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Scarborough, Maine (November 6, 2015) - Midnite Craze and driver Ivan Davies equaled the track record for aged gelding trotters at Scarborough Downs on Friday (11/6) spinning an epic mile timed in 1:57.1 to replicate the standard established by Waterlou Willie in 2013. Remarkably, Midnite Craze, a recent New York import who now sits a perfect two for two in state of Maine competition, never saw the wood throughout the mile, marching second-over through the first time around the half-mile oval before launching a bold three-wide bid up the backstretch. A dogged battle then ensued with the front-running Dagget (Ruel Goodblood, Jr.), with neither trotter giving an inch throughout the heated stretch duel until in the final strides, Midnite Craze extended to the wire a mere half-length on top. The win was the 15th career victory for the five-year-old son of Crazed-Trapezius who is owned by G. Richard Mason, Jr. of Luneburg, MA. Dagget finished second best while Thro Time (Kevin Switzer, Jr) grabbed the show spot. Scarborough Downs proudly features live harness racing Friday through Sunday at 12:05 pm. For more information, visit or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

The first of two divisions for the $220,000 Bluegrass Stakes 3-year-old colt trot at the harness racing meeting at The Red Mile went to Crazy Wow off a pocket trip in 1:55.4.   He took control through a :28.2 first quarter, but soon yielded to challenger and 4-5 favorite The Bank.   The Bank went on to set fractions of :57.3 and 1:27 before Crazy Wow readied to pounce out of the pocket.   Once out and moving in the stretch, Crazy Wow slid up to The Bank and past him after the eighth pole, advancing to victory over the favorite, Crescent Fashion, and Classic Venture.   Owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms, trained by Ron Burke, and driven by Tim Tetrick, Crazy Wow collected the 12th win of his career, earning $977,415.   The son of Crazed out of the Mr Vic mare No Pan No Gain paid $4.00 to win.   "Timmy [Tetrick] did a good job," Ron Burke said. "He could've gotten a bad spot, but Trond [Smedshammer on Donatomite] was not leaving him [out and parked] and just held his position. He [Tetrick] got in behind Yannick and out-tripped him."   "They [Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms] bought him after his two-year-old season and, actually, he's been a surprise," Burke also said. "I thought he was a good horse, but he's been a little bit better than a good horse.   They're [the owners] are going to supplement him to the [Kentucky] Futurity next week, and then they're going to supplement him to the Breeders Crown, so he's going to get an opportunity to prove he is the best or one of the best."   "That [Crazy Wow supplementing] pretty much cements her into the [Kentucky] Filly Futurity," Burke said in regards to Mission Brief racing next week. "It seems stupid to race against your own money when you're supplementing one in, so she'll race against the fillies and then move on to the Breeders Crown."   Muscle Diamond defeated the 1-5 favorite Uncle Lasse in the second division of the Bluegrass, charging from the back of the field to a 1:56 victory.   The pace was set by Southwind Mozart, putting up fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:27.3 before a challenge came from Uncle Lasse, who began his first-over move at the half.   He edged by leader Southwind Mozart in the stretch, but was soon confronted by Muscle Diamond towards the center of the course.   Uncle Lasse failed to trot with Muscle Diamond, finishing second to the 3-1 second choice. Honor And Serve was third.   Paying $8.80 to win, the colt by Muscle Hill out of the Lindy Lane mare Windylane Hanover collected the sixth win of his career, earning $502,459.   He's owned by Charles Keller III, Charles Keller IV, E. Bittle, and trainer Brett Bittle, and driven by John Campbell.   "It [the trip] worked out well. I was within striking range at the head of the stretch, and he kicked home the best he has in quite a long time," John Campbell said.   Ray Cotolo

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - New York did itself proud Saturday night, as harness racing Empire-breds won both $40,000 eliminations for Yonkers Trot No. 61. Yonkers Raceway's premier trotting event drew 11 3-year-olds-eight colts and three geldings-for the second jewel of that gait's Triple Crown. When the stone dust settled, it was a pair of Ron Burke entities, Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick, $5.30) and Habitat (Yannick Gingras, $6.30) who led the lads into next Saturday's (Sept. 5) half-million-dollar final. Saturday's first elim saw another statebred, Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), win the draw and the early battle. He seated everyone, including Crazy Wow from post position No. 2 and Hambletonian champ Pinkman (Gingras) next door in post No. 3. Buen Camino led through intervals of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.2, with 1-2 favorite Pinkman advancing from third. Pinkman then seemed to pull himself up, as Buen Camino owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. Crazy Wow ducked in-cutting inside at least one pylon--and went by, whipping a resurgent Pinkman by a length in 1:55.4. The winner had to survive an inquiry before the result was certified. Buen Camino held third over a closing Workout Wonder (Dan Dube)-both getting berths in the final--with Wings of Royalty (catch-driver Brian Sears) last at every stations. For second choice Crazy Wow--last season's New York Sire Stakes frosh champ--a son of Crazed co-owned by Deo Volente Farms & Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables, it was his sixth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with triple wagering not offered to the small field. "He was very good last week (winning Pocono's Colonial) and just as good tonight," Tetrick said. "Things were a bit tight in the last turn, but he needed to trot, he did." As for Pinkman, "He did start to get away from me a bit in the last turn, and I didn't want to lose him," Gingras said. "So I had to steady him, and showed his class by trotting well in the lane." Gingras had such issues with Habitat, who, after a brief seat third from post No. 5, went the distance (:29, :58.4, 1:27.2 1:55.3) in the second elimination. The job of the second choice was made much easier when 3-5 fave Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) couldn't get out of his own way behind the and again past the half. The other Svanstedt-trained (though uncoupled) number, Southwind Mozart (Dan Dube) chased from a loose pocket, beaten a couple of lengths. Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett) and French Laundry (Sears) also earned seats at next week's table, while Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter) and a foul-gaited Centurion ATM did not. For Habitat, a son of Conway Hall, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stables, he's now 6-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $67, with the triple returning $287. "Once I saw (Centurion ATM) make a break, there was no reason not to cut the mile," Gingras said. "He was very good, no issues." Saturday night's $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by faves... --(Trot), Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3.90) in 1:54.4; --(Pace), Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.60) in 1:51. Special props to Take My Picture, the 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding whose third-place finish in the Open 'Cap Trot made him a career millionaire ($1,004,146). The open draws for both Yonkers Trot No. 61 and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes No. 60 (only eight entrants, so no elims) take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker  

The conditions were perfect for harness racing on a beautiful summer afternoon, the temperature was 85, the infield flag limp, the track fast, all perfect conditions for a track record at Monticello Raceway. The action started right away in the first race, going for a purse of $53,500. Allerage Echo put his name in the record books by virtue of his 1:58:1 mark. It was his 4th win in a row, for the Conway Hall - Echonomical colt, who was bred by Little E LLC. The easy going son of Conway Hall upping his careers earnings to $121,000, for winning driver Chris Lems. Credevie showed the way as the gate left for Trond Smedshammer. He was followed in hot pursuit by Smalltownthrowdown, Dan Daley tucked Smalltownthrowdown into the 2 hole after briefly being parked down the backside before the ¼ marker. The 2/5 favorite Allerage Echo made his move once Daley settled in and had the lead in a blink of an eye, parked at the ¼ in 29, he then cleared and was never heeded the rest of the mile, taking the field through fractions of 59:1, 1:29:3, Credevie made a break in the paddock turn and the contest turned into a 2 horse race. Smalltownthrowdown came first over but was not able to close the gap. Allerage Echo prevailed to win in 1:58:1 by 4 lengths, for trainer George Ducharme, who has enjoyed much success at Monticello Raceway this season in NY Sire Stake events. Owner Ken Jacobs was ecstatic in the winners circle. "We purchased the colt off a qualifier at Vernon Downs and put him the George Ducharme barn and have had great success," exclaimed Ken Jacobs "He's a beast" said winning driver Chris Lems following the win the in the winners circle, with an ear to ear smile." Race 8, 2nd heat of Sire Stake action had 6 starters. Cupid, driven by Trond Smedshammer for the Purple Haze Stable, tripped the timers in 28:3, 58:3 and 1:28:4, at this point the recent new track record that was barely dry on paper was in jeopardy of being broken. At the top of the lane Cupid was getting leg weary, Dan Daley and Crown Point who had been stalking the leader the entire mile, over took Cupid in a stirring stretch drive. The son of Crazed - Tierra broke his maiden, scoring in 1:59.0, for trainer driver Dan Daley and owners Daley, Crawford and Lombardo. Cupid hung on for second and Dog Gone Lucky was 3rd for trainer Chuck Sylvester and driver John Campbell. Excelsior A - $15,000 Race 4, first division of the A's went for a purse of $15,000. Gremlin Wilson sat the garden spot the entire mile behind pace setter HZ Royalty and driver Jeff Gregory. As the pair turned for home Gremlin Wilson, was not to be denied, using the passing lane to edge HZ Royalty in 2:00:3 for winnings owner and driver John Cummings Jr. The son of Sand Vic is trained by Megan Wilson. The last heat of the A class saw Omaha Set Up (PP4), make a bold first over move at the 5/8 marker to score a measured win over Radical Way in 2:00:4 for the Gideon Stables. The Credit Winner colt is trained by Tyler Freese and driven by Corey Braden. The 1/5 favorite Sweet Royalty made a break before the ¼ and was never a factor. Excelsior B - $6,700 Reasonforpleasin scored his 2nd win in this company for former Monticello Raceway driver Jay Randall and owners Michael Polansky in 2:01:4. The Conway Hall colt now has 2 wins in the Excelsior series under his belt. In Race 3, John Campbell was aboard Dollar Billiards. He left the gate to take the lead but in the middle of the first turn his steed made a break. Ray Schnittker aboard One Chief inherited the lead. The Lucky Chucky - Chippewa Street colt extended his lead at every stanza to win by 7 lengths in 2:02:2 for owners Schnittker, Demeter and H. Burns. Shawn Wiles

Hambletonian champion Pinkman went off stride at the start, opening the door for his eight rivals in Saturday's (Aug. 22) $500,000 Colonial Trot for 3-year-old male trotters, and Crazy Wow was the one to take advantage. Crazy Wow, who was not eligible to the Hambletonian, won the Colonial by 1-1/4 lengths over The Bank in 1:52.3 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Uncle Lasse finished third and Wicker Hanover was fourth. Crazy Wow, sent off at odds of 9-1, was the third choice in the betting behind 1-5 favorite Pinkman and Uncle Lasse. The Bank and Uncle Lasse are from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, as is Pinkman. Uncle Lasse took the early lead and remained on top through fractions of :26.3, :55.1, and 1:23.3. Canepa Hanover made a first-over bid, but was unable to pass Uncle Lasse. Crazy Wow, who enjoyed a trip following the leader, took charge in the stretch and pulled away to victory. "I wanted to follow Pinkman, but it didn't work out that way," said Tim Tetrick, who drove Crazy Wow for trainer Ron Burke. "He made a break and I got a perfect trip out of it." "I sat the two hole and my horse responded well." "He felt good. He's a big strong horse and he's great to drive. He works at it, he's got a great attitude, and he likes to win." Crazy Wow has won five of nine races this year and earned $542,537. For his career, the son of Crazed-No Pan No Gain has won 10 of 20 starts and banked $775,465. He is owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, JT45, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. "It's a big win," Burke said. "He's a good horse that I think can go with them all the time when he gets the chances. In the big races, I think he will acquit himself well. He'll have some more chances to race against these." Crazy Wow's future schedule includes the Canadian Trotting Classic in September at Mohawk. Yannick Gingras, who drove Pinkman, was unsure why the gelding went off stride. Pinkman, the winner of 14 of 18 lifetime races, had never made a break in a pari-mutuel race in his career and wound up last in the nine-horse field. "I don't know," Gingras said. "I was just taking him to the gate and he made a break." Colonial Consolations If you backed Centurion ATM in the $200,000 Consolation I and saw driver Ake Svanstedt pull his horse out of the two-hole nearing the three-quarters to battle favored Whom Shall I Fear, you had to be encouraged, for Svanstedt is one of the best sulksyitters in the world. Centurion ATM went right to the lead and strode off to a 1-3/4 length win in 1:53.3, a tick off of his lifetime record. Svanstedt, whose world champion Sebastian K was retired to stud during special on-track ceremonies earlier in the card, is also the trainer of Centurion ATM, a son of SJ's Caviar, who is owned by Courant A B and Knutsson Trotting Inc. (Sebastian K's sponsors). Muscle Diamond, second in the Breeders Crown at the end of last year but slow to find top form this season, may have turned a corner in the $100,000 Consolation II, coming from second-over to win a five-horse across-the-track finish in 1:53.2, equaling his lifetime mark while defeating Cruzado Dela Noche by three-quarters of a length. Hall of Fame nominee Charles Keller III is a co-owner of the son of Muscle Hill with trainer Brett Bittle, Dan Bittle, and Charles Keller IV. Ken Weingartner

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - Two freshman trotters, Panamas Boy and Tuscans Memory, locked horns once again at the Hippodrome 3R Wednesday in the second round of the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series for two-year-old trotting colts. This time around Panamas Boy emerged the winner. Last week it was Tuscans Memory's turn to shine but racing strategy's changed drastically Wednesday night. The fourth race second division of the series saw SOS Chico and driver Jocelyn Gendron shot out to the lead from the outside seven post with Panamas Boy (Stephane Brosseau) grabbing the pocket seat. They flew to the opening quarter mile in a sharp :29.2. But flying on the outside first-over was KFB Amigo Cool with Guy Gagnon and they took command of the race to the half mile in 1:01.2. Then as Tuscans Memory and Pascal Berube started up first-over, KFB Amgo Cool went off-stride. SOS Chico then inherited the lead but a persistent Tuscans Memory kept up the challenge to the three-quarters in 1:32.4. And all the while there was Brosseau and Panamas Boy waiting patiently in third place on the rail. On the final turn SOS Chico could not stand the pace and went off-stride, and Brosseau was able to maintain their inside position with Panamas Boy, keeping Tuscans Memory parked out. Those two then went stride-for-stride until the stretch drive when Panamas Boy dug in and held off Tuscans Memory to win by three-quarters of a length in 2:02.4. EAU Naturelle (Mario Charron) was third. It was the second win in four starts for Panamas Boy. The son of Crazed is trained by Jacques DuPont for owner/breeder Gestion Levesque of QC. He paid $5.20 to win. The first race division of the series saw Sass and driver Clarke Steacy end his maiden status with a 2:03.1 victory from post eight. Holiday Party (Pascal Berube) was stung early getting the lead away from Red Monster (Guy Gagnon) by the opening quarter mile in a quick :29. Then Defi Normand (Peirre Bovay) came first-over and gave outside cover to Sass after the half mile in 1:01.3. In the backstretch Defi Normand collard Holiday Party and took the lead away before the three-quarters in 1:33.2. Sass was still strong on the outside with Red Monster lurking in the shadows. Then in the stretch, Sass was the strong horse, going on to win by one and one-quarter lengths with Defi Normand second and Red Monster third. Trained by Mark Steacy, Sass is sired by Kadabra and was bred and is owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson, QC and paid $3.60 to win. Prix D'Ete Notes - The post-position draw for the $200,000 Prix D'Ete takes place Thursday morning at a special media conference starting at 10:30 am. Already committed to the race are All Bets Off, Limelight Beach, Somewhere In L A, Big Boy Dreams, Boomboom Ballykeel and Winds Of Change. Sunday's first race Prix D'Ete card goes off at 1:30pm. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway Monday night hosted the $150,224 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The event, honoring the memory of "Tootie," the man who help turn Roosevelt Raceway into a household word(s) during the sport's golden age and made the International Trot a world-class happening. Whether this group of plebes eventually becomes world class is to be determined, but 1-5 favorite Dayson (Jeff Gregory, $2.40) has proven to be the leader of the gang thus far. Starting from the pole in the second of two, $75,112 divisions, the Conway Hall gelding had to work for it. He took the best shots from second-choice Reve Royale (Brian Sears), then spurted away to a 2¼-length win in a zippy, life-best 1:57.4 (author's aside...the Gregory-driven Dejarmbro owns the 2-year-old colt local record (1:57 in 2010), while the Sears-escorted Tirade Hanover has the gelding standard (1:57.3 in 2012). Dog Gone Cupid (Tyler Buter), put in play early, did get second, with Reve Royale third. For Dayson, trained by Howard Okusko for co-owners Margaret & Amy Butler, it was his fifth win in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.60, with the triple returning $60. "He was tested tonight, and he was up to it," Gregory said, referring to Reve Royale first stringing Dayson out to get the lead in turn 2, then pulling pocket early in the final turn. The opening Barasch event saw Sears and second choice Allerage Echo ($6.10)-leaving from post position No. 6--go from first lead to first home. In between, he surrendered the front to Credevie (Trond Smedshammer), before blowing by in the lane. The final margin was 2¼ lengths (same as Dayson) in a life-best 1:59.4, with Master Class (George Brennan) a first-up second and Royal Bachelor (Jason Bartlett) third. Credevie, the favorite at just over even-money, faded to fourth. For Allerage Echo, a Crazed gelded trained by George Ducharme for owner Ken Jacobs, he's now 3-for-5 to begin his career after a third consecutive win The exacta paid $55, with the triple returning $221. "I bought him off his first two qualifiers," Jacobs said. "He impressed me, but I thought his gait was too high. "George (Ducharme) said he has some talent, and we're looking forward to the rest of the sire stakes season." Frank Drucker

Parked the first quarter, Classic Belisima was unassailable once on top, rolling to a comfortable victory in Tuesday's $15,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Handicap Trot at the harness racing meeting at The Meadows. Classic Belisima wrested the early lead from Kandian Klub and had only to thwart the first-over challenge of Mistress Valentine -- which she did -- to score for Eric Goodell in 1:54.3. Kandian Klub finished second, a length back, while Mistress Valentine saved show. John Cabot trains Classic Belisima, a 4-year-old daughter of Crazed-Classic Yankee who notched her 11th victory this year and boosted her seasonal earnings over $100,000, for William Cantrell. Goodell piloted four winners on the 14-race card, including a pair each for Cabot and trainer Paul Kennedy. Evan Pattak          

The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway on Monday night hosted the $163,874 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event, honoring the memory of a popular New York Knickerbocker (and avid horseplayer), produced a pair of popular parimutuel winners, with members of the McGuire family making the presentations. The opening ($81,187) division was, in the words of driver Yannick Gingras, "a walk in the park" for Crazy Wow ($2.10). Leaving from post position No. 2, last season's statebred fresh champ stuffed second choice Apostle's Creed (Dan Dube) in behind, then waltzed through intervals of :28.3, :57.3, 1:27 and 1:56 The final margin was five lengths, with Maestro Blue Chip (Trond Smedshammer) closing for second and "Apostle" third. For Crazy Wow, a son of Crazed trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Our Horse Cents, JT45 and J&T Silva Stables & Deo Volente Farms, it was his fourth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15.20, with triple wagering cancelled due to the short (five-horse) field. Monday night's second ($82,687) event saw Smedshammer and Buen Camino ($3.20) also run away and hide. In play from post No. 6, he worked around Royal Deceptor (Mickey McGivern), with subsections of :29.1, :59, 1:28.3 and 1:56.2. This margin was four lengths, with Home'n Dry (Brian Sears) snapping Royal Deceptor for second. For Buen Camino, a Cash Hall gelding trained by his driver for owner Purple Haze Stables LLC, he's now 2-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $27.20, with the triple returning $66.50. "He's been battling sickness for a while, but as long as he can stay away from Habitat and Crazy Wow, he can go with the rest of them," Smedshammer said. Frank Drucker

Meshugana Miss (Crazed) prevailed for the second consecutive Thursday afternoon at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to complete a double on the card for her connections. Chuck Connor Jr. piloted the Janice Connor-trained three year old to a wire-to-wire score in Thursday's $8,250 feature for NY Sired young trotters. Meshugana Miss cruised to victory last week after a pocket ride but didn't waste any time in the Thursday feature coasting out to the early lead from her inside post. The sophomore trotter went the distance in 2:00.3 to match the lifetime mark she set in last week's start. It was the second straight win on the afternoon for Meshugana Miss's connections as Chuck Connor Jr and trainer Janice Connor scored a convincing victory with two year old pacer No Shame Blue Chip (American Ideal) who broke his maiden in 1:58 earlier in the day. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Melissa Simser  

The second edition of the $443,300 Hambletonian Maturity Stake attracted the attention of the fastest trotter in harness racing  history at The Meadowlands when JL Cruze's connections supplemented their Cinderella story purchase for a fee of $50,000. "He's just awesome," said William Dittmar Jr., who co-owns with Kenneth Wood and Stephen Iaquinta, in a post-race interview after JL Cruze's 1:49.4 victory in the Graduate Final. Delaware-based trainer Eric Ell purchased the horse for $37,000 in last year's Harrisburg sale and with the victory on Saturday has earned $396,138 with 15 wins in 17 starts. Just five eligible trotters entered against JL Cruze, but they include Dan Patch Trotter of the Year, the filly Shake It Cerry, who was just a nose back of JL Cruze in the historic 1:49.4 mile, and Dan Patch sophomore trotting colt of the year, Father Patrick, with earnings of $2.5 million lifetime. Both are trained by Jimmy Takter. Also entered are Il Sogno Dream and Resolve, the fourth and fifth place finishers in last year's Hambletonian won by Trixton. The Charlie Beaver-trained Il Sogno Dream will be making his first start at The Meadowlands this year. The son of Cantab Hall was sixth in Northfield Trotting Classic on July 3. Resolve is owned by Hans Enggren, who won the Hambletonian 30 years ago with Prakas and will be seeking a unique double in the Maturity. Resolve is trained and driven by Ake Svanstadt and was third in the Graduate to JL Cruze and Shake It Cerry. Gural Hanover completes the field of six. The hard-knocking son of Crazed hails from the Ron Burke barn, and was timed in 1:50.3 while finishing fourth in last Saturday's Graduate. The Hambletonian Maturity will be raced Saturday, July 18, along with $2.6 million in stakes, anchored by the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ. Created by the Hambletonian Society and the Meadowlands as a racing opportunity solely for 4-year-olds previously eligible to the Hambletonian and Oaks, the inaugural event drew a field of 14 that included the 2013 Oaks winner and Dan Patch Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician and the Hambletonian champion, Royalty For Life. It was won by Your So Vain and Ake Svanstadt. Like the Hambletonian and Oaks, the Maturity racing conditions prohibit the use of Lasix, the only race day medication permitted in New Jersey and entrants are subject to out of competition testing. The distance is a mile and eighth. All starters in the race will receive money, with the winner receiving 50% of the purse. One percent of the total purse will be paid to the owners of the finalist finishing sixth. The remainder of the purse for the Maturity will be divided 50-24 -16-10% for the horses finishing second through fifth. Post positions will be drawn later today. The Meadowlands

After posting wins over Dan Patch Award winner Father Patrick in his previous two starts in preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series, JL Cruze rallied in deep stretch to upend world champion Sebastian K by a nose in 1:51 in Saturday's (July 4) $75,000 Sun Invitational at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The mile equaled the world record for a 4-year-old trotting gelding on a five-eighths-mile track set back in 2014 by Wind Of The North. It was JL Cruze's ninth consecutive win of the season. For the year, he has won 14 of 16 races and captured four winter/spring series championships -- the Super Bowl, Singer Memorial, Shiaway St Pat and Weiss -- for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Stephen Iaquinta. The group purchased JL Cruze for $37,000 at November's Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale. "He doesn't go bad races," said John Campbell, who drives the horse for trainer Eric Ell. "He's raced good each and every time I've raced him, even when he got beat in the wintertime by Opulent Yankee." "He's just gained so much confidence through those series at the Meadowlands and then coming here to Pocono (for the Weiss)" "It's just done wonders for him mentally." "It can't be overstated." "They know when they win or lose, especially when they can win and you're not stressing them." "He just got stronger and stronger with those wins." Sebastian K, making his 2015 debut at the track where last year he trotted 1:49 for the fastest mile in harness racing history, appeared to fight off JL Cruze's stretch bid but JL Cruze found one more gear in the final strides to get to the wire in front. Gural Hanover, who set the early fractions, finished third. "There's no give-up in him," Campbell said. "He's shown me that before. He tries hard right to the wire. I kept right at him and he was able to wear him down right at the wire." As JL Cruze raced through the winter and spring, Campbell began to think the son of Crazed-Topcat Hall could compete against the sport's best. "I really didn't give it a thought until after the second series," Campbell said. "He had gotten so much better and Eric was working with his shoeing and got him really cleaned up with his gait. When he got done with that second series at the Meadowlands and had come here, I was pretty sure he could step up and compete at the next level. "I'm not saying I thought he could beat those type of horses, but I was pretty sure he could compete at that level." Gural Hanover led the field through an opening quarter-mile in :27.1 and was still on top by a nose over Sebastian K when he reached the halfway point in :55.3. Sebastian K, last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter, was able to complete his move to the front, but trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt said "I lost the race there." "I went very fast in that turn, very fast," Svanstedt said. "He was a little tired at the end. It was too tough in the second turn, too fast. "But he did go a good race." Ken Weingartner

It was a big day for harness racing driver Yannick Gingras on Sunday afternoon (June 28) at Harrah's Philadelphia. Gingras had a natural hat trick, winning races 5,6, and 7. He followed that up by sweeping the late pick three and the late double for seven wins on the program. He also swept the co-featured events on Sunday, open affairs both on the pace and trot. In the open trot, it was Gural Hanover (Yannick Gingras) getting his first victory of the year. The 4-year-old son of Crazed was parked out the entire first quarter (:27.4) before clearing the lead. After rating the half (:56.4), he was able to maintain a solid lead throughout. He got three-quarters in 1:24.1, and the final time in 1:53, as he won by three lengths in the end. My Love Bi (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) finished second, while World Cup (Joe Bongiorno) finished third. It was the twelfth career win out of twenty starts for Gural Hanover ($4.40), who is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E LLC, and Panhellenic Stables. In the open pace, it was Brittany Farms and John Cherveny's Allstar Legend (Yannick Gingras) winning his fourth straight. The son of Four Starzzz Shark led the first quarter (:26.1), but was cleared by Doctor Butch (Tim Tetrick) who was three wide around the first turn. Allstar Legend drafted behind this pacesetter through a half in :54.1 and three quarters in 1:21.4 before engaging the leader in the stretch. Allstar Legend went on to win by a length, stopping the clock in 1:50.1 for his seventeenth career win out of sixty-one starts. Doctor Butch was second, while Fancyfreeshark (Allan Davis) finished third. The Ron Burke trainee paid $4.80 to win. Michael Bozich

Harness racing driver Corey Callahan got the jump on Driver of the Week honors, finding the winner's circle five times on Friday night at The Meadowlands. Callahan didn't waste any time, winning the first two year old event of the season at The Meadowlands, with the John Butenschoen trained Ideal Rocky, a Rocknroll Hanover colt that cost $47,000 at the Harrisburg yearling sale. Callahan and Butenschoen would team up again later on the night, winning a condition trotting event with the Currier and Ives winner, Suit and Tie (Andover Hall). The Captain would also go on to score with B Stern (Bettor's Delight) in wire to wire fashion in a condition pacing event for fillies and mares at 13-1. He also guided Beach Story (Somebeachsomewhere) to a strong win in a very tough upper-level condition pacing event for mares and steered Tirade Hanover (Crazed) to a well-meant win in a competitive middle level condition trotting event. With the five wins, Callahan moved into the top-five in the Meadowlands drivers standings. The feature race of the night was the $50,000 TVG Free For All Trot, the third leg in the $1.2 Million series. Obrigado made his debut in the series and he made it a winning one, scoring in impressive fashion in 1:51.3, a lifetime best performance. Last week, Obrigado found himself locked in throughout the mile while crying out for racing room in the stretch, Mark Macdonald made sure that wouldn't happen this time, putting his gelding in the game early. But Obrigado had to work hard early on, parked out by DW's NY Yank, the 9/5 favorite and the two raced in tandem past the quarter in 26.3. Shortly after the trotters turned into the backstretch, Obrigado cleared the lead and it was a lead he would not relinquish. MacDonald effectively backed his trotter down to a 55.3 half mile before reaching three-quarters in 1:25.1, completely a tepid 58.3 middle half-mile. In the stretch, the Boy Band gelding  simply out-sprinted the field, kicking home in 26.2 to complete the triumph. Flanagan Memory rallied to finish second with Melady's Monet overcoming traffic trouble in the stretch to finish third. Obrigado is co-owned by his trainer Paul Kelley, L. Higgins and W. Weaver III. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 survived another night, despite a 15-1 upset and that carryover will be $168,564 into the Saturday program. The last race carryover swelled to $149,836 as well. Racing resumes on Saturday with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

Vernon, N.Y. -- Both brushing to the fore and opening up at will on their respective rivals, Barn Doll ($2.70) and Crazy Wow ($2.30, part of entry) proved dominant in a pair of harness racing  Empire Breeders Classic events for New York-sired 3-year-old trotters on Sunday (June 21) afternoon at Vernon Downs.   The $248,275 Classic for fillies saw Zanna Blu (Yannick Gingras) stride to the early lead past her stablemate Allerage Belle (Jim Morrill, Jr.), with Barn Doll tracking that pair comfortably through a :28 initial quarter. Moving off the clubhouse turn, Jeff Gregory brushed to the fore with the 3-year-old Conway Hall filly, clearing Zanna Blu with no trouble before controlling a :56.2 half mile. Barn Doll accelerated on the far turn through a :27.3 third sectional, leaving her eight rivals well in her wake after edging clear at head-stretch. She ultimately trounced the others, winning by 6-1/4 lengths in 1:52.1. Lock Down Lindy (Tim Tetrick) rallied down the center of the track to take second, while Jewels in Hock (John Cambell) kicked cover off the far turn to finish third.   Trainer Steven Pratt co-owns Barn Doll with Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stables, LLC.   An overflow field of 11 3-year-old colts and geldings contested a $255,325 Classic event, with Crazy Wow overcoming a second-row start to obliterate his competition--and the previous track record for sophomore geldings. Yannick Gingras floated Crazy Wow second-over to follow entrymate Habitat (Jim Morrill, Jr.) to a :26.4 first quarter, continuing on without cover to clear the lead upon exiting the clubhouse turn. The Crazed gelding posted a :56.4 middle half and then edged clear of his entrymate in upper stretch, amassing a 6-1/2 length margin of victory in 1:51.1. Habitat held second, while Fashion Creditor (David Miller) rallied from a third-over trip to take third while well detached of the Ron Burke trainees.   The Our Horse Cents Stables, the JT 45 group, and the J&T Silva Stables, LLC own Crazy Wow, who knocked 1-2/5 seconds off Gym Tan Laundry's 1:52.3 mark for 3-year-old trotting geldings, taken in 2012.   Fireyourguns breaks his own all-age pacing record   Earlier in the 14-race program, Fireyourguns ($2.90) set blistering fractions and held sway from a late-charging JK Panache (Yannick Gingras) to take the $10,000 Open Pace in a track record 1:47.3. The 6-year-old American Ideal remains undefeated on the year in six starts, taking two-fifths of a second off his former mark with Jim Morrill, Jr. in the bike. Double millionaire Golden Receiver, reunited with 2011 World Driving Championship runner-up Corey Callahan, was all-out to chase the pacesetter, holding third. Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   NY Sire Stakes glamour boys contest four undercard events   In addition to the pair of Empire Breeders Classic events and Fireyourguns's track record mile, 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings squared off in a quartet of New York Sire Stakes events, offering a combined purse of $122,400. My Spirit Soars ($5.50, Jim Morrill, Jr., 1:49.3), National Seelster ($8.60, Andy Miller, 1:50.2), A Bettor Hat ($7.30, Morrill, 1:51.3), and Artistic Major ($8.50, Scott Zeron, 1:50.3) proved victorious in their respective races.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (June 26) evening, with post time set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs    

EAST RUTHERFORD (June 19, 2015) - The third leg of the Graduate Series for trotters at The Meadowlands pitted a rematch of JL Cruze vs. Father Patrick, this time for $100,000. Fresh off the upset two weeks ago that sent shockwaves throughout the harness racing sport, JL Cruze was given more respect at the windows Friday night, sent off as the 9/5 second choice. Father Patrick was given the nod as the favorite, despite the narrow loss last-out and post 10 tonight, released as the 1/2 choice. JL Cruze floated off the gate, while Father Patrick did the same, watching many trotters vying for early position to his inside. Around the first turn, JL Cruze sat mid-pack in fifth, with Father Patrick right behind him. The early lead belonged to Gural Hanover, who reached the quarter in 26.4. As the field straightened up on the backstretch, JL Cruze launched his bid for the lead, with Father Patrick hot on his heels and the pair ranged up into contention as JL Cruze cleared the lead going to the half-mile in a sharp 54.1. Father Patrick was left uncovered briefly, but he asserted himself rather quickly and made the lead as the field moved into the far turn. His pilot, Yannick Gingras, let Patrick roll to three quarters in 1:22.3, while Sumata was challenging first over. JL Cruze was locked in the pocket for much of the stretch as Father Patrick reached for the line. But inside the final eighth of a mile, the pylons opened up for JL Cruze and John Campbell guided his trotter through the narrow opening where he sprinted to the wire to defeat Father Patrick in a lifetime best 1:50.4. That clocking also equaled the fastest trotting mile of the season thus far. Resolve rallied to be third from well back. JL Cruze is owned by W Kenneth Wood, W J Dittmar Jr and S J Iaquinta and trained by Eric Ell. The four-year-old Crazed gelding cost just $32,000 at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale in November and has now earned $233,638 this season. Driver John Campbell spoke to how the horse has developed. "Back in February, we knew he was good, but I don't think anyone could have predicted this. But he kept getting stronger as time went on and I knew he could trot with these, but I wasn't sure he could win. But he just keeps getting better." Amazingly, trainer Eric Ell reported that JL Cruze kicked his stall the morning of the second round of the Graduate and he considered scratching the horse. Not only did he race, but he defeated Father Patrick, a feat he accomplished again tonight. The $250,000 Graduate Trot Final will be contested on Meadowlands Pace elimination night, Saturday, July 11th. JL Cruze The third leg for the Graduate pacers was also contested Friday night at The Meadowlands for $100,000. An overloaded field of twelve would go to the post and because of the two trailers, the race was contested at 1 1/8th miles. Rockeyed Optimist, a winner of nine of 10 starts this season was sent off as the odds-on favorite, while Doo Wop Hanover, a winner of the first rounds of the Graduate series was let go at 7/2. Both four year olds are trained by Steve Elliot. The early speed came from the inside as Limelight Beach and Lyonssomewhere blasted to the front, but Rockeyed Optimist was aggressive from his outside post and he would grind into it early on and made the lead past the quarter of 27.1. In the meantime, Doo Wop Hanover never saw the pylons and was allowed to settle into his stride uncovered while racing nearly 10 lengths off the lead as Rockeyed Optimist sprinted past the half-mile in 53.4. At that point, Doo Wop Hanover began to a launch a steady bid for the lead while leading the outer flow, tracked by All Bets Off. Rockeyed Optimist completed three-quarters in 1:22.1 as Doo Wop Hanover continued to close in. As the field straightened away in the stretch, the two Elliot trainees were side by side and they put on a show, pacing through the stretch together, leaving the field behind. Doo Wop Hanover, despite being uncovered throughout the nine furlongs, was able to wear down his stable mate and score a win in a world record clocking for one mile and one eighth, winning in 2:02.3, eclipsing the previous mark of 2:03.1, established by Noble Ability in 1999. All Bets Off checked in third. The four-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover  was sent out by owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. John Campbell swept The Graduate events Friday night and was extremely impressed with the performance of Doo Wop Hanover. "He went a huge trip, but he wasn't working that hard and that was the key. But we were out the whole way and he just kept coming." Both Elliot trainees are being pointed to the $250,000 Graduate Final on Friday, July 3rd. Doo Wop Hanover In other action, Hot List (McArdle) made it back to back victories, both in the form of pylon skimming drives as she won the $28,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace over Iniitowinafortune in a sharp 1:49.4. The win was another on the card for John Campbell who scored a hat trick on the program. The mare is trained by Arnold Marks. The $26,000 Open Trot was won in wire to wire fashion by DW's NY Yank, who led at every pole to score in 1:52.1. Obrigado was locked in the pocket throughout the mile and appeared to have a ton of trot while finishing second. Trainer Ron Burke sent out the winner. DW's NY Yank The $22,800 Cathedra Dot Com Final went to Next Flight Up in a 24-1 upset and she rallied down the center of the racetrack and chased down Oceans Motion, Real Drama and That Woman Hanover to score in 1:50.4 for Brett Miller and trainer Jeff Smith. Next Flight Up Both carryovers in the Jackpot Super Hi-5 lived to fight another day, with the fifth race carryover growing to $162,597 and the last race carryover swelling to $141,004. Total handle for the Friday program yielded a 10-percent increase over the same night in 2014, despite one less race. Racing resumes on Saturday with a 13-race program beginning at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

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