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He has conditioned the likes of North America Cup Consolation victor Western Cyclone and two fillies that brought home the Jugette hardware in Just Wait Kate and Eternity's Delight, but Travis Alexander has always wanted to put the progeny of Dragon Again through their paces. He finally possesses that opportunity with the undefeated Candy Corn Hanover and like everything else he has undertaken in life, he plans on making the absolute most of it. "I have always wanted a Dragon Again," said the 37-year-old Lansing, Mich., native. "It has just not ever worked out. Something has come up or the circumstances did not go my way, but we had a credit from Hanover (Shoe Farms) who bred her and she was circled in my book before I ever saw her. When I did, she was so impressive, not only because of her pedigree, but she was so athletic and racy looking. "We got another filly, Raver Hanover, who is from Captaintreacherous' family, from that same sale and although she hasn't made it to the races yet, I am very, very pleased with them both." Candy Corn Hanover, a daughter of the Artsplace mare Clouding Over, is owned by Fiddler's Creek Stables. After only three career trips to the post, all of which are triumphs, she will illustrate what forms her constitution when she takes on the likes of last year's divisional champion Pure Country (2-1), the extremely talented Darlinonthebeach (5-2), the Three Diamonds winner Yankee Moonshine (7-2), the Matron winner Newborn Sassy (5-1) and the promising Kiss Me Onthebeach (6-1) on Saturday (April 30) in a $20,000 elimination for the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Although many individuals viewing the program might feel the 3-year-old filly is in far, far over her head with only three lifetime tallies, all this season in Weiss Series competition, and with a mere $22,500 in the bank, Alexander is pleased with how the draw came out and believes Candy Corn Hanover, the longest shot on the morning line at 10-1, can definitely keep pace with her more accomplished and distinguished rivals. "I hemmed and hawed with Anthony (Napolitano, her regular pilot) over whether we should go for the big money or keep her in the Weiss Series final," he said. "Obviously I did not think we would get in the elimination where the four best fillies in the country would all be, but I'm happy it happened that way. I wouldn't trade this spot with my filly with anyone in the world. "She's a stone cold closer and Anthony even said when he has gotten her to the front she stops because she doesn't know what she is supposed do. Also, I'm being told these Dragons see all kinds of stuff like ghosts in all types of shadows. With those fillies in there she will never be on the lead early and it sets up for her to come home strongly, which I know she will. After this race we will know exactly what we have on our hands and she will come out of it with learning something." Candy Corn Hanover did not debut as a freshman because Alexander wanted to exercise patience with her. He realized she had ability, but also acknowledged she needed more time to grow into both her body and mind. "I am so glad we waited with her," he said. "When we brought her in this year she was leaps and bounds ahead of what she was the year before. Taking our time with her is going to pay off and it already has. We just have to make sure we manage her correctly throughout the year and have a nice horse for next year as well. Besides, the Dragons only improve with age so this is a filly with tremendous potential which is something I really like. All she has is upside and when her career is over, she will join the broodmare band Fiddler's Creek is putting together." There is another reason, in addition to Alexander's own penchant to overcome long odds, such as when he defeated cancer at age 18, that he is of the opinion Candy Corn Hanover belongs with the elite within her age, gait and gender. "I have been very fortunate to be around some really nice pacing mares during my career," he said. "When I worked for Joe Holloway I was around (Dan Patch Award winner) Lady McBeach and when I was the head trainer for that short time at Fashion Farms, as well as when I worked with Jim Campbell, there was Eternity's Delight. This filly reminds me such much of her. "She is just so willing, is two fingers to drive and has an incredible amount of desire. She will go in 2:40 but if you ask her to jump into a nice fast half from that she is right on it. I think this filly is as good as Eternity's Delight and I really believe in her because she reminds me so much of that mare." Despite what transpires this weekend, Candy Corn Hanover already has an agenda meticulously planned for her sophomore campaign. "She is eligible to everything here in Pennsylvania," Alexander said. "We also staked her to the Shady Daisy, but that is it. There will be no Jugette for this filly. It's really expensive to stake horses, but when you have one that did not race at two it is difficult to put out that kind of money when you don't know what is in your barn. "I think she still needs time to mature throughout the year and I also want to keep her on a larger track until she is more experienced. She is intelligent and will do anything to please you, but I don't think the half(-mile track) is for her because she crossfires a bit. It's not serious and something I think will rectify itself the more she races. I just don't want to take any chances with her. "I do have to be honest though, she is a real pleasure. We always knew she had talent, but you can never tell what kind of desire they have. This filly has so much of that and it is something you cannot give them, train into them or even be assured of because of their pedigree. I had no real expectations with her in that regard and she has amazed me how much she wants to race and win. "She has been a special surprise and in this business when you have something like that happen it is a very, very great thing." by Kim French/USTA Internet News Editor

Our Dragon King (Josh Sutton) lowered his own one week old harness racing all-age track record on Saturday (April 23) at Miami Valley Raceway, speeding to a 1:49.3 triumph. Sutton, celebrating his 34th birthday, settled the track record holder in third through a quick :26.1 opening panel, then moved the 6-year-old son of Dragon Again to the front prior to the :54.1 halfway station. The even money favorite tacked on a back half in :55.2 to complete the fastest mile ever at Miami Valley. A pair of other recent open class winners, Fancy Creek Elusiv (Chris Page) and Astreo's Love (Peter Wrenn) gave chase, but ended up almost two lengths behind at the wire. With the record-setting win in the $20,000 Craig Colston Memorial Open I Pace, Our Dragon King now has six wins in 13 2016 tries. The half-million dollar winner, owned by Majs NY, Inc., has a lifetime record of 149.1 taken at Balmoral Park as a 4-year-old. Ohio-sired 3-year-old colts and geldings went postward in a pair of $10,000 elimination heats for the $35,000 James K. Hackett Memorial pace to be staged next Saturday (April 30). The first split was captured by Winna Winna (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:53.3, upsetting other championship qualifiers Crosswinds Dodger (Chris Page), World Of Gaming (Dan Noble) and Myell's Rockstar (Jeremy Smith). The altered son of Feelin Friskie, trained by Bill Dailey, returned $25.60 for a $2 win ticket. The Kauffman-Dailey combination prevailed in the second division as well, when Gotmoneyinmypocket came within two-fifths of a second of the divisional track record with a 1:52.2 triumph. Also a son of Feelin Friskie, Gotmoneyinmypocket topped Whataboy (Chris Page), Friskie Cruiser (Ryan Stahl), Au Naturel (Josh Sutton) and Docdor Friskie (Peter Wrenn), who qualified for the final as the fastest fifth-place finisher (clocked in 1:53.2). Gregg Keidel

More Dragon survived a demanding first quarter and rolled on to a convincing victory in Saturday's $32,500 championship of the Atta Boy Dan Pace for harness racing 3-year-old colts and geldings at The Meadows. More Dragon was parked throughout a 27.2 opening panel before clearing to the lead. Winning driver Dave Palone said he wasn't overly concerned about the potential impact of that swift quarter. "We were just looking for everybody to get settled," Palone said. "It was just a matter of everybody finding a spot and then moving him to the front. He responded really strong through the wire." Once on top, More Dragon easily parried the first-over thrust of Trelane to score in 1:54.1, 2-1/2 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Arthur Pendragon. Rip This Joint was third. Palone indicated More Dragon, who's fresh enough with only three starts this year, may turn out to be a top performer. "I think he's a pretty good colt," Palone said. "I know they'll be out there in 1:49 miles, but he's been well within himself. I've seen these kinds of horses move to other tracks and shade 1:50. He has a terrific attitude. The only knock on him is he's a little fella, but he takes great big steps, and he has a good way of doing it." Ron Burke trains More Dragon, a Dragon Again-Liscaramore gelding, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services and David Wills. In the $22,500 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Dew N Doughnuts was able to slip by three horses in an early jackpot and prevail in 1:52.2. The trouble began when both Seventh Secret and Unlocked broke stride while trying for the lead, placing Sam Hill in a precarious position behind them. Aaron Merriman kept Sam Hill clear of the rest of the field, enabling Dew N Doughnuts and Tony Hall to ease through safely along the pylons. The 6-year-old son of Real Desire-Artbitration defeated the rallying Easy Again by a length, with the first-over Cammikey third. Norm Parker conditions Dew N Doughnuts, who now boasts $314,274 in lifetime earnings, for Tom Klosky, Jr. Palone piloted five winners and Mike Wilder four on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Pompano Beach, FL.Sunday, April 17.The "stars" were shining brightly Sunday night on Pompano Park-both from up above and on the track as Dedi's Dragon took top honors in Pompano Park's $9,500 featured Open 2 Handicap pace and amateur driver Steve Oldford swept the pair of Billings events as that Amateur Series began its 2016 season at Pompano Park. Dedi's Dragon, handled by Ricky Macomber, Jr., fought hard with Alexa's Jackpot during a :26.4 opener before assuming control and ripping off subsequent panels of :55.2 and 1:23.4 in route to a 1:51.3 one length win over the late charging St Lads Lotto, driven by Aaron Byron. Alexa's Jackpot, teamed up with John MacDonald, did hold on for third while Energy Shakes finished fourth. Northern Companion picked up the minor award in the sextet. In a post-race interview, driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. said, "he (Dedi's Dragon) has been racing competitively against the top pacers on the grounds and, with a couple of those absent this week, it seemed like a good spot to go out and try for the lead and control the situation. "He was very strong coming home in what I expected to be a good performance by him. He didn't disappoint." Trained by Paul Holzman for John McGill, Brian Carsey and the J L Benson Stables, Dedi's Dragon, a six year-old son of Dragon Again, evened up his 2016 scorecard at 3-3-3 in 14 starts, good for $34,487. He's banked $779,871 career-wise in 106 lifetime starts. Off at 1 to 5 on the tote-board, Dedi's Dragon paid $2.60 to his multitude of backers. The C. K. G. Billings Amateur Competition, honoring the memory of the great sportsman who owned our sport's first 2:00 trotter (Lou Dillon-1903), visited Pompano Park on Sunday night and driver Steve Oldford swept both of the Billings events, scoring in Billings pace with Ruths Shadylady and the companion trot with his own Insider Access. Handling the seven year-old mare Ruths Shadylady, Oldford smarty stayed off the early pace before following live cover and collaring Internal Check, driven by Peter Gerry, to score by a neck in 1:58.4. Val's Way, with Ned Hodkinson in the bike, finished third while Southwind Vixen (Matt Zuccarello) paced the fastest final panel in the event to finish fourth. Flashy (Billy Muggleston) picked up the nickel after forging to the lead half way through the mile. Trained by Fred Cohen for owner Brian Calvert, Ruths Shadylady won for the second time this year and now has 20 career victories and $71,721 in career bounty. As second choice in the betting at 2 to 1, Ruths Shadylady paid $6.40 to win. Insider Access, trained by Oldford for his own Oldford Racing stable, drew off in the lane to score a 3½ length win in 1:58.4 over PC's Wildcard, driven by Peter Gerry. The early leader, Out Of The Hat, with Joe Pennacchio in the sulky, finished third while Highland Yankee (Bob Davis) finished fourth. M C Felix (Ted Bowman) picked up the nickel in the field of 10. Insider Access was fourth in the early going as Out Of The Hat led through hot early panels of :28.2 and :57. On the backside, Insider Access surged first up, taking the lead around the final turn (1:28) and drawing off in the lane. An altered six year-old son of Conway Hall, Insider Access earned his initial win of the year in 12 starts and eighth lifetime victory, sending his career bounty to $133,527. The pair of wins for Oldford sent his career total to 114, four of which have been accomplished this semester. Oldford's "double-dip" was the third of his driving career, the first accomplished at Charlottetown in 2006 and the second at Delaware, Ohio during Jug Week in 2014. Following the Billings competition, the Florida Amateur Driving Club took the spotlight with Lexis Amigo surviving an inquiry to earn his first win of the year. Trained by Paul Messina for Vallelunga Z (Zara) L (Luca), Lexis Amigo driven by Fred Cohen, left with alacrity from Pompano Park's coveted five post and then let Lady Deda D, handled by Jamie Marra, cut panels of :28.3, :58 and 1:28.2 before leaving the coziness of the pocket at attacking the leader. Taking command with authority turning for home and opening up a long lead in the lane, Lexis Amigo jumped up in the air in mid-stretch but driver Cohen was able to settle the 10 year-old down and regain his composure, trotting under the wire 1½ lengths to the good of Chaplin Hall, driven by Gary Barbere with Zeitgeist third for Dein Spriggs. C R Amigo finished fourth while What About Brian earned the final ward in the field of nine. Lexis Amigo now has 20 lifetime wins in a lightly raced career of 98 starts, good for $257,335. As the 1 to 5 tote-board favorite, Lexis Amigo returned $2.60 to win. Also of note, the 11 year-old warrior Rick's Sign, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr., won his fifth race in a row, showing his heels to his younger foes in 1:52.1. Trained by Paul Holzman for Mary Holzman, Rick's Sign, an altered son of Life Sign, won for the 65th time in a career spanning 275 starts to send his lifetime earnings to $420,589--$22,368 this year on the strength of a 6-2-1 scorecard in a dozen starts. Off as the 3 to 2 favorite, Rick's Sign rewarded his faithful with a $5.00 mutuel. Pompano Park's pentafecta fourth went untouched on Sunday night with a $2,503 carryover resulting in a $15,000 guaranteed pool for Monday night's fourth race pentafecta. Post time for the Monday program is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

WASHINGTON, PA, April 16, 2016 -- Harness driver and Hall of Famer DavePalone collected seven wins on the Saturday race program at The Meadows -- four for trainer Ron Burke -- while Mike Wilder enjoyed a four-bagger on the 15-race card. Arthur Pendragon captured his second straight series win in Saturday's second leg of the Atta Boy Dan Pace, scoring in a career-best 1:52.4. More Dragon took the other $17,500 second-leg split in the event for 3-year-old colts and geldings, prevailing in 1:52.1 for Dave Palone. The two will square off in the $32,500 (est) series championship next Saturday. Arthur Pendragon was away fourth before Mike Wilder sent him after the lead at the quarter. The homebred Dragon Again-Western Realist gelding jogged home from there, downing the first-over Trelane by 2-1/2 lengths. The pocket-sitting Stone Fire Hanover finished third. Dan Altmeyer trains Arthur Pendragon and owns with Richard Kelson. In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Unlocked rolled to a front-end victory in a swift 1:49.4 for Jim Pantaleano, trainer Norm Parker and owner Megan Rogers Racing Stables. Easy Again rode the pocket to a second-place finish, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Sam Hill was third. With the win, the 5-year-old son of Duneside Perch-Miss Major Power vaulted over $400,000 in career earnings. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Dovuto Hanover charged home in midstretch to nail McArdles Lightning on the wire to take the featured $25,000 open handicap pace by a head Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Bushwacker was third. Yonkers shipper Always At My Place displayed good early speed and led through fractions of :27.1, :54.3, and 1:22.1. As McArdles Lightning came alongside the leader at the head of the stretch, driver Scott Zeron put Dovuto Hanover in striking position just behind the dueling leaders. McArdles Lightning got past Always At My Place in deep stretch only to get caught at the finish by Dovuto Hanover, who paid $17.80 to win in taking his second straight. The winning time was 1:50.3 for the 6-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again, who crept closer to the half-million dollar lifetime earnings plateau, his bank account now at just over $480,000 for trainer Richard Norman and owner Martin Scharf. The race marked the seasonal debut for $2 million earner - and 2014 North America Cup winner - JK Endofanera, who looked like a horse who needed a race. As the even-money favorite, he finished last in the field of seven. All-source wagering on the 12-race card totaled $2,728,678, representing an increase of $118,607 over the corresponding program from a year ago, which had 13 races. The 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five was not hit, upping the carryover to $174,174.88. Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday, first race post time is 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

WASHINGTON, PA, April 9, 2016 -- Dismissed at 8-1, Arthur Pendragon dug in late in the slop to prevail in Saturday's opening-leg of the Atta Boy Dan Pace at The Meadows. Keystone Dylan captured the other $17,500 split, giving Mike Wilder an opening-leg sweep in the event for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The series honors Atta Boy Dan, a fast-class pacer for the Ron Burke stable who shares the track record of 1:49.1 for older geldings. Arthur Pendragon zipped to the lead from post 8 and took the field through a leisurely 1:28.1 three-quarters. But the 4-5 favorite, More Dragon, charged at the leader in the lane, forcing the Dragon Again-Western Realist gelding to find more. He did just that, downing More Dragon by 3/4 lengths in 1:55.3, with the pocket-sitting Cheapskate Hanover third. Dan Altmeyer trains the homebred Arthur Pendragon and owns with Richard Kelson. In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life Pace, 10-year-old Sam Hill rolled to a front-end 1:53 victory -- the 40th of his career but first this year -- for Wilder, trainer John Sullivan and owner Don Tiger. The pocket-sitting Visible Gold was second, a length back, with Full Code third. The Artsplace-Apple Of My Eye gelding extended his career bankroll to $437,067. Wilder piloted five winners and Dave Palone four on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows        

In a classic battle to the wire, Dedi's Dragon, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr., pushed his nose in front a few strides from the wire and upset Panocchio, with harness racing driver Wally Hennessey in the bike, in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (April 3). The official margin was a neck at the line with Steelhead Hanover, teamed up with Joe Pavia, Jr., third, 3¾ lengths away. Rock On Moe finished fourth while Northern Companion was fifth in the talented sextet featuring four sub-1:50 performers and the winners of $2,617,467 coming in to the event. At the outset, Steelhead Hanover, Dedi's Dragon and Panocchio all were on the bullet train with Dedi's Dragon assuming control a few strides before the opening panel clocked in :27. Shortly thereafter, Panocchio muscled his way to the front and reached the half in :55. The top three positions remained unchanged on the backside with Panocchio still in command past the third station in 1:23.4 with Dedi's Dragon and Steelhead Hanover next in line. Turning for home, Panocchio was trying desperately to protect his lead with Dedi's Dragon gnawing into the diminishing margin with every stride and finally eking by just a few strides from the wire. In a post-race interview, driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. related, "First, Paul (trainer Holzman) has this horse very sharp. He raced great the last couple of times I sat behind him and was close in each. "I left with him because I couldn't afford to spot Panocchio that many lengths at the start. I figured that if I could work out a trip behind him, I would have a chance. "Both horses raced gamely tonight and I think the trip was the deciding factor." Trained by Paul Holzman for John McGill, Brian Carsey and the J L Benson Stables, Dedi's Dragon, a six year-old son of Dragon Again, won for the second time in 12 starts this year. It was his 20th win lifetime sending his career bankroll to $773,801--$28,417 this semester. As the 7 to 5 second choice, Dedi's Dragon paid $4.80 to win. The Open 2 Pace went to Buddha Blue Chip, deftly handled by Mike Micallef, pinning a photo finish decision on Four Socks, driven by John Cummings, Jr., with Bunkerhill Bill third for Kevin Wallis, a length away in a mile clocked in 1:52.2. Mister Virgin finished fourth while Thebestofjoel, seventh and last with three-eighths remaining, rallying to pick up the nickel. As the Hummer closed its wings, Four Socks left with alacrity along with Buddha Blue Chip, protecting his rail post position, and Mister Virgin, surging up from the outside post with Four Socks gaining the advantage around the first turn. Just prior to the :27 opener, Mister Virgin wended his way into second with Buddha Blue Chip next but on the move and surging to the front under the line the first time. With the half in a well rated :56.2, Micallef had to quicken the pace a bit as Mister Virgin began a first over backside bid and, when the third station was reached in 1:24.3, Mister Virgin was but a length away from Four Socks as Buddha Blue Chip looked for a seam. In the lane, Buddha Blue Chip drifted out a lane allowing Four Socks a clear path but the latter ran out of racetrack as Buddha Blue Chip, on the strength of a :27.4 finale, held off the challenger by a neck. After the event, driver Micallef said, "when the dust settled early, I decided to send 'Buddha' thinking that the leader might just be looking for a breather during the (2nd) quarter. "It worked out well with the half in a reasonable clip and he still had enough steam left in the lane." Owned by the Baron Racing Stable, the five year-old altered son of Art Major earned his third win of the year in 13 starts to send his 2016 bankroll to $25,885. He's won $153,734 lifetime to go along with his 1:49.1 Pocono mark. As the 8 to 5 second choice, Buddha Blue Chip paid $5.20 to win. Racing continues on Monday night at Pompano Park with post time set at 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park.

Dovuto Hanover sprinted home in 26 seconds flat after a rated middle half on the way to an impressive 1-length harness racing victory in 1:50.1 in the featured $15,000 conditioned pace at the Meadowlands Saturday night. Big M leading driver Scott Zeron urged the son of Dragon Again to the top in :27.1. Unpressured from there, Zeron guided the 6-year-old to the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.1. Flexing his considerable back-class muscles after that tepid :57 middle half, Dovuto Hanover then exploded home in the stretch to keep the fast-closing Pansformative and Ashley's Husband at bay to record his first win of the year in five starts for owner Martin Scharf and trainer Nifty Norman. Dovuto Hanover, who returned $4.20 as the even-money public choice, has won 17 of 59 lifetime outings for earnings of just over $468,000. McArdles Lightning ($11.40) extended his win streak to three in the secondary feature, a $13,000 conditioned pace, by moving past 4/5 favorite Real Nice at the three-eighth-mile marker and never looked back on the way to a dominant 3 1/4-length score in a lifetime-best 1:49.2. Odds On Equuleus outkicked Real Nice for second. All-source wagering on the card was $3,050,070, which represents an increase of $408,844 over the corresponding program from a year ago. The 12th race Jackpot Super High Five was again not hit, upping the carryover to $164,848.59. Live racing returns to the Big M Friday, with a first race post time of 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

When Matinee Dragon won the $20,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap at Dover Downs last month, the harness racing bettors who overlooked her at 56-1 odds weren’t the only ones who were surprised. Louis “Bill” Catana, who owns the mare with trainer Vincent Bradley, was shocked. Naturally he had faith in Matinee Dragon, but even he didn’t think she could go first over against the best mares in the state and win. “She really surprised me,” Catana said. “I was watching it on my computer at home. I was screaming so loud I woke up the neighborhood.” The Feb. 16 victory was just one of many for Matinee Dragon (Dragon Again-Play Ball) since she moved to the Bradley stable last year. The 6-year-old mare now boasts a lifetime mark of 1:52.4f and career earnings of more than $145,000. Bradley, who with his son Bart trains a stable of Standardbreds in southern Delaware, says the mare caught his eye last spring. “I liked her breeding and her build,” he said. "Dragon Again mares seem to get better with age and I decided to give her a try.” Catana didn’t hesitate to partner with him. “Vincent is very good at picking out horses,” he said. “He’s picked out a number of horses we’ve done well with.” Though he had his trainer’s license for some time, Catana, 76, leaves the barn work to Bradley these days. It was the trainer, he said, who encouraged him to get back into the business when he moved to Delaware from New Jersey. “Now we have seven horses,” he said. Matinee Dragon is proving to be the best of them. “She’s won 11 races for us,” Catana said. When he and Bradley purchased the mare, she was picking up checks in the Fillies and Mares $15,000 claimer at Harrington Raceway. Bradley wasted no time in dropping her in a race designed to boost her confidence. On June 9 of last year, Matinee Dragon made her first start for the Bradley stable a winning one, easily besting the competition in a Fillies and Mares non-winners of $1,501 at Harrington Raceway. She moved up the ranks from there, winning a Fillies and Mares non-winners of $3,001 the following week and a non-winners of $80,001 lifetime event for fillies and mares after that. Forced to move into the Fillies and Mares Open from there, just three weeks after her first race for Bradley, she proved she was a contender, finishing third and pacing a mile in 1:53.2 on Harrington’s half-mile track. Matinee Dragon went on to win six more races in 2015, competing against some of the best mares in the First State. She ended the season with $61,465 in earnings and a new mark of 1:53h. Bradley says she’s no trouble in the barn. “She’s a laid back mare,” he said. “Nothing fazes her. A child could jog her.” Since kicking off 2016 at Dover Downs, Matinee Dragon has again worked her way up through the conditioned races to the Fillies and Mares Open. Since moving into the top class in early February, the mare has missed just one check for driver Jonathan Roberts. In nine starts in 2016, Matinee Dragon has earned $25,065 and established a new lifetime best of 1:52.4f. “She’s done very well,” Catana said. “She’s probably the best horse I’ve ever had. I just hope she keeps going.” He credits Bradley with the mare’s success, and with convincing him to get back into a business he’s enjoyed since the 1980s, when he first started watching races at Liberty Bell and Freehold. “I love it,” Catana said. “It’s something that gets in your blood.” by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Following nearly nine months on the sidelines, Martin Scharf's Dovuto Hanover prepared to commence his 6-year-old harness racing season with a pair of qualifiers earlier in the month. In Saturday (February 27) evening's featured $20,000 ninth race at The Meadowlands, he will tackle nine others on debut for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman.   "He had some issues last year, only having six starts, but he's been so far, so good," said Norman of his new acquisition. "I'm pretty happy with him so far."   While installed the 3-1 morning line favorite, a tall task awaits the gelded son of Dragon Again. Among those facing Dovuto Hanover are Erv Miller trainee Jet Airway (Marcus Miller, post 7), who rises off a decisive 1:50 win, the stout closer Ashley's Husband (post 4) who reunites with Tim Tetrick after a ferocious :25.4 closing quarter propelled him to victory two starts back, and Aslan (Andy McCarthy, post 9), who charged off cover on local debut last week after solid bids in top-level fields at Yonkers.   Scott Zeron will handle the driving duties aboard Dovuto Hanover, who took his mark of 1:48.4 at The Meadowlands as a 3-year-old. His greatest accomplishments came in 2014 where, as a 4-year-old, he won nine of 31 races--including top-level events at The Meadowlands, Pocono Downs, and on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit--and banked over $200,000.   "In this position we'll probably race him off the pace--he's raced well that way in the past," continued Norman. "A third-over trip would be great. If he can finish up well and with some pace, I'll be happy with him. The thing against him is probably tactical speed, but I think the run will do him some good."   The featured event kicks off the late 50¢ Pick 4, which carries a guaranteed pool of $50,000. As is customary, the earlier Pick 4 (beginning in race 5) and Pick 5 (in race 3) offer a combined $55,000 in guaranteed pools. Two 20¢ Jackpot High 5 wagers await punters in search of a large score, occurring in races 7 and 14. While the early High 5 was hit last Saturday, the late High 5 will boast a jackpot in excess of $106,000 should it not be captured by a lone ticket on Friday.   Saturday evening's card also features a World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier, with the top four finishers guaranteed spots in the April 30 final. The entry fee is $400, split evenly between the prize pool and a live-money contest bankroll.   For further details, click here.   Post time for Saturday's 14-race card is 6:35 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

When Jim Clarke Sr. invited longtime friend Andy Altobelli to join him in buying a harness racing yearling a little more than four years ago, he set their budget at $35,000. After Clarke exceeded that number by two grand to purchase female pacer Coffee Addict at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale, he joked the toughest part of the day was calling Altobelli with the news. "I was quite happy, but the hardest thing for me was telling Andy that I had to go a little bit above what we intended to spend," Clarke said, adding with a laugh. "He said don't worry about it, that's all right. I said, 'good.' "We've been crazy about her ever since. She's a really nice mare." Now a 6-year-old, Coffee Addict has won 23 races and earned $463,779 during her career. Clarke has owned horses off and on since the late 1970s, but Coffee Addict was Altobelli's first racehorse. "Maybe it was just beginner's luck," said Altobelli, a 63-year-old pharmacist and pharmacy owner from York County, Pennsylvania. "She was just a good horse right from the get-go." Coffee Addict, a daughter of stallion Dragon Again out of the mare Kahlua Queen, wasn't on Clarke's list of horses when he went to the auction. Clarke attended the sale with Zan "Pete" Kaiser and Kaiser's son, Zach, and Pete suggested Clarke take a look at the filly after Clarke was unsuccessful in buying several other horses. Kaiser was unfamiliar with Coffee Addict, but had seen her full brother Mudslide race recently and thought he was a nice colt. "When I got back to see her, she was being prepped to go up to the ring," Clarke said. "I looked at her and couldn't see a pimple on her. Then I sat down in a chair and just watched her demeanor for about 20 minutes. She stood perfectly. She didn't even flick her ear. She was just so attentive. She was showing me that she was a smart horse. She had a head on her shoulders. "I thought I had to buy her. I was so glad Pete suggested I go back and look. I probably wouldn't have looked at her going through the ring." Kaiser trained Coffee Addict through the middle of her 3-year-old season, when she moved to trainer Bruce Saunders and captured a Keystone Classic division at The Meadows in 2013 and later became a top performer in the Fillies & Mares Open Handicap ranks at Yonkers Raceway. Last September, Coffee Addict joined the stable of trainer Norm Parker at The Meadows. She has raced almost exclusively at the western Pennsylvania oval since then, winning seven of 17 starts and hitting the board a total of 14 times. She has won back-to-back races in the top-level handicap division for filly and mare pacers at The Meadows and is entered again for Monday (Feb. 15). "Pete is great at starting up horses, bringing along the young ones, and Bruce did a great job with her too," Clarke said. "At this point in her career I decided I wanted her to race where she lives, and I had done business with Norm a few years ago with Fionavar Hanover. He's been doing a terrific job." Added Altobelli, "We've had people right on through who have done a very good job with her. We've been very fortunate, very lucky. It's been a thrill, for sure." The calm demeanor Coffee Addict displayed while Clarke watched her prior to the yearling sale is not always evident these days on the racetrack. "She's relatively calm, but when she gets on the track she turns into a whole different person," Clarke said. "She had two personalities, I feel. But one thing about her, she's always trying." The 76-year-old Clarke is the retired former owner of a chain of building supply/home improvement centers in southcentral Pennsylvania. He also worked for 84 Lumber for a number of years prior to starting his own business. He was hired at 84 Lumber in 1966 by company founder Joe Hardy and went on to manage several stores. Clarke's interest in harness racing goes back to his days growing up in western New York. He worked as a groom at Buffalo Raceway when he was a teenager and also had a cousin involved in horse ownership. "I've always loved the sport," Clarke said. "I was transferred to Atlanta many years ago for work and we would travel to Hawkinsville to watch the horses at the winter training center and I would talk with all the horsemen. I couldn't wait to get back north and get back involved in harness racing because I could afford to own horses. I came back in 1975 and in 1978, I believe, I bought my first horse. I've been on and off owning horses since then." Altobelli grew up in New Jersey, but spent time as a teenager helping out at his grandfather's dairy farm in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. In 1985, Altobelli bought his own farm in Pennsylvania and raises beef cattle in addition to working as a pharmacist. His interest in harness racing was fueled in part by living near renowned breeding facility Hanover Shoe Farms, as well as his own interest in breeding and genetics. "There were many times we would stop over at Hanover Shoe Farms and see the foals and just look around," Altobelli said. "I really study the stallions and the classic families. I'm trying to get a better background. Even though I've been in it for five years I feel like I'm an amateur. Jim has been kind of a mentor to me and I'm always wanting to learn more." Clarke and Altobelli own three more horses together now: 5-year-old female pacer Adelita Hanover, 4-year-old female pacer Picksync Hanover, and 2-year-old male pacer Gossip Boy (who is a half-brother to millionaire McCedes). "It's a great partnership," Clarke said. "I don't know where it will go, but I'll be doing it for as long as I can. For us to have a horse like Coffee Addict, it's meant a lot. I've gotten a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of her. It's just satisfying for us to have what we consider a pretty nice one for just two guys from the York County area." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications  

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 8, 2016 -- Mandy's Mattjesty zipped to the front and, with late urging, held on to take Monday's opening-leg split in a series for $20,000 claiming filly and mare pacers at The Meadows. Americangirlfriend pulled off a 16-1 shocker in the other $15,000 division. Although Mandy's Mattjesty enjoyed a comfortable lead over the pocket-sitting My Caroline, Dave Palone felt her tiring in mid-stretch and kept her to her task. The 6-year-old daughter of His Mattjesty-Astra Destiny downed My Caroline by 1/2 length in 1:53.4, with Non Pareil third. Ron Burke trains Mandy's Mattjesty, who soared over $200,000 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Phillip Collura. The program also featured the opening leg of a series for $10,000 claiming filly and mare pacers, with Regil Meg and PC's Vixen each capturing an $8,000 division. In Monday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Coffee Addict shot the Lightning Lane to nail Set Me Up and defeat her by a length in 1:53.1 for Jim Pantaleano, trainer Norm Parker and owners James Clarke, Sr. and Andrew Altobelli. The first-over Medusa raced well for show. It was the second straight victory for the 6-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Kahlua Queen, who boosted her career bankroll to $463,779. Tony Hall piloted four winners and Mike Wilder three on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 1, 2016 -- Coffee Addict outdueled Medusa in the stretch to score a narrow harness racing victory in Monday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Hammered down to 1-2, Coffee Addict retook the lead for Jim Pantaleano past the quarter and enjoyed a much-needed 29.1 second-panel breather. That served her well late, when she was able to hold off the first-over Medusa by a nose in 1:52.4. Early leader Tipitina saved show. Norm Parker trains Coffee Addict, a 6-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Kahlua Queen who now boasts $452,529 in career earnings, for James Clarke, Sr. and Andrew Altobelli. Dave Palone piloted four winners and Eric Goodell three on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

DOVER, Del. --- While Speed Again won the $30,000 Preferred Handicap and Captive Audience the $27,500 Delaware Special, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Eric Ell, with four-win nights, at Dover Downs on a powerful Monday, Jan. 11 card. Speed Again stepped up in ranks to win for the second straight outing rolling down the passing lane for Yannick Gingras driving a 1:51.1 victory in the $30,000 top pace of the week. It was one of two wins for trainer and part owner Ron Burke, Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi, and one for partner RTC Stables. The Dragon Again-Sand Speed gelding was followed by Major Uptrend (Corey Callahan), second, and Dapper Dude (Tim Tetrick), who closed well for third. Callahan made good use of leaving from post 1 with Captive Audience chalking up his second win on the card, a 1:50.2 front-end performance in the $27,500 Delaware Special. Al Carter and trainer Doug Lewis own the six-year-old son of Art Major-Captiva Island who won for the 12th time in his career earning $632,710. Bad Boy Matt (Allan Davis) went a big trip to finish second. Little Ben (Tetrick) came on for third. Gingras, who has had hot nights at the track in recent Mondays, drove four winners. Two of the wins came with Eric Ell trainees. Beavercreek Artist, a:1:51.2 wire-to-wire winner in a $20,000 Claiming Male Allowance and Jeremes General, in 1:51.3 winning a $15,000 Male claimer, both also owned by Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta., . Gingras and trainer Eric Ell were deprived of another win when Adventure Bound finished first in 1:51 in a $14,500 Male Winners-Over pace but was disqualified for pacing inside four pylons while in the stretch. Mike Hill's Eridanus N, a veteran McArdle- Kurahaupo Dream gelding, with Ross Wolfenden driving for trainer Joe Hunderpfund finished second and at 26-1 odds was placed first. Papa Ray (A.Davis) was placed second with Adventure Bound placed third. Class Six gave Gingras his fourth win a 1:52.2 decision in a $15,000 pace for young horses. The Western Ideal-Can Du River gelding is trained by Burke for Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing Stable. It was the five-year-old's second straight victory and seventh in his last eight starts. Apollo Seelster (Jonathan Roberts) was next in front of Beat Of NY (A.Davis). Soto, reined by Vic Kirby, won a $12,000 Male pace in 1:51, to give Ell and owners Wood, Dittmar and Iaquina, their third wins on the program Blazing Bobby Sox, piloted by trainer Art Stafford Jr. won for the fourth time in his last five races fashioning a 1:52.2 score in a $15,000 4&5-Year-Old pace. Totally Dreamy (George Dennis) was runner-up in front of Quick Shot (Tony Morgan). The top female pacers duke it out in a $20,000 Mares Open in the Tuesday feature race. Monday through Thursday weekday racing begins at p.m. 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs is dark on Friday and Saturday. Live racing resumes Sunday, post time is 5:30 p.m. FASHION SHOWDOWN, SCANDALICIOUS, ELLIESJET N IN $20,000 OPEN  Seven top distaffs battle it out in this week’s $20,000 Mares Open pace led by last week’s upset winner Fashion Showdown on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at Dover Downs.  Post time 4:30 p.m. Chris White’s Fashion Showdown has been an Open regular all meet but raised to top of the list last week when Ross Wolfenden drove a 1:51.3 longshot win at 35-1 odds. JFE Enterprise’s Scandalicious finished a head-back and will be driven by Tim Tetrick. Howard Taylor’s Shine N Shimmer and Corey Callahan may have put in the biggest trip, racing outside on the backstretch to get the lead and hold on for third only a neck behind. Bamond Racing’s Nefertiti Bluechip in her first start in nearly a month closed strongly for Brett Miller to finish fourth. Last Tuesday marked the end of Elliesjet N’s eight-race win streak since arriving from New Zealand for owners Barry Spennen, Kevin Evans, trainer Josh Parker and Nanticoke Racing. Her regular driver is Art Stafford Jr.  The race favorite last week was the highly regarded Jerseylicious, reined by Allan Davis, driving for Pam Curran, Niel Gargiulo and Legacy Racing, Jeff Clark’s Springforth and George Dennis. Made her local debut and starts from post 1. A strong undercard is topped by a $15,500 4&&5-Year-Old Mares pace. One of the nine starters was a winner last time, Eric Becker’s Flying Nun (Tyler Davis) who steps up in class and leaves from post 9 in the second tier.  Gary Ewing’s Sweet Bobbie (Callahan) and Fashion Rocker (Wolfenden) are the race favorites. Marv Bachrad

DOVER, Del. ---- Bad Boy Matt leaves from the rail in the $28,500 Delaware Special feature race on the Monday, Jan. 4 Dover Downs harness racing card. After a strong effort in last week's Preferred Handicap, Bad Boy Matt drew post 1 in this week's $28,500 Delaware Special. Allan Davis will be at the controls for the seven-time winner in 2015 for Reggie Hazzard and Legacy Racing. Two other starters also raced in the Preferred last time, Foulk Stables' Sparky Mark, get driver Yannick Gingras, who won five races in each of the last two Monday races, and driver Art Stafford and brother Andrew Stafford's Framed Art. Elizabeth Brittingham steps out of the claiming ranks after a victory with Bret Brittingham at the helm. Carter Racing and trainer Doug Lewis' Captive Audience has been sharp in all of his previous starts at the track. Corey Callahan will drive. Mustang Art, owned by Max Walton and Greg Papaleo, finished second a week ago and will again be piloted by Brett Miller, this time from post 9 in the second tier. Just A Jolt was never a factor last time. Owned by Janet Hudson, Vic Kirby drove the winner of 10 races last year, but again leaves from post 8. Kovach Stables Feel Like A Fool will be in the hands of Montrell Teague while George Dennis will drive the usually close Don't Ya Know for Joan Dalphon and Elanor Laws. Driver Art and Art Stafford Jr.'s Blazing Bobby Sox pits a three-race win streak on the line in a $15,000 f&5-Year-Old Male Pace against Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing's Classic Six (Gingras) fresh from a five-wins in his last six outings starting from post 1. C&G Racing's Twin B Stingray (Kirby), who finished second in his last two races, heads the opposition on a strong undercard. BRIONI STEPS UP IN COMPANY TO WIN SUNDAY $15,000 CLAIMER AT DOVER DOWNS After being claimed last time out, Brioni stepped up to win the $15,000 Claiming Allowance with a 1:53.1 effort at Dover Downs on the first Sunday card of the meet, Jan. 3. The holiday season has not ended for Jingle Bell Rocker, winner of his fifth in-a-row. Marcus Miller steered Broni to his second consecutive win and fourth in his last five races scoring a 1:53.1 triumph for new owner-trainer Arty Foster. The now five-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark-Armbro Bahama won a tight photo from Native Art (Montrell Teague) second and Danish Diligence (Ross Wolfenden). The win extends his lifetime bankroll to $83,865. As Bad As Thunder (Brett Brittingham) saw a three-race win streak end with a fourth-place finish. Jingle Bell Rocker, a dominant claiming winner last year reaching the winner's circle 16 times, started off the New Year with his fifth consecutive victory, for owner Tina Calrk. Les Givens conditions the Rocknroll Hanover-Blizzard Of Oz gelding driven by Ross Wolfenden in all his local wins. Arockin Hanover (Allan Davis) was second with Alex In Wonderland (Sean Bier) third. Also on the program, Corey Callahan racked up his third winner steering Tom Lazzaro's Contraband Hanover, a Somebeachsomewhere- Castaway Hanover gelding, to an easy 1:53 win. It was meet leading trainer Dylan Davis' second winner. Lettucefib A (Art Stafford Jr.) finished second with Morgan Shark (Wolfenden) third. Coal Hanover and Tony Morgan ended a string of three second-place finishes, with a 1:54.2 victory in a 4&5-Year-Old pace. Foulk Stables owns the Dragon Again-Calgary Hanover gelding. Full On Rocknroll (Callahan) was runner-up in front of Mr. Pearl (Wolfenden). Jason Lynch drove Millenium Wheel from far back to pass the leaders in the late going for a 1:53.1 score in another Male pace. The Bettor's Delight-London Eye gelding was winless in 2015. Smart Rokker (Jonathan Roberts) and early leader Elite Awards (M.Miller) were second and third respectively. Corey Callahan led all drivers with three wins, Vic Kirby had a double. Joe Hundertpfund and Dylan Davis haltered two winners each. Marv Bachrad

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