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CHESTER, PA - Driver Tony Morgan and trainer Jennifer Bongiorno combined on their third win of the program as the Bettor's Delight mare Divas Image closed stoutly midtrack to take the $18,000 feature for pacing mares in 1:52.2 during a special Friday night card at Harrah's Philadelphia. Morgan kept the winner, who pushed her career earnings to $604,627, next-to-last in the field of seven early as several horses traded the front spot in the field, then moved with cover down the backstretch. The 2-5 favorite was looking good as she tipped wide the stretch battle, and the mare showed her class by coming home powerfully to hold off the horse on her back and the longest shot in the field, 42-1 Slick Artist A, by 1½ lengths for the partnership of Joseph Bongiorno LLC, Howard Taylor, Thomas Lazzaro, and J&T Silva Stables LLC. Morgan went on to win the last race on the card to end the night as leading driver with his four victories. There were also a pair of $16,000 co-featured events for class-climbing younger horses. In the pacing mares division, Delightful Feather finally surrendered the lead to favored Money Shot Hanover in front of the stands, and then the pair saw Odds On Clearwater make a fast brush on the backstretch to the front. The early rivals came after the stretch leader - Money Shot Hanover to her inside, Delightful Feather to her right - and it was the Bettor's Delight mare Delightful Feather get the decision in 1:53.2, with Money Shot Hanover ¾ of a length behind the winner and 2½ lengths ahead of Odds On Clearwater. George Napolitano Jr. guided the winner for the brother team of trainer Thomas and owner John Cancelliere. In the trot, Oberto moved up uncovered on the far turn to the lead, then had to brace for what looked to be a tough stretch challenge from Gaareat Gazoo on his back. But that foe had some late steering problems, and the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Oberto fended him off by a neck in 1:57.1 for driver Pat Berry, trainer Jeff Weiner, and owners Thomas and Pamela Herbst Maloney. (Ms. Maloney's middle name, which translates from German to "fall," was appropriate for this evening card, which saw the temperatures fall into the 50s as autumn starts to take a grip on the local weather.) For full results and entries click here. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 27, 2019- Odds-on harness racing favorite Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton, $3.20) could not have gone any slower in the early going Friday night (Sept. 27th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The lone leaver from post position No. 5, Betterb Chevron N slogged through early intervals of :28 and :57, with those nice round numbers giving her way too much of an advantage. It was Liberty Rose N (Eric Goodell) trying it first-up from fourth as Betterb Chevron N maintaining her lead in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters. Betterb Chevron N owned a three-quarter length lead off the final turn, then held pocket-sitting Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) at bay by that same margin in 1:53.2. Third went to Liberty Rose N, with Quite a Sight (Brent Holland) and Alexa's Power (Jim Marohn Jr.) rounding out the remainder. For Betterb Chevron N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her eighth win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13, the triple returned $108.50 and the superfecta paid $297. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

CHESTER, PA - A pair of $16,000 featured harness racing events on the Friday afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia saw Ilana Z Tam take a lifetime mark of 1:52 in the contest for pacing mares and Consus Victory earn a new 1:55.1 speed badge in a trotting race. The Bettor's Delight mare Ilana Z Tam was away third behind Odds On Clearwater and favored Tarryn A Strip, and with no outside tier advancing the winner could wait inside until late in the backstretch to go after the leader. Ilana Z Tam quickly made the front on the far turn, with Tarryn A Strip backing out to follow her, but she could not catch winner in the lane, coming up two lengths short. Trainer/driver Pat Lachance also co-owns the victorious distaff with Z Tam Stables LLC. Vinnie Ginsburg settled the Cantab Hall sophomore colt Consus Victory in the two-hole behind Blue And Bold, then had clearance to move out near headstretch, and the three-year-old took it from there, drawing clear by four lengths over the pacesetter. Consus Victory is now two-for-two since teaming with Ginsburg for trainer Jonas Czernyson and Consus Racing Stable Inc. George Napolitano Jr. continued with his winning ways on either end on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, posting five victories on the Friday Philly card. Napolitano has participated in 14 cards at Philly and Pocono over the last two weeks, and he has recorded 47 sulky successes during that period - 25 at Harrah's and 22 at The Downs. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

LEXINGTON, KY--The nation's top harness racing three-year-olds will compete on the Sunday, Sept. 29 card at The Red Mile, which features three Bluegrass Stakes divisions for sophomore pacing colts and two splits for both three-year-old trotting colts and fillies. Tot.al purses are more than $677,000 Saturday North America Cup winner Captain Crunch fronts the opening division of the $267,400 Captaintreacherous Bluegrass Stakes, sponsored by the Captaintreacherous Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms. The millionaire Captaintreacherous colt looks to rebound off a fourth-place finish in the $253,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. Scott Zeron steers the Nancy Johansson trainee from post 5 for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. Messenger Stakes champ American Mercury tops the second Bluegrass colt pace division off a third-place effort in the $384,000 second heat of the Little Brown Jug. With over $500,000 earned for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice, the American Ideal gelding trained by Chris Oakes races from post 3 in rein to Tyler Buter. Bettor's Wish, another millionaire, starts from post 6 in the third division. The Chris Ryder-trained son of Bettor's Delight failed to qualify for the Little Brown Jug after finishing second in the Messenger Stakes. He rebounded two weeks later with a three-length 1:48.1 victory in the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes Final. Regular pilot Dexter Dunn sits in the bike for owners Chris Ryder, Bell Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners. Hambletonian Oaks favorite and runner-up Millies Possesion will rematch Oaks winner When Dovescry in the first of two divisions for the $218,000 Bar Hopping Bluegrass Stakes, sponsored by the Bar Hopping Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms. Nearing $500,000 in earnings, Millies Possesion has one loss from 11 starts, which came when chasing When Dovescry in a 1:50.2 mile on the first Saturday in August. She returned to the races to cap a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes sweep with a 1:53.4 mile in the $253,000 championship. Jim Campbell conditions the daughter of Possess The Will for owner-breeder Fashion Farms LLC. Dexter Dunn sits in the sulky. When Dovescry returned to the track one month after winning the Hambletonian Oaks, taking a $63,772 Simcoe Stakes division going wire to wire in 1:54.4. She raced first over as the odds-on favorite in the $282,000 Elegantimage Final but faltered to third in her most recent mile. Simon Allard will drive the Muscle Hill filly from post 6 for trainer and brother Rene Allard, who conditions the winner of $641,976 for owners Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh and Lawrence Dumain. Evident Beauty leads the second Bar Hopping division off back-to-back Grand Circuit victories. Winning the Elegantimage final from off the speed, the Trixton filly shipped south to Hoosier Park, where she won as the 1-2 favorite in the $135,000 Moni Maker Trot. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains the winner of $735,398 for owners Melvin Hartman, Little E LLC and R A W Equine Inc. David Miller will drive from post 3. The first division of the $192,200 International Moni Bluegrass Stakes--sponsored by the International Moni Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms--features Marcus Melander's star Greenshoe, who would become a millionaire with a victory in the $96,100 opening split. The Father Patrick colt has won his three starts following a runner-up finish in the $1,000,000 Hambletonian; his most recent victory being a 1:50.3 effort in the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final. Greenshoe races for owners Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli, and will have Brian Sears in the bike from post 3. Melander's other trotting star, Green Manalishi S, starts from post 6 in the second split of the International Moni. The Muscle Hill colt, owned by Courant Inc., surpassed $1,000,000 in earnings with a 1:52.4 victory in the $453,750 Canadian Trotting Classic final. Tim Tetrick will guide Green Manalishi S from post 6 as he competes against Pilot Discretion, the Tony Alagna-trained Muscle Hill colt who finished second in the Canadian Trotting Classic. Andrew McCarthy drives Pilot Discretion from post 8 for owners Robert Leblanc, David Anderson and John Fodera. The 10-race card Sunday at The Red Mile opens with three late-closing events, two on the pace and one on the trot. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

MILTON, ON - September 21, 2019 - Undefeated rookie Tall Dark Stranger established a new harness racing stakes record with a 1:49.1 victory in Saturday's $750,000 Metro Pace.   The son of Bettors Delight angled from the two-hole and cruised home in :27, giving his driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Nancy Johansson each their first victory in harness racing's richest race for two-year-olds.   "He's just a great colt," said Johansson. "He looked strong the whole way and still had his plugs in at the wire. If they were coming harder at him I think he still had some left in the tank."   Tall Dark Stranger left from post-four and circled around Easi Hanover, who blasted from the outside, to lead at the opening-quarter in :27. Race-favourite Capt Midnight moved out from third and went after the lead racing up the backstretch, getting stretched out by Tall Dark Stranger before clearing after a :54.1 half.   Capt Midnight carried the lead around the far turn with Tall Dark Stranger and Gingras angling from the two-hole ahead of the three-quarter pole. Ys Mathis was first-up, three-lengths from the lead, with Papi Rob Hanover on his back. The three-quarter time was 1:22.   In the stretch, Tall Dark Stranger powered by Capt Midnight to a clear lead with an eighth of a mile to go. Papi Rob Hanover made things interesting late, ultimately coming up half a length short to a steady Tall Dark Stranger. Capt Midnight finished third, while Seeyou At Thebeach was fourth.   Tall Dark Stranger grinded away to narrowly defeated Papi Rob Hanover in last week's elimination. Gingras felt that performance made a big impact on the colt.   "(Last week) it took him a long time in the stretch, but today I stretched the other colt and in the last turn he knew what it was about this time," said Gingras. "When I came out of the two-hole he went right by Capt Midnight and that was without even me asking him at that point.   "He's got some learning to do, but he's got all the tools to be a great one."   Tall Dark Stranger is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. The son of Bettors Delight is now six for six with $499,533 earned after being purchased for $330,000 at last October's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.   The clocking of 1:49.1 shaved a fifth of a second off the previous stakes record set by Sportswriter in 2009. It also matches the track record set by A Rocknroll Dance in 2011.   Gingras and Johansson can now scratch the Metro Pace off their bucket list, as the duo teamed up in the 2011 edition to finish second with Western Vintage.   Johansson's victory with Tall Dark Stranger gives her a sweep of Mohawk Park's two richest races of the season, as she captured the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup in June with Captain Crunch.   "Not bad for a girl born in Sweden," laughed Johansson. "I'm very lucky that I have owners that support me with great horses and makes my job a lot easier having the material to perform at the highest level."   Tall Dark Stranger paid $5.40 to win.   by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - September 20, 2019 - The $750,000 Metro Pace is harness racing's richest two-year-old race in 2019 and for most of the connections racing, it's exactly the spot they planned on being.   A field of 10 rookie harness racing pacing colts and geldings will line up in the Metro Pace with six of the 10 having been purchased for $100,000 or more at last fall's yearling sales. That number of six is one more than last year's five and potentially the highest ever.   Capt Midnight is the 7/5 favourite in the Metro and was the most expensive purchase in the field at $350,000 (Harrisburg). The Tony Alagna trained son of Captaintreacherous has won five of seven starts for his connections and is the nation's fastest rookie at 1:49.4.   A close second-choice at odds of 9/5 is the undefeated Tall Dark Stranger, who sold for $330,000 at last October's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The Bettors Delight colt is perfect in five career starts for trainer Nancy Johansson and connections.   The most-expensive yearling purchase to ever win the Metro Pace is Simply Business, who pulled off a 20/1 upset in the 2011 edition. The son of Rocknroll Hanover-Cathedra Dot Com sold for $350,000 and went on to make just over a million-dollars in 183 career starts, with $500,000 of those earnings coming from his Metro win.   Since 2000, Simply Business and five other $100,000-plus yearling purchases have won the Metro Pace. Captaintreacherous in 2012 at $250,000 is the second most-expensive followed by Rocknroll Hanover in 2004 ($190,000), Camelot Hall in 2003 ($175,000), Stag Party in last year's race ($125,000) and Artspeak in 2014 ($100,000).   This year's race matches up with the saying "spend money to make money" and that has regularly been the case in the Metro Pace. While the rag to riches stories do happen, the average price of the 16 winners since 2000 that sold at a yearling auction is $102,562.   Sir Luck was the "cheapest" purchase of the winners since 2000 as a $20,000 buy in November 2001 at Harrisburg.   Beach Blanket Book could steal that title away from Sir Luck with an upset win from post-ten. The son of Sportswriter was a $17,000 purchase at last year's Lexington Select sale.   As for the spot where the Metro winners have been purchased, graduates of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale have won seven-times since 2006 with Harrisburg grads winning four during that period. The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale began in 2005 after Tattersalls and Kentucky Standardbred teamed their sales.   The only Metro winner since 2006 not to be sold at either Lexington or Harrisburg was Mystician in 2010. The Canadian Open graduate brought $45,000 as a yearling and scored a 29/1 upset in his Metro victory.   The storyline for this year's race may be the expensive yearling buys, but a pair of homebreds will pace behind the gate in Saturday's $750,000 event.   Sportswriter colt Ys Mathis is owned by Yves Sarrazin, who co-bred the pacer with Carl Duguay. One For Julius is from the first-crop of stallion Hes Watching and races for breeders Andrea Lea Racingstables Inc.   The last homebred to win the Metro Pace was Boomboom Ballykeel in 2010. The 10/1 upset winner was trained by Richard Moreau, who conditions Ys Mathis in this year's race.   The Metro Pace is one of the most anticipated races each season and that anticipation begins for many while inspecting yearlings and purchasing their next great hope.   While it's still early in the careers for the Metro field, on paper and based on early results this group could leave quite the legacy on the racetrack. Only time will tell.   Here is the breakdown of the Metro Pace field by yearling price.   Capt Midnight - $350,000 (Harrisburg) Tall Dark Stranger - $330,000 (Lexington) Captain Kirk - $200,000 (Lexington) Esai Hanover - $155,000 (Harrisburg) Team Best - $150,000 (Lexington) Papi Rob Hanover - $130,000 (Harrisburg) Seeyou At Thebeach - $70,000 (Harrisburg) Beach Blanket Book - $17,000 (Lexington) Ys Mathis - Homebred One For Julius - Homebred   by Mark McKelvie,for Woodbine Entertainment   

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 6, 2019 - A from-last, favored Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton, $4.80) prevailed in the late going Friday night (Sept, 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's soggy harness racing $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away last-from post position No. 5-among the half-dozen (reduced after a defection), Betterb Chevron N saw Wisdom Tree (Jason Bartlett) and Reclamation alternate up front, the latter grabbing the lead before a :26.3 opening quarter-mile. It was a :55.3 intermission before D G's Elsa (Joe Bongiorno) make a weak bid from fourth. That forced Betterb Chevron N wide early before a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Reclamation owned a length lead in and out of the final turn. Wisdom Tree edged off the cones, about to win the battle but lose the war. Wisdom Tree picked off Reclamation, but could not stall the people's preference. Betterb Chevron N prevailed by a length in 1:53.2. Wisdom Tree did snatch second, with Reclamation, Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) and Angel's Pride (Brian Sears) settling the remainder. For Betterb Chevron N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her eighth win in 21 seasonal starts The exacta paid $47, the triple returned $121 and the superfecta paid $347.50. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

CLINTON, ON - SEPT. 1, 2019 - Clinton Raceway wrapped up its 2019 season on a high note Sunday afternoon with the 39th annual Charity Driver's Challenge and four OSS $22,800 Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old harness racing pacing colts. The first seven races were dedicated to the driver's challenge, which benefitted the Royal Canadian Legion branches in Clinton, Seaforth, Wingham and Brussels. The top four drivers from Clinton Raceway, Colin Kelly, Scott Wray, Natasha Day and Ryan Holliday, competed against four of the top drivers from Woodbine Mohawk Park, Sylvain Filion, Louis-Philippe Roy, Jonathan Drury and Jody Jamieson, with each driver looking to amass the most points through seven starts Louis-Philippe Roy got off to a quick start, winning the first two races, and finishing second to defending champ Jody Jamieson in the third. Canada's leading reinsman Sylvain Filion romped to an 11 length win in the fourth race and Natasha Day edged out Roy for the win in the fifth. Roy looked to have things well in hand, but the early leader finished last in the final two legs and Filion finished first. Filion took the win with 175 points through the seven races, Roy was second with 158 and Jamieson was third with 117. Once Filion had been crowned the winner of the Charity Driver's Challenge, which raised over $12,000 for the Royal Canadian Legion branches, the freshman pacing colts stepped to centre stage. Bettorbuckleup and driver Mike Saftic won the first $22,800 division with a sharp front end effort from Post 3, sailing home two and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:57.2. Usurper finished second and Twin B Watch Me was third. "He's been in the Gold a couple times, but he's just kind of a fringe payer in the Gold," said trainer Eric Adams. "He's got all kinds of go, but he's not quite a Gold horse so we're going to tackle the Grassroots and see if we can get to the Grassroots Semi-Final." Adams trains the son of Bettors Delight for Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. The win was the colt's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and his second through seven starts. In his three Gold Series appearances Bettorbuckleup's best finish was a second at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 15. Century Grizzly has competed in all four of the Grassroots Legs this season and earned his first provincial victory with a track record equalling effort at Clinton on Sunday. With Jody Jamieson in the race bike the fan favourite controlled all the fractions, cruising through a :28.3 quarter, :59 half and 1:28 three-quarters on his way to the 1:57 victory. Sundown Kid was one and one-half lengths back in second and Bee Two Bee was three lengths back in third. The mile matched the 1:57 track record set by Thinkofagameplan in Grassroots action on Aug. 31, 2014. "He's turned the corner a bit. He was a slow starter, but he's figuring it out," said Jim Ritchie, who trains the Sunshine Beach colt for Paul Ritchie of Mono, ON. "He was always fast but he was goofy, like playing around and whinnying at horses, but he's starting to figure it out." After finishing no better than third in his first four starts, Century Grizzly recorded his first victory on Aug. 22, touring Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:54.1. Sunday's win bumped him up among the top 20 point earners heading into the last regular season Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 16. The top 20 point earners from the five regular season events will advance to the Sept. 27 Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final earning a berth in the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. In the third division, Doc Fanelli also took a front-end tour to the Grassroots winner's circle, battling down the stretch to a three-quarter length victory in 1:58.4. Fan favourite Gentry Seelster settled for second and Walk It Talk It rounded out the top three. Sunday's win was the Badlands Hanover son's second. He also won his career debut at Georgian Downs on June 29. "He was kind of lazy horse training down and after his first qualifier it just kind of clicked," said owner-trainer Kyle Bossence of Arthur, ON. "Great gaited, paced without the hopples right from Day 1, he just did what you asked him to do. He wasn't an overachiever, but he's kind of catching the hang of it now and wanting to go a little more." Colin Kelly, who finished the 2019 meet as Clinton Raceway's top reinsman, drove Doc Fanelli to the win. The reinsman - along with Clinton's leading trainer Andrew McCabe - was presented with his trophy just before he drove Doc Fanelli to the win. Captivate Hanover wrapped up the fourth Grassroots Leg and the 2019 Clinton meet with a 1:57.3 victory in the last division. The Bettors Delight son and driver Phil Hudon sat behind pacesetter Needless To Say through fractions of :29, :57.3 and 1:28.2 before sprinting down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:57.3. Mr Cheeseman finished second and Disneyman was third. "He put in a big effort, that's for sure. He got a little steppy from time to time, but he's quick and everything so he was able to make up for it," said trainer Shawn Steacy of the fan favourite. "He's just a nice horse. He comes to play all the time, so that's why we like him." Steacy trains Captivate Hanover for Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC, Stephen Klunowksi of North York, ON and James Feeley of Pine Bush, NY. The colt was also victorious in the July 5 Grassroots season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park and currently sits second in the division standings with 116 points. In addition to supporting the Royal Canadian Legion through a bake sale, 50-50 draw and silent auction, fans wagered a total of $67,417 on the races, the biggest handle of Clinton Raceway's 2019 meet. Complete results for Sunday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0901clntnn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON,  ON - AUG. 30, 2019 - On Friday evening two-year-old pacing filly Alicorn rewrote the Ontario Sires Stakes history books for the second time this summer, rocketing around Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:50.3 for her second Gold Series victory. Starting from Post 3, regular reinsman Louis-Philippe Roy eased the heavy favourite away from the gate and settled in fourth as Kat took the field of nine to a :27.1 opening quarter. Karma Seelster quickly took control of the lead, but Alicorn was hot on her heels and had taken control by the :55.1 half. Once they had control, Alicorn and Roy stepped up the tempo and powered through a 1:22.4 three-quarters on their way to the 1:50.3 victory. Karma Seelster and Kat finished second and third, two and one-quarter lengths behind the winner. "She's just a big beast in a small body," said Guelph, ON resident Roy. "I was a little concerned with the way I had to use her to get to the front at the half, but when I pulled the plugs down the lane she let me know it was game over." "I was glad to see her get away fourth. Even though she only sat in until just about the quarter pole and then he removed her, I was glad to see her do that. I didn't want to see her get too aggressive behind the gate, because she can take a good hold of you behind the gate," added trainer Chantal Mitchell. "She's always been like that, she knows what she's there to do when she gets in behind the starting car, but when she makes the front she kind of goes to sleep. So it's a Catch-22 with how you want to race a horse like her really, but every time you ask her she gives you more." The mile lowered the filly's own Ontario Sires Stakes record by two-fifths of a second. She won her July 19 Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:51. Friday's victory was Alicorn's second straight at Woodbine Mohawk Park, she captured her Eternal Camnation division last weekend, and her fourth of the season. In seven starts the Bettors Delight daughter has banked $216,889 for owners Windermere Stable LLC of New York, NY and Robert Muscara of Ivyland, PA. "I feel like she's getting stronger and stronger. She's feeling better and better after every start," said Hamilton, ON resident Mitchell. "When she gets to the racetrack she just knows how to turn it on, because at home she's a nice quiet little filly and when she gets to the track she's got her game face on." The two-year-old pacing fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 30, but before that Alicorn is also eligible to the Champlain Pace on Sept. 7 and the Shes A Great Lady, which sees eliminations on Sept. 14 and the final on Sept. 21. "We'll just see how she comes out of it (Friday's race), because it's a pretty tight schedule from here on to the end of the year," said Mitchell about whether the filly will race in both the Champlain and Shes A Great Lady. "If she were to race in every race she's got, she'd only be getting one week off between now and the end of the Breeders Crown." The other $107,200 Gold Series division went to Temagami Seelster and driver Yannick Gingras, who used a similar strategy from Post 5. The fan favourites got away third, watching P L Notorious roll out to a :26.4 opening quarter, and then followed Rose Run Vantage up the outside, overtaking that filly heading by the :55.1 half. Temagami Seelster led the field to a 1:23.4 three-quarters and when Rose Run Vantage and Peaky Sneaky tried to reel her in down the stretch the filly dug in and held on for a head victory in 1:52. Rose Run Vantage and Peaky Sneaky had to settle for second and third. "About halfway down the lane it looked like they were going by her on the inside and the outside, and then he kicked the plugs and she dug right back in," said trainer Wayne McGean. "She's got a heart, that's for sure." The win was Temagami Seelster's first in Gold Series action. In the first three Gold legs the Sunshine Beach daughter finished second twice and third once. In nine starts the filly has only missed the top three on two occasions, earning $144,913 for McGean, who hails from Sydney Mines, NS and his partners David Mercer and Joseph Lewis of Sydney, NS. "She was riding under the radar," said the trainer. "This evening I told Yannick she's a nice filly. He said, 'Yeah, you drew away from some of the tougher ones', and I said, 'Yeah, but I think she's a tough one too. I think she's a real nice filly.' He said, 'Okay'. And he drove her like she was the best. "She knows what it's all about now I think. She kind of proved tonight that she knows what it's all about," he added. "She was beat halfway down the lane, you know that and I know that right, but once he pulled the plugs then she dug back in." Like Alicorn, Temagami Seelster is eligible to the Champlain and Shes A Great Lady stakes and McGean is also taking a wait and see approach. Both fillies are currently among the top five point earners in the Gold Series division and will be assured of a berth in the Oct. 12 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Complete results from Friday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0830wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CHESTER, PA - A pair of $16,000 featured harness racing events headlined the Friday afternoon racing at Harrah's Philadelphia. In the co-feature for trotters, the Father Patrick gelding Divine Spirit overcame the difficult tuck-then-first-over trip to win in 1:56.3. Remarkable De Vie put up the early fractions of :28 and :58.2; by the 1:26.3 three-quarters he had engaged the leader and soon gained the advantage, and through the stretch the sophomore was able to stay 1½ lengths ahead of gaining favorite Navarone Hanover. Trainer Brett Pelling co-owns the winner with Lindy Farms of Connecticut; for driver Andrew McCarthy, the success was one of six on the afternoon card for him. In the co-headliner for pacing females, the Bettor's Delight mare Ilana Z Tam went out to get the pocket behind Ponder The Odds, watched that one put up timer action of :26.4, :56.1, and 1:23.3, at the last-named station while engaged in battling favored first-over Tarryn A Strip, then shot up the inside to achieve a simple one length victory over closing Odds On Naples in 1:52.4. Trainer/driver Pat Lachance also shares ownership of the winner with Z Tam Stables LLC. In a $14,500 pace for fast-class mares, the sharp Roll With Joe mare Queen Lostris N made every pole a winning one to lower her mark to 1:51.2 and spoil the U.S. debut of Imprincessgemma N. George Napolitano Jr. sent the winner of $182,336 right to the front and put up splits of :27.1, :56.2, and 1:23.3; Imprincessgemma N, who got a 3-tuck early, had to come first-over, and despite a persistent grind came up a length short. Gilbert Garcia-Owen, the leading trainer at Harrah's Philly, conditions the winner for Gilberto Garcia-Herrera. FINISHING LINES - Harness royalty comes to Harrah's Philly on Sunday for Great Northeast Open Series action: #1-ranked Shartin N tops the mares pace, while 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover is set to go in the open trot. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 24, 2019--It was a 'Non-Bettor's Wish' Saturday night (Aug. 24th) during Yonkers Raceway's harness racing eliminations for the 64th Messenger Stakes. Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, summarily disposed of his five rivals in a non-wagering elim. A pole-sitting second early in the $40,000 off-the-card elim, Bettor's Wish took over from American Mercury (Tyler Buter) before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a pedestrian, 58-second intermission, Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) tried it first-up from fourth. Bettor's Wish led through a 1:26.1 three-quarters, eventually holding off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2. Escapetothebeach backed away but held third, with Branquinho (Jason Bartlett) fourth. That quartet goes into next Saturday night's (Aug. 31st) $500,000 finale of the Messenger. Lyons Johnnyjnr (Dan Dube) and Captain Trevor (Jordan Stratton) completed the order. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, 7 seconds, 2 thirds, $1,131,600). He now has eight wins and three seconds) in 11 '19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ry8der co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm & Bettor's Wish Partners) and trains. "He was just so great, so easy to drive," Dunn said. "I can't wait for next week." The remaining half of the Messenger field was to be decided later this evening in the second, $40,000 elim, part of the dozen-race wagering program. The on-the-card, $40,000 elim saw Aflame Hanover (Callahan, $6) finish what he started. From post position No. 3, he never had an issue (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24, 1:52), whipping pocketed pole-sitter U S Captain (Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), paired with the runner-up as the 17-10 wagering choice, was a closing third, while 37-1 rank outsider Reigning Deo (George Brennan) was a ground-saving fourth to advance. Buddy Hill (Eric Goodell) and Air Force Hanover (Stratton) were fifth and last, respectively. For second choice Aflame Hanover, a Russell Hanover gelding co-owned by (trainer) Linda and Tony Schadel, it was his fourth (consecutive) win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.60, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. "He was super," Callahan said. "He did everything I asked. His hopple hanger broke, but that didn't bother him." Aflame Hanover traversed the Keystone State exclusively, only leaving (before Saturday) to finish fifth and fourth, respectively, in the elim and final of Mohawk's North America Cup. Saturday's pair of $46,000 Open Handicaps were won by... --Pace, None Bettor A (Bartlett, $2.30) in 1:50.4; --Trot, Will Take Charge (Stratton, $8.70) in 1:54.4. Undeservedly reduced to sidebar status were... --American History (Bongiorno, $5.60), who matched the all-age track record (1:50) in winning the $37,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap after teletimer-torturing intervals of :26.2, :53.1 and 1:20.2; --Double-millionaire Bit of A Legend N (Stratton, $4.60), who grinded out a 50th career win (in his 150th life start), winning the $30,000, 11th-race pace (1:52.4). Open draws for next Saturday's four-pack of stakes--$$500,000 Yonkers Trot No, 65, Messenger, $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot and $122,224 Lady Maud Pace--take place Monday afternoon (Aug. 26th). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

When Bettor's Wish won May's Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway, it served as a harbinger of the colt's rise to prominence among harness racing 3-year-old pacers. On Saturday, he returns to The Hilltop for the first time since that victory, facing five rivals in the first of two eliminations of the Messenger Stakes. Bettor's Wish was not staked to the Messenger, so his connections paid $30,000 to make him eligible to the race. The colt, trained and co-owned by Chris Ryder, has won seven of 10 races this year (finishing second in his three defeats) and earned $839,544, which tops all horses in North America. He heads to his Messenger elim off victories in the Carl Milstein Memorial and a division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes. Interestingly, Bettor's Wish was not originally staked to the Art Rooney, either, but his connections paid a $6,000 supplement fee in February to make him eligible. Bettor's Wish won the $300,000 Rooney by six lengths. "He's been great," said Scott Ezzo, an Ohio resident whose wife Lisa heads Bella Racing Ltd., which is part of the horse's ownership group. "The Art Rooney was the one that set the stage. When he won that race, we said he was going to be something to enjoy. "We weren't sure (what to expect from Bettor's Wish entering this year). I talked to Chris throughout the winter and he said he was training really well. But Chris never tips his hand. So, when Chris supplemented him to the Art Rooney, that got my attention." Bettor's Wish has attracted plenty of attention in the months to follow. In addition to winning the Milstein and Rooney, the colt finished second in the Meadowlands Pace, missing by a head after being parked out the entire mile, and second in the Cane Pace, where he was defeated by a neck. He also was second in the North America Cup. Over the course of his career, Bettor's Wish has won 12 of 22 races and finished worse than second only three times, with two thirds and a fourth accounting for the remaining setbacks. "It's been tremendous; we've had a lot of fun following him," Lisa Ezzo said. "We have so many people that are following him along with us. We just love that. It's been fun for a lot of people, I think. "I think he's a little guy and people always want to root for the little guy. But he races big. He doesn't know his size." Bettor's Wish, by Bettor's Delight out of Lifetime Star, was purchased for $20,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale. He has earned $1.11 million so far in his career. The colt is owned by Ryder, Bella Racing, Leah Cheverie's and Art Zubrod's Fair Island Farm, and the recently created Bettors Wish Partners group of original owner Ken Solomon and newcomers Dana Parham and Eric Cherry's Let It Ride Stables. The Messenger Stakes is the second leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, following the Cane Pace (won by Captain Crunch, who did not enter the Messenger) and ahead of the Little Brown Jug. The Jug is held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, which happens to be the hometown of the Ezzos. Bettor's Wish is not eligible to the Jug, but a win in the Messenger final would allow his connections to supplement. Any horse not eligible to the Jug can be supplemented if it wins either the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace, or Messenger. "Our backs are against the wall," Scott Ezzo said. "Hopefully we'll get in." Bettor's Wish is undefeated in three lifetime races at Yonkers, all this season, and has won six of seven career starts on half-mile tracks, such as Yonkers. His only loss on a half came by a neck in last year's Battle of Waterloo. He flashed his big-track ability in his most recent victory, stopping the clock in 1:47.4 at Red Mile, which is tied for the second-fastest mile of the season by a 3-year-old pacer. "He's proven to me to be very durable," trainer Ryder said. "Every time he races, he does something that impresses you, he does something good. It's just a good ride, we just have to keep it up. We're just taking it week by week." The Ezzos have enjoyed success with other horses, such as 2006 Breeders Crown winner Charley Barley and world-record-setter Kiss Me Onthebeach, but Bettor's Wish has been something else. "It's just been incredible," Scott Ezzo said. "We've had some good horses, but he's the best. I'm not taking anything away from the other ones, but he's like the Energizer bunny; he just keeps going, and going, and going." Joining Bettor's Wish in the first Messenger elimination, which is a non-betting race, are Captain Trevor, Escapetothebeach, American Mercury, Branquinho, and Lyons Johnnyjnr. Bettor's Wish starts from post one with regular driver Dexter Dunn. The horses in the second elimination, which is race five on the betting card, are U S Captain, Air Force Hanover, Aflame Hanover, Waterway, Buddy Hill, and Reigning Deo. Buddy Hill is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Bettor's Wish, winner of the Art Rooney at Yonkers and the Millstein Memorial at Northfield Park, will be supplemented to the Messenger Stake next Saturday at Yonkers Raceway, it was announced by Eric Cherry representing the ownership for the sensational Bettor’s Delight sophomore trained by Chris Ryder. Said Cherry "We already know how he handles Yonkers and half mile tracks in general, so we figured the Messenger is a natural for the colt who just recently won a Kentucky Sires Stake In 1:47.4 at The Red Mile." Should he win the Messenger, Bettor’s Wish would be able to supplement to the Little Brown Jug. By Bob Marks

MILTON, ON - AUG. 16, 2019 - Tall Dark Stranger made his harness racing debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening and padded his growing resume with a seemingly effortless three length victory in 1:51.2. Lining up at Post 8 in the second $108,000 Gold Series division, driver Yannick Gingras eased Tall Dark Stranger away from the starting gate and settled in fifth as Bettor At Hightide rolled out to a :26.3 opening quarter. Heavy favourites Gingras and Tall Dark Stranger started their advance up the outer lane heading for the :56 half and at the 1:24 three-quarters they matched strides briefly with Bettor At Hightide before taking command and sailing home to a comfortable victory. Pocket-sitter Sports Obsession finished second and YS Mathis closed well to claim third-place honours. "He's been pretty easy to train and he's always kind of done what he's supposed to do, for the most part, so it makes my job a little bit easier for sure," said trainer Nancy Johansson of the colt, who is now perfect through two qualifiers and three races, with all three races clocked in 1:51.3 or faster. Tall Dark Stranger The son of Bettors Delight and $869,920 winner Precocious Beauty was a $330,000 purchase from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and Friday's win boosted his early career earnings to $68,000 for owners Marvin Katz of Toronto, ON, Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY, Caviart Farms of Vienna, VA and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Tall Dark Stranger started his career at The Meadowlands, near Johansson's Allentown, NJ base, but he has taken up residence at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch in preparation for the next Gold event and the Sept. 14 Metro Pace eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I have nine horses at Classy Lane, so I have a few up here and some of my staff stays up here with them. And I've been spending essentially Tuesday through Saturday in Canada," said Johansson. "I think we might race him in the Gold on the 31st, we'll race him that Gold and then he'll go to the Metro from there, most likely. Obviously he needs to stay healthy and sound and everything." Gingras, who also calls Allentown, NJ home, has been in the race bike for all of Tall Dark Stranger's appearances and Johansson does not expect the reinsman to miss any of the colt's starts, which she expects will number 12 or 13 by the end of the season. "We got lucky there were no conflicts tonight, so that he was able to come up, but I do really like to keep the same driver on a two-year-old, so that they get comfortable with each other and confidence in each other," said Johansson. "And obviously Yannick is one of the top drivers in our sport, so if he wants to come and drive him, I'm not going to fight him not to do it. "I think it will probably be in his best interest too, to keep showing up," she added with a chuckle. While Tall Dark Stranger has been straightforward to train and a gentleman to work with, that was not the case for the winner of the other Gold Series division. In the weeks after Examiner Hanover arrived at Casie Coleman's winter base in Florida last November the trainer was so unimpressed with the $80,000 yearling she suggested owners Brad Grant of Milton and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON should either send him back to breeder Hanover Shoe Farms or give him to another trainer. The son of Hes Watching was extremely difficult to work with and seemed physically unable to learn his early lessons. "He was so bad that I actually tried to give him back to Hanover Shoe Farms, saying this horse can't even, like I can't do anything with him, he can't function. I even told Brad Grant, 'If they won't take him back just try him with one of your other trainers or something, because I can't figure this horse out'," Coleman recalled. "He ended up having a lot of chiropractic issues basically, so I don't know if something happened on the ship or what, but they got fixed up and then he was training down like a beast. He couldn't have trained any better all winter once we figured that part out." Examiner Hanover continued to train well when Coleman returned to Ontario in the spring and delivered two sharp qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 14 and 22, but things went off the rails for a second time in July 6 Gold Series opener when the gelding's knee boots slid down his legs. "He went the entire mile with two knee boots down, and he got all hot and rattled up because of that," said Cambridge resident Coleman. "He qualified great, I was thrilled with him, then his first few starts weren't so good at all." After a fourth-place result in the second Gold Leg, Examiner Hanover rebounded with an overnight win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 26 and then finished fourth to Tall Dark Stranger in the Dream Maker Series on Aug. 5. In Friday's Gold Series test driver Bob McClure settled Examiner Hanover in fifth through the :28.1 opening quarter and then sent the gelding up the outside heading for the :57 half. The pair was able to follow Wind Blown to the 1:24.4 three-quarters and then sprint home for a neck victory over Rhythm In Motion and Aneto in 1:52.3. Examiner Hanover "He went from a disaster, to awesome, to a little bit of a disaster again, to good again now," said Coleman with a chuckle. "Hopefully he's on the track right now." Complete results from Friday's program are available by clicking on this link. Next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts on Saturday, Aug. 17. Post time for Saturday's program is 7:10 pm and the colts will compete in Races 3, 5, 7 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The field of seven assembled for Saturday's $30,000 fast-class pacing event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the "winningest" collections of seasoned veterans, with a 43% success rate this year and 38% lifetime, and three of the most frequent visitors to Victory Lane are the favorites. Tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite from post four is None Bettor A (9 wins in 12 starts this year, 25-for-70 lifetime), with new trainer Andrew Harris selecting the track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., to handle the Bettor's Delight gelding. None Bettor A had won nine straight races, including a GNOS event, before finishing third behind last season's Horse of the Year McWicked in the Gerrity Pace at Saratoga in his last start; he draws inside his two main rivals here, but he also has not raced since that July 20 mile at Saratoga. Starting just to his right is Highalator (10-for-21 this year, 31-for-67 lifetime), with Jenny Bier using regular driver Richard Still behind the son of Somebeachsomewhere. Winner of the Franklin Consolation, the Van Rose Pace, and a leg of the GNOS at The Downs already this year, Highalator is a known lover of the brick-red Pocono surface, as his 13-for-21 lifetime record here attests to; he's rated at 3-1 in the morning line. Drawing the outside post seven is the Shadow Play gelding Backstreet Shadow (8-for-17 this year, 15-for-34 lifetime) for trainer Ron Burke and driver Pat Berry, and his 7-2 early evaluation likely would have been better with a better post position draw. Backstreet Shadow has won his last three races in impressive fashion, staring with a 1:47.4 victory at The Meadowlands, then a 1:48.4 win on Adios Day at The Meadows, and then back to the Jersey miler where on Hambletonian Day he lowered his mark to 1:47.3, with a last quarter of :25.4. Another longtime Pocono favorite, Scott Rocks (post two, trainer Hunter Oakes, driver Fern Paquet Jr.), would break the $1,000,000 lifetime earnings mark with a first or a second here - appropriate for a horse who has paced in 1:50 or faster at Pocono for six straight years. Slick Tony, Havefaithinme N, and Beach Boogie are the early mutuel outsiders, but all have shown they can be very competitive with some racing fortune. The top pointearners in GNOS preliminaries earn their way into Monday, September 9's $100,000 GNOS divisional Championships at Pocono, to be held at the distance of 1¼ miles. This Great Northeast Series event starts a big racing week at Pocono, with Pennsylvania-sired two-year-olds in stakes action the following two cards: the pacing colts on Sunday and the trotting fillies on Sunday. From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

Dexter Dunn hails from Down Under in New Zealand and traveled to the United States less than a year ago. He had never been to MGM Northfield Park, but arrived on Saturday (August 10) full of confidence to drive race favorite Bettor's Wish in the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial. He went to the gate on the heels of losing two straight photos in the $682,650 Meadowlands Pace and $285,362 Cane Pace. Bettor's Wish started from post three and went to the lead around the initial turn. He set pedestrian fractions of :28.2 and :57. "I was happy when I saw the fractions," admitted Dunn. "If we would have got beaten from there, it would have been a rough night. The fractions were pretty slow, but it all pays the same." Dunn urged Bettor's Wish in the third quarter and he responded, posting times of 1:24.1 and 1:50.3. The colt pulled away by 3 ½-lengths from his closest competitor, Captain Victorious (Yannick Gingras). Bettor's Wish (Bettor's Delight-Lifetime Star-Western Ideal) is owned by the partnership of Christopher Ryder, Bella Racing LTD, Fair Island Farm and Bettor's Wish Partners. Saturday's victory is the 11th score for Bettor's Wish. The win makes the Chris Ryder trainee harness racing's newest millionaire, pushing his earnings to $1,096,600. Following in succession after Bettor's Wish were Captain Victorious, Century Farroh, Yankee Boots, Southwind Ozzi, Rockie Got Framed and Workin Ona Mystery. American Mercury was scratched sick. Bettor's Wish returned 3.80 to win. The race was in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. It is the richest invitational event in harness racing for pacers. Two races prior to the main event, Dancin Yankee captured his fourth straight $50,000 Myron Charna President's Pace. The Ohio-sired event by invitation began in 2016. Dancin Yankee left from the gate, initially taking the lead before letting the heavy favorite, Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith), reclaim the top just past the :26.2 opening quarter. He received the garden trip through times of :54.4 and 1:21.3 before making his move in the stretch and winning by ½-length in 1:49.2. The clocking equaled Northfield's track record for Five Year-Old and Up Pacing Horses, set by All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) in 2017. Ron Burke trains Dancin Yankee for the Burke Racing Stable. Chris Page was in the bike. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

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