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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ariana G, the 1-5 favorite driven by Yannick Gingras, led wire-to-wire before drawing clear late to a 2¾-length victory in the 27th edition of the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity for harness racing 4-year-old trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Ariana G completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 2:05 and cruised to her third win in five starts this season, posting her 24th victory in 31 career starts. Coming off a world-record 1:50 2/5 score in the Graduate Series final just a week ago, Ariana G also joins 2016 winner and Gingras-driven Hannelore Hanover (who won earlier on the Saturday card in the Miss Versatility), 1964 winner Elma and 1963 winner Spry Rodney as mare winners of the Maturity and also hits the record books as the first mare to complete the Hambletonian Oaks-Maturity double. As the prohibitive favorite, Ariana G returned $2.60 to win. "I was so happy with her performance. I was a little nervous with her nine post. She cut it close a bit down the stretch, but she is just an amazing horse," said trainer Jimmy Takter, who took home his first Maturity win. "We should not compare great horse with others. She has been so good. She is just a perfect horse." Takter said Ariana G will next race on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 4) in the John Cashman Memorial. Bill's Man, driven by Corey Callahan, was second, with Top Flight Angel and Andy Miller grabbing the show dough.   by Lou Monaco, for the Hambletonian Society

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast WithThe Babies, sponsored by Fashion Farms, Meadowlands Pace Day edition, was conducted at 11 am under perfect conditions with no wind and temperatures of 80 degrees. Pacers opened the card today and another precocious Captaintreacherous colt, this one the cleverly named Captain Crunch, was tremendous. In his second morning effort for Scott Zeron the pair converted a two-hole trip into a 1:52.3 win with the final quarter in 26.1. Rockin Jimmy Brown (Marcus Miller) set easy fractions going the half in 56.3, and led into the stretch but could not resist the close of Captain Crunch. Bred by Walnridge Farms and Sherri Meirs, the winner was and $85,000 Harrisburg purchase by 3 Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. Donna Victoria won her trotting filly test in 1:59.4 after a Trond Smedshammer pocket trip behind Unbelindyble (Domenico Cecere) took her into the stretch where she fanned off that rival's back and went by willingly. Unbelindyble held on for second and Brianna Blue Chip (Zeron) was gobbling up ground late for third. The winner is a Michael Andrew homebred by Donato Hanover. Jimmy Takter trains and drove Asiago to a 1:56.4 / 28.4 win from the pocket in race 3. The pair settled behind Miss You Kelly (Brett Miller) through a 59.1 half then wore that rival down through the stretch, drawing clear late on her own. Miss You Kelly stayed for second and Princee Deo (Andy McCarthy) flashed good late trot to be third. The winner is by Muscle Hill and was bred by James Wilhite, Jr who cashed her in at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $200,000 with Katz, Goldband, Libfeld and Black Horse Racing signing the slip. Summit In Sight, a $300,000 Harrisburg purchase by Story Inc and driver Andy Miller, made a very good impression in her debut trotting home strong in 28.1 on the end of a 1:57 mile. Away second early, Summit In Sight inherited a lead when Hatikvah (Tim Tetrick) rolled off stride at the 59.3 half and went along easily winning as the driver pleased. Chiplosive (Smedshammer) was second. Willow Pond, LLC bred the winner who is from the world champion Bluff and is trained by Julie Miller. Union Forces (Zeron) won his third morning trial in as many tries, rallying from well back to collar Something Fine (A. Miller) in the stretch and went by under minimal urging in 1:59.1. Something Fine wound up on a long lead after a few broke behind him but could not resist the relentless close of the winner. Union Forces is trained by Domenico Cecere for Lindy Farms, Bob Rudolph, David Anderson and John Fielding who paid breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock $100,000 at the Lexington sale last fall. Ake Svanstedt had a winner in the sixth when he sailed by the early leaders through a fast final quarter to win in 1:57.1 with Lindy Express. Svanstedt was uncharacteristically patient early as Practical Cat (Takter) set a 59 half and 1:28.1 three panels before unleashing his colt's powerful burst in the stretch to get by that one. The winner is by Trixton, sold as a yearling in Lexington by KR Breeding, LLC to Malby Gard for $140,000. Pacing filly Odds On St Lucie (Zeron) won today in 1:54.4 / 27.1. She took over from Lovely Laura before the 59.2 half then sprinted home in 55.1 for the win. Demi Hill closed up some to be second for Brett Miller. The winner is a royally bred daughter of Sweet Lou from a sister to Captaintreacherous, sold in Lexington by White Birch Farm to Odds On Racing for $110,000. Tony Alagna trains both Odds On St Lucie and Demi Hill. Goose Bay Fiftytwo won the last of the baby races this morning for Erv (trainer) and Marcus (driver) Miller in 1:54.3 with a 27 flat final quarter. Marcus made a few moves with the Art Major colt, who had more to give each time he was asked. Onemilebrige was second. The winner was bred by Fred Hertrich and sold to Golmes, Anderson and Willinger for $43,000 at Harrisburg. The gritty veteran and Meadowlands all time trotting track record holder JL Cruze made his second qualifying appearance of the season and was again a winner, this time in 1:52.3 / 27.4 for Brett Miller. He's overcome a lot for trainer Eric Ell and looks as good as he has for a while in these morning efforts trying to find form enough to go in the August 4 Cashman Memorial. Tonight is the "Greatest Party in Harness Racing", the Meadowlands Pace complete with a BBQ contest and activities for the whole family. Live stream of tonight's full card is available free on The Meadowlands website. Post time is 6:35 pm.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

When news broke of the sale of harness racing's New Zealand Champion Pacer Lazarus to North American interests in May of this year, one of the biggest questions from his army of fans was who will take on the responsibility of training the great horse. After all, Lazarus had amassed an impeccable record already for New Zealand trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. With 45 starts, 35 wins, 9 placings (he was only once out of the top three) and $3.8million in earnings, Lazarus had already won two editions of the country’s most prestigious race, the New Zealand Cup, and a staggering 15 Group One races in Australasia. He had won everything from standing start two mile staying tests in his New Zealand Cups, in which he set the record for the fastest ever time paced over the distance, to a scintillating mile mobile victory when he won the Chariots of Fire in 1.49, in New South Wales. And whilst the New Zealand bred horses currently dominate the North American open class ranks with three of the top seven earners Kiwi exports – Shartin (the richest overall pacer in the US this year to date), Bit Of A Legend and Sell A Bit – the road to glory for New Zealand standardbreds abroad has not always been easy. Adapting from the varied style of racing in New Zealand where race distances can be anything from one to two miles, stand or mobile starts or on grass or all weather tracks, our horses can sometimes find the transition to racing hard and fast miles at every start a steep learning curve. There have of course been great New Zealand pacers who have flown the flag boldly in previous eras – the great Cardigan Bay of course was the first Standardbred to earn one million dollars and he hit that mark in the United States. So famous and adored by the public he featured on The Ed Sullivan Show following his record setting achievement. In more recent years Bit Of A Legend has also gathered a legion of fans in North America. After leaving New Zealand at age six with 20 wins to his name, Bit Of A Legend has gone on to win feature races in the US and Canada collecting a further 24 wins and taking his earnings $2.2million in the past three years. For Lazarus, the man tasked with guiding him through the next chapter of his journey is New Jersey based trainer, Jimmy Takter. And if he can produce success with Lazarus it will complete one of the most unique and historic training trifectas in harness racing history. He’s trained the world’s richest trotter, the world’s fastest pacer and now has his sights set on converting a down under champion into the world’s next star. But time is not a luxury he has.   Born in Sweden, Takter is the son of a Swedish harness racing trainer and originally started his career as a driver. His father sent Jimmy to the USA when he was a teenager to learn more about the harness racing trade, and as soon as he set foot in the States Jimmy knew he had found his future home. “I feel like I fit in here,” Takter explained. “When I arrived I just fell in love with the place.” So after returning home briefly to marry his childhood sweetheart Christina, he returned to the United States with his young family in 1982 to pursue his North American dream. What followed would be such a successful and versatile career that it would lead to Takter being named a six time Trainer of the Year, and was then inducted into the US Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. He is ranked the second most successful trainer in history in the United States based on prizemoney, second only to Ron Burke, with a whopping $122 million in stakes to his name. Takter developed many top trotters in the 90’s including Hambletonian and Breeders Crown winner Malabar Man. He then hit international headlines when he trained and drove trotting champion mare Moni Maker to win the Elitlopp in his homeland in 1998. She went on to finish second in that great race in 1999 and won the Prix d’Amerique in France in ‘99 also. The grand mare was twice named US Horse of the Year and was three time Trotter of the Year. At the time of her retirement in the year 2000 she was the richest Standardbred racehorse, and richest mare of any breed, with $5.5million in earnings. It would have been easy for Takter to stick with what he knew best, after all he grew up around trotters and was picking up success in the biggest trotting races on the world stage, however Takter’s next move would see him lift his training game to a whole new level. Noted for his dedicated attention to detail and his drive to keep learning and improving, Takter turned his attention to also purchasing and training pacers. A foreign concept to him as in his homeland of Sweden they only race trotters. He adapted to training them with emphatic fashion, with success with Mr Feelgood in the 2006 Little Brown Jug when winning his two heats in an all age, combined time record. Then in 2010 and 2011 he produced the outstanding pacing filly See You At Peelers to win her first 22 starts in a row, capturing the imagination of harness racing fans worldwide. But it would be in 2015 that Jimmy Takter would start to showcase his greatest pacing training achievement when the then four-year-old Always B Miki would enter his stable doors. Always B Miki arrived with four screws in his left hind pastern after a dramatic accident saw the stallion kick the wall of his stall just minutes before his Breeders Crown final. The horse was late scratched after being found to be lame in the warm up. Takter had the horse recover and resume training with him, only to injure the opposite hind leg. It was back to the drawing board and would be a further five months until Always B Miki would resume. It was worth the wait. Remarkably after facing all of the adversity in previous months, the horse went on to win all four of his starts that season, all in 1.49.4 or better. Takter proclaimed that the horse would make a big impact on the sport the following year, if he was able to keep him healthy and sound. And he was correct. On October 9 2016 Always B Miki changed harness racing history when he and regular driver, David Miller, paced the fastest ever mile in 1.46.0. The duo led throughout at the Red Mile in Lexington in the Allerage Farms Open Pace, and as Miller reeled off the opening sectionals the atmosphere on course became electric. There had been much hype about the horse being able to break the barrier set previously by Somebeachsomewhere, He’s Watching, Warrawee Needy and Holborn Hanover of 1.46.4 in race conditions – and to all present they had a sense that this could be the day. When Miki and Miller hit the three-quarter mile in 1.19.4 race announcer Sam McKee lifted to another level, and so did the horse. As the post loomed fans watched the clock and held their breath as the final time was announced. “Always B Miki – in 1.46!” McKee screams.  The crowd erupted into a standing ovation. The performance has set the new benchmark for greatness in the sport, and the occasion almost proved too much for Takter. “I was so nervous before the race and I never get nervous like that, but I was,” he revealed. “He was scared of shadows and he didn’t warm up well.” In his career Takter has trained four Horse of the Year title recipients, Always B Miki was his first pacer to win this. With Always B Miki retired a new challenge would soon arise. Following the purchase of Lazarus by Taylor Made Stallions of Kentucky, Takter was approached to take on the role of trainer for the five-year-old stallion. And even though he would be a long way from New Zealand, Lazarus will feel right at home in his new stable in East Windsor, New Jersey. The Takter property is one of the most immaculate you will ever see. The driveway is adorned by the American Flag and features a pond with its own seven foot Statue of Liberty. Set up in a similar style to the Purdon and Rasmussen training complex, the 40 hectare farm offers a stunning barn facility with walker, equine treadmill, a 1200m straight line training track, two mile jog track, a 1000m training track and is based beside a 75 hectare Horse Park.  Takter likes to utilize this and take his team through the park to mix up the workload and keep their minds fresh and active. Whilst Takter is at the top of his game, with one of the most enviable training complexes and training records in the world, it will all be over for him soon. In a shock announcement late last year, Takter indicated that in 2019 he will step down from training duties, and hand over the reins to his daughter Nancy and his trusted stable foreman, Per Engblom. They will train from Takter’s farm and he will still live on site and be available to offer assistance and advice, but is determined to step back and take some time for himself and his family. Takter has been open about the pressure he puts on himself to be at the top of his game. He can be extremely critical on himself and strives for perfection. “A sign of a good trainer is one that stays on top for many years,” he said. “I want to be on top, but I can’t all the time. It’s been 35 years of doing this and it’s hard. I get depression very easily and I get down on myself.” “You work yourself to death here,” admitted Takter. “I just feel like if I can’t be one hundred percent into it I don’t want to do it. But it is hard to back off.” “At this stage of my career Lazarus is actually a big plus. It is horses like this that make me remember why I wanted to be in harness racing. A horse like this is very special for me to be participating with.” It’s a brutally honest and admirable revelation from one of the greatest trainers in the sport. Highlighting once again the level of pressure that being the best presents. “I haven’t decided if I will totally stay out of the industry. But I need to take some time for myself and then make a decision. I would love to come down to New Zealand and maybe have a drive as it’s on my bucket list.” Latest reports from Takter have been positive about Lazarus and how he has settled into life at the Takter Stable. He has adapted to his new surroundings effortlessly, and has been complimented on his wonderful temperament and attitude towards his work. “He’s a cool horse. I’m very happy with him, you can see he is a legend,” said Takter. There has been talk about a potential start at the Red Mile in Kentucky in September, and also the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs in October. But nothing will be set in stone until Takter is one hundred percent happy with Lazarus and his progress. “My main goal is the Breeders Crown at Pocono for him. If I accomplish that it will be the icing on the cake,” stated Takter. So whilst many focus on the great horse himself, and rightly so, there is also a human element to this intriguing endeavor.  Lazarus could allow Takter a fairytale swansong to his career; the Hall of Fame trainer, who ventured away from his homeland to chase the American dream, retiring at the top of his game and potentially signing off by producing one of the most unique training triple crowns.  The world’s richest trotter, the world’s fastest pacer and transforming a national hero from a different hemisphere into an international icon.  by Jess Smith, for Harness Racing New Zealand    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two-year-old trotting fillies faced "sloppy" going at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday, racing in five $30,000 divisions of their Pennsylvania All-Stars stake. The fastest winner was the homebred Sonnet Grace for owner/trainer/driver Rod Allen, and the 1:56.2 clocking despite the off going is certainly "in the pedigree," as the Muscle Massive filly is out of I Believe, an Andover Hall mare out of C R Kay Suzie, possibly the most precocious baby trotting miss of the last 50 years. (Within seven weeks in 1994, C R Kay Suzie trotted world record miles in 1:55.1m, 1:56.1f, and 1:56.3h, records that lasted for respectively 11, 14, and just over 20 years!) Sonnet Grace, a 1:58.1 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winner at The Meadows in her previous start, lowered her mark with her All-Stars win, but she had to work hard for it, showing a big acceleration in the Pocono Pike in the last 50 yards to just nose out Rush Lane, who had grinded to the lead earlier in the stretch. The 1:56.2 clocking was not only a divisional season's record for a 5/8-mile track, it also beat the colts' standard of 1:56.4 notched 24 hours ago by Prospect Hill and Fashion Possessed in their All-Stars wins. Trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras twice combined with daughters of Muscle Hill to begin paying back on hefty yearling prices. First up was The Ice Dutchess, a $320,000 purchase and a full sister to $500G winner Ice Attraction (their dam is The Ice Queen), who controlled the pace and took a half-length victory over first-over Scirocco Donnahill in 1:57.1. The Ice Dutchess had previously recorded a 1:56.4 baby qualifying win at The Meadowlands for the Coyote Wynd Farms. A bit later, the $480,000 yearling Beautiful Sin (Muscle Hill - Sina) made a beautiful debut, quarter-moving for Gingras and staying strong to the wire to win by 3¼ lengths in 1:58.1. Beautiful Sin had previously notched three straight morning wins at The Meadowlands, fastest in 1:56.2, for the SRF Stable. Matt Kakaley was able to rally Fate Smiled from the pocket to a head victory in 1:58.4, just catching pacesetting Fraulein Blucher (a Cantab Hall out of one of PA's top Sire Stakes performers ever, Frau Blucher). Fate Smiled is a Muscle Massive filly out of $500G+ winner For A Dancer who had won her previous start in a division of the same Sire Stakes event at The Meadows earlier mentioned in 1:58. Ron Burke trains her for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Michelle Yanek. Fate Smiled was a 9-5 second choice, and the first three winners listed here were their race's favorites. The upsetter in the All-Stars on Tuesday was 12-1 shot Sabrina Deo, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of the half-million dollar winner Caught My Eye, who moved out from the pocket at headstretch and caught pacesetter Fast Reaction by ¾ of a length in 1:57.3 in her purse bow. Corey Callahan was in the sulky for trainer John Butenschoen and the ownership of Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc., Rojan Stables, and Tangie Massie. The winner had been twice second in a.m. outings before this win, and she completed a "grandsire sweep" for Muscles Yankee (Muscle Hill sired three winners and Muscle Massive two). From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

East Rutherford, NJ --- Ariana G bested the boys with a world-record performance to win Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands, defeating Moonshiner Hanover by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:50.2. Sortie finished third. The time was the fastest ever by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile track. The previous record of 1:51 was shared by three mares: Mistery Woman in 2014, Hannelore Hanover in 2016, and Emoticon Hanover in 2017. Ariana G, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, also surpassed $2 million in career purses with the triumph. Owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the mare has won 23 of 30 lifetime races and earned $2.01 million. It was her second victory in four starts this year and came in her second race since returning from illness in June. "She was awesome tonight," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said. "I'm so glad she's where she belongs. She went up to Canada (in June) and her blood work was wrong and she scoped bad and I had to give her a little time to rebound from that. She had a good winter, so I knew she was in top-level form, it's just those things happen when they get sick." Ariana G, the only mare in the race and 3-2 favorite in the field of 10, started from post eight and was moved to the lead by driver Yannick Gingras prior to reaching the opening quarter-mile in :27.3. International Moni came to challenge Ariana G on the backstretch and got a quarter-length in front as they hit the half in :55.2, but he was unable to clear completely and continued to race on the outside entering the final turn. From there, Ariana G accelerated and pulled away from the field. She trotted the last quarter-mile in :27, which was the best of the group. "I wanted to keep (International Moni) out there," Gingras said. "He didn't look like he had as much trot as I did. My mare felt so strong. I was going to take matters into my own hands and she showed it. "I told Jimmy it was a taxing half (mile) and I wasn't a hundred percent sure I was going to win, but in the last turn she started to swell up and felt so, so strong. I knew something would have to happen for her to get beat tonight." Ariana G, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cantab It All, paid $5.00 to win.  

WILKES-BARRE PA - A $13,000 trot for two-year-old colts on Monday and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono resulted in a youngster making his career debut a winning one, and a young driver running his lifetime sulky credentials to 4-for-6, as Osterc and driver Josert Fonseca combined for a victory in 1:59.1. Osterc and Fonseca forced a 30 quarter out of Ginger Tree Skyr, then yielded and kept the pocket tight as Manwilling moved to challenge in middle splits of 1:00.2 and 1:30. When the two-wide challenger faded late on the far turn, Fonseca moved outside with his charge, and though still two lengths down in midstretch, the driver was confident in the closing ability of his freshman, and indeed Osterc got to the wire a length ahead of Ginger Tree Skyr. Of course, Fonseca's confidence in the Jimmy Takter trainee probably came from knowledge of the colt's pedigree - he is a son of Cantab Hall, who had been installed in the Living Horse Hall of Fame the night before in not-distant Goshen NY, and his dam is Oh Oh Hereshecomes, a daughter of $1M+ winner Lamtern Kosmos, who also was the dam of a $1M winner in The Bank. Christina Takter and Goran Falk are the owners of the colt, who looks to have as much a chance to be a top colt as anybody. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Jimmy Takter is ready to take off Manchego's training wheels. In this case, the wheels are shoes. Manchego, undefeated in 15 career races, will attempt to become the first female winner of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when she faces eight male rivals in the $500,000 event for 3-year-old trotters. Last week, she captured her elimination by a nose in 1:52.4, equaling her lifetime best time and besting a field that included 2017 male divisional champs from the U.S. and Canada plus the Breeders Crown winner. She will start the Beal final from post No. 6 with regular driver Yannick Gingras and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. "This is a good test for her, it's a very good race," Takter said. "(Last week) she had to work hard to get the lead; she fought hard. It will be tougher this week. There is going to be a lot of action in that race." Takter has won three of the Beal's seven previous editions and last year sent out the first female finalist in the event, Ariana G, who won her elimination before finishing third from post eight in the final. Takter plans to make a shoeing adjustment on Manchego for Saturday's final. "She's been racing with her training shoes," Takter said. "She's been going with a (heavier) shoe up front and she doesn't need any weight. We can lighten her up quite a bit. This is something I always do. I don't do it right away; I've been waiting to get to this point in the season. I've got another gear there." The Beal is one of four marquee events that make up Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono. The card also features the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, where Lather Up is the 2-1 morning-line favorite; $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, with McWicked the 5-2 favorite; and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, where Sidewalk Dancer is the 5-2 choice. Manchego was a $120,000 yearling buy, under the name Whispering Hills, at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. She is a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic and her family includes millionaire Possess The Magic. Manchego was a perfect 12-for-12 last year and became the first undefeated 2-year-old female trotter to win a Dan Patch Award. She also was the first unbeaten 2-year-old female trotter to win a Breeders Crown. This year, Manchego won divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Pennsylvania All-Stars before her nose victory over Crystal Fashion in her Beal elimination, which marked only the second time in her 15 starts that a horse was within 1-1/2 lengths of her at the finish line. In the elim, she defeated a field that had last year's male Dan Patch Award winner Fourth Dimension, O'Brien Award winner Alarm Detector, and Breeders Crown champ Fiftydallarbill. "She's more calm this year; more professional in all aspects," Takter said. "She's very handy. Whatever you want to do, you can do. That's a plus for her." Manchego, who is owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, has earned $929,688 in her career. Crystal Fashion is the 3-1 second choice in the Beal final, followed by elimination winners Mission Accepted at 4-1 and Six Pack at 5-1. Six Pack will start from the outside position, post nine. Seven of the nine finalists are eligible to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes: Manchego, Six Pack, Crystal Fashion, Lawmaker, Patent Leather, Fashionwoodchopper, and Evaluate. The only Beal champion to win the Hambletonian was Pinkman in 2015. Beal winners Devious Man and Southwind Frank finished second in the Hambletonian the past two years. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Pocono. The Beal is race No. 12 on the card and caps the stakes events. The Lynch is race nine, followed by the Hempt and Franklin. The Earl Beal Jr. Memorial honors the former president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, who was a driving force to bring casino gaming to the state's racetracks. Following is the field for this year's race. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Lawmaker-Anthony MacDonald-Andrew Harris-15/1 2-Patent Leather-Brian Sears-Jim Campbell-10/1 3-Mission Accepted-Ryan Stahl-Jeff Conger-4/1 4-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-3/1 5-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-12/1 6-Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 7-Mississippi Storm-Brett Miller-Tom Fanning-20/1 8-Evaluate-Corey Callahan-Marcus Melander-6/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-5/1 Complete entries for the card are available at this link. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It has been a long time between drinks for harness racing's 2015 Hambletonian champion Pinkman, but his extended wait to return to the winner's circle is finally over. The Jimmy Takter trainee, who last won on May 29, 2016 in a stakes event in Sweden, took the featured conditioned trot Friday night at the Meadowlands in 1:52 by a half-length over Misslarose. Opulent Yankee finished third. Prior to his score in Sweden, Pinkman's previous North American victory came in the October 10, 2015 Kentucky Futurity, two months after he hoisted Hambletonian hardware. Friday night, driver Andy McCarthy was in the sulky as Pinkman, who never saw the rail, was in a live second-over flow heading for three-quarters. He tipped off his cover in midstretch and rolled to his 19th career win in 42 starts for owners C. Takter, John and Jim Fielding, J. McClelland and H. Liverman. Lifetime, the 6-year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter has earned $2.65 million. As the 3-1 second choice in the wagering, Pinkman returned $8.00 to win. Lindy The Great, the 3-2 public choice, broke stride before the quarter. HAMBO HOPEFULS: The Paula Wellwood-trained Southwind Chrome crushed an overmatched field in a non-winners of two earlier on the card. The Hambletonian eligible, a son of Chapter Seven, was driven by Scott Zeron and completed the mile in 1:54 as the 1-5 favorite for his first-ever win in his fifth start. Zephyr Kronos, trained and driven by Takter, won a non-winners of three later in the evening. The son of Ready Cash, another Hambo eligible, scored on the front end in 1:53 as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering. A LITTLE MORE: The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $262,148. ... One lucky player walked away with $11,470 after being the only bettor to survive eight legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-9. ... All-source wagering on the nine-race card totaled $1,767,338. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The elimination races for the $2,000,000 Sun Stakes Saturday supercard at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono have been drawn. The elimination races will be conducted this Saturday (June 23), with those advancing to the Championships going for the big money on Saturday, June 30. A tremendous amount of subplots already suggest themselves from the elimination draws: the undefeated filly Manchego taking on the boys in the Beal Trot; arguably the three best colts drawing posts 6-7-8 in the same elimination of the Hempt Pace; Filibuster Hanover again testing older stock as he looks to keep his seasonal tally unbeaten in the Franklin Pace. Here is a brief preview of the four major races, with a listing of the field containing horse, post position, trainer, and probable driver at the end of each section. EARL BEAL 3YO OPEN TROT (this Saturday $25,000 eliminations in races 3, 5, 11; top three advance to June 30's $500,000 Championship) Manchego, perfect in 14 starts thus far in her career, with both her starts in 2018 winning ones at Pocono, will test the boys in this important stepping stone towards the Hambletonian and the rest of the sophomore riches. Manchego has done well in the barrier draw, getting post five, by far the winningest starting slot at Pocono, for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras. (It was that team that tried the filly Ariana G in the Beal last year, and she gave a great race but wound up third over an off track in the Championship.) Manchego will have to face champion colts at two from both sides of the border, and here the gate, in this race 11 elim: Alarm Detector, 7 for 9 last year and coming off a third in the Goodtimes Final for trainer Benoit Baillargeon and driver Trevor Henry. He has the inside post; stuck with the outside post eight is Fourth Dimension (trainer Marcus Melander, driver Brian Sears), 8 for 11 in 2017 and second in his recent seasonal bow. New York star Six Pack, undefeated in three seasonal outings including the Empire Breeders Classic final, will go in race 5 from post six in a field of seven for trainer/driver Ã…ke Svanstedt. Two top Pennsylvania horses going against him are Moosonee (post two, trainer Chris Beaver, driver Aaron Merriman), a double stakes winner this year, and Fashionwoodchopper (post five, trainer Jim Campbell, driver David Miller), the 2017 Sire Stakes Champion. The Beal action starts from race 3, with Patent Leather (post one, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick) back on the track after winning a Pennsylvania All-Stars race in 1:52.3 yesterday (Sunday), just six nights before the Beal elims. Sire Stakes winners in Ohio (Mission Accepted, post four, trainer Jeff Conger, driver Ryan Stahl) and New York (Voss Volo, post seven, trainer John Butenschoen, driver Corey Callahan) certainly figure as contenders. BEAL ELIMINATION RACE 3 - 1, Patent Leather, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick; 2, Tito, Erv Miller, Marcus Miller; 3, Lawmaker, Andrew Harris, Anthony MacDonald; 4, Mission Accepted, Jeff Conger, Ryan Stahl; 5, Winning Shadow, Jake Huff, Corey Callahan; 6, Whats The Word, trainer Rene Allard, Callahan also listed; 7, Voss Volo, John Butenschoen, Callahan also listed. (A release with late driver changes and morning line odds will be sent out Tuesday afternoon.) BEAL ELIMINATION RACE 5 - 1, Missle Hill, Tony Alagna, Doug McNair; 2, Moosonee, Chris Beaver, Aaron Merriman; 3, Evaluate, Marcus Melander, Tim Tetrick; 4, Rich And Miserable, Todd Buter, Tyler Buter; 5, Fashionwoodchopper, Jim Campbell, David Miller; 6, Six Pack, trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt; 7, Scirocco Rob, John Butenschoen, Corey Callahan. BEAM ELIMINATION RACE 11 - 1, Alarm Detector, Benoit Baillargeon, Trevor Henry; 2, Gemologist; trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt; 3, Crystal Fashion, Jim Campbell, Tim Tetrick; 4, Mississippi Storm, Tom Fanning, David Miller; 5, Manchego, Jimmy Takter, Yannick Gingras; 6, Fashion Forever, Jim Campbell, Corey Callahan; 7, Fiftydallarbill, Bill Crone, Trace Tetrick; 8, Fourth Dimension, Marcus Melander, Brian Sears. MAX C. HEMPT 3YO COLT PACE (this Saturday $25,000 eliminations in races 6, 9, 12; top three advance to June 30's $500,000 Championship) The racing gods left no margin for error in the 12th race elimination of the Hempt. Only the top three horses in the eight-horse elim will advance, and the threesome many would rate as the top trio in the land drew the three outermost slots: Done Well (post six, trainer Brian Brown, driver Tim Tetrick), Lather Up (post seven, trainer Clyde Francis, driver Montrell Teague), and Courtly Choice (post eight, trainer Blake MacIntosh, driver Mark MacDonald). Lather Up, a perfect 6-for-6 this year, will likely emerge as the chalk off his easy win last Saturday in the North America Cup final; a win might not come so easily in this collection. In the race six elim, New York Sire Stakes winners Keystone Tenacious (post four, trainer Paul Kelley, driver Mark MacDonald) and Springsteen (post six, trainer Rene Allard, driver David Miller) will be challenged by fast Ohio Sires winner Cinnamack (post three, trainer Brian Brown, David Miller also listed) and Dorsoduro Hanover (post seven, five, trainer Ron Burke, driver Matt Kakaley), who was the early leader pro tem in this division until getting a horrible trip in his NA Cup elim and not making the final. Race nine sees Stay Hungry trying to rebound from a fourth-place finish in the NA Cup Final after getting a golden second-over trip. To come back to winning ways, he'll have to overcome the outside post eight for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Doug McNair, along with foes such as I'm A Big Deal (post five, trainer Chris Ryder, driver George Napolitano Jr.), an impressive Sire Stakes winner here a couple of starts back. HEMPT ELIM RACE 6 - 1, This Is The Plan, Chris Ryder, Tim Tetrick; 2, Daddyofemall, Dan Altmeyer, Mike Wilder; 3, Cinnamack, Brian Brown, David Miller; 4, Keystone Tenacious, Paul Kelley, Mark MacDonald; 5, Dorsoduro Hanover, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 6, Springsteen, Rene Allard, David Miller also listed; 7, Stendahl Hanover, Eddie Sager, Marcus Miller; 8, Decoy, Jimmy Takter, David Miller also listed; 9, Closing Statement, Joe Holloway, Brian Sears. HEMPT ELIM RACE 9 - 1, Whos Better, Brian Brown, Tim Tetrick; 2, Sometimesawinner, Rene Allard, Simon Allard; 3, Shnitzledosomethin, Dylan Davis, David Miller; 4, Hitman Hill, Chris Oakes, Brett Miller; 5, I'm A Big Deal, Chris Ryder, George Napolitano Jr.; 6, Points North, Nifty Norman, Andrew McCarthy; 7, Grand Teton, Jimmy Takter, Scott Zeron; 8, Stay Hungry, Tony Alagna, Doug McNair. HEMPT ELIM RACE 12 - 1, Rock Lights, Katricia Adams, George Napolitano Jr.; 2, Babes Dig Me, Tony Alagna, Brett Miller; 3, Heavenly Sound, Bruce Saunders, Andrew McCarthy; 4, Nutcracker Sweet, Jimmy Takter, David Miller; 5, Wes Delight, Mark Harder, Corey Callahan; 6. Done Well, Brian Brown, Tim Tetrick; 7, Lather Up, Clyde Francis, Montrell Teague; 8, Courtly Choice, Blake MacIntosh, Mark MacDonald. BEN FRANKLIN FFA PACE (this Saturday $35,000 eliminations in races 2, 4, 10; top three advance to June 30's $500,000 Championship) Filibuster Hanover, who has handled the often-difficult stepup from age three to age four quite well so far, will try to run his seasonal undefeated string to six as he starts from post six in the 10th race Franklin elim for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Filibuster has already shown he could handle older company with a win in the Commodore Barry Pace at Philly at the end of May. Sure to attract support is Sintra (post one, trainer David Menary, driver Jody Jamieson) off a 1:48 victory in the Mohawk Gold Cup last week. The horse who finished second to Sintra, McWicked, just might be the most intriguing horse in all of these Franklin elims. Last week he was sixteen lengths out at the quarter, yet rallied to be beaten only 2 3/4 lengths, which calculates to a last 3/4s in 1:18.4 - and three-wide on the far turn! The career winner of more than $2M starts from post four for trainer Casey Coleman and driver Brian Sears in the race 4 elimination. Heaven Rocks A, a champion in Australasia who was second to Filibuster Hanover in the Commodore Barry and then came back to win in 1:50 at Philly, may be getting better and better with each start; in his race 2 elimination, he'll try to sustain his improvement from post four for trainer Ross Croghan and driver David Miller. Western Fame (post five, trainer Jimmy Takter, driver Andrew McCarthy) will draw respect off a 1:49.1 - 26.1 win last week at The Meadowlands. FRANKLIN ELIM RACE 2 - 1, Easy Lover Hanover, Ben Wallace, driver TBA; 2, Check Six, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 3, Missile J, Scott Di Domenico, Tim Tetrick; 4, Heaven Rocks A, Ross Croghan, David Miller; 5, Western Fame, Jimmy Takter, Andrew McCarthy; 6, Split The House, Chris Oakes, George Napolitano Jr.; 7, Donttellmeagain, Jim King Jr., Tim Tetrick also listed. FRANKLIN ELIM RACE 4 - 1, Rockin Ron, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 2, Scott Rocks, Hunter Oakes, George Napolitano Jr.; 3, Waikiki Beach A, Ross Croghan, Scott Zeron; 4, McWicked, Casey Coleman, Brian Sears; 5, Mach It So, Jeff Bamond Jr., Tim Tetrick; 6, Mac's Jackpot, Jeffrey Smith, Andy Miller. FRANKLIN RACE 10 - 1, Sintra, David Menary, Jody Jamieson; 2, Boogie Shuffle, Mark Harder, David Miller; 3, Christen Me N, Jim King Jr., Tim Tetrick; 4, All Bets Off, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 5, Dealt A Winner, Mark Silva, Brett Miller; 6, Filibuster Hanover, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 7, Funknwaffles, John Butenschoen, Corey Callahan. JAMES LYNCH 3YO FILLY PACE (this Saturday $20,000 eliminations in races 7 and 8; top four and the faster fifth-place finisher advance to June 30's $300,000 Championship) The main question to be asked ahead of the Lynch is "Which Youaremycandygirl will show up this week?" The one who won 9 of 11 at two and was divisional champion, or the one who has won only one of three seasonal starts? Trainer Ron Burke has been diligently working to get the most successful answer to that question, as the filly starts in the race 7 elimination from post two for driver Yannick Gingras. Lismore champion Alexa's Power (post three, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick) and New Jersey Sires final winner Hypnotic Tale (post five, trainer Linda Toscano, driver David Miller) will be among the many seeking out the answer to that puzzle. In the race 8 elim, Kissin In The Sand (post three, trainer Nancy Johansson, driver Scott Zeron) may become the public's choice after a very good second in the Fan Hanover final last Saturday. Two of Pennsylvania's best had the misfortune to draw outside posts in the eight-horse field: Serene Stride (post seven, trainer Mark Harder, driver Tony Hall) and Sidewalk Dancer (post eight, trainer Chris Oakes, driver Brett Miller. LYNCH ELIM RACE 7 - 1, Carlo's Superstar, Rene Allard, Simon Allard; 2, Youaremycandygirl, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 3, Alexa's Power, Jim Campbell, Tim Tetrick; 4, Double A Mint, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 5, Hypnotic Tale, Linda Toscano, David Miller; 6, Pass Line Bluechip, Wayne Givens, driver TBA; 7, Majorsspeciallady, Ron Burke, Brett Miller; 8, Ideal Talker, Noel Daley, Andrew McCarthy. LYNCH ELIM RACE 8 - 1, Python Blue Chip, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 2, I'm Trigger Happy, Tony Osullivan, David Miller; 3, Kissin In The Sand, Nancy Johansson, Scott Zeron; 4, Solitary, Nick Surick, Tim Tetrick; 5, Cuts Like A Knife, Bruce Saunders, Tim Tetrick also listed; 6, Sansovia Hanover, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 7, Serene Stride, Mark Harder, Tony Hall; 8, Sidewalk Dancer, Chris Oakes, Brett Miller. One final note - you won't want to miss the first race, a $30,000 open pace in the Great Northeast Open Series, with two $2M+ winners: Bettors Edge (post one, trainer Jennifer Lappe, driver Scott Zeron), and another Takterite taking on "the boys," Pure Country (post three, driver Yannick Gingras). Add Rockeyed Optimist, Rodeo Romeo and others to the mix, and you have a field with 151 lifetime wins and a combined bankroll of $6.3M, with an average mark of 1:48.4. This curtainraiser at Pocono on Saturday is slated for 7 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs                

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast With The Babies sponsored by Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms took place at The Meadowlands on a grand Saturday morning with clear skies, little breeze and temps in the mid-70's at 10am.   It turned out to be Father Patrick day as that first crop sire had five winners in the seven trotting races. an impressive showing indeed.   Trotting fillies opened the card with Whispering Oaks a 1:57.3 win, the second in a many appearances for the imposing $100,000 (LEX Select) Father Patrick filly. Yannick Gingras sat chilly with Whispering Oaks tight on the back of Frauline Blucher (Marcus Johansson) as that rival set moderate fractions, then tipped his charge as they turned home and she exploded by with a 28 flat final quarter.   Jimmy Takter trains the winner for Brixton Medical, Herb Liverman and RAW Equine. Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband are the breeders.   Father Patrick got another credit when Devilish Delight won the second race in 1:58 / 28.4 for Andy McCarthy. She did it all on her own, setting comfortable fractions then sprinted home to easily hold Caviart Jenny (Johansson) and the rest of the field at bay. Tom Dillion paid $80,000 for Devilish Delight in Lexington last fall, buying from breeder Kentuckiana Farms. Jonas Czernyson trains.   Special Honor by, guess who, Father Patrick took the third for Andy Miller in 1:58.1 / 27.4. She converted a perfect trip, tracking Given (Gingras) until headstretch then ground past that stubborn rival as they neared the wire. Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld bred and own Special Honor.   The fourth race this morning saw two talented, well-bred filly trotters square-off and it went as if scripted. The Muscle Hill x Sina lass Beautiful Sin (Gingras) wore down French Café (Andy Miller), another Father Patrick this one from Creamy Mimi, through a stretch-long battle to win in 1:56.4 / 28.1.   While Isolde (Dave Miller) was rank on the lead early through fast fractions, French Café followed in the pocket before gliding by that rival around the final bend with Beautiful Sin in close pursuit. In the stretch both fillies dug in gamely and it did take a photo to determine Beautiful Sin as the winner. Lennart Agrin paid $480,000 for Beautiful Sin at the Lexington sale last fall and she races under his SRF Stable banner for trainer Jimmy Takter. Jeff Gural and the Moon Goddesses bred and raised the winner.   Colt trotters came around in the 5th and Kredit Karma (David Miller) led all the way to win in 1:58.2 / 27.4 over Amico Mio B (Jordan Stratton). The winner was a $110,000 (LEX Select) Credit Winner bred by Steve Jones and Fair Winds Farm and now owned by Our Horse Cents Stable. Marcus Melander is the trainer.   Hudson River became yet another credit for Father Patrick when he won in 1:58.2 with trainer Jimmy Takter at the lines. Hudson River took the field by the 1:00.3 half, yielded to stablemate and eventual second place finisher Gerris Trix (Gingras) then trotted by that one in deep stretch for the score. Hudson River is a homebred racing for Christina Takter and Goran Falk.   Saving perhaps the best for last and making five winners on the day for Father Patrick was the highly regarded colt Greenshoe. He turned heads when he won in 1:55 with the greatest of ease two weeks ago and returned with another impressive win this morning, albeit a bit slower in 1:56.1 / 28.1 with Brian Sears driving for trainer Marcus Melander.   Greenshoe was pretty fresh scoring and anxious behind the gate but Sears was able to soothe him away with the good colt Don't Let'em (Gingras) landing on his back. Moderate fractions ensued with no real trotting done until midway through the stretch when Gingras moved Don't Let'em out to challenge and made a bit ground but couldn't threaten the winner. Anders Strom using his nom d'course of Courant, Inc bought the Greenshoe in Lexington last fall for $330,000 from breeders Libfeld and Katz.   JK American Beauty took the first pacing race in 1:56.1 for Tim Tetrick. She was just up over Wicked N Wonderful (Gingras) with Mollydooker going off stride when pacing fast at the wire. Nancy Johansson trains the American Ideal filly for owner/breeder 3 Brothers Stable.   Hurrikane Norakane (Dan Dube) was a 1:56.3 winner for trainer John Mc Dermott, Jr. Trapped until very late, when a seam appeared the Art Major filly shot through to nip Odds On Clearwater (Scott Zeron). Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, Pegasis Investments and George Vierno own the $24,000 Harrisburg purchase who was bred by Twinbrook LTD.   Blood Money (Gingras), representing the first crop by Sweet Lou, took the 10th in 1:54.2 / 27 just holding off the furious late rally of Hurrikane Emperor (Dube). The homebred is now two for two for Takter and Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Racing.   The exact same connections came right back to win the last of the 2-year-old races with Blacklight in 1:56 / 27.2. Yannick held the Somebeachsomewhere colt from champion mare I Luv The Nitelife well back early then unleashed him in deep stretch to nail Waterway (Brett Miller) in the last step. Another good Diamond Creek homebred prospect in the Takter barn.   Hey Blondie took a handy qualifier in 1:53.2 for Andy McCarthy in a race where Tactical Landing set brisk fractions before rolling off stride as they turned home.   Live racing tonight at The Meadowlands highlighting the annual appearance by the Camel and Ostriches.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands resumes live racing on Friday with a nine race card beginning at 7:15 pm.   The overnight mix is highlighted by a few Hambletonian eligibles sprinkled over the program, including a very interesting Jimmy Takter pupil. Takter has a barn load of Hambo horses including a few intriguing prospects that have kept a very low profile, Zephyr Kronos among those.   By International classic winning sire Ready Cash, Orange Kronos raced but twice at age 2 but Takter and company recognized the talent enough to put the colt away early and count on time to season him.   The early returns would lean toward that being time well spent, though Zephyr Kronos still requires careful handling and has been driven by the trainer in all starts this season, the speed is evident. He has exhibited a wicked turn of foot on several occasions with sub 27 second final quarters a regular occurrence on his past performance lines.   The pair will leave from post two in a short field of six in the second race where he'll find a pair of potential Hambo rivals in Dawson Springs and U Need Stones.   With the Hambletonian now just seven weeks hence, Takter will have to ask the hard questions soon to determine whether Zephyr Kronos is indeed worthy of owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, Perry Soderberg and Jimmy's wife Christina's patience and investment.   The last race Jackpot Hi-5 carryover pool is now in excess of $250,000. You can find free past performances for that and the Pick 4 on the web.   by Nick Saliv, for the Meadowlands  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Manchego kept her place in the spotlight intact Tuesday night in one of four $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old trotting fillies at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, overcoming the tuck-then-first-over trip to post a 1:52.4 victory. The undefeated daughter of Muscle Hill found herself in the middle of a quintet of strong leavers, and Yannick Gingras backed the winner of $917,188 into a midpack tuck, then started first-over on the second turn after Nixie Volo, who had been responsible for the early numbers of 27.1 and 56.3. Manchego started to gain the advantage at the 1:24.4 3/4s, but for a second the upset-minded had a thrill as Nixie Volo kept the champion out on the turn. But Manchego simply increased her distance consumption in her effortless way, coming home two lengths to the good of late-closing Top Expectations, with Nixie Volo another 1¼ lengths back in third. Manchego's 1:52.4 equaled her personal mark, achieved last year at both Mohawk and Lexington. Jimmy Takter had the filly in top shape after a 22-day racetrack layoff, getting her 14th win in succession without much of a sweat for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Manchego commanded so much of the crowd's respect, she drew almost $19,000 of the $22,000+ win/place/show pool, and the Exacta she headed with 43-1 Top Expectations second returned only $15.20 (the second choice was 23-1 behind the 1-9 shot). Then, the most marked of mutuel contrasts followed 18 minutes later, as the Explosive Matter filly Highland Dynamite made the most of a pocket trip behind pacesetter Bill's Lady, going up the Pocono Pike to catch that foe in 1:53.1 while returning $250.80 to win and combining with Bill's Lady, the 5-2 second choice, for a $4878.80 exacta. Simon Allard guided the Pierre Paradis-trained shocker, who reduced her mark 5 2/5 seconds while gaining into a 55.2 back half for the Highland Thoroughbred Farm. (The other galloping reference of the night came in race four, where the winner was named Justified.) Southwind Angelica came out before the ¾ to challenge pacesetting favorite Basquiat and wore her down late in their division, posting a neck victory while taking a new mark of 1:54.2. Another daughter of Muscle Hill, the winner stepped her own back fractions in 55.4 - 27.4 in taking the decision for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Jonas Czernyson, and owner Thomas Dillon. The final All-Stars contest was taken by the Donato Hanover filly Live Laugh Love, who gained solidly from third midrace to take the lead in early stretch and win by herself in 1:54.3. The Nifty Norman trainee, a Sire Stakes winner and then second to Manchego in her two previous starts, ran her record to 4-for-5 in 2018, with earnings of $117,227 lifetime for Melvin Hartman, David Mc Duffee, and Diamond Creek Racing. *************** In other important news, George Napolitano Jr., the all-time leading horseman in Pocono Downs history, goes so fast that a mere pencil cannot stay with him - it took a check of the USTA computer to show that in Monday's 12th race, his victory with Myidealson N was the 9000th of his top-notch career. "George Nap" becomes the 21st North American-based driver to get to 9000 wins, and ranks #12 among active drivers. The leading driver in North America in 2010 with 753 visits to Victory Lane, Napolitano has won a mind-boggling 29 titles at Pocono - 11 driving win titles (including the last six, and he leads the colony right now), 9 UDR championships (including the last five), and five training win titles. He has also won nine titles "down the Turnpike" at Harrah's Philadelphia - six for sulky victories and three for UDR. George will have his entire family to the track on Saturday night, where he will join with them to be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winners Circle for this milestone triumph. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Wolfgang will try to continue his rise among Hambletonian Stakes contenders when he faces nine rivals in Saturday's C$266,000 Goodtimes Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Goodtimes is one of the stakes stops on the road to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian, which is the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters. Two of the past four winners of the Goodtimes have gone on to capture the Hambletonian, Marion Marauder in 2016 and Trixton in 2014. In addition, last year's winner International Moni won an elimination of the Hambletonian. Saturday's Goodtimes is part of a stakes-filled card at Woodbine Mohawk Park, headlined by the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers. The night also includes the Armbro Flight for older female trotters, Roses Are Red for older female pacers, and Fan Hanover for 3-year-old female pacers. Wolfgang, who was ranked No. 9 in last week's Road to the Hambletonian, compiled by Meadowlands Racetrack announcer and analyst Ken Warkentin, is among seven Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the Goodtimes. The others are Alarm Detector, Cruising In Style, Hat Trick Habit, Hill Street, Lawmaker, and Missle Hill. Alarm Detector, who was No. 3 in last week's Hambletonian rankings, and Wolfgang each won his Goodtimes elimination. Wolfgang, making his first start of the season, captured his division by 2-3/4 lengths over Lawmaker in a career-best 1:52.2. "I'm very happy with the way he went last week," said Yannick Gingras, who drives Wolfgang for trainer Jimmy Takter. "It was his first time out and he was loaded with trot. I think he did it the right way and I think he's got a big chance." Last year, Wolfgang won three of 10 races and earned $316,275, which ranked fifth among 2-year-old male trotters. The colt's victories included the Matron Stakes and he finished second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship and season-ending Valley Victory Stakes. Fourth Dimension, who was last year's Dan Patch Award winner for 2-year-old male trotters and was No. 1 in last week's Road to the Hambletonian, won the Valley Victory. Fourth Dimension is yet to race this year. "I think if I got loose a little earlier in the Valley Victory I could have given Fourth Dimension all he wanted," said Gingras, who has driven Wolfgang in his past four starts. "Even before that, I watched him race and he looked like a horse that could go a long ways. "I thought coming into the year he was probably the best trotter I had to drive for the Hambletonian. Jimmy said all along he was coming back strong. We couldn't be any happier with where he's at right now." Wolfgang, who hails from a family with chef-inspired names, is a son of My MVP out of Summer Savory. He was purchased for $60,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Brixton Medical Inc., Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables, and breeder Fair Island Farm. Alarm Detector, who was the O'Brien Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter in Canada, won his Goodtimes elimination by three-quarters of a length over Breeders Crown champion Fiftydallarbill in 1:53.1. Alarm Detector also was making his seasonal debut. "I was okay with it, mile in (1):53, it's getting a little cooler right now at this time and you can train them as much as you want, but it's not like racing," trainer Ben Baillargeon said after the win. "He was ready and up to the task." Alarm Detector, a son of Chapter Seven out of Final Countdown, has won seven of eight career races and earned $237,032. His victories last year included the William Wellwood Memorial at Woodbine Mohawk Park. He was purchased for $110,000 at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale and his family includes Dan Patch and O'Brien awards winner Ken Warkentin, who was named in honor of the Meadowlands' announcer. The colt is owned by Thomas Rankin, Elizabeth Rankin, Claude Hamel, and Santo Vena. Following is the field for the Goodtimes Stakes. The connections of Wolfgang and Alarm Detector, as elimination winners, selected their respective post positions. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Stormont Ventnor-Phil Hudon-Kevin Benn 2-Hill Street-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter 3-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon 4-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter 5-Lawmaker-Anthony MacDonald-Jason McGinnis 6-Hat Trick Habit-David Miller-Domenico Cecere 7-Fiftydallarbill-Trace Tetrick-William Crone 8-Run Director-Sylvain Filion-Benoit Baillargeon 9-Missle Hill-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna 10-Cruising In Style-James MacDonald-Kevin McMaster by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

CHESTER PA - A two-time divisional champion mare and a driver who is undefeated in his entire racing career dead-heated for the win in a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, and came very close to the divisional world record for a trotting tie. Broadway Donna, tops in her class at two and three, was driven aggressively by Tyler Buter, spotting early then making a move after the 28 quarter to follow Lagerfeld, driven by Josert Fonseca, who had cleared to the lead in front of the stands. Broadway Donna went on to the lead before the half in 56.2, shook off the first-over bid of Fashion Creditor near the 1:25 ¾ pole, then braced for a stretch battle as Fonseca moved Lagerfeld outside for the dash to the wire. Broadway Donna held her ground staunchly even as the margin of advantage was eaten into by Lagerfeld with every step, and on the wire the pair could not be separated in 1:53.2. A check of what materials are available on this phenomenon showed a 2014 trotting dead heat in 1:53 between Crosbys Clam Bake and World Cup - also at Harrah's. Broadway Donna, a daughter of Donato Hanover, is now 19 for 35 in her career, with earnings of $1,297,823 for trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC. Josert Foseca, now 3-for-3 lifetime, guided Lagerfeld, a son of Yankee Pride, as he equaled his mark and brought his bankroll to $718,400 for trainer Jimmy Takter and the ownership of Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Jim Fielding. The $17,000 pacing co-feature saw Last Gunfighter circle wide off of cover on the far turn, then stride away in the lane to record a victory in 1:52 over a track that had been downgraded to "sloppy." Vinnie Ginsburg handled the son of Rocknroll Hanover as he won impressively for trainer Jake Leamon and owners David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio. From the PHHA/Chester's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - Undefeated trotting filly sensation Manchego returns to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this coming Tuesday night (June 12), racing in one of four $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars series event. Manchego, a daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, went 12-for-12 during her freshman campaign, of course earning divisional honors and bankrolling $873,948. Manchego made her 2018 bow at Pocono on May 21, winning a division of a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes contest in hand, and she is again expected to be the overwhelming favorite from post seven for driver Yannick Gingras. Nixie Volo, recent winner of a Currier and Ives Filly division and a PA Sires contest on the same card as Manchego, draws in against her here, but is stuck with the outside post nine for driver Corey Callahan. The filly who gave Manchego her hardest battle in 2017, the Explosive Matter miss Phaetosive, may be the choice in another division despite also having to overcome the outside nine-hole. Trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer for Purple Haze Stables LLC, Phaetosive was second, beaten only ¾ of a length in the Peaceful Way final last year at Mohawk, and in her 2018 bow she came her back fractions in 54.1 - 26.2 while coming from eighth to miss only two lengths at The Meadowlands. Two Pennsylvania Sires winners, What A Knockout (post one, driver Tim Tetrick) and Piranha Fury (post two, David Miller) will square off in another All-Stars section against Bill's Lady (post six, Corey Callahan), coming off a win in a Currier and Ives Filly division. The other division of Tuesday's stake is headlined by two recent PA Stallion Series winners, Perfect Image (post five, Charlie Norris) and Pembroke Mystery (post seven, Tim Tetrick). From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Trois-Rivieres, QC - A near record number of 27 four-year-old harness racing pacers have made the final nomination payment to the $200,000 fifth renewal of the Prix D'Ete at the Hippodrome 3R in Quebec on Sunday, August 19. The 27 remaining is just one-horse shy of the record of 28 set last year. Headlining the list of nominees is the unbeaten Filibuster Hanover, who is now four for four in 2018 for the Ron Burke Stable. Burke and company will be seeking their third Prix D'Ete victory in 2018. Of the top ten money winning three-year-old colts and geldings from 2017 that are returning to race in 2018, eight of the ten are nominated to the Prix D'Ete including the first six money winners. The final eight that will race for the $200,000 purse will be the top money earners in 2018 at time of entry. The Prix D'Ete was the most prestigious race in all of Canada from 1966 through 1992. World champions Bret Hanover, Albatross, Niatross, Hot Hitter, Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Ralph Hanover, Matt's Scooter and a host of other top pacers have won the Prix D'Ete. In the past four editions of the Prix D'Ete at H3R, the all-age track record was set and then tied as both Sunfire Blue Chip (2014) and All Bets Off (2015) both won in 1:50.3. Then in 2016, Harness Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, came to 3R for the Prix D'Ete and after a dramatic neck and neck battle the final half mile of the race, was second in an upset by Rockin Ron (1:52) over a sloppy track. Rockin Ron made it two straight Prix D'Ete victories for the Ron Burke Stable. Last year's Prix D'Ete saw the Jimmy Takter Stable win for the second time (Sunfire Blue Chip was the first), with Western Fame and driver Trevor Henry wiring the field in 1:53.2. "We are very pleased with the quality of the horses that have nominated to this year's Prix D'Ete," said Claude Levesque, president of the Quebec Jockey Club. "The revival of this Grand Circuit event has developed to the great race it was before." This year, Filibuster Hanover, a gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, has been on fire. In his last start, the $150,000 Commodore Barry, he won in a lifetime mark of 1:48.3. That victory sent Filibuster Hanover over the one million dollar mark in career earnings at $1,016,000. Last year he won the Little Brown Jug, The Bluegrass Stakes and the Pegasus Pace while racing against the best three-year-old's in the country all season long. Miso Fast got back to his winning way for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr. last week at Mohawk Raceway, winning a division of the Graduate Pace in 1:50.2. He is a son of Roll With Joe, a career winner of $685,000 and a record taken last year of 1:49.2. Western Joe had gotten off to a strong start early this season and already has seven wins for trainer Christopher Choate. This son of Western Ideal has earned $110,000 this year with a record of 1:49.3 taken last season. Other contenders that are eligible include Art Scene, Beckhams Z Tam, Blood Line, Eddard Hanover, Funknwaffles and Photobomber Hanover. Quebec-owned nominees include Quebec-bred Sire Stakes champion Wildriverbumblebee, plus Art Scene, Histoire Enchantee, American Wiggle and Tymal Peacemaker. "I want to invite everyone to come to Trois-Rivieres the weekend of August 19," Levesque added, "as we want everyone to come out and enjoy our great racing and Quebecoise hospitality." For more information visit http://www.quebecjockeyclub.com/. 2018 Prix D'Ete Nominees AMERICAN WIGGLE ART SCENE BAGS TO RICHES BEACH BOOGIE BECKHAMS Z TAM BEYOND DELIGHT BLOOD LINE CALVIN K CLASSIC PRO DREAMFAIR B J EDDARD HANOVER FILIBUSTER HANOVER FUNKNWAFFLES HISTOIRE ENCHANTEE HURRICANE BEACH MISO FAST MODERN REFLECTION NORMANDY BEACH ODDS ON DELRAY PHOTOBOMBR HANOVER ROCK N TONY STEALTH BOMBER SUMMER SIDE TYMAL PEACEMAKER WESTERN HILL WESTERN JOE WILDRIVERBUMBLEBEE From the Quebec Jockey Club  

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