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Annaghmore, County, Ireland - The Grafton Barbers Free For All was the feature event at Annghmore Wed 1st August. The hefty £ 1000 purse drew a top field of 6 runners. The Dunne stable had 3 entries on the card, but all 3 were non – runners. Maybe they are ‘rehearsing‘ for the Delaney spectacular in Dublin next weekend? Only time will tell. In the absence of Styx Thunder, man of the moment Simon Duggan took up the running at the half on board the ever genuine Rhyds Boots. However Duggan had to use Boots a lot and it was left to the closers Oakwood Outlaw (A Wallace Senr) and Maithi Buachaill (P Kane Junr) to fight out the finish. The teak tough grey prevailed by a neck from Maithi Buachiall. Maithi’s connections will be pleased by his return to form. The favourite Tarawood Messi did not enjoy the clearest of runs, even the accomplished Alan Richardson cannot get through a wall of horses. To see video of race click here.  The winner has looks to grace any ring at the Dublin Horse Show, being a beautiful grey by Armbro Operative – and always immaculately turned out. The cheers of owner Thomas Bennett could be heard in Southside Dublin, where the Bennetts hail from. The winner clocked 1.59 flat, 3’s to 6/4 was the business. Race 1 went to the border region when Lakeview Rapido (M Loughran) readily despatched the Coleraine runner Camden Vito (W Stewart) with Rockin’ Johnny Burns taking third with Cool Dragon. A middling clock of 2.02. 8 was posted. The French Trotters was a lively betting heat with the right faces whaling into Secret de Star despite his 80 yard handicap. Alan ‘Spadge‘ Wallace wasn’t born yesterday and he forced a strong pace aboard the sweet chestnut mare, Ruka Verdiere, part owned  by track owner Clive Richardson. Ruka had enough in the cupboard to fend off the speedy Typhee (Gavin Murdock) and the luckless Secret de Star who was hampered by beaten horses. Timekeeper Jim Graham caught them in 3.10. The Bassetts from the Market area In Belfast enjoyed an upturn in their fortunes when the regally bred Westend Dancer (Galliano/ Magical Bell) ran out a clear winner under Martin Loughran’s confident drive from Trottin’ Joe Sheridan’s Springhill KG and Porterstown Courage ( W Stewart ). Dancer won like a nice mare and further prizes should follow off her current mark. What a prospect for the breeding paddock she is. SP was 6/4, time being 2.02.5 Streamside Star is many people’s idea of the best chance of a home win in the Oakwood Stud Derby next weekend. Saturday’s race was his sternest test so far. Alan Wallace Junr sat in the slipstream of longtime leader McElderry and only produced his 3 year old son of Kikicolt on the line to win snugly. Streamside has the strangest tail carriage, he looks like a horse with his tail docked in a old coaching print. The second is a decent racehorse so Streamside has a chance in the 8th / 9th August classic. He will need to improve again if he is to trouble the Scottish superhorse Rewrite History, although 1.59.8 bodes well for his chances.  Next meeting Annaghmore Sat 15th August. Don’t miss the fantastic meeting at Portmarnock 8th and 9th August. By Dan Carlin, for Harnesslink.com

August 3, 2015 - With the multiplier feature of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, the potential of the contest standings changing dramatically existed. At the conclusion of the weekend, those predictions came true. After missing Friday night's contest leg, Mark McKelvie responded with a roar, winning nine of the sixteen legs on Saturday, earning 1,075.9 points, which with his previous 717.6 points thus far has now propelled into first place with a total of 1,793.5, a lead of 126.6 points over Sally Hinckley's 1,666.9. Previous leader Bob Zanakis now sits third, with 1,372.3. Other big movers this week were Gordon Waterstone who moved from seventh to fourth place, Josi Verlingieri (ninth to fifth), Rusty Nash (thirteenth to eighth), Mark Dezii (sixteenth to tenth), and Dennis O'Hara (seventeenth to twelfth). While McKelvie already had eight winners at the end of the Meadow's card, his coupe de grace was the fourth race at the Meadowlands where his last and final winner of the day pick in the TVG Trot of Flanagan Memory ($26.40, $9.00, $7.20) earned him a total of 383.4 points. Standings as of August 1, 2015 - Leg 24     Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Mark McKelvie 717.60 1,075.90 1,793.50 4th 2nd Sally Hinckley 1,014.30 652.60 1,666.90 2nd 3rd Bob Zanakis 1,059.50 312.80 1,372.30 1st 4th Gordon Waterstone 641.70 442.20 1,083.90 7th 5th Josi Verlingieri 631.90 450.10 1,082.00 9th 6th Michael Carter 749.50 275.40 1,024.90 3rd 7th Ann Stepien 703.00 303.50 1,006.50 5th 8th Rusty Nash 569.90 436.30 1,006.20 13th 9th Derick Giwner 618.60 374.30 992.90 10th 10th Mark Dezii 546.40 416.70 963.10 16th 11th Brandon Valvo 561.40 395.10 956.50 15th 12th Earl Paulson 614.20 334.20 948.40 11th 12th Dennis O'Hara 483.20 446.50 929.70 17th 14th Garnet Barnsdale 639.00 267.20 906.20 8th 15th Jay Hochstetler 566.90 322.50 889.40 14th 16th Bryan Owen 570.00 306.70 876.70 12th 17th Ray Garnett 693.90 154.70 848.60 6th 18th Ray Cotolo 362.70 351.70 714.40 18th 19th Mark Deutsch 203.70 230.30 434.00 19th This week the contest kicks off on Thursday, with the Whenuwishuponastar early closer final at Mohawk Racetrack and then finishes up on Saturday with the Hambletonian with its minimum of ten contest races.  Handicapper selections, results and standings are available at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott  

The mutuel payouts may have been small, but the purses were spread around in the 3-year-old filly pacing division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at the harness racing meeting at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 2). A different sire, driver and trainer won each leg of the series as they represented the best New York State has to offer for this sex and gait. In the first $39,200 division, Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) left the gate and took a methodic path to the front in 27.4. Leading the single-file group and still unchallenged to the half, Morrill kept a tight grip on the filly with an eye on closing out the deal. When they rolled towards three-quarters, Morrill popped the plugs and Mosquito Blue Chip responded in kind, quickly pulling away to a four-length advantage. With Morrill stretched out like he was in a recliner, the pair scurried home in 28.2 with no one even close, to win in 1:54.2. "She felt like her old self today." "She was on cruise control the entire mile" said driver Jim Morrill Jr. of the filly who is now two-for-two lifetime at Batavia Downs. Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover) was sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite and paid $2.30 for the win. Paul Jessop trains and co-owns the filly with Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio. As most expected in the second $39,900 leg, Band Of Angels (Matt Kakaley) and Moremercy Bluechip (Andy Miller) left from post three and four respectively and got away 1-2 before sauntering to a pedestrian 29-second first quarter. With the rest of the field still in post-position order behind the two favorites, Kakaley continued to grab leather in an even slower 29.4 second panel. From there it was all Band Of Angels who was given her head and quickly opened up a five-length lead before Kakaley lowered the lines and stored the whip. Band Of Angels ($2.50) paced the back half in 56.2, winning in 1:55.1 with Moremercy Bluechip closing ground on the wrapped-up winner to finish second. After the race, winning driver Matt Kakaley pointed out "She did it as easily as a horse could do it and had plenty left coming down the stretch". Band Of Angels (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) is conditioned by North America's leading trainer, Ron Burke for owner W.J. Donovan. The final $39,900 split featured a speed duel between two unrelenting contestants and it started as soon as the gate pulled away. As the field headed into the first turn, they were spread three-wide across the track; Jag Out (Andy Miller) on the pylons, Nippy W Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) in the middle and Artiawitchtoyou (Doug McNair) out widest of all. Off the turn, Nippy W Hanover settled in second but Artiawitchtoyou opted to go on. As she drew next to Jag Out at the quarter in 27.1, it was clear the leader had no intentions of giving up that spot. As they contentiously passed the half in 55 flat, Jag Out and Artiawitchtoyou were seemingly pacing in tandem heading into the third turn, but then Artiawitchtoyou had taken all the air she could and by the 1:24.3 three-quarter split, started to show the effects. As she started to fade off, Jag Out continued to drive on to an impressive two-length victory in the fastest time of the day (1:53.4). The winner paid $8.00. "She was awesome! I know we went fast early but she's that good" said driver Andy Miller about the speed duel between his charge and Artiawitchtoyou. Jag Out (American Ideal-Impertinent) is trained by Erv Miller, who co-owns her with Paymaq Racing and Mystical Marker Farms LLC. There were also two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior A series on the card for $30,000 in purses. The first went to Yes You Can (If I Can Dream-Cantbuymehappiness) went gate to wire in 1:56.2 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Heidi Rohr. Yes You Can, who paid $2.40 is owned by the Holland Racing Stable. The second division was won by Hey Kobe (Bettor's Delight-American West) who also led the entire mile for driver Mark Macdonald and trainer Marthe Drolet. Hey Kobe is owned by Stephen Schneider and William Siegel. The winner returned $4.00. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. notched four victories on the card with Kevin Cummings adding two more wins to his meet-leading total. Racing resumes on Wednesday at Batavia Downs when two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings go postward for a total of $110,000 in purses. Post time is set for 6:35 p.m. Tim Bojarski

The UK/Ireland Inter Dominion series took a new twist yesterday at York on Saturday with the “Flying Scotsman” Astounding for John and Gordon Gilvear, upsetting the applecart with an easy all-the-way harness racing victory in the penultimate heat.    Setting the pace from an inside draw over the mile and a quarter with favourite Meadowbranch DJ parked and Brywinsmagicpotion in the trail, he drew clear in the home straight to a four length win from Brywins with five lengths back to DJ, making it three track records from three Inter heats in the process.   Three different winners from Ireland, England and now Scotland have made the series truly international.   Disappointingly Astounding can’t win the series as he had no luck in his first heat and didn’t go to Portmarnock last week, but he’ll keep things interesting for Brywinsmagicpotion (20) and Meadowbranch DJ (18) as only two points separate them going into next Sunday’s mile and a half final heat at the big Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend in Ireland.   Points are 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 in order of finish and the UK/Ireland Interdom committee will early this week  rule on what happens if the final points are tied.   At stake is a place in the $1.5 million Inter Dominion series at Gloucester Park Perth in late November and early December.   By Bill Hutchison  

Master harness racing trainer Mark Purdon became a two-time Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic winner today at Maryborough. Purdon’s rising star filly High Gait produced a flawless performance in the 2190-metre stand-start Group 1 to score a 2.7-metre win in a mile rate of 2:06.3. High Gait is by Muscles Yankee out of quality producer Regal Volo. She is a full-sister to Breeders Crown winner Our Twentyten. High Gait’s 65secs first half set the filly up to dash home. She got home in 58.4secs, holding off runner-up Missandei comfortably with Sundons Courage third. High Gait has won six races from seven starts, her only defeat coming when second in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton. by Cody Winnell

The big harness racing day at Maryborough today with its sole focus on the straight out trotter is akin to the holy grail for followers of the squaregaiter. The jewel in the crown today was the $75,000 Victoria Trotting Derby which drew together the best Australian three year old trotters with the undisputed New Zealand champion three year old Speeding Spur. Speeding Spur's main problem was that he drew barrier 13 which was the outside of the second line in the ten horse field. Due to scratchings there was only four runners on the front line and Josh Dickie, the driver of Speeding Spur took advantage of the small front line and sent the son of Pegasus Spur forward from the start and grabbed the lead within the first 200 metres. Blue Sky Commander settled into the trail behind Speeding Spur with My Arya facing the breeze. Second favourite Illawong Armstrong circled the field mid-race to sit outside Speeding Spur but he really latched on and as a result there was no let up in the hot speed as he pulled himself into the ground. Turning for home Speeding Spur still held the front but was being attacked on all sides. Blue Sky Commander and Kerryn Manning were issuing a challenge up the passing lane after their soft trip while Amarula and John Caldow were finishing on stoutly centre track. However as he has done all season in New Zealand, Speeding Spur kicked bigtime when he was challenged and was drawing away again at the line with Josh Dickie giving a little victory salute as he hit the line. Blue Sky Commander ran into second with Amarula battling the last bit to run third. Amarula's run was full of merit as she did have a short gallop in the score up but was with the field at dispatch. Speeding Spur trotted the 2690 metres in 3:21.8, a mile rate of 2:00.7 which was a new track record. Trained by Josh and John Dickie at Clevedon in South Auckland, todays win by Speeding Spur was his 11th from 14th starts as a three year old and took his seasonal earnings over the $250,000 mark. His win today from barrier 13 after being attacked savagely mid race in track record time is further proof if any was needed that he is a superstar in the making. New Zealand breeders would have had a big smile on their faces post race as the first three home were all bred in New Zealand and that carried on the great record that New Zealand bred trotters have in Australian age group classics. Harnesslink Media    

Lock Down Lindy and Spirit To Win were the winners Saturday night of the two $35,000 elimination races to determine starters in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, to be held at The Meadowlands on August 8. The Oaks is the filly companion race to the $1 million Hambletonian. Both the Hambletonian and Oaks will be shown live on CBS Sports Network from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Post positions will be drawn on Monday afternoon at a press conference at the track. The winners of each elimination will draw for posts 1 through 5. Lock Down Lindy (Tim Tetrick) locked in her spot in the final of the Oaks with a two length win in the first elimination race. Content to let Bright Baby Blues (David Miller) and then Gatka Hanover (Yannick Gingras) set the early pace, with Gatka hitting the quarter in :27.2 and the half in :55.1, Lock Down Lindy sprinted to the front of the pack just past the half. The daughter of Lucky Chucky grabbed the lead with authority and held it through the 1:23.3 three quarters. She trotted strong to the wire with all others giving futile chase, though Wild Honey (Jimmy Takter) put on a rally late in the race to be second, with Bright Baby Blues behind her. Lock Down Lindy is trained by Tony Alagna and owned by Mystical Marker Farm, Crawford Partners, Joe Sbrocco and In the Gym Partners. "I had a lot of confidence in this mare and it hasn't really worked out, a lot of bad spots and some mistakes here and there, mostly mine," said winning driver Tim Tetrick. "She showed tonight the talent she does have. I was hoping I could follow Takter's mare (Wild Honey) all the way up there but somehow she got to drop in the three hole. "I just went up for the lead and after that, it was over. Any time you get to compete in these races (Hambletonian and Oaks) is awesome, let alone win them, and I've gotten to drive some great horses that put me in the winner's circle in those races. "It's a wide open race, the way she raced in here tonight, they're definitely going to be looking for her. She won't be dismissed quite as much; she's always had the talent. She just hasn't always been able to put it together." The last two Oaks spots in that race went to fourth place finisher Lady Winona and fifth place Smokinmombo. Lock Down Lindy In the second elimination, Spirit To Win turned on the afterburners in the last sixteenth of a mile, with driver Brett Miller's hands in his lap all the way to the finish line in 1:52.2 to win by two lengths. Spirit To Win is trained by Dustin Jones and owned by Frederick Hertrich III and Noblock Racing Stable. Spirit To Win flirted with the lead off the starting gate, but Rules Of The Road (Corey Callahan) got to the quarter first in :28 before Livininthefastlane (Andy Miller) took over that spot with a quick move to the top. They held that spot to the :56.2 half with Rules Of The Road tucked in behind. Spirit To Win, meanwhile, was working her way to the top on the outside, all the way to the head of the stretch. After idling on the outside alongside leader Livininthefastlane for a few strides at the 1:24.4 three quarters, Brett Miller gave the daughter of Donato Hanover the mildest of urging and off she went to the top for the win. Livininthefastlane (Andy Miller) was second, Sarcy (Johnny Takter) was third. Also earning spots in the final were fourth place finisher Rules Of The Road (Corey Callahan) and Speak To Me (Scott Zeron). "After last week (when she beat Mission Brief by a nose in the Del Miller Memorial), I had a lot of confidence in her," said Brett Miller. "When I landed where I landed (6th at the quarter), honestly, it didn't bother me. The way she felt, this filly, she acts like one of those horses who gives 100% and won't stop until she gets by them. There are a lot of nice fillies in here, she's going to have to show up next week and do her best." Spirit To Win Hambletonian Oaks Field: Bright Baby Blue Eyes Lady Winona Livininthefastlane Lock Down Lindy Rules Of The Road Sarcy Smokinmombo Speak To Me Spirit To Win Wild Honey $50,000 TVG OPEN TROT Flanagan Memory edged Natural Herbie by a nose to earn his first victory of the season in a 12-1 upset. The 5-year-old trained by co-owner Rene Dion and driven by Tim Tetrick paid $26.40 for his 12th career win in 43 starts. The exacta returned $174.60. Intimidate, 20-1, got third to complete a $2,423.60 trifecta The time was a lifetime best 1:51 4/5. $50,000 TVG OPEN PACE JK Endofanera ruled the featured pacing event of the night in wire to wire fashion, winning by a head over Doo Wop Hanover and State Treasure in 1:49. The win was the second of the season for the North America Cup winner. The first six finishers were separated by no more than one length. JK Endofanera is trained by Jimmy Takter for 3 Brothers Stables. Brett Miller was in the sulky. The winner returned $8.60 for the victory. PICK 5 CARRYOVER There were no winning tickets in the Pick 5 on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. There will be a Pick 5 carryover into the Friday, August 7 program of $29,460.76. JACKPOT SUPER HI-5 CARRYOVER There were multiple winning tickets in the Jackpot Super Hi-5 on Saturday night. The wager will not be offered on Friday, August 7th and there will be a mandatory payout on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, August 8th with a carryover of $231,403. Ellen Harvey

Grand Circuit racing action returned to Balmoral Park on Saturday, August 1st as a pair of Hanover Stakes for two-year-old pacers shared top billing on the 12-race card. A total of 13 colts and geldings were dropped into the box necessitating a split into two $21,325 divisions for the boys while nine pacing fillies were sent postward for a purse of $32,900. In the first division for the colts Nicole Potts Royale Rose gave the "chalk players" a thrill as he rallied in the final strides to win by a neck in a career best of 1:54.3 for driver Brian Carpenter. After leading the field through an opening quarter in 29.3 Carpenter elected to let a hard charging Blue Fox (Casey Leonard) take control of the proceedings as the field of six cruised through middle splits of 58.1 & 1:27.1.   Through the stretch a game Blue Fox put away a prolonged first over bid from Shootin To Kill (Pat Curtin) and appeared to have the jump on a boxed in Royale Rose. Somehow, Carpenter managed to wrestle the gelded son of Ashlee's Big Guy to the far outside with a sixteenth of a mile to go and the Lyle Scurlock responded beautifully, gobbling up the pace setter in the closing yards for his fourth win in six career starts. Blue Fox held on well to finish second while Shootin To Kill wound up third.   With the win the Lyle Scurlock trainee, who returned $2.80, $2.40 & $2.10 upped his career slate to 4-1-0 in 6 starts with earnings of $20,199.   BS Tyrrific struck another blow for the state-breds in the second division of the Hanover as the overwhelming favorite strolled to a one-length victory in a lifetime best of 1:54.1 for driver Kyle Wilfong.   Taking advantage of the inside post in the field of seven Wilfong sent the gelded son of Richess Hanover--Fox Valley Tyra right to the front where he cruised through soft splits of 29.0, 58.1 & 1:26.3.   With plenty still in reserve, the Robert Sanders trainee was on cruise control through the lane as he sealed the deal with a 27.3 final quarter to notch his third win in five career starts. Dan D Dune (Mike Oosting) who made a first over bid approaching the top of the lane held on well to finish second while Fox Valley Aramon (Todd Warren) used a ground saving journey to get the show dough.   Bet as though defeat was out of the question BS Tyrrific returned $2.40, $2.10 & $2.10 while running his slate to 3-2-0 in five lifetime starts with earnings of $30,235 for the partnership of Robert, Jeremy & Louis Buttice and Frank Santilli.   The public handicappers were right on again in the filly division as Ervin Miller Stables and Bert Hochsprung's Shady Stella easily disposed of eight rivals with a 4¼ length victory in 1:54.1 for Kyle Wilfong.   Zipped right to the front from post six by Wilfong, the daughter of Shadyshark Hanover--She's Stella put up splits of 29.1, 58.0 & 1:25.4.   Still fit and fresh as she turned for the money, the Ervin Miller trainee sped home in 28.2 while under minimal urging from her pilot. Char N Marg (Casey Leonard) rallied from far back to be the bridesmaid while longshot Rocknroll Hoochcoo (Pat Curtin) finished third in her career debut.   The Indiana bred Shady Stella returned $3.80, $2.80 & $3.00 while posting her first win in lifetime start number three. The filly also has a second place finish to her credit and now boasts $27,450 in earnings for her proud connections.   A field of seven diagonally gaited state-breds squared off to close out Saturday’s stake action as they battled for a purse of $21,400.   The parade of favorites continued here as Ronald Knupp’s Master Of Excuses overpowered six rivals in a 2 ¾ length victory. The final time was 1:54.4.   Confidently handled by driver Todd Warren the five-year-old son of Powerful Emotion moved first over on the final turn after watching Ants Iner Pants (Robert Smolin) and Tricky Nick (Ridge Warren) battle through opening splits of 28.4 & 56.3.   Taking command as the field hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.1 the Kimberly Roth trainee quickly opened up an insurmountable advantage over his rivals then glided home the rest of the way for his fourth win in 24 starts this year. Sophomore sensation Captain Greedy (J D Finn) rallied late to finish second while the other sophomore in the field, Fox Valley Qatar (Mike Oosting) came on late to finish third.   Starting from the inside spot, Master Of Excuses returned $3.40, $2.60 & $2.60 while pushing his career earnings up to $112,247.   The 2015 Hanover season draws to a close on Sunday, August 2nd with a pair of events for two-year-old trotters. A field of eight fillies will slug it out in race three as they battle for a purse of $22,400 while their male counterparts meet in race five for a purse of $26,300. Once again the action gets underway at 7:10pm on Sunday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 (races 7-10) features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five (race 10) also features a guaranteed pool of $15,000 while the new trifecta guarantee on race nine will give fans the chance to play into a $25,000 guaranteed pool.   Tom Kelley  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 1, 2015 -- Harness racing trainer Ron Burke swept both divisions of Saturday's $125,000 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers with Storm Point and Sassa Hanover. The Grand Circuit stake was part of the Adios Day card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Black Horse Racing's Storm Point launched a relentless first-over move from fourth for Dave Palone. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Limestone Cowgirl wore down the leader, Bettor Be Steppin, and defeated her by 1/2 length in a career-best 1:50.2, a national season's mark. Bedroomconfessions rallied for show. Sassa Hanover made the lead with a quarter-pole move and held off Better Said, downing her by a length in 1:50.4. Southwind Roulette, also from the Burke stable, earned show. "When she's good, she's good from anywhere," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "She hasn't been on her game for a little while. Her blood wasn't right -- everything was messed up. But it seemed like she was back today. She can race any which way when she's good." Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Larry Karr campaign Sassa Hanover, who soared over $600,000 in lifetime earnings. In other Adios Day Grand Circuit action: $65,142 James Manderino -- 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trotters Jacksons Minion, a Hambletonian eligible, made it three straight wins in grand style, rolling to a front-end win in 1:53.1. That knocked a tick from Lady's Dude's track record for sophomore geldings and erased the stake mark of 1:54.1 jointly held by SJ's Caviar and Wheelsandthelegman. Chef Lee was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Shoot The Thrill third. "I didn't know he'd go in 1:53, but I thought he could go 1:54 plus anyway," said trainer/driver Tom Jackson, who owns the son of Explosive Matter-Armbro Espionage with Howard Taylor and Judith Taylor. "That's about all he had at the wire, but I didn't give him his head until halfway through the last turn." In the other Manderino split, Suit And Tie looked much the best on paper -- he was hammered down to 1-9 -- and he looked just as sharp on the track, notching a front-end victory in 1:56. Only The Brave closed well for second, a length in arrears, while the pocket-sitting Simeon earned show. Corey Callahan piloted the son of Andover Hall-Warrawee Krisp -- a Hambletonian eligible -- for owners William Wiswell and M&L of Delaware. "He wasn't quite himself when he raced here last week," said Tyler Butenschoen, assistant to winning trainer John Butenschoen. "He had a good week training, and he raced like he was supposed to. We added some cups, and we went to aluminum shoes up front. He's eligible to the Townsend Ackerman as well as the Hambletonian, so it's the owners' call." $65,000 Ned McCarr -- 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters Sky Hanover meandered to the front from the gate, but she was strong enough on the lead to hold off Meadowbanch Wendy by a nose in 1:56.2. Pad Princess completed the ticket. "I took my time getting there, made sure she behaved herself," said winning driver Andy Miller. "After that, it was a matter of keeping her attention. She's made breaks of and on, but she's been pretty honest lately." Julie Miller trains Sky Hanover for Little E LLC, Westminster Road LLC and Banyan Farms. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

WASHINGTON, PA, August 1, 2015 — He was forced into a first-over challenge and skipped shadows for much of the mile, but when all was said and done, Dude’s The Man captured Saturday’s $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light at The Meadows in 1:48.4, fourth-fastest in the 49-year history of the event. Yankee Bounty rallied for second, 2 lengths back, while Lost For Words, who threatened briefly in the lane, was third. Winning trainer Jessica Okusko won the Adios orchids in her first try while winning driver Corey Callahan, who had 13 previous Adios starts including eliminations, took his first Adios title. M&L of Delaware and Victoria Dickinson own Dude’s The Man, a son of American Ideal-Art’s Risk who finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Meadowlands Pace final but has been hampered at times by lack of early speed. Callahan said he wanted to get the colt into the race early from post 2. “On these speed-favoring tracks, you can’t circle them from last,” Callahan said. “You can’t get away seventh, be third over and have a shot. I wanted to get away as close as possible, and fourth is where I ended up.” Although Dude’s The Man was first up from fourth, he had little trouble clearing My Hero Ron, winner of an Adios elimination last week. “I thought My Hero Ron was just okay last week,” Callahan said. “I came at him last week with Yankee Bounty and almost got him, so I was pretty confident being first up with that horse on the lead.” Of greater concern was the winner’s persistent battle with shadows. Okusko said she added a Daisy roll and a Pelling pacifier during the week to keep the colt more focused, but their impact was limited. “I was trying to talk him over the shadows and hold onto him,” Callahan said. “Around the last turn, clouds came over. Someone was looking out for me in the last turn. The clouds covered the sun, and he paced right home.” Another potential problem for Dude’s The Man vanished in the lane when Lost For Words, right on the winner’s bumper, didn’t finish strongly. “At the top of the stretch I thought I had a shot,” said Brian Brown, who trains Lost For Words. “He scoped with blood, so he may need more Lasix. Any time a horse bleeds, he’s in trouble.” Okusko said Dude’s The Man may be pointed to the Cane Pace and also remains eligible to the Battle of the Brandywine, the Little Brown Jug and several stakes at the Red Mile. “He’s from a great family, and he has great conformation,” she said. “He’s really come into himself. This was the first time he raced on a five-eighths, and he got around it great.” ADIOS NOTES. Elimination winners National Seelster, Cooperstown and My Hero Ron finished 8th, 4th and 5th, respectively . . . Rock N’ Roll World took the $50,000 Adios Consolation for David Miller, trainer Kelly Stackowicz and owners Jeffrey Snyder and Three Decades Racing . . . Lyonssomewhere collected a front-end victory in 1:49.2 in the $50,000 Roy D. Davis Memorial Pace. Andy Miller drove for trainer Julie Miller and owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound . . . Last Saturday, the Ron Burke stable set a PR with 24 horses entered (22 actually raced), most ever for a single program at a single track. The stable shattered that mark Saturday when they raced 29. Although Burke had to settle for second and fourth in the Adios, he notched seven wins on the 17-race program. Evan Pattak

Exciting four-year-old Alleluia produced an outstanding effort to claim tonight’s (Saturday) harness racing Gr.2 $50,000 Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup. Trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon, Alleluia ($5) sat without cover in the 2613m standing start feature and proved too strong for Five Card Draw ($9.90) and Jivin Cullen ($17.10) in track record time of 1;59.6. With several runners inconvenienced at the start including race favourite Avonnova and defending champion Majestic Major, the field covered plenty of territory in the early staged with Jivin Cullen setting a solid temp in front. The lead time was covered in 76.5 seconds. Over the final mile, Jivin Cullen continued to dictate terms with Alleluia sitting parked while star mare Forever Gold raced solo three-wide while Avonnova found the back of Forever Gold. The first half was covered in splits of 29.7 and 29.5 seconds. Heading down the back straight on the final occasion, Jivin Cullen travelled strongly with Alleluia sticking to his guns bravely while many struggled in the frantic speed. The third quarter was covered in 28.7 seconds. At the home turn, Jivin Cullen was quickly joined by Alleluia while Five Card Draw came fast via the passing lane but Alleluia refused to give up and fought off the challenge from Five Card Draw before winning by 2m with Jivin Cullen third a further 1.25m away. Avonnova finished officially 11th, beaten 18m. The winning mile rate for the gelding by Art Major took a full second off the previous mark, which was established last year by Majestic Major. “I’m just so happy for the horse, he’s been a great addition to the ranks here in Queensland and he always performs at a high level. He was unlucky not to pick up a big race during the Albion Park carnival so he deserved this one tonight, I would say a career best effort.” Winning owner Greg Mitchell said. The victory provides Mitchell with his second Cup success in the past three years after Only The Brave scored in 2013. Grant Dixon has now claimed the Cup for the past three seasons following the victories of Only The Brave and Majestic Major. In the Gr.3 $30,000 Redcliffe Oaks, race favourite Morton Plains ($1.50) led throughout to score comfortably from stablemates Bettorthanspecial ($5) and Bettor Promise ($9.40) in the 2040m fillies feature. The Victorian trained filly has enjoyed a stellar season highlighted by her Gr.1 Vicbred Super Series Final victory plus her placing in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks behind star Kiwi filly Fight For Glory. Prepared at Shelbourne by Larry Eastman, Morton Plains was handled for the first time by John Cremin. The winning mile rate was 1;58.2. The top three fillies are all daughters of super sire Bettors Delight. Racing Queensland

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 1, 2015 -- Love Matters remained undefeated in three career starts when she captured a division of Friday's Edward M. Ryan, a $60,000 Arden Downs stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters, at The Meadows. The harness racing stake was contested over three divisions, with Major Matter and Truemass Volo taking the other splits. Love Matters was looped while working for the early lead, but winning driver Marcus Miller indicated that was part of the plan. "Unless somebody was really honking, I was planning on cutting it," Miller said. "I planned to take my time getting to the front if I had to. If he just goes a little bit faster, he's the best 2-year-old I've sat behind. He does it so easily. He seems like a superstar." Once on the point, Love Matters drew off to prevail by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:57.2, matching his career best. Raisethejollyroger and Breedlove completed the ticket. Robin Cruise trains the son of Explosive Matter-Lotsa Love for Ervin Miller Stable, Paymaq Racing and Harvey Eisman. Major Matter, who prepped for the stake with a victory on the PA Fairs circuit, made it look easy on the front end, scoring in 1:57.2 for trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer. Treasure Keys K was 1-3/4 lengths back in second, with Meadowbranch Memo third. "He's getting better and better," said Beinhauer, who bred and owns the Explosive Matter-Tahiti Springs gelding with Regina Beinhauer. "He has a really big heart, and he's good gaited and quick as a cat. He didn't have a race, and I had to train him, so I figured, might as well go to the fairs." A winner in a PA Sites Stake last time out, Truemass Volo was too much for his rivals, hustling to the early lead from post 7 for Eric Goodell and rolling home in 1:58.3, 1-1/2 lengths better than Hillman. Moneycounts De Vie earned show. Doug Hamilton conditions the son of Muscle Massive-Tresbien Volo for John Erdner and Martin Garey. "(Doug told me) he's a little touchy with a real quick response, so kind of go slow with him," Goodell said. "I know I got to the front from the 7 hole, but I eased him out there. I went on his terms." $60,000 Arden Downs Stake - 2-Year-Old Filly Trotters Friday's card also featured the $60,000 Judge Joe McGraw, an Arden Downs stake for freshman filly trotters, with I Luv Blackhawkred, Maker A Yankee and Side Bet Hanover capturing the divisions. I Luv Blackhawkred provided the evening's tote board fireworks when she zipped to the lead from post 9 for Dan Rawlings, settled into the pocket and shot the Lightning Lane to upset at 20-1. The daughter of Yankee Glide-Sarafina Hall triumphed in 1:59.1, 1-3/4 lengths ahead of Lookin Sharp, with Sand Grenade third. "I knew we had some gate speed, but from post 9, I thought we could use that speed to get a check," said Dirk Simpson, who conditions the $17,000 yearling acquisition for James Bafia and Amy Quint. "I never dreamed we'd land in the two hole -- gutsy move on Dan's part. We have some points in the stallion series, so we'll probably shoot for that this year. Hammered down to 1-5, Side Bet Hanover justified the bettors' confidence when she retook the lead at the three-eighths and blew them away, breaking her maiden by 7 lengths for Dave Palone in 1:56.3. Lady Athens was second, while My Pink Bike rallied for show. "She's a beautiful filly to drive," Palone said. "She has a big future. I believe that by season's end, she'll be one of the top fillies in PA." Jonas Czernyson trains the daughter of Donato Hanover-Sea Level Hanover for SRF Stable. Maker A Yankee tracked down the first-over Moots in the stretch and downed her by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:58 for Miller. Ballerina Volo earned show. "After we qualified her a couple times, she got a little nervous," Miller said. "So we're trying to get her over that. She was making breaks. But if she stays calm, she's as good gaited as any horse." Cruise conditions the daughter of Yankee Glide-Maker A Laker, who enjoyed her first career victory, for Ervin Miller Stable, Paymaq Racing and Andy Miller Stable. Saturday is Adios Day at The Meadows, highlighted by the $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light. The power-packed card also features five other Grand Circuit stakes, the $50,000 Adios Consolation, the $50,000 Roy D. Davis Invitational and four multirace wagers with a combined $45,000 in total-pool guarantees. First post is 12:20, with the Adios set for approximately 4 PM. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Handover Belle just missed by a nose to Market Share one week ago, tonight, she flipped the script on her eight harness racing opponents winning the $28,500 Open Trot in 1:51.1 at The Meadowlands. Combined in the wagering with Gural Hanover, Handover Belle allowed the pace to settle down in front of her, as her stablemate did the early lifting, reaching the quarter in a sharp 26.4. As the field turned down the backstretch, Hanover Belle made her move for the lead and she cleared Gural Hanover and rolled past the half-mile in 54.1. With no challenge coming around the far turn, Handover Belle was able to back the field down a bit, trotting 28.4 on the far turn. At that point, Gural Hanover pulled the pocket to challenge his entry-mate in the stretch as the rest of the field closed in. Wind Of The North mounted a strong bid along the pylons, while Allie Labrook and Shake It Cerry came charging down the center of the racetrack. But, Handover Belle was able to hold everyone off to score a game victory. Wind Of The North rallied up the pylons for the place spot, with Allie Labrook rolling late to get up for third. Handover Belle was driven by Yannick Gingras for Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Howard Taylor. With the victory, Handover Belle surpassed $500,000 in lifetime earnings. Handover Belle The Jimmy Takter duo of French Laundry and The Bank were as-advertised in the $23,750 three year old open trot as they made their final tune-ups for The Hambletonian. Sent off as the 2/5 favored entry, The Bank cleared the lead going past the three-eighths pole, while his stable-mate, French Laundry, followed suit and took over into the far turn. French Laundry opened up daylight as the field reached the head of the stretch, but The Bank cut into that margin through the lane as the two finished well in front of the rest of the field and streaked under the line together, with French Laundry holding on by a neck in 1:52.4. It was four lengths back to Aldebaran Eagle in third. French Laundry was driven by Brett Miller for Jimmy and Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The win was the 10th in 18 lifetime starts for French Laundry and his earnings now stand at over $392,000. French Laundry The freshman trotters geared up for the first round of major stakes for the two year olds on Friday night at The Meadowlands. Twenty four fillies went behind the gate in three eliminations of the Jim Doherty Memorial (formerly The Merrie Annabelle) while 19 colts and geldings contested the Peter Haughton Memorial eliminations, split into two divisions. One of the major stars of the night was Broadway Donna, who entered the first Doherty elimination with an unblemished record and she left just the same, romping to a 1:53.3 score as the 1/9 prohibitive choice over Celebrity Eventsy and I'm Outstanding. The clocking was not only a lifetime mark, but it was the fastest mile by any two year old trotter, filly or colt, thus far in 2015. Broadway Donna was guided to victory by Dave Miller for trainer John Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC, who also bred the filly. She will undoubtedly be a short-priced favorite in the $389,450 Jim Doherty Memorial Final on Hambletonian Day after running her record to a perfect five for five. Broadway Donna The second elimination for the Doherty saw Womans Will assert her will over eight other fillies, winning in 1:55.3 as the even money favorite. She held off a late burst from the Jimmy Takter trained and driven Miss Tezsla and Silent Blessings. Womans Will was driven by Andy Miller for Julie Miller and owners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, who bred the filly. Womans Will Kathy Parker got the job done as a co-favorite at 5/2 in the third elimination of the Doherty, winning in 1:56.1 for Johnny Takter. The two year old filly was guided to the lead before the half-mile pole and appeared to be an easy winner, until a 90-1 longshot, Lindy's On Fire, burst on the scene in the last sixteenth of a mile, but Kathy Parker was able to hold on by the narrowest of margins. Sunset Glider was a trapped-in third. Kathy Parker, named for the editor of the Horsemen and Fair World, was trained by Jimmy Takter for Christina Takter, Brixton Medical, R A W Equine and J. Mc Clelland. Kathy Parker The nine that have locked in their spots in the $389,450 Jim Doherty Memorial Final are: Broadway Donna Womans Will Kathy Parker Celebrity Eventsy I'm Outstanding Miss Tezsla Silent Blessings Lindy's On Fire Sunset Glider The three fourth place finishers that will be draw by lot for the final spot in the final are: Southwind Adele Gifted Lady Encore Gold The draw for the last entrant and the post position draw for the Jim Doherty Memorial will take place on Saturday afternoon. The first Peter Haughton elimination saw another favorite return dividends as Southwind Frank made short work of the field of 10, scoring his third victory in four starts in 1:54.1 as the 1/5 betting choice. Leading from the three-eighths pole to the wire, Southwind Frank easily held sway in the stretch over Earn And Burn and Alexander Hanover. Southwind Frank was driven to victory by Yannick Gingras for Ron Burke, who co-owns the colt with Weaver Bruscemi, Our Hrs Cents Stables and J & T Silva Stables. Southwind Frank The second elimination produced an 8-1 upset in Milligan's School, who sat third behind a rapid pace, moved on the far turn, opened up in the stretch and held sway rather easily in 1:54.1. Favored Bar Hopping rallied willingly in the stretch to be second with Brooklyn Hill a game third. The winner is owned by Story Inc and trained by Julie Miller. Andy and Julie Miller teamed up for their second win of the night. Milligan's School The 10 two year olds qualifying for the $349,850 Peter Haughton Memorial Final are: Southwind Frank Milligan's School Earn And Burn Sliding Home Alexander Hanover Dominion Beach Bar Hopping Brooklyn Hill Southwind Flash Winter Harbor Both fields will be drawn on Saturday afternoon. The Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover went unclaimed on Friday night and the carryover into the Saturday program will be $225,376. Post time for the Saturday program, featuring the eliminations for The Hambletonian Oaks is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

JULY 31, 2015 - Driver Randy Waples captured a pair of three-year-old pacing colt Grassroots events at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening with horses trained by one of his harness racing heroes. "Growing up in this business, he's the guy that everybody always wants to drive for, so when you find yourself lucky enough to be driving for him it's a rush every time," said Waples of Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh. "I have my heroes in the business too, and being able to drive horses for a guy like that, it's a rush." Waples kicked off the Grassroots program with a win, steering Regal Sight to a 1:52.3 score from Post 6. The pair took control heading for the half and was never headed, sailing under the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Ace Of Clubs. The Fire Within was three lengths back in third. "He raced really well," said Waples. "He got a little hot behind the gate last week and made a break, but he was back to himself tonight." The win was the first this season for Regal Sight, who had posted one second and two thirds in the first three Grassroots events. Windsor, ON resident McIntosh and his partners C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON bred and own the son of Stonebridge Regal and You See L A, who currently sits seventh in the division point race with 99. Regal Sight Waples and McIntosh recorded their second victory in the fourth Grassroots division, with the Milton, ON resident giving Artful Way a come-from-behind steer. Starting from Post 9, Waples eased Artful Way onto the rail in fifth and waited until the three-quarter marker to shift into the outer lane behind fan favourite Southwind Indy. Turning for home two and one-half lengths behind leader Feeling Cam Lucky, Waples shifted Artful Way into high gear and the gelding powered down the stretch to get a head in front of Feeling Cam Lucky and Southwind Indy in 1:51.3. "He's been drawing horrible lately. He's had a 10 and two nines his last three starts down here, so he hasn't really been able to get into the race. Tonight he had his nose right on the gate and when I looked over there looked like there was going to be a couple spots available, so it just really worked out good for him," said Waples of the Artistic Fella son. "Usually if you can get him in the middle somewhere he doesn't mind first over. He can grind away first over pretty good. He's win two or three times like that. "He can take a lot of air, he just seems not to get tired," added Waples. "He's got a big motor; a big motor and a big set of lungs." McIntosh bred and owns Artful Way, who was also a winner in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk on June 2. In the other two Grassroots legs the gelding finished fifth and third, giving him a total of 117 points and sole ownership of fourth in the division standings with two regular season events remaining. Artful Way Bob Ben And John gave his connections a nice parting gift in the second Grassroots division. The Sportswriter gelding, who is entered in the Tattersalls Mixed Sale on Aug. 1, scored his first win of 2015 with a 1:53.3 front-end triumph over Windsong Lord and Halton Hurricane. Milton resident Steve Condren crafted the victory for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, ON and owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Adriano Sorella of Milton. Following the race Sorella took to Twitter to say farewell to the gelding: "Thanks for the memories Bob. Best of luck in your new home." Friday's win boosted Bob Ben And John into eighth in the point race, making him a more attractive acquisition for a new owner hoping to participate in the Grassroots post season. Bob Ben And John Sporting The Look also jumped up the standings with his victory in the third division. Another son of Sportswriter, Sporting The Look powered out of the pocket and past pacesetter Twin B Scandal to claim his second straight Grassroots win in a personal best 1:51.2. Mach Code rounded out the top three. Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson engineered the victory for his father Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, ON and his partners 30 Plus Stable of Trenton, ON and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. Two wins and one eighth in Grassroots competition give Sporting The Look 101 points, putting him in sixth. Sporting The Look The final Grassroots trophy of the evening was awarded to the connections of His Boy Elroy, who also used come-from-behind tactics to secure the victory. Campbellville, ON resident Mike Saftic urged His Boy Elroy down the stretch to a one-quarter length win over Sugarsam and Make Some Luck in a personal best 1:51.4. The Jeremes Jet son is trained by Jean Guy Belliveau for Dan MacRae of Baddeck, NS. Through three Grassroots starts the colt now has one win, one second and one eighth-place result for a total of 76 points. His Boy Elroy The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will return to Mohawk Racetrack for the fifth Grassroots event of their season on August 21. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to the Campbellville oval on Tuesday, August 4 with three $70,000 Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

WILKES-BARRE PA -- George Napolitano Jr., the leading harness racing driver at both The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia, and who celebrated his 7000th career victory earlier this month, achieved the driving "century mark" for July, posting victory #100 in the final day of the month Friday night at Pocono with the trotter Ras Shaknthtbacon.   Napolitano had 95 victories going into today's racing, 38 at Philly and 57 at Pocono. George, the 2010 North American dashwinning leader with 753 wins, visited Victory Lane twice in the afternoon at Philly, then recorded his third sulkysitting victory of the mountain oval's evening with Ras Shakinthatbacon -- trained by Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, the leading trainer at Philly and third at Pocono, for whom "GNap" has been principal driver most of the spring and summer.   Napolitano has moved into fourth in this year's North American standings, with 404 victories. If he maintains his current large lead atop the Pocono dashwinning driver standings, it will be his ninth northeast Pennsylvania title -- breaking his current tie with Bill Lambertus as eight-time Pocono champions.   PHHA / Pocono

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The horse racing industry will be focused on New Jersey this weekend, as Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh runs in the $1.75 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. But the big race won't provide much help overall for the problems plaguing the racing industry in the state, where attendance and betting have fallen in recent years. And neither will the $1 million Hambletonian, the first event in the Triple Crown of harness racing for trotters, which will be run at Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands. So how did a once vibrant, thriving industry become so troubled? Many believe it started when the state got out of the horse racing business a few years ago. Track owners, industry groups and racing fans say New York and Pennsylvania do much more to promote racing and keep it in good financial shape. They say that unless more cash is invested in New Jersey, the industry will likely fade away, taking thousands of jobs with it. "It all comes down to money," said Thomas Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. "If we have more money, we can offer better purses. If we offer better purses, we get more and better horses. Everyone benefits." The state stopped enhancing purses in 2010 and turned over horse-racing operations to the private sector. The total purses paid dropped from $47.5 million in 2010 to $22.7 million in 2013, and total wagers dropped from $480.7 million in 2010 to $266.4 million in 2013, according to a Rutgers University study. Many officials and some lawmakers have strongly supported calls to add casinos and other expanded gambling opportunities at the state's racetracks — Monmouth Park in Oceanport, Freehold Raceway and the Meadowlands in East Rutherford. They say that would help draw in more gamblers and give a financial boost to the tracks. The money could also be used to develop programs that could help farms, horse breeders, veterinarians, blacksmiths and others in the equine and agriculture industries, which are vital parts of the state's economy. As an example of the industry's ongoing woes, they cite the news this week that Showplace Farms in Millstone will shut down in October after 36 years in business. The owners of the training and therapy facility for standardbred horses cited the poor economic climate in New Jersey for harness racing and a decrease in the number of horses racing. But plans to expand gambling elsewhere have drawn opposition from elected officials across southern New Jersey, who want to keep gambling sites in the Atlantic City area. And lawmakers recently ran out of time to put a referendum on the November ballot that would have allowed voters to decide whether to expand casino gambling beyond Atlantic City. One state lawmaker says the timing of the farm's closure and the failure to get a referendum "should be a wakeup call" for the Legislature. "It's no secret the equine industry has been struggling as racetracks here have to compete with larger purses in neighboring states that are fueled by casinos," Sen. Steven Oroho said. "To give the breeders, trainers and boarding facilities across New Jersey a fighting chance, we have to even the playing field, and that starts by opening up gaming across the state." Oroho said he would prefer small boutique gambling rooms at the facilities, noting that many sites already have space where items such as slot or electronic poker machines could be installed. Meadowlands racetrack owner Jeff Gural, who has fought a lengthy battle to get a casino there, remains hopeful but concerned about the racing industry's future. He notes that the dated track was rebuilt a few years ago to create a "modern, correctly sized" facility that would hopefully attract a younger crowd and renew interest in racing. Gural said the track has experimented with different promotions, such as food truck events and camel and ostrich races. But he says a casino would draw in new fans and keep current ones from heading to out-of-state racinos, a view also shared by many racing fans. "It's just common sense to me," 67-year-old Joe Tucker said as he prepared to make a few bets at an off-track betting facility in Toms River on Wednesday. "I enjoy playing slots and some poker in Atlantic City, but I like playing the ponies too. Why can't I have both?" By Bruce ShipkowskiI, Associated Press Reprinted with permission of the www.timesunion.com site

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