Moonlit Dance, turned in a razor-sharp performance

"Dance" crushes in Princess Series opener

CAMPBELLVILLE, April 24 - Moonlit Dance and harness racing driver James MacDonald made a bold statement with a 1:52 victory in the opening leg of the Princess Series Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Just a single $20,000 division, featuring a field of eleven, was needed for the first leg of the three-week Princess Series for three-year-old pacing fillies. Moonlit Dance, the 9/5 favourite, turned in a razor-sharp performance to strike first in the series-opener. Driven by MacDonald, Moonlit Dance got away early in fourth and would be right lined to the outside in the second-quarter. The daughter of Art Major would eventually clear to the front before the final turn and took the field down to the three-quarter pole in a speedy 1:23.4. In the stretch, Moonlit Dance quickly created several lengths of separation on her rivals and cruised home in :28.1 to score her first victory of the season by four-lengths. Maplelea paced a :26.4 final-quarter to come from tenth at the three-quarter pole to finish second, while Twin B Honour finished third. Moonlit Dance is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owner David Goodrow Stable. The sophomore pacing filly came into Friday night's race having finished second in all three of her starts this season. The 1:52 victory is the second victory of her career and establishes a new career-mark. Moonlit Dance's career bankroll now sits at $44,354. She returned $5.80 to win. In order to be eligible to the Princess Series, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2014. The second leg of the Princess will take place next Friday (May 1) and series action continues Saturday night at Mohawk with the first leg of the Diplomat for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Dune in Red (#1), a 5-year-old daughter of Duneside Perch

Dune in Red holds off the cavalry charge

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 24, 2015-Pole-assigned Dune in Red (Tyler Buter, $16.80) held off the cavalry Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing featured $31,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace After seeing Fanticipation (Mark MacDonald) grab the first glory, Dune in Red edged from the pocket. The one made the lead just at a :27.3 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :57.3 intermission. Sweetnsinful (Jason Bartlett) then moved from fourth as the 3-2 favorite, prompting the pace through a brisk :27.4 third quarter (1:25.2). Delightful Dragon (Brian Sears) tried to match strides with Sweetnsinful, but found herself gapping down the backside. It was Dune in Red widening to 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn. She would need just about all that margin in a very slow (:29.2) final quarter, before lasting by a neck in 1:54.4. RD IOU and Fanticipation wound up in a dead-heat for second, with a late-arriving Delightful Dragon and Sweetninsful rounded out the payees. The first five finishers were separated by a length-and-a-quarter. For fifth choice Dune in Red, a 5-year-old daughter of Duneside Perch owned by Hero Stables and trained by Chris Marino, it was her first win four seasonal starts. The exactas paid $30.40 (with RD IOU second) and $160 (with Fanticipation second), with the triples returning $287.50 (RD IOU second) and $448 (Fancipation second). The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM), with the sport's two richest races of the season to date-finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (purse $261,000) and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (purse $529,000)-highlighting a $1.2 million purse card. GEORGE MORTON LEVY MEM. FINAL - SAT'S 8TH RACE HN/PP HORSE DRIVER 1/7 MACH IT SO Tim Tetrick 1A/8 P H SUPERCAM Jason Bartlett 2/1 DOMETHATAGAIN Dan Dube 3/2 LUCAN HANOVER Dave Miller 4/3 WINDSONG JACK Eric Carlson 5/4 BEACH MEMORIES Yannick Gingras 6/5 TAKE IT BACK TERRY George Brennan 7/6 POLAK A Brian Sears BLUE CHIP MATCHMAKER FINAL - SAT'S 6TH RACE HN/PP HORSE DRIVER 1/1 VENUS DELIGHT Jason Bartlett 1A/7 KRISPY APPLE Tim Tetrick 2/2 YAGONNAKISSMEORNOT Brian Sears 2A/4 CAROLSIDEAL Dan Dube 3/3 FANCY DESIRE Yannick Gingras 4/5 MONKEY ON MY WHEEL Dave Miller 5/6 STRINGS Eric Carlson 6/8 CAMILLE George Brennan The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM), with the two richest races of the season to date, finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (purse $261,000) and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (purse $529,000). After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM, $66,500 final of YR/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Note Sunday matinees are done until November. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

Daylon Miracle triumphed in 1:53.3

The $51,100 The Meadows Maturity

WASHINGTON, PA, April 25, 2015 -- Daylon Miracle stalked 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry from the pocket, then blew by the harness racing champ in the Lightning Lane to pull off a 5-1 upset in Friday's inaugural edition of the $51,100 The Meadows Maturity for mare trotters 4 and older. In the first start of her 4-year-old campaign, Shake It Cerry led the field through a snappy 1:24.3 three-quarters but tired late and faded to fourth, beaten 5 lengths. Classic Martine, the 2014 Mare Trotter of the Year, was buried from post 9 and never got involved, finishing sixth. Daylon Miracle triumphed in 1:53.3, 4 lengths better than Cowgirl Hall, with the winner's stablemate, Anaffairtoremember, third. That gave locally based horses a sweep and provided a bonanza for bettors who backed them to show. With Shake It Cerry off the ticket, the show payoffs for the top three were $9.40, $19.00 and $22.40, respectively. Dave Palone, who piloted Shake It Cerry, said there were no obvious problems with her as she suffered only the sixth loss in her 29-race career. "She felt great," Palone said. "I really got left alone the second quarter and got a nice breather up the backside. She probably just needed the work. She'll be just fine." Winning driver Aaron Merriman, on the other hand, was sitting with a handful of live horse and knew it. "Anywhere down the backside, I felt like I could have pulled at any time. She was that good," Merriman said of the 6-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Daylon Marvel, who now has banked $474,907 in her career. "But I was following a great horse and a great driver. David made my decision (to stay in the pocket) for me. His horse didn't look as sharp, and I thought he carried her a lot farther than she would have gone with somebody else." Bill Bercury, who owns and trains Daylon Miracle and Anaffairtoremember, called it the biggest win of his career. He had spoken of a 1-2 finish for his mares days before the race. It was a bold vision, and Bercury's mares nearly pulled it off with their 1-3 result. "We beat the two best mares in the country from last year," he said. "I'm very excited about that. I had a lot of confidence in both my mares. They both have a lot of heart. They both really like racing, and that means so much. I love them." He said his mares are headed to a May 3 stake at Miami Valley, where they expect to take on the best in their division again. "You have to remember -- this was the first start for the two mares we beat today," he said. "Next week will be a little tougher. At least now we feel we belong there." The Meadows Maturity for stallions and geldings 4 and older is set for Saturday, May 2 as part of the track's special Kentucky Derby Day program. $33,700 Do Me Honor Pace Friday's card also featured the $33,700 championship of the Do Me Honor Pace for sophomore fillies, which was taken by Dobre Povedane in 1:54.2. The daughter of Well Said-Vysoke Tatry sat patiently in the pocket for Mike Wilder before exploding in the stretch to down the early leader, Somewhere Fameous, by 1-1/4 lengths. One Over Par overcame traffic problems to earn show. Dobre Povedane crossed the wire first in the series opening leg but broke stride in the Lightning Lane after wrestling with Wilder and was disqualified. Following that episode, trainer Tim Twaddle made some rigging changes that Wilder said helped considerably. "Tim made a couple adjustments," Wilder said. "It's tough with a green horse, going from track to track, never been here. In the first leg, it was kind of my fault. She wasn't steering the best, and I kind of chased her off her feet. "Tonight, she felt super behind the gate, and I thought I'd give her a chance. She fell in a good spot and raced great." David Prushnok and John Prushnok campaign Dobre Povedane. Tony Hall drove five winners on the 12-race card while trainer Randy Bendis fashioned a triple. The pair teamed to capture the $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace with Certified Ideal, who poured through the Lightning Lane to prevail in 1:52.2 and extend her career bankroll to $321,972 for owners Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack, James Walton and Bendis. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Color’s A Virgin notched her second consecutive victory

Color's A Virgin repeats

ANDERSON, Ind.-April 24, 2015 - Color's A Virgin notched her second consecutive victory at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino after she effortlessly captured the featured harness racing event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational Pace for fillies and mares, on Friday, April 24.The reigning three-year-old pacing filly of the year has now gone back-to-back at the top level with her 1:52.2 victory and remains undefeated in 2015. Sent off as the overwhelming favorite in a field of eight, Color's A Virgin and regular pilot Trace Tetrick changed up their racing tactics and surprisingly left for early position. With American Girl and Sam Widger gunning for the lead from post six, Color's A Virgin left just enough to find a spot along the pylons in fourth. American Girl dictated the early tempo of :27.1 before yielding the lead to Montenegro and Jason Dillander just before the second station in :56.2. Fits Well and Tyler Smith, sitting along the rail in third, made a costly break down the backside and scattered the field behind them. Unwilling to take any chances, Tetrick avoided the breaker and gave Color's A Virgin the green light down the backside. She reached command just past the three-quarter clocking in 1:25 before turning for home with an ever-increasing lead. As the rest of the field struggled to stay within striking distance, Color's A Virgin found another gear and kicked home in :27.2 to finish two and three-quarter lengths in front of Montenegro. American Girl rallied gamely in the lane to round out the trifecta. Color's A Virgin returned $3.20 to her backers at the windows. Trained by Brian Brown, the four-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin-Full Color now sports a lifetime bankroll of $765,322 for her connections at Emerald Highlands Farm. Color's A Virgin won 13 of 18 starts in 2014, including the $178,862 Jugette on September 17 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. "Everything has been good with her, so far anyway," winning trainer Brian Brown noted after the victory. "I feel like she has really come back well. She seems a little happier to me this year not that she was unhappy last year, but I think she has come into herself this year." Color's A Virgin now has 20 career victories to her credit and has been nominated to races such as the TVG Mares Pace, The Lady Liberty and The Golden Girls for her four-year-old campaign. "To be honest, I haven't looked past the next race for her," he continued. "We're going to Miami Valley next Sunday, but as far as the rest of the year goes, we will play it stake race to stake race based on what she's ready for. I just want to make sure she's healthy, she's not tying up, and everything is good with her and so far it has been." Live racing will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, April 24 with a 14-race card. The live racing schedule at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 14. Emily Gaskin

EAST RUTHERFORD, April 24, 2015 - For the past two weeks, Inittowinafortune has chased Radar Contact from the pocket and each time she came up short. That changed Friday night at The Meadowlands as the five year old mare earned a hard-fought harness racing victory by a flared nostril in the featured $27,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap. Inittowinafortune was released as the 4-1 third choice behind Radar Contact (3/5) and Rocklamation (2-1). Radar Contact was sent immediately to the lead from her assigned outside post and she would remain on the point through strong fractions of 26.2, 54 and 1:22.1 before turning for home with Inittowinafortune right on her tail. As the open mares straighted away, Corey Callahan guided Inittowinafortune to the outside and mounted their bid for the lead. Callahan's mare put a head in front in mid-stretch, but Radar Contact dug back in and the two talented mares paced all the way to the wire together. Only a nose separated the pair, with Inittowinafortune earning a well-deserved victory over Radar Contact. Rocklamation was three lengths back in third in the 1:50.2 mile. Inittowinafortune is trained by Michael Russo for owner Michael Pagonas. Whom Shall I Fear was the easiest of winners again Friday night at The Meadowlands, as he coasted to a dominant wire to wire performance in his division of the Spring Preview for the three year old trotters. It appeared as though the $475,000 yearling never took a deep breadth as he coasted to a 1:54.4 triumph. The brother of Father Patrick, controlled the tempo through fractions of 28.4, 58 and 1:26.2 while never facing a challenge. Whom Shall I Fear is trained by Jimmy Takter for the Whom Shall I Fear Stable. For the second consecutive week, social media went abuzz as Whom Shall I Fear crossed the finish line Friday night. Many were asking the question as to if this is the three year old colt to watch leading up to The Hambletonian and if this is the horse that can push Mission Brief? The most interesting aspect of that question is that Yannick Gingras drives both horses. Muscle Network, the 2013 Valley Victory made his four year old debut a winning one, by taking a condition trotting event in 1:54.3. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee was last early in the mile and was allowed to find his stride through fractions of 28 and 56.4 before being guided to the outside by Dave Miller. Muscle Network found a live outer flow where he positioned himself third over and followed live cover past three-quarters in 1:25 where he set up his late rally as the field turned for home. From there, the classy four year old closed in on Quick Deal and reeled him in just before the wire to earn the comeback victory. Muscle Network is staked well, including the TVG Trotting Championship, and the upcoming Graduate series which begins one month from now at Tioga Downs. He is owned by Frank Bellino & Sons L.L.C. Stacia Hanover also returned a winner in a condition event for filly and mare pacers. The 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion was relegated to last early in the mile through rather tepid fractions of 28.2 and 57.1. Shortly past the half-mile pole, Stacia Hanover was guided outside and tracked live cover from a third over position where she would remain past three quarters in 1:26.1. From there, Scott Zeron would show his filly racetrack and she responded rallying home well to score in 1:55 over an equally fast-closing Strut My Stuff. American Truth saw her three race win streak come to an end, cutting the mile and finishing third. Stacia Hanover is trained by Steve Elliot for David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio. In amateur racing news, Hannah Miller continues to ride her amazing hot streak. Miller won the first race on the evening, the French-American Friendship Amateur event with Jacks To Open. Her record this season now stands at 6 wins from 21 starts with 12 of those 21 races resulting in an in-the-money finish. For her career, Miller has won 15 of 41 starts. The other amateur event went to Mr Ridgetaker and Alan Charles who took the field wire to wire. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers saw their carryovers continue. The 5th race carryover has grown to $91,918, while the last race carryover now stands at $62,450. Total handle for the 13-race program of $2,649,116 was an eight-percent (8%) increase over the same Friday one year ago. Racing resumes on Saturday, featuring the second round of the Whata Baron series, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Meadowlands To Open For Two Year Old Training on April 30th Two Year Olds Welcome To Train at The Meadowlands through the end of May Beginning Thursday, April 30th, two year olds will be able to train at The Meadowlands on Thursday mornings throughout the month of May. Horsemen can supply The Meadowlands with $1,000 for an unlimited number of two year olds to train or can pay $50 per horse.  All payments made will be added to The Meadowlands purse account, less expenses. Horsemen must submit payment along with a list of horses that will be training to the Meadowlands Race Office on Tuesday of each week, with training hours taking place on Thursday morning. Any horsemen with questions should contact The Meadowlands Race Office. In addition, please note that qualifiers next week will take place on Friday, May 1st at 9:30 A.M.  Qualifiers will return to Saturdays the following week. Darin Zoccali

Callan Suvaljko had a night he will remember for a very long time when he trained and drove the winners of both the colts and fillies divisions of the $100,000 Gloucester Standardbreds Sales Classic Finals at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park last night. In the fillies division his representative was the smart Bettor's Delight filly Bettor Bling who had the misfortune to draw one on the second line. Callan dropped her out to the rear early to get into the running line but as a result he was spotting the leaders a huge start going past the 800 metres mark. Slowly but surely she took ground off the leaders and flew late to run over the top of the pacemaking Trubluwaussie for a very impressive win. Bettor Bling paced the 1730 metres in 2:07.6, a mile rate of 1:58.7 Trubluwaussie's run was also full of merit as she was pressured in the lead the whole journey and only got caught late. Bettor Bling was a $18,000 purchase at last years Gloucester Standardbreds yearling sales by Sue Worral and the full sister to the smart racemare Delightful Jade 1:55.9 ($90,208) looks to have a bright future. Callan's representative in the colts division was the son of Rocknroll Hanover in Rocknroll Whitby who drew perfectly at barrier three. Away well, Rocknroll Whitby and Callan worked hard early but grabbed the lead after 500 metres and kept a steady tempo up front. Callan applied the pressure from the 800 metres mark with a quarter down the back in 28.5 before running home in 29.5 to seal a famous training double. Destined To Rule put in a top run to close late for second after starting from wide on the second line in front of Navy Blues who circled the field with a lap to go and stuck on well for third. Rocknroll Whitby paced the 1730 metres in 2:06.9, a mile rate of 1:58.1 A son of the former top racemare Party Date 1:56 ($256,003) Rocknroll Whitby was passed in by the vendors at last years Gloucester Standardbreds yearling sales when he didn't make his reserve of $20,000 and the vendors are now part of the group that races the gelding. Callan Suvaljko has had his trials and tribulations with officialdom over the years but he has always been acknowledged as a talented horseman and last nights results are just further confirmation of that. Harnesslink Media

Rock N Roll Heaven sired both of last night’s Australian Pacing Gold fillies’ semi-final winners, another boon for the 2010 USA Dan Patch Horse of the Year. Rock N Roll Heaven - by Rocknroll Hanover from Artistic Vision - is now second only to Art Major on the national top 20 list of sires for two-year-old pacers. Marg Lee’s improving filly Jilliby Jitterbug won the first of the APG fillies’ semi-finals in a rate of 1:58.4 thanks to a brilliant drive by Jason Lee, defeating Hazels Girl by 1.4m with Magical Delight third. Jilliby Jitterbug's dam, Keppel Bay catured the 2008 APG Final at Harold Park when trained by Emma Stewart. Jason Lee at his best on Jilliby Jitterbug in the first of the APG semi-finals for the night Queenslander Zaras Delight then scooted a five-metre win in the second semi, rating 1:59.7 for reinswoman Amanda Turnbull and trainer Mark Butler. Check out Zaras Delight winning her APG semi-final at Melton Zaras Delight was backed off the map with Mark Purdon-trained My Mackenzie weakening out of the race to run fifth after racing handy and opening at $1.50 with bookmakers. Zaras Delight was backed into $2.20 favourite at the jump, with My Mackenzie out to $3.10. Stay in touch with Harness Breeders Victoria for the latest from the breeding scene - HRV Media

TORONTO, April 24, 2015 -The Standardbred Alliance today declared that significant wagering growth, stable purses and integrated marketing efforts from the first year of operation are showing signs that harness racing in Ontario is on track toward a sustainable future.   Led by Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), the Standardbred Alliance is a consortium of eight Ontario racetracks created in April 2014. Its goal is to deliver Standardbred racing and wagering opportunities with a focus on ease-of-access to customers, consistent racing opportunities and purses for its participants, efficient track operations and coordinated efforts to attract new fans. The members represent a three-tier racing hierarchy: Grassroots (Clinton, Hanover), Signature (Flamboro, Georgian, Grand River and Western Fair) and Premier (Mohawk and Woodbine).   Among the successes in Year 1 was a sharp increase in wagering. Between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015, wagering pools for Alliance tracks grew by 16.6%, thanks to the increased distribution through an integrated off-track wagering network, as well as schedule co-ordination among Signature tracks, which maximized wagering opportunities. Signature tracks enjoyed several programs with wagering in excess of $400,000, and in general achieved wagering totals not seen in years. Meanwhile, overall wagering, including Alliance tracks and WEG's on-track and off-track operations, exceeded targets by more than $14 million, reaching $808 million for the fiscal year.   "The results so far are really remarkable, especially given all the pessimism there was about horse racing only a year ago," said Jamie Martin, Chairman of the Standardbred Alliance. "It's still early days, but we're seeing positive signs that the new Alliance model is working for the industry and for racing fans, and we're cautiously optimistic that Standardbred racing in Ontario is on the right track for a better future."   A core objective for the Alliance is to maintain a live racing schedule with competitive purses. When it was formed, Alliance tracks set minimum purse targets for Premier, Signature and Grassroots racing, and in 2014-2015 daily purses not only met, but exceeded those targets in all three racing tiers. Total race days, at 593, were on track with target, and the Alliance honoured its commitment to continue or reinstate such high-profile stakes races as the Kin Pace at Clinton, the Earl Rowe at Georgian and the Molson Pace at Western Fair.   As part of its efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the customer experience and attract larger wagering pools, the Alliance adopted a single betting platform - including betting devices and simulcast operations - across member tracks, and consolidated off-track betting operations under a single OTB licence, smoothing out inconsistencies in delivery and offerings while maximizing efficiencies. OTB operations were expanded and consolidated into the Champions network of Teletheatres, which now total 45 locations across the province. The network generated more than $350 million in wagering in Year 1, with significant gains from the newly acquired sites.   Meanwhile, Alliance tracks worked together to build horseplayer interest and attract new customers to Standardbred racing. A good example of the shared vision in action is the co-ordination of marketing efforts, including increased promotion of Alliance racing product and trial-and-education campaigns that successfully attracted thousands of new fans to racing in Year 1.   "We're seeing our fan base growing and wagering recovering after a couple of very tough years of uncertainty for Standardbred racing," said Martin. "There's a lot more to be done, of course, but the good news is the Alliance model is already producing results, and we're committed to making sure it does for many years to come."   John Siscos

Pompano Beach, FL - Harness racing hall of fame communicator and World War II decorated veteran, Murray Janoff, will be honored at the Isle Casino & Racing Pompano Park Saturday as he celebrates his 100th birthday. Janoff, of Boca Raton, will have the third race on the program named in his honor as family, friends and well-wishers are all invited to join him in the winner's circle for a special race blanket presentation. Arranged and hosted by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, it is hopeful that 100 people will in the winner's circle for the presentation race. Janoff will also be interviewed after the race is official. Janoff is the only surviving member of the original group of harness racing journalists who met 68 years ago and formed the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). The organization votes for the annual Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year award winners and also the inductees of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. He was inducted into the Harness Racing Communicators Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2008. He is still an active member of the Florida USHWA Chapter. Janoff is also a decorated World War II veteran who landed on Normandy Beach and fought in five major campaigns, including the Battle of the Budge, and served in Gen. George Patton's legendary Third Army. He left the army as a Major, received five Battle Star decorations including the Bronze Star and after the war picked right up as a sports journalist for the rest of his career. The third race special presentation for Murray Janoff is scheduled to take place 8:00 pm and the public is invited free of charge to attend. By Steve Wolf, for the Florida Chapter USHWA  

On paper tonights $145,000 Rowe Cup for elite class trotters at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park looked a one horse race with Stent in outstanding form and a clear favourite. Plenty of pundits were concerned about it being his first standing start for nearly five months and the 3200 metres was another query that was also regularly mentioned in the lead up to the race. As it turned out Stent trotted away brilliantly for Colin De Filippi from the stand to grab an early lead over Alley Way and Matthew Williamson. Mark Jones was away well with the defending champ Master Lavros and worked forward and took over the lead from Stent after 700 metres. There was no loitering in front as Mark Jones looked to take a bit of the speed out those in pursuit of Master Lavros and he kept the tempo up the whole way. Applying even more pressure as they went past the 400 metres mark, it was clear as they turned for home that Master Lavros only had one serious challenger and that was Stent who waited for the passing lane to lodge his challenge. These two knuckled down to fight it out and Stent got in the deciding stride to claim his first of the big 3200 metres cups To Master Lavros's credit it took Stent every inch of the straight at Alexander Park to get his head in front right on the line. Alley Way was 2 3/4 lengths back in third which was a great effort first up in the big time and there was a further four lengths back to One Over Da Moon in fourth. Stent trotted the 3200 metres from a stand in a very quick 4:03.6, a mile rate of 2:02.4 with closing setionals of 57.9 and 28. The time was a new race record, taking one point six seconds off the old record held by I Can Doosit. Colin De Filippi was very emotional on returning to scale, fighting back the tears. " My father won this race forty years ago and it really means so much to me to win this race." " It is a race I have wanted to win for a long time so its very special." " I can't say enough about what a great owner Trevor Casey has been to train for." " Even when things weren't going that well early in Stent's career, Trevor never even once questioned what I was doing" " He deserves all the success he is having," Colin said.  It has been a stellar season for the son of Dream Vacation with tonights win his 13th from just 18 starts this season with earnings of $637,216. Harnesslink Media

A lot of harness racing pundits (us included) had doubts about the ability of Sky Major to bounce back from an horrendous overland trip in the Taylor Mile last week and come from the outside of the second line to beat the great field assembled for the $100,000 New Zealand Messenger. But as horses with that touch of real class can do, Sky Major produced probably his best run at Alexandra Park to run  over the top of them late and snatch the win right on the line. As expected hot favourite Ohoka Punter with Tony Herlihy in the bike easily led from barrier one from Tiger Tara and Mossdale Conner  challenging for the lead with Beyond The Silence in the trail. Mossdale Conner settled in the parked out position while Tiger Tara and Gerard O'Reilly snuck into three back on the inner. Sky Major with Zac Butcher in the bike had settled back in the running line but when horses made their moves three wide, he progressed to be three back in the running line. The field pretty much stayed in that order until 1100 metres from home when Australian visitor Messini went round three wide but couldn't get into the parked position and was left out there for the rest of the race. As they turned for home Ohoka Punter looked all over the winner, but first Tiger Tara burst along the passing lane to claim him and he was quickly joined out wide by a flying Sky Major who had got a lovely drag into the race on the corner. At the finishing line there was only a nose in it but Sky Major had got there by half a head and in the process confirmed himself as a starter in this years Harness Jewels. Tiger Tara was very game in second having been involved in the early burn while Ohoka Punter was slightly disappointing in running third after getting his own rules in front. Sky Major paced the 2700 metres in 3:15.6, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 56.9 and 27.8. The time was a new race record, taking two tenths of a second off the old race record held by Tintin In America Zac Butcher was thrilled to have won another race for his boss Barry Purdon.   " Barry is just a master at setting horses for these Group 1 races." " This horse was all out last week but he has got him here tonight in great order." " The horse has gone super but it wasn't until the last 50 metres that I thought we may get up." " I am absolutely thrilled," Zac said.   With that win under his belt, Sky Major will now head to the Harness Jewels where he is a major chance to become the first horse to win three Harness Jewels crowns. Harnesslink Media  

The Newcastle/Maitland Mini Trot Association has been forced to postpone the inaugural Ross Gigg Driver Challenge, which was scheduled for tomorrow evening.  Due to the extreme conditions in the region, the decision was made to defer the challenge with an alternate date to be announced soon. “At this stage six of our nominated ponies are unfortunately affected by the floods including Megan McNamara’s, who are currently on a small island with rising waters,” Daryll Jackson said. “Although the extreme weather conditions have eased in the lower Hunter, the backlog of water is just reaching Maitland and surrounding areas causing major concerns for the district with a number of roads now inaccessible.” Jackson confirmed the decision to postpone the challenge had not been an easy one and hoped it would still be strongly supported when reprogrammed. “We didn’t make this decision lightly,” Jackson said. “We are very excited about the concept and will put forward a new suitable date as soon as it is practicable and we still hope all of the participants can attend. “Those that nominated ponies did so to assist in the memory of Ross Gigg and with that support it is only fair we give everyone the chance to attend.” Saturday night’s meeting at Newcastle is unaffected and will continue as programmed. HRNSW Media

Respected harness racing trainer Joe Pace admits it is getting harder to “keep a lid on the excitement” regarding promising pacer Lucky Vc. Speaking after the gelding’s victory at Ballarat last night, Pace believes Lucky Vc is capable of making his way to metropolitan company. “He is a pretty nice horse and there is a lot to like about him,” Pace said. “At this stage he just has no idea of what he is doing, but is getting better with every start. “I reckon he can win in town further down the track, but for now I will just keep taking it slowly with him and take it one run at a time. “I’ve learned all-too-well during the years you can’t plan too far ahead with horses no matter what kind of opinion you have of them.” Driven by top reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, Lucky Vc was caught three-wide early before settling outside the leader, Joelissa. Overpowering the front runner on the home turn, the son of Washington Vc was untouched as he cruised to an eight-and-a-half metre win from Masterofthurles, with Citysneak a metre-and-a-half away third. “This race was for female drivers, so I booked Jodi nice and early,” Pace said. “Jodi has achieved so much in the sport, but I still feel she is somewhat underrated. “When she was establishing herself it was harder for a young girl than it is now. Jodi doesn’t get the accolades she deserves.” Covering the last half in 56.5 seconds, Lucky Vc rated 1:57.4 for the 1710 metres, taking his record to two wins and six placings from 10 starts since crossing the Tasman. “Like I said, he still doesn’t know what it’s all about, which is something Jodi also said when she came back to scale,” Pace said. “As he matures and gains experience he should be a pretty handy horse. “I will put him around next week then he will have a fortnight off before working his way slowly through the classes.” PAUL COURTS

CAMPBELLVILLE, April 27 - The second leg of the harness racing Celias Counsel series Thursday night at Mohawk saw a repeat winner and a filly break her maiden. A pair $15,000 divisions were contested Thursday evening in the second round of the three-week Celias Counsel series for three-year-old trotting fillies. In the first division, Hape and trainer/driver Jack Moiseyev returned to the winner's circle for the second leg in a row with a 1:57.3 victory. A daughter of Pilgrims Taj, Hape came first up from third in the second-quarter and cleared to the front before the final turn. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:27.4, Hape drew away from her rivals in the stretch to score a four-length victory. Giona finished second, while Allies Gift took third. Hape is now two for two in 2015 and has an opportunity next week to sweep the Celias Counsel series. The sophomore trotting filly is owned by Joanne Colville and Nancy MacNevin. Hape's career record now sits at four wins from 12 starts for earnings of over $42,000. The clocking of 1:57.3 missed her lifetime mark by just a fifth of a second. Hape returned $6.20 to win. In the second division, Tymal Signature broke her maiden with a 1:57.3 triumph. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Tymal Signature would be situated in the two-hole around the final turn. After leader Ladyone reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, Baillargeon brought his filly off the cones and trotted right on by to score a 2 ¼ length victory. Ladyone just held on to finish second over Flexceptional. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Tymal Signature is trained by Mark Etsell, who shares ownership with Robert Newton and Steve Organ. The three-year-old trotting filly entered Thursday's second leg off a second-place finish in the opening round a week ago. Tymal Signature's first victory comes in her ninth start of the season and 11th of her career. The Etsell trainee now has a career bankroll of over $24,000. Tymal Signature paid $11.40 to win. In order to be eligible to the Celias Counsel series, the three-year-old trotting fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 in 2014. The top-ten money earners from the first two rounds of the series will contest the Celias Counsel final next Thursday (April 30). Mark McKelvie

DUNDAS, April 23 - The return of the Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs is less than a month away and it is shaping up to be a great harness racing event. A total of 23 top-level four-year-old pacers have made the final payment to remain eligible to the $200,000 (added) Confederation Cup on Sunday, May 17. World champion Hes Watching headlines the group of 23 eligibles. The Dave Menary trainee enters his four-year-old season with over $1.1 million in earnings and will be looking for hometown success, as he is stabled just a stone's throw away from Flamboro Downs at Stephenson's Training Centre. Other notables on the list include Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach and Ontario Sires Stakes champion Three Of Clubs. Eliminations for the Confederation Cup will be contested on Sunday, May 10 and will serve as a great appetizer for the big night a week later. The post position draw for the 'Cup' will take place on Wednesday, May 13 and will be live on CHCH News at Noon. The draw will also be streamed online. Confederation Cup night, Sunday, May 17, will be filled with great entertainment both on and off the track. Fans will be entertained by Flamboro's famous miniature race, a Racing Under Saddle (RUS) event, the Money Machine Madness and sampling stations. Fans will also have a chance to get up close and meet drivers and RUS riders. Greg Blanchard and Ken Middleton will provide commentary and analysis of all the night's action for both fans on track and watching via simulcast. Fans are also asked to bring a canned food item on Confederation Cup night in support of the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Hamilton. Those who bring a canned food item will receive a ballot for a chance to win a dinner for eight at Flamboro Downs. Post time for both elimination and Confederation Cup night is 6 p.m. For more information and details visit www.FlamboroDowns.com. All Bets Off Best Said Bettorever Big Boy Dreams Boomboom Ballykeel Hes Watching Ideal Cowboy Lets Drink On It Limelight Beach Luck Be Withyou Lyons Somewhere Mattamerican Melmerby Beach National Debt Nirvana Seelster Ok Gorgeous P L Hellcat Somewhere Fancy Somewhere In L A Speckled Door Three Of Clubs Unlocked Vance Bayama Mark McKelvie

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YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 24, 2015-Pole-assigned Dune in Red (Tyler Buter, $16.80) held off the cavalry Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing featured $31,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace After seeing Fanticipation (Mark MacDonald) grab the first glory, Dune in Red edged from the pocket. The one made the lead just at a :27.3 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :57.3 intermission. Sweetnsinful (Jason Bartlett) then moved from fourth as the 3-2 favorite, prompting the pace through a brisk :27.4 third quarter (1:25.2). Delightful Dragon (Brian Sears) tried to match strides with Sweetnsinful, but found herself gapping down the backside. It was Dune in Red widening to 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn. She would need just about all that margin in a very slow (:29.2) final quarter, before lasting by a neck in 1:54.4. RD IOU and Fanticipation wound up in a dead-heat for second, with a late-arriving Delightful Dragon and Sweetninsful rounded out the payees. The first five finishers were separated by a length-and-a-quarter. For fifth choice Dune in Red, a 5-year-old daughter of Duneside Perch owned by Hero Stables and trained by Chris Marino, it was her first win four seasonal starts. The exactas paid $30.40 (with RD IOU second) and $160 (with Fanticipation second), with the triples returning $287.50 (RD IOU second) and $448 (Fancipation second). The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM), with the sport's two richest races of the season to date-finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (purse $261,000) and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (purse $529,000)-highlighting a $1.2 million purse card. GEORGE MORTON LEVY MEM. FINAL - SAT'S 8TH RACE HN/PP HORSE DRIVER 1/7 MACH IT SO Tim Tetrick 1A/8 P H SUPERCAM Jason Bartlett 2/1 DOMETHATAGAIN Dan Dube 3/2 LUCAN HANOVER Dave Miller 4/3 WINDSONG JACK Eric Carlson 5/4 BEACH MEMORIES Yannick Gingras 6/5 TAKE IT BACK TERRY George Brennan 7/6 POLAK A Brian Sears BLUE CHIP MATCHMAKER FINAL - SAT'S 6TH RACE HN/PP HORSE DRIVER 1/1 VENUS DELIGHT Jason Bartlett 1A/7 KRISPY APPLE Tim Tetrick 2/2 YAGONNAKISSMEORNOT Brian Sears 2A/4 CAROLSIDEAL Dan Dube 3/3 FANCY DESIRE Yannick Gingras 4/5 MONKEY ON MY WHEEL Dave Miller 5/6 STRINGS Eric Carlson 6/8 CAMILLE George Brennan The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM), with the two richest races of the season to date, finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (purse $261,000) and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (purse $529,000). After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM, $66,500 final of YR/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Note Sunday matinees are done until November. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker
WASHINGTON, PA, April 25, 2015 -- Daylon Miracle stalked 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry from the pocket, then blew by the harness racing champ in the Lightning Lane to pull off a 5-1 upset in Friday's inaugural edition of the $51,100 The Meadows Maturity for mare trotters 4 and older. In the first start of her 4-year-old campaign, Shake It Cerry led the field through a snappy 1:24.3 three-quarters but tired late and faded to fourth, beaten 5 lengths. Classic Martine, the 2014 Mare Trotter of the Year, was buried from post 9 and never got involved, finishing sixth. Daylon Miracle triumphed in 1:53.3, 4 lengths better than Cowgirl Hall, with the winner's stablemate, Anaffairtoremember, third. That gave locally based horses a sweep and provided a bonanza for bettors who backed them to show. With Shake It Cerry off the ticket, the show payoffs for the top three were $9.40, $19.00 and $22.40, respectively. Dave Palone, who piloted Shake It Cerry, said there were no obvious problems with her as she suffered only the sixth loss in her 29-race career. "She felt great," Palone said. "I really got left alone the second quarter and got a nice breather up the backside. She probably just needed the work. She'll be just fine." Winning driver Aaron Merriman, on the other hand, was sitting with a handful of live horse and knew it. "Anywhere down the backside, I felt like I could have pulled at any time. She was that good," Merriman said of the 6-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Daylon Marvel, who now has banked $474,907 in her career. "But I was following a great horse and a great driver. David made my decision (to stay in the pocket) for me. His horse didn't look as sharp, and I thought he carried her a lot farther than she would have gone with somebody else." Bill Bercury, who owns and trains Daylon Miracle and Anaffairtoremember, called it the biggest win of his career. He had spoken of a 1-2 finish for his mares days before the race. It was a bold vision, and Bercury's mares nearly pulled it off with their 1-3 result. "We beat the two best mares in the country from last year," he said. "I'm very excited about that. I had a lot of confidence in both my mares. They both have a lot of heart. They both really like racing, and that means so much. I love them." He said his mares are headed to a May 3 stake at Miami Valley, where they expect to take on the best in their division again. "You have to remember -- this was the first start for the two mares we beat today," he said. "Next week will be a little tougher. At least now we feel we belong there." The Meadows Maturity for stallions and geldings 4 and older is set for Saturday, May 2 as part of the track's special Kentucky Derby Day program. $33,700 Do Me Honor Pace Friday's card also featured the $33,700 championship of the Do Me Honor Pace for sophomore fillies, which was taken by Dobre Povedane in 1:54.2. The daughter of Well Said-Vysoke Tatry sat patiently in the pocket for Mike Wilder before exploding in the stretch to down the early leader, Somewhere Fameous, by 1-1/4 lengths. One Over Par overcame traffic problems to earn show. Dobre Povedane crossed the wire first in the series opening leg but broke stride in the Lightning Lane after wrestling with Wilder and was disqualified. Following that episode, trainer Tim Twaddle made some rigging changes that Wilder said helped considerably. "Tim made a couple adjustments," Wilder said. "It's tough with a green horse, going from track to track, never been here. In the first leg, it was kind of my fault. She wasn't steering the best, and I kind of chased her off her feet. "Tonight, she felt super behind the gate, and I thought I'd give her a chance. She fell in a good spot and raced great." David Prushnok and John Prushnok campaign Dobre Povedane. Tony Hall drove five winners on the 12-race card while trainer Randy Bendis fashioned a triple. The pair teamed to capture the $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace with Certified Ideal, who poured through the Lightning Lane to prevail in 1:52.2 and extend her career bankroll to $321,972 for owners Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack, James Walton and Bendis. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
LEBANON, OH. - Friskie Lil Devil, who captured the $200,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship for freshman pacing fillies in her final 2014 start, opened her 2015 harness racing campaign by copping the $38,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship race at Miami Valley on Friday night.   Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. decided to take the safest route possible by leaving alertly and cutting all the fractions in an impressive gate-to-wire performance.   The pride of the Lil Devil Stable, the Brian Brown-trainee coasted through quarter splits of :27.3, :57.4, 1:27.1 and 1:55.4 to garner the relatively easy 1-1/2 length victory over stablemate Corner Girl (Josh Sutton) and E Ticket Ride (Dan Noble).   With the Hackett victory, Friskie Lil Devil is approaching $200,000 in career earnings from just nine lifetime races with three wins and six place finishes.   Sent off at 3-5 odds on Friday she will undoubtedly be favored again next weekend when the first legs of the 2015 Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore pacers and trotters are scheduled at Miami Valley.   The Brian Brown Stable enjoyed a huge night as Candy's A Virgin also captured the $17,050 Fillies and Mares Open Pace in her initial 2015 start; and her stablemate Candy's A Virgin won the $21,000 distaff invitational at Hoosier Park within the same hour. Both daughters of Always A Virgin, owned by Emerald Highlands Farm, are being pointed next at the $75,000 (est.) Chip Noble Memorial Grand Circuit stake for older female pacers on Sunday, May 3, which is closing day on the Miami Valley season.   Reinsman Chris Page guided Candy's A Virgin towards the front from the outside post position in a field of eight, gaining command just past a :26.2 first quarter. After tripping the middle teletimer beams in :54.3 and 1:23.3, the gray four-year-old posted a :28.3 final panel to win by a comfortable length in 1:52.1. Favored Native Dream (Dan Noble) sat the pocket throughout and finished second with Tarport Belle (Josh Sutton) finishing strong to complete the trifecta ticket.   Page had five trips to the winner's circle during the 12-race card. His other winners were Fox Valley Bonita (1:56.3), trotter Mischievous Jesse (1:58.1), Sectionline Aqua (1:53.2) and Buckeye Thea (1:54.1).   Racing resumes Saturday night at 6:30 with the $30,000 Hackett Memorial for pacing colts and an $18,150 Open Pace on tap.   Gregg Keidel
A Penny Earned triumphs in Open trot, hat tricks for Lems and Dewhurst. After only mustering a fourth-place finish in his harness racing seasonal debut last week, A Penny Earned ($4.10) was quick to right the ship, taking Friday (April 24) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs in 1:56.2.   The six-year-old Conway Hall gelding secured the pocket early behind Grey Ice (Jimmy Whittemore), brushing to a clear lead just upon entering the clubhouse turn. After exerting himself a bit to assume command through a :28.2 first quarter, he faced no pressure through a :31 stroll through the second. He was forced to pick up the pace on the far turn, as defending Open winner War Hero (Howard Okusko, Jr.) offered up mild first-over pressure. A Penny Earned would not be denied tonight, kept to task by Chris Lems to hold clear of War Hero by 1-1/4 lengths. Jaipur (Fern Paquet, Jr.) was urged to take third in deep stretch after loosely tracking War Hero's cover on the far turn.   Trainer George Ducharme co-owns the 22-time winner A Penny Earned with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva.   The win was one of three on the night for Lems, who was also victorious aboard David Dewhurst trainees Hollywood Jess ($9.00, 1:59.4) and Kyler's Valentine ($5.10, 1:55.3) earlier on the card. Dewhurst's training hat trick was completed by The African ($14.00, 2:00), who was driven to victory by John MacDonald in the opener.   The African and Hollywood Jess earned their respective victories in two of four first-round divisions of the Catherine Burton Trotting Series, with each split carrying a $4,000 purse. The other two division winners were Deadhead Royalty ($6.20), driven by Howard Okusko, Jr. for a late-rallying 1:59.2 score, and Julmyra ($16.20), who pounced up the inside from a pocket trip in rein to trainer-driver Brett Crawford.   Live racing returns on Saturday evening, with a 13-race card slated to kick off at 6:45 p.m. EDT. A $10,000 Open Pace takes top billing, along with the first round of the Anthony Farina Pacing Series.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs
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