Like Old Times was much the best in Northfield's harness racing feature race on Wednesday (May 27). She romped in the $17,500 Gin Blossom Series Final. The sophomore filly is trained by Don McKirgan for owner Keith Ross of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was aboard for the winning drive. Like Old Times (Chip Chip Hooray-Royal Two-Royal Troubador) began from post seven. She was parked through the initial :28.3 and :58.4 fractions. She took the lead in the third panel and remained on top through times of 1:28.2 and 1:58.1. She was an uncontested four lengths in front at the wire. Completing the race were Es Mucho, Sammy De Vie, Guth, Lu's Neely, Northern Cone, Mr Fix It Elwood, Treasure Volo and Sammy Sammy Sammy. Wednesday's win was Like Old Times' fourth victory this season in five starts. It bolstered her career win tally to seven and her lifetime earnings to $91,105. She was heavily favored and returned $2.80 to win. Ayers Ratliff
LEBANON, OH. - Ohio Sires Stakes action continued Saturday night at Miami Valley Raceway with four $40,000 divisions for Buckeye-bred harness racing three-year-olds, two for pacers and two for trotters. Gray Camo and Chief Talkalot captured the pacing splits; while Neely's Messenger and Upfront Chip Daddy were victorious in their first leg trotting divisions. Gray Camo (Chris Page) topped Roaddog Jess James (Kayne Kauffman) and Rock N Randall (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) in an impressive 1:53.3 mile. The roan son of Pine Valley, co-owned by trainer Ron Burke with partners Bruscemi, Suda and Melillo, scored his first seasonal win in three tries and increased his bankroll to $116,229 in just 11 career starts. Page used a gate-to-wire strategy to successfully lower Gray Camo's best race record by over a full second. Chief Talkalot (Jim Pantaleano) also notched his first seasonal victory, although he was entering the race off a pair of strong runnerup finishes in a James K. Hackett Memorial elimination and the final over the last two weeks. After getting away third at the pylons during the opening quarter, Pantaleano moved his Feelin Friskie colt to the front just past the quarter and gamely held off two-year-old O.S.S. champion Western Coby (Wyatt Irvine) to gain the narrow 1:55.2 triumph. Rocky Express (Randy Tharps) also made a strong bid in the stretch and finished third. Brian Brown trains Chief Talkalot for the partnership of Stewart, Robinson, Mondillo and Cheatham. Neely's Messenger (Dan Noble) started where he left off last season, wiring his field in 1:57.1 as the odds-on favorite. The defending O.S.S. freshman champ, owned by Dale and Julie Ann Sweet, won at initial asking and for the eighth time in nine tries over two seasons, increasing his incredible bankroll to $235,945 in those nine starts-all in Ohio. I Know My Chip (Chris Page) finished second just three-quarters of a length behind with Cooter Dunn (Louis Bauslaugh) garnering the show dough. Al Manke III conditions the son of Neely Dunn. Upfront Chip Daddy (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) sat the pocket throughout before bursting to the front in midstretch to beat heavily-favored frontrunner Kick A Lot (Kurt Sugg) and No Whip Chip (Dan Noble) in 1:57.3. It was the first stakes win for the son of Chip Chip Hooray, who was unraced at two. He is owned by Up Front Racing LLC and Mark Ford and conditioned by Kelly O'Donnell. A $17,050 Open Pace was also featured on Saturday night with Ardyne Ace (Dan Noble) running his winning streak to three straight at Miami Valley including the final two opens of the local 2015 season. The 1:51.2 score was the nine-year-old geldings fourth in six seasonal starts and increased his 2015 earnings to over $30,000. The lifetime winner of over $400,000 is owned by David Ehrenberg and Daniel Fawcett and trained by Jim Pollock Jr. The final program of the Miami Valley meet is Sunday afternoon when a pair of lucrative Grand Circuit stakes races for older mares will be featured, as well as World Record attempts at the distances of 5/8th s of a mile and 1-1/4 miles. Post time is 3:00 p.m. Gregg Keidel
Victory Is Coming and Ronnie Wrenn Jr.stole the spotlight with their world and new track record performance of 1:51 at Scioto Downs Friday. The previous world record of 1:51.4 for an aged trotting mare on a 5/8 mile track was set by Beatgoeson Hanover and In Your Room, both in 2013. The previous track record of 1:52.2 was held by Unefoisdanmavie and Modern Family. The 7-year old mare by Victory Sam out of Norse Comer is trained by Ammon Hershberger for Betty and John Shaw. Victory Is Coming has now earned over $520,000 in her 107 starts and has made 47 trips the winners circle. The mare started from post five in the full field of 10 and went off at odds of 8-5. Wrenn got away an early fifth behind the battle of Its Complicated and Creatine. Clicking the opener quarter in a hot, :26.2. The pace didn't slow much when Lachance grabbed leather with Creatine to drop in third. They clocked the half mile in :54 and it was shortly after that Wrenn pulled the right line and made a quick brush to the front. Victory Is Coming quickly opened up 3-lengths on the field as she hit the three quarters in 1:22.2. Wrenn had the talented mare well in hand as the cruised to a 1-1/4 lengths victory over Southwind Pepino. The other lone mare in the field, Daylon Miracle was a closing third. Freshman fillies dominate in $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes at Scioto Downs on Friday night. Like Old Times and Josh Sutton set a new track record of 1:57.2 for 2-year trotting fillies at Scioto Downs. The previous record of 1:57.2 was held by Rose Run Keepsake. Like Old Times is a daughter of Chip Chip Hooray out of Royal Two. She's trained by Don McKirgan for Keith Ross of Bellefontaine, Ohio. She started from post four in the field of eight and was in good company. The 9-5 morning line favorite, Dark Roast started from post five. Dark Roast and Kurt Sugg left out for command and landed In The Pocket spot, but were out to take command just passed the 1/4 that was trotted in :28.3. Sutton and Like Old Times were parked the entire way and still were charging for command after the half that was trotted in :59. Dark Roast and Like Old Times went toe to toe and stride for stride down the three quarters that was clocked on 1:27.4. Sutton finally asked the filly for more and she responded by opening up on the field by 5-3/4 lengths. Sammy Star and Aaron Merriman came on late for second and Dark roast held on for third. Bettys Sam and trainer, driver Ammon Hershberger upset their division in 1:57.4. Bettys Sam is owned by John "Red" and Betty Shaw of Mt. Vernon, Ohio. She's by Victory Sam out of Norse Comer. She was out to prove that she wanted to be just like her sister, Victory Is Coming and her point was made. The filly started from the rail, but still had hard work ahead of her. The undefeated Sunrise Nibbles had post four in the field of eight. Page sent Sunrise Nibbles to her normal spot and clocked the opening quarter in :29. Ammon had Bettys Sam sitting third and after the :30 second quarter decided it was time to move. She started her first over grind and hit the three quarters in 1:28.2. Sunrise Nibbles and Bettys Sam battled down the stretch, a small neck separated the fillies. Bettys Sam earned the victory and paid $71.40 to win. Chip Girl and Ronnie Wrenn Jr.completed the trifecta. Lisa Jane takes the final division for trotting fillies in a career best, 1:57.2. Lisa Jane started from post five and Ryan Stahl had the lines for trainer, Scott Cox. She's a daughter of Neely Dunn out of Vanilla B and is owned by Parent Racing Stable LLC and G.Peters. Stahl wasted no time to gain control of the fractions. After the opening quarter was trotted in :28.4 by Tt'scaramelcream, Ryan made the move to the front. The trotted to the half in a moderate :59.1 and passed the three quarters in 1:28.2. Lisa Jane was well in hand and won by 3-1/2 lengths over Student Of Life and Dolly Dunn was third. Bell Flower and Chris Page dominate their $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes division in 1:55. Bell Flower never made her connections anxious as the heavy favorite. She started from post six in the field of eight. Page steered the perfect filly to the top and never looked back. She clocked fractions of :28.1,:57.1 and 1:25.4 before drawing clear by 7 lengths. Crosswinds Cupcake and Dan Noble rallied for second and Ut Oh Spakiddio grabbed the show spot. Sectionlinefriskie breaks her maiden with a win in her division of Ohio Sires Stakes in 1:56. Sectionlinefriskie is a daughter of Feelin Friskie out of Aquatic Yankee. She's trained by Steve Bauder for Harold Bauder, Michael Dixon and Harold Lee Bauder. Dan Noble had the assignment from post seven and was overlooked at 22-1. Noble ended up an early seventh in the field of eight. The heavy 1-5 choice, Friskie Lil Devil was the pace setter and cut fractions of :28.2, :57.4 and 1:27. Aaron Merriman and Zoey's Lemon Tart sat the pocket trip and waited to pounce in the stretch. Neither one could hold off the late charge from Sectionlinefriskie. She paced her final quarter in :28.3 Friskie Lil Devil settled for the place spot and Zoey's Lemon Tart was third. From Scioto Downs Racino
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Jon Win got a softer task Friday night (July 18) in the featured $8,400 Trot at Buffalo Raceway and found things to his liking with a convincing 1-3/4 length victory over Serious George in a seasonal best 1:59.0 over the fast track. After battling in Open competition the past four weeks with a pair of seconds and a third place finish, Jon Win ($6.60) took a step down and proved to be too much for his six rivals. Watching a mad dash to the quarter pole between Keystone Bernard, Sack Full Of Gold and Four Starz Credit, Jon Win and driver David McNeight III just bidded their time. Going first over past the half, Jon Win took advantage of the hot fractions set on the front end of 29.0, 58.1 and 1:29.1 and just waited for the stretch. In the drive to the wire, Jon Win was in perfect position and was much the best as he gobbled up ground and pulled away from the field, beating the late-closing but non-threatening Serious George (Jack Flanigen). The tiring Keystone Bernard (Kevin Cummings) held on for third. Owned by Paul and Ron Viele and trained by Alex Giuliani, it was the fifth victory in 21 starts this season for Jon Win (Chip Chip Hooray-Melinda Hall). It increased his season earnings to $39,878 and $344,238 lifetime. There are just two racing cards left on the 2014 season at Buffalo Raceway. The action continues on Saturday night with a 12-race card set for 6:40 p.m. while the finale will be Sunday afternoon at 1:05 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
On Thursday, July 3 Northfield Park hosted the first leg of Ohio Sires Stake racing action for two year-old fillies as part of a 15-race program. Trotters and pacers each competed in three divisions. The pacers started the stakes action in the evening's opening race. Friskie Lil Devil (Feelin Friskie-Devils Desire-Cole Muffler) bested her competition by three lengths in her $40,000 stakes event. The race was Friskie Lil Devil's career debut. Chris Page piloted the filly for trainer Brian Brown and owner Lil Devil Stable of Findlay, Ohio. Friskie Lil Devil started from post two. Page sent her to the lead and never looked back. She posted fractions of :29, 59.1, 1:29 and 1:58. Finishing behind Friskie Lil Devil were Hailstorm Grace, Finefeelinfriskie, Happy Jude, Zebra Stripes and Feelin Outragous. Friskie Lil Devil returned $14.80 to win. Trotters took to the stage next for the second race of the evening. Honey B (Victory Sam-Honey Mesquite-Angus Hall) took the lion's share of her $40,000 division. Kyle Ater piloted the filly for trainer Dan Ater and the owning partnership of Jim Burnett of Wilmington, Ohio and Tim Homan of Maineville, Ohio. Honey B started from post two and led at virtually every call. She trotted fractions of :30.4, 1:03.2, 1:34.1 and 2:04.2. She held off late closing challengers by a head in this career debut. She was followed across the wire by Student Of Life, Song Of The Valley, Sammy Star, I'd Rather Walk, Star Of Thine and Iron Lucy. Hello Chipper was scratched. Honey B paid $7.80 to win Suite Feelin won the $40,000 second division for filly pacers in the third race of the night. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was the winning driver for the owning partnership of Dr. RV Hutchinson of North Ridgeville, Ohio, Dr. R Van Hutchinson of Avon Lake, Ohio and TF Hoovler of Pataskala, Ohio. Mike Medors is the filly's trainer. Suite Feelin (Feelin Friskie-Easter Lace-Dare You To) started from post one and was content with letting her competition post the :29 opening fraction before taking the lead in the second quarter. Once on the lead, Suite Feelin did not experience an anxious moment for the remainder of the mile. She continued on the lead through fractions of :58.4, 1:28.2 and 1:58.4 and was a dominating 5-1/4 lengths in front as she crossed the wire. The time represents a new lifetime mark for Suite Feelin. Thursday's victory was the second start and second win for Suite Feelin, who now has earnings of $21,475. Suite Feelin was followed by Playa Del Sol, Karlee Sue, Corner Girl, Zoey's Lemon Tart, Feelin Flirty and Blinded. She returned $6.40 to win. Trotters again competed in the evening's fifth race. Sunrise Nibbles (Iron Duke-Sweethomeourbama-Kadabra) won the $40,000 second division. This win was Chris Page's second stakes victory of the night, this one was for trainer Christopher Beaver and the owning partnership of C Beaver of Delaware, Ohio, Synerco Vent of Ontario, Canada, S Zeehandler of Worthington, Ohio and D Lang of Hilliard, Ohio. Sunrise Nibbles started from the rail and led at virtually every call. She posted fractions of :31.1, 1:02.4, 1:34.3 and 2:04.3. She held off her challengers by a neck. This victory is her first win in as many starts. She was followed across the wire by Dolly Dunn, Soaring Flight, Influential Girl, Sammie's Delite, Bettys Sam, Talissa and Defiant Victory. Sunrise Nibbles was the punter's choice and paid $3.00 to win. Pacers returned to the scene to compete in the $40,000 third division. Friskie Til Dawn (Feelin Friskie-Lullaby Til Dawn-Dawn Ofa New Day) bested her competition by two lengths. The race was Friskie Til Dawn's career debut. Tony Hall piloted the filly for trainer Jim Arledge Jr. and owner Spring Mill Venture of New Albany, Ohio. Friskie Till Dawn started from post four. Hall sent her to the lead and there was never a question. She posted fractions of :29.1, 59, 1:29.3 and 1:59. Finishing behind Friskie Til Dawn were Medoland Kendolin, Bevnlindas Blossom, Tolatetoapologize, Colossal Chaos, Forever Golden, Indian Rockette and The Light. Friskie Til Dawn returned $4.60 to win. Totters completed the evening's stakes action in the twelfth race. I'm Chiptastic captured the $40,000 third division. John Ryan Melsheimer trains and drove the filly for owners Mel Rose Stable of Hopewell, Ohio and David Pierce of Houston, Texas. The win came in I'm Chiptastic's career debut. I'm Chiptastic (Chip Chip Hooray-Kamtastic Score-Final Score) started from post five. Melsheimer sent the filly to the front and she continued on the lead throughout. I'm Chiptastic posted fractions of :31.1, 1:03.3, 1:33.4 and 2:03.2. I'm Chiptastic won by 1 Â¾-lengths. Finishing in succession after the winner were Lisa Jane, Dark Roast, If I Could Count, Little Casino, Miss Fanci Cash, Hot Chip and Chip Chip Skater. I'm Chiptastic paid $7.00 to win.
On Thursday, July 3 Northfield Park will host six divisions of Ohio Sires Stake racing action as part of the 15-race program. This will be the first leg of the Sires Stakes for the freshman fillies. The stakes action will help to highlight "Back to the Track." The United States Trotting Association has coordinated "Back to the Track" with racetracks across the United States to make it a national event. "Back to the Track" is designed to promote harness racing and encourage occasional or former race fans to come "Back to the Track" for an exciting night of entertainment. Freshman filly pacers will start Thursday's stake action in Race 1 for the $40,000 first division. Finefeelinfriskie (Feelin Friskie-Lady Shuffle-Cam's Card Shark) is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for owners CT Howard of Hilliard, Ohio, Herres Stables of Bellbrook, Ohio, GS Tucker of Quebec, Canada and DA Mitchell of Novi, Michigan. Virgil Morgan Jr. is the filly's trainer and has enlisted the services of Greg Grismore. Finefeelinfriskie makes her first lifetime start. She has posted three qualifying efforts, most recently winning at Scioto Downs in 1:56.4. Finefeelinfriskie will start from post three. Also competing in the first division will be Naughty Osborne, Friskie Lil Devil, Happy Jude, Feelin Outragous, Zebra Stripes and Hailstorm Grace. Race 2 will be the $40,000 first division for two-year old filly Ohio-bred trotters. Trainer Dan Ater will start Honey B (Victory Sam-Honey Mesquite-Angus Hall) as the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite. Honey B starts from post two and faces seven rivals. Honey B shows two qualifying lines, most recently finishing second in 2:03.3 at Scioto Downs. Kyle Ater is scheduled to drive for owners Jim Burnett of Wilmington, Ohio and Tim Homan of Maineville, Ohio. Song Of The Valley, Iron Lucy, Student Of Life, I'd Rather Walk, Hello Chipper, Star Of Thine and Sammy Star complete the line-up. Pacers return to the stage in Race 3 for the $40,000 second division Ohio Sire Stakes. Karlee Sue (Feelin Friskie-Magical Jeanie-Magical Mike) is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for owners Dennis Stolz of Midland, Michigan, Daniel Mitchell of Novi, Michigan and co-owner/trainer Allen Tomlinson of Mason, Michigan. Karlee Sue has one start to her credit, a 3rd place finish in a $11,160 race at Mohawk. Driver Chris Page will start the pacer from post-six in a field that consists of Suite Feelin, Playa Del Sol, Zoey's Lemon Tart, Blinded, Fellin Flirty and Corner Girl. Trotters again compete in Race 5 for the $40,000 second division of the Ohio Sires Stakes. Sunrise Nibbles (Iron Duke-Sweethomeourbama-Kadabra) starts from the rail and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. She is owned by C Beaver of Delaware, Ohio, Synerco Vent of Ontario, Canada, S Zeehandler of Worthington, Ohio and D Lang of Hird, Ohio. Trainer, Christopher Beaver, has called upon Chris Page to drive. This filly has two qualifying efforts, winning both, the fastest in 2:02.1 at Scioto Downs. Sunrise Nibbles starts from the rail and has a host of rivals consisting of Influential Girl, Dolly Dunn, Defiant Victory, Talissa, Bettys Sam, Soaring Flight and Sammie's Delight. Race 11 will host the $40,000 third division for two year-old filly pacers. Medoland Kendolin (Feelin Friskie-Wanida Jean-Mattcando) is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for owners TF Hoovler of Pataskala, Ohio, RV Hutchinson of North Ridgeville, Ohio and Dr. R Van Hutchison of Avon Lake, Ohio. Mike Medors trains the filly and uses Aaron Merriman to drive. This freshman has two qualifying lines, most recently finishing second and pacing in 1:59.3 at Scioto Downs. Medoland Kendolin starts from post three in a field consisting of The Light, Indian Rockette, Friskie Til Dawn, Tolatetoapologize, Colossal Chaos, Forever Golden and Bevnlindas Blossom. Race 12, the final freshman stakes on the night, is the $40,000 third division for trotters. I'm Chiptastic (Chip Chip Hooray-Pleasure Skate-Super Pleasure) is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for owners Mel Rose Stable of Hopewell, Ohio and David Pierce of Houston, Texas. John Ryan Melsheimer is the filly's trainer and driver. I'm Chiptastic makes her first lifetime start. She has posted two qualifying efforts, most recently being timed in 2:02.3 at The Meadows. I'm Chiptastic will start from post five. Also competing in the third division will be Miss Fanci Cash, Hot Chip, If I Could Count, Chip Chip Skater, Little Casino, Dark Roast and Lisa Jane. Northfield's Lady Luck's Clubhouse restaurant will be open featuring a picnic style buffet for just $12.95. Reservations are preferred and are placed by calling 330/467-4101. Harness Racing Bingo is back by popular demand as part of the "Back to the Track" festivities. Bingo is FREE to participate in and offers prizes worth over $1,500. Guests in attendance will receive a FREE 2014 Northfield Park Drivers Poster. A driver autograph station and meet and greet will be open from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Fans can catch t-shirts that will be tossed into the crowd by the winning driver of each race. "Back to the Track" also features FREE television carrels. Dollar programs, hot dogs and soft drinks will be offered as well as $3.00 beer specials. With exciting racing action and a host of great activities, everyone has a reason to come "Back to the Track." Thursday night has a regular 1st race post time of 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
The first Sires Stakes event was race five on the 15-race card. It was the first division of 3-year old trotting colts. A field of 10 went to post for the $40,000 purse. Can'tcutthatchip for trainer, Jim Dailey didn't disappoint. Can'tcutthatchip is a 3-year-old by Chip Chip Hooray. He's owned by Kathy Ratcliff and Jerry Zosel of Ohio. Driver, Jason Brewer was unrushed in the early going, but when Brewer moved him, the colt responded. Can'tcutthatchip won by four lengths in 1.58.2 as the morning line favorite. Next up was the seventh race. It was the pacing colts turn. The first division of the 3-year old pacing colts was a field of seven. Morning line favorite, Friskie Adam started from post five for driver Kyle Ater and trainer, Dan Ater. Ater set the pace with Friskie Adam and lead him to a four and a half -length victory in 1.52.4. This also set a lifetime best for this 3-year old son of Feelin Friskie. The 3-year old pacing colts returned in race 10. A field of seven composed the second division.Big Bossman for trainer Doug Hinklin went off as the race time favorite.Driver Greg Grismore left from post three and set the fractions of 26.1, 55.1, 1.23.1 and cruised to a two and a half-length victory in a lifetime best of 1.53.3. The final Sires Stakes event came in race 11. A full field of 10 was set for the second division of 3-year old colts and geldings.Rompaway Galaxy was the heavy favorite and showed that he deserved to be.The 3-year-old colt by Rompaway Wally was at odds of 1-2. Regular driver, Mike Micallef was in the bike for trainer, Krista Harmon of Michigan. Mike and his colt were content to set off the early quick fractions. When the half time flashed up in 57.1, Mike pulled from the three hole and quickly had the lead. He passed three quarters in 1.26.3 and the colt opened up on the rest of the field.Rompaway Galaxy set a lifetime best of 1.55.4 and did so by a fourteen and a half- length margin. Racing continues on Wednesday evening with a post time of 6:30. From Scioto Downs Racino
Steve Desomer will be guiding his mare Silverlode in Friday nights finale of the Dr. Gary Budhan Trotting Series, hoping to pick up another nice check with the 5-year-old homebred daughter of the late British Sterling. Silverlode, who has some Sires Stakes trophies on her mantle, is attempting to win her second series finale at this meet having captured the Joe Lighthill final in late November. She was second and third in the first two legs of the Budahn behind Donna Letsgo and Hooray Katie. For the 77-year-old Desomer, he will be making sulky appearance No. 12,701 in a career that has seen him land in the winners circle on 2,609 occasions while banking nearly $11 million in the process. The veteran, who runs the barn along with his wife Vickie, was asked how things have changed since the days of Western Harness Racing at the soon to be demolished Hollywood Park. The racing has changed dramatically since the days of Hollywood Park, Steve related. Back in the 70s, most of the drivers were also trainers. The horsemen were more complete in that they had knowledge of shoeing, soundness, driving, rigging and training and entering. Today many of the drivers specialize in just driving. Driving against the likes of Tyler Smith and other young drivers puts the older drivers at a distinct disadvantage in that they do not react as quickly as needed. Most know the drivers and horses they race against, but making that split second decision becomes more difficult with the passing of time. GUARANTEES INCREASED PICK 5- $10,000 BOTH NIGHTS PICK 4 - $20,000 FRIDAY PICK 4 - $25,000 SATURDAY Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting Series finale in spotlight The $13,750 final of the Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting Series, with first and second leg winners and stablemates Hooray Katie and Donna Letsgo figuring to get the majority of the attention, is the main event on Friday nights Cal Expo program. A 14-race card is on tap Friday evening, with the Budahn final set as the seventh event on the program. First post is 5:20 p.m. The Dr. Gary Budahn Series honors the memory of a mainstay of California harness racing for over 30 years who passed away in 2009. Dr. Budahn served on the board of directors of the California Harness Horsemens Association (CHHA) for over 12 years, including President of the organization for three years. He was a strong voice for harness racing in the state and was always there for the horsemen, helping them in any way he could. Looking at the field, Hooray Katie is a 5-year-old daughter of Chip Chip Hooray who is owned by William Neumeister, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again be guided by Tyler Smith. She proved best in her divisions of the first two legs of this event, last week showing the way home by a half-length over Silverlode. Donna Letsgo gives the Johnson barn two solid looks at the outcome in the headliner. The Keystone Blitz mare is owned by the trainer, Marty Garey and Henry Wiesenstock with Luke Plano doing the honors. In last weeks penultimate leg, the bay miss made every pole a winning one and came home with two and a quarter lengths to spare. Completing the field are High Dollar for Tim Maier; Bar Back, who has the services of Steve Wiseman; Lodi Dorian Blues, Chip Lackey; Silverlode with Steve Desomer; Sky Keeper for James Kennedy; Ali De Vie, to be handled by Gene Vallandingham; and Southwind Kean, who leaves from the outside with Marc Mosher at the controls. By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness
Friday's Watch and Wager LLC card at Cal Expo features some great opportunities for the players, including an $8,275 carryover with a $25,000-guaranteed gross pool in the 10-cent Hi Five. There is a reduced 16 percent takeout rate on that wager, the 50-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Hi-Five is conducted on the 14th race finale with that guaranteed pool; the Pick 5 starts with the third race and the Pick 4 is made up of the last four races on the evening. First post for the 14-race card is 5:45 p.m. Last Saturday's Hi-Five saw Only In Lodi going coast-to-coast at 39-1 with Chip Lackey in the sulky and that trotter was followed home closely by the 27-1 Winsome Kelly with Pierre Girard, who also trained the winner. Rounding out the pentefecta were the 3-5 Cherry Tree Nicole, Hi Tech Tony and Hillcrest Romeo, with that combination resulting in no winning tickets and the $8,275 carryover. To get a better idea just how much that reduced 16 percent takeout rate means in terms of dollars, the three payoffs on last Friday night's program provide an excellent illustration. The Pick 5 paid a whopping $5,973; the Pick 4 clocked in at $1,954 and the Hi-Five returned $1,422. Using normal takeout rates, the Pick 5 would have dropped to $5,332 for a difference of $641 to each winner; the Pick 4 would have paid $1,744, meaning each ticket would have been worth $210 less; and the Hi-Five last Friday would have come in at $1,269, a difference of $153 for each winning combination. Racing lost a great racemare and producer with the passing of Ms Avondale this week. A hard knocking invitational mare by Beach Towel out of the New Zealand mare Kiwi River N, Ms. Avondale took a mark of 1:52 1/5 at this track, shattering the course record for sophomore pacing fillies with a standard that still stands today. Retired to the breeding shed, Ms Avondale proved her value as a broodmare, producing such top performers as California Dream (1.51 4/5, $160,108); Jersey Dream (1:52, $110,427) and Dream of New York (1:52.2/5, $61,199). California Dream also broke the track record over this layout at 3, and he and Ms Avondale are the only mother-son combination to currently hold track records at Cal Expo. Joe Lighthill finale, Sire Stakes on tap The $10,800 finale of the Joe Lighthill Trotting series finds likely favorite Silverlode squaring off against last week's upset winner Hooray Katie and the solid Tim Maier-trained pair of High Dollar and Portfolio; while Show Runner and Strings head the cast for the $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing fillies Friday night at Cal Expo. The 14-race program also features a $4,500 Open Distaff Pace and Haggin Oaks will be looking to get back on the winning track in that affair after having her winning streak snapped last week while doing her work from the demanding No. 10 post position. Looking at the Lighthill final, Silverlode is a 4-year-old homebred daughter of British Sterling and the Website mare Charlotte's Web who carries the banner of Desomer Stables Inc with Vickie Desomer the conditioner and Steve Desomer at the controls. She comes into this assignment having posed following three of her 10 appearances on the year with another three runner-up finishes. The bay miss was a romping seven-length winner of her division of the opening leg, with the 1:58 final clocking establishing a new mark. Silverlode had to work quite a bit harder to get the job done in last week's penultimate Lighthill leg, making every pole a winning one while holding safe by a half-length over High Dollar. The latter trotter will give the Tim Maier barn two big looks at the outcome. High Dollar has narrowly missed in the first two legs and will have the services of her trainer, while Portfolio was just nailed on the money last week by Hooray Katie in his division and Daniel Maier will be in the sulky. Hooray Katie is 4-year-old daughter of Chip Chip Hooray who races for William Neumeister, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again be guided by Mooney Svendsen. She came rolling late to be up time over Portfolio last week at 13-1 while earning her first victory of the year. Show Runner is looking to add another trophy to her mantle in the Sire Stakes. The daughter of Little Steven races for Denise Maier and Eileen Brodbar with Tim Maier reining and training and she is fresh from a powerful victory in last week's Distaff Open. She has $80,000 in the bank and a 1:52 3/5 mark that was set at Running Aces in August. by Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness
The last yearling sale of the season drew a record crowd for the first day of the 66th Annual Fall Blooded Horse Sale. Monday featured 346 yearlings including nearly 25% of the Ohio crop and 120 Indiana breds. There were also large numbers of Ontario, Pennsylvania, and New York breds along with a handful of very scarce Kentucky breds. The strong catalogue of slots enhanced sires stakes eligibles drove prices to a record high. An Always A Virgin filly, Brown Color, topped the day at $43,000. Consigned by Emerald Highlands Farm the full sister to 2013 Indiana Champion Color’s A Virgin was purchased by Dan Shetler. Midland Acres brought a large consignment of Ohio breds by the leading sires Feelin Friskie and Chip Chip Hooray. Among those, Over Friskie, was purchased by Burke Racing Stable LLC for $42,000, Ed Telle signed the ticket on Feelin Shady for 34,000, and Lantern’s Chip went to Rich Lombardo for $32,000. The Spring Haven Farm consignment was led by a Total Truth brother to the top Indiana colt Totally Kissed at $37,000 and the Feelin Friskie filly Friskie Buckeye at $36,000, purchased by Kirk Nichols and Bruce Soulsby, respectively. Charisma Hall, a gorgeous Deweycheatumnhowe filly, was purchased by Michael Andrew of Maine from the Walnut Hall Ltd consignment for $32,000. The Walnut Hall Ltd reduction also features a large, attractive group of weanlings and in foal mares on Wednesday. The Blooded Horse Sale continues Tuesday through Thursday with over 1100 horses, including 198 two year olds, 297 three year olds, 87 weanlings and hundreds of raceway horses and broodmares. The catalogue and sale results are available online at www.bloodedhorse.com. by Jerry Haws for Blooded Horse Sale
Balmoral Park will not only play host to some of the best horses in North America on Saturday Nov. 9th for the American National Stakes , but some of the sport’s leading reinsman will also be in Crete to steer the cream of the crop over the one-mile oval. A pair of $200 million men—Hall of Famers John Campbell and Ron Pierce are slated to drive. This pair will reach half a billion combined in purse earnings—that’s right—HALF A BILLION DOLLARS, in 2014. While many of Campbell’s accomplishments in the sport came when he was in his 30s and 40s, every single one of Pierce’s Triple Crown or Breeders Crown triumphs—41 total—have all come after his 35th birthday! Pierce, who trailed Campbell for many years, surpassed $200 million in career earnings while competing at Lexington’s famed Red Mile this September. Pierce is also the oldest driver to record a driving triple in Breeders Crown Finals, when he did so a few weeks ago at Pocono Downs, at age 57. He was the first driver to win with a 2-year-old in 1:50, when he steered Badlands Hanover to a 1:50 clocking in the 1998 Breeders Crown at Colonial Downs. He was also the only driver to defeat world champ Somebeachsomewhere, when he piloted Art Official to victory in the 2008 Meadowlands Pace. Pierce is also the only driver to go five straight seasons winning either the Meadowlands Pace (2008, 2009, 2001) or the Hambletonian (2007, 2010)—two of the sport’s greatest events, and just missed becoming the only driver in history to win the Hambletonian from post ten in 2002 with Like A Prayer, who finished a neck back of the winning Chip Chip Hooray. Pierce also was the driver behind the sport’s last female Horse of the Year, Rainbow Blue (2004). Campbell, 58, was the youngest person ever inducted into harness racing’ s Hall of Fame in 1990, and his dominance and presence in racing in untouchable, as he at the top of nearly every statistical list kept by the USTA. He’s driven the winners of more than $3 million annually every year since 1982, except for 2011, when he drove the winners of $2.5 million. He currently has $284 million in career purse earnings and 10,613 lifetime wins to his credit. Campbell is the leading driver of Breeders Crown winners with 43 to his credit and has won six Hambletonians , three Hambletonian Oaks, six Kentucky Futurities, three Little Brown Jugs, and Sweden’s famed Elitloppe, among his endless list of accomplishments. Campbell and Pierce are also the two winningest drivers in Breeders Crown history with 29 victories each, while Mike Lachance (also here tonight) is in third with 27 Breeders Crown titles to his credit. Speaking of Breeders Crown triumphs, for the first time in history, the top five ranking North American drivers won every Breeders Crown Final contested this year, on Oct. 19 at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania. Pierce, Tim Tetrick, and Yannick Gingras each won three Crowns, while David Miller notched two Crowns and Brian Sears a single Crown. With his lone 2013 Breeders Crown victory, Sears (also here tonight!) extended his streak of winning at least one Breeders Crown race now for 11 straight years. John Campbell, no surprise, holds the record at 15 years (1984-1988). Sears has nearly $150 million in purse earnings and was the first driver in history to earn more than $15 million in a single season (in 2005), the same year he drove Rocknroll Hanover and Muscle Hill to Horse of the Year titles, and the same year he set a world record for female pacers with My Little Dragon of 1:48.1. Ten of Sears’ 24 Breeders Crown wins (all since 2003) have come with 3-year-old trotters (5 fillies & 5 colts each). He has driven all of trainer Trond Smedshammer’s eight Breeders Crown winners, and is the only driver in history to have won the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks in the same year, twice—in 2009 and 2013. Yannick Gingras (he’s here too!) had just one Breeders Crown victory prior to his start in the classic events in 2012. That lone win, however, came with Southwind Serena in 2008 in the 3-year-old Filly Trot—when he steered her to win and return $102.80 on a two dollar ticket. Gingras, 34, is nearly $7 million ahead of Campbell in career earnings at the same age. Gingras also steered the 2012 American National 3-year-old Filly Trot winner Maven, to a 1:54.3 clocking here last year, and had multiple Am-Nat victories in 2011 when he piloted Princess Cruiser to win the 2-year-old Filly Pace in 1:56.1; Looking Hanover to win the Aged Trot in 1:56; and Foiled Again to win the Aged Pace in 1:51.4. Mike Lachance, 62, who’ll be piloting Creatine tonight in the American National for 3-year-old colt trotters, just finished second with the colt at the Breeders Crown, and won the Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile with the Bob Stewart-trained sophomore in September. Lachance was the first driver to win six races on a day card and six races that same night, when he did so at Yonkers on June 23, 1987. One year later, in 1988, he scored his 5,000th career victory at The Meadowlands, with Instrument Landing. Lachance also became the first driver in history to win a Breeders Crown race at age 55 or older when he won three in 2006 at Woodbine Raceway in Toronto. He won one Hambletonian (with Dream Victory in 1994) before going into the Hall of Fame in 1995, and three after going in (with Continentalvictory in 1996; Self Possessed in 1999 and Amigo Hall in 2003) and is the last driver to win the Hambletonian with a female, the aforementioned Continentalvictory. Lachance has won eight American Nationals: first in 1988 with Matt’s Scooter in 1:55.2 in the 3-year-old Colt Pace; then in 1992 with Baltic Striker in 1:57.3 in the 3-year-old Colt Trot & with Imperfection in 1:59.3 in the 3-year-old Filly Trot & with Crouch in 1:54.4 in the 3-year-old Colt Pace; in 1995 with Divine Victory in 1:57.2 in the 3-year-old Filly Trot; in 1999 with Self Possessed in 1:53 in the 3-year-old Colt Trot; in 2004 with Cantab Hall in 1:55 in the 3-year-old Colt Trot; and in 2009 with Lanson in 1:53.4 in the Aged Trot. Ohio native David Miller, 48, is the fourth leading money winning driver in the sport’s history and has nearly 11,000 career victories. He is the only driver in history with eleven, $10 million seasons and is the only driver to ever have a Triple Crown and Breeders Crown winner in the same season, in 2003 with No Pan Intended. He won the first ever Breeders Crown million dollar event, with the mighty trotter Magician in 2000. This year he’s steered his two fastest career drives: with Pet Rock and Shebestingin, who both paced in 1:47, and was elected into harness racing’s national Hall of Fame this year as well. He was named Driver of the Year in 2003 and is a three-time winner of the Little Brown Jug. He is also one of only two drivers to have won the Jug and its sister event, the Jugette, the same year. His ranks among the top five Breeders Crown winning reinsmen, with $8.5 million in Crown earnings. Tim Tetrick needs no introduction to Illinois racing fans. This Prairie State native has 13 Breeders Crown wins under his belt with only a few weeks away from his 32nd birthday (Nov. 22). This is the seventh straight year he’ll sit atop the national standings in earnings (only Billy Haughton has ever gone longer; eight years—from 1952 to 1959). Tetrick has the distinction of being the youngest member of harness racing’s $100 million-earning club, and is the only driver to win a million dollar race on a half-mile track—when he steered Southwind Lynx to win the 2007 Rooney at Yonkers. He’s the only driver in history to win the Meadowlands Pace twice in his first four attempts and if Captaintreacherous is named Horse of the Year, it will be the first time in 28 years that a driver has won that award back to back with a trotter and then with a pacer (last year he was the driver on the Linda Toscano-trained Chapter Seven). Hall of Famer Bill O’Donnell accomplished that feat in 1984 and 1985 with Fancy Crown and the great Nihilator. by Kimberly Rinker for Balmoral Park
Soul Train Cruises In $56,576 Ohio Breeders Championship for 2 Year-Old Colt Trotters With a patient drive from Chris Page, Soul Train cruised to a 7 1/2 length victory in the opening division of the 2 year-old colt trot during Tuesday action at the Delaware County Fair. As the Greg Coon starting gate released the field of six, Mark Headworth sent Happy Go Jamie out of post 2 and went after the early lead. The eventual winner was content to sit fourth through the opening half in 1:01 3/5. When Soul Train was given his orders he quickly took command down the backstretch and never looked back, stopping the timer in 2:00 3/5. Star Chip (Don McKirgan) was second and Fiftyshades Of Nay (David Miller) was third. Soul Train is owned by Parent Racing Stable, R. S. Crynick and J. E. Novak and trained by Scott Cox. In the second division Hooray For Willie went gate to wire to score in 1:58 3/5, a new lifetime mark. The freshman son of Master Lavec is owned by Winchester Baye Acres, Inc. of Ocala, FL and trained by the winning driver Kurt Sugg. Can'tcutthatchip (Dan Noble) and Mainstreet Willy (Chip Noble) rounded out the top three finishers. Millers Team Up To Win OBC 2FT Hall of Fame driver David Miller teamed up with his daughter trainer Devan Miller to score a victory with Rose Run Princess in the second division of Ohio Breeders Championship for 2 year-old filly trotters. The daughter of Trainforthefuture was sent after the early lead set the fractions of :29 4/5, 1:01 2/5 and 1:31 3/5 and cruised home to score a five length victory over Emilene's Future (Ray Paver) in 2:00 3/5. The winner is owned by James E. Keller of New Carlisle, OH and Jerry Allen Bell of Tipp City, OH. The heavily favored In The Grippers (Chris Page) broke at the start and was never a factor. In the first $25,388 division Hush Hush Chip (Chris Page) defeated Emery Jean (Chip Noble) in 2:02 4/5. The freshman daughter of Chip Chip Hooray won for the first time this season for trainer Danny Collins and the ownership team of Lewis, Taylor, Gold and Lombardo. Jay Wolf
Hard-luck Carol’s Comet won the last $20,000 Open Pace at Scioto Downs Racino in 2013 by a nose, in 1:50.2. The hard luck gelding finished second the last three starts at the track but this week driver Aaron Merriman had a different strategy to make the outcome different, and make his way to the winner’s circle. “I thought I was in the position last week to get the trip and they told me he really didn’t like the passing lane,” said Merriman. “I opted to go to the outside so I think I cost myself the race with the drive. Today, up in the passing lane the horse really appreciated it, the shorter trip around the track.” Sitting the pocket Merriman waited patiently during the first three quarters that went in 26.3, 55.2 and 1:22. “He’s very nice, a Cadillac to race,” Merriman continued. “He really wants to go so that really makes it nice. He’s very good gated and good behind the gate.” Audrey’s Dream (Tony Hall) got up for second while Special Forces (Chris Page) held on for third after cutting the mile. Previous to the evening’s races, Carol’s Comet had made 16 starts and had three wins with eight seconds and one third making $77,275 just this year racing exclusively at Scioto for Delaware, Ohio based trainer Ron Potter. The striking 4-year-old gelding son of Yankee Cruiser out of the Jenna’s Beach Boy mare Modern Medicine is owned by Martin Presser, Bill Moore, Matthew Moore and Whiskey Tango Stable (Dawn Hornsby, Dawn Potter and Kimberly Rowe). The evening’s race card also held two divisions of the “Best of the Rest” which was open to horses paid into the Sire Stakes but were not eligible for the $150,000 last week. Majesty Dream (Chip Chip Hooray-Donna L’s Hope) and Kayne Kauffman took the 2-year-old trotting filly division in 2:00.4. Trained by Jim Arledge, Jr. for owners Up Front Racing LLC (Ed Mullinax) and Thomas York Jr. She is now set to race in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware on Sept. 17. The 3-year-old colt pace was the only other division to fill and was won by Dusto and Kauffman in 1:55.1. The time was a new lifetime mark for the Stand Forever-Doctor Cindy colt who now has $82,540 in career earnings for owner/trainer William Hartman and co-owner Saundra Andre’. Even though the live racing season is over at Scioto, the racetrack will still be open for simulcasting from noon-midnight. Racing will resume in May 2014, dependent on approval from the Ohio State Racing Commission. Scioto Downs Racino
Chuck Sylvester says it takes some luck to win the Hambletonian. It also takes a well-prepared horse. The 73-year-old trainer thinks Spider Blue Chip is ready. The remainder will be determined Saturday. Sylvester will try to join Bill Haughton, Stanley Dancer and Ben White as the only trainers to win the Hambletonian five times when he sends Spider Blue Chip into the $1.2 million event Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Spider Blue Chip competes in the third of three elimination races and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line behind 2-1 favorite Corky. The top three finishers from each elim plus the fourth-place finisher with the highest lifetime earnings will advance to the Hambletonian final, which will be contested later in the day. The third elim is scheduled for 3:18 p.m. Eastern and the final is slated for 4:41. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 3:30-5. Sylvester won his most recent Hambletonian in 2002 with Chip Chip Hooray. He finished second in 2010 with Lucky Chucky. "We've been saying for 10 years now that we'd like to win five," Sylvester said. "We have a chance. A lot of people have never won, so I've been lucky; I've been blessed. I've had a few seconds that I could have won, and I've won a couple that maybe I shouldn't have. It works both ways. "You have to have luck that day. But we're competitive and (Spider Blue Chip) will be ready." Spider Blue Chip has won four of seven races this year and earned $182,113. He has finished worse than third only once, in his second start of the season when he made an interference break in a conditioned race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Spider Blue Chip also suffered a bruised foot as a result of the incident, but has improved through a workout schedule that includes swimming on a regular basis. "Right now he's happy and sounder and in pretty good shape," Sylvester said. "He's been racing good out of the pool. He trained (Tuesday), swam (Wednesday) and he'll swim Thursday and Friday. Then we'll go race." Spider Blue Chip is owned by David McDuffee and Melvin Hartman, who also are among the owners of Hambletonian Oaks favorite Bee A Magician. Spider Blue Chip was bred by Olympic champion show jumper McLain Ward. Last year, Spider Blue Chip won two of eight starts, including a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, and earned $89,181. He ended the campaign, though, by going off stride in his final four races. Sylvester thought the horse's woes had to do with attitude and Spider Blue Chip was gelded. Soon thereafter, Sylvester discovered the trouble was caused by a foot abscess. "He was out a month and he popped a gravel in his left hind," Sylvester said. "If we had known that, we wouldn't have cut him. But it's too late now." Spider Blue Chip (Andover Hall-Southwind Catlin) has won three of his last four starts, with his setback being a second-place finish by a head to Royalty For Life in the $294,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 13 at the Meadowlands. Five days later, Spider Blue Chip won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Possessed Fashion in 1:53. "He trained down well all winter, so this doesn't surprise me," Sylvester said. "Every week he seems to be getting better and his last three starts have been really good." Sylvester is in favor of racing the Hambletonian eliminations and final on the same day. Prior to 1991, the Hambletonian was contested in heats, which required a horse to win twice to be declared the champion. It then moved to a format from 1991-1996 in which a horse only had to win the final heat to be Hambletonian champ. Then, from 1997-2012, the eliminations were contested a week prior to the final. The current conditions represent a return to the format used from 1991-96. "It wouldn't surprise me if a different horse wins the final than the three eliminations," Sylvester said. "I'm sure in between heats there are going to be a lot of changes made with the horses, including mine probably. You're going to see shoes mainly, maybe a few bits. You're going to see some guys pull shoes all together and take a shot in the final with no shoes. "I think Royalty For Life will be the favorite. But it's going to be interesting. Anybody that has a good day can win." by Ken Weingartner
Trotters took center stage on the July 3rd harness racing program at Running Aces.
On Wednesday, July 3 Northfield Park offers guests the opportunity to start their holiday off right with stakes harness racing action.