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Seaford, DE --- “Dead-mouthed runaway” is not a phrase the average person wants to hear describe a horse they’re about to get on. Nevertheless, caretaker Nicky Ratledge knew just what she was doing when she decided to ride Courser Hanover, one of her charges in the Delaware stable of harness racing trainer Tim Crissman. She’d asked him to let her try it time and again, but knowing the gelding’s nearly notorious tendency to pull, Crissman advised her against it. She kept asking though, and in April, she finally got on him. Ten minutes later they were off on a trail ride. “He loved every minute of it,” Ratledge said. Proof of that is in the horse’s recent performance on the racetrack. Less than a week after his first trail ride, Courser Hanover made it to the winner’s circle at Harrington Raceway after taking a new seasonal mark of 1:53.1. In the weeks since he’s won twice more. “He’s got a little more confidence now,” Crissman said. Crissman is just happy to see the horse racing. The day he claimed the son of Astreos-Cindy B for $15,000 at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 2013, the then-7-year-old broke a pastern bone. “They said he’d never race again,” Crissman recalled. He didn’t want to give up on the horse though. Eight months after the injury, Courser Hanover -- a $180,000 yearling in 2007 -- made it back to the track. In 2014, he won five races and earned just under $19,000 for Crissman. The trainer says it was dealing with the horse’s behavior that made the return to racing difficult. “He’s his own worst enemy,” Crissman said. He said that in spite of his age and past injury, Courser Hanover wants to go fast -- all the time. “I’ve never sat behind a horse that can pull as hard as him,” Crissman said. “He’s a dead-mouthed runaway.” Numerous bridle changes suggested by Tony Morgan, the pacer’s regular driver, and various training regimens have resulted in minor improvements in Courser Hanover’s behavior during the past two years, but the horse is still known to get out of control on occasion. Not too long ago, one of Crissman’s grooms tore ligaments in his leg as he was sitting on the jog cart, straining against the stirrups in an effort to maintain control of the horse. “You go to hook him up and he turns into a Tasmanian devil,” Crissman said. That’s why he didn’t want Ratledge riding the pacer. He was sure she’d get hurt. “I would have never got on him,” he said, adding that Courser Hanover gets agitated and starts kicking when you put the harness on him. Ratledge knew she had the right idea though when she put the saddle on the pacer and he didn’t move an inch. She says he enjoys being out on the trail -- he doesn’t pull -- and in turn is a happier horse all around. “He’s found himself,” said Ratledge, who rides Courser Hanover a few times a week now. “He went from being sour to being a lovable horse.” Crissman agrees that the pacer’s experiences under saddle have increased his composure. “He’s got more confidence in his ability,” Crissman said. “Before he just wanted to go around the track as fast as he could and he’d stop. He’s gotten to the point now where he’s trying.” From 15 starts this year, Courser Hanover has racked up six wins, four seconds and three thirds. He won a $7,500 claiming event at Harrington Raceway just last night (May 21) in 1:55.1 on a sloppy track. “He’s better now,” Crissman said. “I hope he stays that way. He’s a little easier to put up with when he’s making money.” by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

J&M Racing Stable's Embassy Seelster ($10.80, George Dennis) set a new track record for aged pacing mares with a 1:51.3 triumph in the $12,500 Mares Open II at the harness racing meeting at Harrington Raceway. The Doug Lewis-trainee led most of the way in her half-length victory over San Fran Lady N and Star Keeper. The 5-year-old Modern Art mare reset the track record, formerly held by Ladyfield (1:51.4) set in 2008. It was also a new national season's mark for pacing mares in North America on a half mile racetrack. That mark was formerly held by runner up San Fran Lady N (1:52.1). Harrington currently holds five of the nine national season's marks on half-mile racetracks. Also Encouraging ($2.10, Jim Morand), a top sophomore filly from last year who made $316,761, returned for her first win in her second start of this season for owners Richard Lombardo and David Kryway with a 1:53.3 score for trainer Josh Green in a $10,000 conditioned event. Another talented mare on the comeback trail notched her first 4-year-old win as CC Racing's Tyra ($4.80, Victor Kirby) capitalized on a class drop for a 1:54 win in a $10,000 conditioned pace. Trained by Jim King Jr., the 4-year-old Mcardle mare was a beaten favorite in Open company last week but helped to atone for that defeat with her first win in three starts this year. George Dennis had three driving wins on the program. Matt Sparacino  

HARRINGTON, Del. - Janet Hudson's Just a Jolt with harness racing driver Victor Kirby in the sulky notched his 25th career win Monday in the featured $16,000 Open at Harrington Raceway in 1:52. The 5-year-old Village Jolt gelding yielded early to pacesetter and last week's winner, Dancin Yankee, who led most of the way until Just A Jolt found room in the stretch and surged by for his fifth win of the year. Elite Awards finished third. Just A Jolt has banked more than $91,000 already in 2015, after a $223,885 season in 2014. KDK Standardbreds, Kathleen Mofield and John Dickens' Race Me Villa ($5.20, Montrell Teague) notched his sixth win of the season in 1:52.4 in a $11,000 conditioned event. A blazing 26.4 second last quarter gave the 5-year-old Village Jolt gelding an easy win over Bobbies Powerplay and Son of a Sizzle, who was previously undefeated in three 2015 starts. Allan Davis had three wins on the program. Montrell Teague and Jim Morand each had a driving double. Matthew Sparacino  

Keith Pippi's Traverse Seelster ($3, Ross Wolfenden) was an impressive 1:55 winner in the $16,000 Open Trot at the harness racing meeting at Harrington Raceway Wednesday. Traverse Seelster seized control early from Spunky Jack in an opening quarter in 28.2 seconds. Traverse Seelster then led the field of five to a half-mile in 58 seconds and three-quarters in 1:27.1. The venerable 7-year-old Angus Hall gelding then drew off effortlessly in the stretch for a dominating score over Spunky Jack. Powerful Charger closed late for third. Trained by Josh Green, it was the first win in four 2015 starts for Traverse Seelster, who added to his healthy lifetime bankroll of nearly $640,000. The all aged track record holder for trotters, Traverse Seelster had been second in his previous three starts. Victor Kirby had four wins on the program. Allan Davis, Tony Morgan and Ross Wolfenden each had two wins. Matt Sparacino

 Reggie Hazzard's A La Notte Hanover ($28.60, Allan Davis) was an upset winner in the $12,500 Mares Open at  the harness racing meeting at Harrington Raceway on Tuesday in 1:53.4.    The Wayne Givens-trainee received a ground saving trip behind the pacesetting leader Jeremes Sweetheart before passing the latter narrowly at the finish.   The Givens barn has been on a roll of late, after a four win night on Monday and taking the feature for the second straight program.    In a $10,000 sub-featured pace for conditioned mares, John McGill's Star Keeper ($9, Tim Tetrick) notched a 1:53.4 win for trainer Jim King Jr.    The 8-year-old Four Starzz Shark mare sat a pocket trip behind Fill My Pockets Up, the pacesetter, and surged by the leader in the passing lane.    Allan Davis had four wins on the program for the second straight night while Tony Morgan had three wins and  John Wilkerson had a training double.   Matt Sparacino

George Teague Jr.'s Wiggleitjiggleit ($2.10, Montrell Teague) put forth a dazzling world record performance Monday with a 1:49 win at the harness racing meeting at Harrington Raceway as he remained unbeaten in eight career starts. The Mr Wiggles gelding left the gate from post position five as the 1-to-9 favorite and effortlessly set fractions of 26.4, 54.1 and 1:22. While his closest pursuer Bobbies Powerplay yielded in the pocket, "Wiggle" steamrolled to a 14-length victory in world record and track record time. The time established a new mark for 3-year-olds of 1:49 on a half-mile racetrack and broke the overall track record of 1:49.2. Legendary pacer Somebeachsomewhere and Rock N Roll Heaven co-held the world record previously, while Betterthancheddar and Clear Vision shared the track record. Trained by Clyde Francis, Wiggleitjiggleit could make his next start in the Indiana Sires Stakes at Hoosier Park on May 23. In the $16,000 overnight feature, the Open Pace, 4-to-5 favorite Dancin Yankee left from post position three in a short field of five and assumed early command from People Are Crazy in an opening quarter mile in a pedestrian-like 29 seconds. Dancin Yankee then led the field to the half-mile in 58.3 seconds while Bandolito, who co-holds the fastest mile of the year, battled first over. Dancin Yankee then cruised to three-quarters in 1:25.4 while Bandolito began to fade. Dancin Yankee ($3.60, Allan Davis) opened up several lengths on the field at the wire and triumphed in 1:52.4 over People Are Crazy and Elite Awards. It was the first win of the year for the Josh Green-trainee, whose made more than $1.1 million in his career. Last year's 2-year-old DSBF champ, Remember Me VK ($3.20, Teague), making his first start since his freshman campaign, had an auspicious return to the races with a 1:53 score for trainer Bobby Wyatt. Owned by Sharon Wyatt, Robin West and Ron Benton, it was the fourth win in six career starts for the Art Director gelding, who is the 2-year-old track record holder at Harrington. Speaking of auspicious debuts, Legacy Racing and Reggie Hazzard's Bad Boy Matt had just that in his debut with a 1:52.1 win in the $12,500 Open II. Allan Davis had four winners on the program as did owners Legacy Racing of Delaware. Montrell Teague drove three winners. Matt Sparacino  

Standardbred racing fans that haven't yet perused the Harrington Raceway entries for the harness racing meeting on Monday May 11, may want to take a look tout suite. Among the 101 horses racing on the 13-race program, are undefeated sophomore pacer, Wiggleitjiggleit, and North America's fastest horse in 2015, Bandolito. George Teague Jr.'s Wiggleitjiggleit (3/2, Montrell Teague) will look to go 8-for-8 in his career in ironically the 8th race on the program. Fortunately for his connections, the number "8" them ended with his post draw as he drew mid-pack post number five for trainer Clyde Francis. The homebred son of Mr. Wiggles, most recent win came on May 2 in the John Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands in 1:50. Wiggleitjiggleit, the lone 3-year-old in the overnight race Monday, will battle a field of eight Monday in his first pari-mutuel start over a half-mile racetrack. The next start for Wiggleitjiggleit may be May 23 in the Indiana Sire Stakes at Hoosier Park. Meanwhile, Daryl Bier's Bandolito (2/1, Bier) will face a contentious group in the $16,000 Open pace, slated sixth on the program and will complete the pick four (races 3-6) wager. The Bier-trainee finished fourth in his last start on May 2 in a $50,000 Invitational at Pocono Downs. He has three wins in his last five starts, including a dazzling 1:48.1 triumph at Dover Downs on April 2. The Ponder stallion will start from post four looking to end a recent two race win streak by Janet Hudson's Just A Jolt (5/2, Victor Kirby). Newcomer to the group, Baron Racing and Richard Lombardo's Dancin Yankee (9/5, Allan Davis) is still in pursuit of his first win in 2015, following a banner 2014 in which he won 18 races and earned more than $509,000. Robin and Jay Breasure's People Are Crazy (6/1, George Dennis) and Karen Walls' Elite Awards (8/1, Jim Morand) will complete the field. Post time is 5:30 p.m. Matt Sparacino

HARRINGTON, Del. - A field of six talented trotters with 125 career combined lifetime wins lined up behind the starting gate in Harrington Raceway's $16,000 featured Open Trot Wednesday. When the dust settled it was Jim King Jr., and Tim Tetrick's Powerful Charger ($10.40, Victor Kirby) earning his second straight win in 1:54.3 over Traverse Seelster and Wingus. Powerful Charger received a second over trip behind Traverse Seelster, who catapulted to the front over a tiring Pocket Trip. 'Charger' then assumed pocket position and surged by Traverse Seelster late for his fifth win of the year. Allan Davis had three wins on the program. Crissman Inc.'s trotter Dash for the Cash ($3.40, Tony Morgan) improved to 2-for-2 for his new barn (trainer Tim Crissman) with a 1:56.3 win. Ross Wolfenden had a driving double. Matthew Sparacino    

HARRINGTON, Del. - San Fran Lady N ($3.60, Ross Wolfenden) notched her eighth win of the season Tuesday with a 1:52.2 victory in the harness racing featured $12,500 Mares Open II at Harrington Raceway. San Fran Lady N, who prevailed last week in 1:53.1, set the pace from her rail post position with fractions of 27, 56.2 and 1:24.3 as Hit By Lightning pursued first over with Springforth sitting in the pocket throughout. In mid stretch Springforth battled San Fran Lady N and had a narrow lead in deep stretch before the latter resurged to prevail by a nose. Trained by Steve Leblanc, the Live Or Die mare is owned by Leblanc Racing, William Lutz Jr., and Count De Money Stable. For the second straight night, a driver took both halves of the daily double. On Monday night, it was Tony Morgan, this time it was Allan Davis, who piloted Outrageous Delight N ($13) and Driven by Destiny ($3.40) as part of a five win night for the 39-year-old driver. Victor Kirby had three wins on the program. Matthew Sparacino

HARRINGTON, Del. - Janet Hudson's Just A Jolt ($2.60, Victor Kirby) notched his second straight win Monday at Harrington Raceway in the featured $16,000 Open Handicap for harness racing pacers in 1:51.2. The 5-year-old Village Jolt gelding successfully mounted his attack second over after leader Elite Awards blazed through fractions of 26.1, 54.3 and 1:22.4. 'Jolt' gathered momentum on the outside following Believe This Bob and surged in the final sixteenth of a mile to hit the wire first. Summer Camp, who sat second behind the pacesetter, closed ground late for second, while Believe This Bob finished third. Elite Awards faded to fourth. It was the 24th career win for Just A Jolt, who is trained by Jim King Jr. Kirby had three winners on the program. Tony Morgan also recorded a hat trick, including both halves of the daily double with Bobbies Powerplay ($7.60) and Bold and Brave ($2.80). Matthew Sparacino

HARRINGTON, Del. - The James King Jr. stable was triumphant in its second harness racing feature of the week at Harrington Raceway as Powerful Charger ($10.60, Victor Kirby) bested a field of five rivals Wednesday in the featured $16,000 Open Trot in 1:55. The 7-year-old gelding sired by Powerful Emotion wore down pacesetter Traverse Seelster in deep stretch for the narrow win. Spunky Jack, who was second throughout most of the mile, held on for third. Last week's winner, I Like My Boss, finished fifth. Owned by King Jr., and Tim Tetrick, Powerful Charger notched his fourth win of the season as his seasonal earnings inched closer to $50,000 for trainer and co-owner King Jr., who also prevailed in Monday's featured race, the $16,000 Open pace with Just A Jolt. Trainer Tim Crissman had two winners on the program, both driven by Anthony Morgan. Tim Torbert also had a training double. Allan Davis and Victor Kirby each had a driving double. Matthew Sparacino    

HARRINGTON, Del. - Legacy Racing of Delaware's Hit By Lightning ($41, Jim Morand) was an upset harness racing winner in the $12,500 Mares Open II Tuesday at Harrington Raceway in 1:53.4. Together Again N was sent for the early lead from post position three in a 27.1 opening quarter mile. She then led the field of seven towards the half in 56.3 with Springforth battling first-over through three-quarters in 1:25.2. Springforth edged clear of Together Again N at the top of the stretch but was passed by a surging Hit By Lightning down the passing lane in the final strides for a narrow win at odds of 19-to-1. Springforth was second, with Together Again N third. The Wayne Givens-trainee notched her third win of the season. Givens was in the winner's circle again earlier on the program when Reginald Hazzard's A La Notte Hanover ($3.40, Allan Davis) made her Harrington debut a winning one with a three-wide surge on the final turn to prevail in the subfeatured $11,000 conditioned pace in 1:54.1. A La Notte Hanover is conditioned by defending meet leading trainer Givens. Leblanc Racing, Bill Lutz Jr., and Count De Money Stable's San Fran Lady ($6, Victor Kirby) notched her seventh win of the year in a $10,000 conditioned pace. The 9-year-old Live or Die mare bested a field of younger rivals with a stout pacesetting performance throughout. Davis, Tony Morgan and George Dennis each had three winners on the program. Jim Morand had a driving double. Josh Green and Wayne Givens each recorded a training double. Matthew Sparacino

HARRINGTON, Del. - Janet Hudson's Just A Jolt ($3) was one of five harness racing winners driven by Victor Kirby as the pacer notched his 23rd career win Monday in the $16,000 Open Pace at Harrington Raceway in 1:51.4. The Jim King Jr-trainee left from post position three and never relinquished the lead upon assuming command approaching the opening quarter mile and held pocket sitting Believe This Bob safe throughout. Jebswesternshake was third. A 5-year-old Village Jolt gelding, Just A Jolt earned his third win of the season. Karen Walls' Elite Awards ($5, George Dennis) captured the $12,500 Open II with a 1:54 front-end score for trainer Ed Walls. The 4-year-old Powerful Toy gelding earned his third win of the season and padded his lifetime bankroll of nearly $250,000. Kirby and King teamed up again when Thomas Kemp's Fire In the Belly ($6) made a backside charge to clear the leader and draw clear by open lengths in the fourth race in 1:51.3. The 4-year-old Real Artist gelding notched his 11th career win for conditioner King. Kirby also piloted People Are Crazy ($3.80) to victory for owners Robin and Jay Breasure in 1:53 in the eighth race, a $10,000 conditioned event for pacers. Kirby notched the grand slam with Harvey Eisman's Touchdown Mindale ($4) in the 12th after a 1:53.4 score and reached the fifth with his own In The Clear ($5.20) in 1:55.2 in the program finale. Tony Morgan had three winners on the program. Matthew Sparacino  

HARRINGTON, Del - Locally-owned I Like My Boss ($10, Allan Davis) notched his 19th harness racing win in 36 career starts Wednesday at Harrington Raceway with a 1:55.1 win in the $16,000 Open Trot. Owned by Bob Shahan with Jimmy and Ashley Parsons, all from Harrington, the 4-year-old Don Boss Vita gelding sat in the pocket throughout behind pacesetting favorite Traverse Seelster. 'Boss' bided his time until mid stretch when he edged clear of the favorite and hit the wire first. I Like My Boss is trained by co-owner Shahan and made headlines last season after going unbeaten in his first 16 career starts. Driver Davis was coming off a four win night on Tuesday and followed it with a three win night Wednesday. Trainer Josh Green won the first three races on the program, with the first two driven by Victor Kirby. Green took the daily double with trotters My Fire Cloud Too ($3.20, Kirby) and Aventure ($3.40, Kirby), before winning the third with pacer Nicholas Ryan ($3.80, Jason Thompson). Kirby finished the program with four winners, following a three-win night Tuesday. Callam Racing's Spunky Jack ($4.40, Roger Plante Jr.) won the sub-featured with a front end triumph in 1:57. The 6-year-old Super Punk gelding held off all comers in notching his 17th career win. In the card's 12th race, Art Brewer II's Sharky Osborne ($114, Davis) won his 62nd career race at age 14. The altered son of Cam's Card Shark surged late to prevail at odds of 56-to-1. It was his 315th career start. Standardbreds are ineligible to compete at age 15 or older. Blackhorse Six Stable's trotter Pittstop Kip ($13, Montrell Teague) had an auspicious Harrington debut with a wire-to-wire win from post eight in 1:57.4 for trainer Phil Goldwater. It was one of two wins on the program for Teague, who had a driving double. Teague had a productive morning as well after qualifying undefeated standout pacer Wiggleitjiggleit, owned by his father George Teague Jr., over the Harrington half-mile in a sharp 1:53. Matt Sparacino        

HARRINGTON, Del. - Daryl Bier's Bandolito ($3, Bier) won the opening day feature at Harrington Raceway Monday with a national season's mark on a half-mile track of 1:51. The fastest horse so far in North America in 2015, Bandolito, notched his fifth win of the year. Trainer/driver/owner Bier left alertly from his rail post position and was a decisive winner over Jebswesternshake and Believe This Bob. Bandolito, a 5-year-old Ponder stallion, became the sport's fastest horse this year with a dazzling 1:48.1 win at Dover Downs on March 26. Despite having limited activity over the half-mile racetrack over the past few months, Harrington's track seemed to be in mid-season form as five races were timed in 1:53 or less. Drivers George Dennis and Jon Roberts each had three winners on the card. Allan Davis and Victor Kirby each had a driving double. Live racing continues on a Monday through Thursday schedule. Matthew Sparacino  

HARRINGTON, Del. - Harrington Raceway will open its doors for its 69th consecutive season of live harness racing Monday with a 14-race program beginning at 5:30 p.m. In celebration of opening day, there will be $1 hot dogs in the lower grandstand as well as $1 live racing programs. A hat giveaway (while supplies last) will also commence at 5 p.m. on the first floor of the grandstand. A $15,000 Delaware Special is the centerpiece of the program, featuring harness racing's fastest pacer so far in 2015, Daryl Bier's Bandolito (9/5, Bier) who was a dazzling 1:48.1 winner at Dover Downs on March 26. The 5-year-old Ponder stallion will be joined by a deep but compact group of six that includes Frank Chick's Jebswesternshake (7/2, George Dennis), Kovach Stables' Feel Like A Fool (8/1, Allan Davis), Doug Lewis' Mojo Terror (30/1, Jon Roberts), Mary Larrimore's Believe This Bob (6/1, Ross Wolfenden), and Janet Hudson's Just A Jolt (2/1, Victor Kirby). The race is carded as the seventh on the program. Interested bettors should take note of a new bet minimum on the pick four wager (offered in races 3-6, nightly) as Harrington will now offer a 50-cent minimum on the popular multi-race wager. Defending driving champion Allan Davis , who will appear in 13 of 14 races Monday, is expected to be a regular participant at the meet, as is leading trainer Wayne Givens who has two horses entered. The track's marquee event, the Bobby Quillen Memorial will be held September 21 with a new invitational format. Live racing will be conducted on a Monday through Thursday schedule until a six week break on July 9. Matthew Sparacino  

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