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WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 16, 2017 -- Southwind Amazon endured a hotly contested 26.3 opening quarter and had plenty left late en route to a 10-1 harness racing upset in Saturday's $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Southwind Amazon picked up valuable cover when Lincolnjames retook the lead, and he blew by that rival in the lane to triumph in 1:51.4 for Dan Rawlings. Atta Boy Dan shot the Lightning Lane for second, beaten a length, while Lincolnjames saved show. Paul Holzman trains Southwind Amazon, a 7-year-old Camluck-Artoonist gelding who now boasts $523,697 in career earnings, for Ameer Najor. Dave Palone and Jim Pantaleano each piloted three winners on the 12-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

ALBANY - The owners of Yonkers Raceway are considering various options as they look to develop the 100-acre site that's home to Empire City Casino — including possibly moving the 118-year-old harness racing track to another location. In recent months, there has been increased discussions about moving the harness track to Belmont Park on Long Island as part of a plan to eliminate horse racing at Yonkers and Aqueduct in Queens as a way for more amenities tied to their casino operations. "We have discussed it at some length, and we’re actually advocating such a maneuver because it would free up the land for Yonkers. It would free up Aqueduct for a convention center that the governor has been advocating for for some time," said Joe Faraldo, president of the state's Standardbred Owners Association, which represents the harness horsemen at Yonkers. "Both of these properties would be shovel ready for expansion, and our concept was that the revenue stream that comes from the casinos that go to racing would follow us over to Belmont Park." Yonkers Raceway eyes adding to casino, track How VLTs saved NY horse racing Racinos seek better tax deals from NY   Options underway The talks coincide with Yonkers Raceway's announcement last month that it hired J.P. Morgan Securities to explore ways to bolster the sprawling property, possibly either with new investors or a sale by the Rooney family, which has owned the facility since 1972. The discussions also come amid a turbulent time in the Northeast gambling market -- with the possibility of casinos in northern New Jersey always looming and with the state's plans to offer three downstate casino licenses as soon as 2021. Empire City runs a massive video-lottery terminal facility with 5,222 machines and is the largest private employer and taxpayer in the city. It is an enticing spot, just 15 miles from midtown Manhattan. Tim Rooney Jr., general counsel at Empire City, told the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau that any number of options will be considered -- though he would expect the casino operation to continue under any expansion or partnership. "Their role is to evaluate the interest from outside in the property and in the business," Rooney said of J.P. Morgan. "We, over the years, have fielded interest from numerous parties about the property and the business, and this is just an effort on our part to formalize the process. We’ve told them: Their instructions are to see what the interest is in our site." Rooney recognized that moving the track for other development is a possibility. The grand vision for the property could include a hotel, parking garage, more restaurants and event space -- and even a sports franchise. Rooney didn't mention the Belmont talks, but said, "We’ve been kicking around the notion of maintaining the racing, but seeking approval to offer it somewhere else. And this is all very preliminary, and we haven’t gotten beyond the drawing board phase with this, but conceivably you could move racing to another site in the state." He added, "The vast majority of people watching and betting on the races here are doing so via the internet or OTBs or off track. As long as you have a facility where you can race and you can broadcast the signal, conceivably you could do it anywhere." Resolve, at left, driven by Ake Svanstedt. , won the 2016 $1,000,000 International Trot at Yonkers Raceway Oct. 15, 2016. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)   Track move The idea of putting harness and thoroughbred racing at Belmont -- something that is done at some tracks around the globe -- also comes as the state is considering competitive proposals from the New York Islanders hockey team and New York City FC soccer team to make Belmont Park in Elmont, Nassau County, their future home. Faraldo said moving Yonkers racing to Belmont, which along with Aqueduct is owned by the New York Racing Association, could help bolster the redevelopment at Belmont. Resorts Worlds, owned by the gambling giant Genting based in Malaysia, runs the huge racino at Aqueduct in Queens and could be interested in buying the track land if racing ended there to expand its gambling operation, Faraldo suggested. Indeed, Resorts World and Gov. Andrew Cuomo once had a grand plan for a $4 billion convention center at the property, but the deal fell apart. Both Resorts World and Yonkers would still provide their share of gaming revenue to the track operations if the tracks moved, said Faraldo, who said he has talked to state officials about the idea. Also, Yonkers would have a more lucrative one-mile track inside the main track at Belmont instead of its current half-mile track, which would boost racing, Faraldo said. Already, horses ship in and out of Yonkers between races rather being housed there. So it would be the same at Belmont, he said. "We would hope that Genting would be interested in purchasing that extra property to make this grand thing work," Faraldo said. "That would put money in the coffers of the state, and it would also, as we see it, help refurbish and build the additional facility expansion that is needed at Belmont’s main track."  (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)   Genting declined to discuss any private discussions, but noted that it is planning to expand its operation. Both Resorts World and Yonkers are hopeful to get full gaming licenses when a moratorium on the licenses expires in 2021 -- a move that the Legislature made in 2013 to let four upstate casinos gain their footing before New York City-area casinos are brought on board. “Genting has always looked at the current Resorts World NYC facility as just the first phase of a multi-faceted, integrated resort destination," Michael Levoff, a spokesman for Genting Americas, said in a statement. "That vision is now slowly taking shape with the start of construction on a 400-room hotel and additional non-gaming amenities -- with hopefully more to follow in the future as the market demands.” Lee Park, a spokesman for the state Gaming Commission, said the agency had "no position on the matter." NYRA, meanwhile, suggested it wasn't interested in a new racing partner, saying it supports 17,000 jobs and has $2 billion in annual economic impact in part through its year-round stables and training at Belmont. "We are focused on ways to enhance and improve our thoroughbred racing and training facilities, not replace them," NYRA said in a statement. Help from Albany Not having horse racing on site at the state's eight video-lottery facilities would be a major shift from the state's initial objective in 2001 to save horse racing by letting the tracks add the slot-machine-like devices. The law, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to boost state revenue, allowed for VLTs only at racetracks -- and it worked. The New York purses -- the amount paid out to winners in the races -- are among the highest in the nation, and revenue at the so-called racinos has soared. So whether state lawmakers would let the racinos operate without racetracks on the premises is uncertain. And they would clearly have to pass a new law for any of these ideas to move forward. Assembly Racing Committee chairman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, said he was unaware that Yonkers may consider moving the track, and he questioned whether it would gain support in Albany. "The VLTs and the track go together," Pretlow said. "So that I don’t know about. I don’t think that would work." Yonkers has had mixed results at the state Capitol in recent years. It avoided having the state picking a new casino in Orange County, which would have been a direct competitor, and instead the state choose Sullivan County farther north. The track, though, has been unable to get tax parity with Resorts World for capital improvements, which has slowed its plans to build a hotel and parking garage. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano raised concerns about moving the track, saying it is part of the city's history. "I certainly don’t want to see the track go anywhere. I think the track is a very important part of the fabric of our city," Spano said. But he recognized the Rooneys have long sought to keep the facility alive. "I think that if Yonkers Raceway is hopefully able to develop a partnership or a sale that it is done with an eye toward expanding and putting in place full gaming, which I think has limitless possibilities for the city – in terms of tax dollars, thousands of new jobs, a convention center, a hotel. That’s what comes with full gaming," Spano said. The Empire City Casino in Yonkers. (Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News)   The future ahead The track, which first opened in 1899, has had a tumultuous history: Attendance would sometimes hit 40,000 people in the grandstand in racing's heyday 60 or 70 years ago. But as interest in the sport waned, so do did the fortunes at Yonkers. The Rooneys put it up for sale in the late 1990s -- and there was a glimmer of hope that once it could lure the New York Jets or another sports franchise to build a new stadium there. The law to allow for video-lottery terminals transformed the facility. Last year, it had revenue of $590 million, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Rooney said the family-owned track now sees a next phase for the track and casino. He said the state might be interested in moving if the roughly 15-acre track if it means growth at the Yonkers site because the state gets a cut of the racino's revenue. "We would need legislation, but I don’t think it would be controversial," Rooney said. "I think we could get the support of the horsemen, and I think the state is basically our partner in this facility with the taxes that we pay, so I think the state would look at it as an opportunity for us to do something at the property that would likely make it a more attractive site for people to come and visit and perhaps gamble here." But ultimately, the owners are looking to pair up with a major developer who has a vision -- and a bankroll -- for the site. As for possibly selling the whole property, Rooney said, "We’re not looking at it exclusively that way. I mean I think that it could be a possibility. "We’ve been here for 45 years, and we’re a big believer in this facility and we’re not looking to get out, but I guess we’re going to have to wait and see what people’s interest is in terms of if they want to partner, or if they want to go their own." By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief Reprinted with permission of the Iohud site

GeorgeTeague plans to qualify Wiggle It Jiggleit in the very near future. Since last Fall, Teague has been carefully bringing back the sensational gelding, who has won $3,907,557 and many major stakes winning 38 of his 51 lifetime starts, with 10 seconds and two third-places. Wiggler It Jiggleit had been bothered by recurring back troubles, but Teague says he has not been bothered in this comeback. After missing all of his 2017 season, the champion pacer plans are to participate in a number of qualifying races at Dover Downs or the Meadowlands starting in the next few weeks. ------------------------------------------------------ Both of last week's $25,000 Open winners who finished in a dead-heat win, Cajon Lightning and Sicily, returned in the Thursday feature race and this time 7-1 Cajon Lightning (Art Stafford Jr.) closed with a rush to score a 1:51victory with Sicily finishing second. Tim Tetrick had another big day with five winners. Tony Morgan and trainer Jim King had doubles. -------------------------------------------------- During the week; Feel Like A Fool raced a covered, outside trip behind Emeritus Maximus (Russell Foster) then moved three-wide on the final turn to take the lead on the way to 1:52 victory in the Monday, Dec. 11 feature. The longshot on the card came when Eddie Davis Jr. piloted 35-1 Warrawee Monarch to a 1:54.3 victory. The second highest winning driver in North America, Tony Morgan had four wins. Corey Callahan had two wins as did trainer Bobby Clark. --------------------------------------------------------- On Tuesday, I Love My Boss, arguably the finest modern-day Delaware-sired trotter, made good use of leaving from post 1, came down the passing lane, and when front-trotting Thereisademoninme broke stride nearing the finish line, reached the wire first in 1:55.3 to win the $25,000 Open trot. My Cherry Pie, Royal Becca J and Hollywood Highway won other feature trots Dedododo Dedadada made longshot music at 53-1 for the biggest payoff of the day. Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Allan Davis and trainer Mike Hall had two wins each. ----------------------------------------------- Corey Callahan pull Nat A Virgin three wide on the final turn and zipped past battling leaders Divas Image and Enhance our Mind to score a 1:51victory in the $25,000 Mares Open pace on a chilly Wednesday card. Eddie Davis Jr. guided Rockin BB to victory using the passing lane in 1:52.2 to win the $18,000 Filly and Mares sub-feature. Roselily (Art Stafford Jr.) recorded her second win in her last three starts, a 1:51.3 lifetime best, to win a $16,000 female pace while Westsluckycam Callahan) scored in 1:52.1 in a $13,000 distaff pace --------------------------------------------------------------- Tim Tetrick and defending champion Corey Callahan are in a tie with 45 wins each in the track drivers' standings. Art Stafford Jr. is third with 36 wins. Tony Morgan, 32 and Vic Kirby, 31, round out the top five. ----------------------------------------------------- Jim King with 15 winners, leads the trainer statistics. Kevin Lare and Mike Hall are deadlocked for second with 12 wins apiece. Josh Green, Eric Ell and defending champ Dylan Davis are in a three-way tie for third-place with 11 wins. ---------------------------------------------------- Upcoming is the last portion of the 2017 meet, After,,Monday, Dec. 18 through Thursday, Dec. 21, Dover Downs annual one-week Christmas Break begins. Racing then resumes on New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2018. Marv Bachrad  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 15, 2017— Nothing, not even an outside assignment can stay Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $10) from the swift completion of her harness racing appointed rounds. She did it again Friday night (Dec. 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. With the seven lasses all moving inside one notch after a pole-sitter defection, Mackenzie A floated away from the gate, nestled fifth from her mandated impost. She watched as 3-10 fave Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) went over Lovineveryminute (Dan Dube) before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. It was a 57-second intermission before the Matchmaker conquering heroine did her usual first-up routine.   Mackenzie A hooked Lady Shadow in and out of the 1:25.1 three-quarters, poking her schnoz in front entering the lane. She drew out by a couple of lengths in a cold and snowy 1:54 (full disclosure that the snow had stopped a few races earlier). Lady Shadow did save second, failing at odds-on in both starts since her local return. Pretty Image (Matt Kakaley), Annabeth (Greg Merton) & Truth and Liberty (Eric Goodell) settled for the remainder.    For second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Ellen Kinser & Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her sixth win in 15 seasonal starts (third consecutive, fourth in last five tries). The exacta paid $24.60, with the triple returning $110.50. As part of Yonkers Raceway’s season-ending program Sunday afternoon (Dec. 17th), the Pick 5 has a mandatory payout. The 50-cent base wager gimmick (races 7 through 11) normally requires all five winners to get paid, with no consolation. However, since state law prohibits pools from being carried over into a new year, Sunday’s Pick 5 becomes a ‘must pay’ proposition. First post Sunday is 11:30 AM, with the Pick 5 wager set to begin at 2 PM. Yonkers’ 2018 live season is scheduled to get underway with a matinee Sunday, Jan. 7th (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.   YONKERS WRAPS 2017 SEASON WITH ‘FRENCH’ SUNDAY, ‘NEW YORK, NEW YORK DOUBLE’     Yonkers Raceway wraps its 2017 live season this Sunday (Dec. 17th), with an 11-race matinee and a first post of 11:30 AM. Races 5 (post time 1 PM) through 11 (post time 4 PM) go as overflow-field, added-distance ‘French’ trots. Note that Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ features Aqueduct’s third race (post time 1:18 PM) and Yonkers’ sixth race (post time 1:30 PM), with program pages accompanying this release.   Yonkers’ 2018 live season is scheduled to begin with a matinee Sunday, Jan. 7th (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.   Frank Drucker

TORONTO, December 15, 2017 - An exciting harness racing Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack, which included a visit from the Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts, saw Cloud Diva and L A Delight capture the feature races. An overflow field of 12 sophomore pacing fillies clashed in the $17,000 second leg of the Niagara Series. Cloud Diva was a half length short in her first leg division, but was more than four-lengths better than the rest in Friday's second leg. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Cloud Diva left from post-seven and was put in play early. The Richard Moreau trainee was parked around the first-turn, as Teachers Vet made the lead from post-ten to hang up a :27.4 quarter. Cloud Diva grinded along and cleared to the lead in the second-quarter, where she got a nice-breather by reaching the half in :58. Roy and his charge would pick up the tempo :28 in the third-quarter, as Manhattan Again came first up from third. In the stretch, Cloud Diva scooted away from her rivals to win in 1:55. Traffic Jam edged out Manhattan Again for second, while Lyonsprincessruby was fourth. Owned by Robert Leblanc, Cloud Diva is two for 15 this season and three for 22 overall. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere had raced all-season for trainer Tony Alagna before being shipped up to the Moreau barn to compete in the Niagara. A $2 win ticket on Cloud Diva returned $4.80. Cloud Diva The final of the Niagara Series for three-year-old pacing fillies (Non-Winners of $60,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2017) will take place on Boxing Day (December 26). Also on Friday, L A Delight doubled up by capturing the $30,000 Mares Preferred in 1:51.4. Driven by Trevor Henry, L A Delight was fired to the front from post-six in a field of six and never looked back. The Bob McIntosh student posted fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:23.2, before pacing home in :28.2 to win by a length. Ms Mac N Cheese nosed out Witch Dali for second, which snapped a streak of five consecutive top-two finishes for Witch Dali. A daughter of Bettors Delight, L A Delight has now won three of her last four starts to improve to three for 16 this season. The four-year-old needed some time before finding the winner's circle in 2017, but is now rolling and has earned $138,900 this season to bring her career earnings to well over $1.6 million. L A Delight is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. She paid $2.60 to win. L A Delight Woodbine was proud to host the Toronto Argonauts and Grey Cup trophy on Friday evening. Many members of the Argonauts were on hand and had the opportunity to meet some of the equine athletes and racing participants in the paddock. Matt Black, defensive back for the Argos, was a guest on Woodbine Racing Live, while several other players had the chance to go in the starting gate and get up close with the Standardbreds. The Argonauts enjoyed dinner in the Woodbine Club and had the opportunity to make a special presentation in the winner's circle to three-year-old trotting colt Kameran Hanover, who captured the evening's sixth-race. Kameran Hanover Live racing resumes Saturday evening at Woodbine. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing drivers Simon Allard and Brett Miller had the hot hands on a cold night at the Meadowlands Friday, ringing up three winners each on the 11-race card. Allard struck in the third race with Show Me Up ($6.20 to win) in 1:53.2 and Cousin Mary ($4.40) in the seventh in 1:53.1. Allard then put big smiles on his fans' faces as 23-1 chance Spilling The Beans ($48.40) made a big move down the backstretch and won the ninth for fun in 1:52.2. Miller got his three-bagger started with a pair of trotters - Watkins ($10.60) in the sixth in 1:54.3 and Lauderdale ($15.80) in the eighth in 1:54.4 - before capping his night with Youda Shark ($4.20) in the 11th in 1:54. Jim Marohn Jr. and Corey Callahan each recorded driving doubles, meaning that the foursome accounted for 10 of the 11 winners on the program. A LITTLE MORE: There were three winning tickets in the 20 Cent Survivor Pick 10, with those going eight-for-10 cashing in for $5,135.66. ... The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unhit, increasing the carryover to $39,701.14. ... All-source wagering on the program totaled $1,793,170. ... Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Saturday night with a first race post time of 7:15 p.m. ... Through the end of December, the Big M will conduct live racing on a Thursday through Saturday basis. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Batavia, NY---Longtime western New York horseman Jim McNeight reached a career milestone as he won his 1,000 race as a harness racing trainer. McNeight was at 999 before his pacer Open Water finished second on Wednesday (Dec. 6) and was placed first through a disqualification. But McNeight made it official on Friday (Dec. 15) when his trotter Millbrook Hanover driven by his son Jim McNeight Jr., won easily in the snow to notch his 1,000th career victory. McNeight got started in the business while in his teens and learned under the guidance of his father Ed McNeight Sr. He got his driver's license in 1981 and became a go-to catch driver in western New York within a few years. Focusing mainly on driving for the first part of his career, McNeight added training to his daily duties when he father retired in 1992 and since that time has been a mainstay at Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway ever since. In June of 2016, McNeight was involved in a bad accident at Buffalo Raceway and came away with a severe back injury that sidelined him for months. After time off and extensive rehab, he has been able to resume jogging and training but his doctors will not clear him to race due to the possibility of further damage in the event of another racing incident. So now McNeight focuses fully on the training end of his current stable of 10 and is a full time coach for his son who does all the driving now and is a rising star on the same circuit his father excelled on for so many years. Jim McNeight's 1,000th training win was the result of 6,450 starts that also saw him finish second 932 times and third another 919. All told his earnings have amounted to just under $3.5 million. "It's very special to reach a milestone like this but you can't do it without good, faithful owners and I have been blessed to have three of them" said McNeight. "Mike Ventura, Mike Calimeri and Dave Sanlorenzo have backed me for over 20 years and made those 1,000 wins possible." Mike Ventura owns Millbrook Hanover. For his driving career McNeight has 3,587 wins and over $13 million earned in purses.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

DAYTON, OH. - Colorful Sky gave Aaron Merriman, America's leading harness racing dash driver, his fourth win of the night at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday (Dec. 15) capturing the $18,500 Mares Open Pace in 1:52.1. It was the seventh win on the season for the daughter of Skydancer Hanover, increasing her 2017 earnings to $69,262 for owner Grant Wilfong. Merriman took no chances in this race, putting Colorful Sky on the lead for the first time in her last eight starts. She seemed comfortable throughout posting fractions of :27.3, :56.3 and 1:23.3 before sealing the deal with a :28.3 final panel, holding off last week's feature winner Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith), who raced first-over the entire second lap, and fast-closing Amazing Arya (Kayne Kauffman). Colorful Sky paid $7.20 to win with the exacta returning $36.80. Merriman swept the daily double to open the card, winning with trotter Mickey's House (1:57.4, $5.20) from the innermost post position and pacer Boots Off (1:56.2, $6.40) from the outermost post. His other victory came behind favored $20,000 claiming pacer P L Fighter (1:52.1, $4.20) a race before Colorful Sky's impressive triumph. Driver Jason Brewer notched a hat trick on the program, winning with a trio of horses from his father Jeff Brewer's stable. The Brew Crew scored with Lyons Jimmydean, owned by Chupp Racing, Pan Luis Obispo, owned by Jamie Cornett, and Kaitlyn Akeeper for the partnership of Chris Choros, Eleven Star Stables and Leander Schwartz. Gregg Keidel  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Two names that might not be familiar to Meadowlands regulars will be appearing in the harness racing program more and more during the winter months, and Mitchell Cushing and Austin Siegelman are prepared to do what it takes to make it on the sizable Big M stage. The first of these two youngsters is 19-year-old Cushing, who was actually contacted while making his way from his Albion, Maine home to the Meadowlands Thursday night. "I'm on my way there now," said Cushing, who graduated high school in June of 2016. "It's about six hours to get there. It'll be my second time driving at the Meadowlands. Last week, I drove one horse." Six hours in the car for one drive. Why? "For the love of the sport," said Cushing, who has been driving regularly for a year and a half in Maine and Massachusetts. "It's always been a childhood dream to drive at the Meadowlands." It may not be a six-hour trip, but when Pocono Downs races, Siegelman drives four days a week from Pocono to Monticello and back. On days such as Thursday, once Monti is done, it's 90 minutes one way to the Big M. Siegelman has been driving full-time for about four years. His father James has horses at Pocono that Austin drives, but with Pocono dark for the winter, the 25-year-old is taking another shot at Big M glory after trying the mile oval a year ago with limited good results. "It's the Meadowlands," said Siegelman. "Who doesn't want to drive there?" Siegelman has an alliance with trainer Chris Marino, so he'll get some drives there, as well as for his dad. Other than that, he'll be relying on himself. "I'm not a big phone guy," said Siegelman. "So how much work I get will be based on performance and people I know." It'll be tough for the two youngsters, who both plan to be around until March, and they are keeping expectations muted. "Try to make as much money as possible," said Cushing, whose dad Ron has been a long-time trainer. "But that depends on what horses you have. To have people say, 'Did you see this kid, he did a good job'. Then, if a big trainer were to come to Plaindridge this summer, he might consider me. It would be more than enough to be be known and respected." "I don't have a lot of expectations," said Siegelman. "Just put in some good efforts. I'd like to win some races. The Meadowlands is the place to be. Everybody watches the Meadowlands." And now everybody will be watching Cushing and Siegelman. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

December 15, 2017 - Today’s harness racing Quinte+ Prix de Tourcoing (purse €70,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) was at Paris-Vincennes and it went to 3.1/1 Artiste Vivanciere (7g Onyx du Goutier-Giga Query) with Matthieu Abrivard up for trainer Mlle. Claire Desmontils. The 1.15.2kr timed winner bested 33/1 Vaillant Zailer (8g Tresor de la Motte) and Franck Ouvrie with 65/1 Ariana du Nil (7f Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree) third for Maxime Bezier. 58/1 Vicomte de Corveil and 18/1 Verdi du Chatel completed the top five. Today’s featured event was the monte Prix du Neubourg (purse €80,000, 2700 meters, 12 starters five year olds) and what a finish it was with three on the line together. 4.7/1 Corail d’Aure (5g Cygnus d’Odyssee-Muccia)m scored timed in 1.13.9kr with Adrien Lamy in the irons for trainer Pierre Emmanuel Mary. 31/1 Crepe de Satin (5f Le Retour-Ina d’Avril) was second for Romain Marty and trainer Bruno Marie. 32/1 Cappricia Verderie (5f Mah Jong du Vivier-Prisia Verderie) was third for Mansour Krouchi and trainer Mme. Emilie LeBeller. Yesterday at Vincennes was the Prix des Glaieuls (purse €34,000, 2700 meters, 14 two year olds) and the 1.17.2kr timed winner was 4/1 Free And Easy (2m Ready Cash-Viva Island) handled by Matthieu Abrivard for owned Jean Pierre Dubois, trainer Yves Boireau and breeder Scuderia Bolgheri Srl.  1.4/1 Fredo Griff (2m Love You-Royale de Bea) was second for Mathieu Mottier, trainer Dominique Mottier and breeder/owner Ecurie Griff. 15/1 Fakr Merite (2m Uaukir) took third for Julien Raffestin. The winners dam, Viva Island, is a daughter of Goetmals Wood-Island Dream-Coktail Jet. Island Dream was a US$555,000 winner who won the Prix Albert Jiel, Prix Ozo and Prix Roquepine. She has produced Not Disturb and Infinitif. Thomas H. Hicks  

TORONTO, December 14, 2017 - Exactly seven-days after finishing in the runner-up spot five-times, harness racing driver Louis Philippe Roy turned the tables to post a big Thursday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The Mont-Joli, Quebec native won five of seven drives on Thursday evening's 10-race card. Roy started his night with a victory in the evening's second-race behind Richard Moreau trained three-year-old trotting filly Oceanview Deb ($3). Victories two and three for the young reinsman would come in the fifth-race behind Des Tackoor trained four-year-old pacer Undrafted ($3.50) and the sixth-race behind Rene Bourassa trained three-year-old pacing filly Restless Hanover ($15.70). Roy hit the "Grand Slam" in the eighth-race with three-year-old trotting filly Highland Top Hill ($2.60) for trainer Marty Fine. He would then double up with Bourassa by steering seven-year-old pacer Independent Spirit ($5.10) to victory in the finale for his fifth-win. Currently second in the WEG driver's standings, Roy now has 262 victories in his first-full season on the Woodbine Circuit. Overall, Roy has 371 victories and $5.6 million in earnings in 2017. Roy will attempt to keep things rolling on Friday evening's 10-race card. He is scheduled to drive in seven-races. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Oceanview Deb - Louis Philippe Roy​ Undrafted - Louis Philippe Roy Restless Hanover - Louis Philippe Roy Highland Top Hill - Louis Philippe Roy Independent Spirit - Louis Philippe Roy Mark McKelvie

DAYTON, OH. - It had been three weeks since Churita last raced, but the layoff didn't seem to bother her a bit. Churita, a lightly raced harness racing 5-year-old Airzoom Lindy mare, bested the best male trotters in southern Ohio for the second straight time at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Thursday night (Dec. 14). In just her 20th start of the year, Churita trotted past a full field of open trotters for trainer-driver Matt Rheinheimer to garner her half of the $18,500 purse with a winning 1:55.3 mile. Rheinheimer ducked his prize mare off the gate, getting away last from the outermost post position. He probably felt his goose was cooked when he saw pedestrian fractions of :28.2 and :58 put up by pacesetter Fantasy League (Tyler Smith), who eventually finished third. Churita was at the back of the double-tiered field at the half, but swung three-wide and was moved up to fifth at the 1:26.2 three quarter mile marker. With the quickest final split of all, however, she picked up adversaries one at a time through the stretch to prevail. Dispatched at 9-2 odds, Churita returned $11.60 to her backers while the exacta with runnerup Mugshot Man (Kyle Ater) kicked back $66.60. It was the ninth victory of the season for Churita and raised her 2017 bankroll to $148,518. Career-wise the winner has earned $771,710 in just 66 starts, a very impressive $11,693 lifetime average per start. She Is owned by Porterproffesionalservice of Michigan. Gregg Keidel

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Esprit De Kayjay A isn't getting older, he's getting better. The 13-year-old harness racing gelding won his second straight Meadowlands start after taking four in a row at Freehold, winning the first of two divisions of the second leg of the Dash For The "G" Notes series Thursday night at the Meadowlands. Andy Miller has been in the sulky for all half-dozen victories. Esprit De Kayjay A worked out a pocket trip and won easily splitting rivals in deep stretch to win in a season's-best 1:53.4 by 2¾-lengths over Pan Grad. Salevster Stallion was third. As the 1-2 public choice, 'Kayjay' returned $3.00 to win for trainer Nick Surick, who also owns the horse along with his mom Debbie. The veteran campaigner has now won 71 races in 300 lifetime starts and has banked $533,121. "He's a horse with a lot of problems," said Surick, who is far in front of the field in the trainer standings at Freehold Raceway. "But he has a huge heart. He seems to do his best work in the winter when they don't go as fast." Miller completed a driving sweep of the Dash For The "G" Notes events, guiding Walks Of Life to a powerhouse score in 1:52.4. The 7-year-old son of Western Ideal burst away from the gate and was never threatened while racing on the lead, scoring by 2¼-lengths over May I Cruise West. Every Intention was third. Walks Of Life's performance was particularly impressive given that the gelding had not raced since late July, when he won at the Meadowlands in 1:51.2. Trained by Vincent Fusco Jr., Walks Of Life paid $6.40 to win as the 2-1 favorite, scoring for the 24th time in 104 lifetime outings, and in the process, pushed his lifetime earnings past the $100,000 mark. A LITTLE MORE: Driver Jim Marohn Jr. recorded three winners on the card, including a sweep of the Late Daily Double. ... All-source handle on the nine-race program totaled $1,150,707. ... After once again not resulting in a single-ticket winner, the carryover for the late 20 Cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 swelled to $37,595.13. ... Racing resumes Friday night at the Big M with a first race post time of 7:15 p.m. ... During December, the Meadowlands will race Thursday through Saturday nights. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Impressive Auckland Reactor gelding Chase Auckland defeated another strong field of harness racing 3yo's tonight in the $50,000 Alabar Classic at Alexandra Park, and remains unbeaten with six wins from six starts. Trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Chase Auckland had to be good to win after getting attacked in front for most of the race by David Butcher and the Ray Green trained King Of Swing.  On the turn King Of Swing was beaten and the only danger to Chase Auckland was All U Need Is Faith who had trailed all the way. At the line Chase Auckland found plenty and managed to hold off his stablemate by half a head with another All Stars runner Spankem running into third. Driver Natalie Rasmussen said after the race. "Oh he is a very good horse and just seems to give a bit more every time I ask him". Chase Auckland ran the 2200m in a very fast 2-36.4 with a closing 800m in 56.7 and 400m in 27.9 seconds. The Alexandra Park track was lightning quick tonight with Vincent going close to breaking his own New Zealand record when winning fresh up in the $50,000 Lincoln Farms Franklin Cup. Vincent beat A G's Whitesocks by half a length and ran the 2700m stand in 3-19.7 with a last 800m in 55.6. Titian Banner ran third and remarkably his time of 3-18.8 was inside the record of 3-19.4. Earlier in the night Jo's Dream and Partyon deadheated in the $100,000 (Gr1) Rosslands Queen Of Hearts 4yo and older mares pace. The winners paced the 2200m mobile in 2-40.9 with a closing 800m in 56.3 seconds.   Chase Auckland winning his sixth race in a row.   Partyon and Jo's Dream deadheating tonight.   Vincent winning the Franklin Cup Harnesslink Media

When news broke on the morning of the third Ashes Test that Indian bookies had boasted to Britain’s The Sunnewspaper that they could fix cricket matches, it quickly became an international story. While betting corruption and cricket have staged a delicate dance since the major scandals involving Hansie Cronje and the like broke in the early 2000s, there is always a raised eyebrow when such brazen claims of match fixing are raised. Why? Because society still cares about the integrity of cricket. Last Saturday, three significant Queensland harness racing identities, Shane Graham, Leonard Cain and Vicki Rasmussen, were charged with match fixing and it barely made it past the court notices and in brief sections of the paper. The people involved are charged with serious crimes, essentially fixing a race result for the purposes of profit. These crimes carry maximum terms of 10 years in jail. In the last six months, three of Queensland's five leading harness drivers have been charged with match fixing, while there have also been arrests in Victoria in a long-running investigation into impropriety there. Each harness racing scandal that breaks, and they seem to be weekly at the moment, barely raises a murmur in the general public. The punting fraternity, those who essentially fund the sport, through betting on it invariably trot out the old ‘Cheats on Seats’ and ‘Crims on Rims’ references. But while cheating and skullduggery in the sport of silks and sulkies is hardly a new thing, it certainly casts a pall over an industry which appears to be dying a slow and painful death. You see, the arrest of Graham, who is Queensland’s leading driver, as well as Rasmussen and Cain occurred less than 12 hours after a race once revered as one of the biggest in any code, the Inter Dominion, was staged at Perth’s Gloucester Park. The win of harness racing’s new superstar Lazarus (at 11pm AEDT on a Friday night) got even less coverage than the arrests in Queensland on Saturday. So if no one, apart from the crowd at Gloucester Park, saw Australia’s best harness race, did it really happen? Next year, the Inter Dominion returns to Melbourne for the first time since 2008. Well when I say Melbourne, it’s Melton, 35km west of the city at a facility opened in 2009 to service the needs of the sports participants and certainly not its dwindling fan base. While organisers will no doubt do their best to promote the event, with Lazarus’ title defence centre stage, the Inter Dominion won’t make a ripple in the competitive sporting landscape of the Victorian capital. Certainly nothing like the 40,000 who packed Moonee Valley for the 1985 edition. At that time, the sport was in its prime, helped by the fact that night-time entertainment in Melbourne outside of the trots,  was virtually non-existent.  The broader question is does harness racing, once a thriving sport in the 1970s and 1980s, have a pulse in Australia? On the current evidence, the news is grim. The diagnosis becomes completely terminal if it can’t rid itself of the cancer of corruption, which has been a long-time problem for the sport. If those within the industry - and we are talking about major players here -  don’t act with integrity then the social licence of the sport is under threat. We saw how close the greyhound industry went to being banned (especially in NSW), when major players acted like cowboys (and worse), and lost the faith of the general public. It’s a pretty simple formula for harness racing. If the cheating and corruption reach a level where it costs more to enforce the law then the benefits which flow back to the community, then it will quickly lose the last skerrick of relevance it has. At that point, it will be consigned to history. That will be a great shame. By Bren O'Brien Reprinted with permission of Punters.com.au Bren O'Brien is a lifelong follower of harness racing.  

DOVER, Del --- Both of last week's $25,000 Open winners who finished in a harness racing dead-heat win, Cajon Lightning and Sicily returned in the feature race at Dover Downs on Thursday, Dec. 14 and this time 7-1 Cajon Lightning closed with a rush to score a 1:51 victory with Sicily finishing second. Tim Tetrick had another big day with five winners. Art Stafford Jr drove the Mach Three-Tex In The City gelding to his eighth win of the season and entered six figures in the win column earning $!02,655 for Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms. The win was the third Open of the meet for the Eric Ell trainee. Sicily (Montrell Teague) was second in front of Arque Hanover (Corey Callahan). George Teague's Daiymir and Montrell Teague came three wide at the top of the final turn to take over and then held off hypothetical (Tony Morgan) in a stretch battle to win by a head in 1:51.2 to take an $18,000 Winners pace. The Mr. Wiggins-Cookie Money colt won for the eighth time in 14 races and now has won $100,550 in purses in this his first year of racing. Drunkonaplane (Callahan) finished third. Tim Tetrick drove the winners of both $35,000 Claiming paces. First, Bamond Racing's Cyclone Kiwi N notched a 1:50.4 conquest from post 8 with Jet Airway (Callahan) finishing second. Hi Sir (Russell Foster) was third. Later, Tetrick posted a 1:51.3 victory behind Bill Emmond's I Am A Cowboy . Bluebird Ideal (Ross Wolfenden) was runner-up with Whirl Monroe (Vic Kirby), the show finisher. Tetrick also guided Jack Roger to a 1:52.2 triumph in a $16,000 Winners pace for trainer Jason Skinner and owner Alan Welch. It was the sixth win in 10 starts for the Rock N Roll Heaven-Stonebridge Prima sophomore gelding, now a $49,590 winner. American Sportsman (Eddie Davis Jr.) and Sir Will's Wish (Vic Kirby) were second and third respectively. Sawbuck Hanover who won last week's $35,000 claimer step up for a 1:50.4 success in the $14,000 Winners-Over pace. McKenry (Bret Brittingham) was second in front of Regalanthopost (Tetrick), third. The Bettor's Delight-Shesaporche gelding is owned and trained by Josh Parker. In addition to Tetrick's five wins, Tony Morgan and trainer Jim King, recorded a double. No Live Racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

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