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FREEHOLD, NJ — November 2, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $10,000 New Jersey Futurity for harness racing 2-year-old open pacers on Saturday (Oct. 28). For the first time in history this particular New Jersey Futurity was referred to as the battle of the brothers.  Hurrikane Empress trained and driven by John McDermott faced off against his brothers Kevin McDermott’s trained and driven, Melanie’s Fran. Melanie’s Fran and Kevin Mcdermott left as the gate folded to take the lead over Hurrikane Empress and John McDermott.  The Hurrikane Kingcole filly stalked the Hypnotic Blue Chip Colt in the two hole until the stretch where she tested the leader.  The brothers were battling it out down the lane when Hurrikane Empress surged at the wire to nose out her competition in 1:58.2. This makes win number 6 out of 13 starts for the partnership of Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhn Racing LLC and Pegasus Investment Group.  Bred by Johnathan Klee Racing, Kuhn Racing LLC and Hurrikane Racing LLC the New Jersey filly has banked $140,815 in her career thus far. Freehold Revises Live Racing Schedule Freehold Raceway will be dropping four Thursdays of live racing due to limited horse supply.  The dates being dropped are November 9, 16, 30 and December 7.  Freehold will be adding back two days of racing on Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16.  According to Freehold General Manager Howard Bruno, “There simply aren’t enough horses to support a three day a week schedule this time of year.  We will pick up with Thursday racing again in late December once some of the regional tracks have closed for the winter.” Freehold will race Friday and Saturday through Saturday, December 16.  After a brief break, the winter/spring meet will begin Thursday, December 28.  Racing dates for 2018 will be released in mid-November. Post time will remain 12:30pm.   Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ — October 22, 2017 — This week Freehold Raceway hosted the four $50,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Standardbred Development Finals for harness racing two-year-olds. On Thursday (Oct. 19), I Know My Rights scored in the two-year-old colt final for trotters.  The Muscle Massive colt left from post position No. 5 to take the lead and never look back.  Driven by Tyler Buter I know My Rights stopped the clock in 1:59.2.  This makes win number 7 out of 12 starts for the two-year-old owned by trainer Lynette Buter, Gene Oldford Farms LLC and Tyler Buter.  Bred by White Birch Farms of NJ, the colt has $106,037 in earnings this year.  Finishing second was Shoshie Deo with Allindotime coming in third. The Friday (Oct. 20) card included two finals both for the fillies.  The pacing fillies were the first to compete.  Some Renditions, trained by Michael Hall, wired the field with Vincent Ginsburg in 1:55.3. Giving the Somebeachsomewhere filly’s owners CTC Stable, Howard Taylor and Bradley Grant their third win of the season.  The White Birch Farm bred filly has earned $67,816 during her career thus far.  Solitary finished second and Lainey Deo came in third. Also, on Friday (Oct. 20) was the SDF final for two-year-old filly trotters, where Chaperess and George Brennan prevailed.  Starting from the rail position Brennan ducked Chaperess off the gate to get away forth.  Sitting second over at the half, the Chapter Seven filly was called on to fan three wide at the three quarter pole to march by the competition.  The Trond Smedshammer trainee crossed the wire in 1:59.4. Bred by David A Meirs and Boyd Henderson the filly has won 6 of her 10 starts earning $63,750 for her owner the Purple Haze Stables LLC. Diamondstone Us came in second and Samis Rolin Stone finished third. Saturday (Oct. 21) held the last SDF final for two-year-olds, Thor De Vie took home the $50,000 prize for the pacing colts.  Gregory Merton positioned Thor De Vie in the two hole and took advantage of a pocket trip behind the favorite.  The Jim Graham trainee rushed past the opposition in the stretch to get his second win in 1:54.0.  Bred by Joie De Vie Farm LLC, the So Surreal colt has earned $42,525 for the partners Jame Graham, Lee Winters, Paul Tandlmayer and Giuseppe Micchia.  Born To Be Bad finished up second and Iluvtomakemoney picked up the third place check. Freehold Raceway resumes live racing on Thursday October 26, 2017 with a post time of 12:30 pm. Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ — October 13, 2017 — Andy Miller Stable Inc., Arden Homestead Stable and Gty Stable’s Fly On notched his 10th career win Friday at Freehold Raceway in the $18,000 New Jersey Futurity for harness racing three-year-old trotters. Andy Miller and Fly On took a seat behind Southwind Cobra through three quarters of a mile, before pulling the pocket to challenge the leader. The Julie Miller trainee nosed out the competition in 1:57.0 last quarter in 29.3.  The Muscle Hill son has increased his lifetime earnings to $198,457. Southwind Cobra finished a close second while Southwind Woody came in third. Freehold Raceway resumes live racing on Saturday with a post time of 12:30 pm. Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ — October 8, 2017 — Freehold Raceway held the $50,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Standardbred Development Fund Final for harness racing three-year-old colt trotters Saturday (Oct 7) afternoon. Southwind Woody and George Brennan left from post position No. 1 to wire the field in 1:57.2 last quarter in 29.3. This makes lifetime win number five for the Rob Burke trainee bred by Southwind Farms of Pennington NJ. Making his earnings $131,520 for the winning connections of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva Stables LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Frankie Mullins and Eric Goodell came in second while Backstage Pass and Jim Marshall III finished third. Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ — October 2, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $40,000 Renaissance final for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts on Saturday (Sept 30). Lucky Leonard and Jordan Stratton opted for the front when the gate folded.  While a pocket sitting Melanie’s Fran stalked the leader from the two hole eventually pulling mid stretch to nose out the competition for the win in 2:01.2.  The Kevin McDermott trainee marked her forth win in six starts.  Owned by Francis Azur the Hypnotic Blue Chip filly pushed her lifetime earnings to $117,000. Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ — September 29, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $55,300 Renaissance Final for two-year-old filly pacers, in a early race before the harness racing card. The third race was the NJSDF Final where three-year-old filly trotters competed fro a $50,000 purse. Hurrikane Empress was parked to the quarter in 28.0 before taking the lead from Some Renditions.  The John McDermott Jr. trainee, kept the lead throughout the rest of the mile, until her and driver Dan Dube stopped the timer in 1:58.3.  The Hurrikane Kingcole daughter, notched win number 5 of 10 starts and bumping her lifetime earnings to $131,815 for owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhn Racing LLC and Pegasis Investment Group.  Cruzinforavictory recovered from an early break behind the gate to finish second, while Some Renditions came in third. In the third race, of the card Southwind Avanti continued her winning ways at Freehold Raceway in the $50,000 New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund Final for three-year-old filly trotters.  This victory bettered the Muscle Hill filly's record to three wins in four starts on New Jersey's half mile track.  Jason Bartlett and Southwind Avanti left from post position No. 4 to wire the field in 1:58.1.  Owned by SRF Stable and bred by Southwind Farms of Pennington, NJ, her lifetime earnings are now $121,495.  Easy Passer finished second while Romancing Rachel came in third. Freehold resumes live racing action on Saturday September 30, 2017 with a post time of 12:30pm Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ -- September 28, 2017 -- Freehold Raceway has implemented a new system for issuing Purse, or Driver, Trainer commissions. They will no longer be issuing paper checks, all monies will be settled through direct deposit to a checking or savings account with a bank or credit union of your choice. Click on the direct deposit form here and send it to Freehold Raceway Horseman's Bookkeeper. Forms are also available from the Horseman's Bookkeeper. If you have any questions contact Freehold Raceway. Courtney Stafford PR Consultant SBOANJ 64 Business Route 33 Manalapan, NJ 07726

FREEHOLD, NJ — September 25, 2017 —On Friday (Sept 22), Freehold Raceway hosted the $15,000 Harold Dancer for harness racing 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters and it was won by Shoshie Deo. Dewayne Minor left from post position No1 with Shoshie Deo to take the lead and never look back, stopping the timer at 1:59.0, in the Harold Dancer.  The son of Wishing Stone out of Fortune Dream marked win number three out of seven starts. Bred by Deo Volente Farms Shoshie Doe pushed his lifetime earnings to $63,490.  U Need Stones finished second. Saturday (Sept 23), Southwind Wood won the $35,000 Charles Smith for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters at Freehold Raceway. The third race called for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters to compete for the $35,000 Charles Smith. George Brennan and Southwind Woody left the gate to take the lead from start to finish in fractions of 28.2, 58.1, 1:26.2 and 1:55.2, setting a new track and stakes record. The Muscle Hill bred by Southwind Farms exceeded $100,000 in lifetime earnings with this win.  Andy Miller and Fly On came in second while Southwind Hydro and Marcus Johansson crossed the wire third. Freehold resumes racing on Thursday September 28, 2017 with a 12:30pm post time. Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ — September 18, 2017 — Freehold Raceway hosted the $50,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Standardbred Development Fund for harness racing three-year old colts final on Saturday (Sept. 16). Every Way Out took the lead from post position No. 2 going into the first turn, Victor Kirby put him on the front avoiding a breaking Firefox Hanover which caused some commotion and scattered the field. Every Way Out crossed the wire to stop the clock in 1:54.2. Sir Pugsley followed him every step of the way to finish second. The son of If I Can Dream out of Every Play grabbed win number five out of eight starts this year.  The Dylan Davis trainee surpassed $300,000 in lifetime earning with this win. Courtney Stafford

FREEHOLD, NJ — September 15, 2017 — Freehold Raceway Friday afternoon (Sept. 15) hosted the $25,000 Helen Smith Final for harness racing 3-year-old filly trotters. From post No. 3 driver Jason Bartlett tucked Southwind Avanti behind Hillarmbro (Trond Smedshammer) and followed her through intervals of :28.3, :58.1, 1:27.2.  Bartlett moved Southwind Avanti in the stretch where she stormed by Hillarmbro to stop the clock in 1:56.2. This makes lifetime win number six for the daughter of Windsong’s Legacy out of the mare Auvergne. Owned by SRF Stable, trained by Anette Lorentzon and bred by Southwind Farm of NJ, Southwind Avanti pushed her lifetime earnings to $95,995. Hillarmbro was able to hold off a late charge from Romancing Rachel and Joe Bongiorno, to finish second. Courtney Stafford

Michael Luchento, 59 of Manalapan, passed away at Cranbury Center, Monroe on May 12th, 2017. Born in Jersey City, he was a resident of Parlin, NJ, before settling in Manalapan. Michael was employed by Freehold Raceway for 20 years as valet to the harness drivers. He was a drummer and an avid fan of the group Rush. Michael had Fabry disease, and served as a pioneer for clinical trials that led to FDA approved enzyme replacement therapy. He was predeceased by his mother Carmella and brother George. Mike is survived by his father Natale; wife Cheryl; son Michael Jr. and wife Lauren; daughter Amanda and fiancé Braden Price, brother Tom and sister in law Carol; sister in law Alice. A favorite uncle to many nieces and nephews and a pseudo dad to many friends of the family. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 16th, from 2:00 - 4:00 pm and 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Freeman Manalapan-Marlboro Funeral Home, 344 Route 9 North, Manalapan. The funeral mass will be held Wednesday, May 17th at 10:00 am at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Englishtown. Burial will take place after the service at Old Tennent Cemetery, Manalapan. Donations to honor Michael's memory can be made to www.fabry.org or the Fabry Support Information Group 108 NE 2nd Street, Suite C, P.O. Box 510, Concordia, MO 64020. To leave a condolence or find directions, visit www.freemanfuneralhomes.com. Published in Asbury Park Press on May 14, 2017 Courtney Stafford Publicity Consultant SBOANJ cstafford@sboanj.com 732-462-2357    

Freehold, NJ --- Lord Cromwell and driver John Campbell moved to the lead on the backstretch and were never threatened from there, cruising to a 5-1/4 length win in Saturday's $143,737 Dexter Cup for harness racing 3-year-old male trotters in a stakes- and track-record 1:55 at Freehold Raceway. Gustavo Fring finished second and Southwind Cobra was third. The Dexter Cup is the first Grand Circuit event for 3-year-old trotters on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands. Southwind Cobra, who started from post five, took the early lead from Sir John F and reached the opening quarter-mile in :28.1. Lord Cromwell, the 4-5 favorite, was on the move after Southwind Cobra hit the half in :57.3 and was in front by the time he reached three-quarters in 1:26.4. "I knew they were going to trot out of there and he's actually better from behind," Campbell said. "Once I spoke to him at the five-eighths, he was gone. He actually finished well within himself. I was very happy with the trip. He was very handy. I think he's got a pretty good future." Said winning trainer Ed Hart, "I loved the post position. A lot of it is post position on a half-mile track. We drew good and John drove him perfect and everything worked out. "He's got a big set of lungs. He just goes." Lord Cromwell, bred and owned by Carolyn Atherton, is not eligible to the Hambletonian. The horse was limited to four starts last year because of sickness and complications from being gelded. "Looking right now, I'm sorry that we didn't," Hart said about the Hambletonian. "You never know. He's staked a bit lightly. Last year we couldn't really stake him heavily." Lord Cromwell paid $3.60, $2.80, $2.40. Lord Cromwell The previous stakes record of 1:55.3 was set by Anders Bluestone in the 2009 Dexter Cup. Anders Bluestone shared the track record for a 3-year-old male trotter with Keystone Activator. "He was super today," Hart said about Lord Cromwell. "He's just a really nice horse." Lord Cromwell, by Chapter Seven out of the mare Oh Oh Its Magic, is 2-for-2 this year and won two of his four races last season. He has earned $97,588 in his career. Campbell, who is retiring in July to become president of the Hambletonian Society, won for the 10,655th time in his Hall of Fame career. He pushed his lifetime purses to $299.61 million. He ranks first all-time in driver earnings, leading No. 2 Ron Pierce by $84 million, and is ninth in wins. Driver Yannick Gingras won both $36,850 divisions of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. In the first division, Gingras guided Princess Aurora to victory by 4-3/4 lengths over Sparkle Plenty in 1:57. Royal Pinot finished third. Princess Aurora, trained by Jimmy Takter, is owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She is 2-for-2 this season and has won five of 13 career races, earning $309,277. Princess Aurora, who is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, is by Cantab Hall out of the stakes-winning mare Vulcanize. Princess Aurora In the second division, Romancing Rachel won by five lengths over Celebrity Ruth in 1:57.3. Southwind Prius was third. Romancing Rachel is trained by Ron Burke, who owns the filly with Howard Taylor and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. It was her first win in four tries this year and second victory in 15 career starts. She has earned $59,655. Also eligible to the Oaks, Romancing Rachel is by Muscle Hill out of the mare Tady's Comer. Romancing Rachel Ken Weingartner

Ron Burke is unsure what to expect from Southwind Cobra. There is no question, the harness racing trainer says, the horse is talented. There remains question whether he will fulfill his potential. Southwind Cobra might give Burke and his fellow owners some indication on Saturday when he faces seven rivals in the $143,737 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old male trotters at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the first Grand Circuit race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes. Four of the eight Dexter Cup finalists are eligible to the Hambletonian: Southwind Cobra, Another Chapter, Earl Variera, and Sir John F. Another Chapter won one of last weekend's two Dexter Cup eliminations. Lord Cromwell won the other. Southwind Cobra did not compete in the elims because Burke elected to take a bye, based on career earnings, to the final. "We thought at the beginning of last year he was our best 2-year-old," said Burke, who owns Southwind Cobra with Jack Piatt II, Larry Karr, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. "He was a disappointment. There were points where he would show some things, but then there were points where he would show nothing. It was inconsistency and a lack of, really, wanting to win. "It's wait-and-see with him. He has all the talent in the world. He just needs to put it together." Southwind Cobra is a son of Muscle Hill, the 2009 Hambletonian winner and Horse of the Year, out of the mare Caerphilly. He was purchased for $120,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes stakes-winner No Pan No Gain (the dam of Burke-trained millionaire Crazy Wow) and, more distantly, Hall of Famer Proximity. Last year Southwind Cobra won two of 13 races and earned $96,296. Both wins came on the Grand Circuit, in divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Tompkins-Geers, and his mark of 1:53.3 was fifth best among all 2-year-old male trotters in 2016. But he went off stride in eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial and Breeders Crown and failed to advance to any of those finals. Southwind Cobra has raced once this season, finishing third in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands on April 21. Burke was happy the Dexter Cup attracted a number of starters (17) that required one horse to take a bye so the group could be divided into two eight-horse eliminations on Freehold's half-mile oval. "I wanted the bye," said Burke, who won the 2015 Dexter Cup with Habitat. "I thought (Southwind Cobra's) first race was just all right. I wasn't thrilled with it. I was looking to give him a week off, but didn't think I would have the opportunity. Then when I got the bye it gave me a week to train him and get him ready. "I trained him (Wednesday) on the half-mile track at Gaitway. I wasn't sure how he would handle the half, but he got around it perfect. It didn't seem like it affected him at all. I look for him to be sharp hopefully." Southwind Cobra will start the Dexter Cup final from post No. 5. Elim winners Lord Cromwell will leave from post two and Another Chapter from post eight. Another Chapter, who broke his maiden with his elim victory, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Spider Blue Chip. Sir John F, who won at Freehold the week prior to finishing third in the Dexter Cup elimination captured by Another Chapter, is from the stable of four-time Dexter Cup winner Jimmy Takter. Sir John F, who drew post one, is a half-brother to Ontario star Emoticon Hanover, who finished second to Broadway Donna in last season's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters. Earl Variera, winless in six career races, will start from post three for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, who won last year's Dexter Cup with Dante. Saturday's Freehold card also includes two $36,850 divisions of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. Princess Aurora, a stakes-winner last season and runner-up to Ariana G in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, leads a group of three Hambletonian Oaks eligibles (with Pennys N Dimes and Sparkle Plenty) in the first division. Romancing Rachel and Winter Sweet Frost are the Oaks eligible in the second division. Following is the Dexter Cup field in post order with listed drivers and trainers. The Dexter is race 10, with a 3:30 p.m. estimated post time. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Sir John F - Donato Hanover - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 2 - Lord Cromwell - Chapter Seven - John Campbell-Ed Hart-9/2 3 - Earl Variera - Explosive Matter - Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-25/1 4 - Gustavo Fring - Explosive Matter - Eric Carlson-Gilbert Garcia-Herrera-9/2 5 - Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-4/1 6 - Southwind Cruze - Chapter Seven - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-9/2 7 - Arch Credit - Credit Winner - Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-25/1 8 - Another Chapter - Chapter Seven - Brian Sears-Mark Silva-12/1 Click here for Saturday's complete Freehold card. Ken Weingartner

Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup eliminations, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features two $24,000 Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. Seventeen horses entered the race, with Southwind Cobra getting a bye into the final. The remaining 16 will compete in a pair of eight-horse eliminations on Saturday (April 29). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Keystone Velocity charged through the stretch to overtake pacesetting McWicked and then held off Somewhere In L A by a head to win Saturday's (April 22) $529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship for older male pacers in 1:51.2 over a track labeled "good" at Yonkers Raceway. Even-money favorite Missile J finished third and Bit Of A Legend N, the defending champion, was fourth. McWicked led the field around the first turn, but Keystone Velocity moved to the front prior to the opening quarter-mile, which was reached in :26.1. McWicked regained the top spot prior to the halfway point, in :54.4, and set the pace from there until the top of the stretch when Keystone Velocity moved to the passing lane and kicked home to victory. "We had to be up close," winning driver Daniel Dube said. "It worked out real good. He was really good today. I was hoping (McWicked) could bring me to the top of the stretch because on the last turn I had a lot of horse. He was real strong; he's a nice little horse." Dube drove Keystone Velocity for trainer Rene Allard, who owns the horse with Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. The 9-year-old stallion has won three of seven races this year and earned $323,000 in purses. For his career, Keystone Velocity has won 22 of 95 starts and banked $863,971. Sent off at odds of 11-1, he paid $24.80 to win. Earlier on the card, Mackenzie A won the $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for pacing mares by 2-1/4 lengths over Medusa in 1:53.1. Divas Image was third and favorite Mach It A Par finished fourth. Jordan Stratton drove Mackenzie A for owners Harry von Knoblauch Stable and Ellen Kinser. The 5-year-old mare is a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Kept For Pleasure. Mackenzie A has won two of eight races this year and earned $205,800. Going off at odds of 5-1, she paid $12.80 to win. "The trip just worked out perfect," Stratton said. "Mach It A Par got used hard. She's a tough mare, but she's usually a little better from behind. But she had to make the move and it worked out for us. It was the plan to race (Mackenzie A) from behind, but I didn't know it would work out like that. It worked out for the best I guess." Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 148; 2. Jordan Stratton - 96; 3. Matt Kakaley - 91; 4. Tim Tetrick - 61; 5. Daniel Dube - 59. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 92; 2. Richard Banca - 86; 3. Rene Allard - 59; 4. Scott DiDomenico - 37; 5. Ron Burke - 36. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 73.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. Bamond Racing - 22.5; 4t. Carmen Iannacone - 21.7; 4t. D'Elegance Stable IX - 21.7; 4t. T L P Stable - 21.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 6); Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers on Saturday (May 6); and Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares on Sunday (May 7) and older pacing mares on Monday (May 8). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon (April 22) where a seven-horse field went to post and when the judges hung the official sign Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin emerged victorious with his own Permanent Joy in a 2:01:1 clocking. In a race marred by breaking horses on the first turn "Hurricane Hannah" Miller cleared the confusion with Winwood Scout from the seven- hole but had to sizzle to a :28.4 first quarter which arguably took its toll later in the race. She did get her trotter a breather but "Buffalo Bob" Davis kept the pressure on with Mr. Butterworth. However, the eventual winner, Permanent Joy wasn't quite as lucky in clearing the breaking horses . "Permanent Joy is handy little horse so I was able to avoid the confusion On the first turn but by then I was 10 lengths back of two leaders," Krivelin related via email. As the field headed up the backside the final time around Winwood Scout was joined by Permanent Joy and from there a battle ensued. "Once I caught the field I felt I had a shot (to win). Coming around the final turn I thought I would go right by Hannah (with Winwood Scout) but she did a great job keeping her horse alive and we battled till the (finish) line. Fortunately I came out on top." The margin of victory had to be determined by the photo-finish camera and when the judges developed the print Permanent Joy won by a head. Third place went to Windsong Illusion driven by "Slate Hill Allen" Sisco. The crowd sent the winner off at odds of over 7-1 and Permanent Joy returned $16.80 to those who backed him. Krivelin owns and trains the veteran 9-year-old Permanent Vocation gelding who years ago was the State of Maine's 3 year old trotting champion. For Permanent Joy it was the trotter's second seasonal victory and for Krivelin, a three-time National Amateur Driving Champion, it was his fifth win in just nine seasonal starts. By John Manzi for the Billings Series

After three exciting divisions in the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series at Pompano Park on April 3rd harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow moved on to Freehold Raceway on Saturday, April 8 for a contest in the daylight and when that race was completed Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff emerged victorious with The Franchise in a time of 2:02.1. The executive recruiter took advantage of the pole position and hustled his trotter to the lead and they were comfortable in front as the quarter mile timer flashed :29.3. Surprisingly there were two horses in the six-horse field that were hung on the limb and Hechkoff played them like a fisherman plays a big snare keeping them at bay and never letting either gain command. First-over was BL Class Act and driver "Slate Hill Allen" Sisco with whom Hechkoff played hardball from the get-go. Despite starting from the two-hole Sisco's charge never saw the pylons and went a gutsy mile finishing in the exact time as the winner when three trotters crossed the finish line just heads apart. Unfortunately for Sisco and his trotter they were relegated to a third place finish. Brad "Quality Control" Rathbone and Northern Obsession, who were enjoying a two-hole journey, rallied in the passing lane but fell a head short of the winner although a head better than BL Class Act. "If I didn't keep Sisco's trotter on the limb I wouldn't have won the race," Hechkoff reasoned after the mile. "Even though BL Class Act never saw the pylons my horse (The Franchise) had all he could do to keep him at bay. I had no other choice." The first three finishers in the contest were each clocked in the identical time of 2:02 and fourth place finisher Landonfitz (Dave "Steady As" Yarock) was just two ticks behind the winner. The Franchise, owned by Hechkoff's RBH Ventures and trained by Kyle Spagnola, paid $8.20 for win. For Hechkoff, his victory was his 91st of his amateur career which began in 2000 and his second of the 2017 season. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

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