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LEXINGTON, KY--Grand Circuit action on Friday (Oct. 9) at The Red Mile will start with a bang as New York Sires Stakes champ Test Of Faith puts a six-race harness racing win streak on the table in a matchup against two fillies returning stateside. Test Of Faith starts from post 7 as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first of two divisions of the Arlene Siegel Memorial International Stallion Stake Two-Year-Old Filly Pace--sponsored by Jules Siegel and Fashion Farms. The Brett Pelling-trained Art Major filly will contend against Cavairt Audrey--the Nancy Takter-trained Somebeachsomewhere filly exiting a 1:52.2 win in the $341,250 Shes A Great Lady Stakes--as well as Notorious Pink--the Shes A Great Lady runner-up conditioned by Tony Alagna. David Miller will have the reins on Test Of Faith while Yannick Gingras drives Caviart Audrey from post 5 and Tim Tetrick steers Notorious Pink from post 2. Kentucky Sires Stakes champ Blue Diamond Eyes will try to rebound off a second-place finish in the Bluegrass last week when she starts from post 5 in the second division of the Arlene Siegel Memorial. David Miller again has the assignment behind the Ron Burke-trained Captaintreacherous filly who suffered defeat last week to Fire Start Hanover, who starts from post 2 for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and driver Dexter Dunn. The Friday card also features three divisions for the $258,800 Six Pack International Stallion Stake Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot, sponsored by the Six Pack Syndicate and Deo Volente Farms. Venerate leads the opening division from post 3 as he returns to the site of his Kentucky Sires Stakes crush after sliding to victory in the inaugural edition of the Mohawk Million. Andy Miller will drive the Love You colt--listed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite--for trainer Julie Miller against Ake Svanstedt trainee Southwind Tyrion, the William Wellwood Memorial runner-up who rallied with a :26.3 final quarter last week to finish third in the Bluegrass. Pennsylvania Sires Stakes runner-up In Range will also try to bounce back off a sixth-place effort as the odds-on choice in the Bluegrass. Making just his fourth start, aptly-named Svanstedt trainee Delayed Hanover heads into the second division of the Six Pack off a 1:53.4 victory in the Bluegrass last week--trotting a final quarter in :26.3. Svanstedt will again have the reins from post 6 and neighbors hometown favorite Cuatro De Julio, the Trixton colt trained by Marie Ortolan Bar and driven by Al Eferstein. The final split of the Six Pack pins Peter Haughton winner Zenith Stride against Moonstone S, runner-up in the Haughton and entering this race off a third-place rally in the Bluegrass. Brian Sears opts to drive the Mark Harder-trained Muscle Hill colt off a sixth-place finish over the Lexington oval last week and will start from post 2. David Miller nabs the drive on the Marcus Melander-trained Muscle Hill colt who starts from post 1. A total of five Grand Circuit events will go on the 11-race card. First-race post time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

Freehold,NJ --- The final of the New Jersey Sire Stakes- Standardbred Development Fund for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, along with a tough renewal of the Preferred Handicap pace, headline Freehold Raceway's Saturday harness racing card. Both races will go through trainer Brett Pelling.   In the final, Pelling will seek a sweep of the series, with JK Lucky Charms. This gelding, who Pelling co-owns with 3 Brothers Racing, won the first two legs of the series in front-running efforts. Last week, he won by 3/4 of a length in a sharp 1:54.3. His task will be a bit tougher than usual, however. In the first two legs, he had post position one. On Saturday, he'll have to leave from post position eight. Todd McCarthy maintains the drive.   Force N Fury, who has hit the board in both legs, Rock N Teen, who was a fast-closing second to JK Lucky Charms last out, and Rockin Jukebox, second in the first leg two weeks ago, look like the toughest rivals. The race is scheduled as the sixth race, with a post time of 2:10 PM EDT.   One race later, Pelling will send out the appropriately named Springsteen in the Preferred. This 5-year-old is best known for winning the 2018 Max Hempt Memorial at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He's won three times from five starts on the year, including an impressive 1:48.1 mile at the Meadowlands. Most recently, he was seventh in the Send it In Invitational at Scioto Downs.   He was assigned post position eight, with driver George Brennan.   The first of twelve at Freehold on Saturday will be at about 12:30 PM EDT.   From Freehold Raceway  

YONKERS, N.Y. - “She’s pretty. She’s worth taking a photo of,” trainer Brett Pelling said, describing standout 2-year-old harness racing pacing filly Test Of Faith ahead of her bid in the New York Sire Stakes Final Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. “She’s not a chestnut, but she’s close. She’s very graceful, beautiful balance. She’s a very attractive horse.” Not just a pretty face, Test Of Faith has shown talent to back up her physical. She’s 4-for-5 in the New York bred series and finished second in her only loss. Her earnings stand at $145,250 for owners Melvin Segal, Kentuckiana Racing Stable, and Eddie Gran. And Test Of Faith is the 9-5 favorite on the morning line in $225,000 championship Saturday night (Sept. 12). Bred by Frederick Hertrich, III, Test Of Faith is by Art Major out of the Cam’s Card Shark mare Cannae Cammie, who placed in multiple stakes and earned $538,140 on the racetrack. Test Of Faith is a half to Alexis Faith, 2017 NYSS Champion 2-year-old filly and multiple Grand Circuit stakes winner, and to Cant Beach That, who Pelling trained to a runner up finish in the Kentucky Sire Stakes Final for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings last year.  The pedigree put Test Of Faith on Pelling’s short list at last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale and Pelling went to $92,000 to bring the filly home.  “It’s a very good family. She has really good strength, she’s a very strong filly. She’s not really like her brother; her brother goes to a knee a little bit, but she paces very clean,” Pelling said. “One’s a girl, one’s a boy. He’s a big, strong, rugged horse. She’s quite tall, but she’s very graceful.” Test Of Faith trained down without a hitch. As the time to qualify grew closer, Test Of Faith stood out from her peers for her reliability and professionalism.  “She’s been bullet proof. Right from the very beginning, she showed good ability. She’s always trained well. The biggest thing with her is, there’s never been any problem of any kind, which for a 2-year-old is a rarity. She’s been push button right from day one,” Pelling said. “The first time we asked her to go quick, she was perfect. She trains great in front, she trains great behind. Probably her number one quality is she’s very relaxed, she’s very sensible. A lot of these fillies, you race them on the front end and they might get a little aggressive. She could not be more opposite to that. She’s as loose-lined as a horse can be and that’s a good horse.” Test Of Faith qualified at Magical Acres Training Center June 16. She drew in with Farady Hanover, a $275,000 Harrisburg purchase and full sister to Filibuster Hanover trained by Noel Daley, prompting Pelling to be conservative. With Brett’s son Jack in the bike, Test Of Faith stayed inside as Farady Hanover wired the field. Test Of Faith finished last of four, pacing her mile in 2:00 with a :27.3 final quarter. Pelling liked what he saw. “We knew she was good in her qualifier. We locked her in and I knew some of the other fillies that she baby raced with were high-priced fillies with good trainers and I knew they had to be pretty decent,” Pelling said. “I could see she was just sitting there watching them and I felt she could move by them at any time. I think right from the beginning, I knew she was pretty good” Test Of Faith qualified again at Magical Acres June 23. This time, she rode the pocket and with a :27.4 final quarter, sprinted past rival Heart Of Mine to score a 1 3/4-length win in 1:58.1.  Test Of Faith made her pari-mutuel debut in NYSS at Vernon Downs on Independence Day. Floating out from post five, driver Jim Marohn, Jr. had had few options but to forge to the front as two rivals left to his inside. Test Of Faith worked to the top in a :26 opening panel, clearing midway around the first turn. Despite the swift fractions, Test Of Faith turned away the first-over challenge of Major Houlihan before pacing clear of the field in the stretch. She won by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:52.2. “The first time we raced her up at Vernon, that was never the intention to go down the road in 52. But the horse inside of her really pushed forward, (Marohn) didn’t have a spot to put her, and he just ended up going on to the front. I think the first race was the only race that stung her a little bit. She got through that OK and ever since then, she’s been fine.” Test Of Faith’s second start didn’t go as planned either. Racing around the first turn at Tioga in the next NYSS leg July 19, Marohn tried to place her in the pocket, but as the pace slowed, Test Of Faith collided with the leader’s wheel and made a break. She caught back pacing and raced in fourth before recovering for a second-place finish. “We were trying not to bust her out of there. She left in 26 seconds in the first start of her life. The obvious thing is not to do that again,” Pelling said. “It was a shame she got ran into because she would have won. That’s racing. You try to be cute and sometimes being cute doesn’t work.” Since then, Test Of Faith has taken no chances. She’s led at every call in the last three preliminary legs of the NYSS Aug. 4 at Yonkers, and Aug. 12 and 24 at Saratoga, winning by 3 1/2, 4, and 4 lengths, respectively. Pelling pointed out the Aug. 12 start, in which Test Of Faith made a three-wide move to the lead in a :27.3 opening quarter. “She’s been on high-idle, just absolutely cruising. One of the races was very impressive, the one before last,” Pelling said. “They took a shot to leave her out there a little bit. The horse in front had one parked, but Jimmy just pulled her three-wide and he just went to the front. She did that in three or four steps. She’s got a very, very quick step, she’s very reliable.” Test Of Faith drew post six in the NYSS Final, the first of nine races on the $1.8 million program Saturday night at Yonkers. She will face seven rivals, six of which she has beaten at least once in the preliminaries: DC Batgirl, Party Queen, Heart Of Mine, Think Of Galaxies (who beat Test Of Faith at Tioga July 19), Spicy Covina, Rightfully Mine, and Albergita Hanover. “She’s absolutely perfect. She’s looks fabulous. She hasn’t had any issues, that’s the bottom line,” Pelling said. “I imagine she’ll just roll out of there and how much they want to hurt their horses to be the one following her, I don’t know, but she’ll be in front.” Pelling hopes Test Of Faith can make amends after his Allywag Hanover finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sept. 6. This is also the biggest race of Test Of Faith’s season as she is not eligible to the major fall stakes. “I had one on Sunday over at Chester who was the favorite in his Sire Stakes final and he came up sick, so that was really, really disappointing. There’s only so many races for them,” Pelling said. “This filly is not staked through the end of the year. The owner is quite conservative. “This is the big one for her. She has four starts left and this is the biggest purse she’s going to go for all year,” Pelling continued. “I wish her the best. She deserves to win it, I think she’s been the best filly right through. That’s what it’s all about, when they get there if the best horse can come through and get it, that’s the way it should be.” First post time for the $1.8 million Night of Champions card is 7:12 p.m. Free full card past performances are available here. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through Dec. 22. First post time is 7:12 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

For the third time this season, Caviart Ally has nosed out world champion Shartin N, this time in the $175,000 final of the TVG Series for old harness racing pacing mares. It took the photo finish camera to declare the winner at the Meadowlands Saturday. Shartin N and driver Tim Tetrick took the lead after the opening quarter mile while Caviart Ally and driver Andy McCarthy were content to sit in second place until the stretch drive. Going head and head to the wire, Caviart Ally came on to win by a nose in a stakes record clocking of 1:48.3. KIssin In The Sand was third. Trained by Brett Pelling for Caviart Farms of Vienna, VA, it was the ninth win this year for the five-year-old mare by Bettor's Delight. She paid $8.80 to win. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink ;

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Caviart Farms' Caviart Ally ($7.00) sustained a first-over push out of midfield to duel down harness racing divisional standout Shartin N en route to a going-away 1:49.3 score in the $300,000 (U.S.) Breeders Crown Mare Pace on Saturday night (Oct. 26) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Caviart Ally stalked patiently in fourth while Kissin In The Sand (Yannick Gingras) and Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) dueled through a :25.4 first quarter. Odds-on favorite Shartin N vacated the pocket and brushed to the lead on the first turn before pulling the half back to :55.4. Andy McCarthy angled Caviart Ally out from fourth on approach to the final turn, and the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight motored alongside Shartin N nearing three-quarters in 1:22.3. Caviart Ally stuck a head in front past Shartin N with an eighth of a mile to go, and accelerated away to a clear 1:49.3 score. Shartin N was all-out to narrowly hold second over Kissin In The Sand. Brett Pelling trains 24-time winner Caviart Ally, who also defeated Shartin N in the Allerage at The Red Mile on Oct. 6. The Breeders Crown victory lifts Caviart Ally's career earnings to over $1.7 million. "It’s pretty awesome after last night," Brett Pelling said. "I was halfway across the track last night, so this time I’ve made it the whole way. It’s great. It’s an awesome event. Breeders Crown, it’s the ultimate for us in the game and I couldn’t be happier. She’s a great tough mare. She’s got a beautiful nature about her and is one tough girl."     From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

Milton, ON - It hardly seems like 14 years has elapsed since Rocknroll Hanover captured the Breeders Crown sophomore pace at The Meadowlands in what at the time seemed like the final chapter in the ultra-successful North American harness racing training career of Brett Pelling. Pelling was a dominant force on the East Coast and beyond from 1998 through 2005, the year Rocknroll Hanover held the spotlight in the premier division. In the Crown alone he captured 10 trophies and more than $3.8 million in earnings, ranking him high on the all-time trainers list. That the New Zealand native chose to retire and return Down Under after that season caught some by surprise, but those that knew him and entrusted their horses to Pelling were not caught off guard. "About a year before I made the move I let all of the owners know my intentions," Pelling said, recalling the lead-up to his early retirement. "It was the right thing to do and Nifty (Norman) and Noel (Daley) ended up with a lot of the horses." When Pelling decided to return to North America in 2017 and re-launch his training career in New Jersey, he expected to find familiar faces and a reasonable opportunity to succeed. When that didn't immediately happen, Pelling was put in the position to purchase horses on his own or with minor partnerships to get up and running. That was two years ago and heading into this weekend's Breeders Crown finals Pelling may not be quite where he was when his stable averaged $5 million in earnings each year, but he still seems content. "It's about quality, not quantity," Pelling said this week. "When the stable was at full strength we had about 50 horses racing and I would say another 15 possible horses that people were looking to give me." Right now, Pelling trains 15 horses while hoping to add some yearlings in Harrisburg and perhaps lose a few at the mixed sale. "A lot of the owners that were with me back then have moved on and invested with others in partnerships. I understand that completely," said Pelling. One longtime owner, David McDuffee, won a Breeders Crown 3-year-old event some 23 years ago and hopes to again be in the winner's circle with Pelling this weekend. "We go way back to Armbro Operative," said Pelling. "He's just a great guy and someone who really appreciates what it's like to have a top horse." The top horse Pelling is referring to is Papi Rob Hanover. The Somebeachsomewhere-Panera Hanover colt captured the lone Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old male pacers last Friday, and in the process ended the unbeaten streak of Metro Pace winner Tall Dark Stranger. The victory, a mild upset for the bettors, offered Pelling and driver David Miller the results they were looking for. "We had a bad post in the Metro final," said Pelling. "I could have taken the bye (in the Breeders Crown) but I didn't want that to happen again." Papi Rob Hanover drew inside and landed post three for the final and that suits his trainer just fine. "He's just the perfect horse," Pelling said of Papi Rob Hanover. "He's now gone every kind of trip and just performs to the highest level. A lot of people don't realize how difficult it is for a horse to make the kind of move he made last week. You're going a second quarter in :26 and change and there's really no way to slow down. The turn doesn't save you." Papi Rob Hanover did continue at a torrid clip through three-quarters but unlike his Metro elimination race where Tall Dark Stranger sat in the pocket and rolled by, in the Crown elimination Papi Rob Hanover prevailed without being threatened in a career-best-equaling 1:50.2 clocking. While many in the division were chasing some of the early stakes races, Pelling had a plan for Papi Rob Hanover - to have him ready for the Metro and beyond for this year. "He's a good eater and was carrying a bit too much weight, I think, heading into the Metro. A lot of people were surprised when I shipped him home (to New Jersey) after the Metro elimination and then back for the final. The truth is I didn't want to have to work him very hard and I thought the ship would help him drop some weight," said Pelling. The routine was not repeated after last week's victory, with Papi Rob Hanover remaining in Canada. Rocknroll Hanover sired the dam of Papi Rob Hanover, and while there are some similarities between the two as juveniles, Papi Rob Hanover has been easier to deal with claims Pelling. "I think if the horse has been on the racetrack 100 times this year I've probably only sat behind him 15 times," said Pelling. "I sit behind the horses that are having problems or need changes." Winning this Crown is no doubt a big thing for the trainer. "It's something you look forward to and no doubt a race that means a lot to me to win," said Pelling. "But to be honest, I hope he wins it for Dave McDuffee." When Pelling left after 2005 many of his horses went to Norman and Daley. Last year when Noel Daley decided to go back home, he returned the favor in part and thus Pelling took over the training of Caviart Ally, second choice in Saturday's $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. It's been a solid season for the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight with seven wins and seven seconds in 16 trips to post. Caviart Ally has ended up on the short end of the stick against division leader and Horse of the Year contender Shartin N for most of the year. Pelling obviously doesn't see that much separating the two in talent, and recalls the battle the two waged in the Betsy Ross back in May at Harrah's Philadelphia as an epic struggle that perhaps left him and his mare frustrated for quite some time. Driver Andrew McCarthy left out aggressively in the Betsy Ross to the tune of a :25.2 opening quarter forcing Shartin N to tuck in behind. With that accomplished, Caviart Ally was able to back peddle the second quarter in :30 and put the pocket sitter in a tough position. Tim Tetrick vacated the pocket with Shartin N and the two mares kicked a third quarter in :26.1, with neither giving ground. The war continued right to the finish wire with Shartin N winning by a neck in a 1:49.2 mile. While Pelling always believed in Caviart Ally, the results week in and week out painted her as a bridesmaid until the two met again in the Allerage Farms Mare Pace at The Red Mile on Oct. 6. This time Caviart Ally drove past the pacesetting Shartin N to win in a 1:48.3 clocking. "I wouldn't call it getting a monkey off my back," said Pelling of Caviart Ally's victory. "It was a gorilla." Pelling has enormous respect for Shartin N and recognized the favorite on Saturday (post one) had not raced competitively in five weeks prior to the Allerage. Ironically the two mares met last Friday in a qualifier at The Meadowlands. Pelling didn't seem too concerned that Shartin N won that event. "I was happy with her qualifier," said Pelling of Caviart Ally's 1:51.2 clocking. "It just worked out well for me logistically to have her down here and get work in. I'll go with her and ship up on Thursday (Oct. 24)." Pelling hopes that it won't just be a two-mare battle in the Crown final. "I think Youaremycandygirl and Kissin In The Sand are both top mares that will want to get involved," Pelling said. Caviart Ally's last start at Woodbine Mohawk Park was a command performance victory in the Milton Stakes, where she scored in 1:48.3 with a final half in an eye-popping :53.3. A lot has changed in harness racing since Brett Pelling last trained a Breeders Crown winner. One thing that has not is his dedication to the details and preparation. He's come to the Crown with quality. Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown  

LEXINGTON, KY--A season-long bout of runner-up finishes to division leader Shartin N ended on Sunday, Oct. 6 at The Red Mile as Caviart Ally upended the star pacing mare with a 1:48.3 mile in the $87,000 Fear The Dragon Allerage Farms Mare Pace--sponsored by the Fear The Dragon Syndicate and Midland Acres. Shartin N, sent the 1-9 favorite, pushed for the front to lead the field of six through a :27.2 first quarter with Kissin In The Sand sitting second and Caviart Ally third and raced uncontested on the front to a :54.3 half. Driver Andrew McCarthy moved Caviart Ally first over entering the final turn and blitzed Shartin N heading to three-quarters in 1:22. Shartin N drifted from the cones entering the stretch and tried to fend off Caviart Ally but the five-year-old Bettor's Delight mare overpowered the 2018 Dan Patch winner into the final eighth and drew away to victory. Kissin In The Sand chased the pair in third. Shartin N was on a 14-race winning streak. "We've been waiting for her to beat Shartin," said Judy Chaffee, co-owner of Caviart Ally. "Finally, it happened." "We tried [to beat Shartin] all different ways," said winning trainer Brett Pelling after the race. "We tried to seat her in behind us, we've tried the two hole and today--this mare's really, really good when the weather's cooled off. Everything about her--she's right on her game right now." Winning her 23rd race from 69 starts, Caviart Ally--bred by Hanover Shoe Farms--has earned $1,585,716 for owner Caviart Farms. "My biggest battle right now is to talk Judy and co. into racing her next year," Pelling also said, jokingly, "so we can do it all over again. It's been a great thrill; she's a great mare. She's just one of those horses you love to have in your barn." Buck Chaffee, co-owner of Caviart Farms, commented on bringing Caviart Ally back as a six-year-old, saying "Things are possible, who knows what will happen. But for her to come and finally beat Shartin--they've raced super all year, and just two fabulous mares." Buck also confirmed Caviart Ally will race next in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Father Patrick sophomore gelding Divine Spirit was reserved off a very fast pace by driver Eric Carlson, with the pair rallying in the last 3/8 to just get up in the $15,000 featured harness racing trot on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Divine Spirit was away sixth as P L Ketchup had to go a burning :26.4 quarter to get by fellow speedster Papi Hanover. Those two remained 1-2 past a :55.4 half, with the winner moving outside past that call and then getting cover from Trixar well before the 1:24.1 three-quarters. P L Ketchup looked as if he might survive to the wire despite the taxing pace, but Divine Spirit was moving fastest of all late and took a new mark in 1:54 while defeating P L Ketchup by a neck. The victory was the first of the season for the gelding, who is trained by Brett Pelling and co-owned by him with Lindy Farms of Connecticut. In a $14,000 co-featured mares pace, slotted in race ten, the A Rocknroll Dance mare Sidewalk Dancer became the first favorite to win on the card when she tallied for driver George Napolitano Jr. in 1:51. Sidewalk Dancer was on the move at the :26.3 quarter, made the lead and got a :56.1 breather to the midpoint, then went 1:23.1 to the three-quarters and kept some nice distaffs at bay in the lane, winning by 3¼ lengths over Brunhilda for trainer Chris Oakes and the ownership of Northfork Racing Stable, Omar Beiler, and Dennis Coons. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

As we head into the month of August, the realization that the 2019 racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun has reached the back stretch might have dawned on you. Not that there has been any letdown in terms of the racing action, of course. But it is interesting how time flies when you're watching top-notch competition week in and week out. This week was more of the same, as you'll be able to tell from this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: BENJI'S BEST It seems like each and every week at Pocono we see a different claimer burst onto the scene with a huge mile. Last week it was Benji's Best, a five-year-old gelding who came into a $20,000 to $25,000 claiming handicap pace on July 20 without a win and left it with a 15 ½ length victory in a career-best 1:50. He had shown signs leading into that race with back-to-back second-place finishes. But winning by the biggest margin of any horse all meet was something nobody saw coming, especially because he wasn't even favored in that race. Needless to say, he was favored when he returned to action to face that same class on Saturday night. Even with the dreaded #9 post, Benji's Best was made the 8-5 betting choice. Whereas he had won for the Rene Allard barn in his previous start, following the claim he was representing trainer Jennifer Bongiorno on Saturday. With Hunter Oakes doing the driving, Benji's Best surged to the lead with a swooping move past Paprike Blue Chip on the paddock turn. On the back stretch, the favorite had to deal with first-over pressure from Rockin Rio. But it didn't seem to bother him when they turned for home, as he kicked away from the pursuit. Benji's Best came home a winner in 1:50:2, another quick time. His margin was a more modest but still impressive 3 ½ lengths over second-place Paprike Blue Chip. After going so long winless this year, this gelding seems to have decided he likes the feel of winning, so much so that it's easy to see him doing it again real soon. Other top pacers this week include: Jereme's General (George Napolitano Jr., Daniel Maier), who captured his second straight claiming handicap on Saturday night in 1:51:1; Atta Boy Dan (George Napolitano Jr., Brittany Robertson), who continued his dominance in the highest claiming group at Pocono with a fifth consecutive victory on Saturday night, this one in 1:49:3; and Ideal Rocky (Anthony Napolitano, Joe Pavia Jr.), who moved up in class on Monday to win his second straight condition pace, this one in 1:52. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SAY YOU DO The Todd Buter barn has been producing some outstanding trotters for several years now, and 2019 has been a banner year by any standard for his trainees. Earlier this year, we saw Rich And Miserable put together a long winning streak on the Pocono grounds. Lately the one getting the attention has been Say You Do, a four-year-old gelding on an impressive streak of his own. He came into the featured $21,500 condition trot on Sunday night with five straight victories. Included in that stretch were three straight wins at The Meadowlands, an Open Handicap score at Tioga, and a victory at Pocono against the same group on July 21. Up against a short field of five on Sunday night, Say You Do went off as a 3-5 favorite from post position #2. Although his win the previous week at Pocono had come with a late rally, driver Tyler Buter decided he wanted the favorite to dictate matters and this one, and Say You Do took over the lead on the first turn. The fractions were rated well on a sloppy track, with Say You Do keeping under control even as Fashion Creditor pulled up alongside him at the three-quarter pole with a first-over move. At the top of the stretch, Tyler Buter just had to ask Say You Do for a little more and he responded, giving a quick burst of speed to secure his lead and coming home in front by 1 ½ in 1:54:3 on the sloppy grounds. That makes six in a row for Say You Do, a stellar run of wins even for a barn that is getting used to such stretches. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Lindy's Big Bang (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who won his second straight condition race on Sunday night, getting it done in 1:54:1; Silvermass Volo (Eric Carlson, Michael Holcman), who moved up in class to pick up his second straight condition win on Sunday night, scoring in the slop in 1:56:1; and Flippen Creek (Marcus Miller, Erv Miller), who followed up his maiden victory last week at Pocono with another condition win on Monday, this one coming in a new career-best time of 1:57:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: MIDWAY ISLAND In Saturday night's featured condition pace, this gelding with Kevin Wallis in the bike pulled off a stunner at 40-1, paying off $82.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO A-Nap continues to enjoy what has probably been his finest meet ever at Pocono, and he kept it rolling by churning out five wins on the Saturday night program. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BRETT PELLING Pelling picked up pacing wins on back-to-back nights at Pocono this week, scoring with Yeahnah on Sunday and then with two-year-old filly and first-time starter Alexis's Beach on Monday. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs        

MILTON, June 14, 2019 - Caviart Ally will take aim at ending Shartin N's rule over the harness racing older pacing mare division when the two again spar in the $330,000 Roses Are Red Final on Pepsi North America Cup night (June 15) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We're going to take her on," said Brett Pelling, who started training Caviart Ally after her original trainer Noel Daley returned home to Australia. "It'll be interesting...when they're away from home, some things are out of your control. She's up there, I'm down here. We know she was okay last week; the girl taking her for me does a beautiful job. "But you know sometimes the trip away from home wakes them up as well. They're out of their surroundings, they get a bit more hyped up about things; everything's new. Even like an older horse like that might set in another little wake-up call for her...maybe an improvement, who knows." Caviart Ally has enjoyed her time at Mohawk Park, as the best mile of her career came in an elimination for the Milton Stakes in September. Gunning to the front, she paced a 1:48.3 and cruised to a 1:51.2 victory in the final. "They [shipped her] back between [the elim and the final] when they did that [in the Milton]," Pelling said. "And I think she was obviously a bit tired in the final. I mean shipping all the way up there and then all the way back and back up again, that's three really long ship in an eight- or nine-day period. That's a big scope and I never really wanted to do that to her." After turning out at Caviart Farms at the end of last season, Caviart Ally shipped to Brett Pelling. She's among a few horses bringing the champion trainer back to the top ranks since he returned from Australia in 2017. "One of the things that we've done differently to see if it would work or not is to teach her to race other horses more than race the racetrack," Pelling said. "Put the fear of God in them; exhibit [their] speed [and] just basically racing the racetrack instead of like now, where if [she's] balling along up front and someone pulls from the four or five hole...she sees them; she's on it. "She's become much more tractable in her races and--whether its positive or negative--she still has blazing speed. And it seems to be working; she seems a lot kinder in her races now. Andy [McCarthy] likes her this way and I think it's all going along well." Caviart Ally returned to the races on April 30 at Pocono Downs, finishing second in a top-condition pace. She then won two straight at The Meadowlands, one of which she paced a 1:49.2 mile with a :25.4 final quarter. Caviart Ally's first stakes engagement of the year was the $100,000 Betsy Ross Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia. Driver McCarthy launched her to the front from the inside and set a quick pace. She almost had Shartin N beat, but Tim Tetrick managed to not get boxed inside by sliding off the pylons past the half and charging towards Caviart Ally to eventually get a nose up at the finish. "Andy and I come from the same part of the world, and the bottom line is if you draw inside and protect position, you have every right to protect your position," Pelling said. "Too many times these guys think the racetrack is theirs. [So with] Timmy thinking he's going to cruise to the front...well now why's that got to happen? "Like I know a lot of people don't really realize this, but with where Andy's from and where I'm from, if you have the inside and just basically turn one loose, you get a fine and a penalty for that. You're there to protect your position at all times... if you get out sped, it's a different story." Pelling felt that had Tetrick waited slightly longer to pull, Caviart Ally would've been turned loose by McCarthy moments later and may have gone the distance. "Timmy sort of came out [at] full gas at a place where you don't expect someone to come and she had to change gears like right down. It was a good race; I enjoyed it." Opportunity could arise for one of the other eight mares in Saturday's Roses Are Red if a Caviart Ally versus Shartin N battle arises. "Getting out of there in :25.2, none of the others were involved," said Pelling. Going up the back in :26, :26.1 (whatever it was), they're not involved. And yet at the wire, because they had gone so hard, they were coming. "On a bigger track, that's why you see upsets in there. I think [Andy and Timmy] raced [it] as if it were a two-horse race, but those other mares can go." Shartin N and Caviart Ally faced off again last week in the $35,000 Roses Are Red prep, where Shartin N set the pace and Caviart Ally sat the pocket while throwing her head left into the stretch before ultimately finishing second in the 1:48.4 mile. "She always travels a little bit on the left line," Pelling said. "We kind of think she was really looking to bully her way out of the hole. Two races before when she raced at the Meadowlands, where she was following Youaremycandygirl, she pulled herself out and went...and kind of looked like she was trying to do the same thing the other night." Caviart Ally starts inside of Shartin N this week, going from post-two as the 7/2 second choice on the morning line. Shartin N starts from post-four as the 4/5 morning-line favourite with Youaremycandygirl starting between them in post-three. "This week she is going to have a pair of blinkers on so she can't look back," Pelling said. "Hopefully she's more forward focused instead of her getting to do what she wants. And she's determined. She's a big mare, gets her own way and has a big personality." By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Mohawk Park  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The ingredients are all there for what could be one of the most anticipated harness races in recent memory at Buffalo Raceway as the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers arrive for the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday evening (June 5).   The recipe will include the NYSS 2-year-old colt and gelding pacing champion Reigning Deo. Added to the mix will be Melodies Major, the runner up to Reigning Deo last season and also the current Buffalo Raceway track record holder for 2-year-old colt pacers with a 1:54.2 time.   And If that's not enough, there will be six other rivals ready to stir the pot as they battle for $118,800, one of the largest purses ever offered at Buffalo Raceway. It will go off as the sixth race on the 12-race program that will begin at 5 p.m.   Reigning Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Little Miss K) has been installed as the 3-to-1 morning line choice out of the six post with Jim Morrill Jr. to handle the driving duties.   It's been close but no cigar this season for Reigning Deo as the Brett Pelling trainee has three second place finishes in his three outings. There's plenty of hope though as Reigning Deo was just a neck behind Fromthestartagain last week in Sire Stakes action at Saratoga.   Reigning Deo, a winner of $271,413 in his brief career, beat Major Melodies by 1-1/2 lengths in the Night Of Champions finals last season at Yonkers Raceway. The final time was 1:54.4.   Melodies Major (Art Major-Hilarious) is also in search of his first win of the campaign. He'll begin the action from the three post for driver Doug McNair with a 5-to-1 morning line.   Trying to cut the mile in his only two appearances in 2019, Melodies Major has finished in third and fourth at Saratoga and Yonkers respectively. He has bankrolled $222,683 lifetime.   Western New York has been great thus far for Melodies Major. Trained by Mark Ford, he scored two NYSS victories last season, each in track record times. He made his first mark at Buffalo Raceway with a 1:54.2 and then at Batavia Downs where he toured the course in 1:54.1.   The current record standards at Buffalo Raceway are 1:52.3 for the geldings set in 2012 by Steelhead Hanover while the colt mark is 1:51.4 established in 2018 by Hitman Hill.   The one to watch out for is Fromthestartagain (So Surreal-From The Start). Drew Monti will be in the sulky and will score from the four spot at 4-to-1 odds.   Not racing as a 2-year-old old, Fromthestartagain arrives on a two-race winning streak including a neck decision over Reigning Deo at Saratoga in 1:53.0 on May 26. He has seven races under his belt with three wins and two third place finishes, good for $47,000 in earnings.   American Mercury, installed at 6-to-1 from the eight post for driver Tyler Buter, had a nose win in his last try at Saratoga in NYSS competition, covering the mile in 1:52.0.   The remainder of the field includes Price Hanover (Scott Zeron), Hurrikane Kingklee (Pat Lachance), Major March (Jason Bartlett), and A Major Omen (Billy Davis Jr.).   There will be two $15,000 Excelsior Class A events and a $6,600 Excelsior Class B race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, upcoming promotions and simulcast schedule, go to www.buffaloraceway.com     by Brian J. Mazurek for Buffalo Raceway

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Two names that have been near the top of the driver standings at the Meadowlands since the start of the current meeting in mid-October belong to a pair of harness racing drivers from "Down Under", New Zealand-native Dexter Dunn and Australian Andy McCarthy. Horsemen from that region of the globe have had an impact over the years at the Big M. Ross Croghan, Noel Daley, Mark Harder, Nifty Norman, Brett Pelling and Chris Ryder. Be they "Kiwis" or "Aussies", these trainers have done their share of winning at the mile oval. Ryder uses Dunn, 29, on many of his horses, and among them is the talented 3-year-old colt Bettor's Wish, who is currently seventh in the weekly "Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace" poll put out every week by the Big M's media relations department. "He's a family friend from New Zealand," said Ryder of Dunn. "But he's not driving just because I know the guy. He's driving because he's capable. I thought he might have trouble hooking on here when he arrived (about a year ago), but his talent and personality have overcome that." The stats back up what Ryder says, as Dunn has won 86 times from 587 starts at the Meadowlands since the meet began. And thus far in 2019, Dunn sits second in the Big M standings with 65 wins, a total surpassed only by Yannick Gingras' 96. As for McCarthy, he was the leading driver at the Meadowlands until he went on an extended vacation earlier this year to his homeland. For the meeting, he's won 50 races from 355 starts. "Is Andy my primary driver?" asked Brett Pelling. "I would say that. He's driving my best horse, Caviart Ally, and when you have a good horse, it puts you in the limelight." McCarthy guided Caviart Ally to a hard-fought victory in 1:50 over a star-laden Preferred for pacing fillies and mares field Saturday (May 11) night, an evening that saw the 33-year-old win the first three races on the card and four of the first five. He also drives Pelling's Reigning Deo, currently ninth in the RTTCFMP. "I want someone who is focused," said Pelling. "And Andy and Dexter know enough to be focused. Dexter is a great talent, and if Andy wasn't available, would I use Dexter? All day long." Pelling also spoke about the sense of community felt by those who hail from Australia or New Zealand: "We are here together. The Down Under people know Down Under people. And that means something." BROWER HITS BIG: Dave Brower of the Meadowlands' award-winning TV production had a night to remember Saturday (May 11), as he gave his followers a hit for the ages. After the nightly segment when Brower gave out his Pick-4 ticket for on-track and simulcast players, favorites won the first (Highalator) and final legs of Brower's $32 play, but what happened in between is what made the payoff special. Somebaddude paid $100.00 to win in the second leg while 10-1 chance On Duty scored in the third. After Albergo Hanover won the final leg (Race 11), Brower's followers collected $2,028.15, good for a profit of $1,996.15. The total Pick-4 pool was a typically strong $102,125 on Saturday and as always, free program pages for this week's 50-Cent Pick-4 - as well as the Can-Am Pick-4 (Friday only) - are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. SUPER HIGH-FIVE HIT: Despite the 6-5 favorite winning the race, one lucky player betting into the Oregon Express hub walked away with a huge score nonetheless Saturday (May 11) night. The 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five, with the two longest shots in the field finishing second and fifth, yielded only one ticket with the winning combination of 2-3-1-10-9, and was good for a return of $33,010.24. This Friday (May 17), the carryover for the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 5) stands at $91,214. PREAKNESS UP NEXT: The 144th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course is the featured simulcast event on Saturday (May 18) at the Meadowlands. Post time for the first of 14 races at Pimlico is 10:30 a.m. The Preakness, for 3-year-olds at a mile and three-sixteenths, is Race 13 on the card and has a post time of 6:48 p.m. BEERFEST ON TAP: On Saturday (May 18), the Meadowlands will host its fourth annual "Beerfest". The event, which is rain or shine, has three tiers of ticket pricing. For a $75 VIP ticket, you get admission, VIP lounge access, a special VIP food buffet, a tasting glass, exclusive VIP tastings and one additional hour of sampling. Only 200 VIP tickets will be sold. A $35 General Admission ticket ($45 if purchased day of) includes admission, a tasting glass and a four-hour sampling. Those with VIP tickets will be admitted at 4:30 p.m. while GA customers can go in at 5:30 p.m. The event ends at 9:30 p.m.   Dave Little

CHESTER, PA - Two natives of New Zealand, born just 300 miles apart but who have spent most of the last decade 6000 miles apart, combined for a visit to the winner's circle in the Harrah's Philadelphia winners circle Friday, as the Roll With Joe sophomore filly Believe In Me, trained by Brett Pelling and driven by Dexter Dunn, won the $16,000 feature distaff pace in a career best 1:51.2. Dunn spotted third early with Believe In Me, but past the 27.1 quarter he was out and rolling with his filly, making the lead well before the 55 half. Race favorite Special Kay Deo, who defeated Believe In Me two weeks ago, came first-over down the back, but her bid stalled before the 1:22.4 3/4s, and Dunn kept the winner rolling through the lane to win by 2¾ lengths. She is owned by the Bay Pond Racing Stable of Paoli PA, only 20 miles away from Harrah's. Driver Dunn and trainer Pelling have a more interesting - and spread-out -- geographical "relationship." Both were born on the south island of New Zealand - Dunn is from Christchurch, centrally-located on the east coast of the island, while Pelling was born in Mataura at the southern tip, but only 320 miles apart. When Pelling was enjoying his success in North America and was based in New Jersey, they were separated by 8936 miles; when just over a dozen years ago Pelling "retired" to Australia, the country "next door" to New Zealand, they were still separated by over 3000 miles, as Pelling lived in Perth, on the West Coast of Aussieland. But on Friday the pair of native Kiwis were back together winning the feature in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. In the $14,500 co-feature for pacing distaffs, Diamondtoothgertie posted her third win in four starts since going to the care of trainer Richard Johnson, taking a new mark of 1:51.3. Tony Morgan, who went over $130 million in career earnings earlier on the card and who is now about 650 races behind Heinz Wewering for second place on the all-time world list for driving victories with 16,863 (Dave Palone has 18,471), guided the victorious daughter of Sportswriter for D'Elegance Stable IX, Joseph Gandolfo, NR Holdings LLC, and Anthony Fiscetti. At press time (after the 11th race), driver George Napolitano Jr. had five winners, for five different trainers. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia      

CHESTER, PA - Dream Baby Dream is exceptionally-bred - she is a Muscle Hill ¾ sister to the top 2YO filly Sonnet Grace, and her granddam is the great CR Kay Suzie - and her breeding potential was made manifest at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon when she won the $17,000 featured trot in 1:53.2. Andrew McCarthy had Dream Baby Dream in the middle of a three-abreast charge into the first turn, with Magic Night to her left and favored Make It A Double to her right, and when the chalk broke her task became much easier. The winner passed Magic Night before the 27.2 quarter, rolled down the road with middle numbers of 56.1 and 1:24.3, and won by two lengths over Impacter, who had gotten a tuck behind the winner after a first-over move but could not go with her late. Dream Baby Dream has now win half of her six seasonal starts for trainer Brett Pelling and Wiesman Farms LLC, and she pushed her career bankroll to $216,596. In one of two $14,500 co-featured trots, the Credit Winner mare Lovely Lynnly rebounded from a break in her latest race, sitting the two-hole behind favorite Winneress then going by that one easily in the last quarter to stop the timer in 1:54.1 for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Jake Leamon, and the ownership of Hutt Racing Stable, Lynnly Stable, and Joseph Battaglia. In the other co-feature, Wisenheimer sat the pocket trip behind Turn The Paige, charged up the inside to challenge in the lane and came up just shy in 1:54.2, but Turn The Paige bore in through the lane putting Wisenheimer into tight quarters, and thus Wisenheimer was placed first over the offending rival. Corey Callahan was in the sulky behind the victorious Jenny Melander trainee-lessee. Also noteworthy: Sylvesteramerica IT got his first Stateside win for expatriate Jerry Riordan and wife Lisa and their Riordan Stables AB, pointed down the road by David Miller and setting blistering fractions of 27.1, 55.4, and 1:24 en route to a 1:53 triumph. Bob Baggitt Jr. has been handling the local conditioning of the Varenne gelding. And Phaetosive's full baby brother Explosivematter lowered his record to 1:57.4 as he raised his career standings to 3-2-1-0. Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old pacing colts will command the spotlight at Harrah's Philadelphia this weekend, with three divisions of the third preliminary for each grouping. On Friday, the Stallion Series horses will be competing, while in Sunday's Sire Stakes Grand Teton, Done Well, and Hayden Hanover have been tabbed as the morning line favorites. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

East Rutherford, NJ - The Saturday night feature is a seven horse $20,000 Preferred Pace where a pair of names synonymous with success at the harness racing sport's highest level will join forces for the first time as the owner and trainer of #6 Awesomeness. Making his first start stateside after a lengthy campaign north of the border, Awesomeness is also making his debut for Brett Pelling who is conditioning the 5-year-old for owner Martin Scharf.   Scharf's greatest success was with his champion Gallo Blue Chip who retired in 2005 as the top money winning pacer in history with over $4.25 million, having won virtually every major stake including the 2000 Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup. The old horse is fondly remembered each year by the "Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship Fund" presented by Scharf at The Meadowlands to aspiring students with harness racing connections.   Marty also has a serious rooting interest in a thoroughbred earlier in the day with a stake in second choice Sharp Azteca going in the $16 million Pegasus stakes at Gulfstream Park.   Brett Pelling dominated the spot for over a decade before returning to his native New Zealand in 2006. Pelling is the only trainer to have recorded 12 straight million-dollar Meadowlands seasons and 21 in all while winning virtually every pacing classic over that span. The list of top horses in his care reads like a Hall of Fame roster, led by a pair of great racehorses that became great sires in the father-son duo of Western Ideal and Rocknroll Hanover.   Brett returned to the US last winter and has slowly been assembling a stable, racing a few mid-level types over the summer then including some yearling purchases that are currently taking their early training lessons with an eye toward the 2018 Grand Circuit stakes.   This mantle of representing such imposing accomplishment, for now at least, falls squarely on the shoulders of Awesomeness who picked up $164,368 in a solid if unspectacular campaign last season and will embark from post 6 for the meet's top driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. on Saturday.   In the building, the battle is on this Saturday, January 27 in Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment's 3rd annual Homestyle Chili Cook Off! 38 contestants are competing for the $1,000 grand prize plus a spot in the International Chili Society's World Championship cook-off in Reno, Nevada.   Last year's Meadowlands winner, Joseph Callahan, went on to win the 2017 International Chili Society's World Championship for his Homestyle chili and took home the $4,000 top prize. Fans are invited to taste the entries and encouraged to support their favorites.   Post time is 6:35 p.m.   Nick Salvi

Queensland’s young dynamic harness racing driving duo, Brittany Graham and Trent Moffat will proudly fly the Australian flag when they experience racing in the United States over the next month. The inaugural winners of the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Young Achievers Award will spend one month with highly successful veteran expat Aussie trainer Ross Croghan in the US. Graham (19) and Moffat (22) will don the Aussie green and gold driving suits and boxing kangaroo green and gold helmets at every promotional opportunity whilst overseas. Racing Queensland will publicly present the driver colours to Graham and Moffat this Saturday at Albion Park. Queensland’s young guns organizer Kevin Seymour said he has been busily organizing contacts overseas so the young drivers can experience as much US racing as they can during their month long stay. “The racing authorities at the Meadowlands  are helping us out where they can and I have been in touch with my contacts to ensure the kids get to experience as much as possible while they are there,” Seymour said. Graham and Moffat will leave Brisbane on 28 June and fly to New York via Los Angeles. They will start the trek home on 24 July with a three day fun stopover in LA where they will visit Universal Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. Croghan, the young drivers mentor in the US is originally from Luddenham, near Penrith in New South Wales. The US champion was born into harness racing, following in the footsteps of his father, the late Noel Croghan. His entry to the US began on the West Coast and Croghan racked up nine driving titles before he decamped for New Jersey in the 1990s. Since then, he has ranked among the top trainers in Meadowlands history with over 1,000 wins in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Croghan has four Big M training titles to his credit (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007) and holds the record for most starters in one season with 717 in 1999. He has a lengthy list of standouts to his credit, and his top trainees have included millionaire trotter Corleone Kosmos, Tug River Princess, Carolina Sunshine, Laughandbehappy, BJ’s Whirlwind, Mister Goal, Ultimate Falcon, Spendid Splinter and Artist Stena. Croghan also has a good record as a teacher of the trade and he has mentored some of the sport’s top training talents. His former assistants include Brett Pelling, the Meadowlands’ all-time leading money winner and Mark Harder. David Aldred  

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