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With a jaw-dropping pace-setting run Smolda reinforced his standing in the top tier of Australasian harness racing pacers, becoming the first horse to win back-to-back PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cups. Smolda took the sting out of fellow heavyweights stablemate Lazarus and rival Lennytheshark in a breathtaking cup that has only heightened expectations around the forthcoming Summer Of Glory, featuring the Eynesbury Victoria Cup and Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. The reigning Ballarat and Hunter Cup champion and recent Inter Dominion and South Australian Cup winner reasserted his standing as the equal of any, with his victory in a 1:54.8 mile rate smashing the track record set last year. The gelding by Courage Under Fire found the front largely unchallenged from the gate and a gasp went through the considerable crowd as he piled on a 27.5 second quarter and then followed with 27.7 and 27.3 third and fourth quarters in driver Anthony Butt’s hands. “He’s got a high cruising speed and it doesn’t surprise me,” said Smolda's trainer Mark Purdon, who took the reins of second-placed Lazarus. “He runs along, you don’t really know the speed you’re going with him. That suits him the way Anthony drove him and tonight you couldn’t take it away from him with those sectionals.” Smolda took his winnings well past $2.2 million, while Lazarus lost few fans with a mighty run first-up in Australia, and Victoria's favourite Lennytheshark also entered rare air with his third placing, beaten only 5.6m, taking him past $2 million in career earnings. It was a race about the big three and all walked away with reason for optimism, including David Aiken, trainer of Lennytheshark. “We always knew he needed the run (being) first up from a couple of months. I just was really rapt, the quick last mile and he kept coming on the line,” Aiken said. “These are great horses. (Smolda) just keeps doing it. He sometimes seems a little patchy, but at the moment he is just in the zone, he’s going fantastic.” He said Alford’s decision to ease Lennytheshark from the gates, rather than hustle Smolda for the lead, was a simple one. “I think the only way we could have crossed Smolda was if we had have drawn a little bit wider than him, it’s very hard when you are alongside him to lead. Chris was always going to drive him that way. “When they are a little bit underdone to blast them out and bring them undone that way would have been no good for their prep. It was just the run he needed to have. “ Lazarus will also  benefit greatly from the run, according to Purdon, who reaffirmed that his gun four-year-old would be pointed towards the January 28 Victoria Cup and then the February 4 Edgell Sidewinders 4YO Bonanza. In the cup, Purdon took Lazarus to the rear of the field from gate seven and entered the throng three-wide the final time down the main straight, taking the breeze position outside Smolda and with Lennytheshark on his tail. “They were rolling all the way,” Purdon said. “(Lazarus) wasn’t travelling on the bridle, he was working probably from when I went with him. “The racing Smolda’s had under his belt stood to him, where as Lazarus is on his way back up again and probably the run he will benefit from it.” And with that, the trots imminent Summer Of Glory grand stage is becoming clearer. Lazarus looks certain to shape off against Aiken’s fleet-footed superstar Hectorjayjay in Saturday night’s $400,000 Victoria Cup. Lennytheshark will be geared towards the following week’s $500,000 Hunter Cup where he will resume his showdown with Smolda, but there is room for a few twists in the tail. Of Smolda, Purdon said he would “probably” skip the Victoria and be geared towards the Hunter, but he hasn’t been ruled out of doing the double. Smolda, Ballarat Cup 2017 Either way, Hectorjayjay will be ready come Saturday night. “If Hector draws good, he’s got that great gate speed and we saw in Perth if he can just get that one reasonable quarter he can run off a really good half,” Aiken said. “That run in the Shep Cup, that really tightened him up for next week. But Lazarus, if you have a look at his sectionals, he’s probably run a 1:51 mile, it was a heck of a race.” And there will be plenty more to come on Hunter Cup night, when Lennytheshark and Smolda face-off. “Two old hard heads,” Aiken said. “I think Smolda would have been a bit more wound up than Lenny (for Ballarat). He went into the Inter final and has gone to Adelaide and we’ve got a bit of confidence that we are probably going to get better than tonight. “I’m really happy, because Lenny’s had a few issues with his foot and he’s come through the run sound.  He’s come through the race really good fitness wise and that will really tune him up for the Hunter Cup.” And there could be a further spanner to throw into the works, no less than the horse who produced Australia’s fastest mile, Have Faith In Me. Purdon’s wildcard galloped in scoring up ahead of the night’s PETstock Family Values Loyalty Free For All, missing the start by 100m. His recovery to take the breeze was incredible, but he paid the price and faded in the straight to run fifth.  “He was very fractious, didn’t want to really take part and gave them quite a start,” Purdon said. “I wasn’t disappointed with his performance afterwards, but was disappointed with his antics early. “He paced good in running and didn’t put a rough one in, so I’m happy with him that way, I just think maybe he was a little bit fresh for tonight’s assignment.” The poor behaviour means Have Faith In Me will be out of the draw for at least his next two starts at trial or race, and Purdon said he’d likely be entered into Saturday’s The Cougar Bourbon Pure Steel before taking on the Hunter Cup. “I’m not going to worry too much about that, if he’s out of the draw he’s out of the draw,” Purdon said, implying Have Faith In Me may not be trialled to improve his draw for the Hunter Cup. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

January 22, 2017 - Today’s Cornulier program was excellent and included top flight harness racing events supporting the great monte classic. Today’s opener was the Prix Roxane Griff (monte, purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 11 starters) and victory was earned by 6.4/1 Billy de la Calade (6g Quick Wood-Mania Danover) ridden by Antoine Dabouis for breeder/owner/trainer Serge Yana. Clocked in 1.14.9kr, off modest fractions, the winner defeated 5.5/1 Baladin Hongrois (6g Bon Conseil-Relodie Hongroise) with Guillaume Martin in the irons for trainer SArnaud Desmottes. Third was 9/2 Brut de la Cote (g Kepler-Ombria Maifu) for jockey David Thomain and trainer Sebastien Guarato. Delia du Pommereux (4f Niky-Noune du Pommereux) took the Gr. III Prix Bellino II/Prix Southys (purse €95,000, 2100 meters autostart, 10 starters) timed in 1.12.9kr for Franck Nivard. She raced barefoot for Sylvain Roger and breeder/owner Noel Lolic. She was off at 9/2 odds and prevailed over 1.2/1 Detroit Castelets (4m Neoh Jiel-Rosanna Bonheur) reined by Matthieu Abrivard for Ecurie Luck and owner J.L. Dersoir. 3.2/1 Darling de Reux (4f Prodigious-Queen Jet) took third for Eric Raffin, Ecurie Winner and trainer Sebastien Guarato. The record over this distance for four year-olds was not threatened, that being 1.10.1kr by Traders. Agora du Goutier (7f Jardy-Olympe Pierji) took the Grand Prix Ereel Programme Souffle de Violet (purse €55,000, 2100 meters autostart) timed in 1.12.9kr for teamster Franck Nivard and trainer David Cherbonnel. 13.2/1 Ventura Jiel (8f Neoh Jiel-Oceane Jiel) was second for Matthieu Abrivard, Ecurie Luck and trainer J.L. Dersoir. Third was 6.2/1 Altesse de Chloee (7f Niky-Diva d’Isques) for trainer/driver P-Y Verva. The Gr. III Prix Michel Marcel Gougeon (purse €110,000, 2850 meters, 13 starters) was timed in 1.14.4kr by winner, 45.4/1 odds, Best du Hardy (6g Roc Meslois-Madrema), for owner/trainer/driver Olivier Bizoux. The even-money favorite Brissac (6m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-Jannibelle) was second for J-M Bazire and trainer/owner Jean Elgin Eliphe. Third was 52.6/1 Banjo de la Noemie (6g Flambeau des Pins-Prima de la Noemie) for Matthieu Mottier. Today’s Gr. II Prix Camille de Wazieres (monte, purse €120,000, 2175 meters, seven starters) went to 1.12.7kr timed and 3/5 odds Dollar Macker (4m Saxo de Vandel-Salt Lake City) reined by Yoann Lebourgeois for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Mme. Marie Anne Thomas. 18.4/1 Dominator Blond (4m Kenor de Cosse-Orchidee Blonde) was next for Damien Bonne and third was 7.4/1 Dahlia du Rib (4m Oyonnax-Passiflore du Rib) for J.L.Cl.Dersoir, trainer Joel Hallais and Ecurie Rib. Citizen Kane (5g Orlando Vici-Queen Of Viking) took the Prix Agencie Cosmo/Prix de Mirande (purse €90,000, 2700 meters, 13 European starters) for trainer/driver Thomas Levesque. Pierre Levesque is the owner/breeder of this 8.9/1 odds winner. Race time was 1.14kr off even fractions by the barefoot Citizen Kane. 9.6/1 Clarck Sotho (5g Oiseau de Feux-Mosanda) and Anthony Barrier was second and third was 173/1 Chant des Sirenes (5m Opus Viervil-Nice Quenny) for F.P. Bossuet. The 4/5 favorite Cash Maker finished seventh. The Prix Ecole Esthetique Catherine Sertin (purse €46,000, 250 meters, 16 starters) continued the impressive winter meet at Vincennes for Charles J. Bigeon and that teamster won again with 2/1 odds Costa Haufor (5f Saphir d’Haufor-Santa Haufor), racing barefoot, for breeder/owner/trainer Christian Bigeon. 69/1 Callas du Bouffey (5f Look de Star-Polka du Bouffey) was second for trainer/driver Michel Lenoir, ahead of 6.2/1 Cantate (5f Oiseau de Feux-Petite Fortune) for driver Franck Nivard, trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Mme. Mauricette DeSousa. Yesterday in Sweden the V75 action was at Farjestad. The Gold Division (150,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) went to 1.10.7kr timed On Track Piraten for driver Johnny Takter at 1.11/1. The Hans R. Stromberg trainee now has 33 wins in 101 starts for 13,799,710SEK earned. The winner, a nine year-old gelded son of Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line, now has two 2017 wins in as many starts. Second was 8.7/1 Royal Fighter (9m Varenne-Froken Julie-Supergill) for Jennifer Tillman and trainer Per Eriksson. Third was 50/1 Highspeed Call (9h From Above-Love Call-Alf Palema) driven by Daniel Ohlsson for trainer Nicklas Pettersson. The V75 Silver (125,000SEK to the winner, 2640 meters autostart) went to 1.14.2kr timed and 3.8/1 Thai Navigator from Norway. The six year-old gelded son of Ganymede-Role Model-Angus Hall) was reined by Bjorn Goop for trainer Anette Skarnes. The lightly raced winner scored in his first 2017 start after only three outings in 2016. He now has 10 wins in 20 career starts for 1,281,058SEK earned. Thomas H. Hicks

Inter Dominion champion Smolda will skip Saturday night’s $400,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) at Melton. As impressive as the mighty stayer was winning last Saturday night’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup, trainer Mark Purdon said the run took a bit out of Smolda. “He didn’t eat-up that well and still wasn’t quite himself last night (Sunday),” Purdon said. “He’ll bounce back, but we’re sticking with the original plan to miss this week and go to the Hunter Cup.” But Purdon did say Smolda’s fantastic form could see a re-think on the Miracle Mile. “He’s going so well and the owners are keen for him to go on to Sydney,” he said. That means Lazarus, who did all the work when a mighty second to Smolda at Ballarat, will be Purdon’s only Victoria Cup runner. Have Faith In Me will race this week, but it will be a support race, the 2240m Pure Steel. Purdon said Lazarus’ Ballarat run would “bring him on a lot” for the Victoria Cup. “He was beaten down the back straight, but he just kept giving. He definitely needed the run and he’ll improve of it for the next two weeks,” he said. Lazarus goes to the Victoria Cup, 4YO Bonanza at Melton on Hunter Cup night then to the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on February 11. Purdon hopes a lack of recent racing was the reason for Have Faith In Me’s costly gallop before the start of his return race in a free-for-all at Ballarat last Saturday night. “I hope it was because he was too fresh and that it was a one-off. He’s never done that before from the mobile,” he said. “He’ll run again this week and then we’ll make the final decision on the Hunter Cup.” Purdon said he was also pleased with his prepost Victoria Derby favourite Vincent, who tackles his heat of the series at Melton on Saturday night. Adam Hamilton

Barry Purdon’s gamble with Jack’s Legend may be paying off already. The talented northern three-year-old crosses the Tasman this week for a heat of the Victoria Derby, a race that probably looked out of his reach a month ago. Back then Ultimate Machete headed the Vic Derby market over More The Better and unbeaten Victorian star The Storm Inside but for a variety of reasons that trio will all be missing when the heats are held at Melton on Saturday. And while fellow Kiwi pacer Vincent has emerged as the hot favourite for the Derby, Jack’s Legend is now second elect with some bookies as the locals look less than scary. Purdon was happy to back his rugged pacer even with all the glamour three-year-olds there, thinking the trip would help Jack’s Legend develop but now looks to have pulled off a masterstroke. “I am happy with him and he has earned the trip,” said Purdon. “He will go over this week and Zac (Butcher) will drive him as well as Rocker Band.” The latter has now officially joined Purdon’s stable and starts in an M1-2 this week followed by the A$100,000 Ladyship Cup on February 4. Victory in that, in which she will clash with another Jewels winner in Piccadilly Princess, get the winner an invite to the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on February 25 where Dream About Me awaits. While Purdon’s Victorian assault starts this week it is bolstered next week as Auckland Cup runner-up Hug The Wind will be a surprise entry into the A$500,000 Hunter Cup on February 4. Purdon has been thrilled with his two starts this season and will pay the late entry fee to get him into the Hunter Cup before he heads to Sydney for a Miracle Mile prelude. “I’d love to get him into the Miracle Mile but if he doesn’t then there is the Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All that night as well so there are some good races for him.” Michael Guerin

January 22, 2017 - 3.2/1 second choice Bellissima France (6f Blue Dream-Quanta Rosa Sun) tracked the pace before making a strong move in the lane to wear down 18.8/1 Tornade du Digeon (10f Jag de Bellouet-Herlane du Terme) to win the harness racing Gr. I Monte Prix de Cornulier (purse €700,000, 2700 meters, 16 starters) at Vincennes. Owner/trainer/jockey Matthieu Abrivard piloted Bellissima France to a 1.13kr victory, well off the 1.12kr record set by Quif de Villeneuve. Tornade du Digeon raced gamely for Eric Raffin, trainer J-M Bazire and owner J-Y Roze. 1.7/1 Bilibili (6m Niky-Quetty du Donjan) was third for Alexandre Abrivard, trainer L.Cl. Abrivard and breeder/owner Jean Pierre Barjon. 8.6/1 Attentionally (7f Jasmin de Flore-Intentionally) was fourth for David Thomain and breeder/owner/trainer Paul Viel, ahead of 4.7/1 Bird Parker (6m Ready Cash-Belisha) for Anthony Barrier, trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Elisabeth Allaire. The exceptional event also honored last year’s winner Scarlet Turgot and her connections. She was on display pre-race and will be bred to Ready Cash in 2017. Prix De Cornulier 2017 - Bellissima France (M. Abrivard)   Thomas H. Hicks  

January 21, 2017 - The 2017 Kincsem Park trotting season began Saturday on a chilly day at Budapest with the harness racing feature being the Evnyito DIJ raced over 1800 meters autostart for a 600,000Huf purse. Recent import and 1.1/1 favorite Sultana Jet scored easily in 1.19.1kr for driver and co-owner Gyorgy Horvath. Imre Fazekas trains the fine six year-old daughter of Igor Font-Art Deco-Diamond Way that Pimri Bi co-owns. Sultana Jet was imported from Germany and was bred by Toniatti Giacometti SS Agricola. 15.8/1 Kozsakert (7f Wall Street Banker-Viragos-Surefire Lobell) was second for driver Andras Gaspar and third was 5.2/1 Ruby Reeves (7g Wall Street Banker-Jade-Valley Guardian) handled by Balazs Juhasz. On the undercard was a victory in the Hidalgo DIJ (purse 360,000Huf, 1980 meters distance handicap) in 1.20.3kr by 3/1 Timoko RL (4m Doctor Sugar RL-Triestina-Golden Goal). Overcoming a 40 meter handicap the recent import from Serbia was driven by trainer Imre Fazekas for owner Arizona d.o.o.. The lightly raced colt was bred by Stable Sport Line of Belgrad, Serbia. The Akos Handicap (purse 360,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart) went to the  1.21.1kr timed, 3.7/1 odds, veteran mare Mountain Bambi (10f Victor Victor-Give Me Five-Lindy’s Crown) that was reined by Emese Vezer for trainer Emil Csordas. She is owned by Sun System Kft and Laura Pekker. Congratulations also to Kincsem Park for their excellent website redesign: Thomas H. Hicks    

OFFALY, Ireland - It has been announced by Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud in Ireland, that they will be standing the French trotter, Rachmaninov Seven, for the 2017 breeding season. It will be the first time a French trotter has ever stood in Ireland. Acquired in a lease arrangement from his owner in Belgium, Rachmaninov Seven is a 12-year-old stallion sired by Korean from the Pelican Du Pont mare, Indiana Of The Bridge. Korean is also the sire of world champion racehorse Sebastian K. "We hope to have Rachmaninov Seven at Oakwood Stud by mid-March," said Derek Delaney. "It's great news for Oakwood to get involved in the breeding of French trotting horses here and to bring a horse of his calibre to the quality broodmares that have been bought in France for Ireland and the UK." The resulting foals from the 2017 season at Oakwood Stud will be eligible to all of the LeTrot Series in both Ireland and the UK plus they will be eligible to race not only in France, but throughout Europe. Rachmaninov Seven made 55 career starts with 12 wins, six second and four third place finishes with earnings of €418,975 and a record of 1.11.9 at 2175 meters. He was victorious in the Prix D'Angouleme, Prix Joseph Aveline, Prix De Clermont-Ferrand, Prix Magimnus and the Prix Bernard Le Quellec, all raced at Vincennes, Paris. He is owned by Lieven de Groot and is being leased from Star Breeding Company. 2017 will be the fourth season standing stud for Rachmaninov Seven. "His oldest foals are now three," Delaney said. "And the trainers are all talking good things about the ones they have training in Belgium. Delaney said they have not yet set a stud fee price for Rachmaninov Seven. "This is a win win situation for all of us." Delaney added. "The revitalization of the trotter here in Ireland and the UK over the last year thanks to the arrangements made with LeTrot in France is outstanding and growing by leaps and bounds." By Steven Wolf, for Oakwood Stud    

New Zealand warrior Smolda created harness racing history by becoming the first to capture back-to-back Ballarat Pacing Cups on Saturday night. And in doing so he upstaged his younger stablemate superstar and short-priced favourite Lazarus ($1.40). in a stunning performance. Smolda ($4.50) led and gave nothing else a chance in running a track record mile rate of 1:54.8 -smashing the 1:55.3 he ran in winning the race last year. Lazarus completed a quinella for Mark Purdon, while Lennytheshark ($6.60) ran a brave third – 5.6m behind Smolda.  Smolda now has earnings of over $2.2 million. While Purdon, who drove Lazarus, was naturally delighted with the performance of his old warhorse and reigning Inter-Dominion champion, it was not the outcome he expected, although he still had plenty to smile about. Smolda also gave Victorian-based NZ reinsman Anthony Butt a third win in the Cup, following Stunin Cullen in 2011 and Mah Sish in 2013. Smolda Butt only picked up the drive after the barrier draw on the Monday night leading into the Cup and was appreciative of the opportunity to continue a long association between the Butt and Purdon families. Like Butt, Purdon now three Ballarat Cups to his name – the difference being as a trainer. He won with Highview Tommy in 2012 before Smolda’s two successes. With the Purdon and Butt combination New Zealanders have now also won five of the past seven editions of the race. Part-owner Phil Kennard said connections had always hoped to return to Ballarat for a title defence, but never imagined winning the Cup for a second time. In a night of history, the Courage Under Fire gelding joins Sinbad Bay as the only two-time winner of the Cup. Sinbad Bay achieved the feat in 1991 and 1996. HOW THEY FINISHED $4.50 SMOLDA (A Butt) $1,40 fav LAZARUS (M Purdon) $6.60 LENNYTHESHARK (C A Alford) Then followed: $34.20 YOUNG MODERN $117 ADAM CARTWRIGHT  $56.20 IT IS BILLY $150 SAVESOMTIMETODREAM  $17.80 MAJOR SECRET  By David Brehaut Reprinted with permission of The Courier

LEBANON, OH. - Mykindachip (Chris Page) returned to his winning ways copping the $22,000 Open I Pace at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday (Jan. 21) night, speeding to a 1:50.4 harness racing victory over Meadowbrookthunder (Trace Tetrick) and Fancy Creek Elusiv (Mike Oosting). My Buddy Ninkster (Tyler Smith) was fourth, while Vague Traces (Andy Shetler) and E R Rudy (Sam Widger) dead-heated to split the fifth place payout. Page pushed the lukewarm favorite off the gate with alacrity, deciding just before the :26.1 to do the give-and-go with Fancy Creek Elusiv, who was pressing on the outside. Once back on top, Mykindachip raced comfortably through middle fractions of :54.4 and 1:22.2 before posting a :28.2 final panel to glide through the wire a relatively easy winner. Mykindachip is owned by Burke Racing, Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi and L. Karr. The 8-year-old son of Art's Chip has 41 lifetime wins and $654,552 in career earnings. Mykindachip The Burke-Bruscemi partnership also captured the $16,500 Open II pace with Angelo J Fra, clocked a couple ticks quicker in 1:50.2. Page made a strong backstretch brush with the 5-year-old son of The Panderosa, clearing the early pacesetters with ease from a spot near the rear in the early going. Fellow closers Splended Party (Mike Oosting) and Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater) followed the winner's maneuver and finished second and third respectively. Kris Hinchcliff conditions Angelo J Fra while he races in Ohio. Angelo J Fra won for the 15th time and increased his overall bankroll to $168,944. Four divisions of $20,000 claiming pacers chased $22,500 purses while vying for one of nine spots in next Saturday's $34,500 championship final. A pair of first leg winners made return trips to the winner's circle, while another pair used their second leg victories to qualify for the lucrative final. Repeat winners were Perrito Caliente (1:52.1, Sam Widger) and Hokuri Handrail N (1:53.1, Trace Tetrick). Both will enter the final for new connections as they were claimed for $25,000 (25% higher claiming prices in second leg). The finalists, in order of earnings during the two preliminary legs, are Perrito Caliente and Hokuri Handrail N, Savage Seelster, Frankandjoanne and Supreme Z Tam, Stamkos, Cinderella Guy, Southwind Indy and Mosee Terror. Startin Something is the first also-eligible if any of the finalists fails to enter. Gregg Keidel

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 21, 2017 - Caviart Luca and harness racing dtiver George Brennan, $28.60 snapped odds-on Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. 'Twas a night better suited for Carl Sandburg (fog reference for all you academics out there), Caviart Luca found himself away from post position No. 3. He sat as 3-4 choice Blood Brother two-moved to the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. Things remained unchanged after a 57-second intermission and 1:25 three-quarters, with Blood Brother taking a 2½-length lead into the lane. Despite a mediocre tow from P H Supercam (Scott Zeron), Caviart Luca was relentless from second-up. He picked off the pace-setter by a nose in 1:52.2, with P H Supercam, Roland N Rock (Jordan Stratton) and City Hall (Tyler Buter) settling for the remainder. E Z Noah (Dan Dube) was outrun. As an aside, it was the first time Bartlett did not drive P H Supercam here since September, 2013. For fifth choice Caviart Luca, a now-6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura, he's won both of his seasonal starts. The exacta paid $65.50, with the triple returning $204. Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (January 21, 2017) - Bettor's Edge, the 2015 TVG Free For All champion, returned to the Meadowlands and rewarded his new harness racing connections with a decisive 1:49.4 score in the $16,000 Saturday night feature. Bettor's Edge was recently purchased by trainer Jennifer Lappe and Robert Santagata after racing for Ron Burke and earning nearly $1.9 million. Brett Miller put the 8-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding on the front end through a 55.3 half mile and kicked home in 26.3 to record his 33rd lifetime win. 2013 Little Brown Jug champion Vegas Vacation finished second with Somesizesomestyle finishing third. "He is an old class horse," said Miller, who was driving the horse for the first time. "I have raced against him quite a bit over the years and he was as nice driving tonight as he always looked when he would beat me." Bettor's Edge made amends for a break he made in his first start for the new connections last week at Yonkers, but Miller gave a big excuse. "Apparently they had the hopples set way too long when he raced at Yonkers," explained Miller. "They tightened them and he felt pretty good. He seems like he would be a nice horse for the Levy Series at Yonkers." Lappe added two other wins on the card to post a training triple. Heidi Rohr and Ron Burke scored two training wins. Corey Callahan led all drivers with three wins while Miller, Yannick Gingras, Marcus Miller, and Jim Marohn, Jr. all posted two wins. Total handle for the 13-race card was $2,747,729. The Meadowlands moves to a three-nights-a-week schedule beginning next week with Thursdays added to the regular Friday and Saturday nights. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit Justin Horowitz

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 21, 2017 -- Refreshed by a 31 second-quarter breather, Trustworthy Kid easily repelled his outside harness racing challengers and captured Saturday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Trustworthy Kid had to work hard for the lead, but when Dave Palone threw on the brakes in the second panel, the 8-year-old SJ's Caviar-Penn Worthy Lane gelding got the break he needed. He shrugged off the first-over challenge of Sixteen Mikes and scored in 1:56 over a "good" surface, 3/4 lengths better than Valley Of Sin. TSM Photo Bugger was a ground-saving third. Lisa Dunn owns and trains Trustworthy Kid, who now boasts $442,697 in career earnings. Palone collected five wins on the 12-race card while trainer Paul Corey enjoyed a three-bagger. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Harness racing driver Trista Dixon created history at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). The 28-year-old mother of two drove five winners at the metropolitan meeting, no other female driver has achieved the feat previously at the sunshine state’s premier harness venue. From six drives at the meeting, Dixon scored with Joys A Babe, Feel The Faith, Max Richter, Rocknrollhighlight and Justabitnoisy. Her husband and leading trainer Grant prepared her first four winners while her catch drive behind the trotter Justabitnoisy was prepared by Doug Lee. In her other drive, Dixon finished third behind Tightrope. Lola Weidemann has driven five winners at a meeting on six previous occasions but never before at Albion Park, her hauls coming at Rockhampton (x 2), Townsville (x 2), Rocklea and Mackay. Miss Inter Dominion Natalie Rasmussen has driven five winners at a meeting previously, her haul coming at the Gold Coast back in 2008 while Julie Weidemann has also landed five winners at a meeting when successful at Rockhampton back in 2005. Three female drivers have landed winning quartets at Albion Park previously including Kylie Rasmussen (x 4), Natalie Rasmussen (x 2) and Narissa McMullen. Only one female driver has driven six winners at a single meeting, record setting reinswoman Kerryn Manning has achieved the feat on three separate occasions – Moonee Valley (2000), Nyah (2005) and Ararat (2005). In total, nine female drivers have driven five winners at a single meeting. This list includes Kerryn Manning (x 9), Amanda Turnbull (x 9), Lauren Tritton (x 8) and Lola Weidemann (x 6) are all multiple winners while Kate Gath, Danielle Hill, Jodi Quinlan, Natalie Rasmussen and Julie Weidemann have also achieved the feat previously. Dixon joins Manning (x 3 – Moonee Valley) and Hill (Globe Derby) for achieving the feat at a metropolitan venue. A relatively late starter in the driving caper, Dixon has now driven in excess 110 career winners and currently sits in the Top 5 metropolitan premiership race at Albion Park. Her feature race victories include the 2015 Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Final with Get In The Groove for 2yo fillies plus the 2015 Listed $25,000 Flashing Red with Magical Mel, both winners prepared by Grant. Dixon lists Majestic Mach (35 wins - $792k) as her best horse driven. Congratulations Trista Dixon. Chris Barsby

It looks as though the Victorian Summer of Glory Carnival is going to be lots of fun for harness racing trainer/driver Darren Hancock. The astute horseman has seven-year-old gelding On Thunder Road absolutely flying and tonight they combined to give nothing else a chance in the E.B. Cochran Trotters Cup at Ballarat. The son of Bettor's Delight – a sire better known for his pacing production prowess – worked to the front early in the 2200-metre Group 2 feature and always travelled well, producing a superb performance to break the track record – a 1:58.2 mile rate – to defeat gun mares High Gait (Chris Alford) and Glenferrie Burn (Todd Matthews) in second and third placings. Next up it’s a Group 1 double for On Thunder Road, Hancock hoping his stable star will prove the boss in the Group 1 Haras Des Trotteurs Dullard Cup next Saturday at Tabcorp Park Melton on night one of the Summer of Glory, and then the big dance – the $300,000 Group 1 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star on A.G. Hunter Cup night a week later. “He went to the line good. I’m happy with him and he’s got plenty still in the tank,” Hancock said post-race. “It was a good run. He’s only had a couple of runs in the last month and they’ve been spaced out, so he hadn’t run for a little while. This will be a nice blowout for the other races ahead.” Hancock looked confident in the run and for good reason. “Yeah, he’s a pretty hard horse to get past. He’s pretty tough,” Hancock said. As for his Great Southern Star chances, Hancock is feeling good. “We left him at home last year because he was still learning a bit; he’s starting to step up now,” he said. Meanwhile, star New Zealand trotter and reigning Great Southern Star champion Speeding Spur has been nominated for this year’s GSS but a final decision on him coming will be dependent on how he pulls up after his next assignment in NZ on Thursday. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

January 21, 2017 - Today’s Gr. II Prix Pardieu (harness racing monte, purse €120,000, 2175 meters, 11 starters) at Paris-Vincennes went to Durzie (4f Jag de Bellouet-Shall We) at 6.7/1 odds with Alexandre Abrivard up. L.Cl. Abrivard trains this one for Ecurie Augustin Normand. 1.8/1 Darlhey du Rib (4f Ganymede-Quille Castelets) was second for J.L.Cl. Dersoir, respected monte trainer Joel Hallais and owner Ecurie Rib. 18/1 Dona Maza (4f Jag de Bellouet-Rczyana) was third in a photo for Damien Bonne, trainer Sebastian Ernault and Ecurie de Maza. Fractions were quick and steady (1.12.2kr at 1500 to go; 1.12.2kr at the 1000; 1.13.9kr at 500 remaining, 1.13.4kr finish). The Quinte+ Prix Brest (Gr. III purse €120,000, 2850 meters, 14 European starters) went to 12.4/1 Ustie Haufor (9f Niky-Lara du Houlbet) in a late surge for Charles J. Bigeon, and breeder/owner/trainer Christian Bigeon. 1.4/1 favorite Avenir de Blay (7g Hooper-Mirabelle de Blay) held second for owner/trainer/driver Tony LeBeller and fast-rallying 32/1 Rod Stewart (7m Love You-Valley Lane) was third with Gabriel Gelormini teaming for trainer Jerry Riordan and owner Graziano Ceccaroni. The winner was timed in 1.14.2kr off steady fractions (1.15.7kr at 1500 to go; 1.14.8kr at 1000 remaining; 1.14.5kr at the 500). The Gr. III Prix PMU Lyon/Prix de Pornichet (purse €78,000, 2700 meters, 18 starters) was won by 6.2/1 Uno Dancer (9g Offshore Dream-Laura Dancer) in rein to Antoine Dabouis for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and breeder/owner Josette Boivin. 3.3/1 Volcan de Bellande (8g Magnificent Rodney-Etoile de Bellande) was second for Mlle. Noemie Hardy and 10.8/1 Verveine du Mony (8f Orlando Vici-Douala) was third for Mlle. Audrey Laroche, trainer Franck Blandin and Ecurie AB Trot. Yesterday at Vincennes was the Prix de Beaucourt (purse €46,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters) and the 1.14.1kr winner was 11.5/1 Coffee Look d’Eam (5g Look de Star-Nidra Pierji) with Anthony Barrier aboard. Second was 4/5 favorite Cash And Go (5m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet), the full brother to Bold Eagle, reined by Franck Nivard for Sebastien Guarato (trainer) and owner Pierre Pilarski. 11.2/1 Coco Flanel (5g Kaiser Soze-Organza Jet) held third for Yoann Lebourgeois. Thomas H. Hicks

TORONTO, January 20 - Winter Series harness racing action continued on Friday's 11-race card at Woodbine Racetrack and once again Doug McNair was the first star of the night. McNair, who swept round one of the Blizzard Series Thursday, made four visits to the winner's circle on Friday's card, including in one of two divisions of the Snowshoe Series for three and four-year-old pacers. Awesomeness was sent straight to the front by McNair in the first $17,000 Snowshoe split and never looked back en route to an impressive 1:52 victory. The Ryan Maxwell trainee posted a snappy opening-quarter of :26.1 and after a middle-half of :58.4, fired home in :27 to win by 7½ lengths. Clouseau Hanover finished second, while Emptythetill was third. A gelded son of Mach Three, Awesomeness has been making some serious noise at Woodbine over the last couple months. The four-year-old didn't make his career debut until October and now has six wins in 12 starts, while only finishing outside the top-two once. Awesomeness, who was making his second start of the New Year Friday, was purchased privately by Martin Scharf in November and has won three of six starts since joining the Maxwell stable. His career earnings now sit at $76,100. The Maxwell trainee paid $3.60 to win. Awesomeness The second Snowshoe division saw McNair almost make it back-to-back series sweeping nights, but he and four-year-old gelding Senior K had to settle for a second-place finish. Lyons Sands went gate-to-wire to win the second split in 1:53.2. The Bruce Goit trainee was making his first start of 2017 and was guided to victory by driver J Harris. Lyons Sands posted fractions of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:25.3, before pacing home in :27.4 and fighting off Senior K to win by a neck. Ohio Larry finished third. A gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, Lyons Sands won 9 of 13 starts last season as a three-year-old and now has 10 career victories to his name. His career bankroll increased to $52,590 for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound with Friday's victory. Lyons Sands paid $13 to win. Lyons Sands Three and four-year-old pacers, who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible for nomination to the Snowshoe Series. The second-round of the Snowshoe will take place next Friday (January 27). Following Friday's driving Grand Slam, McNair now has 15 wins, 11 runner-up finishes and seven third-place finishes in 57 starts to lead all drivers this season at Woodbine. McNair will look to continue his torrid start to 2017 on Saturday evening, as he is listed to drive in nine of the 11 scheduled races. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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