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At a recent meeting of the Auxiliary of harness racing's Goshen Historic Track at the Copper Bottom Restaurant in the village of Florida, NY, the Auxiliary made a $10,000 donation to the National Historic Landmark. Historic Track's Board of Directors, Steve Jones, George Casale and John Manzi joined them for dinner that evening. Accepting the $10,000 check from Auxiliary co-president Judy Green was Steve Jones, President of the track's Board of Directors. "We are always so very appreciative of the Auxiliary's dedicated efforts and we can't thank them enough", Jones said." The ladies do an outstanding job and work tirelessly to raise money for Historic Track." Money is raised annually through the efforts of members of the Historic Track Auxiliary with an array of fundraisers. Last year $9,000 was donated and in previous years they donated more. And over the past few decades the amount of the Auxiliary's donations is well into six figures. John Manzi

Jim Morrill, Jr, driving Milky Way Rae, set a new track record of 1:53.4 for three year old pacing fillies at Goshen Historic Track on July 1, 2016. The prior record was set in 2014 record of 1:54.1 and was held held by Spreester.   The daughter of American Ideal actually broke before the start of the $15,000 division of the NY Excelsior race, but regrouped and was still able wire the field, winning by three and one-half lengths. She is owned and bred by the Fortunate One Stable of New York and is trained by Tracy Brainard.    The victory was one of four winners on the program for driver Jim Morrill, Jr.    by Geri Schwarz, for Historic Track      

Freehold, NJ --- While there has been no betting at Goshen Historic Track for decades, Royal Bachelor, racing from post 7 in the $15,000 Excelsior Trot for harness racing 3-year-olds on Saturday (July 2) might otherwise be the "Bet of the Day." The gelded son of RC Royalty and the mare Becca J has won three of his last four starts, one of them a career-best 1:55.2 in an overnite event at Vernon Downs on June 18. A trip to Buffalo Raceway on June 26 for a New York Sire Stake race put an end to the winning streak, but trainer Dan Daley believes the fourth place finish was a matter of footwear. "He wears flip flops (shoes) up front and he really didn't get ahold of it (the track) real good," said Daley. "He was just kind of flat. But he's an alright horse, he got hurt this winter (suspensory ligament in his right hind) and came back a little late, but he's holding up and he seems to be showing up, so I think he'll be alright." Daley is not concerned about the outside post for the horse co-owned by his wife Ann-Mari with Michael White and James Crawford IV. "He's pretty quick off the switch if I decide to send him out of there," Daley says. "But he's nice and ratable, too, you can haul him back and go whenever you want to go." While Royal Bachelor had no wins last season as a 2-year old, he did win $36,864 in eight starts on his $16,000 purchase price as a yearling at the Morrisville Sale with help from some impressive second place finishes. "He came around the end of last year (with second place finishes in a New York Sire Stakes consolation and also in the Simpson Stake)," says Daley. "We spent the winter sounding him up and now we baby him. He never gets heavy work, but he's not the kind of horse that needs it anyway, so that's OK. Knock on wood, it's holding. He's very manageable, as much as he's quick out of the gate, he's not stupid about it. He's good to drive, sits in a hole perfect, does anything you ask him to do." Hall of Fame drivers will also compete on Sunday (July 3) in the annual tribute race to the late Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry, whose leadership and dedication to both Historic Track and the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame have helped those venues endure and thrive. The race is sponsored by their sons, Elbridge and Peter. This year the race takes a twist as amateur driver Hannah Miller will be living the dream when she lines up to compete against the likes of John Campbell, Bill O'Donnell and David Miller this weekend. It's not the Hambletonian or Little Brown Jug-yet -but the driving talent is world class. The race features all Hall of Fame drivers, with Hannah Miller subbing for Dave Palone, who had to scratch because of travel limitations from the Cleveland Trotting Classic at Northfield Park on Saturday (July 2) night. Miller will be honored Sunday (July 3) night as the Harness Racing Museum's and Hall of Fame's top amateur driver by virtue of being the top contributor to the Museum, waiving her driving fees to maintain her amateur status. "It's an honor just to be asked. It was absolutely not expected and it's a great feeling," said the 24-year-old graduate of the University of Central Florida. "I've driven in some qualifiers and some regular races, but nothing like this. It is a great feeling to be out there with these types of drivers. I've driven mostly in amateur races, but with this race, you know you're safe, they are complete professionals." The daughter of former Trainer of the Year Erv Miller and sister of top driver Marcus Miller, Hannah has been watching the drivers she'll be competing against for a very long time and also hopes to meet some horse crazy girls who may have visions of driving racehorses. "I've been watching them all compete since I was born and now to be able to go out there is just an honor," she said. "Definitely, I hope I can inspire some girls out there, wouldn't that be great?" The race will go off at about 2:45 p.m. as race 7. Drivers will greet fans and sign photos behind the grandstand after the race. Post time for the race card is 1 p.m. Racing concludes on Monday (July 4) with New York County fair races. There will be special gift card drawings for neighbors within walking distance of Historic Track who received entry cards delivered to their homes on a door tag with the help of a U.S. Trotting Association Fair Marketing grant. Post time is 1 p.m. The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, adjacent to Historic Track at 240 Main Street in Goshen, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all weekend; admission is always free. Induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame will take place Sunday (July 3) evening. Limited tickets are still available, please call (845) 294-6330 before noon on Saturday (July 2) to make arrangements. by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

After winning a race several years ago at Goshen Historic Track as a "student," Kimberly Gilman-Daios hopes to notch a victory at the upstate New York oval as a "teacher." Gilman-Daios won the U.S. Trotting Association Driving School exhibition race at Historic Track in 2012, with assistance from professional driver Gareth Dowse. Gilman-Daios attended the USTA Driving School because she wanted to get licensed as a trainer and driver, which she did soon after completing the program. On Friday, Gilman-Daios returns to Historic Track with Steuben Magic Ride, who competes in the first of two divisions of the New York Excelsior Series B for 3-year-old male pacers. Gilman-Daios owns and trains the gelding. "I'm looking forward to getting back there," Gilman-Daios said. "I love Goshen. That was like the best time of my life. It was a learning experience, definitely. I was in Ray Schnittker's barn and he does a really good job with his horses. Some of the things that he does I was able to take back with me and use on my own." Friday's eight-race card, which begins at 1 p.m., kicks off the Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. There will be four days of racing at the track and Sunday's festivities include Hall of Fame inductions at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Steuben Magic Ride heads to his race Friday looking for his first win, but the pacer has posted two second-place finishes and two thirds in five career races. Four of his starts came last year, when Gilman-Daios drove the horse herself on the New York fair circuit. "He's still learning to race this year," Gilman-Daios said. "I wanted to win with him last year in the worst way, but he wasn't ready yet. He wasn't a fighter. But this year he's a tiger." Gilman-Daios got married last fall and gets help from husband Greg when he has time. "He wasn't into the horses before, but he married into it so he has no choice," Gilman-Daios said, laughing. "He works full time for a company, but he's been giving me a hand at the barn when he can." Gilman-Daios' family has been involved in harness racing for generations. She lived in New Hampshire when she attended the Driving School, but has moved to Vernon, N.Y., where she has a four-horse stable. She owns three of the horses and also trains a horse for another 2012 Driving School graduate, Sophie Engerran. "So far so good," said Gilman-Daios, who worked for a utilities company prior to deciding to focus on training horses. "Before I was at a retirement stage I wanted to have a stable and do this as a job. At the time (of the Driving School) it wasn't the right time because I had a career. Now I've made the time to do it. I enjoy it, I really do." by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Monte activity is heating up for the summer season in Ontario and the US. Yesterday at Clinton Raceway there were two monte pari-mutuel contests on the ten race harness racing card. The first, for a purse of C$3,000, went to Celebrity Legacy (10g Windsong’s Legacy-B Cor Tamara-Dream Of Glory) for Alex Marion. This one scored in 2:04h after being placed first through a disqualification. The second event, for C$4,000, went to Southwind Alice (5f Muscle Hill-Accountability-Pine Chip) with Evelyn Harms aboard, timed in 2:03.4h. This winner took a similar monte event on June 4 at Kawartha for a purse of C$4,000. Replay link. Matinee and qualifying action is underway in the US. On June 19, at Goshen Historic Track, a matinee test went to Admirable Hanover (9g Cantab Hall-Almost An Angel-Crowning Point) for trainer/jockey Vanessa Karlewicz clocked in 2:15k. The prior Sunday at Goshen, Sing Out (8g Malabar Man-Some Where My Love-Lindy Lane) recorded a 2:05.1h victory with Michelle Crawford in the irons for trainer Kyle Spagnola. At Gaitway on June 13 Hiway Marcus (5g Gut Instinct-Highway Angel-Prince Pine) scored in 2:01.3 for Maria Buchanan and trainer Ron Burke. At Vernon on June 10 Funny Photo (7m Classic Photo-American Jean-American Winner) return to his RUS specialty with a 2:02.3s win. Sophie Engerran was the pilot for trainer Kimberly Gilmar-Daios. On June 17 at Vernon Jeanie Marie (9f Famously-Vite Vite Kosmos-Lindy Lane) won a RUS qua spin in 2:02s with a swift :29.3 final panel with Heather Reese aboard for trainer Jennifer Sansone. Monteamerica.com Thomas H. Hicks

Freehold, NJ --- The village of Goshen, N.Y., so enmeshed with the history of harness racing that a trotter is emblazoned on their police cars, is the center of the harness racing world over July 4th weekend each year. The village, with tree-lined streets dotted by historic homes, is just 65 miles from New York City and will be the site of inductions to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and host of a race meet at adjacent Historic Track on July 1, 2, 3 and 4. Four days of harness racing fun will be complemented by the 35th annual Great American Weekend celebration on Saturday and Sunday (July 2 and 3) at the town green, a short walk from the Museum and Track. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday (July 2) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday (July 3), the nine acre town green will feature 100-plus craft booths, creative food offerings of every description and entertainment. On July 1, racing kicks off with a day of New York-bred pacing colts and fillies, with a 1 p.m. post time at Goshen Historic Track, located at 44 Park Place. Racing has taken place at Historic Track since 1838. Admission is $5 for adults and includes a program, children 12 and younger are free. The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, housed in a century-old converted Tudor carriage house, adjacent to the track at 240 Main St., opens at 10 a.m. every day except a few major holidays and closes at 5 p.m. Admission is always free. On July 2, racing at Historic Track resumes at 1 p.m. with Landmark Stakes races and a visit from goodwill ambassador Whiskey Pete, a retired pacer with nearly a half million dollars in winnings. The 9-year-old is now a riding horse and babysitter for yearlings. He will greet guests behind the grandstand and accept pats after races one, three, five and seven on Saturday. July 3 is Hall of Fame day, with inductions of horsemen Charlie Keller and Bruce Nickells set to take place at the Museum on Sunday evening and New York-bred trotters at Historic Track. Hall of Fame drivers will be featured in the $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Sr. Memorial Trot and they'll meet fans and sign photos after the race. This year, the driver lineup is Carmine Abbatiello, John Campbell, Wally Hennessey, David Miller, Bill O'Donnell, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter and Ron Waples. Racing at Historic Track concludes on July 4, with a 1 p.m. post time and New York-bred county fair races on the card. With the help of a U.S. Trotting Association Fair marketing grant, there will be special drawings for residents within walking distance of the track. The Goshen 4H Horse and Pony Club teamed up to give each household within walking distance to the track a coupon to deposit on July 4 for gift card drawings for area businesses. by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

Goshen, NY- Fifteen-year-old alumnus Justin Irvine put an exclamation point on the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's (HHYF) 40th Anniversary celebration Sunday, winning the Open Pace Matinee at Goshen Historic Track with Cruzing Hill by 25 lengths over a sloppy track in 2:01.2. In Irvine's first charted drive, he pulled from second with the Mark Ford-trainee as the horses headed to the three-quarter pole and drew off to easily defeat the harness racing opposition with a 30.3 final quarter. Cruzing Hill is owned by George and Rose Bonomo of Illinois. Earlier, over 100 attendees celebrated HHYF with brunch at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. They witnessed a program that featured a cavalcade of guests, with Bob "Hollywood" Heyden serving as M.C. Chris Wittstruck received his Service to Youth Award from HHYF and he made a passionate plea for the industry to support HHYF's efforts. The assembled also heard from Service to Youth winner and former HHYF President Callie Davies-Gooch, former scholarship recipient and equine vet Dr. Patty Hogan, alum and Little Brown Jug winning driver Montrell Teague, current President Marlys Pinske, and future camper Wyatt Beaver, who will be attending camp at Gaitway Farms this summer. The group then had time to tour the museum prior to the start of the matinee card at the Historic Track. Celebrating 40 years of youth education and service to harness racing, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation makes a difference in young people's lives through interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org.    

After the Harness Horse Youth Foundation finishes its 40th celebration brunch at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, the festivities will move next door to the Goshen Historic Track, where HHYF graduate Justin Irvine, 15, will be competing against adults in a matinee event though it won't be Irvine's first time over that surface. Last summer he attended HHYF's Leadership Program which was held at the track. The significance is not lost on the third-generation horseman. Irvine will go postward in the Open Pace, driving the 4 year-old Cruzing Hill. Mark and Kelly Ford, who operate a training center in Middletown, NY, coordinated finding Justin's mount with the blessing of the horse's owners George and Rose Bonomo. "Finding a horse to drive when you are not right there is tough, so I thank the Fords and the Bonomos. It will be different driving at Goshen," Irvine says of his second career start. "On a bigger scale. The Hall of Fame is right there and with all the celebrations, there may be a bit of pressure." Justin's father, Don Irvine Jr., has over 7,000 wins and is enshrined on Northfield Park's Wall of Fame in Ohio, as is Justin's uncle, William Irvine, with over 3,000 driving wins. "I have never felt obligated because of my family's success. It is just what I always wanted to do. That is why HHYF is so great. For me, I want to be a driver and a trainer and I can learn that at the camps. But I also enjoy listening to other people and their dreams. If they want to be a vet, whatever, you can learn all aspects of the sport. You meet people from so many different backgrounds who love harness racing," he says. "My first camp was 2014 at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, and it was eye-opening. The Goshen leadership program just built on that initial experience." Keith Gisser

During the 2015 harness racing season in an effort to raise needed funds, the not-for profit Goshen Historic Track embarked on a fundraiser centered around the running of the Kentucky Derby. Even as a late entity the National Historic Landmark attracted 70 patrons, who not only enjoyed the racing card at Louisville, Ky., but were treated to food and cocktails throughout the afternoon. This year, again, the world's oldest harness track scheduled another Derby Day festivity fund-raiser. "The Derby Day party works out real well for us since those who attend can also wager on the races in Kentucky at an off-track location at Delancey's Restaurant, which is adjacent to Historic Track," noted Tim Masters, the tracks supervisor who was the impetus behind the project. But Masters wasn't alone in producing the Derby Day projects. Joining him were Linda Meyer, secretary to the Board; Georgia Baker, who assists Meyer in the track office and Roger Dowd, who runs the track website and supplied invaluable news releases to help make the day a success. And this season, with a few changes in venue, more than 165 supporters of Historic Track turned out on May 7th which was more than a one hundred percent increase over last year's offering. And it's safe to say that everyone had a good time. "With an entertaining live band and plenty of food and drinks we think we have a winning combination," added Board Member Tony Statuto who attended the afternoon fun along with his wife and two daughters. "Hopefully the numbers will grow in following years and we can continue to raise needed money for Historic Track." This year's festivities also marked the second annual Derby Day Hat Contest which attracted 25 contestants, almost double the number of participants from last year. All the action took place under a big tent which was set-up on the racetrack with four huge television sets tethered to the poles underneath the tent. Tables were set up and the TVs could be viewed from any seat. "If this year is any indication, hopefully we can look forward to even bigger attendances as the word gets out about the fun-filled afternoon program we offer on Kentucky Derby Day," noted George Casale, the track's Board of Directors vice president, who along with his family and friends added 12 people to the afternoon crowd. "It's no secret that Historic Track needs all the funds we can get to continue in this ever changing world." "We had all the seats filled this year and we got a lot of compliments from those who attended," Masters added. "Next year we'll probably need two tents." by John Manzi for Historic Track  

Goshen Historic Track, where it all started and where it still is today, is gearing up for it 179th season of exciting harness racing and 2016 will mark the 106th year of Grand Circuit Racing at "the Cradle of the Trotter". Racing action this season at Historic Track commences with three consecutive Sundays of matinee racing programs beginning June 5th and continuing on the Sundays of June 12 and June 19. Post times for all three matinee race cards will be at 1p.m. This year will be the 55th consecutive season of matinee racing over the historic double-oval. Grand Circuit Racing begins on Friday, July 1 and will feature pacers in the New York State Excelsior Series followed on Saturday, July 2nd with the Landmark Stakes for 2 and 3 year olds along with the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Trots and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club Pace. Featured on Sunday, July 3rd will be sophomore trotters in the New York State Excelsior Series along with a race under saddle for horses and riders that have qualified during any of the June matinees. Also slated on the card that afternoon is the annual Hall Of Fame Trot with various members of Harness Racing's Hall of Fame at the controls which has always been a fan favorite. And after that race the Hall of Famers will be available for photos and autographs. Then that evening the annual Hall of Fame Banquet will again be held under the tent on the lawn of the Harness Racing Museum. The 2016 racing season in Goshen ends on Monday, July 4th featuring the New York County Fair Stakes. Post times for Grand Circuit action will also be at 1pm. Goshen Historic Track

Goshen, NY - Plans are quickly moving forward for another gala affair to be celebrated at Goshen Historic Track on Saturday May 7 around the running of this year's Kentucky Derby. To be used as a fundraiser for the world's oldest harness race track and National Historic Landmark, a Kentucky Derby-style party will be offered from 4:30pm-7:30 on that first Saturday in May "This is a fundraising project of Goshen Historic Track in its continuing efforts to carry on its long legacy and the many contributions to the harness racing industry it has made over the course of the track's inception (back in the late 1830's)," says Historic Track Board president Steve Jones. Plenty of entertainment, good food, music, dancing and even a Ladies Hat Contest will be in the offering, as well as the ability to wager on the Kentucky Derby and other races presented on that number one race card in North America. The entire afternoon promises to be fun for all who attend and of course the afternoon will center around the running of the Kentucky Derby. Waging on the races from Kentucky will be available at Delanceys Restaurant, which is adjacent to Historic Track. Delancy's is also an outlet of the Catskill Regions' Off-track betting network. Party-goers will be able to wager on their choices and view the races live from Louisville, KY that afternoon while they watch the action on two monstrous television screens which will be set-up on the race track for the attending patrons. However, along with the Derby, attendees will also be able to enjoy live music and dance on a floor set-up on the racetrack under the huge tent. There will be door prizes, raffles and great food, which is a specialty of Delancey's. And Mint Julep cocktails, which are synonymous with the running of the Kentucky Derby, will also be available. To be a part of a fun-filled afternoon tickets, at $50 per person are available. To purchase tickets, and for further information, please contact the Historic Track office at 845.294.5333. By John Manzi for Historic Track

After again running another successful harness racing awards banquet in late November, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of U.S. Harness Writers Association donated $3000 to Historic Track at their Christmas Party which followed a Board Meeting on December 9. The presentation of the check was made to Kerry English, Chairman of the Historic Track Board of Directors by Mon-Go USHWA Chapter officer, John Manzi. For the 33rd consecutive year the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has donated to Historic Track and will again donate $3000 to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame next July. Last summer the organization presented a $3000 check to Museum President Larry Devan prior to the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame Banquet in Goshen, NY. Since the late 1980's the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA has donated money to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Money raised for the donations is made possible from successful chapter banquets and the continued support of the chapter's charity journals. "We thank all who participate in our annual awards banquet and charity journal and we are very fortunate to be able to raise the money..... and when we do.... it is our pleasure to donate the profits back to the industry; especially to Historic Track and to the Harness Racing Museum Track, which are not only in our own back yard but very dear to the hearts of everyone in harness racing," noted Chris Tully, President of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA and well as Nation USHWA National president. In the early 1980's annual donations by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA were used to support a college scholarship but it was decided back then that when the chapter donates it should be to Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum--both separate not-for profit entities--although over the years the chapter has also donated to other harness racing industry causes. by John Manzi for Monticello-Goshen USHWA

On Saturday, August 15th, blues legend Popa Chubby will kick off the first in a series of concerts to be held at Goshen Historic Track. It will be a celebration of the Track's 105th year of harness racing and a fundraiser to keep the landmark trotting and pacing in 2016. Also appearing will be Blues Buddah to add good vibes to the good brews and good eats. There will be a cash bar and food catered by Delancey's Bar and Restaurant. Gates will open at 5:30 pm for all shows. After the 15th, look forward to MORE excitement! On Friday, August 21, 8:00pm, "Sopranos" star Vincent Pastore will be appearing with his "Gangster Squad" to provide entertainment that audiences won't soon fuhgeddaboud. On Saturday, August 29, 7:00pm, Jessica Lynn will be appearing to show Orange County audiences why she is Country Music's hottest new star. Also appearing will be comedian John Iavarone. Tickets: $25 Box Seats: $40 Date and Time: Saturday, August 15, 7:00 pm (Rain day: Sunday, August 16) Gates open at 5:30 pm Location: The Grandstand at Goshen Historic Track 44 Park Place Goshen, NY 10924

There were three CKG Billings amateur trots on the 13-race harness racing card at Goshen Historic Track last Saturday (July 4) and of the 17 drivers who competed five were women. The gals may have been out numbered but when the dust had settled they were not out-driven. Two divisions were won by the ladies while "Pacin' Peter" Gerry's victory saved face for the men. In no surprise to anyone the first division saw "Hurricane Hannah" Miller, the hottest driver in amateur racing today, guide Casanova Lindy to a seven-length triumph over Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and Gimme The Loot in a time of 2:00.4.. And after making a break at the start, Starsaboveallerage finished third for Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. For Hannah it was her 20th winning drive in amateur competition this year, and with 11 seconds and 10 thirds to go along with her victories she is now coasting along with a lofty .491 UDR. And as an added bonus,for the first time Hannah was joined in the winners circle by her proud parents. A second Billings division was also on by a lady when "California Karen" Isbell got her own Truth in Action up in the final strides to collar Nautilus De Vie and driver Dave"Steady As " Yarock in a 2:05.4 clocking. Linda B and "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello finished third. In from the west coast where she was competing at Cal Expo it was "California Karen's" third driving victory this season. Currently with three wins, one second and three thirds in 14 starts she is carrying a very respectable .325 UDR. But it took "Pacin' Peter" Gerry's victory with Candid Man in a third Billings split to keep the boys off the schneid.. However, Gerry's victory wasn't an easy one as he had to continually urge the altered son of Malabar Man down the homestretch. And his urging wasn't in vain when he rallied Candid Man to overtake Tony "the Capo" Verruso and pace-setting Drill Sergeant Sam in the deep stretch in a time of 2:07.2 . Up from Florida where she used to race regularly at Pompano Park, "Sunshine Miriam" Toland took home the show dough with Jim's Little Red. For Peter Gerry his victory was his first of the season and the first in three years. Still the venture capitalist was as happy as a kid with candy. "It sure feels great to win even though it took a while to do it," he said. In his long and storied career "Pacin Peter", the former longtime president of the Billings Series, notched his 81st amateur driving victory. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Jordan Stratton won six races in six starts as Goshen Historic Track kicked-off its 177th season of harness racing on Thursday, July 2 at the Cradle of the Trotter. Featured on the afternoon card were the NYS Fair Stakes for 2 and 3 year-old trotters and pacers  Stratton won with sophomores; Saint Misbehavin (2:04:4), For Kevin’s Sake (2:03:3) and Everywhere Fast (2:06.1); and he won 2 year old races with; Second Turn (2:05); Bullvillebingo (2:09) and Cash Not Credit (2:09). Asked if this was his best day in the sulky he replied; “I won six races twice at Monticello (Raceway) but not consecutively. I guess six wins in six drives has to be my best day.” Stratton,a Middletown NY resident currently with 2569 career winners, honed his craft at Monticello Raceway where he was the youngest driver, at age 21, to win the track’s driving title in 2009. For the past five seasons he’s been among the driving leaders at Yonkers Raceway. Stratton is slated to drive in six of the seven races on which will comprise  Historic Track’s Friday, July 3rd program. John Manzi

Duane and Connie Roland hope to rock the Meadowlands Pace later this month, but first they will prep their 3-year-old pacer for the big harness racing event by competing in one of the 10 Landmark Stakes on Saturday at Historic Track in Goshen. The Rolands' horse, Roland N Rock, is undefeated in 17 career races, with most of his victories coming on the Iowa fair circuit. It is an unlikely starting point for a Meadowlands Pace hopeful, but one the Rolands decided was worth following after watching the gelding dominate his competition to date. "It's very exciting," said Duane Roland, a corn and soybean farmer from Grinnell, Iowa, who trains and usually drives Roland N Rock. "Whatever happens, this is like an experience no one that I know ever gets to do. Who gets to train their own horse and go to New Jersey and race in the Meadowlands Pace? "Back home almost everybody sells their horse when it gets good. Most of the horses that are really good get sold between $50,000 and $75,000. My wife Connie and I are in the position that we don't have to sell him. We figured, let's just keep him and go have fun." Roland N Rock will face four rivals in Saturday's $17,470 Landmark Stakes at Historic Track, which also is an unlikely place to find a Meadowlands Pace hopeful. The only other horse since 1992 to prep for the Meadowlands Pace eliminations by racing at Historic Track was Exporter, who in 2001 won a New York Sire Stakes division in Goshen six days prior to finishing ninth in his Pace elim. Since 1992, four Meadowlands Pace finalists competed at Historic Track the year prior to racing in the Pace, most notably 2000 Pace winner and Horse of the Year Gallo Blue Chip. John Campbell is listed to drive Roland N Rock on Saturday at Historic Track. Post time is 1 p.m. for the first race on the card, which also includes three divisions of the Billings amateur drivers' series. The Grand Circuit weekend at Historic Track concludes Sunday with Hall of Fame Day. The Rolands decided to stake Roland N Rock to several of this year's top races after the horse won the $86,000 American-National Stakes by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2 at Balmoral Park in October. The American-National was one of only two stakes engagements for Roland N Rock last year; the other was the $21,450 Review Stakes at Springfield, Ill., where the gelding romped by 13-1/4 lengths in 1:51.2. "He's never been tested in any of his races," Roland said. "We thought we would test him last year when we went to Springfield and he just took off and won in (1):51.2. Then at Balmoral he was an easy winner too. We decided this was our opportunity, so we took all the money from the American-National and staked him to a bunch of races. We figured we'd just go for it." This year, Roland N Rock is 3-for-3, with his most recent victory coming in 1:55.4 at Wapello County Regional Fair in Eldon, Iowa on June 18. The time shattered the previous track record by 2-2/5 seconds. "It's a car racing track, so the turns are banked pretty good," Roland said. "We talked about it and thought he needed to go in 1:56 there for us to make the decision to come out here. And he did that. He still had more left, so that was good. "I'm still trying to get him to peak. He just needs one more good workout and he should be ready to go. Almost everybody else was ready to race in May and was prepping for the North America Cup (in June). They're going to have raced four to six weeks as hard as they can go leading up to this, so I'm thinking I have a fresh horse, at least that's in my favor." Roland N Rock is a son of the mare Hank's Chip, who the Rolands purchased in foal to stallion Rocknroll Hanover for $6,000 at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale's Mixed Sale, when Perretti Farms dispersed its broodmare band. The resulting foal was Roland N Rock. And what did Duane Roland like about Hank's Chip? "The price," he said with a laugh. "We'd gotten about $15,000 in breeders awards and I said let's go spend that and try to buy two mares in foal to Rocknroll Hanover. We had $15,000 to spend. We bought two. This happened to be the good one." The Rolands soon will find out how good. In addition to the Meadowlands Pace, Roland N Rock's stake schedule includes the Carl Milstein Memorial, Battle of the Brandywine, Circle City, Jenna's Beach Boy, Messenger, Matron, and Progress Pace. "We've got to give it a shot," said Roland, who has never raced a horse at the Meadowlands. "We paid him in to all these races, so we're just like let's go do it. If we're eliminated (in the Meadowlands Pace eliminations) and we're in the consolation, we're still happy because we got to go." Roland said the emergence of his horse continues the feel-good storylines surrounding the top 3-year-old pacers so far this season: Wakizashi Hanover ($23,000 yearling with three newcomers in ownership group), In The Arsenal ($7,500 buy back) and Wiggle It Jiggleit (privately purchased as a weanling). "Now you've got this farmer from Iowa bringing this Rocknroll Hanover to the Meadowlands," Roland said. "It's all good for harness racing just to say that anybody can get the good horse. You've got four different stories there all going against the great horse Artspeak. So you never know how it's going to turn out. "We just hope that (Roland N Rock) does well, makes some money, and we have some fun." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

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