Day At The Track

ANDERSON, Ind.--July 2, 2020-- A talented group of harness racing three-year-old trotting colts and geldings were in the spotlight at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in the opening round of Indiana Sires Stakes action on Thursday, July 3. Two $31,500 divisions were featured on the evening's 14-race card and the heavy betting favorites delivered to win their respective divisions. Emma Town Bud and Michael Oosting turned in an impressive effort to capture the opening division in 1:53.2 for trainer Byron Hooley. Employing an eye-popping :25.3 final quarter, Emma Town Bud powered home to get the win by a length over the pacesetting Swan In Motion and Ricky Macomber Jr. Leaving from post five, Emma Town Bud left just enough to grab a pocket seat behind Swan In Motion who left alertly for early position. Swan In Motion led the field through fractions of :27.2, :58.1, and 1:27.2 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. As the field turned for home, Oosting timed his attack and when Emma Town Bud tipped from the pocket, he sprinted for home. Swan In Motion trotted strong to the wire to finish second while Dude Included and John DeLong were third. Emma Town Bud returned $4.00 to win. With the win, Emma Town Bud is now undefeated in three starts this season. The 1:53.2 final clocking equaled his established lifetime best. The son of Big Stick Lindy-Centerfold Lady is owned by Summit Pacing Acres and has now amassed $152,081 in lifetime purse earnings. After an uncharacteristic break in his first start of the season, TJ's Top Pick rebounded gamely to take the second division of the stakes action with driver Trace Tetrick in the bike. Scoring in 1:53.2, TJ's Top Pick made good on his 1-9 favoritism and established a new lifetime best in the process. Leaving from post three in the abbreviated field of six, Tetrick wasted no time and sent his mount to the front. TJ's Top Pick strolled through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26 before he began to distance himself from the rest of the field. Turning from home with a three length advantage, TJ's Top Pick cruised home in :27.2 to finish under a hand drive from Tetrick. Flagman and Rick Plano benefitted from a pocket trip and trotted evenly to finish second while Speed Ball Swagger with LeWayne Miller rounded out the trifecta. As the heavy betting favorite, TJ's Top Pick returned $2.20 at the betting windows. Trained by Jeff Cullipher, TJ's Top Pick scored the first win of his three-year-old campaign from two starts. With the win, the son of Swan For All-A J's Ayd improved his lifetime bankroll to $319,291 for owners Pollack Racing LLC, Jeff Cullipher, and Trace Tetrick. Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, July 3 with three $23,500 divisions for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on the evening's 14-race card. With a daily post time of 6:30 pm, live racing at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 21. For more information on the upcoming live racing schedule, please visit Emily Ratcliff, for Harrah's Hoosier Park

Yonkers, NY - Yonkers Raceway hosted their first New York Sire Stakes legs of the season Thursday night as three-year-old harness racing pacing fillies were on display with three $52,000 divisions. In the first division sixth race, the 1-5 favorite So Rude was victorious by three-quarters of a length in 1:53. The daughter of So Surreal out of the Allamerican Native mare I Am A Snob paid $2.70 to win. Racine Bell was second with Galleria Gal five and a half lengths back in third. So Rude was trained by Jennifer Bongiorno and driven to victory by Joe Bongiorno for owners Geoffrey Lyons, Glenn Goller and Abe Basen.   In the second division seventh race, the 4-5 favorite Hen Party held off the pocket sitting Alleyesonme As by a half length in 1:53.3. Hen Party, a daughter of Roll With Joe was trained by Tony Alagna with Andrew McCarthy in the bike for Crawford Farms.   In the third division eighth race, Eye Popping sprung a 7-1 upset in 1:53.4. Precious Alexis was a length and a half back in second with Moaning Lisa third. A daughter of So Surreal, Eye Popping was trained by Scott Di Domenico and driven to victory by Tim Tetrick for owner William Hartt.   Also on the card was the fourth race $33,000 Open Handicap Pace where Tookadiveoffdipper with Yannick Gingras driving held off Jesse Duke N in 1:52.4. That race saw $152,012 in wagering, the highest of the year so far at Yonkers. In total, the eight race card handled just over $700,000, the highest figure since returning from a three month stoppage. Racing resumes at Yonkers next week with a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule with first post at 7:12pm. by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway        

Gettin Serious wins $4,800 featured trot at Vernon Downs on Thursday (July 2). American JJ (Michael Miller) went to the front and led to the quarter in :27.4. Gettin Serious ($4.10) took control on the back stretch for driver Roman Lopez and was first to the half in :56.3. Five Towns (Howard Parker) went first-over and tried to put pressure on Gettin Serious but couldn't get by. Gettin Serious led to three-quarters in 1:25.2. As they turned for home Gettin Serious found another gear and won easily in a lifetime best of 1:55.1. Sweet Royalty (Jimmy Whittemore) showed late trot and came up to finish second. Five Towns had to settle for third. Gettin Serious is a 4-year-old horse by Crazed, is co-owned by trainer Roman Lopez with Mitchell Frair. It was his second win of 2020. He now has nine career victories. Howard Parker drove four winners on the night while Leon Bailey steered three to the winner's circle. Parker won with Step Forward ($22.60), Pudge's Pastime ($5.60), East To Cincy ($6.00), and Fox Valley Photog ($5.20). Bailey got his wins with The Band K ($7.20), Jenny Lake ($4.60), and Sweet Sofie T ($18.20). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (July 4) starting at 1:10 p.m. The "Miracle Mile" will feature the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) for trotters with a combined purse for the three races of over $400,000. Also on Hand will be two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshman pacing fillies. For more information go to by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

Management at The Red Mile announced today that the outlook is bright for its 2020 harness racing meet, which begins on Sunday, August 2 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 11.   As of this writing, the Kentucky Sire Stakes Championship Series and Commonwealth Series hosted by the Lexington, Ky. track will have purses as advertised. Also of note, nominations for the track's major open stakes races are up from last year.   The KYSS Championship Series is scheduled to have three $40,000 legs and $250,000 finals for 2 and 3-year-olds, while the new Commonwealth Series will have two $20,000 legs and a final worth $50,000.   The sire stakes program kicks off Aug. 16 and concludes with the rich finals on Sept. 20 (Championship Series) and Sept. 21 (Commonwealth Series).   The Red Mile's major stakes portion of the meet starts Friday, Oct. 2 and closes with the traditional Kentucky Futurity Day card on Sunday, Oct. 11. Races will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during those two weeks with an afternoon post time of 1:00 p.m.   With nominations for the open stakes races up from last year, purses for the majority of those 20 marquee events are expected to be on par--or likely higher--than those offered in 2019.   One change for this year that should be noted by horsemen is rather than hosting late closers during the final two weeks of the meet, the track will instead have overnights with conditions--and anticipated purses--similar to the late closers of the past.   "We want to encourage owners and trainers participating in stakes to bring their young horses along, as always," said Red Mile shareholder George Segal. He said the race office will review the horse population and tailor conditions specific to the horses that will be on the grounds or planning to ship-in race day.   With the industry just now coming back from its COVID-19 shutdown, Segal said that the payments and starting fees associated with the late closing program is one less thing horsemen will have to deal with.   "We'll basically provide them with unique opportunities to showcase their young horses, and of course there's no better racing surface to do that on than at the Red Mile," he added.   The two-weeks of major stakes events--coupled with the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale--creates what's come to be known in the industry as "The Lexington Experience." The sale will be held at the crosstown Fasig-Tipton Pavilion the evenings of Tuesday, Oct. 6 through Saturday, Oct. 10.   From the Red Mile    

Since the indictment of more than two dozen thoroughbred and harness racing trainers, assistants, veterinarians, and pharmacists in connection with a horse doping ring this March, rumors have swirled that more names could be forthcoming in connection with the federal investigation. Speaking at a status conference for the case on Tuesday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Adams told U.S. District Judge Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil that a superseding indictment could be around the corner, but did not provide details as to the timing. “We are looking seriously at superseding indictments,” said Adams. “For the moment, and I made this point at least to some defense counsel previously, the nature of what we're looking at is largely in the same kind of criminal conduct as what is in the current indictment. We're looking at expanding timeframes for certain of the conspiracies. We're looking at potentially adding different statutory charges with respect to certain of the defendants. What I do not anticipate for the moment is that those superseding indictments, if and when they come, would require the production of some substantial large set of materials not already produced to date or already in the queue of things we expect to produce.” A superseding indictment is one which replaces an existing indictment, and could add charges against already-named defendants and/or could name new defendants. Vyskocil reminded Adams that the court would not hold things up while the government finishes its investigation. Adams said he understood and that he would not ask to hold up the proceedings for that reason. The charges on the current indictments, which names former top trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, among others, focus on drug adulteration, misbranding, and conspiracy. The indictments claim a network of horsemen, veterinarians and pharmacy reps sold, distributed and used drugs in racehorses for the purpose of performance enhancement. Other than a potential superseding indictment, there are not likely to be many updates in the case until late fall. Currently, attorneys are going through the discovery process, meaning each side is requesting and providing requested evidence in the case. Adams said he believes his office will be able to provide the last of the discovery material requested by defendants by the end of September. Already, the office has provided some 90 gigabytes' worth of data to all defendants in three different volumes, and has fielded 20 additional individual requests. That data includes the results of 30 different search warrants, intercepted phone calls and text messages, geolocation information for various devices, email accounts, file transfer accounts, inventory lists, shipping records, veterinary records, drug promotional and marketing material, and much more. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is still extracting data from devices like cell phones and tablets seized from defendants at the time of their arrests. Adams mentioned that labs inside and outside the United States had been asked to conduct testing on samples related to the case, although it was not immediately clear whether that referred to samples of substances seized in searches of pharmacies or biological samples from horses, or both. Those results were not all known to the federal government as of yet, and some defense attorneys expressed a desire to work out some sort of split sampling process where possible, acknowledging there was a finite amount of some samples available to test. After the government produces requested evidence, it is sent to a coordinating discovery attorney for organization and distribution. One defense attorney pointed out that it generally takes the coordinating discovery attorney roughly a month to process large document releases before they are given over to defense counsel, so a late September target for discovery completion means they will get a look at the last of the evidence in early November. Vyskocil scheduled a status conference for Nov. 19. Most participants on the call agreed it would be impractical to set a trial date or motion schedule until the defense has seen all the government's evidence against their clients. Read more about the federal indictments in this March 9 piece from the Paulick Report. By Natalia Ross Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

CHESTER, PA - Trainer Nancy Takter and driver Dexter Dunn combined to win the fastest two of the four divisions of the $218,260 first preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, with Red Right Hand, whose 1:52 was the fastest clocking among the babies, salvaging some honor for tote-board favorites, who had taken a PaSS drubbing up until then. Red Right Hand, a Captaintreacherous colt out of the mare Preppy Party Girl, gradually made his way to the front past a :27.2 quarter, went to the half in :56.2, then received a stern challenge from Summa Cum Laude before, through, and after the 1:24 three-quarters. Red Right Hand dug in to keep his game opponent at bay by a neck for the partnership of Christina Takter, Nancy Takter and JAF Racing, Joe Sbrocco, and R A W Equine Inc. The other successful Takter - Dunn teaming was with the Always B Miki - Beach Gal colt Always A Miki, who followed up on a 1:56 morning victory with a well-deserved 1:52.2 mark here. Always A Miki was fifth, some 6½ lengths behind at the half, but the colt just kept eating into the leader Literl Lad Hanover's margin, then left him behind by 1½ lengths with personal back fractions raw of :54.3 - :27.1 for his owners, Christina Takter, Goran Anderberg, Herb Liverman, and the Rojan Stables. The Sweet Lou - Lucy's Pearl colt Lou's Pearlman was let go at 7-1 despite having the best qualifying win time of all the PaSS horses (1:54), and he responded by lowering his tab further to 1:53.3. Another colt having to overcome a difficult first-up journey, Lou's Pearlman showed determination en route to a neck victory over inside rallier Crunch Hanover for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC along with Elizabeth Novak. Bayfield Beach dropped five seconds from his first qualifier to his second, and for his pari-mutuel debut he dropped over three more seconds en route to a 1:52.4 in-hand victory. David Miller got the call to guide the Somebeachsomewhere - DB Blue Chip colt for trainer Brian Brown and the ownership of Crossover Racing, Country Club Acres Inc., Rich Lombardo Racing LLC, and Joe Sbrocco (who joined Christina Takter with an ownership double in the Sire Stakes). In the six $20,000 Stallion Series races, driver David Miller and trainer Blake MacIntosh teamed twice with winning shippers from Woodbine Mohawk Park: first with the Somebeachsomewhere - Lady Be Great colt Great Somewhere, an easy 1:55.1 winner for the partnership of the trainer, Reginald Pettipas, Ruth Irving, and Gilles Landry, and then with the Captaintreacherous - Bittorsweet Terror colt Bazooka Hanover, who looked ripe for passing in midstretch but grittily went on to defeat Caviart Skipper by a neck, with Fernet About It just photoed out for the deuce, in 1:56.4 for owner Steve Heimbacker. The cardopening Stallion Series winner, the Sweet Lou - Edra Hanover colt Emblaze Hanover, had several distinctions for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and Burke Racing Stable LLC, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby - he was the fastest winner in this sector in 1:53.3; he gave Kakaley-Burke the distinction of being the only teaming to win both a Sire Stake and a Stallion Series race; and he was the only StS winner not to be on the lead at the half, using "pocket rocket" tactics en route to the win. In a stretch duel of sons of Betting Line, Andres Hanover (out of Anadarko Hanover) held off the late shot of Rifleman by a neck in 1:54 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Andrew Harris, and the partnership of Michael Goldberg Racing Inc. and A Harris Racing LLC. The other StS credit for Betting Line was also a battle between two of his colts - Batterup Hanover (out of Beachbunny Hanover) withstood favored Caviart Richmond by a half-length in 1:55.4 for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Chris Ryder, the latter co-owner with William Ezzo and Barry Spak. Finally, Rollbin, a son of A Rocknroll Dance - Binions, sustained late on the front end for a half-length decision over Get Along in 1:55.2. The meet's leading driver, Tim Tetrick, was in the sulky for trainer Jim King Jr. and his wife/owner Jo Ann Looney-King. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

Bontz N (American Ideal) continued her win streak in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday as she changed tactics to score her fourth consecutive victory in the local feature. Trainer Gary Levine thrived in 2019 after acquiring Bontz N who has enjoyed as good of a '20 campaign as could be. Thursday was the fifth start of the season for the nine year old mare who was assigned the outside post in the $8,500 feature. Bontz N came into the race on a three-race win streak, which dated back to March, with all three of those wins coming in wire-to-wire fashion. In Thursday's feature, driver Shawn Gray was forced to come from off the pace with the race's 2-1 betting favorite but the closing style suited Bontz N just fine as she put the swoop to the group before stopping the timer in 1:54.1 to record her fourth win in as many tries. The final time served as a new seasonal mark for the standout distaffer who has become the lady to beat this season at the Spa. Thats Incredible (Billy Dobson) came charging hard in the stretch to finish second while Jewels Forreal (Mark Beckwith) closed to be third. Bontz N paid $6.90 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $27.20 and $136, respectively. Live racing resumes on Sunday at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon. There will be a $3,885 carryover in the Pick Five pool with the Pick Five beginning in the afternoon's first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Vernon Downs will host three Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) races for 3-year-old trotters on Saturday (July 4) at 1 p.m. There will be two divisions for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. Both divisions will race for a purse of $97,750. In the first division, the Steven Pratt trained Barn Holden (Jim Morrill Jr) looks to be the horse to beat. In a leg of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) last week the colt by Conway Hall faded in the stretch to finish third after leading most of the race. He has two wins in 2020 and five career victories with earnings of over $135,000. His main rival will be the Julie Miller trained Book Seven (Andy Miller). The Chapter Seven colt is one for one in 2020 with a lifetime best mark of 1:56.3 last week at Tioga. He has six lifetime wins and has earned over $85,000 in his career Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt) and Berkery J (Scott Zeron) are set to face off in the second division of the EBC, Both are coming off of NYSS wins at Vernon Downs last week. Third Shift (Chapter Seven) won the ($225,000) NYSS final for freshmen colts & geldings. He looked real sharp in his 2020 debut last week winning in a lifetime best of 1:54.3. Trained by Svanstedt, he has earned over $210,000 including four career wins. Berkery J (Chapter Seven) came flying late to win last week in a lifetime best time of (1:54.2) in his first start of 2020. The George Ducharme trained colt has four career wins and earnings of over $176,000. Chaptiama (Chapter Seven) should be their main competition. Trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer, the colt came charging late to finish a close second to Berkery J at Tioga. She has two lifetime victories and nearly $200,000 in earnings. 11 fillies will square off in the $207,250 EBC for sophomore filly trotters. Hypnotic AM (Brian Sears) is the top money earner in the group with nearly $500,000 in the bank. Marcus Melander trains the filly by Chapter Seven. As a freshman she finished first in the $225,000 NYSS final and a decent third place finish in the Breeders Crown. She is one for one in 2020 with an impressive NYSS win at Tioga Downs last week. She is eight for ten in her career. Senorita Rita (Scott Zeron) will be making her 3-year-old debut. She had a sensational freshman season with wins in the $475,000 Goldsmith Maid final and the $251,000 Kindergarten Classic final (both at the Meadowlands). Linda Toscano trains the filly by Chapter Seven. She has six career wins and earnings of over $410,000. Morning line favorite, Love A Good Story (Andy Miller) is coming off a lifetime best of 1:53.0 in her 3-year-old debut at Tioga Downs last week in a leg of the NYSS. The sophomore filly by Chapter Seven is trained by Julie Miller. She has eights career wins and has amassed over $260,000 in her career. There will also be two divisions of the NYSS for freshman pacing fillies. Both divisions will race for a purse of $53.100. Post time for the 15-race card on Saturday (July 4) is 1:10 p.m. Vernon Downs will race on Thursdays and Saturdays for the rest of July at 4 p.m. They will race on Friday (July 10) with a 4 p.m. post time as well. For more information go to www.vernondowns. by John Horne, for Vernon Downs            

East Rutherford, NJ - With just one week until the eliminations, there are two new names on Dave Little's Road to the Meadowlands Pace. While the top six are unchanged from a week ago, Allywag Hanover and Captain Kirk make their debuts in the poll at Nos. 7 and 10, respectively. Second-ranked Papi Rob Hanover makes his seasonal debut Saturday. Rank Horse (Earnings - Mark) Driver, Trainer, Owner Dave Little’s Comments 1 Tall Dark Stranger ($726,889 – 1:47.4) Y. Gingras, N. Takter Crawford Farms Racing,  Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms,  Howard Taylor  Any doubts about how ready he is were squashed after his 1:47.4 dismantling of older foes Saturday night. The time equaled the fastest of the year in the sport. Takter: “I knew he had that in him. He did it very easily without much effort. The fact that he did it in his first start, that surprised me.” Next stop: The Pace Elims on July 11. Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – NW$22,500 – 1st (1:47.4) 2 Papi Rob Hanover ($754,774 – 1:50) D. Miller, B. Pelling David McDuffee    Will make his 2020 debut Saturday night in a tough spot in the Big M’s 11th race. Has drawn post 10 against a good field of upper mid-range conditioned – and with one exception, older – foes. Pelling: “I’m looking for a nice clean race Saturday. There has never been a glitch [in his season]. The only glitch has been the schedule. My horse will thrive [racing for several weeks in a row]. I don’t have to protect him. He’s going to recover well naturally. Racing will turn him on.” Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – Qualifier – 1st (1:50.3) 3 Capt Midnight ($299,038 – 1:49.4) A. McCarthy, T. Alagna Marvin Katz, Ken Jacobs, Brad Grant, Capt Midnight Racing  The only other 3-year-old in the 11th race Saturday did better at the post draw than Papi did, getting the 4. Alagna: “It’s always tough for 3-year-olds to face older. But he’s had a good week and we are looking forward to getting that first start in.” Last Race: 6/22 – Gaitway – Qualifier – 1st (1:51) 4 Catch The Fire ($258,547 – 1:49.4) M. Wilder, J. Ackley CT Stables    Four of the Top 10 are in the 5th race Saturday at the Meadowlands. Catch The Fire drew best of the lot, leaving from the 6 hole. Ackley: “He’s aggressive and loves what he’s doing. He loves to compete and he’ll probably go more than we hope for him. The plan is to race him some but we just want to get a real good tightener in him.” Last Race: 6/18 – Mea – Qualifier – 1st (1:52.1) 5 Captain Barbossa  ($130,188 – 1:51.2) A. McCarthy, T. Alagna Robert Leblanc,  David Anderson, Alagnafrankinthegym Stable Will depart from post 10 in Race 5 Saturday. Alagna: “We took last week off by design. We need to get another nice start in him. He had a good week but the 10 hole is a pain.” Barbossa was a good second in his last race on June 20 after being pushed three-wide off the turn. Last Race: 6/20 – M1 – NW4 – 2nd (1:50.4) 6 Major Betts ($153,390 – 1:49.1) D. Dunn, M. Harder Joseph Jannuzzelli,  Mark Harder, Deena Rachel Frost    Sped past Schnittker standout – and 2-5 favorite – Splash Brother at Tioga to win in 1:49.4 by 3 lengths on Sunday. Very impressive! Harder: “The colt raced right up to expectations. It looks like we are right on track. I think he’s pretty much spot on.”   Last Race: 6/28 – TgDn – NYSS – 1st (1:49.4) 7 Allywag Hanover ($38,233 – 1:48.2) D. Miller, B. Pelling Allywag Stable  Burst onto the Meadowlands Pace scene with an eye-popping 1:48.2 score at the Big M last Saturday after flying home in :26.2. He’ll be the favorite from post 8 in Saturday’s 5th race. Pelling: “[I was not] at all surprised by his mile last week. He was sensational in his qualifier the week before. He’s got sheer speed. He’s the real deal. If he’s not one the best five [horses] in the Pace, I’ll give the game away.” Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – NW4 – 1st (1:48.2) 8 Manticore ($179,710 – 1:52.2) D. Miller, B. Saunders M and L of Delaware, M & M Harness Racing  Distinguished himself for a second straight start, this time sprinting home in :26.2 to grab second to Allywag Hanover Saturday night. Leaves from post 7 in Saturday’s Race 5. This horse is a bon fide closer. Saunders: “I expect him to race well this week. Next week [in the elims], I hope he’s in a spot from where he can qualify for the [Meadowlands Pace] final. There are four or five horses that have a much better resume than him, but if he gets the right trip, anything can happen.” Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – NW4 – 2nd (1:48.3) 9 Roll With Jr ($176,516 – 1:50.4) T. Tetrick, J.Cullipher Pollack Racing, Jeff Cullipher  Won a 3-year-old event at Cullipher’s home track, Hoosier Park, in speed fashion, in a very encouraging first betting start of the season. Cullipher: “I know my horse won’t be favored facing some of the better horses, but after the win back home last week, he’s earned the chance to race in The Pace. I was very pleased with his performance. We’ll train him up good Saturday and ship to the Meadowlands Sunday.” Last Race: 6/26 – HoP – The Star Destroyer – 1st (1:51.2) 10 Captain Kirk ($60,228 – 1:51) D. Dunn, T. Alagna Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz,Brad Grant, Captain Kirk Racing  Rounds out Alagna’s threesome in the Top 10. Lone pari-mutuel start this year resulted in a second-place finish – featuring a :25.2 kicker – at the hands of Splash Brother, who was winning in 1:48.2. Alagna: “I think [Captain] Kirk has talent like [Capt] Midnight. We quit with him early last year, after the Metro. So far, he’s paid us back for that extra time off.” Scheduled to qualify Friday morning. Will Alagna have 4 in the Pace? More? “You never know,” he said. Last Race: 6/20 – M1 – NW2 – 2nd (1:48.3) From the Meadowlands Media Department  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - During the four weeks since the end of the coronavirus shutdown at the Meadowlands, the racing has offered its usual high-octane action. What's been different is that arguably the sport's best driver colony has managed to get even better, as with Yonkers not racing - for the time being - on Fridays and Saturdays, some of The Hilltop's best drivers have come over the George Washington Bridge to race at the mile oval just off the New Jersey Turnpike. Jason Bartlett, Jordan Stratton, Jim Marohn Jr., Mark MacDonald, Scott Zeron, Brian Sears, Joe Bongiorno and George Brennan have been seen at the Big M recently, in addition to the track's already all-star lineup that includes Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick, Dave Miller, Dexter Dunn, Andy McCarthy, Corey Callahan, Marcus Miller and Andy Miller. One could argue that not since the days of the early 2000s, when drivers John Campbell, Mike Lachance, Luc Ouellette, Ron Pierce and Cat Manzi were joined by young guns like the aforementioned Dave Miller, Gingras, Tetrick, Brennan and Sears, has the Big M colony been as talent-laden. Derick Giwner of DRF Harness wrote about the strength of the driver colony in his column earlier this week, and spoke with Campbell, the all-time leading pilot in Big M history. "I think the driving colony [at The Meadowlands] right now is as strong as ever," said Campbell. "I'm a firm believer that the top drivers from any era would make the adjustment and be competitive in any style of racing." "It's a competitive field of drivers," said the six-time Hambletonian and seven-time Meadowlands Pace winner. "You see some talented drivers who are racing just two or three horses a night, when, in the past, they would have a full card." Last week saw Big M regulars do the most winning, as McCarthy led the way with five winners. Next up with four scores apiece were Dunn and Gingras. WELCOME BACK: For the first time since early March, fans will be permitted for live and simulcast racing - and betting on sports in the FanDuel Sportsbook - at the Meadowlands. Patrons can come to the track on Thursday (July 2) for simulcasting before this weekend's live action. The grandstand will be open to 25 percent capacity. For complete details and what you need to know to attend, please read the following: FEATURED ACTION: This weekend's Big M's programs are stakes stacked. Friday features four New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for 3-year-olds, where a total of $474,000 in purse money will be up for grabs. On Saturday, all eyes will be on the second matchup of the year between Manchego and Atlanta - Manchego won Round 1 by a nose - in the $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-all trotters, while Bettor's Wish, the top 3-year-old pacing colt from a year ago, headlines the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds, which will have three $50,000 divisions. Both 13-race programs get underway at 7:15 p.m. CIRCLE THE DATES: The track's signature event, The Meadowlands Pace, is coming up soon. Eliminations for the 3-year-old pacing classic are on July 11 and the final is on July 18. STREAK'S ALIVE: Last weekend saw the usual strong wagering at the industry's handle leader, as $2,837,178 and $2,863,730 was bet last Friday and Saturday, respectively. Action at the races has now reached the $2.5-million mark on 15 straight race cards. No other North American harness track has wagered $2.5 million on any card during 2020. The average play per race last weekend was $219,265 after $5,700,908 in action was taken over the 26 races. FREE CONTEST SATURDAY: The United States Harness Writers Association will host the next free harness racing handicapping contest on Scott Alberg's Facebook page on Saturday at the Big M. One special race will be selected from the Meadowlands' program and contestants can enter free of charge. All one must do is select the correct exacta. To enter the contest, go to Alberg will run the contest, just as he has in the past. All winners will have their name posted after the event with their ranking. HOW TO WATCH, HOW TO BET: For those fans who prefer to not attend the races but are still anxious to be a part of the action, they can watch the races on the Roberts Television Network ( or on the Television Games Network (TVG). To bet the races go to, or your favorite ADW (advance-deposit wagering) platform. BIG SCORE FOR BETTORS: According to a release from the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, Assemblyman Ron Dancer wants New Jersey's horse racing industry to keep up with the times. His bill (A-2355) would give residents of The Garden State the ability to place wagers on horse races, even when they are out of state. Dancer's bill passed the Assembly with a 73-0 vote. PENTA-FABULOUS CARRYOVERS: This Friday, players have a pot of gold to shoot for in the Big M's two 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Fives. The 5th-race carryover stands at $57,438, while the 13th race has a starting point that has swelled to $69,791. FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to On Friday, the four NJSS Finals plus the Late 50-cent Pick-4 (race 10) will be available while on Saturday, the Late Pick-4 plus the Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (race 13) will be available. CHECK OUT THE TEAM: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to to see track oddsmaker and analyst Dave Brower's selections and commentary. Go to the "handicapping" drop down and then go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. This weekend's pre-game shows - which feature commentary by Brower and Dave Little - get underway at 6:45 p.m., and the team - which includes Jessica Otten - will give out best bets and value plays. During the evening, look for Otten's interviews with horsemen from the back paddock after race replays. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Otten (@JessicaOtten1) anytime, but especially on race night. Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as at @TheMeadowlands. From the Meadowlands Media Department    

Anderson & Shelbyville, IN--July 2, 2020-- In conjunction with the State of Indiana's Stage 4.5 guidelines and confirmed with the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville will welcome back spectators for live racing beginning Saturday, July 4. In addition, simulcast operations will also resume at both properties. Both Harrah's Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand will operate at reduced capacity, in accordance with State of Indiana and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission guidelines. All guests will be strongly encouraged to wear face masks in all locations, but will be required to wear face masks while indoors at both venues except while consuming food or beverages. Harrah's Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand remain committed to following all safety protocols outlined by the State of Indiana and have implemented Caesars Entertainment Corporation's ("Caesars Entertainment") new health and safety protocols, which enhance its existing plans and practices in these areas. Both properties are focused on the well-being of team members, guests and their communities, and are working to create environments with enhanced standards of sanitization and physical distancing practices. Sports book operations at both properties remain closed until further notice. For a full list of all the amenities that will be available, please visit or Further updates on Caesars Entertainment's response to COVID-19 can be found at: by Kiersten Flint, for Caesars Entertainment  

Mark E. Casse, one of the newest members of the National Museum of Racings Hall of Fame has joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA). Successful in both the United States and Canada, Casse has won the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Trainer in Canada a record 12 times and was inducted into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame in 2016.   Mr. Casse remarked in his statement to WHOA, "After much thought, I have decided to join the WHOA. I continue to be frustrated by the lack of uniformity in our industry, and I know that WHOA is a big supporter of the Horseracing Integrity Act, as am I. It is my belief that it is our only chance to bring a level playing field to racing."   Even in these uncertain times, WHOA continues to lobby for the Horseracing Integrity Act (HR1754/S1820). Support is growing with 253 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 25 cosponsors in the Senate. The racing industry needs to band together and get behind passage of the bill in the 116th Congress. Support from racing leaders like Mark Casse is imperative to the effort.   Casse has trained Eclipse Award winners Classic Empire, Shamrock Rose, Tepin, and World Approval, as well as Canadian Horse of the Year honorees Catch a Glimpse, Lexie Lou, Sealy Hill, Uncaptured, and Wonder Gadot. He has won a total of seven races in the Canadian Triple Crown series, five Breeders' Cup races, and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot with Tepin. Casse has trained 18 horses that have won $1 million or more and has been the leading trainer at Woodbine (11 times), Turfway (four times), Keeneland (three times), and Churchill Downs (twice). The Horseracing Integrity Act   The Water Hay Oats Alliance Membership Roster   The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) is a grassroots movement of over 2,000 like-minded individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing. The appointment of an independent anti-doping program run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will resolve the problem of widespread drug use in American racing and put U.S. racing jurisdictions in step with international standards.   Doping destroys public confidence in racing, defrauds the betting fan, weakens the genetic pool and, most importantly, puts the life and limb of our equine athletes and their jockeys at risk. It is obvious that after years of committee review and discussion, America's racing industry cannot police itself by eliminating the proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport, nor does it possess the power to adequately punish the purveyors of these drugs.   From the Water Hay Oats Alliance

This Week: Cutler Memorial and Graduate Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. and Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: This week's Grand Circuit racing will take place on Saturday (July 4) at The Meadowlands with the $170,900 Cutler Memorial for older trotters and three $50,000 divisions in the second leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers. The mares Atlanta and Manchego will battle again as part of an 11-horse field in the Cutler. Also on Saturday, The Meadows will host the $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters and a pair of $32,297 divisions of the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: It wasn't easy, but Gimpanzee came from well off the pace to win one of two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Series' second leg for 4-year-old trotters on Saturday (June 27) at The Meadowlands in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Gimpanzee came from well off the pace to win one of two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Series' second leg in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Lisa photo. Driver Brian Sears opted to race the two-time Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes champion from off the pace after a highly contentious several-horse scrum into the first turn had him take back to seventh at the quarter. "I knew the horse to beat was Chin Chin Hall and I wasn't going to press my horse early," said Sears. The son of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows was sixth in a third-over flow at three-quarters as Chin Chin Hall was sailing along on the lead. But Gimpanzee still had plenty of fuel in the tank. Despite having 4-1/2 lengths to make up through the final three-sixteenths, the Marcus Melander trainee was up to the task, rocketing home in :27 to best Chin Chin Hall by a half-length. Kings County was third. "Gimpanzee is everything you want in a racehorse," said Sears. "I thought (Chin Chin Hall) was going to be spent (in the latter stages) and I thought we had a chance. My horse is a gamer and knows what we are trying to accomplish. He put his head down and did what he had to do." Gimpanzee paid $2.60 to win as the 1-5 favorite in raising his lifetime numbers to 19 wins from 25 starts, good for earnings of $1,770,111 for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Southwind Avenger won the other Graduate division in 1:51.3 at odds of 22-1, for driver Andy McCarthy. Don't Let'em, the 4-5 favorite, broke at the start and finished last in the field of nine. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, 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 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Brian Sears - 40; 2. Tim Tetrick - 32; 3. Dexter Dunn - 27; 4t. Aaron Merriman - 20; 4t. Dave Palone - 20. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 55; 2. Marcus Melander - 34; 3t. Nifty Norman - 20; 3t. Norm Parker - 20; 5t. (seven trainers are tied with 10 points). Owners: 1t. Burke Racing Stable - 11.3; 1t. J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby - 11.3; 1t. Weaver Bruscemi - 11.3. 4t. Black Horse Racing - 10; 4t. Oldford Racing - 10. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands. The July 10 Meadowlands program will feature the second leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares, while the massive July 11 Meadowlands card will offer the finals of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters; Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters; and eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

ANDERSON, Ind.--July 1, 2020-- Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino played host to the opening round of Indiana Sires Stakes action for the 2020 season on Wednesday, July 1 as the evening's 14-race card featured two $33,000 harness racing divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Using similar gate-to-wire tactics, divisional winners Hotel Whiskey and May Baby kept their individual winning streaks alive to deliver in impressive fashion in their respective divisions. Hotel Whiskey with driver John DeLong in the bike wasted no time and went right to work as soon as the wings of the gate folded from post five. Reaching the front through the opening panel in :27.4, Hotel Whiskey was able to slow the tempo just a touch through middle fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.4 before outsprinting her rivals turning for home. Stopping the timer in 1:54.3, Hotel Whiskey used a :27.3 closing kick to turn away the pocket-sitting Rjz First Lady and LeWayne Miller. Bluebird Ladyluck and Dan Shetler found late racing room to round out the trifecta. Sent off as the publics' third betting choice, Hotel Whiskey returned $7.80 to her backers at the betting windows. Trained and bred by Cassidy Whitton, Hotel Whiskey established a new lifetime best with the win. After sweeping a late closing series at Harrah's Hoosier Park last week, the sophomore filly remains unbeaten at three in three seasonal starts. The daughter of Bluto-LW Jaynie Flyer pushed her lifetime earnings to $37,049 with the win. In the second division, May Baby looked every bit the part of a 1-5 favorite as she captured her split of the stakes action to retain her perfect two-for-two sophomore record. With trainer James Yoder in the bike, May Baby utilized a gate to wire effort to finish four lengths in front of her competition and stop the timer in 1:52.4. Leaving from post four in the field of nine, May Baby left alertly to grab command through the opening panel in :27.4. J-S Miss Carly and Alex Udell benefitted from a pocket trip while the rest of the field followed in straight alignment down the backside. May Baby clicked off fractions of :57 and 1:25.1 before she began to distance herself from the rest of the field. Turning for home, May Baby was on top with a five length lead. Rock Swan and Trace Tetrick made a valiant stretch run but were forced to settle for second place honors. Deswanslittlelorie and Michael Oosting rallied late for third. As the heavy betting favorite, May Baby returned $2.60 at the betting windows. With the win, May Baby pushed her lifetime bankroll to $258,240 and has now won eight of 12 of her lifetime outings. The daughter of Guccio-Free Wheeling is owned by Cheyenne Yoder and was bred by Oakwood Farms. Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday, July 2 with two divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The evening's 14-race card will also feature a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 sequence in races 3-6 and a $10,000 Guaranteed Hoosier High-5 in race 14. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit by Emily Gaskin, for Harrah's Hoosier Park      

Our guest on this week's Harness Racing Alumni Show is the Down-under and North America standardbred breeder & owner, Gordon Banks. Gordon publicly pledges his full support to the Horseracing Integrity Act and comments on the recent drug trainer indictments. Freddie & Banks also discuss a number of important changes that our struggling sport must face in order to survive.        

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Gia's Surreal is quickly becoming the dominate damsel at Buffalo Raceway as she collected her second straight win in the $11,500 Open Pace for harness racing fillies and mares with a solid half length victory over Hey Kobe is 1:54.2 on Wednesday night (July 1).   Just making her third start of her 4-year-old campaign, the favored Gia's Surreal ($4.60) had little problem rallying to get the victory.   Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.) set the splits with times of :28.0, :57.0 and 1:25.2. Midway down the backstretch the final time, Gia's Surreal was stuck behind dull cover and had to tip three wide with a panel to go.   In the stretch, Gia's Surreal (John Cummings Jr.) was just too powerful for Hey Kobe (Drew Monti) and Lady London who had to settle for second and third respectively.   Co-owned by trainer Jim Graham, Ed Peron, Tom Mariano and Lee Winters, the victory moved Gia's Surreal (So Surreal-Nancy Irene) seasonal earnings to $12,380 and $163,940 in her career.   The heavily-favored Victoria Swan ($2.90) played 'catch me if you can' in the $10,000 Class A-AA Handicapped Trot and no one was up to the task.   Scoring from the rail, Victoria Swan had little trouble in turning back Empire Earl N (Jim Morrill Jr.) by a half length in 1:58.4. Call My Broker (Dan Yetman) took the show spot.   After relinquishing the lead early on to Empire Earl N, Victoria Swan used a big backside brush to take command and never looked back. A :58.1 last half was enough to dash the hopes of the remaining six participants.   Co-owned by RBH Ventures Inc. and Spagnola Racing LLC, it was the third triumph in 10 tries for Victoria Swan (Swan For All-Victoria Sahbra). Trained by Sabrina Shaw, the 5-year-old mare now has $16,854 in winnings in 2020 and $113,854 lifetime.   Monti and Fisher Jr. finished the evening with triples while Morrill Jr., Billy Davis Jr. all doubled. Rich Mays, Darrin Monti and Gerry Sarama each conditioned two winners.   Racing will continue on Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program slated.   For more information including the latest, news, race replays, entries and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway