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Freehold, NJ --- As John Campbell prepared to head to Sweden for his final Elitlopp, he admittedly knew little about the horse he is driving in Sunday’s elite harness racing invitational for older trotters. But he did know the most important thing. “The only thing I know is that he’s inexperienced for this level of competition, but he does have a lot of speed and ability,” Campbell said about lightly raced 5-year-old Tjacko Zaz. “He’s got the fastest race time in Sweden this year. As a driver, that’s what you’re looking for, something that can go fast. And he definitely can. I’ll certainly get a lot more information from the trainer when I get there.” Tjacko Zaz has raced only once this year, winning in 1:51.4 (mile rate on a five-eighths-mile track). The horse is a son of U.S. stallion Crazed out of the Angus Hall mare Kinoras Zaz. He is trained by Timo Nurmos and will start from post four in the first of Sunday’s two Elitlopp eliminations at Stockholm’s Solvalla Raceway. The top four finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the final. Campbell, who will hang up his colors in July to take over the role of Hambletonian Society president and CEO from the retiring Tom Charters, won the 1988 Elitlopp with Mack Lobell. Campbell last competed in the event in 1996, winning an elimination with Triple T Storm and finishing fifth in the final. Three years ago, Campbell returned to Solvalla for a legend’s race and was reunited with Mack Lobell for a special ceremony at the racetrack. In addition to Sunday’s Elitlopp, Campbell will drive in six other races that day at Solvalla. “I’m really looking forward to it,” Campbell said. “It’s obviously my last time driving in Sweden, so there’s that. Any time you get to go to the Elitlopp it’s special. And they’ve treated (my wife) Paula and I so well every time we’ve gone to Sweden that you just can’t help but look forward to it. They’ve treated us extremely well over the years.” Campbell has won 10,659 races in his Hall of Fame career and earned a record $299.71 million in purses. Campbell’s win with Mack Lobell in the Elitlopp ranks among his greatest memories. “The first thing that comes to mind is the crowd, the fans, just how electric and enthusiastic they are,” Campbell said. “It’s more than a horserace, it’s a sporting event. “Winning it with Mack, he’s the only 4-year-old to have won it, which is something that is very special in my career. Just the fact Mack did that, I look back in almost astonishment that he did. It’s one of my best memories.” Campbell can recall all the details from the day. “That one is easy to remember, both heats,” Campbell said. “He had an outside post (seven) in the first race and they were trotting out of there a hundred miles an hour so I just took him off the gate. They go so slow the middle half and when they started to slow down Mack really got on the bit and I wasn’t going to be able to keep him in where I wanted. I flipped him three wide (prior to the second turn) and he made the front and won easily from there. “I remember one of the Swedish journalists said ‘All we ever heard about was how fast Mack Lobell could leave and he didn’t leave at all.’ I said, ‘Well, you just stick around for this second heat.’ And he just went right down the road and won. He left the gate really hard the second heat, and he had to because there was so much early speed. Once he got control of the race he did everything else on his own from there.” This year, French star Bold Eagle is the favorite to win the Elitlopp. Bold Eagle is in the first elimination, with Campbell and Tjacko Zaz, and will start from post five. The elimination also includes U.S. representative Resolve, who will leave from post eight with trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt, as well as several other horses that launched their careers in the States: DD’s Hitman, Delicious, and Cruzado Dela Noche. Online oddsmakers have Bold Eagle as the favorite in the elimination, followed by Delicious, Resolve and DD’s Hitman. Returning Elitlopp champion Nuncio, who Campbell drove during a multiple-stakes-winning career in the U.S., is a slight favorite in Sunday’s second elimination. Up And Quick and formerly U.S.-based Propulsion also are receiving strong consideration in the division. Bold Eagle is the favorite to win the final, followed by Delicious, Nuncio, Resolve, Propulsion, and Up And Quick. Campbell might have a long shot in the Elitlopp, but he is thankful for the opportunity to drive in the event and focused on the task at hand. “Before the race, you’re going to take a look around and take it all in, for sure,” Campbell said. “Once you get in the post parade you’re not soaking in anything. You’re concentrating on the race. It’s a totally different mindset once you go to the post parade. “Just to have a horse in the Elitlopp this year is really special because I didn’t expect it,” he continued. “When I spoke to them about going over, I was going to drive in some other races and make some appearances, so this is a bonus getting into the Elitlopp.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

After beginning his career in Europe, trotter Tuonoblu Rex has made himself at home in North America. The 5-year-old harness racing stallion is 3-for-3 since his arrival in the U.S. and will try to extend his win streak in Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Maxie Lee is one of three stakes-level invitational events at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday, along with the $150,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers and the $150,000 Ben Stafford Jr. for older male pacers. The day's first race is 12:40 p.m. and the invites are races 10 through 12 on the 14-race card. Tuonoblu Rex leads a strong contingent of foreign-born newcomers in the featured races. New Zealand-bred Nike Franco is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind favorite Lady Shadow in the Betsy Ross and New Zealand-bred stablemate Christen Me is the 7-2 second choice behind Somewhere In LA in the Stafford. The third choice in the Stafford is another New Zealand-bred newcomer, Mossdale Conner, who is unbeaten in three U.S. starts. The Betsy Ross also features the first meeting between Dan Patch Award winners Lady Shadow and Pure Country. Tuonoblu Rex, owned by Holland's Cees Faber under Stable Why Not, was a Group 3 winner in Europe at age 3 and came to the States with six wins in 14 races and $189,918 in purses. He joined the stable of trainer Julie Miller and driver Andy Miller at the end of November and won his North American debut by a half-length over Crazy Wow in 1:52.1 on April 21 in the Preferred at the Meadowlands. After failing to make the field for the Cutler Memorial because of earnings, Tuonoblu Rex won two conditioned races by a total of nine lengths. His most recent victory was a 1:53 score at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 18. He will start the Maxie Lee from post seven and is 7-2 on the morning line. Crazy Wow, from post five, is the 2-1 favorite and JL Cruze, from post one, is the 3-1 second choice. "I'm excited that they think enough of the horse to invite him," Julie Miller said. "It's a little disappointing with the seven hole, but it is what it is. Andy says the horse is versatile, so I just hope he can figure out a nice trip with him and do some good. "I'd hate to see where the race unfolds and we're locked in or we're too far back; those scenarios can happen easily on a five-eighths-mile track (such as Harrah's Philadelphia). I just would like to see him get a chance to race. Hopefully he's as good as he's shown us in his first few starts." Tuonoblu Rex, born in Italy, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the Lindy Lane mare Eternity Rex. His second dam, CR Kay Suzie, was 1995 Horse of the Year and is in the Hall of Fame as a racehorse. His third dam, Country Kay Sue, is in the Hall of Fame as a broodmare. His connections have staked Tuonoblu Rex to a number of top events including the Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, John Cashman Memorial, and TVG Series. "The whole purpose of sending him to the USA was to see what he is, so we put him in everything," Miller said. "He's going to decide his fate. The worst scenario is that he's an open (level) trotter. That's not a bad gig. But if he can step up and go with the top horses in the U.S., that would be fantastic." While races in the U.S. are normally a mile in distance and speed oriented, races in Europe are often at distances greater than a mile with the focus more on endurance. So while Team Miller has learned a lot about Tuonoblu Rex, there is still more to discover about his potential in racing in North America. "That's the biggest thing; not knowing what you have because of the difference in racing," Miller said. "He's used to grinding it out, but slower quarters. This is a different ballgame. But he's flashed 0:27 quarters so I'm hoping he can do that a couple times in a mile, not just once. "When Andy and I train him here, you're dictating what happens; you're taking a lot of variables out. But I'm impressed with his manners. He keeps a professional demeanor about himself. He knows the difference between jogging, training, and racing. He's manageable. He's really mature mentally. He definitely knows he's a stud and he likes to nicker and be vocal, but when it's business time he puts on his game face." Regardless of Sunday's outcome, Miller is looking forward to watching Tuonoblu Rex's attempt to make his mark in North America. "The owners are flying over here from Holland. It's an exciting time," Miller said. "I'm just appreciative that they thought enough of Andy and I to give us a chance to race the horse this summer." Following is the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - JL Cruze - Crazed - David Miller - Eric Ell - 3/1 2 - Taco Tuesday - Cantab Hall - Jason Bartlett - Andrew Harris - 6/1 3 - Charmed Life - Majestic Son - Simon Allard - Rene Allard - 12/1 4 - Springbank Sam N - Sundon - Jordan Stratton - Peter Tritton - 15/1 5 - Crazy Wow - Crazed - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 2/1 6 - Odds On Amethyst - Muscle Hill - Patrick Hudon - Patrick Hudon - 20/1 7 - Tuonoblu Rex - Cantab Hall - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 7/2 8 - Melady's Monet - Revenue S - Brett Miller - Kevin McDermott - 12/1   Following is the Betsy Ross Mares Invitational field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Sassa Hanover - Rock N Roll Heaven - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 15/1 2 - Pure Country - Somebeachsomewhere - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 7/2 3 - Nike Franco N - McArdle - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney - King - 3/1 4 - Mackenzie A - Rock N Roll Heaven - Jordan Stratton - Peter Tritton - 6/1 5 - Medusa - Bettor's Delight - Tony Hall - Randy Bendis - 20/1 6 - Lady Shadow - Shadow Play - Yannick Gingras - Ronald Adams - 2/1 7 - Blue Moon Stride - Rocknroll Hanover - Andy McCarthy - Mark Harder - 20/1 8 - Cousin Mary - Camluck - David Miller - Andrew Harris - 7/1   Following is the Ben Stafford Jr. Invitational field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Missile J - American Ideal - Jonathan Roberts - Scott DiDomenico - 6/1 2 - Rock N' Roll World - Rocknroll Hanover - John DeLong - Jeff Cullipher - 7/1 3 - Christen Me N - Christian Cullen - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney-King - 7/2 4 - Mossdale Conner N - Bettor's Delight - Jordan Stratton - Peter Tritton - 9/2 5 - Jins Shark - Four Starzzz Shark - Brett Miller - Isaac Waxman - 15/1 6 - All Bets Off - Bettor's Delight - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 7/1 7 - Somewhere In LA - Somebeachsomewhere - Jason Bartlett - Richard Banca - 5/2 8 - Great Vintage - American Ideal - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 Ken Weingartner

Brian Brown was pleased with Downbytheseaside's win in last weekend's Art Rooney Pace elimination and the harness racing trainer hopes the colt can be even better in Saturday's $300,000 final. Downbytheseaside, the 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's race for 3-year-old male pacers, won the lone Rooney elimination by 1-1/4 lengths over Miso Fast in 1:52.2. It was the colt's second win in two tries this year, but Brown thought the horse's finish lacked its usual pop. "I thought he was pretty good; he got just a little bit weak late," Brown said. "He hadn't raced in two weeks, but I trained him really hard on (the previous) Tuesday. Was he short? Did I over-train him? We're trying to figure out all of the reasons it could be." Another possibility is Downbytheseaside was suffering from the lingering effects of a foot abscess. "He had popped a gravel and the track was hard," Brown said. "I wonder if the foot didn't get to bothering him a little late in the mile and he just went enough to win." Downbytheseaside, usually stabled with Brown at his central Ohio base at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, remained with caretaker Toni Dale and driver David Miller in New Jersey to prep for this weekend's Rooney final. The horse jogged Tuesday and Brown received an encouraging report from Miller. "David was happy," Brown said. "He jogged him and the horse had his tail up over his back and was excited and playing. And he said the horse jogged real sound. So we think he's going to be even better Saturday." Downbytheseaside won eight of 13 races last year, earned $577,106 in purses, and paced the fastest mile in history by a 2-year-old on a half-mile track (1:50) in addition to equaling the world record of 1:49 for a 2-year-old on a mile oval. His wins included the Governor's Cup and divisions of the International Stallion, Bluegrass, and Standardbred stakes. He finished second to Dan Patch Award-winner Huntsville in the Breeders Crown and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. The colt is owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing. In last weekend's Rooney elimination, Downbytheseaside started from post nine in the second tier of a nine-horse field. The race, from which the top-eight finishers advanced to the final, featured four different leaders in the opening half-mile. Downbytheseaside was the fourth of the leaders, using a three-wide move to the front as the field reached the midpoint in :55.4. "It was a lot more action than I expected when you're only eliminating one horse," Brown said. "They raced pretty hard. I actually wound up in the worst spot getting to the front." Downbytheseaside held off hard-charging Miso Fast, with Stealth Bomber third. That group was followed by Summer Side, Mac's Jackpot, Funknwaffles, Henry The Dragon, and Rollin About in advancing to the final. Heaven's Gait, who went off stride, was eliminated. In the final, Downbytheseaside will start from post No. 3 with Miller in the sulky. Miso Fast is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line and will leave from post two with Matt Kakaley driving for trainer Ron Burke. "I like where we're at," Brown said. "I think we're in pretty good shape. We'll just show up and race." Downbytheseaside's connections decided to skip the second-round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes to compete in the Rooney. There were several reasons: the colt's prowess on a half-mile track, the money, and the chance to avoid a confrontation with Huntsville ahead of next month's Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk. As it turned out, Brown-trained Fear The Dragon upset Huntsville in last Sunday's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. "This is working out pretty good," Brown said. "If we can get it done Saturday it will have worked out perfectly." As for the future in the 3-year-old male pacing division, Brown expects it to be a season-long battle. "We've had like two races so far; I don't think we've even begun to see how this is going to work out," Brown said. "Even though Huntsville wasn't as good Sunday as he has been, I don't expect him that way next time. We had a great weekend, but I don't expect it to be that way all the time. It's going to get a lot tougher. "I think there will be trading wins all summer long. I don't look for anyone to stand out. I hope I've got two that can, but I don't expect it." * * * * * * Another horse that could see improvement in Saturday's Rooney final is Funknwaffles. The gelding, who was last year's New York Sire Stakes champion and a track-record-holder at Yonkers, was one of the elimination's early leaders and remained second at three-quarters before dropping back to sixth. Trainer John Butenschoen said the horse might have had an issue with his breathing. "We were disappointed in where we finished but there might have been an excuse for it," said Butenschoen, who trains the horse for Crawford Farms Racing. "But he came out of the race good and he played out in the field hard (Sunday) and (Monday) before we jogged him. Hopefully we can do well and forget that he finished sixth there Saturday." Even though he was disappointed with the outcome, Butenschoen enjoyed the action in the elimination. "That was a good race," he said. "There was action off the wings and people coming at different points of the mile. They were racing the whole way. It's a lot of fun to watch half-mile track racing when they race them like that. You had a lot of horses that people were high on and expecting to do something and it showed on the racetrack. Everyone was giving them a chance to see what they had." Following is the Rooney field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line. The Rooney is race eight on Saturday's card with an estimated 9:30 p.m. post time. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Mac's Jackpot - Somebeachsomewhere - Jason Bartlett - Jim Campbell - 9/1 2 - Miso Fast - Roll With Joe - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 4/1 3 - Downbytheseaside - Somebeachsomewhere - David Miller - Brian Brown - 6/5 4 - Rollin About - Roll With Joe - Brent Holland - Erv Miller - 20/1 5 - Funknwaffles - American Ideal - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 6/1 6 - Summer Side - Well Said - Tim Tetrick - Ray Schnittker - 8/1 7 - Henry The Dragon - Custard The Dragon - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis - 8/1 8 - Stealth Bomber - Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller - Tony O'Sullivan - 12/1 Saturday's Yonkers card also includes the $140,770 Lismore Pace final for 3-year-old female pacers. Agent Q and Big City Betty won eliminations last weekend. The Lismore is race six with an estimated 8:50 p.m. post time. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Warrawee Sunshine - Somebeachsomewhere - Tim Tetrick - Chris Ryder - 6/1 2 - Caviart Cherie - Well Said - Jason Bartlett - Noel Daley - 9/1 3 - Caviart Ally - Bettor's Delight - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 5/1 4 - Agent Q - Western Terror - David Miller - Aaron Lambert - 5/2 5 - Big City Betty - Bettor's Delight - Jim Marohn Jr. - Steve Salerno - 5/1 6 - Gotthisone Hanover - Somebeachsomewhere - George Brennan - Ron Burke - 12/1 7 - Tequila Monday - American Ideal - Brian Sears - Chris Oakes - 3/1 8 - Ashlee's Spitfire - Roll With Joe - Daniel Dube - Chris Ryder - 20/1 Ken Weingartner

Fine Tuned Lady was "a model of consistency" last year. Harness racing trainer John Butenschoen is hoping for more of the same this season. Butenschoen sends Fine Tuned Lady, a multiple stakes-winner last year, to Friday's Currier & Ives for 3-year-old female trotters at The Meadows. The event attracted 21 horses, which were divided into three $24,000 divisions. Fine Tuned Lady is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the first division. Sianna Hanover is the 2-1 choice in the second division and Treviso is the 7-5 pick in the third. Last year Fine Tuned Lady won six times and finished second on five occasions in 12 starts. Her victories included the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, Matron Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. She earned $438,340 for owners Bill Wiswell and M And L of Delaware. Fine Tuned Lady began this year by winning a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on May 13 at The Meadows. "You always hold your breath when they're first coming back, but she did what she was supposed to do," Butenschoen said about Fine Tuned Lady's seasonal debut. "I was real pleased and I know that (driver Corey Callahan) was happy with how she raced. She's a nice filly. We'll see how she comes back this year; we'll see if she's improved any. I'm sure there are other ones out there that have improved, or that we didn't hear of, that will pop up. We'll find out. "She had a great year (in 2016). She was just a model of consistency. She did everything you would have hoped for. If she would have earned half the money we would have been tickled to death. As it was, she got lucky in a few races where some favorites or co-favorites made breaks and she was able to take advantage and she put up a good chunk of change on her card." Fine Tuned Lady's only off-the-board finish came in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile, where she was fourth but beaten by only 1-3/4 lengths. "I don't know if she was getting tired at that time of year already, but she wasn't quite as sharp, or didn't stack up as well as those other ones on the bigger track," Butenschoen said. "She's a real good-gaited filly, a real handy filly, and I think she's going to be a lot more suited to the smaller tracks. But it'll be interesting to see what she can do against them with a fresh set of legs under her." Fine Tuned Lady is a daughter of stallion Cantab Hall out of the stakes-winning mare Poster Princess and her second dam is Dan Patch Award-winner Me Maggie. Fine Tuned Lady was purchased for $27,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. Interestingly, her connections had their eyes on a filly that sold earlier in the auction, but were unsuccessful in acquiring her. If they had, it is unlikely they would have bid on Fine Tuned Lady. "It comes down to luck at the sales," Butenschoen said. "You do your homework and hopefully things fall into place. That's kind of the fun of the game I guess." Fine Tuned Lady is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks in August at the Meadowlands. Other Oaks eligible horses in the Currier & Ives divisions are Sparkle Plenty, Monee Bank, Sheez On A Cruze, Caviart Wonder, Cool Cates, Sianna Hanover, Dangle Then Deke, Amuse's, Broadway Idole, Treviso, Pennys N Dimes, and Temple Ruins. In addition, Fine Tuned Lady is eligible to the Breeders Crown in late October at Hoosier Park. "We'll keep our fingers crossed," Butenschoen said. "It's a long time between now and the end of October. We'll see if we can do things right." Fine Tuned Lady is not the only highly regarded trotter trained by Butenschoen for Wiswell and M And L of Delaware. Bill's Man, a 3-year-old colt, was last year's third-fastest 2-year-old trotter, posting a mark of 1:52.3, and is eligible to the Hambletonian among other top stakes. Bill's Man is expected to compete in Monday's first round of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. He has a win and a second in two starts this season. "They've got a nice pair there," Butenschoen said about his owners' trotters. "He's a very fast horse. He was just a big, long, leggy thing as a 2-year-old and a little physically and mentally immature. He had a nice winter in Florida and, knock on wood, so far this year is putting everything down the way he's supposed to and acting right." For Friday's complete Meadows card, click here. First race post time is 5 p.m. and the first Currier & Ives division is race four. Ken Weingartner

Michael's Power, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 2012, has been retired, co-owner Michael Snyder said Monday. The 8-year-old harness racing gelding last competed in September 2016. A son of stallion Camluck out of the mare Michelle's Jackpot, Michael's Power was bred and co-owned by Snyder's father, Jeff. The horse won 37 of 98 career races and earned $1.90 million. In 2012, Michael's Power captured 14 of 20 starts on his way to O'Brien Awards in Canada for best 3-year-old male pacer and Horse of the Year. His most memorable victory came in the 2012 Little Brown Jug in Ohio, where he defeated Sweet Lou by 1-3/4 lengths to give trainer Casie Coleman her first Jug triumph. Additionally, then 23-year-old Scott Zeron became the youngest driver to win the Little Brown Jug. "That was my favorite race," Michael Snyder said. "It was very exciting. He put all his effort into winning. He tried his heart out." In addition to winning the Little Brown Jug, Michael's Power won the Confederation Cup, Upper Canada Cup and Ontario Sire Stakes championship in 2012. Michael's Power, who was named after Michael Snyder, was preparing to return to the races this season in an attempt to reach $2 million in lifetime purses. The decision to retire the horse came after it was determined it might risk his long-term health. "We wanted to take care of him," Snyder said. "We wanted to make sure he could be a hundred percent sound to be a riding horse in the future. He's the sweetest, friendliest horse." Michael's Power is a full-brother to millionaire Michelle's Power and his second dam, Jef's Magic Trick, is the mother of 1994 Horse of the Year Cam's Card Shark. Jeff Snyder also owned Cam's Card Shark. Ken Weingartner

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 

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