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Pompano Beach, Fl...April 13, 2015...About the same time that the sun was setting in Pompano Beach on Monday night--7:43--our version of Lady Godiva, known here as Godiva Seelster, was pacing her way into the sunset with an easy win in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace for harness racing Mares. This five year-old daughter of Camluck, making two moves early in the mile, secured command for good just after the :27 opening panel and then waltzed over to the half in :56 before picking up the pace during a :28.2 third panel and then cementing the deal with a :26.4 finale--hitting the line in 1:51.1, a lifetime best performance. Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Godiva Seelster was driven to victory by Wally Hennessey, scoring by 4 3/4 lengths over Senorita Santanna (Aaron Byron) with All Charged Up (Kevin Wallis) third, five lengths away. Mach Me Not finished fourth in the quintet with Glow Stick picking up the nickel. Not only did Godiva Seelster win for the third time this semester in five starts, it stretched her streak of starts earning purse money to 51, encompassing her entire seasons as a three, four and, thus far, five year-old. The crowning touch of this mile was the fact that Godiva Seelster's final sprint to the wire marked the first time she has ever paced a final quarter as fast as :26.4. In a post race interview, Hennessey said, "She's an amazing mare...that's all there is to it. She knows how to take care of herself and she's just a well mannered, hard hitting, ultra-consistent and dependable racehorse as you'd ever want to drive...just amazing." Though 1 to 9 on the tote-board, Godiva Seelster, in reality, was 1 to 20 and returned $2.10 to win. Her career scorecard now reads 14-13-14 in 60 lifetime starts, good for $130,342 in career bounty, $125,714 during her "in the money" streak. In Pompano Park's Super Hi-5, there were multiple winning tickets on the 20 cent 4-2-5-7-1 combination, sending the carryover to the Wednesday program to $136,776. Post time for the mid-week card is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ugly Betty seemed up against it. Battling rain, harness racing sloppy track conditions and the dreaded outside post position Ugly Betty was more than up for the challenge.   Starting from the eight spot, Ugly Betty registered a 'beauty' with a front-running 2-1/4 length win over Eyemajet in a seasonal best time of 1:56.2 in the featured $7,900 conditioned pace for the ladies on Wednesday night (April 8) at Buffalo Raceway.   After being parked on the outside by Fiftyonefifty and unable to find a seat along the pylons, driver Jack Flanigen had no choice but to step on the gas and send Ugly Betty to the lead. It proved to be the right move.   Ugly Betty put of fractions of 28.3, 57.4 and 1:27.3 and splish-splashed her way to the wire with a final panel of 28.4 to secure the victory. Eyemajet (Shawn Gray) finished in second place with Fiftyonefifty (Kevin Cummings) taking the show spot.   Owned by Margaret Payne and Jennifer Falcone, the 7-year-old mare (Camluck-Red Road Rage) is trained by Dennis Dylo. It was her fifth win in 11 starts in 2015, increasing her bankroll to $29,679 and $203,430 lifetime.   In the co-featured $7,900 Open III trot, Flaming Yankee (Gray) found his way to the winner's circle for the first time this year with a neck decision over Studio City (Ron Beback Jr.).   The field of eight caught a break at the start as1-2 favorite Serendipitious broke before the gate opened up and spotted the field 11 lengths. That allowed Studio City to set the tempo with times of 31.1, 1:02 and 1:31.4.   Turning for home, Flaming Yankee (Yankee Glide-Flaming Tag), sitting third, used the lightning lane to nail Studio City by a neck inthe photo.   Serendipitious, after spotting the field the huge advantage, managed to get back into the race and almost pulled of a miracle comeback. Kevin Cummings did all he could to find some racing room but the traffic got the best of them. They had to settle for third place, just a length back.   Flaming Yankee, a 5-year-old gelding, is co-owned by William and James Emmons and is trained by Gray. The victory moved his winnings to $8,353 this season and $798,779 in his career.   Racing will continue on Friday night with a 12-race program getting underway at 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

ABERGELE, UK - Harness Racing fans all over the world love to see a grey pacer in full flow and none more so than the people of Great Britain and Ireland who intend on paying homage to these strikingly beautiful Standardbreds by featuring a novel “greys only” free for all event at Tir Prince Raceway in Wales on July 18th. Sponsored by Oakwood Stud in Ireland, who are currently showcasing their new stallion, Foreclosure N, this eagerly awaited event will be called the Platinum Free For All and some ever popular household names have already thrown their hats into the ring to take part in this contest, the first of its kind ever held in the UK or Ireland. Early ante-post favourite for the race is the locally trained Blue Incredible. Conditioned by Jason Podmore, Blue Incredible is renowned for his toughness and is the winner of 14 races and 23 placed efforts including a five-straight victory streak back in 2013, culminating in a grade final win at Aberystwyth in July of that campaign. Another Aberystwyth grand final winner, Wellfield Ghost, is also being aimed at Platinum Free For All and the 2014 victor is a big improver over the past 12 months with 11 wins and has only been out of the money 3 times in 26 lifetime starts.  Jack Frost is also likely to prove popular with punters, being virtually white in colour at this stage of career but with 8 wins under his belt, including 2 grand finals at Wolsingham and Appleby, he showed he can still be equally as potent on the hard tracks as well as on grass tracks with a 1:59.2 record. Another big improver right thru the 2014 seas was the Andrew Cairns trained Coalford Chief and although only six years old, he has made 12 visits to the winners enclosure so far in and came of age in no uncertain terms last September when he landed the Joe Murdock Memorial Open Final at the Scottish venue Corbie Wood.  The only lady in the line up so far is the aptly named Shades Of Grey and her connections fancy her big time to whip the boys into submission. A US import by Camluck,  Shades Of Grey continues to improve with age and ran out a game winner of the George Bell Memorial grand final in Scotland making it 9 wins in total and almost £9000 in prize money. The Irish raider Oakwood Outlaw could prove to be the fly in the ointment to them all however. A 9 year old by Armbro Operative out of a Laag mare Snow Whitey, was actually bred by the sponsors and is now in the care of top reinsman Alan Wallace. Pacing sub 1:59 miles right through the 2014 season, she topped off a stellar year with a win in the Barney Richardson Memorial at Portmarnock in October. The race remains open for additional entries right up until seven days before the unique contest and hopes are high that some other grey pacers will emerge up through the ranks and line up in this most unusual field of pacers. Tarawood Messi, Coalford Showtime and Krakatoa spring to mind and a full field of 10 greys is a distinct possibility as the starting car pulls away at Tir Prince on July 18th. Speaking to Derek Delaney, a representative of sponsors Oakwood Stud, stated that “It is an honour to sponsor a unique free for all with just grey horses only and I’m sure it will be a very special race. It’s an ideal opportunity to showcase our new stallion, Foreclosure N, as we believe that he is also something out of the ordinary, being the first ever Rocknroll Hanover to stand in the British Isles.” Foreclosure N has a record of 1:48.4 and almost $1 million dollars racked up in prize money. With an infusion of New Zealand blood, he is bound to prove popular with breeders in the UK and Ireland who highly value the ability to stay longer distances and remain sound right throughout a long career on both hard and turf tracks where his offspring are likely to ply their trade. By Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink.com

Pompano Beach, FL...March 30, 2015...Godiva Seelster, the mare that gave Just A Bee all she could handle last week before succumbing in the final few strides, turned the tables on the "Queen Bee" on Monday night at Pompano Park and scored a narrow win in a lifetime best performance of 1:51.2 for harness racing driver Wally Hennessey. The five year-old daughter of Camluck, trained by Wally's brother, Dan, for Paul and Patricia O'Neil, took command just a few steps after the gate opened and carved out fractions of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:23.1 before courageously coming home in :28.1 to score by a neck over Just A Bee and driver Mike Micallef. Mach Me Not, with Bruce Ranger in the bike, was a stout closing third while Mach It a Par, prominent from the get-go, finished fourth. Senorita Santanna pick up the final award in the sextet. In a post race interview, driver Wally Hennessey said, "This mare (Godiva Seelster) is about as consistent as they come. She always gives a good performance. This was her third start back after a couple of months off and she was sharp coming back...didn't lose one step. She dug in tonight and, after that :27.3 backside quarter, I was just hoping for the best. She was a determined winner. But Mike's mare (Just A Bee) went a great trip on her own, too. She's mighty tough!." In defeat, Micallef spoke highly of Godiva Seelster saying, "Just A Bee raced a great mile, no doubt about that, but Wally's mare was extremely sharp and deserves the accolades...she earned them tonight. I look forward to a rematch--and I am sure he does, too!" Godiva Seelster now has a 2-1-0 scorecard in her three starts, good for $13,500 in bounty. She has $122,342 in lifetime earnings. As the 9 to 5 second choice on the tote-board, Godiva Seelster paid $5.60 to win. The $9,500 Open "2" pace for mares went to De Vins Girl, this eight year-old daughter of Red River Hanover, scoring a virtual gate to wire win for Matt Romano in 1:53.2 for owner-trainer Luca Derrico. Fiesta Camcun, with Kevin Wallis handling the mare's lines, finished second with Glow Stick, driven by Dave Ingraham, next, after putting a scare into the winner around the final turn and through mid-stretch. Oceans Motion finished fourth while Jump Start picked up the nickel in the quintet. De Vins Girl tussled--briefly--with Fiesta Camcun, handled by Kevin Wallis, before taking command and carding panels of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:25 before sealing the issue with that :28.2 sprint home for her second success of the year in 12 starts, good for 2015 bounty of $23,750. She's now banked close to $300,000 lifetime--$299,785 to be exact. Though known for her explosive closing kick, De Vins Girl, has 11 wins over the past two seasons in 50 starts with eight of those wins in virtual wire-to-wire fashion. As the 4 to 5 favorite, De Vins Girl paid $3.60 to win. Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 created eight winning tickets on the 2-7-8-10-1 combo with the 20 cent ticket worth $692, pushing the carryover to Wednesday night program over $85,000. Post time is 7:30 p.m. for the mid-week card. by John Berry for Pompano Park

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Harness racing driver Shawn Gray used two different methods in the co-featured $8,500 conditioned paces for the fillies and mares and got the desired results Wednesday night at rainy Buffalo Raceway (March 25).   Ugly Betty ($3.20) needed every inch of the race track to nip Basic Survival in the opener while Sadies Place ($3.70) got to the front end at the quarter pole and cruised from there to complete the chalky $8.70 early daily double.   It was just the start of a good night for Gray as he finished the card with four victories.   After battling against the boys the past two weeks, finishing a respectable second and fourth, Ugly Betty showed she's still 'looking good' when facing the girls.   Basic Survival (Jack Flanigen) zoomed right to the lead and put up fractions of 31.2, 101.1 and 1:30.2. Ugly Betty, in the meantime, began her first over journey at the three-eighths pole and made slow and steady headway to the half.   At the three-quarter marker, Basic Survival and Ugly Betty were eyeball to eyeball, preparing for the stretch run. It looked like Basic Survival had 'survived' the challenge midway down the lane but the stubborn Ugly Betty made one last gasp near the wire and pulled off the nose victory in 1:59 over the sloppy track. You're Too Funny (Jim McNeight) finished in third.   Owned by Margaret Payne and Jennifer Falcone, Ugly Betty (Camluck-Red Road Rage) is trained by Dennis Dylo. It the the fourth win in 10 attempts this season for the 7-year-old mare. She has earned $25,279 in 2015 and $198,752 lifetime.   Sadies Place in the meantime scored her second straight victory with a 1:58.2 decision over Bad Girl Vegas.   It was a three-horse scrum to the lead before the quarter pole with Fiftyonefifty and Bad Girl Vegas each enjoying a brief lead. But Sadies Place became the third leader of the race and ended up being the final one, stepping off to a 1-3/4 length win. Bad Girl Vegas (Drew Monti) took second while Dontch Remember rolled into the show spot.   Sadies Place (Sadies Dreamboat-Eicarl Leggs) is a 10-year-old mare owned by Barry Franklin and trained by Darren Taneyhill. She's now won four times in 10 starts this season, bankrolling $18,385 in 2015 and $326,390 lifetime.   Monti had a driving triple and Ron Beback Jr. posted a double on the night.   Buffalo Raceway's leading trainer JD Perrin hopped on the sulky for the first time this season and drove Northern Bullet to a popular $3.00 win. Perrin finished the night with two training victories as did Taneyhill.   Racing continues on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with a 12-race card scheduled for 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Trenton, NJ --- In 2008, veterinarians Randy Hutchison and his dad, Robert, visited the Standardbred Horse Sale. It was the first time the father and son went to inspect and actually purchase a harness racing yearling on their own. Call it instinct, good horse sense or just plain beginner’s luck, but the Hutchisons were about to go on a nice little seven-year ride that ended last Friday night (March 13). They purchased a female pacer named Keystone Linda for $4,000, renamed her Holiday Shopper at the urging of Randy’s daughter Anna, and the mare proceeded to win 30 times and earned $403,649. That’s a pretty good bang for the buck, and it concluded at Miami Valley Raceway in Ohio with a second-place finish on Friday. “She raced well and she gave it her best, she didn’t embarrass herself,” Randy Hutchison said. “We decided that would be her last race because over the last two to three months we just started to see the number of races and miles she raced over the last six years starting to catch up a little bit. “We always said she’s been too good of a horse to just watch her go around the track. We were going to let her go out with some dignity.” The laid-back daughter of Camluck carried herself with dignity throughout her racing career, first under the training of Ivan and Duke Sugg, and for the last four years under Jeff Brewer. Ivan Sugg was with the Hutchisons at Harrisburg when the filly entered the auction ring. She was sitting at $3,000 and Sugg felt she was definitely worth that much. Randy and Robert bid $4,000 and had themselves a horse. “She had a good video and was put together well,” Randy said. “Some thought she was too small, but we have never really found that to be a huge problem. “We kind of have a certain standard we look for. Are they anatomically correct so they have the chance of holding up to the rigors of racing? We watched hundreds and hundreds of yearling videos. She just had something about her, she had the anatomy and athleticism we liked, and her breeding.” After the name change -- because Anna liked the name Holiday -- the horse began racing as a 2-year-old, started out decently and remained consistent up until her finale. “She’s gone strong,” Randy said. “Even last year she won 11 times. That first year, she had some races in the stakes program in Ontario. There were a few races where she really started to show her heart and competitiveness and we realized we did have something more than a regular horse. We thought she was just something that might be a little better than what we expected.” Actually, she was a lot better than expected. Some of her highlights were finishing second as a 2-year-old in the $92,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots final and racing in the Jugette in the Hutchisons’ home state of Ohio. “We like to race pacing fillies. That’s our goal to get to that race, and she got us in that race,” Randy said. “She didn’t do anything in it (finishing sixth in her opening heat). But just to be in there and being in that barn and being part of that was fabulous. All her sire stakes races in Ontario were great. Just really the whole thing over all seven years. And because she’s the first one we picked out ourselves it made it even more special.” Robert, who lives in North Ridgeville, Ohio, had been an owner for nearly 30 years before he and Randy (of Avon Lake, Ohio) teamed up for the purchase. They have bought several others on their own and have parts of six horses now. Holiday Shopper is the most successful of them all, and is also a friend of the family. “My whole family knew her, knew who she was,” Randy said. “For my dad for Christmas we had a painting of her done. She was the best horse (results-wise) we’ve had and she provided not only excitement, but a lot of great family moments with my dad and myself, my wife and my family.” Holiday Shopper raced primarily in Canada before finishing up in Ohio the past two years. She will now be a broodmare and the Hutchisons are hoping they might be able to race one of her offspring. One thing is certain, if she does as well giving birth as she did on the track, some good horses are on the way. Asked if they ever expected to earn 10 times as much as they paid for Holiday Shopper, Randy said, “No, never. It’s kind of one of those things, it just happened. You look at her winnings, she’s won almost the same every year, we never would have thought that. “I mean, she hasn’t won $2 million. But to us, she’s special.” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Louisville, KY --- He doesn’t have a clue why she is presently such a tough customer, but harness racing driver Mike Micallef is clearly thrilled Just A Bee has discovered her best stride. “I have no idea why she is so good right now,” said her conditioner and pilot. “She is just a happy horse and I haven’t done a thing with her other than just freshening her up before bringing her from Hoosier to Pompano.” A daughter of dual hemisphere champion Mr Feelgood and the Camluck mare Tawnees Mark, the 7-year-old Just A Bee has earned $190,416 from 135 lifetime starts. She is owned by Anita Micallef, John Mc Goff and Greg Heath and has been reminiscent of her sire during her time in the Micallef barn. She has paced 15 miles for her current connections with 10 triumphs and when she hasn’t hit the winner’s circle it might very well be only Micallef’s fault. “I don’t want her to be too hard on herself,” he said. “Everything she has done is all on her own and she is competing against some very tough company with Pertty Music and McFlirty. They are extremely nice mares. I can’t say enough about how good she has been.” Her dam has only dropped three foals, but Just A Bee is a half sister to A Regular Terror (Western Terror p,5,1:54.3h, $126,175) and has campaigned in Canada, New York, Indiana and Florida. The mare finished fourth in her only qualifying start at Mohawk Racetrack a 2-year-old, then went to the gate 22 times at age 3 at Rideau Carleton, Flamboro Downs, Kawartha Downs and Batavia Downs. As a 4- and 5-year-old she raced exclusively in the Empire State and only performed at Buffalo Raceway, Batavia Downs and Tioga Downs. She almost always brought home a check. After a barn change from Courtney Ohol to Charles Stewart and a six week vacation in early 2014, Just A Bee surfaced at Hoosier Park. While in Stewart’s care she lowered her lifetime mark by three full seconds and caught Micallef’s attention. “I thought she would fit in really well with our program down in Florida,” he said. “But I never imagined she would do this well.” But Micallef does admit there might be something to her new routine that she may relish. “I let her gallop twice a week,” he said. “I just let her go around a mile.” Just A Bee also seems to just enjoy life and may just be coming into her own as she matures. “She is funny,” Micallef said. “She pins her ears back every time anyone comes near her, but the minute you pet her she is all over that. She is such a nice horse and once you pay attention to her, she loves it.” The mare will remain in Florida for just a bit longer before she returns to the Midwest and commences the remainder of her season at Hoosier Park. “They just posted the conditions and they have a $21,000 Open back in Indiana,” Micallef said. “That’s where I base my stable. I want to see if she can compete up there, but I think she can. In her last start I literally was pulling the bit out of her mouth she wanted to go so much. She’s been taking on good quality mares down here so I don’t know why she can’t do the same up there. “I don’t think it’s just the track with her. Believe me, no one is as surprised as me she is this good right now. She’s just really enjoying herself out there and my job is just to keep her happy.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

When people look at the harness racing sires list in North America you would think that they all race under the one flag but of course we know that is not the truth. Canada is fiercely independent and standardbred breeders in Canada are no different so we thought we would do a review of the performance of Canadian based stallions and their influence on harness racing in Canada and beyond.  The leading sire on the all age pacing sires list in 2014 that stands in Canada was Matt's Scooter son, Mach Three who headed off the perenial top dog in Canada in Camluck. This two were head and shoulders above the competition as the siring chart below shows. Canadian all age pacing sires list for 2014 Stallion Name                     Money won                                               Wins                                             MACH THREE                     $11,458,141                                             1181 CAMLUCK                            $7,159,237                                                 964 JEREMES JET                     $4,232,278                                                 453 BADLANDS HANOVER     $3,484,110                                                 423 SHADOW PLAY                   $3,055,528                                                 230 NO PAN INTENDED           $2,808,131                                                  331 MILLION DOLLAR CAM     $2,616,398                                                 335 SPORTSWRITER                $2,475,204                                                    78 STONEBRIDGE REGAL     $2,379,050                                                 344 MODERN ART                     $2,323,643                                                  274 The overall record of both Camluck who is now 28 years old and Mach Three who is 16 are outstanding and would hold their own anywhere in the world. Camluck   -    Winners   -     $100,000 Winners   -     Millionaires   -     Sub 1:50         Total Stakes                             1596                      592                                  28                       62                $217,969,096   Mach Three  - Winners   -  100,000 Winners   -  Millionaires   -  Sub 1:50         Total Stakes                                619                      211                        2                        21               $106,923,082                                                                                                                              (Worldwide)                                                                                                                                                  So it looks at the moment as if Mach Three and Camluck have a jump on the competition but two young sires are lining up to challenge them in Shadow Play and Sportswriter. Shadow Play finished fifth on the list even though he only had two and three year olds to represent him while Sportswriter finished eighth with just his two year olds to represent him. If they can maintain that early momentum from their initial crops then they have every chance of toppling the leading duo in the next two or three years The table above does have a very "Australasian" look about it with eight of the ten sires on the list having stood down under at some point of their career. The trotting sires list is again dominated by a couple of well estalished elite level sires in Kadabra and Angus Hall. The emergence of Muscle Mass as a leading sire will be bitter sweet for Canadian breeders as he has since relocated to Blue Chip Farms in New York.  Canadian all age trotting sires list for 2014 Stallion Name                                 Money                                        Wins   KADABRA                                     $7,239,806                                   542 ANGUS HALL                              $5,582,473                                    613 MUSCLE MASS                           $3,885,863                                   285 MAJESTIC SON                           $2,773,259                                   184 KEN WARKENTIN                       $1,930,438                                   252 DEWEYCHEATUMNHOWE      $1,907,078                                     85 STRIKING SAHBRA                    $1,814,017                                   207 AMIGO HALL                               $1,648,308                                    178 FEDERAL FLEX                             $947,671                                      92 DUKE OF YORK                             $914,302                                    133 The overall records of both Kadabra who is 16 years old and Angus Hall who is 19 years old are both outstanding as the figures show. Kadabra    -    Winners    -    $100,000 Winners    -    Millionaires    -    Sub 1:53    -    Total Stakes                              399                         141                                3                             15                 $51,015,193    Angus Hall  -  Winners    -    $100,000 Winners    -    Millionaires    -    Sub 1:53    -    Total Stakes                               746                        231                                6                              14                $87,008,509   With Muscle Mass no longer standing in Canada, the two established siring greats don't have any real challengers on the horizon which is never healthy long term. The 2015 season has started well for the Canadian based sires in the first nine weeks of the season with Mach Three leading the all aged sires list in North America with Camluck holding down seventh spot while on the trotting sires list for North America, Kadabra and Angus Hall are first and second at the moment. However the Canadian breeding industry really needs one of the new boys on the scene to step up big time in the next twelve months because the old guard can't go on forever. All in all the Canadian breeding industry continues to have a major impact on harness racing around the globe but it is in need of some renewal or that influence will start to wane. Harnesslink Media 

Harness racing trainer Shaun Vallee hopes Midnight Lightning is ready to strike in Saturday's second leg of the Buddy Gilmour Series for 3-year-old male pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Midnight Lightning, trained and co-owned by Vallee, finished third in his opening-round division last weekend, beaten 3-3/4 lengths by undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit in 1:51.2. This week, Midnight Lightning and driver Corey Callahan start from post one in the second of two $20,000 divisions. George Teague Jr.'s Wiggle It Jiggleit and Chris Ryder's National Seelster, who are both 3-for-3 this season, are in the first division. The estimated $75,000 Gilmour final is March 14. A son of Camluck out of the mare Twin B Intimate, Midnight Lightning has won one of six races this year and earned $10,920. He picked up his victory in a conditioned race at the Big M in his start prior to the Gilmour, coming home with a :26.1 final quarter in a 1:52 mile. "Other than the weather, he's been good," said Vallee, who owns Midnight Lightning with DPV Racing Stable. "If I could have him a little fitter I'd be happier about it. He's about 85 percent. He's got a good brush and he can sustain it a long way, but I think he'll be able to sustain it even further once he gets a little fitter." Midnight Lightning often has shown a burst of speed at some point in his races, but Vallee was unhappy with several of his starts earlier this season. After scoping the colt, he put Midnight Lightning on Lasix following his fourth race of the year. "After he raced his first start, he was very good, but the next couple starts he was flat and I was a little disappointed," Vallee said. "I put him on Lasix and he's been a completely different horse." Vallee purchased Midnight Lightning for $20,000 under the name Twin B Incentive at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is a half-brother to Twin B Tenacious, who won on the New York Sire Stakes circuit last year. "He stood good, had a good demeanor, had a good head and neck to him," Vallee said. "And I didn't mind Camluck as a sire; they're very tough." Midnight Lightning raced only once at age 2, which was by design. "That's what I do with all my young horses," Vallee said. "I bring them to the races, let them see what they're supposed to do, and then turn them out. I give them time to mature. I never really race them as a 2-year-old." Dan Vlahakis, who races as DPV Racing Stable, has been an owner with Vallee and his wife Anita for nearly 25 years. "They're such great people," Vlahakis said. "You couldn't ask for a better team." Following the Gilmour Series, Vallee will look for other series opportunities for Midnight Lightning. "All the way training down I believed he had it," Vallee said. "He showed signs of being a nice horse. How nice, I wasn't sure at the time. But I think he'll be competitive in most of the series that he races in. He's a very nice horse." by Ken Weingartner / Harness Racing Communications / USTA  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ugly Betty turned in another 'beautiful' effort while Justgottogetthere had little trouble in disposing of his competition to highlight the action at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (February 25).   Despite starting from the seven post, Ugly Betty made it three straight by circling the field in the $9,500 pace for the fillies and mares in 1:58.3.   A race later, Justgottogetthere, a hard-charging $58.50 winner last week, showed it wasn't a fluke. He used a front-running journey this time around to capture the $9,500 Open Trot in 2:01.3 over the good track.   Ugly Betty (Shawn Gray), drawing the rail the past three weeks and scoring two wins and a second place finish from there, was assigned the outside post this week. She showed it wasn't an issue.   After sitting seventh and last, Ugly Betty ($8.90) started the first over trip just before the half mile marker. She tipped three-wide to the three-quarter pole and rolled right to the lead in the stretch and never looked back. Ugly Betty registered a comfortable two-length victory over Sadie's Place (Andrew Monti) with She's A Maniac (Jim McNeight) taking the show position.   Owned by Margaret Payne and Jennifer Payne, the 7-year-old mare (Camluck - Red Road Rage) is trained by Dennis Dylo. The victory moved her 2015 winnings to $18,055 and $191,548 lifetime.   Justgottogetthere ($5.20) in the meantime used a completely different method to get to the winner's circle.   After showing a late kick in last week's victory, Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) flew off the gate from the four spot and was never threatened. Posting fractions of 31.0, 1:02 and 1:32.3, there was no serious threats in the lane as Justgottogetthere smartly trotted off to a 2-1/2 length win over Flaming Yankee (Gray) while Northern Spark (John Cummings Jr.) placed third.   Justgottogetthere (Valley Victor - Mara's Theme) is owned by Antonietta Landi and North Creek Racing LLC. The 6-year-old gelding, trained by Jerry Nugent Jr., has now won three times in four starts this season, earning $14,750 in 2015 and $152,932 in his career.   Buffalo Raceway will continue racing on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. with a 13-race program.   For more information including the the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway    

TORONTO, February 21 - Ontario sired four-year-olds were the main attraction Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack in a pair of harness racing winter series finals. The $45,000 Ontario Boys final for four-year-old pacers and the 44,600 Ontario Girls final for four-year-old pacing mares were co-main events on Saturday night's 11-race card. All eyes were on heavy favourite Nirvana Seelster in the Ontario Boys final, as he went for the series sweep. Driven by Phil Hudon, Nirvana Seelster sprinted out quickly to the front to grab his usual spot on the lead and would cruise along in control cutting out fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.4 In the stretch, Nirvana Seelster continued to pace strong and was never in any danger of surrendering his lead. He posted a final-quarter of :27.4 to score a length and a quarter victory in 1:52.3. Ideal Jet got up to finish second, while Kindofabigdeal took the show spot. A son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster is trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy. The four-year-old pacer swept the Ontario Boys series by winning each leg on the front-end. Nirvana Seelster now has three wins from seven starts this year and ten career victories overall. The winner's share of the purse pushes his career bankroll over $145,000. Nirvana Seelster returned $2.80 to win. Nirvana Seelster In the Ontario Girls final, Artistic Fusion was sent off as the heavy 2/5 favourite and did not disappoint winning in 1:53.4. A first-half battle saw a parked out Regally Ready finally clear to the front before the half ahead of Performing Art. However, Jack Moiseyev wasted no time charging Bet Ya up from fourth to overtake the lead from Regally Ready at the half in :55. Meanwhile, Artistic Fusion and driver Sylvain Filion paced along fourth and made a first-over move on the way to the final turn. Artistic Fusion and Bet Ya would slug it out past the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4 to bring the field into the lane. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion powered by Bet Ya and paced on to the win the Ontario Girls final by a length and a half. A hard-closing Jakardez got up for second, while Bet Ya finished third. A daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion captured the first leg of the series, but then saw her four-race win streak snapped in last week's second leg by Bet Ya. The series finale victory improves her record to five wins from six starts in 2015. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote and now has an Ontario Girls title to go along her Blizzard series triumph a month ago. Artistic Fusion now has 11 career victories and earnings of over $142,000. She paid $2.90 to win. Artistic Fusion In order to be eligible to the Ontario Boys and Girls series, the Ontario sired four-year-olds had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 in 2014 as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Peter Pumpkineater had the last laugh in the harness racing featured $9,500 conditioned pace at a snowy Buffalo Raceway Saturday afternoon (February 21) as he rallied in the shadow of the wire to take a head victory over Peenie in 1:59.3.   After scooting off the gate from the four post, Peter Pumpkineater looked content to set the fractions. That wasn't going to happen, however, as Peenie re-took the lead to the opening quarter marker and Peter Pumpkineater had to settle back into the pocket.   After watching splits of 30.2, 1:01 and 1:31.0 put up by Peenie, driver John Cummings Jr. dropped Peter Pumpkineater ($7.40) into the passing lane and managed to poke a head in front at the wire. Peenie (Kevin Cummings) had to settle for second while Rude Boy (Billy Dobson) took the show position.   Peter Pumpkineater (Camluck - Disney Dream) is a 7-year-old gelding co-owned by Tessa Roland and Mark Jakubik. Buffalo Raceway's leading trainer JD Perrin handled the conditioning duties. The victory moved the winner's 2015 bankroll to $11,090.   In the co-featured $8,800 conditioned pace, Union Man Hanover ($6.10) toyed with the field and ran off with an easy 2-3/4 length win over Bakken in 1:59.4 over the good track.   Union Man Hanover (Cummings) played give-and-go with Art's Delight and kept right on going to the winner's circle. Bakken (Ray Fisher Jr.) showed some late kick in the lane to finish in second while Art's Delight (Frank Milby) hung on for third.   It was the first victory of the season for Union Man Hanover (Artiscape - Up Front Rose). The 6-year-old horse is owned by Stephen Andzel and is trained by Alex Giuliani. Union Man Hanover is now a winner of $7,853 this year.   In the quarterfinals of the Niatross Knocking Claiming Series, One Chaser ($4.90) put up the fastest time of the four division winners, going the mile in 2:00.1 with Cummings in the bike.   Shaolin Master (Shawn Gray) took the second leg with a 2:01.1 clocking and returned $5.50. Dragon Ridge ($5.90) won in 2:03.0 with Dobson in the sulky while Jimmy Whittemore guided Goddess's Justin to a $9.80 victory in 2:03.3 in the final division.   The top four finishers in each race will return next Saturday night for the semi-finals.   Racing will go back to its normal starting times at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night when a 13-race program goes to the post at 5 p.m.   For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ugly Betty turned in another 'beauty' of a victory and Justgottogethere pulled a shocker to highlight the action at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (February 18).   It was an easy gate-to-wire win for Ugly Betty in the $9,500 conditioned pace for fillies and mares while Justgottogethere used a perfect pocket trip to register a $59.50 surprise in the co-featured $9,500 conditioned trot.   The program wasn't completed, however, as Buffalo Raceway was forced to cancel the races after the fifth race due to electrical issues.   Ugly Betty ($6.10) started from the rail and never looked back in cruising to her second straight win, an impressive 4-1/2 length decision over Memumsnotnice. Shawn Gray set sail from the rail with Ugly Betty and posted splits of 29.0, 58.0, 1:27.3 in posting a seasonal best time of 1:57.0. Memumsnotnice hung on for place (Frank Milby) while Sadies Place (Draw Monti) finished in third.   Owned by Margaret Payne and Jennifer Falcone, Ugly Betty (Camluck - Red Road Rage) is a 7-year-old mare who is trained by Dennis Dylo. With the win, Ugly Betty has now earned $13,425 this season and $186,798 lifetime.   It was a perfect game plan used by driver Jim McNeight and Justgottogetthere to get the victory in the featured trot.   Dropping into the garden spot at the start behind the pace-setting Lutetium, Justgottogetthere and McNeight waited patiently until the top of the stretch. They then roared by the leg weary Lutetium to pull away for the stunning 2-1/2 length win in 2:02.1. Fiorentina (Milby) showed late kick for second while Northern Spark (John Cummings Jr.) placed third.   The $59.50 win price by Justgottogetthere (Valley Victor-Mara's Theme) spurred a $480.50 exacta and $4,390.50 trifecta.   Justgottogetthere is a 6-year-old gelding owned by Antonietta Landi and the North Creek Racing Stable LLC. Jerry Nugent Jr. trained the the winner, now 2-for-3 on the season. It pushed the trotter's earnings to $10,000 in 2015 and $148,482 in his career.    Racing continues on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with a 13-race card scheduled for 6:35 p.m.   For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

TORONTO, February 14 - The second leg of the Ontario Boys harness racing series was contested under frosty conditions Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A group of 13 four-year-old pacers were split into two $18,000 divisions for the second leg of the three-week event. Nirvana Seelster took last week's only division and was back to crush his opponents again Saturday night. Driven by Phil Hudon, Nirvana Seelster went straight to the front and never allowed his rivals to get close. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, Nirvana Seelster separated himself from the pack in the stretch and scored an impressive 6¼ lengths victory in 1:54.3. Ramblingamblinman finished second just ahead of Mittcent Van Gogh in third. A four-year-old son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster is trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy. The gelding now has two wins from six starts in 2015 and nine in his career. The round two victory pushes his bankroll over $133,000. Nirvana Seelster returned $6.10 to win and will now have a chance to sweep the series in next week's final. Nirvana Seelster In the first division of the night, Ideal Jet and driver Randy Waples made a second-quarter move to the front and never looked back en route to a 1:55.2 victory. A four-year-old son of Jeremes Jet, Ideal Jet finished eighth in last week's single division. The Craig Barss trainee got away third Saturday night, but was moved before the half by Waples to take the lead. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2, Ideal Jet paced home in :29 to win by a length and a quarter. P L Heavenly finished second, while Regal Babe took the show spot. Saturday's victory was Ideal Jet's first win in 2015 from five starts. The four-year-old now has four career wins and earnings exceeding $96,000 for owners Nurko Sokolovic and Barss. Ideal Jet paid $6.50 to win. Ideal Jet The $45,000 final of the Ontario Boys series is scheduled for next Saturday (February 21) and will be joined by the $44,600 final of the Ontario Girls series. Live racing continues Monday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ugly Betty and City Kid each rallied in deep stretch to pull out thrilling victories in the co-featured events at Buffalo Raceway on a snowy Wednesday night (February 11).   Ugly Betty took the $9,500 fillies and mares pace in 1:57.2 while City Kid notched the win in the $9,500 conditioned trot in 2:00.4 over the good track.   In the opening co-feature, Ugly Betty may have won the race in the opening quarter mile. Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) tried to get to the lead but was stung by Ugly Betty (Shawn Gray) who handed out a parking ticket before relenting at the first marker.   From there, Ugly Betty ($10.00) drafted behind the pace-setter until the top of the stretch where the 7-year-old mare popped the pocket and wore down Memumsnotnice. Bad Girl Vegas (Billy Dobson) went down the passing lead and rallied fast for second place while Memumsnotnice had to settle for a disappointing third.   Co-owned by Margaret Payne and Jennifer Falcone and trained by Dennis Dylo, it was the first victory of the season for Ugly Betty (Camluck - Red Road Rage). It moved her earnings in 2015 to $8,575 and $182,548 lifetime.   As expected in the co-featured trot, Lutetium set sail to the top and dared anyone to catch him. While the betting public thought it was going to be Second Hand News, it was City Kid (Dobson) who did and sprung the $9.10 surprise.   Lutetium (Cummings) had no trouble getting to the top, setting the tempo with times of 29.3, 59.4 and 1:30.3. It was City Kid, however, that sat the garden spot and trotted away from the tiring Lutetium to score the half-length victory. Long shot Northern Spark (John Cummings Jr.) took the show position.   The heavily favored Second Hand News looked in perfect striking position on the outside before the three-quarter marker but failed to fire, settling for fifth place.   City Kid (Cincinnati Kid - Salagadoola) is owned by Barbara Russo and is conditioned by Neal Russo. It was the second win in five starts this year for the 7-year-old gelding and pushed his winnings to $8,498 and $169.351 lifetime.   Racing continues on Friday night with a 13-race card slated for 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

TORONTO, February 6 - A pair of winter harness racing series got underway Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The Count B Series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings saw two $17,000 divisions contested, while the Ontario Girls Series for four-year-old pacing mares needed just one $18,000 division for the first leg of the three-week event. A field of seven battled in an eventful first division to get Count B action underway. Conversation Boy, the 4/5 favourite, got away early in fifth, but made a break as the field turned into the backstretch. The miscue was quickly resolved and driver Sylvain Filion elected to roll the favourite to the front, eventually clearing in front of the leader Newbie just after the midway point. Conversation Boy would lead the field around the final turn, but was confronted first up by Dialamara and driver Trevor Henry. Meanwhile, Legion Of Boom, the 5/2 second choice, was pacing along fourth, but made a break just before the three-quarter pole taking himself out of contention. In the stretch, Conversation Boy and Dialamara would slug it out, while Newbie came off the rail to the outside to make it a close three-horse finish. At the wire, Dialamara came away with a three-quarters of a length victory over Conversation Boy in 1:54.3. Newbie finished third. Legion Of Boom recovered from the final turn break to finish fourth, but was placed back to sixth for interference while on a break. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara was making his first start of 2015. The sophomore now has three career wins from nine starts for trainer Patrick Fletcher and owner John Lamers. Friday night's victory pushes his bankroll over $40,000 and the clocking of 1:54.1 lowers his lifetime mark by more than three-seconds. Dialamara returned $10.70 to win. In the second division, Camvicted went gate-to-wire to remain undefeated in three starts. Driven by Trevor Henry, Camvicted sprinted out to the lead ahead of his five other rivals and was able to call the shots without any challengers through the first three-quarters of the mile. Camvicted posted fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:26.4 and faced his first challenge when His Boy Elroy came first up from fourth around the final turn to draw within half a length of the leader as they turned into the stretch. In the stretch, Camvicted and Henry were able to fight off His Boy Elroy and Shippen Out on the far outside, while also keeping Nobettorplacetobe locked in the pocket to win in 1:56. Shippen Out finished second by a length, while Nobettorplacetobe finished third just ahead of His Boy Elroy. A three-year-old son of Camluck, Camvicted has now won the first three starts of his career in 2015 for owners Doug & Dennis Belan and Brian Fitzgerald. The sophomore pacer is trained by Richard Moreau and now has a bankroll of $22,500. A $2 win ticket on Camvicted returned $3.20. In order to be eligible to The Count B Series, the three-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Artistic Fusion carried the momentum from her Blizzard Series sweep into round one of the Ontario Girls. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Artistic Fusion left from post nine and was parked past the opening-quarter before eventually clearing to the front in the first turn. Filion was able to tap the breaks in the second-quarter and reach the half in :58. Around the final turn, Mea Lilley Mark came first up to challenge the leader and the mares past the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion put away Mea Lilley Mark, but had to deal with Performing Art, who got a two-hole trip, coming at her on the inside. Artistic Fusion was able to hold off Performing Art to reach the wire first and win by a head in 1:56.1. Jakardez got up for third, while Bet Ya finished fourth. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino and has now won four consecutive starts to remain undefeated in 2015. Friday night's win was the tenth of her career and pushes her career earnings over $115,000 for owner Mike Foote. Artistic Fusion returned $3.90 to win, In order to be eligible to the Ontario Girls, the four-year-old pacing mares had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 last year as of October 31, 2014. The second leg of both The Count B and the Ontario Girls will take place next Friday (February 13). Mark McKelvie

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