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CAMPBELLVILLE, June 18... Pure Country, driven by Brett Miller, showed she has off-the-pace power when she captured the $438,000 Fan Hanover final for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack, part of the Pepsi North America Cup undercard. The Jimmy Takter pupil followed mid-pack as elimination winner Good Will Hanover laid down fractions of :26.1, :54.3 for the half and 1:22.2 for three-quarters. Into the final turn, a first-up Lindwood Beachgirl put pressure on the tempo-setter as Newborn Sassy followed second-over. Pure Country, the 2-1 favourite, found live third-over flow after being shuffled back to seventh. Pure Country angled off cover at the head of the lane, and once the pacing miss was fed open racetrack, she marched past her foes to capture the rich final in a new lifetime mark of 1:49.3. Darlinonthebeach finished second, one length behind the victress. L A Delight got up for third. "There is nothing better than owning and breeding, and then ending up winning one of these races like this," said Diamond Creek Racing's Adam Bowden. "He [Brett Miller] was third-over coming off the final turn. She looked like she was full of pace and I was confident." Pure Country notched her second victory of the season and 12th lifetime. With the win, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere and Western Montana earns millionaire status, lifting her career earnings to $1,178,953 for owner/breeder Diamond Creek Racing. Pure Country paid $6.10 to win. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 18 - Always B Miki became the fastest horse in Canadian harness racing history with a 1:47.1 winning mile in the Mohawk Gold Cup Saturday night. The $100,000 Invitational event for pacers was one of the highlights of the Pepsi North America Cup undercard. Always B Miki, the 1-5 favourite, got away sixth for driver David Miller. Nirvana Seelster was blasted to the front and posted hot fractions of :25.2 and :53.2. Nirvana Seelster continued to roll around the final turn posting a three-quarter time of 1:20.2, while Always B Miki got into the outer flow and was spotted fifth and less than four-lengths from the front at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Always B Miki rocketed by his opponents to grab the lead with powerful strides at the eighth pole. The Jimmy Takter trainee cruised home impressively in :26.1 to win by 3½ lengths in 1:47.1. The clocking of 1:47.1 is the fastest mile in Canadian harness racing, breaking the former mark of 1:47.2. A five-year-old son of Always A Virgin, Always B Miki is owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter. The Takter trainee now has three wins in five starts this season after going undefeated in four starts last season. Always B Miki has an impressive career earnings total of over $1.3 million. The mile of 1:47.1 is a Track, Canadian and Stakes Record. It also lowers Always B Miki's previous career mark by three-fifths of a second. Shamballa finished second, while Evenin Of Pleasure for third. Always B Miki paid $2.50 to win. Mark McKelvie

The road to August's $1 million Hambletonian goes through Ontario on Saturday when 10 harness racing 3-year-old male trotters meet in the C$268,000 Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Jimmy Takter, who has trained the last two Hambletonian winners, believes he's got another contender in Goodtimes finalist Bar Hopping. Bar Hopping finished second to Dayson in his Goodtimes elimination last Friday, losing by 1-3/4 lengths in a 1:53.2 mile. Dayson, who is not eligible to the Hambletonian, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the final; Bar Hopping is the 7-2 second choice. "I like the horse a lot," Takter said. "He's got the right gear. He just has to know that he's a good horse." A son of Muscle Hill out of the stakes-winning mare Cocktail Hour, the colt sold for $190,000 under the name Revenger at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. Bar Hopping's full brother Martiniwithmuscle finished second to Trixton, Takter's 2014 Hambletonian champion, in the 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship and his family also includes Dan Patch Award-winner Jef's Spice. Last year, Bar Hopping won a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and finished second to early-season Hambletonian favorite Southwind Frank in the final. He finished second in divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes and was fourth in the Peter Haughton Memorial. Bar Hopping debuted this season with a third-place finish in the first round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes, racing on the outside for most of the mile and closing with a :26.3 last quarter-mile. He was fourth in the sire stakes final in his start prior to the Goodtimes eliminations. "He was definitely not as good the last two starts as he was the first start, but something has been going on with him and hopefully we can get him cleared up now," Takter said, adding the colt had scoped with mucous following last week's race. "He was exceptional through the elimination for the sire stakes when he was third after (Southwind) Frank, but he charged like a great horse." Bar Hopping, who has won one of 12 career races and earned $118,163 for owners Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld, will start the Goodtimes from post No. 6 with driver Tim Tetrick. Dayson, a son of Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus who will start the Goodtimes from post No. 5 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke, won seven of eight races last year on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. He became a member of the Burke Brigade in January and has won three of four starts this season. "I think he fits well with that (Goodtimes) group," Burke said about Dayson, who has earned $234,412 in his career. "It's not the best colts out there, but it's an even bunch. He's nice. He's a very good horse. I don't think he's quite as good as (Southwind) Frank, but he's right there behind him. He'll do well in the spots we put him in." Dayson is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Rossie Smith. Other Hambletonian eligible horses in the Goodtimes are Blenheim, Goin To The Limit, Honor Above All, Marion Marauder, and Tony Soprano. Dia Monde, who won the second of the two Goodtimes eliminations, is the 4-1 third choice in the final. The son of Deweycheatumnhowe-Lady Bar will start from post four with Randy Waples driving for trainer Thomas Durand. Dia Monde, who has won two of six lifetime starts, is owned by Durand, June Durand, and Allan Smith. Following is the field for the Goodtimes in post order. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Blenheim by Yankee Glide - Chris Christoforou - Per Henriksen - 10-1 2. Marion Marauder by Muscle Hill - Scott Zeron - Michael Keeling - 6-1 3. Will Take Charge by Kadabra - Paul MacDonell - John Bax - 5-1 4. Dia Monde by Deweycheatumnhowe - Randy Waples - Thomas Durand - 4-1 5. Dayson - by Conway Hall - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 2-1 6. Bar Hopping by Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 7-2 7. Goin To The Limit by Donato Hanover - Brett Miller - Tony Alagna - 20-1 8. Honor Above All by Muscles Yankee - David Miller - Jimmy Takter - 20-1 9. Zagster by Muscle Mass - Trevor Henry - Shannon Henry - 20-1 10. Tony Soprano by Kadabra - John Campbell - Bob McIntosh - 15-1  by Ken Weingartner

Manalapan, NJ --- When male pacer Blood Line kicked off Monday's qualifiers for 2-year-olds at Gaitway Farm with a sharp 1:54.2 win on a 60-degree morning with a gusty breeze, it certainly got the attention of his harness racing trainer, Jimmy Takter. "That's a serious mile today," Takter said after watching Yannick Gingras guide Blood Line to victory in his career debut. "I would say that's like a (1):52-and-a-piece mile. You're not going to see too many go faster than him today." As it turned out, no mile went faster among the 2-year-olds in their nine qualifiers and only three older horses posted a quicker clocking in the day's remaining seven qualifiers. Blood Line, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Blood Diamond, was bred by Diamond Creek Farm and J&T Silva Stables and is now owned by Diamond Creek Racing. He is a full brother to stakes-winner Blood Brother and his family includes millionaires Western Terror, If I Can Dream, Artiscape, and Delinquent Account. "He's a little goofy," Takter said. "He's a fast horse and he's got a lot of strength. We have him staked up good so we know he's got the ability. He's a little bit like his brother, though; not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But he can go." Blood Line won by 1-3/4 lengths over Ron Burke-trained Major Key (Art Major-Capri Hanover). Gingras drove two more 2-year-old winners, both from Burke's stable. The first was female trotter Waffle Cone and the second was male trotter Deacon Tony. Waffle Cone (Muscle Hill-Sugar Cone) won by four lengths over Takter's Bridal Suite (Cantab Hall-Starlet Rules) in 2:00.3. Waffle Cone was purchased for $50,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Earl Smith, and Phil Collura. Her family includes Dan Patch Award-winner Pizza Dolce. Deacon Tony (Muscle Hill-Blue Yonder) was second-placed-first when Trond Smedshammer's Mushana went off stride just prior to the finish line. Deacon Tony, timed in 2:02.1, was purchased for $85,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by JT45, Deo Volente Farms, T L P Stable, and Malvern Burroughs. His family includes 2000 Hambletonian winner and O'Brien Horse of the Year Yankee Paco. The stables of trainers Julie Miller and Aaron Lambert also produced two winners apiece. Miller won with male pacer Dances Cruiser and female pacer Annacloy while Lambert scored with male pacer Outrajus Blue Chip and female pacer Agent Q. Dances Cruiser (Yankee Cruiser-Dances On The Wind) won by three-quarters of a length over Thefoolalwaysrocks (Always A Virgin-This Fool Rocks) in 1:57. He was driven by Fredi Herrera, who notched his first qualifier win after making his debut on the track a week ago. Dances Cruiser was bred by Pinske Stables, who also owns the colt. His family includes stakes-winner Btwnyurheartnmine. "I feel good; very excited," Herrera said. "He's a nice horse. He's just young, but he qualified very good today." Annacloy (Art Major-Lislea Phia) won by 5-1/4 lengths over Takter's St Helena (American Ideal-Art's Vintage) in 1:56.2. Driven by Andy Miller, it was Annacloy's second qualifier win in as many tries. She was purchased for $30,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Andy Miller Stable, Ervin Miller Stable, and Paymaq Racing. Her dam was a multiple stakes-winner. Lambert-driven Outrajus Blue Chip (Roll With Joe-Some Girls Do) won by three-quarters of a length over Miller's Flight Insurance (Art Official-Cruzin Angel) in 1:58.4. He sold for $10,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Ron Coyne Stables, Blair Corbeil, and Lambert. His dam was a stakes-winner and the family also includes Dan Patch Award-winner Central Park West. David Miller-driven Agent Q finished with a :27.2 final quarter-mile, equaling Outrajus Blue Chip's mark for the fastest of the day among the 2-year-olds, to rally from the back of the pack and defeat Tony Alagna's Sweet Rockin Gia (Rockin Image-EJ's Copperstone) by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:58.2. Agent Q (Western Terror-Teenage Paige) sold for $25,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Martin Scharf, William Rochetti Jr., Tanya Rochetti, and Robert Muscara. Agent Q's family includes stakes-winner Paige Nicole Q. Smedshammer won with female trotter Diva Dejarmbro (Dejarmbro-Nordic Nymph), who beat Robert Bresnahan Jr.'s Logans Lady (Explosive Matter-Bancroft Hall) by a neck in 2:01.3. Diva Dejarmbro, driven by Smedshammer, was purchased for $27,000 under the name Impressions First at the Ohio Selected Jug Sale and is owned by Purple Haze Stables. Chris Ryder-trained and driven male pacer Tribal War (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mystical Gypsy) won the remaining qualifier for the 2-year-olds, defeating John Dally (Somebeachsomewhere-Michelle My Gal) by a half-length in 1:55.3. Tribal War, purchased for $10,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, is owned by Diamond Creek Racing and Ryder. His family includes stakes-winners Load The Dice and The Catamount Kid. "I was happy with him," Ryder said. "He's been training pretty decent on the farm. He was a little aggressive today, but that's no big deal. We're going to go to the sire stakes in New York with him. We have him staked. He's also eligible to the Metro Pace, but we'll see. "We like him. He's very nice. He's out of the same family as a horse I had years ago, Load The Dice. He was OK, he just had the distinction of being the same year as (2005 Horse of the Year) Rocknroll Hanover." In action among the older horses, male trotter Crazy Wow won his qualifier in 1:53.2 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Burke while male pacer Dealt A Winner won in 1:53.2 for driver David Miller and trainer Mark Silva. by Ken Weingartner

The World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) pre-Olympic tour on its "Road To Rio" made stops in both Sweden and Canada over the weekend. The WCRF is dedicated to resurrecting Chariot Racing in the Olympics while revitalization and reshaping the sport of harness racing. WCRF founder, Sam Stathis, was in Stockholm, Sweden Saturday and Sunday for the world renowned Standardbred harness horse race called the Elitloppet, where more than 28,000 fans came out Sunday to see the classic event. "What a tremendous weekend of racing at the Solvalla track," Stathis said. "The crowds were overwhelming, everyone rooting for his or her favorites. It took me more than a half hour to get from the dining room to the winner's circle just in time to see Jimmy Takter's Pinkman win his race." Stathis met with Swedish racing officials over the weekend, setting up WCRF future events for later this summer and for 2017. "I want to thank the AGT for hosting the WCRF at their tremendous VIP party," Stathis said, "My good friends Ann and Johan Lindberg (secretary general of Travsport) introduced us to racing dignitaries from as far south as Australia, Russia to the north and everyone in between. This will help pave the way for the WCRF to do some great things around the globe as I met people who now know about the goals of the WCRF and will join our team." "Pink highlighted the day," Stathis explained, "There were pink hats, shirts, pants and dresses topped off by a "pink horse" Pinkman, who won his race while defeating other US Stars. And what a great ambassador for the USA and WCRF pre-Olympic Tour as world renowned driver, Yannick Gingras joined us and his friends at the VIP party for a pre-race photo shoot and then topping it off by carrying the Olympic and Greece flags in the winner circle after Pinkman won. Stathis said they were also joined at the VIP party by Mr. and Mrs. Karl-Eric Bender, owners of the Palema Trotting Center in Vero Beach, FL along with Jimmy Takter and his wife Christina and renowned Australian breeder Duncan McPherson. "This was an amazing party," Stathis said, "and a superb weekend of racing that I will cherish in my memories the rest of my life. Everyone wanted to take a photo with the Greek and Olympic flags in support of the what the WCRF is doing for the special Olympics." The Pre-Olympic "Road to Rio" tour is being highlighted by the exotic chariots designed by Sam Stathis as the sport that the ancient Olympics were founded on in 776 BC. The tour is winding its way around the world and winding up at the Olympic city of Rio de Janeiro in August, 2016. At Mohawk Raceway in Ontario, Canada on Saturday, one of the WCRF exotic chariots was on the track during their stakes race evening, taking children around the main track, showing off the unique two-seater design. World champion harness driver, Jody Jamieson and the trotter, Calamar, took the children for their rides. "This is what the WCRF is all about," Stathis said. "Educating children and adults with hands-on "grass-roots" experience getting to sit behind a racehorse on the track." Stathis's Celebrity Farms top racehorse, Celebrity Eventsy, was also at Mohawk Raceway Saturday, finishing third in the $174,000 final of the SBOA Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. With international support from every equine discipline, the WCRF is leading the effort to return Chariot Racing to the Olympics. Stathis is now on his way to his native country of Greece, where on Sunday, June 5 he will be at the new Olympic Stadium with special Olympic children, attending the National Show Jumping competition. For additional information, visit www.worldchariot.org. From the World Chariot Racing Federation  

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald calls his time in London, ON racing at The Raceway at The Western Fair District "maybe the best time of my life." MacDonald, who is now based in New York and is one of the top drivers at Yonkers Raceway, will return to Western Fair Friday to drive Sunfire Blue Chip in the $150,000 Molson Pace invitational for trainer Jimmy Takter. "London was the first place I bought a house. It was a condo, but it was like a house. I lived in apartments before that. I actually lived 10 minutes from Western Fair," said the 37-year-old Prince Edward Island native, who first made his name racing in Ontario from 1999 through 2011. "I had some stoplights then, not bridge traffic. It is definitely a different atmosphere (in New York) as opposed to up there, but Western Fair was great. I had a lot of fun there. I won a lot of races. It was the first time I got to race in all the (Ontario) Sires Stakes and was kind of the go-to guy." What hasn't been as much fun has been the Molson Pace. MacDonald has raced in it nine times and never won. "It's been my Achilles Heel. That race just keeps getting me. I almost won it a few times. Dr No, I thought I was home with him and Our Lucky Killean got me right at the wire (in 2006). I think I still have the track record at London with Tigerama (1:50.4 in 2008). He buzzed around there in the elimination and then drew the seven hole and got stung past the quarter. He was kind of a speed horse. The seven hole and a speed horse don't really mix there in London, unless the inside wing falls off or something. Anyway, he got stung and ended up fifth." MacDonald last raced in the Molson Pace in 2014 and was eighth with Bandolito. "Bandolito, I got a horrendous trip with him. I was out early and he didn't fire. He wasn't right then, either. He didn't race for about five or six months after that race," MacDonald said. "I've had some good horses in that race, but I've raced some horses that turned up sick and I've raced some horses that just got beat. I just never get to the wire first." MacDonald, a winner of nearly 5,700 career races and more than $84 million is a two-time O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Driver of the Year. He set a record for driving wins on Canadian soil with 739 in 2006 - since surpassed by Jody Jamieson. MacDonald will be driving against his younger brother, James MacDonald, in this year's Molson Pace. James will pilot P H Supercam from post seven. "James is a good little driver. He's doing a great job. I talk to him all the time and always try to help him as much as I can. But I won't be helping him out on Friday," Mark said, laughing. "Don't eat yellow snow. That's my tip for him." Mark said he likes his chances with Sunfire Blue Chip, especially drawing the inside post three. "He's a really good horse... A good half-mile horse," Mark said of the six-year-old stallion, a son of American Ideal out of Shot Togo Blue Chip who has earned just over $1 million. "He won the Prix d'Ete as a four-year-old at Three Rivers. He's a really fast horse, good gaited. He doesn't wear a boot. He's a typical Takter horse. He's really well-mannered, a nice horse to drive. Everything about him is nice. He just won in 1:51 a couple of weeks ago in Yonkers on kind of a tiring track. It was a good mile that night." Sunfire Blue Chip has a record of 4-3-2 this year in 16 starts and earnings of just over $80,000. "He was sharp in the Levy (Series at Yonkers). He raced in every leg in the Levy and he just had horrible luck with the draw. He was, literally, outside every week... We couldn't get a break with that horse. They actually took him out of the Levy one week and I took him to the front and he won in like :53.3... The Levy wasn't meant to be for him this year, but he always raced well. He showed up every week." Now Mark MacDonald hope Sunfire Blue Chip shows up with his best game on Friday so he can finally claim the Molson Pace in his 10th attempt. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N - Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N - Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked - Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam - James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS 'Be A Winner Contest,' Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 - all low 15 per cent takeout wagers. For more information, visit molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald was the star of the show Saturday night, sweeping both of Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 co-featured Open Handicaps with favored Great Vintage (Pace, $5.30) and Obrigado (Trot, $8.20). Great Vintage, assigned post position No. 2, two-moved around Texican N (Jordan Stratton), then set sail on his appointed rounds (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24.2, season-matching 1:52). The people's choice eventually disposed of a first-up Bettor Rock On N (Dan Dube), then took a three-quarter length lead into the lane. He fended off an inside bid of Texican N by half-length in 1:52. Artistic Major (Brent Holland) rallied very well for third, with Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) and Atta Boy Dan (George Brennan) settling for the remainder. For Great Vintage, an 8-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.80, with the triple returning $220.50. As for Obrigado, he did his damage-from assigned post No. 5-from first-up. Away six, he saw Luminosity (Brennan) lead through intervals of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1. It was Luminosity holding a short lead into the lane, but Obrigado was relentless. He keep at it, whipping Luminosity by a length in 1:54.2. Homicide Hunter (Stratton) was third, with tepid 5-2 choice Major Athens (Brian Sears) and Allerage Star (Pat Lachance) earning the minor moolah. For second choice Obrigado, an 6-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, SRF Stable and Stable 45, it was his first win in a pair of '16 tries. The exacta paid $33.60, the triple returned $179 and superfecta paid $579. Saturday's $30,000 Preferred Handicap Pace was won by Machtu N (Steve Smith, $7.70) in a night's-best 1:50.4 for a first North American victory. Frank Drucker  

Heavy pressure from Mel Mara could not faze 2015 Breeders Crown champion Always B Miki ($2.40), as he fought back from being headed in mid-stretch to take Saturday (May 14) evening's $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands for a second consecutive harness racing win.   The 5-year-old Always a Virgin entire made his push to the lead just after fellow Jimmy Takter trainee JK Endofanera (Yannick Gingras) worked clear of McWicked (Scott Zeron) in a :27.2 initial quarter. Upon taking command on the backstretch, Hall of Fame driver David Miller managed to slow the pace down enough to give Always B Miki a brief breather on the far turn before Mel Mara (Corey Callahan) mounted a first-over bid out of fifth. Despite Mel Mara's sustained press into the lead at the eighth pole, Always B Miki would not be denied, using a :26 last quarter to repel Mel Mara for a neck victory in 1:48.4. Mel Mara was a game second, while JK Endofanera labored from the pocket yet still held third.   Always B Miki, now a 20-time winner, is owned by the Bluewood Stable, the Roll the Dice Stable, and Christina Takter.   Tim Tetrick led all drivers with three wins on the 12-race card, prevailing with Mindtrip ($2.80, 1:52), Missile J ($3.60, 1:51), and Union Man Hanover ($8.20, 1:50.4). Scott Zeron and Corey Callahan won two races apiece.   Total betting turnover for the 12-race card was $2,559,464. The final race 20¢ Jackpot High 5 carryover continues to climb, mounting to $222,459.18 for Friday (May 20) evening's program.   Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday (May 20), with post time slated for 7:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media

When last seen in these parts, Pinkman was exiting the harness racing winner's circle following his 2015 Hambletonian victory. The altered son of Explosive Matter returns to The Meadowlands in the sixth race on Friday, May 13 to face six foes with his sites set squarely on next week's opening leg of the Graduate Series.   Pinkman's 2015 season resulted in his being named as the Dan Patch three-year-old trotter of the year. He danced virtually every dance, winning eleven of seventeen starts including the Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity to go along with the Hambo win while banking over $1.8 million. Leaving from post four tomorrow night, Pinkman comes in off of a pair of conditioning qualifiers for Jimmy Takter who trains him for owners Christina Takter, Jon & Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Yannick Gingras will drive.   Transitioning into the summer meet, all of The Meadowlands outdoor attractions are now open for business including Victory Terrace with its spectacular NYC skyline views and a fashionable bar crowd. Directed toward that demographic is Friday's $50 Spring Handicapping Contest providing an arena for new fans to compete for cash prizes.   The guaranteed horizontal wagers are in place, free program pages for the late Pick-4 are available courtesy of Trackmaster and the last race Hi-5 Super Jackpot stands at $212,593 to open the weekend.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations    

Mother's Day at the Meadowlands wasn't all about the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff as Always B Miki and Gallie Bythe Beach were winners in the co-features on the Sunday matinee program's harness racing undercard. Making his second start of the year, Always B Miki scored decisively in the $25,000 open handicap pace for trainer Jimmy Takter. After making the top in a leisurely opening quarter that was timed in :27.4, the field raced in a straight line past the half in :55. The 5-year-old son of Always A Virgin, who was 4-for-4 a year ago, reached three-quarters in 1:22.1 before sprinting home in :27 to record a 2¾-length, never-an-anxious-moment victory in 1:49.1 with David Miller at the lines. McArdles Lightning was second with Doctor Butch third. As the 1-9 post-time choice, Always B Miki returned $2.10 to win for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll the Dice Stable and Christina Takter and now has 19 wins in 37 career starts. Gallie Bythe Beach sat fourth to the three-eighths and was brushed to the top before the half by driver Tim Tetrick and maintained the lead from there to win the $25,000 open pace for fillies and mares by a hard-fought neck over Aniston Seelster. Empress Deo was third. Sent postward as the 7-1 fourth choice, Gallie Bythe Beach returned $16.80 to her backers and covered the mile in 1:50.2 for owners Fashion Farms of New Hope, PA. The Jim Campbell trainee now has 16 wins in 57 career starts. Sheeza Shark N, the 3-5 favorite who entered the race perfect in three starts at the Big M since shipping in from New Zealand, went an ideal second-over trip but did not fire in the stretch TWO INVITATIONS: After crossing the wire first but then being disqualified and placed ninth in the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff earlier on the program, Resolve was extended an invitation to the May 29 Elitlopp in Sweden nonetheless, as was Bee A Magician, who was the official winner of the race at the conclusion of the judges' inquiry. STILL GROWING: The 5th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five might have been hit earlier on the Mother's Day card for better than $20,000, but the 12th race version of the wager continues to not get hit and now sports a carryover of $212,593.38 heading into the Big M's next live program, which is Friday night. Post time is 7:15 p.m. MEADOWLANDS JACKPOT SUPER HIGH FIVE HIT FOR $22,612 20-cent wager had gone unclaimed since April 1, 2016 Mother's Day proved to be extra sweet for one lucky horseplayer who took down the $22,612 jackpot in the Meadowlands Super High Five wager. The 20-cent wager requires a horseplayer to correctly pick the first five finishers of the race in order. The jackpot amount only pays out in its entirety if there is one single winning ticket. Otherwise, 75-percent of the net pool is paid out to the multiple winners while the remaining 25-percent is added to the jackpot amount. The Race Five winning combination of 4-10-2-4-5 was led by 2/1 second choice Can Do. 24/1 Sheer Flex helped juice up the sequence in second place while 18/1 I C Caviar was third. Fellow long shots Blue Muse and Never Ever Clever rounded out the top five. Favorite Forever As made a break in stride while third choice Mesmerized faded down the stretch to finish sixth. The winning ticket was purchased through the AmTote Oregon Hub. The wager featured a carryover of more than $17,250 coming into Sunday afternoon. Nobody had hit the Jackpot Super High Five at the Meadowlands since April 1 when the wager was hit for $20,354. Another Jackpot Super High Five wager on the final race of the program has proven difficult to take down. Its carryover is more than $204,233 entering this afternoon. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Katie Said was barely heard in the early going but spoke loud and clear through the stretch Friday night, powering past her foes for a second straight week in the $25,000 open handicap pace for harness racing fillies and mares at the Meadowlands. The Jimmy Takter trainee was in no hurry for the first half-mile, sitting last in the field of seven off quick fractions of :26.4 and :54.2. Katie Said, the 3-2 co-favorite, was in a live third-over flow as Divine Caroline, also 3-2, had the front as three-quarters was clocked in 1:22.2. Driver Brett Miller tipped Katie Said off cover as the field straightened up with three-sixteenths to go, and other than a little rocking in the sulky, Miller did very little as the 5-year-old daughter of Well Said exploded home in :26.4 to win by a half-length. A pair of longshots, Lovineveryminute and Empress Deo, rallied for second and third, respectively. The winner returned $5 to her backers in taking her second victory of the year in as many starts for owners Black Horse Racing of Lebanon, NJ. The time for the mile was a lifetime-best equaling 1:49.4. SUPER JACKPOT: The 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five did not get hit again, upping the carryover for the next program to $199,678.47. Total wagering on the card was $2,679,045. Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday. Post time for the first race is 7:15 p.m. Next week, the Meadowlands will alter its schedule. The track will go dark for live racing Friday and then race Saturday (May 7) at the usual 7:15 p.m. before a special Mother's Day program on Sunday, May 8, which has a special early post time of 12:40 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations      

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

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