Day At The Track
Stonebridge Soul,Harness racing

Lynch finalist a very pleasant surprise

There was a time last year when it looked as though Stonebridge Soul would not make it to the races until, perhaps, late in the harness racing season. But the then 2-year-old filly pacer turned the corner in late spring and by the end of her campaign was a Grand Circuit stakes winner. "A very pleasant surprise," co-owner Bob Mondillo said about Stonebridge Soul, who competes in Saturday's (June 29) $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "We're thrilled with what has happened and where she is in her career. "She's been racing very well. We're going up against the best in the sport. We just hope we hold our own." So far, that has not been a problem. Stonebridge Soul won three of eight races in 2018, including a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and finished second three times in divisions of Pennsylvania state-bred stakes. This year, she has won two of seven starts and hit the board a total of six times. Her only finish outside the top three came in the Fan Hanover Stakes, where she started from post nine and charged home in the stretch to end up fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length. The horses to finish ahead of Stonebridge Soul this year can be counted on one hand: Warrawee Ubeaut, Tall Drink Hanover, Treacherous Reign, and Powerful Chris. Warrawee Ubeaut is a returning Dan Patch Award winner (and morning-line favorite in the Lynch at 5-2) while Tall Drink Hanover is a returning O'Brien Award winner. Treacherous Reign won the Fan Hanover and Powerful Chris was a stakes winner in Ontario last season. Stonebridge Soul will start the Lynch from post four with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Chris Ryder. Last weekend, Stonebridge Soul finished second to the Ron Burke-trained Warrawee Ubeaut in their Lynch elimination. Treacherous Reign was third. Other elimination winners were Odds On St Lucie and Tall Drink Hanover, both from the stable of trainer Tony Alagna (as is Treacherous Reign). "We're just proud to be in the same company, in the same race with them," Mondillo said. "When you're going against those horses, I wouldn't discount anybody in that race, you have to bring your 'A' game. I trust that Chris will have her ready and I trust that Timmy will have her in position to compete. The rest is up to her." Stonebridge Soul is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the millionaire mare Rock N Soul. She was purchased for $110,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Mondillo, an investment adviser from Ohio, and Craig Henderson-led Henderson Farms in Illinois. The filly lagged behind her 2-year-old stablemates while training down last year, prompting discussion about delaying her debut until at least later in the season. "I won't say I pleaded with Chris, but it was close, to keep her for another two weeks; just give her those two weeks and see what happens," Mondillo said. "I was saying the words, but I wasn't really believing things would happen in two weeks. Lo and behold, it did. She just seemed to figure it out." Stonebridge Soul qualified twice in June, won her debut in July, and went on to earn $116,790 for the year. Now she will try to pick up her first six-figure win in the Lynch. "She never quits," Mondillo said. "She doesn't know the meaning of quit. Even at the end sometimes when she seems almost trapped, she finds a way to get out and make up ground. "We're excited and looking forward to Saturday night. It should be a fun race, a very competitive race. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and let it unfold. I just think so much of this horse that I think anything could happen with her." After all, it already has. Following is the field for the $300,000 Lynch Memorial. The race is named in honor of James M. Lynch, who served in positions from steward to racing secretary to director of racing to general manager during a career that took him to tracks around the country. He was the director of racing at Pennsylvania's Liberty Bell for all 23 years of its existence. He also was a horse owner and director of the U.S. Trotting Association. He passed away in 2000. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Warrawee Ubeaut-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2 2-Zero Tolerance-David Miller-Joe Holloway-4/1 3-Blue Ivy-Tyler Buter-Chris Oakes-15/1 4-Stonebridge Soul-Tim Tetrick-Chris Ryder-10/1 5-Treacherous Reign-Dexter Dunn-Tony Alagna-3/1 6-Odds On St Lucie-Corey Callahan-Tony Alagna-20/1 7-St Somewhere-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/1 8-Philly Hanover-Brian Sears-Ron Coyne Jr.-6/1 9-Tall Drink Hanover-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-12/1   Saturday's card at Pocono also features the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

Dijon,Harness racing

Elitlopp winner considering Yonkers Invitational Trot

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although Solvalla Travbana sat under gray skies that intermittently pelted the harness racing track with heavy rains on the last Sunday in May, the dreary and unseasonably cold weather couldn’t put a damper on the celebration of a newly crowned an Elitlopp Champion. About 20 minutes after the finish of Sweden’s biggest race, the crowd of more than 21,000 clapped and cheered in rhythm while upbeat victory music blasted over the sound system.  On the apron, fans leaned over the fence, craned their necks, and waded into puddles along the rail to catch a glimpse of Dijon as he made his way back to the stabling area from the winner’s circle.  The striking bay horse’s arrival was preceded by a wave of photographers and media that swarmed around him. With a bright pink blanket draped over his back and a matching wreath around his bowed neck, Dijon bore the unmistakable air of a champion among this entourage. Flanked on either side by majestic white horses whose riders bore the blue and yellow colors of the Swedish flags they hoisted into the air, Dijon was the hero of the day. As Dijon made his procession along the track, his trainer and driver, Romain Derieux, savored the moment. Midway down the stretch, Derieux climbed onto the seat of his sulky and stood proudly over Dijon as he absorbed the praises of the Swedish crowd. With the lines in his left hand, Derieux thrust his right fist triumphantly toward the sky and the crowd’s roar intensified. This moment of pure elation was a dream that Derieux thought was dashed a week earlier when Dijon drew post position eight in the second of two Elitlopp eliminations. Starting from the far outside while rivals like Aubrion Du Gers and Propulsion drew favorably, Derieux braced for the worst as he and Dijon faced the starting gate for the first time on Elitlopp Day in need of a fourth-place finish or better to advance to the Final. “I thought I had a good chance, but when I saw number eight, I thought I was finished. It’s so hard to qualify for the final,” Derieux said. “Before the race, in my head, I thought, ‘start slowly,’ because with the eight, it’s so hard to take the lead. I started slowly and waited behind. And just the last 300 meters from the finish, I thought if I was fourth in the first race, it’s OK and if I wasn’t, I would return next year.” Derieux took off the gate and raced in seventh early. As Propulsion and Milliondollarrhyme moved to the outside with 1,000 meters to trot, Dijon stuck to the pylons. Shooting the gap third on the inside behind Milligan's School, he advanced within 3 ½ lengths of leader Aubrion Du Gers with 800 meters remaining.  Dijon kept to the inside around the final turn and when Milligan’s School moved into the two-path turning for home, Dijon found room to advance. Derieux went to the whip and cracked the lines against Dijon’s hindquarters. Dijon extended and advanced into third to make the final at odds of 17-1. After drawing post five in the Group 1, 3,000,000kr final, Derieux was determined to give Dijon his best chance to win. Dijon does his best work on the front end and that’s where Derieux intended to put him. With the scratch of first elimination pacesetting winner Readly Express out of the post parade, Dijon’s job got easier. “I didn’t think about Readly Express before the start. For the final, in my head, I decided to take the lead and make a very fast start. Without knowing about Readly Express, it was the same for me,” Derieux explained. “I think (Dijon) is better when he takes the lead. He likes that and he likes to start very fast. It’s easy for him to take the lead because he’s very fast at the start.”  Dijon blasted off the wings of the gate and crossed over to the pylons in the first 100 meters. Although he got leg-weary in the stretch, Dijon never looked back. He held off a late rally from Aubrion Du Gers to win the Elitlopp Final by a neck. “The last 300 meters, I go fast because I feel Propulsion, who has a lot more speed, and Aubrion Du Gers is behind him,” Derieux remembered. “I asked Dijon and in the last 100 meters, Dijon was a little tired, so I had to be careful about that. The track is so hard, so he didn’t like that. The track on Saturday was perfect and on Sunday with the rain, it was very hard. “It was superb. Before the race, I thought if I was third or fourth, it would be good. To win, it was incredible.” After Dijon’s Elitlopp victory, Derieux is considering the stallion for North America’s biggest race for older trotters, the Yonkers International Trot, slated for October 12 at Yonkers Raceway. Although there are logistical issues to overcome, such as the mandatory quarantine for foreign horses, before he would be willing to accept an invitation, Derieux feels the $1 million race would fit Dijon well. Bred by Derieux’s father, Louis, Dijon is a 6-year-old son of Ganymède out of the Coktail Jet mare Sonate d'Aunou. Derieux and owner Mauricette De Sousa purchased Dijon as a 2-year-old. “It was perfect for all because my father is the breeder and one of my best owners is the owner,” Derieux said. “I’ve had Dijon since he was 2 years old. I started with him in the qualification and the first race and every time after. It was perfect for me as the trainer and driver.” Dijon won his first start in an 11,000€ overnight at Nantes with Derieux in the sulky November 29, 2015 and won for 35,000€ at Vincennes two starts later on Christmas Eve. After placing fourth and fifth in a pair of Group 2 races and galloping in the Group 1 Prix Comte Pierre de Montesson to start his 3-year-old campaign, Dijon rattled off three straight victories at Cagnes-Sur-Mer before returning to Paris to finish fourth in the Group 1 Prix de l'Etoile. Dijon’s breakout performance came in his 13th start in the Group 2, 120,000€ Prix Abel Bassigny at Vincennes November 7, 2016. Derieux sent Dijon to the top in the 2,175-meter stakes, but was confronted by favorite Django Riff, who took the lead heading into the backstretch. Derieux angled Dijon out of the pocket straightening away and Dijon wore down the 3-year-old Champion to score a hard-fought victory. “At this moment, I knew he was a special horse,” Derieux remembered. At 4, Dijon beat Django Riff again in the Group 2 Prix Gaston Brunet. He also traveled to Italy where he captured the Gran Premio Tino Triossi and Gran Premio Giuseppe Biasuzzi. At 5, Dijon took a pair of Group 3 victories in Paris and Enghien before beating Orlando Jet and Django Riff in the Group 1 Championnat Européen des 5 ans at Vincennes December 12, 2018. After his Elitlopp conquest, Dijon is 13-for-51 with 1,046,762€ earned.  In addition to his speed, Dijon excels on smaller tracks. Derieux sees this as an advantage should he receive and accept an invitation to the Yonkers International Trot. “I think he’s better on the small tracks. I went one time in Bologne, Italy and it’s an 800-meter track like Yonkers,” Derieux said. “He likes to take the lead, so it’s easier to take the lead on the small track than a track like Vincennes. It’s difficult at Vincennes to take the lead the whole race. He’s very fast at the start, so it’s easy for him to take the lead and on the small track, when you take the lead, it’s better.” Should Dijon come to the Yonkers International Trot this fall, he would be the third Eliltopp winner to cross the Atlantic for the historic stakes since its revival in 2015, joining Timoko and Ringostarr Treb.  The $1 million Yonkers International Trot will be held October 12 at Yonkers Raceway. Invitations will be officially extended to participants by the Yonkers race office as the race draws closer. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 6:50 p.m.    By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Atlanta,Harness racing

Sun Stakes highlights great racing

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.; and Graduate Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday night (June 29) as the track will host four lucrative Sun 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 $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic for 3-year-olds. On Friday (June 28), Tioga Downs will card the $73,000 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old male pacers and two $33,750 divisions in the Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old filly pacers. Also on Friday, Meadowlands Racetrack will feature two $50,000 divisions in the fourth leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Atlanta and Fiftydallarbill were the impressive winners of the fourth and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Friday night (June 21). The finals for both pacers and trotters take place on July 6 at the Big M. Atlanta, who is trained by Ron Burke, trotted the mile in 1:50.4. Lisa photo. Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner who trotted the fastest mile in Canadian harness racing history a week ago with a 1:50.2 clocking in the Armbro Flight, opted to come from off the pace in her Graduate division. The daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip picked up live cover from Muscle M Up down the backstretch after racing seventh to the opening quarter, tipped with an eighth of a mile to go, and stormed past the field to score by 1-1/4 lengths over a fast-closing Plunge Blue Chip. Crystal Fashion was third. "I kind of wanted to race her off a helmet tonight," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "I wanted to see what she would do. I was confident. There was never an anxious moment." Atlanta, who is trained by Ron Burke, trotted the mile in 1:50.4 and returned $2.40 to her backers as the 1-5 public choice while staying perfect in five 2019 starts. In the other Graduate division, Fiftydallarbill worked out a perfect pocket trip behind even-money favorite Six Pack and charged by his rival nearing the wire to record a neck victory. Phaetosive was third. Driver Corey Callahan likely won the race during the initial quarter, extending Six Pack through an opening split of :27.4. "I was trying to make him work a little bit into that first turn," said Callahan. In mid-stretch, Callahan tipped the son of Swan For All-CR Dixie Chick out of the pocket with an eighth to go and wore down Six Pack to record his 18th lifetime win in 42 starts. "I thought we were going to get by," said Callahan, who was fortunate to pick up this drive. "I really lucked out. He's gone through a couple of drivers but I really didn't have a horse for this class, so it worked out well for me." Fiftydallarbill paid $8.00 as the second choice in the wagering for trainer Katricia Adams. His final clocking of 1:50.2 equaled Greenshoe and Atlanta for the fastest trotting mile of the year in the sport. Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the Pocono Sun Stakes eliminations, are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend:   Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 329; 2. Yannick Gingras - 199; 3. Jason Bartlett - 154; 4. Dexter Dunn - 141; 5 - Daniel Dube - 131. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 226; 2. Jim King Jr. - 189; 3. Tony Alagna - 128; 4. Rene Allard - 92; 5. Richard Banca - 71. Owners: 1. Jo Ann Looney-King - 68.6; 2. Tim Tetrick LLC - 65.1; 3. Brad Grant - 57.6; 4. Richard Poillucci - 55.1; 5. J L Benson Stables - 53.2.   Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Historic Track, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Yonkers Raceway. Historic Track will feature eight Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The Meadowlands will host the Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters, Meadowlands Pace eliminations for 3-year-olds, a Reynolds division for 3-year-old filly trotters, and the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers. Yonkers features Lawrence Sheppard eliminations for 2-year-old pacers.   Paul Ramlow Internet News Manager U.S. Trotting Association | 6130 S. Sunbury Rd. | Westerville, OH 43081-3909

Gimpanzee,Harness racing

Gimpanzee trots to perfect 11 out of 11

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 25, 2019—His disciples couldn’t touch him at the windows and his rivals couldn’t touch him on the track. To the surprise of no one, Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) strolled around Yonkers Raceway early Tuesday evening (June 25th), winning the non-betting harness racing division of the $165,499 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Gimpanzee’s public workout in his $54,833 division saw him easily vault over five overmatched inside foes. Her then dealt a hand of three 29’s and a 28, as in tidy intervals of :29, :58., 1:27 and 1:55. The final margin was 7½ lengths, with Cavill Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) photoing Lucky Weekend (Jason Bartlett) for second. It was his 11th win in as many career starts for the last season’s frosh divisional—and New York Sire Stakes--champ, four of which have come in Westchester. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven, is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. He has won both his seasonal starts while increasing the retirement fund to $723,146. Asked if he was actually paid to just sit there, Sears offered, “I like it when they’re that easy. He’s a pro, acts the same way a 10-year-old does. Nothing (not even a long pre-race delay involving another horse) bothers him.” The second (first wagering) division, also worth $54,833, was all about 2-5 favorite Wiunnerup (Trond Smedshammer)…until it wasn’t. Taking over down the backside and widening through the lane, Winnerup jumped it off, gifting the grandeur to Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller, $32). The winner—from post position No. 6—was away last among the half-dozen. He gapped Winnerup, but continued on to get past the early fray. The winning margin was a length-and-a-half (subsections of 29, :58.2, 1:27.3, and 1:56.2). Winnerup, who opened 3¼ lengths in and out of the final turn, saved second after and inquiry. Third went to Captain Krupnik (Svanstedt), with Our White Knight (Scott Zeron) fourth.      For rank outsider Livinonthedash, a Muscle Mass colt (unraced at 2) co-owned by (trainer) Erv Miller, David Prushnok and Tangie Massey, it was his fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $74.50, the triple paid $560 and the superfecta paid $1,086.   Livinonthedash                                                   --Mike Lizzi photo “He was really good tonight and we lucked out when the favorite faltered,” driver Miller said. The final statebred event, worth $55,833, was won by Mr .Vicktor (Tyler Buter, $2.20) in 1:55.3. New York Sire Stakes returns downstate Thursday night (June 27th), with the $167,500 Armand Palatucci Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings.   Total purses for the 2019 New York-bred program are estimated at $14 million. For more information, please visit www.nysirestakes.com.   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity Yonkers Raceway

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Trixton sophomore filly Golden Tricks, developing rapidly for the Ake Svanstedt harness racing stable, won her second straight race and lowered her lifetime speed mark to 1:54 in winning the $15,000 featured trot at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during the Tuesday twilight card. Eric Carlson got the catch-driving assignment from Svanstedt and kept the winner in the second half of the field to the half as Town Hall Justice cut out fractions of :26.4 and :56.2, then made a big backstretch move that brought her to the pacesetter by the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Golden Tricks was by the leader in a matter of steps and drew off to be clear by 3½ lengths at the finish for owners Brixton Medical Inc., whose filly was third in a New Jersey Sire Stakes Final in only her third lifetime start and is regaining peak form approaching the first of August In a $14,000 pace for mares, Rockin The Boys A posted her second straight victory, taking a North American speed mark of 1:51.1. George Napolitano Jr., a five-time winenr on the card, sent the Rock N Roll Heaven mare to the lead and through early fractions of :27.1 and :56.2, then got her to step consecutive :27.2 quarters home to defeat Bye Bye Michelle by 1¾ lengths and boost her lifetime earnings to $101,453. Andrew Harris conditions the winner for Cool Cat Racing Inc. A couple of $13,000 races for two-year-old trotters caught the eye, promising to deliver stakes performers in the near future. First up was a field of fillies, with Impressive Fashion, a daughter of Father Patrick out of Impressive Kemp (a Breeders Crown winner here and a half-sister to Hambletonian winner Trixton), sent out to the lead by driver David Miller and cutting fractions of :28.4, 1:00.1, and 1:29.1. Impressive Fashion had a lead of a couple of lengths nearing headstretch when she suddenly bore out to about the 3½-wide path (towards the headstretch Pocono paddock), giving her rivals what looked like a second life. But Miller got the filly, in her purse debut, corrected, and she took off again to win in 1:58, 1½ lengths ahead of Aperfectcrystal, for trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC. 18 minutes later, in a baby event for males, it was deja vu all over again for Miller, Campbell, and Fashion Farms, as pacesetter Steel Schooner, a Possess The Will - Broadway Schooner gelding and a ¾ brother to champion Broadway Donna, set the pace in :28.3, :59.3, and 1:28.4. Then, in about the same spot where Impressive Fashion started to bear out - so did Steel Schooner. Steel Schooner did not go as wide as his stablemate, again with Miller's quick handling, but lurking in the pocket was favored Paulie Walnuts, an Andover Hall colt out of D Liteful Hanover, a half-sister to Donato Hanover. "Paulie" took advantage of this opportunity, winning by a half-length over his resurgent foe in 1:57.2, a tick off the North American season's mark, for trainer Gareth Dowse and owner Howard Taylor. Paulie Walnuts                                        --  Curtis Salonick photo Last night one favorite and ten second choices were victorious; tonight ten favorites and one second choice won.   Jerry Connors

Northeast Ohio's premier harness racing trotting race, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, will go to post Saturday (June 29) at MGM Northfield Park. This will be the fifth edition of the Classic and it carries a purse of $175,000. The Grand Circuit event has again attracted the best veteran trotters in North America. It has been slated as the 12th event on a 16-race program. First race post time is 6 PM. Guardian Angel AS drew the rail and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi. The favored trotter tries to deny last year's winner, Marion Marauder's attempt at defending his title. Guardian Angel AS goes to the gate in Saturday's feature, putting his three-race win streak on the line. His trio of wins includes the $100,000 Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia. Trainer Annette Lorentzon calls upon Yonkers standout Jason Bartlett to drive. Marion Marauder, winner of the 2018 Cleveland Trotting Classic, drew post-5 and has been named the 7-2 second choice. The six year-old attempts to be a repeat a triumph in this event and looks to add to add to his $3.1 million bankroll for trainer Paula Wellwood. Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion, will be handled by Canadian superstar Scott Zeron. Local driving standouts Aaron Merriman and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr have both received assignments in this year's field. Wrenn, begins from post-6 with Canadian sensation Musical Rhythm, a winner of six consecutive races and almost $700,000 in earnings. Merriman drives Plunge Blue Chip from the 8-hole. This trotter has over $1 million in earnings and carries a 1:49.4 lifetime mark, the fastest in the race. The 2019 $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic field: Post    Horse                           Driver                         Trainer                                   M/L 1          Guardian Angel As    Jason Bartlett              Annette Lorentzon                 2-1  2          Weslynn Dancer          Dave Palone                Richard Banca                    6-1  3          Emoticon Hanover      Jody Jamieson             Luc Blais                             8-1  4          Pinkman                      Brett Miller                 Per Engblom                         4-1 5          Marion Marauder        Scott Zeron                 Paula Wellwood                   7-2 6          Musical Rhythm          Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.       Benoit Baillargeon               10-1 7          Dayson                        Chris Page                   Ron Burke                          15-1 8          Plunge Blue Chip        Aaron Merriman          Ake Svanstedt                      12-1 This year's Classic program undercard is highlighted by two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes divisions for sophomore pacing colts, three $25,000 late closer series finals, and two Open events. A $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool begins in race 11. Three of the four races in the guaranteed Pick 4 are comprised of the Opens and the Trotting Classic. Beginning at 5 PM, the first 1,000 guests will receive a coupon good for one Northfield Park Ball Cap, one $2 Match Play and one FREE live program good any Friday evening through September 29. These coupons will be distributed until 9 PM or while supplies last to all guests 18 years of age or older, strictly limited to one per person. In addition to superior racing action, the night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. For those who want to be close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron for an array of free fanfare activities. Activities include Northeast Ohio's food trucks from 6 - 9 PM and live music by Time Trax on the outdoor apron from 6 - 9 PM. Guests can try their luck at Ball Toss 7 - 8 PM and the Northfield Park Putting Challenge from 8:30 - 9:30 PM where you can win cash and prizes. Admission and Parking are Always FREE at Northfield Park!   Ayers Ratliff

No horse has ever captured multiple Ben Franklin Pace trophies, and harness racing elimination winners Western Fame and Lather Up are among the group of eight older male pacers that will try to keep returning champion McWicked from becoming the first. Western Fame is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday's (June 29) $500,000 Ben Franklin final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono while Lather Up is the 4-1 third choice behind McWicked at 3-1. Western Fame won the faster of last week's two eliminations, defeating This Is The Plan by three-quarters of a length in 1:48.1. It was Western Fame's first start in seven weeks, following a fifth-place finish in an invitational at Pocono. Prior to that loss, the 6-year-old stallion reeled off four consecutive victories on his way to claiming the Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship at Yonkers. "He's back like he was early in the year," said Western Fame's driver, Dan Dube. "You never miss a week (in the six-week) Levy and it's tough. He had a little bit of time off and he's fresh right now. I think if we get some racing luck, the horse is good, we should be all right." Western Fame, who starts from post four on Saturday at Pocono, has won six of nine races this season and banked a career-high $466,300. For his career, Western Fame has won 22 of 76 starts and $1.50 million. Rene Allard trains the horse for owners Go Fast Stable, Stephen Klunowski, B & I Stables, and Gilbert Short. "He's done everything right," Dube said about Western Fame, who has hit the board in eight of his nine races this season. "I like everything about him. He's got good gate speed and when you turn for home, he goes again. He's just a nice horse." Lather Up won his Ben Franklin elimination by a neck over Springsteen in 1:50.1. The 4-year-old stallion has won four of six races this season and earned $95,960 for trainer Clyde Francis and breeder/owners Barbara and Gary Iles. He will start Saturday from post seven with regular driver Montrell Teague. "You never want to be outside that far," Teague said. "Usually when there is that much money on the line they mix it up; that's what I'm hoping for, anyway. But you never know how it's going to work out." Lather Up was one of the sport's top 3-year-olds in 2018, with his 11 wins including the North America Cup. He is among four 4-year-olds in the Franklin's nine-horse field. A 4-year-old has won the Ben Franklin four times in its 12-year history, with the most recent being Luck Be Withyou in 2015. The others came in succession: Vintage Master (2010), We Will See (2011) and Betterthancheddar (2012). For his career, Lather Up has won 19 of 31 races and $1.06 million. "Judging from last year, I didn't think he would have a problem going to the open ranks and going against older horses," Teague said. "He's proved it so far. He's come back and is winning races and it can't get much better than that. He's matured (from last year) and it seems like he's still got the same kind of speed. He was one of the better ones last year so I thought it would translate to the open ranks." The remaining 4-year-olds in the Franklin are Springsteen, This Is The Plan, and Dorsoduro Hanover, who was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male pacer. McWicked, who leaves from post one Saturday with Brian Sears at the lines for trainer Casie Coleman, finished third in the Franklin elimination won by Lather Up. The 2018 Horse of the Year has one win and two third-place finishes in three starts this season. The 8-year-old stallion could become the first repeat winner of the Franklin but would not be the oldest. That distinction is shared by Foiled Again and Keystone Velocity, who were both 9. Following is the field for the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-3/1 2-Springsteen-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-5/1 3-Beckhams Z Tam-David Miller-Jamie Macomber-10/1 4-Western Fame-Dan Dube-Rene Allard-5/2 5-This Is The Plan-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6/1 6-Miso Fast-Corey Callahan-Virgil Morgan Jr.-15/1 7-Lather Up-Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis-4/1 8-Duplicated N-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-20/1 9-Dorsoduro Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-12/1 Saturday's card at Pocono also features the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Chester, PA — Most of the better 2-year-olds at this time are beginning their pari-mutuel harness racing careers, but a Tuesday morning (June 25) freshman qualifying session at Harrah’s Philadelphia still unveiled a few winners, mostly first-time, worth looking for in the near future. There were two divisions of males and two of females on the trotting side, and the fastest winner, the Sebastian K S–Carla filly Knockdown Dragout, set the North American season’s record for her group while winning in 1:57.1 for driver David Miller, trainer Andrew Harris, and The Stable Knockdown Group. This young miss showed tremendous front-end speed, both in her previous 1:58.3 qualifying win at Mohawk and in this event. Fastest winner in four sets of 2-year-old pacing males was the Somebeachsomewhere–Rockaroundthetrack gelding Ruthless Hanover, who won in his second a.m. session in 1:55.1. David Miller guided him to a wire-to-wire victory, coming home in :28.1 for the brother team of trainer Tom Cancelliere and owner John Cancelliere. Somebeachsomewhere also sired the fastest filly pacing winner among three sections in Beyond Ecstasy, who came from behind first-over to win in 1:55.4, with her own back half :55.4 and her own last panel :27.4. Beyond Ecstasy is out of Fashion Ecstasy, making her a full sister to the $1.5 million winner Filibuster Hanover, and she showed a big late kick in this second outing for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Jim Campbell, and owners Jeffrey and Michael Snyder and Four Friends Racing Stable. David Miller handled four of the victorious 2-year-olds, including both winning trotting fillies, to lead the drivers of the day, while Jim Campbell was the only trainer to record a pair of victories. Somebeachsomewhere sired four of the seven pacing winners in the morning session. PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

AS from July 1 the Harness Racing New South Wales Integrity Division will swab all winners across all NSW TAB meetings - a first in Australasian harness racing. The majority of winners were previously post-race tested, however, this new initiative further adds to HRNSW’s drive of creating an even playing field according to HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny. “Whilst HRNSW has the strongest integrity measures in place, as it is from July 1 these will be enhanced to the extent that every winner at every NSW TAB meeting will be swabbed,” said Dumesny. “This concept of swabbing all winners has been discussed for many years at all levels of the industry and it is a credit to the current HRNSW Board Members that they have resolved to commence this policy.” In FY2018 there were 2,599 NSW harness racing winners tested and in FY2020 this number will rise to a projected 3,861. A total of 8,181 equine drug tests were conducted in FY2018 with the 10,000 target to be broken in the upcoming financial year. “It is the goal of the Board Members, Executive Management and Integrity Division of HRNSW to provide an assurance that every effort is being taken to allow their horses to compete on their natural ability and training.”   Another new initiative HRNSW is bringing on board to protect the welfare of juvenile horses is a new policy for two-year-old pacers which also has an aim to provide for longevity of a horse’s racing career.  “HRNSW has a duty of care to prevent the younger horses being over-raced and the new policy which provides for a minimum number of days between race and re-trial starts assists with this objective,” said Dumesny.  “We currently provide opportunities for the two-year-olds to race through our guarantee scheme but we also require to be observant of our future viability and for these same horses to race on as five and six-year-olds and beyond. “We don’t see that it is in the best interests of juvenile horses to race again within five days so the new policy has a six-day limit between race starts.” The Two-Year-Old Racing Policy can be viewed at: https://www.hrnsw.com.au/uploads/files/hrnsw%20policys/652.3%20-%20two-year-old%20racing%20policy.pdf     Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au•  @Amanda_Rando

The classy veteran Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) was a gate to wire harness racing winner of Sunday’s Pr. Costa Azzurra (purse 220,000€, 1600 meters autostart, nine starters) timed in 1.11.4kr with trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro at the lines. Bel Avis (8m Ganymede-Gloria Maris-Workaholic) was a game second with Andrea Guzzinati aboard for trainer Jean Michel Bazire. This was away near the back and moved three wide at the 600 meter mark to the death seat. He battled Arazi Boko the rest of the journey but could not gain an advantage, ending a length short. Victor Ferm (5m Nad Al Sheba-Gavina di Casei-Uronometro) landed third for trainer/driver Santo Mollo. Ursa Caf and Tamure Roc completed the top five.   Thomas H. Hicks

Hightstown, NJ — There is little change in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, with Ben Franklin Pace elimination winner Lather Up the only newcomer to the Top 10. The top four positions in the rankings — Shartin N, Atlanta, Captain Crunch, and Greenshoe — are unchanged. Western Fame, also a Franklin elimination winner, rounds out the top five after moving up from sixth in a swap of places with idle Bettor’s Wish. Warrawee Ubeaut, who won an elimination of the James M. Lynch Memorial, also improves her position by a spot, going from eighth to seventh. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which runs weekly through November, does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 5 – 6/25/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (24) 6pm 9-8-0-0 $506,375 334 1 2 Atlanta (8) 4tm 5-5-0-0 $220,580 313 2 3 Captain Crunch (1) 3pc 4-3-0-0 $434,693 273 3 4 Greenshoe (2) 3tc 3-3-0-0 $125,000 227 4 5 Western Fame 6ph 9-6-1-1 $466,300 145 6 6 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 5-4-1-0 $367,500 131 5 7 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 5-4-1-0 $156,358 115 8 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 1-1-0-0 $104,372 80 9 9 Treacherous Reign 3pf 5-4-0-1 $208,775 58 7 10 Lather Up 4ph 6-4-0-1 $95,960 50 — Also: Pilot Discretion 40; Jimmy Freight 22; Hannelore Hanover 21; Workin Ona Mystery 19; Highalator 16; McWicked 15; None Bettor A 13; Bettor Joy N, Courtly Choice, Green Manalishi S 7; Proof, Rich And Miserable 6; Southwind Ozzi 4; Haveoneforme 3; Boadicea, Evident Beauty, Quincy Blue Chip, Tall Drink Hanover 2; Caviart Ally, Fiftydallarbill, Six Pack, Swansea, Will Take Charge 1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

WILKES-BARRE PA - Rockmatic, after a 1:59 qualifying win at Philly, made a more-than-successful purse debut at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on the Monday twilight harness racing card, as her victory in 1:54.2 in a $13,000 contest not only obviously lowered own her own mark, but also beat the North American season's record for two-year-old pacing fillies on 5/8-mile tracks by a full second. Simon Allard got the daughter of Pet Rock out of the $869G winner Monochromatic away well, yielded to Bottled Up Hanover, then was back outside as favored Dance Club made the lead in a :27.4 opener. Dance Club went on enough to allow Rockmatic to tuck in the pocket, and there the baby sat through midfractions of :57.1 and 1:25.4, then to headstretch. At the top of the lane, Rockmatic moved back outside and gradually wore down Dance Club by half a length for owner/breeder North State Street Stable. Ironically, the filly she displaced as a season's leader was a stablemate of hers in the barn of trainer Kevin Lare, Silver Tail, who had won in 1:55.2 at Harrah's Philly on Saturday afternoon. Top purse event of the night, a $14,000 claiming handicap trot, saw the Current Cast gelding Star Studded Cast win his fourth straight, here in 1:54.4. Starting from post eight in the last three races of the winning streak has been no hindrance to Star Studded Cast, who went to the front and "improved from his position from there," winning by 3½ lengths. The horse was claimed from trainer/driver Hunter Oakes and Northfork Racing Stable, but their two-week association with him was profitable - they claimed him for $17,000 and lost him for $20,000, plus he got two $7000 purse checks, so minus the two week's training costs Northfork had a very good return on their investment. Veteran horseman D.R. Ackerman visited the Pocono winners circle for the first time since April 22, 2015 when he guided Holiday Hangover, a sophomore son of Donato Hanover and a colt whose third dam produced the first-ever Breeders Crown winner in Workaholic, to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:54.3, lowering his mark by 3 2/5 second for his owner/trainer/driver in a $13,000 pace.   One favorite won during Monday's fourteen races at Pocono - as did ten second choices.   PHHA / Pocono

JUNE 24, 2019 - There were no surprises at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday night as harness racing fan favourites Forbidden Trade and Southwind Avenger delivered impressive victories in the second Gold Series event of the three-year-old trotting colt season. In the first $107,200 division driver Bob McClure eased favourite Forbidden Trade away from Post 1 and was content to watch from seventh as Cool Clifford and Dream Nation battled to a :27.1 opening quarter. The favourites were still sitting seventh when Dream Nation hit the half in :56.3 and, although in the outer lane, they remained in seventh as the pacesetter reached the three-quarters in 1:25. Once Forbidden Trade had a clear look at the wire however, the Kadabra colt shifted into another gear and reeled off a :26.3 final quarter, reaching the wire one and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:53.1. Pacesetter Dream Nation settled for second and Knight Angel completed the top three. "Well he's got a wicked turn of speed and he loves to chase them, so I was still pretty confident, he felt really good," McClure told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Jason Portuondo in the winner's circle. "I'd used him two, three times in the last couple weeks and, you know, it's a long year, I wanted to just try and save one move today, and his one move is pretty substantial. So I figured, the way they were getting out of there, he still had a shot at it." Elora resident McClure crafted the colt's second win of the season for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Last year's Ontario Sires Stakes champion, Forbidden Trade came into Monday's test with a runner-up finish in the June 15 Goodtimes Final, a win in his Goodtimes elimination and a second in the Gold Series season opener under his belt. "I think you can see this year that he is better, you can do lots of things with him," said Blais. "I think he's more mature and more stronger and more sounder. He's a very nice horse you know; he's very handy and very smart, very, very smart." Blais said the colt is eligible to most of the major three-year-old trotting colt stakes, but noted that they are taking a pragmatic day-by-day approach to his schedule. "This year is a big year," Blais. "I know he's got a Gold at Rideau Carleton, (July) 21 I think, and after that we don't know if we are going to go to the Hambletonian or something like that; we go week by week." In the second division Southwind Avenger left well from Post 2 and driver Trevor Henry had the fan favourite on the front soon after the :28.2 opening quarter. Through the :57.4 half and 1:26.4 three-quarters Southwind Avenger never saw a challenger and when Henry asked for a little more in the stretch the E L Titan son opened up four lengths on the field, hitting the wire in a personal best 1:54.2. McClure steered Fingals Wave into second and Manatlas finished third. Arthur, ON resident Henry steers Southwind Avenger for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Monday's win was the gelding's second in Gold Series action this season and boosted his sophomore record to three wins and one second in five starts. "He's a pretty nice colt," said Henry from the winner's circle. "I think he'll be a great four-year-old, because he's immature really, like he's got a lot of filling out (to do), and he's a tall big horse. In time I think he'll be a really nice horse," Henry added. With two of five Gold Series events complete, Southwind Avenger currently leads the division point standings, with Forbidden Trade sitting second, the reverse order of how the pair finished in the season ending Super Final last fall. The talented duo will continue their rivalry in the next Gold event, which goes postward on July 21 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, June 27 with the second Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts. The first race goes in behind the starting gate at 7:10 pm and the pacing colts will battle in Races 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10. Complete results for Monday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0624wbsbsn.dat.   OSS Program Administration  

Successful Victorian horseman Michael Stanley has every reason to have an air of confidence as he prepares his harness racing stable stars for their next mission. Both Soho Burning Love (Auckland Reactor-Soho Bordeaux (Western Terror) and her stablemate Rackemup Tigerpie (Rock N Roll Heaven-Victoria Street (Albert Albert) have pulled up a treat after competing in their heats of the 4YO Vicbred Super Series at their Ballarat home track last Friday. "I'm really happy with them and can't wait for next Saturday nights semi-finals at Melton to come around," said Stanley, who has his stables at Burrumbeet. Bay mare Soho Burning Love, raced by well-known West Australian breeder-owner Robert Watson, did as she pleased to post an impressive win in the Mares' heats. "I guess she is just a typical Auckland Reactor progeny - she's all go and revels in racing. She just loves it and gives 100 percent every time," Stanley said. "She did hit the finish line with plenty in the tank, but to be honest she probably wasn't in the strongest of the four heats," he said. All the horses on the front row were far more lightly assessed than Soho Burning Love, an M3 class, and that was a factor in Stanley's assessment of the race. "I decided to circle early because I thought the lead would be up for grabs, and she felt great when I asked her to pick up the tempo over the last half (run in 56.3)," he said. "She is pretty well at her top for this series." After running a brilliant fourth in the Ladyship Mile G1 at Menangle on March 2, Stanley decided to ease up a little on the mare's workload. "We'd competed in four or five feature finals, so it was the perfect time to back-off a bit and get in a position to target further big races," he said. Two of her four runs this campaign have been wins. Apart from the recent Ballarat win, the other was in the Melton G3 Alabar Silver Chalice on June 8. Stanley is hoping to go one better than Soho Burning Love's effort in last year's Vicbred Super Series Three-Year-Old Final. "We finished second, but ran into a smart Emma Stewart pacer in Speak No Evil," he said. Rackemup Tigerpie, raced by Stanley's father Ian, went down narrowly at Ballarat to Three Summas (Kerryn Manning) in his Entires and Geldings Heat. "It was a pretty handy effort, so he's also in good form and prior to that he impressed me at Melton with a free-for-all win in solid time." The Stanley stable has been enjoying a great season with 51 wins and 52 placings from about 125 starters. At least a dozen of the wins have been metropolitan victories. "We do have the luxury of our number one client Rob Watson being big in the breeding side of the industry so we can keep turning them over. We are extremely lucky that we can do that," he said. "Most times we have a team of 20 horses, although this might drop down over the cold months. Then the numbers jump back up in spring with young ones coming through." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Wilkes-Barre, PA — Many of harness racing’s brightest stars will gather at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday for four Grand Circuit stakes races and strong supporting events on the $2,204,000 Sun Stakes Saturday 14-race card. Here is a look at the four races, put together with an open post position draw, along with the $75,000 consolations attached to three of them, plus the $75,000 Great Northeast Open Series trotting event. $500,000 Earl Beal 3-year-old Open Trot (race 12; no consolation) Only eight horses who qualified last week dropped in; Reign Of Honor, who dead-heated for fourth to earn a spot, did not drop in for the final. Reign Of Honor will note, probably with some relief, and the rest of the field will note with some alarm that the trotters from the Marcus Melander Stable who won the Beal eliminations, Green Manalishi S and Greenshoe, drew posts one and two, respectively. Greenshoe is the best of the embarrassment of divisional riches for Melander (which includes Gimpanzee, racing at Yonkers Tuesday) right now, undefeated in three seasonal starts, including a 1:50.2 win at The Meadowlands. The son of Father Patrick, owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli, trotted his own last half in :54.4 in a 1:52.3 Beal elimination victory. Greenshoe may not have to flirt with his sire’s 1:50.2 world record in the division, but he seems to be still improving as he will go on Saturday from post two for driver Brian Sears. His stablemate Green Manalishi S actually won the faster Beal elimination, 1:52.1, but he came on late after a fast pace. Still, it was the seasonal debut for the Muscle Hill colt, owned by Courant Inc. He figures to be even better Saturday, and could maintain his record of never being worse than second lifetime (six wins, five seconds) as he goes from the rail for driver Tim Tetrick. $500,000 Ben Franklin FFA Pace (race 11; consolation in race five) Western Fame, the early-season sensation of the Levy Series at Yonkers, returned after a seven-week respite and immediately showed he hadn’t lost a thing, winning his Franklin elimination in 1:48.1 to tie sophomore Hempt elimination winner Proof as the fastest pacer on a five-eighth-mile track this year. The son of Western Ideal, trained by Pocono’s leading conditioner Rene Allard for Go Fast Stable, Steven Klunowski, B & I Stables, and Gil Short, has drawn post four for the Franklin, with Rene’s brother Simon driving. The other Franklin elimination saw McWicked, defending Horse of the Year and Franklin champion, as the favorite, and he did make the lead on the far turn, but then uncharacteristically tired a bit and finished third. The winner of $3,922,656 had raced only twice in the previous 42 days, and he may be more his usual resilient self this time out, with Brian Sears in the sulky for trainer Casie Coleman from post one. The winner of the McWicked elimination was the fast 4-year-old Lather Up, who set the pace then looked defeated on the turn, but came back to gain the victory. Post seven will be no help to the son of I’m Gorgeous, trainer Clyde Francis, or driver Montrell Teague. Consolation: Highalator, usually so tough at Pocono, had a very rough trip in his elimination and could not make the final; he seeks to right his ship from post five. Filibuster Hanover, who was photoed out of the final, has the advantage of the rail in the field of seven. $500,000 Max C. Hempt 3-year-old Male Pace (race 10; consolation in race eight) Proof showed a return to top form while winning his Hempt elimination in 1:48.1, tying with Western Fame as the fastest pacer on a five-eighth-mile track this season. The son of A Rocknroll Dance, trained by Brian Brown for Diamond Creek Racing, was right at the top of his class through much of 2018, and the sharp victory last week makes him the central figure in this race as he begins from post two for driver David Miller. The other two Hempt elimination winners were not very fortunate at the post draw. Shake That House drew post seven for trainer Chris Oakes and driver Brian Sears, while Captain Victorious will have to start just outside Shake That House for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke. Consolation: In terms of energy output last week, Escapetothebeach, who was parked through vicious fractions of :26, :53.2, and 1:21.1 and still missed by just over five lengths, has the rail and driver George Napolitano Jr. and there may be a fearsome price to be paid to get past this one. $300,000 James Lynch 3-year-old Filly Pace (race nine; consolation in race three) The Sweet Lou filly Warrawee Ubeaut became the fastest 2-year-old of all-time with a 1:48.3 victory at Lexington, and last week she re-established herself as the leader of the sophomore filly class with a dominating :26 last quarter capping her 1:50.2 Lynch elimination win. The Ron Burke trainee, owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Phil Collura, and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, will certainly not get to set an unpressured pace here, but from post one Yannick Gingras has a good chance of working out a reasonable trip. The other elimination winners, both members of the Tony Alagna barn, went faster than Warrawee Ubeaut. Odds On St Lucie (1:49.4, post six, driver Dexter Dunn) and Tall Drink Hanover (1:50, post nine, driver Andrew McCarthy) must be respected, as must another Alagna trainee, Treacherous Reign (post five, also with Dunn listed), who upset Warrawee Ubeaut in Toronto two weeks ago. Consolation: Trillions Hanover, photoed out of a Lynch final spot last week, will be a big factor from post four, as will Annie Hill, who closed in :26 last week but could not make the final, starting from just inside Trillions Hanover. $75,000 Great Northeast Open Series Trot (race six) Hannelore Hanover, 2017 Horse of the Year, has had one great start in 2019 (a 1:50.3 win at Woodbine Mohawk Park) and two sub-par ones; she looks to regain equilibrium in this contest starting from post one for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. She will find a tough opponent in Rich And Miserable (post five, trainer Todd Buter, driver Tyler Buter), who has won six races in a row, four of them at Pocono, and the most recent two here in 1:51.3, fastest miles of the year on the trot here. First post for the tremendous Sun Stakes Saturday card (which will include an appearance by all-time great quarterback Dan Marino before the races) is scheduled for 7 p.m. Click here for the complete entries for the card. PHHA / Pocono  

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Pompano Beach, FL...June 26, 2019...Amateur harness racing driver, well known farrier and USTA "tattoo artist" Jeff Schaefer took a bit of time off from his traditional work and led the American team of amateur drivers on an excursion to France as the world paid homage to the D-Day heroes of 75 years past. Schaefer, along with Tony Dinges, Ron Cusimano and Maurice Brooks, participated against amateur horsemen from France, Italy and Malta at two venues--the Hippodrome des Andelys and Lisieux--with Schaefer garnering a pair of wins. Schaefer lamented, "It was a unique experience, to say the least. We had a 'line start' in one race--which we all found difficult--as you have to go around on the track when the starter begins counting and get th 'three' and you can't go through the rope before it drops. Kinda crazy but we got through it! "At Lisieux, we had a 'gentlemen's start'--no starting gate and we raced clockwise, instead of how we race here in North America. "It was tough to get used to, but we got through it and, in fact, I did get a win there--by disqualification!" The group was given "superb" hospitality by Fredric Durville and Manon Delarette as they escorted us to several historical landmarks including Omaha Beach, the "D-Day" cemetery and the farm which is home to the grand trotter Bold Eagle. "We saw him in Paris," Schaefer said, "and, let me tell you, he is quite a horse--enough to give you chills just watching him perform." Schaefer and his wife, Maria, are also the Founders of Harness Life, a charitable organization that sells apparel with all proceeds going to the latest research on finding a cure for cancer. (Harnesslife.us) "Maria and I both had cancer and, when you are threatened by this disease, you just cannot sit around on the sidelines and let it conquer you. So, we decided to fight it on behalf of ourselves and the many that have been affected by it. There are new therapies developed all the time and we are determined to help conquer it!"   by John Berry for the Amateur Driving Club
WILKES-BARRE PA - The Sweet Lou - Keystone Dawn two-year-old pacing colt Keystone Dash set a North American season's harness racing record for his division as he dashed to a 1:54.2 victory in a morning baby qualifying race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Keystone Dash went right to the lead and posted equal halves of :57.1 while in control to the wire. Keystone Dash's trainer and driver may surprise some - he is a member of the Ake Svanstedt stable, and Svanstedt handled driving chores in his record mile for Ake Svanstedt Inc. But superior horsemanship is gait-transferrable - as proven by a fellow native Swede who wore green, black, and white in his Hall of Fame career. The Charlie Norris stable sent out both winners in two-year-old trotting males action: the Muscle Massive - My Winning Way K colt Moveoutofmyway K, driven by Matt Kakaley to a 1:59.3 win, and the Cantab Hall - Tough Girl Lindy colt Tuff To Be Lindy, whom Norris guided to a 2:00.3 victory.   PHHA / Pocono
Columbus, MN -The Tuesday evening (June 25) Harness Racing program at Running Aces featured the $14,000 Mares Open Pace, with a very nice group of seven distaffers going into battle. Newcomer Juslikeaqueen (Dean Magee) was heavily supported by the betting public and was sent off as the 2-5 favorite from post one. Delightfully Wild (Nick Roland) was fastest from the gate from post two and set honest early fractions of :27.3, and :56.1 with Juslikeaqueen riding along comfortably in the pocket. Cenalta Diamond (Tim Maier) launched a first-over attack near the five-eighths pole, and applied heavy pressure to the leader as they rounded the far turn and registered a 1:24.2 clocking. Pull The shade (Steve Wiseman) tipped three wide off cover and took the lead as they squared for home, while Juslikeaqueen angled to the outside with a furious charge to the wire and surged past right on the line for a half-length score in 1:52.3. Juslikeaqueen ($2.80) is a 5 year old daughter of Palone Ranger out of the Kingston mare Queen Caroline, she now sport's six wins in nineteen starts this season, and 23 career wins, with $266,080 in her lifetime bankroll. The winner is owned by Antonia Storer and trained by Tim Maier, and she is being aimed at the 2019 Dan Patch Free-For-All Pace, which gets underway with elimination races on July 14. Tuesday's program also featured a pair of two year old events for both trotters and pacers, The $10,000 Two year old Open Trot went to Miss Gracious ($6.80, Dean Magee) a filly by Money Talks who out-lasted Lo Can Go Go Go (Williams Hernandez) by a neck in 2:05.3. The $10,000 Two year old Open Pace event went to Waco Sassy Kid, a gelding by Costa Rica Kid driven by Nick Roland for a ¾ length score in 2:00.3 to remain unbeaten in three career races. Another exciting occurrence on the Tuesday card came about when full siblings both picked up career best wins on the same racing program- five year old gelding pacer Marktentwentyseven ($7.80, Brady Jenson) won the opener with authority to score his tenth career win in 1:52.3 shaving nearly 1 second from his previous best time, while his full sister four year old mare Nurse Nattie ($14.60, Brady Jenson) stepped up to the plate in race eight and hit a home run for her sixth career tally, stopping the timer in 1:55 and shearing an impressive 3 and 3/5 seconds from her previous mark. Both winners are by Up Front Brad and out of the Heavenly Favored mare Mysparklingdiamond. The winning breeder in both cases is Brandon Jenson, while Larry Jo Jenson is owner and Brady Jenson is the trainer. Drivers Dean Magee and Brady Jenson both picked up three wins on Tuesday, each scoring the Hat-Trick, while Nick Roland piloted two winners on the card. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, June 29 with first post at 6:00 pm (CDT).   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack
There was a time last year when it looked as though Stonebridge Soul would not make it to the races until, perhaps, late in the harness racing season. But the then 2-year-old filly pacer turned the corner in late spring and by the end of her campaign was a Grand Circuit stakes winner. "A very pleasant surprise," co-owner Bob Mondillo said about Stonebridge Soul, who competes in Saturday's (June 29) $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "We're thrilled with what has happened and where she is in her career. "She's been racing very well. We're going up against the best in the sport. We just hope we hold our own." So far, that has not been a problem. Stonebridge Soul won three of eight races in 2018, including a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and finished second three times in divisions of Pennsylvania state-bred stakes. This year, she has won two of seven starts and hit the board a total of six times. Her only finish outside the top three came in the Fan Hanover Stakes, where she started from post nine and charged home in the stretch to end up fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length. The horses to finish ahead of Stonebridge Soul this year can be counted on one hand: Warrawee Ubeaut, Tall Drink Hanover, Treacherous Reign, and Powerful Chris. Warrawee Ubeaut is a returning Dan Patch Award winner (and morning-line favorite in the Lynch at 5-2) while Tall Drink Hanover is a returning O'Brien Award winner. Treacherous Reign won the Fan Hanover and Powerful Chris was a stakes winner in Ontario last season. Stonebridge Soul will start the Lynch from post four with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Chris Ryder. Last weekend, Stonebridge Soul finished second to the Ron Burke-trained Warrawee Ubeaut in their Lynch elimination. Treacherous Reign was third. Other elimination winners were Odds On St Lucie and Tall Drink Hanover, both from the stable of trainer Tony Alagna (as is Treacherous Reign). "We're just proud to be in the same company, in the same race with them," Mondillo said. "When you're going against those horses, I wouldn't discount anybody in that race, you have to bring your 'A' game. I trust that Chris will have her ready and I trust that Timmy will have her in position to compete. The rest is up to her." Stonebridge Soul is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the millionaire mare Rock N Soul. She was purchased for $110,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Mondillo, an investment adviser from Ohio, and Craig Henderson-led Henderson Farms in Illinois. The filly lagged behind her 2-year-old stablemates while training down last year, prompting discussion about delaying her debut until at least later in the season. "I won't say I pleaded with Chris, but it was close, to keep her for another two weeks; just give her those two weeks and see what happens," Mondillo said. "I was saying the words, but I wasn't really believing things would happen in two weeks. Lo and behold, it did. She just seemed to figure it out." Stonebridge Soul qualified twice in June, won her debut in July, and went on to earn $116,790 for the year. Now she will try to pick up her first six-figure win in the Lynch. "She never quits," Mondillo said. "She doesn't know the meaning of quit. Even at the end sometimes when she seems almost trapped, she finds a way to get out and make up ground. "We're excited and looking forward to Saturday night. It should be a fun race, a very competitive race. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and let it unfold. I just think so much of this horse that I think anything could happen with her." After all, it already has. Following is the field for the $300,000 Lynch Memorial. The race is named in honor of James M. Lynch, who served in positions from steward to racing secretary to director of racing to general manager during a career that took him to tracks around the country. He was the director of racing at Pennsylvania's Liberty Bell for all 23 years of its existence. He also was a horse owner and director of the U.S. Trotting Association. He passed away in 2000. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Warrawee Ubeaut-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2 2-Zero Tolerance-David Miller-Joe Holloway-4/1 3-Blue Ivy-Tyler Buter-Chris Oakes-15/1 4-Stonebridge Soul-Tim Tetrick-Chris Ryder-10/1 5-Treacherous Reign-Dexter Dunn-Tony Alagna-3/1 6-Odds On St Lucie-Corey Callahan-Tony Alagna-20/1 7-St Somewhere-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/1 8-Philly Hanover-Brian Sears-Ron Coyne Jr.-6/1 9-Tall Drink Hanover-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-12/1   Saturday's card at Pocono also features the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager
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