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Nichols, N.Y. -- Trainer Julie Miller swept both $54,500 New York Sire Stakes events for harness racing 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings as part of a Sunday (August 21) afternoon harness racing grand slam at Tioga Downs.   Devious Man ($3.10) proved most impressive among 2-year-old trotters to negotiate sloppy going on the 14-race card, drawing clear at will after rating a :59 first half in his Sire Stakes division, carded as race nine. The son of Credit Winner and Miss Garland edged away from his four rivals on the far turn, posting a 5-3/4 length win over Swell Chap (Tim Tetrick) and Royal Casanova (John Campbell) in 1:55.3. Andy Miller drove Devious Man for Stroy, Inc.   Devious Man's stablemate Money MacIntosh ($9.80) prevailed three races earlier, but would have to work a good bit harder to do so. Andy Miller angled the son of Credit Winner and Apple Plush first-over on approach to the backstretch, working to wear down Stick With Me Kid (Jason Bartlett) through a :28.1 third quarter before digging in to stave off the late-rallying Zack's Zoomer (Marcus Miller) by a nose in 1:56.2. Another Chapter (Brett Miller) saved third after being mired in traffic on the far side, while odds-on favorite Such an Angel failed to catch the field after an early break in stride.   The Millers also accounted for one of the four Empire Breeders Classic eliminations on the card, posting a 39-1 upset with Redneck Rally ($80.00) in the day's fifth event. The 3-year-old American Ideal ridgling sustained first-over gains up the backstretch to force a :27.3 third quarter, wearing down prohibitive favorite Roll Away Joe (Jim Morrill, Jr.) and holding off a belated push from Artmagic (Campbell) in 1:52.1.   American Passport ($3.90) captured the other Classic elimination for colts and geldings (race eight), brushing with a circuit to go and parrying a stout challenge from Talk Show (Morrill) in 1:51. Scott Zeron drove the American Ideal colt for trainer Tony Alagna.   In the Classic eliminations for fillies, No Clouds Bluechip ($3.80) and Penpal ($5.80) proved victorious.   No Clouds Bluechip had little trouble prevailing in the day's fourth event, working to a clear lead, turning aside an extended first-over push from Soft Idea (Zeron), and holding pocket rival Major Millie (Jason Bartlett) at bay in 1:53. Brett Miller drove the Roll With Joe filly for John Berger.   In the seventh, Penpal made perfect use of live cover through a :55.4 middle half, drafting behind Dime a Dance (Matt Kakaley) before swinging three-wide off the far turn. The daughter of American Ideal rallied to collar both pocket rival Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) and pacesetter WIshy Washy Girl (Morrill) in 1:51.3 with trainer Patrick Lachance in the bike.   The fields for the Empire Breeders Classic finals, scheduled for Sunday, August 28, are as follows (post position, horse, trainer, asterisks denoting elimination winners), with final drivers to be available later in the week:   EBC Filly Pace - $239,225 1 - Soft Idea - Toscano 2 - Wine Snob - Schnittker 3 - No Clouds Bluechip* - Berger 4 - Wishy Washy Girl - Brainard 5 - Penpal* - Lachance 6 - Angels Rockn Pink - Oakes 7 - Major Millie - Elliott 8 - Right Stuff - Toscano 9 - Dime a Dance - Burke AE1 - Rock Me Baby - Lind   EBC Colt & Gelding Pace - $240,475 1 - Ideal Son - Fanning 2 - Missile J - Toscano 3 - American Passport* - Alagna 4 - Fresh Cut - E. Miller 5 - Redneck Rally* - J. Miller 6 - Fine Diamond - Burke 7 - Stolen Glimpse - Burke 8 - Craftship - Alagna 9 - Artmagic - Smedshammer AE1 - Nox Vegas Bluechip - Foley   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 26) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Trainers Jimmy Takter and Julie Miller each captured two $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary events on Thursday (August 18) evening's 13-race harness racing card at Vernon Downs.   Takter's King On the Hill ($3.00) took full advantage of a cozy tracking trip, closing the pocket on the far turn and hooking three-wide off the far turn to eclipse Sweet Perks (David Miller) and early pacesetter Catch the Game (Yannick Gingras) in the evening's second event. The son of Muscle Hill and Lantern Kronos posted a 1-3/4 length win in 1:56, with Tim Tetrick driving for Christina Takter, Göran Falk, Göran Anderberg, and the Hatfield Stables.   Takter completed his stakes double in the tenth with Mellby Gard, Inc.'s Feed Your Head ($5.20), a pillar-to-post winner in rein to Yannick Gingras. The daughter of Muscle Hill and Flawless Bluestone seized command of the terms early and held clear of pocket rival Spending Spree (John Campbell) by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:57. No Bus For Us (Andy Miller) recovered from an early break to save third.   Julie Miller trainees captured races four and six, both in pacesetting fashion. Fly On ($4.40) proved the fastest of the ten 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings to compete on the card, using a :56.3 closing half to just evade pocket rival International Moni (Tetrick) for a 1:55.3 triumph in the fourth. Driver Andy Miller co-owns the son of Muscle Hill and Calchips Finisher with the Arden Homestead Stable and the GTY Stable.   Overdraft Volo ($11.20) circled three-wide on the clubhouse turn to secure the lead after yielding early in the sixth. The daughter of Yankee Glide and Bank of Newport controlled tepid middle splits of 1:00.3 and 1:30 before leading a :27.2 sprint home and holding 4-5 foavorite Glitzey Gal (David Miller) 1-1/2 lengths at bay in 1:57.2. The Pinske Stables and the Kentuckiana Racing Stable own Overdraft Volo.   The remaining Kindergarten division saw Crann Tara ($3.60) equal the fastest stakes time of the evening, wiring her four eighth-race foes in 1:55.3 with the aid of David Miller. Linda Toscano trains the daughter of Donato Hanover and Shan Riches for owner William Donovan.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 19) evening, with three pacing divisions of the Kindergarten Classic series headlining the 11-race card. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

The track record for two year old trotting colts fell on Tuesday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as harness racing freshman trotters invaded the Spa for a card full of New York Sire Stakes competition. The twelve race program consisted of no less than twelve Sire Stakes races for freshman highsteppers. There were nine Excelsior A and B events and three "big time" Sire Stakes going for purses of $53,500 and $54,500. Big Man Ev (Chapter Seven) broke the track record for two year old trotting colts in his division as he went coast to coast in 1:57.4 with Andy Miller in the sulky. It was the second win in four career tries for the Julie Miller trainee. At the point of his win, Big Man Ev was the fastest freshman trotting colt in the 75 year history of Saratoga. He was quickly matched when the Paul Kelley-trained Such An Angel (Credit Winner) stopped the timer in 1:57.4 with Hall of Famer John Campbell in the bike. Big Man Ev and Such An Angel now hold a share of the record as the third leg of the Sire Stakes was won impressively by Walner (Chapter Seven) but only after he made an early break and spotted the field close to twenty lengths. Linda Toscano trains the colt who is now two-for-two in NY Sire Stakes action after circling the abbreviated five horse field to win in 1:58.1 at odds of 1-9. Tim Tetrick sat behind Walner as he cruised past his rivals in the final quarter to prevail in impressive fashion. One can only imagine how much Walner may have shattered the record for freshman trotters if not for the early miscue. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

A word of advice to Julie Miller's friends. As the harness racing trainer gets Milligan's School ready for his final Hambletonian prep event, don't post anything on her Facebook wall because you won't hear back until at least next week. Milligan's School is competing in Sunday's (July 24) $300,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial main event for 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs, and he has the complete attention of his trainer. "Not that I'm older or I'm wiser, I don't know about those kind of things, but I really try to just stay off social media at this point," Miller said. "I don't read a bunch of stuff. I need to focus on my horses, not what everybody else is doing. I really just try to zone in and let the external noise figure itself out." She also tries to keep things simple as the stakes grow higher. "I try not to over-think things," Miller said. "I just really try to stay on track. We have our goal and mission. When things are going right in my stable we do the same things, and it's the same when things are in a rough patch. I try not to let other things distract me from my goal and my purpose with my horses." The purpose on Sunday is not just for Milligan's School to compete, but to win his final race before the $1 million Hambletonian, which is Aug. 6 at the Meadowlands. A son of Yankee Glide out of the mare Tori Ann, the horse has won three of six starts this year and earned $85,166. He has taken two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Consolation division, after a shoeing incident caused him to go off stride in his elimination. He was sixth last weekend in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, which was won by Marion Marauder. Milligan's School had a tremendous freshman campaign, with five wins, three seconds and two thirds, good for $302,560 in earnings in 16 starts. He won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at Red Mile in Lexington; was second to Dog Gone Lucky (by a head) in the Matron Stakes; third in the Valley Victory final; and fifth in the Breeders Crown. "I would say things are pretty much status quo this year (compared to last)," Miller said. "He raced excellent last year. With how his schedule was this year he hasn't had many starts yet. We had a hiccup in the Earl Beal eliminations and that was kind of a missed opportunity, but we're looking forward." One thing that has changed is the horse's physical stature, which makes the trainer happy considering the competition. "Obviously I do think he's a little bigger and stronger than he was last year and he's going to have to be," Miller said. "That's a great division. Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder, they're just excellent horses. You're going to have to be not just 100 percent, but 110 percent because Frank and Marion are so dominant right now. I hope I can still compete with them. I don't want to race just for the money I want to race for the win." Milligan's School drew post four Sunday, which puts him in a good starting point. He is 5-1 on the morning line. The four-horse entry of Love Matters, Bar Hopping, Hollywood Highway, and Lagerfeld is the 9-5 favorite. Love Matters, Bar Hopping, and Lagerfeld are trained by Jimmy Takter while Hollywood Highway is from the Staffan Lind Stable. The horses are an entry because of common ownership. "It's that time of year, it's getting to be crunch time, this is why we work hard all winter long," Miller said. "He feels good, he's healthy. I feel like I've got him at the best that he can be. Hopefully we can count on that and make good. "Like everybody else, I don't know what's going to happen. The goal here is the Hambo, this is going to be a really good determination if he fits in there. I'm hoping for a good effort. There's a lot of money on the line. We've got a good position so I'm hoping he can make good on it. I hope he's at his best and he can work on a good trip." If it results in a trip to the Hambletonian, then things will be right on schedule for the Millers and Russia-based owner Natalia Stroy of Stroy Inc. When Julie and her husband Andy, the horse's driver, picked Milligan's School out at the Standardbred Horse Sale they did so with high hopes. He sold for $120,000. "I explained to Natalia that I think he's a stakes horse," Miller said. "That was the whole goal when we bought him, was to make him a stakes horse and so far he's fulfilling that promise. I told the owner I thought he'd be a top contender and at least a sire stakes horse and hopefully a Grand Circuit horse. He's blossoming into what we wanted him to be." Miller considers herself "pretty fortunate," noting that Milligan's School is a mild mannered horse that can lead or come off cover. "That's really one good thing about him," she said. "He's two fingers to drive and he's honest and he'll give you his best chance." And how does Andy like driving him? "I think he likes to drive anything that's winning," Julie said with a laugh. "I do think it's more special, because it's one we train in the barn. So that's a little bit more special. Andy gets on really well with the horse. We're just hoping for some good things." Following is the field for the Zweig: PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Love Matters-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-9/5 2. Hititoutofthepark-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-6/1 3. Bar Hopping-Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-9/5 4. Milligan's School-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/1 5. Trolley-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller-2/1 6. Hollywood Highway-John Campbell-Staffan Lind-9/5 7. Lagerfeld-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-9/5 8. Blenheim-Chris Christoforou-Per Henriksen-8/1 9. Smalltownthrowdown-Dan Daley-Dan Daley-10/1 ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 7 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Dante - Cufflink Hanover - Credevie May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Tyson - Edinburgh - Will Self May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Mikkeli Hanover - Granite State - Marion Gondolier May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Hititoutofthepark - Lagerfeld - Cloud Nine Hanover May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Cufflink Hanover - Love Matters - Southern Cross May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Truemass Volo - Marion Gondolier - Hanks Tank May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Milligan's School - Hititoutofthepark - Desert Runner May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Lagerfeld - Tyson - Hollywood Highway May 20 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Southwind Frank - Brooklyn Hill - Bar Hopping May 21 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Iron Mine Bucky - Steed - Hititoutofthepark May 21 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Cufflink Hanover - Hollywood Highway - Truemass Volo May 27 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Mavens Way - Jack Vernon - Double L Lindy June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Hollywood Highway - Taco Tuesday - Sliding Home June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Lagerfeld - Truemass Volo - Dupree June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Milligan's School - Reigning Moni - Iron Mine Bucky June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Love Matters - Tight Lines - Alexander Hanover June 4 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Southwind Frank - Brooklyn Hill - Mavens Way June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Love Matters - Taco Tuesday - Desert Runner June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Trolley - Lagerfeld - Cufflink Hanover June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Hititoutofthepark - Hollywood Highway - Dupree June 18 - Mohawk - Goodtimes - Marion Marauder - Will Take Charge - Blenheim June 19 - Vernon - Empire Breeders Classic - Dante - Just For Today - Thats A Bad Boy June 26 - Buffalo - NYSS - The Royal Harry - Crazycat - A Jersey Contract July 1 - Tioga - Tompkins-Geers - Dominion Beach - Cufflink Hanover - Waitlifter K July 1 - Tioga - Tompkins-Geers - Hititoutofthepark - Blownoutofthewater - Steed July 2 - Pocono - Beal Memorial - Southwind Frank - Trolley - Bar Hopping July 14 - Yonkers - NYSS - Dante - The Royal Harry - Credevie July 16 - Meadowlands - Dancer Mem. - Southwind Frank - Sutton - Love Matters July 16 - Meadowlands - Dancer Mem. - Marion Marauder - Bar Hopping - Iron Mine Bucky Hambletonian eligible winners in bold by Rich Fisher, USTA Senior Correspondent

HAMBURG, N.Y. ---- It was 'Miller time' at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (July 13) as the husband and wife combination of Andy and Julie dominated the action in the New York Sire Stakes for the 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters.   The Millers won three $27,250 divisions as Devious Man set a new mark for the 2-year-old colt trotters with a 1:59.2 tour over the Hamburg half-mile oval but only to see stablemate Money Macintosh come along and absolutely destroy it three races later with a powerful 1:58.4 time. Big Man Ev completed the Miller 'trifecta' by taking his race with a 2:00.0 time.   Devious Man first broke the Buffalo Raceway colt standard of 1:59.3 set in 2014 by Royal Deceptor but didn't celebrate it for long as Money Macintosh quickly erased it.   To cap off the night, the Millers took a $15,000 Excelsior A Series bracket as Southwind Cruze ($2.60) trotted the mile in 2:02.2. Andy finished the evening with a five-bagger in the sulky while Julie finished with four training victories.   It was Western New York connections that took the final New York Sire Stakes division as Barn Winner remained undefeated, cruising to an easy 1-3/4 length win in 2:00.0 with former Buffalo Raceway regular Jeff Gregory in the bike.   Barn Winner is co-owned by locals Steven and Nancy Pratt of Corfu, N.Y. and Out In The Country Stables of Darien Center, N.Y.   In Money Macintosh's track record victory, it looked like an instant replay of Devious Man's effort...sit back third, get to the backstretch the final time, use a big brush to the top and never look back.   Lindy The Second was in charge through an opening half of 1:00.0 but was stunned as Money Macintosh ($4.00) exploded and took command, romping to an impressive four length decision over Lindy The Second (Morrill Jr.). Annapolis Hall (Ray Schnittker) took the show position.   "He loves to work," Miller said of Money Macintosh. "I asked him to go at the five-eighths pole and he really responded." A 28.2 final quarter mile proved that Money Macintosh wasn't fooling around.   Money Macintosh (Credit Winner-Apple Plush) is owned by Stroy Inc.   In the second division, Devious Man ($4.30) relinquished the lead to Eastern Promise to the opening panel and that move proved to work out perfectly.   Eastern Promise (John Campbell) went to the half in a wicked 59.1 and could only watch as Devious Man blew past him midway down the backstretch the final time.   It looked like Optimist Blue Chip was going to pose a serious threat in the lane but Devious Man found another gear and trotted off to the two length victory. Optimist Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) managed second and Desired Effect (Jeff Gregory) took the show spot.   "He's a handy trotter," Miller said of Devious Man. "He had a couple of nice bursts in the race. The first was going down the backstretch and then in the stretch. I was cautious going around the final turn but once he straightened out, he was able to get going again."   Devious Man (Credit Winner-Miss Garland) is owned by Stroy Inc. and was able to capture his first lifetime win in his second appearance.   A perfect first over trip by Big Man Ev ($18.60) got the Millers off to a great start on the night, notching 1-1/2 length win over Neon Lights in 2:00.0.   Lightning Lindy was able to set the tempo with times of 30.0, 1:00.4 and 1:31.1. Big Man Ev was sitting in third and started his winning journey down the backstretch and wore down the pace-setter in mid stretch helped by a 28.4 last quarter.   Neon Lights (Chris Lems) rallied late to grab the place position while Lightning Lindy (Sam Schillaci) held on for third.   Big Man Ev (Chapter Seven-Possessed By Lindy) is co-owned by the Andy Miller Racing Stable, the Lindy Racing Stable and Harvey Eisman. It was the first victory for Big Man Ev in two career tries.   Barn Winner (Credit Winner-Hallmarker) had little problem in getting around his stomping grounds in 2:00.0 for Gregory. After playing the give-and-go with Aces And Eights (Dan Daley), Barn Winner found no threats the rest of the way. He was able to turn back Aces And Eights by a non-threatening 1-3/4 lengths while Odeon Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.) was third.   It was the second win in as many career starts for Barn Winner with both victories coming in New York Sire Stakes competition.   In the $15,000 Excelsior A Series, Carmen's Fluke ($3.90) took the first division in 2:00.4 with Campbell in the bike.   Chili ($6.50) took the second leg with a 2:02.3 triumph and Southwind Cruze captured the third division with a 2:02.3 clocking with Miller steering both to victories.   Yank Me Away (Chris Lems) took the first $6,700 Excelsior B Series race in 2:07.1 and returned $5.10 while Security Guard (Kevin Cummings) found the winner's circle in 2:06.3 and paid $6.30 to his backers.   Princess Katie took the $9,000 pace for the filly and mares as driver Ray Fisher Jr. guided her to the mild $10.40 upset in 1:56.1.   Racing will resume on Friday evening at 5 p.m. with an 11-race program set.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

WILKES-BARRE PA - Sire Cantab Hall emerged as the star of the show during five $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for two-year-old trotting colts Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as he was the father of the three fastest winners.   Quickest of the quintet was President Lindy, who made a big move during the third quarter, then coasted home to win a laugher by 8 lengths in 1:57 in his first victory. The colt is handled by Team Orange Crush, driver Andy Miller and trainer/wife Julie, and he is owned by Andy Miller Stable Inc. in partnership with Gty Stable and Lindy Racing Stable, the latter also the breeder. Second-fastest Tuesday winner was Rubio, who rallied from the pocket into a 56.3 last half, going outside in the stretch while Snowstorm Hanover on his back ducked to the Pocono Pike, with Rubio more photogenic by a neck.   The 1:57.2 final time made Rubio the only winner NOT to take a lifetime mark, as he won his purse debut at The Meadowlands in 1:57 for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Jimmy Takter, and owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Brixton Medical Inc.   The other Cantab Hall winner was Affair Of Honor, who had his task lightened when favored Chromeo broke in the pocket headstretch, as he went on to win by two lengths in 1:57.4. The colt is owned by William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick.   The braintrust behind Affair Of Honor is driver Corey Callahan and trainer John Butenschoen: with the win of Affair Of Honor, they have now combined for seven stakes victories since May 15. Win #6 was in another All-Stars cut with the Yankee Glide colt Giveitgasandgo, who came up first-over on the turn and was getting the measure of pacesetter Phi Alpha when that one lapsed from stride late. The final time of 1:58.2 includes a 27.3 personal kicker for the winner, owned by Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc., David Miller, Lawrence Means, and VIP Internet Stable LLC.   The other All-Stars winner was Fact Of The Matter, an Explosive Matter colt who swung three-wide off the final turn and certainly finished explosively, winning by 5½ lengths in 1:58.1. And the fact of the matter is that Fact Of The Matter, now unbeaten in two purse starts, hails from one of harness racing's hottest stables - that of his breeders, Rick and Regina Beinhauer. With this win Rick Beinhauer has won with the last five charges he's sent to post, and as a driver he's now won half of his dozen seasonal starts. From the PHHA  

Manalapan, NJ --- When announcer Larry Lederman went through the driver changes for Monday's eighth-race harness racing qualifier at Gaitway Farm, spectators shared a few puzzled looks when Fredi Herrera was named on the No. 1 horse, Southwind Cruze, from the stable of trainer Julie Miller. As it turned out, Herrera and Southwind Cruze were making their career debuts together. A 33-year-old native of Guatemala, Herrera has spent more than half his life in the U.S. working for harness racing stables in Chicago and New Jersey. He began working as an assistant trainer for Julie and Andy Miller in December. His new employers were impressed with his abilities and encouraged him to get a driver's license. Several weeks ago, Herrera received a license that enables him to drive in qualifiers and fairs. Paul Stafford, another Miller Stable assistant who knew Herrera from his days in Chicago, helped Herrera with the process. "I knew him from Chicago, but when you work with someone you gain respect for their horsemanship," Julie Miller said. "He was really talented and had a good set of hands and willingness to learn under Andy on the driving aspect of it. We wanted to give him a chance with some horses that he's been training down for us. He's been really successful and we're really proud of him." Herrera drove in four qualifiers on Monday. He drove two 2-year-old trotters for Miller and also picked up drives from Tony Alagna and Scott DiDomenico. His best finish came with DiDomenico's 6-year-old trotter Panamanian Hanover, a second, although he missed victory by only 1-1/2 lengths with Southwind Cruze while finishing fifth. "I was a little nervous, but it's good," Herrera said. "I want to start qualifying now and see if I'm good or no good. Maybe I can make it. This is my plan." Herrera came to the U.S. in 1999 and spent 10 years in Chicago before moving to New Jersey. "I've never done anything else but work with horses," said Herrera, who was an assistant trainer at multiple stables before joining Team Miller. "I like it. I'm happy." Miller was happy to see Herrera on the track for his first drives. "We hope he continues to qualify and has success, wherever the journey takes him," she said. Ken Weingartner

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   

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