WILKES-BARRE PA - The fourth and final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies was held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Friday night, with all three favorites winning and some idea of the Stallion Series Championship qualifiers developing. In the first cut, Somenicebeach made easy work of her career stakes debut by leading at every call en route to taking a new mark of 1:52. McVita Bella who *preliminary* calculated to be the Stallion Series pointsleader (*all official figures will come from the Harrisburg office of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission*) was second to the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, who was guided by Pocono's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes. Jim Morrill Jr. was in the sulky behind the other two winners, first with the Real Desire filly Real Drama, who was a pocket rocket in reducing her speed tab to 1:52.3. Kelly O'Donnell conditions the winning filly for the Bay Pond Racing Stable. Real Drama won her cut by three lengths; Morrill had much harder work in the third division, as he and the Well Said filly Lucy's Pearl rallied gamely from the two-hole to edge stubborn pacesetter Beach Body by a half-length in the fastest time, 1:50.3. "Trotting Guru" Ron Gurfein may train more pacers if he continues to bring out tough misses like this one, who is owned by Gurfein in partnership with Elizabeth Novak. After careful math (and again we STRESS these are NOT official figures), the following pointstandings (based on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 distribution) for the PAStS 3PFs emerge: 1. McVita Bella, 120; 2. Lucy's Pearl, 105; 3. Eiffel Tower, 4. Real Drama (both had 95 points, but Eiffel Tower wins the money tiebreaker $25,000 to $21,600); 5. Do Your Job, 6. Stucklikeglue (both with 70 points, Do Your Job with more money $20,000 to $12,200); 7. Beach Body, 65; 8. Baby Cat, 64; tie 9. Marathon Day and Oogle Google (both tied at both 60 points and $15,000 in earnings; if needed to split them, there would be a shake of the pills). The top nine declaring in will advance to the Stallion Series Championship, to be held at The Meadows on September 9.
August 1-7, 2014; At this point in the season, it's typical for 3-year-old horses at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs to be battling against others of their own age in Stallion Series or Sire Stakes action. Yet our two top performers of the week that was at Pocono dared to take on older horses. Not only did they survive, but they thrived. Here are the details of both their exploits and those of the other top performers as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: LUCK BE WITHYOU This 3-year-old colt from the Chris Oakes' barn started the season in Canada but quickly found a home at Pocono with a condition win on June 28 in 1:50:1. He then battled his way to a 7th in finals of the prestigious Meadowlands Pace before returning for an even more impressive victory in a blistering 1:48 on July 19. On Saturday night, Luck Be Withyou faced his sternest test yet by going up against the non-winners of $22,500 in the last five races grouping. Among the competitors he would have to face were Meirs Hanover and Bolt The Duer, a pair of veterans as talented and as tested as there are in the sport. If the relative inexperience of Luck Be Withyou was ever going to be a factor, this was the race. At the top of the stretch, the 3-year-old was staring at the tail of Bolt The Duer, who had set the pace and done so in reasonable fractions. Yet Luck Be With You was ready for the challenge when driver George Napolitano Jr. asked for another gear. He sped by a stunned Bolt The Duer and held off fast-closing E Street Plan for the win in 1:49:2. Even though the time wasn't as flashy as his previous win, this victory was the best evidence yet of this sophomore's incredible talent. Other top pacers this week include: Show Runner (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), a mare whose victory in Friday night's featured condition pace in a career-best 1:50:3 was her second straight win; Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who powered to a win over $10,000 claimers on Saturday night in 1:50:4, a career-best and his Third Straight win; and Mach It So (Andrew McCarthy, PJ Fraley), who picked up a win in Saturday night's featured Preferred Handicap pace in 1:48:2, a new career-best and the fastest time posted this week at MSPD. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: REVRAC HARBOUR This award was probably a little overdue for this 3-year-old colt from the barn of trainer Tony Alagna. From June 3 to July 1, he ripped off four consecutive wins at Pocono, topping out with a back-to-back career-best miles of 1:54:1 in wins over the non-winners of four condition. He traveled to the Meadowlands after that and struggled against some of the top trotters in the country in a pair of stakes races. Revrac Harbour returned on Tuesday night to face all older horses in a non-winners of $13,000 in the last five starts condition trot. Back at Pocono again, he found his stride quickly by making a move to the front end early in the race. Yet Picture This, the race favorite, lurked behind him In The Pocket for much of the mile and enjoyed a much better trip. In the stretch, Picture This took to the inside passing lane and briefly seemed like he was about to get past. That's when driver Scott Zeron coaxed just a little extra effort from an already-taxed Revrac Harbour, who dug in and surged back in front in the final strides in 1:55:4 on a sloppy track. That makes it five wins in the last five races he's started at Pocono, with this maybe the gutsiest yet. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Zooming (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter),who shipped in from New York for a condition win on Saturday in 1:51:4, easily the week's fastest trotting time; Waldorf Hall (Corey Callahan, Jim Raymer), who churned through the slop for a condition win on Tuesday in 1:53:4; and Swiss Lightning (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Lare), who ripped off his fourth straight claiming victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:4, matching his career-best in the process. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RESCUE PLAN It's not often George Napolitano Jr., the meet's leading driver, pilots a long shot, but this condition pacer was at 42-1 when G-Nap steered him to victory on Tuesday night for a $87.60 win payout on a $2 ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. Who else could it be this other than George Nap, considering that he won seven of the thirteen races on the card on Saturday and nearly pulled off a 20-win week. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: CHRISTIE COLLINS Collins' barn has been steadily gaining momentum in the summer months, and her trainees picked up three more wins this week, including a double on Friday. That will do it for it this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jim Beviglia
After enjoying a cozy pocket trip, Stitch in Time ($19.20) made a late push to the fore, collaring 6-5 favorite Wisenheimer to take the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot at Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 2) evening. Brandon Simpson floated forward with the four-year-old Keystone Nordic gelding, settling behind House Money (Aaron Byron) on the first turn. As Wisenheimer brushed to the fore through a :28 first quarter, House Money broke stride, enabling Stitch in Time to inherit the pocket with just over a circuit to go. The two would continue as an uncontested leading pair throughout, but Stitch in Time was able to benefit from his tracking trip in the final eighth. Off the far turn, Simpson angled him wide, and the response was instant. Stitch in Time wore down Wisenheimer, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. I Love New York (Bruce Clarke) was carried to the grandstand side off a stalking trip, staying on for third. Amber Buter trains Stitch in Time for owners Lynette Buter, Carol Fuhs, and William Fuhs. Racing returns to Tioga with a stakes-filled Sunday (August 3) afternoon card. The 13-race pari-mutuel program is slated for a 1:30 p.m. EDT start, with a pair of non-wagering events to commence a half-hour earlier. by James Witherite
A powerful :26.2 third quarter propelled Michael Pagonas's Inittowinafortune ($4.20) to back-to-back Open class wins at Tioga Downs, taking the $14,000 Fillies and Mares Open on Friday (August 1) evening by a geared down three lengths. The four-year-old Cams Fortune mare controlled the terms from the outset, pushing clear of Oceans Motion (Chuck Connor, Jr.) through a :27.1 first quarter before relaxing the pace into the clubhouse turn. On the backstretch, Inittowinafortune accelerated in earnest, but Oceans Motion did well to keep pace through the taxing third quarter, at which point Inittowinafortune was driven clear to a three-length advantage at head-stretch. The lead expanded to nearly five lengths with 100 yards to go, but Inittowinafortune was geared down late for a comfortable 1:52 win. Oceans Motion held second off a chasing effort, while Elleofnxample (Brandon Simpson) sustained a mild late bid to take third. Aaron Byron handled the driving duties aboard Inittowinafortune for trainer Michael Russo. The win was one of four on the night for Byron, while leading driver Jim Marohn, Jr. scored his fourth consecutive Tioga hat trick. Live racing continues at Tioga on Saturday (August 2) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT. Tioga Downs golf outing reminder There is still room for participants in the 2014 Tioga Downs horsemen's golf outing, to be held on Saturday, August 9. The golf outing will be contested in the four-man scramble format, and will take place at Pheasant Hills in Owego, New York with an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start. A steak dinner and prize ceremony at the course will follow the golf outing. The tournament is free for all horsemen and owners. To sign up, please email Garrett Madison at email@example.com or call him at 607.699.7691. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
MANALAPAN, NJ - July 30, 2014 - Saturday's Hambletonian Day 15-race card at the Meadowlands is loaded with rich stakes worth nearly $3.6 million in purse money, including the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and its filly companion race, the $100,000 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey. The two stakes for New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers are early in the card - the third race for the Miss New Jersey and the fourth race for the New Jersey Classic - and have the possibility of being two of the most contentious and bettor-friendly events, with no prohibitive favorites. Racing conditions for the two stakes were amended to eliminate eliminations. The finals are limited to the 10 highest lifetime money-winning horses in the entry box. To further sweeten the pot, even those who do not share in the top five purse distribution will not go home empty-handed. The connections of the New Jersey Classic colts finishing sixth through 10 will receive $1,500 each while the connections of the Miss New Jersey fillies will receive $1,000 each. "We are very pleased that we have full and competitive fields for both stakes, in fact, 11 entered in each with 10 going postward," said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey [SBOANJ], which sponsors the two races. "We feel stallions will return to New Jersey once we have casino-infused purses, a likelihood in the next few years, but for now we are trying our best to make it worthwhile for breeders to support our program and owners to buy New Jersey-sired offspring with the opportunity to compete in such events as the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey," Luchento added. Post time on Saturday, August 2, 2014 is 12 noon with gates opening at 10 a.m. Admission is $5. The $1 million Hambletonian [Race 13] and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks [Race 12] and the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trot will be featured on the live television broadcast from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network [for Channel Finder - www.cbssportsnework.com]. The program will be hosted by Gary Seibel, Dave Brower and Justin Horowitz. The fields for the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey with post, horse, sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds: Race 4 - $225,000 ANTHONY ABBATIELLO NEW JERSEY CLASSIC 1-Doo Wop Hanover - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Steve Elliott - 9-5 2-Western Vintage - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nancy Johansson - 5-2 3-Rockeyed Optimist - Rocknroll Hanover - Matt Kakaley - Steve Elliott - 20-1 4-Buckwacker - Rocknroll Hanover - David Miller - Chris Ryder - 9-2 5-Sweet Rock - Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller - Wayne Given - 20-1 6-Dancin Hill - Rocknroll Hanover - Scott Zeron - Tony Alagna - 10-1 7-Rock Out - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 15-1 8-Card Shock- Cam's Card Shark - George Brennan - Mark Silva - 20-1 9-Beat The Drum - Tell All - Ron Pierce - Staffan Lind - 6-1 10-Rocknroll Reality - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 12-1 Race 3 - $100,000 THOMAS D'ALTRUI MISS NEW JERSEY 1-Ideal Helen - Western Ideal - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 10-1 2-Act Now - Western Ideal - Brian Sears - Nikolas Drennan - 3-1 3-Gettingreadytoroll - Rocknroll Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 2-1 4-My Lady Day - Western Ideal - David Miller - Joe Holloway - 15-1 5-Surfside Sexy - Rocknroll Hanover - Ron Pierce - Ron Burke - 20-1 6-Cut A Deal - Rocknroll Hanover - George Brennan - Nick Surick - 20-1 7-Blixtra - Rocknroll Hanover - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 9-2 8-Highland Rockstar - Rocknroll Hanover - Mike Lachance - Buzzy Sholty - 20-1 9-Rockingcam Park - Rocknroll Hanover - Tim Tetrick - Ron Coyne Jr. - 8-1 10- Kate Can't Wait - Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan - Ross Croghan - 6-1 By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ
July 27, 2014 – The Meadow’s Adios Card is in the books and at the end of the day Handicapper Ray Cotolo reigned supreme for the week in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest with a weekly net profit of $305, nearly $100 ahead of his closest opponent. While Cotolo is a newcomer to the list of weekly winners, Bob Zanakis continues his run as overall leader with a combined net profit of $3,000.70 ($140 for the week), leading second place Brandon Valvo by $607.20. This week, the adage it only takes one hit to make you a winner applies as Cotolo’s victory came thanks to a single wager, a $150 win wager on Allstar Rating in the Adioo Volo which returned a $705 dividend. Other handicappers had winners, but due to the short-priced nature of the card, significant winners were at a premium, amongst them were: Derick Giwner’s $150 Win ticket on Too Darn Hot in the second division of the Adren Downs 2yo C&G pace paid $480; Mark McKelvie’s $50 Win ticket on Rich Wisdom in the first division of the Arden Downs for 2yo C& G pacers paid $195; Rusty Nash’s $100 wager on the same horse paid $390; Dennis O’Hara ‘s $10 Exacta part wheel ($30 total) in the first division of the Arden Downs for 3yo Filly trotters returned $125; Josie Verlingierli $40 straight wager on the second division of the Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace, earned $156; Gordon Waterstone’s $50 Exacta in the third division of Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace which returned $115. As the Hambletonian marks the unofficial mid-point in the stakes season, the standings for the Handicapper Shoot-Out at the mid-point are: As of July 26, 2014 - Leg 19 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $140.00 $3,000.70 2nd Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,393.50 $607.20 3rd Derick Giwner $206.00 $623.17 $2,377.53 4th Ray Garnett ($218.00) $15.85 $2,984.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($119.50) ($91.50) $3,092.20 6th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($185.00) $3,185.70 7th Earl Paulson ($71.00) ($437.00) $3,437.70 8th Josi Verlingieri ($126.00) ($956.40) $3,957.10 9th Gordon Waterstone $108.60 ($989.30) $3,990.00 10th Ann Stepien ($189.00) ($1,020.11) $4,020.81 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($280.00) ($1,078.00) $4,078.70 12th Sally Hinckley ($400.00) ($1,325.00) $4,325.70 13th Rusty Nash $160.00 ($1,712.40) $4,713.10 14th Dennis O'Hara $30.50 ($2,097.70) $5,098.40 15th Ray Cotolo $305.00 ($3,398.40) $6,399.10 This week, the Grand Circuit Handicapper Shoot-Out visits Meadowlands Racing & Gaming for the Hambletonian Day card amongst which are the $1.2 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial, $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship, $177,750 Lady Liberty, and $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial. For more information regarding the handicapping contest, please visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA
Heavily favored Solvato (5m Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide) won today's V75 Gold Division at Axevalla, Sweden over 2640 meters autostart for a 150,000SEK first prize. Peter Ingves was in the sulky for trainer Veijo Heiskanen as that pair scored in 1.13.4kr by a comfortable two lengths. Ingves drove the race to perfection from post two as he was away fourth and patiently waited for the pace to relax at which time he jetted to the front after 1000 meters and led the remainder of the contest. Solvato won for the ninth time in 40 career outings, now for earnings of 4,577,341SEK. On Track Piraten (6g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) stayed covered In The Pocket much of the way and secured second for Erik Adielsson as Kaffir Face (7g Dahir de Prelong-Elegance OK-Lindy Lane) had rallied from the back gain second in the lane but flattened in late going to finish third for Lutfi Kolgjini. Earlier on the Axevalla card (before a huge crowd on a bright sunny day) the Bronze Division for 110,000SEK to the winner went to Jeppas Maxi (5g Varenne-Absolutely Perfect-Balanced Image) with Torbjorn Jansson up. This emerging campaigner scored in 1.12.6kr in a close battle with Acriter (5m Gentle Star-Puttan Fri-Super Arnie) and Jorgen Westholm. Italy's Naglo'del Nord (7g Naglo-Entita'del Nord-And Arifant) was third for Peter Ingves. Jeppas Maxi is undefeated in six 2014 starts and has won eight times in nine career starts for 609,897SEK. He's owned by Robert Ekstrom and Aland Pia. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com
East Rutherford, NJ - No fewer than seven major Grand Circuit stakes will populate the Saturday night card at The Meadowlands, led by the track's signature race, The Meadowlands Pace. The all-star lineup begins with a pair of high-stakes preps for trotting's top prizes, the August 2 Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. Race four is the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial three-year-old colt trot which will be the stage for last year's top freshman Father Patrick to battle Trixton who has emerged as a worthy adversary this season. It is the first time these two have met, the occasion made even more intriguing by the fact that both are trained in the Jimmy Takter stable. Oddsmaker Darin Zoccali has Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) listed as a strong morning line favorite at 4/5 from post nine, while Trixton is at 3/1 from post twelve in the second tier with trainer Takter aboard. The $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for sophomore trotting fillies also pits last year's finest against emerging talent. Shake It Cerry was clearly the best of a very talented crop last season, easily winning year end awards for the Takter stable and regular driver Ron Pierce. She has transitioned successfully to sophomore status winning four of five starts this season and is the 9/5 choice from post seven. Her only loss required the world record 1:51.3 effort by Designed To Be at Pocono last month. It was the second time Designed To Be has assaulted the record books, having taken the two-year-old title with her 1:52.2 mile last fall in Lexington. She will have Brian Sears aboard for trainer Julie Miller on Saturday. The remarkably fast Cooler Schooner is the fastest freshman trotter ever, regardless of sex by virtue of her amazing 1:51.3 win last summer at Pocono. She is sometimes guilty of self-sabotage but can never be dismissed. The Campbell brothers, John and Jim will conspire to manage that wicked speed toward its best use. The new shooter in this division is Heaven's Door another who demonstrated great talent at two for Ross Croghan but it took until this year for her mind to catch up to her speed. She was sold over the winter and moved into the Ake Svanstedt barn where she has flourished. She won last month's NJSS final in a stakes record 1:52 with great ease and is facing the division's best now for her new connections and adds another element of suspense. Next up (race six) will be the $212,500 Mistletoe Shalee for sophomore pacing fillies, another contentious contest. Sandbetweenurtoes raced but once at two for Tony Alagna but showed such promise in her first few starts at three that the brothers Remmen, Ray and Larry, bought her for John Grant and she hasn't lost since. She was the winner of last week's elimination in 1:49.1 with Brett Miller aboard and will likely be the post time fave off a 5/2 morning line. Precocious Beauty was the divisional leader last year for the McNair barn and has yet to find that form thus far at three, though last week's race was encouraging. Takter's Uffizi Hanover won the 2013 Breeders Crown and the Fan Hanover this year for her regular pilot, newly minted Hall of Famer David Miller. The older dames race on the pace for $178,450 in the cleverly named Golden Girls stake in the seventh race. Joe Holloway has always had a way with the ladies, training several distaff champions over the years and has a formidable pair in this one. Somwherovarainbow has well over a million in career earnings and has been in deadly form for Joe since early spring with six wins from ten starts, among those the Bluechip Matchmaker final. Brian Sears drives. Her stable mate Shebestingin is the fastest female Standardbred ever, having seared The Red Mile clay in an eye-popping 1:47 flat last fall. She has yet to beat the best of this division since graduating into the open ranks but her speed make her a danger for David Miller. The race favorite at 2/1 is the iron-tough race mare Androvette. Her story has been told many times but never gets old, particularly for her connections. She vaults over $3million lifetime with a win in this stake for trainer PJ Fraley and her constant racing companion Tim Tetrick. Just when you think, "Well, this just can't get any better," you come to the meat of the card. Race 8 contains the finest Free For All pacers in the land racing for $463,300 in the WR Haughton Memorial, one of the biggest events of their season. The lifetime earnings for these ten horses are just north of the $20 million mark. Captaintreacherous is the two time defending Pacer of the Year and a winner of over $3million in his racing career for trainer Tony Alagna. He's developed into a fan favorite with his gritty, never give up style and he'll need every bit of that heart, a large dose of speed and another clever steer from Tetrick on Saturday. He's drawn a favorable post starting just inside the 8/5 favorite, Sweet Lou. Sweet Lou has flashed brilliance from the start for his connections and still holds the freshman pacing world speed record. Now five year of age, he's in the best form of his career and has been invincible since paired with driver Ron Pierce in May. Together they are five for five, all in 1:48.3 or faster culminating with a world record 1:47 the hard way at Pocono in the Franklin, the fastest mile on a five-eighths track in history. Sweet Lou is one of a formidable four horse armada sent out in the Haughton by Meadowlands and national leading trainer Ron Burke. The four Burke horses alone have amassed a staggering $12million in career earnings led by the richest pacer in history, ageless wonder Foiled Again at $6.3 million. Foiled will have to overcome the extreme outside post for his regular driver Yannick Gingras in this battle. The $776,000 Meadowlands Pace is race nine on the star studded extravaganza and has been well covered in many arenas, so for our purposes let's just say it shapes up to be a very exciting and contentious race, as is usually the case in the absence of a clear division leader. Among the deepest and most contentious divisions this season is the older trotting mares. The returning Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's division leader Maven and pair of four year old mares that have blossomed into trotting divas, Perfect Alliance and Classic Martine will all meet among a field of eight in the $40,000 Miss Versatility in race ten. It's one for the ages this Saturday night at The Meadowlands with over $2.5 million in purses offered over the 13 race card, including four $100,000 finals for state bred freshmen. Post time is 6:30pm and it's going to be well attended, so if you're thinking of coming out make your reservations now. If not, the Haughton and Pace will be carried live on the CBS Sports Network and the TVG Racing network. From the Meadowlands Media Relations Office
Capable American Ideal three-year-old Whozideawasthis looks set to maintain his perfect record at Forbury Park on Thursday night. Trained by Paul Kerr in Ohoka, Whozideawasthis has been to Dunedin’s Forbury Park on three occasions for three wins, the latest being last week where he was an easy 2 and ¼ length winner in what was his first run since mid - November. “He has come back a lot stronger this time and I expect him to be very hard to beat again on Thursday,” said Mitchell Kerr. “It doesn’t look an overly strong field on paper and he is generally pretty good from a standing start,” he added. Whozideawasthis, who will once again be driven by the country’s leading reinsman in Dexter Dunn, will be at short odds in race four on Thursday night and, although he should win, King Louie is capable of testing him. Rated by Jonny Cox as one of his best drives of the weekend, King Louie was herculean when recovering to finish in third after making an early break in his last start and looks one half of the Quinella. Whozideawasthis is just one of three very good chances that the father-son duo of Paul and Mitchell Kerr will line up on Thursday. The first of them is two-year-old filly Princess Art, who was very impressive at the recent Ashburton trials, brushing home in 27.2 to win easily. “She is a pretty nice filly, who will take some beating over 1700 metres from the ace,” enthused Kerr. “She got out of the gate good at the trials, so there is no reason she shouldn’t be able to lead from the draw,” he added Princess Arts is an impeccably bred filly by Art Major out of smart Badlands Hanover mare Natal Franco. Rounding out Kerrs’ three-pronged Forbury Park attack is Alta Jerome, who was desperately unlucky when finishing second on this track at his last start. “We were in the trail behind Speight’s Girl and I thought it would be the perfect place to be but there must have been something wrong with her as she stopped badly down the back straight and dragged us right back to last,” explained Kerr. “It was a great effort to recover and finish a strong second,” said Kerr. Kerr said the race looks a two horse war between Alta Jerome and Goodness Gracious Me, who was super at the recent Motukarara workouts pacing 2:42.2 for the 2200 metre journey. “The 2700 metres should really suit him so hopefully he will be able to outstay her,” he concluded. By Mitchell Robertson
Smart pacer Five Card Draw has raced himself into the Brisbane winter carnival. The former New Zealand two-year-old Pacer of the Year has proved to be an astute mid-season purchase for big spending owner Dean Shannon and his trainer/driver Darrel Graham. Arriving in Australia back in February, the highly decorated pacer has now managed to win six races at Albion Park while running eight minor placing’s and banking close to $70,000 in prizemoney. His latest victory on Saturday night was quite easily his best winning performance since crossing the Tasman. Starting a heavily backed favourite in the $16,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final, Five Card Draw was chased off the gate at the start but galloped soon afterwards. Losing valuable ground, Five Card Draw managed to reset fairly quickly with Graham saving as much ground as possible by racing against the pegs. With Victorian three-year-old Diamond Ace setting cracking sectionals in front, Five Card Draw continued to make ground along the inside before forcing clear approaching the home turn and race away from Ida Tiger and Floyd Mayweather over the concluding stages. The winning mile rate of 1;54.1 is a new ‘PB’ for the Bettors Delight gelding. “That was a great victory and clearly his best winning performance since joining my stable earlier this year. After making that crucial error early, he had no right to finish off the way he did – that was a fantastic effort.” Graham said. So taken by the winning effort, Graham is now looking at the Queensland winter carnival features starting with the Gr.3 $45,000 4 & 5yo Championship at Albion Park on July 12. “His recent form surge proves he deserves his opportunity in some of these better events during the next month, at this stage I will tackle the 4 & 5yo Championship followed by the 4yo Championship and then I’ll take a look at the Redcliffe Cup. “He proved he can handle the standing start conditions when he contested the Premiers Cup series recently, his effort in the final behind Major Moment was his best run for me because he was so brave after doing all the work in track record time while the winner came via the sprintlane. “He’s low flying currently and I’m prepared to give him his chance in these upcoming features; he’s fit and healthy and he should relish a genuine tempo while being driven cold and saved for one run at them. We’ll give it a good crack anyway.” The Fernvale based mentor will have Sign To Inverell tackling the open class features in the next month starting with Saturday night’s Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park where he will meet champion pacer Im Themightyquinn, current track record holder Suave Stuey Lombo and the flying Avonnova among others. Comeback pacer Lanercost will skip this week’s sprint feature after missing last week’s open class event because a small niggling injury. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)
Some Or Lis (Lis Mara-Grabbersome) was the longest shot on the board in the $7,200 feature race at Vernon Downs on Saturday night, but that did not prevent him from storming past the entire field to score an upset harness racing win in 1:51.4. The early stages of the race featured a speed duel between You Bet Your Glass (Frank Davis) and I Do Hanover (Chris Lems), who was parked on the outside for the majority of the mile. Those two set some fast fractions early on, covering a quarter in 25.4 and a half in 53.4. That early speed ended up being the undoing of the duo, both of whom finished out of the top three. After hitting three quarters of a mile in 1:22.4, You Bet Your Glass and I Do Hanover faded in the stretch and Some Or Lis (Claude Huckabone III) came all the way from last in the field of six at the top of the stretch to win at 20-1. The second-longest shot in the field, The Green Knight (John Macdonald) at 14-1, finished second. The exacta ended up paying $240 with the two longshots comprising it. Buckeye Baddler (Truman Gale) sat behind the early speed battle in third position and started to rally through on the inside in the stretch as the leaders fell back, but the closers also passed him by and he had to settle for third. The complete order of finish was: Some Or Lis, The Green Knight, Buckeye Baddler, I Do Hanover, You Bet Your Glass, and Stonebridge Master. Some Or Lis is owned by Richard Dow of Holland Patent, New York and trained by Stephen Marsh. The driving star of the night was John Macdonald who scored three victories and three seconds on the 11-race program. He was a winner with Bandini in the 1st race, MacKenzie's Bliss in the 7th race, and That's Ideal in the 9th race. He was second with The Green Knight in the 2nd race, Beignet in the 8th race, and Tactical Attack in the 11th race. No live racing on Thursday with a concert being held by Jerrod Niemann and Love & Theft. The concert benefits The Food Bank of Central New York. Tickets are available for $15 and the Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, Jeff Gural, will be personally donating $10 for every ticket sold to the Food Bank of Central New York with a goal of raising $100,000 to benefit the Food Bank. Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Friday, July 4 with a 6:45pm post time. The Friday program will feature the first leg of the Racing Under Saddle Series. There will be a special July 4th Fireworks Display following the conclusion of the live racing program. by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 31, 2014-Odds-on favorite All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, $2.60) was both anxious and effective Saturday night, winning the $300,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. In play from post position No. 4 as the 3-10 favorite, All Bets Off made the first lead in the 24th Rooney. He then handed the baton to second choice Stevensville (Tim Tetrick) right around a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. The song remained the same at the 55.1 intermission and early in the backstretch the second time. That's when Maxi Bon (Dan Dube) moved from fourth, and he was in a hurry. He disposed of a no-fight Stevensville just after a 1:23.3 three-quarters. Good thing for All Bets Off that nothing was moving behind "Maxi," as he was able to extricate himself. All Bets off collared the new leader early in the lane, then held off a rallying Some Playa (George Brennan) by a length-and-a-half in 1:52.2. Maxi Bon held third, with Unlocked (Brent Holland) closing from last to grab fourth. Bondi Hanover (Jason Bartlett) earned the final pay envelope, with Gold Rocks (Eric Goodell), a tiring Stevensville and Ideal Fashion (Jordan Stratton) rounding out the order. For All Bets Off, a statebred son of Bettor's Delight co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stables and Rosemary Shelswell, he's now 3-for-4 this season (earnings of $180,250). The exacta paid $15.80, with no triple returning $44.20. "Oh, yeah, I was worried," Kakaley said. "I thought giving up the lead (to Stevensville) was the right thing to do."Then I saw Danny's (Dube, with Max Bon) coming fast and I knew I was in trouble. I was lucky to get out. If I don't, I'm shuffled out, and probably last "He's (All Bets Off) handy enough for the half-mile , but I think he can carry his speed to bigger tracks, too," Kakaley said. "Every start, (All Bets Off) has been on his toes. Give Ronnie (Burke) and his crew an A-plus. I'm just fortunate to have the drive." In the $124,744 Lismore Final for three-year-old pacing fillies, Tyra showed her heels to the field for driver Tim Tetrick, grinding the lead away from Southwind Silence (George Brennan) by the three-quarters and then pulling away from the field to win by seven open lengths in 1:52.1. Southwind Silence was second with Also Encouraging (Matt Kakaley) third. It was the second win in four starts this year for Tyra. the daughter of McArdle is trained by Joann Looney-King and is owned by the CC Racing, Inc. of Mokena, ILL. She paid 43.50 to win as the betting favorite. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
Art Bettor Now (Bettor's Delight) made perfect use of a pocket ride on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Margaret Spagnola-trained four-year-old followed rival Good Win Earl (Billy Dobson) every step of the way before pouncing on him in the stretch to record a lifetime best victory in the evening's $6,000 featured race at the Spa. Art Bettor Now, who was driven by Bruce Aldrich Jr, was dismissed at odds of 8-1 for his pocket sitting score which came in a career best 1:54.4. Good Win Earl held second while Tijuana Party (Stephane Bouchard) closed for the third in the optional $15,000 conditional-claimer. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
A slate of eight qualifying races went forward Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack, and O’Brien Award winner Precocious Beauty was front and centre early on. The multiple stakes-winning daughter of Art Major continued to prep for her three-year-old campaign in Race 3 for trainer Gregg McNair and his son, driver Doug McNair. Precocious Beauty lined up in Post 7 and was parked forth at the quarter-mile pole, which was clicked off by Palm Beach Hanover (driven by Jody Jamieson) in :29.2. Precocious Beauty cleared to the lead in the second panel and went on to stop the half-mile clock in :58.2. She had a one and three-quarter-length lead by the time she breezed past three quarters in 1:26.4. Precocious Beauty was four lengths the best by the time she hit the head of the lane. Completing her mile with a :27.3 final quarter, Precocious Beauty hit the wire first in 1:54.2, six lengths ahead of Palm Beach Hanover. To read the rest of this story click here.
The fields are out for the 2014 Harness Jewels to be run at Cambridge on May 31st and the barrier draws look to have added plenty of spice to the $1.2 million-dollar raceday. Favoured runners that have drawn on the second-line include ,Venus Serena, Sky Major, Elios, Franco Nelson, Sheemon, and $1.25 favourite Follow The Stars, who will have to loop the whole field after drawing the outside of the second-line. However, the other hot favourite for Jewels Day, Adore Me, looks set to lead and win after drawing well in barrier five. To view the fields for the 2014 Harness Jewels click here.
Lovers of the squaregaiter will be enthralled by Wednesday’s meeting at Maryborough – home of The Redwood, when six of the nine races on the program are for trotters. With Redwood Day (July 20) not all that far away, the program will feature four races for the Two Year Olds – two heats for Fillies and Two for the Colts & Geldings of the $10,325 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic over 1690 metres, with some beautifully bred youngsters facing the starter for the first time. No doubt connections will be eagerly looking forward to participating in the big race should they perform admirably. Heats of the $7,505 Glenferrie Farm Sweetheart Trotters Mobile for four and five year olds - T0 Only and T1 to T3 class over 2190 metres will also be an attraction on the day. The T1 to T3 class sees Dizzyinterest, Pride Of Sundon, Frances Annie, Rosemma and I Dreamt It all do battle in an interesting contest which is race eight on the program – last leg of the Quaddie. Racing commences at 12.22pm. At Ballarat on Wednesday evening, race seven – the Brett Knight Pace for C6 & C7 class over 2200 metres which is the third leg of the Quaddie and second leg of the Daily Double highlight’s the meeting. Here we see a clash of the Emma Stewart pair Johnny Quid and Hes Kinky doing battle against former stablemate Fearless Leader and Andy Gath’s Quadentate, plus Narra Operative which returned to form when a huge second at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)