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Columbus, OH --- When most people possess an exciting 3-year-old pacing colt that could position himself to become a harness racing world champion and a stakes winner they are brimming with pride and joy as the ultimate, yet elusive reward of this business just may be in their grasp. The Dombecks and Biers, however, are well acquainted with the peaks and valleys that are the chief component of this sport and can certainly speak from experience in regards to both sets of circumstances. Although both families are cautiously optimist that Highalator will separate himself as a top competitor in his division, the demoralizing loss of their beloved Modern Family in 2014 remains a shroud cast over their hearts that perpetually inhibits their expectations, hopes and dreams of what will transpire for not only this colt, but all their stock. "I try not to get too excited anymore," said Charles Dombeck, who co-owns this son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher. "We have been fortunate to have Wind Of The North and Bandolito and this colt looks like a nice horse, but we just don't know. The top horses from last year have not returned yet, so he could be a top 10 horse, a top 20 horse or a top 50 horse. "Losing Modern Family the way we did is something that will always remain for all of us, so when my friends ask me why I am not really excited, I explain to them if you remain realistic and take things as they come, then enjoy them if they do, it makes it a lot easier to accept the disappointments." Also co-owned by Daryl Bier, Highalator is a homebred conditioned by Jenny Bier and seeks his seventh consecutive victory on Sunday (April 9) when he leaves from post position four with Victor Kirby holding the lines in the fourth and final division of the second leg of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $15,000 contest but Chillin Matisse (post seven, Corey Callahan, 3-1) and Youcaniknow (post one, Anthony Napolitano, 7-2) are also receiving their fair share of attention. "He received a nice, easy trip in the first leg and we are hoping for the same in the race this weekend," Dombeck said. "We are not sure exactly what we are going to do with him, because the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes begin five days after the Weiss final which is on May 1, so we might end up skipping a leg or the final to take him to the sire stakes. It will be whatever the horse tells us to do with him and whatever is best for him." Highalator, with a resume of 9-7-1-0 and $40,620 in the bank, is the first foal out of his world champion dam Higher And Higher, who Daryl Bier and Dombeck purchased in 2012 from The daughter of Western Terror-Pro Bowl Best earned just under $1 million before being transferred to the breeding shed. While Bier and Dombeck both agreed to keep Highalator, as well as his yearling half-sister Dancin With Jammy (A Rocknroll Dance), the colt's younger full sister, JK Higher Power, was sold to the 3 Brothers Stables for $110,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Demonstrating he had ability as a 2-year-old, Highalator, in rein to Scott Zeron, made a powerful middle move from sixth to sweep the field and reach the wire a half-length over his rivals, several of which were older than him, on July 17, 2016, in a $12,000 non-winners contest upon the very same surface his hooves will grace on Sunday evening. After a fourth place finish on July 31 at the same facility Dombeck and Bier decided the colt had done enough and gave him time to grow for his sophomore season. "When he was training down in Florida he was coming along fine, but had a cough and some allergies," Dombeck said. "As soon as we took him up north they disappeared and he's never had a problem since. His first race, I watched on the computer and he was so far back, then I couldn't even see him until he finished with that rush. The next time I saw him was at the wire and after his next race we just decided to put him away. We don't believe in making 2-year-olds do too much and allowing them some time to mature and fill out." Highalator returned to the racing ranks on Jan. 18 in a $6,000 conditioned event at Dover Downs and was second by a nose. The following week, the colt received the services of Yannick Gingras at the same location and was extremely impressive in a 1:52.2 triumph after a first-over journey from post position seven. "We wanted to know what Yannick thought of him," Dombeck said. "It was around the time we needed to make stakes payments and after he brought him back, he told us we should definitely stake him." Highalator's next engagement was a $10,000 non-winners contest at The Meadowlands on Feb. 4, where he absolutely strode through the lane as much the best, while stopping the clock in 1:52.4 after a :26.2 final panel. Victor Kirby, who will now remain the colt's regular pilot, steered him through the mile, which one again included older horses in the field. The colt started on two more occasions at Dover Downs on Feb. 16 and March 16, again taking on older rivals and collecting two more wins, before returning to The Meadowlands on March 25 with another stellar performance. Competing against older horses in a $12,000 non-winners race, Highalator paced another final quarter-mile split of :26.3 while defeating the 5-year-old Migrate Blue Chip by a neck in 1:52.2. Migrate Blue Chip visited the winner's circle in his next start on April 2 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the same evening Highalator captured a first leg division of the Weiss Series with a wire-to-wire performance in 1:54.4. "Victor said he can be a bit lazy and you have to get into him for the first part of the race, but once you straighten him away and it's time to come home he is all business," Dombeck said. "He has been racing against older horses and defeating them, but like I said we still don't know what kind of horse he is until he faces stakes competition. "He really looks the part though. I had not seen him for a while and when I saw him at Pocono last week, I was impressed because he has turned into such a gorgeous animal. He also has a terrific attitude, unlike his mother, who only Jenny could get near, and hangs his head right on your shoulder." Although Dombeck insists he is maintaining an even keel when it comes to Highalator's future, there is a mere hint of anticipation and enthusiasm when he discusses plans for the rest of the colt's season. "He is staked to nearly everything except Canada and the Jug," Dombeck said. "I have no desire to return to Canada after what happened with Modern Family and I know Daryl feels the same. We didn't nominate him to the Jug because we don't want to put him on a half-mile track, but he is in everything else including the Meadowlands Pace, Lexington and the Breeders Crown. "I hope I will be in the position to be kicking myself for not staking him to the Jug when the time comes, but we are looking forward to seeing what happens with him. It definitely is more special when the horse is a homebred." For the full Sunday card at Pocono, please click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- As Hoosier Park commences what very well may be its most scintillating harness racing season on Saturday (April 1), there will be one individual, who was not only a stalwart presence at the facility but a cornerstone of the Indiana racing community, that will not be physically present to witness the track’s hosting of the Breeders Crown or the horse that meant more than any words can adequately portray compete in that event. It is certain, however, that Larry Rheinheimer will be in attendance, not only for that contest, but for every other occasion Freaky Feet Pete places a hoof over any racing surface, for the bond that remains between the 5-year-old stallion and his late breeder/trainer is real. Therefore, it transcends circumstances such as mere mortality or the fact Freaky Feet Pete has his own challenge to overcome in a significant injury, which prematurely ended his 2016 campaign, shortly after Rheinheimer’s still surreal and sudden death on Sept. 24. It appears as if the world champion is up to the task, as Freaky Feet Pete has goals Rheinheimer clearly established for him to fulfill and is currently working towards accomplishing exactly that. “He broke a splint bone in his right front leg and pieces entered his suspensory,” said Rheinheimer’s son, Marty, who is now responsible for conditioning the Breeders Crown and Indiana champion he co-owns with his mother, Mary Jo. “He essentially finished his last race (the Dayton Pacing Derby on Sept. 30) and still was third behind those two horses (Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki). We think the injury actually began the night of the Dan Patch (Aug. 12) when he raced so poorly for him (finishing sixth). “All the vets told us to not perform surgery and to allow the bone to heal, then the suspensory. We just ultra-sounded him last week and the bone has healed up great, the suspensory looks great as well. He’s been jogging every day and he is staked to everything. The plan is to qualify him at Hoosier in the coming weeks and if he’s ready, the Ben Franklin (eliminations June 24 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono). “That is not necessarily the spot where he will go though. We are not rushing him, because there are some other races we are focusing on later in the year.” The younger Rheinheimer is referring to the Dan Patch on Aug. 11, an appearance during the fall at the Red Mile and of course, an attempt for a second Breeders Crown title on Oct. 28. “Obviously the Breeders Crown being here at Hoosier Park makes it mean even more to us,” Rheinheimer said. “But dad always wanted to win the Dan Patch and he really wanted Pete to race at Lexington, so those three races are what we are primarily pointing for.” After the injury was diagnosed, the son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori not only had to adjust to the absence of the person he spent nearly all his time with, but to an extended period of stall rest, which he did not appreciate. “He did not like spending all that time in his stall one bit,” Rheinheimer said. “Pete really enjoys his work and likes to be out and active. It was tough on him having to stay still for so long and when it was time for him to start moving again, he was more than ready. He just is such an intelligent horse with good manners that he is never a problem. Not even when we have mares around him. He is professional and just wants to go out there to do his work.” Before returning to the jog cart, Freaky Feet Pete, who has banked more than $1.5 million, compiled an outstanding resume of 42-30-5-2 and amassed a throng of devoted fans rivaling his colleague Wiggle It Jiggleit, was exercised on the underwater treadmill and is continuously scrutinized for even the tiniest sign of discomfort or swelling. “With Pete it’s just so hard to tell when something is bothering him because he is such a relaxed horse,” Rheinheimer said. “He doesn’t let you know and with him being that way, it makes it more difficult to know when something is bothering him or when he is hurt. “In his last race, he still paced like that with that kind of injury. He just has so much heart and will give it more than 100 percent in any situation.” While Rheinheimer and his mother are eagerly anticipating Freaky Feet Pete’s upcoming year, he also acknowledges the emotional struggles he is enduring with the loss of his father, who left this earth just hours before the stallion finished second to Always B Miki in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. “It was a night that I will never, ever forget and is burned into my memory,” he said. “But I know if he had to pick a way to go out, that would be what he would have wanted. Pete was his pride and joy, his horse of a lifetime and when he went, it was with Pete. “He is the product of all those decades of dad’s hard work in the business and he never dreamed he would have a horse like this. Everyone would ask him about Pete wherever he went and he would just love talking about him. He did everything himself with the horse and for all we know, there were many hours we wouldn’t see him and he could have very well been sleeping in there with Pete. He was with him all the time. “The plan was always for me to take over the stable from dad, but I never expected it to happen like this and then with Pete being hurt, it’s been a real big transition for me. “Also, I have a lot of pressure on me because I do have a horse like Pete and I know exactly how dad felt about him. There are a lot of expectations when you have any horse like this; it’s a lot different than a stable of five or six racehorses. We know what dad wanted for him, like taking him to Lexington, for him to win the Dan Patch and to win the Breeders Crown again here at home. I have to live up to that and the simple fact that he’s not here, but we plan on carrying out all his wishes for this horse. It’s up to me now.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- In this business, it’s very rare that even the most carefully constructed strategies actually yield results, but the machinations of Ron Cushing, Kevin Sywyk and Heidi Gibbs have produced an incredible amount of joy and satisfaction with the purchase of the New Zealand-bred harness racing mare Shesjustadelight N. The 7-year-old was in the winner’s circle for every one of her 12 trips to the post last year, has defeated males and captured her first $40,000 leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on Friday (March 17). The trio’s fledging plan has certainly come together, as they prepare to contest the second $40,000 leg of the series on Friday (March 24). Shesjustadelight N will commence her journey from the rail with Cushing at the controls as she seeks to collect another Grand Circuit victory. She is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first of three Matchmaker divisions. “I had the best season of my career in 2007 training and driving at Saratoga with more than $1 million in both categories ($1.1 million training and $1.2 million driving) and then we had to leave,” said Cushing. “People used to joke there should be an ‘N’ after my name on my stable sign at Saratoga because we were so successful with horses from New Zealand. After leaving Saratoga, everything just seemed to go bad; like cars breaking down, my dad being diagnosed with leukemia and only several horses in the barn. It actually worked out returning to Maine, where I grew up, so I could spend that time with my dad, which I would never trade for the world, and to work my way back. “I had worked with an agent before and I spoke with my good friend Peter Tritton about buying a mare from New Zealand to race here. We selected Shesjustadelight and from the first time I jogged her I knew she was talented. To be here in this series with her at Yonkers was a year in the making and we are just fortunate it all worked out as we planned.” A daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Love The Look, Shesjustadelight N was not exactly a terror in her home nation, but was a solid performer in stakes company, where she placed in multiple events and earned $78,215. Since her hooves landed on U.S. soil, however, the mare has been simply superb. While competing solely in New England, the mare amassed $81,000 and set her mark of 1:51 on Nov. 17 when defeating her male rivals with authority at Plainridge Park in a $20,000 Open event. Her first foray into deeper waters resulted in another triumph in a $45,000 Open Handicap against her own gender at Yonkers Raceway on Dec. 9. In three appearances this season, Shesjustadelight N has a record of 3-1-0-1, with all of her performances at Yonkers Raceway. The only occasion she has not hit the board was her first start of 2017 on Feb. 24 after a brief freshening. “That race just did not work out for her,” Cushing said. “She was coming back from a rest and she still closed like she always does; she was just too far back. When she finished third in her next start ($50,000 Open on March 3) I put her in the passing lane and she was closing again, but just couldn’t get there because we had 40-mph headwinds she had to contend with.” Shesjustadelight N’s next engagement was a triumph in the first $40,000 leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on March 17. Cushing was provided with a perfect pocket trip for the mare, who made the most of her advantage and once again, had her picture taken. “The race just set up well for us,” Cushing said. “I did not have to use her and that is exactly what you want for a win in this series. With six legs and this kind of competition you could not ask for more. I know this week is very tough as well. We are in against Divas Image, (9-2, post two) who raced really well here last week from the eight-hole and the Remmens’ mare Sandbetweenurtoes (3-1, post four). Also how can you not respect Mach It A Par and Bedroomconfessions? We will have to meet them in this series and they are both very nice mares; their trainers have done an excellent job with them.” In Cushing’s opinion, he is comfortable with where he, his fiancée Gibbs and partner Sywyk are sitting. “It’s like I told Frank (Drucker, publicity director for Empire City at Yonkers Raceway) last week,” Cushing said. “She is just so handy; you can do anything with her. She also really enjoys her job; she loves being out there. That is why we decided to not push her, build up her confidence and allow her to transition in New England. We wanted her to like winning and for her attitude to be good. I hate to say it, but it is different with girls. Like with us boys, we can get in a bar fight, be with another man’s girlfriend and the next day we shake hands and it’s all good. With women it’s not like that and their attitude can change in a minute. I guess that’s what’s good about it, because it can only take five seconds for their mood to move on to something else, but it just is so much different to have a really nice mare with this kind of talent; it means more.” While Cushing, Gibbs and Sywyk definitely have their eyes on the Blue Chip Matchmaker prize, they already have mapped out a plan for Shesjustadelight N following this series. “We didn’t stake her for the Canadian series races like the Roses Are Red,” Cushing said. “But we do have her eligible for the Golden Girls and Lady Liberty at the Meadowlands. We are also hoping she receives invitations for other events like the Betsy Ross. We know there are so many excellent older pacing mares out there, but as long as she stays well, we really like our mare for the rest of this year.” For the complete Friday (March 24) evening card at Yonkers Raceway, please click here.  by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- Although he did not capture the 2016 Horse of the Year crown, Wiggle It Jiggleit still received a tremendous outpouring of emotion from some very devoted admirers who were not intimate with the harness racing sport. From the raucous crowd chanting his name as he led the post parade for last year's Little Brown Jug, to the many parents who whispered in their children's ears as they held them aloft to witness such a great horse, Wiggle It Jiggle has undeniably achieved superstar status. Unfortunately, his legions of fans have three long months to wait before the 5-year-old gelding returns to competition and commences a season that could be every bit as spectacular as Horse of the Year Always B Miki's final campaign. "He'll come back in the Ben Franklin June 24," said his owner, George Teague Jr. "There was no sense in bringing him back this month after all the hard racing he did the last two years. The last thing I want to do is pound him into the ground early this year in a spot like the Levy. It's a long year and we have the TVG and Breeders Crown at the end of October and in November. "I thought about putting him in the Battle of Lake Erie, but that's a little too early (June 3). We will start training him in three weeks, then just qualify him a few times before the Franklin." With his last appearance on Oct. 28 in the $421,000 Breeders Crown final, where he relinquished the lead to Always B Miki in the stretch to finish second, the 2016 O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Older Pacing Horse of the Year has now been on vacation for four months. Wiggle It Jigglit has virtually been an iron horse for the last two years with an astonishing resume of 51-38-10-2. The only occasion the son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover has not been in the trifecta was a fourth place finish in the $319,400 Cane Pace in 2015. Conditioned by Clyde Francis and steered by Teague's son Montrell, the horse has banked just over $3.9 million, accumulated multiple world records and various track standards in a simply stellar career. Teague is certainly more than justified in providing Wiggle It Jiggleit with some extended time to rest and relax, which the gelding appears to be relishing. "I realize people are probably wondering about him," Teague said. "I know when a horse is not racing for that long when they usually are out there all the time, I would be asking if something was wrong, but he's just fine. He's here with me out back where I can look out my window and watch him. "We started jogging him about two weeks ago, but I just have him turned out all the time. We jog him and put him right back out. He's with another horse, Western Ace, who is 14, and it's actually really funny to watch; he follows Ace around everywhere. It's like that's his mother or something. He's really a different horse out there than when he is in his stall. You can go right up to him and pet him." Teague is referring to the fiery temperament and unpredictable antics Wiggle It Jiggle has displayed on the track, in the paddock and in the winner's circle throughout his career. Unlike many champions, the gelding does not enjoy having his picture taken and hammers that preference home with alacrity. "He is not a horse that likes attention, that's for sure," Teague said. "He likes to be left alone and do his thing. You have to watch him even when he's jogging because a horse turns around and starts pacing when he's out there, he wants to go. That's just who he is." Despite the absence of Always B Miki who handed Wiggle It Jiggleit four of his losses after epic battles, the older pacing division is still stocked with the likes of the classy All Bets Off, U.S. Pacing Championship winner Shamballa, the talented Split The House and returning rivals Freaky Feet Pete and Wakizashi Hanover. Both Freaky Feet Pete, a world champion himself, and Wakizashi Hanover, the 2015 North America Cup winner, own the distinction of defeating Wiggle It Jiggleit and possess outstanding credentials of their own. At this junction, however, Wiggle It Jiggleit is assuredly the marquee attraction among his colleagues and expectations are incredibly high that the gelding may not only best Always B Miki's mark, but leave his own unique entry in the history books. Even with all the hype surrounding his horse for 2017, Teague does not feel pressured to outpace Always B Miki or establish new records. In fact, he has another goal, one that reflects how generous he has been with presenting Wiggle It Jiggleit to his fans and spending so much of his own personal time to offer insight to the multitude of inquires about his horse. "My only hope is to keep him a healthy, happy horse so we can have him around for several more years," Teague said. "He needs to have the time to find another horse to pass the baton to that can make people want to continue to turn on the TV to watch races and to come to the track. He has generated so much interest in the sport and that is so exciting to watch. He has so many people that follow him and I'm proud of what he has done for racing; so that's his job now and we just have to make sure he has the opportunity to do that. "From where I am sitting, this is the best seat in the house. I just get to watch it all unfold myself, as Clyde (Francis) and Big Mike (Taylor, his caretaker) do all the work. Without them there would be no way all the travel would not have taken a toll on him. I'm the lucky one; those two make everything happen. They deserve all the credit for this horse." by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- Although his behavior is certainly not deceitful, dishonorable or underhanded, harness racing New York Sire Stakes champion Devious Man does have a mischievous glint in his eye, which warrants special surveillance and lends credence to his name. “He’s a horse with lots of personality, that’s for sure,” said Julie Miller, the colt’s conditioner. “He’s a character; always nickering around the barn. He already knows he is a talented horse and he wants the attention from everyone else for it.” Owned Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Stroy Inc., Devious Man is a newly turned 3-year-old son of Credit Winner-Miss Garland. Selected by the Millers and purchased for $62,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale, the colt is the 12h foal out of his prolific dam and is a half sibling to Goodlookngirl (Giant Hit, $154,088), Celebrity Shark (Dream Vacation, $139,528), Broken Record (Muscles Yankee, $134,858) and the multiple Dan Patch Award winner, O’Brien Award winner, world champion and 2005 Hambletonian victor Vivid Photo (S J’s Photo, $3.27 million). “He stood out to us right from the beginning,” Miller said. “We were prepared to go higher for him, but were happy to get him for what we paid. We were surprised though with this pedigree and the fact he is a half-brother to a Hambletonian winner. He was a little on the smaller side and the mare is older, so maybe that is why, but he was very nicely gaited from the beginning.” From his sole season of racing, Devious Man has amassed a record of 12-7-1-1 and banked $308,233. The colt commenced his career on June 30, 2016 at Monticello Raceway in a $22,200 New York Sire Stakes event. He lost by a mere neck. He then broke his maiden in his next trip to the post on July 13 at Buffalo Raceway in the same company prior to finishing third on the same circuit at Vernon Downs. Devious Man’s next engagement was the Peter Haughton Memorial where he was fourth in his $20,000 elimination and fifth in the $294,450 final on Aug. 6 at The Meadowlands. His journey in the final, however, was quite eventful and impressive despite the fact he broke behind the gate. After spotting the field a ton of real estate, Devious Man, who was steered by regular pilot Andy Miller, gobbled up ground to finish extremely well once he returned to trotting. “That was one of those things where he didn’t mind his manners,” Miller said. “He got hot going to the gate and did not keep his mind on what he was doing, which with him you need to keep him focused. He’s the kind of horse that will pay more attention to the birds flying around than his business. But Andy and I were really pleased with how he performed in the race once he was back on stride. That was quite a big move he made to finish where he did.” After the miscue in the Haughton, Devious Man returned to the Empire State for his New York Sire Stakes schedule where he reeled off five consecutive triumphs, including the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final on Sept. 24 at Yonkers Raceway with ease. He then traveled to the Bluegrass State where he earned his sixth win in a row by capturing his $56,000 division of the International Stallion Stake on Oct. 6 at Red Mile by a hard fought neck over the talented Simply Volo from the John Butenschoen barn. Devious Man’s next engagement would be a $20,000 elimination for the Breeders Crown, but he failed to make the final after an eighth place finish behind Walner. Sent off as the public’s third selection behind Dan Patch Award winner and world champion Walner, the colt certainly had a valid reason for the worst finish in his young career. “He displaced his palate that night so he had a breathing problem,” Miller said. “He did not hit What The Hill’s wheel (the second place finisher) but he got on that line and veered in when it happened. Fortunately, it was not a serious enough problem that required anything other than some extra care, but it was unfortunate it happened on that night.” Although he was scheduled to compete in the $147,100 Matron Stake at Dover Downs on Nov. 3 to conclude his freshman campaign, Devious Man was scratched shortly before that race. It was not related, however, to the breathing issue he endured in the Breeders Crown elimination. “He ended up ripping his right front shoe off on the ship down to Dover and drove a nail up into his hoof wall,” Miller said. “It’s not the first time he’s done that, but this time was more serious and it wasn’t something we could fix right away so he could race. That is when we just turned him out for the winter. “He can be a handful and you have to watch him all the time, but it’s only because he is such a good-feeling horse. He is very playful; but he loves to trot. Even when he’s out there bucking and rearing, he comes right back down into his gait.” As to what Devious Man’s 2017 campaign consists of, expect to view him on the New York circuit and select open stakes engagements, which could include the Hambletonian. The Millers finished third in the trotting classic last year with Sutton. “I am very happy with how he came back in,” Miller said. “He put on weight and grew taller. He looks great, but now you have to hope his mind matured as much as the rest of him. This is a horse that needs to mind his manners and be kept to his task. He has talent, but he needs to learn to stick to his business when he’s out there. Andy was always very happy with him last year and said he always had something left in the tank, which is what you want. “We will follow the same plan with him as we did last year. People say you should always stick to what the horse does best. This horse got over all those different New York surfaces and then transferred that form to the Red Mile. That is another thing you want to see. “We know Walner is definitely the big horse in this division and he will be tough to beat, but we think we have a nice horse. “The Hambletonian for him? We will see how it goes, but getting there is in the family.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- Coming off a season in which his pupils earned just over $2.3 million, the largest annual sum of his 26-year harness racing career, John Butenschoen acknowledges 2017 could be a banner one as well, especially when a filly such as Fine Tuned Lady graces his shedrow. “She came in and grew and put on more weight,” Butenschoen said. “I am very, very happy with her and look forward to what she can accomplish this year. I’m looking forward to the season, but it’s like I’ve been telling my help, they better enjoy the good mood I’m in right now, because another month or so when things start to get serious, I start worrying about everything and won’t be easy to be around.” While defending Pennsylvania Sire Stakes 2-year-old male trot champion Giveitgasandgo and the royally bred Bluegrass Stakes winner Dover Dan may have received more attention, the 3-year-old star of Butenshoen’s stable may very well be Pennsylvania Sire Stakes 2-year-old filly trot champion Fine Tuned Lady. The daughter of Cantab Hall-Poster Princess was selected and purchased for $27,000 by William Wiswell and M And L of Delaware at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg. In her sole year of racing, she has compiled a resume of 12-6-5-0 and collected $438,340. Due to the fact her dam won $153,407 on the track and has produced Prince Rocco (SJ’s Photo, $159,910), Poster Pin Up (Andover Hall, $439,454), Call To Post (Tom Ridge, $322,385) and Everyone’s Talkin (Donato Hanover, $131,993), Fine Tuned Lady’s connections felt quite fortunate they could bring her home for that price. “We were definitely shocked and were looking at each other when the gavel went down and it was only $27,000 for her,” Butenschoen said. “We were prepared to go much higher, but we were not going to complain or even give it too much thought as to why. We were just very, very happy to have her for that amount of money with her family being as good as it is.” Fine Tuned Lady commenced her career with a second place finish in a $30,000 division of the Pennsylvania All Stars held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on June 27. She followed her debut effort with a maiden-breaking score at the same facility in a $14,000 non-winners event on July 4 and another victory in Sire Stakes company at The Meadows the subsequent week in a stakes record 1:55.1. After another second under the same conditions in a return to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 19, Fined Tuned Lady received two weeks off, won a qualifying contest on Aug. 3 and then was second in two Sire Stakes races at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Aug. 11 and The Meadows on Aug. 23. Qualifying at Pocono yet again on Aug. 31, the filly then led from gate to wire to capture the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final for her age, sex and gait on Sept. 11 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. “Everyone that got behind her at first thought she was a good horse,” Butenschoen said. “But just good. It was when Corey Callahan drove her for the first time in her first baby race he told us she might be better than just that. As soon as he got out of the bike he came right over and said, ‘I really like this filly and I will follow her wherever she goes.’ Now that is saying something when a driver like Corey makes that kind of commitment and he turned out to be right. She has not done one thing wrong and had a great year.” Fine Tuned Lady left the friendly confines of her home state and Sire Stakes company to contest some of the sport’s elite fillies in the $250,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stake at Hoosier Park on Sept. 23, which she won, prior to journeying to Red Mile to finish second and fourth, respectively, in divisions of the Bluegrass Stake and the International Stallion Stake. A return to Philadelphia on Oct. 28 yielded a victory in the John Simpson Stake and Fine Tuned Lady capped off her season with a triumph in the $148,700 Matron Stake at Dover Downs on Nov. 3. Although her regular reinsman, Callahan, extolled the filly’s virtues early in her career, Butenschoen already had a specific plan in mind to manage her season and he did not deviate from it. “We got lucky with her when she won the Kentuckiana because that other filly (1-9 favorite and divisional champion, Ariana G) broke right at the start,” Butenschoen said. Prior to that miscue, Ariana G was undefeated and appeared invincible. “We mapped out a schedule where we could still dodge some top fillies like Ariana G, take advantage of Pennsylvania’s Sire Stakes program and make some money in other races later in the year with her,” Butenschoen said. “We could have put her in the Breeders Crown, or taken her to Canada, but the way the schedule was set we could keep her here and put her in two races where we knew we could get a nice check with her rather than having her knock heads with the top ones in those races, then not being able to hit the board. “Also, she is very handy and comes off the gate very well. We were not sure how that advantage she has would have played over the bigger, mile tracks with the best fillies who are proven over that type of track. “We will follow a similar schedule with her this year,” he continued. “It will be up to her to see if we do put her in races like the Breeders Crown. She will have the opportunity to show us. “As I said, I’m very pleased with how she looks, but it is a long season and in this business you can never predict what is going to happen.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- It was 20 years ago when Bruce Trogdon sat alongside harness racing trainer Kelly O’Donnell as he bid on Dragon Again. At that time, he thought O’Donnell might not be making the best financial decision, but Trogdon now has a colt by that stallion in Fear The Dragon that is poised to set the sophomore pacing division aflame. “I was done shopping and sat down with Kelly,” Trogdon said. “He used to train for me and Dragon Again was a really nice-looking colt; his conformation was perfect, but he was by Dragon’s Lair, so the pedigree might not be there. I told him $40,000 was too much for that horse, but I guess what did I know?” Fear The Dragon is a 3-year-old son of the aforementioned stallion and the Western Ideal mare Armbro Cinnamon. While world champions Huntsville and stablemate Downbytheseaside have been grabbing all the headlines, this half-brother to Cinamony (Art Official, $532,404) has quietly amassed $228,391,has defeated Huntsville and equaled a track record at The Meadows of 1:50.3. “This is without a doubt the finest colt I have ever had,” Trogdon said. “I usually sell colts and just keep fillies, but he was just so good from the day he was born; not too big, not too small. He does what you ask him, too. I think Huntsville and Downbytheseaside are very talented horses, but this colt is nice, too.” Conditioned by Brian Brown and steered nearly exclusively by David Miller, Fear The Dragon commenced his career with a second place finish on June 26, 2016 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a $30,000 Pennsylvania All Stars division. He demonstrated speed, however, by throwing down a :26.4 last quarter-mile in his debut. The colt then reeled off four consecutive victories, three in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes company and a $19,291 division of the Arden Downs at The Meadows, before coming home third behind Huntsville, a rival he had defeated the previous week, on Aug. 27 in a Sire Stakes contest. “Early in the year he was the best 2-year-old in the country, which he showed by beating Huntsville and some other real good colts,” said Trogdon. “The first time David Miller drove him he said that he liked him better than Downbytheseadside. That is saying a lot because he and Hunstville are both tremendous horses I think. Both are future stallions that I would likely want to breed to.” Fear The Dragon was third again in his next contest, the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, to Huntsville and Downbytheseaside, prior to his runner-up finish to his barn mate in a world record mile of 1:50 at the Delaware County Fair on Sept. 18 in a $34,500 division of the Standardbred stake. “What people don't know is that Yannick (driver Gingras on Normandy Beach) accidentally stepped on our wheel going for home in the PASS championship and he raced the last quarter with a flat tire finishing third,” Trogdon said. “We then drew the outside at Delaware while our stablemate Downbytheseaside drew inside in his world record shattering performance. Dragon came off the pace and closed well for second. “He then won the Elevation at Hoosier, beating Ocean Colony, who is another good son of Somebeachsomewhere. I own his full sister (Romanceonthebeach); she is one of our broodmares.” Following Delaware, Fear The Dragon rebounded with a powerful performance to enter the Hoosier Park winner’s circle with a triumph in the $140,000 Elevation Stake on Sept. 24. He threw down a blistering last quarter-mile in :26.3 and his time of 1:50.4 just missed the track record. “Dragon injured his eye somehow before Lexington, that is why he raced in the fly mask,” Trogdon said. “He raced well, but it was really bothering him. “I rarely race my 2-year-olds late, so he was not staked to the Breeders Crown last year. We quit with him early and he had a great turnout at our farm.” The colt’s first race with the fly mask resulted in a seventh place finish in the Bluegrass Stakes at Red Mile, the only time he has been off the board. Fear The Dragon, however, bounced back with a second place finish to Huntsville in his world record equaling mile of 1:49 in a division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 8. “He (Brown) shipped him to Florida the first of December and he is feeling good and training down great,” Trogdon said. “He is staked to a lot including the Adios, Little Brown Jug, Lexington and Breeders Crown, so we will have a chance to prove that he is no fluke. “I have turned down huge offers for him as everyone knows how good he was. He races very relaxed and can leave or come off the pace; he is very handy and has an effortless gait. That's why Dave (Miller) likes him so well. “We raised him and broke him at Emerald Highlands. We own his mother and she is back in foal to Dragon Again because we liked him so well. He is a good-looking, medium-sized horse with great conformation. His mother is a daughter of Mattaroni. I am hoping he becomes a great stallion himself and is the one to carry on the Dragon Again line. He would make a great outcross to practically my entire broodmare band.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- Great minds think alike and when they all concur, their wallets are bound not only to come out of their pockets, but Franklins tend to fly. That is most certainly the case after Rick Berks, Peter Blood and Steve Elliott conferred on where to place defending Dan Patch Award harness racing male pacing champion Boston Red Rocks. “I have been involved in this business for 50 years and Steve has for 40,” Blood said. “Rick has generously contributed to the sport for decades. When we talked, we all agreed to supplement him to this race (Progress Pace, eliminations on Nov. 21 and final on Nov. 28 at Dover Downs). I have always believed you build a foundation for a horse and then they show you what they want to do. After his race last week he deserves that chance.” Blood was referring to the lifetime mark of 1:49.3 the son of Rocknroll Hanover-McGibson accrued in a powerful performance in Thursday’s (Nov. 10) $160,200 Matron Stake at Dover Downs. Steered by regular pilot Tim Tetrick, Boston Red Rocks defeated rivals that dominated the headlines this season in Check Six and Racing Hill off a first-over journey by open lengths. That performance reinforced not only the act of producing a hefty check, but rewarded the faith the horse’s connections had that never waned. After a trip in the $25,000 second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes on May 28 at The Meadowlands where Boston Red Rocks was fortunate merely to stay on his feet, he overcame being carried out nine-wide and interfered with to pace an explosive last quarter-mile in :25.2 to just miss the victory in finishing third. He returned the following week with another brutal foray in the NJSS to finish second to Katies Rocker by a neck in the $100,000 final. Since those two efforts, Boston Red Rocks was fourth in the $780,000 North America Cup final, third in the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial final, seventh in the $732,050 Meadowlands Pace final and seventh in his Breeders Crown elimination. The Progress Pace may very well be the forum for the colt to demonstrate why he was the top ranked 3-year-old pacer in preliminary rankings this spring. He definitely has already illustrated he belongs and is well worth the wager Berks and Blood have plunked down for this participation in the Progress Pace. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- Despite Walner’s dominance of the 2-year-old male trotting division, Moonshiner Hanover is prepared to step out from the harness racing shadows and demonstrate he possesses the power to sparkle in his C$25,000 Valley Victory elimination on Friday (Nov. 11) at Woodbine Racetrack as he makes his bid for 2017 Hambletonian glory. “He has really turned around since the (Pennsylvania) Sire Stakes final,” said Chris Beaver, the colt’s co-owner and conditioner. “It would seem like he has speed because he has been leaving off the gate, but it takes him some time to get into gear. In that race (second to Giveitgasandgo) I took the hood off and the mini-bit out of his mouth to allow him to put the driver into the race. It seemed to work because he has turned the corner since then.” Fresh off five consecutive second place finishes to the likes of world record holders Walner and Don Dream, as well as Sortie and Shake It Off Lindy, in contests such as the $600,000 Breeders Crown final, a $55,250 division of the Bluegrass Stake and a $32,050 division of the Standardbred Stake, Moonshiner Hanover seeks his second career triumph on Friday evening. The son of Ad-Madam Hooch will leave from post position seven in the second of two Valley Victory eliminations with the smoking hot Scott Zeron holding the lines. The card also includes two C$25,000 eliminations for the Three Diamonds for freshman pacing fillies. A $27,000 purchase at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale, Moonshiner Hanover is owned by Beaver, Synerco Ventures Inc. and Bill Manes. He is the 9-2 fourth choice on the morning line in his Valley Victory elimination (race eight) and will compete against the likes of $294,450 Peter Haughton Memorial victor What The Hill (post position two, 5-2, David Miller) and $266,000 William Wellwood Memorial second place finisher Jake (post position one, 3-1, Sylvain Filion). “Hopefully his last start of the season will be in the final,” Beaver said. “He’s been battling OCDs in his ankles this year and we are going to take them out, so he might have a late start to next year. He will be staked to everything though.” Sporting a slate of 10-1-6-1 and banking $258,631 from his first season of campaigning, Moonshiner Hanover is the second foal from his dam, who is by Credit Winner. Madam Hooch collected $181,843 during her time competing and foaled New York Sire Stakes winner Gabe The Bear Dean to the cover of Lucky Chucky as her first offspring. That gelding has earned $224,521 while performing primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and went through the 2013 edition of the Standardbred Horse Sale to Ray Schnittker for $105,000. “We were very fortunate to pay what we did for this colt,” Beaver said. “He’s a beautiful horse and one we thought would go for $60,000, but he went early in the sale. Sometimes when a horse like that goes on the first day, which he did, sometimes they are overlooked.” Moonshiner Hanover’s ownership contingent was aware he had OCDs removed from his hocks prior to the sale, but it took them some time to discover the colt was suffering the same issue in his hind ankle. “We did a lot of work on his stifles when he was training down, but it took us some time to discover the OCDs,” Beaver said. “We x-rayed his left hind ankle and it came up. We think he has also improved because he has learned how to work through a little pain. We don’t think it is anything serious and were not aware of it at the sale, it is just something he has learned to manage.” The talented colt is only one member of Beaver’s burgeoning stable of quality stock. His roster includes world record holder Muscle Up The Goal, the swift and reliable Il Sogno Dream, Ohio champion Kestrel and state standouts Kanthaka, Buckeye Boss, Evanora, Kerfuffle Cookie, Fraser Ridge and Andy M (the latter two will both start in the first Valley Victory elimination on Friday). Beaver, a long-time trotting bastion in his home state of Ohio, is the reigning Trainer of the Year in that state, and in 2016 has amassed $2.16 million in purse money, the most ever in his career. Moonshiner Hanover may just very well be the horse that captures the prize he most covets -- the Hambletonian -- as world recorder holder and 2009 participant Triumphant Caviar sustained a bug bite prior to the final. The stallion, who now stands at Abby Stables, was eighth in that year’s edition of the classic and went on to finish second to Muscle Hill in the $600,000 Breeders Crown later that fall. “Over the last three years my stable has certainly grown,” he said. “I owe that to Triumphant Caviar. From just his foals alone I have made over $1.2 million and he is receiving some recognition for his achievements. I have breeders out east talking to me about him and already filling out applications. “We spent all summer building a new farm. We sold our other one and after buying seven yearlings here at Harrisburg this week, it looks like we will already need to expand it. He has allowed me to buy more expensive horses like this one that are not under the $15,000 range. Our recent success really is because of him.” The complete entries for the Nov. 11 Woodbine races are available at this link. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- While most harness racing participants in the sport are focusing on what is transpiring in The Garden State prior to the Breeders Crown, George Ducharme and Chris Lems were hard at work in The Bay State. The fruits of their labors were rewarded, as the duo collected all four $75,000 Massachusetts Sire Stakes trotting contests on Monday (Oct. 24) at Plainridge Park. “We have had some good days before back here at home, but never a day quite like that,” Ducharme said. “With the infusion of the slots money into purses it has really helped us. The sire stakes races were only worth about half that last year. Even the overnights have gone up from $6,000 to $12,000 and it really helps out. There are a lot of people here that were just hanging on, waiting for this. Of course you will have some other people bringing horses in, but it’s good to see the people that stuck with it getting a little bit of money in their pocket.” Ducharme and Lems joined forces to meet in the winner’s circle with Onangelwings (Archangel-Anotherpennyplease) in the 2-year-old filly trot, Muscles Jared (Muscle Massive-Tetiana) in the 2-year-old colt and gelding trot, Do What You Dream (Conway Hall-Ksenia) in the 3-year-old colt and gelding trot and Royal Right (RC Royalty-Contrarian) in the 3-year-old filly trot. “A lot of my owners like to breed and race their own horses in their home state,” Ducharme said. “Our horses fit very well in these events and we always support racing here.” While the names, speed records and other stakes accomplishments may not jump off the pages of these state champions, there is one in the bunch that nearly punched Ducharme’s ticket to this weekend’s Breeders Crown events in Muscles Jared. Bred by Al Libfeld, the gelding is owned by Alfred Ross. In addition to his newly acquired crown, Muscles Jared has the distinction of coming first-over during Walner’s world record performance (1:51.3) in a $56,000 division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 6 in Lexington. Steered by John Campbell on that day, the gelding came home fifth directly behind Breeders Crown elimination victor Sortie after an adventurous trip over the Red Mile oval. “He was second in his first race down in Lexington,” Ducharme said. “And I was happy how the horse performed in that race against Walner. He was first-over and then was used about three times. We thought about taking him to the Breeders Crown, but brought him here (Plainridge) instead to give him a little bit easier race and have a good chance to win rather than hoping to finish fourth or fifth. It was easier on him, but it was not easy as Andy Miller brought one (Big Man Ev, second) and (Frank) Antonacci brought one (French Moni, fourth). “He’s done for the year now. He’s the kind of horse we think needs to be turned out to give him some time to grow into his frame. When we bring him back next year though, he will be staked to everything, because we think once he grows he will be able to keep up and compete with those horses. We’ll wait on the Breeders Crown this year and point towards next year.” Muscles Jared embarks on his vacation with $150,856 in the bank and a resume of 11-5-2-0. He was also fourth in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship behind Breeders Crown participants Giveitgasango and Moonshiner Hanover. Ducharme also holds out optimism the Massachusetts program will be on the upswing yet again in 2017. “I don’t have my finger on the pulse quite as much as I used to now that I stable most of the time in New York,” he said. “But it is my understanding the state is looking to revisit the amount of revenue Standardbred horsemen receive at the end of the year. Horsemen in Massachusetts receive nine percent, but up until this year Standardbred horsemen received 25 percent of that while Thoroughbreds received 75 percent. Suffolk closed two years ago and there has been no Thoroughbred racing, so this year their percentage was changed to 55 percent. “The state plans on reviewing how the extra money for the Standardbreds is used to improve the communities rather than seeing other people come in just for increased purses. Hopefully, they will approve more money coming to Standardbreds and our stakes will be worth even more next year.” For complete results of the Massachusetts Sires Stakes finals, click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- With less than 72 hours to tick off prior to her appearance in a $20,000 elimination for the Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly pace on Saturday (Oct. 22) at the Meadowlands Racetrack, harness racing trainer Kevin Lare thinks owner Frank Chick may be a bit weary of his weekly training updates in regards to Roaring To Go. “I know I sound like a broken record,” he said. “But I keep telling Frank the same thing every time she has trained all year; she only gets better each trip and she is ready. This week though I do think she is really on her "A" game and she will have to be in order, God willing, to race again next week.” A daughter of Art Major and the Western Ideal mare Lionness Hanover, Roaring To Go has quietly compiled a record of 12-6-3-0, banked $242,636 and set a track record of 1:54 at Saratoga in New York Sire Stakes action on July 27. She also hit the line first in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final on Sept. 24 at Yonkers Raceway, but was placed second for taking an inopportune foray inside the pylons. Despite her sterling resume, Roaring To Go was not a name on everyone’s list to vie for divisional honors prior to Grand Circuit action at Lexington's Red Mile. Her upset, however, of heavily favored Idyllic Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Idyllic) at that facility in a $73,000 division of the Bluegrass Stakes, illustrated this filly, who was purchased for $16,000 at the Goshen Yearling Sale, is certainly able to pace with the best. “I thought at the beginning of the year she was a filly we would have some fun with in the New York Sire Stakes program,” Lare said. “Did I think she would go in 1:50.4 at Lexington and beat the best filly out there? No. Then she came right back and won her division of the International Stallion Stake. It was really fun to get our picture taken twice in Kentucky, but she is not getting a break here. She will have to race very well against Idyllic Beach and all these other nice fillies in the Breeders Crown now. “I knew a bigger track would move her up, because she gets steppy on the turns on a half-mile track and has a tendency to run in. Brett Miller (her regular pilot) has done a terrific job with getting her through that and I’m hoping it is something we will no longer have to be concerned with next year.” Roaring To Go will have the opportunity for a rematch against Idyllic Beach as the fillies commence their quest for participation in the $600,000 Breeders Crown final on Saturday (Oct. 29) in the fourth race on this Saturday's card from post positions seven and eight, respectively. Roaring To Go will have the services of Brett Miller in the bike and Idyllic Beach will be driven by Yannick Gingras. Only Idyllic Beach has won in a swifter time (1:50.3) than Roaring To Go among all freshman pacing fillies in North America this year. “I have definitely been fortunate enough to train horses like Ginger And Fred, Snow White and Southwind Tempo,” Lare said. “But I have never had a horse that went :25.3 in her last quarter-mile in her first race, which this filly did. Like I said, I knew she had some speed, but that trip really grabbed my attention.” While her immediate pedigree may not seem quite as impressive as Idyllic Beach’s, as that young lady hails from a Horse of the Year sire and O'Brien Award-winning dam, Roaring To Go’s family tree is quite solid and does not lack quality. Her dam's two previous foals are both winners -- Well Excuuuse Me (Well Said, $68,295) and Well Lets See (Well Said, $52,945) -- and she is a half-sibling to Lookout Hanover (The Panderosa, $405,774), Long Fight Hanover (Allamerican Native, $162,137) and Lonewolf Currier (The Panderosa, $453,695). Roaring To Go’s granddam, Ladyking (Cam’s Card Shark) is a half-sister to Cancun Hanover (Jenna’s Beach Boy, $194,335), Cinch Hanover (Life Sign, $170,810), Runover Again (The Panderosa, $194,614), Current Hanover (Western Ideal, $380,248) and Courser Hanover (Astreos, $236,416). Chick has been a staunch supporter of harness racing for decades and he still owns Roaring To Go's older brother, Well Lets See. When Roaring To Go became available, he took advantage of a golden opportunity to bring her home. “Frank definitely kind of back-doored into this filly because he did already have the experience with the other horse,” Lare said. “The first foal (Well Excuuuse Me) did sell for a decent price at Harrisburg ($30,000) but Frank bought the second one (Well Lets See) for $4,500. That one could pace, but was one of the smallest Standardbreds I’ve ever seen. He was like a pony and you could saw the seat off the jog cart to fit him. “When Frank saw this filly had a little size to her, he jumped right in, but now like I said to him recently, if he wants to keep dipping in to this family, from now on he better be prepared to open his wallet. They won’t be selling for those kinds of prices anymore after what she has accomplished.” Although Lare has already enjoyed a Breeders Crown triumph with Snow White, a victory by Roaring To Go would hold a special place in his heart, because it would provide Chick, with whom he has a close bond, with his first Breeders Crown trophy. “Frank did retain a piece of Yankee Bounty (10 percent) after he was sold midway through his 2-year-old season,” Lare said. “I can’t remember how he performed in the Breeders Crown (sixth in his elimination in the 2015 3-year-old colt pace), but it would be so special for this filly to win this race with Frank. Not only to give him something he has never experienced before after all he has done with the sport, but because of all he has done for me. “He always believed in me and when I was down he provided me with horses so I could work my way back up. Having a filly like this with and for him, is a treat. That is why it was so enjoyable to have our pictures taken in Kentucky. Frank buys maybe one or two yearlings every year and he doesn’t spend a lot of money, so he does not normally get to be in a winner’s circle somewhere like there. “I’m so glad he did not sell this filly and we are exactly where we are right now. I told him these kind of horses don’t come along very often. If she does well in this race, she is not staked to anything else, but it’s possible we will supplement her to the Matron. It would mean so much to Frank to have her in there as Delaware is home and all, but we will see how we do here first. “A filly like this is always special, but this does take on even more meaning because of how far back I go with Frank and everything he has done for me, as well as the sport.” For entries for Saturday’s complete card, click here. For more information go to or Follow Breeders Crown news and updates on Twitter @Breeders_Crown, using #BCrown16 and on Facebook at Fans can also go to, the Place for Harness Racing Fans to See, Share, Connect and Play. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor  

ANDERSON, Ind.-October 14, 2016 - He may not be a household name or a colt that people set a DVR to witness, but watch out world, On The Virg is on verge of stealing the harness racing spotlight all for himself. After all, who captures their first officially timed trip around an oval by the length of the homestretch and more? "He is such a nice colt," said conditioner Jim Daily. "You would not even know he is in the barn and he is so nice to drive. Josh Green called me after he won his first qualifier at Northfield by 40 lengths. I had a doctor's appointment that day, but after Josh called me up, I went up to Michigan and brought him home with me." Bred by Lavon Miller of Topeka, Ind., On The Virg is son of Always A Virgin and the Cam's Card Shark mare Modern Bobbi. Owned by Richard Lombardo, Howard Taylor, David Kryway and Eric Goodell, the gelding will attempt to place himself on center stage when he vies for the lucrative and prestigious victory in the $220,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final on Saturday (Oct. 15). The 2-year-old will begin pacing from the coveted rail position as the 2-1 morning line favorite with Brett Miller gripping the lines. On The Virg will compete against a field of 10 rivals, but due to his previous performances, it appears only Rock N Tony (post two, Trace Tetrick, Erv Miller, 9-5) and Limited Edition (post 10, Sam Widger, Perry Smith, 5-1) have an opportunity to claim a championship crown as their own. "I have two very good colts and I'm not sure which one is better," Daily said. He was referring to Ohio Triple Crown victor Scotch McEwan, a son of McArdle and the Stand Forever mare Forever Ivy that has collected $213,462 on the racetrack. "They are just suit each program so well," Daily said. "On The Virg has so much speed and he is suited to a larger track like Hoosier." While the gelding has yet to net over $100,000 in career earnings, it appears to be only a matter of time before he leaves that milestone in his wake. On The Virg has banked $95,250 and sports a record of 10-5-1-1. His lifetime mark of 1:52, with a sparkling last quarter panel in :27 , was paced on Aug. 18 in an Indiana Sire Stakes elimination at Hoosier Park. "He is so fast it is easy to let him get into the race right off the gate," Daily said. "But you can do anything with him because he is so professional. He does not act like a 2-year-old. It's like he is an older horse. He behaves like a 4-year-old out there." With a premium draw and a $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes triumph already on his resume, On The Virg is poised to place his name in the history books on Saturday night. "I think he is really going to show us something," Daily said. "He has a nice post and I feel like he is ready. He was a small horse when I bought him, but he has grown over the summer. He's still not a big horse, but he has filled out. He is a very talented colt and I'm looking forward to next year with him." The $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for two-year-old pacing colts will be part of a stakes filled card at Hoosier Park on Saturday. With over $2 million in purses to be distributed on the evening, The star-studded 14-race card will showcase the best trotters and pacers in the state of Indiana and provide an exciting conclusion to the 2016 Indiana stakes season. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit Story by Kim French, on behalf of the United States Trotting Association.    

Lexington, KY --- It was another spectacular Friday (Oct. 7) for the fourth session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, not only because of the incredible weather and the energy of the crowd, but the harness racing event continues to establish new parameters in nearly every category. When the gavel falls for the final time on Saturday evening (Oct. 8), it appears this year's sale will have grossed the most in eight years and quite possibly ever, as is evidenced by the nearly $100,000 a son of Roll With Joe-Tropic's Beachgirl fetched tonight. "I have been here 23 years," said Randy Manges, co-manager of the sale. "Every year I pray for good weather and fortunately for nearly every one of those years we have been blessed. The last thing you want is for it to rain during the day so people cannot walk around and easily view the horses. Not only has the weather been perfect, but each year our breeders and consigners bring us better and better horses. We are very, very pleased with the results and feel there are quality horses available right to the end of the sale." Consigned by Spring Haven Farm on behalf of Rose Run Farm, Rose Run TJ was assigned Hip No. 419. Purchased by Bill Donovan for $97,000 the evening's sales topper is a half-sibling to the excellent stakes performer and 2015 Empire Breeders Classic victor Rockin In Heaven (Rock N Roll Heaven, $447,560), as well as Little Gold Ring (Western Terror, $255,189) and Real Protection (Grinfromeartoear, $135,946). Rose Run TJ's second dam, the Big Towner mare Tropic Town is a half-sister to the dams of Oriental Ave ($360,893) as well as to the granddams of John Street North ($895,912), Thunder Bay ($805,644), Paling Avenue ($677,990) and Noble Tess ($584,311). Tropic Town carried on the family tradition of productivity and was responsible for Bahama Bunny (Precious Bunny, $578,338) and Bunny Town (Precious Bunny, $118,141). Like her dam and other female relatives, Bunny Town was the dam of Memumsnotice ($325,103), Carolina Moon ($185,672), Get Around Town ($178,317), Another Dawn ($173,841) and Town Centre($106,947). Blackberry Farm, Hip No. 431, was the second highest priced yearling of the session at $80,000 and is now owned by Australians Emilo and Maria Rosati. Raised and consigned by Hunterton Farm the brown filly by Lucky Chucky is out of the Dream Vacation mare Resortful, who was second in the Hambletonian Oaks and collected $255,030 during her racing career. Resortful is a half-sister to O'Brien award winner Windsong Soprano (Windsong's Legacy, $1,231,325), The Muscler (Cantab Hall, $102,744) and is a full sister to world champion Big Boy Lloyd ($692,190). With the offspring of Muscle Hill in high demand, it was no surprise his daughter Urban Legend, Hip No. 446, sold for $70,000. Out of the Andover Hall mare Bedtime Story, who is out the Windsong's Legacy mare Bedtime Song, Urban Legend's third dam is the Donerail mare Bold Dreamer ($531,258). That mare foaled world champion and multiple Dan Patch and O'Brien award winner Pampered Princess (Andover Hall, $1,646,362), O'Brien award winner Was It A Dream (Striking Sahbra, $896,000) and Nothing But Class (Andover Hall, $350,000). The filly was consigned by Diamond Creek Farm and purchased by the Rick Zeron Stable. The total average price for the fourth session of the sale was up 19.6 percent from 2015, with the average being the greatest for pacing colts at $27,192. Through all four sessions of the sale, trotting colts still lead the way with an overall average of $69,595, which is certainly bolstered by the $800,000 bid Tactical Landing brought and strong demand for Muscle Hill progeny. Pacing colts are not far behind with a $69,307 average, despite the highest priced pacing colt selling for $450,000. A total of $7,000,000 has been spent on 101 pacing colts, $5,509,000 on 108 pacing fillies, $11,135,000 on 160 trotting colts and $6,909,000 on trotting fillies. From 491 horses sold, 60 fewer than last year, the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale has grossed more than $30 million and appears poised to obliterate the $32,111,742 2008 standard.  The average per horse for the entire sale at this juncture is up by 24.3 percent from last year and there is still eighty horses to put through the ring before the event is complete. The fifth and final session of the sale will commence Saturday (Oct. 8) at 7:00 p.m. in the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Lexington. For full results of the sale so far click on this link. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Lexington, KY---After witnessing a world-record performance by 2-year-old Walner (Chapter Seven-Random Destiny) at The Red Mile, it took a bit of time to wend through rush hour traffic to reach the Fasiq-Tipton Sales Pavilion, yet the quest to discover a future harness racing world champion remained evident at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale on Thursday (Oct. 6) as six yearlings were purchased for $100,000 or more, led by the trotting filly Magic Carpet Glide at the event’s third session. With last year’s third session only providing one $100,000 yearling, the sale continues to break new ground and illustrate the demand, as well as the desire, for elite Standardbreds. “Although there is generally a decrease after the first two days of the sale, I feel our next two sessions were stocked with some very nice horses,” said co-sale manager Randy Manges. “I know some people were celebrating Rosh Hashanah and could not be here for our first night. Also, some people from the East Coast like Pennsylvania and Delaware also planned on being here for the weekend, because it is an additional expense to stay for the entire event in Lexington simply because of all the things going on in the area at the same time.” The average price for all yearlings was up 26.8 percent over last year’s third day. In addition, the average price for all yearlings is up 22 percent over 2015. Even with 31 fewer yearlings walking through the ring this year, the gross sale amount is up $3,126,000. The connections of Hip No. 315, Magic Carpet Glide, past, present and future, certainly did their part to contribute to the spectacular success of this year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Purchased for $175,000 by Robert Lindstrom as agent for Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable of Boden, Sweden, this is the team that signed the ticket for the session two sale-topper for $350,000. Preferred Equine offered the Kadabra-Cha Cha Glide filly for sale. A daughter of Yankee Glide, Cha Cha Glide accumulated $14,266 in purse money and this is her first foal. She is, however, a half-sister to this year’s Peter Haughton Memorial winner What The Hill (Muscle Hill, $201,865). Magic Carpet Glide’s third dam, Celtic Contessa, by King Conch, dropped eight foals with six of them winners, including world champion and 2006 O’Brien Horse of the Year Majestic Son (Angus Hall, $1,756,883) and her granddam K T Cha Cha, also by Angus Hall, who earned $109,515. The filly’s fourth dam is Ramerizi (Face To Face, $433,344), the 1992 O’Brien Older Trotting Mare of the Year. She produced world champion Misterizi (Mr Lavec, $574,332), Lindsey-Fireyimage (Balanced Image, $203,363) and Rams Billy Brisco (Brisco Hanover, $165,677). In turn, Lindsey-Fireyimage was the dam of Striking Lindsey ($571,221), Action SJ ($197,048) and Action-Image-Hall ($105,895). The second highest-priced individual of the evening was Hip No. 275 Night Rhythm, a Muscle Hill-Tail Of Night colt, who sold for $160,000 to Great Horse MA from the Kentuckiana consignment. Night Rhythm is a half-brother to Machuca (Yankee Glide, $101,505) and his granddam, Day For Night (Donerail, $616,907) was the 2000 Dan Patch 3-year-old champion trotting filly. Just moments before Night Rhythm stepped into the ring, Crawford Farms purchased Sevenmaidsadancing for $150,000. Offered by Spring Haven Farm, the Chapter Seven-Surrey With Fringe filly is a half sibling to the 2-year-old Cresurrey (Credit Winner, $18,750) and her granddam, B Cor Peatra (Balanced Image) is a full sister to B Cor Pete ($893,076), Yorktown Gunner ($500,800) and Clarice Marie ($201,230). That mare is the dam of Corky ($1,008,000). B Cor Peata is also closely related to the dam of Wuthering Hanover ($494,440), Wide Angle Hanover ($445,708), B Cor Timgo ($641,641) and to the dam of Tom Cango ($515,930), Broadway Hall ($436,790), Looking Hanover ($1,125,136) and Banker Hall ($1,026,624). Despite trotters appearing to dominate the sale, pacing yearlings have quietly sold extremely well and possess the highest average for all gaits and genders at a stout $83,907. Complete results from the sale can be found at this link. The fourth session of the sale will commence on Friday (Oct. 7) at 7:00 p.m. and will continue through Saturday (Oct. 9). by Kimberly French, USTA Newsroom Editor

Columbus, OH --- When she most recently was engaged in conversation with harness racing trainer Larry Rheinheimer regarding his beloved world champion Freaky Feet Pete, Jamie Macomber certainly never imagined and would have immediately banished the thought this would be the final occasion she would ever chat with the man she had grown to esteem and adore. Yet within 48 hours of his sudden and tragic passing on Saturday (Sept. 24), Macomber, although understandably engulfed in grief, may just very well have had a glimmer of a smile cross her face when Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway released the entrants for this Friday evening's (Sept. 30) card. “The very last time I talked to Larry about Pete, he told me, `Pete just needs to draw the rail and Wiggle It (Jiggleit) the outside at Dayton,’” said Macomber. “And sure enough, doesn’t the draw come out on Monday and Pete is on the rail with Wiggle It Jiggleit in post five. Now isn’t that something?” What Macomber was referring to was Freaky Feet Pete’s upcoming appearance this Friday evening in the $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby. The 4-year-old stallion will retain the services of regular pilot Trace Tetrick and will once again compete against his fellow world champion rivals Always B Miki (post position two, David Miller) and Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague). Joining that trio in this event will be Always At My Place, (post three, Chris Page), Luck Be Withyou (post four, Eric Goodell), All Bets Off (post six, Matt Kakaley) and Shamballa (post seven, Scott Zeron). Always B Miki, installed as the morning line favorite at 6-5, enters this race after defeating Freaky Fete Pete within hours of Rheinheimer’s passing at Hoosier Park and after tying the world record at Eldorado Scioto Downs in the Jim Ewart Memorial after one of the most scintillating miles in recent memory while keeping Wiggle It Jiggleit at bay. Wiggle It Jiggleit is the second choice at 8-5, while Freaky Feet Pete is the third selection on the morning line at 4-1. Macomber is listed as the trainer of record. “This is a one-time thing,” she said. “I don’t want the family to have to worry about a thing this week and they are just trying to follow Larry’s wishes. He wanted Pete to race at Dayton and that is what we will do to honor what he would like. “The Rheinheimer family knows how much this horse has captured so many hearts and Larry knew it too. Not only was Larry so proud of Pete, he absolutely loved him and Larry captured people’s hearts as well with his own infectious smile. I will do whatever they need me to do during this time, but this is not a permanent situation. I assume Marty (Rheinheimer) will take over training him when he is ready to do so.” While Macomber, who as an assistant trainer for Ron Burke was responsible for bringing female trotting phenomenon Hannelore Hanover along last year, is in the midst of a career year with $252,766 in purse money and a Universal Trainer Rating of .439, this is a unique situation for her or anyone to be placed in, but she is simply grateful for the opportunity to aid the family in their time of need. “When they decided they were going to race him (last Saturday in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby), of course I offered to help as it only makes sense since I have Wanda (Wild Wanda, who is also owned by the Rheinheimer family),” Macomber said. “But there were so many people that stepped up to help get Pete ready that night and there was not much to do. Trace (Tetrick) warmed him and he went out there and raced. He is amazing horse and he raced very, very well (in finishing second to Always B Miki). “This week it is not about being a trainer with making adjustments or improving him. Larry already prepared Pete and he has already beaten these horses. There is nothing to do except ship him to Dayton, race him and bring him home. We just want to put Mary Jo’s and Marty’s (Freaky Feet Pete’s co-owners and Rheinheimer’s wife and son) minds at ease. They should not have to worry about a thing right now. “Not only did I think the world of Larry, but I think the world of the entire family and all I want to do is help. Even after this race, if they need help with shipping, anything, you name it, we will be more than happy to do whatever they need.” Although Freaky Feet Pete has amassed $404,057 from a 2016 slate of 14-6-3-1, established his own world record of 1:47.1 on June 25 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and defeated Wiggle It Jiggleit in 2015, the son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has yet to best the mighty Always B Miki, who has been simply superb in his most recent trips to the post. The stallion, however, has not been blessed with an abundance of racing luck or quality posts when tackling his formidable opposition this year, which is the primary reason his trainer’s final wishes were fatefully granted. The entire Hoosier Park contingent and Freaky Feet Pete’s tremendously large fan base will certainly be rooting for the stallion to defeat not only Always B Miki, but the five other members of the field. Not only would it be the most exceptional tribute to one of the most beloved horsemen in Indiana, who enjoyed every second and appreciated every moment with the horse of a lifetime, it would be a soothing balm to all the grieving souls that remain stunned, astounded and deeply saddened by Rheinheimer’s death. “Pete has a huge heart,” Macomber said. “One of the hugest hearts I have ever seen in a horse. The only people he really knows are Larry, Mary Jo and Marty because they spent all their time with him. Naturally I have been experiencing a variety of emotions. There are times I get excited for about 30 seconds until I remind myself there is no reason at all for me to be excited. There are other times I just want to cry at any given moment and I think that will not be going away anytime soon. “Friday night will definitely be very emotional for me, but I think Pete has a very good shot to win this race and of course that is exactly what I want. Not only for Larry, but the entire Rheinheimer family and for Pete.” Race 11 - $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Freaky Feet Pete-Trace Tetrick-Jamie Macomber-4/1 2. Always B Miki-David Miller-Jimmy Takter-6/5 3. Always At My Place-Chris Page-Ron Burke-12/1 4. Luck Be Withyou-Eric Goodell-Chris Oakes-6/1 5. Wiggle It Jiggleit-Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis-8/5 6. All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-10/1 7. Shamballa-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-8/1   by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Springfield, OH --- Unfortunately, Joe Bellino could not personally attend the second edition of the Buckeye Classic Sale conducted in Springfield, Ohio, on Tuesday (Sept. 27), but that did not impede him from purchasing the most sought-after harness racing yearling at the event for $90,000. “I was watching it on Facebook Live and I kept thinking, ‘When is the gavel going to drop?” he said. “It was like he said ‘$90,000’ for each $1,000 that was bid on him, but we were bringing him home no matter what the price was. My wife is very excited and so I am about this colt. His videos are fantastic and we cannot wait to get him to the farm and see him.” Raised and consigned by Cornerstone Stock Farm, Brangus is by Bellino’s world champion stallion Pet Rock and out of the Grinfromeartoear mare Can’t Quit Smiling. No other yearling that stepped through the ring commanded that type of attention or price tag, as the second-highest-priced individual was Bounding Dragon, a bay colt by Dragon Again out of Bound To Rock, consigned by Emerald Highlands Farm and purchased by Mike Roth of Anderson, Ind., for $50,000. Brangus is the fourth foal out of his dam and is a half-sibling to the Rockin Image filly Can’t Touch Her. She has collected $147,934 from her time on the track and was very competitive on the lucrative Indiana Sire Stakes circuit. His granddam, Day After, by No Nukes and out of Becky’s Love by Albatross produced Crisis Situation (Walton Hanover, $235,704), Keep Your Pans Off (Abercrombie, $298,411) and Lookinforasign (Life Sign, $159,849). “The people from Cornerstone starting sending me pictures and videos of him when he was very young,” Bellino said. “They said he was always the one that led the rest of the horses from the time he first left his mother. He was always the one to eat first and lead the rest of them. They also said he was very intelligent and one of the best horses they had raised. I have to give them credit because even in the sales ring with everything going on around him, nothing seemed to bother him. “He will go to Tony O’Sullivan; he won this Metro this year, and does a great job with 2-year-olds. He did not know about him at first and now that he saw his videos he is really excited as well. I’ve received numerous messages about this colt because people were so impressed with him. We all are really looking forward to his future.” This year’s sale posted an increase over last year’s results with yearling prices checking in 11.4 percent higher than in 2015. With 242 horses being sold versus 179 last year for an average of $7,055, those involved with the event were pleased with the results. “It was definitely a team effort from everyone that participated and their efforts are much appreciated,” said Steve Cross, sales manager. “This is an exceptional facility that is well laid out and with the Ohio program exploding in recent years, that addition, as well as the blend of horses from Indiana, Pennsylvania and Illinois, certainly made the sale very attractive for our buyers and consigners. “I would like to thank those buyers and consigners that made this sale such a success. The entire team is very happy with the quality of horses that were allowed to be sold and look forward to the future.” For more information on the Buckeye Classic Sale as well as comprehensive sale results please click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

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