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What Cheer, IA -- After weeks of carefully studying race programs for each meet at What Cheer, David Bunker took home the top prize in the fan favorite Progressive Pick Ten contest on Sunday (September 6). It was the final day of racing at the Keokuk County Fairgrounds in 2020.   "I'm pretty lucky," said Bunker modestly. "There's a little bit of skill to it with watching the program, but a lot of luck."   Participants in the Progressive Pick Ten try to pick the winner in the first ten races of each day of racing at What Cheer. For each winner picked they get a point. At the end of the season, the $2,000 prize is divided among the top participants in the same split as winning purse money, with the winner taking 45 percent, or $900.   Roger Roland started the Progressive Pick Ten competition at What Cheer six years ago as a way to keep fans coming back to the grandstand every week all summer.   "I started it to get more attendance at the races and it definitely helps," said Roland. "They come every week, they compare notes, and they don't miss a day of racing. Of the top twenty, only two people didn't come every week and one of them was in the hospital."   After each race day people in the grandstand can be heard asking each other, "How many did you get?" There are good days and tough days. Saturday (September 5) was one of those tough days with lots of upsets in 2-year-old Iowa-Registered competition. Bunker managed to do alright.   "What clinched it for me was getting five out of ten on Saturday," said Bunker. "It was a terrible day. Some only got two and I got five somehow."   With only six picks separating the top seven participants every race is important.   On the last day of the competition everybody missed race three and four when Itsonlymoneyhoney, a son of Banker Volo, took the first division of the 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Trot and Always Hotspeed, a Real Desire colt, came from the back tier to take the first division of the 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Pace. In race ten, the final race of the 2020 What Cheer Progressive Pick Ten, Bunker picked the winning Big Jim filly Candy Cane Cannae.   Bunker took the top prize with 62 wins, only two picks ahead of Larry Mather's 60. June Huffman and Jerry Hamilton tied for third with 57 and Dina Gooch, Sherry Bunker and Earl McCay rounded out the prize winners with 56 picks each.   Bunker makes his picks early in the week when the What Cheer race program is posted on the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association website.   "I go by times, who's doing well, and who's driving," said Bunker. "If there's a driver change I may change my pick because of that."   This is Bunker's fourth time winning the Progressive Pick Ten. The first time he split the win three ways, he won it all his second time winning, and last year split it with Jerry Hamilton, another competitive Progressive Pick Ten enthusiast.   In addition to the Progressive Pick Ten, Roland has come up with another creative way to keep fans in the stands at What Cheer. He saw people were leaving the races early, so he also started The Late Pick Five.   "We also play the last five," said Roland "It's $75 a day with a maximum $375. It's a way to keep people in the stand and keep people entertained."   Both of these contests have kept people coming to the races and brought new interest to the Iowa racing circle. Look for new fans and familiar faces when both contests return to the Keokuk County Fairgrounds in 2021.   by Gretchen Roland, for the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association  

Oskaloosa, IA -- Four of the eight feature race winners set new lifetime marks on an afternoon of hot harness racing competition and hot weather at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds. Sunday's (July 26) card showcased 13 fields of Iowa-registered sophomores and one field of Iowa-registered aged trotters.   Stepping up in class, Yankee On The Move made his feature Iowa-Registered 3-year-old Pace debut after two starts in the non-winners of $3,000 class this year. Coming off a big 2:00.4 mile at What Cheer two weeks ago, owner Bob Lems' Yankee Skyscaper gelding was ready to play with the big boys.   In a field of six contenders with five having posted wins this year, driver James Gould eased Yankee On The Move off the gate letting the early leaders battle for position. Gould pulled the Mark Mintun trainee second up by the half then tipped three wide in the final turn sweeping to the front to take the mile in 1:59.4, a new lifetime mark and his third win in three starts. In another impressive mile, Duane and Connie Roland's 3-year-old Sportsmaster gelding Bizys Beatle took the second division in 2:00.4, dropping more than four seconds from his personal best.   Three-year-old pacing filly Supreme Dumpling made her first trip to the winner's circle this year. Drawing the rail, driver Mark Mintun took advantage of the post position capturing the early lead. The Southern Ruler N filly faced little challenge taking the race in 2:04.1, a new lifetime mark.   Owned and trained by John Saner, Supreme Dumpling was bred by Vernon Mast out of the Sportsmaster mare Sporty Dumpling. The second division of 3-year-old pacing fillies went to Rob Anderson's divisional standout Jennie Ann. The Lettherockbegin filly has won five of her past six races and posted the fastest pace of the day, winning in 1:59.1.   Owners Rick Huffman's and Keith Wilson's 3-year-old trotter Scoreoneforme dropped two seconds from his previous mark beating a field of five in 2:04.3. Driven by Chad Svendson and trained by Rick Huffman, the son of Man Of Broadway posted his second win in 2020. In another 2:04.3 mile, Itsonlymoneyhoney took the other division of Iowa-resgistered 3-year-old trotting colts with Michael Morales in the bike. Trained by Dan Roland and owned by Its Only Money Stable, the 3-year-old son of Banker Volo improved his lifetime stats to seven wins in 18 starts.   The first 3-year-old filly trot went to Lucky Playmate. Trained by Rick Huffman and driven by Chad Svendson, the daughter of Lucky Chucky out of the Pine Chip mare Almond Chip has only missed the board in one of her 17 lifetime starts. Lucky Playmate is owned by Rick & CD Huffman and Larry Mather. Voted 2019 Iowa Horse of the Year by the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association membership, Gary Liles Battle Queen continued her reign with another win in the second division of trotting fillies. With Liles' in the bike, the daughter of Yadi crossed the wire in 2:05, going three-for-three in 2020.   In another winning pairing of the Huffman stable and driver Chad Svendson, the Iowa-registered aged trot went to CR Blaze. Chad Svendson and the 4-year-old Amigo Ranger mare fired off the gate and led the field to the half in 1:03. It was a tight race with four lengths covering the top five contenders most of the mile. Chad Svendson held off stretch charges by Hauser stablemates Al Mar Bonbon and Princess Legacy to take the mile in 2:03.3. Owned by David Gingerich of Chariton, Iowa, this is CR Blaze's second win in 2020.   Iowa-registered racing action is set to resume Monday (July 27) with 2-year-old and aged pacing competition. Watch Facebook and the Iowa Harness Horseman's Association text alerts for any weather and track updates. Post time is 12:30pm.   by Gretchen Roland, for the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association  

What Cheer, IA -- Nine fields of 3-year-old and aged harness racing pacers competed on Sunday (July 12), the final day of the Keokuk County Fair.   The card began with two divisions of 3-year-old pacing colts and two divisions of 3-year-old pacing fillies vying for the State Representative David Maxwell blanket.   Top 3-year-old gelding Slippin The Clutch won the first colt race. Drawing to the outside in post position five, Slippin The Clutch was hung out until the quarter when he was able to take the front and grab the rail. Will Roland drove the son of Iowa sire Millionaire Cam to a 1:57.2 victory for owners Jay Delong, Jeff Carey, and Rick & CD Huffman. Trained by Curtis Carey, Slippin The Clutch has five wins in five starts in 2020.   The second division of pacing colts went to CD Huffman and Larry Mather's 3-year-old colt Always Hotspeed. Pacing a 2:02.1 mile with Chad Svendson in the bike, the son of Real Desire is trained by Joel McDanel.   The fastest division of 3-year-old pacing fillies went to Rob Anderson's Jennie Ann. The Lettherockbegin filly led gate-to-wire in a speedy 1:59.3 mile. This was Jennie Ann's third win this year, and her second fastest mile following a 1:58.3 performance at West Liberty a few weeks ago.   Shining Jewels made it two in a row taking the other division of 3-year-old pacing fillies after a win in Humboldt last week. The daughter of Real Desire knocked two seconds off last week's win clocking a 2:00.2 mile. Trained by Elvin Zimmerman, Shining Jewels was driven by Samuel Zimmerman and owned by Aimes Racing.   The feature race of the day was the Aged Iowa-Registered Pace for colts and geldings. Two of Iowa's top horses, Minnie VInnie and Roland N Rock, both drew first tier post positions setting up a battle for the boys. Eight-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding Roland N Rock took advantage of post position two to capture the early lead. The 5-year-old son of Millionaire Cam, Minnie Vinnie, dropped into the two hole coming into the first turn and didn't challenge until the half. The two raced wheel to wheel with Duane Roland driving Roland N Rock on the inside and Will Roland piloting Minnie Vinnie in hot pursuit. Minnie Vinnie inched ahead into the final turn and brought it home down the stretch to win in 1:59.   The mare division of the Aged Iowa-Registered Pace went to Edmund Krapp's filly Red N Hotallover. The daughter of Ryan N Hanover paced a 1:59.1 mile with James Gould taking the reins. Red N Hotallover has won four of her last five starts.   A colt and a filly division of 3-year-old non-winners of $3,000 in 2020 pacers followed. Trained and driven by Mark Mintun, Robert Lem's Yankee Skyscaper gelding Yankee On The Move shaved four seconds off his personal best earning a new lifetime mark of 2:00.4. Duane and Connie Roland's Sportsmaster filly Sporty Fox made her way to the winner's circle for the first time this year in a 2:06 mile with Cory Larson driving.   The final race of the last day of the Keokuk County Fair was for non-winners of $2,500 or maiden pacers. Somewherebeautiful entered with $2,300 on her card and drew the rail with Duane Roland driving. Winning in a flawless gate-to-wire performance, the 3-year-old Somebeachsomewhere filly finished in 2:01.3 for owners Duane and Roger Roland.   Iowa racing action resumes next Saturday (July 18) and Sunday (July 19) with the second round of the Iowa Sires Stakes contested at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds. Post time is 12:30pm.   by Gretchen Roland, Iowa Harness Horse Association    

What Cheer, IA -- Fifteen fields of Iowa-sired harness racing two-year-olds and three-year-olds competed in the first of two 2020 Iowa Sires Stakes meets.   Freshman trotters led the card with Searching For You and driver Chad Svendson capturing the first race in 2:08.4. Owned by Kayveonna Johnson and Rick & CD Huffman, the trotting colt is from the first crop of Stage Muscles, a son of Muscle Hill. Rick Huffman trains. The second division of 2-year-old trotting colts & geldings went to Roll On Whitey in 2:08.2. The Honeydont Hanover gelding is trained and driven by lessee Gary Liles.   Only one of the eight competitors in the lone division of two-year-old trotting fillies stayed flat during a chaotic mile. Chad Svendson drove Airman's Kisses to a 2:11 win for owner's Rick & CD Huffman. Trained by Rick Huffman, the filly is by Airman Batten, a son of Swan For All.   The two-year-old Iowa Sires Stakes colt and gelding pace went to Duane & Connie Roland's Western Waltz. From the first crop of Western Trademark, driver Cory Larson and Western Waltz found room through a tight pack in the final stretch to steal a win in 2:05.2.   17-year-old driver Justin Gould gave a perfect trip to CharChar earning her a win in the first division of 2-year-old filly pacers. Hailing from the Mintun-Gould Stable, CharChar is from the second crop of In Over My Head. Freshman fily pacers picked up the pace in the second division with Curvyhipsandredlips capturing a gate-to-wire win in 2:03.1 with Will Roland in the bike. The daughter of Millionaire Cam is trained by Curtis Carey and owned by Jay Delong, Jeff Carey and Rick & CD Huffman.   First Gunner continued his winning streak bringing the tally to four with a 2:03.1 mile in the 3-year-old Trot. The son of Amigo Ranger was a top five pacer as a 2-year-old, only switching to the trot in 2020. First Gunner is owned by Kathy Shipley and trained by Tom Shipley.   Driver Chad Svendson paired with the Huffman Stable for another win on the trot. CR Valentine followed Broadway Sweetheart until the three-quarter pole then tipped out to challenge the mile leader. CR Valentine, a daughter of Amigo Ranger, took over in the stretch to win earning a new lifetime mark of 2:05.   Ivy B Poison raced a strong mile to take the first division of 3-year-old pacing fillies. Trained and driven by Scott Smith, the Sneaky B Skipalong filly clocked a 2:03.4 mile for owner Chris Philipp. After a 1:58.4 performance at West Liberty last week, Jennie Ann remained in top form besting the competition in the second division of filly pacers in 2:00.2. A daughter of the Rocknroll Hanover stud Lettherockbegin, Jennie Ann is owned, trained and driven by Rob Anderson.   In the last feature race of the day, the 2019 pacing colt champion Slippin The Clutch drew post position seven, starting in the second tier. Driver Will Roland navigated around some early traffic and pulled the 3-year-old son of Millionaire Cam at the half. The gelding found another gear breezing up to second where he was hung by Cashncam. The two battled to the finish when a late charge from Legal LIar threatened the pair. Slippin The Clutch won in 1:59.2 for trainer Curtis Carey and owners Jay Delong, Jeff Carey and Rick & CD Huffman.   For the full results of todays racing click on this link   Iowa racing action resumes on July 3 (Friday) at the Humboldt COunty Fairgrounds. Post time is 12:30pm.     Gretchen Roland for the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association    

West Liberty, IA -- Iowa harness racing held their first race meet since 1977 at the Muscatine County Fairgrounds in West Liberty, Iowa on Saturday (June 20). Fourteen fields of trotters and pacers graced the track after a 43 year hiatus, posting record-breaking times early in the 2020 Iowa circuit.   The day began with a sub-2:00 mile setting the tempo for the meet. Red N Hotallover, a 5-year-old Ryan N Hanover mare, took the first division of the Aged Iowa-Registered Pace in 1:59. It was 17-year-old driver James Gould's sixth lifetime start and second win after tallying his first with the same mare at Bedford, Iowa two weeks ago for owner & trainer Edmund Krapp. Not to be outdone, Iowa's top pacer Minnie Vinnie took the second division of the Aged Iowa-Registered Pace in a blistering mile. Will Roland drove the 5-year-old Millionaire Cam gelding in a wire-to-wire performance, hitting the half at :58 and accelerating to a 1:54.4 finish, an Iowa fair record. Minnie Vinnie is trained by Curtis Carey and owned by Jay Delong, Jeff Carey and Rick Huffman.   Cara Hauser's 7-year-old trotting mare Al Mar Bonbon took the Aged Iowa-Registered Trot, besting a field of eight in a 2:01 mile. The Sos Lunar Eclipse mare now has 26 wins and increased her lifetime earnings to $142,535.   Three divisions of 2-year-old pacers made their mark with more fast miles. Chad Svendson drove the first two winners, starting with Zipper Flipper in a 2:01.2 mile. The Roll With Joe gelding began his freshman season with a 2:12 winning mile at What Cheer, and a 2:06.4 second place finish at Humboldt. Zipper Flipper is trained by Rick Huffman and owned by Huffman and Larry Mather. In another pairing of Svendson, Huffman and Mather, May Day Maggie won the second division of the 2-year-old pace in 2:02. From the first crop of Minnesota sire Special Forces and the Western Ideal mare Faithful Ideal, this was May Day Maggie's second race and first career win. Connie & Duane Roland's first-time starter Midnight Saffron took the final division of 2-year-old pacers in 2:06. Duane Roland trains and drives the black filly from the first crop of Western Trademark.   Two fillies topped the 2-year-old trotters. Tom & Kathy Shipley's Royalty for Life filly She'll Dew posted her second win in two weeks out-trotting many of the 3-year-olds in a 2:04.2 mile with Royal Roland in the bike. Paul Hochstedler's first-time starter TSS Haylies House cruised to victory in 2:13.1. Trained and driven by Jason Ludwig, the Our House filly is out of the Crazed mare Celebrity Porsche.   It was all fillies again in the three divisions of 3-year-old pacers. After reaching the half in 57.4, Jennie Ann cruised home in 1:58.3 knocking 4 seconds off her previous best . The Lettherockbegin filly is owned, trained and driven by Rob Anderson. After firing off the gate Abilene posted a wire-to-wire win in 2:00.2 for owners Jim Springer and Gretchen Roland. The 3-year-old daughter of The Panderosa is trained and driven by Will Roland. Duane and Roger Roland's Somewherebeautiful continued her perfect 2020 campaign with a 1:59.3 win. The Somebeachsomewhere filly is now five-for-five this year.   Itsonlymoneyhoney topped her personal best in a 2:01.2 mile with Mike Morales in the bike. Trained by Dan Roland, the 3-year-old Banker Volo trotting filly is owned by It's Only Money Stable. After racing on the pace in 2019, First Gunner found his stride on the trot taking the second division of 3-year-olds in 2:04.4. The Amigo Ranger gelding is trained by Tom Shipley and owned by Kathy Shipley.   The final race of the day, the Free For All Pace, went to Duane & Connie Roland's Roland N Rock. The 8-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover eclipsed all entries with lifetime earnings of $636,733 -- more than double any other horse on the card.   In an exciting promotion to bring horses to new fairs, the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association is holding a Jackpot Race at three overnight fairs in 2020 with the first being at West Liberty. Overnights typically have $1,000 purses. After the races finished, a member of the crowd picked a number out of a hat and that race had an additional $5,000 added to their purse for a total of $6,000. It was a good day for owners of 3-year-old trotters as Race 12 received the extra purse money. The next Jackpot Race will happen at What Cheer next Saturday (June 27). Racing that day is replacing racing at Alison, Iowa that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.   From Gretchen Roland for the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association

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