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Joey Bats outlasts the open trotters at Dover Downs on Tuesday night once again. Joey Bats circled the field at the quarter pole and did not look back as he won in wire to wire fashion. The outside post did not deter Joey Bats and driver Anthony Morgan for trainer Andrew Harris as they cut fractions of :27, :56, and 1:24.1 before stopping the teletimer in 153.1. Home’n Dry, an upset winner last week, went off stride nearing the half. Royal Becca J and driver Jack Parker Jr. for his wife trainer Carol Jamieson-Parker finished a fast closing 2nd. Lagerfeld, and driver Corey Callahan for trainer Ed Gannon Jr. finished third. World Champion Wiggle It Jiggleit  is scheduled to qualify tomorrow morning  at Dover Downs Post time is 4:30 pm for the live racing card at Dover Downs. by Al Kraszewski, for Dover Downs

Joey Bats duplicated his harness racing performance from two weeks ago when he won the open trot in wire to wire fashion at Dover Downs.  Tony Morgan blasted out of the gate and Lagerfeld, driven by Yannick Gingras, protected rail position, forcing the race favorite Scirocco Rob to take a seat, getting away third. Joey Bats, trained by Andrew Harris, set fractions of 27  55.4  1.24 and a new mark of 152.3.  Scirocco Rob pulled first up and could not gain on the leader for trainer Mark Silva.  Majestic Marvel trained by Josh Green finished 2nd, out trotting Lagerfeld in the lane.  Lagerfeld finished 3rd for trainer Ed Gannon Jr.  The race favorite, Scirocco  Rob, finished fourth. by Al Kraszewski, for Dover Downs

YONKERS, N.Y. – San Domino’s United States harness racing debut went according to plan for trainer Andrew Harris. The Australian import started in a $17,500 overnight at Pocono Downs Aug. 17 and with George Napolitano Jr. in the sulky, tracked from fourth until the field reached the backstretch the final time. Napolitano picked up cover nearing the final turn and San Domino hit his best stride. With his driver horizontal in the bike and with a good hold of the lines, San Domino advanced into a 1:21.4 three-quarter split set by Rebellious. Turning into the stretch, Napolitano kicked out the plugs, angled three-wide, and went to a right-handed whip. San Domino pinned his ears back, extended, and glided past the pacesetter to score by a half-length in 1:49.1. “He was pretty impressive,” Harris said. “He got a perfect drive, George ‘Nap’ did an awesome job, got him a second-over trip. You know because it’s Pocono that you’re going to go fast. You can only put so much stock into a fast mile at Pocono on a nice, sunny day, but it was a good mile to see what he had, and he exploded home. “When he tipped him, he really did have a nice turn of foot, so he did everything that he was supposed to do and he looked great doing it and he came out of the race great,” Harris continued. “There wasn’t anything more to dwell on, it was just, OK, now where’s the limit, where’s the bottom on this horse and where are we going to find that?” By Somebeachsomewhere out of the Maple Lanes Strike mare Reggae Miss, San Domino went 14-for-51 in Australia from February 2016 to May 2019. Although he failed to make an impression in nine tries in grouped stakes company, San Domino earned $140,187 Australian and took a mark of 1:52.2 at Melton April 12, 2019. San Domino attracted the attention of Joe Pennacchio and Steve Oldford, who bought the 6-year-old gelding, imported him to the United States, and sent him to Jenn Bongiorno. After one qualifier for that stable July 30, the owners transferred San Domino to Harris and the new conditioner started dreaming. “It was the question of whether or not he was as good as None Bettor, or better,” Harris said. “It was that kind of mentality with him. I don’t know that they can compare them, but he is definitely a very nice horse, that’s for sure.” When he arrived in the barn, San Domino proved to have a big personality. “He goes out in the field with the Kiwi horses, loves his field time. He’s got a little quirk to him, he’s got a little bit of sass to him, but nothing serious,” Harris said. “In the barn, he’s great. His caretaker, Jamie, takes great care of him and loves him and he clearly loves her. He plays around a lot, but he lets you know he’s got a little attitude. He’s not all just friendly. If you get too close, he’ll let you pet him for about five seconds then all the sudden, he lets you know that’s enough.” On the track, San Domino takes his time, but Harris obliges the talented pacer’s laid-back training style. “On the track, it takes an extra 10 minutes to jog him than any other horse in the barn. Very lazy horse, just does everything at his own pace,” Harris said. “We let him get away with that, it keeps him happy. Training, he picks up the bit a little bit. He’s still not super aggressive, but he lets you know he’s got a little bit of a hold of you.” After his sparkling debut at Pocono, Harris brought San Domino to a $30,000 Yonkers overnight August 24. Starting from post three, Jason Bartlett put the gelding on the lead. Although he went gate-to-wire, he won by a neck in 1:52.2 as Rodeo Rock appeared to give San Domino all he could handle in the stretch. However, Harris thinks there is more in the tank. “He was actually a little bit sick and I don’t think his game is front-end. He’s just not used to being on the front-end. Most of his races down under were coming from off the pace,” Harris said. “I had an open bridle on him and Jason said his ears were going back and forth because he was looking at everything. I think it would have been more impressive last week if he wasn’t on the front because he would have been concentrating.” Harris added a hood with eye cups and San Domino responded well to them in training. He will start with the change of equipment in Saturday night’s $46,000 Open Handicap Pace. “It will be different this week because we’re adding a hood with eye cups to him so he can focus a little bit more on what’s in front of him and not what’s beside him,” Harris said. “Jason said even finishing, he wasn’t done at all, he was just looking at everything and he didn’t know what he was doing. It was almost like he was green up front. When you’ve got him on a helmet, he’s got a nice hold at the end and he lets you know he’s ready to explode whenever you want it. On the front was a totally different animal, and I wasn’t expecting that.” San Domino will start from post five in his first local Open try, just outside of Theartofconfusion, who established a new standard at Yonkers last week. The fellow Australian-bred pacer went to the front in race 11 on the Yonkers Trot and Messenger undercard, a $30,000 overnight. With Austin Siegelman in the bike for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, Theartofconfusion streaked through fractions of :26.2, :54.2, and 1:21.3 before kicking away in the stretch to win by 10 lengths in 1:49.3, logging the first sub-1:50 mile in the history of the Hilltop oval. “I think the way the Yonkers track is, it was going to break 1:50 sooner or later. The track is so good right now, I knew that kind of speed would be coming, didn’t know when, but it sure came the other night,” Harris said. “I’m surprised it came in a late race, not in the early races. That horse is a good horse, Gilbert does a fantastic job his with horses. Nothing surprises me with speed at Yonkers. When you shake a loose lead and you can keep carrying your speed. The horse obviously finished up strong. Those type of horses love to do that when they can shake loose.” The six-pack of pacers in the Saturday co-feature also include last week’s Preferred Pace winner Mickey Gee, who will start from the outside for Lance Hudson, last week’s Open runner up I’m Some Graduate, who will start from an assigned post two for George Brennan and Ron Burke, and The Real One, winner of the Open in two of his last five tries. Benhope Rulz completes the lineup. “I hope that we’re not on the front,” Harris said of San Domino. “I don’t ever tell Jason how to drive, but I can’t see Austin taking back. I have to think off that mile, that Austin will be going forward. I think we’ll be off the pace, but who knows once the gate folds. “I definitely think if we manage him properly, he’ll be a Levy horse next year,” Harris said. “He’s going to be a fun horse. We just have to keep him healthy, happy, and sound and he’ll do the rest.” Saturday night’s card also features the weekly $46,000 Open Handicap Trot and the $37,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. – Bettors were optimistic about Our Max Phactor’s chances when he debuted for harness racing trainer Andrew Harris on the Levy undercard. Despite starting from post seven in a $29,000 overnight, the New Zealand-bred gelding started at odds of just 6-1. Despite the strong backing, Our Max Phactor was out of contention in the early stages of the race, 10 ¼ lengths behind pacesetting Gillys Boy after a :27.1 opening quarter. Despite joining the flow nearing the half and advancing with 4 ¾ lengths of the top, Our Max Phactor was last of eight passing the three-quarter mark. Still, Harris was confident. “His last quarters have been pretty scary throughout his career, not just for us,” he said. “I figured he was going to be a pretty impressive horse. I qualified him myself, and I’m a big guy, and he drove me around there in :26.3. His last quarters, we knew that they were there.” At the midway point of the final turn, driver Jason Bartlett angled Our Max Phactor three-wide and the 7-year-old showed instant acceleration. He passed favorite Don Domingo, Sunken Treasure, and Chaching Hanover in a matter of strides and arriving at the head of the lane, zipped by Late Mail, Ghost Pine, and the tiring Gillys Boy with ease. With just a slap of the wheeldisc in midstretch, Our Max Phactor extended past leader Dragonology and kicked clear to a 1 ¼-length win in 1:54. “He was a real nice horse over there and we had big expectations for him,” Harris said. “They thought he was a real class animal, so we took a shot with him. I thought that he was supposed to do that, especially with those fractions. I was happy with him.” By Art Major out of the In The Pocket mare Tact Philly, Our Max Phactor won 21 races from 86 starts in Australia and New Zealand. His wins included the Group 3 Kersley Final at Gloucester Park last November. Our Max Phactor also placed in the Group 2 Village Kid Stakes at the same venue last December and in the Group 3 Summer Cup Handicap at Auckland in 2017. He competed in two Group 1 stakes this January to end his career in the Southern Hemisphere as Harris worked with agent Frank Rinaldi to bring Our Max Phactor to the United States. “I actually almost bought Mach Doro, who was in the Levy Series. That deal didn’t go through,” Harris explained. “Then (Frank) called me and said this horse was available, that this is the kind of horse you should be looking for. So, we put it together and got him bought and luckily enough, I think he’s exactly what we wanted.” Our Max Phactor flew to the United States in early March, but never missed a beat. In training with Rinaldi before he left Australia, the transition was seamless when the gelding finally arrived at Harris’ barn. “We made sure he got adjusted properly and everything went kind of smoothly. He didn’t get sick or anything like that. It was really probably one of the smoother transitions of a horse coming from over there. We’ve had a few, but this one came over pretty good,” Harris said. “When we bought him over there, you don’t know when your flight is; the flight could be at any time,” Harris continued. “Fortunately, we were able to have Frank take the horse and keep him in training. He swam him, had him in training, went a couple slow trips with him right before we got him. Keep him in motion and then we get him and take over. They never get shut down.” Our Max Phactor made an immediate impression on his new trainer when he arrived in the barn. The gelding showed no signs of wear from the travel. “I was shocked at how good-looking he was. A lot of them don’t look that well coming off the long flight coming over. This horse looking like a million dollars the day I got him,” Harris recalled. “When he got here, he was one of the best-looking horses I’ve ever gotten to work with for sure. He’s a gorgeous, gorgeous animal. His coat is amazing. Just a really excellent-looking horse.” Harris had Our Max Phactor ready to qualify March 30. With Jason Bartlett in the sulky, the gelding finished third in a Meadowlands trial in 1:52.1 with a :26.2 final quarter. One week later, with a shortage of catch drivers, Harris qualified Our Max Phactor himself. The trainer was impressed with the mile, which finished with a :26.3 last panel. “I just wanted to take it easy on him; I didn’t want to go crazy, so I just sat on him, never chased him going home,” Harris said. “I had another in the qualifier against him, Trump Nation, who I think is an absolutely beast of a horse, and he drove right up beside him and did everything the right way. I was really, really happy with him.” Off his debut victory, Our Max Phactor will step up into the $44,000 Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night. Paired again with Jason Bartlett, he will start from post six. His rival’s include Mac’s Jackpot, who finished fourth in the Levy Series Consolation last week, and Major Crocker, who also drops out of the Series. Micky Gee will start from post five off consecutive victories at the $29,000 level while Caviart Luca looks for his fourth win in seven seasonal starts with a better draw this week in post three. Artifact Hanover and Epaulette complete the lineup. Harris likes this spot for Our Max Phactor and expects his off-the-pace tactics to continue as he adjusts to the American style of racing. “We don’t want him to get hot or anything. Some of these horses from over there can get hot,” Harris said. “In Australia, he was actually always on the outside, one-one, first-up. He seems like a versatile horse who can do it any way. I don’t think there’s a need to drive him any certain way, it’s just right now, we don’t want him to get hot. “It’s a good race for him,” he continued. “It’s not the toughest Open I’ve seen, so that’s a good thing. With the series just being finished, there’s not a bunch of killers in there just yet, so this is kind of a nice spot for him to see if he can go at that level, which I think he can, but saying it and doing it are two different things. It will be good to see what he does in there. I think if everything goes right, he should be a player all year.” Saturday night’s card also features a $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

CHESTER PA - Pappy Go Go now has two of the three fastest miles in North American harness racing during 2019 after he demolished a field by 6 3/4 lengths in the $18,000 trotting feature at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. George Napolitano Jr. held early position with "Pappy" from post four as the three inside him left, then pulled his trotter out just before the :27.4 quarter. Golden Son moved from the pocket just in front of him, and Napolitano briefly had his trotter three-wide before circling to the lead entering turn two, before the :56 half. Pappy Go Go had a full head of steam down the backstretch and reached the three-quarters in 1:24, and he had no slowdown in him in the lane, equaling the time he posted at Pocono on March 30, which is just a fifth behind Insomniac's 1:51.4 at Miami Valley on April 5. Andrew Harris trains the impressive winner, who now has 28 career wins and $155,517 in earnings, for Michael Goldberg Racing. If you have missed the "backstory" on Pappy Go Go, it is an interesting one. He is bred by William Andrew, who lives in Alberta - not a noted haven for trotters. He is a five-year-old gelding by the Prince Edward Island-based stallion Tad The Stud (whose second-fastest son has a mark of 1:57.2), and "Pappy" sold for $4,000 at a Nova Scotia yearling sale. 13 of those 28 career wins came during an undefeated sophomore stakes campaign in the Maritimes, and now based on his twin 1:52s it looks like Pappy Go Go may soon be facing a very elite brand of competition. There were a pair of $14,500 subfeatures on the Philly "Trottin' Thursday" card. The first was taken by the top Maryland campaigner Hybrid Henry, who made every pole a winning one while winning in 1:54 for driver David Miller, 2¼ lengths clear of his opposition. Arlene Cameron conditions and owns the Cam's Rocket gelding, who now has lifetime earnings of $240,211. The Cantab Hall gelding Perseverance was sent away quickly from the pole by driver Corey Callahan to protect pocket position behind the speedy Zagster, then was able to move outside for the stretch drive and catch the pacesetter by 1¾ lengths in 1:55.1. The Eric Ell trainee, a winner of $198,832, recorded his second consecutive victory for owners Ken Wood, Tribbett Racing, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta. The drivers of the subfeature winners, Callahan and Miller, had the hot hands on the Thursday card, visiting Victory Lane four times each. Harrah's Philadelphia will conduct its first nighttime card of 2019 tomorrow night (Friday), with first post at 6:30 p.m. The Jackpot Hi-5 carryover heading into race 5 is $11,972.22. Harrah's Philly will also conduct Friday evening cards on May 17th, September 6th, and October 4th. Another soon-upcoming alteration to the normal Philly schedule is that there will be a special card of live racing on Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 4, with first post at 12:40. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

Trenton, NJ — American Admiral may not know it, but he is in the midst of trying to prove if he’s ready to fight some bigger harness racing battles down the road. The 3-year-old colt pacer is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a $15,000 division of Saturday’s (April 20) Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Since he has only been working with the horse since January, trainer Andrew Harris is unsure of how extensively he will stake him this year. “We’re playing it by ear,” said Harris, who made American Admiral eligible for the Reynolds and Art Rooney Pace. “It all depends on how he continues to mature. If he goes through this series and shows he can go with those type of horses like Turbo Hill, then yeah, we’re going to go that route. As of right now we’re going to play it by ear. We don’t know what we’ve got, we don’t know what the bottom is yet. If he continues to improve maybe we’ve got ourselves a New York Sires Stakes horse that’s got some possibilities. Or maybe we just have an Excelsior Series type horse. We’re kind of using this series to tell us what we’ve got.” The early reviews have been positive. At the recommendation of Harris, American Admiral was purchased by the Flemings (William, Ian and James) for $34,000 at the Standardbred Mixed Sale at Harrisburg in November. He was trained by Tony Alagna last year and had a first, second and third while earning $19,890 in 10 starts. Harris knew nothing about the horse, but thought he would provide the most bang for the buck among those up for sale. “They called me up and said they wanted to have a nice little horse to race for next year,” the trainer said. “There were a lot of horses I thought we might have to over-pay for. This one kind of came in under the radar. I saw he raced at Yonkers and Yonkers is primarily where I race anyway so I thought he might just be in the price range. He ended up going a little cheaper than what I thought I’d have to give for him.” As for what he liked about American Admiral, Harris said, “His breeding was impeccable. He wasn’t overly-sized but he was a little muscle horse and those are the types of horses I kind of like for Yonkers. I didn’t know what to expect. We just kind of got lucky. So far it’s all working out.” It is indeed. American Admiral has hit the board four times in five races, having taken two firsts, a second and third for $19,640 in purse money. After the purchase, Harris put the horse out in the field and never looked at him for six weeks. “I didn’t even jog him,” he said. “I needed to let him grow up and let him mature. If he did have any aches and pains they would heal out in the field. I just let him get freshened up. We just started fresh and started off the chalkboard. We made adjustments to his training as he needed something, but we started with (knowing) nothing. We slowly added certain things here or there but I didn’t know what he had before. I never looked or asked.” Harris brought the horse back on Jan. 1 and began working on him, and then eased him back into racing. He is fairly well behaved in the barn, but “He’s a little stud colt so he lets you know that he’s there. He’s not over rambunctious or anything like that but you have to watch him a little bit. He wants to play but his play is a little aggressive. He’s a nice horse, but you don’t want to get caught sleeping around him.” He is keeping folks wide awake on the track as of late. As American Admiral’s confidence grew, Harris began putting him into play a bit more. The strategy seems to be working, as the horse has won his last two races. “He’s just developing into kind of a nice little horse that I don’t know where his bottom is quite just yet,” he said. “I don’t have super high expectations for the horse but I think he’s going to be a nice little horse. He’s got a big engine and he wants to go. But you have to race him the right way.” Just what way is that? “We try to teach him to stay off the helmet a little bit until it’s time to press the go button,” Harris continued. “He’s just come to the point where we can use him now. He’s ready, he’s tight now. He wasn’t tight when we were starting. I brought him back a little bit slower than I usually do. Now his confidence is right and he looks like a totally different animal. He’s happy and strong. “And every driver that sat on him likes him. George (Napolitano Jr.) sat on him the other night and said ‘Wow, can this thing fly for a piece.’ That’s the type of horse you want. He takes care of himself for the mile right now as long as we don’t over-drive him too early in the race. He’s got as good of a move as anyone in that series.” Harris feels American Admiral is the best horse in his division in the Bobby Weiss, but knows that the final will be a different story. “I think Sports Legend and Turbo Hill are the two horses to beat in the whole series,” Harris said. “We kind of got lucky, we avoided them this week, so it will be interesting to see how we face up against them.” However it comes out will go a long way in determining where the American Admiral fleet ends up next. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron) collected his 11th victory of the season on Wednesday evening (Nov. 21) in the $35,000 Hap Hansen Progress Pace elimination at Dover Downs by besting Breeders Crown victor Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) in 1:49.2. This Is The Plan (Tim Tetrick) was third. Leaving from post position five, Jimmy Freight and his pilot were content to allow Thinkbig Dreambig to establish the pace with fractions of :26.1, :54.4 and 1:22.2 while biding their time in second place. Dorsoduro Hanover, however, employed an overland journey to capture the lead in the push to the wire. After enjoying primarily a pocket trip, Zeron pushed the gas pedal to send Jimmy Freight past his rival with a :26.4 final quarter-mile to assure the win by a neck. Trained by Andrew Harris, Jimmy Freight is owned by Adriano Sorella and paid $6 to win as the public’s second selection (2-1). The final field for the $260,000 Progress Pace final on Nov. 29 is: Jimmy Freight Dorsoduro Hanover This Is The Plan Done Well Thinkbig Dreambig Shnitizledosomethin I’m A Big Deal Heavenly Sound From the USTA Media Department

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 16, 2018--Favored Don't Think Twice A (Jason Bartlett, $3.70) picked up where her Aussie countrywoman left off Friday night (Nov. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Two-moving--from post position No. 5--to the lead by a :27.1 opening quarter-mile, Don't Think Twice A took over from Call Me Queen Be (Joe Bongiorno). The people's preference then rated a :56.3 intermission before pole-sitting Delaware interloper Apple Bottom Jeans (Jim Marohn Jr.) moved from third. That lass offered only mild intrusion in and out of a 1:24.2 three-quarters as Don't Think Twice A widened to 2¼ lengths off the final turn. She finished it off, whipped a second-over Lispatty (Matt Kakaley) by a couple of lengths in a life-best 1:53. Call Me Queen Be, Apple Bottom Jeans and Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) rounded out the payees. Rockstar Angel A, who had won the last four editions of this race, was sixth here from an assigned eight-hole. For Don't Think Twice A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Armbro Operative owned by (trainer) Andrew Harris and Arrhythmic LLC, it was her fifth win in 15 seasonal starts (2-for-4 stateside). The exacta paid $19.60, the triple returned $127 and superfecta paid $399. "I can't wait to drive her in the Blue Chip (Matchmaker) Series," Bartlett said, looking about four months down the road. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Next week in this space we shall be reviewing everything that went on during an outstanding program of championship races scheduled for this coming Sunday, September 2. Both the three-year-old Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships and the finals of the Great Northeastern Open Series will be taking place at Pocono on that evening. Until then, here are some Weekly Awards highlighting the best of the best from the previous four racing nights. PACER OF THE WEEK: BIG CITY BETTY Sometimes a horse can get stuck in a rut where it constantly is right in the mix but can't seem to break through with a big victory. Such was the case for this four-year-old mare trained by Steve Salerno. She started the year with in-the-money finishes in six of her first nine races. Included among those were back-to-back seconds in a pair of $17,000 condition paces for distaff horses four years and under in the month of July. It seemed as though she was stuck on second. Big City Betty then took nearly a month-and-a-half off, returning on August 17 without a qualifier to battle that $17,000 group again. Only that time out she cured her second-itis, putting together an impressive first-over brush to pick up her first victory of the year in 1:52.3. She was back at it against that grouping on Sunday night, this time going off as a 6-5 betting favorite with an inside post in a field of eight. Eric Carlson was a new set of hands for the mare, and he guided her into a comfortable spot in the pocket behind pacesetting Jewels Forreal. That's where she bided her time until the stretch, when Carlson guided her off the cover to the outside. Big City Betty had enough momentum to plow right on by for the win in 1:52.1, which set a new career mark. Now that she has a taste for winning, this mare might go on a serious roll. Other top pacers include: Rodeo Rock (Anthony Napolitano, Robert Cleary), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a victory in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50.3; Ali (Pat LaChance), who managed a third straight win at a third different track by winning a condition pace at Pocono on Sunday night in a career-best 1:50.3; and YS Lotus (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who scored a condition win on Saturday night in 1:50.1, the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OPTIMIST BLUE CHIP This four-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Carl Conte Jr. had been struggling throughout the summer facing some of the toughest condition trotters at Yonkers. Needing the confidence booster, he was slotted in the lowest condition group at Pocono on August 20. With Matt Kakaley in the bike, Optimist Blue Chip put together a confident front-trotting victory despite an outside post in 1:57.2. With that out of the way, it was time to move back up the ladder. On Monday night, the gelding faced off against an $11,000 condition group. Even with the move up in class, the bettors sensed his potential and made him the 6-5 favorite. Unlike in his previous start, however, Optimist Blue Chip started a bit slowly. Instead, Winwood Scout surged to the front, leaving the favorite to grab a spot in the outer flow and try to come from behind. He found cover behind Idle Bones N and began to get closer to the lead with a second-over journey. As Winwood Scout began to struggle, Idle Bones N moved onto the lead. But that mare was then ripe for the picking, as Kakaley spun Optimist Blue Chip off the cover and let him do his thing. The gelding powered by and managed the victory, his second consecutive. His winning time of 1:54.2 was an impressive one for the condition, which means that he might just be able to move up even more and still keep his newly-minted winning streak alive. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Jackie's Jim (Marcus Miller, Neal Ehrhart), a three-year-old gelding who moved up following his maiden win to capture a second straight condition win on Monday night in 1:56.4, a new career mark; Crazshana (George Napolitano Jr., Jeffrey Bamond Jr.), who handled a tough condition group on Saturday night and did so in a sharp 1:52.4; and Muscle Fashion (Fern Paquet Jr., Antonella Galie), who toughed out a condition win on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:55.4. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ANDOVERS ASSET This two-year-old trotter driven by Anthony Napolitano, stayed flat, worked out a trip, and rallied for a condition win on Monday night at 20-1, paying off $43.40 on a $2-win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Kakaley had his A-game working in his Pocono appearances this week, as he shared driving honors on both Sunday (three wins) and Monday (four wins.) TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ANDREW HARRIS Harris made the most of his two Monday night starters, as both trotter Blue And Bold and pacer You Got Trumped came away with condition victories. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

Crystal Fashion has played a big role in what has already been a memorable year for Jules Siegel and Jim Campbell. He could add to those memories in a big way Saturday. The stakes-winning colt is one of three horses for owner Siegel and trainer Campbell in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Siegel, the owner of Fashion Farms in New Hope, Pa., was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1. Less than 24 hours earlier, Crystal Fashion had won the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and stamped himself a top Hambletonian contender. "It was a very exciting weekend," Campbell said. "We were all so happy for Jules to be in the Hall of Fame. He rightfully deserves to be in there, and to have that weekend the way it was with Crystal winning the Beal and Jules going into the Hall of Fame, it was just a great and exciting weekend." Siegel and Campbell teamed to win the 1995 Hambletonian, harness racing's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, with Tagliabue. Crystal Fashion and stablemates Fashionwoodchopper and Patent Leather will try to provide a second. Crystal Fashion is in the first of the event's two $100,000 eliminations, with 5-2 morning-line favorite Wolfgang and 3-1 second choice Atlanta, who is the lone filly in the Hambletonian. Crystal Fashion, a son of Cantab Hall out of Window Willow, has won five of eight races this year and is 7-2 with driver Tim Tetrick. Two of the colt's losses were by a nose. The top-five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final, which is set for a 5:14 p.m. post time and will air live on CBS Sports Network during a 4-5:30 p.m. broadcast. "He's been great," Campbell said. "He hasn't been any worse than second and has been a very dependable horse for us. He's a little bit bigger (than last year) and carries his speed a little further." Crystal Fashion brings a three-race win streak into his elimination. He was off for three weeks following the Beal before returning to win a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division on July 20 and a Reynolds Memorial division on July 28. "That was by design," Campbell said. "I didn't want to have any more than two races before the Hambo after the Beal, so we raced him the one time at (Harrah's Philadelphia) and used (the Reynolds) as his final prep. "I was very happy with the way he raced in the Reynolds. He's a horse that doesn't get too excited about too much, but as soon as Timmy moved him over in the lane he just put his head down and kept on going. He's got a real nice way of going and I was very, very happy with him." Fashionwoodchopper and Patent Leather are in the second elimination, starting side-by-side in posts one and two. Six Pack is the 2-1 morning-line favorite, with Fashionwoodchopper at 10-1 and Patent Leather at 15-1. Crystal Fashion starts his elimination from post six. "We got a really good draw," Campbell said. "We got a good place to start. Hopefully the colts all bring their 'A' game. We're in it, we're excited, and we're ready to go." * * * * * * Marcus Melander also will send out multiple horses in the Hambletonian, with 2017 Dan Patch Award-winner Fourth Dimension at 10-1 in the second elimination and Evaluate at 15-1 in the first. Fourth Dimension, owned by Unibet-founder Anders Strom's Courant Inc., won eight of 11 races last year including the Valley Victory Stakes. This year, Fourth Dimension made his seasonal debut with a second-place finish in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs, and then went off stride in his elimination for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono. He also went off stride in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. Fourth Dimension, a son of Chapter Seven out of Corazon Blue Chip, enters the Hambletonian off a 1:52.4 win in a qualifier on July 21 at the Meadowlands. "I was very happy with his qualifier here, he was very good," trainer Marcus Melander said. "He did (1):52.4 very easily. I think he's going to show a lot more in the Hambo. His season has been a little strange. First he was very good in his first start and then two breaks. It's been a little weird. "But he feels very good and I'm very happy how he feels. I think he's very sharp and in good form. A lot of these horses that are good now maybe weren't as good last year and they've caught up to him." Melander attributed Fourth Dimension's two breaks to equipment issues. "It's just been a little unlucky," Melander said. "I'm not worried about that." Evaluate is owned by Melander's uncle, Stefan Melander, who trained and drove 2001 Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight. Evaluate, a son of Andover Hall out of Blathin, has won four of 11 career races and finished second four times. "Of course, he is not one of the favorites, but he's got some potential," Melander said. "With a good draw he'll be right there." Evaluate will be driven by Swedish Hall of Famer Örjan Kihlström, who already has two stakes wins at the Meadowlands in his career, capturing the 2014 Breeders Crown Open Trot with Commander Crowe and 2015 Fresh Yankee with D'One on Hambletonian Day. He drove Cruzado Dela Noche in his Hambletonian elimination in 2015, finishing ninth and failing to advance to the final. He is perhaps best known internationally for his wins with Nuncio, Magic Tonight, and From Above in the Elitlopp and his win with Maharajah in the Prix d'Amerique. He also has driven stars such as Giant Diablo and Propulsion. Kihlström's most recent drive in the U.S. came in 2016 when he finished fourth with On Track Piraten in the Yonkers International Trot. When he was elected to the Hall of Fame, Örjan Kihlström bio proclaimed: "Magic hands. Nerves of steel. Ice cold as few. He has the ability many want, but few possess." * * * * * * Lawmaker heads into Saturday's first Hambletonian elimination off a win at the Meadowlands in a conditioned race. The colt has won three of 14 lifetime races, but has gotten a paycheck in all his biggest races to date: third in the Beal and fifth in the Goodtimes this year, and fourth in the William Wellwood Memorial and second in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship last year. "He's doing really good," trainer Andrew Harris said. "He came out of his last race really good. I think he's come full circle. He had a bit of a rough year starting out, he had some issues that needed to be worked on, but he finally got over those and all signs are pointing upwards. He is getting better and better every start. He was really good in the Beal, I was very happy with him in the Beal final. "I think he's a really, really nice horse. Whether he's an Atlanta or a Wolfgang or any of those type horses, I don't know yet. He's proved he's worth giving a shot to." Lawmaker, who is 8-1 on the morning line, is by Muscle Massive out of Pretty Amigo. He is owned by the Anthony MacDonald-led fractional ownership group TheStable. MacDonald drove Lawmaker in his first 13 career races, winning two and hitting the board a total of 10 times, but weather-related travel issues forced him to miss the colt's final Hambletonian prep on July 27. David Miller got the drive and won in 1:53.3. MacDonald decided to keep Miller, a Hall of Famer who ranks No. 2 all time in purse money with $226 million, on board for the Hambletonian. "As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision for me, growing up watching the Hambletonian and dreaming of the day I got my shot," MacDonald said. "As a driver, I want to be the one on the gate...but as the co-owner of thestable.ca I have a much bigger responsibility to a huge group of people." The $1 million Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks will be shown live from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on CBS Sports Network. The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Brian Sears-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, N.Y. – The last time Fearless Man tried the 1 ¼-mile Open Handicap Trot at Yonkers Raceway on February 25, the result wasn’t inspiring. After getting away third, Fearless Man became hot and aggressive as horses passed him on the outside. He faded from the scene and finished eighth beaten 22 ½ lengths.  Since then, harness racing trainer Andrew Harris says the Fearless Man has become more manageable on the track and in the morning. He’s won two local Open Handicaps this year and Harris believes the 8-year-old gelding has earned another chance at the 10-furlong distance. Fearless Man will start from post six in the $54,800 trotting feature Sunday (June 17). “It seems like he’s learned. We can back down the half and Jason (Bartlett) sat him in a two-hole and said he can absolutely relax in the two-hole, so now I’m very confident he can handle the mile-and-a-quarter,” Harris said. “I avoided a couple of them; when there was a mile-and-a-quarter race I just didn’t race him that week. We’ve got a summer full of them coming up, so we’re going try him again and see what happens.” Fearless Man, owned by Rick Zeron Stable, Noblock Racing Stable, Murray Greenfield, and Cool Cat Racing, came to Harris this winter. As Zeron headed to Florida to train babies, he approached Harris with the unexpected offer. “Rick Zeron called me earlier in the year and just said, ‘hey, I got a trotter with a lot of back class. Would you mind taking him and trying him at Yonkers? I think he’d be a real good fit over there.’ So obviously you don’t turn down a horse like that,” Harris said. Fearless Man was a stakes-winning 2- and 3-year-old in Indiana for Bobby Brower before posting a lifetime mark of 1:52.1 for Monte Gelrod at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 2014. In his career, Fearless Man has won 37 races and earned $618,249. Although the son of Elegant Man had been racing in the conditions on the Woodbine Circuit the last couple years, Harris saw the potential for Fearless Man to become an open-type at Yonkers. “I had seen before Rick had even gotten him that he’d gone a 52-mile at Chester. I knew there was definitely some real talent there, but he is 8 years old and coming off a couple seasons when he wasn’t at the open level, I didn’t know which way he’d go,” Harris said. “For him, that shorter stretch is a benefit to him where at Woodbine, that long stretch, he’d be real dominant that first eighth of the stretch, but the last eighth, he got a little weary. I think the half-mile track has really picked him up.” When Fearless Man first came to Harris’ stable, he was overly aggressive and behaved more like a high-strung thoroughbred than a standardbred gelding. Harris took advantage of the facilities at White Birch Farm to help manage the trotter’s excitable attitude on the track. “He was actually a very aggressive horse, so the first time I sat behind him, I was like, ‘woah.’ He was really grabby,” Harris said. “His gate speed is unbelievable, that’s why he’s so good at Yonkers. It’s just so easy for him. By nature, he’s an aggressive horse. “We do approach him a little differently because we don’t train him as much as the other ones,” Harris continued. “When I first got him, I trained him a little bit more just trying to get some spit and vinegar out of him, but I realized that wasn’t going to be the key for him. We’re lucky we’re at White Birch and we have a big, huge sand track. They just don’t seem to pull on that. After about a lap, they realize that’s work and they back off a lot. He really calmed down a lot jogging that sand track.” Training in the deep sand track at White Birch hasn’t just settled Fearless Man’s demeanor, it’s also meant the trotter is much more fit. He has bulked up and put on weight since he’s came to Harris. “Obviously the sand track has just put a massive amount of muscle on him,” the trainer said. Fearless Man has won five of 14 starts since coming to Harris’ stable and Jason Bartlett has been in the sulky for four or those wins. Harris says the unlikely pairing between the horse and driver has played a key role in the trotter’s local success.  “Jason just gets along with him unbelievable,” Harris said. “Jason is kind of an aggressive driver and this is an aggressive horse. Nine times out of 10, that doesn’t work, but Jason gets along with him really well. He just has him figured out. Sometimes horses just fit certain drivers and he just fits Jason.” Bartlett will drive Fearless Man as a 7-1 shot in Sunday’s Open Handicap Trot, his first time sitting behind the trotter since May 5, when Fearless Man last won. He’ll face nine rivals, including 3-1 favorite In Secret, who finished second in the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto last out, and 7-2 second choice Tight Lines, who won last week’s local trotting feature in 1:54.0. For complete entries, click here. “It’s a mile-and-a-quarter race which is always a question with a hot horse, but for whatever reason in these mile-and-a-quarter races they don’t seem to go to the quarter as fast,” Harris said. “I don’t know what Jason will do, but he might be able to secure the front easy. He’ll definitely get to dictate what he wants to do because that’s just how this horse is. I’m sure Jason will put him in contention, that’s for sure.” Sunday’s 10-race card at Yonkers features four French trots with the Open Handicap slated at race one. First post time is 12:35 p.m. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

For Andrew Harris, the inaugural Trotting 4 Charity event speaks to his two biggest loves -- harness racing and his wife Amanda. The New Jersey-based trainer is thrilled with the promotion organized by TrotCast's Ryan Macedonio, which will be held May 18-20 at racetracks throughout North America. Participating drivers and trainers will wear a custom-made replica jersey of their own colors, with their selected charity logo displayed on the jersey. During the weekend, drivers will race in their jersey, while trainers like Harris will have jerseys made for them. After the event, auctions will be held for fans to bid on the jerseys and all proceeds from winning bids will be donated to the corresponding charities. Andrew will be donating to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, for a very good reason. "My wife was diagnosed three years ago with breast cancer," he said. "She went a year-and-a-half battling it. It looked like she got by it, they told her she was in remission, and a year ago we were notified it had metathesized to her lung and her thigh. So that charity is near and dear to me." Harris said Amanda is currently doing all right. "She's on chemo, fighting the fight," he said. "No bad news yet other than she's got to keep fighting it." Not only is Amanda battling the disease, she is raising a 4-year-old and 7-year-old, which her husband feels is more of a blessing than an obstacle. "It keeps her mind off the negative thoughts," Harris said. "If you're focusing on them you're not focusing on your own problems." And for the first time in his career, Harris is focusing on his future as the whole experience has been eye-opening. "It's completely changed our lives," he said. "It just even changed my outlook on life. I put a lot of family first and I take my business way more serious than I used to. Before I was training horses and working with (Casie Coleman) and stuff, and it wasn't about setting myself up for the future. Now I'm trying to set myself up for the future and making sure my kids are taken care of because you just don't know anymore." Participating in Trotting 4 Charity is merely an extension of Harris' life. Ever since Amanda was stricken he has donated as much as possible to breast cancer research. "When I saw this charity event come on I saw this was a no-brainer to pick this one," he said. "Hopefully it will shine a light on it and hopefully have some others donate to it so 20 years from now another young family doesn't have to go through this again." Like most everyone involved in the event, Harris has nothing but superlatives to say about it and would love to see it return each year. "I think it's amazing," he said. "It's really neat to see who everybody picked for a charity and shine a light on some. I thought it was great Matt Kakaley picked a local one at Pocono (Marley's Mission). It's something I never heard of and I looked just to see what it was about after I saw he picked it." Harris' brother, J Bradley, and Travis Henry are also driving for breast cancer research. "It does get people's attention within the industry," Harris said. "If we can do it every year, even if we just get decent money, I'm sure over time this will take off and hopefully we can all contribute enough that it helps in the long run." Canadian driver Doug McNair certainly wouldn't argue with that. McNair is donating to Autism Speaks, mainly because the 2-year-old son of his sister Amy has autism. "It's definitely something I want to raise money for and hopefully help this cause," McNair said. Doug said his nephew is doing well and that Amy and her husband, driver Billy Davis Jr., "have done a good job with him. You just have to teach him a little bit differently, that's all. He wouldn't even know he had autism." Robert Shepherd has also made Autism Speaks his charity, and McNair is happy to see what this event means to drivers. "I can't say enough about it," he said. "There are a lot of guys involved. There's nothing wrong with raising money for charities. Whatever happens (in the races), you're winning for sure." One of the more popular organizations chosen is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, as Andy McCarthy, Declan Donoway, Montrell Teague, Pat Berry and Tyler Smith have all made it their charity of choice. Teague, based in Delaware, has no personal connection to St. Jude but admires the work it does. "I'm just a fan of parents bringing children in there, they don't have to worry about bills, they just worry about getting their child back," he said. "You have kids in there that should be on playgrounds instead of in a hospital bed. They're going through radiation and treatment. It just kills me. That's the worst thing. Cancer doesn't discriminate who it goes to, but usually when you think of cancer you think of somebody older, instead of a child." And since St. Jude's main source of financing comes from donations, Teague is delighted to see the harness racing community doing its part. "I think it's a great idea," he said. "We don't really promote too much, this would be a good promotion for other charities to get involved. They see we're trying to help out. The public will be seeing that we'll be wearing jerseys and we support different organizations other than ourselves. We're not even worried about winning any race, it's just having a jersey on and hoping people will try to bid on my jersey and help out a good cause and get a jersey." Also supporting an organization that helps kids are Brady Galliers and Roger Plante, who will donate to Ronald McDonald House. "That's just the kind of charity I've always been most interested in," said Ohio's Galliers. "They take them in, take care of them and do different things, like arts and crafts and games. All those kids that have a disease, they don't get to do the everyday normal thing, so every little thing for them counts. Just having people going and hanging out with them, doing fun stuff like that, I'm sure it means the world to them." Just as Trotting 4 Charities means the world to Galliers. "It's a really good thing that Ryan and those guys are doing," he said. "It's good for everybody. I don't think this has ever been done and to reach out and do something for the business along with it being a charity event is phenomenal." Following is a list of drivers and trainers participating in Trotting 4 Charity, with their corresponding charities. Allan Davis - Nemours Children's Hospital Andrew Harris - The Breast Cancer Research Foundation Andy McCarthy - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - Science and Medicine Andy Miller - Pacing For The Cure Bob McClure - Children's Wish Foundation of Canada Brady Galliers - Ronald McDonald House Charities Brian Burton - Potomac Valley Boxing Association Chris Page - Jimmy V Foundation Colin Kelly - Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Corey Callahan - Harness Horse Youth Foundation Declan Donoway - St. Jude Children's Hospital Dolores Basilone Case - American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Doug McNair - Autism Speaks Emily Hay - Leukemia Research Foundation Frank Milby - Talbot Special Riders, Inc. J Bradley Harris - Breast Cancer Research Foundation James MacDonald - Canadian Cancer Society Jim Morrill - Wounded Warrior Project Julie Miller - Pacing For The Cure Louis-Philippe Roy - Fondation Rêves d'enfants, Québec - Children's Wish Foundation, Quebec Marc Campbell - IWK Foundation Marcus Miller - Dogs For Better Lives Matt Kakaley - Marley's Mission Montrell Teague - St. Jude Children's Hospital Pat Berry - St. Jude Children's Hospital Robert Shepherd - Autism Speaks Roger Plante - Ronald McDonald House Russell Foster - Freedom Hill Horse Rescue Ryan Macedonio - Big Brothers Big Sisters Scott Young - Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Scott Zeron - Standardbred Retirement Foundation - Adoptahorse.org Sean Bier - Cardiac Kids Simon Allard - Wigs For Kids Timmy Offutt - Maryland International Harvest Foundation Tom Jackson - Lung Cancer Research Foundation Travis Henry - Breast Cancer Research Foundation Trevor Henry - The War Amps Tyler Buter - Wounded Warriors Tyler Smith - St. Jude Children's Hospital Yannick Gingras - National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Pictures of each jersey will be available at trotting4charity.com or trotcast.com by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

YONKERS, N.Y. – Last summer, talented harness racing pacer Western Hill showed promise of becoming a top stakes 3-year-old. The Tony Alagna trainee finished second in his North American Cup elimination June 10 and fifth in the final the following week. After failing to make the Meadowlands Pace Final, the son of Western Ideal again finished second in an elimination of the Adios and earned a fourth-place check in the final. Despite the potential he showed, Western Hill fell out of form in the fall and began to toil in the conditions at Yonkers. After two seventh-place finishes at the non-winners of 8 level in November, owner and breeder Tom Hill called trainer Andrew Harris. “When I worked for Casie Coleman back in the day, Tom had a lot of horses with Casie and so obviously I had known him well through them because I took care of Western Silk on and off when she had her,” Harris said. “Over the years, we’ve talked on many occasions and it seemed like they were going to give me an opportunity here or there, but nothing ever came to fruition until all the sudden this horse. They said, ‘we want to continue on as a 4-year-old with him, we just want to give him a shot.’ Who’s going to turn down a shot on a horse like that?” When Western Hill arrived, Harris saw a sharp-looking, speedy individual. However, it soon became clear the gelding had lost his confidence amid the string of losses and tough trips, which saw him try to close from well off the pace on Yonkers’ half-mile oval. “When I first got him, the first thing I noticed was, even though he was in a brand-new barn that he had never seen before, he got in the stall and put his head in the corner,” Harris recalled. “He was a little pouty and he just wasn’t happy. “We turned him out in the field every day with other horses and let him go out and be a horse a little bit,” he continued. “I know that Alagna likes to train a little bit harder than some, so I backed off on his training and didn’t train him as hard and just tried to freshen him up that way. Not that that would work on every horse, but it seemed to happen to work on this horse.” In his first start for Harris November 27, Western Hill drew post three and picked up top driver Yannick Gingras. After a pocket trip, Western Hill finished second by a nose in the $22,000 overnight. The following week, Gingras put Western Hill on the lead and the gelding scored a 1-length win in 1:53.2. “I think Yannick was a huge factor in bringing that confidence back because he put him onto the lead and he liked it,” Harris explained. “When you lose form, drivers don’t put them in play.” With his confidence and attitude improving off two good races, Harris took Western Hill to Harrah’s Philadelphia December 17, and the gelding posted a blowout win. He again set the pace and opened a 6¼-length advantage in the stretch in a 1:51.3 mile. “When he went to Chester he was just in total command and looked like his old self where he was wanting to be a big horse. He’s not a big horse, but he wants to be a big horse,” Harris said. Off his impressive performances, Western Hill will get a shot against Open pacers tonight at Yonkers Raceway. An 8-1 longshot in the field of six, Western Hill will make his 4-year-old debut against the likes of 2-1 favorite Gokudo Hanover, who ended his 2017 season with a win in the local Open, as well as the runner-up and third-place finishers from that race, Killer Martini and Thisjetsabookin. Take It Back Terry, who won the Preferred Pace to close the season, returns in the Open as the 3-1 second choice and Shane Adam completes the lineup. The $40,000 feature is slated as race 6 on the 12-race program. “The group that he’s in with, I actually like this spot,” Harris said of the step up. “The horse on the rail of Scotty Di’s is a really nice horse (Gokudo Hanover). Hopefully we’ll sit close to that one and hopefully get a shot at him down the lane. He fits with that group.” Despite fitting the non-winners of $30,000 condition, Harris entered the Open ranks in hopes of facing his age group. With the 4-year-old Open failing to fill at this early point in the season, Harris was happy to take a shot in the aged ranks. “I did enter for the 4-year-old Open because I was hoping he could race against horses his own age. I thought that I’d have a clear advantage over them with how sharp he is right now,” Harris said. “The non-winners of 30, I think that’s as tough as the Open anyway. I knew he probably wouldn’t get handicapped the outside in the Open, he’d probably have a better shot at the inside where the non-winners of 30 is an open draw and he could have gotten the eight-hole.” Like his five rivals, Western Hill enters tonight’s Open Pace off a month layoff. Harris feels the time away from racing helped Western Hill’s soundness. “I didn’t really let him down. We jogged him all the way through and trained him up all the way through,” Harris said. “He’s fairly sound right now, so I think that way it helped him out a lot.” First post time at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. To view entries for the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. - Standout 4-year-old pacing mare Cousin Mary will make her debut in Yonkers Raceway’s $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace Friday night. The Andrew Harris trainee is set to return to the harness racing Hilltop Oval for the first time since she swept the Petticoat Series in March. Since then, Cousin Mary completed another series sweep, this time in the Bobby Weiss Series at Pocono Downs. She sports 11 wins this season from 14 starts and boasts a $135,000 bankroll. “When I first got her, I didn’t expect this,” Harris said of Cousin Mary’s success. “In December, she qualified in :57. Jordan (Stratton) wasn’t even happy with her. I waited until Yonkers opened back up and we got a couple cheap races for her and she just started building her confidence. She grew into this mare that I don’t think any of us expected her to be.” Since joining Harris’ stable last winter, Cousin Mary has blossomed from an immature filly into a confident mare. Her transformation was two-fold; not only did Cousin Mary grow physically, the Camluck daughter out of the Modern Art mare Chianti Seelster also began to understand what her trainer and driver were asking of her. “She’s not even recognizable anymore,” Harris said. “When she first came, she wasn’t near the size or the muscle mass she has now. She’s a different mare. When I first got her, she was green and didn’t care what she was doing, didn’t know what she was doing. She knows what she’s doing now and she’s all business.” Although Cousin Mary can be high-strung on the racetrack, sometimes kicking at her rivals as she jogs, she is a joy to work with in the barn, Harris explained. “She doesn’t do a thing wrong. She goes out with Jewel Lehigh; they’re best buddies. They holler at each other when they’re leaving the stalls, they hang out all the time,” he said. “My 3-year-old daughter goes in and pets ‘Mary’ all the time, brushes her legs and stuff like that. She’s just a doll to have in the barn.” Cousin Mary’s most recent race came in the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia May 28. Starting from the outside, driver David Miller was forced to take her off the pace, an uncharacteristic position for her. She raced at the back of the field before advancing one position up the pylons nearing the three-quarters. As rival Sassa Hanover tired in front of her, Cousin Mary was forced to shift outside on the final turn. Although Cousin Mary finish seventh, 9 lengths behind winner Lady Shadow, she paced her fastest mile to date, individually timed in 1:50.4. “I never expected her to win that class, but it was a situation where we didn’t know what we had and we had to go to an open somewhere and we might as well take a shot for bigger money,” Harris explained. “The thing that I liked about it, it just keeps stretching her out. She just keeps dropping time, she keeps getting faster. She comes out of the race and nothing affects her. Nothing bothers her. She can turn the page quicker than I can.” Cousin Mary will face open mares again Friday night when she starts from post six in Yonkers’ weekly distaff feature. She and driver Jordan Stratton are the 5-1 morning line third choice behind 3-1 favorite I Said Diamonds, who will make her seasonal debut, and 7/2 Lispatty. Hidden Land, Sensationalgabby, Delightful Dragon, Freeze Out, and Beyonces Rockn are also set to go postward. “I think she fits with them, I really do,” Harris sad. “If she was good enough to be in the Betsy Ross, she’s good enough to be in the Open Mares at Yonkers. I don’t think she’s in with any killers here. Some real nice mares, but I hold her in that regard as well. Jordan knows her and gets along with her really well, so I have confidence he’ll find her the right trip.” While Harris is confident in Cousin Mary and Stratton, the new track configuration at Yonkers gives the trainer pause. Friday night’s races will be the first to feature the new finish line, located 105 feet up the stretch from its previous location. The stretch drive will now be 555 feet instead of 660 and horses will have a longer drive into the first turn. “I’m really interested in this new starting line,” Harris said. “I’m going to be a fan watching it just seeing how it goes because I don’t know how it’s going to change the complexion of racing. My filly has great gate speed, but I don’t know how much this is going to change everything. I’m going to have to watch a couple race before I can even gauge how much of an affect this is going to have on the racing at Yonkers.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here for Friday’s entries. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 26, 2017- A perfect-trip Jewel Lehigh A (Dan Dube, $55.50) lit up the harness racing tote board Friday night (May 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away sixth from post position No. 3 in her first try against the big girls, Jewel Lehigh A saw much action unfold in front of her. Apple Bottom Jeans (George Brennan) made the lead from post No .7 before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. She then gave it to an intermission (:56.1) move by Blacknsweet Adda A (Greg Merton), and when that one took over, She'sjustadelight N (Ron Cushing)-back locally after some fine work in the Blue Chip Matchmaker-was left naked, as the empress with no clothes. She'sjustadelight N pressed the issued in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters, with the heroine of this missive latching on to a perfect tow. After 'Justadelight' wore down Blacknsweet Adda A (that one backpedaling to last), Jewel Lehigh A had dead aim on the new leader and the winner's circle. She went on by a stubborn life-best, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.3. She'sjustadelight N was a solid second, with Al Raza N (Eric Abbatiello) third. Apple Bottom Jeans crossed the line fourth, but saw her finish flipped with Dublin Rose (Jason Bartlett) for going inside the cones. For rank outsider Jewel Lehigh A, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Cammibest owned by Michael Goldberg and trained by Andrew Harris, it was her fourth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $709, with the triple returning $2,856. The race also completed an all-Dube Pick 3, which returned $1,017.  Dube won five races during the 11-race program. Saturday night (May 27th), the Raceway presents two of its premier stakes event of the season. $140,770 Lismore (3-year-old pacing fillies) 6th race -- approx. post 8:50 PM 1-Warrawee Sunshine             Tim Tetrick 2-Caviart Cherie                      Jason Bartlett 3-Caviart Ally                         Andrew McCarthy 4-Agent Q                               Dave Miller 5-Big City Betty                     Jim Marohn Jr. 6-Gotthisone Hanover            George Brennan 7-Tequila Monday                   Brian Sears 8-Ashlee’s Spitfire                  Dan Dube   $300,000 Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old open) 8th race -- approx. post 9:30 PM 1-Mac’s Jackpot,g                   Jason Bartlett 2-Miso Fast                             Matt Kakaley 3-Downbytheseaside              Dave Miller 4-Rollin’ About,g                    Brent Holland 5-Funknwaffles,g                    Brian Sears 6-Summer Side                       Tim Tetrick 7-Henry the Dragon                Montrell Teague 8-Stealth Bomber                    Brett Miller g-gelding, remainder are colts   There’s also a racing hat giveaway (one per Empire Club member, while supplies last). Since no one took down Friday’s Pick 5, Saturday’s gimmick begins with a carryover of $3,231.94 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 27, 2017 - You just have to admire someone who was in a sow barn by day and a Yonkers Raceway harness racing winner's circle by night. "She's the best horse we've ever had," owner Jeffrey Williamson said after not-quite-death-and-taxes Cousin Mary (Jordan Stratton, $2.70) easily disposed of her seven rivals in Monday's (March 27th) final of the $61,000 Petticoat Pacing Series. The series was open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers who are/were non-winners of four races or $40,000 through last Dec.1 and pretty much closed once 'Mary' strutted her stuff. After hat-tricking her three Petticoat prelims, Cousin Mary won the draw for the final. Yielding early to St. Kitts (Jason Bartlett), the people's choice took over eight before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. From there, is was quite simple (:57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54.3) after putting away a first-over bid from Vintage Babe (Yannick Gingras). The margin, a length-and-a-half entering the lane, was 2¾ lengths at the wire. St. Kitts was second, with a closing A Crafty Lady (Dan Dube) third. Vintage Babe and Real Diva (George Brennan) settled for the minors, while Northern Soiree (Matt Kakaley), Rei's Star Cross (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) rounded out the order. For Cousin Mary, a 4-year-old daughter of Camluck owned by Williamson-a hog farmer northwest of Toronto-and trained by Andrew Harris, it was her seventh win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13.20, the triple returned $170 and the superfecta paid $704. "Honestly, when she first came to me, I didn't think that much of her,' Harris said. "She was handling (Yonkers') lower conditions, but not going that fast. When she moved up from non-winners of four (races) to non-winners of eight, she lost but raced better than she did when she was winning. "That's when I thought she had a future. Tonight was the first time the series Jordan (Stratton) popped her plugs, and I don't know where her bottom is." A $30,000 series consolation was won by a Winners Over MacDonald, $36.60) in 1:55.1. Monday night's Pick 5, which began with a $5,353.51 carryover, attracted $22,248 worth of fresh investors. The winning combination of 4/1/4/5/1 paid $60.87 for every winning half-a-buck-wager. The $61,800 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series goes Tuesday night (March 28th). Frank Drucker

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