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Unlocked seems an appropriate name for the Erv Miller-trained sophomore son of Duneside Perch. The powerful bay colt has simply obliterated his rivals in last four starts, beginning with his 1:50.2 victory in the $48,000 Incredible Finale Stake here at Balmoral on July 26. He then roasted a field of eight rivals on Aug. 14 at Springfield in a lifetime best of 1:49.1 in a $52,000 State Fair Championship, his nearest competitor 9¼ lengths behind him at the wire. "I knew he was some kind of nice horse, and from the nine-hole, that Springfield effort was a huge mile," Erv acknowledged. Owned by Megan Rogers of Chicago, Unlocked then swept to a 1:51.3 clocking in the $22,000 Dudley Hanover Stake at DuQuoin on Aug.24, before winning his $15,000 Langley elim last week casually by 6¼ lengths in 1:50.3 with his regular pilot, Dave Magee, at the lines. "It really didn't surprise me at all," Magee admitted. "This colt is capable of going some really big miles. He's a lot more comfortable doing his job now. Earlier this year he was high strung, but the last few starts he's been super. He just needs to stay out of trouble in the final. He's been so dominate as of late that I expect to be somewhere up close. He never seems to tail off at the end of a mile so post isn't an issue for him either." "He's a very high speed horse," Erv stressed. "Nick (trainer Prather) wasn't able to get the conditioning miles in him over the winter he felt the colt needed, because of the terrible Midwest weather, so he sent him out East to us." Originally, Unlocked was teamed with trainer Curtis Rice, but when Rogers watched the youngster win his first two starts at Balmoral in 2013, she purchased him from Rice for $50,000 and placed him in Prather's barn. The colt won his career debut, a $6,000 ICF stake at Balmoral, on June 9, 2013 in 1:56.2, and six days later drew off by eight lengths in 1:53.3 in a $15,000 ICF test. He won his first and second starts for Prather, the $12,000 Enzo The Baker Stake at Maywood on June 28 in 1:58.2 and the $12,000 Fox Valley Barzgar Stake on July 5 in 1:56.3 with Magee at the lines. Unlocked went on to earn $82,447 as a 2-year-old via six wins and five seconds in 12 starts, taking a mark of p,2,1:53.2 in a Springfield elimination. This year he's amassed another $104,725 from 13 starts, with a five triumphs and one second. However, Unlocked, who besides being flashy in color and big strided, is quirky at times, Miller and Magee agreed. "He's the only horse I've ever had that will run out bad one week and the next week run in," Erv noted. "We don't change his rigging at all, but he'll be on the left line one week and on the right the next, for no apparent reason." "Unlocked is very sound, but quirky," Magee agreed. "At Springfield, he wasn't into the race at all and leaving from the far outside, he was watching the crowd and wasn't attentive to me. Despite that, he still went a huge mile. Bred by Bart Seals of Mason, IL, Unlocked is the sixth foal out of the Fighting Major mare Miss Major Power p, 3, 1:51.1M ($27,453) and has half-siblings in: Bad As Bart (by Sportsmaster) p,4,1:54H ($98,699); Destinationunknown (by Ice Chaser Won) p, 2, 1:54.4 ($32,193); and Partatbartsplace (by Party At Artsplace) p,4, 1:53.3F ($60,031). "Unlocked is a horse who is actually one of the easier ones for me to manage," Erv offered. "He's got so much speed that he is easy to keep sharp, because he is so naturally talented." by Kimberly Rinker, for Balmoral Park

If their elimination heat was an indication of things to come, then Saturday's showdown between Al's Hammered and Forty Silky in the $112,000 Tony Maurello Stake at Balmoral Park should be a real heater. Last week the two Illinois-bred brutes battled it out in a torrid frenzy that saw the Bob Phillips-trained Al's Hammered prevail by 1½ lengths in 1:49.1 over the John Prentice-harnessed Fort Silky. Purchased by Phillips for a mere $2,000 at the 2010 Illini Sale, Al's Hammered has $426,627 in career earnings with a mark of 1:48.4 taken at age 3, en route to winning the $178,000 Langley Memorial on Super Night 2012 by 9½ lengths. He was also a solid third in the $241,000 Orange & Blue on Super Night 2011 as a freshman. Now 5, the gelded son of Droppin'Thehammer had an abbreviated schedule in 2013, after sustaining an injury in a Feb.2 race. Al's Hammered damaged his superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) and annular ligament of his left front leg. This injury is catastrophic to a racehorse, with recovery taking up to 18 months, and the tendons rarely return to their original functional elasticity. "The tendon was devastated; it looked like a shotgun hit it," remarked Dr. Greg Skelton, Bob's veterinarian. "Al's Hammered was a step away from a total breakdown." "We ultra-sounded it, and Greg suggested we cut the annular ligament," Bob, 69, explained. "Al's leg was the same size as his knee all the way to the ankle." "We thought it was best to cut the annular ligament, which alleviates pressure on the tendon sheath," Greg stressed. "If you don't cut that, the horse might get sore because mechanically the tendon can't move through to the ankle. Cutting removes restriction to the leg, allowing for more ease of movement." Greg also suggested injecting the leg with a series of PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments. "Time was my first thought for recovery, and I thought using PRP would heal it better," Greg acknowledged. To prepare for a PRP treatment, a veterinarian takes blood plasma, an anti-coagulant, and a bit of white surface from red blood cells known as the 'buffy coat,' (which has DNA and healing proteins, white cells and platelets)--all from the injured horse. Via ultrasound, the vet injects a dose of PRP into the back of the leg, between the ligament and SDFT, inside and outside of the sheath. "I did this twice a month for six months," Greg confirmed. "By concentrating the plasma, the horse's own system heals the leg. I told Bob not to hold his breath; that this was a pretty big injury." "This treatment was amazing," Bob said. "After three months the leg was nearly back to normal. Nobody could believe how much it had sucked down." Nearly ten months later, Al's Hammered scored a winning 1:54.2 qualifier at Balmoral. On Nov. 16 he posted a 1:55.3 victory; followed by a 1:51.2 win on Nov. 23; a Dec. 7 win in a seasonal best 1:50.3; and a Dec. 14 triumph in 1:51.3. In just six starts he earned $31,395, pushing his 2013 earnings to $40,915. "I give a lot of credit to Bob," Greg offered. "There are not many trainers who would walk a horse themselves and take the time with him Bob has. Amazingly, this horse had no other injections--just the PRP treatments. The horse was a model patient and Bob was patient in the recovery process." This year, Al's Hammered has added another $117,400 to his bankroll, with 13 wins in 19 tries. "By far, he's the best horse I've ever had," Bob said. "I think he's better now than before the injury. You can train horses all your life and never get one like him." The indomitable Fort Silky, who has $668,100 in career earnings, with 47 wins, 44 seconds and 28 thirds from 197 lifetime starts for owners John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler, will try to stop Al's Hammered from garnering another Super Night triumph. The 8-year-old son of Ft Apache Hanover won the $25,000 Egyptian Stake on Aug. 29 at Maywood, stopping the timer in 1:50.4, just two-fifths of a second off the half-miler's track record, prior to his Maurello elim last week. A starter in the Maurello for the past three years, he'll be looking for his first Super Night Crown tonight. by Kimberly Rinker, for Balmoral Park  

Driver Matt Krueger is hoping to secure his first Super Night Championship victory on Saturday at Balmoral Park when he guides the Nelson-Willis trained Molly Go Lightly in the $142,000 Grandma Ann for sophomore pacing fillies. Krueger, 39, of Manteno, IL, did win a consolation event on Super Night one year ago, when he steered Sports Fanatic to a win in the $25,000 Maurello consolation in 1:51.2 for trainer Bruce Pacitti. As well, he piloted the Homer Hochstetler-conditioned American Empress to a fourth-place finish in the $105,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies on Super Night 2013. Krueger is just in his third year of driving horses professionally, but already has reined horses to $442,789 in earnings from 73 career triumphs. Last year he drove 60 winners to $342,875 in seasonal earnings as a part-time reinsman. "I always wanted to drive, but really didn't get motivated until my grandfather passed away a few years ago," Matt said. "I wanted more than ever to carry on his legacy." Krueger's family is immersed in the Illinois harness racing scene--his grandfather, John Finn, conditioned the well-known trotter Ouchy, 8, 1:58M ($176,185), while his uncle J.D. Finn was the trainer-driver behind Illinois million dollar bonus winner Koochie 2, 1:58.3M($699,797). His second cousin Roy Finn is the starter at Maywood and Balmoral. "I took my grandfather's colors," Matt explained. "I got a great break when Ford laid me off for two years and I went to work for Homer Hochstetler. He put me on some of his really good horses, and things have just progressed from there." When Matt isn't driving horses, he's working at the Kansas City-based Ford Motor Company plant as a production assistant, a position he's held for 20 years. "It's a good job, but my passion definitely is with the horses," Matt stressed. Molly Go Lightly, an obscurely-bred daughter of Lexington Legend, took a mark of 1:54.1 as a 2-year-old, earning $56,895 from six wins. This season, she's scored two triumphs, including a 1:55 score in her prep here last week with Matt at the lines. "I had driven this filly earlier in the season in a stake elim, and finished third with her, but hadn't driven her since until last week," Matt explained. "I really get along well with her. She's kind of quirky in that she gets grabby behind the gate, but if you don't fight her and just ease her out of there, she'll be okay. Once you get her ducked over to the rail, she's easy to race." Owned by the Sawgrass Farms of Lockport, IL, Molly Go Lightly is the second of three foals out of the All American Ingot mare Waggle p, 3, Q1:59.1M ($10,813), and is a full sister to the gelding Shotgun Shack p,3,1:56H ($26,168). "She wears a full hood, so she's got some issues, and a bit of a tender mouth, so if you grab into her hard and fight her, she gets anxious," Matt noted. "In her prep race, the two favorites got away dead last and had a breaker in front of them, so they were kind of out of the action until the stretch. We had soft fractions but this filly can go with them regardless." Molly Go Lightly did pace her final quarter in :28.2, after jogging through fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.2 on the front end in her prep race. "Nelson (trainer Willis) is good at teaming drivers up with horses," Matt said. "He's sharp at seeing what drivers get along with certain types of horses. To give me a shot on Super Night is a definite boost of confidence, and I'm very thankful for the opportunity." Matt, donning his red & white colors, with the distinctive cross on the sleeves, with also be behind the sophomore trotting filly Lora Lee Breeze in Saturday's Lady Ann Reed stake. by Kimberly Rinker, for Balmoral Park

When Bobby B Breeze captured his $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination here last week at Balmoral Park, trotting easily to a career 1:57 triumph for driver Todd Warren, it came as no surprise to his trainer Roger Welch. "Herman Wheeler had him last year and I'd see him on the track every day and I fell in love with him," Roger said. "I ended up buying him and he won his first start for us. He got sick at Springfield and we fought health issues with him the rest of the year. I could never get him healthy enough." The son of Southwind Breeze earned $44,051 at two, with two wins and two seconds in nine starts. He captured the $50,000 Plesac stake in his first start for Welch, trotting in 1:59.1 and besting his rivals by 6¾ lengths. He followed that up with a victory at Springfield in a $8,000 State Fair elim, clocked in 1:59 on Aug. 9, 2013. "He was a ridgling and at the end of the season we gelded him and that helped him a lot," Roger said. "He had one testicle that was really big and it would pinch him in the turns. So after taking care of that and getting him healthy, he's come back a lot stronger this year." Bobby B Breeze has finished off the board only twice all year and missed only one purse check in 14 starts, with statistics of 2-4-6 and $35,712 in seasonal earnings. He is owned by Bo Delong of Clinton, WI; Pat DeLong of South Beloit, IL; Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI and Welch. "He doesn't like a lot of training, and it's been work trying to peak him at the right time," Roger offered. "But he is fresh and sound and gives 100%, and is the nicest mannered horse." On Aug. 27, the gregarious gelding scored in a Balmoral overnight, cruising to a 1:57.2 triumph just a week prior to his Su Mac Lad elim victory. "I said at the beginning of the year that we may race all season and never win a race and still make $50,000, because I knew he'd be chasing Fox Valley Veto and Tour Hall," Roger noted. Bred by Fair Meadow Farm, Welch's trotter is the fifth foal out of the Lindy Lane mare Lindy's Fireball 3, 1:56F ($89,617), and is a half-brother to the Windsong's Legacy gelding Fire And Wind p,1:58.2 ($8,698). Bobby B Breeze will be going up against Fox Valley Veto in the $100,000 Su Mac Lac Final on Saturday night, who opted for a bye in last week's elim. The winner of $164,574 in his career has been a whirlwind in Illinois this season, earning $100,058 from six wins and four seconds in 11 starts. His only off-the-board effort came in mid-May in his first start when he made an uncharacteristic break to finish fourth. Otherwise, the son of Pizzazzed's 2014 record is nearly unblemished. Among Fox Valley Veto's top efforts were his five consecutive victories beginning June 25 through his win at Springfield on Aug. 14 in 1:56. During his streak he captured the $41,000 Kadabra Stake on July 26 at Balmoral in 1:55.3 and the $25,000 Mikes A Mystery Stake at on Aug. 3 in 1:55.1 at the Crete one-miler. Trained and co-owned by Curt Grummel of Carrollton, IL, Fox Valley Veto bested a field of aged horses last Sunday, clocked in 1:55.4 for driver John DeLong in a $10,500 Balmoral overnight. Craig Grummel of Carrollton, IL co-owns the gelding, who was bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds. This 3-year-old trotting whiz is the third foal out of the Valley Victory mare Yankee Victory OM 3, 1:58.1M ($19,915), and is a full sister in the 2-year-old filly Fox Valley Yoko 1:59M ($55,375). He also has half-siblings in Overandovervictory (by Andover Hall) 5, 1:53.4f ($257,219); and Fox Valley Yavonne (by Vaporize) 4, 1:56.3 ($37,562). Tour Hall, a sophomore son of American Native who captured an Illinois State Fair Colt Stake at 2 in 1:57.3 and a $25,900 Hanover Stake this season, has earned $130,301 in his career for trainer Mike Brink of Springfield, who co-owns the gelding with Loren Tournear of Liberty, IL. "He raced well coming from off the pace last week," said his driver Dave Magee, on the gelding's sixth-place finish in his Su Mac Lad elim. "He seems to be coming back to himself (with that :28.2 last quarter) and just needs a flat mile to be competitive." by Kim Rinker, for Balmoral Park

Harness Horsemen International met and concluded their Annual Meetings on March 5 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida.   Ten horsemen’s associations were represented throughout the four-day conference, including Cloverleaf SOA, Delaware SOA, Illinois HHA, Ohio HHA, Maine HHA, Meadows HHA, Western New England HHA, Pennsylvania HHA, SBOA of New Jersey and Kentucky HHA.   After HHI President Tom Luchento welcomed the assemblage, the current at-large members were re-elected to the HHI Board of Directors, and the decision to hold the 2015 annual meeting at this same venue was approved by the membership.   The “I Can’t Believe This is Happening” Panel continued their discussion on several issues facing harness racing, including: the status of racing in Michigan; funding for racing commissions; and states which are trying to do away with racing through different approaches, such as Iowa, where money is being offered back to the legislature in order to eradicate dog racing.   At the HHI Awards Luncheon, the 2013 Dominic Frinzi Man of the Year Award was presented to Robert Schmitz, Ohio State Racing Commission Chairman for his work on behalf of the Ohio horse racing community. John Brennan, a respected journalist, was honored with the 2013 Clyde Hirt Media Award, and Don Marean, a revered breeder from Maine, was feted via the 2013 HHI Appreciation Award.   A farewell breakfast for HHI association members will be held on Thursday, March 6.   HHI is comprised of horsemen’s associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represent the agriculture based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI’s governing body consists of representatives from its member associations.   by Kimberly Rinker, for HHI

Word Power did all the talking in the Windy City Pace, coming up the inside passsing lane to capture Maywood Park’s premiere event in 1:51.4 on Friday night. Scott Zeron steered the 3-year-old son of Western Ideal-Lush Limbaugh for trainer Larry Remmen and owner Bradley J. Grant of Milton, Ontario. Sent off at odds of 7-1, Word Power paid $15.80 to win in an upset. Word Power had gotten the lead from the onset of the $176,000 one mile test, but was overtaken by Apprentic Hanover (Jody Jamieson)at the :27.2 first quarter. The favorite Lucan Hanover and driver David Miller then came first over and took the lead inthe middle of the second turn and led the field through the :54.3 half and the1:23.1 three-quarters. He appeared to bea sure winner until the last sixteenth of a mile, when Word Power came surging through on the rail to prevail by a length. “The race didn’t unfold the way I expected,” said winning driver Scott Zeron. “I got lucky that I was able to get up the passing lane. He’s amazing to leave that fast and then come home that fast. He’s superversatile. It’s really tough in that he’s gotten used hard off the gate several times and still has that fortitude to come home that strong.” Unraced at two, Word Power pushed his career earnings to $375,804 in securing his seventh lifetime victory in 17 trips postward. Lucan Hanover picked up second-place money,while Apprentice Hanover held on for show honors. by Kimbery Rinker for Maywood Park    

Archetto Hanover captured the $87,000 Abe Lincoln Stake in 1:55.2 after a brutal stretch duel that necessitated a photo to decide the winner in the one mile test for freshman pacing colts and geldings. The freshman son of Bettor’s Delight picked up his maiden victory in his 18th try for driver Lewayne Miller and trainer Erv Miller and pushed his career earnings to $137,076. “He’s been a real nice horse all along and last week he was sick but tonight he was ready to go,” said the winning driver. “I knew it was a soft bunch other than Odds On Rhodonite and I knew I had enough horse to get by him in the late going. I was very confident in the stretch.” Total Sin (John DeLong) took the early lead to the :28.2 first quarter, before Odds On Rhodonite (Corey Callahan) took over, leading the field to a :56.4 half and to the 1:26 three-quarter marker. Archetto Hanover then challenged on the outside and around the final turn pushed his nose in front and appeared to be an easy winner going into the stretch. However Odds On Rhodonite wouldn’t go away, and Total Sin found another gear and came up the inside lane, but at the wire Archetto Hanover keep his whiskers in front, winning by a head over Total Sin, while Odds On Rhodonite nabbed third. Archetto Hanover is owned by Paymaq Racing of Illinois,Greg Gillis of Ontario and Louis Willinger of Kentucky. by Kimberly A. Rinker for Maywood Park  

Rossini and driver Peter Wrenn cruised to a 1:55.3 victory in the $110,000 Galt Stake for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Friday night, Nov. 15 at Maywood Park. The son of Classic Photo-Beverly Crusher is trained by Jim Raymer for the Harbor Racing Stable, LLC of Houston, Texas, and picked up his tenth win of the season in 22 starts. His seasonal earnings now stand at $213,250 and his career bankroll at $231,843. “It was a pretty easy task once we got out of the gate,”said winning driver Peter Wrenn. “I was a little concerned up the backside as I thought I might get bottled out, but this horse is really tough and I don’t think he’s gone too many poor races. Jim (trainer Raymer) is a great horse trainer and this horse is very tough and he handles the turns really well and that’s a bonus. This horse just isn’t going to quit.” Rossini finished half a length in front of Dewycolorintheline (Corey Callahan), with Pine Credit (Lewayne Miller) notching third-place money. Dewycolorintheline took the early lead to the :28.3 firstquarter and to the :58 half, before the hard-trying Lindy’s Tru Grit pulled first over, challenging the leader at the 1:26.4 three-quarter marker. Creampuff Macdaddy (Jody Jamieson) then wen tthree-wide around the final turn, while Rossini went past the tiring Lindy’sTru Grit to prevail by half a length. by Kimberly A. Rinker for Maywood Park  

Fort Silky and driver Casey Leonard went wire-to-wire to capture the $30,000 Lester McKeever Stake in 1:53.3 on Nov. 15 at Maywood Park. The 7-year-old son of Ft. Apache Hanover is trained byTerry Leonard for owners John Prentice and Neve Jan Ikeler of Illinois. After sweeping through fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:25.4, Fort Silky held off second-place finisher Uncle Smoothie (Matt Krueger)by three-quarters of a length. Mystical Walter (Lewayne Miller) finished third. Fort Silky added the $15,000 winner’s share to his seasonal bankroll of $237,795. “This race worked out exactly the way we wanted it to,”Leonard said. “My horse left well as I had him pretty reved up and I was a little surprised nobody left. Going into the last turn my horse felt really good. He doesn’t finish as well here as he does at Balmoral, but he was good enough to get the job done. I love horses that just get it, like he does. Sometimes the fastest horse doesn’t always win the race—sometimes it’s just the horse that keeps on trying.” Fort Silky scored his fourth consecutive victory andpushed his career earnings to $551,935. by Kimberly A. Rinker for Maywood Park  

Pertty Music used a three-wide move around Maywood’s final turn to win the $73,000 Cinderella Stake for freshman pacing fillies in 1:53.2. John DeLong piloted the Tom Harmer trained, owned and bred daughter of Jereme’s Jet-My Metallica to her fifth win of the season and sixth career victory She went off at odds of 8-1 and paid $19.40 to win.. “I got away fourth but didn’t want to be first over against Always About Katey,” said DeLong. “I raced her over here a couple of weeks ago but she bled pretty bad, but she was much better tonight and this is her home turf. She had the nine-hole in the American National and the field was a bit softer this week. She’s a very nice filly. I was a little nervous for a few seconds in the stretch but she’s a professional and got the job done tonight.” Pertty Music sat in the middle of the field of seven fillies while Always About Katey (Todd Warren) led the field through fractions of :27.2 and :56. Auniqueaquisition (Mike Oosting) pulled first over with a mild bid but failed to gain ground as thef ield went by the 1:24.2 three-quarter marker. Pertty Music then stormed to the outside around the final turn and stormed by her rivals, winning by half a length over Always About Katey, with State Street Liz (Robert Smolin). The victory pushed Pertty Music’s seasonal earnings to$110,236 and her career earnings to $134,292. by Kimberly Rinkler for Maywood Park  

Lucan Hanover appears poised to capture the $176,000 Windy City Pace at Maywood Park on Friday night.    The gutsy son of Western Ideal battled outside the winning Captaintreacherous all the way through the lengthy Balmoral Park stretch last Saturday night, finishing second by half a length in 1:49 in the $256,000 American National 3-Year-Old Colt Pace in rein to David Miller.   Miller, 48, who is set to enter Harness Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2014, has won more than 10,865 races and sports career earnings in excess of $175 million, ranking him fourth on the all-time earnings list among harness drivers. He was voted 2003 Driver of the Year and has won 11 Triple Crown events and 12 Breeders Crown trophies.   “I like this horse a lot; he’s raced very tough and he really fits my style of driving,” Miller admitted. “I’m really happy that he’s raced so well and has kind of come into himself here late in the season.”   “He doesn’t give up, he’s wicked fast and he’s always showed me his talent from day one,” trainer Casie Coleman agreed. “He’s just finally proving it on the racetrack. I think my owners might have thought I was crazy when I told them how nice a horse he was and now he’s starting to prove it.”   Coleman, 33, is a British Columbia native who has been honored as Canada’s Trainer of the Year five times in the past eight seasons, including in 2012.   Coleman purchased Lucan Hanover for $47,000 at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg.  He is the second foal out of the Dragon Again mare Lauren Order, p, 2,1:54s ($78,968) and is a half-brother to Lawgiver Hanover (by Art Major) p, 3, 1:52.2H, a winner of ten races and $306,937.  Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, the bay gelding is owned by Ross Warriner’s West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON and Christine Calhoun of Chatham, ON.   Racing just four times as a freshman, Lucan Hanover did score a 1:53.1 victory at Mohawk in the $29,700 Dream Make Stake on July 19, 2012, pacing wire-to-wire for driver Scott Zeron.  Earning $17,365 last year, he’s more than made up for that this season, with 2013 earnings of $466,044.   Prior to shipping to Chicago,  Lucan Hanover finished fourth in the $450,000 Messenger Final on Nov. 2 at Yonkers, timed in 1:52, after winning his $40,000 elimination at the New York half-miler handily in 1:52.2.    “He won his elimination very easily,” Miller stressed. “But then he got the eight-hole in the final, and on a half-mile track, that’s just a bit too much to overcome. He’s in great shape coming into the Windy City, and the two-hole will be a super sweet spot for him.  Having an inside post on the smaller track is a definite advantage.”   Lucan Hanover finished third by half a length in 1:49.2. to Captaintreacherous in the $500,000 Breeders Crown on Oct. 19 at Pocono Downs, having won his $25,000 elim in a career best 1:48 the week before for Miller.  That time set the world record for a 3-year-old pacing gelding on a five-eighths-mile oval and equaled Foiled Again’s mark for the fastest time ever by a gelding pacer of any age.   He finished third in the $265,224 Little Brown Jug Final on Sept. 19 at Delaware to stablemate Vegas Vacation after winning his $58,939 elim that same afternoon with Miller in the sulky.   “In the Jug final he had some interference in the last turn,” Coleman said. “I think he would’ve been second and maybe given Vegas a run if that didn’t happen.”   Lucan Hanover won the $250,000 New Jersey Classic on Aug. 3 at The Meadowlands after having won two legs and the $49,590 final of the Summertime Pacing Series at Mohawk.   “He wasn’t racing very well early in the season at the Meadowlands so I brought him back to Toronto and put him in against cheaper horses than what he’d been facing and he got a few wins under his belt,” Coleman explained. “Once he got to beat up on them and win a few races, he got his confidence up. I thought he was going to put in a real big effort on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 3) and that’s exactly what he did. I was real happy with him.”   Lucan Hanover had suffered from a pair of unusual splints prior his Mohawk series starts.   “He was running out really bad going into the first turn at the Meadowlands,” Coleman said. “He had a couple outside splints that were really bothering him. They were close to his knees so I couldn’t do much vet work until we had a break in his schedule. Now he’s steering straight.”   Lucan Hanover has indeed been straight as an arrow for Coleman ever since, winning nine races, with two seconds and four thirds in 19 starts this season.  Lifetime he’s amassed $483,409 with a 10-2-4 record from 23 career trips behind the gate. Miller credits Coleman’s insights into the bay gelding’s psyche as one reason for the pacer’s success.   “Earlier in the year he got a bit too rambunctious, and when he does that, he has a tendency to flip his palate (and shut off his air),” Miller acknowledged. “Casie (trainer Coleman) made some rigging adjustments which helped tremendously.  She put an open bridle on him, and ever since he’s been much more manageable and agreeable and has started racing a lot better as a result.   “Before, he was a little too much up on the bit all the time—even scoring down in the post parade,” Miller offered. “Now he’s more relaxed all the way around and is a pleasure to drive, and can use all of that energy and aggressiveness in the race.” by Kimberly Rinker for Maywood Park  

Lindys Tru Grit will be seeking his second consecutive victory on a Chicago oval when he steps behind the gate in Friday’s $110,000 Galt Stake for sophomore trotting colts. Last week the son of Cantab Hall took a career record of 1:53.3 en route to capturing the $235,000 American National Three-Year-Old Colt Trot at Balmoral Park. Tim Tetrick steered the brown colt to his fifth seasonal victory for trainer Frank Antonacci, who conditions the youngster for his family’s Lindy Racing stable of Enfield, CT. “That was my first American National win and very exciting,” said Antonacci. “We love racing in Chicago and I think it’s a great test for a horse to go to different venues, different sized racetracks and do well. It’s a good opportunity for us this late in the year.” A winner of $291,924 in his career, Lindys Tru Grit came out of his American National victory in fine shape, Antonacci acknowledged. “He seemed fine after the win,” Antonacci confirmed. “There’s only six days in between starts and he’s plenty fit, so all week we’ve just concentrated on keeping him happy and jogging.” Lindys Tru Grit made only one start at two, but did take a qualifying mark of 2, Q2:00.1 in Lexington in late fall with his trainer at the lines. “Last year he was always battling bad allergies,” Antonacci explained. “He had terrible skin allergies and then would get sick. He battled back and forth with this problem all year long and it was a real struggle to keep him healthy. When he was feeling okay, he would show quarters in :28, and those sparks of speed were enough for us to keep him over the winter and try him again this year as a three-year-old.” In the end, Antonacci used an aggressive treatment to “de-sensitize him to his allergies.” “Him getting better could just be a natural function of the aging process, too,” Antonacci admitted. “It’s hard to say. But it was really a troublesome issue to deal with.” With his allergy problem behind him now, this year Lindys Tru Grit has secured victories in the $121,737 Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk; in the $75,000 Zweig at Vernon; and in a pair of Pennsylvania overnights—one at Pocono Downs and the other at Harrah’s Philadelphia — in addition to his Am-Nat triumph last week. “He’s great gaited, doesn’t wear (trotting) hobbles, and goes with a low head,” Antonacci said. “He’s got a little attitude — but just the kind that you like to see a horse have. He’s a very comfortable horse to be around and to have around in the barn.” Antonacci said he focused on getting Lindys Tru Grit confidence up early in the season, before sending him in against better horses. “For a horse like him that didn’t race at two, I look at the first half of this season like I would a horse’s freshman season,” he stated. “I let him run through the ranks at Pocono and let him progress there. It wasn’t until the third or fourth leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes that we started to get serious with him and he started to get confidence under his belt. He was also just a touch below the top horses but now is really coming into himself. He’s pretty fresh, especially for this late in the season. Lindys Tru Grit has drawn post six for the Galt Stake, but Antonacci thinks his versatile sophomore will be able to handle the task over the twice-a-rounder. “He’s got plenty of gate speed or can race off the pace,” Antonacci stressed. “I think whatever David (driver Miller) wants to do with him, he‘ll be able to with him. He can win on the front, be first-over, or race from off the pace. If he’s good, he’ll do it anyway he can.” Antonacci, 30, has conditioned 307 winners to $7,233,078 in earnings, and driven 100 winners to $906,022. His family’s name is synonymous with the trotting gait, as they have owned some of harness racing’s finest diagonally-gaited specialists, including Speedy Crown, Lindys Pride and $5.5 million dollar earner Moni Maker, to name just a few. A Boston College graduate, Antonacci first stepped into the spotlight in 2008 with the world champion Crazed, who earned more than $1 million at age three and won a Hambletonian elimination and finished second in the final. His other noteworthy trotters include Peter Haughton Memorial winner The Lindy Reserve and world champion filly Highscore Kemp. His father “Sonny” Antonacci established Lindy’s Farm in 1965, and to date the Antonacci family has assembled one of the finest trotting broodmare bands in North America. by Kimberly Rinker for Maywood Park

When trainer-driver Tom Harmer speaks of his homebred filly Pertty Music, he does so with the beaming pride of a proud parent.  And with good reason. Harmer not only bred, trains and owns the 3-year-old brown lass, but he also owned, trained, and drove the filly’s parents, Jereme’s Jet and My Metallica.   Harmer conditioned and drove Jereme’s Jet to earn $1,519,321 from 35 starts, with 16 wins, five seconds and one third.  The bay stallion took a time trial mark of 1:47 at Lexington’s Red Mile on Sept. 9, 2007.      Harmer also bred, trained and owns My Metallica, a daughter of Partyatartsplace who earned $287,851 from 13 wins, ten seconds and nine thirds in 60 career starts.  She took a mark of p, 3, 1:51.1 en route to winning a $40,000 Hanover Stake by nearly nine lengths on Aug. 2, 2006.   Even more unique is the story behind the pairing of Jereme’s Jet and My Metallica that produced Pertty Music, who’ll go postward in Friday’s $73,000 Cinderella Stake for sophomore pacing fillies.   On Sept. 17, 2005, My Metallica entered the Balmoral Park winner’s circle after capturing the $260,000 Orange & Blue Filly Stake in 1:52.3 for driver Tony Morgan.   The celebrating Harmer just happened to glance up at a TV at that precise moment, and saw his other charge, Jereme’s Jet, leaving the Mohawk winner’s circle in Canada, after just winning the $840,000 Metro Stake with driver Paul MacDonell in 1:50.4.   “I didn’t think about breeding them to each other at that moment, but then later when I thought about, I thought about how cool it was that one was coming in the winner’s circle and the other was leaving at the same time and I told (my wife) Debbie that we just had to breed them someday,”  Harmer explained.   Another coincidence:  Pertty Music is from Jereme’s Jet second crop, and she is also My Metallica’s second foal.   “Jereme’s Jet was a trainer’s dream,” Harmer acknowledged. “I don’t think anybody could have messed him up, he was a no brainer. I qualified him and drove him in his first start. He was absolutely gorgeous, and all of his babies are gorgeous, and they’re all good gaited, smart, and pleasant. None of them are mean.”   Pertty Music raced ten times as a freshman, earning $24,056.  She took a mark of p, 2, 1:56.2 on Aug. 5, 2012 en route to winning a Balmoral overnight for driver Todd Warren.    “She was a perfect filly to train down; the kind of filly you dream about.  She did everything you asked her to do,” Harmer recalled. “I qualified her at Maywood as a freshman, and then sent her up to Canada to trainer Greg McNair.”   Pertty Music began her sophomore campaign by qualifying at Maywood on April 4, winning in 1:57 for driver John DeLong.  She won her first two starts in Balmoral overnighters with DeLong at the lines—in 1:53.12 (on April 20) and in a career best 1:52.1 (on April 27), before heading to Canada.   “She qualified well and had a couple of good wins before I sent her north to Greg (trainer McNair),” Harmer said. “She won her first start up there for him in 1:53, but after that really didn’t race was well as I was hoping. She’s never had a lameness problem of any kind, but just hasn’t been as good as I thought she’d be.”   Pertty Music has won four starts this season in 19 tries, with two seconds and two thirds, with $72,736 added to her coffers this season. Prior to finishing sixth in last Saturday’s $161,000 American National 3-Year-Old Filly Pace at Balmoral, she scored a 1:54 triumph for DeLong at the Crete one-miler in a conditioned test. Lifetime she’s amassed $97,792 from 29 starts.   “It’s really exceptional when you’ve raced both the parents of a youngster, and then you get the thrill of being the breeder, because you figured out the right combination,” Harmer admitted. “They, it becomes double-special when they turn out to be something that you’ve trained and driven, and gotten to the races.  It’s just a great feeling.”   by Kimbery Rinker for Maywood Park  

Pet Rock stormed down the Balmoral stretch to win the $200,000 American National Aged Pace in a new track record clocking of 1:48.2 for driver David Miller. The 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover came flying late to overtake the hard-trying Foiled Again(Yannick Gingras) by a head for owner Frank Bellino of Bronxville, NY. Harnessed by trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr., Pet Rock notched his sixth win of the season in 17 starts, and his16th career triumph. He now has $972,820 in seasonal earnings and $1,984,204 in career earnings for these connections. After Golden Receiver (CoreyCallahan) took the early lead, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) was the first to challenge on the outside, as the field went through fractions of :26.1, :53.2and 1:21.3. “I was just waiting to see what was going to happen at the start and a bunch of them left early,” said Miller. “They were down to the half in pretty good shape. He’s a tremendous horse and never ceases to amaze me. Those last few steps tonight were really amazing.” Foiled Again, Warrawee Needy (TimTetrick) and Pet Rock battled as a trio all the way down the stretch, but in the end, it was Pet Rock on the far outside who gutted out the win—his second consecutive victory and his fourth in his last six starts. Video attached by Kimberly Rinker for Balmoral Park  

Captaintreacherous battled a game Lucan Hanover all the way to the wire, gutting out a 1:49 victory in the $256,000 American National for 3-Year-Old Colt Pacers. Tim Tetrick steered the Tony Alagna-trained son of Somebeachsomewhere to his 13th triumph in 15 starts this season, pushing his 2013 earnings to $2,055,033. Owned by Captaintreacherous Racing, the venerable bay colt left hard from post two for the lead, but relinquished to Word Power (Brian Sears) going to the :27.1 first quarter. When Eddie Sweat (Peter Wrenn) made a break on the outside of the leader, Tetrick asked the “Captain” to retake and the colt did easily to the :55.2. “I was looking to see what was happening and wanted to keep my colt out of trouble,” Tetrick said. “He likes to see other horses and likes to have someone racing at his throat. He doesn’t want to let other horses get by him.” Captaintreacherous and Lucan Hanover (David Miller) then battled head and head past the 1:22.3 three-quarters, and all the way down the stretch, with the former digging in the final few yards to best his rival in a gutsy effort. Wake Up Peter (Scott Zeron) notched the show money. “When I first started out, this was the kind of horse I dreamed about,” trainer Tony Alagna said. “It’s just super to come back to my home town and be treated so well. Last week he tied up at Hoosier and he trained well this week and his blood work came back well, so I felt much better about his chances tonight after he warmed up.” Captaintreacherous’s career earnings now stand at $2,973,286. Video attached by Kimberly Rinker for Balmoral Park  

Charisma Hanover upset I Luv The Nitelife in a nail-biting finish in the $161,000 American National for 3-year-old filly pacers and in doing so set a new track and stake record clocking of 1:49.   Driven by Yannick Gingas for trainer Ronnie Burke, Charisma Hanover is a sophomore daughter by Dragon Again, and notched her 15th career victory and 12th win this season, pushing her 2013 earnings to $543,229 for owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi of Pennsylvania.   “Earlier in the year we were leaving pretty hard with her and I really wanted to follow Tim (Tetrick, driving I Luv The Nitelife),” said Gingras. “It’s a long stretch here and I couldn’t wait for the wire to show up quick enough.  But both fillies really put forth a great effort tonight and it was exciting to get a track record out of it.”   After Authorize (Ron Pierce) took the field through a first quarter clocking of :26 and the :53.3 half, I Luv The Nitelife came first over to take control of the race going into the last turn.  At the 1:21.2 three-quarter marker I Luv The Nitelife appeared poised to notch her 14th win of the season, but Charisma continued to dig in, besting her rival by a neck at the wire.   Aunt Caroline (Scott Zeron) got up for third, while Authorize held on for fourth. Charisma Hanover paid $7.80 to win.   Video attached   by Kimbery Rinker for Balmoral Park  

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