Day At The Track

East Rutherford, NJ - The morning qualifiers at The Meadowlands began at 10:00 am on a lovely, clear morning with temperatures in the 50's and just a slight stretch headwind. 2017 Harness Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover made her first appearance of the new season in race 6 and she clearly looked ready to defend her crown. Sent right to the lead from post 7 by Yannick Gingras the now 6-year-old daughter of Swan For All led at every call and closed the 1:53.2 mile with a 26.4 quarter into a moderate stretch headwind. Tuonoblu Rex (Andy Miller) went well and stuck right with her in the pocket throughout to be a good second after an 8 month absence. Ron Burke trains Hannelore for himself as Burke Racing along with Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva Stable. She is scheduled to make her first start of 2018 in the upcoming Cutler Memorial on May 5. Things got underway with the sophomore daughter of Donato Hanover What A Knockout taking the first with Marcus Melander driving in 1:56.2 for owners Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva. Race 2 saw the Chapter Seven filly Seven Karats (Scott Zeron) convert a pocket ride in a 1:57 / 28.4 mile. The winner is trained by Linda Toscano for Ken Jacobs. Lima Novelty (Corey Callahan) also from the Toscano barn was second. Don (Andy Miller) took the first of the 3-year-old colt trots in 1:56 / 28.3 converting a perfect pocket ride behind Maxus (Yannick Gingras). The New York bred son of Credit Winner is trained by Julie Miller for the home team Andy Miller Stable and Little E, LLC. NYSS final winner Six Pack (Svanstedt) had good late trot to be third. Svanstedt steered Gemologist to an impressive 1:57 / 28.2 win in the fourth. After leaving to the front early, Gemologist was reserved to let U Need Stones (Gingras) take over as they passed the half in 1:00.1 then edged by that game rival under minimal urging for the win while Helpisontheway (Tim Tetrick) was sneaky good late to be third. Lennart Agren's SRF Stable owns the winner, a Cantab Hall colt. Don't Press Send (Andy McCarthy) looked sharp this morning, setting all the fractions and winning well in hand in 1:57.2 / 29 with Eurobound (Domenico Cecere) closing nicely to be second. The winner is a Chapter Seven colt trained by Lucas Wallin for Reima Antero Kuisla. Crazy Wow (David Miller) also got back to work with a solid front end effort in 1:54.2 / 28.3 holding the pocket sitter Caprice Hill (Gingras) at bay late to win. He's another Burke barn double millionaire who also has a full slate of stakes on his docket starting with the Cutler. Our Horse Cents, Stable 45, Silva and Deo Volente own the winner. Pacing races commenced with the eighth where the 3-year-old filly Betterthanbrie won by a widening five length margin as she pleased in a visually impressive effort. She led early for driver Josert Fonseca, yielded by the 57 half and then roared by to end the 1:52.3 mile in 28 flat. The Betterthancheddar lass hails from the Jimmy Takter barn and is a homebred owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg. Babes Dig Me was sharp in his first go of the new year with an off the pace score for Brett Miller in 1:52.3 off a hot pace. He surged to the lead mid-stretch then held off This Is The Plan (Tetrick) in the final strides of the 29 last quarter. Tony Alagna trains the Somebeachsomewhere colt for Brad Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Rob LeBlanc along with John Fodera and Steve Wienick racing as In The Gym Partners. Sophomore Somebeachsomewhere colt Decoy (D. Miller) was really impressive with a come from behind 1:51.2 / 27.4 win over the 4-year-old Boogie Shuffle (A. Miller). Seeing Eye Single (Gingras) also went well in here. It was a strong field of 3-year-old colt pacers assembled for the 11th and Captain Deo (Brett Miller) threaded through them late to get the 1:53 / 28 win. Dorsoduro Hanover (Gingras) gave way grudgingly late after cutting the mile and Major Authority (Jason Bartlett) held for third. Tony Alagna trains him as well for Alagna Racing, Sbrocco, In The Gym and Captain Deo Partners. A powerful group of older pacers teed it up in the 12th and final race of the day resulting in the fastest mile of 1:50.4 recorded by Blood Line afforded a perfect trip by Brett Miller. He pounced on mile cutter Blue Moon Stride (Callahan) as they turned for home and edged away in a 27.2 final panel. Filibuster Hanover (Gingras) closed to be second. Takter trains the winner for Diamond Creek Racing. Live pari-mutuel racing tonight at 7:15 pm. Nick Salvi

April 20, 2018 - Harness racing action Tuesday evening at Paris-Vincennes included the Prix Henrietta (purse €60,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) with the 1.15.7kr victory earned by 1.8/1 Everest Vedaquais (4g Ready Cash-Spandelle) with Yoann Lebourgeois up for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. J.P. Guay was this one’s breeder. The same card also featured the monte Gr. III Prix Cornelia (purse €85,000, 2850 meters, 10 starters). 12/1 Caduceas des Baux (6g Mark Speed-Frestina des Baux) scored for Matthieu Abrivard and breeder/owner Jack Dowie. 10/1 Union de Bellar was second for Yoann Lebourgeois and 2.3/1 Bohemian Rhapsody was third for Camille Levesque. Wednesday’s Q+ was at Pontchateau in the Prix de la Ville de Pontchateau (purse €40,000, 2800 meters 18 starters). 25/1 Bemnde Torvic (7g Jag de Bellouet-Roche du Chatelet) scored for J.Ph. Monclin timed in 1.14.9kr. Stephane Meunier trains the winner for Ecurie Auemath. Chasing the winner were 12/1 Actrice Revee and 8.2/1 Baccarat de Niro. Thursday action at Enghien included the featured monte Prix de Fumel (purse €51,000, 2875 meters, nine starters) and 4.3/1 Diamant de Larre (5g Magificent Rodney-Rose de Larre) scored for Matthieu Abrivard, trainer Sylvain Roger and Ecurie la Petteviniere. 9/1 Daelia de Vandel took second for Alexandre Abrivard, ahead of 3.7/1 Deauville with Guillaume Martin in the irons. Evening action returned to Paris-Vincennes on Friday. The Prix Alethia (purse €75,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) went to the 1.12.1kr quick timed and 7/10  favorite Ble du Gers (7g Quinoa du Gers-Moorea) handled by trainer Jean Michel Bazire for owner Ecurie J.M. Rancoule. 3.4/1 Cicero Noa (6g Mandarino Blue) was second for Pierre Vercruysse and third was 23/1 Vicomte de Corveil (8g Orlando Vici) wit Franck Nivard up. The Vincennes card also included the Q+ Prix Neptuna (purse €54,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) and 1.8/1 Cadix (6f Ready Cash-Mazurka) scored timed in 1.14.2kr for driver Alain Laurent and Ecurie Cheffreville. 8.7/1 Belle d’Hermes (7f Quinoa du Gers) was second for reinsman Franck Nivard and 14/1 Capucine d’Avril (6f Lets Go Along) took the third spot for Franck Ourvrie.The Prix Clarisse (purse €72,000, 2100 meters autostart, 10 European starters) closed out the evening top action and 4.1/1 Delloro Vedaquais (5g Ready Cash-Spandelle) scored for J.Ph. Monclin, owner/trainer Philippe Allaire and the breeder was J.P. Guay. Race time was 1.12.7kr. The winners’ dam is a daughter of Look de Star-Jupilles-Corot, a career winner of €79250, and with Workaholic and Florestan in the maternal family. 19/1 Ducato Bourbon (5m Love You-Kamera Bourbon) was second for Franck Nivard driving the Franck Leblanc trainee for Ecurie Siray. 10/1 Gilda Newport (5f Donato Hanover-Color Schemes) was third for trainer/driver Dion P. Tesselaar. This week the 33 year old driver/trainer/owner Matthieu Abrivard won victory #2000 with Charmeuse Royale at Vincennes. Abrivard has record 14 groupe I victories in his brief career, both monte and sulky. Au trot monté : 4 Prix de Cornulier 2004, 2005, 2006 (Jag de Bellouet), 2017 (Bellissima France) 2 Prix des Centaures en 2004 (Mon Jeu Diam), 2016 (Athéna de Vandel) 2 Prix de Normandie en 2010 (Rombaldi), 2016 (Bellissima France) Prix du Président de la République en 2009 (Rombaldi) Prix d’Essai en 2015 (Carlos des Caux) Au trot attelé : 2 Critérium Continental 2012 (Un Mec d’Héripré) et 2017 (Doria Desbois) Prix de Paris 2010 (Private Love) Prix Albert Viel 2017 (Eros du Chêne) Thomas H. Hicks

April 21, 2018 - Today’s featured Seinajoki Race in Finland (purse €70,000, 2100 meters autostart) went to veteran campaigned Call Me Keeper (8m Pine Chip-Elia Keeper-Credit Winner) timed in 1.12.7kr and reined by Orjan Kihlstrom for trainer Daniel Reden. Call Me Keeper now has earnings of €594,780. Peace of Mind (7f Uronometro-Erica d’Alfa-Sugarcane Hanover) took second for Italy’s Alessandro Gocciador, ahead of the Johan Untersteiner piloted Pastor Bob. The week in Scandinavia was interesting. On April 17 at Solvalla Perfect Spirit (4m Andover Hall-Good Common Cents-Kadabra) won a 1660 meter voltstart event for 60,000SEK. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the 1.12kr timed winner that SRF Stable owns and Hanover Shoe Farm bred. Daniel Reden now trains this horse that won last year’s Hambletonian on a dq. Muscleman FI was second and Mellby Fantom was third this day. Reportedly Perfect Spirit will next race at Aby on April 27. Also at Solvalla Lionel (8m Look de Star-Aurora Sign-Smok’n Lantern) was a dead-heat winner of a 75,000SEK, 2140 meter contest. Goran Antonsen owns and drive Lionel that Daniel Reden trains. He hit the wire with Charrua Forlan (8g Up Front Larry-Friska Bar-Frisky Frazer) and driver Hans Owe Sundberg. Third was the Erik Adielsson reined Giveitgasandgo with French Laundry home fourth. Winning Lionel is now 21-10-6 in 61 career starts for 12,802,093 earned. Thomas H. Hicks

April 21, 2018 - Trotting action Saturday was also at Enghien near Paris. The Q+ Prix Casino Barriere Enghien Les Bains (purse €60,000, 2150 meters autostart, 15 European starters) went to strong finishing Totoo del Ronco (6m Ganymede-Magic Vision LF) reined by Fernando Minopoli for trainer Vincent Lacroix and owner Stable Minopoli. Race time was 1.12.8kr off rated fractions. Diamond (8g Classic Photo-Gala dei Bessi) rallied up for second driven by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer Paul Hagoort. Auch (8g Niky) held third for Charles J. Bigeon, The top five was completed by fourth finishing Cathy A Quira (6f Password) driven by J.Ph. Monclin and fifth was Ustang Ledois (10m Joyau dAmour) for Pierre Vercruysse. Four year old females battled in the Prix Ville de Saint-Gratien (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2875 meters, 13 starters) and after breaking dq’s Estola (4fNectar-Nika) emerged victorious for driver Bjorn Goop, trainer Emmanuel Ruault and Ecurie P. Comte de Montesson. Extasy d’Ourville (4f Tucson-Mona d’Odyssee was second for driver David Thomain and trainer Sebastien Guarato with third to Estelada de Font (4f Orateur) handled by Emmanuel Allard, also the trainer. Erming d’Ouverie and Elisone Mag completed the top five. The four year old males contested the Prix Ville d’Enghien (Gr.II, purse €120,000, 2875 meters, 12 starters) and Earl Simon (4m Prodigious-Tindrana) recovered for a 1.12.8kr timed victory for Franck Ouvrie, trainer Jarmo Niskanen and Ecurie Skytten. Earl Simon won his first five starts and then was surprisingly fifth and second before today’s win. Enino du Pommereux (4m Coktail Jet-Nooure du Pommereux) took second for J-M Bazire, trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. Etonnant (4m Timoko) held on for third driven by Bjorn Goop. Richard Westerink is trainer/owner of Etonnant who led for much of the race. Express Jet (4m Goetmals Wood) and Pierre Vercruysse finished fourth ahead of Eridan (4m Ready Cash) reined by David Thomain. Totoo del Ronco Thomas H. Hicks

YONKERS, N.Y. – New Zealand-bred mare Shartin has proven to be aggressive by nature since arriving in the stable of Jim King late last fall. Described by her former harness racing trainer Dean Braun as a bit bossy, Shartin’s eagerness finally got the better of her in the last preliminary leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series April 13.  Established as the 1-5 favorite off three impressive series victories in the preceding weeks, Shartin surprised punters and her trainer when she broke into a gallop as the wings of the gate folded. Although she recovered her stride as the field entered the first turn, Shartin became rough-gaited and again rolled off stride just before the half. She finished eighth beaten 7¼ lengths, her first finish outside the exacta in nine stateside starts. “She was overly aggressive. I don’t have a real good explanation about what happened, I sure know it wasn’t very pleasing,” King remarked. “The first one I could explain because she was overly aggressive and just had a gate problem, which we can work with. The second break, I was a lot more concerned about that.” Although Shartin’s streak of wins in the first three legs of the series earned her a place in the final and boosted her record to 14-for-22 with $182,492 earned, it may have also contributed to her mishap last week. With enough points accumulated, King gave the 5-year-old daughter of Tintin in America a week off, skipping leg four. Shartin came back too fresh and aggressive last week. The ease of her wins has also means King doesn’t truly know how well Shartin can handle the half-mile track. “At this point, we really don’t know quite what she is. I certainly don’t think we’ve seen her limit,” King said. “We don’t know what she thinks of a half-mile track that much because she’s never been out of the handholds; she’s been in-hand at all times. Timmy’s given her such wonderful trips that she hasn’t had to go to work yet.” Shartin and regular driver Tim Tetrick will start from post one as the 8-5 favorite in tonight’s $373,000 Matchmaker Series Final. She will face seven rivals: Sell A Bit, Medusa, Lady Shadow, Motu Moonbeam, Dudesalady, Twinkle, and Lakeisha Hall. King took several steps this week to have Shartin primed for the final. First, he adjusted her new hopples to more closely match the set that shipped with her from Australia. Next, after consulting with down under conditioners, he trained Shartin Friday morning (April 20) to expend some of her pent-up energy.  “I actually did take her hopples up a little. They were pretty new hopples, so not the ones she came with. I got the hopples out that she came to this country with and measured them up and they were a smidgen longer, not much, so I took them up a little. We made a little adjustment on her head, nothing major,” King explained. “I actually trained her some (Friday) to try to take some of the spitfire out of her where usually I train horses three days out and leave it at that,” King continued. “It’s been ok for the weeks we were racing weekly, but this time she was just awfully fresh. She was really eager, so I’m just trying to do something a little different that I think might suit her. That is one of the things they’ll do down under is give a horse a little work the day before to try to take the edge off them.” With the final looming and adjustments made, King hopes he has Shartin poised for a top effort tonight. Most of all, he wants to put last week’s breaks in the rear-view mirror and look forward to the races ahead. “We really have got to try to put that behind us. We really can’t go in with a fear factor, that’s for sure. At the same time, we’ve got to be concerned and know that she’s capable of making a mistake,” King said. “I don’t think there’s anybody in there who’s stronger than she is. From here, it’s all her and Timmy.” In addition to Shartin, King will start Christen Me in the $100,000 George Morton Levy Series Consolation. Although Christen Me seeks his first win of the year, an inside post position draw off a pair of good races earned him morning line favoritism at 9-5. King will also start Newborn Sassy in a $40,000 Mares FFA Pace for Matchmaker Series eligibles. She is the 8-5 early choice. “We have a great opportunity tomorrow,” King said. “The stage is set for us to have a really happy night or a really disappointing night, but we’re expecting the best.” First post time tonight night is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the million-dollar card, click here.   By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

Sally Stingel and Ken Rattray realised their dream tonight at Devonport when their grand old campaigner Destreos brought up the magical three-figures with a sensational harness racing victory in the Degree C Quality. Mark Yole will go down in history as the driver who piloted the 14-year-old equine marvel to his century with an inspired drive over 1930-metres. Yole dashed Destreos up into the death-seat in the early stages outside the second favourite Modern Ruler with the popular pick Stagger Lee camped on the leaders back in third position. With the pressure on the race went up a notch at the bell, but despite the tough run Destreos was in for the fight and drew level with Modern Ruler as they raced to the 400-metre pole. Gareth Rattray sat quietly on last week’s Free-For-All winner Stagger Lee until the gap opened for the heavily backed favourite entering the back straight and he looked set to throw down the gauntlet to the leading pair. Destreos got the better of Modern Ruler at the 200-metre mark and Yole went for home, Stagger Lee had no answer to the veteran warhorse and Destreos turned for home with the 100th win firmly in his sights. Ken Rattray with Destreos after the win Destreos surged to the line to score a memorable victory full of courage and fight, the champion qualities that we have witnessed over and over again throughout his majestic 450 start career. This race took his stake earnings over the $800,000 mark. The super pacer recorded a mile rate of 1:57.7 with a 58.7 last half. Shane Yates

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - After a successful harness racing 3-year-old campaign in 2016 that saw him bank a little more than $360,000, Sutton did not race at all last year. Foot problems derailed his 4-year-old season, so trainer Julie Miller and staff worked patiently with the horse, opting to keep the son of Donato Hanover on the sidelines until April 6 of this year, a layoff of 16 months. Sutton proved worth the wait, taking the $52,500 Shiaway St. Pat Series Final for trotters at the Meadowlands Friday night. "I couldn't ask for anything more," said Miller after the victory. "He had a good week." And an even better night. Sutton didn't race like a horse with any problems, sitting fourth in the early going before moving aggressively to the lead at the half. The Andy Miller-driven 5-year-old then drew clear of 5-1 fourth-choice Perseverance by 2½ lengths at the head of the stretch on the way to an easy 1¾-length win over a late-closing Deep Impact in 1:53.1. Perseverance held third. "He had a solid mile last week (when he won leg two of the series)," said Julie Miller. "Right now, we have all of his issues under control." Sutton, who paid $4.20 as the even-money favorite, has now won nine of 29 lifetime starts and earned $475,263 for owners Andy Miller Stable and Jason and Douglas Allen. A LITTLE MORE: Gold Medal Swan ($3.00) took the GSY Amateur Driving Club Spring Fling Series Final in 1:56.3, winning his third straight since trainer Mark Silva took over the driving chores. ... Leading driver Jim Marohn Jr. had three winners on the card. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $197,059. ... All-source wagering for the 10 races was $2,078,568. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway's Friday (April 20) night co-features did not disappoint. Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) set a new track record for 3-year-old pacing fillies in the $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial final; and Zoe Ellasen (Tyler Smith) established a new lifetime mark winning the $25,000 Mares Open Pace. As the winner of one of the two Hackett eliminations a week ago, Up Front Flor Ida entered the championship tilt full of confidence. Rather than coming from way back like she did in the elim, Kauffman sent her sailing from the outset with the big money on the line. Despite heavy pressure from Just Zip It (Keith Crawford) for the first five-eighths of the mile and then runnerup Kay Again (Chris Page) the rest of the way, the winner was able to rebuff all challenges enroute to a 1:52.4 score. It established a new track standard, lowering the previous 1:53 clockings by both Rose Run Skyler and Rosemary Rose in 2017. Up Front Flor Ida has now notched four wins in her first ten lifetime starts, banking $75,901 for owners Kevin McKinney and Virginia McKoy. With the triumph, trainer Tim McKoy's standout filly earned an instant invitation to next Friday night's $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational for sophomore fillies. Runnerup Kay Again and show finisher Big Bad Goldie (Mike Wilder) also earned automatic bids to the next big dance.   Zoe Ellasen, who competed in last September's Jugette at the Delaware (OH) county fairgrounds where her trainer Ron Potter is stabled, won her first open class race in 1:52, a personal best. Although Zoe Ellasen has 14 career victories and $268,605 in earnings, it came largely in juvenile stakes competition. The 4-year-old daughter of Santanna Blue Chip has consistently been in-the-money since joining the older open ranks, but hadn't won until now. Smith, realizing that front-end speed was holding up well on this evening, put Zoe Ellasen on the point from the get-go and showed her heels to the field at every pole, reaching them in :27, :54.2 and 1:22.3 before reaching the wire in 1:52. Zoe Ellasen topped Cas Art Apparel and Juslikeaqueen in the $25,000 Mares Open Pace Conrad photo Clyde Perfect owns the winner, who bested longshot Cas Art Apparel (Josh Sutton) and Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith). Zoe Ellasen paid $8.00 to win. When Donna's Dream won Miami Valley's 4th race on Friday night it gave veteran trainer Bob Phillips his 1000th win since the USTA began keeping records in 1996. Phillips was training long before 1996, and actually recorded 480 driving wins in the five year span from 1977-81.  Bob Phillips gets his his 1000th win                    -Brad Conrad photo   Gregg Keidel    

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 20, 2018—Caviart Cherie (Brent Holland, $39.60) was a shrewdly-driven upsetter, winning Friday night’s (Apr. 20th) $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace. Making the first lead from her assigned post position No. 5, Caviart Cherie relented to Wishy Washy Girl (Jason Bartlett) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. After a soft :301 second subsection (:57.1 half), pole-assigned Betabcool N (Joe Bongiorno) moved from third, though not much. Jewel Lehigh A (Scott Zeron) was stuck behind that dullard, the tow backpedaling before a 1:25.1 three-quarters. Meanwhile, Freakonomics (Eric Goodell) and 17-10 choice Carobbean Pacetry (Jordan Stratton) both ducked back inside, awaiting room and running out of real estate. Wishy Washy Girl owned a length lead into the lane, but Caviart Cherie—last seen here winning last month’s final of the Petticoat Pacing Series—edged out and edged by. The latter beat the former by a half-length in 1:55. Freakonomics and Carobbean Pacetry were a belated third and fourth, respectively, with Jewel Lehigh A and Betabcool N bringing up the rear of the half-dozen.  For rank outsider Caviart Cherie, a 4-year-old daughter of Well Said owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Matias Ruiz, it was her eighth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $205.50, with the triple returning $700. Saturday night (Apr. 21st), the Raceway’s presents North America’s two richest race of the season to date $373,000 FINAL, BLUE CHIP MATCHMAKER     (9th race) PP-Horse                     Driver                         M/L   1-Shartin N                 Tim Tetrick                  8-5 2-Sell a Bit N              Jordan Stratton           7-2 3-Medusa                    Yannick Gingras         6-1 4-Lady Shadow          Jason Bartlett              7-2                                     5-Motu Moonbeam N Brent Holland            20-1 6-Dude’salady             Scott Zeron                15-1 7-Twinkle                    Eric Goodell               20-1 8-Lakeisha Hall           George Brennan         15-1   $532,000 FINAL, GEORGE MORTON LEVY MEMORIAL PACING SERIES (10th race)\ PP-Horse                     Driver                          M/L   \                                   1-Western Fame          Mark MacDonald        7-1 2-Dr. J Hanover          Brett Miller                  9-2 3-Keystone Velocity   Dan Dube                    5-2 4-Evenin’ of Pleasure Joe Bongiorno              8-1 5-Somewhere in L A   Jason Bartlett              5-1 6-Mach it So               Dave Miller                  4-1 7-Bit of a Legend N   Jordan Stratton            9-1 8-Rockin’ Ron            Yannick Gingras         20-1   First post for the $1.3 million card is the usual 6:50 PM.   FRANK DRUCKER

As in the years in past, CeCe Levy and her brother, Bobby Levy, will be presenting the harness racing trophy to the winner of the George Morton Levy, a race named in the honor of their father. This year joining them in the presentation at Yonkers Raceway will be Bobby's children Tristin and Gavin. The accomplishments of George Morton Levy are too many to mention and if he had not existed our sport may not have, too. Levy invented harness racing as we know it when he opened Roosevelt Raceway introducing pari-mutual and night time racing. He would also later introduce the mobile starting gate which would revolutionize the sport. Some of his other accomplishments include the implementation of the International Trot and the single heat racing. There is also a funny story from a few years ago. While on their way to the winners circle the Levy family members who were to present the trophy to the winner got separated from the Yonkers PR people and ended up on the outside of the winners circle and the security guard would not let them in to present the trophy. Later they were photo-shopped into the winning photo. CeCe said that she and her family are grateful beyond words to Yonkers Raceway for staging the George Morton Levy and honoring her father. CeCe also made a prediction that this year's race will be won by Tony Alagna's horse, Dr J Hanover. Pictures CeCe Levy & Freddie Hudson CeCe Levy, Freddie Hudson & Bobby Levy Wally Hennesey, CeCe Levy & Jim Morrill CeCe Levy at Goshen HOF CeCe and Dave Miller By Fred Hudson

A year is a long time in harness racing. Just ask Cambridge horseman Ross Paynter. His richly talented trotter Lemond stood tall to claim his maiden Gr.1 success when successful in the $102,000 H R Fisken & Sons Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland tonight (Friday). In the corresponding event last year, Lemond went agonisingly close to claiming the feature before going down by a half-head margin to star mare Habibti Ivy. It was an ecstasy to agony moment for connections. But upon reflection, it has only made the Love You gelding stronger. In his next 15 starts, Lemond has won 5 times including taking his first piece of major silverware and now joins the honour roll that includes I Can Doosit, Stent, Superbowlcheerleader, Sheemon, Monbet and Habibti Ivy. Lemond now becomes the first North Island trained trotter to claim the feature which was first staged back in 2012. Handled by regular reinsman Maurice McKendry, Lemond charged the gate and quickly led the 2200m mobile start feature while race favourite Enghien drifted back from gate two. As the field headed down the back straight on the first occasion, Lemond handed the lead over to Bordeaux which left him poised in a striking position. The lead time was covered in 43.1 seconds. Bordeaux was allowed to cruise in the lead role and strolled through the first quarter of the final mile in 32.3 seconds. Enghien was pulled three-wide entering the bell lap and quickly raced alongside of Bordeaux with 1000m remaining. The second quarter was covered in a leisurely 31.7 seconds. Entering the back straight, Bordeaux led the way from Enghien with Lemond perfectly positioned in the trail while the strongly fancied Temporale and Speeding Spur sat off the pace. Passing the 600m marker, Bordeaux rolled off the inside which presented a dream run for Lemond while Enghien was forced to cover extra ground. Temporale followed Enghien while Speeding Spur was wide and a long way back in the pack. The third quarter was covered in 28.5 seconds. In the home straight, Lemond fought tenaciously from Enghien who refused to quit with Harriet Of Mot making a spirited bid deeper off the track. At the finish, Lemond scored by 1 length from a brave Enghien with a further 1.75 lengths back to Harriet Of Mot in third. The final quarter was covered in 29.1 seconds. The race time was 2:44.8 with a winning mile rate of 2:00.5 – well outside of the race record set last year by Habibti Ivy. “He trotted great tonight and really deserved the victory after coming so close last season.” McKendry said. Lemond joins Amaretto Sun, Sparkling Success and Tornado Valley as winners of Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters events for the 2017/18 season. Next week, the Gr.1 $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup will complete the season. Again, the 3200m stand-start feature will be staged at Alexandra Park, Auckland. And the race to be crowned the ‘Trotting Master’ is still very much alive. It's going right down to the wire! Chris Barsby

YONKERS, N.Y. – Harness racing trainer Ron Burke will start one horse each in the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night (April 21) and both will start from a disadvantageous post position. In a random draw, Lakeisha Hall and Rockin Ron both burdened with post eight. Despite the bad luck, Burke is keeping a positive attitude and isn’t surrendering before races even begin. “It’s awesome,” Burke said with a laugh. “I race in a lot of big races, so sooner or later you always have it, but you hate to start the year off with it. If anything, we’re going to err on the side of aggressiveness. I’d rather be parked and sit last and get nothing. If I get parked, maybe find a hole fourth or fifth, maybe upset the apple cart, but the idea of sitting eighth doesn’t appeal to me in either race. I’m not just going out there to take a ride around the track. I want to give my horses a chance.” George Brennan will drive the Lakeisha Hall, a 15-1 shot in the $373,000 Matchmaker Final, carded as race nine on the loaded 12-race program. In post position order, they will face Shartin, the 8-5 favorite, Sell A Bit, Medusa, Lady Shadow, Motu Moonbeam, Dudesalady, and Twinkle.  Lakeisha Hall’s path to the Matchmaker Final included a fifth in week one in her first start off the bench, a second to last year’s Matchmaker champion Mackenzie in leg two, a pair of victories in weeks three and four, and a third last week to rivals Dudesalady and Lady Shadow. Except in her first start, she’s been forwardly placed in all her races thus far. “She’s a very good mare and I’ve been very happy with her until her last start,” Burke said. “She had a little tie up issue last week and we got her through it, but I think it took just a little of the sharpness off her. I look for her to bounce back and be super this week. I thought, I’ve done the right thing to prep for this race, this is her home, so I have her ready to go.” Burke purchased Lakeisha Hall as a weanling with ambitions of her becoming a Kentucky Sire Stakes Champion. The daughter of Third Straight out of the Art Major mare Lantana accomplished that mission, winning the $175,000 KYSS Finals at ages 2 and 3. Now a 5-year-old, she’s exceeded expectations, earning 21 wins and $491,043 in 53 starts. The Matchmaker Final will be the biggest race of her career thus far. “We set out with a plan to win the Kentucky Sire Stakes those two years and we went out and bought three weanlings. We looked them over, broke them for a month, and then sold the other two and decided to try to keep the best one,” Burke explained. “The plan worked to perfection. She was 2- and 3-year-old champ and has been more than just a Kentucky Sire Stakes horse, so we were thrilled. “She really doesn’t have many stakes other than this and for her to draw the eight hole, that hurt, but it is what it is,” Burke continued. “Try to move on, at least get something. Crazy things will happen in these races, there’s a lot of money up for grabs. There will be constant movement in here, even if I have to be the one making the movement.” In the $532,000 Levy Final one race later, Yannick Gingras will drive Rockin Ron. The 20-1 morning line shot’s road to the series final was shaky. He posted a pair of victories in legs one and two and finished second by a nose to Western Fame in leg three before finishing fifth beaten 4 lengths in week four. Burke gave Rockin Ron the last week off and narrowly made the final. With 230 points earned, Rockin Ron was ranked eighth in the standings, only six points ahead of Missile J in ninth. “I thought I did the right thing and I had to sweat it out with Rockin Ron. I gave him last week off,” Burke said. “Usually, you do what’s right for the horse and they do race well for you in the long run. I had a great feel going into the race, I thought, if I can draw in the right spot we can be competitive. We got the eight, I said, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’ ” Although his races look good on paper, Burke doesn’t feel Rockin Ron, a $1.1 million earner who twice beat Wiggle It Jiggleit at 4, has been up to par in any of his races in the series. Burke was more impressed with the 6-year-old son of Real Desire’s qualifier and seasonal debut at the Meadowlands in February than his series wins. “Honestly, I haven’t been happy with any of his races. The race that he really raced well was the race he was second in. The next week, I didn’t feel like at any point he had pace, Burke said. “I pulled blood, I didn’t like his blood. I haven’t liked his stomach since he came back. That’s why I made the decision, sink or swim, I’m giving him the week off and going to try and get him right and get him ready for the final.  “We’ve done a lot of work on him the last couple weeks and I do think that he will be better,” Burke continued. “I look for him to be way improved this week.” In post-position order, Western Fame, Dr J Hanover, defending series champion Keystone Velocity, Evenin Of Pleasure, Somewhere In L A, Mach It So, and 2016 series champion Bit Of A Legend will start to Rockin Ron’s inside in the Levy Final.  First post time Saturday night is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the million-dollar card, click here.   By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Race-fixing cases against harness racing participants Dayl March and Leonard Cain were dismissed in Brisbane Magistrates’ Court this week, leaving the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and the Racing Crime Squad red-faced. Both decisions cited a lack of evidence as the reason for the dismissals. The cases of March and Cain were the first match-fixing charges to be contested in court relating to QRIC’s harness racing investigations, which were conducted by the Racing Crime Squad. Last October, Barton Cockburn pleaded guilty to three charges of match fixing, pertaining to races in November 2016 and was fined $5000. Soon after, Michael Grant also pleaded guilty to different charges relating to the same inquiry. At the time, Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said Cockburn’s conviction “should put an end to industry speculation about whether the Commission would be able to gather sufficient evidence to obtain convictions”. “I hope the fact that two of the three people we’ve charged so far have now pleaded guilty will be a reflection of the evidence that was gathered in these matters,” Barnett said at the time. However, Cain and March chose to defend the charges and their cases were thrown out of court on Wednesday and Thursday. It is understood in the case of trainer-driver March, the Magistrate indicated there was insufficient evidence to proceed and the charges were subsequently withdrawn. Harness driver Leonard Cain had his race-fixing case dismissed in the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court.  In the case of Cain, a harness driver, it is understood the prosecution asked for more time to produce witnesses, but the submission was rejected and the case dismissed. Both QRIC and the Queensland Police Service declined to comment on the March and Cain dismissals on Friday. March has been sidelined and unable to compete since having his license suspended in April last year. Initially he did not seek a stay of proceedings because he had hoped the matter would be resolved quickly. Later, when it became apparent the case would drag on, he was denied the stay. Originally published as Race-fixing cases thrown out of court   By Nathan Exelby   Reprinted with permission of    

Australia’s multi-billion dollar betting industry has undergone great change in recent years as the ubiquity of smartphones (86% of Australians now use a smartphone as their main phone) and the prevalence of sports betting apps allows Australians to gamble from the comfort of their own couch, on the wide open road, or even from the stands at the game. To understand the scope of gambling in Australia means gaining insight into what Australians bet on and who is doing the betting. The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports delve into Australian gambling habits in depth including detailed analysis of betting and sports betting, poker machines, casino table games, keno, lotteries and scratchies. Sports betting has gained prominence in recent years but analysing the overall betting market shows that racing – whether horse racing, harness racing or greyhound racing – still commands nearly 75% of the Australian betting market. Horse racing is the dominant form of betting comprising 50.9% of the betting market with a further 12.5% bet on greyhound racing and 11.4% bet on harness racing. Sports betting itself equals 25% of the money Australians bet in 2017 and this is dominated by the two major football codes which comprise more than half of Australian sports betting. 7.6% of money bet in Australia is on NRL/State of Origin markets just ahead of the 6.8% bet on AFL related events. The balance of 10.7% is spread around all other sports including tennis, cricket, basketball, swimming, football, netball, cycling and many others. Australian betting market – December 2017 Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422.   Australians aged 35-64 and those from NSW and Victoria most likely to bet Australians who like a bet, whether on the Melbourne Cup, Australian Open tennis, football codes of one sort or another, Ashes cricket, big sporting events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Cup or a myriad of other sports available here and overseas, come in all shapes and sizes. Analysis of the 10.5% of Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months reveals there are noteworthy differences with the proportion of Australians having a bet by age increasing until Australians reach retirement age at which point the likelihood of having a bet plunges. Only 7.2% of Australians aged under 25 have had a bet in the last three months compared to 9.3% of those aged 25-34 years old, 11.3% of those aged 35-49 years old and 12.6% of 50-64 year olds – the highest of any age group, before dropping to 10.2% of Australians of retirement age (65+). Analysing betting patterns by State & Territory shows a rougher co-relation. Australians in our two largest States are most likely to bet: 11.5% of Victorians and 11.1% of those from New South Wales (including ACT) have had a bet in the last three months. The likelihood of betting is underneath the national average in the all other States with 9.8% of those in medium-sized Queensland and Western Australia having a bet, 8.1% of South Australians and only 7.2% of those in Australia’s smallest State of Tasmania. The Northern Territory, which is home to many of Australia’s sports betting agencies due to favourable gambling laws, bucks this trend with 11.1% of NT residents having a bet in the last three months. Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months: Age & State Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422. Michele Levine, CEO, says Australians love of sport is well-known and for a sizeable number of Australians having a punt adds an extra something to the contest: “Over 2 million Australians aged 18+ (10.5%) have had a bet in the last three months whether on horse racing, greyhounds, or sporting events like the AFL, NRL, tennis, cricket or any of thousands of other sports available to bet on whether the sporting contest is undertaken here in Australia or almost anywhere around the world. “It is hardly surprising that Australians having a bet are far more likely to be men (13.9% of Australian men aged 18+) than women (7.3%) whilst there is a strong co-relation between age and the likelihood of having a bet. 12.6% of Australians aged 50-64 years old have had a bet in the last three months – clearly higher than any other age group compared to only 7.2% of younger Australians aged 18-24 years old. “Intriguingly the likelihood of having a bet also co-relates fairly well to the size of the State an Australian is from. The most likely Australians to have a bet are those from Australia’s largest States of New South Wales (11.1%) and Victoria (11.5%) whilst the least likely are from Australia’s two smaller States of South Australia (8.1%) and Tasmania (7.2%). “This disparity is likely related to the lack of professional sporting content available in smaller markets. As a comparison there are 17 professional AFL/NRL/Super Rugby/A-League clubs in New South Wales, 14 in Victoria, 7 in Queensland and 3 each in Western Australia and South Australia. There are no professional football clubs in Tasmania. “The relatively high proportion of Northern Territorians who’ve had a bet at 11.1% does buck this trend, however its worth remembering that the Northern Territory has long been a home to many Australians sports and horse racing betting companies due to the favourable laws in the jurisdiction. “To gain deeper insights into who the Australians that like to have a bet are, and more importantly, how much they are spending and betting when taking a punt, the series of Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports are an essential analytical resource to learn more about Australian gamblers and punters. “The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports cover not only horse racing and sports betting, but also casino table games, keno, lotteries, scratchies tickets and poker machines.”   For comments or more information please contact: Roy Morgan - Enquiries Office: (+61) (03) 9224 5309   Reprinted with permission of Roy Morgan

Speedy pacer A G’s White Socks has caused a minor upset by taking out tonights Group One $100,000 Taylor Mile. Trained by Greg and Nina Hope, A G’s White Socks was given a perfect run in the trail for the majority of the race behind the Tim Butt trained Aussie raider Let It Ride. Driver Ricky May had been sitting quietly behind the leader while the pace was on, and only had to flick the reins at the Rock N Roll Heaven 4yo to get him home easily up the passing lane to beat a classy field of 4yo pacers. Ricky who won the Taylor Mile in 2006 with Mainland Banner and also in 2015 with Mossdale Connor, was surprised the time was so quick tonight, as the horse was travelling so well in the trail. "He has definitely got a big motor, I was surprised they went that quick, he was travelling so good all the way," he said after the race. A G’s White Socks paced the 1700m mobile in 2-00.3, which equated to a slick mile rate of 1-53.9. The last 800m was cut ot in 55.8 with the 400m in 27.4 seconds. Eamon Maguire charged home late down the outer to grab second off the TAB favourite Star Galleria on the line.   Harnesslink Media

Unbeaten 2yo filly Princess Tiffany has taken out the Group One $110,000 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Classic tonight at Alexandra Park. Driver Natalie Rasmussen had the Art Major filly in a good spot for most of the race and she was too good for the opposition in tonights race, blasting up the inner near the line to beat stable mate Kayla Marie and driver Blair Orange. "She is the complete package this little 2yo", said Natalie after the win. "With her speed you can place her anywhere and she is so genuine and professonal. " I was getting a little bit worried when Blair got away on us a bit on the turn, but to her credit she just picked them up easily." The All Stars Stable landed the trifecta in the race with Bubbled Up and driver Brent Mangos running home in to third place. Princess Tiffany paced the 2200m mobile in 2-42.6, only 0.7 of a second outside the New Zealand record. The last 800m was paced in 56.4 seconds. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen also won the $60,000 Haras Des Trotteurs Sires Stakes during the night with smart 3yo Winterfell. New Zealands top training duo were unlucky to have their good filly Luby Lou scratched out of the race with a minor injury, but got the job done with their second stringer Winterfell. Driver Natalie Rasmussen was happy with the effort of the Majestic Son gelding after he looped around to the breeze mid race and was too strong in the run to the line. "He is pretty green this fellow but he has got that bit of raw talent, and I just let him settle early before making a move. "I wanted to be near them at the turn and not be coming wide when the sprint went on and to his credit he is pretty tough and he stuck it out well,"  she said.   Princess Tiffany winning the Group 1 tonight     Harnesslink Media