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Julie Miller trainee Opulent Yankee set a track record for harness racing aged gelding trotters on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, scorching the surface in a sizzling 1:51.4. The race was for non-winners of $20,000 in the last five starts or Non-winners of 9 races or $90,000 lifetime going for a purse of $17,500. Starting from post 2, the 6-year-old gelded son of Muscles Yankee went right to the front, setting fractions of :27.2, :56.2, 1:23.1, and 1:51.4. Golden Son (George Napolitano Jr) finished second while Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) completed the trifecta. Three horses shared the previous mark of 1:52. They were Likeabatoutahell, Sevruga, and Obrigado. Opulent Yankee is owned by Little E LLC, Art Geiger, and Dave Stolz, and was driven by Andy Miller. There were also eight divisions of Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters on the program. Hockey Hanover (Wilbur Yoder) went the fastest of all divisions, completing a first-over grind in 1:56.4 to remain undefeated (5 for 5). The gelded son of Explosive Matter-Hotentrot Hanover is owned by McMullen Stables, and is trained by Wilbur Yoder. Other Stallion Series winners included Muscles Fashion (1:57), Stonebridge Gamble (1:57.4), I'm Your Captain (1:57.4), Canaletto Hanover (1:57.4), Glide In The Wind (1:58.4), Fashion Will (2:00.2) and Roysons Tuffguy (2:00.2). There will be four division of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters on Friday afternoon (July 21) at Harrah's Philadelphia. Post Time is 12:40 PM. Michael Bozich

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Trainer Julie Miller wasn't worried. She had faith her husband would get Tuonoblu Rex clear for the stretch drive in the harness racing featured $20,000 preferred handicap trot at the Meadowlands Friday night. That faith was realized as driver Andy Miller and 'T Rex' swerved off the rail as the field straightened away in the stretch before uncorking an explosive :26.2 final quarter that resulted in a 1¼-length win. The final time of 1:51 lowered the 5-year-old son of Cantab Hall's lifetime mark by one and one-fifth seconds. Gural Hanover was second with Opulent Yankee third. Gural Hanover was sent to the lead and set solid fractions of :26.3, :56.1 and 1:24. JL Cruze, the 9-5 second choice, went first over from the three-eighths and made steady progress approaching the head of the stretch as Tuonoblu Rex sat trapped in the three hole along the rail. "I was actually happy to see him out there," said the winning trainer. "I know JL Cruze doesn't like to be on the outside." JL Cruze weakened for the stretch drive, leaving room for Tuonoblu Rex to showcase his explosive late burst. "I figured Andy would find a way," said Julie Miller. Despite an 18-day layoff, Tuonoblu Rex was super sharp. "He's been healthy but there aren't many opportunities for a horse like this to get raced," said Julie Miller. "He's staked to everything. The problem is, a lot of those races go by money won, so he gets knocked out of a lot of those." 'T Rex' paid $4.00 to win as the even-money choice and is now four-for-six this year and 10-for-20 overall, with lifetime earnings of $234,918 for owners Stable Why Not of Millstone Township, N.J. Tuonoblu Rex A LITTLE MORE: All-source wagering on the program totaled $2,040,352. ... Post time on Saturday has been moved up 45 minutes to 6:30 p.m. The card features the 2017 debut of Hambletonian favorite Walner as well as the elimination for the July 15 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. In addition, there are also two Graduate Series finals, with each sporting a purse of $240,000. Dave Little  

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- Devious Man sneaked his way along the inside of the stretch after a pocket trip behind harness racing favorite Long Tom and won Saturday's (July 1) $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Long Tom finished second and Ariana G, the first filly to ever compete in the Beal, was third after racing first over from prior to the half-mile point. Devious Man, who started from post seven and was sent off at odds of 15-1, got the lead on the first turn and took the field to the opening quarter-mile in :27.1. Long Tom brushed to the front as the group passed the grandstand for the first time and led to the half in :56.1 and three-quarters in 1:24.1. Once in the stretch, driver Andy Miller maneuvered Devious Man inside to the "Pocono Pike" and went down the road to victory. "I worked out the trip I wanted," Miller said. "I left the gate a little and he crossed over to the front. (Long Tom) moved and I was able to let him go just before the half and sat on his back until the open stretch. He's really fast off of cover and he enjoyed the trip." Devious Man, owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable, has won four of five races this year and earned $403,410. His wins this season also include the Empire Breeders Championship. He was second by a head in his Beal elimination. For his career, the son of stallion Credit Winner out of the mare Miss Garland, has won 11 of 17 and earned $711,643. He was last season's New York Sire Stakes champion for 2-year-old male trotters. "He raced good a couple weeks ago in the Empire Breeders (Championship)," Miller said. "He's just a super nice horse." All nine horses in the Beal final are eligible to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. Devious Man Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Consolation "Tim Tetrick" and "$92.40 to win" are not word combinations you usually read in the same sentence, but Tetrick rallied the Donato Hanover colt Backstage Pass, the longest shot on the board, from far out of it to just catch pacesetting favorite Muscles Jared, who had been hard-pressed on the lead, by a nose and take the $75,000 Beal Consolation in 1:55, lowering his personal mark by a tick. A frequent winner at 2 in Pennsylvania and New Jersey stakes company, Backstage Pass now has a lifetime record of 10 wins in 20 starts, 2-for-3 since he came under the care of Pocono "Trot Man" Mike Simons (who like Tetrick wears green and gold), and earnings of $119,540 for owner Jessica Smith. Backstage Pass Ken Weingartner --- PHHA/Pocono also contributed to this story  

Manalapan, NJ --- After getting his feet wet with a third-place finish in his first-ever drive in a qualifier, Tyler "T.J." Miller made his next trip around the harness racing track at Gaitway Farms a winning one. Miller, the 19-year-old son of trainer Julie Miller and driver Andy Miller, guided Nick Surick's 8-year-old pacer Twincreeks Jack to victory by a nose over New Zealand-bred Super Imposed in 1:53 during Monday's qualifiers at Gaitway. Super Imposed was driven by Andy Miller. "I knew it was close, but I thought I sneaked it out from him," said Tyler Miller, who wore his father's familiar orange, white, and black driving colors. "It was exciting when we passed three-quarters and were coming down the stretch. It was a good way to end the day." Earlier in the day Miller drove 2-year-old trotter Im Your Captain to a third-place finish. The colt was timed in 2:00. "I trained him over the winter when I was off from school and I've been training him down since I got back from school," said Miller, who recently completed his freshman year at Rider University. "I've been going with him a lot and kind of knew the horse." Miller admitted to having butterflies before getting on the track for the first time. "I was pretty nervous beforehand, but once I got behind the gate it was like normal," Miller said. "(My dad) told me it was just like another training mile. It was fun. It was a nice experience." Dad was happy with his son's debut. "He did good," Andy Miller said. "I told him to relax out there and he did. He was nice and quiet and the horse behaved good. He did a good job." Tyler Miller is uncertain of his future on the racetrack, at least when it comes to being a fulltime driver. His first priority is getting his degree at Rider, where he is majoring in business. "I'll finish school first and see where it takes me," Miller said. "I'll just have to see how it goes." Ken Weingartner

WILKES-BARRE PA – Tuonoblu Rex, a son of Credit Winner recently come to the U.S. from Europe, is finding life on this side of the Atlantic very enjoyable, grazie mille. The Italian-bred harness racing five-year-old made the lead past the quarter in the $20,000 Sunday trotting feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, then rolled right along en route to a 5½ length win in 1:53.1, a clocking even more impressive considering a “sloppy +1” oval and the chilly 41oF (5oC) temperatures.   Team “Orange Crush,” driver Andy Miller and trainer/wife Julie, and owners Stable Why Not may have themselves a legitimate summer free-for-all competitor, as “Rex” followed up his 1:52.1 stateside debut at The Meadowlands two weeks ago with this impressive victory, which raised his career bankroll to $209,918.   In the $18,000 pacing feature, Cruise Patrol, starting from post two for driver George Napolitano Jr., took the preferred pocket spot in an off-the-gate lineup, then sprinted home in 54.1 to catch pacesetting favorite Mr D’s Dragon by two lengths in 1:51. The son of Bettor’s Delight pushed his earnings to $141,056 for trainer Mike Dowdall and owner Colleen Dowdall.   PHHA / Pocono

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 22, 2017) - The Meadowlands winner's circle was painted orange on Saturday night as Andy Miller swept the co-featured upper level paces en route to a four-win night during the 11-race harness racing program. Miller scored in the $18,000 conditioned pace with the red-hot Special T Rocks by a head in 1:50.4 over the narrow 2-1 favorite Alberto Contador. That came two races after Miller prevailed in a three-way finish with Artful Way, who shipped down from Saratoga for the victory in the co-featured $18,000 event. In between those races, Iwillmakeyousaywow lived up to his name by surviving brutal fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:21.4 to win the $17,500 Dash For The G-Notes Final from post 10. The biggest fireworks of the night came in Race 10 when Pat Lachance steered 13-year-old Semalu Express to a last-to-first win at 111-1 odds. He was followed by fellow 13-year-old Stormin Rustler, who was 95-1. The lucky $2 exacta returned $5,231.60 while the $2 trifecta with 6-5 favorite Camturo Beach came back $25,279.20. Corey Callahan and Jim Marohn, Jr. each had two driving wins while Eric Foster and Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. each had two training wins. Total handle was $2,326,485 for the 11-race card. Racing resumes next Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 21, 2017) - Tuonoblu Rex, the American-sired, Italian-bred, and Dutch-trained son of Cantab Hall, entered Friday's $20,000 Preferred Trot at the Meadowlands with a healthy amount of hype following an eye-catching qualifying win in his first harness racing appearance on Big M soil two weeks ago. After grinding past millionaire Crazy Wow with a :27 second final quarter to win in 1:52.1 in his North American parimutuel debut, the bandwagon might need some more seats. "T-Rex" sat third as Crazy Wow showed the field through fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:24.4 for three-quarters while Opulent Yankee chased from the pocket. Around the final turn, Andy Miller launched the 5-year-old, who earned nearly $200,000 during his 14-race European career, first-over after the 3-5 favorite Crazy Wow. The two trotters battled down the stretch, but "T-Rex" had enough late to win as the 2-1 second choice. "We were very pleased with him," said trainer Julie Miller. "He definitely met our expectations tonight. Andy said he was perfect to drive. He has trained down great since arriving in the U.S." Tuonoblu Rex is owned by Cees J. Faber's Stable Why Not. He is eligible to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands on May 6 as well as the Cashman Memorial and TVG Free For All Series. Tuonoblu Rex In the $18,000 pacing mare feature, Breeders Crown champion Call Me Queen Be settled for second in her 4-year-old debut behind the sharp Inittowinafortune. The 3-5 favorite Penpal disappointed with a late-closing, but non-threatening third place finish. Hall of Famer John Campbell won three races for the second straight Friday night. Corey Callahan also won three. Total handle was $2,502,644 for the 11-race card. Racing resumes Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 31, 2017) - A strong and steady rain did nothing to damper Andy Miller's Friday night as "The Orange Crush" swept the Meadowlands harness racing features with Opulent Yankee and Truth and Liberty. In the $18,000 top trot, Opulent Yankee, the public's 7/10 choice, easily made the front from his assigned post seven. Crosbys Clam Bake tracked from the pocket through a half-mile in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:25. As the field turned for home, Miller called on Opulent Yankee who answered with a :27.4 last quarter to kick clear and win by five widening lengths in 1:52.4. Crosbys Clam Bake held second with Second Sister rounding out the trifecta. Opulent Yankee was winning for the third time in his last five starts. The 6-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding has now earned $318,320 for owners Little E LLC, Art Geiger and David Stolz. One race later in the $16,000 conditioned mare pace, Miller aggressively brushed Truth and Liberty to the front before a half mile in :56.3. 9/5 favorite Inittowinafortune tracked front second. Truth and Liberty continued to lead through three-quarters in 1:24.4. Sheeza Shark sat a perfect second-over trip with David Miller and looked poised to track down the longtime leader, but Truth and Liberty held her challengers at bay with a :28.1 final quarter to win her fourth straight Big M start in 1:53. Two-time Amateur Driver of the Year Hannah Miller established a new amateur driver world record when she guided So Take That to a 1:52.4 win in a GSY Club pace. David Miller made his 2017 Meadowlands debut after spending the winter in Florida and won the 9th race with Starsaboveallerage. Corey Callahan led all drivers with three wins. Total handle was $2,092,018 for the 11-race card. Racing resumes Saturday with an 11-race card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 18, 2017) - Millenium Wheel made a winning Meadowlands debut last week as a 7/1 outsider. Making a double jump up in class tonight, the Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. trainee won again in the $18,000 featured pace as an 11/1 long shot. Andy Miller positioned Millenium Wheel in the pocket while Tyler Buter put The Rock on the front end through swift fractions of :26.4 and :55.1 for the half. After three quarters in 1:24.1, The Rock began to tire from those earlier efforts. Millenium Wheel was able to mount his rally up the pylons while Jacksrluckytoo and Chevals Clivesdale launched powerful rallies from the back of the six-horse field. Millenium Wheel held them off to win his second straight and 19th career race in 1:52. Even money favorite Jacksrluckytoo was second with Chevals Clivesdale third. Millenium Wheel is an 8-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding shared in ownership by William Sartin and Mark Salerno. Hundertpfund and Miller teamed up to win again in the 11th race with Special T Rocks, another Dover invader. Special T Rocks won the 2012 Clyde Hirt Series final at the Meadowlands when trained by Daryl Bier. Marcus Miller led all drivers with three wins including a $56.80 upset in the nightcap with Ooh Bad Boy. Tyler and Amber Buter teamed up to win a pair of races with the Meadowlands-loving City Hall and Vorst. City Hall has won seven of his last eight Big M races dating back to last fall. Total handle on the 12-race card was $2,570,693. Racing resumes next Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Herr Wins Seat in BetAmerica WHHC Final Ed Herr of Ocean, NJ, captured the March 18th BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier at the Meadowlands Racetrack.  The $100 Qualifier required contestants to place at least five $10 minimum win wagers on Meadowlands races.  Herr had $30 to win on 26-1 #9 Ooh Bad Boy in Race 12.  He cashed for $852, earning him the $1,215 top cash prize and an $800 seat in the BetAmericaWorld Harness Handicapping Championship on April 29 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.  The top four contest finishers were: Place Prize $ Bankroll First Last 1 $1,215 $852 Ed Herr 2 $675 $540 Joe Barre 3 $459 $211 Chris Simonetti 4 $351 $160 Mike Petruccelli  The BetAmerica WHHC is a one-day tournament [April 29, 2017], with a welcome reception the evening prior.  Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $800.  The BetAmerica WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of six Meadowlands races, plus four designated mandatory races from partner tracks.  Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings.  Prize payouts are to the Top 10, with an guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. BetAmerica.com is currently hosting regular online Qualifiers for the BetAmerica WHHC Entries for the first online Qualifier are now open, with an entry fee of $35. New accounts to BetAmerica are eligible for a $300 Sign Up Bonus. Hoosier Park, Monticello Raceway, Northville Downs, Plainridge Racecourse, Scioto Downs, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and Buffalo Raceway have signed up to host BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifiers.  Registration deadline is 10 p.m., Friday April 28.   For the contest entry form and complete rules visit PlayMeadowlands.com by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 17, 2017) - As impressive as Melady's Monet was last week in winning his 2017 debut, he was even better tonight in winning his second straight top-level trot at the Meadowlands. The millionaire, trained by Kevin McDermott, left from post position six to make the lead before the opening quarter with Brett Miller at the lines before yielding the lead to Rose Run Parker, half of a Ron Burke trained entry. Melady's Monet, the 1/2 favorite, powerfully moved out of the pocket after three-quarters in 1:25. He then went right by a faltering Rose Run Parker and with a :27.3 final quarter, had plenty left to hold off the closing Opulent Yankee and Crosbys Clam Bake to win in 1:52.4. "Brett Miller said he was vicious tonight," said trainer Kevin McDermott. "He has been absolutely awesome two weeks in a row in cold weather. The plan is to race as long him at the Meadowlands as long as there is a race that fills. He is as good now as he's ever been, but I may take the hopples off him down the road." Stakes winner Appomattox won his second straight for trainer Lucas Wallin, who was pressed into driving duty when Corey Callahan booked off the remainder of his drives after taking ill following the fifth race. Wallin steered Appomattox to a win in 1:54.3 for his second career training victory. Brett Miller won the first race of the night and the last race with a trip to drive in the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers in between. Andy Miller won two races as well. Total handle on the 11-race card was $2,427,559. Racing resumes Saturday with a 12-race card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 24, 2017) - Andy Miller entered the weekend in ninth place in the Meadowlands driver standings, but Friday night reminded harness racing fans why the "Orange Crush" can still get it done with four wins including a score in the featured trot with Opulent Yankee. Miller began the evening by capitalizing on a perfect pocket trip with Opulent Yankee to upset 4/5 favorite Lady's Dude in the $17,000 conditioned trot. He swept finished off the sweep of the early double with a perfect front-running drive on favored Keystone Blade. Miller won races 7 and 8 by a nose and a neck, respectively, with Truth And Liberty and Nowucit Nowudont. Corey Callahan won three races and Jim Marohn, Jr. celebrated his 35th birthday by winning two races. Vinny Ginsburg steered The Pokester, a 42/1 longshot to victory in the last race, leading a parade of outsiders past the wire. With 7/5 favorite Sailin Metro and 8/5 second choice Cherokee Ranger off the board, the $2 trifecta returned $10,131.80 and the 10-cent superfecta was good for $6,335. There were no winning tickets in the last race Super High Five as the jackpot now stands at $32,071 heading into Saturday. Total handle was $2,486,926 on the 11-race card. Live racing continues Saturday with a 12-race card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 4, 2017 - Down-the-roaders Allerage Star (Andy Miller, $3.80) and Somewhere in L A (Matt Kakaley, $36.60) shared the Saturday night harness racing marquee, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $45,000 Open Handicaps. Allerage Star-odds-on favorite from post position No. 5-made short work of the week's featured trot. Benefitting from a scratch directly inside of her, she went the distance (:28.3, :58.3, 1:27.2, 1:55.3). Longshot Military Blue (Brent Holland) chased from the pocket before losing contact, while Rock of Cashel (Scott Zeron) wound up a three-hole second. The margin, two lengths into the lane, was the same at the wire. Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton), Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith) and season-debuting, eight-hole-assigned Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For Allerage Star, a 5-year-old daughter of Angus Hall trained by Julie Miller for co-owners Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $13.40, with the triple returning $58.50. Saturday's pacing feature saw eight-baller Somewhere in L A make the lead from Roland N Rock (Stratton) just past a nifty :26.4 opening quarter-mile. After a :55.4 intermission, slight 2-1 choice Long Live Rock (Dan Dube) moved from fifth. He closed in nearing the 1:24.4 three-quarters, but 'L A' maintained a short lead in and out of the final turn. The leader was tenacious, holding off Long Live Rock by a neck in 1:52.4. Caviart Luca (George Brennan) was a second-up third, with 'Roland' and Givenupdreaming (Bartlett) came away with the minor moolah. For sixth choice Somewhere in L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Rich Banca for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Ianncone, TLP and Gandolfo Stables, it was his fourth win in five '17 tries. The exacta paid $164, with the triple returning $786. Saturday also featured an 'unhit' Pick 5, so Monday's gimmick begins with a carryover of $3,283.05 (50-cent base wager, Monday comprising races 7 through 11). Frank Drucker

On this night, the house horse got the money. Opulent Yankee, co-owned by Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural, upset a field of razor sharp upper-level conditioned trotters to headline a 13-race harness racing program at the Big M. Andy Miller and Opulent Yankee were part of an early three-pronged duel for the front. Crosbys Clam Bake, returning a week after a sick scratch and gunning for his fourth straight win, won the battle and set the early fractions of 27.1, 56.2, and 1:25.4. Opulent Yankee followed all the way from the pocket while favorite Muscle Diamond was beginning to rally from the back of the pack with John Campbell. Turning into the stretch, Jim Marohn, Jr. asked Crosbys Clam Bake while Opulent Yankee used the slingshot move from the pocket. Opulent Yankee proved strongest down the lane, kicking home in 27.3 to win in 1:53.3. "Opulent Yankee took advantage of a great two-hole trip on the muddy track," said trainer Julie Miller. "It was really satisfying to see him at his best tonight. I'm hoping we can keep him together and have another good season here at the Meadowlands with him." B Yoyo closed up the pylons to grab second with Crosbys Clam Bake backing up to third and Muscle Diamond rallying belatedly to be fourth. Opulent Yankee returned $32.40 to win and topped a $289.60 exacta and $1,209 trifecta. Yannick Gingras made his 2017 debut at the Meadowlands after an extended winter break and immediately posted a driving double, winning with Can Do in the fifth race and Sheer Flex in the seventh. Brett Miller led all drivers with three wins. 10 different drivers visited the winner's circle. Total handle was $2,744,956, up more than 4 percent over last year's corresponding night with one fewer race. Live racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - Odds-on harness racing favorite Iron (Andy Miller, $3.70) lasted-barely-Tuesday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $25,000 featured trot. Wide early from post position No. 6, Iron worked around pole-sitting What a Peach (Dan Dube), then made the lead before a :28.4 opening quarter-mile. After a :58.3 intermission, Inukchuk Chuck (Jim Marshall III) moved from fourth. He hung around in and out of a 1:28.2 three-quarters as Iron owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. What a Peach had every chance up the inside, but missed a head in 1:57.4. Third went to 'Chuck,' with Dewdle All Day (Mark MacDonald) and Master Class (George Brennan) completing the cashers. For Iron, a now-5-year-old Cantab Hall gelding trained by Julie Miller for co-owners (breeder) K R Breeding, Frank Baldassare and Robert Rudolph, it was season-debuting win after just nine starts in 2016. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $11.60, the triple returned $34.80 and the superfecta paid $69.50. This story also (hopefully) serves as a reminder that Westchester Tuesdays are now evening programs, with the usual night first post of 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

LEXINGTON, KY -- Taking the lead after the quarter, Sutton gradually gained separation from his rivals to win by open lengths in the first of two divisions for the $163,500 Bluegrass Stakes for harness racing three-year-old trotting colts in 1:52 at The Red Mile.   Celebrity Express led the field around the first turn before Sutton tipped out of the pocket to brush to the lead through a :28.2 quarter. Leading through a :56 half, Sutton began to kick away from Celebrity Express trotting in the pocket and Mavens Way, who fanned first over before diving back to the pylons.   In front by three lengths through a 1:24 third-quarter, Sutton coasted towards the finish while Waitlifter K fanned off cover to get second and Kanthaka, recovering from a break before the start, closed to finish third.   Sutton, by Donato Hanover out of the Muscles Yankee mare I Wanted Wings, paid $2.60 for his sixth win in 21 starts, earning $369,931 for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Jason and Douglas Allen. He is trained by Julie Miller and was driven by Andy Miller.   "He likes to follow horses, but I thought he was the one to beat in here," Andy Miller said. "He was pretty sharp coming into this race, so I thought it was alright to put him on the front."   "He has been a little up and down. With a couple of steps he might have won the Hambletonian, but he still raced really good there. He has been a bit of a challenge, but when he's on his game, he is tough to beat."   "The track was a little dead from all the rain [Saturday]; it was a little punchy, but a good horse could overcome it."   Grinding to the lead around the final turn, Bar Hopping edged past tempo-setter Blenheim to win the other Bluegrass split in 1:52.3.   Leading through fractions of :28.3 and :57, Blenheim was soon challenged by Bar Hopping, pulling first over from fourth, into the far turn. The two were on equal terms through a 1:25.4 third quarter before Bar Hopping took a narrow lead. Blenheim tried to retake control at the pylons in a stretch-long battle until Bar Hopping extended his lead slightly to win. Love Matters, sitting the pocket for the mile, angled off the rail and chased the duelers to get third.   Winning his seventh race in 23 starts, Bar Hopping, by Muscle Hill out of the Credit Winner mare Cocktail Hour, has earned $848,813 for owners Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld. He is trained by Jimmy Takter and was driven by Tim Tetrick. He paid $2.40.   "He fought [Blenheim] well," Jimmy Takter said. "The pace wasn't that hot and he came first up against a good horse, so I was very happy with him."   "He was one of those horses that actually filled out during the season. His game is a form game, and he's in great form. We look forward to next Sunday [for the Kentucky Futurity]."   By Ray Cotolo ,for The Red Mile  

Batavia, NY---As the 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings mark the final New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) stop of the year at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 14), some of the harness racing entrants will be looking to solidify their spot in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 24). But stablemates Devious Man and Money Macintosh from the Julie Miller stable have already advanced as the top two point-earners in the series and can concentrate solely on the $107,000 in purse money available this week. Devious Man (Credit Winner-Miss Garland) has won three consecutive NYSS events after making a break in the $294,450 Peter Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands on August 6. He won in the mud at both Yonkers Raceway and Tioga Downs, the latter setting his lifetime mark of 1:55.3. And then the following week won again back at Yonkers in 1:58.3. He's a very handy horse winning from both the front end and from behind. In all, Devious Man has four wins this year, all in NYSS action and $140,983 in earnings. $125,397 of that total was made in the NYSS and makes him the highest money earner for his age, gait and gender. He is also the second highest point-earner (237) for his category. Andy Miller will make an infrequent stop at the Genesee County oval to drive Devious Man for his wife Julie Miller from post 6 and has been made the prohibitive morning line favorite at 1-1 in the first $53,500 division. Stick With Me Kid (Deweycheatumnhowe-Chelsea Hall) has only one win to his credit this year, but it was an impressive outing in the NYSS at Vernon Downs on July 21. He pulled from off the pace and trotted away to victory in 1:56.2, which was his career best. Chris Lems sat behind him for that start and trainer George Ducharme has him up again here. Looking to add to his $64,051 in earnings and points to his total for the final, Stick With Me Kid has drawn post one, is the second choice at 7-2 and looks to be the stiffest competition for the favorite. In the second $53,500 split, Julie Miller's Money Macintosh (Credit Winner-Apple Plush) is almost a mirror image of Devious Man. He is coming in off two straight wins at Tioga and Yonkers and has four victories on the year, all in NYSS races. His lifetime mark of 1:56.2 was taken at Tioga Downs and he hasn't missed the board all year. Money Macintosh has won $122,829 in 2016, all of which was made in NYSS races. That puts him second in that category behind Devious Man, although he tops the list for points earned (262) in his category. Andy Miller will also team Money Macintosh from post six and has been made the early choice at 2-1. Such An Angel (Credit Winner-Michelle's Angel) sits third in points for the final and will no doubt use this start as a tune up. After winning three-straight NYSS events at Vernon Downs, Saratoga Raceway and Yonkers, Such An Angel encountered some road trouble in his last two and finished off the board. With an inside draw and his gate speed, this is a good spot for the colt to rebound. Trainer Paul Kelley again has the services of Hall of Fame driver John Campbell and will see Such An Angel depart from post three at 5-2. Zack's Zoomer (Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway) currently sits seventh in points and needs a good outing to seal the deal. Although he has only won one NYSS event this year, he has finished a solid second in his last two outings from post four and looks to be rounding into form at just the right time. Marcus Miller will steer Zack's Zoomer for trainer Erv Miller and leave from post one at 3-1. There are also three $15,000 divisions of the Excel A series on the card that is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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