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Sixth Man (Duke Of York) pulled off the upset in Sunday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Melissa Beckwith-trained six year old moved second over at the half but wound up dropping in behind the leader turning for home in the $14,000 Winners Over trot at the Spa. Sixth Man closed up the passing lane and reeled in front-running Flyhawk Thriller (Stephane Bouchard) in the final few strides before stopping the timer in 1:56.2. Mark Beckwith piloted Sixth Man to the trotter's third win in his last four starts. The longshot victor returned $28.60 to win and led an exacta with Flyhawk Thriller that came back $116. Just Make Believe (Jay Randall) earned the show spot and completed the triple that paid a hefty $587. The win was one of three on the card for the meet's leading trainer Melissa Beckwith whose Blazin Benny won for the 21st time this year and whose Suegrabbitnrun set a lifetime mark trotting to victory in 1:56. Live racing resumes on Wednesday evening with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

LEBANON, OH. - Eight-year-old Rehab Mountain established a new lifetime mark winning the Sunday afternoon $15,950 harness racing Open Trot at Miami Valley Raceway. The veteran altered son of Duke Of York has been on a meet-long roll at Miami Valley, winning seven races with three place and one show finishes in 13 trips behind the Woebkenberg starting gate. Trainer-driver Brad Hanners has guided his stable star to $66,376 in earnings over the past four months, the most of any horse at the meet. First off the wings as usual, Rehab Mountain lead the strong seven-horse field to the quarter-mile marker in :28.1 until allowing odds-on favorite Southwind Pepino (Sandy Beatty) to quarter-move to the front and lead the group through middle fractions of :56.3 and 1:25.2. At the three-quarter pole Southwind Pepino made an uncharacteristic break in stride allowing Rehab Mountain to inherit the front end once again. With a :28.4 closing panel the winner held off J J Hall (Kayne Kauffman) and Run And Tell Pap (Chris Page) in 1:54.1, a tick better than his previous lifetime best. The B6 Racing Stable owns Rehab Mountain, who is rapidly approaching $300,000 in career earnings. Miami Valley Raceway anticipates a fantastic closing weekend May 1st to May 3rd when the 89-day meet concludes. First leg Ohio Sires Stakes action for sophomore fillies will share the spotlight with open pacing mares on Friday night. The state's best three-year-old colts will descend on Miami Valley for initial O.S.S. action on Saturday night, which will also include the weekly open pace. On Sunday a pair of lucrative Grand Circuit stakes are expected to attract the best older mare pacers and trotters in North America to southwest Ohio. Nominees to the $75,000 (est.) Chip Noble Memorial pace include Color's A Virgin, Carolsideal, Fancy Desire, Rocklamation and Yagonnakissmeornot. The $85,000 (est.) Miami Valley Distaff trot could pit nominees Bee A Magician, Classic Martine, Daylon Miracle and Shake It Cerry against one another in the same race for the first time. The track is also trying to fill a five-eighths mile dash and a one-and-a-quarter mile race on the Sunday card, each with a goal of establishing a new world's record. Each sports a $10,000 purse with a $3000 bonus offered to the driver-trainer-owner connection that does establish a new standard for the sport. Interested trainers are asked to express their interest in participating in the special events to Race Secretary Gregg Keidel (513-934-7792) by Tuesday night. At this writing, a couple spots on the starting gate are still available for each race. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Less than a full day after Virgil established a new track record for older male pacers, Rehab Mountain lowered the standard for older trotters at Miami Valley. A model of consistency this season, Rehab Mountain employed his customary front-stepping style to win for the sixth time in nine 2015 starts with a pair of place finishes as well. Brad Hanners trains and drives the eight-year-old Duke Of York gelding who beat Can'tcutthatchip (Jack Dailey) and Cantab Lindy (Shawn Barker II) in 1:54.3. The B6 Racing Stable owns the winner, who increased his seasonal earnings to over $50,000. The only trotter to ever go a faster trotting mile than Rehab Mountain at Miami Valley was millionairess Maven, who won a Grand Circuit Stake on closing night of the inaugural meet last May. Finalists for the Herb Coven Jr. Memorial Series championship were also determined on the Sunday matinee program following a pair of final preliminary round divisions. Princess Of Rock (Jason Brewer) stamped her ticket into the final with a convincing win over Jetting Around (Dan Noble) and My Beach Baby (Kayne Kauffman) in the first split. The winning four-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare is trained by Jeff Brewer and owned by William Eltzroth and Charles Blackwell. The other division was captured by Seconds Later (Josh Sutton) who topped Angel Face (Kayne Kauffman) and Lady Julie (Jack Dailey). Brandon Piquet conditions the daughter of Quik Pulse Mindale for Adam Friedland. The Coven Memorial series features fillies and mares who haven't won four pari-mutuel races or $30,000 prior to the nomination date. The final should be highly competitive as four different mares won each of the four preliminary heats. The top three finishers from each division on Sunday will be joined by Go For Sand, Paige Moon Dancer and Pepstepn Penelope in the $15,000 championship. Gregg Keidel

Pompano Beach, FL...February 4, 2015...Indigo Artist and Tyrone Showpstopper took top harness racing honors in the finals of their respective Late Closers at Pompano Park on Tuesday night while Fox Valley Griffin took the race-off of the Pop-Up Series. Also, Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 carryover pierced the $100,000 mark for the first time in track history. Indigo Artist, driven by Ed Hensley, squeaked by a very stubborn Son Day, handled by Kevin Wallis, to take the $11,500 final of the "Better Late Than Never" Late Closing Series in a lifetime best 1:53.3. Big Better Best, with Bruce Ranger handling the lines, used a late rally to get show honors while Directly Related and Smithers picked up the minors in the field of nine. It was Son Day and Smithers away alertly at the word "go" with Son Day on the bullet train taking the field to the quarter in :27 and half in a hot :54.2. Indigo Artist, meanwhile, had shown some gate speed nestling into fourth early and content to stay right there until straightening away on the backside. Grinding forward, Indigo reached third at the third station (1:24) and kept gnawing away at the leader until eking by in the final couple of strides. In a post race interview, driver Ed Hensley joked, "Now THAT was a professional drive! Actually, Rod (trainer Grady) has him sharp so I left my horse hoping to get in there a little closer. Tehy were going some so I decided to wait to the backside to move him again. Everything worked out fine." Trained by Rod Grady for owner Percy Jones, this six year-old son of Arturo now is three-for-four in 2015, good for $11,885, almost double what he earned all of last year. As the 6 to 5 favorite, Indigo Artist paid $4.60 to win. Tyrone Showstopper, off as third choice at 6 to 1, wired his competition for Kevin Wallis in the $11,500 Final of the "Fair Start" Late Closer, pinning a convincing 2 1/4 defeat on the 3 to 5 favorite Kabu, handled by Jason Dillander, with Insider Access, teaming up with Aaron Byron, third. Nomad finished fourth with Gray N Cloudy getting the nickel in the nine horse affair. This six year-old son Duke Of York, trained by Norm Dessureault for owner Denis Goyette, clocked fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25.4 en route to a lifetime best performance of 1:55.4. After the race, driver Kevin Wallis said, "I believe he likes the front end...after all, the last time he won was on the front so I decided to send him and he raced exceptionally well tonight." Earning his first success of the year, Tyrone Showstopper, who had banked only $720 in three previous starts this semester, sent his $6,470. He paid $15.40 to his faithful. The Pop-Up Series Race-Off Final went, as expected to Fox Valley Griffin, driven by owner-trainer Joe Sanzeri. This seven year-old son of Sportsmaster, just missing the winner's circle last week when his rally fell a "head" short, left no doubt this time around by zipping out of the gate and carding panels of :28, :56.2 and 1:25 en route to a victory measuring two lengths over Make You Famous, driven by Bruce Ranger. Wake, with Aaron Byron, finished third while No Shenanigans and Dynamic Rayzer picked up awards in the field of nine. In a post race interview, driver Sanzeri said, "There didn't seem to be much early speed in here, so I decided to send him--for a change--and try to stay out of trouble. It worked!" As the 4 to 5 chalk, Fox Valley paid $3.80 to win and sent his lifetime bounty to $164,164. Finally, Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 carryover pierced the $100,000 plateau when several 20 cent ticket winners received $135.34 as a consolation. The jackpot for a unique winning ticket now stands at $102,240.56 going into the Wednesday night program. Post time is 7:30 pm.. by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...January 28, 2015..Harness racing driver Rick Plano has driven over 6,500 winners during his illustrious career of 43 years but Wednesday night at Pompano Park was a first for Rick as he drove Orator to an 83 to 1 upset victory in the $13,000 final of the Sea Eagle Late Closer.   This five year-old son of Tell All, owned by trainer Casandra Uppal along with Rebecca Uppal, stormed home from eighth around the final turn to nail the victory in a three way photo finish in 1:53.3--the official margin of victory just 1/100th of a second.   Rock N Go, in his first start for new owner-trainer-driver Shawn McDonough, finished second after taking a "nostril" lead a step from the wire while Oakmont, with Wally Hennessey handling the lines was third, just a neck from the victory after leading much of the way and posting panels of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23.3.   Who Dey finished fourth while Tivoli Hanover grabbed the last nickel.   In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "With the outside nine post, I thought that we were in a tough spot because all of these horses are fairly equal in ability and, when you have to spot them several lengths at the start, it's a tough task to be that much better than the rest once we all straighten away after the start. The hot fractions, of course, helped but, around the final bend, I was just hoping to get something out of it. He was pacing pretty hard down the lane and, that, plus the speed coming back a bit, enabled us to get it done. In my 43 years on the racetrack, I don't think I have ever had a winner pay 83 to 1. Pretty amazing, especially since he was second in his only two starts this year."   The win for Orator was his 16th lifetime and sent his career bounty to $62,210.   The win mutuel was $169.60 keying a 20 cent superfecta payoff of $3,061.80.   Also on the mid-week card were two divisions of the Pop-Up Series for claiming pacers as well as the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot.   The latter event went to Dukester, also handled by trainer-driver Rick Plano for Allyn Jones and Maryann Plano.   This eight year-old son of Duke Of York got a picture perfect drive, leaving and then yielding for a garden journey as Coco Lindy and Wally Hennessey cut the panels of :28.1, :58 and 1:27. As they turned for home, Dukester left the coziness of his pocket and wore down Coco Lindy with a :28.3 finale, stopping the timer in 1:55.4 for his initial success of the year and 21st lifetime-the official margin being a nose. He's banked $245,690 career-wise.   Nithinbutanallstar rallied to finish third for Mark O'Mara while Highland Yankee and Bloodstockshalltab picked up the remaining marbles in the field of nine. Favored It's Payday Friday suffered a miscue at the start, rallied a bit mid-mile but eventually finished seventh.   After the race, driver Plano related, "I didn't see too much in the way of leavers inside of us leaving, so I decided I'd let him trot a little early. He made the top easily and then I though it would be best not to get into a war with Wally's (Hennessey) horse (Coco Lindy) so I decided to take the trip. It worked out OK...barely!"   Dukester paid $9.40 as the third choice on the board.   The Pop-Up Series for claimers on the lowest rung of the ladder went in two divisions with No Shenanigans and Yankee Flyer taking their respective divisions.   No Shenanigans handled by Kevin Wallis for Erin and Leonard Poger, brushed up on the backside to take command and then held on for dear life to score by a nose in 1:54.2 over Dynamic Rayzer (Dave Ingraham) with the fast closing Fox Valley Griffin just a neck back for Joe Sanzeri. Jackets Required and Drinkability also earned awards in the sextet.   No Shenanigans now has 31 lifetime wins and $145,424 lifetime. Second choice at 8 to 5, he paid $5.40 to win.   Yankee Flyer, part of the five horse field (after a scratch) where all entrants had morning line odds of 3 to 1, took command shortly after a :28.2 opener for Wally Hennessey and proceeded to carve out panels of :57.3 and 1:26.3 before holding off Make You Famous (Bruce Ranger) by a half length in 1:56.3. Alastair Hanover (Jason Dillander) was third with Wake and Cracker Diamond completing the field.   The first four entrants in the field were less than a length apart at the wire with the top to bottom odds being 3 to 1, 5 to 2, 6 to 5, 10 to 1 and 7 to 2.   The winner, owned and trained by Ken Sweetland, Jr., went off at 5 to 2 and paid an even $7.00 to win.   Finally, the Super Hi-5 had only two winning consolation tickets--each worth $2,791.42--with the carryover to Saturday's program over $87,000.   Post time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park                  

Pompano Beach, FL...December 23, 2014...Dukester, who was knocking at the door in last week's top trot at Pompano Park, finally got the job done on Tuesday night with a lifetime best 1:54.1 victory in the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot over South Florida's five-eighths mile oval. Trained and driven by Rick Plano for owners Allyn Jones and Mary Ann Plano, Dukester pinned a three length defeat on Baby Boy Grin (Kevin Wallis) with the late surging Striker Ace (Ed Hensley) third. The early leader, M C, Felix, finished fourth while Warrawee Promesse picked up the remain marbles in the sextet. Indeed, it was M C Felix that took the early lead and dictated the opening quarter timed in :28. Baby Boy Grin, away alertly before yielding around the first turn, wasn't content to stay In The Pocket and, after the opener, took command and marched over to the half in :56. On the backside, Dukester, third early on behind the two pacesetters, made his bid first over and moved on even terms with Baby Boy Grin at the third station timed in 1:25.2. From there, the outcome was never in doubt as Dukester increased his margin with every stride. In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "this trotter knows how to relax early and he knows when to get down to business. When I asked him on the backside, he responded like a good horse does. He can consistently trot final quarters in :28 and change here, so I was pretty confident when we turned for home." Plano then quipped, "He seems to be getting better with age as he took his former mark of 1:55...just three weeks ago!" This seven year-old son of Duke Of York won for the 11th time this year to send his seasonal bankroll to $82,012. He's banked $234,525 lifetime. As the 8 to 5 favaorite on the tote-board, Dukester paid $5.40 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

For the next seven days Peterborough, Ontario harness racing horseman John Bax will be spending a lot of time in his second office, behind the wheel of his truck. Starting Friday he has colts and fillies racing in Ontario Sires Stakes events for seven straight days, then there’s a break of one day and then right back at it. “I used to complain that the OSS season was too long when it went into November, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining now that it’s too short. There’s an upside and downside to the way its structured now (going from late May to mid October),” noted Bax. “If your horse is ready there’s a lot of opportunity but if you have one that’s injured or sick, you can miss a lot just being off a month. Ideally I think it could be spread out just a bit more.” Bax currently sits in third in the trainers’ standings in the OSS program. He’s had 18 starters to date, 11 of which will be going postward over the next four days. Tonight he starts three colts among the six $18,000 Grassroots divisions for two-year-old trotting colts at Mohawk, a two hour trek from his farm south of Peterborough. Among those is Parkhill Lancelot, a homebred son of Muscle Mass he owns along with son Marshall. Bax trained his dam, a daughter of Duke Of York (another of his former top trotters) named Harlequin Seelster. “She had a :55 hind end and a 2:10 front end,” the trainer laughed. “But she had the pedigree so we bred her. I try to have a couple of broodmares around.” Parkhill Lancelot will be making his fourth lifetime start on Friday night where he’s drawn post one in the eighth race. The colt has finished a close second in his previous two efforts, both Grassroots events. The following day Bax’s team will be making another two hour truck, this time to Georgian Downs, for six $18,000 OSS events for rookie trotting fillies where he has a pair of starters. Fiery Eyes, who has a first and second in her last two Grassroots races, has post eight in race four. Flexceptional, who has one Grassroots victory in as many lifetime starts under her harness, leaves from post four in race six. Both will be driven by Steve Byron. On Sunday Bax’s rig will be headed east for a change for the first OSS event of the season at Rideau Carleton Raceway near Ottawa, an approximate six hour round trip from their base. There he starts a pair of fillies in both $105,000 Gold divisions for three-year-old trotting misses. In the fourth race he has Juanitas Fury (post two) and Railee Priti (post four). In the second division it will be Desis Dream (post three) and Stubborn Belle (post five) carrying the Bax colours. Monday finds the Bax brigade in Elora, Ontario, for Grassroots for three-year-old trotting colts where he has a pair of entrants, Illseeuincourt in race two and Kiwi Pres in the sixth and final of the six $18,000 divisions, race nine. “When you see a week like this one coming up you don’t feel so bad about spending a few months of the winter in Florida during the off season,” joked Bax whose barn consists solely of young horses. “I certainly wouldn’t mind another Goodtimes or Define The World,” he said of former stable stars raced well beyond their OSS seasons and earned $2.2 million and $1.7 million respectively. “But for the most part it just makes sense to stay with the young horses. “The Ontario Sires Stakes program is still better than most others, and I think you get the best bang for your buck in Ontario,” he added. Which is a good thing as he’ll be seeing a lot of the province and the OSS Program over the next few days. The entries for the upcoming OSS events at Mohawk, Georgian Downs, Rideau Carleton Raceway and Grand River are available through the links below. Mohawk Entries - August 8. Georgian Downs Entries - August 9. Rideau Carleton Entries - August 10. Grand River Entries - August 11. Ontario Sire Stakes

LEBANON, OH. - With Miami Valley Raceway still in its first week of live racing it is not surprising that a pair of track records were established Wednesday night. It is surprising, however, how impressive the clockings were in light of temperatures that had dipped to about 12 degrees (near zero with the wind Chill Factor) when the races went to post. Rehab Mountain clocked the fastest trotting mile in the young history of the five-eighths mile oval winning the $9500 Open Handicap in 1:57.1 to best Baby Blaze (Chris Page) and Boy Meets Girl K (Tony Hall) by just over four lengths. Brad Hanners trains and drove the Duke Of York gelding to his 19th career triumph in 71 starts, increasing his bankroll to over $166,000. The late-blooming trotter won ten times in 2013 and is now one-for-three in 2014 for the B6 Racing Stable. The standard for pacing mares was lowered to 1:54.4 when Artie's Last Party (Kayne Kauffman) bested Bazooka Terror (Dan Noble) and Eve Marie Seelster (Kyle Ater) in a $7000 conditioned event. Owned by Steven Herrick, the five-year-old Artiscape mare won for the tenth time in her life. Holiday Shopper tripped the timer in 1:55 in an $8000 Open Mares event. The father-son trainer-driver team of Jeff and Jason Brewer had the seven-year-old Camluck mare in prime shape for her initial 2014 voyage in which she bested Julie Lou (Tyler Smith) and Dazzling Diana (Dan Noble). It was the 20th career tally for the winner who is owned by Drs. Robert and Randall Van Hutchison. Brad Hanners, Tony Hall and Tyler Smith all scored driving doubles on the 11-race program. Racing resumes tonight (Thursday, Feb. 13) with the normal 6:30 p.m. post time. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway  

Mack Grace SM (8m CCs Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM-Armbro Goal) and driver Roberto Andreghetti were first to the lead off the gate in the Grand Premio Lotteria Finale at Napoli Sunday and refused to let Commander Crowe and reinsman Franck Nivard gain the lead. The pair opened several lengths on the field allowing Nivard to obtain a pocket trip. Andreghetti used that tactic to his advantage, slowing the pace, and allowing first attacker Linda di Casei to range alongside for most of final 1000 meters. Commander Crowe was blocked in the pocket until too late and only reached the winners’ wheel at the wire although Mack Grace was cruising home under little urging. Elimination winner Oibambam Effe rushed up along the pylons to gain third over the tiring Linda di Casei. The 1600 meter autostart course was timed by the winner in 1.11.3kr as Mack Grace SM secured the winners’ share of the 300,300 euro purse and his position as one of the leading trotters in Europe. The Lotteria Consolation, for 42,900 euro over 1600 meters, went to easy winner Owen’s Club (5m Duke of York-Duse Tab-Sugarcane Hanover) in 1.10.4kr for Pietro Gubellini. He scored over Lotar Bi and Over The Moon LF. On the same card Gubellini won the Grand Premio Campania with ease driving Prussia (4f Ken Warkentin-Elvezia-Pine Chip) to the 1.11.3kr victory. Purse was 77,000 euro for the contest over 2100 meters. Pick Kronos and Papandreu  took the next two placings behind the dominant Italian mare.. by Thomas H. Hicks for  

CAMPBELLVILLE, October 11 - Julie Walker has made a name for herself this season while racing on the Woodbine Entertainment Circuit. The talented young conditioner has put up career numbers with 16 wins from 76 starts with just shy of $250,000 in seasonal earnings. On top of that, the 31-year-old has an impressive .340 Udrs. "Its been one of those years where everything has fallen into place," Walker said. "We have a nice group of young horses that have raced very well this summer. We don't have a big stable and I prefer it that way. I'd take quality over quantity any day." Walker's terrific season was highlighted by rookie Massive Muscles, who banked $106,250 in earnings. The son of Muscle Mass finished most recently finished second in the $200,000 OSS Super Final with Walker's boyfriend, J.B. Renaud in the bike. Walker and Renaud share ownership of the youngster who boasts a 2-3-0 record from six starts. "He was just one of those horses who continued to improve with each start," Walker said. "My father (Paul) trained him down until around February then sent him to me and I finished him off. He's one of those horses that always trained well and I guess we got lucky with him." Not bad for a mere $2,500 purchase at the 2012 Harrisburg Yearling Sale from breeder Karen Carroll. "Whenever I go to the sale, I try and find families that I'm familiar with," Walker said. "I knew his family because my father trained Dillavec ($121,814) and this horse's dam is a brother to him. I guess he was a little coarse, but his video was flawless." Walker and Renaud were at it again this past Thursday evening at Mohawk as Sixth Man lit up the tote board at odds of 62-1. The trotting son of Duke Of York captured the non-winners of two event in a new lifetime best, while paying $127.70 to win providing Renaud with his first driving win on the WEG Circuit. Walker, a native of Owen Sound, was fostered into the business by her father, Paul, who is a well-respected horseman and her mother, Brenda, who is a past Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) Commissioner. "I'm a pretty lucky person to have the guidance I've received over the years from both my parents," Walker said. "My father is someone who I look up to and often seek advice from. He's a terrific trainer and taught me the fundamentals of the business." Walker will condition roughly 10 horses this winter at Shamrock Training Center. "That's right about the number where I'm comfortable," Walker said. "That way every horse is given that attention to detail and nothing goes unmissed. It's been a great summer and hopefully it continues into the winter months." Walker, who has a deep passion for the support, also volunteers her time to assist in the Racing Under Saddle (RUS) events in Ontario. The non-wagering event features a talented group of riders accompanied by trotters traditionally seen in harness racing in a one-mile dash. "It's something that I have seen become very successful in Europe when I visited and it's great to see that we are starting to do it," Walker said. "It's a way to promote the sport and I enjoy being apart of it. Hopefully it has a future." The event has been showcased at Mohawk Racetrack, Hanover Raceway, Grand River Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park and Western Fair Raceway. "The tracks this year have been terrific at supporting the event and I think the fans really appreciated it as well. We have seen some terrific crowds come out to see it, so it's obviously an attraction to fans." Walker, who has banked over $675,000 in purses as a trainer, is one victory shy of her 50th trip to the winner's circle. Another first is soon in store for the young talented conditioner who has a deep love and passion for the sport of harness racing. by Greg Gangle for WEG  

Even as the triumphant announcement last week of the fields for the re-scheduled Gran Premio della Lotteria gave Italian trotting a shot in the arm, the timing of the announcement, on the weekend left empty by the postponement of the  Italian Derby only served to highlight the parlous state of the sport on the boot-shaped peninsula. For in the middle of busy European Derby season, the Italian Derby was the Jewel in the crown, and not just because it was the richest age-group race of any kind in Europe being €700,000 until cut to €550,000 last year as part of the drastic cuts to purses imposed by the Italian government in response to its political and economic crisis. Even so, this still trumps  any of the French Classiques (the richest is €240,000) and dwarfing all the other European kriterium/derbies such as the Finnish (€165K) and Danish (€100K) equivalents which were also raced last weekend.  Even the next richest the  Swedish Trav-Derby (for 4YOs) is still less (€470K). It was also because the Italian graduates, drawn from the world’s best bloodlines  from both US and French lines that such riches attact, still reign supreme on the continent despite almost blanket access to all the top US sires. Varenne, the 1998 Italian Derby winner has been Italy’s Leading sire for the past three seasons while  Viking Kronos (who was fifth in the same race) was the leading sire in the other non-Franco powerhouse, Sweden in 2010 and 2011. Varenne has sired four of the last five Italian Derby winners, and Derby or Kriterium winners in three other countries while Viking Kronos has sired 2 Swedish Trav-Derby winners, but has also sired 3 or 4YO classic winners in Denmark, Germany and Norway, plus European champions in all 3 age groups. Other former Italian Derby winning sires include Uronometro, Daguet Rapide and Infinitv who more than hold their own on their better known US contemporaries. The Derby Italiano has been postponed because its home, Rome’s  historic Tor di Valle, was the latest in a series of tracks to be closed,  in this instance to make way for the building of a soccer stadium. It is supposed to be re-scheduled to take place next month but one trainer dismissed the chances of the event going ahead. “It is supposed to be raced at a new track to be built at the Rome thoroughbred track,” the trainer emailed on condition of anonymity. “One of the turf tracks will be converted to a trotting track. “The racing direction will be clockwise, the same as the thoroughbreds. “It is a joke. And the racetrack -  people claim the price tag is 3 million euros – only work has yet to begin and the elims are scheduled for 23 Nov.” “Only in Italy.” Another racetrack to close was Naples’ Agnano track earlier in the year -  which led  to the postponement of the Gran Premio della Lotteria to this weekend -  as criminal investigations were conducted. A new administration is now in place, and the track reopened to much fanfare two weekends ago, as was the rescheduling of the Lotteria, for which a field of 24 will line up for in three “batteries” of eight which will decide the eight finalists, the same day on October 13. They have scored something of a coup in attracting Swedish superstar Commander Crowe and his Italian-bred stablemates Marielles and Napoleon Bar (who was third last year) but their mentor Fabrice Solouy is the only international trainer with enough faith in their ability to get paid to have made the trip, despite it being a quiet spot in the international schedule. There is a boycott of Italian thoroughbred racing by European trainers because of unpaid stakes. But the Lotteria which will run on the weekend is  far from the event that once lived up to its billing as one of the four Grand Slams of European trotting and attracted the best trotters in the world in the 1980s and 90s.  This event looks like a  dual between Italian heavyweight  Mack Grace Sm (CC’s Chucky T) and his Swedish behemoth Commander Crowe, who although getting well into veteran class at 10 years old, is still footing it with the younger brigade. Fabrice Souloy’s champ has the class to win this although he faces a local legend who is going for his second win in a row, and has a record unrivalled in Italy. Lucio Colletti’s Mack Grace Sm is almost unbeatable in Italy, with seven wins in a row and 10 out of 12 this year but has never fired away from the peninsula and has had the luxury of racing against fields devoid of any international quality this year. The major competition should come from Owen’s Club (Duke of York), Look Mp (Sugarcane Hanover) and Napoleon Bar(Varenne) in battery one, Looney Tunes (Ganymede) and Marielles (Kick Tail) in battery two and Linda de Casei  (Uronometro) and Newyork Newyork (Supergill)  in battery three. GRAN PREMIO DELLA LOTTERIA (3 BATTERY+ FINALE+CONSOLATION) Agnano  2013-10-13   Group I Int 4-10 €406 000  1600m   BATTERY 1 €20 900 1         Lawyer As (8h S J's Photo - Ima Quick   Luca Fierro   Luca Fierro             2         Owen's Club (5h Duke Of York - Duse Tab   Pietro Gubellini   Pietro Gubellini             3         Marlon Om (7g S J's Photo - Zelata Om   Roberto Vecchione  Pietro Gubellini            4         Look Mp (8h Sugarcane Hanover - Atlantis Gar   kusk ej klar   Giorgio d'Alessandro S:r             5         Iper Roc (9h Lemon Dra - Banner Roc   Michela Racca   Giorgio Carini 6         Oibambam Effe (5m Classic Photo - Etna Sec   Salvatore Carro   Salvatore Carro             7         Lotar Bi (8h Toss Out - Laforet Park   Alessandro Raspante   Sabina Breccia             8         Napoleon Bar (6h Varenne - Dalmazia   Enrico Bellei   Fabrice Souloy      BATTERY 2 €20 900 1         Mururoa As (7m Lemon Dra - Jade's Tiara)  Dr: Giuseppe Pietro Maisto   Tr: Giuseppe Pietro Maisto             2         Moses Rob (7h Ganymede - Etoile Rob)   Dr: Giuseppe Luongo   Tr: Salvatore Carro             3         Looney Tunes (8h Ganymede - Defi' de la Roche)  Dr:  Alessandro Gocciadoro   Tr: Alessandro Gocciadoro             4         Mack Grace Sm (7h CC's Chuckie T - Ambro Grace Sm)   Dr: Roberto Andreghetti  Tr:  Lucio Colletti             5         Marielles (7m Kick Tail - Egida Play)  Dr:  Franck Nivard  Tr:  Fabrice Souloy             6         Negresco Milar (6h CC's Chuckie T - Birmaniaz)  Dr:  Marco Guzzinati  Tr:  Marco Guzzinati             7         Orsia (5m Angus Hall - Tigre Om)  Dr:  TBA Tr: Holger Ehlert             8         Osasco di Ruggi (5h Varenne - Papaia Ral) Dr:   TBA Tr: Holger Ehlert      BATTERY 3  €20 900 1         Novarica (6m Allison Hollow - Bagutta Ok)  Dr:  Davide di Stefano   Tr: Biagio Lo Verde             2         Linda di Casei (8m Uronometro - Comtesse Ferm)  Dr/tr:  Alessandro Gocciadoro             3         Maestrale Spin (7h Lindy Lane - Princess Godiva)  Dr:  Mario Minopoli J:r   Tr: Team Minopoli 4         Orleans Om (5m Sj's Caviar - Deux de Mai)   Dr: Giuseppe Lombardo J:r  Tr:  Lucio Colletti             5         Commander Crowe (10g Juliano Star - Somack)   Dr: Franck Nivard  Tr:  Fabrice Souloy 6         Langdon Grif (8h Varenne - Meadowbranch Nan)   Dr: Gaetano di Nardo  Tr:  Guiseppe Citarella             7         Newyork Newyork (6h Supergill - Viola d'Amore)   Dr: TBA  Tr:  Holger Ehlert             8         Owen Cr (5h Cantab Hall - Boemia Cr)  Dr:  Pietro Gubellini  Tr:  Pietro Gubellini         by Dave Sanders for

Pompano Beach, FL...July 17, 2013...While thick cloud cover and another deluge of heavy rain prevented the stars from shining brightly over Pompano Park on Wednesday night, trainer Don Glowacki and driver Mickey McNichol provided the star power on the racetrack by teaming up for a “hat trick”--three wins--on the mid-week card. Dutchess Seelster, Brewing Master and Howie’s Heart, all trained by Don and driven by Mickey, reached the winner’s circle, giving trainer Glowacki his very first nightly trifecta of wins. McNichol, with 4,521 lifetime wins, has, of course, had many. John Campagnuolo’s Dutchess Seelster, a seven year-old daughter of Duke Of York and the only lady in the field of trotters, won for the second straight week in the $8,800 feature using gate-to-wire tactics to score a handy win in 1:56.4 over the track labeled “good.” After sprinting to the top and carding an opening round of :28.2 to discourage any threats, the McNichol rated the Dutchess through a second panel of :30.2. She turned on the after-burners on the backside and brushed home a length and a half to the good over the pocket-sitting Tug River Dylan (Walter Ross, Jr.). Celebrity Legacy was third for Bruce Ranger while Sir Tyson and Good Luck Penny took the final two awards in the field of six. The victory was the third this year in 17 starts for the brave mare and 23rd lifetime, sending her career bounty to $237,069. As the overwhelming favorite, Dutchess Seelster paid $2.80 to win. Brewing Master, also owned by Campagnuolo, got things started for team Glowacki by winning under the picture perfect drive by McNichol, leaving from the six post for the lead and then yielding to the 3 to 5 favorite Famous Hall (Ranger) and stalking that one before edging on by inside the sixteenth pole for his very first win of the year in 18 starts. Aqua Lindy (Lou Ginesi) was third. Giving a serious hint in his prior start, Brewing Master was the 3 to 1 second choice and returned $8.00. Howie’s Heart, owned by Don and wife Jeanette, looked hopelessly out of it turning for home but McNichol found a seam in deep stretch to nail that victory in the very last stride in 1:56.4 for his fourth success of the year. Daughtry Hanover (Joe Sanzeri) and Change Your Luck (Gaston Lareau) were next in the photo.   Bruce Ranger also had three wins on the card, scoring with Railee Kwik, Shallow Hal and Allen The Optomist. Railee Kwik, trained by Jim McDonald for owner Joe Pennacchio, used a final half of :59 to score a wire-to-wire win in 1:59.2 in an event for Sunshine Stake eligibles. It was not only his second lifetime win, it lowered his mark by almost eight second, his previous mark being 2:07.1 at age two. Shallow Hal, owned by Marissa Tyler and trained by Frank Petrelli, also earned a new lifetime mark, scoring for Ranger in 1:58 and knocking more than two second off his previous best. Finally, Tom Artandi’s Allen The Optomist gave Bruce win number three on the card holding on to score by a head over a very fast closing Mustabeenadreamer (Tom Sells) in 1:56. Kennairnmachmagic (Greg Luther) was third with Angry Dwarf placed fourth in a superfecta event that paid $1,043.40...for a dime! by John Berry  

Dutchess Seelster, superbly handled by Mickey McNichol, captured Pompano Park's featured winners over trot on Wednesday night, stopping the clock in 1:55.1.

Dukecrest (Duke Of York) pulled off the upset in the $15,000 Friday feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

For Julie Walker of Owen Sound, Saturday night at Hanover Raceway was special in a number of ways. Walker, a 31-year old member of the longtime harness racing family so familiar to Hanover Raceway, sent out three horses from her stable on Saturday and picked up two victories.

Amateur harness racing driver Dave Offenberg and his trotter Whatnblazes out-footed the pace-setter Benn's Starlet and driver Tony Verruso to the wire to prevail in the fifth leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Charity Trotting Series at Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon, April 13.

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