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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

Some trainers, like Jimmy Takter and Casie Coleman, fill their piggy banks during the second half of the year, when stakes racing opportunities are plentiful, while others grind out the wins and money from January to December. As a result, in checking how various trainers are faring this year, I’ll compare them to themselves; I’ll look at where they were on this date last year and see how far ahead, or behind, their mid-June of 2014 numbers they are. It’s no surprise that Ron Burke currently—and always--leads both the trainer’s money and dash lists, however, he is chasing last year’s pace. His veterans Foiled Again, Clear Vision, Bettor’s Edge and Rocklamation, are off to slow starts, for one thing. Burke has made more than 200 fewer starts than he made by mid-June a year ago, leading to more than 85 fewer wins and a shortfall of $1.2 million on the money line. He’ll have to hustle to surpass last year’s world record performance. PJ Fraley, who was handling the Bamond Racing stock, was second a year ago, and finished 2014 in the five slot. This year he disappeared from the planet, leaving the stable to Jeff Bamond Jr, and he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s currently number three on the list. Bamond has Matchmaker winner Venus Delight, as well as Anndrovette, Krispy Apple and Bettorever. Rene Allard, who was third at this juncture a year ago, and finished 2014 in eighth, has married success with aged money makers like Domethatagain and Yagonnakissmeornot, and good fortune with fresh stock like import Crombie A. Allard isn’t welcome at The Meadowlands, Tioga or Vernon Downs, but seems to be none the worse for it. Allard is almost $400,000 ahead of last year’s pace. The Grand Circuit isn’t his strength, so he will probably fall behind stakes trainers like Takter, Alagna and Coleman once again. Gilberto Garcia-Hererra, who was in the six slot in June of last year, has stepped up to number four. His stable has made 240 more starts, but he has only three more wins. However, he’s $300,000 ahead of his 2014 pace. Better stock accounts for this uptick. Julie Miller’s stable was hot during the winter and spring of 2014, with trotter Perfect Alliance winning eleven races. This led to her ascension to the five slot one year ago today. She drops to number nine, with 25 fewer wins and more than $370,000 less in earnings. Her top shelf Donato fillies, Livininthefastlane and Sky Hanover, may help turn that around. Carmen Auciello, who practices his trade on both sides of the border, is consistent; he was number seven in mid-June of last year, and is currently in the number eight spot. The same can be said of Ontario based trainer Richard Moreau, who was at eighth a year ago and is now at seventh. Mark Ford, who was ninth this time last year and is now tenth, also fits this template. Auciello, Moreau and Ford finished last year at the twelve, thirteen and fourteen spots. Irv Miller has taken a major nosedive, from the tenth spot a year ago to number 46 today. Miller, who finished 2014 third behind Burke and Takter, has made 92 fewer starts, has 21 fewer wins and is more than $490,000 short of what his stable had bankrolled this time last year. Josh Green experienced a similar drop-off, but the lengthy suspension he served helps explain that. He went from eleventh to forty-third. Green is off more than 200 starts and $457,000. The fact that Dancin Yankee, who was a beast out of the gate last year, started out like a lamb in 2015, hasn’t helped. Thirty-two-year-old Jose Godinez has rocketed up the charts. He went from the number 44 slot this time last year to number twelve right now. As recently as 2011 he only had 11 starters; he has 329 thus far in 2014. Godinez is up more than 30 wins and $415,000. He’s the number eight trainer at Yonkers Raceway. Virgil Morgan, who was tenth overall on the money list at the close of 2014, has benefitted greatly from the infusion of casino dollars into the Ohio purse account. He was twelfth at this time last year, but is now sixth. Veteran trainer Steve Elliott, who conditioned Donato Hanover and Well Said, wasn’t in the top 50 last June, but a star studded cast that includes Art History, Rockeyed Optimist and Doo Wop Hanover, have him at number 16, and that’s off of fewer starts than any of the trainers in front of him except for Jimmy Takter. Jim King Jr wasn’t in the top 50 a year ago, but he’s at number 27 today, with 55 wins and $611,952 in the bank. Cup contender Wakizashi Hanover, Lismore winner Purrfect Bags and Star Keeper are three of the reasons. Tony O’Sullivan, who finished 2014 at number 18, went from 23 in June of 2014 to number 13 today. His Art Major filly, Moonlit Dance, just won a Fan Hanover elimination. Scott Di Dominico jumped three spots to number 11, while Daran Casar, Heidi Rohr, Mark Harder, Joe Holloway, Amber Buter, Lou Pena and Kevin Carr all fell back. As was stated earlier, some of these trainers will automatically pick up steam when the Grand Circuit gets into full swing, while others will continue to mine the overnight sector, and in most cases drop to one degree or another. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century.  He writes a weekly blog for  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

Last season, Lyonssomewhere won a leg of the harness racing pacing Triple Crown, when he scored in The Cane Pace at Tioga Downs. Amazingly, that was the last time the son of Somebeachsomewhere found the winner's circle. That changed on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Making his fourth start of his four year old season, Lyonssomewhere was exiting back to back fourth place finishes in The Graduate series against the best colts and geldings from his crop. He was dropping in class to a middle-level condition pacing event and the bettors responded, making him the 1/2 prohibitive betting choice. Off the gate, Andy Miller sent the favorite immediately to the lead, and he would go on to set a demanding pace, reeling off fractions of 26.3, 54.4 and 1:21.4 before turning for home with an ever-expanding lead. JK Patriot was chasing from the pocket, but simply could not keep up in the stretch. Windsong Gorgeous who sat along the pylons the entire mile, rebounded and rallied willingly in the stretch, but Lyonssomewhere was long gone, winning in 1:48.2. Windsong Gorgeous was second and JK Patriot checked in third. For Lyonssomewhere, it was the first victory of his four year old season, his 8th from 20 career starts, with earnings now of over $440,000. He is owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound and trained by Julie Miller. The 1:48.2 clocking was a new lifetime mark. The Caramore series continued Saturday night at The Meadowlands with 26 horses split into three divisions. The first division ended in a mild upset as the overwhelming favorite, Dragon Lore was left with too much to do and could not catch Kings Barns and Andy Miller, who led from just past the quarter pole all the way to the wire, to win in 1:50.4, a lifetime best performance. The second split saw Account Rollover and Vincent Ginsburg make it back to back wins in the series, as he parlayed a perfect pocket trip into another victory, stopping the teletimer in 1:50, establishing a new lifetime mark for the second week in a row. The third and final division saw the second choice in the wagering, Stonehouse Adam, rallying from the pocket up the pylons to grab the victory from heavily favored Long Live Rock to win in 1:51.4 for Joe Bongiorno. In other action, Ontario Success and Mister Virgin put on a good show in an upper-level condition pacing event, battling from just past the half-mile pole all the way down to the wire, with Ontario Success and Joe Bongiorno just getting up in the shadow of the wire over Mister Virgin to score in 1:49.1, which was, once again, a new lifetime mark. Both $.20 Cent Super Hi-5 Jackpots went unclaimed, with the fifth race carryover expanding to $159,224 and the last race carryover growing to $136,155. The total handle was up nearly 25-percent over this same day in 2014, and on track handle was up five-percent as well. Racing returns on Friday evening with the third round of The Graduate series for the four year old pacers and trotters. Post time is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

Manalapan, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Ron Burke was happy with all the 2-year-olds he sent out for qualifiers Monday morning at Gaitway Farms, and particularly pleased with Muscle Hill-sired trotters Silvia, Southwind Flash, and Southwind Frank. Burke-trained horses were entered in eight of the qualifiers for 2-year-olds, and won seven. Southwind Frank missed by a nose in the final qualifier for the rookies, preventing a sweep. In the same race, stablemate Edinburgh was leading in the stretch but went off stride when several birds on the track took flight in front of him. Yannick Gingras drove all seven of Burke's winners on a morning that featured early occasional rain, gusty wind and later sunshine. Horses trained by Julie Miller won the two qualifiers for the 2-year-olds that did not go to the Burke Brigade. Southwind Flash (Muscle Hill-Friendly Amigo) won by 1-3/4 lengths over Miller's Stayin Strong (Muscles Yankee-Loch Katrine) in 1:58.1 with a :57.1 final half-mile. Southwind Flash, a colt purchased for $85,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, is the first foal out of Friendly Amigo, who was an Ontario standout and captured the 2011 Allerage Farms Mare Trot. Silvia (Muscle Hill-My Favorite Chip) won by 2-1/2 lengths over Miller's Best Of Dreams (Donato Hanover-Lunar Dream Om) in 2:01.4 with a final quarter-mile of :29.1. Silvia, a filly purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, is a half-sister to millionaire Adrian Chip, who was second to Donato Hanover in the 2007 Hambletonian. The colt Southwind Frank (Muscle Hill-Flawless Lindy) trotted his back half in :57 and missed by a nose to Miller's Staying Focused (Yankee Glide-Raising The Bar), who won in 2:00.1. Southwind Frank was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and comes from a family that includes stakes-winners Cayster, Giant Hit, Program Speed, and Rockaroundtheclock. "All three of the Muscle Hill trotters were very good," Burke said. "I think Muscle Hill is going to change the breed; they're just better than other horses." Burke's pacing winners all were sired by Somebeachsomewhere. The colt Manhattan Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Benear) produced the fastest mile of the day for the 2-year-olds, winning by 15-1/4 lengths over Linda Toscano's Rocket J (Rock N Roll Heaven-Must See) in 1:55.2, back half in :55.4. Manhattan Beach was bought for $100,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a full brother to 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach. Rocket J was purchased for $155,000, also at Harrisburg, and is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Well Said. His family also includes $2-million-earner Glowing Report. JK Will Power (Somebeachsomewhere-Whats New Pussycat), another colt, won by 4-3/4 lengths over Nancy Johansson's Marcus N Max (American Ideal-Lady Of Lust) in 1:56.1. JK Will Power, purchased for $110,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, is the first foal out of stakes-winner Whats New Pussycat, whose mother was Breeders Crown champion Molly Can Do It. Viceroy Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Vasmajorty Hanover) won by 1-1/4 lengths over Miller's Headforthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere-Head Of The House) in 1:58.3. Viceroy Hanover, a colt bought for $47,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, is from the same family as millionaire Voelz Hanover. Burke-trained female pacer Lyons River Pride (Somebeachsomewhere-Mississippi River) won by 3-1/2 lengths over Ivan Llopez's LL Jackpot (Philos Hanover-Wygant Rose) in 1:57.4 and stablemate East Side Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Edra Hanover) won by a half-length over Gerard Malanga's Sail To The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Sail Away) in 2:01.2, with a :27.1 final quarter-mile. "It's a very good group," Burke said. "Everybody was super. I'm very happy. "We knew they were nice, but it's nice to see them matched up against other people and see that they're at least decent." Miller, in addition to winning with Staying Focused, won with female trotter Womans Will (Donato Hanover-Will Of A Woman). She bested Cozette McAvoy's Zette Starlet (Credit Winner-Scottish Starlet) by 16-1/4 lengths in 1:59, with the final half-mile in :57.1. Staying Focused was purchased for $47,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a full brother to stakes-winner Raising Rachel. The family also includes Dan Patch Award winner Casual Breeze. "We were happy with all of ours that went today," driver Andy Miller said. "The trotters all stayed at it, that was the main thing, and got some good miles in them. "The trotting filly, Womans Will, I think she could be like a stakes filly. All four of the trotting colts - Open Road Hanover, Staying Focused, Stayin Strong and Milligan's School - all performed really good today and did what we asked." Also in action Monday morning were Joe Holloway's 3-year-old stakes filly pacers Divine Caroline and Bettor Be Steppin. Divine Caroline won her qualifier in 1:53 and Bettor Be Steppin won her qualifier in 1:52.4. For Monday's complete charts from Gaitway, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA      

Making her much-anticipated return to the races off her 2014 Horse of the Year campaign, the 3 Brothers Stables' JK She'salady ($2.10) sustained a first-over bid to beat seven New York Sire Stakes ($110,000 added total purse) foes as part of an all-stakes harness racing card on Monday (May 25) afternoon at Tioga Downs.   The 3-year-old daughter of Art Major and Presidential Lady was in no hurry through an initial :55.2 half mile, stalking from fourth as Single Me (Brett Miller) took command from Bettor N Better (Yannick Gingras) with a circuit to go. On the backstretch, Tim Tetrick moved the undefeated JK She'salady first-over, steadily closing in on Single Me through three-quarters in 1:22.3, working up to the lead at the top of the stretch. Off the corner, JK She'salady kicked clear by two lengths, kept to task in a 1:51.2 victory over Single Me and a stalking Divine Caroline (David Miller).   Nancy Johansson trains JK She'salady, who improved her career record to 13 wins in as many starts. JK She'salady The three other New York Sire Stakes winners on the afternoon were Bettorhaveanother ($2.50, Jim Morrill, Jr., 1:51), Bettor Be Steppin ($2.30, Corey Callahan, 1:51.2), and Rock Me Gently ($11.20, Scott Zeron, 1:52).   The Memorial Day program also featured the first leg of the new Graduate series for 4-year-old trotters and pacers, with two $37,500 divisions carded on each gait. Both pacing divisions resulted in track records, as Doo Wop Hanover ($2.20) powered clear of his six rivals on the backstretch en route to a 1:47.4 score. The 4-year-old Rocknroll Hanover entire drew off by 7-1/2 lengths after sustaining his middle move, keeping clear of Rock Out (Scott Zeron) and Mattamerican (Mark MacDonald), both of whom passed early pacesetter Lyonssomewhere (Andy Miller) after the latter tired from dictating a :53.4 half mile.   Hall-of-Fame driver John Campbell was in the bike for Doo Wop Hanover's mile, which knocked two fifths of a second over the previous all-age pacing record at Tioga. Steve Elliott trains Doo Wop Haover for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks.   Not even 40 minutes later, Rockeyed Optimist ($3.90) broke the track record for 4-year-old pacing geldings, turning aside Three of Clubs (Brian Sears) in a 1:48.1 Graduate win. Tim Tetrick drove the 4-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding, pushing clear with a circuit to go before prevailing in an extended battle through the far turn. Limelight Beach (Yannick Gingras) stayed on well from the pocket to maintain third after pushing the pace early.   Another Elliott trainee, Rockeyed Optimist is owned by Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, the A and B Stable, and Joseph Battaglia.   Four-year-old trotters contested their Graduate divisions earlier in the afternoon, with distaffer Shake It Cerry ($2.90) beating the boys in the five-horse first division. After getting away at the back of the pack, the Donato Hanover mare steadily advanced to the front through a :55.2 half mile, opening up at will for a 1:52.4 score over Sumatra (David Miller) and Datsyuk (Charlie Norris). Trainer Jimmy Takter handled the driving duties aboard Shake It Cerry, who is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Likewise, Opulent Yankee ($6.20) drew clear of his rivals at head-stretch in the other Graduate division, edging clear of the late-rallying Madewell Hanover (Chris Ryder) and Resolve (Ã…ke Svanstedt) in a 1:52.3 triumph. Andy Miller drove the Muscles Yankee gelding for trainer Julie Miller and owners Little E, LLC, Arthur Geiger, Jason Settlemoir, and David Stolz.   Tim Tetrick led all drivers on the card, registering a grand slam on the 13-race program.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (May 29) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. Horsemen are advised that this week's draw schedule provides for Friday's races to be drawn on Tuesday (May 26) morning, while the Sunday (May 31) and Monday (June 1) programs will be drawn on Wednesday (May 27) morning. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs  

It doesn't seem to matter to Hannah Miller who she faces in harness racing amateur competitions, whether it's a field of NAADA drivers or a group of Billings participants, she often wins, usually convincingly, against all challengers, who by the way, are far and away male drivers. On Saturday afternoon at Freehold Raceway "Hot-Handed Hannah" reined Genius At Work to an easy four-length triumph over Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff's , No Recess, in a time of 2:01.1. Third place went to CSI What's My Name driven by David "Poppa" Glasser. And once again Ms. Miller was the only woman in the contest. Usually up behind horses from her boyfriend Nick Surick's barn on Saturday she got a mount behind a trotter trained by her aunt, Julie Miller. "I got a call from Aunt Julie (Miller) saying she had to go to Vernon Downs on Saturday and asked if I would I like to drive Genius At Work in the Billings. I said sure, I'll love to," Ms. Miller explained. Genius At Work was winless in seven starts and had drawn post position five. When the gate sprung Hannah found a spot along the pylons in fifth position as "Coach Paul" Minore and Wygant Prince led the eight-horse field by the quarter in :29.3. As the field headed to the halfway point Ms. Miller moved the Credit Winner gelding first-up and when they passed the second stanza the timer flashed 1:01.1. At this point Genius At Work was fourth on the limb some three lengths off the leader. Up the backside Hannah kept her charge going forward and they were just a long neck from the lead at the three quarters which was trotted in 1:32. "Going into the final turn I urged my horse at bit< Hannah said. He dug in and we opened up daylight on the rest of them and he trotted away to an easy win. I was surprised that he was that good today. He trotted the last quarter in :29 and piece. "Genius At Work is owned by Mr. (Jeff) Gural and I appreciate that he let me drive him." Although Genius At Work was winless this year still the betting crowd sent him away as the favorite in the race. Trained by Julie Miller, he paid $4.60 for win. Thus far this year Hannah Miller's stats show that she has 13 wins, six seconds and three thirds in 35 starts which equates to a lofty .495UDR. Last year she won six races and was on the board ten times in 12 outings. by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series

WILKES-BARRE PA - The chalk was perfect Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in three divisions of a $96,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies.   First up was Focus On Me, a daughter of SJ's Caviar who is now perfect in two seasonal starts after rallying from the pocket into a 28.1 last quarter to catch pacesetting Fly Angel Fly by a neck while taking a race mark of 1:56.4. Dan Rawlings handled the driving for trainer Rick Beinhauer, of Sierra Kosmos fame (he is the first and antepenultimate listing, among others, in the 347 "prior owners" of the horse listed by the USTA), and Rick and his wife Regina both own and bred the promising filly.   Livininthefastlane, 2-3 in the two weeks of the Breeders Crown last year, surely lived up to her name in her seasonal debut, making an early move to the lead and storming home in 27.3 to post a 1:54 clocking that missed her 2YO record by a tick. The daughter of Donato Hanover races for Team Orange Crush, trainer Julie Miller and driver/husband Andy, and the well-known ownership triumvirate of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and Sam Goldband.   The "Crushers" were right back in Pocono's Victory Lane with another daughter of Donato Hanover, as Sky Hanover, now undefeated in four seasonal outings, had to survive the first-over grind in withstanding the horse on her back, Big Barb, by a half-length in 1:56.1. Sky Hanover is owned by the Andy Miller Stable Inc., Little E LLC, Banyan Farms and Westminster Road LLC.   ******* It's back on Tuesday! The High Five! $5000 carryover pool, race six on the card. Every race night. Good luck!   PHHA / Pocono

Lindy Racing and Bob Rudolph's Lindy's Tru Grit was victorious in the feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (April 30). It was a winner's over $25,000 lifetime trot going for a purse of $25,000. The 5-year-old son of Cantab Hall settled down in the pocket behind favorite Wind Of The North (David Miller). They maintained the top positions until the head of the stretch, when Lindy's Tru Grit vacated the pocket. The Julie Miller trainee was able to hold off the stretch drive of long shot Team Six (Marcus Miller) winning it by a little more than a length, stopping the clock in 1:54. The winner paid $12.00, keying a $171.60 exacta. Opening Night (John Campbell) finished third. Michael Bozich  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Four of the first five winners at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday night paid the 5 cents to a dollar legal minimum profit in winning, including three visitors to the harness racing Victory Lane during $15,000 third round series action of the Bobby Weiss Series - with the quartet tallying by a combined 21 lengths.   The trotting males were up first, and two Meadowland invaders took all the money, both pari-mutuel and purse. First up was the Crazed gelding JL Cruze, who has already bankrolled $133,000+ this year winning three series at the Jersey oval and racking up an effortless 12¼-length score in his mountain debut for trainer Eric Ell and driver John Campbell. The winner tripped the timer in 1:54.1 over a sloppy surface after making every pole a winning one for owners Ken Wood, William Dittmar Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta.   Opulent Yankee, who has caused the "2" in JL Cruze's 11-9-2-0 season's record, was next up, and he was 3½ lengths to the good at the end of his 1:54.2 triumph. Team Orange Crush, driver Andy and trainer Julie Miller, guide the fortunes of the Muscles Yankee gelding for Little E LLC, Arthur Geiger, Jason Settlemoir, and David Stolz.   In the first of two pacing mare divisions, the Burke / Weaver Bruscemi entry took all the money and finished 1-2, as Donttellruss got her first Weiss win in two starts, turning back Allthatjazz De Vie, who was successful in her initial series outing, in 1:53.3. Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi share ownership of the Andrew McCarthy-driven winning daughter of Panspacificflight with Lawrence Karr and Frank Baldachino.   In the second distaff sidewheelers cut, a Burke entry was also favored, but they had to settle for second and third behind the only two-time Weiss winner in this section, the Somebeachsomewhere mare The Beach NextDoor, taking a new mark of 1:53 under the guidance of Jim Morrill Jr. The winner's dam is named On The Choo Choo, and those are the tactics Morrill successfully employed for trainer Brewer Adams and the partnership of Adams Racing LLC and Brian Clark.   The fourth 1-20* horse, in the card's opener, was the well-regarded altered son of The Panderosa, Heavenly Knox, who made short work of his assignment in a personal best of 1:51.3. Triumphant in the Walter Russell Series Final at The Meadows in his last start, Heavenly Knox is now 8 for 9 lifetime, with driver David Miller and trainer Mark Ford entrusted with the care of the winner by new owners George and Rose Bonomo.   The four "sureshots" attracted plenty of money "underneath" as well, as $60,000 to show among all but JL Cruze; his race had no show betting, so over $20,000 went into the place pool on him.   (But all is not chalk in the Pocono pari-mutuels: Hall of Famer John Campbell paid $25.60 to win in a race on the card, and he finished third, beaten a length, at 75-1 in another.)   PHHA / Pocono    

Louisville, KY --- He’s earned $1.06 million, set his lifetime mark of 1:50.3f at age five, will be returning to the scene of his greatest triumphs on Friday night at The Meadowlands (March 20) and has the first stall in his barn. It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane. It’s Sevruga. “The horse was sold in July to Joe Pennacchio and he really cares about him,” said Julie Miller, the gelding’s conditioner. “He realized he might not be doing as well as he should have been and he sent him back to us. It is so terrific to have him back home. Right when he got off the van, his ears were pricked and he took up exactly like he had never left.” The 7-year-old son of SJ’s Caviar and the Malabar Man mare Stunning Lindsey will compete in a $27,500 Open Handicap at the Meadowlands on Friday. It is race six on the card and Sevruga will leave from post position five with his regular pilot, Andy Miller, in the bike. The venerable trotter will take on six foes and is listed at 6-1 on the morning line. It is his second pari-mutuel engagement of 2015 after finishing sixth at Dover Downs on March 11. “I can qualify him three times, but he’s just too smart and knows the difference between that and a real race,” Miller said. “He knows when there is money on the line and gets much more out of his races. At Dover he came out of that race a little sick, but he’s fine now. I expect him to take a couple starts before he is really fit.” Sevruga has faced the starter on 85 occasions with 30 victories, 19 second place finishes and 10 thirds. Unraced at age two, the gelding earned just under $150,000 as a 3-year-old while only performing in two races around the $100,000 purse mark. At that time he was trained by Tyler Raymer and co-owned by Raymer and Jim Meittinis. He was first sent to Andy and Julie Miller as a 4-year-old and earned $244,000 from 21 races. He was also fourth in that year’s Nat Ray and Maxie Lee Memorial behind champion Chapter Seven. It was as a 5-year-old, however, when Sevruga showed how classy he was. He banked $484,575, compiled a record of 22-9-7-2 and posted triumphs in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial and the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and only failed to hit cash a check twice. “We were so tickled to death when he won those two stakes,” Miller said. “Especially after all the opens he had been in and he proved he could go anywhere as he had won at Pocono, Chester and Yonkers. We were so happy for him that he was able to accomplish that.” After failing to cash a check in the 2013 Breeders Crown and Allerage Pace at the end of his campaign, it was discovered the horse had a piece of bone jutting off the side of an ankle and after Dr. Patty Hogan removed the chip, Sevruga showed up for his 6-year-old campaign as good as new. He captured his first two starts, was second in the third, then third in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial final and second in the Maxie Lee. Shortly after a fifth place finish in his Cashman elimination, Sevruga was sold and transferred to the barn of Kevin Carr. In his seven starts for Carr he won only one time. Pennacchio returned him to the Millers in the fall and in the six times he raced for them to end his season, he collected a win, two seconds and a third. For the 2014 season, the gelding added $186,870 to his bank account from 23 races. “We gave him some time off to freshen him up and now he is ready to go,” Miller said. “I don’t know if he can keep up with some of the top stakes horses out there, especially with the group of 4-year-olds we have coming out, but he still enjoys being out there. “We have been so lucky to have him and I can’t say enough good things about Joe Pennacchio giving him back to us. When you are a trainer, it’s a job, but there are some horses you really fall in love with and he is it.” As for his personality, Sevruga is exactly what you would expect of a horse that has put together such an outstanding career. “There is not much to say about him because he is such a pleasure to be around in every possible way,” Miller said. “He loves the attention he gets being in the first stall and he just always behaves like a classy, old gentleman. Like I said before, he might have lost a step, but he showed he can still get it done in his qualifying win at the Meadowlands on Feb. 26. We feel he can still do really well in the Opens, but no matter what he does, we are just so, so, happy to have him home.” by Kimberly French USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

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