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Star Tasmania harness racing pacer Resurgent Spirit delivered a sensational performance to win an open discretionary handicap over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding started off the sole back mark of 30 metres and while he settled last and was still in that spot when the field entered the home straight the last time he somehow found a way to win. When driver James Austin called on Resurgent Spirit for the supreme effort in the home straight the six-year-old gelding laid his ears back and charged home to win narrowly from dead-heaters Major Callum and Chief Destroyer. "The way he had been working at home on the training track I knew he'd be able to deliver that sort of performance," Whitmore said. Resurgent Spirit (American Ideal-Resurgent Star) will be aimed at the $40,000 Tasmania Cup to be run in Hobart in late December. Peter Staples

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 17, 2016 -- Showing no ill effects from a layoff of more than six weeks, Spreester used a three-wide backside burst to capture Monday's harness racing's $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Aniston Seelster vaulted to the front from post 8 but had to blaze a front half in 26.1/54.4 to stay there. That was the signal for Aaron Merriman to move Spreester from mid-pack. The 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree responded by gobbling up Aniston Seelster and holding off the rallying Show Runner by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:51.3. Best Of Jenna finished third. Bill Bercury trains Spreester, who was won 31 of 86 career starts and $514,576, for Renee Bercury. Jim Pantaleano piloted three winners on the 14-race card while Doug Snyder enjoyed a training/driving double. On Tuesday, Oct. 18, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $10,000 total-pool guarantee 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 $3,163.43. In addition, Tuesday’s card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 10-14) 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 is 1 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Resurgent Spirit returned to harness racing after a five-month lay-off with a brilliant win in an open discretionary handicap over 2579 metres at Hobart on Sunday night. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding was spelled after winning the Brighton Cup in May that followed a game victory in the Plunkett Family Ascot Gold Cup. The gelded son of American Ideal was a star juvenile who was unbeaten in nine starts as a two-year-old and he won his first four starts as a three-year-old before suffering his first defeat in the Tasmanian Derby. On Sunday night he stepped well from his 10-metre handicap and after travelling 600 metres his driver James Austin sent the gelding charging around the field to take up the running. He looked vulnerable on the home turn but when he was seriously challenged 200 metres out he dug deep and was drawing clear of his rivals on the line to score by over three metres. Resurgent Spirit has notched 26 wins and 10 minor placings from 45 starts for $182,732 in stakes. Peter Staples

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 7, 2016 - Harness racing favored Devil Child (Eric Goodell, $6.30) was gifted an early pocket and then held off the cavalry Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 5, she and her inside foe, Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) both had designs on the lead. The latter made it before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile as Devil Child found a wide berth in front of Rock N Roll Xample (Dan Dube). A cheapy :56.2 half should have played the leader, but why give away the ending here? Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) offered just token, first-up abuse in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with Sell a Bit N owning a length lead into the lane. However, the leading lass wasn't up to it here, tiring noticeably...but not until she carried Devil Child where she needed to go. Devil Child ducked inside and was able to get the jump on her belated foes. She whipped a flying-from-last Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.4, with Regil Elektra (Joe Bongiorno) a late-arriving third. Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) and Rock N Roll Xample rounded out the payees, the five cashers separated by just a length-and-three-quarters at the wire. For Devil Child, a 4-year-old statebred daughter of American Ideal co-owned by Susan Oakes & Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was her sixth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $40.40, with the triple returning $324. Frank Drucker

In The Huddle (American Ideal) pulled off a mild harness racing  upset in the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Joe DeCarlo-trained pacer rode a three race win streak into his debut in the local Open. Reinsman Jimmy Devaux took the 9-1 shot In The Huddle back early as the fractions were fierce in lap one of the $16,000 feature. After sitting patiently while first half splits of 26.3 and 54.4 were carved out, In The Huddle made his move up the backstretch before fanning to the far outside turning for home. The four year old pacer emerged victorious from a scramble in the stretch, coming on to win in 1:52.4, besting BJ's Guy (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and Southwind Amazon who finished second and third, respectively. Less than three lengths covered the entire field at the wire in what was one of the most competitive local features in the 2016 season at the Spa. In The Huddle, a $10,000 claim back in June, has rattled off six wins in his eight starts out of the DeCarlo stable. Paying $20.40 to win, In The Huddle led an exacta that paid $75 and a triple that came back $460. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon featuring a pick 5 carryover of $2,586. The matinee kicks off at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Vernon, N.Y. -- Empire Breeders Classic winner Fresh Cut lends a fair bit of star power to a stakes-laden 15-race harness racing program on Saturday (September 17) evening at Vernon Downs, as he has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite in his $45,000 Excelsior Series final for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, carded as the night's tenth event.   Leading up to his 17-1 upset in the $240,475 Classic at Tioga on August 28, the son of American Ideal enjoyed success on the Excelsior circuit, winning four of eight such events across the Empire State this summer. He looks for a third straight win and the eleventh of his career in Saturday night's event just twelve days after a 1:51.2 victory in a $59,100 New York Sire Stakes event at the Miracle Mile, and Marcus Miller will once again handle the driving duties for the Bay Pond Racing Stable and trainer Erv Miller.   In the $45,000 Excelsior final for 3-year-old pacing fillies, carded as race eight, 12-time winner Rolling Going Gone has been installed the 5-2 early choice after eight wins and a runner-up finish in nine Excelsior events on the year. Jim Morrill, Jr. will drive the capably versatile Roll With Joe filly for owner Ross Bonafield and trainer Erv Miller. Morrill will also take the lines of the other two Excelsior morning line favorites, teaming up with Tracy Brainard trainee Wendy's Girl in the 3-year-old distaff trot (race four) and Trond Smedshammer trainee Credevie in the 3-year-old colt and gelding trot (race nine).   In addition to the Excelsior Series finals, a quartet of $50,000 New York Sire Stakes consolation events are scheduled on the Saturday Vernon card. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Marcus Miller swept the Labor Day (September 5) features at Vernon Downs, capturing both $59,100 New York Sire Stakes events for harness racing 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings with Bottom Deals ($9.80) and Fresh Cut ($5.70), both by American Ideal.   The eighth event of the day saw Bottom Deals take advantage of the pocket a fair bit longer than Fresh Cut before edging clear in mid-stretch to a 1:49.2 triumph, shaving two-fifths of a second off the track record for 3-year-old pacing colts previously held by Jeneral Patton and Tim Tetrick. Bottom Deals drafted behind 6-5 favorite Talk Show (Morrill) through splits of :26, :53.4, and 1:22, but had to wait until turning for home to make his move, where he split Talk Show and the first-over Tap Into Power (Dobson), who bore out off the corner. Bottom Deals sprinted off at first asking to defeat the late-rallying Fine Diamond (Kakaley) by 2-1/2 lengths; Talk Show was a reeled-in third. Linda Toscano trains Bottom Deals for CC Racing, LLC, the Camelot Stable, Inc., and John Cancelliere.   Just three races earlier, Fresh Cut did well to follow through after his Empire Breeders Classic triumph at Tioga, vacating the pocket on the clubhouse turn to take charge from Stolen Glimpse (Matt Kakaley) after a :27 first quarter. Fresh Cut enjoyed nearly complete control of the terms from that point on, shrugging off a mild first-over bid from Nox Vegas Bluechip (Billy Dobson) before successfully defending one final push from Stolen Glimpse. Fresh Cut prevailed by a length in 1:51.2 for the Bay Pond Racing Stable and trainer Erv Miller, Stolen Glimpse held second, and Roll Away Joe (Jim Morrill, Jr.) mounted mild gains off stalling cover to take third as part of an odds-on entry.   In addition to both Sire Stakes events on the 13-race card, Miller accounted for wins with Jet Airway ($3.40, 1:49.3), Endeavor ($2.80, 1:50.2), and Manswell ($21.20, 1:59.3).   Live racing returns to the Miracle Mile on Thursday (September 8) evening; first post is at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Gary Hall sen., leading metropolitan harness racing trainer for the 2015-16 season, will make a low-key start to the new season with only four runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But he looks set to win at least one race --- with the wonderfully consistent Ideal Justice in the 2130m League Talk On Sportfm 91.3 Pace. Ideal Justice, who boasts a remarkable winning strike rate of 56 per cent, will be a short-priced favourite after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier and Clint Hall will be looking for an all-the-way win. Ideal Justice, a winner at ten of his 18 starts, enjoyed an ideal passage in the one-out, one-back position in the 2130m Schrader final last Friday night and failed to flatter in finishing fifth behind Risk. However, the American Ideal gelding is certain to appreciate a frontrunning role this week. He has led in four of his wins in WA. Bungalow Bill and Lady Willoughby are racing keenly and loom as the hardest for Ideal Justice to beat. Bungalow Bill, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has won at ten of his 21 starts for a winning strike rate of 48 per cent. He will start out wide at No. 7 barrier and there is a strong possibility that Warwick will send him forward early to race in the breeze outside Ideal Justice. At his latest appearance Bungalow Bill led from barrier one and was untroubled to win from Rycroft and Royal Mach at a 1.57.2 rate over 2130m, with finals quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.8sec. He raced without cover when a fighting second to Mattjestic Star the previous week. The Ross Olivieri-trained Lady Willoughby is in splendid form and is sure to be prominent from the No. 4 barrier. She raced without a trail for much of the way before fighting on doggedly to finish a well-beaten second to star mare Tricky Styx in driving rain last Friday night. She charged home from eighth at the bell to win from Jaxon Fella and Three Kings a week earlier. Ken Casellas

Promising American Ideal four-year-old American Boy finished last in a field of 12 last Friday night, but his trainer Gary Hall sen. is confident that he is capable of bouncing back and winning the $25,000 harness racing final of the Southern Cross Schrader final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. American Boy drew the prized No. 1 barrier and star reinsman Gary Hall jun. gave punters a strong lead by electing to drive the New Zealand-bred gelding ahead of stablemate Ideal Justice, a smart five-year-old he drove in preference to American Boy last Friday night. Ideal Justice, who won last Friday night, beating Im A Peregrine and Fernleigh Rebel, is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line this week and will be handled by Clint Hall. American Boy was restrained from the outside barrier (N0. 9) last week and raced in last position before racing three wide in the final circuit. He failed to flatter and finished last. Asked if American Boy could turn around a twelfth last week to a win this week, Hall sen. replied: “Absolutely. He’s an excellent frontrunner and is strong. He should go close.” Explaining the gelding’s last placing last week Hall said: “There’s nothing to think about; he couldn’t get into the race the way the race was run. Gary dictated the terms (with Ideal Justice) in the breeze; he walked and sprinted. “Forget American Boy’s last run. He’s a quick beginner and should hold out Northern Assassin (a fast beginner and strong frontrunner, drawn at No. 2).” Two starts ago American Boy set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 27.2sec. to beat The Odd Lover at a 1.57.7 rate over 2130m. Four starts before that American Boy led and won at a 1.54.7 rate over 2130m. He rated 1.54.8 when he led and won over 1684m at Pinjarra in April. Northern Assassin, trained in Busselton by Peter Bell, will appreciate a drop back in class after he gave a solid display last Friday night when he set the pace and finished a close third to Copagrin and Run Oneover over 2130m. Northern Assassin’s regular reinsman Ryan Bell will drive the highly-promising New Zealand-bred four-year-old Risk, who looms as a major danger to American Boy. Ash Markham will handle Northern Assassin for the fourth time in a race. He drove the six-year-old three times last September and October for a close second to Phoenix Warrior in the 2100m Italian Cup in Bunbury, a win in the 2692m Alcoa Cup at Pinjarra and a third behind Soho Lennon and Mighty Flying Thomas over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Risk, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, gave a bold frontrunning display to score an easy victory from Kiwi Legend and Mattjestic Star at a 1.55.2 rate over 2130m last Friday night. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 27.1sec . That improved the Changeover stallion’s record to 11 wins and eight placings from 32 starts. The Mike Reed-trained four-year-old Kiwi Legend is racing keenly, but will need a shade of luck to overcome barrier No. 8. Ken Casellas

HARRINGTON, Del. - Howard Taylor's Shine N Shimmer with harness racing driver George Dennis at the control won the featured $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Tuesday at Harrington Raceway in 1:53.1. The race honored the memory of the late driver Ben Stafford Jr., who passed away on July 6. Stafford was a popular member of the local racing community and trained horses with his Dad for approximately 30 years. A large contingent of friends and family members were present in the winner's circle. Shine N Shimmer, a daughter of American Ideal, notched her 33rd career win for trainer Mike Hall. Quotable Quotes ($3.60, Montrell Teague) captured the $10,000 subfeatured conditioned pace with a 1:53.2 win for owners Chris Sharpe and Alex Hawes. The Charlene Sharpe-trainee notched her eighth win of the year. Teague and George Dennis each had three wins. Matthew Sparacino  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 4 - Candlelight Dinner appears to be on the path to stardom after another fabulous harness racing performance in the Whenuwishuponastar Series final Thursday at Mohawk Racetrack. The Casie Coleman trained filly was clearly the horse to beat in Thursday's final after an outstanding six length victory in the opening leg. A field of eight went behind the gate for the $39,800 event with $75,759 of the $83,172 in the Win pool wagered on Candlelight Dinner. The American Ideal filly didn't appear to break a sweat, as she jogged to a five length victory in 1:52.2. Driven by Jonathan Drury, Candlelight Dinner got away fifth, before making a brush to the front at the half in :56.3. The Coleman trainee made a :27.2 third-quarter look easy, before cruising home in :28.2 for the victory. Black Jack Pat, who won the second leg, finished second, while Moment To Ponder was third. A $110,000 purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Candlelight Dinner is now three for three to start her career for owners Mac Nichol, Let It Ride Stable and Howard Taylor. "Right from the get-go she has just been a sweetheart," said Coleman. "She got a little hot on me like most American Ideal's can, but we taught her out of that right away, that's why J.D.'s (Jonathan Drury) been racing her the way he is. "He's handled her really well, teaching her how to race when she is a dead favourite." Through three starts, Candlelight Dinner's smallest margin of victory is four and a half lengths. Coleman noted that the filly will be aimed towards the upcoming Grand Circuit events at Mohawk. "I have no plans to take her to New York for Sires Stakes," Coleman said. "She'll have a week off and then she is in the four stakes in a row here with the Eternal Camnation, (Shes A) Great Lady and stuff like that." Candlelight Dinner's Whenuwishuponastar victory gives Coleman two victories in the last three editions of the event, as Happy Becky captured the 2014 edition for the five-time O'Brien Award winning Trainer of the Year. Candlelight Dinner While the Whenuwishuponastar Series concluded Thursday, the Define The World Series got underway. A scratched down field of five rookie trotting colts and geldings met up for the $14,000 first leg. Tom Durand trainee Seven And Seven powered by a pair of rivals in deep stretch for a 1:57.4 victory. The son of Chapter Seven followed along closely, as Cant U Spell led the compact group through fractions of :29.4, 1:00.2 and 1:29.1 In the stretch, the favourite Awol Hanover came off the back of the leader looking to score the victory, but Seven And Seven had the most trot on the far outside and got up for trainer/driver Durand to win by a length. A $17,000 purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Seven And Seven is owned by June & Tom Durand and Allan Smith. The rookie trotting colt was making his second career start Thursday after a fourth place finish in his debut on July 14. Seven And Seven The second leg of the Define The World Series will take place next Thursday (August 11). Live racing continues Friday evening at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

WILKES-BARRE PA - The old adage has it that "I'd rather be lucky than smart," but it's better still when you're lucky AND smart - as was harness racing driver Matt Kakaley, who guided the American Ideal mare Scandalicious to a 1:51.3 in the $14,000 high-level conditioned pace for mares Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Kakaley and Scandalicious, leaving from post two, were third-inside during contentious early fractions of 26.1 and 55, and things did not look good when Twin B Elite roared up three-wide down the backstretch to take on the softened front end, crossing down to two-wide and keeping Scandilicious pinned in before the parked horse had backed off. But the horse following Twin B Elite's cover could not keep up late on the backstretch, so Kakaley deftly moved Scandalicious to the outside at the ¾, and the career winner of $336,813 took it from there, drawing off to a 2¼ length victory for trainer Scott Di Domenico and owners JFE Enterprises LLC.   In the card's opener, the Western Terror sophomore filly Lindy's Nightmare ran her career record to 5 wins in 6 starts with a 1:52.4 victory in a $16,000 "nw 5 races" pace. But the victory for the 1-10* filly, who broke in her debut and since has been perfect, including winning the Town Pro Series Final at Mohawk, was very far from as easy as her backing might suggest - Brett Miller had to circle cover and come from fifth at the stretch call, and third 50 feet from the wire, to earn the neck decision for trainer Frank Antonacci and owner/breeder Lindy Farms of Connecticut.   Lindy's Nightmare had over $6600 of a $9500 win pool on her nose; in contrast, second race winner Keystone Tempo had only slightly more than $100 bet on her to win when she took an upset victory in the second half of the Early Double. Pocono's "Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, came first-over in the latter stages with his Cantab Hall mare to win in 1:56.1 and pay $77.20 for a $2 win wager. Double players fancied Keystone Tempo more than win wagerers did - the Early Double with Lindy's Nightmare on top returned $68.40.   PHHA / Pocono  

To say Fireyourguns is a local favorite would be an understatement, but the harness racing fans made it clear Saturday night (July 30) when they sent him off at 1-9 and then watched him reply in kind by winning the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs. Making his first start at the Downs this year, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) took control of the race by the quarter after feeling some resistance from Instant Thrill (Jim Morrill Jr.) away from the gate. Caprio then led the short field of five through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.3 and had a comfortable three-length advantage at the head of the stretch. As the leader paced for home, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) and Whosurpal (Todd Cummings) rallied late to make it interesting but both came up short behind Fireyourguns, who won in 1:54.3 by one-half length. Fireyourguns ($2.10), a 7-year-old son of American Ideal-Villa Hanover, is owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrence McClory, who also trains the gelding. In the co-featured $9,000 Open II, Beast Mode (Michael Whelan), who competed in the North American Cup in June, left for position and then pulled again before three-quarters to take the lead by the head of the stretch. From there he powered to an impressive three-length victory in 1:55.1. Beast Mode ($2.60) is owned by Christopher Nicol and is trained by Todd Clements. Jim Morrill Jr. won four races on the card while Dave McNeight III scored a double. JD Perrin had a training double as well. As was previously reported, the live racing card for Sunday (July 31) at Batavia Downs has been cancelled. Live racing will resume on Wednesday (Aug. 3) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Five-year-old Our Ideal Act, the least experienced runner in the $23,000 Garrard’s Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup, has an outstanding harness racing record in standing-start races and he has the ability to overcome the 20m handicap and win the 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred gelding, owned and trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won 11 times from just 23 starts, with nine of those wins in stands --- two from nine starts in New Zealand and seven from 14 starts in Western Australia. Our Ideal Act bounced back to his best form three Fridays ago when he started from 10m and was 11th with two laps to travel. Ryan Warwick then sent him forward and he sustained his three-wide burst to be fifth at the bell before he sprinted over the final two 400m sections in 28.6sec. and 28.3sec. to get up in the final stride to defeat the pacemaker Importer Exporter. That was his tenth win from his past 15 starts. He is by American Ideal and is closely related to former star mare Tupelo Rose, who retired with a fine record of 101 starts for 35 wins and 25 placings for stakes of $1,146,603 Our Ideal Act is out of In Hollywood, a full-sister to the brilliant Tupelo Rose. Tupelo Rose won 12 races in New Zealand, 12 in Australia, one in Canada and ten in the United States. She won five group 1 and two group 2 events in New Zealand and her Australian victories included the Victoria and Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in 2000. The Bonds also have another strong chance in this week’s Cup in nine-year-old Pay Me Cullen, who has won standing-start events at Gloucester Park and Northam at his past two outings. He will start from the 10m mark. Chris Lewis has high hopes of winning the BOTRA Cup for the fifth time when he drives tough stayer Our Jericho for eight-time leading West Australian trainer Ross Olivieri. Lewis has won the BOTRA Cup with Village Kid (1985), Elteei (1986), Mach Ruler (2009) and Tartary Gladiator (2011), but Olivieri has yet to train the winner of this feature event. The closest he has come was in 2010 when Lewis drove 7/2 chance Jordangarry, who set the pace and finished a close second to 9/4 favourite Albert Jaccka. Our Jericho produced a powerful performance to win a 2503m stand last Friday week when he raced three wide for much of the journey. He then started from the outside of the back line in a mobile 2130m event last Friday night and was far from disgraced when he sustained a strong three-wide burst from the rear to finish sixth behind American Boy when the final 800m (off the front) was covered in a fast 55.4sec. He will start from 10m on Friday night. The Michael Brennan-trained Naughty Maravu will have many admirers after several strong efforts in recent weeks. Naughty Maravu will start from 10m and will be driven by Gary Hall jun., who has won the BOTRA Cup with Strike A Blow (2002), Spirit of Shard (2008) and Classic American (2015). Naughty Maravu was most unlucky when seventh behind Ohoka Cooper in a 2503m stand last Friday night when he was forced to race three wide without cover in third place for more than two laps. “We had no luck at all and were history after 700m,” said Hall. “He gets his chance to make amends this week.” Ohoka Cooper ran an excellent trial for this week’s Cup when he was eighth with two laps to travel and tenth at the bell before surging home from fifth on the home turn to win by a length from the fast-finishing Phoenix Warrior. Ohoka Cooper (10m) is trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams and will again be driven by Nathan Turvey. Seven-year-old Copagrin has been set for the BOTRA Cup and part-owner and trainer John Guagliardo has high hopes of a first-up victory after the gelding’s impressive workouts in trials at Byford on the past two Sunday mornings. Ken Casellas

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 15, 2016 - Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett won five races Friday night, included both halves of Yonkers Raceway equally-divided $167,874 New York Sire Stakes Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. A first-up Soft Idea ($24.40) just held sway in the opening $83,937 division. Grabbing an three-hole from post position No. 5, she watched 31-1 proposition Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) throw down early intervals of :28.2 and :57. Mother of Art (Joe Bongiorno), part of a three-headed, 1-20, Ron Burke-trained entry, was away second but decided not to take over from the longshot. That left Soft Idea a clear path to try it, which she did in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters. That one opened 2½ lengths entering the lane and looked to coast. However, a resurgent "Pink" made up a ton ground late, only miss a neck in 1:54.3. Dime a Dance (Matt Kakaley), trying to salvage some semblance of dignity for the failed entry, was third. Her partners, an eight-ball Art Critic (George Brennan) and a backpedaling Mother of Art, finished seventh and eighth, respectively. For third choice Soft Idea, an American Ideal filly trained by Linda Toscano for co-owning stable South Mountain, Bay's, Radio Racing and Little E, it was her second win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $301.50, with the triple returning $573. "First-time Lasix and racing her off the helmet made the difference," Bartlett said. "We're trying to get her back to the way she was last season. This was the first step." As for odds-on Time on My Hands ($3.50), she took it the distance (:28.1, :57.3, 1:26, 1:54.3) from post No. 4 in the second division. Opening to 3½ lengths in and out of the final turn, she whipped a closing No Clouds Bluechip (Brian Sears) by three-quarters of a length. American Ivy (Andy Miller) couldn't sustain her second move and faded to third. For Time on My Hands, an American Ideal miss trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Robert Mondillo, Michael Robinson, Steve Cheatham and BFJ Stable, she's now 4-for-7 this season. The exacta paid $74, with the triple returning $206.50. As was the case with Soft Idea, this winner was also racing with fresh Lasix, though she had qualified with it. "The medication helped, and I wanted to give her a safe trip, and it worked out," Bartlett said. Friday night's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by a cone-skimming Secrets Out N (Bartlett, $33.40) in a life-best 1:52.3. Stakes action continues Saturday night with the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard (2-year-old colts/geldings). Frank Drucker

Having done their homework and taken the plunge, a Werribee harness racing father-son team has scooped the brightest prospect to grace their stable. Trainer Jeff Tabone and co-owner Luke Tabone will be hoping the good times continue when their unbeaten two-year-old gelding, Cruz, steps out for his city debut in the Group 2 $50,575 Apco Tatlow Stakes. “He is probably the best young horse I have had,” Jeff Tabone said. “He has given me and my son a lot of excitement.” Cruz won by 3.7m on debut at Cranbourne on June 14, then followed up by mowing down Our Uncle Sam by a head at Geelong via the sprint lane. It’s form that was validated when Our Uncle Sam won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Silver Pace at his next start, and Mygoldengrinner was beaten a half-neck to third in the bronze pace, having earlier finished second to Cruz at Cranbourne and third to Cruz and Our Uncle Sam at Geelong. “There has been a lot of form around him,” Tabone said. “Most the horses than have finished second or third behind him have come out and won.” It’s encouraging reward on investment for the Tabones, whose gelding by American Ideal out of Close To Heaven has briskly seen his stocks rise. “We scooped him up in New Zealand from video trials,” Tabone said. “He’s well bred and in his trial he pushed out well.” Cruz was with renowned Kiwi trainer Tony Herilhy, a “good friend” of Tabone, whose phone call pursuing purchase led to a successful negotiation, and there is a sense the gelding has thus far only scratched the surface. “He has a lot more development to come,” Tabone said. “If he wasn’t Breeders Crown eligible I would have put him in the paddock and he would come back more educated next time around. “He’s a terrific horse at home, a very well-mannered horse, but when you put the sulky on he pulls a bit and he wants to run. His second run he was a bit more keen and pulled.” His behaviour will be tested on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton, when he will run into Team Tritton’s talented Blue Moon Rising, Terang flyer Jilliby Kung Fu and Emma Stewart’s Vicbred placegetter Our Little General. “They are seasoned horses and nice horses,” Tabone said. “They are coming out of Vicbred and going well and have had a lot of racing. “I’m just hoping (Cruz) handles it well. I’m sure he will, he’ll be thereabouts. Hopefully he will finish in the first four, acquit himself well and improves on his previous run. He’s a nice horse and he should be running among this echelon of horses.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 16 July 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 16 July 2016

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