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If there is a correlation between looks and speed, harness racing trainer Tom Fanning hopes he's found it with Photobombr Hanover. "I tell my owners that I hope he's as fast as he is good looking because he's a good-looking horse," said a smiling Fanning, who owns Photobombr Hanover with Howard Taylor and Susan Kajfasz. "We'll find out about fast." Photobombr Hanover was fast enough to win four of nine races last year and earn $80,696 in purses. This season he finished second to Fear The Dragon in his debut May 6 in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers at The Meadows. He returns to PaSS action Sunday, this time at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The colt is 7-2 on the morning line in the first of three divisions. David Miller will drive from post five in a field of seven. Filibuster Hanover is the 2-1 favorite and Boogie Shuffle is the 3-1 second choice. Fanning brought Photobombr Hanover along slowly at age 2. He had two wins in conditioned races and one in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series before ending the year with a gate-to-wire victory in the Simpson Memorial. His only off-the-board finishes came in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and his elimination for the Breeders Crown. "I didn't feel he was ready to tackle the top horses, though he showed some potential that he could maybe go with them one day," Fanning said. "At the end of the year we raced him aggressively in the Simpson and he was very good and won pretty handily. So then we started looking forward to this year. "But you have to be so good in the 3-year-old pacing colt division; there are so many good horses in there. There's a fine line between the third- or fourth-best one and the 15th-best one. The top two are the top two, I think, so far this year." The "top two" are Pennsylvania-bred world champions Huntsville and Downbytheseaside. Hunstville romped to a 10-length win in his first start of 2017 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Sunday's second PaSS division at Pocono. Downbytheseaside also won his seasonal bow and is the 2-1 choice in Saturday's Art Rooney Pace elimination at Yonkers. Photobombr Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the stakes-winning mare Pilgrims Witchie, was purchased as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. His family includes female pacer Los Angeles, who enjoyed racing success in Ontario but is perhaps better known as the dam of millionaire Thinking Out Loud and grandam of millionaires L A Delight and Somewhere In L A. He is staked to a number of top events this year including the North America Cup, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Cane Pace, and Matron. "You've got to pick your spots," said Fanning, who has a stable of 25 horses and entered this year with a streak of four consecutive million-dollar seasons. "With the 3-year-old pacing colts in particular, it's really a battle of attrition because they race so hard every week. And it's a lot of traveling. It's rare that a horse can make it through the whole year." The colt possesses a sensibility that could be a benefit during the long season. "Miller really likes him because he'll do anything," Fanning said. "Whatever you ask him, he'll respond to. That will help him in the long run, so I like that about him. It makes everyone's job easier; mine, the driver and the horse. It's got to benefit them physically and mentally. It all adds up to good stuff. "We'll see how he does. I think he can compete with most of them. We'll see what happens this week and go from there." For Sunday's complete Pocono card, click here. First race post time is 7:30 p.m. and the three PaSS divisions are races 10 through 12. Ken Weingartner

Sortie, Noel Daley's Hambletonian Stakes hopeful, begins his 3-year-old harness racing campaign Saturday by competing in the first of three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at The Meadows, near Pittsburgh. Sortie is among 18 Hambletonian eligible trotters entered in the three divisions, with each race featuring six. Last year, Sortie won his elimination for the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. He also finished second in the Matron Stakes, but Daley believes the colt wasn't at his best because of trouble breathing. Daley has made an equipment addition in the hopes of correcting the issue. "He didn't finish off the race properly in the Breeders Crown; I know he was third, but he wasn't any good," said Daley, who trains and co-owns Sortie. "He should have jogged in the Matron and he wasn't any good. This year he came back and I've put a Cornell Collar on him, because mechanically they said his throat was fine. "He's been real good so far. I've been very happy with him." Sortie is a son of former Daley star Explosive Matter out of the stakes-winning mare Win B. Daley was interested in Sortie because of his familiarity with the colt's family and purchased the horse for $65,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. The colt is owned by Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Mario Mazza, and Daley's Sortie Stable. Last year, Sortie went off stride in three of his first four starts (he won the only race in which he did not) before starting to put it all together. He finished fourth in a division of the International Stallion and then hit the board in his final three races of the campaign. For the year, he finished with $122,055 in purses from eight starts. "He always showed talent, but he would throw his head or when you pulled him off a horse he just wanted to go a hundred (miles per hour)," Daley said about last year's breaks. "We've been concentrating on that. When we qualified him, (driver Andy McCarthy) pulled him out, put him back, pulled him out, put him back, a couple of times. He seems better. You just have to watch that he doesn't want to spin his wheels too quickly. He's a good gaited horse. He just wanted to get going." Sortie prepped for his seasonal debut by winning two qualifiers, one at the Meadowlands and the other at Harrah's Philadelphia. Daley said the horse will stay near his base in central New Jersey as he works toward the $1 million Hambletonian on Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. "We'll try not to overdo it," Daley said. "It's a heavy schedule; I don't want him to be in everything. I'd rather keep him here. He can go (to Canada) later. If he's good enough, he's got everything late. I don't want to have too many tough trips when we're just trying to get him set up." The early favorite for the Hambletonian is Linda Toscano-trained New York-bred Walner, who won seven of eight starts last year and received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male trotter. Walner won each of his races by at least 1-3/4 lengths, including a 4-1/2 length triumph in the Breeders Crown. Linda's horse is obviously the horse to beat, but I legitimately think that if (Sortie) can breathe he's a top five horse, definitely," Daley said. "After Linda's horse, there's no one else I'd swap him for. We'll see. It depends who steps up. He's got to step up and do it now." Following are the fields for Saturday's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions in post order with Hambletonian eligible horses in bold. Division 1: Perfect Spirit, Di Oggi, Meteoric, Gee Wizz George, Sortie, High Glider, Giveitgasandgo, Coogan, Dover Dan. Division 2: What A Cantab, Stealth Hanover, Monteverdi, Simply Volo, Andy M, Gustavo Fring, Snowstorm Hanover, Media Buzz, Don Dream. Division 3: Brown Bear, Limerence, Brand New Key, Meme Hanover, Common Parlance, Affair Of Honor, Iron Mine Johnny, Explosive Ridge, Backstage Pass. Giveitgasandgo, from the stable of John Butenschoen, was last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. Snowstorm Hanover, trained by Ron Burke, won the Matron Stakes and Valley Victory. Ken Weingartner

Bumblebzbuzz might become a honey of a trotter if he learns to mind his manners. That being said, the $5,200 yearling purchase has already exceeded the expectations of harness racing co-owner/trainer Tom T. Tetrick. A 3-year-old son of stallion Pinetucky out of the mare Bumblebzannie, Bumblebzbuzz has won two of 11 career races and earned $74,650 for Tetrick and Ervin Wickey. Last year, the gelding captured a $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old male trotters at Hoosier Park, rallying from seventh-place at the half to win in 1:58. "He was very aggressive last year," Tetrick said about Bumblebzbuzz. "His manners left a lot to be desired and they're starting to come together now. I'd like to believe it's a matter of maturity. I spent a lot of time with him over the winter working on manners. He's getting better. Nothing is perfect yet, but maybe we're getting closer. It'll be a long summer and it will still be a test all summer for him." On Wednesday, Bumblebzbuzz is the 9-2 third choice on the morning line in the $18,000 Expresson Series final at Hoosier. Bumblebzbuzz and Hoosier's leading driver Trace Tetrick, one of Tom's younger brothers, will start from post three after back-to-back third-place finishes in the preliminary rounds of the series. Sebiskit Bluegrass, who starts from post 10 in the second tier, is the 7-2 favorite. He has won three of four races this season and will have John DeLong in the sulky for trainer John Merkel. "If (Bumblebzbuzz) puts it all together he's got a shot to win some races," Tetrick said. "But you've also got some pretty nice colts in the state. It's a tough program. However you're going to race it, you've got eight, nine, 10 colts that can trot (1):55 with a quarter in :27 every week." The Tetrick family had enjoyed success with a Pinetucky-bred filly named Huntingforpennies several years ago, and when Tom saw Bumblebzbuzz, he decided to take a shot on the horse. From the beginning, he knew it was going to be a bit of an adventure as Bumblebzbuzz acted as much as a little kid as he did a racehorse. "He's into a little bit of everything every day," Tetrick said. "He plays a lot, messes around. It took a long time to get his mind on his business. But when he would trot, I always thought he had a big turn of speed. If I could ever get everything to go right I think he could trot with whatever is in the state. He's a work in progress." When Bumblebzbuzz won his Indiana Sire Stakes final last August, he displayed the type of potential and talent that Tetrick thought the horse possessed. "He raced phenomenal that night," said Tetrick, who trains about two dozen horses with his father, Tom D. Tetrick. "It seemed like everything came together. He trotted the turns the way he's supposed to." Tetrick enjoyed career highs for training wins (61) and purses ($426,242) last year. He is currently tied for eighth place in the trainer standings at Hoosier Park, with eight wins, and has a 15.1 percent win rate. Jamie Macomber leads the standings with 16 victories. For his career, 38-year-old Tetrick has 461 wins as a trainer and 393 victories as a driver. While Tetrick might not have Grand Circuit plans for Bumblebzbuzz, he is looking forward to watching the horse's continued development on the Indiana Sire Stakes circuit. "It'll be a tough enough summer for him," Tetrick said. "I don't think he's a Grand Circuit contender; I think he's just a nice solid racehorse. I just hope I can compete on a high level in Indiana with him. "But whatever he does, he's exceeded expectations. It was a good year for him last year, he made $72,000. We're along for the ride. Hopefully it all works out for us." Racing at Hoosier Park begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Expresson Series final is race No. 9, with an estimated 8:54 p.m. post time. For the complete card, click here. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Cody Coy has always been special to Carl Easterday Jr. and his wife Chris. Purchased for $2,500 at the 2010 Ohio Selected Jug Sale, the now 8-year-old trotter has won 30 races and earned $188,028 in his career. He was one of the top 2-year-olds on the Ohio circuit, but took a bad step in the days leading up to the Ohio Sire Stakes championship and was sidelined with a cracked pastern. He got to compete in the Sire Stakes final at 3, where he was second by a neck to Rock N Jessie. Just last year, Cody Coy gave Easterday his first win as a trainer. Easterday had attended the U.S. Trotting Association’s Driving School in June and three months later was in the winner’s circle with the gelding at Northfield Park. The driver was Aaron Merriman, who is a regular speaker at the Driving School. “It was pretty exciting,” said the 42-year-old Easterday, who lives 65 miles north of Columbus, in Bucyrus. “It was a long time coming. I worked a lot of other jobs over the years, but I tried to help out with the horses as much as I could. I learned for 10 years, off and on. I wanted to learn as much as I could. “I’ve been (Cody Coy’s) groom for every start he’s ever had. So it wasn’t like it was all new to me. But it was enjoyable to finally be the man behind the horse.” Enjoyable, too, is his new career. Easterday has six horses, with three in training at the moment. The remaining three are a yearling, suckling and broodmare. “I’ve done a little bit of everything,” Easterday said. “I was looking for something that I loved. I found it. I haven’t had a day of work since I started.” This year’s Driving School begins Wednesday (May 31), with a welcoming reception/dinner featuring Bob Boni, co-owner of 2016 Horse of the Year Always B Miki. Other speakers during the school include trainer Brian Brown, Merriman, and amateur drivers Joe Faraldo and Steve Oldford. 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. There will also be trips to Sugar Valley Farms and Scioto Downs, lessons from a veterinarian and nutrition expert, as well as the administration of the driver exam for students who choose to take it. Easterday’s father was a Standardbred groom and his wife’s father, Don Schnarrenberger, was an owner. Easterday was 6 when he visited the winner’s circle for the first time with a horse in his father’s care. “That’s probably what hooked me at that point,” Easterday said. In addition to training, Easterday raced three times as a driver last year, including twice in the Billings Amateur Series. He plans to drive Cody Coy in this year’s Signature Series. Easterday and his wife had no idea Cody Coy would become this type of horse, but they were hoping. “Every year we would buy a yearling,” Easterday said. “We’d buy just one. We’d make it most of the time to the races, but they were fair horses. You’re always hoping for that next step up. He was a couple steps for us.” Cody Coy, a son of Full Count out of Cindy Coy, shows no signs of slowing down. The gelding set his mark of 1:55.2 last year at Miami Valley. He is ready to make his third start of this season Tuesday night (May 16) at Northfield Park. “Hopefully if things go well we’ll go past the $200,000 mark this year,” Easterday said. “He’s been quite the teacher for me. We really appreciate that old horse. He’s always got a place with us. But he’ll tell me when he’s done. As long as he’s willing and sound and capable, he’ll keep going. There’s nothing more in this world that he loves than being out there at the track.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications The U.S. Trotting Association’s 18th annual Driving School is 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 school, click here. Registration ends next week.

Jim Campbell is ready for a busy weekend with his female trotters. It begins Friday when two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Broadway Donna makes her harness racing debut as a 4-year-old and it continues Saturday with three 3-year-old fillies competing at The Meadows in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. After capturing Dan Patch Award honors at ages 2 and 3, Broadway Donna begins her 4-year-old campaign against mostly male rivals in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands. Broadway Donna is 6-1 on the morning line in a seven-horse field that includes Dayson (2-1), Opulent Yankee (5-2), B Yoyo (4-1) and Market Share (5-1). Only two female trotters in history have received Dan Patch Awards at ages 2, 3 and 4: CR Kay Suzie and Peace Corps. Broadway Donna has won 16 of 22 career races and earned $1.19 million for breeder/owner Fashion Farms. She finished last season with a four-race win streak that included victories in the Kentucky Filly Futurity and Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters. "She seems good," Campbell said about Broadway Donna, a daughter of 2007 Horse of the Year Donato Hanover out of the Dan Patch Award-winning Broadway Schooner. "We're hoping she comes back and races how she did to finish last year. She really had it all put together." Broadway Donna and Dayson are eligible to the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters, which begins May 20 at the Meadowlands. "We didn't put (Broadway Donna) in against the boys other than the Graduate," Campbell said. "The rest is all the mares' races. We'll just play it by ear and see how it goes." Campbell's three fillies in Pennsylvania are open stakes-winner Onda Su, Broadway Idole, and Donato Fashion. Onda Su, who is 1-for-1 this year, won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last year at Lexington's Red Mile. She made 12 starts in 2016 and went off stride in six of them. In the remaining six races, she posted three victories and a total of five top-three finishes. The filly is owned by Frederick Schwartz, Shirley Schwartz, and ONDA Racing Stable. "She has ability, but she's also messed up more times than she needs to," Campbell said. "A lot of it is mental. She gets herself worked up. She can test your patience. I've had a few horses grow out of it over the years, so I'm hoping she falls into that category." Onda Su, a daughter of Muscle Massive out of Upfront OB's Janet, competes in the first of four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions Saturday and is 6-1 on the morning line. She defeated a field that included 4-year-old male rivals in her 2017 debut, winning by 1-3/4 lengths over Multitaskr Hanover in 1:57.1 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "She was real good in her last race," Campbell said. "We just hope she continues with that. She's got ability, so I'm just hoping her manners stay in check and we'll see how it goes from there." Broadway Idole also is 1-for-1 this year. Last season, the daughter of Broadway Hall-Idole Normand won once in 12 races, but earned $135,266 thanks to second-place finishes in divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes plus fourth-place finishes in the Jim Doherty Memorial and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. "She was good last year," Campbell said. "It's a tough group and it was a real tough group of 2-year-olds last year. She got money in with some of the better ones. She's got a nice gait and gets over the ground good. We're hoping for a nice year with her." Broadway Idole, bred and owned by Fashion Farms, is a full sister to 2011 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Stormin Normand. She is in the third of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions and is 7-2 on the morning line. "She's got a little pedigree behind her," Campbell said. "She's got the gait and the speed; I'm hoping she can carry her speed a little further this year." Donato Fashion has two second-place finishes this season and won one of nine starts last year. Another filly bred and owned by Fashion Farms, she is a daughter of Donato Hanover out of the 2009 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Fashion Feline. "She raced real good her first start this year," Campbell said. "She raced good her second start, she was second, but I thought she maybe should have won. We scoped her afterward and she bled a little, so she's racing her first start on Lasix. Hopefully that will help her." Donato Fashion is in the fourth division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and is 8-1 on the morning line. The morning line favorites in each division, beginning with the first, are Dirk Simpson's Dangle Then Deke (5-2), Charlie Norris' Treviso (2-1), Jimmy Takter's Princess Aurora (5-2), and John Butenschoen's Fine Tuned Lady (5-2). All were stakes winners last year. Fine Tuned Lady was the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. "It's a good group of fillies," Campbell said. "There are a lot of them, and a lot of them that can go fast too. It's a pretty exceptional group. Everybody's got to come back (to top form this year). I've had some success with that and I've had some disappointments too. But I'm happy with the way they've come back so far." Complete entries for the Meadows races are available at this link. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Freehold, NJ --- Last season’s three richest 2-year-old female pacers -- Idyllic Beach, Someomensomewhere and Agent Q -- will make their harness racing seasonal debuts Thursday (May 11) when Harrah’s Philadelphia hosts the first round of action in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series for 3-year-old female pacers. Idyllic Beach was the 2016 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old filly pacer after capturing eight of 14 races and earning $647,678, second to only colt Huntsville among all 2-year-olds. Someomensomewhere was the Breeders Crown winner and Agent Q was the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. Someomensomewhere and Agent Q meet in the first of Thursday’s four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions while Idyllic Beach is in the third division. Idyllic Beach and Someomensomewhere are from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter. Idyllic Beach hit the board in all 14 of her starts last year and her wins included the She’s A Great Lady and Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes in addition to a division of the International Stallion Stakes. Someomensomewhere was trained by Erv Miller last year. She won four of 14 races and earned $486,380 for then-owners Nick Surick Stable and KDM Stables. In addition to winning the Breeders Crown her victories included the Kindergarten Series championship and a division of the International Stallion. She is now owned by Diamond Creek Racing and A B M Stable. Takter also sends out Somesleazetoplease in the fourth Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division. “There are quite a few good fillies,” Takter said. “I don’t think anyone really stands out, but it’s a deep group. The fillies I have are nice fillies so hopefully they can stay with them.” Idyllic Beach, by Somebeachsomewhere out of the O’Brien Award-winning Idyllic, heads to her opening day assignment off two qualifiers. She finished second both times. She is the 2-1 morning line favorite in her division and is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., and Marvin Katz. “She qualified good,” Takter said. “She was maybe a touch flat her last qualifier, but we’ve been qualifying with an open bridle and she maybe didn’t pay attention like she normally does. It’s her first start of the year. They’re going to need a couple starts to get their feet right. But I expect her to be right there.” Someomensomewhere won once in six races on five-eighths-mile tracks last year, but excelled on the big tracks at Lexington and the Meadowlands, posting three wins and two seconds in five starts. Harrah’s Philadelphia is a five-eighths-mile oval. She is the 5-2 choice from post one Thursday, with Agent Q at 3-1 from post five. “It’s going to be interesting on a five-eighths track,” Takter said about Someomensomewhere, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Omen Hanover. “She’s kind of had a little problem in the turns in the past. We’ve been working on that. Hopefully we can get her so she can go shorter turns. I’m happy with how she’s progressing.” Somesleazetoplease, a homebred half-sister to Takter’s two-time Dan Patch Award-winner See You At Peelers, finished second twice in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series last season and finished her campaign with a win at Philly. It was her only victory in seven races. She has raced once this year, finishing second to 4-year-old Twinkle at the Meadowlands. “She raced really good,” Takter said. “She closed very good (in :26.4). She’s coming back very nice. She was on and off last year. But by the same token she was very immature in a lot of ways. It looks like this year she is a little stronger.” Agent Q, a daughter of Western Terror-Teenage Paige trained by Aaron Lambert for owners Martin Scharf, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara, won three of 10 races last year and never finished worse than second. She missed by a nose from post 10 in the Breeders Crown and also finished second in the She’s A Great Lady. Click here for Thursday’s complete Harrah’s Philadelphia card. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

Rock N' Roll World was the top seller at Sunday's Tattersalls Spring Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands, going for $165,000 to Thomas Pollack. The harness racing 5-year-old pacing stallion has won 15 of 63 lifetime races and earned $572,660. He headed to the auction off three consecutive victories, including Saturday at the Big M. A son of 2005 Horse of the Year Rocknroll Hanover out of the multiple Dan Patch Award-winning Worldy Beauty, Rock N' Roll World is a full brother to stakes-winner World Of Rocknroll. Rock N' Roll World's top wins to date came in the consolation division of the 2015 Adios and a division of the 2014 Tompkins-Geers. He was second in the 2014 Sheppard and third in the 2015 Rooney and Tattersalls paces. He also finished third in the 2016 Graduate Series final. "I flew out here from Pennsylvania, so I had to do something," Pollack said with a laugh. "I'm just trying to buy good horses, and it's been my M.O. not to be afraid to buy higher end conditioned horses. This is a little more than the normal spend, but he has some chances to make good money. "He's staked to a lot of stuff and he seems like a solid horse. Hopefully he can get some chunks in the stakes and he's also a well-bred horse so he should have additional value down the road." Pollack said Rock N' Roll World is staked to a number of events for older male pacers, including the Breeders Crown, Ben Franklin, Canadian Pacing Derby, William Haughton Memorial, and Jim Ewart Memorial. He will send the horse to trainer Jeff Cullipher in Indiana. Rock N' Roll World was one of 15 horses in the sale from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. Pollack has enjoyed recent success buying Burke pupils. In 2016 he purchased female pacer Medusa for $65,000 at the Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale from the Burke Brigade. Since then, Medusa has earned $361,954. She finished second in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final last month and races Monday in the $100,000 Noble Memorial at Miami Valley Raceway. Preferred Equine was the consignor of Rock N' Roll World. The second-highest seller was Blaise MM Hanover, to Allard Racing, for $80,000. The 4-year-old gelded pacer has won eight of 28 career races and earned $138,854. The son of Bettor's Delight-BJ's Squall was owned previously by Casie Coleman's West Wins Stable and raced for trainers Coleman and Andrew Harris. Preferred Equine consigned the gelding. Jeff Gregory signed the ticket for the day's third-highest priced horse, 5-year-old trotting stallion Macho Mass, for $62,000. Macho Mass has won six of 39 career races and earned $74,791. He was bred and owned by David Goodrow Stable. The son of Muscle Mass-Prenup has done his most successful work on half-mile tracks, winning four of 11 starts while finishing worse than third only once. Macho Mass was consigned by Northwood Bloodstock. Click here for the complete list of sales results. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Lord Cromwell and driver John Campbell moved to the lead on the backstretch and were never threatened from there, cruising to a 5-1/4 length win in Saturday's $143,737 Dexter Cup for harness racing 3-year-old male trotters in a stakes- and track-record 1:55 at Freehold Raceway. Gustavo Fring finished second and Southwind Cobra was third. The Dexter Cup is the first Grand Circuit event for 3-year-old trotters on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands. Southwind Cobra, who started from post five, took the early lead from Sir John F and reached the opening quarter-mile in :28.1. Lord Cromwell, the 4-5 favorite, was on the move after Southwind Cobra hit the half in :57.3 and was in front by the time he reached three-quarters in 1:26.4. "I knew they were going to trot out of there and he's actually better from behind," Campbell said. "Once I spoke to him at the five-eighths, he was gone. He actually finished well within himself. I was very happy with the trip. He was very handy. I think he's got a pretty good future." Said winning trainer Ed Hart, "I loved the post position. A lot of it is post position on a half-mile track. We drew good and John drove him perfect and everything worked out. "He's got a big set of lungs. He just goes." Lord Cromwell, bred and owned by Carolyn Atherton, is not eligible to the Hambletonian. The horse was limited to four starts last year because of sickness and complications from being gelded. "Looking right now, I'm sorry that we didn't," Hart said about the Hambletonian. "You never know. He's staked a bit lightly. Last year we couldn't really stake him heavily." Lord Cromwell paid $3.60, $2.80, $2.40. Lord Cromwell The previous stakes record of 1:55.3 was set by Anders Bluestone in the 2009 Dexter Cup. Anders Bluestone shared the track record for a 3-year-old male trotter with Keystone Activator. "He was super today," Hart said about Lord Cromwell. "He's just a really nice horse." Lord Cromwell, by Chapter Seven out of the mare Oh Oh Its Magic, is 2-for-2 this year and won two of his four races last season. He has earned $97,588 in his career. Campbell, who is retiring in July to become president of the Hambletonian Society, won for the 10,655th time in his Hall of Fame career. He pushed his lifetime purses to $299.61 million. He ranks first all-time in driver earnings, leading No. 2 Ron Pierce by $84 million, and is ninth in wins. Driver Yannick Gingras won both $36,850 divisions of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. In the first division, Gingras guided Princess Aurora to victory by 4-3/4 lengths over Sparkle Plenty in 1:57. Royal Pinot finished third. Princess Aurora, trained by Jimmy Takter, is owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She is 2-for-2 this season and has won five of 13 career races, earning $309,277. Princess Aurora, who is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, is by Cantab Hall out of the stakes-winning mare Vulcanize. Princess Aurora In the second division, Romancing Rachel won by five lengths over Celebrity Ruth in 1:57.3. Southwind Prius was third. Romancing Rachel is trained by Ron Burke, who owns the filly with Howard Taylor and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. It was her first win in four tries this year and second victory in 15 career starts. She has earned $59,655. Also eligible to the Oaks, Romancing Rachel is by Muscle Hill out of the mare Tady's Comer. Romancing Rachel Ken Weingartner

Ron Burke is unsure what to expect from Southwind Cobra. There is no question, the harness racing trainer says, the horse is talented. There remains question whether he will fulfill his potential. Southwind Cobra might give Burke and his fellow owners some indication on Saturday when he faces seven rivals in the $143,737 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old male trotters at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the first Grand Circuit race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes. Four of the eight Dexter Cup finalists are eligible to the Hambletonian: Southwind Cobra, Another Chapter, Earl Variera, and Sir John F. Another Chapter won one of last weekend's two Dexter Cup eliminations. Lord Cromwell won the other. Southwind Cobra did not compete in the elims because Burke elected to take a bye, based on career earnings, to the final. "We thought at the beginning of last year he was our best 2-year-old," said Burke, who owns Southwind Cobra with Jack Piatt II, Larry Karr, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. "He was a disappointment. There were points where he would show some things, but then there were points where he would show nothing. It was inconsistency and a lack of, really, wanting to win. "It's wait-and-see with him. He has all the talent in the world. He just needs to put it together." Southwind Cobra is a son of Muscle Hill, the 2009 Hambletonian winner and Horse of the Year, out of the mare Caerphilly. He was purchased for $120,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes stakes-winner No Pan No Gain (the dam of Burke-trained millionaire Crazy Wow) and, more distantly, Hall of Famer Proximity. Last year Southwind Cobra won two of 13 races and earned $96,296. Both wins came on the Grand Circuit, in divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Tompkins-Geers, and his mark of 1:53.3 was fifth best among all 2-year-old male trotters in 2016. But he went off stride in eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial and Breeders Crown and failed to advance to any of those finals. Southwind Cobra has raced once this season, finishing third in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands on April 21. Burke was happy the Dexter Cup attracted a number of starters (17) that required one horse to take a bye so the group could be divided into two eight-horse eliminations on Freehold's half-mile oval. "I wanted the bye," said Burke, who won the 2015 Dexter Cup with Habitat. "I thought (Southwind Cobra's) first race was just all right. I wasn't thrilled with it. I was looking to give him a week off, but didn't think I would have the opportunity. Then when I got the bye it gave me a week to train him and get him ready. "I trained him (Wednesday) on the half-mile track at Gaitway. I wasn't sure how he would handle the half, but he got around it perfect. It didn't seem like it affected him at all. I look for him to be sharp hopefully." Southwind Cobra will start the Dexter Cup final from post No. 5. Elim winners Lord Cromwell will leave from post two and Another Chapter from post eight. Another Chapter, who broke his maiden with his elim victory, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Spider Blue Chip. Sir John F, who won at Freehold the week prior to finishing third in the Dexter Cup elimination captured by Another Chapter, is from the stable of four-time Dexter Cup winner Jimmy Takter. Sir John F, who drew post one, is a half-brother to Ontario star Emoticon Hanover, who finished second to Broadway Donna in last season's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters. Earl Variera, winless in six career races, will start from post three for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, who won last year's Dexter Cup with Dante. Saturday's Freehold card also includes two $36,850 divisions of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. Princess Aurora, a stakes-winner last season and runner-up to Ariana G in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, leads a group of three Hambletonian Oaks eligibles (with Pennys N Dimes and Sparkle Plenty) in the first division. Romancing Rachel and Winter Sweet Frost are the Oaks eligible in the second division. Following is the Dexter Cup field in post order with listed drivers and trainers. The Dexter is race 10, with a 3:30 p.m. estimated post time. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Sir John F - Donato Hanover - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 2 - Lord Cromwell - Chapter Seven - John Campbell-Ed Hart-9/2 3 - Earl Variera - Explosive Matter - Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-25/1 4 - Gustavo Fring - Explosive Matter - Eric Carlson-Gilbert Garcia-Herrera-9/2 5 - Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-4/1 6 - Southwind Cruze - Chapter Seven - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-9/2 7 - Arch Credit - Credit Winner - Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-25/1 8 - Another Chapter - Chapter Seven - Brian Sears-Mark Silva-12/1 Click here for Saturday's complete Freehold card. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Crazy Wow and JL Cruze didn’t have the best of luck last year, but their connections are hoping for better fortunes this season. The two horses are among a dozen ready for Grand Circuit harness racing action in Saturday’s $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for older trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. The Cutler attracted 13 horses, with European newcomer Tuonoblu Rex eliminated from the 12-horse field based on 2016-17 earnings. Tuonoblu Rex will race Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Because the size of the field will require two horses to start in the second tier --- Windsun Revenge and Muscle Diamond --- the race will be contested at 1-1/8 miles. JL Cruze, the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter, won five of 18 races in 2016 and earned $231,355 in purses. He battled issues with dehydration and synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, more commonly referred to as thumps, throughout the season. “He wouldn’t drink away from home very well,” trainer Eric Ell said. “We fought that most of the year. It was an issue with a little bit of dehydration. We finally did get him straightened out at the end of the year. As far as soundness, he was fine. He had an OK year. He probably should have made double or three times what he made if he didn’t have the thumps. But it is what it is. We hope this year is going to be better.” JL Cruze failed to win on the Grand Circuit last year. He finished third in the Breeders Crown Open Trot, Cashman Memorial, and Allerage Farms Open Trot. “He was in the hunt a lot, but he was always like fourth or fifth best,” Ell said. “He’s come back real good. He’s carrying his weight better than he ever has, he feels better than he ever has. He’s had a little bit of foot issues, which he’s had in the past and they’re still with him. But other than that he’s fantastic. If I could ever get him a hundred percent I think he could go with most any of them out there.” In 2015, JL Cruze won the Hambletonian Maturity at 1-1/8 miles in a world-record 2:04.2 at the Meadowlands. He also won the Graduate Series championship at the Big M in a world-record 1:49.4 and captured the Sun Invitational at Pocono in a world-record equaling 1:51. JL Cruze began this year with a third-place finish behind Rock Of Cashel and Opulent Yankee last Friday at the Meadowlands. He was beaten by a nose in 1:51.3. “He was tremendous,” Ell said. “He lost a little bit of ground in the last turn and that’s the only thing that got him beat.” David Miller drove JL Cruze in his seasonal debut, but will be unavailable Saturday because of his daughter’s college graduation, Ell said. Corey Callahan will get the assignment in the sulky. JL Cruze will start from post No. 7. Crazy Wow, who won $1.02 million in 2015 at age 3 and banked $280,524 last season, will start the Cutler from post six with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Last year, Crazy Wow won one of 14 races, but he finished the campaign strongly with a second-place finish by a nose to Obrigado in the TVG Free For All Series championship at the Meadowlands. He also was second in the Allerage and fifth (beaten by 2-1/4 lengths) in the Breeders Crown. “He started to turn it around at the end of last year,” Burke said. “I was happy with the way he finished. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong earlier in the year. Finally things started to go better for him. Maybe mentally he matured too. They have to get tougher to race in that division against the older horses. Maybe he toughened himself up mentally. “He has plenty of ability. He wasn’t that far from the best ones last year. I definitely think he has the right to get even better this year.” Crazy Wow made his seasonal debut April 21 at the Meadowlands and finished second to Tuonoblu Rex in 1:52.1. “I was very happy with his first start,” Burke said. “He came back excellent.” Burke has two more starters in the Cutler, Rose Run Parker and Gural Hanover. Rose Run Parker will start from post eight and Gural Hanover from post nine. “They’re both working their way back,” Burke said. “I think they’re all right, but they drew the worst two spots. It’s going to be a long road from out there. They’re going to have to try to find a way to get in the flow without getting locked in and try to pick them up late. So we’ll see.” Burke’s Hannelore Hanover, who received the 2016 Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter and finished one vote behind Marion Marauder for Trotter of the Year, will skip the Cutler in favor of Sunday’s $85,000 Miami Valley Distaff for trotting mares. “I had her in (the Cutler) and then I took her out of the second payment,” Burke said. “She’s going to race against the boys enough this year that I’m not going to do it starting off the year. Pretty much every other time there’s a bigger race, with boys going for more money, if she’s as sharp as I think she is I’ll give her shots against the boys.” Following is the Cutler field in post order with listed drivers and trainers. The Cutler is race seven on Saturday’s Meadowlands card, with a 9:15 p.m. estimated post time. PP–Horse–Sire-Driver–Trainer 1 – Centurion ATM – SJ's Caviar - Brett Miller–Ake Svanstedt 2 – Crazshana – Crazed - Tim Tetrick–Jeff Bamond Jr. 3 – Maestro Blue Chip – Credit Winner - Tim Tetrick–Jim King Jr. 4 – Rubber Duck – Muscle Mass - Joe Bongiorno–Richard Johnson 5 – Resolve – Muscle Hill - Ake Svanstedt–Ake Svanstedt 6 – Crazy Wow – Crazed - Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke 7 – JL Cruze – Crazed - Corey Callahan–Eric Ell 8 – Rose Run Parker – Jailhouse Jesse - Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke 9 – Gural Hanover – Crazed - Matt Kakaley–Ron Burke 10 – Musical Rhythm – Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick–Benoit Baillargeon 11 – Windsun Revenge – Kadabra - Scott Zeron–Jeff Durham 12 – Muscle Diamond – Muscle Hill - John Campbell–Brett Bittle Windsun Revenge and Muscle Diamond start from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Richard Gayton has trained his share of winning horses during the past 16 years, but on Thursday he will do something he’s never done before. Gayton will drive his trotter Highest Hill in the second of Thursday’s two $6,000 North American Amateur Drivers Association events at Yonkers Raceway. It will be Gayton’s first time in an amateur series race, and his first time competing in a race with a purse. All of Gayton’s previous 26 races were either qualifiers or non-purse matinees, primarily at Monticello Raceway and Goshen Historic Track. “I’m excited,” said Gayton, who will celebrate his 64th birthday the day before the race. “Nobody could get along with (Highest Hill), but he listens to me. I put him in the amateurs so I could race him. The fat guy is going to sit in the bike and see if he can get him to go and behave himself.” And what is Gayton’s expectation for the race? “I’m going to win,” he said. Pause. Laughter. “Actually, I’m going to go have fun,” Gayton said. “If the horse behaves himself, we should have a smile on our face at the end of the day.” There is no wagering on Thursday’s two NAADA races. Highest Hill, a 9-year-old gelding who spent nearly three years away from the races before returning to action last summer, will start from post six in a six-horse field. “He was sitting out in the field being miserable,” Gayton said about Highest Hill, a son of Giant Hit -Emmeline Smoke and full brother to 2003 New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old filly champion Miss Gibbons. “It took me two years to get him where I got him right now. He was 350 pounds overweight when I brought him back and it took me over a year to get the weight off him. He’s in fighting shape now. “If this horse decides to have the light come on, (Miss Gibbons) trotted in (1):53.2 back when that was a big number. He’s a nice made horse; he just had a bit of an attitude problem. Now he’s a pussycat. I put my grandkids on him and you can do anything you want with him.” Highest Hill, like Miss Gibbons, was bred by Howard Gill, a veterinarian who helped get Gayton started in harness racing. Gayton’s previous love was drag racing. “I went from 800 horsepower to one,” said Gayton, who owns an auto body repair shop in addition to training horses. “In 2000 I threw the towel in on that. I had enough running all over the country. So I started playing with horses.” Gayton has won 73 races as a trainer and posted a win rate of nearly 13 percent in his career. He co-owns Highest Hill with Majestic View Farms International. He is based at Pine Bush Training Facility. “I’ve got pieces of five horses,” Gayton said. “I mostly have trotting horses. They seem to race better out of the field. I swim them a little bit and some we have a girl that rides them. We try to keep them happy and they seem to do the job.” Highest Hill has won seven of 49 career races and earned $35,910 in purses. Since returning to action in 2016 the gelding has won four of 20 starts and banked $14,056. He won a matinee at Goshen with Gayton in the sulky in his first trip back to the races last June. Gayton hopes for another winning experience with the trotter Thursday. “I’m going to do the best I can,” Gayton said. “We’ll find out.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Columbus, OH - Changes to United States Trotting Association rules and bylaws that were approved at the annual meeting of the harness racing Board of Directors in February 2017, were enacted and went into effect on Monday (May 1). The changes apply to venues in which the USTA is the sole regulatory authority. As specified in the USTA Rulebook's preface, "the rules...are applicable only to those non-pari-mutuel meetings over which no State Racing Commission, or other State Regulatory Body asserts primary jurisdiction." It is not uncommon, however, to see state racing commissions adopt USTA rules. The bylaw pertaining to procedures and eligibility for election of directors representing racetracks was approved to specify a variety of issues, including timing and eligibility of individuals for election. It was discussed and debated in Las Vegas in February, then remanded to an ad hoc committee for further review and amendment before being ratified by the full board again in early April. Track directors now will serve three-year terms, as opposed to the previous two-year standard. Districts 1 (Ohio) and 7 (Pennsylvania) each picked up one additional track director seat, with Dave Bianconi (Northfield Park) and Kevin Decker (The Meadows) both recently elected to fill those positions, while Districts 2 (Michigan) and 5 (Illinois) each lost one seat. Among the regulations pertaining to racing and breeding, dead heats in races where a point system is in place for eligibility to subsequent events, the points and purses will now be divided and/or shared. The components of an official chart are now expanded to include trainer's name, reason for a scratch, removal of hobbles from both trotters and pacers, and designation of a second tier starting position. The requirement for specifying monetary allowances for age and gender in claiming races has been eliminated; the overall claiming price remains in place. Regulations regarding horses that go inside the pylons were amended to specify the number of pylons crossed to constitute a violation, placing of horses that do so, and delineation of escalating fines and suspensions for drivers who commit pylon violations. The new regulations largely mirror those employed at racing venues in Ontario, Canada. Drivers who believe their horse's performance in a race has been compromised by another driver and wish to appeal the matter to their USTA District Board are no longer required to lodge the initial complaint before they dismount the sulky. They must still appeal to the District Board within 10 days of the decision or ruling they wish to appeal. For breeders, signature requirements for mare owners registering progeny have been simplified to remove the requirement when there is no change of ownership. Those seeking to register a horse as "Non-Standardbred" will no longer be required to spay or neuter their horse before such registration can be granted. Rule book production is currently in progress, and a PDF reflecting all of the changes will be posted online at by the end of May. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Brian Burton has no idea what to expect in the weeks ahead, but he is looking forward to finding out. Burton is the harness racing driver of Ei Ei O, another pacing-sired trotter from the stable of breeder/owner/trainer Richard Hans. The lightly raced 3-year-old is eligible to this year’s Hambletonian Stakes, but will first have to prove himself on the Grand Circuit stage. His first opportunity is Saturday when the road to the Hambletonian begins with two eliminations for the Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the traditional launch of the Hambletonian chase and eight of the 17 horses entered in this year’s event are also staked to harness racing’s premier race for 3-year-old trotters. The first eight-horse elimination features, in post order, Another Chapter, Southwind Cruze, Sir John F, Texican, Explosive, Eternal Patrol, Lars Perry, and Southwind Woody. The second division has Gustavo Fring, Madison Muscle, Muscle High, Lord Cromwell, Ei Ei O, Earl Variera, Arch Credit, and Muzzy’s Muscles. The connections of Southwind Cobra accepted a bye based on career purses. Joining Ei Ei O as Hambletonian eligible are Another Chapter, Sir John F, Eternal Patrol, Southwind Woody, Madison Muscle, Earl Variera, and Southwind Cobra. Southwind Cobra’s foes in the May 6 Dexter Cup final will be the top three finishers from each elimination plus one fourth-place finisher chosen by lot. Ei Ei O is a son of pacer Cam’s Rocket out of the trotting mare My Baby Momma. His granddam is Kora’s Trotter, who with Cam’s Rocket produced Hans’ multiple-stakes-winning world champion Googoo Gaagaa. Unraced at age 2 because of a minor leg injury, Ei Ei O has won his only two races this year, both with Burton in the sulky. The colt heads to his Dexter Cup elimination off an 11-1/2 length victory in 1:55 at Rosecroft Raceway. In his debut, a 1:57 triumph at Rosecroft, he trotted his back half in :56. “It’s very exciting; I’m grateful to Richard for giving me the opportunity to drive this trotter,” Burton said. “Richard has said this horse could be as good, or better, than Goo. I guess we’re getting ready to start finding this stuff out.” The 39-year-old Burton was last fall’s leading trainer at Rosecroft Raceway, where he also drives regularly. Burton followed his father, Martin, into harness racing, but not before getting English and journalism degrees and trying his hand at several other professions, including sports writing and sales. Burton and Hans, both Maryland residents, began working together last year. Burton drove Hans’ Maryland Sire Stakes standout Hybrid Henry (also by Cam’s Rocket) last season at age 2. Ei Ei O is inexperienced, but possesses a similarly fluid stride as Googoo Gaagaa. In 2012, Googoo Gaagaa won the Beal Memorial in a world-record 1:50.4 and captured the Colonial by a neck over Hambletonian champion Market Share. Googoo Gaagaa was not eligible to the Hambletonian. “I know it’s just Rosecroft and competition wise it’s not what (Ei Ei O’s) going to face on Saturday, but the speed and the ability that he showed, and the bottomless tank he’s showed so far, has been really impressive,” Burton said. “His greenness is his biggest obstacle. “It’s unconventional breeding, but the greatest thing about the Cam’s Rocket breed is they all try. And most, like EI, get around turns like they’re pacers. There’s no hitch in theses horses’ giddy up.” Burton is not going to think about the Hambletonian, but is hoping Ei Ei O can provide thrills this year. “We’ve got to get by Saturday first,” said Burton, who has won 396 career races as a driver, including four at Freehold. “Hopefully we do well and get into the final. “I talked to (Googoo Gaagaa’s regular driver) Corey Callahan and said this could be the ride of a lifetime. He said, ‘You’re right, it could be.’ He gave me a little bit of advice about driving EI on Saturday and we’ll go from there.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Mention this year's group of older female pacers to Mark Harder and the longtime harness racing trainer can only shake his head in amazement. The division is led by returning Dan Patch Award winner Lady Shadow and bolstered by the arrival of a gifted class of 4-year-olds that includes two-time Dan Patch Award recipient Pure Country and numerous stakes champions, such as Harder's Blue Moon Stride. "Oh my God, those are good mares," Harder said after watching Blue Moon Stride win a qualifier Saturday at the Meadowlands in her final prep for this season. "Real good mares out there. They'll beat each other up all year I'm sure. "I love my mare," he added. "I'm not saying that I'm stepping out and beating those other mares by any means, but I'll tell you what, she'll give them a shake. "We just have to go race now." Blue Moon Stride will make her seasonal debut Friday in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands. Darlinonthebeach, another of last year's talented 3-year-olds, also is in the eight-horse field. Of last year's top eight money-winning 3-year-old filly pacers, seven are staked to at least one of this season's most lucrative races for pacing mares. The list features the entire top six --- Pure Country, Call Me Queen Be, L A Delight, Darlinonthebeach, Seventimesavirgin, and Blue Moon Stride --- as well as No. 8 I Said Diamonds. Put those mares in the mix with Lady Shadow as well as returning millionaires Sassa Hanover, Solar Sister, and Venus Delight --- not to mention stakes-winner Bedroomconfessions and New Zealand-bred newcomer Nike Franco --- and it might be the best group of older female pacers since the early 2000s when Eternal Camnation, Bunny Lake, Worldly Beauty, Burning Point, Loyal Opposition, Carolina Sunshine, and Always Cam were among the prominent players. Blue Moon Stride will start her first test of the year from post No. 4 with Andy McCarthy driving for Harder and owners Emilio and Maria Rosati. She heads to the race off a 1:51.4 qualifier win over Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach last weekend. It was Blue Moon Stride's second qualifier; she finished fourth the first time out. "I was very disappointed in her (first qualifier)," Harder said. "I just think she fooled me. Even though she trained well, I don't think she was quite as fit as I thought she was. I'm much happier this week." Last year, Blue Moon Stride won six of 17 races and earned $407,222 in purses. Her victories included the Mistletoe Shalee, New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, and a division of the Bluegrass Stakes. Blue Moon Stride was purchased as a weanling for $27,000 as part of the Perretti Farms dispersal sale at the 2013 Standardbred Mixed Sale. She is a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Classic Star. Her dam is a full sister to Dan Patch Award winners Bettor's Delight and Roll With Joe and a half-sister to 2003 Horse of the Year No Pan Intended. "As a filly, she was big all along," Harder said about Blue Moon Stride. "She's just continued to grow and fill out. Even muscle wise and weight wise, she's just a bigger mare this year. "She's pretty much in everything this year but the Graduate," he added. "Canada, all around, wherever we can go." Darlinonthebeach will start Friday's race from post eight with David Miller driving for trainer Nancy Johansson. The field also includes Prairie Sweetheart, who was undefeated in a total of 14 races at ages 2 and 3 before finishing third in her 4-year-old debut two weeks ago. The two-time Florida Breeders Stakes champion defeated older rivals, including Lady Shadow, in last year's Allerage Farms Fillies and Mares Pace at Lexington's Red Mile. Prairie Sweetheart, with John Campbell driving for trainer Ross Croghan, starts from post three on Friday. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced the relaunch of a new and improved mobile site at on Tuesday (April 25). Originally launched in April 2015 with basic links to news, entries & results and top performers on the homepage, the new site has a new look, more features and additional information. A new menu bar has added links for My Account, Online Foal Registration, Contacts and Fan Zone. A Racing link contains both Entries & Results, with additional information, and Top Performers. Entries & Results has added the ability to search by horse as well as by date and track directly from the homepage. All entries now include post times, trainers and the morning line odds for each race. Also, the homepage now highlights the top news stories with a photo and a link to video when available for the lead news item and has added a summary of each story to the list of top News Headlines. A more extensive archive of news stories is available through the News Headlines link in the menu. In the Racing link, the Results tab now contains unofficial results that can be checked during the race card instead of having to wait until the end of the day's races plus the names of the breeders and owners of the top three finishers of each race. The Contacts link includes all new information with website links to major harness racing organizations and publications in the Industry Links tab while the Track Contacts tab provides contact information and website links to all harness tracks in the U.S. Members now have direct access to their online services through the My Account link, including online entry and the owner dashboard, as well as in the new Online Foal Registration link. The Fan Zone option links to the USTA's social media website, Finally, social media icon links to the USTA platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube as well as to the Harness Racing FanZone's Instagram page have also been added to the bottom of the homepage. Ken Weingartner

Cathy Rutherford is a harness racing "lifer." She drove in her first race in 1981, at the age of 14, and has competed as a driver in each of the 36 years since then. She has never started more than 138 races in a season, averaging roughly 65 races per year, but delights in every moment she spends with her small stable of horses. "I love getting behind the starting gate," said Rutherford, who is racing this month at Thunder Ridge Raceway in eastern Kentucky. "It's the greatest feeling in the world; win, lose or draw. I love the traveling, the people, the horses; all of it. I'm always up for a new adventure." Rutherford has won 201 races as a driver and 100 races as a trainer. "They all mean something," she said about the victories. In many cases, the size of the purse is not what was most meaningful. "They were minor moments when a horse that had a lot of problems made their way to the winner's circle," Rutherford said. "I tend to buy problem children that need a little extra TLC or have had bad luck or a bad rap. That I could win a race with one that overcame some great obstacles to get there, I've had that a few times. "It might have been little races for nothing, but those are the big moments." One such horse was a female trotter named Fort Riley. She took several years to get to the winner's circle, but eventually enjoyed a 32-race stretch in which she hit the board 19 times and won four races. "She was one of my favorites," Rutherford said. "She went from not wanting to race to being the horse everybody watched on the circuit I raced. She wasn't a great horse, but she was a special horse." Rutherford was born in Michigan and now lives in Illinois. Her father, Ken Rutherford, was a trainer and driver, best known for developing successful Illinois-bred trotters. Cathy jogged her first horse at the age of 6 and was helping train by the age of 9. Her first race, a matinee, was with a 2-year-old trotter named Cardinal Brandon, who went on to earn $206,974 in his career. "I was pretty much born into it," Rutherford said. "I was the kid you couldn't keep out of the barn. It was just a given that I was going to race horses. It was going to happen. "I'm a lifer." Rutherford has worked with horses both on a full-time and part-time basis. She has three horses now, two trotters and one pacer, and spent the offseason doing home construction and remodeling. "The last few years I don't race in the winter," Rutherford said, adding with a laugh, "I've become a fair-weather trainer. I've cut my stable way back. I used to travel by myself with eight or nine horses. I worked myself into the ground. "I don't do it fulltime with a big stable because, like a typical woman, I'm a control freak. I never wanted a big stable because I've got to have my hands on everything. That's why I drive most of my horses, especially my trotters. And the fact I'm a really lousy spectator. I've worked too hard to get them to race to have someone else screw it up. If anybody is going to screw it up it's going to be me." Rutherford, following in her father's footsteps, focuses her efforts on trotters. "Pacers are like a necessary evil in my barn," she said, laughing again. "We made millions of dollars with trotters when I was a child. My dad had a knack. I prefer them. They're more of a challenge. They can be very challenging. "That's why I have to color my hair very regularly." Rutherford plans to race at several tracks this year, including Bluegrass Downs, Shenandoah Downs, The Red Mile, Hawthorne, and possibly Hoosier Park. She also recently got her license to work in the paddock as an identifier. For now, though, she is enjoying her return to action at Thunder Ridge. "We don't race for any money down here, but I wouldn't change coming here for anything in the world," Rutherford said. "It's beautiful country and the horsemen are nice to each other, they're supportive of each other. We get some enjoyment out of it. "It's a good place to get your horses prepped. We just hope to get ready for bigger and better later in the season." As for Rutherford's greatest thrill in racing? Time will tell. "I don't know if I've had it yet," Rutherford said. "I've had a lot of fun with my family and a lot of good horses, but I'm going to say my biggest thrill hasn't happened yet. "We've got something to look forward to." Ken Weingartner

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