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Plainville, MA --- The $1.8 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) reconvened at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 20) after a one week sabbatical, with five harness racing divisions of 2-year-olds competing for $161,450 in total purses. The strongest performances of the day were turned in by Han Solo (Mister Big-Leah) and Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) who combined, tied or set four race records. The 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings went two divisions and Han Solo was victorious in his $22,100 split after a hard-fought race. R Maddy Blue Chip (Drew Monti) left and cut the mile, giving Han Solo (Kevin Switzer Jr.) a perfect pocket trip. R Maddy Blue Chip set a moderate pace of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:25.2 while Han Solo drafted closely behind, waiting to make his move. At the top of the stretch Switzer tipped Han Solo and started driving him hard down the lane. Monti was also heavily urging R Maddy Blue Chip and the two were almost even heading to the wire. But Han Solo got the advantage before tripping the beam and won by one-half length in 1:54.1. The time was a new lifetime mark for Han Solo, a new MASS stake record for 2-year-old pacing colts and tied his own track record for 2-year-old pacing colts. It was the fifth win in the last six starts for Han Solo ($5.40) who now has total earnings of $59,837 for owner, trainer and breeder Monique Cohen. In the $39,200 division for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings, Life Is A Feast (Howard Parker) left from post five and was pushed to the front. From there he set quarters of :28, :57.2 and 1:26.1 before turning for home and extending his lead to 1-3/4 lengths at the wire in 1:55.4. The time tied Life Is A Feast's lifetime mark and also tied the MASS stake record and the Plainridge Park track record for 2-year-old trotting geldings, both of which he set earlier this year. It was the fourth win in a row and third straight in the MASS series for Life Is Feast ($3.00) who pushed his earnings to $63,475 for owners Al Ross and Paul Fontaine. George Ducharme trains the Karen Carroll-bred winner. The $40,600 2-year-old pacing filly division went to Odds On Orlando (Captaintreacherous-Lindys Old Lady) for the third straight time this year. Driver Drew Monti took Odds On Orlando back to fourth while Mini Pini (Ivan Davies) and Rojas Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer Jr.) argued for the lead to the quarter in a swift :26.3. Mini Pini finally grabbed the front and the field then went to the half in single file in :55.2. After the five-eighths pole Rojas Blue Chip came back out to challenge Mini Pini along with I Am Wonder Woman (Wally Watson). This forced Odds On Orlando to go three-deep at the three-quarter pole and around the entire turn. Outside of her four-wide was Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) who was now even with the other three fillies. At the top of the stretch Odds On Orlando swelled up and paced away from the field under a line-drive to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:55, which was a new lifetime mark. Odds On Orlando ($2.20) remains perfect in Massachusetts while earning $62,416 for owner Odds On Racing and trainer Tony Alagna. Lindy Farms of Connecticut bred Odds On Orlando. The other $21,750 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding division went to Finnbar (Real Desire-Unbeachable) who scored his first stake victory. Mcbeantown (Mitchell Cushing) led the way to the half in :57.4 with the field in single file behind. They remained that way until the five-eighths pole where driver Ivan Davies pulled Finnbar from third, took the lead in the turn and cleared the front by the top of the stretch. From there he cruised home down the lane a wrapped-up two-length winner in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark. Finnbar ($4.00) is owned by Nancy Longobardi and is trained by his driver Davies. Steve O'Toole was the breeder of Finnbar. The $37,800 division of the 2-year-old trotting fillies was the lone non-betting event and it went to Without A Warning, who remains perfect this year in the stake. Leaving from the pylons, Without A Warning (Shawn Gray) led every step of the way while cutting fractions of :29.1, :58.2 and 1:28. He rounded the last turn and trotted away in the stretch while opening up a 3-1/4 length margin of victory in 1:58. Without A Warning has now earned $136,160 this year for owner Ray Campbell Jr., who also bred the filly. George Ducharme is the trainer. The 3-year-old divisions will compete on Monday (Oct. 21) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park. There are three non-betting events with post times of 1 p.m., 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. The fourth division goes as race one on the regular betting card with a post time of 2 p.m. All eight divisions of the $800,000 (est.) MASS finals will be held at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 28). By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Freehold, NJ - The New Jersey Sire Stakes-Standardbred Development Fund (NJSS-SDF) series wrapped up at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, with a pair of finals for 3-year-old pacers. There was one logical result, and one big upset.   Ponder the Odds completed a sweep of the NJSS-SDF series for 3-year-old fillies, winning the final by 1 1/4 lengths. Sent off as the 1/20 favorite, driver Pat Lachance put her on the lead heading around the second turn, and never relinquished it, winning it easily with minimal challenges in 1:56.2.   This was the fifth win in a row for the Kathleen La Montagne-trained filly. The daughter of Ponder has now earned more than $106,000 in her career.   A Beach Cowgirl, fourth in the second leg last week, rallied well down the stretch to finish second. Stood Up, Surreality, Hurrikane Lori Ann, and Fear No Evil completed the order of finish.   Prince of Tides was also 1/20 in the final for 3-year-old colts & geldings. For the first seven-eighths of a mile, everything was going to plan: driver George Brennan put the Ross Croghan-trained gelding on the lead on the second turn, and was holding steady turning for home.   However, Admiral Ballsy, who sat in the pocket most of the way, popped out as they turned for home, and Prince of Tides could not pull away. In the last few strides to the wire, the 15/1 shot got up over the favorite, winning by a head.   Admiral Ballsy, a son of Captaintreacherous, is trained by Michael Hall, and was driven to victory by Joe Bongiorno. He went the mile in a career-best 1:53.2, pushing his career earnings over $70,000.   Trente Deo, Reigning Deo, Black Dan, Just Plain Loco, and Cool Your Heels rounded out the field.   Admiral Ballsy's upset win helped trigger a pick 5 carryover into Friday's card. The sequence will feature a carryover of $1,525.76, and begin in Friday's fifth race.   The first race at Freehold on Friday is scheduled for 12:30 PM EDT.   From the Freehold Raceway Media Department

CHESTER, PA - Jive Dancing A showed herself to be the real thing as she shipped into Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon, winning the $17,000 featured pace for distaffs in 1:52.1, her fastest clocking in a harness racing win on North American shores. George Napolitano Jr., whose four wins on the day topped the driving colony, scooted right to the lead with the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, then yielded after the :27 quarter to the brush of favored Odds On St. Lucie, who led the field through middle fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.1. But the chalk did not have much left for the stretch, and Jive Dancing A proved strong as a pocket rocket, winning by two lengths over St Somewhere, who followed the winner throughout, including the inside path in the stretch. Jive Dancing A has now won two straight races since coming under the care of trainer Michael Hall. She is owned by Blindswitch Racing Stable. There were a pair of $16,000 events, one for pacing distaffs and one for trotters. In the trot, the Swan For All gelding Always A Dream rallied three-wide on the final turn, not always the best avenue to victory at Philly, and rolled on strongly to a two length victory over Bella Ava in 1:57.2. Pat Berry drove the winner, in his first campaign at the races at age four, for trainer Scott Di Domenico and the partnership of Foulk Stables Inc. and Triple D Stables Inc. In the contest for female pacers, the Captaintreacherous sophomore Catch A Secret emulated the good form of her distaff stablemates in the Jim King Jr. stable, freshman Lyons Sentinel and older sensation Shartin N, with a victory in a lifetime best of 1:53.3. Victor Kirby reserved her in midpack until the backstretch, and then she made one big move to go right by entering the far turn, winning by 4 1/4 lengths for her fourth win in her last five starts for the ownership of Ben Mudry, Brad Maxwell, Dr. Fred Kruszelnicki, and Kenneth Frieder. A $14,500 pace for fast-class mares went to the Art Major mare Tell Me A Joke, who sent her earnings to $150,601 with a five length victory in 1:52.3. Tony Morgan brushed with the winner of three straight off the first turn and was never in doubt once in front for trainer Chris Temming and T R Stables. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Plainville, MA --- With two of the three preliminary harness racing legs of the $1.8 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) in the books, six stake records have been either broken or tied and leaders have emerged in several divisions. With the stake taking a break from action this week, many of its competitors have too and it's a good time to evaluate what has happened so far. The 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings have had the largest field of eligibles and as a result, have been racing two divisions each week. And the four races held in the first two legs have yielded four different winners. Han Solo (Mister Big-Leah) won in week one in a new stake record of 1:54.4 with Spatterdash (Deuce Seelster-Poster Hanover) winning the other division, but in a much slower 1:56.3. But the story in that second division was fourth place finisher R Maddy Blue Chip (American Ideal-Frontierpan) and third place finisher Kevmarvalous (Delmarvalous-Shady Sabrina) who both emerged the following week. R Maddy Blue Chip lowered the stake record to 1:54.3 in the second leg on the strength of a dominant performance while Kevmarvalous also had a coming-out party, winning in 1:56.3 and blowing up the tote board at 45-1. The points are well spread among this group with the top four currently being Han Solo (75), Kevmarvalous (62), R Maddy Blue Chip (58) and Spatterdash (58). The 2-year-old pacing filly division has been a one-horse show; Odds On Orlando (Captaintreacherous-Lindys Old Lady). Both weeks Odds On Orlando has come from off the pace to win in consecutive lifetime marks. After having been stretched out in Lexington for three starts prior to coming to Massachusetts, she has finished very strong in her two efforts at Plainridge and remains the perfect leader with 100 points. Currently sitting in third place with 26 points is She's A Fireball (Western Maverick-Fire Can Fly). This filly finished a very strong second in the first MASS leg before making an untimely break in the second. On Saturday (Oct. 12) she won the $55,073 final of 2-year-old pacing filly division of the Maine Sire Stakes (MSS) in a new lifetime mark with a strong first-over trip. That race will definitely set her up for a big effort in the next leg in Massachusetts and moving forward into the final. The 2-year-old trotting colt and gelding division has been a two-horse race so far. Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) took a new lifetime mark of 1:55.4 in the first leg which also set a new MASS stake record and a new Plainridge Park track record for 2-year-old trotting geldings. In the second leg, Crazy For Luca (Crazed-Teachmehowto Lindy) earned a hard fought 1:57.3 victory over Life Is A Feast to take his first lifetime win, which also set a new track record for 2-year-old trotting colts. As a result each horse now has 75 points and look to continue a head to head battle down to the final. The 2-year-old trotting fillies has been dominated by Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who had won two straight starts and has tied the stake and track record of 1:57.3 in the process. However RT's Warrior has become an emerging force. RT's Warrior (Noble Venture-Oye Oye) has finished third and second behind Without A Warning through two legs but the filly just won the $55,045 MSS final on Saturday (Oct. 12) by 3-1/4 lengths in a new lifetime mark. When the MASS reconvenes next week, that race should provide forward momentum in RT's Warrior's continued development. Moving on to the sophomore class, all four 3-year-old divisions have seen two-time winners after the first two legs and two of the four were 2-year-old MASS champions that are looking to repeat. 3-year-old trotting gelding Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia) has won back to back legs and leads with 100 points. The first week he was a wrapped-up winner in 1:54.3 and that set a new track record at Plainridge Park for 3-year-old trotting geldings. Simple Kaos was the freshman Mass champion and is well on his way to taking another crown. Jake G's Champion (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) and The Fixer (Trixton-Give You My Word) have been second and third once each and look to be the main rivals in here. Each currently have 37 points. 3-year-old pacing filly Karan's Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) is the other 2018 champion and she is off to a great start this year as well. After sweating out a mere head victory over So Beautiful (So Surreal-Leanback Coco) in week one, Karan's Choice rebounded to a more handy 1-1/2 length win over So Beautiful once again in week two. These two top the points standings with 100 and 50 points respectively heading into week three. The 3-year-old colt and gelding pace has a developing dynamic between last year's top two finishers that should provide an interesting race to the final this fall. Current MASS leader CBF Bantam (Baron Biltmore-Cohenucopia) is two for two and alone at the top with 100 points. But Victoria's Maverick (Western Maverick-Perfect Launch), who was the 2-year-old champion and has finished second and third behind CBF Bantam this year, just won the $82,195 MSS final on Saturday (Oct. 12). In that race CBF Bantam, who also competed, made a break at the start and finished third at the wire. This rivalry will renew next week and should keep this division very competitive through the final. Victoria's Maverick is tied for second with Levi (Pet Rock-Beam Of Joy), who just won an overnight race on Sunday (Oct. 13), with 37 points each. The MASS 3-year-old filly trotters have been dominated by Crystalline (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) who has not only won two weeks in a row, but has also set two consecutive stake records in the process. After going winless in 2018 and finishing second and third twice each in the MASS, Crystalline has come back strong in 2019, winning six races as a dominant force in the New York Sire Stake (NYSS) Excelsior series and now in the MASS. Crystalline has 100 points and is ahead of Ev's Girl (Crazed-Lindy's Lullaby) and Mother Teresa (Father Patrick-Highscore Kemp) who each have 37. To date Shawn Gray is the leading driver in the MASS with six wins and is ahead of Drew Monti and Jimmy Whittemore who are tied with three and Jim Hardy who has won two. The top trainer in the series so far is George Ducharme with seven victories while Tony Alagna, David Crochere and Jim Hardy are tied for second with two apiece. The series will resume on Sunday (Oct. 20) at Plainridge Park at 2 p.m. For a complete set of Massachusetts Sire Stake points listings and all the remaining race dates, please log onto the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts website at www.sominc.net and click on the links on the homepage. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

LEXINGTON, KY-- Treacherous Reign overpowered her harness racing competition in the $163,100 American Ideal Bluegrass Stakes  for three-year-old pacing fillies, sponsored by Brittany Stallion Management, on Saturday, Sept. 28 at The Red Mile as she grounded out a first-over trip to win by a length. Beautyonthebeach was sent forward from post 6, but 4-5 favorite Tall Drink Hanover quickly swooped by just after a :26.2 opening quarter. She maintained the lead to the half in :54.1 and three-quarters in 1:22.1 but could do little to resist Treacherous Reign as the field of 11 turned for home. Driver Dexter Dunn kept the Tony Alagna trainee to task down the lane and held off Beautyonthebeach to stop the clock in 1:49.4. Queen Of The Pride had late pace and moved up for third. Tall Drink Hanover, who Alagna also trains, faded and finished seventh. "A lot of people forget that she did win the Fan Hanover, defeating Warrawee Ubeaut," Alagna said after the race. "Of course, Warrawee Ubeaut has gotten better over the course of the year, but this is a very nice filly in her own right. The other filly got used pretty good--Tall Drink Hanover--to get to the front, but she definitely didn't look like she was on her game today. Not to take anything away from this filly; she came first over the hard way at the half and got the job done." The $50,000 Lexington Select yearling purchase collected her 11th win from 26 starts, and she has now earned more than $680,000 for Alagna Racing, Big Al's Stables, Let It Ride Stables, and Dana L. The daughter of Captaintreacherous, bred by White Birch Farm, paid $12.20 to win. Grand Circuit action resumes at The Red Mile on Sunday, Sept. 28 with seven total Bluegrass dashes. The sophomore pacing colts compete in three divisions of the $267,400 Captaintreacherous Bluegrass Stakes while the three-year-old trotting colts race in two divisions of the $192,200 International Moni Bluegrass Stakes and the three-year-old trotting fillies race in two divisions of the $218,000 Bar Hopping Bluegrass Stakes. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Nicholas Barnsdale, for The Red Mile  

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

Baby Your The Best was not at her best in her most recent harness racing start, but her second-place finish behind Gai Waterhouse in the Kentucky Sire Stakes final that day only added to trainer Linda Toscano's level of appreciation for the 2-year-old filly pacer. "I love her," Toscano said about Baby Your The Best, who suffered from muscle cramping in the KYSS final on Sept. 15 and was beaten by three-quarters of a length after leading into the stretch. "She doesn't do anything wrong. She tied up badly in her last start and she was really good in spite of it. Hopefully, we've got that behind us and she can go out and do what I know she can do." Baby Your The Best is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Friday's (Sept. 27) second of two Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old filly pacers at Lexington's Red Mile. Gai Waterhouse, trained by Domenico Cecere, is the 5-2 second choice, followed by Carter Pinkse's Annabelle Hanover at 4-1. Purchased as a yearling under the name Emissary for $225,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale, Baby Your The Best is a daughter of Captaintreacherous-Dolphins Can Talk from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Put On A Show. Her second dam, Stienam's Place, is in the Hall of Fame as a broodmare and her half-brother Flipper J was a stakes winner. Richard Young and Joanne Young, who own Put On A Show, own Baby Your The Best. Baby Your The Best has won two of seven races and finished second in the remaining five. Two of her runner-up performances came to multiple-stakes-winner Lyons Sentinel, including in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. Baby Your The Best's two victories came in preliminary rounds of the Kentucky Sire Stakes series at Red Mile. "She's big, she's beautiful, she's great gaited, she's got a big pedigree, and she seems to not know the end of the mile," Toscano said. "There is nothing not to like about her." Toscano also has a starter, Rocknificent, in the first Bluegrass division for 2-year-old filly pacers. Rocknificent, who has won three of six races, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite. The filly is coming off a fourth-place finish, her only finish worse than third this season, in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. Rocknificent, by Captaintreacherous, was the first foal out of Dan Patch Award-winner Rocklamation. Purchased under the name Deo's Proclamation for $145,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, she is owned by Enviro Stables, South Mountain Stables, and Little E. "She's been a fun horse to race this year," Toscano said. "She's gone some really tough trips; she had to be first-over way more than I would like it. She's a nice filly. I'm looking forward to racing her. Hopefully she will get a really nice trip and finish up good." Toscano's Friday will get underway with Senorita Rita in the first of four Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old filly trotters. Senorita Rita, who is 2-for-2 this season, is 6-1 on the morning line. Kentucky Sire Stakes runner-up Shishito is the 5-2 favorite. Senorita Rita won her debut in a division of the New York Sire Stakes on July 4 at Tioga Downs but did not race again until winning a conditioned race Sept. 12 at Red Mile. "She's a really nice filly," Toscano said. "I had to back off with her a little bit because she needed a little bit of time after I got her qualified and raced at Tioga. It's kind of a big test to go from a qualifier and an overnight into the Grand Circuit at this point when the others are so seasoned. But I think she has enough talent, so we'll try." Originally named Seven Links, Senorita Rita was purchased for $285,000 by Ken Jacobs at the Lexington Selected Sale. She is by Chapter Seven out of Lindys Head Nurse. "She's great looking," Toscano said. "I thought I was training three really nice trotting fillies this year. One disappointed, but (Dip Me Hanover) won the Peaceful Way and this one could trot right with her. I thought she was the best training down, so we'll see." In the second Bluegrass filly trot, undefeated Sister Sledge is the 8-5 favorite. She is 7-for-7 this season and enters Friday's start for trainer Ron Burke off a win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. Peaceful Way runner-up Hello Tomorrow, from the stable of trainer Per Engblom, is the 2-1 second choice. Engblom's Ms Savannah Belle is the 6-5 favorite in the third division. She was winless in her first three starts but has since put together a three-race win streak including the Kentucky Sire Stakes final. Ramona Hill, unbeaten in three career races for trainer Tony Alagna, is the even-money choice in the fourth and final division. She has won two preliminary rounds of the Kindergarten Classic Series and the consolation division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management. Stakes-winner Panem, trained by Nancy Johansson, is the 5-2 second pick. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Friday at Red Mile. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

LEXINGTON, KY--Four harness racing divisions for the $324,800 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt Pace headline the Saturday, Sept. 28 program at The Red Mile with a single 12-horse dash for the $163,100 Bluegrass Three-Year-Old Filly Pace also featured. Ohio Sires Stakes champion Elver Hanover, entering undefeated, competes against Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Catch The Fire in the first Bluegrass division for frosh pacing colts. Elver Hanover, a gelded son of Yankee Cruiser, has accrued $288,600 from seven starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Bridgette Jablonsky, Jason Melillo, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables and Purnel & Libby. Yannick Gingras drives the Ron Burke trainee from post 2. Catch The Fire, a Captaintreacherous colt, scooted to a three-length victory in 1:49.4 when winning the Kentucky Sires Stakes Final in his most recent start. The John Ackley trainee has earned $237,333 from nine starts for owner Ct Stables LLC, missing the board in only one race. Mike Wilder drives the $15,000 Lexington purchase from post 4. Seeyou At Thebeach tops the second Bluegrass colt split off a fourth-place finish in the $562,500 Metro Pace. The Brian Brown-trained son of Somebeachsomewhere has two wins on his eight-race record--a 1:51.2 victory in a division of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and a 1:52.2 win in a division of Arden Downs. He has earned $100,930 for owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Chris Page. Tim Tetrick will drive from post 3. Western Ideal colt Manticore leads the third Bluegrass colt dash. Hitting the board in every start, the Bruce Saunders trainee exits a runner-up finish in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship to Papi Rob Hanover, who finished second in the Metro Pace Final. M&L of Delaware LLC and M&M Harness Racing LLC own him while Brian Sears will sit in the bike. Kentucky Sires Stakes runner-up Roll With Jr contests Kentucky Sires Stakes Consolation winner Chief Mate in the final Bluegrass colt split. Roll With Jr, in his first start on Lasix, rode the pylons to a second-place finish behind Catch The Fire in his most recent mile. He has two wins from eight starts and $101,916 earned for owners Pollack Racing LLC and Jeff Cullipher, who also trains the Roll With Joe colt. Doug McNair handles $15,000 Lexington purchase from post 2. Chief Mate, winning in his first two pari-mutuel starts, shipped to Canada from the Meadowlands in late July before venturing south to the Kentucky Sires Stakes. Off a sixth-place finish as the odds-on favorite, the Tony Alagna-trained Captaintreacherous colt won the $50,000 consolation by four-and-a-quarter lengths going wire to wire in 1:51.4. Montrell Teague, who drove him to victory in his last start, retains the drive and starts from post 3. In the lone Bluegrass division for sophomore pacing fillies, Kentucky Sires Stakes winner Beautyonthebeach ascends into Grand Circuit competition off a 1:49.2 mile to secure a series sweep. The Gregg McNair-trained daughter of Somebeachsomewhere approaches $500,000 in earnings for owner-breeder James Avritt Sr. and starts from post 6 with Doug McNair in the sulky. Current division leader Tall Drink Hanover starts outside of the state-bred champ, racing from post 8. The Captaintreacherous filly won a $128,103 Simcoe split in 1:49.1 on Sept. 7 and has not raced since, but qualified on Sept. 22 at Lexington with a 1:52.1. Tony Alagna conditions the winner of 14 races in 22 starts and $637,807 for owners Alagna Racing LLC, Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing LLC. Andrew McCarthy will drive. The eight-race card Saturday includes two late-closing events for two-year-old pacing colts and a 13-horse late-closing race for trotting fillies and mares. The card begins with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

MILTON, ON - September 21, 2019 - Lyons Sentinel entered the Canadian harness racing record books with a stunning 1:49.3 victory in Saturday's $540,000 Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies.   The daughter of Captaintreacherous converted off a two-hole trip to win for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim King Jr. in a Stakes, Track and Canadian Record time.   "She's done things we didn't think could be done," said King Jr. post-race. "About time she walked in my barn I could tell she was really special."   The $540,000 contest carried the storyline of a showdown between impressive elimination winners Alicorn and Lyons Sentinel. The fillies didn't disappoint, sitting one-two from start to finish.   Alicorn and driver Louis Philippe Roy blasted from post-five and hung up an opening-quarter of :26.4, while Lyons Sentinel followed in second. Reflect With Me got away third and hugged the rail for most of the mile.   After a second-quarter breather of :28.4, Alicorn faced pressure from Somebeachsometime, who had been parked every step of the mile after starting from post-nine. Peaky Sneaky failed to stay with the first-up challenger while in a second-over position, which left room for Tetrick to slide off the rail at three-quarters with Lyons Sentinel.   Alicorn went into sprint mode after reaching three-quarters in 1:23.1, but Lyons Sentinel was too much to handle. The King Jr. trainee stormed by powerfully in :26 to win by half a length. Alicorn finished second, while Reflect With Me couldn't find room up the rail in the stretch and settled for third over JK First Lady.   "I just didn't want to give Roy too much space," said Tetrick. "I didn't want to give him three or four lengths and get the half cheap and take off from me, so I put her on the back and I took a chance of getting locked in, but it all worked out."   A $55,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Lyons Sentinel has stamped herself as harness racing's top two-year-old pacing filly for owners Threelyonsracing. The Captaintreacherous filly has now won five in a row and is six for nine on the season with $562,330 earned.   Lyons Sentinel's record mile broke the previous Canadian record of 1:50.1, which she matched in last week's elimination. The now-fastest two-year-old filly in Canadian racing history returned $3.40 for a $2 win ticket.   by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

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

Delaware, OH - Warrawee Ubeaut, winner of $1,071,553, headlines a field of thirteen filly harness racing pacers in the $259,600 Jugette on Wednesday (Sept. 18) at the Delaware County Fair. The fillies will race a pair of $51,920 eliminations with the top four finishers in each elim coming back for the $155,760 final. Warrawee Ubeaut is coming into the Jugette on a three race win streak, including a win in the $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stake Championship. The daughter of Sweet Lou drew the rail position in the second elimination and will get the services of Yannick Gingras. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Phillip Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel-Libby and Weaver Bruscemi and trained by Ron Burke. The first $51,920 elimination features Treacherous Reign, winner of the $340,500 Fan Hanover Final. The Captaintreacherous lass has earned $559,986 for her owners Alagna Racing, Big Al's Stable, Let It Ride Stable and Dana Parham. Treacherous Reign, who drew post four, is trained by Tony Alagna and Dexter Dunn, a New Zealand native, will be the driver. Post time for the Wednesday card at the Delaware County Fair will be 11:00 AM. The simulcast show will start at 10:30 AM. 49th Jugette $259,600 Field 1st Elim $51,920 1. Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett) 2. She's Allright (Chris Page) 3. Edge Of Eternity (Dave Palone) 4. Treacherous Reign (Dexter Dunn) 5. Ideation Hanover (James MacDonald) 6. Sylph Hanover (Matt Kakaley) 2nd Elim $51,920 1. Warrawee Ubeaut (Yannick Gingras) 2. Carbon Capture (Chris Page) 3. Under The Hood (Joe Bongiorno) 4. Michelon's Filly (Marcus Miller) 5. Privacy Hanover (Jason Bartlett) 6. Annie Hill (Tyler Buter) 7. Stonebridge Soul (Tim Tetrick) Final Heat $155,760 by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

Tioga Downs played host to the third leg of the Kindergarten Series Classic for 2-year-old harness racing pacers and trotters on Friday (September 13). All races were for a purse of $10,000. Captain Barbosa (Andrew McCarthy) cruises to victory in the Kindergarten race for pacing colts & geldings. Keystone Dash (Wally Hennessey) led to the first quarter in :27.0. Play The Ponies (David Miller) took control before hitting the half in :57.2. Captain Barbosa made his move on the backstretch and led to three-quarters in 1:24.1. Captain Barbosa, who is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Robert Leblanc, David Anderson, and Alagnafrankinthegym Stable, led by four lengths as they made the turn for home. He easily won in 1:52.2. Blank Stare (Jim Taggert Jr.) finished second with Ideal Perception (Matt Kakaley) getting third money. Captain Barbosa is a 2-year-old colt by Captaintreacherous-Swinging Beauty. It was his first career victory. All Rise (Fern Paquet Jr.) takes a victory in the Kindergarten series for trotting colts & geldings. Coventry Hall (Wally Hennessey) put up all the early fractions (:28.3, :59.0, 1:27.3). All Rise, who is trained by Homer Hochstetler for owners Connie Hochstetler, Robert Buddig and Allen Schwartz, took over as they made the turn for home. He would have to hold off the late charge of second place finisher Oversized (Matt Kakaley) to win in 1:57.3. Coventry Hall held on for third. All Rise is a 2-year-old colt by Conway Hall-Berdine Hanover. It was his second career win in eight starts. Winter Olympics (Wally Hennessy) is much the best in the Kindergarten series race for trotting fillies. Winter Olympics flew out of the gate and led to the first quarter in :28.2. She used a :30.2 second quarter to lead to the half in :58.4. She they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2. Winter Olympics , who is owned and trained by Ake Svanstedt, got slight pressure by second place finisher Allswell Hanover (Matt Kakaley) as they went around the final turn. Winter Olympics had plenty left in the tank as they reached the stretch. She won in a lifetime best of 1:56.2. Ready To Rock (David Miller) finished third. Winter Olympics is a 2-year-old filly Muscle Mass-Olympic Dreams. It was her second win in four lifetime starts. Anthem (David Miller) comes flying late to win the Kindergarten race for pacing fillies. JK Finendandy (Matt Kakaley) put up all the early numbers (:27.4, :57.2, 1:25.2). Love For Sail (Andrew McCarthy) took control as they reached the stretch. Anthem, who is owned by Cool Cat Racing and trained by R. Nifty Norman, was third in the three horse field. She went flying down the stretch and went by them both to win in a lifetime best of 1:54.4. Love For Sail was second best. Anthem is a 2-year-old filly by Sweet Low-Monkeys Can Sing. It was her second career win in seven lifetime starts. Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) is a gate-to-wire winner in the $11,000 fillies & mares open 1. Truth And Liberty ($8.10) got the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :26.2. She was still the best hitting the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:24.2. Truth And Liberty, who is trained by Simons and owned by Fairy Horsemother Stables, held off a late charge by second place finisher Gold Star Mysti to win in 1:53.0. Gigi From Fiji (Wally Hennessey) was third best. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. It was her ninth win this season. She now has 44 career victories. Wally Hennessey drove four winners on the night. He picked up wins with Move Over Sis ($3.10), Starcasim ($8.70), Prairie Easter ($2.90), and Crius N Rock ($11.00). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 14) with a 13 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs    

Tioga Downs plays host to a leg of the Kindergarten Classic on Friday (September 13). They will feature freshmen harness racing pacers and trotters in four non-betting races. Each will race for a purse of $10,000. The first of the Kindergarten races features 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Trainer Tony Alagna will send two time winner Ideal Perception (Matt Kakaley) as well as Captain Barbosa (Andrew McCarthy) to the starting gate. Ideal Perception (American Ideal-Southwind Siren) has won two New York Excelsior A series races in his six lifetime starts. Captain Barbossa is a colt by Captaintreacherous-Swinging Beauty. He has won over $45,000 in his career with four seconds and a third in eight career starts. The second Kindergarten race is for freshmen trotting colts and geldings. The John Butenschoen trained Swipe Right (Mike Simons) has won two races in seven starts in 2019. He is a colt by Explosive Matter-Online Exclusive. Overised (Matt Kakaley) is the other two time winner in the field. Trained by George Ducharme, he is a colt by Explosive Matter-Afterimage. He is going for his third straight victory. The third Kindergarten race features 2-year-old trotting fillies. Winter Olympics (Wally Hennessey) looks to be the horse to beat. The filly by Muscle Mass-Olympic Dreams won a leg of the Ontario Sire Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 9th. Trained by Ake Svanstedt, she also has a second place finish in just three lifetime starts. Her lifetime earnings are over $35,000. The last of four Kindergarten races features freshmen pacing fillies. The three horse field includes the Nancy Johansson trained Love For Sail (Captaintreacherous-West Side Glory) and JK Finendandy (American Ideal-JK Fine). Love For Sail (Andrew McCarthy) has a win, a second, and a third in four lifetime starts. JL Finendandy (Matt Kakaley) has two seconds in four career starts. They will take on the R. Nifty Norman trained Anthem (David Miller). The filly by Sweet Lou-Monkeys Can Sing has a win, two seconds, and a third in just six starts. The four non-betting races will be mixed in with the 13 pari-mutuel races on Friday. The Kindergarten 2 year old colt pace will take place in between pari-mutuel races one and two. The Kindergarten colt trot will be between pari-mutuel races two and three. The Kindergarten filly trot will run in between pari-mutuel races three and four. The Kindergarten filly pace will take place between pari-mutuel races four and five. Post time for this exciting card is 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs                          

CHESTER, PA - The cream of the harness racing Pennsylvania-sired two-year-olds took center stage at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, contesting four $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships, along with attendant $50,000 consolations.   The Championships were formful, with all four favorites winning, and three Philly track records were set, including one in a consolation, along with a world record and two stakes records.   Here is a summary of the main events, in the order they occurred, with a paragraph on the division's consolation at the end. TROTTING COLTS Real Cool Sam sat coolly off a red-hot pace set by Amigo Volo, then powered home in the last quarter to win his Championship in 1:53.4, which took a full second off the divisional world record for geldings, which Real Cool Sam and Amigo Volo shared, and also lowered the stake record of 1:54.2 set by Stormin Normand in 2011.   George Napolitano Jr. left swiftly with Amigo Volo, but needed virtually all of a :26.4 opening quarter to clear EL Ideal for the lead. The field got to the half in :56, with Big Oil coming first-over at that point and Real Cool Sam following that one's cover.   Normally second-over is a good spot to be, but when Big Oil couldn't continue progress nearing the 1:24 three-quarters and Amigo Volo opened daylight, it looked like an upset might be in the cards. But David Miller tipped the baby three-deep on the far turn, and Real Cool Sam ate up the ground through the lane to remain undefeated after eight starts with a two length victory. The altered son of Muscle Hill - Cooler Schooner (his dam holds the Philly track record for baby fillies) ran his earnings to $420,038, with a rich part of the season still upcoming. Trainer Jim Campbell and owners Fashion Farms LLC, who won a Championship with sophomore trotting filly Millies Possesion yesterday at The Meadows, have a superstar in the budding with this powerful freshman. The Muscle Hill - Order By Hill colt Rome Pays Off set a divisional track record of 1:55 in the consolation despite the tough tuck-then-first-over trip. Despite the arduous journey, Rome Pays Off won handily for driver Mattias Melander, trainer Marcus Melander, and the S R F Stable while tying his lifetime quickest mile first achieved at The Meadows in a Sire Stakes win. PACING FILLIES The Captaintreacherous - Tulu Hanover filly Lyons Sentinel had three wins and a second (by a neck) in her Sire Stakes prelims to be her division's leading pointwinner, and she continued her dominating form with a 1:52 victory in her Championship event.   JK First Lady and Baby Your the Best argued most of the 27.3 quarter, with the latter getting the top just past that point and Tim Tetrick already on the move with Lyons Sentinel. The winner of $274,830 brushed to the lead in front of the stands, then reached the middle fractions in :55.4 and 1:24, with the outer tiers clogging and the pocket horse not quite keeping up.   This left Lyons Sentinel with a clear path to the wire, and Lyons Sentinel proved equal to the challenge, holding off a resurgent Baby Your the Best, who photoed out JK First Lady for second, by a half length. Jim King Jr., who has the senior mare ranks covered with Shartin N, has a nice one in the baby division as well for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound. In the consolation, the Captaintreacherous - Mesmerize Blue Chip miss Marloe Hanover broke her maiden in fine style, moving to the lead in front of the stands and then throwing twin 27.2 quarters coming home to defeat favored Annabelle Hanover in 1:52, lowering her qualifying mark by seven seconds. David Miller guided the developing youngster for trainer Nifty Norman and owners Pinske Stables, David Hoese, and Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky. TROTTING FILLIES Sister Sledge joined her colt counterpart Real Cool Sam in remaining undefeated while winning her Sire Stakes Championship, while also matching her sophomore colleague Millies Possesion in winning all four prelims and her Championship after the 1:55.1 victory. The respect that the daughter of Father Patrick - Behindclosedoors has earned was shown early when only polesitting Sherry Lyns Lady left hard while just inside her, with Sister Sledge making the lead in :28 and then getting a soft half in :57.3. The pace picked up to a 1:25.4 three-quarters clocking as Sorella came up first-over, and through the stretch Sister Sledge saw her lead shrink as Sorella kept coming and Shishito trotted powerfully from a wide lane, but the "Sister" ran her record to 7-for-7 by a margin of half length (the first time she's won by less than a length); Shishito was another neck back in third.   Trainer Ron Burke, who had two Meadows Sire Stakes winners Saturday, and driver Yannick Gingras, who won with the Burke-trained Warrawee Ubeaut the day before, are the braintrust behind the winner of $264,562, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva - Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Muscle Hill - Emmylou Who filly Solsbury Hill got things relatively easy on the front end for driver Scott Zeron in the consolation and still had an open lead almost to midstretch, but the Donato Hanover - Madam Hooch miss Ginger Tree Bren came flying four-deep off the far turn for driver David Miller and closed to dead-heat the pacesetter in 1:57. Steve Cook trains Ginger Tree Bren, who broke her maiden, for the ownership of Sam Beegle, Ginger Tree Ventures LLC, Henlopen Stable, and Neil Chesen; Rick Zeron conditions Solsbury Hill for Howard Taylor, Rojan Stables, and W J Donovan. PACING COLTS David Miller ended his 2YO Sire Stakes Championship Day with two consolation wins and two Championship winners, guiding the Somebeachsomewhere - Panera Hanover colt Papi Rob Hanover to a track record-setting and stakes-equaling mark of 1:50.2. There were a host of outside leavers, with "Papi Rob" and Miller getting away fifth, but after a :26.3 quarter Miller asked his colt for a big brush, and the answer was "Yes" as the winner cleared at the :55.1 half. Adriano Hanover came first-over to the 1:22.2 three-quarters but couldn't sustain, and it was Manticore, the horse whom Papi Rob Hanover had passed at the half, who was closest at the wire, 3½ lengths back. (Ironically, the 1-2 Championship finishers were tied for seventh in the pointstandings and just did get into their finale. Papi Rob Hanover had broken his maiden with a 1:50.4 win in his last PaSS prelim, and his clocking today knocked a tick off the ten-year-old track record of Rock N Roll Heaven while tying the ten-year-old stakes record first set by One More Laugh. Brett Pelling trains the winner of $176,295, developing at an accelerated rate right now, for owner David McDuffie. Matt Kakaley hustled the Somebeachsomewhere - Michelle's Jackpot colt Mac's Big Boy from fourth at the quarter to the lead just past the 3/8, then went on to a 1:52.1 win in his consolation, missing his mark by just a fifth. Ron Burke conditions the Sire Stakes and All-Stars winner for Burke Racing Stable LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and the Wingfield Five LLC. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER, PA - A trio of $16,000 contests shared the spotlight on a special Friday evening card at Harrah's Philadelphia with driver Andrew McCarthy, who won four races, including the featured pace and the faster of the two featured trots. The Captaintreacherous sophomore filly Tarryn A Strip is now two for three since coming to the local oval and joining the barn of trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, winning Friday in 1:52, just a tick off her lifetime mark. Tarryn A Strip did not have an easy path to Victory Lane, being caught very wide early and not making the lead until the 3/8 for McCarthy, yet she still had enough to withstand the wide late burst of Ponder The Odds by a half-length for Glenview Livestock LTD and Cheryl Cherry. The Trixton sophomore filly Princess Deo, fifth in the Hambletonian Oaks final, was patiently sent up to command early in the frontstretch by driver McCarthy, cut the pace, then held off pocketsitting Smooth Acceleration by a half length in taking the first of the two trots in 1:55.2. The Lucas Wallin-trained Princess Deo took advantage of the break from stakes competition to post her first seasonal score, raising her lifetime bankroll to $336,314 for Deo Volente Farms LLC, Thomas Pontone, and John Fodera. In the other trot division, the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Oberto had been moved early to the lead by driver George Napolitano Jr. and looked to be in good shape at the ¾, with both the pocket horse and the first-over laboring to stay with him. However, the horse in the two-hole broke early on the turn, freeing Remarkable De Vie, who had been stuck third-in, but that one's rally could only carry him to within a head of Oberto by the end of the 1:58.1 mile. Jeffrey Weiner trains the four-time winner for Thomas and Pamela Herbst Maloney. The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for two-year-olds will be hosted on Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia, with $1.3 million on the line on the rich card. The gelding Real Cool Sam and the filly Sister Sledge are the ones to beat in the trotting sections; the pacing divisions will have no such clear-cut favorites. Accompanying the $252,000 Championships will be $50,000 consolations in each of the four divisions of freshman competition. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

While John Ackley grabbed a hot dog, Charles Taylor grabbed the best horse they've ever had. Taylor, who has spent a dozen years in harness racing as an owner, and his trainer Ackley were at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale looking for a yearling that might be able to compete on the Grand Circuit. They had already purchased one horse when Catch The Fire entered the auction ring and figured the son of Captaintreacherous would exceed their budget. Ackley decided to get a hot dog. Taylor remained and watched the bidding. When it stalled, Taylor jumped in and bought Catch The Fire for $15,000. By the time Ackley returned, Taylor had signed the slip. On Sunday, Catch The Fire will compete in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old male pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia. A week later, he will be at Lexington's Red Mile for the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final. From there, if all goes well, he will spend the remainder of his campaign on the Grand Circuit, including the Breeders Crown. For the year, Catch The Fire has won three of seven races and finished second on three occasions, earning $82,093 in the process. The colt has a mark of 1:50.4, which puts him tied for the fifth-fastest win time of the season for a 2-year-old pacer. "We just couldn't believe we got him for $15,000," Taylor said about the colt, whose dam Dream Outloud is a half-sister to Life'sliltreasure, who produced O'Brien Award-winner Control The Moment. "Nobody was bidding so I jumped in and I grabbed him. I liked his pedigree and it was a first-time Captaintreacherous, so we were willing to take a shot at him. He was a little small, but he has great conformation. And I think as anybody can see now, he loves to race. "This is by far the best horse we ever had. About two years ago, we decided we were going to make a run at getting a Grand Circuit horse. It just so happened our Grand Circuit horse turned out to be a $15,000 horse." Taylor is the CEO of a telecommunications company, with offices in Ohio and Georgia, and also the CFO of Cell Phones for Soldiers, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services and emergency funding to active-duty military members and veterans. He grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and was introduced to harness racing around the age of 4 by his father. "My goal in life was to own Standardbreds since I was a little kid," said Taylor, who races under the name CT Stables and has an eight-acre farm in Washington Court House, Ohio. "My father was a big harness racing guy and it just got in my blood. It's a thrill for me to watch Standardbreds. Around 2007, we were at a racetrack and my wife said, you know, you should buy a horse. Well, one horse turned into 10, into 15, and just kept going. I have probably 20 horses now." Catch The Fire, with regular driver Mike Wilder, will start Sunday's PASS final from post six and is 7-1 on the morning line. Papi Rob Hanover is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Adriano Hanover at 4-1 and Cattlewash at 9-2. "Win or lose, we're excited," Taylor said. "This is why we all do it. We've had offers to sell him and I could never do that. I couldn't take our one chance at maybe racing in the big races and give it away to somebody else. (Catch The Fire) loves what he's doing and he's got the heart to do it. He's a little smaller than the rest of them but he just loves it. He comes off the track and he's ready to go another mile. "To me, he's proven in the last couple weeks that he belongs. That's what we were hoping for. It's so easy to think you have a great horse, but if they can't keep stepping up week after week, you've got to consider them maybe not as good. I think at this point he's proven that he at least deserves a shot with the best. We're very excited." Racing begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT) Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia. For additional details regarding the PASS finals for 2-year-olds, click here. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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