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Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed) cruised to a wire-to-wire victory in Sunday's trotting feature at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Heidi Rohr-trained trotter won the local Open Trot back in April but since then didn't score a win until last Sunday after dropping down in class. In Sunday's $14,000 Winners Over trot, Fox Valley Veto took advantage of his inside post and went coast to coast in 1:55.3 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. The race's co-favorite at odds of 2-1, the four year trotter recorded his fifth win of the season by holding off late charges from rivals Pop I (Harry Landy) and Gaelic And Garlic (Mark Beckwith) who finished second and third, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a first post time set for 4:00pm. Melissa Simser

After an early push clear of her five rivals, Let's Go Higher ($2.40) looked every bit odds-on in the Independence Day (July 4) feature at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, taking the $10,000 Mares Open Pace in 1:52.   The 7-year-old Cole Muffler mare crossed and cleared from her outside post rapidly, sent to the fore by Chris Lems with no reservations through a :26 initial quarter.   After backing down the pace through a :29.4 second quarter, she accelerated clear on the far turn, leaving the pocket-sitting Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) three lengths in arrears through a 1:23.3 three-quarter sectional.   She continued to extend her margin through the stretch, ultimately defeating her competition by four lengths.   The Filly Princess (Frank Davis) sustained a belated first-over bid to take second, just getting past an all-out Love You Bye in the final yards.   Heidi Rohr trains Let's Go Higher for owner Jesse De Long.   Jimmy Whittemore led all drivers with a hat trick on the 10-race card, teaming up with Drinkin N Dancin ($3.90, 1:54), Devil Child ($5.40, 1:52), and Country Chic ($5.20, 1:57.3).   Live racing returns on Sunday (July 5) afternoon, with post time slated for 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Keene Olivia scored a convincing victory in Friday night's $13,000 harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.   The Heidi Rohr-trained mare had been a beaten favorite in three consecutive tries though she hit the board in all three starts leading up to her try in the Spa Fillies and Mares I Handicap on Friday.   Billy Dobson sat patiently off the pace with Keene Olivia (Always A Virgin) as the tempo was fast before the four year old mare came charging hard late.   She circled the field to prevail by close to five lengths in 1:53 for her sixth win of the season.   Keene Olivia returned $7.00 to win as the race's second choice in the wagering while besting Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) who was the runner up and Check My Pulse (Jim Devaux) who earned the show spot. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Let's Go Higher (Cole Muffler) won her second consecutive Filly and Mare Open Pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Friday night. The Heidi Rohr-trained mare was the Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year in 2013 and followed that season up with a sensational '14 campaign in which she earned over $200,000. Friday's $18,000 feature was contested at a distance of a mile and 1/16 and driver Billy Dobson left with Let's Go Higher who had to settle for third in the early going. The race's leader Road Bet (Stephane Bouchard) endured first half fractions of 26.1 and 54.4 and gave in late to the pressure from Let's Go Higher before holding on for second after a good stretch drive. Deliciouslynaughty (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. Let's Go Higher, who has competed in nearly half of her starts this year out of town, has now been first or second five consecutive times. The runner up Road Bet has been first or second in eight of her nine seasonal tries. Let's Go Higher, who paid $5.10 to win as the race's favorite, is owned by Jesse De Long of Clinton, WI. Live racing continues on Saturday at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Talking Blues (Rocknroll Hanover) pulled off a rare upset in the feature on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on an evening in which the harness racing favorites were thriving. Talking Blues was dismissed at odds of 9-1 and picked up cover in the $18,000 Open Pace. The race was contested at a distance of 1 1/16 miles for the first time and Talking Blues needed every bit of that extra distance to reel in the race's favorite Ronny Bugatti (Austin Siegelman) in the final strides. The Heidi Rohr-trained pacer stopped the timer in 2:00.1 in the 1 1/16 mile feature winning a photo with Ronny Bugatti who had to settle for second. Last week's Open winner Panocchio (Gerry Mattison) came on to finish third. It was the second local Open win of the year for Talking Blues and reinsman Jimmy Devaux who went wire-to-wire in the Saturday feature in early April. Returning $20.40 to win, Talking Blues led an exacta that came back $76.00 and a triple that paid $482.50. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Vernon, N.Y. -- Under steady pressure through a :26.4 third quarter, Jesse De Long's Let's Go Higher ($2.60) would not be denied, edging clear to a harness racing victory in Friday (May 29) evening's $10,000 Mares Open pace at Vernon Downs.   The 7-year-old Cole Muffler mare cleared her four rivals immediately at race's outset, controlling the terms through a :27.3 initial quarter before rating a brief breather. Upon reaching the half in :57.1, Let's Go Higher faced stern pressure from the first-over Purity (Jimmy Whittemore), pushed on through a :26.4 third quarter before edging clear off the far turn. Let's Go Higher turned aside Purity at head-stretch, holding clear of the pocket sitting Southwind Trini (Greg Merton) by two lengths in 1:51.2. Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) narrowly held third over Always As Fast (Joe Nassimos) after tracking the front flight throughout.   Chris Lems drove Let's Go Higher for trainer Heidi Rohr. Lems scored a driving double on the evening's nine-race card, as did Jimmy Whittemore.   Live racing resumes at Vernon Downs on Saturday evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Taking advantage of a pocket trip behind the pace-setting Purity, Let's Go Higher ($3.80) struck the front in upper-stretch, holding clear of a late bid from The Filly Princess to win Friday evening's (May 15) featured $10,000 Mares Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs. Simon Allard settled into the pocket with the seven-year-old Cole Muffler mare, drafting behind 17-1 outsider Purity (Claude Huckabone, Jr.) through sectionals of :26.4, :55.1, and 1:23.1. At the top of the stretch, Let's Go Higher vacated the pocket, pushing clear of a tiring Purity at the eighth pole and edging clear by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:50.2. The Filly Princess (Truman Gale) rallied late off a tracking trip to take second, while Table Talk (Bart Dalious) kicked cover to take third after racing from the back of the pack early.   Heidi Rohr trains Let's Go Higher for owner Jesse DeLong.   Saturday evening's 14-race pari-mutuel card features four divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, with Ron Burke trainee Sassa Hanover (2-1 morning line favorite, Andy McCarthy up) making her three-year-old debut in the evening's $30,450 fifth race. Post time is 6:45 p.m., with a non-wagering Excelsior event carded for 6:30 p.m. James Witherite

Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed) won his first local Open Trot on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Heidi Rohr-trained four year old finished third in last week’s trotting feature but on Sunday parlayed a pocket trip to victory. Fox Valley Veto’s first local score came in 1:56.2 at odds of 7-2 as he got the best of Slugfest (Jay Randall) who was seeking his third straight Open win. Slugfest won a photo for second with eventual third place finisher Stirling Cadet (Frank Coppola Jr). The victory was one of four on the matinee card for reinsman Jim Devaux. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with the twilight race card set to begin at 4:00pm.  Mike Sardella

Talking Blues (Rocknroll Hanover) scored his first ever harness racing victory in the local Open Pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Saturday night. The Heidi Rohr-trained pacer finished second in March in his first 2015 start in the Open but this week drew the rail and went wire-to-wire. Jimmy Devaux piloted the five year old pacer for the first time and after getting a first half in a fairly comfortable :57, Talking Blues sprinted home to win in 1:53.4. It was the fourth victory of the season for the pacer who returned $14.20 to win while scoring the mild upset in the $18,000 Open. Ashley’s Husband (Jordan Derue) surged late to finish second while Sparky Mark (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. The exacta returned $106 and the triple came back $589 in the six horse feature. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at the Spa with a matinee kicking off at 12:45pm.    Mike Sardella  

Selena (Anythings Possible) made her return to Saratoga a winning one on Wednesday afternoon. The Heidi Rohr-trained trotter set her lifetime mark at the Spa late last season with a 1:57.1 score and wasted no time returning to the Saratoga Casino and Raceway harness racing winner’s circle after a 1:58 victory for harness racing driver Stephane Bouchard. Selena had two winning qualifiers as preps for Wednesday’s win which was one of three on the card for last year’s leading trainer Heidi Rohr. Selena returned $9.10 to win while besting longshot Gliding To Glory (Austin Siegelman) who was the runner up and Duluth (Jim Devaux) who earned the show spot.  Live racing continues on Thursday at Saratoga with another twilight race card beginning at 4:00pm. Mike Sardella

Art Major's smart son I'm The Real Major repeated on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Trainer Heidi Rohr claimed the four year old pacer last month and scored the mild upset with him last week with leading driver Billy Dobson in the sulky. This week, I'm The Real Major again came from well off the pace before cruising past his rivals in the stretch. Over the sloppy track, the Rohr trainee prevailed in 1:56.1. The win was one of two for Rohr and one of three on the night for Dobson. I'm The Real Major was the public's choice in the wagering, scoring at odds of 9-5. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Melissa Simser  

 The trotter Sir Kensington (Conway Hall) set a lifetime mark on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to give trainer Heidi Rohr her 1,000th victory as a trainer. Rohr, who is the defending Horsewoman of the Year at Saratoga, has been a force since coming to the Spa a few years back. While her horses compete at numerous tracks throughout the northeast, the majority of Rohr’s starts come at Saratoga. On Friday night, condition trotter Sir Kensington drew the rail and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr moved the 3-2 favorite out to the early lead. The lead grew to five around the final turn before Sir Kensington stopped the timer in 1:58.1, a lifetime best for the seven year old trotter. Rohr currently sits second in the local trainer standings. Congratulations to Heidi Rohr on her milestone victory! Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post of 6:45pm.  by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Let's Go Higher (Cole Muffler-Ten Speed) scored a front-running victory in the $10,000 featured pace at Vernon Downs on Thursday night. She was sent right to the lead right by harness racing driver Chris Lems after the gate opened up and led through early fractions of 26.1 for the quarter, 55.2 for the half, and 1:23.2 for three-quarters.   Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn Jr.) sat the pocket trip during the majority of the mile and moved to the outside once the field made the stretch, but she could not get past Let's Go Higher, who won in a final time of 1:51.2. It is Let's Go Higher's third straight victory. She had won her two previous starts at Balmoral.   Let's Go Higher is owned by Jesse De Long of Clinton, Wisconsin and trained by Heidi Rohr.   The complete order of finish was: Let's Go Higher, Southwind Trini, Seascape Hanover, Asset Management, and Ugly Betty.   Racing resumes at Vernon Downs on Friday night with a 12-race program. The featured event will be the 11th race, a $10,000 Open Preferred Trot. The morning line favorite at 6-5 is A Penny Earned, who was a winner two starts back on September 12. Chris Lems is scheduled to drive.   by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity

As it has done on four other occasions the $118,000 Lorna Propes Championship for filly and mare pacers 3yo & up produced yet another repeat harness racing champion as the Jesse De Long owned Let's Go Higher held on to win by a length in 1:52.0 with John De Long at the controls. Last year's winner of this event left hard from post five but was quickly covered up as Dune In Red (Dave Magee) and Party Hangover (Todd Warren) battled through a tough opening quarter of 27.1. Moving first over as the field raced by the half-mile mark in 55.0 the Heidi Rohr trained six-year-old swallowed up Party Hangover as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.3. "I wasn't surprised that we had to do as much work as we did because they're not going to be able to beat her if they just leave her alone on the front end," said a confident De Long. Through the stretch the daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed held sway as Dune In Red came charging at her along the inside while No Respect (Marcus Miller) was closing on the outside. Unfortunately time ran out for that pair as Let's Go Higher dug in gamely to post her 23rd victory in the past two seasons. Dune In Red was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while No Respect was third. After the victory a beaming De Long was more than happy to sing the praises of his charge. "Halfway down the lane I was nervous," he said. "But she fought off the outside horse then nearing the wire she caught the inside horse out of the corner of her eye and she just dug in again. I really believe this is the toughest mare I've ever driven and her will to win is just second to none." The 1-2 choice after a strong elimination win the previous week Let's Go Higher continued the parade of favorites paying $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while moving her career bankroll to a gaudy $460,435. Tom Kelley

Jack's Reef (Credit Winner) was one of several upset harness racing winners at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Friday night. Coming out of the barn of leading trainer Jordan Derue, Jack's Reef was a 12-1 longshot in the evening's $8,000 featured trotting race. Showing early speed from post position seven, Jack's Reef made the early lead but gave way at the quarter to the race's favorite Lucid Thoughts (Jay Randall). With several rivals going offstride in the race, Lucid Thoughts and Jack's Reef drew away around the final turn. Derue's ten year old trotter outtrotted the 1-2 favorite in the stretch and wound up drawing away late to win in 1:58.1. It was the second consecutive victory in 1:58.1 for Jack's Reef who won for the fifth time in fifteen seasonal starts. Lucid Thoughts was a clear second while Blackwolf Run (Sam Schillaci) came on for third. Derue holds a six win lead in the trainer standings over conditioner Heidi Rohr. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Most horsemen tend to be cautious about their horses’ chances when Super Night rolls around and don’t want to appear to be too optimistic. After all anything can happen in a horse race and it often does on Illinois most anticipated racing evening of the year. “I have to admit my hopes are up a little bit more for Super Night than they were the week before the eliminations,” said owner and trainer Jesse De Long who has had a Super Night champion in his barn the last two years.” And well they should be. De Long’s mare Let’s Go Higher, the 2013 Lorna Propes champion, breezed in 1:52.1 in her Propes elimination for trainer Heidi Rohr. His 2-year-old filly Sportsmuffler (1:54.3) was much the best in her Orange and Blue Filly elimination, and Jesse and John De Long’s 3-year-old Party Hangover Two finished a strong fourth in  the Grandma Ann stake prep. “Jimmy Richard and Heidi Rohr had Let’s Go Higher out east. I don’t think she came in a sharp this time around as she did last year but they told me ‘don’t worry, she’ll be fine.’ I was a little worried but they were right, she did race really well. “It’ll be kind of strange racing against Party Hangover Saturday. I still cheer for the mare but I don’t want to cheer for her too much when she’s racing my mare. It should be interesting race. “Party Hangover is a very good mare and so is the mare (Dune In Red) that beat her last week. It’s a tough field and it should be a very good horse race. “I have Party Hangover’s little sister (Party Hangover Two) also racing Saturday in the Grandma Ann. Like (my son) John always says about her: ‘We always seem to finish fourth, about a length and a half out of first, and we seem to always draw outside the horse and have to come from way back. Maybe things will be different Saturday.” I told Jesse he can probably count on much quicker fractions in the Grandma Ann Final and its $142,000 purse than he saw in the $10,000 prep when Molly Go Lightly (Matt Krueger) cruised to a  :57.2 half-mile time and got away with a:29.third quarter enroute to her 1:55 flat victory. “I hope you right,” replied Jesse. That would help our filly a ton. She’s close now to being near the top of her game like she was earlier in the summer when she paced in 1:52.3) in a Hanover. “I thought our 3-year-old pacing filly (Sportsmuffler) raced super last weekend in her division of the filly Orange and Blue. “I’m really excited about her now. She had two things that were wrong with her at Du Quoin and they are perfect now. She should be good for the final.” First Super Night post on Saturday will be at 6:30 pm Chicago time. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

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