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East Rutherford, NJ - A field of seven pacing fillies including the darling of the morning trials Rainbow Room, comprise the first harness racing two-year-old race of the 2017 season as race three on Friday at The Meadowlands.   Rainbow Room has impressed onlookers and delighted her connections with a pair of effortless wins in Meadowlands Baby Races. Her first appearance was on June 3 where she toured the oval in the day's fastest of 1:55 and social media lit up with superlatives. She returned Saturday past with a similar effort, closing out the 1:55.2 win with a 26.4 final quarter under no encouragement from driver David Miller.   By Somebeachsomewhere from Rainbow Blue, both World Champions and Horse of the Year following their respective three-year-old season, Rainbow Room clearly possesses the championship gene. She was bred by Vieux Carre Farms and Steve Jones and was a $100,000 purchase from the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale by Crawford Farms, Val D'Or Farms and Ted Gewertz who placed her with trainer Joe Holloway.   Holloway has trained plenty of champions including some of the sport's best filly pacers including the fastest ever in Shebestingin. Joe recognized early on that Rainbow Room had the potential to follow in that tradition and now sets her on that course.   The competition includes several others who have impressed in morning trials including KJ'S Bekah who was a good second to Rainbow Room on June 17 and has gone well in both of her qualifiers. The American Ideal lass was plucked from the Lexington sale by Kenny Jacobs for $140,000 and is trained by Linda Toscano. Tim Tetrick has the drive.   All On Top Hanover is from the first crop of Betterthancheddar and has been an easy winner in her pair of qualifying efforts for trainer Erv Miller and driver Marcus Miller. She was a bargain buy from last year's Goshen Yearling Sale, costing Erv and partners Ron Michelon & GT Golemes a mere $14,000.   It's a ten race program that gets underway at 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Thursday, February 23 card opens with a pair of interesting three-year-old fillies from the Joe Holloway barn competing in a Non-Winners pacing class as the evening's first race.   Joe has developed some truly great mares including Shebestingin, the fastest female Standardbred ever, who seared around The Red Mile in 1:47 a few years ago along with multiple World Champion She's A Great Lady and the 2015 Dan Patch award winning Divine Caroline.   Led by the great triple Breeders Crown winning World Champion Jenna's Beach Boy ($1.9 million), horses trained by Holloway have earned more than $30 million over his illustrious career.   Make no mistake, Thefoolalwaysrocks and Twist Of Fate have a mountain to climb to reach that lofty perch but both have the pedigree and are gaining experience over the winter.   Thefoolalwaysrocks is a homebred owned by Roll The Dice Stable, Joe Hurley's Nom d'Course. She is by successful sire Always A Virgin who was campaigned by the same connections. This filly won a schooling race last year in 1:56.4 but hasn't raced much and the last couple have done little to impress.   Twist Of Fate is an Art Major owned by a partnership that includes two long time Holloway patrons who shared in the great Shebestingin, Marty Granoff's Val D'or Farms and Ted Gewertz, along with John Travis as Four J's Stable, LLC. She's coming in on a three race winning streak including a career best 1:54.1 at Dover last month and is clearly on the right track.   The fillies will race uncoupled due to bona-fide separate ownership per the NJRC.   Races 7 - 9 will again be carried live on the SNY network with Justin Horowitz in the host chair.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Press Box

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

Divine Caroline and Bettor Be Steppin were two of harness racing's top female pacers last year and trainer Joe Holloway is hopeful the dynamic harness racing duo can return to similar form this season. Both horses, now 4-year-olds, will be in action in Friday's qualifiers at the Meadowlands. It will be the first trip to the track this year for Divine Caroline, who received the 2015 Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old filly pacer. Bettor Be Steppin, a multiple-stakes-winner herself last season, qualified in 1:55.4 last week at Freehold Raceway. Last year, Divine Caroline and Bettor Be Steppin combined to win $1.13 million in purses, led by Divine Caroline's division-best $667,266. Bettor Be Steppin's $468,504 in earnings was third among 3-year-old filly pacers, trailing only her stablemate and Sassa Hanover. Bettor Be Steppin won five of her first 11 races last year, including the Lynch Memorial and Valley Forge Stakes, before going winless in her final seven races. When Bettor Be Steppin slumped, Divine Caroline stepped up, winning six of her final 10 starts, including the Breeders Crown and Tarport Hap. Divine Caroline hit the board a total of 19 times in 22 races. "Bettor Be Steppin started off stronger and I think she got a little tired toward the end of the year," Holloway said. "For a while I thought maybe she had a good shot at being 3-year-old filly (of the year). Then she just kind of leveled off a little bit. But that's the advantage of having two of them, because that does happen. "Divine Caroline was consistent. I think she was the most consistent of the fillies. In the beginning of the year she was always close, she just couldn't put it away. By the end of the year, I do think she learned how to win a little bit easier. She probably did mature. She's always been fast." Divine Caroline is a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven out of the mare Loving Caroline. She is owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables, and Michael Ouriel. For her career, she has won nine of 33 races and earned $808,692. She has hit the board a total of 26 times. Bettor Be Steppin is a daughter of Bettor's Delight out of the mare Two Steppin' Sally. She is a half-sister to stakes-winner Major Dancer and is owned by Val D'Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz. She has won nine of 30 career races and earned $767,147. "They had a good year (in 2015) and I think they can have a good year this year," Holloway said. "I know it's going against older horses, but those horses are getting older too. They still race well, but they have to lose a step sometime." Holloway is uncertain where Divine Caroline and Bettor Be Steppin will make their seasonal debuts. Bettor Be Steppin is eligible to the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, which is underway at Yonkers. Divine Caroline is eligible to the Miami Valley Distaff, which is May 8. "I want to get them qualified (now) because you never know what the weather will bring," Holloway said. "Something usually goes wrong someplace, so you have to have time built in. It's really not that early. You want to get two qualifiers and at least one, if not two, starts before you go traveling. "Also, I'm at Gaitway (training center) now and that's a learning experience after being at Showplace for so long. That's another reason I'm going this week; maybe they'll need more training. But they both look good." Ken Weingartner

A field of six contested the $400,000 TVG Pacing Championship at The Meadowlands Saturday night. Off the wings of the gate, five of the six free for all pacers tried to leave for position. The only horse content to watch the action early was Bettor's Edge. That strategy by harness racing driver Matt Kakaley turned out to be the winning one as Bettor's Edge stormed down the center of the track, from dead last, to score a 19-1 upset in the TVG Pacing Championship. The first horse to the lead was Mach It So, who took all the late-money being released as the 4.5 favorite. He used every ounce of his speed to clear the lead from the widest post in the field, reaching the opening quarter in a sharp 26.1. But the second-choice in the wagering, JK Endofanera was already on the move and he quickly challenged for the lead down the backstretch and would clear the front before the half mile in 54 seconds. Meanwhile, Somewhere In L A was headstrong in the three-hole and Corey Callahan could not hold his gelding and was forced to commit first over. Foiled Again picked up the cover in the outer flow, while Bettor's Edge inched closer into the third over position. JK Endofanera led past three-quarters in 1:22.2 while facing pressure from Somewhere In LA. As the field turned for home, the free for all pacers spread across the track and all took their shots. Mach It So found room at the pylons, Foiled Again tried to kick off cover, JK Endofanera reached for the wire and Mach It So was rallying down the center of the track. In the end, Bettor's Edge out-sprinted the talented field to win going away in 1:50 with Matt Kakaley. Mach It So rallied up the pylons for the runner-up spot while Foiled Again finished third. Matt Kakaley was pleased to finally get a trip for his six year old getting. "He really has had a lot of bad luck," said Kakaley. "We have been trapped in a few times where he was finishing with pace, but we just had bad luck in those races. Tonight they were mixing it up early and it really set up well for us. It worked out absolutely perfectly." Trainer Ron Burke confirmed that both Bettor's Edge and Foiled Again will head to North Carolina for the winter and will return for the 2016 racing season. The win in the TVG Pacing Championship was the third stakes win on the night for trainer Ron Burke. The win was the 26th in the career of Bettor's Edge, sending his lifetime earnings to nearly $1.8 Million. Bettor's Edge Resolve Trots the Race of His Life in TVG Trotting Championship There have been a lot of questions regarding the older trotters and just who would assume command of the division. After Saturday night, Resolve answered all those questions and jumped to the head of the class, winning the TVG Free For All Trotting Championship in 1:51.4 for Ake Svanstedt. In similar fashion to his win in the final preliminary leg last week, Resolve moved to the lead shortly after the opening quarter, which was reached in 27 seconds by longshot DW's NY Yank. Once on the lead, Resolve was allowed to relax. The same could not be said for E L Titan who got caught in some traffic down the backstretch and ended up three wide, trotting toward the half mile. Tim Tetrick guided E L Titan to the first over position after racing three wide, crossing in front of Obrigado with The Bank in the outer flow. But Resolve was able to back the field down with a 29.3 second quarter, reaching the half-mile in 56.3. E L Titan, in the final start of his career was applying pressure, but Ake Svanstedt had plenty of horse in front of him and Resolve began to edge away, trotting past three-quarters in 1:25. The stretch drive was a mere formality as Resolve began to pour it on, winning by three lengths in the end, trotting a final quarter of 26.4 to complete the mile in 1:51.4. "He's a very good horse," said owner/trainer Ake Svanstedt. "He is getting closer and closer to Sebastian K with every start. He is just a four year old beating the older horses, he should be really good next year." Obrigado held the runner-up position while Flanagan Memory rallied from last to be third. The win was the fourth of the season for Resolve. He finishes his four year old campaign with earnings of $706,938 this season. Resolve was trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt for owner Hans Enggren. Resolve Boston Red Rocks makes his case for Divisional Honors Going into the Breeders Crown Final, Boston Red Rocks wasn't on anyone's radar in terms of the two year old pacing championship. It is safe to say that over the past month, that has changed. Sent off as the even-money favorite, Boston Red Rocks was allowed to settle mid-pack while elimination winner, Big Top Hanover established the pace through an opening quarter in 27-seconds. When the field straightened away in the backstretch, driver Tim Tetrick popped the plugs and Boston Red Rocks unleashed his turn of foot and flew to the lead, reaching the half-mile in a sharp 55-seconds. The outer flow was slow to develop, but that didn't prevent the race favorite from sprinting a 27.3 third quarter, with the 8/5 second choice Big Top Hanover on his back. Into the stretch, Boston Red Rocks got separation on the field and reached for the line, holding off the other elimination winner Katies Rocker to win in a lifetime best 1:50.3. The win was the fourth in nine starts for the two year old son of Rocknroll Hanover. Tim Tetrick has been impressed with the colt over his past few starts. "He doesn't do his best work on the front end, it's really not where he wants to be," said Tetrick. "But, I knew I had to go forward off the gate. He really likes to chase horses though." Looking ahead to next year, Tetrick said the upside is there. "He can shoot for the skies next year." Boston Red Rocks is trained by Steve Elliot for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Katies Rocker was second and Big Top Hanover held on to the show spot. Boston Red Rocks Win Photo Cannot Separate Winners of Valley Victory They say there are few moments in sports that can rival the photo finish and the $489,400 Valley Victory Final certainly was representative of that statement. In the end, the win photograph couldn't decide a winner, because the noses of Dog Gone Lucky and Make Or Miss hit the wire together, a dead heat in the richest race of the night. For Dog Gone Lucky, the win belonged to Chuck Sylvester and for Make Or Miss, the story was his young pilot Joe Bongiorno. The irony, Sylvester was winning Hambletonians before Bongiorno was born and now they both set their eyes on harness racing's greatest prize in 2016. Dog Gone Lucky made an aggressive move to the lead, after Mavens Way made a break after a quarter in 27 seconds. In the meantime, Make Or Miss had nearly 10 lengths to make up, trotting in eighth position down the backstretch. Then, the outer flow began to develop as Taco Tuesday committed first over passed the half in just 57 seconds, a 30-second second quarter. Marion Marauder picked up that cover and Make Or Miss tracked the pair on the far turn while Dog Gone Lucky reached three-quarters in 1:26. Dog Gone Lucky opened up a clear lead in the stretch after a 59-second middle half, but just as he did, Make Or Miss found his best stride and put that electric turn of foot on display as he began to reel in the favorite. However, the wire was also coming quickly and it came just as both noses hit the wire, a dead heat in 1:54. Joe Bongiorno was nearly speechless in the winner's circle. "This is beyond amazing, I can't believe it," said Bongiorno. "I just want to thank all the connections for giving me the opportunity, this is the best moment in my life." Not to be out-done, trainer Chuck Sylvester reminded that he isn't done yet. "I'm not retired yet," Sylvester joked. "These horses will get a well-deserved break and hopefully we'll back (for the Hambletonian) next year. The win was the first major stakes win for Bongiorno and the fifth win in the Valley Victory for Sylvester. It was the second victory for Make Or Miss, the son of Donato Hanover who now has earnings of over $223,000 while Dog Gone Lucky won for the seventh time and his fifth in a row, with his earnings now beyond a half-million dollars. Make Or Miss is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi and Jerry and Theresa Silva. Dog Gone Lucky was driven by Corey Callahan for trainer Chuck Sylvester and owners Amy Lynn Stoltzfus and Charles E Stansley. Dog Gone Lucky and Make Or Miss Mission Brief Concludes Season with a Statement The buzz around the $144,000 Continentalvictory was centered on two fillies, Mission Brief and Wild Honey, hoping to earn divisional honors with a compelling performance. Mission Brief seized that opportunity and performed like a champion. Sent off as the prohibitive 1/9 choice, Mission Brief was hustled to the lead early in the mile and it was a lead she would never relinquish. Sprinting past a quarter in 27.4, Mission Brief and her pilot Yannick Gingras kicked away from Wild Honey down the backstretch and Wild Honey felt whip taps from her driver John Campbell just to try to keep up. In the meantime, Mission Brief was trotting smoothly on the lead past the half-mile in 56 seconds and she began to open up on the field on the far turn, reaching three-quarters in 1:24.1 while leading the field by four lengths. From there, Mission Brief had the Meadowlands homestretch all to herself and she trotted a 27.2 final quarter under no urging to win the Continentalvictory in 1:51.3 in the final start of her season, a win that put Mission Brief past $1 Million this season. "She's the best trotter in training," exclaimed driver Yannick Gingras in a post-race interview. "No disrespect to any of the older trotters, but I wish she was in that race tonight. I don't think any of them want any part of her." Ron Burke was beaming with pride in the winner's circle as well. "She's the best horse I've ever had," said Burke. "Next year is going to be tough, she is going to face all the good ones and I am not going to duck anyone. We are going to find out if she is as good as we all think she is." With the win, Mission Brief concludes her season with 10 wins from 14 starts and earnings of $1,001,317. For her career, the star filly has 19 wins from 27 races and earnings of nearly $1.6 Million. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva and Weaver Bruscemi. Wild Honey completed the exacta with Kelsey's Keepsake and Lady Winona completing the field. Mission Brief Divine Caroline Triumphant in the Tarport Hap An overflow field of 12 contested the $173,500 Tarport Hap at 1 1/8th miles on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. The race was hotly contested with no less than five lead changes from start to finish. The last lead change belonged to Divine Caroline, who took over in the shadow of the wire and scored the victory in 2:05.1 after the mile was paced in 1:50.1. There was plenty of speed early, with Single Me launching from post 10 and reaching the first quarter in 26-seconds. From there, Rock Me Gently would move to the lead briefly, before Bettor N Better cleared the front past the half-mile in 54.4. Next to the lead would be the 9/5 favorite Bedroomconfessions, who guided the field past three-quarters in 1:22.2. That move left Sassa Hanover uncovered first over with Divine Caroline stalking from a second over position. It took the length of the stretch, but Divine Caroline would use the long Meadowlands stretch to wear down Bedroomconfessions to earn the victory. Bettor N Better finished third. The victory was the eighth on the season for the three year old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven for trainer Joe Holloway who was very pleased with the win. "I think that wrapped up the division for her with this win," said Holloway. "I thought she was in a good spot and it took her a while to get there but she got it done." Holloway confirmed that Divine Caroline would return to the racetrack in 2016 as a four year old. Divine Caroline is owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables and M.A. Ouriel. Her seasonal earnings conclude at $673,339. Divine Caroline It was worth sticking around for the last race for Wallington, New Jersey resident Joseph Bohnarczyk, whose $20 Win and $10 Place and Show Wager on Buckeye In Charge at 39-1 launched him to a win in the World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier that took place on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. He earned a berth into the Championship event on April 30, 2016 at The Meadowlands and took home $1,764 in prize money in addition to his bankroll which was over $1,100. Total handle for the 14-race program was $2,941,258. Racing resumes on Friday night, with first post time at 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali

TORONTO, ON - Divine Caroline found her form at the right time. After displaying some ability early in the season, the sophomore daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven added to her late-season surge, posting her fourth consecutive harness racing victory in the $500,000 U.S. ($648,700 Cdn) Breeders Crown three-year-old filly pace race Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Owned by Val Dor Farms, Theodore Gewertz, Rojan Stables and Michael Ouriel, Divine Caroline became the fourth favorite in the first four Breeders Crown races to win. Divine Caroline is trained by Joe Holloway, who came into the 2015 Breeders Crown 12th in all-time winnings with more than $2.7 million. He had six previous winners, but had not found the winner circle since 2000. Divine Caroline and Bettor Be Steppin raced in last year's Breeders Crown two-year-old filly pace. Bettor Be Steppin finished third, followed by Divine Caroline. But it's been a tale of two horses this year for the fillies. Bettor Be Steppin did well in the middle part of the season when Divine Caroline started to tail off. But it's been a different scenario in the fall. Both horses were in the race, but purely on current form Divine Caroline looked the better of the two. Divine Caroline began her streak with a win in a division of the Bluegrass at the Red Mile and has kept rolling. Driven as usual by David Miller, who began the night with a win with D'One in the mare trot, Divine Caroline sat far behind the early pace, which saw The Show Returns, an 86-1 outsider, and Southwind Roulette, 32-1, slug it out for the opening quarter mile. It was The Show Returns, who prevailed setting a Breeders Crown opening quarter mile record in a blistering 25 seconds. Bettor Be Steppin, driven by Corey Callaghan, had the lead after a half in :55. Miller had Divine Caroline fifth by six lengths at that point and following cover. Three quarters into the race, Sassa Hanover had the lead by 1¾ lengths in 1:23 2. Miller had his horse moving well at the point, and took over half way down the stretch and crossed the line first by 1¾ lengths in 1:51. Bettor Be Steppin finished a distant eighth. "Last year she showed high, high speed, but it took time for her to mature," Holloway said. "Even through the beginning of the year, she was close but never winning. She's finally turned it around and become a top-notch filly." He liked the way the race unfolded. "That's what you hope for, a good, clean trip," Holloway said. "Caroline was in a good spot and she showed she could do it." Divine Caroline went postward at just under 7-10. She won her seventh race in 20 starts this season, surpassing $650,000 in earnings. In her career, she has totaled almost $800,000. She paid $3.30, $2.80, $2.30. Sassa Hanover paid $12.50, $6.60. Bedroomconfessions paid $3.70. The exacta paid $60.80. The trifecta $224.90. QUOTES; Joe Holloway trainer: Last year she had just one win.  She had high high speed.  It took time for her to learn how to control it.  Even in the beginning of this year, she was close, but could never win. She finally turned it around and turned on the winning ways.  She turned into a really topnotch filly. That is what you like to see, a good clean trip.  In the beginning, I was hoping that Steppin was back to her old ways but, I could see by the half, that she was not good enough. She is tired at the end of the year.  She will be back next year. Caroline was in a great spot and she showed what she can do. The Matron and the race at the Meadowlands at the end of the year. By Perry Lefko

TORONTO, ON - Divine Caroline is living up to her name. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has been absolutely divine in October, winning three consecutive races, including a $32,465 elimination of the Breeders Crown for harness racing three-year-old filly pacers Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack.   This was a horse who could only cobble together one win in 11 starts in her rookie season, but she's been sensational as a sophomore, in particular the last few weeks.   She posted a lifetime mark with a 1:49 2/5 victory the week before in a division of the Glen Garnsey Memorial at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. The ship to Canada had little effect as she is so sharp now.   Driven by Dave Miller for trainer Joe Holloway, Divine Caroline followed first-over cover after half a mile and into the stretch, after which she strutted her elegant stride to take the lead halfway from the wire and won by an easy 2¾ lengths in 1:51 3/5.   She was the 3-5 favorite in the field of nine. "She's very good in coming off the pace," Holloway said."She's blossomed inside of the last month and it's a good time of the year. It's tough for horses to stay good all year." Stablemate Bettor Be Steppin was the better of the two earlier in the year and also the more dominant one last year. Bettor Be Steppin finished fifth in her elimination earlier in the card to advance to the final. Divine Caroline is owned by Val D'or Farms, Theodore Gewertz, Rojan Stables and Michael Ouriel. Val D'or Farms, Gewertz and Rojan Stables own Bettor Be Steppin. "Earlier in the year Bettor Be Steppin was the better of the two and right now Caroline's racing great," Holloway added. "Earlier in the year she wasn't winning, but she wasn't getting beat by much. She seemed to put it together as of late. She's gotten bigger. Through the course of the summer, she's grown almost a hand. She's a tall mare, starting to fill out. I think she's going to be a force next year because she's going to be so much bigger and stronger."' Divine Caroline paid $3.30, $2.40, $2.10. Bedroomconfessions placed second and paid $5.00 and $3.40. Sassa Hanover, who overtook early pacesetter Band Of Angels to take lead at the half mark and held that place into the top of the stretch, paid $3.40 to show. With her sixth win in 19 starts this year and her seventh in 30 career starts, Divine Caroline increased her career bankroll to more than $470,000. $500,000 BREEDERS CROWN FINAL- 3 YEAR OLD PACING FILLIES. 1 Divine Caroline - D Miller J Holloway 2 Bettor Be Steppin - C Callahan J Holloway 3 Solar Sister - D McNair R McNair 4 Bedroomconfessions - Ti Tetrick T Alagna 5 Mosquito Blue Chip - C Callahan P Jessop 6 Southwind Roulette - Y Gingras R Burke 7 Frost Damage Blues - B Sears T Fanning 8 The Show Returns - J Campbell C Ryder 9 Stacia Hanover - S Zeron S Elliott 10 Sassa Hanover - M Kakaley R Burke AE:1 Wrangler Magic - S Filion S Larocque AE:2 Wicked Little Minx - B Miller N Johansson Divine Caroline     Perry Lefko for the Breeders Crown      

Harness racing breeder/owner Fred Hertrich knows all about the highs and lows of horse racing. He's been in the business for a quarter century, but this year has been a microcosm of the extremes.   The automobile dealerships businessman, who also owns All American Harnessbreds and breeds thoroughbred horses with partner John Fielding, had a talented three-year-old trotting filly, Spirit To Win, that he bred and co-owned suffer a catastrophic injury in a freak training mishap in early August. Spirit To Win had to be euthanized the same week she was scheduled to race as a favorite in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. She had won her Oaks elimination race two days before the accident and also won impressively in the Del Miller Memorial two weeks before.   A month later, Hertrich along with Blue Chip Farms and thoroughbred breeder Taylor Made Stallions bought into Travel Playlist, a precocious two-year-old pacing colt that had just won his fourth race in a row with a mark of 1:49 2/5. He followed that up with a win in the $225,000 New York Sires Stakes final, but had his streak ended last week in the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington, finishing second by 3½ lengths as the 1-5 favorite. The winner, Racing Hill, paced the final quarter in a snappy 26 seconds flat. They will face one another again tonight in a division of the Breeders Crown, at Woodbine Racetrack, and Racing Hill is the 9-5 favorite.   Hertrich also bred and sold Hurricane Beach, the highest-priced pacing colt at $230,000, at the Lexington Selected yearling sales the same week.   Coinciding with all that was the news that same week that Rock Fall, a top thoroughbred in which Hertrich and Fielding bought into as a stallion prospect a month ago, had to be euthanized following a workout. The horse would have been a top contender in the Breeders' Cup Sprint later this month. Hertrich, who is a member of the Breeders' Cup board, was scheduled to present the winner with the trophy.   "I had all these high hopes and emotions and that's how fast life changes in the game," he said. "Did I feel sorry for myself? Absolutely not. That's the humbling thing that we all get into in this business. The stories that I've been involved in, everybody's got those stories. There are highs that are higher than high and there are lows that are lower than low. As I say to anybody who comes to me for advice and wants to get into the business, you better be able to weather the lows.   "In any athletic contest there's nobody that's undefeated. There's nobody that is not going to taste defeat. And of course the great lesson for any youngster is they've got to be a better loser than they are a winner. Everybody can be a good winner. It's tough to be a good loser. So there are massive highs and massive lows.   "Was I devastated and down (about what happened to Spirit To Win)? Yes. But you know who I really felt for? It was (trainer) Dustin Jones' son, Tyler, who was there when the accident occurred. If I felt bad on a scale of one to 10, maybe I was a two. They were 10½. Dustin couldn't even talk to me. It was devastating to him.   "It's a very humbling business, which I think anybody in the horse business will say, but it's exciting," he added. "It's really all about the animals. The other thing is the people involved in the business. I've made great friendships in the business. The people that work in the Standardbred industry - and I don't care at what level - it is an unbelievable group of people. "   Hertrich has confidence that Travel Playlist, who was purchased with the intent of becoming a replacement in the breeding shed for his aging sire, Art Major, will bounce back. Hertrich won't be in attendance for the race because he is getting married.   "Were we disappointed that we got beat? You're always disappointed when your horse gets beat, but he raced well. He didn't race great," Hertrich said. "But it wasn't the time for him to race great. The time for him to race great is (tonight and next week)." Although Hertrich has yet to enjoy the thrill of winning a Breeders Crown race as an owner, he has bred multiple winners.   "I'm probably a very unique individual," he said. "I am just as excited about breeding one as I would be about owning one. Having a mare, foaling a foal, raising it, selling it as a yearling to a high-quality owner and operation and then seeing that horse perform is every bit as rewarding as owning a horse that wins a similar race. We live and die with our owners that have bought horses from us over the last 25 years. That's exciting."   In 2002, Allamerican Native, bred by Hertrich, went into the Breeders Crown two-year-old male pacing race as the 6-5 favorite and finished second. The same night, Allamerican Nadia, won the Breeders Crown two-year-old filly pace at odds of almost 50-1. It was the first Breeders Crown win for Fielding, who is second on the list in total money won and overall winners in Breeders Crown history behind Brittany Farms. Fielding will be represented by a slew of top horses in the Breeders Crown elimination races.   When Fielding won the Hambletonian Oaks with Wild Honey, he felt bittersweet about the victory because of what had happened to Spirit To Win and said so when interviewed in the winner's circle. It was the ultimate in sportsmanship and understanding of how the tides can quickly turn in the horse business.   Hertrich bred three-year-old filly pacer Bettor Be Steppin, who is entered in Saturday night's Breeders Crown races. Trained by Joe Holloway, the daughter of Bettor's Delight has won five of 14 races this year and more than $450,000. Hertrich said he's experienced highs and lows with horses Holloway has bought off of him.   "He's owned some very, very good horses and he's paid money for some that didn't turn out, and we can still laugh about both," Hertrich said.   by Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown    

LEXINGTON, KY-- Harness racing sophomore filly pacers were in competition at The Red Mile on Saturday, Oct. 10 with two divisions of the $232,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial.   Rock Me Gently upset the first division at odds of 17-1 by springing from the back off a fast pace. The speed was established by Bettor Be Steppin, taking the lead through a :26.3 first quarter. Storm Point flushed first over from fourth and pressured the pace into splits of :54.1 and 1:22.1, remaining game in the stretch drive. Wicked Little Minx slid by from off cover and took the lead at mid stretch, losing it to Rock Me Gently who surged by easily to take the top spot. Wicked Little Minx finished second, Daut Full was third.   From the first crop of Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Cambest mare Cam Swifty, Rock Me Gently races for the interests of Old Block Stables Inc., The Fra Stables LLC, and Kenneth Klein and conditioner Steve Elliot. She was driven by David Miller to her fifth win in 15 starts this year. She paid $37.40 to win.   "She raced really good at Chester [Harrah's Philadelphia] the last time I raced her," David Miller said. "I wasn't for sure that this was a big step up in class, but she raced very well; I had live cover right into the race and she did the rest."   "The track's in great shape today," Miller also said.   The Joe Holloway-trained Divine Caroline was carried by cover towards the lead and maintained the front to win the second division of the Glen Garnsey Memorial in 1:49.2. After a quarter in :26.3 set by Moremercy Bluechip, Divine Caroline tracked Band Of Angels following a brief loss in stride on the backstretch. She followed Band Of Angels from second over past a :54 half and a 1:22.1 third-quarter before circling her to take the lead. Band Of Angels fought to her inside, but soon began to falter, while Devil Child roared from the back of the pack and down the center of the track to challenge Divine Caroline in the final stages of the mile, coming within a length of the winner.   Bedroomconfessions finished third.   Owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables and Michael Ouriel and driven by David Miller, Divine Caroline returned $4.00 to win in her fifth victory in 18 tries this year. She's by Rock N Roll Heaven, out of the Art Major mare Loving Caroline.   "Overall, David [Miller] did a fantastic job [getting her a trip], and I don't say that too often," Joe Holloway said. "But he did a great job. The filly has had issues jumping shadows when she was younger, and then with this racetrack and the bright sunny day, we knew there was going to be some [shadows]. They got jammed up, and he had to tip her out. When he did it, there was a big shadow right there and then when he had her attention, it was fine."   When asked about Bettor Be Steppin following her off-the-board finish in the first division, Holloway said "Yeah, she came out okay. She needs different racing tactics, so Corey [Callahan] will adjust, and we'll try something different next time."   "We'll stay here until Wednesday and then head up to Canada," Holloway also said.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY-- Joe Holloway-trainee Divine Caroline put in the fastest mile of the three harness racing divisions for the $189,400 Bluegrass 3-year-old filly pace, winning in 1:53.2. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Art Major mare Loving Caroline stalked a pace of :29.1, :57.4, and 1:26 set by Band Of Angels. Driver David Miller tipped the even-money favorite first over after the half, and applied pressure to the pacesetter nearing the top of the stretch. The two battled for control through the stretch, with Divine Caroline edging past race leader and forced to fend off the late-pacing Daut Full from off cover. She held Daut Full off, however, winning by about a length over the closer, with Band Of Angels finishing third and Storm Point fourth. Owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables, and Michael Ouriel, the $4.00 winner won the fifth race of her career, pushing her earnings to $396,633.   "She raced really well," David Miller said. "She's been really consistent this year and gives a good effort."   "The rail's very deep, still," Miller also said. "There's a little bit of a wind, and I guess they're [the track crew] working a little too hard on the inside."   "They're [Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline] very good and they're very consistent," Joe Holloway said. "[Bettor Be] Steppin had been the better filly for most of the time, but [Divine] Caroline's been consistent and she may be the fastest. The next three to four weeks may be fun."   "We go here [for the Tattersalls Filly Pace] then to Canada for the Breeders Crown," Holloway also said.   Wicked Little Minx stalked the front for the entire mile until she had an opportunity to pace through a vacant slot in the stretch and sneak to the lead and to a 1:55.3 win in the first division. Bettor Be Steppin set the tempo after circling by early leader Invest In Art for control. Once on the lead, she put up fractions of :28.4, :57.2, and 1:27.1. Pressure came nearing the three-quarter pole from Invest In Art, who popped out of the pocket heading into the stretch. Bettor Be Steppin held her at bay in the stretch, but drifted off the pylons in the process, which allowed for Wicked Little Minx to pace by the 3-5 favorite who attempted to retake the lead approaching the finish, but settled for second. Invest In Art finished third. Wicked Little Minx, owned by Courant A B, paid $11.80 to win. This was the fourth win of her career, earning $193,679 to date. The daughter by Rocknroll Hanover, out of Beachy Lady by Jenna's Beach Boy, is trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by Brett Miller.   "She's gotten her things together from summer and onwards, and now she's going for it again," owner Anders Strom said. "Today's trip by Brett was perfect. And well done by the stable, trainer, groom, and everyone because this horse has a lot to do in the future."   "It's so fun to also be involved in the pacing business," Strom also said. "I'm a trotting person, but a few years back I told my friend Bernie Noren that I would like to get involved in pacing a little bit, and Bernie actually helped me pick this one out [Wicked Little Minx at the 2013 Harrisburg Yearling Sale]."   "Besides the Jugette, there's been many other races so far where I've gotten very bad trips with her," Brett Miller said. "Finally things worked out and we got a good trip."   "It's still tiring," Miller also said talking about the track surface. "They've [the track crew] done a great job with this track. With all the rain we had yesterday and as bad as it was last night, they've done a great job, but it's still very tiring."   Storming from the back of the pack down the center of the track, Bedroomconfessions fulfilled her duty as the 6-5 favorite by winning the second split of the Bluegrass 3-year-old filly pace in 1:54.1. Setting the pace was Devil Child, with fractions of :28.2, :56.3, and 1:26.2. Around the far turn, Triple V Hanover tipped first over, with Moremercy Bluechip and Bedroomconfessions tracking the cover. Triple V Hanover edged into second after pocket-sitter Happiness retreated at the top of the stretch, while Moremercy Bluechip fanned wide of her cover, as did Bedroomconfessions. Once rolling from the back, Bedroomconfessions soon rushed up to and by Devil Child and edged away to a two length victory.   Devil Child held on for second, Triple V Hanover finished third, and Moremercy Bluechip was fourth.   Returning $4.60 to win, Bedroomconfessions is by American Ideal, out of Jenna's Beach Boy mare Turnoffthelights. She's owned by Riverview Racing LLC and Alagna Racing LLC, trained by Tony Alagna, and driven by Tim Tetrick. She obtained her sixth win of her career, earning $372,893.   "My wife made me buy the dam, Turnoffthelights," owner and breeder Myron Bell said. "She's out of a sister to Keystone Horatio; that's a family that goes back to Smooth Fella and Happy Lady, and I always wanted to have a filly in this family. We bred her to American Ideal and Bedroom[confessions] was the first foal, so we're happy to have her."   "We bought her [dam Turnoffthelights] in Lexington about seven or eight years ago," Bell also said. "We raced her as a two-year-old. She had minor ability."   "She'll [Bedroomconfessions] be bred to the Captain[treacherous] either next year or the year after, it depends on how well she wants to race," Bell also said.   Live racing at The Red Mile continues on Wednesday, Oct. 7 with four divisions of the $268,000 International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. Wednesday also begins the week of matinee cards, with first race post set for 1:00pm.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

Freehold, NJ --- Bettor Be Steppin, the richest 3-year-old female pacer in North America this season, will step out for the first time since winning last month’s Valley Forge Stakes when she faces eight harness racing rivals in Wednesday’s (Sept. 16) $170,000 Nadia Lobell at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. The Joe Holloway-trained filly leaves from post No. 2 with driver Corey Callahan and is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the event for 3-year-old filly pacers. Bettor Be Steppin has won five of 11 races this year, finished second on three occasions, and earned $419,150 for owners Val D’Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz. In addition to winning the Valley Forge on Aug. 22 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Bettor Be Steppin’s victories include the Lynch Memorial and two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes. She also finished in a dead-heat second with stablemate Divine Caroline in the Shady Daisy and was second in a division of the Adioo Volo. Post time is 12:55 p.m. for Wednesday’s first race at The Meadows. The Nadia Lobell is race No. 6, with a post time of 2:35 p.m. approximately. “I look forward to driving her every time she gets in (to race),” said Callahan, who has sat behind Bettor Be Steppin in her last 20 starts dating back to last season, posting eight wins and a total of 15 on-the-board finishes. “She’s an exceptional filly. Joe has done an excellent job managing her; she’s always on her toes. It’s nice to know you’ve got a good live horse that’s ready to race every week. It’s been a lot of fun this year, that’s for sure.” The Nadia Lobell field also includes Divine Caroline, Adioo Volo division winners Sassa Hanover and Storm Point, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Safe From Terror, New Jersey Sire Stakes champion The Show Returns, and Lynch Memorial runner-up Single Me. Sassa Hanover, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, Safe From Terror, and Storm Point are from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. Sassa Hanover, who has won 13 of 25 lifetime races and earned $704,002, enters the event off a 1:52.1 win in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Aug. 31. She will be driven by Yannick Gingras. “Sassa Hanover has kind of turned it around here the last few weeks and has gone some pretty good miles,” Callahan said. “She drew the rail and Yannick and Burke are ultra-aggressive with everything, so that might make it a little tricky. But over the year, (Bettor Be Steppin) has been the most consistent and the best filly in her group. “She’s professional in every sense of the word, one of those push-button horses. She doesn’t have any quirks, she doesn’t do anything crazy. She does everything you ask her to do. It makes my job a lot easier, that’s for sure. She’s handy. She’s quick off the gate, but she also can race from behind. Most of your horses nowadays, it’s such a speed game, if you have one that is handy enough and can handle the pressure on the lead you can make a lot of money with them. Most of these horses now, that’s where you see them. You love to work out trips, but it’s tough sometimes.” Callahan, who earlier this year won his sixth consecutive driving title at Dover Downs and is one win behind Tim Tetrick for second place at Harrah’s Philadelphia, is on the verge of surpassing 500 wins for the sixth consecutive season and could reach $10 million in purses for the first time. Callahan set a career high in purses with $9.70 million in 2013 and hit $9.08 million last year. He entered Tuesday with 479 wins and $7.11 million in earnings. “I hope so, that’s been my goal the last couple years,” Callahan said about reaching $10 million. “A lot of that has to do with getting better horses to drive. I’m getting live drives and when you get those, it makes it a lot easier to get them in the race and pick up those top three finishes. I’m very fortunate that way.” Following is the field in post order for the Nadia Lobell with drivers, trainers and morning line odds: 1. Sassa Hanover by Rock N Roll Heaven, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1 2. Bettor Be Steppin by Bettor's Delight, Corey Callahan, Joe Holloway, 5-2 3. The Show Returns by Rocknroll Hanover, John Campbell, Chris Ryder, 15-1 4. Totally Rusty by Ruty For Real, Andrew McCarthy, Ross Croghan, 6-1 5. Safe From Terror by Western Terror, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1 6. Imagine Dragon by Dragon Again, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci, 15-1 7. Single Me by Bettor' Delight, Eric Goodell, Ross Croghan, 12-1 8. Divine Caroline by Rock N Roll Heaven, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 5-1 9. Storm Point by Somebeachsomewhere, Dave Palone, Ron Burke, 12-1 by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Meadow Lands, PA - Bettor Be Steppin, the richest 3-year-old female pacer in North America this season, will step out for the first time since winning last month's Valley Forge Stakes when she faces eight rivals in Wednesday's $170,000 Nadia Lobell at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. The Joe Holloway-trained filly leaves from post No. 2 with driver Corey Callahan and is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the event for 3-year-old filly pacers. Bettor Be Steppin has won five of 11 races this year, finished second on three occasions, and earned $419,150 for owners Val D'Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz. In addition to winning the Valley Forge on Aug. 22 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Bettor Be Steppin's victories include the Lynch Memorial and two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes. She also finished in a dead-heat second with stablemate Divine Caroline in the Shady Daisy and was second in a division of the Adioo Volo. Post time is 12:55 p.m. for Wednesday's first race at The Meadows. The Nadia Lobell is race No. 6, with a post time of 2:35 p.m. approximately. "I look forward to driving her every time she gets in (to race)," said Callahan, who has sat behind Bettor Be Steppin in her last 20 starts dating back to last season, posting eight wins and a total of 15 on-the-board finishes. "She's an exceptional filly. Joe has done an excellent job managing her; she's always on her toes. It's nice to know you've got a good live horse that's ready to race every week. It's been a lot of fun this year, that's for sure." The Nadia Lobell field also includes Divine Caroline, Adioo Volo division winners Sassa Hanover and Storm Point, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Safe From Terror, New Jersey Sire Stakes champion The Show Returns, and Lynch Memorial runner-up Single Me. Sassa Hanover, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, Safe From Terror, and Storm Point are from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. Sassa Hanover, who has won 13 of 25 lifetime races and earned $704,002, enters the event off a 1:52.1 win in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Aug. 31. She will be driven by Yannick Gingras. "Sassa Hanover has kind of turned it around here the last few weeks and has gone some pretty good miles," Callahan said. "She drew the rail and Yannick and Burke are ultra-aggressive with everything, so that might make it a little tricky. But over the year, (Bettor Be Steppin) has been the most consistent and the best filly in her group. "She's professional in every sense of the word, one of those push-button horses. She doesn't have any quirks, she doesn't do anything crazy. She does everything you ask her to do. It makes my job a lot easier, that's for sure. She's handy. She's quick off the gate, but she also can race from behind. Most of your horses nowadays, it's such a speed game, if you have one that is handy enough and can handle the pressure on the lead you can make a lot of money with them. Most of these horses now, that's where you see them. You love to work out trips, but it's tough sometimes." Callahan, who earlier this year won his sixth consecutive driving title at Dover Downs and is one win behind Tim Tetrick for second place at Harrah's Philadelphia, is on the verge of surpassing 500 wins for the sixth consecutive season and could reach $10 million in purses for the first time. Callahan set a career high in purses with $9.70 million in 2013 and hit $9.08 million last year. He entered Tuesday with 479 wins and $7.11 million in earnings. "I hope so, that's been my goal the last couple years," Callahan said about reaching $10 million. "A lot of that has to do with getting better horses to drive. I'm getting live drives and when you get those, it makes it a lot easier to get them in the race and pick up those top three finishes. I'm very fortunate that way." Following is the field in post order for the Nadia Lobell with drivers, trainers and morning line odds: 1. Sassa Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1 2. Bettor Be Steppin, Corey Callahan, Joe Holloway, 5-2 3. The Show Returns, John Campbell, Chris Ryder, 15-1 4. Totally Rusty, Andrew McCarthy, Ross Croghan, 6-1 5. Safe From Terror, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1 6. Imagine Dragon, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci, 15-1 7. Single Me, Eric Goodell, Ross Croghan, 12-1 8. Divine Caroline, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 5-1 9. Storm Point, Dave Palone, Ron Burke, 12-1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Bettor Be Steppin earned her second stakes win of the season at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, capturing Saturday's (Aug. 22) $350,000 Valley Forge for 3-year-old female pacers in a lifetime-best 1:50. Momas Got A Gun was second, beaten by three-quarters of a length, while Sassa Hanover finished third and Totally Rusty was fourth. In July, Bettor Be Steppin and driver Corey Callahan won the Lynch Memorial at Pocono. She won that night at odds of 15-1, but was the even-money favorite Saturday in the Valley Forge. Bettor Be Steppin, who started from post four, went to the front at the start and never looked back. She led the field through fractions of :26.3, :55.4, and 1:22.4. She held off a first-over attack from Sassa Hanover on the backstretch and Momas Got A Gun in the stretch. Morning line favorite Moonlit Dance was scratched. "I drew in a good spot and with Moonlit Dance not being in the race I was hoping I would be able to control it," Callahan said. "She likes to leave and everything worked out perfectly. "I figured if I could get a little breather in there anywhere she would be ready to take on all challengers." "So it worked out. She's been battling it out with Sassa (Hanover) for the last two years." "I figured I had her put away up the backside so the only horse I was worried about at that point was the horse on my back (Momas Got A Gun)." Bettor Be Steppin, trained by Joe Holloway, has won five of 11 races this year and earned $419,150. She has won nine of 23 races lifetime for owners Val D'Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz. She pushed her career earnings to $717,793. Valley Forge Consolations Single Me, who missed just a nose in the Lynch final here earlier this year, came out of the pocket at headstretch and drew off in the lane for a 1-3/4 length victory in the $150,000 Consolation I in 1:51, a career mark. But it was a move that driver Andy Miller didn't make -- a threatened quarter-move -- that caused Ideal Nuggets to park Seeking Nirvana in a brutal fight through fast numbers, easing the way for the late winning move of the Bettor's Delight filly, trained by Ross Croghan for Dana Parham and the Let It Ride Stables Inc. The Art Major filly Invest In Art was the fourth -- and final -- lead change in the $75,000 Consolation II, and despite the hard usage in the furious :53.4 first half, driver Tim Tetrick kept her alive in the lane to withstand Strut My Stuff (leader one) and Southwind Roulette (leader three) while taking a 1:49.3 new speed badge, which also rewrote the national season's mark. The Ontario-based team of trainer Mark Steacy and owners Stan Klemencic, David Reid, David McDonald, and Landmark 7 Racing Stable saw their filly win her stateside debut. Ken Weingartner

"I felt good in January, and that part hasn't changed," Teague said with a grin Saturday (July 4) after watching Wiggle It Jiggleit capture the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono by 1-1/2 lengths over Artspeak in 1:48.2. "He doesn't disappoint. Even in his loss, I wasn't jumping off the bandwagon. He's a good horse. I still think he's one of the best 3-year-olds I've ever had." Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 13 of 14 career races for owner Teague, trainer Clyde Francis and driver Montrell Teague. His only loss came June 20 in the North America Cup, where he was defeated by Wakizashi Hanover by three-quarters of a length. On Saturday in the Hempt, Wiggle It Jiggleit took the lead following a :26 opening quarter-mile, fought off a first-over challenge from Pierce Hanover on the backstretch, and then pulled away down the stretch. Artspeak finished second, followed by In The Arsenal and Wakizashi Hanover. "When he cleared to the front I knew he had a pretty good shot at it," Francis said. "Wakizashi has a big kick on the end of it but he wasn't making up much ground. Halfway down the lane nobody got close to him and I knew they weren't going to catch him then." Montrell Teague, who won the Hempt in 2011 with Custard The Dragon, was taking nothing for granted. "I was looking everywhere; I was looking for anybody," he said. "I saw Timmy (Tetrick with Wakizashi Hanover) pull three wide and that's when I popped the earplugs and stepped on the gas because I know how good his horse is coming off cover." Wiggle It Jiggleit, a son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover, gave George Teague Jr. his fourth Hempt trophy. He trained Custard The Dragon as well as 2009 winner Johnny Z and 2008 champ Badlands Nitro. The gelding's next assignment will be the Meadowlands Pace. With the triumph, Wiggle It Jiggleit pushed his career earnings to $607,242. But the most important thing for Teague was the two people with whom he is sharing the ride. "Montrell and Clyde Francis are the best part for me," Teague said, adding about Francis, "We're like brothers. He works his (butt) off." Wiggle It Jiggleit  Luck Be Withyou overcomes post nine in Franklin triumph                               The $500,000 Ben Franklin free for all pace turned out to be as thrilling as a front-end win can be as Luck Be Withyou held on by the shortest of noses over Domethatagain in 1:49 on Saturday (July 4) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Domethatagain, driven by Simon Allard, left from the rail off the gate, but Luck Be Withyou and George Napolitano Jr. took command before the turn from post nine. Luck Be Withyou led through a quarter in :26.2 and the half in :55, which were favorable fractions in the eyes of the 4-year-old horse's owner, John Craig. "I didn't think it was so bad when it was :26.2, because he got the lead in :26 last week in the slop, with a half in :53 and change," he said. "When I saw :55 at the half, I said 'There are good horses back there like Foiled Again and State Treasurer and they are going to come at him. I hope he has enough.'" Luck Be Withyou kept on chugging through three-quarters in 1:21.4. He was a length clear at the top of the stretch, with only Domethatagain coming at him up the rail. It took a long look at the photo before Luck Be Withyou was declared the winner, with favored State Treasurer third. Luck Be Withyou paid $10 to win as the public's second choice. "He had just enough," Craig said with a grin. "It's hard to explain to people the adrenaline rush you get when you see a race like that." Luck Be Withyou, by Western Ideal-Trim Hanover, is trained by Chris Oakes, who got some credit from his owner. "All the credit goes to those who work on the horse," he said. "I just watch and pay the bills." Luck Be Withyou Pinkman bounces back to win Beal in world record score                                           Pinkman rebounded from his first loss of the year by posting a gate-to-wire win in Saturday's (July 4) $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, holding off stablemate Uncle Lasse by a head in a world-record 1:51.3 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Pinkman, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, and driver Yannick Gingras got the lead with a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and then controlled the race from there, going to the half in :56.2. Centurion ATM made a first-over bid on the backstretch, getting within a head of the leader, but was unable to get to the front. In the stretch, the Jimmy Takter-trained Pinkman held off Uncle Lasse to his inside to post his fourth victory in five starts this season. Pinkman's time was the fastest-ever mile by a 3-year-old gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. Crazy Wow finished third followed by Centurion ATM. Last week, Pinkman finished second to Wicker Hanover in his Beal elimination and was found to be sick. "I can't complain about the trip, the fractions, everything went his way," Gingras said about Pinkman's performance in the Beal final. "He's got that intimidating speed; he can leave the gate so good. Last week leaving the gate I knew he wasn't quite right because he didn't leave the gate like he did today. Usually the first couple steps he just snaps right out. "Today he was back to himself and I don't even think he's a hundred percent. I'd say last week he was 50 or 60 percent and he was probably like 90 today. I think Jimmy can get him even better than this." For his career, Pinkman has won 10 of 13 races and earned $924,300 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. "I saw him open up at like 5-1 (odds) tonight and Crazy Wow was 3-5 or something," Gingras said. "They've got to start giving him credit. He doesn't do it flashy, he does it the way he did it today, but he gets it done. He's a winner." Pinkman  Bettor Be Steppin wins wild Lynch Memorial  What was a wide-open race on paper became a wide-open finish as Bettor Be Steppin and Corey Callahan got up to win the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies Saturday night (July 4) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.4. The race was heated from the start as The Show Returns gunned to the lead from post nine for driver Tim Tetrick. Favored Stacia Hanover (Scott Zeron) cleared to the lead in a first quarter in :26, with the outer flow setting up going to the half. Bettor Be Steppin wasn't a part of that forward flow, however, as she was shuffled back to last. According to her connections, stablemate Divine Caroline (David Miller) was getting the better trip "At the half I thought we were dead," said trainer Joe Holloway. "She was fourth on the rail, fourth or fifth, just totally boxed. Divine Caroline was on the outside, loaded with pace, so I was hoping to see her go. I was trying to watch them both and at the half I thought the only shot I had was Divine Caroline." Wicked Little Minx (Brett Miller), a 50-1 longshot, came first-over with Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras) third-over through a half in a swift :54.1. They paced through three-quarters in 1:21.4 before the leaders began to struggle and the closers came closing. Momas Got A Gun (Jim Morrill Jr.) was sitting third on the rail and somehow found room inside. She stuck a head in front before Single Me (Brian Sears) and Bettor Be Steppin came from way out. From the far outside, Bettor Be Steppin stuck a nose in front of Single Me at the wire. Momas Got A Gun finished third by a neck. The win was the fourth in seven starts this year for Bettor Be Steppin. She paid $33.60 to win. The 1-7 exacta paid $895.60 and the 1-7-6 trifecta paid $10,958.10. "This was a good horse last year," said Ted Gewertz, who co-owns the Bettor's Delight-Two Steppin' Sally filly with Val D'Or Farms and Rojan Stables. "She was having a little trouble earlier in the year. [2014 Horse of the Year] JK She'salady didn't make the final, so that helped." Bettor Be Steppin T.J. Burkett and Ken Weingartner / U.S. Trotting Association  

EAST RUTHERFORD, (April 25, 2015) - The harness racing 'Grand Circuit' season got underway at The Meadowlands with a bit of a surprise. Dismissed at 24-1, Fast Movin Train scored the upset in the $47,306 W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tar Heel division for three year old pacers. The early lead was established by Colorful Speech, who reached the quarter in 27.1 before settling into a rhythm and gliding to the half-mile in 56.3. At that time, Coaster committed first over from mid-pack, carrying Rock N' Roll World into a live outer flow. In the meantime, Fast Movin Train, who showed good speed off the gate, was content riding the pocket throughout the mile as Colorful Speech took the field past three-quarters in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Andy Miller called on Colorful Speech for more speed, but the field was closing in. Coaster continued to grind away first over and closed the gap, while Rock N' Roll World was rallying off his cover. But inside the final eighth of a mile, a seam opened and into the breach came Fast Movin Train, who found the seam and burst through to grab the victory in the shadow of the wire in 1:52.3. The win was the second in the last three starts for the three year old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven and the first stakes victory of his career, sending his lifetime earnings close to $60,000. The winner was driven by Dave Miller for Joe Holloway and owner Michael Ouriel. With 12 horses entered, the second round of the Whata Baron series saw an overloaded field contest one division for $22,500. In a race that saw six different horses on the lead at one point in the mile, the last horse to reach the lead was round one winner Rediscovery. Although he was an overwhelming favorite the prior week, Rediscovery escaped from the second tier at 5-1. He came from well off the pace while racing third over. There was a scramble for the lead with four different horses having the lead at some point before the half-mile mark of the 1 1/8th miles contest. It would be Major Uptrend who would settle into the leading position after fractions of 26.1 and 55.1. He would continue to lead around the turn, past three-quarters in 1:23.4, but the field began to close in. Ideal Cowboy was bearing down first over, El Bloombito was rallying off cover and he grabbed the lead inside the last eighth of a mile, but he was quicky collared by Rediscovery who came home fastest of all to complete the 1 1/8th miles in 2:04.2. Bettorever rallied from far back to be second with El Bloombito third. The winner was driven by Andrew McCarthy for Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Collura. Doo Wop Hanover took the $25,000 Four and Five Year Old Open Handicap Pace, giving John Campbell his third win on the card. Doo Wop sat third early behind the speed of 6/5 favorite Fool Me Once, who was looking to go wire to wire for the second consecutive week. Campbell guided his horse first over into a 55.3 half-mile and by the time the field hit three-quarters in 1:23.1, Doo Wop Hanover was nearly on even terms with the leader. The former New Jersey Sire Stakes Champion hit the front in mid-stretch and held off a late rally by Dovuto Hanover, while pacing home in a powerful 26.3 to win in 1:49.4. Dovuto Hanover was second while Fool Me Once saved the show. Little Brown Jug Winner Limelight Beach sat the pocket throughout and was an even fourth in his 2015 debut. Doo Wop Hanover is trained by Steve Elliot, who won two races on the card for Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Gokudo Hanover made it three in a row, winning his division of the Spring Preview for three year old pacers in 1:51.1 by gamely holding off Revenge Shark and Soto. Gokudo Hanover was allowed to control the tempo again, stealing a 29-second, second quarter in the process. Soto came first over into a strong third quarter, while Revenge Shark saved ground throughout. The three lined up across the track and raced to the wire, but Gokudo Hanover would not let anyone by, winning for John Campbell. The winner is trained by Douglas Hamilton for Sandbur Farms, Valarie Sutton and Joseph Hemingway. Gweneeee J, the sister to world champion Kenneth J made the third time the charm, scoring her first victory Saturday Night at The Meadowlands. Sent off as the odds-on favorite for the third consecutive time, the three year old filly took no prisoners, putting herself on the lead and staying there throughout the mile. Her stablemate, Lady Spartacus, who defeated her last week, was relegated to the pocket throughout and could not get to Gweneeee J, who paced home in 26.4 to score a decisive victory. John Campbell drove the filly for Linda Toscano and Kenneth Jacobs. The 2015 World Harness Handicapping Championship was conducted on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and the winner, taking home the $14,400 first place prize was William Meisel of Staten Island, N.Y. William catapulted to the win with a $100, last race win wager on the winner, Rockaholic, sending his bankroll to $1,092 to capture the prize. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed, with the carryover now at $95,311. The last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 also had more than one winner and that carryover grew to $68,662. Darin Zoccali

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Joe Holloway is uncertain where many of the top 3-year-old female pacers might race to start this season, but he is pretty sure that no matter where he sends Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline it’s not going to be easy. Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline -- who finished third and fourth, respectively, in November’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers -- are among the horses set to qualify Friday at the Meadowlands. Holloway is preparing the fillies for a stakes-filled campaign and is likely to find many of the division’s top horses from last year wherever he turns. In addition to being eligible to this season’s top stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers, Holloway’s two horses are eligible to the New York Sire Stakes. But so are defending Horse of the Year and Breeders Crown winner JK She’salady, Breeders Crown runner-up Sassa Hanover, returning NYSS champion Mosquito Blue Chip, and stakes-winner Bettor N Better. Those four fillies, along with Bettor Be Steppin, were among the top six money-winning 2-year-old filly pacers last season. She’s A Great Lady Stakes runner-up Bedroomconfessions, another New Yorker, was ninth. “You put whatever number you want on it, but some of your better fillies are all New York bred,” Holloway said. “It will be interesting to see where people go. We don’t know yet. “I’d like to get Steppin a start before (stakes competition) because we’re going to go fast. But no more than two starts because it’s such a long year and you have to manage the number of starts.” Bettor Be Steppin, a daughter of stallion Bettor's Delight out of the mare Two Steppin’ Sally, won four of 12 races last year and earned $298,643. She won divisions of the Bluegrass, Kentuckiana Stallion Management, and Reynolds Memorial stakes. She is a half-sister to Major Dancer, who finished second in last season’s Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female pacers. “She’s a nice filly,” said Holloway, who trains Bettor Be Steppin for owners Val D’Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz. “How she fits in the division, it’s down the road, so we’ll see.” Divine Caroline won one of 11 races last year and $141,426 for owners Val D’Or Farms, Rojan Stables, Ted Gewertz and Michael Ouriel. Her victory came in a division of the Reynolds and she finished second in divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. “She has high speed, but just a few maturity issues,” Holloway said about Divine Caroline. Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline are both eligible to the Reynolds Memorial on May 8 at the Meadowlands. The first New York Sire Stakes event is May 16 at Vernon Downs. “I’ve got time,” Holloway said. “The first stakes are in early May and then we have the sire stakes. But Caroline fits non-winners of two, so I have a (non-stakes or open) spot to race her. Steppin, it’s a little bit tougher. I’m hoping that toward the end of April that I can get her a start.” Holloway is qualifying his two fillies Friday so he has more flexibility in April if the weather is unfavorable. “If the weather is nice on Friday, I might as well qualify on Friday,” Holloway said. “I just don’t like locking myself into dates. It’s time to go and then all of a sudden the weather doesn’t comply and I’m qualifying over a track I really didn’t want to. This way there’s nothing in a hurry.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

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