Day At The Track

LEBANON, OH - Kobe Bryant would have been proud! Black Mamba AS added the $25,000 championship leg of the Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley trot series at 1-1/4 miles to her impressive harness racing resume on Friday (Feb. 19), trotting gate to finish line in front in 2:25.2 at Miami Valley Raceway. "I knew she'd have a big shot," exclaimed driver Tyler Smith. "Anette (Lorentzon, the trainer) keeps all her horses fit and sharp and the added quarter mile didn't bother her or me a bit." A six-year-old daughter of Lionhunter, Black Mamba AS recorded her 16th lifetime victory and boosted her career bounty to $342,912 with the score. She has finished on the board in 42 of her 77 trips behind the starting gate. Merci Monsieur AS (Kayne Kauffman) made a valiant late surge to get within a length of the winner, with Compelling (LeWayne Miller), the even money favorite, finishing third. Say You Do (Brett Miller) and Perfect Chapter AS (Chris Page) picked up the minor spoils in the lucrative final. ACI Studeri AB of Paris, Kentucky, owns Black Mamba AS and were involved in the breeding and early lessons of Merci Monsieur AS and Perfect Chapter AS, although the latter two have changed hands in recent years.   Black Mamba AS paid $11.60 to win, coupled with Merci Monsieur AS the exacta returned $129.20, and a 50-cent trifecta was worth $79.63 with favored Compelling completing the ticket. The Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley, which featured preliminary legs at 5/8ths of a mile and the traditional mile, pays homage to the Hall Of Fame trainer-driver who was born and lived his entire life in Hamilton, Ohio, just a stone's throw from Miami Valley Raceway. Beissinger won three Hambletonians with Lindy's Pride, Speedy Crown and Speedy Somolli and maintained his base of operations in southwest Ohio throughout his career. A $20,000 Mares Open Pace was also showcased on the Friday program at Miami Valley. Bettor's Up (LeWayne Miller) pulled a mild 9-1 upset over Checks On The Way (Trace Tetrick) and Gone Girl (Tyler Smith). Using her inside post position to full advantage, the winner enjoyed a two-hole trip behind Checks On The Way through fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.2 before pulling on the leader and wearing her down in the final furlong. The 1:52.3 win was the 25th of Bettor's Up's career and boosted her bankroll to $981,752 as she seeks millionaire status in the coming weeks. The Platinum Stables of Indiana own the seven-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight. Racing resumes Saturday (Feb. 20) at Miami Valley with the $25,000 championship of the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley, at 1-1/4 miles, and a $22,000 Open Handicap Pace highlighting the program. Miami Valley has announced a make up card for Wednesday (Feb. 24) with the entry box closing at 1:00 on Saturday (Feb. 20) for the added card. The condition sheet for the added program is available on the USTA website. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway                

Melady's Monet is getting up in age but remains young at heart. The 12-year-old male trotter has three wins and a second in four starts this season and will look for career victory No. 71 when he visits The Meadowlands for Saturday's $22,500 conditioned trot. "He's doing really good," trainer Hermann Heitmann said. "Nothing has changed with him (over the years). He is still acting like a young horse, actually. He likes to play around in the paddocks, he enjoys his lunch, he doesn't look like he wants to slow down yet. "He just likes to race." Melady's Monet is a son of Revenue S out of Keystone Melady. He was bred by Ester Balenzano and her husband Luca, who passed away last year. Ester remains the horse's owner under the Melady Enterprises banner. For his career, Melady's Monet has won 70 of 224 races and $1.73 million. He has earned more than $125,000 in each of the past eight years. He won the 2016 Vincennes Invitational at The Meadowlands and later that season was second to Bee A Magician in the $250,000 Yonkers Invitational. In 2015, he won The Meadows Maturity and had third-place finishes in the Cutler Memorial and Crawford Farms Open Trot. In recent years, he has remained a consistent performer in top-level trots at various East Coast racetracks, particularly Yonkers. The gelding was sidelined for five months in 2018 because of colic surgery but has earned a paycheck in 49 of 54 starts since his return. "He's like the horse of a lifetime," Heitmann said. "There are not too many around like him." On Saturday, Melady's Monet heads to The Meadowlands to race for the first time since December 2019. He will start from post five with driver Scott Zeron and is 9-2 on the morning line. Kenziesky Hanover is the 5-2 favorite. "I'm sure he will put in a good effort," Heitmann said. What makes Melady's Monet successful in fending off rivals as well as Father Time? "His attitude," Heitmann said. "He knows when we're going to the races and he likes the competition. He tries unbelievably hard, always. He never gives up. "Attitude is everything with him. He just wants to do it. You can't teach that to any horse, they either have it or they don't. He wants to do it." Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EST) at The Meadowlands. The Big M and TrackMaster have teamed to regularly provide free past performances for each race card. Past performances can be found here on The Meadowlands website. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Major North American owners Gordon Banks and Marc Hanover have teamed up with 15 time North American Breeders Crown winning owners Richard Gutnick,Thomas Pontone, and Joseph Lozito Jr. to acquire New Zealand’s superstar four-year-old harness racing pacing mare Amazing Dream (Bettor's Delight - Christian Dreamer - Christian Cullen)! Jean Feiss agreed to sell her four-year-old, seven time Group 1 winning mare, winner of over $890,000 for an undisclosed six figure sum to this powerhouse combine, perhaps opening the door to more significant standardbred investments in Down Under Bloodstock by this group. Banks and Hanover have long been active Down Under and have had considerable success with Australian Breeders Crown two-year-old pacing filly winner Passions Promise, Dual Group 1 aged pacing star Majordan, NZ 2 year old Sire Stakes champion Joannes Delight, current 3 year old star American Dealer (last year’s 2 year old NZ Sire Stakes Champion), old warhorse Ouch, and the great pacing filly Tupelo Rose, amongst many others. Banks and Hanover co-own this year’s North American two-year-old Breeder’s Crown trotting filly winner, Lady Chaos, with Gutnick, Pontone, and Lozito, so the team is hoping to build on their success together. Lady Chaos winning the $600,000 Breeders Crown Richard Gutnick has owned four Breeders Crown winners, the winners of the 2012 Hambletonian, the Canadian Trotting Classic, The Maple Leaf trot, and numerous other North American classics. His two greatest horses have been Hambletonian winner Market Share, and racing star Chapter Seven, who is now one of the world’s most desired trotting stallions. Gutnick horses in North America have earned well over US$10,000,000. Gordon Banks the master mind of an AMAZING deal Thomas Pontone has owned horses that have won an incredible 10 Breeders Crowns and two Hambletonians. He is the owner of superstar and super sire Muscle Hill, and he has owned Art Major, McArdle, Shark Gesture, Metropolitan, Strong Yankee, Red Bow Tie, and the great mare  Cathedera Dot Com, amongst many other equine stars. Joe Lozito Jr. won his first Breeders Crown (2020) with two-year-old filly Lady Chaos (2t,1:53.1) $584,131, and has owned numerous top horses. For Gutnick, Pontone, and Lozito this acquisition marks their first venture Down Under, and it is a real feather in New Zealand’s cap that the standardbred industry has produced stars capable of attracting this kind of North American investment and investors! Banks and Hanover, who will be the managing partners, have confirmed to Harnesslink that the group plans to keep Amazing Dream racing in New Zealand through this year’s Harness Jewels, then race the mare in Australia through the Interdominion and, perhaps, next year’s one million dollar Miracle Mile. Amazing Dream, the champion four-year-old mare beating the best boys in the 2020 Auckland Cup Then plans are for Amazing Dream to go to the States to take on North America’s best aged mares. It is also hoped that Amazing Dream will return to New Zealand this year for the New Zealand Cup. Plans are for THE DREAM to remain in New Zealand with Hayden Cullen, with Mark Purdon handling the driving...Tentative Australian plans are for Kevin Pizzuto to care for Amazing Dream in NSW and Nathan Purdon to handle Victoria in this COVID age. According to Banks and Hanover the entire ownership team hopes to get to see their new star racing in person for the Inters or Miracle Mile, if foreign travel possible then.... Harnesslink Media

Australia’s pinup pacer Lochinvar Art has been a shock withdrawal from tonight’s rich AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile. Owner Kevin Gordon made the announcement a short time ago on social media – but Gordon assured it was still all systems go for the Garrards Miracle Mile at Menangle in a fortnight. “It’s nothing major – a corn was found in the sole of his foot. It’s in the horse’s best welfare not to run,” Gordon said. “All will be okay in the Miracle Mile in two weeks.” Lochinvar Art, trained by David Moran at Shepparton, was a short-priced favorite in tonight’s AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile Group One, worth $100,000. The disappointment came after Moran made a last-minute dash last Friday to get over the border to NSW ahead of a snap five-day COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria. Undoubtedly the best standarbred currently racing in Australasia, Lochinvar Art posted his seventh Group One victory in the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton recently, taking his earnings to $1,368,456 (courtesy of 28 wins from 50 starts). The Moran team is stabled in NSW at the Cobbitty property of Belinda and Luke McCarthy. The scratching leaves the race wide open, but Queensland-trained Turn It Up is now likely to firm into favoritism.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing fans, harnesslink community, we have some important and exciting news to share with you. The current iteration of our website is now over ten years old and while it has done it's job incredibly well, the time has come for an upgrade.  Due to a number of technological changes, our current website has started to experience several problems behind the scenes which need to be solved. This has also fortunately given us the chance to review our current design as website design has changed a lot over the last ten years.  Our new website will be coming sometime in the next few weeks and should bring with it a faster, cleaner, more modern design. We know that change is hard but we also hope that you will keep an open mind and enjoy our new look when it is launched. Here's to the next chapter! John and the Harnesslink team Here is a picture of our original Website dated 2002

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound Paleface Adios Stakes winner Expensive Ego, who has won three races in quick time this season highlighted by his success in the Group 2 $60,000 Paleface Adios Stakes, and has graduated to a NR90 mark, is regarded as one of the best young pacers in the country. Expensive Ego is a four-year-old by the Rocknroll Hanover horse, Rock N Roll Heaven (sire of Heaven Rocks, etc), from Art Start, who took a record of 1:58.2 and won 14 races. She produced earlier winners in Arts Treasure 1:50.9 ($152,542), a winner at Group 1 level, Bohdi Tree 1:52.1 ($192,854) and Golightly (1:55.3). Art Start is by the American bred sire Perfect Art from Sweet Clementine (1:59.6), an Oaks winner by Land Grant from the Jerry Adios mare Sue Adios, dam of the QBred Triad winner Sweet Liberty 1:57.9 ($102,706), Vanston Adios, Sir Galahad and Sweet Sue. This is a long-established NZ family and earlier top youngsters belonging to it include My Liberty Belle, Philadelphia Man and Centenario. A half-brother by Betting Line to Expensive Ego will be offered at the Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction in April.   WA Golden Nugget to Minstrel Western Australia’s premier race for four-year-olds, the $200,000 Golden Nugget, run at Gloucester Park, was won by Minstrel, and although Magnificent Storm, rated the top four-year-old of his year, finished second after coming from last, this fact could not detract from the merit of Minstrel’s success. Minstrel                --Jodie Hallows Photo He has now won four of his seven starts in WA and eight of his 17 lifetime starts for $208,803 in stakes. His sire, Rocknroll Hanover, was one of the best performed sires to come to Australia, being by Western Ideal, a son of Western Hanover. Rocknroll Hanover had a record of 1:48.6 and was one of America’s greatest ever three-year-olds. His ‘down under’ stock include King Of Swing, Foreclosure, Rockstar Angel, Yankee Rockstar, The Storm Inside and others, and in America he sired 84 in 1:50 including Rock N Roll Heaven (1:47.6). Ovaride, the dam of Minstrel, was a Mach Three mare from a capable racemare in Top Gear (1:55.9), by Falcon Seelster from Fill The Purse, by Holmes Hanover from Village Rose, by Clever Innocence. Ovaride (2:00.2), a three-year-old winner, left earlier winners in The Achiever (1:57.6) and Rollova (1:57.4), who won at Melton the day after Minstrel won.  Top Gear was a half-sister to Fill The Bank (1:53.2), Vanilla Rose (1:57.5), Bank Raider and to Magic Marg, the dam of the prolific Menangle winner Magic Oats 1:51.5 ($225,278). The most distinguished member of this family was a top flight three-year-old in City Rogue (1:49.6), who won 27 races in NZ, Australia and America and $502,734 in stakes.  His successes included the Australian Derby, Redcliffe Derby, NZ Kindergarten Stakes and NZ Rising Stars 3YO Championship. Others from this family included Raukapuka Ruler (1:50.4), winner of the NZ Great Northern Derby and Ashburton Cup, the NZ Sapling and Kindergarten Stakes winner War Dan Delight, Atom Of Courage 1:52.2 (Parkes and Tamworth Cups) and the Addington free-for-all winner Village Chief (1:57.9).   Delightful Jazz is top mare Bought for $75,000 and now a winner of $126,660, Delightful Jazz continues to prove herself in the top bracket of pacing mares in Victoria. Delightful Jazz                             --Stuart McCormick Photo   She is a member of one of New Zealand’s top ranking standardbred families, being a five-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare from a handy racemare in Hotinthecitytonite (1:58.8), a Christian Cullen mare who has produced others in Dancintothebeat (1:56.5), who won twice at Albion Park recently, and Major Hippie (1:57.5). Hotinthecitytonite was out of Hot Shoe Shuffle 1:57.9 ($295,011), a Group winning mare by Falcon Seelster from Off Beat, by Vance Hanover from the Lordship mare Broken Drum and tracing to the taproot Regina (by Berlin). Hot Shoe Shuffle produced two high class pacers in Glenferrie Shuffle (1:57), a winner of 13 races and $279,839 including the Breeders Crown 2YO Final, and Jivin Cullen (1:54), a winner of 14 races and $190,713. Others from Hot Shoe Shuffle were the exported Joshua Mac 1:57.8 ($107,760) and the NZ Sales Graduette winner Sem’s Delight (1:57). Hot Shoe Shuffle figures as the second dam of the Menangle winner Zanadu (1:55), Kezzamac (1:56.5) and the promising NZ filly Passion And Power (1:58.6), a heat winner of the Young Gun Series.   Act Now is Derby material Act Now, who comfortably won in restricted age company at Melton and is regarded as Derby material of the highest order, is a three-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere from Molly’s Ideal, an American-bred mare. Act Now            --Stuart McCormick Photo   Act Now is a member of the an-old time family, which was represented by the winner of the Graham Head Memorial at Shepparton recently in Patsbeachstorm. He was placed at his next start in the $100,000 Caduceus Club Classic. Molly’s Ideal is an American Ideal mare from Molly’s Lucky Star (1:54.4), by Bettor’s Delight from Pacific Destiny, by Artsplace from One More Kiss, by Big Towner. One More Kiss was the dam of the million dollar earner Pacific Fella (1:48.4), who sired winners in Australia. Molly’s Ideal ranks as a half-sister to the WA Diamond Classic winner Askmeilltellya 1:54.8 ($136,136), War Dan Star (1:59.3) and Pin Stripes (1:53.7).   Well related three-year-old Cheyella, who won the String Of Pearls at Albury, showed ability as a two-year-old last season when she was twice placed in five attempts. She has opened her season on a winning note and will be well in line for the major juvenile classics. Cheyella is a filly by the American Ideal horse, Heston Blue Chip, from Chiquita Bromac (1:58.7), the dam also of Celerina (1:57.5), a winner of five races and a placegetter in Group company. Chiquita Bromac ranks as a sister to the Victoria Derby heat winner Crown Bromac 1:54.1 ($139,878) and a half-sister to the Franklin Cup winner Attorney General 1:48.4 ($323,098) and the Victoria Youthful winner Cullen Bromac (1:55.1), being by McArdle from Classic Blue Jeans, by Camluck from the American-bred Oh Please, by Albatross. This is the family which produced such winners as the NZ Cup and Free-for-all winner Cruz Bromac (1:50.1), Falcon’s Blue Jean 1:51.8 ($442,232), Our Cullen’s Crown 1:52 ($491,044) and the top Tasmanian pacer The Majority. Cheyella was bred and is raced by Ballarat breeder Verna El-Khishin.   Siblings win at Melton It was no mean feat for the half-brothers President Roydon (by The Pres) and Majestic Hurricane (by Majestic Son) to win on the same night at Melton last weekend. Both bred by Roydon Lodge Stud are from Dear Diedre, a trotter herself, and who has left other straightout trotting winners in Duchess Diedre, The Earth Moved and Lord Roydon. Dear Diedre was by the Arndon horse Sundon (nine-time Group winner) from a fine racemare in Diedre’s Pride, by Game Pride from Roydon Diedre, by Arndon.  Other members of this family have been the Breeders Crown champions Conon Bridge (1:56.6), Im Ready Jet (1:55.6) and Hurricane Flyer, Destiny Jones (Ordeal Trotting Cup), Sunny Ruby 1:54.7 (Harness Jewels), Wee Man Trouble, the dual Vicbred champion Aldebaran Eve and Sunoflindenny. On their best form, President Roydon and Majestic Hurricane are both expected to graduate far beyond their present rating.   Eighth on end  Papinik won his eighth race on end at Gloucester Park recently when he soundly trounced intermediate grade rivals, rating a career-best 1:54.5 for 2130 metres. He is by the In The Pocket horse, Advance Attack, a full brother to the great Courage Under Fire. Papinik                           --Jodie Hallows Photo   Papinik is out of Artist’s Impression, by Perfect Art from Rakamo, by Admiral Halsey from the Lumber Dream mare Sentimental Belle, a daughter of Sentimental Lass, the dam of the free-for-aller Mister Fallacy 1:57.3 ($142,212), a high class pacer in Master Scamp and others. Papinik is a brother-in-blood to the Westbred 2YO Classic winner Heez On Fire 1:54.7 ($287,607) and the Western Crown victor Brush With Courage (1:58.9) and a member of the same family as outstanding young pacers in Mitemptation and Rakarolla.   Half-brother to De Lovely Zadaka, who came from last to win the $30,000 Ararat Pacing Cup, is an eight-year-old half-brother by Mach Three to the champion New Zealand racemare De Lovely 1:54 ($613,355), the Menangle winner Coppagoodone (1:57) and Le Girl (1:58). They are out of a dual Oaks winner in Copper Beach 1:58.6 ($179,794), by the American import Beach Towel who was out of Les Payzen Star, by Payson’s Brother from Interchange, by New York Motoring. Interchange was a most successful broodmare, being also the dam of the Inter Dominion champion and dual Auckland Cup hero Elsu 1:53.6 ($2 million), the NZ 2YO Championship winner Revonez, Falcor (1:53) and Mombassa. Copper Beach was a half-sister to the exported Metekhi (1:54), CC Star (1:57.1) and to Rose Vear, the dam of Elias Bromac (2:00.8).   Four winners by Rock N Rock Heaven The Rocknroll Hanover horse, Rock N Roll Heaven, a grand pacer himself and now a leading sire, left four winners on the one night at Albion Park last weekend. His winners were Cardlesfromheaven (1:53.5), Thats How Weroll (1:54), Clarry (1:54.9) and Rockita (1:56.9).   First winner by Bling It On Bling It On, a well performed American Ideal horse from a champion broodmare in Alldatglittersisgold, by Caprock, was recently represented by his first winner in the two-year-old filly Finery, who led throughout at Bathurst. Finery had shown up strongly at the Menangle trials prior to her debut. Bred by Glenn Wilmont, Finery is out of the Bettor’s Delight mare, Dazzle N Daze, whose dam, Amboseli (1:58.7) was by Christian Cullen from the New York Motoring mare Rafiki (2:00.8), who left several useful winners including the Perth and USA winner The Freedom Fighter 1:52 ($147,036) and Our Friend (1:53).     by Peter Wharton

The Abela father-and-son harness racing team of Joe and Tyrone have been making every post a winner this year—and an enviable strike-rate tells the story. “It’s a nice change that’s for sure. We couldn’t take a trick in 2020 – nothing went right for us!” Tyrone said. “One of our very nice horses in Carmy Dan had us scratching our heads. I think he had four zeros and a rating of only 50 at one stage. At his peak he was in the high 60s and nearly going to Melbourne to race, but he had a real bad patch where he was dropping out at the bell,” he said. “It was things like this that we were coming up against, but we’ve worked through them and come out the other side, thankfully!” Tyrone said they had found Carmy Dan had stomach issues and the pacer has bounced back with a Melton second and wins at Cranbourne and Maryborough. “His ‘Aunty’ in Misschanel wasn’t taking her promise at home to the races either,” Tyrone said. “So we decided to get her in foal and away she went. She won three and we retired her after her last victory at Maryborough. “We were hoping she could win enough to pay for a Rock N Roll Heaven service fee—she did more than that and covered the cost of two services to Sky Valley!” The Abelas only have three or four horses in work at any one time, but over the past six or seven weeks have landed two doubles and with a bit of luck, it could have easily been three. “The enjoyment is certainly back now,” Tyrone said. The investment manager lives with his family at Ocean Grove, and his parents Joe and Carmen live on a picturesque 220-acre horse training property at Balliang, halfway between Bacchus Marsh and Geelong. “We work as a team and we’ve done it like that for a long time,” Tyrone said. “I drive over to my parents’ place to do them and Mum is very much hands-on with feeding and cleaning—she is probably dad’s right hand really. And we also have a helper in Cathrine who turns up every day to help us with fastwork and jogging.” The Abelas have been in sensational form this year with an impressive win and place percentage to starters strike rate of 69 percent. So far, they’ve had 13 starters for five wins, three second placings and one third. “We recently trained our 100th winner which was a nice milestone because we’re only a hobby outfit and pretty much just breed all of our own,” Tyrone said. “It’s usually about 50/50 in trotter and pacer numbers, although we do have more trotting broodmares in foal at the moment. I suppose deep down we all have a real love for the trotters. “Probably our best horse over the years was a square gaiter named Solar Active, who we raced for about four years. In his last year he ran third in an Inter-Dominion heat in Melbourne and then sixth in the final to Sundons Gift, which was a huge thrill. “Then as an 11-year-old he won his last start at Kilmore, driven by the late Gavin Lang.” Harness Racing Authority records show that Solar Active (Sundon-All Action Gal (Speed In Action) won 23 races and had 22 placings for over $180,000 in stakemoney. The family is now pinning its hopes on a smart trotter in Madena Sky (Angus Hall-Dreamscape Aurora (Safely Kept) to keep the success going. “We’ve had some nice types over the years, but she has the ability to potentially be our best,” Tyrone said. Madena Sky ran second to Fear The Yankee at Bendigo on Wednesday night in the second heat of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed Silver Series. She now has six wins and seven placings from 39 starts. Tyrone said his father got involved in the sport in the late 1970s, “poking around with just one horse for ages.” “When I started driving in 1993 as a junior, it stepped up to three or four horses. We later put in a 1500m jog track, a 1150m fastwork track along with swimming facilities,” he said. “I drove about 60 winners, but I only occasionally take the reins now, and I don’t miss it. Chris Alford, who knows our horses, has been really good to us and we also use Jodi Quinlan and Greg Sugars.” As a youngster, Tyrone worked for Danny Norris, Gavin Lang and John Justice, while during his early driving days competed against Kerryn Manning and her now husband Grant Campbell. “They were great times, and I was lucky to get such a good grounding. I will always cherish my time with Gavin. It was an experience being with him and I was lucky to work some of his best horses,” he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing driver LeWayne Miller is a fan of the three-leg Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley Trot at Miami Valley Raceway, and has a "compelling" reason to look forward to Friday's (Feb. 19) $25,000 final. Miller will be driving the morning-line favorite, Compelling.   Compelling and Miller will start from post five in the final, which will be contested at the added distance of 1-1/4 miles. Compelling won a first-leg division of the medley, raced at five-eighths of a mile, and finished second in a second-round split, which was raced at the standard distance of one mile.   Perfect Chapter As is the 7-2 second choice in the final. The 7-year-old gelding won a second-leg division and was third in an opening-round division. The Ron Burke trainee will start from post six with Chris Page in the sulky. Shake It Mary, who won both of her preliminary legs, is 5-1 from post seven. The 5-year-old Sherif Cunmulaj-trained mare will be driven by Dan Noble.   Compelling, a 7-year-old mare, was an Indiana Sire Stakes champion at age 4. She is owned by Verlin Yoder and has spent the majority of her career at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Lifetime, the daughter of Swan For All out of First Lady Two has won 18 of 72 starts and $270,378.   "She's a very nice mare," said Miller, who is training and driving Compelling while she competes at Miami Valley. "She knows where the wire is, and she likes that last quarter (of a mile)."   Compelling used her finishing kick to win her first leg in the Beissinger. She was sixth at the half-mile point, nearly eight lengths from the leader. She won by a head.   "I was a little concerned about the five-eighths because it's such a short distance and she's a little lazy, so sometimes it takes her a little bit longer to get in gear," Miller said. "But she definitely closed strong. I think the pace was hot enough early that they just got a little tired late."   Compelling's racing style gives Miller reason to be optimistic in the Beissinger's extra-distance final.   "I like the mile-and-a-quarter for her because her best game is at the end of the mile," Miller said. "You approach (the race) the same way, you just have to be a little bit patient and manage when to use your horse. I think she will be all right in there."   The medley series honors Howard Beissinger, a Hall of Fame trainer-driver and the winner of three Hambletonian Stakes. Beissinger, who died in 2018, maintained his base of operations in Hamilton, Ohio, less than 10 miles from Miami Valley Raceway, throughout his career.   "I love the idea of it and like the way they have it set up," Miller said about the varied-distances event. "It's a nice thing to have. It's fun."   Racing begins at 4:05 p.m. (EST) Friday at Miami Valley. For the card's complete entries, click here.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

It has been reported by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent that affter the defeat Sunday afternoon in the Prix de France, where Face Time Bourbon finished second, his regular driver, Björn Goop, was sacked by the main owner, Italian Antonio Somma. Somma has long been unsatisfied with Goop as the driver of maybe the world’s best trotter at present, and just after the race, Somma wrote on Twitter that Goop was sacked. Today Somma was interviewed on the French racing television channel Equidia and said that Sebastian Guarato, who trains Face Time Bourbon, was free to pick any of these five drivers in the future to drive the top trotter: Eric Raffin, Gabriele Gelormini, Yoann Lebourgeois, Matthieu Abrivard and Franck Nivard. Sebastian Guarato had already made his choice and made it public, that Eric Raffin is the new driver of Face Time Bourbon. “Raffin is an obvious choice,” Guarato said. “He has driven Face Time Bourbon twice in races and has won both times.” Eric Raffin will drive Face Time Bourbon on March 6 in the Prix de Selection at Vincennes. Björn Goop has driven Face Time Bourbon in 29 races and has 24 wins and four seconds. On Jan. 31, Face Time Bourbon (with Goop) was an easy winner of the famous Prix d’Amerique for the second year in a row. From the USTA

MILTON, ON - February 18, 2021 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced that all slots for the 2021 Mohawk Million have officially been sold and the $1 million race for two-year-old trotters will be contested on Saturday, September 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The deadline to purchase one of nine slots in the Mohawk Million was February 15 and Woodbine has received purchase contracts to fill all slots. A $50,000 (CAD) payment was required by the February 15 deadline and all the slot purchasers will now have until June 1 to submit the remaining $50,000 (CAD) of the $100,000 slot fee. "We are very excited to announce that the second edition of the Mohawk Million is officially moving forward," said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. "The Mohawk Million is a race that impacts many avenues of our industry and brings notoriety to our sport. "On behalf of our entire team at Woodbine, I'd like to extend a special thank you to the owners that have purchased slots and are helping support a race that raises the prominence of our world class sport. I'd also like to acknowledge and thank Jessica Buckley, Bill McLinchey and our entire team for persevering in pulling this event together in spite of these challenging times." The names of the nine slot owners for the 2021 Mohawk Million will be unveiled by the end of the month. Woodbine Mohawk Park continues to compile a list of all the horses nominated to its 2021 stakes from the recent February 15 deadline. The tenth and final slot in the Mohawk Million will be awarded to the winner of the William Wellwood Memorial on Saturday, September 11. The Mohawk Million card on September 25 will be Canada's richest night of racing for 2021 with over $2.6 million in purses. The rising stars of harness racing will be the focus of Mohawk Million night, as the $850,000 Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers and $540,000 Shes A Great Lady are part of the rich evening. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

YONKERS, N.Y. – It’s common for harness racing horses shipping over from New Zealand or Australia to need change: a new style of racing and training, to add Lasix, or just a change of scenery. And often, there is nowhere to go but up for those horses. Take standout Nifty Norman import Let It Ride N as an example. He lost 10 straight races in Australia before coming to the U.S., added Lasix, and became the next rising star pacer. However, when Some Waratah A arrived in Amanda Kelley’s stable from Australia on a five-race win streak, she worried there was nowhere to go but down.  “That put a lot of pressure on me because I was like, ‘I don’t want to screw this horse up,’ ” Kelley said. Despite Kelley’s fears, after two races in the U.S., Some Waratah A extended his win streak to seven. First, taking a $25,000 Yonkers Raceway overnight Feb. 8 and then capturing the $30,000 open handicap pace one week later. “He’s doing everything right over there and he’s coming in and having to go up in class. That put more pressure on me,” Kelley said. “He wins that, second start in the U.S., welcome to America, here’s the Yonkers open. But he handled it.” By Somebeachsomewhere out of 3-time Group 1 winning and AU$564,770-earning mare Lady Waratah, Some Waratah A began his career in Australia in 2017. He went 4-for-13 through December 2018 before going on the shelf for just over a year. Some Waratah A returned to the races in January 2020 and through August 2020, won just two of 14 starts, including a claimer going for AU$6,120 at Tabcorp Park Menangle Aug. 10. Some Waratah A’s luck began to change Sept. 14, 2020 when he captured another claimer at the same level at Menangle. He then won two straight races at Canberra Sept. 21 and 28 before returning to Menangle Oct. 3 in thee FFA pace. By now, he had caught the eye of agents like Chris Scicluna, who Kelley and owner Fred Scheigert work with, and they were interested in Some Waratah. In that FFA pace, Some Waratah A gunned to the lead and parked rival Dee Double You through a :26.5 first quarter. Some Waratah A faced pressure throughout, getting a half in :55.9 and three-quarters in 1:23.1. The plugs came out as Some Waratah A turned for home on the lead with a wall of horses fanning out behind him to take their shots. They all missed. Some Waratah A utilized a :27.2 final quarter to kick away from the field, scoring by open lengths in a lifetime b Kelley and Scheigert struck a deal to buy Some Waratah A and bring him to the U.S., but the previous owners wanted to race him one more time. “The dreaded one more time,” as Kelley calls it.est 1:50.3. “I go through them, watch a bunch of replays, see how they move, see what we like about them and go from there,” Kelley said. “He just kept impressing us. He covers the ground effortlessly. He’s really floaty, he’s light on his feet, he’s really quick off the car and he showed that in all of his replays.” They entered Some Waratah A in a Group 3 stakes at Menangle Oct. 10. From an inside post, he again went straight to the lead and parked rival Marty Major through a blistering :25.6 first quarter. Some Waratah A got to the half in :54.2 and seemed vulnerable as Marty Major drew on even terms, Dee Double You and Escalera wound up wide, and Lets Katchmeifucan loomed in the pocket at the midway point of the final turn.  But just like last time, the plugs came out at the top of the stretch and Some Waratah A revealed another gear. He held on to earn his first stakes win. “Even the announcer didn’t think he could keep going, but he did; he dug in and won by a head. That heart in a horse really appealed to me,” Kelley said. Some Waratah A shipped to the U.S. Nov. 2, 2020. Upon arriving in her Saratoga, N.Y. stable, Kelley was impressed by how athletic the 7-year-old gelding looked, even comparing him to a Greyhound.  “When we started working with him, I was really pleasantly surprised. You never know how they’re going to come. They have such a different style,” Kelley said. “Some of them can be a little difficult or stubborn or hot. He’s just pleasant to be around. He doesn’t do anything wrong. He’s friendly, he meets you at the gate, he wants you to brush on him and pet him, he likes his cookies. Just about anybody could jog him.” Kelley worked with Some Waratah A for about two months until he was ready to qualify Jan. 23, 2021. She took Some Waratah A to the Meadowlands, where she intended to race him. Almost nothing went according to plan despite employing the driving services of Todd McCarthy, who won with Some Waratah A at Menangle in April 2020. Still, Some Waratah A finished second by a neck in 1:56.2. “It was frigid. It was one of the worst, coldest days that we had and it was bitter. The first one, you want them to come back off the car, have a nice easy qualifier, maybe kick home a little bit. It ended up just a mess in there,” Kelley said. “Todd told me he had to leave with him and retake with him. He said he was OK. I don’t think he wowed him, but he was OK. I didn’t get a good read off of that one.” Set to race another horse on the Jan. 29 program at Yonkers, Kelley decided to change plans with Some Waratah A and enter him to qualify at the Hilltop before the card. With Tyler Buter in the bike, Some Waratah A enjoyed a pocket trip before winning by 3/4 lengths in 1:56.4. “He got around the track really well and Tyler said he was really good, so I decided to put him back in there to race,” Kelley said. In his Yonkers debut Feb. 8, Some Waratah A had to change tactics. Coming from off the pace, Buter saved ground the first three-quarters before shifting out behind Twin B Speedo. Some Waratah A angled three-wide into the stretch and quickly engulfed pacesetter Moonshine Kisses. He then raced Artie’s Ideal to the wire, holding the closer off by a neck to post a 7-1 upset. “We didn’t know what to expect his first start because as a general rule, when they get put in the box as a foreign horse, money doesn’t matter, you get put in non-winners of $20,000 (last five), but he had more money made than that, so we had to go in the winners over,” Kelley explained. “I was a little worried about that just off of two qualifiers. He surprised me when he got a good trip and found the wire. “That’s not really his style,” Kelley continued. “He’s a leaver. He goes to the front and he likes it there. That’s where he does his best work, so I was a little worried about him even coming off the car and trying to get a trip. He did it that way, too so I was pleased. Any horse that will do it both ways is nice.” Some Waratah A returned in the Yonkers open handicap pace and this time, got to flaunt his speed. Buter sent him to the top through a :27.1 opening panel and played catch me if you can through fractions of :55.3 and 1:24.1 on a track rated good. With Shnitzledosomethin and Rockapelo parked the mile and Pat Stanley coming from 8 1/2 lengths behind, Some Waratah was home free, earning a length victory in the Hilltop’s featured pace in 1:53.2. “I decided to put him back in because he came out of his first start pretty well and afterwards, Tyler told me he was pretty sharp and he was really good,” Kelley said. “I was pretty surprised at the effort and he got a decent trip, some of the favorites got parked and it worked out for us.” The win put Kelley in a predicament, however. She hadn’t planned on racing Some Waratah A at Yonkers and hadn’t expected to win the open handicap so soon. She certainly wasn’t thinking about the Borgata Pacing Series before that win, which came just one day before the series nominations closed. Ultimately though, she opted not to stake him. “We only had the one start going in and we didn’t have a good gauge on him,” Kelley said. “I don’t like to push them that hard when he just started racing here. We’re a three-hour ship, too, so I was a little worried about the distance for a six-week long event. I didn’t want to hurt him yet, push him that hard yet.” Some Waratah A earned a week off after his open victory, but will likely reappear in the open ranks at Yonkers and Saratoga throughout the spring. “I’ll probably bounce between them,” Kelley said. “He likes Yonkers, obviously, so we’ll definitely be seeing some Yonkers.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday through Friday with a first post time of 7:15 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY  

Shes Pukka N wins the Mares Open Pace at Dover Downs on Wednesday night. Harness racing driver Tony Morgan left alertly as opposed to taking back off the pace last week. That strategy was a winning one. Shes Pukka N left aggressively and relinquished the early lead to Infinite Symbol A at the quarter. Infinite Symbol N was able to control the race fractions thru splits of :27.2 ,:55.2 and 1:23 flat.     Soho Burning Love A, the 4/5 race favorite and driver Tim Tetrick moved off the rail past the half from last.  Soho Burning Love A paced without cover to the three quarter pole but was void of pace. Machnhope shadowed Soho Burning Love A down the backstretch but never threatened the leader. Morgan chose to pull from his pocket position with Shes Pukka N and attacked Infinite Symbol A in the lane.  Shes Pukka N muscled her way to the top and won by a half length in 1:50.2  She paid $16 to win.   Shes Pukka N (Betterthancheddar) is owned by Peter Paul Venturini and is trained by Brian Malone. Infinite Symbol A accepted the step up in class and finished second for trainer Dylan Davis.  Dexter Dunn drove.   Soho Burning Love A was a fast closing third for trainer Jim King Jr. Thursday night, Dover Downs will again offer a $5,000 guaranteed pick 5 wager with a fifty cent minimum.  The wager begins on the 9th race and concludes on the 13th race on the betting card.  The take out is 15%. Post Time at Dover Downs is 4:30 pm. For full results, click here. by Alex Kraszewski, for Dover Downs  

Enigmatic five-year-old Wildwest, by far the least experienced runner in the $50,000 Governor’s Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night, should make the most of the coveted No. 1 barrier and win the Group 2 feature event at his second outing after a five-month absence. “The way he is working and the motor he’s got, he should just lead and win,” said champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. Wildwest reappeared after a spell last Friday night when he finished an eye-catching fourth behind The Bird Dance in a 2536m Free-For-All. With Talktomeurmattjesty setting a brisk pace, Wildwest, from the No. 6 barrier, raced in sixth position in the Indian file affair and was blocked for a clear run in the home straight. Hall had the opportunity to ease Wildwest off the pegs in the back straight after Our Jimmy Johnstone moved into the one-wide line 600m from home. He defended his decision by saying that he felt Wildwest would have finished in the same position had he opted to travel wide over the final 500m. “To my way of thinking Wildwest looked like he was running out of room only late,” Hall explained. “If you transfer a pegs run to going four wide, I reckon he would have still finished in the same spot, considering the extra amount of ground he would have had to make up. “This week he has got the draw and will be hard to beat. He is still not quite tractable but is getting better. He got around good enough at his latest start.” Wildwest is prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who won the Governor’s Cup with Chicago Bull in 2018. Hall Jnr has won the event twice, scoring with Chicago Bull and the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln in 2019.   In what looks an even field, Wildwest, the winner at nine of his 14 starts, is expected to receive the stiffest opposition from Mirragon, Vultan Tin, Major Times and Cyclone Banner. Four-year-old Mirragon, the youngest runner in the field of 12, produced an excellent run when fourth behind Minstrel and Magnificent Storm in the Golden Nugget last Friday night. He was shuffled back to tenth at the bell before finishing strongly, covering the final 800m in 55.5sec. “Mirragon is a nice horse and I think he can figure in the finish in this week’s race,” said Lewis who won the 2010 Governor’s Cup with the Tony Svilicich-trained Has The Answers. Vultan Tin, lining up for his 173rd start, cannot be underestimated. Since finishing powerfully to win the 2936m WA Pacing Cup from Chicago Bull early in December, he has competed in fine style, with his past two runs resulting in seconds to Galactic Star over 2636m and Bletchley Park over 1730m. The hardy nine-year-old to be driven by Emily Suvaljko, will start from the outside of the back line in this week’s 2130m event and should be storming home. Major Times, a six-year-old former Victorian performer, will be making his West Australian debut for trainer Ross Olivieri. The stallion, who boasts an excellent record of 48 starts for 18 wins and 20 placings, will start from barrier No. 2 on the back line. Major Times, to be driven by last season’s leading reinsman Chris Voak, warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style by setting the pace and winning a 2150m Byford trial on Sunday morning from Bettor Party at a 1.58 rate. The final quarters were run in 29sec. and 27.2sec. Olivieri will be looking for his second success in the Governor’s Cup after winning with Chief Thundercloud in 2016. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who won the 2017 Governor’s Cup with Our Jimmy Johnstone, will be pinning their faith on that evergreen 12-year-old and Wainui Creek, the only mare in the event. Our Jimmy Johnstone (Deni Roberts) will start from the No. 4 barrier, while Wainui Creek (Ryan Warwick) will start from the inside of the back line.  Aiden de Campo, who won last year’s Governor’s Cup with the fast-finishing $9 chance Handsandwheels, has been engaged by trainer Nathan Turvey to handle the up-and-coming five-year-old Miracle Moose, who has been exciting the fans with his powerful finishing bursts in recent weeks. Miracle Moose, who faces a steep rise in class, is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2.   Ken Casellas

Well done and congratulations to astute harness racing Victorian breeder Helen Head in breeding her Somebeachsomewhere mare Beach Box to the impressive son of Rocknroll Hanover, Yankee Rockstar, in 2018. That $1500 Service Fee turned into a strong colt that sold for $21,000 at the recent APG Melbourne Yearling Sale. The colt (Lot 281) was the sole representative of Yankee Rockstar at that Sale and caught the eye of the Cranbourne training team of Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander, who purchased him for a long-time stable client. “He was from a very good Family, was a nice individual with a good attitude.  He has been a real gentleman to break in so far”  said Jayne recently. This comment is very typical of what many breeders and trainers have communicated to date about their Rockstar progeny  -  strong, well grown athletic types that are well mannered and quick to learn. Yankee Rockstar has completed another good season at Northern Rivers Equine with around 90% of the mares he bred being in foal.  He had as a stable mate this season his younger half-brother Poster Boy, who was exceptionally well supported by Australian breeders, breeding 129 mares. Yankee Rockstar has two further Yearlings being offered at Yearling Sales over the next six weeks. Canberra breeder Frank O’Sullivan will offer Lot 706 at the Sydney APG Sale on 7th March  -  a tall athletic filly from his $100,000 winning mare Pretty In Pink.   Frank says she is a “dead ringer” for her Sire and is a half-sister to Trittrittbangbang, who has won his past two starts in Victoria, Yorkshire Park Standardbreds (Dennis and Brenda Bice) will offer a stunning Filly (Lot 15) at the Nutrien Sale in Melbourne on 10th April. The strongly built filly is from the Modern Art mare Ima Ritzi Lombo, so carries a 3 x 3 cross to the champion sire Artsplace as well as a 4 x 5 x 5 cross to the influential mare Wendymae Hanover (the Dam of Western Hanover). Harnesslink Media

It’s not every harness racing driver who gets to steer home her first winner with her sister and mentor right by her side. But that was the case for first season Broken Hill reinswoman Stevie Robinson whose breakthrough race win last Saturday night was part of a photo-finish family quinella with her much more experienced sister Cassie. “It was pretty awesome hitting the line.  If you look at the photo, Cassie’s laughing – but I’ve got my ‘race face’ on – and we really didn’t know who had got there!” Stevie said. “I was on Maythehorsebwithu (Always A Virgin – Seyah Tess (Die Laughing), my favorite horse and Cassie was on the stablemate Dribblabill.  He’s got a big boof head and Cassie did say she thought she’d got me by a head,” she said. “But when the result came in and I’d got there with ‘Jed’, I told her I’d beaten her by a lip!”   Maythehorsebwithu trained by Don Pimm gives a memorable first win for driver Stevie Robinson, pictured with her husband Tobias Hack (Photo: Tim Gimbert Images) The Robinson sisters are part of the team at the stables of veteran Broken Hill trainer Don Pimm – Cassie has been there “since she was a kid”, but Stevie is a relative newcomer. They’re also the daughters of dedicated Broken Hill club secretary Tracey Robinson, who is the prime mover ensuring the success of the outback NSW club’s annual summer season – and its feature meeting, the Carnival of Cups on March 12. “Mum absolutely just lives and breathes it – the trots are her life – and Cassie has always been horse mad. But I couldn’t have cared less when we were kids,” Stevie said. “I was interested in friends, socialising, school and sport.  And horses didn’t count because they took me away from my other sport,” she laughed. “But basically, Cassie and Don ended up with too many horses a few years back, to put it politely, and Don’s no spring chicken now, so Cassie first asked me to help out on race nights.  “It’s just gone from there and I’ve gradually got more and more involved from strapping on race nights, to them giving me nice quiet horses to jog, then starting to do fast work a few years back.” The 29-year-old (she celebrated her birthday just a few days after her first winner) said her decision to become a reinswoman was prompted by the limited pool of race drivers in the Silver City. “We rely really heavily on the visiting drivers from Mildura and they’re fantastic, but it does get to the stage where if we get too many horses from the stable in the race, it’s tricky to find drivers,” she said. “So l said to Cassie I was thinking about getting my licence, and she told me to go for it.” But that was only the beginning.  The isolation of the Western NSW mining city meant considerable effort to comply with licencing requirements and Stevie clocked up plenty of miles for trial drives – to Globe Derby (570km), Mildura (300km) and Ouyen (400 kilometres). “The trainers were absolutely fantastic in supporting me, so I got some really great experience at different tracks and different horses, but it was still pretty daunting when I finally made it to the races at our first meeting,” Stevie said. “I was that nervous and I felt so sick but there’s nothing like driving your own horse, and when I got him around safely, I was as happy as Larry from there,” she said. “My first drive was a runner-up, and that was a bit of a ‘holy crap’ moment! Cassie gave me some feedback and hints about my drives, and I applied them this week and got my win.  She’s been great – I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher.” The Pimm-Robinson team has nine in work and Stevie estimates there are around 30 locally-based horses. “Obviously we could always do with more, it’s always our biggest issue.  If all the horses in town were racing, we would just scrape through for the required 30 for a (five race) meeting, but with injuries and spells that really just doesn’t usually ever quite work out,” she said. “We’ve got a good number of horses up here – and there’s one trainer who looks like he might be coming back to the area, so the signs are good.  We’re always on the precipice but the Mildura trainers are fantastic in supporting us and helping us to hold up numbers each week. “We have great sponsor support, and a dedicated bunch of people behind the scenes who work so hard and countless hours to make it all happen. I think that’s the best part.  “It brings people together, a lot of people are active and involved and we’ve got a community that just loves the sport – it makes all the hard work worthwhile.” And if being part of the unique Broken Hill harness racing experience is on your bucket list, the club’s March 12 Carnival of Cups TAB meeting is a must!  It will no doubt again attract the interest of visiting interstate trainers with the $16,000 Rocky Baker Memorial the feature, and all other races on the program with stakes upwards of $8500.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

STANDARDBRED CANADA reports that harness racing trainer Chris Ryder enjoyed a stellar 2020 campaign, thanks in large part to the stars of his stable: Bettors Wish and Party Girl Hill. With Bettors Wish's first foals on the ground, the now four-year-old mare Party Girl Hill will look to help Ryder carry his new-found momentum into 2021. "To go to the barn and those two were there — most days, it was a blessing!" Ryder told Trot Insider. "They carried us through." Bettors Wish retired from his racing career — good for 24 wins and over $2.7 million in the bank — after concluding his four-year-old season with a decisive 1:48.1 score in the TVG Open at The Meadowlands last November. Now, it's time for Party Girl Hill to make her statement against older company — and her nearly flawless three-year-old campaign serves as ample indication that she'll likewise be a major force to reckon with. "She's been a surprise, even though we were confident when we first put her on the track," said Ryder. "She was terrific. It was a heck of a year. Couldn't even imagine that a completely inexperienced, unraced three-year-old would come out and just go the way she did. It just shows you what good stock she is." Of 16 starts, Party Girl Hill won 15 of them, banking $932,545 in the act and taking her mark of 1:47.2 in her lone tilt against male company — in the Crawford Farms Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile. To read the rest of the article, click here.