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East Rutherford, NJ - Live racing resumes on Friday at The Meadowlands with seven pacing mares featured in a $25,000 Open Handicap event, the eighth race on the program.   Last week's winner Katie Said (post 7) and bridesmaid Divine Caroline (post 6) are back for a rematch. Both mares came from off the pace with Katie Said peeling off the cover of then sprinting by Divine Caroline in a 26.2 close to the 1:50.4 mile in her first outing of the season. Always fast but a touch erratic at times, Katie Said has matured nicely from age four to five. She races out of the Jimmy Takter barn and Brett Miller has the drive for owner Black Horse Racing on Friday.   Divine Caroline took the uncovered route in a game effort for David Miller and wore down the good Table Talk before "Katie" went by. The four-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare makes her third start of the season for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stable and Michael Ouriel.   Table Talk will make her third start back off the layoff and took a lot of play last week as the post time favorite. Request For Parole and Lovineveryminute return as well with Empress Deo and Inittowinafortune new shooters in the class.   In the wagering department, the last race Jackpot Super High 5 carry-over is $194,741 to start the weekend. As always, you may download free program pages for the Late Pick 4 compliments of Trackmaster.   You can enter to win a trip to the Preakness Stakes on Friday evening and the Meadowlands Summer Survival challenge is still open to entry. Saturday night is the final of the World harness Handicapping Challenge with the prize pool estimated at $50,000. It's not too late to enter the tournament and the details are here.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

Elkton, MD --- Post Time with Mike and Mike is proud to announce their Thursday (April 28) line-up, which starts at 7:00 PM Eastern. Hall Of Fame Trainer Jimmy Takter will join the program to talk about his pacing superstar Always B Miki, and his 2016 debut this past Saturday at The Meadowlands. Driver Jordan Stratton sits down with the fellas after his big Saturday at Yonkers, which saw him take the Levy Final with Bit Of A Legend N. Harrah's Philadelphia Director of Racing Operations Barry Brown joins show the show to talk about his career in the industry, including his time at The University of Arizona Racetrack Industry Program. Anthony MacDonald of TheStable.ca joins the program to update us on the progress of fractional ownership. Post Time with Mike and Mike's mission is to positively promote the sport of harness racing. Every hoof that hits a racetrack has a story to tell, whether a claimer or a stakes horse, and we plan on telling those stories. You can listen to the show via our website posttimewithmikeandmike.com From The Mike & Mike Show  

As Bob Boni gets older, he appreciates more and more the value of each day. That being said, Boni perhaps envies Rip Van Winkle a bit, wishing he could have slumbered through the winter to only awaken for the day that star male pacer Always B Miki made his 2016 racing debut. Boni, of course, did not sleep the months away. But the day for which he waited finally arrives Saturday. Always B Miki, undefeated in four races last year after overcoming two bouts with injuries that had sidelined him for 11 months, makes his seasonal bow in the $25,000 Open Handicap at the Meadowlands. Always B Miki, starting from post seven in a seven-horse field, is the 7-5 favorite with regular driver David Miller at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. "I think everyone involved with the horse is anxious to see him get back," said Boni, who is a member of the Bluewood Stable group that owns Always B Miki with Joe Hurley's Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. "I've said (to fellow owner Mitchel Skolnick) that one of the negatives of this business is you want time to pass too quickly. It's almost like you'd like to fall asleep and wake up and we're ready to race. There was that anticipation." Last year, Always B Miki was 4-for-4 with his wins including the Breeders Crown Open Pace in late October and the American-National Stakes in early November. He won his four starts by an average of nearly four lengths, never seeing a foe nearer than 1-3/4 lengths of him at the finish line. "It was frustrating to have to close up shop when it seemed like he was fresh and fit and really starting to get stronger, but there were no other races for him at that time of year," Boni said. "He's shown us, throughout his career, what he's capable of. Hopefully, knock on wood, he gets the opportunity this year." Always B Miki, a son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper bred by Roll The Dice Stable, has won 18 of 35 career races and earned $1.22 million in purses. As a 2-year-old, he raced predominantly at Hoosier Park in Indiana, where he won a preliminary division of the Indiana Sire Stakes and finished third in both of the $200,000 finals. At 3, he spent the season in the stable of trainer Joe Holloway and won the Indiana Sire Stakes championship and Monument Circle plus a division of the Tattersalls Pace and finished second in the Meadowlands Pace. He also won an elimination for the Breeders Crown, but was scratched moments before the final because of the first of his two leg injuries. "He's had a great career for us," Boni said. "Joe did a terrific job racing him at 3. He wasn't always the straightest horse on the racetrack, he'd get himself crooked in the turns, but still showed that ability. "I think that something that gets lost in the shuffle is (trainer) Roger Welch did a wonderful job with him at 2. It doesn't get enough attention, but he really taught him how to be a racehorse. He had his issues at 2 as well, then coming back at 3 Joe did a great job with him to do what he did. Hopefully it just continues on now." Always B Miki, who has finished no worse than second in his last 16 races dating back to July 2014, has developed into a "really impressive looking horse," Boni said. Some of his maturation might be the result of sitting out much of last year. "He's a big, strong guy," Boni said. "It shows you the difference that we always get to see with our older horses. Due to circumstances that we wish did not happen, he had the opportunity maybe to develop physically a little more than he might have. Especially through his hind end, he's a bigger, stronger horse right now. Hopefully we see it this year. "Jimmy has done great work with him; he does everything Jimmy asks him to do. David also does a superb job. When you watch him train, or watch him race, you really don't get an idea of how fast he's going. The horse just gets over the ground so nice and easy." Always B Miki's competition Saturday includes Rockeyed Optimist, who has won five of seven races this year and finished no worse than second in any start, stablemate JK Endofanera, and Atta Boy Dan, who arrives from Dover Downs where he won two of his last three races in the Open Preferred Handicap. His setback was a second-place finish to Rockeyed Optimist, who is the 8-5 second choice on the morning line. by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

East Rutherford, NJ - The ongoing return of last year's stars to the racetrack resumes on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. An Open Handicap Pace for a purse of $25,000 (race 11) will be the stage for Always B Miki's seasonal debut where he'll face six talented foes.   Always B Miki got a very late start to his 2015 campaign but made the most of the time he had. "Miki" won all four starts of his 2015 starts under 1:50 including the Breeders Crown and American National while amassing over $300,000 for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter.   Trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Dave Miller have handled some of the best over the course of their careers and both seem absolutely giddy with the possibilities Always B Miki presents for the upcoming season.   The race is by no means an exhibition. A couple of the division's more formidable performers in dual millionaire JK Endofanera and emerging star Rockeyed Optomist, fresh from his 1:48.2 Dover track record, are posted just to the inside of the favorite.   Atta Boy Dan and Smart Rokker have been plying their trade at Dover and were in close attendance to Rockeyed Optomist in his record mile last week while McArdles Lightning and Dovuto Hanover have caught fire lately and were but a head apart in their last Meadowlands feature appearance.   Saturday is your last chance to enter for a free ride to the Kentucky Derby on May 7. Speaking of the Derby, reservations in Pink for the big day are going fast so phone in and secure a table for the evening.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

East Rutherford, NJ - Two sure signs of spring, tax day has passed and the good horses begin to show up for qualifiers at The Meadowlands in anticipation of stakes season. The sky was cloudless, the wind negligible and the temperature hovered around fifty degrees when 3 year old filly trotters stepped onto the track to open the card.   Predictably, a Takter horse won the first race. Sunset Glider a Cantab Hall filly that won the Kentuckiana Sales stake at Hoosier last summer. She led all the way through slow numbers then sprinted home in 27.1 on the end of the 1:57.2 mile for Dave Miller. Wildflower, winner of the Kindergarten final last year, was second for Ake Svanstedt and Kathy Parker came third. Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld are the owners.   Ake took revenge in the second, cutting the mile to win in 1:57.4 with the Credit Winner filly New Sheriff In Town over a fast closing Miss Tezsla (Takter) and Brett Miller. Mellby Gard owns her.   Going back to the NYSS well that produced a million dollar return on investment last season, Crazy Wow, Ronnie Burke unveiled new purchase Dayson in the third. He led all the way through well rated fractions then edged away to a clear 1:55.2 / 27.3 score with driver Yannick Gingras motionless in the sulky. Honor Above All and Granite State followed him in. Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents, J&T Silva and Rossie Smith are now the owners of Dayson.   The fifth qualifier contained a few of the finest trotters in the land. Trainer Nifty Norman was recently quoted as saying Bee A Magician might be better than ever and off her pair of qualifiers the consensus is a resounding "You might by right, Nifty!"   She drafted along behind Aged Breeders Crown winner Creatine, who clicked through fractions of :29, :58 and 1:26.4 before Brian Sears tipped her and sat up. Bee edged past Creatine, who held well in his first outing, in a 27 flat conclusion to the 1:53.4 mile. Resolve sat mid pack early and gained some ground to be a controlled third. Mel Hartman, Herbie Liverman and David McDuffee own Bee A Magician.   Pacers started up after the break and sophomore fillies went a mile in 1:54.3 with JK Fannie and John Campbell holding off the late bid of last year's Three Diamonds winner Yankee Moonshine. She is owned by 3 Brothers Stables.   The seventh race pit last season's winners of the NJ, PA and NY Sires Stakes 2 year old filly finals and they finished right across the track in that order. Blue Moon Stride and Andy McCarthy set fractions of 29.1, 57.4, 1:26.4 with Dime A Dozen in the pocket and Dan Patch champ from last year Pure Country third. They fanned across the track in the stretch and Blue Moon Stride held off the late rally of Pure Country by an inch with Dime A Dozen another head back third in 1:54.1. Emillio and Maria Rosati own the winning filly, Mark Harder trains.   JK Will Power looked sharp this morning dragging Yannick around the oval in 1:53.1 / 27.1 in a winning effort over Carlos Danger and Sapient Hanover. The three year old pacing colt is trained by the Burke stable for 3 Brothers.   Burke sent out Check Six next and he looked sharp today winning for Yannick in 1:52. Settling third through the first three quarters, Check Six took off when shown racetrack and drew off over Love Tap Hanover and Western Dynasty with the 26.3 final stanza. He owned by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Switala and Martin.   Always B Miki made a good appearance in his first qualifier, setting slow fractions then sprinting home in 26.3 (and he didn't really start pacing until inside the final eighth) to close the 1:52 mile well in hand. National Seelster and Big Top Hanover both logged good efforts on the chase. Dave Miller drove for Takter and owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter.   Older mare pacers closed the card with Katie Said making an impressive appearance with a pillar to post 1:54.1 / 27.3 win for Brett Miller. She's as fast as any when on her game and today was one of those days. Stacia Hanover and Bedroomconfessions followed her in with solid efforts. Black Horse Racing owns the winner.   Post time for the live card tonight is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

Harness racing driver David Miller returned recently from his winter break feeling refreshed and ready to go. He hopes the same is true for Shake It Cerry as she prepares for her seasonal debut Friday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Shake It Cerry, a 5-year-old female trotter who was the Dan Patch Award divisional champion at ages 2 and 3, as well as Trotter of the Year at 3, returns from her winter layoff in the $25,000 Open Handicap at the Big M. The seven-horse field includes 5-year-old gelding JL Cruze, who was last year's Dan Patch Award honoree for best older male trotter. JL Cruze, who is 2-for-2 this year, will start from post seven with John Campbell driving for trainer Eric Ell and is the 9-5 morning line favorite. Shake It Cerry, who leaves from post six with Miller at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter, is the 5-2 second choice. Shake It Cerry heads to her debut off a 1:55 qualifier win on April 9 at the Meadowlands. She finished three-quarters of a length ahead of multiple-stakes-winner Crazy Wow and a length in front of Bee A Magician, who was last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter and the 2013 Horse of the Year. "She qualified really good," Miller said. "She seems sharp and in great shape. It's her first start, so we'll have to see. But I think she will have a good year. The way she looks right now and the way she qualified, I wouldn't see why not." For her career, Shake It Cerry --- a homebred daughter of stallion Donato Hanover out of the mare Solveig --- has won 28 of 44 races and hit the board a total of 37 times. She has earned $2.48 million for Solveig's Racing Partners, a Christina Takter-led ownership group that includes all the breeders of Shake It Cerry (under the name Solveig's Breeders). Shake It Cerry's victories include two editions of the Breeders Crown, Kentucky Filly Futurity, Goldsmith Maid, Elegantimage, and Merrie Annabelle. Last year, she won five of 16 races and earned $423,155, which was first among 4-year-old female trotters and third among all 4-year-old trotters in North America. Miller started driving Shake It Cerry at the end of last year. He was 2-for-2 with her, including a victory in the $200,000 TVG Mares Trotting Championship on Nov. 20 at the Meadowlands. Miller previously was the driver of Swedish star D'One, winning the Breeders Crown (where Shake It Cerry finished second) and Allerage Mare Trot before the mare returned to Europe. "D'One went back home, so that was good timing there," Miller said about landing behind Shake It Cerry. "Jimmy put me on her and I was happy to get her, believe me. What I like about her is she's a very classy horse. She's a real professional. She knows what she's doing out there. You have to appreciate ones like that." The New Jersey-based Miller, who was named 2015 Driver of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, spent much of the winter in Florida before returning to action in the Northeast in mid-March. Miller, who ranks No. 3 in harness racing history in purses with $199.5 million and No. 6 in wins with 11,661, has driven in at least 2,328 races each year since 1995. "I hadn't had a break for a long, long time," said Miller, who was voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2013. "I've raced year-round since like 1987. The winters get long. It was nice to get away. It was a good move; I enjoyed it. I just got away from the racing for a little bit. I took my own horses down (to Florida) and worked with them, which I enjoy doing. "I came back feeling good and it wasn't tough to get going again. I've been doing this my whole life, so it was fine. I'm getting back in the groove. It's time to get back to work." by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA      

East Rutherford, NJ - Saturday night at The Meadowlands marks the return if another stakes star of last season when JK Endofanera makes his seasonal bow in a $25,0000 Open Handicap pace for Alan, Ron and Steve Katz via their nom de course, 3 Brothers Stable.   JK Endofanera, a homebred son of Art Major, boasts a powerful résumé having won major stakes in each year he has raced. He won the Governor's Cup at two, the North America Cup and Tattersalls Pace at three, then the Dan Patch and Allerage Farms FFA last season at four.   With over $2 million in career earnings, JK Endofanera embarks on another stakes-laden campaign for trainer Jimmy Takter and will be guided on Saturday by the sport's all-time money winning driver, John Campbell.   Lying in wait is a solid group led by Always At My Place, who makes his Meadowlands debut for the Burke barn, last week's feature winner Dovuto Hanover and the streaking Mcardle's Lightning who's won his last three, the most recent in a career best 1:49.2. The feature is race seven on the twelve race program.   Business-wise, The Meadowlands has enjoyed record-setting handle the past few months and the product is holding sway in the face of increased competition. Saturday is loaded with million dollar Derby preps including the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes and Santa Anita Derby, so come early and stay late for the live racing.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department    

Alan Katz would like to have a stable filled with horses like JK Endofanera. Of course, he is thrilled to own the one horse who actually is JK Endofanera. A winner of $2.03 million in lifetime purses, the 5-year-old JK Endofanera will begin his 2016 campaign Saturday night in the $25,000 Open Handicap at the Meadowlands Racetrack. JK Endofanera will start from post seven in a seven-horse field, with John Campbell driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. Last year, JK Endofanera won six of 18 races and hit the board a total of 13 times. His victories included the Dan Patch Invitational and Allerage Farms Open Pace and he finished second in the Breeders Crown and Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. His $554,945 in purses led all 4-year-old pacers and ranked third among all older male pacers in North America. For his career, JK Endofanera has won 20 of 45 races and finished among the top three a total of 37 times. Among his other notable victories are the 2014 North America Cup and 2013 Governor's Cup. "I wish I had more like him; he's had a great career," said Katz, who owns JK Endofanera with brothers Ron and Steve under the nom de course 3 Brothers Stables. "He had a great season last year. We were thrilled with him. It was impressive that at (age) 4 he was able to compete against the best horses in the country. "We're looking forward to having a nice campaign. Hopefully he'll stay sound and show up. I'm sure he'll never embarrass himself." The 3 Brothers Stable bred JK Endofanera, who is a son of stallion Art Major out of the mare Presidential Lady. JK Endofanera is the older brother of 2014 Horse of the Year JK She'salady (who Katz said is in foal to Western Ideal) and the younger brother of New York state-bred stakes-winner JK Fine Art. All of the 3 Brothers Stables' horses are named with the initials JK in memory of late family patriarch Jack Katz. JK Endofanera was named to honor Jack Katz as well as veterinarian Dr. Stephen P. Dey II, who passed away the day the horse was foaled at the Dey family's Heritage Hill Farm. "It was the end of an era," Katz said. During this winter's offseason, JK Endofanera enjoyed frequent visits at Takter's New Jersey farm from Ron Katz. He also enjoyed frequent treats. "Ronnie and his wife Mardi were feeding him carrots, apples, cinnamon Danish; the horse eats pretty good," Katz said, laughing. "He doesn't miss too many meals. The groom even enjoys when they come and gets fed." JK Endofanera heads to Saturday's Open Handicap off a 1:51.4 win in a qualifier at the Big M on April 2. It was Campbell's first time behind the pacer. "You can't go wrong with John Campbell," Katz said about the Hall of Fame driver, who entered Wednesday less than $4.16 million from extending his all-time record for career purse earnings to $300 million. "He's the Wayne Gretzky of harness racing. He's accomplished everything there is in his lifetime." Joining JK Endofanera in Saturday's field are Fool Me Once, McArdles Lightning, Dovuto Hanover, Bushwacker, Art History, and Always At My Place. "It's a long year and you take it week by week," Katz said. "It's hard to come back year in and year out. I wish I had a barn full of JK Endofaneras. For us it's extra enjoyable with him being a homebred. We've been in the business since 1977 and I know he's the best horse we ever had." by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

World champion and 2013 Dan Patch Award-winning female trotter Maven has been retired, harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter said. The 7-year-old Maven was attempting to return from a suspensory injury, which she suffered in August while in Sweden. "We did a scan on her (right hind) leg and it looked like it's too high risk to get her where she could compete at the level she was," Takter said. "It was tough, but the owners decided to breed her instead." Maven won 29 of 52 races in North America, earning $1.74 million in purses, before spending 2015 in Europe. She won 10 of 14 races in 2013, including a world-record 1:51.4 triumph in the Miss Versatility final at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, on her way to being named the Dan Patch and O'Brien award winner for best older female trotter. Her time in the Miss Versatility is the fastest race mile on a half-mile track in harness racing history. Other top career wins for Maven included the 2012 and 2013 Breeders Crown, the 2013 Armbro Flight, the 2012 Moni Maker, 2014 Muscle Hill, and 2012 American-National. She finished second in the 2012 Elegantimage and 2014 Breeders Crown. Last year, Maven won two of 15 races in Europe and earned $244,465 in U.S. dollars. One of her victories, in a Mares Open at Kalmar, Sweden, was in a track-record performance. She finished second by a neck to Robert Bi in the Group 1 Copenhagen Cup and was second to Timoko in the Group 1 Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes-sur-Mer. She also finished second in her Elitlopp elimination and seventh in the final. Maven was trained by Jonas Czernyson from age 2 to October of the 5-year-old season and was owned by Bill Donovan until November 2014, when she was sold to Herb Liverman. She is currently owned by Liverman, John Fielding, and Joyce McClelland. Takter took over the training of Maven in November 2014. A daughter of Glidemaster-M Stewart, Maven was purchased as a yearling for $37,000 under the name Bella Topona at the 2010 Lexington Selected Sale. She is a three-quarter sister to 2003 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Glide About and a half-sister to multiple-stakes-winner Lanson. Her family also includes stakes-winners Furman and Egyptian Gentleman. "She's getting up in age," said Takter, who added the plan is to breed Maven to 2002 Trotter of the Year Kadabra. "We have to give her a chance to show herself as a broodmare now." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Jimmy Takter already had a nice one-two punch in the older male pacing division with multiple-stakes-winners Always B Miki and JK Endofanera. The return of Sunfire Blue Chip from stallion duty adds even more clout to the trainer's harness racing stable. Sunfire Blue Chip, who won the 2013 Adios and is on the verge of $1 million in career purses, bred 37 mares in 2015. He sat out more than a year because of his work at stud, but returned to the races in late November. This weekend, he will compete in the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. A 6-year-old who has battled injuries during his career, Sunfire Blue Chip has won 19 of 50 lifetime starts and earned $955,174. In addition to winning the Adios, his victories include the 2014 Prix d'Ete and a division of the 2013 Tattersalls Pace. He finished second in the 2013 Messenger Stakes. This year, Sunfire Blue Chip has won two of eight races and hit the board a total of six times for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., and R A W Equine. "He's always had the greatest attitude to be a top horse," Jimmy Takter said about Sunfire Blue Chip, who is a son of American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip and a full brother to Dan Patch Award winner Heston Blue Chip. "We brought him back after the breeding season to fool around with him for a little while. I was surprised. He came back and felt like he was born again; he was so fresh and sound. He's been keeping up that. I think he's going to have a good season this year." Sunfire Blue Chip has won six of 13 career races and posted a total of 10 in-the-money finishes on half-mile ovals, such as Yonkers. He is 2-for-16 on mile racetracks. "Miki and JK are two powerhouse horses," Takter said, referring to 2015 Breeders Crown champion Always B Miki and two-million-dollar earner JK Endofanera. "But they're not really made for a small track. I staked (Sunfire Blue Chip) a little bit on the smaller tracks and figured he could step in. "It's nice to have this level of aged pacers. It's something I never had and suddenly I have a whole bunch of them." Sunfire Blue Chip competes in the third of six first-round Levy divisions Saturday at Yonkers. Mark MacDonald will drive the horse, who leaves from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line. World champion Always At My Place, who is making his seasonal debut, is the 8-5 choice from post one. "He's going to need a couple starts to establish himself," Takter said. "I haven't been able to get a really high gear in him yet, but he's very sound and should be good. He's not a great leaver, so (post five) could be a little trouble." The six-week Levy Series concludes April 23 with a $200,000-added final. Among the horses entered in Saturday's first round is Domethatagain, the event's defending champion. Take It Back Terry, last year's Levy runner-up, is the 9-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's first division. Other morning line choices are Lucan Hanover (5-2 in the second division), Polak A (3-2 in the fourth division), The Real One (2-1 in the fifth division) and All Bets Off (5-2 in the sixth division). Other former Levy champions in the series are Foiled Again, harness racing's all-time richest horse with $7.33 million in career purses, and P H Supercam. Ken Weingartner

Not Afraid and harness racing driver Dan Dube lasted on the lead Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Trot. Looped leaving (from post position No. 4) by outside entity Major Athens (George Brennan), Not Afraid did make the lead before a :28.4 opening quarter-mile. He rated a :58.4 intermission before 3-5 choice Crazshana (Jason Bartlett)-who had left into a four-hole-was moving again. The fave engaged the leader in and out of a 1:27.3 three-quarters, but Not Afraid was not done. He held a short lead off the final turn as Crazshana grudgingly gave way. Major Athens ducked inside with every chance, but missed a nose in 1:56.1. Crazshana was third, beaten a half-length, with Swishnflick (Mark MacDonald) and Zooming (Tyler Buter) settling for the minors. For third choice Not Afraid, a 7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, it was his third win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $58.50, with the triple returning $162. Sunday's "French" trot feature was the $26,000 opener, won by Dot Dot Dot Dash (Kakaley, $12.60) in 2:26.2 for the mile-and-a-quarter distance. This was the third Sunday matinee of the season, with the two scheduled consecutively for March 13 and 20 (first post for both 1:10 PM as of this writing) The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (first post 7:10 PM), with a dozen races and a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 5 pool (50-cent bases wager, races 7 through 11, program pagers available at www.yonkersraceway.com). Frank Drucker

Whom Shall I Fear 3,1:52.4, the Cantab Hall full brother to 2 and 3-year-old World Champion Father Patrick and to 2-year-old champion Pastor Stephen, has been retired from harness racing and will stand the 2016 breeding season at Victory Hill Farm in Indiana.   His stud fee has been set at $2,500.   He was the top-priced yearling of 2013 when he was purchased for $475,000 by Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's wife Christina owned the colt, along with a partnership that consisted of John Fielding, Brixton Medical, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband and the colt's breeder, Brittany Farms.   "He's simply a gorgeous horse," said Brittany manager Art Zubrod. "His dam, Gala Dream, has produced four $100,000 yearlings and pair of sale-toppers. And I think he's definitely one of her best. He's nearly the spitting image, in terms of both looks and conformation, to Father Patrick."   Whom Shall I Fear was stakes-placed in Grand Circuit action at 2 and began his 3-year-old season with tremendous promise. He won his first four starts in stakes action and took a mark of 1:52.4, then went on to compete in major events like the Dancer Memorial, Earl Beal, Colonial, Zweig, Bluegrass and Matron against top colts like "Trotter of the Year" Pinkman, Crazy Wow, and Habitat.   "When it comes to Whom Shall I Fear, I don't think I've ever been more disappointed by a horse," said trainer Jimmy Takter.   "At the beginning of the year I knew he was the one, but he got sick on us three times. I never could get him back to where he was at the start of the season. It's a shame... he's such a magnificent-looking animal. He'll make a top sire, I just know it."   Those interested in additional information or a booking application should contact Victory Hill Farm by calling (260) 463-2442 or emailing info@victoryhillfarm.com.   Victory Hill Farm   For information contact Victory Hill Farm at (260) 463-2442 or email info@victoryhillfarm.com    

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 17, 2016 - Not Afraid with harness racing driver Dan Dube at the controls held off Red Hot Herbie (Brian Sears) in a two-speed number Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Trot. Assigned post position No. 5 among the half-dozen, Not Afraid and outside-remanded "Herbie" were both in play early. Not Afraid retook from Red Hot Herbie right before the :28.4 opening quarter-mile, then rated a comfy 59-second intermission. It was a 1:27.3 three-quarters as Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) moved from third, in front of 13-10 choice Dot Dot Dot Dash (Matt Kakaley). Not Afraid owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane, then held sway despite drifting.. He whipped Red Hot Herbie by a half-length in 1:55.4...fastest local trot mile thus far this season. Tweet Me, Dot Dot Dot Dash and Zooming (Tyler Buter) came away with the remainder, while Theraputic (George Brennan) was outrun. For second choice Not Afraid, a now-7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, he's now 2-for-2 in 2016. The exacta paid $19, with the triple returning $118. Note that the "French" Sunday matinees take a hiatus until Feb. 28. The Raceway's season continues Monday (first post 7:10 PM) and Tuesday (1 PM). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 10, 2016 - It was wet rather than white as favored Not Afraid and harness racing driver Dan Dube proved best Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Trot. Leaving from post position No. 4, he had some company with Theraputic (George Brennan) and Red Hot Herbie (Brian Sears). "Herbie" made the lead before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile as Not Afraid deferred into a three-hole. After a 58-second intermission, Not Afraid was moving again, hooking Red Hot Herbie in and out of the 1:28.1 three-quarters. Red Hot Herbie owned a short lead into the lane, but Not Afraid was relentless. He put away "Herbie," then held off a hard-charging Dot Dot Dot Dash (Matt Kakaley) by a neck in 1:57. Red Hot Herbie, Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and Sumatra (Jordan Stratton) completed the cashers, while Theraputic tired to last among the half-dozen. For Not Afraid, a now-7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, he won his seasonal debut (career earnings up and over $700,000). The exacta paid $40, with the triple returning $143. The Raceway's season continues Monday evening (first post 7:10 PM) and Tuesday (1 PM). Frank Drucker

Eight of the top 25 trainers on the 2015 money list saw their stables earn less than they had in 2014, including the top two. Ron Burke fell more than $3.4 million short of last year’s record haul, which amounts to a 12% drop. His charges made 217 fewer starts which generated 108 fewer wins. Rules limiting participation by a single trainer in the Levy and Matchmaker at Yonkers, as well as the stakes raced at the Gural tracks would account for some of that. Burke’s UTRS dropped from 0.356 to 0.341. That being said, he was still almost $12 million ahead of second place Jimmy Takter. Takter’s earnings were off 3%, or about $415,000. His horses started 54 fewer times, accounting for nine fewer wins. Burke had 801 more wins than the trot master, but Takter’s six wins on Breeders Crown night, in addition to eleven other checks from his starters, amounted to a record $2.69 million banked on a single card and secured a second consecutive Trainer of the Year award for him. Number three Rene Allard had a remarkable year. 186 more starts led to 114 more wins and $2.2 million more than his barn earned in 2014, when he finished eighth on the list. Allard got 40% of his wins and half his money from Yonkers Raceway, where he won at a remarkable 25.8% clip. Being excluded from the Gural tracks obviously didn’t put a strain on his bottom line. Allard took $3.1 million out of Yonkers; only nine other drivers in North America earned that much overall for the year. His UTRS jumped from 0.340 to 0.393, which is higher than that achieved but all but two trainers in the top 50—with one of them being low volume Clyde Francis. Tony Alagna made a significant jump from number seven to number four, as his barn earned $673,000 more than in 2014. And that’s while winning 14 fewer races on 62 fewer starts. His UTRS remained at a strong 0.336. Bamond Racing grabbed the fifth spot, although Jeff Bamond Jr was the trainer of record, while PJ Fraley filled that role in 2014. Bamond’s horses made 216 fewer starts, accounting for 34 fewer wins, but their bankroll grew by $304,000—up 7%. Like Allard, Bamond thrived at Yonkers, as he accrued 60% of his earnings and 77% of his wins at that track. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who checked in at number six, up three spots from 2014, was very busy in 2015. His charges made 578 more starts, giving him 70 more wins and more than a million dollars more in purse money. The latter represents a 25% uptick from last year. Like Allard, his name has been permanently expunged from Jeff Gural’s holiday greeting card list, but he’s thriving nonetheless. He races quite a bit in Pennsylvania, but he was number five at Yonkers, the source of 36% of his earnings and 27% of his wins. With all those extra starts his UTRS dipped from 0.361 to 0.318. Julie Miller dropped back one spot to seventh. Her barn earned $375,000 less than last year on 29 fewer wins. Her UTRS dropped from 0.348 to 0.311. Ake Svanstedt, who advanced nine spots to number eight, upped his earnings by $1.1 million, or 34%, on 196 more starts and 34 more wins. There was life after Sebastian. Brian Brown also made a dramatic leap, from number 22 in 2014 to number nine this year. His bankroll grew by 38%--up $1.3 million. Brown won 37 more races on 122 more starts and his UTRS increased from 0.345 to 0.375. Lost For Words couldn’t quite get over the hump in the open class, but he still banked almost $700,000. Virgil Morgan Jr, who is reaping the benefits of the Midwestern revival, remained at number ten. His earnings increased by just about $700,000, or 11%. Erv Miller dropped eight spots to number 11. He had 52 fewer wins on 236 fewer starts and his money was down by a third--$1.5 million less. Miller’s UTRS dropped from 0.387 to 0.287. When the highly regarded Travel Playlist hit the wall in his BC elimination and scratched out of the final it was a major disappointment for Miller. Thanks to the likes of Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist, Steve Elliott saw his earnings jump an impressive 60%--$1.7 million more. The number 12 trainer had 37 more wins on 111 extra starts and saw his UTRS rise from 0.293 to 0.331. Richard Moreau, the winner of the 2014 O’Brien as well as the training dash championship in Canada this year, dropped back one spot to number 13. Although his earnings jumped by almost $403,000—up 14%. Moreau’s horses only made ten more starts, but they won 32 more races, and his UTRS was up to 0.337 from 0.309. Thanks to Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit Clyde Francis, who had no earnings as a trainer in 2014, earned $2.2 million in 2015. 98% of his haul came from Wiggle. Francis averaged seasonal earnings of less than $12,000 the other nine years he trained. He was number 18. The fact that Bee A Magician won six more races and earned $560,000 more this year helped Nifty Norman jump 16 slots to number 19. His stable upped its earnings by $645,000, which amounts to a 31% increase over last year. Number 20 Richard Banca, who is another one not welcome at any of Jeff Gural’s parties, saw his bankroll grow by a startling 77% in 2015. He upped his stake by $1.6 million. The forty-year-old Banca, who acquired 93% of his money at Yonkers, won 119 more races on 539 more starts. The number three trainer at Yonkers, he won at a superb 24.9% rate. It’s been a decade since he last eclipsed the $2 million mark. Casie Coleman, who was number four on last year’s trainer’s money list, falls all the way to number 23 this year. Her earnings are down $2.6 million dollars, or 58%. Dr. Ian Moore, whose State Treasurer just won a Dan Patch, moved up 25 spots to number 24. He realized a $622,000 gain in earnings—34%--and sported a splendid UTRS of 0.440. Chris Beaver, who was successful in the Ohio and Ontario Sire Stakes programs, jumped 16 rungs to number 35. His account grew by $258,000. Jim Campbell, who posted his 1,000 training win in July, saw his earnings go up by 27% this year, as he earned $430,650 more than he did in 2014. And his UTRS rose from 0.282 to 0.337. Tom Fanning added $300,000 to his earnings—up 21% from last year—and landed in slot 39 on the money list. Thanks to Wakizashi Hanover and Purrfect Bags, Jo Ann Looney-King upped her earnings by a million dollars and moved up to slot 41. About a third of the trainers on the top 25 money list were not on it last year.  Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

Shake It Cerry proved supreme once again, winning the last major harness racing stake of the season for the aged trotting mares at The Meadowlands, capturing the $200,000 TVG Mares Trotting Championship. Released as the even-money second-choice, Shake It Cerry was gathered off the gate by her pilot Dave Miller, while the 4/5 favorite Bee A Magician moved to the lead early in the mile. The 2013 Horse of the Year reached the quarter in 27.2 and as soon as the field straightened up on the backstretch, the 2014 Trotter of the Year made her move for the lead and Shake It Cerry took charge three-eighths of a mile into the race.  The four year old mare reach the half in a sharp 55.4, before getting a third-quarter breather, hitting three quarters in 1:25, with Handover Bell committed first over, Classic Martine in the outer flow and Bee A Magician pinned in behind the leader. But Shake It Cerry was under a hand drive at the head of the stretch and when Miller called on his mare, the response was instantaneous and she dominated through the stretch, the result never in doubt and she scored decisively in 1:52.3. Bee A Magician could only manage a runner-up performance tonight, with Handover Belle a game third in what was the final start of her wonderful career. Shake It Cerry Trainer Jimmy Takter had nothing but praise for his star mare. "She's just really good. She chased the boys earlier in the year and trotted in 1:49.4 and maybe that was a bit hard on her. But, she rebounded now and has been just fantastic. She is in the caliber with Moni Maker and I think when she is done, she will be on the list as one of the great fillies that ever was." Shake It Cerry was named Trotter of the Year for her 2014 campaign that included 15 wins from 17 starts and $1.2 Million in earnings. The 2015 season had been tougher on her, but she closes it out with a runner-up try in the Breeders Crown and then back to back wins in the TVG series, sending her lifetime earnings to $2,482,335, while earning her 28th victory. She is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Venus Delight Rebounds The pacing mares were up first in the $200,000 TVG Championships and delivered a compelling stretch drive with a familiar name finding the winner's circle. Despite being the beaten favorite in her last two starts, Venus Delight was given the majority of support again by the bettors, established as the 8/5 choice and this time she did not disappoint. Driven by Tim Tetrick for the first time since her Milton elimination, Venus Delight worked out a perfect pocket trip throughout the mile behind the speed of the very sharp Sandbetweenurtoes, who ripped through fractions of 27, 55.3 and 1:22.4 before turning home with a tenuous lead. The leader was facing challenges from all parts of the racetrack and began to drift, opening a path for Venus Delight to charge through, which she did convincingly and drew clear to a sharp 1:49.4 triumph over a fast closing Gallie Bythe Beach. Color's A Virgin went a tough first over trip and fought-on to hold on to the show spot. Venus Delight is trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr. for Bamond Racing L.L.C, earning her eighth win of the season, sending her seasonal earnings to $605,265. Venus Delight Filly Divisions of Fall Final Four With Broadway Donna done for the season, the Breeders Crown winner All The Time had a chance to make her case for divisional honors in the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid Final. The bettors believed she was the horse to beat, establishing her as the 2/5 morning line favorite. But in the end, it was the lightly raced Double Exposure who proved best on this night. Following a solid runner-up try in the elimination last week, Double Exposure was supported well at the windows, sent off as the 4-1 second choice. Tetrick moved his filly forward off the gate and she remained parked through an opening quarter of 28.1 as the favorite, All The Time set the pace. Double Exposure cleared the lead and put up a sharp second quarter, reaching the half-mile in 55.4. All The Time was content to ride her pocket until the three-quarter pole, when Gingras showed his filly racetrack as the field moved past three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Double Exposure had plenty left in the tank and accelerated on the lead. All The Time could not trot with the winner and Double Exposure reached the wire in 1:54, a lifetime best effort. Haughty rallied off the cover of All The Time to be second, while Woman's Will stayed on to be third. Driver Tim Tetrick expressed confidence in his filly. "I loved her at Lexington," said Tetrick. "She got sick after baby races but she has really matured. I have never gone three big quarters with her, but she proved she is really good tonight." Double Exposure is owned by Brittany Farms and Mel Hartman, and her earnings soar past $224,000 with the victory. The $385,250 Three Diamonds was scratched down to a field of seven, with three fillies gathering the majority of the attention at the windows, Yankee Moonshine, Shezarealdeal and Penpal. Shezarealdeal made a break heading to the start which changed the complexion of the race for Yannick Gingras who was driving Yankee Moonshine. "Absolutely, when she (Shezarealdeal) took off running, I looked over and saw Pat (Lachance) taking off the gate, so I made the lead rather easily," said Gingras. "We were going pretty good to the half and (Penpal) leaned in and we got hooked up for a few steps, but the other filly took it tougher than we did." Yankee Moonshine was allowed to set the pace through fractions of 27.4, 56.2 and 1:24.3, turning for home with Penpal right off her flank. But, Yankee Moonshine kept on going in the stretch, keeping Blue Moon Stride trapped in the pocket for much of the stretch. That filly shook free but it proved too late, while Shezarealdeal made a great recovery to rally to be third. Yankee Moonshine completed the mile in 1:52.2. The winner is owned by Burke Racing Stable, JT45, Karr and Weaver Bruscemi. The victory was the fourth in the career of Yankee Moonshine, sending her earnings north of $370,000. Handle for the 13-race Friday program was $2,426,263. Racing returns on Saturday, with a 14-race blockbuster card that begins at 7:00 P.M. Featured on the program are the $400,000 TVG Free For All Championships as well as the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Continentalvictory and Tarpot Hap Finals. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment | 1 Racetrack Drive | East Rutherford, NJ 07073

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