Bling It On

Qld Winter Carnival Profile: Bling It On

The 2016 Racing Queensland UBET winter carnival is fast approaching and in the coming weeks, Queensland harness broadcaster Chris Barsby will profile a number of major players vying for the top prizes. With 18 Black Type races on the program for the 2016 Winter Carnival, the carnival’s pinnacle in 2016 is the G1 Blacks A Fake, which now boasts an impressive $200,000 in stakes. The carnival spans from May 28 to July 30. Here’s a profile featuring a pacer that loves the state of Queensland and looks set to be a major player in all of the major open class events in July. Name: Bling It On Stable Name: Yank Age: 5yo stallion Owner: Harvey Kaplan, Sammy Kilgour, Peter & Zilla O’Shea, Tracy Lamb and Allan Fairley Trainer: Belinda McCarthy Driver: Luke McCarthy Prizemoney: $1,077,731 Biggest win: Gr.1 Queensland Derby, Gr.1 Gold Coast Cup, Gr.1 Australasian Breeders Crown 2yo Final Target: $50,000 Sunshine Sprint (July 9) and $200,000 Blacks A Fake (July 16) Trainer says: “He’s been an absolute delight from the day he entered our stable and he just continues to amaze us. The Brisbane winter carnival has been on our radar for some time because he just loves it up there, his record is just unbelievable and the UBET Picket Fence challenge makes strong appeal this year so we’re looking forward to being a part of this carnival.” Barsby says: “A rare type that has achieved at the highest level each and every year he has raced and his love affair for Queensland is well documented. Given the hard and relentless style of racing in Brisbane, he’s always going to be a major threat because of his brilliant acceleration and point to point speed. Expect him to be a serious player again this winter.”

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All Stars coy on 3YO Emerald

Champion trainer Mark Purdon is warning punters to wait a little longer before attacking one of the most intriguing races of Harness Jewels day. Because even Purdon admits he doesn’t know what to expect in the three-year-old male pacer, even though he and training partner Natalie Rasmussen dominate the race. Their All Stars stable has the enigmatic Heaven Rocks, the $1.95 favourite and Chase The Dream, the $2.80 second favourite but Purdon doesn’t know how to line the pair up. Chase The Dream has vastly superior overall form, including last season when he won two group ones and beat Lazarus and Waikiki Beach for juvenile of the year, the last time either of that pair were beaten at any level. Chase The Dream has played second fiddle to Lazarus in most of the major races this season but with that stablemate spelling you would think Saturday’s final $150,000 race would be his chance. But Purdon isn’t so sure. “It is not that we are unhappy with him and he looks good but he was was only all right at the workouts last weekend,” admits Purdon. “Maybe he is still on the way back up after racing in Perth but I won’t really know until I drive him in track work on Thursday. “Those good horses can improve a lot in a week so I am putting a lot of emphasis on how his final fast workout goes.” Purdon says if Chase The Dream (barrier seven) at his peak had drawn inside Heaven Rocks (five) he would have been the stable’s clear top pick but now Heaven Rocks may have a slight advantage. But that all depends on whether Heaven Rocks behaves, after galloping twice and costing punters a fortune in his last four starts. “I think he will be fine on Saturday but he has been a hard horse to train and is a hard horse to drive so there are no guarantees.” Purdon is equally confused but for different reasons about Saturday’s other three-year-old pace, where the stable has the three favourites, all group one winners this season. Dream About Me is the best filly in the country but has the worse possible draw at one on the second line, while Piccadilly Princess (two) and Golden Goddess (three) are set to control the race. Over the punishing, rain-soaked 2600m of the NZ Oaks last start Dream About Me was able to outstay her stablemates but a sprint around Cambridge gives her a lot less time to make up the expected deficit. “To be honest, I can’t pull back to last on her to get off the markers so I have to try and push through,” says Purdon. “The horse we follow out, Killer Queen, has gate speed so we can keep going forward at the start but then a lot depends on the horses around her. “Even if we do get off, if she has to give Golden Goddess a good start over a mile it is going to be very hard to catch her.” Purdon is playing down Spanish Armada’s poor workout at Cambridge last Saturday, saying she is very well but realises she is going to need a hot tempo to bring the likes of stablemate Partyon and Delightful Memphis back to her in the two-year-old Diamond. And to further add to Purdon’s, and punter’s, confusion both Pacing Major and More The Better face second line draws in the male juvenile pace. “They are both very good and the one who gets in front of the other probably has the best chance but it is hard to work out how that is going to unfold,” he says. “Maybe Pacing Major has the better draw because the horse he follows out is a quick beginner and he might be able to get away from the markers.” The four-year-old Emerald is down to 12 runners, with Prince Of Pops and Hank Bromac scracthed, the latter’s withdrawal allowing his trainer Tony Herlihy to driver Vctorian pacer My Kiwi Mate. Michael Guerin 

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Lennytheshark beaten in first trial back

Reinging Inter Dom champ Lennytheshark was beaten into third spot after a tough run at his first trial on the path towards the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on April 26. Trainer David Aiken took the reins himself in a Menangle trial yesterday (Tuesday) and Lennytheshark’s condition gave out late after he sat parked in a 1min52.1sec mile.  “It wasn’t the run I hoped for because I knew he needed it and wanted to give him some cover, but he ended-up parked and Bettor Bet Black really ran along in front,” Aiken said.  “He was only beaten a half-length or so and got a bit tired late, but, more importantly, he came through it well.”  It was Lennytheshark’s first public appearance since his gallant second to Have Faith In Me in the Miracle Mile at Menangle on February 28.  Aiken did reveal he is consider a change of plans with Lennytheshark.  “I’d say he’s only 50-50 of running in the Golden Mile (June 11) now,” he said. “It’s not an important race and Chris Alford (regular driver) might have some big drives at Melton on the same night. I’ve got some thinking to do.  “The other option is to give him another strong trial and wait another week to run him first-up over 2300m at Menangle (June 18).  “That would still give him a lead-up run before his main target, the Len Smith.”  Aiken confirmed the Len Smith would be Lennytheshark’s last race for the season, which has so far seen him race 11 times for seven wins, four seconds and earn $1.31 million.  “Yes, he’ll be out for another break then before we set him to defend his (Inter Dominion) title in Perth,” he said.  Aiken’s other Perth Inter Dominion hopeful, the immensely exciting Hectorjayjay, is having a short let-up and doing some “water-walker” work ahead of a Queensland winter raid.  “He’s had a bit of an easy time since his latest win, which took him to another level in my opinion,” Aiken said,  “I’ll look for a race for him at Melton in a couple of weeks then he’ll come up to our Menangle stable for a few days to break up the trip on his way to Queensland for the big races in July.” Adam Hamilton

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Somebeachsomewhere highlights big day

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 31 - A talented group of 19 harness racing three-year-old pacers have been split into two $75,000 divisions for this Saturday's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. A stacked 11-race card has been assembled for Saturday and, along with the Somebeachsomewhere, will also feature a leg of the Graduate Series for four-year-olds and an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for sophomore pacing fillies. The Somebeachsomewhere Stakes (previously known as The Burlington) serves as the final prep before the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations (June 11). Of the 19 horses in this year's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, 17 are eligible to the 'Cup'. The first division Saturday is headlined by several of last year's standout rookies and OSS top stars. OSS Super Final champion Betting Line (PP2, Jonathan Drury) is looking for his second win in three starts this season. The Casie Coleman trainee won his last start on May 21 at Mohawk in 1:49.4 and paced a :52.2 back-half. Voracity (PP5, Brett Miller), a winner of over $298,000, and Nvestment Bluechip (PP9, Jody Jamieson), third-place finisher in last year's Breeders Crown and winner of over $368,000, join their OSS rival in the first split. Trainer Tony Alagna not only sends out Voracity in the first division, but also Grand Circuit winner American Passport (PP3, Scott Zeron). The son of American Ideal posted three consecutive victories last season in Grand Circuit events, including a pair at The Red Mile. Michaels Victory (PP7, Sylvain Filion) and Magnum J (PP10, Doug McNair) are both coming off Sires Stakes victories in New Jersey and Ontario. Stonebridge Beach (PP1, Sylvain Filion), Flaherty (PP4, Trevor Henry), Dreamfair Mesa (PP6, Randy Waples) and Some Gold (PP8, James MacDonald) complete the field of ten for the first division. Metro Pace and O'Brien Award winner Control The Moment (PP4, Randy Waples) headlines the second division. The Brad Maxwell trainee is making his 2016 debut after a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk. The son of Well Said won eight of nine starts last season, banked over $461,000 and took a mark of 1:49.4 at Mohawk. Also in the second split, Alagna trainee Highlandbeachycove (PP9, Scott Zeron) will look to improve to three for three to start his sophomore season; Mark Silva trainee Lyons Snyder (PP3, Sylvain Filion) is coming off a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes victory in 1:49.4 at Pocono; and Dave Menary trainee Major Hill (PP6, Jody Jamieson) is entering off a 1:50.4 winning performance last week at Mohawk. The field of nine is completed by Bettor Memories (PP1, Chris Christoforou), Arsenic (PP2, Doug McNair), Nocturnal Bluechip (PP5, Paul MacDonell), Cruise Patrol (PP7, James MacDonald) and Brookdale Sonny (PP8, Sylvain Fillion). The Somebeachsomewhere divisions have been carded as races six and eight. Also on Saturday, the Graduate Series makes a stop at the Campbellville oval. A field of 11 four-year-old trotters will compete in the Graduate Trot, while a group of seven four-year-olds will battle in the Graduate Pace. Each race goes for a purse of $98,250. Local standout Musical Rhythm (PP5, Mario Baillargeon) stars in the Graduate Trot. The Ben Baillargeon trainee had his 11 race win streak snapped in the first leg of the series on May 21 at The Meadowlands. However, the son of Cantab Hall has won 13 of his last 14 starts on the WEG Circuit. The Graduate Trot field also includes Ron Burke trainee Crazy Wow (PP8, Matt Kakaley), a winner of over $1.3 million, and first leg winner Crazshana (PP10, James MacDonald) from the Jeff Bamond barn. The Graduate Pace is headlined by Breeders Crown champion Freaky Feet Pete (PP5, Scott Zeron). The Larry Rheinheimer trainee has won 27 of 31 career starts and will be making his first trip back to Canada since his Crown triumph at Woodbine last October. Freaky Feet Pete, a winner of over $1.2 million, has won three of four starts this season and is entering the Graduate off a third-place finish in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield. The field of seven also includes last year's Adios winner Dudes The Man (PP4, Jody Jamieson). The Howard Okusko Jr. trainee won his season debut Monday afternoon at Vernon Downs in 1:49.4. Dudes The Man hit the board in almost half of his 21 starts last season and earned over $715,000. The Graduate Trot has been carded as the fifth-race, while the Graduate Pace is the evening's ninth-race. The first OSS Gold event of the season at Mohawk will also highlight Saturday's card. A group of 16 sophomore pacing fillies have been split into two $105,000 divisions. Fresh off a victory in the S.B.O.A Stakes, Dr. Ian Moore trainee Good Will Hanover will look to keep her momentum rolling in the first split. O'Brien Award winner L A Delight, who suffered her first loss in 12 starts last Saturday, will look to get back on track in the second division for trainer Bob McIntosh. Not to be overshadowed by all the stakes action, an impressive group of older pacers will square off in the $34,000 Preferred (Race 4). State Treasurer, Nickle Bag, Shamballa and Evenin Of Pleasure are just a few of the notables in the field of nine for the Preferred. Post time for Saturday's stakes-packed card of racing is 7:30 p.m. The program pages (without final changes) for Saturday's card can be accessed by clicking here. Mark McKelvie

East Rutherford, NJ - Saturday, June 4 marks the first harness racing baby races of the season at The Meadowlands for two-year-old trotters and pacers.   There are a total of seven races scheduled including three qualifiers. They will begin at 9:30 a.m.   With only four two-year-old races carded, the official start of the "Breakfast With The Babies" promotion has been postponed until next week.   Trotters owners club will be closed this Saturday, but will open for next week's races.   You may download a proof program for the baby races each week when they are posted and see pictures and related articles on the Breakfast With The Babies Facebook page.   Meadowlands Media Relations        

Freehold, NJ --- Wiggle It Jiggleit is the unanimous No. 1 in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Poll following his track record win in Sunday’s Dorothy Mullin Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Wiggle It Jiggleit, a 4-year-old male pacer, won in 1:47.3 to set the mark for the fastest mile ever at Philly. Rockin Ron, who finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Mullin Invitational, is No. 2 followed by New Zealand-bred male pacer Bit Of A Legend, female trotter Bee A Magician, and male pacer Always B Miki. Resolve, a 5-year-old male trotter who finished second in both his elimination and the final of Sunday’s Elitloppet in Stockholm, joined the Top 10 at No. 9. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 2 – 5/31/2016 Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Wiggle It Jiggleit (35) 4pg 9-6-3-0 $389,765 350 1 2 Rockin Ron 4pg 12-10-2-0 $257,690 199 4 3 Bit Of A Legend N 7ph 13-9-2-0 $473,750 181 2 4 Bee A Magician 6tm 3-3-0-0 $107,000 176 3 5 Always B Miki 5ph 3-2-1-0 $31,250 143 7 6 Check Six 3pc 4-4-0-0 $328,443 118 5 7 Southwind Frank 3tc 1-1-0-0 $12,500 104 8 8 Freaky Feet Pete 4ph 4-3-0-1 $55,500 96 10 9 Resolve 5th 4-0-2-0 $162,365* 82 -- 10 Maestro Blue Chip 4th 11-10-0-1 $154,000 73 6 Also: Pinkman (52); Pure Country (46); All Bets Off (41); Obrigado (36); Missile J (32); Rockeyed Optimist (31); JL Cruze (20); Darlinonthebeach, Venus Delight (16); Nickle Bag (14); Evenin Of Pleasure (13); Boston Red Rocks (12); Cufflink Hanover (11); Yagonnakissmeornot (10); Dayson (8); Betting Line (7); Shamballa, Split The House (6); Bushwacker, Good Will Hanover, Hannelore Hanover, L A Delight (4); I Said Diamonds, Sell A Bit N (3); Bigtown Hero (2); Mach It So, Mel Mara (1). <p 0in="" 0pt;"="" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">* Resolve’s earnings are approximate pending official receipt of purse information and currency exchange for foreign earnings by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Franco Saxon. Add him to your 'Race Tracker' and remember the name, because the way the Jonny Cox-trained runner won his maiden at Addington Raceway last Friday night was spectacular and certainly won't be his last time visiting the winner's circle.                             Owned by the recently-launched goHarness 'Staxofun' Syndicate, the performance from the 3yo Live Or Die gelding even impressed commentator Mark McNamara. "There's a debut win," said McNamara as Franco Saxon crossed the line to win by a half-head over West Point (Ken Barron), with a length back to Junior (David & Catherine Butt) in third. Starting from barrier 9 in the 1950m mobile, Franco Saxon was always going to have to do plenty of work to win - and that's exactly what he did. Away well, Cox soon had him marching forward to find the parked spot. With the three-wide train still coming, Cox was determined to keep the parked spot for the remaining 800 metres. "It was a tricky draw to work with, but we got a good drag up behind Sam (Ottley) to land outside the leader," said Jonny. "He turned up in great condition from previous trainer Steven McRae and trialled nicely at Ashburton when he won. He's a nice horse, but that performance showed us he has got the ability to go through the grades." Despite being under pressure and looking gone at the 400m point, Franco Saxon showed great tenacity to rally past the leader Dancinginthedark and hit the front. With the heavily-backed West Point and Blair Orange darting up the lane, it appeared as if the goHarness team would have to settle for a brave second but 'Sax' had other ideas and stuck his head out to grab the victory. "It's a dream start for the Staxofun Syndicate," said Co-Manager Johnny Robinson. "We've had a lot of members of our previous syndicates coming into Saxon, as well as another large group of first-time owners - which is not only great for us, but it promotes harness racing for the fun that can be had for very little outlay."" Robinson said there are still shares available in this latest syndicate launched by goHarness, priced at $730 each which is the equivalent of just a dollar a day. "The one-off fee gets you a share in Franco Saxon for two whole years, with no other payments needed, and if the horse is still performing well enough at the end of our two years with him there's also the possibility of the syndicate being extended. "He's a decent-sized fella, and we expect him to improve with more racing and as he grows into his frame," Robinson added. Friday's win by Franco Saxon was the first for Cox since he began training from his new base at Fred & Joy Morris's Yaldhurst property, called Yaldy Farm. "It's a wonderful property, with great paddocks and boxes as well as a nice track. They also have a pool, which is a great asset for the training programmes of some of my horses," Cox said. Shifting north from Dunedin 18 months ago, Cox originally worked for Ken Barron before switching to the Michael House stable in the mornings while doing his own team in the afternoons. "It was time to branch out and concentrate on having a team of my own. I've got eight in work at the moment and there's room for a few more," Cox said. Cox trained 52 winners in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons when in partnership with Amber Hoffman at Westwood Beach, just out of Dunedin. The pair trained Jaccka Justy to win the 2014 Dominion Handicap, providing Cox with his biggest training and driving success to date. An accomplished driver, Jonny is currently on 460 career victories and has saluted the judge on 28 occasions so far this season, while he has trained 26 winners from just the 282 starters on his own. Cox was also a dual winner of the Junior Drivers' Premiership in 2005 and 2006. Andrew Fitzgerald                

You won’t miss John McDermott’s smile over the next few weeks, because it’s one of the largest anyone in Harness Racing has at the moment. The past few weeks have been some of the best for the Prebbleton based trainer and amateur driver. It all started with the win of She’sa Tricky Bridge, on Premier day at Addington back on the 14th of May. The 3yo Stonebridge Regal filly cracked her maiden victory and gave McDermott one of his biggest victories’s to date. A week later and McDermott was down to drive Sheza Springfield and Shantahlia Knight in the first two heats of The Dexion New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship. That night saw John salute the judge on both occasions and head to Rangiora leading the pack on maximum points. Luck continued when John was drawn to drive Franco Exeter in the third heat. “I could never have dreamed of picking up two wins at Cambridge, I drew a couple of nice horses and the luck went our way on the night” said John Apart from a failure at Forbury Park back at the end of April, the 5yo Lis Mara gelding hasn’t missed a top two finish for Burnham trainer Mark Jones. Sent forward from a wide draw, Franco Exeter took up his customary leading role and McDermott let the Wayne Higgs owned gelding roll along at a steady tempo. “The Dominator John McDermott” as commentator Mark McNamara called him, was off and gone at the 500m and had most of the field off their feet. Franco Exeter managed to hold on and win by ½ length over a fast finishing As Kiwi As (Gavin Cook), with 2 ¼ lengths back to Going Going Gone (Sheryl Wigg). “The connections weren’t that confident after his last start failure, but his previous form had been so good” said McDermott. One punter was that confident that John would go 3/3 that they placed a whopping $3,500.00 to win on Franco Exeter. Somehow even with maximum points from the first 3 heats, there was a chance that John could be pipped at the post, but that was put to bed when he took inside runs on outsider Midfrew Tarpediem to finish strongly for 5th and secure a maiden NZ amateur title. “They told me coming into the last I had to either beat Sheryl home or if she won, it would turn into having to beat four home to win, and three home to win on a count back." "It’s been a wonderful competition; having four heats this year has been great. Last year they only managed to get the 3 heats and some drivers only got to have two drives, but thanks to all the trainers and connections at Cambridge and Canterbury, we had full fields and several of those trainers backed their horses up from Friday night which really helped.” Sheryl placed 3 times and won the last heat, usually that sort of form would win most drivers series in New Zealand but nobody could begrudge McDermott’s victory, nor the smile on his face after achieving his career highlight (to date). She’sa Tricky Bridge Sheza Springfield Shantahlia Knight Franco Exeter Andrew Fitzgerald

Alexandra Park has confirmed more than $220m in unconditional sales of its high-end apartments in just over one year - that’s an average of about $4m in apartment sales every week, blowing even the most optimistic expectations of the harness racing Auckland Trotting Club members.  Construction is well underway on part of Alexandra Park’s large Green Lane West carpark. Its transformation into a significant urban village, including 246 high-end apartments, is one of the biggest brownfield developments currently happening in the Auckland City area. The first residents will move in just over 12 months’ time. Chief Executive of Alexandra Park, Dominique Dowding, says around 80% of the apartments in stage one and over 80% percent in stage two have now been sold. “We are living proof to all the statistics and media stories. Believe me, Auckland’s apartment boom is happening right now and interest in the apartment sector is at record levels. What’s more, it’s not constrained to the CBD this time. Let’s not forget we’re in the middle of Epsom and we’re one of the biggest lifestyle villages under construction,” says Ms Dowding.  Official building consent figures for new Auckland apartments are well up on the previous years. However despite so many residential developments underway, competition is not hurting. Ms Dowding says all the Auckland-wide apartment activity is only adding choice and fuelling interest.  “When we opened our display apartment just over one year ago, we never envisaged the level of interest we’ve sustained. Literally thousands have come through our display suite, which includes a life-sized apartment, so our buyers know what they are getting.” She puts a lot of the success down to the quality and comprehensively master-planned product Alexandra Park is offering as well as the supreme central and double grammar school zone location. Low interest rates are adding to their appeal as is the apartments’ ‘freehold title’ status and the prospect of strong capital gain. “We’re selling mostly to well-established locals who want to stay in the area. They’re also attracted by a strong sense of community, personal security, a great lifestyle and amenities. Plenty of empty-nesters are selling their old family home nearby and opting for an apartment which they can easily lock-up and leave. It’s a new and growing demographic of apartment buyers we’re now seeing in Auckland,” says Ms Dowding. About 750 residents will live alongside the live trotting track in the one, two and three bedroom apartments which are priced between $600,000 and $2 million. The development also includes terraced houses with rooftop gardens. While just three large penthouses, with expansive Auckland views, remain for sale. A unique FreshChoice grocer concept has been announced and lease negotiations are currently being finalised with hospitality operators to occupy some of the 19 ground-floor retail spaces. Ms Dowding says the announcement of some favourite New Zealand hospitality names and brands is imminent.  “What is really appealing to food and beverage is the fact that we’re creating our own bustling high street, with plenty of opportunity for alfresco dining in and around attractive promenades and public spaces. She says from day one the Auckland Trotting Club has been determined to show real leadership with its high profile development and deliver an outstanding outcome for a city poised to further intensify many central areas through its unitary plan. Celebrated Vancouver urban design expert Joe Hruda is overseeing the transformation. While Auckland’s award-winning RTA Studio is the lead architect. Long-time New Zealand-owned construction company, Canam, is building stage one and last month the sod was officially turned for respected Australasian company Ganellen to build stage two. Alexandra Park’s transformation over the next year will create a new heart for Epsom and make it a real destination for Aucklanders and visitors alike, says Ms Dowding. The on-site apartment display suite is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling 0800-275-484 or visiting www.apliving.co.nz Link to watch the latest two-minute CGI video of Alexandra Park’s urban village:  For further information contact Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700.

A quartet of $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old pacing fillies featured some spectacular performances by Buckeye-bred distaffs on a special matinee program Monday at Scioto Downs.   A total of 37 side-wheeling fillies went postward on a sunny afternoon before a robust Memorial Day crowd.   The first $40,000 OSS division saw an exciting stretch duel won by the grinding Queen Ann M and driver Chris Page, who scored a 1:53.2 whisker victory over Naked By Nine (Jeremy Smith).   "My filly has a pretty flawless gait," Page stressed. "But she was challenged today and to have two good fillies battle to the wire was pretty exciting."   Naked By Nine made the front early, pacing through fractions of :27, :55 and 1:23 while Queen Ann M sat chilly in the two-hole. In the late going these two drew off unchallenged by their six rivals, with It's Your Fantasy (Dan Noble) getting up for third and Feelin Red Hot (Kayne Kauffman) nailing down fourth place honors.   Bred by Jay Mossbarger, Queen Ann M is a daughter of Big Bad John who upped her seasonal earnings to $50,000 and her career earnings to $151,277. Trained by Mike Roth, the robust filly is owned by Alan Keith of Pataskala, OH and Carl & Melanie Atley of Xenia, OH. Queen Ann M now has a 5-4-0 record from 12 career starts and the time of 1:53.2 was a new lifetime mark.   Driver Danny Noble took advantage of a speedy first half by Big Bad Ashley (Chris Page) and Give No Lip (Jeremy Smith) to steer Johnsbadgirl to a 1:54 clocking in the $40,000 second OSS division.   Big Bad Ashley took command of the race early, leading the field of nine fillies to a :27.1 opening panel. Give No Lip challenged on the outside, then gained the lead to another :27.1 second quarter. Positions remained unchanged to the 1:23 three-quarter marker and as the field headed into the stretch, the two leaders began to battle, while behind them a wall of horses edged closer. Just yards from the wire Johnsbadgirl came flying to put a nose in front at startling odds of 39-1. "I thought I'd have a chance with her today if they went a fast first half and that's what happened," Noble said. "She's got one really good lick in her and I was just hoping we hadn't got into the game too late." Big Bad Ashley held on for second while Raiders Lastchance (Kurt Sugg) finished third but was disqualified by the stewards for going inside a pylon and placed fourth. That moved She Gone (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) up to third.   Mike Polhamus trains Johnsbadgirl, a daughter of Big Bad John, who pushed her earnings to 43,001 for owner Julie Farley, who also bred the filly.   Clarebear gave another impressive showing of herself en route to winning the third OSS division in a new career clocking of 1:54. Driven confidently by Peter Wrenn, the daughter of World of Rocknroll sat in the back of the nine-filly field as JL Wonder Woman (Kayne Kauffman) held the front-end spot through splits of :27, :56.3 and 1:25.   At the top of the lane, Wrenn tipped Clarebear to the outside and the filly exploded with a :29 late brush to prevail by five lengths ahead of Gorgeous Road (Kurt Sugg), with Kacy's Coop (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) notching third.   Trained and co-owned by breeder AJ Carlo and the C2G Stable of Lebanon, OH, Clarebear picked up her second OSS trophy in as many tries. She won the first leg at Miami Valley Raceway on May 6. Unraced as a freshman, Clarebear now has $46,450 in career earnings.   Danny Noble was back in the winner's circle again in the fourth and final OSS division, this time with Ohsowigglesspecial, who scored her fourth straight victory in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:55.1.   Trained and co-owned by Joe Paver for Pearl Warren of Marysville, OH and Dennis Paver of Raymond, OH, the homebred daughter by Mr Wiggles upped her seasonal earnings to $54,375 and her career earnings to $81,710 via her 15th career victory.   "She's matured a lot since last year," Noble revealed. "Last year she raced a lot at the fairs and was on the front end most of the time so she could get pretty wound up. Now, she's super versatile and you can do just about anything with her."   My Tweed Heart (Josh Sutton) was second, while Hooray For Hazel (Chris Page) was third.   Kimberly Rinker

Punters putting their faith in the most unusual of hands for Harness Jewels day end could end up praying for a recently changed rule to come to their aid. While the champion All Stars stable has four of the nine favourites at Saturday’s $1.2million meeting, the three hottest favourites of the day are set to be trotters. Once the bain of the harness racing punter and still responsible for the Jewels greatest upset when Charlemagne won paying $90.70 in 2012, the trotters are set to be the multi bettor’s darlings this week. Monbet is rated a $1.12 chance, Marcoola $1.15 to win the three-year-old trot and Enghien only $1.40 in the juvenile feature. Those figures are undoubtedly a record low for three trotters on the same programme in New Zealand racing, let alone all contesting group ones. And they could have been shorter but for the scare put into the Enghien camp by his gallop from behind the mobile at the Cambridge workouts on Saturday. Trainer Greg Hope was initially so concerned by the wild gallop he asked stewards if the exciting youngster could be placed on the unruly for Saturday but that request had to be made before Friday’s draws. “Otherwise, as they pointed out to me, Mark Purdon could ask to have Dream About Me put on the unruly rather than one on the second line in her race. So I see their point,” admits Hope. “I am going to put an undercheck on him to stop him throwing his head in the air and I am sure he will settle down but it did shake my confidence a bit.” Ironically, one of harness racing’s rarely-engaged rules could aid Enghien if he does get too stirred up and gallop behind the mobile. If, and it is one of the big ifs of the day, Enghien does gallop from barrier three in the score up then he only needs to check another rival for a false start to be declared, at which point driver Ricky May would be asked if he wanted to move to the outside of the front line. Any such request would be undoubtedly met with a “yes” because while it hardly sounds ideal, his last-start thrashing of his main race rivals at Addington suggest Enghien could give them a few lengths at the start and still win providing he goes away smoothly. So from the time the mobile gate starts rolling for race two could be among the most nerve-wracking 30 seconds of the day for punters. Hope has no such concerns with stable star Monbet, even though he has drawn the outside of the front line in the four-year-old trot. “He trotted beautifully on Saturday and I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Hope. “So even if he has to sit parked I’d be fine with that.”
 While Marcoola hasn’t raced since winning the Northern Derby on April 29 and finished last of two in his workout at Pukekohe, he may actually be the best winning chance of the three hot to trot favourites. He wasn’t asked for his best by driver Clint Ford when he finished alongside four-year-old Paramount Dream in his workout and trotted smoothly, looking spot on for Saturday. “I think he has got stronger and from our draw (four) I’ll be going forward and trying for the front,” says Ford. His task has been made easier by arch rival High Gait being shipped off to Australia while newcomers Lemond and Temporale’s chances have been badly dented by them drawing the second line, along with Sales Series winner Wilma’s Mate. Meanwhile, the juvenile male pace is down to 12 starters after Motu Meteor joined The Kaik as an early scratching, meaning it will comprise two lines of six. Michael Guerin

The World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) pre-Olympic tour on its "Road To Rio" made stops in both Sweden and Canada over the weekend. The WCRF is dedicated to resurrecting Chariot Racing in the Olympics while revitalization and reshaping the sport of harness racing. WCRF founder, Sam Stathis, was in Stockholm, Sweden Saturday and Sunday for the world renowned Standardbred harness horse race called the Elitloppet, where more than 28,000 fans came out Sunday to see the classic event. "What a tremendous weekend of racing at the Solvalla track," Stathis said. "The crowds were overwhelming, everyone rooting for his or her favorites. It took me more than a half hour to get from the dining room to the winner's circle just in time to see Jimmy Takter's Pinkman win his race." Stathis met with Swedish racing officials over the weekend, setting up WCRF future events for later this summer and for 2017. "I want to thank the AGT for hosting the WCRF at their tremendous VIP party," Stathis said, "My good friends Ann and Johan Lindberg (secretary general of Travsport) introduced us to racing dignitaries from as far south as Australia, Russia to the north and everyone in between. This will help pave the way for the WCRF to do some great things around the globe as I met people who now know about the goals of the WCRF and will join our team." "Pink highlighted the day," Stathis explained, "There were pink hats, shirts, pants and dresses topped off by a "pink horse" Pinkman, who won his race while defeating other US Stars. And what a great ambassador for the USA and WCRF pre-Olympic Tour as world renowned driver, Yannick Gingras joined us and his friends at the VIP party for a pre-race photo shoot and then topping it off by carrying the Olympic and Greece flags in the winner circle after Pinkman won. Stathis said they were also joined at the VIP party by Mr. and Mrs. Karl-Eric Bender, owners of the Palema Trotting Center in Vero Beach, FL along with Jimmy Takter and his wife Christina and renowned Australian breeder Duncan McPherson. "This was an amazing party," Stathis said, "and a superb weekend of racing that I will cherish in my memories the rest of my life. Everyone wanted to take a photo with the Greek and Olympic flags in support of the what the WCRF is doing for the special Olympics." The Pre-Olympic "Road to Rio" tour is being highlighted by the exotic chariots designed by Sam Stathis as the sport that the ancient Olympics were founded on in 776 BC. The tour is winding its way around the world and winding up at the Olympic city of Rio de Janeiro in August, 2016. At Mohawk Raceway in Ontario, Canada on Saturday, one of the WCRF exotic chariots was on the track during their stakes race evening, taking children around the main track, showing off the unique two-seater design. World champion harness driver, Jody Jamieson and the trotter, Calamar, took the children for their rides. "This is what the WCRF is all about," Stathis said. "Educating children and adults with hands-on "grass-roots" experience getting to sit behind a racehorse on the track." Stathis's Celebrity Farms top racehorse, Celebrity Eventsy, was also at Mohawk Raceway Saturday, finishing third in the $174,000 final of the SBOA Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. With international support from every equine discipline, the WCRF is leading the effort to return Chariot Racing to the Olympics. Stathis is now on his way to his native country of Greece, where on Sunday, June 5 he will be at the new Olympic Stadium with special Olympic children, attending the National Show Jumping competition. For additional information, visit www.worldchariot.org. From the World Chariot Racing Federation  

CHESTER, Pa. --- Most people might be unhappy to see clouds block out the sun on their Memorial Day weekend, but harness racing driver Montrell Teague couldn't have been more overjoyed. Teague drives Wiggle It Jiggleit, a horse who has a penchant for jumping shadows on the racetrack. So when Teague saw the clouds roll in moments before heading onto the track for Wiggle It Jiggleit's start in Sunday's $200,000 Dorothy Mullin Invitational for older male pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia, he was relieved. And under the cover of those clouds, Wiggle It Jiggleit went out and paced the fastest mile in the 11-year history of Harrah's Philadelphia, stopping the timer in 1:47.3 as he captured the Mullin Invitational by 1-3/4 lengths over early pacesetter Rockin Ron. Rockeyed Optimist finished third. "When I warmed him up, he jumped over a couple (shadows); that would have been another obstacle to overcome," Teague said. "The shadows were out pretty good until we went out, so it worked out perfect. The clouds worked out in our favor." The previous fastest mile at Harrah's Philadelphia was 1:48, a mark shared by Artistic Fella and Mister Big. The time was one-fifth of a second off the world record for a 4-year-old gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile oval. "He's done so many races and all of them are spectacular, it's hard to pick one that stands out," Teague said after the 4-year-old Wiggle It Jiggleit won for the 29th time in 36 career races and increased his lifetime earnings to $2.57 million. "This is right up there with all the big ones, I think. "I thought I could have gone faster, but if I'm already in front I just want to look back and see where they are and start celebrating." Also on Sunday's card at Harrah's Philadelphia, Obrigado won the $200,000 Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters by a neck over Il Sogno Dream in 1:52 and Venus Delight won the $200,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers by 2-1/2 lengths over Katie Said in 1:50.4. Wiggle It Jiggleit, harness racing's 2015 Horse of the Year, has won six of nine races this season and finished no worse than second in any start. He entered the Mullin Invitational off a track-record win in the Battle of Lake Erie on May 21 at Northfield Park. In the Mullin, Wiggle It Jiggleit found himself in second place behind Confederation Cup champion Rockin Ron. Teague and the 1-2 favorite made their move to challenge Rockin Ron just after reaching the race's midpoint and battled side-by-side around the final turn. From there, Wiggle It Jiggleit paced away from his rivals to post the victory for owners George Teague Jr., who is Montrell's father, and the Teague Racing Partnership. Wiggle It Jiggleit is trained by Clyde Francis. "It was unbelievable," Montrell Teague said. "I thought there might be a few more horses leave and I'd have to take back a little further, but when you've got a two hole you've got to take advantage of it. I saw a horse coming on the outside of me and I didn't want to get locked in. I was just playing my part and seeing what was going to go on and trying to be out before anyone got outside of me." Wiggle It Jiggleit's next start is expected to be Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack in the second round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers. In the Maxie Lee, Obrigado held off Il Sogno Dream after even-money favorite JL Cruze went off stride in the final turn. Also going off stride in the race were Shake It Cerry and Gural Hanover. Morning line favorite Bee A Magician was scratched earlier in the day because of an unspecified injury. It was Obrigado's second win in four races this year. The 6-year-old gelding has won 36 of 66 career starts and earned $891,229. Obrigado is owned by the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45. He is trained by Kelley and was driven by Mark MacDonald. "I thought his effort was great," Kelley said. "I don't think he ever got ahold of the racetrack, to my liking anyway, but he's a game horse and he just gives 110 percent every time you put him on the track. All the horses that race at this level are just tremendous athletes, and he overcame it. "His year has been really good. We dealt with some issues last year with his front feet stinging him and I think we have a better handle on what he likes and what he doesn't like. Hopefully he's going to have a really good year." Then with a laugh, Kelley added, "I need a retirement plan and I don't have one right now; not a good enough one. So this could be it." In the Betsy Ross, Venus Delight and driver Tim Tetrick rallied from midpack to overtake Katie Said in the stretch and post her first win in nine races this year. The 6-year-old mare was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer in 2015. "If you're going to get a first win of the year, this is a good one to get," winning trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. said. "I think she just came back a little slowly. She had a long year last year; she raced hard and just needed to get her legs under her a little bit. This definitely worked out today. "Timmy made a great move and she just exploded today. I was very happy with the way it worked out." Venus Delight, sent off at 9-1 odds in the Betsy Ross, has won 26 of 71 career races and earned $993,523. She is owned by Bamond Racing. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Arran Chief was the 100th winner of the Met Multiplier at Addington Raceway on Friday, 27 May. With a substantial total of 100 pacers or trotters having now won the Met Multiplier since inception in August 2012, means Addington has contributed $750,000 to this bonus scheme alone. The Met Multiplier was designed to encourage trainers to support the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) with a lucrative incentive for the connections. To win the $7,500 Met Multiplier bonus, a horse has to only start at NZMTC meetings a minimum of 15 times over a 12 month rolling period and be placed 1st or dead heat for 1st in one of those qualifying starts. Addington’s Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt commented “the Met Multiplier has been a big winner for owners, trainers and the club.  We have seen an increase in horse numbers and our starter numbers continue to track above the national average which is a positive result.  Addington intends to keep the scheme going especially as more and more owners and trainers are seeing the merit in it.  Last Friday Night was a perfect example of this because if Gunpowder, Aveross Brachole, Clover Mac, Here We Go Again and Donegal Jimmy Dave had all won their race they would all be receiving the $7,500 bonus.” Full details and conditions of The Met Multiplier Bonus can be found under the Racing – Promotions and Incentives section or contact Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley at the Addington Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Keryn McElroy Business & Marketing Manager Addington

Menangle trainer Darren McCall’s astute decision to ‘claim’ Ideal Situation from a race in Queensland last month has paid off with the six year old gelding winning four consecutive races since arriving in Sydney. McCall claimed Ideal Situation out of a race at Albion Park for $6,000 with the son of American Ideal earning $27,000 since he arrived in New South Wales including a metropolitan race at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. “He’s been a very good claim, the horse was actually pointed out to me by an owner in my barn who had been watching him for a while,” McCall said. “I went back through all of Ideal Situation’s replays, I always like to do my research when I’m claiming a horse.  You need to know the trainer, know the horse and everything about the horse.” Having spent a number years in North America training horses, McCall had plenty of experience with claimers in the past. “I dealt with a lot of claimers when I was in America and Canada, I use to claim horses a lot but you need to do your homework.  I thought Ideal Situation looked as though he lacked a little bit of high speed but I find that horses gain a little bit of that speed when they come to the big track at Menangle. “So after all of the research I put the claim in but then the owner who put me onto the horse in the first place bailed out as he didn’t think he was worth the money.  Fortunately for me I took him, I wasn’t really worried because I thought he was the right horse and had the right criteria for me.” When racing in Queensland Ideal Situation had been trained for his entire career by Shannon Price. “The horse was born, raised and trained at the same place and I thought the change would be good for his attitude.  Importantly I knew he would have been taken well care of by his former trainer and he wasn’t over raced. “I changed his training a little bit and he seemed to fit in really well here.  I changed his shoes and I think that has really had a big effect on him, I think that has helped a lot.” After winning his metropolitan maiden on Saturday night, McCall confirmed Ideal Situation would miss this weekend and be set for the M0/M1 Rising Stars heats the following week. “That will be his next target and hopefully he can get through to the final of that series.  His attitude has come good and he seems to be getting better every time I work him, but I don’t think I’ve found the bottom of him.” Ideal Situation was the first leg of a winning double for McCall as his trotter King Kong Cooma took out the Mir Group Trotters Championship Final. “It was a great weekend for us because we own King Kong Cooma as well.  He is a brilliant beginner from the stand and when I saw his main rivals had done something wrong I thought I would keep the speed solid up front. “29 second quarters is about all he has go,t but I made the ones that had made a mistake chase and he runs about that speed every week. It turned out great because the prize money this time was better than normal.”

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HARRINGTON, Del. - Jo Ann Looney King's Purrfect Bags ($2.20, Victor Kirby) won the featured $16,000 Mares Open Tuesday at Harrington Raceway in 1:52.2. The Roddy's Bags Again 4-year-old mare left alertly from post position four and never looked back in her wire-to-wire win over Dublin Rose and Hidden Land for her owner/trainer. It was the 18th career win in 27 lifetime starts for Purrfect Bags, whose lifetime earnings surpassed $395,000. She was recently third versus some of the top mares in the country in the $100,000 Chip Noble Pace at Miami Valley Raceway (OH) on May 8. The win was one of three on the program for Kirby, who joined Ross Wolfenden with hat tricks on the card. Matt Sparacino
WASHINGTON, PA, May 31, 2016 - Leaving from an inside post position for the first time in more than a month, Barn Girl followed live cover and turned it on late to score in 1:53.3 -- a harness racing career best -- in Tuesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Barn Girl started from post 8 or 9 in her four most recent races and still managed to hit the board in three of those outings. She left from the rail Tuesday but was sitting seventh when Jim Pantaleano moved her behind the first-over Ras Shakinthtbacon. The 4-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie peeled off cover around the final turn and tracked down the leader, Smokinmombo, defeating her by a neck. She Nuit finished third. Ron Burke trains Barn Girl, who extended her career bankroll to $269,156, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Dave Palone piloted four winners on the 14-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - A friendly reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway's mid-season harness racing intermission. The Raceway's next play date is Monday, June 13 (post time 7:10 PM). At that time, the five-program per week (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat @ 7:10, Tue @ 1 PM) returns. Afternoon simulcasting-highlighted by the June 11th Belmont Stakes-continues to be offered during the break (save for Tue., June 7th), with evening simulcasting suspended during the hiatus. When live racing returns, it does so with a Pick 5 carryover of $1,207.53. As always, a complete schedule is available at www.empirecitycasino.com. Frank Drucker
STICKNEY, IL - Beginning this Thursday, June 2, Hawthorne Race Course and the United States Trotting Association have teamed up to offere guaranteed pools in a pair of pick 4 harness racing wagers at Hawthorne. Through the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, with assistance from Trackmaster.com, guaranteed pools for the Late Pick 4 at Hawthorne every Thursday and Sunday will be offered. On Thursdays, the guarantee in the Late Pick 4 pool will be $15,000, covering races 8-11. On Sundays, the guarantee in the Late Pick 4 pool will be $20,000, covering races 7-10. At Hawthorne Race Course, the Pick 4 wagers carry a $.50 minimum wager and a low 15% takeout. By joining with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, bettors will receive free past performances through Trackmaster.com for both of these wagering sequences. Jim Miller
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