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For the 10th time this season Shortest Distance has been victorious. On Monday afternoon (May 12) at Monticello Raceway the 9-year-old Park Place pacing mare returned to the track where she started the season and turned back five others to score a two- length triumph in a time of 1:56.3 with Bruce Aldrich, Jr. at the controls.   With her latest victory Shortest Distance moved into second place on the North American leaderboard in races won this season and now trails another Mighty M pacer Diamond Tiara whose tops with 11 wins. With her penchant to race on the front-end Aldrich obliged and sent Shortest Distance to the lead but she didn't take command until she neared the quarter pole in a swift :28.2. As the field was heading to the half Aldrich was attempting to give his mare a breather but it was short-lived when Jason Ryan moved La Reata out to challenge as the field came off the paddock turn. After a :59 half both Aldrich and Ryan each urged their mares and they raced as a team pacing the next stanza in:28.2 to trip the three-quarter timer in 1:27.2. Even though the two gritty pacers were side-by-side around the final turn when they straightened for home Shortest Distance opened up daylight and went on to a two-length triumph when she held off a rallying Rusty's Flying (an 8-time seasonal winner) to notch yet another Mighty M victory, her sixth here this year and 10th overall. La Reata faded and finished third. (Her other four wins were at Saratoga Raceway) Shortest Distance started the season here at the Mighty M in early January. On January 20 she notched her first triumph and then she reeled- off four more consecutive victories before moving on the Saratoga Raceway in early March. "She's not very big but she's a classy old mare ( a lifetime winner of $360,000) who likes to be on the lead and she gives her best when she's on the front-end," noted Aldrich who had also driven her at Saratoga Raceway. Asked why Shortest Distance returned to the Mighty M he said, "Since she's owned in Montgomery and stabled at a farm there, it's a shorter ship here to Monticello than it is to Saratoga." The veteran mare is owned by Maria Godinez and now trained by Al Annunziata. She paid $2.70 for win by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

After beating top company at Buffalo and Vernon, Fireyourguns ($3.00) scored his third victory in as many seasonal starts in Sunday (May 4) afternoon's $14,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs.   The five-year-old American Ideal gelding floated to the front early on, setting even fractions of :28, :56, and 1:23.4 while Mystical Valentine (Jason Ryan) chased from the loose pocket throughout. On the far turn, Aaron Byron called upon Fireyourguns to draw clear, and the response was instant, as the 1-2 favorite opened up to a 3-1/2 length advantage before reaching the top of the stretch. Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) angled to the outside just off the turn to put in a late bid, rallying to be second, while Mystical Valentine was a tiring third.   Fireyourguns was measured in the last sixteenth of a mile en route to a 1:51.4 win with plenty in reserve.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   Earlier in the card, the Jeff Sorenson-trained Golden Gun prevailed in the $11,000 Open II Pace, holding off a late challenge from the pocket-sitting Bettorsluckystreak to win in 1:55.1 in rein to Jim Marohn, Jr.   Live racing resumes on Friday evening, with first post at 6:15 p.m.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Village Jackson continued the lengthy streak of different harness racing winners in the Saturday night Open Pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Saturday night. Though he had finished second or third in the previous three Opens, Village Jackson (Camluck) had never recorded an Open score but that changed after outsprinting his rivals home in Saturday’s $17,000 feature for driver Jimmy Devaux. Dismissed at odds of 12-1, the Geoff Howles-trained speedster stopped the clock in 1:55.3 for the Open score after making a sweeping move late in the mile. Longshot Kyle Major (Jason Ryan) finished second while the favorite Rock To Glory (Bruce Aldrich Jr) had to settle for third after being shuffled back until getting loose late in the stretch. Despite it being a six horse Open because of two scratches, the exacta returned $116.50 and the trifecta came back a hefty $1,024. There have still been no two-time winners this season in the Saturday feature.   Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at the Spa with a matinee beginning at 12:45pm. By Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

He may not be the biggest Standardbred that ever looked through a bridle but, for sure, Talldarknhandsome is one of the biggest. The 6-year-old altered son of Life Sign, who's every bit of 17 hands, scored his second seasonal triumph at Monticello Raceway when the pacer turned back seven others en route to a 1:57.3 victory. Jimmy Marohn, Jr. was at the controls for trainer Danny Gill and he sent the 'equine giant' to lead from the two-hole and they made every pole a winning one to score an easy three-length triumph over Spectacular Man, driven by Jimmy Devaux. Haroun Hanover was a close third for Jason Ryan. Marohn, who's all of 5feet, 5 inches tall and 135 pounds, was asked how can he see where he's going when he's up behind Talldarknhandsome? "It's not easy. He's a big boy. Sometimes I have to look between his legs," he said with a laugh and then added, "No, not really, but I do have to look from side to side to see where I'm going. He likes to be on the front end and so do I. When we're on the lead there's (sic) no horses in front us to worry about." Talldarknhandsome's victory followed a sixth and seventh place finish in his previous two starts. After the race trainer Danny Gill was asked how come his horse was up the track in his last two starts and went such a good mile today, to which he replied with a laugh; "He's a Life Sign." Asked what he meant by that, Gill responded, "I had a few and found that Life Signs (off-spring) are only good on the front end, and the last two times he raced, Talldarknhandsome started from the outside." A quick check of the official program verified that in Talldarknhandsome last two outings he raced from post positions six and eight, respectively, was never a factor in the race and finished sixth and seventh, well in the rears. Prior to that, Marohn, Jr. put him on the front end he was a three length 1:58 winner. "That's exactly what I mean. If he's not on the lead he wouldn't pass a parked car, and being (on the) inside today Jimmy sent him down the road", Gill said in response to why his horse raced well today. Owned by Ed Hall and James Hall Talldarknhandsome paid just $2.50 for win. That victory was one of four that Jimmy Marohn, Jr. had on the nine-race card. He followed Talldarknhandsome's triumph with a victory behind Arden Homestead's trotter, Drill Sergeant Sam ($43.00) in 2:02.1 and then scored with another Gill-trained, Ed Hall-owned pacer, Community Sprit ($5.10) in 2:00. Marohn capped his day with a 1:57.4 victory with Benny Eggars' promising 4 -year-old, Thisguysarockstar ($23.80). by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

The longshots just kept coming on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. A week full of big price winners continued in the $18,190 Open Pace as Spinarama (Cam's Card Shark) parlayed his pocket ride to victory in 1:54.2. The Allan Johnson trainee was dismissed at odds of 34-1 despite being the runner up in the previous week's feature. Austin Siegelman sat behind the five-year-old pacer as he pounced on front-running Mystical Valentine (Jason Ryan) in the stretch to record his first ever win in the local open. Mystical Valentine was a close second while Village Jackson (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot. The upset victory for Spinarama was the seventh winner of the weekend that prevailed at odds of 20-1 or higher. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

It's deja vu all over again at Monticello Raceway with a local pacer, Diamond Tiara, vaulting to the top of the North American leaderboard after she notched her ninth seasonal triumph yesterday (April 7) at the Sullivan County (NY) oval. With Jimmy Taggart, Jr. again at the controls Diamond Tiara wired the field to score in a time of 1:58.1. Last year another Monticello-based pacer, Tracys Song, led the North America in wins at this time, and nearly all season-long, and finished the season with 21 victories-- 18 of them consecutive. Not to say that Diamond Tiara will win 21 races this year but at this time her prowess can be compared to Tracys Song's proficiency last year when she, too, led the continent in races won. On Monday, after starting from the two-hole Diamond Tiara was looped on the first turn by Red Eye Blue Chip (Jimmy Devaux). But no sooner did Devaux and his pacer take command Taggart was out and going with Diamond Tiara and they had the lead at the field passed the first stanza in :28.2 When the field headed to the halfway point, Jason Ryan moved May Night out to challenge Diamond Tiara and the two pacers raced as a team around the clubhouse turn and up the backside. But on the final turn Diamond Tiara put it in another gear and opened daylight on her competition and coasted home an easy two-length winner in a seasonal best of 1:58.1. Red Eye Blue had the benefit of a two hole journey but she couldn't make up any ground on the leader in the lane and finished second. May Night was a close third. It's usually hard to get Jimmy Taggart, Jr. to say much but he did offer; "She (Diamond Tiara) raced good again today. She's got quick speed and likes to be on the front-end." He hesitated for a moment and as he was walking away he added; "She's better than these (her competition)" Owned by Philip Schultz and trained by Mike Watson, Diamond Tiara paid $3.30 for win. With her latest victory--her fifth consecutive-- Diamond Tiara, a 7 year -old daughter of McArdle, is joined at the top of the charts by Rockin Rambaran another pacer who has nine wins in Canada at Rideau Carleton Raceway. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Electrofire (Electric Stena) became the fourth different horse to win the Open Pace in four weeks at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Shawn Gray piloted the Jennifer Lappe-trained pacer who was taking his first crack at the $17,000 feature at the Spa. The seven year old pacer flashed quite a bit of gate speed and captured control in the early stages of the Open. Electrofire never let up and had plenty left in the tank for a 1:54.3 victory. Mystical Valentine (Jason Ryan) held on for second while Trigger Finger (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot. Nobody hit the pick five for the third consecutive night at Saratoga so there will be a carryover on Sunday afternoon of $3,060. First post time for the matinee card is 12:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

After the best year of his career where his 645 driving victories were tied for second best in North America, Bruce Aldrich, Jr. continues to be a force in the sulky. At Monticello Raceway on Wednesday (Feb.26) he reined four winners on the 10- race card to bring his track leading amount to 55 during the winter season here which has seen many race dates cancelled due to inclement weather. In spite of the fact that he has been consistently hot-handed, one of Aldrich's victories, Real Motivation (2:00.4) in the ninth race, paid $77.00, $84.20 and $15.20 across the board. That day he also reined the won the fourth race with Thunder Seelster ($2.90) in 1:59.2 and the sixth with Sir Dutch ($7.20) in 1:59.4. Aldrich's other victory came behind Working Stiffs where he did a masterful job after spotting the field some 12 lengths at the quarter then usung an overland route from the half to get in contention. But when he wheeled her three-deep on the final turn the mare bobbled but Aldrich got her back on stride and she zoomed by the leaders in the deep stretch to score a 2:00.4 triumph. "The weather has been real tough this winter and we lost a lot of days but still my 55 wins puts me in the top 15 this year( in races won). But now that Saratoga is getting ready to open I believe my win totals will increase since I will again be driving there and at Monticello," Aldrich said. On Wednesday he was in Saratoga to drive qualifying races there and afterward he planned to head to Monticello to drive several horses on the afternoon betting card but he got buttonholed when he had to be scratched off many of his mounts due to unusual traffic on the highways to the Mighty M. "Qualifiers finished late at Saratoga that day and besides getting a late start, traffic was terrible. Sometimes best made plans go awry," he reasoned. Also on the Mighty M Wednesday card the veteran trotter V I P won his fifth race of the fledling season when Jason Ryan guided him to a 2:01.3 victory which ties the trotter with five others for most trotting victories thus far this year. And V I P surely knows how to rack-up wins. Last year the 8 year old altered son of Muscles Yankee won 17 races. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

Lookout Bruce Aldrich, Jr; don't look over your shoulder, Jimmy Marohn, Jr. There's a new kid on the block and he's hungry for winning races. He's Jason Ryan and he's got talent. On the muddy Monticello Raceway card of Tuesday, January 14 Ryan broke out and reined five winners. Asked if he moves up when he drives on a muddy track Ryan answered, "Not particularly, but I get along alright when it rains especially if my horses can go forward." He started the afternoon winning both ends of the early double with a pair of old-timers. He captured the first race with 11 year old Lambretta ($3.70) in a 2:01.2 clocking and came back to cop the second with 13 year old Iwannabesedated ($26.40)in 2:00. His next triumph came in the seventh race behind front -running Johnny Grippa ($3.00) in 2:00.1 and he then proceeded to win the eighth with Threestepstoheaven ($11.20) in 1:58.3. After Ryan scored his fourth victory he was contacted in the paddock and congratulated on his prowess on the afternoon card. He seemed to take his victories as a matter of fact and offered that he thought he could have won four last week when the race card had to be cancelled due to inclement weather. "Winning four races is a whole lot better than thinking you can win four," he added readily, and then was asked if he thought he could win any more on the card. "I have a chance in the 10th (with Machinist) but he' in against a horse (Hickory Louie) that won 13 times last year and he figures to be the best," he said. "But you never know." Lo and behold, Ryan finished the day with a victory behind Machinist ($6.60) when they got up in the final strides to collar Hickory Louis, the 1-2 favorite, in a time of 2:01.1. Ryan, 25, is ready for a break- out season. He now has 14 horses at the Mt. Hope Training Center in Orange County not 30 miles from the Mighty M and just an hour's ride to Yonkers or the Meadowlands. "I'd like to race there in the future but I know I have to pay my dues before I'm able to," Ryan admitted. Asked if he ever had five winners on one racing program before, he laughed and he said: "I darn near won all the races on a card at Sudbury Downs a couple of years. Sudbury is a small track and they had just six races on that card. I won five and was beat a nose in the other." After racing the past few years at smaller tracks and having won 111 races last year and 113 the previous, both from a limited amount of starts, the Prince Edward Island-native is moving up and moving closer to the big money. And he figures to be a player before too long. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway  

The temperature at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday, January 8 barely rose above 13-degrees(F) but it certainly was more conducive to winter racing than the previous day when it never got above 2-degrees(F). Wagering that day was good and after racing fans were greeted by chalk in the first 11 races ,led by three winners driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr., it was bombs away in the final two events on the afternoon card. Low payoffs -save a $10.20 mutuel in race eight-prevailed early to the delight of the chalk players but when Austin Siegelman snuck up the passing lane to score a ahead victory in the 12th race with Samsawinner, hunch bettors were rewarded with a $46.20 mutuel. But that payoff paled after the results of the 13th race were posted. When the judges declared that And We Danced got up for a triumph in the final strides, the 53-1 shot driven by Jason Ryan, the faithful pocketed $108.50 for every two dollar ticket they held. In their contest Siegelman left quickly from the seven hole with Samsawinner and found cover down along the inside but not until they approached the quarter which was trotted in :29.2. From there Siegelman hugged the pylons trotting along in third position. When they reached the top of the stretch and the passing lane opened the 21 year old reinsman aimed Samsawinner for the shortest route to the wire and they trotted by the leader Cashabunch ( Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) and then held off late rallies from Painite (Truman Gale) and Get Chipped (Jimmy Taggart, Jr) to prevail by a head in 2:01.3. It was the first victory of the season and 33rd overall for the 8-year-old Victory Sam gelding whose owned by Woody Hoblitzell and trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr. Ryan's victory with And We Danced resulted with an overland trip from the half. Ryan moved the 5-year-old I Am A Fool gelding second over behind the parked Off Lika Promdress (Austin Siegelman) as the timer flashed :58.4 but luck was in Ryan's corner as Off Lika Prombress carried him all the way to the top of the lane. As they headed for home And We Danced paced by his cover and then held late charging AllAmerican Master (Greg Merton) at bay for a 2:01.2 victory. Owned by Richard Policastro and trained by Anthony Regina, And We Danced returned $108.50, $27.00 and $9.20 across the board and coupled with Allamerican Master , second choice at 2-1, the 5-1 exacta paid $541.00. At days end Mighty M bettors, both on and off track, wagered a total of $700,111 on the Wednesday card. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway  

Although it took longer than anticipated to present the eight legs of the Mighty M’s Heritage Drivers Series-2013, the sixth edition of the Maple Leaf Mile will go to post Wednesday afternoon, November 20. The eighth and final preliminary leg of Monticello Raceway’s event for drivers of different ethnicities will feature those of Canadian extraction and the winner of the Maple Leaf Mile will be eligible to participate in the series finale-the All-America Cup- on Wednesday, December 18. Last year the Maple Leaf Mile was a trot won by Jimmy Devaux and the Canadian-owned Gate Keeper in a time of 2:02.4. This year the race is for pacers. However, as luck would have it, Devaux has drawn the early line favorite in the Wednesday contest. He’ll handle Jack and Rose Deluca’s, JB’s ATM (5-2), from post two. The Godeffroy, NY resident is a former Monticello Raceway driving champion and has reined 358 winners this year which ranks him 21st on the North American leaderboard. Thus far in his career Devaux has recorded 3409 career driving victories. But it won’t be a cakewalk for Devaux. Mighty M newcomers, Aaron Byron and Jason Ryan will be formidable foes. The former will guide  Mark and Phyllis Liebowitz’s Integrity (9-2)  from post three while the latter will be up behind Most Happy Stables’ Whata Rock (5-1) and leave from the five-hole. Other drivers of Canadian heritage who’ll be in the race include: Peter Lutman III, Keith Haase, Truman Gale, Jacques Primeau and Mike Doherty. Ronnie Wrenn Jr., the leading driver in North America, who was heralded to be among the drivers in the event, called on Monday and said he won’t not be able to participate. The Maple Leaf Mile will be the seventh race on the 13-race card on Wednesday (November 20). First race post will be at 12:25pm with the approximate time of the Maple Leaf Mile at 2:05pm. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway            

It isn’t often that Monticello Raceway gets a chance to have the leading driver in North America compete here. However,  that will change on Wednesday, November 20th  when  the Northfield Park sensation Ronnie Wrenn Jr. takes a trip to the Mighty M to compete in the track’s  final leg of it Heritage Drivers  Series, the Maple Leaf Mile, for drivers of Canadian heritage. At last count Wrenn has driven 597 winners and has 416 seconds and 360 thirds in 2665 starts with a  UDR of .363. Wrenn’s win total is some 26 more than runner-up Dave Palone’s 571 and 56 more than Tim Tetrick’s  541. Wrenn has been racing mostly at Northfield Park although one day a week he’s been traveling to Batavia Downs  to compete there. He recently called the Monticello Raceway publicity office and offered to race in the Maple Leaf Mile. “My dad called me and said Monticello is looking for drivers of Canadian heritage and since we have Canada in our background why don’t you give them a call he told me, which I did, “the younger   Wrenn related. “ I  told their publicity office that  I’d to come to Monticello and drive (in the Canadian race) but I think you can understand it’s a long drive from Northfield to Monticello but if I can get quite a quite a few drives that day I’ll be there. Just please let me know if that’s possible.” Eric Warner , the Mighty M’s director of racing  thought that Wrenn’s request was reasonable. “We’ll do our best to get him (Wrenn) as many drives as possible that afternoon,” Warner said when the question was posed to him. “Of course  we’ll need the cooperation of the local trainers but with Wrenn’s record and talent I don’t think there will be too much trouble finding  drives for him. At least I hope not.” If Wrenn decides to come he’ll be competing against some talented local drivers whose background goes back to Canada in one way or another. Among those Warner has already received confirmation from include last year’s winner, Jimmy Devaux, and two recent  members of the local colony, Jason Ryan and  Aaron Byron. Warner also said that  Jacques Primeau and Keith Haase  can be counted on but he still needs eight driers to fill the race. Anyone of  Canadian heritage  would would like to drive  in the  Maple Leaf Mile,  is asked to contact Warner in the race office  by calling 845.794.4100x557. Or they can contact the tracks publicity department at ext. 455. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway                                                     

The final preliminary event in Monticello Raceway's year-long Heritage Drivers Series will be presented on Wednesday afternoon, November 20 with the Maple Leaf Mile, a race that features drivers of Canadian descent. The winner of that race will join the winners of the seven other prelims in the series finale in early December , dubbed the All-American Pace.. Currently the raceway's director of racing, Eric Warner, is in the process of seeking drivers of Canadian descent to compete in the Maple Leaf Mile. "We have quite of few drivers of Canadian heritage currently racing with us but we will need eight in order to have a full field," Warner said. Among the drivers of Canadian heritage currently racing here of whom Warner was referring to is last year's champ, Jimmy Devaux ,along with Jacques Primeau, Terry Finch, and Jimmy Doherty Jr. Last year Devaux drove Gate Keeper to a 2:02.4 trotting victory in the Maple Leaf Mile. In recent weeks, two Canadians, Jason Ryan and Aaron Byron, have joined our driving colony and will be good editions to the Maple Leaf Mile if they are available on November 20. Any driver of Canadian descent interested in competing in the Maple Leaf Mile is asked to please contact Warner in the racing office at 845-794-4100 ext. 557. Or they can call our publicity office at ext. 455. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway  

Monticello, NY - It seems that nearly every year young talent passes through Monticello Raceway. Of course  many racetracks can make that claim but since its inception the Mighty M has been a stepping stone into the metropolitan New York-area racetracks. In recent years,  Jordan Stratton, dazzled’em in Monticello when he became the youngest  driver ever to win a dash  title and now is among the leaders at the Hilltop oval.  And Jimmy Marohn, Jr. the Mighty M’s leading driver last season, showed his mettle when  beat all the ‘big boys’ in a driving championship  at Vernon and Tioga Downs. And for young Jimmy the move to the ‘big time’ won’t be far away. Furthermore, Bruce Aldrich, Jr., who won more races here in the first decade of the 21st Century than any other reinsman is driving this season at both  Monticello and Saratoga Raceways and  he’s having a banner year; currently with 453 wins which ranks him fifth in North America. Now,  newcomer Jason Ryan  is starting off like gangbusters. On  the Tuesday card of October 8th the 25- year- old  Canadian driver won three races on the card and he has opened the railbird’s eyes with his talent. Since coming here a few weeks ago, after 21 starts Ryan has had nine wins, one second and two thirds  for UDR over .500. He won the second race Tuesday when he guided Anthony Artuso’s, Threestepstoheaven ($3.60), to a 1:56.4 triumph and then won the fourth with Allard Racing and Yves Sarrazin’s behind UFDragons Rocket($3.30) also in a  time of 1:56.4. His third driving victory came in the weekly pacing feature  when he got  Anatolia Racing and Allard Racing’s Big Bay Point ($3.50) home first in a 1:54.4 clocking. Last week Ryan claimed Haroun Hanover, the 20-time winner this year  and the pacer  made his first start from a new barn and after cutting the mile he faded and fished second  to M D Bee Bee in 1:56.2, the horse that Zeke Parker won his 11,039thrace with made him  the sixth winningest driver  all time in North America . After his hat trick Ryan was asked what are his current plans?  “ I’m doing good here and I plan on staying  all winter,” he told the publicity department.. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway

On Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 1) Ed and James Hall’s veteran pacer, Haroun Hanover, won for the 20th time this season when Jimmy Marohn, Jr. guided him to a 1:57.3 victory in a $5000 claiming pace at Monticello Raceway and much to trainer Danny Gill’s surprise the horse was claimed by Jason Ryan. “You always know when you put a horse in a claiming race someone could claim him but it really caught me by surprise when they claimed Haroun (Hanover) from us today,” Gill said.” After stating from the pole position Haroun Hanover was circled on the first turn but Marohn retook before the quarter and then they raced in front as they usually did. However as the pacer approached the three quarters most of his competition swarmed in on him and it appeared that Haroun Hanover would fold on the paddock turn. But incredibly the pacer seemed to reach down for more and when the field scooted off the turn Haroun opened daylight and hung on extremely game to turn back the $5000 claiming field to win by a neck over Shark Income (Jimmy Taggart,.Jr.) who enjoyed a covered two hole trip after he circled Haroun Hanover on the first turn. In his previous start in a $7500 claimer where he finished fourth this race was the first time since very early in the season that Haroun Hanover was in for a $5000 tag. In early September Haroun Hanover was in for a $20,000 tag but he was scratched from that race because he was unmanageable in the post parade when he ran away with Marohn and circled the track at top speed three times before he was stopped. Because of that occurrence the judges understandably scratched him. The pacer had to qualify before he was allowed to race again which he did and after his first start for money again he led all the way and tired and finished fourth. “He’s gone some very tough miles this year and he’s getting tired so we put him in for $5000,” Gill said about Haroun Hanover. “But I wonder why someone would take him now after 36 starts. You’d figure maybe earlier in this year someone might claim him, but now? “He was always been a handful and I’m sure you can understand that when a horse wins 20 times you can get attached to him. I did, and I certainly have mixed feelings about losing him, after all he earned $54,000 racing right here at Monticello.” by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway  

COLUMBUS, MN. - Despite a rain storm throughout the middle portion of the program, another huge throng of fans turned out for the final Running Aces program of the season and witnessed eleven Minnesota-sired State Champions crowned in $20,000 races for the various age, sex and gait divisions.  Running Aces average nightly handle increased for the sixth consecutive season since starting live racing in 2008, this year by 5%. Driver John De Long copped four races on the lucrative season finale, three for trainer Justin Anfinson.  Leading driver Nick Roland managed to capture a pair of victories as did Tim Maier, who was also awarded the leading trainer award for the meet. She's A Foxie Lady (De Long) won the two-year-old filly trot over Babygetyershineon (Jenni King) and CD's SOS (James Yoder).  She earned almost $36,000 for owner Jesse De Long by scoring four wins and three place finishes in ten outings. Delco Voracious (De Long) broke her own track record besting Flick A Fly (Rick Magee) and Dakota Law (Steve Wiseman) in 1:55.2 in the freshman pacing fillies split.  Also owned by Jesse De Long and trained by Anfinson, the outstanding filly has won six of eight starts and banked over $50,000. The two-year-old trotting colts division was won by Chewy Dunkerton (De Long) over ML's Journey (Craig Banks) and Al-Mar Passion (Magee) in 2:03.  With three wins and seven seconds in ten tries, the winner has bankrolled over $45,000 for owner Benjamin De Long. Cyber Cowboy (Maier) scored an upset in the freshman colt pace for owner Margaret Epp and trainer Dan Epp.  It was just the second seasonal score for the 1:59.1 winner, but he has finished in-the-money in eight of ten tries and banked $18,704 thus far.  Wounded Warrior (Mark Mintun) was the runnerup with Im So Handsome (Wiseman) getting the show dough. Just three three-year-old trotting fillies went to post in their $20,000 event with Rails Of Victory (Roland) besting Diamond Alliance (Lemoyne Svendsen) and Coffee Black (Ryan Lems) in 2:00.3.  Roland also owns the filly who has captured seven of 15 in her first year of racing and banked about $38,000. Razzle Be Dazzled (Magee) has been the queen of the sophomore pacing fillies class all season and didn't disappoint in the championship, winning in 1:58.2 over Rearin And Ready (Jason Ryan) and Whata Smoothie (Kerry Banks).  The Van Otterloo Stable owns the winner who has managed 11 wins in 14 starts and earned $60,000 in her second season.  David Flinn has conditioned her throughout the summer. Mnia Lightnpower (Maier) went best in the sophomore trotting colts split downing Al-Mar Delrailer (Roland) and French Eclipse (King) in 2:01.4.  Janice Molgaard and Dick McDanel own the state champion who has five wins and $42,000 bankrolled on the season.  He is tutored by Joel McDanel. Circle Me Bert (Lems) was an upset winner in the sophomore pacing colts division, besting Ben N Al (Yoder) and favored Reds Place (De Long) in 1:56.2.  Merlin and Kyle Van Otterloo own the winner and Wolfswinkel Pacers Inc. own the runnerup, but both are trained by Gene Miller.  Circle Me Bert more than doubled his lifetime earnings with his half of the $20,000 purse. 20,000 championships are also staged for older state-breds.  In the trotting division RA's Shakenbake (Roland) was a 2:00.3 winner over Switcheroo (Magee) and Rich Dessert (Maier).  Owned by the Trot Away Stable, the former two-year-old state champ was winless in his five-year-old campaign before his upset neck victory. Country Jewel (De Long) was part of a three-horse Roland Stable entry and managed a 1:54.4 score over Blazing Fury (Magee) and stablemate I Do It Myself (Roland).  The five-year-old mare, owned by Roland, won for the twelvth time in her career and increased her bankroll to $58,000.  The older horses and gelding pace was captured by recently claimed It's Getting Hairy, with Steve Wiseman driving for trainer Tim Maier and owner Denise Maier.  The four-year-old, plucked for $10,500 two starts back, bested Restless Yankee (Roland) and Ya U Bet Cha (Yoder) in an impressive 1:52.3.  It was the sixth season score for the winner who now boasts almost $70,000 in lifetime earnings. by Gregg Keidel

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