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It was as uneventful an eight-hole trip as Missile J and harness racing driver Brian Sears, (part of entry) could possibly have wished for Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. A week after winning the lone, $40,000 elim for the 26th Rooney, Missile J was blind-drawed behind the eight-ball in a field of two 3-year-old colts and six geldings. He was in play early over a track that was moisturized by a fair amount of pre-card rain. Missile J fell into an open three-hole behind pole-sitting entrymate Artmagic (George Brennan) and Rodeo Rock (Dan Dube), who left a bit wide from post position No. 2 to make sure Missile J couldn't get around him early. Artmagic had things his own way over the "good" surface, getting a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :56.1 intermission. The leader then lost his closest pursuer, as Rodeo Rock gave up the ghost chasing a :27.2 third quarter (1:23.3). Missile J had taken out of third by then, getting into second and picking up the scent of the leader. Artmagic owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but his night was about to end. Missile J and a handful of closers rolled by, with Missile J drawing out to win by 2¼ lengths in 1:53. Second-at 37-1-went to a much-improved Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker), with Yankee Artillery (Jordan Stratton), Artmagic and Manny (Brent Holland) settling for the smaller remainder. No Shame Blue Chip (Tyler Buter), Rodeo Rock and a breaking Tap into Power (Jason Bartlett) completed the order. For Missile J, an unraced-at-2, $100,000 American Ideal gelding co-owned by Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables and trained by Linda Toscano, it was his fifth (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $51.50, with the triple returning $194.50. "Last week was his first (half-mile) start and he was a bit aggressive," Sears said. "Tonight, he was more relaxed and the trip, from an eight-hole, certainly worked out. I was happy with him in the elimination and happier tonight." "He just wasn't ready (last season)," Toscano said. "We had to take our time with him, and it's begun to pay off. The Rooney was always where we wanted to try him. He has (New York) sire stakes and open stakes on the schedule, and tonight was a good first step." Sears won the Rooney for a fourth time (Badlands Hanover-2008, Pet Rock-2012, In the Arsenal-2015), matching the number of one John Campbell. The race began in 1989, one year after the death of Art Rooney Sr. Frank Drucker

Favored Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $4.40) saved her best for last Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No.3, Mach it a Par watched as outside numbers Anndrovette (Jason Bartlett) and Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) lined 'em up early. The former led through early substations of :27.4 and :56.2. It was Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) moving from fourth, with the people's choice behind the one. Anndrovette continued to lead in and out of a 1:24 three-quarters, with a length-and-a-half margin entering the lane. However, she was done soon after, with Mach it a Par-fifth turning for home-going fastest when it counted. She rolled home by a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:52. Second went to Tessa Seelster, who offered good pace at both ends, with a belated Al Raza N (Jordan Stratton), Lookout Stokk Zone (Tyler Buter) and Anndrovette settling for the remainder. For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and the Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her third win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16.80, with the triple returning $65. Saturday night's card finds the Raceway hosting a pair of premier stakes events for 3-year-olds in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace (sixth race) and its companion event for the lasses, the $100,000 Lismore (fourth race). The 12-race program begins at the usual 7:10 PM . YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $3,500 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (May 28) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,525.24. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

Ken Jacobs has enjoyed his share of success in harness racing, both on the national stage and at home in New York. He has campaigned horses such as Dan Patch Award winner Heston Blue Chip and stakes-winners Kenneth J, He's Gorgeous, Doctor Butch, Jewels In Hock, and Becca J, not to mention many other successful horses. He hopes he can add Missile J to the list in the future. Unraced at age 2, Missile J has won four of seven races this year and brings a four-race victory streak to Saturday's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old male pacers at Yonkers Raceway. The Linda Toscano-trained Missile J and driver Brian Sears won the single Rooney elimination last weekend at The Hilltop, but will need to fire like a rocket this weekend after drawing post No. 8 for the final. "On a half-mile track, it's very tough," Jacobs said about leaving from the outermost spot on the starting gate, which wins at a rate of 3.6 percent at Yonkers. "You need some luck. "He's a pretty fast horse and has a good attitude. He just has to stay sound. I've got the best trainer, so I'm very lucky. Very lucky. Linda and I have been together for 10 years, maybe longer, and she is very honest and loyal. I really like that. It's been a good partnership and we really enjoy each other." Missile J is a son of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Cantor's Daughter. Missile J was purchased for $100,000 under the name Newsmaker Bluechip at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. Missile J is a full brother to stakes-winner Brownsville Bomber and his family includes millionaire Cam Swifty and stakes-winner Lonesome Day. "I picked them all the same way," Jacobs said. "I have my own criteria that I go on. Once they fall into that, I look at their conformation and family. That's how I do it. If the conformation is there, that's the one I try to get. I really liked this horse. "He trained down real good last year, but he got sore so we just quit with him. He's a pretty nice horse." Jacobs owns Missile J with Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables. "She said that every year I pick out winners, so could she have a piece of this one," Jacobs said, laughing. "She's such a wonderful person; she really is. She's good for the sport. She just loves the business. We're pretty good friends, so it was no problem. I'm happy Wanda is in on this horse." Missile J debuted with a ninth-place finish on Jan. 2, but since then hasn't been off the board in six races. His first win came in 1:51.1 on Feb. 20 in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands and he lowered his career mark to 1:51 with a victory at the Big M a week prior to the Rooney elimination. The triumph followed a respite of more than two months away from the races. "I gave him time off because I want him fresh for the rest of the year; we've got races all the way into November," Jacobs said. "That kind of helps him I think, giving him a little rest in between." Missile J is staked to the top races on the New York circuit and also has the Progress Pace on his schedule. "I didn't put him in the Breeders Crown or Meadowlands Pace because I wasn't sure how he was going to come back," said Jacobs, who owns a company with multiple locations in upstate New York that distributes electric motors, drives, controls, motor parts and power transmission products. "I thought he was going to be OK, but winning a couple non-winners of two (conditions) you don't know if you can go with the big guys. "He's got the Empire Breeders Classic and the New York Sire Stakes, races that I enjoy. I'm a New York kind of guy. (Driver) John Campbell calls me 'Billy Joel.' That's my nickname to him. He says I'm just a New York kind of guy. I just enjoy the racing. I have to go against the big guys; little old me, I (own) five or six horses. People think I buy 50 horses every year, but I really don't. I usually get two colts and two fillies. But I'm very passionate about it." In the Rooney final, elimination runner-up Rodeo Rock will start from post two for driver Daniel Dube and trainer Don Swick. He finished 1-3/4 lengths behind Missile J, who paced 1:53.2 for the win. Elimination third-place finisher Artmagic, owned by Purple Haze Stables and coupled with Missile J in the wagering, will start the final from post No. 1. George Brennan is listed to drive for trainer Trond Smedshammer. Saturday's card at Yonkers also includes the $100,000 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old female pacers. For more, click here. Ken Weingartner

Odds-on favorite harness racing Fat Man's Alley (Brian Sears, $2.70, part of entry) read the memo just in time Tuesday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $70,500 final of the Jackpot Next Door Claiming Series. The series featured base $20,000 claiming males in three preliminary legs leading to this final. A gapping third early from post position No. 3, the 'Fat Man' saw Bubbie Boy (George Brennan) stroll through sedate early fractions of 28-seconds flat and :57.2. Bubbie Boy then threw down a :27.1 third quarter (1:24.1) right as Fat Man's Alley was getting his work order. The leader had a length-and-a-half advantage entering the lane, but the Fat Man Cometh. He wore down Bubbie Boy mid-stretch, eventually beating him by that length-and-a-half in 1:52.3. Innocent Victim (Dan Dube, winner's entrymate) nosed out pocket-sitting Colonial Road (Scott Zeron) for third, with Can't it Be Me (Jason Bartlett) getting the final pay envelope. For Fat Man's Alley, an 8-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Jack & Ferne Frydman, it was his sixth win in 17 seasonal starts (career earnings over $734,000). The exacta paid $7.10, with the triple returning $20. A $30,000 series consolation won by So Good I'm Bad (Eric Abbatiello, $10.40) in 1:53.2. Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night $45,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps were brought to us by the letter B. Ladies First, with Bee a Magician (Brian Sears, $3.50), who took a overnight rest stop and toyed with her six marquee trot rivals. From post No. 6 (in one notch after the inside number was scratched-sick), Bee a Magician paid a :27.4 price to secure the lead. One she paid that toll, the rest of the road was essentially a freebie (:57.4; 1:26.4; 1:54.1). Major Athens (Tyler Buter) pulled pocket early against the Queen, and all that did was cost him second. That went to Allerage Star (Dan Dube), with Major Athens, Luminosity (George Brennan) and Crazy About Pat (Jordan Stratton) grabbing the minor awards. Buen Camino (Jason Bartlett) was outrun in a mile that ended up being a track record for aged mares. For $3.8 million ma'am Bee a Magician, a 6-year-old daughter of Kadabra trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts (lifetime 44-for-68) The exacta paid $19.80, with the triple returning $64.50. Bee a Magician Then, there was Bit of a Legend N (Stratton, $3.50), who prevailed from an impossible locale in the weekly pacing feature. Last among the seven in a pokey race, he saw Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) seemingly dawdle (:27, :56.2, 1:24.4) with Outrageous Art (Bartlett) engaging first-up. Great Vintage owned a length lead into the lane, then began to get steppy and tire. In the interim, Bit of a Legend N was winding up front last and rallying down the middle of the oval. Sixth turning for home, he was a going-away winner, defeating Outrageous Art by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.1. Take it Back Terry (Brennan), Great Vintage and Moonliteonthebeach (Brent Holland) earned the smaller portions. For Levy champ Bit of a Legend N, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, he's now 9-for-12 this season. The exacta paid $26.80, with the triple returning $84. Saturday's card also included a $40,000 elimination for the Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-olds. Missile J (Sears, $2.10, part of entry) won the game of musical chairs--nine to eliminate one--in 1:53.2. The American Ideal gelding defeated Rodeo Rock (Dube) by a length-and-three-quarters, with the winner's entrymate, Artmagic (Brennan) third. Joining those three in next week's $300,000 final of the 26th Rooney are Manny, Yankee Artillery, No Shame Blue Chip, Tailgunner Hanover and Tap into Power. Autotune Hanover, last season's winner of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here, was devoid of pace this night and finished ninth. Next Saturday's Rooney is accompanied by the $100,000 Lismore Pace, which attracted six 3-year-old fillies. Both open draws take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker

Pocketed Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $7) edged past pace-setting Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) in mid-stretch Friday (the 13th) night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. The field, pared to a half-dozen after outside assignee Krispy Apple came up injured, saw "Tessa"-last week's victress-once again do her damage on the lead. The 3-4 choice worked around pole-sitting Mach it a Par, then led through moist intervals of :28.1 and :57.1. Down the backside, Mosquito Blue Chip (Dan Dube) made a brief move from third, then ducked back in, leaving those honors to Pasultimatedelite N (Jordan Stratton). That one challenged "Tessa" in and out of a 1:25 three-quarters, with the leader owning a length-and-a-half advantage into the lane. However, Mach it a Par was sizing her up and picking her off, slipping out and winning by that same length-and-a-half in a season's-best 1:52.2. Mosquito Blue Chip was third, with Pasultimatedelite N and Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) earning the final two envelopes. Regil Elektra (Tyler Buter) brought up the rear. When the dust settled, the six lasses finished in post position order. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & The Ganfolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her second win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with the triple returning $29.60. Friday evening's $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace was won by favored Rock N Roll Xample (Sears, $4.40) in 1:53.4. Frank Drucker  

Almost immediately after Resolve crossed the finish line four lengths in front of runner-up Bee A Magician in the inaugural $150,000 Elitlopp Playoff at the Meadowlands, his number "4" began to blink on the infield tote board with the word "Inquiry." Resolve, driven and trained by two-time Elitloppet champion Ake Svanstedt, had just scorched a field of top-class harness racing trotters in 1:51.2, but had clearly gone inside three pylons turning into the stretch. After a lengthy judges' inquiry, Resolve was disqualified and placed ninth while Bee A Magician was elevated to the victory. Gural Hanover finished third and was placed second while long shot Obrigado was elevated to third. The winner paid $7.20 and keyed a $2 exacta worth $46.60. The $2 trifecta paid $882.80. Svanstedt had the barefooted Resolve fired up off the starting gate, racing through the opening quarter mile in 27.2. John Campbell had the favorite, JL Cruze, comfortably away in the pocket, but was not content to follow Resolve. Campbell aggressively moved JL Cruze to the outside and took the lead through a taxing 54.3 half mile. At that point, Svanstedt pulled the pocket and re-took the lead through three-quarters in 1:23.1. JL Cruze offered no resistance, eventually finishing sixth, but placed ninth for his own pylon violation. Leaving the final turn and turning into the stretch, Resolve went inside three pylons before Svanstedt could straighten his course. Resolve finished four lengths in front of Bee A Magician, but ultimately was disqualified. Following the race, Markus Myron, Christer Haggstrom, and Mats Lagerholm from Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden, home of The Elitloppet, presented the trophy and extended an invitation to the race to David McDuffee, co-owner of Bee A Magician. "It is certainly a great honor to receive the invitation and I will speak with the other owners before we make a final decision," said McDuffee during a winner's circle interview. "Resolve went a tremendous mile," said winning driver Brian Sears. "I was very impressed with him. My mare raced well, but I thought she was still a little soft in only her second start of the season." Despite the disqualification, Resolve was also extended an invitation to The Elitloppet on May 29. Justin Horowitz

Bee A Magician shook off the cobwebs after a five-month layoff and stormed home in deep stretch to gun down arch-rival Shake It Cerry in her 2016 harness racing debut as a 6-year-old to win the featured $25,000 open handicap trot at the Meadowlands. Shake It Cerry, sent off as the 4-5 favorite, made the early lead and was permitted to cut tepid fractions of :28.1 and :57.2 as the field raced single file past the half-mile marker. Gural Hanover vacated the three hole at the five-eighths and came after the leader as Bee A Magician got into the outer flow, gradually making up ground to get into striking position. At the head of the stretch, after three-quarters went in 1:25.2, Gural Hanover, the 7-1 fourth choice, came alongside Shake It Cerry, who appeared vulnerable despite the easy fractions. In midstretch, driver Brian Sears tipped Bee A Magician off cover and rolled to an easy three-quarter length score in 1:52. Gural Hanover outlasted Shake It Cerry for second. The winner returned $5.60 to win as the 9-5 second choice, winning for the 42nd time in 66 starts for trainer Richard Norman and owners Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffie. Look for Bee A Magician in the May 8 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff at the Big M, along with JL Cruze, Gural Hanover and Shake It Cerry, who will also be in the Mother's Day event, with the winner earning a berth in the May 29 Elitlopp in Sweden. CREATINE RETIRED: It was announced Thursday that Creatine was retired due to a suspensory injury. The lifetime earner of $2.1 million will stand stud at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. KATIE SAID TAKES F&M OPEN: Katie Said went an ideal second-over trip and stormed home to take the $25,000 open handicap pace for fillies and mares. The Jimmy Takter trainee got a perfect steer from Brett Miller to win by 1¼-lengths over Divine Caroline. Table Talk, the even-money favorite, was third. The winner paid $9.60 for owners Black Horse Racing of Lebanon, NJ, and went the mile in in 1:50.4. CARRYOVER CLIMB CONTINUES: The 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five once again was not hit, upping the carryover to $189,475.79 for the next program. All-source wagering on the 12-race program was $2,415,266. Live racing resumes at the Meadowlands on Saturday, first race post time is 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations    

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday's Meadowlands card continues the parade of stars returning to the racing wars. Co-featured are the $25,000 Open Handicap Trot (race six) and $25,000 Open Handicap Mare Pace (race 11).   The trotting race boasts a stellar field as Bee A Magician, Resolve and Creatine make their seasonal debut with Shake It Cerry, Gural Hanover, Waiting On A Woman and Opulent Yankee providing the competition.   Six of the seven are targeting the inaugural Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff scheduled for May 8 here at The Meadowlands. The winner of that Grand Circuit event will be invited to the Elitlopp raced in Solvalla, Sweden on May 29.   "Queen Bee" took a measure of both Creatine and Resolve in a 1:53.4 qualifier Saturday past and has looked sensational in both of her morning trials. As she embarks on her fifth season of racing trainer Nifty Norman continues to marvel at the depth of her talents and along with owners Dave McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman look forward to what she may accomplish this season. Brian Sears is in for the drive.   Creatine held well after cutting the mile in that one and along with Resolve, who was a reserved third from well back, will likely move forward of that workout.   Shake It Cerry got a quality first start in last week dashing home in a 26.1 final quarter in a closing second to JL Cruze to be beaten just a length in 1:52.2.   Gural Hanover and Opulent Yankee are coupled for wagering purposes and are both solid performers working into the five-year-old seasons. Waiting On A Woman (ineligible for the Elitlopp Playoff) trotted home in a sneaky 26.2 following Shake It Cerry's cover last week.   The Mare Open Pace marks the return to The Meadowlands of last season's three-year-old filly pacer of the year, Divine Caroline. She and entry mate Bettor Be Steppin combined to earn over $1 million for common owners Val'D Or Farm, Ted Gewertz and Rojan Stables (Michael Ouriel is a partner on only Divine Caroline) and trainer Joe Holloway.   The competition is stiff, led by Sandbetweenurtoes, Katie Said and Table Talk who all had a national presence in the older pacing mare division last year and rounds out with the gritty Request For Parole and improving Lovineveryminute.   The supporting card is strong and the wagering opportunities many on Friday evening. The lure of the Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover is at $184,704 to open the weekend and the standard menu of horizontal wager guarantees continue. Past performance for the Late Pick 4 remains yours at the click of a mouse for each night's card, courtesy of Trackmaster.   We'll roll back the concession prices on Friday with delicious $1 hot dogs and $2 beers (consume responsibly) and continue to sign folks up for a dream trip to the May 7 Kentucky Derby.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department  

No bait and switch here. It was as advertised Saturday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the fifth and final preliminary round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The highly-anticipated first matchup between Wiggle It Jiggleit and Bit of a Legend N---two photogenic figures-was so stirring, neither one wanted to be left out of the picture. Both were sent off at odds-on in the last of three, $50,000 divisions, and when the stone dust settled, the camera was unable to separate 3-4 favorite Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) and 9-10 second choice Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) in 1:51.2. Neither was put in the play at the outset, with "Legend"-from post position No. 4-operating from second -over, directly in front of WIJI, who started from post No. 7. As the battle unfolded in earnest, it appeared Stratton, with his place in next week's final (purse TBA) already secured, was in no hurry to advance, knowing exactly who was on his back. Wiggle It Jiggleit, meanwhile, had to win (and get plenty of help) if he was to have to any shot of making that same race. Fourth and sixth, respectively, turning for home, Bit of a Legend N and WIJI unleashed a torrid stretch duel before hitting the line together as "Legend" completed a 5-for-5 series prelim resume. It was another 2½ lengths to Limelight Beach (Yannick Gingras). Bit of a Legend N, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, has won seven of his nine North American starts. Wiggle It Jiggleit, a 4-year-old Mr. Wiggles gelding, is now 3-for-4 (2-for-3 in series) this season and 26-for-31 in his $2 million-plus career. George Teague Jr. and Teague Racing Partnership co-own WIJI, trained by Clyde Francis. Both halves of the track-record heater returned the lowest-allowed-by-law $2.10. The exactas paid $2.80 (WIJI first) and $3.40 (Bit of a Legend N first), with the triples returning $6.20 (WIJI first) and $11.60 ("Legend" first). "I thought (Wiggle It Jiggleit) may have had us late, but my horse came back," Stratton said. "It was a helluva race." Saturday night's opening Levy division was won by 6-5 choice Lettucerockthem A (Brian Sears, $4.50). From post No. 2, he quarter-moved, then held second-choice P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) at bay by a half-length in life-best 1:51. All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) was buried early, then picked off the rest for third. Lettucerockthem A, a 6-year-old Down Under Art Major gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bob Hamather and Bruce Soulsby, is 2-for-7 this season (1-for-3 in series). The exacta paid $13.60, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $22.40. The second series get-together was won by a pocket-sitting fave Mach it So (Tim Tetrick, $3.90). From post No. 2, he tripped-out by a neck over a stubborn, first-up Texican N (Stratton) in 1:51.3. Te Kawau N (George Brennan) third. Foiled Again, in his 250th career start, cut the mile from the pylons, gave way grudgingly late and finished fourth. Mach it So, a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., is now 3-for-5 this series/season. The exacta paid $24.20, with the triple returning $118.50. (Note...final Levy standings were being fact-checked by the race office and thus unavailable as of this writing.) Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $2.40) in 1:54.4. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, April 14, 2016--That Brian Sears won four races during a card doesn't exactly qualify as "man bites dog." When Sears' last victory of that Thursday night quartet was a milestone for the trainer, it sort of justifies this missive. Rene Allard trained a trio of Yonkers Raceway winners from seven starters Thursday, including death-and tax-deadline-is-Monday Daylon Miracle ($2.30) in the $14,000, 11th race trot (1:55.4). That was the 3,000th victory of his career, making him--at 29--youngest trainer ever to reach that milestone (lifetime purses approaching $29 million). Currently sitting third in local standings, Allard had personal bests in wins (454 in 2012) and earnings (nearly $6.2 million in 2015). Allard, 29 years and 99 days old on Thursday, first got his trainer's license at age 17, racing in and around his native Quebec (Hippodrome Montreal, Hippodrome Aylmer, Quebec City Raceway, and Trois-Rivieres, plus at Rideau Carleton Raceway just minutes from the Quebec border in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada). Today he races primarily at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Yonkers, but could turn up at Harrah's Philadelphia, Saratoga, Monticello, or Pompano Park, and he even did a stint this winter at Hawthorne in Chicago.   In 2012 he has his single-season high for winners with 454; the $6,177,017 his charges rang up last year produced his best moneywinning season ever. He has never had a season-ending UTR below .300.   by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

"O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?" In the case of Rodeo Romeo (Brian Sears, $2.50), try the harness racing winner's circle, which he found with the greatest of ease Tuesday afternoon after Yonkers Raceway's $63,000 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series. The Raceway's annual testament to Teddy Roosevelt-richest local race of the season to date-was open to 3- and 4-year-old gentlemen who were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1. Rodeo Romeo made short of his foes here. In play at the outset from post position No. 2, he easily worked around pole-sitting Toni's Affection (Scott Zeron), making the lead well before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. From there (:56.4, 1:25.2, 1:54), no issues whatsoever. "Romeo" owned a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, then opened to 4¾ lengths at the wire. Toni's Affection held second over a two-move J T (George Brennan), with lone 3-year-old Don'tcallmefrancis (Jason Bartlett) and Secret Delight (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. Sports Bettor (Mark MacDonald), AM Magic Man (Dan Dube) and B Well (Andy Miller) rounded out the order. For Rodeo Romeo, a 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Oompa's Farm, Michael Day and Robert Mondillo, it was his third win in four seasonal/series starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $7.70, with the triple returning $32.60. "He's a good-gaited, handy horse," Sears said. "They did give me a lot of respect up front and there wasn't much to it." A $25,000 series consolation was won by BB's Harley (Dube, $13.80) by open lengths in 1:55.2. Frank Drucker

Major Athens (Brian Sears, $11.20) gutted it out Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,400 harness racing Open Handicap Trot. Assigned post position No. 7, he was one of several leavers through some quick fractions. Crazshana (Jason Bartlett) played leapfrog on the lead with Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube) between equal opening intervals of :28.2 ( :56.4 half). It took a half-mile before Major Athens finally made the lead, and when he did, that left 3-2 favorite Luminosity (George Brennan) outside all by his lonesome. Meanwhile, Major Athens held his advantage through a 1:26 three-quarters and a 1:55.3 milepost. Then, Dot Dot Dot Dash (Matt Kakaley) wound up from last, surging into contention in and out of the final turn. Major Athens owned a length-a-three-quarter lead entering the lane, then held off a pocket-pulling Crazshana and a flattening Dot Dot Dot Dash. The margin over the former was three-quarters of a length in 2:25.4, a track record for his weight class at this added distance (a tick faster than Papagayo E's effort in last fall's International Trot). Dot Dot Dot Dash, Latoka (Eric Carlson) and Money Maven (Andy Miller) completed the cashers, while Luminosity backed up to last. The weekly trotting feature was one of seven "French" races, each listed with 10 horses (though there were two subsequent scratches) at the mile-and-and-a-quarter distance. For fourth choice Major Athens, a 6-year-old son of Andover Hall owned by Howard Taylor and trained by Tom Milici, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $50.50, with the triple returning $283.50. Though Bartlett did not win the feature, he did waltz (or pace, or trot) away with just about everything else, as in seven wins on the dozen-race card. The last of the victories was a 7¼-length, 1:50.4, season's-fastest local mile with Santa Fe Beachboy ($2.20) in the finale. This was the fourth Sunday matinee of the season, with the next one scheduled for next Sunday (March 20,. first post 1:10 PM). The card features Round 1 of the inaugural Drivers' Cup, featuring five leading Yonkers' drivers against a quintet of their French counterparts. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (first post 7:10 PM), with the second round of the Petticoat Pacing Series. Frank Drucker

Favored Secrets Out N (Brian Sears, $5.40) was the only leaver and the only mover for three-quarters of mile Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Pointed from assigned post position No. 5, Secrets Out N easily worked around pylon-assigned Caribbean Rose N before a :28.3 opening quarter-mile. None one felt the need to challenge this miss, who was making her first purse try in nearly two months. She then made them pay (:58.4 intermission, 1:26.4 three-quarters), with nary a peep from a pursuer until rank outsider Jaded Dream (Eric Carlson) moved from fourth. She never came near the leader, who opened a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn. An unasked Secrets Out N beat Caribbean Rose N by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2, with For the Ladies N (Jordan Stratton), Jaded Dream and Gallie Bythe Beach (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For Secrets Out N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Mach Three owned by Andrew Herzog and trained by Tom Milici, it was her second win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41.80, with the all-Kiwi triple returning $160.50. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (first post 7:10 PM) and a "French" Sunday afternoon (first post 1:10 PM). Frank Drucker

Nearly a decade ago, Tom Amendola told several friends he was going to start his own harness racing ownership group. His friends jumped on board immediately and Fly By Night Stables was born. Then came a pacer named K Slater, and the partners have been riding a wave of good times ever since. K Slater, a 9-year-old gelding, has won 28 of 194 races and earned $415,266 since Fly By Night Stables purchased the horse from Brian Sears in January 2010. Last week, the Tom Fanning-trained K Slater won a conditioned race at the Meadowlands, giving him three victories in seven starts this season. He competes again at the Big M --- Fly By Night's home turf --- on Saturday night. "When we bought K Slater from Brian Sears we just wanted an overnight horse, something that would get us to go to the track as a group and enjoy ourselves," said Amendola, a resident of Secaucus, N.J., in the shadows of the Meadowlands. "That's exactly what we got from him, plus some. He really got us to expand the stable and go into the next set of horses. He is our group. That horse really made us." Prior to starting Fly By Night Stables, Amendola and his friends were members of other harness racing ownership partnerships. But Amendola wanted to be more involved in the operations and decided to create his own group with Robert Anderson and Rich Korycinski, both also from Secaucus. When the time came to name the group, which now has nine members, a discussion led to Fly By Night Stables. "We were sitting around and we looked at one another and said we're always flying by the seat of our pants, so we have to come up with something like that," Amendola said. "Well, we're doing this at night most of the time, so we decided why don't we make it Fly By Night." The group's first horse was Cam Van Bussel, a pacer who battled injuries but still earned nearly $150,000 during his time with Fanning and Fly By Night. "Tom kept us in the ballgame," Amendola said. "We never even knew if he was going to race. When you're a one-horse stable it's difficult; if that horse doesn't come back to the track and make you money, you could be out before you even get your feet on the ground." Next came K Slater, who is now part of a five-horse Fly By Night operation. In addition to K Slater, the stable's horses are Do Your Job, History Repeats, Live On, and Special Package. Do Your Job, a 5-year-old pacing mare with $160,626 in lifetime purses, won a division of the Keystone Classic in 2014. Live On, a world champion, is a 7-year-old pacing gelding with $311,763 in the bank and History Repeats is a lightly raced 3-year-old pacing filly who is a half-sister to millionaire Doctor Butch. Special Package, owned by Fly By Night and Fanning, is a 4-year-old full sister to Do Your Job. She has won four of 30 races lifetime and earned $120,053. She won her seasonal debut earlier this week in an opening-round division of the Petticoat Series at Yonkers Raceway. She finished fifth in the 2014 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and also competed in several open stakes events at ages 2 and 3. "Tom and I talked about it and she was in a little over her head (earlier in her career); we expected too much," Amendola said. "But she was in some big races and she gave us some big thrills. Right now we're hoping she can come back and be a solid over-nighter. We're not looking for anything spectacular, but that she can be very competitive going forward this year." Amendola said the stable will look to buy more yearlings in the future. "The thrill of a yearling is something that the group really, really liked," Amendola said. "You don't know what you have. We've bought five or six yearlings with Tom and I think each one has made it to the track, which is amazing." For now, they will enjoy their horses and the opportunities to go to the races together. And watch with fondness each time K Slater hits the track. "He has been our biggest thrill and excitement," Amendola said. "He's just been so good to us." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications A division of the U.S. Trotting Association

Harness racing favored Polak A (Brian Sears, $4.60) snapped Phil Your Boots (Tyler Buter) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Pace. Those two, leaving from post position Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, were sent toward the lead. "Phil" worked around Polak A, then laid down intervals of :27.4, :57 and 1:24.4. The third-quarter pace was prompted by a first-up First Class Horse (Jason Bartlett). Phil Your Boots owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane and looked home, but Sears was relentless in getting after Polak A. That one finally did corral the leader, winning by a nose in 1:53. Season-debuting All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) saved ground through the final turn before finishing with a flourish to grab third. First Class Horse and Dream Out Loud N (George Brennan) rounded out the payees. For repeating Polak A, a 7-year-old Down Under Pacific Fella gelding co-owned by many Bellinos and trained by Tony O'Sullivan, he's now 4-for-6 this season. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $28, with the triple returning $97.50. Later in the card Sears and Sapphire City ($5.90) turned in the fastest local mile (1:52.1) of the season, winning the $16,000, 10th-race pace. The Raceway's live season continues with a "French" Sunday afternoon (first post 12:30 PM). Frank Drucker

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