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WILKES-BARRE PA - Imagine Dragon and Momas Got A Gun both punched their tickets to the $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on September 5 with strong victories in $191,609 fourth and final round preliminary action Saturday at The Downs.   Imagine Dragon lowered her mark a tick to 1:51.1 for trainer Frank Antonacci and Lindy Farms of Connecticut in taking the first division. Driver Scott Zeron had three pieces of luck with the daughter of Dragon Again, and the first two did not augur well: he had to tuck third early, and he had to rethink a quarter-move when pacesetter Better Said showed no sign of wanting to give up the lead. But his third piece of luck was good - for victory: pocketsitting Triple V Hanover moved outside for the drive, and Zeron was able to guide Imagine Dragon to the famed Pocono Pike, winning easily late with a strong finishing kick. 31-1 Doll Fins, the longest shot on the board, shot through deep in the Pike for second, 1½ lengths behind the winner and a neck ahead of favored Better Said. Safe From Terror, one of two horses with two prelim wins coming to tonight (the other, Serious Filly, was absent here), was photoed out of third, and Triple V Hanover completed the checkgetters.   Momas Got A Gun had not raced at the mountain oval since July 4, where she had a stretch lead and missed just a neck in the $300,000 Lynch Final. Saturday the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was on the right side of a neck decision, as she made two moves to control the pace, coming her last half in 54.2 to stop the timer in 1:50.1, a national season's mark and a personal best. Somewhere Sweet came at the winner late directly to her left, but Jim Morrill Jr. kept his filly going to win by a neck for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and Albertan owner Geoffrey Martin. Slight betting favorite Doctor Terror, first-over here, was 1¼ lengths further back in third; Well Hello There and Southwind Roulette, the defending divisional Champion, getting the last two paydays.   The official pointstandings are tabulated by the PA Harness Racing Commission, with money earned in the prelims used as a tiebreaker if the need arises, but an initial tabulation after tonight's two races showed the following: the eight spots available for the Championship were earned by Safe From Terror (88 points on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 basis), Imagine Dragon and Somewhere Sweet (tied at 85), Serious Filly (78), Momas Got A Gun and Storm Point (tied at 73), Arts Jem (60), and Southwind Roulette (58); spots in a 9-horse $60,000 Consolation were earned by Doctor Terror (56), Better Said (48), Triple V Hanover (47), Doll Fins (42), Deli Beach (32), Seeking Nirvana (27), Ginger Tree Alexis and Macarena Mama (tied at 25), and Well Hello There (24).   (Again, these are unofficial numbers; also, the race of participation depends on who drops in: if one declares in for Saturday, one declares for both races as eligible - you can't refuse the Championship for the Consolation, and those with fewer points, if declared, may make the Consolation if horses listed above don't drop in.   In the $30,000 Open pace, the Always A Virgin 4YO gelding Always At My Place came with a 1/5 of a second of the divisional world record when he won in 1:48.1, just off Mach It So's world and track record, stamping himself as a force to be reckoned with on a national level. Winning for the fifth time in succession, Always At My Place did it despite taking the first-over route, pacing his back half in an incredible 53.1 to tally for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and the owning partnership of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr, and Phillip Collura while taking a new mark and equaling Rockeyed Optimist's season's record.   FINISHING LINES - A reminder for those planning to attend or watch the $2M+ Super Stakes Saturday card next week are reminded that the first race is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., as there is a giant fireworks show planned for after the races.   PHHA / Pocono

The Carl Milstein Memorial, Northeast Ohio's premier harness racing event, will go to post Friday (August 14) at Northfield Park. The Milstein's $405,000 purse is the largest ever in Northfield's 58-year history and has attracted the best three year-old colt pacers in North America. The Grand Circuit race is the featured event of a stakes-laden program that offers total purses of $663,500. Here is a runner by runner preview of this years field   1 - Go Daddy Go Draws the rail for trainer Robert McIntosh and owners Robert McIntosh Stables, Inc. and Diamond Creek Racing. With five wins to his credit and finishing in the top three in 13 of 21 starts, this colt has $438,646 in earnings and a career best of 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands. The son of Ponder has a victory in a $56,000 leg of the Ontario Sires Stakes this year. He won last year's $199,769 Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway, the $26,400 Metro at Mohawk Raceway and a $25,000 Breeders Crown Elimination at the Meadowlands. Peter Wrenn, who won the Battle of Lake Erie with Dare You To in 1991, has been given the driving assignment with a morning line of 15-1.   2 - Lyons Levi Lewis Is one of two sons of Well Said in this year's edition of the Carl Milstein Memorial. He has won three and finished in the top three in 12 of 19 career races, taking a 1:50.4 mark at the Meadowlands and bankrolling $390,026. This colt is owned by Joseph Lyond-Mound and trained by Ron Burke, who won last year's inaugural edition of this event with All Bets Off. Lyons Levi Lewis is the winner of last year's $113,270 Champlain Stakes at Mohawk Raceway and was victorious in his most recent effort in a conditioned race at Harrah's Philadelphia on August 2. Burke has enlisted Northfield Park's leading driver, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., to drive this 10-1 morning line contender. Wrenn was the North American Dash winner for both 2013 and 2014.   3 - Lost For Words Sports career earnings of $378,642. He has 21 lifetime starts with nine wins and 16 top-three finishes. This colt is a son of Well Said with a lifetime mark of 1:49.3 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Lost For Words is Buckeye-owned by the partnership of Country Club Acres, William Robinson, Richard Lombardo and Strollin Stables. He is trained at the historic Delaware County Fairgrounds by Brian Brown. Last year Lost For Words won two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, the $58,045 Standardbred at the Delaware County Fair, the $72,000 International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile and the $82,250 Bluegrass Stakes at the Red Mile. This year he has won three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes. He has been assigned a morning line of 4-1 and is scheduled to have the driving services of Ohio native and Hall of Famer David Miller.   4 - Wiggle It Jiggleit Has been named the 3-5 morning line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting, Dave Bianconi. He is the richest horse in this event with $993,144 in earnings. Wiggle It Jiggleit's 1:47.4 mark at the Meadowlands is the fastest in this field. This gelded son of Mr Wiggles has 15 wins to his credit in 17 starts. He was victorious this year in the $47,124 John Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands, the $58,000 "Buddy" Gilmour at the Meadowlands, the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final at Hoosier Park, the $500,000 Hempt at Pocono Downs and the $706,000 Meadowlands Pace at the Meadowlands. Wiggle It Jiggleit is trained by Clyde Francis for owner George Teague Jr., Inc. Montrell Teague has been named to drive.   5 - Allbeef N Nobull Is one of two horses in this race for Ron Burke, the leader of all North American trainers in both wins and earnings. This son of McArdle is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Donald Emond, Howard Taylor and Weaver Bruscemi. Allbeef N Nobull was undefeated in four starts last year and has posted three wins in 11 starts this year, including a victory in a leg of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, where he took his 1:51 mark at Harrah's Philadelphia. He has $119,470 in earnings and enters the Milstein off a 1:54.1 win at Yonkers Raceway. This 12-1 morning line selection is scheduled to be driven by Chris Page.   6 - Rock N' Roll World Is owned by the partnership of Jeffrey Snyder and Three Decades Racing, LLC. This colt has 23 career starts, winning three races and finishing in the top three 15 times. His 1:50.3 lifetime mark at the Meadows came on August 1 in the $50,000 Adios Consolation. Rock N' Roll World is a son of Rocknroll Hanover and has career earnings of $219,518. Trainer Mark Silva has listed current North American leading driver, Aaron Merriman, to drive this 20-1 morning line contender. Merriman, the youngest inductee ever enshrined in Northfield Park's Wall of Fame at age 36, has won more races than any other driver in the track's 58-year history.   7 - The Wayfaring Man Enters this event off two straight wins at Mohawk Raceway, taking his 1:51 lifetime mark in his most recent race on August 8. His victories include a win in last year's $39,744 Dream Maker Stakes at Mohawk Raceway. He is one of two horses in this event by Dragon Again, the 2000 Battle of Lake Erie Champion. The Wayfaring Man has six wins in 19 starts, earning $96,233. Bruno Comegna owns this colt and Nicky Comegna is his conditioner. Dan Noble is scheduled to pilot the 25-1 morning line contender.   8 - Wakizashi Hanover Enters this event for owner Tri County Stable and trainer Joann Looney-King. This son of Dragon Again has eight wins and 14 top-three finishes in 16 starts. His victories this year include the $32,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars at Pocono Downs, a $58,842 division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at Pocono Downs and the $810,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway. This gelding has a 1:48 lifetime mark at Mohawk Raceway and earnings of $743,991. National driving star Tim Tetrick is coming in to drive this 9-2 contender.   The race is named in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. His son, Brock Milstein, immediately took over as Chairman of Northfield Park and is now also the Chairman of Milstein Entertainment, LLC, majority owner of the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. In 1972, the senior Milstein, a Cleveland builder and real estate developer, headed a group of several partners, including George Steinbrenner, who purchased Northfield Park. They leased the facility to other operators through the early 1980s. The track lost significant amounts of money during that period before Milstein took full ownership and control. In late 1984 he successfully applied to the Ohio State Racing Commission for the necessary licenses and, beginning in January 1985, conducted permanent race meetings at Northfield of between 212 and 238 days every year. Milstein was the driving force behind a resurgence of the beleaguered track, which ascended to among harness racing's top tracks in attendance and handle. He was an innovator in promotions and advertising and successfully led the track into the era of simulcast racing. Another added attraction on the track will be the "Legends Driver Challenge," featuring Northfield's leading drivers of days gone by. Last year's winner, Dan Ross, will try to defend his title against Gerry Bookmyer, William Irvine, Keith Kash and Don McKirgan, as well as newcomers Jeff Fout, Del S. Miller and William Popio. The eight veteran reinsmen have all won driving titles at Northfield during a span that covered the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The Milstein crowd will enjoy food trucks on the outdoor apron from 6-10 p.m. and Northfield Park dice games and the Majic 105.7 prize wheel with Chip Kullik from 7-9 p.m. Classic rock band Unknown Reason will be performing on the trackside apron from 6 to 10 p.m. ESPN Cleveland WKNR's Bruce Hooley will be broadcasting live from 5-7 p.m. Lady Luck's Clubhouse Restaurant will be offering a $19.95 signature buffet, inspired by Hard Rock Rocksino Executive Chef Chris Poplin. Due to the expected large crowd reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. First race post time for the Carl Milstein Memorial card is 6 p.m. Parking and admission are always free at Northfield Park. Ayers Ratliff  

After a lifetime in harness racing, trainer Joann Looney-King is enjoying her horse of a lifetime. And the horse, Wakizashi Hanover, is enjoying all the attention. Wakizashi Hanover, who in June won Canada's million-dollar North America Cup, returns from a nearly month-long layoff Friday in the $405,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at Northfield Park in Ohio. Wakizashi Hanover, known around the stable as the more-easily pronounced "Waki," drew post eight in the eight-horse field and is the 9-2 third choice on the morning line. Regular driver Tim Tetrick is listed to go with the gelding. For the year, Wakizashi Hanover has won six of 10 races, hit the board a total of nine times, and earned $639,902 for the ownership group Tri County Stable, based in Nova Scotia. Lifetime, the son of Dragon Again-Western Gesture has won eight of 16 starts, missed the top three only twice, and earned $743,991. "It's just such a wonderful thing at this point in my life to have a horse like this," said Looney-King, a 69-year-old Delaware native whose career in harness racing has included driving, training and co-hosting the early editions of the show "Racing from the Meadowlands." "I've done it for so many years and to have this happen, my husband (trainer Jim King Jr.) and I think we've died and gone to heaven. We've made our living through the years with claimers and condition horses. Claimers have been good to me, and I still have claimers. We've worked hard, and we still do. You don't get anywhere until you work hard. You've got to really get with it and stick with the program for years and go through heartaches. "To make it all worth it, wow. One horse can bring you to life. After all these years, one horse." Wakizashi Hanover is a horse who enjoys his routine, from an early breakfast followed by several hours of fresh air in the paddock, to being the center of attention. "He has a big personality," Looney-King said. "He's the first horse I go to in the barn every day. He's there with head over the door swinging it around and around and around, demanding that you come over and pet him on the head and talk to him and be his friend. "He's a kind horse; a good-feeling horse. He just has a good personality. He's a wonderful horse to be around, and makes his presence known all the time. When he gets to the (race) paddock he's all business. He does anything you ask him to do. He's just a nice boy." Wakizashi Hanover was purchased for $23,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale by Bruce Kennedy, who heads the Tri County Stable. The group consists of three veteran horse owners, including the 74-year-old Kennedy, and three newcomers. "In Nova Scotia, people are just crazy for this horse," Looney-King said. "It's fun to see other people enjoy it too. It's amazing. "Bruce is such a good guy. Of course we always want to win, but he's always happy for somebody else when they win. The whole group, you're just always happy for people that get a good horse." Wakizashi Hanover's recent respite followed six consecutive weeks of racing. After winning the North America Cup he finished fourth from post seven in the Max C. Hempt Memorial and third from post nine in the Meadowlands Pace. He prepped for the Milstein by winning a qualifier in 1:53.1 on Aug. 4 at Harrah's Philadelphia. His connections had considered spending $35,000 to supplement to the Cane Pace, which was held Aug. 8, but decided to stick to the horse's schedule. Dealt A Winner won the Cane Pace at 26-1 odds, upsetting Meadowlands Pace and Hempt winner Wiggle It Jiggleit and Adios winner Dude's The Man in the process. "We figured we would skip the Cane and as it turned out we probably should have showed up," Looney-King said. "It turned out there were no eliminations and only a nine-horse field for the final. But that's water under the bridge. "It's such a hard schedule. We're a little fussy about racing too much, even though we know the big money is as a 3-year-old." Following the Milstein, Wakizashi Hanover's schedule includes the Battle of the Brandywine, Keystone Classic, Breeders Crown, Matron Stakes, and Progress Pace. "It's a pretty heavy schedule," Looney-King said. "Things change weekly. (The result of the Cane Pace), that's just horse racing. I think a lot of times we think these things are machines and they're just horses. You never know. They're always capable of surprising you. And that's a great thing. "It is a nice bunch of horses in this (3-year-old pacing) division. You've got to be looking out for all those guys. I don't discount any one of them. It's exciting. It's fun. And to be part of it is really fun too." Looney-King would have preferred a better draw for the Milstein, but she is always happy with her horse. "It's always nice when a horse gives a hundred percent all the time, and that's what he does," she said. "When Tim goes out there with him I always have a good feeling. The two of them are a top-notched duo. In my mind, you can't get any better than those two. "I just always know when he goes out there that I'm going to get everything he's got. That's a good feeling. That's a real good feeling." $405,000 Carl Milstein Memorial 1 - Go Daddy Go by Ponder - Peter Wrenn-Robert McIntosh-15-1 2 - Lyons Levi Lewis by Well Said -Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Ron Burke-10-1 3 - Lost For Words by Well Said -David Miller-Brian Brown-4-1 4 - Wiggle It Jiggleit by Mr Wiggles -Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis-3-5 5 - Allbeef N Nobull by McArdle -Chris Page-Ron Burke-12-1 6 - Rock N' Roll World by Rocknroll Hanover -Aaron Merriman-Mark Silva-20-1 7 - The Wayfaring Man by Dragon Again -Aaron Merriman-Nicky Comegna-25-1 8 - Wakizashi Hanover by Dragon Again -Tim Tetrick-Joann Looney-King-9-2 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

There had been six divisions of the first preliminary of Pennsylvania Stallion Series action for two-year old harness racing pacing fillies.   After the second prelim, which went in seven divisions, there were no repeat winners -- 13 different Stallion Stake winners.   Twelve of that baker's dozen came to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday to contest the $120,000 third preliminary leg over six divisions.   No previous winner won on Tuesday.   And thus there are nineteen different Stallion Series winners after three rounds. Talk about parity!   Only two of Tuesday's winners were not breaking their maiden, and one of the previous visitors to Victory Lane was the only favorite in the Stallion Series and also had the fastest time.   That would be Western Ideal-Sass Newton miss Newborn Sassy, who followed up on a 1:54 score in a Philly overnight with a 1:53.1 victory here, drawing off by 7 1/2 lengths in a 28.1 kicker for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim King Jr. of Team Wakizashi, the latter co-owner with CC Racing LLC.   Tetrick, who had the only Stallion driving double, also won with the other non-maiden who was victorious, the Yankee Cruiser-Noble Marty filly Marty Party Two, who followed up on an earlier 1:55.3 score at Scioto with a quarter-move to triumph in 1:54.4 for trainer Ron Steck, the latter co-owner with Gary Condit and Bruce Soulsby.   Sire Yankee Cruiser got another credit from Shesjustcruising (out of the mare Shes Just Rockin), who made every pole a winning one in 1:53.4 for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer John Marshall, and owner Susan Marshall.   Somebeachsomewhere also had a siring double, producing Sixoclocksomewhere (out of She's My Belle), who quarter-moved after a 26.4 opener and won for the first time in 1:55.1 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Doug Lewis, and ubiquitous owner Howard Taylor, along with East Side Hanover (out of Edra Hanover), who overcame a recent sick scratch in fine style while triumphing in 1:54, back fractions 56 - 27.3, for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and the combine of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Paul Treiber.   The sixth Stallion winner also had the smallest margin of victory -- and the biggest price -- as the Dragon Again - Ty's Artist filly Notagain proved most photogenic by a head in 1:55.3, making her 13-1 backers happy, along with driver Howard Parker, trainer Bucky Angle, and owner Richard Mannon.   Nineteen different preliminaries, nineteen different winners.   When these fillies meet again next Tuesday afternoon at The Meadows, in their final chance to earn spots in their division's $40,000 Championship September 10 at Harrah's Philadelphia, you think the competition just might be spirited?   Jerry Connors

There were eight divisions of the $160,000 first leg Pennsylvania Stallion Series event Tuesday night at  the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and -- with one small exception -- they saved the best for last.   The Dragon Again-Guthrie Hanover baby Griffon Hanover worked hard for the early lead, saw two brush by him in the second quarter, then got a clear shot in the famed Pocono Pike and rallied for the tally in 1:54, fastest of the octet of races.   David Miller guided the speedy freshman to the win for trainer Tom Fanning and owners Robert Dathe and Donovan Spamer while completing a siring triple for Dragon Again.   The one dark spot? Griffon Hanover, much to the lament of improvers of the breed everywhere, was the only gelding among the eight winners.   David Miller bookended the Stallion Series action when he took the opening section with the Yankee Cruiser-Ma Foi colt Ginger Tree Cash in 1:55.4.   Also with a driving double was Tom Jackson, first with the Well Said-Yankee Scramble colt Yolo Hanover in 1:55.3, then, in the most exciting of the eight stretch drives, picking up the field on the far outside with another son of Dragon Again (out of Western Powerful), Art's Dragon, in 1:54.4. Dragon Again's third winner, out of I'm Sassy, was Innit Hanover, first home in 1:55 with Scott Zeron at the lines.   Also with a multiple sire credit was Somebeachsomewhere; his two winners were I'm Some Graduate (out of the $1.3M-winning mare Western Graduate), guided by John Campbell to victory in 1:56, and Beach Ogre (out of Donkeys Can Talk), whose 1:54.4 win for Ray Schnittker was the only non-lifetime best in the competition, as the youngster had previously qualified at The Downs in 1:54.1.   Rounding out the action was Star Of Terror, by Western Terror-Game Bunny, a winner in 1:55.2 for driver Tim Tetrick.   The $268,940 Sire Stakes event for the two-year-old pacing colts will be featured on Wednesday's card, with five divisions of freshmen going postward.   Jerry Connors  

Harness racing filly Imagine Dragon turned in another hit with a 1:51.2 victory Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack in the $48,600 Town Pro Series Final for driver Rick Zeron and trainer Frank Antonacci. The series final victory for the Antonacci trainee couldn't have been written any better, as the series namesake Town Pro is the grand-dam of Imagine Dragon. A daughter of Dragon Again, Imagine Dragon got away third early in the field of nine, but was quickly moved to the front in the second-quarter by Zeron. After a moderate half of :56.2, Imagine Dragon was confronted first up by Lovely Erin around the final turn, while stablemate Lindys Old Lady sat right behind her in the two-hole. Imagine Dragon was able to turn aside all challengers in the stretch after a 1:24.3 three-quarter time and sprinted home in :26.4 for a length and a quarter victory. "She's a real nice filly," said Zeron, following the race. "The Antonacci operation doesn't send horses up her unless they are real ready and a real good horse, so I knew she was good." Invest In Art charged home from third-over on the final turn to finish second, while Lindys Old Lady was third. Imagine Dragon, who is owned by Lindy Farms of Conn, now has three wins from seven starts in her first season of racing. The Town Pro final victory pushes her bankroll over $60,000. The clocking of 1:51.2 established a new career- best for the sophomore filly. A $2 win ticket on Imagine Dragon returned $4.10. In order to be eligible to the Town Pro, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of March 31, 2015. Imagine Dragon Mark McKelvie

Harness Racing This Week: Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial finals, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Cleveland Trotting Classic, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Graduate Series final, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Miss Versatility, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Hanover Stakes, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill.; and Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday night (July 4) as the track will host four lucrative stakes finals in the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. A trio of Friday night (July 3) stakes kick-off the Grand Circuit action this week with the $170,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic for older trotters, the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers and a C$40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Also on Saturday, Balmoral Park will host $35,000 (est.) divisions of the Hanover Stake for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters, while Historic Track will card eight Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Complete entries for the U.S. races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries are available at this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action opened up on Friday night (June 26) at Meadowlands Racetrack with a $50,000 TVG Free For All trotting series leg and Obrigado made his debut in the series a winning one, scoring in impressive fashion in 1:51.3, a lifetime best performance. In his previous start, Obrigado found himself locked in throughout the mile while crying out for racing room in the stretch in a Meadowlands Open. Driver Mark MacDonald made sure that wouldn't happen this time, putting his gelding in the game early. But Obrigado had to work hard early on, parked out by DW's NY Yank, the 9-5 favorite, and the two raced in tandem past the quarter in :26.3. Shortly after the trotters turned into the backstretch, Obrigado cleared the lead and it was a lead he would not relinquish. MacDonald effectively backed his trotter down to a :55.3 half-mile before reaching three-quarters in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Obrigado simply out-sprinted the field, kicking home in :26.2 to complete the triumph. Flanagan Memory rallied to finish second with Melady's Monet overcoming traffic trouble in the stretch to finish third. Obrigado is co-owned by his trainer Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, William Weaver III and Stable 45. The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted 11 Grand Circuit races on Saturday, all eliminations for this week's Sun Stakes Saturday card. Grabbing the headlines were the 3-year-old male pacers in the Max Hempt eliminations as Artspeak, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Wakizashi Hanover each posted victories. Artspeak set an evenly-rated pace, looked to be threatened at head-stretch, but responded gamely late to withstand Pocono Pike challenger In The Arsenal for a 1:50 triumph. The son of Western Ideal showed his class to dig down and preserve a head margin at the wire, with Pierce Hanover only another three-quarters of a length behind and also advancing. Artspeak is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms (also co-breeder), Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners. Wiggle It Jiggleit bounced back nicely after his first career loss, making a move in front of the stands to the front nearing the five-eighths and going on to an in-hand four length victory for driver Montrell Teague in 1:50.1. National Seelster, 67-1, had the good fortune of the Wiggle It Jiggleit cover for a quarter-mile, then the bad luck to be left raw, but he fought home gamely to beat early pacesetter Betting Exchange by a neck for place. The winning altered son of Mr Wiggles is now 12-for-13; Clyde Francis handles the training for George Teague Jr. Inc. North America Cup champion Wakizashi Hanover completed a Hempt elim sweep for the favorites, rallying in the Pocono Pike to catch Lost For Words by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:50.4. A Bettor Hat finished third. The victorious Dragon Again gelding was guided by Tim Tetrick for trainer Joanne Looney-King and the Tri-County Stable. Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the other eight Pocono stakes eliminations, are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 223; 2. Brian Sears - 218; 3. Tim Tetrick - 213; 4. David Miller - 177; 5. Daniel Dube - 157. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 335; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 188; 3. Jimmy Takter - 160; 4. Rene Allard - 146; 5. Nifty Norman - 90. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 165.5; 2. Burke Racing - 87.5; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 79.3; 4. Allard Racing - 46.9; 5. Jeff Snyder - 42.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Yonkers Raceway. The Meadowlands will host the Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters, Reynolds divisions for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters, Meadowlands Pace and Mistletoe Shalee eliminations for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers, respectively, and William Haughton Memorial eliminations for older pacers; Balmoral will card Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers; and Yonkers features Lawrence Sheppard eliminations for 2-year-old colt pacers. Paul Ramlow

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 26 - Harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies clashed Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack in round one of the Town Pro Series and a direct connection to the series namesake took the first of two splits. Imagine Dragon and driver Rick Zeron made a big third-quarter move to the front and never looked back en route to a three-length 1:51.3 victory in the first $18,000 division. A daughter of Dragon Again, Imagine Dragon's dam Town Pro Miss was the eighth foal out of Town Pro, making the series namesake the grand-dam of Friday's first division winner. Trained by Frank Antonacci for the Lindy Farms of Conn, Imagine Dragon was making her local debut Friday evening. The sophomore pacing filly now has two wins from five starts and earnings of over $35,000 in her first season of racing. Lovely Erin finished second, while Southwind Geisha rounded out the Triactor. Imagine Dragon paid $15.60 to win. Imagine Dragon Zeron, Antonacci and the Lindy Farms teamed up to win the second division in 1:52.1 with Lindys Old Lady for a sweep of the first round. Sent off as the 8/5 second choice, Lindys Old Lady sprinted out towards the lead and would receive a two-hole trip, as Invest In Art, the 3/5 favourite, overtook the lead just after the opening-quarter. Invest In Art was confronted by first up challenger Nationalize around the final turn, which softened up the favourite for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Lindys Old Lady, who had angled to the far outside, overtook the lead. The Antonacci trainee paced home strong to hold off Evas Girl, who charged up the rail, by a length. Abbijade Hanover finished third, while Invest In Art was able to hold on for fourth. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, Lindys Old Lady has now won three of five starts in her first season of racing for earnings of $33,200. Lindys Old Lady returned $5.50 to win. Lindys Old Lady In order to be eligible to the Town Pro, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of March 31, 2015. The second leg of the Town Pro will take place next Friday (July 3). Series action continues Saturday night at Mohawk with the first leg of the Summertime for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Mark McKelvie

Three days after watching Wakizashi Hanover win the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario, harness racing owner Bruce Kennedy was still unsure whether the magnitude of the accomplishment had sunk in completely. "I'm wondering myself," said the 74-year-old Nova Scotia resident, who heads the horse's Tri County Stable ownership group. "It's a lot to take in because it's a brand new level of enjoyment for us." Not that there is a lot of time to sit back and relax. Wakizashi Hanover is getting ready for his next challenge in Saturday's eliminations for the Max C. Hempt Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The 3-year-old gelded pacer competes in the third of three $25,000 Hempt elims; the top three finishers in each division advance to the $500,000 final on July 4. Wakizashi Hanover, trained by Joann Looney-King, will start his elim from post four with driver Tim Tetrick and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Brian Brown's Lost For Words, unbeaten in four races this season, is the 3-1 second choice from post seven with driver David Miller. Also competing in the eliminations are Wiggle It Jiggleit, who is the 5-2 favorite in the second division, and Artspeak, who is the 5-2 choice in the first elim. Wiggle It Jiggleit saw his career unbeaten streak snapped at 11 when he finished second by three-quarters of a length to Wakizashi Hanover in the North America Cup. Artspeak, who received the Dan Patch Award as the sport's best 2-year-old male pacer of 2014, finished fifth in the North America Cup after getting an outside trip from post 10. Betting Exchange, who finished third in the North America Cup, is the 3-1 second choice in the second Hempt elimination, and In The Arsenal, who was fourth in the Cup, is 3-1 in the first division. Wakizashi Hanover, a son of Dragon Again out of the mare Western Gesture, was purchased for $23,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale and has won seven of 12 career races and earned $598,507 (U.S.). Kennedy owns Wakizashi Hanover with Percy Bonnell, Wayne Burley, David Bugden, David Chabassol, and Dr. Scott Bowen. Kennedy, who has more than four decades of experience in harness racing ranging from training, driving and working in an administrative capacity, is in the convenience store business in Bible Hill. On Tuesday afternoon he took time to talk about Wakizashi Hanover with Ken Weingartner of the USTA's Harness Racing Communications division. KW: You have several new owners involved with Wakizashi Hanover. Do they think this is easy now? BK: That's a good question. (Laughs.) They're well aware of how long it normally takes to get to sort of the halfway mark in this industry. To get the full distance in one shot, it's like a hole-in-one in golf for these people. KW: It's like a hole-in-one the first time you take the clubs out of the bag. BK: Exactly. KW: Were you getting anxious in the weeks leading up to the North America Cup? BK: He kind of flew under the radar prior to the race, and that suited our demeanor just fine. The people we have associated ourselves with in Jim King Jr., his wife Joann, and Tim Tetrick - those people have been so good to us and so good to our horse. They bonded really well and they know that horse inside out. The caretaker of the horse, Phil Moore, he bonded with the horse. The horse has such a personality that it was kind of an easy matchup. The horse is so well cared for, so healthy and so happy, and we think the key to a good horse is good health and happiness. KW: What's his personality like? BK: This horse wants to be a friend with everybody. He's very easy to be around. He likes to be around people. He's nice to jog on the track. He's so simple. He wears simple clothing; he wears a closed bridle, a pair of hobbles, and just for precautionary measures they wrap a pair of shin boots on him when he races. He's a pretty slick-going character, this guy. KW: As you watched the race unfold, what was going through your mind? BK: I kind of thought I was at the Indy 500; they got off to such a wicked pace in :25.1. Wiggle It Jiggleit is no slouch by any means; he's a speedster. When they got past the eighth pole and he took over, the race was on. Timmy's strategy from where we sat appeared to be to get out early and fend off all comers knowing almost for sure that Wiggle It Jiggleit was going to want to go to the top. We ended up sitting in the pocket and that's exactly where Tim wanted to be. KW: What did you think as you watched that trip? BK: It couldn't have worked out any better. He wasn't sitting back a length; he was sitting on the helmet. It appeared from our perspective that he was ready to strike. He was staying close and looking to tip out when it was the right time and hope he had a little horse to go with. That's when it became really exciting, halfway down the stretch when Tim pulled up beside (Wiggle It Jiggleit) and then was able to overcome the small lead he had on us. KW: What was the party like afterward? BK: I've been to a lot of parties, but none with more enthusiasm than we had with our group. (Laughs.) It was a nice gesture from the Woodbine Entertainment Group for how we were treated and looked after and cared for. The hospitality was second to none. That kind of makes you feel that everyone is just as important as another. It was a great feeling for us. We didn't really call it a party, but we were able to celebrate with some of the connections of the other contenders and it was really great. We found that people were there to win, but they were there for everybody. KW: Does it make it more enjoyable that way? BK: It does, it does. We know that only one (horse) is going to surface as the winner. We trucked from Delaware to Toronto with the Teagues (and Wiggle It Jiggleit) and we're grateful for that. (Trainer) Clyde (Francis) is a super guy. Phil trucked with him, stabled with him; we were stabled across the aisle from each other at the Ideal Training Centre. Everything was just so great about the trip and experience. The camaraderie there, it was great. KW: What was the reaction back home? BK: It was phenomenal. We've been told a lot of stories since we got back, from the grandstand at the racetrack to some very large house parties on race night. There was adrenaline flowing and tears flowing. This is the most excitement we've had since (Nova Scotian-owned 2008 Horse of the Year) Somebeachsomewhere. And the media has been super good. They've covered this story extremely well, from all corners of the continent. We're extremely pleased that TSN carried the race, that Pepsi stepped up to sponsor with Woodbine Entertainment Group, and we'd like to thank those people in a public forum. That's what makes it all worthwhile to stay in the industry and keep trying. KW: You're going to the Hempt elims this weekend. What are your thoughts? Are you sort of playing with house money now? BK: We are. The feeling was that if our horse was fresh and ready to go again, we'd go. If he was showing any fatigue, we would have given him a break before the Meadowlands Pace. We felt with his frolicking in the paddock, with the way he's been acting since they left Toronto, there's not a reason in the world to not go to the Hempt. KW: This division seems like it could be deep and competitive. BK: That's the way our group feels. Our owners are saying this is going to be a pretty nice ride, hopefully it will be smooth, and hopefully the competition will be good and as credible as it's been to this point. And we look forward being part of the level of competition that we're in. KW: When we talked last time, you said you've been doing this for more than 40 years and you had to take one more shot at getting a big-time horse. Was it worth the wait? BK: When you're on the winning end it's always worth it. Actually, it was worth it for us when we bought this horse and he made the races. To be a great horse and be on the Grand Circuit and compete at this level, it's over the top. We're ecstatic. I have to give credit, too, to Gordon Corey and the connections in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where they broke the horse. They were so kind to our horse and took their time with him and brought him along. Then he went to Jimmy and has been a family pet, if you will, at a competitive level. We couldn't be happier. If we'd known this was waiting for us, we would have waited another five years - if we thought we had that in us. (Laughs.) KW: Well, congratulations again and good luck with everything in the future. BK: We feel pretty blessed. When you see horses bought inexpensively and see them compete at a high level, it should give hope to the small buyer and small stables to know they could be part of it at any given time. Hopefully it will encourage people to go to the sale and try to find one that might turn out. By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 20...Wakizashi Hanover, driven by Tim Tetrick, sat a perfect two-hole trip behind the pacesetting heavy favourite and previously unbeaten Wiggle It Jiggleit, before charging by the leader in deep stretch to win capture the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the richest harness racing pacing event in the world, Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:48. The final time was just a fifth of a second off the stakes record at Mohawk set by Thinking Out Loud in 2012. It also marked the 18th time that an elim winner had also won the final. Named for a ceremonial Japanese sword, 'Wakizashi' had come into the final off a blazing 1:49.2 elim win, when he threw down a :25.3 final quarter while upsetting last year's division champion Artspeak. The 32nd edition of the Cup brought together the finest three-year-old pacers on the continent, including the undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit, a perfect 11-for-11, including his elim in 1:49.2 and Wakizashi Hanover, who tipped his hand last week as well. For Tetrick, it was his second Cup win, following a victory with favoured Captaintreacherous in 2013. Wakizashi Hanover, purchased for only $23,000 at the Harrisburg Sale in 2013, is owned by a group of Nova Scotians, based in Truro, and trained by Joann Looney-King. The Cup was his fifth and biggest win in six starts this year, after taking two of six last year. But the gelded son of Dragon Again-Western Gesture, bred by Hanover Shoe Farms in Pennsylvania, has only been worse than second once. The sire was fourth to Straight Path in the 1998 Cup. "It worked out perfect," said Tetrick. "I got to follow a really good horse (Wiggle It Jiggleit) and the horse did the rest. My horse tipped and we got the job done. He's a nice colt. The connections have done a great job with him. I appreciate them letting me drive the horse. He's versatile. He's a good horse and he's got tons of speed." As expected, Wiggle It Jiggleit, driven by 24-year-old Montrell Teague for his father, owner George Teague, went immediately to the front, laying down fractions of :25.1 (equalling the fastest Cup first-quarter), 53.3 for the half and 1:21 for three-quarters. But right on his tail throughout was Wakizashi Hanover, who was then angled out in mid-stretch and wore down the leader for the mild surprise by three-quarters of a length. Betting Exchange came on for third, three lengths behind the winner, while In The Arsenal, another elim winner from last week, was fourth. "Lots of supporters calling, sending messages in the last two days, it's just been phenomenal," said co-owner Bruce Kennedy, who along with his partners, races under the Tri County Stable banner. "We're living a dream. Three of the six people are brand new owners, never owned a horse before. What a way to start a career. Now they're hooked, I hope. "We've got a great trainer in Joann Looney-King and her husband, Jim, and we have a great relationship. We're all small time operators. I don't know how you get Tim Tetrick as a driver but we did. We had the package coming in." Wakizashi Hanover earned $500,000 for the prestigious win, pushing his career bankroll to almost $700,000. Sent postward the 5-1 third choice, he paid $13.40, $4 and $3.20, combining with Wiggle It Jiggleit ($2.50, $2.20) for a $30.60 (2-3) exactor. A 2-3-4 (Betting Exchange, $8.40) triactor came back $235.10, while a $1 Superfecta [2-3-4-5 (In The Arsenal)] was worth $410.45. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 18 - For the harness racing Tri County Stable of Truro, Nova Scotia, their direct flight to cloud nine was a $23,000 ticket purchased at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale in 2013. The six-partner syndicate will touch down at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night, in the hopes of watching Wakizashi Hanover trip the timer first in the Pepsi North America Cup final. Comprised of Percy Bonnell, Scott Bowen, David Bugden, Wayne Burley, David Chabassol, and Bruce Kennedy, the group pooled $20,000 in the hopes of jumping back into the racing game. "Three of us have fifty years in the business," said partner Bruce Kennedy. "We had the yearning to get back into racing after some time away so we pulled a group together and hurried down to Harrisburg with the little Black Book in our hands." The story of the Dragon Again gelding snowballs from there. Close friend and neighbour Brent MacGrath of Somebeachsomewhere fame spoke with his contacts at Hanover Shoe Farms, who compiled a list of their yearlings that were likely to fit the requirements of the group. Among the group was Wakizashi Hanover. "We weren't looking for $100,000 yearlings; we were looking for something more reasonable. Everyone judges and grades yearlings differently and with the help of that list, we narrowed it down to 50 or 60 horses." As the sale progressed, the group put in bids on nine yearlings but failed to emerge the winning buyer. This caused them some concern, having purchased a new harness and all the necessary gear for their new horse earlier in the week. "There were around 1,118 yearlings or so in the sale and he was 1,104. We really started looking at the last fifteen horses; we paid a little bit over our budget for him but we were prepared to pay a bit extra over leaving without a horse at all." The group had connected with Maine-based trainer Gordon Corey prior to the sale, having worked with him in the past. The gelding shipped directly to Pinehurst, North Carolina to learn the ropes under Corey's watchful eye. "Corey was happy to have him; he was coming along pretty good from November to February. We kept a weekly record of him, tracking his progress every step of the way." As February arrived, so did stakes payment season. Unsure of what to pay him into, they chose to focus on the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes program. The two-year-old was showing his potential and didn't fail to catch the eye of others. Involved with a horse racing in Harrington, Delaware with Jim King Jr., Corey introduced King to the young hopeful. "Jim was at the Fun Day at Pinehurst to wrap up the winter program. He came over and trained the horse a few trips and really liked him. He trained the horse in 2:19 and Gordon relayed to us how pleased Jim was with the horse. "We made contact with Jim and said 'if you've got space for him, you've got him'. The plan was for Jim to keep him until July to see if he was good enough to bring home to race in our country. Long story short, he hasn't made it to Nova Scotia yet." During his freshman campaign, he posted a record of 2-3-0 in six starts and bankrolled over $100,000 for his connections. Posting a mark of 1:51 over Pocono Downs in a Sires Stakes event, he always seemed to indicate that there was more left in the tank. Kennedy describes the group fondly as a family, united by their beloved horse. "We've grown to have a great relationship with the Kings; Jim is a personal friend and a great partner with Tim Tetrick. We couldn't have afforded to look for a driver like Tim and yet he came our way. "Our six people are really ecstatic about this guy, we've rolled into racing with the elite at three and we never thought we'd be here." Wakizashi Hanover stormed home in his North America Cup elimination from sixth-place to claim victory in a career best of 1:49.2, holding off 1-5 favourite Artspeak in an impressive finish. Emerging from last Saturday fresh and in good spirits, Kennedy is confident in the horse's performance in the final. "He gave us something he was hiding all along, after the race Tim said to me 'he was explosive today, he gave me more than anything I expected to get'. Tim has had a few drives on him and it couldn't have been any better for us, the strategy panned out perfectly. "This morning (June 17) we were at the training center and he trained awesome, he looks as ready as can be. The way he was this morning proved that. He has never missed a meal, rests himself well every day and he's just a happy and healthy horse." Staked lightly last year due to financial constraints and uncertainty, Tri County have an impressive dance card slated for their horse in the upcoming season. "We took all his earnings from last year in Pennsylvania and we reinvested it all in the three-year-old stake program for him." Wakizashi Hanover has many major events on his radar, with the Hempt, the Meadowlands Pace and the Milstein in the near future. The syndicate is also looking further down the road with the Breeders Crown the goal at the end of the season, back on Canadian soil. "I don't know if the horse gets as tired listening to all of these things as I do listing them, but he's got a full place if he can handle it. It's a wicked schedule of fierce competitors. "We're not the richest people in racing but we're the luckiest right now. This kind of a trip, I wish everyone could have this one day in harness racing, just once." Wakizashi Hanover Hannah Beckett for WEG Communications

(Pequannock, NJ – June 16, 2015)  --  He was named after a cartoon character’s catchphrase, but harness racing world champion Foiled Again has been nothing but serious when it comes to making money. The 11-year-old pacer is the richest Standardbred in history, with purse earnings of $7.01 million following his win last Friday in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. With the victory, Foiled Again also became the race’s first three-time champion. And now this model of consistency on the racetrack has become a real model. Breyer has joined countless fans amazed by Foiled Again’s ability to compete successfully at the sport’s highest level year after year and is honoring the ageless wonder with a portrait model created in his likeness. Most harness racing horses earn the bulk of their lifetime money at ages 2 and 3 – the years during which the greatest number of lucrative stakes are offered – but Foiled Again has defied convention, banking more than $5.8 million after turning age 6. In fact, his earnings during that span alone outdistance the next richest pacer in history by more than $1 million. He is the only harness racing horse to compete solely in North America and earn more than $1 million for three consecutive years, a feat he accomplished from 2011 through 2013. In 2011, at the age of 7, Foiled Again was named the Dan Patch Award Pacer of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers’ Association. He is the only pacer older than the age of 4 ever to receive the honor. In 2013, at the age of 9, he won the Breeders Crown Pace to become the oldest Standardbred to win a Breeders Crown event. In addition to his victory in the Breeders Crown, Foiled Again during his career has won many of the sport’s top stakes for older pacers, including the Canadian Pacing Derby, Ben Franklin Pace, TVG Free For All Series Championship, George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, Bobby Quillen Memorial, and Molson Pace. The bay gelding also holds the record for most miles in 1:55 or faster and at the age of 9 equaled the world record for the fastest mile ever by an older pacer on a five-eighths of a mile racetrack, winning in 1:48 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Born on May 8, 2004 in central New Jersey, Foiled Again is a son of stallion Dragon Again. He was named by breeder Barbara Matthews, who recalled her daughter watching Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons and hearing villain Snidely Whiplash often exclaim, “Curses, foiled again!” Foiled Again has been driven throughout the majority of his career by Yannick Gingras and trained by Ron Burke. He is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and the JJK Stables group of Joseph Koury, Joseph Koury, Jr. and Kevin Koury. Weaver once said he hoped to someday find another horse like Foiled Again, but knows the odds are against it.  “It’s like saying you want to find the next Michael Jordan,” Weaver said. “It’s sort of unreasonable.” Breyer’s Foiled Again Traditional model is available now from Breyer retailers everywhere. Breyer’s special edition Stablemates version of Foiled Again will be the kid’s giveaway item on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 8, at The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. For additional Stablemates availability call Moira Fanning at  609-371-2211. A “launch party” for the Foiled Again Breyer Model will take place on Sat., July 4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the scene of his historic Breeders Crown triumph.  Foiled Again is scheduled to race in the Ben Franklin Free For All Pace, one of four feature races on the $2 million Sun Stakes race card. About Breyer Animal Creations® For horse-crazy girls, there are only two kinds of horses: real horses and Breyer model horses. The iconic Breyer brand, a division of Reeves International, was founded in 1950, and is the leader in creating the world’s most authentic and realistic model horses for play and collecting. These hand-painted, collectable model horses and animals have a worldwide following, thanks to the incredible sculptures that form the foundation of the line. Today, Breyer has expanded its play lines to include play sets, craft activities and horsey accessories for its younger fans and its collector lines to include resins, crystal and porcelain. To see the complete line of Breyer horses, and to learn more about Breyer events and the model horse hobby, visit us at BreyerHorses.com! Please contact Kathleen Fallon at Breyer: Tel: 973-349-1704; Mobile: 917-592-5185 Email: kfallon@reevesintl.com

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 13...The finest three-year-old pacers in harness racing battled it out Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack in a trio of $50,000 eliminations for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup. The first Cup elimination saw the undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit, as expected, prevail with yet another dominant performance. Sent postward the overwhelming public choice in the field of eight, the son of Mr Wiggles, who finished fourth to Well Said in the 2009 Cup, thus kept his unblemished record intact, now a perfect 11 for 11, 10 starts of which have come this year already in a very busy campaign. Wiggle It Jiggleit, with driver Montrell Teague, the son of the owner, busted out from the start, getting the first quarter in :26.2, then slowing to a crawl while still in front, reaching the half in a pedestrian :56.3. From there, it was all over, as the pacesetter turned back a brief challenge from Arque Hanover, getting to three-quarters in 1:23.3, before coasting home by six lengths in 1:49.2. Arque Hanover hung on for second, with Yankee Bounty third and Hurrikane Ali, who had chased the leader early, dropping to fourth. Trained by Clyde Francis for owner George Teague Jr., Wiggle It Jiggleit has hardly been breathed on in his 11 romps, his smallest margin of victory being one and one-half lengths. "Yes, that's exactly how I wanted it (a soft second quarter)," said Teague. "I didn't want to go another (1) :48 or anything like that. We'll wait till next week for that when the money's down. I took him off the gate just in case but I timed the gate perfectly and he stormed out of there like it was nothing. I hope he continues to do it (answer the call) and I'm having fun doing it with him." There's a lot of similarities between Wiggle It Jiggleit and Mr Wiggles, said owner Teague, who also campaigned the sire. "The other horse (Mr Wiggles) doesn't get the recognition he deserves," said Teague. "He won a couple of major races. But this horse is the best horse I've ever trained by far. Very intelligent, speed. I've never trained one as fast as him." Teague also trained (along with sister Brenda) and co-owned Total Truth, who won the 2006 Pepsi North America Cup. Last month, Wiggle It Jiggleit set a world record of 1:49 for a half-mile track when winning by over 14 lengths on May 11 at HarringtonPark in Delaware. Wiggle It Jiggleit paid $2.10, $2.10 (no show wagering), combining with Arque Hanover ($8.10) for a $16.80 (5-3) exactor. A 5-3-6 (Yankee Bounty) triactor was worth $83.50, while a $1 Superfecta [5-3-6-4 (Hurrikane Ali)] came back $172.20. Wiggle It Jiggleit Following the impressive first elim win by undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit in 1:49.2, it was heavily-favoured In The Arsenal's turn to show his firepower. And he did. But just barely. With Brian Sears at the controls, In The Arsenal tracked from fourth for most of the mile, as Go Daddy Go took the field through a quarter in :26.3, the half in 54.4 and three-quarters in 1:22.3. The son of American Ideal had powered up to challenge the leader off the far turn, struck front in early stretch, then had enough left to hold off a raft of pursuers, including Penji Hanover, who once again finished a troubled second, a half-length behind, with Good Friday Three third and Revenge Shark fourth, in 1:49.4. With the win, In The Arsenal remained unbeaten in four starts this year, including the rich Rooney final at Yonkers May 30, has taken 10 of 15 overall and will come into the Cup with earnings of over $600,000. "He did in the hard way," said trainer Kelvin Harrison. "He come first up. He was a safe winner. I think the biggest thing about him this year is he's a whole lot smarter than he was last year. When we started him up last year, he was hard to stop. Now he'll race smart. He's very athletic. He's grown a lot actually. He was really small early. He's come through it in good shape. Wasn't that hard a race for him and seems nice and fresh when he came back. So hopefully we'll be okay. He's got wild speed, he's got it all." Sears has won two Pepsi North America Cups...in 2005 with Rocknroll Hanover and last year with JK Endofanera. In The Arsenal paid $3.90, $2.70 and $2.70, combining with Penji Hanover ($8, $6.20) for a $31.30 (7-2) exactor. A 7-2-3 (Good Friday Three, $11.30) triactor returned a solid $608.40, while a $1 Superfecta [7-2-3-6 (Revenge Shark)] was worth $1,509.40. In The Arsenal Wakizashi Hanover and driver Tim Tetrick pulled off an upset in the third and final Pepsi North America Cup elimination, roaring from well back and rolling to a one and three-quarter length win over the 1-5 choice, Artspeak. A winner in three of his four outings this year, prior to the elim, the son of Dragon Again got the job done in a career best 1:49.2. Owned by Tri County Stable of Truro, Nova Scotia and trained by Joann Looney King, Wakizashi Hanover was sixth and widest turning for home before turning on the jets and powering past the leaders. While no match for the winner, Artspeak, last year's two-year-old pacing colt champion in both Canada and the United States, came on for second, as pacesetter Betting Exchange hung on for third. Split The House wound up fourth. "I was very confident coming in," said Tetrick, who steered Captaintreacherous to victory in the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup. "I knew Artspeak was a great horse and he'd be tough to beat. But I had a lot of confidence in my horse. He's been good all along. He's had some tough trips that haven't always worked out. But he's always right there. He's always on the ticket. He likes to finish. "My horse was really grabbing on (around the final turn) and Artspeak was kind of struggling. I just let him rip. He circled them and he paced to the wire really strong. I'm really happy with the horse. He's coming into the race (next Saturday's final) great. The connections are doing a great job. Give us the right trip and I think he can go with just about anything out there." Rock N Roll World took the field through an opening quarter in :26.3 before Betting Exchange grabbed command (:54.2 for the half, 1:22.4 for three-quarters), as Artspeak lingered in fifth and Wakizashi Hanover sixth, until turning for home. Wakizashi Hanover paid $15.80, $4 and $3, combining with Artspeak ($2.30, $2.10) for a $37.10 (1-7) exactor. A 1-7-2 (Betting Exchange, $3.60) triactor was worth $190.40, while a $1 Superfecta [1-7-2-5 (Split The House)] returned $283.80. Wakizashi Hanover The top three finishers in each $50,000 elimination qualified for the 32nd edition of the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup final, along with one fourth place finisher drawn by lot (Hurrikane Ali). More importantly, each winner earned his connections the right to select a post position before the balance of field is drawn on Tuesday. Here is the field, in alphabetical order, for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup. Arque Hanover by Rock N Roll Heaven Artspeak by Western Ideal Betting Exchange by Bettor's Delight Good Friday Three by Mach Three Hurrikane Ali by Rocknroll Hanover In The Arsenal by American Ideal Penji Hanover by Art Major Wakizashi Hanover by Dragon Again Wiggle It Jiggleit by Mr Wiggles Yankee Bounty by Dragon Again AE: Split The House by Rocknroll Hanover Jeff Timson for WEG Communications

The featured harness racing event on Wednesday afternoon (June 10) from Harrah's Philadelphia was an upper-conditioned level filly and mare pace going for a purse of $22,000. The post time favorite was Gilbert Garcia-Herrera's Marathon Day (Geo. Napolitano Jr.). The daughter of Well Said was a beaten favorite in her last out against tougher at Yonkers. She secured pocket position as the race began, following the speed of Jeremes Sweetheart (Yannick Gingras) to the quarter pole (:26.3). Bruce Saunders trainee Coffee Addict (Corey Callahan) left from post eight, and was able to take the lead after traveling the entire first quarter wide. After a rated second quarter of :28.4, long shot Greatdayforamerica (Montrell Teague) attempted a first-over push, but failed to get any closer than four lengths from the lead. After three-quarters in 1:23.1, Coffee Addict was still clear on the lead. As they turned for home however, long shot Mach A Wish (Brett Miller) began to rally, after a ground saving journey for most of the mile. They hit the wire together, with Coffee Addict holding on by a head, stopping the clock in 1:52.1. The winner paid $11.40, keying a $189.00 exacta. There was a dead heat for third between Marathon Day and Jeremes Sweetheart. It was the sixteenth career win for Coffee Addict a daughter of Dragon Again, and her second win of the season. She is owned by James Clarke and Andrew Altobelli. In other notes, driver Tim Tetrick had four wins, while George Napolitano Jr. had three on the day. Michael Bozich

A field of eight squared off in the featured harness racing event on Sunday (May 31) from Harrah's Philadelphia. It was a pace for upper-conditioned level pacers going for a purse of $22,000. The favorite at post time was Bamond Racing's Here We Go Again. The 8-year-old son of Dragon Again was coming off of a front end win against softer last time out. At the start, it was Ooh Bad Boy (Allan Davis) leaving aggressively for the lead. The favorite moved up to take over just beyond the quarter (:27.1). There was no opportunity to rate for the Bamond trainee, as morning line favorite Ideal Race (Simon Allard) rushed up to challenge at the half (:55.2). The battle continued to the three-quarter pole (1:23.3). As they rounded the final turn, Here We Go Again (Tim Tetrick) began to edge clear. He was able to survive the furious stretch rush of Bestjetyet (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) to win by a nose, stopping the timer in 1:51.4. Cobalt Man (David Miller) rallied up for third. It was the twenty-ninth career win for Here We Go Again, and his third of the season. He paid $6.00. Michael Bozich

A field of eight upper-level conditioned filly and mare pacers lined up for the featured harness racing event on Friday (May 29) at Harrah's Philadelphia. The wagering public made Ron Burke trainee Charisma Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) the 6/5 favorite. The daughter of Dragon Again was a beaten favorite against slightly tougher in her last effort at Pocono. At the start, it was second-favorite Fast and Fiesty (Corey Callahan) leaving fast off the wings. The Gerard Malanga trainee led until the quarter-pole (:27.1). That's when George Tackley's Bring Them Home (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) moved aggressively out of the three-hole to clear the lead. They reached the half in :55.1. The battle continued towards three-quarters (1:23), as Charisma Hanover moved first-over to challenge the leader. As they turned for home, the passing lane opened up for Fast and Fiesty, as she moved through to win by a head, stopping the clock in 1:52. P L Hula (Tim Tetrick) closed fast off of a covered trip to finish second, while Bring Them Home held third. It was the Twenty-third career win for the six-year-old Allamerican Native mare and one of five driving wins on the day for Corey Callahan. Michael Bozich

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