Day At The Track

RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 12, 2021 - "And they're off..." When it comes to the horse racing industry in Virginia and the economic impact it is generating, that's an appropriate metaphor. According to a newly released study, the industry generated an estimated economic impact of $542.1 million in the Commonwealth in 2019. "What we're finding is that jobs are coming back, horse racing related expenditures are up, and tax revenue to the state is increasing," said John Hannum, Executive Director of the Virginia Equine Alliance. "These are all very positive signs that the racing industry is moving in the right direction and benefiting the Commonwealth's agribusiness and related businesses. Racing was at a low point in 2014 after the closure of Colonial Downs' racetrack. The General Assembly took a number of steps, most notably the passage of Historical Horse Racing machines in 2018, that provided the revenue to re-open the track and fund the revitalization of the industry. The study points to the enormous strides the industry has made since 2014." The study was commissioned by the Virginia Equine Alliance, the industry's organizational body that promotes the racing and breeding industry throughout the state. Chmura Economics and Analytics (Chmura), a research consulting firm in Richmond, VA, conducted the study. Highlights of the new study include: Overall economic impact for 2019 of $542.1 million. Annual horse-related expenditures by Virginia horsemen estimated at $239.44 million in 2019. Overall total in state tax revenue for 2019 estimated at $26.5 million. Estimated total economic impact of horse racing events and visitor spending in Virginia was $68.7 million in 2019. Jobs supported in 2019 by the horse racing and breeding industry estimated at more than 5,000. The average amount spent by horsemen in Virginia to care for, train, and board a race horse is estimated at $14,663. "The Commonwealth has a rich history of breeding and racing Thoroughbreds, from even before the days of Triple Crown-winning Secretariat from Caroline County and continuing to today. The industry is an important part of our agriculture economy, especially in rural parts of Virginia," said Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. "A successful horse industry means that more farms remain economically viable, which in turn makes it easier to maintain and conserve productive farmland throughout the Commonwealth. I am pleased that the results of this study support that Virginia continues to be a place where the horse industry can thrive." Karen Godsey, owner of Eagle Point Farm, a 200-acre Thoroughbred training center in Ashland, VA has seen first-hand the benefit of the Thoroughbred industry coming back stronger in the last few years. "Our industry has really seen a tremendous turnaround," Godsey said. "I've been able to recruit and retain more workers, because I am able to pay them a higher per-hour rate than before. I've also had to rent out two additional farms for more horses." D.G. Van Clief, Chairman of the Virginia Racing Commission stated "that much of the industry's success over the last few years has been the result of the entire industry coming together and working for the shared goal of revitalizing racing. We are now in a position to grow the sport and add racing days. I am excited about the prospects for racing in the state." According to this study, the economic impact is likely an underestimation of the full potential impact in 2019. For example, Colonial Downs race track in New Kent, VA, was only open for nine months in 2019, versus a full 12 months. On the racing side, there were 18 race days, attracting 42,000 spectators. In future years, those racing days are expected to likely double, generating even more of an economic impact. "We're eager to see how these numbers increase when life gets back to normal and we have a full year of activity at the venue," Hannum said. From the Virginia Equine Alliance The Virginia Equine Alliance is the state sanctioned organization representing horse racing throughout the state. The Alliance is a non-profit, 501(c)6 organization comprised of the Virginia Harness Horse Association, Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, Virginia Gold Cup Association and Virginia Thoroughbred Association. Virginia Equine Alliance's primary mission is to sustain, promote an expand the horse breeding and horse racing industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.      

Plainville, MA --- Live harness racing action returns to New England on Monday (April 12) when Plainridge Park kicks off their 22nd season of racing over the fast five-eighths mile track located south of Boston. After seeing the 2020 season start late due to the global pandemic and racing only 68 days, track officials and horsemen alike are happy to get this year underway on schedule and look forward to a complete and successful meeting. The 110-day session starts out on a Monday, Thursday, Friday schedule from opening day through August 30 with post time at 4 p.m. The one exception is Sunday (July 25) which will have a 2 p.m. post when the Grand Circuit comes to town. Then in September, Plainridge goes to four days a week, adding Sunday to the mix and shifting post time to 2 p.m. for all race days through October 31. November will move post time once again to 1 p.m. and reverts to the original Monday, Thursday, Friday schedule until the final week when one more Sunday is added and Thursday is moved to Wednesday, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. Besides live racing, the track also offers a full slate of simulcast wagering seven days a week. "We are focusing on a safe start to the season with the same Covid protocols in place as last year," said Steve O'Toole, General Manager of live racing at Plainridge Park. "Fans are allowed in, but at a limited capacity and we look forward to welcoming everyone back for another exciting season of racing." Those protocols include temperature checks upon arrival, wearing a mask at all times and maintaining social distancing. Sanitizing stations will also located throughout the entire facility. The wagering menu will feature an early and late double, exacta and trifecta in every race and superfectas offered in select races on each card. The track's two signature bets will also be back with the Bay State Pick-6 starting in race three and running through race eight and the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in race nine. Last year's top three drivers will be back for opening day and they will be joined by the "King of the Hill" from 2016 and 2017. 2020 leading dash and money winning driver Shawn Gray, who posted 111 victories and bankrolled over $1 million in purses, will be back to defend his title against Drew Monti (second with 93 wins in 2020), Bruce Ranger (third with 92 wins in 2020) and the rest of the Plainridge driving colony. However added to the mix will be two-time Plainridge dash title winner Greg Merton, who was the first driver in the history of harness racing in the state of Massachusetts to top the $1 million mark in earnings when he did it in 2016 ($1.3 million). He also posted a record 229 wins that year. Merton broke both of those records in 2017 when he won 230 races and $1.5 million in purses. Last year's top trainers Melissa Beckwith (37 wins), Jimmy Nickerson (32 wins), Gretchen Athearn (26) and Sheena Mcelhiney (26) will also be back and racing on opening day along with Jolene Andrews, Joe Nelson, Mike Graffam and a host of other top resident conditioners. The stake schedule will once again highlight the meet with the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace returning on Sunday (July 25). Last year those races produced two all-time track records when Manchego trotted a scorching 1:49.3 mile and Shartin N paced home in 1:48.1, breaking her own mark from the prior year. The 33 horses eligible to those stakes this year will provide some of the most exciting racing of this year's meet. Later in the season, the fall classic Massachusetts Sire Stakes will return and feature the best 2 and 3-year-old trotters and pacers bred in the state. The four week session kicks off on Sunday (Sept. 26) and will bring an exciting round of juvenile competition to the Commonwealth. Here is the complete 2021 Massachusetts Sire Stake Race Schedule: Sunday (Sept. 26) 3-year-old First Leg Monday (Sept. 27) 2-year-old First Leg Sunday (Oct. 3) 3-year-old Second Leg Monday (Oct. 4) 2-year-old Second Leg Sunday (Oct. 17) 2-year-old Third Leg Monday (Oct. 18) 3-year-old Third Leg Monday (Oct. 25) 2 and 3-year-old Finals For all the latest news and updates concerning racing at Plainridge Park, log on to the website at www.plainridgeparkcasino.com and the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts at www.sominc.net. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

The presence of a new shooter Sunday night at Rosecroft Raceway proved to be no intimidation to top harness racing horse at the Fort Washington oval. Precision Bluechip and Russell Foster went wire to wire in 1:51.1 holding off Carlisimo and Starship to win his fifth of the year in eight starts in the $11,000 Open Handicap. Carlisimo had been slugging it out at Yonkers with Potomac Pace Champ Leonidas A, Pyro, and the only horse to beat Precision Bluechip at Rosecroft this year, Keep On Rockin A. Still the public made the local champ the 1-1 favorite and he did not let down the wagering public. Leaving from post seven, Foster cut fractions of :26, :55.1, 1:23, and came home in :28.1 giving Precision Bluechip his 19th career win and pushed his career earnings over $100,000. Courtney Brooks owns and trains the six-year old son of Bettors Delight. She had a double as her stable's "other" horse Redwood Again also won last night. PRECISION BLUECHIP REPLAY   Foster, Jason Thompson, and Pat Berry had three wins on the card while Timmy Offut won twice. Megan Foster had a training double. by Pete Medurst, for Rosecroft Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The impressive Top Me Off is now 2-for-2 in the Bobby Weiss Trotting Series for sophomore trotting males after winning in 1:57.1 over a "good" track Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Hoolie N Hector joining him with two Weiss wins after a 1:57.4 clocking in his division, all four of which carried a purse of $17,500. The Bar Hopping ridgling Top Me Off showed his maneuverability in this week's Weiss event, for after racing in front in his previous two 2021 starts trainer/driver Todd Schadel raced him in the pocket behind his fair circuit foe of last year, Killer Instinct. Come the stretch, though, Schadel right-lined his three-year-old, and he went right on by for his ninth win in 19 lifetime starts. Todd's wife Christine owns the swift youngster along with Rick and Regina Beinhauer. TOP ME OFF REPLAY   The Muscles Yankee gelding Hoolie N Hector was let go at 19-1 when he won last week, but this time the crowd sent him off as the favorite, and the trotter rewarded their insight, sweeping wide on the final turn for Anthony Napolitano to win going away over the off going for trainer Andrew Adamczyk and owner Joseph Meaney.   HOOLIE N HECTOR REPLAY   Fastest Weiss winner on the card was the Credit Winner gelding Credit Con, and technically you could say that he too is undefeated in the series - and the season - since his 1:57 victory came in his first start in seven months minus a day. Tyler Buter coaxed enough out of the 11-1 shot to record the triumph and a new mark for trainer Todd Buter and owner Lee Sitto.   CREDIT CON REPLAY   Ceffyl Dwr got a big second quarter breather on the lead, and then scooted home in successive quarters of :29 to win his Weiss section in 1:57.1. Named after a "water horse" in Welsh folklore, Ceffyl Dwr may have had an "advantage" over the wet going as he posted a lifetime best for driver Jackie Ingrassia and trainer/husband Frank Ingrassia; Jackie also shares in the ownership of the Andover Hall colt with Donna Franchetti and Thomas Doran.   CEFFYL DWR REPLAY   George Napolitano Jr. followed up a five-bagger on the Saturday card with four more victories on Sunday. Weiss Series competition carries on during the Monday afternoon card at Pocono, with three sections carded for the second prelim for pacing fillies, and the middle contest matching first-week winners So Irresistible and Milieu Hanover is perhaps the most competitive. Post time for the Monday card at the Downs is 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From PHHA/Pocono  

CHESTER, Pa. -- Meadows invader Whos Better ($5.20) made easy work of his six rivals in Sunday afternoon's (April 11) featured event at Harrah's Philadelphia, an $11,600 high-level conditioned pace. The 6-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding used the entirety of a :27 first quarter mile to clear 33-1 long shot Last Gunfighter for control of the terms. Once in front, Whos Better faced nary a challenge, steadily widening his margin of clearance and defeating Last Gunfighter by four lengths in 1:51.2. Hereittiz narrowly held off a belated rally from Jack's Shadow to finish third.   WHOS BETTER REPLAY     Dexter Dunn, whose three wins on the 12-race program were matched only by Tim Tetrick, drove 15-time winner Whos Better for owner-trainer Jean Rastetter. In the co-featured $11,600 distaff pace, Crazy Cute ($3.40) stole a :57.3 first half before throwing down a :55.3 final half for a 1-1/2 length victory over Eclipse Me N. George Napolitano Jr. drove the 5-year-old daughter of Art Major for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen and the partnership of Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and Barbara Arnstine. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (April 14), with the first of 14 races due off at 12:25 p.m. ET. by James Witherite for Harrah's Philadelphia  

Due to the severe weather that has pummeled South Florida and the severe warnings continuing for the next several hours, racing at Pompano Park has been cancelled for Sunday, April 11 due to unsafe track conditions. Racing will continue on Monday, April 12 with a 13 race extravaganza featuring two Pick-4 events with a $20,000 guaranteed pool with an industry low 12% takeout. First post scheduled for 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park.    

HARRINGTON, DE - Harrington Raceway's 75th season of live harness racing will commence Monday April 12 with a 14-race program and 4:30 p.m. post time. Located 20 miles south of Delaware's capital city Dover, the First State's racing circuit shifts from Dover Downs to Harrington on a three day schedule most of the season, operating Monday through Wednesday through June 23 before a two-week period of Monday and Tuesday racing prior to the customary summer break after July 6. A complete racing calendar can be found at harringtonraceway.com. Full fields await racing fans Monday with two popular multi-leg wagers in the lineup, including a pick four (races 2-5) and pick five (races 10-14) on the last five races nightly. The feature race is the sixth, a $20,000 Open Handicap for pacers. It marks the return of Jack's Legend N for trainer and co-owner Josh Green, who partners with co-owners Rich Lombardo Racing, David Kryway and Eric Good on the 7-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding who banked $101,528 in an abbreviated 2020 campaign. Fresh off two speedy qualifying efforts, "Jack" will make his seasonal debut from post position 7. A deep field awaits that includes morning line favorite JJ Flynn (9/5, Allan Davis) for owners David Hamm and Rodney Long, former Harrington horse of the meet Slick Tony (10-1, Russell Foster) for owner/trainer George Leager and recent two-time Open level winner Goldberg (15/1, Montrell Teague) for Mst Racing. Phil Jasper's Drinkin Again (6/1, Art Stafford Jr.), Jo Ann Looney-King's Q's Cruise (12/1, Ross Wolfenden), and Legacy Racing and Reginald Hazzard's Sicily (15/1, Victor Kirby) complete the field, whose impressive career combined bankroll is nearly $4 million. Last year's defending driving and trainer champs will be back in action on opening day as driver Allan Davis is in all but two races, while trainer Jim King Jr. has three starters on the card. Spectators are admitted to access the track apron and bleacher area trackside with COVID-19 related safety protocols in place, while wagering is available in the sports book/simulcast area on the 2nd floor of the grandstand. All patrons who wish to access the sports book/simulcast area but must enter through the designated health checkpoint at the casino entrance. The clubhouse and upper grandstand are currently closed, but may open at a later date in the season. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing driver Tim Tetrick recently returned to The Meadowlands after spending the winter racing at Dover Downs, and based on Saturday night's results, the 39-year-old Hall of Famer hasn't missed a Big M beat by winning four races on the card, including both $30,000 features, one on the pace and the other on the trot. Ana Afreet N, back from an unsuccessful stint at Yonkers racing in the Borgata series where he finished no better than fourth in three starts, held off 3-5 favorite Colossal Stride A in a thrilling finish in the Preferred for pacers back at the track where he was an impressive wire-to-wire winner on March 6. Tetrick was intent on racing on the point in the seven-horse field. "If they were going to go a half in :55," said Tetrick. "I might as well be cutting it and make that horse of Dexter's [Dunn, driving Colossal Stride A] chase me, so it just worked out. My horse is a nice horse, he just didn't like the four turns at Yonkers. It just didn't agree with him and he couldn't get around there." Around two turns at The Big M, it was a far different story. Yacht Seelster was on the move early and looped Ana Afreet N to grab the lead at the quarter in :27.2. Tetrick immediately moved Ana Afreet N back to the lead and hit the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.3. Colossal Stride A, the 3-5 favorite, moved from the four-hole just after the half and made his way closer to the leader gradually while racing first-over, and continued his constructive grind throughout the stretch drive. But at the wire, it was Ana Afreet N holding on by a diminishing nose. Vettel N was third. The time for the mile was 1:49.4. ANA AFREET N REPLAY   "I was a little nervous [in deep stretch]," said Tetrick. "Especially when you look back and have Dex coming at you. Luckily, my horse dug in and made me look good." Trained by Jeff Cullipher and owned by Pollack Racing and Cullipher, Ana Afreet N returned $8.40 to win as the second choice in the betting. The 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight - Anna Livia has now won 24 of 50 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $198,272. In the marquee trot, Scirocco Rob stayed on a roll, as the Mark Silva trainee won for the fourth time in five starts. The 6-year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter - Fun At Parties stopped the clock in an eye-popping 1:50.3 to lower his previous lifetime best by a full second. Things could not have gone any better for the 4-5 favorite, who worked out an ideal pocket trip behind the speedy Nows The Moment (Mark MacDonald), who cut out fractions of :26.4, :54.3 and 1:22.2 before Tetrick tipped Scirocco Rob out of the pocket with an eighth of a mile to go and roared home to an easy 4¼-length score. Nows The Moment held second with Morairtime third. SCIROCCO ROB REPLAY   "My horse is very versatile," said Tetrick. "Last week, he was second-over at Dover and won. Tonight, it worked out perfect." Sitting off quick fractions in the abbreviated six-horse field (JL Cruze was scratched), Tetrick loved his spot. "I was thinking, just don't fall off," said Tetrick. "I was pretty confident. My horse was tracking so good." "I was just trying to have a little fun," said Tetrick when asked about looking back at MacDonald as he went by in the stretch. "Mark was laughing, I was laughing, so it was kind of fun." Scirocco Rob returned $3.60 to his backers in winning for the 28th time from 81 lifetime starts. His bankroll stands at $551,604 for owners Lewis and Kathleen Whitaker. WHATTA WEEKEND: With the track's two signature Pick-4s accounting for over $240,000 of action to go along with a pair of potent carryovers, all-source wagering totaled $3,782,327. When you add in Friday's $3.23 million handle, that brought the total of $7-million wagering weekends at The Big M to four on the year. CARRYOVER CRAZY: The 20-cent Pick-6 pool started out with $9,019 before $64,105 in "new money" was added for a total of $73,124. Those who hit all six winners collected $877.14. The 10-cent Pentafecta/Hi-5 had a carryover of $32,103 before $84,462 was added for a total of $116,565. Those with tickets bearing the combination of 5-1-9-3-7 cashed in for $141.84. A LITTLE MORE: After only four favorites won on the previous two programs combined, chalk players had smiles on their faces Saturday as six post-time choices hit victory lane. ... Cullipher trained three winners on the card while Bruce Saunders had two. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

LEBANON, OH - Charlie May opened his sophomore harness racing season in style by winning an elimination heat of the James K. Hackett Memorial late closer in 1:51.4, despite a rain-soaked sloppy racing surface at Miami Valley Raceway Saturday. Brett Miller surged the defending Ohio Sires Stakes champion past Heart Of Chewbacca (Dan Noble) in the final strides in the highly anticipated early season showdown between the two best Ohio-sired two-year-olds in 2020. Official Bean (Trevor Smith) , who prepped with a pair of early season wins at Miami Valley, finished third. Charlie May (McArdle) had a freshman scorecard of 9-7-2-0, good for $329,627 in earnings. Heart Of Chewbacca was nearly as impressive in his rookie racing season, compiling a 7-5-2-0 stat line and pushing $195,598 into his owners coffers. Neither horse left the gate with alacrity, but both were moved into the outer flow before the :57.1 halfway point in the mile. Heart Of Chewbacca was first to reach the front after a :26.2 third panel before Charlie May finally collared him nearing the finish line. The same scenario played out in the $300,000 O.S.S. championship tilt at Eldorado Scioto Downs last September. CHARLIE MAY REPLAY   Steve Carter trains homebred Charlie May for owner Don Tiger. The other Hackett Memorial elimination heat went just 2/5ths of a second slower as Laughagain Hanover (Dan Noble), who finished third in the aforementioned Buckeye freshman final, easily defeated Just Playing (Josh Sutton) and Third Edition (Miller). It was the fifth lifetime triumph for Laughagain Hanover and raised his earnings to $120,584 for the partnership of Cimaglio, Richardson and Gilmartin. Noble's wife Christi trains the son of McArdle. LAUGHAGAIN REPLAY   Joining the first three finishers in the eliminations will be fourth place finishers Siri Said (Mitch Cushing) and JW's Chrome (Kayne Kauffman). There was a tie for the fastest fifth place finish with both Imagine It (Sutton) and Just Marvelous (Trevor Smith) posting identical 1:54.1 clockings. If all ten horses enter there will be a coin flip between the fifth place finishers to determine who makes the nine-horse field for the $40,000 final. In a $22,500 Open I Pace Gold Digger King notched his second straight Saturday feature race victory, topping The First Step (Chris Page) and Americanfirewater (Kauffman) in 1:52. Linda Van Camp owns and Scott Mogan trains the five-year-old son of Pet Rock who now sports 14 career wins and $280,387 in earnings. Omega Cat (Tyler Smith) nosed out Yacht Week (Kauffman) and Grantmeawish (Sutton) in the $20,000 Open II. When Smith reached the wire in 1:51.3 it gave him his 100th win of the year at Miami Valley, a day after he reached the $100,000 seasonal earnings plateau. Racing resumes with 2:05 14-race matinees on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Miami Valley. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway        

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- With the temperature reaching over 80 degrees at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (April 10), it was perfect 'beach' weather, Santana Beach ($15.40) weather that is.   Rising up through the harness racing ranks the past few weeks, Santana Beach (Kevin Cummings) found his new level, the $10,000 Class AA-Open Handicapped classification, just fine by rolling to a two length victory over Southwind Onyx in 1:54.3, the fastest time of the 2021 meet.   Back on March 6, Santana Beach paced to a four length score in the Class C division in 1:56.4. From there, it's been a steady climb onward and upwards with success found at each tougher division. After a victory last week in the Class A bracket, it was time for another jump for Santana Beach and it turned out to be another win.   Sitting third past the half, Santana Beach started his first over journey and eventually went by the pace-setting Mr Ham Sandwich approaching the final panel.   In the lane, a 28.3 final split was more than enough for Santana Beach to collect his third straight victory and fourth in his last five appearances. Southwind Onyx (Kyle Cummings) made a mild bid late to finish second while Stratosphere (Drew Monti) finished in third.   Owned by Jason Newell and trained by Richard Roth, it was the fourth win in seven tries for the 6-year-old gelded Santana Beach (Santanna Blue Chip - Beachs Luck). The victory jumped his seasonal earnings to $16,614 and $192,585 in his career.   Thor De Vie romped by 4-3/4 lengths in the $8,800 Class A pace by wiring the field for driver Kevin Cummings in a seasonal best of 1:54.4.   There was little drama in the event as Thor De Vie went the middle splits in :56.3 which proved to be too much for the rest of the field. Loaded Deck (Shawn McDonough) took the runner up position with Beachy Dream (Jim Morrill Jr.) placing third.   Co-owned by trainer Jim Graham, Lee Winters, Giuseppe Micchia and Paul Tandlmeyer, it was the second win in seven starts this season for Thor De Vie (So Surreal - Pebblebeach De Vie). The victory took his 2021 bankroll to $14,408 and $275,058 lifetime.   Kevin Cummings led the way for the drivers with four wins with Ray Fisher Jr. adding a pair. Lee Dahn and Ryan Swift had training doubles.   Racing will resume on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. with a 10-race card set. There will be a guaranteed pool of $3,000 in the Pick 5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, entries and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.   For full race results, click here.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Straight Talk and Mad Man Hill are now 2-for-2 in the Bobby Weiss Series for sophomore pacing males after four $17,500 second round harness racing prelims were held Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Straight Talk was one of two Sweet Lou-sired winners trained by Ron Burke to take Weiss divisions; the colt left the field behind with a :26.4 third split under the direction of Matt Kakaley en route to taking a lifetime best of 1:51.4 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, William Switala and James Martin. STRAIGHT TALK REPLAY   The other Burke Brigade member to win was the gelding Emblaze Hanover, who bounced back from a break in the first leg to also reduce his mark to 1:51.4 for driver Joe Bongiorno and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. EMBLAZE HANOVER REPLAY   The Somebeachsomewhere colt Mad Man Hill, the only Weiss chalk to get home first, is perfect after two trips behind the gate this year as he came home in :55.4 to tie his mark of 1:52.4 for driver George Napolitano Jr., who had five winners on the card, trainer Chris Ryder, and owner Tom Hill. MAD MAN HILL REPLAY   The fastest Weiss winner was the American Ideal colt Trevor's Ace, who lowered his speed badge by four seconds as he impressed in 1:51 for driver Jason Bartlett, trainer Jean Drolet, and the ownership of Stephen Schneider, Bill Siegel, and Marthe Drolet. TREVOR'S ACE REPLAY   Babes Dig Me recorded the fastest mile of the season at Pocono when he posted a lifetime 1:49.4 best as he joined up with trainer Darren Taneyhill and owner Eric Provost after a claim. Jim Pantaleano sent the pacer zooming to the lead late on the backstretch around hard-used frontenders and had no problem in the latter stages. Another non-Weiss race deserves mention because it created some unusual numeric situations. Rockin Inthe Hills, who had been placed first at a $174.00 win mutuel two starts back, again didn't get much respect in his first start after a claim by trainer Dan Maier - and he came up the inside to win in 1:51.2 and return $51.80, becoming the first horse to pay $50+ twice this year. Also, the four-year-old American Rebel became the largest-priced claim in Pocono history, as owner William Emmons gave $50,000 to lead him back to the barn after the race. In all, twelve claims during the card produced $316,000 changing hands, sending the seasonal claiming total over $5 million via 275 transactions. (This was card 24.) The trotting males take over the Weiss spotlight for Sunday's twilight card, with four $17,500 divisions of their second preliminary round. Post time Sunday is 5 p.m.; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

Northfield, Ohio --- Harnesss racing driver Eddie Miller wins again. The hot-handed youngster scored his fourth victory in seven seasonal starts when he guided Warrior Way to a 1:58.4 triumph in a leg of the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association trotting series tonight at Northfield Park. And racing fans are starting to take notice of the youngster's talent. Tonight Miller had the pole position and the locals sent him away as the 3-5 betting favorite and Miller didn't disappoint. When the wings of the gate folded Miller got away third as Hail To The King and Marion Chupp gunned for command and they had a short lead over Mesmerized (Darrell Rideout) as they passed the first stanza in a swift :28.1. As the field approached the halfway point trailing horses began to move up so Miller moved off the pylons with sights on the front-end. However, Hail To The King was still strong as they approached the three quarters in 1:29.2. But when they trotted into the final turn he faltered and Warrior Way took command and began to draw clear. In the deep stretch Miller was the one to beat and no one could as Warrior Way finished a length ahead of fast closing Time Outa Jail (Lonnie Graber). So Wishful with Larry Ferrari at the controls, rallied from far back to finish third. WARRIOR WAY REPLAY   The winner, an 8-year-old Muscle Mass gelding is owned by Jamie Miller and trained by Eddie Miller. He paid $3.40. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the Great Lakes Amateur Drivers Association

Freehold, NJ -- A short six- horse field went to post on the bright and sunny afternoon of April 10 in the $9,000 American Harness Drivers Club trot at Freehold Raceway and when the judges hung the official sign Shoemaker Hanover emerged victorious when John Calabrese guided the veteran harness racing trotter to a solid 1:59 triumph. After the starter released the field Paul Minore gunned If I Must to the lead and got away with a soft :30.3 quarter as Tony Verruso settled Masster Blue in behind the leader and they were closely followed by Calabrese with Shoemaker Hanover. When the field headed to the halfway point Calabrese moved out in front of Joe Faraldo and Always A Good Time and both trotters moved closer to the pace-setter as the half mile time flashed 1:00.3. Still If I Must showed the way but Shoemaker Hanover was on his throat-latch as they trotted by the third quarter in 1:29.4. In the homestretch they were noses apart but as they approached the finish line Calabrese's horse began to draw away and they were home free in 1:59. If I Must was was second best and Masster Blue garnered the show dough. SHOEMAKER HANOVER REPLAY   Shoemaker Hanover, an 8-year-old son of Cantab Hall, paid $4.80 for win. He is owned and trained by Tracy Tarantino. And for driver John Calabrese it was his 5th win in 25 starts this year for a solid .400UDR. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the AHDC

Rockinscience, who closed with a rush for an exacta completion at this level last week, gets the top harness racing billing in Sunday night's $5,000 pacing main event at Cal Expo Harness. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races with the headliner going as the sixth event on the evening, First post is 5:25 p.m. Rockinscience is a 4-year-old son of Rockin Image out of the Somebeachsomewhere mare Secluded Beach who is owned by Nikki Hudson and Dave Haness and is reined and trained by Luke Plano. The hard-knocking gelding has returned to the charmed enclosure following five of his 13 starts this season, with the most recent score coming on February 27 when he proved a punctual 7-5 favorite with a coast-to-coast tour of this layout. In last week's assignment, Rockinscience found himself last of the quintet to the stretch, put in a nice late move but had to settle for a second-place finish Royale Big Guy in that affair. Any of the other five rivals have the credentials to get the job done, with Buddy's Hope sporting some nice lines at this stand for trainer Nathalie Tremblay with Jake Cutting in the sulky. Rounding out the line-up, from the rail out, are Bettor's Promise, Queenace Blue Chip, Ridonkuloso and Prodigal. A reminder there are three wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cent early and late Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4, with the latter sporting a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool. Sherwood making most of limited opportunities The 5-year-old pacer Sherwood has only made 15 starts, but he's already had six trips to the winner's circle and many more appear to be in his future. Carrying the banner of Mark Anderson, taking his lessons from Gordie Graham and under the direction of Mooney Svendsen, he actually made 10 cents on the dollar look like an overlay last week as he romped home by nearly four lengths over a conditioned crew. "It was as easy as it looked," Svendsen related after the score. "You know, he actually went a monster race the week before, considering he'd been away for almost three months. "He was awesome last summer at Running Aces, but I believe he had some foot problems. Now he's fine and this is a very nice horse. I expect him to start climbing the ladder." Things are even-steven among the 3-year-old Sire Stakes fillies after Rockin The Dragon turned the tables on heavily-favored Doubleontherocks in last week's clash at the head of the class. These two talented performers have been taking turns collecting trophies with two each on their respective mantles, and the rubber match will come on closing weekend April 24 when they get one more chance at the big money. Interestingly, the favorite has yet to prevail in these four stakes match-ups. Rockin The Dragon has been 7-1 and 3-1 in her two tallies, while Doubleontherocks was the second choice in both her scores. Our guess is their odds will be pretty close when they leave the gate for that fifth match-up in two weeks. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Alexa Skye and driver Todd McCarthy served notice in the final of five preliminary rounds of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night with an imposing 1:52.3 victory in her $35,000 division. The fleet-footed 4-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere had to work just a bit to gain control at the quarter, but from that point her four rivals chased her in vain. Alexa Skye left the gate along with Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) from the inside, with Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) between those two into the opening bend. Siesta Beach settled along the pylons, but McCarthy pushed Alexa Skye to the top and cleared passing a 27.4 opening fraction. Alexa Skye maintained the lead after that, setting fractions of 56.3 and 1:24.4, with Siesta Beach moving to the outside into the final turn as Monica Gallagher lost contact with the pace-setter. McCarthy let his mare do the talking, and Alexa Skye spoke volumes, cruising home effortlessly with a 27.4 kicker to win by open lengths. Siesta Beach held down the place spot, with Soho Burning Love A (Austin Siegelman) showing decent late foot for third. ALEXA SKYE REPLAY   Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the field, Alexa Skye paid $2.40 to win. Alexa Skye won all four of the Blue Chip Matchmaker preliminary legs she participated in for co-owner Pollack Racing LLC. and co-owner/trainer Jeff Cullipher. The exacta returned $4.50, with the two favorites first and second, and the triple came back $11.40. Now a winner in seven of nine starts on the season, Alexa Skye moves into the $232,800 final on April 19 as the clear horse to beat.   In the night's first section, which was raced as a non-wagering event, Blue Ivy led a field of four wire-to-wire for driver Tyler Buter to score decisively in 1:52 3/5 over Caviart Cherie (Kakaley) and Machnhope, with Lady Dela Renta A (Jordan Stratton) fourth in the group. Blue Ivy had the pole position and discouraged leavers, blasting off into the opening bend and cutting a 27.1 quarter with no dispute. Buter was then kind to the 5-year-old daughter of Captaintreacherous, allowing her to stroll the middle-half in just 58 seconds, reaching three-quarters in 1:25.1 as Machnope and Andrew McCarthy pulled to make a token bid. No one would get within a length of Blue Ivy, as Buter called on her, and she responded with a 27.2 final quarter, holding a clear advantage to the wire. Caviart Cherie had raced in the pocket throughout and fought hard enough for the place spot. Trained by Todd Buter and owned by Renee Bercury, Blue Ivy completed the five-leg preliminary round with an impressive scorecard that included three wins and two second-place finishes. Friday's 1:52.3 mile was her fastest of the series and her sixth win in 2021 in just 10 starts. Unofficially, the eight mares that advanced to the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final are: Blue Ivy (325 points), Alexa Skye (300), Machnhope (237), Siesta Beach (234), Caviart Cherie (222), Snobbytown (195), Monica Gallagher (178), and My Ruebe Star N (143). The final leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series will take place on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with three $40,000 fields set, including a final preview with Leonidas A, This Is The Plan and Hesa Kingslayer N in one division. Yonkers races Monday through Friday night with first post at 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - When harness racing longshot Lotus Seelster lit up the tote board in Friday night's 13th race at The Meadowlands, handicappers no doubt got right to work on the Saturday program given the opportunities that await. The 83-1 shot, driven by Simon Allard and trained by Mark Capone, paid $168.20 to win, and in the process, set up a pair of tantalizing carryovers for Saturday's card. No one had a winning ticket on the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $9,019. Those with five correct collected $85.90. The 10-cent Hi-5/Pentafecta also went unhit, as no one had the winning combination of 9-1-3-10-4, resulting in a carryover of $32,103. Free program pages for the Saturday card - as well as every Big M program - are available by going to the track's website, playmeadowlands.com. A FABULOUS FRIDAY: Thus far in 2021, handle numbers have been superb at The Meadowlands, and that trend continued Friday night, as the Big M saw its biggest night of wagering this year on a Friday as all-source betting totaled $3,237,137 on the 13 races. The sixth race served as the catalyst for yet another $3 million night of betting, the 19th out of 28 cards this year, as a total of $383,474 was put in play, $104,470 of that in the Early 50-cent Pick-4. The eighth race took in a total of $305,550 before the 10th race saw $295,705 of action, with $94,445 of that bet on the Late 50-cent Pick-4. 'ART' WINS ANOTHER: Preppy Art was claimed by trainer Kyle Spagnola for $12,500 last week and paid immediate dividends to his connections by crushing his foes in the second leg of the GSY Series on the pace. The 9-year-old gelded son of Art Colony - Electric Smile was clear of the field by 4¾ lengths at the conclusion of a season's-best 1:53.2 mile. As the 9-5 second choice, Preppy Art returned $5.80 after using a huge brush down the backside when called upon by driver Robert Hechkoff to win for the fourth time in his last five starts. PREPPY ART REPLAY   THE KIDS ALRIGHT: Tyler (T.J.) Miller made his parents proud by winning twice on the card. The 23-year-old son of Andy and Julie Miller guided Gottalovemyshadow (race eight, $12.40 to win) and Bettor Notbitter A (race 12, $7.80) to victory lane to up his numbers at the meeting to four wins from just 23 starts (17 percent) Both of Miller's victories were with horses trained by Edwin Quevedo, who finished the night with three victories. A LITTLE MORE: Mark MacDonald and Scott Zeron joined Miller with two driving victories apiece. ... Chalk players took it on the chin, as for a second consecutive card only two public choices went to the winner's circle. Favorites have won just four times over the last 26 races (15 percent). ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. by Dave Little, for The Meadowland