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East Rutherford, NJ - A single elimination race for the $750,000e Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace (final on Saturday, July 16) and the $250,000 Graduate Series pacing and trotting finals highlight the Saturday, July 9 live harness racing program at The Meadowlands.   Race Secretary Peter Koch accepted declarations on eleven sophomore colts and geldings for the Meadowlands Pace. Race conditions state that with that number of entries, a bye be offered in descending order to the connections of the top 2016 money earners. That offer was made only once, with trainer Tony Alagna accepting on behalf of owner Tom Hill for their Max Hempt Memorial winner Racing Hill, the top seasonal earner among those declared. The remaining ten will race to eliminate one.   The field for the elimination race:   (top 9 in official order of finish return to join Racing Hill in the final/elimination winner will draw from post positions 1-6 for the final)   RACE 7 CRAWFORD FARMS MEADOWLANDS PACE - ELIMINATION 3 Year Old Open ** STAKES BARN - FRIDAY JULY 8 - 11:00 PM **       Purse:  $50,000                         1 Talk Show Sc Zeron S Elliott         2 Lyons Snyder Da Miller M Silva         3 Another Daily Copy             Ji Morrill N Devita         4 JK Will Power Ya Gingras R Burke         5 Boston Red Rocks Ti Tetrick S Elliott         6 Manhattan Beach Ya Gingras R Burke         7 Good Living Br Miller T Cancelliere         8 Check Six            Ya Gingras R Burke         9 Control The Moment Br Sears B Maxwell         10 Ideal Rocky Co Callahan J Butenschoen         Both of the $250,000 Graduate finals drew the maximum of ten entries.   The pacing final is the stage for chapter two of the battle between Indiana-bred titans Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete.   GRADUATE SERIES - FINAL 4 Year Old Open Pace       Purse:  $250,000                         1 In The Arsenal                Br Miller K Harrison         2 Artistic Major                Ti Tetrick S Elliott         3 Wiggle It Jiggleit Mo Teague C Francis         4 Rockin' In Heaven Da Miller I Moore         5 Rockin' Ron                  Ya Gingras R Burke         6 Dude's The Man Co Callahan J Okusko         7 Rock N' Roll World Da Miller R Burke         8 Freaky Feet Pete              Tr Tetrick L Rheinheimer         9 Americanprimetime            Jo Campbell R Dane         10 National Seelster           Ma Macdonald C Ryder       (Top series point earner Rockin' In Heaven drew from post positions 1-6)   The trotters are led by the top point earner through the three preliminary legs Maestro Blue Chip in a remarkably well balanced field.   GRADUATE SERIES - FINAL 4 Year Old Open Trot    Purse:  $250,000                         1 Wings Of Royalty Co Callahan G Ducharme         2 Centurion ATM                 Ak Svanstedt A Svanstedt         3 Crescent Fashion Sc Zeron A Svanstedt         4 Canepa Hanover Ya Gingras J Takter         5 Whataworkout Br Miller F Antonacci         6 Maestro Blue Chip             Ti Tetrick J Looney-King         7 Fashion Creditor Br Miller T Fanning         8 Honor And Serve Ak Svanstedt A Svanstedt         9 Crazshana                    Da Miller J Bamond         10 Musical Rhythm            Jo Campbell B Baillargeon                       (Top series point earner Maestro Blue Chip drew from post positions 1-6)   The entire Saturday draw may be accessed on The Meadowlands website. Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations

Nichols, N.Y. -- Harness racing reigning Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit ($2.60) proved too much for his ten 4-year-old pacing rivals in Sunday (June 12) afternoon's $75,000 Graduate preliminary at Tioga Downs, drawing clear authoritatively after setting a strong pace.   The 4-year-old Mr Wiggles gelding not only endured early pressure from Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) through a :25.4 first quarter, but also a broken buxton in the initial stages of the race. Nonetheless, he dictate all the terms, rating a :55.3 middle half before edging clear of first-over challenger In the Arsenal (Brett Miller) on the far turn. Now a 30-time winner, Wiggle It Jiggleit amassed 5-1/2 lengths clearance over the others in the end, and his 1:48.1 mile equaled Rockeyed Optimist's track record for 4-year-old pacing geldings.   In the Arsenal held second, Rockin in Heaven (David Miller) rallied mildly to save third off a tracking trip, and Rockin Ron faded to fourth after forcing the early pace.   Clyde Francis trains Wiggle It Jiggleit for owners George Teague, Jr. and the Teague Racing Partnership.   Wiggle It Jiggleit     In the $75,000 Graduate Trot, Maestro Blue Chip ($13.40) lasted on the lead, parrying a stern first-over threat from Musical Rhythm (John Campbell) through the middle half and just holding sway from a surging Whataworkout (Scott Zeron) for a 1:53.4 victory. Tim Tetrick drove the 4-year-old Credit Winner entire for owner Richard Poillucci and trainer JoAnn Looney-King. Pinkman (Gingras), the 2015 Hambletonian winner, could not escape the pocket, narrowly beaten for third by Crazshana (David Miller) while lacking for racing room the entirety of the stretch.   Maestro Blue Chip     The afternoon's two $62,400 New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old pacing fillies saw Angels Rockn Pink ($15.20) and Time on My Hands ($4.10) work to the fore early and never look back. Angels Rockin Pink, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and Miss Liz, turned aside a first-over push from Dime a Dance for a 1:52.1 win under Mark MacDonald for trainer Chris Oakes.   Time on My Hands also repelled a third-quarter challenge, but later would have to outlast a late push from American Ivy (Andy Miller), who vacated the pocket in upper stretch. Jason Bartlett drove the daughter of American Ideal and Bewitching Jewell to a 1:53.2 victory for trainer Chris Ryder.   The annual Tioga Downs Scholarship Race, a non-wagering exhibition sponsored by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, went to the Tompkins Cortland Community College-bound Alexis Eaton, teaming up with trainer Mike Deters in a two-seated jog cart behind Prairie Jaguar in the 5/8-mile race.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (June 17) evening, with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

It took exactly three decades for Jo Ann Looney-King and her family to discover a horse that would return them to the winner’s circle at the Meadowlands. That feat alone renders Maestro Blue Chip as a special animal to the family, however, they are also extremely attached to the 4-year-old harness racing stallion because they feel he is the most talented trotter ever to grace their shedrow. “My sister (Susan Looney) was the youngest driver to ever win a race at the Meadowlands when she was 16,” said Looney-King. “That was 30 years ago, so you cannot imagine how thrilling it was for us to finally return there when Maestro won the first leg of the Graduate Series. Our entire family was there to enjoy it and it only made it even sweeter that he beat a horse like Pinkman to get us there. That win really was like a dream come true. Any time you win it is so exciting, but when you win like that it makes it an unforgettable evening. Especially when Jim (her husband) thinks this horse is the best trotter we have ever had.” Purchased by Richard Poilluici for $90,000 at this year’s Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale, the son of Credit Winner and the SJ’s Caviar mare Up Front Hotsey will attempt to collect his 11th victory since entering the Kings’ barn on Sunday (June 12) when he competes in the $75,000 third leg of the Graduate Series at Tioga Downs. Maestro Blue Chip will commence his journey from post position eight with Tim Tetrick holding the lines and is the 5-1 third choice on the morning line. He will have to face champion Pinkman (2-1), who will leave from post position six, and one of the hottest horses in harness racing in Musical Rhythm (3-1), who will begin trotting from the rail. Despite amassing the highest seasonal bankroll in the contest ($154,000) and serving notice he is a top contender in his division after holding Pinkman at bay at odds of 30-1 on May 21, Maestro Blue Chip appears to remain a bit under the radar, not only at the betting windows, but within the industry. In fact, his triumph over Pinkman and Crescent Fashion was shocking to many who follow the sport, but his endeavors and success were not shocking to his connections. “The minute Jim saw him at the sale he wanted him,” Looney-King said. “It is absolutely impossible not to fall in love with him at first sight. He is such a handsome horse and carries himself with such class. When a horse like that becomes available at the sale, you always wonder why, but this horse was co-owned by Michael Andrew and Purple Haze Stables. “I have experience with Michael’s horses and when I talked to him about this one, he said the only reason he was in the sale was because he had 30 babies at home and it cost money to feed them. That made perfect sense to us as we have been there and sold hoses that went on to do well for other people. That is what you want to see and we were just tickled to get the opportunity to have a horse like him.” Prior to his arrival in his new residence, Maestro Blue Chip, the second foal out of his dam who earned $433,643 during her racing career, was trained by Trond Smedshammer. He performed primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and compiled a record of 13-2-2-2 with just over $78,000 in purse money. After joining the Kings’ stable, the stallion won 10 consecutive races, including the $73,500 Yonkers Raceway/SOA of New York Bonus Trotting Series final on April 26. The only blemish on his record in 2016 came when he finished behind his elders Obrigado and Il Sogno Dream in the Maxie Lee Memorial on May 29 at Harrah's Philadelphia in his last start. “We probably should not have skipped the second leg of the Graduate for the Maxie Lee,” Looney-King said. “But when a race goes for $200,000 and it’s close to home with no starting fee, it is difficult to turn down. Also, we always try to help out when the race office needs horses. We were very pleased with how he trotted and are looking forward to bringing him to Tioga. “This is the first time we have ever raced there and I hate to talk about (post) positions, because that is part of the sport, but we are hoping he works out a nice trip for himself from that spot. We are also fortunate to have one of the best drivers in the business that is terrific at always providing horses with the opportunity to win whenever they are on the track in Tim (Tetrick). Our goal is just to make the final and we could not be more pleased with how our horse is right now. We expect him to race very well even though it is a tough field.” Although his presence in the series final at the Meadowlands on July 9 has yet to be determined, the Kings have quite the season planned for Maestro Blue Chip as the horse is staked to contests such as the Cleveland Trotting Classic, Chip Noble Memorial, Centaur Trotting Classic, and Dayton Trotting Derby. “Jim believes in the horse enough to have him eligible to five $250,000 races after this series,” Looney-King said. “We know it’s a long season and Maestro will always tell us where to go. It always depends on the horse and how he is doing, but we are so excited to have him. He really is such a pleasure in every capacity. I can’t explain how enjoyable he is and what he has already accomplished in such a short time has been amazing for us.” Maestro Blue Chip is not the only member of the King stable that will be performing in a stakes event this weekend. The duo also have last year’s Matron victor, Newborn Sassy, in-to-go in a C$35,000 elimination for the Fan Hanover at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday (June 11). The daughter of  Western Ideal and Sass Newton, an accomplished offspring of Storm Compensation, went through the ring at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale for $38,000 as a yearling. The Kings own her in conjunction with CC Racing LLC and the filly has proved to be quite a bargain as she has earned $263,569 with a resume of 14-8-2-2. She has yet to have her picture taken from four trips to the gate this year, but she has placed twice and nabbed the show spot on one occasion. On Saturday evening (June 11), Newborn Sassy will start pacing from post six in the third race on the card. Tetrick is responsible for steering the 5-1 morning line selection when she faces the likes of L A Delight (2-1, post seven), Darlinonthebeach (9-5, post two) and Lindwood Beachgirl (9-2, post three). “We have her because Timmy (Tetrick) was familiar with her dam and just loved her,” Looney-King said. “We were shocked he kept putting up his hand to bid on her at the sale and then he told us she would be a terrific acquisition for us. He really wanted us to have her and it ended up he was 100 percent correct about how good to us she would be. “She got a bit of a late start last year because she had chips removed, but she was rolling at the end of the season. We realize this is a very strong division with fillies like Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach, but we really feel Sassy can not only compete but when she receives the right trip she can win. “We are just hoping for that with her this weekend so we can make the final. Again, it’s a long year with a lot of racing, but we have her staked to nearly all the important races and are anxious to see how her year goes. We are anticipating great things from her. Like Maestro, she is a dream to ship, an absolute pleasure in the barn and will do anything you ask of her on the track. “We just feel so blessed to have the horses we do right now. We are just overwhelmed to have the kind of horses that allow us to be involved in these races and that brings such joy into our lives. How can you ask for anything more? There are times we still cannot comprehend how fortunate we are.” by Kimberly French, USTA Internet News Editor   

Nichols, N.Y. -- Four-year-old superstars Wiggle It Jiggleit and Pinkman head a star-studded 15-race harness racing card on Sunday (June 12) afternoon at Tioga Downs, with the third preliminary leg of the Graduate Series and New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old pacing fillies sharing the spotlight.   In the $75,000 eighth race, a Graduate event for pacers, double millionaire Wiggle It Jiggleit squares off against ten other 4-year-olds. The gelded son of Mr Wiggles arrives following impressive victories in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield (1:49.4) and the Dorothy Mullin Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia (1:47.3). Montrell Teague handles the driving duties for trainer Clyde Francis.   "I think he'll handle the Tioga track fine," said Teague. "The biggest disadvantage will be the 11-horse field, and the two trailers will try to keep position up close. You can almost bet that Rockin Ron's going to leave."   A rematch off the Confederation Cup showdown went to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Mullin, and Teague remains confident heading to this rubber match following the reigning Horse of the Year's effort at Philadelphia. "I didn't want to give Rockin Ron any advantage [at Philadelphia]. I pulled early and got right beside Rockin Ron. On the turn, I tried to stay as close as possible to save some ground; then I started driving on him and he went on."   Wiggle It Jiggleit will start from post 4 as the 4-5 morning line favorite.   Rockin Ron, who looks to avenge his recent defeat, headlines a three-horse entry trained by Ron Burke and Kelvin Harrison. The 19-time winner drew post two in the overflow field, and Yannick Gingras will be in to drive.   One race later, in the $75,000 Graduate preliminary for trotters, Gingras will drive last year's Hambletonian winner Pinkman for trainer Jimmy Takter. The 18-time winner returns from Solvalla Racecourse in Stockholm, where he wired fellow 4-year-olds in 1:52.2 on the Elitloppet undercard. Pinkman will start from post 6 as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Among the seven foes Pinkman will face is Musical Rhythm, a winner in his Graduate event at Mohawk last weekend. Following a sweep of the Don Mills series in April, the 19-time winner has risen to top-tier competition with aplomb, also drawing off in a Preferred event at Mohawk. Benoit Ballairgeon trains the Cantab Hall entire, and Hall-of-Fame driver John Campbell will be aboard from post 1.   A pair of $62,400 New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old pacing fillies are carded as races 6 and 11, with a quintet of Burke trainees leading the group of 18 sophomores. Dime a Dance (Matt Kakaley) leads a 2-1 favored entry in race 6 as the only Sire Stakes winner thus far this year in the group, while Chris Ryder trainee Time On My Hands (Jason Bartlett) and Linda Toscano trainee Soft Idea (Jim Morrill, Jr.) will look to upend the Burke trio in race 11.   Post time for Sunday's stakes program is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, NY - The third leg of the harness racing Graduate Series is scheduled for Sunday, June 12 at Tioga Downs.   Also on the card is the NYSS for three-year-old pacing fillies.   The entry box closes at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8. Click this link to access the condition sheet.   This is the last of the preliminary legs leading up to the $250,000G finals at The Meadowlands on Saturday, July 9.   Follow this link to find the current standings though leg #2.   Tioga Downs Media Offices    

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 4 - Harness racing's Pepsi North America Cup picture became a little bit clearer after Saturday night's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. A talented group of 19 three-year-old pacers competed in a pair of $75,000 Somebeachsomewhere divisions. Of the 19 competitors in Saturday's event, 17 were eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. Betting Line continued his impressive early-season with a 1:50.1 victory in the first 'Beach' split. The Casie Coleman trainee got away fourth for driver Jonathan Drury and was quickly moved in the second-quarter when Tony Alagna trainee American Passport brushed to the front from third. Betting Line followed his rival and cleared to command at the half in :55.2. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:23.3, Betting Line and American Passport created a little separation on their competition in the lane. The Coleman trainee was able to shoot home in :26.3 and hold off deep stretch push by a strong finishing American Passport to win by half a length. Michaels Victory finished third, while Magnum J was fourth. A son of Bettors Delight, Betting Line entered Saturday's race off an impressive 1:49.4 score on May 21. The sophomore paced a :52.2 back-half to secure the victory on that occasion. "He won so I'm not disappointed with him obviously, but he was a bit worked up in the paddock tonight," said Coleman, following Saturday's victory. "I actually had to move his paddock stall down to the end of the paddock and he took a little bit of his race out of him before he went to the gate tonight. "He's a little better than he was tonight and we will get that rectified for next week." Betting Line, who banked over $540,000 as a rookie and won the OSS Super Final, is owned by West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol. His 2016 record now sits at two wins and a second in three starts. The son of Bettors Delight is a top contender heading into the NA Cup eliminations and was the heavy 2/5 choice in Saturday's 'Beach' Stakes. "He's coming into the NA Cup perfect," Coleman said. "I couldn't be any happier with his schedule coming into the NA Cup and I just have to fix a couple paddock situations and I might put his shoes back to how I used to have them." Betting Line had a shoeing change of steel to aluminum for Saturday's start. The Coleman trainee paid $2.80 to win. Betting Line The second division saw Lyons Snyder turn in a huge effort to win in 1:49. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Lyons Snyder left from post-three and got away in the two-hole behind Major Hill. The Mark Silva trained colt didn't sit in the pocket long and circled around to the front just after Major Hill cut a :25.4 opening-quarter. Lyons Snyder rolled right along in the middle-half with fractions of :54.1 and 1:22.1. Meanwhile, O'Brien Award winner Control The Moment was sitting second-over rounding the final turn and ready to fire. In the stretch, Control The Moment took his best shot and got right up to Lyons Snyder, but the Silva trainee dug in and shot home in :26.4 to win by half a length. Nocturnal Bluechip finished third, while Major Hill was fourth. A son of Well Said, Lyons Snyder entered Saturday's contest with three wins in five starts this season after going winless in five outings as a rookie. "He's trained good all year," said Silva, who took over the training of the colt late last season. "He was sore last year, we gave him four months off and he's come back great this year." Lyons Snyder has now earned $105,968 this season for owners Jeff Snyder and Geoffrey Lyons Mound and is a serious contender heading into the NA Cup. "He still runs out a little," Silva said. "We've got a little more work to do with him, but if I straighten that out he's a serious horse." Lyons Snyder was sent off as the 3/2 favourite and paid $5.10 to win. Lyons Snyder Next up for the majority of the 'Beach' competitors is the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations next Saturday (June 11). The last 'Cup' champ to win a division of the Somebeachsomewhere was JK Endofanera in 2014. Also on Saturday, the Graduate Series made its debut at Mohawk Racetrack with many of the sport's top four-year-olds meeting up. Freaky Feet Pete headlined a seven-horse field for the Graduate Pace and lived up to the hype with a 1:49.1 victory. Scott Zeron picked up the live catch-drive behind the Larry Rheinheimer trainee, made a quarter-pole move and never looked back. After Rockin In Heaven posted a :26 opening-quarter, Freaky Feet Pete took the lead and rolled through the middle-half in :54.3 and 1:22.4. The son of Rockin Image finished the job with a :26.2 final-quarter under minimal urging. Rockin In Heaven finished a length and a quarter back in second, while Dudes The Man and Rock N Roll World finished third and fourth, respectively. Freaky Feet Pete now has four wins in five starts this season to bring his career record to 28 wins in 32 outings. His most recent victory pushes his career earnings to $1.3 million for owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer. Larry Rheinheimer noted prior to Saturday's race that Freaky Feet Pete's upcoming schedule is currently undecided. 'Pete' paid $2.20 to win. Freaky Feet Pete A field of 11 four-year-old trotters squared off in the $98,250 Graduate Trot. Returning to his home track after suffering his first loss of the season, Musical Rhythm called all the shots and scored a 1:52.3 victory for Mario and Ben Baillargeon. The son of Cantab Hall trotted out quickly from post-five to grab command. Top contender Crazy Wow made a break when parked around the first turn, which changed the complexion of the race. Musical Rhythm was able to get a :29.3 second-quarter breather to lead the field by the half in :57. The soft-quarter was the turning point, as the 2/1 favourite reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1 and sprinted home in :27.2 for the 2½ length victory. Crescent Fashion finished second, while Honor And Serve was third. Crazshana, who won the first leg of the Graduate, was a hard-closing fourth. "Lucky enough the eight-horse (Crazy Wow) made a break in the first turn and we got a cheap second-quarter," said Mario Baillargeon. "Them good horses that's all they need...it takes a real good one to beat them and I knew at the half he was going to be hard to beat." Musical Rhythm is undefeated this season on the WEG Circuit and now has 10 wins in 11 starts. He is owned by Santo and Nunzio Vena, Claude Hamel and Ben Baillargeon. The son of Cantab Hall now has seasonal earnings of $182,425 and is likely headed to Tioga Downs for his next start in the final preliminary leg of the Graduate. Musical Rhythm paid $6.10 to win. Musical Rhythm The final preliminary leg of the Graduate Series is scheduled for next Sunday (June 12) at Tioga. The finals of the series are set for July 9 at The Meadowlands. In other action Saturday, Shamballa rocketed from off the pace to win the $34,000 Preferred in 1:49.2. The Rick Zeron trainee used his signature final-quarter kick to score his second win in three starts this season. 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year State Treasurer finished second, while Nirvana Seelster was third. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Harness Racing This Week: Graduate Series second leg and the Somebeachsomewhere stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will take place at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night (June 4) with a pair of C$98,250 second leg divisions in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters and two C$75,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Molson Pace for older pacers at The Raceway at Western Fair District, the Art Rooney for 3-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway, and a trio of invitational races at Harrah's Philadelphia. Evenin Of Pleasure was sent off at odds of 35-1 in Friday night's (May 27) $115,500 Molson Pace, the signature race of The Raceway at Western Fair District. Luckily the horse didn't read the tote board. Sunfire Blue Chip, looking to give driver Mark MacDonald his first Molson Pace win in 10 tries, rattled off fractions of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23 but was caught in the stretch by the garden spot sitting Evenin Of Pleasure (Sylvain Filion) who hit the wire first in 1:50.3. The time established a new track record, shaving a tick off the previous mark set by MacDonald and Tigerama in 2008. Sunfire Blue Chip held for second after the impressive performance. McWicked claimed the show spot while All Bets Off and P H Supercam took the final two checks. State Treasurer, vying for his fourth straight Molson title, hit some traffic trouble as the field paced through the backstretch the second time and finished sixth. It was the first win in 2016 for Evenin Of Pleasure, a 6-year-old son of Dragon Again owned by Gestion JY Blais Inc. of Montreal, Quebec. It was as uneventful an eight-hole trip as Missile J (Brian Sears, $2,60, part of entry) could possibly have wished for Saturday night (May 28) in winning Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. A week after winning the lone, $40,000 elimination for the 26th Rooney, Missile J was blind-drawed behind the eight-ball in a field of two 3-year-old colts and six geldings. He was in play early over a track that was moisturized by a fair amount of pre-card rain. Missile J fell into an open three-hole behind pole-sitting entrymate Artmagic (George Brennan) and Rodeo Rock (Dan Dube), who left a bit wide from post position two to make sure Missile J couldn't get around him early. Artmagic had things his own way over the "good" surface, getting a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :56.1 intermission. The leader then lost his closest pursuer, as Rodeo Rock gave up the ghost chasing a :27.2 third quarter (1:23.3). Missile J had taken out of third by then, getting into second and picking up the scent of the leader. Artmagic owned a 1-1/2 length lead into the lane, but his night was about to end. Missile J and a handful of closers rolled by, with Missile J drawing out to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:53. Second went to a much-improved Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker), with Yankee Artillery (Jordan Stratton), Artmagic and Manny (Brent Holland) settling for the smaller remainder. For Missile J, an unraced at two, $100,000 American Ideal gelding co-owned by Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables and trained by Linda Toscano, it was his fifth (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. Most people might be unhappy to see clouds block out the sun on their Memorial Day weekend, but Montrell Teague couldn't have been more overjoyed. Teague drives Wiggle It Jiggleit, a horse who has a penchant for jumping shadows on the racetrack. So when Teague saw the clouds roll in moments before heading onto the track for Wiggle It Jiggleit's start in Sunday's (May 29) $200,000 Dorothy Mullin Invitational for older male pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia, he was relieved. And under the cover of those clouds, Wiggle It Jiggleit went out and paced the fastest mile in the 11-year history of Harrah's Philadelphia, stopping the timer in 1:47.3 as he captured the Mullin Invitational by 1-3/4 lengths over early pacesetter Rockin Ron. Rockeyed Optimist finished third. The previous fastest mile at Harrah's Philadelphia was 1:48, a mark shared by Artistic Fella and Mister Big. The time was one-fifth of a second off the world record for a 4-year-old gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile oval. In the Mullin, Wiggle It Jiggleit found himself in second place behind Confederation Cup champion Rockin Ron. Teague and the 1-2 favorite made their move to challenge Rockin Ron just after reaching the race's midpoint and battled side-by-side around the final turn. From there, Wiggle It Jiggleit paced away from his rivals to post the victory for owners George Teague Jr., who is Montrell's father, and the Teague Racing Partnership. Wiggle It Jiggleit is trained by Clyde Francis. Also on Sunday's card at Harrah's Philadelphia, Obrigado won the $200,000 Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters by a neck over Il Sogno Dream in 1:52 and Venus Delight won the $200,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers by 2-1/2 lengths over Katie Said in 1:50.4. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website.Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 186.5; 2. Daniel Dube - 120; 3. George Brennan - 103; 4. Matt Kakaley - 100; 5. Jason Bartlett - 90. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 163; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 138; 3. Peter Tritton - 134.5; 4. Rene Allard - 120; 5. Clyde Francis - 62.5. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 134.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 85; 3t. Burke Racing Stable - 45.55; 3t. Weaver Bruscemi - 45.55; 5. Purple Haze Stables - 44. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Scioto Downs, Mohawk, The Meadows, and Tioga Downs. Scioto will host the Charlie Hill for open trotters; Mohawk will feature five stakes eliminations, led by the North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers; The Meadows will contest eliminations for the Meadows Maturity for older trotting mares; and Tioga Downs will offer the third leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 31 - A talented group of 19 harness racing three-year-old pacers have been split into two $75,000 divisions for this Saturday's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. A stacked 11-race card has been assembled for Saturday and, along with the Somebeachsomewhere, will also feature a leg of the Graduate Series for four-year-olds and an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for sophomore pacing fillies. The Somebeachsomewhere Stakes (previously known as The Burlington) serves as the final prep before the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations (June 11). Of the 19 horses in this year's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, 17 are eligible to the 'Cup'. The first division Saturday is headlined by several of last year's standout rookies and OSS top stars. OSS Super Final champion Betting Line (PP2, Jonathan Drury) is looking for his second win in three starts this season. The Casie Coleman trainee won his last start on May 21 at Mohawk in 1:49.4 and paced a :52.2 back-half. Voracity (PP5, Brett Miller), a winner of over $298,000, and Nvestment Bluechip (PP9, Jody Jamieson), third-place finisher in last year's Breeders Crown and winner of over $368,000, join their OSS rival in the first split. Trainer Tony Alagna not only sends out Voracity in the first division, but also Grand Circuit winner American Passport (PP3, Scott Zeron). The son of American Ideal posted three consecutive victories last season in Grand Circuit events, including a pair at The Red Mile. Michaels Victory (PP7, Sylvain Filion) and Magnum J (PP10, Doug McNair) are both coming off Sires Stakes victories in New Jersey and Ontario. Stonebridge Beach (PP1, Sylvain Filion), Flaherty (PP4, Trevor Henry), Dreamfair Mesa (PP6, Randy Waples) and Some Gold (PP8, James MacDonald) complete the field of ten for the first division. Metro Pace and O'Brien Award winner Control The Moment (PP4, Randy Waples) headlines the second division. The Brad Maxwell trainee is making his 2016 debut after a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk. The son of Well Said won eight of nine starts last season, banked over $461,000 and took a mark of 1:49.4 at Mohawk. Also in the second split, Alagna trainee Highlandbeachycove (PP9, Scott Zeron) will look to improve to three for three to start his sophomore season; Mark Silva trainee Lyons Snyder (PP3, Sylvain Filion) is coming off a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes victory in 1:49.4 at Pocono; and Dave Menary trainee Major Hill (PP6, Jody Jamieson) is entering off a 1:50.4 winning performance last week at Mohawk. The field of nine is completed by Bettor Memories (PP1, Chris Christoforou), Arsenic (PP2, Doug McNair), Nocturnal Bluechip (PP5, Paul MacDonell), Cruise Patrol (PP7, James MacDonald) and Brookdale Sonny (PP8, Sylvain Fillion). The Somebeachsomewhere divisions have been carded as races six and eight. Also on Saturday, the Graduate Series makes a stop at the Campbellville oval. A field of 11 four-year-old trotters will compete in the Graduate Trot, while a group of seven four-year-olds will battle in the Graduate Pace. Each race goes for a purse of $98,250. Local standout Musical Rhythm (PP5, Mario Baillargeon) stars in the Graduate Trot. The Ben Baillargeon trainee had his 11 race win streak snapped in the first leg of the series on May 21 at The Meadowlands. However, the son of Cantab Hall has won 13 of his last 14 starts on the WEG Circuit. The Graduate Trot field also includes Ron Burke trainee Crazy Wow (PP8, Matt Kakaley), a winner of over $1.3 million, and first leg winner Crazshana (PP10, James MacDonald) from the Jeff Bamond barn. The Graduate Pace is headlined by Breeders Crown champion Freaky Feet Pete (PP5, Scott Zeron). The Larry Rheinheimer trainee has won 27 of 31 career starts and will be making his first trip back to Canada since his Crown triumph at Woodbine last October. Freaky Feet Pete, a winner of over $1.2 million, has won three of four starts this season and is entering the Graduate off a third-place finish in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield. The field of seven also includes last year's Adios winner Dudes The Man (PP4, Jody Jamieson). The Howard Okusko Jr. trainee won his season debut Monday afternoon at Vernon Downs in 1:49.4. Dudes The Man hit the board in almost half of his 21 starts last season and earned over $715,000. The Graduate Trot has been carded as the fifth-race, while the Graduate Pace is the evening's ninth-race. The first OSS Gold event of the season at Mohawk will also highlight Saturday's card. A group of 16 sophomore pacing fillies have been split into two $105,000 divisions. Fresh off a victory in the S.B.O.A Stakes, Dr. Ian Moore trainee Good Will Hanover will look to keep her momentum rolling in the first split. O'Brien Award winner L A Delight, who suffered her first loss in 12 starts last Saturday, will look to get back on track in the second division for trainer Bob McIntosh. Not to be overshadowed by all the stakes action, an impressive group of older pacers will square off in the $34,000 Preferred (Race 4). State Treasurer, Nickle Bag, Shamballa and Evenin Of Pleasure are just a few of the notables in the field of nine for the Preferred. Post time for Saturday's stakes-packed card of racing is 7:30 p.m. The program pages (without final changes) for Saturday's card can be accessed by clicking here. Mark McKelvie

Boston Red Rocks may have been given a bit of a scare at the wire, but ended a trend of high-profile beaten harness racing favorites on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, scoring in his 2016 debut in a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. The Steve Elliott trainee, who is pointing toward the Meadowlands Pace, was permitted to set tepid fractions of :28, :56.2 and 1:24.1 while unchallenged. Ideal Rocky, who sat the pocket throughout, stayed with the 1-9 favorite and sprinted home during the final sixteenth to come up just a head short of pulling off the upset. Katies Rocker was third. Boston Red Rocks went the mile in a lifetime-best equaling 1:50.3 with Tim Tetrick in the bike and paid $2.20 to win for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Boston Red Rocks Earlier on the card, chalk players took two big punches to the chin. Maestro Blue Chip stayed perfect in 10 starts this season, winning a division of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters in a lifetime-best 1:51.3. Pinkman, the 2015 Hambletonian champion who was upset a week ago in his first start of the year, tasted defeat for a second straight outing as the 3-5 public choice. Like last week, Pinkman had a clear lead at three-quarters but could not maintain his advantage to the wire, settling for third as Crescent Fashion closed to get the place spot, 1½ lengths behind the winner. Facing by far the stiffest task he's had this year, Maestro Blue Chip was sent off at odds of 30-1 and returned $63.20 to his backers. David Miller drove the Jo Ann Looney-King trainee for owner Richard Poillucci. Maestro Blue Chip Crazshana wins the other $50,000 Graduate Division In a division of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers, another short favorite went down as Confederation Cup winner Rockin Ron lost for the first time in 11 starts this year, coming up a half-length short to Artistic Major, who scored for the team of Elliott and Tetrick in 1:48.1, a lifetime best. After grabbing the early lead, 1-5 shot Rockin Ron was shuffled back after several lead changes and had to overcome a three-hole trip. As Artistic Major was tipping off cover and storming home to victory, Rockin Ron was desperately seeking room to race and did not find a clear path until the sixteenth pole. He had explosive pace from there to get second. Split The House was third. Artistic Major returned $20.40 to win for owners Van Dusen, Cimaglio, Elliott and Patel. Artistic Major THE CLIMB CONTINUES: The 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five once again did not have a single-ticket winner, meaning that the carryover for the next program has now swelled to $231,017.66. ... All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,778,867. ... The Meadowlands is back with live racing Friday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Saturday night's harness racing card at The Meadowlands has a lot to offer. The first leg of the Graduate Series brings Grand Circuit four-year-old trotters and pacers to town and the pacing side of the New Jersey Sires Stakes gets underway, featuring 2015's top freshman Boston Red Rocks in his seasonal debut.   The Graduate trotters were split into a pair of $50,000 divisions with Wings Of Victory, fresh off his lifetime best 1:51.4 win here last week, listed as the morning line choice from the rail in race two. Trainer George Ducharme and owner Ray Campbell, Jr will enlist Corey Callahan to drive their stable star for the first time on Saturday.   Pinkman (PP #3) makes his second seasonal start in division two (race six). Last year's Trotter of the Year got nipped at the wire by Wings Of Royalty after doing the heavy lifting on the front end last Friday. He's been pronounced fit and ready to go off that effort by Yannick Gingras who drives the gelding regularly for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Joyce Mc Clelland and Herb Liverman.   The Graduate pacers, a talented, well-balanced field of nine, assemble for the $75,000 eighth race. Rockin Ron (PP #4) has been perfect since joining the Ron Burke stable late last year. The latest in the line of Indiana invaders to join pacing's upper echelon has strung together eleven straight wins and scored his first Grand Circuit victory in the Confederation Cup last Sunday. Rockin Ron was matched successfully with Gingras for the first time in that outing and the pair shall seek to extend the streak for the ownership group of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stables.   The competition is led by the iron-tough In The Arsenal who will be leaving from the rail for Brett Miller after a useful closing effort in his first start against the best Open pacers last week.   Boston Red Rocks never missed the board in nine starts as a freshman and secured divisional honors with his late season heroics, by winning both the Breeders Crown and Governor's Cup finals. With a pair of impressive qualifiers under his belt, the imposing son of Rocknroll Hanover gets underway from post four in this $25,000 test for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Steve Elliott and Tim Tetrick provide plenty of championship experience as his trainer and driver.   The competition is led by Ideal Rocky, who vanquished the top choice in the NJSS freshman final last year and Katie's Rocker who quietly had a solid season at two and has made a good appearance in both of his morning trials.   The pacing fillies (race five) are led by Blue Moon Stride who will attempt to defend her NJSS tiara, having won last year's final. She faced Grand Circuit types through the balance of her freshman season and has earned more money in her career than her eight opponents combined. Andrew McCarthy has the drive from post position six for trainer Mark Harder and owners Emilio and Maria Rosati of Australia.   Saturday is Preakness Day as well as the scene of the All About Beer Magazine's World Beer Festival, so the place will be "hoppin". Don't miss it.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations    

There is an old adage in harness racing that says “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” Sometimes, though, how you start is how you finish. And in the case of Rockin Ron, how he starts and how he finishes are often fast. Rockin Ron has reeled off 11 consecutive wins since joining the stable of trainer Ron Burke in November. He will try to make it 12 in a row when he faces eight rivals in Saturday’s opening round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old male pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. His most recent victory came in last Sunday’s Confederation Cup, where Rockin Ron defeated 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit by three-quarters of a length in a Canadian-record 1:50.1 mile at Flamboro Downs. As has often been the case during his win streak, Rockin Ron grabbed the lead during the opening quarter-mile and never looked back. It was the eighth consecutive race in which he paced his opening quarter in less than 27 seconds. It also was the second time in his last three starts in which he finished with a final quarter in less than 27 seconds. Since becoming a member of the Burke Brigade, Rockin Ron has been in first place at the first call in eight of his victories. Twice he was in second place and once he was in third. In 19 career triumphs, only twice has Rockin Ron come from further back than third at the halfway point. “A lot of our drivers, when they know a horse has speed like that, they want to use it,” said Mark Weaver, who is among the owners of Rockin Ron. “I don’t blame them. You don’t see horses often leave in 26 and change, come right back to you, and then come home in 26 and change.” Rockin Ron and driver Yannick Gingras will start Saturday’s $75,000 Graduate from post four. The remainder of the field is In The Arsenal, National Seelster, J Eagle Feather, Americanprimetime, Rock N’ Roll World, Split The House, Artistic Major, and My Hero Ron. Rock N’ Roll World and My Hero Ron also are from the Burke stable. “In a perfect world, I wouldn’t mind seeing (Rockin Ron) race from behind this week,” Weaver said. “It’s his first time on a big track in a while; maybe change the tactics. They’re not machines, you have to look after them a little bit. The first start we had him, we raced him out of a hole and he shook loose late and exploded. But who knows what will happen Saturday.” A son of Real Desire out of Im All A Roan, Rockin Ron has won 19 of 40 career races and earned $313,858. He is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and RTC Stables. The group thought they had a deal in place to buy Rockin Ron in early 2015, but the sale fell through. Last year, Rockin Ron won two divisions of the Indiana Sire Stakes and finished fourth in the event’s Super Final, which was won by standout and future Breeders Crown champion Freaky Feet Pete. “We love the Indiana-breds,” Weaver said. “We’ve been a huge fan of the whole program. “The secret is kind of out. When you look now, the best older pacers are Freaky Feet Pete, Wiggle It Jiggleit, Always B Miki, you could throw Rockin Ron in there I think, and they’re all Indiana-breds. I think it’s a great place; I love to try to buy horses and race them there. Rockin Ron looks like he’s another one in that same line. “The horses that race in Indiana, when you take them away from there, they produce. They’re tough. To do what (Rockin Ron) has done is the extreme aspect of that, but maybe he’s the type that likes Ronnie’s training program and likes to be put into the race.” Rockin Ron is staked lightly this season, with the Ben Franklin Pace and Prix d’Ete also on his schedule. “We usually try to take it easy with the 4-year-olds,” said Weaver, who has enjoyed success with past Pacer of the Year Award winners Foiled Again and Sweet Lou. “Midway through the spring we didn’t have him staked at all. I don’t think he was even on our staking list. After one of the races earlier this year at The Meadows, I asked if we might not want to try him in some of the 4-year-old races. I’m glad we did. “That was a pretty big mile (last weekend). We’re anxious to see how he does Saturday and then we’ll go from there. I’d be OK if Rockin Ron stepped up to be our best one, that’s for sure.” Ken Weingartner

The Meadowlands Championship Harness Racing Meet takes flight this weekend with the first leg of both the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for sophomores and the Graduate Series for four-year-olds.   The NJSS (all purses $25,000) trotters race on Friday with Hambletonian winter book favorite Southwind Frank making his debut amid a bulky field of twelve colts (race six) and freshman Breeders Crown winner All The Time coming out in the first of two filly divisions (race two).   Saturday night's card is heavy with talent.   Boston Red Rocks makes his seasonal bow in the NJSS colt pace (race eleven) and Blue Moon Stride is back to defend her NJSS tiara in the filly competition (race five).   The Graduate trot split into a pair of $50,000 divisions with Wings Of Royalty coming in off last week's 1:51.4 upset win in an overnight race leading race two from the rail. 2015 Trotter of the Year Pinkman catches a tough field (race six) that includes Musical Rhythm and Maestro Blue Chip, a duo that had modest sophomore campaigns but have morphed into unbeaten early season sensations. Something's gotta give in what promises to be a slugfest.   Nine pacers were declared for the $75,000 Graduate pace (race eight) with another emerging star in Confederation Cup winner Rockin Ron looking to extend his ten race seasonal unbeaten streak heading up that field.   Saturday is Preakness Day and a large crowd is expected to watch Nyquist attempt to advance to possible Triple Crown winner status. Make your reservations early via The Meadowlands website.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations

When last seen in these parts, Pinkman was exiting the harness racing winner's circle following his 2015 Hambletonian victory. The altered son of Explosive Matter returns to The Meadowlands in the sixth race on Friday, May 13 to face six foes with his sites set squarely on next week's opening leg of the Graduate Series.   Pinkman's 2015 season resulted in his being named as the Dan Patch three-year-old trotter of the year. He danced virtually every dance, winning eleven of seventeen starts including the Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity to go along with the Hambo win while banking over $1.8 million. Leaving from post four tomorrow night, Pinkman comes in off of a pair of conditioning qualifiers for Jimmy Takter who trains him for owners Christina Takter, Jon & Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Yannick Gingras will drive.   Transitioning into the summer meet, all of The Meadowlands outdoor attractions are now open for business including Victory Terrace with its spectacular NYC skyline views and a fashionable bar crowd. Directed toward that demographic is Friday's $50 Spring Handicapping Contest providing an arena for new fans to compete for cash prizes.   The guaranteed horizontal wagers are in place, free program pages for the late Pick-4 are available courtesy of Trackmaster and the last race Hi-5 Super Jackpot stands at $212,593 to open the weekend.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations    

East Rutherford, NJ - As the beginning of the "Championship Meet" on May 7 draws near more of trotting's elite are embarking on their racing season.   The marquee match-up on Friday night at The Meadowlands pits 2015 Trotter of the Year JL Cruze against multiple Dan Patch award winning mare Shake It Cerry in a $25,000 Open Handicap trot. These two finished just a nose apart in a 1:49.4 world and track record in last season's Graduate Final over this same mile oval nine months ago.   Shake It Cerry is making her first start of the year off a winning 1:55 qualifier last week. The champion daughter of Donato Hanover is closing in on $2.5 million in career earnings for owner Solveig's Racing Partners and trainer Jimmy Takter. She finished 2015 strong with a convincing win over top mares in the $200,000 TVG FFA Championship final for David Miller, who will drive on Friday.   JL Cruze returned in good form following his winter hiatus and has won both of his 2016 outings including a 1:53 score here two weeks ago. It was a Cinderella season in 2015 for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Jr and Steve Iaquinta who got way more than they bargained for when trainer Eric Ell brought JL Cruze home from the Harrisburg mixed sale for $30,000. He'll again be driven by John Campbell, who played a large role in the many successes of last year. Both trotters are preparing for the inaugural edition of the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff scheduled for a special Mother's Day matinee card on May 8.   The Meadowlands will be giving away tickets to the Monster Jam in Mat Life stadium later this month and you can enter to win a Kentucky Derby trip as well.   It was announced yesterday registration is now open for the "Championship Meet Survivor Challenge". Top prize is $2,000 and a seat in the 2017 World Harness Handicapping Challenge.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

After winning the Graduate Series for harness racing 4-year-old pacers, Doo Wop Hanover will try to move to the head of the class in Saturday's $430,600 William R. Haughton Memorial at Meadowlands Racetrack. Doo Wop Hanover goes to the Haughton - where there is no restriction on age - with a four-race win streak after sweeping three preliminary divisions and the final of the Graduate. He has won six of 10 races overall this season and earned $254,020 for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. He will start the Haughton from post No. 5 with John Campbell driving for trainer Steve Elliott and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The nine-horse Haughton field also includes Ben Franklin Pace winner Luck Be Withyou, Molson Pace champion State Treasurer, last season's North America Cup winner JK Endofanera, and harness racing's all-time richest horse Foiled Again. Doo Wop Hanover is among four 4-year-olds - along with Luck Be Withyou, JK Endofanera, and Lyonssomewhere - in the Haughton. "He's learned how to race," Elliott said about Doo Wop Hanover, who has won 12 of 39 lifetime starts and earned $561,327. "He's more controllable this year. Now he'll sit outside and ride instead of trying to run off with you. He's bigger and stronger. He's just a nice horse." The Haughton will be Doo Wop Hanover's second stakes-level test against older horses this year. He finished third, beaten by a nose, in a round of the TVG Free For All Pacing Series in May. The race was won by JK Endofanera. "Anytime you can race 4-year-olds against 4-year-olds, you're racing good horses, but they're all pretty equal," Elliott said. "The older horses can throw four :26 quarters at you like it's nothing. Three-year-olds, there are a few that can, but most of them have to have a :27 quarter somewhere. "I think it's beneficial that they have the 4-year-old races. It allowed the horses to grow into themselves. That 3- to 4-year-old transition, where they had to race against all the older horses, it didn't get much tougher than that. If you could pick your spot and get a trip, it was OK, but week in and week out it's very tough. You have to go against the likes of Foiled Again and those kinds of horses, they're just flat-out iron horses. And there are a lot of good horses out there now." Luck Be Withyou is the 3-1 second choice in the Haughton, where he will start from post nine with Brian Sears driving for trainer Chris Oakes. State Treasurer, starting from post eight with David Miller at the lines for Ian Moore, is 7-2 on the morning line. Doo Wop Hanover is not the only Graduate Series champion looking to keep a win streak alive on Saturday. JL Cruze, who won the Graduate's trotting edition with a world-record 1:49.4 triumph last weekend, is the 3-5 favorite in the $443,300 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters. It was JL Cruze's 11th consecutive victory and gave the gelding 15 wins in 17 starts this season. Campbell will drive JL Cruze from post six for trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta. The connections paid $50,000 to supplement JL Cruze to the Hambletonian Maturity. The six-horse Hambletonian Maturity will be contested at 1-1/8 miles. The remainder of the field, in post order, is Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry, Resolve, Gural Hanover, and Il Sogno Dream. JL Cruze raced through the winter and spring, captured four series championships -- the Super Bowl, Singer Memorial, Shiaway St Pat and Weiss - prior to the Graduate. He posted three wins over Father Patrick in the Graduate Series, edged 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry by a nose with his world-record effort in the final, and also holds a victory over world champion Sebastian K. "He's more than surprised us," Dittmar said about JL Cruze, who was purchased by the group for $37,000 at November's Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale. "We thought he would be very competitive in the winter series, getting into the Graduate Series we just hoped he could get some checks. But the more he raced, the better he got. It's just a dream come true." The 1:49.4 mile last weekend was the first sub-1:50 win by a trotter on a mile racetrack in harness racing history. The only faster victories on any sized track anywhere were Sebastian K's 1:49 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono last year and Enough Talk's 1:49.3 at Colonial Downs in 2008. "When you see 1:49.4 come up (on the timer) for the first time ever at the Meadowlands, I've been in this business for 30-some years, and it's just crazy," Dittmar said. "How else can you explain it? When you think of all the great trotters that have raced at this track, to see us come up here and do 1:49.4 is just absolutely amazing." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

Doo Wop Hanover made it a harness racing series sweep, winning the $250,000 Graduate Final in 1:48, but he had to work very hard to get to the winner's circle on Friday night at The Meadowlands. The pace was frantic and frenzied early in the mile as Lyonssomewhere and Andy Miller were intent on the lead, parking out Bushwacker around the first turn. That speed duel resulted in a wild 25.2 first quarter. There was a chasm of nearly six lengths back to Rockeyed Optimist in fourth, who then had to make up that ground and commit first over, which enabled Doo Wop Hanover to track his cover from the half-mile pole onward. Lyonssomewhere led the field past three quarters in 1:21, with Rockeyed Optimist stalled first over and Doo Wop Hanover forced to fan three-wide at the three quarter pole. In the meantime, Limelight Beach was lurking in the pocket as the field turned for home. Lyonssomewhere refused to yield ground as he continued to lead through the stretch, John Campbell got to work on Doo Wop Hanover and he was gathering momentum down the center of the track, but Lyonssomewhere just wasn't giving up. Finally, in the shadow of the wire, Doo Wop Hanover was able to reel in the pace-setter and score the series sweep getting up by a head over Lyonssomewhere who was very game in defeat to finish second, with All Bets Off a rallying third. Doo Wop Hanover is trained by Steve Elliot and owned by Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Blood confirmed that son of Rocknroll Hanover will make his next start in the William Haughton Memorial, with eliminations (if necessary) to be held on Saturday, July 11th and the Final on Meadowlands Pace Night, Saturday, July 18th. The victory was the twelfth in the career of Doo Wop Hanover, who now has earnings beyond $566,000. Doo Wop Hanover New Jersey Sire Stakes action kicked off the Friday program with a $25,000 division for the two year old filly pacers and the first division featured plenty of action. In fact, there were no less than five lead changes throughout the mile. The first to the lead was Show Time Hill, as she flashed the most speed off the gate, but Sonoma Valley paced on through the first quarter and she cleared the lead past the opening quarter in 28.2. That lead was short-lived, as Show Time Hill pulled the pocket as soon as the fillies straightened up on the backstretch and would lead again between calls because the 9/5 favorite Blue Moon Stride launched a backside brush to the lead and would clear that lead before the half-mile in 57.4. The race favorite then faced immediate pressure from Rock My Girl, who surged past the favorite as the field moved into the far turn and she glided past three-quarters in 1:26.2. before turning for home in full command. Blue Moon Stride briefly pulled from the pocket with hopes of catching Rock My Girl, but all she could do is chase that filly home as Rock My Girl powered home in 27.1 to win in style in 1:53.3. Rock My Girl, a $20,000 Lexington-Select yearling, is a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and is the first foal out of the dam My Girl's A Star (Art Major). She is owned by West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella and Ron Broadstone and trained by Casie Coleman. John Campbell guided the filly to victory. Rock My Girl In the first $20,000 Two Year Old Colt Trot, Southwind Frank was bet down like an international good thing and the punters were right, although they had to survive a real scare. Released as the 1/2 prohibitive choice, Southwind Frank went right to the lead and was able to roll through tepid fractions of 30, 1:00.3 and 1:30 with Brooklyn Hill, a $390,000 Harrisburg yearling on his back throughout the mile. While Southwind Frank seemed to be rolling right a long, Dave Miller pulled the pocket midway on the far turn with Brooklyn Hill and from there the race was on as the pair of freshman trotters kicked away from the field and stormed through a 26.3 final quarter with only a neck separating the two on the wire, with Southwind Frank holding on. Both trotters showed an amazing turn of foot and the future for both looks bright. Southwind Frank was a $100,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington-Select Sale. He is a son of Muscle Hill out of Flawless Lindy (Cantab Hall). This is that mares first foal. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Our Hrs Cents Stables and J & T Silva Stables and trained by Ron Burke. The winner driver was Yannick Gingras. Southwind Frank The second division for the two year old trotting colts featured another short-priced favorite for Ron Burke in Southwind Flash. But he would have his hands full with Jack Vernon, a well-bred colt for Randy Beeckman. It would be Jack Vernon who dictated the terms. In fact, he led at every point of call into the stretch, wheeling off fractions of 28.4, 1:00 and 1:30.1, before facing the challenge of Southwind Flash who pulled the pocket as the field approached the top of the stretch. But, Jack Vernon had plenty left in the tank and trotted home in 27.1. while fending off the favorite to win in 1:57.2. Not to be out-done, Dominion Beach, the son of Hambletonian Oaks winner Windylane Hanover, who watched all the action early, trotted home quite well, showing rapid acceleration and rallied past Southwind Flash late to steal second money. Jack Vernon is by Muscle Hill out of Vernon Blue Chip (Sir Taurus). The win was the second in Sire Stakes action for John Campbell. Jack Vernon is a kin to New Jersey Sire Stakes Champion, Blue Mac Lad, trained by Randy Beeckman for Miller's Stable who purchased the talented colt at the Lexington-Select sale for $50,000. Jack Vernon The two year old colt pace drew 10 freshman pacers in one division for $25,000. Ideal Rocky was sent off as the 4/5 favorite, but she was green behind the gate, which cost her ground early on. There was not much early speed off the gate, which enabled longshot Rock N Roll Style to take the field to the opening quarter from the pole in 28.3. Rock Power was moved early to secure position and led between calls as Boston Red Rocks powered up and took the lead before the half-mile in 57.3 and would never look back, leading the field past three-quarters in 1:26.2 before pulling away in the stretch to win impressively in 1:53.2. The win was the third on the card for John Campbell, all in Sire Stakes action. Boston Red Rocks is by Rocknroll Hanover out of McGibson (McArdle). He is trained by none other than Steve Elliot, who is having a sensational season and ownerd by Richard Berks, who purchased the colt at Harrisburg last year for $50,000. Boston Red Rocks The two year old filly trotters were split into two $20,000 divisions. All The Time was released as the 3/5 favorite in the first split, but she was never in contention for the win, but the opposite was the case for her stablemate, Hollywood Hill. That filly was allowed to coast along first over while Silvia reach the opening quarter in 29.1, but Hollywood Hill quickly took over as the field reached the backstretch. From there, trainer and driver Jimmy Takter put the whip on his filly's tale and she responded past the half-mile in 59 seconds. The leading margin only expanded from there as Hollywood Hill found herself four lengths clear as she trotted past three-quarters in 1:27.4. Her lead proved to be insurmountable as she coasted through the stretch to win emphatically in 1:56.2. Southwind Adele rallied to finish second as Silvia faded to third. Hollywood Hill is by Muscle Hill, out of the marvelous mare, Lantern Kronos (Viking Kronos), making her a half-sister the Hambletonian contender The Bank. She is owned by Goran Falk and was trained and driven by Jimmy Takter. Hollywood Hill The second division saw speed from the far outside as Dream Child made the lead from post 10 and was able to do so through moderate fractions. The Muscle Hill filly spun through fractions of 28.3, 59.1 and 1:29.2, while going unchallenged. Race favorite Gifted Lady was allowed to settle just off the pace in third and Takter bided his time with his filly, before pulling her as the field circled the far turn. He steadily gained on the leader and was able to edge away late for a popular victory as the 6/5 choice in 1:57.4. Gifted Lady is by Muscle Hill out of Alix Hall (Conway Hall). She is a half-sister to Flex The Muscle and was driven by her trainer Jimmy Takter for owner and breeders Silver Linden Farms. Gifted Lady Both Jackpots in the Super Hi-5 went unclaimed, with the fifth race carryover now standing at $173,354 and the last race carryover growing to $157,586. Total handle for the Friday program yielded a 16-percent increase over 2014, with on-track handle up a staggering 46-percent. The large crowd remained after the races for a Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular. Post time for the 13-race Saturday program is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

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