Harness racing three-year-old fillies were in action at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (May 20). They competed in four divisions of The Stallion Series with each going for a purse of $20,000. Bay Pond Racing's Angel Plus (Scott Zeron) was a wrapped up winner in the first division. The daughter of Quik Pulse Mindale picked up her sixth career win of sixteen starts for trainer Steve Cook. She was the heavy post time favorite, and went on to make every call a winning one, with fractions of :27.1, :56.3, 1:24.1, 1:52.3. It was a lifetime's best performance. Dobre Povedane (Corey Callahan) was second, while Somewhere Fameous (Dave Miller) finished third. The winner paid $3.00. It was a bit of an upset in the second division as Doug Lewis trainee Cover Model (Corey Callahan) went on to a two length win. The daughter of Dragon Again showed tactical early speed from post six, landing in the third spot off the gate. She made her move just past the half, and was able to grind past the race favorite Rumor Mill (Tim Tetrick) for the win. It was the fourth win in her career and the first of the season. She stopped the clock in 1:53.1, a lifetime best. Rumor Mill secured second, while the previously undefeated Repeat Please (Andrew McCarthy) finished third. The winner, owned by Fred Hertrich and CTC Stable's, paid $10.80. Driver Scott Zeron struck again in division three, this time with Ted Gewertz's Apricot Sour. The daughter of Well Said was able to draft in the pocket behind favorite Tucson Breeze (Tim Tetrick) until the head of the stretch. She had to hold off late charges from Alexa Said (Brett Miller) and My Girl Friend (Yannick Gingras) who finished second and third respectively. The Anette Lorentzon trainee now has three lifetime wins out of ten starts. She paced the mile in a life's best 1:55, and paid $5.80. In the final division, Tom Kemp's Mezzanine Fashion (Tim Tetrick) dominated the final half for the victory. The daughter of Well Said drafted in the three spot until the half, when she moved to the outside and easily swept by. She won by three in the end, pacing her mile in a wrapped up 1:53.4. Lean On Yourself (Andy Miller) moved up the passing lane for second, while Official Belle (Scott Zeron) rallied mildly for third. Mezzanine Fashion is now three out of four in the win column this season for trainer Joann Looney-King. She returned $4.00 to win. Michael Bozich
Nichols, NY -- While defending harness racing driving champion Jim Marohn, Jr. has been competing in the Southern Tier on a more limited schedule this season compared to years past due to increased opportunity and success at the Meadowlands, the 33-year-old reinsman has pounced on every opportunity possible to remain competitive at Tioga Downs. Monday (May 18) evening's 11-race card was no exception, as he captured seven of the dashes and finished second on one occasion. After a second-place effort with Gold Deuce in the $5,000 claiming opener, "The Mighty Mite Part Two" reeled off five consecutive wins, teaming with Nine Innings ($4.80, 1:54), Oh My Joepa ($7.70, 1:53.1), Prairie Jaguar ($3.40, 1:53.1), Oakmont ($3.00, 1:54), and Rage N Ryan ($6.30, 1:53.1). He would return to sweep the late double, although his win with Hurricane Breeze ($6.70, 1:56.1) in a non-winners of two pace would have to be shared with the late-rallying At the Rail (Mike Simons) in a dead heat. Marohn closed out his seven-win evening aboard Twin B Flirt ($6.40, 1:54.1) in a first-level conditioned pace. In total, Marohn teamed up with trainer Tony Dinges for three victories, while Mike Deters trainees added two other triumphs. The $14,000 Open Pace--one of two races in which Marohn did not participate--went to Dragon Fever ($15.80), who prevailed after fanning three-wide off a tracking trip. The 5-year-old Dragon Again gelding just collared Glass Prince (Rick Dane) and Road Untraveled (Mike Simons) in the final yards for a 1:54.2 score under Jim Taggart, Jr. Odds-on favorite BJ's Rameau (Marcus Miller) was left far detached from the others after his right hopple snapped shortly after the start of the race. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (May 22) evening. Post time is 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
WILKES-BARRE PA - To modify a Southern expression to its current "home," harness racing trainer Brian Brown is "hotter'n a two-dollar Pennsylvania pistol on a Saturday night." Trainer Brown, trainer of 2014 divisional and Jugette champion Color's A Virgin and a resident of Delaware OH, may be having himself a two-day party late this September at the famed half-miler, as he already has five different Pennsylvania Sire Stakes-winning three-year-old pacing horses, three fillies and now the two colts who continued the hot trainer's winning ways Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, being among the four winners in the $226,168 first leg of their Sires action. As the track turned "sloppy" for the fifth race Sires division (Pocono is about 150 miles northeast of Baltimore as the crow flies, and the Preakness rain started about two hours before the storms hit northeast PA), Rise Up Now remained undefeated in five outings this year, tucking in the pocket down the back and then catching leader Blood Brother in the stretch to post a 1½-length 1:51.3 over a newly-christened "sloppy" track. Blood Brother had snapped off splits of 26.1, 55.3, and 1:22.2, but the 53 usage in the odd-numbered quarters did not allow him to hold off the Somebeachsomewhere gelding and driver Simon Allard, who piloted the Brown trainee for King McNamara of Florida, the only non-Buckeye in the ownership group which includes the Strollin Stable, William Robinson, and Country Club Acres. Brown is now two-for-two seasonally with the Well Said colt Lost For Words, who reclaimed the lead down the backstretch, opened up four lengths turning for home, then held off the late charge of the game little Allbeef N Nobull to win by 1½ lengths in 1:51.4 in the night's second division, when the track was still "fast." Lost For Words, a finalist in both the Governors Cup and Breeders Crown last year, was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for the three Ohioans who share in Rise Up Now's ownership and another Buckeye, Richard Lombardo. For years Brown has done very well in the Pennsylvania program, but this year his numbers are only slightly short of unbelievable. He's perfect in five Pocono starts, and at The Meadows he sports a 13-9-3-0 tally, for a Keystone State total of 18-14-3-0 - which produces a mind-boggling state UTR of .870! McArdles Lightning teamed with driver Anthony Napolitano to post a 6-1 upset in taking the first division, coming from last at the half in the seven-horse field and blitzing his own back two quarters in 54.2 to equal his lifetime mark of 1:51. Steve Elliott conditions the McArdle ridgling (double thoroughbred Triple Crown racewinner American Pharoah is also a ridgling) for the Lightning Stable. In the final Sires heat, Wazikashi Hanover was a pocket rocket in catching last year's 2YO Sires champion, Yankee Bounty, by 1¼ lengths, with the time on the sloppy track 1:52. Yankee Bounty overcame the outside "eight-ball" to post splits of 27, 57, and 1:24.4, but "Wazikashi," a Dragon Again gelding, was relentless and gained into the 27.1 kicker for trainer Joann Looney-King and the Tri County Stable. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. joined trainer Brown as a double winner in the Sires races. ***** Also on the Pocono Saturday card were two $30,000 Open events, one for each gait, which were carded in anticipation of next Sunday's $150,000 Invitationals to be raced at the other track that Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association services, Harrah's Philadelphia. Last year's divisional champion Classic Martine will have an interesting decision to make about "trying the boys" after taking the $30,000 Open trot by 3½ lengths in 1:53.1 on a fast track for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes. The daughter of Classic Photo, owned by Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Ed Gold, made the lead in 27.3, "stole" a 30-second second quarter, and then dashed home in successive 27.4 panels to defeat Classicality, with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry coming from seventh at the half to claim third, another length behind. On the pacing side, Van Rose Memorial winner Domethatagain and second-place Alexa's Jackpot met again, but this time, two weeks later, the post position advantage was reversed (1-4, respectively, in the Rose to 8-3 Saturday), as was the result, with Alexa's Jackpot winning in 1:49.3 in the off going. Domethatagain motored to the top in 26 flat from his next-to-outside starting berth Saturday, but Alexa's Jackpot was put on the move soon thereafter by George Napolitano Jr., who took both Opens, and posted splits of 54.1 and 1:21.4 en route to the 1¼-length triumph. Trainer Marty Fine shares ownership in the winner with the Highland Thoroughbred Farm. ***** The week's racing comes to an end at Pocono Sunday night with four $20,000 divisions of the first leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for the three-year-old colts and geldings. Many horses holding promise of developing into good horses are in the Stallion events; one of the more promising is Gallic Beach, making his first start of the year but showing a half-length loss in 1:50.2 at Lexington last fall. He's a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Western Gallie, a daughter of Western Hanover whose dam is Galleria and whose SBSW half-sister is double Breeders Crown elim winner Galliebythebeach. PHHA / Pocono
WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. took the first two divisions of the $96,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old colt pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, putting new marks on Wakizashi Hanover (1:50.2) and Blood Brother (1:51), before missing the "sweep" by a nose when Rise Up Now (1:50.2, driver Simon Allard) edged Allbeef N Nobull. Wakizashi Hanover, an altered son of Dragon Again trained by Joanne Looney-King for the Tri County Stable of Nova Scotia, kept his seasonal tally perfect in two starts in winning by 1¼ lengths. Wakizashi took the early lead in 27, saw first 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Yankee Bounty and then Dragon Eddy brush by him to the 54.3 half, which necessitated his moving first-over ahead of the oncoming Cardiac Fashion, who already had skirted trouble at two points in the mile. The winner took the lead past the 1:22 3/4s, with Yankee Bounty vacating the collapsing pocket when Cardiac Fashion tipped wide, but Wakizashi Hanover already had the jump, with Yankee Bounty able to clear back to the winner's inside to edge Cardiac Fashion by a neck for second. Blood Brother paced his own last half in 54 flat to be up by a neck over a stubborn Rufo in the second cut. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding was taken off the gate and was rambunctious back in fifth as Joe Hill and Rufo were the prime disputers in the 26.4 opener, and was still seven lengths behind at the 55.3 half. Morrill had to take the uncovered route as Rufo was going unmolested on the lead, and had gained to within three lengths by the 1:23.2 3/4s. Taking the far turn very well, Blood Brother showed great ability to go up by a neck over his rival in early stretch, but Rufo never let the margin get bigger than that as he put up a fierce struggle down the lane. The talented winner still looks like he'll learn from (and improve with) more racing, and with Jimmy Takter training him for Diamond Creek Racing and the J&T Silva Stables LLC, it seems likely he'll build on his 2 for 2 2015 start. Morrill had Allbeef N Nobull on top twice before the 3/8 in the third cut, but the deck reshuffles more on the Pocono racetrack than it does in the casino, and after the 26.3 quarter Rise Up Now and driver Allard were following their main rival to the top, hitting the half in 55.2 and the 3/4s in 1:23.1. The stretch duel boiled down to these two, with "Allbeef" gaining in the famed Pocono Pike, and might have taken it all were he bigger than the smallish sophomore he is, but Rise Up Now, also an altered son of Somebeachsomewhere, held gamely and won by the smallest margin to give him both a perfect yearly record after four starts and a new mark. Trainer Brian Brown, the defending Jugette champion with Color's A Virgin and who has a Pennsylvania UTR this year of (no typo) .821 at the moment, may find himself with a ticket to the Thursday big race at the Delaware dance for the Strollin Stable, King McNamara (the Floridian is the only non-Buckeye in the ownership group), William Robinson, and Country Club Acres Inc. '********* "The girls" would have to put on quite a show Sunday to match the colt fireworks tonight, but there's lots of talented in tomorrow night's $128,000 All-Stars sophomore distaff pace, including 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Southwind Roulette, fellow Breeders Crown finalist Well Hello There, and first-round Sire Stakes winners Safe From Terror and Storm Point - all of whom come from the ubiquitiously-victorious barn of Ron Burke. Brian Brown? His PASS winner of last week, Serious Filly, is sitting this one out, but he has Somewhere Sweet and Triple V Hanover, both second last week, in Sunday night. Maybe he'll be in both big Delaware dances - and can you think of anything better for a "hometown boy"? PHHA / Pocono
After more than 40 years of, in his own words, "dabbling" in harness racing, Nova Scotia's Bruce Kennedy figured time was of the essence if he was ever going to find a big-time stakes horse. Kennedy, who is in the convenience store business in Bible Hill, hopes he has finally found one in 3-year-old male pacer Wakizashi Hanover. And he is bringing a group of friends and new owners along for the ride. "I had to get one in a hurry or I wasn't going to get one," the 74-year-old Kennedy said with a laugh. "Maybe this is our lucky strike." Last year, Wakizashi Hanover had two wins and three second-place finishes in six starts, earning $104,089 for the Kennedy-led Tri County Stable. One of his seconds was by a neck and another by a nose, and his only off-the-board effort was a fifth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. He set a track record at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with a 1:51 triumph in July. Wakizashi Hanover, trained by Jim King Jr. and Joann Looney-King, won his first start this year in a conditioned race at Harrah's Philadelphia and is now getting ready for a $32,000 division of the Pennsylvania All Stars on Saturday at Pocono Downs. Jim Morrill Jr. will drive the gelding, who is 5-1 on the morning line. The Ron Burke-trained entry of Yankee Bounty, the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ, and Rich Wisdom is the 2-1 choice. "We had a great year with him last year," Kennedy said about Wakizashi Hanover. "He was very consistent for us. "He's fully loaded this year (for stakes races). We didn't load him up last year because we didn't have any idea that he would be a good horse. We thought he might be OK, we thought he would make the races, but had no dreams of getting in the top crowd. So we decided to take his (2014) earnings and reinvest in him." Wakizashi Hanover is eligible to a number of major stakes, including the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Battle of the Brandywine, and Max C. Hempt Memorial. A son of Dragon Again out of the mare Western Gesture, Wakizashi Hanover was purchased for $23,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is a full brother to female pacer Sand Gesture, who won a Matron Stakes elimination in 2010 and finished second in a number of stakes, and his family also includes stakes-winner Perfect Gesture. "Wakizashi Hanover was one of probably 10 that we shopped down," said Kennedy, who received assistance from Brent MacGrath of Somebeachsomewhere fame in finding the yearling. "We weren't looking for an expensive colt. We had four brand new owners out of our six people who were going to purchase him, so we were looking for something that was going to be reasonable. "We liked a lot of things about him. His gait was good. He wasn't a blocky, bulky horse. He wasn't a flashy really extremely attractive horse, but he seemed to do everything right and he seemed to have his parts all in the right place." Wakizashi Hanover has spent his winters in Pinehurst, N.C., with trainer Gordon Corey. It was during a previous trip to Pinehurst several years ago that Kennedy met Jim King. "We had a horse a few years ago that we sent down to Gordon for the winter," Kennedy said. "We went down there and stayed three months with him and jogged and trained. Gordon always had horses for Jimmy King. When it came time to race, we liked what Jimmy was doing and we pushed that horse over to Jimmy to get ready. So it was an easy decision for us to go to Jimmy when we got Wakizashi Hanover." Kennedy owns Wakizashi Hanover with Percy Bonnell, Wayne Burley, David Bugden, David Chabassol, and Dr. Scott Bowen. Last year, Kennedy and some of his fellow owners made the lengthy trip from Nova Scotia to Pennsylvania on three occasions to watch Wakizashi Hanover race. Once, they flew to Philadelphia and back in the same day. "That's commitment," Kennedy said with a laugh. "But he was good enough for us to want to follow. This doesn't come along every year." As Kennedy, with his four decades of activity in the sport - ranging from training, driving and working in an administrative capacity - is well aware. "It's really nice, for the other owners especially," Kennedy said. "What a nice introduction to the industry when you can have a bit of a winner to start out with. They're very excited and I'm more than pleased with him. We're watching and hoping." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA
CAMPBELLVILLE, May 2 - The Wayfaring Man and Star Cover scored round two harness racing victories in The Diplomat series Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A total of 12 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $20,000 divisions for the second leg of the three-week Diplomat series. J Js Delivery, the winner of leg one, did not enter round two leaving the door open for some fresh blood to get on the scoreboard. In the first division, Pepsi North America Cup eligible The Wayfaring Man used a solid :26.4 final-quarter to get his first victory of the season. Driven by Jack Moiseyev, The Wayfaring Man made a second-quarter brush to the lead from fourth and reached the half in :56.2. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25, The Wayfaring Man hit his best stride in the lane to cruise home and win by 2 Â½ lengths in a career-best 1:51.4. Nobettorplacetobe, who got a two-hole trip, finished second, while Good Friday Three, another Pepsi North America Cup eligible, finished third. A son of Dragon Again, The Wayfaring Man is trained by Nicky Comegna and owned by Bruno Comegna. The sophomore pacing colt finished fourth in his season debut last week and now sports a career record of three wins from nine starts. The Wayfaring Man's career bankroll now exceeds $61,000. The Comegna trainee returned $3.80 to win. In the second division, Star Cover came out on top of a stretch duel with Dialamara in 1:52.1. Dialamara flashed early speed to take the lead, while Star Cover and driver Doug McNair took a seat in the two-hole. Those two pacers would sit one-two through fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:25. Star Cover popped the pocket coming off the final turn to engage in a battle with the leader. Dialamara was game along this inside, but Star Cover had just a bit more and edge by in deep stretch to prevail by a neck. Windsong Lightning finished just a length back in third. A son of Royal Mattjesty, Star Cover is co-owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh. The sophomore pacing colt finished third in his season debut in last week's first leg. Star Cover now has four wins from 12 career starts and earnings of over $60,000 for owners MacIntosh, Stuart McIntosh and Brett Authier. The clocking of 1:52.1 established a new career-mark for the three-year-old pacer. Star Cover paid $6.90 to win. In order to be eligible to The Diplomat, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2014. The final of The Diplomat will take place next Saturday (May 9) and will be contested for a purse of $60,000. Mark McKelvie
Delaware, OH - Sugar Valley Farm and the Dragon Again Syndicate have announced that Dragon Again's book is full and closed for 2015. Sire of the richest pacer ever, Foiled Again p,1:48f ($6,925,031), Dragon Again p,1:48.3 ($2,343,428) is perennially ranked among harness racing’s leading pacing sires in both speed and earnings categories. Standing his second Ohio season in 2015, he has been enthusiastically received by breeders in the Buckeye state with full books in both 2014 and 2015. His first crop of Ohio-eligible foals will be yearlings in 2016. For further information, contact Sugar Valley Farm at 740.363.5618 or e-mai email@example.com.
WILKES-BARRE PA - Sparky Mark ($14.20), the next-to-longest shot in the field, made every pole a winning one in the $25,000 winners-over pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, with all-time money champion Foiled Again, having to go first-over after a rest of three weeks, finishing fifth, beaten less than four lengths in the 1:49.2 mile. The red-hot Brothers Allard, driver Simon and trainer Rene, teamed up behind the victorious son of Astreos, who hit the quarter in 26.3 and the half in 55, "walkin'-horse" time over the speedy red clay surface. Foiled Again came first-over but could get no closer than the winner's wheel at the 1:22.4 Â¾ pole, with Sparky Mark then turning on the sprint engine even further with a 26.4 dash home to win by a half-length over pocketsitting Luck Be Withyou, a 2013 Breeders Crown winner at Pocono (like Foiled Again) making his 2015 debut here. Kapildeo Singh and Michael Assante share ownership on Sparky Mark, who went over $900,000 in career earnings with the triumph. Foiled Again's all-time money total now stands at $6,925,031, with his Pocono record 12-5-3-2-$759,636. The 11YO's start on Saturday came a staggering 2780 days since his first appearance at the mountain oval, when as a three-year-old the altered son of Dragon Again was third in a Pennsylvania Sire Stake on July 3, 2007. ********** This Saturday is Kentucky Derby Day, which The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will celebrate with the only doubleheader of racing this season. The first race will go at 11:00 a.m., with the evening card set to go at 6:30 p.m. The highlight of the afternoon card is the debut of the stakes season at Pocono, with a Pennsylvania All-Stars for PA-sired three-year-olds featured next weekend and the one after that - the three-year-old trotting colts will be in the Saturday afternoon spotlight. The evening card feature will be the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Pace, named after the longtime sportswriter and handicapper of the area. PHHA / Pocono
WASHINGTON, PA, April 10, 2015 -- One Over Par rallied through the lane for what appeared to be a good second-place finish, only to be placed the winner through disqualification in Friday's opening leg of the Do Me Honor Pace at The Meadows. The series for 3-year-old fillies is named for Do Me Honor, a top performer in the Bill Bercury stable who raced later on Friday's card. The first leg was conducted as a single division. Although Dobre Povedane crossed the wire first after brushing through the Lightning Lane, she was placed back to second due to a late break. Meanwhile, One Over Par, upset winner of the recent Donna Dunn Memorial Pace championship, had extricated herself from a traffic jam and closed to within a nose of Dobre Povedane, where she was well positioned to benefit from the leader's error. PC's Vixen, rough gaited for much of the mile, finished third. The time over a "good" surface was 1:56.1 Aaron Merriman drove One Over Par, a daughter of Dragon Again-Susie Girl, for trainer Kelly O'Donnell and owners Mark Maynard, KO Racing Stables Inc. and Tangie Massey. It was one of five wins on the 13-race card for Merriman. The track condition was upgraded to "fast" before the $24,800 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, but the way Macharoundtheclock performed, the only track condition that would have stopped her was "closed." She blazed to the top from post 9 and collected her second straight victory in 1:53.4, holding off Sand Tilly Lace by a neck. Do Me Honor didn't win on the day "her" series began, but she was a strong third despite being parked the entire mile. Eric Ledford piloted Macharoundtheclock, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Mach Three-Summers Soul who now boasts $448,903 in career earnings, for conditioner Tim Twaddle and Birnam Wood Farms. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
A field of six classy mares lined up behind the starter for the opening day harness racing feature from Harrah's Philadelphia, a winner's over $25,000 lifetime on the pace. The wagering public sent Bamond Racing's Venus Delight off as the 7/5 favorite. The daughter of Bettor's Delight was coming off of a solid victory in a division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers. At the start, it was the public's second choice Radar Contact (Andrew McCarthy) firing quickly off the wings, securing the lead before the quarter (28.1). The 7-year-old held the lead until the 5/8ths. That's when Ron Burke trainee Charisma Hanover (Brett Miller) powered past first-over, with Venus Delight (Tim Tetrick) loosely tracking that live cover. After a 55.1 middle half, Charisma Hanover turned for home well clear as the others battled for minor awards. It was the 20th career win for Burke Racing & Weaver Bruscemi's 5-year-old daughter of Dragon Again, who went on to complete the mile in 1:51.3. Radar Contact battled back for place, while Venus Delight settled for third. The winner returned $10.00. In other opening day highlights, driver Tony Morgan picked up career win number 15,000 aboard Lightning Moon in the first race of the new meet. Morgan is now one of three North American drivers with over 15,000 lifetime wins. The first race was also named in honor of Tom Izzo, a former Harrah's Philadelphia employee who passed away last year. Last season's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. had four wins on the program. Live racing continues at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday, with a first post of 12:40 P.M. Mike Bozich
WASHINGTON, PA, March 28, 2015 -- The brief career of Heavenly Knox has been marked by unusual financial situations and tragedy among his harness racing connections. But the 4-year-old The Panderosa - Mystic Tiger N gelding showed Friday what perseverance and faith can achieve, as he captured the $30,500 championship of the Walter Russell Memorial Pace for 3- and 4-year-old colts, stallions and geldings at The Meadows. The track hosted three other series finals Friday, with Wu Long, Keystone Chester and One Over Par also earning titles. Aaron Merriman won two championships behind Keystone Chester and One Over Par. Heavenly Knox was sound enough at 2 and 3 but, according to his trainer, John 'Johnny Z' Zawistowski, he was prevented from racing by an odd glitch. "The original owner was having financial trouble, and he didn't make the stud fee," Zawistowski said. "We kept training him, but he couldn't get papers. This horse didn't have a name until just a day before we qualified him." He got that name in the most heartbreaking way. When Zawistowski's grandson Knox died at birth, the trainer decided to name the horse in honor of the child. "I gotta believe he's watching over us tonight," Zawistowski said. Now campaigned by an ensuing owner, Wolf Creek Farm, Heavenly Knox rewarded Zawistowski's confidence by winning six of his first seven starts. In the Walter Russell final, he retook the lead for Eric Ledford near the half and handily defeated Terror Of The Nite, who won his first three series splits, by 2-1/4 lengths. Big World Of Rock earned show. The Illinois-based Zawistowski said he likely will ship Heavenly Knox east. "He'll probably go to Yonkers, Pocono and a couple other places," he said. "We'll give him a shot out there." In the other finals: $32,600 Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot Wu Long completed her series sweep, but she had to overcome a determined Main Gate Tam and a snow shower that compromised her footing. Wu Long set sail after Main Gate Tam with a first-over move down the backside and finally nailed her in the shadow of the wire, prevailing by 1/2 length in 2:00 for Dave Palone. Seduce A Stranger earned show despite bleeding during the race. "I thought I'd get by, but she really struggled with the track tonight," Palone said. "She was slipping pretty good. I didn't think I could put her in gear and feel 100 percent safe. So I just kind of rode my way up there and, thankfully, we didn't make a mistake." Rob Harmon trains the 4-year-old daughter of Explosive Matter-Strong Tea for Harmon Racing Stable and Knightstalker Stable. $33,200 Ken Weaver Memorial Trot Keystone Chester made it look easy again, drawing off after an uncovered move to score in 1:58 for trainer Andy Rickert and owner Murdock Racing Stable. Flying Muscles rallied for second, 4-3/4 lengths back, with Great Magic third. Rickert called the 4-year-old Chocolatier-Keystone Chickadee gelding "a nice surprise." "We bought him in the sale last May for $6,500," Rickert said. "When I got him, I said, 'What did they bring home?' There wasn't much to him, so we turned him out for four months. When we brought him in, he looked like a horse. He's matured, filled out, and the green grass did him good. He doesn't have many stakes, so we'll try to pick our spots in overnights for him." $28,100 Donna Dunn Memorial Pace One Over Par provided the tote board excitement for the evening, scoring at 13-1 despite finishing no better than third in the three preliminary legs. She followed the first-up cover of Somewhere Fameous to triumph in 1:57, a neck better than Dream Ball. I Plead The Fifth completed the ticket. "I was very confident with her last week, but she made a break," Merriman said. "Her gait was really bad, so we put our heads together and made some changes. She definitely has the talent. The trip helped, and maybe the conditions." Kelly O'Donnell conditions the 3-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Susie Girl for Mark Maynard, KO Racing Stables and Tangie Massey. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - Foiled Again, who before too long is about to begin Bar Mitzvah lessons, is back, starting his harness racing season where he usually does...Westchester. The 11-year-old wonder, harness racing's richest-ever horse ($6.9 million), begins his 2015 season Saturday night, leading 35 of the best Free-For-Allers into Yonkers Raceway for the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Five, $50,000, seven-horse divisions go as races 4,6,7,9 and 10, with Foiled Again-who won this series consecutively in 2009 and 2010-drawing outside his six rivals in a power-packed third event. The Dragon Again gelding, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables, is making his 225th career purse start Saturday. He won six of 26 starts a season ago and more than $860,000. This season's debut comes after a pair of winning Meadowlands qualifiers, both with regular date Yannick Gingras doing the honors. "I was very happy with both (qualifiers)," Gingras said. "He didn't go that much (1:53) in the second one, but the track was dead and no one went very fast. He never changes. He knows when he can be lazy and he knows when it's time to go to work out there. "He's amazing. There's no reason to think he can't do at 11 what he did at 8 or 9 or 10," Gingras said. "He's in tough (Saturday), but they're gonna know he's there." Those looking to stall Foiled Again's 84th win photo includes last season's Levy winner, P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett, post 1) and runner-up Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson, post 2). "Foiled" cut the mile in that race before fading to third. The Raceway's live season continues Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Please note there are no more Sunday matinees scheduled until November. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available. Click here for the card. Frank Drucker
Freehold, NJ --- The USTA website provides periodic glimpses at some of harness racing’s stars as they prepare for harness racing action this year. Today, we look at ageless record-setting pacer Foiled Again. FOILED AGAIN Dragon Again – In A Safe Place – Artsplace Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables Breeder: Barbara Matthews Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras 2014 Record: 26-6-8-5; $863,563; 1:50.2h Career: 224-83-56-32; $6.90 million; 1:48f Honors: Dan Patch Award for best older male pacer in 2013, 2012, 2011. Dan Patch Award for Pacer of the Year in 2011. O’Brien Award for best older male pacer in 2013, 2011. The road back: The 11-year-old Foiled Again qualified in 1:54.3 at the Meadowlands on March 7 and will return to the Big M on Friday for another qualifier as he prepares for the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. The Levy begins March 21. Foiled Again won the series in 2010 and 2009. He finished second in the final in 2013 and 2012 and was third in 2014 and 2011. “It was good,” trainer Ron Burke said about Foiled Again’s first qualifier of the year. “He did everything we asked of him, so we were happy with him. “We lost some time with the weather, but he’ll be fine. He couldn’t be any better. He’s training back as good or better than any other year. He’s an incredible horse. He just gets better and better all the time.” Bittersweet: Last year, Foiled Again finished second to now-retired stablemateSweet Lou in earnings among older pacers. Sweet Lou, who set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, was named best older male pacer and Pacer of the Year. Sweet Lou won six of the races in which Foiled Again competed, with Foiled Again finishing second on three occasions. Overall for the year, Foiled Again’s second-place finishes included the TVG Free For All Series Championship, Canadian Pacing Derby, Dayton Pacing Derby, American-National, Allerage, and Mohawk Gold Cup. “Foiled’s schedule this year is basically the same as in the past,” Burke said. “I decided to have him be one of my top two horses for the big races. I don’t think anybody has his consistency. I’m going to have to stay the course and hope the races are a little weaker this year. Without (Sweet) Lou being in it should help him a little bit. Lou hurt him because he just couldn’t pace as fast as Lou. No matter what he did, he couldn’t get to him. If Foiled can get to a horse, he’ll usually beat him. But he just could never get to him.” Oh, that’s rich: No horse in harness racing history has banked more money than Foiled Again’s $6.90 million in lifetime North American purses. Foiled Again is the richest 7-year-old in history ($1.40 million in 2011), richest 8-year-old ($1.20 million in 2012), richest 9-year-old ($1.40 million in 2013) and richest 10-year-old ($863,563 in 2014). Combine the earnings of the next three richest 10-year-olds on the all-time list and they fall nearly $66,000 short of Foiled Again’s 2014 campaign. One in a million: Foiled Again is the only horse in North American harness racing history to have three million-dollar seasons. “I don’t know if there will be another one that can do it for so many years at the top level,” driver Yannick Gingras said. “He’s one of a kind. I know at this point that he’s got less ahead of him than he has behind him, so I’m enjoying him a lot more. I know every race is a privilege. He’s a very special horse and I’m thankful I get to drive him.” As easy as 1-2-3: For his career, Foiled Again has hit the board 57 times in races worth at least $100,000. Size doesn’t matter: Foiled Again has won at least one race worth more than $450,000 on every sized racetrack in North America -- half, five-eighths, seven-eighths and mile. “I hate to say it, but it’s almost now where we take him for granted,” Burke said. “It’s just because he’s so consistent. You never have to worry about him. You never have to worry that he’s going to race bad this week. He’s not going to; he races good every week.” Rambling on: The only older male pacers to receive three consecutive Dan Patch Awards are Foiled Again and Rambling Willie (1975-77). Interestingly, until Silent Swing’s $155,270 season in 2013, Rambling Willie was the sport’s richest 11-year-old pacer of all time, with $151,599 earned in 1981. “I think the most remarkable thing about Foiled is that he’s an 11-year-old and we’re still talking about him,” Burke said. “You just don’t see horses that are even ages 8 or 9 that are a major factor in their class. He’s 11 years old and nobody can say they’re definitely going to beat him this year. He’s got as good a chance as anybody at the end of the year to be talked about for aged pacer of the year.” Crowning moment: Foiled Again won the 2013 Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs by a nose over Pet Rock in the slop to become at age 9 the oldest Breeders Crown champion in history. “I really believe that race sums his career up,” said Gingras, who pumped his fist three times in celebration that night when the photo-finish result was posted on the tote board. “Doing it the way he did, roughing it up; he never had a breather at any point during the race. He was able to beat the best there was and no one had any excuse. He just refused to lose.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
You can sign up now in case you have not received the most recent Harnesslink newsletter called Insider Access, and here is your chance. Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at http://stallionsphere.com. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Why is the World Trotting Conference such a well-kept secret? - Over the past few weeks we have enjoyed superb coverage of the World Driving Championship in Australia and congratulations again to Dexter Dunn and his well-earned world title. But what about the World Trotting Conference itself? What have we heard about the speakers, the seminars, the people involved? Who came down under from all over the world representing harness racing? NZ Media Coverage Top Notch - A lot of harness racing followers in New Zealand don't appreciate how lucky they are with the amount of coverage their industry gets in the mainstream media in New Zealand. Stallion Review – DRAGON AGAIN – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Dragon Again p, 5,1:48.3S ($2,343,428). Congrats to NZ's Dexter Dunn - Congratulations to all involved in the recent World Drivers’ Championship, which was conducted in New South Wales as part of the Inter Dominion festivities. An even more special ‘well done’ to New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn for bringing the title to Australasia in what was a hugely successful tournament. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia). Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe
Abbeylara (Dragon Again) pulled off the mild harness racing upset in Saturday night's featured race at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jose Godinez - trained pacer was assigned the rail as he came to town from the claiming ranks at Yonkers. Bruce Aldrich Jr piloted Abbeylara as, together, they blasted out to the early lead. Met with the challenge of fellow Yonkers invader and big time betting favorite Statesman N (Jim Morrill Jr) around the final turn, Abbeylara dug in his heels and turned back the 1-5 public choice after at one point getting passed by that rival in the stretch. Abbeylara returned $12.40 to win while Statesman N had to settle for second. Talking Blues (Billy Dobson) came on to finish third in the $17,500 featured race on the first Saturday night race card of the season at the Spa. The win for Abbeylara was one of three on the card for trainer Jose Godinez and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr as they also teamed up for victories with pacers Grandpa Don and Upfront Country Boy. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee kicking off at 12:45pm. Mike Sardella
East Rutherford, NJ --- Foiled Again is back. The record-setting harness racing pacer, now an 11-year-old, qualified for the first time this season, winning in 1:54.3 Saturday morning at the Meadowlands Racetrack with Yannick Gingras in the bike for trainer Ron Burke. Gingras and Foiled Again were fifth in the eight-horse field through the first half of the race, moved into fourth at three-quarters, and came home in :26.2 to win by a neck over Aslan. Foiled Again is the richest horse in harness racing history, with $6.90 million in earnings for his career. The gelding is preparing for the upcoming George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. “He was very good,” Gingras said. “He went nice and easy. We just sat in the back and let him pace home. He felt really good and he had a lot of pace in the stretch. “He feels no different (than previous years). He’s still enjoying his work. The minute he went behind the gate he grabbed on the bit and knew what it was about. He was happy to be there.” Last year, Foiled Again won six of 26 races and hit the board a total of 19 times on his way to purses of $863,563. His earnings ranked No. 2 among all older pacers in North America, trailing only now-retired former stablemate Sweet Lou. Foiled Again received Dan Patch awards for best older male pacer in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was Pacer of the Year in 2011. Foiled Again by Dragon Again, has won 83 of 224 lifetime starts and posted a total of 171 top-three finishes. He is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and JJK Stables. Four-time Dan Patch award-winning older female pacer Anndrovette finished second by a neck to Scott DiDomenico’s Scandalicious in her first qualifying action of the campaign. The time was 1:54.2, with Anndrovette pacing the final quarter in a race-best :28.1. Anndrovette, trained by Jeff Bamond Jr., is preparing for the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers. Modest Prince, a 5-year-old trotter from the stable of trainer Linda Toscano, won his qualifier in 1:54.1 with a final quarter in :26.1. Julie Miller’s Sevruga was second, beaten by three lengths. For complete charts of Saturday’s qualifiers at the Meadowlands, click here.