong the entire way. The half in :54 and a piece didn't scare me at all because, when this horse is right, he can handle that. "He was all on his own down the lane." Trained by Marcel Barrieau for owners Lloyd Maclean and Kenneth Rankin, Drachan Hanover pushed his 2017 scorecard to 3-1-0 in nine starts, good for $25,400. Career-wise, Drachan Hanover now has 15 win in 60 lifetime starts and $369,417 in bounty. As the 1 to 5 favorite, Drachan Hanover returned $2.40 to his multitude of faithful. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Heart Felt, driven by Bryce Fenn, also in 1:51. This six year-old gelded son of Well Said was sent on a mission as the wings folded and thwarted all challenges with sizzling panels of :26, :54.3 and 1:22.2 before a :28.3 waltz home capped the mile. Heart Felt now has three wins in 11 starts this year and bounty of $22,635. Lifetime, Heart Felt now has $129,355 in earnings to go along with a record of 1:50.4, also achieved at Pompano Park. Trained by Luanna Beeson for Winchester Baye Acres, Heart Felt, off at 6 to 5, returned $4.60 to win. Racing continues on Monday night with a septet of trotters mixing it up in the $12,000 Open Handicap Trot. Boli will be looking for a repeat win in that event but must overcome the outside seven post to do so. Boli will have the driving services of Pompano Park's leading driver, Wally Hennessey and is listed as the 3 to 1 second choice on the morning line. The 5 to 2 morning line favorite is Sooo Handsome, leaving from post five for owner-trainer-driver Rick Plano. This four year-old has three wins and four seconds in 11 starts this semester and comes off a solid second in last week's Open trot. My Revenuer, Explosive Muscles, Winding Hill, Celebrity Maserati and Sailer Eddie complete a very talented and well-balanced field. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

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Freehold, NJ --- Richard Poillucci has admired harness racing pacer Christen Me from afar. With this week’s arrival of New Zealand’s 2015 Horse of the Year on U.S. soil, Poillucci looks forward to appreciating Christen Me’s talents from much nearer proximity. An 11-time Group 1 winner Down Under with nearly $2.5 million in purse earnings, Christen Me was recently purchased by Poillucci from the stable of New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety. Christen Me, a 9-year-old gelding by stallion Christian Cullen out of the award-winning broodmare Splendid Dreams, will be trained in the States by the husband-and-wife team of Jim King Jr. and Jo Ann Looney-King in Delaware. Tim Tetrick will drive Christen Me. Christen Me won 32 of 68 races in Australasia including the Miracle Mile, Auckland Cup, Victoria Cup, Hunter Cup, and Easter Cup. He hit the board a total of 53 times. He was trained by Dalgety and driven by Dexter Dunn for owners Charles Roberts and Vicki Purdon. “We’re very excited about him,” Poillucci said. “I’ve been trying to buy him for a long time. He’s quite the horse. There aren’t too many horses with his credentials to arrive in America. Dexter Dunn told Tim Tetrick that he’s the best horse he’s ever driven. If this guy is what we think he is, we could have a lot of fun.” Although he is 9 years old, Christen Me’s 68 starts are relatively few for a horse of that age. “He’s like a spring chicken,” Dalgety said on his website. “He is working great and looking fantastic. “We probably won’t realize quite how good he was until he’s gone. Not many earn $2-million plus in Australasia; only about seven or eight.” The sale of Christen Me came to fruition after it was confirmed the gelding was suffering from minor exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhaging. Lasix, which is permitted to treat the condition in North America, is not allowed Down Under. “A few races back, (Christen Me) was second to Lazarus, who is probably one of the best horses to ever race Down Under,” Poillucci said. “If he can finish second with bleeding issues to arguably the best horse in Australasia, what can we do here with Lasix and treating for bleeding? “They can’t do anything about it there, so why not give him the opportunity to be the shining star that he is? He could come back to be a very exciting horse in North America. If it all works it could be something really special. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that he’s the guy.” Poillucci said the Kings will take their time preparing Christen Me for this year’s racing in North America. “I did stake him to a few stakes that are later on so his acclimation could be a nice slow process,” Poillucci said. “It takes time. The first year is a very tough year for these horses. You’ve got to hope that everything goes well. Their clock is completely different. They’re going into fall; we’re coming into spring. They don’t know whether to grow hair, not grow hair. You’ve got to do the right thing by the horses. “He’s in tip-top shape. He’s a great looking animal, an absolutely gorgeous horse. Cran does an amazing job with his horses. We’re not going to go overboard with him this year. We’ll race him in some major races and see how he fares.” Christen Me is Poillucci’s latest purchase from Down Under, joining New Zealand-bred mare Nike Franco. Poillucci bought Nike Franco last year and she went 4-for-4 on the Delaware circuit, with a 1:51 victory over the boys in the Dover Downs Open Preferred Handicap to close out the season. The 7-year-old daughter of McArdle-Nearea Franco was one of the favorites in this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, but was sidelined because of a virus after her first start in the event. Nike Franco finished seventh in that start, but was beaten by only 2-1/2 lengths. She will miss the remainder of the series. “She has so many good races ahead of her that it doesn’t make sense to try to rush her back,” Poillucci said. “I think she could be arguably one of the top three mares in North America. That’s from Timmy, Jimmy. She was the best pacing mare in all of Australasia last year. She’s very, very talented. “Just what she did in her last start, being sick, was pretty amazing as well. That shows you her desire and heart.” Poillucci has downsized his stable to feature Christen Me, Nike Franco, and 5-year-old trotter Maestro Blue Chip, who won 13 of 20 races last year and earned $238,000. Maestro Blue Chip is being pointed to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial on May 6 at the Meadowlands. In addition to those three horses, Poillucci has two 2-year-old pacers in training. “The plan was to keep the cream of the crop,” Poillucci said. “I wanted a good trotter, a good mare, and a good Open pacer. I have Maestro, Nike, Christen. I have a couple of babies that are coming. We’ll see where we end up. I sold four very good horses (recently). I’ve decided to try to stay with the upper echelon and see how that works. “Whether that works or not, I can’t tell you,” he added, laughing. “But it sounds good. I like what I’ve got.” What Poillucci does know is that he’s looking forward to this year. Poillucci lives in Massachusetts, where he runs several businesses, including a luxury auto body center and real estate development company. He first became interested in harness racing while playing hockey in Canada. “If you don’t get excited about stuff like this in this business,” Poillucci said, “then you don’t belong in it.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 
Dr. David A. Meirs, II, who established Walnridge Equine Clinic, passed away on Monday, March 27 at the age of 87. Dr. Meirs inherited Walnridge from his aunts Lucretia, Elizabeth and Mary Ann in 1952 while he was a student at the Veterinary School of the University of Pennsylvania. At the time Walnridge was a struggling dairy operation in Cream Ridge, New Jersey. After graduation Dr. Meirs was associated with a mixed veterinary practice in Freehold while trying unsuccessfully to resurrect the farm.r. Meirs established the Walnridge clinic in 1965. With the advent of the New Jersey Sire Stakes program in 1972, he decided to become active in New Jersey’s Standardbred Industry. The first stallion to stand at Walnridge was Peerswick, a horse imported from New Zealand and acquired through Stanley Dancer. The equine clinic is known worldwide and truly serves as a lasting legacy to ‘Doc.’ Besides having started the equine clinic, Dr. Meirs served on numerous veterinary and agricultural boards to support, most importantly, the young veterinarians he helped to become the professionals they are today. Walnridge is now recognized throughout the Standardbred world as a pre-eminent breeding farm and an excellent veterinary facility. Services will be held on Saturday, April 1. More details to follow. by Geoff Dubrowsky
On Tuesday March 28, Monticello Raceway's pick 5 carry over is $1,841, it comes on the heels of the harness racing tracks qualifying round for the $50,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship which will be held on Thursday March 30, post time 12:50. Race Secretary Eric Warner has put together an 11 race card on Thursday which features 2 divisions of NAADA events.    
Pompano Beach, FL...March 27, 2017...Sailer Eddie, driven by harness racing owner-trainer Kevin Wallis, barely held off the late charging Sooo Handsome, with Rick Plano in the bike, to escape with a photo finish victory in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot on Monday night (March 27). The official margin was a "nose" at the conclusion of the 1:54 journey with Boli and driver Wally Hennessey teaming up for show honors, 2¾ lengths away. Celebrity Maserati, trotting an even mile throughout, finished fourth while Explosive Muscles picked up the nickel in a field scratched down to six. At the outset, Sailer Eddie, leaving from Pompano Park's coveted post five, left with his usual alacrity and zipped into an early lead as Sooo Handsome, starting from post four, also showed some speed off the gate and settled in the garden spot. Explosive Muscles, Celebrity Maserati, Boli and Winding Hill completed the order through an opening quarter in :27.3 with positions unchanged past the half in :56.2 and three quarters in 1:25. Turning for home, Sailer Eddie cut the corner trying to protect his lead while Sooo Handsome left the coziness of the pocket and began gnawing away. The wire came just in time for Sailer Eddie and a stride too late for Sooo Handsome as the photo finish camera separated the pair by a whisker. After the race, driver Kevin Wallis said, "What helped tonight was the scratch that put us in the five post, a spot where it's beneficial to leave. "My horse likes to race in front. Just about all of the wins I have had with him have been on the front end and, when he's on, he can be pretty tough. "This is the fastest he's gone in quite some time and I am proud of his performance tonight." In garnering his fourth win of the year in eight starts, this seven year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall pushed his seasonal earnings to $20,910 and $360,351 lifetime. As the 2 to 1 third choice, Sailer Eddie paid $6.40 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Noble Anthony, driven by Mike Simons, by a nose over the feisty long-shot Commentary (John MacDonald) in 1:55.4. Massive Lightning (Mickey McNichol) finished a fast closing third, less than a length away, while Kabu and Pocket Trip picked up the final awards in the octet. The winner, a seven year-old gelded son of Andover Hall, survived a first over trip the entire last lap to get up in the last stride over the pace-setting Commentary, who had carved well rated fractions of :28.2, :58 and 1:26.3 before succumbing in the last stride. Noble Anthony is also trained by Simons and co-owns with Albert Abdala III. The win was the fourth of the year for Noble Anthony to push his 2017 bankroll to $19,525 and $120,255 lifetime. As the even money favorite on the tote-board, Noble Anthony paid $4.20 to win. In other Monday night action, the Florida Amateur Driving Club went to the starting gate in two divisions with The Budster and JLS Too Hot Taj, both owned by Oldford Racing and driven by Steve Oldford, winning their respective events. The Budster, a rugged 12 year-old altered son of Broadway Hall, took advantage of an early miscue by the 2 to 5 favorite, A Crown For Lindy, and went on to score a near gate-to-wire win in 1:58.4. The winner scored a 2¼ length victory over Chip Chip Page (Tony Dinges) with Flaming Yankee ("Touchdown" Teddy Bowman) another half-length back in third. Tymal Recap finished fourth while Frenchman finished fifth. The Budster won for the 45th time in his career stretching 229 starts, vaulting his career bankroll to $651,476. As second choice, The Budster paid $8.80 to win. JLS Too Hot Taj, took command after a brief tussle with Garlandsandpearls (Dein Spriggs) to score a gritty win in a career best 1:56.2--that winning margin a head with B Cor Thomas (Billy Muggleston) third, just a half-length away. This five year-old daughter of Pilgrims Taj won for the fourth time this semester in 11 starts, pushing her bounty to $13,271. Career-wise, this Mike Deters trainee has $63,798 on her card with 10 wins. As the slight even-money favorite on the tote-board, JLS Too Hot Taj paid $4.20 to win. The Amateur Club pushed their donations well over the $180,000 plateau with a sizable contribution to Equine Assisted Therapies, an organization that specializes in Therapeutic Riding, Hippothearpy, Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Psychotherapy, including a Wounded Warrior program. Molly Murphy, Executive Director of the Organization, was on hand in the winner's circle to accept the donation. Racing continues on Tuesday night with mares in the spotlight in the $8,500 Open Trot. This classy sextet features McKenzie's Star, Serendipitious, Bad Angel, Diamond Dagger, Celebrity Artemis and She's All In, the latter seeking a repeat victory. The track will also offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick-4, conducted on races 6 through 9, as well as a carryover of $33,732.89 on the Super Hi-5 finale. That entire Super Hi-5 jackpot can only be claimed when there is only one ticket sold on the winning combination. Multiple winners share 50% of that night's pool with the balance added to the existing carryover. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
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