Harness racing

Stakes record set in $120,000 Quebec Finals

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – It only took until the first of four $30,000 Quebec-Bred Series finals Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R to see a stakes record surpassed. The Series Finals, for four and five-year-old trotters and pacers got underway in the third race for older trotters and Seeyou Men with catch-driver Guy Gagnon, stole the limelight from three-time champion, Maximuscle, with a stakes record and lifetime mark of 1:57. Maximuscle, who was making his final appearance in the series after four years, was up to his bad habit of breaking stride at the start of the race. This enabled Gagnon to send Seeyou Men right to the lead and they never really had to look back. Through fractions of :29, :59.1, and 1:28.1, Seeyou Men easily fended off a minor challenge in the backstretch from Me The Boss (Louis-Philippe Roy) and then pulled away in the stretch to win by three and one-half lengths, the last quarter mile in :28.4. Me The Boss was second with Promesses Imperial (Jerome Lombart) third. Maximuscle had recovered and nearly caught the field, finishing fourth. It was the third win in seven starts this year for Seeyou Men. The four-year-old gelding by Muscle Mass is trained by Isabelle Darveau for owners Catheline Pelletier of Mirabel and Chantal Gravel of St-Cyrille-De-Wendover, QC, paying $6.90 to win. The time of 1:57 is the fastest trotting mile ever in the history of Quebec-Bred Series. The previous stakes record was 1:57.3 set last year by Maximuscle. The gustiest race on the card came in the sixth race finale for older trotting mares as SOS Revange and driver Gaetan Lamy put on a driving show for the race fans. Unable to get on-stride for the start of the race, SOS Revange spotted the field 25 lengths right at the start. Fortunately, Double Chance and driver Sylvain Lacaille played hardball with Kim Sorel (Martin Gingras) as those two battled head and head to the opening quarter mile in :28.1 with Gingras finally backing off. But back on-stride and flying three-wide was Lamy and SOS Revange around the second turn, staying parked out three-wide to the half mile in :59.1 before being able to clear the field and take the lead. Opening up by two lengths in the backstretch, SOS Revange and Lamy kept their lead intact past the three-quarter mile marker in 1:29.1. Then in the stretch, SOS Revange began to tire but still had enough trot left to hold off SOS Afterthestorm (Francine Morrissette) and win by three-quarters of a length in 1:29.1.  Viva Bayama (Denis St Pierre) was third. Trained by Jean Tourigny for owners Claude Hamel, Michel Damphousse and Jean Claude Vinette of QC, it was the fourth win in just six starts this year for SOS Revange, a four-year-old mare by Kadabra. She paid $9.40 to win. Voodoo Charm and driver Mario Charron picked the perfect spot to get her first win of the 2016 season after four starts, capturing the eighth race $30,000 Quebec-Bred Series finale for pacing mares. The overwhelming 1-2 betting favorite, Chaleurs Fantasy, left from post two for owner/breeder/trainer/driver Carl Duguay and was challenged immediately for the lead by Charron and Voodoo Charm, with Charron backing off into third place by the opening quarter mile in :28.3. Then right before the half mile in :59, Charron came back with Voodoo Charm and locked horns once again with Chaleurs Fantasy, only this time they were able to not only collar the race leader, but clear to the front at the three-quarters in 1:28. From there it seemed to be a walk in the park for Voodoo Charm and Mario Charron as they won with ease by three open lengths in 1:58.3. HP Rubis Joyce (Louis-Philippe Roy) had been following Voodoo Charm second-over and was able to get second place money with Chaleurs Fantasy third. Trained by Maxime Velaye, Voodoo Charm is a four-year-old mare by Ponder, who had captured the championship last year at age 3. She is owned by Yvan Mondous, Guy Corbeil, Alexandre Morin and Francois Laverdiere of QC and paid $6.50 to win. The fastest mile of the day, as expected, was in the ninth race finale for older pacers as for the second straight year, Atomic Million AM showed his dominance in the series, leading from start to finish for driver Sylvain Lacaille. With the rail to their advantage from the start, Lacaille sent the five-year-old gelding by Million Dollar Cam right to the lead and held off an early challenge by C L Art Magic (Yves Filion) to the first quarter in :27. Then Lacaille was able to give Atomic Million AM a little breather to the half mile in :56 as Killer Thriller (Guy Gagnon) came first-over and gave Half A Billion (Louis-Philippe Roy) great second-over cover. That lasted to the three-quarters in 1:24.1 when Roy sent Half A Billion three-wide to make a challenge on the final turn but Atomic Million AM proved to be much the best, holding off C L Art Magic for second and Half A Billion third, winning by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:53.3. Trained by Alain Martin, it was the third win this year for Atomic Million AM. He is owned and was bred by Martin of Gatineau, QC and paid $3.90 to win. TRACK NOTES: Live racing resumes at the Hippodrome 3R on Tuesday evening, first race post time at 7:00 pm. For a free race program and free internet feed of the race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com.   From the Quebec Jockey Club 

Team France & Team America

Team France wins over Team America

Harness racing driver Pierre Levesque teamed 7.7/1 Vroum Vroum (7g Mambo King-Meline) to a close win in the fourth and final Drivers Cup leg today at Paris Vincennes, clocked in 1.12.3kr in the Prix Bergerac (purse €36,000, 2100 meters autostart, 10 starters). The top five finishers were from Team France which generated 51 points this day versus 14 for Team America. Total points of the four legs (two at Yonkers, two at Vincennes) were 160 for Team France and 103 for Team America. Second today was 11.4/1 Vilhisvinta (7f Fortuna Fant-Histoire d’Amour) for Matthieu Abrivard with even-money favorite Veloute (7m Offshore Dream-Ozo de Plainville) third home for Franck Ouvrie. Nicolas Ensch drove Vilvaldi d’Amboise to a fourth place finish ahead of Uppy de Vive and Pierre Vercruysse. Thomas H. Hicks

Always Be Miki and the headless horseman

Always B Miki & The Headless Horseman!

This is just a picture of the freezefame at the end of Pocono's harness racing replay for race 11 last night.   You can see it by watching the replay of Always Be Miki's race last night here   http://mohegansunpocono.com/racing/latest.html#race-replays.    See where it says "Stream has ended" at the top of the picture?   Just a fluke -- a fan watching a replay, and a technological accident/miracle occurs.        

Bold Eagle

Phenomenal Bold Eagle does it again

Bold Eagle (5m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) easily won today’s Gr. I harness racing UET Masters Series Prix Rene Balliere (purse €200,000, 2100 meters autostart, 11 entrants with one scratching, Booster Winner) with Eric Raffin piloting for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. The dominant winner was bred by Jean-Etienne Dubois. Raffin left alertly with the 3/10 favorite from post seven and after 500 meters secured the front from then fast leading Your Highness (7f Chocolatier-La Belle Lady) and Bjorn Goop, off at 3/1 odds. The previously 2016 undefeated Your Highness took the pocket and remained that way to the line for trainer Fabrice Soukoy and owner PV Racing Stable HB. Under urging she could not threaten the winner and held gamely for second ahead of tough 10.4/1 odds Amiral Sacha (6m Ganymede-Nostalgique Sacha) and driver Gabrielle Gelormini and 41.4/1 fourth finishing Tiego d’Etang (9m Chaillot-Harolene) with Charles J. Bigeon aboard. Olmo Holz, Voltigeur de Myrt and Billie de Montfort were the next three to finish. Time of the race was 1.10.8kr after rated fractions (1.06.7kr at 1500 meters to go; 1.09.7kr at 1000; 1.11.5kr at 500 to go). The winning Bold Eagle now has career earnings of €1,925,800 and 24 victories in 28 career outings. He won his second straight after spring stud duty and he has earned €928,000 in 2016. Thomas H. Hicks

WILKES BARRE PA - Tonight (Saturday) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the greatest assemblage of horses in North American harness racing during 2016 (fourteen millionaires, and half the National Top Ten) contested elimination races to qualify for racing on the $2M Sun Stakes Saturday Championship night a week from tonight (Saturday, July 2).   A fairly strong stretch headwind influenced the racing in several of the big races.   Here are the elimination race results, grouped together by their division:   BEN FRANKLIN FFAP ($30,000 for each of three eliminations; $500,000 Championship)   Wiggle It Jiggleit was the 2015 Harness Horse of the Year, and is ranked #1 in the Top Ten poll. He won his Franklin elimination in 1:48.1. for trainer Clyde Francis, and his owners, George Teague Jr. Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership LLC.   Which was the slowest elimination. By a full second.   Because world records were set in the other two cuts: first the five-year-old pacing stallion Always B Miki took his Franklin elim in 1:47, equaling Sweet Lou’s all-time world record for 5/8-mile tracks (set in the Franklin Final two years ago) and missing the all-time race record by a single tick, and then Freaky Feet Pete was off by himself much of the other elim and still crossed the wire in 1:47.1, a world record for a four-year-old pacing horse on a 5/8-mile track.   Always B Miki couldn’t have had much of a harder trip, yet still equaled the all-time record for Pocono’s size of oval with unbelievable resilience and heart in the lane. The son of Always A Virgin was moved uncovered past the 5/16 by driver David Miller, after Mel Mara had been hustled by Corey Callahan to the top past the 26 quarter. “Miki” uncorked a frightening brush sans earplugs and looked ready to sail by going to turn two, but he didn’t enter the turn 100% smoothly, giving Mel Mara a chance to fight back and hang him to a 53 half and a 1:19.4 3/4s – record-promising time territory.   But what looked like it would be a good duel home quickly turned into a route. Always B Miki had just gone 27 and 26.4 quarters uncovered, yet he still had a 27.1 kick home, into what was still a slight breeze, to win by 3¾ lengths over second-over All Bets Off (himself a world record setter at Pocono), with Mel Mara half-length further behind in third after giving his utmost in pursuit of victory.   Always B Miki now has won four of six races and $91,500 this year, and 22 of 41 races and $1,320,076 lifetime. Jimmy Takter has brought the pacer all the way back from injury to the top of his game for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter.   Freaky Feet Pete made his East Coast debut a showstopper in his Franklin elim, with driver Trace Tetrick joining brother Tim as a stakeswinner on the night as the four-year-old Rockin Image stallion lowering Pet Rock’s divisional world record by a fifth with his 1:47.1 win, lowering his mark by over a second. “TrT” had “Pete” rolling before the 26.1 quarter, and they posted middle fractions of 53 and 1:20 without any particular pressure. That “pressure” faded even further into the distance in the stretch, as Freaky Feet Pete expanded his final margin to 5¾ lengths over longshot Rock N Roll World, with Sunfire Blue Chip coming on for third and making the Franklin Final.   Freaky Feet Pete is now 5-for-6 in 2016 and an amazing 29-for-33 in his career, with $1,224,050 in his till for trainer Larry Rhineheimer and owners Mary Jo Rhineheimer and Marty Rheinheimer – and he completed the “Indiana-sired” sweep of the Franklin elims, joined by Always B Miki and … oh yeah, Wiggle It Jiggleit.   Wiggle It Jiggleit, winner of the Hempt and the Battle of the Brandywine here last year – and his only start as a 2YO – has now visited Pocono’s Victory Lane three years running after an impressive 1:48.1 victory. His victory was a contested one, at least for the first half, as Montrell Teague and “Wiggle” let Shamballa go just before a 25.4 quarter, and then State Treasurer quickly rushed around both to the lead early in front of the stands. But Teague pressed on with the defending Horse of the Year, brushing again and taking the lead by the half in 54.   The pair got to the ¾ in 1:21.1, and through the lane Wiggle It Jiggleit looked well in control, with a 27 kicker keeping State Treasurer at bay by 1¼ lengths at the finish. Another 2½ lengths back, Always At My Place and Shamballa deadheated for third, and after a consultation with officials and the rulebook, the field for the Franklin Final became ten, as both horses will come back next week. Wiggle It Jiggleit ran his impressive statistics to 8-for-11 this year, 31-for-38 lifetime, with his earnings now at $2,630,760.   And in the next, staggering 40 minutes, the conversation changed from “How much do you think he’ll win by next week?” to “You think he’s got enough to win next week?”   EARL BEAL 3CT ($25,000 for each of two eliminations; $500,000 Championship)   The Muscle Hill colt Bar Hopping, driven by Tim Tetrick for Team Takter, shocked Hambletonian favorite Southwind Frank with a 1:52.1 in his Earl Beal elimination, but it took the fastest mile of the year by a sophomore on a five-eighths mile oval, and a huge effort from the impressive winner, to do so.   Bar Hopping left strongly for the lead, then forced longshot Promise Delivered to go 26.3 to get the lead; Southwind Frank could have taken a 3-tuck, but Yannick Gingras kept last year’s divisional champion on the bit and sent him on to the top early on the frontstretch. The half was reached in 55.4, and the battle became enjoined when Bar Hopping vacated the three-hole at the 11/16 to challenge.   Southwind Frank went by the ¾ in 1:24.2 and still looked in control as they turned for home, but in only his third start of the year and off a 25-day layoff, “Frank” was just, frankly, outtrotted, but remember the last quarter was 27.4, into the wind. But tonight Bar Hopping proved the toughest; in their wake came Trolley and Dice Man.   Bar Hopping was the fourth first-time 2016 winner among the six Sun Stakes Saturday sophomore elims, but like all of that type he too had been thereabouts in top company all year. Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld own the game sophomore, now a winner of $147,514.   The Conway Hall gelding Dayson has never been beaten in 14 career starts when he has stayed flat – but that statement looked ready to go by the boards at headstretch of the first Beal elimination.   After a contested first quarter of 27.1, Brooklyn Hill brushed in front of the grandstand and posted middle splits of 55.4 and 1:23.4, opening a three length lead at the ¾ and carrying that margin around the turn. Dayson had been moved out from fifth by driver Jim Morrill Jr. at the 5/8, caught cover 11/16, but was still five lengths off the leader at the top of the lane …   … and still three down with 200 feet to go …   …but Dayson was flying late, and Brooklyn Hill, despite a big effort, proved a nose less photogenic at the wire, which was reached in 1:52.3, with Truemass Volo coming from way back for third; Reigning Moni was fourth ahead of Hollywood Highway, the faster fifth-place Beal horse. The winner is now 4-for-6 in 2016 and 11-for-14 in his career for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva Stables LLC, and Rossie Smith. The winning clocking was a tick behind Dayson’s career best, and the season’s record.   MAX C. HEMPT 3CP ($25,000 for each of two eliminations; $500,000 Championship)   The first turn told the tale in the first Hempt elimination, as there was a four-wide scramble for the lead: Control The Moment went three-wide to just past the 1/8 to live up to his name; Boston Red Rocks used track geometry to the maximum from the rail, holding the pocket while forcing JK Will Power alongside to tuck third; and American Passport scooted away four-wide, but was unable to clear and broke at the 3/16.   From there Control The Moment did just that, getting the quarter in 26.1 and the half in 55.1 after the stretch headwind, then sprinted home in 54.2- 27 to hold off a very game Pocono Pike-shooting Boston Red Rocks by a half-length in 1:49.3, with JK Will Power holding third and More Dragon fourth. The time was both a personal best and the fastest mile of the year by a 3YO on a 5/8-mile track.   Control The Moment, a son of Well Said, won for the first time in four starts this season, after opening his career with 8 straight triumphs followed by his season-ending loss in the Breeders Crown. But "Control" looks to be in top form at the moment for driver Randy Waples, trainer Brad Maxwell, and the Control The Moment Stable of Philadelphia PA, which contains Maxwell and, as many will have figured from the "Philadelphia," owner Howard Taylor - who took two of the night's first three races at Pocono.   In the second Hempt elim, the Roll With Joe colt Racing Hill was "quarter-mover #2," behind Katies Rocker, brushing to the lead in front of the stands, repulsing a big third quarter bid by Talk Show, and then drawing off in the stretch under a Brett Miller hold in tallying for trainer Tony Alagna and U.K. owner Tom Hill while also winning for the first time this year and raising his earnings to $333,666. The victory was the third for driver Brett Miller in the card's first five races; finishing behind him were in order Katie's Rocker, Big Top Hanover, and late inside rusher Western Fame.   No - you didn't miss reading any fractions or the final time - we're just recreating the "live experience" for you, as there was a timer malfunction during the race. But the fractions tell the story of the rapidly-developing Racing Hill's victory: after a quick 26 opener, Racing Hill made the lead well before the 55.2 half, sprinted in 26.3 down the back to turn away Talk Show by the 1:22 3/4s, then continued on into the headbreeze in 27.1 for a 53.4 back half and a 1:49.1 total package, a new mark and lowering the 40-minute old standard of Control The Moment for fastest 3YO on the 5/8-mile ovals. Talk Show's 1:50.2 clocking in finishing fifth earned him a spot in the Hempt Final.   JAMES LYNCH 3FP ($20,000 for each of two eliminations; $300,000 Championship)   Champion filly Pure Country showed her class and toughness in taking the faster of the Lynch eliminations, having to go first-over for 5/8 against NJSS champion Blue Moon Stride, then both getting by her late and holding off a late rush from her early-season nemesis Darlinonthebeach in 1:50.1. Blue Moon Stride was a neck behind the winner and a neck ahead of “Darlin,” with Penpal closing for fourth and Kiss Me Onthebeach advancing to next week as the faster fifth-place finisher.   Blue Moon Stride worked her way to the top around speedy longshots to pace control at the rapid 26 quarter, with Pure Country (Somebeachsomewhere) starting the outside train raw at the 3/8, with Kissmeonthebeach and Darlinonthebeach in tow two-wide. The half was reached in 55.2, which means that Pure Country went her last half in 54.4 (28 on the tail end) without cover, but 50 feet from the wire she again showed herself an irresistible force (although if you watch driver Brett Miller, handling his fourth winner in the first eight races, earlier in the lane, he seemed to feel he had enough filly in front of him). The late rally of Darlinonthebeach did her credit, as did the game pacesetting effort of Blue Moon Stride, but Pure Country has (at least) temporarily reclaimed the undisputed top peg in her division for trainer Jimmy Takter and Diamond Creek Racing.   Newborn Sassy proved to be a pocket rocket in taking the first Lynch elimination, catching favored I Said Diamonds in the final strides for a 1:51.3 triumph. The victorious daughter of Western Ideal left strongly three-wide to the early lead for driver Tim Tetrick, with the looped I Said Diamonds making the top near the 27 quarter. The half was rated to 56.1, and the third quarter with the wind was “only” 27.4, for a 1:24 ¾ clocking – the last quarter was in 27.3 against the wind, and Newport Sassy came out and finished strongly to catch her rival, who in her defense had been off 29 days, winning by a neck, with JK Fannie missing the win by only a length, and Lindwood Beach overcoming PP9 for fourth.   Newborn Sassy became the third winner in three 3YO elims on the big Pocono card to be notching her first seasonal victory, although like the two Hempt colt winners she had been knocking on the door of stakes company in recent starts. Last year the winner of $301,845 was 8 for 10, and she seems to have picked a fine time to pick back up her winning ways for trainer Jo Ann Looney-King, who is also the co-owner with CC Racing LLC.   There was also a $25,000 winners-over pace contested on the card, which went to Franklin non-eligible Rockeyed Optimist, an easy winner in 1:48.3. Brett Miller tucked the Rocknroll Hanover gelding in fourth early behind inside leavers after starting from PP6 in the eight-horse field, then brushed past early leader Scott Rocks (who set the 26.2 quarter), backing off the half to 55.1 into the wind, then smoking to a 26.3 third split to get the 3/4s in 1:21.4 en route to the easy victory. Steve Elliott conditions the Optimist, who is already up to $252,100 in earnings this year for the ownership combine of Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, A&B Stable, and Joseph Battaglia, with his career tally now at $525,755.   (Wakizashi Hanover, a million-dollar earner at three making his 4YO bow, had the best spot on the racetrack for the first 3/8 - right behind Rockeyed Optimist - and after that the worst spot - uncovered against him, and faded in his first race in 7½ months.)   PHHA / Pocono      

Master harness racing trainer David Aiken pulled off the ultimate big-race success when he trained the quinella in today’s $100,000 TABCORP.COM.AU Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The only problem was it wasn’t quite the way punters expected it to go. Aiken’s up and comer Hectorjayjay ($10.10), finished like a train to swamp odds-on favourite Lennytheshark ($1.40 favourite) by 1.2m, with Ohoka Punter ($7) a fighting third 7.1m further way. The winner rated a slashing 1:50.5, confirming the huge wraps that Aiken had placed on the five-year-old gelding, who is now bound for Queensland and further feature starts. Victoria’s two leading reinsmen Gavin Lang (Hectorjayjay) and Chris Alford (Lennytheshark) cleared away to fight out the finish although the wicked grin on Lang’s face in the last 100m clearly indicated he knew he had the race in his keeping. Close behind the placegetters were outsiders Blazin N Cullen and Alta Jerome, just ahead of the mighty mare Frith, who endured a torrid run and couldn’t match the Grand Circuit stars in the straight. “Gavin really likes this five-year-old gelding by Dream Away,” said Aiken. “He doesn’t say a lot but I just really got the feeling he’s been impressed with his turn of foot.” Lang explained that draws were important and 14 was not ideal against a quality field like that. “As I always say before the race, it’s only a number, we usually have a post mortem after and decide if they’re good bad or otherwise . . . and it turned out perfectly,” said Lang. “That’s one thing about drawing 14, you need those type of quick sectionals early to bring you into the race and that’s how it turned out. “That early burn gives you a chance. Over a mile if they go slowly early then you are left to do your share of work to get into the race and chasing quality horses, well, you just won’t catch them.” Lang said Hectorjayjay always travelled well and his only concern pre-race was that he had been scratched from his last run because he had a minor problem. “But a solidly run race (like today’s) can be their downfall and to the stable’s credit they did a great job and had him in excellent condition,” he said. Home straight: “He’s a good horse and that’s one of the qualities that good horses have - under pressure they really dig in.” “I’m sure these two horses will have some epic battles in the future.” Michael Howard

It's no surprise to see leading harness racing owners Emilio and Mary Rosati in the winners’ circle on Breeders Challenge Day at Tabcorp Park Menangle. And beautifully-bred mare Sapphire Stride added to the fanfare when she scored a surprise win in today’s Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Group One for four-year-old mares. What did surprise, however, was the price: Sapphire Stride was sent out at the amazing odds of $36.20 on the TAB before leading most of the way to defeat Hey Porsha and Dolly Braveheart, scoring by a head in a 1:52.7 mile rate. Disappointment of the race was the $1.30 favourite Ameretto (Ash Grives), who settled down near last and couldn’t make up the ground in the straight before finishing a close fourth. In a field of young drivers, John McCarthy could probably be classed as a veteran, even though he’s only mid 50s, but he took Emilio Rosati’s advice and showed the youngsters a thing or two. “I thought she’d be quick out and I might struggle to get to the lead (from gate five),” said a jubilant McCarthy after scoring on the Belinda McCarthy-trained mare. “But they just didn’t come at me in the straight. “I was getting a bit tired near the line  . . . but so were they and she just kept boxing on.” McCarthy [senior] described Sapphire Stride as a nice mare: “We had a good barrier today and it might have been different if we didn’t and this win has made it really good for her as a broodmare later on. “Emilio said you go show them – and today we did.” Michael Howard

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 25, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway had its harness racing version of Old Home Week Saturday night... ...provided "Old Home" was Chicago. All that was missing was deep-dish pizza and Oprah. Tony Morgan-making his first Westchester appearance since September of 2012-and Brent Holland each had three wins during the dozen-race card. Morgan, he of the 15,400-plus career victories, earned a place in the local record books when pole-sitting Go Daddy Go ($13) won the $30,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace in a spiffy 1:50.1. The Ponder gelding, co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Bruce Soulsby, became the fourth member of the all-age-track-record club, joining Crombie A, Forty Five Red and Limelight Beach. It was also the swiftest local mile of the season. Morgan also won the co-featured $45,000 Open Pace with favored Doctor Butch ($5.30) in 1:51.2, and the $26,000, 11th race trot with a left-alone Major Athens ($4.10) in 1:53.3. That effort matched the fastest Westchester trot mile of the season with E R Ellie. Connecting the dots, "Ellie" (Larry Stalbaum, $14.40) won the co-featured $45,000 Open Handicap Trot from the pocket in 1:55. As for Holland, he upset the apple cart with American Venture ($57) in the $18,000, second-race pace (1:52), then escorted Mah Sish N ($9) in the $18,000, third-race pace. The Holland Hat Trick was completed with Moonliteonthebeach ($23.80) was a first-up winner in the $26,500 pacing finale (1:52.2). Frank Drucker

Even a protest hearing which didn’t even involve him could not take the gloss off Jason Grimson’s marvellous week which saw him crowned the Harness Racing New South Wales Rising Stars 2016 champion at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Ironically Grimson finished last in the final Rising Stars event at the premier track at the end of a hectic week but there were excuses for that defeat as he endured a torrid run with $16.50 outsider Du Vella. Yet the young Riverina reinsman had enough points in the bank to finish the series an impressive winner, despite the dramas of the final heat. Stormont Czar (Stuart McDonald) was declared the winner of the race despite finishing second across the line behind Jilliby Jagger (Sam Ison), with Floyd Mayweather (Ellen Rixon) a close third. While stewards adjourned to their room to eventually reverse the first two placings and give Stormont Czar the race, Grimson was able to celebrate what has been a meteoric rise through the ranks of harness racing, including his first Group One success at Bathurst earlier this year. Grimson was understandably “stoked” with his great run: “I barely knew half these drivers before this week but now I can say they are friends for life,” he said. “It’s been a great week and we’ve have really enjoyed the challenge. “I’ve had a fair bit of luck this week because I got to drive some nice horses. It’s been a really good trip. “And I have to thank the trainers for putting their horses in and giving us all an opportunity. Without them all this just wouldn’t happen.”   Final point score JASON GRIMSON 83 STUART MCDONALD 78 ELLEN RIXON 77 SAM ISON 75 MITCEH TURNBULL 73 BRAD ELDER 61 TOM PAY 60 MARTELLE MAGUIRE 56 JAMES HARDING 45 ROSS DRUITT 29   Michael Court

Honours and dollars were shared although there were hardly any great surprises after the three Group Two Trotters Finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. Harness Racing Trainer/Driver Blake Fitzpatrick kicked off the big Breeders Challenge Finals Day in typical fashion when he took Empire Bay to victory in the opening event, the Two-Year-Old Trotters Final. Sent out a prohibitive $1.50 favourite, Empire Bay was a comfortable winner over his only two rivals Shang Fang Sword and Nanas Eyes. While he was expected to dominate the trotters’ races, Fitzpatrick could only fill the minor places with his following two entries with Seven Secrets running fourth in the three-year-old final and short-priced favourite Glenferrie Burn leaving its run too late and ending up second with a late burst in the four and five-year-old Trotters’ Final. Zac Phillips guided Red Hot Tooth to victory to deny Fitzpatrick of making it two from two while Todd McCarthy held on from a fast-finishing Fitzpatrick with Glenferrie Burn in the third race. Fitzpatrick was delighted to draw first blood: “He (Empire Bay) went great, he’s been a really smart horse and he’s made mistakes in the wrong races,” he said. “His record really should be better than it is. “I was happy to follow Shang Fang Sword as my bloke has really good speed and he picked the leader up quickly and finished the race right off. “He’ll have a short break now and then head to Victoria for the Redwood and then the Breeders Crown.” The Three-Year-Old Trotters Final could almost be considered a Bathurst victory as Red Hot Tooth was bred by Geoff Bullock from Bathurst. He sent the horse to Kari Males, who trains out of Bolinda in Victoria but is originally a Bathurst girl. Young Victorian-based reinsman Zac Phillips, 20, caught a plane this morning to drive the horse and then headed straight back to drive at Shepparton tonight. “I’ve been up here a few times but this is the first time I’ve driven a winner here,” he grinned. “She’s been a revelation this horse and came down around six months ago. She wasn’t much to look at but has had six starts and kept improving. “Once she began to race the better horses she just acquitted herself well. “I thought I’d be hard to beat if could lead and we had such a great run I was really confident. “If she’s in front she runs her best races. “I think she could have gone quicker had she needed to. It’s a terrific story the owners are lovely people and it’s really good to see people win on a big day like today.” Michael Howard

East Rutherford, N.J. -- The Rock and Roll Stable's Americanprimetime ($7.40) was resolute amid early pressure, turning aside two early harness racing challengers and setting fast fractions en route to a 1:49 triumph in the featured $17,500 top-level pace at the Meadowlands on Saturday (June 25) evening.   Joe Bongiorno had the accelerator down early with the 4-year-old American Ideal entire, battling with Vapour N (Pat Berry) and Art History (Victor Kirby) through a :26.2 first quarter and refusing to yield. While Vapour N eased off the pace, Americanprimetime would not shake off the challenge of Art History until well after a :53.4 half, subsequently gaining separation on the field through the far turn. Americanprimetime amassed a 3-1/2 length lead in upper stretch, but was fully extended in the last eighth to stave off a massive rally from Jacksrluckytoo (Jim Marohn, Jr.), who circled three-wide off the far turn and closed boldly to miss Americanprimetime's 1:49 mile by a scant head. Ashley's Husband (Vinny Ginsburg) circled from the rear of the field to take third, a farther 3-1/2 lengths back.   Rick Dane, Jr. trains Americanprimetime, now a 7-time winner.   For Bongiorno, the featured win was one of five on the 12-race card. Vinny Ginsburg also accounted for five driving wins on the evening, including the $15,000 Dash for the "G" Notes mini-series final for first-level conditioned pacers with Vague Traces ($2.20, 1:50).   Kate Repetto was crowned the 2016 Ms. Hot to Trot at the Meadowlands and Alicia Blanks the runner-up, taking a $5,000 grand prize and $2,500 second prize, respectively.   Both 20¢ Jackpot High 5 wagers carry over to next Friday's (July 1) program, with $21,976.73 going to the fifth-race High 5, and $267,769.47 added to the closing-race High 5 should one bettor take down the entire pool.   Despite one fewer race on the card in comparison to the corresponding Saturday program in 2015, total all-sources handle increased by $178,363.   Friday evening's program is due to commence at 7:15 p.m. Eastern. Fans and horsemen alike are advised that the Saturday (July 2) card carries a special first post of 6:30 p.m. For full information on racing, dining, and events at the Meadowlands, visit www.playmeadowlands.com.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 25 - The opening leg of the Summertime Series highlighted harness racing action Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The three-week series for sophomore pacing colts and geldings attracted a field of 11 for the $18,000 first leg. Dave Menary trainee Sintra entered Saturday's opening round undefeated in five starts this season. Despite a large field, Sintra was sent off as the 1/9 favourite from post three. Major Hill, also a Menary trainee, was blasted to the front by driver Doug McNair from post nine and posted an opening-quarter of :26.2. Sintra got away fifth with driver Jody Jamieson, who was able to angle out nearing the half to pick up cover. After stealing a :30 second-quarter, Major Hill paced a :28 third panel while being confronted by Some Gold, who was pressing first over. In the stretch, Major Hill turned aside the first over challenger, but Sintra was ready to pounce and shot off cover to pace home in :26 to win by 1¾ lengths in 1:50.4. Always A Hotshot, who was third over around the final turn, finished second, while Major Hill was third. A son of Mach Three, Sintra is now a perfect six for six to start his three-year-old season after going winless in three starts as a rookie. His wins this season include scores in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event and a Three-Year-Old Open on Pepsi North America Cup night. Sintra has now earned $86,500 this season for owners Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Menary Racing Inc. He paid $2.30 to win Saturday. In order to be eligible to the Summertime Series, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non winners of $30,000 lifetime as of March 31, 2015. The second leg of the Summertime Series will take place next Saturday (July 2). Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk with a 10-race card, featuring three $75,000 OSS Gold divisions for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Harness racing trainer Paul Hill will be hoping history can repeat itself when his two smart youngsters Rocknroll Turbo and Playing Arkabella contest the Dandy Patch Stakes and the Evicus Stakes respectively at UBET Park Hobart tonight. Hill won the two features last season with Hillview Jake (Dandy Patch) and Chica Bella and tonight both of his two-year-olds are pre-race favourites. Rocknroll Turbo is owned and was bred by Charlie and Connie Beadman and while they have enjoyed enormous success with youngsters over the years Hill says this colt could be the best they have owned. "Charlie has bred some good ones but Rocknroll Turbo is just a freak," Hill said. "From the first day he came into work he's been a thorough professional and he does everything asked of him with so much ease it's ridiculous. "Charlie had Jerrys Jet as a two-year-old and he was very special and he was just as good at three but I think this colt is better." Rocknroll Turbo has had only two starts for as many wins. He debuted with an impressive win in the Debutante Stakes in Launceston after which Hill sent him for a spell prior to him winning his Dandy Patch Prelude. He meets the same opposition tonight and drawing gate seven on the outside of the front row should pose no problem. "Rocknroll Turbo was probably about 85 per cent right in the Dandy Patch Prelude but he will be spot on tomorrow night." Playing Arkabella also has drawn gate seven in the Evicus final but she too possesses enough early speed to overcome that if connections opt to try and lead but given his she was handled in the Evicus Prelude she will more than likely be driven cold. "Playing Arkabella has had no luck with barrier draws so this is no surprise to draw seven of seven but from there we might have a look for the front but she's probably better sat so the draw is of no great concern," Hill said. Playing Arkabella has won three of her seven starts and she was placed in the other four. The filly impressed with a tough win in the Sweepstakes final two starts back in Hobart last month and her win in the Evicus Prelude at her subsequent outing also was impressive defeating first-starter El Jays Mystery from the Dick Eaves stable. Peter Staples

East Rutherford, NJ - The Saturday, June 25 edition of Breakfast With The Babies at The Meadowlands got underway at 9:30 on a another perfect morning with the temperature in the high 70's and a very slight eastern breeze. The colts and fillies competing in the sixteen races for harness racing two-year-olds represent over $10 million spent to acquire them at auction last fall.   The Chromeos were back this morning and their champion did not disappoint, emerging from the pocket into a 28 flat final quarter for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker to win again, this time in 1:57.4. The son of Donato Hanover from Lady Holiday has become a real fan favorite and looks more and more like a bargain at the $10,000 he cost Schnittker, Ted Gewertz, Frank Baldassare and Mary Kinsey at Harrisburg last fall. Stealth Hanover (Andy McCarthy) cut the mile and held well for second with Zack's Zoomer (Marcus Miller) showing good late trot to get up for third.   Ariana G opened the day a winner for the Jimmy Takter barn, prevailing over Merry Hanover (Dave Miller) after a stretch-long duel with a 27.4 close to a mile in 1:58.2. Merry Hanover set all the fractions on a comfortable lead throughout and was dead game right to the wire. It was the second win in as many tries for Ariana G, a homebred Muscle Hill filly from Cantab It All owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Yannick Gingras drove the winner.   Bob Key is off to a good start this season with winners at every venue from his battalion of home-breds and he won this morning's second race with his Break The Bank K x Sweet Mademoiselle filly Amuse's. She sat a nice pocket as Bridal Suite (Takter) set sensible fractions then went by willingly for Andy Miller in a 27.4 final quarter, the mile in 1:58. Spending Spree (Tim Tetrick) closed nicely to be second and Grand Idea (Gingras) third. Andrew Harris is the trainer.   Feed Your Head became a repeat winner for the potent Takter/Gingras duo, trotting up to early leader Lookingforamiracle as they passed the 1:31.4 three-quarters and trotted home comfortably in 28.3 to close out the mile in 2:00.2. She is another Muscle Hill, this one from the accomplished Flawless Bluestone and was a $70,000 Harrisburg buy for Melby Gard. Ice Attraction (Ake Svanstedt) was second and Lookingforamiracle (Eddie Lohmeyer) stayed on for third.   That's All Moni impressed the BWTB faithful with a sweeping close from well back into a 28.1 end to the 2:01.1 mile to win going away. She's a Cantab Hall from Mom's Millionaire, dam of the remarkable Snow White, bought by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld for $230,000 in Lexington last fall. Yannick Gingras has handled That's All Moni carefully in both of her morning trials for trainer Takter, reserving her early and letting her trot through the stretch. The Ake Svanstedt stable was second and third in this one with Evelyn and Voxy.   Optimist Blue Chip won the sixth for driver Jim Morrill, Jr, trotting by the field as they approached the half then holding Lars Perry at bay through a 28.3 end to the 1:58 mile. Trained by Tracy Brainard for herself, Blue Chip Bloodstock and Senan Hayes, the colt caused a stir among the BWTB crowd as he is a Deweycheatumnhowe from Winning Jonlin with both the sire and dam being by Muscles Yankee, making Optimist Blue Chip a 2X2 cross to that great sire. Dover Dan (Corey Callahan) and New Jersey Viking (Svanstedt) both flashed solid late trot to be third and fourth respectively.   Takter sent out the winner of the seventh in the Kadabra x Creamy Mimi colt Labero. He sat just off the lead for Yannick then inherited the front as Mushana went off-stride when engaged mid-stretch and finished on his own in 2:00.3 / 28.2. Winning Lyric (Morrill), Limerence (Svanstedt) and Perseverance (John Campbell) followed the winner in. Labero was a $130,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase by the partnership of Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman.   The Chapter Sevens are showing up and Eastern Promise (from the same connections as Chapter Seven) becomes another credit for that first crop sire winning in 1:57.3 for Tim Tetrick this morning, trotting home in 28.3 to seal the deal. Linda Toscano trains the winner for Richard Gutnick and his partners Knutsson Trotting and TLP Stable. King On The Hill flew home for Takter to be second and Eternal Patrol (Marcus Melander) was third.   Bill's Man was the winner of the ninth in 2:00.2 for Corey Callahan, trotting home in 28.4 going away. He's a $75,000 Lexington Credit Winner from 2004 Hambo Oaks winner Silver Springs trained by John Butenschoen for William Wiswell and M&L of Delaware. El Senor Deo (Svanstedt), Dear Dad (Jim Marohn, Jr) and Tiki Taka (Marcus Miller) were next across the wire.   Achille DuHaras was the easiest kind of winner for Takter & Gingras in race ten, opening a long lead under rating and then drawing away as Yannick pleased well in hand through the 28.1 end to the 2:00.3 mile. The colt is an Andover Hall homebred owned by Haras De L Estrie from their stakes winning broodmare Ariane Du Haras. He's Gone (Dave Miller) and Winneress (Trond Smedshammer) completed the top three.   Pacing fillies came around with the start of the eleventh race and She's Watching turned heads with a 1:55.2 winning effort, leading all the way, home in 27 flat for Gingras. She's the Rocknroll Hanover sister to Meadowlands Pace winner and co-fastest race horse ever He's Watching that cost Brittany Farms and Marvin Katz $200,000 at the Harrisburg sale last year. Tony Alagna is the trainer. Gemma's Beach Girl (Callahan) was second and Yourlipstogodsears (Tetrick) third.   The Roll With Joe filly Pleasant Roll was a winner today for Andy and Julie Miller, sitting a very loose pocket through fast fractions set by Okidoki Blue Chip (Morrill) then out gaming that rival in 1:55. Owned by Andy Miller Stable and JT 45, she was a $55,000 Lexington yearling.   Another Roll With Joe filly, Pirinea's Princess, came right back to win the next race in 1:56.2 with Marcus Miller driving for trainer Dennis Laterza and owner Latz A Luck Stable. Marcus left to the top, let Perplexed (Scott Zeron) go as they passed the half then tipped and went by that one on her own. Perplexed held for second and Somethinginawater (Campbell) closed to be third.   Brazuca won for John and Tom Cancelliere today with Corey Callahan working out a pocket trip for the Bettors Delight x Knock Three Times filly in 1:56.3. She got up over Jaye's A Lady (Dave Miller) and mile cutter Osprey Blue Chip through the 27.4 final quarter. Brazuca was a $65,000 Harrisburg yearling.   Blood Line came in with some track cred after a win at Gaitway win two weeks ago and he lived up to the hype today with a 26.3 final quarter tacked on to the end of his 1:56.1 win with the greatest of ease. He's a homebred Somebeachsomewhere colt from Blood Diamond owned by Diamond Creek racing, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven today by Yannick Gingras. Iminurblindspot (Zeron) was second and Music Is Art (Tetrick) closed from way back into the fast last quarter to get up for third.   Hit The Road Joe (Morrill) continued the parade of winners for sire Roll With Joe as he got up over Harry Terror (Callahan) late stretch in 1:54 with a 28 final quarter. Taylor, Nichol, Gray and Demeter gave $45,000 at Harrisburg for the colt from the good race mare Love You Forty who is trained in the Tracy Brainard stable. Southwind Jenson was a sneaky good third after a mid-stretch check.   Outkast Blue Chip closed out today's card a 1:56.4 winner for the Morrill, Brainard and Blue Chip interests. He's a Rock N Roll Heaven from Armbro Savannah that was $67,000 buy back at last year's Goshen sale. He led all the way and was extended through a 27.4 final quarter to hold off the rally of Flight Insurance (Andy Miller) which fell just short.   Live racing resumes tonight at 7:15, highlighted by the Ms Hot To Trot pageant.   Meadowlands Media Relations    

Durable pacer Glenferrie Hood sprung a major harness racing upset by claiming the Gr.3 $30,000 Wondais Mate at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). Recently transferred to the leading stables of Vicki Rasmussen, the Christian Cullen gelding had not won since taking out the Terang Cup back in February this year. But Glenferrie Hood ($34.90) turned his fortunes around with a barnstorming finish to defeat Ideal Scott ($5.90) and kiwi sensation Christen Me ($1.60 fav) in a time of 1:52.4 for the 1660m feature event. Sectionals were posted in 27.5, 29.2, 27.6 and 28.2 seconds. “He was absolutely super tonight and thrived on a genuine speed and finished really well, I still gave myself a good chance working off the back straight and got good cover flow from Christen Me before unwinding with a big late burst.” Winning driver Pete McMullen said. Connections of Glenferrie Hood have the option of starting again next week in the Listed $25,000 Mr Feelgood Open Pace or waiting for the Gr.2 $50,000 Sunshine Sprint on July 9. Tonight’s victory guarantees him a start in the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake on July 16. “The draw was the obvious concern tonight because I wasn’t sure where we would land but we were lucky enough to get into a fairly handy spot, things played out pretty good thereafter. I thought he went really good last week; he got a little rank mid-race before being caught up behind weakening horses. “Obviously the opposition will only get stronger in the coming weeks but he’s fit and in-form so he’s got a show provided he gets some normal luck. Hopefully, he can land some handy draws which will give him a shot again.” Glenferrie Hood has now won 21 of his 62 starts while amassing more than $220,000 in prizemoney. Christchurch trainer Cran Dalgety was happy with the effort of Christen Me and stated he will improve off tonight’s run. Christen Me had not raced since May 21 at Addington. The Brisbane winter carnival officially gets underway next week at Albion Park with three weeks of high quality pacing action planned.

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This is just a picture of the freezefame at the end of Pocono's harness racing replay for race 11 last night.   You can see it by watching the replay of Always Be Miki's race last night here   http://mohegansunpocono.com/racing/latest.html#race-replays.    See where it says "Stream has ended" at the top of the picture?   Just a fluke -- a fan watching a replay, and a technological accident/miracle occurs.        
(June 26, 2016) - In an abbreviated set on Friday night, Rusty Nash came out the weekly winner in the 2016 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. While Nash was the weekly leader, it was the same old same old as Jay Hochstetler remains in front with a total of 665.3 points; 65.68 points over second place Russ Adams. With the AJ Cutler Memorial being the featured race for the week coupled with the supplemental F-M Open Handicap Pace each won by heavy favorites, there was no movement in the overall standings but Nash came out on top earning 21.75 points as he played a pair of sevens; tabbing Resolve ($4.20) in the Cutler and Medusa ($3.00) in the Open tilt. The only handicapper who came close to Nash for the week was Dennis O'Hara whose 17.4 points was good enough for second place for the week. Mark Deutsch edged out three other handicappers for the show position with 11 points. Here are the standings after this weekend’s racing action: June 24 2016 - Leg #25 Pos Handicapper Total Points Prior Week Points Earned This Week Overall Total Points Position Last Week Points Back 1st Jay Hochstetler 655.90 9.40 665.30 1st - 2nd Russ Adams 589.23 10.40 599.63 2nd           65.68 3rd Mark Deutsch 503.25 11.00 514.25 3rd         151.05 4th Rusty Nash 485.28 21.75 507.03 4th         158.28 5th Dennis O'Hara 482.65 17.40 500.05 5th         165.25 6th Anne Stepien 468.23 6.00 474.23 6th         191.08 7th Gordon Waterstone 460.58 7.40 467.98 7th         197.33 8th Adam Friedland 457.50 9.40 466.90 8th         198.40 9th Matt Rose 434.43 10.40 444.83 9th         220.48 10th Ray Cotolo 407.58 3.60 411.18 10th         254.13 11th Bryan Owen 393.10 8.00 401.10 11th         264.20 12th Ray Garnett 363.33 7.40 370.73 12th         294.58 13th Sally Hinckley 344.70 10.40 355.10 13th         310.20 14th Joe Bengston 328.90 7.40 336.30 14th         329.00 15th Michael Carter 326.58 0.00 326.58 15th         338.73 With the holiday weekend almost upon us, there will be plenty of racing action for the handicappers to consider.  On Friday, July 1, the handicappers will be matching wits on the Tompkins-Geers for three-year-old trotters of both sexes at Tioga Downs while Mohawk Racetrack closes out the Friday night action with a leg of the Miss Versatility Trot.   Saturday night is a power-filled set of races with the Sun Stakes (Hempt, Lynch, and Beal Memorials; Ben Franklin) at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs with Northfield Park hosting the Cleveland Trotting Classic.  With a day off on Sunday, the action resumes on Independence Day as Tioga Downs hosts the Tompkins-Geers for three-year-old pacers of both sexes. For further information regarding the handicapping challenge, visit HANA Harness’ contest website  http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com, where you will find the handicappers’ selections and results, updated standings, as well a schedule of upcoming contest races.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator allan@hanaweb.org   Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 25, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway had its harness racing version of Old Home Week Saturday night... ...provided "Old Home" was Chicago. All that was missing was deep-dish pizza and Oprah. Tony Morgan-making his first Westchester appearance since September of 2012-and Brent Holland each had three wins during the dozen-race card. Morgan, he of the 15,400-plus career victories, earned a place in the local record books when pole-sitting Go Daddy Go ($13) won the $30,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace in a spiffy 1:50.1. The Ponder gelding, co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Bruce Soulsby, became the fourth member of the all-age-track-record club, joining Crombie A, Forty Five Red and Limelight Beach. It was also the swiftest local mile of the season. Morgan also won the co-featured $45,000 Open Pace with favored Doctor Butch ($5.30) in 1:51.2, and the $26,000, 11th race trot with a left-alone Major Athens ($4.10) in 1:53.3. That effort matched the fastest Westchester trot mile of the season with E R Ellie. Connecting the dots, "Ellie" (Larry Stalbaum, $14.40) won the co-featured $45,000 Open Handicap Trot from the pocket in 1:55. As for Holland, he upset the apple cart with American Venture ($57) in the $18,000, second-race pace (1:52), then escorted Mah Sish N ($9) in the $18,000, third-race pace. The Holland Hat Trick was completed with Moonliteonthebeach ($23.80) was a first-up winner in the $26,500 pacing finale (1:52.2). Frank Drucker
East Rutherford, N.J. -- The Rock and Roll Stable's Americanprimetime ($7.40) was resolute amid early pressure, turning aside two early harness racing challengers and setting fast fractions en route to a 1:49 triumph in the featured $17,500 top-level pace at the Meadowlands on Saturday (June 25) evening.   Joe Bongiorno had the accelerator down early with the 4-year-old American Ideal entire, battling with Vapour N (Pat Berry) and Art History (Victor Kirby) through a :26.2 first quarter and refusing to yield. While Vapour N eased off the pace, Americanprimetime would not shake off the challenge of Art History until well after a :53.4 half, subsequently gaining separation on the field through the far turn. Americanprimetime amassed a 3-1/2 length lead in upper stretch, but was fully extended in the last eighth to stave off a massive rally from Jacksrluckytoo (Jim Marohn, Jr.), who circled three-wide off the far turn and closed boldly to miss Americanprimetime's 1:49 mile by a scant head. Ashley's Husband (Vinny Ginsburg) circled from the rear of the field to take third, a farther 3-1/2 lengths back.   Rick Dane, Jr. trains Americanprimetime, now a 7-time winner.   For Bongiorno, the featured win was one of five on the 12-race card. Vinny Ginsburg also accounted for five driving wins on the evening, including the $15,000 Dash for the "G" Notes mini-series final for first-level conditioned pacers with Vague Traces ($2.20, 1:50).   Kate Repetto was crowned the 2016 Ms. Hot to Trot at the Meadowlands and Alicia Blanks the runner-up, taking a $5,000 grand prize and $2,500 second prize, respectively.   Both 20¢ Jackpot High 5 wagers carry over to next Friday's (July 1) program, with $21,976.73 going to the fifth-race High 5, and $267,769.47 added to the closing-race High 5 should one bettor take down the entire pool.   Despite one fewer race on the card in comparison to the corresponding Saturday program in 2015, total all-sources handle increased by $178,363.   Friday evening's program is due to commence at 7:15 p.m. Eastern. Fans and horsemen alike are advised that the Saturday (July 2) card carries a special first post of 6:30 p.m. For full information on racing, dining, and events at the Meadowlands, visit www.playmeadowlands.com.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations
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