Day At The Track

Pompano Beach, FL…March 20, 2017…Boli, driven to perfection by Wally Hennessey, in the garden spot for much of the journey, found a seam along the pylons turning for home and went on to score an upset harness racing victory in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot on Monday night (March 20). The five year-old gelded son of Kadabra, scored by three-parts-of-a-length over the pacesetting Sooo Handsome, handled by Rick Plano, stopping the tele-times in 1:55. Prairie Fortune, the 1 to 2 favorite with John MacDonald in his sulky, finished third, 2 3/4 lengths off the winner, while Explosive Muscles finished fourth. Dog Gone Lucky, making his south Florida debut, eaened the minor award in the classy sextet. At the outset, Boli pushed the wings out of the way into an early lead but, right at the opening marker in :28.1, relinquished the top spot to Sooo Handsome with Explosive Muscles third and Dog Gone Lucky fourth. Massive Lightning was fifth at this point with Prairie Fortune trailing but able to improve one spot as Massive Lightning made a miscue. Sooo Handsome was able to get away with a soft half in :58 with Boli sitting chilly on the backside as Prairie Fortune brushed alongside at the third station timed in a picked-up 1:26.2. Turning for home, Sooo Handsome drifted out a bit allowing Boli to charge on through along the pylons and secure the win on the strength of his :28.2 finale. In a post-race interview, driver Hennessey said, "Boli  has always been capable in this class  and he really needed his first two starts here to tighten up. "His first start, I kept him off the pace and, last week, I tried him on the front where likes to be but he just wasn't quite tight enough to go all the way. "Tonight, I left with him again thinking he would be ready for a good effort but, when Rick's (Plano) horse (Sooo Handsome) came along, I wasn't about to get in a war and decided to sit chilly and sit second. "I don't think Rick's horse is used to the front ell that much so it was kind of a blessing to be sitting second all the way. "Turning for home, I found some room on the inside and Boli was willing tonight and the shortest distance home was the right path tonight." Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Boli won for the initial time in three starts this season. Boli now has 16 lifetime wins in 51 career starts with $145,234 in lifetime earnings to go along with a 1:54,4 mark over the Saratoga half mile oval. As third choice in the betting at 6 to 1, Boli paid $15.80 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Sailer Eddie, driven by owner-trainer Kevin Wallis. The seven year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall earned his third win of the year in seven starts by stopping the timer in 1:54.3—his fastest winning performance since December 29, 2015. My Revenuer, driven by Bryce Fenn, finished a length away after taking the lead turning for home, while Fleetwood Hall was third for Rick Plano. Tater Twister, a stubborn and un-relenting leader through panels of :27.1, :56 and 1:25.2, finished fourth while Caviart Griffin picked up the final award in the field of six. Sailer Eddie, leaving from post five, attempted to out-hustle Tater Twister off the gate but was unable to do so and had to settle for the garden spot mid-way around the opening turn. Heading into the final bend, Sailer Eddie sat chilly as My Revenuer rushed up alongside the leader past the third station. As they turned for home, Sailer Eddie found some room and was sent widest of all to mow down the leader in the final stages for his 20th lifetime victory, sending his career bankroll of $355,351. As the 4 to 1 third choice, Sailer Eddie paid $10.20 to win. In other Monday action at Pompano Park, driver Michel Heijnen, a native of Hiluersum, Holland, won his first race on U.S. soil by driving first time starter Imheretotakeover to a 2:01.1 victory in a conditioned trotting event. Heijnen drove the Chuck Sylvester trained three year-old son of Donato Hanover to a victory measuring 1 ¾ lengths after a sharp drive by stalking the leader turning for home and using a :29 finale to score the win. Sylvester co-owns the colt with Amy Lynn Stoltzfus, the M T Pockets Stables and MR Racing, Inc. Off as the slight even money favorite, Imheretotakeover paid $4.20 to win. Racing continues on Tuesday night trotting mares in the spotlight in the $8,500 Open Handicap with Serendipitious in search of her third straight win. This six year-old daughter of Majestic Son will have Pompano Park’s leading driver, Wally Hennessey, handling her lines and is listed as the 2 to 1 morning line favorite. Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 carryover continues to grow and stands at $21,392.46 going into the Tuesday night program. The track is also featuring a $10,000 guarantees pool in the Pick-4, contested on races 6 through 9. Post time is set for 7:20 by John Berry for Pompano Park     Boli, driven by Wally Hennessey, was an upset winner in Pompano Park's top trot on Monday night 

This is a genuine tender of an entire outstanding broodmare band of a well known breeder in New South Wales who is exiting the harness racing business. Seven yearlings from this band of broodmares were sold at the 2016 yearling sales for a total of $375,000 an average of $53,571 per yearling. There are 11 broodmares for tender and at last call all have had recent positive tests. Each mare sells with a paid service fee that is with a guaranteed free return service if no foal is produced. Photos are attached for each mare and as can be seen they are all in tremendous condition. These broodmares are for individual sale by tender. 1) Glenferrie Diva with a positive test to Bettor's Delight. LDS 6/11/16 2) The Baggy Green with a positive test to Captaintreacherous. LDS 16/11/16 3) Rockahula Baby with a positive test to Bettor's Delight.  LDS 21/1/17 4) Our Santa Catalina with a positive test to Somebeachsomewhere. LDS 1/12/16 5) Joyfuljoy with a positive test to A Rocknroll Dance. LDS 12/12/16 note; ET 6) Faye Kelly with a positive test to Sweet Lou. LDS 1/12/16 7) North American Honey with a positive test to Warawee Needy. LDS 31/10/16 8) The Crystal Star with a positive test to Bettor's Delight. LDS 29/10/16 9) Magic Maddy Lombo with a positive test to Artspeak. LDS 3/10/16 10) La Litote with a positive test to Sweet Lou. LDS 20/1/16 11) Snug Harbor with a positive test to Mach Three. LDS 24/111/16 For further information please contact JC International (John Curtin) on phone +6421995302 or by email or directly with the vendor Scott Robertson phone +61400331386. Tenders now close on the 22nd of March at 5pm Sydney time Extended pedigrees are available if required. All tenders must be emailed to: together with your contact information as per Tender Application  Download Tender Application Form  

A cheque for £725 was handed over to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance by organisers of Nidderdale Harness Racing. The event in July, 2016, was held at Bewerley Park in Pateley Bridge. Over £1,050 was raised at the event which was split between the YAA and the Princes Countryside Fund,. A further £200 raised by the car park stewards, Ilkley Motor Club, through a bucket collection was also donated to the ambulance service. Don Leeming, President of Nidderdale Agricultural Society, presented a cheque to Mike Bevington of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance at the Show Committee’s Schedule Meeting. Mr Bevington thanked everyone for their support which he said had been tremendous over the years. He said the YAA needed £12,000 a day to keep their helicopters flying with two new helicopters, kitted out with the latest equipment, carrying patients to major trauma centres, the James Cook university hospital in Middlesbrough or Leeds general infirmary. He said crews are currently going through training to use night vision goggles so they can apply for permission for longer flying times. The 2017 Nidderdale Harness Racing event will be held at Bewerley Park, Pateley Bridge on Sunday, June 25 with the first race starting at 2pm, for information go to By Mark Foster, Chief Reporter (North Yorkshire)  Reprinted with permission of the Darlington and Stockton Times

New Zealand bred three-year-old filly Shartin powered her way to an emphatic harness racing win in the Cripps Waratah Tasmanian Oaks over 2579 metres in Hobart last night. The Victorian filly settled last from her wide front-row draw but inside a lap her driver Chris Alford sent the daughter of Tintin In America around the field to find the lead. From there on it was a procession with the filly forging clear turning for home and she went on to score by almost 12 metres from El Jays Mystery that faced the breeze throughout with Playing Arkabella a half-head away third. It was Alford's third drive aboard the filly and he said she was always travelling like the winner. "I was mindful that this filly can do a few things wrong if she has to race wide so I dropped her out to last and then whipped around them early on and she was able to find the front without having to spend too much gas," Alford said. "Dean Braun paid about $50,000 for this filly in New Zealand but I'm sure she will pay her way. "She is still learning what it's all about but tonight she did everything right and she had the race won a long way from home. Shartin is owned by a syndicate that includes Tasmanian Dean Richards who is overseas on business. Alford said Shartin was likely to head to the heats of the Victorian Oaks next month. Shartin has won three of her five starts with this latest her most impressive and the $15,000 prizemoney took her career earnings to just beyond $25,000. It was Alford's fourth Tasmanian oaks having been successful on Concorde Lombo in 1997, Itz Nosurprisesthere (2013) and last year aboard Dancingwithsierra. Peter Staples

WILKES-BARRE PA - The $6,000,000+ Breeders Crown Championship series of stakes, the annual year-end arbiter of the top horses in every harness racing division ("It all comes down to the Breeders Crown"), will be returning to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during the 2018 racing season, the third time the all-star extravaganza will be hosted by The Downs, following 2010 and 2013.   The announcement was made during the season-opening press conference/luncheon held in the Pocono clubhouse in the early afternoon Monday, a couple of days after Saturday's start to 2017 racing was delayed by last week's midweek snowstorm - the trotters and pacers will start racing over Pocono's red clay oval tomorrow night (Tuesday), at 6:30 p.m.   For video of the live announcement click here.    The Breeders Crown Championships are administered by the Hambletonian Society, which itself is currently undergoing a major change - John Campbell, harness racing's leading alltime moneywinning driver with earnings approaching $300 million, will be assuming the duties of president and chief executive officer of the Society, as Tom Charters, who has been in charge of the Breeders Crowns since their inception in 1984 and Hambletonian Society CEO since 1998, will be easing into well-deserved retirement during the last part of the season.   "John called me after we announced that the Breeders Crown was going to Pocono in 2010," Charters recalled. "He said, 'Tom, you must get criticized for some of the things you do and that the Society does. But I will assure you that no one will ever say a word about the Breeders Crowns going to Pocono.' I've been looking forward to the races returning here since we raced here in 2013, and I'm thrilled that Pocono will again be the host in 2018."   Joining Campbell, Charters, and Hambletonian Society Director of Event Operations Moira Fanning in the announcement were Tony Carlucci, president and general manager of The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and Dale Rapson, Mohgean Sun/Pocono VP/Racing Operations; Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association president Sam Beegle; and Jim Simpson, squire of Hanover Shoe Farms and representing the breeders of Pennsylvania.   The two previous Breeders Crowns visits to the 5/8-mile speedy mountain oval attracted over 17,000 improvers of the breed to Pocono, and total all-sources wagering, inside and out of the state, reached over $8 million. The 2013 edition won a special award from the Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association as "The Greatest Night in Pennsylvania Harness Racing History."

Tina Sugarman, author of one of the top equine novels of 2016-2017, Horse Flesh, has agreed to share excerpts of her book with Harnesslink. Horse Flesh is a thriller mystery fiction novel based around a Standardbred racetrack in Ontario, Canada. It is the first novel ever penned by horsewoman, Tina Sugarman. Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here. Here is this week’s excerpt from Horse Flesh! Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman The commotion around the winner’s circle had not escaped the eagle eyes of the judges, perched high above the grandstand. Two floors below them, the new boy, Alastair McTavish, recently appointed as Director of Iroquois Downs Raceway, was gazing down at the scene with an increasing feeling of unease. Al was an imposing 6 feet 3 inches with the kind of presence that demands respect. At 58, he didn’t have a single grey hair, though he was thinning on top. Even though it was his first week on the job, he recognized trouble when he saw it. He reached for the red phone, his direct link to the presiding judge. John Jewells was a no-nonsense type who had trained at the famous judge school in Arizona, known locally as Jewells’ School. “What’s going on down there, John?” Al McTavish boomed. Jewells ducked the question. “What can I do for you, Director McTavish?” he asked. “I’m a little concerned about that last race,” Al persisted. “Already on it. Got the Mutuels Manager looking for any suspicious betting patterns. Probably nothing in it, but you never know.” Thirty seconds later, the presiding judge had an intriguing fact to ponder. Twenty $2 tickets had indeed been punched sequentially for the winning combination. It was a highly unusual sized bet for two long shots. “Instruct the teller to check each winning exacta ticket,” Jewells told the Mutuals Manager. “If anyone tries to cash in all or part of that sequence, hold them on any excuse.” “You betcha, John.” John Jewells, tight lipped, picked up his own red phone, his direct line to the Paddock Judge, a Mr. T. Roberts, who controlled the Race Barn like an army sergeant. On any given night, there were over a hundred horses, almost twice that many horsemen and a few dozen drivers to keep in order. Roberts thrived on it. Despite the torrential downpour, he was on the case, rallying the troops, determined that the fifth race would leave the Race Barn on time. “Automatic hundred-dollar fine for any trainer late for post parade! Let’s get moving!” Mr. Roberts shouted. “We go in thirty seconds with the fifth, men. Get ’em ready! Mr. Hall! Where the hell are you with your horse? Get ’im out there now, and I mean NOW!” The ring of his red phone interrupted the Paddock Judge’s diatribe in mid-stream. “Mr. Roberts. It’s John here.” No one was on first name terms with the Paddock Judge. “Yes sir!” Mr. Roberts replied eagerly. “I want to talk to McCoy, Price and Rankin in that order, right away.” “Mr. Rankin’s in the fifth sir.” “Get me the other two. I’ll talk to Rankin when he comes back in.” “Yes sir!” Mr. Roberts replied slamming down the phone. “Lead ’em out, men! Mr. McCoy, Mr. Price. Judges want to talk to you!” Scotty McCoy’s outraged tone echoed down the phone line when the judges suggested that he’d been stiffing Raiders Moon in her previous races. “I never stiffed a horse in my life,” he declared, puffing himself up in self-righteous indignation. “She was tying up! Ask my vet. He’s been treatin’ her for it.” Andy Price too had an airtight explanation, “I only got the filly ten days ago,” he declared. “She came down from Quebec. It’s her first start for me. You accusing me of doin’ too good with her or what?” Moose Rankin came in after the fifth race soaking wet, splattered with mud and in a foul mood, having finished last. “Lazer told me to give Gypsy Queen a covered-up trip,” Moose said scowling at the phone. “Ned Beazer did the job on me. I’m sick about it!”  The judges reluctantly took him at his word. They all agreed a hot head like Moose Rankin was the last driver any sane person would pick to pull off a betting coup. None of them felt it necessary to question the leading driver, Theo Vettore. He was always trying to win. “Which leaves only Pete Summers,” John Jewells told Al. “But it’s the first time he’s driven Raiders Moon, so we can’t pin it on him.” The judges were still scrutinizing the tape of the fourth when the presiding judge’s phone rang. It was the Mutuels Manager. “Looks like we got your man, John. Listen to this! He’s a trainer just come back from suspension, a Dave Bodinski.” “Hold off payment. Tell him we need more I/D and to come back in the morning. Tell him he’ll have to see the judges first, but it’s just pro forma,” Jewells replied. “Pro what?” the Mutuals Manager asked uncertainly. “Routine,” Jewells replied irritably. “Gotcha,” the manager said, sounding relieved. Everything appeared to hinge on the judges’ interview with Dave Bodinski the following day. But a call back from the Mutuals Manager clouded the issue somewhat. “You’d better hear this for yourself,” he told John Jewells. “I remember the guy!” a flustered teller confessed. “He accused me of punching in the wrong numbers. Made a big stink about it! But it was too late to do anything. The starting bell had gone off.” Pretty soon the judges had a more urgent problem on their hands. The drivers had got together and were refusing to go out for the seventh race, claiming that conditions were too dangerous. It was true enough. The worst storm to hit Ontario in a decade was showing no signs of abating. Visibility was close to zero. Mr. Roberts, the Paddock Judge, was desperately searching through his rule books for guidance on extreme weather conditions. Taking advantage of the lull, Moose Rankin collared Theo Vettore in the drivers’ room. “What the fuck were you playing at in the fourth, cutting the mile like that?” Moose hissed, “I thought your filly didn’t like the front end.” “She doesn’t,” Theo replied sullenly. “I figured you’d cut it, you moron!” “Listen to me,” Moose exclaimed, lighting his cigarette and glancing over at Theo, his eyes half closed. “You’re in big trouble. I heard the guys in dark glasses bet the bank on the exacta tonight and it sure as hell included you. Your horse was fucking even money!” “She lost! It happens!” Theo retorted. Moose didn’t reply. He just drew his finger across his own throat, then pointed to Theo. The sound of rain drumming on the roof was deafening. Theo swallowed hard but said nothing. “Attention horsemen!” the Paddock Judge’s voice rang out. “Under rule 147, section 3, the stewards have decided to abandon the rest of tonight’s program due to dangerous racing conditions. I repeat, racing has been abandoned due to inclement weather.” “Roberts doesn’t get to yell at us any more tonight,” Moose said happily, turning to Theo. There was no one there. “Encore du vin, Monsieur?” a voice murmured at André’s Fontainbleu’s elbow. He motioned the waiter away. He had caught sight of the young Frenchman he had recently hired standing at attention, keeping a discreet distance from the dinner table conversation. When André raised a finger, Henri approached and spoke, sotto voce, in his ear. “Ze young lady, she is waiting for you, Monsieur,” Henri said. André Fontainbleu picked up his fork. The twinkle of silver on glass produced the desired effect. His guests fell silent. “I regret, but always, business calls,” he announced charmingly, rising to his feet and turning away from the Caribbean Sea, the backdrop for dinner. The Australian girl was waiting downstairs, gazing up at the soaring ceiling and glittering candelabra. He ran his eyes over her slim figure, her full breasts. She was young, barely twenty at a guess and suitably virginal. According to his sources, she had been marooned on the island when her boat was caught in a freak storm. June was generally a calm month. Unlike the rest of the crew, she apparently wanted to stay on. As she wasn’t independently wealthy, she needed a work permit, a lengthy bureaucratic process on Sainte Marie unless one knew who to bribe. That is where André Fontainbleu came in, provided, naturellement, that the woman in question was young and attractive. There was a determined set to this girl’s jaw, but he had no doubt that common sense would prevail, after he had laid out his terms. One weekend, that was what he required. Her body was the only thing she had to offer in return. The feeling of power was intoxicating. As he walked down the spiral staircase to greet her, he caught her eye and imagined undressing her. She blushed but she held his gaze without faltering. Her long dark hair revived bitter sweet memories. But that was long ago. This was going to be easy like everything else on this island. Almost too easy. Despite, or perhaps because of, his age, he was still attractive to women. The touch of silver in his crop of dark curls reassured them. It gave him a fatherly air. Also, the power and the money drew them in. It promised to be a pleasant weekend, a very pleasant weekend indeed! Stay tuned in to Harnesslink every week for another excerpt from Horse Flesh!

Harness racing's living legend and youngest person every inducted into the Hall of Fame, John Campbell, was the special guest after the first intermission of the Devil's hockey game Sunday afternoon on MSG Network.  John talked about racing and then skipping over to watch a period of hockey and, of course, the news of his retirement from racing to take over as President and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. To view his interview click here. 

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, March 19, 2017-Aggressive (Mark MacDonald, $9.80) angled off the cones and was up at the wire Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Trot. Starting from the pylons in the field of nine (the infamous 10-hole was scratched). Aggressive minded his manners as the lass Allerage Star (Andy Miller) left over Lady's Dude (George Brennan), and wasn't in too much of a hurry (:29.1, :59). Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett), as the slight 7-2 favorite from the second tier, then offered some mild heat. The one came first-up from fifth toward a 1:28.1 three-quarters, but never serious challenged, Allerage Star had the lead at the 1:57 milepost, with a length-and-a-half advantage in and out of the final turn. It was about the juncture when Aggressive extricated himself from the cones. He and Lady's Dude-who appeared to duck into the passing lane a lap earlier-provided Allerage Star with unwanted company from both flanks. Lady's Dude did so again this time, but was outgamed by Aggressive, who earned the schnoz decision in 2:27.1 for the mile-and-one-quarter. Allerage Star was third, beaten a neck, with a traffic-troubled Luck O the Irish (Jordan Stratton) and Hemi Seelster rounding out the payees. The five payees were separated by just a length-and-three-quarters at the wire. For third choice Aggressive, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera for owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen, it was his third win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $130, the triple returned $510 and the superfecta paid $1,535. This was the final Sunday card until the end of May, and also the last 'New York, New York Double' until then (when Aqueduct becomes Belmont). Sunday's winning combination of 1-Lakeside Sunset (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 7-Not Afraid (Yonkers' 6th race) paid $20 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $5,745. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 18, 2017-Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for Free-For-Allers began Saturday night, with a quartet of $50,000 divisions over a 'sloppy' surface. The opening event saw 3-2 choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick, $5) charge from sixth in the lane to win going away in 1:54.1. Unhurried from post position No. 2, he rolled late, whipping a pocketed Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half. Third went to a rallying Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron), with 78-1 Burning N (Ron Cushing) and a pace-setting Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) settling for the remainder. For Missile J, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico for Hoosierland co-owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, it was his fifth win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22, with the triple returning $76.50. Saturday night's second Levy grouping saw Long Live Rock (Dube, $38.60) author a decisive, first-over upset. Moving from fourth (from post No. 2), he dismissed 1-2 favorite McWicked (Zeron), then drew off to win by three lengths in 1:54.1. Season-debuting All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) couldn't match the winner's tow but finished second, with 62-1 shot Mattamerican (Mark MacDonald) third. Santa Fe Beachboy (Jordan Stratton) and Melmerby Beach (Tetrick) grabbed the minors. McWicked, caught three-deep early, wound up a badly-beaten seventh. For fifth choice Long Live Rock, an 8-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $232, with the triple returning $3,014. The evening's third series soiree has Provocativeprincen (Stratton, $5.70)-from post No. 2-prevail in a blanket finish. Away third, he engaged Bettor's Edge (Brett Miller), then outgamed a pocketed, 8-5 fave Rockin' Ron (Yannick Gingras) by a head in 1:54.2. Mach it So (Tetrick) in his first seasonal start, was third, beaten a neck, with Bettor's Edge and 77-1 Texas Terror N (MacDonald) earning the lesser loot. For second choice Provocativeprincen, an 8-year-old Down Under Grinfromeartoear gelding owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, he's now 4-for-4 to begin the season. The exacta paid $16.60, with the triple returning $62.50. "He's done nothing wrong since I've sat behind him," Stratton said,. The first round's final foray offered the fastest feet as Soto (Kakaley, $14) from the pocket was able to get 'first run' against defending series champion Bit of a Legend N (Stratton). The former, from post No. 3, whipped the latter by a half-length in 1:53.3. Bit of a Legend N, as the 2-5 choice, was second-up and may have waited a tad too long. Pace-setting Somewhere in L A (Bartlett), Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) and a Always at My Place (Gingras) rounded out the payees. For third choice Soto, a 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Eric Ell for co-owners Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta, it was his fifth win in nine '17 starts. The exacta paid $23, the triple returned $55 and the superfecta paid $198. "He's just a versatile horse," Kakaley said. "I would have been happy either cutting the mile or sitting second. It may have been different had Bit of a Legend N been first-up, but my horse was very good." The Saturday night Pick 5, buoyed by a carryover in excess of $3,100, was taken down by one bettor. A winning combination of 2/3/8/7/3 returned $13,468.25 for that 50-cent wager. Reminder that Sunday's live all-trot 'French' card begins at 12:30 PM, the final Sunday card until the end of May. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Lennytheshark tonight etched his name alongside greats such as Golden Reign, Popular Alm, Pure Steel and Paleface Adios, winning the 2017 Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup. The cup at Kilmore has a unique history and place among the trots. Obviously $70,000 stakemoney is signifant, but the esteem in which participants and fans hold this race is disproportionate. For many, winning the Group 2 Kilmore Cup is sweeter than any Group 1. For superstar reinsman Chris Alford, who steered Lennytheshark to his win tonight, this was his third Kilmore Cup win after successes aboard Golden Reign in 1994 and Chancellor Cullen in 2013. For Lennytheshark, his stake earnings surpassed $2.6 million. A commanding odds-on favourite, Lenny had to use up some petrol early, the Miracle Mile, Inter Dominion and Victoria Cup champion bustled to find the front after speedster Major Crocker found the pegs first from the 2690-metre start. Once in front Alford was able to settle Australia’s best pacer, who controlled the race and went on to score a 2.4-metre win – in a mile rate of 1:59.4 – over a bold My Kiwi mate, who ran on powerfully from last in the run for Jodi Quinlan. Tonight's win moved David Aiken-trained Lennytheshark (Four Starzzz Shark-Botswana) into equal second place on the Trots Country Cups Championship ladder, on nine points, alongside Major Secret and Im Corzin Terror. A stablemate of Lennytheshark, Hectorjayjay, leads the Country Cups ladder on 10 points, with the winning horse at season's end to pick up a $25,000 bonus. Lets Elope (Josh Duggan) finished third in tonight's cup after a soft trip on the pegs, edging out Major Crocker, with bonny mare Milly Perez in fifth place. Earlier at Kilmore Ross Sugars-trained Illawong Helios (Majestic Son-Shining Sun) emphatically won the McIvor Estate Kilmore Trotters Cup. Driven by Ross’s son, Greg, Illawong Helios rated 2:04.9 in the 3150m stand-start contest to defeat Dead Cat Bounce (Michael Bellman) by 8.5m with Claudys Princess (Gavin Lang) third from her 30m back-mark. Greg Sugars finished the night with a winning double, his first winner coming aboard Whirily School (Courage Under Fire-Mayhappen) in the Lawrie Boyd Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship 11th Heat (Race 3). Whirily School ran to the front at the 1200m after Courageous Call initially held up from barrier four and the Emma Stewart-trained four-year-old mare was able to sprint home in 28.6 and 28.4 final quarters for a 1:55.7 rate, holding out Courageous Call at the finish by 2.5m. That win was the second leg of a race-to-race double for Victoria’s leading trainer, Smythes Creek’s Emma Stewart. Stewart combined with Chris Alford to win Race 2, the Great Northern Super Crisp 3YO Pace with promising bay Rocknroll Icon (Rocknroll Hanover-National Gallery). Rocknroll Icon now boasts three wins from his seven career starts. The night was opened by Siliqua winning the J&A Mazzetti Pace Final for Bacchus Marsh’s Amy Tubbs. Three-pegs in the run, Tubbs steered Siliqua to the outside off the back straight before putting her rivals away for a 5.8m win over Four Starzzz Forsa. Trainer/driver husband and wife team Maree and John Caldow combined to take out the Bendigo Vicbred Platinum Country Series K (2nd Heat) for trotters with four-year-old Muscle Hill-Calder Luck gelding Muscletonian. The Melton squaregaiter was all out at the finish, only just holding off a fast-finishing Light The Flame by 1.1m in a mile rate of 2:05.8 for the 2180-metre trip. One of the more impressive performances of the meet belonged to Majordan (Art Major-Benelise), who is absolutely flying. The well-bred four-year-old used his customary gate speed to arrest control of the race early for driver Rod Petroff before powering clear for a 10.2m win over in-form Rock Of America, who ran on from the back for second, with Glenferrie Blade slashing home along the sprint lane for third ahead of Classic Grin. And rounding out the night was a victory for in-form trainer Andy Gath, who produced Bettor Think Quick (Bettors Delight-Rona Lorraine) to win the Momentum Gaming Pace over 1690m. Driven by Alex Ashwood, Bettor Think Quick scored a 2.8m win over Peter Perfect, with Flick Me An Ace running on for third. The Trots Country Cups action heads to Boort tomorrow.   Cody Winnell

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 17, 2017) - As impressive as Melady's Monet was last week in winning his 2017 debut, he was even better tonight in winning his second straight top-level trot at the Meadowlands. The millionaire, trained by Kevin McDermott, left from post position six to make the lead before the opening quarter with Brett Miller at the lines before yielding the lead to Rose Run Parker, half of a Ron Burke trained entry. Melady's Monet, the 1/2 favorite, powerfully moved out of the pocket after three-quarters in 1:25. He then went right by a faltering Rose Run Parker and with a :27.3 final quarter, had plenty left to hold off the closing Opulent Yankee and Crosbys Clam Bake to win in 1:52.4. "Brett Miller said he was vicious tonight," said trainer Kevin McDermott. "He has been absolutely awesome two weeks in a row in cold weather. The plan is to race as long him at the Meadowlands as long as there is a race that fills. He is as good now as he's ever been, but I may take the hopples off him down the road." Stakes winner Appomattox won his second straight for trainer Lucas Wallin, who was pressed into driving duty when Corey Callahan booked off the remainder of his drives after taking ill following the fifth race. Wallin steered Appomattox to a win in 1:54.3 for his second career training victory. Brett Miller won the first race of the night and the last race with a trip to drive in the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers in between. Andy Miller won two races as well. Total handle on the 11-race card was $2,427,559. Racing resumes Saturday with a 12-race card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands

Speedy pacer Tenacious One has been sold and will do his future harness racing in the United States. The Queensland owned gelding looks an ideal fit for the hard and fast North American scene given his style of racing. A graduate of the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales, the Mach Three – Miss Astronomical youngster was purchased by the Brisbane based Brendan McMullen. Tenacious One commenced his career in Victoria with trainer Andy Gath where he managed to win 2 of his 11 starts before being switched to the Queensland stables of Donny Smith. Under the tutelage of Smith, Tenacious One showed his true potential where he won his first 6 starts, all at Albion Park and all in fast time. In 23 starts in the Sunshine State, Tenacious One won 11 races and took a career best time of 1:51.6 – the Albion Park track record belongs to the incomparable champion Im Themightyquinn at 1:50.8. Tenacious One won 13 from 34 while being minor placed on a further 11 occasions while banking in excess of $76,000. The deal was negotiated through highly respected agent Frank Ranaldi. Another talented pacer that will join Tenacious One on the flight north is Iam Mr Brightside, a former member of the Kerryann Turner/Robbie Morris Sydney stables. The Julius Caesar gelding has won 22 races from 86 starts while banking more than $325,000 in prizemoney. His biggest victory came via the 2014 Gr.3 $40,000 Simpson Memorial at Menangle in a time of 1:51.6 while being placed in many other feature events. Both Tenacious One and Iam Mr Brightside will do their future racing in the state of New York. Recent results for Ranaldi in North America have been very solid highlighted by the success of former Victorian mare Shes Just A Delight. The New Zealand bred mare raced with distinction from the stables of Kerryn Manning before her sale. Shes Just A Delight won a division of the famed Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway overnight (Friday) in a time of 1:53.0 on the half mile oval. Since arriving in North America, Shes Just A Delight has won 13 of her 15 starts. The Matchmaker Final is scheduled for April 22.   Chris Barsby

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 17, 2017-Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker for high-end pacing mares began Friday night, with a trio of $40,000 divisions. The opening event saw odds-on choice Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing, $3.60) parlay a perfect pocket trip into a handy, 1:53 victory Winning the draw, Shesjustadelight N watched as Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) grabbed the lead before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Then, along came American Girl (Tim Tetrick), who eschewed a three-hole only to get hung for her troubles by Empress Deo. It was a :55.2 intermission and 1:23.4 three-quarters, with American Girl eventually backing away. While that was transpiring, Shesjustadelight N was enjoying the show, awaiting her close-up. Empress Deo owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but the fave was ready. Shesjustadelight N edged inside, defeating the Empress by a length-and-a-three-quarters. Change the Rulz N (Scott Zeron) rallied for third at 48-1, with 110-1 shot Quick Draft A (Mark MacDonald) and Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) rounding out the payees. "She's just super handy and I couldn't have asked for a better trip," Cushing said. "I was a bit surprised Tim (Tetrick) didn't take the seat behind me, but it ended up working out for us. "It's always good when you can just a win in this series without using a horse hard, so we're going take it.." For Shesjustadelight N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by her driver & Kevin Sywyk and trained by Heidi Gibbs, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, with the triple returning $109.50 "She's just super handy and I couldn't have asked for a better trip," Cushing said of his lass. "I was a bit surprised Tim (Tetrick) didn't take the seat behind me, but it ended up working out for us. "It's always good when you can just a win in this series without using a horse hard, so we're going take it." Friday night's second Matchmaker grouping saw another odds-on number, Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $3.20) prevail, though not without some angst. Away third from post position No. 2, Mach it a Par quarter-moved around Bedroomconfessions (Zeron), taking over right a :28.1 first two furlongs, There were very soft fractions after that (:57.3, 1:26), with Betabcool N (MacDonald) trying it first-up from fourth. Mach it a Par owned a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn, then was all out to hold off Bedroomconfession by a nose in 1:53.2. Betabcool N held for a credible third, with Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton) ad Krispy Apple (Brett Miller) settling for the remainder. For Mach it a Par, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, Gandolfo & T L P Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $5.10, with the triple returning $16.20. The first round's final foray offered the fast female, as Regil Elektra (Bartlett, $8.40) lasted on the lead in a season's-best 1:52.4. From post No. 3, she hooved her way (:28.2, :57.1, 1:24.3). Regil Elektra had a length lead into the lane, then whipped a crisp rally of 22-1 Hidden Land by a half-length. Third went to a pocketed Lispatty (MacDonald), with a first-up Medusa (Kakaley) and Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno) grabbing the minors. Nike Franco N (Tetrick), locally debuting as the 9-10 favorite, gapped second-over and wound up seventh. For second choice Regil Elektra, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone Stable and trained by Keith Armer, it was her third win in six '17 starts. The exacta paid $133.50, with the triple returning $374. "The open draws are so big in these series, and both (Mach it a Par and Regil Elektra) had good posts, so I had to leave with them," Bartlett said. "Mach it a Par isn't a front-end sort of mare, but I thought she was good in the last quarter when she had to be. "Regil Elektra won the Open Handicap here last Friday when it was cold, and she was there again." The Matchmaker (as well as the Saturday night-beginning George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series) offer five preliminary rounds, leading to a finale, set for Saturday, Apr. 22nd . by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY - For the past few years, Duane Marfisi has enjoyed life in New Zealand as an assistant trainer to Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, who operate one of the most successful stables in Australasia. Although Marfisi was an accomplished trainer in North America before moving Down Under, working with stars like Adore Me and Lazarus alongside great horsemen showed him he still had room to improve. “Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are most brilliant horsemen,” Marfisi said. “Just when you think you can’t learn any more, you keep on learning. I was second trainer for them the last two-and-a-half years. I was on the road with some great horses. Adore Me and Lazarus, Smolda. The whole team.” Training and racing standardbreds in New Zealand and Australia is markedly different than in the United States. Horses are prepped to race longer distances, contend from standing starts, and medication regulations are stricter. Dealing with these and other factors gave Marfisi a new outlook on the game. “It rekindled my spirit for the horses. Everything was new to me: the standing starts and the distance racing,” he explained. “To be able to go the distances in the time they do - they’ll go a 2-mile run in 3:54, which is astonishing. The truth of the matter is, their medication rules are by far superior to here. It’s just basically good horsemanship.” While he speaks fondly of his time in New Zealand, Marfisi returned to his home in Ontario, Canada just before Christmas. His wife, Janet, accepted a coveted position at the University of Guelph. “She actually didn’t think I was going to return with her to be honest. But I did, and here we are,” he joked. Marfisi has eight horses in training now. Among them is Our Sky Major, a 7-year-old New Zealand-bred pacer who made the journey across the Pacific a few months prior to Marfisi. The former Barry Purdon pupil won five group 1 stakes in Australasia and placed in another five. The son of Art Major out of the In The Pocket mare Sky Beauty is 17-for-61 in his career and sports earnings of $658,865. “The horse is very, very intelligent. He’s a class act. He’s a great-gaited horse, he’s very, very fast,” Marfisi said. Despite his impressive resume, Our Sky Major’s 2016 season wasn’t up to par with prior years. The pacer earned just one victory and $25,523. A change was needed and owners Trevor Casey and John Lohman had a plan. “The owner approached me when he heard I was coming back about shipping the horse over here because they believed he had a bleeding problem his last season in Australia,” Marfisi explained. Our Sky Major shipped from Australia to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport via stops in China and Alaska, finally arriving Oct. 23. He spent time at Blairwood Farm in New Jersey to recover from the long journey before vanning to Canada in early November where serious training could begin. “He had six good weeks of jogging and six good weeks of fast work training miles and he handled it very well,” Marfisi detailed. “He had a couple qualifiers, a fast work behind the gate. He had done everything I asked. I was a little dodgy about racing him and I qualified him another time because racing that hard, you have to be fit and ready.” In his North American debut at Woodbine Racetrack Feb. 18, Our Sky Major, the whip on his tail, made a determined march to the lead past a :56.1 half in a conditioned event. Under a good hold from driver Doug McNair, Our Sky Major powered his way through a :26.3 third panel and turned into the stretch on a 1 1/2-length advantage. A single slap of the wheel disc at the eighth pole encouraged Our Sky Major to open another length-and-a-half. He stopped the clock in 1:50.2, punching a ticket to Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Pacing Series in the process. “After his first start, he forced me to pay him into the Levy,” Marfisi said. “I was hoping he’d get up to the Preferred and then go down there, but after his first start it was pretty amazing, so we just went ahead.” Marfisi’s confidence in Our Sky Major faced an immediate test two weeks later. Up a notch in class and sent off as the race’s odds-on favorite, Our Sky Major finished a disheartening fifth, beaten 4 lengths. The bleeding issues that crippled his 2016 season had resurfaced. “His second start, I was very, very disappointed. I went in there very confident. I thought he was better than he was in his first start,” Marfisi lamented. “He did bleed his last start for me. His wind was shut off a bit which caused him to bleed. It just bummed me a bit because I expected him to win.” When Our Sky Major starts in Saturday night’s $50,000 first division of the Levy Series first leg, he’ll race on lasix for the first time. After drawing post position seven, he’s a 20-1 outsider on the morning line and will be in the hands of Mark MacDonald for the first time. Still, Marfisi looks for his horse to earn valuable points in the series. If he gets enough to make even the Levy Consolation slated for April 22, Marfisi will be happy. “I would have liked to have drawn good, but you never know. It’s tough over at Yonkers. You’re usually trying to get some cover. It’s hard  to explain to drivers over here that for horses from Australasia, a good trip is usually first-up. They’re used to racing like that just on the outside. I would really be happy that he paces home and passes some horses to grab a slice. That would make me thrilled to death.” While the outside post position is a concern, the track configuration isn’t. Unlike some horses who race at Yonkers for the first time, Our Sky Major has experience on small tracks. “There’s a lot of tracks in Australasia that are very interesting. They have sort of triangle turns,” Marfisi said. “I would say Yonkers will be a good surface for him. He can really fly when you ask him to go. When he won the (Harness Jewel 4-Year-Old Emerald), he went the last quarter in 24-and-change. You don’t see many horses who can do that kind of last quarter.” Regardless of the outcome, Marfisi is happy to have a horse capable of racing in the Levy and other top events this season. He’s optimistic about what the future holds. “I was excited that the owner wanted to send him. We paid him up into a lot of the big dances and we’re hoping for the best. I don’ t know if he’s that type yet; he has to prove it. The open horses here are extraordinary. You have to have a lot of talent.” Our Sky Major will face seven rivals in his division of the Levy Series first leg, including Caviart Luca, who’s 5-for-7 at Yonkers this season for trainer Ron Burke, and Rich Banca’s Blood Brother, who’s consistently hit the board in Preferred and Open company at Yonkers. Three other Levy divisions Saturday night feature full fields, including Santa Fe Beachboy and McWicked in division two and Mach It So and Provocativeprincen in division three. Defending champion Bit Of A Legend faces Somewhere In L A and Wakizaschi Hanover in division four. First post time is 7:10 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

Mitch Maguire put up such a remarkable performance to buck the odds and win at Pinjarra last Monday week that he should continue his winning ways by proving the master of his rivals in the $23,000 Milwaukee 18V Fuel Heavy Duty WA Derby Prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Several outstanding three-year-olds will contest Friday night’s event, but Mitch Maguire, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won with such authority at his past three starts that he should capitalise on his favourable barrier at No. 2 on the front line and notch his 11th win from 17 starts and his ninth win from ten starts in Western Australia. Colin Brown will handle Mitch Maguire, replacing the suspended Ryan Warwick, who has driven the colt at all of his nine WA outings. At Pinjarra on Monday of last week, Mitch Maguire started off 30m in a 2631m stand. He galloped badly and settled down some 20 lengths behind the early leader. He improved to be eighth at the bell and he sprinted brilliantly 550m from home to burst to the front at the 300m mark and then he coasted to victory at a 1.59 rate. “It was a tremendous run,” said stable driver Ryan Bell. “We clocked him off the video to go his final mile and a half in 2min. 52sec.” Bell said that he did not expect Friday night’s race to be a walk in the park for Mitch Maguire. “He’s got very good gate speed, but so have Im The Best (barrier one) and Herrick Roosevelt (three) and there might be fireworks early.” Bell will drive Mitch Maguire’s stablemate Rock Diamonds from barrier five, for the first time in a race. “It’s a tricky draw and we’ll probably stay out of trouble and do our best work late,” he said. Rock Diamonds has shown excellent promise and has won at eight of his ten starts in WA. Ace trainer Gary Hall sen. Will be represented by Herrick Roosevelt, who has made most of the running to win easily at his only two starts --- at Bunbury and Gloucester Park in December. He is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line and will be driven by Clint Hall. Gary Hall jun. will continue as the driver of the Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria, who has won at ten of his 17 starts and is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven. Kim Prentice will drive Mustang Bart, a newcomer from Victoria who has drawn the inside of the back line for his WA debut for Victorian trainer Gary Barton. Mustang Bart has had 14 starts for three wins in Victoria and one in New South Wales.   Ken Casellas

John Campbell, a Hambletonian Society director since 1992 and harness racing's leading money-winning driver of all time, was recently elected president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Society in a unanimous vote of the board of directors at the winter board meeting held March 12 in Boca Raton, Florida. He replaces current president Tom Charters effective July 1, 2017. Campbell will fulfill his driving commitments through June of this year.  "I want to thank the Hambletonian Society for their support and confidence in this new and exciting opportunity," said Campbell. "It is a challenge that I am looking forward to. "I would also like to thank and commend Tom Charters for all his years of service. I have worked with Tom on various projects over the years and have tremendous respect for his opinion and passion for harness racing. I have sought his advice many times over the years and will continue to do so moving forward. "He has worked tirelessly for the betterment of our sport, many times in the background, not receiving the credit that was his due," Campbell emphasized. "Going forward, I will be reaching out to all facets of our industry, encouraging them to make decisions that are in the best interest of our sport. We have our issues and problems, no question, but I believe very strongly that from a betting and entertainment point of view our sport can be relevant and attractive." Tom Charters, the current president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, had informed the board last August of his intent to cut back on his schedule. He will step down as president, a position he has held since 1998. He will remain on staff through the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park in October and on the Society board as a director. The Hambletonian Society is a not-for-profit organization which supports and encourages the breeding of Standardbred horses by sponsoring and administering stakes and other special events in harness racing. The Society was founded in 1924 to organize the Hambletonian Stake, one of 37 races it currently owns, and one of the 131 stakes events it oversees. These races are some of the richest and most prestigious racing events across North America, held at 14 different racetracks, involving the processing of more than 51,700 individual payments totaling $11.6 million and responsible for the disbursement of more than $14.8 million in purses. No active driver or jockey has amassed more purse money than John Campbell. His career earnings top $299 million from more than 10,600 victories in his four decades of driving. He has led all North American drivers in earnings 16 times and has won every major race in the sport - including a record six Hambletonians - at least once. His remarkable career on the racetrack saw him elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990 at age 35, the youngest person so honored and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1987. He was voted Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award Winner in 2012; voted U.S. Harness Writers Driver of the Year in 2006 and W. R. Haughton Good Guy in 2002; the Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service To Youth honoree in 2003; awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his commitment to harness racing by the Governor General of Canada in 2000 and is president of the Grand Circuit and a director of the Little Brown Jug Society. Charters was originally hired by the Society in 1984 to guide the newly created Breeders Crown championship series. "I am proud of what the Society has accomplished over the last three decades, especially in sponsoring the two preeminent events in harness racing, the $1 million Hambletonian and the $6 million Breeders Crown," said Charters. "I believe this is the perfect opportunity for the Society. John's accomplishments on the race track are beyond compare and his knowledge and broad grasp of the traditions of the sport and the current day challenges of the industry will be of enormous benefit to the Society. "I look forward to continuing to work with John, as he has provided valuable counsel in past matters, and his leadership qualities and the industry-wide respect he commands represent make him a unique choice for the Society. "The timing is right," concluded Charters. by Moira Fanning for the Hambletonian Society