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Last season, Twisted Pretzel was named Trotter of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel after winning thirteen times at the Spa with six of his victories coming in the Open Trot. Although 2018 hasn't been as strong as '17 was thus far for Twisted Pretzel, the veteran trotter did come into Sunday's feature as a three-time winner this season with one victory in the $14,500 Open. On Sunday, Twisted Pretzel (Crazed) drew the rail and went off at odds of 7-2 with Mark Beckwith in the sulky. The eight year old Spa regular took advantage of the inside post in the feature and cruised out to the early lead. After setting fractions in the first lap of 27.3 and 57.1, Twisted Pretzel didn't face his first test until three quarters when longshot Mugshots Bro (Frank Coppola Jr) rolled up first-over to challenge for the lead. Those two battled throughout the final quarter before Twisted Pretzel drew off late to win in 1:55.2, a seasonal best win time for the track's defending top trotter. Mugshots Bro, who won his first career Open two weeks ago, was the runner-up on Sunday while the favored Tropical Storm Bi (Phil Fluet) earned the show spot. Twisted Pretzel paid $9.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $68 and $179.50, respectively, in the six-horse Open. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

It was a monster afternoon for trainer Jose Godinez and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. on Sunday at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Godinez had five trotters in to go on the thirteen race matinee card and had the services of Aldrich for all of them. That top-flight tandem teamed up for four wins on Sunday led by the Godinez stable's top trotter Crazycat. Crazycat (Crazed), who is co-owned by Godinez and Aldrich, is a two-time Open Trot winner this season at Saratoga but after running into a bit of a cold spell, dropped in company on Sunday to compete in a $9,500 conditional trot. Crazycat was the public's even money betting favorite as he toughed-out a first-over victory in 1:55.2. The five year old trotter's win completed a grand slam for his connections as Godinez and Aldrich teamed up for victories with veteran On The Podium and with four year olds Mr Powers and CR Blazin Beauty, the latter who won for the third consecutive week at the Spa. With the big day on Sunday, led by his barn's top highstepper, Godinez moves into second in the local trainer standings. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Twisted Pretzel (Crazed) is enjoying a harness racing career year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. On Sunday, the Scott Mongeon-trained trotter won for the eleventh time on the season. Jimmy Devaux piloted Twisted Pretzel in Sunday's $18,000 Open Trot and positioned him in the pocket behind the favored Up The Alley (Mark Beckwith). Those two drew away from their rivals around the final turn and the seven year old Twisted Pretzel had little difficultly cruising by to win in 1:55. That time serves as a new lifetime mark for Twisted Pretzel who won the Open Trot for the fourth time this season matching Cash Me Out for most among highsteppers. On Sunday, Twisted Pretzel was the 9-5 second choice in the betting and bested the favored Up The Alley who was seeking his second consecutive Sunday score in the feature. Lucid Thoughts (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Twisted Pretzel (Crazed) has been the king of the trotters at Saratoga Casino Hotel this year. The Scott Mongeon trainee has had a breakout harness racing season in his seven year old campaign and on Tuesday night, recorded his third Open Trot win of the year. Jimmy Devaux blasted Twisted Pretzel out from post position eight and made the early lead. After the favorite Smalltownthrowdown (Billy Dobson) yielded the lead to him, Twisted Pretzel got a nice breather in the middle half and reached three quarters in 1:26.4. Up The Alley (Mark Beckwith) took his shot first over and drew nearly even with Twisted Pretzel at one point before the leader held firm and hit the wire first in 1:55.3. Up The Alley finished second while Smalltownthrowdown earned the show spot. It was the tenth victory of the year for Twisted Pretzel who has earned most of his wins either in the Open or Winners Over levels. Because of his post position, Twisted Pretzel was dismissed at odds of 10-1 in Tuesday's winning effort. He led an exacta and triple that paid $107 and $390.50, respectively. Though the year is still young, Twisted Pretzel has certainly become the front-runner for Trotter of the Year at Saratoga. Live racing continues on Wednesday night with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

Twisted Pretzel (Crazed) has been the most consistent trotter all year at Saratoga Casino Hotel and on Sunday, the Scott Mongeon trainee won for the eighth time in 2017. Starting from the outside post in the $14,500 Open Trot, Twisted Pretzel flashed some early speed and wound up situated in fourth in the early going. Jimmy Devaux moved the rising trotting star first over approaching the half and after he took over, Twisted Pretzel took off. Met with the late challenge of the favored Tirade Hanover (Bruce Aldrich Jr), Twisted Pretzel held firm and scored in 1:55.1. The final time served as a new lifetime mark for the seven year old and also matched the fastest time for any trotter this year at Saratoga. Tirade Hanover was a strong second in his local debut while Boli (Wally Hennessey) kept his "on the board" streak alive by finishing third. Twisted Pretzel was dismissed at odds of 9-1 and returned $21.20 to win. The exacta and triple came back $59.50 and $185, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:15pm first post. Mike Sardella

Twisted Pretzel (Crazed) has been one of the top trotters at Saratoga Casino Hotel this harness racing season and on Sunday afternoon won for the seventh time in 2017. The Scott Mongeon trainee has been a force in the Open Trot this season and on Sunday moved into the $15,000 Winners Over. Jimmy Devaux has been the regular driver for Twisted Pretzel who assumed the early lead in the feature. Forced to park out a rival from the start, the race's 8-5 betting favorite clicked off first half fractions of 27.3 and 56.1. The seven year old trotter had plenty left in the tank for the stretch drive as he turned away pocket sitter On The Podium (Bruce Aldrich Jr) en route to victory in 1:55.4. On The Podium was the runner-up while longshot Tropical Storm Bi (Frank Coppola Jr) came on for third. It was win number seven in seventeen seasonal tries for Twisted Pretzel who completed a training double for conditioner Scott Mongeon. Live racing resumes on Tuesday afternoon with an Independence Day matinee set to begin at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Crazy Wow trotted home a harness racing winner in Saturday's $185,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic, dethroning last year's champion Obrigado, and continues to march through the national FFA trotting ranks. The son of Crazed entered the Classic off consecutive victories in the $150,000 Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia and the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot at Scioto Downs, scoring in both by leading his competition from gate to wire. Crazy Wow showed versatility by flying past his competition in a thrilling stretch drive to win by ½-length in 1:52.3. The impressive clocking equaled the all-age trotting track record at Northfield Park. Crazy Wow ($9.40) started from post two and sat second behind Obrigado (Mark MacDonald) through solid fractions of :26.4, :56 and 1:24.1. Race favorite, Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) sustained a strong first-over bid and was slightly in front through the final turn, allowing Crazy Wow enough room to shift to the outside. "The trip worked out perfect. I got to loom the danger the whole way," said winning driver Chris Page. "When I got him out he showed he was a real horse and knew what to do." The race time replaces the 1:53.2 time of 2015 Cleveland Trotting Classic winner Daylon Magician (Jack Moiseyev) as the fastest mile ever on the Flying Turns for a five year-old and up trotting horse, and equaled the all-age Northfield trotting record of Muscle Up The Goal (Aaron Merriman). Saturday's win is Crazy Wow's third win this year and 18th lifetime score, increasing his bankroll to $1,865,064 for owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms and trainer Ron Burke. Completing the $185,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic were Resolve, Obrigado, Maestro Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, Fly Jesse Fly and Will Take Charge. Homicide Hunter was scratched from the event due to sickness. "He (Crazy Wow) is having a great 2017 campaign," explained Page. "I look for a very, very big year from this horse." Ayers Ratliff

Twisted Pretzel (Crazed) won his first career Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Sunday afternoon. The Scott Mongeon-trained seven year old came into the race off back to back victories and was assigned post position two in the $13,000 feature. Invader J A T O (Stephane Bouchard) moved out to the early lead and held that advantage until turning for home. That's when Twisted Pretzel stepped on the gas and powered past J A T O en route to his sixth win of the season. Jimmy Devaux piloted the trotter to each of his three most recent scores. The race's favorite Boli (Wally Hennessey) came flying in the stretch but was too late to get the job done and had to settle for second while J A T O held to settle for third. Twisted Pretzel, whose win came in 1:55.3, paid $19.60 in the upset. The exacta and triple came back $74.50 and $207, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a matinee set to begin at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

East Rutherford, NJ - A field of seven Preferred trotters racing for a purse of $20,000 head up a ten race program at The Meadowlands on Friday evening to officially kick off Belmont Stakes weekend.   The draw for post positions in the Preferred was done in handicap fashion with the stronger horses relegated to posts five, six and seven. Gural Hanover landed in the open outside post seven and has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite.   Relatively lightly raced but always effective, the six-year-old gelded son of Crazed makes but his fiftieth career start and will eclipse $850,000 in earnings for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E, LLC and Panhellenic Stable Corp with a win on Friday. Currently in top form, Gural Hanover took a new mark of 1:51 in this class just a week ago. Jordan Stratton will drive for trainer Ron Burke.   A pair of battle tested warriors in Not Afraid (PP #5 Jim Marohn, Jr) and B Yoyo (PP #6 Joe Bongiorno) are the greatest threat to the favorite. Both have been competitive at a high level for quite some time, particularly Not Afraid who won the Dexter Cup way back in 2012 and is inching in on $1 million in career earnings for the Takters.   Poker and free baseball tickets are on tap for Friday night and the dinner theme in Pink is German food.   It's a weekend full of wonder with both the 2nd annual Burger Battle and BeerFest both scheduled for Saturday. Come early and stay late.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi          

DOVER, Del.--- Gural Hanover came out of third as the nine-horse harness racing field swung for home and hustled home in 1:54.3 to win the $21,000 Open Handicap trot Wednesday, March 22 at Dover Downs. Hollywood Highway notched his third win of the season in the $15,000 secondary feature. Tony Morgan scored his second straight four-win day. Morgan was contend to wait in third as Tough Mac (Corey Callahan) led from the start with Wind Of The North (Sean Bier) second until the final turn when Gural Hanover went into action to quickly take the lead as Sean Bier backed out to give chase in the lane. Gural Hanover and Morgan were best in the stretch for the Crazed-Givemearing gelding won for the first time this year in his second start for trainer Ron Burke and owners Little E &Panhellenic and Burke Racing. It was win number 15 for the six-year-old who now has won $797,074 in his career. Wind Of The North finished second with Il Mago (Jonathan Roberts) third. Tom Dillon's Hollywood Highway scored a wire-to-wire 1:56 success in a $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over trot with Tim Tetrick at the controls. Celebrity Pegasus (Art Stafford Jr.) sat outside of the winner from mid-backstretch until the late in the homestretch/ Bluebird Reverend (Montrell Teague) closed strongly to finish third in the photo finish. The victory was the third in five 2017 appearances for the Muscle Massive-LA Freeway gelding who now has won $185,519 lifetime. Owner-trainer Bobby Glassmeyer's Streamsong came on in the stretch to record a 1:56.1 triumph in another $13,500 trot for young horses. United Bi (George Dennis) was placed second with Cindy Lane (Allan Davis) placed third after Marley's Guy (Tetrick), who was second across the wire, was disqualified for interference. For the second consecutive day, Morgan, who drove four trotters to victory, won four races. Art Stafford Jr., Tim Tetrick and Corey Callahan had two wins each. LIMELIGHT BEACH IN PREFERRED, EMERITUS MAXIMUS, DELAWARE SPECIAL, THURSDAY HEADLINERS Limelight Beach, last week’s $30,000 Preferred winner and Emeritus Maximus, looking for a fourth straight $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap headline another standout Thursday card at Dover Downs on March 23. First Post is 4:30 p.m. In the Preferred Handicap, Ross Wolfenden get the driving assignment behind Weaver Bruscemi, M1, Wingfield Bros. and Burke Racing’s $1.2-million winner Limelight Beach who again will leave from outside post 7.Mildred Ventriglio’s Major Uptrend and Tony Morgan, led until the final stride and finished second last Thursday with Mike Casalino and trainer Dylan Davis’ Jet Airway, handled by Corey Callahan was a length back in third. Rockeyed Optimist, owned by Perretti, Berkner, Battaglia and A&B Stable, was the race favorite a week ago with Tim Tetrick in the bike. Gary Ewing excellent New Year’s claim, Star Messenger, and Art Stafford Jr., steps up after a win last time. Henderson Farms’ Bushwacker, with Montrell Teague, should be a major factor, starting from post 1. Bad Gamer, racing for owners Yannick Gingras and trainer Ed Gannon Jr. is alongside.   Nine start in this week’s $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap. Emeritus Maximus seeks to continue s rags-to-riches story of from claimer to top class winner. Yannick Gingras will drive the winner of seven races and the last three-in-a-row for Don Marine and Brent Hall from outside post 7. Leading the opposition is Art Stafford and trainer-driver Art Stafford Jr.’s Blazing Bobby Sox strong closer who was last week’s event winner. Reg Hazzard, G.F. Calloway and Legacy Racing’s Sweet Rock has been a close second in his last two efforts with Allan Davis. Josh Green’s Poisonous (Ross Wolfenden) stepped up in class last week and was a strong third. The fast Remember Me VK, who fashioned a 1:50 win in January with Montrell Teague has won three of his last seven races for owners Sharon Wyatt, Robin West an Ron Benton. Im Supersonic A, racing for the Bier brothers, Daryl and driver Sean Bier, leaves from the rail.  In $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Male pace action, Rich Standsbury’s All The Cookies (Gingras) a winner of his last two straight; Bill Mears and Janine McIlvain’s Time Out I’m Tired (Morgan) and L&L Stables’ Velocity Stifler (Tetrick), both winners last time out, lead one sections. Owner-trainer Ben Stafford’s Cloud Speed (Vic Kirby) and Robbins Nest Farm’s Gallic Beach (Callahan), also fresh from wins, head a second division. The final section is led by Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms’ Big Place (Stafford Jr.) and David Miller’s Fashionbythebeach (Vince Copeland) heading a hard-hitting undercard. Monday through Thursday live racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are ‘dark days’ at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

Undercover Beauty (Crazed) prevailed in Monday's feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The trotting mare completed a training double for conditioner Andy Gardner on the holiday matinee card as she came from off the pace to secure her first victory of the season. Undercover Beauty, who paid $15.80 to win while springing the mild upset, was driven to victory by Billy Dobson who followed up his opening day hat trick with another three win afternoon on Monday. The four year old mare Undercover Beauty stopped the timer in 1:58.2 in the matinee's $8,025 feature for New York sired trotters. Dobson, who rattled off five consecutive driving titles at Saratoga from 2010-2014, is off to a strong start to the '17 season with his six wins on opening weekend. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

World Champion Crazed will move to Ontario starting with the 2017 harness racing breeding season and will stand at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry. The million dollar-winning, World Champion son of Credit Winner stood at Blue Chip Farms in New York prior to his move, where he produced numerous New York Sire Stakes champions and Grand Circuit stars such as Crazy Wow 3,1:51.1 ($1,530,804), World Champion JL Cruze 4,1:49.4 ($881,011), and Gural Hanover 4,1:51.3 ($784,974). David Reid, Crazed Syndicate manager, said the move to Ontario offers a terrific opportunity┬Ł for both shareholders and breeders, as Crazed has all the necessary credentials to succeed in the marketplace. Crazed is a proven producer of high-caliber trotters, and being a lovely son of Credit Winner allows him to take advantage of the abundance of Kadabra, Balanced Image and Angus Hall-line mares,┬Ł Reid said. The Ontario program is definitely moving back in the right direction. It offers future stability, a lucrative sires stakes program and healthy breeders awards. Crazed will stand for a stud fee of $4,000. For more information, or to book your mare for the coming season, please contact David Heffering at Tara Hills Stud (905) 985-7770 or David Reid at Preferred Equine Marketing (914) 773-7777. Crazed Syndicate

DAYTON, OH. - For the second straight week, Insomniac was wide awake when starter Mike Woebkenberg called the "Trick or Treat" Open trotters to the gate at Hollywood Dayton Raceway during a Halloween harness racing matinee. The 4-year-old son of Crazed-Catch Some Zs' eyes were bulging through his bridle when trainer-driver Brady Galliers sent him quickly on his way from the word go. Outsprinting Atlas Peak (Sandy Beatty) to gain control an eighth of a mile into the race, Insomniac yielded to Rockn Stien (Josh Sutton) just past the opening :28 panel. Content to sit in the pocket around the second turn, with the half clocked in :56, the winner was aggressively move back out to challenge before the 1:24.4 three-quarters and cleared Rockn Stien with relative ease. With Atlas Peak angling out to challenge in the stretch and Rockn Stien trying to fight back inside, Insomniac cruised home in :29.2 to hold the challengers at bay by a length in 1:54.1. Rockn Stien and Atlas Peak couldn't be separated in a photo finish for second and thus shared the place and show dividends in the $15,000 race. Gregg Keidel  

DAYTON, OH. - Insomniac, with 20-year-old Brady Galliers at the controls, upset a talented field of trotters on Monday afternoon at Hollywood Dayton Raceway, copping the weekly $15,000 featured Open harness racing event in 1:54.4. The 4-year-old son of Crazed left alertly and dropped into the two-hole behind Revenue Agent (Peter Wrenn) through early panels of :27 and :55.4. Eased out down the backstretch, Insomniac stuck a nose in front at the 1:24.3 three-quarters, then pulled away from his adversaries in deep stretch to garner his second local win in four tries. Dispatched at odds of 9-1, the winner returned $20.00 for a $2 ticket. Revenue Agent held for second at 11-1 odds and fellow 14-1 longshot Atlas Peak (Sandy Beatty) benefitted from a ground-saving trip to secure the show spot. Owned by Galliers Racing LLC, Insomniac eased past the $75,000 seasonal earnings plateau with the victory, and now sports a $216,729 career bankroll. Gregg Keidel  

'It's a pleasure when you have something between the shafts", were the first words out of harness racing driver Alan Schwartz's mouth upon his return to the paddock after driving Linda Marie to a new lifetime record winning the first leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's (NAADA) three track Fall Trotting Series in 1:58.1 at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, September 22. After starting from the three-hole Schwartz hustled the 5-year-old Crazed mare to the lead when the starting judge said "go" and while still on the first turn allowed Bob Hechkoff to take command with Trotalot. Both drivers were aided in their quest for victory when the betting favorite, Here Comes Numbers (John Kokinos), went off stride at the start. After Schwartz grabbed leather and allowed Hechkoff to show the way they then raced one-two by the first stanza in :28.4. The order remained the same past the half in :59.2 and at the third stanza Schwartz had Linda Marie tight on Hechkoff's back. "I had a handful of horse as we shadowed Hechkoff and on the final turn she wanted to go so I moved her off the pylons," Schwartz related. "Once she saw daylight I just let her ramble and she ranged alongside Trotalot as we headed for home. "Then in the lane, when I tried to pull the ear plugs, they got stuck but it didn't matter. She (Linda Marie) was in high gear and she trotted on to an easy victory. Schwartz wasn't lying. Linda Marie trotted the last quarter in :28.3 en route to her third seasonal victory. Trotalot was second with Imacrazynewyorker getting up for the show dough, albeit 11 lengths behind the winner. Linda Marie is owned and trained by Jimmy Doherty Jr. She paid $7.20 for win. For Schwartz, it was his 572nd driving victory, the most of any active amateur driver. The international amateur driving club kicked off its three-track fall series here at the Mighty M with races to follow at Yonkers Raceway and Freehold Raceway. The NAADA Trot Series will culminate with a $15,000 final at Yonkers on November 3rd. by John Manzi for NAADA

Scarborough, Maine (August 26, 2016) ... On what, at first glance, appeared a rather pedestrian Scarborough Downs harness racing program, speed quickly became the order of the day as two trotting records for four-year-old trotters were rewritten in impressive style during the course of the Friday (8/26) twilight performance. Tango Pirate, a recent Saratoga import who was up in class off a dominant win last weekend, charged hard from the gate in the opening event with Dan Deslandes calling the shots from the sulky. The duo were never seriously challenged throughout the mile, gliding to victory in a sterling 1:58.1 and eclipsing the previous four-year-old gelding benchmark of 1:58.2 which was established by Names Muscle just five weeks prior. Tango Pirate, the son of Crazed-Celia Bleue is owned and trained by Eddie Fournier, Jr of Auburn, Maine. The standard for four-year-old mares was also lowered later on the Friday card with Cherry Crown Jewel and driver Mark Athearn grinding their way to a torrid 1:57.4 score while demolishing the previous track record of 1:58.3 set almost one year ago to the day by Bryan's Angel. Trained by Athearn's wife Gretchen, the daughter of RC Royalty-Nowerland Kristen is owned by William Phipps of Yarmouth, Maine. Scarborough Downs features live harness racing with twilight cards on Friday and Saturday with post time at 4:30 PM (EDT). The Sunday matinees get underway at 1:30 PM. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs           #      

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