Day At The Track

Hardy seven-year-old Livura is Nathan Turvey’s favourite horse and the Ravenswood trainer-reinsman has high hopes that the New Zealand-bred gelding will take his stake-earnings over the $250,000 mark by winning the Garrards Horse And Hound Free Delivery Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Livura, who will be making his 105th appearance in a race, has drawn favourably at barrier two in a field of nine in the 2536m event. He maintained his good form last Saturday night when he started from the back line, raced in fifth place three backs on the pegs and finished solidly to be third behind Saying Grace and Better Scoot. That followed thirds to Mighty Flying Deal and Mister Ardee, an all-the-way win over Good Times Ahead and Dredlock Rockstar and a strong-finishing head second to Chiaroscuro. “He’s consistent, though his best form was probably a couple of years ago,” Turvey said. “But I reckon it is the best I’ve had him in a couple of years and I expect him to go good on Friday night. “His latest run was good and in good time. And a couple of nice ones beat him. Three Kings (a fast beginner) has drawn barrier one, so it will be interesting to see where we end up. I have a couple of options.” Turvey selected Livura early in 2016 and he races the gelding in partnership with Peter Ensel and Michael Rowe. Livura raced 26 times in New Zealand for four wins and eight placings and Turvey and his friends have no regrets about outlaying $45,000 to purchase him. Livura has had 78 starts for the trio for 18 wins, 31 placings and stakes of $203,940. “He is a lovely horse to have around and he’s my favourite,” Turvey said. “He sees me in the morning, coming out of the house, and greets me. We’ve got a good relationship. He’s been a ripper for us.” Turvey also is hoping for a strong performance from Beltane in race two after the four-year-old disappointed last Saturday night when he raced in the breeze before wilting to finish ninth behind Burning Rubber. “When I got pushed three wide (about 300m from home) that was sort of the end of him,” Turvey said. “I’ve got Chris Voak on him (for the first time) this week because I reckon he will suit him. He’s a horse you’ve got to niggle at the whole way, and I just thought that Voak might be a suitable driver for him. The draw (barrier five) probably doesn’t play in our favour. But I reckon there’s a gear or two more there … you’ve just got to get it out of him.”   Ken Casellas

WASHINGTON, PA, July 17, 2019 -- Rosemary Rose let Touchamatic do the heavy lifting in the slop, then roared by her in the lane to score a decisive harness racing victory -- her fifth in her last seven starts -- in Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace. Rosemary Rose yielded the early lead to Touchamatic, who had to go a 26.2 opening panel to make the front. When Dave Palone moved Rosemary Rose outside in the stretch, she was by far the stronger mare, defeating Touchamatic by 1-3/4 lengths in a career-best 1:50.3. Keystone Riptide finished third. Ron Burke trains the 5-year-old daughter of Foreclosure N-Pantathlon, who now boasts $496,867 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Aaron Merriman and Mike Wilder each piloted three winners on the 14-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features three eliminations of the $475,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids as well as a pair of stakes for freshman filly pacers and a $4,051.60 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM. EDITORS: Attached is a finish-line jpg of Rosemary Rose winning Wednesday's feature at The Meadows.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Real estate mogul Jeff Gural is in the midst of a busy summer. His Meadowlands Racetrack just hosted the prestigious Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, and The Hambletonian — harness racing’s biggest day — is on tap for Aug. 3. On Friday, Gural will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting for the new FanDuel sportsbook at his Tioga Downs racino in New York State’s Finger Lakes region. But comments made by former New York Governor David Paterson on Monday at first would seem to put Gural in an awkward position. That’s because Paterson — just named as a vice president for Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Corp. casino business — pitched the idea of having New York State move up its timeline to allow for quicker approval for adding a casino in New York City. But the sooner a New York City casino opens, the sooner it also will have sports betting on the menu, thereby siphoning off some gamblers who currently visit the Meadowlands to place their bets and watch the ballgames. It also would mean that Gural couldn’t get a second windfall from the Meadowlands Sports Complex — touted as a likely site in a failed 2016 referendum — opening a casino before New York put one in the region. On the other hand, Gural would make money on his Tioga Downs property, because such a change to the 2013 casino law can only happen once the four upstate New York commercial casinos are compensated. Gural told NJ Online Gambling that not only does he expect the state to accelerate the bidding process, “I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.” New York’s two-phase casino plan The six-year-old law allowed for construction of four casinos in the upper part of the state — excluding New York City and its suburbs of Long Island as well as Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties. Only after the new casinos get up to six years to grow their product could the state issue three other licenses “downstate.” Gural said that as it stands, the state can’t even put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) until December 2023. He added that with bid submissions, reviews, and finally a vote of the New York State Gaming Commission — and then construction — no Big Apple casino would be open before 2025 at the earliest. “It would be foolish of the state to wait so long,” Gural said. “My guess is it makes the mose sense to start the process next year.” Just one problem: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose resistance to mobile sports betting foiled a bill in the legislature in Albany last month, sounded skeptical of an “early start” for downstate casinos in a interview with The Associated Press, saying, “I’m not a big fan of the gaming industry.” Gural, however, believes the sheer volume of revenue for the state will prove irresistible. A number of reports have suggested that MGM — which acquired Yonkers Raceway earlier this year — would be comfortable with a $500 million licensing fee to turn its Empire City property adjacent to the horse track from a slots parlor into a full-fledged casino. Paterson implied that same ballpark price for each of the three new licenses in his comments. “Imagine what the state could do with a billion and a half dollars,” Gural said. The heavy frontrunners for the licenses are Yonkers in Westchester County and Aqueduct, another racino that is located in Queens. Paterson suggested a casino close to LaGuardia or JFK airports in that same borough, but that presumably would raise the hackles of Aqueduct owner Genting. “You almost have to give licenses to Aqueduct and Yonkers, or you’d put them out of business,” Gural said. “The third one is complicated. You’d have to have a neighborhood that wants [a casino]— look at what happened with Amazon [in Long Island City in Queens].” A Bronx facility likely would just cannibalize much of Yonkers Raceway’s potential casino revenues, and Staten Island is relatively small and remote compare to the other boroughs. Brooklyn has numerous neighborhoods on the rise, presumably reducing the number of options there. Made in Manhattan? Of course, the biggest bang of all economically would come from a Manhattan casino. But as he has said previously, Gural is beyond just skeptical. “No politician I’ve ever spoken to thinks that would ever happen,” said the politically connected Gural, a progressive philosophically. “The hotels, the restaurants, the theaters — none of them want to compete with a casino. “And the politicians say they don’t want to make it too easy for people working in Manhattan to just go downstairs and gamble on a Friday night and then come home with no paycheck. They feel like that would be making it too easy to gamble.” Those concerns mirror Cuomo’s opposition to legalization of mobile sports betting, even though anyone with a smartphone can easily find unregulated offshore sportsbooks in a matter of seconds. Should Cuomo ever change his mind, Gural is well-covered on that front. He already has a deal in place with FanDuel to offer mobile sports betting whenever the state gets around to allowing it. Gural gets B&M sports betting in NY, too Speaking of FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports giant turned sports betting operator will run the sportsbook at Tioga Downs that is having its soft launch this week. Gural told NJ Online Gambling that this FanDuel sportsbook will be “much smaller” than the Meadowlands operation, where the Victory Sports Bar contains the main sportsbook. A smaller sportsbook can be found on the opposite side of the Meadowlands Racetrack, and the latter sounds like it will be a better comp to the Tioga Downs sportsbook. New York state law will keep anyone under 21 from even entering the sportsbook, even though — as in New Jersey — you can bet on the horse races at age 18. As for the New York standardbred horsemen, Gural said their purse supplements are not connected to the fortunes of the sportsbooks coming to the state. By John Brennan Reprinted with permission of njonlinegambling  

Hightstown, NJ — Dalton Walls can go fast, but he’s in no hurry. Walls, who was a four-year letterman in track (sprinter/hurdler) and soccer in high school, is pursuing a career in harness racing as a trainer. The 20-year-old Walls, the son of trainer Bruce Walls, is based at the Darke County Fairgrounds in western Ohio, where his small stable includes unbeaten Ohio Sire Stakes trotter Big Box Hanover. Since starting his own stable in 2017, Walls has won 14 of 67 races and earned $126,388 in purses. Walls and Bruce Soulsby are ownership partners on five horses, all trotters. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been at the barn doing stuff,” Walls said about his involvement in racing, which began by helping his dad around the stables. “When I went out on my own, Bruce Soulsby has been the force behind me. I owe him almost everything. He really gave me a shot for a young guy. We just keep growing a little bit every year. He and his wife have been really big supporters of me, and I owe them a lot.” Walls did not intend to focus on training horses so early in his adulthood. He went to Wittenberg University to study business management, but the success of the horses he kept as a side project persuaded him to direct his full attention toward racing. “I always wanted to keep my hand in it, but I saw how tough it could be with the ups and downs of the business,” Walls said. “My first year of college, I had a couple horses and was trying to do both, but I was getting stretched too thin trying to do everything. The horses were racing well enough that I decided to take a year and see if I could give it a shot and see if I could get something going. So far, it’s been going really well.” Walls plans to continue working on his college degree, now with a focus on agri-business. “I want to have something to fall back on,” Walls said. “I think that’s really important.” Walls enjoys working with young horses, particularly trotters. “The biggest thing for me is taking young colts that know nothing and watch them develop,” Walls said. “That’s my favorite thing, developing young trotting colts and watching them grow mentally and physically. I get a lot of joy out of that. It’s the most fulfilling thing for me.” So much so, that Walls has no burning desire to drive in races. He has driven 12 times, but only once since last August. “We focus on younger horses and I don’t want my owners having to worry about me learning to drive on these young trotters,” Walls said. “There are a lot of good guys out there. I think it’s best to let those guys drive and let me just worry about the horses, I think that’s more what I want to do for sure.” Big Box Hanover, a son of Uncle Peter-Box Of Dreams, has been a pleasant addition to the Walls-Soulsby stable. The gelding is 2-for-2 this year, with both victories coming on the Ohio Sire Stakes circuit. The horse, driven regularly by Trevor Smith, was purchased for $13,000 at the 2018 Ohio Selected Jug Sale. “He was a big, good-looking thing,” Walls said. “We thought the price was right and took a shot on him. He’s been good to us so far. We’re really excited.” Walls was uncertain what to think of Big Box Hanover when he was preparing him for this season’s races. “He never did anything wrong, but he only did exactly what you asked of him and not an ounce more,” Walls said. “He was never very impressive. You could kind of tell there was always more in the tank, but he never gave me much until we started racing. He’s done a 180. He just continues to get better. “I think what has impressed me the most, and I think Trevor Smith would say the same thing, he’s really willing to chase horses down. When he’s got a target in front of him, he never seems to run out of gas; he just keeps coming. For as big as he is, I really didn’t think he would be that fast of a horse. He continues to surprise me and rip off nice quarters and stuff like that. He really gives me everything he’s got on the racetrack and that’s all I can ask of him.” Big Box Hanover could help the young trainer make a name for himself, but Walls is taking everything in stride. “I want to get as big as the game will let me, but where I’m at right now, I think it’s important that I have enough time to do almost everything myself,” Walls said. “The owners are paying me to do a job and pay attention to stuff. If I keep my numbers small, I can put in more quality time with every horse I’ve got instead of getting stretched too thin and running around too much.” Most importantly, Walls learns more the more he does with each horse. “The owners letting me make mistakes has been really good for me,” Walls said. “They don’t lose patience with me and let me take my time and learn the right thing to do. I think making those mistakes has been good for me. Every horse I’ve had has been a learning experience, whether it’s good or bad. That’s been huge for me.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Harness Racing This Week: Joe Gerrity Memorial, Saratoga Casino Hotel, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nadia Lobell, Harrah's Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; and Tompkins-Geers and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will be held this weekend at four different racetracks. Action begins on Friday (July 19) at Harrah's Hoosier Park with the $150,000 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday hosts the second leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be three $10,000 divisions for 2-year-old trotting colts, two $10,000 divisions for 2-year-old pacing colts and single $10,000 divisions for 2-year-old pacing fillies and trotting fillies. On Saturday (July 20), the Meadowlands card will offer two divisions in the $100,900 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old trotting colts and two divisions in the $93,600 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Also on Saturday, Saratoga will host their marquee event, the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial for older pacers. Finally, The Meadows on Saturday will offer a trio of $25,000 eliminations for the Devlin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers. The $400,000 Adios final the following Saturday afternoon anchors a blockbuster card that features six Grand Circuit stakes. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: What a week for trainer Linda Toscano. On Sunday evening (July 7), the trainer gave a gracious acceptance speech at her induction into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., and on Saturday night (July 13), she stood in the winner's circle after Best In Show pulled a 27-1 upset in the $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. It was the perfect bookend to a seven-day span she'll never forget. "This is another one I never dreamed of," Toscano said after becoming the first female trainer to win the Pace. "This is home for me. This is awesome." Best In Show rallied up the inside to edge Bettor's Wish in the 2019 Meadowlands Pace. Lisa photo. In a thrilling finish, Best In Show slipped through an opening on the rail to defeat his more heralded rivals. He got up by a head over Bettor's Wish, the brave first-over challenger who couldn't have raced much better. Right in the mix was Workin Ona Mystery in third, with the pacesetting Captain Crunch, the North America Cup winner and the 1-2 favorite in the Pace, a close-up fourth in the blanket finish. The time was 1:48 on the warm evening for the track's signature race. Brian Sears, also a Hall of Famer, gave Best In Show a perfect ground-saving drive. Best In Show left alertly before readily yielding to let the favorites duke it out while settling into fourth. "I knew they were racing pretty good," Sears said. "It was all the horses to beat and they were going at it. I was pretty content. I wanted to sneak him around there a little bit. I got a little opening, and he fired for me." And he fired up the toteboard. Best In Show paid $56.20, $14.40 and $6.80. Bettor's Wish returned $4.00 and $2.80. Workin Ona Mystery paid $3.80 to show. The time was 1:48 after clipping through aggressive fractions of :26.2, :52.4 and a blazing 1:19.3 to the three-quarter pole. It was fourth win in 12 lifetime starts for Best In Show, who competed in a non-winners of two races condition as recently as May. "We knew he was a nice colt last year and he got a little colt sore on us," Toscano said. "We shut him down, brought him back and he's done everything right." Best In Show has been rapidly making up for that lost time. The son of Bettor's Delight out of Put On A Show races as a homebred for owners Richard Young and Joanne Young. He turned in a pair of second-place finishes in his previous two starts, an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold and his Pace elimination behind Bettor's Wish. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 481; 2. Yannick Gingras - 344; 3. Dexter Dunn - 230; 4. Jason Bartlett - 226; 5. David Miller - 210. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 393; 2. Jim King Jr. - 209; 3. Tony Alagna - 192; 4. Chris Ryder - 138; 5. Marcus Melander - 125. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 107; 2. Brad Grant - 86.9; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 75.3; 4. Tim Tetrick LLC - 71.8; 5. Howard Taylor - 67.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadows, Plainridge Racecourse and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host eight Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts. Plainridge will card the Spirit of Massachusetts for older trotters and the Clara Barton for older pacing mares. Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for three lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, as well as the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt trotters. Paul Ramlow Internet News Manager

The Tuesday evening (July 16) Harness Racing program at Running Aces featured the weekly Mares Open Handicap Pace, with this week's edition drawing a field of eight vying for a purse of $16,000. Pull The Shade (Dean Magee) was sent off as the heavy favorite at 4-5 in the wagering from post five while Delightfully Wild (Nick Roland) was a clear second choice at 7-2. Delightfully Wild was fastest from the gate and established a quick early lead through a sharp opening quarter of :27.2, and lead the field through the middle stages with a second quarter breather of :29.1 (:56.3) and a quick third panel in :27.3 (1:24.1) with Cenalta Diamond (Tim Maier) on the first-over attack, and Place N First (Steve Wiseman) locked in the pocket. Delightfully Wild made a break just past the three-quarters juncture, which bothered Place N First and Alwaysalittlemore. Emerging from the pack was PV Miracle Mary (Rick Magee) who was able to steer clear of trouble and had plenty of pace for the stretch drive, getting past Cenalta Diamond for the win by 1 -3/4 lengths with Pull The Shade getting up for second and Cenalta Diamond home in third in the 1:53.1 mile. The Tuesday feature victory was the second score in eight season's starts for PV Miracle Mary, who now has 21 career wins and $93,048 in the bank for owner Joe Casagranda. Rick Magee is the winning trainer. It was a big night at Running Aces for the Kathie Plested-Wiseman stable, picking up four wins and one second in six trips to the starting gate. Kathie is the defending champion trainer for the past two seasons at Running Aces, and has also won the training title at Cal Expo in both of the last two meets in northern California. Kathie currently sits atop the list of trainers at Running Aces along with Tim Maier, each with 23 wins. Owner Benvenga Racing LLC had a huge night out of the Plested-Wiseman barn, going a perfect three-for-three on the Tuesday card as Platinum Time ($7.20, Steve Wiseman), The Gobye Girl ($7.00, Steve Wiseman) and Time To Play The Game ($12.80, Steve Wiseman) all scored victories for the longtime owner and patron of the Plested-Wiseman stable. Drivers Dean Magee and Steve Wiseman led the program with 3 winners each. The Tuesday card was a pari-mutuel bonanza for some lucky patrons, with huge payouts in many of the evening's key wagers. The 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot was hit for $7,783.82 and the 50 cent Hi-5 in the final race returned a hefty $9,425.50. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday night (July 20) to kick off the meet's signature weekend of the summer, Dan Patch weekend, with two big races on Saturday - The $25,000 Ron Banks Pace and the $25,000 Vernon Devine Trot, and then on Sunday (July 21) we host the main event of the season - The $50,000 Dan Patch FFA Pace. Post time for both nights is 6:00 pm (CDT). By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack

The $1Million Pace at Tabcorp Park Menangle next May is the culmination of the innovative Harness Racing New South Wales race series which is inclusive of all regions in the State and very much NSW orientated as announced today. The HRNSW Board finalised the conditions of the lucrative event that consists of preliminary heats at Broken Hill plus heats at various tracks in each region, leading into quarter finals, again in the regions, before the ultimate $1Million Pace final. Carrying prizemoney nearer to $1.5 million with the inclusion of heat and quarter final stakes, the series will be for Australian-bred, NSW-trained pacers that are four or older with National Rating points of up to 70. This series is designed to allow all NSW trainers and their owners with the right horse a chance to share in what will be all 'new money' according to HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny. "As the funding is created in NSW the Board decision was to give our trainers the exclusive opportunity to compete for the massive prizemoney to be offered," Dumesny said. "All 25 races of the series are additional to the established calendar as is the funding. "The series will be completed at 14 tracks which is basically half of NSW but these tracks are in each of the regions as well as Broken Hill. "Furthermore, as NSW already has the $1million Miracle Mile for the upper echelon horses this new series is directed at the mainstay group of the racing population. "NSW now has two $1million events but never before has this level of prizemoney been offered for these type of horses." Sponsored from negotiated arrangements between the racing industry and Tabcorp with the introduction of a new bet type Odds and Evens, the $1Million Pace will begin with preliminary $5,000 heats at Broken Hill on May 3, for horses trained in that region. Further $10,000 heats will be held at various tracks across the state that then lead to $15,000 quarter finals and $10,000 heat consolations at the major tracks in each region. The $1Million Pace final will be held at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday May 31, along with two consolations worth $50,000 and $20,000 respectively. All races within the series will be held over the middle distance of each respective venue. See the list of meetings and dates below: $5,000 Preliminary Heats Broken Hill - May 3   $10,000 Heats Hunter and North West - Maitland May 4, Tamworth May 14, Newcastle May 15 Western Districts - Parkes May 6, Dubbo May 10, Bathurst May 13 Riverina and South West - Leeton May 8, Young May 12, Wagga May 15 Metropolitan - Bankstown May 8, Goulburn May 11, Penrith May 14   $15,000 Quarter Finals and $10,000 hEAT CONSOLATIONS Bathurst - May 20 Newcastle - May 23 Menangle - May 23 Wagga - May 24   $1million Pace final plus $50,000 Consolation A and $25,000 Consolation B Menangle - May 31   *All dates are to be confirmed as minor changes may be necessary to the established calendar. For full race conditions of the NSW $1Million Pace please click here.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

MILTON, JULY 16, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park held 10 races on Tuesday evening and harness racing driver Sylvain Filion won six, including four wins in the second Grassroots leg for the two-year-old pacing colts. "It was one of those nights when nothing goes wrong you know, and even a bad drive, my horses were so good they overcame it," said the Milton resident, who teamed freshman pacers Tabloid Writer, Quick Tour, Dontblvmejustwatch and My Land to Grassroots victories and finished second in the other two divisions with Twin B Watch Me and Better B Swift. Filion collected his victories in stretches of three and kicked off the first in Race 3, an overnight race for two-year-olds he won with Allywag Hanover, followed by a pair of Grassroots victories in Races 4 and 5. In the fourth race Filion and Tabloid Writer got away fifth from Post 3 and were able to slip into the outer lane behind Three Trick Gainer heading for the :59.1 half. The colts advanced steadily on pacesetter Twin B Frenchtoast and turning for home Filion shifted Tabloid Writer into a bigger gear and the colt sprinted to a one length victory in 1:55.3. Three Trick Gainer finished second and Twin B Frenchtoast settled for third. "He's a nice little horse. He's not very big, but he's all there, he's all guts and perfectly gaited," said the driver. "I thought he raced real big." Ben Baillargeon of Guelph trains Tabloid Writer for Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC. The son of Sportswriter was an $80,000 purchase from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Tabloid Writer Filion and Quick Tour were saddled with Post 10 in the third $23,500 Grassroots division, but the Mach Three son left smartly from the gate to find a spot in fourth on the rail. Filion soon had the gelding aiming for the lead and the pair was in command before the three-quarter mark. From there Quick Tour battled hard to hold off My Bettors Del and fan favourite Better Take It and earn the 1:54.1 victory for trainer Mark Horner of St. Marys and his partner R A W Equine of Burlington, ON. "He (Horner) told me before the race he's better covered up, but from the outside post, I guess I had him a little too wound up and when I got in the four-hole there he started getting a real big hold of me. I didn't want to take any chances and I moved him back to the front," explained Filion. "Once at the front he kind of got lost, but he dug in hard. That was a great mile for him, a great, great effort." A $7,000 bargain at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Quick Tour finished second in the Grassroots season opener to Tattoo Artist, who went on to win a Gold Series division on Monday night. Quick Tour After an off-the-board finish in Race 6, Filion kicked off another three-race win streak with Dontblvmejustwatch, who clocked the quickest mile of the six Grassroots divisions. Starting from Post 3 Filion and Dontblvmejustwatch landed in sixth and Filion asked the fan favourite to reel in the leaders heading by the :57 half. Once they took control the outcome was never in doubt, Dontblvmejustwatch cruised home a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:53.1. Usurper finished second and Colima was three more lengths back in third. "That's a nice little horse, he's a sweetheart. I guess they didn't really think much of him as of like a month ago, but he's been improving every start and my god he was good tonight," said Filion. "I had him in the bad position, I was far off the lead, and he made a quick brush to the front and he made it pretty easy. He's not very big, but he's slick and he's very, very fast." Filion drives the Hes Watching gelding for trainer Kevin McMaster and fractional ownership group TheStable Dontblvmejstwtch of Guelph, ON. Through three starts the youngster has now delivered one win, one second and one third for his delighted owners. Dontblvmejustwatch The driver then won another overnight event with aged trotting mare P L Jill before returning to the Grassroots winner's circle with My Land, who went gate-to-wire from Post 1 in 1:54.2. Night Watchman finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second and Wilsons Vinner was two more lengths behind in third. "That's a horse I raced last time and I was caught back in the field. There was no flow and he still come home pretty good, so tonight I wanted to make sure with the rail that I was going to be, maybe not in front but in the two or three-hole," said Filion. "So anyway, I left hard and ended up on the front end and I was able to get a soft middle half and he sprinted home pretty good and got the job done." Gerard Demers trains My Land for La Ferme Tag Inc. of Papineauville, QC, who offered up $10,000 for the Badlands Hanover son at the 2018 London Selected Yearling Sale. My Land The other two divisions went to fan favourites National Sport and Poseidon Seelster. Sportswriter son National Sport and driver Louis-Philippe Roy caught Filion and Twin B Watch Me in the stretch and pulled away to a three and three-quarter length win in 1:54.2 for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner 1362313 Ontario Ltd. of Windsor, ON. Bettor Focus rounded out the top three. National Sport  Both Bob McClure and Poseidon Seelster and Filion and Better B Swift used late charges in the final division, but Poseidon Seelster had the bigger kick and claimed the 1:54.1 victory by three-quarters of a length. Century Grizzly completed the top three. McClure piloted Sunshine Beach colt Poseidon Seelster to the win for trainer Matthew Dupuis and owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, ON. Poseidon Seelster Tuesday's quartet of victories and pair of runner-up finishes will edge Filion closer to current leader Trevor Henry in the race for the Lampman Cup, awarded each year to the top driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Filion is a five-time winner of the honour, and he has also chalked up the occasional six-win night in his decorated driving career. "Not very often, not often enough," said the reinsman with a laugh. "I'll take it." The two-year-old pacing colts will make their third Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 15. Next up on the Campbellville oval's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are six Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies and two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies on Thursday, July 18. The freshman pacing fillies will open Thursday's program at 7:10 pm in the first race and will also be featured in Races 4 through 7 and Race 9. The trotting lasses will battle in Races 3 and 8. Complete results for Tuesday's program are available here.. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 16, 2019--Yonkers Raceway Tuesday evening (July 16th) hosted the humid $156,600 New York Sire Stakes Hugh Grant Trot for 2-year-old harness racing fillies. Three, $52,200 races comprised the event. There wasn't much out of the ordinary in the first division. Death-and-taxes Love a Good Story (Andy Miller, $2.20) sat off some ambitious fractions (:27.4, :57.3, 1:27.4), before moving to the lead and drawing off. From post position No. 3 (in one notch after a defection), she whipped I'lldotitmyself (Scott Zeron) by 3¾ lengths in 1:57.2. C Me Hyde (Phil Fluet) and Seeking Royalty (Jordan Stratton), 1-2 through those quick early intervals, wound up third and fourth, respectively. For Love a Good Story, a daughter of Chapter Seven co-owned by Pinske Stables & Kentuckiana Racing Stable and trained by Julie Miller, it was her third (NYSS) win in as many seasonal/career starts. The exacta paid $32.80, the triple returned $80,50 the superfecta paid $573. "She's just so good," driver Miller said. "She made it look easy." Love a Good Story                                  --Mike Lizzi photo Tuesday night's second sire stakes rendition saw a determined Munster (Stratton, $5.80) hold off a second pocket-pull of Sorprese (Dan Daley). From post No. 5, the former went the distance (:28.4, :58.1, 1:27.3, maiden-breaking 1:57.4), defeating that rival by a length-and-three-quarters. Seventimesalady (Ake Svanstedt) was third as the 6-5 favorite, with Olympic Glory (Andy Miller) rounding out the gimmick numbers. "It was the first time I'd driven her, but she showed she could leave, so I left," Stratton said. "Then she dug in." For second choice Munster, a Chapter Seven miss trained by Per Engblom for co-owners Black Horse Racing and Wiesman Farms, it was that first win in a pair of season/life tries. The exacta paid $57, the triple returned $199.50 and the superfecta paid $2,422. It took until the final statebred soiree for the gauntlet to be thrown down. Odds-on HypnoticAM (Brian Sears, $2.70) vaulted up and over her six inside rivals--the outside foe was scratched--then had her way in a gapped-out group (:28, :57.4, 1:26.3, 1:56.1). The final distance between Hypnotic AM and bridesmaid Really Blue Chip (Anthony MacDonald) was 5¾ lengths, while the time was a new track record for the her weight class (Plunge Blue Chip-1:56.2 in '17). Destiny Blue Chip (Svanstedt, part of entry) was third, For Hypnotic AM, a homebred Chapter Seven ma'am trained by Marcus Melander for owner Courant Inc., she's started out 2-for-2 after another blowout NYSS win (in identical times). The exacta paid $24.20, the triple returned $50 and no superfecta wagering due to the presence of a coupled entry. "Those Melanders do a helluva job," Sears said. New York Sire Stakes returns downstate Saturday night (July 27th), with the Milt Taylor Trot for 3-year-old colts/geldings (purse TBA). Total purses for the 2019 New York-bred program are estimated at $14 million. For more information, please visit   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity Yonkers

There is a Harry Potter spell for just about anything...and isn't it fun to imagine how these charms would improve our lives? It's been nearly two decades since J.K Rowling's famed wizarding series hit the big screen in the form of 2001's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone, if you're in the USA!). And a little bit of magic happened that same year for Ballarat harness racing trainer-driver Stephen Clarke. Clarke paid $3500 for a filly - the namesake of a witch at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Fleur Delacour (Nicholas Branach-Agincourt (Pure Steel) was to be the lucky charm for the Ballarat-based trainer - and he's made full use of the fortunate Harry Potter moniker in the 20 years since. Clarke's stroke of luck arose from his friendship with well-known trots couple Ross and Mary Conway, of St Arnaud. "On one of my trips to their place, Ross told me they were wanting to cut down and had planned a clearance sale," Clarke said. "So I turned up and bought two horses - a young one, which never raced because it injured itself in a paddock, and Fleur Delacour who had previously won at Charlton," he said. Fleur Delacour turned out to be a fantastic money spinner and posted a Hamilton win along with Bendigo and Cranbourne placings in her first five starts. And the success didn't stop there. She finished with 11 wins (including a Melton triumph with Brian Gath in the gig) and 18 placings for over $50,000. "She has also been a success as a broodmare with two of her four foals being winners," Clarke said. Her first foal by Die Laughing, Isabelle Delacour (yes, Fleur Isabelle Weasley nee Delacour was the full name of the Harry Potter character) finished her racing career with 10 wins and 17 placings for $70,000. "Isabelle Delacour was mated with Village Jolt and produced a colt, now racing as Monsieur Delacour, who has had four placings from 11 starts as a 2yo," Clarke said. "He's certainly shown enough to suggest that he has some future. He's been a bit stiff in a few of his races," he said. But the star of the stable is Fleur Delacour's most recent foal, Miss McGonagall (named after the stern Hogwarts professor, Miss Minerva McGonagall). Sired by Modern Art, Miss McGonagall was a recent winner at Melton in the $12,000 Vincent Vicbred Super Series (3yo fillies) Bronze Pace. To watch the replay of this race click on this link Miss McGonagall – winner of her past two at Bendigo (John Caldow) and Melton (Jason Lee) Clarke said Miss McGonagall got off to a slow start early in her career. "She got sick and then missed a lot of the nice sires' races. We later changed her training routine and she has been great this season with four wins. If she stays healthy, she will only improve," he said. Clarke is somewhat unusual in the sport, being a breeder, owner, trainer and driver, and following his father into harness racing. His father Jim raced horses successfully for many years including the top-class Key Everest (22 wins), Move on Sparky (nine) and others. "I'm currently only working two and I'm happy with that because we're pretty much knee deep in mud with all the rain at the moment. Dad has two trotters to bring back too, once the weather improves," he said. While Clarke enjoys the driving side of the sport, he's preparing to take a back seat with 16-year-old son Connor keenly working towards becoming a reinsman after coming through the pony trots. And youngest daughter Reagan is following along in their footsteps, recently inheriting Connor's speedy pony. Yes, we're all mere Muggles in this sport, relying on our own attributes to improve - but a little bit of Harry Potter magic does occasionally prevail. If not, what's wrong with a bit of imagination?! Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

WASHINGTON, PA, July 16, 2019 -- Real Cool Sam won the battle of unbeaten young trotters Tuesday at The Meadows when he overpowered Can't Say No down the backside and kept him at bay late in a $188,016 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for freshman harness racing colts and geldings. His time of 1:55.2 matched the stake record established by What's The Word in 2017. In the other divisions of the event known as the Hickory Pride, Ake Svanstedt scored a training/driving double with Gangster Hanover and King Alphonso. Both Real Cool Sam and Can't Say No entered the Hickory Pride off two straight wins to begin their careers and sharp wins in PA All-Stars splits at Pocono. Can't Say No had a post position edge -- 3 to 9. But Real Cool Sam, a Fashion Farms homebred Muscle Hill-Cooler Schooner gelding, got away in mid-pack for David Miller and launched a powerful uncovered bid that carried him past Can't Say No in a heartbeat. Can't Say No rallied in the stretch, but Real Cool Sam stayed 2-1/2 lengths ahead, with El Ideal third. "He's pretty gifted," said winning trainer Jim Campbell. "He can turn it on pretty quick anytime you want him to. I don't think Dave was really asking him; he still had the earplugs in. He got a little too 'studdy'; that's why we had to geld him. But training-wise, he's showed a lot from the word go. If he comes out of this okay, we'll take him to the Meadowlands for the Peter Haughton." Svanstedt, who entered six in the stake, said Gangster Hanover appeared to be the best of his young trotters training down. "He got sore and struggled a little bit," he said of the son of Father Patrick-Global Desire. "He's on his way back again, and he raced very good today." In the Hickory Pride, Gangster Hanover had little trouble fashioning a front-end victory in 1:55.3 in his career debut. S Class was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Patriarch Hanover third. Svanstedt owns Gangster Hanover with SRF Stable and Brittany Farms. Gangster Hanover Svansted gave King Alphonso a 30.3 second-quarter breather, and the son of Muscle Hill-Amour Heiress needed every bit of it in his pari-mutuel bow, holding off Dublin by a nose in 1:57.1. Hell Patrol completed the ticket. "He's a strong horse, but he felt alone and tried to get out a little," Svanstedt said. "But he's a strong and fast horse." King Alphonso races for Svanstedt, Bender Sweden, Little E LLC and Douglas Sipple. "Downtown" Brady Brown piloted three winners -- including a pair at 22-1 and 21-1 -- on the 14-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday, when the card features a pair of carryovers -- $1,982.95 in the Pick 4 (races 3-6), $3,549.40 in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

With the Grand Circuit title safely in his keeping, Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto wants to put an exclamation point against the 2018/19 harness racing season. Millionaire pacer Tiger Tara has dominated the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season with victories coming via the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final, Hunter and Victoria Cups plus an agonisingly close second in the New Zealand Cup. The Bettors Delight entire has been ruthless, methodical and downright scary good. And now, he’s chasing the final leg of the eight race series with the Gr.1 $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park this Saturday night. Following a freshen-up after being unplaced in the Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park, Menangle back on March 2, Tiger Tara scored a clinical victory last weekend under the orders of regular reinsman Todd McCarthy. In his only start at Albion Park back in 2017; Tiger Tara was the beaten favourite when third behind Hectorjayjay and My Field Marshal in the Blacks A Fake, the biggest event staged in the Sunshine State, run over the staying distance of 2680m. Last year, the Tim Butt trained and Dexter Dunn driven Let It Ride scored a decisive victory but will not return to defend his title. Tiger Tara has amassed 370 points to date while his nearest rivals include Thefixer (164) while Our Uncle Sam and Spankem (both 120) sit nearby on the leaderboard. Only Our Uncle Sam will contest the Brisbane event this weekend while the All Stars duo of Thefixer and Spankem have bypassed the feature. The recently retired Lazarus claimed back to back Grand Circuit Champion titles during the past two seasons while Tiger Tara will become the first Australian trained Grand Circuit champion since Lennytheshark shared spoils with Smolda during the 2016 term. Tiger Tara will start from a second-line draw after landing gate 12 but will start the punters elect given his domination of feature staying events this season. The Bathurst trained Our Uncle Sam has seen plenty of Tiger Tara this term with placings in both the Inter Dominion Grand Final and the Hunter Cup but seeks his own moment of glory and gains a perfect opportunity after landing gate two. Prepared by father/son partnership of Chris and Anthony Frisby, Our Uncle Sam will command plenty of respect. Local hero Colt Thirty One, fresh from his shock loss last weekend in the Sunshine Sprint will require some luck after copping a second-line draw. The multiple feature race winner led out in a brutal opening quarter burn before being outsprinted by his stablemate Ohoka Punter over the concluding stages, the Mach Three four-year-old will start from gate 11 this weekend. Colt Thirty One, prepared by the country’s leading trainer Grant Dixon, is one of his four runners lining up in his home state feature alongside Ohoka Punter (gate 7), Eleniark (gate 1) and Alleluia (gate 10). Interestingly, Ohoka Punter is chasing his second victory in the Blacks A Fake following his triumph back in 2016 when under the care of outstanding young horseman Nathan Purdon. Sydney trainer Craig Cross is duly represented with former New Zealand pacers Cash N Flow (gate 3) and Alta Orlando (gate 13) both backing-up following their unplaced efforts last week in the Sunshine Sprint. The Blake Fitzpatrick prepared Letspendanitetogetha (gate 9) is also backing-up this weekend from the Sunshine Sprint and draws directly behind Our Uncle Sam. A recent winner of the Golden Mile at Menangle, the New Zealand owned gelding rates as a knockout chance. Another former New Zealand pacer chasing his biggest prize to date is the Chantal Turpin trained Watch Pulp Fiction (gate 4) after finishing third behind Ohoka Punter and Colt Thirty One last weekend in the Sunshine Sprint. Turpin is the only female trainer represented in the Blacks A Fake this year. And while Luke and Todd McCarthy are pitted against each other, another pair of brothers also go head to head with Brendan and Hayden Barnes vying for the major prize. Brendan takes the drive on the Jack Butler trained Rock With Sam (gate 6) while Hayden drives Northview Hustler (gate 8) for his father Alistair. The emergency for the event is Holy Camp Clive (gate 5). In total, the field has won 281 races while amassing more than $6,723,477 in stakes. The track record was set last year by Let It Ride at 1:54.8. The Gr.1$250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is race 8 on the program and scheduled to start at 9.00pm local time. 8 9:00pm 2019 TAB BLACKS A FAKE QUEENSLAND CHAMPIONSHIP (G1) 2680M $250,660 No NR. RBD. Mobile  FIRST 4     Form Horse Trainer Other Eng. Driver   Class  Hcp   1 15813 ELENIARK  Grant Dixon   Mark Purdon   NR108 B1  FR1   2 1s72r OUR UNCLE SAM  Chris Frisby   Anthony Frisby   NR100 B3  FR2   3 11200 CASH N FLOW NZ  Craig Cross   Luke McCarthy   NR120 B1  FR3   4 09703 WATCH PULP FICTION NZ  Chantal Turpin   Pete McMullen   NR93 B1  FR4   5 32119 HOLY CAMP CLIVE (Em 1)  Chris Frisby   Dean Cernovskis   NR98 B3  FR-   6 61338 ROCK WITH SAM  Jack Butler   Brendan Barnes   NR100 B2  FR5   7 32271 OHOKA PUNTER NZ  Grant Dixon   Paul Diebert   NR120 B1  FR6    ------------------------------ Second Row ------------------------------  8 04554 NORTHVIEW HUSTLER NZ  Alistair Barnes   Hayden Barnes   NR108 B2  SR1   9 26167 LETSPENDANITETOGETHA NZ  Blake Fitzpatrick   Blake Fitzpatrick   NR105 B2  SR2   10 77940 ALLELUIA NZ  Grant Dixon   Adam Sanderson   NR97 B1  SR3   11 11112 COLT THIRTY ONE  Grant Dixon   Grant Dixon   NR120 B1  SR4   12 125s1 TIGER TARA NZ  Kevin Pizzuto   Todd McCarthy   NR120 B1  SR5   13 24226 ALTA ORLANDO NZ  Craig Cross   Luke McCarthy   NR98 B4  SR6

WASHINGTON, PA, July 16, 2019 -- A field of 26 top harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, the largest and deepest in many years, will contest the 53rd edition of the $475,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Three $25,000 eliminations are set for Saturday, July 20, first post 1:05 PM, while the $400,000 final goes the following Saturday, when the program begins at 11:35 AM. The final, race 15 on the 16-race card, anchors a blockbuster program that includes five other Grand Circuit stakes as well as a $50,000 Invitational Pace.   Among the headliners in the Adios field are Working Ona Mystery, who finished third in the finals of both the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace and the North America Cup, beaten by a combined margin of less than 2 lengths; Brassy Hanover, who overcame 45-1 odds to earn second in the $600,000 Hempt Final, and Captain Victorious, third-place finisher in the Hempt final despite a brutal trip from post 8.   Tony Alagna leads all trainers with five Adios entrants while Ron Burke and Ray Schnittker will be represented by three apiece. Other trainers with multiple contenders are Brett Pelling and Norm Parker, each with two.   The first three finishers in each elimination return --and get to choose their post positions -- for the final. The other post positions will be determined by random draw.   Here are the fields for the eliminations, in post position order with drivers and tentative driver assignments:   Elimination #1, Race 7   1. Odds On Boca Raton - Captaintreacherous - Dexter Dunn - Tony Alagna 2. Workin Ona Mystery - Captaintreacherous - Tim Tetrick - Brian Brown 3. Captain Victorious - Captaintreacherous - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 4. Mangogh - Western Ideal - Tim Tetrick - Bruce Saunders 5. Love Me Some Lou - Sweet Lou - David Miller - Tom Cancelliere 6. Wild Wild Western - Western Ideal - Mike Wilder - Norm Parker 7. Branquinho - Somebeachsomewhere - Tyler Buter - Ray Schnittker 8. Covered Bridge - American Ideal - David Miller - Jessica Okusko 9. Captain Trevor - Captaintreacherous - David Miller - Tony Alagna     Elimination #2, Race 8   1. Prince Of Tides - Somebeachsomewhere - Dave Palone - Ross Croghan 2. Quatrain Blue Chip - Somebeachsomewhere - Dave Palone -Chris Oakes 3. Reigning Deo - Rock N Roll Heaven - Andrew McCarthy - Brett Pelling 4. Latissimus Hanover - Captaintreacherous - Tyler Buter - Ray Schnittker 5. US Captain - Captaintreacherous - Dexter Dunn - Tony Alagna 6. Marco Beach - Somebeachsomewhere - Dexter Dunn - Travis Alexander 7. De Los Cielos Deo - Captaintreacherous - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 8. Volley Ball Beach - Somebeachsomewhere - Tony Hall - Norm Parker   Elimination #3, Race 10   1. Can't Beach That - Somebeachsomewhere - Andrew McCarthy - Brett Pelling 2. Highlandbeachlover - Somebeachsomewhere - Aaron Merriman - Kelly O'Donnell 3. Stag Party - Bettor's Delight - Brian Sears - Casie Coleman 4. Brassy Hanover - Well Said - Corey Callahan - Eddie Dennis 5. Semi Tough - Somebeachsomewhere - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke 6. Escapetothebeach - Somebeachsomewhere - Corey Callahan - Tony Alagna 7. Captain Cash - Captaintreacherous - Andrew McCarthy - Tony Alagna 8. Captain Malicious - Captaintreacherous - Tyler Buter - Ray Schnittker 9. Southwind Ozzi - Somebeachsomewhere - Brian Sears - Bill MacKenzie   By Evan Pattak For The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association        

Hightstown, NJ — Shartin N’s win in the Golden Girls helped the 6-year-old pacing mare regain a firm hold on the No. 1 spot in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll while Meadowlands Pace champion Best In Show jumped into the rankings at No. 9. Shartin N, who has won nine consecutive races since suffering her only setback this year from post eight at Yonkers in March, received 33 of 35 first-place votes and increased her advantage over No. 2 Atlanta from five points to 69. She leads the sport in earnings, with $605,765. Atlanta, who was third-placed-second in the Hambletonian Maturity remained second in the poll while Stanley Dancer Memorial division winner Greenshoe moved from fourth to third and William R. Haughton Memorial winner Lather Up went from sixth to fourth. Bettor’s Wish and Captain Crunch, who finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Meadowlands Pace, tied for fifth. Hannelore Hanover, who won a leg of the Miss Versatility Series, moved from 10th to seventh. Gimpanzee and Western Fame, who joined Best In Show to fill out the final three spots in the Top 10, were idle last week. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which runs weekly through November, does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award 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 8 – 7/16/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (33) 6pm 11-10-0-0 $605,765 347 1 2 Atlanta (1) 4tm 7-6-1-0 $438,330 278 2 3 Greenshoe (1) 3tc 5-4-1-0 $326,500 276 4 4 Lather Up 4ph 9-6-0-1 $411,405 253 6 T5 Captain Crunch 3pc 6-4-0-0 $511,574 168 3 T5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 7-5-2-0 $554,630 168 5 7 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 5-3-0-0 $79,282 96 10 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 2-2-0-0 $131,788 61 8 9 Best In Show 3pc 9-3-3-2 $444,440 56 — 10 Western Fame 6ph 10-6-1-2 $526,300 49 7 Also: Millie’s Possesion 36; Stonebridge Soul 26; Evident Beauty 18; Pilot Discretion 13; None Bettor A 11; Warrawee Ubeaut 10; Caviart Ally, Six Pack, Workin Ona Mystery 6; Rich And Miserable 5; Courtly Choice, Tequila Monday, This Is The Plan 4; Bettor Joy N, Crystal Fashion, Green Manalishi S, JK First Lady 3; Guardian Angel As, McWicked, Mr Vicktor, Treacherous Reign, Shake That House 2; Jimmy Freight, Tall Drink Hanover 1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

It took Best In Show a minute and 48 seconds to win the Meadowlands Pace. It took harness racing trainer Linda Toscano nearly as much time to allow herself to believe it was true. "I would not get in the car until his number came up," Toscano said, referring to the vehicle that shuttles people between the paddock, where Toscano had watched the race, and the winner's circle at The Meadowlands. "I was not getting in the car." After a minute-and-a-half wait, Best In Show was declared the winner of Saturday's $682,650 event for 3-year-old pacers in a four-horse photo, beating Bettor's Wish and Workin Ona Mystery both by a head and Captain Crunch by three-quarters of a length. Then, Toscano could enjoy the ride. "Oh, gosh; this is home," Toscano said as she discussed the emotions surrounding her first Meadowlands Pace win. "Lately I've been training a lot of trotters, and I've always had a lot of fillies, and the one shot I thought I had at this race was with Heston Blue Chip (in 2012) and it just didn't work out. "Just to get another shot at this race, this is another one I can check off the bucket list. It's cool." Toscano, a New Jersey resident who six days prior to Best In Show's victory was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, became the seventh trainer to win the Meadowlands' two premier races for 3-year-olds, the Meadowlands Pace and the Hambletonian. She captured the Hambletonian, for trotters, in 2012 with Market Share. The other trainers to win both races were Billy Haughton, Ray Remmen, Chuck Sylvester, Blair Burgess, Steve Elliott, and Ray Schnittker. "It's been a big week," Toscano said. "This is what you try to get to." Best In Show raced only three times at age 2 before being shut down to provide the colt more time to develop physically. This year, he won a conditioned race at The Meadowlands before heading to Canada and winning on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit. He then was second in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, sixth in the North America Cup final after a third-place performance in his elimination, and second in another Ontario Sire Stakes start. He returned to The Meadowlands and finished second to Bettor's Wish in his Meadowlands Pace elimination. "When he came back this year, he was behind on experience, he was behind on everything," co-owner Richard Young said. "These horses were racing in big stakes last year and we were in non-winners of two in his fifth lifetime start here at The Meadowlands (in May), so we've come a long way in a relatively short period of time. The progress has been rather quick. "I'm elated. I kept telling people I thought he could win. He has tremendous gate speed for position and if they fought it out, who knows. I always thought we had a shot. I think he's shown that he belongs." Said Toscano, "We thought he was a quality horse. He came back and we brought him along the right way. Fortunately for us, we had a great jump-start program being able to go up to the Ontario Sire Stakes so we didn't have to go against these gorillas every single week. It was a great place to get him started and get his sea legs under him. Every week he's been progressing just a little bit more and more. "Finally, the rookie thing is gone, he's starting to figure this out. He's got good gate speed, he's an honest horse, and he's an easy horse to drive. I love his attitude. He's totally nonplussed by shipping. I shipped him back and forth to Canada every single week, I never left him there, and he just gets out of the truck and eats his dinner. Those kinds of horses help. I went to check on him in the detention barn (Saturday) and he was lying down when I got there. That's basically what you have to like the most about him." Best In Show is a son of Bettor's Delight out of the mare Put On A Show. Young was among the owners of Put On A Show during her racing career, which saw her earn $2.40 million lifetime and take home a Dan Patch Award at age 3 in 2010. Best In Show was her third foal, and first colt. "We're talking about a great mommy, a great daddy; we had a shot here," Young said. "We kept Put On A Show for one reason - we thought she would produce a champion. We were just going to wait on it until it happened. "I think I have a potential sire here, which is really exciting." In the Meadowlands Pace, Best In Show was the fourth choice in the betting, at odds of 27-1, behind favorite Captain Crunch, Bettor's Wish, and Workin Ona Mystery. Best In Show started from post seven and used his gate speed to get to the lead in a :26.2 opening quarter mile. The three top choices all passed Best In Show on the backstretch and battled to the half in :52.4 and three-quarters in 1:19.3. As the group continued its fight in the stretch, driver Brian Sears found room inside his three leading rivals and guided Best In Show through to victory. Toscano said she thought Best In Show was primed to get a good piece of the purse, but was not going to predict victory prior to the race. "Then you see where you're sitting and you see a half in :52 come up, you go, oh, this is kind of looking pretty good here," Toscano said. "You know the right horses are all around you and are going to carry you. Then it's just hope for room and hope your horse is going to show up at that point. So, it worked out really well." The horse showed up. Best In Show. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

SPRINGFIELD – For nearly a century, the Du Quoin State Fair was known as a showcase for the rural, agrarian culture of southern Illinois, featuring livestock shows, carnival rides, harness racing, auto racing, monster truck shows, demolition derbies and, of course, country music. This year, however, the annual festival in southern Illinois has become the focus of a statewide controversy involving a clash of political cultures. The controversy involved a musical act that was booked for this year’s fair, a Southern rock band from Georgia called Confederate Railroad, which has been recording and performing in smaller venues and county fairs for more than 30 years. The musical group was scheduled to perform Aug. 27. But when Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Chicago Democrat, learned about it, he ordered the Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of the fair, to cancel the performance. At issue was the band’s logo, which features a railroad engine adorned with two Confederate flags. “The Confederate flag is a symbol of the hate, oppression and enslavement of African Americans,” Pritzker’s communications chief Emily Bittner said in a statement. “It was flown over states that committed treason and started a war — so that they could keep enslaving people. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in this fight over whether the nation should allow slavery or end it.” Officials at the fair declined to comment on the controversy, referring questions to the Department of Agriculture. “While every artist has a right to expression, we believe this decision is in the best interest of serving all the people of our state,” said the department’s spokeswoman Krista Lisser in a statement. But Pritzker’s decision did not sit well with some southern Illinois lawmakers, including Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, who vented her frustration on Facebook. “I'm a firm believer in the government censoring as little speech as possible,” Bryant posted July 6. “I am a firm believer in First Amendment Rights. But, if these arbitrary 'politically correct' lines are going to be drawn for certain acts, then I would like to know from the administration where this starts and where it stops.” Bryant went on to point out that the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this year will feature the rap artist Snoop Dogg, whose 2017 EP, “Make America Crip Again,” features an image on its cover depicting a dead President Donald Trump with an American flag draped over the body. “If that doesn't offend the average person, I don't know what does,” Bryant wrote. The Du Quoin State Fair began in 1923 as a private venture started by local businessmen who hoped it would become the region’s equivalent of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. From 1957 through 1980, it hosted the Hambletonian Stakes, the first race in the Triple Crown of harness racing. With the loss of that event, the fair ran into financial challenges and in 1986 it was taken over by the state. This year’s fair is scheduled to run Aug. 23 – Sept. 2. The Illinois State Fair in Springfield’s schedule is Aug. 8 – 18. By Peter Hancock  Reprinted with permission of The Shelbyville Daily Union