Day At The Track
Badlands Delight, harness racing

Badlands Delight takes Buffalo Raceway feature

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Badlands Delight the past three weeks managed to get just a taste of the pie with second and third place finishes.   But on Wednesday night (May 23) in Buffalo Raceway's featured $9,200 Open II Pace for the ladies, she was able to collect the biggest slice of the purse with a convincing 1-1/4 length victory over Hey Kobe in a seasonal best 1:55.0 over the fast track.   Starting from the rail, Badlands Delight and driver Jim Morrill Jr. made sure they weren't going to lose the advantageous draw as they reach in quarter pole in :28,0, parking out Double Down Jo along the way.   With middle splits of :56.4 and 1:26.0, the pace-setting Badlands Delight ($7.60) got into high gear around the final turn and opened up a two length edge and never looked back. Hey Kobe (Ray Fisher Jr.) won the battle for the minor spoils with a second place finish while Aritzia Hanover (Billy Davis Jr.) was third.   Owned by Samuel Smith and trained by Gerry Sarama, the 6-year-old mare Badlands Delight (Badlands Hanover-Colada Blue Chip) has now been victorious three times in 16 appearances in 2018. The win pushed her seasonal earnings to $24,692 and $106,872 lifetime.   There were a trio of 14-year-olds who found the winner's circle in Buffalo Raceway's 12-race program.   Leading the way was the 14-year-old mare Quicksilvercandy A ($2.20) who registered her 12th win in 15 tries this season with a 1:56.0 decision in a $8,400 optional claimer. She has finished no worse than second this year.   Quicksilvercandy A (Ray Fisher Jr.) is now tied for the top spot in the United States for the most victories in 2018 with Walks Of Life who also has 12 wins but with three more starts.   The other 'old-timers' to win were Wynsum Magic ($7.00) and Rush Rules ($12.20).   Morrill Jr. and Fisher Jr. each completed the evening with three victories each while John Cummings Jr. added a double. Ryan Swift and Gerry Sarama each conditioned two winners.   Racing will resume on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program slated.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

Dexter Dunn,Harness racing

Dunn to establish himself in North America

Champion harness driver Dexter Dunn is set to try to establish himself in North America again. And he hasn't ruled out a permanent move there should his winter campaign prove an enormous success. Dunn has won the last 10 national drivers' premierships but will relinquish his title to good friend Blair Orange this season, with the latter 28 clear on the standings after bringing up win 200 for the season at Manawatu on Tuesday. Orange's numbers this season have been so staggering he now has Dunn's national record 229 wins for a season in his sights and barring injury or suspension should probably set a new mark. But Dunn says the end of his premiership domination isn't why he is heading to New York in a few weeks. "I spent a few months up there driving a few years ago and really enjoyed the experience and always wanted to come back," says Dunn. "But the right opportunity never really presented itself until now." That finally did come when Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder, who is now based in North America, approached Dunn about driving in the US with his support. "Chris has been a long-time family friend and suggested the time was right and he would support me and try and help me get outside drives. "There has been a bit of visa paperwork to get through and I still have to go for a final interview at the US consulate in Auckland in a few weeks. But if and when the paperwork is finalised, hopefully I can get up there sooner rather than later. "Their [US] really good horses, the ones that will be racing in the better races later in the summer, are all starting to come out in the qualifiers at the moment so I'd love to be able to get some serious drives and the sooner I am there the more likely that is to happen." Dunn expects to be away from New Zealand from around mid-June until maybe just before the New Zealand Cup carnival in November, which would mean could drive at the rich Breeders Crown on October 27. But if the trip turned out to be an enormous success he could be tempted to stay. "I intend being back for the Cup carnival and driving like normal here over the summer. "But you never know what can happen. Anything is possible, including basing myself up there fulltime. "But I don't expect that to happen on this trip." After 10 remarkable years during which Dunn has emerged from obscurity to win 10 premierships and win 2180 races in New Zealand alone, the superstar of the sulky admits the time for a new challenge has come. "I still love the big carnivals, our summer racing and some of the special days we have, like Kaikoura for example. "But you do have the odd time when driving so much gets stale, especially when you have been travelling as much as I have for the last five years. "It usually only lasts a weekend and you are back fine the next week, but it does happen. "So this will be a good freshen up for me, a new challenge and a chance to learn some new things." Although Dunn has already seen his premiership run ended by Orange this season, any longer-term North American ambitions from him would put Orange in the perfect position to start his own premiership domination. The pair are so far in front of their rivals in numbers of drives and races won in the last couple of years it would be hard to envisage a new serious premiership contender emerging. So if Dunn tastes success during his upcoming US trip and decides to spend more winters there in the years to come, the national premiership would appear to be Orange's to own. Michael Guerin

Theresademoninme, harness racing

Theresademoninme wins Harrington homecoming

HARRINGTON, DE - Mike Casalino Jr. and Dylan Davis' Theresademoninme ($3.60, Jon Roberts) was a 1:56 winner in the $17,500 Open Trot at Harrington Raceway Wednesday. A full field of eight lined up behind the gate for the weekly feature for trotters. Last week's winner, I Like My Boss charged out of the gate from post six for the early lead. Race favorite Theresademoninme settled in fourth from post seven, but did not sit long as he marched first over towards the half-mile. I Like My Boss led through three-quarters in 1:26.3 as "Demon" gained slowly and eventually edged clear in deep stretch for the win. Royal Becca J put together a fierce stretch rally to be second while I Like My Boss held third. It was the sixth win of the year for "Demon," who is trained by Davis. The 7-year-old Kadabra gelding closed out the Dover Downs meet with three consecutive wins before a stint at Hoosier Park (Indiana). Iron Mine Branch's Fight The Truth improved to 5-for-5 at the meet with a 1:55.2 win for trainer Greg Haverstick. The 6-year-old Total Truth gelding was claimed for $7,500 however, for new connections and trainer Justin Brenneman. Tony Morgan had three wins on the program. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway    

Harness racing

Dan Rawlings posts 1,000th career win Wednesday

WASHINGTON, PA, May 23, 2018 -- Dan Rawlings collected career win 1,000 Wednesday at The Meadows when he piloted Moshannon Magic to victory in the sixth race. Rawlings, 36, a native of Lewiston, ME, was a fan of harness racing long before he made it his occupation. He visited many racetracks with his father and a neighbor, Nick Dube. When Dube got into the business -- he now works for The Meadows-based trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder -- Rawlings thought he would, too, and traveled to North Carolina to groom. He soon signed on as second trainer for David Wade and realized that driving was his passion. "My first drive was at the Greene County Fair in Waynesburg (PA)," he recalls. "I was racing my filly up front, and she jogged." Still, when he started driving full time at The Meadows in 2009, he had few connections to trainers and no regular assignments. For most cards, he sat patiently in the paddock lounge, hoping to pick up a late mount if a driver took off. "I never said no," he says. "There was no horse I wouldn't drive, no matter how bad it was. That got me a lot of drives. What else was I supposed to do? I didn't have family in the business. I didn't have trainers to put me down regularly." Rawlings credits Wade and trainer Rick Beinhauer, among others, with giving him drives and helping him through those lean years. Indeed, career win 999 came Wednesday with Beinhauer's 3-year-old filly Won The War. "I've been very blessed to be with people who are not only great, but they're also teaching you what you need to learn," he says. Although his horses have earned more than $11.3 million in purses, his greatest accomplishment at The Meadows may be surviving as a diehard New England Patriots fan in Pittsburgh Steelers country. When those two teams square off in their annual grudge match, Rawlings' fellow horseman "bust my chops and I bust theirs." "I actually feel bad for people from Pittsburgh because they've been deprived of so much," he says, tongue in cheek. "They could have been born in Boston." In addition to being an in-demand driver, Rawlings these days trains a one-horse stable that he might expand. But don't expect training to become his principal pursuit anytime soon. "I love working horses in the morning, but I just want to drive," he says. "Ultimately, there's nothing better than winning. I'm more than grateful that I'm in the position that I'm in. Not everybody gets paid to do what he likes." by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Chester, PA - The $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia is one of the main pitstops of talented older trotters, and this year is certainly no exception. This year's race is highlighted by Triple Crown Winner and 2017 Aged Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder. The 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill was impressive on seasonl debut over the suburban Philly oval, stopping the clock in 1:52.1 in a Great Northeast Series Event. The Paula Wellwood trainee is up to $2.5 million plus in career earnings, with 15 wins in 39 career starts. Top contenders include twice millionaire and defending Maxie Lee Champion Crazy Wow, and Mac Nichol's Will Take Charge. Crazy Wow, 6-year-old son of Crazed, is looking for his second win of the season after coming off of a disappointing 5th place finish last week in a Great Northeast Series Event. He did battle to a :54.1 half mile, before ceding ground the final quarter of a mile. The Ron Burke trainee has 21 wins in 62 career starts. The Jeff Gillis trained Will Take Charge has been solid in 10 starts this season, with 5 resulting in wins, and a near-miss second to Harness Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover in the Cutler Memorial at The Meadowlands. He won last week in a Great Northeast Series event despite breaking at the start. Two-time Dan Patch Award winner Broadway Donna took care of business in her seasonal debut. The 5-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover came off of a pair of good qualifiers against Hannelore Hanover, winning her debut in 1:51.4 in a Preferred Handicap at The Meadowlands. The Jim Campbell trainee is hoping to rebound after a one win season as a 4-year-old. Other contenders include Blair and Erna Corbeil's Rubber Duck, star Indiana trotter I Know My Chip, Canadian invader Warrawee Roo, and the Andy Miller charge Tuonoblu Rex. Post Time on Sunday, May 27th at Harrah's Philadelphia is 12:40 PM Eastern. Patrons are encouraged to bring the family for a fun filled afternoon which will include clowns, face painters, balloon animals, and much more. There will be food and beverage specials on the patio. ACTION AT HARRAH'S TODAY Dr J’s Kiss, knocking on the door with seconds in her last two starts, sprung an 11-1 upset in the $17,000 featured pace for mares Wednesday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, stopping the timer in 1:52.3. David Miller locked to have the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere in good position, second-over behind favored Obvious Blue Chip, but by mid-backstretch it was apparent that the chalk would not have enough in her seasonal bow, forcing Miller to send his filly three-wide to reach two-wide uncovered status by the far turn. Through the stretch Dr J’s Kiss proved the strongest, winning by ¾ of a length over pocketsitting Windy Sport, a 66-1 proposition who came up the inside to nip pacesetting Moments Of Joy for the deuce. A five-time winner in thirteen seasonal starts last year, Dr J’s Kiss needed until this, her tenth start of 2018, to finally break through to Victory Lane. Trainer Joe Pavia Jr. co-owns the winner with Steven Held and the namesake inspiration of the horse, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky. David Miller had four wins on the Wednesday card; the father-son/trainer-driver combination of Erv and Marcus Miller teamed for three victories. by Michael Bozich, for Harrah's Chester

Columbus, OH --- Wendy Ross has joined the U.S. Trotting Association's Communications Department as social media and public relations coordinator and Jason Turner has been promoted to assistant editor of Hoof Beats and digital brand strategist for the USTA. In addition, James Witherite has been hired as a freelance editor for the newsroom on the USTA's website, www.ustrotting.com. "We are excited to add Wendy to the communications team for the skills and experience she will add to our social media and publicity efforts," said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. "And we're pleased to provide Jason with a larger role with our magazine as assistant editor of Hoof Beats as well as a new opportunity to assist us in shaping the USTA's digital strategy moving forward. "With these additions, we've diversified the skills of the communications department and added creativity to our team, which will allow us to do an even better job of promoting the sport of harness racing." Ross, a third-generation horsewoman, is a familiar face to harness racing fans through her work as an on-air television personality at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Northfield Park, The Meadows and The Little Brown Jug. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Ross began her career at the age of 15 as an outrider at local fairs in Ohio. She later worked in that capacity at Northfield Park and Tioga Downs and has had the opportunity to be an outrider at some of harness racing's most prestigious events including the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown and Elitloppet in Sweden. After leaving the industry for about a year-and-a-half during 2016 and 2017, Ross recently returned to harness racing at The Meadows where she has been back in front of the camera doing live interviews in the paddock and winner's circle on the track's simulcast. Turner started his USTA career as an intern for Hoof Beats in 2006. After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism, he was hired as a full-time publishing assistant in 2007 and, later that year, was named as editor of Youth Beats magazine, a publication whose subscribers have grown from 40 to 1,700 under his guidance. A year later, Turner began writing and copy editing and had his first feature story published in Hoof Beats. In 2011, he was promoted to graphic designer. Also in 2011, Turner was named the recipient of the International Media Award for Best Feature Article for his "Racing and the Recession" story in the November 2009 issue of Hoof Beats. His work on the magazine has also won multiple American Horse Publications and Hervey Awards for writing and design. Witherite currently serves as the chart caller and racing analyst at Harrah's Philadelphia. Previously, he was a track announcer from 2006 to 2016 at Harrah's Philadelphia, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. He also served as morning line oddsmaker and program handicapper at The Meadowlands and makes numerous appearance as the bugler at many of harness racing's top events. by Ken Weingartner, for USTA Communications Department  

One might think that horse ownership is just for the rich. Or that you need to be an industry insider to be certain that you are getting good advice as to what horses to buy and which trainers to use. Yeah, horse ownership is just too tough for regular folks. Forget that. It's simply not so. The excitement that goes with being a horse owner could be just one owner's seminar away, and many who have taken the plunge have done so after attending these events. Want to know how a seminar can get you into the harness racing business? Just ask Rick Hare. Hare is a recently retired 59-year-old, who, along with his nephew Dan, make up the partnership Finish Line Investors. They are not big players on the harness racing scene. But they are playing and having the time of their lives. Rick and Dan went to an owner's seminar, sponsored by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, in September of 2012. Rick was always interested in the harness game, having gone to the races at Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs his entire life. His dad and uncle had a few horses when Rick was young, but by the time he was 17, they were out of the game. After Rick's owner's seminar experience five years ago, he got into the game. "The new owner's seminar is really good," said Hare. "It gives a high-level overview of things you need to know. It takes a look at what some of the costs are in broad brush strokes. The trainer fees, the veterinarian fees. They give you a really good look at things, like a good introductory course in college. There's a lot of good information to take in." It wasn't even a certainty that Hare was going to the seminar in the first place. "Some of our friends were going and they were bugging me to go. The seminar I went to at Batavia, it was a real good deal. It's pretty inexpensive to go. You get a buffet dinner and a program. You talk to the race secretary and the judges and go to the paddock. It's a pretty reasonable deal they offer up." Hare did not recommend that one go straight out of a seminar and become an owner. With a pursuit such as this, one must do their due diligence. "You need to look for a trainer," said Hare. "See what they want as compared to what you want. But the basic information is there. This needs a significant investment of time and money, so you want to make sure you know what you are getting into." After attending his seminar, Hare started following some horses and talking to trainers. Hare's preference is owning "overnight" stock to "stakes" stock. An overnight horse is one who races week in, week out at the track in claiming or condition races. Stakes horses race for higher purses, but the risk factors are higher because you are buying young horses who are as of yet unproven. Five months after his seminar, Hare jumped in the pool. Things did not go swimmingly. "The first horse we got was a $12,500 claimer," said Hare. "We never got him to do anything, so our trainer recommended we sell him back to his previous owners. They bought him back and did well. It was disappointing but it's part of the game. Some horses you are going to lose money on." Determined to stay with it, Hare bought Hour Lavec for $20,000. The horse had been racing in Ontario at Mohawk Raceway. "We brought him down and raced him in the open trot," said Hare, speaking of his horse as a proud dad might brag about his son. "He was third in his first start and then first two or three times in a row. He was good at both Buffalo and Batavia during 2013 and 2014. He then had some problems, so we retired him. In fact, I still own him. My wife fell in love with him. He's now my wife's riding horse." Hare, who currently has three horses, has owned about a dozen since getting into the game. He says the overall experience has been good but that there are "ups and downs". Sometimes, however, it's not merely good. It's fabulous! "In 2016, we claimed one for $6,600 and in five months she made over $40,000 for us," said Hare. "Then somebody claimed her from us for $15,000." The math is simple. Hare claimed the horse for $6,600, the horse made $40,000 and then got claimed for $15,000. That's close to $50,000 gross on one horse. Pretty good stuff. But to be fair, it's not always peaches and cream. "Last fall, we bought a horse at auction," said Hare. "We brought him home, but he had trouble at Batavia. My trainer took him down to Florida and one morning, he goes to see the horse and he had a broken tibia. We had to put him down." Sad stuff, to be sure, but part of the game. One of the things that Hare, who was a quality compliance engineer for Johnson & Johnson, loves about ownership is how close he can get to his horses. "I'm a very hands-on kind of guy," said Hare. "I want to be able to go see my horses, so it's very important to pick the right trainer. I want a guy I can talk to and some trainers don't do that. That's not a guy I'd like to be with. John Mungillo is my trainer and I'm very happy with John. I go see my horses three or four times a week at Batavia. I help groom. I brush them. I clean them up. That's one of the beauties of harness racing as compared to thoroughbred racing. It is so much easier and more accepted to have an owner involved." Hare's been an owner for five years now and he stills gets fired up talking about his horses. "Last year we have a good one in our barn," said Hare. "Striker Ace was his name, and he won the open trot at Buffalo two weeks in a row." Hare wants to share the good vibe, and extended an invitation to yours truly. "If you ever see a horse with the ownership Finish Line Investors, if we win, come on and jump in to the winner's circle photo. We love to have people join us." Sure, horse ownership is a roller coaster ride, but for Rick Harp, it's seat belts on and let it go full speed. "I am living the dream," said Hare. Who knows? Maybe you will, too. And it might take just one owner's seminar to get you on your way. The Harness Horse Breeders of NYS will host the next new owner seminar at Tioga Downs on June 24th. To register please call 518-785-5858 or email info@hhbnys.com By Dave Little, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State  

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (May 24) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Shannon "Sugar" Doyle, from The Raceway Western Fair District; Pete Medhurst, from Rosecroft Raceway; Caroline Vazquez, from Diamond Creek Farms; Wendy Ross, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator at the USTA; and Rob Pennington from Harrah's Philadelphia. Doyle, announcer at The Raceway at Western Fair District, joins to discuss the 2018 Camluck Classic which has drawn a very competitive field. The draw made the race very interesting and wide open and Doyle will talk about his strategy of handicapping the race. The pair will also discuss the promotions going on at the storied racetrack on Saturday night. Medhurst, announcer at Rosecroft Raceway, will come on the show this week to discuss the happenings going on at the Maryland racetrack. Medhurst, who also is the voice of Navy sports, will provide his insight and thoughts about the meet going into their final week of live racing action. Vazquez, from Diamond Creek Farms, will join to discuss the farms Open House coming up on Saturday, June 2. Diamond Creek will allow fans to come out and meet some of their world famous stallions and some of the foals while also teaching them about the sport of harness racing and what life is like on the farm. Vazquez will discuss the happenings of the event and what the day will entail for visitors. Ross, the newest edition to the USTA, will join the program as she was hired as the Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator. Ross, a third-generation horsewoman, has been in the sport of harness racing working varying roles since the age of 15. Ross will discuss her new career and what some of her ideas are. Pennington, the assistant race secretary at Harrah's Philadelphia, will join to talk about the huge weekend they have coming up this weekend. The famed racetrack will play host to the Maxie Lee Memorial Trot, the Betsy Ross, and the Commodore Barry Stakes. Also on the card will be world champion Hannelore Hanover who will race in a division of the Great Northeast Open Trot Series. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. From the Mike & Mike Show

Drawing post six at Yonkers Raceway may not qualify as relief in many instances, but trainer Jim Campbell was at least a bit thankful to see Alexa's Power receive that starting spot for Saturday's $111,444 Lismore Pace final. "At least she didn't draw the eight-hole again," Campbell said with a laugh. "She moved in a couple spots." Alexa's Power has made two previous starts at Yonkers Raceway this month and started from post No. 8 both times. She won the first, a division of the Reynolds Memorial, and finished fifth in last week's elimination for the Lismore. Each time, Alexa's Power had the fastest last quarter-mile in the race. She closed with a :27.3 panel in the elimination to make up more than seven lengths and finish 1-3/4 lengths behind winner Jewels Forreal. Post No. 8 at Yonkers produces winners at a 3.8-percent rate while post six is at 7.8 percent. Post one leads the way, at 18.6 percent. "She raced really good last week and had a lot of pace finishing," Campbell said. "She's been finishing with a good kick. Over there (at Yonkers) you just have to hope for a good trip because it is such a trip-biased track." Alexa's Power, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the O'Brien Award-winning mare Michelle's Power, is owned by breeder Jeff Snyder and his son Michael. She is a full sister to stakes-winner Mac's Jackpot and her family also includes Canada's 2012 Horse of the Year Michael's Power as well as Hall of Famer Cam's Card Shark. The filly won three of 13 races last year and earned $90,654 despite battling some health issues midway through her campaign. She is 2-for-3 this season with $19,783 in purses. "She was good last year, but she ran into some good fillies and a little bad luck," Campbell said. "I'm happy she's gotten off to a good start because she trained back really good this year. Hopefully she can keep it going." Alexa's Power is the 5-1 third choice on the morning line in the Lismore, which is for 3-year-old female pacers. Pass Line Bluechip, the winner of five of nine races this year and second by a head to Jewels Forreal in the elimination, is the 8-5 favorite. Jewels Forreal is the 9-2 second choice. Saturday's card at Yonkers also includes the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. Springsteen is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT). The Lismore is race five on the 12-race card and the Rooney is race six. Following is the field for the Lismore Pace, with drivers, trainers, and morning-line odds. 1. Solitary, Brent Holland, Nick Surick, 12-1; 2. Jewels Forreal, Dan Dube, Ron Burke, 9-2; 3. Believe In Me, Brian Sears, Brett Pelling, 9-1; 4. Pass Line Bluechip, Jason Bartlett, Wayne Givens, 8-5; 5. Python Blue Chip, George Brennan, Ron Burke, 6-1; 6. Alexa's Power, Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell, 5-1; 7. Checkered Past, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 20-1; 8. Reign On Me, Brett Miller, R. Nifty Norman, 7-1. Following is the field for the Art Rooney Pace, with drivers, trainers, and morning-line odds. 1. Minnie Vinnie, Tim Tetrick, Gareth Dowse, 6-1; 2. Kwik Talkin, George Brennan, Rob Harmon, 5-1; 3. Springsteen, Brian Sears, Rene Allard, 9-5; 4. Trump Nation, Jason Bartlett, Chris Oakes, 3-1; 5. Jimtastic, Eric Goodell, Andrew Harris, 20-1; 6. Major Authority, Mark MacDonald, Andrew Harris, 20-1; 7. Babes Dig Me, Brett Miller, Tony Alagna, 10-1; 8. Decoy, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 7-1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations

This Week: Camluck Classic, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontario; Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Maxie Lee Memorial, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at three locations this weekend. Action begins on Saturday (May 26) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Camluck Classic for free for all pacers. Also on Saturday, Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $111,444 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies). Harrah's Philadelphia will host three Invitational events on Sunday (May 27), each with a purse of $150,000, in the Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters, the Commodore Barry for older pacing males and the Betsy Ross for older mare pacers. Complete entries for the Yonkers and Harrah's Philadelphia races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway's foggy Saturday night (May 19) featured eliminations for both the Art Rooney and Lismore Paces. With 10 3-year-old boys entering the Rooney and nine sophomore girls in the Lismore, it was three games of 'musical chairs' to determine next week's finalists. Odds-on favorite Decoy (David Miller, $2.20) made short work of his four foes in the first $40,000 elimination for the Rooney. Unhurried from post position three, he rolled to the lead past the half, then rolled away. The final margin over a 'good' surface was 8-1/2 lengths in 1:54. Minnie Vinnie (Brett Miller) closed for second as the 32-1 rank outsider, with Major Authority (Brian Sears) third and early leader Jimtastic (Jason Bartlett) fourth. Matinee Fashion (George Brennan) eliminated himself with a break down the backside the second time. For Decoy, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by Brixton Medical Inc., R A W Equine and Joe Sbrocco and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. Saturday's other 40-large elim for the Rooney saw Trump Nation (Bartlett, $9) hold off both 4-5 choice Springsteen (Sears) and Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) by a head and a neck, respectively. Pole-sitting Trump Nation took over from early leader -- and subsequent breaker -- Handsoffmychips (Brennan), then finished it off in 1:53.3, his fastest purse mile of the season. Kwik Talkin (Jordan Stratton) wound up fourth. Third choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by trainer Andrew Harris and Evan Katz, is now two-for-three this season. The evening's lone $20,000 elimination for the Lismore was won by Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube, $5.20, part of entry) in a life-best 1:55.1. Pocketed from post four, Jewels Forreal was able to get out when entrymate Python Blue Chip (Brennan) made a bad, first-over break in the final turn. Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett) cut the mile but could not last, beaten a head. Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald) was third, with Solitary (Brent Holland), Alexa's Power (Stratton), Believe In Me (Sears), Reign On Me (Brett Miller) and a recovering Python Blue Chip also qualifying for the final. Krushed Apple (David Miller) was outrun. For second choice (part of three-headed entry) Jewels Forreal, a daughter of So Surreal co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her first win in seven 2018 tries. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 179; 2. Yannick Gingras - 149; 3. Jordan Stratton - 134; 4. Jason Bartlett - 109; 5. Daniel Dube - 75. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 138; 2. Peter Tritton - 102; 3. Jim King Jr. - 99; 4. Richard Banca - 75; 5. Rene Allard - 70. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 87; 2. Richard Poillucci - 44; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 40; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 35.3; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 35.3. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Northfield Park and Mohawk next weekend. Northfield will host the Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers and Mohawk will feature the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old colt pacers and the second leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit  

Dexter Dunn is going to miss the New Zealand winter harness racing season and is leaving for the United States shortly to ply his trade against the leading American harness racing drivers. Dunn made the announcement on "The Box Seat" last night saying " I hope to be back in time for the New Zealand Cup carnival, but at this stage I have booked a one way ticket so we will see what happens". Dunn, who has been the leading driver in New Zealand the past few years, struck gold in 2015 as he was victorious in the World Driving Championship, leading him to world-wide recognition.  With Dunn to miss the last few months of the New Zealand harness season, Blair Orange will almost certainly win the drivers premiership this year. Orange brought up 200 wins for the season last night at the Manawatu meeting driving 5 winners on the night. His 200th win came in the last race when Mogul won his third race in succession for trainer Michael House.  Blair Orange bringing up his 200th winner at Manawatu last night.   At the moment Blair Orange is 28 wins clear of Dexter Dunn in the 2018 premiership and a whopping 121 wins clear of the third place John Dunn, so the premiership title is his for sure. The New Zealand record number of wins for a single season is 229 set by Dexter Dunn in last years premiership and that record will now be firmly in the sights of Blair Orange with two months still left in the NZ season. Harnesslink Media  

WASHINGTON, PA, May 22, 2018 -- Graceful Vision was dismissed at 15-1, as was Rosemary Rose at 12-1, so few expected one of them to win Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Yet they both did, dead-heating for win with matching furious rallies. Graceful Vision and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. got the jump, moving behind the live cover of Medusa, while Rosemary Rose and Mike Wilder followed that pair third on the rim. The winners were a nose better than Lakeisha Hall, who was fashioning her own rally in the Lightning Lane, scoring in 1:51 on a "good" surface. The time is a career best for Rosemary Rose. Doug Snyder trains Graceful Vision, a 5-year-old daughter of Yankee Cruiser-Vision Of Grace who was using Lasix for the first time, for Frank Poerio, Jr. She extended her lifetime bankroll to $245,580. Ron Burke conditions Rosemary Rose, a 4-year-old daughter of Foreclosure N-Pantathlon, who now boasts $295,142 in career earnings for Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Aaron Merriman collected three wins on the 13-race card. By Evan Pattak, for the Meadows  

Plainville, MA---A full field of nine of the best pacing mares on the grounds lined up for the $16,000 Winners-Over distaff pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (May 22) and after a thrilling stretch drive, Angel Or Terror proved she was the best of the bunch. Driver Eddie Davis Jr. took Angel Or Terror off the gate and settled in fourth as Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) made a decisive bolt for the lead where they would then dictate the pace. After getting to the quarter in :26.1, Western Stepp had little pressure to deal with other than Shesgotthebeat (Nick Graffam) who got parked and was floating on the rim third. Campbell slowed the half to :55.1 before trying to get away from the pack in the third panel with a :28 flat split. Under heavy urging around the far turn, Western Stepp opened up a two length advantage and was looking like a winner at the head of the stretch. But the pace must have gotten to the leader as Angel Or Terror came off the pylons from third, tipped three-wide around Caviart Caterina (Mike Stevenson) and collared Western Stepp at the wire to win by a neck in 1:53.1. Owned by Eric Prevost, who claimed her for $15,000 after her first Plainridge start on May 1, Angel Or Terror ($8.80) registered her second 2018 win and a new seasonal mark for trainer Elisha Lafreniere. Three drivers scored two wins on Tuesday. They were Shawn Gray, Drew Campbell and Mitchell Cushing, who lit up the tote board in the ninth race when he won with Freetime at 31-1 and paid $64.40. It also triggered a 3-4-7 Trifecta that returned $2,339 and a 3-4-7-1 Superfecta that paid $4,315.40, both for a $2 bet. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 24) at 4 p.m. where there will be a $3,363 Wicked Hi-5 carryover pool available in the sixth race. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

HARRINGTON, Del. - Chris White's Fashion Showdown ($4.60, Tony Morgan) was a wire-to-wire winner Tuesday in the $17,500 Mares Open at Harrington Raceway in 1:52.4. It was a dominating performance for the 8-year-old Village Jolt mare, who is trained by her owner. She never had an anxious moment in the decisive win over late closing Sayulita who was second, and third-place finisher Empress Deo. It was her 4th win of 2018. The race was sponsored by the Harrington Business Association, who was enjoying a group party in the clubhouse. The newly formed organization had representatives from many of the town's local businesses. Driver Russell Foster had three wins on the program. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

WILKES-BARRE PA - Three-year-old trotting filly. 2018 debut. Trained by Jimmy Takter. Dominant. But this one isn't named Manchego - that was last night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, in the Sire Stakes. On Tuesday the filly with that description was Bella Glos, a daughter of Cantab Hall, whom Takter guided to a new mark of 1:54.2 in her seasonal bow in one of six $20,000 divisions of the second preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for her division. Takter tucked early, then made the start of the winning move mid-backstretch, brushing right to the lead past the ¾ and then storming home in 27.4 to be 9¾ lengths clear at the wire. Bella Glos looks like a much-improved filly from two to three for Takter and Black Horse Racing. Tim Tetrick had a driving double in the Stallion Series, with the faster winner Muscle Playmate, who went coast-to-coast in her division, winning by 2 ¾ lengths while posting a personal best of 1:56.1. Marcus Melander handling the training duties for the daughter of Muscle Hill for Our Horse Cents Stable. Tetrick also won with the Explosive Matter filly Pembroke Mystery, who grinded to a half-length success while taking a new speed badge of 1:56.4 for trainer Randy Bendis and owner William Varney. The only winning favorite in the sextet of races was the Donato Hanover miss Follow Streak, who now has a winning streak of two after ruling her group by 7¾ lengths in a personal best 1:55.1. Follow Streak, who won her Sire Stakes consolation in 2017, was driven by Andy Miller and is trained by Julie Miller for the Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Lawrence Dumain. In the closest StS finish, Perfect Image generated a second siring credit for Muscle Hill when she held off the late charge of Century Express by a head in a new mark of 1:56. Charlie Norris handled sulky duties for trainer Doug Snyder and owner Frank Poerio. In the other Stallion Series division, the Muscle Massive miss Hey Judy Judy rushed to command down the back and kept a 2¾ length margin to the wire, her 1:57.1 clocking tying the mark she took in a qualifier at two, with Marcus Miller driving for father/trainer Erv Miller and Paymaq Racing. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Badlands Delight the past three weeks managed to get just a taste of the pie with second and third place finishes.   But on Wednesday night (May 23) in Buffalo Raceway's featured $9,200 Open II Pace for the ladies, she was able to collect the biggest slice of the purse with a convincing 1-1/4 length victory over Hey Kobe in a seasonal best 1:55.0 over the fast track.   Starting from the rail, Badlands Delight and driver Jim Morrill Jr. made sure they weren't going to lose the advantageous draw as they reach in quarter pole in :28,0, parking out Double Down Jo along the way.   With middle splits of :56.4 and 1:26.0, the pace-setting Badlands Delight ($7.60) got into high gear around the final turn and opened up a two length edge and never looked back. Hey Kobe (Ray Fisher Jr.) won the battle for the minor spoils with a second place finish while Aritzia Hanover (Billy Davis Jr.) was third.   Owned by Samuel Smith and trained by Gerry Sarama, the 6-year-old mare Badlands Delight (Badlands Hanover-Colada Blue Chip) has now been victorious three times in 16 appearances in 2018. The win pushed her seasonal earnings to $24,692 and $106,872 lifetime.   There were a trio of 14-year-olds who found the winner's circle in Buffalo Raceway's 12-race program.   Leading the way was the 14-year-old mare Quicksilvercandy A ($2.20) who registered her 12th win in 15 tries this season with a 1:56.0 decision in a $8,400 optional claimer. She has finished no worse than second this year.   Quicksilvercandy A (Ray Fisher Jr.) is now tied for the top spot in the United States for the most victories in 2018 with Walks Of Life who also has 12 wins but with three more starts.   The other 'old-timers' to win were Wynsum Magic ($7.00) and Rush Rules ($12.20).   Morrill Jr. and Fisher Jr. each completed the evening with three victories each while John Cummings Jr. added a double. Ryan Swift and Gerry Sarama each conditioned two winners.   Racing will resume on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program slated.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  
Champion harness driver Dexter Dunn is set to try to establish himself in North America again. And he hasn't ruled out a permanent move there should his winter campaign prove an enormous success. Dunn has won the last 10 national drivers' premierships but will relinquish his title to good friend Blair Orange this season, with the latter 28 clear on the standings after bringing up win 200 for the season at Manawatu on Tuesday. Orange's numbers this season have been so staggering he now has Dunn's national record 229 wins for a season in his sights and barring injury or suspension should probably set a new mark. But Dunn says the end of his premiership domination isn't why he is heading to New York in a few weeks. "I spent a few months up there driving a few years ago and really enjoyed the experience and always wanted to come back," says Dunn. "But the right opportunity never really presented itself until now." That finally did come when Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder, who is now based in North America, approached Dunn about driving in the US with his support. "Chris has been a long-time family friend and suggested the time was right and he would support me and try and help me get outside drives. "There has been a bit of visa paperwork to get through and I still have to go for a final interview at the US consulate in Auckland in a few weeks. But if and when the paperwork is finalised, hopefully I can get up there sooner rather than later. "Their [US] really good horses, the ones that will be racing in the better races later in the summer, are all starting to come out in the qualifiers at the moment so I'd love to be able to get some serious drives and the sooner I am there the more likely that is to happen." Dunn expects to be away from New Zealand from around mid-June until maybe just before the New Zealand Cup carnival in November, which would mean could drive at the rich Breeders Crown on October 27. But if the trip turned out to be an enormous success he could be tempted to stay. "I intend being back for the Cup carnival and driving like normal here over the summer. "But you never know what can happen. Anything is possible, including basing myself up there fulltime. "But I don't expect that to happen on this trip." After 10 remarkable years during which Dunn has emerged from obscurity to win 10 premierships and win 2180 races in New Zealand alone, the superstar of the sulky admits the time for a new challenge has come. "I still love the big carnivals, our summer racing and some of the special days we have, like Kaikoura for example. "But you do have the odd time when driving so much gets stale, especially when you have been travelling as much as I have for the last five years. "It usually only lasts a weekend and you are back fine the next week, but it does happen. "So this will be a good freshen up for me, a new challenge and a chance to learn some new things." Although Dunn has already seen his premiership run ended by Orange this season, any longer-term North American ambitions from him would put Orange in the perfect position to start his own premiership domination. The pair are so far in front of their rivals in numbers of drives and races won in the last couple of years it would be hard to envisage a new serious premiership contender emerging. So if Dunn tastes success during his upcoming US trip and decides to spend more winters there in the years to come, the national premiership would appear to be Orange's to own. Michael Guerin
HARRINGTON, DE - Mike Casalino Jr. and Dylan Davis' Theresademoninme ($3.60, Jon Roberts) was a 1:56 winner in the $17,500 Open Trot at Harrington Raceway Wednesday. A full field of eight lined up behind the gate for the weekly feature for trotters. Last week's winner, I Like My Boss charged out of the gate from post six for the early lead. Race favorite Theresademoninme settled in fourth from post seven, but did not sit long as he marched first over towards the half-mile. I Like My Boss led through three-quarters in 1:26.3 as "Demon" gained slowly and eventually edged clear in deep stretch for the win. Royal Becca J put together a fierce stretch rally to be second while I Like My Boss held third. It was the sixth win of the year for "Demon," who is trained by Davis. The 7-year-old Kadabra gelding closed out the Dover Downs meet with three consecutive wins before a stint at Hoosier Park (Indiana). Iron Mine Branch's Fight The Truth improved to 5-for-5 at the meet with a 1:55.2 win for trainer Greg Haverstick. The 6-year-old Total Truth gelding was claimed for $7,500 however, for new connections and trainer Justin Brenneman. Tony Morgan had three wins on the program. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway    
WASHINGTON, PA, May 23, 2018 -- Dan Rawlings collected career win 1,000 Wednesday at The Meadows when he piloted Moshannon Magic to victory in the sixth race. Rawlings, 36, a native of Lewiston, ME, was a fan of harness racing long before he made it his occupation. He visited many racetracks with his father and a neighbor, Nick Dube. When Dube got into the business -- he now works for The Meadows-based trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder -- Rawlings thought he would, too, and traveled to North Carolina to groom. He soon signed on as second trainer for David Wade and realized that driving was his passion. "My first drive was at the Greene County Fair in Waynesburg (PA)," he recalls. "I was racing my filly up front, and she jogged." Still, when he started driving full time at The Meadows in 2009, he had few connections to trainers and no regular assignments. For most cards, he sat patiently in the paddock lounge, hoping to pick up a late mount if a driver took off. "I never said no," he says. "There was no horse I wouldn't drive, no matter how bad it was. That got me a lot of drives. What else was I supposed to do? I didn't have family in the business. I didn't have trainers to put me down regularly." Rawlings credits Wade and trainer Rick Beinhauer, among others, with giving him drives and helping him through those lean years. Indeed, career win 999 came Wednesday with Beinhauer's 3-year-old filly Won The War. "I've been very blessed to be with people who are not only great, but they're also teaching you what you need to learn," he says. Although his horses have earned more than $11.3 million in purses, his greatest accomplishment at The Meadows may be surviving as a diehard New England Patriots fan in Pittsburgh Steelers country. When those two teams square off in their annual grudge match, Rawlings' fellow horseman "bust my chops and I bust theirs." "I actually feel bad for people from Pittsburgh because they've been deprived of so much," he says, tongue in cheek. "They could have been born in Boston." In addition to being an in-demand driver, Rawlings these days trains a one-horse stable that he might expand. But don't expect training to become his principal pursuit anytime soon. "I love working horses in the morning, but I just want to drive," he says. "Ultimately, there's nothing better than winning. I'm more than grateful that I'm in the position that I'm in. Not everybody gets paid to do what he likes." by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
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