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Kerryn Manning (pictured) can't help but have a little giggle when she talks about her stable star Duke Of Wellington. In her words, the son of American Ideal is a "big dopey thing". Despite his quirks, the lightly raced four-year-old has undeniable class and looks destined to become a regular performer at the top level. "I'm not sure how much talent he's got, but he shows quite a bit at this stage so hopefully he can keep building on that," the Great Western trainer said. "He's very large, very heavy and very dopey. "He feels like you aren't going very fast, but you are. That's a good thing..." Bought by prominent owners Merv and Meg Butterworth after nine career starts, Duke Of Wellington then claimed the Group 2 Southern Supremacy Final at Ascot Park before heading to our shores. His four Australian runs have returned two placings – including an eye-catching third in the Group 1 TAB Multiplier 4YO Bonanza (1720m) – and wins at his last two starts. And the most recent demolition job in the DNR Logistics Pace Final (2240m) at Tabcorp Park Melton has him a warm favourite to make it three on the trot at the same venue this Saturday night. Manning will be in the sulky for Duke Of Wellington's crack at the Group 2 City of Melton Plate XXX (2240m). "Obviously it's a fairly solid and strong field, so he's going to have to be at his best to beat them, but he certainly has a bit of a draw advantage (barrier four) on some of the better ones in it," Manning said. Looking forward, Manning and the Butterworths have plans to take the horse to some feature races in Tasmania or back home in New Zealand. It won't be an ultra busy night for Manning at headquarters tomorrow, but it could still prove a memorable one. She will drive her father's horse Reciprocity in the Group 3 Allied Express Jodie's Babe (1720m). Manning will also be at the controls of Maree Campbell's Lucinda Mac, which looks a nice chance from the good draw in the Economix Vicbred Trot (1720m). And her night should finish on a high in the last race of the program, the Atherstone Pace Final (2240m). Manning's husband Grant Campbell will drive Yankee Lincoln, which is a red-hot favourite to win the C1 only event. Manning also prepares this son of American Ideal for the Butterworth family. Tim O'Connor

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 22, 2019-The two richest local races of 2019 to date go next Monday and Tuesday (March 25th and 26th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the finals of the Petticoat and Sagamore Hill Pacing Series,. Monday night's $58,000 finale of the Petticoat is listed as the eighth race. Though both series were open to 3- and 4-year-olds with limited resumes, only the 'elder' lasses qualified for the final of the Petticoat. Ellis is Awesome (Joe Bongiorno, post 1), Odds on Ashley (Matt Kakaley, post 4), Robyn Camden (Dexter Dunn, post 6) and Cabowabocuttie (Jordan Stratton, post 7) all come in having won twice in three preliminary-leg tries. The latter pair won their races in succession entering the final. Robyn Camden, a daughter of Art Professor owned (as Enzed Racing Stable) and trained by Nifty Norman, has been solid all season, with four wins (all here) and three seconds in seven tries ($52,500). Cabowabocuttie, a Big Jim miss co-owned by (trainer Ricky Bucci) and Blue Meadow Farm, three down a series-best 1:54 effort two starts ago. She enters with three (local) wins in nine '19 tries ($42,480). photo     -Jonathan Paredes Parkin' in Heaven (Tyler Buter, post 2), Bye Hanover (George Brennen, post 3), Catch an Ace (Jason Bartlett, post 5) and Ghosttothepost (Yannick Gingras, post 8) round out the octet. A $30,000 series consolation was carded as the sixth race. Tuesday night, the $60,200 tribute to Teddy Roosevelt affectionately known as the Sagamore Hill listed as the sixth race. What to do with Sharp Action Money (Driver TBA, post 7)? His three series starts were open-length win as odds-on favorite, open-length win as odds-on favorite and open-length lead as odds-on favorite...before jumping it off. The 4-year-old Sportswriter gelding, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 and RTC Stables, has those two wins in six seasonal starts. He did carry a big stick, earning more than $110,000 as 3-year-old. Sharp Action Money is coupled with Cheese Melt (Gingras, post 1). The 4-year-old Bettorthancheddar gelding, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, had a win, a second and a third in his three series legs. Co-owner (as Allard Racing) and trainer Rene Allard also sends a paired entry in the form of Prologue (Jim Marohn Jr., post 4) and Western Beachboy (Brennan, post 6). The latter, a 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding, threw it down a week ago, a down-the-road, nearly-10-length win in a life-best 1:52. On Accident (Stratton, post 2) was the beneficiary-to the tune of 45-1-of Sharp Action Money's transgression in his last start. The lone 3-year-old in either final, the Well Said gelding broke his maiden in this series as a 16-1 pole proposition. Frank Chick owns and Kevin Lare trains. The roster is completed by Yeahnah (Troy Beyer, post 3), Declan Seelster (Bongiorno, post 5) and Bettor Than Spring (Kakaley, post 8). A $30,000 series consolation goes as the eighth race (Tuesday's changes shall be made tonight).   BY FRANK DRUCKER,  Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway    

Yonkers, NY--On a wet night and over a racetrack rated sloppy Bob Krivelin and his old warhorse Permanent Joy sat back off stiff early fractions and followed cover until late in the mile then rallied to overtake the pacesetter, Soul Train (Joe Lee), and rebuff a late charge by Fiji and driver Dave Offenberg, to go on to a two-length triumph in 2:00.4. Once the starter said "go" it was a cavalry charge for the lead as Paul Minore and Wygant Prince, who started from the four-hole, parked Tough Get Going (post eight) past the quarter in a stiff .28.3 before yielding. Although Faraldo had command as the field trotted by the halfway point in :59 he was no longer factor in the race as Joe Lee and Soul Train went first-up and rallied to the lead at the third stanza in 1:29. They were soon joined by Monica Banca with Master Of Excuses and although Lee and Banca were one-two heading for home Krivelin and Permanent Joy trotted around them and went on to an easy victory. It was Krivelin's 219th driving victory to go along three National Amateur Driver of the Year Awards he earned over the years. The non-wagering event was the second leg of the 10-race NAADA series which will culminate in a $15,000 finale on May 23. And on the series end, in a drawing ,one of the top three point earners will receive an all expense paid trip to compete in Padova, Italy later this year against their Italian counterparts. The next leg in the series will take place at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, March 28   by John Manzi for NAADA

Jewels Forreal (So Surreal) made an inauspicious local debut in the Fillies and Mares Open two weeks ago. The four year old caused interference with a rival in her first start against the top lady pacers at Saratoga Casino Hotel a couple weeks back. The Kyle Spagnola trainee avenged that disappointing first local start with a victory last week in the $12,500 Winners Over for fillies and mares when she scored in an impressive 1:53.2. On Thursday afternoon, with Frank Coppola Jr in the sulky, Jewels Forreal moved out to the early lead in the $15,000 Open and she never looked back. The public’s 6-5 betting favorite, Jewels Forreal never faced an anxious moment en route to her wire-to-wire win in 1:53, the fastest time for a distaffer at the Spa thus far this year. Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) sat the pocket to the winner and finished as the runner-up while Sally Fletcher A (Bruce Aldrich Jr) had to settle for third. Jewels Forreal, the daughter of back-to-back Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year (2007-2008) at Saratoga Dandy’s Jewel, enjoyed a six-figure campaign in 2018 behind five wins. The four year old already has two wins on her card in ’19 after the Thursday score in the feature. The exacta with the favorite on top paid $27.60 while the triple came back $86. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post.   Mike Sardella

MILTON, ONTARIO & EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - Anticipation continues to grow among harness racing horseplayers in North America for Friday's inaugural 'Can-Am Pick 4' at Woodbine Mohawk Park and The Meadowlands. The 'Can-Am Pick 4' requires horseplayers to select the winners of two races at Woodbine Mohawk Park and two races at The Meadowlands. The 'Can-Am Pick 4' will have a $0.20 minimum and low 15 per cent takeout. The 'Can-Am Pick 4' sequence is as follows: Leg One: Woodbine Mohawk Park - Race 10 (Post Time: 10:40 p.m.) Leg Two: The Meadowlands - Race 10 (Post Time: 10:52 p.m.) Leg Three: Woodbine Mohawk Park - Race 11 (Post Time: 11:04 p.m.) Leg Four: The Meadowlands - Race 11 (Post Time: 11:16 p.m.)   To help prepare horseplayers for the inaugural 'Can-Am Pick 4', Woodbine and The Meadowlands' team of announcers, hosts and racing analysts have done their homework and provided tickets for Friday's action. Click here to Download free program pages for the 'Can-Am Pick 4'.   Team Woodbine Ken Middleton Leg One: 1,2,3,4,6 Leg Two: 4,7,10 Leg Three: 1,6,7 Leg Four: 1,2,4 Cost: $27   Mark McKelvie Leg One: 1,2,3,9 Leg Two: 4,7,10 Leg Three: 1,6,9 Leg Four: 1,4,5,6 Cost: $28.80   Jason Portuondo Leg One: 1,2,5 Leg Two: 4,7,10 Leg Three: 1,5,6 Leg Four: 1,5 Cost: $10.80   Chad Rozema Leg One: 1,2,8 Leg Two: 7,9,10 Leg Three: 1,6 Leg Four: 4,5,6 Cost: $10.80   Team Big M Dave Brower Leg One: 1,2,3,9 Leg Two: 1,4,5,7 Leg Three: 1,2,5,7 Leg Four: 2,5 Cost: $25.60   Dave Little Leg One: 1.3.6.8 Leg Two: 5,7 Leg Three: 1,6,7,9 Leg Four: 1,2,4,6 Cost: $25.60   Bob Hollywood Heyden Leg One: 2,4,7 Leg Two: 2,4,9 Leg Three: 4,7,8 Leg Four: 1,6,9 Cost: $20.20   Ken Warkentin Leg One: 2,3,4,8 Leg Two: 4,7,10 Leg Three: 1,2,3,6 Leg Four: 2,4,6 Cost: $28.80   Jessica Otten Leg One: 2,3,6,10 Leg Two: 1,4,7,10 Leg Three: 1,6,7 Leg Four: 1,4,6 Cost: $28.80     Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park Manager, Communications C: 905-864-9110

Champion trotting trainer Phil Williamson is looking forward to taking a horse you have never heard of to the races at Addington tonight just as much as his stable star. Because debutant two-year-old Ultimate Stride won't remain unknown for long. That is how high an opinion Williamson has of last season's trotting sales-topping yearling heading into the two-year-old trot at Addington tonight. Ultimate Stride has only had a handful of workouts and trials but Williamson says he is at least as good as Oscar Bonevena, the star two-year-old he trained last season until he was sold for big money. "He is pretty smart but he might need to be from the second line," says Williamson, who leads the national trainers premiership for trotting wins. "Ideally he would have drawn the front line and could have made his own luck and off the second line it is not as easy to be confident. "But I think he is a pretty good horse and he can still win." Williamson also lines up his stable star Majestic Man in tonight's four and five-year-old trot but says his chances might depend on the readiness of key rival Winterfell. "It is a good field and I respect a horse like Sundees Son but Winterfell is a horse we haven't beaten yet so if he is at his best maybe we will struggle to beat him. "Don't get me wrong, our horse is a genuine open class horse but I can't tip him to beat Winterfell until we have done it before." Winterfell's stablemate Ultimate Sniper looks close to a good thing in tonight's Flying Stakes, the lead-up to the NZ Derby in two weeks. The race of the night at Addington will almost certainly be the clash of group one winners like Sheriff, A G's White Socks, Elle Mac and Eamon Maguire in the $30,000 free-for-all, with the early tempo the key as those who work hard could be left sitting ducks. At Alexandra Park tonight On The Cards will enjoy not having to face stablemate Jack's Legend in the main pace after finishing a close second to him in his last three starts. Back into a slightly easier grade the rugged pacer should be able to use his gate speed to go forward and control race six and looks one of the better bets of the night, along with Heavyweight Hero in the main trot after it took Massive Metro to beat him last start.   Michael Guerin

For Des Hilton, last weekend's second placing in the Boort Pacing Cup was a tough pill to swallow. It looked as though Itmademyday was set to deliver his biggest training success, that was until he was mown down by Perspective in the shadows of the post. The son of Live Or Die got way out in front turning for home, but was grabbed right on the post by his rival, who got the judge's nod in a photo finish. "I thought he'd hang on," Hilton, a hobby trainer based in Swan Hill, said. "(Driver) Grant (Campbell) went early, but if he waited until the back straight he would have had others come out in front of him and he probably wouldn't have got around them. "I was happy with the run... I would have liked to have just hung on, but he didn't quite do so." Hilton, who owns and bred Itmademyday and some of his family members, said victory would have been a career highlight. The seven-year-old pacer has won 14 of his 98 starts. "I was disappointed. I thought I might have been holding my first cup, but it wasn't to be," he said. "I've won a few country races, but that would have been the biggest prizemoney win I've had. "I haven't won an M0 yet in my whole life of 35 years training, so I've got a bit to achieve before I put the cue in the rack." Hilton hasn't wasted much time getting Itmademyday back to the races, entering him for this Sunday's Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup (2423m). But a tricky draw on the outside of the front row has dampened Hilton's confidence about landing a long-awaited feature. The 69-year-old said it was likely driver Michael Bellman would have to go back from barrier six, which will make his task difficult against a high-quality field. "I'm probably going to settle at the tail of the field and the four horses on the second row would be too good for him. I think so anyway," he said. "He'd need things to go his way or a better draw and he'd have a show, but I doubt from six." Win, lose or draw on Sunday, Hilton, who now works part-time at the harness racing track in Swan Hill, has loved his time in the sport. "I like breeding them and naming them myself. I've probably got a few unusual names back among them all, but I like doing that and putting a bit of thought into it," he said. "I've had a few handy bush horses." Mark Watson-trained Brallos Pass is likely to start favourite for the $14,500 Ouyen Pacing Cup, but will face tough opposition from the likes of Flojos Gold (Ian Watson/Luke Watson) and Murranji Track (Colin Rogers/Wayne Hill). The race is part of the Trots Country Cups Championship. The series carries a $25,000 bonus for the winner, with $15,000 given to the successful owner and $10,000 to the horse's trainer. Tim O'Brien-trained Perspective, who will also line-up on Sunday, has climbed to third on the leaderboard behind Buster Brady and San Carlo following his win last weekend. The Ouyen Pacing Cup will start at 5.53pm. Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

The sight of wide open gates and the sound of rattling collection tins will welcome patrons to The Weekly Advertiser Horsham Pacing Cup meeting on Sunday March 31. "We decided to make our biggest day of the year a free event in support of our very special guest, The Naked Farmer - Ben Brooksby," explained Club President Justin Lane.  "It will be a great opportunity for our community to come together, enjoy the racing and off-track entertainment and toss in their gold coins for Ben's nominated charity, the RFDS mental health unit." What started as a bit of fun with a tasteful nude photo of Ben in "the buff" laying back in a truck load of lentils in order to educate consumers about the work that goes into putting food on their plate, has grown into a cheeky but powerful platform for raising awareness of mental health issues in the bush and providing support for the many sufferers.  Ben directs The Naked Farmer's fundraising efforts towards the RFDS mental health unit.  “I chose them because their professionals visit our remote towns and properties, providing treatment, support and mental health education for our rural communities,” he explained. Factors such as social isolation, lack of community connection and limited mental health services along with severe economic hardship caused by drought, fire and flood all contribute to the agricultural sector's over representation in Australia's (shocking) suicide rate. "Having dealt with mental health first hand, seeing others struggle with it and having family and friends take their own lives has encouraged me to stand up and help in any way I can," said Ben.  All the profits from sales of The Naked Farmer 2019 Calendar went to the RFDS together with $1 from each pair of TNF undies and hats sold. "We raised a staggering $17,228 last year and looking to build on that in 2019," Ben said. Ben will be out and about on the spacious lawns at the Horsham Racing Centre, enjoying his day out at the Cup. No doubt he'll be in for a chat and a photo or two, so make sure you get your backside trackside with your family and friends on Sunday, March 31, and chip in a couple of bucks for the RFDS and be a part of this great community event.  You never know just what might happen and what the outcome may be!   Tony Logan and Helen Friend

Monticello, NY --- Shawn Wiles, president of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), today named Communicators Hall of Famer Steven Wolf to serve on USHWA's Hall of Fame Screening Committee for a six-year term. The Screening Committee reviews all harness racing nominations for the Hall of Fame from the USHWA Chapters. It then decides which candidates are placed on the ballot for all eligible USHWA and Hall of Fame members to vote on. Nominees must receive 75% of the yes-no votes cast to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Wolf, currently President of the Florida Chapter of USHWA, owns and operates his own consulting firm, which provides public relations, marketing and social media needs to harness racing organizations world-wide. He also heads the North America and European operations for Harnesslink.com. He is the former Senior Director of Racing Operations at Pompano Park and the former Director of Marketing/PR at Freehold Raceway. He has been involved in the industry for 42 years. His career in harness racing started as a co-owner/breeder and groom with Leo Wolf & Son, Inc. (Steve's grandfather and father Manny) at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1977. He then worked the Liberty Bell Park-Brandywine Raceway circuit as a publicity assistant from 1979 to 1984. Wolf then became the marketing and publicity director of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey through 1987 before working at Freehold Raceway for 13 years. In 2000, Wolf moved to south Florida where he worked ten years at Pompano Park before opening his own firm, Steven Wolf, Consultant. Wolf was the first-ever USHWAn to be voted the organization's Member of the Year twice, in 1990 and 2000. He has received the Clyde Hirt Writing Award (2004) from Harness Horsemen International and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service to Youth Award (2006). He was inducted into the national Harness Racing Communicators Hall of Fame in 2017 and was voted into the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame's Communicators Corner in 2014. Wolf was elected Preisdent of USHWA at the 2014 national meetings and served the standard two-year term at the head of the organization. He has served on its Board of Directors for 15 years. Steve was a former president of the USHWA NJ Chapter and has been the president of the Florida USHWA Chapter for more than five years. He also serves on various other USHWA committees including the Integrity Committee, Dinner Committee, Location Committee and the Sponsorship Committee. Wolf will now join Tim Bojarski, Moira Fanning, Robert 'Hollywood' Heyden, Jason Settlemoir and Judy Davis Wilson on the screening committee. "I know that with his vast knowledge and superb experience in the harness racing industry, Steve Wolf will be a valuable member to the USHWA Screening Committee," Wiles said. "I also want to thank Communicators Hall of Famer Leon Zimmerman for his years of service on the committee as his six-year term has expired." From the United States Harness Writers Association Jerry Connors

Ever since Governor Murphy signed the $100 Million, five year appropriation into law on Valentine’s Day, the Harness Racing Industry has experienced a much heightened interest in New Jersey. For example, in the last month, bookings to Lazarus N, “The Wonder from Down Under,” has increased dramatically to the point that his book is nearly full. Additionally, Lazarus has attracted some high profile mares, including; Worldly Beauty p, 1:49.3M ($1,900,255) Rocklamation p, 1:48.3M ($2,277,384)  Odds On Stephanie, sister to Captaintreacherous p,1:47.1M ($3,148,657)  Artstopper, dam of Always B Miki p,1:46.0M ($2,715,368) Shake It Miki, sister to Always B Miki  West Side Glory, dam of See You at Peelers p,1:49.2f ($1,573,260) to name just a few. Mark Ford, President of the SBOA of New Jersey, said: “I attribute the sharply heightened interest to: 1) The announcement of our stud fee rebate program for New Jersey pacing stallions; 2) A 75% increase announced by the New Jersey sire stakes in their purses; 3) The allocation of part of that $100 million purse appropriation enacted into law for purse bonuses for both breeders and owners of New Jersey sired horses.” Mike Klau of Southwind Farms, Pennington, reported: “All three of our stallions, namely Muscle Hill, Walner, and Tactical Landing, will have full books this year.” Mike Gulotta of Deo Volente Farms said he expects both Lazarus and Trixton to also have full books. Additionally, Dr.  Richard Meirs indicated that he has added a few stallions to his roster and he would expect “Another 30 or 40 breedings.” Indeed, breeding 700+ Mares in New Jersey in 2019 is a very significant increase over 279 breedings in 2017 and 435 in 2018. According to Mike Gulotta, Treasurer of the SBOANJ and owner of Deo Volente Farms “For years, we have been working on a renaissance of Standardbred racing and breeding in New Jersey and the hard work over these years of the SBOA and Jeff Gural is already resulting in tremendous economic gain for the industry and for the state of New Jersey.” For more information call Linda Petrenko at 908-782-4848.     New Jersey Registered Stallions 2018     Mares Bred List     Foals of 2019 STALLION STUD FEE TOTAL REG FOALS COLTS FILLIES TROTTERS           Muscle Hill private 140       Trixton $12,000 136       Walner $20,000 140       Total Trotters    416       PACERS           Great Vintage $2,000 8       Lis Mara $2,500 9       Santa Fe Beachboy $2,000 0       Sunfire Bluechip $3,000 2       Total Pacers    19         New Jersey Registered Stallions 2017     Mares Bred List     Foals of 2018   STALLION STUD FEE TOTAL REG FOALS COLTS FILLIES TROTTERS           Muscle Hill private 140 103 54 49 Northern Kid $750 5 2 1 1 Trixton $12,000 122 45 16 29 Total Trotters   267 150 71 79 PACERS           Great Vintage $2,000 3 2   2 Lis Mara $2,500 7 5 4 1 Sunfire Bluechip $3,000 2 1 1   Total Pacers   12 8 5 3  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Two giants of harness racing are not only introducing a new wager that combines their considerable assets this Friday (March 22) but are also tackling an industry-wide source of frustration in the hopes of pleasing the customer. The "Can-Am Pick-4" will make its debut and requires a player to correctly select the winners of two races at the Meadowlands and two more at Woodbine Entertainment's Woodbine Mohawk Park. The bet will have a 20-Cent minimum, so players who are accustomed to a 50-Cent wager will have the option to increase their base bet or use more horses in the hopes of catching several longshots during the sequence. It will also sport a low 15 percent takeout. Leg One of the CAP4 will be Woodbine Mohawk Park's 10th race (post time, 10:40 p.m.), followed by the Meadowlands' 10th (10:52 p.m.), WMP's 11th (11:04 p.m.) is the third leg before the wager concludes with the 11th (11:16 p.m.) at the Big M. If all goes according to plan, the entire bet from start to finish will take 36 minutes, which is certain to be a hit with horseplayers. "For us, it's important to get things done in a timely fashion," said Klaus Ebner, Senior Manager of Simulcast Services for Woodbine. "The Can-Am Pick-4 locks up the customer's funds for a short span, allowing them to churn winning money into more wagering opportunities." But harness racing's two biggest tracks in terms of visibility and handle have more up their sleeves. The subject of post-time "drag" will be addressed by both tracks beginning with the Friday races. "As industry leaders, one of our goals - as well as our friends at Woodbine Entertainment - is to shorten the post-time drag before our races go to the gate," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "We will both be doing this as the leaders of this industry. We want to move the needle back on these outlandish drags but it will take an industry-wide initiative to make it happen. We will be taking the first step in doing so and are hoping that our fans will continue to wager the same or more." Both tracks are aiming for the following: -At three minutes past zero minutes to post, countdown clock starts -At four minutes, call to post -At five minutes, race goes off "This will allow the customer to understand when the race is going off," said Ebner. "It will have some certainty for them. Our main goal is we don't want our customers having to choose between wagering on Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Meadowlands. The coordination of post times will allow them access to the best two harness racing products in the world. We have worked together to stay off one another (not race at the same time) to the best of our abilities and, for the most part, the staffs at both tracks do a great job of doing that."   GET READY FOR MAYHEM: The NCAA college basketball tournament will be on overload this week with a full slate of games scheduled for Thursday through Sunday (March 21-24). Also on overload will be college basketball fans who will be watching and wagering on all of the hoops action in the Meadowlands' FanDuel Sportsbook, where there is plenty of comfortable seating with many food and drink options from which to choose. The action begins at noon, with 16 games on Thursday and Friday, before eight more matchups on Saturday and Sunday.   ORANGE CRUSHES: Driver Andy Miller, aka The Orange Crush, hot the hot hand last weekend (March 15-16) at the Big M, piloting seven horses to victory lane. Jenn Bongiorno paced the trainer's colony, winning three times from only five starts.   CALLING ALL T-BRED 'CAPPERS: On Saturday (March 23), the Meadowlands is hosting a National Horseplayers Championship qualifying event with a pair of seats to the NHC Final in Las Vegas (Feb. 7-9, 2020) on the line. The qualifier has a $400 entry fee. Pre-registration is recommended but walk-ups on the day of will be accepted. Need more information? Contact Rachel Ryan at raryan@playmeadowlands.com or go to www.playmeadowlands.com.   Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations  

Jim Campbell knows stakes-winner Alexa's Power will face a challenge this year at age 4, leaving the age-restricted ranks to take on the best older female pacers in the sport, but the harness racing trainer believes his mare has a temperament that could help her along. "She's got that feisty, racing attitude to her, and she likes to race," Campbell said. "I think those are pretty good qualities to help her make that transition. But it's a very tough group, probably as tough as there's been in a long, long time. "The toughest part for them is coming back at 4 and making that transition. She needs to get some racing and see what she can do." Alexa's Power starts to get that racing Friday at the Meadowlands, where she kicks off her 4-year-old season in the preferred handicap for fillies and mares. She faces eight rivals, including 2018 Golden Girls winner Divas Image, who is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Alexa's Power, with Marcus Miller in the sulky, is 6-1. Last year, Alexa's Power won multiple Grand Circuit stakes, including the Jugette and Lismore Pace. She won nine of 20 races, hit the board a total of 17 times, and ranked fourth in divisional earnings with $469,363. The three horses that finished ahead of her in purses have either a Dan Patch or O'Brien award to their credit: Kissin In The Sand, Youaremycandygirl, and Percy Bluechip. "I was very happy with her," Campbell said. "She's such a nice filly to race because she gives you a good effort every time you put her out there. And she's just a real nice horse to be around, too. She's one that you love having in the barn." Alexa's Power, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the O'Brien Award-winning mare Michelle's Power, is owned by breeder Jeff Snyder and his son Michael. She is a full sister to stakes-winner Mac's Jackpot and her family also includes Canada's 2012 Horse of the Year Michael's Power as well as Hall of Famer Cam's Card Shark. Alexa's Power The mare prepped for Friday's race with two qualifiers at the Meadowlands. She finished fifth in the first and fourth in the second, beaten 1-1/4 lengths. "She bled a little bit in her second qualifier, so we put her on Lasix; it will be her first start on Lasix," Campbell said. "But other than that, she's come back good. "We were thinking of the (Blue Chip Matchmaker Series) for her, but bleeding and not getting off on the right foot, that was going to be pretty tough. We're just going to get her a few overnights and see where she's at and go from there. She's staked up. We'll go race to race and see how she is and go from there." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Friday at the Meadowlands. The card also includes a preferred handicap for trotters, where Sutton is the morning-line favorite (2-1) over Trolley (5-2). Sutton handed Trolley his only loss in five races this season on March 8. Trolley defeated Sutton in his seasonal debut on Feb. 22. For Friday's complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

Aero King (9g Hooper) took Tuesday’s Enghien featured Prix Bernard Simonard (monte, apprentice jockeys, 58,000€ purse, 2875 meters, 11 starters) clocked in 1.13kr and ridden by Maxime Tijou.   Off at 4.4/1 odds, Aero King won for the 10th time in 85 starts, now for 437,270€ earned. Mme. Virginie Moquet trains the winner. 3.6/1 Delcieux de Cebe (6g Gazouillis) was second with Mlle.   Oceane Briand aboard for trainer Franck Leblanc, and 2.8/1 Carla du Chatelet with third with Maxime Gilbert in the irons for trainer Sebastien Guarato.   On the same card lightly raced three year olds contested the Prix du Pont Saint-Michel (purse 41,000€, 2875 meters, eight starters) with victory to the 9/10 favorite Great Zeus (3f Niky-Tine de Villeneuve) handled by Eric Raffin.   Gregory Thorel trains the 1/19kr clocked winner that scored for the second time in three career starts. 7/1 Gaston du Roc (3m Quirky Jet) was close second for Patrice Toutain and 4/1 Great Father (3m Opus Viervil) rallied for third with Nicolas Roussel up.   Great Zeus                   - LeTrot photo   At Mons Ghlin this day was the featured Prix Shanghai (7,200€ purse, 2300 meters autostart, nine International starters). 17.2/1 outsider Ultimate du Rib (11g Dahir de Prelong-Kara Pelois) scored timed in 1.14.9kr, his 16 th career victory in 128 starts now for 551,352€ earned.   Gert Sucaet teamed the trainee of Christophe De Groote. 4.1/1 Truman Dairpet (12g Biesolo-Heloise Poterie) took second for Piet Van Pollaert and third was the 5/10 favorite Goofy Greenwood (6g Russel November-Chatooga River) with trainer H.W. Langeweg Jr. at the lines. Ustang Ludois, Buzz Mearas and Banker Transs R followed the top three home in this good field.   Ultimate du Rib       -LeTrot photo   Later in that card the Prix Melbourne (6,000€, 2300 meters autostart, eight starters) saw 2.7/1 Elencio (5m Love You-Olencia) score, timed in 1.14.8kr for pilot Joseph Verbeeck and breeder/owner/trainer Alphons Vanberghen.   Racing also was held this day at Hyeres with the feature race being the Prix du Restaurant “le Porquerollais” (purse 37,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap).   12.2/1 odds Avocat des Loyeau (9g Meaulnes du Corta) was victorious for owner/trainer/driver Laurent Freneau timed in 1.14.6kr.   This winner recorded his 12 th career win now for 182,890€ earned. 40.2/1 Venezia de Mai was second for Anthony Laignon, overcoming a 25 meter handicap, and 10.4/1 Bichon del Green was third.   The 1.9/1 Colonel Bond was fourth, he too 25 meter handicapped, as was 1.8/1 Auch that finished sixth.   Avocat des Loyaux   Note that the great French gelding Aubrion du Gers has received and accepted an invitation to the 2019 Elitloppet. Trainer Jean Michel Bazire announced the acceptance and that he is a double winner of the event. It is not known whether Bazire will travel to Sweden to drive his champion that has been driven by another double Elitloppet winner Joseph Verbeeck in other ventures outside of France. Readly Express, Propulsion and Dijon were previously invited to the 2019 Elitloppet.     It was also rumored that Bjorn Goop could drive Bold Eagle in his anticipated race at Enghien in the Prix l’Atlantique, that is scheduled for April 20.   This is Enghien’s only Gr. I event and it carries a purse of 170,000€ (2150 meters autostart is the distance).   Bold Eagle won the 2017-2018 editions of the race that has historically drawn the best trotteurs then racing in Europe. Winners since 2004 are shown below.         Thomas H. Hicks

If ever there was a horse who shouldn’t have “made it”, Great Western Harness Racing trainer Michelle Wight reckons it’s her promising three-year-old Reactor Now (Auckland Reactor-Who’s Sorry Now (Western Ideal). Wight freely admits the accident-prone gelding has presented some challenges – but after two assertive wins in succession, it seems “Goose”, as he is known around the stables, might finally be repaying her dedication. “To put it bluntly, he sat on a post just before he was due to come back into work as a yearling and the injury he sustained was horrible.  We really weren’t sure he would ever race,” Wight said. And anyone who’s ever tended a serious equine injury wouldn’t dare argue. The 16-inch gash in the large muscle mass on the horse’s near side rump was deep and extremely difficult to manage.  But, over a period of four months, Wight and her husband Craig, with the assistance of their vet, managed to nurse Goose back into “one piece”. “We had a few setbacks along the way, including at one stage the internal stitches breaking open, but we got there in the end,” Wight said. But even after the prolonged recovery, the troubles weren’t over for Reactor Now. “We finally got him back into work as a two-year-old and there was another hiccup.  Because of the damage to the muscle, he was a little short in his action on that leg, which we were just working him through slowly,” Wight said. “One day he just worked a little bit lame on the leg and I got the vet to have a look and he’d somehow fractured a pastern bone. So, yes, he has been a project!” she laughed. Wight said Reactor Now’s three-year-old preparation had been necessarily and understandably slow. “We probably had him in work most of the last half of last year and have been mindful of allowing him to make a full recovery and looking after him,” she said. The gelding had his first start at Horsham in February but “got a bit excited” and proved a handful for Wight’s brother-in-law, reinsman Grant Campbell. But Campbell managed the gelding superbly when he returned to the track at Ballarat a month later, easing Reactor Now from the mobile barrier as the leaders poured on the speed.  At one stage in the first lap Campbell found himself 40 metres from the leaders, but unflustered tacked on with 1200 to go, slid into the death seat and applied the pressure.  He hit the front before the home turn and dashed away to score by 12 metres untouched. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. The pacer was just as impressive at Terang a fortnight later (March 19) when he was caught three wide early, for nearly half a lap, before working to the death-seat.  Approaching the bell, Campbell clicked the big fellow up a gear to surge to the lead.  When he pulled the plugs on the home corner, Reactor Now careered clear, eventually winning by 10 metres, with the last quarter in a sizzling 27.4 (half in 56.6). To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. “He’s always showed his potential, but he’s been a big, awkward, green fellow and he’s taken a lot of time to learn, and probably get the confidence to go fast,” Wight said. “When he’s within his comfort zone he is good, but if you push him beyond that, he can get a bit rough and break,” she said. “But in his two wins he has won well within himself and we haven’t pushed him, so we haven’t really found the bottom of him yet. I think if one came up beside him he would find a little bit because he has got a competitive streak. “It’s fair to say he’s done more than we expected at this stage.” Although horse and connections endured a torrid 18 months, Wight said Reactor Now ticked all the boxes when he was purchased after the APG Gold 2016 sale. “He’s owned by Graeme and Liz Old, their nephew Frank and his wife Robyn and their daughter Narelle Hall and her husband Steve,” she explained. “He was a bit of an afterthought at the sales because all the ones we liked were above our budget. So, at the end of the day we were looking at what had been passed in. “My husband Craig loves to go through the books and choose them from the breeding and Frank prides himself on picking them on looks.  So between the two of them they picked out Reactor Now. Reactor Now “He is a very natural athlete and pacer and even when I was long-reining him he was pacing.  But he was a big fellow and we knew he would take time – just probably not quite this much time!” But it’s no surprise Wight has managed to put the polish on “Goose”, with her reputation for finding a way with problem horses. “This group of owners are the same ones who had Frances Annie – aka ‘The Mad Trotter’,” she said. “We had a five-horse truck and she needed all the dividers out and to travel on her own just to get her to the races. Once we got there, she needed spare stalls either side of her. “Once the lease was up, the owners weren’t too keen on having her back immediately, so we have her out the back in foal (to Skyvalley).  She did test my patience, but she did win $100,000, so you never know!” Reactor Now is entered in the Group 3 Victoria Sires Classic $40,000 for three-year-olds race at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Talented young reinsman Bailey McDonough will be anxious to take full advantage of Clarenden Hustler’s sparkling gate speed when he drives the six-year-old from the prized No. 1 barrier in the $20,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In-form trainer Matt Scott engaged McDonough to drive Clarenden Hustler for the first time to gain a junior driver’s concession and a start in an event which has enabled the chestnut to drop significantly in class. Shannon Suvaljko has driven Clarenden Hustler, a former South Australian performer, in all his nine starts in Western Australia for two wins and two seconds. Clarenden Hustler started from the inside of the back line and trailed the pacemaker Handsandwheels in the group 2 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship over 2130m last Friday night before wilting to finish eighth behind Handsandwheels. But he will certainly appreciate racing in inferior company this week when his main dangers include Just Bet On Black, Smoldering Ashes, Luis Alberto and Aliman. Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, is in top form, but is not perfectly drawn at No. 4 on the front line. However, he has the ability to overcome this draw and prove hard to beat. He started from the No. 6 barrier when an impressive last-start winner, over 2536m last Friday week. He raced three wide early and then worked hard in the breeze before getting to the front and fighting on gamely to defeat the pacemaker Dominate The Dojo by a half-neck at a 1.58.5 rate, with final quarters in 27.7sec. and 29.3sec. Two weeks before that Just Bet On Black raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs before finishing powerfully to be a neck second to James Butt at a 1.54.4 rate over 1730m, with final quarters of 28.1sec. and 28.6sec. “He’s in somewhere near career-best form,” Egerton-Green said. “It’s been a long process and, touch wood, we’ve got him right and hopefully able to string a few nice runs together.”   Ken Casellas

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has lavished praise on big New Zealand-bred colt Major Trojan and has no hesitation in declaring him one of the best three-year-olds he has prepared even better than superstar $1 million champions Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull.    Hall has trained the winner of four of the past six prestigious WA Derbies and is confident Major Trojan will prove very hard to beat in the $200,000 Derby next Friday week (April 5). Major Trojan, a winner at two of his five starts in New Zealand, has finished a close second at each of his first two starts in Western Australia and Hall is confident the colt will prove hard to beat in the $50,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Gateway Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I think he’s the best three-year-old I’ve trained, or maybe, the second best, behind Alta Christiano,” Hall said. “Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull were good, but as three-year-olds neither were as good as Major Trojan.” In saying that, Hall admitted that Major Trojan was far from a good thing in the Western Gateway in which he will start out wide, at barrier eight on the front line of the 2536m event. He has plenty of respect for the brilliant Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha, who will be a short-priced favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier. “I reckon that Major Trojan is the best horse in Friday night’s race and whatever beats him will win,” he said. “Regarding his strengths, he is fast and he can stay but it won’t be easy to beat Patrickthepiranha, who should get an uncontested time in front and I expect Major Trojan will be playing cat and mouse with Franco Edward. “However, Major Trojan doesn’t need a lot of luck; he can make his own luck. I think he’s the real deal. He had only nine weeks in work before last Friday night’s race and he should be starting to get close to top fitness. He should be at his peak on Derby night.” Major Trojan, who will again be handled this week by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, has plenty to live up to. The wonderful father-and-son combination has landed the winner of four of the past six Derbies, scoring with Alta Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015), Chicago Bull (2016) and King of Swing (2018).    Major Trojan gave a sample of his class last Friday night when he finished an unlucky second in a 2130m Derby prelude, a nose behind stablemate Eloquent Mach. He started from the inside of the back line and was three back on the pegs in fifth place at the bell, with Eloquent Mach setting a brisk pace. The final quarters then were covered in 27.7sec. and 28.4sec., with Major Trojan being held up for a clear run before he finished with a powerful burst on the inside to fail by the narrowest of margins. Six nights earlier, Major Trojan had his first start for four months when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back in the 2100m Battle of Bunbury at Donaldson Park. He vacated that position 420m from home and sustained a spirited burst to finish a neck second to the pacemaker Eloquent Mach, with final quarters in 27.7sec. and 27.8sec. Eloquent Mach, again with Stuart McDonald in the sulky, will start from barrier two on the back line in Friday night’s race and should be prominent. The Hall stable’s third runner Robbie Easton (Micheal Ferguson) is awkwardly drawn at barrier five. “Eloquent Mach is getting better with every run and Robbie Easton is going well, but is underrated,” said Hall Snr. Patrickthepiranha, like most of his rivals this week, will be having his first start over the Derby distance of 2536m. With a marvellous record of 12 starts for nine wins, he has given every indication that the longer trip will pose no problems. He is also a splendid frontrunner, having set the pace in six of his nine victories. Dylan Egerton-Green, fresh from driving Patrickthepiranha to victory in last Friday night’s $50,000 Sales Classic, has handled the gelding in all of his 12 starts and he has high hopes of winning the Western Gateway Classic for the second year in a row after bringing the Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook home with a dazzling burst from ninth at the bell to beat Cott Beach by a neck in last year’s classic. “It’s a great draw (No. 1) and hopefully we can take full advantage of it,” he said. “He has shown that he can roll the gate, but I don’t expect it to be an easy run for the horse. He has pulled up well after winning the Sales Classic and this will be a good test. The Derby, that’s the aim.” Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper has spaced Franco Edward’s runs in the lead up to the Derby and the American Ideal colt looms as a major player in this week’s classic as well as the Derby. Franco Edward notched his ninth win from 14 starts when he raced in the breeze for much of the journey and was inclined to overrace before finishing strongly to win a Derby prelude over 2130m three weeks ago, beating the pacemaker Eloquent Mach and Galante, who enjoyed a good run behind the pacemaker. Franco Edward has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) on Friday night and he will have a legion of admirers. He gave a tremendous indication of his great talent in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he settled down in last place in a field of five, ten lengths from the early leader, before Harper sent him forward with a sparkling turn of speed 1100m from home. He charged to the front within 100m and careered away to win, unextended, by 27 lengths from unraced three-year-old Cordero. Ken Casellas

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