Speeding Spur

Speeding Spur gets the job done

As we really started to get into the Group 1 races today at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton, the Kiwis were off to a great start, winning the first two with a bit in reserve. Speeding Spur was a warm favourite in the $56,000 Woodlands Stud Colts/Geldings final on the back of his outstanding Victoria Derby win, even though he had drawn out in the carpark at barrier 13.   Driver Josh Dickie was lucky to duck a couple of early breakers in front of him with Speeding Spur but as soon as the speed buttoned off near the mile, Josh was off on Speeding Spur, circling the field to lead with just under 1400 metres to run.   Josh held Speeding Spur back to the field down the back straight until Illawong Armstrong who had broke badly early looped the field and took the race to the Kiwi star going past the 500 metres mark.   These two star three year olds drew clear on the corner and settled down to fight it out but Speeding Spur held Illawong Armstrong by a length.   Cold Crusher ran on well for third ahead of Kyvalley Boomerang but the first two were a class above their rivals.   Speeding Spur trotted the 2240 metres in a smart 2:48.4, a mile rate of 2:1 with closing sectionals of 58.8 and 30.   It was the son of Pegasus Spur's 14 win at start 22 and took his earnings to $331,031.   Josh Dickie was relieved more than anything post race.   " He was a bit off today and I think he is feeling the effects of a long season."   " But he is great trier and thats what got him home today.   " Dad said to me that he was looking for the paddock and that is where he is heading now."   " It is great to come over here and win a Group 1 on their big day so I am rapt, Josh said.   Speeding Spur     Harnesslink Media

High Gait

All Star juggernaut starts the day as expected

The first of the Group 1 races today at Tabcorp Park Melton was the $84,000 Aldebaran Park Two Year old trotting fillies final and the All Star juggernaut started the day as expected with a smart win.   The outstanding filly High Gait has had a great juvenile season with just one nose defeat blotting an otherwise perfect season.   Today from barrier one she looked to have a mortgage on the race if she held the front for driver Mark Purdon and although briefly challenged by Smile Smile Smile, High Gait comfortably held the front early.   Mark Purdon was able to set a sedate lead time but slowly wound up the tempo from the 1600 metres and from the half upped it even more.   Parisian Chic settled back early from her wide draw for Blake Fitzpatrick before circling the field to sit outside High Gait from the 1200 metres mark.   Mark continued to up the tempo off the back and skipped clear by a length as they straightened.   Everybody at this point thought Missandei and Anthony Butt who had trailed High Gait the whole way would put real pressure on the leader up the passing lane but she only battled the last bit and High gait went to the line a comfortable winner yet again.   Parisian Chic was very brave in defeat with Missandei held on for third.   High Gait trotted the 2240 metres in 2:50.9, a mile rate of 2:01.6 with the last 800 metres in 57.9 and 28.3   it was High Gait's eighth win from just nine starts and it took the daughter of Muscles Yankee stake earnings to $151,450.   Mark Purdon was full of praise for the filly's win.   " She is such a natural two year old and that is what you need to be competitive in these sorts of races."   " She does everything right and is such a wee professional and that is a big plus," Mark said.   High Gait     Harnesslink Media

Thatsoveryverynice increased her earnings to over $142,000

Ontario sired fillies star in Shes A Great Lady elims

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 29 - Thatsoveryverynice and L A Delight continued their respective hot streaks with harness racing victories in the She's A Great Lady eliminations Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 12 two-year-old pacing fillies were split into a pair of six-horse $35,000 eliminations. The top-five finishers from each elimination punched their ticket to the final, while the winners also earned the right to select their post. In the first split, Thatsoveryverynice went gate-to-wire with ease to score her fourth win of the season. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Thatsoveryverynice, the 1/5 faovurite, stepped out to the front without any challengers and posted an opening-panel of :28.4. The daughter of Vintage Master went unchallenged through the middle-half panels of :58.1 and 1:26.3 before pacing home under no urging in :27.4 for a 2½ length 1:54.2 victory. Upside Surprise finished second, while JK Fannie rounded out the Triactor. Albany Girl and Highland Rocksolid also secured spots in next week's final. A Tony Alagna trainee, Thatsoveryverynice entered her elimination off a comfortable victory in the Eternal Camnation Stakes. Following the race, Jamieson noted that his filly got the job done easily once again. "Didn't even have to pull the plugs tonight and she was very strong," said Jamieson. "Each time I drive her she gets more impressive and tonight was no exception. Slow fractions, but to have no one around her and to be able to pull away under minimal urging and then shut her down halfway down the stretch, I mean I don't think she could be coming into the final in much better form." Thatsoveryverynice increased her earnings to over $142,000 for owners Alagna Racing LLC. and Marvin Katz with the victory. A $2 win ticket on the Alagna rookie paid $2.50. Thatsoveryverynice L A Delight extended her win streak to seven with a 1:54.2 victory in the second elimination. The Bob McIntosh trainee got away third with driver Randy Waples, while Blue Moon Stride posted fractions of :28.2 and :57.4. Around the final turn, Waples sent the 1/5 favourite first up, as the field paced by three-quarters in 1:26.1. In the stretch, L A Delight quickly paced by Blue Moon Stride and cruised home under minimal urging to win by a length and a half over a hard-closing Darlinonthebeach. Three Dreams finished third, while Blue Moon Stride and Ivy League rounded out the top-five to advance to the final. Following the race, Waples noted that McIntosh made an equipment change heading into this week's start. "Bob added them (earplugs) this week...I said to him last week after I raced her that she was just maybe getting a little bit warm compared to what she had been and he said okay no problem. He goes out changes her equipment, takes a filly that hasn't been beat (in five-starts) and makes her better. That's Bob McIntosh." A daughter of Bettor's Delight, L A Delight is owned and bred by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings. The rookie pacer now has seven wins in eight starts and earnings of over $178,000. L A Delight paid $2.50 to win. L A Delight The post positions for next Saturday's (September 5) $455,000 final were drawn following the eliminations. $455,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes Final PP/Horse 1. Three Dreams 2. Albany Girl 3. Thatsoveryverynice 4. L A Delight 5. Upside Surprise 6. Darlinonthebeach 7. Highland Rocksolid 8. Ivy League 9. JK Fannie 10.Blue Moon Stride AE: Show Time Hill Mark McKelvie

State Treasurer

Pacing Derby and Metro eliminations contested

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 29 - Harness racings top older pacers and rising stars were on display Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack in eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby and Metro Pace. A solid group of 18 older pacers were split into a pair of $40,000 eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby. The top-five finishers from each nine-horse elimination earned a spot in next week's $685,000 final. In the first elimination, State Treasurer continued his hot streak with a narrow 1:50.1 victory. The six-year-old son of Real Desire was sent off as the heavy 1/5 favourite and got away fourth in the early stages for driver David Miller. Ellis Park made a second-quarter move to the front and took the field by the half in :54.4. Around the final turn, Miller sent State Treasurer first up and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee got on even ground with Ellis Park at the third station in 1:23. State Treasurer grabbed sole position of the lead in the stretch, but had to dig in deep to get the victory, as All Bets Off made a late charge to finish second by a neck. "It was a pretty good pace and I was able to sit in passed the half there and when I moved him I just let him come easy there," said Miller, following the race. "Head of the lane I asked him and he finished it off." Captive Audience shot up the rail to finish third, while Piston Broke and Mcwicked rounded out the top-five. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, State Treasurer now has three consecutive victories and seven from 13 starts in 2015. Saturday's 28th career victory increased his earnings to just under $1.5 million for owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald. State Treasurer paid $2.70 to win. State Treasurer Returning to the site of his 2014 Pepsi North America Cup victory for the first time, JK Endofanera took the second elimination in 1:50.1. Driven by Brett Miller, JK Endofanera left from post seven and was parked around the first turn before clearing to the front as he entered the backstretch. Shamballa, the 6/5 favourite, got away fourth and made a second-quarter move to the lead for trainer/driver Rick Zeron. The public's choice posted a half-mile clocking of :54.1 to take the field into the final turn. Mach It So challenged first up at Shamballa in the third-quarter, as JK Endofanera followed closely in the pocket. The three-quarter time was 1:22, as Shamballa carried the lead into the lane. In the stretch, Shamballa tried to pace away from his rivals, but JK Endofanera moved to the outside and was able to track down the favourite and score a 1¾ length victory. "I wanted to kind of get away up close," said Miller, following the race. "I still feel this horse is better off the pace and off a helmet, but being an elimination race I didn't want to get eliminated, so I wanted to kind of be up close." JK Endofanera now has three wins in four career starts at Mohawk and Miller noted the long stretch favours the Jimmy Takter trainee. "He's a great big horse and the long stretch is definitely to his advantage." Nirvana Seelster shot through late for third, while Foiled Again and Limelight Beach from the Ron Burke barn finished fourth and fifth, respectively. JK Endofanera now has four wins from nine starts this season for owners 3 Brothers Stable. The son of Art Major has three victories to his credit since joining the Takter barn six starts ago. Saturday's victory was the 18th of JK Endofanera's career and increases his earnings to just shy of $1.8 million. He paid $6.70 to win. JK Endofanera will look to become the first Pepsi North America Cup champion since Gallo Blue Chip in 2001 to also win the Canadian Pacing Derby. JK Endofanera The Metro Pace has served as launching ground to stardom for many pacers over the years and 21 two-year-old pacers contested three $40,000 eliminations for the 2015 edition. Tony Alagna trainees finished one-two in the first elimination with Voracity getting up the final strides to defeat American Passport in 1:54.3. Several horses fired out at the start with American Passport getting the front and posting an opening-panel of :26. Cruise Patrol, who was parked around the first turn, cleared to the lead in the second-quarter and reached the half in :54.4. Voracity, the 3/5 favourite, was taken to the back by Waples and picked up cover in the middle-half. American Passport edged out of the pocket nearing the third station, as Voracity was sent three-wide and sat 2½ lengths off the lead turning for home. In the stretch, American Passport took the lead and was quickly confronted by Voracity. The Alagna trainees slugged it out down the lane and American Passport held the narrow advantage late, but Voracity edged by his stablemate in the final steps to win by a nose. Nvestment Bluechip finished third, while Cruise Patrol was fourth. A son of Sportswriter, Voracity now has four wins from five starts to begin his career. Although the rookie has been doing most of the work on the front end, Alagna noted that Waples said taking to the back was by design. "(Randy) said everybody looked like that wanted to go out of there a hundred, so I just took him back and I know he's so good off a helmet as well, so I wasn't concerned about it," said Alagna. "That's a big mile tonight, the track is pretty tiring especially for these young horses and I think you will see them all fire right back next week." Voracity increased his earnings to $172,000 with the victory for owners Brad Grant, Alagna Racing LLC., and John Fodera. The Alagna trainee paid $3.40 to win. Voracity Control The Moment remained undefeated with an eye-catching 1:52.1 victory in the second elimination. Driven by Waples, Control The Moment left from post six and the 1/5 favourite was able to take a seat in third around the first turn. As the field paced by the three-eighths, Waples gave the Brad Maxwell trainee his cue to brush to the front and he posted a half of :55.4. After pacing a third-quarter of :29, Control The Moment left his rivals far behind and paced home comfortably in :27.2 to score a 3 ½ length victory. "He felt the same as he always does, he just feels like he's a really unbelievably nice horse," said Waples, post-race. "There's more in there that I haven't found yet, like he can do things there that make me in awe." Ideal Rocky split rivals late to finish second, while Racing Hill made a charge on the outside to edge by Manhattan Beach for third. A son of Well Said, Control The Moment, who was a $47,000 yearling purchase last fall in Lexington, is owned by Maxwell, Howard Taylor, Edwin Gold and Ben Mudry. The Maxwell trainee is now six for six to start his career and has $98,187 in earnings. Control The Moment paid $2.60 to win. Control The Moment Betting Line bounced back from a break in his most recent start to win the third and final elimination in 1:52.2. The Casie Coleman trainee left from post three with driver Steve Condren and got away in third. In the second-quarter, Condren sent Betting Line, the even-money favourite, to the front to overtake the lead from The Catamount Kid at the half in :56. After pacing by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4, Betting Line kicked clear from his rivals by a pair of lengths in mid-stretch and cruised home in :27.3 to win by 2 ¼ lengths. The Catamount Kid finished second, while Pretty Boy Hill was third. Following the race, Coleman said she was happy to see Betting Line back on track after his break at Rideau Carleton. "I really don't know what that Ottawa start was all about, it's uncharacteristic for him to make a break," said Coleman. "We did a little bit of tinkering. I brought his hopples in a half an inch and we changed his bridle." A son of Bettor's Delight, Betting Line now has four wins from six starts and earnings of $117,000 for owners West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol. Betting Line was purchased for $60,000 as a yearling at Harrisburg. The Coleman trainee paid $4 to win. Cruise Patrol, the fourth-place finisher from the first elimination, drew into the final to complete the field of ten for next week's championship. Betting Line The finals for both the Canadian Pacing Derby and Metro Pace were drawn Saturday night. Elimination winners earned the right to select their posts for the final. The $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby - Presented by HPIBET and the $685,000 Metro Pace will take place next Saturday (September 5). Post time is 7:05 p.m. $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Final PP/Horse 1. Mcwicked 2. State Treasurer 3. JK Endofanera 4. All Bets Off 5. Shamballa 6. Nirvana Seelster 7. LimelightBeach 8. Captive Audience 9. Foiled Again 10. Piston Broke AE: Clear Vision $685,000 Metro Pace Final PP/Horse 1. The Catamount Kid 2. Betting Line 3. Voracity 4. Control The Moment 5. Racing Hill 6. Nvestment Bluechip 7. Pretty Boy Hill 8. Ideal Rocky 9. Cruise Patrol 10. American Passport AE: Manhattan Beach Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - New York did itself proud Saturday night, as harness racing Empire-breds won both $40,000 eliminations for Yonkers Trot No. 61. Yonkers Raceway's premier trotting event drew 11 3-year-olds-eight colts and three geldings-for the second jewel of that gait's Triple Crown. When the stone dust settled, it was a pair of Ron Burke entities, Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick, $5.30) and Habitat (Yannick Gingras, $6.30) who led the lads into next Saturday's (Sept. 5) half-million-dollar final. Saturday's first elim saw another statebred, Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), win the draw and the early battle. He seated everyone, including Crazy Wow from post position No. 2 and Hambletonian champ Pinkman (Gingras) next door in post No. 3. Buen Camino led through intervals of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.2, with 1-2 favorite Pinkman advancing from third. Pinkman then seemed to pull himself up, as Buen Camino owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. Crazy Wow ducked in-cutting inside at least one pylon--and went by, whipping a resurgent Pinkman by a length in 1:55.4. The winner had to survive an inquiry before the result was certified. Buen Camino held third over a closing Workout Wonder (Dan Dube)-both getting berths in the final--with Wings of Royalty (catch-driver Brian Sears) last at every stations. For second choice Crazy Wow--last season's New York Sire Stakes frosh champ--a son of Crazed co-owned by Deo Volente Farms & Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables, it was his sixth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with triple wagering not offered to the small field. "He was very good last week (winning Pocono's Colonial) and just as good tonight," Tetrick said. "Things were a bit tight in the last turn, but he needed to trot, he did." As for Pinkman, "He did start to get away from me a bit in the last turn, and I didn't want to lose him," Gingras said. "So I had to steady him, and showed his class by trotting well in the lane." Gingras had such issues with Habitat, who, after a brief seat third from post No. 5, went the distance (:29, :58.4, 1:27.2 1:55.3) in the second elimination. The job of the second choice was made much easier when 3-5 fave Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) couldn't get out of his own way behind the and again past the half. The other Svanstedt-trained (though uncoupled) number, Southwind Mozart (Dan Dube) chased from a loose pocket, beaten a couple of lengths. Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett) and French Laundry (Sears) also earned seats at next week's table, while Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter) and a foul-gaited Centurion ATM did not. For Habitat, a son of Conway Hall, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stables, he's now 6-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $67, with the triple returning $287. "Once I saw (Centurion ATM) make a break, there was no reason not to cut the mile," Gingras said. "He was very good, no issues." Saturday night's $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by faves... --(Trot), Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3.90) in 1:54.4; --(Pace), Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.60) in 1:51. Special props to Take My Picture, the 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding whose third-place finish in the Open 'Cap Trot made him a career millionaire ($1,004,146). The open draws for both Yonkers Trot No. 61 and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes No. 60 (only eight entrants, so no elims) take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015--"I told (driver) Jason (Bartlett), 'Just get the same trip as last week.' " Bartlett obliged as harness racing trainer Chuck Sylvester asked Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $149,240 final of the Hudson Filly Trot with a pocket-sitting Murderer's Row ($8.50) in a season's-best 1:56.3. A week after skimming the cones to win her elimination (at 11-1), the 3-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover and Housethatruthbuilt offered an encore in the sport's richest race of the evening. With tepid, 2-1 choice (and other elim winner) Bright Baby Blues (Brian Sears) making a break while looking for an eight-hole seat, Lady Winona (Andy Miller) made the lead. Murderer's Row, starting in one notch from "Winona" at the pylons, settled in behind. Only five lasses remained in contention after Katniss (George Brennan) and Marion Millionair (Yannick Gingras) also misbehaved. Lady Winona led through substations of :28.2, :58.1, 1:27.4, getting heat from a three-hole vacating Scented Roses (Ake Svanstedt). That one couldn't sustain her bid, but "Winona" couldn't stall Murderer's Row. The latter angled in and won a protracted stretch battle by a nose. Third went to Scented Roses, barely holding off a closing Wouldn't Itbesweet (Larry Stalbaum), while Oh My Darlin' (Dan Dube)--stablemate to the third-place finisher--earned the last pay envelope. For fourth choice "Murderer's," co-owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey and Ted Gewertz, it was her second (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.40, with the triple returning $62.50. "Quite frankly, she's been a disappointment," Sylvester said of the pre-Hudson seasonal maiden. "I wasn't sure she could step up, but she did." Murderer's Row's dam, Housethatruthbuilt, won this race in 2004 when it was contest at Hawthorne. The lone big-track edition of the Hudson resulted in the stakes record of 1:53.4. Frank Drucker

August 29, 2015 - Delicious (6f Cantab Hall-Ipsara LB-Lemon Dra) circled the field and drew off in the Sundsvall Open after gaining the lead mid-stretch for patient reinsman Orjan Kihlstrom. The Daniel Reden trained, Stall Zet owned import from the US now has a 17-9-7 slate from 41 career starts, with 4,916,572SEK earned. Clocked in 1.10kr (mile rate 1:52.63) the small athletic mare raced with shoes and trailed the field much of the way in this Gr. I International UET Masters Series Sundsvall Open (1SEK million to winner, 2140 meters autostart) during a quick pace set initially by Creatine driven by Johnny Takter. Creatine battled Royal Fighter early and then faded after several others including On Track Piraten (7g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) and teamster Torbjorn Jansson for trainer H-R Stromberg made a decisive move in the final turn and held second timed in 1.10.3kr. Third finishing Ringostarr Treb (5m Classic Photo-Farsolo Egral-Supergill) at 24/1 for Wilhelm Paal and trained Holger Ehlert, first engaged Creatine in the last bend and took over with Oasis Bi in the hunt along with rallying On Track Piraten. None of these could match the quick closing speed of Delicious. Oasis Bi finished fourth for Bjorn Goop about seven lengths behind the winner with Royal Fighter a distant fifth for Jennifer Tillman and Creatine sixth. Traveling Man, El Mago Pellini and Global Money completed the field after the scratching of Rocky Winner. As noted the fast fractions were illustrated by a time of 1.05.2kr for the first 500 meters and 1.07.9kr at the 1000 meter mark. The field was underway after one recall. Bergsaker’s Sundsvall Monte Open (60,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to Figaro Sanna with Jenny Brunzell aboard. Timed in 1.13.4kr this eight year-old gelded son of Spotlite Lobell-Strands Sparkling-Running Sea recorded his 12th career win in 50 starts for owner Happy People Racing AB. Also on the Bergsaker card was the Lars Lindsbergs (175,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters turning start distance handicap) and Ninepoints Lucy (5f Spotlite Lobell-Lucky Kelly-Coktail Jet) was the winner timed in 1.12.5kr for Oskar J. Andersson and trainer Jorgen Westholm. Unique Julia and Bethel Hanover were next to the line. The Silver Division (125,000SEK to winner, 2640 meters autostart) contest today was won by Aristocat Boko (8g From Above-Big Blue Kitten-Pine Chip) and teamster Johnny Takter timed in 1.12.6kr, his 15th lifetime win in 63 starts. Stall HGS owns this winner. Thomas H. Hicks

August 29, 2015 - Roxane Griff, albeit finishing third, and Ave Avis were headliners in today’s Paris-Vincennes program that included five groupe events and the Quinte+. Captain Crazy, Nene Degli Ulivi, Un Charme Fou, Villeroi and well-bred Calita Wood were also victorious. Race summaries follow. The Gr. II Prix Victor Regis (€120,000, 2700 meters, 9 starters) for three year-olds went to 5/2 odds Captain Crazy (3m Quaro-Quick Scarlet) driven by Tony Le Beller for trainer Fabrice Souloy and Ecurie Le Tremont. The length winner was clocked in 1.16.1kr to defeat 29/1 Cahal des Rioults (3m Password-Plessie des Rioults) with Jos. Verbeeck up for trainer Philippe Allaire. 43/1 Chant des Sirenes (3m Opus Viervil-Nice Quenny) was third for F-P Bossuet. 1.4/1 favorite Cristal Money finished fifth. The Gr. II monte Prix Camille Lepecq (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, nine starters) went to 1.2/1 favorite Nene Degli Ulivi (8g Uconn Roc-Maureen Lobell-Speedy Somolli) for Alexandre Abrivard. Vincent Lacroix trains this one for owner Joe Cachia. Clocked in 1.14kr (fractions 1.17.2kr at 1500; 1.14.8kr at 1000; 1.14.4kr at 500) the winner vanquished 3.9/1 Tess de Villeneuve (8f Goetmals Wood-Joie de Villeneuve) and David Thomain with 7/1 Roxane Griff (10f Tenor de Baune-Julia Mesloise) and Eric Raffin home third. Torre Crepin (8g Capriccio-Lanaka) was fourth for Adrien Lamy at 21/1. Roxane earned €16,800 today and that placed her career earnings at €3,003,818.  The Quinte+ (jackpot €3.2 million) today was the Prix de Neuilly (purse €65,000, 2850 meters, 17 starters) and the winner was Un Charme Fou (7m Love You-Ma Crown) at 3.3/1 odds and reined by Franck Nivard for trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Cl. Guedy. The winner recorded career victory 14 in 54 starts. Tina Jolie was a close second but was disqualified causing 4.3/1 Urus (7g Liwi-Trojka de Mai) to be placed second with Gabriel Gelormini aboard. Placed third was Rififi Nonantais (10g Kerido du Donjon-Info Nonantaise) with trainer/driver Romain Derieux up. Time for the winner was 1.13.1kroff rated fractions (1.14.2kr at 1500; 1.13.3kr at 1000; 1.13.9kr at 500 to mark). The Gr. III Prix de Beaugency (purse €105,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) went to pacesetter Villeroi (6m Oiseau de Feux-Pocahontas) for teamster Eric Raffin for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. This 3/5 favorite held off 10/1 Tornado Bello (8m Jag de Bellouet-Enfilade) with returning to action Pierre Levesque up for trainer Mike Lenders. Dam Enfilade produced Prix d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. Third today went to 37/1 Ugor du Beauvoisin (7m Olitro-Klea du Beauvoisin) with Alexandre Abrivard driving and fourth was 26/1 Very Nice Marceaux (6m Jag de Bellouet-Jolie Fortuna) for Pierre Vercruysse. The winner was timed in 1.13.2kr after reaching the 500 to go marker in 1.13.3kr. Today’s feature event was the Gr. I Criterium des 5 Ans (purse €240,000, 3000 meters, 13 starters) and after three recalls and the scratching of Anna Mix that refused to start, the field finally was underway and during the course were four more disqualifications including favorite Amiral Sacha just as he was surging to the lead. Ultimately, J-M Bazire and his barefoot trainee Ave Avis (5m Kasaco Phedo-Magna Avis) prevailed at 13/1 for owner Ottavia Roffi-Urano. 1.8/1 Akim du Cap Vert (5m First de Retiz-Prima du Cap Vert) rallied to be second for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne, also racing without shoes. 18/1 Africaine (5f Oiseau de Feux-Italienne) was third for Pierre Vercruysse and owner/trainer Jean-Etienne Dubois despite being impeded by the breaking Amiral Sacha. Athena de Vandel (5f Prince Gede-Maelia de Vandel) was fourth at 128/1 for Cedrik Megissier with fifth to the Tony Le Beller reined, Anders Lindqvist trained 102/1 Anette du Mirel. Time of the race was a sharp 1.12.6kr over the extended distance with solid fractions (1.14kr at 1500; 1.13.5kr at 1000;1.12.8kr at 500 to go mark). The Gr. II Prix Uranie (€120,000 purse, 2700 meters, 15 three year-old female starters) went to the Jean-Pierre Dubois owned and reined Calita Wood (3f Goetmals Wood-Qualita Bourbon) at 4/1 and trained by Yves Boireau. This filly raced all of the contest on the outer and midway rallied three wide to the death-seat where she remained before surging to the front off the final turn. Once on the lead she held the front firmly under minimal urging. Calita Wood was timed in 1.15.1kr with steady, rated fractions. 23/1 Caline Elde (3f Laetenter Diem-OK Floride) was second for Mathieu Mottier ahead of 40/1 Cuise La Motte (3f Repeat Love-Onagra du Vivier) and Tony Le Beller. 4.2/1 Cere Josselyn (3f Kaisy Dream-Kate) was fourth for David Thomain and fifth went to 12.3/1 Couleur Citron (3f Coktail Jet-L’Aunou du Fier) for driver Pierre Levesque and owner J-P Barjon. The winner’s dam Qualita Bourbon earned $1,826,528 with victories at ages three and four in the Criterium des Jeunes, Prix de l’Etoie, Prix Roquepine, Prix de Selection, Grand Prix de l’UET and Criterium Continental. At five she was a game third in the Prix d’Amerique. In a stellar career she won 21 times in 31 starts. Qualita Bourbon has also produced Tast of Bourbon 1:55.1 ($263,105) and Quel Bourbon 1:53.2 ($35,392) and her dam Etta Extra (Florestan-Une Crown-Speedy Crown) produced Mara Bourbon 1:53.4 ($1,967,940) and Sam Bourbon 1:55.1 ($443,397). Thomas H. Hicks  

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, August 29, 2015 - Trainer Dany Fontaine really likes his two-year-old harness racing pacer, Mr Mach Jimmy....and what's not to like? Since switching from the Ontario Sire Stakes to the Hippodrome 3R, Mr Mach Jimmy in undefeated in two starts, both in the Quebec-Bred Series. The son of Mach Three is the morning line favorite in Sunday's final preliminary round at 3R, starting from the rail in the first race for driver Pascal Berube. "I have had this colt since he was a yearling," Fontaine said. "He was a private purchase by Gaetan Bono from breeder Rejean Lassonde. When did Fontaine know he would have a good racehorse this season? "I first knew he would be good early in the spring," Fontaine said, "He showed me some early speed and had a good attitude and I knew he would be a racehorse. When I would turn him on the training track he was always business. How fast he would go I did not know back then. But towards the summer he was one of the best on the farm." Flashing some good last half's and quarters at Mohawk Raceway early on, Mr Mach Jimmy was facing stiff competition in the Ontario Sire Stakes. The best he could do was a third place finish, race timed in 1:55.4. "In both his first two qualifying races," Fontaine explained, "my horse came home in around :55 flat the last half, one last quarter in :26.3. I knew he was very good, but since he was eligible to the Quebec-Bred Series, I figured to bring him here and let him race, let him get brave and he has really come around. Who does Dany Fontaine see as the best this Sunday in the Quebec-Bred Series? "I don't think we will have a problem with anybody in the race," Fontaine said. "I think he is a little bit better than the other colts in the race. He is in the top three at least. We will see more from him this Sunday and then the following week in the final. "Last week his driver, Pascal Berube," Fontaine said, "came off the bike and told me all he had to do was ask him and he pulled away from the other colt." On Sunday Mr Mach Jimmy will face a tough challenge from both YS Artistic Fella and Sagawi. In his debut last week at the Hippodrome 3R, YS Artistic Fella was an easy winner, wiring the field in 1:59. He starts from post four for driver Stephane Brosseau. Sagawi, who starts from post six, was second last week to YS Artistic Fella and the prior week won in the opening round of the series in 2:00.3. He will be driven by Francis Picard. The third race, second colt division of the series on Sunday, is headed by Pudong Phil from post two for driver Clarke Steacy. Pudong Phil was a game second to Mr Mach Jimmy last week. The lone filly division in the fifth race has nine starters featuring HP Mercedes (post 9), Miss Babe Delight (post 1) and an entry from the Helene Filion Stable of Whysantanna (post 3) and Flysantanna (post 4). Track Notes: Trainer Dany Fontaine is looking to start seven horses on the program at 3R on Sept. 6 for the $500,000 Quebec-Bred Finals Day and is moving his operation from Mohawk to Montreal this weekend to prepare for next week's big day. He also trains Miss Babe Delight, KFB Amigo Cool, Tuscans Memory, Holiday Party, National Trace and Mach On The Beach, all of whom will be in the $500,000 finals. Post time Sunday is 1:30 pm. For more information, free program and live video visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com.  From the Quebec Jockey Club

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 29, 1025 -- My Hero Ron surrendered the early lead to his stablemate, Rufo, then just got by him at the wire to score in a career-best 1:49.2, fastest in Friday's $183,616 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, known as the Tarport Effrat, was conducted over three divisions, with Yankee Bounty and Wakizashi Hanover taking the other splits. Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke teamed for a stake double with My Hero Ron and Yankee Bounty. My Hero Ron was content to stalk Rufo from the pocket and challenge him late. He won, but not as easily as Gingras expected. "Halfway through the stretch, I was ahead a neck or a good head and hand-driving through the wire, and I almost got surprised doing it," Gingras said. "He was good the first couple times he was on the front but not so much after that. I was happy with the two-hole trip." My Hero Ron edged Rufo by a nose, with Dreams Beachboy third. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Frank Baldachino campaign the son of Well Said Erma La Em, who vaulted over $200,000 in lifetime earnings with the victory. At 2, Yankee Bounty launched his career with an impressive winning streak that tabbed him as a star in the making. But he was winless in 13 outings this year before ending his frustration with a front-end triumph in 1:49.3, a career best. The Wayfaring Man was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, with Lyons Again third. "He developed last year as fast as he would be," Burke said. "He was as fast last year as he's been this year. Maybe he didn't start the year razor sharp, but he was second in the Adios, and he had sneaky pace last week. He warmed up real well, and I said to Yannick, 'Just get him to the front and we'll see what he does,' and he responded." Burke said he expects to race Yankee Bounty at 4. "You'll always make money with him," Burke said. "He'll race on every size track. He's the kind of horse people love to have. He's sound, and he'll just keep going." The Yankee Cruiser-Bootleg Yankee gelding now has earned $538,024 for his owners, Yankee Bounty Partnership and Frank Chick. Wakizashi Hanover vanquished Wiggle It Jiggleit in the North America Cup but lost his last five races to the division leader and driver Montrell Teague, most recently in the top level of the Battle of the Brandywine. Without his bitter rival in the field, Wakizashi Hanover sparkled, winning on the front in for Tim Tetrick in 1:50.1, 1-1/4 lengths better than Lost For Words. Allbeef N Nobull completed the ticket. "He's always on his game. He always gives me a good race," said Joann Looney-King, who conditions the Dragon Again-Western Gesture gelding for Tri County Stable. "He could handle these tonight. I'm hoping we don't draw the eight or nine hole every time. I keep telling Montrell, 'I'm gonna get you again.' He just laughs at me." She indicated Wakizashi Hanover will have a light racing schedule as he prepares for the Breeders Crown, with no appearances in the Little Brown Jug or at the Red Mile. "We're hoping he'll last for a while," she said. "We're looking to the future with this horse." $40,000 PA Stallion Series Stake -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Friday's card also featured a $40,000 PA Stallion Series event for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, with Sectionline Rock and Badiou Hanover taking the splits -- the latter by disqualification. Dismissed at 20-1, Sectionline Rock appeared destined for a place finish behind the front-ending UF Larry Alltheway when a late burst carried him by the leader to a 1/2-length victory in 1:51.1. This Time earned show. "When I moved him over at the top of the stretch, he gave me a good little burst of speed," said Matt Kakaley, who piloted the Yankee Cruiser-Armbro Alto gelding for trained Ron Potter and owners H. Lee Bauder, Harold Bauder, Clyde Perfect and Whiskey Tango Stable. "I thought I could reel the leader in. He shows getting away toward the back every start, so I tried putting him in play up close, and obviously it worked out perfect." Badiou crossed the line second but was awarded the win when Trading Up was disqualified and placed fourth for using the Lightning Lane without entitlement. Joe Hill and Parklane Eagle were promoted to second and third, respectively. Julie Miller trains Badiou Hanover, a Well Said-Blind Ambition gelding, for Pinske Stables and Joe P Racing LLC. Elsewhere on the card, Sam Hill captured the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace in 1:51.2 for Greg Wright, Jr., trainer John Sullivan and owner Don Tiger. The pocket-sitting Seventh Secret was second, 3/4 lengths in arrears, with Hillbilly Hanover third. The 9-year-old Artsplace-Apple Of My Eye gelding extended his career bankroll to $389,637. Monday's card at The Meadows features a $100,000 PA Stallion Series stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

ELORA, ON - There was a full parking lot, a packed house and 30 wiener dogs on the racetrack for Grand River Raceway's first annual Wiener Dog Race during the horse races on August 28. The Elora, ON racetrack conducted three 10-dog heats in the middle of the horse racing card. The winner of each 20-metre heat advanced to the final race-off. The first heat featured 10 Dachshunds between the ages of five and 13. Leaving from post eight, five-year-old Lilly was the winner for owner Rob Swiech. Junebug took the next heat for local owner Shawn McFalls. Bred in West Virginia, Junebug is four and weighs in at seven pounds. The final heat went to the freshman two-year-old, Alley. Owned by harness driver Billy Davis Jr. and his partner Amy McNair, the 14-pound pooch has reportedly been training with the two-year-old horses at the Gregg McNair Stable in Guelph. Lilly, Junebug and Alley advanced to the race-off where all three made a wholehearted dash to the finish, but it was Junebug that prevailed at the wire to win the $100 grand prize. Lilly and Alley received $50 apiece. Each contestant received a participatory prize compliments of event sponsors Loyall Pet Food and Legendary Canine. • Video of the Wiener Dog Races Grand River Raceway continues to race Monday and Wednesday nights until September 30, but next Friday (September 4) marks the final Fun & Frivolity Friday race night of the season. The tiny-animal theme continues then with a miniature horse race. The Wanna Drive program will also be on-tap, giving fans the chance to drive a racehorse (accompanied by a pro) between the races. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 28 - Many of harness racings finest three-year-old trotting fillies took centre-stage at Mohawk Racetrack Friday night for the Casual Breeze Stakes. A total of 15 sophomore trotting fillies were split into two divisions of the Grand Circuit event. In the $91,475 first division, Doug Millard's homebred, Elegant Serenity, went gate to wire for 3½ length victory. Starting from post position six, trainer/driver Roger Mayotte immediately took the filly to the lead, opening up by as much as two lengths by the half. Elegant Serenity controlled the tempo throughout, posting fractions of 27:4, 57:2, and 1.25:4. She opened up her lead down the stretch by up to five lengths, being chased late by Lilu Hanover to close the gap. Smokinmombo, the odds on favourite, stalked the pace to the half, made a brief bid at the top of the stretch and eased out to a sixth place finish. Second place finisher Lilu Hanover trailed the field down the stretch, making a late surge in the final eighth to pass Piscean three wide. Juanitas Fury was fourth by 5¼ lengths. "She had no real races over the last month" said Mayotte, following the race. "We knew she has a big plate ahead of her over the next six weeks, so we thought it was a good chance to give her a freshener". Owner/breeder Doug Millard later added that Elegant Serenity will likely be aimed towards the Elegantimage Stakes, which is fittingly named in honour of her dam. Friday's score was Elegant Serenity's fourth out of her six starts in 2015. She has now bumped her lifetime earnings to over $150,000 after Friday's stakes victory. Elegant Serenity paid $4.90 to win. Elegant Serenity Ontario Sires Stakes star Muscle Baby Doll scored her sixth consecutive victory with another dominating effort in the $92,475 second Casual Breeze split. Muscle Baby Doll, the 2/5 favourite, and driver Doug McNair left from the rail and got situated third, before making a quick second-quarter move to overtake the lead from Danielle Hall. The public's choice posted a half-mile time of :56.3 to take the field into the final turn. Lock Down Lindy, a Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner, picked up cover around the final turn and was placed second-over. After trotting by the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4, Muscle Baby Doll waved goodbye to her rivals and quickly extended her lead. Lock Down Lindy was unable to fire off her cover in the lane, leaving Danielle Hall to chase the favourite and finish second by two-lengths, as Muscle Baby Doll stopped the timer in 1:53.3. Speak To Me trotted up to get third, while Tymal Illbthere was fourth. A daughter of Muscle Mass, Muscle Baby Doll is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owner F Bellino And Sons Llc. The sophomore trotting filly was making her first start since a 6¾ length victory in the Duenna Stakes at The Meadowlands on August 7. "What she did at The Meadowlands was pretty spectacular and she was good again tonight," said O'Sullivan, following the race. "She's a beautiful filly, she's a professional and she does everything good and she just wants to win." Muscle Baby Doll improved her record to seven wins from eight starts in 2015 with her 11th career victory Friday. The Casual Breeze score increases her earnings to over $390,000. Following the race, O'Sullivan confirmed that Muscle Baby Doll is being pointed towards the Elegantimage eliminations in two weeks. Muscle Baby Doll paid $2.90 to win. Muscle Baby Doll   The sophomore trotting fillies will have a final opportunity to prep for the Elegantimage Stakes next Friday (September 4) in the Simcoe Stakes. Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 28, 2015 - Prohibitive harness racing favorite Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $2.60) successfully completed her rounds Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $48,000 Filly and Mare Handicap Pace. Ordered outside her six foes, the millionaires worked around Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter), then controlled the coterie through fractions of :27.1, :56.1, 1:23.4, 1:51.4. The mile, a tick off her previous local season's-best, found her getting to the line a length-and-a-quarter before a cone-skimming Dune in Red (Jordan Stratton). The one photoed "Jonsie" for second, with Spreester (George Brennan) and Cocoa Beach (Eric Carlson) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For Krispy Apple, a 7-yeart-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her eighth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22.60, with the triple returning $91 The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM), with the $149,249 final of the Hudson Filly Trot (3-year-old fillies), the final of the $116,430 Lady Maud (3-year-old pacing fillies) and a pair of $40,000 eliminations for the 61st Yonkers Trot. Frank Drucker

Just when you thought that Claudys Princess couldn't  get any better, Mick Blackmore's champion mare produces a run that has you reaching yet again for the superlatives. Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton, the daughter of Bacardi Lindy really shouldn't have won after having nothing go her way in the running in the small field. Eased off the gate by driver Gavin Lang, Claudys Princess settled fourth on the inner as Edge Hill and Blake Fitzpatrick set a moderate tempo in front. With just over a lap to go Gavin eased Claudys Princess out into the running line and she began to work forward slowly. Gong past the 800 metres, Blake Fitzpatrick opened the afterburners on Edge Hill and she sizzled down the back straight in 27.7. Claudys Princess stayed in contact but the rest of the field were feeling the pinch. Across the top Gavin slotted Claudys Princess down onto Edge Hill's back to give her a short breather before recommencing battle as soon as they straightened for home. Slowly but surely, Claudys Princess hauled in Edge Hill for a memorable win against the odds. Claudys Princess trotted the 2240 metres in 2:47.5, a mile rate of 2:00.3 with closing sectionals of 57 and 29.3 which Claudys Princess would have bettered by some margin. Last nights victory was number 19 from 30 career starts for stake earnings of $310,281. The staggering statistic is she has only missed a first three finish once in her 30 lifetime starts. A lot of age group starts have trouble making the step up to free for all class as older horses but Claudys Princess looks to have all the attributes necessary to make it in the best company. Harnesslink Media

Scarborough, Maine (August 28, 2015) - The weekend's action got off to a blistering start at Scarborough Downs as record breaking speed was generated, in long shot fashion, in just the second event of the Friday (8-28) harness racing twilight card. Bryan's Angel impressively became the fastest winning four-year-old mare in the 65 year history of the Downs after driver John Beckwith aggressively sent the striking miss to an early lead after stacking the field three-deep to a quarter timed in a moderate 29.1. The tempo picked up from that point though as the daughter of Cash Hall-Paradise Quickie soon opened up what would prove to be an insurmountable advantage to stop the clock in 1:58.3 while coasting to a six-length margin of victory. The zippy effort supplanted the previous divisional benchmark of 1:59.4 which had been set by Orderingin and Heath Campbell in 2014. Bryan's Angel is owned by Danbry Racing Inc. of Allentown, NJ and is trained by Shannon Watson and returned a hefty $43.60 to win. Live racing is proudly featured at Scarborough Downs on Friday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). The Sunday matinee gets underway at 1:30. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - New York did itself proud Saturday night, as harness racing Empire-breds won both $40,000 eliminations for Yonkers Trot No. 61. Yonkers Raceway's premier trotting event drew 11 3-year-olds-eight colts and three geldings-for the second jewel of that gait's Triple Crown. When the stone dust settled, it was a pair of Ron Burke entities, Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick, $5.30) and Habitat (Yannick Gingras, $6.30) who led the lads into next Saturday's (Sept. 5) half-million-dollar final. Saturday's first elim saw another statebred, Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), win the draw and the early battle. He seated everyone, including Crazy Wow from post position No. 2 and Hambletonian champ Pinkman (Gingras) next door in post No. 3. Buen Camino led through intervals of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.2, with 1-2 favorite Pinkman advancing from third. Pinkman then seemed to pull himself up, as Buen Camino owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. Crazy Wow ducked in-cutting inside at least one pylon--and went by, whipping a resurgent Pinkman by a length in 1:55.4. The winner had to survive an inquiry before the result was certified. Buen Camino held third over a closing Workout Wonder (Dan Dube)-both getting berths in the final--with Wings of Royalty (catch-driver Brian Sears) last at every stations. For second choice Crazy Wow--last season's New York Sire Stakes frosh champ--a son of Crazed co-owned by Deo Volente Farms & Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables, it was his sixth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with triple wagering not offered to the small field. "He was very good last week (winning Pocono's Colonial) and just as good tonight," Tetrick said. "Things were a bit tight in the last turn, but he needed to trot, he did." As for Pinkman, "He did start to get away from me a bit in the last turn, and I didn't want to lose him," Gingras said. "So I had to steady him, and showed his class by trotting well in the lane." Gingras had such issues with Habitat, who, after a brief seat third from post No. 5, went the distance (:29, :58.4, 1:27.2 1:55.3) in the second elimination. The job of the second choice was made much easier when 3-5 fave Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) couldn't get out of his own way behind the and again past the half. The other Svanstedt-trained (though uncoupled) number, Southwind Mozart (Dan Dube) chased from a loose pocket, beaten a couple of lengths. Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett) and French Laundry (Sears) also earned seats at next week's table, while Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter) and a foul-gaited Centurion ATM did not. For Habitat, a son of Conway Hall, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stables, he's now 6-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $67, with the triple returning $287. "Once I saw (Centurion ATM) make a break, there was no reason not to cut the mile," Gingras said. "He was very good, no issues." Saturday night's $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by faves... --(Trot), Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3.90) in 1:54.4; --(Pace), Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.60) in 1:51. Special props to Take My Picture, the 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding whose third-place finish in the Open 'Cap Trot made him a career millionaire ($1,004,146). The open draws for both Yonkers Trot No. 61 and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes No. 60 (only eight entrants, so no elims) take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker  
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015--"I told (driver) Jason (Bartlett), 'Just get the same trip as last week.' " Bartlett obliged as harness racing trainer Chuck Sylvester asked Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $149,240 final of the Hudson Filly Trot with a pocket-sitting Murderer's Row ($8.50) in a season's-best 1:56.3. A week after skimming the cones to win her elimination (at 11-1), the 3-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover and Housethatruthbuilt offered an encore in the sport's richest race of the evening. With tepid, 2-1 choice (and other elim winner) Bright Baby Blues (Brian Sears) making a break while looking for an eight-hole seat, Lady Winona (Andy Miller) made the lead. Murderer's Row, starting in one notch from "Winona" at the pylons, settled in behind. Only five lasses remained in contention after Katniss (George Brennan) and Marion Millionair (Yannick Gingras) also misbehaved. Lady Winona led through substations of :28.2, :58.1, 1:27.4, getting heat from a three-hole vacating Scented Roses (Ake Svanstedt). That one couldn't sustain her bid, but "Winona" couldn't stall Murderer's Row. The latter angled in and won a protracted stretch battle by a nose. Third went to Scented Roses, barely holding off a closing Wouldn't Itbesweet (Larry Stalbaum), while Oh My Darlin' (Dan Dube)--stablemate to the third-place finisher--earned the last pay envelope. For fourth choice "Murderer's," co-owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey and Ted Gewertz, it was her second (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.40, with the triple returning $62.50. "Quite frankly, she's been a disappointment," Sylvester said of the pre-Hudson seasonal maiden. "I wasn't sure she could step up, but she did." Murderer's Row's dam, Housethatruthbuilt, won this race in 2004 when it was contest at Hawthorne. The lone big-track edition of the Hudson resulted in the stakes record of 1:53.4. Frank Drucker
WILKES-BARRE PA -- Bigtown Hero, who already has two appearances on the harness racing sport's all-time list of "horse who have hit the 3/4s in 1:20 or better," missed by a tick becoming the only horse ever with three such appearances, winning the $24,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night.   Bigtown Hero, an altered son of American Ideal, certainly didn't have it easy, either -- he was outside with cover until favored Bandolito cleared Bushwacker past a 26 opener, then rolled up raw to grab the top early on the second turn, en route to hitting the half in 53.1.   Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother/Pocono leader Rene, opened up lengths on Bandolito down the backstretch, with Bushwacker taking other crack outside, but both were well-behind when the timer tripped at 1:20.1 with a quarter to ago. Bandolito ate fractionally into the winner's lead late, but was still shy of him by 3/4 of a length at the finish, with Quick Jolt coming from the clouds for third, a half length behind Bandolito and a length ahead of Bushwacker.   Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin own the speed merchant, who hit the 3/4 in 1:19.4 last September 20 here en route to taking his mark of 1:47.3, and then on November 8 posted the fastest half (52.2) and 3/4s (1:19.1) in 5/8-mile track history before tiring in a race where Mach It So beat State Treasurer in 1:48. Both of these miles were also at Pocono.   Also at Pocono Saturday were a pair of $24,000 trots. Wind Of The North, an altered son of Cantab Hall who equaled a division world record of 1:51 here last year, needed only 1:53.3 Saturday to report home first for trainer Daryl Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck; in the other division the Andover Hall filly Sistas, 3-for-3 in Stallion Series competition, handled a big class rise, a predominantly male field, and a predominantly older field in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Albert and Michelle Crawford. (Napolitano, who had 100 wins in July, won three times here Saturday to put him at 98 for August, with sessions at both Philly and Pocono tomorrow possibly letting him achieve a rare "consecutive double century" of winners; the win with Sistas was also his 500th in 2015.)   FINISHING LINES -- The Sunday August 30 card of tomorrow/today is the last Sunday action for the year at The Downs ... Next Saturday night Pocono will be hosting the $1.7M Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship Night, with $350,000 Championship races for the four classes of sophomores, plus consolations and other features.   Pocono / PHHA  
JK Panache (Art Major) has become the new force in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Dave Dewhurst-trained six year old is having a sensational summer and continued his winning ways in Saturday night's $18,000 harness racing feature. Assigned post position eight after winning all three of his starts in the local Open this summer, JK Panache raced parked out as reinsman Wally Hennessey motored the 7-5 favorite out early. He continued to plug away before finally putting away the race's front runner JD's Caleb Man (Billy Dobson) in the final sixteenth of the mile. JK Panache paced 1:52 in the Saturday score to complete his local grand slam. JD's Caleb Man dug in for second while Burkentine Hanover (Stephane Bouchard) followed the winner's cover to finish third. JK Panache, who matched the all-age track record at Vernon Downs back in July, has local wins clocked in 1:50.2 and 1:50.1 this summer as Saratoga's most recent pacing star. He returned $4.90 to win on Saturday and led an exacta that paid $46.20 and triple that came back $103.50. It was victory number nine for JK Panache in 23 seasonal tries. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. Mike Sardella  
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