Day At The Track
Lotamuscle,Harness racing

Nairn can upset on Friday night

Trotting’s magic man believes he can pull off his second 20-1 group one winner this month in tomorrow night’s Anzac Cup. And while coming from anybody else that might sound wishful thinking, when master trainer Paul Nairn says it it is worth punters paying attention to. Nairn is one of the most respected trainer in the industry so it was rare to see him produce a big-odds winner when Lotamuscle blew past red hot favourite Enhance Your Calm in the $100,000 NZ Trotting Derby at Addington on April 5. The pair clash again in the $60,000 Sires’ Stakes at Alexandra Park’s huge premier meeting tomorrow night and while both have second line draws it is tempting for punters that Lotamuscle is rated a $6.50 chance in early markets compared with Enhance Your Calm’s $1.35 quote. But while Nairn thinks Lotamuscle can win with the right sit-sprint trip it is later in the night he believes he has the blowout chance in the $100,000 Anzac Cup. Nairn has both Ronald J and Habibi Inta in the outstanding open class field and says a huge improvement from Ronald J wouldn’t surprise. At his best the big trotter has looked to have serious x-factor but has let punters down with a pair of sixth placings in his last two starts. Nairn says he has had excuses. “I was disappointed by his last start so we had him checked out and he had a few issues,” he explains. “He had a few minor soreness issues we worked on and also had a high white blood cell count, which suggests he had an infection. “That has been fixed too and he has better now. And his work at home has suggested he is even happy right-handed than he is down home.  "So with a good draw and some gate speed I think he can be handy or even lead and I can’t see any reason he can’t win, even allowing for how strong the field is.”  With the TAB bookies opening Ronald J at $21 that gives punters a real chance in one of the best trotting races of the season. Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up is set to start a odds-on favourite in the $100,000 Taylor Mile having opened at $1.60 even though he has drawn outside Miracle Mile winner Spankem. The latter opened $3.10 but was backed into $2.60 last night in the sprint which has already seen Triple Eight scratched. Unbeaten filly Sweet On Me is the $1.16 good thing for the night in the Caduceus Club Classic. Michael Guerin

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Dad's act for deaf & blind boy he's never met

Gypsy dad’s heartwarming act for deaf and blind little boy he’s never met. Romany gypsy Watson decided to climb Britain's highest mountain to raise money for 10-year-old Sean With a mobile home and a baby daughter who he takes harness racing, Romany gypsy Watson's life is worlds away from that of non-travellers Sonia and Sean.  But that won't stop the new dad from helping the parents he's never met and their 10-year-old son, who is deaf and blind and has to be tube-fed due to a rare condition. Watson is determined to raise money so the courageous little boy, also called Sean, can undergo life-changing treatment abroad after reading a story about the youngster's plight. And he plans to do so by climbing Britain's highest mountain, breaking down what Watson admits is a 'them and us' situation between travelling and non-travelling communities. Watson and Sean - who suffers from severe cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen at birth and is not expected to live past his teens - both feature in the Channel 5 programme The Gypsies Next Door. NCJMEDIA 9 The youngster's dad, also called Sean, and mum Sonia were delighted to meet Watson From one father to another, it means the world' The series, which also stars glamour model Danielle Mason and her traveller ex Tony, looks at the occasional conflict between travellers and non-travellers across the UK. Although professional harness racer Watson has integrated with the settled community through the sport, he's aware that other gypsies in the country have faced issues. KNICKERBOCKERGLORY TV 9 Watson, seen with his baby daughter, admits it's a 'them and us' situation between travellers and non-travellers KNICKERBOCKERGLORY TV 9 Little Sean suffers from severe cerebral palsy and is not expected to live past his teens "One of the problems is stereotyping," he says. He explains he decided to climb 1,345m-high Ben Nevis to fundraise for Sean and a sick little girl from Essex after being touched by stories he read about them. He says: "I'm doing it for two little kids. A little lass is down in Essex, she's got a rare form of cancer, God love her, and she's really bad. "And there's a little lad over in Newcastle." Inspired by stories of sick children The father travels to Sean's home to meet the youngster, who can't walk or talk. Knocking on the front door of little Sean's Newcastle home, the dad, from Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, reveals his selfless plan to raise money - and the boy's parents are delighted. KNICKERBOCKERGLORY TV 9 Watson is filmed meeting 10-year-old Sean, who can't walk or talk and has to be tube-fed KNICKERBOCKERGLORY TV 9 Grateful dad Sean, right, thanks Watson for his fundraising efforts from the 'bottom of his heart' He is filmed hugging the boy's grateful parents, who have previously had little or no contact with gypsies and are overwhelmed by the support of a stranger. The boy's dad tells Watson: "Thanks very much from the bottom of my heart, from one father to another father, it means the world honestly. Sonia says: "It's the first time I've ever met a gypsy, it's totally changed my perspective on them. I mean, Watson's just a normal man, he's absolutely lovely." When the day of the climb finally comes round, Watson, Sean and other supporters battle through tricky, snowy conditions to make it to the top of the mountain. KNICKERBOCKERGLORY TV 9 Watson successfully climbed to the top of Ben Nevis, raising thousands of pounds in the process A successful climb and a trip to Panama Sean's stem-cell treatment, which reduces seizures and spasms, costs £20,000 per visit and his parents would like him to have it twice a year. The mountain hikers successfully raise thousands of pounds for the two children. Today, Sean's family are preparing to make a 10,000-mile round trip to Panama so he can undergo treatment. KNICKERBOCKERGLORY TV 9 Watson is seen video-calling a sick little girl in Essex, whom he also raised money for.   By Sophie Jane Evans Reprinted with permission of The Sun  

McWicked,Harness racing

McWicked impressive in qualifier

Hightstown, NJ — McWicked, who was the 2018 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, returned to the track Tuesday (April 23) for his first harness racing qualifier of the season. The 8-year-old pacing stallion and driver Wally Hennessey cruised around the five-eighths-mile oval at Pompano Park in 1:51.2, winning by 7-3/4 lengths over 3-year-old filly Prescient Beauty. McWicked, trained during the racing season by Casie Coleman, has spent the off season with Jim McDonald. “It looks like he went well,” said Coleman, who is based in Canada. “He’s leaving Saturday and coming back to me. I’ll probably qualify him again, but I’ll wait until I get him in the barn to decide what’s next.” Honored for last season’s 7-year-old campaign, McWicked became the oldest pacer in history to receive Horse of the Year. He led the sport in earnings last year, with $1.57 million, and became the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. For the season, McWicked won 12 of 19 races, capping his campaign with a five-race win streak, and hit the board a total of 17 times. He is owned by Ed James’ SSG Stables. Prescient Beauty, who closed last season with a win in the Three Diamonds, also was qualifying for the first time, as was her Kentucky Sire Stakes champion stablemate Beautyonthebeach. Prescient Beauty was timed in 1:53 in her qualifier while Beautyonthebeach won her qualifier in 1:54. Both 3-year-old fillies were driven by Doug McNair and are trained by Gregg McNair. Jim Avritt Sr. bred and owns both horses.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

Homicide Hunter,Harness racing

World’s fastest trotter wins impressively

WILKES-BARRE PA – The Chris Oakes stable sent out a trio of impressive winners in qualifying harness racing action on Wednesday morning at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, headed by the world’s fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter. The seven-year-old altered son of Mr Cantab, who rewrote the standard for the gait with his 1:48.4 victory at Lexington last year and who won his 2018 Breeders Crown event at this track, showed he was coming to his sixth campaign in fine shape, rattling off splits of 29.1, 58.1, and 1:26.4 en route to a 10½-length victory under the guidance of Matt Kakaley. Oakes also sent out a pair of impressive sophomore colts by American Ideal with fine maternal connections. The faster was American Mercury, who shows horses such as American Jewel, Luck Be Withyou, and Three Diamonds not far back along his maternal line, who went wire-to-wire in 1:52.4, last quarter 27.4, with Tyler Buter at the controls. Buter, who posted his 3000th career driving win at Pocono on Sunday night, was also in charge of the Oakes trainee Shake That House, third in the Metro and a ¾ brother to Breeders Crown winner Split The House. Shake That House came his own back fractions in 55.2 – 27.3 to get to the wire first in 1:53.1. PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors

Former Riverina young gun Cameron Hart is happy to call Sydney home at the moment – and it appears city life is agreeing with him.   The junior driver posted the 200th winner of his relatively short harness racing career at Brisbane’s Albion Park last Saturday and he’s a model of consistency in the sulky, with his win-place ratio running at more than 50 percent.   And the 20-year-old showed particularly fine touch over the past week.    An enviable winning streak kicked off at Penrith on Thursday when Hart landed the win with eight- year-old gelding Raffaella (Mach Three-Slipinn (Holmes Hanover) for his boss Shane Sanderson.   He then got the money in Brisbane on Saturday, again for Sanderson, with Castalong Shadow (Shadow Play-Leslie Jay (Grinfromeartoear) and followed up at Sunday’s Wagga Cup meeting with a win on Beetson (Art Major-Erin Jean (Classic Garry) in the feature event.   “I’ve been clocking up a few airline frequent flyer points with the travel I’m doing, but I’m not complaining because travel is a big part of the industry and we all have to do it in one way or another,” Hart said.   “It was a bit of a pain when there were no suitable flights to get back to Wagga for the cup, and I had to do a four-and-a-half hour road trip after getting back from Brisbane,” Hart said.   “But it’s worth it when you get the win.”   Hart is hitting the road again today (Thursday) for another Carnival of Cups meeting, hosted this time by Coolamon. He is booked to drive Brobenah Boy for Guy Retallick in the $10,200 Cup and Flaneur for Gary Lang in a C1 event.   “It will be a huge day. It always is at Coolamon and I’m going to enjoy being there, that’s for sure,” Hart said.   The trip to Coolamon will be almost back on home turf. The rising star reinsman grew up at Junee, just 30 kilometres down the road and it seems a career in harness racing was almost inevitable.   Hart’s mother Michelle is a niece of the late Alan Harpley who steered the mighty Welcome Advice to a 1972 Inter-Dominion grand final win. And it also didn’t hurt Hart’s prospects that Junee and the wider Riverina is home to some of Australia’s best horsemen and horses.   “There’s certainly a good bit of pedigree there and in addition, Bruce Harpley, a well-known trainer- driver, is my second cousin,” Hart said.   “So, I guess it was pretty much a sure thing that I was going to head into the sport,” he said.   The pathway to a harness racing career began at the age of five when his parents purchased a pony and the youngster got heavily involved in the mini trotters.   “That was a great learning ground and all of us had heaps of fun,” he said.   Later on, Kim Hillier loaned Hart a pony called Energizer and the pair took all before them.   “We won all the big ones. The Inter-Dominion, Miracle Mile and State Championships for the ponies. I can still remember the first time I competed at Menangle with Energizer and it seemed like a huge circuit,” Hart said.   Flashback to 2014 – young Riverina pony trots competitors Tegan Judd, Jordan Seary (who is also a promising young driver) and Cameron.   As he got older, every spare minute at home would be spent off helping his uncle, Michelle’s brother, Trevor White, a household name in harness racing circles in the Riverina.   “I would help Uncle Trev with trackwork when I was only 12, and three years later mum and dad agreed to let me go there and work full-time,” he said.   “It was an awesome time and I learnt so much about training, care and feeding.   “Uncle Trev also showed faith in me as a driver as well, and he gave me my first race drive on a horse called Ideal Investment at Albury in April, 2016.”   The horse won, two days later, at his second drive, Hart tasted more success at Canberra with Ravishing Girl for Sloys Company and trainer Noel Morris.   “I suppose I could say that it went downhill from there!” he laughed.    It obviously wasn’t the case, but the popular young reinsman’s good humor, along with his natural ability, provided him with plenty of opportunities.   He showed rapid improvement and a cool head beyond his years racking up an eye-catching tally of 60 wins in his first season of driving . “While I enjoyed driving at country meetings, it was always on my mind to get to the city when the time was right,” Hart said.   It was a matter of waiting for a break and it came when Cameron’s sister Ashley, 21, also a driver (now in Victoria with Andy and Kate Gath) approached Menangle-based Shane (Sanderson) regarding job vacancies.   “That was my lucky day because I couldn’t have wished for a better place to work – Shane and his wife Naomi have been awesome,” Hart said.   Hart is now the stable driver for the Sanderson team, and says the timing for him was fortunate.   Shane Sanderson and Cameron Hart (Courtesy Ash Brennan Photography)   “Shane and Naomi have kept building the team and getting stronger horses, so that’s been fantastic for me. It’s not only driving good horses that helps you to be a better driver, but also driving against the best as well.   “While Shane provides me with the most driving opportunities, David Waite is also good and several other outside stables.   “The recent Wagga win was my third Group 3 success, with the other couple at Menangle. I’m just so glad I made the move.   “Sydney is a fantastic city and I’m really enjoying the racing side of it. And in my leisure time I’m finding my golfing is improving!”   Jacinta Allan-Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Millions of Australians will pause on Anzac Day to remember the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women, including many from Victoria’s trotting fraternity. Among them will be David Miles, whose father Marty served with the 1st Australian Civil Affairs Unit in Vietnam. The Monegeetta horseman said Anzac Day was a “very important day on the calendar”. “It is significant for the country; hopefully it never gets lost – I think we should respect what a lot of those men and women did for us,” Miles said. “We go to the Dawn Service most years. There are a lot of families the same way.” The Anzac Day Appeal raises funds to allow the RSL to tailor specialist services to the needs of servicemen and women and their families. To mark the appeal, special commemorative silks will be worn by the driver starting from gate one in the Anzac Day racing at Swan Hill tomorrow night. Miles supported the event by trying on the silks at Melton this month. “It’s a great initiative to make people aware, even the younger kids who maybe don’t get taught it in schools like we did at our age,” he said. “I think any funds that can be raised for charities like (the Anzac Day Appeal) is well deserved.” On the weekend Miles’ attention will turn to the $150,000 Lazarus Victoria Oaks, where he will pilot Enchanted Stride from outside the front row. He said the Tasmanian Oaks winner, who finished strongly behind Smart As Camm Be in her heat, would acquit herself well on Saturday night but needed the dice to roll her way. “She is going great; she’s a real honest little filly and she’s been real competitive in Group 1 class but from that barrier draw she’s going to find it really hard unfortunately,” he said. “She circled the field and ran on very well (in the heat but) the way the marbles have fallen we are going to need a lot of luck to go our way this week. But if that happens she’ll take advantage of it; she’s a real opportunist.”   Shaun Campbell for Trots Media

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, April 23, 2019- Rich and Miserable (Dave Miller, $11.80) snapped odds-on Swansea (George Brennan) at the line Tuesday night (Apr. 23rd), winning the $73,000 final of Yonkers Raceway/Standardbred Owners Association of New York Bonus Trotting Series. Away last among the octet from post position No. 7, Rich and Miserable saw 4-5 favorite Swansea-he of the 3-for-3 preliminary-round resume-make the lead well before a :28.3 opening quarter-mile. Eight-holer Joey Bats (Jason Bartlett) floated out, then moved to engage the leader from the second turn, passing a :56.3 half-mile. 'Joey' eventually jumped in Turn 3, leaving a pocket-inheriting Whether or No Fi (Yannick Gingras) as Swansea's closest pursuer..Chasin' Dreams (Jordan Stratton) was making some inroads in and out of a 1:25 three-quarters, with Rich and Miserable chasin' Chasin' Dreams. Swansea, meanwhile, owned a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, but Rich and Miserable was widest and fastest. From 10 lengths out of the intermission, he whipped Swansea by a schnoz in 1:55.1. Whether or No Fi, Chasin' Dreams and No Excuses (Scott Zeron) came away with the remainder, while an outrun Omaha Omaha (Tim Tetrick) and misbehavers Joey Bats and Henderson Seelster (Mark MacDonald) brought up the rear. For third choice Rich and Miserable, a 4-year-old Explosive Matter gelding co-owned by Buter Farm, Lynette Buter, William & Carol Fuhs and trained by Todd Buter, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $34.40, the triple returned $157 and the superfecta paid $602. The series was open to 3-year-olds and their elders who were non-winners of six parimutuel races and/or $100,000 through this past Feb. 1st (winners over $150,000 lifetime through that same date ineligible). Rich and Miserable also earned an SOA-paid $10,000 bonus. A $35,000 series consolation was won by MVP Luke (Miller, $4, part of entry) in 1:56.4.   BY FRANK DRUCKER Publicity Director

WILKES-BARRE PA - Team Allard has now taken both $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championships conducted so far at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, adding another distaff harness racing victory to pacer Cardiff's yesterday with a recent acquisition, the trotter Town Hall Justice, who lowered her mark by three seconds to 1:53.4 despite a track that was downgraded to "good" after midcard rain. The victorious Justice Hall mare forced a 27.2 quarter before yielding to Run Lindy Run, then came out soon after her opponent tripped the timer in 56.2 at the half. Simon Allard got his charge to the lead late on the backstretch, with the two favorites Fade Into You (two-time prelim winner) and Spring In Paris (three-time prelim winner) on her heels at and past the 1:24.2 3/4s. Despite the presence of the heavyweights on her tail, Town Hall Justice was more than equal to the challenge, proving a length better than Fade Into You, with Spring In Paris another 1½ lengths back. Owned by Simon's brother, trainer Rene Allard, Town Hall Justice had been 1-for-33 lifetime before going to her current home - for whom she is now 2-for-2. In this Weiss division's $15,000 consolation, the Kadabra mare Northern Dream took a new mark of 1:57.4 in an exciting finish that saw five horses within ¾ of a length at the wire. Northern Dream, trained by Michael Rashkin for owner Timothy Betts, was sent three-wide late on the backstretch by driver George Napolitano Jr., got to two-wide midturn, and just was able to nose out pacesetting favorite Critical Hanover in the last step. It's seldom at Pocono that a horse who's seventh, 3-plus lengths out, and four-wide at headstretch looks like a winner, but Eclipse Me N had the look of eagles at the 7/8 in the $21,500 fast-class mares pace, and she produced an 1/8 somewhere in the vicinity of 13 to be a going-away two length winner in 1:51. The Allard brothers again were the team behind the talented Real Desire mare, who has earnings of $224,744 for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. FINISHING LINES - The world's fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4), will be out to qualify tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at Pocono. George Napolitano Jr. is set for sulky duty for trainer Chris Oakes, just as the pair teamed to win their Breeders Crown event at the mountain oval last year. Homicide Hunter will start from post six in race six.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Over the past month we've been enjoying the Bobby Weiss harness racing series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Well, the preliminary legs of the series have come to an end and the finals have begun taking place, each for a purse of $30,000. Two of those finals are still to come, but the winners of the two Bobby Weiss championship races held this past week earn the distinction of Horses of the Week in this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: CARDIFF In the Bobby Weiss final on Monday for pacing fillies and mares, Cardiff, despite a win and two places in the Series, was an 11-1 shot. That's because most of the betting attention went to Ghosttothepost and Girl's Got Rhythm, who entered the final a perfect 5 for 5 between in them in the previous legs. Cardiff, as a matter of fact, had come up short behind Ghosttothepost in her previous two races, so it was understandable perhaps that the Rene Allard trainee was somewhat overlooked at the windows. Girl's Got Rhythm was the aggressor in the final, bolting out to the engine despite having the #9 post and setting nasty fractions. Ghosttothepost, who went off as the 2-5 favorite, settled in the pocket. As for Cardiff, who left from post #8, he sat mid-pack early. But driver Simon Allard didn't allow him to dawdle for long, sending him first-over after the leader before he reached the clubhouse turn. He was still parked out as they rounded the final turn and hadn't yet corralled Girl's Got Rhythm. In the stretch, Cardiff found another burst of energy while Girl's Got Rhythm struggled to stay afloat and Ghosttothepost took his shot in the passing lane. Despite having the inferior trip, Cardiff outpaced the other two and came out on top by a length-and-a-half over Ghosttothepost, with Girl's Got Rhythm settling for 3rd. When it counted, Cardiff came up with a career-best 1:51:1 mile, all the more impressive for the tough journey he needed to take and the tough competition he needed to overcome. Other top pacers this week include: Soho Wallstreet A (Pat Berry, Scott DiDomenico), who captured his second straight Saturday night condition feature with a win this past weekend in 1:50:2, which was also the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono; Bunkndunk (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who switched barns and captured his second straight claiming win on Saturday night, this one in 1:51:4; and Pennys Dragon (Matt Kakaley, Sean Smithpeters), a three-year-old filly who pulled off her second straight upset condition victory on Monday, winning in a career-best 1:53:4.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TOWN HALL JUSTICE On Tuesday, it was time for the fillies and mares trotting division of the Weiss series to contest their final, and the top two choices on the board were Fade Into You, winner of two of three preliminary legs, and Spring In Paris, who swept the three preliminaries. Town Hall Justice wasn't close in her first two legs of the series, but then picked up a confidence-building win in the final preliminary in 1:56:4 heading into the final. That win coincided with her joining the Rene Allard barn, and you know from above that Rene and brother Simon Allard won with Cardiff in the first Weiss final in upset fashion. In this mile, Town Hall Justice found the pocket after leaving from post position #3 in the nine-horse field. The four-year-mare watched as Run Lindy Run cut out the first half-mile in fast fractions, then quickly grabbed the lead at the top of the back stretch. From there both Fade Into You and Spring In Paris took their best shots at the leader. But Town Hall Justice, at 7-1, finished strong, holding off Fade Into You by a length, with Spring In Paris back in 3rd. The mare shattered her previous career-best in 1:53:4, and scored at a nice price of 7-1. 2 for 2 since hooking up with the Allards, Town Hall Justice looks poised for a completer career rejuvenation. Meanwhile, Simon and Rene Allard solidified their reputations as guys who step up their games for the biggest races. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Two AM (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who captured the Sunday night featured condition trot in 1:53:2, which stood up as the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr., Gareth Dowse) who came out firing in her first start of the year on Sunday night, winning a condition trot in a career-best 1:53:4, which was the fastest trotting time put up by a three-year-old filly in all of North America this year; and Hill Of A Horse (Marcus Miller, Erv Miller), who overcame a #9 post to score his second straight condition win on Tuesday, this one coming in 1:54:2.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: A BETTOR BEACH This pacer made his maiden victory an unforgettable one, scoring on Monday with Matt Kakaley driving at 42-1, paying off $86.20 on a $2 win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TYLER BUTER Tyler Buter didn't rest on his laurels after scoring his 3,000th career win aboard Daddy Let Me Drive on Sunday night, instead winning two more that evening, including the feature with Two AM.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RENE ALLARD Not only did he win both of the Weiss finals, but the perennial Pocono leading trainer also took over the lead in the training wins standings for 2019 with six victories on the week.   That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.   Jim Beviglia

At the age of 81, Dan Graber says he’s been “up and down the pike a few times.” What he’s never been, at least to this point, is on the road to the Hambletonian. The Indiana resident is hoping this could be the year with his homebred trotter DG’s Caviar, who is undefeated in three races this season at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. DG’s Caviar is the 1-5 morning-line favorite in Wednesday’s $15,000 final of the Cardinal Series at Hoosier. Graber knows it’s a long way from a conditioned series for non-winners of one race to the sport’s premier event for 3-year-old trotters, but DG’s Caviar has impressed him from day one. “I can’t believe what kind of horse I got,” said Graber, who lives in Shipshewana and has been around horses since his childhood. “I started jogging him (just prior to him turning age 2) and I saw right away he was something special. It was just the way he went, and he wanted to go, and he was absolutely perfectly gaited. “I like the way he’s built and the way he can go. He’s a beautiful horse and he’s smart. He’s a nice horse. Everybody likes him. He’s a perfect mannered horse except for one thing; he doesn’t like you to play with his ears. I have a certain way I have to get the bridle on him. Other than that, he’s perfect.” DG’s Caviar is a son of Graber’s stallion Prime Time Caviar, who passed away two years ago, and his 20-year-old mare Dazzling Kosmos, who is no longer able to be bred. Graber also was the breeder of Prime Time Caviar, who won five races and had a mark of 1:57.2 despite battling health issues in his limited career. “He was a much faster horse than his record,” Graber said. Graber was introduced to Standardbreds when his father bought a retired pacer for the family’s 200-acre farm. “We farmed with horses,” said Graber, who grew up Amish. “We used to breed our buggy mare to the stallion, Herbert Patch. They were tough.” When he was in his early 20s, Graber drove in a harness race for the first time at a county fair. “I was working in construction and quit my job,” Graber said. “I had this pacing mare, Patsys Blue Ribbon. In our first race, I was in front at the half but I got beat. “The next day, I was back at my construction job,” he added, laughing. Graber continued in the construction business for a while before embarking on a 55-year career as a farrier. He also continued to drive in races, until 2015, and train horses on his own half-mile track. The only horse he has trained in the past two years is DG’s Caviar. “I’ve had a lot of experience in this business, both shoeing and training,” Graber said. “I’ve been up and down the pike a few times.” Last year, DG’s Caviar went off stride in all three of his races, but was discovered to have an undescended testicle, which was removed. “People told me the best thing I could do for the horse was to turn him out and let him mature and develop,” Graber said. “It was hard for me to do, but I did it, and I got a nice horse.” So far this year, DG’s Caviar has won each of his starts by a minimum of 2-3/4 lengths. His best win time of 1:56 is tied for 22nd among all 3-year-old trotters this season. In addition to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, DG’s Caviar is eligible to the Old Oaken Bucket, Circle City, and Indiana Sire Stakes. “Hopefully he can get to the Hambletonian, but he’s going to have to prove himself before that happens,” Graber said. “Naturally I’d like to keep on winning. That’s what everybody wants, right? I hope he keeps right on going.” Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Wednesday at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. The card also includes the finals of the Mya Tri and Chad E. Carlton Trotting Series plus the second appearance of the year for 2017 Breeders Crown champion Fiftydallarbill in the Open Trot. For complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

CHESTER PA – The Jim Campbell stable was certainly primed for the Tuesday morning qualifiers at Harrah’s Philadelphia, as four of its members won their a.m. events, all owned by Fashion Farms. Last year’s million-dollar winner Crystal Fashion, now four, went his own third quarter in 27.4 to sweep his field in 1:57 for driver Tim Tetrick. The Cantab Hall gelding had won a qualifier a tick slower last week. Two three-year-old trotting fillies won for Campbell. An intriguing one is Millie’s Possession, a daughter of Possess The Will out of Fashion Athena, a $300,000+ winner who won in 1:53.2 at two. Millie’s Possession did not race at two, and went in 2:03.1 in her first line last week, but today she came home in 28.3 for Dexter Dunn to win in 1:56.2. Her likely stakes compatriot is the Donato Hanover miss Jazzy Fashion, home in 1:57.1 for David Miller  Miller also handled the fourth winner for Campbell, the Chapter Seven sophomore gelding Chapter Fashion, who opened a big lead and reported home first in 1:56.1. Other qualifiers of note: --        The Heston Blue Chip filly Zero Tolerance, second in the Breeders Crown and Three Diamonds last year, who came his own last split in 27.2 to win in 1:53.1, with Miller up for trainer Joe Holloway; --       Another sophomore pacing filly, the Somebeachsomewhere distaff Trillions Hanover, who caught New York Sire Stakes champion Money Shot Hanover at the end of a 1:54.3 mile for Miller (he had four wins on the day) and trainer Tom Fanning;  --      The Muscle Hill colt Prospect Hill, at one point a winner of seven of eight in his freshman form before tailing off at the end of the year, looking good with a 1:57 wire-to-wire win for Andy and Julie Miller; ·        And the Mach Three mare Shebang N, winner of her last five starts in 2018, and today rallying from the two-hole in 1:53.4 for Dexter Dunn and trainer Nifty Norman.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

Veteran Ararat harness racing trainer Terry Young has been enjoying the highs of the sport in recent years with an enviable streak of success – but he’s also recently experienced the lows first hand.   Young, 77, who puts the polish on classy square-gaiter Deltasun (Tennotrump-Deltasu (Elsu NZ), had a fall at his hometown track and dislocated his collarbone.   “I was working a two-year-old named Premonition and he shied and spun back in the opposite direction,” Young explained.   “I just wasn’t ready for it because it’s just not part of his make-up,” he said.   “So while the horse trotted back to the stabling area to my wife Carol, I was sprawled on the track with my arm twisted up around behind my back.   “I popped the collarbone right out. The doctors put it back okay but told me I’m out of action for at least the next six weeks.   Young said he had already been toying with the idea of giving Deltasun, a winner of 17 races and 15 placings for $225,000, a short let-up.   “When I had the track mishap, that made the decision for me to spell him, and I’ve tossed the other three out for a break as well,” he said.   In just three seasons of racing, Deltasun has stamped himself as one of Victoria’s most consistent square-gaiters, winning seven races at TABcorp Park Melton, including the 3YO Vicbred final.   “He’s never far away, because he’s got outstanding manners and he’s very well gaited,” Young said.   “We have had a fantastic time with him because he’s won two Group One races and a few GroupThrees.”   Terry and Carol were especially thrilled to win the Central Victorian Trotters Championship and then the rich Tontine series early last year.   “Even more so because we aimed him specifically for those two events. It doesn’t happen all that often, when everything just goes right, but it’s great when it does!” Young said.   Deltasun with PT Young, Gavin Lang and Terry and Carol Young (Courtesy Tabcorp Park Racing)   He paid tribute to the stable’s main driver Gavin Lang.   “He’s been a major part in making the horse into a true racehorse. He’s outstanding with young ones and he’s taught me how to look after a good horse,” Young said.   “Just little things, like we never work Deltasun against another horse in trackwork because he just fires up and you can’t hold him.”   Deltasun, driven by Gavin Lang (Courtesy Wimmera Mail Times)   Young was a jockey as a youngster, and a respected one at that, landing country winners as well as a city win at Caulfield in 1956 for Jerry Tye, a Chinese trainer.   “The gallops were always hotly contested, and you know I was never thrown off or injured during the years I was involved. But my weight increased, and I was forced to give away race riding,” he said.   Young moved to Ararat in 1960 to be closer to his parents who lived near Port Fairy.   “Dad was a shearer and neither of them had an interest in horses. I worked as a roustabout in the shearing sheds and rode trackwork as well,” he said.   “And that was how I met Carol at an early morning trackwork session. She had ponies and her father Mick King was one of the first harness racing trainers in Ararat.   “Carol was virtually riding ponies before she could walk, and she could have easily carved out a career as a jockey if females were allowed back then.   “She was an excellent rider and had an uncanny way with horses, and she still does to this day. Along with being a hard worker and great support to me.”   Young was introduced to harness racing by Carol’s father Mick and didn’t take long to adjust. He won at the old Horsham showgrounds at his very first drive on Chalambar.   “The horse was probably classes above them, I think, but the gaps just opened up everywhere I went, and I thought how easy is this?!   “I was soon brought back to earth by the head steward, Mr Rowse who gave me a huge lecture, saying I didn’t display much control. I did admit that I was loose reining, but I’ve never forgotten that spray.”   When his interest in harness racing began to wane, Young opted for a break, turning his interest in the 1980s to running.   “I enjoyed that and was lucky enough to win the veterans event (restricted to runners over 40) at the Stawell Gift,” he said.   But his interest in harness racing became rekindled and Young found himself driving to Peter Manning’s place at Great Western to help out.   “I’ve now probably been doing that for the past 20 years or so and I’ve learnt so much from Peter and the team out there. Peter is always ready to give you a hand or some advice,” he said.   “I used to help work Tennotrumps and he was just a lovely horse. I decided to take our mare Deltasu to him when he stood as a stallion and I’m pretty glad I did because the result was Deltasun!”   Young uses the Manning track most days, trucking his small team out there.   And to add to the family flavor, son Peter (PT as he’s known) attends most meetings with his dad.   A talented jockey, PT was lured to Melbourne by astute trainer Jim Moloney.   “He couldn’t hack it in the city, like a lot of country fellas find out, but he had a successful career around the bush,” Young said.   “I asked him to come to the trots with me one day, and he was a bit undecided. Now he’s nearly the first in the car! He drives to the meetings which suits me perfectly,” he said.   “His wife Alison is right into the breeding and ownership side of it, so between the family we’ve got most parts of the industry covered. An old friend in Terry Cahill is also a breeder.”   Young intends to enjoy his enforced short break, despite counting down the days until he’s back doing what he loves.   “I’m still a bit dirty on myself for getting tipped out and hurt,” he laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

East Rutherford, NJ - The spring of 2019 has been a good one at The Meadowlands. Handle is up as a result of greater field size and the gradual return to better quality horses, the logical explanation being increased purses made possible by the supplemental funding from the state. The horseplayers are voting with their wagering dollars and handle begets handle, that is fact. The entry box has been solid. There have been enough horses entered to card 13 races for each live racing night, most of them with full fields, which is exactly what The Meadowlands' customers desire. "We have momentum that we haven't had in a while and I want it to continue. We appreciate the support at the entry box by those trainers racing with us this spring, that's a big part of it," stated Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir. "I was excited watching the races this weekend. There is no question that horses closing in on the leader as they approach the wire with five or six across the track in deep stretch creates excitement. We have to demonstrate to the legislators that our product is enhanced and improved to continue the purse allocation, we're going in the right direction and it must continue." Saturday's card resulted in another night of over $3 million in all sources handle on The Meadowlands races, which were interesting and entertaining. The track is playing fair, a bit less speed favoring, with horses able to win from virtually anywhere. In every one of the races this past Saturday, the fifth place finisher was no more than 6 lengths from the winner, most were far closer, and in the 11th race the first five finishers were separated by just a head.   The competitiveness of the races, leading to fewer short priced favorites, is an important component of what drives handle. The average win payoff on Saturday was slightly over $10 and as pointed out in Dave Little's release the percentage of winning favorites over the past two weekends (9 from 52 races) is around 17 percent.   With several of the top Meadowlands/Grand Circuit drivers absent for most of the winter/spring meet it has provided an opportunity for the next generation of talent to ply their trade on the big stage. Their desire to succeed when the chance presents itself, along with less familiarity within the driver colony, has made for some exciting racing.   "I thought the racing Saturday night was fun to watch. The drivers closed the holes which makes it much more competitive and the handle reflects that. Hopefully with the championship season on the horizon and many of our regular drivers returning from Yonkers after the Levy I hope we will continue to see the same level of competitive driving with the elimination of the courtesy holes that we have seen for the last several years. There is no question that the racing on Saturday was the best I have seen in many years and reminded me of the good old days of the Meadowlands when horses either got to the top or were parked when they left from the outside. It obviously makes for a much better product," said Meadowlands CEO Jeff Gural.   Nick Salvi

A plethora of harness racing. Who could wish for more? And yet it has been a sad road that has enabled the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club to mark up, at least, the next five weekends to a trotting programme.  But, like any opportunity, it should be grabbed with both hands and used to the best of its possibility. Due to the debacle that is happening in Adelaide, with all racing at Globe Derby having been postponed for the time being and the race meetings shared out among other country clubs until there is a resolution to the matters. There had been a break in Port Pirie for three weeks while meetings were sorted but all is OK to go again now.  This Saturday night will see nine races on the programme.  Amongst them is the $30,000 2019 Alabar Golden Nursery Stakes Final for 2 year olds run in a night of pacing that has been transferred to the Pirie track.  Along with the high stake money will be a rug and cup. Vying for the nice sized purse will be Peter Bain's Hilltop Surfer and Emma Stewart's Celebrity Chef. Giving them both a good run for their money in this elite event will be Wolf of West Bay and the local, Hesashark, trained and driven by Dale Afford.  Although Hesashark has drawn eleven in the barrier stakes, I am sure he will have the grunt to take out the 1609 metre race.  Along with this event on the evening's programme is the final in the Aaron Bain Racing Stable 3yo Colts & Geldings and also the final in the Biano Re-inforcing 3yo Fillies.  Both of these races are over 2050 metres and both are worth $10,000. The three year old fillies final will see Dale Afford's three year old filly, Shesashark and there will have to be some sporty speed to get up to beat this one. The fact that there was the extra break in the calendar was a God send to both John and myself as we have both been suffering badly with the flu, as have another 300 plus people in SA per day. If you haven't had your flu injection, don't mess around, have it now. A sentimental race of the evening will be the Bet McArthur Memorial.  Betty McArthur was around, carrying out her volunteering duties when I wasn't all that old, how I remember her buzzing around, always on the go.  She was a tiny sprite and no-one deserved to lose her life, the way that Betty did.  Struck down outside the trotting track, going to visit her long time friend Ailsa McBride, just across the road. It is now five years since Bet passed away and still it is hard to find a volunteer like she was. We remember you well, Betty.  This could be an interesting race with eleven nominated for the privilege. Leah Harvey's Nevaevabend will be battling it out against the likes of Tossup, The Quick Shadow and Tap The Keg. Nine races on the programme with the first race kicking off at 6.17pm. It should be a fantastic night of racing, so why be sitting home watching your footy team go down the gurgler.  Come on out and hear the pounding of hooves pounding down the straight. It' s a full month of harness racing at Phoenix Park, so don't miss a moment of it. See you at the track!   Sue Penny Reprinted with permission of The Recorder

Hot favourite Escalera ($1.35) didn’t let favourite backers down when winning the second annual $25,000 Listed Oakwood Capital Goldstrike Series Final at the Marburg Showgrounds on Sunday. But it was a 75-year-old horseman, who has been training standardbreds for more than half a century, that epitomised the Marburg Pacing Association's (MPA) biggest day of the year. Purga trainer, Denis Smith, first climbed into a sulky back in 1964. Nineteen years later the MPA was established. “It’s a great day out and there should be more like it. Who said they couldn't win from back-marks on the 700m Marburg track? I wish they were all like him," Smith said. He was referring to his 5-year-old Down Under Muscles gelding, Northern Muscle, whom he steered to a 4.2m victory over stablemate, Norahs Fling (Adam Richardson) in the second event. "It was great to train the quinella, but I wish they were all like this fella (Northern Muscle). He's the best of the six I've got in work. He’s amazing really because he’s overcome a hock problem which couldn’t be cured. It was bred in him. He's so tough and never stops trying," Smith said. Northern Muscle had to be good to win from his 40m back mark on Sunday. Not only did he have to get around the entire field, but he had to negotiate 12 bends as he trotted the 2200m Nationwide Boring Handicap in 2:55.7 (mile rate 2:06.2). “To go that time on the small track he had to be better than average. His sire won Group races here and his grand-sire (Muscles Yankee) was one of the best going around in America at his peak, so he has good breeding. I think that's where he gets his toughness," Smith said. The punters obviously knew Northern Muscle's potential. He paid $5 to win in what was his 14th career victory ($53,916) since making his debut, ironically at the Marburg Easter meeting two years ago. He was bred and is owned by Kathryn McLachlan. The obvious highlight on Sunday was the Darrel Graham trained and driven Escalera’s ridiculously easy 15.3m win over the Graham Dyer trained Goalkicker (Lola Weidemann) in the feature event. Half-a-neck back in third was the Graham trained second favourite, My Ultimate Romeo (Adam Sanderson). “I always thought he might be tough to bowl from the nice draw (2) and the punters seemed to agree as well. That was a big effort to do what he did around this little track and still win with a 2.02-minute mile rate. "He's got good manners and he's a tough little fella. I wanted to run them off their feet and that's how it worked out,” Graham said. “I love coming here. It’s great to win grassroots racing events like this with a good little horse,” he added. Graham said he would now attack the Queensland Derby and a couple of Country Derbies with the talented three-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight. It was Escalera’s seventh win from 16 starts. He's also placed four times and banked $45,292 in stakes. He is owned by Tumby Park Limited and was bred by Dr Charles Roberts of Woodlands Stud in New Zealand. The talented bay gelding led from the outset and paced the 2200m stand in 2:46.8. His sectionals were 29.3, 31, 30.1, and 30.1. The other highlight of the meeting was the Chantal Turpin trained and Peter McMullen driven Argyle Beach's very easy 27.9m win in the $11,000 Stanley Road Construction Diamond Series Final. An aggressive drive by McMullen saw the five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere mare work hard for the lead from her 20m handicap with two laps remaining, and then at the 400m the duo said goodbye. That was her 17th win ($99,764) for owner Ross Patrick. "She's just a beautiful little mare who you can put anywhere in the race. You can make a move with her and she always gives. We all love her," the man nicknamed 'Leader Peter' said.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

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Hightstown, NJ — McWicked, who was the 2018 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, returned to the track Tuesday (April 23) for his first harness racing qualifier of the season. The 8-year-old pacing stallion and driver Wally Hennessey cruised around the five-eighths-mile oval at Pompano Park in 1:51.2, winning by 7-3/4 lengths over 3-year-old filly Prescient Beauty. McWicked, trained during the racing season by Casie Coleman, has spent the off season with Jim McDonald. “It looks like he went well,” said Coleman, who is based in Canada. “He’s leaving Saturday and coming back to me. I’ll probably qualify him again, but I’ll wait until I get him in the barn to decide what’s next.” Honored for last season’s 7-year-old campaign, McWicked became the oldest pacer in history to receive Horse of the Year. He led the sport in earnings last year, with $1.57 million, and became the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. For the season, McWicked won 12 of 19 races, capping his campaign with a five-race win streak, and hit the board a total of 17 times. He is owned by Ed James’ SSG Stables. Prescient Beauty, who closed last season with a win in the Three Diamonds, also was qualifying for the first time, as was her Kentucky Sire Stakes champion stablemate Beautyonthebeach. Prescient Beauty was timed in 1:53 in her qualifier while Beautyonthebeach won her qualifier in 1:54. Both 3-year-old fillies were driven by Doug McNair and are trained by Gregg McNair. Jim Avritt Sr. bred and owns both horses.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager
John Stark Jr's Xcuseme (RC Royalty) will head into next week's final of the John Mongeon Memorial Trotting Series as the big favorite. The three year old trotter cruised to his fourth consecutive harness racing victory on Wednesday's matinee card going back-to-back in the two legs of the series and staying undefeated in 2019. Xcuseme made pretty easy work of his competition as he coasted to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:58.1, the fastest time of the leg two winners. While Xcuseme was the most decisive of the leg two winners in the Mongeon Trot, he wasn't the only repeat victor. Living Proof I Am (Prayer I Am) also went back-to-back in the series' legs as he got up in the final strides on Wednesday to score in 1:58.3, matching his win time from last week which was a career best. Phil Fluet piloted the Andy Byler trainee to both of his series' scores. The other division of the second leg was won by Pumping Irony (Muscle Mass). The Eve Bergeron-trained trotter cruised to victory as the public's 1-5 betting favorite on Wednesday with Steve Genois in the sulky. A runner-up to Living Proof I Am in leg one, Pumping Irony recorded a convincing romp in 1:59 to punch her ticket to next week's final which will go for a purse of more than $30,000. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:00 Noon.   Mike Sardella
Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (April 11) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Jeremy Smith, who returns from injury on April 29; Tyler Buter, who recently won his 3,000th race; Tom Daly, the George Morton Levy Bracket Buster Challenge winner; and Jeff and Janine Gesek from Pacing for the Cure Smith has been sidelined since January following a surgery to repair his neck. He will return to the sulky on April 29 at Miami Valley Gaming. The pair will discuss with Smith what the process was to get back in the bike and be healthy once again. Buter won his 3,000th career victory at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on April 21. Buter, who has made over $34 million in career earnings will discuss his career and how he got into the sport of harness racing. The 2019 George Morton Levy Bracket Buster Contest is in the books and Tom Daly a handicapper from New Jersey has taken down the $250.00 first prize. Daly will join to talk about his journey through the contest and what tactics he used to win the event. The pair's monthly Pacing for the Cure segment with Jeff and Janine Gesek continues on Thursday. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN.   Michael Carter Social Media and Publicity Coordinator U.S. Trotting Association
WILKES-BARRE PA – The Chris Oakes stable sent out a trio of impressive winners in qualifying harness racing action on Wednesday morning at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, headed by the world’s fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter. The seven-year-old altered son of Mr Cantab, who rewrote the standard for the gait with his 1:48.4 victory at Lexington last year and who won his 2018 Breeders Crown event at this track, showed he was coming to his sixth campaign in fine shape, rattling off splits of 29.1, 58.1, and 1:26.4 en route to a 10½-length victory under the guidance of Matt Kakaley. Oakes also sent out a pair of impressive sophomore colts by American Ideal with fine maternal connections. The faster was American Mercury, who shows horses such as American Jewel, Luck Be Withyou, and Three Diamonds not far back along his maternal line, who went wire-to-wire in 1:52.4, last quarter 27.4, with Tyler Buter at the controls. Buter, who posted his 3000th career driving win at Pocono on Sunday night, was also in charge of the Oakes trainee Shake That House, third in the Metro and a ¾ brother to Breeders Crown winner Split The House. Shake That House came his own back fractions in 55.2 – 27.3 to get to the wire first in 1:53.1. PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors
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