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Allentown, NJ --- Before Tim Tetrick was a world-renowned harness racing driver, he was a member of the FFA. On Thursday night (April 20), Tetrick returned to those roots when he visited the Allentown High School chapter of the organization, which was formerly known by its full name, Future Farmers of America. Tetrick participated in FFA all four years at Fairfield High School in southern Illinois. He served as the group’s vice president and received a college scholarship for agricultural business through his involvement with the organization, although he decided to pursue a career in racing. “I think FFA is a great thing,” Tetrick said at Allentown’s monthly chapter meeting. “It helps introduce people to the agricultural world and it gives you a lot of opportunities. I had the opportunity to get my college education because of FFA if I wanted to go that way. I hooked on with the horses and so far it’s been a great career choice for me. “I’ve been very fortunate. If I could do it again, I would probably go to school to get my education and have that part of my life. But I can’t regret what these horses have given to me, and to my family, providing for us.” Among the benefits of FFA participation, Tetrick said, is meeting new people and learning to interact with others. The lessons he gleaned through FFA were helpful as Tetrick moved from an eighth-grade class with eight people to eventually living and racing in Chicago and later the New York metropolitan area. “I lived in Chicago for eight or nine years,” Tetrick said, adding with a laugh, “I remember showing up in Chicago with my cowboy boots and belt buckle and when I left I had regular clothes on. “When I first moved to the East Coast and I was racing at Yonkers and New York City, it was kind of the bright lights. It kind of scared me. But I’ve been able to fit in wherever I go. People are what you take from them. Everybody has good moments. I’m easy-going.” Allentown High School is home to one of the nation’s top FFA programs. The group’s current president, Joanna Ricci, also comes from a family involved with Standardbred breeding and racing. She presented Tetrick with an FFA T-shirt at the conclusion of his talk. Prior to Tetrick speaking, the students watched a video detailing some of Tetrick’s numerous accomplishments on the racetrack. The 35-year-old Tetrick has already driven the winners of $178 million in purses, good for fifth most in harness racing history, and won 9,647 races, which is 15th best all time in North America. “I’ve gotten to travel to Sweden, Australia, New Zealand with these horses,” said Tetrick, a four-time Driver of the Year Award winner. “It all starts with agriculture, whatever field you’re in. I caught on with the Standardbred business because of my family and FFA and it’s been very good to me. I’ve been very, very fortunate.”   by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Beach House and Dragon Striker took different paths last season as harness racing 2-year-olds, but the Rich Gillock-trained pacing colts seem to be heading the same direction this year, which could lead to stakes engagements down the road. First, though, both horses will compete in Saturday’s (April 22) $27,200 Unlocked Pace Series championship for 3-year-old male pacers at The Meadows. The series is for Pennsylvania-sired horses that were non-winners of three races or $30,000 lifetime through March 1. Beach House, who started last year strongly before being derailed by sickness, won two of 10 races in 2016 and earned $39,798 for owner Harry Locke. So far this season Beach House has won three of four starts, including his two preliminary legs of the Unlocked Pace Series, and banked $20,400. Dragon Striker, bred and owned by Bob Key, got sick early last year but finished strongly, won two of seven races and earned $20,250. This year, the colt has won once in four starts and earned $12,155. The two horses are eligible to numerous stakes, including the Breeders Crown and The Meadows’ premier event, the Delvin Miller Adios. Beach House’s potential dance card also includes the North America Cup. “We paid a good bit of money for that Beach House colt,” Gillock said, referring to the $92,000 price tag at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. “With that being said, we’ve got him staked somewhat this year hoping he’ll come on and improve a bit more. He’s got a ways to go before he’s that caliber, but at least we’re starting out on a positive note this year. That was our game plan. Hopefully we can do some good on Saturday.” Beach House, a son of  Somebeachsomewhere-Sara Sue, won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes last year and competed in the Metro Pace in Canada, but got sick and never regained his early form. “He started out like he could be a good colt for us,” Gillock said. “It took a toll on him and he just never came back the same colt. So we shut him down to give him some time. “This year he’s grown into being a nice-looking colt.” Dragon Striker, a son of  Dragon Again-Lady’s Portrait, won back-to-back starts to finish last year. “He trained better than he raced,” Gillock said. “It took a while, but we finally got him straightened out. He came back really good this year too. He’s staked pretty heavy. Bob likes to keep them eligible.” Gillock hopes the Unlocked Pace Series can be “a stepping stone” to stakes competition. Both horses are eligible to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, which features some of last year’s top male pacers, including world champions Huntsville (a Dan Patch Award winner in 2016) and Downbytheseaside. “They let you know pretty quickly what you have and what you don’t,” Gillock said. “They’ll come out right off the bat and be ready to roll. Hopefully we can stay healthy.” Beach House is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in the Unlocked Pace final, behind Ron Burke’s 5-2 favorite Southwind Yukon. The championship is one of four series finales for conditioned-level 3-year-olds. Chris Beaver’s DD’s Comet is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the $28,400 Tamarind Trot for 3-year-old male trotters while Bill Zendt’s Canwood is the 5-2 choice in the $27,200 Princess Pablano Trot for 3-year-old female trotters and Burke’s Sapphire Breeze is the 2-1 pick in the $24,200 Medusa Pace for 3-year-old female pacers. For Saturday’s complete card at The Meadows, click here.   by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Matt Kakaley saw many of McWicked's victories during the horse's Dan Patch Award-winning campaign in 2014, but not from a favorable vantage point. Kakaley drove horses that lost nine times to McWicked that season, which culminated with McWicked being named harness racing's best 3-year-old male pacer. Last weekend McWicked won again, but this time Kakaley was much happier with the view. Kakaley began driving McWicked three weeks ago in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and the two teamed to advance to Saturday's $529,000 championship at Yonkers Raceway by getting last week's crucial triumph following two second-place finishes. "It's cool how it's worked out where I finally get to drive him," Kakaley said. "I raced against him many, many times and he usually beat me every time I raced him. I think I got the better of him once or twice. "This has worked out good. He's getting sharp at the right time. He was super the other night."McWicked will start Saturday's Levy final from post No. 1 and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind favorite Somewhere In L A, who enters the race off back-to-back victories. Missile J, the only three-time winner in the event's five preliminary rounds, is 4-1 while defending champion Bit Of A Legend N is 5-1. "It's going to be a good race," Kakaley said. "It's a good group of horses. Missile J is the one to beat, but Somewhere In L A has been racing good, Bit Of A Legend has been racing good. I don't think any one horse lays over (the field). There are probably four or five that have a really big shot." McWicked, owned by Ed James and trained since last year by Steve Elliott, was stymied at ages 4 and 5 by throat issues that resulted in two surgeries. This year, the 6-year-old son of McArdle-Western Sahara has won three of seven races and earned $71,000 to push his career purses to $1.83 million. Kakaley and McWicked needed last Saturday's win to secure a place in the Levy final. A week after losing by a nose to Clear Vision in a gate-to-wire attempt, McWicked rallied from four-lengths back at the half to win by three-quarters of a length over Caviart Luca. "He's been getting better and better each start," Kakaley said. "The (previous) start, when I had him on the front, he was just kind of waiting on a horse and Clear Vision got him. I asked Steve to make a little bridle change and he was sharp. He was super. "He's getting right at the right time for this series and the rail always helps at Yonkers. He's just a pleasure to drive. He'll do anything you want. He's all professional. Steve has got him really good right now. Hopefully I can work out a good trip and give him a big chance to get the job done." Two races prior to the Levy championship, Kakaley will drive Medusa in the $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. Medusa, who had one win in the five preliminary rounds for trainer Andrew Federico Jr. and owners Randy Bendis and Tom Pollack, is 20-1 on the morning line from post six. Mach It A Par, who shared the points lead in the prelims with Shesjustadelight N, is the 2-1 choice from post three. Regil Elektra, a three-time winner in the series, is 5-2 from post five and Shesjustadelight N is 4-1 from post two. "I wasn't too thrilled about the draw," Kakaley said. "She drew outside a couple of the main contenders. But she's been really good. She was really sharp when she won and she was really good last week, I just didn't really have much room up the passing lane. But she finished with a good amount of steam. "I was really looking forward to her being a live shot in there. Hopefully things will work out because she's been good. I think she still has a shot; she just needs the race to set up for her." Complete entries for the Saturday races at Yonkers can be found by clicking on this link. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

The U.S. Trotting Association's annual Driving School will be May 31-June 3 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, home of the Little Brown Jug, in central Ohio. As this year's school approaches, the USTA will periodically profile "graduates" of the program. For more information about the harness racing school, click here. Sitting behind a horse wasn't Mike Cayouette's first time around a track. Before he found harness racing, Cayouette was active in snowmobile racing. "We raced on horse tracks; they iced them down in the wintertime and we raced on them," said Cayouette, who lives in Maine. "(Racing) a snowmobile is a little easier," he added with a laugh. "You've got a little more control with that one." Solving issues with a snowmobile and making one go fast might be easier, but working with a horse and unraveling the mysteries to each one's success is what drives Cayouette now. "It's fun with the horses, figuring out what they need to have, need to wear," said Cayouette, who has eight horses in training. "You're learning as much as they're learning." Cayouette, who owns the Sidney Training Center, started his own learning at the U.S. Trotting Association Driving School in 2010. Cayouette owned racehorses for a decade, but wanted to get more involved as a trainer and driver. Since the school, the 59-year-old Cayouette has posted 93 wins as a trainer --- including a career-best 22 last year --- and 24 victories as a driver. "It's been good," said Cayouette, who also operates a retail flooring business. "The school was a lot of help to me because I was pretty green as far as being a trainer or driver. Mostly I was just an owner and occasionally I would jog some now and then. "At the school, I liked the part about the shoeing a lot. And Aaron Merriman spoke and he was quite helpful, too, as far as driving. I would definitely recommend the school." Seven years after attending the school, Merriman drove one of Cayouette's homebred pacers at Ohio's Northfield Park. Merriman won with the horse, Sinners Prayer, in a then-lifetime-best 1:53 on Feb. 27. "That was awesome," Cayouette said. This year's Driving School will begin Wednesday, May 31, with a welcoming reception/dinner featuring Bob Boni, co-owner of 2016 Horse of the Year Always B Miki. Participants work alongside grooms and trainers stabled at the fairgrounds Thursday-Saturday mornings. Each afternoon, topics such as horse ownership, veterinary care, driving strategy, training and conditioning and stable management will be covered by guest speakers. As for Cayouette's biggest accomplishment since the school, he said "just driving is an accomplishment to me." He won 10 of 72 races as a driver in 2012, but has cut back on his driving in recent years. "In the future I'd really like to have a nice open (level) horse," Cayouette said. "We don't have the better grade of horses, but we get around. My wife (Brenda) loves the horses and is an owner on a lot of them. It's a lot of fun." Ken Weingartner

After sitting out last week's round in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series because of a numbers crunch, Rockin Ron's connections hope the harness racing gelding can come back this weekend with a performance good enough to maintain a spot in the upcoming $200,000-added final at Yonkers Raceway. The preliminary divisions of the six-week Levy Series for older male pacers conclude Saturday at The Hilltop. Rockin Ron will enter the night holding the eighth-and-final spot for the April 22 championship, but might need nothing less than a win Saturday to keep his position. Rockin Ron holds a five-point edge over Wakizashi Hanover and eight-point advantage over the trio of Long Live Rock, Mach It So, and McWicked in the battle to qualify for the final. He trails both Blood Brother and Provacativeprince N by 22 points, so numerous possible outcomes are in play, but the simplest way for Rockin Ron to roll into the final is by winning his division this weekend. A horse receives 25 points each time he races in the series. He then gets points based on his finish, with 50 points for a win, 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth and five for fifth. The complete standings are available at this link. Rockin Ron, who has a win, second and fourth in the series, sat out last week's action because trainer Ron Burke could enter only three of his five eligible horses. A trainer can have only one horse in each division and last week there were three divisions. There has been a maximum of four divisions in the preliminary rounds. "To be fair we've had to space out who gets to race, which really hurts your chances to get into the final," said Mark Weaver, who is among the owners of Rockin Ron. "I wish we could have raced him because it pretty much would have assured him being in the final. But that's the situation we're in. "If he's good enough to get in, he deserves it. If he's not good enough, then he probably didn't deserve it." Rockin Ron, a 5-year-old son of Real Desire-Im All A Roan, is in the second of three divisions Saturday. He faces a group that includes series leader Missile J, third-place Keystone Velocity, fifth-place Bit Of A Legend (the series defending champion) and Blood Brother. "Fortunately he drew inside," Weaver said, referring to Rockin Ron's post No. 2 starting position with driver Yannick Gingras. "Hopefully we can get a good chunk of it." Last year, Rockin Ron won 11 of 26 races and earned $390,910 for owners Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and RTC Stables. His victories included the Confederation Cup and Prix d'Ete, defeating 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in both. He finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Dorothy Mullin Invitational. "Obviously we were high on him coming into this year and we've got him staked up to pretty much everything," Weaver said. "I think so far his year is starting off well. I think every start he's been pretty good. He hasn't been raced too hard and I think the week off should help. I'm real happy. "For some of these Levy horses, after the Levy they're back to being overnight horses. With Ron and All Bets Off, those are two that I think have a chance to go on and be competitive in the open ranks." All Bets Off, a 6-year-old stallion who has earned $2.21 million in his career, has finishes of second, third and sixth in the Levy. He competes in Saturday's third division, where Somewhere In L A is a slight 2-1 morning line favorite over 5-2 Wakizashi Hanover. All Bets Off and driver Matt Kakaley are 6-1 from post six. "We contemplated standing him at stud last year, but figured we would give him another year of racing," Weaver said. "He qualified great and his first race was super. Then he was sick and drew badly. It's a little disappointing, but at the same time we've got a long year. Matt loves him and still has confidence in him. Hopefully Ronnie can get him straightened out." Burke's other Levy competitors have been Caviart Luca, Always At My Place, and Take It Back Terry. Caviart Luca will race in Saturday's first division and is 4-1 on the morning line. "Ronnie said they all trained great, all the Saturday night horses, especially Caviart Luca," Weaver said. "Hopefully (Caviart Luca and All Bets Off) can do all right and sneak into the consolation." Complete entries for Saturday's races can be found at this link. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- When Chip Walther races, Chip Walther is watching. Chip Walther, a harness racing 3-year-old pacing colt who finished last season with a four-race win streak, was named by co-owner Mike Anderson in honor of a college buddy, Chip Walther. The two attended Western Illinois University together. Walther now lives in Wisconsin, where he keeps a watchful eye on his namesake. “His friends thought he was a celebrity because he’s got a horse named after him,” said Anderson, who enjoys naming horses after family and friends. “He gets the biggest thrill out of it. That’s why I name horses after all these people, they just have a hoot. They watch them, it gets them involved, they just have a great time. “Every time Chip Walther races he’s watching the race. And he gets a bunch of other people watching that normally wouldn’t be watching a harness race. That’s the fun part. When (the horse) finished last year with a bang (Walther) was all excited.” The excitement could continue and grow this year. The Erv Miller-trained Chip Walther is staked to a number of open events including the Breeders Crown, Cane Pace, Messenger Stakes, and Tompkins-Geers. “We’ve got him staked to most everything except the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace,” Anderson said. “We’ll let some of the other guys beat each other up a little and we’ll try to come on at the end of the year. Maybe at the end of the year we’ll be bravened up enough that we might have a shot at them, or a shot of getting a piece anyway.” A son of stallion Art Major out of the mare Bittorsweet Terror, Chip Walther was purchased for $18,000 under the name Bently Hanover at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. His second dam is stakes-winner Swifty But Nifty, whose offspring include millionaire Cam Swifty and multiple-stakes-winner Lonesome Day. “We try to get some value,” Anderson said. “All the sires are pretty damn good; the difference-maker is the mama’s side. I liked the page and Erv said he liked the individual. He was just a tad on the small side at the time, but he doesn’t look so small now. He’s pretty close to average.” Last year, Chip Walther won five of 14 races and earned $126,655 for owners Anderson (as Paymaq Racing), Erv Miller Stable, Nick Surick Stable, and Louis “Andy” Willinger. His only victory in his first 10 starts came in a Landmark Stakes at Goshen Historic Track. He was winning the Sheppard Pace at Yonkers before going off stride in the final turn. “Early we were so disappointed,” Anderson said. “He trained down so good and we had really high hopes for him. But he was a little goofy in the head, a little immature. In the Sheppard I thought he was going to run off. He was up by three lengths and then he jumped off. We went from maybe having a big year to maybe not having a good year at all. “Erv was real patient with him and didn’t press on him much. Sure enough he kept getting better, got a little more confidence. I couldn’t have asked for a better way for him to finish. We were very happy with him.” Chip Walther began his four-race win streak with a triumph in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington’s Red Mile and capped it with a dead-heat victory in the Kindergarten Classic Series championship at the Meadowlands. “We’re excited,” Anderson said. “He looks good. You’ve got to have luck and you never know how they’ll come back at 3, but right now you couldn’t ask for anything more.” Another returning stakes-winner in Miller’s stable is 3-year-old pacer R J P. Last year the colt won two of 10 races and earned $99,140 for owners David Prushnok, John Prushnok, David J. Miller, and Lawrence Means. The Prushnoks bred R J P, who is by Somebeachsomewhere out of Vysoke Tatry. “R J P is coming back really good,” Miller said. “He’s really strong right now. We’ll see how far he goes. We were really high on him but then he got to where he was hard to drive in a race. We’ve been working with that. Hopefully he’ll be doing it the right way this year.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

George Leager will turn 79 in August, but says he feels like a man half that age. The success of harness racing horses such as Diva Demands might help him keep that youthful disposition. Diva Demands will start from post No. 2 in Tuesday's $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund final for 3-year-old female pacers at Dover Downs. The filly has won two of three starts this year, including her opening-round assignment in the DSBF series before finishing second by a neck to Bad Mama in last week's second leg. Corey Callahan will drive Diva Demands, who is 12-1 on the morning line. Trainer Jim King Jr. sends out the race's top picks, 2-1 Logan's Girl and 3-1 Spanish Dream. Bad Mama, trained by Clyde Francis, is 7-2. "She's just a game filly," Leager said about Diva Demands. "I knew she had a lot of speed last year, but I never could get her right. She's better this year. She's only missed a check once in her career, so you have to like her. But you hate to brag on them too much. It's better to talk about what they've done than what they're going to do. You never know what's going to happen." A daughter of Roddy's Bags Again out of the broodmare Me In The Spotlite, Diva Demands was purchased for $5,500 at the 2015 Chick's Sale. Last year Diva Demands won once in seven starts, with her victory coming in the November DSBF series consolation, and earned $15,620. For her career, she has banked $33,120. Leager, a Maryland native who spent most of his life as a farmer, has five horses in training. Over the years, he enjoyed success with horses like homebred 1998 Maryland Sire Stakes champion Aunt Lainey, 2005 DSBF champ Badlands Cowgirl, homebred $354,051-earner Mom's Toy, and Razzle Dazzle Hall. He also partnered with fellow Maryland resident Robert Van Dyke Jr., who passed away in 2015, on horses. "We had horses for 30 years and never had a disagreement," Leager said. "He was a real good guy." This season, Leager has two 2-year-olds he likes, homebred colt Slick Tony and filly Lofty Illusion. "You like them until you find out they're no good," Leager said, laughing. "I breed most of my horses, but I buy one every once in a while. It was probably around 1980 when I started fooling with the horses. I did it part time. I'm near 80 years old now and I don't know where all the time went. I feel like I ought to be 40. I feel pretty good." Diva Demands won her first-round elimination in the DSBF by two lengths over Lillisbagsrpacked in a career-best-equaling 1:55.2. Last week, she sat a pocket trip behind Bad Mama before briefly getting a nose in front as the two horses battled in the stretch. Bad Mama rallied for the neck victory. "I think when she got by Bad Mama she thought the race was over," Leager said. Bad Mama and Logan's Girl both were two-time winners in the DSBF preliminaries. Diva Demands, Spanish Dream, and Lunar Phase each had one victory and one second-place finish. A Lady Sizzling also had a win in the eliminations. "There are a bunch of good ones in there," Leager said. "We'll see how it goes." Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- When most people possess an exciting 3-year-old pacing colt that could position himself to become a harness racing world champion and a stakes winner they are brimming with pride and joy as the ultimate, yet elusive reward of this business just may be in their grasp. The Dombecks and Biers, however, are well acquainted with the peaks and valleys that are the chief component of this sport and can certainly speak from experience in regards to both sets of circumstances. Although both families are cautiously optimist that Highalator will separate himself as a top competitor in his division, the demoralizing loss of their beloved Modern Family in 2014 remains a shroud cast over their hearts that perpetually inhibits their expectations, hopes and dreams of what will transpire for not only this colt, but all their stock. "I try not to get too excited anymore," said Charles Dombeck, who co-owns this son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher. "We have been fortunate to have Wind Of The North and Bandolito and this colt looks like a nice horse, but we just don't know. The top horses from last year have not returned yet, so he could be a top 10 horse, a top 20 horse or a top 50 horse. "Losing Modern Family the way we did is something that will always remain for all of us, so when my friends ask me why I am not really excited, I explain to them if you remain realistic and take things as they come, then enjoy them if they do, it makes it a lot easier to accept the disappointments." Also co-owned by Daryl Bier, Highalator is a homebred conditioned by Jenny Bier and seeks his seventh consecutive victory on Sunday (April 9) when he leaves from post position four with Victor Kirby holding the lines in the fourth and final division of the second leg of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $15,000 contest but Chillin Matisse (post seven, Corey Callahan, 3-1) and Youcaniknow (post one, Anthony Napolitano, 7-2) are also receiving their fair share of attention. "He received a nice, easy trip in the first leg and we are hoping for the same in the race this weekend," Dombeck said. "We are not sure exactly what we are going to do with him, because the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes begin five days after the Weiss final which is on May 1, so we might end up skipping a leg or the final to take him to the sire stakes. It will be whatever the horse tells us to do with him and whatever is best for him." Highalator, with a resume of 9-7-1-0 and $40,620 in the bank, is the first foal out of his world champion dam Higher And Higher, who Daryl Bier and Dombeck purchased in 2012 from Ongait.com. The daughter of Western Terror-Pro Bowl Best earned just under $1 million before being transferred to the breeding shed. While Bier and Dombeck both agreed to keep Highalator, as well as his yearling half-sister Dancin With Jammy (A Rocknroll Dance), the colt's younger full sister, JK Higher Power, was sold to the 3 Brothers Stables for $110,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Demonstrating he had ability as a 2-year-old, Highalator, in rein to Scott Zeron, made a powerful middle move from sixth to sweep the field and reach the wire a half-length over his rivals, several of which were older than him, on July 17, 2016, in a $12,000 non-winners contest upon the very same surface his hooves will grace on Sunday evening. After a fourth place finish on July 31 at the same facility Dombeck and Bier decided the colt had done enough and gave him time to grow for his sophomore season. "When he was training down in Florida he was coming along fine, but had a cough and some allergies," Dombeck said. "As soon as we took him up north they disappeared and he's never had a problem since. His first race, I watched on the computer and he was so far back, then I couldn't even see him until he finished with that rush. The next time I saw him was at the wire and after his next race we just decided to put him away. We don't believe in making 2-year-olds do too much and allowing them some time to mature and fill out." Highalator returned to the racing ranks on Jan. 18 in a $6,000 conditioned event at Dover Downs and was second by a nose. The following week, the colt received the services of Yannick Gingras at the same location and was extremely impressive in a 1:52.2 triumph after a first-over journey from post position seven. "We wanted to know what Yannick thought of him," Dombeck said. "It was around the time we needed to make stakes payments and after he brought him back, he told us we should definitely stake him." Highalator's next engagement was a $10,000 non-winners contest at The Meadowlands on Feb. 4, where he absolutely strode through the lane as much the best, while stopping the clock in 1:52.4 after a :26.2 final panel. Victor Kirby, who will now remain the colt's regular pilot, steered him through the mile, which one again included older horses in the field. The colt started on two more occasions at Dover Downs on Feb. 16 and March 16, again taking on older rivals and collecting two more wins, before returning to The Meadowlands on March 25 with another stellar performance. Competing against older horses in a $12,000 non-winners race, Highalator paced another final quarter-mile split of :26.3 while defeating the 5-year-old Migrate Blue Chip by a neck in 1:52.2. Migrate Blue Chip visited the winner's circle in his next start on April 2 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the same evening Highalator captured a first leg division of the Weiss Series with a wire-to-wire performance in 1:54.4. "Victor said he can be a bit lazy and you have to get into him for the first part of the race, but once you straighten him away and it's time to come home he is all business," Dombeck said. "He has been racing against older horses and defeating them, but like I said we still don't know what kind of horse he is until he faces stakes competition. "He really looks the part though. I had not seen him for a while and when I saw him at Pocono last week, I was impressed because he has turned into such a gorgeous animal. He also has a terrific attitude, unlike his mother, who only Jenny could get near, and hangs his head right on your shoulder." Although Dombeck insists he is maintaining an even keel when it comes to Highalator's future, there is a mere hint of anticipation and enthusiasm when he discusses plans for the rest of the colt's season. "He is staked to nearly everything except Canada and the Jug," Dombeck said. "I have no desire to return to Canada after what happened with Modern Family and I know Daryl feels the same. We didn't nominate him to the Jug because we don't want to put him on a half-mile track, but he is in everything else including the Meadowlands Pace, Lexington and the Breeders Crown. "I hope I will be in the position to be kicking myself for not staking him to the Jug when the time comes, but we are looking forward to seeing what happens with him. It definitely is more special when the horse is a homebred." For the full Sunday card at Pocono, please click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Hall of Fame-bound harness racing driver Brian Sears plans to return from his winter hiatus next week following an extended break in North Carolina. Sears last raced Nov. 29 at Yonkers Raceway. Sears had laser eye surgery in December and expected to return to action in February, but decided to prolong his time off until April. He spent part of his break in Pinehurst, where he made trips to the local harness racing track several times a week while also enjoying the opportunity to work on his golf game. He plans to resume racing April 13 following a trip to the Masters Golf Tournament. "Everything is good," Sears said. "I'm looking forward to starting back. Too much of a good thing isn't good. But it's been fun. I've enjoyed my time." One particularly enjoyable moment came March 19 when Sears recorded a hole-in-one at the Legacy Golf Links, located near Pinehurst. It was Sears' first-ever ace. "That's one thing I accomplished this winter," Sears said with a laugh, adding, "It doesn't mean my golf game is that much better, it just means I'm playing a lot of golf. But it was cool." Sears won 301 races last year and $7.49 million in purses. His top wins came with Control The Moment in the Meadowlands Pace and Flanagan Memory in the Breeders Crown Open Trot. In September it was announced that Sears was voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame by the members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Sears will be inducted July 2 in Goshen, N.Y., the home of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. For his career, Sears has won 9,715 races and $176 million in purses. He ranks 14th in North American history for wins among drivers and sixth in purses. He led the sport in earnings in 2005, with a then-record $15 million, and has finished among the top 10 in purses each of the past 13 years. Sears has driven three Horse of the Year award winners --- Rocknroll Hanover in 2005, Muscle Hill in 2009 and Bee A Magician in 2013. He has won the Hambletonian three times, with three different trainers, and is the only driver to twice win the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks on the same day. He accomplished that feat with Muscle Hill and Broadway Schooner in 2009 and again with Royalty For Life and Bee A Magician in 2013. The 49-year-old Sears received the 2009 Driver of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association and was the 1991 Rising Star Award recipient from the same organization. Ken Weingartner

The U.S. Trotting Association, in conjunction with the Meadowlands Racetrack, will conduct a workshop for those interested in learning to call races on Saturday, June 17, at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. The workshop, open to all ages, will be conducted by Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway announcer Ken Warkentin, who has called more than 200,000 Standardbred and Thoroughbred races, including 17 Hambletonians. Warkentin, who started calling races at age 16, anchors the Meadowlands show on SNY, has also been on racing broadcast teams for CBS, NBC and ESPN. He provides voice overs for a variety of outlets and has a website, www.kenvoice.com. The workshop was last conducted in 2015 with announcer Tom Durkin as the instructor. The day's events will start at 8 a.m. at the track and wrap up with students who wish to do so calling one of the non-betting, non-purse races for 2-year-olds that will start at 10 a.m. If the number of students who want to call a race exceeds the number of races that day, a random draw will be held to match a student with a race. Tuition is $40 for adults and $10 for high school and college students. Tuition will take the form of a tax deductible donation to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Class size is limited to 30. As a tribute to Sam McKee, the late Meadowlands announcer who started calling races at age 14, the USTA and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation have teamed up to provide travel grants, if needed, for high school and college students attending the class. For more information or to sign up, contact Ellen Harvey at ellen.harvey@ustrotting.com or call 732-780-3700. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- There will always be a special place in Montrell Teague’s heart for Custard The Dragon. The pacer was the first open stakes winner driven by Teague, who in 2011 guided the then harness racing 3-year-old colt to wins in the Max C. Hempt Memorial and Hoosier Cup. Teague and Custard The Dragon also won an Adios elimination with a world-record performance before finishing second to favorite Alsace Hanover in the final. Now, Teague is enjoying the ride with one of Custard The Dragon’s offspring, 3-year-old Henry The Dragon. The colt has won seven of eight career races and is 2-for-2 this season as he heads to Thursday’s second round of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund series for 3-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. Henry The Dragon is owned by George Teague Jr. Inc., which bred the colt with Elmer Fannin. Clyde Francis trains Henry The Dragon, who is out of the broodmare Surveille Hanover. “He reminds me so much of Custard,” Montrell Teague said. “He’s just got the perfect attitude. He loves to do it. He’s a very calm horse. Custard was the same exact way. He’s the spitting image of him. He’s like his twin.” Teague, the 26-year-old son of George Teague Jr., has won numerous stakes races since Custard The Dragon in 2011, most notably with 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. So while it is difficult to pick favorites, Custard The Dragon remains unique to Teague in certain ways. “It’s a little bit sentimental with Custard because he started me off, I think,” Teague said. “He kind of had a different attitude than Wiggle’s. Wiggle doesn’t let you love on him like Custard would. Custard is still my man. I see a lot of him in (Henry The Dragon). Hopefully he can step up and be as good as his father.” Henry The Dragon, named after one of Teague’s nephews, did not do much to impress Team Teague when he was training down as a 2-year-old, but that all changed once the racing season began. When Henry The Dragon won a division of the DSBF in 1:52.1 last November on the same night the Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers was won by What’s Goin On in 1:53, it confirmed to Teague that his colt could be a player in future open stakes. “He could have won (the Matron) hands down easy,” Teague said. “He still had the ear plugs in and was on idle. “Training down he was just average. He didn’t really stand out. When he got behind the gate he was a totally different horse. It was like the flip of a switch when he got into a race. He’s a small horse, but he’s all go. He never gets tired.” Henry The Dragon’s only loss last year came in his last start of the season when he finished second to Bags To Riches in the $100,000 DSBF final at Dover. But Henry The Dragon impressed his connections enough to have them stake the colt to several open races this year, including the North America Cup and Messenger. “When he was a 2-year-old I thought pretty highly of him because he kind of dominated the Delaware stakes,” Teague said. “He got caught in the last final because he was sick. After every race I’d call Dad and say maybe we should stake this guy a little more because he’s definitely shown up every time and shown he has some speed. We talked about it and we staked him up a little more. Not overly, but we’re going to give him a chance anyway.” Henry The Dragon is not the only horse from the Teague Stable to open eyes in the DSBF this year. Daiymir, also named after one of Montrell’s nephews, won his career debut last week with a 1:52.4 effort in the first round of the series. Daiymir and Henry The Dragon will meet in Thursday’s first of four divisions. “He seems like a pretty nice horse so far,” Teague said about Daiymir, who was unraced at 2 because of soreness. “He’s the same way as Henry; he’s two fingers and loves what he does. I think he’s got a little bit bigger brush than Henry. I think he could out-sprint him. He’s pretty impressive. But Henry is a grinder; he can go nonstop. When he gets on the track he points his head to the front and he’s ready to roll. I haven’t seen the end of it yet. “It’s unfortunate they drew in together. I was hoping they wouldn’t face each other until the final.” The $100,000 DSBF final is April 13. Francis also sends out Whispering Witch, Rat Tail, Daylen, Stay In Your Place, and Ain’t It Fun in Thursday’s DSBF divisions.   by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

To celebrate the New Jersey's "Month of the Horse," Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge, New Jersey will open its doors to visitors on Sunday, June 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. The fourth annual free open house will be held at the farm, 74 Red Valley Road in Cream Ridge, and will allow visitors to see the inner workings of this successful Standardbred breeding farm, where 2011 Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn was bred and raised. Visitors will be able to tour Hogan Equine clinic, where top flight Standardbred and Thoroughbred athletes are treated by surgeon Dr. Patty Hogan, and get a tour of the farm via horse drawn wagon. There will be demonstrations on the life of the Standardbred, featuring a young foal (baby horse) and his mother, along with half million-winning racehorse Mighty Young Joe and his trainer Stacy Chiodo. Other Standardbreds will show their talents off the track in under saddle disciplines, jumping, trail riding and more. For those that just want a horse to pet, retired racehorses and goodwill ambassadors Independent Act (Indy) and his pal Osborne's Shy Cam (Ozzy) will be on hand to say hello and pose for selfies. Farrier Tom Mulryne will demonstrate how to care for a horse's feet and have free lucky horseshoes for visitors to take home. Horse centric exhibitors will also be on hand, including Rutgers Equine Science Center, Open Space Pace, Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization, New Jersey Equine Advisory Board, Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Other equine educational groups are expected to join and will be announced closer to the event. The Hearts and Horseshoes 4H Club will be back with their friendly rabbits. The event will be held rain or shine. Refreshments will be available for purchase. There is ample parking available, but few paved surfaces, so visitors should wear sensible shoes and strollers may have a rough ride. Please leave dogs at home. For more information, call 732-780-3700 or email ellen.harvey@ustrotting.com. Ken Weingartner

Bill Popfinger got to see Wise Hanover race only once last year, but he liked what he saw. After shutting down the filly trotter because of concern regarding a tendon, the harness racing trainer is looking forward to seeing Wise Hanover in action again. The 3-year-old makes her seasonal debut Tuesday in the third of three Bobby Weiss Series divisions for female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Last year, Wise Hanover won a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars at Pocono before being sidelined. "We were afraid she was going to bow the tendon if we went onward, so we had to pack our bags," said Popfinger, who trains Wise Hanover for owner Bill Mulligan. "Fortunately we haven't had any problems this year. She's a big filly and she's always had good speed. We've still got some hope." Wise Hanover is a daughter of stallion Donato Hanover out of the mare Whistle Hanover. She was purchased for $15,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. Popfinger trained Wise Hanover's half-sister, stakes-winner Pucker Up Hanover, for Mulligan several years ago. "We took one more shot with the family," Popfinger said. "She was reasonable at $15,000. It wasn't a bad deal. She's going to make a nice filly. I don't think she's going to be a superstar, but if she has a good year she could make some decent money." Wise Hanover, who spent the winter in Florida with Popfinger, will start Tuesday from post No. 5 with Tom Jackson in the sulky. Wise Hanover is 6-1 on the morning line; Whambamthankumaam is the 5-2 choice in the event for conditioned 3- and 4-year-old female trotters. "I think coming out of Florida she might not be at her very best the first start," Popfinger said. "When they come out of Florida, even if it's a warm day, the air is a lot heavier. It takes them a race or two to get acclimated to the climate here." Popfinger also sends out Mulligan's She Matters in the first Weiss division. She Matters and driver Jim Marohn Jr. are 4-1 on the morning line. Abbie's Celticlass is the 3-1 favorite. The favorite in the second division, at 5-2, is Keystone Angel. Looking ahead, Popfinger is pleased with the development of several 2-year-olds as they prepare for this season. Creampie Hanover, a Goshen Yearling Sale purchase, is a full sister to Breeders Crown elimination winner and Jim Doherty Memorial runner-up Chezatter. Another Goshen buy, filly Ocarina Hanover, is by Wishing Stone while Standardbred Horse Sale purchase Wesley Hanover is a colt by Cantab Hall. "I think they have potential," Popfinger said about the horses, all owned by Mulligan. "You never know at the end what they're going to be nowadays, but they have great attitudes and are good gaited, so you think you have a little potential." Ken Weingartner

Linda MacDonald had no experience in harness racing when she rode her horse to Medford Davis Jr.'s farm in Smyrna, Del., one day in 1973. But a year later, the teenage MacDonald (nee McNatt) was working in the stables there and upon graduating high school started driving horses for Davis. MacDonald, whose parents --- a Delaware State Police officer and stay-at-home mom --- had bought her a pony at age 11, recorded 633 of her lifetime 646 wins as a driver over the ensuing 20 years. In 1985, she became the first female driver to win a stakes race at the Meadowlands when she guided the Davis-trained Go Nancy Isle to victory in a New Jersey Sire Stakes event. In addition, MacDonald has more than 300 wins as a trainer, often competing now with horses she bred with one of Davis' daughters, Susan Durham. The two longtime friends ("She's the sister I never had; she's a sweetheart," MacDonald said of Durham) hope to add to their breeder-owner win total Monday when they send Crosby to the second round of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund series for 3-year-old male trotters at Dover Downs. The winner of November's $100,000 DSBF final for 2-year-old male trotters, Crosby is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line in Monday's first of two $20,000 divisions. Crosby, who has earned $74,000 thanks to two wins and five on-the-board finishes in six lifetime starts, is the most recent success story for MacDonald and Durham. He is a son of stallion Keystone Activator out of the mare Melody Luv and his family includes previous MacDonald-trained (and Davis-bred) DSBF champions Miss Ella D and Here's Bo Bo, who earned $280,786 in his career. "We raised and raced the mother (Melody Luv)," MacDonald said. "She got hurt and never really hit her potential. But she was willing and really wanted to trot. Her offspring seem to have a lot of her traits. I was really pleased with Crosby last year. He had a lot of issues being sick, but he's always been very willing. He's very level-headed." Crosby was limited to five starts last year because of illness, but finished the season with his victory in the DSBF final at Dover. Crosby, driven by George Dennis, rallied from near the rear of the field with a four-wide move on the last turn and trotted home in 2:03.3 on a chilly, windy night. "Everything worked out right for him," MacDonald said. "The weather wasn't the greatest. The fractions were a little too steep for that group of horses and the weather. Everything set up for him. He got great cover that took him right to the last turn and he did the rest. "George Dennis has done a real good job with him. He's done everything we've asked of him." And while most people wonder whether Crosby was named after singer Bing or hockey star Sidney, the truth is the gelding was named after a riding horse owned by MacDonald's veterinarian because the two have similar markings. "He's chestnut with a big blaze face and one white leg behind," MacDonald said. "When this colt was born, she said, 'Oh, little Crosby.' So that's where the name came from." The favorite, at 2-1, in Crosby's DSBF division Monday is Master Clave, who won last October's $100,000 DSBF final at Harrington. Master Clave, trained by John Wilkerson, won his seasonal debut last week in 2:01.1 after going off stride behind the starting gate. Moonshine Lavec, trained by Erika Paradee, is the 2-1 choice in the second division. He also is coming off a victory in last week's DSBF opening round. "I thought Moonshine Lavec and Master Clave were the better two last year; I just caught a little luck and won the (November) final," MacDonald said. "Anything can happen with these green trotters. If (Crosby) stays flat he'll get a major piece of them. Everything has to be right." MacDonald and her husband Joe train a total of a dozen horses at Merrie Medo Farm. While MacDonald enjoyed driving, she is happy with her career as a trainer and racing horses with Durham. "We stay close to home," MacDonald said. "Ours aren't the elite bred; we don't stake them to other places. We're content with the races we have here. We've done OK." Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Richard Poillucci has admired harness racing pacer Christen Me from afar. With this week’s arrival of New Zealand’s 2015 Horse of the Year on U.S. soil, Poillucci looks forward to appreciating Christen Me’s talents from much nearer proximity. An 11-time Group 1 winner Down Under with nearly $2.5 million in purse earnings, Christen Me was recently purchased by Poillucci from the stable of New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety. Christen Me, a 9-year-old gelding by stallion Christian Cullen out of the award-winning broodmare Splendid Dreams, will be trained in the States by the husband-and-wife team of Jim King Jr. and Jo Ann Looney-King in Delaware. Tim Tetrick will drive Christen Me. Christen Me won 32 of 68 races in Australasia including the Miracle Mile, Auckland Cup, Victoria Cup, Hunter Cup, and Easter Cup. He hit the board a total of 53 times. He was trained by Dalgety and driven by Dexter Dunn for owners Charles Roberts and Vicki Purdon. “We’re very excited about him,” Poillucci said. “I’ve been trying to buy him for a long time. He’s quite the horse. There aren’t too many horses with his credentials to arrive in America. Dexter Dunn told Tim Tetrick that he’s the best horse he’s ever driven. If this guy is what we think he is, we could have a lot of fun.” Although he is 9 years old, Christen Me’s 68 starts are relatively few for a horse of that age. “He’s like a spring chicken,” Dalgety said on his website. “He is working great and looking fantastic. “We probably won’t realize quite how good he was until he’s gone. Not many earn $2-million plus in Australasia; only about seven or eight.” The sale of Christen Me came to fruition after it was confirmed the gelding was suffering from minor exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhaging. Lasix, which is permitted to treat the condition in North America, is not allowed Down Under. “A few races back, (Christen Me) was second to Lazarus, who is probably one of the best horses to ever race Down Under,” Poillucci said. “If he can finish second with bleeding issues to arguably the best horse in Australasia, what can we do here with Lasix and treating for bleeding? “They can’t do anything about it there, so why not give him the opportunity to be the shining star that he is? He could come back to be a very exciting horse in North America. If it all works it could be something really special. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that he’s the guy.” Poillucci said the Kings will take their time preparing Christen Me for this year’s racing in North America. “I did stake him to a few stakes that are later on so his acclimation could be a nice slow process,” Poillucci said. “It takes time. The first year is a very tough year for these horses. You’ve got to hope that everything goes well. Their clock is completely different. They’re going into fall; we’re coming into spring. They don’t know whether to grow hair, not grow hair. You’ve got to do the right thing by the horses. “He’s in tip-top shape. He’s a great looking animal, an absolutely gorgeous horse. Cran does an amazing job with his horses. We’re not going to go overboard with him this year. We’ll race him in some major races and see how he fares.” Christen Me is Poillucci’s latest purchase from Down Under, joining New Zealand-bred mare Nike Franco. Poillucci bought Nike Franco last year and she went 4-for-4 on the Delaware circuit, with a 1:51 victory over the boys in the Dover Downs Open Preferred Handicap to close out the season. The 7-year-old daughter of McArdle-Nearea Franco was one of the favorites in this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, but was sidelined because of a virus after her first start in the event. Nike Franco finished seventh in that start, but was beaten by only 2-1/2 lengths. She will miss the remainder of the series. “She has so many good races ahead of her that it doesn’t make sense to try to rush her back,” Poillucci said. “I think she could be arguably one of the top three mares in North America. That’s from Timmy, Jimmy. She was the best pacing mare in all of Australasia last year. She’s very, very talented. “Just what she did in her last start, being sick, was pretty amazing as well. That shows you her desire and heart.” Poillucci has downsized his stable to feature Christen Me, Nike Franco, and 5-year-old trotter Maestro Blue Chip, who won 13 of 20 races last year and earned $238,000. Maestro Blue Chip is being pointed to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial on May 6 at the Meadowlands. In addition to those three horses, Poillucci has two 2-year-old pacers in training. “The plan was to keep the cream of the crop,” Poillucci said. “I wanted a good trotter, a good mare, and a good Open pacer. I have Maestro, Nike, Christen. I have a couple of babies that are coming. We’ll see where we end up. I sold four very good horses (recently). I’ve decided to try to stay with the upper echelon and see how that works. “Whether that works or not, I can’t tell you,” he added, laughing. “But it sounds good. I like what I’ve got.” What Poillucci does know is that he’s looking forward to this year. Poillucci lives in Massachusetts, where he runs several businesses, including a luxury auto body center and real estate development company. He first became interested in harness racing while playing hockey in Canada. “If you don’t get excited about stuff like this in this business,” Poillucci said, “then you don’t belong in it.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Freehold, NJ --- The manner in which Cousin Mary found her way to owner Jeff Williamson’s harness racing stable --- not to mention the Petticoat Series at Yonkers Raceway --- could best be described as fortuitous. Especially given the way she has frequently found her way to the winner’s circle. Williamson bought Cousin Mary, the 9-5 morning line favorite in Monday’s $61,000 Petticoat Series final for 4-year-old female pacers, in 2014 as part of a two-horse package. Williamson’s initial interest was in the other horse, a filly named Wild Blue Ponder, but Cousin Mary was thrown into the deal. Before agreeing to the purchase, though, Williamson wanted to talk with his wife Becky. They agreed to go through with the transaction under one condition. The couple had purchased a horse several months earlier and the horse was racing that night. If the horse won --- which he had yet to do for the Williamsons --- they would complete the Cousin Mary deal. Of course, the horse won. It was his only win for the Williamsons. Cousin Mary, a daughter of Camluck-Chianti Seelster, has won 10 of 24 career races, hit the board a total of 19 times, and earned $86,543 in purses. “She’s definitely the best horse we’ve had so far,” said Williamson, an Ontario hog farmer who lives 125 miles northwest of Toronto. “It’s been a thrill. You need a horse like Mary to get you to the next level. For a guy like me and my wife, who are newer to the business, being in the Petticoat is a big thing to us. We’re proud of that. I know it’s not one of the bigger races, but for us it’s like the Little Brown Jug. Hopefully we get lucky on Monday.” Interestingly, Cousin Mary ended up at Yonkers only after Williamson saw a deal to sell the horse fall through last year. J Harris, who was driving Cousin Mary in Canada, suggested to Williamson that he send the horse to his brother, trainer Andrew Harris, in New Jersey to compete at Yonkers. Cousin Mary has won six of eight races this year, all at Yonkers. She won her three preliminary Petticoat divisions by an average of nearly four lengths and will start the final from post one with regular driver Jordan Stratton in the sulky. “There are some fillies in there that make me nervous, but the rail helps big time,” Andrew Harris said. “I think she likes Yonkers. She’s still a little green, but she’s getting the hang of it now and she doesn’t want to let anyone pass her and will pass anyone in front of her. She’s just come around and is peaking at the right time.” Following the Petticoat Series, Cousin Mary is expected to head to the Bobby Weiss Series for female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “I’ll probably skip the first leg (April 2), give her the week off, and then she’s got three more legs to try to get into the final there,” Harris said. “We’ll probably give her a little time off after that and then she’s a racehorse.” Williamson got into harness racing seven years ago but stepped up his involvement only recently. The Williamsons rent a horse farm with 45 stalls and a half-mile track near their home farm. They are involved in all aspects of the sport now, from breeding to racing. “My grandfather used to race before I was born so I wanted to learn how to do it,” Williamson said. “I wanted to learn the business. We’ve got 45 horses at the racing farm now.  “I like to give horses a chance. Some people give up on them; I like those horses.” Williamson owns Cousin Mary’s dam, Chianti Seelster, and has a Big Jim-sired 2-year-old filly out of the mare named Eataams Payday. Many of the Williamsons’ horses have Eataam in their name, which is a reference to the hog business, Eataam Pork. Eataam comes from the initials of the couple’s children at the time the name was created --- Evan (age 17), Alyshia (16), Tyler (14), Amy (12), Allan (9) and Matthew (7). Another son, the now-5-year-old Parker, was born afterward. “We didn’t think we should call him Pork,” Williamson said, laughing. He added about the horse business, “Our kids are involved now. It’s been a lot of fun so far.” For the complete list of entries at Yonkers Raceway on Monday (March 26) please click here. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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