Pompano Beach, FL...May 7, 2017...In a classic harness racing "fist fight to the finish," Fritzie Pic Up Man, driven by Wally Hennessey, eked out a photo finish victory over a very game Arsenal, with Dave Ingraham in the bike, in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night. The official margin of victory was a head at the end of the 1:50.3 mile with Goldstar Raider and Kevin Wallis teaming up for third, five lengths off the winner. St Lads Lotto was fourth while the favored Heart Felt picked up the nickel in the classy sextet of pacers. At the outset, Arsenal, leaving from post five, left with his usual alacrity to take command with Thebestofjoel, leaving from post one, in close pursuit as Fritzie Pic Up Man wended his way carefully into third in front of Goldstar Raider. The opening quarter was in a hot :26.3 with the first four positions remaining stagnant through a half in :54.4. On the backside, Hennessey pulled the trigger on Fritzie Pic Up Man and he quickly engaged Arsenal in war and pushed his head in front past the third station in 1:22.2. In the lane, these two pulled away from the field and fought tooth and nail right to the wire with the photo finish camera needed to separate the two at the wire. After the race, driver Wally Hennessey remarked, "Well, that was something. Neither of us gave an inch in the lane. "Turning for home, I thought I had the advantage but Dave's (Ingraham) horse (Arsenal) still had a lot of fight in him and it was touch and go right to the line." Trained by Gaston Lareau for JP Houle Stables, Fritzie Pic Up Man, a six year-old gelded son of Always A Virgin, won for the fourth time in 18 starts this year, sending his seasonal bankroll to $31,945. Career-wise, Fritzie Pic Up Man has 21 wins in 94 starts for bounty of $173,907 to go along with a 1:50 over the Harrah's Philadelphia oval. As the second choice in the wagering at 2 to 1, Fritzie Pic Up Man paid $6.80 to win. Besides the feature, Hennessey won four other races as he piloted Skeeball ($2.60), Silver Spir ($10.80), Trillionair ($12.80) and Beignet ($2.80) to the winner's circle, bringing his victory total for the last three racing programs to 18. Dave Ingraham won three on the Sunday night card as he drove Deli-Craze ($10.60), A Fool For Mark ($5.20) and Needles And Pins ($12.60) to victory. Hennessey and Ingraham accounted for the final eight wins on the Sunday program. Racing continues on Wednesday night with a pair of features on tap as Keystone Bodacious headlines the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot and Sue's Night Out looks for a repeat in the $9,500 Open Pace for Mares. First post is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. John Berry
Pompano Beach, FL...February 26, 2017...First Of Itskind, giving a strong hint last week by closing fastest of all in the Open Pace, used a backstretch blitz from fifth into the lead on Sunday night (February 26) and went on to post a 10 to 1 harness racing upset in the $12,000 Open 1 Handicap, stopping the timer in 1:51.2. Handled by Tom Jackson, the six year-old gelded son of Western Terror pinned a 1½ defeat on Uncmprmising Z Tam (Mike Simons) with Sing For Me George (Kevin Wallis), making his 2017 debut, third, 5¾ lengths away. The 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Drachan Hanover, prominent early, finished fourth while Rockntouch picked up the minor award in the field scratched down to six. At the outset, Rocky's Z Tam, leaving from the outside, zipped up early to take the lead and sizzled an opening panel of :26.1 before reaching the half in :55.3. That is when First Of Itskind began his brush from fifth and, by the time they reached the third station in 1:24, he poked his head in front and then widened his margin thereafter, sprinting home in :27.2 to seal the deal. After the race, driver Tom Jackson briefly said, "This horse was very good last week and just needed some more racetrack at the end. "Tonight, I thought I would give him the opportunity by starting him a bit earlier. "In other words, I asked and he answered. That was quite a brush and he probably paced his last half under :55." He did! In fact, he paced his third quarter in :27.2 and came home in that identical time, too. Trained by Jason Robinson for owner Robert Main, First Of Itskind pushed his 2017 scorecard to 2-1-2 in six starts, good for $16,140. He's banked $182,941 career-wise to go along with his Pocono Downs mark of 1:49.4. First Of Itskind paid $23.80 to his faithful. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Fritzie Pic Up Man, handled by Kevin Wallis. This six year-old altered son of Always A Virgin left the gate with alacrity and took command an eighth into the mile and then went on to post fractions of :26.1, :54.4 and 1:23.2 before a :28.1 sprint home sealed the issue over the fast closing Pointsman, driven by Rick Plano. Heart Felt finished third after a backside brush left him a half-length back of the leader around the final bend while Whogoesfirst was fourth. Cadillac Phil managed to pick up the nickel in the classy sextet. Trained by Richard Lareau for the JP Houle Stables, Fritzie Pic Up Man won for the second time this semester in eight starts, sending his 2017 bankroll to $19,700. As the 3 to 2 favorite, Fritzie Pic Up Man paid $5.00 to his multitude of backers. Catching up on the other weekend action, the Florida Amateur Driving Club continued their generosity in assisting worthy goodwill and charitable causes with yet another contribution to Bit-By-Bit, the organization that promotes independence for at-risk youth, persons with special needs and disabled veterans. Two F.A.D.C. events were held on Saturday night and both proved to be milestones for the winning drivers, Ron Cusimano and Troy Basista. Cusimano scored with the 14 to 1 outsider Garlandsandpearls in 1:59.1 and, in doing so, won his first race since last century--his last win coming on April 9, 1999 with Strong Vincent at Pompano Park. Cusimano, who has seen very limited action in the sulky since then--only 11 starts coming into the weekend--proved he hasn't lost the winning touch by leaving, yielding and sitting chilly before easing out turning for home and edging by at the wire for his 236th career win. Basista earned his first win in exactly five years by guiding Without Me As ($15.80) to a 1:57.4 win in the Super Hi-5 finale. Troy's last win was with Cracker Justine at Pompano Park as a member of the Florida Amateur Driving Club. His weekend success was his eighth career win. Racing continues on Monday night with the headliner being the $12,000 Open Trot. Prairie Fortune returns to the racing wars after a very sharp qualifying win in 1:54.3. Trained by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, Prairie Fortune will have the driving services of John MacDonald and is listed as the 2 to 1 favorite on the morning line. Explosive Muscles, Massacaia, Boli, Sooo Handsome, Diamond Dagger and Swan Handicap complete the talented field. Monday's card features a Pick-6 carryover, as well as a $10,000 Guaranteed Pool on the Pick-4, contested on races six through nine. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
East Rutherford, NJ - The Thursday, February 23 card opens with a pair of interesting three-year-old fillies from the Joe Holloway barn competing in a Non-Winners pacing class as the evening's first race. Joe has developed some truly great mares including Shebestingin, the fastest female Standardbred ever, who seared around The Red Mile in 1:47 a few years ago along with multiple World Champion She's A Great Lady and the 2015 Dan Patch award winning Divine Caroline. Led by the great triple Breeders Crown winning World Champion Jenna's Beach Boy ($1.9 million), horses trained by Holloway have earned more than $30 million over his illustrious career. Make no mistake, Thefoolalwaysrocks and Twist Of Fate have a mountain to climb to reach that lofty perch but both have the pedigree and are gaining experience over the winter. Thefoolalwaysrocks is a homebred owned by Roll The Dice Stable, Joe Hurley's Nom d'Course. She is by successful sire Always A Virgin who was campaigned by the same connections. This filly won a schooling race last year in 1:56.4 but hasn't raced much and the last couple have done little to impress. Twist Of Fate is an Art Major owned by a partnership that includes two long time Holloway patrons who shared in the great Shebestingin, Marty Granoff's Val D'or Farms and Ted Gewertz, along with John Travis as Four J's Stable, LLC. She's coming in on a three race winning streak including a career best 1:54.1 at Dover last month and is clearly on the right track. The fillies will race uncoupled due to bona-fide separate ownership per the NJRC. Races 7 - 9 will again be carried live on the SNY network with Justin Horowitz in the host chair. Post time is 7:15 p.m. From the Meadowlands Press Box
DOVER, Del.--- Nat A Virgin took the lead at the half and held on to win a harness racing five-horse photo ending the five-race win streak of Enhance Your Mind in the $20,000 Mares Open pace at Dover Downs on Jan. 24. Corey Callahan drove Nat A Virgin, a six-year-old Always A Virgin-Nat-a-tat-tat mare, owned by Robert Cooper J&T Silva stables, to her first local win after two-straight second place finishes. She has won 15 times earning $345,804 in her career. In the win photo, Nat A Virgin got up with Lightning Mach N (Yannick Gingras) second, Sweet Bobbie (Art Stafford Jr.), Mischief Maker N (Montrell Teague) was forth and Enhance Your Mind (Vic Kirby), last heading to the three-quarters, was a strong closing fifth. Yannick Gingras, trainer Doug Lewis and owner CTC Stable, hooked up in the $15,500 4&5-Year-Old Mares sub-feature for a 1:53 open-lengths victory by Westluckycam, a Camuck-Terror Of The West four-year-old. On Your Six (Allan Davis) was next with In The Shadows (Tony Morgan) the show horse. Yannick Gingras drove four winners. Corey Callahan, trainer Doug Lewis and CTC Stable had three wins each. Tony Morgan and trainer Jason Skinner had doubles. CELEBRITY PEGASUS, BLUEBIRD REVEREND LEAD $15,000 TROT A $15,000 Winners-Over trot for 4&5-Year-olds heads the highly competitive Wednesday, Jan. 25 feature race at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms’ Celebrity Pegasus, piloted by Art Stafford Jr., was the beaten favorite last week but was parked out after starting from post 8. Bluebird Reverend also had similar difficulties for Montrell Teague, driving for owners Denise Davis, Jan Johannsen, Holly Case and trainer Bobby Reeser. for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms. Delbert Cain and Nanticoke Racing’s well-regarded Go Byem led for driver Jim Morand) until tiring in deep stretch. Owner-trainer Bob Shahan’s Machuca is fresh from a win with Tony Morgan and drew post 1. Mike Casalino’s Earl’s Speeder raced well in his local debut finishing third with Corey Callahan. Jim Moore’s Royal Becca J made a misstep after the start for Jack Parker Jr. but cannot be overlooked tonight. l with Gregg and Tom Morris’ Doggone Slots (Roger Plante )leaves from outside post 9 in second tier. Completing the solid field of trotters are Howard and Josh Kauffman’s Drinksforthehouse and Yannick Gingras from post 8 and Tom and Gregg Morris’ Doggone Slots who had been racing well for Roger Plante in Rosecroft features. Weekday post time for Monday through Thursday racing is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission are free. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant’s acclaimed Buffet and for the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Top harness and thoroughbred races are featured in the Racing and Sports Book daily for 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Marv Bachrad
Lightly raced five-year-old pacer Always A Show delivered a harness racing career-best effort to win the Maxfield Drilling Pty Ltd Pace over 2200 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. Always A Show stepped brilliantly from the pole position to hold the front and from there it was little more than a procession. The Craig Hayes-trained and driven gelding settled well and traveled comfortably to the home turn the last time where Hayes called on the son of Always A Virgin for the supreme effort and he responded magnificently booting 10 metres clear. Me Mate Les burst from the pack in a late bid to chase the leader down but he fell short by almost four metres with Boutique Art 20 metres away third. Peter Staples
ANDERSON, Ind.-October 14, 2016 - He may not be a household name or a colt that people set a DVR to witness, but watch out world, On The Virg is on verge of stealing the harness racing spotlight all for himself. After all, who captures their first officially timed trip around an oval by the length of the homestretch and more? "He is such a nice colt," said conditioner Jim Daily. "You would not even know he is in the barn and he is so nice to drive. Josh Green called me after he won his first qualifier at Northfield by 40 lengths. I had a doctor's appointment that day, but after Josh called me up, I went up to Michigan and brought him home with me." Bred by Lavon Miller of Topeka, Ind., On The Virg is son of Always A Virgin and the Cam's Card Shark mare Modern Bobbi. Owned by Richard Lombardo, Howard Taylor, David Kryway and Eric Goodell, the gelding will attempt to place himself on center stage when he vies for the lucrative and prestigious victory in the $220,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final on Saturday (Oct. 15). The 2-year-old will begin pacing from the coveted rail position as the 2-1 morning line favorite with Brett Miller gripping the lines. On The Virg will compete against a field of 10 rivals, but due to his previous performances, it appears only Rock N Tony (post two, Trace Tetrick, Erv Miller, 9-5) and Limited Edition (post 10, Sam Widger, Perry Smith, 5-1) have an opportunity to claim a championship crown as their own. "I have two very good colts and I'm not sure which one is better," Daily said. He was referring to Ohio Triple Crown victor Scotch McEwan, a son of McArdle and the Stand Forever mare Forever Ivy that has collected $213,462 on the racetrack. "They are just suit each program so well," Daily said. "On The Virg has so much speed and he is suited to a larger track like Hoosier." While the gelding has yet to net over $100,000 in career earnings, it appears to be only a matter of time before he leaves that milestone in his wake. On The Virg has banked $95,250 and sports a record of 10-5-1-1. His lifetime mark of 1:52, with a sparkling last quarter panel in :27 , was paced on Aug. 18 in an Indiana Sire Stakes elimination at Hoosier Park. "He is so fast it is easy to let him get into the race right off the gate," Daily said. "But you can do anything with him because he is so professional. He does not act like a 2-year-old. It's like he is an older horse. He behaves like a 4-year-old out there." With a premium draw and a $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes triumph already on his resume, On The Virg is poised to place his name in the history books on Saturday night. "I think he is really going to show us something," Daily said. "He has a nice post and I feel like he is ready. He was a small horse when I bought him, but he has grown over the summer. He's still not a big horse, but he has filled out. He is a very talented colt and I'm looking forward to next year with him." The $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for two-year-old pacing colts will be part of a stakes filled card at Hoosier Park on Saturday. With over $2 million in purses to be distributed on the evening, The star-studded 14-race card will showcase the best trotters and pacers in the state of Indiana and provide an exciting conclusion to the 2016 Indiana stakes season. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Story by Kim French, on behalf of the United States Trotting Association.
Cranbury, NJ - The world's fastest pacer, Always B Miki, who recently reset the time standard in harness racing to 1:46, leads a group of 39 eligible harness racing pacers for the $400,000 Breeders Crown Pace slated for Friday, Oct. 28, at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Always B Miki, the defending Breeders Crown Pace champion, is one of a record six Breeders Crown champions among the eligible pacers: the 5-year-old son of Always A Virgin is joined by Freaky Feet Pete (2015 sophomore pacing champ); Foiled Again (2013 Open Pace); Luck Be Withyou (2013 freshman champ); McWicked (2014 sophomore champ); and Traceur Hanover (2014 2-year-old-colt pace champ). Both Freaky Feet Pete and McWicked have called it quits this season. Also eligible is the sensational Shamballa, who was just 1-1/4 lengths back of Always B Miki in that historic 1:46 mile, and also defeated both divisional leaders Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit in a 1:47.1 score in the U.S. Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day, Aug. 6. Shamballa is driven by the red-hot Scott Zeron, who is having a career year at age 27, having just won the Triple Crown of Trotting with Marion Marauder. Zeron has more than $800,000 in Crown earnings though he is still seeking his first title. One of four Breeders Crown events slated for the Meadowlands on Friday, Oct. 28, the Crown Pace will be featured in a one-hour live broadcast on SNY (SportsNet New York) from 9-10 p.m. (EDT). The battle for division supremacy may very well come down to the Breeders Crown, as 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit is not eligible to the program which has stallion eligibility as its cornerstone. The $400,000 Breeders Crown Pace carries a supplemental tag of $50,000, and supplements are due Monday, Oct. 17, at the Meadowlands race office. The starting fee is included in the supplemental amount, and at least 50 percent of the supplemental money, minus the normal starting fee, is added to the purse of the individual events. Horses eligible to the Breeders Crown events must enter by 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, also at the Meadowlands race office. Elimination events, if necessary, will be raced on Friday, Oct. 21. A complete listing of all eligibles to the 12 events and more information on the conditions of the race can be found at www.hambletonian.com.
Always Be Miki fastest harness racing horse in history 1:46 26.1 - 52:2 - 1:19.4 - 1:46 LEXINGTON, KY-- Making his move for the top midway down the backstretch, Always B Miki set fast fractions before driver David Miller implored him through the stretch, advancing to win the $138,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at The Red Mile in an all-time record mile of 1:46. Always B Miki got away third as Shamballa was sent to the lead through a :26.1 opening quarter. David Miller showed Always B Miki the whip and he rushed first over to claim command to the half, timed in :52.2. He continued his sprint around the far turn, passing three-quarters in 1:19.4 before being chased home by Shamballa and All Bets Off in the stretch. A five-year-old horse by Always A Virgin out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, Always B Miki won his 27th race in 50 starts, earning $2,296,368 for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter. He is trained by Jimmy Takter and paid $2.10 to win. "It's a moment I'm never going to forget," Jimmy Takter said. "You don't get horses like this for long, and it's definitely emotional to be around him. I can't wait to see him as a stallion. His personality and everything about him will be well-received through the sport. He's not the easiest horse because he had a lot of injuries, but what this horse overcame every single day nobody else did. "He has the Breeders Crown and TVG Final; those are the only two races left for him." "I really thought the three-quarters was maybe a little too slow," David Miller said. "But like I've said: he's an incredible horse and does incredible things. I couldn't be happier with him." Always Be Miki - World Record Circling by Frost Damage Blues and Lady Shadow as they battled around the far turn, Praire Sweetheart advanced to the front and defeated her older rivals to win the $112,500 Allerage Farms Filly & Mare Pace in 1:49.1. Lady Shadow set the pace, going fractions of :26.4 and :54.4 before receiving pressure from Frost Damage Blues, pulling first over from fourth, into the far turn. The two matched strides through a 1:22.2 third-quarter before Frost Damage Blues took the top. Lady Shadow retreated at the pylons while Prairie Sweetheart moved three wide, powering by Frost Damage Blues at the eighth pole. Prairie Sweetheart finished in front of Bedroomconfessions and Venus Delight, who stormed down the center of the track to finish second and third respectively. Prairie Sweetheart, a three-year-old filly by Royal Millennium out of the Masterman mare Taylors Lady, remained undefeated in 12 starts with her lifetime-best win. She has earned $155,024 for owner Let It Ride Stables Inc. and trainer Ross Croghan. Driven by Matt Kakaley, she paid $14.80 to win. We recently purchased her," Ross Croghan said. "I got a call from a friend of mine up at Pocono, and he said 'I just saw a filly that looked fantastic.' I watched the replay, and I had to agree with him, so I watched her again the next week, and the next week, and I just thought this filly has something special. "We actually purchased her the day before I was going to leave for the [Little Brown] Jug. I was going to be away for a month and I didn't want to be away from her for that amount of time, so I brought her with me. "We gave her a qualifier here last week just to see how she was and Matty [Kakaley] said she was super and that there were two seconds up her sleeve if he ever wanted to use it," Croghan also said. "I spoke to the owners, and they're both here enjoying the week in Lexington, so they opted to pop up with the supplement and watch the race, and it worked out in our favor." Prairie Sweetheart Flanagan Memory fanned off cover and trotted down the center of the track to take the $101,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot in 1:51.2. Jl Cruze was sent to the lead, clearing early race-leader Muscial Rhythm through a :27.2 opening quarter. After a :55 half, Jl Cruze braced the challenge of Obrigado into the far turn. They were stride for stride after a :21.4 third-quarter before Jl Cruze reemerged to the lead. Crazy Wow, tracking Obrigado from second over, edged three wide and trotted by Jl Cruze to take the lead before Flanagan Memory and Brian Sears rushed down the course to grab command. Crazy Wow took second, while Jl Cruze held third. A six-year-old horse by Kadabra out of the Yankee Glide mare Classy Stacy, Flanagan Memory won his 18th race in 65 tries, compiling $1,163,070 for owners Liette Flanagan and trainer Rene Dion. He paid $5.00 to win. "I was real happy to be third over," Brian Sears said. "I was just hoping Mark [MacDonald on Obrigado] went out a little bit and didn't wait too long for Ake [Svanstedt on Centurion Atm] to make a decision. This horse loves to finish up in the last quarter, so we were in a good position." "He has gotten better and better through the years. I was fortunate to drive him a year ago and win the [John] Cashman at the Meadowlands. He was a little disappointing in Canada a couple of weeks ago [in the Maple Leaf Trot], but I'm glad we're going in on a positive note; we have the International Trot coming up." Flanagan Memory By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile
ANDERSON, Ind.-September 25, 2016 - The majority of the members of the Hoosier Park audience were in attendance to witness a show of superb speed and unrivalled power. They certainly received what they traveled to the Anderson harness racing oval to witness, as Always B Miki paced yet another tour-de-force in a facile triumph in the $170,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. "I think he and Wiggle It Jiggleit are horses before their time," said David Miller, who steered the 5-year-old stallion through his mile. "They are just not like any other horses we have seen before. We will see other horses that come along like them as time goes on with their speed and how far they can carry it, but right now they stand alone." The overwhelming public selection at 1-9, Always B Miki and Miller left from the rail and went straight to the front. Freaky Feet Pete and Trace Tetrick were right on their heels from post position three as those two horses clicked off a first-quarter mile of :26.2. Miller and Always B Miki pulled comfortably away from Freaky Feet Pete to lead by a length at the half-mile pole in :55. At that juncture, Dealt A Winner with Aaron Merriman at the controls and Always At My Place in rein to Ricky Macomber Jr., made their bids for the front, with Dealt A Winner passing Freaky Feet Pete to take second and locking the 4-year-old stallion in the pocket. After three-quarters in 1:22.3, the six horse field entered in the stretch with Always B Miki and Miller still reigning supreme. As they were set down for the final push to the wire, Freaky Feet Pete's only option for victory was the passing lane, while it appeared Dealt A Winner and Always At My Place, had far too much real estate to cover to even draw even with the leader. Tetrick and Freaky Pete punched through the inside to give chase and despite a :25.4 final quarter panel on their part, it was simply not enough to relegate Always B Miki to their rearview mirror prior to the finish line. Miller and Always B Miki crossed the finish line in 1:48.2. Like Freaky Feet Pete, Always B Miki came home in :25.4, yet it appeared the stallion could have went much more swiftly if Miller had truly asked for what remained in reserve. After a valiant effort, Freaky Feet Pete was second with Always Bets Off rushing from sixth to claim the show position over the fading Dealt A Winner. Owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, world and Indiana champion Always B Miki, is conditioned by Christina's husband Jimmy. The son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper, paid a paltry $2.10 for a trip around the Anderson oval that truly demonstrated his hooves step in rarefied air, with the exacta paying $4.20 and the trifecta $18.00. After the winner's circle festivities were complete, Miller solemnly stated what over recent months is beginning to become very obvious. "I have driven a lot of very good horses over the years," he said. "I've been doing this for a long time, but this horse has to rank up there with the best of them and he may be the best." **By: Kim French, for Hoosier Park**
Columbus, OH --- When the horses placed their hooves on the track for the post parade of the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial on Saturday (Sept. 10) at Eldorado Scioto Downs, the throng lining the fence let out a roar for defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. The stands were packed to catch a glimpse of an athlete that has captured the hearts and imaginations of legions of harness racing fans during his two-year career. When the horses crossed the finish line, however, all those in attendance had shifted their adulation to honor the effort of his winning rival, Always B Miki, for not only had they been privy to witness greatness, but they were present for a world record equaling performance of 1:47, that will surely become an integral component of the sport’s history. That time equaled the all-age mark for a pacer on a five-eighths-mile oval set by Sweet Lou in 2014 and equaled by Always B Miki in both the Ben Franklin elimination and final earlier this year. Those miles all came at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “He’s a big horse alright,” said his pilot Brett Miller in the winner’s circle immediately after handing over the lines. “He has so much power. You just can’t let him get too into himself.” When the superb field of nine left the gate, Always B Miki, who commenced pacing from post six, was the 4-5 favorite but Wiggle It Jiggleit at 8-5 was also receiving his share of support at the windows. Shortly after the starter allowed the horses to begin the mile, Eric Goodell sent Luck Be Withyou to the lead from post position five. Wiggle It Jiggleit and his regular reinsman Montrell Teague were not content to allow that competitor to cut the mile and made their move to the front from post position eight. Miller and Always B Miki had their own designs on the lead. The crowd was gasping at the sheer speed displayed by the pacers as Luck Be Withyou had laid down a scorching :25.2 first quarter. Wiggle It Jiggleit brushed to the lead in front of the grandstand before Always B Miki procured the lead on the outside by the half-mile marker. The Jimmy Takter trainee appeared to pay the price for that effort when :53 flashed on the timer. As Wiggle It Jiggleit sat second, Always B Miki still maintained a head advantage after three-quarters in a sizzling 1:19. Wiggle It Jiggleit appeared poised to come through on the inside and overhaul Always B Miki down the lane, but the 5-year-old stallion would not be denied. After a nip and tuck battle between these two champions, Always B Miki prevailed. Several hundred feet from the wire, he repelled the bid of Wiggle It Jiggleit and hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front. Luck Be Withyou raced exceptionally well to be third, while Freaky Feet Pete, who had a very tough trip, finished fourth. Conditioned by Jimmy Takter and owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, the son of Always A Virgin paid $3.80 to win, with Wiggle It Jiggleit paying $3.00 to place and Luck Be Withyou $3.60 to show. The exacta was $8.00 and the trifecta $50.60. Normally not one to show much emotion, Takter posed with a picture with his charge absolutely beaming. When asked to discuss the heroic feat Always B Miki had just produced, he acknowledged how scintillating it was to be associated with a horse with this much ability. He also noted, however, for the stallion to consistently provide the sport with a number of 1:47 miles this season, it does require much more than natural talent. “It is not an easy thing to keep a horse at that kind of level for a long period of time,” he said. “This is a very special horse.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor
ANDERSON, Ind.-September 2, 2016 - Seventimesavirgin solidified her divisional dominance in the three-year-old pacing filly ranks in the Hoosier state as she turned in another impressive performance to take the featured event of the evening, the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies, and remain flawless in stakes action at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, September 2. With a final time of 1:51, Seventimesavirgin coasted to the wire under a hand drive to finish six lengths to the good and give driver John DeLong, who also trains the sophomore filly, one of his six driving wins on the program. Leaving from post three, DeLong eased Seventimesavirgin away from the gate to settle along the rail in third while Can't Touch This and Dale Hiteman got the first call through the first quarter in :26.2. Seventimesavirgin made her customary move to the front down the backside and when she reached the front at the half in :55, she never looked back. It wasn't until the three-quarter station in 1:24 that Seventimesavirgin began to separate herself from the rest of the field. As the field turned for home, Seventimesavirgin's lead was ever-increasing as Can't Touch This and the rest of the field struggled to stay within striking distance. Using a :27 final panel, Seventimesavirgin found the wire six lengths in front of Dalianna and Ross Leonard who rallied late in the lane. Endeavors Fantasy and Sam Widger rounded out the trifecta. As the heavy post time favorite, Seventimesavirgin returned $2.10 at the betting windows. "She's just awesome," DeLong said with a smile in the winner's circle after the victory. "She loves to pace home and loves her job. The ear plugs were still in at the wire tonight and she had plenty left in the tank. She's something special, not only to drive but for my family. We're lucky to have her." Owned by Jesse DeLong, the homebred daughter of Always A Virgin-Mrs Grant Seven notched her ninth victory of the season from ten starts. Her only loss of the season came earlier in the season in a conditioned event for three-year-old pacing fillies at Hoosier Park where she finished fourth. Seventimesavirgin remains undefeated in Indiana Sires stakes action this season and has now amassed $277,240 lifetime while winning 14 of 22 lifetime outings. The victory was one of six winners on the program for driver John DeLong who is currently second in the leading driver standings at Hoosier Park behind Trace Tetrick. DeLong also found the winner's circle with Im So Handsome for Hoosier Park's fractional ownership group, First Turn Stable. Trained by Jeff Cullipher, Im So Handsome stopped the timer in 1:52.2 to notch his fourth win of the season from 27 outings. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Saturday, September 3 with a 14 race card highlighted by the $21,000 Fillies and Mares Invite Pace. With a daily post time of 5:45 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 12. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule at Hoosier Park, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Emily Gaskin
One of the most impressive performances on the Wednesday night (Aug. 31) harness racing program at Running Aces came in a $7,200 conditioned-claiming event for pacers, when Lil Orphan Elmer ($3.40), a 4 year old gelding by Always a Virgin, who, just 3 nights after posting a new life’s mark of 1:54.1 on Sunday night, turned in a fantastic encore this evening by lowering that very mark to 1:53.3 with a commanding score by 7¾ lengths. Tonight “Elmer” and trainer/driver Mooney Svendsen took control of things early, with a sweeping move from 4th at the quarter pole to the lead at the 3/8, he then proceeded to widen his advantage from there, pacing a back half in :55.3 and final stanza in 27.4 which left the competition reeling. This was the fifth start for his current ownership connections of Scott Ehrlich and George Mc Chrystal, who purchased him in a private sale in early August, and the ultra-sharp pacer now sports 6 wins and $31,091 this season. Another terrific display of talent was put forth by Dash Point Hanover, a 5 year old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, who pulled off a 21-1 upset ($44.20) this evening with a very gutsy effort, hung nearly every step of the mile first-over, only taking the lead when it counted… at the wire in 1:53 to top the field in the $8,000 conditioned pace. Tonight’s tally was his fourth win of the season, and established a new mark for him as well, besting his previous lifetime best mile by one fifth of a second for Lessee/Trainer/Driver Jim Marino. Aubrey’s Jesse ($4.20), a 3 year old trotting filly by Jailhouse Jesse, posted her second straight lifetime mark in a row with her 2:00.1 victory tonight, (her third of the season) with Nick Roland in the sulky for Trainer Joel Mc Danel and Owner’s Mr. Carrol D & Rick Huffman in a $4,500 conditioned event. She now sports 8 wins in 11 lifetime starts. Driver Jim Marino posted a driving double on the program. The next card of live Harness Racing Action at Running Aces is the annual “Night of Champions”, which goes post-ward on Saturday, September 3rd at 6:00 pm CDT, with over $250,000 in total purses on the night. It is the closing night of the 2016 Live Racing season, and we will crown all of the Minnesota-Sired Champions for 2016. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer
ANDERSON, Ind.-August 26, 2016 - Seventimesavirgin turned in a dominant performance to find the winner's circle in the featured event of the evening, her split of the $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies, on Friday, August 26. Scoring in 1:51.4 over a track rated sloppy, Seventimesavirgin recorded her fifth consecutive win at Hoosier Park and remains undefeated in Indiana Sires Stakes action this season. Driven and trained by John DeLong, Seventimesavirgin grabbed an early spot along the rail in second while Shady Caroline and Ricky Macomber Jr. were the first to get a call through the opening panel in :28.1. DeLong gave his filly the green light down the backside and she ranged up to take the lead just past the half in :56.4. At the three-quarter clocking in 1:25.1, Seventimesavirgin's looked strong and the front as her lead was ever increasing. As the field turned for home, Seventimesavirgin began to put her talent on display and pace away from the rest of the field. Using a :26.3 final quarter, Seventimesavirgin finished six lengths in front of Dalianna and LeWayne Miller. Shady Caroline and Ricky Macomber Jr. rounded out the trifecta. As the heavy betting favorite, Seventimesavirgin returned $2.80 to her backers at the betting windows. Owned by Jesse DeLong, the homebred daughter of Always A Virgin-Mrs Grant Seven notched her eighth victory of the season from nine starts. Seventimesavirgin has now amassed $239,740 lifetime while winning 13 of 21 lifetime outings. DeLong also captured the first division of the stakes action for sophomore pacing fillies behind Can't Touch This for trainer Roger Welch. In a near gate to wire effort, Can't Touch This dictated fractions of :56.2 and 1:25.1 before kicking home in :27.4 to win in 1:53. Also sent off as the post time favorite, Can't Touch This returned $5.80 at the betting windows. Owned by W. DeLong, W.DeLong, D. Riccolo, and J. DeLong, the daughter of Rockin Image-Fox Valley Monika recorded her fifth win from ten seasonal starts. Can't Touch This has now bankrolled $262,005 lifetime while winning 12 of 26 career outings. With the victories, Seventimesavirgin and Can't Touch This earned their spots in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies slated for Friday, September 2 at Hoosier Park. The Indiana Sires Stakes season will culminate with a $200,000 Super Final for each division at Hoosier Park on October 15. Live racing will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, August 27 with a 13-race card that will start at an adjusted post time of 4:30 p.m. to prepare for Chicago in concert after live racing. Saturday's 13-race card will be highlighted by the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Emily Gaskin
ANDERSON, Ind.-August 24, 2016 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino highlighted the Wednesday, August 24 card with a pair of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals and it was Hoosier Park's leading harness racing driver, Trace Tetrick, who teamed up with trainer Erv Miller to sweep both divisions. It was the third round of five $75,000 preliminary finals offered throughout the stakes season for the freshman fillies. Hah ChaChaCha made amends for last week's second place finish in the eliminations to pull the 7-1 upset and score in a new lifetime best of 1:53.3 in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old pacing fillies. Tetrick made his game winning move down the backside and Hah ChaChaCha did the rest to finish two lengths in front of her next closest competitor. Leaving from the trailing post ten, Hah ChaChaCha settled along the rail in sixth while Amazing Arya and John DeLong were setting the early tempo. Amazing Arya dictated fractions of :26.4 and :55.2 but Jason Dillander had the heavy post time favorite, Firstup, out and firing. Firstup grabbed the lead just before the third station in 1:24.3 but her lead would be short-lived as Hah ChaChaCha made a sweeping move to the lead and never looked back. Always Giggling and Andy Shetler staged a determined rally late in the lane but would have to settle for second place honors while Pretty Image and Dale Hiteman were third. Hah ChaChaCha returned $16.80 to her backers at the betting windows. "She had to work hard tonight off of that trip," Tetrick noted after the victory. "We made a bridle change after her elimination last week and she responded gamely tonight. There was a head wind and the conditions weren't ideal but she raced great." With the win, the homebred daughter of Always A Virgin-Miss Atm notched her fifth victory from nine lifetime starts. Owned by Shim Racing LLC, Hah ChaChaCha has now bankrolled $73,313 for her connections. Coming off the victory in the pacing filly final, Miller and Tetrick were holding a hot hand in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old trotting fillies and Foxy Swan delivered as the 3-5 post time favorite. Foxy Swan solidified her divisional dominance in the two-year-old trotting filly ranks as she scored an easy two length victory and second $75,000 final win on the season. Driving confidently from the start, Tetrick pulled Foxy Swan just past the half and she maintained a clear advantage all the way to the wire. Stopping the timer in 1:58, Foxy Swan used a :29.2 final quarter to hold off a late charge from Doug Rideout and Ajessia. Donnas Dream and Robert Taylor rounded out the trifecta. As the heavy betting favorite, Foxy Swan returned $3.80 at the betting windows. "She raced great," Tetrick said. "She got to sit in for a good portion of the trip and was strong all the way to the wire. Erv (Miller) and his team have been doing a great job keeping them sharp all season." Owned by the Ervin Miller Stable and Anthony Lombardi, the daughter of Swan For All-Fox Valley Click has now won four of seven lifetime outings. With the win, Foxy Swan sent her seasonal earnings over the $100,000 mark as she has now amassed $107,286 lifetime. The Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday, August 25 with the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Three $20,000 eliminations for the three-year-old colt and gelding trotters will also compliment the 14-race card for Thursday. Live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:45 p.m. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Emily Gaskin
Freehold, NJ --- Older male pacer Always B Miki is the unanimous No. 1-ranked horse in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The harness racing 5-year-old stallion by Always A Virgin won last week’s William R. Haughton Memorial, defeating a field that included No. 2 Wiggle It Jiggleit and No. 7 Freaky Feet Pete. Three-year-old male trotter Southwind Frank moves to No. 3 in the rankings, coming off his victory in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Four-year-old female trotter Hannelore Hanover also moves up, to No. 4, thanks to beating the boys in the Hambletonian Maturity. Meadowlands Pace winner Control The Moment joins the Top 10 at No 8. Also new to the rankings is Golden Girls winner Lady Shadow, at No. 10. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 9 – 7/19/2016 Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Always B Miki (35) 5ph 8-6-2-0 $560,887 350 1 2 Wiggle It Jiggleit 4pg 14-9-3-2 $673,667 285 2 3 Southwind Frank 3tc 5-4-1-0 $390,779 217 6 4 Hannelore Hanover 4tm 10-9-1-0 $460,105 209 7 5 Pure Country 3pf 8-5-1-2 $546,702 160 5 6 Betting Line 3pc 6-5-1-0 $492,030 151 3 7 Freaky Feet Pete 4ph 9-5-2-1 $327,802 147 4 8 Control The Moment 3pc 7-3-1-1 $527,063 146 -- 9 Racing Hill 3pc 7-2-4-1 $624,202 72 8 10 Lady Shadow 5pm 11-5-1-1 $315,733 67 -- Also: Resolve (29); Marion Marauder (27); Obrigado (12); Broadway Donna (8); Caprice Hill, Rockeyed Optimist (7); Bee A Magician, Mel Mara (6); Shamballa (4); Bit Of A Legend N, JL Cruze, Missile J (3); Magnum J, Rockin Ron (2); Maestro Blue Chip, Shake It Cerry (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After two rounds, Always B Miki remains the undisputed champion of the Free-For-All pacers. The 5-year-old again affirmed his standing as the king of what has become harness racing's glamour division, improving to 2-0 in the second high-profile matchup with Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete. Always B Miki took command down the backstretch with a powerful brush past Wiggle It Jiggleit and went on to a three-quarter length victory over 39-1 shot Shamballa in the $471,800 William R. Haughton Memorial Saturday night at The Meadowlands. And it was another world record--his third straight--pacing the 1 1/8 miles in 2:01.1 as the 2/5 favorite in the 12-horse field. Always B Miki ($2.80) posted a fourth straight win, improving his season mark to 6-2-0 in eight starts for trainer Jimmy Takter and the ownership team of Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter. "He's just a fantastic horse to do what he does," Jimmy Takter said. "He's gone through a lot. It takes a special horse to come back from all the injuries he had. It gets me very emotional every time I see him race." The most surprising aspect of the Haughton was the determined showing by Shamballa, who ranged up first-over to challenge Always B Miki and hung in gamely right to the finish. Wiggle It Jiggleit, stung by a :25.3 opening quarter while forced three-wide as he worked his way to the front from post 10, finished third. Freaky Feet Pete was fourth. The stage for the Haughton was set in the Ben Franklin Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 2. Always B Miki won that first meeting, a 1:47 mile equaling the world record. Wiggle It Jiggleit, the defending Horse of the Year, bested Freaky Feet Pete last weekend in the Graduate over the sloppy track at Big M, a race restricted to 4-year-olds. Returning after the week off, Always B Miki delivered another dynamite performance as the leader in the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll again cemented his grip on the top spot. By Mike Farrell, for the Meadowlands