Day At The Track

Millionaire Charmed Life makes it two for two

Charmed Life (Majestic Son) cruised to victory in the Sunday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard trainee was the public's overwhelming favorite in the wagering as she made her second start of the season while coming off a win at Pocono Downs earlier in the month. Billy Dobson drove Charmed Life in the $14,500 Open Trot and moved her out to the early lead, a lead she would never relinquish. The 1-5 favorite coasted to victory in 1:55.1, the fastest mile for any trotter thus far at the Spa this year. Cash Me Out (Jimmy Devaux), already a two-time Open winner this season, had to settle for second on Sunday while longshot Lucid Thoughts (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. The seven year old Charmed Life, who has career earnings of over $1 million, is now two-for-two in 2017. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a 4:00pm first post time. Mike Sardella

Jailhouse Sam

Jailhouse Sam crowned champion

DAYTON, OH. - Jailhouse Sam was crowned champion of the annual Robert J. Brown Memorial trotting series on Sunday afternoon (April 23) at Miami Valley Raceway. Although harness racing trainer-driver Hugh 'Sandy' Beatty believes his colt's best races may come from off cover trips, he made a last second decision to point him directly to the front when the starting gate swung open in this $17,500 final. A homebred of owner Casey Clemens, the 3-year-old Victory Sam-Jailhouse Broad gelding sailed through fractions of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.4 before tacking on a final panel in :28.4 to hold off fast-closing Goldfinger (Dan Noble) in 1:56.3. Deweyknowigotit (Derek Watiker) parlayed a pocket trip into a third place finish. "This colt made a little over $50,000 last year including winning the $25,000 Ohio Fairs Final at Dayton Raceway," said Beatty after the race, "so we have high hopes for him this year. His next start will be in the first leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes right here at Miami Valley next Monday (May 1)." "I'm really pleased to win this race honoring R. J. Brown," Beatty related. "My parents were great friends with 'Skeeter' and he was an outstanding Ohio horseman. It doesn't hurt that his colors were blue like mine, either, so the commemorative blanket will come in handy." Gregg Keidel    

Harness racing

H3R opens season with no show wagering

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Harness racing fans attending live or wagering via Off-Track-Betting and on the internet for the opening day 2017 program Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R were met with a surprise as the only racetrack in Quebec has done away with show wagering. H3R became only the second racetrack in North America and the first in Canada to do away with show wagering. Pompano Park did it for a short period back in 2004. Track management cited that over the past years there was little wagering done in the show pools and elected to end the wager in 2017. Doing away with show wagering also prevents possible 'bridge jumpers", people who risk large show wagers to make the mandatory $0.05 payout for a $1.00 wager. Sunny skies greeted fans and horsemen and the very first race of the year put the photo finish camera to work as Norvena Hanover and driver Stephane Brosseau barely held off two moves by Lucies Pet and driver Richard Simard, winning by a scant nose and paying $7.30 to win. The fastest mile on the day went to Solid Performance ($5.00) and veteran driver Gaetan Lamy, who captured the 8th race Open Pace in 1:56.2. Bazinga Brad (Stephane Gendron) was first on the lead from post seven to a quick opening quarter in :27.3 and then backed it down to the half mile marker in :58.3. But Lamy had Solid Performance on the move first-over and they were able to grind it out and take the lead from Bazinga Brad at the three-quarters in 1:27.2 before scoring an easy triumph. It was the first win in ten starts for Solid Performance, an eight-year-old gelding by Armbro Deuce, who is owned and trained by Marc Andre Cormier of Princeville. In the fifth race Open Trot, Torches Angel and driver Pierre Luc Roy were able to grind it out first-over against race leader Rocky Boy (Marc Bellanger) and then hold off Caroluzzo (Stephane Gendron) to win in 2:02.2. It was the third win this year for Torches Angel, a seven-year-old gelding by Angus Hall, trained by Yves Tessier and owned by Francois Morin of Beauceville, paying $3.70 to win. TRACK NOTES: Driver Stephane Gendron wasted little time posting his first win of the new race meet, winning the second race pace Sunday with Reposession and is now just 12 wins away from scoring his 4,000th career win. Stephane Brosseau had the hot hands of all the drivers on the day, winning three races. Last year's leading trainer at H3R, Yves Tessier, picked up right where he left off last season, on top of the training standings with two wins from his stable. Live racing resumes next Sunday, post time 12:50 pm. Visit for more information. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Jerry Riordan

Jerry Riordan’s trainee wins €108,000 Gr 1

April 22, 2017 - Jerry Riordan’s trainee Twister Bi (5m Varenne-Lorraine Bi-Lemon Dra) took today’s harness racing Gr. I Seinajoku Race (Finland) (purse €108,000, first prize €60,000, 2100 meters autostart) timed in 1.13kr. The Italian bred campaigner is owned there by Pasquale Ciccarelli and now has a 2-1-0 slate in just three 2017 appearances and 18-6-1 in 41 career starts for €274,072 earned. Twister Bi led from the quarter post and drew off easily after a challenger went offstride in the final bend. Christoffer Eriksson piloted the winner, that bested Vasterboonthenews (9g Credit Winner-Sandra Dime-Alf Palema) reined by Peter Ingves. Third was fast-closing Anna Mix (7f Ludo de Castelle-Ires-Tenor de Baune) teamed by Jorma Kontio for owner Franck Leblanc. Twister Bi is next to race in Helsinki in two weeks. Twister Bi Jerry Riordan Thomas H. Hicks

April 22, 2017 - 1.8/1 Tobin Kronos (5m Muscle Hill-Zarnia FC-Sugarcane Hanover) took Saturday’s Umaker V75 day harness racing featured Berth Johanssons Memorial (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) with Orjan Kihlstrom aboard for trainer Daniel Reden and owner Brixton Medical. Tobin Kronos is two for two in 2017 and 11 for 26 lifetime for 2,531,836SEK earned. 4.6/1 Cruzado dela Noche (5m Muscle Massive-Alidade-Credit Winner) earned second money for driver Per Linderoth, trainer Stefan Melander and for owner Courant AB. Third was 3.6/1 In Vain Sund (5m Revenue-Staro Yasmine-Supergill) reined by Erik Adielsson  for trainer Reden. On the undercard was the V75 Gold Olympiatravet Test#4 (150,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) and the 1.2/1 favorite Propulsion (6m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) scored victorious timed in 1.12.7kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the Reden trainee for owner Stall Zet. Propulsion secured his first 2017 win in four starts and now has 20 wins in 41 career starts for 6,842,599SEK earned. 6/1 Fire To The Rain (6g Yankee Glide-Adelaide Hall-Conway Hall) took second for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Reijo Liljendahl. Third was 43/1 Cool Keeper (7m Broadway Hall-Missys GoGo-Yankee Glide) trained by Leif Witasp and driven this day by Kenth Akerlund. Thomas H. Hicks

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - When the 92-year-old boss flies in from San Diego, you don't want to disappoint him. Good thing Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) held up her end of the bargain Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $310,600 harness racing final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, Mackenzie A watched as Lispatty (Brian Sears) leave hard from the pylons, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) second and 9-10 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) third...all three away in post position order. Meanwhile, Regil Elektra (Yannick Gingras) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) tried to leave, only to get parked for their troubles (the latter badly compromised by the former). It was Lispatty leading at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile before Mach it a Par move to take the baton approaching the :55.1 intermission. Down the backside, Shesjustadelight N took out of third, with Mackenzie A third and Medusa (Matt Kakaley) staying in. Mach it a Par was seemingly in control in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with the uncovered rival pacing in place, forcing Mackenzie A wide. It was Mach it a Par owning a length-and-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. Mackenzie A blew on by, widening to win the ninth Matchmaker by 2¾ lengths in in life-best 1:53.1. Medusa, who had left the cones, failed to match strides with the winner but was a rallying second, with 81-1 rank outsider Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno) a closing third. That one found her way into the final after original eight-holer Empress Deo came up ill. Mach it a Par faded to fourth, with Shesjustadelight N fifth and Lispatty, Regil Elektra and Bedroomconfessions bringing up the rear. For co-second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by the nonagenarian Harry von Knoblauch (a fine TV interview) and his daughter, Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $167, the triple returned $6,251 the superfecta paid $19,960 (base $2 payout). "I thought I have to race her from off the pace," Stratton said. "The trip worked out perfect for us. I knew there were horses behind and I wanted to move." Stratton won the inaugural edition of the race in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels. Mackenzie A A $75,000 series consolation was won by Hidden Land (Bartlett, $9.50) in 1:54.1. Hidden Land Saturday night's $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.70) in 1:56.4. Barn Doll Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $24.80) was hard-used early and hard-headed late Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $529,000 final of the harness racing George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The sport's richest race of the season to date again honored the memory of the Hall of Fame founder of Roosevelt Raceway. At the outset of the 30th Levy, pole-sitting McWicked (Matt Kakaley) was-not surprisingly-put into play. He was joined by Keystone Velocity, who from post position No. 4, forged to the lead just after a spiffy :26.1, opening quarter-mile. Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett), leaving right outside of Keystone Velocity, was caught three-wide and forced to wrangle back to fourth. McWicked, who had retaken the lead in the second turn, found a :54.4 intermission before longshot Blood Brother (Brian Sears) moved from third. He uncoupled stablemate Somewhere in L A latched from second-over, with even-money choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick) and last season's champion, Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton), at the back of that train. McWicked maintained his advantage through a 1:22.3 intermission three-quarters (:27.4 third station), taking a tenuous lead into the lane. However, his night was about to come to a unsatisfying conclusion. McWicked was done early off final turn, but not before taking Keystone Velocity to the promised land of the passing lane. It was Keystone Velocity fighting off the race's other tough mile, beating Somewhere in L A by a head in 1:51.2. Missile J settled for third, beaten a length, with a very-wide Bit of a Legend N fourth and 107-1 proposition Soto (Brett Miller) grabbing the final pay envelope. Blood Brother, Pcovocativeprincen (Yannick Gingras) and McWicked completed the order. For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned (as Allard Racing) by trainer Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr and VIP Internet Stable, it was his third win (as the fifth choice) in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $135.50, the triple returned $593 and the superfecta paid $2,406. "Rene (Allard) and I talked before the race and we decided we had to leave the gate," Dube said. "I was just hoping Matt (Kakaley, with McWicked) could get me to the lane. My horse felt very strong, but I did see the other one (Somewhere in L A) coming." The driver/trainer combination won this race two seasons ago with Domethatagain, also with a two-hole trip. Keystone Velocity A $100,000 series consolation was won by Clear Vision (Miller, $8.40) in 1:51.3. Clear Vision Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 22, 2017) - The Meadowlands winner's circle was painted orange on Saturday night as Andy Miller swept the co-featured upper level paces en route to a four-win night during the 11-race harness racing program. Miller scored in the $18,000 conditioned pace with the red-hot Special T Rocks by a head in 1:50.4 over the narrow 2-1 favorite Alberto Contador. That came two races after Miller prevailed in a three-way finish with Artful Way, who shipped down from Saratoga for the victory in the co-featured $18,000 event. In between those races, Iwillmakeyousaywow lived up to his name by surviving brutal fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:21.4 to win the $17,500 Dash For The G-Notes Final from post 10. The biggest fireworks of the night came in Race 10 when Pat Lachance steered 13-year-old Semalu Express to a last-to-first win at 111-1 odds. He was followed by fellow 13-year-old Stormin Rustler, who was 95-1. The lucky $2 exacta returned $5,231.60 while the $2 trifecta with 6-5 favorite Camturo Beach came back $25,279.20. Corey Callahan and Jim Marohn, Jr. each had two driving wins while Eric Foster and Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. each had two training wins. Total handle was $2,326,485 for the 11-race card. Racing resumes next Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit Justin Horowitz

LEBANON, OH. - McRaven, the hard luck harness racing colt that was sidelined after just two starts-both Ohio Sires Stakes victories-as a two-year-old, is back bigger and better than ever. The son of McArdle captured the championship of the 46th annual edition of the James K. Hackett Memorial for Buckeye bred sophomore pacers on Saturday (April 22) at Miami Valley Raceway, stopping the timer in 1:51.4 despite significant winds and chilly 48-degree temperatures. Following a third place finish in his initial 2017 outing, an elimination heat of the Hackett a week ago, trainer Brian Brown had McRaven primed for a big effort in his first major test of this season. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. settled the winner third at the pylons well before the quarter-mile marker was reached and saved ground inside all the way to the head of the stretch before swinging three-wide for the stretch drive. Despite drifting a couple lanes in the lane, McRaven paced four lengths faster than any of his rivals in the final furlong to edge Barley Up (Peter Wrenn, Ronnie's uncle) by a half length in 1:51.4. Heracer (Josh Sutton) also finished strong to claim the show money. Pacesetter Major Nemesis (Tony Hall), who had established a local track record of 1:51.2 in his elimination, made an untimely break in midstretch after cutting fractions of :26.2, :55.1 and 1:23.2. The Findlay, Ohio partnership of Country Club Acres Inc. and L & H Management Services own McRaven. His next start is expected to be in the first leg of the 2017 Ohio Sires Stakes series on Tuesday, May 2. If all goes well, he has an invitation to the new $50,000 Scarlet and Gray Invitational for Ohio-sired 3-year-olds on Miami Valley's closing day program May 8. McRaven Kiss Of Terror (Kyle Ater) swept from far back early to triumph for the second straight week in the $20,000 Open Handicap on the same card. Due to his outside post, the 5-year-old Western Terror gelding was dispatched at 12-1 odds, but managed to beat Control Tower (Dan Noble) and Gerries Sport (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) for his ninth seasonal victory. Kirk Nichols and Seth Downing own Kiss Of Terror, who is trained by Dan Ater. Kiss Of Terror Gregg Keidel

WILKES-BARRE PA – Major Uptrend has now won four times in a row, and is a nose away from having won eight straight, after he made the 181-mile ship from Dover to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono a profitable one Saturday night, taking the harness racing $25,000 winners-over pace in 1:50. Trainer Tim Crissman acquired this horse to condition in early February after a purchase and quickly found his key to success, which mostly has been to go to the front and improve on that position – during his almost-eight-race winning streak (he lost a nose to Limelight Beach at Dover on 3-16) he’s led at every call past the quarter except in that nose defeat. Driver Tony Morgan, who is now 6-for-6 teaming with Crissman behind the royally-bred winner (Somebeachsomewhere out of $1M winner Tricky Tooshie), rushed the favorite towards the lead after the quarter but was kept out by (ironically) Limelight Beach, who forced the Major to the half in 53.2. But from there, Major Uptrend was in command, winning by 1¼ lengths over Orillia Joe, who had set the Pocono seasonal standard of 1:49.4 from the pocket in this event last week, but had to come first-over here and settle for the deuce. The gelding, who went over $350,000 in career earnings with the victory, has shown a Major Uptrend in his form to the degree that Crissman Inc., in which Tim is part-owner, purchased the horse in combination with Niss Allen Inc. on March 26, and that ownership team 3-for-3 with the sharp pacer. Major Uptrend Top trotting event of the night was a $16,500 conditioned contest, which saw the Crazed gelding Crazshana brought back to the races nicely by trainer Jeff Bamond Jr., having to go first-over and trot his last half in 56.3 in his 2017 debut, yet still having enough to defeat pacesetting ABC Muscles Boy by 1½ lengths in 1:55.1 for driver Eric Goodell. Crazshana also broke an earnings plateau with his win, eclipsing the $250,000 lifetime bankroll mark for Bamond Racing LLC.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, April 22, 2017 -- Canwood used the Lightning Lane to power past her stablemate, Massive Risk, and capture Saturday's $27,200 championship of the Princess Pablano Trot at The Meadows and seal her sweep of the harness racing series. On the last day of the current meeting, The Meadows hosted the finals of four series for 3-year-olds with $107,000 in combined purses. Also collecting championships were Media Buzz, Southwind Yukon and Sapphire Breeze, the latter two giving Dave Palone and trainer Ron Burke a pair of titles. The Meadows will be dark for the next two weeks, using the break to undertake improvements to the racing surface and paddock. (The track and its Harmar facility will offer simulcast viewing and wagering throughout the hiatus.) Live racing resumes Saturday, May 6, when The Meadows will offer a card -- featuring Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and Pennsylvania Stallion Series races worth an estimated $195,000 -- to complement its simulcast of the Kentucky Derby. Special Derby Day post time is 11:25 AM. A recap of Saturday's championships: $27,000 Princess Pablano Trot -- 3-Year-Old Fillies Entering the series, Canwood was a pedestrian 1-8 for her career. But she sparkled when trainer Bill Zendt added Lasix before the first leg, ripping off three straight with a variety of styles. "It (Lasix) really was a big factor," said winning driver Brian Zendt. "She wasn't finishing her miles, and she acted a little sulky sometimes. Now she trots right through the wire. She loves racing off a helmet. She couldn't wait to by that horse." In the championship, she stalked Massive Risk from the pocket before blowing by late and defeating her by 3/4 lengths in 1:56.2, matching her career best. Miss Da Line, previously undefeated in the series, earned show. Brian Zendt said Canwood, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Hallywood owned by Judith Wolkomir and Fred Kayne, likely will take a few weeks off before beginning her PASS schedule, although he couldn't project whether she would compete in sires stakes or the stallion series. Canwood $28,400 Tamarind Trot -- 3-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Most trainers wince when their horses trail by 9 lengths at the half. Steve Bush had a different reaction when he saw Media Buzz in that situation. "That was our game plan all along," Bush said. "We didn't want to get caught up leaving with him. We wanted to duck him and come with him, and we weren't afraid of three-deeping him. I three-deeped him at the same spot when he was 2, and he circled them." The Explosive Matter-Lady Bar gelding justified that faith, rallying four wide through the final turn and scoring in 1:57.1 for Bryce Brocklehurst. Early leader Gee Wizz George was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, with Box Of Luck third. Bush, who owns Media Buzz with Alvira Fassett and Dennis Fassett, said the $12,000 yearling acquisition will be pointed to stakes engagements primarily in Pennsylvania. Media Buzz $27,200 Unlocked Pace -- 3-Year-Old Colts & Geldings In the series opening leg, Southwind Yukon led the field into deep stretch when he was outkicked by Beach House in the Lightning Lane. In the championship, the principals were aligned the same way, but this time, Southwind Yukon held off Beach House by 3/4 lengths to prevail in 1:52.2, a life mark. Dragon Striker earned show. Palone, who piloted Southwind Yukon some last year for owners Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, Richard Suda and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, said the difference this year in the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Solara is striking. "I liked this colt a lot last year," Palone said. "I think Ronnie (Burke) would agree with me that his attitude was a little suspect. Ronnie has done a terrific job of bringing him back this year. He's really been good about doing his work. The potential is there." Southwind Yukon $24,200 Medusa Pace -- 3-Year-Old Fillies Sapphire Breeze, the 7-5 favorite, appeared to be in trouble. Her stablemate, Emily R Hanover with Mike Wilder aboard, had zipped past her down the backside and opened a 3-length lead at the three-quarters. But Palone said that just meant it was time for the daughter of Well Said-Roller Cam to get down to business. "I thought I'd have my best chance following," he said. "In the last turn when Mike went to chasing his filly, I was pretty confident because I still had a handful. This is a fast filly." Sapphire Breeze poured it on, defeating Terrortina by 3-1/2 lengths in a career-best 1:53.4, while Emily R Hanover saved show. Burke Racing Stable, Phillip Collura, Michelle Yanek and Weaver Bruscemi campaign Sapphire Breeze. Sapphire Breeze The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Rockstar Angel claimed the night’s premier prize and more glory could well be on its way after an eye-catching harness racing victory at Tabcorp Park Melton. A trip over the Tasman to contest New Zealand’s Jewels and an almighty crack at May’s lucrative mares races could be in Rockstar Angel’s path after David Aiken’s four-year-old mare saluted for driver Michael Bellman in the $40,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. “She’s just unbelievable,” Bellman said. “She just keeps battling away and she just keeps running quarters.” And that was how she broke them down tonight, winning in a career best 1:53.0 mile rate after Bellman advanced from the second row of the draw, not settling until he found the breeze outside leader Ideal Lifestyle. There was little time to switch off, with a 28.3 first quarter spilling into a 29.5 second quarter. Rockstar Angel advanced on the leader amid a 27.2 third quarter that thwarted favourite Somerocksomeroll’s attempt to challenge. Come the last 100m there were only three left with gas in the tank and it was Rockstar Angel who separated herself from Beau Reve and Ideal Lifestyle. “(Trainer David Aiken) and (owner) Brendan James said we’ve got a plan, we’re going to stick to it and her grand final’s tonight, we will have her peaking,” Bellman said. “To team Aiken’s credit, they do a wonderful job and I’m just the lucky bugger that gets to drive her and repay Brendan and Anne (James) for their faith in me, so it’s nice to pick up a great race.” Having won five of her last 10 starts and placed in all runs, that careful planning is paying great dividends for the mare whose win tonight took her stakes north of $100,000. “She has just got better and better,” Bellman said. “Last week we just got beat for speed on the turn, but if you watched her she just kept coming and coming and coming. “Brendan said trust your judgment, go for broke and tonight’s our grand final, if we get beat we get beat trying.” Further good times appear to lay in her path. “She’s a lovely mare and she’s got an invite to the Jewels, so that’s on the tables now with that win,” he said. “The trip away, if Brendan decides to take it, would do her the world of good and just scope her for a better mare later in the season. She’s going to be a lovely cups horse and whatever he puts her in, Queen Of The Pacific and all the mares races, that’s all been part of this plan and she’s just putting it together beautifully.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

East Rutherford, NJ - The big guns are beginning to show up at The Meadowlands for qualifiers and there were more than a few Grand Circuit stars of last year sprinkled throughout Saturday morning's harness racing card. Under overcast skies at 54f with a slight headwind facing them in the stretch, things got underway right on time at 10 a.m.   Hambletonian winter book favorite Walner got things off to a grand beginning by looking good in a training mile around 2:00 before the races with his driver Tim Tetrick in the bike. He certainly is an imposing presence.   Last year's top pacing colt Huntsville (Tetrick) made his return to racing and was a workman like 1:53.2  26.3 winner from just off the pace in race ten. Tetrick held him in third through comfortable fractions, followed up when Brett Miller moved The Wall from the pocket to engage, then put away the leader and required minimal encouragement to edge by that willing rival late. Ray Schnittker trains Huntsville and owns the colt in partnership with Gewertz, Iannozzo and Arnold.   Hannelore Hanover (Gingras) looked as good as a horse can look for the second time this spring, trotting away from JL Cruze and Broadway Donna in a 27.1 final stanza on the end of a 1:54 flat mile in race six for older trotters. As fantastic as her 2016 season was, Hannelore may be even better this year.   She was also Ron Burke's fifth consecutive winner of the morning.   Sophomore trotting fillies opened the day with Myammie Drama (Tim Tetrick/Ron Burke) holding Princess Aurora (Yannick Gingras) at bay through a 27.4 end to a mile in 1:58.2 in the second race.   Several GC winners met in the third and Sianna Hanover (Gingras) was an easy front end winner for Ron Burke's barn in 1:55.2/28-, her second impressive effort of the spring. Amber Ella (John Campbell) another nice looking Chapter Seven from Linda Toscano's barn was a comfortable second and Goldsmith Maid winner Magic Presto (Brian Sears) was a closing third after being reserved toward the rear for much of the race in her first appearance of the season.   Trotting colts came around in the fourth and last year's NJSS champ What The Hill (David Miller) scored a closing win in 1:55.3/28.3 in his second solid showing of the young season. Explosive Ridge (Marcus Johansson) went well, cutting the mile before giving way to the winner just near the wire.   Both Sianna Hanover and What The Hill are owned by Burke Racing with partners Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva. Deo Volente joins the group on What The Hill.   After a training break, three-year-old filly pacers came on to the track and last year's Breeders Crown and Kindergarten final winner Someomensomewhere made her first appearance for new connections. Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farms and Bob Boni have possession and placed her in Jimmy Takter's barn. On this day Someomensomewhere followed another Takter trainee, Somesleazetoplease (Brett Miller) around the racetrack to be second with something in reserve for Tim Tetrick in 1:54.4/27.1.   Last year's Dan Patch division winner Idyllic Beach (Gingras) and her Three Diamonds conqueror That's The Ticket (D. Miller) met in the eighth race. Both were reserved off the early pace and finished strong into a 27.4 final quarter with That's The Ticket getting a bit of a jump on her chief rival and prevailing in 1:54.4. Chris Ryder trains the winner.   Boogie Shuffle (Scott Zeron) was not a marquee name among pacing colts last season, but he was second in Downbytheseaside's world record equaling 1:49 at The Red Mile and was stakes placed on several other occasions. He has returned well for trainer Mark Harder, cutting the 1:51.4/26.4 mile this morning while drawing away from some pretty good colts.   Blood Line (Mark MacDonald) was a winner for the Takter stable closing stoutly into a 26.4 end to a 1:53.1mile to nip Western Joe (Gingras) and Summer Side (Schnittker).   The day's fastest mile came when a really good bunch of four-year-old pacing horses gathered for race eleven. Lyon's Snyder flashed his customary aggressive style and speed dragging Dave Miller to the front and setting lively fractions while being tracked by the undefeated scourge of the Maine state-bred program Seely Man (Brett Miller) and major stakes winner Western Fame (MacDonald). As they straightened up for home off the 1:22.2 three quarters, Boston Red Rocks (Tetrick) joined the fray from mid-pack and was charging the widest as Western Fame moved inside Lyons Snyder and that pair hit the wire together.   The four-year-old mares were the last to go with last season's bitter rivals Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach picking up just where they left off, right next to each other in posts five and six. On this occasion however, it was Blue Moon Stride, emerging form the considerable shadow of the aforementioned mares to cut the mile and hold that pair off in 1:51.4/26.4 for driver Andy McCarthy and trainer Mark Harder. Pure Country, Darlinonthebeach and Rock Me Baby followed her in.   With major Grand Circuit stakes such as the Cutler Memorial FFA trot and Graduate four-year-old pace now on the horizon the fun is just getting started.   Hannelore Hanover Sianna Hanover What The Hill Boogie Shuffle Huntsville Blood Line Boston Red Socks Blue Moon Stride Somesleazetoplease That's The Ticket     Nick Salvi

April 22, 2017 - Bold Eagle (6m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) kept on rolling with an easy front-end score at Enghien in the Prix de l’Atlantique (Gr. I UET International, purse €200,000, 2150 meters autostart, 11 starters). Franck Nivard was again the harness racing pilot and the 1.12.2kr timed winner now has 34 wins in 39 career starts for €3,193,300 earned. Sebastien Guarato trains Bold Eagle for Pierre Pilarski and Jean Etienne Dubois bred and early developed the champion. The 1/10 favorite bested 23/1 stablemate Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) that Guarato trains for Philippe Dauphin. Third was 13/1 Ave Avis (7m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Guis) driven by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer J-M Bazire and owner Ottavia Rolfiu-Urano. Boosters Winner and Duke Of Greenwood took the fourth and fifth positions behind the “exceptionale!!!” champion. A “huge” crowd was on-hand at Enghien-Soisy to see one the greatest perform after more than a two-month layoff. The Q+ on today’s Enghien program was the Prix du Casino Baurnere (purse €60,000. 2150 meters autostart, 15 European starters) and the 4/5 favorite Attacus (7g Hand du Vivier-Nelocata) prevailed for Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner J.M. Machet. Attacus recorded his 11th career win in 41 starts for €337,300 earned and he was timed in 1.14.9kr. 9.1/1 Zonguldac (8g Love You-Heartenings Crown) finished second for driver Christophe Martens and Radieux (7g Love You-Dordogne) was third for Dominik Locqueneux and owner/trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. Agora and Blues d’Ourville completed the top five. Thomas H. Hicks  

YONKERS, N.Y. - The final of the 2016 George Morton Levy Series was special for harness racing trainer Peter Tritton. He watched as Bit Of A Legend, the race’s 1/5 favorite, swept to the lead after the opening quarter of the rich Grand Circuit stakes before holding off all challengers in the stretch, powering to a length victory in 1:51.0. One year removed from that win, Tritton thinks his star is primed for a series repeat. “He is as good as he’s ever been,” he said. “We were hoping for a better draw this year, that’s all. But he’s as good as he was last year. He’s ready for a big race, I’d say.” While Bit Of A Legend enjoyed post position two one year ago, he and driver Jordan Stratton will start from post six in this year’s $529,000 Levy Final. “He had a good draw last year, I think he was the best horse in the race, but he had a good draw,” Tritton said. “To win it twice, and this time with a bad draw, it would make a statement that he’s the best horse because that’s not easy to do.” Bit Of A Legend enters Saturday’s race off his most impressive victory of the season. After earning second place checks in the first two legs of the series and winning in week three in off the pace fashion, Stratton sent Bit Of A Legend to the front in the final preliminary and led at every call. With a :26.3 final quarter, Bit Of A Legend stopped the clock in 1:51.3. Tritton thinks those aggressive tactics could be put to good use again this week. “Jordan said if something came along side of him, he was going to fight. He’s ready,” Tritton said. “He’s very, very strong. It’s up to Jordan, but he may try to use his strengths on Saturday night. We can’t drive him like that much because we want to maintain him, but for this sort of money, it might be what’s required.” An 8-year-old New Zealand-bred son of Bettor’s Delight, Bit Of A Legend sports earnings of $1,473,036. Racing at this level comes almost naturally to him, making Tritton’s job as trainer easier. “We don’t do much with him, we just keep him happy,” he explained. “He just canters and plays about, really. No pressure on him whatsoever. That’s why when he races, he comes into his own. He’s easy to train, really; just don’t be too hard on him.”  Although Bit Of A Legend faces a tougher assignment in this year’s Levy Final, Tritton is hopeful for a series repeat. To do so would follow in the hoofprints of Foiled Again, the only horse to win the Levy Final twice, in 2009 and 2010. “It would be great to. I love the little horse. He’s probably eventually going to go to stud, maybe at the end of the year, but it would be an accomplishment for him. He’s just a great little horse, especially on the half-mile,” Tritton admired. One of Tritton’s other standouts, Provocativeprincen, will start directly to Bit Of A Legend’s outside Saturday night. After earning 210 points throughout the series, Provocativeprincen was ranked eighth in the standings and made the final with two points to spare. “I’ve been very impressed with the horse. I didn’t think he’d be this good,” Tritton admitted. “He was only a middle of the road horse; we didn’t pay a lot of money for him, but he’s been very impressive.” Provocativeprincen won his first-week Levy division and finished second in week three. His fifth place effort last Saturday, however, left Tritton puzzled. Although he paced home in :27.0, Provocativeprincen lost ground late and finished fifth beaten 3 1/2 lengths. “Even though he came home in :27.0, I thought he was a little bit lackluster last week,” Tritton said. “I think he’ll be alright, it’s just I’d rather see him come off a better run last week. But he’s in it, and if he goes as good as he can, he will be running home.” In addition to his two-pronged Levy bid, Tritton will send out Mackenzie in the $310,600 Final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Although the 5-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare is a 20-1 morning line, her trainer is undaunted. “I think she has a great chance in the final. I wouldn’t swap her for any other mare in the race,” he said. Sixth in the Matchmaker standings after racing in all five legs, Mackenzie earned a spot in the final by winning her division in week two and finishing third and second in legs three and four, respectively. Last week, Mackenzie looked ready to charge off cover in the stretch when she suddenly rolled off stride. Her break came just as the whip of the driver in front of her waved past her nose. “She shied away from the whip of the horse in front of her and she galloped into the straight,” Tritton explained. “If she had won that race last week, she would have been one of the favorites. I think she’s got a great chance. She’ll be as good as she can be.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here for entries for Saturday’s card. Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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As Standardbred horsemen that participate in the harness racing New York Sire Stakes program we have very real reason for concern. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund, which oversees monies used to administer the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), is on the verge of replacing the Harness Horse Breeders of New York (HHBNYS) with the Albany based firm, Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. The President of Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. is John Graziano Jr., a politically appointed trustee on the New York Thoroughbred Breeding Development Fund as well as a registered lobbyist. For the past 50 years, since 1967 and the inception of the New York Sire Stakes program, the HHBNYS have been the administrative arm of the program. Handling the processing of NYSS eligibility payments, eligibility lists, the residency mare program, stallion registry, breeders rewards program, mares bred reports, shipped semen records, NYSS points records and purse breakdowns. The HHBNYS also provides for representation at NYSS race draws and representation at most NYSS racing events, as well as management of an industry website which tracks daily changes in the points based system for all divisions of Sire Stakes, Excelsior and County Fair events. The HHBNYS provides this service with a staff headed by Betty Holt and two office employees. Their projected budget for 2017 was to be $157,500. Conversely, Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. has submitted a working budget of $48,500 to administer this same program for 2017. With this bid, the New York Sire Stakes program will be one of 300 clients of this firm. As horsemen that are invested and interested in the future welfare of the New York program, we have several grave concerns with the direction in which the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding andDevelopment Fund is steering us. Prior to this year, the bylaws governing the administration of the management and integrity of the NYSS program has always contained a "lobbying clause" in each and every contract between the HHBNYS and the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. Specifically Political Activity. Funds provided pursuant to this Agreement shall not be used for any partisan political activity, or for activities that may influence legislation or the election or defeat of any candidate for public office. Based on Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. connection with political lobbying, we find it very curious that this language was removed from the contract this year. Further, we feel this proposed arrangement with Capitol Hill Management Services should not proceed until its officers and the officers of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund explain, publicly under oath, why the so called "lobbying clause" in the agreement was deleted this year after being a part of the contract for so many previous years. Did Capitol Hill Management Services lobby for the change in the contract knowing that it would benefit from it? Did the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund members who approved the change receive some sort of benefit for deleting the clause? At a minimum the timing of the change in the proposed agreement and a lobbyist's push for the work, raise profound questions of ethics and propriety that must be answered for industry participants- owners, trainers, drivers, breeders, etc.- to have any measure of confidence that the proposed new agreement isn't some sort of "sweetheart" deal. Another requirement clause in the contract calls for the successful bidder to have a minimum of two years experience in the scope of work required. The successful bidder must have demonstrated knowledge of competitive equine racing programs that include point standings. While John Graziano Jr. may have some knowledge of Thoroughbred racing, we argue it doesn't make him necessarily experienced in tracking and administering a NYSS points based system program that involves multiple categories of sex and gait. NY Thoroughbred racing does not have a like format. In fact, no argument can be made that Capitol Hill Management Services has the requisite training under the rules. Nor has Capitol Hill Management Services publicly explained how it is going to do the same job or a better job of administering the program for one-third the cost, a difference that is so great as to raise questions about whether it is even possible for the scope of work to be performed at a level to which the industry has become accustomed. At a minimum, Capitol Hill Management Services should be required to publicly and precisely disclose how it intends to do the work. Which people, specifically, will be involved and what is their knowledge? What will be the scope of their work? As experienced horsemen that have worked for years with the HHBNYS, we know full well the depth of work involved and hours of commitment needed to provide the excellence in service required to fulfill the needs of this program. Each day there are a myriad of issues be it breeding, racing or otherwise that must be addressed by experienced and confident personnel. Race draw oversight, coupled entries and eligibility issues are regular issues that need professional and seasoned people to oversee and implement a successful and orderly program. As participants in the New York Sire Stakes program we rely on the ease of communication between horsemen and the HHBNYS to help answer and sort sometimes difficult interpretations of bylaws. Often times needing answers at odd hours of the day, weekday or weekend. These are circumstances that are often unpredictable but in need of immediate attention and direction. These are issues that we have historically relied upon the HHBNYS to respond to and handle with confidence. Everyone wants to keep costs down but the suspicious manner in which the contract was changed and they way in which the new group seeks to proceed, raises fundamental questions that must be cleared before the HHBNYS is replaced. We realize that the HHBNYS has not always perfectly administered the program but it has done so consistently in a way that has earned it the trust and respect of virtually every participant in the NYSS program. The HHBNYS deserves better than to be cast aside in this manner. As investors and participants in the New York Sire Stakes program we are outraged and dismayed with the current direction of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund. This is not the type of leadership we can endorse or accept. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund has a planned meeting scheduled for April 27th, at which time they are expected to "rubber stamp" their approval of Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. as the new administrative arm of OUR New York Sire Stakes program. We suggest that fellow horseman that feel similarly with us, contact the members of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund directly to express your like disdain. Ronald Ochrym, Agricultural Fund Acting Executive Director, 518-388-0178; Peter Arrigenna, NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, 585-721-4869; Mike Kimleman, NYSS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, 845-249-5693; Richard Ball, Commissioner of Ag and Markets, 518-457-8876 Time is of the essence people. Please make the call or send an email now. Let's keep control on how OUR New York Sire Stakes program is administered. Respectfully submitted.... Paul Kelley Linda Toscano Ken Jacobs Steve Jones Ray Schnittker George Ducharme Jeff Gregory Joe Faraldo Pres. SOA of NY Wanda Polisseni Harness Horse Breeders of New York State
Charmed Life (Majestic Son) cruised to victory in the Sunday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard trainee was the public's overwhelming favorite in the wagering as she made her second start of the season while coming off a win at Pocono Downs earlier in the month. Billy Dobson drove Charmed Life in the $14,500 Open Trot and moved her out to the early lead, a lead she would never relinquish. The 1-5 favorite coasted to victory in 1:55.1, the fastest mile for any trotter thus far at the Spa this year. Cash Me Out (Jimmy Devaux), already a two-time Open winner this season, had to settle for second on Sunday while longshot Lucid Thoughts (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. The seven year old Charmed Life, who has career earnings of over $1 million, is now two-for-two in 2017. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a 4:00pm first post time. Mike Sardella
DAYTON, OH. - Jailhouse Sam was crowned champion of the annual Robert J. Brown Memorial trotting series on Sunday afternoon (April 23) at Miami Valley Raceway. Although harness racing trainer-driver Hugh 'Sandy' Beatty believes his colt's best races may come from off cover trips, he made a last second decision to point him directly to the front when the starting gate swung open in this $17,500 final. A homebred of owner Casey Clemens, the 3-year-old Victory Sam-Jailhouse Broad gelding sailed through fractions of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.4 before tacking on a final panel in :28.4 to hold off fast-closing Goldfinger (Dan Noble) in 1:56.3. Deweyknowigotit (Derek Watiker) parlayed a pocket trip into a third place finish. "This colt made a little over $50,000 last year including winning the $25,000 Ohio Fairs Final at Dayton Raceway," said Beatty after the race, "so we have high hopes for him this year. His next start will be in the first leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes right here at Miami Valley next Monday (May 1)." "I'm really pleased to win this race honoring R. J. Brown," Beatty related. "My parents were great friends with 'Skeeter' and he was an outstanding Ohio horseman. It doesn't hurt that his colors were blue like mine, either, so the commemorative blanket will come in handy." Gregg Keidel    
(April 23, 2017) - With the Matchmaker and Levy Series in the books, the 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge heads into the first by-week with Matt Rose maintaining a slight lead over Rusty Nash with a score of 251.63 vs. 246.00. Both harness racing handicappers have three leg victories each, accounting for six of the twelve legs contested thus far. While Rose leads in total points, Nash reverses the standings with regards to net profit, $51.40 vs. $32.40. For this past week, a quadruple dead-heat for the Friday (4/21) leg occurred as Russ Adams, Steve Horoky, Megan Maccario, and Dennis O'Hara each successfully picked Da Magician ($4.50) as the winner of Fraser Down's Kenny Linton Memorial, a bonus race on the calendar. On Saturday (4/22), Michael Carter was the sole leg winner as he tabbed three of the five winners on the contest card; Hidden Land ($9.50) in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Consolation; Clear Vision ($8.40) in the George Morton Levy Memorial Consolation; Yoga Pants ($2.30) in the Penny Bath Memorial (from Fraser Downs, another bonus race).     Standings as of Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Leg #12 Pos Handicapper Total Points Earned Legs Won Overall Net Profit 1st Matt Rose 251.63 3 32.40 2nd Rusty Nash 246.00 3 51.40 3rd Russ Adams 231.89 2 (8.20) 4th Gordon Waterstone 163.13 1 (52.30) 5th Ray Garnett 149.27 1 0.60 6th Megan Maccario 148.89 1 (49.80) 7th Steve Horoky 146.38 1 (37.30) 8th Michael Carter 143.27 1 (54.20) 9th Bryan Owen 143.14 1 (37.70) 10th Dennis O’Hara 122.89 1 (56.80) 11th Jay Hochstetler 106.13 0 (34.70) 12th Adam Friedland 88.77 0 (25.60) 13th Ray Cotolo 82.00 0 (0.50) 14th Sally Hinckley 80.50 0 (85.60) 15th Anne Stepien 80.00 0 (83.30) 16th Terry Wilson 65.13 0 (96.20) Next Up:  Six straight weeks of racing at Yonkers Raceway earns the handicappers a well-deserved week off before the Grand Circuit becomes the traveling road show it has always been known for.  The contest resumes with a three-day stand (May 6-8) with Saturday action from Freehold Raceway with the kick-off of the Road to the Hambletonian as the finals of the Lady Suffolk (3yo filly trot) and Dexter Cup (3yo open trot) are contested.  Contest action continues in the evening at the Meadowlands with the AJ Cutler Memorial (Open trot) and the first leg of the Graduate series (4yo open pace) on the docket.  Sunday and Monday has the Miami Valley Distaffs scheduled with Sunday featuring 4yo and older mare trotters; Monday the 4yo and older mare pacers.  Following these races, there will be a final by-week after which there is contest action every week until the contest’s conclusion. The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//  Allan Schott HANA Harness Racing Coordinator Check out the HANA Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge

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