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Both McWicked and Atlanta showed different harness racing tactics that worked Saturday night at Scioto Downs as McWicked won the $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Pace and Atlanta won the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot. And both races took the photo finish camera to declare the winner. The feature event was the Ewart Memorial and it was Filibuster Hanover (Chris Page) trading the early lead with This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) to the opening quarter mile in :25.3 with This Is The Plan on the lead. Western Fame and driver Dan Noble attacking first-over with Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron) grabbing the second-over spot past the half mile in :52.4. They raced four-in, five-out down the backstretch to the three-quarters in 1:20 as horses began to fan out for the stretch drive to the finish. In the stretch, Western Fame starts to surge to the lead as a wall of horses came at him and it was driver Brian Sears and McWicked weaving their way through the field and getting up at the wire by a long nose in 1:49. Dontellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) and Western Fame finished in a dead-heat for second with Courtly Choice (James MacDonald) a neck back in fourth place. It was the first time that any horse has won the Jim Ewart Memorial twice. It was McWicked’s fourth win this year for the eight-year-old stallion by McArdle and 38th career win for trainer Casie Coleman and owner SSG Stable of North Boston, NY. He paid $6.20 to win. “I was still asking him for pace just keeping up,” winning driver Brian Sears said after the race. “He’s an amazing horse." Atlanta, with Yannick Gingras in the sulky, returned to her winning ways with a close call in the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot. After taking the lead away from Mission Accepted (Chris Page) by the opening quarter mile in :27.1, Atlanta settled in on the lead as Guardian Angel AS (Tim Tetrick) started up first-over by the half in a mild :56. Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) had grabbed the second-over trip. Down the backstretch, Atlanta held firmly to the lead as the pace picked up and Guardian Angel AS could not gain ground on the race leader past the three-quarters in 1:24. Then as they came down the stretch, Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svandsted) found room and came charging up the passing lane but Atlanta was a step ahead, winning by a long nose in 1:51.4. The lone two mares in the race finishing one-two. Mission Accepted was third. It was a track record mile for four-year-old trotting mares and made Atlanta only the second mare ever to win the Charlies Hill. The daughter of Chapter Seven posted her seventh win on the year in eleven starts for trainer Ron Burke. She is owned by Crawford Farms, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor and paid $5.80 to win. Atlanta was a $10,000 supplement to the Charlie Hill Memorial. "Honestly I was kind of measuring a little bit late," Gingras said after the race. "Ake [Svanstedt and Plunge Blue Chip] was coming kind of fast. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink reported this morning that World champion 4-year-old pacer Lather Up has been scratched from Saturday night’s $440,000 James Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs. Co-owner George Teague Jr. told Saturday morning that he was being cautious and scratched Lather Up “sick.”   To read the rest of the article click here.   From  

Courtly Choice and Guardian Angel AS head to Scioto Downs off big wins this past weekend in Canada and both will see familiar faces when they line up behind the starting gate for their respective stakes events Saturday at the central Ohio racetrack. Courtly Choice won the Canadian Pacing Derby on Aug. 31 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and will meet six rivals from that race in Saturday's $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers. The group includes the horses that finished in positions two through six in the CPD - Lather Up, Western Fame, This Is The Plan, Jimmy Freight, and McWicked - as well as eighth-place Filibuster Hanover. Guardian Angel AS won the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk and will see two foes from that event in Saturday's $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters, runner-up Atlanta and third-place finisher Marion Marauder. The Charlie Hill Memorial is the 13th race on Scioto's 16-race card, with an approximate post time of 10:30 p.m., and will be followed by the Ewart. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the evening's first race. Courtly Choice is making his second trip to the Buckeye State and will look to make it as successful as the first. Last year, he won the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, one of 10 victories he posted in 2018. Among his other triumphs was the Meadowlands Pace. This year, the 4-year-old son of Art Major-Lady Ashlee Ann has won four of 12 starts and earned $321,100, pushing his career total to $1.28 million. In addition to the Canadian Pacing Derby, he won the Commodore Barry Invitational on May 26 and a preliminary round of the Graduate Series on May 4. Following the Commodore Barry, Courtly Choice was winless in six races but has rebounded and won two of his last three starts. "During the summer, he was sort of fading coming for home and bearing out and not finishing his miles off as much as we would have liked," trainer Blake MacIntosh said. "Even (in the Commodore Barry) he wasn't as strong as I would have liked. He wasn't himself. I know he's had an OK year, but he just hasn't had the year we expected him to have." MacIntosh hopes two factors could help Courtly Choice enjoy success the remainder of the season. First, the horse battled a low white blood cell count earlier this summer, but it has returned to normal. Second, an equipment adjustment seems to have made the horse more comfortable on the racetrack and improved his ability to better finish races. His final quarter mile in the CPD was :25.3, which was the best in the race. "Hopefully he's peaking at the right time and we can get back in the running for aged horse of the year and go from there," MacIntosh said. "Lather Up has been massive all year. You've got McWicked, Jimmy (Freight), This Is The Plan; it's a tough year. It's a stellar bunch. I bet this is one of the toughest aged groups in a long time." Lather Up, who is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Ewart Memorial, saw a four-race win streak ended by Courtly Choice's upset at odds of 34-1 in the Canadian Pacing Derby. The streak began with a victory in the Graduate Series championship in 1:46 to equal the fastest mile in history and continued with the William R. Haughton Memorial, Sam McKee Memorial, and Dan Patch Stakes. McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year, and 2017 Ewart winner, has two stakes victories this season and is the 9-2 second choice followed by Courtly Choice at 5-1. "You look at those horses (in the Ewart) and there's not one horse in that race that couldn't win it," MacIntosh said. "There are 10 horses and 10 could win it. It comes down to whoever gets the right trip and has the most horse on the end of it." In the Charlie Hill Memorial, Guardian Angel AS is the 8-5 morning-line favorite despite drawing post eight in the nine-horse field. Atlanta, who will start from post seven, is the 5-2 second choice. "It's a tough spot, but I've got a good horse," said Tim Tetrick, who drives Guardian Angel AS. "If I can get him close turning for home, I think I've got a good shot to win. He's so versatile. He can get off the (starting gate) really fast and he likes his work. "His gait is amazing. He's got so much athletic ability and covers so much ground. He feels as good as any trotter you'll ever sit behind. He's very pretty on the racetrack. When you watch from the side, he's definitely going to catch your eye. He's gorgeous." Guardian Angel AS, a 5-year-old son of Archangel-Provide AS, has won seven of 10 races this season and earned $619,434. In addition to the Maple Leaf Trot, the stallion has captured the Spirit of Massachusetts, Cleveland Trotting Classic, and Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational. For his career, Guardian Angel AS has won 23 of 50 races and earned $1.13 million for trainer Anette Lorentzon. "He's done everything we've asked him to do and he's having a great 5-year-old season, that's for sure," Tetrick said. "Anette and (her sister) Anna have done a great job with him. They haven't over-raced him and raced him where they needed to. They've given him every opportunity to come back at (ages) 5, 6, and 7 to be a great horse." Tetrick has driven Guardian Angel AS in nine of his 10 races this season and 19 times overall, sitting behind the horse at least once every year. "He's grown so much, it's amazing," Tetrick said. "At 2 and 3, he wouldn't always fight a horse. He had tons of ability, but if they got to his number he'd let them beat him. Now, if they get to him, he just takes off more. He's really grown that way. "He's gotten a lot tougher and more mentally stable. It's pretty cool to see a horse grow that much." The Charlie Hill Memorial includes three horses to have been named Trotter of the Year: Atlanta, who received the honor in 2018; Marion Marauder, in 2016; and Pinkman, in 2015. Following is the field for the Charlie Hill Memorial. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-M/L 1-Bridge To Jesse's-Trace Tetrick-Roger Welch-20/1 2-I Know My Chip-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Walter Haynes Jr.-25/1 3-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-9/2 4-Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-6/1 5-Mission Accepted-Chris Page-Ron Burke-8/1 6-Pinkman-Brett Miller-Per Engblom-10/1 7-Atlanta-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2 8-Guardian Angel AS-Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-8/5 9-Top Flight Angel-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-20/1 Following is the field for the Jim Ewart Memorial. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-M/L 1-Jimmy Freight-Scott Zeron-Andrew Harris-6/1 2-McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-9/2 3-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-15/1 4-Western Fame-Dan Noble-Dan Noble-8/1 5-This Is The Plan-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6/1 6-Filibuster Hanover-Chris Page-Ron Burke-15/1 7-Courtly Choice-James MacDonald-Blake MacIntosh-5/1 8-Lather Up-Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis-9/5 9-Always A Prince-David Miller-Tyler George-20/1 10-Hitman Hill-Aaron Merriman-Chris Oakes-20/1 Note: Hitman Hill starts from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

This Week: Jim Ewart Memorial and Charlie Hill, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; Simcoe Stakes, Champlain Stakes, Peaceful Way eliminations and William Wellwood Memorial eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and Miss Versatility leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit harness racing action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 5) at Mohawk Park with a pair of C$30,000 eliminations in the Peaceful Way for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Sept. 6) program offers two C$30,000 eliminations in the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$174,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the C$171,057 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters. On Saturday (Sept. 7), there will be two divisions in the C$189,597 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the C$180,876 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers and a single division in the C$168,557 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit racing at Tioga Downs will be held on Friday (Sept. 6) with a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. On Saturday (Sept. 7) Scioto Downs will host the $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers and the $220,000 Charlie Hill for older trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway hosted a pair of Triple Crown races on Saturday night (Aug. 31) in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot and the $500,000 Messenger Stake. Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) rolled home to capture the Yonkers Trot in a North American and track record 1:53.3 and American Mercury went up the inside to best Bettor's Wish in the Messenger Stake in 1:51.3. Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) rolled home to capture the Yonkers Trot in a North American and track record 1:53.3. Mike Lizzi photo. Trained by Marcus Melander, Gimpanzee ($2.60) made his bid for the lead in the Yonkers Trot first-over prior to the :28 quarter-mile pole. The son of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows grabbed the bit and ran off with this event, posting subsequent fractions of :56.4 and 1:25 before cruising home in 1:53.3. Hambletonian victor Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) closed strongly for second after an overland journey, with Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) hitting the wire in third. "Since day one when I brought him here he lays down and turns over like a motorcycle," said Melander. "This is an amazing race to win and I don't think there is a better 3-year-old on a half-mile track." An undefeated Dan Patch Award winner and New York Sire Stakes champion in 2018, Gimpanzee first tasted defeat when he finished fourth and third, respectively, in the Hambletonian eliminations and final. Gimpanzee is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. He is now 16-14-0-1 and has earned more than $1.1 million. After taking control and leading through fractions of :27, :55.3, and 1:23.3, Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn) was outlasted by an inside push to the wire by American Mercury (Tyler Buter) in a time of 1:51.3 in the Messenger. U S Captain was a very game third after a first-over trip. "He was super sharp coming into the race," said Buter. "I came off Dexter's helmet there and he kicked off the gas. I think that was the winning move." Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice, American Mercury is a son of American Ideal-Tessa Hanover. The 3-year-old gelding is trained by Chris Oakes. He sports a lifetime record of 17-9-3-3 and a bankroll of $508,463. American Mercury paid $16.20 to win. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 806; 2. Yannick Gingras - 611; 3. David Miller - 521; 4. Dexter Dunn - 479; 5. Brian Sears - 394. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 723; 2. Tony Alagna - 371; 3. Marcus Melander - 319; 4. Jim King Jr. - 299; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 293. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 192; 2. Brad Grant - 142.1; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 134.6; 4. Courant Inc. - 132.5; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 122.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at Mohawk and Tioga Downs. Mohawk will host the finals of the Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, as well as the Canadian Trotting Classic, the Elegantimage and eliminations in the Milton, Metro Pace, and She's A Great Lady. Tioga Downs will card another leg of the Kindergarten Series for freshman trotters and pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Columbus, OH — Scioto Downs is closing in on the conclusion of its 90-day race meet on Saturday (Sept. 7) and is going out with a bang. Closing night harness racing features the Charlie Hill and Jim Ewart memorial races alongside the Ohio Sire Stakes consolation races. This season Scioto Downs has raced for $15 million in purses, set track records and gained memories for all involved. Part of the main event on Saturday is the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial race. The Charlie Hill will showcase some of the best trotters in the sport, with a field of nine very talented trotters taking the spotlight behind the gate. Scioto had two horses supplement into the race at $10,000 apiece. Wonder girl Atlanta supplemented into the Hill where she drew post seven with familiar hands at the lines, Yannick Gingras. Atlanta is coming off a huge second in the Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park last week, getting beat by Guardian Angel As. These two will have another chance to battle it out down the stretch as Guardian Angel As takes post eight. Ake Svanstedt also supplemented Plunge Blue Chip, who drew post four. $220,000 Charlie Hill Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Bridge To Jesse’s-Trace Tetrick-Roger Welch-20/1 2. I Know My Chip-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Walter Haynes Jr.-25/1 3. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-9/2 4. Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-6/1 5. Mission Accepted-Chris Page-Ron Burke-8/1 6. Pinkman-Brett Miller-Per Engblom-10/1 7. Atlanta-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2 8. Guardian Angel As-Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-8/5 9. Top Flight Angel-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-20/1 The second main event of the evening is the 14th race, the Jim Ewart Memorial. The Ewart showcases the sport’s top pacers as we bring 10 of them together to battle it out for $440,000. With tons of talent between this group there will be plenty to keep your eye on. An Ohio-bred favorite, Lather Up, makes his way back to the Buckeye state. Lather Up supplemented for $20,000 to be a part of history. Last year, he was the 3-year-old Ohio Sire Stakes pacing champion, and has gone on to have a phenomenal 4-year-old season, equaling the all-age world record mile of 1:46 set by Always B Miki. Jimmy Freight for trainer Andrew Harris drew post position one. Jimmy Freight has put up some good miles this season and is hanging in there with the best. This post draw is definitely going to play into his favor as he has the gate speed to leave and stay on the front end where he likes to be. Courtly Choice is coming off a huge upset win in the Canadian Pacing Derby over Lather up and Western Fame and will have a rematch on the five-eighth-mile track. $440,000 Jim Ewart Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Jimmy Freight-Scott Zeron-Andrew Harris-6/1 2. McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-9/2 3. Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-15/1 4. Western Fame-Dan Noble-Dan Noble-8/1 5. This Is The Plan-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6/1 6. Filibuster Hanover-Chris Page-Ron Burke-15/1 7. Courtly Choice-James MacDonald-Blake MacIntosh-5/1 8. Lather Up-Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis-9/5 9. Always A Prince-David Miller-Tyler George-20/1 10. Hitman Hill-Aaron Merriman-Chris Oakes-20/1 Each division of the OSS consolations will go for $75,000 which will showcase 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and pacers, as well as 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and pacers. The older Ohio sired mare and horse/gelding pacers will also get in on the action. Post time for closing night at Scioto Downs will be at 6:30 p.m. by Taylor Johnston, for Scioto Downs

Columbus, OH --- On Saturday evening (Sept. 8) at Eldorado Scioto Downs, Split The House (Aaron Merriman) demonstrated why he is the defending Breeders Crown champion with a 1:49.1 triumph over Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) in the $250,000 Jim Ewart Memorial. Merriman and his charge stated their case when leaving with conviction from post position six. Nuclear Dragon, however, snatched the front to lead the field through a sharp :26.2 first quarter-mile.Filibuster Hanover (Tony Hall) was third, with Western Fame (Tyler Smith) and favored McWicked (David Miller) dead-heating for fourth on the sloppy track. Noble continued to sulky-sit as Nuclear Dragon paced his splits in :53.2 and 1:20.4. It appeared the 6-year-old gelding was on his way to his first Grand Circuit victory. That is until a resurgent Split The House rallied on the rail to win by a neck and collect his second victory of the season in nine starts and 14th in 39 career efforts. Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Split The House is trained by Chris Oakes. He has now earned $306,846 in 2018 and $913,179 lifetime. He paid $12.20 to win, while Nuclear Dragon was $9.20 to place and Filibuster Hanover $17.40 to show. by Kim French, for the USTA

McWicked is back to defend his title in Saturday's $250,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers at Scioto Downs, where he will face the hottest horse at the central Ohio oval, Nuclear Dragon. Nuclear Dragon has won his two most recent starts at Scioto, both in the Open, by a total of 9-1/4 lengths for trainer-driver Dan Noble. His 1:48.2 win on Aug. 11 is tied for the fastest mile of the year on a five-eighths-mile track and he heads to the Ewart off a 1:48.3 victory on Sept. 1. Sandwiched between those races, the 6-year-old gelding won the Gene Riegle Memorial by 4-3/4 lengths at the Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio. The Ewart is Nuclear Dragon's first appearance in a Grand Circuit stakes. "I think the horse is in maybe the best form he's ever been in," said Noble, who is the leading driver at Scioto Downs and ranks fourth in the trainer standings. "He's definitely a very fast horse, and I think he's got some more in there. This was one way to find out, put him in this race to see kind of what he really is." Noble, who took over the training and driving of Nuclear Dragon in August, said the Ewart would be a gauge whether to supplement the horse to the Sept. 28 Dayton Pacing Derby. The cost to supplement is $15,000. "We've been pretty high on him," Noble said. "He's been a pleasure to be around. He's a nice little horse and does everything you ask of him. He's got a nice demeanor. You can tell when he's having a good day and a bad day. When he's having a bad day, he doesn't play as much in his stall. Lately, in the last two-and-a-half weeks, he's been doing a lot of playing and is happy every day when you go out." For his career, Nuclear Dragon has won 21 of 94 races and earned $271,648. He has won 16 of those races and $227,525 since owner Richard Mishkin bought the horse in September 2016. Nuclear Dragon will start the Ewart from post No. 10, which is in the second tier behind Western Joe in post one. Nuclear Dragon is 9-2 on the morning line, behind 3-1 favorite McWicked and 4-1 Western Joe. "I was disappointed when I saw the 10 hole," Noble said. "But the horse I'm trailing, he can get out of there very well. I feel that I should land in a good spot early in the race." McWicked enters the Ewart off a win in last week's Canadian Pacing Derby at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The 7-year-old stallion has won seven of 11 races this season and is the sport's leading money-earner this year with $885,864. For his career, he has won 29 of 85 starts and $3.20 million for owner S S G Stables. The Canadian Pacing Derby was McWicked's first start following a three-week layoff to deal with a quarter crack in one of his hooves. "Everything is really good," trainer Casie Coleman said. "He had no issues after the last race. He's sound on it. He's been wearing a bar shoe, but I'll race him in a regular shoe. He trained in (the bar shoe) yesterday morning. He trained very good, I was really happy with him. He probably doesn't need to train with the bar shoe, but we're trying to be as cautious as can be because I don't want it to become an issue." McWicked's win in last year's Ewart came in his first appearance at the track. Saturday will be his second. "He's batting a thousand so far," Coleman said. "Hopefully he comes out of there batting a thousand." Saturday's card at Scioto also includes the Ohio Sire Stakes championships and a match race between harness racing's all-time richest horse Foiled Again and local favorite Lucky Lime. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). Following is the field in post-position order for the Ewart Memorial. Introduced in 2013, the race honors the late Jim Ewart, who was the race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976 through 2002. Ewart, who worked as a race secretary at 18 different tracks in North America, plus Australia and New Zealand, died in 2012. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Western Joe-Chris Page-Christopher Choate-4/1 2-McWicked-David Miller-Casie Coleman-3/1 3-Dr J Hanover-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Tony Alagna-10/1 4-All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-12/1 5-Western Fame-Tyler Smith-Jimmy Takter-8/1 6-Split The House-Aaron Merriman-Chris Oakes-6/1 7-Dealt A Winner-Trace Tetrick-Mark Silva-15/1 8-Beckhams Z Tam-Ricky Macomber Jr.-Jamie Macomber-10/1 9-Filibuster Hanover-Tony Hall-Ron Burke-8/1 10-Nuclear Dragon-Dan Noble-Dan Noble-9/2 NOTE: Nuclear Dragon starts from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Columbus, OH --- After Rockin Ron (Matt Kakaley) blew by Mel Mara (Dave Palone) like the 2-1 public selection was standing still it appeared the harness racing  trophy for the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial would clearly belong to his connections. McWicked, however, had other plans as he and Brian Sears unleashed a scintillating rally through the passing lane to score by a neck in 1:49.3 on Saturday (Sept. 9) at Eldorado Scioto Downs. “I won the 3-year-old Breeders Crown championship with this horse,” said Sears. “You have to ask him a little more than you used to when he was younger but he still has that speed.” As expected speedster Luck Be Withyou (post five, Aaron Merriman) immediately left the gate to take command. After leading the field of 10 swift older pacers through an opening quarter-mile in :26.1, Palone gave Mel Mara his cue and the stallion responded with a first-over move to take the lead through a half-mile in :54.2. The world champion’s stint on top would be short lived as Rockin Ron was loaded with pace and overhauled Mel Mara from fourth in a flash shortly before 1:21.3 for the three-quarters was posted on the board. In a moment Rockin Ron (9-2) not only passed Mel Mara but left him completely in his wake by several lengths. As the field strode toward the final turn, it seemed Rockin Ron was going to collect an emphatic victory, as Check Six (Chris Page), Boston Red Rocks (Josh Sutton) and McWicked all had plenty of work to do from sixth, third and fourth, respectively. As Rockin Ron disposed of Check Six and Boston Red Rocks, McWicked was winding up along the inside and gaining on the leader with every inch. As Sears urged him on, the 6-year-old stallion edged past Rockin Ron with a :27.2 final panel to annex the race. Rockin Ron held for second while Boston Red Rocks and Check Six dead-heated for third place. Owned by Ed James and conditioned by Casie Coleman, 2014 Dan Patch Award winner McWicked boosted his career bankroll past the $2 million mark and collected the 22nd win of his 68-race career. The stallion suffered from breathing problems as a 4-year-old which caused him to miss nearly all of the 2015 season and abbreviated his campaign last year. In 2017, McWicked has compiled a record of 21-7-3-2 after those issues were rectified. “Casie has trained him on and off throughout his career and she has really done a great job with him,” Sears, who also won the Jug Preview with Downbytheseaside earlier on the card, said. “I’m just very happy I received the opportunity to drive him tonight and that I was able to win with him again.” Introduced in 2013, the race honors the late Jim Ewart, who was the race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976 through 2002. Ewart, who worked as a race secretary at 18 different tracks in North America, plus Australia and New Zealand, died in 2012. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

If harness racing trainer David Menary has any problem with Sintra, it's that there aren't enough days to enjoy the horse. "He's the kind of horse I wish I could race eight days a week," Menary said. "You don't have too many bad days when you get to take him to the track." Sintra, fresh off his win in last week's Canadian Pacing Derby, leads a group of 10 horses to Saturday's $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers at central Ohio's Scioto Downs. The 4-year-old gelding will start from post No. 8 with Andrew McCarthy sitting in for regular driver Jody Jamieson, who will be racing at Mohawk. The field, assembled based on career earnings, also includes millionaires McWicked, Check Six, Luck Be Withyou, Boston Red Rocks, and Keystone Velocity. Rounding out the group are Mel Mara, Let's Drink On It, Rockin Ron, and Night Pro. Introduced in 2013, the race honors the late Jim Ewart, who was the race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976 through 2002. Ewart, who worked as a race secretary at 18 different tracks in North America, plus Australia and New Zealand, died in 2012. Last year's edition of the Ewart was won by Always B Miki in a track-record 1:47, which also equaled the world record for pacing on a five-eighths-mile oval. Sintra, a son of Mach Three out of the mare Dancin Barefoot, has won eight of 13 races this year and earned $487,607. Jamieson has driven Sintra in every start but one this season. Brett Miller guided Sintra to a six-length win in a preliminary round of the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands in May. "The horse made a great impression on Brett and I loved the result that night," Menary said. "I think he will (make a good impression on McCarthy). I wish Andy wasn't handicapped with a poor starting spot, but hopefully we finish better than where we start." Menary owns Sintra with Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. Gray and Denise Guerriero own Pedro Hanover, who McCarthy drove to victory in Monday's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers. "It's cool," McCarthy said about being asked to drive Sintra. "I got lucky to pick him up. I've watched him race and he's got a heck of a lot of ability. He got a bad spot with the eight hole, but it looks like there's going to be a lot of action. We're just going to have to see how the cards fall and see where we end up." The 31-year-old McCarthy set career highs last year with 277 wins and $4.51 million in purses. This year he won the $242,500 Spirit of Massachusetts Stakes with JL Cruze, giving McCarthy the most lucrative open stakes victory of his career so far. He won two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes titles, with 3-year-old female pacer Caviart Ally joining Pedro Hanover, and had two second-place finishes in PaSS finals. "It's been a very good year," said McCarthy, a native of Australia who started driving in the U.S. in 2007. "It feels like it's starting to all fall into place a little bit." Just as it has for Sintra, who gave an indication of his talent last year when he won eight of 16 starts and earned $229,346. Five of the races he lost were won by Betting Line, who was Canada's Horse of the Year. "I don't think you can aim stupid crazy with any 4-year-old, but I've always had a lot of confidence in the horse," Menary said. "I think last year he came closer to beating Betting Line than any other 3-year-old did. He was lightly raced and I put him away in good shape. I was super excited about this year and we're living the dream right now. "He makes us all look good. He knows when it's game time. He's not the flashiest when training, but when he goes to the gate he's ready to play. I have great partners on the horse and we've had a lot of fun. Hopefully he's got lots of good days ahead of him." The Ewart is race 10, with a 9:30 p.m. estimated post time. The card also includes the $125,000 Jug Preview, race 7, which features multiple-stakes-winner Downbytheseaside in a field of nine. Downbytheseaside, trained by Ohio's Brian Brown, won last week's Messenger Stakes and has earned nearly $1 million this year. Following is the field for the Jim Ewart Memorial in post order with named drivers and trainers. PP-Sire-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1. Mel Mara by Lis Mara-Corey Callahan-Dylan Davis 2. Boston Red Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Steve Elliott 3. McWicked by McArdle-David Miller-Casie Coleman 4. Let's Drink On It by Art Official-Travis Seekman-Joe Seekman 5. Luck Be Withyou by Western Ideal-Brett Miller-Chris Oakes 6. Check Six by Somebeachsomewhere-Chris Page-Ron Burke 7. Rockin Ron by Real Desire-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 8. Sintra by Mach Three-Andrew McCarthy-David Menary 9. Keystone Velocity by Western Hanover-Simon Allard-Rene Allard *10. Night Pro by Pro Bono Best-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Dale Decker *Night Pro starts in the second tier. Following is the field for the Jug Preview in post order with named drivers and trainers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1. Downbytheseaside by Somebeachsomewhere-Brian Sears-Brian Brown 2. Sports Column by Sportswriter-Brett Miller-Blake MacIntosh 3. Bettor's Pick by Bettor's Delight-Kayne Kauffman-Ben Davis 4. Filibuster Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 5. Henry The Dragon by Dragon Again-Randy Tharps-Brenda Teague 6. Major Moe by Art Major-Trace Tetrick-Brian Brown 7. Scotch McEwan by McArdle-Josh Sutton-Jim Dailey 8. Drunk On Your Love by Foreclosure N-Dan Noble-Jim Pollock Jr. 9. Thrdthrsdaynsptmbr by Rock N Roll Heaven-Ken Holliday-Sherri Holliday Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- When the horses placed their hooves on the track for the post parade of the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial on Saturday (Sept. 10) at Eldorado Scioto Downs, the throng lining the fence let out a roar for defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. The stands were packed to catch a glimpse of an athlete that has captured the hearts and imaginations of legions of harness racing fans during his two-year career. When the horses crossed the finish line, however, all those in attendance had shifted their adulation to honor the effort of his winning rival, Always B Miki, for not only had they been privy to witness greatness, but they were present for a world record equaling performance of 1:47, that will surely become an integral component of the sport’s history. That time equaled the all-age mark for a pacer on a five-eighths-mile oval set by Sweet Lou in 2014 and equaled by Always B Miki in both the Ben Franklin elimination and final earlier this year. Those miles all came at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “He’s a big horse alright,” said his pilot Brett Miller in the winner’s circle immediately after handing over the lines. “He has so much power. You just can’t let him get too into himself.” When the superb field of nine left the gate, Always B Miki, who commenced pacing from post six, was the 4-5 favorite but Wiggle It Jiggleit at 8-5 was also receiving his share of support at the windows. Shortly after the starter allowed the horses to begin the mile, Eric Goodell sent Luck Be Withyou to the lead from post position five. Wiggle It Jiggleit and his regular reinsman Montrell Teague were not content to allow that competitor to cut the mile and made their move to the front from post position eight. Miller and Always B Miki had their own designs on the lead. The crowd was gasping at the sheer speed displayed by the pacers as Luck Be Withyou had laid down a scorching :25.2 first quarter. Wiggle It Jiggleit brushed to the lead in front of the grandstand before Always B Miki procured the lead on the outside by the half-mile marker. The Jimmy Takter trainee appeared to pay the price for that effort when :53 flashed on the timer. As Wiggle It Jiggleit sat second, Always B Miki still maintained a head advantage after three-quarters in a sizzling 1:19. Wiggle It Jiggleit appeared poised to come through on the inside and overhaul Always B Miki down the lane, but the 5-year-old stallion would not be denied. After a nip and tuck battle between these two champions, Always B Miki prevailed. Several hundred feet from the wire, he repelled the bid of Wiggle It Jiggleit and hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front. Luck Be Withyou raced exceptionally well to be third, while Freaky Feet Pete, who had a very tough trip, finished fourth. Conditioned by Jimmy Takter and owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, the son of Always A Virgin paid $3.80 to win, with Wiggle It Jiggleit paying $3.00 to place and Luck Be Withyou $3.60 to show. The exacta was $8.00 and the trifecta $50.60. Normally not one to show much emotion, Takter posed with a picture with his charge absolutely beaming. When asked to discuss the heroic feat Always B Miki had just produced, he acknowledged how scintillating it was to be associated with a horse with this much ability. He also noted, however, for the stallion to consistently provide the sport with a number of 1:47 miles this season, it does require much more than natural talent. “It is not an easy thing to keep a horse at that kind of level for a long period of time,” he said. “This is a very special horse.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Ted Kluszewski once said, "I'm not sure what the hell charisma is, but I get the feeling it's Willie Mays." Kluszewski, a star for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1940s and '50s, never got to see Wiggle It Jiggleit, but one gets the feeling he could have uttered the aforementioned statement about harness racing's main attraction. Wiggle It Jiggleit, who races in Saturday's $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers at Eldorado Scioto Downs in central Ohio, has become a fan favorite over the past two years as he's traveled North America and won 35 of 46 races along the way. He has finished worse than third only once in his career --- and that was a fourth-place finish. He was the Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year in 2015 and is the No. 1-ranked horse in the sport's current Top 10 poll. This season, the 4-year-old Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 12 of 19 races and earned $1.29 million. He has earned $3.48 million lifetime, good for seventh place among all North American pacers in history. None of the six pacers ahead of him have fewer than 85 career races. Social media posts regarding Wiggle It Jiggleit routinely generate two to three times more interaction than any other topics in harness racing. And fans delight in cheering him on, whether in person or from afar. They also enjoy his winner's circle antics, rearing up on his hind legs rather than standing patiently for a photo. "He's a lot of fun," said Montrell Teague, the 25-year-old son of co-owner George Teague Jr. and regular driver of Wiggle It Jiggleit. "I get to travel around with him and meet new people and every single time I talk to new people it's all positive about him. "Everybody loves him. They relate to him and follow him around. When he goes to the winner's circle, they always look for him to go up in the air. He's just got a lot of personality and the way he races, he always puts on a good show." If one race cemented Wiggle It Jiggleit's status among fans, it was last September's Little Brown Jug final at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio. Wiggle It Jiggleit, who raced on the outside for most of the mile, appeared to be beaten in the stretch only to rally with a final surge and win by a nose. "I had a guy come up to me a few days later at (Harrah's Philadelphia) and he said 'I've been watching harness racing for 50 years and I want to say thank you for giving me the thrill of my lifetime, to watch the best race I've ever seen.' I never would have expected that," Teague said. "The Jug, everyone always talks about that race, and pretty much every race after that. He's always making conversation." Wiggle It Jiggleit, who is based in Harrington, Del., with the popular Teague family and trainer Clyde Francis, will be making his first visit to Scioto Downs. It will be the 15th different track at which Wiggle It Jiggleit has raced lifetime and it will be his sixth consecutive start at a different racetrack, following races in New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Quebec, and Ontario. The gelding has won races at 12 different tracks during his career. "A lot of horses can't travel around like that and still race good," Teague said. "He's the exception. I've never seen it done. It hasn't bothered him yet. Harrington is his home, but we've only raced him there once. It seems like everywhere has been his home track. When people know he is racing at their track, they try to make it out there to see him live." Wiggle It Jiggleit, who is easy to spot on the racetrack because of his large white shadow roll, heads to the Ewart Memorial off a win in last weekend's Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack. Wiggle It Jiggleit won in gate-to-wire fashion, hitting the opening quarter-mile in :25.3 and turning back all challengers from there. He won by 1-3/4 lengths over Always B Miki in 1:49. "It was one of the strongest times I've seen him," Teague said. "When he came off the gate, I looked to see who was going to challenge and I didn't see anyone out there; I was leaving that fast. I didn't know I was going that fast. I thought I was going to go :27 to the quarter and I wound up going :25.3. It's just unbelievable how easily he does it, so swift and effortlessly." Wiggle It Jiggleit will start the Ewart Memorial from post eight and is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Always B Miki is the 9-5 second choice, leaving from post six with Brett Miller listed to drive for trainer Jimmy Takter. Saturday's card at Scioto Downs also includes the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for older trotters. Following is the field for the Ewart Memorial. $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Open pacers Race 9/Post 9:10 p.m. (EDT) PP–Horse–Sire-Driver–Trainer 1. Rockeyed Optimist - Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller - Steve Elliott  20/1 2. All Bets Off - Bettor's Delight - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke 8/1 3. Artistic Major - Art Major - Ronnie Wrenn Jr. - Steve Elliott  20/1 4. Dealt A Winner - Cams Card Shark - Andy Miller - Mark Silva 10/1 5. Luck Be Withyou - Western Ideal - Eric Goodell - Chris Oakes 15/1 6. Always B Miki - Always A Virgin - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter 9/5 7. Americanprimetime - American Ideal - Josh Sutton - Rick Dane Jr. 20/1 8. Wiggle It Jiggleit - Mr Wiggles - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis 8/5 9. Freaky Feet Pete - Rockin Image - Trace Tetrick - Larry Rheinheimer 9/2 Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- Eldorado Scioto Downs will host the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers and the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for older trotters on Saturday (Sept. 10) as part of a busy Grand Circuit weekend. It will be the closing night of the 2016 live harness racing meet at Scioto. Four-year-old male pacer Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1 ranked horse in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, heads to the Jim Ewart Memorial off his victory in the Canadian Pacing Derby last Saturday at Mohawk. The Clyde Francis trainee is 12-5-2 in 19 starts this season and boasts $3,481,582 in career earnings for owners George Teague Jr. Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership. He will start from post position eight with Montrell Teague in the bike. Wiggle It Jiggleit will face a field of nine that includes Always B Miki and Dealt A Winner, who were second and third, respectively, in the Canadian Pacing Derby. Below is the field: $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Open pacers Race 9/Post 9:10 p.m. (EDT) PP–Horse–Sire-Driver–Trainer 1. Rockeyed Optimist - Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller - Steve Elliott  2. All Bets Off - Bettor's Delight - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke  3. Artistic Major - Art Major - Ronnie Wrenn Jr. - Steve Elliott  4. Dealt A Winner - Cams Card Shark - Andy Miller - Mark Silva  5. Luck Be Withyou - Western Ideal - Eric Goodell - Chris Oakes  6. Always B Miki - Always A Virgin - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter  7. Americanprimetime - American Ideal - Josh Sutton - Rick Dane Jr.  8. Wiggle It Jiggleit - Mr Wiggles - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis  9. Freaky Feet Pete - Rockin Image - Trace Tetrick - Larry Rheinheimer Seven open trotters will go behind the gate earlier in the evening in the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial. Below is the field: $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial Open trotters Race 5/Post 7:50 p.m. (EDT) PP–Horse–Sire- Driver–Trainer 1. Wings Of Royalty - RC Royalty - Peter Wrenn - George Ducharme  2. Maestro Blue Chip - Credit Winner - Trace Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney-King  3. Bourbon Bay - Sand Vic - Aaron Merriman - Ake Svanstedt  4. Wind Of The North - Cantab Hall - Dave Palone - Daryl Bier  5. Muscle Up The Goal - Muscle Mass - Aaron Merriman - Christopher Beaver  6. Homicide Hunter - Mr Cantab - Eric Goodell - Chris Oakes  7. Crazy Wow - Crazed - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke Post time for the first race is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Fans of the racing action at Eldorado Scioto Downs are reminded that due to this being the final card of the 2016 live season, all wagers which normally have carryover provisions (Pick-3, Pick-4, Pick-5 and Super High Five) will all have mandatory payouts. Also, Dime Superfecta wagering will be offered on all 13 races on Closing Night. The best FFA pacers in North America invade Eldorado Scioto Downs on Saturday for the 2016 Jim Ewart Memorial. Leading the charge is 2015's Horse of the Year, and current number one ranked horse in harness racing, Wiggle It Jiggleit.   the USTA Communications Department   

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