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With his first career win now under his belt, Divisionist heads to Saturday's Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway looking to build on his success. And harness racing trainer/driver Charlie Norris believes the 3-year-old trotter is ready to put his best foot forward. Divisionist was winless in 13 races last season, going off stride four times, but had on-the-board finishes in divisions of the Reynolds and Simpson stakes plus two divisions of the Kindergarten Classic and one of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. The colt broke his maiden on April 14 with a 1:57.2 triumph at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "He had an issue last year with breaks, but he's come back well this year," said Norris, who trains Divisionist for owners Carrie Norris, G And B Racing and Acadia Farms. "It was just a matter of maturity. He was really good there in his first start. Physically he's matured a lot and we're definitely on the right track for this year." Divisionist will start Saturday's single elimination for the $133,170 Dexter Cup - the first stakes test on the road to August's Hambletonian Stakes - from post five. He is 4-1 on the morning line. The three-horse Ray Schnittker-trained entry of Switchblade Hall, HA Taylor, and Bavaro is the 9-5 morning line favorite. Rounding out the field are Handover The Money and Southwind Mozart from the stable of trainer Ake Svanstedt, Jimmy Takter's Apostles Creed, and Oyvind Hegdal's Explosiveday. The top four finishers in the $44,400 elimination will join Broken Record, Gabe The Bear Dean, Habitat, and Sixteen Encores in the Dexter Cup final on May 2 at Freehold. Those four horses received byes based on lifetime earnings. Apostles Creed, Divisionist, Habitat, Handover The Money, Sixteen Encores, and Southwind Mozart are eligible to the Hambletonian. Divisionist, who has earned $44,612 in his career, is a son of Andover Hall out of stakes-winning mare Only Lonely. He was purchased for $40,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes former Ontario standout Beer Budget. "He's out of a decent mare and he showed a lot of athleticism in his video," Norris said about purchasing Divisionist as a yearling. "I thought he might be OK. He wasn't great last year, but at different times -- even at Lexington when he made a break -- he showed a lot of raw speed." Last year in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile, Divisionist went off stride behind the starting gate, but rallied from more than 20 lengths back to get within a length of the lead while racing three wide on the final turn. He was unable to maintain his surge, but finished fifth. "Hopefully he'll just keep getting better," Norris said. "If you're in the business, everyone has high hopes. That's why we're in the yearling game. I don't know if he's a (1):51 trotter or a (1):52 trotter, but I think (1):53 is not out of his reach at all. If he keeps in the right spots and gets his confidence up, I think he'll be alright." Norris raced Divisionist with trotting hobbles last year, but has taken them off this season. "I'm going to leave them off unless he shows me otherwise," Norris said. "He's really come around. He's coming into (the Dexter Cup elimination) good and he's fit enough. I don't know if he's top caliber, but in the secondary stakes and some of the earlier ones here, I think he can prevail a little bit." By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Freehold, NJ --- Camille has made more than a million dollars on the racetrack thanks to her tenaciousness, which harness racing trainer Ron Burke deems priceless. He hopes the mare passes that quality to her offspring -- and she will get the chance following her appearance in Saturday’s (April 25) $261,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker championship at Yonkers Raceway. The Matchmaker will be Camille’s final race. Then the 7-year-old pacer, who has won 37 of 115 starts and $1.27 million, will be bred to recently retired Burke standout Sweet Lou. “I think she’s proven herself to be iron tough,” said Burke, who owns Camille with Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable, and Jack Piatt III. “She raced at the top of the game and I think she more than deserves the chance to be a broodmare. She’s a cool horse, one of my favorites. And so is Sweet Lou. So that’s kind of neat.” In this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, Camille posted two wins and two second-place finishes in four preliminary races. At the conclusion of the event’s five preliminary legs, she was second in points to Carolsideal, who was unbeaten in four Matchmaker starts. Camille and driver George Brennan will start from post eight in the Matchmaker final. Carolsideal, with driver Daniel Dube at the lines for trainer Rene Allard, will leave from post four. “She’s been really good,” Burke said. “This is a nice way for her to end her career. We hoped for a little bit better draw (for the final), but it is what it is.” Camille is a daughter of Camluck out of the mare Art Of Design. She is a full sister to Chancey Lady, who earned more than $2 million during her racing career. “She’s well bred, but I hope she passes on her grittiness,” Burke said. “She’s a fast horse, but she’s not blinding fast. She’s good gaited, but she’s not the greatest gaited. So more than anything I just hope she passes on her will to win.” Camille won the $214,370 Ellamony at Flamboro Downs in 2012 and captured the $158,000 Artiscape at Tioga Downs in 2013 with a late rush from eighth place at the top of the stretch. The race featured fractions of :25.1, :52.3 and 1:19.4 as Camille equaled the then-world record of 1:48.3. “That was really something,” Burke said. “That was a great race; it was a crazy mile. She hadn’t been as sharp as she’d been in the past, so to win that, it’s the (most special) race that comes to mind the quickest.” In addition to sending out Camille in the Matchmaker, Burke will have Take It Back Terry in the $529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship. Like his stablemate, Take It Back Terry finished second in the preliminary round standings, which were topped by P H Supercam. Take It Back Terry, also driven by Brennan, drew post five in the Levy final. P H Supercam, with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer Jeff Bamond Jr., got post eight. “It’s not the best draw, but it’s not the worst draw either,” Burke said. “There are enough horses in there that are going to go forward, so it’s just going to be a kind of wide-open unpredictable race.” Take It Back Terry opened the Levy with a second-place finish, but heads to the final off three consecutive victories. Burke owns the 6-year-old son of Western Terror-Second Symphony with Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The gelding, who Burke purchased as a yearling for $30,000 in 2010, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Cuz She Can. He has won 29 of 103 races and earned $625,166 in his career. “He’s been very good,” Burke said. “I didn’t expect this. We always expect him to race well and do well, but he’s really stepped it up a little bit extra. He’s the nicest horse in the world to be around, just easy going, and he’s consistently gotten better from year to year. “We’ve raced him hard, so we’ll give him a break after the Levy. He’ll get two months off and then go back to the grind.” Following is the field for the Blue Chip Matchmaker final in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. 1. Venus Delight, Jason Bartlett, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-5 2. Yagonnakissmeornot, Brian Sears, Rene Allard, 8-5 3. Fancy Desire, Yannick Gingras, Daniel Renaud, 12-1 4. Carolsideal, Daniel Dube, Rene Allard, 8-5 5. Monkey On My Wheel, David Miller, Andrew Harris, 8-1 6. Strings, Eric Carlson, Jennifer Sabot, 20-1 7. Krispy Apple, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-5 8. Camille, George Brennan, Ron Burke, 5-1 Note: Venus Delight and Krispy Apple are racing as an entry. Yagonnakissmeornot and Carolsideal are racing as an entry. Following is the field for the Levy final in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. 1. Domethatagain, Daniel Dube, Rene Allard, 9-1 2. Lucan Hanover, David Miller, Andrew Harris, 9-2 3. Windsong Jack, Eric Carlson, Jennifer Sabot, 20-1 4. Beach Memories, Yannick Gingras, Scott DiDomenico, 9-2 5. Take It Back Terry, George Brennan, Ron Burke, 5-2 6. Polak A, Brian Sears, Tony O’Sullivan, 15-1 7. Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 9-5 8. P H Supercam, Jason Bartlett, Jeff Bamond Jr., 9-5 Note: Mach It So and P H Supercam are racing as an entry. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

Freehold, NJ --- Billmar Scooter never won a major stakes, but owner Gene Oldford would take a stable filled with horses like her. And who knows, if all goes well she might produce one of them herself. Oldford decided earlier this year that Billmar Scooter would be retired after reaching $800,000 in career earnings. On Wednesday, the 10-year-old mare surpassed that number – and did it in style – winning a conditioned race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Her next assignment will be motherhood. Oldford, who shares ownership of Billmar Scooter with driver Tyler Buter, plans to breed the mare to American Ideal. “We’re really going to miss her,” Oldford said. “She’s been so good to us, but it’s probably time to breed her. We had a breeding coming to American Ideal and we thought this would be a good time to use it. I told Tyler that all we have to do now is find her replacement. She just kept plugging along every year.” Billmar Scooter, a daughter of stallion Keystone Raider out of the mare Its Scooter Time, was bred by Bill Roberts of Michigan and raced by Bill and Marie Roberts during the early part of her career. Oldford bought the horse on the recommendation of trainer Al Sisco following Bill Roberts’ death and raced the horse for more than seven years. Since 2011, Amber Buter handled the training. The horse raced at 28 tracks during her career, from the Michigan fairs to the East Coast and Canada. She enjoyed one of her best seasons in 2012, when she was named Pocono Downs’ Pacer of the Year thanks to capturing nine of 12 starts at the track. In addition to high-level wins at Pocono and Yonkers throughout her career, she won a preliminary division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers in 2012. Lifetime, Billmar Scooter won 45 of 240 races and hit the board in 56 percent of her starts. She finished her career with $804,218 in purses, making her the richest daughter of Keystone Raider. “Her consistency was what I most admired about her,” Oldford said. “She really never got lame or sick or sore. We gave her a little time off in the wintertime, just enough to freshen her up, and she was good. “She was pretty much always in the money,” he added. “I never complained when she was second. I’ve been in the business long enough, and told people time and time again, that I’m always happy with seconds. If I could get seconds every time I’d be thrilled.” One of Billmar Scooter’s memorable second-place finishes came to Park Avenue, another daughter of Keystone Raider, in the $48,383 Michigan Pari-Mutuel Final for 4-year-old female pacers at Sports Creek Raceway in 2009. Oldford also was among the owners of Park Avenue. “What a night that was, to have them come in 1-2,” said Oldford, who is enshrined in the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association Hall of Fame. “Usually you’re just happy to get a check let alone be 1-2. “I’ve always liked Keystone Raiders. Overall they’ve been good.” Of course, while Oldford is happy with second-place finishes as a rule, he was delighted Billmar Scooter capped her career with a win. “That was perfect,” said Oldford, an 82-year-old native of Detroit who now lives in St. Clair, Michigan. “The only thing that would have made it better is if I would have been there.” Tyler Buter was thankful to have the best seat in the house for Billmar Scooter’s final victory – the driver’s seat. “It was fitting she went out in style,” Buter said. “She’s just an absolute sweetheart and she loved to race. She’s like one of those employees who would never miss a day of work. She wanted to race every day. She loved her job.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

When it comes to qualifying for the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship, Heez Orl Black N is on the outside looking in. But thanks to a preliminary-round win last week at 13-1 odds, the gelding's chances of advancing to the lucrative harness racing final have improved significantly. Yonkers Raceway on Saturday hosts the last preliminary round of the Levy Series. Twenty of the top 21 horses in the standings were among the pacers entered, with the group divided into three seven-horse fields. P H Supercam, who is No. 1 in points and guaranteed a spot in the final thanks to winning all three of his previous Levy starts, is in the second division. He is joined there by Beach Memories, who is tied for second in the standings. Horses receive 25 points for each start in the series. First-place finishes are worth 50 points, with 25 points for second, 12 points for third, 8 points for fourth and 5 points for fifth. The top eight horses in the standings following Saturday's preliminary round will qualify for the final on April 25. The next eight horses are eligible for the consolation. The top 14 horses in the standings are separated by 71 points. The field for Saturday's third Levy division includes four horses - Take It Back Terry, Fat Mans Alley, Windsong Jack and Domethatagain - who are in the top nine. Michael's Power, who is tied for second in the standings, was not entered this week. Heez Orl Black N, who is 10th in the standings, drew post No. 1 in the first division. The all-black 7-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding, trained by Anita Vallee, trails Sapphire City by four points for the eighth spot in the standings. Sapphire City drew post three in the same Levy division as Heez Orl Black N while Polak A, who is seventh in the standings, got post five. Bettor's Edge, who is 11th in the standings, three points behind Heez Orl Black N, received post No. 2. No other horses in the top 11 are in the first division. "With a good draw, I think we have a chance to hit the board and then we'll let the chips fall where they may," said Shaun Vallee, who owns Heez Orl Black N with Daniel Vlahakis' DPV Racing Stable. "I'm not wishing any of the other ones bad luck, but just hoping I have enough luck to get in." Vallee purchased Heez Orl Black N, a former stakes-winner in New Zealand, in October. Heez Orl Black N, a son of stallion In The Pocket out of the mare Cracker Kate, won 15 races and $182,615 competing Down Under. "When he was racing over there, his races were very consistent and very good races," said Vallee, who saw Heez Orl Black N while visiting friends in Australia. "I was just lucky they were willing to sell him. They had so many in the same class and were willing to sell him." In his first start this year, Heez Orl Black N finished third at the Meadowlands. He then was sent to Yonkers, where the half-mile oval suited his smaller build. He won his first two starts at The Hilltop before finishing second to P H Supercam in a conditioned race in late January. "After I raced him a couple starts, I thought that if he kept racing consistently that we could put him in the Levy," said Vallee, who drove Heez Orl Black N in his first nine starts. "But in the beginning, I wasn't that sure. After he won three or four races, I thought he might be alright in there and we gave him a chance. "He's average to smaller (size). That's his game, the half-mile (track). We'll give him a couple weeks off after the Levy and then he'll race mostly in overnights at Yonkers. That's a good spot for him. Unless he does real good in the Levy, then I might try to put him in other races. But I'm not so sure he'll be real good at the mile track against those other horses when they start going big miles." Heez Orl Black won last week with driver Brian Sears by one length over National Debt in 1:53.1. He also has two fourth-place finishes among four starts in the Levy. "He's versatile and he's all race horse on the track," Vallee said. "No matter where he is, he never stops trying. Even if he's in what you'd call an impossible spot, he's still trying to do it. That's a good sign." Heez Orl Black N Levy Standings (Top 20): 1. P H Supercam 225; T2. Beach Memories, Michael's Power, Take It Back Terry 200; T5. Fat Mans Alley, Windsong Jack 187; 7. Polak A 175; 8. Sapphire City 170; 9. Domethatagain 168; 10. Heez Orl Black N 166; 11. Bettor's Edge 163; 12. Lucan Hanover 162; 13. Frankies Dragon 158; 14. Mach It So 154; 15. National Debt 142; 16. Machs Beach Boy 140; 17. Clear Vision 137; 18. Texican N 128; T19. McErlean, Warrawee Needy 125. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

The Howard Taylor-owned harness racing gelding has won six of 11 races this year, good for $75,475 in purses, and heads into Saturday's $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers off victories in his two preliminary rounds of the event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Major Uptrend, a 4-year-old, won both of his starts in the series by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:51.3. His first triumph came over YS Lotus, who has posted two wins in the series to go with two second-place finishes, and his most recent score came over Victory At Last, who was unbeaten in three previous series starts. Trained by Ron Burke and driven by Matt Kakaley, Major Uptrend will start Saturday's Weiss final from post two. "He's just blazing fast," said Taylor, who purchased Major Uptrend in December. "I don't know how good he is class-wise, but he's got great speed. He's far exceeded what I thought I was getting. "What I'm looking forward to is when he gets to where he has to go with horses that can go with him how much guts he's got. I don't know. We'll find out." Major Uptrend is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the million-dollar-earning mare Tricky Tooshie. He sold for $177,000 as a yearling, under the name Toronto Hanover, and won six of 19 starts and $26,352 prior to Taylor purchasing the horse on the recommendation of Doug Lewis. Taylor was interested in Major Uptrend because the gelding fit the conditions of a number of winter series. "That's what I always look to, what I can do with them -- not what they've done," Taylor said. "What they've done wasn't for me and doesn't help me any, but it's where I can go from here. This horse had all kinds of late-closers he was eligible to, so I thought it was a no-brainer." After finishing second by a neck for Taylor in his first start, Major Uptrend closed 2014 with a win in which he rallied from the back of the pack with a :25.3 last quarter-mile. This year, Major Uptrend has finished no worse than second in any race in which he remained pacing. He went off stride once in a preliminary round of the Escort Series at the Meadowlands and twice in the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers Raceway. "I don't think he's a real big fan of a half-mile track," Taylor said, referring to Yonkers. "He's a funny horse. I've seen him enough and I think I've learned a lot about him. He's one of these horses that if you're going to do something, you've got to do it. You can't start and then change your mind. If you change your mind he just gets mad and jumps." Major Uptrend finished second to Company Man in the final of the Escort Series and finished second to Rockeyed Optimist in the final of the Sonsam Series. He handed Rockeyed Optimist his only loss of 2015 in a preliminary round of the Sonsam. Following the Weiss Series, Major Uptrend is eligible to the Whata Baron Series at the Meadowlands. The Whata Baron begins with two divisions Saturday and concludes May 2. "I still don't know what I have," Taylor said. "I know I have a horse that's as good as anything in these series. We'll probably give him some time off after these series - he's been going hard every week - and then bring him back and find out what we have in open company. "But it's been a fun ride so far." YS Lotus, trained by Rene Allard, drew post No. 1 for the Weiss Series final and will have Simon Allard at the lines. Shadow Margeaux, who has a win and three second-place finishes in the event, got post five for trainer Steve Salerno and driver Larry Stalbaum. Victory At Last, also from the Burke stable, got post eight with George Napolitano Jr. listed to drive. Napolitano also is listed on Burke-trainee Coaster, who drew post seven. By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Jimmy Takter-trained Canepa Hanover and Whom Shall I Fear headline a group of 12 harness racing Hambletonian hopefuls scheduled to qualify Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Whom Shall I Fear and Canepa Hanover both battled maturity and health issues last season at age 2, combining for only 11 starts and one victory. Canepa Hanover, who made six starts, won a Peter Haughton prep race in 1:58.1 at the Meadowlands and finished second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. He went off stride in three races, including the Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Cressida Hanover, Canepa Hanover is a half-brother to 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster. The colt sold for $300,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. Whom Shall I Fear was winless in five starts last year, but finished second in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile. The colt is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick and sold - under the name Custom Fit - for a Lexington Selected Sale-record $475,000 in 2013. "They are huge horses, big horses," said Takter, who won last year's Hambletonian with Trixton and is a three-time winner of the trotting classic. "Canepa started getting more problems after a couple starts. But he was in the Peter Haughton, so at least he showed that kind of ability. He was probably one of the fastest colts early. "But both of them have come back super. I never turned them out; I kept them around and kept going with them. I actually wish they would have been out a couple of weeks earlier, but the weather hasn't cooperated. I'm very excited to go up with both of them. They should be able to qualify very nice and we'll see where we're heading." Other Hambletonian-eligible male trotters entered in Saturday's qualifiers are Explosive Brother, Fashion Creditor, Finish Line, Handover The Money, Michael's Pearl, Natural Kemp, P Mac Attack, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Natural Kemp, who last year won one of two starts for trainer Ake Svanstedt, is a son of Muscles Yankee out of the stakes-winning mare Impressive Kemp. His family includes last year's Hambletonian winner Trixton as well as Dan Patch Award winners Andover Hall and Conway Hall. Svanstedt also trains Handover The Money, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Handover The Money, a son of Andover Hall-CR Sister Suzie, is a half-brother to 2010 Yonkers Trot winner On The Tab whose family also includes Dan Patch Award winner CR Kay Suzie. Stonebridge Force, by Muscle Hill out of Cream Puff, is a half-brother to 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi and his family includes Dan Patch Award winner Pizza Dolce. Trond Smedshammer, who won the 2004 Hambletonian with Windsong's Legacy, trains and drives Finish Line, a son of Yankee Glide-Calchips Finisher whose family includes past Smedshammer star - and Dan Patch Award winner - Blur. Explosive Brother, a son of Explosive Matter-Meadowbranch Irene in the stable of trainer Noel Daley, is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Mr Muscleman. Fashion Creditor, now in the stable of trainer Tom Fanning, finished third in a division of the International Stallion Stakes last year. He is a son of Credit Winner-Bon Voyage. P Mac Attack is by Muscle Hill and out of the stakes-winning mare Under My Thumb. He is trained by Nancy Johansson. Michael's Pearl is from the stable of Bruce Lauer. The $1 million Hambletonian Stakes will be contested Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands, with eliminations and final on the same day. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

When owner Michael White first met harness racing trainer Dan Daley there was a horse in Daley's stable named Life Sizzles. White so admired the hard-knocking pacer, who raced through age 11 and amassed nearly $930,000 in purses despite never winning a race worth more than $40,000, he decided to buy one of the stallion's first-sired sons. White admits it was a decision fueled by emotion, but it has resulted in more excitement than he could have ever imagined. And who knows, the best might be yet to come. On Thursday night, White's purchase - Sonofa Sizzle - will try to win the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund championship for 3-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. The colt brings a three-race win streak into the final, a streak that includes his victory in December's $100,000 DSBF championship for 2-year-olds. For his career, Sonofa Sizzle has won six of 12 races and earned $135,516. All six of his victories have come in his most recent nine starts, with the remaining three races during that span resulting in second-place finishes. In January, he was honored by the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association as the best 2-year-old male pacer of 2014. "We've been absolutely thrilled," said White, who purchased Sonofa Sizzle privately from breeders Charles and Diane Coursey. "Just to get to the races is an accomplishment. To get to the races and compete at this level, it's unbelievable. You don't get this a lot. "This horse doesn't have to do anything else to make me very proud and very happy that I made the decision I did. Not that I don't want him to go on, and he has the ability to do great things. He'll get a chance to compete and see how far he can go. Every time you ask him to do something, he does it. It's been a very enjoyable journey." It is a journey that began with Life Sizzles and includes the family of 2014 Horse of the Year winner JK She'salady, although there was no way for White to know how all the pieces would fall into place when he acquired Sonofa Sizzle in February 2013. "I never owned him, but I really appreciated him," White said about Life Sizzles, who as a 3-year-old prior to joining Daley's stable beat Real Desire in an elimination of the 2001 North America Cup and bested Peruvian Hanover in a Progress Pace elim. "He was a classy veteran who would try every week. He never wanted to go on vacation. If you turned him out, he would just roll around for five minutes and want to come back in to work. The horse lived to race. I just thought he was so special I wanted to give him a shot (as a sire)." It's proved to be a shot well worth taking. Sonofa Sizzle is out of the mare JK Lady Like and his second dam is Presidential Lady, the mother of JK She'salady as well as now 4-year-old stakes-star JK Endofanera. Daley broke Sonofa Sizzle and trained him through the early part of his 2-year-old campaign before the horse was shipped from New York to Delaware for the DSBF series. He finished second in the $100,000 final at Harrington in October and won the championship at Dover in December. The Dover victory is White's favorite race so far. Sonofa Sizzle was seventh, trailing the leader by eight lengths, after three-quarters of a mile. David Miller moved the colt on the final turn and Sonofa Sizzle responded with a :27.2 final quarter to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. "When I'm tired or feeling down or depressed I'll pull that race up," White said. "I still don't know how he wins from where he was in that final turn. David Miller told me he thought he waited too long and was too far away. To me, that last three-eighths of a mile, I'm amazed at how much ground he covered. "I never thought he was going to get there. To have seen that was phenomenal." The race was special for another reason as White's older brother, Jerry, who introduced him to harness racing in his youth while living on Long Island, was in attendance. "There was no happier moment in horse racing than to have my horse win the final and have my brother in the picture with me," White said. "It kind of was a full circle. He got me started and I got to pay him back by getting him a winner's circle photo of the Delaware final. It's pretty cool. It was a very happy picture to send him." Sonofa Sizzle, racing in the stable of trainer Josh Green this year, is 2-for-2 in 2015 with both wins coming in preliminary rounds of the DSBF series. His most recent triumph came in a career-best 1:51.2. Following the DSBF at Dover, the colt is staked to a number of top races including the Art Rooney Pace in late May, Messenger Stakes in early September and Little Brown Jug in mid-September. He also has the Progress Pace on his schedule in November. "We have to be careful with not overdoing it," White said. "He's going to be on a 'show us' schedule, if you know what I'm talking about. He's going to finish and stay in Delaware for a few weeks and train back calmly. Dan's moving the barn from Florida to New York at the end of April, beginning of May. We'll ship him from Delaware to New York and get him prepared for the Rooney. "If he trains well and looks like he's ready to go, we'll enter him in the Rooney. But this horse owes me absolutely nothing. I just look forward to every time he goes out there." For now, White is focused on the eight-horse DSBF final, which also includes Smoking Joey (2-1 morning line), K J Ben (6-1), Seboomook Katahdin (8-1), and Byby Landon (9-1). Sonofa Sizzle and driver Vic Kirby will start from post five. "The horses this year in this division are phenomenal," White said. "I think it says a lot for Delaware breeding that so many of them are doing really well. You can't take anything away from his competition. The Delaware breeders should be very proud of their product. I hope all the sires get more breedings and the breeders do even better. "You look across those eight horses that are starting and you could be proud of every one of them. And I am. I'm proud of mine, but I'm proud of the competition. It's a good race and it's a pleasure to compete with really good horses. That's good for everybody." White, who works as a business coach and trainer, finds harness racing to be a healthy diversion from his job. "I find it to be very relaxing," White said. "I do a lot of traveling and I coach a lot of professionals. To be able to go down in the wintertime to the training center on Saturday and just watch the horses train and clear my head really helps. And in the summertime being able to go to New York and watch the horses. To me, it's the greatest thing in the world. I'm thankful that I have the ability to do it." And he's thankful for the thrills provided by Sonofa Sizzle. "This horse has a bit of a personality," White said. "Everyone says he's real easy to drive, you just have to let him know what you want. He's still so young. If he ever figures out the ability he has, who knows what he could be. "Sometimes things come together. You never know how they're going to work. Harness racing is one of those things that you have to do for love before you do it for money. This is one of those times when you get something special, and special doesn't mean having to be the best, but special in the fact we have this opportunity. "I'm looking forward to seeing where the colt takes us." By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

After watching Maven's recent performances in Europe, harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter says he is optimistic about the 6-year-old trotting mare's future overseas. A future that, if all continues to go well, will see Maven head to Sweden's Elitloppet for the second consecutive year. Takter on Thursday said he planned on accepting Maven's Elitloppet invitation, which was extended following her victory at Solvalla Raceway on March 28. Maven, driven by Johnny Takter, won by five lengths in an event restricted to mares and contested at one-mile and five-sixteenths. Elitloppet 2015 is May 31 at Solvalla. Last year's winner Timoko was the first horse to be extended an invitation and accept, according to the event's website. He will be joined by 15 other invited horses for the race, which contests eliminations and the final on the same day. Last year, Maven finished third in her Elitloppet elimination and sixth in the final. "It's almost two months until the race, and a lot of things can happen in the horse business in two months, but when they invite you, you're in it," Takter said. "I don't want to race horses in the race just to race. I want to win. We all want to win Elitloppet." Takter, who won the race in 1998 with Moni Maker, said Maven's next starts will be April 11 in the Gold Division at Jagersro - in Takter's hometown of Malmo, Sweden - and April 25 in the Olympic Trot at Aby. Maven will try to become the first mare since Queen L in 1994 to win the Olympic Trot. Maven's schedule following the Olympic Trot is not set, but options include the Copenhagen Cup or Finlandia. Prior to Maven's win at Solvalla, she finished second to Timoko despite an unfavorable post position in the Grand Criterium de Vitesse in France. Among four previous starts in Europe, she was a traffic-troubled fifth in the Prix de France in February and went off stride in the Prix d'Amerique in January. "She's actually raced pretty decent in all her starts, she just hasn't had any luck at all," Takter said. "The Prix d'Amerique, maybe she was a little unprepared to enter that race. I wish I maybe had her a couple months earlier, we might have been better off. "After her last start, I feel quite optimistic for her future." Maven, who joined Takter's stable last November, has won 29 of 52 career races in North America and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter in 2013. Her top win last year came in the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs and she finished second to Commander Crowe when she challenged the boys in the Breeders Crown. She is owned by John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Joyce McClelland. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Freehold, NJ --- Joe Bellino was uncertain whether newly acquired pacer Polak A would be competitive in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, but he made the Australian 7-year-old eligible for the harness racing event before the horse ever set foot in the country. After watching Polak A win his first two starts in the series, Bellino is enjoying the decision. “I had a feeling,” Bellino said about Polak A, who was purchased for an undisclosed amount two months ago and is owned in partnership by Bellino, F Bellino & Sons LLC, and Frank Bellino. “Before we got him, I told my wife to make him eligible to the Levy. I made that payment just on a hope. “I figured if he does well I look like a genius -- which is usually never said with my name. I’ve been called a lot, but never a genius.” Last week, Polak A fought off challenges from multiple-stakes-winners Michael’s Power and Foiled Again to capture his Levy division by a neck in 1:52.4. In the opening round, Polak A won by a neck over Take It Back Terry in 1:52. “I would have been happy with hitting the board, or a fourth or a fifth, just to know we could go with them,” Bellino said about last week’s race against Michael’s Power and Foiled Again. “But once he’s on the front, he’s hard to get past. He’ll let people get to his eye, but he doesn’t like to be passed. That’s what’s most impressive.” Polak A, who arrived in the U.S. in mid-February, is a son of Pacific Fella-Capture A Million and won 17 of 75 races and $219,652 in Australia. The horse is named after Richard Polak, who was a promising junior driver in Australia before suffering severe injuries in a training accident in 2007. Polak was in a coma for several months and is now confined to a wheelchair. Polak co-owned Polak A’s full brother Schinzig Buller, who was a Group One winner in Australia. Polak A is trained by Tony O’Sullivan, who is a native of New Zealand. “Tony always wanted some horses from where he’s from, down in Australia and New Zealand,” Bellino said. “I liked (Polak A) a lot when I saw his replays, and Tony liked him a lot. Both of us liked him a lot, so we took a shot. We were hoping he was going to be an open horse, or a high non-winners (condition). Tony is just doing a great job with him. He got him acclimated to America, which is very hard from what I hear.” Bellino recently bought another pacer from Down Under, New Zealand-bred Reuben Brogden, but for now is focused on Polak A. On Saturday, the horse is in the third of four Levy divisions and will again face Foiled Again and Michael’s Power. Polak A is tied with fellow series unbeatens P H Supercam and Beach Memories for the top spot in the Levy standings. The six-week event concludes April 25. “He’s going to race this week and we’ll probably give him next week off and see how it goes from there,” Bellino said. “He’s a workhorse. People seem to like him. He’s something new. We’ve been lucky.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications   

Beach Memories, P H Supercam, and Polak A will try to remain unbeaten in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series on Saturday at Yonkers Raceway, but Beach Memories will do it from a new barn. The 5-year-old pacer has moved from the harness racing stable of trainer Ron Burke to trainer Scott DiDomenico. Saturday's third round of the Levy Series features four divisions, with P H Supercam competing in the first division, Polak A in the third and Beach Memories in the fourth. All three horses are 2-for-2 in the series and tied for the top spot in the series standings. A trainer can enter only one horse per preliminary-round division, and later only two in each of the series final and consolation, and Burke co-owns four Levy participants - Bettor's Edge, Clear Vision, Foiled Again, and Take It Back Terry - in addition to training Beach Memories for owners Strollin Stable, AWS Stables, King McNamara, and Country Club Acres Inc. Country Club Acres' Jim Koehler said Burke suggested the barn change for Beach Memories and recommended DiDomenico. Burke trained previous Strollin Stable and Country Club Acres standout Won The West. "I'm sure if the (series) conditions were different, he'd keep the horse," Koehler said. "But he was getting concerned about being able to race all the horses if there were fewer divisions. He owns all those other horses (in the series). I don't blame him for that. He's always treated us very fairly. He's an amazing guy." Beach Memories has won two of five races this year and earned $65,300. For his career, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Memoir has won 16 of 61 starts and $600,404. The gelding, who captured the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, was trained by Brian Brown until last November. "I don't think he's a Won The West, you don't find two or three of them, but I know he's got potential," Koehler said. "If he gets the lead, he's tough to pass. "I think the (Levy) is one of the most interesting series in harness racing," he added. "It's a lot of fun. We just hope we race well." Beach Memories won both his Levy prelims by a neck; the first in 1:52.2 and last week in 1:53. He drew post five in Saturday's third round. "It's pretty neat to get a horse like this," DiDomenico said. "The owners called me the other day and I thought they were pulling my leg. People don't usually call you with one like this. Fortunately Ronnie has a lot of quality horses and fortunately I was the one to get the call." P H Supercam drew post two in his third-round division, which includes no other horse in the Levy's top 10. He is trained by Jeff Bamond Jr. and driven by Jason Bartlett. Polak A, with Brian Sears listed to drive for trainer Tony O'Sullivan, got post three in his split, which also includes Michael's Power and Foiled Again. Michael's Power is fourth in the series standings and Foiled Again is tied for seventh with Dancin Yankee, Sapphire City, and Windsong Jack. Bettor's Edge, who is tied with Warrawee Needy for fifth in the series, headlines the remaining division, which also includes Sapphire City and Windsong Jack. Dancin Yankee and Warrawee Needy are among the horses who will attempt to beat Beach Memories in the fourth division. They drew posts one and seven, respectively. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Freehold, NJ --- John DeLong was 19 years old when he won the driving title at Running Aces in its inaugural season in 2008. Now at the age of 26, the Wisconsin native has 1,282 victories to his credit and is No. 2 in the standings at Balmoral Park, one win behind leader Casey Leonard, and tied for fifth at Maywood Park. Last year DeLong set a career high with $1.94 million in purses and won a number of Chicago-area stakes, including the American-National for 2-year-old male pacers with Roland N Rock. He established his career high of 283 victories in 2013. His most lucrative triumph came in the $130,000 Lorna Propes Championship with Let’s Go Higher -- and he teamed with the pacing mare for a repeat score in the event in 2014. In January, DeLong received the James Laird Memorial Award for Excellence from the Wisconsin Harness Horse Association. DeLong’s family, which operates a worldwide agricultural-distribution business based in Clinton, Wis., has been involved in harness racing for decades and is one of only two families enshrined in the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. DeLong’s father Jesse (better known as Jay) is a trainer and occasional driver and DeLong got his first-ever win in 2005 with a horse trained by his uncle William (aka Bo). In addition to driving, DeLong works with the family’s stable of 25 horses in Clinton. He recently took time to talk with Ken Weingartner of the USTA’s Harness Racing Communications division. KW: Your career got off to a great start with being the leading driver at Running Aces. What was that like? JD: Running Aces has been good to me. We’ve won a lot of races up there with our horses that we own. That’s the biggest thing, winning races for dad. KW: Is he a good person to drive for? JD: (Laughing) He has his comments here and there, but he usually leaves the driving to me. If I mess up, he’ll let me know. But I try not to let that happen. He understands that I have a certain style and I take into consideration that we have a lot of young horses and I want to bring them along and teach them. KW: To win the driving title at 19, did that give you a lot of confidence or add pressure? How did that affect you going forward? JD: I’m sure it gave me some confidence. I still hadn’t made the decision whether I was going to do this fulltime. That was a summer job for me, going up to Running Aces and racing horses for my dad. He gave me a stable of 12 horses and I brought them up there. I was going to go to college or race horses. I ended up choosing race horses. KW: Did you take any (college) classes? JD: I went for a winter semester and I decided not to go back. I took an agricultural industry course. I wanted to do something with agriculture in case I wanted to work with the feed business. KW: Was it a difficult decision? JD: For me? No. To convince my parents? Yes. At first they were a little worried about it. I think now they’re happy with what I’ve done. KW: You got your 1,000th win last year. What did that accomplishment mean to you? JD: It meant a lot. I’m pretty sure I’m the first one in my family to win 1,000 races. That was a pretty big thing for me. I’m one of the only ones who does this fulltime as a career. That means a lot to me. KW: Considering your family is in the (Wisconsin) Hall of Fame, I guess that’s even more of a big deal for you. JD: We work hard at it and take a lot of pride in it, that’s for sure. KW: What’s it been like racing in Chicago? JD: Last year I had a really good year. I improved from the year before. The last two years I’ve been able to win 250 or 280 races each year. It’s been good. The money’s not great, but when you’re winning races, that’s the biggest thing. Everybody is hoping we get some relief here sometime. KW: What was it like to settle into Chicago? JD: Compared to the fairs and Running Aces and other places like that, it was tough. I live an hour and a half from Maywood and a little over two hours from Balmoral. It’s a lot of long nights and a lot of driving. I have to make it count. It’s tough. There are very good drivers down there. I would tell you if it was easy, but it’s tough. It’s a tough place to win races. KW: You’ve been able to win your share. What’s been the highlights? JD: I’d say No. 1 is dad’s mare Let’s Go Higher. She’s won back-to-back Super Night championships. She’s probably the biggest one. She spent most of her time out East racing at Saratoga and Yonkers and other tracks, but has come back here and won on Super Night. For dad to own her, that’s the biggest thing for me anyway. We had a horse called Party Hangover. She won my first Super Night (in 2012). Last year I won my first American-National with a horse that came off the Iowa fair circuit, Roland N Rock. KW: You picked up an award in January. What did that mean to you? JD: It’s nice to be recognized for all your hard work. I really appreciate it. It means you’re doing things right as far as I’m concerned. When you’re winning awards, you’re doing things right. KW: What do you do with all that time in the car? JD: Most of it is spent in traffic. (Laughs.) I talk on the phone and listen to music. A lot of music. If I have someone that drives for me, I do a lot of entering and looking horses up. I worry about stuff for the barn. KW: It’s a shame you can’t take college courses… JD: Yeah, while driving the car. There you go. That would be good. KW: What type of music do you like to listen to? JD: Country, mostly. A little bit of everything. KW: What is the most challenging part of being a young driver? JD: When you first start driving all you want to do is win, win, win. Sometimes that’s a lot harder than it seems. When I first started driving dad always told me that first you’ve got to drive for checks and the wins will eventually come. When I first started driving I always tried to keep that in the back of my head. I think things have turned my way, hopefully. It’s also getting respect from the other drivers. A lot of times when you’re 19, 20, 22 years old, you’re driving with people that are twice your age. It’s important to gain their trust and know you’re not out there driving like an idiot. KW: How do you think you’ve improved over the years? JD: I would think patience and doing better with trotters. I really like driving trotters and over the last year or so it seems like I’ve done really well with trotters. Probably even more than with pacers. A lot of times if you can get one good trotter you can make a lot of money. KW: Is there a reason you’ve become better with trotters? JD: I think training my own horses has helped me a lot with that. I think that’s made me a better driver, training my own horses and learning patience that way. In the races I’ve learned a lot too. When you get to the stage where you’re driving 10 or 12 a night, you’re learning on the fly and that teaches you a lot. The more opportunities you get, the better you’re going to be. KW: Tony Morgan said something like that too, and he just got his 15,000th win. So you’re on your way. JD: (Laughs.) That’s a lot of races. I thought 1,000 was a lot. It seemed pretty far away when I first started. Now I’m eager to get on to the next 1,000. I’m on my way pretty good to the next 1,000. KW: Do you have any goals for this year? JD: I have a lot of horses that I own myself. I have seven New York-breds; I’m pretty excited about those horses and would like to see them do well. One of my other goals would be to try to get into Hoosier Park more. This summer, my plan is to try to. I’ve got horses with a few guys I drive for and they want to race there. I went last year and I drove a few horses. I drove one stakes trotter (Homicide Hunter) that made almost $100,000 there for Curt Grummel. I’d like to get into Hoosier more and pick up more drives there, but it’s tough. I don’t know a whole lot of people there. KW: What do you most enjoy about driving and working with the horses? JD: The biggest thing I enjoy is driving babies and stakes horses. Seeing a horse come along. Even if they’re not the best horse at the beginning of the summer, bringing them along and hoping to see them the best later in the year. In Illinois, that’s the time when you want to be the best, on Super Night. KW: Have you ever wanted to do anything else? JD: Not really. When I was a little kid, we would send our horses to Chicago (to race) and two towns over there was a dog track that had an off-track betting parlor. We would go over there and watch the races at night. Ever since then, I was hooked and this is what I wanted to do. KW: How old were you then? JD: I was in fourth or fifth grade, probably 8 or 9 years old. I watched Dave Magee and those guys drive horses when I was little and I thought it was awesome. I just hoped one day I would get the opportunity to have people watch me on TV driving horses. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. KW: Now maybe some kid is watching you and thinking the same thing. JD: Yeah, that would be cool. KW: Well, thanks for all your time and good luck with everything. JD: Thank you. Any time. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Tony Morgan on Friday afternoon joined Dave Palone and Herve Filion as the only North American harness racing drivers with 15,000 career wins when he guided Lightning Moon to victory in the first race on opening day at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 56-year-old Morgan was joined by a large crowd, including fellow drivers, in the winner's circle. Lightning Moon won by 4-3/4 lengths in 1:53.4 to give Morgan the milestone triumph. Steve LeBlanc trains the 9-year-old gelding pacer for owners LeBlanc Racing, Robert Laham, Gregory Laham and Jeffrey Franklin. "It's nice to be recognized by your peers, but it probably means more to my family than to me," Morgan said earlier this week. "I get my kicks out of just working every day. I like that. I like the daily grind. I like the competition and keeping busy. "It's another feather in my cap, I guess, so it's nice. And it gives my family something to talk about. That's nice too." Morgan, who was born in Ohio, rose to prominence in Chicago and now calls the Delaware circuit home. The son of driver/trainer Eddie Morgan Jr., himself the winner of 4,724 races, Morgan got his first win one month shy of turning 15 in 1973. In 1995, Morgan led all drivers in North America in wins, and captured the title again in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2008. From 1995 through 2009, he was never out of the top 10 and racked up 10,695 wins during that span. Morgan was Harness Tracks of America's Driver of the Year in 2006, 2002, 1997 and 1996. He is one of only three drivers to win more than 1,000 races in a year, totaling 1,004 in 2006. Horses driven by Morgan have earned $117 million in purses, good for 13th place on the all-time list. Palone leads all harness racing drivers in the world in wins, entering Friday with 16,937. Germany's Heinz Wewering is second on the worldwide list, with more than 16,760, followed by Filion and Morgan. Morgan could pass Filion's total of 15,183 wins sometime this summer. The two competed against each other in the mid-2000s, following Morgan's move to Delaware from Chicago, and Morgan said following in Filion's footsteps was special. "Of course, he's been almost every driver's idol forever," Morgan said. "He was a great guy and a great driver and he outworked everybody for years and years. I guess that's kind of the model I've always followed. I've tried to stay as busy as I can, and the more practice you get, the better you get at it." Ken Weingartner  

Tony Morgan's drive to keep working hard has resulted in a whole lot of winning drives. Harness racing driver Morgan entered Wednesday on the verge of joining Dave Palone and Herve Filion as the only drivers in North American harness racing history with at least 15,000 career victories. The 56-year-old Morgan came into the day needing three wins to reach the milestone and has eight drives this evening at Dover Downs. "It's nice to be recognized by your peers, but it probably means more to my family than to me," Morgan said about his approaching 15,000 wins. "I get my kicks out of just working every day. I like that. I like the daily grind. I like the competition and keeping busy. "It's another feather in my cap, I guess, so it's nice. And it gives my family something to talk about. That's nice too." Morgan, who was born in Ohio, rose to prominence in Chicago and now calls the Delaware circuit home. The son of driver/trainer Eddie Morgan Jr., himself the winner of 4,724 races, Morgan got his first win one month shy of turning 15 in 1973. In 1995, Morgan led all drivers in North America in wins, and captured the title again in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2008. From 1995 through 2009, he was never out of the top 10 and racked up 10,695 wins during that span. Morgan was Harness Tracks of America's Driver of the Year in 2006, 2002, 1997 and 1996. He is one of only three drivers to win more than 1,000 races in a year, totaling 1,004 in 2006. Horses driven by Morgan have earned $117 million in purses, good for 13th place on the all-time list. So far this year, Morgan has won 54 races and is fifth in the driver standings at Dover Downs. For the past three seasons, he has averaged 323 wins and nearly $3 million in purses. "I always have done quite a bit better when I'm busy than when I'm not, so I try to stay busy," Morgan said. "I've got a pretty strong work ethic. I figure that if I can outwork everybody I'll do alright." Palone leads all harness racing drivers in the world in wins, entering Wednesday with 16,934. Germany's Heinz Wewering is second on the worldwide list, with more than 16,760, followed by Filion and Morgan. Morgan could pass Filion's total of 15,183 wins sometime this summer. The two competed against each other in the mid-2000s, following Morgan's move to Delaware from Chicago, and Morgan said following in Filion's footsteps was special. "Of course, he's been almost every driver's idol forever," Morgan said. "He was a great guy and a great driver and he outworked everybody for years and years. I guess that's kind of the model I've always followed. I've tried to stay as busy as I can, and the more practice you get, the better you get at it. "He was a very sharp guy. I spent a little bit of time with him when I first got to Delaware. He was a really nice guy. He was really good to the young guys and that's kind of a novelty, in my experience anyway. I think that people when they get older they tend to be kind of short with the young guys. I don't think that's the way to be." Morgan has tried to follow Filion's example in dealing with younger drivers today. "I like to think that the young guys can learn something and it's nice to be able to help some of them along," Morgan said. "They teach me something every night too." And no doubt help fuel the drive. by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

Harness racing driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. ended 2014 winning at a historic rate and the beginning of a new season has done little to slow him down. No driver in harness racing history has more wins in his first four consecutive seasons of at least 1,000 starts than Wrenn's total of 2,148 victories from 2011-14. Brett Miller is second, with 1,745 from 1999-2002. Wrenn captured his second consecutive national driving title last year, winning 847 races. It was the highest victory total since Tony Morgan's 961 triumphs in 2008. In the process, Wrenn also joined a small group of drivers to win at least 700 races in back-to-back years. The others are Morgan, Tim Tetrick, Dave Palone, Walter Case Jr., Jack Moiseyev, Herve Filion, and Mike Lachance. Entering Friday, Wrenn had 174 wins this year, a total that placed him third in North America. Corey Callahan led with 181 victories, followed by Aaron Merriman with 179. Wrenn is bidding to become the first driver since Morgan to claim three consecutive national driving titles. Morgan, who has won 14,992 races in his career, accomplished the feat from 1995-97. "Each year I just want to better myself," Wrenn said. "Each of the last four years I've won more and been more successful and made more money. I've been at the right place at the right time and I've driven for a lot of good trainers. I've been lucky. It helps to have a little horsepower." On Saturday, the Ohio-based Wrenn will visit The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for its opening night. It will be Wrenn's first trip to Pocono, where he has 10 drives on the card. Wrenn is the two-time defending driving champion at Northfield Park, but that track is dark on Saturdays. "My Saturdays, I really haven't had much going on," Wrenn said. "I was racing back home in Michigan a little bit just to take it easy and be closer to home until Scioto (Downs) starts. My plan right now is to go to Pocono on Saturdays and we'll just see what happens. "I love racing in Ohio and I've got a lot of good connections here and it's a growing state for sure. I like racing at Northfield. I'm still planning on going to Scioto when it opens on May 2. We'll just see what happens. I'm going to take it one day at a time, one weekend at a time, and we'll see how it goes." Wrenn was pleased to get so many drives for Saturday's Pocono card. He has two morning-line favorites and several other horses with favorable ML odds. "I'm very happy," Wrenn said. "For my first time out there it looks like I should be able to do some good hopefully. I've never been out there. I'm excited to go out there and drive with some drivers I've never driven with and work with some different horses." The 28-year-old Wrenn didn't begin driving on a full-time basis until 2011 because of focusing on college. He has won 2,346 races and earned $9.50 million in purses since starting his career on the fair circuit in his home state of Michigan three years earlier. Wrenn, who won the 2013 national driving title with 714 victories, captured his second title last season thanks to a near-record December. Wrenn won 119 races in December - just three triumphs shy of Morgan's record for a single month set in June 2008 - to overtake Merriman in the final days of the year. He finished six wins ahead of Merriman. The title was special to Wrenn, who missed time in January 2014 because of wrist surgery and endured the loss of his father to cancer in May. "Winning it for the first time was definitely awesome, but last year it seemed like I overcame a lot of adversity," said Wrenn, who changed his driver colors to his father's black and maroon. "I think it meant a little more. I think my mom appreciated it quite a bit. I think she was a little overwhelmed by it. I was happy for that. "Aaron definitely had a great year. Just to be able to put together a little run at the end of the year and get it done was pretty cool. I just caught a lot of live drives. "If I could get three (titles) in a row, that would be awesome. But there are guys like Aaron and some others who are always in the top five that make it really tough. Hopefully I can stay healthy and just have a good year." Following is the list of the top 10 drivers for total wins in the first four consecutive seasons in which they had at least 1,000 starts: Name -- Wins -- Years -- Age at start Ronnie Wrenn Jr. -- 2,148 -- 2011-14 -- 25 Brett Miller -- 1,745 -- 1999-2002 -- 26 Eric Carlson -- 1,719 -- 2009-12 -- 34 Gaetan Lamy -- 1,714 -- 1990-93 -- 43 Jordan Stratton -- 1,706 -- 2007-10 -- 20 Corey Callahan -- 1,679 -- 2007-10 -- 29 Marcus Miller -- 1,572 -- 2009-12 -- 20 Scott Zeron -- 1,540 -- 2008-11 -- 19 Tony Hall -- 1,522 -- 2004-07 -- 26 Matt Kakaley -- 1,480 -- 2007-10 -- 19 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Freehold, NJ --- John McDermott stares into the stall of Hurrikane Kingcole and a wistful smile crosses the harness racing trainer’s face as he watches his 6-year-old pacer move playfully toward him.  “I just wish we had a chance for him to show what he’s really made of,” McDermott says. He thought this might be the year. Hurrikane Kingcole, back on the racetrack after throat surgery last year appeared to correct a myriad of health issues, was 2-for-2 in 2015. The speedy stakes-winner captured his two starts by a total of seven lengths and posted one of the season’s fastest times to date -- 1:49.4 -- in January. But two weeks ago, Hurrikane Kingcole turned up sore after a training mile. Last week, tests revealed that Hurrikane Kingcole suffered a broken splint bone in his left front leg. Although McDermott said the injury was minor, and a return to racing was deemed probable following surgery, he decided it was time to stop. Hurrikane Kingcole, who in 2012 paced 1:48.1 at Mohegan Sun Pocono to equal the then-world record for a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track, has been retired. McDermott, who last year bred Hurrikane Kingcole to two mares, hopes the stallion can land a stud deal sometime soon. A son of Cam's Card Shark out of the mare Blazing Yankee, Hurrikane Kingcole won 14 of 49 career races and earned $582,807. His lifetime mark is 1:47.3. “He had an undefeated 6-year-old season; he’s got that going for him,” McDermott quipped Monday morning. “But really I’m thrilled that he won his last two starts. It couldn’t have gone a better way. “It’s important to me that this horse doesn’t get hurt on the racetrack. Every veterinarian I’ve talked to believes we could do the surgery and bring him back to race, but you’re going to lose a percentage (of performance). I don’t want him to come back to race in non-winners and hope he’s going to work out and make $100,000 the hard way. That’s not what he’s about. He’s supposed to be a special horse, and he always has been.” Hurrikane Kingcole struggled with immune system issues as well as breathing difficulties throughout much of his career. Still, he managed to produce memorable performances -- even if not always in victory. As a 3-year-old, Hurrikane Kingcole jumped and went off stride behind the gate in his elimination for the North America Cup at Mohawk, spotting the field more than two dozen lengths. That he rallied to miss advancing to the final by only 1-1/4 lengths was impressive, but not nearly as much as what track officials told McDermott following the race: A transponder carried by Hurrikane Kingcole clocked the horse in 1:46.1 for his mile. “The speed that he went that night was just insane,” McDermott said. “But that sums his whole life up. It was the most amazing mile I ever saw -- and I got absolutely nothing for it.” Later that summer, Hurrikane Kingcole missed advancing to the final of the Meadowlands Pace by a whisker, but won the consolation the following week by 8-3/4 lengths in 1:47.3. The Pace final went in 1:48.1. Less than a month later, Hurrikane Kingcole led the field in the New Jersey Classic to three-quarters in a record 1:18.2 only to lose by a head to Panther Hanover. Hurrikane Kingcole’s top career victory came in a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes in 2011 at Mohawk. “His gait is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before,” McDermott said. “His front leg stands so far out beyond his nose when he’s in full gear, it’s ridiculous. He wears a 64-inch hobble, but he strides out so far that it’s not a true measurement of his gait. That’s what really made him special.” Purchased by McDermott for $10,000 as a yearling, Hurrikane Kingcole is owned by Jeffrey Kuhen and the partnership of Arthur Brewer, Mitchell Cohen, Jeffrey Gorden and Jonathan Klee. And while McDermott is losing a very good horse from his stable, he is losing a very good friend as well. “He’s the best,” McDermott said. “He’s the reason I get up every day to come to the barn. The rest of them, I love them all, but he has such a life to him. He wants to make you happy. He’s never once thought there was something wrong with him. He thinks he’s ‘The Man’ every day and he just loves doing what he does. “I love the personality. He’s just such a pleasure to be around. He likes what he does, he likes us; he’s just a happy-go-lucky horse. He’s just awesome.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- It didn’t take long for harness racing driver Montrell Teague to determine Wiggle It Jiggleit was different. Wiggle It Jiggleit, a 3-year-old pacer who is unbeaten in five lifetime races as he heads into Saturday’s $58,000 Buddy Gilmour Series final at the Meadowlands, opened Teague’s eyes in his first career start. Racing in late August at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wiggle It Jiggleit won by six lengths in 1:51.2, covering the final half-mile in :54.1 under no urging while racing first over. It was the horse’s only start of 2014, but it was enough. “After that race, I told my dad this is going to be the best horse I’ve ever driven,” Teague said, referring to his father, trainer George Teague Jr. “He doesn’t have a flaw right now. He does everything right. He doesn’t overexert himself; he goes when I ask him. That’s what makes great horses. “He’s just an overall classy horse.” Wiggle It Jiggleit enters the Gilmour Series final off two preliminary round wins in which his victory margin totaled nearly six lengths. He won his opening round division in 1:51.2 and last week in 1:52.1. But his top moment of the year, so far, came in the first leg of the Sonsam Series at the Meadowlands, where Wiggle It Jiggleit defeated older horses in 1:49.4. He followed Escort Series champion Company Man’s cover briefly on the backstretch before racing first-over the rest of the way, pacing the final half-mile in :53.2. His time for the mile is tied for the second-best mark of the season for any pacer. “That’s the only time I’ve asked him to work,” Teague said. “He did it so easy and seemed to have plenty left in the tank. I don’t know how fast he is.” Wiggle It Jiggleit, who has earned $37,550 in lifetime purses, is a son of stallion Mr Wiggles out of the mare Mozzi Hanover. George Teague Jr. Inc. owns Wiggle It Jiggleit, as well as both the sire and dam. Mr Wiggles, who also was trained by Teague, won the 2009 Hoosier Cup and finished second in the Breeders Crown and Adios. Following the Gilmour Series final, Wiggle It Jiggleit will get some time off and light work until Teague prepares to bring back the gelding for the summer stakes season. Teague’s longtime assistant Clyde Francis is listed as the trainer of Wiggle It Jiggleit, who was limited to one start last season because of soreness. “I didn’t want to take any chances and end up hurting him for this year,” George Teague Jr. said earlier this year. “It worked out good. I was able to put him away earlier, get him sounder, and get him back together early this year to see what I’ve got. He seems as good as some of the better horses I’ve trained in the past. “He reminds me of his dad. He appears to be a real serious horse.” In the Gilmour, Wiggle It Jiggleit will face seven rivals, including National Seelster and Coaster. National Seelster won an opening-round division of the series before tasting defeat for the first time in four career races when he faced Wiggle It Jiggleit last week. Coaster also won a preliminary leg of the series. “It doesn’t get any better than this, knowing everyone is watching the Meadowlands to watch (Wiggle It Jiggleit),” Montrell Teague said. “There’s no better feeling.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

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