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We have been on a roll as of late with winning weekends the last two weeks. I am confident we can make it three straight winning weeks and never have to leave the Meadowlands. It’s their closing weekend and that mean’s Hambletonian Day, one of the best days of racing in the sport of harness racing this Saturday, headlined of course by the Hambletonian Trot. The card is jamming with top stakes action. The only problem is something we have no control over and that is Mother Nature. I handicapped based on a fast track so here’s hoping the rain either ends early or does not stop until late in the day. Good Luck! $52,000 Trot Ima Lula Final 4YO Mares Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – With a serious case of seconditis after her championship season last year, we keep hoping for Bee A Magician to return to her unbeaten form of 2013 but it just isn’t happening. Perhaps they will change tactics here and go back to racing her off the pace and that she will be able take this field. Use Classic Martine and Ma Chere Hall in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace Miss New Jersey 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 3rd race SATURDAY – Seems that trainer Jimmy Takter may have solved the previous breaking problems of Gettingreadytoroll off her lifetime mark last week in 1:49.3 and that she is settled down to keeping her mind on business. Repeat of last winning effort will bring home the bacon in here. Use Act Now and Bliztra in exotic plays. $225,000 Pace New Jersey Classic 3YO Colts Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Western Vintage has had a rough 3YO season after many thought he would be one of the leaders in this division after his great two-year-old season. Seems he has not lived up to expectations but should go off the favorite here after decent qualifying win. I’m going with Doo Wop Hanover. He has had good success when not racing against the best in the country, drew well for this and could get the dream two-hole trip to score off of. Use Western Vintage and Bushwacker in exotic plays. $257,700 Pace FFA US Pacing Championship Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Too tough to even consider going against the best pacer in the sport. Sweet Lou is on a seven-race winning streak, last four in less than 1:48 and he is just a pacing machine. He is facing a strong field but he has beaten all of them before and can do it again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $352,050 Trot Merrie Annabelle 2YO Filly Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – This will be an interesting matchup as both Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover have yet to meet and both are hot fillies that race on the front end. Mission Brief gets the call with her blinding early speed but you never know how Gatka Hanover will handle getting a two-hole trip. Use Gatka Hanover and Lock Down Lindy in exotic plays. $355,500 Trot Peter Haughton 2YO Colt Final Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – It’s interesting that in this final there are four return winners of the ten starters. Ake Svanstedt’s Centurion ATM showed he is the horse to beat after coming off the pace in his elimination race last week and strolling to a 1:54.2 win in just his third lifetime start. Repeat of that mile will make him an easy winner once again. Use Canepa Hanover and Guess Who’s Back in exotic plays. $75,000 Trot FFA Vincennes Invitational Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – All the talk was that after Master Of Law won his qualifying race that he was on his way to taking on the best in the country. He lived up to performance with a 1:52 win last time out and now gets really tested against a good field and having to start from post nine. Use Wishing Stone and D’Orsay in exotic plays. $300,650 Trot John Cashman Memorial FFA Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – Whether it rains or not I think Sebastian K and Ake Svanstedt are too tough to get caught again at the wire. No one can out leave him and unless every horse in the field tries to go first-over against him, he has too much stamina to not hold them off. Use Uncle Peter and Market Share in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Hambletonian Oaks 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 12th race – Last week in prep race, Ron Pierce and Shake It Cerry held Designed To Be and Brian Sears at bay and were able to win. Now Shake It Cerry starts from second tier in post 11 and won’t be able to dictate early fractions to anyone. I still think that Shake It Cerry will “shake it loose” somehow and find a different way to beat Designed To Be once again. Use Designed To Be and Lifetime Pursuit in exotic plays. $1,066,125 Trot Hambletonian Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 13th race SATURDAY – Trainer Jimmy Takter has his heart set on finishing one, two, three in harness racing’s most prestigious race and he very well should get what wants as he has the best colts in racing. Father Patrick needs to just overcome starting from post ten as he is seconds faster than the rest of the field. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $177,750 Pace Lady Liberty Final Older Mares Meadowlands 14th race SATURDAY – Was super impressed with the three moves Drop The Ball made for driver Corey Callahan last week in winning elimination race. She will need that gusty performance once again to win the final as Rocklamation will be in the hunt this week. Drop The Ball gets the slim call in here. Use Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow in exotic plays.

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 31, 2014 - If the pieces all fall into place, the connections of Western Vintage could be sipping champagne on Saturday. the son of Western Ideal is making his return to the races, after being sidelined since late June, in the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic, the fourth of 15 races on the Hambletonian Day program on Saturday, August 2, 2014 at the Meadowlands. The New Jersey Classic and its filly companion event, the $100,000 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey for fillies, are restricted to New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers. Both events are sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. In a well-balanced field, Western Vintage is rated the 5-2 second choice [Doo Wop Hanover is 9-5] and will leave from post two with Brian Sears at the lines. Last season, Western Vintage won five of eight races and earned $316,838. His victories included the $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for two-year-old pacing colts and a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at the Red Mile. He finished second in the $648,850 Metro Pace at Mohawk. This all marked the bargain colt - he cost only $7,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale - as a potential divisional star at three. Health issues, however, detoured Western Vintage after four starts this spring. "We gave him a break after the Hempt [on June 21] for a couple of reasons," said Perry Soderberg, the colt's co-owner. "One, because he had some really tough races up to that point, and two, his blood work wasn't perfect so we needed some time to improve that. It is a long year and another year after this one, so we want to take care of the horse." Western Vintage opened his 2014 campaign with a New Jersey Sire Stakes win in 1:49.4 on May 17 at the Meadowlands and a week later was second to Doo Wop Hanover in the $100,000 final. Then it was on the road to Mohawk Raceway for the North America Cup elims [he finished fourth] and to Pocono for the Hempt [he was eighth]. Trainer Nancy Johansson qualified Western Vintage twice in July, including a 1:50.3 clocking and five and a half length victory on July 19 in the hands of new pilot Brian Sears. "Well, Yannick [Gingras, who previously drove the colt] has been great, but he has [Jimmy] Takter's and [Ron] Burke's horses to choose from down the road, and they have been better than mine so far this year," Soderberg explained. "I know Brian has JK Endofanera and other options as well, but I am thankful that he wants to drive him now. "All in all, I thought it was time to get the horse used to different drivers," he added. "He has been a bit tricky to drive, but he better get used to different drivers; that's how this business works." Swedish-born Soderberg, who has been evaluating horses since 1986, usually picks out yearlings for others, primarily trainer Jimmy Takter and his owners. But when no one wanted Western Vintage, he purchased the colt for himself for $7,000. Marvin Katz of Toronto bought an interest last October. With $53,890 earned this year, Western Vintage now has a bankroll of $370,728. "Western Vintage is coming in to this race in good shape," said Soderberg. "He qualified well, and I think he is the type of horse that can race good after a break." Post time on Saturday, August 2, 2014 is 12 noon with gates opening at 10 a.m. Admission is $5. The $1 million Hambletonian [Race 13] and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks [Race 12] and the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot will be featured on the live television broadcast from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network [for Channel Finder - www.cbssportsnework.com]. The program will be hosted by Gary Seibel, Dave Brower and Justin Horowitz. The fields for the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey with post, horse, sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds: Race 4 - $225,000 ANTHONY ABBATIELLO NEW JERSEY CLASSIC 1-Doo Wop Hanover - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Steve Elliott - 9-5 2-Western Vintage - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nancy Johansson - 5-2 3-Rockeyed Optimist - Rocknroll Hanover - Matt Kakaley - Steve Elliott - 20-1 4-Buckwacker - Rocknroll Hanover - David Miller - Chris Ryder - 9-2 5-Sweet Rock - Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller - Wayne Given - 20-1 6-Dancin Hill - Rocknroll Hanover - Scott Zeron - Tony Alagna - 10-1 7-Rock Out - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 15-1 8-Card Shock- Cam's Card Shark - George Brennan - Mark Silva - 20-1 9-Beat The Drum - Tell All - Ron Pierce - Staffan Lind - 6-1 10-Rocknroll Reality - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 12-1 Race 3 - $100,000 THOMAS D'ALTRUI MISS NEW JERSEY 1-Ideal Helen - Western Ideal - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 10-1 2-Act Now - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nikolas Drennan - 3-1 3-Gettingreadytoroll - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 2-1 4-My Lady Day - Western Ideal - David Miller - Joe Holloway - 15-1 5-Surfside Sexy - Rocknroll Hanover - Ron Pierce - Ron Burke - 20-1 6-Cut A Deal - Rocknroll Hanover - George Brennan - Nick Surick - 20-1 7-Blixtra - Rocknroll Hanover - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 9-2 8-Highland Rockstar - Rocknroll Hanover - Mike Lachance - Buzzy Sholty - 20-1 9-Rockingcam Park - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Ron Coyne Jr. - 8-1 10- Kate Can't Wait - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - Ross Croghan - 6-1 By Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ  

Sweet Lou and driver Ron Pierce have teamed to win seven consecutive races, but Pierce believes he deserves none of the credit for the hot streak. He also believes the best is yet to come. Sweet Lou, who has won 29 of 65 lifetime races and $2.78 million in purses, is enjoying the best stretch of his award-winning career as he heads into Saturday’s $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship at Meadowlands Racetrack. Sweet Lou, who starts from post seven, faces eight foes, including Captaintreacherous, State Treasurer, Golden Receiver, and Ron Burke-trained stablemates Foiled Again, Bettor’s Edge, and Clear Vision. The race is part of a stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card at the Big M. Among the other highlights are the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters, and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. Coverage of the card will air throughout the afternoon on TVG and from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. “It’s just unbelievable how good they have him right now,” Pierce said about Sweet Lou. “The Burke crew really has him sharp. “It’s not me, believe me, it’s the horse. The horse is doing everything pretty much on his own. I’m just a passenger. I think if any of the top guys would’ve gotten on this horse he’d be doing the same thing. I’m giving all the credit to the Burkes and their crew. They’re doing all the work. All I do is sit there.” Pierce started driving Sweet Lou in May and the two have teamed to win the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, and Roll With Joe stakes during their seven races together. It is Sweet Lou’s longest win streak, topping his six consecutive victories bridging his 2- and 3-year-old seasons. Sweet Lou was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner as harness racing’s best 2-year-old male pacer and earned more than $1 million at age 3, but endured a stretch of just four wins in 31 starts prior to his recent surge. “I wasn’t sure [what to expect],” Pierce said, looking back to when he started driving Sweet Lou. “I’d raced against him plenty, but no I didn’t really think he was going to be winning these kinds of races so easily. I just happened to get on him at the right time. “It’s such a pleasure to race this horse because he’s so good. You can do anything you want to do. If you want to take back, you take back; if you want to go forward, all you have to do is feed him racetrack. And then he’ll come right back to you once he gets to the top. It’s just a pleasure. It’s a thrill.” Sweet Lou, owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura, still holds the world record of 1:49 for a 2-year-old pacer and this season became the fastest horse ever on a five-eighths-mile track when he captured the Ben Franklin in 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The fastest race mile in history is 1:46.4, a mark shared by Holborn Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Warrawee Needy, and He’s Watching. But Pierce thinks Sweet Lou could take down that mark sometime in the future. “If Ronnie tells me to shatter the world record, I will,” Pierce said. “He could do it, no problem. But I want to keep him within himself for as long as I can. It’s better for him. The longer I can go without stretching him out, the better off he’s going to be in the long run. I’m not going to be showboating or anything like that. “But I’m sure Ronnie is going to come to me one of these days under the right conditions and say to go ahead and shatter the world record. And then I will.” Following is the U.S. Pacing Championship field in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Golden Receiver, Corey Callahan, Jake Huff; 2. State Treasurer, David Miller, Ian Moore; 3. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh; 4. Sunfire Blue Chip, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 5. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 6. Bettor’s Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 7. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna; 9. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

He hopes his luck is on full display in Saturday's $1 million Hambletonian at Meadowlands Racetrack. Mazza owns JJ Alex, who will start from post two at morning line odds of 50-1 in the Hambletonian. The colt, trained and driven by Francisco Del Cid, is winless this year and has one victory in 15 career starts. Like everyone else, JJ Alex will be chasing Father Patrick, one of three Jimmy Takter-trained horses in the race. Father Patrick has won 15 straight starts and is the 4-5 morning line favorite despite starting from the unenviable No. 10 post. Mazza bought JJ Alex privately on Aug. 2, 2013 and exactly one year later, the horse is competing on the sport's biggest stage. Could that be a sign? Probably not, but Mazza thought it was a chance worth taking. "I ain't going to be here forever; this might be my last shot for the Hambletonian," he said. "We got the right draw, we got the right driver on him, we got the right trainer. It's a win-win situation. He added with a laugh, "So I'll see you in the winner's circle." Bold talk since JJ Alex has yet to find the winner's circle in 2014. But he has finished in the money five times with two seconds and three thirds. His final tune-up before the Hambo was a third-place finish in a $32,455 division of the Arden Downs Stakes at the Meadows July 26. "We trained him good before going to The Meadows," Del Cid said. "We were going to train him and based on that training mile make a decision [on whether to enter the Hambletonian]. We were hoping for a better result in the race, but it unfolded a different way and I got pinned in. "But we were satisfied. We came to the conclusion that we were going to enter the horse and give it a try." Del Cid, a former exercise rider for high-profile Thoroughbred trainer D. Wayne Lukas, began working in harness racing in the late 1980s. "I switched to this and I liked it," said the native Guatemalan, now living in central New Jersey. "I'm not afraid of the odds," he added. "I never thought I was going to be in the Hambletonian when I came here. When I switched to this [harness racing] business, that was my goal - to be here one day." Del Cid trained his own small table for several years before joining the Trond Smedshammer Stable. In 2008 he went back out on his own and he and Mazza will now look to shock the world. To Mazza, it wouldn't be a mind-blowing shock. As far as he was concerned, when he first laid eyes on the horse it was Hambletonian at first sight. "As soon as we saw him we wanted to keep him for the Hambletonian," the owner said. "We raced him a couple times as a 2-year-old and we decided to put him in this big race this year." Mazza made his first purchase - Kehms Scooter - in 1991 at a sale at the Meadowlands. Rather than build a stable for a racehorse, he found a racehorse to fill a stable. "I was building a farm in Upper Freehold and a trainer came by and asked what was going on," Mazza said. "I told him I was building a horse barn for my kids. He asked if I wanted to get in the racehorse business. "I said I'd never thought of it, but maybe I would consider it. He told me there was a sale at the Meadowlands and asked if I wanted to come. I told him to pick me up on Saturday and I'd go with him." Mazza promptly spent $10,000 or $20,000 - he can't recall - on Kehms Scooter and was on his way. "He won his first race and it got me hooked," Mazza said. "If it wasn't for that, I might not be here. I try to enjoy it. "It was about time for me to try the Hambletonian. Maybe I'll get lucky. I've been a lucky guy, a fortunate guy, all my life. Maybe my luck will come through on Saturday." In other words, Mazza will stake his luck against all odds. by Rich Fisher, for the Hambletonian Society  

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 30, 2014 - Saturday's Hambletonian Day 15-race card at the Meadowlands is loaded with rich stakes worth nearly $3.6 million in purse money, including the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and its filly companion race, the $100,000 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey. The two stakes for New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers are early in the card - the third race for the Miss New Jersey and the fourth race for the New Jersey Classic - and have the possibility of being two of the most contentious and bettor-friendly events, with no prohibitive favorites. Racing conditions for the two stakes were amended to eliminate eliminations. The finals are limited to the 10 highest lifetime money-winning horses in the entry box. To further sweeten the pot, even those who do not share in the top five purse distribution will not go home empty-handed. The connections of the New Jersey Classic colts finishing sixth through 10 will receive $1,500 each while the connections of the Miss New Jersey fillies will receive $1,000 each. "We are very pleased that we have full and competitive fields for both stakes, in fact, 11 entered in each with 10 going postward," said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey [SBOANJ], which sponsors the two races. "We feel stallions will return to New Jersey once we have casino-infused purses, a likelihood in the next few years, but for now we are trying our best to make it worthwhile for breeders to support our program and owners to buy New Jersey-sired offspring with the opportunity to compete in such events as the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey," Luchento added. Post time on Saturday, August 2, 2014 is 12 noon with gates opening at 10 a.m. Admission is $5. The $1 million Hambletonian [Race 13] and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks [Race 12] and the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot will be featured on the live television broadcast from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network [for Channel Finder - www.cbssportsnework.com]. The program will be hosted by Gary Seibel, Dave Brower and Justin Horowitz. The fields for the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey with post, horse, sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds: Race 4 - $225,000 ANTHONY ABBATIELLO NEW JERSEY CLASSIC 1-Doo Wop Hanover - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Steve Elliott - 9-5 2-Western Vintage - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nancy Johansson - 5-2 3-Rockeyed Optimist - Rocknroll Hanover - Matt Kakaley - Steve Elliott - 20-1 4-Buckwacker - Rocknroll Hanover - David Miller - Chris Ryder - 9-2 5-Sweet Rock - Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller - Wayne Given - 20-1 6-Dancin Hill - Rocknroll Hanover - Scott Zeron - Tony Alagna - 10-1 7-Rock Out - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 15-1 8-Card Shock- Cam's Card Shark - George Brennan - Mark Silva - 20-1 9-Beat The Drum - Tell All - Ron Pierce - Staffan Lind - 6-1 10-Rocknroll Reality - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 12-1   Race 3 - $100,000 THOMAS D'ALTRUI MISS NEW JERSEY 1-Ideal Helen - Western Ideal - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 10-1 2-Act Now - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nikolas Drennan - 3-1 3-Gettingreadytoroll - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 2-1 4-My Lady Day - Western Ideal - David Miller - Joe Holloway - 15-1 5-Surfside Sexy - Rocknroll Hanover - Ron Pierce - Ron Burke - 20-1 6-Cut A Deal - Rocknroll Hanover - George Brennan - Nick Surick - 20-1 7-Blixtra - Rocknroll Hanover - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 9-2 8-Highland Rockstar - Rocknroll Hanover - Mike Lachance - Buzzy Sholty - 20-1 9-Rockingcam Park - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Ron Coyne Jr. - 8-1 10- Kate Can't Wait - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - Ross Croghan - 6-1 By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 29, 2014-New York Sire Stakes continued downstate Tuesday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $201,600 Mike Cohen Trot for 2-year-old fillies. The quintet of races honored the memory of the former Yonkers and NBC Sports publicity director, with his family and friends making winner's circle presentations. The opening ($39,900) event saw a down-the-road Pig Hunt (George Brennan, $9.80), from post position No. 5, break the tape in a spiffy 1:59.4 (:30.2, 1:01.2 and 1:30.1). The effort matched her previous season's-best. Frou Frou (Brett Miller), as the 7-10 favorite, lost her tow when Icy Sprite (Jason Bartlett) broke, then could not get near the winner. The final margin was a length, with Praying Gear (Jeff Gregory) third. For third choice Pig Hunt, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Janice and Jennifer Connor, it was her second win in four first-season starts. The exacta paid $20.20, with the triple returning $53.50. "She shows trotting every start, so I wasn't worried about her," Brennan said. "I was able to back down the half and control the race." Tuesday night's second ($40,900) sire stakes event was a successful debut for Shaqline (Jimmy Takter, $6.20). In play early from post No. 2, she found a :30.1 opening quarter-mil. Then, Concentration (Chris Lems) grabbed the baton (1:01.2, 1:30.2), 17-10 choice Barn Girl (Gregory) trotting in place first-up. Concentration owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Shaqline took to the passing lane like a veteran. She ducked in and went by, the final margin a length-and-a-quarter in 2:00.1. Cherry Crown Jewel (Dan Daley) was third, with Barn Girl winding up fourth. For second choice Shaqline, a Credit Winner trained by Takter for Brixton Medical Ab, her sire stakes debut came after just one baby race. The exacta paid $39, the triple returned $104 and the superfecta paid $439. "She's bred to be very good," Takter said of the full-sister to $400,000-plus winner Shaq is Back. "She had breathing issues and three surgeries. Fortunately, she had some good doctors." The third ($39,900) Cohen division saw Summer Scent (Daley, $17.40)-from post No. 4--sit behind 2-1 choice Kaliska (Ray Schnittker) through fractions of :28.3, :59 and 1:29.2. Summer Scent then made her way past, winning by a half-length in a maiden-breaking 2:00.3. Third went to Duolectra (Corey Callahan). For fourth choice Summer Scent, a Malabar Man miss trained by Daley for co-owners Ann-Mari Daley and Jlrl LLC, it was that first win in five '14 tries,. The exacta paid $16.20, with the triple returning $556. "She keeps at it," Dan Daley said. "She doesn't always want to pass another horse, but she drew better tonight and that helped." The fourth ($40,600) sire stakes event was won by an in-form, 9-10 fave Barn Doll (Gregory, $3.80). Unhurried from post No. 2, she watched as Summers Windsong (Schnittker) and Nunkeri (Callahan) took turns through fractions of :29, :59.4 and 1:30.1. Barn Doll methodically made her move, first-up from fourth before collaring the leader early in the lane. She then edged away to beat Nunkeri by a length-and-a-half in 1:59.1...night's fastest and matching her previous life-best. Summers Windsong was third. For Barn Doll, a Conway Hall lass co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her fourth (consecutive) win in five seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $14, with the triple returning $47.80. "She's a smart filly," Gregory said. "She's able to relax and that's going to help her as she moves along. Tonight, when we moved, there was no one in front of her, but can just as easily chase another." The evening's statebred schedule ended in the fifth ($40,600) grouping, where slight choice Stirling Debutant (Ron Pierce, $6.80) showed good speed on both ends of a first-win 2:01.2 effort. Leaving from post No. 5, "Debutant" wound up sitting behind Northern Obsession (Schnittker) and that one's weight stations of :30, 1:01.3 and 1:31.2. When Zanna Blu (Gates Brunet) attacked the leader with a bold second move, Stirling Debutant extricated herself from the cones and angled out. She then whipped a stubborn Zanna Blu by three-quarters of length. Third went to Meshugana Miss (Jordan Stratton), with Stories to Tell (Lems) fifth-placed-fourth. For Stirling Debutant, a daughter of Credit Winner co-owner by (trainer) Rick Zeron, Cool Cat Racing and James Walker, she's now 1-for-4 this season. The exacta paid $51.50, the triple returned $529 and the superfecta paid $9,871. "I spoke to Rick (Zeron) a couple of days ago, and he said if I just gave her a chance, she'd be alright," Pierce said. "I made the (final turn) decision to take her outside, because with some of these 2-year-olds get a bit skittish when you duck them inside. " New York Sire Stakes continue Thursday night, with $200,900 New York Sire Stakes Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Saturday's 89th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Trot at The Meadowlands has drawn a field of eleven 3-year-old trotters going a mile in harness racing's most prestigious race. The Hambletonian is the opening leg of the Trotting Triple Crown which also includes the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. Leading the field are Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton, all trained by Jimmy Takter, who is a two-time Hambletonian winner with Malabar Man (1997) and Muscle Massive (2010). Takter is looking to become the first trainer to sweep first, second and third in the modern era of the Hambletonian. Father Patrick is the 4-5 morning line favorite and will be driven by Yannick Gingras from post 10. Trixton is 7-2 and will start from post 7 with Takter driving and Nuncio is 9-2 with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell leaving from post 5. "At this point, I have three really good horses and they're racing scary good," Takter said. "I've got to keep them fresh and make sure nothing goes wrong. I have the three best horses, and I would be extremely disappointed if I don't win the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian. It's fun. The Hambletonian is the biggest race in our sport and something you work hard to win." Father Patrick, the 2013 Dan Patch award winning champion 2-year-old colt trotter, and is perfect this year in six starts for $510,931 in earnings and is ranked second in the current Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Top Ten Poll. "He's the best horse I've ever developed," Takter said. "He's just different. He has all the things I like in a horse. He's a good sound horse. You can't find any fault with him. You can do anything you want with him. He's so handy. Patrick, to me, is the perfect horse." Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, the colt has wins this season in the Earl Beal Jr. at Pocono Downs and the Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. He has won 15 straight starts since losing to Nuncio in his second career effort. Overall, Father Patrick has banked $1,254,988 with 16 wins in 17 starts. Co-owned by the trainer's wife Christina, Trixton has six wins this year in eight starts for $283,855 in earnings. He was third to Father Patrick in the Dancer Memorial and is coming off a victory in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands. Trixton, sixth in the harness poll, has career earnings of $337,542 with 10 wins in 16 starts. "He's the kind of horse with a big future as a 4-year-old. He's improving, getting more professional and very confident." the trainer/driver noted. Nuncio, owned by Stall TZ Inc., finished second to his stablemate in both the Earl Beal Jr. and Stanley Dancer Memorial, his only losses this year in seven starts. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "Jimmy trained him from behind all winter and we've qualified him that way, and raced him that way, and he's started to figure it out. Nuncio, 10th in this week's poll, has earned $342,003 in 2014 and has 10 wins and seven seconds from 17 lifetime starts for $803,077. John Campbell has won the Hambletonian a record six times with the most recent victory coming with Glidemaster in 2006. The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares. The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Here is the Hambletonian field in post position order: Note that Don Dorado starts from post 11, which is in the second tier. 1. Resolve, Corey Callahan, 20-1 2. JJ Alex, Francisco Del Cid, 50-1 3. Doncango, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 4. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, 12-1 5. Nuncio, John Campbell, 9-2 6. Royal Ice, Ron Pierce, 20-1 7. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 8. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, 50-1 9. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, 12-1 10. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, 4-5 11. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, 20-1. The 89th Hambletonian has an approximate post time Saturday of 5:11 p.m. ET. (With files from the Meadowlands & UPI)  

Drop The Ball has been something of a streaky performer throughout her career, but driver Corey Callahan believes the 6-year-old pacing mare is on an upswing as she gets ready for Saturday's $177,750 Lady Liberty Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Lady Liberty, for older female pacers, is part of a stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card at the Big M. Among the other highlights are the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship for older pacers, $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters, and the $1.2 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. Coverage of the card will air throughout the afternoon on TVG and from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Drop The Ball won last weekend's Lady Liberty elimination race by a half-length over Jerseylicious in 1:49.2 and with a victory in the final will join Burning Point as the only repeat winners of the event. "She won it last year so we need to win it again," Callahan said about Drop The Ball, who is trained by Ross Croghan for owners Let It Ride Stables, Mentally Stable, and Dana Parham. "Sometimes you can tell [how good she will race] when you're scoring down, but she's really come back around her last few starts. I think Croghan is figuring her out and she's ready to go. She should be good next week, I hope." For her career, Drop The Ball has won 24 of 59 races and earned $1.39 million. In addition to winning last year's Lady Liberty, she won the 2011 Mistletoe Shalee and Matron Stakes. She has twice finished second in each the Breeders Crown, Roses Are Red Stakes, and Golden Girls. Drop The Ball won last year's Lady Liberty during a span of seven starts in which she posted five wins and two second-place finishes. She hit the board only once in eight other races during the campaign. She began her career by winning her first four races, but then went without a victory in nine consecutive starts bridging her 2- and 3-year-old seasons. She finished her 3-year-old campaign by winning six times and finishing second twice over her final nine starts. Drop The Ball entered the Lady Liberty elimination off a second-place finish to Rocklamation in the Golden Girls on July 12. "She was very good in that race," Callahan said. "I had too much road traffic. I ended up third over behind a horse that was stalling and had too much ground to make up." In last weekend's Lady Liberty elim, Drop The Ball started from post eight and went to the front on the first turn before briefly yielding the top spot to Shelliscape on the backstretch. Callahan and Drop The Ball immediately retook the lead, but saw Shebestingin come calling heading into the final turn. Drop The Ball fought off her challenge and led the rest of the way. "We figured if she was OK, we were going to push off the gate and try to get her in play," Callahan said. "A couple of those horses that like to go down the road, like Anndrovette, drew outside, so it was a good night to try it." Following is the Lady Liberty field in alphabetical order. The draw for the race will be Tuesday, with Drop The Ball's connections getting to select post position. Rocklamation received a bye to the final. Aunt Caroline, Charisma Hanover, Drop The Ball, Jerseylicious, Krispy Apple, Matttie Terror Girl, Rocklamation, Shebestingin, Shelliscape, and Somwherovrarainbow. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

There were two divisions of a non-winners of $17,500 in their last 5 starts on Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia. In the first division, Jake Huff trainee Statesman N was sent off as the 6/5 favorite. As the wings opened, it was Bestjetyet firing fast for the lead, with Statesman N securing the pocket spot from post one. Coming off of a strong qualifier, Bestjetyet set solid fractions, overcoming a first over challenge from Hang Ten. In the stretch however, Bestjetyet made a break, allowing Statesman N to close up the inside for the victory, in a time of 1:51.1. Bestjetyet finished second, but was dis-qualified and placed sixth for a violation of the breaking rule. Dreamzzzz R for U was moved up to second, while Hang Ten was moved up to third. Statesman N is owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, P. Venturini, and J&T Silva Stables, and was one of three wins for Corey Callahan. In the second division, Emeritus Maximus sped off the wings and never looked back. The four-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover faced a persistent first-over challenge from Nitro Seelster, and a late charge from National Debt, for his eleventh career win, in a time of 1:50.2. National Debt was a heart breaking second, while Nitro Seelster finished third. Emeritus Maximus is owned by John Cancelliere, trained by Tom Cancelliere, and was driven by Corey Callahan. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Is there anyone who can keep up with Sweet Lou? It does not look likely as the five-year-old stallion once again showed his heels to his rivals in winning the $40,000 FFA Pace at the Meadowlands Saturday. Driven by Ron Pierce, Sweet Lou waited in third place as Golden Receiver and driver Corey Callahan led the field to the opening quarter mile in :26.4. But once the field reached the backstretch, Pierce sent Sweet Lou to the front and he was firmly in command by the half mile in :54.1. Then it was Thinking Out Loud and driver John Campbell who was first to challenge and they came flying up first-over and nearly collared Sweet Lou by the three-quarters in 1:21.3. He had come up so fast that Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick was gapping second-over until the top of the stretch. But it was too little too late for everyone else in the field as once they started down the stretch, Pierce and Sweet Lou skipped away from the field and won by two open lengths in 1:47.3 with Captaintreacherous second and Thinking Out Loud third. Not only was it the seventh straight win for Sweet Lou, but it was also his fourth straight win in 1:47.4 and no harness horse has ever done that before. Trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi, L. Karr and P. Collura, it was the seventh win in ten starts this year for Sweet Lou. He paid $2.80 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

SHAKE IT CERRY EASY WINNER IN HAMBO OAKS PREP

HARRINGTON, Del. - The richest day of the year for Delaware horsemen was Thursday at Harrington Raceway as racing fans saw the completion of four $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) final events as well as signature events for older hoses on the 13-race program. The annual Governor's Day program during the Delaware State Fair was host to a large crowd who was treated to some entertaining racing under perfect weather conditions. While the crowd was treated to an abundance of dazzling performances, perhaps the most noteworthy was that of trotting colt I Like My Boss ($2.10, Jon Roberts) who remained unbeaten in 12 starts with a 1:57.2 triumph for co-owner/trainer Bob Shahan in his $100,000 final. He is co-owned by Jimmy and Ashley Parsons. In an uncharacteristic front-end performance, the 3-year-old Don Boss Vita gelding set all the fractions in his four length win over LG's Pride and Odessa. "It's been a lot of fun," said Shahan. "We had a setback last year which got him to the races a little bit later, but he's been super." In the $40,000 Governor's Cup, John Dayton's Just a Jolt ($6.40, Victor Kirby) overcame post eight to notch his 12th seasonal win in 1:50. Trained by Jim King Jr., the 4-year-old Village Jolt gelding assumed the command early from post eight and held off Malak Uswaad N and Getitoffyourchest for the one length win. Just A Jolt equaled his own track record. The Honorable Governor Jack Markell was on hand to present the trophy to the winning connections, after capping his full slate of activities at the Delaware State Fair's traditional Governor's Day. In the DSBF filly pacing final, a track record performance was set by Garnet O'Marrow's Seboomook Fool Yah ($2.40, Allan Davis) with a 1:52.1 victory over Jonigold and Megginspin. The Wayne Givens-trainee was a ten-length winner feasting first over after a hot pace. It was her 15th career win in 22 starts. In the DSBF pacing colt final, Karen Walls' Elite Awards ($3.40, George Dennis) was victorious in 1:53.3 over Casino Bags Carlo and West Star Director. The Powerful Toy gelding was a wire-to-wire winner and recorded his 13th career win for trainer David Rearic. Richard Lombardo, JJ&M Stable and Pam Wagner's Kelsey's Commando ($11.20 Victor Kirby) was another post eight winner for Kirby. The Cr Commando filly parlayed a pocket trip to victory over Bella's Spunkin and Overnight Hit. It was one of three wins for Kirby, who also trains the trotting filly. On the undercard, North State Street Stable's Monochromatic ($2.40, Corey Callahan) won her Third Straight Legislator's Cup for trainer Dylan Davis. E&K Stable and Lois and Earl Walters' I'm So Striking ($13.80) scored a minor upset in the $30,000 Charles Murphy Memorial Trot for trainer/driver Eddie Dennis. Live racing resumes on a Monday through Thursday schedule at Harrington on August 18. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and Dan Noble will be recognized for their National Dash Driving Championships as part of the Wall of Fame ceremonies at Northfield Park on Sunday, August 10, 2014. The banquet will begin at 5:00 p.m. Wrenn topped the North American driving ranks in 2013 with 714 victories. Dave Palone (645), Bruce Aldrich, Jr. (645), Corey Callahan (619) and Tim Tetrick (582) completed the top five drivers by wins. Despite being a regular at Northfield Park, where he picked up 55% of his 2013 total wins, Wrenn split his time among several different venues last year. In addition to being a regular at Northfield, he drove at Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Colonial Downs, Monticello Raceway, Northville Downs, Raceway Park, Scioto Downs and several county fairs. Wrenn garnered 388 wins over the Flying Turns in 2013, placing him atop Northfield's leader board. His nearest competitor, Aaron Merriman, drove 234 winners. Keith Kash, Jr. (213), Jason Thompson (196) and Chris Page (193) rounded out the top five local reinsmen. "The dash title is really nice to have been able to accomplish. I have been very lucky and blessed to have driven well-conditioned horses for some great trainers," commented Wrenn. "It means a lot that my Dad was able to see me win the title. That definitely made it more special." Wrenn's father, Ron Sr., passed away in May, 2014. Dan Noble was North America's Dash Champion in 2011. Noble scored 773 victories in 2011, finishing ahead of George Brennan, who had 754 wins. Tim Tetrick (746), Dave Palone (698) and George Napolitano, Jr. (540) followed. Noble scored 56% of his yearly win tally at Northfield, topping the local driver standings by an authoritative margin. With 436 victories, his nearest competitor was Ryan Stahl, who drove 283 winners. Kurt Sugg (252), Wyatt Irvine (223) and Aaron Merriman (196) completed the top five. Winning Northfield's title was not Noble's only accomplishment in 2011. He also claimed the dash titles at Scioto Downs, The Red Mile and Lebanon Raceway's spring meet. Noble's busy 2011 season meant a lot of travel. "It was a long year to pursue the dash title, but I'm really glad I did it," Noble commented. Dan's father, Sam (Chip) Noble III, who was the national UDRS driving champion in 1978, 1981 and 1983, had the joy of witnessing his son's feat before his death from cancer in January of this year. Northfield Park's Wall of Fame Banquet is a triennial event. Candidates are nominated and considered by the Wall of Fame Trustees: Tom Aldrich, Vice-Chairman of Milstein Entertainment; Jerry Knappenberger, General Manager of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association; Ayers Ratliff, Northfield Park Director of Racing Communications and Assistant Director of Racing. Once a consensus is reached among the trustees, additional input and final approval is sought from the Wall of Fame Advisory Committee consisting of Scott Cox, Northfield Park OHHA Track Director; Amy Hollar, Northfield Park OHHA Track Representative; Tye Loy, 2010 Wall of Fame Inductee; Kent Sherman, Trainer/Driver At Large OHHA Board Member; Clair Unholtz, 2004 Wall of Fame Inductee; Martin Wollam, 2010 Wall of Fame Inductee; Dave Bianconi, Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting; and Mike Colacarro, Northfield Park Assistant General Manager. Other presentations at the August 10th event will be made to the Class of 2013 Wall of Fame Inductees, the Distinguished Owner, and the winners of the John Lee Good Fellowship, Willie C. Banks Ideal Employee, and Outstanding Caretaker Awards. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Three trotters from the sophomore class of 2010 have come online with their initial crops this year; Muscle Massive is standing at Hanover, Lucky Chucky at Winbak in New York and Holiday Road in Ontario. Pilgrim’s Taj is a fourth, but he only spent one year in Canada, after which he was relocated to Ohio and ultimately exported to Finland. That being the case, we’ll look at the first three. To this point restricted races have provided the only basis for judging them, but the open portion of the season commences this week with elimination rounds for the Peter Haughton and Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands as well as several splits of the Arden at The Meadows. Much of the focus has been on Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky, beneficiaries of generous state bred programs who finished one-two in the Hambletonion. The former was a $450,000 yearling who was lightly raced at two but managed to win the Hambletonion as well as the Dancer at three, while Chucky was a precocious freshman, showing wins in the Valley Victory, Matron, ISS and Bluegrass. He was the 3/2 favorite in the Hambletonion and appeared on his way to victory when 6/1 Muscle Massive, piloted by Ron Pierce, ruined his day. Regardless, Chucky did win the Canadian Trotting Classic and Colonial at three, and he earned more money than Muscle Massive both years. Both sold close to seventy yearlings last year, with Chucky’s brood averaging quite a bit more. Both have seen their stud fees fluctuate before their first crops hit the track. Muscle Massive started at $10,000, only to have his fee cut to $7,500 and $6,000 in successive years. Cantab Hall, Donato Hanover, Andover Hall and Explosive Matter all command higher fees than their younger stablemate at Hanover. Chucky, on the other hand, started at $7,500 in New York, was dropped to $5,000 during a year spent in Pennsylvania, and came back up to $7,500 when he returned to Winbak, where nineteen-year-old Muscles Yankee stands for $2,500 more. Muscle Massive has benefited from the success of his older brother, Muscle Mass, sire of O’Brien winner Riveting Rosie and the successful OSS colt Muscle Matters. Thus far Muscle Massive has given us some outstanding fillies. Gatka Hanover, a big rugged gal out of the Conway Hall mare Girlie Tough, from the Ron Burke barn, has left many wondering where her ceiling is. Gatka rolled through a couple of baby races and has now chalked up three wins in the PA Sire Stakes, one each at The Meadows, Pocono and Harrah’s. Matt Kakaley steered her to an effortless four length win in 1:57 in her latest. She leaves from the five for Matt K in Friday’s first Merrie Annabelle elimination. Gatka takes on Lucky Chucky’s daughter, Lock Down Lindy, who drew plenty of attention with a very strong first over win in a Merrie Annabelle Prep at the Meadowlands Friday for Scott Zeron and Tony Alagna. Another Muscle Massive star in the making is Jimmy Takter’s Speak To Me, an $80,000 Harness Breeders purchase by Myron Bell. She is also three-for three in the PA Sire Stakes and has trotted in 1:55. Last time out, in a $57,000 sire stakes division at Harrah’s, Speak To Me gapped the field by ten on her way to an easy win at a stingy 1/5 price. Unfortunately this filly was not staked to the Merrie Annabelle and will be missing from the fray on Friday night. Blessings Counted is another talented filly by Muscle Massive. She was second to Speak To Me in a PASS race at The Meadows a couple of weeks ago and won a $57,000 race at Harrah’s in her latest start. She is not eligible to the Merrie Annabelle but is entered in a split of the Arden at The Meadows on Friday. Missive and Youth Gone Wild, both winners in the Stallion Series, will also race in the Arden. Jersey Strong, a talented filly with a win in the PA All Stars and a second in the PASS, isn’t entered at The Meadowlands or The Meadows on Friday. The top colt by Muscle Massive is Ake Svanstedt’s Lima Pride, who beat Jimmy Takter’s 1/9 favorite The Bank in a split of the Hickory Pride when The Bank went on a run at the three-quarters. Lima Pride, a $25,000 yearling purchase, was not nominated to the Peter Haughton. The priciest freshman trotter by any first crop stallion is Mr Lucky Luke, a $450,000 Lucky Chucky half- brother to Muscle Massive, Muscle Mass and 2010 Merrie Annabelle winner, Thatsnotmyname. The Cancelliere brothers, of Detour Hanover fame, purchased him at Lexington in the fall. He has yet to make a pari-mutuel start; let’s hope he generates a better ROI than Detour has. As for the Lucky Chucky colts and fillies that have raced, there is no eye popping Gatka Hanover out there, but there are plenty of good ones. I already mentioned Merrie Annabelle candidate Lock Down Lindy, who possesses the same rugged demeanor as Gatka. She is a half-sister to 2006 HOY in Canada, Majestic Son. He has sired Harper Blue Chip, Murmur Hanover and Charmed Life. Ray Schnittker has Gabe The Bear Dean, a $105,000 Harness Breeders buy, who has an impressive wire-to wire five length win in the NYSS at Buffalo. Jonas Czernyson has a few Lucky Chucky youngsters in his barn and he’s high on all of them. At the end of June Hot Start, a half-sister to Religulous, won a $27,000 NYSS split at Vernon Downs for Corey Callahan. Next time out, at Tioga, she cut most of the mile from the outside post only to lose to paternal sister My Twisted Sister, from the Paul Kelley barn. Hot Start is entered in the second Merrie Annabelle elimination on Friday. Nunkeri is another very promising Lucky Chucky filly from the Czernyson barn. She finished second to the Muscle Hill filly Josie’s Joy at the Meadowlands the other night, race timed in 1:57.2 as the second choice. Nunkeri won her start previous to that one, a $28,000 NYSS division at Tioga. George Ducharme’s sharp looking Conway Hall filly, Concentration, pressured her all the way home in a 1:59.3 mile. On the male side Mal and Janet Burroughs’ Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 Harness Breeders buy, won a $28,000 split of the NYSS in 1:57.2 at Tioga last time out. Holiday Road, a $115,000 yearling who is a full brother to Ken Warkentin, was lightly raced, making only ten lifetime stars. While staying on the track was an issue, speed wasn’t; he won the Peter Haughton at two and a split of the Dancer at three. He opened his stallion career for $4,500 at Seelster Farms and now stands for $3,500. This week the Holiday Roads started to turn heads and earn respect at Mohawk as they performed admirably on the various OSS platforms. John Bax’s Hemi Seelster was long and tough winning a Grassroots division in 1:58.4 at 2/1. It was noteworthy that the gelding engaged in a head to head battle the length of the stretch with Pilgrim’s Joy, a son of first crop stallion Pilgrim’s Taj. Tony Alagna’s filly Gee O’Keeffe logged a very strong second in a $53,000 OSS Gold leg at Mohawk for Jody Jamieson, losing a length to the highly regarded Kadabra filly Juanita’s Fury. And Keith Jones’ gelding, It’s Huw You Know, was an upset Grassroots winner in 2:00.3 on Monday at 75/1, paying $159.60. And Ontheroad De Vie made a very impressive brush on the back as he came from the 10 post to finish second for Rick Zeron in a Grassroots leg. The Holiday Roads are looking good. Rock N Roll Heaven and Sportswriter are lighting it up in the freshman pacing division, but it’s expected that the trotters will take a little longer to get their bearings and hit their stride. Muscle Massive, Lucky Chucky and Holiday Road will all be prospering when they do. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

HARRINGTON, Del. - More than $600,000 in total purses will be up for grabs on the 13-race program at Harrington Raceway Thursday during Governor's Day at the Delaware State Fair. For the third consecutive year, the program will be contested at night with a 7 p.m. post time. Four $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) finals will be held for 3-year-old pacers and trotters. Signature events for older horses such as the $40,000 Governor's Cup will have local bragging rights on the line on the popular evening of racing that is the focal point for many Delaware horsemen. The filly pacing final is the first of the $100,000 races to be contested as track record holder, Garnet O'Marrow's Seboomook Fool Yah (2/1, Allan Davis) looks to continue her current winning trend. The Wayne Givens-trainee has won two straight and will start from post four. The Wiz Kids Stable's Jonigold (3/1, Corey Callahan) will fire from mid pack post five for trainer Bart Dalious after sweeping her eliminations. The filly trotting final is slated fifth on the program, with trainer/co-owner Art Stafford Jr. and Wyatt Starkey's Overnight Hit (2/1, Stafford Jr.) starting from the rail after winning both of her eliminations. In the trotting colt final, trainer/co-owner Bob Shahan, Jimmy Parsons Jr., and Ashley Parsons' I Like My Boss (2-1, Jon Roberts) will look to remain undefeated as he bids for his 12th consecutive win from post position five. The final for pacing colts is the 11th race and is as wide open as any of the DSBF final events. Karen Walls' Elite Awards (5/2), and Cavalli Pazzi Stables' Casino Bags Carlo (3-1, Vince Copeland) are among the highly competitive group. The Governor's Cup will complete the daily double as the second race, a field long on depth will fill the starting gate, including John Dayton's Just a Jolt (2-1, Victor Kirby) who must overcome post eight to earn his 12th win of the year for trainer Jim King Jr. The Honorable Governor Jack Markell is expected to present the trophy to the winning connections. The Legislator's Cup, featuring Delaware's top pacing mares, will start the first leg of the pick four (races 3-6). Two-time defending champion, North State Street Stable's Monochromatic (2-1, Corey Callahan) will fire from post six in pursuit of her 51st career win for trainer Dylan Davis. Fresh threat My Ideal Hanover (3/1, Kirby) has won four straight for owner Jason Johnson and drew post two. The Charles Murphy Jr. Memorial Trot will wrap up the pick four sequence. Barbara Boese's Awsome Valley (2/1, Tony Morgan) is back from a stint at Yonkers and drew post six in the full field. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway    

Saturday night at the Meadowlands offered perfect weather with comfortable temps and just a hint of an eastern breeze as the sophomore filly trotters competed in the $47,915 WN Reynolds Memorial Grand Circuit stakes at 6:50pm. The early start was made necessary by the entry of just a quartet when the race was drawn on Tuesday, resulting in the early, non-wagering format. If it were a wagering contest, Take The Money would have been a heavy favorite and she would have delivered, taking the big share after leading all the way in 1:55.3. Bikini So Teeny tracked the winner throughout and although she menaced late for Charlie Norris, she could not go by in the 27.2 final quarter. Take The Money is owned by Barry Guarligia's Black Horse Racing and the winner's share put her past $160,000 in earnings for the season. Julie Miller is the conditioner and Marcus Miller had the assignment for this one. On the body of the wagering card were a pair of eleven colt divisions of the Reynolds going forth as races two and twelve with a purse of $32,207 offered for each. Nuncio played the lead role in the first division getting his final tune-up for the August 2 Hambletonian and he did not disappoint. Nuncio was put into play early from post seven by John Campbell and cleared quickly to the lead before yielding to Resolve and Corey Callahan for a few steps past the 27.2 quarter. Back to the front on the re-move, Campbell rated Nuncio kindly then kicked home in 27.3 to reduce his career best to 1:51.4. Resolve raced very well and was gaining on the unthreatened winner to be beaten less than a length for new connections owner Hans Enggren and trainer Nancy Johansson. Amped Up Hanover was third throughout and held his position for the Burke barn Nuncio is trained by Jimmy Takter for international connections, Stall TZ. Trainer Takter said good things about the colt who would be the Hambo favorite in many other years in his post-race interview. The twelfth race would feature another Takter Hambo hopeful, the enigmatic Trixton. He's developed into a classic horse for Jimmy this summer and tonight Takter pulled the front shoes and added blinkers in an attempt to squeeze another tick or two out of the colt and close the gap on Hambletonian favorite Father Patrick. The race began with a quick start by Muscle Midas from the outside and he cleared the lead well before the 27.2 quarter. Takter edged Trixton to the outside and claimed the top, gradually widening the margin through the 27.1 final quarter to end the 1:51.4 mile. Datsyuk closed to be second with Lightning Force third. Post-race Takter spoke of the evolution of Trixton and the upcoming Hambletonian, "I liked to try him without shoes, it's more natural. He'll get a few days to recover then some light work going into the race. I feel we'll really see how great he is in the future years." The driving star of the night was John Campbell who won a half dozen races. Total handle was up ten percent over a year ago at $2,658,445 and the live in the building on Meadowlands races reflected a 12% increase over 2013 numbers. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

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