Day At The Track
Gracefullyforgiven, Harness Racing

Stafford six pack, sweeps DSBF Elims

HARRINGTON, Del. - Driver Art Stafford Jr. swept the three $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund divisions for harness racing 2-year-old pacing fillies at Harrington Raceway Tuesday. Stafford won six races on the program, following a four win night Monday. Jeff and David Clark's Gracefullyforgiven ($2.80, Stafford Jr.) prevailed in the first DSBF division in 2:00.1. The daughter of Roddy's Bags Again set all the fractions in her decisive win over Cheyenne Zone and Bunker Away. Clark had three wins on the card. William Moffett Inc.'s Lydia ($4, Stafford Jr.) was a 2:01.2 winner narrowly over Lotsa Luck and Time and Motion in the second division. The Dream Away-sired filly notched her first lifetime win for her owner/trainer. Pedal Power ($3.20, Stafford Jr.) won the final division in 2:00.1 for owners Darrell and Leah Lewis. The Roddy's Bags Again filly was a front end victor over Ibetyoucanwiggle and Studio Session. In the $17,500 Mares Open, Louis Catana and Vince Bradley's Matinee Dragon ($12.60, Tyler Davis) was a 1:55 winner. Trained by co-owner Bradley, it was her third win of the season. Matthew Sparacino

George Napolitano Jr., Harness Racing

George Napolitano Jr. sweeps features

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Western Ideal mare Healthy Gain, a winner at a $49.60 mutuel in "nw 5" company at The Meadows in her previous start, shipped northeast to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and won again in the same class Tuesday, victorious in the $16,000 featured pace for harness racing fillies and mares while taking a new lifetime mark of 1:51.4 - and returning only $6.60 as the favorite of the crowd. Leading driver George Napolitano Jr. made every pole a winning one with the invader and the pair had an easy time of it, winning by four lengths. Trainer Gary Johnston shares ownership of the in-form four-year-old with Tracy Chropek. The win with Healthy Gain was "George Nap"'s third win of the night - he later added a fourth by scoring in the $14,000 co-featured pace for distaffs, with Marlee B also passing every pole in front en route to a 1:51.1 victory. The winning Mach Three mare had a harder time in getting to Victory Lane, however, as she was used to get command from the outside post eight, held off the first-up bid of favored Graceful Vision, then needed to dig in to fend off potential pocket rocket UF's Dragon Queen by a nose, with Graceful Vision only another half-length off at the wire. Hunter Oakes trains the winner of $431,870 lifetime for Synerco Ventures Inc. PHHA / Pocono

Wisdom Tree, Harness Racing

Final leg of Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway

On Tuesday September 19, Monticello Raceway hosted it's 8th and final leg of the 2017 New York Sire Stakes Season featuring harness racing 2 year old pacing fillies. The first Sire Stakes event of the afternoon was a six horse field that competed for a purse of $53,500. Betting favorite KJ's Bekah (Jason Bartlett) made a nasty break in the middle of the first turn and went to his knees. Jim Morrill Jr. took advantage of the miscue with the improving Wisdom Tree (PP2) and reeled off fractions of 28.2, 58.2, 1:27.4 tripping the beam in 1:55.2 to score a no nonsense win by 2 lengths, over longshot Sand Artist (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Mink Pink (Matt Kakaley). Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar - Wisdom) filly is trained by Ed Hart, and is owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeff Cullipher, in the process she scored her first pari mutual win and returned $6.50 to the faithful. In typical Jim Morrill Jr. fashion, he sent the 4/5 favorite Alexis Faith from the rail, down the road and played catch me if you can in the final Sire Stakes ($54,500) of the afternoon and led the field to the first stanza in a brisk 27 and continued to show the way to the half in 56.1, down the backside former regular top Monticello driver Jim Marohn Jr. had Azreal As It Gets in perfect striking position and came first over. Alexis Faith was still on top as the field sped to the ¾ in 1:25.2, at this point it looked like the track record of 1:55 was in serious jeopardy as Marohn Jr and Azreal As It Gets continued to grind down pace setter Alexis Faith who tired late in the lane to prevail in 1:55.2 by a slim margin, the win was 2/5's off the track record of 1:55 set by Planet Rock last year. Hurrikane Shorty (Jason Bartlett) redeemed herself after being off her grain in a dull performace last week, finished a game 2nd, pacesetter Alexis Faith was third. The win was Azreal As It Gets second consecutive win after her win last week at Batavia Downs for trainer Jake Huff. The So Surreal - Vanite Semalu filly is owned by Our Horse Cents Stable and Stable 45. Jim Morrill had 3 wins on the afternoon, Bruce Aldrich Jr. took both divisions of Excelsior B's, leaving him just 5 wins shy of career win 7,000. Leading Monticello Raceway driver Jim DeVaux had 1 win on the card, he needs 27 more wins to become a member of the 5,000 club. Breeding shed banter saw both Rock N Roll Heaven and Art Major each has a pair of winners. Excelsior A - $15,000 Majorette Angie - 1:57.2 - $8.60 - Jim Morrill Jr./ Checkered Past - 1:58 - $6.60 - Jim Morrill Jr. Jericho Diva - 1:57.3 - Jim DeVaux - $9.30 Excelsior B - $6,500 Heavens Diva -2:00.4 - $2.10 - Bruce Aldrich / With Wings - 1:59.1 - $3.50 - Bruce Aldrich By: Shawn Wiles

Pinecraft Nellie, Harness Racing

Tuesday action at Delaware, Ohio

Indiana invader Pinecraft Nellie won the $37,600 Standardbred trot for two-year-old fillies in Tuesday harness racing action at the Delaware County Fair. Driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. sent Pinecraft Nellie out of the outside post #4 and grabbed the early lead. The daughter of Guccio led the field through the first half mile fractions of :30 1/5 and 1:00 3/5. Msnaughtyashill (David Miller) challenged the leader at the three-quarter mile pole in 1:29 1/5, but Pinecraft Nellie was solid through the lane to score a 4 1/2 length victory in 1:58 4/5. Pinecraft Nellie won for the eighth time in 15 seasonal starts and is owned by Summit Pacing Acres and conditioned by Byron Hooley. In the $126,000 (div.) Ohio Breeders Championship for two-year-old colt trotters, Ohio Sires Stake champion Mission Accepted (Ryan Stahl) took the first division in a national season's record 1:56 2/5. As the starting gates wings opened, In My Dreams and Hugh Beatty took the early lead. Mission Accepted, who left from post 5, to take command just past the opening quarter in :29 2/5. Mission Accepted took on the mid race challenges of Joggintothebank (Dan Noble) and Sand Cash (Tyler Smith) and won by 1¾ lengths. In My Dreams held on for second and Dontforgetmaster (Josh Sutton) rallied for third. The son of Manofmanymissions is owned by trainer Jeff Conger, breeder Knox Services and David Wills. He now has won over $190,000 in just 7 starts this season. In the second $42,000 division, Cash Lane and driver Kayne Kauffman cruised to a 1½ length win over upset minded Dancewithsomebody (Robin Miller) in 1:59 2/5. Cash Lane is trained by Mike Polhamus and is owned by Richard L. Finfrock. In the final division, Sultan Of Cash, the 3-5 betting choice, showed why he was the best when he went gate-to-wire in 1:58. Woof (Mike Wilder) and Count On Cody (David Miller) rounded out the top three. Sultan Of Cash has now won $126,515 and 7 of 8 starts this season. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. drove the winner for owner/trainer Roger Hughes, Jr. The 19 race Wednesday card starts at 11:00 AM and features the Jugette for three-year-old pacing fillies. Jay Wolf

Boogie Shuffle will have to beat the best harness racing 3-year-old pacers in North America to win Thursday's $590,400 Little Brown Jug and owner Bob Tambur wouldn't want it any other way. "That's what sports are all about," said Tambur, the owner of Fox Hollow Farm, which bred and owns Boogie Shuffle. "You want to be there. The fact you're there, that you're one of the better horses in the country, that's big. "I never dreamed I'd get to the Jug. But here we are. I'm a lucky guy." Boogie Shuffle brings a three-race win streak, and four wins in his past five starts, to the Little Brown Jug, presented by the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. The eight-horse field also includes Fear The Dragon, the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing's Top 10 poll, and No. 3 Downbytheseaside. "If you want to be a top horse you've got to race against the best," said Tambur, who lives in northeast Pennsylvania. "Now we are racing against the best." The Little Brown Jug is the third jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. Huntsville, who was not entered in the Little Brown Jug, won the first, the Cane Pace, while Downbytheseaside won the second, the Messenger Stakes. This year's race ushers in a new era for the Little Brown Jug, which previously required a horse to win two heats to be declared the event's champion. Beginning this year, the race's conditions were altered so that eliminations only establish an eight-horse field for the final later in the day. The Little Brown Jug champion is the winner of the final regardless of finish position in his elimination. With eight horses in this year's field, all will advance to the $401,472 final. The post positions for the final will be determined by the official order of finish in the $188,928 first heat, with the winning horse assigned post position one and all others taking their positions in the order they were placed in the first heat. Boogie Shuffle, a son of 2009 Little Brown Jug winner Well Said out of the mare Ciela Hanover, will start the first round from post six and is 6-1 on the morning line. Downbytheseaside, in post five, is the 2-1 favorite while Fear The Dragon is the second choice, at 7-2. Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon are both trained by Brian Brown, who is based at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Brian Sears will drive Downbytheseaside while David Miller, who with a win Thursday can equal the record of five Little Brown Jug victories, will be behind Fear The Dragon. Scott Zeron will drive Boogie Shuffle for trainer Mark Harder. "One thing about (Boogie Shuffle), he's got gate speed," Tambur said. "We'll see what happens. It's up to Scotty." Boogie Shuffle began this season with a win and four third-place finishes in his first five races. In his next four races, though, he finished no better than sixth. It was discovered the horse was suffering from stomach ulcers and his recent return to top form followed treatment for the issue. His three-race win streak includes the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship Sept. 3 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Boogie Shuffle won the event in a career-best 1:48.2. "Even when he was sick, he was trying," Tambur said. "Mark kept saying the horse is a good horse. He knew there was something wrong; it was just a matter of figuring it out and getting the horse right. It was very frustrating. But Mark never gave up on that horse, nor did Scotty. "Those two guys stuck with me. I have admiration for both of them. I give both those guys a lot of credit; a lot of character there." For his career, Boogie Shuffle has won six of 27 races and earned $362,543. Last year, he won only one of 13 races but finished among the top three a total of 10 times. "Last year, he would slow down when a horse came alongside of him," Tambur said. "This year, he goes for it. He's a little older, a little smarter. And he's strong. We think he will be great to go two races (in the Jug). I'm not saying we're going to win, but he doesn't get tired easily." Tambur, whose business ventures include a financial company and real estate development, got started in harness racing a little more than two decades ago. He is looking forward to his first trip to the Little Brown Jug. "I'm in it for the dream," Tambur said. "When you breed a horse on your farm and you raise him and he goes out and does well, I get a big kick out of it. "We've got a lot of good races ahead of us. I'm optimistic, but we're racing with the best of them." Right where he wants to be. Following is the draw for the opening heat for the 72nd Little Brown Jug. It is race No. 16 with an approximate 4 p.m. post time. All eight horses will return for the final, which is race No. 20. PP Horse Sire (Driver/Trainer) Morning Line Odds 1. Funknwaffles by American Ideal (Corey Callahan/John Butenschoen) 10-1 2. Filibuster Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) 5-1 3. Fear The Dragon by Dragon Again (David Miller/Brian Brown) 7-2 4. Miso Fast by Roll With Joe (Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke) 12-1 5. Downbytheseaside by Somebeachsomewhere (Brian Sears/Brian Brown) 2-1 6. Boogie Shuffle by Well Said (Scott Zeron/Mark Harder) 6-1 7. R J P by Somebeachsomewhere (Tim Tetrick/Ron Buke) 15-1 8. Chip Walther  by Art Major (Marcus Miller/Erv Miller) 20-1 Ken Weingartner

Anderson, Ind.--September 19, 2017-- Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for premium betting carrel seating at the 34th edition of the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. The Breeders Crown, harness racing's annual series of 12 championship events with purses valued at $6 million, is returning to the Midwest for the first time in more than three decades and for the very first time on Indiana soil at Hoosier Park. The betting carrel tickets are $50 per person, per day, and include a reserved seat in Hoosier Park's cutting-edge, individual betting carrels each featuring its own TV and betting station in a state-of-the-art simulcast center located in the Terrace area of the racing facility. Each ticket will also include a $20 dining or racing voucher and an official Breeders Crown live racing program. Packages are available for purchase via Ticketmaster or at Hoosier Park's box office located within Shelby's Gifts. "We are humbled by the incredible response that we've already seen for tickets to the Breeders Crown," said Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore. "Our betting carrels offer spectacular finish line views combined with state-of-the-art wagering technologies at your fingertips. We are pleased to provide our fans with a variety of seating and dining options to enjoy two nights of the best harness racing the sport has to offer." Hoosier Park also recently announced that the facility will be non-smoking throughout the Terrace on both Friday & Saturday nights of the Breeders Crown events to support a family-friendly environment. Smoking will only be permitted in the casino or outdoors. General admission into Hoosier Park is free, including the night of the Breeders Crown, but general seating is not guaranteed. Breeders Crown updates can be found here. Hoosier Park's seven-eighths mile track, opened in 1994 and now owned by Centaur Gaming, is the 31st racetrack to host the Breeders Crown. It is the final host track featured in a three-year agreement announced in 2014 by the Hambletonian Society. Hoosier Park will be the first track to host the event in the Midwest since 1995, when it was held at Northfield Park in Ohio. About Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Hoosier Park Racing & Casino holds multiple awards for customer service, entertainment, gaming, dining, and team member culture. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully-integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live harness racing each year. Simulcast wagering is offered year-round at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the Winner's Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Indianapolis and Winner's Circle OTB & VooDoo BBQ & Grill in New Haven/Fort Wayne, Ind. For more information on upcoming entertainment and promotions at Hoosier Park visit www.hoosierpark.com. Kiersten Flint

Freehold, NJ --- Three of the top seven horses in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll will be in harness racing action the next two days at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio, led by a meeting between No. 1 Fear The Dragon and No. 3 Downbytheseaside in Thursday’s Little Brown Jug. Also in action will be No. 7 Blazin Britches in Wednesday’s Jugette. All three horses are trained by Brian Brown, who is stabled at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside were idle last week. Blazin Britches, who was ranked 10th in last week’s poll, won the Nadia Lobell Stakes. Other winners in the Top 10 were No. 2 Ariana G in the Elegantimage Stakes, No. 4 Hannelore Hanover in the Maple Leaf Trot, and No. 5 Manchego in the Peaceful Way Stakes. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December 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 17 – 9/19/2017 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Fear The Dragon (22) 3pc 12-10-2-0 $1,034,810 327 1 2 Ariana G (8) 3tf 11-9-1-1 $783,040 316 2 3 Downbytheseaside (4) 3pc 13-9-1-2 $1,018,716 270 3 4 Hannelore Hanover 5tm 10-6-3-0 $531,754 233 4 5 Manchego (1) 2tf 8-8-0-0 $501,948 136 7 6 Resolve 6th 10-4-2-1 $485,149 134 5 7 Blazin Britches 3pf 10-9-1-0 $203,392 116 10 8 Huntsville 3pc 12-7-3-1 $916,078 106 6 9 Agent Q 3pf 12-7-2-1 $481,066 61 8 10 Marion Marauder 4th 7-3-1-1 $456,097 44 9 Also: What The Hill (34); Walner (27); Alarm Detector, Devious Man (15); Sintra (14); Bit Of A Legend N (12); Pure Country (11); Blue Moon Stride (8); Celebrity Ruth, Keystone Velocity, Rainbow Room (7); Crazy Wow, Lady Shadow (5); Boogie Shuffle (3); Emoticon Hanover, Nike Franco N, Stay Hungry (2); Carmensdaleyapple, International Moni, Mach It So, McWicked, Pedro Hanover, Two AM (1) by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications   

Harness racing trainer Joe Paver thought Carmensdaleyapple would be a good horse, but he never expected the homebred 2-year-old male pacer to produce win after win after win. Fifteen, to be exact, without a single setback as he heads Wednesday to an Ohio Fair Racing Conference division at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. "It's a big surprise," said Paver, who bred, owns and trains Carmensdaleyapple. He added with a laugh, "I don't usually win that many races in a year, let alone with one horse." True. Carmensdaleyapple has nearly equaled Paver's previous career high for training wins in a season, 17 in 2005. This year, the 58-year-old Paver has posted 30 victories and career-best purse earnings of $152,833. Carmensdaleyapple has won more races this year than any 2-year-old in North America. The gelding's 15 victories are tied for fourth among horses of any age and he is the only undefeated horse among the 69 with at least 11 wins. "He trained down good," said Paver, who trains his stable of five horses at the Union County Fairgrounds in Marysville, Ohio. "I'd been in 2:01 with him at home before I ever raced him. That was by himself, though. He's been a little bit better than I thought. He's a good-natured horse. He's long barreled and I like his gait." Carmensdaleyapple is a son of stallion Mr Apples out of the mare Mydaleybread, who Paver bought in 2014 and raced briefly as a 14-year-old before breeding her. Carmen is Paver's wife, who named Carmensdaleyapple. Paver drove Carmensdaleyapple in his first start, at the Paulding County Fair, and won by nearly 24 lengths in 2:13 over a sloppy track. Since then, 20-year-old Pierce Henry has been Carmensdaleyapple's regular driver. Last year, Henry drove another Paver homebred, Mannys Too Special, several times on the fair circuit. "I didn't have any help, I was having to paddock and drive, so I tagged Pierce and put him up," Paver said. "He's getting better every day. Experience is how drivers get better. I've got faith in him. He'll be all right." Carmensdaleyapple has won nine of his 15 races by at least five lengths and his narrowest margin of victory has been 2-1/2 lengths. His best win time of 1:57.1 came Aug. 14 at the Mercer County Fair in Celina. "A couple times he's had miles cut for him, but most of the time he does it on his own," Paver said. "But he can do it either way (from the front or following)." On Wednesday, Carmensdaleyapple and Henry will start from post No. 1 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Carmensdaleyapple is the race's even-money favorite on the morning line. Dan Noble's Jus Chillin It, who has won five of eight races this year and not yet faced Carmensdaleyapple, is the 4-1 second choice. Wednesday's card also includes the $273,250 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers and $80,575 Buckette for 3-year-old female trotters. "It hasn't mattered so far to him, but it's nice to draw the rail there," Paver said about Delaware's half-mile track. "We've got to hope for the best. Anything can happen. But I think he'll be all right." Paver, who is from Marysville, followed his uncle, Tom, and father, Pearl, into harness racing. He started jogging horses around the age of 12 and bought his first horse in his mid-20s. He owns some horses with his father and brother, Dennis. Among their recent successes is Ohsowigglesspecial, a homebred 4-year-old female pacer who has won 19 of 54 career races and earned $166,478. Carmensdaleyapple will race once more following Wednesday's start, in the Ohio Fairs Championship next month. Then the horse will receive time off before preparing for his 3-year-old campaign. "I'll look and see what I want to do next year," Paver said. "I know he will be in the sire stakes. I didn't do it this year; I just staked him to the fairs to teach him to race. But there will definitely be some staking next year." Click here for Wednesday's complete card at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Ken Weingartner

FREEHOLD, NJ — September 18, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $50,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Standardbred Development Fund for harness racing three-year old colts final on Saturday (Sept. 16). Every Way Out took the lead from post position No. 2 going into the first turn, Victor Kirby put him on the front avoiding a breaking Firefox Hanover which caused some commotion and scattered the field. Every Way Out crossed the wire to stop the clock in 1:54.2. Sir Pugsley followed him every step of the way to finish second. The son of If I Can Dream out of Every Play grabbed win number five out of eight starts this year.  The Dylan Davis trainee surpassed $300,000 in lifetime earning with this win. Courtney Stafford

Seven harness racing world-class trotters from six countries have accepted invitations to the 2017 $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Saturday afternoon, October 14, at Empire City Casino.   Last year’s champion Resolve of the United States, defending his title in the 1 ¼-mile classic, heads the field. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt, who steered the American flag-carrier to last year’s world record victory in 2:23:4 over Yonkers Raceway‘s historic strip, declared in on behalf of owner Hans Enggren, according to Yonkers’ racing secretary Steve Starr.    The star-studded Yonkers International card features a total of $3.3 million in purses buoyed by the $1.8 million New York “Day” of Champions, and a pair of $250,000 Invitationals, which will be announced in the coming days.   Post time for the Yonkers International Trot is at 4:00 p.m.    First post for the matinee card is at 1:00 p.m.                             Italy’s Oasis Bi, handsome Euro, tries to turn tables  The elite Yonkers International field includes a pair of two-time participants – Italy’s Oasis Bi and On Track Piraten of Sweden –  with their connections hoping that “three’s the charm” this year. “Oasis” finished second last year, while “Piraten” was a fast-closing fourth. The duo was fourth and seventh, respectively, in 2015 when the International returned after a 20-year hiatus.   On Track Piraten hopes “Three’s the Charm,” and better racing luck France’s Dreammoko, the fastest from the first crop of standout Timoko, and a second Italian standout Twister Bi have also accepted invitations to participate in the 39th edition of the worldwide trotting affair. Midnight Hour of Finland, and Denmark’s Tripolini VP complete the first seven trotters whose connections have agreed to participate. The European trotters are tentatively expected to fly to New York on Tuesday, October 3. Dreammoko, pictured training with dad Timoko, tries to follow in father’s fast hoofbeats Back to Resolve, the millionaire six-year-old son of Muscle Hill, will attempt to become the first U.S.A. representative to win back to back Internationals since Delmonica Hanover in 1973-74.  Roquepine (1967-68), Ideal du Gazeau, the only three-time champion (1982-83-84) and Lutin d’Isigny – all of France – are the only other three to win consecutive Internationals. Resolve tries to be first USA flag-carrier since Delmonica Hanover to win back to back  Starr also reported that the connections of Euros Eagle, Lionel, Nuncio, Propulsion, Timoko, and Aubrion du Gersand, and Yonkers Trot champion Top Flight Angel have declined invitations for various reasons. Top Flight Angel’s team elected to race in the $225,000 final of the New York Sire Stakes on the same day. Starr added that major trotting stakes in September and October that will help to determine the Yonkers International Trot field also include: The Maple Leaf Trot (Mohawk Raceway, last Saturday, September 16, won by Hannelore Hanover(Yannick Gingras in 1:51:1), the Centaur Trotting Classic (Hoosier, September 22), the Dayton Trotting Derby (Dayton, OH, September 29), and the Allerage Farms Open Trot (Lexington, October 8).   The author with Yonkers International guiding force Tim Rooney (right) at last year’s press conference Resolve Oasis Bi On Track Piraten By John Cirillo

GRATZ PA - Even though the sophomore trotters and pacers produced five miles in 2:00 or less at the Gratz Fairgrounds Monday in this eastcentral Pennsylvania town - on a circuit that had seem only 18 magic miles in its previous stops this year - the most sensational racing was generated on Sunday by the harness racing freshmen, with two babies not only breaking their respective Gratz track marks, but also posting the fastest time for age/sex/gait in the history on the Pennsylvania fair circuit. In 2017, when one reads the words "Pennsylvania fair," "fast mile," and "two-year-old," the words "Venier Hanover" usually aren't far behind, and indeed the gelded son of Well Said-Valmctorian added more luster to his shining record by winning in 1:56.4 for trainer/driver Dave Brickell, also co-owner with Mitchell York. Besides lowering the Gratz 2PC from the 1:58.1 put up by Ya Gotta Go in 2010, it was also the fastest mile by a two-year-old ever at a PA fair, a fifth better than the quality miles coming from a quintet of horses: Dixie Pride and Shu Hanover (both 2003 at Bloomsburg), Evening Shadows (2010 at Port Royal), Gordo (2014) and Artists Ruffles (2016, the latter two at Bedford). The fast clocking was also his seventh track record at the fairs this season, and his sixth 2:00 mile, both at the top of all lists. The other multi-record eclipser was the Explosive Matter-Nan's Conway filly, who went fractions of 29.2, 59.3, and 1:30.2 on the engine before stopping the timer in 2:00.3, lowering the Gratz mark of 2:01.4 (first set in 2013 by Glide By Shooting and then equaled last year by All Set Lets Go, whose name you'll read later), and also wiping out the all-time Keystone twicearound mark for 2TFs of 2:01.1, set by Shesfastandfurious back in 2006. Wayne Long guided the winner to the record time for trainer Bob Rougeaux III and the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. The fastest winners of the other two divisions also set 2017 PA fair "season's records": the freshman trotting gelding by Andover Hall-Girls' Getaway, Grapple Hanover, who won in 2:03.1 for trainer/driver Wayne Long, and the Well Said-Goddess's Princess pacing filly Geisha Seelster, closing in 29.1 to win in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Roger Hammer. All four freshmen thus set PA Fairs' seasonal's records - and ironically, the previous standard broken by all four were their own. Turning to the sophomores, the fans wanted to see if two fillies could extend long winning streaks. First up was the Donato Hanover trotting filly All Set Lets Go, as mentioned previously the local standardholder for 2TFs, and while she didn't need to set a record to win her heat, her 2:02.1 triumph for driver Roger Hammer, trainer John McMullen Jr., and his family's McMullen Stable LLC was her eleventh straight at the fairs, the longest current streak. Her pacing counterpart, Bella Ragaza, had taken nine races in succession before her Monday race, but after setting the pace she was caught in the lane, settling for second. But it was no fluke that beat her - it was the Dragon Again filly Camera Lady, last year's winningest two-year-old in North America, and currently a winner of six of her last seven fair outings after winning in 1:59.4 for "Team Venier" - trainer/driver Dave Brickell, co-owner with Mitchell York. This dup completed a sweep in the 3PF ranks with the Moon Beam filly Cajun Moonlite, who went a tick faster than her stablemate. On the colt side of things, the fastest trotter and pacer pushed the fair record of the Burke Brigade to 9-for-9 in 2017. The Yankee Glide gelding New Heaven became the first sub-2:00 performer on his gait on the local cotton candy circuit, making up five lengths in the stretch while winning in 1:59.3; among the pacers Midway Island was a bullyboy front-end winner, stepping home in 57.4-28.2 to win in 1:56.3. Chris Shaw drove both winners for Burke, and the fast three-year-olds are both owned by the combine of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc., and David Wills. For the meet, Eric Neal and Roger Hammer both crossed the wire first, helping Hammer reduce Chris Shaw's seasonal advantage to 59-56. Hammer, Dave Brickell, and Todd Schadel each sent out three winners from their barn to top that column; Hammer has 51 winning trainees for the season and will not be caught. The horses on the PA fair circuit earn their way into their rich Championship races by accumulating points throughout the season based on finish, on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 basis, with 9 for a rainout. At the top of these tables, All Set Lets Go and Bella Ragaza are exactly even after 19 of the 20 stops, each with 418 points (ASLG 12-11-0-1 with two rainouts, BR 12-10-2-0 with two rainouts). But some of the most heated competition when the circuit ends its year at Bloomsburg this Friday (3 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m.) will be among the horses who are very close in points to a bunch of rivals who could make the final with a superior performance at "Blom" - and there are several of this kind of horse in nearly every one of the eight divisions. Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

YONKERS, NY, Monday, September 18, 2017 -- Yonkers Raceway Monday night (Sept. 18th) hosted the $157,600 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for harness racing 2-year-old colts and geldings. The race again honored the memory of 'Tootie,' the iconic Hall of Fame harness publicist from the sport's golden age. A pair of equally-parsed, $78,800 divisions comprised the event, which, as it turned out, was not for the squeamish. Fourth Dimension (Brian Sears), who entered the opener a perfect 4-for-4, exited have burned much money. Sent off as the 3-10 choice from post position No. 5, he was away third, only to break twice in the back half. The second- (Tito [Andy Miller]) and third-choice (My Lindy Winner [Jim Morrill Jr.]) also misbehaved, a problem not shared by Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt, $31). Going right down the road (:29, :59.4, 1:28.4, 1:57.3) from outside post No. 7, Six Pack never had any anxious moment. He opened 3½ lengths into the lane, then widened to defeat 49-1 shot Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley) by 4¾ lengths. Tito recovered to finish third, while Fourth Dimension wound up a well-beaten sixth. For fifth choice Six Pack, a Muscle Mass colt co-owned (with Stall Kallmar, Little E LCC and Lars Berg) by his trainer/driver, it was his second win six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $353.50, with the triple returning $1,705. Monday evening's second Barasch division saw Ronnie Goldstein (Kim Crawford, $24.20) prevail from the pocket. From post No. 3, he made the first lead (after another leaver broke), then gave it up to 9-10 choice (Perlucky) just past a :29.2 opening quarter-mile. After a :59.1 intermission, Perlucky engaged the second move of second choice Don (Miller), toward the 1:29.1 three-quarters. Don then jumped it off, leaving Perlucky with 2¼-length lead in and out of the final turn. He couldn't finish it off, though, as Ronnie Goldstein surged by. The margin was a neck in a life-best 1:59.1. Seven Iron (Sears) was third. For fourth choice 'Ronnie,' a homebred son of Muscle Mass trained by his driver for owner Steven Goldstein, it was his second win in eight '17 tries. The exacta paid $66, with the triple returning $297. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Tuesday evening’s (Sept. 19th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,969.45.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Monday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA - Simeon, held as the 6-5 chalk by the assembled public at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday, sat behind 7-5 shot Get To Doin It most of the way in the $14,000 claiming handicap trot feature, then won the stretch battle of the favorites by a half-length in 1:55.3. Simeon, an altered son of Andover Hall who was the 2015 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes champion, picked up career victory number 18, raising his earnings to $122,976. Jim Marohn Jr. had sulky duty for trainer Toni Freitas, who acquired the horse via claim two starts ago for owners Edward Hall and James Hall Jr. It was the second time on the card that Marohn and Freitas had combined successfully; also a double-winning team was driver Marcus Miller and trainer Neal Ehrhart. Their second collaboration was slightly more exciting to their horse's backers, as the Thunder Road trotting mare Thunderaway, who last hit the board eight starts ago while winning on June 26, overcame both a stepup in class and a first-over journey to take a new mark of 1:55.4 and return $71.20 to the betting faithful. Keystone Trotters LLC owns the winner of $134,492. Pocono will race tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 6:30 p.m., then resumes its normal schedule of Saturday at 6:30, Sunday at 7:30, Monday at the fall post time of 4:30, and Tuesday at 6:30 until closing day of November 25 (November 20 will be dark). PHHA / Pocono

Rose Run Sydney became the newest Ohio 'Triple Crown" winner when she drew off in the $93,000 (div) Ohio Breeders Championship for harness racing three-year-old filly trotters in Monday's twilight action at the Delaware County Fair. The winner of the Ohio State Fair Stakes and the Ohio Sires Stake Final used a patient drive by Jason Brewer, taking the lead at the three-quarter mile pole and opened up a three length lead at the wire in 1:57 3/5. I Like Purple (Chris Page) and Vatanna (Kayne Kauffman) completed the top three. The three-year-old daughter of Triumphant Caviar is owned by trainer Steve Carter, Adam Friedland and RBR Racing LLC. With the first place check Rose Run Sydney's career earnings now tops $363,000 In the first $46,500 division, Gabbysloosechange returned to her winning ways by cruising to victory in 1:56 2/5. Driver Dan Noble sent the eventual winner right for the lead and led the field of six past the quarters in :28 1/5, :57 3/5 and 1:26 2/5. Away My Baby (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) mounted a late challenge but never really threatened Gabbysloosechange. Vandy's Magic (Chris Page) was third. The sophomore daughter of Triumphant Caviar is owned by trainer Chris Beaver and breeder Johanna Beaver. Gabbysloosechange, who was unraced at two, won for the eighth time in 12 seasonal starts and now sports a bankroll of $185,625. In the $12,000 Signature Series Final, 19 year-old reinsman Joey Putnam guided Sum It Up to victory in 1:57 2/5. Joseph Putnam and Cheryl O'Mara own the six-year-old gelded son of Lump Sum. Tuesday's action at the Delaware County Fair features the Standardbred for freshman trotting fillies and the Ohio Breeders Championship for two-year-old colt trotters. Post time is 1:00 p.m. Jay Wolf  

HARRINGTON, Del. - Harry Von Knoblauch Stable's Bit Of A Legend N and harness racing driver Jordan Stratton won the 11th Annual Bobby Quillen Memorial in 1:52.1 Monday at Harrington Raceway. Trained by Peter Tritton, the 8-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion never had an anxious moment in his wire-to-wire win over pocket-sitting Mach It So and All Bets Off, who rallied well for third. It was his seventh win of the year and 40th of his career. It was a bit of a homecoming for Tritton, who was stabled at Harrington Raceway for nearly a decade before moving to the New York circuit in 2015. The annual event celebrated the memory of former long time Delaware legislator Bobby Quillen, who was a regular at the racetrack and was a member of the Board of Directors at Harrington Raceway and the Delaware State Fair. Quillen passed away 13 years ago to the day of this year's event. Knoblauch, passed away earlier this summer and was a long time supporter of harness racing. Two $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings were contested in their first leg of stakes action. Heavily favored Transitioning Joy ($2.40, Montrell Teague), a Barber Pole colt, did not disappoint his backers in the first division. Owned by Joy and George Teague Jr., "Joy" set all the fractions in his 1:54.3 narrow win for trainer Clyde Francis over Slick Tony, who was a game second, and Friendsrforever. A photograph was needed to separate the top two. Transitioning Joy is a son of Barber Pole. Jim King Jr.'s Evolution Tour ($3.80, Victor Kirby) won the second division in 1:55.3 over America First and Fulla Nitro. The Roddy's Bags Again gelding set all the fractions in his decisive win for his owner/trainer. Richard Pollucci's Christen Me ($6, Jordan Stratton) won the overnight feature, a $17,500 Open event for trainer King Jr. in 1:53. Matthew Sparacino      

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HARRINGTON, Del. - Driver Art Stafford Jr. swept the three $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund divisions for harness racing 2-year-old pacing fillies at Harrington Raceway Tuesday. Stafford won six races on the program, following a four win night Monday. Jeff and David Clark's Gracefullyforgiven ($2.80, Stafford Jr.) prevailed in the first DSBF division in 2:00.1. The daughter of Roddy's Bags Again set all the fractions in her decisive win over Cheyenne Zone and Bunker Away. Clark had three wins on the card. William Moffett Inc.'s Lydia ($4, Stafford Jr.) was a 2:01.2 winner narrowly over Lotsa Luck and Time and Motion in the second division. The Dream Away-sired filly notched her first lifetime win for her owner/trainer. Pedal Power ($3.20, Stafford Jr.) won the final division in 2:00.1 for owners Darrell and Leah Lewis. The Roddy's Bags Again filly was a front end victor over Ibetyoucanwiggle and Studio Session. In the $17,500 Mares Open, Louis Catana and Vince Bradley's Matinee Dragon ($12.60, Tyler Davis) was a 1:55 winner. Trained by co-owner Bradley, it was her third win of the season. Matthew Sparacino
WILKES-BARRE PA - The Western Ideal mare Healthy Gain, a winner at a $49.60 mutuel in "nw 5" company at The Meadows in her previous start, shipped northeast to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and won again in the same class Tuesday, victorious in the $16,000 featured pace for harness racing fillies and mares while taking a new lifetime mark of 1:51.4 - and returning only $6.60 as the favorite of the crowd. Leading driver George Napolitano Jr. made every pole a winning one with the invader and the pair had an easy time of it, winning by four lengths. Trainer Gary Johnston shares ownership of the in-form four-year-old with Tracy Chropek. The win with Healthy Gain was "George Nap"'s third win of the night - he later added a fourth by scoring in the $14,000 co-featured pace for distaffs, with Marlee B also passing every pole in front en route to a 1:51.1 victory. The winning Mach Three mare had a harder time in getting to Victory Lane, however, as she was used to get command from the outside post eight, held off the first-up bid of favored Graceful Vision, then needed to dig in to fend off potential pocket rocket UF's Dragon Queen by a nose, with Graceful Vision only another half-length off at the wire. Hunter Oakes trains the winner of $431,870 lifetime for Synerco Ventures Inc. PHHA / Pocono
On Tuesday September 19, Monticello Raceway hosted it's 8th and final leg of the 2017 New York Sire Stakes Season featuring harness racing 2 year old pacing fillies. The first Sire Stakes event of the afternoon was a six horse field that competed for a purse of $53,500. Betting favorite KJ's Bekah (Jason Bartlett) made a nasty break in the middle of the first turn and went to his knees. Jim Morrill Jr. took advantage of the miscue with the improving Wisdom Tree (PP2) and reeled off fractions of 28.2, 58.2, 1:27.4 tripping the beam in 1:55.2 to score a no nonsense win by 2 lengths, over longshot Sand Artist (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Mink Pink (Matt Kakaley). Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar - Wisdom) filly is trained by Ed Hart, and is owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeff Cullipher, in the process she scored her first pari mutual win and returned $6.50 to the faithful. In typical Jim Morrill Jr. fashion, he sent the 4/5 favorite Alexis Faith from the rail, down the road and played catch me if you can in the final Sire Stakes ($54,500) of the afternoon and led the field to the first stanza in a brisk 27 and continued to show the way to the half in 56.1, down the backside former regular top Monticello driver Jim Marohn Jr. had Azreal As It Gets in perfect striking position and came first over. Alexis Faith was still on top as the field sped to the ¾ in 1:25.2, at this point it looked like the track record of 1:55 was in serious jeopardy as Marohn Jr and Azreal As It Gets continued to grind down pace setter Alexis Faith who tired late in the lane to prevail in 1:55.2 by a slim margin, the win was 2/5's off the track record of 1:55 set by Planet Rock last year. Hurrikane Shorty (Jason Bartlett) redeemed herself after being off her grain in a dull performace last week, finished a game 2nd, pacesetter Alexis Faith was third. The win was Azreal As It Gets second consecutive win after her win last week at Batavia Downs for trainer Jake Huff. The So Surreal - Vanite Semalu filly is owned by Our Horse Cents Stable and Stable 45. Jim Morrill had 3 wins on the afternoon, Bruce Aldrich Jr. took both divisions of Excelsior B's, leaving him just 5 wins shy of career win 7,000. Leading Monticello Raceway driver Jim DeVaux had 1 win on the card, he needs 27 more wins to become a member of the 5,000 club. Breeding shed banter saw both Rock N Roll Heaven and Art Major each has a pair of winners. Excelsior A - $15,000 Majorette Angie - 1:57.2 - $8.60 - Jim Morrill Jr./ Checkered Past - 1:58 - $6.60 - Jim Morrill Jr. Jericho Diva - 1:57.3 - Jim DeVaux - $9.30 Excelsior B - $6,500 Heavens Diva -2:00.4 - $2.10 - Bruce Aldrich / With Wings - 1:59.1 - $3.50 - Bruce Aldrich By: Shawn Wiles
Indiana invader Pinecraft Nellie won the $37,600 Standardbred trot for two-year-old fillies in Tuesday harness racing action at the Delaware County Fair. Driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. sent Pinecraft Nellie out of the outside post #4 and grabbed the early lead. The daughter of Guccio led the field through the first half mile fractions of :30 1/5 and 1:00 3/5. Msnaughtyashill (David Miller) challenged the leader at the three-quarter mile pole in 1:29 1/5, but Pinecraft Nellie was solid through the lane to score a 4 1/2 length victory in 1:58 4/5. Pinecraft Nellie won for the eighth time in 15 seasonal starts and is owned by Summit Pacing Acres and conditioned by Byron Hooley. In the $126,000 (div.) Ohio Breeders Championship for two-year-old colt trotters, Ohio Sires Stake champion Mission Accepted (Ryan Stahl) took the first division in a national season's record 1:56 2/5. As the starting gates wings opened, In My Dreams and Hugh Beatty took the early lead. Mission Accepted, who left from post 5, to take command just past the opening quarter in :29 2/5. Mission Accepted took on the mid race challenges of Joggintothebank (Dan Noble) and Sand Cash (Tyler Smith) and won by 1¾ lengths. In My Dreams held on for second and Dontforgetmaster (Josh Sutton) rallied for third. The son of Manofmanymissions is owned by trainer Jeff Conger, breeder Knox Services and David Wills. He now has won over $190,000 in just 7 starts this season. In the second $42,000 division, Cash Lane and driver Kayne Kauffman cruised to a 1½ length win over upset minded Dancewithsomebody (Robin Miller) in 1:59 2/5. Cash Lane is trained by Mike Polhamus and is owned by Richard L. Finfrock. In the final division, Sultan Of Cash, the 3-5 betting choice, showed why he was the best when he went gate-to-wire in 1:58. Woof (Mike Wilder) and Count On Cody (David Miller) rounded out the top three. Sultan Of Cash has now won $126,515 and 7 of 8 starts this season. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. drove the winner for owner/trainer Roger Hughes, Jr. The 19 race Wednesday card starts at 11:00 AM and features the Jugette for three-year-old pacing fillies. Jay Wolf
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