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Forest Lake, MN - Voting took place at the MHRI Annual meeting and Banquet on Saturday, 22 at Vanelli's by the Lake in Forest Lake, MN and MD Magic was chosen as the 2019 Horse of the Year in the sport of harness racing in Minnesota.   MD Magic also took home the hardware as the Champion sophomore male trotter for 2019. The talented gelded son of Braggart is out of the Striking Sahbra mare Magical Debut, and is owned by Set The Pace Racing LLC and trained and driven by Nick Roland.   After picking up honors as the two year old colt trotter of the year in 2018 with 9 wins in eleven starts and setting a seasonal earnings record in the Minnesota program, MD Magic returned to the races in early May of 2019 with an easy qualifying win in 2:05.1 followed by a 2:01.4 victory in a 3 year old open to get his sophomore season rolling in style.   MD Magic made a habit of turning in dramatic performances throughout his 2019 campaign - winning going away (in 2:00.1) from post 10 in the second tier in a $16,000 3 year old MN event on June 23 was one example, but even more dramatic were 3 occasions (July 28, August 18 and September 8) where MD Magic appeared to be hopelessly blocked with no racing room, yet perfect timing and patient handling from trainer/driver Nick Roland got the dynamic duo to the Winner's Circle time and time again.   MD Magic was unbeatable in July and August in 4 starts, and closed out his Running Aces season strong in September as well with a win and two close seconds from three outings. His final tally for 2019 was 16 starts, 7 wins, 4 seconds and 1 third with a mark of 1:59.2 and earnings of $74,950 - yet another seasonal earnings record for the Minnesota program.   Shortly after the banquet festivities, I caught up with Jessica Johnson, one of the principals of Set The Pace Racing (along with Ken Stauffer) and here's what I learned about her star trotter:   "Magic is probably the star of the barn/stable amongst all of the caretakers/owners and guests, and it's not just because he is talented and successful, it's his personality - he loves people and he loves treats, if you are within his reach he will reach out to you and pull you over to him to give him attention and beg you for carrots or treats" Johnson also stated that he loves his outdoor time in the paddock where he runs and jumps and plays. An additional testament to his docile temperament is the fact that when it comes time to give barn guests/race fans a ride on the track in the two-seater jog cart, it's often Magic that is chosen to do so.   One surprising tidbit that Jessica shared is that they (herself, trainer Nick Roland and staff) were not particularly keen on MD Magic's abilities early on, he just seemed average at best during his early work as a freshman, but she said "that all changed after his first qualifying race where he really showed a hint of his abilities" and he indeed continued to show that throughout his two year old season, racking up nine wins in eleven starts. Johnson also added that MD Magic " doesn't require alot of intense training to stay in top racing form, he mostly puts in lots of slow methodical miles to stay in shape, and he benefits from weekly visits from the chiropractor. "   In addition, Johnson expressed that they are beyond thrilled at the Horse of the Year award and stated "we were not expecting this, but are so honored that our fellow horsemen find him to be as special as we do. "   When I asked what we might expect to see from MD Magic as a 4 year old in 2020 Johnson responded by saying " he owes us nothing, but I do know he loves his job, we are just excited to be a part of the horse he continues to grow to be. "   MD Magic, with his $145,250 in the bank is now the most successful offspring of the sire Braggart ($350,949) who took a 3 year old mark of 1:55f in 2009. Glen Sauder of Withee, Wisconsin is the breeder of record for MD Magic, and is the current owner of his sire Braggart.   By Darin Gagne, for Minnesota Harness Racing

On the strength of his second consecutive harness racing record-setting year MD Magic grabs the headline heading into this Saturday's (Feb 22) Annual MHRI meeting and Awards Banquet.   MD Magic will pick up the hardware as the 3 year old colt Trotter of the Year for 2019 with seven wins in sixteen starts and a new record of $74,950 earned in a single season in the Minnesota program. He was the first horse to break the $70,000 barrier when he recorded earnings of $70,300 as the freshman champion in 2018. The talented son of Braggart is owned by Set The Pace Racing and trained and driven by Nick Roland. Major Al Mar (G,M & J Wilson/Alexia Kehl) is the runner-up award winner in the category.   Three year old colt Pacer of the year will go to SB Bodacious (Mikaela Del Giudice/Rick Magee) with runner up Burning Blaze (A,C Sandbulte & E Gutin/Justin Anfinson). On the females side of the sophomore awards it will be pacing filly Windmeupnwatchmego (Richard Davelaar/Gordon Graham) for the top award, with Sweet Vivian (Timothy Lems/Robert Lems) as runner-up. Al Mar Humdinger (Aimes Racing/Elvin Zimmerman) and Lone Pine Shuzy (Wendy Haberburg) will share the award as 3 year old trotting filly of the year.   The two year old filly Trotter of the year goes to Double My Dekker (J,B & E De Long/Justin Anfinson) with Susie's Sister (Lynchris, LLC/Don Harmon) as runner-up. Freshman colt trotter of the year is Hearduwhispermynam (Jenni King) and the runner up award goes to Trotterlicious (Rick Bertrand).   Freshman pacing awards will go to fillies Catchmeinadream (Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte/Justin Anfinson) and Huftalookatdatfany (Van Oterloo Stables/Gordon Graham) as runner-up. The winning freshman colts are Bunkerhill Phil (Gene Miller) and Alright Frankie (J J, A P, K M De Long & T J Carrey/Justin Anfinson) is the runner-up.   The 4 year old & up award winners include All Mar Bon Bon (Cara Hauser/Alexia Kehl) as champion trotting mare with Al Mar Reba Babe (Richard Davis) as runner-up, while Bringoverthemoney (Joshua Horvat/David Ginter) scores the win as top aged male trotter over runner-up French Eclipse (Jenni King). Place N First (Jenni King) is the winner for aged pacing mares with Peekaboo Tattoo (Fabiola Quevedo/Edwin Quevedo) as runner-up, and the final divisional category goes to DeweydiddoneGood (Fredi Herrera/Edwin Quevedo) as top aged male pacer with Buzz Light (Cathy & Bill Dessert/Nick Roland) as the runner-up.   Awards will also be presented for the top performers at the Minnesota Fairs in 2019, with Double My Dekker (J, B, E De Long/Justin Anfinson) as the fairs Trotter of the Year and The Boss' Wife (Cathy Dessert, Set The Pace Racing/Nick Roland) picking up the hardware as the 2019 fairs Pacer of the Year. Brian Detgen will take the fairs Driver of the Year award for the second year in a row and Justin Anfinson is the 2019 fairs Trainer of the Year.   The 2019 Minnesota Harness Racing awards will be presented this Saturday (Feb 22) at the MHRI Annual meeting and Banquet, at Vanelli's by the Lake in Forest Lake, Minn. Check in time starts at 1 pm for the Annual meetings, with Cocktail hour begining at 4 pm followed by Dinner and Awards. There will be a traditional Banquet Raffle as well as a Live Stallion Auction. Banquet attendees will get the chance to nominate and vote for 2019 Minnesota Harness Racing Horse of the Year.   by Darin Gagne, for the Minnesota Harness Racing Industry    

Running Aces management is happy to announce that stall applications for the 2020 live harness racing season are now available, and are due by March 15. Applications may be downloaded from the Running Aces website, or can be accessed by the direct link below.   The 2020 season at Running Aces will open on Saturday, May 16 and run through Sunday, September 13, with a total of 55 Live Racing nights, which will be the most to date in track history.   In addition to the added race dates, other notable changes for 2020 include 6:00 pm post times for all racing nights and the addition of 3 Friday race cards in the month of July. Qualifiers will be scheduled for mornings and the Annual Minnesota Night of Champions will be held on Saturday, September 12 on closing weekend, but for the first time that will not be closing night as the final Live Racing card of the Running Aces season will take place on Sunday, September 13.   Stall Allocations are projected to be posted on April 6. The backstretch/ stable area will open on May 1.   For more information or questions about stalls for 2020 at Running Aces, please contact Race Secretary Nancy Byrge via email at nbyrge@runaces.com or Ben Blum at bblum@runaces.com.   The 2020 Stall Application can be found here: https://www.runaces.com/sites/default/files/stall_application_2020.pdf   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces  

On Saturday (Feb 22) Minnesota Harness Racing, Inc. will bestow it's highest honor upon one of the most prolific and successful pacers to ever compete in the land of 10,000 lakes when the gelding Restless Yankee is installed into the equine Hall of Fame at the MHRI Annual meeting and Banquet in Forest Lake, Minn.   The now 13 year old honoree is a prodigy of Relentless Yankee and is out of the Big Towner mare Towner's Love Dove. He was bred by Ronald Emerson of Iowa and began his career under the tutelage of Emerson and ownership partner Mark Holtan, before training duties were turned over to Robert Lems of South Dakota, Lems would handle the conditioning duties for the talented Pacer over most of his career, and Robert Lems, along with his son Ryan Lems would also become the owners of Restless Yankee for several years.   Restless Yankee had success right out of the gate, and won his very first race at the Humboldt, Iowa fair before invading the Minnesota oval with back-to-back wins in 2 year old events. The early success for Restless Yankee quickly proved to be no fluke, as he continued to make frequent trips to the Winner's Circle year after year.   He was the 3 year old colt Minnesota state Champion Pacer of 2010, and the 4 year olds & up state Champion in both 2011 and 2012. He won races at Running Aces each and every year from 2009 through 2016, an amazing feat in itself, but far more impressive is the cumulative number of those Running Aces victories, which stands at 34. That is correct - 34 wins at Running Aces which is a record number that quite possibly may never be beaten.   Restless Yankee also set the all-age Track Record at Running Aces on June 12, 2012 with a 1:51.2 dominating victory with Nick Roland in the bike. That performance shaved 3/5 of a second off of the previous track record and remained fastest for two years.   In addition to all of his success in Minnesota at Running Aces, Restless Yankee was also well traveled and displayed his pacing talents with victories all over the United States, from Iowa to Florida and all along the east coast too, he racked up wins at Prairie Meadows, Maywood, Saratoga, Dover, Harrington, Pompano and took a 1:50.3 mark at Vernon Downs in 2014 in a Miracle Mile event and has 53 career wins from 195 starts, with 27 seconds and 27 thirds and $303,809 in the bank.   The Hall of Fame Induction will be one of the highlights of the MHRI Annual meeting and Banquet at Vanelli's by the Lake on Saturday (Feb 22) with check-in starting at 1pm and Hall of Fame induction at approximately 4:30 pm, followed by dinner and divisional awards. You still have time to come out and join the celebration this Saturday. For more information about attending the Banquet, contact MHRI Executive Secretary Patty Strand at: patti.strand@mnharness.com.   By Darin Gagne, for Minnesota Harness Racing

Columbus, MN - The annual Minnesota Harness Racing Awards Banquet is fast approaching and excitement is in the air as we get ready to crown the champion trotters and pacers from the 2019 season. The big event is slated for Saturday, February 22 with a full day of events beginning with Check-in from 1-2 pm followed by the MHRI Annual meeting and reports. Cocktail hour will begin at 4 pm followed by Dinner.   The divisional awards presentation will get underway at 6:15 pm.   For the second year in a row, the MHRI Banquet will take place at Vanelli's by the Lake in Forest Lake, MN which is just a few miles and 5 minutes away from Running Aces.   This year, in addition to the customary reports on MHRI business, and reports from the MRC (Minnesota Racing Commission) as well as principals from Running Aces and neighboring Wisconsin and Iowa Harness Racing, we will have the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Ivan Axelrod as our guest speaker.   MHRI will honor divisional champions in twelve categories as the Champions of 2019, and voting will take place amongst the banquet attendees as to the overall 2019 Minnesota Harness Horse of the year: the floor will be opened up for nominees followed directly by balloting for the distinct honor of 2019 MHRI Horse of The Year. In addition to the divisional champions, MHRI will also honor the runner-up in each category as well.   Also on tap will be the traditional MHRI Banquet raffle and the Live stallion auction to close out the evening.   For more information about the 2020 MHRI Annual Banquet and Meeting, please contact MHRI Executive Secretary Patty Strand via email at: patty.strand@mnharness.com   We hope to see you all there on Saturday, Feb 22.   By Darin Gagne, for Minnesota Harness Racing

Columbus, MN - Running Aces closed out it's 2019 live harness racing season with a bang on Saturday night (September 14), hosting the track's annual Night of Champions program which featured some strong numbers, first in the form of record purses of $543,500 - the richest harness racing card in the states history, and 111 Minnesota-Sired horses participating in the historic card, also a new record.   The strong closing night numbers were icing on the cake for another successful season at the Minnesota track, for the fifth consecutive year, a new record was set for total wagering on the tracks live racing product.   The large and enthusiastic on-track crowd was treated to some great racing throughout the night, dominated by many impressive favorites delivering as expected, but the night was not without some upset winners, too.   Burning Blaze turned in another ultra-impressive performance in the $40,000 three year old colts & geldings pace, with a gate-to-wire win in 1:55.2 with Steve Wiseman in the sulky, easily dominating over some very strong competition. This was back-to-back Championship titles for the 2018 Minnesota Harness horse of the year, who struggled somewhat during the early stages of his sophomore campaign, but returned to his best form over the past two months.   Burning Blaze was favored at 3-5 in the wagering and returned $3.40 for every $2.00 ticket. The winning margin was 2-3/4 lengths over Trump Train (Don Harmon) and SB Bodacious (Rick Magee). The winning owners are Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte and Edward Gutin, and the winning trainer is Justin Anfinson.   Bunkerhill Phil turned an impressive win of his own in the $50,000 two year old colts & geldings pace, to pick up his tenth win of the season and pace to a new lifetime mark in 1:56.1 with driver Don Harmon in the bike, they did it the hard way with a tough first-over trip for more than five-eighths of the mile. Get My Good Side (Steve Wiseman) rallied for second money, while Dubberyoo (Dean Magee) was home in third.   Bunkerhill Phil was the heavy favorite and returned $2.80 on top. The impressive gelding is owned and trained by Mr. Gene Miller.   Susie's Sister ($2.80) and driver Don Harmon dominated the $50,000 two year old filly trot as expected, turning in a 1:59.1 track record performance with her ninth career win in thirteen outings. The impressive filly by Claudius Augustus is owned by Lynchris, LLC and is trained by Don Harmon. Teachmehowtotory (Nick Roland) was by far the best of the rest in the record mile, while Double My Decker (Rick Magee) got home third.   Watchmeneighneigh provided the longshot players with a late-card delight in the penultimate race of the season, scoring a sharp closing win in a career best mile of 1:53 at no less than 57-1 on the board, in the $40,000 three year old colts & geldings pace. Driver Dean Magee worked out a perfect second-over trip and tipped wide into the lane with plenty of pace to get up right on the wire and upset heavily favored Stuckey Dote in a thrilling finish, with Deweydiddonegood (Mooney Svendsen) an impressive third.   The winning tickets on Watchmeneighneigh picked up $117.00 for every $2.00 bet.   The Championship victory was career win number eight for the gelded son of Voracious Hanover, and boosted his career bankroll to $89,045 for owner/breeder Richard Davelaar. The winning trainer is Gordon Graham.   Other repeat Champions were: Twilight Tinker (2:01.1), Al Mar Reba Babe (1:56.4), Windmeupnwatchmego (1:55.3), French Eclipse (1:57.2), and Place N First (1:55).   Other first time Champions were: Ice Storm (1:59.1), Hearduwhispermynam (2:01.2), and Huftalookatdatfany (1:58.4)   Trainer Gordon Graham had four winners on the Night of Champions program.   Owner/Trainer Jenni King sent out three winners on the historic night.   Driver Dean Magee was recognized as the the Leading Driver of the season, picking up three Championship victories on Saturday for a grand total of 87 wins for the meet and his third Leading Driver title at Running Aces, and trainer Kathleen Plested was honored as the Leading Trainer of the 2019 season with 40 wins to post her third consecutive title in a row at Running Aces.   Drivers Nick Roland, Don Harmon, Rick Magee and Steve Wiseman all had two wins on the Night of Champions card.   Running Aces offers year round action with Simulcast Racing 11 am to Midnight everyday and Casino action 24/7. Live Racing will return in May of next year. Visit RunAces.com for information about upcoming events.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces                           

Columbus, MN - A total of 111 Minnesota-Sired horses have been carded over fourteen races for the 2019 Night of Champions program at Running Aces, a number that is a testament to the continued growth of the Minnesota harness racing program. The total purses on Night of Champions is $543,500 which is a record amount, by a large margin and also indicates the success of Minnesota harness racing and the success of Running Aces as a growing multi-faceted Casino, Racing and Entertainment destination. Heading up the Night of Champions program is MD Magic, who was the dominant two year old male trotter in Minnesota last season, and set a record for single-season earnings in the Minnesota program with his $70,300 in freshman purses earned. MD Magic (post #3 in his final) has a big chance to re-write that record again this year as he heads into Saturday night's program with 2019 earnings of $62,550 and will be the favorite to win his $40,000 Championship race. MD Magic is owned by Set The Pace Racing, LLC and is trained and driven by Nick Roland, he has been posted as the 6-5 morning line favorite. The $40,000 Minnesota-Sired three year old colts & geldings pace event will feature eight talented starters and is headlined by 2018 Minnesota Horse of The Year Burning Blaze (Steve Wiseman) who is also looking for his second consecutive championship title and comes into this year's title event with eleven wins in twenty-two career starts and $97,220 in purse earnings, He is the 2-1 morning line favorite from post three. Also among the favorites in the eight horse field will be SB Bodacious, set at 5-2 on the morning line from post four for Trainer/Driver Rick Magee, who leads the division in seasonal earnings ($46,311) and is coming in fresh off a recent 1:55.1 win, and has the fastest winning mile of the year in the group (1:52.2). The $40,000 three year old filly pace has 9 starters and is headlined by last year's two year old champion filly Windmeupnwatchmego (post three,Dean Magee) who shows six wins in nine outings this year, and twelve career wins in just seventeen starts, is the 5-2 favorite on the line, and her chief rival in this group will be Sweet Vivian (post one, Mooney Svendsen) who has won three races this year, and has hit the board in the top three in twelve of seventeen races as a sophomore, she is listed at 3-1. The $50,000 two year old filly Trot Championship has a field on nine and features both of the current track record holders in the category with (#2) Susie's Sister (Don Harmon) being installed as the 8-5 favorite from post position 1, and co-record holder (#8) SB Madam Secretary (Darrell Wright) billed as the 3-1 second choice from post eight. The $50,000 two year old colts & geldings pace is headlined by the very sharp freshman Bunkerhill Phil, who has dominated the division for most of the year and has nine wins in twelve starts at Running Aces to claim the title of the winningest horse of the season. Bunkerhill Phil is driven by Don Harmon, and has been installed as the 6-5 favorite from post three in the nine horse field. The $40,000 four year olds & up pace event promises to be an exciting contest, with last year's champion (#7) Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee) back at Running Aces and in top form to defend his title, and (#1) Whatchyastarinat (Don Harmon) poised for battle after a huge effort in the Open Pace on Sunday night, finishing a close second in the fastest mile ever at Running Aces (1:50.1). Stuckey Dote is the 9-5 favorite on the morning line, while Whatchyastarinat has been installed as second choice at 5-2. The other Championship events promise to be exciting contests as well, the overall card of races is by far the best and most competitive group of horses we have ever seen on Finals night, we are excited to see the races unfold and she which Minnesota-Sired Trotters and Pacers shine brightest on the biggest night of the year. The 20 cent Pick-5 wager will comprise the last 5 races of the night, and features full competitive fields and a $20,000 Guaranteed Pool, as well as a carryover of $8,139.20. Last year's Night of Champions Pick-5 pool exceeded $50,000. There will be Mandatory Payouts in all pools on Saturday night. The entire Night of Champions card will be broadcast live from the track apron, with Track Announcer Darin Gagne, and special guests Rod Allums, Jr, Mike Pribozie, and Ray Cotolo of NAHUpicks.com, as well as Ken Terpenning from Harness Racing Replays 2.0. In addition to traditional race analysis and handicapping, the team will provide additional content such as interviews and biographical information. Fans will have many chances to win prizes during the program, with losing ticket drawings being held between races from the broadcast table. Prizes will range from hats to Running Aces gifts and promotional items, to dining certificates and betting vouchers. Post time for the 12 race betting card is 6 pm (Central), and there are two undercard (non-wagering) races starting at 5:10 pm. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces    

Columbus, MN - Running Aces is announcing a $20,000 Guaranteed Pool in the 20 cent Pick-5 on the Saturday night (September 14) harness racing program. The Pick-5, along with all other wagering pools on Saturday will be subject to Mandatory Payouts, as the Minnesota oval is closing out the 2019 season with its annual Night of Champions program, featuring a record of over $543,000 in purses. The 20 cent Pick-5 sequence has a carryover of $8,139.20 and will encompass four divisional Championship races and one Championship consolation event, and the sequence, which covers the last five races in the twelve race betting program, features full and competitive fields. Last year's Night of Champions program saw the Pick-5 pool generate over $50,000 in new wagers, while there was a $41,000 carryover pool. Post time for the Night of Champions main betting program is 6:00 pm Central, while there are also two early non-wagering events starting at 5:10 pm. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The Tuesday night (September 10) harness racing program at Running Aces featured a trio of Open Handicap pacing events, one for Mares, one for Horses & Geldings, and one for two year olds.   The $14,000 Horses & Geldings Open was an action-packed affair with Firedrake (Nick Roland) firing fastest off the gate to the early lead before releasing the front to Top Notch (Rick Magee) who was immediately confronted by Who'szoomingwho (Darrell Wright) who took over the front just before the half mile in a solid :56.1.   Who'szoomingwho dominated the affair from there, and withstood strong pressure from Skim The Top (Don Harmon) throughout the final half. Firedrake angled out near the three quarters and was charging hard outside at the wire but ran out of racetrack to fall a half-length short of the leader as they crossed the line in 1:52.3. Skim The Top fought hard to the wire as well to check in third and was only beaten by 3/4 of a length.   Who'szoomingwho ($12.60) is an 8 year old gelded son of Palone Ranger, and out of the No Pan Intended mare Southwind Tiki, he is owned by Mariah Wright and trained by Darrell Wright.   The $15,000 Mares Open Pace went to Amasa Arion ($4.20, Rick Magee) who converted a perfect pocket-trip into a new lifetime mark in 1:52.4 for Owner Kristy Casagranda and Trainer Rick Magee. The ultra-sharp 4 year old daughter of Western Thorn has now won eight of eleven starts this year, and has bankrolled $80,609 on the season. Juslikeaqueen (Dean Magee) was home second and Strings (Nick Roland) checked in third.   The $10,000 two year old Open Pace went to heavy favorite Bunkerhill Phil (Don Harmon), who scored his 9th win of the season, and became the winningest horse this season at Running Aces with a 1:57.3 tally over longshots Grace N Honor (Rick Magee) and Thegreatestislove (Darrell Wright). The winning Owner/Trainer is Gene Miller. Bunkerhill Phil has now banked $44,349 in eleven career starts.   The 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot has a carryover of $8,139.20 and is expected to be guaranteed at $20,000 (pending regulatory approval) for Saturday night (September 14). There will be mandatory payouts in all pools on Saturday night as well, as the season closes out with the huge Night of Champions program that will offer purses of nearly $500,000. Post time on Saturday is 6:00 pm (Central).   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - Real Gorgeous became the fastest harness racing horse in Minnesota history when he paced to his fifth consecutive victory at Running Aces in 1:50.1 on the Sunday (September 8) program. The 5 year old son of He's Gorgeous is owned, trained and driven by Jared Seekman.   Undefeated at Running Aces this season, Real Gorgeous ($2.80) was the overwhelming favorite to pick up number five in a row. Starting from post five, Seekman floated his charge away in fifth position, taking his usual seat toward the back of the pack early while Holdingallthecards (Dean Magee) engaged in an early speed battle with Whatchyastarinat (Darrel Wright) through a sizzling opening panel in :26.1, and then continued to pace strong with a :54.2 half mile, before Real Gorgeous launched his customary mid race first-over attack.   Real Gorgeous swept right on by Holdingallthecards as they straightened down the backstretch and opened up by three lengths, while Whatchyastarinat vacated the three-hole to come after Real Gorgeous and began cutting into the margin around the final turn as they completed three-quarters of a mile in 1:21.4.   In the homestretch, a furious battle ensued, with Real Gorgeous bracing for the strong challenge from Whatchyastarinat who tried hard to get by, but Real Gorgeous dug in deep and responded gamely to hang on for a half-length victory and an all time/all age track record mile of 1:50.1.   The previous record was set by Nine Ways, in the $50,000 Dan Patch FFA Pace on July 21st of this year, when he and driver Dean Magee stopped the timer in 1:50.2 to better his own 1:50.3 mark from his Dan Patch elimination win on July 14. Before that, a record of 1:50.4 stood for 6 years, tied by several horses but never beaten before this season.   The $16,000 Open Handicap Trot was also a featured event on Sunday's program, and Winning Lyric ($4.60, Dean Magee) delivered another impressive victory for his sixth win of the year, trotting the mile in 1:55.3 to defeat a very game My Uncle Cuz (Don Harmon) who was an impressive second. Winning Lyric is owned by Terrence Smith and trained by Edward Hernandez.   MD Magic ($4.00, Nick Roland) was much the best again in the $16,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old Trot, with a sharp score in 2:00.1, and heads to this coming Saturday's Night of Champions program with 7 wins and $62,550 on the season, and a chance to break the single-season record ($70,300) for earnings in the Minnesota program, that he himself set last year as a freshman. MD Magic is owned by Set The Pace Racing, LLC. and is trained by Nick Roland.   Driver Steve Wiseman led the program on Sunday with 4 wins, while Leading Driver Dean Magee added a Hat-Trick to his impressive season's win total (83).   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday night (September 10) for the final Dollar Night program of the season. Post time on Tuesday is 7:00 pm, and the card will feature a Pick-5 Jackpot carryover of $6,915.25 and a Hi-5 Carryover of $1,323.08.   by Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The featured event on the Saturday evening (September 7) harness racing program at Running Aces was the $16,000 Open Handicap Pace, with a field of eight talented horses and geldings lining up for battle.   This week's top Open field saw the return of Stuckey Dote to the Minnesota five-eighths oval, taking on the best local horses in preparation for the Minnesota Night of Champions next weekend.   Stuckey Dote took plenty of action at the betting windows, and was sent off as the 9-5 favorite over Dan Patch FFA champion Nine Ways who was well respected at 2-1 from post eight.   Firedrake (Nick Roland) left alertly from post seven, and found the third position at the pylons while Stuckey Dote (Mooney Svendsen) powered to the front, and Top Notch (Rick Magee) left alertly to secure the pocket from post one, as they registered a :27 flat first panel.   Nine Ways pulled early and drove first-up to challenge Stuckey Dote for a battle that lasted a half mile, with moderate middle fractions of :56.2 and 1:25.1, before Nine Ways was forced to wave the white flag. Stuckey Dote continued to lead as they straightened for home, but Top Notch had enjoyed the perfect trip and angled wide from the pocket with a burst of pace to get up by a neck on the wire in 1:53.3 while both Who'szoomingwho (Darrell Wright) and Firedrake were both flying late for third and fourth respectively in a thrilling blanket finish.   Top Notch ($18 80) is a 5 year old gelded son of No Pan Intended, and out of the Camluck mare Tymal Talea. He is owned by Joe Casagranda and is trained by Rick Magee. The Saturday feature race win was the fourth tally of the year for Top Notch.   SB Bodacious ($11.40) picked up his fifth win of the year in the $16,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old pace event, flying late with a :28.2 final quarter to sweep by the field in an exciting blanket finish in 1:55.1 over race favorite Burning Blaze. Rick Magee is the trainer/driver of the impressive son of Voracious Hanover, who has now banked $46,311 in thirteen sophomore starts.   Drivers Rick Magee and Steve Wiseman led the Saturday program with two winners each.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (September 8) with 3 nights left to go in the 2019 season. The 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot now stands at $5,781.48. Post time on Sunday is 6 pm Central.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces                                                   

Columbus, MN - The Tuesday evening harness racing program at Running Aces was highlighted by a track record performance in the two year old fillies trot and a return to the winner's circle for one of the top pacing mares at the meet. The program got underway in style when Susie's Sister, a Claudius Augustus filly posted a dominating gate-to-wire win in the $13,800 Minnesota-Sired two year old "Class A" trot in 1:59.4 to equal the track record set by SB Madam Secretary on August 20. Driver Don Harmon sent Susie's Sister quickly off the gate from post five to take the early lead, after an early skirmish with SB Madam Secretary (Darrell Wright) who had to settle for the pocket. Susie's Sister was the heavy favorite and dominated the entire affair and was never in doubt, posting fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1 and 1:30.1 and leaving plenty left in the tank to trot home strong and draw away by 2-1/4 lengths and post the record mile over co record-holder and second favorite SB Madam Secretary. Longshot Go Margeaux was home in third at 88-1 to spice up the ($229.80) trifecta. Susie's Sister ($2.80) now has 8 wins in eleven career trips to the gate, and has bankrolled $34,718. The winning owners are Lynchris, LLC and the winning trainer is Don Harmon. Juslikeaqueen (Dean Magee) also posted a dominating effort in the $14,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace, to record her tenth win of the season with a ¾-length score in 1:53.4 over Amasa Arion (Rick Magee) and Dancingonthesand (Steve Wiseman). Juslikeaqueen ($5.60) sprinted from the gate from post six and always looked like the winner despite heavy first-over pressure from PV Miracle Mary (Darrell Wright). Amasa Arion saved ground throughout and was clearly second best, while Dancingonthesand (Steve Wiseman) also saved ground and was a game third. Juslikeaqueen now shows 27 career wins and has just eclipsed the $300,000 mark in career earnings with this week's winning performance. The winning owner is Antonia Storer, and the winning trainer is Tim Maier. The other two year old winners on the program were: Huftalookatdatfany (Dean Magee) in 2:04 in the $5,750 MN 2 YO Fillies "B" Pace, Scarlett Ruby ($6.40, Dean Magee) in the $8,625 MN 2 YO Fillies "A" Pace in 1:59.2, Double My Decker ($3.60, Rick Magee) in the $9,200 MN 2 YO "B" Trot in 2:02.1, and Bunkerhill Phil ($3.00, Don Harmon) in the $8,625 MN 2 YO colts & geldings Pace in 1:56.3. Dean Magee led the Tuesday program with 3 winners, while Rick Magee, Nick Roland, and Don Harmon all picked up driving doubles. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday (September 7) with local post time at 6:00 pm, and features two Carryovers: $5,013.70 in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot, and $3,054.48 in the 50 cent Hi-5. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The Sunday evening harness racing program at Running Aces played host to the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot, with seven talented square-gaiters lining up for battle in the featured event on the card.   Winning Lyric (Dean Magee) was in search of a third straight win in the top Open class, and was heavily favored in the betting at 3-10. Longshot Bordogna (Darrell Wright) was quickest away from the gate and took command of affairs through a quick :27.3 opening panel, while Pridecrest (Steve Wiseman) came away second in the early stages.   The fractions from there were sensible (:58.0 and 1:27.2) and Bordogna continued to lead, with It's A Horse (Tim Maier) launching a sustained first-up rally from near the half mile, and Winning Lyric was looming large from three wide rounding the final bend.   It's A Horse ($48.80) gradually drew on even terms with the Bordogna, then took over, and the field began to fan out as they straightened for home. Winning Lyric (Dean Magee) charged hard on the outside and tried hard to get past the new leader as they battled right down to the line, but It's A Horse was ultra game, and held on for a neck victory in 1:56.2 over Winning Lyric and a late closing Scramble Camp (Nick Roland).   The 6 time winner this season is a six year old gelded son of Full Count, owned by Ray Alan Miller and trained by Marco Rios, who had 2 winners on the program.   Real Gorgeous ($3.80) with owner/trainer/driver Jared Seekman rolled to another impressive win in 1:52.3 in a $7,500 conditioned pace to extend his winning streak to four in a row. The five year old gelded son of He's Gorgeous is in top career form, and is unbeaten at Running Aces since arriving in early August.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (September 3) with first post at 7:00 pm Central.   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces                          

Columbus, MN - The Saturday evening harness racing program at Running Aces featured the $16,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 Year old Pacers event, with a full field of nine facing the starter. Burning Blaze was the talk of the tote board at just over even money in the win pool, while Windmeupnwatchmego (Dean Magee) was well supported at 2-1 from post nine.   Burning Blaze, the 2018 Minnesota Harness Racing horse of the year, drew post position one and came into this week's contest with two wins in his last three outings.   Sweet Vivian (Mooney Svendsen) left from post six to grab the early lead before Burning Blaze (Steve Wiseman) made a sweep to the lead right near the :27.2 quarter mile. From there, Burning Blaze was never in doubt, stealing a :30.1 breather in the second panel, before pacing a final half mile in :56.3 to stop the timer in 1:54.1 for a 3/4-length tally over Sweet Vivian, with longshot A Little Rusty (Darrell Wright) picking up third.   Burning Blaze now has four wins in twelve sophomore outings, with seasonal earnings of $39,970. The winning owners are Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte and Edward Gutin, and the winning trainer is Justin Anfinson.   Driver Steve Wiseman led the Saturday night program with 3 winners, while Darrell Wright picked up a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (Sept 1) and features a Carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager of $3,246.10.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - Entering the Tuesday evening (August 27) harness racing card at Running Aces, Driver Steve Wiseman needed two wins to reach an impressive career milestone of 3,000 wins. He picked up number 2,999 in race four, piloting Catchmeinadream ($3.00) to three wins in a row with a 2:00.4 tally in the $8,625 Minnesota-Sired two year old fillies "Class A" pace for trainer Justin Anfinson and owners Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte. With just one more needed to hit the magic number, Wiseman wasted no time in getting the feat accomplished, steering Hearduwhispermynam ($3.60) to his third win in a row in the $8,625 Minnesota-Sired two year old colt & geldings trot in 2:01.4 for owner/trainer Jenni King in race five, to eclipse the 3,000 win plateau.   Wiseman is a native of Bellingham, Washington and makes his home base in Sacramento California, where he has been among the top drivers at Cal Expo for many years. The very likeable and well-respected 51 year old has campaigned at tracks all over North America during his twenty five years in the sulky, but has settled into the circuit of Cal Expo and Running Aces for the past six years, a move that has worked out very well for him, and for his wife and Head Trainer Kathleen Plested-Wiseman, For the Wiseman's, Harness Racing is a family affair, with daughter Tyler also contributing a lot of hard work and adding to the success of the operation. Steve has been among the top five drivers at Running Aces each year since arriving to the Minnesota driving colony, and was the Champion driver in both 2017, and 2018. The Plested-Wiseman stable has captured the Leading Trainer title for three consecutive years at Running Aces, and is poised to make that four years in a row at the completion of the current meet. Other two year old winners on the Tuesday program were Huftalookatdatfany (Dean Magee) in 2:01 in the $5,750 two year old fillies "Class B" pace, Epic Victory (Brian Detgen) in 2:09.1 in the two year old fillies "Class B" trot, Susie's Sister (Don Harmon) in 2:00.3 in the $8,625 two year old fillies "Class A" trot, and Bunkerhill Phil (Don Harmon) in 2:00 in the $8,625 two year old colts & geldings pace. The $15,000 Mares Open Handicap pace was the feature on the Tuesday program, with seven talented distaffers lining up for battle in this week's edition. Juslikeaqueen (Dean Magee) was sent off as the 4-5 favorite from post seven, and left alertly along with PV Miracle Mary (Darrell Wright) who also sprinted from the gate from post six. Those two mares were locked in battle for the lead for nearly three-quarters of the mile, with Juslikeaqueen parked out the entire way through speedy fractions of :26.4, :55.2 and 1:24.2, before waving the white flag around the far turn. Pull The Shade (Brady Jenson) saved ground throughout and was able to collar the leader right on the finish line to score a ½-length victory in 1:54, with longshot Dancingonthesand (Mooney Svendsen) picking up third. Pull The Shade is a 5 year old daughter of Dragon Again out of the Artsplace mare Shades of Art, owned by Jason Maier and trained by Tim Maier. It was the fourth victory this season, and twelfth career tally for Pull The Shade ($10.20) Driver Don Harmon led the program with a Grand Slam of four winners. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, August 31 at 6:00 pm (CDT) featuring a carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager of $2836.26. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The Sunday evening (August 25) harness racing program at Running Aces featured Open Handicap events for both Trotters and Pacers as the highlights of the eleven race card.   The $15,000 Open Handicap Trot drew a field of seven starters on the gate, with last week's winner Winning Lyric sent off as the overwhelming public choice at 3-5 on the board.   French Eclipse (Rick Magee) were first to the front, but Banker Volo (Nick Roland) quickly took over before the :28.0 quarter, and Dean Magee and Winning Lyric launched an early first-over attack near the :58.2 half mile to surge to the front, while It's A Horse (Tim Maier) immediately came after the new leader and applied heavy pressure down the backstretch and onto the final turn.   Winning Lyric ($3.40) fought back gamely as they turned for home and began to pull away from the field, trotting strong to the wire for a 2-3/4 length victory and two wins in a row, with It's A Horse and French Eclipse hitting the line together in a dead-heat for second in a sharp 1:55.2 mile over a track listed as good.   Winning Lyric has had a fantastic campaign this summer at Running Aces, with 5 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds from 13 starts for owner Terrence Smith and trainer Edward Hernandez.   Fox Valley Nemitz and driver Brian Detgen picked up a big win in the $17,000 Open Handicap Pace to get home first from post 7 in a talented 10 horse field.   Contemporay Legend (Rick Magee) flew off the gate for the early lead while Bettor's Promise (Mooney Svendsen) left alertly and both Firedrake (Nick Roland) and Nine Ways (Dean Magee) also came away charging fast into the first turn looking for a front position, through a fast :27.1 opening panel.   Firedrake pressed up alongside Contemporay Legend and led through the middle stages (:56.0 and 1:24.2) but was parked the entire way, never finding the pylons.   Despite the brutal trip, Firedrake continued to fight on and eventually cleared, only to face immediate strong pressure from Nine Ways who had also been out the entire way. Firedrake turned back the challenge of Nine Ways, then fought off Skim The Top (Don Harmon) but was unable to withstand a furious late charge from Fox Valley Nemitz on the far outside.   Fox Valley Nemitz came from way off the pace and rallied 3-wide around the final turn, finding clear sailing in about the four-path in the lane to sweep by for a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:53 over Firedrake who kept the rest of the field at bay and held second in a monster effort.   Fox Valley Nemitz ($30.00) now has five wins in sixteen outings this year, with earnings of $45,855 for owner Susan Holm-Johansen. The winning trainer is Ulf Holm-Johansen.   Drivers Jared Seekman and Dean Magee led the program, each with a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (August 27) with a full menu of Carryover pools: $851.54 for the Early Pick-3, $1,847.25 for the Early Pick-4, $2,268.90 for the Jackpot Pick-5, and $1,067.17 for the High-5. Post time for the 12 race program is 7:00 pm central.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

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