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Columbus, MN - The Sunday evening (August 25) harness racing program at Running Aces featured Open Handicap events for both Trotters and Pacers as the highlights of the eleven race card.   The $15,000 Open Handicap Trot drew a field of seven starters on the gate, with last week's winner Winning Lyric sent off as the overwhelming public choice at 3-5 on the board.   French Eclipse (Rick Magee) were first to the front, but Banker Volo (Nick Roland) quickly took over before the :28.0 quarter, and Dean Magee and Winning Lyric launched an early first-over attack near the :58.2 half mile to surge to the front, while It's A Horse (Tim Maier) immediately came after the new leader and applied heavy pressure down the backstretch and onto the final turn.   Winning Lyric ($3.40) fought back gamely as they turned for home and began to pull away from the field, trotting strong to the wire for a 2-3/4 length victory and two wins in a row, with It's A Horse and French Eclipse hitting the line together in a dead-heat for second in a sharp 1:55.2 mile over a track listed as good.   Winning Lyric has had a fantastic campaign this summer at Running Aces, with 5 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds from 13 starts for owner Terrence Smith and trainer Edward Hernandez.   Fox Valley Nemitz and driver Brian Detgen picked up a big win in the $17,000 Open Handicap Pace to get home first from post 7 in a talented 10 horse field.   Contemporay Legend (Rick Magee) flew off the gate for the early lead while Bettor's Promise (Mooney Svendsen) left alertly and both Firedrake (Nick Roland) and Nine Ways (Dean Magee) also came away charging fast into the first turn looking for a front position, through a fast :27.1 opening panel.   Firedrake pressed up alongside Contemporay Legend and led through the middle stages (:56.0 and 1:24.2) but was parked the entire way, never finding the pylons.   Despite the brutal trip, Firedrake continued to fight on and eventually cleared, only to face immediate strong pressure from Nine Ways who had also been out the entire way. Firedrake turned back the challenge of Nine Ways, then fought off Skim The Top (Don Harmon) but was unable to withstand a furious late charge from Fox Valley Nemitz on the far outside.   Fox Valley Nemitz came from way off the pace and rallied 3-wide around the final turn, finding clear sailing in about the four-path in the lane to sweep by for a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:53 over Firedrake who kept the rest of the field at bay and held second in a monster effort.   Fox Valley Nemitz ($30.00) now has five wins in sixteen outings this year, with earnings of $45,855 for owner Susan Holm-Johansen. The winning trainer is Ulf Holm-Johansen.   Drivers Jared Seekman and Dean Magee led the program, each with a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (August 27) with a full menu of Carryover pools: $851.54 for the Early Pick-3, $1,847.25 for the Early Pick-4, $2,268.90 for the Jackpot Pick-5, and $1,067.17 for the High-5. Post time for the 12 race program is 7:00 pm central.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN -The Opening night harness racing card at Running Aces featured the $14,000 Open handicap Pace for horses & geldings and promised to be a good contest. Stuckey Dote was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite having just turned in a career best winning mile at El Dorado Scioto Downs in 1:50.3. Stuckey Dote got in gear early with a sweeping move into the first turn to establish the lead over Firedrake (Brian Detgen) who got away quickly from post 6, and secured the pocket through a 27.2 opener. Driver Rick Magee settled his charge down nicely on the front and registered a 30 second breather in the second panel. From there they weathered a good challenge from King of The Crop (Steve Wiseman) through the final half mile, and the 1:26.3 three-quarters, with Firedrake saving ground and closing late to make it close for the place spot. Stuckey Dote paced home strong to register a 3 ¼ length tally over King of The Crop and Firedrake in 1:54.1 for his 30th career win from 90 starts. The winning trainer is Brett Ballinger and winning owner is Merlin Van Oterloo. Longshots dominated the middle part of the Opening-night program, with Brushin Albert (Dean Magee) registering a 16-1 upset in the third contest, paying a $34.20 mutuel. Race four was won by Cenalta Cougar ($44.80) with driver Tim Maier, who would go on to lead the night with 3 wins. The longshot trail continued in Race 5 when Trinitysfancyfilly (Brian Detgen) scored at just under 10-1 for a $21.60 payout. Stuckey Dote delivered in the featured seventh as the favorite, and Tim Maier completed both halves of the late double while favored in both events (Fox Valley Nemitz, paying $3.80, and Crystal Hotspur paying $5.20) Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday, May 19 with first post at 6:00 pm CT.   Darin Gagne

Columbus, MN - The featured harness racing event on Saturday night, (Aug 25) at Running Aces was the $20,000 Minnesota Sired or Owned Preferred Pace, and local fan favorite Firedrake stole the show with a furious charge to the wire to capture his fifth win of the season, and secure his second Running Aces major event victory.   Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee) was the slight betting choice from post seven and fired right out of the gate to engage Firedrake (Brian Detgen) for the lead. Firedrake had plenty of early speed from post one, but yielded for the pocket trip and Stuckey Dote settled on top after a 26.2 opening stanza.   BestintheBusiness (James Yoder) was attacking first-over past the 55.1 half mile, with Cantholdmebackmack (Ryan Anderson) launching from the second over position to sweep three-wide down the backside.   Stuckey Dote was holding sway past the 1:23.3 clocking at three-quarters, but Firedrake was right there in the pocket, and Whatchastarinat (Lemoyne Svendsen) was now a new 3-wide challenger as they turned for home. Firedrake powered through the inside lane in deep stretch to claim victory over the field, with Stuckey Dote holding second over Whatchastarinat and Bestinthebusiness.   The final winning margin was 3/4 of a length in a 1:52 mile for Firedrake ($6.20) establishing a new seasonal mark. The always impressive 5 year old son of Dragon Again now sports 23 career wins and has boosted his seasonal earnings to $67,370 for owners Set The Pace Racing, LLC and trainer Nick Roland.   Getter Queen Flush pulled a mild upset over Place At The Beach in the $9,000 Mares Claiming Handicap pace, with a gradual advancing move from the back of the pack, driver James Yoder was able to take aim at the leader and race favorite Place At The Beach (Dean Magee) near mid-stretch and powered by for a half-length tally in 1:54.3.   For Getter Queen Flush ($13.00) it was her seventh triumph of the season in 32 starts, and pushed her 2018 bankroll to $33,348 for owner/trainer George Reider along with Richard Thomas and Theresa Paul.   The 20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager now has a carryover of $24,334.50 for Sunday night (Aug 26) with first post at 6:00 pm CDT.   by Darin Gagne', for Running Aces  

The Saturday night harness acing card at Running Aces featured the $15,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old pacers in action, and Freedom Reigns with Tim Maier in the sulky was looking for his 6th straight win, and he left very quickly from the gate and had to work hard to clear the lead from Swagasaurus Rex (Rick Magee) who sprinted away from post two and stopped the timer in 27.4 at the quarter pole, before yielding to Freedom Reigns at the 3/8 pole. The big favorite then led all the way to head-stretch after posting 56.4 and 1:25.3, but it would be Cyrax (by Intrepid Seelster) who would pull the upset and put an end to the winning streak. Cyrax was guided away in the 3rd position from the inside post by Driver Brian Detgen, who waited patiently until the top of the stretch to angle out, and charge down the center of the track, pacing away from his rivals, and posting a 2½ length win, in 1:55.0 with Freedom Reigns holding second, and Stuckey Dote (Jim Marino) up for third. Cyrax lowered his lifetime mark by nearly 4 seconds with tonight's win, he is owned by James Springer and Trained by Robert Lems, and paid his backers handsomely at the windows, delivering $34.40 for every $2.00 wager. And In The $11,000 Open Handicap Trot, a talented field of 6 went to battle, with Banker Volo (by Yankee Glide) looking for his 5th straight win, and he stepped lively from the outside post for Trainer/Driver Nick Roland, easily clearing the field and posting a 29.0 quarter time, he trotted confidently from there, throwing up 58.2 and 1:27.1 fractions, before sprinting home in 28.1 to post another new Track Record for aged Trotting Stallions of 1:55.2, lowering the mark that he had just set a week ago. Banker Volo paid $3.60 to win for his many backers and He now has won 5 in a row, and 6 of 7 starts this year, and has earned $27,217 this season for Owners Daniel and Jeralene Roland. Flameon (Dean Magee) was home second, with Big Expense (Moonie Svendsen) checking in third. Drivers Nick Roland and Steve Wiseman both posted driving Triples on the card, and Luke Plano posted a driving double. Darin Gagne

The Tuesday night harness racing card at Running Aces featured the return of Party Hangover Two at the Columbus, Minnesota Oval for the $11,000 Mares Open in race 3. Since she had dominated the Open-level pacing mares here in 2015, fans were certainly aware of her capabilities, and sent her off as the 7-5 choice. Driver Lemoyne (Moonie) Svendsen found 4 other mares leaving sharply from the gate, and opted to take Party Hangover Two to the back of the pack through the blistering 26.4 opening quarter, he then decided to get the party started by brushing last-to-first at the 3/8 pole, and taking firm control from there, through middle panels of 57.0 and 1:25.2,  before pacing home in 29.3,  gamely  holding off a strong late charge from Flick A Fly (R.Magee)  and stopping the clock in 1:55.2, with Just One More (J.Marino) finishing third. The victory was her fifth tally in six starts this year, as the razor-sharp 5 year old mare by Party At Artsplace from Maura Hanover now sports a bankroll of $130,836 from her 52 lifetime starts. She paid $4.80 to win to her many backers. Party Hangover Two is owned by Kathy Plested, Barbara and Donald Arnstine, and Stephen Chambers, and she is conditioned by Steve Wiseman. Veteran Driver Brian Detgen had a big night, picking up wins with his own pacing mare Captiva Bounty  in 1:55.2 ( $12.60 ) in race 5 , the Trotter Dapper Dan in 2:01.4 ( $8.40 ) for Owner/Trainer Dave Carter in race 6, and  completing the Hat-trick by capturing the Finale (race 9) with Ya Yu Betcha in 1:54.2 ($5.00) for Owner/Trainer Wendy Haberberg. The next card of live Harness Racing at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack will go to post on Saturday night, May 28 at 6:00 pm CDT, with a carryover in the .50 cent Jackpot Pick-6 wager of $919.85. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

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