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There were five divisions of Stallion Series action for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters contested at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (May 13). In the first division, it was J&T Silva Stable's Old Oak (Marcus Johansson) picking up the victory. The son of Donato Hanover brushed towards the front at the quarter pole, and led every step from that point. PCF Stable's Kolbee's Star (Corey Callahan) provided some tense moments late in the stretch however. The son of Lear Jetta maintained pocket position, but could not go by the winner in the passing lane. Bennie Magliochetti's Bistro finished third. It was the third career win for Old Oak, clocking a lifetime's best 1:56.4. He paid $3.20. In division two, Richard Gutnick's RG's Thunderbolt (Tim Tetrick) was dominant in victory. The son of Yankee Glide went right to the front and made every call a winning one, stopping the timer in 1:57. It was the second straight win for the Linda Toscano trainee, who is a perfect two for two on the season. Muscle Massive colt Ralph R (Marcus Miller) finished second via a pocket trip, while Hurrikane Jonny K (George Napolitano Jr.) finished third.The winner paid $4.80. In the third division, it was Jonas Czernyson trainee Keystone Bodacious (Corey Callahan) leading the field from start to finish. The son of Muscle Massive set moderate fractions to win for the first time. The final time was 1:57.1. Florida invader Silvermass Volo (George Napolitano Jr.) raced strong first-over, but had to settle for second, while long shot Wildintention As (Dave Miller) finished third. Keystone Bodacious is owned by Arden Homestead Stables, Mal and Janet Burroughs, Lst Stables, and Bill Devan Jr. He paid $9.80. In Division four, Harbor Racing's Don't Mind Me (Jim Raymer) went all the way for the victory. The son of Andover Hall faced a challenge at three-quarters from the upstart Handover The Money (Ake Svanstedt). Don't Mind Me responded however, pulling away to win by three lengths, stopping the clock in 1:56.4. Handover The Money (Ake Svanstedt) finished second, while W W (Tim Tetrick) finished third. It was the third career win for Don't Mind Me, who paid $4.80 to win. In the fastest of the five divisions, it was Newcastle going gate-to-wire for the win. The son of Cantab Hall quickly assumed command at the start and never looked back. It was the second win of the day for Harbor Racing Stable and trainer Jim Raymer. Newcastle (Corey Callahan) is now three for four in 2015. Ake Svanstedt trainee Colbert finished second, while Ferragamo (Brett Miller) finished third. The winner paid $2.60. Michael Bozich

EAST RUTHERFORD (May 9, 2015) - If the first two starts of her 2015 harness racing campaign are any indication, Bee A Magician will be a force to be reckoned with once again. On Saturday night at The Meadowlands, she not only defeated the boys in the $50,000 prep for the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, she destroyed them. Escaping at 12-1, despite coming off a track record performance at Yonkers, Bee A Magician was dismissed by the punters from post position 10. Off the gate, Zeron asked his champion mare for a little speed, but his plan wasn't to make the lead. "I figured we would float out there and I would try to set her up second or third over," said Zeron, "but nobody else really pushed out there, so she brought me to the top rather easily and then we let Yannick go, sat behind him and that was perfect." Bee A Magician did lead at the first point of call, which she reached in 27.4, but she would relinquish that lead to DW's NY Yank, who briefly went off-stride at the start. The Burke-trainee entered tonight riding a four race win streak and he would lead the field past the half-mile in 55.4. Meanwhile. The even money favorite, Melady's Monet was taken back off the speed and would commit first over as the field moved down the backstretch. Hambletonian Winner Market Share would ride his cover around the far turn. Bee A Magician continued to draft in the pocket behind the leader past three quarters in 1:24.3. But from there, the mare made her move. "She pulled me out of the pocket," added Zeron. "She wanted to go and once she made the lead she kicked in even more." Bee A Magician opened up daylight in the stretch and was a geared down and ultra-impressive winner in 1:51.3. Wind Of The North rallied well to finish second, with Melady's Monet holding onto third despite a tough first over trip. In 2013, Bee A Magician completed an undefeated campaign, that included a Hambletonian Oaks win. That campaign led to her being voted the Horse of the Year. She will look to become the first mare to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in the 17-year history of the race in the $175,000 Final on Saturday, May 16th. The magnificent mare by Kadabra is owned by Melvin Hartman, Marvin Katz and David Mc Duffee and trained by Nifty Norman. For Queen Bee, it was her 33rd victory from 49 starts. Her earnings continue to close in on $2.8 Million. The win capped off a big night for Scott Zeron, who won four races on the card. Bee A Magician Earlier on the racing program, the top pacers contested the $27,500 Open Handicap which was scratched down to a field of six. Newcomer Ellis Park was a 9/5 favorite at post time, but both Dovuto Hanover and Doctor Butch were not far behind in the pari-mutuel wagering. Doctor Butch was asked for speed off the gate and would be guided to a pocket spot behind Fool Me Once who would lead the field for the first three quarters of a mile, establishing fractions of 26.2, 54.2 and 1:21.2 but the lead would not last the length of the stretch as the field closed in, none more so than Doctor Butch. The five year old son of Art Major ripped out of the pocket in the stretch and scampered away from the field to win impressively in 1:48.1, establishing a new lifetime mark and sending his lifetime earnings past $900,000. Dovuto Hanover rallied from off the pace to finish second, while Ellis Park, who roughed it first over, held on for third. Doctor Butch won for the 23rd time in his career for Linda Toscano and Kenneth Jacobs and was driven to victory by his usual partner in the sulky, Tim Tetrick. Doctor Butch In other action, Rock Of The Ages scored a victory over a trio of Meadowlands Pace-eligibles, winning in 1:51 for Brett Miller. Trading Up, Sicily and Jo Pa's Well Said, all on the road to The Meadowlands Pace finished behind the 7-1 upset winner. Rock Of The Ages Tony Alagna had a good night on Saturday at The Meadowlands. In addition to his Trading Up finishing second in his three year old debut, he won a pair of races with Shades Of Bay and Odds On Equuleus, both with Scott Zeron in the sulky. The former is a Meadowlands Pace-eligible colt who was making his three year old debut. He was victorious in a very sharp 1:50.3. The Meadowlands Pace theme would continue in the very next race, as Edward Teach, another Pace-eligible colt scored in a condition event in a lifetime best 1:51 for the Burke/Gingras connection. Shades Of Bay Odds On Equuleus Art History won for the third consecutive time, taking a tough condition even in 1:51.1 capping what was a very good night for Scott Zeron. Art History There were two winning tickets in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5, so that jackpot pool carried over once again and will feature a $112,844 carryover into Friday night. The last race jackpot also went unclaimed and that carryover will be $87,837 into the Friday program. The handle of just over $2.8 Million was virtually flat compared to this night in 2014, with one less race. Racing returns on Friday which features the New Jersey Sire Stakes for thee year old trotters and the eagerly anticipated three year old debut of Mission Brief. Post time is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

Under most circumstances, El Bloombito is the kind of horse harness racing trainer Linda Toscano would have looked to sell. But after a discussion with the horse's other owners, it was decided that the 4-year-old El Bloombito was the kind of horse worth keeping. El Bloombito - named after a Twitter account that parodied then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempts at speaking Spanish - is among nine horses in Saturday's $54,200 Whata Baron Series final at the Meadowlands Racetrack. He is one of three Toscano-trained horses in the race. First race post time is 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Meadowlands. Toscano had high hopes for El Bloombito after he was purchased for $25,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. He won a division of the Tompkins-Geers as a 2-year-old, but was limited to three starts that season because of soreness. At age 3, El Bloombito won two preliminary divisions of the New York Sire Stakes, but had to be scratched from the final because of illness. "He had issues at both 2 and 3, but he had a lot of speed," said Toscano, who owns El Bloombito with Stake Your Claim Stable and Fred Wallace. "He absolutely had a lot of speed. "I don't keep them very often; I usually sell them after their 3-year-old year so I can make room for the next one. But the group of us talked and thought: Do we really want to sell this horse? He's going to make an awful nice aged racehorse for somebody else. We thought maybe he could pay his way and pay for some of the babies. We decided to keep him, and I'm not unhappy that I kept him. I'm just unhappy that he has no luck." Now a gelding, El Bloombito has won two of nine races this year and hit the board a total of five times. He was fifth in the first round of the Whata Baron Series, although beaten by only a half-length, and third in last week's 12-horse second round despite racing on the outside for the entirety of the extended-distance 1-1/8 miles event. His luck did not improve with the draw for Saturday's final, as he got post nine. Regular driver John Campbell will be in the sulky. The duo is 8-1 on the morning line. "John and he get along really, really well and he's been finishing up like gangbusters," Toscano said. "Even last week at a mile and an eighth he raced well; he was parked the whole mile. I was happy with him. But I don't know how we're going to do it from the nine hole." El Bloombito has done most of his racing this season from off the pace, but that is by design and not because of a lack of speed leaving the starting gate. "He leaves really well, but we're teaching him two ends," Toscano said about the son of American Ideal-On The Arm. "He was a one-trick pony; he used to always have to leave and be on the lead. But he was too grabby. We needed him to relax. He's been racing really well from the back." El Bloombito, who has earned $119,974 lifetime, also has relaxed since being gelded. "He was very tough on himself," Toscano said. "He was the kind of horse that was difficult, both from a caretaker's point of view and a trainer's point of view. He would scream and holler and rant and rave. He's much more focused now. He's just a nice horse to have around." Toscano's other Whata Baron finalists are JK Patriot and Sassy Hanover, who are 15-1 and 20-1, respectively, on the morning line. "Sassy is overmatched, I think," Toscano said. "He's an honest horse and when he's in the right class he wins. I like those kinds of horses. But I think he's one touch above where he belongs (in the Whata Baron). "JK Patriot is just a pleasure to have in the barn. I'm babysitting him for (Ohio's) Sammy and Jodi Schillaci. He doesn't do anything wrong. He's just one of those horses that you'd love to own because he goes out there and finds a way to get a check every single time. Last week he had an impossible spot as well as having his wheel run over, so he dragged a flat tire around the whole mile. He didn't have much shot last week. "He's reunited with David (Miller) and David gets along great with him and maybe he'll get more luck too." Ron Burke-trained Rediscovery, who won his two preliminary starts in the series, is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He leaves from post six with driver Yannick Gingras. Ideal Cowboy and Bettorever, both from the stable of trainer Jeff Bamond Jr., are 5-2 and 3-1, respectively. Bettorever, who also has a preliminary-round win in the series, starts from post two with driver Corey Callahan while Ideal Cowboy begins from post seven with driver Tim Tetrick. * * * Joe Holloway hopes Fast Movin Train is on track for a successful New York Sire Stakes season. But first the gelding will have to compete against the locomotive known as Wiggle It Jiggleit in Saturday's $47,124 Simpson Memorial Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Wiggle It Jiggleit is 5-for-5 this year -- and unbeaten in six lifetime starts -- for owner George Teague Jr., trainer Clyde Francis and driver Montrell Teague. Earlier this season, he won the Buddy Gilmour Series at the Meadowlands as well as beating older horses in a preliminary round of the Sonsam Series. He is the 3-5 morning line favorite in the Simpson, leaving from post four in a seven-horse field. Fast Movin Train is coming off a neck victory over Rock N' Roll World in last week's Reynolds Memorial Stakes at the Meadowlands. Fast Movin Train and driver David Miller won in a career-best 1:52.3 at odds of 24-1. Fast Movin Train drew post five and is 5-1. Rock N' Roll World, who is the 9-2 second choice, will leave from post one with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Mark Silva. After going winless in eight starts last year, Fast Movin Train has two wins and four second-place finishes in eight races this season. He has earned $59,743 in his career. "He's definitely better than he was last year," said Holloway, referring to Fast Movin Train's 0-for-8 season at age 2. "I thought he stood a chance last week. As it worked out, he got a good trip. If he was first up like (favorite) Coaster was, he probably would have been back some. But he shouldn't have been as long a shot as he was." Holloway, who trains Fast Movin Train for owner Michael Ouriel, thinks the horse could be ready for a favorable New York Sire Stakes campaign. "I don't think he's an open type of horse, but hopefully he can be a good sire stakes horse," Holloway said. "He has gate speed, so he can get position in the sire stakes. I think he'll grind it out and have a very decent year." * * * The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will host four divisions of the Pennsylvania All Stars for 3-year-old male trotters on Saturday, with the races held on the first of two cards that day. Post time is 11 a.m. for the first card and 6:30 p.m. for the nightcap. Fifteen Hambletonian Stakes eligible trotters will compete in the four divisions, with Boots N Chains, Don't Mind Me, and Jacksons Minion in the first group. The second set includes Explosive Brother, Piercewave Hanover, Pierre, Real Dj Hanover, and Soboro Hanover. Cruzado Dela Noche, Finish Line, and Suit And Tie are in the third division while Cue Hall, Danish Durango, On The Sly, and Whom Shall I Fear close out the card. Boots N Chains, from the stable of trainer John Butenschoen, and Nancy Johansson's Cruzado Dela Noche were open stakes winners last season. Whom Shall I Fear, sent out by trainer Jimmy Takter, is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick. The $1 million Hambletonian is Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. * * * Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, will race Saturday in the Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The 5-year-old mare will leave from post six in a seven-horse field with Brian Sears driving for trainer Nifty Norman. Not Afraid, who leaves from post seven with Daniel Dube driving for Jimmy Takter, is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Ray Schnittker's Dewycolorintheline, the 2013 Yonkers Trot winner, is in post five. * * * JK She'salady, the 2014 Horse of the Year, and Dan Patch Award winners Mission Brief, Pinkman, Father Patrick and Market Share all are scheduled to compete in qualifiers Friday morning at the Meadowlands. The qualifiers are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. For a complete look at the card, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

A field of eight upper-conditioned level filly and mare pacers lined up for the featured harness racing event on Friday afternoon (April 24) from Harrah's Philadelphia. The wagering public put their support behind Linda Toscano trainee Blush Hanover. The daughter of Art Major was coming off of a solid third place performance against similar. At the start, the race favorite initially left, but took back, as class-dropping Jeremes Sweetheart (Vic Kirby) left hard for the lead. After a swift :27 opening quarter, the pace slowed down some at the half (:56.3/:29.3). Business picked up however, as long shot Odds On Alpha (Marcus Miller) moved up first-over to challenge at three-quarters (1:24.2/:27.4). Jeremes Sweetheart shunned that challenge by stretch's beginning, but faced a host of fresh challengers in the stretch, including favorite Blush Hanover. At the finish, it was Blush Hanover (Tim Tetrick) moving through to narrowly win, stopping the clock in 1:53.3 (:29.1). Jeremes Sweetheart finished second, while Stormunn (Pat Berry) was third. Blush Hanover is owned by Stake Your Claim Stables, Seth Coen, and George Derocker. Michael Bozich

A field of eight classy trotters lined up behind the starter for the featured harness racing event on a chilly Thursday at Harrah's Philadelphia. It was a trot for winners over $25,000 lifetime going for a purse of $25,000. It was a war right from the word go, as they battled three wide to the quarter. Race Favorite Luminosity (Yannick Gingras) emerged with the lead from post five, by an opening quarter in :27.4. Linda Toscano trainee Uva Hanover (Tim Tetrick) secured pocket position, while millionaire trotter Sevruga was forced to take back into third. After a calmer half (:57.2/:29.3), Jim Campbell trainee Opening Night (John Campbell) moved up to challenge. After a third quarter timed in 1:26.1(:28.4), Luminosity drew clear by a length, but was unable to hold off the passing lane bid of Uva Hanover, who won by a head in the end. The final time was 1:55.1. It was the ninth win out of twenty-five starts for the son of Cantab Hall. He is owned by Stake Your Claim Stables and Martin Sternberg. Luminosity was second, while Team Six (Marcus Miller) rallied for third. The winner paid $9.40. Michael Bozich

A field of seven lined up behind the starter for the featured event of the day from Harrah's Philadelphia, a trot for non-winners of $25,000 in their last 5 starts or non-winners of 9 races or $90,000 lifetime. Three horses were making their 2015 debuts after solid 3-year-old campaigns. Linda Toscano trainee Uva Hanover, Chris Ryder trainee Madewell Hanover, and Walter Carroll trainee Wheelsandthelegman each made over $100,000 as 3-year-olds. At the start however, it was favored Il Mago (Yannick Gingras) going right to the front, and making every call a winning one, stopping the clock in 1:55. Spider Blue Chip (Dave Miller) closed up the inside to finish second, while millionaire trotter Sevruga (Andy Miller). It was the 24th career win for the 6-year-old horse by Kadabra, who was making his 99th start. The winner paid $4.00. Michael Bozich

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - (Saturday, March 14, 2015) There have not been many better horses in the sport of harness racing this winter than Rockeyed Optimist and his win Saturday night at The Meadowlands in the first round of the Clyde Hirt series may have been his most impressive victory yet. Fresh off his win in the $59,000 Sonsam Final, a lifetime best 1:50 performance, Rockeyed Optimist was a 1/5 favorite to win the $20,000 first round of the Clyde Hirt series and he did not disappoint. Reunited with Tim Tetrick, who returned from the World Drivers Championship in Australia, Rockeyed Optimist sat third early in the mile and was relaxed through a quarter of 26.4 before making his move for the lead. He would spring past Rock Out before the half-mile in 55-seconds and that essentially closed the book on the race. From the moment he seized command, the lead would only expand through the final three-eighths of a mile, sprinting a 27.4 third panel before setting sail for home. At the top of the stretch Tetrick asked his star for speed and the response was devastating as Rockeyed Optimist sprinted to the wire in 26.4 to win by open lengths in a lifetime best 1:49.3. Caviart Luca was the runner-up with Rock Out third. Rockeyed Optimist has now won five times from six starts this season for trainer Steve Elliot and owners Anthony Perretti, Berkner, A&B Stable and Battaglia. The $25,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers featured a competitive field and a thrilling finish. Speed Again and Yannick Gingras made an easy lead off the gate, with Doctor Butch, the 7/5 favorite securing the pocket spot into the first turn. Speed Again rolled through fractions of 27.2, 56.2 and 1:24.2, and Doctor Butch remained right behind the leader throughout the first three-quarters of a mile. Ontario Success moved first over and challenged for the lead around the far turn, effectively keeping Tim Tetrick and Doctor Butch locked in the pocket. That scenario played out in the stretch with Tetrick look for racing room as Ontario Success hit the front in the final eighth of a mile. Blatanly Best was gathering momentum from the back of the pack and began to close in as Tetrick tried to thread the needle between horses nearing the wire. There was just enough room for Doctor Butch as he slipped through and just got his nose on the wire first in 1:51.2. Blatantly Best finished second with Ontario Success not far behind in third. Doctor Butch is trained by Linda Toscano for Kenneth Jacobs. The win was the 20th in the five year olds career.   Darin Zoccali

Three harness racing series finals made up the Winter Series Spectacular at The Meadowlands on Saturday night. The Super Bowl, Wordly Beauty and last but not least, the Escort Final with a purse of $56,000 appeared the most competitive of the three series finals on paper. Coming into The Escort Final, Tim Tetrick had what appeared to be a difficult decision to make, between Khan Blue Chip, a Linda Toscano trainee and Company Man. Tetrick decided to sit behind Company Man and it was proven that he chose wisely. Sent off as the 2-1 second choice, Tetrick allowed Company Man to sit third, just off the speed of Khan Blue Chip through a rather soft opening quarter of 28.1. Sensing the light tempo, Tetrick pulled his gelding as they straightened up in the backstretch and made a strong bid for the lead. Company Man hit the half-mile in 56 and three-quarters in 1:23.3, before getting separation on the field and opening up a three length lead turning for home. His main rival, Major Uptrend, was stacked up third over finding himself with five lengths to make up at the top of the stretch. Driven by Corey Callahan, Major Uptrend lengthened his stride late, along with a game JK Patriot and that pair began to close in on Company Man. But Tetrick saved just enough for the final strides and Company Man held on for the score in 1:51.4. Major Uptrend was second and JK Patriot third. Tetrick noted that his horse has the potential to move up the class ladder in the coming months. "He's tough enough," said Tetrick, "he can carry his speed for a long time and he's tough enough and that makes for a good racehorse." Up next for Company Man will be the Sonsam series which gets underway on Saturday February 7th. The top-five finishers from The Escort are all eligible to the Sonsam. Company Man is trained by Virgil Morgan Jr.for Daniel Mitchell. Company Man Tetrick was far from done as he had a major contender, Witch Dali, in the the second winter-series Final contested which was the $47,600 Wordly Beauty for three and four year old filly and mare pacers. Donttellruss was sent off as the 4/5 favorite off her pocket-rocket win over Witch Dali in round two of the series. Tonight, Corey Callahan was intent on the lead, parking out all challengers, especially the first over Just Fine. Donttellruss established a hot-pace of 27, 54 and 1:22.3 before turning for home with the lead, with Empress Deo looming off cover and Witch Dali situated third over as the field entered the stretch. Callahan called on Donttellruss for everything she had, but Tim Tetrick showed his mare, Witch Dali some racetrack and she responded, carving into the margin with each and ever stride. Nearing the wire, Witch Dali wore down a gritty Donttellruss to win the Worldly Beauty in 1:52.2. The win marked the sixth in seven starts since returning from the layoff for Witch Dali and it also made for the second winter series win for the daughter of Dali. Trainer Tony Alagna said he was "licking his chops watching his mare tracking the leaders from third over with the hot fractions up front." Alagna also made reference to a foot issue that kept his mare on the sidelines for one year saying, "we waited on her, but she has come back great and she was super tonight." Witch Dali was driven by Tim Tetrick for Tony Alagna, Alagna Racing and Bradley Grant. Donttellruss saved the runner-up spot with Empress Deo third. The top-three finishers are all bound for the Burning Point series which gets underway on Friday, February 6th. The Super Bowl looked like a four-horse race on paper and on the heels of a defeat in round two of the Super Bowl series as a 3/5 favorite, JL Cruze turned the tables once again on Opulent Yankee when the big money was down, winning the $50,000 Super Bowl Final with John Campbell. Sent off as the 2-1 third choice, JL Cruze left for position and was seemingly moving up to challenge the early lead, but was promptly looped by a three-wide Two Hip Dip going past the opening quarter of 28.4. JL Cruze was hung out on the rim, grinding it first over through a strong 27.2 second quarter. Campbell asked his gelding for speed at this point and JL Cruze responded and took over the lead from Two Hip Dip moving into the far turn. Opulent Yankee was tracking the leaders from third and he elected to remain on the pylons as his entry-mates Blocking The Way and Propulsion moved to the outside. However, Two Hip Dip got aggressive and pulled from the pocket just before the three-quarter pole to challenge JL Cruze, which enabled Opulent Yankee to advance along the pylons as Two Hip Dip flattened out in the stretch. Turning for home off three-quarters in 1:25, JL Cruze accelerated away from the field, with the three-horse entry chasing him home as Two Hip Dip faded, but no one was catching JL Cruze, who streaked under the wire a powerful Super Bowl Champion in 1:54.4. Opulent Yankee was second with Blocking The Way third. The top-five finishers in the Super Bowl Final are all eligible to the upcoming Charles Singer Memorial trotting series which begins on Thursday, February 5th. JL Cruze was driven to victory by John Campbell for trainer Eric Ell who mentioned in a post-race interview that his gelding "was battling a bit of an illness the week before and was not 100-percent, but he had a great week this week and showed up with his best effort tonight." JL Cruze is owned by W Kenneth Wood, W J Dittmar Jr. and S J Iaquinta. The Super Bowl Final was part of a pick 5 sequence that sported a $22,616 carryover, resulting in a total pool Saturday night of $146,934. Darin Zoccali    

From where trainer harness racing Linda Toscano sits, JK Patriot looks like his mom. More importantly, the 4-year-old pacer acts like her too. Toscano trained JK Patriot's dam, JK Majorette, a stakes-winning three-quarter sister to millionaire Yankee Cruiser, in 2007 and 2008. Now she conditions JK Patriot for owners Matt Bencic and Sam Schillaci, and is preparing the gelding for Saturday's $56,000 Escort Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers at the Meadowlands. "They have a similar gait," Toscano said about JK Patriot and JK Majorette. "Sitting behind them, his rear end is the exact same as hers was. "She was a good race mare for me, so to get to race him is kind of a cool thing. He's got a really good desire and she was the same way too. She wanted to win." JK Patriot will start Saturday's nine-horse Escort final from post eight with driver David Miller. JK Patriot, who had a win and a second-place finish in the two preliminary rounds of the series, is 6-1 on the morning line. Toscano also will send Khan Blue Chip into the final. Khan Blue Chip, who had a dead-heat win and second-place finish in his preliminary rounds, is 4-1 from post three with driver Andy Miller. The entry of Major Uptrend and Brick Bazooka is the 8-5 morning line favorite, followed by What I Believe at 2-1. JK Patriot and Khan Blue Chip both were trained by Schillaci before being sent to Toscano for the Escort. JK Patriot has won seven of 24 career races and $59,709. In his last nine starts, dating back to early November, he has five victories and four second-place finishes. Khan Blue Chip, owned by William Heinz and Jack Heinz, has won six of 16 lifetime races and $38,739. "They both came from Jodi and Sammy Schillaci; I babysit for them in the wintertime, and I'm happy to do it," Toscano said. "They're good horsemen and they always send horses that look great and are ready to do exactly what they tell me they're ready to do. "(JK Patriot) was good every start before I got him and he's been holding his form. He's been very sharp. (Khan Blue Chip) is a fast horse. He was unlucky in his first start -- he got caught in -- but finished up good. Last week he raced great." Last week, JK Patriot won his Escort division - which was contested at 1-1/8 miles - by two lengths over Major Uptrend, who was eventually disqualified and placed 11th. Toscano believes the extra distance might help the horse in this week's traditional mile race. "It can't hurt," Toscano said. "I don't think (the horses) notice a difference unless they're on the lead or on the outside. But there's no question it will leg one up. When I'm trying to leg one up training, it's not uncommon for me to go a mile-and-a-half, so why wouldn't it help." Major Uptrend, Company Man and What I Believe each won a first-round Escort division. JK Patriot was joined by Khan Blue Chip and What I Believe, who finished in a dead heat, with victories in round two. What I Believe will start from post four with Ron Pierce driving for trainer Ron Burke. Major Uptrend, who went off stride last week in the race won by JK Patriot, leaves from post five with Corey Callahan at the lines, also for Burke. Major Uptrend is coupled with Brick Bazooka, trained by Larry Remmen, because of common ownership. Company Man, trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., drew post one and is 6-1 with driver Tim Tetrick. "It's a good group," Toscano said. "I think the trip will win it. That's what I like about the (JK) Patriot horse; he doesn't seem to need one. The outside hasn't hurt him too much and he's been first up for a long ways. He kind of does what he needs to do. "But there are some really nice horses in there and I think whoever gets the best trip is probably going to be the victor." By Ken Weingartner / Harness Racing Communications / USTA

For the first time this harness racing meet, there was a back to back winner in the Free For All Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands and his name is Doctor Butch. Doctor Butch showed good speed early in the mile for Tim Tetrick, who elected to sit the pocket behind the hard-leaving Beach Memories. The pacesetter established an opening quarter of 26.3 and while not feeling any pressure on the lead, settled down and reached the half-mile in 54.4. From there Beach Memories picked up the pace, with Casimir Jitterbug stalling first over. Doctor Butch was able to stick with the leader through a third quarter of 27 seconds flat. Wake Up Peter kicked off dull cover and came with his rally in the stretch as Doctor Butch took dead aim from the pocket. The field closed in on Beach Memories nearing the wire, with Doctor Butch grabbing the lead and holding off the rally of Wake Up Peter to score in a sensational 1:48.4. A son of Art Major Doctor Butch is trained by Linda Toscano for Kenneth Jacobs. Major Uptrend may have been making his debut for the Ron Burke stable, but he picked up right where he left off, in the winner's circle, this time in the first round of The Escort pacing series. Sent off as the 2/5 betting choice, Major Uptrend settled just off the speed of Khan Blue Chip through an opening quarter in 27.2. Moving past the three-eighths pole, Major Uptrend made an aggressive move to the lead for new pilot Yannick Gingras and settled in through a half-mile of 56 seconds. Not feeling any pressure, Major uptrend coasted through a 28.2 third panel before sprinting to the wire in just 26.1 to score a compelling victory over Khan Blue Chip in 1:50.3, which established a new lifetime mark for the four year old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere. I Am Will shook free late to be third. Major Uptrend is owned by Howard Taylor. The second division of The Escort was a more competitive event on paper as it looked like a three-pronged battle between JK Patriot, Brick Bazooka and Company and it played out that way throughout the mile on the racetrack. JK Patriot showed speed and after briefly relinquishing the lead to Autobiographical, he would move back to the front past an opening quarter of 28 seconds. Big Bazooka was the next to move for John Campbell as he was launched past the three-eighths pole and cleared the lead past the half-mile in 56.3. Company Man was not far behind as he revved his engine and was the next to brush to the front and would clear the lead into the far turn, where he proceeded to widen the margin past three quarters in 1:24.3. Company Man put some daylight between himself and Big Bazooka in the stretch while JK Patriot searched for racing room. Company Man would take them all the way to the wire, winning in 1:51.4 for Tim Tetrick. JK Patriot shook free too late and was a fast-closing second with Brick Bazooka third. Company Man is trained and owned by Daniel Mitchell. The third division of The Escort featured a 3/5 favorite in What I Believe who worked on to earn the victory in 1:51.2.  What I Believe moved to the lead early, before relinquishing the lead briefly on the backstretch and then re-taking the advantage through fractions of 27.4 and 55.4.  He would lead the field through three-quarters of 1:24 before holding off the late charge of Blacktree to score in 1:51.2.  What I Believe gave Yannick Gingras his fifth victory of the night, his fourth teamed up with trainer Ron Burke. What I Believe is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Honorable mention tonight goes to Hurrikane Kingcole, widely known as one of the fastest horses this sport has ever seen.  He got back to his winning ways in a $10,000 C-1 event with a powerful first over performance, completing the mile in 1:49.4. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

The Free For All pacers have taken turns beating each other for the majority of the meet thus far at The Meadowlands. That trend continued on Saturday night in the form of Doctor Butch. Sent off as the 4-1 third choice, Doctor Butch settled mid-pack and off the pace that was established early on by last weeks winner, Dapper Dude. After tripping the opening quarter in 26-seconds, John Campbell elected to yield the lead with Dapper Dude to the oncoming Warrawee Needy, who moved to the front, hitting the half-mile in 54-seconds. At this point, the outer-flow began to develop, led by the gritty Wake Up Peter who committed first over. Warrawee Needy went past three-quarters in 1:21.3, beginning to feel the pressure of the 9/5 favorite, Wake Up Peter who put a head in front in the stretch. Doctor Butch was hot on his heels track his cover from second over and he was able to wear down the favorite while holding off the late charge of Beach Memories, who had been tracking Doctor Butch throughout to complete the mile in 1:49, which established a new lifetime mark for the son of Art Major. The win marked the second on the card for Linda Toscano and the third for Tim Tetrick at that point, but he wasnt done yet. Doctor Butch is owned by Kenneth Jacobs. The eighth race $20,000 B-1 Pace was captured by a revitalized Odds On Equuleus. Aggressively moving to the lead after a 28.3 tepid opening quarter, Odds On Equuleus asserted himself on the lead and would carry the field through middle fractions of 56.3 and 1:24 before turning for home in front. With Long Live Rock On his back, Tim Tetrick asked the classy five year old for speed and Odds On Equuleus responded and maintained his one length advantage through the stretch to score in 1:51.1. Odds On Equuleus is trained by Tony Alagna, giving him a training double and is owned by Odds On Racing. The win marked the fourth on the card for Tim Tetrick. The sixth race, a $20,000 B-2/B-1 Handicap Pace saw Al's Hammered rally from far off the pace to score a bounce-back win in 1:51, splashing home in a powerful 26.4 seconds. Al's Hammered was coming off a season that saw him win 15 of 29 starts and he makes his first start of 2015 a winning one. The six year old Peter Tritton trainee was guided to victory by Ron Pierce for Harry von Knoblauch. There were no winning tickets in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5. The carryover into the Thursday program stands at $10,645.77. The thirtheenth race jackpot went unclaimed and the carryover for race 13 on Thursday is $28,076.98. Post time for Thursday night is 7:15 P.M. and features the first round of The Super Bowl trotting series. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

The distaff element of harness racing—two legged and four—has stepped to the fore and shone brightly during 2014. JK She’salady, the first freshman filly to be voted Horse of the Year, stands above all others in this regard. A perfect 12 for 12 season with a 1:50.1 world record to boot, secures her top spot. And beyond that, she is trained by Nancy Johansson, who thus becomes the second woman to train a Horse of the Year. Linda Toscano was the first, in 2012 when Chapter Seven won. Many were adamant about a two-year-old filly never winning this award, but her flawed opponents cancelled each other out and she emerged as a narrow winner. McWicked, who received only two votes, is the only other O’Brien eligible horse that received Horse of the Year votes in the US. So, the Art Major filly, who won five times in Canada, is odds on to be voted Horse of the Year in Canada as well. With a couple of weeks left in the year there are three women in the top dozen of the leading trainer’s money list. Casie Coleman is number four with $4.5 million earned in many fewer starts than any other trainer in the top 15. Right now she only has nine more wins than in all of 2013, but she’s earned a million dollars more than she did last year. Coleman is, like Jimmy Takter, a quality over quantity trainer. Her Dan Patch winner, McWicked, who won the Breeders Crown and the Adios, sports the second largest bankroll overall--$1.4 million. And several from Sportswriter’s successful first crop, including Super Final winner Reverend Hanover, also contributed. Julie Miller currently occupies the six slot on the money list, after finishing 17th in 2013. The fact that husband Andy spent the heart of the season recovering from a broken back suffered in an accident at Yonkers in mid-April didn’t make things any easier. Perfect Alliance, who won 11 in a row early in the year, as well as Robin Cruiser and Katie Said had successful campaigns. Market Share’s earnings were cut in half this year, Heston Blue Chip never regained his colt form and Chapter Seven is a distant memory, but Linda Toscano is still holding down the number 11 spot.  And we can’t forget about Riina Rekila, whose Muscle Hill colt E L Titan won the Galt with her driving and then beat Dan Patch winner, Father Patrick, in the Erskine for Ron Pierce. Trotter of the Year, Shake It Cerry, is the diagonally gaited miss who best represents the exceptional talent displayed by the distaff set in 2014. She won 15 of her 17 starts, with her only losses coming to a pair of formidable foes—Designed To Be in an early season edition of the PASS and, of course, to stablemate Lifetime Pursuit in the Oaks. Cerry set a stakes record in winning the BC and established a Dover Downs track record when she won the Matron. And it’s only fitting that ten years ago her dam Solveig won a Dan Patch. Sydney Weaver was the at the epicenter of the most potent demonstration of social media as a positive force in harness racing early in the year when her beloved mare Sydney Seelster was taken from her in a claiming race at Flamboro Downs. Trainer Guy Gagnon was pilloried on Facebook and Twitter for making the claim and soon cried uncle, agreeing to allow Sydney to claim her mare back. All of this went down back in February, but I can’t think of anything that topped it as the feel good story of the year. A woman who achieved a measure of notoriety this year for abusing her horses is photo journalist/trainer/amateur blacksmith and self-proclaimed equine maven Monica Thors. She was trimming the hooves of her horses to the point where they bled and became infected from the glue she used to keep the shoes on, leading to a situation where they either couldn’t stand or died. The state was moving at a glacial pace to correct this situation when Kathy McGuire, an animal cruelty investigator, got things moving. A Facebook page entitled “Stop Monica Thors,” which has drawn almost 14,000 Likes, brought enough pressure on regulators to remove the horses from Thors’ property. Whether it was base incompetence, a dark heart or personal issues that led to this tragedy, Monica Thors represents the worst of women in 2014. Thankfully there was a Kathy McGuire to help right the wrong. At the end of March Premier Kathleen Wynne, confirmed a $500 million dollar investment in horse racing by the Ontario Government. This was one year to the day after Paul Godfrey and Dwight Duncan had hung a March 31, 2013 date on the termination of the fifteen-year-old SARP program which had allowed harness racing to flourish in the province. This partial about face on the part of the Liberal Government has had a soothing effect on the entire industry. Two years ago, when signals were sent that the industry was about to suffer a critical blow, it had a dramatic impact on sales in Canada and the US. This year that situation shifted nicely as Canadians spent freely at Lexington and Harrisburg. And we certainly wouldn’t be looking forward to the Breeders Crown being raced at Woodbine in 2015 without this five-year government funding guarantee. The men in the OLG screwed this thing up big time, leaving it to Wynn to open her eyes and ears and realize that racing was worth saving in Ontario.  Male chauvinism is alive and well in harness racing. Many are furious about JK She’salady capturing Horse of the Year honors, and Casie Coleman, who has always inspired jealousy, sent them over the edge with her new trim physique. However, even the grump brigade can’t deny the prominent role the distaff set played in this game during 2014. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

Last weekend ended up on a winning note with a $1 profit on the nine races selected. It's never a bad weekend when you can show a profit. We will try to do it again this Saturday night. Good Luck! $14,000 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 1st race SATURDAY - The Peter Pellegrino entry of LYONS JOHNNY/E Z NOAH looms too tough against this short field. Poor Prairie Jaguar keeps cutting mean miles for someone else to win from, losing last three starts by a nose and neck. Both Lyons Johnny and E Z Noah have won their last starts and one of them is likely to get the dream trip behind Prairie Jaguar to win off of. Use Prairie Jaguar and Cadillac Phil in exotic plays. $10,000 Pace NW last 5 Pompano Park 3rd race SATURDAY - With a drop in class from the Open Pace, RAJI'S BLUE LINE may just be able to make the most of once again drawing a good inside post. Last week he could do nothing from the rail and gets a driver change to Ed Hensley, who has been the hottest driver at Pompano this meet. Prior lines show he should be able to win in here. Use Rage N Ryan and That'll Be The Rei in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap The Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY - This is going to be a great race. Top performers going head and head for a good purse. I am taking a shot in here that ODDS ON EQUULEUS, despite being off for two months is ready to pop in first starts back. He was decent in qualifying race and was very sharp when given a good rest but faces some formidable foes in here. Use Wake Up Peter and Handsome Henry K in exotic plays. $27,000 Trot NW $27,000 last 5 starts Woodbine 6th race SATURDAY - Whomever this marewins this close match-up will pay a good price, even the favorite. I am going with INTENSE AMERICA as this mare, one of only two taking on male rivals, is on a roll with two straight wins and thus I feel she can handle the hike in class. She has shown in her last two starts that she can win from either on or off the pace and get a slim call. Use Nowucit Nowudon't and Zeus Lightning in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace B-1 Horses & Geldings The Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY - Another well matched group in here. I like return winners and thus am going with ROCKIN WIZARD. He has won his last two starts with impressive scores at both the Meadowlands and Yonkers, coming from off the pace and also wiring the field. And with him drawing the rail he should be game right to the finish wire again. Use Tye Seelster and Dedi's Dragon in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Handicap Woodbine 7th race SATURDAY - I kept reviewing this race, trying to find a reason to not pick MODERN LEGEND. Despite being the class of the field and having drawn the far outside post ten I am worried about his time off from racing and if he could be sharp enough in here to overcome outside post. Looking at the rest of the field I really could not find someone who would beat Modern Legend provided he is back in shape and sharp from his last outing, which was not great. But I couldn't find anyone I felt can beat him. Use Machal Jordan and Nickle Bad in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace 3YO Handicap The Meadowlands 8th race SATURDAY - With a two month rest and some strong qualifying wins coming into this race I really like WINDS OF CHANGE. Hails from the Linda Toscano Stable and looks to be ready for a strong effort despite going against some strong competition. This horse is fresh and should be strong to the wire. Use National Debt and Gold Rocks in exotic plays.

Winbak Farm of New York is proud to introduce Breeders Crown Winner and Millionaire pacer, Heston Blue Chip, p, 2, 1:50.4f; 3, 1:48f ($1,777,769), for 2015. "Heston Blue Chip is the real deal," said Linda Toscano, Heston Blue Chip's trainer. "He was clearly the best New York Sire Stakes colt at two and three, setting multiple track records on all size tracks." Heston Blue Chip was an USHWA Dan Patch Award Winner for Three-Year-Old Pacing Colts. "Heston had a great attitude and he wanted to win at high speeds and usually that transfers to a stallion's offspring," said Tim Tetrick, driver. "His offspring should do great if they have his attitude and desire." At 2, Heston Blue Chip's stakes wins included the John Simpson Memorial, Matron Final, 7 New York Sire Stakes legs and the Final. "I really enjoyed racing Heston Blue Chip", said Tetrick. "From the first time I raced him in a baby race I knew he was going to be special, he raced great at 2 and 3, and he never let me down." At 3, he came back for a stellar year that included wins in the Breeders Crown elimination and Final, Cane Pace elimination, Empire Breeder Classic elimination and Final, Historic, Matron Final, Meadowlands Pace elimination, 4 New York Sire Stakes Legs and the Progress Pace elimination and Final. "In his Breeders Crown win, he beat the best of the best including Sweet Lou," said Toscano, "If that isn't enough, he's one of the kindest, nicest and happiest horses I've ever had the pleasure to work with." Heston Blue Chip set track records at both Dover Downs and Tioga Downs in his racing career. "He's great gaited, wore no boots, and a 63" hopple," said Toscano. As a racehorse, he had early speed including having the fastest first quarter ever at Dover Downs when he won the $270,000 Matron at 3 in 1:49. "He was a beautiful animal, big, strong and athletic on his feet, " said Tetrick. "He could leave the gate lightning fast. Heston was just super nice and raced good on all size tracks." Born with a proven pedigree, Heston Blue Chip is the richest son of American Ideal and is a full-brother to 2013 Adios Winner, Sunfire Blue Chip, p, 2, 1:52.4f; 3, 1:48.3f ($907,799). His maternal family also includes Millionaire Kikikatie, p, 2, 1:51.3s; 3, 1:50.3 ($1,268,463), who is the dam of proven sire, Rockin Image, p, 2, 1:50.4; 3, 1:48.2 ($900,541). "We are looking forward to the 2015 season with him standing here. It is nice to have a new pacer to stand in New York," said Noelle Duspiva, New York Farm Manager. "He is good looking and we are excited to start working with him since he has had a great race career. Now, we are looking forward to a successful stallion career." His stud fee for 2015 will be $4,500. Find more information on him at www.winbakfarm.com. Call Winbak Farm of New York at 845.778.5421 to book now! From Winbak Farms  

In one of the classic harness racing stretch drives of the year, Clear Vision and driver Tim Tetrick nosed out Foiled Again and Yannick Gingras in winning the Grand Circuit inaugural $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby. The time of the race was a track record 1:49 mile and it was the first time that Tetrick had ever driven the horse. It was race favorite Dancin Yankee and driver Tyler Buter who was first to show out of the starting gate, brushing by Night Pro (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) to a speedy :25.4 opening quarter mile. Then at the half mile marker in :53.4, Tetrick sent Clear Vision first-over and they flushed out Foiled Again who went right after Dancin Yankee and took command of the race by the three-quarters in 1:21.1 as Dancin Yankee spit out the bit and began to fade. That left Clear Vision first-over with Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) on their backs going around the last turn but Clear Vision was still on the move. Collaring Foiled Again at the top of the stretch, those two went at it neck and neck in a driving finish to the wire with Clear Vision barely getting up in the final stride to win it. Apprentice Hanover was two and one-half lengths back in third. “It was very very tight,” said Tim Tetrick after the race, “It was horse race against Foiled Again. He’s one of the best horses I have ever seen, Foiled Again. He just doesn’t give up. He got a little rougher trip then my guy got up right when he needed to. I was loving the trip we were getting but with Foiled Again it’s so tough to get by him. I was in the right spot and my horse worn him down. “He (Clear Vision) is a nice horse and can tough it out,” Tetrick said. “He knows how to get the job done.” An eight-year-old gelding by Western Hanover, it was the sixth win this year for Clear Vision. He is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Panhellenic Stable and Jim Koran. He paid $4.60 to win. Tetrick came right back to the winner’s circle in the very next race after he won the $162,000 inaugural Grand Circuit Dayton Trotting Derby for older horses, also in a track record time with Market Share. It was Lindy’s Tru Grit (Scott Zeron) who took full advantage of the rail and sped to the early lead with race favorite Creatine and driver Dan Nobel sitting half in-half out in the two-hole and Daylon Magician (Jack Moiseyev) stuck first-over and floating on the outside in third. They went that way to the opening quarter mile in :26.3. Daylon Magician finally worked his way to the front and then Noble came first-over with Creatine with Wishing Stone (Yannick Gingras) second over and following third over was Market Share to the half mile in :55.1. Then the backstretch, before the three-quarter mile marker in 1:24.1, Tetrick sent Market Share three-wide and they came marching on and were able to clear to the lead after the bold move before the top of the stretch. From there it was a breeze for Market Share as he pulled away from the field and went on to win going away by three and one-half lengths in 1:52.4. Opening Night (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was able to close for second with Creatine third. “If you look at him (Market Share),” Tetrick said, “he’s not very big but he has a big heart and he tries. It’s been kinda tough on Linda pulling her hair out this season trying to get him right. He’s had some health issues but he now has showed how he has made over $3 million. He’s done it the hard way, he won the Hambletonian, he was a $16,000 yearling and I have a special place (in my heart) for him. “When my horse is on his game,” Tetrick added, “He can race with the best in the country. Maybe by Breeders Crown we can beat Sebastian K.” For Market Share, a five-year-old stallion by Revenue S, it was his fourth win this year for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable and Bill Augustine. He paid $7.80 to win. An $11,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace, named in memory of R. J. "Skeeter" Brown, was also featured on the card. Latenite Rendezvous (Chris Page), making her first start at Dayton Raceway, was victorious for the partnership of Jerry Daugherty, Roger Hall and Page. They won in track record time of 1:51.4. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

A field of eight trotters lined up for the featured event at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (October 16), a NW of $17,500 in their last five starts.   The wagering public was evenly split between Modest Prince (Tim Tetrick) and Smilin Eli (Corey Callahan). Modest Prince has been ultra consistent, hitting the board in six of his last seven, while Smilin Eli was coming off of a sharp 1:54.3 qualifier over this oval.   At the start, it was Smilin Eli and Smoother Ride (Yannick Gingras) moving out for the lead, with the latter clearing from the extreme outside post, in a 27.3 opening quarter.   Smilin Eli quickly vacated the pocket however, and took the lead, tripping the halfway beam in 56.1 (28.3). Co-favorite Modest Prince was sent on his way from mid-pack, grinding first over to challenge the leader, and these two battled to three-quarters which was timed in 1:24.1 (:28).   Modest Prince forged ahead at the head of the lane, and went on to a handy three length win, stopping the clock in a season's best 1:52.1.   Trained by Linda Toscano, Modest Prince now has nine career wins of thirty-nine starts. He is owned by Richard Gutnick. Smoother Ride finished second, while Lucky Colby (Eric Carlson) rallied for third. The winner paid $5.60, keying a $24.00 exacta, and a trifecta that paid $120.20.   by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

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