Day At The Track
Fly Like An Eagle was sold at the APG Sales

Graduates to dominate Vic Sapling Stake

Some exceptionally-bred Victorian youngsters will contest Friday night’s harness racing Sapling Stake. Four of the two-year-olds - all Australian Pacing Gold purchases – are related to a host of Group One winners such as Elsu, Blatant Lie, Keppel Bay, Mother Courage, Mr Nickel, Jilliby Jitterbug, Fly Like An Eagle, Mach Doro, Chokin, Changeover, Copper Beach and Tandias Courage! But family reputations will count for nothing in the 1609-metre feature, where debutante stablemates Beltane and Higherthananeagle have fared best in barriers one and two. Prepared by last weekend’s Miracle Mile winning trainer David Aiken, the duo is expected to play a strong role in the finish. “I’m very happy with both of them,” Aiken said. “They both have their share of ability and should win a few races along the way. “At this stage I am leaning more towards Higherthananeagle, which could prove to be one out of the box.” Given Higherthananeagle’s trial at Shepparton last week, it is easy to understand why Aiken has a soft spot for the colt. Never fully extended, Higherthananeagle rated 1:56.8 over 1690 metres with Mark Pitt in the sulky. By Mach Three from Three Eagles, the freshman is a brother to Fly Like An Eagle and Mach Doro. “Beltane went well in his trial when second, and has improved in his work since, but Higherthananeagle was very impressive,” Aiken said. Beltane and Higherthananeagle are owned by Kevin Riseley and his son Martin, with the pair also the proud owners of Lennytheshark. Trained by talented horseman Matthew Craven, Ourbeachsomewhere will come out of gate three in his debut appearance, while Micrometeor, a winner at Swan Hill a fortnight ago - will start from five for Kerryn Manning. By Somebeachsomewhere, Ourbeachsomewhere is from multiple Group One winner Mother Courage, while Micrometeor – a son of Art Major - is from the same family as Australian Pacing Gold Final winners Blatant Lie, Keppel Bay and Mr Nickel. APG Media

Prairie Fortune

Prairie Fortune takes trotting feature

Pompano Beach, FL...February 27, 2017...Prairie Fortune, driven by John MacDonald, took top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open 1 Trot on Monday night (February 27), scoring a handy win in 1:53.3, just one tick off of his lifetime best performance.   The Florida bred 5 year-old gelded son of Arapa Victory pinned a 1½ length defeat on the late charging Massacaia, handled by Tom Jackson, with Explosive Muscles, with Dave Ingraham in the bike and in the garden spot much of the way, next, just a neck further back.   The pacesetting Diamond Dagger finished fourth after cutting fractions of :28, :56.3 and 1:24.4.   Prairie Fortune was away in good order mid-pack and pulled mid-way around turn two to begin chewing away at the leader. On the backside, Prairie Fortune ducked back in before tilting out again heading into the final turn.   As the field straightened away, Prairie Fortune muscled his way past the leader and easily held off the two most serious pursuers to score the handy win.   Commenting after the race, driver John MacDonald lamented, "He sure is a nice horse. He can grind away forever.   "Tonight, I took him out going to the half but ducked back in on the backstretch when Jason's mare (Diamond Dagger) seemed to have some steam left.   "I was pretty confident once we moved on even terms turning for home and he was strong to the line."   In getting his initial win of the season in just two starts, Prairie Fortune won for the 28th time in his 52nd career start, sending his lifetime earnings $210,545 for Laurie Poulin, who co-owns with trainer Mike Deters.   As the even money choice on the tote-board, Prairie Fortune returned $4.20 to his multitude of followers.   The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Celebrity Maserati, under the guidance of Marcello Spano, in 1:54.2.   This seven year-old son of Andover Hall, making only his 30th lifetime start, went a brave first over journey on the backside and proved the best by a length over Kabu, driven by Tom Jackson.   Southwind Stryker, handled by Wally Hennessey, finished third, this after a miscue leaving and spotting the field several lengths.   Pocket Trip was fourth while Stache picked up the nickel. Gold Savage completed the order of finish after sawing through panels of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25.2.   The clocking was the fastest for the winner since a 1:53 win at Pocono Downs as a 2013 three year-old, the year he won $138,402 and claimed the crown in the prestigious Dexter Cup.   Celebrity Maserati pushed his seasonal scorecard to 2-2-0 in four starts to send his 2017 earnings to $12,375. Lifetime, he's banked $174,032.   As the 2 to 1 second choice, Celebrity Maserati returned $6.40 to win.   Racing continues on Tuesday night with a septet of trotting mares in action in the feature.   Modern Mercury has been installed as the 8 to 5 morning line favorite and trainer Rob Harmon has hired George Napolitano, Jr. to take the lines back of this four year-old daughter of Donato Hanover.   Total Freedom, She's All In, Celebrity Artemis, M T Ur Pockets, Serendipitious and Bad Angel complete the talented field.   In the "better for the bettor" department, Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale carryover has ballooned to $21,509 for Tuesday night's card. There also a $10,000 guaranteed pool for the Pick-4, contested on races six through nine.   Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park

My Hare Lady

My Hare Lady sole survivor

LEBANON, OH. – My Hare Lady lead a cavalry charge through the wire to capture the $15,000 championship final of a three-week harness racing “Survivor Series” for $5000 claiming mares on Monday afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway.  The 8-year-old Jereme’s Jet lass held on by a nose over Certitude (Brady Galliers), with show finisher Endeavors Ladyluck (Jeremy Smith) and a host of others all within a couple lengths at the end of the 1:55.3 mile. The ‘Brew Crew’, trainer Jeff Brewer and his son driver Jason Brewer, condition the horse for owner Chris Choros.  After winning a division of the first eliminations, My Hare Lady was second by a length in the second round to advance to the lucrative final.  Sent off at 9/2 odds, the winner returned $11.60 for a $2 ducat in the final. In the program nightcap, longshots Absolute Purity (Kayne Kauffman) and Thunder Noise (Jeff McNabb) combined for a record exacta payoff.  With Absolute Purity going off at 64-1 and paying $131.80 to win, and runnerup Thunder Noise going off at 42-1, the exacta payoff of $7020.20 was the highest in the four-year history of Miami Valley. Gregg Keidel  

Rockin Rum Springa

Unruly Rockin Rum Springa much the best

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 27, 2017 -- An unruly Rockin Rum Springa was wide in the turns -- and not much more manageable in the straighaways -- but still was much the best in Monday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 conditioned pace for fillies and mares. Rockin Rum Springa nearly blew the first turn while trying for the lead before Dave Palone was able to wrestle her back to the cones. The 4-year-old daughter of Rockin Image-Deferred Comp finally settled down at the three-quarters and scored in 1:54 over a "good" surface. Classic Carpet was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Seeyouatthefinish third. Ron Burke trains Rockin Rum Springa, who notched her second straight victory and extended her career bankroll to $176.611, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Jim Pantaleano piloted four winners on the 12-race card, lifting his career total to 6,995. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

February 25, 2017 - The even-money favorite Sultana Jet (6f Igor Font-Art Deco-Diamond Way) held bravely for a length victory in Saturday’s harness racing featured Wind Scot DIJ (purse 600,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart) at Kincsem Park. Co-owner Gyorgy Horvath was again the pilot for trainer Imre Fazekas and Pimri Bt., the other co-owner. The quick stepping mare (shown below) has won two straight in as many 2017 appearances and has a 4-1-0 slate in five starts since import. Toniatti Giacometti SS SAgricola bred this mare. 6.8/1 Bimbo de Chenu (5f Scipion du Goutier-Ovive de Chenu-Casino des Sports) was second for Tibor Hajnal, also trainer. 9.5/1 Nacho Nico (10g Belami-Icecandy Star-Endless Sands) was third for Emese Vezer. Race time was 1.17.1kr. The undercard included the 400,000Huf Buvesz DIJ (distance 1900 meters autostart) and 1.4/1 Tiara Boss (5f Wall Street Banker-Peace Force Pro-Kosar) scored in 1.19kr for Zoltan Ozvar, also trainer, and owner Arizona doo of Serbia. She scored for the second time in five 2017 starts. The Cedrus DIJ (purse 360,000Huf, 1960 meters voltstart) went to 7.1/1 Bonjour Evo (4f Donato Hanover-Real Live Woman-Angus Hall) timed in 1.22.5kr for trainer/driver Sandor Varga and owner Antioch Arani SRO (CZE). This win was her first since import for Finland. The Nyakas Handicap (purse 360,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart) went to 1.18.6kr timed and 2.1/1 Passion Grif (8g Varenne-Sex Appeal OK-Lanson) with trainer Laszlo Kolozsi at the lines. Finally, the Nyeretlenek Versenye (purse 360,000, 1900 meters autostart) went to 5.4/1 Villeneuve (3m Pilgrims Taj-Brisco Emma-Brisco Robertto) for driver Zoltan Gyolai (amateur), owner Gyolai Racing, and trainer Laszlo Kolozsi. Race time was 1.21.3kr. Quality trotting continues every weekend at the beautiful Kincsem Park facility. Visit their new website www.nlkfu.hu. Thomas H. Hicks

February 26, 2017 - Jerry Riordan’s trainee Twister Bi (5m Varenne-Lorraine Bi) at 3.5/1 odds took today’s Prix de l’Association National des Turfistes (Gr. III, purse €105,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters) at Vincennes. Harness racing driver Bjorn Goop teamed Twister Bi to an impressive win coming from dead last and circling the field with a sustained bold move. Riordan’s other trainee in this field, 19.8/1 Tango Negro (5f Infinitif-Lisetta Real) was a narrowly beaten second for driver Alexandre Abrivard, escaping late on the inside after being shuffled on the pegs. Graziano Ceccaroni owns this one and Pasquale Ciccarelli owns Twister Bi. 23/1 Cirrus Atout (5g Look de Star-Ire du Ciel) was third for Gabriel Gelormini. Race time was 1.14.4kr. The Pris Gras Savote (purse €76,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) went to 1.13.7kr timed and 7/10 odds Alphea Barbes (7f Look de Star-Lova Barbes) reined by Charles J.Bigeon. Christian Bigeon is the trainer and A.F. Bigeon is breeder/owner of Alphea Barbes. 45/1 Ulysse Maria (9g Nuage de Lait-Kemetcha Maria) was second for Romain Derieux and third was 9/1 Agora du Goutier (7f Jardy-Olyarpe Pierji) for reinsman Franck Nivard. The monte Prix Paris-Turf/Vivier de Montfort (purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 10 starters) went to loose on the lead 7/10 favorite Arlington Dream (7g Ready Cash-Lalla Clairchamp) with Yoann Lebourgeois in the irons. Phillippe Allaire trains and Frederic Sauque owns the winner. 7.2/1 Uno Dancer (9g Offshore Dream-Laura Dancer) was second for Honorin Guerot and trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. 20/1 Vrai Voyou (8g Gazouillis-Organginette) ended third for Adrien Lamy and owner/trainer P. Emmanuel Mary. Race time was 1.12.8kr. Thomas H. Hicks

If all David Miller did in 2016 was win a couple Breeders Crowns, the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, sit behind three divisional champions, become only the third harness racing driver in history to surpass $200 million in lifetime purses (while also setting a career best for earnings in a single season) and become only the fifth person with at least 12,000 victories, well, that would be a pretty memorable year. So imagine a year when a driver could accomplish all those feats and still not have any of them register as the achievements that will be best remembered in the decades to come. Miller doesn't have to imagine it. He lived it. Miller, of course, was the driver of male pacer Always B Miki, who was the 2016 Horse of the Year and paced the fastest mile in harness racing history, 1:46 at Lexington's Red Mile in October. Always B Miki, who battled 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit throughout the season in one of the most talked about rivalries in recent memory, won 12 of 18 races, finished worse than second only once, and earned $1.48 million in purses last year. "It was pretty incredible," Miller said. "When I think back about him, I'll think about his world record first. He raced tough so many times --- the Breeders Crown was a great race (surging late to beat Wiggle It Jiggleit by three-quarters of a length) and probably one of the highlights there --- but when I think about him I always think of Lexington. For him to do it, it was pretty special." Miller on Sunday night was honored as the 2016 Driver of the Year at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards dinner, presented by Hoosier Park, at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Always B Miki was recognized as Horse of the Year and the stallion's trainer, Jimmy Takter, was honored as Trainer of the Year. Other equine honorees included Trotter of the Year and 3-year-old male trotting champion Marion Marauder plus divisional winners Walner (2-year-old male trotter), Huntsville (2-year-old male pacer), Ariana G (2-year-old female trotter), Idyllic Beach (2-year-old female pacer), Betting Line (3-year-old male pacer), Broadway Donna (3-year-old female trotter), Pure Country (3-year-old female pacer), Obrigado (older male trotter), Hannelore Hanover (older female trotter) and Lady Shadow (older female pacer). In addition to driving Always B Miki, Miller was the driver of Betting Line and Broadway Donna. After opening his campaign with a second-place finish against older horses, Betting Line never lost again, putting together a 14-race win streak. His wins included the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, and Battle of the Brandywine. He set the world record (1:47.2) for a 3-year-old pacer on a five-eighths-mile track and his 1:49 mile in the Jug equaled the record for a 3-year-old pacer on a half-mile oval. "If I didn't have Always B Miki, Betting Line had a tremendous year," Miller said about the Casie Coleman-trained colt. "He was so strong and dominant all season. By rights, he had every shot to be Horse of the Year himself. He was such a dominant horse in his category." For the second consecutive year, Broadway Donna was named a divisional champion and in the process joined her dam, Broadway Schooner, in receiving a Dan Patch Award at age 3. Broadway Schooner was honored in 2009. Broadway Donna, trained by Jim Campbell, won seven of 12 starts and earned $664,708. Her wins included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters, Kentucky Filly Futurity, and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. "She's very deserving," Miller said. "She really wasn't in the limelight, but to me she's a real special horse. We just have a real special connection with her, all of us, because she's battled through some problems and ended up the year better than she had been in two years. She was so sharp her last four or five races. Jim did a great job." But, oh, that Miki. In addition to becoming the fastest horse in history, Always B Miki shares the world record of 1:47 for the fastest mile by a horse on a five-eighths-mile track. Always B Miki paced 1:47 on a five-eighths oval on three occasions, an unprecedented feat. He also holds the record of 1:47.1 for the fastest mile ever paced in Canada. And he did it all after being twice sidelined by leg injuries that each required surgery and forced him to miss the end of his 3-year-old season as well as the majority of his 4-year-old campaign. "The things he did on the track, and the things he overcame, it was just unbelievable," Miller said. "It's hard for horses to come back off of injuries. And to be better than what they were, it's pretty much impossible, I think." Miller was ready for a try at the world record when Always B Miki competed in the Allerage Farms Open Pace at The Red Mile, and had fractions mapped out for the attempt. When Always B Miki reached the halfway point in :52.2, Miller thought they were right on schedule. When they hit three-quarters in 1:19.4, he thought they were in trouble. But Miki paced the final quarter-mile in :26.1 to break Cambest's 1:46.1 time trial clocking and lower the race record by four-fifths of a second. "The world record was on my mind quite a lot," Miller said. "The anticipation for it kind of kept building all year. He was coming close (to the race record) and winning races. "I had fractions figured out what to go to try to beat the world record. I had mapped out the first half that fast, but the three-quarters a lot faster. When we got to three-quarters in (1):19.4, I didn't think he would go (1):46 flat. But he was just that type of horse. He never let anybody down." Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit met eight times last year, with Always B Miki winning four times to Wiggle It Jiggleit's three. (Shamballa won the remaining encounter.) The rivalry captivated fans across North America. "Wiggle It (Jiggleit) was the only one, and (his connections) would probably say this the other way, that could go with Miki week in and week out," Miller said. "It was quite the rivalry. It was good for the sport. It got people interested in watching them go at it, and I think that's great. "They probably needed one another. It made it good for everyone. Wiggle It (Jiggleit) has got quite the fan base, and Miki did too, and it really was a big deal for all of them. It was pretty cool." Racetrack announcer Sam McKee, who is recovering from a stroke suffered earlier this month, told Miller during last year's campaign that Miki was probably the best horse Miller ever drove. Miller hadn't really thought about it in those terms until then. "I never said it during the year, but I always thought he was before his time," Miller said about Always B Miki, who was retired to stallion duty at the end of last season. "I've had horses go big miles once or twice, but he seemed to do it every week. He was unbelievable. So Sam probably had it right; I'll probably never drive another horse like that. I'm going to miss him, that's for sure." Click here for a complete list of award winners from Sunday's ceremony. Ken Weingartner

Pompano Beach, FL...February 26, 2017...First Of Itskind, giving a strong hint last week by closing fastest of all in the Open Pace, used a backstretch blitz from fifth into the lead on Sunday night (February 26) and went on to post a 10 to 1 harness racing upset in the $12,000 Open 1 Handicap, stopping the timer in 1:51.2. Handled by Tom Jackson, the six year-old gelded son of Western Terror pinned a 1½ defeat on Uncmprmising Z Tam (Mike Simons) with Sing For Me George (Kevin Wallis), making his 2017 debut, third, 5¾ lengths away. The 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Drachan Hanover, prominent early, finished fourth while Rockntouch picked up the minor award in the field scratched down to six. At the outset, Rocky's Z Tam, leaving from the outside, zipped up early to take the lead and sizzled an opening panel of :26.1 before reaching the half in :55.3. That is when First Of Itskind began his brush from fifth and, by the time they reached the third station in 1:24, he poked his head in front and then widened his margin thereafter, sprinting home in :27.2 to seal the deal. After the race, driver Tom Jackson briefly said, "This horse was very good last week and just needed some more racetrack at the end. "Tonight, I thought I would give him the opportunity by starting him a bit earlier. "In other words, I asked and he answered. That was quite a brush and he probably paced his last half under :55." He did! In fact, he paced his third quarter in :27.2 and came home in that identical time, too. Trained by Jason Robinson for owner Robert Main, First Of Itskind pushed his 2017 scorecard to 2-1-2 in six starts, good for $16,140. He's banked $182,941 career-wise to go along with his Pocono Downs mark of 1:49.4. First Of Itskind paid $23.80 to his faithful. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Fritzie Pic Up Man, handled by Kevin Wallis. This six year-old altered son of Always A Virgin left the gate with alacrity and took command an eighth into the mile and then went on to post fractions of :26.1, :54.4 and 1:23.2 before a :28.1 sprint home sealed the issue over the fast closing Pointsman, driven by Rick Plano. Heart Felt finished third after a backside brush left him a half-length back of the leader around the final bend while Whogoesfirst was fourth. Cadillac Phil managed to pick up the nickel in the classy sextet. Trained by Richard Lareau for the JP Houle Stables, Fritzie Pic Up Man won for the second time this semester in eight starts, sending his 2017 bankroll to $19,700. As the 3 to 2 favorite, Fritzie Pic Up Man paid $5.00 to his multitude of backers. Catching up on the other weekend action, the Florida Amateur Driving Club continued their generosity in assisting worthy goodwill and charitable causes with yet another contribution to Bit-By-Bit, the organization that promotes independence for at-risk youth, persons with special needs and disabled veterans. Two F.A.D.C. events were held on Saturday night and both proved to be milestones for the winning drivers, Ron Cusimano and Troy Basista. Cusimano scored with the 14 to 1 outsider Garlandsandpearls in 1:59.1 and, in doing so, won his first race since last century--his last win coming on April 9, 1999 with Strong Vincent at Pompano Park. Cusimano, who has seen very limited action in the sulky since then--only 11 starts coming into the weekend--proved he hasn't lost the winning touch by leaving, yielding and sitting chilly before easing out turning for home and edging by at the wire for his 236th career win. Basista earned his first win in exactly five years by guiding Without Me As ($15.80) to a 1:57.4 win in the Super Hi-5 finale. Troy's last win was with Cracker Justine at Pompano Park as a member of the Florida Amateur Driving Club. His weekend success was his eighth career win. Racing continues on Monday night with the headliner being the $12,000 Open Trot. Prairie Fortune returns to the racing wars after a very sharp qualifying win in 1:54.3. Trained by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, Prairie Fortune will have the driving services of John MacDonald and is listed as the 2 to 1 favorite on the morning line. Explosive Muscles, Massacaia, Boli, Sooo Handsome, Diamond Dagger and Swan Handicap complete the talented field. Monday's card features a Pick-6 carryover, as well as a $10,000 Guaranteed Pool on the Pick-4, contested on races six through nine. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Mateship was to the fore at Charlton yesterday when Glenn Douglas and Michael Bellman crossed the line in the same sulky after a harness racing collision in the finishing straight. Douglas’ drive Pocket The Deal galloped in the final 200m in the Cup Day Fanatics 3YO Classic, veering in on Michael Bellman’s Knight Sky Safari, who was hugging the pegs. Bellman takes up the commentary. “At the time, when I looked up, I saw it sort of gallop and it was holding its ground in a straight line and I thought I’m going to be all right,” he told RSN 927 this morning. “Josh Duggan (driving Islandspecialmajor) got through underneath it, only just, and once he cleared Josh he just took two bounds to the left and I was coming through at a fairly quick rate of knots and just couldn’t miss him in the end. “As he whipped across, I hit him with that much force I Shanghaied (Glen) into my cart.” While Douglas leapfrogged into the sulky from the right, Bellman was almost spat out to the left, with only quick reactions and a bit of teamwork preventing either from hitting the canvas. “I didn’t really even know at the time, because I had fallen to the left and was heading out of the cart,” Bellman said. “I was lucky I got hung up underneath the undercarriage of the sulky and hung on with my legs. “I pushed myself back up off the ground to get back in and as I looked back, here’s Glenn hanging on the other shaft. “He looked like he was planking for a second, he was laying right back. I’ve just got myself back in, reached down and grabbed him by the hand and pulled him back up in.” It was a great piece of drivers camaraderie, although that friendship only extends so far. “I’m just dirty if he hits me up for half my driving fee,” Bellman said. Most importantly, no drivers nor horses were harmed in the incident. Click here to see vision of the thrilling finish.

The Sydney raid for leading harness racing Queensland trainer Grant Dixon is far from over. Fresh off the success on Saturday night which netted a victory in the Gr.2 $52,000 Slingsby Holdings Drivers Invitational with in-form pacer Leos Best, the stable will take aim at a few more targets before returning home. A team of four was sent south earlier this month under the watchful eye of stable foreman Dale Hogan and the results have been more than pleasing. Leos Best headlined the team while Our Overanova, Max Richter and Eleniark have also assisted the team. “The results have been very pleasing, especially with Leo doing such a great job and with a little more luck, maybe the others could’ve picked up a few races too. All credit goes to Dale, he’s been with them the whole time and the results have come his way.” Dixon said. Leos Best has won all three races to date in Sydney highlighted by his all the way success on Saturday night when handled by ace reinsman Mat Rue. North American based Andy McCarthy handled him in his first two victories. But the four-year-old will have another crack at Menangle before returning home to the sunshine state in readiness for the Brisbane winter carnival. Dixon has marked a $30,000 MO/M1 series starting on March 10 for his in-form Cammibest gelding. “It looks a good option for him so he may as well stay down for that before returning home, he’s holding his form so well. He was in great form before he left and he’s continued on with that form in his three starts to date, he obviously loves the big track too. “Dale said he come through the weekend in really good order so that made the decision easier to target that next series. We’re stabled on course this time and obviously their enjoying the change of scenery and environment. “We’ll be looking at number of features during the carnival up here, being a four-year-old gives us plenty of range. He’s a very professional little horse, always has been and he just keeps stepping up to the mark. We were all very excited to see him win on Saturday night; both Andy and Mat did a great job.” Leos Best has won 21 of his 34 starts to date while banking close to $300,000 in prizemoney. He is the fastest son of Cammibest following his 1:50.7 victory two starts ago. Cammibest stands at Burwood Stud on the Darling Downs. Dixon has a pair of runners competing tomorrow at Menangle with Eleniark and Max Richter both starting while he has three runners engaged at Albion Park. Chris Barsby

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, February 26, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway's fourth Sunday harness racing card of the season included seven 'French' trots, though the featured $50,000 Open Handicap wasn't among them. A field of seven (after a defection) were all nose-to-gate going the flat mile, with second choice B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno, $7.90) picked off 11-10 choice Rose Run Parker (George Brennan) at the wire in 1:56.1. The eventual winner-from post position No. 2-was part of an early, three-way scrum also involving Zooming (Tyler Buter) and Red Hot Herbie (Jason Bartlett). It was 'Herbie' making the lead (but not the cones) right around a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. Soon after, Rose Run Parker, who had tucked in behind the early speed, made his second move, taking his turn by a :58.4 half. It was :28.2 down the back (1:27.1) as B Yoyo went after the leader from third. Entering the stretch, Rose Run Parker owned a length lead, but the pursuer was relentless. B Yoyo was up by a nose, with Red Hot Herbie, Luck O The Irish (Jordan Stratton) and rank outsider Lou Man (Dan Dube) completed the cashers. The winner hadn't been seen in Westchester since October of 2015, while the runner-up jump it off in his only previous local try (July, 2016). For B Yoyo, a 7-year-old Striking Sahbra gelding trained by Richard Johnson for co-owners Bill Lambos and Dionisios Liberatos, is was his third win in eight seasonal starts.. The exacta paid $25.80, with the triple returning $79.50. The Sunday 'New York, New York Double' offered up a winning combo of 2-Shesmyheartandsoul (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 1-Ontheroad De Vie (Yonkers' 6th race), which paid $25.50 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $5,769. Frank Drucker

Just like last night’s Miracle Mile harness racing meeting, the competition was fast and furious during today’s Ladbrokes Australian Pacing Gold Sale. With a terrific overall clearance rate, the colts were in particular high demand, with three breaking six figures and several falling just short. The highest priced lot of the day was 368 – a colt by Bettor's Delight from Lady Euthenia - which attracted a national record bid of $245,000. A break down reveals the colts sold for an average of $28,728, an increase from last year’s $27,233, while the fillies attracted an average of $18,611 this time around. Pleased with the figures, APG’s General Manager David Boydell stated the bids reflected the quality of the stock on offer throughout the afternoon. “This year’s sale had so many outstanding types go through the ring, which led to some spirited bidding,” Boydell said. “To have the average for both colts and fillies increase from last year is a very pleasing result for all involved.” As mentioned, the top colt was a record purchase for Tasmanian owner Mick Maxfield, while the leading filly was Lot 259 secured by Justin Baker for $90,000. By boom stallion Somebeachsomewhere, the flashy maiden is from Very Chic, which comes from a family littered with winners. For full results click on this link.

February 26, 2017 - Magnifique!!! Extraordinare!!! Bold Eagle (6m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) won today’s Gr. I Grand Prix de Paris (purse €400,000, 4150 meters) for harness racing driver Franck Nivard, coming from a fourth back outer position during much of this race. He followed advancing Briac Dark late in the last bend and sprinted past for a length score timed in 1.14.kr. Off at 3/10 odds the winner now has 33 wins in 37 career starts for career earnings of €3,103,300) after the €180,000 winners share today. Bold Eagle and connections also earned a €300,000 Triple Crown bonus after also winning the Prix d’Amerique and Prix de France during the Paris-Vincennes winter meet. What a horse!!! 13.6/1 Briac Dark (6m Prince Gede-Queen des Chames) was a solid second for David Thomain, trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and owner Guy Barou. Third was 30.2/1 Bird Parker (6m Ready Cash-Belisha) for J.Ph.Monclin, trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Elisabeth Allaire. 9.1/1 Belina Josselyn (6f Love You-Lezira Josseln) was a competitive fourth for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and owner Yvan Bernard with fifth to 274/1 Best Of Jets (6m Magnificent Rodney-Plume Jets) driven by Tony LeBeller for owner/trainer Jean Michel Baudouin. Lionel, last year’s Prix de Paris upset winner, and Akim du Cap Vert were next to the line. Game pacesetter Up And Quick, a double winner of this race and race time record holder, faded to 10th. Bold Eagle’s accomplishment today is made even more important by the fact that it has been over 40 years since Bellino II won the Triple Crown of FR trotting and there had been only three winners (Jamin, Gelinotte and Bellino II) prior to Bold Eagle. Other interesting notes are that Thierry Duvaldestin trained Ready Cash during much of his career and was second as trainer today with Briac Dark. Philippe Allaire, owner/developer of Ready Cash, was third today as trainer of another son of that sire, Bird Parker. The top five finishers are all FR-bred six year-olds, quite a powerful crop. The Prix de Paris was today’s Quinte+ as well. Prix de Paris 2017 : Bold Eagle remporte la Triple Couronne Guarato back on the Bold Eagle GP of Paris and discusses the future Peter Pilarski after the Grand Prix de Paris Bold Eagle Thomas H. Hicks

February 26, 2017 - Grand Prix de Paris day began with the Groupe II harness racing Monte Prix Paul Bastard (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, eight starters). A large crowd saw the 1/2 favorite Canadian d’Am (5m Ready Cash-Kanadia) be a decisive 1.14.3kr winner for jockey Mathieu Mottier, trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Laurent Efin. The winner recorded his tenth victory in 22 starts now for earnings of €516,410. 6.1/1 Celina Polks (5f Kool du Caux-La Canella) was second for Alexandre Abrivard and owner/trainer Joel Van Eeckhaute. Third went to 6.2/1 Cyprien de Bordes (5m Ouragon de Celland-Perle des Bordes) for jockey J.L.Cl Dersoir. Legendary Joel Hallais trains this one for Ecurie Rib. This winner stalked the slow pace from a loose death seat position until surging to the front late in the final bend. Canadian d’Am then coasted to a open lengths lead and held off his pursuers to the line.    

Victorian pacer Lennytheshark scored a thrilling harness racing victory in last night's (Saturday) Gr.1 $750,000 Ainsworth Gaming Technology Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle, and the 50th edition of Australasia’s premier speed test. A runner-up last year, Lennytheshark ($5.50) sat without cover in the 1609m contest before holding off Smolda ($10.20) by a half-head margin with race favourite Lazarus ($2.20) a further two metres away in third in a time of 1:49.1. The breakdown was 24.8, 30.3, 28.2 and 25.9 seconds. The time was well outside of the race record set last year by Have Faith In Me at 1:47.5. It was the first victory for Lennytheshark on the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. The victory was also the first since Smoken Up back in 2010 where the winner of the Miracle Mile has sat without cover – a first over crush! Lennytheshark becomes the 10th pacer to claim the Miracle Mile/Inter Dominion double joining the likes of Beautide, Smooth Satin, Our Sir Vancelot, Westburn Grant, Our Maestro, Village Kid, Preux Chevalier, Young Quinn and Hondo Grattan. It was the 22nd victory in the event by a stallion, the Four Starzzz Shark – Botswana entire becoming the first since the mighty Christian Cullen proved successful back in 1998. And Lennytheshark now becomes the highest earning stallion in the southern hemisphere with earnings of $2,560,890 eclipsing Terror To Love. The overall record belongs to the incomparable Queensland champion Blacks A Fake with $4,575,456. The victory provided both trainer David Aiken and driver Chris Alford with their maiden success in the great race. For Alford, he has now claimed the Australian Grand Slam with victories in the Inter Dominion, Victoria and Hunter Cups and the Miracle Mile. Alford joins Natalie Rasmussen, Chris Lewis, Barry Perkins and Brian Gath as winners of the Big 4! It was his fifth drive in the Miracle Mile following placings previously with Golden Reign (1994 – Chokin), Tailamade Lombo (1998 – Christian Cullen, 2000 – Holmes D G) and Lennytheshark last year when second behind Have Faith In Me. The early burn was set-up by Hectorjayjay who charged across the face the field to lead from the wide draw while Smolda attempted to go with him from his inside draw. The 24.8 opening split is the fastest opening quarter in a Miracle Mile. Hectorjayjay led the way with Lennytheshark parked outside him while Lazarus worked into a one wide trail. As the field hit the half way point, the second quarter was timed in 30.3 seconds. Hectorjayjay continued to lead his stablemate Lennytheshark while the All Stars team of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen lurked dangerously. Smolda was sitting behind Hectorjayjay, Lazarus in the one out, one back trail while Our Waikiki Beach tracked Lazarus. As the field passed the 400m mark, the third quarter was timed in 28.2 with Hectorjayjay still in front while the moves were being made behind him. In the straight, Lennytheshark raced to the front while Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach loomed on his outside and Smolda probed for an inside run. Under the urgings of Alford, Lennytheshark failed to surrender and fought off his rivals. The last 400m timed in 25.9 seconds. “He’s an unbelievable horse.” Alford said. I’m so proud of him and he deserves this victory. “He gets the job done, I wasn’t sure at the 100m or 50m mark but he wouldn’t give in.” Lennytheshark is owned by Kevin Riseley and his son Martin. The final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place in the sunshine state with the running of the $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. The latest points table for the APG Grand Circuit; Lazarus – 240 points Smolda – 185 Bling It On – 165 Lennytheshark – 140 Chris Barsby

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Pompano Beach, FL...February 27, 2017...Prairie Fortune, driven by John MacDonald, took top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open 1 Trot on Monday night (February 27), scoring a handy win in 1:53.3, just one tick off of his lifetime best performance.   The Florida bred 5 year-old gelded son of Arapa Victory pinned a 1½ length defeat on the late charging Massacaia, handled by Tom Jackson, with Explosive Muscles, with Dave Ingraham in the bike and in the garden spot much of the way, next, just a neck further back.   The pacesetting Diamond Dagger finished fourth after cutting fractions of :28, :56.3 and 1:24.4.   Prairie Fortune was away in good order mid-pack and pulled mid-way around turn two to begin chewing away at the leader. On the backside, Prairie Fortune ducked back in before tilting out again heading into the final turn.   As the field straightened away, Prairie Fortune muscled his way past the leader and easily held off the two most serious pursuers to score the handy win.   Commenting after the race, driver John MacDonald lamented, "He sure is a nice horse. He can grind away forever.   "Tonight, I took him out going to the half but ducked back in on the backstretch when Jason's mare (Diamond Dagger) seemed to have some steam left.   "I was pretty confident once we moved on even terms turning for home and he was strong to the line."   In getting his initial win of the season in just two starts, Prairie Fortune won for the 28th time in his 52nd career start, sending his lifetime earnings $210,545 for Laurie Poulin, who co-owns with trainer Mike Deters.   As the even money choice on the tote-board, Prairie Fortune returned $4.20 to his multitude of followers.   The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Celebrity Maserati, under the guidance of Marcello Spano, in 1:54.2.   This seven year-old son of Andover Hall, making only his 30th lifetime start, went a brave first over journey on the backside and proved the best by a length over Kabu, driven by Tom Jackson.   Southwind Stryker, handled by Wally Hennessey, finished third, this after a miscue leaving and spotting the field several lengths.   Pocket Trip was fourth while Stache picked up the nickel. Gold Savage completed the order of finish after sawing through panels of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25.2.   The clocking was the fastest for the winner since a 1:53 win at Pocono Downs as a 2013 three year-old, the year he won $138,402 and claimed the crown in the prestigious Dexter Cup.   Celebrity Maserati pushed his seasonal scorecard to 2-2-0 in four starts to send his 2017 earnings to $12,375. Lifetime, he's banked $174,032.   As the 2 to 1 second choice, Celebrity Maserati returned $6.40 to win.   Racing continues on Tuesday night with a septet of trotting mares in action in the feature.   Modern Mercury has been installed as the 8 to 5 morning line favorite and trainer Rob Harmon has hired George Napolitano, Jr. to take the lines back of this four year-old daughter of Donato Hanover.   Total Freedom, She's All In, Celebrity Artemis, M T Ur Pockets, Serendipitious and Bad Angel complete the talented field.   In the "better for the bettor" department, Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale carryover has ballooned to $21,509 for Tuesday night's card. There also a $10,000 guaranteed pool for the Pick-4, contested on races six through nine.   Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park
LEBANON, OH. – My Hare Lady lead a cavalry charge through the wire to capture the $15,000 championship final of a three-week harness racing “Survivor Series” for $5000 claiming mares on Monday afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway.  The 8-year-old Jereme’s Jet lass held on by a nose over Certitude (Brady Galliers), with show finisher Endeavors Ladyluck (Jeremy Smith) and a host of others all within a couple lengths at the end of the 1:55.3 mile. The ‘Brew Crew’, trainer Jeff Brewer and his son driver Jason Brewer, condition the horse for owner Chris Choros.  After winning a division of the first eliminations, My Hare Lady was second by a length in the second round to advance to the lucrative final.  Sent off at 9/2 odds, the winner returned $11.60 for a $2 ducat in the final. In the program nightcap, longshots Absolute Purity (Kayne Kauffman) and Thunder Noise (Jeff McNabb) combined for a record exacta payoff.  With Absolute Purity going off at 64-1 and paying $131.80 to win, and runnerup Thunder Noise going off at 42-1, the exacta payoff of $7020.20 was the highest in the four-year history of Miami Valley. Gregg Keidel  
WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 27, 2017 -- An unruly Rockin Rum Springa was wide in the turns -- and not much more manageable in the straighaways -- but still was much the best in Monday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 conditioned pace for fillies and mares. Rockin Rum Springa nearly blew the first turn while trying for the lead before Dave Palone was able to wrestle her back to the cones. The 4-year-old daughter of Rockin Image-Deferred Comp finally settled down at the three-quarters and scored in 1:54 over a "good" surface. Classic Carpet was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Seeyouatthefinish third. Ron Burke trains Rockin Rum Springa, who notched her second straight victory and extended her career bankroll to $176.611, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Jim Pantaleano piloted four winners on the 12-race card, lifting his career total to 6,995. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
If all David Miller did in 2016 was win a couple Breeders Crowns, the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, sit behind three divisional champions, become only the third harness racing driver in history to surpass $200 million in lifetime purses (while also setting a career best for earnings in a single season) and become only the fifth person with at least 12,000 victories, well, that would be a pretty memorable year. So imagine a year when a driver could accomplish all those feats and still not have any of them register as the achievements that will be best remembered in the decades to come. Miller doesn't have to imagine it. He lived it. Miller, of course, was the driver of male pacer Always B Miki, who was the 2016 Horse of the Year and paced the fastest mile in harness racing history, 1:46 at Lexington's Red Mile in October. Always B Miki, who battled 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit throughout the season in one of the most talked about rivalries in recent memory, won 12 of 18 races, finished worse than second only once, and earned $1.48 million in purses last year. "It was pretty incredible," Miller said. "When I think back about him, I'll think about his world record first. He raced tough so many times --- the Breeders Crown was a great race (surging late to beat Wiggle It Jiggleit by three-quarters of a length) and probably one of the highlights there --- but when I think about him I always think of Lexington. For him to do it, it was pretty special." Miller on Sunday night was honored as the 2016 Driver of the Year at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards dinner, presented by Hoosier Park, at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Always B Miki was recognized as Horse of the Year and the stallion's trainer, Jimmy Takter, was honored as Trainer of the Year. Other equine honorees included Trotter of the Year and 3-year-old male trotting champion Marion Marauder plus divisional winners Walner (2-year-old male trotter), Huntsville (2-year-old male pacer), Ariana G (2-year-old female trotter), Idyllic Beach (2-year-old female pacer), Betting Line (3-year-old male pacer), Broadway Donna (3-year-old female trotter), Pure Country (3-year-old female pacer), Obrigado (older male trotter), Hannelore Hanover (older female trotter) and Lady Shadow (older female pacer). In addition to driving Always B Miki, Miller was the driver of Betting Line and Broadway Donna. After opening his campaign with a second-place finish against older horses, Betting Line never lost again, putting together a 14-race win streak. His wins included the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, and Battle of the Brandywine. He set the world record (1:47.2) for a 3-year-old pacer on a five-eighths-mile track and his 1:49 mile in the Jug equaled the record for a 3-year-old pacer on a half-mile oval. "If I didn't have Always B Miki, Betting Line had a tremendous year," Miller said about the Casie Coleman-trained colt. "He was so strong and dominant all season. By rights, he had every shot to be Horse of the Year himself. He was such a dominant horse in his category." For the second consecutive year, Broadway Donna was named a divisional champion and in the process joined her dam, Broadway Schooner, in receiving a Dan Patch Award at age 3. Broadway Schooner was honored in 2009. Broadway Donna, trained by Jim Campbell, won seven of 12 starts and earned $664,708. Her wins included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters, Kentucky Filly Futurity, and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. "She's very deserving," Miller said. "She really wasn't in the limelight, but to me she's a real special horse. We just have a real special connection with her, all of us, because she's battled through some problems and ended up the year better than she had been in two years. She was so sharp her last four or five races. Jim did a great job." But, oh, that Miki. In addition to becoming the fastest horse in history, Always B Miki shares the world record of 1:47 for the fastest mile by a horse on a five-eighths-mile track. Always B Miki paced 1:47 on a five-eighths oval on three occasions, an unprecedented feat. He also holds the record of 1:47.1 for the fastest mile ever paced in Canada. And he did it all after being twice sidelined by leg injuries that each required surgery and forced him to miss the end of his 3-year-old season as well as the majority of his 4-year-old campaign. "The things he did on the track, and the things he overcame, it was just unbelievable," Miller said. "It's hard for horses to come back off of injuries. And to be better than what they were, it's pretty much impossible, I think." Miller was ready for a try at the world record when Always B Miki competed in the Allerage Farms Open Pace at The Red Mile, and had fractions mapped out for the attempt. When Always B Miki reached the halfway point in :52.2, Miller thought they were right on schedule. When they hit three-quarters in 1:19.4, he thought they were in trouble. But Miki paced the final quarter-mile in :26.1 to break Cambest's 1:46.1 time trial clocking and lower the race record by four-fifths of a second. "The world record was on my mind quite a lot," Miller said. "The anticipation for it kind of kept building all year. He was coming close (to the race record) and winning races. "I had fractions figured out what to go to try to beat the world record. I had mapped out the first half that fast, but the three-quarters a lot faster. When we got to three-quarters in (1):19.4, I didn't think he would go (1):46 flat. But he was just that type of horse. He never let anybody down." Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit met eight times last year, with Always B Miki winning four times to Wiggle It Jiggleit's three. (Shamballa won the remaining encounter.) The rivalry captivated fans across North America. "Wiggle It (Jiggleit) was the only one, and (his connections) would probably say this the other way, that could go with Miki week in and week out," Miller said. "It was quite the rivalry. It was good for the sport. It got people interested in watching them go at it, and I think that's great. "They probably needed one another. It made it good for everyone. Wiggle It (Jiggleit) has got quite the fan base, and Miki did too, and it really was a big deal for all of them. It was pretty cool." Racetrack announcer Sam McKee, who is recovering from a stroke suffered earlier this month, told Miller during last year's campaign that Miki was probably the best horse Miller ever drove. Miller hadn't really thought about it in those terms until then. "I never said it during the year, but I always thought he was before his time," Miller said about Always B Miki, who was retired to stallion duty at the end of last season. "I've had horses go big miles once or twice, but he seemed to do it every week. He was unbelievable. So Sam probably had it right; I'll probably never drive another horse like that. I'm going to miss him, that's for sure." Click here for a complete list of award winners from Sunday's ceremony. Ken Weingartner
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