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Saturday night at The Meadowlands was pleasant weather-wise with temperatures in the 50's and little to no wind while the action on the harness racetrack was hot right from the start. The sixth race was the $63,000 What Baron final, remembering one of the great pacers of the early years at The Meadowlands and it turned out to be a slugfest. Captive Audience and Wake Up Peter were both in line for a sweep and Dave Miller made a bold early statement, flaunting the impressive early speed of Captive Audience through the 26.3 opening quarter while Scott Zeron and Wake Up Peter could not find position from his outside post and were forced to press on for the lead. The pair met at the half in a demanding 53.3 and went toe to toe from that point forward. At the wire, it was Captive Audience prevailing in a close photo while Wake Up Peter had to settle for the place after an absolutely paint peeling effort. The time of 1:48.3 was a new career best for the winner, trained by Corey Johnson for Debbie Element and Mac Nichol of Ontario. The $55,800 Artistic Vision final (race 11) pitted favored American In Paris, questing for a series sweep, against JK Letitgo who had her own reign of terror interrupted by a pair of losses to her rival in the series legs. Jim Morrill, Jr was intent on the lead with American In Paris and set honest fractions as JK Letitgo made a bid around the final bend, taking a bravening tuck passing the 1:21.4 three panels. In the stretch, JK Letitigo emerged from the pocket and wore down the favorite to win in 1:50-. Driver Jonathan Roberts had this in the post-race interview, "I wanted to be close up, the fractions were fast enough that I thought she had enough to win. She actually was good enough last week but had no room in the stretch". The winner is trained by Joshua Parker, he is a partner in the filly with Nanticoke Racing, Barry Spedden and Kevin Evans. On the pari-mutuel front, Saturday's first race offered a Pick 5 carryover of $30,782 which attracted $140,596 in new money and those first few winners were not easy to have. Pierce came into the opener, a $30,000 instant series for Non Winners of 2 races with a perfect record, he had never won in 18 previous races. Tonight would be a different story as driver Scott Zeron, who had spoken to this particular horse's penchant for keeping himself classified in a Friday paddock interview, pressed to the lead passing the three eighths and held on in a photo for the 1:51.2 maiden breaker at odds of 8-1. The second race was the fast class A-2/B-1 pacers going for $22,500 and it was bombs away here when Rockin Wizard scored from off the pace for Mike Wilder in a new personal best of 1:49- returning $75.40 for a $2 win bet. The suspense continued to build when Jamaican Cowboy and Vinny Ginsburg won the fourth race from the clouds at 19-1. The will pays leading into the fifth and final leg of the bet revealed one uncovered combination and every held combination returning either $120,000 or $60,000 on the wager. In the end it was 5-1 shot Moonliteonthebeach scoring in a new record of 1:51 for Jonathan Roberts resulting in a published payoff of $60,140 for each fifty cent wager with the correct combination. The fifth and final preliminary leg of the Legends vs. Phenoms Driver Challenge was contested Saturday night as well. For the Phenoms, it was the same story as Scott Zeron swept each of the five preliminary legs, doing so this time with 79 points. On the Legends side, it came down to the final race as Dave Miller and Corey Callahan were tied after 12 races. Miller won the finale with OK Fame and took the $2,000 prize with 94 points. The 10 drivers qualifying for the Championship Round on Saturday April 26th, which will offer a $15,000 first place grand prize are Dave Miller, Corey Callahan, John Campbell, Jim Morrill Jr., Scott Zeron, Joe Bongiorno, Vincent Ginsburg, Jim Marohn Jr., Steve Smith and Mike Wilder. The championship round will be contested over a limited number of races and all ten drivers will have the same number of drives, giving them all an equal opportunity to take home the grand prize. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

HAMBURG, N.Y.--- It's been close but no cigar for Delightful Syd in the $10,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway the past two weeks. She's been knocking on the door with a pair of narrow losses by less than two combined lengths.   But this week, Delightful Syd ($3.70) got the services of driver Jim Morrill Jr. and it resulted in a hard-fought head victory over a game Heavenly Place in a seasonal best time of 1:57 on the fast track Wednesday night (April 16).   Morrill Jr., making his 2014 debut at Buffalo Raceway, usually makes the Hamburg half-mile oval his personal playground and Wednesday night was no different as he registered five victories. Last season, he hit at nearly a 33 percent clip (58 wins in 183 starts) at Buffalo Raceway.   In the $10,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace feature, he gave Delightful Syd the perfect trip.   With Fiftyonefifty (Kevin Cummings) setting fractions of 29.1, 59.0 and 1:28.3, Morrill Jr. started his challenge with Delightful Syd before the half-mile pole, coming out first over. Just by the three-quarter marker, the 7-year-old mare took over the top and never gave it up. Heavenly Place (Drew Monti) put up a valiant, however, coming up just a head short at the wire to finish second while Ugly Betty (Jack Flanigen) placed third.   The victory was the second in seven starts this season for Delightful Syd, who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. The win pushed her earnings to $13,760 in 2014 and $177,189 lifetime.   Kevin Cummings had a driving triple on the night as well.   Racing continues on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with a 13-race program set for 6:40 p.m.   For more information including upcoming promotions, race replays, results and news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

American In Paris has taken the Meadowlands by storm. A 4-year-old female pacer, American In Paris is 6-for-6 this season, with all her victories coming at the Big M. Her two most recent triumphs were in the preliminary rounds of the Artistic Vision Series, which concludes Saturday with a $55,800 final. American In Paris will start the final from post two with driver Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines for trainer/co-owner Ron Burke. Art Ideal, another Burke mare, leaves from post seven in the seven-horse field. She finished second in both her preliminary legs. Saturday's card also features the $63,000 Whata Baron Series final for male pacers. Captive Audience, who is unbeaten in three races this year, drew post three for trainer Corey Johnson. Wake Up Peter, who also won both his preliminary rounds, starts from post seven for trainer Larry Remmen. American In Paris won five of six races as a 2-year-old, then won five of 16 last season at age 3. She was winless in her final six starts last season, but turned the corner this year with the addition of Lasix. She won the second round of the Artistic Vision Series in a career-best 1:50. "She had a few issues last year," said co-owner Mark Weaver. "This year, I think the key is we added Lasix; maybe we should have had her on it sooner. "Earlier this year, she almost raced like a thoroughbred, with two or three weeks between starts. It's hard to be in top condition when you do that, so I thought we still hadn't seen the best of her. She's pretty good. I'm not saying she could beat the top horses, but I'm not saying she couldn't." American In Paris is a daughter of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Sendingforth. She was purchased originally for $4,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale by Iowa's Nolan Van Otterloo. She finished second in her first start and then won twice before being purchased by Burke, Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. "We've bought horses from (the Van Otterloos) before and it's been a good connection for us," Weaver said. "They have a pretty good knack at buying some underpriced horses and usually at least one of them hits." Although Weaver thinks American In Paris might be able to compete against the division's best, she probably will have few chances this year. "She's not staked, but she's only (age) 4, so that might not be a bad thing," Weaver said. "We usually don't stake the 4-year-olds too heavily. We'll probably pick our spots; there's enough money to be made, hopefully, in some of the invitationals and opens. "Depending how she does, we could shut her down a little early and may stake her up for her 5-year-old year." As for the immediate challenge of fending off six rivals in the Artistic Vision final, Weaver likes American In Paris' chances. Other contenders include Josh Parker's JK Letitgo, who has won seven of nine races this year, and Chris Ryder's Road Bet, who won a preliminary leg in the series. "She's in a good spot," Weaver said about American In Paris. "There are some pretty nice horses in there, but the way she's been racing, I think she'll be pretty tough to beat." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Jim Morrill Jr. made a decision early in the $30,000 Free For All Pace tonight at The Meadowlands and that was to beat Golden Receiver at his own game. Reaching the opening quarter in 26.1, Morrill and Allstar Legend forced Golden Receiver into the pocket while clicking off a 54.4 half-mile and hitting three-quarters in 1:22.3. On the far turn, Corey Callahan seemed to be asking Golden Receiver to pick up the pace, but the response just wasn't there. Meanwhile, the early fractions didn't seem to bother Allstar Legend at all as powered home in 26.4 while pacing on the front-end, to trip the timer in 1:49.2. Allstar Legend won for the fourth time this year for trainer Ron Burke and owners Brittany Farms and John Cherveny. The Ron Burke theme continued in the 5th race, Dash For The C-Notes Final as Sky McFly put forth a powerful first-over effort through fractions of 26.3, 55.3 and 1:24.2, before pacing home in 26.4 despite the first over trip, and holding off favored Stallone Blue Chip at the wire. Through 5 races the tandem of Burke and Morrill Jr. had three winners on the card. Sky McFly is owned by Burke Racing Stable L.L.C. and Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C. Tonight also marked the second round of The Whata Baron Pacing Series.  The first division featured a heavy favorite in round one winner Wake Up Peter who cut the mile with Scott Zeron through fractions of 26.4, 55.1 and 1:23.1 before pacing home in 26.1 to complete the mile in 1:49.2 while holding off a hard to steer Alexa's Jackpot who rallied off cover.  For Wake Up Peter it was his sixth win from eight starts this season for trainer Larry Remmen and owner Bradley Grant. The second division of The Whata Baron was another tour-de-force by Captive Audience, who duplicated his 1:49 round 1 performance to score another victory and will go for the series sweep next Saturday night.  Captive Audience made a quarter move to the lead and peeled off a 54.3 half-mile before hitting three-quarters in 1:22.2 and then powering home for the win.  He will head into The Whata Baron Final as the favorite for Andy Miller who guided the son of Art Major for Corey Johnson and owners Debbie Element and Mac Nichol. Another leg of The Legends vs. Phenoms Driver Challenge is in the books.  The Legend standing tall was Jim Morrill Jr. (96), his second win in the Challenge while Scott Zeron (95) led The Phenoms for the fourth consecutive week.  With one week to go, Jim Morrill Jr. (341), Andy Miller (315), Dave Miller (313), Corey Callahan (241), John Campbell (247), Scott Zeron (338) and Joe Bongiorno (162) have locked up their spots in the Final, while Steve Smith (93), Vincent Ginsburg (94), Jim Marohn Jr. (93), Mike Wilder (91) and Eric Abbatiello (68) will battle for the three remaining spots to battle for the $15,000 First Place Prize on April 26th. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

American In Paris rolled into the second leg of the Artistic Vision as a prohibitive favorite and the daughter of American Ideal did not disappoint. Sent off as the 3/5 choice, American In Paris made a quarter move to the lead for Jim Morrill Jr. before getting to the half-mile in 54.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.2.  Through the stretch she kept her stable-mate, Art Ideal, at bay with Road Bet rallying for the third spot. Jk Letitgo faced traffic trouble throughout the stretch and could only manage to be fourth this time. American In Paris is trained by co-owner Ron Burke (Burke Racing Stable L.L.C.) for Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C.  The final time of 1:50- was a new lifetime mark for the winner who is now a perfect six for six on the season with all six wins coming at The Meadowlands. In the $25,000 Final of the “Dash For The C-Notes” for Filly and Mare C-2 Pacers, Abrokenart Hanover and Andy Miller went straight to the lead as the 3-1 second choice and never looked back. Despite strong fractions of 26.4, 54.1 and 1:22, the daughter of Artiscape would not relinquish her lead in the stretch, tripping the timer in 1:51.2.  Woman Of Terror rallied off cover, but came up three-quarters of a length short in the end with Jarnac rallying to be third. The winner is trained by Marc Capone for Thomas Finelli. The 12th race trot matched some classy foes dropping from the Free For All, including Real Babe, sent off as the 7/5 favorite.  The mare led at every point of call while guided by Dave Miller, but was collared late by 10-1 longshot Here Comes Numbers.  However, that trotter broke stride at the wire and because he was lapped on by Real Babe at the finish, the mare who did all the work on the lead saw her number put up first.  The 1:52.2 final clocking was a lifetime mark for the five year old Mark Harder trainee. Racing returns on Saturday, featuring the second round of the Whata Baron series for pacers, split in two divisions as well as a $30,000 Free For All Handicap Pace.  Post Time is 7:15 P.M.   by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

Trainer Mike Deters is uncertain of Prairie Jaguar's future, in part because he didn't expect the present. Prairie Jaguar, a 6-year-old gelding pacer, has won five of six races this season - and nine of his last 10 dating back to December - as he prepares for Saturday's start of the Whata Baron Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. Prairie Jaguar is in the second of two $22,500 divisions, with Jim Morrill Jr. listed to drive. A son of the stallion Spy Hard, Prairie Jaguar raced a total of only four times at ages 2 and 3 because of sickness and physical maturity issues. When he reached the races on a full-time basis as 4-year-old, he was green but flashed speed in a 1:51.2 triumph at Pompano Park. Deters sent the horse to race in Canada because he better fit the conditions there than at Pompano. Prairie Jaguar apparently didn't care for the move, winning only twice in 43 starts north of the border. When he returned to Florida in December, he got hot. "It's a who-knew type of deal," Deters said. "We thought he was a pretty nice horse when he won in (1):51.2 here, but he had no luck in Canada. I don't know what it was, but it just didn't work out. He came back and got back on our program and the next thing you know, here he comes. "Some of it is probably maturity. You just never know. I just try to make the horses happy." Prairie Jaguar had a nine-race win streak snapped last Saturday by a fifth-place finish at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Prairie Jaguar, driven by George Napolitano Jr., was beaten by 2-3/4 lengths by Sparky Mark in 1:51.2 over a sloppy track. "He raced OK," Deters said. "He went from very nice weather to very poor weather and the (race) bike was a little too small for him. George said it was long enough, but it was a little too tight and he couldn't really drive the horse. But he still paced (1):52 on a bad night." Deters, who since October has shared ownership of Prairie Jaguar with original owner Laurie Lee Poulin, is hopeful his horse will bounce back in the Whata Baron Series. Prairie Jaguar, who earlier this year became the first horse in Pompano Park history to win at least four races in 1:50 or less, will start from post two in his division. Joining Prairie Jaguar in the second division are K-lees Shakenbake, Scott Rocks, Mindset, Summer Smackdown, Captive Audience, Kg Dragonator, He Rocks The Moon, Burkentine Hanover, and Jeremes General. The first division is Wake Up Peter, Sky Is The Limit, Fateful Choice, Ima Giggity Fool, Santanna One, Dew N Doughnuts, River Run For Ryan, Alexa's Jackpot, and Americhi. The second leg of the Whata Baron Series is April 12 and the $75,000 estimated final is April 19. "My fingers are crossed," Deters said. "I hope he shows up. I think he will. There are some nice horses in there, but I think he's a nice horse too. I think he's got a chance to be very competitive." As for the future beyond the Whata Baron Series, nothing is set. "He's not penciled in for anything," Deters said. "We'll race him around and if he turns out to be good we'll find some things for him. "He's just been a pleasure," the trainer added. "He's a big, strong horse, but he's a gentle giant. A child could take care of him. But when you turn to the (starting) gate, he knows it's time for business." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

On paper, the $83,000 Clyde Hirt Final appeared to be a wide open race. But on the racetrack, it was anything but. Avatartist, sent off as the 9-5 favorite, made the early lead in 26.1 prior to yielding to the pocket. Driver Dave Miller made an aggressive move down the backstretch, reclaiming the lead past a 53.3 half-mile. The Buckeye threw down the gauntlet and opened up a commanding lead heading to the top of the stretch and never had an anxious moment in the stretch winning in a stakes record 1:50.1. Alexa's Jackpot rallied very well off dull cover to be second, while Wake Up Peter came from an impossible spot to be third. The winner is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owners William Hill, Peter Harrisson, Michael Saftic and James Walker. Ironically, Avatartist is not eligible to the upcoming Whata Baron series which begins Saturday April 5th, while Alexa's Jackpot and Wake Up Peter are heading to that series next. In the $60,600 Final of The Horse & Groom, it was a perfect storm for Hldontghttoyurdrms in more ways than one. First, the 3-5 favorite Bambino Glide made a break prior to the start, never to be involved. At the start, round one winner Amigo Ranger went off-stride. Next, turning down the backstretch, with Hldontghttoyurdrms leading through a 27.3 opening quarter, pocket-sitting March Awareness broke stride, leaving the pace-setter with a six length lead heading to the half. Hldontghttoyurdrms got that half in 55.4 and three quarters in 1:24.3, while never facing a challenge and romping to an easy score in 1:53.4 for Canadian based driver Jonathan Drury. The winner had been a bit disappointing in the first two rounds of the series, but with the money down, the gelded son of Muscles Yankee got the job done. He is trained by Corey Johnson for owners Saverio Spagnolo, Frank Schimizzi and Frank Spagnolo. Longshot Magglio was second with Crosbys Clam Bake finishing third. Scott Zeron and Jim Morrill, Jr. were the Winners in Round 2 of the Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge. Scott Zeron continues to make plenty of noise at The Meadowlands as he easily led the Phenoms from gate to wire to win the second leg of the Driver Challenge with 85 points. Zeron also won the "phenom" category last week as well. While Zeron is dominating the Phenoms, the Legends category has been a battle. Tonight, Andy Miller and Jim Morrill Jr. went into the last race each with 83 points, with first round winner Dave Miller right behind with 81 points. In the end, it was Jim Morrill Jr, with 90 points winning round 2 for the Legends. For the tournament, Dave Miller (172) leads the "Legends" followed by Andy Miller (160), Jim Morrill Jr. (158), Corey Callahan (74) and John Campbell (73). Scott Zeron (163) is cruising along in the "Phenoms" category. Joe Bongiorno (90) is a clear-cut second. Rounding out the top 10 are Tony Hall (60), Jonathan Drury (54), Steve Smith (52), Jim. Marohn Jr. (49), Vincent Ginsburg (46), Tyler Smith (45), Jim Meittinis (33) and Eric Abbatiello (22). On Saturday April 26th, the top five Legends and the top five Phenoms will qualify for the Driver Challenge Final, with the winner earning $15,000. Racing resumes on Friday with the first round of the Artistic Vision series for pacing mares, with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

Saturday, March 22nd will begin the six week long, Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge. Each race on the next five Saturday programs will be a part of the Challenge, with the following format. · The driver with the most points accumulated for each team will win a $2,000 bonus. · Points are accrued as follows: o Win - 10 points o 2nd - 9 points o 3rd - 8 points o 4th - 7 points o 5th - 6 points o 6th - 5 points o 7th - 4 points o 8th - 3 points o 9th - 2 points o 10th-12th - 1 point On the sixth Saturday, April 26th, the top 5 point earners for The Legends and the top 5 point earners for The Phenoms from the first five weeks will qualify for the Final, where the Overall winner will win $15,000, the runner-up will receive $5,000, third place will receive $3,000 and fourth through tenth will each receive $1,000. For purposes of this coming Saturday, March 22nd, the drivers will be divided as follows: Legends: Dave Miller, Andy Miller, Jody Jamieson and Jim Morrill Jr. Phenoms: Scott Zeron, Tony Hall, Tyler Smith, Joe Bongiorno, Jim Meittinis, Vincent Ginsburg , Jim Marohn Jr., Steve Smtih, Eric Abbatiello and all other drivers on the card. The Drivers Challenge will take place each Saturday through April 26th. Darin Zoccali

On what is likely to be Yannick Gingras' final night at The Meadowlands until after The Levy and Matchmaker Series, the Big M's leading harness racing driver went out with a driving double. First, he scored on Dragon Lore in the 5th race $9,000 C-2 Pace at 5-2. It was Dragon Lore's first start since February 22nd, but he was ready off a qualifier where he finished up in a strong in 26.4. Gingras scored down the son of Dragon Again aggressively and it paid off as Dragon Lore led at every call, winning in 1:53.2. Gingras guided the four year old home for trainer Mark Capone and owners T J Maggliozzo, S. Schachner and C. W. Duffy. Gingras also pulled off the mild 6-1 upset in the 9th race $9,000 C-2 Trot with Stonebridge Idol, who he guided to the lead down the backstretch, stealing a 29.1 third quarter and scoring in 1:55.1 for trainer David Duspiva and owner Fiddler's Creek Stables L.L.C. Gingras' 96 wins has him 29 wins ahead of Dave Miller. But with Gingras driving in The Levy and Matchmaker and Miller staying at The Meadowlands, that margin will become much tighter come The Championship Meet. Additionally, both Jim Meittinis and Andy Miller also scored two wins on the card. Racing resumes on Friday, featuring the second round of The Horse & Groom Series, with post time at 7:15 P.M. for the 11-race program. Saturday will feature the second round of the Clyde Hirt series, the $47,650 Final of The Winter Surivor Series and the first round of the Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge where The Meadowlands will welcome Jim Morrill Jr., Tony Hall, Tyler Smith and others to The Meadowlands driving colony. For more information, go to PlayMeadowlands.com Darin Zoccali

Pan From Nantucket (No Pan Intended) scored an impressive victory in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Saturday night. The Jose Godinez-trained pacer has been a threat in the Yonkers Open this year and not only started from the outside post on Saturday but was outside the race's odds-on favorite Sparky Mark. Pan From Nantucket moved aggressively first over and squared off with the public choice who was on the front end before wearing him down in the stretch and recording the victory in the $17,000 feature. Sand Summerfield (Billy Dobson) closed for second while Sparky Mark (Jim Morrill Jr) had to settle for third for the second consecutive week. Pan From Nantucket, whose win came in 1:57, was piloted by Bruce Aldrich Jr.who scored four wins on the Saturday card, three of the victories coming while driving for trainer Jose Godinez. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a carryover of nearly $2,000 in the pick five pool. First post time is set for 12:45pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway  

Live Jazz (Andover Hall) secured a first over victory in the $17,000 Open Trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Friday night. The red hot connections of driver Jim Morrill Jr and trainer Kevin Efimetz won another four races on Friday night including the trotting feature. Live Jazz wound up taking on the race's frontrunner Cash Poor (Austin Siegelman) and they dueled for a half mile before the favored wore down Cash Poor in the final eighth of a mile before stopping the timer in 1:58.1. Cash Poor held on for second while Justa Rebel (Jay Randall) came from last to finish third. The Morrill-Efitmetz combination is winning at roughly an 80 percent rate in the early stages of the meet at the Spa. Morrill tallied five total wins on the card. Live racing continues on Saturday at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The Jim Morrill Jr- Kevin Efimetz combination continued their unheard of streak of winning on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Coming into the matinee card on a six race win streak as a combo, Morrill and Efitmetz again dominated the day. They teamed up five times on the afternoon and recorded four wins and a second. When Stage It Right was defeated in the $17,000 Fillies and Mare Open, the potent driver-trainer combo had won ten consecutive starts together. Stage It Right was good enough to win but came up second best as rival Little Santamonica (Little Steven) made the early lead and never looked back. Jimmy Devaux piloted the winner of the feature for the second consecutive day as he also scored the victory behind Whogoesfirst in the Saturday night Open. Since the start of the 2014 racing season last week, Morrill and Efimetz have teamed up nineteen times and recorded an incredible fourteen wins and five seconds. Live racing resumes on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Whogoesfirst (Cambest) pulled off the upset in the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, while driver Jim Morrill, Jr, won nearly every other harness race on the program with seven winners for the night. No stranger to the local Open, Whogoesfirst (Jim Devaux) fired out early and was part of a significant early speed duel. Winding up in the pocket behind last week’s Open winner Money Twitch A (Bruce Aldrich Jr), Whogoesfirst shook loose late and won an extremely close four way photo, stopping the timer in 1:54.2. Money Twitch A got nosed at the line and had to settle for a strong second place finish in the $17,000 feature while Sparky Mark (Jim Morrill Jr) nearly overcame being parked the mile and wound up the third place finisher. Whogoesfirst, who is trained by co-owner Luanne Case, prevailed at odds of 8-1. The defeat in the Open was a rare one for Morrill who piloted an incredible seven winners on the Saturday card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Jim Morrill Jr is now three-for-three in the Opens in the young 2014 season at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the veteran reinsman piloted Turtle Express (Dream Vacation) to victory in Friday night's $17,000 Open Trot. Turtle Express had rattled off three consecutive wins at Yonkers before a try in their Open in his last start. Making his local debut, the Kevin Efimetz trainee was assigned post eight on Friday but it didn't matter. Morrill rolled Turtle Express to the lead heading to the half mile pole and opened up a nearly half dozen length advantage before eventually stopping the timer in 1:57.2. Cash Poor (Austin Siegelman) was the runner up while Strong Hall (Barry Segel) closed for third in the trotting feature. The Morrill-Efimetz combo has dominated the action through the first week of the racing season at the Spa. For the third consecutive night, the pick five was not hit so the carryover to Saturday's card will be over $7,000. The pick five begins in race six. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a card highlighted by that pick five carryover. First post time is set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Driver Jim Morrill Jr usually dominates the action when he comes to Saratoga Casino and Raceway and opening day of the 2014 season was no different. Morrill piled up six victories on the card including a sweep of the Sunday double feature. The $17,000 Fillies and Mares Open served as the undercard and Morrill cruised to victory behind the Ron Burke-trained Magic Starlight (Real Desire). Moving to the lead early on, Magic Starlight never looked back before drawing away late to prevail in 1:56 as the race's odds-on favorite. Morrill and Money Twitch A (Life Sign) came from well off the pace to win the $18,190 Open Pace while overcoming the outside post. Trained by last year's Trainer of the Year at the Spa Heidi Rohr, Money Twitch A stopped the timer in 1:55.3 after utilizing a cover trip to secure his fourth win of 2014. Morrill, who averages close to five wins a night when coming to town, scored three of his six Sunday victories while piloting for trainer Kevin Efimetz. Live racing resumes on Thursday night with a 6:45pm first post. There will be a carryover in the pick 5 pool as the wager was not hit on opening day. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Columbus, OH --- Bee A Magician, Father Patrick, and Maven were unanimous 2013 Dan Patch Award selections as the best harness racing horses in their respective divisions, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Thursday. A total of 131 ballots were returned. Three-year-old filly trotter Bee A Magician and older female trotter Maven were named on all 131 while 2-year-old male trotter Father Patrick was named on 130 with one abstention. Six other year-end champions were named Thursday in divisions that saw only one horse receive at least 10 percent of the vote. Three-year-old male pacer Captaintreacherous and older male trotter Market Share both received 130 votes and were declared winners in their divisions. Also being named winners were 2-year-old filly pacer Precocious Beauty, 2-year-old filly trotter Shake It Cerry, 3-year-old filly pacer I Luv The Nitelife, and older male pacer Foiled Again. Winners in the three remaining divisions - 2-year-old male pacer, 3-year-old male trotter, and older female pacer - will be announced at the Dan Patch Awards banquet on Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year also will be revealed at that time. Finalists for best 2-year-old male pacer are He's Watching and Luck Be Withyou, with the 3-year-old male trotter race coming down to Royalty For Life and Spider Blue Chip and older female pacer a battle between Anndrovette and Rocklamation. Bee A Magician was undefeated in 17 starts this year and joined Muscle Hill and Syrinx Hanover as the only trotters to go unbeaten at age 3 and receive Dan Patch divisional honors dating back to 1975. Trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman and driven by Brian Sears for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, Bee A Magician won the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, Hambletonian Oaks, Elegantimage Stakes, and Delvin Miller Memorial on her way to $1.54 million in purses. Her earnings are the most ever for a 3-year-old filly trotter, breaking the record of $1.17 million set by Continentalvictory in 1996, and her winning time of 1:51 in the Miller Memorial at Meadowlands Racetrack is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old filly trotter. Father Patrick, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group, won 10 of 11 races and $744,057. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters, the William Wellwood Memorial, and the Peter Haughton Memorial. He finished the campaign with a nine-race winning streak and was unbeaten in stakes competition. He set the world record of 1:52.1 for a 2-year-old male trotter on a five-eighths-mile track in winning his Breeders Crown elimination at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Maven won 10 of 14 races and earned $509,220 for trainer Jonas Czernyson, driver Gingras and owner Bill Donovan. Her wins included the Breeders Crown for older female trotters, Armbro Flight Stakes, and Miss Versatility Series championship. She trotted the fastest race mile ever on a half-mile track in winning the Miss Versatility in 1:51.4 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, and Market Share are repeat winners. Last year, Captaintreacherous claimed Dan Patch Awards as best 2-year-old male pacer and Pacer of the Year. This season at age 3, he won 13 of 16 races and $2.05 million for trainer Tony Alagna, driver Tim Tetrick and the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group. He joined Rocknroll Hanover and Gallo Blue Chip as the only 3-year-old male pacers to win a Breeders Crown, the North America Cup, and Meadowlands Pace in the same season. The 9-year-old Foiled Again, who this season became the oldest horse to ever win a Breeders Crown and the richest North American harness racing horse in history, was named the sport's best older male pacer for the third consecutive year. He joins Rambling Willie (1975-77) as the only horses to win the division's top honor three straight seasons. Foiled Again, trained by Ron Burke and driven primarily by Gingras for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and JJK Stables, won 11 of 29 races in 2013 and earned $1.40 million. He is the oldest horse to ever have a million-dollar season. Market Share, a 4-year-old, also took divisional honors last season at age 3. This year, he won six of 14 races and earned $1.07 million for trainer Linda Toscano, driver Tetrick and owners Richard Gutnick, TLP Stables, and William Augustine. He finished the season by winning the Breeders Crown Open Trot, American-National Stakes, and TVG Free For All Series Championship. I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races and $1.25 million for trainer Chris Ryder, driver Tetrick and owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her victories included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly pacers, Fan Hanover Stakes and Valley Forge (in a world-record 1:48.4 mile). Shake It Cerry, trained by Takter and driven by Ron Pierce for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group, captured eight of 11 starts and earned $827,769. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, Goldsmith Maid, and Merrie Annabelle. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, including the She's A Great Lady Stakes, and $446,692 for trainer Gregg McNair, driver Doug McNair and owner Jim Avritt Sr. The competition for 3-year-old male trotter features Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life against Breeders Crown champion Spider Blue Chip. The race for older female pacer is between two-time defending division champ Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes, and Milton Stakes winner Rocklamation. Two-year-old male pacer honors come down to New York Sire Stakes champion He's Watching, undefeated in eight races, and Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou, who won five of 11 starts. DAN PATCH AWARD WINNERS These divisions saw only one horse receive at least 10 percent of the vote. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Father Patrick (130 votes, 1 abstention) Cantab Hall - Gala Dream - Enjoy Lavec Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: Father Patrick Stable. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 11-10-1-0. Purses: $744,057. Mark: 1:52.1 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $354,050 Wellwood Memorial; $280,500 Haughton Memorial. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Shake It Cerry (124 votes) Donato Hanover - Solveig - Yankee Glide Breeder: Solveig's Breeders. Owner: Solveig's Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 11-8-2-0. Purses: $827,769. Mark: 1:53.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $456,150 Goldsmith Maid; $321,700 Merrie Annabelle. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Precocious Beauty (117 votes) Art Major - Precious Beauty - Jate Lobell Breeder: James Avritt Sr. Owner: James Avritt Sr. Trainer: Gregg McNair. Driver: Doug McNair. Races: 11-7-3-0. Purses: $446,692. Mark: 1:50.1 at Red Mile (world record). Top win: $428,450 She's A Great Lady. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Captaintreacherous (130 votes) Somebeachsomewhere - Worldly Treasure - Artsplace Breeder: White Birch Farm. Owner: Captaintreacherous Racing. Trainer: Tony Alagna. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 16-13-2-0. Purses: $2.05 million. Mark: 1:47.1 at Red Mile. Top wins: $980,000 North America Cup; $635,750 Meadowlands Pace; $500,000 Breeders Crown. 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER I Luv The Nitelife (123 votes) Rocknroll Hanover - Lisjune - Camluck Breeders: MJG Racing Stables, Louis "Andy" Willinger. Owners: Richard and Joanne Young. Trainer: Chris Ryder. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 15-13-1-1. Purses: $1.25 million. Mark: 1:48.4 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $384,044 Fan Hanover; $350,000 Valley Forge. 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Bee A Magician (131 votes) Kadabra - Beehive - Balanced Image Breeder: White Birch Farm. Owners: Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee. Trainer: Richard "Nifty" Norman. Drivers: Rick Zeron, Brian Sears. Races: 17-17-0-0. Purses: $1.54 million. Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $356,981 Elegantimage. OLDER MALE PACER Foiled Again (125 votes) Dragon Again - In A Safe Place - Artsplace Breeder: Barbara Matthews. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 29-11-6-7. Purses: $1.40 million. Mark: 1:48 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $512,000 TVG Free For All Championship; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Ben Franklin. OLDER MALE TROTTER Market Share (130 votes) Revenue S - Classical Flirt - Yankee Glide Breeder: Hayley Moore. Owners: Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable, William Augustine. Trainer: Linda Toscano. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 14-6-1-5. Purses: $1.07 million. Mark: Q1:50.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $526,710 Maple Leaf; $500,000 TVG Free For All Championship. OLDER FEMALE TROTTER Maven (131 votes) Glidemaster - M Stewart - American Winner Breeder: All La Nuova Sbarra Srl. Owner: Bill Donovan. Trainer: Jonas Czernyson. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 14-10-2-0. Purses: $509,220. Mark: 1:51.4 at Delaware County Fairgrounds (world record). Top wins: $266,041 Armbro Flight; $250,000 Breeders Crown. DAN PATCH AWARD FINALISTS Top two vote-getters in these divisions were named finalists, with the winner to be announced at the Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 23 at Dover Downs 2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER He's Watching American Ideal - Baberhood - Real Desire Breeders: Brittany Farms, Robert Burgess, Karin Olsson Burgess. Owners: David Menary, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero. Trainer: David Menary. Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. Races: 8-8-0-0. Purses: $291,722. Mark: 1:50 at Tioga Downs. Top win: $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final. Luck Be Withyou Western Ideal - Trim Hanover - Camluck Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: John Craig. Trainers: Bill Cass, Chris Oakes. Drivers: Phil Hudon, Ron Pierce. Races: 11-5-1-0. Purses: $359,417. Mark: 1:50 at Pocono Downs. Top win: $500,000 Breeders Crown. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Royalty For Life RC Royalty - Bourbon 'N Grits - Donerail Breeder: Al Ross. Owners: Al Ross, Ray "Chip" Campbell Jr., Paul Fontaine. Trainer: George Ducharme. Driver: Brian Sears. Races: 14-7-2-0. Purses: $1.27 million. Mark: Q1:51.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $665,420 Canadian Trotting Classic; $294,000 Dancer Memorial. Spider Blue Chip Andover Hall - Southwind Catlin - Muscles Yankee Breeder: McLain Ward. Owners: David McDuffee, Mel Hartman. Trainer: Chuck Sylvester. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 20-10-3-2. Purses: $1.08 million. Mark: 1:51.3 at Red Mile. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Colonial; $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. OLDER FEMALE PACER Anndrovette Riverboat King - Easy Miss - Big Towner Breeder: Golden Touch Stable. Owner: Bamond Racing, Joseph Davino. Trainer: P.J. Fraley. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 21-7-7-4. Purses: $558,201. Mark: 1:48 at Mohawk. Top win: $313,795 Roses Are Red. Rocklamation Rocknroll Hanover - Art Sale - Artsplace Breeder: Perretti Farms. Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Brett Miller. Races: 21-5-7-6. Purses: $540,358. Mark: 1:49.3 at Meadowlands. Top win: $275,480 Milton. by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications    

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