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Ardyne Ace and Randy Tharps grind out a win in the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:50.4. Ardyne Ace is an 8-year old gelded son of Ace's N Sevens. He's trained by Jim Pollock Jr.for David Ehrenberg II and Daniel Fawcett of Ohio. Ardyne Ace started from assigned post five in the scratched down field of eight and Randy Tharps had the lines. Tharps was content to take off the gate and race from off the pace when a slew of leavers left hard for command. Santa Fe Beachboy and Josh Sutton landed on the front after the opening quarter that was paced in :26.4. The Indiana invader, Paco Labrook and Brad Hanners got the pocket ride behind the betting second choice. Before the half that was paced in :54.2, Ardyne Ace and Tharps were underway in their first over bid. The pressed the pace down the backside and hit three quarters in 1:22.2. Even after the :27.3 parked third quarter Ardyne Ace was far from tired. He have a game effort to win by a 1-length over a late charging Lucky Lime and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. J's Six Pak Attack and Dan Noble completed the trifecta. A mere 5-lengths covered the entire field of talented pacers. Scioto Downs continues the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge General Manager of Racing Operations,Stacy Cahill was joined by drivers, Aaron Merriman, Kayne Kauffman,Zach Mogan, Tyler Smith and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. who were challenged by Friday nights supporters of ALS. The Ice Bucket Challenge was carried out prior to first race post time. The group made donations and challenged drivers and executives at Northfield Park. Racing continues on Wednesday (August 20) First race post time is 6:30. From Scioto Downs Racino

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 13, 2014 -- Momas Got A Gun grabbed the lead with a backside burst and found the wire just in time to score in 1:55, fastest division in Wednesday's $120,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for freshman filly pacers at The Meadows. The event was contested over six divisions, with Dobre Povedane, Cover Model, Half Past Seven, Hillary's Style and Hot Chica Boomba also taking $20,000 splits. Tony Hall (Half Past Seven, Hillary's Style) and Aaron Merriman (Dobre Povedane, Hot Chica Boomba) each fashioned a stake double. Momas Got A Gun hadn't been on the front in either of her two previous starts, but she moved quickly to the top for Jason Brewer and opened a daylight lead. While that margin diminished rapidly as she tired, she held off Alexa Said, who rallied from last, by a nose. Chaxiraxi Hanover was third. "I was hoping the wire was coming pretty soon," Brewer said. "She was getting tired -- we went a big third quarter. Her last line at Pocono looked pretty good, so I figured to try and give her a chance." Virgil Morgan, Jr. trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Benear for Geoffrey Martin. Hillary's Style overcame a brutal trip -- parked out the first quarter, first over from fourth -- to down Mayela Hanover by a neck in 1:55.3, with Dew It Again third. Did winning trainer Danny Collins think the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Style could prevail after such a rugged journey? "No. She was all over the racetrack and sideways here and there," Collins said. "She showed a little bit of guts in the lane. I've been babying her a little bit. I considered putting her in the sires stakes but decided we needed to make sure we were in the final of the stallion series." Lisa Ezzo campaigns Hillary's Style, a $35,000 yearling purchase who captured her Third Straight in the stallion series. Although it wasn't necessarily his game plan, Merriman gunned Dobre Povedane to the lead from the rail, where she was good enough to hold off the pocket-sitting Terror Ain't A Fool by 3/4 lengths in 1:55.2. Terracotta Hanover earned show. "No one really left," Merriman said. "The only horse I wanted to follow was Terror Ain't A Fool. If someone else made the front, I would've made a quarter-pole move. She waited on them a little bit, and I was a little concerned because she made a break on the front last week. I got her attention, and she won easily." Casie Coleman conditions the daughter of Well Said-Vysoke Tatry for West Wins Stable and Adriano Sorella. In the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot, Daylon Miracle was dismissed at 8-1 as one of only two mares in the field, but she moved smartly first over for Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury and scored in 1:53.2 over Major Athens and Cowgirl Hall. The 5-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Daylon Marvel extended her career bankroll to $374,227. Merriman drove five winners on the 16-race card while Mike Wilder and Hall each enjoyed a three-bagger. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the program features the Meadow Cheer, a $223,960 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Rompaway Galaxy prevails in the $22,800 Ohio Breeders Stakes with a new lifetime best, 1:55.3. Rompaway Galaxy is a gelded son of Rompaway Wally out of Rompaway Wynona. He's conditioned by Krista Harmon for harness racing owner and breeder Rompaway Farms. Driver, Mike Micallef had the asignment starting from post three in the field of eight. Micallef was in no hurry, getting away an early sixth. The opening quarter was trotted in :28 and he was 9 lengths off the lead of pacesetter, Bradymeister. The pair was underway before the hit the half that was trotted in :57.2. Rompaway Galaxy was sitting third in the cover flow and just waiting for his time to go. His time came when they hit the top of the stretch and Micallef tipped three wide to trot to a 2-1/4 lengths victory. Master Mighty and Kayne Kauffman were second and Can'tcutthatchip held on for third. Paydaze On The Way upsets her stakes division with a new lifetime best of 1:54.3. Paydaze On The Way is a three-year old daughter of Look Sharp out of Shantytown Girl. She's conditioned by national leading trainer, Ron Burke for Howard Taylor, Ed Gold,Richard Lombardo and Karen Rose. Top driver, Aaron Merriman picked up the drive and started from post one in the field of six. When the gates folded, Merriman was in no hurry and found himself a fifth spot seat. The pair was content to sit at the rail after the half was paced in :56.3. Still sitting fourth,but only 2 lengths off at the top of stretch, Merriman found the space to race in the super stretch. The filly closed quickly to beat Crown Time Keeper by a head and Shakin Friskie was a game third. Friskie Adam remains perfect after taking his $23,100 Ohio Breeders Stakes in 1:53. Friskie Adam is the son of Feelin Friskie and Lottery Fever. He's trained by Dan Ater for Dr Jerry Maloon Stable. Kyle Ater had the lines and started from post five in the field of nine. Ater pushed the gate away to gain control before the quarter that was paced in :27.4 and Big Bossman and Greg Grismore landed right behind him. After catching a :30.3 second quarter breather there was never an anxious moment. Big Bossman made an unfortunate mistake at the half and gave Friskie Adam a padded 3-length lead. The colt quickly paced away from his competition and won by 5-lengths over UF Fast Feelin and his stable mate, Friskie AJ were a closing third. Sandys Victory dominates her $22,700 Breeders Stakes in a career best,1:55.4. Sandys Victory is the daughter of Victory Sam out of Amessageforsandy. She's trained by Larry Tinch who partially ownes with John Reames. Josh Sutton had the lines and started from post four in the field of nine. When the starter said go, Sutton was content to take back and let the dust settle before making his move. Anniesbluejeanbaby and Greg Grismore were on a mission and clocked the opening quarter in :27.2 and passed the half in :57. In The Grippers set out on her first over bid and pushed the pace down to three quarters in 1:26. A well-played game plan paid dividends to her connections when Sandys Victory made her backside brush and trotted clear of her foes by 6-1/2 lengths. Turbochargedroxie and Dan Noble were a closing second and Hollys GG completed the trifecta. Easy Again takes the $25,000 Open Pace in a track record performance, 1:50.2. Easy Again set a new track record for aged horses at Scioto Downs. The previous record of 1:50.4 was held by Hoosier Favorite and Foreclosure N. Easy Again is ridgling son of Dragon Again out of Kuklapanandollie. Ron Burke trains for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Panhellenic Stable. Chris Page had the lines and started from post four in the field of six. Easy Again was making his first start after a two month lay off, but that didn't deter Page from going out for command. They set the fractions of :27, :55.2 and 1:22.3. Easy Again paced to a 1-3/4 length victory over Ardyne Ace with Randy Tharps and Lucky Lime had a late kick to be third. Racing continues on Wednesday (August 13) first race post time is 6:30 p.m. From Scioto Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 6, 2014 -- Parklane Eagle squeezed off the cones, roared through the stretch and scored in 1:53, fastest division in Wednesday's harness racing $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers was conducted over five splits, with UF Larry Alltheway, R N Nate, Lyons Geoff Jnr and Letsmakeawish taking the other divisions. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake triple behind Lyons Geoff Jnr, Letsmakeawish -- both for trainer Ron Burke -- and UF Larry Alltheway. Parklane Eagle got away first for Tony Hall but gladly accepted cover from PV Dragon. The son of Somebeachsomewhere - River Hanover was stronger in the lane, defeating his rival by a length, with Bee Happy Dan third. Hall had never before driven Parklane Eagle but got some advice from Peter Foley, who conditions the colt for Shirley LeVin. "He said to get him in the race if I could, so that's what I tried to do," Hall said. "Once I showed him racetrack, he really took off." Aaron Merriman, who piloted R N Nate to victory, also got some advice -- in the form of voicemails from Roger Hammer, the youngster's owner/breeder/trainer. "He told me, in effect, this is a stake race, so race him," Merriman said. "I was a little concerned that we wouldn't get room." Merriman had to wait for the Lightning Lane to implement Hammer's counsel, but he steered the Nuclear Breeze-R N Artist gelding to a 1-3/4-length victory over the rallying Wild Again in 1:54.1. Cabo Sunshine earned show. UF Larry Alltheway was a leisurely fifth before Palone edged him off the pylons to follow cover. Once he shed that cover, he drew off to triumph in 1:54, 6 lengths better than Final Gesture. Mandalay Spur completed the ticket. "He's a big, green, snaky horse," said Kelly O'Donnell, who trains the Dragon Again-Varbo gelding for Up Front Racing. "Last week in the Arden Downs, once he cleared, he didn't know where he was going. He ran in, he ran out and got beat. So we thought we'd teach him something today." Merriman drove five winners and Palone three on the 16-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday with a powerhouse card that includes a $231,260 PA Sires Stake for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, the $120,000 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters and the Midwest Series Final of the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Trot. Il Sogno Dream heads the Currier & Ives field on the strength of his fourth-place Hambletonian finish. First post is 6:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Ten of the best drivers in the sport of harness racing will take to the track at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for the inaugural $20,000 East Meets Midwest Drivers' Challenge on Friday, August 8. The first of its kind at Hoosier Park, the challenge will pit the top-five drivers based upon wins, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against five of the top drivers from the East in a three-race challenge with the winning team going home with their share of the $20,000 prize. Harness racings' all time leading money winning driver and Hall of Famer, John Campbell returns to Indiana and will headline "Team East". Campbell far exceeds any driver when it comes to purse earnings with over $287 million in the bike and victories in nearly every major stake to date. He is a member of both the Canadian and United States Hall of Fame and is one of only 10 drivers in North America with more than 10,000 career wins. Campbell will be joined by the nation's current leading dash-winning driver Aaron Merriman who leads North America in wins with 464 victories to date. Also included on the stellar cast of entrants for "Team East" are Ron Pierce, Corey Callahan, and Tyler Buter. Hoosier Park's leading driver Trace Tetrick will lead "Team Midwest" after he secured his number one position with 170 victories. "Team Midwest" will also include Tyler Smith, Sam Widger, Peter Wrenn and Ricky Macomber Jr. "This is going to be a lot of fun," driver Peter Wrenn said of the challenge. "They are going to be tough to beat that is for sure, but it's going to be a great night of racing the entire night. I know we are all looking forward to it." Each team will have five participants in three consecutive races of the challenge and will be awarded points based upon their placings. At the conclusion of the final race of the challenge, race nine, the points will be tallied and one team will be crowned the winner. The East Meets Midwest Drivers' Challenge will compliment one of the most highly anticipated days on the harness racing card at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino with the 21st edition of the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational slated as the twelfth race of the evening with a post time of 9:30 p.m. Racing fans will also have the opportunity to participate in a special wager offered for the East Meets Midwest Drivers' Challenge with a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-3 Pool. The wager will offer a minimum bet of 50 cents, and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, and the Indiana Standardbred Association. All of the drivers competing in the East Meets Midwest challenge will kick-off the evening with an autograph session near Hoosier Park's winner circle beginning at 4 p.m. In what is being called the "Dan Patch Festival Weekend", Hoosier Park will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside special wagers, a fireworks display, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. Also, highlighting the weekend will be a concert by the Grammy-award winning group, Little Big Town on Saturday, August 9 as part of Hoosier Park's summer concert series line-up. . Emily Gaskin

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 5, 2014 -- Piercewave Hanover, who already owned the national season's record for 2-year-old gelding trotters on a five-eighths-mile track, lowered that mark with a facile front-end victory in 1:56.1 in Tuesday's Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The $233,008 event, known as the Florida Pro, was contested over four divisions, with Billy Flynn, Lima Pride and Walter White taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake double with Piercewave Hanover and Walter White among his five wins on the 16-race card. Piercewave Hanover established the former mark in a July 15 PASS split at The Meadows, when he was ahead at every call. He duplicated that feat Tuesday, meaning that he never has been behind in his two-race career. Will the son of Donato Hanover-Passionate Glide be as effective off the trot? Palone thinks he will be. "Every time you ask on him, he's got more trot for you," Palone said. "I think he'll be even better chasing. He's very lethargic on the lead -- you have to talk to him the whole way. But he's always willing to give you more. The first time he has to track down a really good horse, he'll love it. Big future, I think." Explosive Drama was 1-1/2 lengths back in second, with Keystone Bodacious third. Chris Oakes trains Piercewave Hanover for Hauser Brothers Racing and J&T Silva Stables. Billy Flynn extended his career unbeaten streak to four when he jogged on the front end for Brett Miller in 1:56.4, 3-1/4 lengths better than My Cousin Vinnie. Bighandsbiggloves earned show. As is his custom, Billy Flynn bore out in the stretch, but Staffan Lind, who trains the son of Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones for Bender Sweden Inc., continues to regard that as a non-issue. "He still had the ear plugs in. This was easy for him today," Lind said. "He trots perfect. When we get on a big track, we'll gear him a little bit differently, and he'll be straight." Lima Pride atoned for a break in the Arden Downs when he vaulted to the lead for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt and triumphed in 1:57.2. Shoot The Thrill was second, 1-1/2 lengths in arrears, with Pierre third. "I don't know why he broke last race," Svanstedt said, "but in his first race, he hit the sulky, and I thought he did the same last race. So today we had a higher and wider bike, and he didn't hit it." Top Ten Racing Stable owns Lima Pride, a son of Muscle Massive-Pacific Legacy who has captured both his PASS starts. In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, converted claimer Boytown made it four straight with a 9-1, Lightning Lane victory for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Chelsey Wibert in a career-best 1:52.4. Tall Cotton finished second, 1/2 length back, while Better Caviar completed the ticket. The 5-year-old American Winner-P Town Girl gelding now boasts $254,658 in lifetime earnings. Stake racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday with a $100,000 PA Stallion Series stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

It would be easy for trainer Ron Burke to be confident as he prepares Sweet Lou for Friday's $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park. After all, his 5-year-old pacer brings an eight-race win streak to the event, with an unprecedented stretch of speedy miles to go with it. But Burke knows Sweet Lou isn't the only horse streaking into the Dan Patch. Dancin Yankee, the last horse to defeat Sweet Lou, also is among the pacers in the nine-horse field. Dancin Yankee, racing out of the stable of trainer Amber Buter, brings a six-race victory streak to the Dan Patch. It will be the first meeting between the two horses since Dancin Yankee won the Van Rose Memorial Invitational on May 3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Sweet Lou finished third, but since then has gone undefeated. "I think Lou is running into another horse that is racing as good as anyone in the country," Burke said. "I'm actually nervous. I think that horse is super sharp, career sharp, too. "There are other horses that could win too, but both those horses are on long win streaks. I think that's going to be a great race." Sweet Lou has won eight of 11 races this year and earned $791,500 for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. His wins include the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and Roll With Joe. His 1:47 victory in the Ben Franklin is the fastest ever on a five-eighths-mile track, breaking the previous mark of 1:47.2 that was shared by Dancin Yankee and Pet Rock. Sweet Lou has won each of his last five starts in less than 1:48, which is a record. He has been driven during his win streak by Ron Pierce. For his career, the son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future has won 30 of 66 races and $2.90 million. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and earned $1 million at age 3, but picked up only four wins and $348,638 at 4. "I'm just so happy he's winning," Burke said. "It's enjoyable to watch him race right now. I've been such a believer all along and for him to do what we thought he could, nothing feels better." Burke, who on Saturday moved past Virgil Morgan Jr. to become the winningest trainer in harness racing history, also sends Bettor's Edge to the Dan Patch. The 5-year-old gelding has won six of 19 races this season and earned $421,781. He was second to Sweet Lou in the Franklin and Haughton and fourth in the U.S. Pacing Championship. Dancin Yankee has won 14 of 21 races this year and $315,140 for owners Baron Racing Stable and Rich Lombardo. The 6-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest won the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in each of his last three starts. The remainder of the field is Thinking Out Loud, Night Pro, Carol's Comet, Heston Blue Chip, State Treasurer and Our Lucky Chip. "It ended up being a really good field," Burke said. Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Dancin Yankee, Tyler Buter, Amber Buter, 8-1; 2. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 6-1; 3. Night Pro, Peter Wrenn, Dale Decker, 20-1; 4. Carol's Comet, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 15-1; 5. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 4-5; 6. Heston Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Linda Toscano, 15-1; 7. Bettor's Edge, Ricky Macomber Jr., Ron Burke, 10-1; 8. State Treasurer, Jody Jamieson, Ian Moore, 4-1; 9. Our Lucky Chip, Trace Tetrick, Jason Miller, 30-1.  By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

ANDERSON, Ind.—August 5, 2014—A field of nine will be sent post-ward in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 8. In what may be the most accomplished field ever assembled, the 21st installment of Hoosier Park’s signature event will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m.  The race will be part of a special weekend tagged as “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The evening will also be complimented by Indiana Sires Stakes finals, sending the purse money to be distributed throughout the evening over the $500,000 mark.  The 2014 Dan Patch field boasts combined career purse earnings over $10 million and includes four millionaires, three previous Dan Patch winning drivers, two Hall of Fame drivers, and one Hall of Fame trainer. Bettor’s Edge, Heston Blue Chip, Sweet Lou, and Thinking Out Loud will make their way to Indiana boasting career earnings over the $1 million mark. Ricky Macomber Jr., who visited the Dan Patch winner’s circle in 2000 and 2002, will drive Bettor’s Edge from post seven while Peter Wrenn, who won the 2012 installment of the Dan Patch, will start from post three behind Night Pro.  Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce, who was victorious in the 2005 Dan Patch Invitational with Maltese Artist, has been enlisted to drive the 4-5 morning line favorite, Sweet Lou from post five for North America’s leading money-winning trainer, Ron Burke. With over $2.9 million in career earnings, the five-year-old horse is the richest horse in the field and is currently riding an eight race win streak, most recently victorious in 1:47.2 in the US Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands.  Harness racings’ all time leading money winning driver and Hall of Famer, John Campbell, will make his way to Hoosier Park to compete in his second Dan Patch Invitational and has been enlisted to drive Thinking Out Loud for Hall of Fame trainer, Robert McIntosh from post two. Throughout his career, Thinking Out Loud has amassed more than $1.5 million with a record of 44-14-7-10.  Also joining the stellar cast of entrants as a main contender for the 2014 Dan Patch title is State Treasurer, with Jody Jamieson at the lines from post eight. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee has been tabbed as the 4-1 morning line second choice. A winner of over $750,000 lifetime, the five-year-old horse recently set a 1:48.1 Canadian seasons record at Mohawk and is the 2014 Molson Pace Champion.  Night Pro will play the role of local favorite from three for trainer Dale Decker. Night Pro, a former Indiana Sires Stakes champion, enters Saturday’s race after posting seven consecutive wins in the Invitational pace at Hoosier Park. The four-year-old gelding has won 22 of 30 career starts and has amassed over $350,000 in career earnings.  The 2014 Dan Patch field, in post-position order with named driver and trainer includes: 1.      Dancin Yankee           Tr: Amber Buter         Dr: Tyler Buter     8-1 2.      Thinking Out Loud      Tr: Robert McIntosh  Dr: John Campbell   6-1                 3.      Night Pro                   Tr: Dale Decker        Dr: Peter Wrenn      20-1 4.      Carol’s Comet           Tr: Ron Potter          Dr: Aaron Merriman 15-1 5.      Sweet Lou                 Tr: Ron Burke          Dr: Ron Pierce    4-5        6.      Heston Blue Chip      Tr: Linda Toscano   Dr: Corey Callahan  15-1 7.      Bettor’s Edge           Tr: Ron Burke     Dr: Ricky Macomber Jr.  10-1 8.      State Treasurer        Tr: Ian Moore      Dr: Jody Jamieson        4-1 9.      Our Lucky Chip     Tr: Jason Miller     Dr: Trace Tetrick    30-1  Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in two special wagers offered for the Dan Patch Invitational card. A $25,000 Guaranteed Dan Patch Superfecta pool will be available as part of the Strategic Wagering Program. The wager will have a minimum bet of 10 cents and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and the Indiana Standardbred Association. Slated as the twelfth race on the card, estimated post time for Hoosier Park’s signature event is 9:30 p.m.  A $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-3 will also be made available to racing fans in races seven through nine as part of the East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge. The East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge will pit the top-five drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against five of the top drivers from the East in a three-race challenge with the winning team going home with their share of the $20,000 prize. The top five drivers from Hoosier Park will make-up “Team Midwest” with the top five drivers from the East driving for “Team East”.    In what is being called the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend”, Hoosier Park will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside special wagers, free fireworks, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. Also, highlighting the weekend will be a concert by the Grammy-award winning group, Little Big Town on Saturday, August 9 as part of Hoosier Park’s summer concert series line-up.   Emily Gaskin Racing Commentator, Publicist and Marketing Specialist

Northfield Park has announced that Aaron Merriman, Bill Pocza, Dunkster, Myopia's Mop and Natural Ability will be the newest members of the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. Their formal inductions will highlight the Wall of Fame ceremonies at Northfield Park on Sunday, August 10. The banquet festivities begin at 5 p.m. Aaron Merriman, 36, is the youngest Wall of Fame inductee since the awards were inaugurated in 1990. His perseverance, work ethic, talent and success have been on display at Northfield Park for over a decade. He captured the local dash title in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He has 6,577 career victories to his credit. 4,042 of those wins have come over the Flying Turns, the most by any driver in Northfield's 57-year history. He has won multiple stake races at Northfield, including the 2008 Cleveland Classic with Upfront Hannahsboy and the 2010 Courageous Lady with Sand Windsor. At a young age, Aaron has already stood the test of time. He is one of the most popular horsemen ever to reach the elite status of Wall membership. Bill Pocza was a top trainer/driver at Northfield Park for many years, beginning with the track's opening year in 1957. His .416 UDRS led all local drivers at the 1965 Painesville meet, and he was famous in that decade for campaigning crack pacers Royal Black and Hope Time, as well as the standout trotter Guy Garrett. Although he drove until 1985, winning a total of 824 races, his reputation as a consummate horseman was established in the 60's and 70's when he presided over a powerful stable that competed not only in Ohio, but at top tracks in the mid-Atlantic and East Coast regions. For many years Pocza's main patron was noted Youngstown owner, Armour Lloyd. Dunkster retired in 2011 as one of the greatest Ohio-bred trotters of all time. He won 89 times, including 35 victories at Northfield Park, and captured 45 Open/Invitational trots throughout his career. Dunkster bankrolled $894,320, ranking him as the fourth highest earner among all Ohio-bred trotters. He became a world champion on May 10, 2004 when he sizzled Northfield Park's Flying Turns in 1:54.2. At that time, it was the fastest mile ever trotted by a five year-old and up gelded trotter on a half-mile track. By virtue of that world record performance, Dunkster held Northfield's overall track record on the trot for over 10 years. The handsome chestnut also holds the trotting record at the Wayne County Fair (1:57.3) and Lebanon Raceway (1:57). Myopia's Mop will be the first broodmare to join the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. Seven of her foals made it to training, six have raced, and five have been prominent names at Northfield Park. Her six starters -- Osborne's Trick, Cleaning Lady, Osborne's Bullet, Osborne's Gypsy, Osborne's Yankee and Shez Good Osborne -- have won purses totaling $1,422,341. None have earned less than $100,000, and their cumulative win tally is 159 races, with 92 of those paced over Northfield's ½-mile oval. Her offspring have five Ohio Sires Stakes Finals to their credit. Three of those championships were captured at Northfield Park, plus two Scarlet and Gray victories. Natural Ability was an Open and Invitational pacing star from the mid-1970's to 1980. He won 28 of 92 races at Northfield Park, earning $141,657. Even though he never started in a stakes race, Natural Ability accumulated 80 wins and $322,446 in his career. He took his 1:58.4 lifetime mark at Northfield Park at the age of five. He competed against Rambling Willie several times and defeated top performers Nero, Momentum and Jilley, as well as previous Wall inductees Missouri Time, Osborne's Bret and Pickwick Baron. Natural Ability was a model of soundness and consistency for the Wilbur and Bill Zendt Stable throughout his racing days, scoring a career-high 19 wins in 30 starts at age 14. Northfield Park's Wall of Fame Banquet is a triennial event. Other presentations on August 10 will be made to Dean Davis for the Distinguished Owner Award, Dr. Dan Wilson for the John Lee Good Fellowship Award, Nadine Hadbe for the Willie C. Banks Ideal Employee Award, Deb Sweney and Monica Drago for Outstanding Caretaker Awards, and Dan Noble and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. for Outstanding Achievement Awards. Ayers Ratliff

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 4, 2014 -- Don't Mind Me thwarted the same rival twice en route to victory in 1:57.1, fastest split in Monday's $80,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. KY Lucky, Master The Past and Plump Jack took the other divisions in the event for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Don't Mind Me and trainer/driver Jim Raymer had the lead at the quarter when Longcat Hanover and Dan Rawlings ranged up on the outside. When Don't Mind Me refused to release him, Longcat Hanover retreated to the pocket, only to try again near the three-quarters. The result was the same, as Don't Mind Me defeated his persistent challenger by a length, with Up Front Murray third. The time was a tick off the stake record. "He's a lazy sort of thing -- he hasn't even learned to be a racehorse," Raymer said of the son of Andover Hall-Peace Of Mind, a $50,000 yearling acquisition for Harbor Racing Stable. "If I let Danny go, chances are my horse would've just backed up and not had any interest in racing at all. So I took a shot. "Physically, he's ready; mentally, he's not. He's like a 5-year-old. He loves to be out there, his manners are super. It's just that I want him to be a little bit of a racehorse." A three-race maiden entering the stake, Master The Past erased a 4-1/2-length deficit with an uncovered backside burst that carried him to victory in 1:58.4 for Mike Wilder. Wimborne Hanover, who was on the lead when Master The Past blew by, was second, 4-3/4 lengths back, with Marion Coca a rallying third. "I totally was expecting (a big race from him)," said Clinton Guitard, who conditions the Glidemaster-So Fine Kash gelding, a $15,000 yearling purchase, for Michael Guitard. "He looked like he would win his last race, but he got a little tired. I figured he could go in the stallion series." KY Lucky made it two wins in three career starts when he quarter-poled to the lead for Eric Ledford and comfortably held off Cue Hall by a length to score in 1:59. Craig Grummel, Curt Grummel and Chili Day Stables campaign the Illinois-based youngster and sent him to The Meadows to trainer Tim Twaddle. Although he's had the Malabar Millennium-Rosalita gelding for only a week, Twaddle likes what he sees. "He's a great little guy -- I can't say anything bad about him," Twaddle said. "He's honest and game." In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, early leader Do Me Honor was shuffled to fourth but shot the Lightning Lane to notch her second straight victory for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury The time of 1:51.2 matched the career best for the 6-year-old daughter of Cheyenne Rei-Do Me Right, who pushed her lifetime bankroll to $487,858. Rescue Team was a head back in second while Novascotia Hanover earned show. Merriman won five races and Wilder three on the 15-race card. On Tuesday, Aug. 5, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $10,000-guaranteed pool for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Monday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $2,985.10. In addition, The Meadows will offer a $5,000-guaranteed pool for the Pick 4, a regular feature of the track’s Monday and Tuesday cards. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7) and Pick 5 (Races 12-16) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Tuesday’s program, which features a $233,008 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters, is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

After last night's cancellation due to poor weather conditions, the horses went back to work today only to be greeted by more rain and a track rated "good". But that didn't keep BZ Glide from going worst to first in the Open trotting feature on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 3). As soon as the gate pulled away from the six-horse field, I'm The Cash Man (Drew Monti) crossed over from post two and had the lead before they hit the turn. The remainder of the field followed in drawn order until just before the half when Studio City (Ron Beback Jr.) pulled first over from third to challenge the leader. By the time the group passed the half in 59.4 and headed to the three-quarters, a full outer flow had developed when Serious George (Jack Flanigen) and 1-2 betting favorite BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) came out to join the fray. At the top of the final turn, Serious George tipped three-deep and BZ Glide fanned four-wide as they motored towards the payoff. It was at that point that BZ Glide appeared to have a gas pedal as he easily sped away from the pack to win by a widening two-length margin. The betting choice paid $3.10 for the win. The victory timed in 1:59.1 was the third of the year for BZ Glide and brought his seasonal earnings up to $32,120. The 5-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer is both owned and trained by his driver, Mike Caprio. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. had four winners on the card and that effort put him in a tie with Aaron Merriman for the North American dash-winning driver title with 453 victories each. Wrenn won with Bailey's Magic ($5.90), Launching Tonight ($13.00), Ol' Man River ($7.50) and Four Starz Credit ($3.00). Live racing resumes on Wednesday evening at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time. Also please remember that all Back to the Track activities originally scheduled for last night (Aug. 2) have been moved to next Saturday (Aug. 9) do to the weather related cancellation. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The Ohio State Fair Stakes for two-year old colts and fillies were showcased at Scioto Downs Friday night with an impressive nine divisions of competition racing for purses from $34,000 to $50,000 depending on their class.  The flawless filly, Sunrise Nibbles remained perfect after taking her division in a new lifetime best,1:59.4. The Iron Duke filly is trained by Chris Beaver who partially owns with Synerco Ventures, Steven Zeehandelar and Dave Lang. Sunrise Nibbles started from post one in the field of seven and leading Scioto Downs driver, Chris Page was in her sulky. The pair fired out for command and never looked back. She won by a margin of 1 3/4 lengths. Sammy Star was second best and Student Of Life was a late charging third. The two-year old colt trotters,Neely's Messenger and Kick A Lot dominated in their respective divisions. Kick A Lot is a gelded son of Deep Chip out of Mac's dream. Regular driver,Kurt Sugg had the lines for trainer, Jeff Cox for breeder and owner Pius Soehnlen. The pair wired the field in a new career best of 1:59.2 by 6 1/2 lengths. Chips Starr and Kayne Kauffman were second and Really Deep Chip for Greg Grismore were third. Neely's Messenger for trainer and driver, Marty Wollam cruised to a 7 3/4 victory in 1:58.3. He's a son of Neely Dunn out of Fun Message for owners Dale and Julie Sweet. Super Sheff Frosty grabbed the place money and Ohio Chipster completed the trifecta. The two-year pacing filly, Bell Flower continued her winning ways. Taking her division of Ohio State Fair Stakes in 1:55.2. She's a daughter of Fly Fly Buckeye out of Our Lady Countess. She recently has moved into the Jim Arledge Jr Stable for new owners, Bruce and Patricia Soulsby. The dominating filly started from post six in the field of eight for driver, Chris Page. They pushed the gate away and Page was determined to set the fractions with the 1-2 favorite. There was never an anxious moment. The filly cruised to a 1 1/2 length victory over a game Friskie Lil Devil and Ronnie Wrenn Jr and Zoey's Lemon Tart and Aaron Merriman were third. Gray Camo sets a new lifetime best of 1:54.4 in his division of State Fair Stakes. The perfect son of Pine Valley out of Cg's Gem is trained by Ron Burke and was driven by Chris Page. Page worked out a perfect pocket trip and was able to get up in time by a mere neck over Nobles Finesse and Ollie Pop rallied for the show spot. The three-year olds take center stage on Saturday (August 2) first race post time is 6:30 p.m. From Scioto Downs Racino

Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 1 - All eyes in harness racing will be on the Meadowlands this Saturday for the Hambletonian and local standout Harper Blue Chip will be one of eleven trotters vying for harness racing's highest profile trotting title. Trained by local conditioner Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip will start from post position nine with driver Brian Sears in the $1,006,125 Hambletonaian, which is carded as Race 13 on Saturday afternoon. Harper Blue Chip races for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin is coming off a 3 ¾ length victory in the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 19. In six starts this season, Harper Blue Chip has visited the winner's circle twice and has only missed the board once when he finished fourth to the Father Patrick in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs on June 28. Just like the Beal Memorial, Harper Blue Chip and the rest of the field will be gunning for Father Patrick, who enters the Hambletonian on a 15 race win streak. Father Patrick is just one of three starters (Nuncio and Trixton) sent out by trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's trio are the top three choices on the morning line. Harper Blue Chip is the fourth choice in the early odds of 12-1. Steacy admits that it will be a tough task defeating Takter's trio, but that his horse is on top of his game. "We've got our work cut out for us," said Steacy. "I was quite disappointed drawing the nine, it kind of made things a lot more difficult, but our horse is going into the race really good and healthy, so I expect a good effort from him as long as we have some race luck." Since the fourth place effort in the Beal, Harper Blue Chip has dominated locally and Steacy believes Harper Blue Chip is a better horse than the last time he faced the continent's very best. "I think with the trio of Jimmy Takter's it's a big step up, but he's raced against these horses before, never been able to beat them, but he's gone against them and he's been respectable," said Steacy. "I think my horse is better than the last time he raced against these horses and I think he's improved with every start and again a lot of racing luck and you never what might happen." Steacy has an idea of the trip he would like for his charge, but will leave the strategy up to defending and two-time Hambletonian winning driver Brian Sears. "It's going to be up to Brian Sears, but I'm hoping he will try to charge off the gate...obviously you want to be as close to Father Patrick or Trixton or one of those horses that you can be." Defeating Takter's trio will be a tough task for the Mark Steacy trainee, but Steacy knows what it takes to win a million dollar race with a three-year-old trotter. In 2006, Steacy captured the million dollar Canadian Trotting Classic with Majestic Son, the sire of Harper Blue Chip, overcoming favourites Chocolatier and Trotting Triple Crown winner Glidemaster. On Saturday afternoon, Steacy will be looking to recreate that million dollar magic with Harper Blue Chip. No horse has been hotter on the WEG circuit this season than State Treasurer and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee will take his talents south to the Meadowlands to battle with the sport's top free-for-all pacers on Saturday. State Treasurer will start from post two with driver David Miller in a field of nine for the $257,700 US Pacing Championship. The five-year-old son of Real Desire - Ideal Tresurer has won seven times in ten starts this season, including a victory last Saturday night in the Preferred at Mohawk in 1:48.3. State Treasurer has started in the WEG Preferred seven times this season and is currently riding a six race win streak in the circuit's top class. All six of those wins have been sub-1:50 miles. His biggest victory of the season was on May 30 in the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. State Treasurer's rivals on Saturday include Sweet Lou, who is currently on a seven race win streak, and Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup winner. Two starts back, State Treasurer tackled this group in the $463,000 William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and finished fourth, while only beaten 2 ½ lengths. This Saturday, State Treasurer will need to bring his top game and the speed he has been putting on display. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

Dean Davis, Monica Drago, Nadine Habke, Deb Sweney and Dr. Dan Wilson will be recognized as part of the Wall of Fame ceremonies at Northfield Park on Sunday, August 10, 2014. The banquet festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. Dean Davis is the newest recipient of Northfield Park's Distinguished Owner Award. Davis has had success in harness racing on and off the racetrack. He has made tremendous contributions to the sport, earning respect as a loyal and encouraging owner with a keen eye for young racing prospects. His racing stock has been extremely successful. Davis has owned such prominent horses as Lisa Mac, Blastaway Sahbra, Gramma Gordie and his pride and joy, Dunkster. Davis convinced Northwestern Ohio trainer Ivan Sugg's son, Kurt, to go out on his own and helped the younger Sugg throughout his career launch. The two have been an owner/trainer team since 1995. "He's treated me like a son," described Kurt of their relationship. Monica Drago and Deb Sweney will be recognized with the Outstanding Caretaker Awards. They are very important to their stables' operations, and both exude passion and dedication toward their craft. Drago, a native of Stockholm Sweden, works for 2004 Wall of Fame Inductee Clair Umholtz. At the barn each morning by 5:15 a.m., she is responsible for the same five horses every day. Monica can be found in the Umholtz barn seven days a week, usually leaving by 2:00 p.m. She often returns at night to groom one of her horses or catch-paddock. Her cooperative nature and knowledge of horses makes her an asset to Umholtz and to the entire horse scene at Northfield Park. "Everyone on the backstretch knows that Monica is the best," Clair Umholtz flatly stated. Outstanding Caretaker Deb Sweney has been a groom at Northfield for 22 years. She has worked for Kathy Shermak, John Lee, Don McKirgan, Ray Crawford, Mike Weller, Mark Deaton and, since 2007, Tye Loy, a 2010 Wall of Fame Inductee. Deb is at the Loy barn by 7:00 a.m., usually six days a week, and stated she is done by 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. She gets Sundays off. Sweney, consistent with her quiet and unassuming nature, is known as a caring groom with a soft touch. She goes the extra mile and truly loves horses. "She can work anybody under the table," stated Loy, echoing the sentiments of co-workers and former employers who extol her work ethic. Nadine Habke will be the recipient of the Willie C. Banks Ideal Employee Award. Loyalty, dedication, ability and desire are sought-after qualities in an ideal employee, and Nadine embodies them all. Her ability is unquestioned, and when one talks to Nadine, it becomes very clear how much she likes outriding and how strong her dedication is to the sport of racing and to Northfield Park. The outrider at Northfield since 2001, Habke's proven competence has earned the respect and confidence of the driver-trainer colony. Summed up Aaron Merriman, the nation's leading dash driver: "She is completely awesome. I cannot say enough good things about her." Dr. Dan Wilson will receive the John Lee Good Fellowship Award. He has been a fixture on the Northfield backstretch for nearly 40 years. Wilson is known as an extremely honest and skilled veterinarian who cares deeply about horses and horsemen. "There is no nicer person than Doc. He comes to the barns every day with a smile on his face, always asking how he can help," said Amy Hollar, Northfield Park Track Representative for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association. "In the 14 years he has been our vet, I have never seen him have a bad day." Northfield Park's Wall of Fame Banquet is a triennial event. Candidates are nominated and considered by the Wall of Fame Trustees. Once a consensus is reached among the trustees, additional input and final approval is sought from the track's Wall of Fame Advisory Committee. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and Dan Noble also will be recognized for their National Dash Driving Championships at the August 10th banquet. The highlight of the evening will be the induction of five new members into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Saturday's 89th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Trot at The Meadowlands has drawn a field of eleven 3-year-old trotters going a mile in harness racing's most prestigious race. The Hambletonian is the opening leg of the Trotting Triple Crown which also includes the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. Leading the field are Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton, all trained by Jimmy Takter, who is a two-time Hambletonian winner with Malabar Man (1997) and Muscle Massive (2010). Takter is looking to become the first trainer to sweep first, second and third in the modern era of the Hambletonian. Father Patrick is the 4-5 morning line favorite and will be driven by Yannick Gingras from post 10. Trixton is 7-2 and will start from post 7 with Takter driving and Nuncio is 9-2 with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell leaving from post 5. "At this point, I have three really good horses and they're racing scary good," Takter said. "I've got to keep them fresh and make sure nothing goes wrong. I have the three best horses, and I would be extremely disappointed if I don't win the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian. It's fun. The Hambletonian is the biggest race in our sport and something you work hard to win." Father Patrick, the 2013 Dan Patch award winning champion 2-year-old colt trotter, and is perfect this year in six starts for $510,931 in earnings and is ranked second in the current Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Top Ten Poll. "He's the best horse I've ever developed," Takter said. "He's just different. He has all the things I like in a horse. He's a good sound horse. You can't find any fault with him. You can do anything you want with him. He's so handy. Patrick, to me, is the perfect horse." Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, the colt has wins this season in the Earl Beal Jr. at Pocono Downs and the Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. He has won 15 straight starts since losing to Nuncio in his second career effort. Overall, Father Patrick has banked $1,254,988 with 16 wins in 17 starts. Co-owned by the trainer's wife Christina, Trixton has six wins this year in eight starts for $283,855 in earnings. He was third to Father Patrick in the Dancer Memorial and is coming off a victory in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands. Trixton, sixth in the harness poll, has career earnings of $337,542 with 10 wins in 16 starts. "He's the kind of horse with a big future as a 4-year-old. He's improving, getting more professional and very confident." the trainer/driver noted. Nuncio, owned by Stall TZ Inc., finished second to his stablemate in both the Earl Beal Jr. and Stanley Dancer Memorial, his only losses this year in seven starts. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "Jimmy trained him from behind all winter and we've qualified him that way, and raced him that way, and he's started to figure it out. Nuncio, 10th in this week's poll, has earned $342,003 in 2014 and has 10 wins and seven seconds from 17 lifetime starts for $803,077. John Campbell has won the Hambletonian a record six times with the most recent victory coming with Glidemaster in 2006. The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares. The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Here is the Hambletonian field in post position order: Note that Don Dorado starts from post 11, which is in the second tier. 1. Resolve, Corey Callahan, 20-1 2. JJ Alex, Francisco Del Cid, 50-1 3. Doncango, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 4. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, 12-1 5. Nuncio, John Campbell, 9-2 6. Royal Ice, Ron Pierce, 20-1 7. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 8. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, 50-1 9. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, 12-1 10. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, 4-5 11. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, 20-1. The 89th Hambletonian has an approximate post time Saturday of 5:11 p.m. ET. (With files from the Meadowlands & UPI)  

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