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After either drawing or being assigned the outermost starting spot in each of his past four races, Bit Of A Legend looks to return to his winning ways when he leaves from post No. 1 in Saturday's harness racing $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The New Zealand-born Bit Of A Legend is a 7-year-old stallion who arrived in the U.S. in December. He won eight of 10 races to begin his career in the States, including the $609,000 George Morton Levy Pacing Series championship in April at Yonkers Raceway, but has visited the winner's circle only once in his past four starts. Bit Of A Legend, who will have the services of regular driver Jordan Stratton, is the 3-1 second choice on the Gerrity morning line behind 6-5 favorite Wiggle It Jiggleit, harness racing's 2015 Horse of the Year and the winner of 32 of 41 lifetime starts. Wiggle It Jiggleit and driver Montrell Teague will start from post five. "Wiggle It Jiggleit is going to be hard to beat," said Peter Tritton, who trains Bit Of A Legend for owner Harry von Knoblauch. "I thought he could beat the others with the right trip, but Wiggle It Jiggleit is going to be tough. I've got a good draw, so that might even it up a bit. "I just wish Wiggle It Jiggleit wasn't in it, but it is what it is," he added, laughing. "So we'll give it a shot." Bit Of A Legend and Wiggle It Jiggleit have met twice this year. The first encounter came in a preliminary round of the Levy Series at Yonkers and resulted in the horses finishing in a dead heat for win. The second meeting was in the Dorothy Mullin Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 29. Wiggle It Jiggleit won in 1:47.3, the fastest mile in the 11-year history of the racetrack, while Bit Of A Legend went off stride from post eight and finished last. "I changed his shoes for up there (at Philadelphia) and that didn't work out," Tritton said. Bit Of A Legend has raced only once since the Mullin, finishing sixth from post eight in the Open Handicap at Yonkers last Saturday. Bit Of A Legend paced his final quarter-mile :27, the fastest time in the field, and finished 2-1/2 lengths behind winner Doctor Butch. Tritton had hoped to get Bit Of A Legend a start prior to last weekend, but the horse was slowed by a soreness issue. "He went good the other night," Tritton said. "He may be one run short, but he won't be far away. I didn't completely give him off (since the Mullin). I just sort of took it easy for a while because he's not staked to anything this year." Prior to arriving in the U.S., Bit Of A Legend won 20 of 63 races and earned $659,686 while competing Down Under. Among his exploits, he was the first male pacer to win Australian Breeders Crown finals at ages 2 and 3. For his career, the son of Bettor's Delight-Soky's Legend has won 29 of 77 starts and earned $1.13 million. One of Tritton's goals during the remainder of the season is to determine how to stake Bit Of A Legend in 2017. He plans to race the horse at the Meadowlands to gauge his ability on a one-mile oval. So far, Bit Of A Legend has posted all nine of his victories at Yonkers, which is a half-mile track, and not competed on a track larger than five-eighths. "I don't think that's a concern with him," Tritton said. "It's just that he's so handy around the little tracks, where some of them aren't as handy as he is. He still might be able to go with them on the bigger tracks as well. We'll find that out before the end of the year, but he's a very good horse." Following is the field for the Gerrity: PP - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line 1 - Bit Of A Legend - Jordan Stratton - Peter Tritton - 3/1 2 - Doctor Butch - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 8/1 3 - All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 6/1 4 - Artistic Major - Jim Morrill Jr. - Steve Elliott - 12/1 5 - Wiggle It Jiggleit - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis - 6/5 6 - Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald - Jimmy Takter - 10/1 7 - Cooperstown - Vincent Ginsburg - Daniel Renaud - 15/1 8 - P H Supercam - Jason Bartlett - Jeffrey Bamond Jr. - 20/1 P H Supercam is the race's defending champion. The stakes record is 1:48.4 was set in 2014 by Dancin Yankee. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Older male pacer Always B Miki is the unanimous No. 1-ranked horse in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The harness racing 5-year-old stallion by Always A Virgin won last week’s William R. Haughton Memorial, defeating a field that included No. 2 Wiggle It Jiggleit and No. 7 Freaky Feet Pete. Three-year-old male trotter Southwind Frank moves to No. 3 in the rankings, coming off his victory in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Four-year-old female trotter Hannelore Hanover also moves up, to No. 4, thanks to beating the boys in the Hambletonian Maturity. Meadowlands Pace winner Control The Moment joins the Top 10 at No 8. Also new to the rankings is Golden Girls winner Lady Shadow, at No. 10. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 9 – 7/19/2016  Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Always B Miki (35) 5ph 8-6-2-0 $560,887 350 1 2 Wiggle It Jiggleit 4pg 14-9-3-2 $673,667 285 2 3 Southwind Frank 3tc 5-4-1-0 $390,779 217 6 4 Hannelore Hanover 4tm 10-9-1-0 $460,105 209 7 5 Pure Country 3pf 8-5-1-2 $546,702 160 5 6 Betting Line 3pc 6-5-1-0 $492,030 151 3 7 Freaky Feet Pete 4ph 9-5-2-1 $327,802 147 4 8 Control The Moment 3pc 7-3-1-1 $527,063 146 -- 9 Racing Hill 3pc 7-2-4-1 $624,202 72 8 10 Lady Shadow 5pm 11-5-1-1 $315,733 67 -- Also: Resolve (29); Marion Marauder (27); Obrigado (12); Broadway Donna (8); Caprice Hill, Rockeyed Optimist (7); Bee A Magician, Mel Mara (6); Shamballa (4); Bit Of A Legend N, JL Cruze, Missile J (3); Magnum J, Rockin Ron (2); Maestro Blue Chip, Shake It Cerry (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Blue Moon Stride might not attract the same attention as some of her division rivals, such as Pure Country, L A Delight, and Darlinonthebeach, but the 3-year-old female pacer draws plenty of admiration from her trainer, Mark Harder. "Because I train her and I like her, I think she can win a big one," said Harder, who trains Blue Moon Stride for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati of Australia. "I think somewhere along the line, I don't think it will be a surprise, but I think one day she can win a big race. We'll see. She'll show up and race them. Who knows what can happen. "She's a little unnoticed, but she's been pretty consistent and been a real nice filly. I just look at her having a great solid year; being exciting, being fun, and hopefully we can beat those good fillies. There are some really good fillies out there. Pure Country has shown that she's the best. But maybe we'll get our turn." Blue Moon Stride is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday's $157,400 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Dan Patch Award-winner Pure Country and stakes-winner Darlinonthebeach are absent, but the six-filly field also includes Canada's O'Brien Award-recipient L A Delight, Skinny Dipper, Shezarealdeal, Lindwood Beachgirl, and Penpal. Andrew McCarthy will drive Blue Moon Stride, who starts from post five. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, Hambletonian Maturity, and divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and Delvin Miller Memorial. For her career, Blue Moon Stride has won seven of 19 races and earned $444,362. In addition to her seven victories, she has finished second on seven occasions. This year, the filly opened her campaign with a sixth-place finish against older horses, but was beaten only 1-3/4 lengths. She then swept three races in the New Jersey Sire Stakes series, culminating with a victory in the $100,000 championship on June 4 at the Meadowlands. She also was the series champion in 2015. From there, it was on to the James M. Lynch Memorial, where she finished second by a neck to Pure Country in her elimination and second again to Pure Country, this time by a half-length, in the $300,000 final. Last season, Blue Moon Stride's wins also included divisions of the Arden Downs and Tompkins-Geers stakes. She finished second in the Three Diamonds and divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes. "I always liked her," Harder said. "She was not that great gaited early, but when you got her in top gear she was pretty clean going. She always showed talent right from the get-go." 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. Mom 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. "We went to buy (Blue Moon Stride's) yearling sister at the sale, but we passed on her," Harder said. "Even though (Blue Moon Stride) was a little bit on the small side, we took a chance on her. As soon as we got her home, she just took off (growing). She's just one of those horses that grew more later than early. She's a big filly now." A big filly with a little bit of attitude. "She's got a little fight to her," Harder said. "She's got that little nastiness to her and it shows up on the racetrack. Nothing seems to bother her too much. "She's just a big strong filly sort of right on top of her game right now." PP - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line 1 - Skinny Dipper - Scott Zeron - Ross Croghan - 8/1 2 - L A Delight - John Campbell - Robert McIntosh - 5/2 3 - Shezarealdeal - Marcus Miller - Ross Croghan - 9/2 4 - Lindwood Beachgirl - Yannick Gingras - Mark Steacy - 3/1 5 - Blue Moon Stride - Andrew McCarthy - Mark Harder - 2/1 6 - Penpal - Pat Lachance - Pat Lachance - 10/1 by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Racing Hill heads to Saturday's $732,050 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace as the 9-5 morning line favorite. And while the colt's trip to the Meadowlands Racetrack will consist of a relatively short trailer ride on the New Jersey Turnpike, his owner's journey will be considerably longer. Tom Hill, a 64-year-old lifelong participant in harness racing, will be joining Racing Hill at the Big M from his home in the United Kingdom. It will be Hill's second trip to a Meadowlands Pace; his colt Art Colony participated in the 2009 edition of the event, which was won by Well Said. Racing Hill will start the Meadowlands Pace from post No. 4 with Brett Miller driving for trainer Tony Alagna. "I'm very, very excited," said Hill, who in addition to owning Racing Hill also bred the colt. "It's a race we've really wanted to win. It's a premier race. To me, it's the premier race in the U.S. and I think (Racing Hill) will make a good showing. We're hoping we get a bit of luck. I don't care how good they are, you still need to carry a bit of luck." Racing Hill won the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial on July 2 and finished second to Betting Line in the $780,000 North America Cup on June 18. He received a bye to the Meadowlands Pace final based on his earnings this season, which total $450,340. "He'd raced five weeks in a row so to be able to get a bye was nice for the horse," trainer Alagna said. "He came out of the Hempt good, trained back good (Tuesday) and we were fortunate enough to get nice luck of the draw and hit the four hole. I think we're coming into the race in as good shape as we can be." Alagna won the 2013 Meadowlands Pace with Captaintreacherous, who also received a bye to the final following a victory in the Hempt Memorial. "I don't mind following that pattern," Alagna said with a laugh. Racing Hill, a son of 2011 Meadowlands Pace winner Roll With Joe out of the mare Chasing Ideals, has won seven of 16 career races and earned $583,666. Last year, Racing Hill won five of 10 starts, including divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes as well as his elimination for the Breeders Crown. He finished eighth in the Breeders Crown final, but was only 5-3/4 lengths back after a first-over bid around the final turn on a "good" track at Woodbine. "He was tremendous as a 2-year-old," Hill said. "He got real sick in Canada (in early September). When Tony took him back home he cleaned him up and put him on Lasix and the horse came right around. He won in (1):51.2 for fun at The Red Mile, and the track was slow that day because of rain. So we knew he was a top colt." In addition to enjoying success with Racing Hill and Art Colony, the Hill family's highlights in harness racing have included winning the 2010 Jugette and Fan Hanover with Western Silk as well as owning 2015 O'Brien Award-winning female trotter Caprice Hill and world champion Lucky Man. Racing Hill's family includes the mother of Western Silk, Extemporaneous, as well as Dan Patch Award winner Silk Stockings. "It makes it very special that he's a homebred," Hill said. "It's a good maternal line. And I think Roll With Joe, for the time he's been at stud, has achieved a lot. "Hopefully this guy can be a stallion. He looks tremendous and he's got all the attributes that you'd expect a top stallion to have. He's laid back, he's a good racehorse, he's easy to drive, and he looks after himself. If he passes that on, he'd be a good stallion." Hill followed his father, Joe, into harness racing. "I've had horses all my life," said Hill, who made his career operating retirement and holiday trailer home businesses. "My father used to have them and we sent horses over to race at the Meadowlands in the '80s and horses to Canada in the '70s. We've tried to carry on, basically. Thank God we've been reasonably successful." In the lone Meadowlands Pace elimination last Saturday, Control The Moment stormed home with a :26.2 final quarter to win by a length in a lifetime best 1:49.2. Lyons Snyder finished second with JK Will Power third. "He's a really nice horse, no question about it," said winning driver Brian Sears, who was sitting behind Control The Moment for the first time. "He did everything I asked. He was nice and relaxed and I was real pleased with the way he got home. It was a big effort. "The horse looks like he races real good from off the pace and the trip worked out nice and he exploded coming home." Control The Moment, Canada's O'Brien Award winner last year, won eight of nine starts at age 2 and has won two of six races this season. He finished fourth in the Hempt Memorial and third in the North America Cup. "I was never discouraged with him," co-owner Howard Taylor said. "I was discouraged by the finishes, but not with how he raced. I don't think he had a bad race. But (Saturday) was just scary. I was shocked. I had an opinion, and I was quoted, that I thought he was better on the front. After (Saturday) I have to admit I was wrong. That was just too much." The complete field for the Meadowlands Pace is as follows: 1. Another Daily Copy - Trace Tetrick - Nick Devita - 30-1 2. Good Living - Corey Callahan - Tom Cancelliere - 30-1 3. Control The Moment - Brian Sears - Brad Maxwell - 5-2 4. Racing Hill - Brett Miller - Tony Alagna - 9-5 5. Lyons Snyder - David Miller - Mark Silva - 9-2 6. Boston Red Rocks - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 6-1 7. Manhattan Beach - Joe Bongiorno - Ron Burke - 20-1 8. JK Will Power - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 8-1 9. Check Six - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 15-1 10. Talk Show - Scott Zeron - Steve Elliott - 25-1 by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

Freehold, NJ --- Always B Miki remains in the top spot in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The 5-year-old pacing horse has 340 points, 19 points more than runner-up Wigglie It Jiggleit. These two pacers, along with No. 4 ranked Freaky Feet Pete, will meet in this Saturday's WR Haughton Memorial at Meadowlands Racetrack. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 8 – 7/12/2016 Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Always B Miki (26) 5ph 7-5-2-0 $341,500 340 1 2 Wiggle It Jiggleit (9) 4pg 13-9-3-1 $621,015 321 2 3 Betting Line 3pc 6-5-1-0 $492,030 213 3 4 Freaky Feet Pete 4ph 8-5-2-1 $292,701 206 5 5 Pure Country 3pf 7-4-1-2 $506,762 189 4 6 Southwind Frank 3tc 4-3-1-0 $318,750 186 6 7 Hannelore Hanover 4tm 9-8-1-0 $224,505 121 7 8 Racing Hill 3pc 6-2-3-1 $450,340 92 9 9 Resolve 5th 5-1-2-0 $258,273 70 8 10 Obrigado 6tg 7-4-1-2 $362,050 54 10   by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications        

Freehold, NJ --- Brian Brown enjoyed a career year in 2015, winning a Breeders Crown with pacing mare Color's A Virgin and setting personal records with 143 wins and $3.43 million in purses. His earnings ranked No. 9 among all trainers in North America. Among Brown's other successful horses were Lost For Words, Spider Man Hanover, Somewhere Sweet, Rock N Randall, Friskie Lil Devil, and Friskie Cruiser. This week, Brown's stable got off to a strong start in Ohio Sire Stakes action for 2-year-olds, winning seven of 12 starts. Brown spent his childhood summers watching his father Robert H. Brown and uncle William Brown campaign horses around Ohio. He fulfilled his dream to become a driver in 1981 at the age of 16 and won nearly 250 races over the ensuing decade, but turned his attention to training in the early 1990s. The 51-year-old Brown is based at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio, where he operates a stable of some 70 horses with assistance from his wife Jennifer and a number of other family members. He spends the winters prepping horses in Florida, but returns to the Buckeye State for the racing season. Last year, Brown watched Lost For Words nearly win the famed Little Brown Jug at Brown's home track at the Delaware County Fair. Lost For Words was beaten by a nose by Wiggle It Jiggleit in an epic Little Brown Jug. Brown recently took time to talk with Ken Weingartner of the U.S. Trotting Association's Harness Racing Communications division about that Little Brown Jug as well as his career in the sport. KW: Going back to your start, where did your interest in harness racing come from? BB: I grew up in this. My dad and uncle, mother, aunt -- all of them were in the business. I just went to the barn helping them. You know how it goes, when I was a kid, this is all I wanted to do. When I turned a teenager, I was normal. I didn't want to do nothing. I wanted to stay home and watch basketball and football on Saturdays. I didn't want to go to the barn. By the time I was 15, again this is all I ever wanted to do. It's all I've ever really done. I remember going to the fairs as a kid and our parents would give us a dollar to go to the midway. I took my dollar and bought a program and sat on the fence and watched races. They'd let me have a stopwatch once in a while and then I'd thought I'd really hit it big. KW: How did that family background influence you as you started to go on your own and do things? BB: It made all the world of difference to me because as you grow up in it, you don't realize what you learn until you go on your own. My dad and uncle taught me all the basics and I started from the bottom. I cleaned stalls for a long time before I ever got to jog a horse, and even longer before I trained. I spent one winter with (trainer) Ivan Sugg, working for him after I graduated high school. Ivan isn't a big talker, so I learned from him just by watching and him turning me loose and just going and doing it. But I never really knew what I learned there until I left. KW: You did a little driving, too, in the early years. BB: When I was younger -- and about a hundred pounds ago -- I thought that's what I wanted to do. Every kid grows up wanting to be a driver. KW: Was it hard to take that step back and say driving wasn't really for you? BB: It was because for a while I was doing pretty good. But I kind of ate my way out of that job. So I had to go back and just be a trainer. It helped me a lot because I started using David Miller and others, the best that were available, so my owners were starting to invest more money and giving me better chances. You realize how much better those other (drivers) are and how much more confidence the owners have in you as a trainer and them as a driver. Business started taking off then. KW: When was that when you made the decision? BB: Probably the early '90s. KW: So just about the time David's career was taking off. BB: Yeah. A little story, I tried to get David to drive a horse that I had in the sire stakes one time and he told me I'd do just as good a job and to do it myself. Now here it is, he's a Hall of Famer and I'm still in Ohio working every day. (Laughs.) KW: How long have you been going to Florida in the winter? BB: Five years. It's helped me a lot. It's made the horses better. The first year we went with 28 horses. The next year it was 38, then 48, then 68, and 85. When you go, you get out of Ohio in the winter, get off a frozen track, the horses stay sounder, and we've done better. And the owners see it and invest more in the horses. KW: How have you seen your stable change from the early days and how has it affected the way you do things? BB: It's led to better horses, bigger numbers, which means more work, more paperwork. My wife does a wonderful job keeping track of all that, or I'd be completely lost in this. It's just better horses and bigger responsibilities. The communication part, not only with owners -- drivers, blacksmiths, grooms, vets -- all that just keeps building. It gets tougher. But we have a lot of good people here that have my back. So far it's worked out. KW: Was last year the standout year for you so far? BB: By far. We won a couple really nice races. We just missed in the (Little Brown) Jug, which would have been unbelievable. It was a year that you go through and you're trying to figure out what you did that things were so good. KW: You brought up the Jug. How much do you still think about it? BB: It's funny. I can be on my iPad and be going through Facebook and click on a video of something and it goes to YouTube and almost every time that Jug comes up on the side (suggested videos) and I watch it. It was tough. To get beat that little, to come that close to a lifetime dream, it was tough. It took me about three days to want to come back to the barn, even though I came back every day. But once you let go of that and realize, I was second in the Jug in one of the best Jugs ever, and to stop and think that five years ago I just wanted to be in the race, to be pouting after you didn't win seemed kind of childish. I just got beat by one heck of a horse. Wiggle It Jiggleit just went a tremendous race. After you stop and think about it and all the work that went into that day, David did everything he could to win that race, you just move on and start over. KW: I'm surprised you still go back and watch it when you see it come up. BB: (Laughs.) I just can't help myself. KW: What is the plan for Lost For Words this year? BB: I'm going to dodge Wiggle It Jiggleit, Always B Miki, Rockin Ron, Freaky Feet Pete, until late in the summer. In late August or September, we might try some of those races. I didn't even stake him in all the early ones. David Miller told me not to race him hard as a 4-year-old and he'd have a great 5-year-old year. So we're going to try to do David's suggestion, but still go in a couple of those (stakes) late and give him a little chance. I try to protect him like this last year and we didn't go to the North America Cup or Meadowlands Pace. It's just too much racing in a short period of time. He's not a big horse and I didn't think he'd last. It turned out it worked for us. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Ideal Rocky hasn't found himself in many ideal situations this season, but trainer John Butenschoen remains a fan of the 3-year-old pacer and hopes his luck can change in Saturday's lone Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace elimination at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The top nine finishers in the elimination will advance to the $736,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace final on July 16 at the Big M, where they will join bye-recipient Racing Hill. Saturday's card also includes the Graduate Series championships for trotters and pacers as well as two Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old female trotters. Ideal Rocky's luck certainly was no good in the draw for the Pace elimination, as he got post 10 in the 10-horse field. In his previous start, he had post eight in a conditioned race at Mohawk and got stuck on the outside for most of the mile. Before that, he had post eight in his North America Cup elimination and failed to advance to the final. And he had post six in the six-horse New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, where he finished third despite a :26.1 last quarter-mile. "It is what it is," Butenschoen said. "That's part of horseracing. "The horse is a good horse. It's a long season and hopefully he'll get his chance to show it somewhere down the line here. You just hope things will turn around at some point." Ideal Rocky, a son of stallion Rocknroll Hanover --- the 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner --- out of the stakes-winning mare Eternity's Delight, was purchased for $47,000 under the name Rocabybaby Fashion at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is owned by William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick. Last year, Ideal Rocky won a division of the International Stallion Stakes and defeated future Dan Patch Award-winner Boston Red Rocks in both the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers and the Lou Babic. For his career, Ideal Rocky has won five of 20 races and earned $263,873. Ideal Rocky heads to the Meadowlands Pace elimination off a qualifier on July 2 at the Meadowlands. He finished second, sandwiched between Pace hopefuls Good Living and Check Six. "I was real happy with his qualifier the other day and (driver) Corey (Callahan) was real happy with him," Butenschoen said. "We figured we'd throw our hat in the fire again. The only silver lining (to the Pace elimination draw) is that he only has to beat one horse, and if he can't beat one he doesn't deserve to be in the final." Ideal Rocky wasn't eligible to last week's Max C. Hempt Memorial, which was won by Racing Hill. Following the Meadowlands Pace, the colt is eligible to the Adios and New Jersey Classic. "The schedule is impossible," Butenschoen said. "Everyone asks what you have to do to get owners or keep owners in the business, and staking is one of the major obstacles. It's expensive as all get out if you were to pay them into every week, and they're not easy miles. "Do you pay them into everything and then pick your races as you go? Or do you just opt to take out something? We picked our spots. The horse has been good on a mile track. We know if he's healthy he's going to have several weeks in a row, so it might not hurt to skip a week." The Meadowlands Pace elimination includes, from post one through nine: Talk Show, Lyons Snyder, Another Daily Copy, JK Will Power, Boston Red Rocks, Manhattan Beach, Good Living, Check Six, and Control The Moment. Check Six, from the barn of trainer Ron Burke, won this year's Pennsylvania Classic, where stablemate JK Will Power finished second. JK Will Power also finished second in the Hempt Memorial. Control The Moment, last year's O'Brien Award winner in Canada, finished third in the North America Cup, behind Betting Line and Racing Hill. Betting Line wasn't eligible to the Meadowlands Pace. "It's very rare that these horses can go out there and be good from beginning to end," Butenschoen said. "They're going to trade blows as they go along. Hopefully (Ideal Rocky) is right at the right time if we do draw inside. "We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best." By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

Goshen, NY---Breeder and industry executive Charlie Keller III and trainer Bruce Nickells were inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame during ceremonies held at the Harness Racing Museum Sunday (July 4) evening. Also honored were Communicators Hall of Fame inductees David Carr and Jerry Connors; Living Horse Hall of Fame inductees Real Desire, Muscle Hill, Solveig and Arl's Troublemaker; Immortal inductees Carl Allen and Princess; 2015 Del and Mary Lib Miller Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit; 2016 Amateur Driving Champion Hannah Miller; and U.S. Harness Writers Association Unsung Hero Award winner Joanne Young. Keller took over management of Yankeeland Farm after the death of his father, Charles Keller II, in 1990. From then until the farm's closure in 2006, Yankeeland produced such standouts as Hambletonian winners Muscles Yankee and Yankee Paco; Breeders Crown winners Cashmere, Yankee Slide and Strong Yankee; longtime standout sire Yankee Glide; North America Cup winner Yankee Cruiser. Keller was also a longtime industry executive, serving as executive chairman of the Hambletonian Society and a director of the USTA. He thanked his parents, wife, children and nephews for their help in supporting his harness racing career. "This is not an award only for me," he said. "It's for the family and my family put me in this position. I'm a very blessed person." Nickells, who has been training horses for 70 years, first gained prominence as the trainer of such horses as Kentucky, Batman, Fast Clip, Combat Time and Sprite Rodney. He vaulted on the national stage when he trained six pacing fillies that took divisional honors in the 1980s and 1990s: Follow My Star, Central Park West, Miss Easy, Hazleton Kay, Immortality and Freedoms Friend. He was named Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year in 1991. The trainer, who turns 88 on July 5, shared a recent conversation he had with fellow trainer Peter Wrenn. "He said, 'Hey Nickells, you got your speech all ready?'" Nickells said. "I said, 'No, I haven't got one at all. I might not make one.' "Pete said, 'There's nothing to it. Just get up there and start talking like you are trying to sell someone a horse.'" Communicators Hall of Fame David Carr, recently retired director of information and research at the USTA, founded that department in the mid-80s and headed the group for more than 30 years. He was integral to the development of the Pathway online statistical database, the Trotting and Pacing Guide, Crosses of Gold, sales pedigrees and state stallion directories. He thanked Dean Hoffman for hiring him at the USTA, along with Stan Bergstein for calling attention to his work. "When you wander through the museum, you get a chance to see the names and images of the men and women who created and advanced the sport," said Carr. "And they were giants. There are many giants here tonight. When we reach for the stars, we stand on the shoulders of giants. When we try to reach farther into the frontier, we walk along a path that was blazed by giants. I have my own giants that I would like to recognize tonight." Over a career spanning four decades, Connors worked as a sire stakes administrator, track publicist, public handicapper, track announcer, race timer and charter and magazine columnist. He's also been an USHWA director for 23 years and the organization's national secretary since 2002. He thanked the industry leaders who helped him in his formative years for helping him enter the Hall of Fame. "Look at some of the groups I've worked with," said Connors. "Four of the first five people that hired me are in the Hall of Fame: Marv Bachrad, Bruce Stearns, Dean Hoffman and Jim Lynch. When I worked for the USTA, I worked with six Hall of Famers: Dean, now David (Carr), John Pawlak, Carol Cramer, George Smallsreed and Ed Keys. How could I miss?" Living Horse Hall of Fame Real Desire p, 2, 1:50.4; 3, 1:49; 4, 1:48.2 ($3,159,814) qualified for the Hall of Fame based on his $3 million in lifetime earnings and being voted Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada in 2002 at age 4. He was driven throughout his career by John Campbell for trainer Blair Burgess and co-owners Brittany Farms, Perretti Farms, Bob Burgess and Karin Olsson Burgess. "This horse was a life-changer for us," said Blair Burgess, whose wife, Karin, groomed Real Desire. "He allowed us to buy a farm, which we always wanted to do. And to this day-which is probably a bad sign because it was 15 years ago-he was probably the fastest horse I ever had. He had that line gait that Bruce Nickells told me you need in a pacer-no wasted motion." Muscle Hill t, 2, 1:53.3; 3, 1:50.1 ($3,273,342) qualified for induction by all criteria: he was a $3 million lifetime winner, unbeaten in 12 starts at age 3, and voted Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2009. He also won 95.2 percent of his lifetime starts for driver Brian Sears, trainer Greg Peck, and co-owners Muscle Hill Racing LLC, Southwind Farm, T L P Stable, and Jerry Silva. "You don't start in this industry as an owner with Muscle Hill," said Silva. "You start many years ago with other horses, whether they are claimers or babies or whatever they are. You need a lot of luck; you need a good trainer and a good vet; and you need a lot of money to succeed." Solveig t, 4, 1:54.4f ($820,791) was elected for owners Solveig's Breeders after producing Shake It Cerry 3, 1:51.2 ($2,497,785), Uncle Lasse 3, 1:51.4f ($931,268) and Dontyouforgetit 3, 1:52.1f ($598,049). Spending her broodmare days at Winbak Farm, Arl's Troublemaker produced Art Maker p, 1:49.1 ($1,036,217), Stock Market Wiz p, 1:49.3 ($739,283) and Breakin The Law p, 1:49.4 ($504,932). Immortal Hall of Fame A trainer and driver for 30 years, Carl Allen is best known for training 1995 Horse of the Year CR Kay Suzie. He was voted Trainer of the Year in 1994. He trained and drove 1998 divisional winner CR Commando and trained 1999 Breeders Crown winner CR Renegade. He died in 2004. Living from 1846-1877, Princess took a mark of 2:30. In a series of match races in 1859, she pushed Flora Temple to set the all-age record for trotters four times, including the mark of 2:19-3/4 that stood for eight years. Bred to Hambletonian in 1863, she produced Happy Medium, whose sire line still flourishes today. 2016 Harness Racing Hall of Fame Amateur Driving Champion Hannah Miller, 24, set a single-season record for amateur drivers when she recorded 32 victories in 2015. Last year she drove at 21 North American racetracks, represented the U.S. in an amateur driving contest in Majorca, Spain, and this year will represent the Stars and Stripes in the International Amateur World Cup in Budapest, Hungary. USHWA Unsung Hero Award Joanne Young, development director at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, was presented with the Unsung Hero Award for her tireless work in recruiting members and raising money for the Hall. She was unable to attend the Dan Patch Awards dinner in March to be given her award, so she was presented with the award in her own backyard. Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced on Wednesday (June 29) that a new, online version of the Trotting & Pacing Guide, the harness racing industry's media guide, was launched on its website, "Through the efforts of several departments at the USTA who have worked closely together on this project, we now have the most complete compilation of up-to-date information, statistics and records in the history of our industry," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner in making the announcement. "The new, online T&P Guide contains more current information than the annual, printed publication and it is available anywhere, anytime on any internet-capable device." The online version contains much more information than the printed edition and provides up-to-date information, statistics and records on a daily basis instead of being restricted to annual updates. It will now provide interactive features for desktop and laptop computers as well as mobile devices. Since the information resides in a number of different places, a new landing page was created for the T&P Guide that will provide navigation to the previous information in the book as well as all of the new information that is now available. A new T&P Guide tab is located on the top (black) menu bar on every page of beside the existing PATHWAY link for ease of access. Up-to-date, industry-wide statistical information will reside in PATHWAY to provide greatly expanded reports and categories. Many reports will be available at no cost, but will also include hyperlinks and the ability to research other paid PATHWAY offerings, including video replays. In addition, a new All-Time category is offered for the Top Performers' reports. Updated daily for current leaders, this will also allow easy online research of all previous year's Top Performers' information without the need for a library of the annual, printed editions of the T&P Guide books. Additional statistical categories and more new information will be added moving forward. From the USTA Communications Department  

After last weekend's three Ben Franklin Pace eliminations produced two of the three fastest miles in harness racing history on a five-eighths-mile track, horsemen and fans are anticipating an extraordinary encore in Saturday's $500,000 final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Five-year-old stallion Always B Miki won his Franklin elimination in 1:47, equaling Sweet Lou's record for the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths oval. Freaky Feet Pete followed with a 1:47.1 victory in his elim, setting the record for the fastest mile by a 4-year-old on a five-eighths track. Prior to those two performances, 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit won his Franklin elimination in 1:48.1. Earlier this season, the 4-year-old gelding posted a 1:47.3 triumph on the five-eighths oval at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Ben Franklin Pace final is the first-ever meeting of all three horses in the same race. The event is part of Pocono's Sun Stakes Saturday, which also includes stakes for 3-year-old pacers and trotters. "As a fan, it's just tremendous," said Mitchel Skolnick, who is one of the owners of the Jimmy Takter-trained Always B Miki. "We wait years for horses like this to come along, and to see the three each at his best, it's special. Hopefully, everyone gets what they're expecting (on Saturday)." History's fastest pacing mile is the 1:46.1 time-trial mark established by Cambest in 1993. The fastest time for a race mile is 1:46.4, which is shared by four horses. Many people believe the record for a race mile --- if not the time-trial clocking --- could fall in the Franklin final. "It's a possibility if it all goes the right way," said Larry Rheinheimer, who bred Freaky Feet Pete and trains the stallion for his wife Mary Jo and son Marty. "But I don't worry about that until afterwards. My goal is to be the first one across the finish line. The time? We'll take that when it comes. I was excited with the (1):47.1 and the 4-year-old record. It will be a good race regardless. I'm excited." Added George Teague Jr., who owns the Clyde Francis-trained Wiggle It Jiggleit, "If it's a night like the other night and the weather is warm with no wind, I think it's possible they can go (1):46 and a piece or thereabouts. It's perfect the way it worked out from the other night's races. They all won, and won in big fashion. "The buildup for this race is great. There's a lot of buzz." Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1-ranked horse in the current Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, has won eight of 11 races this year. He brings a four-race victory streak to the Franklin final, with his triumphs including the Battle of Lake Erie and Dorothy Mullin Invitational. A son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover, Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 31 of 38 lifetime races and earned $2.63 million. He has finished worse than second only once in his career. Wiggle It Jiggleit is the Franklin's 5-2 morning line favorite and will start the race from post No. 3 with driver Montrell Teague, the son of George Teague Jr., in the sulky. Wiggle It Jiggleit won his elimination by 1-1/4 lengths. "I'm not going to kid you, I'd rather be 1-9 going for $500,000 than have to race those two horses," the elder Teague said, laughing. "I'd be stupid to say anything differently. But to be a part of this, it's definitely a lot of fun. I'm excited. I'm all pumped up. I love our chances. I still think we have the best horse in the game. I'm sure the other two think they have the best horse in the game, too. Now it's prove-it time." Always B Miki, the No. 2-ranked horse in the sport's poll, has won eight of 10 races since returning to action from injury last October. The son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper has won 22 of 41 career starts and earned $1.31 million. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. In his elimination, Always B Miki raced on the outside for much of the mile, but was able to overtake pacesetter Mel Mara at the top of the stretch and pull away for a 3-3/4 length win. "I don't think I've been more impressed with a horse that I've trained than I was with him in that race," said Jimmy Takter, who will watch Always B Miki and driver David Miller start from post No. 7 in the Franklin final. "I was so proud of him. "Personally, I think this is probably as exciting a race coming up that there ever was. All the drivers have confidence in their horse. They all think they're going to win it. All three raced fantastic last weekend; they all looked great. It's going to be a horserace." Freaky Feet Pete, the fourth-ranked horse in harness racing's Top 10, has won five of six races this year and 29 of 33 lifetime starts. The son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has finished worse than third only once in his career and earned $1.22 million. He won his elimination by 5-3/4 lengths and will start the final from post six with regular driver Trace Tetrick. "Pete raced good; I was real happy with him," Rheinheimer said. "He came out of it good, eating good and everything, so we're ready to go. I think it will be a good race. It'll probably come down to whoever gets the breaks and the racing luck." In addition to the "Big Three," the Franklin final includes Canada's 2015 Horse of the Year State Treasurer plus world champions Mel Mara, who defeated Always B Miki earlier this season, and Always At My Place. Add in Shamballa and the 10-horse field features seven horses that have won in 1:48 or faster. Below is the Ben Franklin field followed by the fields for the remaining stakes Saturday at Pocono: $500,000 Ben Franklin (Race 11; estimated post time 9:55 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Mel Mara - Corey Callahan - Dylan Davis - 6/1 2 - Shamballa - Scott Zeron - Rick Zeron - 8/1 3 - Wiggle It Jiggleit - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis - 5/2 4 - State Treasurer - Tim Tetrick - Ian Moore - 15/1 5 - Sunfire Blue Chip - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 6 - Freaky Feet Pete - Trace Tetrick - Larry Rheinheimer - 3/1 7 - Always B Miki - David Miller - Jimmy Takter - 4/1 8 - All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 20/1 9 - Rock N' Roll World - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 30/1 10 - Always At My Place - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 10/1 Always At My Place starts from the second tier $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial (Race 9; estimated post time 9:08 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - JK Fannie - Jim Morrill Jr. - Nancy Johansson - 10/1 2 - I Said Diamonds - Matt Kakaley - Matias Ruiz - 5/1 3 - Newborn Sassy - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney-King - 4/1 4 - Lindwood Beachgirl - Yannick Gingras - Mark Steacy - 12/1 5 - Skinny Dipper - Scott Zeron - Ross Croghan - 20/1 6 - Darlinonthebeach - David Miller - Nancy Johansson - 3/1 7 - Pure Country - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 5/2 8 - Blue Moon Stride - Andrew McCarthy - Mark Harder - 6/1 9 - Penpal - Pat Lachance - Pat Lachance - 15/1 $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial (Race 10; estimated post time 9:31 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - More Dragon - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 20/1 2 - Racing Hill - Brett Miller - Tony Alagna - 5/2 3 - Western Fame - George Napolitano Jr. - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 4 - JK Will Power - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 6/1 5 - Talk Show - Scott Zeron - Steve Elliott - 8/1 6 - Boston Red Rocks - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 5/1 7 - Katies Rocker - David Miller - Jim Campbell - 4/1 8 - Control The Moment - Randy Waples - Brad Maxwell - 7/2 9 - Big Top Hanover - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 15/1 $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial (Race 12; estimated post time 10:20 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Reigning Moni - Scott Zeron - Jimmy Takter - 10/1 2 - Hollywood Highway - John Campbell - Staffan Lind - 15/1 3 - Truemass Volo - Eric Goodell - Douglas Hamilton - 12/1 4 - Dayson - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 3/1 5 - Trolley - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 6/1 6 - Brooklyn Hill - David Miller - Jonas Czernyson - 5/1 7 - Southwind Frank - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 5/2 8 - Dice Man - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 20/1 9 - Bar Hopping - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 4/1 by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

Eight years ago, Ideal Newton won the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. On Saturday, her harness racing sister Newborn Sassy will try to duplicate the feat. Newborn Sassy heads to the $300,000 Lynch Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono off a 1:51.3 win in her elimination last week and will start the final from post No. 3 with driver Tim Tetrick. Interestingly, it was Tetrick's familiarity with Newborn Sassy's family that led to CC Racing's Ray Kusinski and Jo Ann Looney-King purchasing the then-yearling filly for $38,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale. "I drove some of her sisters and family and they all tried really hard and were really nice horses," Tetrick said. "I really liked her at the sale and I told Ray and Jo Ann that I liked this filly. Luckily, they bought her and she's turned out to be really nice. She's got that same attitude (as her siblings). You wouldn't even know she's there in the barn, but she sees the racetrack and she likes to do her job." A daughter of Western Ideal out of the hard-grinding $607,466-earning mare Sass Newton, Newborn Sassy has won nine of 17 career races and earned $301,485 for the training stable of Jim King Jr. and Looney-King. She was slow to get to the races last year because of having bone chips removed, but finished her 2-year-old campaign with eight consecutive victories, including the Matron Stakes. Her win in the Lynch elimination was Newborn Sassy's first triumph of this season, but she had hit the board on four other occasions and finished within 1-3/4 lengths of the winner in all but one start. "She's real handy and she's been right there every week," Tetrick said. "She's not a one-way filly, so that makes her very competitive. Jimmy and Jo Ann have done a great job teaching her how to be a racehorse." The Lynch Memorial also includes Pure Country, the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer and winner of this year's Fan Hanover Stakes and Miss Pennsylvania, plus stakes winners Blue Moon Stride, Darlinonthebeach, and I Said Diamonds. Pure Country won her Lynch elimination by a neck over Blue Moon Stride in 1:50.1. Darlinonthebeach was third. Newborn Sassy captured her elim by a neck over I Said Diamonds, with JK Fannie third. The morning line has Pure Country as the 5-2 favorite, followed by Darlinonthebeach at 3-1, Newborn Sassy at 4-1, I Said Diamonds at 5-1, and Blue Moon Stride at 6-1. "It's going to be a great race," Tetrick said. "I know Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach, they're really tough. I respect I Said Diamonds; she'd been off for 30 days so she's going to be way better this week. "Hopefully I can be in the right spot at the right time." The Lynch Memorial is part of Pocono's Sun Stakes Saturday. The card also includes the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older male pacers. Tetrick will drive Bar Hopping in the Beal. Bar Hopping won his elimination by a neck over returning Dan Patch Award divisional champion Southwind Frank in 1:52.1. Trolley finished third. Bar Hopping was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack in Tetrick's first time behind the colt. He will start the Beal final from post nine. "I kind of put him in a bad spot in Canada; I took the inside route and it was a bad situation," Tetrick said. "The other day I was more aggressive with him and he beat the best trotting colt in the country right now. And he did it right, leaving in :26.3 (for the opening quarter-mile), letting horses go and then coming first up to beat the champion. "He showed me what he can do. He's a very, very nice horse. He's beautifully gaited and he's another one you can drive any way. Even if he's in a bad spot he can make up a lot of ground, so I really like that about him." Dayson, who won the Beal's remaining elimination by a nose over Brooklyn Hill in 1:52.3, will start the final from post four. In the Hempt, Tetrick will sit behind returning Dan Patch Award divisional champ Boston Red Rocks, who finished second by a half-length in 1:49.3 to O'Brien Award winner Control The Moment in his elimination. Boston Red Rocks was coming off a fourth-place finish in the North America Cup --- his only off-the-board finish in 15 lifetime races. "I was much happier with his effort," Tetrick said. "I know he got a great trip, but he was kind of back to his old self. In Canada, he wasn't himself. I think he's going to go a good race. He doesn't like when they turn it into a big speed battle, but if they keep close and he can get an inside trip he can sprint good for a ways. "They're going to bounce around," he added about the competitiveness of the 3-year-old male pacing division. "It's a very long year and when you have a 3-year-old pacing colt at that level it's war. It's full tilt every week." Boston Red Rocks will start the Hempt final from post six. Control The Moment drew post eight and remaining elimination winner Racing Hill drew post two. The Franklin brings together the sport's most talked about horses --- returning Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit and Breeders Crown champions Always B Miki and Freaky Feet Pete --- for their first meeting as a group. Each won his respective Franklin elimination last week; Always B Miki in 1:47 to equal the fastest mile ever on a five-eighths-mile track, Freaky Feet Pete in 1:47.1 to set the record for the fastest ever by a 4-year-old on a five-eighths oval, and Wiggle It Jiggleit in 1:48.1. Wiggle It Jiggleit is ranked No. 1 in the current Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, with Always B Miki at No. 2 and Freaky Feet Pete at No. 4. Tetrick will drive Canada's 2015 Horse of the Year, State Treasurer, in the Franklin. State Treasurer finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in his elimination. "I'm so glad I get to drive State Treasurer, but part of me wants to sit on the sidelines and watch those great horses go battle," Tetrick said. "It could set up to be the best race that harness racing has ever seen, in my opinion. "You're getting ready to see some great horses. Even my horse, if he got a nice cozy trip and they battle going 1:19 (to three-quarters) and he's sitting two or three (lengths) off it wouldn't be a surprise if he gives them a run. He's been there, done it, he's a warhorse. I was very impressed with him the other day. He finished a good second to Wiggle It Jiggleit. I expect (trainer) Ian Moore to have him on his toes. It's going to be a great race. I'm excited." Following are the fields for the Sun Stakes Saturday featured events. $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial (Race 9; estimated post time 9:08 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - JK Fannie - Jim Morrill Jr. - Nancy Johansson - 10/1 2 - I Said Diamonds - Matt Kakaley - Matias Ruiz - 5/1 3 - Newborn Sassy - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney-King - 4/1 4 - Lindwood Beachgirl - Yannick Gingras - Mark Steacy - 12/1 5 - Skinny Dipper - Scott Zeron - Ross Croghan - 20/1 6 - Darlinonthebeach - David Miller - Nancy Johansson - 3/1 7 - Pure Country - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 5/2 8 - Blue Moon Stride - Andrew McCarthy - Mark Harder - 6/1 9 - Penpal - Pat Lachance - Pat Lachance - 15/1 $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial (Race 10; estimated post time 9:31 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - More Dragon - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 20/1 2 - Racing Hill - Brett Miller - Tony Alagna - 5/2 3 - Western Fame - George Napolitano Jr. - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 4 - JK Will Power - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 6/1 5 - Talk Show - Scott Zeron - Steve Elliott - 8/1 6 - Boston Red Rocks - Tim Tetrick - Steve Elliott - 5/1 7 - Katies Rocker - David Miller - Jim Campbell - 4/1 8 - Control The Moment - Randy Waples - Brad Maxwell - 7/2 9 - Big Top Hanover - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 15/1 $500,000 Ben Franklin (Race 11; estimated post time 9:55 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Mel Mara - Corey Callahan - Dylan Davis - 6/1 2 - Shamballa - Scott Zeron - Rick Zeron - 8/1 3 - Wiggle It Jiggleit - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis - 5/2 4 - State Treasurer - Tim Tetrick - Ian Moore - 15/1 5 - Sunfire Blue Chip - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 6 - Freaky Feet Pete - Trace Tetrick - Larry Rheinheimer - 3/1 7 - Always B Miki - David Miller - Jimmy Takter - 4/1 8 - All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 20/1 9 - Rock N' Roll World - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 30/1 10 - Always At My Place - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 10/1 Always At My Place starts from the second tier $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial (Race 12; estimated post time 10:20 p.m.) PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Reigning Moni - Scott Zeron - Jimmy Takter - 10/1 2 - Hollywood Highway - John Campbell - Staffan Lind - 15/1 3 - Truemass Volo - Eric Goodell - Douglas Hamilton - 12/1 4 - Dayson - Jim Morrill Jr. - Ron Burke - 3/1 5 - Trolley - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 6/1 6 - Brooklyn Hill - David Miller - Jonas Czernyson - 5/1 7 - Southwind Frank - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 5/2 8 - Dice Man - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 20/1 9 - Bar Hopping - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 4/1 Ken Weingartner

Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki head to Saturday’s Ben Franklin Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono ranked 1-2 in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, with harness racing rival Freaky Feet Pete not far behind at No. 4. Each won his elimination last week, with Always B Miki’s time of 1:47 equaling the fastest ever on a five-eighths-mile track and Freaky Feet Pete’s 1:47.1 set the record for fastest by a 4-year-old on a five-eighths oval. Pure Country, who won her elimination for Saturday’s James M. Lynch Memorial at Pocono, moved from No. 10 to fifth in the rankings. Resolve, who won the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial last week at the Meadowlands in his first start since finishing second in Sweden’s Elitlopp, joined the Top 10 at No. 7. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Wiggle It Jiggleit (31) 4pg 11-8-3-0 $442,265 346 1 2 Always B Miki (4) 5ph 6-4-2-0 $91,500 290 4 3 Betting Line 3pc 5-4-1-0 $451,605 231 2 4 Freaky Feet Pete 4ph 6-5-0-1 $108,326 202 6 5 Pure Country 3pf 6-3-1-2 $356,762 144 10 6 Southwind Frank 3tc 3-2-1-0 $68,750 135 3 7 Resolve 5th 5-1-2-0 $258,273 104 -- 8 Hannelore Hanover 4tm 8-7-1-0 $212,955 93 7 9 Bit Of A Legend N 7ph 13-9-2-0 $473,750 89 5 10 Maestro Blue Chip 4th 12-11-0-1 $191,500 76 8   Also: Bee A Magician (53); Rockeyed Optimist (42); Mel Mara (22); Racing Hill (15); Lady Shadow (14); Control The Moment (13); Obrigado (12); Rockin Ron (9); Darlinonthebeach (6); Bar Hopping, Check Six, Dayson, Pinkman (4); Caprice Hill, Missile J (3); Newborn Sassy, Rose Run Parker (2); All Bets Off, Dante, Sintra (1).   by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

In many cases, winning seven harness races in a row would be the most notable achievement of any harness racing driver's day. But for Yannick Gingras, such a streak got him to an even more noteworthy accomplishment --- career victory No. 6,000. On Sunday, the 36-year-old Gingras won his final four drives at Harrah's Philadelphia before heading north to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he had three drives in Pennsylvania All-Stars action. Gingras won all three, finishing the day with 6,000 lifetime triumphs. Gingras notched his milestone win with Ron Burke-trained 2-year-old male pacer Normandy Beach in the seventh race at Pocono. "That's just neat that it worked out that way," Gingras said. "Someone mentioned to me yesterday that I was getting close, but I wasn't sure how close I was. "At this stage, it's a good number --- it's always nice to get these milestones --- but at this point we race so many horses they come quite often, honestly. But it's definitely nice. I'm sure it's something that later on it will be nice to talk about these numbers. Hopefully, I'll have made it higher than 6,000." Gingras was harness racing's Driver of the Year in 2014 and has led the sport in purses each of the past two seasons. This year, Gingras has won 164 races and $3.12 million, which ranks fifth in North America. His top wins this season include the Pennsylvania Classic with Check Six, Roses Are Red with Lady Shadow, Armbro Flight with Hannelore Hanover, Confederation Cup with Rockin Ron, New Jersey Sire Stakes championship with Southwind Frank, and a Group 2 race in Sweden with Pinkman. Other stars driven by Gingras during his career include Foiled Again, Mission Brief, Father Patrick, JK She'salady, Maven, Pastor Stephen, and Darlin's Delight. This weekend, Gingras will turn his attention to Pocono's Sun Stakes Saturday card, where his drives include Southwind Frank in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Southwind Frank, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, saw a 12-race win streak halted by Bar Hopping last Saturday in their Beal elimination. Bar Hopping won by a neck in 1:52.1. "He's good," Gingras said about Southwind Frank, who has won 13 of 15 career races and is the early Hambletonian Stakes favorite. "He wasn't a hundred percent on Saturday. That's pretty scary to get beat a neck when he's not at his best. I think he'll be ready to rock on Saturday night." Gingras also is anticipating the $500,000 Ben Franklin, where older male pacing stars Always B Miki, Freaky Feet Pete, and Wiggle It Jiggleit all head to the final off impressive elimination victories. "That's going to be an unbelievable race," said Gingras, who is listed on Burke trainees Rock N' Roll World and Always At My Place. "I'm looking forward to, not only being a part of it, but seeing who is the king of the division now. I hope it's everything we hope it's going to be. "There will be a lot of good racing there at Pocono on Saturday night. I have some good ones, so I'm definitely looking forward to it." Ken Weingartner

Although Southwind Frank sports the divisional crown and rightfully so, he is surrounded by harness racing rivals seeking to snatch that glistening accessory on every occasion he places a hoof upon the track. In this Saturday's (June 25) $25,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial eliminations at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Trolley tosses himself into the fray, to not only derail the champion's journey to the Hambletonian, but to launch his own bid to sport the crown. "He already thinks he is the king of the barn," said Erv Miller, the colt's conditioner. "I'm standing in front of his stall right now (Thursday, June 23) and I already had to put three or four boards higher on it than what is normal for the other horses because he always tries to jump over it to get out. He is trying to talk and play with everyone else in the barn to let them know he's there." A son of Donato Hanover and the Duke Of York mare Lakeside Bride, who is a half-sister to stakes-winner King Conch, Trolley was purchased for $30,000 by Paymaq Racing, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger at the 2014 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The royally bred colt, whose granddam, Conch, is a daughter of the legendary Bonefish, may not have acquired a legion of devoted followers due to his brief career (3-2-0-0, $43,501), however, his connections are confident he will stake his claim for the throne when he begins trotting from post position three in Saturday's ninth race with Marcus Miller guiding him. Trolley, despite being lightly raced, is 6-1 on the morning line, but will have to face stiff opposition in Southwind Frank (post position eight, 5-2), Love Matters (post position two, 3-1), Bar Hopping (post position six, 4-1) and Lagerfeld (post position four, 5-1) to advance to the $500,000 final on July 2. The colt certainly merits attention as he defeated 2015 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Lagerfeld in his only performance this season at Pocono and also outlasted Earn And Burn, who is out of a full sister to millionaire Dejarmbro, for his maiden breaking score last year at the same venue. "He has done everything we have asked of him," Miller said. "We also have very high hopes for him. After that race last year, he came out of it with what we thought was a foot abscess. When it did not come out, we found a small spot on his coffin bone that we thought might have been bothering him so we just gave him time. He's a big, strong horse and has came back very well. We have a schedule planned for him, but he will tell us where to go whenever he is ready." Trolley is short on experience but Miller feels his natural ability and mind will allow him to ascend to the elite ranks of his division. His trainer's only question is if he can manage the horse appropriately. That speaks volumes coming from a trainer with Miller's resume. "Our concern is keeping him sound," Miller said. "He's a healthy horse so that's not the issue, but he is just such a good-feeling animal. We worry he is going to tear himself up in the barn with all the energy he has. "The other day he was out running in the paddock and just enjoying what he was doing so much I had to go out there and stop him. He is a well-mannered horse, but he just puts everything into anything that he does. Once he actually starts racing more, rather than take that kind of activity down a notch, I'm wondering if he will go the other way and think even more of himself." The colt is staked to all the engagements his colleagues will be contesting throughout the year, but Miller will be cautious regarding in which spots Trolley performs. "He is eligible to everything," Miller said. "We do believe in him because he is a very nice horse. We put him on the lead in his first (stakes) race and he did it, then finished. In his second race, he sat right in the pocket for us without being asked and made his move on his own. Not many horses, especially trotters, with limited experience have enough of a mind to do that for you. "We are very pleased with him and are very excited for not only this race, but the rest of the season. It's all up to him. We just have to listen to what he says and keep him happy." Below are the fields for the two Earl Beal Jr. Memorial eliminations on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. $25,000 7TH RACE ELIMINATION:   1, Brooklyn Hill by Muscle Hill,  David Miller, Jonas Czernyson;   2, Dayson by Conway Hall,  Jim Morrill Jr., Ron Burke;   3, Milligan's School by Yankee Glide,  Andy Miller, Julie Miller;   4, Jimmy William by Cantab Hall, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter;   5, Jack Vernon by Muscle Hill, Tim Tetrick, Randy Beeckman;   6, Dupree by Andover Hall, Ãke Svanstedt, Ãke Svanstedt;   7, Reigning Moni by Donato Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter;   8, Truemass Volo by Muscle Massive, Eric Goodell, Doug Hamilton;   9, Hollywood Highway by Muscle Massive, John Campbell, Staffan Lind.   $25,000 9TH RACE ELIMINATION:   1, Dice Man by SJ's Caviar,  Ãke Svanstedt, Ãke Svanstedt;   2, Love Matters by Explosive Matter,  Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter;   3, Trolley by Donato Hanover, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller;   4, Lagerfeld by Yankee Glide, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter;   5, Iron Mine Bucky by Explosive Matter, George Dennis, Greg Haverstick;   6, Bar Hopping by Muscle Hill, Tim Tetrick, Jimmy Takter;   7, Promise Delivered by Muscle Hill,  Andrew McCarthy, Staffan Lind;   8, Southwind Frank by Muscle Hill, Gingras also listed, Ron Burke;   9, Leggs Matter by Explosive Matter,  David Miller, Robert W. Clark.   Ken Weingartner  

After finishing second in the Elitlopp on May 29 at Sweden's Solvalla Raceway, Resolve is back on familiar ground and ready for his next challenge in Friday's $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for harness racing older trotters at the Meadowlands. Resolve faces six rivals in the Cutler. He will start from post seven, with trainer Ake Svanstedt also driving, and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Obrigado, whose wins this season include the Charlie Hill Memorial and Maxie Lee Memorial, is 5-2 and 2015 Dan Patch Award divisional champion JL Cruze is 7-2. "He was a little skinny when he came home, but he's eaten well and in a week or two he was normal again," said Svanstedt, who conditions the 5-year-old Resolve for owner Hans Enggren. "He trained good. Everything is normal. I like the way he feels." Resolve finished second to former U.S.-based star Nuncio in the Elitlopp. It has been 18 years since Moni Maker was the last U.S.-owned horse to win the Elitlopp, although Resolve joined Arch Madness and Mr Muscleman as recent U.S. runners-up in the prestigious invitational event. Arch Madness had back-to-back second-place finishes in 2012 and 2013 and Mr Muscleman was second in 2007. Svanstedt is in his third year of competing in North America. He was Sweden's Trainer of the Year five times and Driver of the Year on three occasions prior to moving his stable to the U.S. in the winter of 2013. During his career overseas, Svanstedt won many of the top races in Europe, including the Elitlopp twice. "It was fun to go back for the Elitlopp," Svanstedt said. "It was very nice. It seems a lot of people in America looked at the race too. That's good. A lot of people have given us congratulations." Resolve's earnings in the Elitlopp pushed his lifetime total to more than $1 million. The son of Muscle Hill-Anikawiesahalee has won 10 of 43 career starts and banked $1.07 million. Last year, Resolve won four of 13 races and hit the board a total of 12 times on his way to $700,938. His wins included the TVG Free For All Series championship and an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot. He finished second in the Maple Leaf Trot final, as well as the Breeders Crown Open Trot and Hambletonian Maturity. Resolve received the 2015 O'Brien Award for the best older male trotter to compete in Canada. The Cutler is Resolve's only stakes-level engagement until the John Cashman Jr. Memorial on Aug. 6 --- Hambletonian Day --- at the Meadowlands. In the meantime, Svanstedt will try to race Resolve at Yonkers Raceway in the hopes the horse receives an invitation to October's International Trot at The Hilltop. Svanstedt often races Resolve without shoes, but on Friday the stallion will race with shoes on his hind feet. "He can go fast with shoes too," Svanstedt said. Following is the field for the Cutler Memorial. Wind Of The North is the only one of the seven horses who competed in last year's Cutler, which was won by Bee A Magician. Wind Of The North finished second, two lengths back. Svanstedt won the 2014 Cutler with Sebastian K. The Cutler is race No. 7 on the Meadowlands' card, with a 9:15 p.m. approximate post time. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1 - Crazy Wow - by Crazed - Tim Tetrick - Ron Burke - 6/1 2 - Gural Hanover - by Crazed -  Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 12/1 3 - JL Cruze - by Crazed - John Campbell - Eric Ell - 7/2 4 - Obrigado - by Boy Band - Mark MacDonald - Paul Kelley - 5/2 5 - Flanagan Memory - by Kadabra -  Brett Miller - Rene Dion - 8/1 6 - Wind Of The North - by Cantab Hall -  David Miller - Daryl Bier - 10/1 7 - Resolve -  by Muscle Hill - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 2/1 by Ken Weingartner

Manalapan, NJ --- There were a number of stirring performances Monday when Gaitway Farm held its final round of June harness racing qualifiers, but the most inspiring had nothing to do with any of the horses that went onto the racetrack. The day belonged to Layla Mosley. Layla, the 5-year-old granddaughter of Delaware-based trainer Joe Hundertpfund Jr., is battling a rare type of bone cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma. But she was on hand Monday at Gaitway, handing out lemonade to fans on a warm morning, to help raise money for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and childhood cancer research. In addition, Monday was the final day of a 50-50 raffle at Gaitway to benefit Layla and her parents, Brenda and Keith. The fundraiser netted more than $2,600. "The help of all the horsemen has been unbelievable," Hundertpfund said. "Everywhere. All the horsemen have been so good to us. It's been helping because my son-in-law has been out of work (taking unpaid leave to be with Layla) and this is going to be an ongoing battle." Layla was diagnosed with her cancer in early February and underwent months of chemotherapy before having surgery just several weeks ago at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to remove a tumor and parts of three ribs. "The tumor started in her ribs and metastasized to her lungs and eventually worked its way out of her back," Hundertpfund said. "The chemo made the tumor shrink to the point where they were able to take it out. Fortunately the chemo worked so well there was no sign of any tumors in her lungs; they did a biopsy and it came back cancer free. "Now it's three more months of chemotherapy, a little bit of radiation, and then just hope for the best." Layla's attitude during her fight has inspired all those around her. Layla's favorite response whenever anyone asks about her condition is, "No biggie." Following her recent surgery, she called Hundertpfund and his wife Doreen via FaceTime and sang a song about "kicking cancer's butt." "She's so resilient," Hundertpfund said. "She always has a positive outlook. She doesn't feel sorry for herself one bit, which I think really helps." To visit Layla's Facebook page, click here. To make a donation, click here for her YouCaring page (which also features a short video about Layla) and here for her GoFundMe page. by Ken Weingartner    

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