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Who Killed Kenny looked right at home in taking out the Newcastle City Holden Pace last at the Newcastle Paceway on Saturday night. Trained by Danny Mackney at Nemingha the Kenneth J – Fakin Romar gelding reigned supreme in the 1609m harness racing event and was unchallenged in his attempt to take the lead. “He got an easy way to the lead,” said Mackney who also handled the driving of the six year old gelding. “Once he got to the pegs he was going to hold the top.” Who Killed Kenny was joined by race favourite I’m Major Harry (Will Rixon), who elected to pull back into the one by one and allow Our Midnight Mayhem (Jake Hughes) to race out in the breeze. “He got a cheap second quarter so he felt good,” Mackney said with Who Killed Kenny going on to set a mile rate of 1.58.0 for the distance. “They sort of got lost off the first turn,” he said of the race favourite (I’m Major Harry)  “The 57 secs last half bought a couple of the back markers undone as well.” Who Killed Kenny was taking some big strides to cover the race territory with sectionals of 28.6secs for the first quarter, 31.5 secs for the second, 29.1secs the third quarter and a 28.8secs final quarter. Mackney elected to take a risk on the run out of the back straight on the final occasion to slip away from the field and trying not to overthink that he was leading the field home. “It’s a long way down that Newcastle home straight but he felt good – it was just a matter of could be stay – the straight is longer than Tamworth,” he mused. “He got a cheap second quarter so he felt good.” “He set at PB with the mile rate.” Who Killed Kenny had a 5.2m win over another local in Uralla pacer Yellow Taxi (Breanna Lindsay) which is trained by Mitch Faulkner at Uralla, with I’m Major Harry a metre away third. Who Killed Kenny enjoyed his last win back in January this year as part of the Golden Guitar Carnival at Tamworth before heading for a spell. “He had seven weeks in the paddock to let him think about life and he filled out a bit and grew in that time,” Mackney said. He has given Who Killed Kenny his last four race starts on the Newcastle Paceway, only due to the fact of his own work commitments. “He has been going good down there,” he said. “He likes the even quarters – it’s consistent.” “He is a tough little fella – he just keeps on giving.” The win of Who Killed Kenny topped off a good week in the Mackney household with wife Kellie receiving the Young Business Executive Award at last week’s Tamworth Quality Business Awards night. “It topped off a good week after Kellie winning her award,” Mackney said. By Julie Maughan Rep[rinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Young reinsman Mitch Turnbull scored his first hometown harness racing feature and brother Josh continued on his recent winning run when they combined to take out last Friday's Bathurst RSL Soldiers Saddle Final at Group One Feeds Paceway. Bacchus Raucous ($8.20) stayed out of the early speed burn before working his way around the field to the ‘death seat’ from where Mitchell maintained a strong even tempo with the Kenneth J gelding, before slipping into top gear over a final quarter of 28.8 seconds and a winning mile rate of 1:58.7 for the 2260m trip. Angela Hedges brought Ned Pepper with a well-timed run to fight out a very close finish and Hey Porsha finished strongly to grab the minor place. The winner is raced by Jess Turnbull, wife of the trainer, and close friends Pete Crennan and Nigel Frisby, and it was a delighted group of connections and children who celebrated the win trackside. Mitch was quick to acknowledge the training effort of his brother, commenting " there were 110 problems with him when we got him from the sales" - a $7,500 buy at the 2013 Gold Crown Sale - " but Josh has just about got him sorted now, and he's racing very consistently." It will be interesting to follow his progress as he seeks to match the record of previous Soldiers Saddle winners such as Saint William, Avonnova and Saloon Passage. Doubles and trebles were the order of the meeting, with a further driving win for Mitch Turnbull, a training double for Chris Frisby, and a training/driving treble for Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy in the final three races of the night. Mitch warmed up for the feature by scoring a last-stride win with War Dan Apollo ($2.90 favourite, for father Steve in the C3-C5 third, coming from well back in a very strongly run race. Isle Of Man was a gallant second, after a tough trip. Chris Frisby's double came in the opening races, with Alpha Styx ($1.90 favourite, Anthony Frisby) in C1-C2 class, tagging up three-wide and running down leader Soeur De Lyse which had kicked well clear on straightening and then Uncle John ($2.20 favourite, Jason Grimson) in the Soldiers Saddle Consolation, showing his customary toughness by sitting in the ‘death eat’ and defying Wicker Maister which was posted three-wide to run him down. Mach Doro and a pair of maiden three-year-olds in Alpine Stride and Olive Stride made up the Craig Cross/ Luke McCarthy treble, in quite contrasting styles. Mach Doro ($1.40 favourite) was allowed to bide his time at the tail of the field in the 2260m fast class before Luke set him alight just after the bell and he charged to the lead as they entered the back straight, maintaining the speed in a brilliant 27.3 third quarter, and then hanging on grimly to outstay Im Cool Harry which came again after being headed. It was a brilliant drive, on a horse his driver rates very highly, and which may return for the Shirley Turnbull Memorial on Boxing Night. Alpine Stride ($5.80) led all-the-way in a 2260m C0 grade, and Olive Stride ($25.50) which used the sprint lane to score by the proverbial nose in a 3C0 sprint, maintained their parallel career paths in winning. They commenced racing on the same night back in March, had their second runs just a week apart in April, then spelled at owner Emilio Rosati's property for about five months before resuming here together, with happy results. Alpine Stride boasts champion mare Tailamade Lombo as his dam, while Olive Stride recalls the name of another champion in Luke's grandmother, who will be honoured in the Ray and Olive McCarthy Memorial at the Boxing Night feature meeting. Luke would have been tickled by this win. A very big crowd attended Friday's meeting, with a number of Christmas parties in full swing in different parts of the venue, and Peter Turnbull making his annual visit as Santa Claus to distribute lollies to the kids. They all know Santa's alter ego, and check with him during the night what time he'll be donning the red and white clobber! And on that note, Happy Christmas to everyone in harness racing from the management and staff of Bathurst HRC. By Terry Neil

Silver Fox J closed strongly with a :27.3 final panel along the inside to win the $18,500 4&5-Year-Old Male pace on a drizzling Monday, March 14 "good" harness racing track at Dover Downs. A change in post position was just what Silver Fox J needed as the four-year-old Kenneth J-Fox Valley Backoff gelding scored a 1:53.2 victory in the feature race. With trainer-co-owner George Dennis in the bike Silver Fox J chalked up his fourth win of the year for Dennis, Tina Dennis and The Wiz Kids Stable. Sectionline Rock (Tim Tetrick) was second best in front of Quick Shot  and Ross Wolfenden. Tetrick drove Little Ben, also with a strong finish, to victory in 1:51.4 to notch a triumph in a $17,000 Male Winners-Over pace holding off fast closing Blazing Bobby Sox (Art Stafford Jr.) and Adventure Bound (Ross Wolfenden). Janet Hudson and JoAnn Looney-King own the winner conditioned by Jim King. Little Ben is sired by Jereme's Jet-Honey's Bud Lite and won for the 16th time in his career. He has now earned $150,763 lifetime. Hall of Famer John Campbell made the winner's circle after driving Tom Kemp's four-year-old Suchasenseofhumor, a Rock N Roll Heaven-Don't You Smile gelding to a 1:53.4 decision in a $16.500 4&5-Year-Old pace. Grantland (Andrew McCarthy) was next in front of Muffmaster (Allan Davis), third. Sentencing Memo, an altered son of Western Terror-Lady Annie, the only three-year-old in the $16,000 pace for young horses, for that matter on the 15-race card, took the lead after the three-quarters and cruised home in 1:52.2 for his fifth victory in eight starts in 2016 while winning $33,320. Muscles N Swag (Tony Morgan) was runner-up. Cs Eye (Dennis) was third. Sammy The Bull N gave Tim Tetrick his second win coming on for a 1:52.3 score in a $14,500 Male pace. Owned by Triple D Stable and trained by Scott Di Domenico, It was the New Zealand -bred Bettor's Delight-I'm On My Way gelding's second win in three starts since crossing the Pacific. Four Staces (Campbell) was a game second. Fancy Colt (Morgan) was the show horse. Art Stafford Jr. picked up his second win piloting Postmaster along the passing lane to catch Kwik Mac (Foster) in the closing strides for a 1:53.3 lifetime fastest victory and first win of the year. The Cam's Card Shark-Frontier Power four-year-old gelding is owned by trainer William Moffitt. Kovie (Tetrick) finished third Tony Morgan had a driving triple. Tim Tetrick, Allan Davis and Art Stafford Jr. had two win each. Sassy Hanover, a $1-million dollar winner, makes her four-year-old debut in the $24,000 Mares Open Handicap Tuesday feature race. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs is dark on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. When at the track, watch live races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant's acclaimed Harness Racing Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600.  Marv Bachrad

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 1, 2015) - After reaching the sport's highest level in 2012 with champion three-year-old pacer Heston Blue Chip, harness racing owner Ken Jacobs is looking to strike again, this time with Gweneeee J, a full-sister to his earner of more than $1.7 million. The three-year-old daughter of the mare Shot Togo Bluechip makes her first career start Friday night (April 3) in Race 3 at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Jacobs purchased Gweneeee J for $145,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. She was the most expensive yearling at the sale by the top stallion American Ideal. "She was a very good looking yearling," said Jacobs, a Central New York native. "She looked so much like Heston and since I had so much success with him, I figured I'd take a shot." Jacobs says Gweneeee J did not race as a two-year-old because "she wasn't up to it" and he didn't want to push her too hard. Instead, she was turned out and prepared for her three-year-old season. "We already know she'll make a very good broodmare, but we'll find out a little more on Friday if she'll be a good racehorse," explained Jacobs. "You never know until you put them on the track to race, but we just want to take it cautiously and see what happens." Jacobs is a longtime owner and breeder who is best known as the owner of top horses Kenneth J, Heston Blue Chip, and He's Gorgeous. He also likes to name many of his horses after family members and friends. "I named this one after my grandson's girlfriend and added the "E's" at the end because I thought it would be fun for the track announcers to yell 'Gweneeee' down the stretch," said Jacobs. "I've run out of kids and grandkids to name horses after so I've moved on to the girlfriends of my grandkids." Gweneeee J won a qualifier at the Meadowlands last Friday in a sharp 1:54.3. She's trained by Linda Toscano and will be driven in Friday's race by Hall of Famer John Campbell. Friday's 12-race program includes a carryover of $64,065 in the Jackpot Super High 5 in the fifth race. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Justin Horowitz

Mirrool horseman Steve Maguire has known Leeton harness racing trainer Col Thomas for a long time.  In fact, Maguire married Thomas’ daughter Robyn in 1988 and became part of the family.  On Saturday night Maguire could be elevated from son-in-law to something even higher if Bettermatch can win the Alabar Bathurst Gold Crown. Thomas trains and Maguire drives the star two-year-old, with both men chasing their first Group One success. With the son of Kenneth J drawn barrier three, Maguire is confident victory is within reach. Bettermatch will slot into gate two with the removal of the emergency. “The gate is perfect,” Maguire declared. “If someone had asked me before it took place which barrier I was after I would have said three or four, so it wasn’t too far off. “I thought he was good in his heat on Saturday night, he was pretty casual in front, but once he got up onto the bit, he travelled strongly and did it within himself.” Bettermatch is unbeaten after five starts and Maguire admits to being in awe of the freshman’s performance in last month’s Sapling Stake at Menangle. “The Sapling Stake was his first run since winning the Leeton Breeders’ Plate, he was very fresh and fired up out of the gate that night,” Maguire said. “I remember thinking coming to the turn that I should be looking after him because we had been really running from the start, but turning for home he kept on giving, kicked home very hard to get the win and ran 1:53.6 in the process.” Although TAB.COM.AU has Bettermatch listed as the $1.50 favourite for the $100,000 decider, Maguire has a lot of respect for his rivals. “It is not as cut and dried as everyone thinks,” Maguire said. “I thought Sams The Master was impressive winning his heat and Shadow Runner was very strong to the line too. “I have had a couple of horses in the Gold Crown before Langus Frost chased home Master Musician in 1990 and Mendacious Rhythm was in Another Party’s race in 1997.” HRNSW Media

Boom harness racing youngster Bettermatch will be aiming to join an elite fraternity this month. Beginning with Saturday night’s heats, the Colin Thomas-trained freshman is looking to complete the Sapling Stake/Bathurst Gold Crown double. Having captured the Sapling at Tabcorp Park Menangle last month, Bettermatch is the early favourite for the prestigious Bathurst series. Only seven pacers have registered the double since the Crown’s inauguration in 1987 when Rocket Jason annexed both features. Woy Woy Karamea followed suit in 1989, before being joined by Bastille Beggar in ‘94, Dream Mover in 2001, Kathryn Dancer in ’03, Lombo Pocket Watch in ’06 and Emjayem Grand in 2008. As for Bettermatch, he will contest the last of the six qualifiers and is expecting to be untroubled in extending his unbeaten sequence to five. Drawn well in barrier four, the son of Kenneth J is poised to lead throughout the 1730-metre trip. Pleased with the two-year-old’s progress, Thomas is confident Bettermatch can provide him with an elusive Group One win. “He just hasn’t stopped improving,” Thomas said. “He is getting better with each run and will take a lot of beating. “I’ve had a few Group One runners, including the Gold Crown, but just haven’t been able to win one. “With a bit of luck, we can do it this year.” PAUL COURTS

Astute New South Wales trainer Colin Thomas experienced the highs and lows of harness racing this week. Just days after registering one of his biggest victories at Tabcorp Park Menangle when successful with rising star Bettermatch, Thomas had to humanely put down stable ‘King’, Business In Motion. One of the state’s most promising pacers, Business In Motion’s demise was the result of a freak paddock accident. Having also competed at Menangle, Business In Motion was placed in his usual paddock upon return to Thomas’ property the following day where he was set to enjoy an easy week. The following morning, however, Thomas discovered the entire impaled on a metal pole in his groin. Although Business In Motion had a few cuts from the incident, the son of Courage Under Fire “appeared to be okay.” In fact, the four-year-old even ate his lunch! “A mare in one of the back paddocks had escaped and he must have reared up and come down on top of a metal post,” Thomas explained. “Once I washed him off, I tended to a couple of cuts, but it didn’t seem that bad. “I checked on him all day and he appeared to be okay, he even had a feed. “Later in the afternoon when I checked him he had swelled up around the cuts and was haemorrhaging pretty badly…he must have pierced himself right up his ‘old fella’. “In the end, I had no choice and it was the humane thing to do.” A classy performer, Business In Motion won his first five starts before finishing his freshman season with 10 wins. Making steady progress through the grades at three and four, Business In Motion’s record sits on 20 wins and 13 placings from 43 starts for earnings of $161,840. On a brighter note, Bettermatch has “pulled up well” from his latest victory, which saw the son of Kenneth J maintain his unbeaten sequence from four starts. Thrilled with the two-year-old’s progress, Thomas has aimed Bettermatch at several key features. “That was his toughest run to date and he has pulled up well,” Thomas said. “Steve said he thought the horse may have been gone up the straight, but when he put a couple on his bum, he responded well. “Only good horses find extra under pressure and he is a serious racehorse. “I will set him for the Bathurst Crown next. He is eligible for the Breeders’ Challenge, Vicbred and Breeders’ Crown, but I don’t want to overtax him. “Even if he goes in all of those, he won’t do much between the heats and Finals.” PAUL COURTS

The first of the harness racing features at Menangle for the two year olds this season was held last night with the running of the $40,800 Sapling Stakes. Queensland visitor Major Buddy was all the rage with punters after a series of outstanding trial runs but he was no match on the night for the locals who really turned it on for so early in the two year old calendar. As the gate left Gavin Fitzpatrick shot Salty Robyn to the front from barrier two but he was hotly challenged early in the piece by Bettermatch with Steve Maguire in the bike from barrier seven. These two eyeballed each other for the first 400 in a swift 26.6 before Steve took a hold of Bettormatch and they buttoned off the speed. Debutante runner Born To Rocknroll with John McCarthy in the bike settled into the one by one after 400 metres from barrier five as Salty Robyn kept up a solid tempo. A second quarter of  29.8 and a third quarter of 28.3 from Salty Robyn meant the back runners faced mission impossible as they turned for home. Salty Robyn went for home by two with Bettermatch and Born To Rocknroll coming at him the whole length of the straight and in the shadows of the finishing line Bettormatch stuck his head out for an outstanding win. A short half head away were both Salty Robyn and Born To Rocknroll who the judge couldn't separate for second. With the last quarter being run in 28.9, the mile was cut out in a very quick 1:53.6. For Bettermatch it was his fourth win on end and he remained unbeaten this season. Trainer Col Thomas had one word to describe the feeling straight after the race. " Awesome, really awesome, I am really very proud." " That is the biggest race winner I have ever trained." "He fired up a bit tonight which is not like him." "He is a colt but he is so quiet at home he never gets out of second gear," Col said Col was quick to heap praise on owner Robbie Wakeman who helps him out with his small team. " Robbie is at home every morning at 6:30 to help me work the team and back at 2:00 in the afternoon to help out again." "He does most of the work with Bettermatch and deserves a lot of the credit," Col said. A colt by the ill fated son of Bettor's Delight in Kenneth J, Bettermatch is from the racewinning New Zealand bred  Live Or Die mare in Matchme who is from a half sister to two former topliners in Bolton Byrd and Melton Monarch for noted New Zealand breeder Jim Dalgety. Bettermatch has two immediate goals in the next few weeks. " He can come back here in ten days for the Simpson Memorial and then we will head to Bathurst." "I would really love to win a Group One with him," Col said. The first three home last night all went super and if that is the standard of two year old racing this season, then we have some great racing to look forward to. Harnesslink Media  

Try as he might, harness racing trainer Col Thomas is finding it harder to avoid the obvious comparison between his two stable stars. One of his crop’s best performed freshmen in 2012, Business In Motion won 10 of his 15 two-year-old starts, including his first five outings. The son of Courage Under Fire also filled the placings in the Vicbred Super Series and Tatlow Finals. Business In Motion’s victories also include the popular Leeton Breeders’ Plate – a feature newcomer, Bettermatch, annexed last night. Driven by Nathan Jack, Bettermatch accounted for Regal Nightshade and Chucky Balboa in 1:58.8 for the 1758 metres…Business In Motion captured the ‘Plate’ in 1:59.2. The son of Kenneth J maintained his unbeaten record from three starts in the process. “Bettermatch and is certainly doing everything Business In Motion did, but Business In Motion won 10 races at two,” Thomas said. “We’ll have to see how well Bettermatch goes on with it as the season progresses. “At this stage he is right up there with Business In Motion. He’s got good speed and a bit of bottom too and I reckon he can win another good race or two before the season is out.” Planning to give the colt an easy week, Thomas will then target the Sapling Stake at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 7. “He’ll have a few light days before I get him ready for a trip to Sydney for the Sapling,” Thomas said. “I think he will enjoy racing around the spacious track at Menangle.” As if to make sure the ‘Johnny Come Lately’ remembers who’s boss, Business In Motion also scored at Leeton last night. After working to the lead, the four-year-old beat No Tomorrow and In Runaway Bay in 1:59.1 for the 2147 metres. “He’s gone well again,” Thomas said. “I will just keep racing him along before a possible trip to Melton for the Bonanza in February.” PAUL COURTS

Riverina harness racing trainer Col Thomas has plenty of options for his boom pacer Bettermatch, but in the short term, will aim at the Leeton Breeders’ Plate.  Heats will be run on Boxing Night and Thomas is excited by the son of Kenneth J after he won in a brilliant 1:55.8 on debut at Maryborough a fortnight ago. “The Leeton Breeders’ Plate is where he will go next,” Thomas said. “I’m thinking of taking him to Sydney for a couple of races early next year, but he is also eligible for the Bathurst Gold Crown and can race in both the Breeders’ Challenge and Vicbred. “We've had a few blokes ringing since his debut trying to buy him, one offered us $100,000 for 50 per cent of him, but I can assure everyone that he isn’t for sale.” Bettermatch is owned by Rob Wakeman and Thomas is happy to see his good friend get a nice horse. “Robbie was a baker and he would do his deliveries and then come out by 10am and help me out at the stables, but since he has retired he is out there by 6:30am every day, he is a good bloke and a hard worker,” Thomas declared. “He actually claimed Bettermatch’s mum at Junee,” Thomas explained. “He was one of 17 claims that was put in and he was the lucky person that drew her out. “We raced for her a while after that and she won a race for us and this is only her second foal.” Bettermatch has always shown ability and had performed well at the trials in the lead up to his debut. “He had been around at the trials and was going about 2:04, but he was just zipping home in 28 seconds, so we always knew he had a bit of a motor, but just didn’t know how big it was,” Thomas said. “He has gone quicker than Business In Motion already, but he reminds he a lot of him, Bettermatch is still a colt but is very quiet and sensible.” GREG HAYES

Riverina trained harness racing pacer Bettermatch was successful in the season's first two-year-old event at Maryborough on Thursday afternoon. What was so impressive is that the Kenneth J first starter stopped the clock at a 1:55.8 seconds mile rate for the 1680 metres. Driven by Nathan Jack Bettermatch is trained by Colin Thomas, the same man who puts the polish on smart pacer Business In Motion. Business In Motion took out the Leeton Breeders Plate final in 2013 and Thomas has his current star ready for the $25,000 event. "We always knew he was above average and I didn't travel 500km's to Maryborough just to give him a run," said Thomas. "He'd won his three trials and we hadn't really asked him for an effort. Today he was asked and he responded." Bettermatch will no doubt be set for the June 2015 NSW Breeders Challenge with eligibility provided by having a NSW based mare in Lively Match. The mare was purchased by Robert and Patricia Wakeman as a claimer for $1,500 at Junee in 2009. "I've paid him up for most of his races including the Bathurst Gold Crown," he said. Thomas said Business In Motion had had his fair share of issues in the past but is happy with where he is at. "I had a lot of trouble with him after suffering leg issues but he seems to be over that now," he said. Along with Business In Motion and Bettermatch Thomas has a further five 2YO's in the stable. "I like racing the two-year-olds early in the season; we take our time and get to know a bit about them, that's why I knew Bettermatch was ready today." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |

Pat Lachance is betting on a son of Bettor's Delight to make Saturday's New York Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers a joyous event. Southwind Masimo, trained by Lachance, was his division's top points earner through the preliminary rounds and will start Saturday's $225,000 final from post No. 1 at Yonkers Raceway. Lachance will handle the driving, as he has in all but one of the colt's previous five races. The race is part of the Night of Champions card at Yonkers, where eight NYSS champions will be crowned. Post time is 7:10 p.m. for the first race. Southwind Masimo, owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber, has won four of five starts - all on the sire stakes circuit - and earned $85,481. He is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, behind Tom Fanning's Betting Exchange, who starts from post two and is 3-1. Betting Exchange, also a son of Bettor's Delight, has won two of five races and earned $66,125. His victories have come in his two most recent starts, including a 1:51.1 triumph in a sire stakes division on Aug. 30 at Vernon Downs. Only six 2-year-old pacers have won with a faster time so far this season. "I don't know who the best one is in there, but there's a few of them that can go," Lachance said. "There are some good ones for sure. I think (Southwind Masimo) has got as much of a chance as anybody. "I'm going to try to get away as close as I can to the front and we'll see what happens. With a little racing luck we'll be in good shape, I think." Southwind Masimo is the first foal out of the dam Max's Leading Lady and was purchased for $65,000 at last October's Lexington Selected Sale. Max's Leading Lady was a multiple winner on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and second dam Ascending won an Ontario Sire Stakes Super Final and Canadian Breeders Championship. Lachance has trained two million-dollar-earners by Bettor's Delight, Forensic Z Tam and Hula's Z Tam, so that was another prime selling point. Hula's Z Tam was the 2009 New York Sire Stakes champion for 2-year-old female pacers and Forensic Z Tam was a two-time runner-up to Kenneth J in NYSS finals. "Bettor's Delight has been very good to me, so that was the first thing I liked about him," Lachance said about Southwind Masimo. "He had decent size and his conformation was good. We were just trying to get the best conformation, the best pedigree possible, obviously for what you can afford. He was well put together and we took a shot at him." Following the New York Sire Stakes championship, Southwind Masimo is scheduled to head to Lexington's Red Mile for the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. He also is eligible to the Matron and Breeders Crown. "We'd like to go on and give him a chance," Lachance said. "He's always showed ability and racing in New York is as good as anywhere. You're going to race against Grand Circuit horses Saturday night. "I think he'll like a big track," he added about his colt, who has raced so far only on half-mile and five-eighths-mile ovals. "He certainly can get around a half very well, but I think a big track will really help him. I think he'll step up. I don't think it will be a problem at all." Lachance's hopes in the NYSS are not limited to Southwind Masimo. He sends out longshot Sir Sam's Z Tam in the final for 3-year-old male pacers, starting from post three at 20-1 on the morning line. Ron Burke's entry of All Bets Off, a multiple stakes-winner, and Forty Five Red is the 4-5 choice. "We're shooting for a check," Lachance said. "He's had a decent year. He's not the best one in there, but I hope to hit the board with him." For more about Saturday's Night of Champions, read here. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Thursday’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting belonged to Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stable reinsman Gavin Lang, Kelly chalking up a stable treble and Lang a driving quartet. Four-year-old Mach Three/Going Royce gelding Pushkin was first to greet the judge in the SEW-Eurodrive Pace for R2 to R4 class over 2240 metres. Trapped in the open from gate three in the early stages, Pushkin extended to cross the surprise pacemaker Danish King and Pushkin enjoyed a sweet time at the head of affairs. Kicking clear at the straight entrance, Pushkin just lasted from a flying Jeans Mattjesty, which had been at the tail of the field for most of the trip, scoring by a nose in a rate of 2:06.5, with Voce (one/one – three wide home turn) an eye-catching third when first-up since April. Kiwi-bred Art Major/Strathrowan filly Dazzling Arded was next to come along in the Alabar 3YO Pace over 1720 metres. First-up since June and on debut in Australia, Dazzling Arden starting from gate two on the second line raced three-wide for most of the trip, with the polemarker Shes Pinkalicious retaining the front running. Showing plenty of intestinal fortitude, Dazzling Arden outstayed her rivals to record a 2.8-metre victory in 2:01.5 over the first-starter Kristy Ann Hanover along the sprint lane after trailing the leader. Richly Deserved (four-wide home turn) from last looked a big chance on straightening and finished third. Ex-Sunraysia seven-year-old gelding Eyes On The Sky, having his first outing since May 2013, was a tough victor of the Woodlands Stud Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Making his first appearance for the stable, Eyes On The Sky a son of D M Dilinger and Gipsy Belle who’s most recent victory had been at Mildura on May 26, 2013 raced in the open from gate five, proving too strong over the concluding stages for Pas Mate (one/two – three wide home turn) which joined him halfway up the running appearing to be going better, with Bucksaroo third after following the runner up throughout. The mile rate 2:05.1. Lang was the “punters pal” on the day, also snaring the Pegasus Club 3Y0 Pace over 1720 metres aboard the Sue Hunter (Melton) trained Kenneth J/Artistic Dash gelding Kool Kenny. Given a beaut trip one/one from gate five, Kool Kenny was switched to the sprint lane on straightening, scoring by a half-neck from Gowan Loch, which led from the pole, and Daddywho (three back the markers) The mile rate 2:00.6. It was a great day for the Macedon Ranges district with Kyneton duo Greg and Steve Leight taking the Aldebaran Park 3Y0 Trotters Handicap over 2240 metres with Lawman/Kellybrooke gelding Law Legend, leading all of the way from barrier two, accounting for Eureka Encounter and Fire To Rain in a rate of 2:12.3 in appalling conditions. Four-year-old Britewell/Jenola Bay gelding Our St Pierre gave Bolinda’s Brent Lilley another winner for the week when successful in the tab.com.au Trotters Handicap for TRO & TR1 class over 2240 metres in a rate of 2:09.5. With Chris Alford in the spider, Our St Pierre starting from the 10 metre mark settled six back along the markers, with Atego Turbo beginning like a rocket from outside 10 metres to lead. Moving to be one/one racing for the bell, Our St Pierre was eased three wide on the final bend and finished strongly to gain the day in advance of Our Elvis which moved to face the breeze at the bell before striding clear on the home turn. Only One Aussie which trailed the weakening pacemaker finished third. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria  

Foiled Again is expected to enter Saturday's (July 19) Battle of Lake Erie and will try to become the first horse in Northfield Park history to win the event three times. The 10 year-old son of Dragon Again (2000 Battle Champion) won in 2009 and 2011, joining Jaguar Spur (winner in 1988-89), Peruvian Hanover (winner in 2002-03) and Maltese Artist (winner in 2005 and 2007) as the only four horses to win the Battle of Lake Erie twice. Age does not seem to be slowing Foiled Again. He has paced all of his last three starts under 1:50. Foiled Again is trained by Ronald Burke and has so far garnered 80 career victories and earned $6,313,068. Those earnings make Foiled Again the richest pacer in the history of harness racing. Other millionaire Battle of Lake Erie nominees include: Horse Owner(s) Trainer Bolt The Duer All Star Racing Inc. Peter Foley Clear Vision Burke Racing, Bruscemi, Panhellenic, Koran Ron Burke Heston Blue Chip Kenneth Jacobs Linda Toscano Michael's Power Jeffrey Snyder Casie Coleman Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the best veteran pacers the sport has to offer. Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip and Maltese Artist. An impressive undercard featuring $40,000 divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for two and three year-old colt trotters and pacers will support this year's Battle of Lake Erie. In addition, Battle night will also offer guests a sumptuous buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The special Battle of Lake Erie Buffet is just $15.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330/467-4101. Guests who want to be down close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to sample some of northeast Ohio's most popular food trucks. Live music by Unknown Reason can also be enjoyed on the apron from 5 to 10 pm. First race post time is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

The premature loss of Kenneth J to the Australasian harness racing industry hurt a bit more last night when his talented filly Im Bella Jay displayed plenty of grit winning the $100,000 Westbred final for 3 year old fillies. It was her second win in a Westbred final having taken out the two year old fillies final last season. Allowed to settle back from her second line draw, Im Bella Jay took off three wide with 1500 meters to go before ending up in the death seat with 1100 meters to go. From there she controlled the tempo of the race and when driver Matthew White said go at the 500 meters ,the race was as good as over. The favourite Harriet Elizabeth made ground stylishly late but Im Bella Jay was holding her comfortably on the line. Im Bella Jay paced the 2130 meters in 2:36.8, a mile rate of 1:58.5 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 29.7. It was the Aiden De Campo trained filly's eighth lifetime win and took her stake earnings to $174,564. Kenneth J 1:49.6 ($1,592,755) only stood three seasons at stud in Australasia before his untimely death. His oldest crop are three year olds in the current season and number 63 of which 35 have started and 19 have been winners with Im Bella Jay his best performer to date. Im Bella Jay is from an old New Zealand family that hit the headlines through the deeds of the great broodmare Bravine and which has been mainly in the hands of Bruce Francis from Mid-Canterbury for over 40 years Once the hottest commercial family in New Zealand in the 1980s, it continues to produce classic winning young horses to this day. The dam of Im Bella Jay is the race winning Barnett Hanover mare Belturbet 2:02 ($25,186) She is a half sister to two really talented horses in Donegal Delight 1:56.3 ($225,778) and McDana 1:52.2 ($177,565) This is the family made famous by the brilliant Locarno 1:58.2 ($181,915) who won the 1980 Miracle Mile while Ostrava (10 wins) and Agrinion (9 wins) were other age group stars from this family. Some of the maternal sires in this pedigree may not be to every ones liking but what this family has shown over a long period is it doesn't change the output of the family one bit. If you ever needed confirmation of that fact then Im Bella Jay is living proof. Im Bella Jay Harnesslink media

On Friday evening, July 4th, Monticello Raceway will host 2 year old pacing fillies in both the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series. Four NYSS events, along with six Excelsior's, will offer over $174,000 to the owners of the fillies most of whom will be making their first pari-mutuel starts. And when the races are completed a Fabulous fireworks display will be presented. The NYSS events mark the first of eight legs for the freshmen fillies at various New York racetracks en route to the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. Along the way the competing fillies will earn points in each leg, depending on the placements, with the top eight point recipients earning a berth in the rich finale. The majority of the entrants are daughters of American Ideal, Art Major, Rock N Roll Heaven and Bettor's Delight although an array of other New York sires progeny dot the 10- race program that features only New York-bred stakes fillies. Granted, it's hard to expound on any of these fillies since they are in the infancy of their racing careers but some already have shown signs of brilliance. Take Bob Horowitz's She's Heavenly, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven who'll come into this contest off a 1:55.1 triumph in a baby race at the Meadowlands on June 28. She'll be driven by Mike Lachance. Or, how about Jimmy Takter's undefeated Zip Code Envy, another Rock N Roll filly who has won all three of her baby races at the Meadowlands with her 1:56.1 clocking on June 27 the best of the three. She's owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding and Brixton Medical Ab and will be handled by Yannick Gingris. Then there's the Bettor's Delight filly, Bettor N Better, from the powerful Ron Burke barn. She comes in off a 1:56.3 victory in a baby race over Gaitway Farm's mile oval on June 23. She's owned by Our Horse Cents Stable and Blue Chip Bloodstock and will have Jimmy Morrill Jr at the controls. However, the last race on the card, a$27,750 NYSS, has by far the strongest field with seven of the eight pacing fillies winners in non-wagering events led by Ronald Mersky's First Delight, a Bettor's Delight filly who is three-for-three over Saratoga's double oval with her 2:01.2 twelve-length triumph in her last start on June 27 the best. Cheryl McGovern trains her and Mike Lachance will drive. Two others in that contest are also undefeated thus far both with two baby race victories. Lady Beth, a Kenneth J filly owned by Ken Jacobs, Slo Down Stable, Ed Namiotka, Jr and Vincent Tangredi, has two consecutive wins for trainer Sam Serianni, the fastest a 1:58 clocking at Vernon Downs on June 20. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. will do the driving. And the Ron Burke -trained Sassa Hanover is also two-for-two with a 1:58.1 record on a 'good' track at Gaitway Farm on June 16. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Buscemi and Lawrence Karr and will be driven by Jimmy Morrill, Jr. Post time for the 10-race card will be at 5:30pm and 20 minutes after the final race fans will be treated to the raceway's 45th annual fireworks display. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

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