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Elysium Lindy, let go at 21-1 despite a win and two seconds in the first three preliminary legs of the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting males at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, overhauled 1-5 favorite Celebrity Bugatti in the shadow of the wire to post a 1:55.1 win in one of two $15,000 divisions of the fourth and final preliminary round for this harness racing group Tuesday night. In the other division, Magenta Man was on his best behavior and posted a 1:56.1 victory.   Celebrity Bugatti came into Monday's race having gone a perfect 3-for-3 to date in the Weiss, and in midstretch he looked ready to complete a sweep of the prelims. But the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Elysium Lindy had another idea, being moved outside from third late on the final turn by driver Jim Marshall III, and then kicking into overdrive in the last 1/16 to get a head decision while lowering his lifetime mark, posted in a Weiss event last week, by a tick. Donna Marshall trains the developing youngster for owner George Beck.   Magenta Man had finished second to Celebrity Bugatti in a Weiss cut last week after making a break in his only other start in the series, but this week all systems were "go" as the four-year-old altered son of Muscles Yankee, bet down to 3-5 favoritism, was put on the lead and held off a spirited late charge by Explosive Yankee to post a ¾-length victory. "Magenta" and "orange" may not be two colors you often see together, but for driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller (collectively known as "Team Orange Crush"), along with owners Little E LLC and RBH Ventures Inc., the sight of Magenta and Orange in the Pocono winners circle after next Monday's $30,000 Weiss Series Championship would be beautiful indeed.   Despite tonight's upset, Celebrity Bugatti was still the #1 prelim pointwinner for this group; behind him in line in qualifying for their Championship are Elysium Lindy, Dominus Hanover, Steed, Taxed To The Max, Explosive Leggs, Magenta Man, and (tied) Sweet Royalty and Dominion Beach.   The $30,000 Weiss Championship for trotting distaffs headlines the Tuesday night card at The Downs. Stirling Debutant will likely be a heavy favorite from post three for driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Steve Salerno after sweeping her four prelims, and her task was made easier by the fact that the Todd Schadel duo of South Side Hanover and Real Caviar, #2 and #3 in the prelim pointstandings with five prelim victories between them, were not dropped in for the Championship. They will reportedly be heading to The Meadows Saturday afternoon for the 2016 debut of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action in a three-year-old trotting filly event, to be drawn tomorrow.   PHHA / Pocono    

In the last couple of weeks, Harnesslink has broken the Glaucine story emanating from the drug positives reported on Ron Burke and Julie Miller trained horses. Since then a number of other trainers located in NJ, PA and NY have had positives reported for the same drug. These positives were reported to the New York State Gaming Commission by its own lab, which not so long ago reported positives for a different bronchial dilator and a number of trainers were then subsequently penalized. The current rash of Glaucine positives simply cannot be dismissed out of hand by the regulatory body in NY. The response, to the drug infraction positives reported by the very competent New York State Lab for Ron Burke and Julie Miller, from The Meadowlands and Jeff Gural, was a huge surprise to me as well as many in North America. Instead of doing what Gural has done to every other trainer and driver since he took over The Meadowlands who have either had reported drug positives or some personal peeve, and stand them down from his tracks, Jeff Gural gave Ron Burke and Julie Miller and some others a free pass on a reported positive and did not stand any of them down. It is a complete turnaround from how The Meadowlands and Jeff Gural have treated everyone else in a similar situation based upon nothing more than - a reported positive test. The one known exception of course is a few years ago, if my recollection is correct, you guessed it, one of Jeff's trainers got a positive. In that case, once the vet was blamed all was apparently forgiven. Remember the Canadian owner barred from the Meadowlands because his trainer had a reported positive? I  recognize that it is a great embarrassment for Jeff Gural to have people who train for him charged with drug infractions (as perhaps it was for that Canadian owner), but surely for a drug policy to be effective, it must be applied without fear or favour and to suddenly change what has been custom and policy sends a disturbing message to the wider industry as a whole. Compare the response to the Ron Burke and Julie Miller drug positives reported by the New York Gaming Commission's respected laboratory and the unfair treatment recently meted out to Robert Bresnahan Jr. and a host of others who have had reported positives under Gural 's definition of a positive which is obviously not that of any regulatory body in either NY, NJ or PA.   In Bresnahan's case two horses similarly were said to test positive for EPO or its antibodies in out of competition testing. Testing  done by the Meadowlands, not the New Jersey Racing Commission. There was no verification of any positive by the regulatory body lab in NJ. While Bresnahan has asked for additional testing to be taken to clear his name, so far reportedly denied him, he is unable to race horses at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs or Vernon Downs. The reason given in the Meadowlands press release was as follows: "As a result of the positive tests, Mr. Bresnahan will be unable to participate at the Meadowlands and sister properties,Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs".   Yes, just a positive test. So Mr Bresnahan was barred immediately, while Ron Burke and Julie Miller are allowed to continue to ply their trade even though the New York Racing Commission has found drug positives on horses trained by both of them. In addition, Gural (Little E LlC stable), unlike the Canadian owner, continues not only to race his horses at the Meadowlands and Yonkers but does so while employing those trainers with the reported positives. One thing that has really intrigued me about the testing regime in place at The Meadowlands is the almost God like reverence given to the testing laboratory of the Hong Kong Jockey Club which is selected for each case The Meadowlands generally uses to toss someone. Where I come from in the Southern Hemisphere, the harness racing industry certainly doesn't place the Hong Kong Jockey Club on the huge pedestal that the Meadowlands does and one has to wonder why the Meadowlands continually shouts their praises from the rooftops at every opportunity. Is it because that lab will call anything a positive even if it doesn't come close to a violation of any rule or regulation? Is it because it denies the accused any right to clear his name because of where the sample was sent? Is there a reason why the Meadowlands did not ask the Commission in New Jersey to at least accompany its personnel to conduct out of competition testing, so that if there was a violation of drug rules, the party would be officially stood down by virtue of a Commission ruling?  As an outsider looking into the North American scene from the Southern Hemisphere, I just cannot get my head around the way people in the same situation such as Bresnahan -- Burke and Miller can be treated so differently. While the solution seems to stop the hypocrisy and role playing as judge, jury and executioner, and work with the Commissions to see to it that trainers and owners, if the latter are involved, are penalized appropriately for violations of the rules governing racing. Perhaps others have some different ideas to resolve this, reinstate all or bar all, but for the moment the stench of hypocrisy and that of a double standard is so strong in this instance that it has wafted all the way down to the Southern Hemisphere under its own steam. JC

Early Thursday Harnesslink broke the news on Ron Burke and Julie Miller drug violations. This is the statement that Jeff Gural wrote as a result. Although I am currently on vacation, I have been made aware that apparently several trainers at Yonkers Raceway including Julie Miller and Ron Burke have had horses test positive for glaucine. As you know, Ms. Miller trains several horses for me and Mr. Burke trains Gural Hanover, a horse of which I am a part-owner. Both trainers have already called me and vigorously denied the accusations. At this point, I am unaware if any official action has been taken by the New York Gaming Commission (NYGC) or Yonkers Raceway. I have reached out to officials at the NYGC in an effort to receive more information about the nature of the tests so that we can do our own analysis and draw our own conclusions. I want to be clear; we plan to see what actions, if any, are taken by the NYGC and Yonkers Raceway before we do anything. In addition, representatives of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) contacted me and have strongly suggested that all of the trainers involved be given their due process rights before any action is taken by my racetracks. The SBOANJ re-affirmed their support for our strong stance on integrity. As such, until an official announcement has been made by the NYGC, Ms. Miller, Mr. Burke, and other trainers whose horses received positive tests that are otherwise in good standing at our three facilities, will be able to race their horses at the Meadowlands. I have directed our own investigator to immediately reach out to Dr. Wan in Hong Kong to see if we can have the many samples we have previously taken from horses trained by Mr. Burke and horses I own that were trained by Ms. Miller to see if glaucine was present in any of those samples. I believe that New York will make the methods used to test for glaucine available to Hong Kong. We are also waiting to see if any other horses in New York test positive for glaucine to see if there is any common element involved, such as the same veterinarians, same feed, same shavings, or the same legitimate feed supplements. Jeff Gural

A monstrous :25.4 closing quarter propelled William J. Donovan's Ashley's Husband ($14.60) to the fore in the closing strides of Saturday (Feb. 6) evening's featured $17,000 harness racing top-level conditioned pace at The Meadowlands. Brett Miller settled well off the pace with the 6-year-old Henry Clay gelding, second from last through a :55.1 half with a contested pace in front of him.  Just after 8-5 favorite Kingofthejungle (John Campbell) wrested command from Jet Airway (Marcus Miller) upon reaching the backstretch, Ashley's Husband slid second-over to follow the cover of Rockeyed Optimist (Tim Tetrick) en route to the far turn.  Ashley's Husband would ultimately be carried to the five-path, as Jet Airway and Class Six (Joe Bongiorno) were produced from just off the pacesetter after a :28.2 third split. Despite Class Six making a three-wide push to the lead at the eighth pole, Ashley's Husband descended late, vaulting past the gaining Rockeyed Optimist and Jet Airway for a 1:50.3 score. Pacesetter Kingofthejungle was engulfed in upper stretch, fading to finish seventh of the octet. Kyle Spagnola trains Ashley's Husband, now a 24-time winner.  For Miller, the win was the middle of a natural hat trick, as he also partnered with Shooter's Dream ($17.40, 1:50) and All Week ($17.20, 1:50.4) in the preceding and following races. The evening's sub-featured event, a $15,000 trot for non-winners of six races or $100,000, saw Magenta Man ($8.20) handle a significant class hike with aplomb, holding sway from Hot Summer Knight to prevail in 1:55. Early breaks from Axios and Its Huw You Know enabled the 4-year-old Muscles Yankee Gelding to set a leisurely and uncontested pace before edging to a 1-3/4 length pillar-to-post victory in rein to Andy Miller. Julie Miller trains Magenta Man, now a winner of four straight, for Little E, LLC and RBH Ventures, Inc. Total handle for the 14-race card was $3,162,502, marking a fourth consecutive program at The Meadowlands with at least $3 million wagered. Neither 20¢ Jackpot High 5 was taken down by a single punter, so next Friday's (Feb. 12) program will see carryovers of $22,115 and $92,662 in the seventh and final races respectively. First post for the Friday card is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Meadowlands media relations

East Rutherford, NJ---Just as an impending snowstorm closing in on the New York City metropolitan area did not interrupt Friday (January 22) evening's 14-race harness racing program at The Meadowlands, eight rivals closed in--but failed to engulf--Opulent Yankee ($4.60, part of entry) in the featured $25,000 Open Handicap Trot, carded as race two. Andy Miller floated forward with the 5-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding at race's outset, working clear of Massacaia (Brett Miller) well after a :27 initial quarter mile. Once assuming command, Opulent Yankee kept at a sprightly tempo, reeling off intermediate splits of :55 and 1:23.3 while his stablemate Allerage Star (Scott Zeron) gradually gained into a joint second with a boxed Massacaia. Off the far turn, Opulent Yankee kicked clear at will, extending his lead to three lengths in mid-stretch before taken in hand late for a 1:52.1 win, his first of 2016 and his ninth career triumph. Detroit Rapper (Jim Marohn, Jr.) negotiated heavy traffic through the stretch, splitting foes in the final sixteenth to just take second, while 65-1 longshot A Little More Love (Joe Bongiorno) made a late push off stalled cover to take third. Julie Miller trains Opulent Yankee for the partnership of Little E, Geiger, Settlemoir, and Stolz. Later in the card, a pair of $15,000 sub-featured events were contested, one for top-level conditioned distaff pacers and the other for trotters which have not won six races. The distaff pace saw Ron Burke trainee Tessa Seelster ($3.60) capture a second consecutive win, crossing and clearing from her outside post 8, rating an uncontested lead, and holding clear of a mildly chasing Not Before Eight (Anthony Napolitano) for a 1:51.2 victory. Yannick Gingras drove the 4-year-old Shadow Play mare. While another Burke trainee in Its Huw You Know (Gingras) set the pace in the sub-featured trotting event, he was collared in the final yards by Paris Princess N ($8.80), who enjoyed a pocket trip throughout before pouncing late to prevail in 1:54.3. Forever As (Tim Tetrick) rallied from off the pace to take second, just half a length from the victorious 7-year-old Diedre Don mare. Scott Zeron drove Paris Princess N for trainer Paul Blumenfeld. The evening's card amassed $2,636,111 in total handle, up $96,749 from the corresponding Friday night card in 2015. As Saturday's races have been abandoned and re-carded as drawn for next Saturday (January 30), racing will return to The Meadowlands next Friday (January 29). Both Jackpot High 5 pools carry over to next week, with the seventh-race version of the 20-cent wager now boasting $11,602 in added money and the finale carrying $64,800 extra should one punter take down the entire pool. Post time will be 6:35 p.m. Eastern time. For more information on racing, dining, and entertainment at The Meadowlands, visit playmeadowlands.com. by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Trainer Julie Miller's stable accounts for the morning-line favourites of both Open Trots on Friday (December 18) evening's 14-race harness racing card at The Meadowlands, and over $150,000 in guaranteed pools and carryovers await punters on a card that boasts 10- and 11-horse fields all round.   The featured $25,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot is carded as the evening's eighth race, coinciding with the start of a $50,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4. Julie Miller sends out 5-2 morning line favourite Opulent Yankee from post 7 for the partnership of Little E, Geiger, Settlemoir, and Stolz. The 4-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding is rounding into form, most recently chasing Handover Belle in last week's Open after emerging out of traffic a quarter mile from the winning post. Andy Miller will once again drive the 8-time winner. Among Opulent Yankee's toughest competition are Waiting On a Woman (post 5, Corey Callahan), a winner of two straight upper-level events for trainer Kyle Spagnola before a game defeat at this level last week; top-level Philadelphia shipper and Ron Burke trainee Appomattox (post 6, Yannick Gingras); and Crosbys Clam Bake (post 9, Scott Zeron), who sprung a 29-1 upset over Open foes for the Andy Federico stable a fortnight ago.   A sub-featured $20,000 Open 2 Handicap Trot is scheduled two races earlier, and Miller trainee Lindy's Tru Grit was assigned post position 10 after a lengthy stakes campaign through the summer and fall months. The 5-year-old Cantab Hall entire qualified sharply last week after a two-month layoff, sprinting off to defeat Crazshana by over 11 lengths in a 1:54.4 mile. Andy Miller handles the driving duties of the 2-1 morning line favourite for the Lindy Racing Stable and Robert Rudolph. Like his stablemate later in the evening, Lindy's Tru Grit will have to tackle a fit Burke trainee invading from Harrah's Philadelphia in March Awareness (post 7, Gingras).   In addition to the standard $105,000 in guaranteed pools throughout the evening's Pick 5 and twin Pick 4s, both Jackpot High-5 wagers bring carryovers into Friday's card. In the fifth race, the 20-cent wager carries a $7,181.28 progressive jackpot, while $34,296.44 will be added to the 14th race pool should a lone winner emerge.   Post time for Friday's program at The Meadowlands is 7:00 p.m. EST. For more information on racing, dining, and entertainment at The Meadowlands, visit playmeadowlands.com.   Darin Zoccali

Harness racing trainer Julie Miller likens Opulent Yankee's return from a nearly five-month layoff to compete in Friday's Open Handicap for trotters at the Meadowlands to "jumping off the high dive a little bit." But it might help the trainer determine whether the 4-year-old gelding can make a big splash in 2016. Opulent Yankee has won six of 18 races this year and finished second on nine occasions en route to $141,881 in purses. He finished no worse than second in any of his first 15 starts of the season and eight of his second-place finishes came to world champion JL Cruze. In fact, overall, JL Cruze won 11 of the 12 races Opulent Yankee failed to win. A son of stallion Muscles Yankee out of the mare Opulent Bluestone, Opulent Yankee finished second in the Super Bowl, Singer Memorial, Shiaway St Pat, and Weiss series finals. He won two preliminary legs of the Super Bowl as well as one preliminary round of each the Singer, Shiaway St Pat, Weiss and Graduate series. Opulent Yankee will start Friday's nine-horse $25,000 Open Handicap from post three with driver Andy Miller. He is 5-1 on the morning line, which is the third choice behind 5-2 favorite Handover Belle and 3-1 Master Of Law. "He's had a great season," said Julie Miller, who trains Opulent Yankee for Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Arthur Geiger, Jason Settlemoir and David Stolz. "He was finishing second to JL Cruze, which wasn't a bad thing. This summer we decided to give him a little time off and he's come back nicely. "I think we're jumping off the high dive a little bit starting right out in the Open, but that's where he fits and where he has to race. It's kind of a step up from just series, but hopefully he'll be able to do OK." As a 3-year-old, Opulent Yankee trotted the fifth-fastest winning mile by a sophomore male trotter, 1:51.4, despite racing only five times. This season, he has a mark of 1:52.3, which is among the top 40 by an older trotter, and was timed as fast as 1:51.3 in a fourth-place Graduate Series finish behind stakes-winners JL Cruze, Father Patrick, and Resolve. Opulent Yankee finished eighth in the Graduate Series final on July 11, despite a 1:51.4 effort, and was given time to refresh. He had raced at least twice in each of the first six months of the year. "He had enough starts," Miller said. "He just needed a little vacation time. I wanted to get him fresh and back at it for the winter meet. A well-deserved break was needed, rather than tackling the TVG (Free For All Series). Opulent Yankee enters this weekend's Open Handicap off two qualifiers. He finished second in the first qualifier, timed in 1:56, and won the second qualifier in 1:53.1. "He's got those two nice qualifiers, but as a trainer I'd like to see him in an easier spot and give him a chance to get his legs underneath of him," Miller said. "It is what it is. Hopefully he can compete at this level. He loves the Meadowlands, he loves a mile track, and I think Andy gets along with him excellent. I'm optimistic about it, but at the same time they're going to race and they're going to go fast. I don't want to over-extend him his first start, but we go to the races to do our best and to win." As for Opulent Yankee's future, Miller's plan at the moment is to have no plan. "I'm going to play it by ear," Miller said. "I don't see him as of right now being a top stakes horse going against the best of the best. But I'd like to eat my words and see that happen. "He can prove to me what he wants to be as a 5-year-old." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

VERNON, NY (October 15, 2015) - When hip number 410, a Conway Hall filly out of the mare Classic Yankee, walked into the sales ring at last week's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, the expected sets of eyes watched with anticipation as the bidding began. Harness racing breeder Crawford Farms was hoping for a profitable sales price and interested buyers watched as the price inched upwards. Perhaps not surprisingly, the filly, already named Vernondownthehouse, was purchased by Vernon Downs owner Jeff Gural for $65,000. But another interested party located in Central New York has plenty riding on the horse as well, even if that person was not watching at the time the horse sold. Stacey Michaud, a racing fan at Vernon Downs, is the one responsible for the filly's name, having submitted it during a Crawford Farms sponsored Name That Foal contest in August 2014 at the racetrack. Besides seeing her creative selection picked as the winning name, she is also in line to earn a potentially nice payday. As part of winning the contest, Michaud is entitled to one-percent of the filly's earnings during her two and three-year-old racing seasons. "Any time you purchase a yearling you always dream of having the next champion," said the filly's owner, Jeff Gural. "But in this case, I am really hoping to help a loyal Vernon Downs fan make some extra money through this promotion we did with our partners at Crawford Farms. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best." The filly will be sent to trainer Julie Miller to be prepared for a racing career that will hopefully begin next season and include many trips to the winner's circle. For complete racing and promotional information, visit www.vernondowns.com. #410 VERNONDOWNTHEHOUSE from Michelle Crawford on Vimeo.   Justin Horowitz

Freehold, NJ --- Julie Miller does not have morning line favorites in Friday’s Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old male and female trotters at Woodbine Racetrack, but the harness racing trainer is happy with the way her Milligan’s School and Womans Will are heading into their respective events. Milligan’s School has won five of 11 races this year and is coming off victories in divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes at the recently-concluded Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile in Lexington. He is the 6-1 second choice on the morning line behind 2-5 favorite Southwind Frank in the single elimination for the $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters. A son of Yankee Glide out of the mare Tori Ann, Milligan’s School has earned $159,094 for Russia-based owner Natalia Stroy’s Stroy Inc. Womans Will has won four of nine races and earned $216,381 for breeders/owners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. She has hit the board a total of eight times and heads to Toronto’s Woodbine off second-place finishes in the Kentucky Stallion Management Stakes at Hoosier Park and a division of the International Stallion. She finished third in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. A daughter of Breeders Crown winner Donato Hanover out of the mare Will Of A Woman, she is 8-1 on the morning line in the first of two Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old female trotters. Undefeated Broadway Donna is the 2-1 favorite, followed by stakes-winners Haughty (5-2) and Celebrity Eventsy (3-1). Andy Miller, Julie’s husband, will drive Milligan’s School and Womans Will. “They both had excellent Lexington meets,” said Julie Miller, who has won one Breeders Crown title in her career. “They’re healthy, they’re happy, they’re doing their jobs. I’m really optimistic. I’m pretty excited about them.” The Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters attracted 12 horses, resulting in a single elimination from which the top eight finishers will join Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Lagerfeld and Ontario Sire Stakes champion Tony Soprano in the final. The connections of those horses accepted byes to the final based on seasonal earnings. Southwind Frank, trained by Ron Burke, brings an eight-race win streak to the elimination. He is coming off a world-record 1:52.2 performance in his division of the International Stallion Stakes and earlier this year won the William Wellwood Memorial and Peter Haughton Memorial stakes. He is the season’s top money-winning 2-year-old male trotter, but his connections, led by co-owner/trainer Ron Burke, turned down the bye and will race in the elim. “Burke has a standout in there, but we’re going there to do our best too,” Miller said. “I’m happy with (Milligan’s School) coming off two wins at Lexington. Andy said he was good down there and he seemed strong. Those are two good races under his belt. I’m pretty confident he should be a major contender in there. “He’s been pretty steady and pretty honest. He’s a smart colt and I think he’ll be OK. He’s just a nice horse. He’s a pleasure to be around. He does everything you ask. Andy can spin him out of there, he can duck him; he’s handy and he’s honest and that goes a long way with a trotter.” Milligan’s School was bred by Richard and Joyce McClelland, who also bred two-time Breeders Crown winner Call For Rain. Womans Will’s family includes 1991 Breeders Crown champion King Conch and 1985 Hambletonian Oaks winner Conch. Libfeld has bred three Breeders Crown champions, including one with Katz -- Martiniontherocks. “She’s been a model of consistency,” Miller said about Womans Will. “I have nothing but good things to say about her because she’s always right there. I have high hopes for her. It’s going to depend how the race shakes out, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she’s right there. “There are about five or six good 2-year-old trotting fillies,” she added. “They’re just powerhouses. For the boys, beside Southwind Frank, there’s not really a dominant one in my opinion.” Breeders Crown elimination winners draw for inside post positions 1-5 for their respective finals. All 2-year-old finals will go for $600,000 on Oct. 24 at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. for Friday’s first race at Woodbine. For Friday’s complete card, click here. On Saturday, Woodbine will host Breeders Crown eliminations for the Open Pace, 3-year-old colt pace, and 3-year-old filly pace. The top five finishers from each elimination return for their respective final. Saturday's post time is 7:25 p.m. and once again the elimination winners draw for inside post positions 1-5 for the finals. Follow Breeders Crown news and updates on Twitter @Breeders_Crown, using #BreedersCrown15 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BreedersCrown. Fans can also go to http://harnessracingfanzone.com, the Place for Harness Racing Fans to See, Share, Connect and Play. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications   

LEXINGTON, KY-- Night two of the Grand Circuit meeting at The Red Mile was highlighted by four divisions of the $289,000 Bluegrass Stakes for harness racing 2-year-old colt trotters, which were contested on Thursday, Oct. 1.   Milligan's School sat a pocket trip after failing to clear the lead into the first turn, and slid up a seam in the stretch to draw off to a 2-length win in 1:56.3 in the opening Bluegrass round. Holding the top spot through fractions of :29.3, :58.3, and 1:28 was Dominion Beach. Into the far turn, Waitlifter K supplied a challenge from first over, while Metatron had an opportunity to fan off the cones and prepare for a wide stretch drive. While in control, Dominion Beach drifted slightly off the pylons, which prompted Milligan's School to trot by to his inside. Metatron was the fiercest closer down the center of the track, but could not out-sprint Milligan's School and Andy Miller at the finish. Waitlifter K held on for third, while Make Or Miss got fourth.   Sent off the 6-5 favorite, Milligan's School, a $4.40 winner, is owned by Stroy Inc. and trained by Julie Miller. The earner of $128,494 in 10 starts this season was bred by Richard and Joyce McClelland.   "That's still pretty fresh on my mind, what happened the other night [his break on Sept. 11 at The Meadows]," Julie Miller said. "When we were sitting in the two hole here I said 'Come on, let's make sure we take advantage of this big opportunity.' It was a misfortune [the break], but we bounced back tonight. That's all you can do."   "I've been really pleased with this horse," Miller also said. "From the word go, he's just done everything I've asked. Andy [Miller] gets along with him great, and I expect a lot of good things from him."   The second split was claimed by Taco Tuesday, who benefitted from a patient drive and battled home to finish narrowly in front of Hollywood Highway in a 1:58.2 mile. Runner-up Hollywood Highway set the tempo for most the mile, putting up fractions of :30.2, :59.4, and a third-quarter in 1:29.1 thanks to the pressure of first-over Desert Runner. Taco Tuesday tracked Desert Runner two-wide into the far turn, tipping wide into the stretch. Desert Runner held the lead shortly during the stretch, while Hollywood Highway continued to battle for control, and Taco Tuesday edged into a length of the battle. Into the final sixteenth, he got a neck in front of Hollywood Highway to pull off a 12-1 upset. Finishing third was Desert Runner, and fourth was Honor Above All via disqualification of Coughlin for a lapped-on break.   Sired by Cantab Hall, out of the Yankee Glide mare Be My Baby, the James Wilhite-bred colt is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, R. Rudolph, and F. Baldassare, trained by Frank Antonacci, and driven by Andy Miller. Taco Tuesday, in his maiden-breaking score, pushes his seasonal earnings to $39,565 in six starts.   "If you watch how we are with our two-year-olds, we don't race them very early," Frank Antonacci said. "This guy I had staked to the Peter Haughton, so I really thought a lot of him all winter. Then you fall into some bad grooves and make some baby mistakes, and it doesn't take long to be in October and have $7,000 on your card."   "He just got into a couple of bad spots where he got too aggressive," Antonacci said in response to the colt's history of breaking. "When you're trying to race horses and get them back mentally, it's a little challenging sometimes. But it was nice to have Andy [Miller] qualify him last week [at Lexington]. Obviously it paid off tonight."   The pocket trip resulted in victory again in the third division, with Lagerfeld stalking tempo-setter Southwind Flash before pouncing out of the pocket in progress to a 1 1/4 length victory in 1:57.4. Southwind Flash passed the quarter in :30.3 and the half in 1:00.4 before being challenged by Mavens Way, who broke into the first turn due to interference by Sutton, also off stride. Mavens Way broke before three-quarters, leaving a gap for Lagerfeld to edge out of the pocket. Timed in 1:29.4, Lagerfeld began his bid in the final quarter of a mile. By the final eighth, his nose emerged in front of Southwind Flash and the margin gradually grew as the 6-5 favorite hit the line in front. Claiming the third and fourth spots were Brownie Hanover and Kanthaka.   Trained by Jimmy Takter, the son of Yankee Glide, out of Yankee Paco mare Southern Senorita, paid $4.60 to win. He's owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Lagerfeld has now earned $279,709 in eight starts this season, with this win being his third.   "He got the perfect trip," Jimmy Takter said. "He got a little lucky with a couple of horses breaking in the first turn, but it's a tricky track tonight and last night was the same. It's maybe slightly better today, but it's very sticky at the rail and a lot of horses have a problem to find some legs there."   "It's normally like that when it's a very windy day with two-year-olds," Takter also said in regards to the benefit of coming off the pace. "It's always tough to cut the mile, and on the backside there's a very tough wind. We got a perfect trip, but I don't want to take anything away from this horse. He almost made $300,000 and he's a great potential colt."   In a wire-to-wire performance, 7-2 third choice Dupree was a winner in 1:57.3 over 1-2 favorite Bar Hopping, who began to challenge for the lead heading into the far turn. Dupree set fractions of :29.3 and :59.4 before being confronted by Bar Hopping first over. The two were stride for stride through a 1:30 third quarter before Dupree edged away from Bar Hopping after he drifted off the turn. Bar Hopping could not recuperate the lost ground off that turn and solely chased Dupree to the line while holding off third-place finisher Cloud Nine Hanover and fourth-place finisher Celebrity Pilatus.   Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Courant A B, the Andover Hall colt out of the Muscles Yankee mare Hustle N Muscle paid $9.40 to win. This was his second win out of seven starts this season, with the victory pushing his seasonal earnings to $114,031. He is trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt.   "He's a real nice horse," assistant trainer Bernie Noren said. "We've always had high thoughts for him and today he showed up as the horse we thought he was gonna' be. I think he likes the big track, but he raced really good last time [in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final]. He was sick before that, but he's come back and we gave him two races, and now he's getting back to himself again."   Grand Circuit action resumes tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 2, with three divisions of the $243,000 Bluegrass 2-year-old filly pace and the $292,200 Bluegrass 2-year-old colt pace. Post time is 7:00pm.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile    

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 19, 2015 - Sevruga cut all the fractions in the Open Space Pace Day $20,000 preferred trot, setting a harness racing world record for a mile and a half on a half-mile track with a time of three minutes flat on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. The fourth edition of Open Space Pace Day, which begin with a parade down Main Street in Freehold, drew a family-friendly crowd of several thousand who took advantage of live music, petting zoo, exhibitions, displays, food trucks and perfect weather. To the best of anyone's knowledge, this was the first time the distance - three times around the track - was ever offered. Sevruga [$4], a seven-year-old gelding, was sent off as the even-money favorite in the featured seventh race and cruised the three times around the track on the front end. The anticipated challenge from 6-5 Gural Hanover never developed when that horse broke stride at the start. Trained by Julie Miller and driven by Andy Miller, Sevruga won by a length and three-quarters over Pop I with Silver Credit third by two and three-quarters in the field of nine veteran trotters. "He is the same old grinder of races," said Julie Miller, who with Hannah Miller signed autographs before the card began. "I knew if Andy could set the fractions, and with Gural Hanover breaking, it was ours to have. "I couldn't be more pleased with him," the trainer added. "It was a beautiful day, and it was great for the Landy Family and Freehold to host this event. It's very important to New Jersey racing." The previous world record for the distance on a half-mile track was 3:01.3 by Kash Minbar on July 30, 1977 at Roosevelt Raceway. Sevruga, who is owned by Joe P Racing LLC of Delray Beach, FL, picked up his sixth win in 20 starts this year, and it was his 36th win in 104 career starts. He has earned $1,159,326 lifetime. Sponsors of the preferred trot were New Jersey-based trainers and owners Ross Croghan's Dockside Stables, Joe Holloway. Linda Toscano, Mark Harder, Weaver & Bruscemi Stable. Ron Burke, Tom Fanning, Scott DiDomenico, Julie and Andy Miller, and Tony Alagna. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 11, 2015 - Riley's Dream took advantage of an early miscue by Rules Of The Road to win the $30,000 Helen Smith Trot by half a length on Friday, September 11, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. With only four three-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting fillies entered, the race was contested prior to the betting card. The Helen Smith is sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Riley's Dream [Muscle Hill], driven by Steve Smith and trained by Julie Miller, trotted the mile in 2:00.3. Rules Of The Road [Muscle Hill], with earnings over $200,000 and the runner-up in the Hambletonian Oaks, broke stride at the start and spotted the field more than five lengths but closed well for second. It was a length and a half to Blue Muse [Muscles Yankee] in third and four and a half lengths to Southwind Cartier [Muscle Hill] in fourth. Riley's Dream, unraced at two, has two wins, seven seconds and two thirds in 15 starts this year for earnings of $85,151. His owner-breeders are Jason Allen and Douglas Allen of Vincentown, NJ, and Ronald Allen of Southampton, NJ. The Helen Smith stakes record of 1:56.2 is shared by Marla Bar [2002], Silver Credit [2013] and Cee Bee Yes [2014]. The team of driver Steve Smith and trainer Julie Miller were back in the winner's circle in the eighth race as Southwind Hope won a $7,000 first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres for two-year-old trotting fillies. Southwind Hope, a daughter of Muscle Hill- Honey Pie, scored a two length victory over Cree [Muscle Hill]. It was 11¼ lengths to Peg O My Heart in third. She trotted the mile in 2:01.2 for her first win with two thirds in five starts. The $52,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase has banked $9,100. Southwind Hope, bred by Southwind Farm of Pennington, NJ, races for the partnership of the Andy Miller Stable of Millstone, NJ; Little E LLC of New York, NY and Lawrence Dumain of Pine Bush, NY. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

Stayin Strong, driven by Eric Abbatiello and trained by Julie Miller, was a length and a quarter winner in the $7,000 opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres for two-year-old trotting colts, the third race on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. Stayin Strong, a son of Muscles Yankee, picked up his first win in six starts, covering the mile in 2:00.4. He paid $6.20 to win. Threeupthreedown [Muscle Hill] was second with five and a half lengths to Luv at First Site [Muscle Yankee] in third. Stayin Strong, bred by Lauren and Robert Tucker, campaigns for Jason and Douglas Allen of Vincentown, NJ. Carol Hodes  

Form pretty much ruled the Tuesday afternoon harness racing meeting, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $166,874 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cipriani Trot for 3-year-old fillies. It certainly did in the second ($82,687) division, as Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $2.10) won as she pleased. Near the back off the early bus from position No. 5, she methodically moved to the lead just passing the half, then put the hammer down. The final margin was an unasked 5¼ lengths in 1:55.3. Northern Obsession (Tyler Buter) was a rallying second, with Zanna Blu (George Brennan) third. For Barn Doll, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve Pratt & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her 10th win in a dozen seasonal starts (17-for-21 lifetime). The exacta paid $7.20, the triple returning $62 Form was also in play in the opening ($84,187) sire stakes event, as second choice Lady Winona (Miller)-from post No. 3--snapped pace-setting 6-5 choice Jewels in Hock (Jim Morrill Jr.) in an 1:55.3, two-speed number (no misprint, the winning times were identical). The margin here was three-quarters of a lengths. Frou Frou (Brennan) "won the bob" for third as the 52-1 rank outsider. For Lady Winona, a Credit Winner miss trained by Julie Miller for owner Stroy Inc. (which includes Ms. Miller), she's now 3-for-15 this season. The exacta paid $17.20, with the triple returning $459. The hard-working lass was second (ironically, beaten from the pocket) in this past Saturday night's final of the Hudson Filly Trot. Tuesday's sire stakes event honored the memory of Yonkers' longtime, award-winning track photographer, whose family-including son, Ralph-made the winner's circle presentations. Special Tuesday props to Grain of Truth (Jordan Stratton, $17.20) as the ageless (actually 14-year-old) gelding won the $19,000, fifth-race trot in 1:56.1 It was the 81st career win in 336 starts for the now-$1.5 million earner, owned by Charles Iannazzo and trained by Ray Schnittker. Frank Drucker

When it came to the draw for last week's Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, Badiou Hanover was more like "Badluck" Hanover, getting stuck with the most outside starting spot - post No. 10. At least as the gelding prepares for Saturday's eliminations for the $525,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace at The Meadows, he is off to a better start. Badiou Hanover will start his elimination, the second of three divisions, from post two with driver Andy Miller. He is 8-1 on the morning line. Badiou Hanover, pronounced "Ba-dew," has won five of 10 races this season and earned $84,705. He should feel at home at The Meadows, having posted a win there in June in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. In addition, four of his five victories this year have come on five-eighth-mile tracks, such as The Meadows. Meadowlands Pace runner-up Dude's The Man is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Badiou Hanover's elimination, which also includes Lost For Words, Tomy Terror, Rock N' Roll World, and Cooperstown. The top three finishers from each of the three eliminations will advance to the Adios final on Aug. 1 at The Meadows. "It's a nice draw," trainer Julie Miller said. "This is a good group, needless to say. It's going to always depend on who gets the good draw, who is in the best form and who gets the good trip. Those are the three things you need to win the race. "I'm going into it pretty good. I've got a pretty good driver, a pretty good draw, and a fit horse. I'm ready to rock." Badiou Hanover had won four of five races, including the Hempt Memorial Consolation, prior to finishing fourth in his Meadowlands Pace elimination and then 10th in the final. Miller, who was making her first appearance in a Meadowlands Pace final, was philosophical about the outcome. "For my Meadowlands Pace debut, that wasn't much of a showing," she said with a laugh. "But he was behind the 8-ball already with the 10 hole. Everything had to go wrong for them and everything had to go right for us." Badiou Hanover is a son of Well Said out of the mare Blind Ambition. He was purchased for $105,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale and his family includes stakes-winners Cheyenne Rei, Ain't No Stopn Him, Lon Todd Hanover, and Salute Hanover, as well as Artstopper, the dam of Yagonnakissmeornot and Always B Miki. He is owned by Pinkse Stables and Joe P Racing, which this week purchased the ownership share previously held by Jim Simpson. For his career, Badiou Hanover has won seven of 17 races and earned $127,360. "He's powerful and big and has a good gait to him," Miller said. "He was just a little lazy and lost focus at the beginning. But as a 3-year-old he's come into form. He's getting it. Andy says he's a pleasure to drive. That's half the battle, to have a versatile horse. He doesn't mind if he's on the lead or following. With the Meadows, I want to be up close or on the lead with it being a five-eighths (of a mile track) but he's really handy. "He's just a nice horse. As of right now he's no Wiggle It Jiggleit or Wakizashi (Hanover) but he's getting money and we're paying our bills and the owners are happy. I think he's got a career ahead of him. He's a sound horse. I could see him being a nice aged horse." Below are the Adios eliminations fields, in post order with the sire, drivers, trainers and morning line. Post positions for the final will be determined by an open draw. Race 4 1. Chaching Hanover by Yankee Cruiser, Dick Stillings, Jan Fread, 5-1 2. Angelo J Fra by The Panderosa, Tony Hall, Norm Parker, 12-1 3. National Seelster by Bettor's Delight, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder, 5-2 4. Dreams Beachboy by Somebeachsomewhere, Dave Palone, Tony Alagna, 3-1 5. Rufo by Dragon Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 10-1 6. Dragon Eddy by Dragon Again, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 8-5 Race 5 1. Lost For Words by Well Said, David Miller, Brian Brown, 5-1 2. Badiou Hanover by Well Said, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 8-1 3. Tomy Terror by Western Terror, Mike Wilder, John Butenschoen, 4-1 4. Rock N' Roll World by Rocknroll Hanover, Tim Tetrick, Kelly Stackowicz, 7-2 5. Cooperstown by Four Starzzz Shark, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 10-1 6. Dude's The Man by American Ideal, Corey Callahan, Jessica Okusko, 2-1 Race 6 1. Berkley by Art Major, David Miller, Randy Bendis, 4-1 2. Yankee Bounty by Dragon Again, Corey Callahan, Ron Burke, 6-1 3. Utah Beach by Somebeachsomewhere, Andy Miller, Tim Twaddle, 8-1 4. Trading Up by Somebeachsomewhere, Dave Palone, Tony Alagna, 7-2 5. Jo Pa's Well Said by Well Said, Marcus Miller, Jim Campbell, 8-1 6. My Hero Ron by Well Said, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-2 7. Rise Up Now by Somebeachsomewhere, Tim Tetrick, Brian Brown, 5-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA      

WASHINGTON, PA, July 7, 2015 -- When Milligan's School captured a division of Tuesday's $216,980 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for freshman colt and gelding trotters at The Meadows, he brought joy to Julie and Andy Miller -- and a little slice of Russia. That's because Milligan's School is owned by Stroy Inc. whose Natalia Stroy operates a fair-sized stable from her Moscow base. According to Julie Miller, Stroy wanted to gain access to the American market, so Dr. Paul F. Spears, vice president of Hanover Shoe Farms, introduced her to the Millers. They helped her pick out the son of Yankee Glide-Tori Ann at Harrisburg and signed the ticket for $120,000. "She wanted to race horses here," Julie Miller indicated, "and as Paul Spears said, one of the best places to race in the U.S. is the Pennsylvania circuit. So I'm glad it worked out." Stroy's American adventure nearly turned sour when, in his career debut in a PA All-Stars split, Milligan's School was on the business end of a mishap and nearly knocked off his pins. The youngster showed no ill effects Tuesday when he responded to Andy Miller's urging and blasted past past the leader, Boyz N Guitars, to defeat him by 2 lengths in 1:57. Pastor Dudley finished third. "We didn't make any changes," Julie Miller said. "All we wanted was a trouble-free trip. If we had that, I thought he'd have a go, and he did." The stake, known as the Hickory Pride, was contested over six divisions, with Lagerfeld, Hititoutofthepark, Sliding Home, Dupree and Staying Focused taking the other splits. The Millers teamed for a second stake win with Staying Focused while Corey Callahan enjoyed a stake double (Hititoutofthepark, Sliding Home). Lagerfeld is a full brother to 2012 Hambletonian runner-up Guccio, who was piloted and conditioned by Jimmy Takter. When Takter saw Lagerfeld at auction, he knew he had to have this yearling, so he joined with Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Jim Fielding to purchase the son of Yankee Glide-Southern Senorita for $200,000. In his career debut in the Hickory Pride, Lagerfeld began to pay dividends on that handsome investment, moving twice for Takter and surging late to defeat the game Raisethejollyroger by a neck in 1:58.1. Granite State earned show. "He wanted to win," Takter said. "I had to stabilize him in the last turn, but he raced a good race. He has the pedigree to step it up. I just have to teach him some things. I want him to come here and learn something for his future." Out before the half, Hititoutofthepark moved relentlessly to gobble up the leader and scored in 1:57, matching Milligan's School for stake honors. Brownie Hanover was second, 3 lengths back, while Major Matter completed the ticket. "He's a little quirky," Callahan said. "I kind of have to let him do what he wants to do. He definitely wants to do it. He has a great attitude. He's a little anxious and wants to go a million at the word "go." He has to figure the whole racing thing out." John Butenschoen trains the $18,000 yearling acquisition, a son of Yankee Glide-Celebrity Liza, for Give It A Shot Stable, Kurt Welling and VIP Internet Stable. Dave Palone drove three winners on the 15-race card. Wednesday's program at The Meadows features five divisions of a PA Stallion Series stake for 2-year-old filly trotters. First post is 12:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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