Day At The Track
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Manalapan, NJ --- After several years of dabbling with Thoroughbreds, trainer Don Swick’s focus has returned to harness racing. And although he is only operating a six-horse stable, the most important number is one. Rodeo Rock is the one. A 2-year-old male pacer, Rodeo Rock was among the winners at qualifiers Monday at Gaitway Farms. Rodeo Rock, making his second qualifying effort of the season, won by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:56.4 over a track labeled “good” because of early-morning rain. “He’s the horse that brought me back,” said Swick, who trains Rodeo Rock for longtime owner Bill Peshina’s Royal Wire Products Inc. “This horse is it. I know there are good ones all over, but I really do think he’s special.” Swick got involved with Thoroughbreds in 2010 and last year had three with Peshina, but returned his focus to harness racing at Peshina’s request. The two bought Rodeo Rock, originally named Electronica, for $107,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. The colt is a son of Rock N Roll Heaven out of the mare Electric Fool. His mom is a half-sister to millionaire Western Shore and his third dam is Dan Patch Award winner Delinquent Account, the mother of Dan Patch Award winner Artiscape. “He was just a big, gorgeous looking horse,” Swick said. “We were looking for something a little different. Bill said let’s try a Rock N Roll Heaven this year; try a different state, a different sire. He walked in, and he looked just like this then. He was in good shape and a big, strong colt. He’s been that way ever since. He’s always been a good mannered horse. We’ve had a good time with him so far.” Although eligible to race in the New York Sire Stakes series, Swick does not plan to race Rodeo Rock on half-mile tracks. The colt is eligible to the Metro Pace, Nassagaweya, and Champlain in Canada, the stakes at Lexington’s Red Mile, and the Breeders Crown. “This is what Bill wanted to do and this is what we’re going to do,” said Swick, who has trained for Peshina for more than 30 years. “I’m happy. I’m happy as a clam. Royal Wire, they’ve been so good to me. (Bill is) the best guy in the world.” Tony Alagna and Ron Burke both sent out three winners among the 2-year-olds on Monday. Burke won with male pacers Lyons Snyder (Well Said-Armbro Cachet), in a day’s best 1:56.2, and JK Will Power (Somebeachsomewhere-Whats New Pussycat) in 1:57.1 as well as male trotter Edinburgh (Andover Hall-Muscles Carbonara) in 2:00.3. Lyons Snyder was purchased for $130,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound and Jeff Snyder. The colt is half-brother to millionaire Aracache Hanover. “He was very good,” Burke said about Lyons Snyder. “He has three lungs. It’s just a matter of keeping his mind together. If he does that, he’s a very good horse.” Alagna’s winners were female trotter Caprice Hill (Kadabra-Bramasole) in 1:58; male pacer American Passport (American Ideal-Star Of The Show) in 1:58.2; and female pacer Call Me Queen Be (Somebeachsomewhere-Preppy Party Girl) in 1:58.2. Remaining 2-year-old winners were Casie Coleman’s male pacer Tommy’s Delight (Roll With Joe-L Dees Rainbow) in 1:56.3; Steve Elliott’s female pacer Soulmate Hanover (Well Said-Sayo Hanover) in 1:57.2; Linda Toscano’s female pacer Soft Idea (American Ideal-Walk Softly) in 1:58.4; Andrew Harris’ filly trotter Radiant Beam (Holiday Road-Sleek Agent) in 1:59.4; and Julie Miller’s male trotter Sutton (Donato Hanover-I Wanted Wings) in 2:01. For complete charts of Monday's qualifiers, click here. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

One of three international guests heading to Melbourne to experience the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night on Saturday, March 22, will be Swedish-born, North American-based harness racing trainer Jonas Czernyson. To followers of US trotting, Czernyson’s name needs little introduction. Long considered one of the world’s leading horsemen, the 40-year-old trainer will be a keen observer at Melton’s Tabcorp Park as the spotlight turns to the Australian trotting industry’s night of nights. Czernyson will join recently retired American-based jockey Chantal Sutherland and star US reinsman Corey Callahan as Harness Racing Victoria’s international guests on the night. While he is not bringing any horses Down Under with him this time, Czernyson’s knack for training big-race winners will have him licking his lips at the thought of one day contesting an Australian Group 1. And he is certainly no stranger to the big stage, having won some of the US’s biggest races – with his horses pocketing tens of millions of dollars US in stake money –during a sublime career spanning some 22 years. In addition to attending the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night Czernyson will experience other Victorian institutions during his visit, including a trip to the famed Healesville Sanctuary, lunch in the Yarra Valley and an AFL football match at Etihad Stadium. The star trainer will also visit Aldebaran Park in Nagambie and the state-of-the-art Cranbourne Harness Racing Training Centre before attending the Australian Premier Trotting Sales yearling sales next Sunday. Czernyson’s story is proof one does not have to have grown up in a “harness racing family” to succeed in the sport. Czernyson grew up with his father a handyman and his mother a nurse. Czernyson became a welder. He told media in 2008 that his affinity to working with steel held him in good stead as a harness racing trainer in terms of shoeing horses. At age 18 he headed to the States and went to work with Don Swick at the South Florida Trotting Centre. He planned on staying in the US for just six months, but 22 years later he hasn’t left. He had a nine-year stint working with renowned trainer Per Eriksson, where he was associated with top horses such as Giant Force, Credit Winner, Dream Of Joy and Giant Mermaid. When Eriksson returned to his native homeland in Scandinavia in 2001, Czneryson decided to set up his own operation with initially seven horses in work. That number quickly grew and in 2005 the trainer scored his first $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks win with Jalopy. He has since scored a host of big-race wins and secured his place among the sport’s elite. Harness Racing Victoria

CHESTER PA - The Donato Hanover filly Outsourced Hanover repulsed a long bid from Nitro Nittany and emerged a 1:57.4 winner during the fourth and final preliminary leg of Stallion Series action for two-year-old trotting misses at Harrah's Philadelphia, denying Nitro Nittany's chance for a sweep of the prelims. Under Yannick Gingras's control, the Ron Burke-trained filly set the pace just in front of Nitro Nittany, and when that one pocketpopped down the backstretch, Outsourced Hanover had a 28.3 last quarter in her to withstand her foe by a half-length. The familiar pairing of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLP is joined in ownership of this filly by Howard Taylor. And the victory ensured Outsourced Hanover a spot in the $40,000 Stallion Series Championship at Pocono on Friday, September 6. This heat was the second-fastest of seven Stallion Series cuts yesterday; the quickest, 1:56.3, was rung up by the filly who tied Nitro Nittany as top prelim pointwinner, the Andover Hall filly Tweet Me. Driver Tim Tetrick looks nothing like the famous comedian Jackie Gleason, of course, but you could almost hear him thinking "How Tweet it is!" as the Don Swick-conditioned miss won by over 5 lengths for Swick's longtime owner Royal Wire Products Inc. The eight horses advancing to the divisional Championship are, in order: Nitro Nittany and Tweet Me (tied), Outsourced Hanover, Em Hanover and Fay (tied), Pinking Of You and Minerva Bi (tied), and Miss Geneva. Today at Harrah's, three divisions of Sire Stakes two-year-old trotting fillies will go behind the gate in the last preliminary SS action for 2013. Cooler Schooner, who shocked the world last week by posting a 1:51.3 clocking at Pocono - the fastest trotting mile ever by a two-year-old, no distinctions made - will go in race 5, and she may need another victory to get herself a spot in the Championship of her division during the $1,240,000 Sire Stakes Championship card for two-year-olds, to be held at Harrah's on Sunday, September 15. Today's Philly card also features Landmark Stakes for freshman pacers, many of them PA-sired horses who will be tuning up for their September 15 outings. by Jerry Connors  

Trainer Erv Miller hopes to see two of his young trotting fillies sparkle in Wednesday's divisions of the Historic-Acorn Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia. Four divisions of the Acorn Stakes, which is for 2-year-old filly trotters, will be contested Wednesday. Miller's A Perfect Gem faces seven rivals in the second group, which goes for a purse of $25,206, while his Ruby takes on six foes in the fourth division, which goes for $24,706. A Perfect Gem is the 2-1 morning line favorite in her race while Ruby is 5-1. A Perfect Gem (Yankee Glide-Asixpakfromperfect) is a full-sister to Aperfectyankee, who won last year's Peter Haughton Memorial and finished fourth in the Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. She was purchased as a yearling for $87,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Paymaq Racing, Louis Willinger and Daniel Plouffe. "She's a super nice filly," Miller said. "We're very high on her. She's been push-button all along and she's got manners that are out of this world. We thought we got a real nice deal on her. I thought she would bring at least $125,000, especially with what trotting fillies were going for (at the sale)." A Perfect Gem has won two of five starts and earned $67,881. She won her debut in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and most recently captured a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes in 1:57 from post seven at The Meadows on Aug. 6. She was second in a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars and third in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in races both won by undefeated Shake It Cerry. "She got a little bit sick on us, I think from all the shipping and racing, but she bounced back real nice in her last start," Miller said. "She's not a real mature filly and I haven't leaned on her hard to push her. We're just letting her race her way into it. She's just not a real strong filly yet." A Perfect Gem was not eligible to the Merrie Annabelle Stakes, which was won by Shake It Cerry on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands, but has the Breeders Crown, Goldsmith Maid, Matron and Bluegrass on her schedule. Ruby (Explosive Matter-Giza) has won two of three races, including a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stallion Series in July at The Meadows. She was purchased for $29,000 under the name Cleopatra Lindy at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Patrick Quaid and James Bafia. "She's a nice little filly that puts in a good effort every time out," Miller said. "She hasn't disappointed us and she keeps getting better all the time, so who knows where she'll go." Linda Toscano's Chocolate Crisp is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the opening Acorn division, which boasts an eight-horse field and $25,206 purse. Chocolate Crisp (Chocolatier-Yankee Valentine) is coming off a one-length win over Ravine in a division of the Kindergarten Series on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands. Tweet Me, from the stable of Don Swick, is the 7-5 choice in the third division, which features seven horses and a purse of $24,706. Tweet Me (Andover Hall-Wishful Me) won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stallion Series on July 16 at The Meadows. by Ken Weingartner  

If The Hambletonian Eve card is any indication, it is going to be a great Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands. Once again, The Meadowlands posted increases across the board. First, the total handle of $2,605,779 marked an increase of 33-percent from the night before The Hambletonian last year. Next, the attendance showed an increase of 34-percent. Last but not least, the live handle was up $106,518 over 2012 or 43-percent, the largest live handle increase of the meet. All signs are pointing to a huge Hambletonian Day. Tonight, The Meadowlands played host to the Townsend Ackerman and Duenna stakes for three year old trotting colts and fillies respectively that did not declare for the Hambo or Oaks on Saturday. The Ackerman field a pair of $50,000 divisions for the colts with Valley Of Sin and Exemplar both emerging as winning favorites. Trainer John Butenschoen added the trotting hopples to Valley Of Sin for this race and the Yankee Glide colt came from far back to win in 1:55.1 for Corey Callahan. VIP Internet Stables and Harmony Oaks Racing Stable own the winner. Exemplar is a lightly raced Andover Hall gelding who has found his form recently for trainer Per Henriksen. Now a winner in three of his last four, Exemplar equaled his career best of 1:54.3 for John Campbell, forwardly placed throughout his first Meadowlands start. Andrea Lea Racing Stables and Asa Farm share ownership. The fillies raced for $30,000 in each division and both went faster than their male counterparts with Lady Broadway and Cupcake both being driven to 1:53.4 personal records by Ron Pierce. Lady Broadway ground her way up to the leader in mid-stretch and rolled on by late for the win. She is a Broadway Hall filly trained by Chris Oakes for his wife Susan, Hauser Brothers Racing and Conrad Zurich. Cupcake, by Glidemaster, rallied from just off the lead for Pierce to score. Don Swick trains her for his longtime patron Bill Peshina's Royal Wire Products. Tomorrow is closing day of the 2013 meet and it is the greatest day in harness racing. The Meadowlands Racetrack proudly presents the $1.2 Million Hambletonian as the marquis event of a blockbuster 15-race program with total purses over $3.6 Million. Gates Open at 10:00 A.M. and first post is 11:50 A.M.  

East Rutherford, NJ – Lady Broadway and Cupcake, both driven to victory by Ron Pierce, showed they are faster than the colts in winning their respective $30,000 divisions of the Duenna Trot at the Meadowlands Friday, both fillies winning in lifetime best identical times of 1:53.4 The sixth race first Duenna division saw True Valentine (Yannick Gingras) led the field through the opening panels of :28 and :56.1 and then True Day Dream and driver Mike Lachance came first over and took command at the three-quarters in 1:25 but also had given good live cover to Lady Broadway and Pierce. As they came down the stretch, True Day Dream seemed to be the strong horse but not for long as Pierce was able to get Lady Broadway into high gear and she mowed down True Day Dream and won going away by three-quarters of a length in a lifetime best 1:53.4. It was the sixth win this year for Lady Broadway, who is trained by Chris Oakes and is owned by Susan Oakes, Hauser Bros Racing and Conrad Zurich. She paid $10.80 to win. True Day Dream was second with Curtsy Hanover (Corey Callahan) third. Then in the 10th race second Duenna division, John Campbell sent the gray filly, Silver Credit, right to the lead with Cupcake and Piece gapping in second as Silver Credit cut fractions of :27.4, :55.2 and 1:24.2. But Cupcake slowly had gained on the pacesetter and by the top of the stretch pulled to the outside and collared Silver Credit. Those two then raced neck and neck down the stretch but Silver Credit began to wire before the wire as Cupcake went on to win by two lengths. Déjà vu Too (Corey Callahan) was third. It was the second win this year for Cupcake, who is sired by Glidemaster and is trained by Don Swick and is owned by the Royal Wire Products of Ohio. She paid $9.80 to win. The fastest of the two $50,000 divisions of the Townsend Ackerman Trot went to Exemplar and driver John Campbell in the 8th race second division. The race was marred by numerous breaking horses early in the race as Bloodstockshalltab (Yannick Gingras) took the early lead in :28.2 with Exemplar on their back. But Campbell moved right out after the first quarter and took command for good, cutting the mile to the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:25.4 before going on to win by one and one-half lengths in 1:54.3. Deadliest Catch (John Duer) has come first-over on the final turn and was second with Bloodstockshalltab third. Sired by Andover Hall, Exemplar posted his third win this year and tied his lifetime mark for trainer Per Henriksen and the Andrea Lea Racing Stable and Asa Farm of Canada. In the sixth race first division of the Townsend Ackerman, Valley Of Sin, who was eighth on the outside at the three-quarter mile marker, was able to swing three-wide on the final into second place at the top of the stretch and then surge on to the wire to win by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:55.1. Driven by Corey Callahan, Valley Of Sin had followed the outside flow of Amalfi Coast (Dewayne Minor) who ended up third. Second place went to Smoother Ride (John Campbell), who has cut the mile early and was shuffled back to sixth at the three-quarters but rallied again to be second. For Valley Of Sin, who is sired by Yankee Glide, it was his fifth victory on the year. He is trained by John Butenschoen and is owned by the VIP Internet Stable and the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable. By Steve Wolf  

An ill wind swirled around Tornado last season. Harness racing trainer Don Swick hopes the colt's woes are in the past and Tornado can blow away the competition this year.

An ill wind swirled around Tornado last season. Trainer Don Swick hopes the colt's woes are in the past and Tornado can blow away the competition this year.

Last year, Migisi pulled off a 32-1 shocker in capturing her Pennsylvania Stallion Series final. Monday (September 12) at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, it was deja vu all over again, as the 27-1 Migisi took the $40,000 Stallion Series harness racing championship for 3-year-old filly trotters - her first win of the year - at a juicy 27-1.

Three-year-old trotters are in the spotlight Friday night at the Meadowlands as they make their final tune-ups for the July 30 Hambletonian and Oaks eliminations. Twenty-nine colts and fillies eligible to trotting's most prestigious events will compete on the harness racing card in the second round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and a three-year-old open.

Orange Bigi captured her first win for harness racing owner Liisa Vatanen with a speedy score of 1:57.1 at Harrah's Chester this past Monday afternoon (July 4) in a $20,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series race.

Trainer Don Swick has a busy weekend ahead as he sends out his stable stars in a pair of rich stakes races. On Saturday night, Special Sweetheart will go to post in the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for 3-year-old pacing fillies at the Meadowlands, while Lanson bids to upset Lucky Jim in the $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Chester on Sunday.

In a thrilling photo finish, 27-1 shot Lanson [$57.20, $25.00, $8.60] nosed out Misterizi [$9.00, $5.80] and Enough Talk [$2.80] in the $123,000 Su Mac Lad Friday night at the Meadowlands. Driver Mike Lachance and Lanson sat third behind favorite Enough Talk as he led the field through fractions of 28, 56.3 and 1:24.3.

Lanson ($2.80) made a triumphant return to the races in 2009, winning his seasonal debut with a five length romp Monday at the Isle Pompano Park in the $16,000 Open Handicap Trot.

Trainer Don Swick has a hard time complaining about not winning last week's Little Brown Jug with Lonestar Legend, who won his first heat in a stakes-record 1:49.3, which was just a fifth off the world record set by Somebeachsomewhere in the Confederation Cup last month, and finished second to Shadow Play in the final.

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