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What Cheer, IA -- The top ten 3-year-old trotters took to the harness racing track yesterday (September 23) to complete in the 2019 Iowa-Registered Championship races at the Keokuk County Fairgrounds. There were five starters in the $15,000 Gary McKay Memorial 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Filly Trot Championship. Last year's Championship winner Bankn-On-Emily (Macduffie-Emily Lavictorie) drew the rail, followed by Eighty's Mercedes (Clocked At Eighty-Reigning Image), D P Rocket (All In Tad-Striking Annie), All Taylor Made (And Away We Go- Strong Sue), and 2019 points leader CR Blaze (Amigo Ranger-JL Jan) on the outside. "She finally drew the three hole, Fred (Wagner) was so excited." said trainer and driver Adam Hauser of D P Rocket's owner. "She's drawn the four or five hole in five of her six last starts, and that's a big deal in a five horse race. " Four of the five starters had posted wins in the month preceding the race, with decisive victories from the Huffman Stable's CR Blaze in a 14+ length win, and the Shipley Stable's Bankn-On-Emily in a 10+ win two weeks ago. D P Rocket had clocked the fastest mile, 2:00.4, at Humboldt earlier this year. Driven by Adam Hauser, D P Rocket fired off the gate to take the early lead with Gary Liles' All Taylor Made filing in quickly behind. Rob Anderson and CR Blaze challenged the early leader, but were unable to clear and settled into third. D P Rocket passed the quarter in 29.2. "She's a good gate horse," said Hasuer. "I was able to get her out of there trotting. When I get her through the first turn, I know how she is right away. She was good yesterday." CR Blaze tipped out again and captured second by the half, where D P Rocket maintained the lead in 1:01.1. D P Rocket began to pull away from the field in the final backstretch passing the three-quarters in 1:30.1, while All Taylor Made continued to park CR Blaze. D P Rocket cruised around the final turn and powered home in a 2:00.4 mile, tying her lifetime mark. CR Blaze was second, followed by Eighty's Mercedes, All Taylor Made, and Bankn-On-Emily. D P Rocket is owned by Fred Wagner of Wellman, Iowa. She was bred by David P. Brontrager and is by his Iowa sire All In Tad, a son of Conway Hall, and out of the Striking Sahbra mare Striking Annie. Adam Hauser trains D P Rocket at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds. "We've talked to a few people about selling her," said Hauser, "But we don't have anything serious yet." Being a non-winners of one horse, Hauser and Wagner have plans to give her a rest, then race her and Hawthorne or Aces next year if they don't sell her. The top five colts all drew on the gate in the $15,000 Kermit and Janet Hinshaw Memorial 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Colt Trot Championship. Kick Away (Weight LIfter - Sorority Hall) drew the rail, followed by Depth Charge (Motorcade - Warawee Fourleaf), Spiced Honey (Honeydont Hanover - Dynomo Sahbra), Cracker Box (Honeydont Hanover - Button Box), and 2018 finals winner and 2-year-old trotting colt champion Ricky Be Sharp (American Native - Cosmetize) on the outside. All five of the starters are Iowa-sired. The Gary Liles Stable came into the race off of two wins from both Cracker Box and Depth Charge last week. Cracker Box, winning four of his past five starts, had the most recent wins. Ricky Be Sharp had posted the fastest 3-year-old trot of 2019 with a 2:00 mile at What Cheer earlier in the season. Cracker Box, driven by Royal Roland, and stablemate Depth Charge, driven by Gary Liles took the early lead with Cracker Box clearing to take the top. The field past the quarter in 31.2 single file, with Cracker Box and Depth Charge followed by Spiced Honey, Kick Away and Ricky Be Sharp. "He didn't want to leave, so we ducked to last," said Roland. Driver Nick Roland tipped out Ricky Be Sharp the first time past the grandstand where Cracker Box continued to lead, passing the half in 1:02.4. Ricky Be Sharp worked his way up to second and met Cracker Box at the three-quarters in 1:32.3. "We were all strung out so I pulled him first-over, and he was good enough to go past them," said Roland. "He cleared then trotted on in the final stretch." Ricky Be Sharp continued his momentum and cleared and powered home in 2:03.1. Cracker Box and Depth Charge were second and third, followed by Kick Away and Spiced Honey. Ricky Be Sharp is owned and trained by Lorenza Gooch of Missouri City Texas. He was bred and raised by Rick & Lesa Peters of Face Pace Farms in Grinnell, Iowa. Ricky Be Sharp is by the late American Native, a 1:54.2 son of American Winner, and out of the Valley Victor mare Cosmetize. From Gretchen L. Roland, for the Iowa Harness Horse Association

The Wapello County Fairboard has decided to reschedule the upcoming harness racing meet at Eldon, IA. The date has been changed from Saturday (9/28) to Sunday (9/29). Entries will still be due on Wednesday (9/25) The condition sheet has been updated. Please call Tara Spach, Social Media Coordinator at 641-430-4662, if you have any questions. By Tara Spach, for the IaHHA  

What Cheer, IA -- Iowa's best 2-year-old filly talent completed in two championship races that finished the 2019 harness racing season at the Keokuk County Fairgrounds on Monday (September 23).  The five best freshman trotters went to the gate in the Katherine Carey Memorial 2-year-old Iowa-Registered Filly Trot Championship, with three of the five hailing from the Rick Huffman Stable. Britches And Booty drew the rail, followed by Battle Queen, CR Valentine, Sometimes You Dont, and Lucky Playmate on the outside in post position five.  With 11 wins in 12 starts (and one second to Lucky Playmate), it was Battle Queen's race to lose. Owned, trained and driven by Gary Liles, the dominant daughter of Yadi holds the fastest 2-year-old filly trotting mile in Iowa in 2019 - 2:03.4 at Humboldt on August 24.  The Huffman Stable trio followed in wins with CR Valentine (Amigo Ranger-JL Jan) at four, Lucky Playmate (Lucky Chucky - Almond Chip) at three and Britches And Booty (Manofmanymissions-Mouvelle) at one.  Battle Queen powered to the front to take the lead with the Huffman Stables Britches And Booty, CR Valentine and Lucky Playmate filing in second, third and fourth. The field reached the quarter in 32.1, a length separating each. Battle Queen continued to lead at the half in 1:04.3, and the three-quarters in 1:33.2.  Battle Queen cruised out of the final turn into the stretch where Chad Svenson tipped out Lucky Playmate who charged down the stretch reaching Battle Queen at the wire for a photo finish. Though a valiant effort by Lucky Playmate, Battle Queen reigned victorious taking the trot in 2:05.3 by a nose.  In the Judy Liles Memorial 2-year-old Iowa-Registered Filly Pace Championship, the five top Iowa freshman pacing fillies took to the gait with the inside three separated by 2 points in the overall 2019 standings. With 10 points to the winner, the outcome of this race would determine the 2019 2-year-old Pacing Filly Champion.  Rob Anderson's Jennie Ann (Lettherockbegin-TJ Sizzle N Sage) had the rail (67 points), followed by Ivy B Poison (Sneaky B Skipalong-AC Alma) in the two (68 points) and Its Pactific Time (It's That Time-Pacific Fling) in the three (66 points). Shining Jewels (Real Desire-Southwind Jewel) and Lucy In The Sky (Hot Pans-Lawless Lucy) rounded out the field.  Jennie Ann and Its Pacific Time battled off the gate into the backstretch when Chad Svenson and Its Pacific Time cleared to take the lead. She passed the quarter in 29.2 followed by Jennie Ann and Ivy B Poison.  Passing the half in 1:01.1, Svenson kept Its Pacific Time focused on the top while Ivy B Poison pulled to challenge the leaders. Ivy B Poison gained ground until matching Its Pacific Time as the pair passed the three-quarters in 1:30.3.  Its Pacific Time pulled ahead in the final turn and sailed home in a 2:01 wire-to-wire performance, the fastest 2-year-old filly pacing mile of 2019.  Its Pacific Time was raised and bred by owner John Hendricks. From the first crop of the Minnesota sire It's That Time, Its Pacific Time is out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Pacific Fling. The filly finished the season with eight wins in 13 starts and the 2019 2-year-old pacing filly title for trainer Joel McDanel.  From Gretchen L. Roland for the Iowa Harness Horse Association  

What Cheer, IA -- Trainer Curtis Carey took home harness racing trophies in both the 2-year-old and 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Colt Pace Championships held at the Keokuk County Fairgrounds on Monday (September 23) with his horses Slippin The Clutch and Frisky Pedro. The five top 2-year-old pacing colts went to the gate in the Mike Smith Memorial with Carey's Slippin The Clutch drawing the rail, followed by Its A Marcs World, Waco Sassy Kid, First Gunner and Always Hotspeed in post position five. "Slippin The Clutch is a really good horse, he's very easy on himself," said Carey. "The times he got beat this year were by Waco Sassy Kid, who I also consider to be a really good horse." The two-year-old colt pace has been a hotly contested division throughout the season. Waco Sassy Kid was the horse to beat staying undefeated until Slippin The Clutch broke his seven win streak in early August. Four of the five starters showed at least one win in their last four starts, with both Slippin The Clutch and Always Hotspeed coming off wins last weekend at Humboldt (September 14). Iowa's leading driver Will Roland piloted Slippin the Clutch, shooting off the gate to take the top and catch the quarter in 30.3. The horses remained single file until the stretch when Always Hotspeed pulled to challenge. The field passed the half in 1:04. Slippin The Clutch continued to lead to the three-quarters in 1:32.1 followed by Its A Marcs World and First Gunner on the rail. Always Hotspeed led the outer flow in third with Waco Sassy Kid on his tail. Slippin The Clutch showed no signs of slowing, and Its A Marcs World also continued to maintain in second. The pack in the back went three wide into the final turn in a battle for third. Slippin The Clutch picked up the win in 2:01. Its A Marc World took second followed by First Gunner, Always Hotspeed, and Waco Sassy Kid. "The last few weeks he's been on point, he gives me goosebumps watching him," said Carey. "Will (Roland) drove him perfectly today." A son of Millionaire Cam out of the Artsplace mare Sweet Otra, Carey's 2-year-old pacing gelding Slippin The Clutch began his freshman season training on a track miles away from the snowy Iowa winter. It was here that Carey first saw the colt's potential. "When I was training him in Florida one day he came a quarter in 28 and change," said Carey. "I knew at that point that he had some extra gears." Slippin The Clutch has proven himself for owners Jesse Delong, Jeff Carey and Rick & CD Huffman. Paired Will Roland, Slippin The Clutch has won nine of 12 starts and paced the fastest 2-year-old colt mile in Iowa in 2019 - 1:59.4. Slippin The Clutch will be making his way to Lexington to race the next two weeks at the Grand Circuit meet, after which Carey has more big plans for him. "Right now we're pointing on the same path as we did Minnie Vinnie - taking him to some out-of-state races, and bringing him back to race in Iowa as well," said Carey. Carey's second championship winner, Frisky Pedro, has had a rough go at it. "Training him down as a yearling I thought he was a really good horse, but he's honestly been the worst luck horse I've ever been around," said Carey. "Last year he was in the finals and I had to scratch him because he got sick." Frisky Pedro started out the season with early wins at Bedford and in the Iowa Sires Stakes in June when his luck caught up with him. "This year July was awful on him -- he didn't win any money, he got sick," said Carey. "I had the vet draw blood on him after What Cheer one day and he showed that he was anemic so we started treating him. I started training him in between races. After that he really turned around." 2019's top five 3-year-old pacing colts took to the gate in the Jim Coulter Memorial with Bad Boy Destroyer on the inside, followed by My Money Honey, Oh Toodles, Frisky Pedro and Fred And Roz in post position five. With no individual having more than 5 wins in 12 starts, the Jim Coulter Memorial 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Colt Pace Championship was up for grabs. All had shown at least one win in their past four starts, with Bad Boy Destroyer and Frisky Pedro coming off wins at Humboldt last Sunday (September 15). Four of the five had broken the two minute mark on a fair track this year, with My Money Honey and Frisky Pedro's impressive 1:58.4 photo finish performance last week. Bad Boy Destroyer, My Money Honey and Frisky Pedro fired off the gait in tandem, battling for the early lead. Frisky Pedro worked his way to the top as they headed into the backstretch followed closely by My Money Honey and Bad Boy Destroyer. "Today Will told me 'I'm going to leave with him'," said Carey. "I said if you think he can do it then do it." Frisky Pedro reached the quarter in 28.2, where Chad Svenson and Bad Boy Destroyer pulled to take on the leader. They passed the half in 58 seconds with Frisky Pedro leading by a head. Bad Boy Destroyer continued to put on the pressure and his stablemate My Money Honey tipped three wide as the trio passed the three-quarters in 1:28.4. "I think he's a much better horse than what he'd shown," said Carey. "I believed in him. Will believed in him." Frisky Pedro took advantage of the shorter rail trip and pulled away into the final turn and cruised home in 1:58.4, matching his lifetime best in the fastest 3-year-old colt pace of 2019 in Iowa. My Money Honey finished second followed by Oh Toodles, Fred And Roz and Bad Boy Destroyer. "Will drove him today like he was the best - a lot of the credit goes to him," said Carey. "He's driven our horses all year and done and amazing job with them. He deserves as much credit as anybody does for getting them to the winners circle." From Gretchen L. Roland for the Iowa Harness Horse Association          

What Cheer, IA -- After a roller coaster season, Garry Phillips' 2-year-old trotting gelding Muscles N Tuff finished his freshman harness racing season with a win in the 2-year-old Iowa Registered Trot Championship held on Monday (September 23) at the Keokuk County Fairgrounds. A field of 2019's five top 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings went to the gate with Muscles N Tuff drawing post position two. Phillips had expected the Mintun/Gould Stable's Prince Banker would be the early leader. "We thought Mark Mintun would be up there because he had the fastest time last week," said Phillips. "But that didn't happen." Chad Svenson and Scoreoneforme wasted no time and shot off the gate quickly capturing the lead. Adam Hauser tucked Muscles N Tuff in the two hole, letting Scoreoneforme lead to the quarter in 30 seconds. At the head of the stretch Dan Roland and Itsonlymoneyhoney pulled first up locking in Muscles N Tuff as the trio passed the half in 1:01.1. Itsonlymoneyhoney continued to gain ground on Scoreoneforme and edged ahead by the three-quarters in 1:32.1. Muscle N Tuff took advantage of the live cover and followed suit, also passing Scoreoneforme, in hot pursuit of Itsonlymoneyhoney. "We were sitting right where we wanted to be," said Phillips. Hauser tipped out Muscles N Tuff in the final turn, stealing the lead from Itsonlymoneyhoney and rolling home in 2:05.4. Itsonlymoneyhoney finished second and Scoreoneforme finished third followed by Prince Banker and Exhibition Day. "We got a good trip out of him, there's no doubt about that," said Phillips. "Adam's done a super job driving." Phillips knew this horse would be a good one. Muscles-N-Tuff was, afterall, a brother to Bust-N-Tuff, a trotting gelding Phillips had campaigned the past two years as a 2- and 3-year-old. He was one of Phillips' favorites. "We bought him as a yearling because he was Bust N Tuff's brother," said Phillips. "Bust-N-Tuff trotted in 2:03.2 as a 2-year-old." From the first crop of the Iowa sire Dredd, a son of Muscle Hill, Muscles N Tuff had some early differences from his older brother. Where Bust-N-Tuff was bulky, Muscles N Tuff is finer boned. Where Bust N Tuff was more excitable, Muscles-N-Tuff is more calm. Muscles N Tuff started his season with a second place finish on his home track at Eldon, then racked up two wins and another second at Bloomfield, Oskaloosa and Kahoka. After that the colt stagnated, throwing in some uncharacteristic breaks and not finishing as strongly. Phillips knew he had to make some changes. He put on shoes with more grab, painted the colts stifles, and trained him with the power cart. Muscles N Tuff responded well, winning the two weeks preceding the Championship race, first in 2:08 then in 2:07.3. Shaving almost 2 seconds off his previous best in his 2:05.4 Championship mile, Muscles N Tuff  trotted the fastest 2-year-old colt mile in Iowa in 2019. Phillips plans to give Muscles N Tuff a few months off, then train him back for the 2020 season. by Gretchen L. Roland, for the Iowa Harness Horse Association

The Iowa harness racing Championship Finals set for Sunday (9/22) at What Cheer have been postponed due to rain.  The finals have been rescheduled for Monday (9/23), post time is 12:30 pm.  Horsemen can take horses out of the detention barn to jog.  Horses may not leave the grounds or they will be disqualified. by Tara Spach, for the IaHHA

Today’s big winner at What Cheer in Iowa was the rain.  The seventeen race harness racing program scheduled for Saturday (9/21) has been cancelled.  Weather permitting, the finals of Iowa Championship Weekend are slated for Sunday (9/22).  Post time is 12:30pm CDT. by Tara Spach, for the IaHHA

The Condition Sheet for the Championship Weekend at What Cheer has been posted. ALL horses shall enter by age, gait and gender on Wednesday (9/18), using the condition sheet for 9/22/19. Horses will be split into race divisions based upon their points standings by the race office. Aged-Iowa horses shall enter as normal. Championship races will be held on Sunday (9/22) and all other classes will be held on Saturday (9/21). For any additional information, please contact Tara Spach at 641-430-4662. Tara Spach, for the IaHHA  

With a spot in the upcoming Iowa Championships on the line, Iowa-Registered three-year-old horses took charge of theharness racing track at Humboldt, Iowa on Sunday. Race one featured the first of two divisions of three-year-old trotting fillies. DP Rocket (Adam Hauser) scored a dominating wire to wire win on her home track, winning in 2:01. Rob Anderson guided CR Blaze to her third win in a row in the second division. In another gate to wire effort, she trotted the mile in 2:02. Both trotting fillies secured their spot on top of the points standings. Three-year-old pacing fillies competed in two divisions, both winners scoring new lifetime marks. The first division belonged to Jackpot Jessie. The Hot Pans filly, driven by Nick Roland, looked to add to her points total, with her new lifetime mark of 1:59.4. Chad Svendsen captured the second division in race six. Flash Me Baby crossed the wire with a new lifetime mark, pacing her mile in 2:02.1. Driver/trainer Gary Liles drove two of his trotting geldings to pick up wins in both divisions of the three-year-old trotting colts/geldings. Cracker Box, sitting seventh, edged out Ricky Be Sharp (Nick Roland) at the wire, trotting home in 2:04.2. Liles' second winning drive was with Depth Charge. The three-year-old Motorcade gelding overcame making a break at the start. Battling Spiced Honey (Chad Svendsen) through the mile, Liles charged for the lead, winning by a fraction of a length. Two divisions of three-year-old pacing colts/geldings also competed on the Humboldt half mile oval Chad Svendsen steered Bad Boy Destroyer in and out of traffic to the win, pacing in 2:04.1. The fastest division was in race eight. Frisky Pedro (Will Roland) stalked My Money Honey (Rob Anderson) the entire mile. Frisky Pedro poured on the pace in the stretch, winning by a nose in 1:58.4, a new lifetime mark.  The non-winners divisions also featured new lifetime marks. Duane Roland drove his three-year-old trotting colt, Yankee Carmel, to the win in 2:10.3, while Black River Spirit with driver/trainer/owner Frank Chitwood holding the lines, paced home in 2:02.4. Iowa-Registered Champions will be crowned next weekend in What Cheer, Iowa. Consolidation races will be held on Saturday (9/21) and the Championship Finals on Sunday (9/22). Post time both days will be at 12:30pm CDT. by Tara Spach, for the IaHHA

Iowa-Registered two and three-year-olds harness racing trotters and pacers invaded the “Humboldt Half” on Saturday (9/7) and Sunday (9/8) at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Humboldt, Iowa.  With the 2019 Iowa-Registered Finals two weeks away, competitors looks to accumulate points to make their way into the big finale. Two-year-olds took center stage on Saturday (9/7).  A pair of wire to wire drives clenched victories in both divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies.  Jennie Ann, with driver/trainer/owner, Rob Anderson in the bike, took a new lifetime mark.  Pacing in 2:02.2, Jennie Ann scores her seventh win this season.  The second division went to It’s Pacific Time.  As Chad Svendson drove the It’s That Time filly across the wire in 2:02.4, she picked up her second win in a row, also winning seven races this season. Passion In Paris (Adam Hauser) won the first division of two-year-old trotting fillies.  Getting the pocket trip behind Lucky Playmate (Chad Svendson), Hauser patiently waited until the stretch to ask his filly to trot, gaining her first lifetime win, by a head, in 2:10.4.  The season leading two-year-old trotting filly, Battle Queen, took charge of her division.  Driver Gary Liles took advantage of an untimely break by SV Tellmeimyours (Adam Hauser) to take over just past the quarter.  The Yadi filly trotted home in 2:08.3, making this her sixth win in a row, ten wins for driver/trainer/owner Liles. Two seven horse fields made up both divisions of two-year-old pacing colts/geldings.  In the first division, Duane Roland sat behind Always Hot Speed (Chad Svendson) and Alright Frankie (Will Roland) with his colt, It’s A Marcs World.  When Waco Sassy Kid (Brett Erickson) pulled to challenge the leaders, horses were stretched three-wide across the track at the top of the lane, giving It’s A Marcs World an opening at the rail.  Winning in 2:03.2, the Marced Card colt sets a new lifetime mark.  The second division belonged to Slippin The Clutch.  The Millionaire Cam colt showed that he can come off the pace for the win.  Getting away fifth, driver Will Roland waited with Slippin The Clutch until the three-quarter pole to overtake the field.  Winning easily in 2:02.4, his fourth win in a row, Slippin The Clutch now has eight wins this season, remaining on top of the leaderboard. New lifetime marks highlighted the two-year-old trotting colts/geldings divisions.  Sitting fourth behind Prince Banker (Mark Mintun), Muscles-N-Tuff waited for his chance.  When Mintun pulled at the three-quarter pole, driver Adam Hauser kept Muscles-N-Tuff in his back, ready to make the three wide move at the top of the stretch.  Coming home with a driving double, Hauser crossed the wire in 2:08.1, a new lifetime mark for the Dredd gelding.  Driver/trainer/owner Thomas Shipley wasted no time in taking the lead and the win in the second division with McRocket Man.  As a Facebook Live favorite, Shipley cut the fractions with McRocket Man, capturing the win in 2:06.2, lowering the Macduffie gelding’s lifetime mark by nine seconds. Two more two-year-old pacers took their first lifetime wins in the non-winners divisions.  Fox River Maple (Jason Ludwig) winning in 2:10.0 and Swift Richess (Duane Roland) pacing her mile in 2:12.2 As three-year-old Iowa-Registered horses took over the half on Sunday (9/8), driver Rob Anderson looked to repeat winning the first race of the day.  CR Blaze easily won the first division of three-year-old trotting fillies.  Anderson cut the fractions with the Amigo Ranger filly, crossing the wire in 2:04. In the second division, Bankn-On-Emily was not to be outdone.   With her wire to wire win, the Thomas Shipley trained Macduffie filly trotted to a new lifetime mark of 2:01.4 for driver Royal Roland.  Both stay on top of  the leaderboard for three-year-old trotting fillies. Three-year-old pacing fillies also had two divisions.  Always B Hanny, driven by Mark Mintun, made her trip to the winner’s circle, crossing the wire in 2:01.3, her second win of the season.  Heavy Handed Hanna continued her winning streak as she paced in 2:02.1, her third win in a row for driver Will Roland. In the first division of three-year-old trotting colts/geldings, Cracker Box wasted no time, with a gate to wire win.  Driver Gary Liles and his Honeydont Hanover gelding trotted to the win in 2:04.1, a new lifetime mark.  Driver Will Roland captured his second win on the card with Red Neck Sioux, in the second division.  As the gate folded, the Amigo Ranger gelding trotted to the top but Roland smartly allowed Ricky Be Sharp (Lorenza Gooch) to take the front.  Sitting in the pocket, Roland pulled before the stretch, crossing the wire, in 2:05.4, a first lifetime win. Dance Traveler finished second in the first division of three-year-old pacing colts/geldings but benefitted from an objection and was placed first for driver Mark Mintun.  Will Roland picked up a driving triple in the second division with Frisky Pedro.  Taking over the lead from Fred And Roz (Mark Mintun), the Millionaire Cam colt, trained by Curtis Carey, picked up the win in 2:02.4, his third win of the season. Ending the card, Black River Spirit took a new lifetime mark for driver/trainer/owner Frank Chitwood.  The Matty McGee gelding won the three-year-old non-winners pace in 2:03.1 by an impressive eleven lengths. The “chase for a place” in the championship continues next weekend at Humboldt, Iowa.  Two and three-year-olds will compete on Saturday (9/14) and Sunday (9/15), post time both days will be 12:30pm CDT. by Tara Spach, for the Iowa Harness Horseman's Association      

What Cheer, IA — Until a week ago 16-year-old Justin Gould thought he’d be coming to What Cheer to help race his family’s horses like he usually does. He unloads the equipment, harnesses the horses, and sometimes helps warm them up. That would have been his plan for the three days of racing (June 12-14) at the Keokuk County Fair until he got a call from harness racing trainer Casey Larson. “Everybody needs a start,” said Larson. “Everybody needs their first horse to get behind the gate.” Larson asked Gould if he was available to drive their 3-year-old pacing filly Dakota Roxy in the Drivers’ Race on Friday (June 12). The Drivers’ Race is an overnight for drivers that have less than ten lifetime wins. The horses entered can be any age or gait. Gould had taken his driver’s test, but had never driven in a race. This would be his first time. Gould agreed to take the drive. Daokta Roxy was coming off a couple tough weeks. She started the season with a win, then had two fifth-place finishes, then was scratched sick last week. “We just really wanted to braven her up a bit. The Drivers’ Race needed something to race. In order to braven the horse up we decided to put her in there,” said Larson. “Justin’s trained many horses with Mark (Mintin) so we weren’t worried about that.” Gould did have lots of experience training. His mother Stevie Gould and her brother Mark Mintin have a stable at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds were Justin is involved in the day-to-day operations. “Every day I go to the barn and feed in the morning, jog during the day, and feed at lunch and feed at night too,” said Gould. “During school year I feed in the morning before school, I go to school, then right after school I go to the barn.” Gould has been a staple at Humboldt for many years. “When I was 11 years old Adam Hauser let me jog horses for him,” Gould said of his first experiences behind a horse. Hauser trains out of Humboldt as well. Even with all the experience training, a first race can be stressful. Gould, in his new black, gray and white colors, headed to Larson’s barn to get Dakota Roxy for race 10. Larson had some advice for him regarding driving the horse. “He told me two things.” said Gould. “He said not to miss the car and go to the front.” And Gould did just that. Gould had Dakota Roxy right on the gate and shot out to the early lead. He led at the quarter in :33.3 and continued to lead at the half in 1:08.2 when competitor Shining Jewels made a move. “I’m used to training with Mark and James (Justin’s brother). Seeing other people out there is different. Usually they (Mark and James) don’t try to pass me. They just try to get up next to me so I wasn’t ready for that.” Gould urged on Dakota Roxy and kept Shining Jewels parked at the three-quarters in 1:40.2. Shining Jewels led into the head of the stretch and finished first in 2:11, with Gould and Dakota Roxy taking second. “That was more fun than anything else,” said Gould, smiling after the race. He was grateful to have the opportunity and looks forward to more racing in the future. “We couldn’t be more proud of him. He did everything we asked him to do,” said Larson. “She raced great and it was a great tightener for us so it worked out for everybody. I’m just happy for him because to get your first one out of the way is always a little nerve racking. I hope for many more to come for him, and if we’re ever in a bind he will surely be on our list to help us out.” by Gretchen Roland, for the Iowa Harness Horse Association

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