Day At The Track
rsz_harness-racing-museum-&-hall-of-fame.jpg

Last call for HOF Immortal nominations

Goshen, NY - Time is running out for members of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame to submit Immortal nominations for the Class of 2020. All Museum members have the privilege of nominating persons and horses who they feel have made a significant contribution to the sport of harness racing. The nominees must be deceased at least three years to be eligible for consideration. Nominations must include a complete biography of the nominee and detailed harness racing career statistics, when applicable. Nominations must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2020. They may be emailed on or before that date to director@harnessmuseum.com or mailed to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. NOTE: Nominees selected by the Immortals Committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in 2020 will be inducted in July 2021. From the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame

HP Royal Theo, harness racing

Wellwood winner gets chance at Mohawk Million

MILTON,ON -  February 17, 2020 - As Tuesday's (February 18) stakes nomination deadline looms, Woodbine Entertainment would like to remind connections of two-year-old harness racing trotters of the increased purse and Mohawk Million slot connected with the William Wellwood Memorial. The winner of this year's William Wellwood Memorial (to be contested on September 12) will be awarded the tenth and final slot in the inaugural Mohawk Million at no cost. The Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters will be contested two-weeks after the Wellwood Memorial on September 26. Woodbine Entertainment's marquee two-year-old trotting stakes are even more lucrative in 2020 with the addition of a Mohawk Million slot and purse increase to $610,000 for the Wellwood Memorial. Making a two-year-old trotting filly eligible to the Peaceful Way will also keep the door open to harness racing's new rich event. The connections of a two-year-old trotting filly eligible to the Peaceful Way will be able to enter the Wellwood Memorial in hopes of winning the final slot in the Mohawk Million by paying a $5,000 starting fee. Nominations for the William Wellwood Memorial, Peaceful Way and all major stakes are due Tuesday (February 18), which is also the final day to submit a purchase contract and $55,000 payment for the opportunity to purchase a slot in the Mohawk Million. To view the 2020 Stakes Booklet, click here. To make stakes payments online, click here. If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than February 18, 2020 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment    

Grandpa Don, harness racing

Second round Game Of Claims Series

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The second preliminary rounds of two of the levels in the Game Of Claims Series took place on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and sharp horsemen looking for potential thronetakers in the Game Of Claims Championships two weeks hence claimed all three of the night's series winners. The Game Of Claims pacing horses who went for a basic price of $12,500 drew one division of ten horses (scratched down to nine), making for a rare trailing starter at Pocono. At the wire, the field was trailing the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Grandpa Don, who after being last at the half made a huge looping move on the far turn and paced past everybody in 1:56.2 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Susan Marshall, the latter co-owner with John Marshall - and was then claimed out of the race. Both horses who won last week in the Game Of Claims group that started for a basic price of $9000 on Sunday were again victorious, but as opposed to last week both horses headed to new barns after Sunday's successes. First to Victory Lane was the Rambaran gelding Speedling, now 2-for-2 in 2020 after a 1:56 win for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Lou Pena and his Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. Then it was the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic who was again to parlay a pocket journey into a victory, here in 1:55.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud, and owner Alexa Renaud. With two claims from each of the $9,000 fields, four $12,500 purchases from that event, and three horses haltered out of a claiming handicap trot (perhaps looking towards the trotting Game Of Claims Series in March), 11 horses went through the box for a total of $124,125, running the totals over the four days of 2020 Pocono racing to 47 claims and $812,900 - keeping horsemen and handicappers on their toes to be in the right place at the right time. One place you didn't want to be at Pocono on Sunday was on the front end, as the speed held up only once in thirteen races. The lone horse making every pole a winning one was the very impressive four-year-old Sweet Lou mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who was sent to the top in a $15,000 distaff pace by Tyler Buter in :27.3, got a rest to a :57.1 half, then motored home in :55.3-:27.2, needing all that speed to hold off the invading Tango Dancer N by a neck in 1:52.4. Darn Tootn Hanover entered the year with only one victory to show in 17 starts as a freshman and sophomore, but this year she's turned things around and is now 3-for-3 for trainer Nik Drennan and Yankeeland Partners LLP. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Miami Valley gaming logo.jpg

Series finalists emerge at Miami Valley

LEBANON, OH. - Three divisions of second round action in the George 'Red' Owens Memorial late closing harness racing series were featured on the Sunday (Feb. 16) matinee at Miami Valley Raceway. The results of the trio of $12,000 splits determined the nine finalists for next Sunday's $20,000 championship tilt. The Owens Memorial is one of nine Lebanon Legends series that honor the memory of notable horsemen, now deceased, who were among the early heroes at nearby Lebanon Raceway which now serves as a training center for many Miami Valley participants. A total of 27 horses, all fillies or mares that were non-winners of two races or $20,000 at the start of the series, were nominated. Jazzie Babe (Trevor Smith) copped the first division in 1:54.4, edging Pray The Rosary (Luke Ebersole) and Valendougha (Sam Widger). It was the fifth win in 15 starts for the late-blooming 8-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway, who didn't commence her racing career until age seven. She is owned and trained by Perry Smith. Crowntimerockette (Brett Miller) was the quickest of the three winners, turning the tables from Leg 1 on runnerup Hilary Barry N (John DeLong) in 1:53.4. It was the third lifetime success for the 3-year-old daughter of Pet Rock, trained by Tom Blankenship for owner Jason Shumway, who lowered her career best time by over three seconds. Rockinattheryman (Trace Tetrick) closed well to secure the show finish. Big Bad Mosa (Tetrick) became the only two time winner in the series when he scored in 1:55 over Onspeed N (Tyler Smith) and Sweet Ginger (Josh Sutton). Ronnie Roberts trains the 3-year-old filly by Big Bad John for the Watson Stables. She, too, lowered her lifetime best clocking with her fourth triumph in just 13 trips behind a starting gate. The field for the championship finals in the Legends series is determined by money earnings in the two preliminary legs. The 'Red' Owens Memorial finalists, in order of earnings, will be Big Bad Mosa, Crowntimerockette, Jazzie Babe, Hilary Barry N, Pray The Rosary, Onspeed N, Rockinattheryman, Lookintomyeyes and Sweet Ginger. Racing resumes Monday afternoon at Miami Valley featuring two divisions of the second round of the Omar Hiteman Memorial series, as well as the final two elimination heats in the popular Survivor Series for $5000 male claiming pacers. Post time is 2:05 p.m. From Miami Valley Raceway        

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ -- February 16, 2020 -- Service arrangements for Amanda Harris will be held on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at the Peppler Funeral Home in Allentown, NJ. Visiting hours will be held from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Funeral Services will begin at 6 pm. The Peppler Funeral Home 114 South Main Street, Allentown, New Jersey 08501. The Pepper Funeral Home website: https://www.pepplerfh.com/.  by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

Sunday marked the start of the 2020 harness racing season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. A ten-race program was highlighted by the $15,000 Open Trot on a day that included a long sleeve t-shirt giveaway at the track. The Open featured a field of just five participants, one of which was the track's defending Horse of the Year Cash Me Out. The millionaire trotter was assigned post position five for his first start of the season and wound up making a break after suffering broken equipment. Invader Shorething Fashion (Andover Hall) drew the rail for the season's first feature and though the Mike Eaton trainee got away third in the early going, the six year old came storming home in the stretch to record the win in 1:58.1 on a pleasant February afternoon in the Spa City. Mister Muscle (Mark Beckwith) carved out reasonable fractions on the lead in the Open but wound up having to settle for second-best while Mr Cool Seaeyre N (Larry Stalbaum) finished third. Shorething Fashion's driver Jay Randall piloted a pair of winners on opening day as he sat behind Certify (Credit Winner) who was the winner of the first race of the 2020 racing season. In the Open, Shorething Fashion paid $8.60 to win and led an exacta with Mister Muscle that returned $31.20. Live racing continues on Monday with a President's Day matinee that is set to kick off at 12 Noon. The afternoon will feature several $1 food and beverage specials as well as a $5,000 guarantee in the Pick Five pool. The Pick Five begins in the matinee's first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 16, 2020...Due to a power outage, racing at Pompano Park has been cancelled for Sunday. Racing is expected to resume on Monday, February 17. From Pompano Park Media Relations  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 15, 2020 -- Favored Swansea (Austin Siegelman, $3.70) and Ostro Hanover (Dan Dube, $7.50) both lasted on the lead Saturday night (Feb. 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $40,000 Open Handicaps. Swansea, without a sub-par performance in forever, won the post position Nos.6-thru-8 draw in the week's marquee trot. He didn't squander it, working around Now's the Moment (Jason Bartlett) and leading through early intervals of 28 seconds and a :58.2 intermission. It was Melady's Monet (George Brennan), who had found a four-hole seat, then moving again. 'Melady' engaged Swansea toward a 1:26.1 three-quarters, but in all fairness did not get that close at first. Hill of a Horse (Brent Holland) was lurking wide from second-over when he misbehaved. Meanwhile, Swansea opened a pair of lengths in and out of the turn...and would need it. Swansea was tested late by a resurgent Melady's Monet before holding sway by a head in 1:54.4. Arabella's Cadet (Jordan Stratton) closed for third, with Barry Black (Joe Bongiorno) and Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the minors. For Swansea, a 5-year-old Swan for All gelding co-owned (as Triple D Stables) by (trainer) Scott DiDomenico and Dana Parham, it was his third win in five seasonal starts (career 23-for-50). The exacta paid $17, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returned $57.50. Swansea Ostro Hanover disposed of his rivals in the weekly adult-table pace. From post No. 5, he vaulted over Tookadiveoffdipper (Stratton) and finished what he started (:27.2; :56.3; 1:24, season's-best 1:51.4). Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett) saved to the lane, then closed well for second. Ostro Hanover, who owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane, prevailed by a diminishing half-length. Tookadiveoffdipper, wide-down-the-backside Trump Nation (Brennan) and a returning-to-town Harambe Deo (Marohn Jr.) came away with the small envelopes, while 17-10 choice Italian Delight N (Holland) came first-up and faded to sixth. For third choice Ostro Hanover, a 5-year-old Betterthancheddar gelding co-owned by Go Fast, B&I and VIP Internet Stables & Kapildeo Singh and trained by Rene Allard, it was his second win in three '20 tries. The exacta paid $21.80, with the triple returned $111.50 and the superfecta paid $433. Ostro Hanover Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Maybe the trip didn't go exactly as driver Yannick Gingras had hoped, but he made it work nonetheless in the Saturday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands, scoring with I'm Some Graduate in a $31,250 high-end conditioned pace. The 7-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate, dismissed by the bettors at odds of 14-1, was away in good order, sitting second to the quarter behind 9-5 second choice McThriller in :27.2. Brushing to the top before the half was Eddard Hanover, pushing I'm Some Graduate back into the three-hole, and as the train developed on the rim with Stonedust providing a live tow for 8-5 favorite Americanprimetime, I'm Some Graduate was in a tough spot approaching the head of the stretch. Off the far turn, Gingras guided I'm Some Graduate into the three-path as Eddard Hanover and Stonedust weakened. Americanprimetime tipped off his cover and grabbed the lead with an eighth of a mile to go and looked like the winner, but I'm Some Graduate swung to that one's outside late and with a final burst of speed, nailed the favorite by a head in 1:50.3 on a 28-degree night with a track variant of -1. Decision Day rallied to grab third.   I'm Some Graduate returned a healthy $31.40 to his backers as the fifth choice in the seven-horse field, but clearly belonged if you take Gingras' word for it. "I believe he won the last time he raced [at the Meadowlands] at a higher class." Gingras was right, of course, as I'm Some Graduate won the Preferred for pacers in his last Big M appearance in December of 2018. "They race him at Yonkers most of the time but he loves this track," said Gingras. "He's just a nice horse." The Ron Burke trainee, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Lawrence Karr, has now won 21-of-98 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $453,383. A LITTLE MORE: It only took two weeks to create some 20-cent Pick-6 buzz. The new wager was not hit, creating a carryover of $14,376 heading into the next race card. Those who had five out of six cashed in for $165.24. ... Driver Andy Miller had a natural hat trick, winning the sixth, seventh and eighth races. Corey Callahan also recorded three wins on the card. ... The remarkable Preppy Art won the 13th and final race of the night, giving him 10 wins in his last 15 starts after registering zero victories in his previous 59 tries. He was claimed out of the race for $10,000 by trainer Nick Surick. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,665,111, marking the sixth time in the last seven cards that wagering exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

LEBANON, OH. - Thrilling finishes and quick harness racing miles were prevalent on Saturday night (Feb. 15) at Miami Valley Raceway, highlighted by a $22,500 Open I Pace, a $20,000 Open II Pace, and the final two preliminary divisions of the second annual Bill Dailey Memorial Medley. I'm A Big Deal (Brett Miller) pulled a mild upset over Windsong Leo (Chris Page) in the Open I, managing a 'head' decision in 1:51.1. Windsong Leo, a winner in six of his last seven outings versus Open company, cut the mile with I'm A Big Deal sitting snug in the pocket throughout the contest. After fractions of :26.3, :56.1 and 1:23.3 the favorite was still able to close in :27.3, but the winner was a tick or two quicker to gain the slight advantage in the final two strides. My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) was forced to race first-over on the outside much of the mile and finished third. It was the first win in nine local starts since I'm A Big Deal was plucked from the Harrisburg sale last November by owner Bottom Line Racing of Boca Raton, Florida, and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. However the 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere has managed a win in a top condition pace and three runnerup finishes in the weekly features to earn about $40,000 in his first three months in Ohio. The Open II event was captured by Shagnwiththedragon (John DeLong) over Rose Run Uriah (Jeremy Smith) and The Dark Shadow (Sam Widger) in 1:51. Dropping out of the Open I after a month of fourth and fifth place finishes, the 6-year-old son of Dragon Again flashed a huge closing kick to secure his 20th lifetime triumph. J. D. Perrin trains the winner for his wife Tessa and her partner Eim Racing Stable. The Bill Dailey Memorial Medley started with 5/8ths mile dashes in three $12,500 divisions in the first leg, then followed up with two $17,500 divisions going a mile on Saturday. The top nine money winners from those first two legs will assemble next Saturday night for a $25,000 championship tilt at 1-1/4 miles. Royale Rose (Tyler Smith) was a 'nose' winner in 1:52.4 in the first split at one mile, edging Angelo J Fra (Page) with Manny (DeLong) finishing third. Daniel Stone conditions the 7-year-old Ashlees Big Guy gelding for S & S Racing Stable and Bert Turner. It was the 27th career tally for the lifetime winner of $333,932. Just N Ace (Widger) edged stablemate Uncmprmising Z Tam (Ricky Macomber Jr.) by a neck in the second division, clocked in 1:51.1. Champion Rock (Smith) grabbed the show dough and a ticket into the championship dance. Jamie Macomber trains the winning 5-year-old son United Ace for the Eleven Star Stables. The lineup for the $25,000 Bill Dailey Memorial Medley championship consists of Royale Rose, Just N Ace, American Dreamer, Dave And Dennis, Life On The Beach A, Uncmprmising Z Tam, Angela J Fra, Stormy West and Champion Rock. From Miami Valley Raceway    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Series continued on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the temperature dropping through the 20s throughout the twilight harness racing card but the contested action featuring hot contests and hot horses. Both winners were claimed out of the $25,000 second preliminary leg for horses this week valued at a base price of $27,500, as horsemen want the right horse ready to take the throne in this group's $50,000 Game of Claims Championship on Saturday the 29th. The only double winner in this Game Of Claims section is the four-year-old Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Deo, but if he sweeps his prelims, he'll be doing for somebody other than trainer Rene Allard and owners Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr. Trente Deo, an engine winner last week for those connections, here rallied from the pocket to post a 1:52.4 victory for driver Simon Allard. Also winning in this company, and also moving to a new stable, is the veteran Pacific Fella gelding Polak A, who came from off the pace to win in 1:52.1 while exceeding $800,000 in earnings for driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Darren Taneyhill and owner Eric Prevost (these two having the horse only this one week). Polak A had a second last week and a win here, so like two-time winner Trente Deo he is likely to make their Championship and may be eyed by several stables, even though the base price of claiming for this group goes up to $30,000 in next week's last preliminary. There were three divisions of the second preliminary round for the Game Of Claims group valued at a $17,500 base price Saturday, and the rail proved the common launching pad for the three victors of the $15,000 races. Simon and Rene Allard combined to take two of the cuts: with Horsing Around, who had been claimed in the first prelim, the Shadyshark Hanover gelding winning for Allard Racing Inc and Neal Moase in 1:53.2; and with the Roll With Joe gelding Stirling Escort, picture-perfect in tallying for A-1 Racing in 1:54.3. Neither Allard winner was claimed this time, but the winner of the other cut, the Make My Day gelding Ancle, is changing hands for the second straight week after becoming the only two-time Game Of Claims winner in this price class. Jim Morrill Jr. guided Ancle to victory in 1:53.3 for trainer James Guagliardo and owner Steven Celinsky. In all, six horses were claimed for $105,000 at this level with an eye towards the group's February 29 $30,000 Championship, bringing the night's total barnchangers to a dozen, with $278,775 changing hands. In the $17,500 top conditioned pace, last year's Pocono Pacer of the Year and the winningest harness horse in the United States with nineteen, the eleven-year-old Western Terror gelding Atta Boy Dan, joined the repeat series victors as the only two-time winners at the meet with a 1:51.3 victory. Tyler Buter kept the greybeard just off a wicked :25.4 opening duel, brushed to the lead, and then the pair won as they pleased for trainer Peter Pellegrino and owner Stephen Larkin. The victory was the 74th in Atta Boy Dan's career, and he now sports a bankroll of $982,752. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. visited Victory Lane four times Saturday, giving him ten triumphs after three days in the young Pocono season. The PHHA and the Pocono community extends its sympathies to trainer Andrew Harris, to his two daughters, and to the extended family upon hearing that Andrew's wife Amanda passed away at age 34 after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Freehold, NJ --- Lyons Steel made his first harness racing victory of 2020 a dominant one on Saturday (February 15) at Freehold Raceway, winning the Preferred Handicap pace by three lengths.   After a brief layoff, Lyons Steel returned to the races last week, finishing fifth in the Preferred with a strong closing rally. Off that big effort, he was made the 3/5 choice in this week's Preferred.   Dropped into sixth in the early stages, driver Pat Lachance took him to the outside nearing the half-mile point, then went three-wide at the 5/8 marker to get around a stalled rival. He continued his move nearing three-quarters, effortlessly moving by early leader Smileandsaycheese and getting a clear advantage as they turned for home. With no serious competition in the stretch, he coasted home a three-length winner. The final time over the fast track was an impressive 1:53.3.     Lyons Steel made waves at Freehold last year, winning the Preferred three times. He picked up where he left off Saturday afternoon, continuing his impressive ways over that track. He's owned by BD Racing LLC and trained by Dennis Watson.   Live racing resumes on Friday at Freehold, starting at 12:30 PM EST. There will be a double carryover in the pick 5, worth $1,474.46.   From Freehold Raceway  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Beachy Dream, after drawing the eight post in his first two starts of the 2020 campaign, finally got some luck in drawing the rail in Buffalo Raceway's featured $11,000 Class AA harness racing pace on Saturday night (Feb. 15). The change in fortunes turned into a 'dream' trip and a victory for Beachy Dream as he turned back Santana Beach.   It was a tussle to the top early as Santana Beach, Beachy Dream and Sir Machalot all made bids to control the fractions. When things sorted themselves out before the quarter pole, Santana Beach took command and set the fractions of :29.0, :58.2 and 1:27.4 over the sloppy track.   Sitting the pocket, winning driver Kevin Cummings tipped Beachy Dream ($3.00) to the outside and collared Santana Beach (David McNeight III) by a length in 1:55.4, equaling the fastest mile of the young meet. Catch The Wave (James McNeight Jr.) finished in third.   Owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama, it was the first victory of the season for the 9-year-old gelded Beachy Dream (If I Can Dream-Beachy Girl). The win upped his seasonal earnings to $7,700 and $246,280 lifetime.   Iluvtomakemoeny (Ray Fisher Jr.) got the first over trip then held back a closing Myell's Rockstar (Renaldo Morales III) by a nose in 1:57.4 to take the first division of the $10,000 Class A sub-featured paces.   Sitting fourth, Iluvtomakemoney ($7.10) started his first over trip past the half and took command with a panel to pace. Myell's Rockstar took dead aim of Iluvtomakemoney late but ran out of real estate and lost in the tight photo. Southwind Onyx (Kyle Cummings) took the show position.   Co-owned by the Tenah Merah Farms and the Swift Racing Stable, the 5-year-old gelded Iluvtomakemoney (Well Said-Symphony In Motion) is trained by Ryan Swift. It was his first win in three tries this season and jumped his 2020 earnings to $6,200 and $184,831 lifetime.   Im So Handsome (McNeight III) posted a 57.1 back half and that made him a good looking winner in the second $10,000 Class A level.   Setting a solid :59.1 tempo the first half, Im So Handsome ($6.10) left the field in the dust with a 28.4 third split in posting the 2-1/2 length triumph over Blue On Black (Shawn McDonough) and Burning Shore (Kevin Cummings).   Owned and trained by Tessa Perrin, it was the first win in three starts this season for Im So Handsome (Hot Pans-Cheyenne Rose). The victory pushed his seasonal winnings to $7,500 and $267,740 in the 9-year-old gelding's career.   Racing will continue on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. with a 13-race card scheduled. There's a $555 carryover in the Pick 5 starting in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, simulcast schedule and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

YONKERS, N.Y. – When it comes to the success of New Zealand-bred Italian Delight in the U.S., Darran Cassar says there are no secrets. Italian Delight is 3-for-4 since making his American debut in mid-January and the harness racing trainer says the addition of Lasix has been a key in the horse living up to his potential. “Lasix helps him a lot and he’s just a professional horse,” Cassar said. “Nothing bothers him. He makes my life, everyone’s life a lot easier. He’s good-gaited. He just does everything right. No headpoles and he wants to do it. I have to give credit to the horse, really. He’s made my job easy because he really doesn’t take a lot of work. It’s just a matter of keeping him happy.” Cassar began watching Italian Delight in 2018 when an agent informed Cassar the Bettor’s Delight gelding was for sale. Cassar’s interest piqued after seeing Italian Delight beat Seaswift Joy in Auckland April 6, 2018. However, at that time Cassar felt the price was too high and Italian Delight was sold to Australia. “The first thing is he’s a Bettor’s Delight. Usually I’m a big fan. They usually make good racehorses once they’re over here,” Cassar said. “If you go back through his form in New Zealand, he actually beat a horse called Seaswift Joy. She’s a good Open mare over here for Tony Alagna. He sat on her back and beat her fair and square and that was when I started paying attention.” Italian Delight’s Australian performances lacked luster. He only won two races in 26 starts Down Under between Oct. 20, 2018 and Nov. 23, 2019. Cassar again had the opportunity to purchase Italian Delight, and this time he and owner Windermere Stable took the chance, despite a late modification to the deal. “When you’re buying them for the right price, you can always take a chance on a horse like that,” Cassar said. “He was up in the classes, in the Opens or just below it, and he was still functioning without being as good as he probably could have been. If he was more money, maybe I wouldn’t have taken a chance, but I’ve bought a few horses off the same trainer before and he’s usually steered me in the right direction.” Italian Delight arrived in Cassar’s barn in early December. He looked the perfect size for a Bettor’s Delight, but was just OK in his first training trip. Cassar’s experience told him the horse had a bleeding problem. “The second time (training), I gave him Lasix and he was a totally different horse. Ever since then, we really haven’t trained him too hard because of the bleeding situation. It just seems to be working,” Cassar said. “We took care of the bleeding and got him on a program where we don’t stress him, he doesn’t injure himself during the week and we just race him from there.” After that second training trip, Cassar knew the deal they had struck to buy Italian Delight would pay off. “We had him bought and then they came back and said, ‘no, we want (more),” Cassar recalled. “Usually, I walk away from things like that, but I told the owner, you know what, let’s just buy him. I texted him a week before the qualifier and said, ‘that $5,000 you just spent is the best $5,000 you will spend for a long time.’ ” Italian Delight qualified Jan. 4 at the Meadowlands, a couple weeks ahead of schedule. With Dexter Dunn driving, Italian Delight finished fourth and qualified in 1:55.4 with a :27.0 final quarter. One week later, Italian Delight made his pari-mutuel debut in a $16,000 overnight at the Swamp and kicked home in :25.4 to score an off-the-pace 1:50.1 victory. “He never kicked the earplugs. I think it was a bit of a drop in competition from what he was racing, but he was a pretty good closer back in Australia and the race setup right for him,” Cassar said. “I give credit to the horse because he’s so professional. There’s no fancy equipment, no headpoles, he just goes on the track and wants to do it. When they don’t stress themselves, it makes a big difference.” Italian Delight stepped up in class Jan. 18 and doubled up when making another late move, but was only third Feb. 1 in a $37,500 Meadowlands overnight when he raced on the lead. “He’s definitely better closing. I think we saw that at the Meadowlands when he had to cut that mile,” Cassar said. “Saying that, I don’t think he was quite 100 percent that night. He was sick after that second win and I just don’t think was quite right for that Meadowlands start when he ran third.” Last week (Feb. 8), Italian Delight made his Yonkers Raceway debut in a $27,000 overnight. After warming Italian Delight up, Cassar felt confident when handing the lines to Brent Holland. “I spoke to Brent before the race and said, ‘listen, nothing fancy, just take him off the gate, first-over and he’ll win,’ and I was pretty confident when I told him that.” Everything went according to plan as Holland watched from 5 lengths behind as Anythingforlove set the tempo in :27.4 and :56.4. Holland tipped Italian Delight first-over as the field straightened away into the stretch the first time around. Italian Delight advanced willingly and drew even with Anythingforlove through three-quarters in 1:24.1. Racing around the final turn, Holland sat statuesque as Italian Delight headed Anythingforlove. In the lane, Holland put the whip on Italian Delight’s tail and the horse took off, leaving his competition 2 1/2 lengths behind in a 1:52.4 mile. “He got around Yonkers perfect,” Cassar said. “He just did it pretty easy in the end. It was a perfect situation where he just got the job done. There was no traffic, he just got to do his own thing and he was good enough to do it. It was a stress-free race considering he had to go first-over in 52.” Although the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, formerly the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway, wasn’t initially on Cassar’s radar, the trainer and owner made the decision this week to nominate Italian Delight. “It’s a tough series for a horse that just came over considering he’s only had four or five starts since he’s been here and there’s good horses in there,” Cassar said. “But after we spoke about it, there may not be another place to race. The other tracks aren’t all open, plus they’re not really going to fill Opens, so if you don’t go to the Levy, you really don’t have any other places to race. Is he good enough? I think so, but we’re just going to have to manage him the right way. It’s a tough series. But as of now, he’s going to be in there.” Italian Delight will face his toughest test to date Saturday night (Feb. 15) in the $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. He and Holland will start from post three in the pacing feature and are 7-1 on the morning line. The competition includes Trump Nation, who exits a 1:49.4 victory in the Meadowlands Preferred Feb. 8. George Brennan will drive the 5-year-old from post seven for Ron Burke. Jack’s Legend won last week’s local pacing feature at odds-on and will look to repeat from post six for Jason Bartlett and Rich Banca. Ostro Hanover’s win 4-race streak snapped with last week’s runner up finish to Jack’s Legend; the Rene Allard trainee will look to start a new streak from post five. Joesstar Of Mia, Harambe Deo, and Tookadiveoffdipper complete the lineup. If Cassar has his way, Italian Delight will make a first-over move again and try to duplicate last week’s win. “I’ll leave it up to Brent now that he’s driven the horse once. He knows the competition,” Cassar said. “Personally, I’d like to see the same thing. It’s tougher competition, it’s probably going to be the toughest he’s faced. Whatever Brent does, he does. I’m sure the horse can be used a little bit early, but after last week, if it ain’t broke, I wouldn’t fix it. “Every week you just don’t know who’s going to show up. It’s the Open, that’s just how it is. If he doesn’t face (Trump Nation) this week, he’s going to have to face him in a month in the Levy. He’s pretty exciting right now, but if that’s his limit, that’s his limit,” Cassar said. “We’ll just take care of the horse. He’s been good to us so far, we want to do the right thing by him. I’ve got a lot of horses there now that are 9, 10, 11 years old that are still racing because we do the right thing by them. They show up to Yonkers week in and week out and that can be a little bit tough on them, but if you do the right thing, they can last a long time and make a lot of money.” Saturday night’s card also features the $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 7:05 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Andy McCarthy put Elysium Lindy in play early, and the veteran trotter took care of the rest, pulling off a 10-1 surprise in the featured $31,250 high-end conditioned trot at the Meadowlands Friday night. The 7-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall-Olympic Lindy displayed a burst of speed at the start from post six and had the lead around the first turn before yielding the front to 3-5 favorite Misslarose, who has been doing good things of late against the likes of Pappy Go Go and JL Cruze, as the quarter was reached in :28.4. The second quarter saw little in the way of action, but on the way to three-quarters the outer flow developed with Winning Lyric, Kenziesky Hanover and Eye Ofa Tiger As gaining ground on the rim. At the head of the stretch, Misslarose looked strong on the point with Kenziesky Hanover still going well on the outside as McCarthy waited for just the right moment to move Elysium Lindy from the pocket. That moment came at the sixteenth pole, when Elysium Lindy split rivals - Misslarose to his inside and Kenziesky Hanover to his outside - and got up on the wire to win by a hard-fought half-length over a game Misslarose. Kenziesky Hanover finished third.   "Paul Gagne and Anthony MacDonald sent me this horse," said winning trainer Andrew Harris. "And I can't thank them enough. He's been so good and the only reason he threw a couple of clunkers in his last two starts was he was hitting the bike. We got that sorted out. Andy Mac is just a magician. I love that guy." Elysium Lindy, making his first appearance at the Meadowlands since March 8 of last year, returned $22.60 to his backers as the fifth choice in the wagering in the seven-horse field. He completed the mile in 1:53.3, equaling his lifetime best on a chilly night when the track variant was -2. He's now won 28 of 133 lifetime starts and earned $428,467 for owners Panic Stable. A LITTLE MORE: Corey Callahan and Yannick Gingras both recorded driving triples on the program while McCarthy guided two to victory lane. ... Ron Burke and Harris, the top two trainers in the Big M standings, each had a pair of winners. ... Despite 3-5 shot Caviart Jane, 6-5 Obrigado and Misslarose all tasting defeat, six favorites still emerged victorious on the program. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,187,146. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

« Article Archive
USA
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Europe
Goshen, NY - Time is running out for members of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame to submit Immortal nominations for the Class of 2020. All Museum members have the privilege of nominating persons and horses who they feel have made a significant contribution to the sport of harness racing. The nominees must be deceased at least three years to be eligible for consideration. Nominations must include a complete biography of the nominee and detailed harness racing career statistics, when applicable. Nominations must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2020. They may be emailed on or before that date to director@harnessmuseum.com or mailed to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. NOTE: Nominees selected by the Immortals Committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in 2020 will be inducted in July 2021. From the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame
MILTON,ON -  February 17, 2020 - As Tuesday's (February 18) stakes nomination deadline looms, Woodbine Entertainment would like to remind connections of two-year-old harness racing trotters of the increased purse and Mohawk Million slot connected with the William Wellwood Memorial. The winner of this year's William Wellwood Memorial (to be contested on September 12) will be awarded the tenth and final slot in the inaugural Mohawk Million at no cost. The Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters will be contested two-weeks after the Wellwood Memorial on September 26. Woodbine Entertainment's marquee two-year-old trotting stakes are even more lucrative in 2020 with the addition of a Mohawk Million slot and purse increase to $610,000 for the Wellwood Memorial. Making a two-year-old trotting filly eligible to the Peaceful Way will also keep the door open to harness racing's new rich event. The connections of a two-year-old trotting filly eligible to the Peaceful Way will be able to enter the Wellwood Memorial in hopes of winning the final slot in the Mohawk Million by paying a $5,000 starting fee. Nominations for the William Wellwood Memorial, Peaceful Way and all major stakes are due Tuesday (February 18), which is also the final day to submit a purchase contract and $55,000 payment for the opportunity to purchase a slot in the Mohawk Million. To view the 2020 Stakes Booklet, click here. To make stakes payments online, click here. If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than February 18, 2020 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment    
WILKES-BARRE, PA - The second preliminary rounds of two of the levels in the Game Of Claims Series took place on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and sharp horsemen looking for potential thronetakers in the Game Of Claims Championships two weeks hence claimed all three of the night's series winners. The Game Of Claims pacing horses who went for a basic price of $12,500 drew one division of ten horses (scratched down to nine), making for a rare trailing starter at Pocono. At the wire, the field was trailing the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Grandpa Don, who after being last at the half made a huge looping move on the far turn and paced past everybody in 1:56.2 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Susan Marshall, the latter co-owner with John Marshall - and was then claimed out of the race. Both horses who won last week in the Game Of Claims group that started for a basic price of $9000 on Sunday were again victorious, but as opposed to last week both horses headed to new barns after Sunday's successes. First to Victory Lane was the Rambaran gelding Speedling, now 2-for-2 in 2020 after a 1:56 win for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Lou Pena and his Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. Then it was the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic who was again to parlay a pocket journey into a victory, here in 1:55.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud, and owner Alexa Renaud. With two claims from each of the $9,000 fields, four $12,500 purchases from that event, and three horses haltered out of a claiming handicap trot (perhaps looking towards the trotting Game Of Claims Series in March), 11 horses went through the box for a total of $124,125, running the totals over the four days of 2020 Pocono racing to 47 claims and $812,900 - keeping horsemen and handicappers on their toes to be in the right place at the right time. One place you didn't want to be at Pocono on Sunday was on the front end, as the speed held up only once in thirteen races. The lone horse making every pole a winning one was the very impressive four-year-old Sweet Lou mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who was sent to the top in a $15,000 distaff pace by Tyler Buter in :27.3, got a rest to a :57.1 half, then motored home in :55.3-:27.2, needing all that speed to hold off the invading Tango Dancer N by a neck in 1:52.4. Darn Tootn Hanover entered the year with only one victory to show in 17 starts as a freshman and sophomore, but this year she's turned things around and is now 3-for-3 for trainer Nik Drennan and Yankeeland Partners LLP. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs
LEBANON, OH. - Three divisions of second round action in the George 'Red' Owens Memorial late closing harness racing series were featured on the Sunday (Feb. 16) matinee at Miami Valley Raceway. The results of the trio of $12,000 splits determined the nine finalists for next Sunday's $20,000 championship tilt. The Owens Memorial is one of nine Lebanon Legends series that honor the memory of notable horsemen, now deceased, who were among the early heroes at nearby Lebanon Raceway which now serves as a training center for many Miami Valley participants. A total of 27 horses, all fillies or mares that were non-winners of two races or $20,000 at the start of the series, were nominated. Jazzie Babe (Trevor Smith) copped the first division in 1:54.4, edging Pray The Rosary (Luke Ebersole) and Valendougha (Sam Widger). It was the fifth win in 15 starts for the late-blooming 8-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway, who didn't commence her racing career until age seven. She is owned and trained by Perry Smith. Crowntimerockette (Brett Miller) was the quickest of the three winners, turning the tables from Leg 1 on runnerup Hilary Barry N (John DeLong) in 1:53.4. It was the third lifetime success for the 3-year-old daughter of Pet Rock, trained by Tom Blankenship for owner Jason Shumway, who lowered her career best time by over three seconds. Rockinattheryman (Trace Tetrick) closed well to secure the show finish. Big Bad Mosa (Tetrick) became the only two time winner in the series when he scored in 1:55 over Onspeed N (Tyler Smith) and Sweet Ginger (Josh Sutton). Ronnie Roberts trains the 3-year-old filly by Big Bad John for the Watson Stables. She, too, lowered her lifetime best clocking with her fourth triumph in just 13 trips behind a starting gate. The field for the championship finals in the Legends series is determined by money earnings in the two preliminary legs. The 'Red' Owens Memorial finalists, in order of earnings, will be Big Bad Mosa, Crowntimerockette, Jazzie Babe, Hilary Barry N, Pray The Rosary, Onspeed N, Rockinattheryman, Lookintomyeyes and Sweet Ginger. Racing resumes Monday afternoon at Miami Valley featuring two divisions of the second round of the Omar Hiteman Memorial series, as well as the final two elimination heats in the popular Survivor Series for $5000 male claiming pacers. Post time is 2:05 p.m. From Miami Valley Raceway        
Loader
Loader
Loader
Loader

Additional Articles