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Trenton, NJ — A major aspect of Frank Sinatra’s famed legacy is how he nearly died at birth, won a fierce battle for his life and continued to scrap all the way through a legendary singing/acting career. Lather Up seems to be taking the same journey, only with four legs. He was nearly a breech birth before being saved by Kevin Switzer, Brenda Teague and Switzer’s wife, Denise McNitt. Ever since, he has been battling his way to success, much like Ol’ Blue Eyes. “What did he sing, ‘I Did It My Way?’” Lather Up’s co-owner Gary Iles asked. “Maybe Lather is doing the same thing. He’s doing it his way.” And what a way it is. After struggling through another near-death situation as a 2-year-old, Gary and Barbara Iles’ homebred son of stallion I'm Gorgeous out of their homebred mare Pocket Comb has been recording some real chart toppers. This past Saturday, across the bridge from New York, New York in Sinatra’s home state of New Jersey, the 4-year-old stallion won the $250,000 Graduate Series final at The Meadowlands by equaling the all-time mile record of 1:46. Always B Miki set the mark at age 5 at Red Mile three years ago. He also broke the previous 4-year-old pacer mark of 1:46.4, previously shared by Warrawee Needy and Dr J Hanover. It is a heck of a way for Lather Up, trained by Clyde Francis of the George Teague Jr. Stable and driven by Montrell Teague, to head into Saturday’s (July 13) $423,000 William R. Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands. “I just couldn’t believe the fractions when they were coming up,” Iles said. “Especially (1):19.1 coming home. I must say I had so much confidence when I saw him tip out (from second place). He just comes home like a freight train. I thought ‘Well, we’re going to be close or we’re going to win this thing.’ “You never know what’s going to happen, anything can happen. But it was really exciting. It didn’t sink in about the (1):46 until I was talking to someone later and he was telling me what had transpired. You try to hear it over the loudspeaker sometimes, and everybody is screaming down the stretch, it’s pretty hard to understand what they were saying. It was quite a surprise. We’ve been blessed, there’s no doubt about it.” Some might say they were cursed as recently as two years ago. After surviving his harrowing entry into life, Lather Up won three times on the Ohio Sires Stakes circuit and was prepping for the series championship. But a near-fatal reaction to antibiotics sent the horse to the New Bolton Center in another dire circumstance. “That was probably the most heart-pumping situation we were in,” Iles said. “George (Teague) told me not to worry about it, and New Bolton told me if he makes it through the night, he might have a chance. I said, ‘Oh Lord,’ but it worked out, he came out of it, but it ended his 2-year-old career.” Hopefully, it ended his health woes as well. Lather Up returned with a vengeance as a 3-year-old, winning his first three races while setting a track-record of 1:50 in a division of the Ohio Sires Stakes at Miami Valley Raceway. He finished the season with 11 wins in 18 races and $893,512 after conquering some steering issues. His victories included the North America Cup and Ohio Sires Stakes championship. Lather Up and Montrell Teague winning the 2018 Pepsi North America Cup “We basically changed the bit and it made a big difference in him; a very big difference,” Iles said. “That was basically it.” This year, there have been some problems with breaks, but that hasn’t stopped Lather Up from taking five firsts and one third in eight starts. “We’re not sure exactly what’s causing it,” Iles said. “It’s something that just throws him off. Sometimes it’s hard to figure these things out, but that’s been our only problem with him. Every time you do a little bit more, you try to pinpoint it and see exactly what the problem is.” The owner will be hoping for a problem-free trip Saturday in the 12-horse, 1-1/8 mile Haughton. The field includes 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked, the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Lather Up is 3-1. Iles is happy with drawing the five post and has no concern about the race’s added distance. “That’s the least of our worries,” he said. “He was in a 12-horse field for the first leg of the Graduate (at the 1-1/8 mile distance) and he saw the tape and stormed home. He had to come across the track to come home and he handled it very well.” So, what’s the most of his worries? “You just hope nothing goes wrong, and you don’t have to stack him up somewhere and get him caught in a situation where he might make a break,” Iles said. “We don’t think so, but it’s happened in the past and hopefully it won’t happen here. We’re realistic.” He is also optimistic. Iles praised the field of horses, noting that when Lather Up made his record-setting run he “was only two ticks faster than the other group of two or three in there. This is some super racing and there are some super horses. You have to give them their due.” That said, he still feels Lather up has as good a shot as any of them to win the race. “Absolutely,” Iles said. “We’re trying to get the breaks straightened out, it’s frustrating. George has been telling me for two years, this horse can go in (1):46, I’ve never had a horse that’s ever been this fast, but you have to control their head and whatever else is going on with them. “But George would tell you he’s maturing. We’re starting to get a few things worked out, the things you thought were wrong, you’ve already discarded them moving forward so I think we are moving in the right direction. We’re very, very happy. He trained super (on Wednesday). Hopefully this can carry through until Saturday. You just cross your fingers and see what happens.” After all the obstacles Lather Up has faced in his young life, the fact he is headed in any direction at all is impressive. It’s no surprise Iles has a special spot in his heart for the horse. “I don’t know how you could not,” he said. “After everything that has happened to him, after those problems, he’s just been a real delight. The chance of having another horse like this in your lifetime is probably so small.” Sinatra’s parents probably said the same thing once he made it big. Saturday’s 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old male and female trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday’s complete entries, click here. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

East Rutherford, NJ -- It appeared Lather Up barely broke a sweat as he paced his way into the harness racing history books with a 1:46 mile on Saturday evening (July 6) at The Meadowlands en route to his 20th career victory in the $250,000 Graduate final for 4-year-old pacers. Only Always B Miki, at age five in 2016 at Red Mile, has ever stopped the clock as swiftly. The mile also broke the previous mark of 1:46.4 for a 4-year-old pacer, held jointly by stallion Warrawee Needy in 2013 at The Meadowlands and gelding Dr J Hanover in 2017 at Mohawk. Steered by Montrell Teague, the son of I'm Gorgeous-Pocket Comb enjoyed the perfect pocket journey behind Indiana champion Always A Prince (Brian Sears). That rival established torrid fractions of :25.3, :52 and 1:19.1 prior to being overhauled by Lather Up. The winner defeated a hard closing This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) by 2-1/4 lengths and Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) to procure his record-setting triumph. After his early efforts, Always A Prince held gamely for fourth. Owned by his breeders, Gary and Barbara Iles, Lather Up is conditioned by Clyde Francis. He entered this contest after a costly break at the half-mile pole in the $500,000 Ben Franklin final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on June 29 caused him to finish ninth. "I knew we were going to go a crazy mile," said Montrell Teague. "When I popped the pocket and my horse just sprinted I knew we were in a very good position. He throws in a couple bad races here and there but we showed how good he really is tonight. "It's monumental; it's amazing. Wiggles (2015 Horse of the Year and Teague standout Wiggle It Jiggleit) never did anything like that, but hats off to how good Lather Up really is." "George (Teague) has always told me this horse is capable of a (1):46 mile," said Gary Iles. "He's been telling me that for the last two years. We have had some bad goes but he has said he really is that good. Of course, now we know he is. I saw those fractions coming up and I saw Montrell and knew where he was sitting and was very confident it was going to be a win." Lather Up has now amassed more than $1.18 million from 33 lifetime trips to the gate and sports a record of 8-5-0-1 for the season. He paid $14 to win as the third choice in the wagering, while This Is The Plan paid $6.40 to place. Backstreet Shadow was $6.60 to show. By Kimberly French, Hoof Beats Editor  

 East Rutherford, NJ -- Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) took the overland route to claim a world record triumph in 1:49.1 in the $250,000 Graduate final for harness racing 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands on Saturday (July 6). The daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip exploded in the lane to defeat world champion Six Pack (Ãke Svenstadt) and Indiana champion Custom Cantab (David Miller) at the wire. The time of 1:49.1 was the fastest ever for a trotting mare, besting the 1:49.2 mark put up in 2017 by Hannelore Hanover at Red Mile. It was also the fastest trotting mile ever at The Meadowlands. Leaving from post position four Atlanta was unhurried as Manchego (Dexter Dunn) led the field of 10 through a swift opening quarter-mile of :26.2. That mare was overtaken by a first-over Six Pack shortly after that marker. Six Pack posted fractions of :54.1 and 1:22 as the field turned for home. Driven confidently by Gingras, Atlanta commenced her march on the outside from third place at the top of the stretch to best Six Pack by a neck in a cavalry charge to the finish line. "I can't say I was not worried turning for home," said Gingras. "His horse (Svanstedt with Six Pack) kicked clear and I know he's a tremendous horse too but this mare is just unreal. She just kept on digging. "Honestly I thought I was a winner at the eighth pole but his horse (Svanstedt's) just kept on fighting and at that point I wasn't so sure. When I tipped her off cover I really thought I was going to get him a little easier than I did but at the end of the day it was two great horses going at it and we came out on top." Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, the 4-year-old mare is trained by Ron Burke. The 2018 Hambletonian winner now has earned more than $1.48 million in her career and is a perfect six-for-six in her 2019 campaign. Atlanta paid $2.60 to win as the 3-10 public choice. Six Pack paid $4.20 to place, while Custom Cantab provided her supporters with $7.40 to show. By Kimberly French, Hoof Beats Editor

Hightstown, NJ — Fiftydallarbill was a Breeders Crown harness racing champion at age 2 in 2017, but with most of his success coming at Indiana’s Hoosier Park, he still entered this year as a bit of an unknown as a Grand Circuit regular. But after equaling the fastest trotting mile of the season in his most recent race, the stallion could continue to enhance his recognition factor with another strong performance in Saturday’s (July 6) $250,000 Frank Zanzuccki Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands Racetrack. “He’s starting to make people pay attention to him a little bit,” owner John Barnard said. “He’s had a couple pretty big races, so people are giving him more respect, more attention, than when he was just in Indiana. When you trot in 1:50.2, you get a little more press.” Fiftydallarbill won his final preliminary round appearance in the Graduate Series on June 21 in 1:50.2 at The Meadowlands, beating Dan Patch Award winner Six Pack by a neck. In two earlier legs, he finished second to Crystal Fashion at Tioga Downs and second to Six Pack at the Big M. Between those starts, Fiftydallbill was third behind Guardian Angel As and Pinkman in the Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah’s Philadelphia. For the season, he has won three races and hit the board a total of seven times in eight starts. “I was really happy with his performance in the last (preliminary) leg of the Graduate,” Barnard said. “He’s shown he can compete with the best in the world. And the 4-year-olds are as tough as open company. I don’t have to go very far looking for competition, it’s right there. They’re not giving away any money. You’ve got to earn it.” Fiftydallarbill, a son of Swan For All out of CR Dixie Chick, has done his share of earning it. For his career, he has won 18 of 42 starts and banked $920,450. Prior to this year, all but one of his career victories came at Hoosier Park, including his Breeders Crown triumph and a 2018 Indiana Sire Stakes championship. Now, he is aiming to extend his success to racetracks across North America. The stallion is eligible to a number of Grand Circuit events including the Hambletonian Maturity, John Cashman Memorial, Spirit of Massachusetts, Maple Leaf Trot, Breeders Crown, and TVG Championship. “He’s been a great horse since he was 2,” Barnard said. “I knew he was something special probably three months before his race at Hoosier where he won the Breeders Crown. I went on the record with some people telling them that I thought he was a special horse and he was going to surprise people. “He gives you a total effort every time he goes on the racetrack. You can’t ask for any more than that. We’re having fun with him. He’s a great horse to be around. He’s got a great attitude and a great personality. He wants to go out every week and race. He loves to race, he loves the competition, and he loves what he does. To me, he’s turned out to be a warhorse. He’s shown a lot of heart.” Fiftydallarbill will start the Graduate final from post three with Corey Callahan in the sulky for trainer Katricia Adams. The 10-horse field also includes returning Trotter of the Year Atlanta, who is undefeated in five races this season, Six Pack, and millionaires Crystal Fashion and Manchego. “I don’t know how good (Fiftydallarbill) is yet,” Barnard said. “I guess we’re going to find out. I just want him to have the opportunity. I just want him to be in a position to win every week and then what happens, happens. That’s what horse racing is all about.” Saturday’s card also includes the $250,000 Dennis Drazin Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers, featuring Ben Franklin Pace winner This Is The Plan along with O’Brien Award winner Jimmy Freight and millionaires Courtly Choice and Lather Up. In addition, there will be two eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). It is Fan Appreciation Night and fireworks will follow the races. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

East Rutherford, NJ - The Graduate Series has reached its conclusion so far as the harness racing preliminary legs with the last of those raced on Friday night at The Meadowlands with Always A Prince and The Downtown Bus the winners.   The series, restricted to 4-year-old pacers and trotters, began in early May and after four legs for both gaits the top 10 in the standings that declare will race in the $250,000e finals on Saturday, July 6.   July 6 also features Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace eliminations as well as being fan appreciation night with a special post time of 6:30 pm.   The conditions for Graduate final require that the horses start in a minimum of 50% (two of four) of the legs to be assured a place on the gate for the final. If fewer than 10 horses that meet that stipulation declare for the final, then those horses with starts in fewer than 50% of the legs would be eligible to draw in.     The final standings are attached here and will be available on the Meadowlands website.    

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Atlanta and Fiftydallarbill were the impressive winners of the fourth and final leg of the Graduate Series for harness racing 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Friday night. The finals for both pacers and trotters take place on July 6 at the Big M. Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner who trotted the fastest mile in Canadian harness racing history a week ago with a 1:50.2 clocking in the Armbro Flight, opted to come from off the pace in her Graduate division. The daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip picked up live cover from Muscle M Up down the backstretch after racing eighth and last to the opening quarter, tipped with an eighth of a mile to go, and stormed past the field to score by 1¼ lengths over a fast-closing Plunge Blue Chip. Crystal Fashion was third. "I kind of wanted to race her off a helmet tonight," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "I wanted to see what she would do. I was confident. There was never an anxious moment." Atlanta, who is trained by Ron Burke, trotted the mile in 1:50.4 and returned $2.40 to her backers as the 1-5 public choice while staying perfect in five 2019 starts. In the other Graduate division, Fiftydallarbill worked out a perfect pocket trip behind even-money favorite Six Pack and charged by his rival nearing the wire to record a neck victory. Phaetosive was third. Driver Corey Callahan likely won the race during the initial quarter, extending Six Pack through an opening split of :27.4. "I was trying to make him work a little bit into that first turn," said Callahan. In mid-stretch, Callahan tipped the son of Swan For All-CR Dixie Chick out of the pocket with an eighth to go and wore down Six Pack to record his 18th lifetime win in 42 starts. "I thought we were going to get by," said Callahan, who was fortunate to pick up this drive. "I really lucked out. He's gone through a couple of drivers but I really didn't have a horse for this class, so it worked out well for me." Fiftydallarbill paid $8.00 as the second choice in the wagering for trainer Katricia Adams. His final clocking of 1:50.2 equaled Greenshoe (May 31) and Atlanta (last Saturday) for the fastest trotting mile of the year in the spot. A LITTLE MORE: Caviart Ally was no doubt glad to not have to face Shartin N (whom she went up against in each of her last three starts) and took it out on her foes in the third leg of the Rainbow Blue Series, stopping the clock in a lifetime-best equaling 1:48.3 while 1¾ lengths in front of Apple Bottom Jeans. The Brett Pelling trainee, who was driven by Andy McCarthy, returned $3.40 as the 3-5 favorite. ... Speaking of favorites, eight visited victory lane during the course of the 13-race card. ... One sharp player wagering into the Twin Spires hub had the only ticket to survive six legs of the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $8,960. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $115,221. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,337,789. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

With a returning Dan Patch Award winner (Six Pack) and multiple world-record-holder (Plunge Blue Chip) among his 4-year-old trotters, it's no surprise to find harness racing trainer Ake Svanstedt with a horse tied for the points lead after three rounds of the Graduate Series. Except for the surprise. The horse is Muscle M Up. "He's a surprise. He's surprised me," Svanstedt said with a laugh about the 4-year-old stallion, who has a win and a second in his two Graduate starts. "When he came to me, he did not train so good before he qualified. But when he qualified, he was a different horse. He was a real racehorse. He wants to race. He has a good heart, very good heart." Muscle M Up has won three of four races overall this season, earning $54,000. The stallion was purchased by Knutsson Trotting Inc. at last fall's Standardbred Mixed Sale for $65,000 after campaigning for breeder-owner Fashion Farms and trainer Jim Campbell. As a 2-year-old, Muscle M Up won two of three races including a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. He was limited to eight starts, winning two, at age 3. "I talked with Jim Campbell and he said he had a lot of problems when he was young," Svanstedt said. "Maybe he is older now and stronger. I think the time has helped. He feels like a good horse." Muscle M Up, a son of Muscle Hill out of stakes-winner Fashion Athena, won his first Graduate start in a career-best 1:51.2 on May 18 at The Meadowlands. On June 9, he finished second to mare Custom Cantab in a Graduate division at Tioga Downs. Custom Cantab and gelding Crystal Fashion are tied with Muscle M Up with 60 points apiece in the series. On Friday, Muscle M Up competes in the first of two $50,000 final preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands. He faces a challenging task, meeting a field that includes newly minted Canadian record holder Atlanta, Crystal Fashion, Custom Cantab, Plunge Blue Chip, and 2017 Dan Patch Award winner Manchego. Atlanta, the 2018 Trotter of the Year, is unbeaten in four races this season and heads to Friday's start off a 1:50.2 win in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Ron Burke-trained mare is the even-money favorite on the morning line. "This is a tougher race for him, but I think he can do a good race," Svanstedt said about Muscle M Up, who will have Andy Miller in the sulky because Svanstedt will drive mare Plunge Blue Chip. "I think he is going to race good." Plunge Blue Chip finished second to Atlanta in her elimination for the Armbro Flight Stakes but got sick the day after the race and was scratched from the final. She shares the world records for 3-year-old filly trotters on a half-mile track (1:53.1) and mile track (1:49.4). Plunge Blue Chip (Curtis Salonick Photo) "She grew a lot during the winter," Svanstedt said about the mare, who has won 17 of 27 career races and earned $1.01 million. "She is bigger and taller. She is a bigger horse. She did not grow so much between (ages) 2 and 3, but this winter she grew a lot. I'm excited to see what she can do this summer. "There are some tough horses, but she raced (1):49.4 two times last year, so she's not so bad either. She trained a lot of miles but not so fast before she qualified, so every race is going to move her forward." Svanstedt expects the same from Six Pack, improvement in every start. Six Pack, who last season became the fastest 3-year-old trotter in history (1:49.1) on his way to Dan Patch honors, is in the second Graduate division, where he is the 2-1 morning-line favorite over Fiftydallarbill (5-2) and Phaetosive (4-1). Six Pack, a stallion who has won 16 of 25 career starts and $1.38 million, captured his Graduate debut at the Big M before finishing third behind Crystal Fashion and Fiftydallarbill at Tioga. The $250,000 Graduate Series finals for trotters and pacers are July 6 at The Meadowlands. Friday's card at the Big M also includes the third round of the Rainbow Blue Series for female pacers. Caviart Ally is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a field of six going for a purse of $40,000. Caviart Ally won the May 18 leg of the Rainbow Blue and enters Friday's race off a third-place finish in the Roses Are Red Stakes. Kissin In The Sand, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old filly pacer, is the 2-1 second choice. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Friday. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

MILTON, June 1, 2019 - The harness racing stars were out Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Somebeachsomewhere and Graduate Series. A group of 16 three-year-old pacers, 13 of them eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup, were split into two $80,000 Somebeachsomewhere divisions. The Graduate Series for four-year-olds saw a pair of $99,000 dashes contested with an overflow field of 12 in the pacing division and a field 10 in the trotting division. Rain came down on the Milton oval in the hours leading up to Saturday's card. The track was listed as 'Good' with a one-second variant. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Century Farroh remained undefeated in 2019 with a 1:52.4 score in the opening Somebeachsomewhere division. The son of Mach Three was sent off as the 1/9 favourite, circled to the top for driver Sylvain Filion from the deuce entering the backstretch and never looked back. Century Farroh posted fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.2 to lead by a length and a half entering the homestretch. Caviart Rockland was the only threat for the heavy-favourite in the lane, as driver Scott Zeron had the Nancy Johansson trainee in a perfect second-over spot. In the stretch, Century Farroh's lead proved to be too much for his rival, as he paced a final-quarter for the victory. Caviart Rockland ran out of real estate and finished a hard-closing second by a neck. Better Up finished third, while Captain Trevor was fourth. Century Farroh now has back-to-back stakes scores after winning an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division last week. The Moore trainee avoided some notable competitors last week and once again landed in the division with less star power. "Any time a horse wins it boosts their confidence and morale pretty good, so it's just going to make him better and stronger," said Moore. "It's kind of neat how it worked out for us that a couple of times we drawn what appeared to be the easier division on paper, we'll let the other guys battle tonight and sooner or later we'll hook up with them. Century Farroh is now four for four with $$112,400 earned this season for owner Ratchford Stable NS. The Mach Three colt was last season's Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots champion and won four of 10 starts, earning $66,733. Dr. Moore did indicate that Century Farroh will now head to next week's Pepsi North America Cup eliminations. Century Farroh Century Farroh Tyga Hanover pulled off a 19-1 upset in the second division by prevailing in a thrilling stretch battle. Also driven by Filion, Tyga Hanover started strong by cutting out a :27.1 opening-quarter. Best In Show circled from second to first and led the field through middle-half fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.2. Stag Party came first-up on the far turn and was pressuring Best In Show turning for home. In the stretch, Stag Party took a short lead while Best In Show continued to battle at the rail. Filion slipped Tyga Hanover to the far outside and the Baillargeon trainee powered up in deep stretch to win by a length. Best In Show came back at the rail for second, while Stag Party tired late to finish third. "We knew he had the speed, but it's different having the speed and racing against tough horses," said Baillargeon, who will now send Tyga Hanover to the Pepsi North America Cup. "If he would've raced good we would go. He raced more than good, so we will definitely go." Owned by Tom & Elizabeth Rankin and Glen Rankin, Tyga Hanover now has three wins in four starts this season after going winless in six starts as a rookie. The Baillargeon Somebeachsomewhere trainee has now earned $68,530 in 10 career starts. A $2 win ticket on Tyga Hanover returned $41.70. Tyga Hanover Tyga Hanover Atlanta made a triumphant return to Mohawk Park by cruising to a 1:53 victory in the Graduate Series. Driver Yannick Gingras moved the Hambletonian champion from third to first in the second-quarter and trotted away to a comfortable two and a half lengths score. Trained by Ron Burke, Atlanta trotted a :27.3 final-quarter to collect her second win in as many starts this season and 14th overall. The award-winning daughter of Chapter Seven has earned $99,500 this season for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor. Atlanta, who has earned $1.2 million during her career, returned $2.50 to win. Atlanta Atlanta Lather Up continued his Mohawk Park dominance by shooting through in the lane to win the Graduate Series pace in 1:50.1. Early action saw Jimmy Freight quickly move from third to the top going into the first turn, racing by a :27.1 opening-quarter beside The Downtown Bus. Jimmy Freight led to the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:23.2. Dorsoduro Hanover was first-up at the leader's wheel on the far turn. Lather Up was placed second-over by driver Jody Jamieson, but was gapping the cover and was a little more than three-lengths from the lead turning for home. In the stretch, Jimmy Freight attempted to seal the deal and held the lead into deep stretch. Lather Up find his best stride with an eighth of a mile to go and stormed towards the lead with follower Thinkbig Dreambig right alongside pacing strong. Lather Up hit the wire first to win by a head over Thinkbig Dreambig. Jimmy Freight held third over a rallying American History. "I was a little worried when they got a half in :56 and we were sitting there fifth and I knew the guys at the front were going to be sprinting the whole way," said trainer Clyde Franics. "I didn't know if he would catch them or not, but he's got a lot of guts. "I think he can go with just about any horse out there if he behaves himself. That's the problem and is the only thing that worries me more than anything" A homebred for Gary & Barbara Iles, Lather Up is now six for six in starts at Mohawk Park. The son of Im Gorgeous improved his record to three wins in four starts this season. Lather Up is now an 18-time winner and his career earnings are approaching $1.2 million. He paid $4.10 to win. Lather Up Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Over the previous 30 years, there were six times when the three richest 3-year-old harness racing pacers from a season returned to race at age 4. Only once since 1995, though, did it occur when all three of those horses were male. But it will happen a second time Saturday (May 4) when Dorsoduro Hanover, Courtly Choice, and Lather Up make their 4-year-old debuts in the opening round of the Graduate Series at The Meadowlands. Dan Patch Award-winner Dorsoduro Hanover, who was the top money-winner among 3-year-old pacers in 2018 with $1.28 million, and North America Cup winner Lather Up, who was third with $893,512, compete in the first of two $50,000 Graduate divisions. Courtly Choice, who won the Meadowlands Pace and banked $910,603, is in the second. Four more of the top-10 male earners are also entered in the Graduate: American History, Thinkbig Dreambig, Always A Prince, and This Is The Plan. In fact, most of the richest 3-year-old male pacers from 2018 are returning, with multiple-stakes-winner Stay Hungry, who is standing stud at Hanover Shoe Farms, the lone retiree from the top half of the list. The only recent occurrence of an all-male top three coming back at age 4 happened in 2015 when McWicked, JK Endofanera, and All Bets Off returned. "It's crazy," said Matt Kakaley, the regular driver of Dorsoduro Hanover. "All the good ones have come back. You don't ever see that. I think there is going to be some good races. They're going to take their shots in the older races too and I know they're going to hold their own. "There was no standout last year. There were three or four of them that were pretty equal, I'd say off the top of my head, mine, Courtly Choice, Lather Up, Jimmy Freight. They were a little better than the other ones, but it's not like the next group was far behind. Those other ones can get a little bit better over the winter, too. Hopefully there will be a lot of good races and give everyone some excitement." Dorsoduro Hanover won 10 of 22 races last year including the Breeders Crown and Adios. Kakaley said he sees little different in this year's version of the Ron Burke-trained gelding. "He might have grown a little bit, but he's always been a big, good-looking horse," Kakaley said. "I'm expecting him to do good. I'm expecting him to race good in the 4-year-old races and have a good year. We'll have to wait and see if he can step up with the likes of McWicked (the 8-year-old stallion who is the returning Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada). McWicked is a special horse." Courtly Choice, who won 10 of 16 races last season and also counted the Little Brown Jug among his triumphs, had surgery during the off-season to remove an undescended testicle. He heads to the Graduate off a qualifier win in 1:50.4 with a final half-mile of :52.4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We're very happy with the way he's trained back and the way he's qualified," said trainer Blake MacIntosh, who co-owns the horse. "(The surgery) seems to have helped his gait and he seems a lot more comfortable on the turns. We're looking forward to a great season and hopefully things go our way and we get our breaks and that's all we can ask for." Given the depth of the competition, MacIntosh knows it will not be easy. "I think the 4-year-old division is probably tougher than the older horses, other than McWicked, when you look at the bunch," MacIntosh said. "It's going to be a battle all year. I think the fans are going to have a lot of great horses to watch as 4-year-olds." Lather Up, trained by Clyde Francis, won 11 of 18 races last season. "He's sound and he seems like he came back to his right self," said Montrell Teague, who drives the stallion. "We're hoping for good things. It's going to be a fun year. (All the returning 4-year-olds) are good for the sport. There is a lot of money going to the breeding shed, but the sport needs the better ones to come back and put on a show. You can still make good money doing that." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at the Meadowlands. The card also includes the $175,200 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for older trotters. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner  

East Rutherford, NJ --- Ariana G bested the boys with a world-record performance to win Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands, defeating Moonshiner Hanover by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:50.2. Sortie finished third. The time was the fastest ever by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile track. The previous record of 1:51 was shared by three mares: Mistery Woman in 2014, Hannelore Hanover in 2016, and Emoticon Hanover in 2017. Ariana G, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, also surpassed $2 million in career purses with the triumph. Owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the mare has won 23 of 30 lifetime races and earned $2.01 million. It was her second victory in four starts this year and came in her second race since returning from illness in June. "She was awesome tonight," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said. "I'm so glad she's where she belongs. She went up to Canada (in June) and her blood work was wrong and she scoped bad and I had to give her a little time to rebound from that. She had a good winter, so I knew she was in top-level form, it's just those things happen when they get sick." Ariana G, the only mare in the race and 3-2 favorite in the field of 10, started from post eight and was moved to the lead by driver Yannick Gingras prior to reaching the opening quarter-mile in :27.3. International Moni came to challenge Ariana G on the backstretch and got a quarter-length in front as they hit the half in :55.2, but he was unable to clear completely and continued to race on the outside entering the final turn. From there, Ariana G accelerated and pulled away from the field. She trotted the last quarter-mile in :27, which was the best of the group. "I wanted to keep (International Moni) out there," Gingras said. "He didn't look like he had as much trot as I did. My mare felt so strong. I was going to take matters into my own hands and she showed it. "I told Jimmy it was a taxing half (mile) and I wasn't a hundred percent sure I was going to win, but in the last turn she started to swell up and felt so, so strong. I knew something would have to happen for her to get beat tonight." Ariana G, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cantab It All, paid $5.00 to win.  

John Butenschoen expects a good effort from Bill's Man in Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The only question is how good. "Some days he's a real good horse, some days he's an excellent horse," Butenschoen said. "If the real good horse shows up, we should be able to get a check. If the excellent horse shows up, we are good enough I think to win. There are times when he is absolutely fantastic and there are times that he's just a really, really good horse. It's going to depend what horse shows up. We'll see." Bill's Man was more than good in his most recent start, winning with a then track-record-equaling 1:52.1 mile at Harrah's Philadelphia on June 21. For his career, Bill's Man has won eight of 39 races, cashed a check a total of 32 times, and earned $557,229. He closed last season with a victory in the Matron Stakes. He finished second in a division of the Graduate Series on June 10 at Tioga Downs and was fourth in two prior rounds of the event. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner out of Silver Springs, will start from post seven with Corey Callahan driving for owners Crawford Farms Racing, M And L of Delaware, and VIP Internet Stable. He is 8-1 on the morning line. Butenschoen also sends out Don Dream in the Graduate final. He will start from post six with driver Brett Miller and is 15-1. Don Dream, a son of Donato Hanover out of Gabbys Dream, has won seven of 21 career races and earned $128,803. The gelding is owned by Crawford Farms Racing. "It's nice to be able to start the year off racing against 4-year-olds," Butenschoen said. "I think they're both coming into the race in good shape. "We've got a chance here now for two weeks to race for some really serious money before we've got to jump and tackle the open boys down the line," he added, referring to the July 14 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at the Big M. "I think it's a good way to get their feet wet. Bill's Man started early last year and raced all the way through the Matron, so he didn't get a whole lot of time off. So it's nice when they come back they don't have to race against horses that are a little more seasoned. It's a good springboard." Ariana G, the lone female in the Graduate trot field, is the 3-1 favorite. Yannick Gingras will drive the mare from post eight for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Saturday's card also includes the $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old pacers and two eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the July 14 Meadowlands Pace final. Elimination winners draw for posts one through six. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). The Graduate Series finals are races five and 10. The Meadowlands Pace eliminations are races six and eight. Butenschoen will be busy in the Graduate for pacers, too, with Funknwaffles starting from post six. Funkwaffles, a two-time New York Sire Stakes champ, will have Callahan driving for Crawford Farms Racing and is 10-1. For his career, Funknwaffles has won 13 of 34 races and earned $874,223. He is winless in six starts this season, but has a second-place finish behind Filibuster Hanover in a preliminary round of the Graduate. In his most recent start he was seventh in an elimination of the Ben Franklin Pace on June 23 and bypassed the Franklin consolation last week to refresh for the Graduate final. "He's been victimized in most of his starts by post positions," Butenschoen said. "He's raced extremely well but he doesn't have a lot to show for it. The one time he did get a chance to strut his stuff he was a close second to Filibuster at Tioga. He's not a very big horse, but a very game horse. We figured let them go at it hard (last week) and hopefully we're a little bit fresher. If we can work something out I think we're OK." Highalator, who has won three of his past four races, including two preferred handicaps at The Meadowlands, is the 3-1 Graduate pace favorite from post 10. David Miller will drive for co-owner/trainer Jenny Bier and fellow owners Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction. Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Lord Cromwell-Jim Marohn Jr.-Ed Hart-10/1 2-Dunbar Hall-Jody Jamieson-Stephanie Jamieson-7/2 3-Moonshiner Hanover-David Miller-Chris Beaver-9/2 4-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Domenico Cecere-6/1 5-Sortie-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-15/1 6-Don Dream-Brett Miller-John Butenschoen-15/1 7-Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 8-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-3/1 9-Top Flight Angel-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 10-Yes Mickey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Miso Fast-Louis Roy-Virgil Morgan Jr.-7/2 2-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-5/1 3-Western Joe-Scott Zeron-Chris Choate-9/2 4-Mac's Jackpot-Brett Miller-Jeff Smith-15/1 5-Blood Line-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-10/1 6-Funknwaffles-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1 7-Maroma Beach-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-8/1 9-Lawrencetown Beach-Doug McNair-Ron Burke-15/1 10-Highalator-David Miller-Jenny Bier-3/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - This Friday and Saturday signals the start of a five-weekend stretch at the Meadowlands during which many of the stars of the sport will be competing at the mile oval as the Meadowlands Pace kicks things off before the stakes-frenzy concludes on Hambletonian Day. After a 14-race Friday card (post time, 7:15 p.m.) that features many 2-year-olds, the Saturday program (post time, 6:35 p.m.) has a pair of eliminations - for the first time since 2015 - for the $701,830 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds in the spotlight. In the first elim (Race 6), the field includes Nutcracker Sweet, who missed by just a head when second in the Hempt; Stay Hungry, fourth in both the North America Cup and Hempt; and Thinkbig Dreambig, who was interfered with in his first career start earlier this season before reeling off four straight victories. The second elim (Race 8) looks a bit stronger than the first, and features American History, who paced the fastest mile of the year in the sport last week when he won in 1:47 at the Big M. In addition, two talented colts have supplemented to the Pace for $61,690, and each has a big shot at winning the whole thing. First up is Courtly Choice, who is off a blowout 12½-length win in the Hempt Consolation in 1:48.4. Next is Jimmy Freight, who lost his seasonal debut by a nose. His only other loss this year in seven starts came at the hands of older standouts Sintra and McWicked in a 1:48 mile. A pair of Graduate Finals for 4-year-olds are also on the Saturday card, and each carries a purse of $250,000. In the fifth race for trotters, Ariana G will look to get back on track after losing two in a row for the first time in her career. She'll face Dunbar Hall and Moonshiner Hanover, each of whom was victorious in their respective most recent Graduate preliminaries. Miso Fast won preliminary legs at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Tioga Downs last month and will be one of the favorites in the 10th race for pacers. Early-season sensation Filibuster Hanover won a Graduate prelim at Tioga three starts back before a second and a fifth, respectively, in the Ben Franklin, which were his first two losses of the season. SUPER HIGH CARRYOVER: On Friday night, bettors will have a good reason to wait around for the 14th and final race. The carryover for the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five stands at $272,052. Speaking of the JSH5, in the event the jackpot is not hit this weekend, there will be a mandatory payout of the carryover and any new money wagered on Friday, July 13. WIENER TAKE ALL: Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night as the Big M hosts its 1st annual Wiener Dog Races. For those who own a dachshund and want to enter, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/wiener_racing_sign-up_sheet.pdf. At the conclusion of the races, stay for a fantastic fireworks display. They'll be beer and food specials all night long. Remember, there is a special early post time of 6:35 p.m. this Saturday. STILL TO COME..... JULY 14: History will be made both on and off the track, as the Meadowlands' signature event, the $701,830 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, takes center stage, while a new era will be ushered in for Meadowlands' fans as Las Vegas-style sports betting will be offered for the first time. Patrons will not only be able to wager on live Meadowlands and simulcast horse and harness races but also on Major League Baseball games and future bets on National Football League games and prop bets, as well as many other professional sports events. The live racing program, which gets underway at 6:35 p.m., will offer other major stakes as well: The $400,000E Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old open trotters, $187,000E Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old fillies on the pace, $190,000E Golden Girls for filly and mare pacers 3-years-old-and-up, $250,000E Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old fillies on the trot (divisions), $350,000E Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters (divisions) and $467,000E William Haughton Memorial for open pacers 3-years-old-and-up. (E-estimated purse. Exact purse becomes available when field size is determined at the entry box.) AUGUST 4: Harness racing's signature event, the $1 million Hambletonian, brings the best 3-year-old trotters to not only the Big M, but to a national television audience (on the CBS Sports Network). Post time is noon for harness racing's biggest day. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands Grand Circuit Meet of Champions hits full stride this weekend with no fewer than 15 stakes among 27 races over Friday and Saturday.   Be advised that the Saturday post time is at 6:35 pm.   Friday's races are filled with freshmen as both the second leg New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) and the first leg of the 2018 Kindergarten Classic series comprise 10 of the 15 races (14 on the pari-mutuel card and the NJSS 2YO colt pace an early non-bettor at 6:15).   The NJSS trots again hold promise of what the future may bring to those who invested in first crop sires Father Patrick and Trixton. Both are well represented in the NJSS and Father Patrick drew first blood by sweeping all four of last week's leg #1 divisions.   In the Kindergarten pacing races Captaintreacherous' first crop is well represented with 12 of the 28 entered being by that young sire.   Friday's races may be viewed here.   Saturday's card is the power packed Meadowlands Pace elimination program with the 15 horses split into a pair of $50,000 elims with the top ten from the official order moving on to next week's $700,000 final.   Supporting the Pace races are the $250,000 Graduate Series finals on the trot and pace, both filled to the brim with 10 competitive entrants battling for the top prize and the $66,000 Mary Reynolds stake where a dozed sophomore filly trotters vie for the title.   As if that were not enough, Saturday is both Fan Appreciation Day with discounted concessions, fireworks after the races and the 1st annual Wiener Dog races where those rascally lil pups will sprint (kinda) a "short leg" dash for fun and prizes.   Saturday's complete card is available here.   Also on tap are all of the guaranteed wagering opportunities and the Super Hi-5 Jackpot carryover is now at $272,052.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands      

Fillibuster Hanover (Yannick Gingras) won the first division of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers at Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon (June 10). Tioga Downs hosted three divisions of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and two divisions for trotters. All five raced for a purse of $50,000. Also on hand were three divisions of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for sophomore pacing colts and geldings. Fillibuster Honover ($2.50) went right to the lead and carved out all the fractions (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.0, 1:50.3. Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan) went first-over and was within a nose and look like he might get by. Filibuster Hanover had other ideas. He dug in and withheld the challenge to score the victory. Funknwaffes settled for second. Bloodline (Tim Tetrick) followed in the pocket the whole way and finished third. Unbeaten this year, Filibuster Hanover is a 4-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J Di Scala Jr and J & T Silva Stables. Ron Burke trained him to his fifth win in five starts in 2018. It was career win number 12. Miso Fast (Tim Tetrick) holds off late rush by Western Joe (Scott Zeron) to capture the second division of The Graduate Series for pacers. Miso Fast ($3.10) went to the lead and was first at every pole (:27.0, :53.4, 1:21.0, 1:49.2). Boogie Shuffle (David Miller) went three-wide around the last turn to pressure Miso Fast. Miso Fast responded and opened up by two lengths in mid-stretch. Western Joe followed in the pocket trip the whole way. He found an opening on the inside but fell just short and had to settle for second. Rock N Tony (Matt Kakaley) came up to finish third. Miso Fast is a 4-year-old horse by Roll With Joe. Owned by Winchester Baye Acres LLC and trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. He won for the third time this season and notched career victory number 10. Highalator (David Miller) impressive in gate-to wire win in the third division for pacers. Highalator ($3.80) charged out of the gate and never looked back. Owned by Joann Dombeck, Midsize Construction Inc., and trainer Jenny Bier, he owned all the fractions (:27.0, :55.3, 1:22.0, 1:49.0). It was the fastest mile of the day. Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) was second with Beckhams Z Tam (Ricky Macomber Jr.) finishing third. Highalator is a 4-year-old horse by Somebeachsomewhere. It was win number six of the season and the 18th of his career. Guardian Angel As (Tim Tetrick) uses his wings to win the first division of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters. Fraser Ridge (Dave Miller) laid down the early fractions (:28.0, :56.2, 1:24.0). After the favorite Yes Mickey (Andrew McCarthy) went on a break, Guardian Angel As ($5.90) went three-wide at the top of the stretch and flew by to win in a lifetime best mark of 1:52.4. Lord Cromwell (Jim Marohn Jr.) finished second with Fraser Ridge hanging on for third. Guardian Angel As is a 4-year-old horse by Archangel He is owned by Acl Stuteri Ab and Kjell Johansson while trained by Annette Lorentzon. He is two for two as a 4-year-old. It was career win number 11. Moonshiner Hanover (David Miller) gets big upset victory in the second division for trotters. Top Flight Angel (Andy Miller) put up all the early fractions (:28.0, :57.2 1:25.1). Moonshiner Hanover ($51.50) stayed patiently in the pocket until he got an opening at the top of the stretch. He blew by to win in a career best time of 1:53.1. Bill's Man (Corey Callahan) charged late to finish second. Top Flight Angel was third. Moonshiner Hanover is a 4-year-old horse by Andover Hall. Owned by Synerco Ventures, Bill Maines and trainer Christopher Beaver, he won for the third time this season. It was career victory number seven. Springsteen (David Miller) is the boss in the first division of the NYSS ($40,600) for sophomore colts and geldings. Real Surreal (Scott Zeron) led all the way through three-quarters (:27.3, :56.2, 1:23.0). Springsteen ($3.80), who is owned by Allard Racing, B. Soulsby, A. Weisenberg, and K. SIngh, while trained by Rene Allard, went first-over from fourth and battled Real Surreal (second) all the way down the stretch to win in 1:51.0. I Soar Him First (Jason Bartlett) was third. Springsteen is a 3-year-old colt by Rock N Roll Heaven. It was his first win in 2018. He secured his fourth career victory. Heavenly Sound (Andrew McCarthy) wins the second division for the NYSS 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings ($39,900). After Ostro Hanover led them to the first quarter in :26.4, Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett) took over before hitting the half in :55.3. Heavenly Sound ($22.00) went first-over after after the halfway point. Heavenly Sound and Trump Nation battled back and forth around the final turn. Owned by M&M Racing LLC., and trained by Bruce Saunders, Heavenly Sound shook loose in the stretch and held off a late charge by second place finisher Ideal Feeling (Tim Tetrick) to win in 1:50.4. Trump Nation ended up finishing third. Heavenly Sound is a 3-year-old colt by Rock N Roll Heaven. It was his fourth win this season and career victory number six. Keystone Tenacious (Mark MacDonald) was a gate-to-wire winner in the last division for NYSS pacers ($39,900). Owned by the Patricia Stable with Lawrence Thomases and trained by Paul Kelley, Keystone Tenacious ($7.30) put down all the fractions (:27.2, :57.1, 1:24.2, 1:52.1). My Delight (Marcus Miller) finished second. Twin B Tuffenuff was third. Keystone Tenacious is a 3-year-old colt by So Surreal. It was win number two this year and he won for the third time in his career. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (June 15) with a post time of 6:15. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Trenton, NJ --- Owner Ed Telle feels he has something special in Miso Fast, but is in no rush to prove it. The pacer will race in the second of three Graduate Series divisions for 4-year-olds at Tioga Downs in New York Sunday (June 10) after winning a Graduate division last week at Woodbine Mohawk Park. He is staked in all the major events this year, but whether he races in them will be decided as time goes on. “It’s just a matter of picking or choosing what we want to do at the time,” Telle said. “He’s got what, about $40,000 on his card, and we just started the year. “We’ll just give him some time. A lot of owners are worried about money. If I plan on keeping him for five years and we do this thing the right way, we’ll do just fine.” It has been the game plan ever since Telle went to the Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands for the sole purpose of buying Miso Fast. He shelled out the day’s top price -- $250,000 -- for the stallion, who at that point had won seven of 36 career races and earned $647,938. “I haven’t pushed him,” Telle said. “I’ve found out over the years that a 4-year-old, when we’re racing where we’re racing right now, you’ve just got to be easy with him. You pick your spots. You can destroy him. They’re just not strong enough to go with the 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds. We can race around here at The Meadows and at invites and what not, and we should be very competitive.This year, Miso Fast has won two of six starts and earned $37,453. “He won’t really get good until he’s 6. That’s when I figure he’ll peak and I’ll have him in everything. He’ll be in a lot next year and the following year but you know what, I don’t mind racing him at Hoosier Park and The Meadows because they’re going for good money.” So, what was it about a single horse that brought Telle to New Jersey in January? “You look at the horses that went to stud, Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon, this horse was third to them and he beat Fear The Dragon at Pocono (in an elimination of the Hempt Memorial),” the owner said. “I just thought he’s a nice horse, he’s built; he’s just a gorgeous horse. He’s got that move you don’t see in many horses. That’s what I saw in him.” On Sunday, Miso Fast is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in his Graduate division and will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. The Ron Burke-trained entry of Rock N Tony and Lawrencetown Beach is 2-1. “He’s in there with two of Ronnie Burke’s horses, and you know Ronnie sends them to the gate fit, they’re ready to rock,” Telle said. “But I think he’s getting better each week. It just depends on how Tim takes him. He’s getting to know him and he’s going where he is to drive him. “He’s got an eighth move that nobody has. When he moves him, that boy flies. Last week he went from fourth to first in what, 100 yards? That’s the move he has, so if Tetrick works with him and doesn’t press him too bad, he should finish really good. He’s proven that.” In the first Graduate division for the male pacers, Filibuster Hanover, unbeaten in four starts this year, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite for trainer Burke. In the third division, Burke’s entry of Maroma Beach and Eddard Hanover is also the 9-5 choice. There also are two Graduate Series divisions for trotters. Ake Svanstedt’s Yes Mickey is the 2-1 favorite in the first division and Julie Miller’s Top Flight Angel is the 2-1 choice in the second. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Rich Fisher, USTA Senior Correspondent

Nichols, NY - The eyes of the harness racing world shift to Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon when that New York venue hosts the third and last preliminary leg of the $1 million Graduate series for 4-year-olds and the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old colt pacers.   The Graduate drew a strong response at the entry box, resulting in three $50,000 divisions of pacers and a pair of trotting races.   Trotters are up first, races 3 and five both sporting user friendly six horse fields.   Yes Mickey has been tabbed as the favorite in the third. The Muscle Hill gelding was third in leg #1, suffered traffic woes in the bulky 12 horse field at Mohawk in the second leg and gets Andy McCarthy to drive for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owner Melby Gard at Tioga.   Top Flight Angel, winner of the Yonkers Trot last season, is a slight morning line choice in division two. He was a good third in last week's leg and has drawn the advantageous rail position for Team Miller, driver Andy and trainer Julie who look after the son of Archangel for Legendary Standardbred Farm.   Ron Burke holds a very strong hand in the Graduate pacing events with a total of five going post ward over the three division of seven horses each.   The current scourge of the open ranks, Filibuster Hanover kicks it off for the "Burke Brigade in race 7. He's won all four of his 2018 starts including the 1st Graduate leg at The Meadowlands. He will begin from post six with Yannick Gingras driving for Ron Burke and partners Joe DiScala, J&T Silva Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.   The second division, race 9 includes a pair of contenders from the Burke barn but the favorite's role interestingly goes to a former Burke horse, Miso Fast, who now races out of the Virgil Morgan, Jr barn. Despite a remarkably poor run at the post position draw thus far in 2018, Miso Fast has weathered that storm and captured his division of leg two in Canada. Tim Tetrick has the assignment from post 5 on Sunday as the 9-5 choice from Winchester Baye Acres of Ohio.   The tenth race, Graduate pace number three, is a very contentious one. Maroma Beach (Gingras) won a Graduate division last week for Burke, Highalator (David Miller) equaled the fastest mile in all of racing with a 1:48.1 score in a Meadowlands overnight for trainer / owner Jenny Bier and her partner Charlie Dombeck and Donttellmeagain (Tetrick) looks for his second score in the series for trainer Jimmy King and Paton Racing Stable.   The NYSS split into four very contentious $40,000 divisions as races 4, 6 & 8.   The beautiful new Tioga Downs hotel offers a resort feel that was not previously available as well as packages for a spa, stay, golf trifecta that has been designed especially for horsemen. Call (607) 699-3900 to make your reservation for a few days of bliss.   Post time for the big Sunday card is 1:00 pm.   by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs

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