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Harness Racing This Week: Zweig Memorial and Zweig Memorial filly trot, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y.; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Roll With Joe, Tompkins-Geers and Miss Versatility, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; and Prix d'Ete, Hippodrome 3R, Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Friday (Aug. 18) at Vernon Downs with the $320,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters and the $135,000 Zweig Filly for 3-year-old filly trotters. There will also be a $70,000 consolation in the open division and a $28,220 consolation in the filly division. Saturday's (Aug. 19) Grand Circuit action will be led by Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, which will host the C$60,000 Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers, while Tioga Downs will host Tompkins-Geers races for 2-year-old pacing colts and fillies. On Sunday (Aug. 20), Grand Circuit racing will continue at Tioga Downs with the $175,000 (est.)  Roll With Joe for older pacers, a $40,000 (est.) leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares, and the Tompkins-Geers for 2-year-old trotting colts and fillies. Also on Sunday, Hippodrome 3R will contest the C$200,000 Prix d'Ete for 4-year-old pacers. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: On an absolutely flawless Friday (Aug. 11) evening, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino possessed all the elements for a spectacular 24th edition of the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes. The crowd was enthusiastic, the weather was sheer perfection and a quality field of 10, half of which were world champions, was certain to provide the fans with an exhilarating contest. Check Six was ultimately the horse to fulfill that goal with a quarter-length victory over stablemate All Bets Off in 1:48.1 and stake his claim as the divisional leader. Rock N' Roll World closed with alacrity to reach the wire in third. After celebrating his win, Yannick Gingras, who guided the son of Somebeachsomewhere around the seven-eighths-mile Anderson oval, acknowledged he was not exactly overjoyed when the 4-year-old stallion's post position was selected earlier in the week. "I was not thrilled when I saw the draw sheet and we were in post nine," he said. "But you have to go out there, see how things work out on the track and then drive accordingly. He's had some back luck, but he's sharp right now so since the McKee ($224,400 Sam McKee Memorial on Aug. 5) maybe now his luck is changing." Gingras wasted no time putting Check Six into the race as he gunned him to the lead immediately after the wings folded on the gate. He was followed into the first turn by world champion Dr J Hanover (Doug McNair) and Rock N' Roll World (John De Long), then tripped the timer for the first quarter-mile in a speedy :26. Shortly after the time flashed upon the board, Matt Kakaley decided All Bets Off should control the tempo and that duo seized command by the :54.2 half-mile pole. At that juncture Aaron Merriman had his own ideas on how the race should be conducted and moved Dealt A Winner first-over to gain second place, with Gingras content to sit in third until after the 1:21.1 three-quarters. As Dealt A Winner began to tire from his earlier efforts as the field entered the top of the stretch, All Bets Off began to place of bit of separation between himself and his rivals, with Rock N' Roll World and McWicked (David Miller) winding up for their drives to the wire. Just when it appeared All Bets Off was home free and would hold Check Six, Rock N' Roll World and McWicked at bay, Gingras ducked into the passing lane, strode by All Bets Off along the rail and collected the win for conditioner Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, William Switala and James Martin. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on Aug. 12. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 620; 2. David Miller - 489; 3. Tim Tetrick - 423; 4. Scott Zeron - 310; 5. Jason Bartlett - 238. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 560; 2. Jimmy Takter - 417; 3. Brian Brown - 245; 4. Ray Schnittker - 187; 5. Rene Allard - 161. Owners: 1. Emerald Highlands Farm - 155; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 127; 3. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 123.5; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 105.4; 5. J&T Silva Stables - 88. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, and Tioga Downs. Yonkers will contest eliminations for the Messengers Stakes and Yonkers Trot, the second legs of the Pacing and Trotting Triple Crown, along with eliminations in the companion Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot. Mohawk Racetrack will contest the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacers, along with eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers. Tioga Downs will offer the Crawford Farm Trot for older trotters, the Joie De Vie for older trotting mares, the Artiscape for older pacing mares and Reynolds Memorial divisions for 2-year-olds. Paul Ramlow

Vernon NY - Harness racing horsemen are reminded that there are a number of Grand Circuit stakes to be raced at Tioga and Vernon Downs over the next few weeks.   The Dr Harry M Zweig Memorial stakes for 3-year-old trotters is scheduled for Friday, August 18 at Vernon Downs. The box will close at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 15.   Horses drawn into the main event for both fillies and colts must be checked into the Detention Barn by 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 17.   Those horsemen intending to stay at the Vernon hotel for the Zweig should make reservations via the Race Office ASAP.   All pertinent information may be found on the Vernon Downs website or by calling the Race Office at (315) 829-6825.   At Tioga Downs next Sunday, August 20 is a really big day.   The Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) pacing finals and Roll With Joe FFA paces are both on the card along with all divisions of the Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2-year-olds. The box for those races will close at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 17.   Horses in the EBC finals and Roll With Joe will be required to be checked into the Detention Barn by 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 19.   Tioga information is available here or by calling the Race Office at (607) 699-7688.    

Harness Racing This Week: Dan Patch, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; Carl Milstein Memorial, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes, Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Ind.; and Gold Cup and Saucer trials, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI. Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off this Wednesday (Aug. 9) as the Indiana State Fair will host one day of Grand Circuit racing with the feature being the $51,929 Fox Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers. The co-featured event is the $32,580 Ralph Wilfong for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds will see two divisions each in the $26,047 2-year-old filly trot and the $24,396 2-year-old filly pace, and single divisions in the $20,860 2-year-old colt pace and the $18,385 2-year-old colt trot. The Horseman Stakes for 3-year-olds features single divisions in the $34,134 3-year-old colt pace, the $32,154 3-year-old colt trot, the $31,021 3-year-old filly trot and the $26,373 3-year-old filly pace. Friday night (Aug. 11) at Hoosier Park will feature the $325,000 Dan Patch for older pacing horses. As the richest horse in the field with $2.4 million in lifetime purse earnings, All Bets Off will play the role of morning line choice at odds of 7-2 from post two. On Saturday (Aug. 12), Northfield Park will host the $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old pacers featuring Fear The Dragon, the No. 1 ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Also on Saturday, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host one of two trials for the Gold Cup and Saucer for older pacers. The second trial will be held on Monday (Aug. 14). Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Entries for the Red Shores Racetrack & Casino races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack closed out their Championship Meet this past Saturday with several lucrative Grand Circuit races led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Perfect Spirit was the winner by disqualification. It was the first time a horse first under the wire had his number taken down in the 92 editions of the $1 million trotting classic for 3-year-olds. What The Hill squeezed off the pylons in deep stretch and sprinted past the pacesetting Perfect Spirit in a time of 1:52.3 as the crowd cheered what appeared to be the first Hambo winner for trainer Ron Burke and driver David Miller. But then the inquiry sign flashed on the toteboard. The judges studied the replay and detected contact between What The Hill and Guardian Angel AS, who broke stride. After a lengthy review, the Hambletonian had its first DQ. What The Hill was placed ninth and Perfect Spirit was stunningly on his way to the winner's circle. Winning owner Lennart Agren, who races as the SRF Stable, chalked the victory up to the breaks of the game. "I know you have to be very lucky like we were today," he said. "It can end very quickly, so you have to live in the moment right now." The win gave international trotting master Ake Svanstedt, 58, his first Hambo win as both a trainer and driver in only his fourth year in the U.S. Perfect Spirit paid $17 for his fifth win in nine starts this season. In the revised order of finish, Devious Man moved up to second and Enterprise was placed third. Huntsville got to the lead in the first turn and never looked back, winning Saturday's $334,325 Cane Pace for 3-year-old pacers by a neck over R J P in 2:03 at the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Downbytheseaside was third. Starting from post one in a field of 12, Huntsville and driver Tim Tetrick outdueled longshot Lawrencetown Beach for the lead as the field entered the first turn and reached the quarter in :25.4. Lawrencetown Beach remained parked out on the backstretch, with Downbytheseaside on the pylons in third, as Huntsville hit the half in :54. R J P made a three-wide move around Lawrencetown Beach and moved into second as the group neared three-quarters, which was reached in 1:21.4. Huntsville and R J P battled through the stretch, timed in 1:49 for a mile, with Huntsville prevailing for his seventh win in 10 starts this year. Trainer Ray Schnittker co-owns Huntsville with Ted Gewertz, Steve Arnold, and Crawford Farms Racing. The colt is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Wild West Show. Huntsville has won 14 of 21 career races and never finished worse than second. He has earned $1.57 million. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on Aug. 5. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 600; 2. David Miller - 479; 3. Tim Tetrick - 423; 4. Scott Zeron - 310; 5. Jason Bartlett - 238. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 510; 2. Jimmy Takter - 417; 3. Brian Brown - 215; 4. Ray Schnittker - 187; 5. Rene Allard - 159. Owners: 1. Emerald Highlands Farm - 145; 2. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 123.5; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 114.5; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 92.9; 5. J&T Silva Stables - 88. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino and Hippodrome 3R. Vernon will kick off the week as host of the Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters. Tioga Downs will feature the Roll With Joe for open pacers, Tompkins-Geers races for 2-year-old pacers and trotters, and a leg of the Miss Versatilty for trotting mares. Red Shores Racetrack & Casino has the Gold Cup and Saucer final and Hippodrome 3R will contest the Prix d'Ete for 4-year-old pacers. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

The Carl Milstein Memorial, Northeast Ohio's premier race, is scheduled for its fourth edition on Saturday, August 12. The Milstein, a harness racing  Grand Circuit Event, has graduated the last two winners of the Little Brown Jug. Fear The Dragon has drawn the rail and has been named the 3-5 morning-line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi. He enters this race as the United States Trotting Association's top ranked horse in harness racing, having won nine of ten starts and $924,453 this year. Fear The Dragon's wins include victories in the $730,000 North America Cup at Mohawk, the $500,000 Hempt at Pocono and the $400,000 Adios at the Meadows. His trainer, Brian Brown, Hall of Fame driver David Miller, and owner-breeder Bruce Trogdon, proprietor of Emerald Highlands Farm, are all native Ohioans. "We have had some really great horses race at Northfield over the years, and Fear The Dragon's resume ranks right up there with the best of them," said Bianconi. 13-time winner Downbytheseaside, another Brian Brown trainee, drew post seven and is the 9-2 second choice. He has finished in the top three in 21 of 22 career races, earning over $1.1 million. His most recent effort was a third-place finish in the $334,325 Cane Pace at The Meadowlands in New Jersey. THE $300,000 CARL MILSTEIN MEMORIAL FIELD: Post - Horse - Sire - Trainer - Driver* - Odds 1 Fear The Dragon - by Dragon Again - Brian Brown - David Miller,  3-5 2 Blood Line - by Somebeachsomewhere - Jimmy Takter - Mark MacDonald,  6-1 3 Drunk On Your Love - by Foreclosure N - Jim Pollock Jr - Tyler Smith,  20-1 4 Classic Pro - by Shadow Play - Ian Moore - Trevor Henry,  10-1 5 Rock N Tony - by Rockin Image - Erv Miller - Trace Tetrick,  15-1 6 Bags To Riches - by Roddy Bags Again - Jason Skinner - Tim Tetrick,  12-1 7 Downbytheseaside - by Somebeacsomewhere - Brian Brown - Brian Sears,  9-2 8 R J P - by Somebeachsomewhere - Ron Burke - Yannick Gingras,  8-1 *Final driver selections are due by Tuesday evening. The Carl Milstein Memorial will be well supported with an undercard featuring the $50,000 Myron Charna President's Pace for Ohio-bred veteran pacers, three $40,000 divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for three year-old filly pacers and three $14,000 Opens. Drawings during the evening will result in one lucky patron driving home a brand new 2017 Buick Cascada or Honda CR-V. Five other winners will each receive $1,000. The Milstein crowd will enjoy Swenson's Food Truck on the outdoor apron from 6 to 10 p.m., Northfield Park Putting Challenge from 6 to 7 p.m. and a Beer Slide from 7 to 8 p.m. Classic Rock band Unknown Reason will be performing on the trackside apron from 6 to 10 p.m. Vintage memorabilia, including Northfield's classic starting gate car from years gone by, will be on display. Lady Luck's Clubhouse Restaurant will be offering a $21.95 signature buffet inspired by Hard Rock Rocksino Executive Chef Chris Poplin. Due to the expected large crowd reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 330-467-4101. First race post time for the Carl Milstein Memorial card is 6:00 p.m. Parking and admission are always free at Northfield Park. Saturday's Grand Circuit event is named in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. His son, Brock Milstein, succeeded Carl as Chairman of Northfield Park and is now also the Chairman of Milstein Entertainment, LLC, majority owner of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. In 1972, the senior Milstein, a Cleveland builder and real estate developer, headed a group of several partners, including George Steinbrenner, which purchased Northfield Park. They leased the facility to other operators through the early 1980's. The track lost significant amounts of money during that period before Milstein took full ownership and control. In late 1984 he successfully applied to the Ohio State Racing Commission for the necessary licenses and, beginning in January 1985, conducted permanent race meetings at Northfield of between 212 and 238 days every year. Milstein was the driving force behind a resurgence of the beleaguered track, which quickly ascended to among harness racing's top tracks in attendance and handle. He was an innovator in promotions and advertising and successfully led the track into the era of simulcast racing. Michael Carter

Harness Racing This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, Sam McKee Memorial, Lady Liberty, Dr. John Steele Memorial, Cane Pace, Shady Daisy, Peter Haughton Memorial, and Jim Doherty Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action takes place this Saturday (Aug. 5) at the Meadowlands Racetrack with one of the biggest Grand Circuit cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Other major stakes races to be contested that day are the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $303,050 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial for older pacers, the $202,900 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $176,250 Dr. John Steele Memorial for older trotting mares, the $334,325 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $113,950 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $360,650 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Fear The Dragon, harness racing's top-rated horse, cemented that position Saturday (July 29) at The Meadows when he wore down the sport's No. 2-ranked horse, Huntsville, with a prolonged, dramatic first-over move that brought him victory in the $400,000 final of the 51st Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids. Heavy rains that had soaked The Meadows for the better part of two days stopped shortly before the card began, yielding to sunny, cool weather and a fast track for the highly anticipated battle of No. 1 and No. 2. Early on, it appeared that drama might not develop as Huntsville and Tim Tetrick got an easier lead than most observers anticipated. Fear The Dragon was fifth down the backside when David Miller felt compelled to put the son of Dragon Again-Armbro Cinnamon into the race. Fear The Dragon steadily erased the five length deficit until the final turn, when it briefly seemed he had hit the wall. But Fear The Dragon spurted again and caught Huntsville in the shadow of the wire, downing him by a half-length in 1:49.1, with RJP third. It was the first Adios victory for trainer Brian Brown, the third for driver Miller, who won previously with Shadow Play (2008) and McWicked (2014). With the win, Fear The Dragon became a millionaire, boosting his career bankroll to $1,152,844 for Bruce Trogdon's Emerald Highlands Farm. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on July 29. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 503; 2. David Miller - 454; 3. Tim Tetrick - 353; 4. Scott Zeron - 290; 5. Jason Bartlett - 238. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 480; 2. Jimmy Takter - 300; 3. Brian Brown - 190; 4. Ray Schnittker - 167; 5. Rene Allard - 159. Owners: 1. Emerald Highlands Farm - 125; 2. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 123.5; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 107; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 85.4; 5. J&T Silva Stables - 83. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old pacers; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch for free for all pacers; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stakes highlighting 10 stakes; and at Red Shores Racetrack with Gold Cup and Saucer eliminations. Paul Ramlow

The harness racing Grand Circuit provides constantly updated information on the races and other related events on the Facebook page dedicated to "Harness Racing's Finest". Press releases, both pre and post race, links to interesting articles, pictures from the Grand Circuit races and even historical photos of memorable races, horses and personalities are included. As the Hambletonian draws near and the Grand Circuit builds momentum, take a moment to visit and like the page here and enjoy the races! Paul Ramlow

WASHINGTON, PA, July 29, 2017 -- Dismissed at 56-1, Ella Christina poured through the Lightning Lane to pull off a harness racing shocker in Saturday's $125,950 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo at The Meadows. Blazin Britches captured the other division of the Adioo Volo, a Grand Circuit stake for 3-year-old filly pacers that was part of the Adios Card. Ella Christina hadn't won a stake this year, and driver Jim Pantaleano had little chance to get her into the cover flow. "Going down the backstretch, I thought I might follow one of the favorites, but that spot disappeared and kind of made my decision for me," he said. "They weren't going much on the lead, so I figured they'd be getting home pretty good. I was surprised my filly had as much pace as she did. They were honking home pretty good." The daughter of Western Ideal-Arthroscopic was fourth and apparently going nowhere when the horse immediately in front of her, Glassine Hanover, tipped off the cones for the drive. That was the opportunity Ella Christina needed, and she took full advantage of it, downing Colorful Jasmine by 1/2 length in 1:52.2, matching her career best. Rosemary Rose was third. Nick Surick trains Ella Christina for Nick Surick Stable, J.L. Benson Stables, William Daggett, Jr. and Lawrence Vukovic. Ella Christina The freshman campaign of Blazin Britches was aborted after a single race due to soreness, but she won six of her first seven starts this year, racing primarily at Hoosier Park. Then, trainer Brian Brown thought he noticed something amiss in her recent outings. "We figure she bled her last three starts; luckily, we found it in time," Brown said. "She looked like she would win in 1:50, and she got halfway up the stretch and started to let up. As you saw today, she didn't give up." With the addition of Lasix for the Adioo Volo, Blazin Britches gobbled up the leader, Bettor's Up, with a backside burst and went on to defeat her by 2 lengths in 1:50.1, a career best. Brazuca earned show. Emerald Highlands Farm bred and owns Blazin Britches, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Soggy Britches who is eligible for most of the rich year-end stakes. Blazin Britches Other races on Adios day at the Meadows; Whatstroublnurocky by A Rocknroll Dance - Arden Downs 2yo C&G Pacers Broadway Concert by Broadway Hall - Arden Downs 3yo Filly Trotters Disorder by Somebeachsomewhere - Arden Downs 2yo C&G Pacers Snowstorm Hanover by Muscle Massive - Arden Downs 3yo C&G Trotters Reign On Me by Well Said - Arden Downs 2yo Filly Pacers Cult Icon by Bettor's Delight - Arden Downs 2yo Filly Pacers Crann Tara by Donato Hanover - Arden Downs 3yo Filly Trotters Dapper Dude by Ponder - The Meadows Preferred Hcp Pace The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Plainville, MA---All eyes will be focused on the $250,000 Spirit Of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park today (July 28) as the best trotters in North America will compete in the newest stake on the harness racing Grand Circuit schedule. Many experts feel the stellar field going postward in the ninth race will produce a new all-time trotting record for the track and that could probably be the case. But the $25,000 "Old North Church" Open Handicap trot, which will be contested one race before the feature, may actually do it first. Gural Hanover (Matt Kakaley), Mambo Lindy (Greg Merton) and Wings Of Royalty (Yannick Gingras) were all Spirit of Massachusetts eligible but didn't make the field based on earnings over the past two years. As a result, their connections opted to enter them in the co-featured event and they have all the fire power needed to smash the existing mark of 1:53. Gural Hanover hasn't been worst than second in his last six starts except for an untimely break at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (June 24). Over his career Gural Hanover boasts 19 wins, $865,224 in earnings and a personal best of 1:51 registered at the Meadowlands on June 2 of this year. The 6-year-old Crazed gelding has five wins in 2017 and is nine out of 12 in the money. Leaving from post eight and being listed as the 9-5 morning line choice means trainer Ron Burke will be starting the favorite in both main events. Mambo Lindy has a definite home field advantage. The 6-year-old gelded son of Donato Hanover has raced over the Plainridge surface his entire life and has excelled in most of his efforts. In 31 lifetime starts Mambo Lindy has 19 wins, 17 of which were at Plainridge. This year he's won five out of six starts at The Ridge, including a 1:53.3 effort by three lengths on Thursday (June 22) where he looked like he had a lot more left in the tank. Trainer Frank Antonacci sends this one to the gate from post six at 2-1. Massachusetts-bred Wings Of Royalty will have some strong backing in the stands on Friday as all of his connections have New England roots. This 5-year-old R C Royalty horse won his first start of the year at Tioga Downs in 1:53.2, setting a new track record for older trotting horses. Then after a short layoff due to a foot issue, he won the Open trot on Friday (July 14) at Vernon Downs in 1:52.4 by five-lengths, which was his best outing to date. Walpole's own George Ducharme trains Wings Of Royalty and is the third choice at 3-1, leaving from post four. Wings Of Royalty set the all-time track trot record of 1:53.2 at Plainridge last year that was broken just last week by Up The Alley, who is also in this race. Up The Alley has four wins this year and is currently on a two-race win streak, scoring at the Meadowlands in 1:52.2 the week before setting the new mark at The Ridge. Trainer Richard Silverman has tabbed Mark Macdonald to drive the 5-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass this week and they will go to work from post seven at 7-1. Please note that coverage and live streaming of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot will be available Friday at DRF Harness (www.drf.com/harness) and at the Plainridge Park website (www.plainridgeparkcasino.com). Post time for the first race is 4 p.m. The Spirit of Massachusetts Trot is race nine on the card and is slated to go off at 6:40 p.m. There will be some special promotions on tap for fans who attend the Spirit of Massachusetts day card. Plainridge Park will be giving away inaugural edition Spirit of Massachusetts Trot baseball caps starting at 3:30 p.m. in the grandstand. They are limited to one per customer and will be available while supplies last. Live racing fans will also have the opportunity to win tickets to the Super Bowl rematch between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons to be played at Gillette Stadium on Sunday (Oct. 22). In order to win, customers must place losing Plainridge pari-mutuel tickets with their name and telephone number printed on the back in boxes numbered 1-9, corresponding with the nine horses in the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot. After that race, a winner will be drawn from the corresponding numbered box as the winner of the race. Only losing Plainridge tickets can be used for entry. For more information about the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot log onto the Plainridge Park website at www.plainridgeparkcasino.com and click the "Live Racing" tab.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

Harness Racing This Week: Spirit of Massachusetts, Plainridge Park, Plainville, Mass.; Delvin Miller Adios final, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; Hambletonian Oaks, Peter Haughton Memorial and Jim Doherty Memorial eliminations and Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (July 28) at Plainridge Park with the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot for older trotters. Headlining the field are 2016 Dan Patch Award Trotting Mare of the Year Hannelore Hanover and 2016 Dan Patch Award Trotting Horse of the Year Obrigado. Also on Friday, the Meadows will feature three divisions in the $49,564 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters and three divisions in the $49,290 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (July 29) card at The Meadows features the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios final for 3-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $125,950 Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the $57,356 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters, two divisions in the $57,350 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $47,630 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers and a single $45,000 division in the Arden Downs for 3-year-old colt trotters. Meadowlands Racetrack will offer three sets of elimination races this week, with all the finals slated for the Hambletonian Day card of Saturday (Aug. 5). On Friday, the Meadowlands will host two $20,000 eliminations in the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters and a pair of $20,000 eliminations in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Saturday the program will feature two $40,438 eliminations in the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters as well as the $49,580 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Bit Of A Legend N (Bettor's Delight-Soky's Legend) was the runner-up in the 2016 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace contested at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Peter Tritton-trained standout wound up second best to 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. On Saturday night (July 22), Bit Of A Legend N was dismissed at odds of 15-1 as he took part in his second consecutive $260,000 Gerrity Pace and collected the victory. Driver Jordan Stratton sat patiently with the talented 8-year-old as a grueling pace was set. There wasn't a dull moment throughout as top rivals were slugging it out from the word "go." The opening quarter went in :26.4 before the first half was clocked in :54.3. The field bunched up after three-quarters in 1:21.2 and longshot Bit Of A Legend N powered up three-wide around the final turn. From fifth at the head of the stretch to first at the wire, Bit Of A Legend N stopped the timer in 1:50.3 exacting his revenge from last year's defeat in the Gerrity with an impressive win in the ninth annual installment of the race in honor of the former Chairman of the Board at Saratoga who passed away in 2005. Mach It So, a 36-1 shot (David Miller), came on for second while Boston Red Rocks (Brett Miller) earned the show spot. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on July 22. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 423; 2. David Miller - 350; 3. Tim Tetrick - 308; 4. Scott Zeron - 290; 5t. Jason Bartlett - 236; 5t. Jordan Stratton - 236. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 363; 2. Jimmy Takter - 248; 3. Rene Allard - 159; 4. Ray Schnittker - 157; 5. Peter Tritton - 152. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 123.5; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 80.9; 3. Jeff Snyder - 75; 4. J&T Silva Stables - 74.2; 5. Determination - 67. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. The track will host ten Grand Circuit events, led by the $1 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, and the $300,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Paul Ramlow

Harness Racing This Week: Joe Gerrity Memorial, Saratoga Casino Hotel, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; and Tompkins-Geers and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will be held this weekend at three different racetracks. Action begins on Friday (July 21) at Meadowlands Racetrack with the second leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be two $10,000 divisions of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old trotting colts and single $10,000 divisions of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old trotting fillies, pacing colts and pacing fillies. On Saturday (July 22), the Meadowlands card will offer the $59,370 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old trotting colts and the $49,870 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Also on Saturday, Saratoga will host their marquee event, the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial for older pacers. The field of eight is led by Mach It So, winner of last week's William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands. Finally, The Meadows on Saturday will offer a pair of $25,000 eliminations for the Devlin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers. The $400,000 Adios final the following Saturday afternoon anchors a blockbuster card that features six Grand Circuit stakes. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack hosted 11 lucrative Grand Circuit events this past Saturday, led by the $738,550 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds. In that race the heated rivalry between Huntsville and Downbytheseaside reached a fever pitch. Huntsville held on by a head, gaining a 4-3 advantage in their eight showdowns. The only time neither got the victory was last month in the North America Cup -- won by Fear The Dragon -- where Huntsville was second and Downbytheseashore third. Fear The Dragon was not nominated to The Pace, leaving Huntsville and Downbytheseaside to battle it out. And battle they did. Huntsville got away fourth in the early stages before charging past Blood Line to grab the lead down the backstretch. The 1-5 favorite appeared comfortably in charge on the final turn as Downbytheseaside tipped outside for a long, grinding challenge. Huntsville flashed past the three-quarter pole in 1:20.3 and the torrid pace started taking a toll. In a display of guts and determination, Huntsville dug deep while Downbytheseaside relentlessly ate into his lead. The finish line arrived just in time for last season's 2-year-old Dan Patch Award champion to earn his first major win of this campaign. It was the fifth Pace victory for driver Tim Tetrick, trailing only the recently retired Hall of Famer John Campbell, who had seven wins in the Meadowlands Racetrack's signature event for 3-year-olds. Trainer Ray Schnittker improved his Pace record to 2-for-2. He combined with Tetrick to win in 2010 with One More Laugh. Huntsville continued his remarkable consistency with a 12th win in 18 lifetime starts. He has never finished worse than second. "My horse was tired late," Tetrick said. "He kept pushing all the way to the wire." The time for the mile was a lifetime best 1:47.4 for the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show, who earned $350,812 for the ownership team of Schnittker, Ted Gewertz and Steven Arnold. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on July 15. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 383; 2. David Miller - 316; 3. Scott Zeron - 280; 4. Tim Tetrick - 279; 5. Jason Bartlett - 236. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 359; 2. Jimmy Takter - 193; 3. Rene Allard - 159; 4. Ray Schnittker - 147; 5. Peter Tritton - 132. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 103.5; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 79.7; 3. Jeff Snyder - 75; 4. J&T Silva Stables - 73.5; 5. Determination - 67. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadows, Plainridge Park, and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host eight Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts; Plainridge will feature the inaugural Spirit of Massachusetts for older trotters; while Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for three lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, as well as the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt trotters. Paul Ramlow

Harness Racing This Week: Meadowlands Pace, Hambletonian Maturity, W.R. Haughton Memorial, Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Delvin Miller Memorial, Golden Girls, Miss Versatility and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Lawrence B. Sheppard Memorial, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit week begins on Friday (July 14) at Meadowlands Racetrack with two $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt pacers and a pair of $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly pacers. The stakes heavy Saturday (July 15) Grand Circuit card at the Meadowlands features the $738,550 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, the $458,750 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, the $427,400 W.R. Haughton Memorial for free for all pacers, two divisions in the $320,500 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, two divisions in the $250,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $201,000 Golden Girls for older pacing mares, the $165,700 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers, and a pair of $30,000 divisions of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Saturday Grand Circuit action also includes the $110,500 Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old colt pacers at Yonkers Raceway. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Marion Marauder returned to the winner's circle at The Meadowlands Racetrack, site of his Hambletonian victory last August, on Saturday night (July 8) thanks to a 1:51.2 triumph in the $240,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters. Warrawee Roo, sent off at 59-1, finished second, beaten by three-quarters of a length and Dayson was third. For Marion Marauder, who became the first Trotting Triple Crown winner to compete at the Meadowlands as a 4-year-old, it was his second win in three starts this season. Last year Marion Marauder swept the Triple Crown -- the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity -- on his way to being named Trotter of the Year. Marion Marauder, the 4-5 favorite in the Graduate, and driver Scott Zeron started from post nine and were fifth through the opening half-mile, but started a first-over march on the backstretch to overcome fraction-setting Trolley at the top of the stretch. Marion Marauder, who lowered his career mark by one-fifth of a second, paid $3.80 to win. Marion Marauder, a son of Muscle Hill out of the mare Spellbound Hanover, has won 13 of 31 career races and earned $1.9 million in purses for owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. In the $240,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers, 6-5 favorite Sintra followed the cover of Check Six around the last turn before bursting through the stretch to win by 4-1/2 lengths over Boston Red Rocks in 1:47.2. Western Fame finished third. Western Fame, Lyons Snyder and Dr J Hanover all took turns on the front as the field reached the first quarter in :26.3, half in :53.2 and three-quarters in 1:20.4. Check Six battled with Dr J Hanover for the lead on the last turn, but Sintra was in striking position. Sintra, who paid $4.60 to win, is trained by Dave Menary for owners Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Menary Racing. He has won six of eight races this year and earned $209,202. For his career, the son of Mach Three out of Dancin Barefoot has won 14 of 27 starts and banked $445,762. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on July 8. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 308; 2. David Miller - 257; 3. Scott Zeron - 238; 4. Jason Bartlett - 226; 5. Jordan Stratton - 196. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 332; 2. Rene Allard - 159; 3. Jimmy Takter - 143; 4. Peter Tritton - 132; 5. Ray Schnittker - 127. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 103.5; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 72.9; 3. Jeff Snyder - 70; 4. J&T Silva Stables - 68.5; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 59.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Saratoga Harness, The Meadows and The Meadowlands. Saratoga will have the Joe Gerrity for older pacers; The Meadows will have eliminations for the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers; and The Meadowlands will host the second leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters and Tompkins-Geers events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters. Paul Ramlow

Harness Racing This Week: Graduate Series finals, Meadowlands Pace elimination, W. N. Reynolds Memorial, and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Lawrence B. Sheppard eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit races will be contested this Friday (July 7) and Saturday (July 8) at the Meadowlands. On Friday the Meadowlands will host two $10,000 divisions in the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters and two $10,000 divisions in the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters. The stakes heavy Saturday card features the $240,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters; a single $50,000 Meadowlands Pace elimination for 3-year-olds; and the $41,880 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters. Also on Saturday, Yonkers Raceway will feature three $25,000 eliminations in the Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: This past weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by four lucrative events on the Sun Stakes Saturday (July 1) program at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. After losing for the first time this season in last week's Max C. Hempt Memorial eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers, Fear The Dragon was right back to winning form in Saturday's final, capturing the $500,000 event by three-quarters of a length over Funknwaffles in 1:49.3. Donttellmeagain finished third and Miso Fast was fourth. Fear The Dragon has won seven of eight races this year, including the Pepsi North America Cup, and earned $711,953 for owner Bruce Trogdon's Emerald Highlands Farm. Last year, the colt won five of 11 races, hitting the board a total of 10 times, and earned $228,391. Devious Man sneaked his way along the inside of the stretch after a pocket trip behind favorite Long Tom and won Saturday's $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.4. Long Tom finished second and Ariana G, the first filly to ever compete in the Beal, was third after racing first over from prior to the half-mile point. Devious Man, owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable, and trained by Julie Miller, has won four of five races this year and earned $403,410. His wins this season also include the Empire Breeders Championship. He was second by a head in his Beal elimination. For his career, the son of stallion Credit Winner out of the mare Miss Garland, has won 11 of 17 and earned $711,643. He was last season's New York Sire Stakes champion for 2-year-old male trotters. French-Canadian driver Simon Allard, who knew the late Herve Filion well, paid tribute to his early idol after winning the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pacing Championship with Keystone Velocity in 1:49.1. He stood in the sulky a la Herve and Hot Hitter, then unzipped his colors to show a Superman T-shirt underneath on Saturday. Keystone Velocity, the 2016 Pocono Horse of the Year, certainly raced like a Superhorse in the Franklin, quarter-moving in front of favorite Mel Mara then letting that one go to sit on his back. Through the stretch, Keystone Velocity went to the Pocono Pike and inch by inch gained on the chalk. He went past in the last few yards and won by a head. Keystone Velocity now has a career bankroll of $1,158,971, with Rene Allard handling the training for Allard Racing Inc., Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. Agent Q and driver David Miller made a sustained first-over drive pay off in Saturday's $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, taking the lead coming off the final turn and pulling away from the field in the stretch to win by three lengths in 1:51. Caviart Ally, a 196-1 longshot, finished second and 14-1 Brazuca was third. Agent Q, a daughter of Western Terror out of the mare Teenage Paige, has won four of seven races this year and earned $297,931. It was her first win in an open stakes final after second-place finishes in this year's Fan Hanover Stakes and Lismore Pace and last year's Breeders Crown and She's A Great Lady. The setbacks in the Fan Hanover and Breeders Crown were both by a nose. For her career, Agent Q has won seven of 17 races, finished second nine times, and earned $736,635. She is owned by Martin Scharf, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara. She is trained by Aaron Lambert. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on July 1. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 288; 2. David Miller - 248; 3. Tim Tetrick - 174; 4. Matt Kakaley - 160; 5. Jason Bartlett - 150. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 317; 2. Rene Allard - 159; 3. Peter Tritton - 132; 4. Brian Brown - 110; 5. Jimmy Takter - 91. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 103.5; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 69.1; 3. J&T Silva Stables - 67.2; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 57; 5. Emerald Highlands Farm - 55. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will again be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway. The July 14 Big M program will feature the opening leg of the Kindergarten Series for freshman pacers, while the massive July 15 Meadowlands card will offer the Meadowlands Pace final, the William Haughton Memorial, the Hambletonian Maturity, the Stanley Dancer Trot, the Del Miller Memorial, the Mistletoe Shalee, the Golden Girls and a leg of the Miss Versatilty. Yonkers will host the Lawrence B. Sheppard final for 2-year-old pacing colts, also on July 15. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

GOSHEN – The Grand Circuit holiday weekend always has an extra special meaning for harness racing trainer Ed Hart of Middletown. Hart, originally from Greenwood Lake, was a junior at Monroe-Woodbury High School in 1972. He didn’t like school but he loved riding horses. He learned about a Standardbred horse course offered by the local BOCES and convinced a friend to sign up with him. “I didn’t know anything about race horses,″ Hart said. “My buddy and I joined and 45 years later, here I am.″ The course taught Hart how to be a professional groom and how to start training horses. “I fell in love with it right away,″ he said. Hart first jogged horses at Goshen’s Good Time Park in 1972 and drove his first harness race at Goshen Historic Track a year later. Now 61 years old, Hart trains 18 horses out of the Kristie Leigh Farm, located two miles away from Goshen Historic, the centerpiece of the Great American Weekend festivities. Hart had three horses competing on Saturday, has four more running on Hall of Fame Sunday and one more on Monday. “I love coming here,″ Hart said between his second and third races on a blistering hot Saturday afternoon. “I’ve been doing this in this area for a very long time. I love it. I love the Goshen weekend.″ Hart specializes in training young horses, mainly 2- and 3-year-olds. Mornings start about 6:30 a.m. at the farm, with stalls cleaned and horses being fed and jogged. He’ll arrive at Goshen Historic about 11 a.m. on Sunday, two hours ahead of post time for the first of 14 races – he has four entries from the 1 o’clock start through the 11th race, which should go off shortly after 3 p.m. ″(Sunday) will be very busy – Hall of Fame day, lots of people,″ Hart said. ”(It) won’t be a fun day.″ Hart was joined by his wife and two grooms on Saturday, and he’ll need a staff of five for a busier Sunday. Hart has developed a solid reputation over the years, and his horses run regularly at Yonkers, Monticello, The Meadowlands and Pocono, in addition to upstate tracks Buffalo, Batavia and Vernon Downs during two busy summer months of fair season. “This is more of a fair atmosphere,″ Hart said of Goshen Historic. “There are tents here and horses from all over. Usually when you go to a race track, you go right to the paddock and it’s all set up for you, you go to an assigned stall. Here, it gets a little confusing. You have horses all over the place, plus you have to park your trailers up on the (side) roads. It is what it is. It’s a lot of fun.″ On Saturday, he had three horses finish second: Roll With Ann in the first race, Project Rock in the third, and America’s Fleet in the ninth. Hart’s friends say he can be a little uptight during races, “but I am not screaming and yelling,″ he said. “I am always a little bit nervous. You are always looking to try to make things better for next week so you are watching (intently).″ Training horses is year-round work and has been Hart’s life passion for 45 years but he readily admits it’s not for everyone. “It’s a tough, competitive game,″ he said. “It’s tough to make a living. It’s tough to raise a family but I’ve done it. I have to tell you, I just love the horses. Sometimes in the morning, in the springtime, when you are out there jogging, you can’t believe you get paid doing this stuff. When you’re winning, it’s a great game. It can be tough when you’re not doing so good, though.″ Still, nothing beats returning to Goshen Historic on Hall of Fame induction weekend. “The place will be packed,″ he said. “The people enjoy it. There’s no gambling but it doesn’t matter. People love the racing and the atmosphere. And for the four days of the year, it’s great to be here.″ By Ken McMillan  Reprinted with permission of The Times Herald-Record

Harness Racing This Week: Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial finals, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Cleveland Trotting Classic, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; and Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday night (July 1) as the track will host four lucrative stakes finals in the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Also on Saturday, Northfield Park will host the $185,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic for older trotters. On Sunday (July 2), Tioga Downs will host the $66,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old male pacers and the $53,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old filly pacers. The long holiday weekend of Grand Circuit racing will conclude on Monday (July 3) as Historic Track will card eight Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Ariana G, Mel Mara, and Downbytheseaside were impressive in victories in the Sun Stakes eliminations Saturday (June 24) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a night with a healthy dose of favorites and a sprinkling of longshots as victors. Each of this week's (July 1) championship events on the $2 million Sun Stakes Saturday card -- the $500,000 Ben Franklin Free-For-All Pace, the $500,000 Earl Beal 3-year-old trot, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt 3-year-old colt pace, and the $300,000 James Lynch 3-year-old filly pace -- had enough entrants to necessitate three elimination divisions, with the top three finishers returning for their respective championship event. Perhaps the most respected thing a harness horse can be is a 3-year-old trotting filly taking on and defeating colts. If that's true, Ariana G is the most respected harness horse racing, as the superstar filly raced against colts in a Beal elimination and couldn't have been more impressive, or an easier winner. The daughter of Muscle Hill worked her way to the lead before the time of :27.3 went up for the first quarter and such was the respect she engenders that she was allowed a :57.4 half. Bill's Man came up to challenge uncovered before the 1:26.1 three-quarters, but driver Yannick Gingras looked over unconcerned, letting his filly trot home in :27.3 to complete a 1:53.4 mile. Bill's Man held gamely for second, 1-1/2 lengths off the winner, with Moonshiner Hanover rallying to nip Muscles Jared for third and a spot in the final. The Jimmy Takter trainee is perfect in three starts this year and is 12 for 14 lifetime with earnings of $816,467 for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Mel Mara looked as impressive as anyone on the card, drawing clear through the stretch to win his elimination in 1:48.4. Rockin Ron rallied up the inside for second, while Rock N' Roll World kept on going to just nip Luck Be Withyou for third. Mel Mara, a son of Lis Mara, now has three wins and a second in four seasonal starts, with earnings of $751,464. Corey Callahan was in his usual perch in the sulky for trainer Dylan Davis and the ownership of Robert Cooper Stables and J&T Silva Stables. Downbytheseaside continues to show a one call at all of his three-quarter calls, but never did he have to work harder to get this one, as he went a tough first-over trip then still prevailed in 1:49.2. The victorious son of Somebeachsomewhere showed gameness in the lane, as Pennsylvania Stallion Series champion Donttellmeagain cleared between horses in the lane and came with a head of steam, only to miss by a half-length. Eddard Hanover rallied from the pocket to be third behind the winner of $875,606, owned by Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing. Brian Sears drove for trainer Brian Brown. Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the other Pocono stakes eliminations, are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on June 24. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 283; 2. David Miller - 198; 3. Matt Kakaley - 155; 4. Jason Bartlett - 150; 5. Tim Tetrick - 147. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 292; 2. Peter Tritton - 132; 3. Rene Allard - 129; 4. Brian Brown - 90; 5. Richard Banca - 86. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 103.5; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 67.8; 3. J&T Silva Stables - 57.2; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 55.7; 5. Determination - 42. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Meadowlands Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway. The Meadowlands will host the Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters, Meadowlands Pace eliminations for 3-year-olds, a Reynolds division for 3-year-old filly trotters, and the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Yonkers features Lawrence Sheppard eliminations for 2-year-old pacers. Paul Ramlow

Northfield, OH --- Northeast Ohio's newest premier race, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, will go to post Saturday (July 1) at Northfield Park. The harness racing Classic carries a $185,000 purse and has attracted some of the best veteran trotters in North America. The Grand Circuit race is the featured event on a program that includes four $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Resolve drew post one and has been named the 8-5 morning line favorite in the Classic field by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi. Resolve enters Saturday's race off a 1:54.3 mile against open company at Yonkers. The race was his first start in the United States since returning from Sweden where he competed in the prestigious Elitlopp at Solvalla Racetrack. In 2016, Resolve won the $1,000,000 Yonkers International Trot, a race that was renewed after a 20-year hiatus. Resolve sports 16 wins, lifetime earnings of $2,327,254, and a mark of 1:50.1. Crazy Wow is the 3-1 second choice. He drew post two for powerhouse trainer Ron Burke. The 5-year-old has two wins this year including a track record-setting win at Scioto Downs in the Charlie Hill Memorial Trot on June 10 and an impressive victory in the Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia. He has garnered career earnings of $1,772,564 and took a mark of 1:51.1 at Vernon Downs in 2014. The 2016 winner of the Cleveland Trotting Classic, Obrigado, will return to Northeast Ohio to defend his crown. Obrigado comes off two strong efforts, including a second to Crazy Wow in the Charlie Hill. Mark MacDonald will be looking for back-to-back Cleveland Trotting Classic wins as he is scheduled to drive the talented 7-year-old gelding. Obrigado has a mark of 1:50.3 at the Meadowlands and has made $1,684,749. Bianconi said about the Classic: "This is the strongest field of trotters we have hosted in my 26 years at Northfield." The 2017 Cleveland Trotting Classic field: Horse-Driver-Trainer-M/L 1-Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8-5 2-Crazy Wow-Chris Page-Ron Burke-3-1 3-Il Sogno Dream-Aaron Merriman-Christopher Beaver-10-1 4-Obrigado-Mark MacDonald-Paul Kelley-9-2 5-Fly Jesse Fly-Peter Wrenn-Ron Otto-20-1 6-Maestro Blue Chip-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Scott Di Domenico-12-1 7-Homicide Hunter-Aaron Merriman-Chris Oakes-8-1 8-Will Take Charge-TBA-John Bax-15-1 Driver selections will be finalized by 9 p.m. Tuesday evening. This year's Classic program undercard is highlighted by four $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes races featuring the best sophomore colt and gelding pacers in the Buckeye State. Superfecta wagering has been added to Saturday's 11th race, the Classic feature, and will carry a guaranteed pool of $15,000. A $7,500 guaranteed Pick-4 has also been added and covers races eight through 11. First race post time is 6 p.m. In addition to superior racing action, the night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is just $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. The first 1,000 racing fans (18 and older) will receive a FREE limited edition 60th anniversary t-shirt from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. or while supplies last. In addition, from 6-10 p.m. stop by the outdoor apron to listen to country band, Tony Rio and Relentless perform between races, or stop by and try the delicious offerings of Smash Time food truck and Crooked Kettle Popcorn Stand, or try your luck at the beer slide from 7-8 p.m. for cash and prizes. Cleveland Trotting Classic night attendees will receive a bonus entry for the 60th Anniversary Car Giveaway making them eligible to win a 2017 Buick Cascada or a 2017 Honda CR-V. One lucky winner will be drawn randomly on Carl Milstein Memorial Night on Aug. 12. Every summer has a story...start yours at Northfield Park! By Michael Carter, for Northfield Park Assistant Director of Mutuels 330-467-4101, ext. 2240

Harness Racing This Week: Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial eliminations, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Schedule of events: The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will host four sets of stakes eliminations on Saturday (June 24). There will be three $35,000 eliminations in the Ben Franklin for older pacers; a trio of $25,000 eliminations in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters and the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers; and three $20,000 eliminations in the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. 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 $730,000 Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack. Fear The Dragon, driven by David Miller, defeated the bettor's choice Huntsville by three-quarters of a length to capture the prestigious race in 1:48.4 on Saturday (June 17). Trained by Delaware, Ohio's Brian Brown, Fear The Dragon gave his conditioner his first Cup victory and his driver back-to-back Cup wins. Miller, who now has two trophies, won last year's edition with Betting Line. Stablemate Downbytheseaside, who is also trained by Brown, finished third. Sports Column and driver Chris Christoforou was quickest off the gate from post five and grabbed the front on the rail. Classic Pro and driver Trevor Henry was close on his heels from post six, making a rush for the lead from the outside. Classic Pro was able to take command at the quarter pole posting a flashy :25.2 opening panel. The speed revved up in the backstretch. Filibuster Hanover and driver Louis Philippe Roy came first-over from third to clear to the front but a stalking Downbytheseaside, driven by Brian Sears, caught second-over cover and was quick to steal the lead at the midway point. Downbytheseaside posted a scorching :52.1 half, the fastest half-mile in Mohawk history. The 4-5 favorite, Huntsville, driven by Tim Tetrick, was on the move first-up from fifth before the half. Fear The Dragon followed behind the advancing favorite. Downbytheseaside remained in command past the three-quarters in 1:19.3 and into the lane. All three Cup elimination winners -- Downbytheseaside on the rail, Huntsville in the middle and Fear The Dragon on the outside -- battled into the stretch. It then became a two-horse duel between Huntsville and Fear Of The Dragon, but it was the Brian Brown trainee who crossed the wire first, taking a new lifetime mark in the process. Huntsville was second and Downbytheseaside was third. "My horse was having a hard time keeping up," said Miller of the quick fractions. "He was gapping and I was chasing him and he didn't really get into contention until right at the head of the stretch and then he dug, he fought, Huntsville he kept fighting and it was a battle right to the wire." Fear The Dragon remains unbeaten as a 3-year-old with six victories from six outings. He notched his 11th lifetime victory in 17 starts. The son of Dragon Again and Armbro Cinnamon increased his career earnings to $684,094 for owner Emerald Highlands Farm. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on June 17. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 253; 2. David Miller - 169; 3. Jason Bartlett - 150; 4. Matt Kakaley - 138; 5. Jordan Stratton - 136. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 270; 2. Peter Tritton - 132; 3. Rene Allard - 119; 4. Richard Banca - 86; 5. Brian Brown - 75. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 103.5; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 61; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 52.2; 4. J&T Silva Stables - 48.9; 5. Determination - 42. Looking ahead: Next weekend Pocono will have the finals for the Ben Franklin (older pacers), Earl Beal Memorial (3-year-old trotters), Max Hempt Memorial (3-year-old pacers) and James Lynch (3-year-old filly pacers) as part of a busy weekend of Grand Circuit racing. Paul Ramlow  

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