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Sun Stakes Saturday tops Grand Circuit schedule

This Week: Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial finals, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Cleveland Trotting Classic, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; Miss Versatility, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday night (July 2) as the track will host four lucrative stakes finals in the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Also on Saturday, Northfield Park will host the $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic for older trotters, while Historic Track will card eight Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. A trio of Friday night (July 1) stakes open the Grand Circuit action this week with the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs and the Miss Versatility at Mohawk. At Tioga, there will be two divisions in the $77,380 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old male trotters and two divisions in the $55,380 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old filly trotters. Mohawk will host a pair of C$30,000 divisions in the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the U.S. races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries are available at this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action opened up on Friday night (June 24) at Meadowlands Racetrack with the $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters. Displaying no ill effects after being away from the races for almost a month, Resolve powered down the road to an easy one length win in the Cutler. Resolve, the even-money favorite, was sent away fast from post seven and had the lead at the quarter in :27.1. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt did a masterful job of rating the second fraction, which was timed in a sleepy :30 as they hit the half in :57.1. Obrigado, the 2-1 second choice fresh off wins in the Maxie Lee and Charlie Hill Memorial, vacated the four hole at the seven-sixteenths and grinded his way into contention at three-quarters, which went in 1:25.4. Then Svanstedt hit the gas and Resolve responded with a final quarter of :26.3, leaving Obrigado behind while opening up a safe lead. Flanagan Memory, who went a third-over trip, closed well through the stretch to end up a no-threat second. Obrigado held third. Resolve trotted the mile in 1:52.2 for owner Hans Enggren. Social media was abuzz when Wiggle It Jiggleit captured the first of three $30,000 Ben Franklin eliminations on Saturday (June 25) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but the horse that many considered to be the star attraction was overshadowed by his two colleagues that triumphed in the two following divisions and establishes a contest in the $500,000 final on Saturday (July 2) that may very well be epic. Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 2015 Harness Horse of the Year, and is the top-ranked horse in the industry poll. Trained by Clyde Francis and owned by George Teague Jr. Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership, the gelding won his Franklin elimination in 1:48.1. Which was the slowest elimination. By a full second. Because world records were set in the other two cuts: first the 5-year-old pacing stallion Always B Miki took his Franklin elimination in 1:47, equaling Sweet Lou's all-time world record for a five-eighths-mile track (set in the Franklin final two years ago) and missing the all-time race record by a single tick, and then Freaky Feet Pete was off by himself much of the other elimination and still crossed the wire in 1:47.1, a world record for a 4-year-old pacing horse on a five-eighths-mile track. Always B Miki now has won four of six races and $91,500 this year, and 22 of 41 races and $1,319,576 lifetime. Jimmy Takter has brought the pacer all the way back from injury to the top of his game for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. Freaky Feet Pete is now five-for-six in 2016 and an amazing 29-for-33 in his career, with $1,224,050 in his till for trainer Larry Rheinheimer and owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer and he completed the "Indiana-sired" sweep of the Franklin eliminations. Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the other six Pocono stakes eliminations, are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 191.5; 2. David Miller - 170; 3. Yannick Gingras - 167; 4. Tim Tetrick - 166; 5. Matt Kakaley - 130. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 258; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 170; 3. Peter Tritton - 139.5; 4. Rene Allard - 125; 5. Jimmy Takter - 118. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 139.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 112; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 72.6; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 62.85; 5t. George Teague Jr. Inc. - 51.25; 5t. Teague Racing Partnership - 51.25. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Tioga Downs, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Yonkers Raceway. Tioga will host Tompkins-Geers races for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers; The Meadowlands will host the Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters, Meadowlands Pace eliminations for 3-year-olds and a Reynolds division for 3-year-old filly trotters; and Yonkers features Lawrence Sheppard eliminations for 2-year-old pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Maestro Blue Chip, Harness Racing

Field set for $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic

Northeast Ohio's premier trotting race, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, will go to post Saturday (July 2) at Northfield Park. This will be the second edition of the Classic and it carries a purse of $180,000. The Grand Circuit event has attracted some of the best veteran trotters in North America. It has been slated as the 11th event on a 15-race program. First race post time is 6 p.m. 1-Obrigado, runner-up in this event last year, draws the rail for his return. He has been victorious in 37 of 68 career races, including a 21 race win streak earlier in his career. He has lifetime earnings of $1,019,749 and a 1:51.3 (M 1) mark taken last year. Although entering this event off a third place finish in the $200,000 Cutler Memorial, Obrigado has three wins in six races this year. Those wins include the $200,000 Maxie Lee at Harrah's Philadelphia and the $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs. The six year-old is owned by Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45. He is conditioned by Paul Kelley. Canadian native Mark MacDonald has been named to steer. 2-Homicide Hunter was sired my Mr Cantab and is owned by Michelle Crawford and Albert Crawford. With 20 career victories, he has been a model of consistency, finishing in the top three 29 of his 33 lifetime starts. He enters the Classic in very good form, just equaling his 1:51.4 lifetime mark in a $54,000 stake race on June 18 at The Meadows. That victory bolstered his career bankroll to $609,513. Christopher Oakes trains the four year-old gelding. Dave Palone, winner of more races than any driver in harness racing history, has been named to drive this 4-1 morning-line competitor. 3-Shake It Cerry has been named the 2-1 morning-line favorite. She is the richest in this year's field, sporting career earnings of $2,547,962. She has 50 lifetime starts and 28 career victories, including the $500,000 Breeders Crown in 2014. She is a five year-old daughter of Donato Hanover with a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 (Lex 1). Shake It Cerry is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Ronnie Wrenn Jr, Northfield Park's leading driver, has been given the driving assignment. 4-Il Songno Dream is one of two starters in this race from the powerful Christopher Beaver Stable. He has won 17, and been on the board in 32 of 54 career races. He has two runner-up finishes this year in three efforts. This five year-old son of Cantab Hall has career earnings of $803,077. His 1:50.2 (Lex 1) lifetime mark is the fastest in this race. Canadian Trevor Henry comes to drive this 10-1 morning line selection. 5-Muscle Up The Goal enters this race for owner Synerco Ventures, Inc. He is the second entrant in this field for trainer Christopher Beaver. 2015 Dash Driving Champion Aaron Merriman has been given the driving assignment for tonight's outing. The four year-old has already won three times in five tries this year and has won eight of 24 starts lifetime. He earned his 1:52 mark at The Meadows this year in a $20,000 Preferred event. In May of this year, Muscle Up The Goal broke the Northfield Park trotting record and a world record for four year-old trotting horses in 1:52.3. This son of Muscle Mass has lifetime earnings of $257,896. He carries an 8-1 morning line. 6-Maestro Blue Chip is owned by Richard Poillucci and trained by Jo Ann Looney-King. The four year-old enters this race off a 1:53.4 win on June 12 in the $75,000 Graduate at Tioga Downs. He has a total of 25 career starts with 13 triumphs, but has blossomed this year, winning 11 of 12 outings. He earned a 1:51.3 (M 1) lifetime mark just three races ago and has career earnings of $270,173. Victor Kirby has been named to drive this 6-1 morning-line starter. 7-Like Old Times was the 2015 Ohio Horse of the Year. She enters this race off two consecutive local victories, including a 1:55 track record performance and lifetime mark. This daughter of Chip Chip Hooray is owned by Keith Ross and trained on the Flying Turns by Northfield Park Wall of Famer and Ohio Trotmaster Don McKirgan. Like Old Times has 17 victories in 34 starts and has $343,350 in earnings. Ryan Stahl has been named to drive this 25-1 longshot. 8-Boffin, 25-1, enters off a runner-up finish in a $25,000 Open event at Scioto Downs. He has a 1:51.1 (PcD 5/8) lifetime mark and career earnings of $340,127. This son of Donato Hanover has won 28 of 85 career starts. Anette Lorentzon trains Boffin for owners ACL Stuteri AB, Kjell Johansson and Karin Lorentzon. Jason Merriman has been given the driving assignment. This year's Classic program undercard is highlighted by three $20,000 Open events. One features Foiled Again, the richest horse in the history of harness racing and a three-time Battle of Lake Erie winner. The Opens and the Trotting Classic comprise the evening's Pick-4, which carries a $10,000 guaranteed pool. In addition to superior racing action, the night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is just $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. Guests who want to be close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron for an array of free fanfare activities. These attractions include a free Northfield Park ball cap for the first 1,500 patrons, a t-shirt toss from the winner's circle by the successful driver of each race, country band Six String Cowboy performing on the apron from 6-10 p.m., spinning of the Northfield Park Prize Wheel for free cash and prizes from 8-9 p.m., and some of Northeast Ohio's favorite food trucks on the grandstand apron from 6-10 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

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Dunn hits the double ton

For the 5th time in his Harness Racing career, leading New Zealand driver Dexter Dunn has saluted on his 200th season winner. Many were expecting Dunn to pick up that milestone at Forbury Park last week (23rd June). The West Melton based driver headed to Forbury needing just the two wins, but could only manage the one. Dunn was successful on Lightning Mach for Cran Dalgety in the feature race for the night, but also picked up four second placing. Straight back on the road, Dexter arrived at Blenheim last friday needing just the one win from eight drives. Driving several runners for long time employer Cran Dalgety and father Robert Dunn, it would be no secret that Dunn would love to bring up his 200th win in one of their colours. But as a shock to all, Dexter couldn't manage a win and had to wait for today's Addington meeting to bring up his 200th. Driving Dusky Eyre for Katiki Beach trainer Ricky Allen, Dunn was off the mark quickly and in his favourite position, in front. From there on Dunn was able to hand up to faviourite Westy Boyz and was always traveling a winner at the turn. Hardly moving in the bike, Dunn captured win number 200 for the 3rd time in a row and 5th time in his career. Andrew Fitzgerald.

Trotting and Pacing Guide

USTA launches online Trotting & Pacing Guide

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced on Wednesday (June 29) that a new, online version of the Trotting & Pacing Guide, the harness racing industry's media guide, was launched on its website, www.ustrotting.com. "Through the efforts of several departments at the USTA who have worked closely together on this project, we now have the most complete compilation of up-to-date information, statistics and records in the history of our industry," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner in making the announcement. "The new, online T&P Guide contains more current information than the annual, printed publication and it is available anywhere, anytime on any internet-capable device." The online version contains much more information than the printed edition and provides up-to-date information, statistics and records on a daily basis instead of being restricted to annual updates. It will now provide interactive features for desktop and laptop computers as well as mobile devices. Since the information resides in a number of different places, a new landing page was created for the T&P Guide that will provide navigation to the previous information in the book as well as all of the new information that is now available. A new T&P Guide tab is located on the top (black) menu bar on every page of www.ustrotting.com beside the existing PATHWAY link for ease of access. Up-to-date, industry-wide statistical information will reside in PATHWAY to provide greatly expanded reports and categories. Many reports will be available at no cost, but will also include hyperlinks and the ability to research other paid PATHWAY offerings, including video replays. In addition, a new All-Time category is offered for the Top Performers' reports. Updated daily for current leaders, this will also allow easy online research of all previous year's Top Performers' information without the need for a library of the annual, printed editions of the T&P Guide books. Additional statistical categories and more new information will be added moving forward. From the USTA Communications Department  

Each week, Queensland Harness Racing commentator Chris Barsby does a ring around and gets the inside info on a big list of Australasian based runners. Queensland trainer/driver Darrell Graham heads back to a specialist on Monday, his broken leg is healing well. Champion Perth trainer Gary Hall headed for operation on his hand next Monday. Has constant swelling. He will be out of action for a couple of weeks Talented Sydney trotter Cyclone Lucky Seven headed to Menangle trials next week for trainer Alex Alchin. - Last start was mid march. Star pacers for Shane Tritton, Arms Of An Angel & Salty Robyn both back doing pace work. No set plans for either speed machine. Last start Group 1 runner Three Of The Best is back in Queensland, starts Friday week in Breeders crown heat, decisions to be made after that. In-form couple Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull arrive in Queensland next week with 3 runners. Fcee, Neon Sky & Eye See Diamonds. Reigning Australian Driver of the Year Shane Graham, already has over 200 winners this season and celebrates his 52nd birthday today. Millionaire mare Frith will have one more start before a well-deserved break. Starts Saturday week in the Adore Me mares event at Menangle. Top Goulburn horseman Brad Hewitt arrives in Brisbane today with his winter carnival team headed by Spare Me Days. Talented 3yo Stanley Ross Robyn has also made the trek north and will start in both the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby classics. Victorian trainer Andy Gath will make final decision on Three Ways & possible Queensland Derby trip after he starts next Tuesday at Bendigo. Birthday celebrations today for Gareth Hall – he's planning a big party in Brisbane next week when he cheers home Hectorjayjay. Good race tomorrow at Albion Park when Queensland Derby aspirants Kimani (Matt Craven) & Mattgregor (Chantal Turpin) clash. Smart pacer My Kiwi Mate is headed to the Winter Championship series next week at Melton. Good trial this week after NZ Campaign. Despite an impressive trial this week, former Kiwi 3yo He Can Fly will remain in Sydney. Connections were eyeing Queensland Derby Last start Group 2 Breeders Classic winner Maestro Bellini is bang on target for Qbred triad Final on July 16. Starts new week. North American speedster Hurrikane Kingcole is facing a battle to make a successful comeback down under. Team McCarthy working overtime. Plans remain intact for SA Derby winner Brallos Pass to head north for Queensland Derby on July 16. Faces poor draw in Group 1 Vicbred Final this week Chris Barsby

Dexter's Harness Racing Digits Career NZ wins: 1764. Record: 220 wins in the 2011 season. Highlights: World Driving Champ; Auckland Cup, Miracle Mile, Hunter Cup, Victoria Cup (twice), NZ Free-For-All. Dexter Dunn hates the number 199. The champion reinsman is not superstitious and has few other bugbears when in the sulky but he admits he will be disappointed if he doesn’t leave Addington tonight with 200 wins,hopefully more for the season. Dunn reined winner 199 for the term at Forbury Park last Thursday so has hardly been stranded on his bogey number but even a week is too long. “I realise I’ll almost certainly get the 200 for the season and probably a few more but I hate being on 199. “I finished on 199 for the season two years in a row (2012,13) and it was really annoying. “I’d rather only drive 190 winners in a season than get that close and miss. “But I’ve got a good book this week and really I should get there.”
 Dunn says while he has a handy book early tonight, it is On The Rantan in race nine who is his best winning chance. “I know he is only a two-year-old taking on older horses but he is pretty good,” says Dunn. “I worked him on Tuesday and he worked like a winner. “And he has very good manners for a young horse so if they go hard early, which I think they will, he might have too much speed.”
 On The Rantan is being aimed as a Breeders Crown campaign in Victoria and would want to go very close to winning tonight to warrant the expense of an Australian campaign. Dunn also rates Rapid Flight in race two a top chance tonight while he suggests punters follow Time Traveller (race three) even though he thinks he might have to settle for second tonight. “He is up against a horse of Dad’s (Robert Dunn) called Freedom Fighter who they think a lot of and it probably should win.”
 Robert Dunn also provides one of the star attractions of tonight’s meeting in Franco Christiano, who is held in huge regard by his trainer.  Franco Christiano resumed with a win at Blenheim last Friday and is also being set for the Breeders Crown but he faces a tricky assignment tonight from a wide draw against the in-form G I Joe among others. Meanwhile, Dexter says while he hopes to get to 200 in a season for the fifth time in his career tonight, he doesn’t expect to challenge his New Zealand record 220 from 2011. “I am driving in Brisbane the next three Saturdays, which means missing three Sunday meetings back here,” he said. “And then I am away for the last two meetings of the season as I am going to drive in Wales and Ireland then have a short holiday. “But getting 200 plus wins is more than enough. As long as it isn’t 199 again.
 Michael Guerin

After last weekend's three Ben Franklin Pace eliminations produced two of the three fastest miles in harness racing history on a five-eighths-mile track, horsemen and fans are anticipating an extraordinary encore in Saturday's $500,000 final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Five-year-old stallion Always B Miki won his Franklin elimination in 1:47, equaling Sweet Lou's record for the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths oval. Freaky Feet Pete followed with a 1:47.1 victory in his elim, setting the record for the fastest mile by a 4-year-old on a five-eighths track. Prior to those two performances, 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit won his Franklin elimination in 1:48.1. Earlier this season, the 4-year-old gelding posted a 1:47.3 triumph on the five-eighths oval at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Ben Franklin Pace final is the first-ever meeting of all three horses in the same race. The event is part of Pocono's Sun Stakes Saturday, which also includes stakes for 3-year-old pacers and trotters. "As a fan, it's just tremendous," said Mitchel Skolnick, who is one of the owners of the Jimmy Takter-trained Always B Miki. "We wait years for horses like this to come along, and to see the three each at his best, it's special. Hopefully, everyone gets what they're expecting (on Saturday)." History's fastest pacing mile is the 1:46.1 time-trial mark established by Cambest in 1993. The fastest time for a race mile is 1:46.4, which is shared by four horses. Many people believe the record for a race mile --- if not the time-trial clocking --- could fall in the Franklin final. "It's a possibility if it all goes the right way," said Larry Rheinheimer, who bred Freaky Feet Pete and trains the stallion for his wife Mary Jo and son Marty. "But I don't worry about that until afterwards. My goal is to be the first one across the finish line. The time? We'll take that when it comes. I was excited with the (1):47.1 and the 4-year-old record. It will be a good race regardless. I'm excited." Added George Teague Jr., who owns the Clyde Francis-trained Wiggle It Jiggleit, "If it's a night like the other night and the weather is warm with no wind, I think it's possible they can go (1):46 and a piece or thereabouts. It's perfect the way it worked out from the other night's races. They all won, and won in big fashion. "The buildup for this race is great. There's a lot of buzz." Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1-ranked horse in the current Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, has won eight of 11 races this year. He brings a four-race victory streak to the Franklin final, with his triumphs including the Battle of Lake Erie and Dorothy Mullin Invitational. A son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover, Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 31 of 38 lifetime races and earned $2.63 million. He has finished worse than second only once in his career. Wiggle It Jiggleit is the Franklin's 5-2 morning line favorite and will start the race from post No. 3 with driver Montrell Teague, the son of George Teague Jr., in the sulky. Wiggle It Jiggleit won his elimination by 1-1/4 lengths. "I'm not going to kid you, I'd rather be 1-9 going for $500,000 than have to race those two horses," the elder Teague said, laughing. "I'd be stupid to say anything differently. But to be a part of this, it's definitely a lot of fun. I'm excited. I'm all pumped up. I love our chances. I still think we have the best horse in the game. I'm sure the other two think they have the best horse in the game, too. Now it's prove-it time." Always B Miki, the No. 2-ranked horse in the sport's poll, has won eight of 10 races since returning to action from injury last October. The son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper has won 22 of 41 career starts and earned $1.31 million. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. In his elimination, Always B Miki raced on the outside for much of the mile, but was able to overtake pacesetter Mel Mara at the top of the stretch and pull away for a 3-3/4 length win. "I don't think I've been more impressed with a horse that I've trained than I was with him in that race," said Jimmy Takter, who will watch Always B Miki and driver David Miller start from post No. 7 in the Franklin final. "I was so proud of him. "Personally, I think this is probably as exciting a race coming up that there ever was. All the drivers have confidence in their horse. They all think they're going to win it. All three raced fantastic last weekend; they all looked great. It's going to be a horserace." Freaky Feet Pete, the fourth-ranked horse in harness racing's Top 10, has won five of six races this year and 29 of 33 lifetime starts. The son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has finished worse than third only once in his career and earned $1.22 million. He won his elimination by 5-3/4 lengths and will start the final from post six with regular driver Trace Tetrick. "Pete raced good; I was real happy with him," Rheinheimer said. "He came out of it good, eating good and everything, so we're ready to go. I think it will be a good race. It'll probably come down to whoever gets the breaks and the racing luck." In addition to the "Big Three," the Franklin final includes Canada's 2015 Horse of the Year State Treasurer plus world champions Mel Mara, who defeated Always B Miki earlier this season, and Always At My Place. Add in Shamballa and the 10-horse field features seven horses that have won in 1:48 or faster. Below is the Ben Franklin field followed by the fields for the remaining stakes Saturday at Pocono: $500,000 Ben Franklin (Race 11; estimated post time 9:55 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Mel Mara - Corey Callahan - Dylan Davis - 6/1 2 - Shamballa - Scott Zeron - Rick Zeron - 8/1 3 - Wiggle It Jiggleit - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis - 5/2 4 - State Treasurer - Tim Tetrick - Ian Moore - 15/1 5 - Sunfire Blue Chip - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 6 - Freaky Feet Pete - Trace Tetrick - Larry Rheinheimer - 3/1 7 - Always B Miki - David Miller - Jimmy Takter - 4/1 8 - All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 20/1 9 - Rock N' Roll World - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 30/1 10 - Always At My Place - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 10/1 Always At My Place starts from the second tier $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial (Race 9; estimated post time 9:08 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - JK Fannie - Jim Morrill Jr. - Nancy Johansson - 10/1 2 - I Said Diamonds - Matt Kakaley - Matias Ruiz - 5/1 3 - Newborn Sassy - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney-King - 4/1 4 - Lindwood Beachgirl - Yannick Gingras - Mark Steacy - 12/1 5 - Skinny Dipper - Scott Zeron - Ross Croghan - 20/1 6 - Darlinonthebeach - David Miller - Nancy Johansson - 3/1 7 - Pure Country - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 5/2 8 - Blue Moon Stride - Andrew McCarthy - Mark Harder - 6/1 9 - Penpal - Pat Lachance - Pat Lachance - 15/1 $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial (Race 10; estimated post time 9:31 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - More Dragon - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 20/1 2 - Racing Hill - Brett Miller - Tony Alagna - 5/2 3 - Western Fame - George Napolitano Jr. - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 4 - JK Will Power - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 6/1 5 - Talk Show - Scott Zeron - Steve Elliott - 8/1 6 - Boston Red Rocks - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 5/1 7 - Katies Rocker - David Miller - Jim Campbell - 4/1 8 - Control The Moment - Randy Waples - Brad Maxwell - 7/2 9 - Big Top Hanover - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 15/1 $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial (Race 12; estimated post time 10:20 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Reigning Moni - Scott Zeron - Jimmy Takter - 10/1 2 - Hollywood Highway - John Campbell - Staffan Lind - 15/1 3 - Truemass Volo - Eric Goodell - Douglas Hamilton - 12/1 4 - Dayson - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 3/1 5 - Trolley - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 6/1 6 - Brooklyn Hill - David Miller - Jonas Czernyson - 5/1 7 - Southwind Frank - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 5/2 8 - Dice Man - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 20/1 9 - Bar Hopping - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 4/1 by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

A reminder that this Sunday, July 3 is Hall of Fame Day at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Tickets to attend Sunday evening's Hall of Fame Dinner can still be had. Individual tickets are $125. Call the Museum at 845-294-6330 for information. There will be live harness racing at neighboring Goshen Historic Track Friday through Monday, July 1-4, including the classic Hall of Fame Invitational Trot on Sunday, Hall of Fame Day. Post time is 1:00 each day. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free. If you can't make it to Goshen this weekend, watch live streaming video of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the USTA's website at www.ustrotting.com. Festivities begin at 7:00 p.m. ET. While you're online, visit the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's new, redesigned website at www.harnessmuseum.com. Museum news, Hall of Famer biographies and historic harness racing photographs make up just some of the updated content you can explore at our informative new site. From the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame

Harness Racing Jewels winning mare Rocker Band will get her chance to compete against the best of the best. The daughter of New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner, was earmarked for retirement following her emphatic 4YO Diamond victory at last month’s Harness Jewels, but discussions between her trainer Mark Jones and owner Greg Brodie have led them down a different path all together. The fledgling mare will become a mother still with an embryo to be taken from her and partnered with champion stallion Bettor’s Delight before being placed in a surrogate mare. “Greg and I had a pretty big chat about her future and it’s his wish to continue racing her,” Jones said. “But by taking an embryo from her we get to safeguard anything that might happen in the future.” On the racing front the trainer/owner combination have settled on the Queen Of Hearts as the first major assignment for her five-year-old campaign. “We will give her a few starts here and see where we are at before making any other decisions. “Australia is an option for us if it proves to be too hard for her here. “She’s a C8 mare, and even with a new handicapping system she would still have to race the Cup horses. “I probably don’t give her enough credit, she’s capable of doing it but it will be a big ask.” There are plenty of other mares around New Zealand in a similar boat - particularly those Rocker Band beat in the Diamond like; Expressive Victor, Democrat Party and Better B Amazed. While the open class mares’ ranks weren’t overly strong this season they are expected to return to a high standard with the Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess joining the ranks along with the return of The Orange Agent. “It’s going to be tough, but it’s better to die wondering than not try at all. “So we will give her a chance and see what happens. With the racing calendar we’ve got she could chop and change between here and Australia.” While the news that his outstanding mare would be returning to his stable and not to the broodmare paddock was welcomed by Jones, it hasn’t all been warm and fuzzy this week. Open class pacer Saveapatrol is back in the hospital ward for another three to six months after cracking another pastern. The big pacer who down Terror To Love to win an Invercargill Cup has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and the latest blow was nearly the last straw. Jones and owner Grant Hatton discussed the option of calling time on the gelding’s career but have instead opted to have a screw inserted into the pastern to see if that holds together. “It’s pretty disappointing, especially for Grant who has been so patient. “He’s out for at least three months.” With 52 wins on the board and the promise of a few more before the season is done, Jones is reflecting on another good 12 months at the coal face. “We managed to win two Group Ones which is fantastic but we have also well and truly exceeded expectations. “When I sat down at the start of the season I thought 20 was a good figure so to be close to triple that is something I’m proud of.” The Burnham and Woodend Beach horseman said the stable was in a real transitional phase at the moment with a large number of younger horses on the books with some of the racing team sold on to other interests. Matt Markham

Super pacer Christen Me has come through the first run of his Australian harness racing campaign with flying colours. The gelding’s trainer, Cran Dalgety said on Monday that there was a bounce in the step of his star on Monday morning after he was initially a quite tired horse on Sunday. Christen Me finished third in Saturday night’s Wondias Mate at Albion Park. The defeat was a shock one, but considering he drew one on the second line over a mile and was then forced three and four wide in a 27.1 third quarter, the run of the former Miracle Mile winner was full or merit even though the winner, Glenferrie Hood, came off his back inside the final 150 metres to swamp him and leader Ideal Scott. “I thought the run was super. Dexter (Dunn) said he was flying coming off the back,” Dalgety said. “He was a bit jaded yesterday and then again today. “But there was a bit of a bounce in his step this morning as well so I’m happy with where we are at. “I guess initially it probably looked disappointing, but when you break it all down it was a very good run. “And it’s a run which he will improve on. “He tries so hard every time he races so it seems to take a little extra out of him than it might another horse so his recovery is just as important as anything else.” The defeat, and the decision not to race again until the Sunshine Sprint on July 9 means that they will forgo the opportunity to win a $50,000 bonus as part of the UBet Picket Fence initiative. Horses are required to win two races in the lead up July 16, which has been touted as Finale night with four selected races carrying bonuses if their winners have won two races in the lead up the meeting. Christen Me’s bonus was worth $50,000 but Dalgety was happy to now be looking ahead to the two major assignments without any other distraction. “It would be nice, it’s $50,000 after all but the horse owes us nothing so he comes first. “That should ensure now we are ready for the next two races and are firing on all cylinders.” Dalgety is due to return to Christchurch today with Christen Me’s right hand man, Murray Howard taking over the day-to-day control of the pacer in the lead up to the Blacks A Fake. “Muz knows the horse better than anyone. “He’ll have him ready for the big show I’m sure of that.” Back on home soil Dalgety has a race of his own to focus on. He’s currently third on the national trainers’ premiership with 57 wins, but has the Greg and Nina Hope (55), Mark Jones (52) and Phil Williamson (51) stables breathing down his neck.  He’s got 13 horses engaged over three meetings in both the South and North Islands this weekend including unbeaten two-year-old On The Rantan who will look to make it three wins in as many starts in his bonus run in the C1 grade at Addington on Thursday night. Matt Markham

Despite tasting defeat, talented young harness racing horseman Nathan Purdon walked away from last Sunday’s Sydney feature meeting a content person. Purdon prepared Ohoka Punter for the Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Menangle and the star pacer produced a courageous effort to fill third placing behind the David Aiken duo of Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark in a time of 1:50.5. Following two brilliant victories at Albion Park, connections decided to take at throw at the stumps and head south for the sprint feature rather than stay and wait in Brisbane for the upcoming winter carnival features. And the two start campaign proved very successful. “He performed at a very high level in both starts, his first-up win was very impressive and I thought his effort in the Len Smith was very commendable given how much work he did and the time they posted. The top two finishes are wee nice horses.” Purdon said. The New Zealand horseman has returned to Brisbane and Ohoka Punter is due back tomorrow (Thursday) in readiness for next week’s Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint followed by the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake the following week. The open class features during the carnival are loaded with stars including Hectorjayjay, Christen Me, Avonnova and Ultimate Art but Ohoka Punter is right there with them and Purdon is just hoping for some luck. “The Brisbane style of racing is very hard and a little unforgiving so we need to be at our best and have lady luck on our side in both events. The barrier draw for each race will go a long way in determining who gains the advantage. “The best part about last Sunday was the way he came through the race, I couldn’t be happier with the way he pulled up and his recovery was great so that’s very pleasing as we head into the Brisbane features.” Champion reinsman Anthony Butt handled the dual Group One winner in Sydney but Purdon will take the lines himself in both Albion Park features. The barrier draw for the Sunshine Sprint will be conducted next Tuesday (July 5). Chris Barsby

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted four $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for two-year-old pacing fillies as its feature on Tuesday night, with the races conducted over a "sloppy" track.   If you want to win a division of this race in future years, we figured out the "recipe":   --The primary ingredient has to be a Somebeachsomewhere filly who sold for six figures as a yearling, or a Well Said miss that sold as a yearling for exactly $27,000. If you were a $100,000 purchase, your dam had to have won over $1M on the racetrack; if a Well Said, somebody in the immediate family had to top $750,000 in racing earnings.   --Your horse had to be making her purse debut, with a winning qualifier already under her girth.   --Your driver's name had to be either "Gingras" or "Miller."   --Your filly had to be the favorite in the race.   --She had to be on the lead at the half, preferably (3 out of 4) by making a move in the second quarter (the other winner led at every pole).   --She had to take a new lifetime mark.   That seems a very simple formula to follow, doesn't it? Here's how it played out over the four divisions:   Yannick Gingras won two of the All-Stars sections, the first with the Somebeachsomewhere- Idyllic filly Idyllic Beach, who won by ¾ of a length over hard-charging rival Tardy For The Party in 1:55.4 - 57.2 - 28.2 for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., and Marvin Katz.   Gingras later posted career victory #6005 with Sapphire Breeze, a Ron Burke-trained daughter of Well Said whose half-brother Fat Mans Alley just went over the $750,000 plateau with a win here Saturday on Sun Stakes elimination night. Sapphire Breeze, who was clocked in 1:55.2 - 57.1 - 28, won by 2¾ lengths over late-closing Pittstop Danika (another Burke trainee) for the ownership team of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phillip Collura, Michelle Yanek, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   The other winning daughter of Well Said was Watch What You Say, whose second dam was a half-sister to the $1.2M-winning world champion Hana Hanover.   This Mike Hall-trained miss defied the "cookbook" in two ways: she was the only wire-to-wire winner, being 3¾ lengths clear at the wire in the fastest time of 1:54.4, last half 56.1, for driver Brett Miller; and she was the only visitor to Victory Lane who had part of her ownership team purchase her yesterday - after a 1:55.1 qualifying win at Harrah's, Watch What You Say attracted enough attention that the CTC Stable saw its partner, and the filly's breeder, Fred Hertrich III, sell his share to Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, with the deal registered the previous calendar day.   The other daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Someomensomewhere, is out of the seven-figure racemare Omen Hanover, and she added further spice to the recipe by throwing two "Millers" into the pot - driver Marcus and trainer Erv. Someomensomewhere stopped the timer in 1:57.3, with a 28.2 last quarter sufficient to keep Dangerous Woman, who came from last at the ¾, at bay by 1½ lengths for the Nick Surick Stable LLC and the KDM Stables Corp. (they're registered as "Corp." with the USTA).   Now that we've discovered the recipe for a PA All-Stars winner, we have to start on a formula that produces a Wiggle It Jiggleit, an Always B Miki, or a Freaky Feet Pete (yes, Hoosiers, we've figured out the first part). Because these three are matched up for the first time, vying with the likes of Mel Mara, State Treasurer, and five other hardknocking FFAers, in the $500,000 Franklin Pace Championship this Saturday night at Pocono, the highlight of the $2M Sun Stakes Saturday.   If you have any doubt how much this race is being anticipated, go to the next best thing to the horse's mouth, the driver's mouth. Read in the trade press about the excitement being shown by names like Miller, Gingras, and Tetrick - veterans of the racetrack wars who will all be in the race - and be reminded that the eyes of the entire harness racing world will be on the 11th race at the mountain oval Saturday night.   1:47? 1:46.4? Faster?   From the PHHA Media Department

In a story released by Frank Vespe for theracingbiz.com, The Maryland Racing Commission on Monday voted unanimously to treat a spate of recent positive tests for glaucine in the state as environmental contamination, to release purse funds that had been held back in some cases since March, and to hold harmless the affected trainers. “A lot of people were caught unaware through no fault of their own,” commissioner Tom Winebrener said during the meeting, which was held via conference call. “The bottom line is we want to do this the right way,” added Commission chair John McDaniel. The move followed a similar decision made June 18 by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission (DTRC). There, stewards ruled that Brooks Lass, trained by Scott Lake, and Michaels Butterfly, trained by Gina Rosenthal, would retain their May 25 and May 23 victories, respectively. The decision will cheer the nine trainers who had glaucine positives in Maryland, whom the Commission has not publicly named. The issue arose April 14, according to Commission executive director Mike Hopkins, when Truesdail Laboratories, which does the testing in both Maryland and Delaware, found three samples positive for glaucine. One of those samples came from Laurel Park, while the other two were from Rosecroft, which hosts harness racing. Several more positives followed shortly thereafter, ultimately affecting nine trainers and prompting the Commission and Truesdail to work “hand in hand,” Hopkins said, to investigate further. That investigation led to the conclusion that when glaucine, an alkaloid naturally occurring in the tulip poplar tree, is found along with one of three other alkaloids — protopine, asimilobine, and liriodenine – “it is more likely than not that an environmental contamination was the basis for its ingestion,” the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission stewards wrote in their June 18 ruling, which was based on the research Truesdail had conducted as a result of the Maryland cases. To read the entire story click here.   

A trio of $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) for sophomore trotting fillies will be contested Friday night, July 1 at Scioto Downs. A total of 26 Ohio-bred, diagonally-gaited distaffs are set to battle in races 2, 3, and 11 on the 13-race harness racing program, with a first race post time of 6:30 pm, ET. In the first division (race 2) OSS leg one winner Kerfuffle Cookie goes head to head with rival and leg two winner A TC Queenie. The former-a Chris Beaver trainee-is looking for redemption against the latter, having finished second to A TC Queenie in the May 29 OSS contest at Northfield Park. A TC Queenie stopped the timer in 1:58.3 with Danny Noble driving for trainer Ron Steck that night, notching her fourth career start and upping her career earnings to $56,241 for owners Trish Soulsby of Powell, OH and Rick Schaut of Pompano Beach, FL. The daughter of Triumphant Caviar-American Queen-American Winner was bred by Danny Collins. Kerfuffle Cookie is co-owned by Beaver along with Synerco Ventures Inc., of Toronto, Canada and is a winner of four of five starts this season and $42,100 in earnings. Bred by Lmn Bred Stables, Inc., the daughter of Chip Chip Hooray-Minor Skirmish-Conway Hall earned $75,170 as a freshman, with three wins in eight starts last year. She won her 2016 debut on April 29 at Miami Valley Raceway, before capturing leg one of OSS competition in 1:58 at that same oval on May 6. These two fillies will face off against six rivals, including the Marty Wollam-trained Oneeyedmomma, a winner of $69,856 lifetime for owner-breeder Bob Troyer of Middlefield, OH, and Up Front Racing's Hoorah Hoorah, a daughter by Chip Chip Hooray who's amassed $43,773 lifetime. Count On Kami headlines OSS division two (Race 3) against eight rivals for the aforementioned conditioner Marty Wollam. Ohio's trotting maestro co-owns the homebred daughter of Full Count along with David Vannatta of Mount Vernon, OH and Acadia Farms of Canfield, OH. A winner of $195,541 in her career, Count On Kami will be trying for her fourth straight triumph in this OSS test, having plowed through the Northfield Park conditioned ranks as of late, taking a mark of 1:57.2 on June 22 handily. The robust filly and driver Kurt Sugg captured the 2-year-old Championship last season on Super Night at Scioto Downs for these same connections. If she can mind her manners, Shut Up And Dance could give Count On Kami a run for her money in this same race. Hugh Beatty trains and drives the temperamental daughter of Triumphant Caviar, who has earned $53,350 lifetime for Minooka, IL-owner Jim Bafia. In the third (Race 11) OSS division, Consolidator will be looking to continue her sweep of the series, having won the first two legs confidently for trainer Jim Arledge, Jr. and the Green Acquisition Corp., of Canfield, OH. Piloted in all of her starts by Chris Page, Consolidator was bred by the Rose Run Farm and is by Triumphant Caviar, out of the Muscles Yankee mare Muscle Toy. She won $77,616 as a freshman, capturing two of five starts last season. This year the statuesque filly is two for two and shows no signs of slowing down under the watchful eye of her trainer, pushing her career earnings to $117,616. She won OSS leg one on May 6 at Miami Valley in a wire-to-wire effort in 1:57.4, and won the second leg in similar style, stopping the Northfield clock in casual 1:58 with Page at the lines. Kestrel, though saddled with post eight, certainly has the credentials to test Consolidator. This Chris Beaver trainee captured her OSS leg at Northfield on May 29 by nearly nine lengths in 1:57 for driver Aaron Merriman. Bred and co-owned by Wilbur Lang of Jamestown, OH along with Beaver, this daughter of Triumphant Caviar-Blackrock-Credit Winner has career earnings of $216,650 and seasonal earnings of $25,000. She's a winner of seven of nine starts in her career and was Ohio's 2-Year-Old Filly Champion of 2015. Beaver will also harness Evanora for owner/breeder Sandra Burnett of Wilmington, OH, as she looks for the first victory of her 3-year-old campaign. A winner of $81,143 lifetime, the daughter of Pilgrims Taj has four wins in 14 career starts, and rarely misses a check. Ohio Sires Stakes continue throughout the Fourth Of July holiday weekend, with 3-year-old filly pacers battling Saturday night (July 2) at Scioto Downs; freshman trotting and pacing fillies dueling Sunday night (July 3) at Northfield Park; and freshman trotting and pacing colts vying on Monday afternoon (July 4) at Scioto Downs. Kimberly Rinker  

At Kalmar SWE top action included the Kalmarsundspolalen (150,000SEK first money, 1640 meters autostart) and international harness racing veteran B.B.S. Sugarlight (7g Super Light-Sugarsweet Sid-Sugarcane Hanover) scored timed in 1.10.2kr for Peter Untersteiner. Off the 2.8/1 the winner recorded victory 21 in 76 starts now for 6,972,005SEK earned. 23/1 Vasterbo Highflyer (8g Look de Star-Vasterbo Highclass-Pine Chip) was second for Ulf Ohlsson and the trainer/owner team of Daniel Reden/Stall Zet. 10/1 Tycoon Conway Hall (6m Conway Hall-Golden Sunday-Supergill) was third for Thomas Uhrberg ahead of Harry Haythrow, Magic Tonight and Royal Fighter. The secondary Kalmar feature was the Viola Silas (100,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart, mares) and even-money favorite Trinity Zet (5f SJ’s Photo-Kleo Zet-Angus Hall) scored in 1.12.8kr for driver Erik Adielsson and the Reden/Stall Zet team. 4.9/1 Georgie Mae (6f Valley Victor-Missmandarine-Malabar Man) took second for Johnny Taker, trainer Lars Nilsson and owner Euro Vets Inc. USA. Peninsula Farm bred this one. Third was 3.7/1 Jetset (7f Juliano Star-Superlet-Super Arnie) for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner and fourth was the Jerry Riordan trained, Christoffer Eriksson reined Radysin America (6f Donato Hanover-Zagabria Dei-Victory Dream). Sunday’s Grand Prix des Pays-Bas (purse €33,000, 2600 meters, 12 starters) went to the 1.16.07kr timed Caen Oldersson (7m Offshore Dream-Krona Oldeson) at 19.3/1. John De Leeuw reined the winner for trainer F.A. Westerveld and ownerJuchthaven de Groot BV. This one bested Vincennes invader Beckman (9g Turbo Sund-Nins Palema) with Caes Kamminga aboard for Ecurie Commander & Loaded Boys AM, off at 4.3/1. 4/1 Duke Of Greenwood (6m Otello Pieji-Nikki Groenhof) took third for driver Hugo Langeweg and trainer Peter J. Strooper ahead of 121/1 Orchetto Jet (8m Supergill-Frutute Jet) with Puud Pools driving for trainer Stephanie Lepetit and Ecurie GSL Trotting. Thomas H. Hicks

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A total of 111 freshman Ohio-bred distaffs filled the Northfield Park entry box this week, with 14 Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) leg one divisions set for Sunday, July 3, at the Cleveland half-miler. Forty-six 2-year-old trotting fillies in six $40,000 divisions and 65 freshman pacing fillies in eight $40,000 divisions will line up behind the Northfield starting gate, with a post time of 6 pm, ET. Some of the outstandingly-bred trotting fillies that will compete on Sunday include Rose Run Sydney, a Steve Carter-trainee who qualified at Scioto Downs on June 13 in 2:03.4, before winning an Ohio Fair Stake at Circleville on June 19 in 2:09.4. She vies from post two in the first OSS division (Race 1). Co-owned by Carter and Adam Friedland of Brooklyn, NY and Robert Reid of Mansfield, OH, this daughter of Triumphant Caviar was a $10,000 yearling purchase at the 2015 Ohio Select Sale. Bred by the Rose Run Farm, Rose Run Sydney is the fifth foal out of the Angus Hall mare Stonebridge Dancer 3, 1:57.3f ($34,902), and is a half-sister to Magic Dancing 3, 1:59.3f ($51,929); Magic Hat 4, Q1:57.3 ($38,951); and White Gloves 4, 1:57s ($33,145)--all by Kadabra. One royally-bred filly is the Break The Bank K lass Amuse's, who'll carry the colors of owner/breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA from post three in the fifth OSS trotting division (Race 12). She is the third of five foals out of the broodmare Sweet Mademoiselle Q1:58.4f ($39,960)--herself a daughter of the mighty Italian-foaled Varenne, unquestionably one of the greatest trotters of all time. Amuse's is conditioned by Rich Gillock, and made her career debut in a Vernon Downs qualifier on June 4, when she was timed in 2:01.3, before making two attempts at The Meadowlands. Her last qualifier at the East Rutherford, New Jersey facility saw her timed in 1:58 on June 25, with an impressive :27.3 final panel brush. Pennys N Dimes comes into OSS division four (Race 7) fresh off an impressive qualifier. The daughter of Break The Bank K--also owned and bred by Robert Key--qualified on June 24 at The Meadows in 2:01.3 under wraps for trainer Norm Parker. She's the fifth foal out of the top-bred Lindy Lane mare Fast Lane K 4, 1:54.3s ($296,289)--herself a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes winner for these same connections. Pennys N Dimes is thus a half-sister to these speedy siblings: Expressway K (by Angus Hall) 3, Q1:55.4f; Dewey Lane (by Deweycheatumnhowe) 2, 1:56.4f; and Liberty Lane (by Deweycheatumnhowe) 2, 1:57.3s. The filly pacing divisions could be referred to as the "Brian Brown" show, as this Delaware, Ohio-based conditioner sends out a serious group of talented neophyte side-wheelers. One of Brown's most impressive fillies is Bye Bye Felicia, a daughter of Woodstock, out of the unraced Camluck mare Tea Time. Bred by Sugar Valley Farm's Billy Walters and Joe Mclead, Bye Bye Felicia stormed to a winning 1:55.1 Scioto Downs qualifier on June 27, devastating her rivals by a full five lengths. This tenacious filly is owned by Jennifer Brown of Ostrander, OH in partnership with Joyce McClelland of Zanesville, OH, Steve Mullet of Millersburg, OH and Dean Davis of Wooster, OH. Bye Bye Felicia starts from post five in the first division (Race 2). Prawn Star is another Brown trainee who scored a qualifying time of 1:57.1 at Scioto Downs on June 27. This daughter of Big Bad John-Jellyfish Joy-Cam's Magic Trick was bred and is co-owned by Daniel Wozniak of Perrysburg, OH and the Kalinoski Stable of Hillard, OH. Prawn Star starts from post five in the second OSS division (Race 4). Bellasbrowneyegirl heads up the fourth OSS division (Race 9) from the rail for owner Jennifer Brown of Ostrander, OH and the Lomangino Standardbreds of Tinton Falls, NJ, who also bred the filly. This McArdle lass posted a trio of solid qualifying efforts, with a 2:05 score on June 8 and a 2:01.1 triumph on June 16 at Delaware, before posting a 1:58 mark at Scioto Downs on June 22. In all three efforts for her trainer she brushed home in :29.1 or faster. Bellasbrowneyegirl is the fourth foal out of the A Stud Named Sue mare Cristinella Bella p,4,1:55.3, and is a half-sister to The Illuminator (by Big Jim) p, 2, 1:53.1 ($18,827), now three. In the fifth OSS pacing division (Race 11), Brown will tighten the girth on Type A Grey, a daughter of Art Official-Just My Type-American Ideal for owner Emerald Highland Farm of Mount Vernon, OH. Bred by the White Birch Farm of New Jersey, Type A Grey posted back-to-back impressive 1:58 qualifiers--the first at Delaware on June 16 and the second at Scioto Downs on June 27. In the first she flew home in :27.4 and in the second her final quarter was timed in :28.3. Type A Grey--whose Western Terror 3-year-old half-sister Ava N Ella won in 1:53.2 this year, starts from post three in this division. Finally, Brown sends out Western Art from post five in the sixth OSS filly pacing division (Race 15). Owned and bred by the Miller's Stable of Leburn, KY, Westrn Art paced to a pair of winning qualifying efforts for her connections. She posted a 1:59 clocking on June 16 at Delaware and followed that up with a 1:58.2 winning time at Scioto Downs on June 27. In both instances her final panels were in :28.4 or faster. She's by Art Official, and is the first foal out of the Western Hanover mare Western Royalty p, 3, 1:53.2F ($106,498). Other top contenders include the Brenda Teague bred, owned and trained lass Gorgeous Halie, a daughter of I'm Gorgeous, out of the Real Artist mare Southwind Halie. This Houston, DE-based filly was timed in 1:57.3, with a :26.4 final brush in a second place qualifying finish at Vernon Downs on June 18. She then paced in 1:55.4, with a :26.1 last quarter in a Meadowlands baby race on June 24. Gorgeous Halie starts from post two in the third OSS division (Race 6). Trainer Ron Burke sends Rosemary Rose postward in the seventh OSS division (Race 16) from the five-hole for driver Mike Wilder. This Foreclosure N filly is co-owned by Burke and JV Melillo of Powell, OH and Weaver Bruscemi of Cannonsburg, PA. Rosemary Rose posted two solid qualifying efforts at the Meadows, timed in 1:59.4 on June 2 and in 1:58.2 on June 12, flying home in :27. Bred by Ron Salcedo of Tennesse, Rosemary Rose is the sixth of seven foals out of The Panderosa mare Pantathlon p, 2, 1:54.4f ($20,221). Her half-siblings include: Pan From Nantucket p, 5, 1:51.3h ($555,929); Panstakingly p, 3, 1:54.2s ($64,490); Nip Pan Tuck p, 2, 1:54.4s ($50,899)--all by No Pan Intended; and Holiday Romance (by Artistic Fella) p, 3, 1:57.4h ($24,396). by Kimberly Rinker, for the OSDF
This Week: Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial finals, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Cleveland Trotting Classic, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; Miss Versatility, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday night (July 2) as the track will host four lucrative stakes finals in the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Also on Saturday, Northfield Park will host the $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic for older trotters, while Historic Track will card eight Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. A trio of Friday night (July 1) stakes open the Grand Circuit action this week with the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs and the Miss Versatility at Mohawk. At Tioga, there will be two divisions in the $77,380 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old male trotters and two divisions in the $55,380 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old filly trotters. Mohawk will host a pair of C$30,000 divisions in the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the U.S. races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries are available at this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action opened up on Friday night (June 24) at Meadowlands Racetrack with the $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters. Displaying no ill effects after being away from the races for almost a month, Resolve powered down the road to an easy one length win in the Cutler. Resolve, the even-money favorite, was sent away fast from post seven and had the lead at the quarter in :27.1. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt did a masterful job of rating the second fraction, which was timed in a sleepy :30 as they hit the half in :57.1. Obrigado, the 2-1 second choice fresh off wins in the Maxie Lee and Charlie Hill Memorial, vacated the four hole at the seven-sixteenths and grinded his way into contention at three-quarters, which went in 1:25.4. Then Svanstedt hit the gas and Resolve responded with a final quarter of :26.3, leaving Obrigado behind while opening up a safe lead. Flanagan Memory, who went a third-over trip, closed well through the stretch to end up a no-threat second. Obrigado held third. Resolve trotted the mile in 1:52.2 for owner Hans Enggren. Social media was abuzz when Wiggle It Jiggleit captured the first of three $30,000 Ben Franklin eliminations on Saturday (June 25) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but the horse that many considered to be the star attraction was overshadowed by his two colleagues that triumphed in the two following divisions and establishes a contest in the $500,000 final on Saturday (July 2) that may very well be epic. Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 2015 Harness Horse of the Year, and is the top-ranked horse in the industry poll. Trained by Clyde Francis and owned by George Teague Jr. Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership, the gelding won his Franklin elimination in 1:48.1. Which was the slowest elimination. By a full second. Because world records were set in the other two cuts: first the 5-year-old pacing stallion Always B Miki took his Franklin elimination in 1:47, equaling Sweet Lou's all-time world record for a five-eighths-mile track (set in the Franklin final two years ago) and missing the all-time race record by a single tick, and then Freaky Feet Pete was off by himself much of the other elimination and still crossed the wire in 1:47.1, a world record for a 4-year-old pacing horse on a five-eighths-mile track. Always B Miki now has won four of six races and $91,500 this year, and 22 of 41 races and $1,319,576 lifetime. Jimmy Takter has brought the pacer all the way back from injury to the top of his game for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. Freaky Feet Pete is now five-for-six in 2016 and an amazing 29-for-33 in his career, with $1,224,050 in his till for trainer Larry Rheinheimer and owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer and he completed the "Indiana-sired" sweep of the Franklin eliminations. Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the other six Pocono stakes eliminations, are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 191.5; 2. David Miller - 170; 3. Yannick Gingras - 167; 4. Tim Tetrick - 166; 5. Matt Kakaley - 130. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 258; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 170; 3. Peter Tritton - 139.5; 4. Rene Allard - 125; 5. Jimmy Takter - 118. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 139.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 112; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 72.6; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 62.85; 5t. George Teague Jr. Inc. - 51.25; 5t. Teague Racing Partnership - 51.25. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Tioga Downs, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Yonkers Raceway. Tioga will host Tompkins-Geers races for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers; The Meadowlands will host the Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters, Meadowlands Pace eliminations for 3-year-olds and a Reynolds division for 3-year-old filly trotters; and Yonkers features Lawrence Sheppard eliminations for 2-year-old pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
East Rutherford, NJ - The holiday weekend at The Meadowlands offers a look into racing's future with two-year-old stakes on Friday, July 1 then celebrates America's Independence on Saturday with a special 6:30 p.m. post time and a grand fireworks display immediately following the races.   The New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for two-year-olds gets underway on Friday with six divisions of Garden State bred trotting and pacing hopefuls.   It's been said that it takes a Muscle Hill to beat a Muscle Hill. That claim becomes fact in the four divisions of freshman trots as all of the twenty five participants are the progeny of that top trotting sire.   A dozen colts were split into two $20,000 divisions carded as races three and four.   The $280,000 Lexington sale purchase Mountain Of Love has had a pair of Meadowlands baby races in preparation for his pari-mutuel debut in the third race. He's trotted in the 1:59 range with solid final fractions in each and leaves from post position four with driver Scott Zeron. Tony Alagna conditions the colt for his own interests as Alagna Racing with partners Crawford Racing, Mystical Marker Farms and In The Gym Partners.   The second division of colts finds Fly On also situated in post four. He has been successful in both of his preps, most recently streaking home in 27.3 for driver Andy Miller to finish out a 1:59.4 mile. Fly On was a $55,000 Lexington purchase by trainer Julie Miller on behalf of the Andy Miller Stable, Arden Homestead Stable and GTY Stable.   Trotting fillies open the Friday card with a field of six chasing the winner's share of the $20,000 purse. Checkmate Time (post four) has been very impressive in her morning trials, trotting sub 28 final quarters in each resulting in a pair of closing seconds before winning her most recent effort in 1:59.2. She is a homebred racing for the interests of Roy Dobbins, is trained by Dennis Laterza and Scott Zeron has the call on her as well.   Seven precocious trotting fillies will contest division two of the stake (race six). Ariana G has won both of her schooling races, trotting home in 27 and change in each the latest a 1:58.2 tally out of the pocket for Yannick Gingras. She's a Marvin Katz & Al Libfeld homebred trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter.   The pacing fillies and colts will race for a purse of $25,000 being just a single division for each. If I Can Dream boasts a like distinction to Muscle Hill on this gait as all of the pacers are by that Breeders Crown winning sire.   The colts number seven in race two with Aaron Lambert going old school as the owner, trainer and driver on his $12,000 Harrisburg bargain colt Every Way Out. He was an easy 1:59.2 winner at Gaitway Farms in his first outing, followed up by a useful fourth in preparation for Friday's stake.   Ten of the fairer sex throw down in race ten where trainer Erv Miller and Ron Michelon's homebred Livinginthedream has the most impressive credentials but must overcome the far outside post ten. She's paced home hard in each of her three prior efforts and has the talent, it's left to driver Marcus Miller to fashion the winning trip.   Last year's Cane Pace champ Dealt A Winner makes his seasonal debut on Saturday, facing a field of high-end condition types in the sixth race.   Saturday's early post time will result in the live races being concluded by around 10:15 p.m. with the Ben Franklin and Earl Beal finals shown on the giant infield screen before the fireworks begin at 10:30.   With Saturday's earlier-than-normal post time, the track's Pick Five guarantee will not be offered on the sequence which covers Races 1 - 5. In addition, the Late Pick Four wager's guarantee will be $40,000. The Late Pick Four covers Races 7 - 10. The Early Pick Four (Races 3 - 6) will continue to offer a $25,000 guaranteed pool. These changes will only be in effect on Saturday, July 2. From the Meadowlands Media Relations Department
Northeast Ohio's premier trotting race, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, will go to post Saturday (July 2) at Northfield Park. This will be the second edition of the Classic and it carries a purse of $180,000. The Grand Circuit event has attracted some of the best veteran trotters in North America. It has been slated as the 11th event on a 15-race program. First race post time is 6 p.m. 1-Obrigado, runner-up in this event last year, draws the rail for his return. He has been victorious in 37 of 68 career races, including a 21 race win streak earlier in his career. He has lifetime earnings of $1,019,749 and a 1:51.3 (M 1) mark taken last year. Although entering this event off a third place finish in the $200,000 Cutler Memorial, Obrigado has three wins in six races this year. Those wins include the $200,000 Maxie Lee at Harrah's Philadelphia and the $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs. The six year-old is owned by Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45. He is conditioned by Paul Kelley. Canadian native Mark MacDonald has been named to steer. 2-Homicide Hunter was sired my Mr Cantab and is owned by Michelle Crawford and Albert Crawford. With 20 career victories, he has been a model of consistency, finishing in the top three 29 of his 33 lifetime starts. He enters the Classic in very good form, just equaling his 1:51.4 lifetime mark in a $54,000 stake race on June 18 at The Meadows. That victory bolstered his career bankroll to $609,513. Christopher Oakes trains the four year-old gelding. Dave Palone, winner of more races than any driver in harness racing history, has been named to drive this 4-1 morning-line competitor. 3-Shake It Cerry has been named the 2-1 morning-line favorite. She is the richest in this year's field, sporting career earnings of $2,547,962. She has 50 lifetime starts and 28 career victories, including the $500,000 Breeders Crown in 2014. She is a five year-old daughter of Donato Hanover with a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 (Lex 1). Shake It Cerry is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Ronnie Wrenn Jr, Northfield Park's leading driver, has been given the driving assignment. 4-Il Songno Dream is one of two starters in this race from the powerful Christopher Beaver Stable. He has won 17, and been on the board in 32 of 54 career races. He has two runner-up finishes this year in three efforts. This five year-old son of Cantab Hall has career earnings of $803,077. His 1:50.2 (Lex 1) lifetime mark is the fastest in this race. Canadian Trevor Henry comes to drive this 10-1 morning line selection. 5-Muscle Up The Goal enters this race for owner Synerco Ventures, Inc. He is the second entrant in this field for trainer Christopher Beaver. 2015 Dash Driving Champion Aaron Merriman has been given the driving assignment for tonight's outing. The four year-old has already won three times in five tries this year and has won eight of 24 starts lifetime. He earned his 1:52 mark at The Meadows this year in a $20,000 Preferred event. In May of this year, Muscle Up The Goal broke the Northfield Park trotting record and a world record for four year-old trotting horses in 1:52.3. This son of Muscle Mass has lifetime earnings of $257,896. He carries an 8-1 morning line. 6-Maestro Blue Chip is owned by Richard Poillucci and trained by Jo Ann Looney-King. The four year-old enters this race off a 1:53.4 win on June 12 in the $75,000 Graduate at Tioga Downs. He has a total of 25 career starts with 13 triumphs, but has blossomed this year, winning 11 of 12 outings. He earned a 1:51.3 (M 1) lifetime mark just three races ago and has career earnings of $270,173. Victor Kirby has been named to drive this 6-1 morning-line starter. 7-Like Old Times was the 2015 Ohio Horse of the Year. She enters this race off two consecutive local victories, including a 1:55 track record performance and lifetime mark. This daughter of Chip Chip Hooray is owned by Keith Ross and trained on the Flying Turns by Northfield Park Wall of Famer and Ohio Trotmaster Don McKirgan. Like Old Times has 17 victories in 34 starts and has $343,350 in earnings. Ryan Stahl has been named to drive this 25-1 longshot. 8-Boffin, 25-1, enters off a runner-up finish in a $25,000 Open event at Scioto Downs. He has a 1:51.1 (PcD 5/8) lifetime mark and career earnings of $340,127. This son of Donato Hanover has won 28 of 85 career starts. Anette Lorentzon trains Boffin for owners ACL Stuteri AB, Kjell Johansson and Karin Lorentzon. Jason Merriman has been given the driving assignment. This year's Classic program undercard is highlighted by three $20,000 Open events. One features Foiled Again, the richest horse in the history of harness racing and a three-time Battle of Lake Erie winner. The Opens and the Trotting Classic comprise the evening's Pick-4, which carries a $10,000 guaranteed pool. In addition to superior racing action, the night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is just $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. Guests who want to be close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron for an array of free fanfare activities. These attractions include a free Northfield Park ball cap for the first 1,500 patrons, a t-shirt toss from the winner's circle by the successful driver of each race, country band Six String Cowboy performing on the apron from 6-10 p.m., spinning of the Northfield Park Prize Wheel for free cash and prizes from 8-9 p.m., and some of Northeast Ohio's favorite food trucks on the grandstand apron from 6-10 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
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