Day At The Track
Rather Swell, harness racing

Dexter gets it dunn, betting tops $3m

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Driver Dexter Dunn was electric at the Meadowlands Saturday night, and so was the harness racing action, as Dunn scored four times on the program and wagering reached the magic $3-million mark for the fifth time in 2019. Dunn got his night off to a quick start, sweeping the Early Daily Double with a pair of Tim Lancaster trainees. Smileandsaycheese came from well off the pace to take the opener, a conditioned pace, in 1:52.1 at odds of 12-1 before 2-1 favorite Four Staces completed the DD - which paid $85.80 - in a $15,000 up to $20,000 claiming handicap pace in 1:52.4. The New Zealand native swept another Daily Double, this one beginning in race four, scoring with the Chris Ryder-trained American World in 1:53 in a non-winners of one pace as the 2-1 second choice before winning with Rather Swell, the 7-5 public choice, for trainer Mike Watson in a $10,000 up to $12,500 claiming handicap pace in 1:54.1. That DD returned $20.80. All-source wagering totaled $3,082,637, good for the fifth-best night of action at the Big M - as well as the industry - this year. A total of $313,088 was bet on the opener, $345,218 on the fourth race ($103,276 in the Exacta pool alone) and $317,809 on the fifth as those three races accounted for $976,115 of the evening's action. The 50-Cent Pick-4 pool reached six figures for the seventh time in 11 tries, as $101,640 was poured into the pot. A LITTLE MORE: Dover Downs invader Highalator destroyed a high-class conditioned field of pacers in the eighth race by 5¾ lengths. Driver Richard Still guided the Jenny Bier trainee to the easy speed win in 1:50.2 as the 6-5 favorite for his 23rd victory in 55 lifetime starts. ... Rebel Rouser made the lead while parked at the quarter and went down the road from there in an ultra-competitive non-winners of four on the pace in race 12. The Robert Cleary trainee sprinted his final quarter in :26.4 on the way to his fourth straight score. Andy McCarthy guided the winner to a lifetime-best mile time of 1:51.1. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m., featuring the second edition of the 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Ideal Jimmy, harness racing

Rodeo Rock, Ideal Jimmy double up in Levy

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 23, 2019 - Saturday night's (March 23rd) night second round of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series didn't do a whole lot to establish a clear harness racing favorite, though some of the contenders did indeed state their cases. Another happy half-dozen, $50,000, Free-For-All groups were contested, with a pair of repeaters leading the way. Here's the succinct story, not necessarily in chronological order... Second division - Odds-on Rodeo Rock (Andrew McCarthy, $3.50)-from post position No. 5--'ran down' loose leader Gokudo Hanover (George Brennan), prevailing first-up by a head in 1:52.1. The 13-1 latter had open lengths through intervals of -:26.4, :56.1 and 1:24. Rock the Nite (Mark MacDonald), More the Better N (Scott Zeron) and Major Crocker A (Dan Dube) picked off the remainder, while an amiss Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) lost touch from a pole-sitting pocket and finished sixth. For Rodeo Rock, a 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Royal Wire Products and trained by Robert Cleary, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts (2-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $22.60, the triple returned $201 and the superfecta paid $459.50. "I was hoping Scotty (Zeron, with More the Better N would pull from third, but he was happy where he was and just had to go on with it," McCarthy said. "It was a long way (from fifth) in the wind, but he was actually more comfortable tonight than in last week's race." Fourth division - After wiring his opening-leg rivals at 9-1, favored Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, $4.10) had a more acquaintances at the windows. From post No. 3, it couldn't have been less simple (:28, :57.4, 1:26, 1:53.3), going the distance by 3¼ lengths. Polester Lochton Luck A (Matt Kakaley), as the 29-1 outsider, and three-hole sitting Bellow's Binge (Jason Bartlett) finished the tickets, while Always at My Place (Brennan) and Bettor Memories (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled for the remainder. For Ideal Jimmy, a 6-year-old homebred Western Ideal gelding owned by D R Van Witzenberg and trained by Erv Miller, it was his fifth win in eight'19 tries (2-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $49, the triple returned $136 and the superfecta paid $1,379. "I thought he should have been the favorite last week," Holland said "He's very handy and I'm not surprised he's stepped up in this series." JJ Flynn First division - A week after Western Fame (Dube) traversed the fastest local mile (1:51.1) of the season, he was 15-cents-on-the-dollar to do it again. JJ Flynn (Brennan, $43) was not impressed. After Western Fame led through early fractions of :27.1 and :56.2, JJ Flynn moved-with purpose-from post No. 4. He hooked Western Fame by the 1:24 three-quarters, fighting him off from there. The final margin was three-quarters of a length in a sharp 1:51.3. Duplicated N (Tim Tetrick) was a pocket third, with Ballerat Boomerang (Joe Bongiorno) and Lyons Steel (MacDonald) also making appearance fees. For fourth choice JJ Flynn, a 6-year-old Western Ideal gelding co-owned by (trainer) Josh Green, Richard Lombardo and Charles Cochran III, he's now 6-for-8 this season (1-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $119.50, the triple returned $191 and the superfecta paid $362.50. Third division - Anythingforlove A (Bongiorno) saw his quest for the series two-fer implode from pole-sitting Endeavor (Tetrick, $4.90) pulled from third and rolled right past. The former offered early foot (:27.3, :57.1), but was backpedaling buy the 1:25 three-quarters. Endeavor, meanwhile, opened a pair of lengths in and out of the final turn, eventually winning by 2¼ lengths in 1:52.4. Control Tower (Austin Siegelman) was a loose-second-up second, with a trapped Dr. J Hanover (McCarthy), Nocturnal Bluechip (Zeron) and the fading 11-10 fave Anythingforlove A settling for the minors. For second choice Endeavor, a 6-year-old American Ideal gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Cullipher and Pollack Racing, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal/series starts. The exacta paid $24.40, the triple returned $149.50 and the superfecta paid $530. Fifth division - The Downtown Bus (Zeron, $17.20) took the always-popular fourth-over route to redemption, snapping 11-10 choice Beckham's Z Tam (Tetrick) by a head in 1:53.1. The closers, from post Nos. 5 and 3, respectively, had numbers to chase after Sam's a Champ A (MacDonald) set a contested pace (:26.1, :55.3, 1:23.4) after getting stung early and softened by a first-up The Wall (Bongiorno). Rodeo Romeo (Bartlett) was an outkicked third, with The Wall and Whittaker N (Holland) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For fifth choice The Downtown Bus, a 4-year-old Mach Three gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Gillis and Ellen Ott, he's now 1-for-2 this season/series. The exacta paid $90.50, the triple returned $196.50 and the superfecta paid $540. Sixth division - A two-speed number, where second choice Somewhere in L A (Bartlett, $6.10) edged past just-over-even-money I'marocnrollegend N (Brennan) in 1:53.1. Pocketed from post No. 4, 'L A' earned a 40th career win, the margin three-quarters of a length. Don Domingo N (Stratton) was a ground-saving third, with I'm Some Graduate (Kakaley) and Mar Nien A (Greg Merton) earning the remainder of available coinage. For Somewhere in L A, an 8-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was his second win in five seasonal efforts (1-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $14.60, the triple returned $126.50 and the superfecta paid $572. The series standings, as dutifully compiled by Bob (OUTP) Miecuna, accompany this release. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by 31-1 rank outsider New Heaven (Stratton, $64) in a season's-best 1:55.3.     Yonkers Raceway     George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series     2019           March 24, 2019                     Order        Name 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg 25 pts/start Total    1   Ideal Jimmy 50 50       50 150.0 2   Rodeo Rock 50 50       50 150.0 3   Somewhere In L A 25 50       50 125.0 4   Western Fame 50 25       50 125.0 5   Endeavor 8 50       50 108.0 6   JJ Flynn 8 50       50 108.0 7   More The Better N 50 8       50 108.0 8   The Wall 50 8       50 108.0 9   Anythingforlove A 50 5       50 105.0 10   Imarocnrollegend N 25 25       50 100.0 11   The Downtown Bus 0 50       50 100.0 12   Duplicated N 25 12       50 87.0 13   Gokudo Hanover 12 25       50 87.0 14   Beckhams Z Tam 8 25       50 83.0 15   Control Tower 0 25       50 75.0 16   Lockton Luck A 0 25       50 75.0 17   Mach Doro A 25 0       50 75.0 18   Mac's Jackpot 25 0       50 75.0 19   Somebaddude 25 0       50 75.0 20   Rodeo Romeo 12 12       50 74.0 21   Bellows Binge 8 12       50 70.0 22   Don Domingo N 5 12       50 67.0 23   Ballerat Boomerang 5 8       50 63.0 24   I'm Some Graduate 5 8       50 63.0 25   Lyons Steel 8 5       50 63.0 26   Bettors Fire N 12 0       50 62.0 27   Dr J Hanover 0 12       50 62.0 28   Luciano N 12 0       50 62.0 29   Mach It So 12 0       50 62.0 30   Micky Gee N 12 0       50 62.0 31   Rock The Nite 0 12       50 62.0 32   Always At My Place 0 8       50 58.0 33   Bettor Memories 0 5       50 55.0 34   Mar Nien A 0 5       50 55.0 35   Pacing Major N 5 0       50 55.0 36   Rockathon 5 0       50 55.0 37   Sams A Champ A 5 0       50 55.0 38   Whittaker N 0 5       50 55.0 39   Bit Of A Legend N 0 0       50 50.0 40   Nocturnal Bluechip   8       25 33.0 41   Rockin Ron 8         25 33.0 42   Major Crocker A   5       25 30.0 43   Christen Me N 0         25 25.0 44   Cruise Patrol 0         25 25.0 45   Military Master A 0         25 25.0 46   Weona Sizzler A 0         25 25.0 47   Windcong Leo 0         25 25.0 48   Funknwaffles           0 0.0     ADDED MONEY 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg Nom. Fees Total          $45,000 $41,000 $0 $0 $0 $280,000 $366,000                   $200,000                 Total $566,000 Frank Drucker

Epaulette A, harness racing

Epaulette A now two for two

WILKES-BARRE PA - For the second straight week, the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Epaulette A was victorious in the top-level conditioned pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and just as he did last week he posted the fastest clocking of the harness racing young season, winning this $21,500 contest in 1:50.4 for a new mark. Perennial top local driver George Napolitano Jr. had the fast leaver on top by the 1/8 pole, but past the 27.1 quarter, Eddard Hanover made a quick move towards the lead. Epaulette A was having none of that, however, and went a 26.4 second quarter to keep the challenger out at the 54 half, and then shook that one off near the 1:21.4 3/4s. Through the stretch Napolitano kept the winner of $219,122 on the bit, and no one could get close to him in the lane. Black Chevron N, who had hugged the inside through, came up the Pocono Pike to be second, 1¾ lengths behind, with Soho Wallstreet A overcoming bad early luck to rally for third behind the victorious Aussie-bred, trained by Hunter Oakes for the Northfolk Racing Stable. Earlier in the card the veteran Rocknroll Hanover gelding Rockeyed Optimist showed sharp form that could increase his $680,508 lifetime bankroll dramatically, overcoming the outside post seven while equaling the previous best time of the year at the mountain oval, 1:51.1. Mitchell Cushing left and tucked third early, then sent his charge to the lead in front of the stands, and the classmaster took it from there, well clear of his opposition for trainer Jack Leamon, who shares ownership with Stephen Moss, Joseph Battaglia, and Virginia Berkner. Once again the Pocono claiming box was a beehive of activity. Five claiming events produced 14 horses who were led back to new barns at the end of their miles, with $231,250 changing hands as stables seek sharp horses in pursuit of the early season money. Pocono races its first Sunday card at 7 p.m. tomorrow (March 24), with the $1.4M-winning Melady's Monet handicapped to the outside in a field of six in the $21,500 trotting feature. Melady's Monet is trained by a horseman who has some previous experience with winners of much racetrack cash - Herman Heitmann, the first trainer of Foiled Again. PHHA / Pocono

My Hero Ron, harness racing

Blazing speed on display at Miami Valley

LEBANON, OH - When favorites won the first four races on Miami Valley's Saturday (March 23) harness racing program in 1:51.2 or faster, it became apparent that a "big mile" was possible when the featured $22,500 Open I pacers went postward in the eighth. A packed grandstand of harness devotees was not disappointed as My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) sped to a 1:49.4 triumph, the quickest mile of the 10-week old 2019 season. Smith fired My Hero Ron from behind the gate, reluctant to allow Mykindachip (Dan Noble) to set the tempo. It took a :25.4 opening panel-fastest of the year-to seat Mykindachip, but proved worth the effort as My Hero Ron tripped all the remaining timing beams in :54.1, 1:21.3 and 1:49.4. GD Western Joe (Chris Page) closed from last in the early going to a fast-closing second in the end, followed by Granite (Brett Miller) in third. Brian Witt owns My Hero Ron who now owns 28 victories from 132 starts. The 7-year-old Well Said gelding has now earned $892,218 in his career. Two divisions of the first leg of the Tom Tharps Memorial Series late closer, for non-winners of six races or $60,000 lifetime, also were contested. The quickest division looked like a replay of the final of the George Williams Memorial, for non-winners of four races or $40,000, a week earlier. Gerardo (Kayne Kauffman) used the same front-end tactic to best Reagan's Avenger (Chris Page) and Velocity Smoke (Dan Noble) in 1:51, two-fifths of a second faster than seven days earlier when the top three order of finish was exactly the same. Kauffman also trains the winner, a 4-year-old Rockin Image gelding owned by Mark Bogen. Rockin Speed (Travis Seekman) captured the other Tharps division by beating Bluebird Recon (Trace Tetrick) and Somebeachsomeday (Trevor Smith) in 1:52.1. L & L Devisser LLC owns Rockin Speed, who is also a 4-year-old Rockin Image gelding. A total of eight races were clocked in 1:51.2 or faster in the first 11 races. In addition to those mentioned above, others were Franzo (Brett Miller, 1:50.3), Class Six (Chris Page, 1:51.1), Harambe Deo (Dan Noble, 1:51.2), Cyclone Kiwi N (Sam Widger, 1:51.2), My Buddy Ninkster (Tyler Smith, 1:50.4) and Armabluechipboy N (Dan Noble, 1:51.1). Sunday's 2:05 p.m. matinee at Miami Valley will feature a $25,000 Open Handicap Trot as well as two $12,000 divisions of second round action in the George 'Red' Ownes Memorial Series for green pacing mares. Gregg Keidel

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Upfront Countryboy was just off the mark in his last two starts with a pair of narrow second place finishes but he was right on target in the $10,500 Class AA Open Handicap Pace at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (March 23) with a strong two length harness racing victory over Beachy Dream in 1:55.1.   It was a tough stretch for Upfront Countryboy as he had deal with a neck and a length setback in his past two tries. But he washed away the heart break this time around.   After watching Beachy Dream take the lead briefly, Upfront Countryboy regained the top before stopping the timer at the quarter pole in :28.2.   From there, driver Shawn McDonough kept Upfront Countryboy on task and used a :57.2 back half mile to keep the remaining five combatants at bay. Beachy Dream (Kevin Cummings) finished in second while Heaven Rocks (Drew Monti) picked up the third place check.   Owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr., it was the second victory in seven tries for the 10-year-old gelded Upfront Countryboy (Dragon Again-Cambloid). The win increased his seasonal earnings to $17,295 and a stellar $456,715 lifetime.   In the sub-featured $9,500 Class A Handicapped paces, there were no surprises as A F F Bigdaddy ($3.60) blasted the field in 1:54.2 while Bugatti ($4.70) had to hang on late to post the victory over Harry Hoo N in 1:56.2.   A F F Bigdaddy (Monti) had no issues in bottoming out the field as he set fractions of :28.3, :57.0 and 1:26.1 which overpowered the other seven competitors. Rebel Voyager (Billy Davis Jr.) was 4-3/4 lengths back in second while Rose Run Voyager (Ray Fisher Jr.) took third.   A F F Bigdaddy (Sir Luck-Artacam) was owned by Jennifer and Marcus Rogowski and trained by Steve Kiblin but was claimed out of the race for $15,000 by Steve Andzel III. The 6-year-old gelding has earned $16,090 and $95,615 lifetime.   Bugatti (Cummings) enjoyed a three length edge at the top of the stretch but held on for dear life at the end to post a neck win over the hard charging Harry Hoo N (McDonough) in the other event. China Dream (Davis Jr.) rolled in for the show spot.   Owned by Keith Pinkowski and conditioned by Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr., it was the first victory in five appearances this season for the 6-year-old gelded Bugatti (Mach Three-Blinker Hanover). The score upped his 2019 earnings to $9,029 and $244,271 in his career.   Cummings kept his torrid streak going with a five-bagger while McDonough and David McNeight III had doubles. David McNeight Sr. had a pair of training wins,   Racing will resume on Wednesday night with a 13-race card slated for 5 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, race replays results, entries, upcoming promotions and simulcast schedule, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $20,000 Super Hi-5 total pool guarantee to its harness racing card on Monday (March 25). The thirteenth race features the $20,000 20¢ Super Hi-5 guaranteed total pool, which includes a carryover of $6,780.58. Northfield's Pick 5, Pick 4's, Pick 3's and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. The evening's ninth race starts the 20¢ Northfield Single Six, which offers a $17,941.16 carryover. Monday's post time is 6:00 p.m. Ayers Ratliff

Saturday night's harness racing Open Pace featured the return of Artful Way (Artistic Fella) at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The three-time defending Pacer of the Year at the track suffered a minor injury that forced him to be scratched a couple weeks ago following a victory in his 2019 debut. Despite coming in off a three week layoff, Artful Way was the public's betting favorite in the $15,000 Open while starting from the outside post. Fellow veteran JK Panache (Art Major) was the one who stole the show on Saturday though. The Dave Dewhurst trainee moved first over approaching the half and continued to plug away on the outside while the backfield was set in motion. Artful Way made his move and a scramble in the stretch ensued. Despite appearing to tire around the final turn, JK Panache just kept fighting on and wound up prevailing by the slimmest of margins. The win that looked unlikely at the top of the stretch was the second of the year in the Open for JK Panache who was once again piloted to victory by Jimmy Devaux. Artful Way came charging hard but had to settle for second while In A Single Bound (Billy Dobson) finished third. The incredible JK Panache paid $8.90 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $46 and $186, respectively. Jimmy Devaux drove four winners on the Saturday card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:00pm. Mike Sardella  

John Gaspar of Wakefield, MA, captured the March 23rd NTRA National Handicapping Championship Qualifier at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The $400 no-takeout contest attracted a field of 138 players representing several different states. All entry fees went to the prize pool totaling $27,600. The Meadowlands NHC Qualifier required each contestant to make at least ten $20 minimum Win, Place, Show or WPS bets on their choice of races from Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Fair Grounds. Gaspar cashed on nine of his twelve bets building his $200 bankroll into $3,218 earning him the $11,040 top cash prize and seat in the 2020 NHC Final in Las Vegas. John's big score came in Gulfstream's 13th race where cashed for $2,745 with a $550 win bet on maiden winner Hijacker. Kenneth Jordan of Farmingdale, NJ, also earned a berth into the 2020 National Handicapping Championship Final. The top ten finishers along with contest prize payouts are below. Place Prize Money Bankroll First Last City State 1 $11,040 $3,218.00 John Gaspar Wakefield MA 2 $5,520 $3,050.50 Kenneth Jordan Farmingdale NJ 3 $2,760 $2,870.70 Ed Herr Ocean NJ 4 $2,070 $2,573.00 Jeff Bussan New Canaan CT 5 $1,380 $1,871.50 Mike Doheny Bronxville NY 6 $966 $980.00 Chris Olsson Bellmore NY 7 $966 $602.50 Kevin Englehard Franklin Park NJ 8 $966 $540.00 Joseph Calvo Jersey City NJ 9 $966 $280.00 James Giamundo Howard Beach NY 10 $966 $254.00 Bart Fooden Point Lookout NY   Rachel Ryan

Fifty years ago this month, private citizen David Penrose Buckson greeted some 8,000 curious patrons to his creation, Dover Downs, and thoroughbred racing. They bet over $500,000. Fifty years ago this year, Attorney General David Penrose Buckson headed up the First State’s newly created Department of Justice, effectively ending Delaware’s commission form of government. Buckson had laid the groundwork by placing the AG’s offices in all counties rather than only in Wilmington. The affable Buckson bought some 200 acres of prime land just outside Dover from businessman Tom Murray, whose property previously was owned by our great, great grandfather. In Dover Downs, Buckson envisioned a year-round facility of harness racing, thoroughbred racing, auto racing, and more. Buckson built a 5/8-mile horse racing track surrounded by a mile auto racing track. He flew to Charlotte N.C. and brought the France family and NASCAR to Dover with Richard Petty, the Allision’s, and Yarborough’s tagging along. Buckson drove to Nazareth PA and brought Mario Andretti to drive his Indy car in a short-run series (because the banking was too steep for Indy cars). Dave got his harness racing friends to compete: future Hall of Famers Stanley Dancer, Billy Haughton, Herve Filion, et al. Local standout, Eddie Davis displayed his talents here. He brought in a major Philadelphia concessionaire to run his restaurant — all first class! With the introduction of gambling in Atlantic City, Dover Downs experienced financial problems as did all neighboring facilities such as Brandywine, Liberty Bell and Garden State Park. Wilmington entrepreneur, John Rollins, who was Buckson’s partner in Purple and Red Racing Stables, came to the rescue. When the Horse Racing Redevelopment Act of 1994 passed the State Legislature, slots and harness racing once again flourished in Dover. Although Dover Downs management honored him in death as his ashes were spread around the track he built and where he raced his national season champion trotter Ms Becky Pick, and his pacer Jefferic Adios (named for Rollins’ son, Jeff, and Buckson’s son, Eric), Buckson is mainly long forgotten. Dover Downs hosts two of harness racing’s oldest stakes events in late fall: the Matron and the Progress — eliminations and finals. One was recently named after a former Rollins Brandywine official and later Dover Downs president. Hopefully, new owner, Twin River, will remember Dover Downs founder David P Buckson by honoring him this same way. Perhaps, Dover Motorsports CEO, Denis McGlynn, who has been at Dover for most of the 50 years might find something in the two NASCAR events televised around the world. We would be remiss if we did not mention that David has been consistently controversial over the years. Buckson is a name remembered by thousands of children he helped and families he kept together in his 20 years as judge in Kent County’s Family Court. He is remembered in Columbus, Ohio by the United States Trotting Association where he was elected as a district director; at the Harness Racing Hall of Fame for Goshen, N.Y. where he had been proclaimed Amateur Diver of the Year; in Charlotte N.C., home of NASCAR, at Harness Horse International, a horseman’s organization he co-founded; at Cloverleaf Owner’s Association, a horseman’s organization where he served as president. Celia Cohen did not forget him in her book, “Only in Delaware”. Tom Carper did not forget Buckson as he was a regular birthday greeter and visitor. But, at the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, where he has been nominated half a dozen times, at the Delaware Department of Justice, and at Dover Downs, he is totally forgotten. Just think of all the people employed at Dover Downs over the years, think of all the taxes paid; think of all the purses paid in horse racing; think of all the prize money in auto racing; think of all the tourism; think of all the worldwide TV enjoyment from NASCAR and simulcasting; think of all the DOJ decisions and effects; think of all the Deputy AG’s who started there. Dammit, think of Dave Buckson as George Bernard Shaw stated so eloquently “. . . some people see things as they are and say. Why?; I dream things that never were and say, Why not?” Dave Buckson personifies the “Why Not?” Daniel M Wilson, a resident of Cleveland, formerly lived in Dover and Dewey Beach. Reprinted with permission of the Delaware State News    

East Rutherford, NJ - On the next condition sheet covering March 29-30, The Meadowlands will again significantly increase the purses for overnight harness racing, boosting the average to nearly $200,000 per card.   Another benefit resulting from disbursement of the purse supplement is that all starters will now get a check for racing at The Meadowlands.   Recognizing that traveling to compete at The Big M comes at a cost, the owners of horses finishing back of fifth will now receive 1% of the purse to help defray that expense.   That amount will come off the top of the total purse for each race with the balance then paid out in the standard percentages.       NIck Salvi  

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands has totaled up the number of nominations for the April Late Closing 3-year-old series' and both the filly trot and pace divisions, the "Shake It Cerry" and "Worldly Beauty" will be cancelled due to lack of entries.   The colt & gelding trot and pace titled the "Walner" and "Wiggle It Jiggleit" will be raced as scheduled beginning Friday, April 5.   Refunds will be made to the nominator for the filly divisions.   The lists of nominees will be posted on the web.   Call the racing office at 201-842-5130 with questions.     Nick Salvi

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Even Marcus Miller must have been surprised at how easy things went for him and Trolley in the Friday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands. In a field where one scratch (Zlatan) left but six starters in the $25,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters, Miller urged Trolley from the start, setting sail for the top and leading at the quarter in :28.3. The 6-year-old Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride product continued his sleepwalk to the half in :56.3 as pocket-sitter Rubber Duck and Sutton - who was racing in the three hole - did not move a muscle. Trolley trotted his third fraction in :27.3 to remain clear on the engine and after coming home in :29.2, he hit the wire 2 lengths in front of a fast-closing - but non-threatening - Sutton. Rubber Duck held third. "It's nice when a plan comes to fruition," said Miller. "I never really had any doubts tonight off of those fractions. He was very, very strong." The Erv Miller-trained Trolley returned $3.80 to his backers after completing the mile in 1:53.3. He's now won five-of-six this year while facing the best stock on the grounds at the Big M. He has 16 wins from 31 career starts and earnings of $353,209 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. In the co-featured Preferred Handicap for fillies and mares on the pace, Divas Image, who looked rough-gaited at the start, settled for a fourth-over trip, tipped wide in the stretch, then exploded home in :26.3 to record a 1-length win in 1:53.2 as the 3-5 favorite for driver Andy Miller. Believe In Me was second with Newsday third. "When she was rough behind the gate, I didn't know what to expect," said winning trainer Jenn Bongiorno. "But I do know closing is definitely her best game. She absolutely loves the stretch at the Big M." Divas Image, a 6-year-old by Bettor's Delight-Rocknroll Diva, won for the second time this year in four starts (two-for-two at the Big M) and now has won 23-of-70 lifetime outings and banked just over $575,000. A VERY GOOD START: Friday marked the first-ever Can-Am Pick-4 - a wager where one must pick the winners of two races at both the Meadowlands and Woodbine Mohawk Park - and the response was vigorous. A total of $57,489 was poured in the pool and after a sequence that saw winner's odds of 5-2, 6-5, 11-1 and 7-2, the return was a handsome $596.51 for a 20-Cent bet. The Can-Am Pick-4 will be offered on Friday nights. A LITTLE MORE: One player wagering into the Oregon hub was the holder of the only ticket to last five legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $10,549.56. ... During the course of the 13-race program there were six winning favorites, but longshot players hit big in the third race when La Dolfina ($99.80) scored at 48-1. Five races later, Piercewave Hanover skimmed the cones at 60-1 and returned $128.20. ... All-source handle totaled $2,634,286. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 22, 2019 - Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker saw the second of five harness racing preliminary rounds go Friday night (March 22nd). Four, $40,000 groupings of leading lasses were contested, one fewer than a week ago. Here's the basics... First division - A wide-early Don't Think Twice A (Jason Bartlett, $6)-from post position No. 7-worked around 3-2 favorite Newborn Sassy (Tim Tetrick), then held that one off through the lane in equal halves (:27.2, :57, 1:25.2, 1:54). Third went to second-over Kaitlyn N (Matt Kakaley), with Rockstar Angel A (Eric Goodell) and Bettorb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton) picking off the remainder. For second choice Don't Think Twice A, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Armbro Operative co-owned by (trainer) Andrew Harris, Arrhythmic, Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16.40, the triple returned $76 and the superfecta paid $235.50. (Don't Think Twice A) is just so handy and smart, a perfect horse for Yonkers," Bartlett said. "Drive her any way you want to." Second division - Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan, $4.10) became the first lass to 'double date' in the Matchmaker. Leapfrogging her seven inside rivals, the just-over-even-money favorite had no issues (:27.3, :56.3, 1:25.1, 1:53.3) en route to a three-length win. First leader Twinkle (Scott Zeron) could not match strides from the pocket, but saved second. Medusa (Jim Marohn Jr.), Bettor's Up (Tetrick) and Write Me a Song (Stratton) rounded out the payees. "She's a mare with a lot of class," Callahan said, "I mean, you can leave with her six weeks in a row, then duck her. When the new owners were thinking about buying her, they asked me what I'd thought, since I'd driven her. "I told them she might not be the best mare in the country, but she enjoys her work and she's honest." For Apple Bottom Jeans, a 6-year-old daughter of Mr. Apples co-owned by Ed Gold, Howard Taylor, Thomas Lazzaro & Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Dylan Davis, it was her fourth win in six seasonal starts (2-for-2 in series). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $8.70, the triple returned $98.50 and the superfecta paid $400.50. Third division - Bettor Joy N (Tetrick, $6.50), who was snapped at the wire as an odd-on choice a week ago, turned the tables here. Second-over from post No. 5, she nailed 3-4 fave Ideal Lifestyle A (George Brennan) by a going-away length in 1:53.4. The latter, looking to repeat, walked early (:28, :58), then threw down a :27.3 third quarter (1:25.3) trying to lose her rivals. It did not work. Gold Orchid N (Bartlett), Caviart Cherie (Joe Bongiorno) and Camera Lady (Kakaley) came away with the remainder. For second choice Bettor Joy N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by her escort, Richard Poillucci & Jo Ann Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her second win in four '19 tries. The exacta paid $13.80, the triple returned $35 and the superfecta paid $85.50. Fourth division - Feelin' Red Hot (Brennan, $13.20), from post No. 4, went the distance (:27.4, :57.4, 1:24.2, 1:53.1) to whip a stacked field. Pole-sitting Obvious Blue Chip (Zeron), at 46-1, photoed a three-move Seaswift Joy N (Marohn Jt.) for secomd, while 1-2 choice Shartin N (Tetrick) was a brutal-trip fourth, with Delightfulmemphisn (Bartlett) fifth. Seaswift Joy N also had also sorta of fun. Leaving first into a five-hole, then moving into a three-hole ahead of Delightfulmemphisn. Approaching the half, those two were both off the cones, with Shartin N, already in the throes of a rotten, eight-hole sojourn, forced wide. While all that was happening, Feelin' Red Hot was employing the 'shortest distance between two points' theory. She had three lengths in and out the final turns before winning by 2¼ lengths. For fourth choice Feelin' Red Hot, a 6-year-old Feelin' Friskie ma'am co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, she's now 4-for-9 this season. The exacta paid $263, the triple returned $1,288 and the superfecta paid $5,036. Saturday evening's (March 23rd) second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series features six, $50,000 Free-For-All divisions. Frank Drucker

CHESTER PA - The trotters and pacers returned to Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday morning for their first set of qualifiers in 2019, one week ahead of the harness racing track's opening day for the year. With the temperature in the mid-40s and horses forced to negotiate a "sloppy +2" surface, the Well Said sophomore gelding Just Plain Loco went the fastest mile with an open-length win in 1:56.3 for driver Pat Berry and trainer Tom Fanning. Just Plain Loco took his two-year-old mark of 1:54 in a Pennsylvania Stallion Series contest; he also won the Renaissance Final and was second in the Sheppard. The wife-husband team of driver Jackie and trainer Frank Ingrassia were successful with a pair of their charges, both unsurprisingly trotters. Three-year-old E Ell Cruze knocked over five seconds off his freshman qualifying mark by winning in 2:01.3, while the 1:54.1 winner Izoh came out of the pocket to emerge victorious in 2:00.4. Trainer Ron Coyne Jr. also sent out two winning pupils, including the sophomore pacing filly Philly Hanover, winning at Philly in 1:57.2 for driver Tim Tetrick. Second in her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship last year, the Captaintreacherous filly Philly Hanover may have a bit of an early-season edge when the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes starts its 2019 season with her division, right here at Philly, on Friday, May 3. Coyne's other winner, Armagedon Seelster, took the fastest of the trotting qualifiers in 1:59.2 under Pat Berry's handling. The draw for next Friday's inaugural card will be held on Tuesday. Philly's basic racing schedule will be a Wednesday through Friday lineup at 12:25 and Sunday racing at 12:40. April dark days will be April 3 and 10, both Wednesdays in anticipation of the usual horse shortage until the racing stock begins to increase with the warmer weather, and Easter Sunday, April 21. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, March 22, 2019 -- Dew A Little Dance powered to the lead at the quarter and rolled to an unchallenged victory in Friday's $25,600 championship of the Walter Russell Memorial Pace at The Meadows, completing his sweep of the harness racing series for 3- and 4-year-old colts, stallions and geldings. When Tony Hall put Dew A Little Dance in the two hole from the gate, it marked the only time the four-year-old A Rocknroll Dance - Artbitration gelding was behind in the series. But Hall soon had him on the move, and the 2-5 favorite had little trouble scoring in 1:53.1 over a "good" surface. Wild Wild Western was second, 2-3/4 lengths back, with Touch Of The West third. Tom Klosky, Jr. bred and owns Dew A Little Dance, who extended his winning streak to four. Friday's card also featured the finals of three other series for 3- and 4-year-olds, with each contested over a sloppy track. Among the highlights: $28,300 Ken Weaver Memorial Trot -- Colts, Stallions & Geldings Brian Zendt could have taken an early seat with Explosive Magic, but he chose to press on to the lead. He could have released Cash Hit when that rival challenged past the quarter, but he put the pedal to the metal instead. Zendt knew exactly what he was doing, as Explosive Magic opened a 6-length lead as the field turned for home and triumphed by 7-1/2 lengths in 1:57.1. Bellsandwhistles rallied from ninth for place while Kidswillbefeisty earned show. Dirk Simpson conditions the 3-year-old Explosive Matter-Magical Paige gelding for Dirk Simpson Stable and Lawrence Barnett. $28,000 Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot -- Fillies & Mares Lindy Misssunshine garnered her previous series win on the front. On Friday's tiring track, however, trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder was content to sit fifth and save his filly's brush for late. The strategy worked beautifully, as the 3-year-old daughter of Explosive Matter-Mimosa Leader was freshest in the stretch, defeating Revival by 1-3/4 lengths in a career-best 1:58.2. The first-over Gypsyrose Devie completed the ticket. Richard Hess campaigns Lindy Misssunshine. Lindy Misssunshine $23,800 Donna Dunn Memorial Pace -- Fillies & Mares Mystical Thread showed talent aplenty in winning the opening leg, but she also demonstrated gaiting problems, breaking stride in the next leg. In the championship, she was all talent and no problems, roaring to the top for Dave Palone and prevailing in 1:56.1, a life mark. The first-over Walk On Air was second, beaten 3 lengths, while Flipping Fun rallied for show. J.W. Miller trains the 4-year-old daughter of Fred And Ginger-Threads Of Life for Kahrig Racing Stable and Caleb Little. Mike Wilder piloted three winners on the 12-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, first post 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Driver Dexter Dunn was electric at the Meadowlands Saturday night, and so was the harness racing action, as Dunn scored four times on the program and wagering reached the magic $3-million mark for the fifth time in 2019. Dunn got his night off to a quick start, sweeping the Early Daily Double with a pair of Tim Lancaster trainees. Smileandsaycheese came from well off the pace to take the opener, a conditioned pace, in 1:52.1 at odds of 12-1 before 2-1 favorite Four Staces completed the DD - which paid $85.80 - in a $15,000 up to $20,000 claiming handicap pace in 1:52.4. The New Zealand native swept another Daily Double, this one beginning in race four, scoring with the Chris Ryder-trained American World in 1:53 in a non-winners of one pace as the 2-1 second choice before winning with Rather Swell, the 7-5 public choice, for trainer Mike Watson in a $10,000 up to $12,500 claiming handicap pace in 1:54.1. That DD returned $20.80. All-source wagering totaled $3,082,637, good for the fifth-best night of action at the Big M - as well as the industry - this year. A total of $313,088 was bet on the opener, $345,218 on the fourth race ($103,276 in the Exacta pool alone) and $317,809 on the fifth as those three races accounted for $976,115 of the evening's action. The 50-Cent Pick-4 pool reached six figures for the seventh time in 11 tries, as $101,640 was poured into the pot. A LITTLE MORE: Dover Downs invader Highalator destroyed a high-class conditioned field of pacers in the eighth race by 5¾ lengths. Driver Richard Still guided the Jenny Bier trainee to the easy speed win in 1:50.2 as the 6-5 favorite for his 23rd victory in 55 lifetime starts. ... Rebel Rouser made the lead while parked at the quarter and went down the road from there in an ultra-competitive non-winners of four on the pace in race 12. The Robert Cleary trainee sprinted his final quarter in :26.4 on the way to his fourth straight score. Andy McCarthy guided the winner to a lifetime-best mile time of 1:51.1. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m., featuring the second edition of the 20-Cent Can-Am Pick-4. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 23, 2019 - Saturday night's (March 23rd) night second round of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series didn't do a whole lot to establish a clear harness racing favorite, though some of the contenders did indeed state their cases. Another happy half-dozen, $50,000, Free-For-All groups were contested, with a pair of repeaters leading the way. Here's the succinct story, not necessarily in chronological order... Second division - Odds-on Rodeo Rock (Andrew McCarthy, $3.50)-from post position No. 5--'ran down' loose leader Gokudo Hanover (George Brennan), prevailing first-up by a head in 1:52.1. The 13-1 latter had open lengths through intervals of -:26.4, :56.1 and 1:24. Rock the Nite (Mark MacDonald), More the Better N (Scott Zeron) and Major Crocker A (Dan Dube) picked off the remainder, while an amiss Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) lost touch from a pole-sitting pocket and finished sixth. For Rodeo Rock, a 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Royal Wire Products and trained by Robert Cleary, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts (2-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $22.60, the triple returned $201 and the superfecta paid $459.50. "I was hoping Scotty (Zeron, with More the Better N would pull from third, but he was happy where he was and just had to go on with it," McCarthy said. "It was a long way (from fifth) in the wind, but he was actually more comfortable tonight than in last week's race." Fourth division - After wiring his opening-leg rivals at 9-1, favored Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, $4.10) had a more acquaintances at the windows. From post No. 3, it couldn't have been less simple (:28, :57.4, 1:26, 1:53.3), going the distance by 3¼ lengths. Polester Lochton Luck A (Matt Kakaley), as the 29-1 outsider, and three-hole sitting Bellow's Binge (Jason Bartlett) finished the tickets, while Always at My Place (Brennan) and Bettor Memories (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled for the remainder. For Ideal Jimmy, a 6-year-old homebred Western Ideal gelding owned by D R Van Witzenberg and trained by Erv Miller, it was his fifth win in eight'19 tries (2-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $49, the triple returned $136 and the superfecta paid $1,379. "I thought he should have been the favorite last week," Holland said "He's very handy and I'm not surprised he's stepped up in this series." JJ Flynn First division - A week after Western Fame (Dube) traversed the fastest local mile (1:51.1) of the season, he was 15-cents-on-the-dollar to do it again. JJ Flynn (Brennan, $43) was not impressed. After Western Fame led through early fractions of :27.1 and :56.2, JJ Flynn moved-with purpose-from post No. 4. He hooked Western Fame by the 1:24 three-quarters, fighting him off from there. The final margin was three-quarters of a length in a sharp 1:51.3. Duplicated N (Tim Tetrick) was a pocket third, with Ballerat Boomerang (Joe Bongiorno) and Lyons Steel (MacDonald) also making appearance fees. For fourth choice JJ Flynn, a 6-year-old Western Ideal gelding co-owned by (trainer) Josh Green, Richard Lombardo and Charles Cochran III, he's now 6-for-8 this season (1-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $119.50, the triple returned $191 and the superfecta paid $362.50. Third division - Anythingforlove A (Bongiorno) saw his quest for the series two-fer implode from pole-sitting Endeavor (Tetrick, $4.90) pulled from third and rolled right past. The former offered early foot (:27.3, :57.1), but was backpedaling buy the 1:25 three-quarters. Endeavor, meanwhile, opened a pair of lengths in and out of the final turn, eventually winning by 2¼ lengths in 1:52.4. Control Tower (Austin Siegelman) was a loose-second-up second, with a trapped Dr. J Hanover (McCarthy), Nocturnal Bluechip (Zeron) and the fading 11-10 fave Anythingforlove A settling for the minors. For second choice Endeavor, a 6-year-old American Ideal gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Cullipher and Pollack Racing, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal/series starts. The exacta paid $24.40, the triple returned $149.50 and the superfecta paid $530. Fifth division - The Downtown Bus (Zeron, $17.20) took the always-popular fourth-over route to redemption, snapping 11-10 choice Beckham's Z Tam (Tetrick) by a head in 1:53.1. The closers, from post Nos. 5 and 3, respectively, had numbers to chase after Sam's a Champ A (MacDonald) set a contested pace (:26.1, :55.3, 1:23.4) after getting stung early and softened by a first-up The Wall (Bongiorno). Rodeo Romeo (Bartlett) was an outkicked third, with The Wall and Whittaker N (Holland) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For fifth choice The Downtown Bus, a 4-year-old Mach Three gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Gillis and Ellen Ott, he's now 1-for-2 this season/series. The exacta paid $90.50, the triple returned $196.50 and the superfecta paid $540. Sixth division - A two-speed number, where second choice Somewhere in L A (Bartlett, $6.10) edged past just-over-even-money I'marocnrollegend N (Brennan) in 1:53.1. Pocketed from post No. 4, 'L A' earned a 40th career win, the margin three-quarters of a length. Don Domingo N (Stratton) was a ground-saving third, with I'm Some Graduate (Kakaley) and Mar Nien A (Greg Merton) earning the remainder of available coinage. For Somewhere in L A, an 8-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was his second win in five seasonal efforts (1-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $14.60, the triple returned $126.50 and the superfecta paid $572. The series standings, as dutifully compiled by Bob (OUTP) Miecuna, accompany this release. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by 31-1 rank outsider New Heaven (Stratton, $64) in a season's-best 1:55.3.     Yonkers Raceway     George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series     2019           March 24, 2019                     Order        Name 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg 25 pts/start Total    1   Ideal Jimmy 50 50       50 150.0 2   Rodeo Rock 50 50       50 150.0 3   Somewhere In L A 25 50       50 125.0 4   Western Fame 50 25       50 125.0 5   Endeavor 8 50       50 108.0 6   JJ Flynn 8 50       50 108.0 7   More The Better N 50 8       50 108.0 8   The Wall 50 8       50 108.0 9   Anythingforlove A 50 5       50 105.0 10   Imarocnrollegend N 25 25       50 100.0 11   The Downtown Bus 0 50       50 100.0 12   Duplicated N 25 12       50 87.0 13   Gokudo Hanover 12 25       50 87.0 14   Beckhams Z Tam 8 25       50 83.0 15   Control Tower 0 25       50 75.0 16   Lockton Luck A 0 25       50 75.0 17   Mach Doro A 25 0       50 75.0 18   Mac's Jackpot 25 0       50 75.0 19   Somebaddude 25 0       50 75.0 20   Rodeo Romeo 12 12       50 74.0 21   Bellows Binge 8 12       50 70.0 22   Don Domingo N 5 12       50 67.0 23   Ballerat Boomerang 5 8       50 63.0 24   I'm Some Graduate 5 8       50 63.0 25   Lyons Steel 8 5       50 63.0 26   Bettors Fire N 12 0       50 62.0 27   Dr J Hanover 0 12       50 62.0 28   Luciano N 12 0       50 62.0 29   Mach It So 12 0       50 62.0 30   Micky Gee N 12 0       50 62.0 31   Rock The Nite 0 12       50 62.0 32   Always At My Place 0 8       50 58.0 33   Bettor Memories 0 5       50 55.0 34   Mar Nien A 0 5       50 55.0 35   Pacing Major N 5 0       50 55.0 36   Rockathon 5 0       50 55.0 37   Sams A Champ A 5 0       50 55.0 38   Whittaker N 0 5       50 55.0 39   Bit Of A Legend N 0 0       50 50.0 40   Nocturnal Bluechip   8       25 33.0 41   Rockin Ron 8         25 33.0 42   Major Crocker A   5       25 30.0 43   Christen Me N 0         25 25.0 44   Cruise Patrol 0         25 25.0 45   Military Master A 0         25 25.0 46   Weona Sizzler A 0         25 25.0 47   Windcong Leo 0         25 25.0 48   Funknwaffles           0 0.0     ADDED MONEY 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg Nom. Fees Total          $45,000 $41,000 $0 $0 $0 $280,000 $366,000                   $200,000                 Total $566,000 Frank Drucker
WILKES-BARRE PA - For the second straight week, the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Epaulette A was victorious in the top-level conditioned pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and just as he did last week he posted the fastest clocking of the harness racing young season, winning this $21,500 contest in 1:50.4 for a new mark. Perennial top local driver George Napolitano Jr. had the fast leaver on top by the 1/8 pole, but past the 27.1 quarter, Eddard Hanover made a quick move towards the lead. Epaulette A was having none of that, however, and went a 26.4 second quarter to keep the challenger out at the 54 half, and then shook that one off near the 1:21.4 3/4s. Through the stretch Napolitano kept the winner of $219,122 on the bit, and no one could get close to him in the lane. Black Chevron N, who had hugged the inside through, came up the Pocono Pike to be second, 1¾ lengths behind, with Soho Wallstreet A overcoming bad early luck to rally for third behind the victorious Aussie-bred, trained by Hunter Oakes for the Northfolk Racing Stable. Earlier in the card the veteran Rocknroll Hanover gelding Rockeyed Optimist showed sharp form that could increase his $680,508 lifetime bankroll dramatically, overcoming the outside post seven while equaling the previous best time of the year at the mountain oval, 1:51.1. Mitchell Cushing left and tucked third early, then sent his charge to the lead in front of the stands, and the classmaster took it from there, well clear of his opposition for trainer Jack Leamon, who shares ownership with Stephen Moss, Joseph Battaglia, and Virginia Berkner. Once again the Pocono claiming box was a beehive of activity. Five claiming events produced 14 horses who were led back to new barns at the end of their miles, with $231,250 changing hands as stables seek sharp horses in pursuit of the early season money. Pocono races its first Sunday card at 7 p.m. tomorrow (March 24), with the $1.4M-winning Melady's Monet handicapped to the outside in a field of six in the $21,500 trotting feature. Melady's Monet is trained by a horseman who has some previous experience with winners of much racetrack cash - Herman Heitmann, the first trainer of Foiled Again. PHHA / Pocono
LEBANON, OH - When favorites won the first four races on Miami Valley's Saturday (March 23) harness racing program in 1:51.2 or faster, it became apparent that a "big mile" was possible when the featured $22,500 Open I pacers went postward in the eighth. A packed grandstand of harness devotees was not disappointed as My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) sped to a 1:49.4 triumph, the quickest mile of the 10-week old 2019 season. Smith fired My Hero Ron from behind the gate, reluctant to allow Mykindachip (Dan Noble) to set the tempo. It took a :25.4 opening panel-fastest of the year-to seat Mykindachip, but proved worth the effort as My Hero Ron tripped all the remaining timing beams in :54.1, 1:21.3 and 1:49.4. GD Western Joe (Chris Page) closed from last in the early going to a fast-closing second in the end, followed by Granite (Brett Miller) in third. Brian Witt owns My Hero Ron who now owns 28 victories from 132 starts. The 7-year-old Well Said gelding has now earned $892,218 in his career. Two divisions of the first leg of the Tom Tharps Memorial Series late closer, for non-winners of six races or $60,000 lifetime, also were contested. The quickest division looked like a replay of the final of the George Williams Memorial, for non-winners of four races or $40,000, a week earlier. Gerardo (Kayne Kauffman) used the same front-end tactic to best Reagan's Avenger (Chris Page) and Velocity Smoke (Dan Noble) in 1:51, two-fifths of a second faster than seven days earlier when the top three order of finish was exactly the same. Kauffman also trains the winner, a 4-year-old Rockin Image gelding owned by Mark Bogen. Rockin Speed (Travis Seekman) captured the other Tharps division by beating Bluebird Recon (Trace Tetrick) and Somebeachsomeday (Trevor Smith) in 1:52.1. L & L Devisser LLC owns Rockin Speed, who is also a 4-year-old Rockin Image gelding. A total of eight races were clocked in 1:51.2 or faster in the first 11 races. In addition to those mentioned above, others were Franzo (Brett Miller, 1:50.3), Class Six (Chris Page, 1:51.1), Harambe Deo (Dan Noble, 1:51.2), Cyclone Kiwi N (Sam Widger, 1:51.2), My Buddy Ninkster (Tyler Smith, 1:50.4) and Armabluechipboy N (Dan Noble, 1:51.1). Sunday's 2:05 p.m. matinee at Miami Valley will feature a $25,000 Open Handicap Trot as well as two $12,000 divisions of second round action in the George 'Red' Ownes Memorial Series for green pacing mares. Gregg Keidel
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