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AUGUST 6, 2016 – Trainer John Bax and driver Steve Byron teamed up to win three of four $18,000 Grassroots divisions at Hanover Raceway on Saturday evening. The pair had the winning touch right from the start, as Byron piloted Tymal Declan to a gate-to-wire victory in the first division, reaching the finish almost 10 lengths ahead of the field in 2:04.4. Hopeswishesndreams, who is owned by trainer Gregg McNair and Doug McNair of Guelph, Bloomingwood Farms Ltd. of Harriston and James Cantelon of Thornton, ON, finished third and Tax Savings completed the top three. “I actually really like her,” said Byron. “She missed the last Grassroots from sickness, and she was really strong tonight. I actually thought that she could get better as the year went on; she’s a nice big mare.” The win was Tymal Declan’s first. In the July 10 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs she was fifth and on July 21 at Mohawk Racetrack she was fourth. Campbellville resident Bax shares ownership of the Kadabra daughter with Anderson Family Stables of Campbellville, Happy Trails Stables of London, ON and Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI. The group acquired the filly from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $52,000. The second Grassroots division went to division point leader Inner Drive, who also led from start to finish, hitting the wire in 2:03.3.Stritch was three and one-half lengths behind the fan favourite in third, while Byron and Bax trainee Windsong Normandie claimed the third spot. Ross Battin crafted Inner Drive’s third straight Grassroots victory for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The homebred daughter of Kadabra and Urge To Splurge boasts a five race record of three wins and one second for earnings of $30,500. Byron and Bax were back in the winner’s circle following the third Grassroots division as Parkhill Nocredit cruised around the Hanover Raceway half-mile in 2:06. Hab Faith finished second for owners Gwen McNair of Walkerton and her son, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, and fan favourite Man Shes Hot settled for third. “She gets pretty fired up, but Steve said she was pretty relaxed tonight,” noted Bax. Off a :30.4 quarter, the filly laid down a 1:05.1 half and then picked up the tempo again for a 1:35.4 three-quarters. “I don’t know why. She warmed up relaxed, usually she pulls a ton, but for whatever reason she was pretty calm tonight. “I love her desire, I just wish she was a hand taller, but she sure wants to be a racehorse,” added the horseman, who also bred the daughter of Federal Flex and Harlequin Seelster. In the first three Grassroots events Parkhill Nocredit had finished fourth (July 10), third (July 21) and second (July 29), and Saturday’s victory bumps her into third spot in the division standings with 95 points. Bax shares ownership of the filly with his son Marshall Bax of Hamilton, ON and father and son were joined in the winner’s circle by Hanover Raceway’s victorious “Be A Winner” finalist Jim Spence. Spence placed his “Be A Winner” ballot in the box belonging to Parkhill Nocredit and when the filly emerged victorious he joined the Bax’s in the winner’s circle for a photo and trophy presentation. The final division saw Byron and Majestic Wanda edge out of the pocket in the stretch and reel in pacesetter Late Shift, getting a head in front to record the 2:03.4 victory. Late Shift settled for second and Hilarious Honey completed the top three. “I said to somebody before the race, ‘If Steve gets around the track, Steve will be a magician,’” recalled Bax. “She warmed up terrible. She was looking, and going sideways, and running and not paying attention. “So I wasn’t very optimistic, and I’m thinking, at least I’ve had a real good night and you know, this one, it doesn’t matter what she does, it won’t dampen it,” the trainer continued. “And then she goes ahead and does what she does, and I’m thinking, wow, I must have been a good boy this week, looking up at the stars and they’re all lined up.” Heading into Saturday’s test Majestic Wanda had made breaks in both of her previous Grassroots starts and Bax had made the rare decision to add trotting hopples to her equipment. The move, and the winning streak Byron and Bax were enjoying, convinced Hanover Raceway fans, who sent the Majestic Son daughter off as their top choice. Bax, John Houston of Cobourg, Ken Ewen of Georgetown and Bruce Norris of Caledon East offered up $25,000 for Majestic Wanda at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. In addition to the trio of Grassroots wins, Byron also appeared in the winner’s circle with pacing colt Rumour Has It Eh after the fifth race, giving the Thornton, ON resident four wins on the program. “It’s one of those nights everything went good, you keep your fingers crossed hoping for those,” said Byron. “I’ve been lucky enough to drive for John and some good trainers, they usually have them set up pretty good for me, I’m lucky that way. “I actually like driving at this track, it’s one of my favourites in Ontario,” added the reinsman. Byron and Bax will have an opportunity to replicate their Hanover Raceway success when the two-year-old trotting fillies make their fifth Grassroots start on August 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

Nichols, N.Y. -- Scott Woogen's Six Bax ($26.80) held off stern pressure to upset as the longest shot on the board in Saturday (August 6) evening's featured $11,000 Open 1 Trot at Tioga Downs, giving harness racing driver Jim Taggart, Jr. one of his four wins on the 10-race card.   The 7-year-old Kadabra gelding emerged with the early lead, forcing Don Dorado (Mike Simons) into the pocket through a :27.1 first quarter before bracing for an extended first-over challenge from Its Payday Friday (Ronnie Morales) through middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.3. Six Bax dug in to rebuff the challenge of Its Payday Friday on the far turn and subsequently held sway of a belated rally from Oh No Three O (Jeff Long), who swung four-wide in the straight off a fourth-over trip. Six Bax prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.3, while Oh No Three O finished a neck better than Its Payday Friday to just claim second.   Gary Messenger trains Six Bax, who scored his sixth win in 16 tries this year. Messenger and Taggart also teamed up with Cool Breeze de Vie ($2.40, 1:54.4) and I'm Fabulous ($5.60, 1:57), while Steven Moore trainee Murs Son ($16.80, 2:00) rounded out Taggart's driving grand slam.   The 50¢ Pick 5 will carry over again to Sunday (August 7) afternoon's 12-race card, with $531.91 of added money on the line should anyone succeed in selecting the first five winners. Post time for the Sunday opener is set for 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Batavia, NY---The quickest route between two points is a straight line and that was the harness racing game plan for Noble Legend to win the $10,500 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 5). Leaving from post one, Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) fired off the gate and went right to the lead with Lutetium (Todd Cummings) prompting him from the outside. After the field passed the quarter in :29, Lutetium finally found his way clear and took the lead. From there the group remained unchanged to the half in a pedestrian 1:00 clocking. As they headed into the clubhouse turn, Shawnee Magic (Ray Fisher Jr.) came first over and drew even with Lutetium, leaving Noble Legend in the pocket with perfect cover. The two trotted in tandem by three-quarters and around the far turn to the head of the stretch when Shawnee Magic faded, Lutetium bore out slightly and Noble Legend made a bee-line straight up the pylons to a two-length victory in 1:59.1. J A T O (Mike Caprio) finished second in a furious rush coming from last and Lutetium hung on for third. It was the seventh win of the year for Noble Legend ($3.00) and it pushed his 2016 earnings to $43,238 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags and Jack Rice. The 4-year-old gelded son of Kadabra-Lovin It is trained by Maria Rice. Noble Legend was one of three winners that trainer Maria Rice sent postward on Friday. She also captured both halves of the early double with Pan Street USA ($3.60) and Schlim Schlamma ($7.80). Kevin Cummings and Jack Flanigen both had a driving triples on the night and trainer Mike Carrubba sent two horses to the winner's enclosure for photographs. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Aug. 6) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

AUGUST 4, 2016 - After trips to Innisfil, Campbellville and Elora to watch Hab Faith compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes, Walkerton resident Gwen McNair is looking forward to catching the two-year-old trotting filly in harness racing action at Hanover Raceway on Saturday. "I haven't missed her yet. I was down for the baby races at Mohawk, and I was over in Georgian, and I was at Mohawk and Grand River," said McNair. "I went over to Georgian by myself, about a two hour and 10 minute drive over to that one, lots of driving, but the roads and the weather are good. I just like to be able to say that I did it." In the first three Grassroots events, Hab Faith posted two seconds and one third, putting her in fourth spot in the division standings with 62 points. McNair bred and raised the daughter of Kadabra and Sweetmarie Ofgrace, who is a half-sister to $1 million winner Son Of Grace, and noted that the filly's runner-up results may be a product of her hot-blooded genes. "She is a handful in the paddock, she's anxious, she's pawing, but she got that from her grandmother and the mother does the same thing," explained the long-time owner and breeder. "Last Friday night (at Grand River), scoring out she was just not paying attention and was not behaving, she was doing all kinds of things. I think she wore herself out in her warm up, because she kind of packed it in a bit in the stretch. "It probably goes back in her breeding, she's a handful, but it's something to see a two-year-old filly trotter at the racetrack, let along behaving herself at all," McNair added. Hab Faith will make her fourth Grassroots start from Post 3 in the third Grassroots division, with Walkerton resident Terry Fritz in the race bike for McNair and her son, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph. Among the fillies Hab Faith will face in the sixth race are Parkhill Nocredit, who also has three runner-up results through the first three events, from Post 1, and Man Shes Hot, who has one win, one second and one third, from Post 5. "I'm hoping she does really well for the home crowd," said McNair. "But she's flighty and feisty and the whole thing, so... "It's quite a gamble, the whole thing, but I wouldn't want it any other way," she added philosophically. In addition to watching Hab Faith and her peers battle in the sixth race, one lucky Hanover Raceway fan will have an opportunity to meet the winner and her connections. Ontario Sires Stakes staff will be on hand Saturday night with the "Be A Winner" contest and by placing a ballot in the box representing their favourite filly, one fan could wind up in the winner's circle. One ballot will be selected from the boxes representing each filly in Race 6 and those finalists will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes t-shirt, ball cap, and lanyard badge, along with a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen horse. After cheering their fillies home, the representative of the winning filly will add an Ontario Sires Stakes jacket and golf shirt to their goodie bag, in addition to receiving a trophy and commemorative photo with the winner and her connections. Finally, the winning finalist will receive a $50 wagering voucher to employ through the remaining races. Finalists of a different sort, those qualifying for the Country 93 Survivor Contest Finale, will also be paying close attention to the Grassroots divisions as they aim to accurately predict the winners in hopes of taking home one of three great prizes, topped by a 55-inch HD television. The two-year-old trotting fillies will be featured in Races 2, 4, 6, and 8 on Hanover Raceway's action-packed Saturday evening program, with all the excitement getting under way at 7:15 pm. Ontario Racing

JULY 16, 2016 - Mohawk Racetracks fans enjoyed a double feature of Ontario Sires Stakes action on Saturday evening as both the three-year-old trotting fillies and two-year-old pacing colts competed in a pair of $105,000 Gold Series divisions. First up were the trotting fillies and 2015 division champ Caprice Hill was an easy winner in the opener. The Kadabra daughter and driver Randy Waples took command before the half and were on cruise control for the remainder of the mile, reaching the finish in 1:54. Pocket-sitter Emoticon Hanover was one length back second and Flowers N Songs was three more to the rear in third. "She's just a one of those special animals that just come around every once in a while in a guy's career," said Milton, ON resident Waples from the winner's circle. "She has no flaws; she's perfect gaited, she does everything you want her to do, and she loves her job. And she's got a big motor in her." Waples engineered Caprice Hill's third win in four sophomore starts for New Jersey-based trainer Tony Alagna and owner Tom Hill of Hamilton, ON. The winner of $754,377 has only been bested once in seven Ontario Sires Stakes starts and only four times in 14 career starts. While Caprice Hill picked up her sixth Gold Series trophy, the second division went to a filly earning her very first. Starting from Post 7 in the seven-filly field, driver Jody Jamieson allowed Jarette AS to ease away from the starting gate and settle in at the back of the pack while Radiant Beam, Jangone and Tymal Tempest skirmished for position at the front. Radiant Beam won the early battle, reaching the quarter in :28.2, but fan favourite Tymal Tempest took over before the :56.3 half. Catch A Mission started the forward march from the backfield, pursued by Jarette AS and Royal Charm and it was those two fillies who thrilled fans with their late stretch combat, battling through the wire in 1:53.2. Jarette AS emerged the winner by a head, leaving Royal Charm with the second-place finisher's spoils. Catch A Mission was three and one-half lengths back in third. "She's a nice little filly. She wasn't the smoothest until she got into full gear in the stretch, and then she just trotted by," said Moffat, ON resident Jamieson. "I was real impressed" Jamieson added that he felt fortunate to be asked to drive Jarette AS for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owners ACL Stuteri AB of Paris, KY and Kjell Johansson of Sosdala, Sweden. The Striking Sahbra daughter made her first five sophomore starts south of the border, shipping north after a July 10 contest at Pocono Downs. A Grassroots winner at two, Jarette AS now boasts a sophomore record of three wins, one second and earnings of $70,675 through six starts. The second OSS feature saw Streakavana kick things off with an impressive victory for new owners Brad Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton and trainer Scott McEneny of Waterdown, ON, who acquired the two-year-old pacing colt on July 10. In rein to Sylvain Filion, Streakavana left smartly from Post 2, allowed The Dark Shadow to control the pace to the :27.1 quarter, but then went straight back to the front. Brave World and driver Doug McNair came calling heading for the :56.3 half, but Filion opted to maintain his position and urged Streakavana forward to the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Once the Big Jim son had shifted into overdrive he simply pulled away from the field, reaching the wire four and one-quarter lengths the best in 1:52.2. "I was hoping to get covered up by one of the favourites, but nobody showed up, just Dougie (McNair) kind of come late and his horse got a little steppy, so I decided to keep going," explained Filion. "And when I pulled the plugs at the top of the stretch, he just took off." The Dark Shadow followed Streakavana into second and Yogi Bayama was driven into third-place by Yves Filion, Sylvain Filion's father. The Milton resident had driven Yogi Bayama to a Grassroots victory at Mohawk on July 7 and encouraged his father to move Yogi Bayama up to the Gold Series level. "He was a little upset when I told him I was going to try the other colt, but he understands," said Filion of the conversation with his father, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame on August 3. Similar conversations may continue to take place over the remainder of the season, as Filion also captured the second Gold Series division with Tony O'Sullivan trainee Happy Trio. The colt fired away from Post 5 to reach the quarter in :27 and then allowed Sports Column to take command heading for the :57 half. Sports Column continued to lead the field through the 1:25.3 three-quarters, but when Happy Trio stepped out of the pocket he was able to accelerate past the heavy favourite and claim a neck victory in 1:53.2. Sports Column settled for second and Big Bad Bill was well back in third. "My horse raced great," said Filion of Happy Trio, who had finished second to Sports Column in the Gold Series season opener. "I couldn't get to him(Sports Column) last time, and tonight we were able to go by him. It's either his wasn't 100 per cent or mine's getting better." Puslinch resident O'Sullivan conditions the Mach Three colt for his partners Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton and Lorne Keller of Exeter, ON. In three starts Happy Trio has tallied one win, one second and earnings of $79,870. "They're both nice colts, they're both very nice colts," said Filion of Streakavana and Happy Trio. "They're still green, they're still learning, so I expect they'll go even faster miles next time out." The two-year-old pacing colts will make their third Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on August 11, while the three-year-old trotting fillies head to Georgian Downs on August 7. On Monday evening, July 18, the two-year-old pacing fillies will return to Mohawk for their second Gold Series event, facing off in Races 2, 4, and 9. The first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 11 - Returning to Mohawk after a pair of stakes engagements south of the border, Flanagan Memory turned in a stunning harness racing performance Monday night. A field of seven competed in the $34,000 Preferred Trot with Flanagan Memory headlining the field as the heavy 1/5 favourite. Driven by Chris Christoforou, Flanagan Memory made a second-quarter move to the front from third to overtake Whiskey Tax, who cut a big opening-quarter of :26.2. The public's choice grabbed command to post a half-mile clocking of :54.4. After a third-quarter of :29, Flanagan Memory quick separated himself from his rivals at the top of the lane pulled cleared to big advantage. The Rene Dion trainee cruised home confidently in :27.3 to win by nine lengths in 1:51.2. Whiskey Tax finished second, while the lone mare in field, Charmed Life, was third. A six-year-old son of Kadabra, Flanagan Memory was making his Mohawk return Monday after finishing second in the Cutler Memorial at The Meadowlands on June 24 and third in the Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs on June 11. The veteran trotter surpassed $1 million in career earnings for owners Liette Flanagan and Dion with his runner-up finish in the Cutler. Flanagan Memory now has three wins in six starts this season and a 2016 bankroll of $125,200. The Dion trainee had only two wins last season, but banked nearly $300,000 in 15 starts. Flanagan Memory, who now has 16 career victories, established a new career-mark with his 1:51.2 mile on Monday. The clocking also equaled Domitian Hall and Rubber Duck's national season's mark. Live racing continues Tuesday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie  

JULY 5, 2016 - Two-year-old trotting fillies were the stars of the show at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening, making their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts in a trio of $70,000 Gold Series divisions. Winter Sweet Frost kicked things off in the first race with an effortless front-end tour of the Innisfil oval, clocking fractions of :30.2, :59.3 and 1:29.4 on her way to a 1:59.3 victory. Lady Justice closed to within one-half length of the pacesetter to secure second-place honours and Gravitator was a length back in third. "She raced good tonight," said driver Doug McNair. "The track hasn't been that fast up there, so to go a mile in 1:59.3, I think that's a pretty good mile for a two-year-old trotting filly's first lifetime start." The Guelph, ON resident piloted Winter Sweet Frost to victory for trainer Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The Kadabra daughter was sent off as the fan favourite after winning a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 10 and 24, and McNair said he was impressed with the filly long before she made her public debut. "The main thing about her is she's nice gaited and she's smart," said McNair, who first sat behind Winter Sweet Frost in a spring training mile. "You can make a lot of money with one's like that, rather than a high speed one that's half crazy." After finishing third with Gravitator, driver Sylvian Filion found the winner's circle in the second Gold division, piloting On A Sunny Day to a come-from-behind victory in 1:59. The duo reeled in pacesetter Sweet Of My Heart and pocket sitter Im Peekers, reaching the wire one-half length the best. "She really impressed me," said Filion, who crafted the victory for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and Determination of Montreal, QC. "That was the first time I sat behind her, but Luc always told me he really, really liked her and you know what, he was right. She was real impressive tonight." Blais also bred the daughter of Muscle Mass, who prepped for her Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) debut with qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 16 and 24, finishing fourth and second, respectively. "Her last baby race she came a last quarter in :27.1," noted Milton, ON resident Filion. "She's a handy filly, she's pretty easy to drive, she's pretty mature for her age, and she's got wicked speed, so it's a good combination." Filion, who was the leading reinsman in the OSS in 2015, was also impressed with Gravitator's third-place result. "I really liked the way she raced tonight, we got interfered with, were gapped, and she was still only beat a length and a half or something like that," said the reinsman. "She came a very good last half." Blais trains the Kadabra daughter, a full-sister to former OSS star and $870,153 winner Prestidigitator, for Determination. She was an $80,000 acquisition from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The final Gold division was captured by Janderson and driver Paul MacDonell, who swept by duelling leaders Mass Psychology and Majestic Kat in the stretch and pulled away to a three length victory in 1:59.3. "The race set up kind of nice for her, she got away third in a nice spot there, and then the first and second horses went at it kind of hard down the backstretch, which kind of made the race for her," said MacDonell. "In her only qualifier she did have a lot of trot on the end of her mile, so I was a little bit confident," added the reinsman, who tipped the filly out three-wide around the final turn to take clear aim on the finish line. MacDonell pilots the Muscle Mass filly for trainer Mike Keeling of Cambridge and owners Dr. Roly Armitage of Dunrobin and James Armitage of Carp, ON. A $14,000 purchase from the Canadian Open Yearling Sale, Janderson learned her early lessons from the Armitage's before making the move to Keeling's barn. "They trained her down in the Ottawa area and then they sent her to Mike just recently," noted MacDonell. "They did a good job with her, a very nice job. "They were pretty pumped, it was a big win for them," the Guelph, ON resident added. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Gold Series start on July 19 at Mohawk Racetrack. This Saturday, July 9, Georgian Down will welcome the two-year old trotting colts to Innisfil for their Gold Series debuts. The evening's first race gets under way at 7:15 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 27 - A return to his local track turned into yet another convincing harness racing victory for Musical Rhythm Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Ben Baillargeon trainee was a four-length winner in Monday's eight-horse $34,000 Preferred Trot. Musical Rhythm is now six for six at Mohawk this season and a perfect 11 for 11 on the WEG Circuit in 2016. The four-year-old son of Cantab Hall was making his first start Monday since finishing sixth in a leg of the Graduate Series at Tioga Downs on June 12. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Musical Rhythm trotted along in mid-pack until getting his cue to march on first up around the final turn. Fearless Man, who had made a second-quarter move to the lead, led the field around the far turn and held a narrow advantage over the first over challenger at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. In the stretch, Musical Rhythm powered right on by Fearless Man and pulled away from his rivals with ease. The Baillargeon trainee trotted home in :28.2 for the comfortable victory. Whiskey Tax, who led at the opening-quarter, finished second, while Olympic Son was third. Musical Rhythm now has 11 wins from 13 starts this season for earnings of just under $200,000. He is owned by Santo & Nunzio Vena, Claude Hamel and Ben Baillargeon. Monday's victory is the 20th career score for Musical Rhythm and pushes his career earnings over $295,000. He paid $3.20 to win. Musical Rhythm Top trotters were the main attraction Monday evening, but it was a pair of overnight performances that caught the attention of many. Five-year-old gelding Domitian Hall won the evening's fifth-race, a $20,000 overnight event, by just over 10 lengths in a stunning 1:51.2. The clocking was a new career-best for the son of Justice Hall and became the nation's fastest trotting mile of the season by an older male trotter. However, the same class was split into two races and four-year-old Rubber Duck would match Domitian Hall's mark with his own 1:51.2 mile later in the evening. The son of Muscle Mass knocked more than three-seconds off his previous career-best with the national season's record-equaling mile. In the fifth race, Domitian Hall and Jonathan Drury got away seventh and marched their way towards the front in the middle-half, ultimately grabbing command at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3. The five-year-old finished off his mile with a :26.4 final-quarter for the blow out victory. In the ninth race, Rubber Duck sat in the three-hole until making a move to the front around the final turn for driver Jack Moiseyev. The five-year-old had to deal with Cash For Gold pressing him throughout the lane, but the Julie Walker trainee was game and held him off with a :28 final-quarter. Domitian Hall was making his debut for new trainer Carmen Auciello Monday night. He now has five wins in 21 starts this season and 14 throughout the course of his career. Rubber Duck picked up his second win in six starts this season Monday. His impressive mile gives him six career victories. Musical Rhythm held the previous season's mark for an older male trotter of 1:52, taken on March 7th at Woodbine. The fastest trotting mile overall this season in Canada is 1:51, posted by Hannelore Hanover in the Armbro Flight Final on June 18th at Mohawk. Monday's card also featured three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. Bee In Charge took advantage of a stretch break by the leader to win the first division in a career-best 1:54.3. The gelded son of Manofmanymissions is a half-brother to the great Bee A Magician. Chris Christoforou guided the Per Henriksen trainee to his third win of the season. Zagster was able to convert off a second over trip from driver Trevor Henry to win the second split in 1:55.2. The gelded son of Muscle Mass is trained by Shannon Henry and now has two wins on the season. The final division featured a trio of horses (Will Take Charge, Dia Monde and Tony Soprano) coming out of the Goodtimes Final. Will Take Charge, who finished second in the Goodtimes, grabbed command in the second-quarter and never looked back en route to a career-best 1:53 score. The gelded son of Kadabra was driven to his third win of the season by Paul MacDonell for trainer John Bax. Live racing continues Tuesday night at Mohawk with another 10-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Just Make Believe (Kadabra) scored his second harness racing victory in the last three weeks as the John DiStefano trainee went coast to coast in Sunday's $15,000 feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Jimmy Devaux piloted the six year old trotter in the 1 1/16 mile Open and moved him out to the lead after an opening quarter of 27.1. Just Make Believe got a bit of a breather in the middle half but braced for the late surge from the race's favorite Boli who came charging hard in the final quarter. Boli's move was too little too late as he ended up second best to Just Make Believe who covered the 1 1/16 miles in 2:02.4. Boli was the runner up for the second consecutive time while Stirling Cadet (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. Just Make Believe, who returned $7.40 to win on Sunday, scored for the fifth time in his last seven starts. Live racing resumes on Thursday at Saratoga with a 4:00pm first post. Mike Sardella

For Terang harness racing trainer Matthew Craven the win of his mare Aldebaran Deebee in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series four-year-old mares’ heat at Maryborough on Thursday was a celebration for two reasons. One, she won. Two, good mate and stable employee Chris Svanosio returned to the winners’ list after a recent health battle. “It was terrific to see Chris win aboard the horse owned by Peter, his father,” Craven said. “Chris is a huge asset to my stable. He’s first there in the morning and last to leave. He’s a terrific worker.” Aldebaran Deebee (Skyvalley/Dirty Harriet) rated 2:02.2 to defeat Kimmywho by 3.9m, with Hush Your Majesty third. The Ararat Trotting Cup winner from earlier this year drew gate five for next Friday night’s Final, while talented Endsino from the Andy Gath yard grabbed the pole draw. “We’ve had a few little setbacks,” Craven said of Aldebaran Deebee’s recent patchy form. “But I think we’re on top of that now and she’ll benefit a lot from the run (at Maryborough). “The trouble with her is … any little setback really hits her hard and prevents us from working her how she needs to be worked.” The four-year-old mares’ trot Vicbred final shapes as one of the races of the night next Friday, with another heat winner Val Gardena (Kadabra/Lets Be Happy) drawing barrier three, and Sky Petite, who defeated Endsino in their heat, drawn eight – inside the second row. Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Trotting Mares Final Draw 1: Endsino 2: Kimmywho 3: Val Gardena 4: Zaire Diva 5: Aldebaran Deebee 6: Vari Perfect (EM) 7: Ruby Pinevale 8: Sky Petite 9: Sashas Dream 10: Desert Flyer 11: Knocked Off Early 12: Hush Your Majesty (ODM) 13: Donski (ODM) Cody Winnell

Nichols, N.Y. -- Scott Woogen's Six Bax ($10.80) sustained another class hike successfully, as he rose to defeat six harness racing 'Open foes' in Saturday (June 18) evening's $11,000 featured trotting event at Tioga Downs.   Jim Taggart, Jr. sprinted off early with the 7-year-old Kadabra gelding, and the pair made all the pace through splits of :28.1, :57, and 1:25.1. Through the third quarter, Six Bax faced mild but steady first-over pressure from 8-5 favorite Oh No Three O (Jeff Long), but he edged clear off the far turn to a two-length lead. Six Bax ultimately won by 1-3/4 lengths with a fair bit in reserve over pocket rival Write That Down (MIke Merton), while Oh No Three O faded to third.   The 1:54.2 win for Six Bax was his fastest of the season, and his third consecutive triumph. Gary Messenger trains the 24-time winner.   In the first round of the Tioga Summer Claiming Series, Normandy Invasion ($5.90, Fern Paquet, Jr.) and Race Me Rocky ($46.20, Jim Meittinis) both lasted on the lead to capture their respective $7,500 divisions.   Scott Coulter and Mike Simons led all drivers with two wins apiece on the 10-race card, while Tony Dinges and Marc Major recorded training doubles.   As the 50¢ Pick 5 was not hit, $129.16 will carry over to Sunday (June 19) afternoon's card. Post time for the 11-race Father's Day program is 1:30 p.m. Eastern, with the $179,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace carded as the eighth event.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

JUNE 14, 2016 - Six $18,000 Grassroots divisions were featured on Mohawk Racetrack's Tuesday evening program as the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies opened their 2016 season. Things got off to a quick start as Magical Valentine and trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev fired to the front before the halfway marker and sailed home to a 1:56.2 personal best in the first division. In just her fourth lifetime start, Magical Valentine bested a pair of freshman Grassroots winners, Traviata and Dewdle All Day. Moffat, ON resident Moiseyev conditions the daughter of Kadabra for M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. The win boosted Magical Valentine's sophomore record to two wins, one second and earnings of $19,500 in three starts. The sharp tempo was maintained in the second division as favourite Magical Steph and Myretirementticket battled through fractions of :27.2, :56 and 1:26.1 before yielding in the stretch to a hard-closing Royal Charm. After pushing out three-wide to get a clear look at the leaders, Royal Charm and trainer-driver Mark Steacy powered down the stretch to a one-half length victory in 1:55.4. Myretirementticket stayed game for second and Its All About Sam trotted into third. "Royal Charm is a well-bred filly that has always shown a lot of speed, but has been hampered by tie-up problems and immaturity," said Steacy of the Majestic Son-Queen Of Grace daughter. "Hopefully her problems are now behind her so we can continue to see what she can do." The Lansdowne, ON resident conditions Royal Charm for Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo, ON, David McDonald of Cornwall, ON, Hudson Standardbred Stables Inc. of Hudson, QC and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY. Tuesday's win was the filly's first in six outings. Fan favourites Dayliner and Paul Walker also delivered a sharp mile in the third division, trotting under the wire in 1:56, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Powerful Glare and Silky Flashy Nfast. The win - a new lifetime mark for the Muscle Mass daughter - was Dayliner's second in 16 appearances. Walker trains and drives the filly for his wife Brenda Walker of Owen Sound, ON. The first-time winner trend continued in the fourth division as Jody Jamieson stepped into the race bike behind True Muscle and guided the filly to a one and one-half length victory in 1:57.1. Fan favourites Could It Be Magic and I Want Kandy settled for second and third behind the first time winner. "She's just a sweet OSS filly that seems to want to do everything you ask," said Jamieson, who piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to the win for trainer Keith Jones of Barrie, ON and owner Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, ON. "I liked her so much that I'm going to go to Georgian Downs to drive her in the Alliance Final on Sunday (June 19)," added the Moffat resident. P C Cantore earned her first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy in the fifth Grassroots division, reaching the Mohawk Racetrack finish line two lengths ahead of Smash Hit and Zorgwijk Queen. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry piloted the daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and Balladeer to the 1:57.2 victory for owner-breeder-trainer Peter Clements of Dobbinton, ON. Unraced at two, P C Cantore now has four wins in six starts and earnings of $21,592. The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to Majestic Mistress, who hung on for a neck victory after battling pacesetter Absolut Seelster from the halfway marker onward. Majestic Mistress and driver Ryan Holliday stopped the teletimer at 1:58.1, holding off favourite P L Jill and second choice Magical Wonder. The win was the Majestic Son daughter's first in seven outings. "It was nice to get the monkey off our back with her," said driver Ryan Holliday of Mount Forest, ON. "She can trot enough; it's just a matter of keeping her at task. I think she's getting the hang of it." Holliday's father Dave, also of Mount Forest, conditions Majestic Mistress for owner-breeder Ron Corbett of St. Jacobs, ON. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start on July 1, during Dresden Raceway's Canada Day celebrations. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack this week, with the three-year-old pacing colts taking centre stage on Thursday with six Grassroots divisions and the three-year-old pacing fillies stepping to the forefront on Friday with seven Grassroots splits. Post time for both programs is 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing  

Just Make Believe (Kadabra) paid immediate dividends for his new harness racing connections on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino & Raceway as the six year old prevailed in the $15,000 Open Trot. Just Make Believe was assigned post position one in the 1 1/16 mile feature as he was moving up in company off a claim for trainer John DiStefano. Jimmy Devaux got the driving assignment and got the razor sharp trotter away well early. Just Make Believe sat the pocket to Stirling Cadet (Frank Coppola Jr), last week's Open winner, who was setting sizzling fractions on the lead. Softened a bit by an opening quarter of 26.2, Stirling Cadet tired late and Just Make Believe slid out of the pocket around the final turn. The favored Boli (Wally Hennessey) was closing sharply but after getting away last had them all to beat if he was going to secure his second victory in the local Open. Just Make Believe stopped the timer in 2:03.1 to prevail in the 1 1/16 Open at odds of 18-1. Boli closed sharply for second while Stirling Cadet held on for third. Just Make Believe returned $38.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $145 and $714, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday at Saratoga with a 4:00pm first post. Mike Sardella

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The ink had barely dried in the harness racing record book but Noble Legend didn't care one bit because he was erasing his own name.   For the second straight week, Noble Legend impressively smashed the track record for 4-year-old gelded trotters in winning the $10,000 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway Friday night (June 10). He beat his old mark of 1:57.3 by a whole second with a blistering 1:56.3 over the fast surface. It threatened the all-time trotting mark of 1:56.1 set by Gural Hanover in 2014.   Last Friday, Noble Legend easily destroyed the old standard of 1:58.2 that was held by Sams Hope (2003), Baby Boy Grin (2009) and BZ Glide (2013). The clocking was also tied his career best of 1:56.3 set last season at Pocono Downs.   Cold Certified (Shawn McDonough) did the dirty work early, going 57.2 to the half. Midway down the backstretch the second time, the pocket-sitting Noble Legend (Kevin Cummings) couldn't wait any longer and blasted past Cold Certified to the three-quarter marker.   There was little doubt who the winner was going to be in the stretch as Noble Legend ($9.00) and Cummings were in cruise control. They were looking for any potential threats but none materialized. Strong Hope (Ray Fisher Jr.) finished in second place 2-1/2 lengths behind while Cold Certified held on for third.   Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Noble Legend (Kadabra-Lovin It) is trained by Maria Rice. The victory, the sixth in his 2016 campaign, moved Noble Legend's bankroll to $30,788 this season and $58,195 lifetime.   Kevin Cummings ended the night with four victories while Todd Cummings and Drew Monti doubled. Mike Carrubba and Bob Gruber III each had two training wins.   Racing will continue on Saturday night with a 12-race card set for 7 p.m., one hour later than normal due to the running of the Belmont Stakes.   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

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, June 6, 2016 - The trotters own the limelight at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday evening with the third leg of the $120,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-olds. Of the three divisions, just one was able to make it on the wagering program. That is the third race for trotting mares. SOS Striking Monte and driver Mario Charron are the morning line favorite and rightly so. In her first two starts in the series, the five-year-old daughter of Striking Sahbra has been first and second. Two starts back she won with ease in a lifetime best clocking of 1:59.4. Then last week she was beaten in the stretch by SOS Revange. SOS Striking Monte goes from post six on Tuesday and faces competition from National Trace (post 4) and Bambie Benjo (post two). The first division for mares is a non-wagering race at 6:30 pm that features last week's winner, SOS Revange. She starts from post four for driver Gaetan Lamy and takes on former series champions Viva Bayama (post two) and Meganou (post three) in what should be a very good matchup. The horses take center stage in a non-wagering race carded between the 5th and 6th races on Tuesday. Featured is the return of Maximuscle in post three for driver Mario Charron and trainer Maxime Velaye. During the opening round of the series, Maximuscle broke stride after the start and came back to win the race, but still had to qualify against last week, missing the second round that was won by Seeyou Men. Seeyou Men has taken this week off, so Maximuscle should have it things his own way provided his minds his manners and stays on stride for the entire mile race. Other contenders in the field include Promesses Imperial (post 4), Me The Boss (post one) and Victorycari (post two). TRACK NOTES: Here are the final standing from the All-Star Driver's Tournament at 3R on Sunday. Jody Jamieson 160 pts John Campbell 135 pts Sylvain Filion 128 pts Daniel Dube 123 pts Tim Tetrick 116 pts Yannick Gingras 83 pts Mario Charron 60 pts Denis St-Pierre 11 pts From the Quebec Jockey Club

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- There were a couple of harness racing surprises at Buffalo Raceway on a gorgeous Friday night (June 3).   First, Strong Hope stunned the betting public again with an easy 2-1/2 length victory over Cold Certified in the $10,000 Open Trot.   But not to be outdone two races later, Noble Legend set the track record for four-year-old gelding trotters with a 1:57.3 time over the fast track in beating Red Clay in a $8,200 conditioned event by a half length. It erased the old standard of 1:58.2 held by Sams Hope (2003), Baby Boy Grin (2009) and BZ Glide (2013).   Noble Legend ($3.40), driven by Kevin Cummings, was third at the top of the lane and used a late charge to nip Red Clay in the record setting clocking.   Owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Noble Legend (Kadabra-Lovin It) has earned $25,758 this season thanks to four wins in 14 appearances this season. Maria Rice trained the winner.   In the feature, Strong Hope returned $22.20 for the win to go along with his $11.80, $17.40 and $53.50 in previous victories since April 1. The 9-year-old also has had two second places finishes during that stretch as well, but ironically has yet to go off the post time favorite.   As expected, Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) set the fractions starting from the seven post and put up reasonable splits of 28.3, 59.1 and 1:29.0. Strong Hope, who sat fourth from the beginning, was first over to the half and was on even terms with Lutetium at the top of the stretch.   There was no denying Strong Hope in the lane however as he powerfully trotted away from the field and left second place finisher Cold Certified (Shawn McDonough) and third place finisher B Z Glide (Mike Caprio) in his wake.   Owned and trained by Joe Agostino, it was the fifth win in 18 tries this season for Strong Hope (Cr Excalibur-Spring Lane Joanie). It moved his seasonal earnings to $35,691 and $536,574 lifetime.   James McNeight Jr. got his first pari mutual win ever as the 19-year-old steered Jim Dandy to a $9.70 win in the eleventh race.   Kevin Cummings had five wins in the bike while Fisher Jr. finished the night with a four-bagger. Angelo Nappo scored a training triple.   Racing will continue on Saturday night with an 11-race card set for 6 p.m.   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

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