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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Bred For Greatness ($6.20) was certainly 'great' once again as he notched a length harness racing victory over Lougazi in Buffalo Raceway's $13,000 Class A-Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday evening (March 11).   It was the fifth victory in six starts this year for Bred For Greatness and it was also his seasonal best with a 1:58.1 clocking.   Getting a perfect stalking trip behind the fraction-setting Cr Blazin Beauty, Bred For Greatness (Jim Morrill Jr.) tipped to the outside down the stretch and took command midway down the lane. Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) made his usual late charge but ran out of real estate and had to settle for second while Cr Blazin Beauty (Kevin Cummings).   Co-owned by trainer Mike Ohol and Steven Gross, the 6-year-old gelded Bred For Greatness (Federal Flex-Wendy Woo) now has produced $23,940 in earnings in 2020 and $116,221 in his career.   Noble Legend ($2.70) was no match in the $10,000 Class A-B Handicap Trot as the 8-year-old gelding put a 12-1/4 length pounding on the field in 1:58.3 over the fast track.   There race was never in doubt as Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.) roared right off the gate and put up splits of :31.,1, 1:00.4 and 1:29.4 in going the mile in 1:58.3. The only battle in the event was for the place position as Are You In (Cummings) finished a distant second with Barn Winner (Fisher Jr.) taking third.   Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock, it was the first win in seven tries for Noble Legend (Kadabra-Lovin It). The victory moved his seasonal earnings to $14,860 and $292,889 lifetime.   Julio's Girl (David McNeight III) produced a :57 back half and that proved to be more than enough to capture the $10,000 Class A Handicap Pace for the filly and mares.   Getting a first over trip, Julio's Girl ($7.50) collared the pace-setting The Bay Front near the three-quarter marker and strutted away to the 3-1/2 length win in a season's best of 1:56.1. The Bay Front (Morrill Jr.) held on for the place position with Little Joke (Davis Jr.) rolling into third.   Trained by James Clouser Jr. and owned by William Emmons, Julio's Girl (Art Director-Prayer Answered) has now found the winner's circle four times in six tries. The 7-year-old mare now has a seasonal bankroll of $15,980 and $161,958 in her lifetime.   Davis Jr. completed the night with four driving victories while Morrill Jr. added a pair. Rice conditioned a pair winners. Racing will resume on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program slated. There will be a $955 carryover in the Pick 5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, simulcast schedule and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

The Blooded Horse Winter Sale held Tue. Feb. 11, at the Champions Center in Springfield, Ohio, was the strongest in its 57-year history. Owners, trainers and breeders flooded the pavilion to restock stables and acquire broodmares. "People love coming to a sale to actually see and touch the horses they want to buy," said sale manager Jerry Haws. "It may take a bit more time and resources, but the dividends far outweigh the cost. Bringing horses to a venue of eager buyers is a tremendous marketing tool. Consignors seemed to be pleased as there were substantially less RNAs." The sale topper was the Grand Circuit placed 5-year-old Donato Hanover broodmare Sneeker Hanover 3,1:55.2s purchased for $49,000 by Michael I Miller of Ohio. From the immediate family of Marion Maurader 1:51 ($3 Million+) the classy bay trotter consigned by Cactus Acres was in foal to Kadabra. The sale runner up was the consistent 5-year-old conditioned trotter U Need Stones, consigned by Burke Racing Stable. Popular Canadian owner Adriano Sorella purchased the son of Wishing Stone for $45,000 as well as another Burke Racing Stable graduate, the beautiful chestnut Cracklin Rosie for $37,000. Burke Racing Stable also offered the innovative opportunity to choose one of two almost equally matched trotting mares that were presented in the ring simultaneously. The winning bidder got to choose the mare they wanted and Burke Racing Stable kept the other to continue racing. Both Wildfire Seelster and Matterlei were 4-year-old daughters of Explosive Matter; both had nine wins lifetime; and both had won five or six of their last eight starts at the Meadows. Herman and Morgan Hagerman of Ohio got the final bid at $43,000 and chose Wildfire Seelster to add to their powerful stable. For complete sale results visit bloodedhorse.com. The next sale is May 12 and it's an exceptionally strong market for racehorses. Entries close April 22. by Dot Morgan, for the Blooded Horse Sale      

YONKERS, NY, Saturday December 7, 2019-- Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton took down both halves of Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $42,000 Open Handicaps Saturday night (Dec. 7th), doing so with Will Take Charge and big-table-debuting Raukapuka Ruler N. It was odds-on Will Take Charge ($2.90) who killed 'em softly--fractions-wise--in the week's marque trot. Winning the post positions 5-thru-7 draw, he left, working around Winning Shadow (George Brennan) right around the 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a :57.2 intermission, the returning Obrigado (Dan Dube) surprised by moving first-up from fourth. A 30-second third quarter (1:27.2) allowed Obrigado to hang around before slowing backing way. Meanwhile, Will Take Charge, who had faltered late in his past two tries, owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He defeated a Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) by that exact margin in 1:56.1 with a closing Swansea (Austin Siegelman), Winning Shadow and Sumatra (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For millionaire Will Take Charge, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Gillis, Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay, it was his sixth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $40, the triple returned $217 and the superfecta paid $704. The weekly adult pace saw Raukapuka Ruler N ($6.80)--from post No. 3--finish what he started (:28.1, :56.3, 1:23.2, life-best-matching 1:52.3). He repelled first-up Heaven's Gait (Brennan) down the backside, then owned a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. Saying Grace N (Marohn Jr.), the 17-10 fave who had angled out of the pocket, made up some ground but missed a length A late-arriving The Real One (Pat Lachance) was third, with Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland) and Sunfire Blue Chip (Siegelman) grabbing the minors. For second choice Raukapuka Ruler N, a 6-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding owned by (trainer) Peter Tritton, it was his fifth win in 11 '19 tries. The exacta paid $23.60, the triple returned $253.50 and the superfecta paid $1,106 by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

CHESTER, PA - The Sir Lincoln mare Lincoln's Girl N came uncovered into a :55 last half and still was able to draw away from favored Glorious Nite to win the $17,000 pacing distaff harness racing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon in a career best 1:52.4. Jive Dancing A shot away from the gate to the lead, with Glorious Nite making a move at the :28.1 quarter to get the lead, and she got a breather to a :57.4 half. Dexter Dunn sent his "countrymate" first-over from third entering the backstretch, and the big battle was on with Glorious Nite retaining command through the 1:25.2 three-quarters, Lincoln's Girl N still coming up to her, and Jive Dancing A starting to get a bit loose in the pocket. In the stretch a 34-day layoff may have caught up with Glorious Nite, but Lincoln's Girl N was certainly strong in her own right, going by the leader to win by ¾ of a length, with Jive Dancing A holding third. Lincoln's Girl N is now 4-for-6 on these shores and looking headed for better things for trainer Josh Green, who is co-owner along with Richard Lombardo and David Kryway. The Kadabra gelding Smokee Mirrors closed valiantly from far back to miss just ¾ of a length in his last start, so today driver Corey Callahan tried the front end, and his trotter liked the trip just fine, taking a new mark of 1:55.4 in a 1½ length victory over Freshette Hanover. Andrew Harris conditions the winner for owner Robert Key. Tim Tetrick added four more wins on the Friday card, keeping his hot streak alive, but now we know his long period of recent success at Philly will end Sunday, for next week Tetrick has been invited to Finland - within four miles of the Arctic Circle -- to compete in a special tournament. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

MILTON, ON - December 2, 2019 - World champion harness racing trotter Emoticon Hanover capped off her legendary career with a coast-to-coast 1:53.3 victory Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The six-year-old trotting mare was sent to the top by driver Bob McClure and got things her own way, trotting home in :27 for a three-quarter length victory in the $34,000 Preferred. Trainer Luc Blais confirmed Monday morning that Emoticon Hanover, a two-time Breeders Crown champion, would be retired following that evening's start. "I was very nervous before the race," said an emotional Blais following 'Emoticon's' final start. "She gave me an incredible thrill. She never (had) a bad race and always gave a 150 per cent of her." A daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover was purchased for $165,000 at the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale by Serge Godin's Determination and went on to become one of the greatest Ontario sired trotters of all-time. "We (made) the decision in the last minute," said Blais. "We had a meeting in Montreal and it was not an easy decision, but she deserves that, she deserves to breed with the best stallion." Blais noted that the connections first choice is to breed Emoticon Hanover to Muscle Hill. Emoticon Hanover spent the majority of her two and three-year-old campaigns battling with rival Caprice Hill for Ontario Sires Stakes glory. The talented ladies exchanged victories in the 2015 and 2016 OSS Super Finals. The Blais trainee gained recognition across North America as a four-year-old with a dominating stretch of victories that included a pair of World Record performances, 1:50.2 at Tioga Downs in the Joie De Vie and 1:52 at the Delaware County Fair in the Miss Versatility. 'Emoticon' followed those dazzling performances with a score in the Allerage at The Red Mile and her first Breeders Crown title. "Any kind of race we liked to watch her, she tries hard and I can't tell you what is the best (race)," said Blais. "I think the race at Tioga 1:50.2 was very impressive for me, it was a big race that afternoon." The World Champion returned to the races as a five-year-old and finished off the 2018 campaign in style by winning her second-consecutive Breeders Crown and her first TVG Mares Trot. Emoticon Hanover won the O'Brien Award as Canada's top older mare trotter in 2018. Determination's superstar continued to compete at the highest level this season, racing against the boys in her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot. The highlight of her six-year-old season came a little over a week ago when she reached up in the final strides to defeat Atlanta in the TVG Mare Trot, surpassing $2 million in career earnings. The TVG victory was also the 1,000th career training victory for trainer Blais. "I'm going to remember my 1,000th win," said Blais. "It's going to be easy to remember this one." Emoticon Hanover finishes her career with 27 wins, 56 top-three finishes, $2,044,663 earned and a mark of 1:50.2 in 74 starts. Woodbine Entertainment made a special presentation to Emoticon Hanover and Blais following Monday's race to recognize their accomplishments. TRAINING CANCELLED TUESDAY MORNING Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to notify all horsepeople that training has been cancelled for Tuesday morning. The track will reopen for training on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

MILTON, ON - December 2, 2019 - World champion Emoticon Hanover is set to make the final career start of her legendary harness racing career on Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Trainer Luc Blais confirmed Monday morning that the two-time Breeders Crown champion will be retired from racing following Monday evening's Preferred Trot. A six-year-old daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover most recently reached up in the final strides to defeat Atlanta in the TVG Mares Trot at The Meadowlands, surpassing $2 million in career earnings. Owned by Serge Godin's Determination, Emoticon Hanover will go down as one of the greatest Ontario sired trotters of all-time. The Blais trainee spent the majority of her two and three-year-old campaigns battling with rival Caprice Hill for Ontario Sires Stakes glory. The talented ladies exchanged victories in the 2015 and 2016 OSS Super Finals. Her three-year-old season did come to a close with a runner-up finish in the Breeders Crown. Emoticon Hanover gained recognition across North America as a four-year-old with a dominating stretch of victories that included a World Record of 1:50.2 at Tioga Downs, the Miss Versatility Series Final, Allerage at The Red Mile and her first Breeders Crown. The World Champion returned to the races as a five-year-old and finished off the 2018 campaign in style by winning her second-consecutive Breeders Crown and her first TVG Mares Trot. Emoticon Hanover won the O'Brien Award as Canada's top older mare trotter in 2018. The Blais trainee has continued to compete at the highest level this season, competing against the boys in her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot. The highlight of her six-year-old season came a little over a week ago with her TVG Mares Trot victory. Emoticon Hanover enters her final career start with 26 wins, 55 top-three finishes, $2,027,663 earned and a mark of 1:50.2 in 73 starts. Woodbine Entertainment will recognize Emoticon Hanover following Monday evening's Preferred Trot (Race 3) with a special winner's circle presentation. Post time for Monday's card is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

The 72nd Annual Fall Blooded Horse Sale, held November 19-21, at the Champions Center in Springfield, OH, witnessed its highest average in the history of its fall edition. The harness racing horse sale was topped by leading Ontario Sires Stakes Grass Roots filly Splurge On Me at $82,000. Consigned by Robert McIntosh, the 3-year-old daughter of Kadabra, had 12 wins and $102,000 life. Mahlon Hochstetler of Loudenville, OH, prevailed against serious bidders throughout the pavilion to secure the classy trotter. Hochstetler plans to give the filly to LeWayne Miller to race this winter in Ohio and hopefully next year in Indiana before eventually breeding her. Sale runner-up honors went to Letme Fly Low from the strong Alvin Miller consignment. The competitive upper level 4-year-old Rockin Image mare was purchased by John Ackley to race in Ohio. Indiana Sires Stakes finalist Pure Rock was hammered down to Tom Ceraso, Jr of CT for $52,000. The Rockin Image son, consigned by Emerald Highlands Farm, earned $66,000 this year. Also hitting the board at $52,000 was the beautiful 4-year-old broodmare Bubblesnritz who was carrying her first foal by Crazy Wow. The daughter of Chapter Seven was part of the highly popular Crawford Farms reduction with Spring Haven Farm acting as agent. Allard Racing consigned the competitive conditioned pacer Beyond Delight who sold to Mitchell Standardbreds for $45,000 on Wednesday. Allard then reinvested the proceeds back in the Open pacing mare Berazzled for $45,000 at the end of the sale on Thursday. Consigned by Abby Stables, agt, Berazzled was runner up in the aged Ohio Sires Stakes championship. Bidding was spirited for the beautiful black trotter Milford's Z Tam with William Hartt of ME getting the nod at $43,000. The son of Swan For All was consigned by Z Tam Stables LLC. The Uncle Peter colt Credit Ace and the Pet Rock colt Rocksursocksoff shared top honors at $23,000 among the 150 yearlings that sold on Tuesday. Credit Ace was purchased by Winterwood Farm from Spring Haven Farm acting as agent for Winklepleck Farm. The latter also consigned the handsome Triumphant Caviar son American Scandal that was purchased by Joe Kramp of OH for $20,000. Visit www.bloodedhorse.com for complete sale results and to enter horses for the upcoming Winter Mixed Sale scheduled for February 11-12. From the Blooded Horse Sale

MILTON, ON - November 14, 2019 - Thru The Wickets and Lady Driver took home the gold in Thursday evening's Harvest Series harness racing finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $47,500 final for trotting fillies and $50,200 final for pacing fillies wrapped up the three-week event for Ontario sired three-year-old fillies. Thru The Wickets tipped three-wide from fifth shortly before three-quarters and powered down the centre of the track to win the trotting final by a length and three-quarters in 1:57.1. Trevor Henry guided the daughter of Kadabra to victory for trainer Shane Weber. Warrawee Ultra shot from the rail and led by open-lengths to three-quarters in 1:26.1. The leader was all done at the head of the lane, allowing rivals from well-back to pick up the pieces. Thru The Wickets took the top spot over runner-up Northern Royale, who rallied from eighth, while Club Belvedere crossed the line third after racing a few lengths behind Warrawee Ultra throughout the opening three-quarters. The Harvest Series victory is the second win in 12 starts for Thru The Wickets, who was unraced at age two and had last collected a victory on August 1. She now has $38,152 earned for owners Tom & Elizabeth Rankin. Thru The Wickets paid $16.90 to win. To see the race replay, click here. Lady Driver converted off a two-hole trip behind Esprit Dequipe to best that rival by a pair of lengths and win the pacing final in 1:54.2. Jonathan Drury steered the Sportswriter filly to victory for trainer Carmen Auciello. The top-two at the finish were the same two leading at every call in the $50,200 event. Lady Driver left from post-seven and cleared Esprit Dequipe at the opening-quarter at :27.3. The fillies flipped positions racing to the half with Esprit Dequipe posting fractions of :57 and 1:25.1. The stretch drive saw little drama, as Lady Driver angled out and powered by for the score. Jessicas Legacy was third, while race-favourite Free Exchange was never in the mix and finished fourth. Lady Driver improves her three-year-old record to six wins and $74,055 earned in 22 starts. Her career numbers escalate to eight wins and $110,360 banked for owners Michael Hall, Ctc Stable and Our Three Sons Stable LLC. A $2 win ticket on Lady Driver returned $6.70. To watch the race replay, click here. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario sired three-year-old fillies, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2019 as of September 30, 2019. Live racing resumes Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:50 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

CHESTER, PA - Trainer/driver Jeff Gregory swept the $16,000 featured trots at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon with P L Ketchup and Turville Hanover - and almost everything else was taken by the track's leading driver, Tim Tetrick, who won seven times during the harness racing program's thirteen races. The Kadabra gelding P L Ketchup was coming off a sick scratch, and in his last 45 starts over the last two years had three wins and eleven seconds, but all systems were "go" as the trotter switched to Gregory's barn and promptly took a new mark of 1:53.3. P L Ketchup went splits of :27.3, :56.2, and 1:24 that gave him a big advantage over his foes, and when the two favorites, Hatkivah and Steuben Hanover, tried to advance in the stretch, "Ketchup" held off their late charges, with Steuben Hanover ¾ of a length back in second and Hatkivah another half-length behind in third. The Jesmeral Stable's acquisition immediately returned a good dividend on their investment. Gregory came back in the trainer/driver role with the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Turville Hanover, guiding that one to his sixth win of the year after not racing at two. Turville Hanover made the front nearing the quarter, set a moderate half, then came home in :57.3 to complete a 1:56.2 victory by 3¼ lengths over Remarkable De Vie. Jeff Gregory Inc. co-owns the winner with Stuart Morgan and Steven Finkelstein. Tim Tetrick was on fire from the opening bell, winning the first three races on the card, and then added races nine through twelve to get to his seven-bagger. Tetrick now leads George Napolitano Jr. 271-238 at the top of the 2019 drivers win column, and looks to be in good position to win his sixth dash title at Harrah's. Napolitano has won seven crowns- in fact, they are the only two drivers since the inaugural year of the racetrack (2006) to be Philly dashwinning champions; Cat Manzi took the title in that first meet. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

MILTON, ON - SEPT. 26, 2019 - Ontario's top three-year-old harness racing trotters wrapped up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening and division stars Bright Eyes M and Forbidden Trade padded their division leading point totals. The trotting fillies kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes action in the fifth race with 10 hopefuls lining up behind the starting gate in the $158,800 division. Blue Magic, Angies Luckeylady and Bright Eyes M left smartly from Posts 1, 6 and 8 and wound up first, second and third on the rail going by the :27.1 opening quarter. Blue Magic's tenure on the lead was brief however, as driver Stephen Byron soon had Bright Eyes M aiming at the lead. Ahead by just over a length at the :55.4 half, Byron and Bright Eyes M had extended that to two lengths by the 1:24.2 three-quarters and three lengths at the top of the stretch. The field rallied late, but Bright Eyes M stayed game to the wire, securing a three-quarter length victory in 1:53.4. Teddys Littleangel finished second and Angies Luckeylady was another length back in third. "She seems to get off the gate a little better out there," said trainer John Bax of the filly's effort from Post 8. "She seems to be more comfortable, and then Steve can kind of make his decision, like tonight he kind of dropped into the three-hole and then as soon as everybody got settled away he was able to move her again, so it worked out good." Campbellville, ON resident Bax has conditioned the daughter of Kadabra to a record of six wins, two seconds and one third in 13 starts this season with five of those starts and four of the wins coming in Gold Series action. Thursday's victory pushed the filly's sophomore earnings to $312,925 for owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY. The win was Bright Eyes M's first since July 19. Her last three starts had been against some of the best sophomore trotting fillies in North America, where her best finish was a third in the Sept. 6 Simcoe Stakes, and Bax was happy to see the trotter back in the winner's circle. "She had lost her, maybe lost a little confidence. She had been sick and was on one line a little bit and so she wasn't at her best," said the trainer. "She's been good the last couple weeks training and jogging and the last race I thought she raced a lot better, I thought she was coming around again. And of course now she's racing with her own, so it sets up good for the Super Final." Bright Eyes M leads the three-year-old trotting fillies into the Oct. 12 Super Final with 208 points, 25 points ahead of Teddys Littleangel. The top 10 point earners will advance to the $225,000 Super Final. Two races later the sophomore trotting colts and geldings paraded onto the racetrack for their $158,000 test and fans sent Hambletonian champion Forbidden Trade off as their top choice for the sixth time in his Ontario Sires Stakes career. Starting from Post 7 Forbidden Trade and driver Bob McClure powered away from the gate and took command just past the :27.1 quarter. Through a :56.2 and 1:25 three-quarters the duo were unchallenged and a sharp :27.2 final quarter sealed the deal. Forbidden Trade hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of early leader Manatlas in 1:52.2. Only For Justice was five and one-half lengths back in third. "He pretty well speaks for himself, he was bionic tonight," said McClure. "I never asked him, he did it all on his own. He made us proud, like he always does. "I'm glad he's over whatever was bugging him last week," the Rockwood, ON resident added, referring to the colt's atypical outing in the Sept. 14 Canadian Trotting Classic where he was placed from third back to fifth for interfering with Only For Justice in the stretch. McClure steers Forbidden Trade for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Prior to his Canadian Trotting Classic result Forbidden Trade had finished no worse than third and he now boats a sophomore record of seven wins, three seconds and one third in 12 starts for earnings of $958,691. He leads the trotting colts into the Super Final with 175 points, 17 points ahead of Southwind Avenger. Before the top Gold Series horses take centre stage in the Super Finals, the Grassroots stars will face off in Semi-Final action at Woodbine Mohawk Park this Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28. The two-year-olds will compete in Races 2, 3, and 5 through 10 on Friday's 7:50 pm card, while the three-year-olds battle in Races 1, 3, 5 through 9, and 11 on the Saturday evening program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. Complete results for Thursday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - SEPT. 17, 2019 - Splurge On Me tallied her third Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots win on Tuesday evening as the three-year-old harness racing trotting fillies wrapped up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With regular reinsman Trevor Henry in the race bike Splurge On Me powered to the front from Post 6 and never looked back. The Kadabra daughter cruised through fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:27.1 and then opened up six lengths on her peers in the stretch, trotting under the wire in 1:55.1. Favourite Rebellious Lady settled for second and Galaxy Seelster was six more lengths back in third. "She's a nice filly. She doesn't do much wrong," said Henry. "She was stronger tonight at the wire." With three wins, one third and one seventh in her five regular season Grassroots appearances, Splurge On Me leads the three-year-old trotting fillies into the Sept. 28 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park with 164 points. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will advance to the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championships at the Campbellville oval. "I think there's three good fillies probably and I think she's one of them. It will just depend on post position and how things work out," said Henry about Splurge On Me's post season prospects, ranking Halo Its Me and Lefkada as the other top fillies. Henry steers Splurge On Me for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON and his co-owner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The partners also bred the filly, who boosted her sophomore record to eight wins, one second, two thirds and earnings of $82,885 through 15 starts. A two-time Grassroots winner last season, Splurge On Me finished fifth in her Semi-Final and seventh in the Final and Henry would like to see the filly improve on those results this season. "She's a bigger filly now of course, but she always had good manners and everything. She's just bigger and more mature," said the Arthur, ON resident. "She can race any way, but she's better out of a hole actually. Where it might fit better is if she gets to the final and somebody's got some speed that she can follow; she's better that way actually than off the front." The other two division winners, Lefkada and Petro Hall, also advanced to the post season. Starting from Post 1, fan favourite Lefkada got away fourth as Witches N Angels led the field of seven to a :27.3 opening quarter. Witches N Angels continued to lead by the :57.1 half, but driver Scott Wray had Lefkada on the move, circling three-wide around a parked Order Mattie. On top by two lengths at the 1:26.4 three-quarters, Lefkada cruised home to a three length victory in a 1:56 personal best. Cambridge Kate finished second and Angelic Speed was third. The win was Lefkada's second in Grassroots action and her third lifetime. The E L Titan daughter was unraced at two and now has seven starts under her belt for trainer Jack Wray of London and his partners Thomas Wray of Schomberg and Douglas Dunbar of Woodstock, ON. With two wins and one eighth in three Grassroots appearances the filly wraps up the regular season with 101 points, putting her third in the point standings. Petro Hall earned her first Grassroots win in a roundabout manner when favourite Halo Its Me went inside two pylons coming off the final turn and was placed from first back to second. Petro Hall, who did all the work through fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:25.1 and trotted under the wire in 1:55, was driven to the win by Louis-Philippe Roy. "She's a little bit of a weird filly. She's not the most consistent, but when she's good she can be among the top Grassroots fillies, like she proved tonight," said Roy. "It depends on how she feels." The Guelph resident steers the Angus Hall daughter for trainer Victor Puddy and owners Lloyd Stone of Portland, James Ruhl of Tara, Dr. Charles Hall of Erin and Michael Kwietniowski of Guelph, ON. In four Grassroots starts she recorded one win, two thirds and one fifth for a point tally of 79 and seventh spot in the standings. Grassroots action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday night as the two-year-old trotting fillies wrap up their regular season. The freshman fillies will kick things off at 7:10 pm in the first race and also compete in Races 6 and 8. Complete results from Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0917wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Saratoga Springs, NY-- Sam "the Man" King is a happy man. And why shouldn't he be, after all, he just scored a harness racing driving victory at Saratoga Raceway copping a $6,000 CKG Billings Trot with Windsun Missile in a 1:57 clocking. And what made this victory extremely gratifying for the 20 year old was because it was his first lifetime driving victory. When the gate sprung King set sails for the front-end but he ran into a buzz saw in the presence of Muzzys Muscles and driver "Smokin Joe" Faraldo, and it wasn't until the two passed the first stanza in a stiff :28.1 that Faraldo yielded command. Once on top King led his competition by the halfway point in :58. But up the backside Muzzys Muscle began to trot away and at the three quarters he had three lengths on the field, a margin he held all the way to the wire. Royal Surprise , who benefited from a two-hole trip couldn't close the gap in the lane and finished second for Brett "the Kid" Beckwith . Third place went to Someway Same Hall, driven by Tony" Shifty" Ciuffetelli. It was the winners fourth seasonal triumph by the 6-year-old Kadabra gelding. He is owned by Thomas Mc Tygue and trained by Michelle Crawford. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

CHESTER, PA - Joey Bats again showed his fondness for the Harrah's Philadelphia harness racing oval, notching his third straight win in recent appearances with a 1:54.1 victory in the $18,000 trotting feature Thursday at the riverside oval. The four-year-old Holiday Road gelding made every pole a winning one, rattling off splits of :27.4, :56.4, and 1:25.3, then sprinting away from his competition in the last quarter. He won by four lengths over pocketsitter Ooh Rah, giving him eight wins on the year and a career bankroll of $231,207. Andrew Harris trains the sharp trotter for Scott Dillon, Michele Nelson, and Marc Reynolds. The driver of Joey Bats, Tim Tetrick, had a very successful day at Philly as well, as the meet's leading driver won five times in all. Another Tetrick triumph came in one of two $14,500 co-featured trots, where the Explosive Matter four-year-old mare Pat Matters gave a gigantic performance, with splits of :27.3, :55.4, and 1:23.3 preceding an 8½ length domination of her opposition in 1:52.2, a new mark and only 2/5 of a second off the divisional track standard set by Classic Martine (and Tetrick) in 2014. Nifty Norman trains the winner, who was making her first start in 54 days, for the Patricia Stable. Tony Morgan, second in the all-time North American driving victory ranks, combined with Ron Burke, first in the training tables, to tally with the Kadabra gelding Mr Houdini in 1:55.1 in the other trot co-feature. On the board in his last four starts without winning, Mr Houdini sat in the pocket for the better part of the mile, came up the inside to get the lead in the lane, and then hold off Boy Meets Girl K by a neck for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. George Napolitano Jr., second in the Philly sulky success standings behind Tetrick, helped firm up his spot with victories in four of the last five races. Harrah's will host a special Friday evening card tomorrow, with the first action beginning at 6:30 p.m. Sunday will be the $1.3 million Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Two-Year-Old Championships card, with the attendant consolation races. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

Tioga Downs will play host to the $40,000 fourth leg of the Miss Versatility on Friday (September 6). It features the last three harness racing winners of the Joie De Vie. The entry of Emoticon Hanover (Aaron Byron) and Dream Together (Wally Hennessey) are the 8-5 morning line favorites. Both entries are owned by Determination and trained by Luc Blais. Emotican Hanover is a 6-year-old mare by Kadabra, She won the 2017 Joie De Vie in a track record as well as a world record time of 1:50.2. She still owns the world record for 4-year-old mares on a five-eighths mile track. The mare has 24 victories and has won more than $1,500,000 in her career. Dream Together (Muscle Hill) has 14 career victories She captured the 2018 Joie De Vie and was second in the 2019 Joie De Vie. The 5-year-old mare has won over $750,000 in her career. The toughest competition comes from the 9-5 second morning line choice Custom Cantab (Aaron Merriman). The 4-year-old mare by Mr Cantab won the 2019 version of the Joie De Vie. Included in her 17 career victories is a win in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final as a sophomore. The mare has won over $900,000 lifetime.. The 12 race card at Tioga Downs starts at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs        

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N won for the fifth time in her last eight starts on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, defeating a strong group of mares in the $21,500 distaff pacing feature in 1:50.2. After Bettorhaveanother passed the quarter in front in :27.2, Eclipse Me N and driver Simon Allard were up and clambering for command, reaching that spot and getting a relative breather to the :56 half. From there Eclipse Me N hit a much higher gear, stepping home in :54.2 to defeat first-over Diva's Image, the slight 6-5 favorite to the winner's 3-2, by two lengths. The career winner of $292,944 is trained by the meet's leading conditioner, Rene Allard, for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. P L Ketchup was able to come out on the "right" side of a photo after finishing second four straight times, three of them by a half-length or less, winning a $15,000 conditioned trot in a lifetime mark of 1:54. The Kadabra gelding used pure speed in accomplishing the task, posting supersonic fractions of :26.3, :55.2, and 1:23.3 in "bottoming" the field out, holding off his nearest challenger, the pocketsitter Trixar, by a neck. Pat Berry drove the winner for trainer Steven Brabrook and owner Jaypaul Hoover. The track's perennial leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., guided five horses past the wire first on the Tuesday card. His brother Anthony accounted for the biggest win price of the night, overcoming post nine with Betabcool N by a nose and returned $50.80 to win to his scattered backers. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

NORTHFIELD, OH — He may very well be the Roy Hobbs of harness racing. In the classic baseball movie “The Natural,” Hobbs, portrayed by Robert Redford, endures 16 years between striking out a Babe Ruthian character known as Whammer and playing for the big league New York Knights as a 35-year-old rookie. A silver bullet delayed his debut. Cooper, a bay six-year-old harness racing trotter, had been missing in pari-mutuel action for nearly four years, a lifetime for a racehorse, when he showed up to compete at Northfield Park in early June. For a Standardbred who hadn’t raced in 45 months, he’s become an overnight success. Cooper, who failed to win a race in six starts in 2015 as a freshman and banked a measly $3,305, has ripped off six consecutive victories ($20,700 in earnings) at Northfield Park. Remarkably, he trots faster with each and every outing. Where has he been? He was busy pulling an Amish buggy around Sugarcreek, Ohio, a village in Tuscarawas County that’s about an hour south of Northfield Park. Cooper, no longer an equine limousine, seeks his seventh straight victory Wednesday night in the 10th race at Northfield. The masterminds behind the magical rebirth of the son of Canadian sire Kadabra, are longtime Sugarcreek friends Homer Stutzman and Firman Troyer. “He’s a total surprise,” said Troyer, who owns and trains Cooper after purchasing him privately from Stutzman. “Every time he races, he amazes me.” Stutzman, who bought Cooper at auction a few years back for a few thousand dollars, is not as surprised. “When I first got him, he (had a) sore behind and he also had a kidney infection,” said Stutzman. “I called an equine chiropractor and he worked on him. It just took some time for him to come up to snuff.” And when he did, Cooper started transporting the Stutzman family around town with improved smoothness. There were the usual trips to the store, to church and to the homes of relatives, all with great zip. It’s also when Stutzman heard a sound that made him think Cooper wanted to once again trot for his dinner. “I started hearing his hooves hitting the axles on the buggy,” he said. “That told me that he was really feeling good and stretching out.” So, Stutzman reached out to Troyer earlier this year and encouraged him to give Cooper a second chance at the races. “I have a day job in Sugarcreek, building doors at Provia Door, so training horses is a hobby of mine,” said Troyer. “Homer knows horses and he said he thought Cooper would do, so I decided to try him as a racehorse.” After getting him in shape at a stable in Sugarcreek, Troyer shipped Cooper to Northfield for a morning qualifying mile on May 30. It was the first time he’d been on a racetrack since Sept. 6, 2015, when he failed to finish in a race at Flamboro Downs in Canada. Not only did Cooper go wire-to-wire over a sloppy track to win the qualifier by 1 ½ lengths, he was timed his mile in 1:57 4/5. “My first reaction was that I wasn’t sure the timing device was working,” said Troyer. “That was mighty fast.” The timer was accurate and the impressive clocking earned Cooper the right to race for purse money at night. He has more than made the most of the opportunity, perhaps fearful of being returned to the life of a Sugarcreek taxi. Cooper has not only won all six of his starts by an average margin of 6 1/2 lengths, he has dramatically lowered his winning time in each subsequent outing, turning in an eye-popping career best 1:53 2/5 last Wednesday. “We never figured this would happen, but we’re enjoying every minute of it,” said Troyer. “Cooper is the best horse I’ve ever had. He has the nicest temperament. There isn’t a mean bone in his body. My little boy could race him.” And what does Mark Steacy think of Cooper? He’s the trainer who had him in his failed first year of racing. “What he’s done (at Northfield) is something you don’t see very often,” said Steacy. “I sent him back to his owner because he was just too slow. But good for him. Perhaps he just matured.” Troyer isn’t sure what has gotten into Cooper, but whatever it is, he’ll gladly accept more of it. “The future? I don’t know,” he said. “The future will just have to tell us what it is.” By Bob Roberts, Special to The Plain Dealer, reprinted with permission

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