Day At The Track
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On Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel, Mugshots Bro (Jailhouse Jesse) did something he had never done before. The Lisa Zabielski trainee went back-to-back in the $15,000 Open Trot. Mugshots Bro went coast-to-coast last Sunday (June 9th) as he set a new lifetime mark trotting to victory in 1:55 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. On a rainy Fathers Day afternoon, the method was different but the results were the same for Mugshots Bro who parlayed a second-over trip to victory. The seven year old high-stepper picked up the cover of rival Cash Me Out and tipped three-wide turning for home. Mugshots Bro charged right past the competition and drew away to win in 1:56 over a track labeled 'sloppy.' The win was the third in Opens in the last eight days for Zabielski as her Osprey Blue Chip (Brett Crawford) scored in Thursday's distaff to add to the pair of Open Trot victories for her recent acquisition Mugshots Bro. On Sunday, he paid $8.40 to win and led an exacta and triple with Cartier Volo (Frank Coppola Jr) second and Dragin The Wagon (Aaron Byron) third that returned $61.50 and $229.50, respectively. The second consecutive score in the Sunday feature for Mugshots Bro marked the third career win in the Open Trot for the rising star. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for 12 Noon. Mike Sardella

A pair of $9,000 events for New York sired trotters served as harness racing co-features on the Wednesday card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Trainer Lisa Zabielski's stable has heated up in recent weeks and her Goddess Ofgoodness (Conway Hall) sprung the upset in the first of the co-features on the matinee program. Returning to town off her first victory of the season which came at Plainridge, Goddess Ofgoodness got a second-over trip on Wednesday with driver Brett Crawford in the sulky. The longshot, who was dismissed at odds of 20-1, came charging hard and surged past her rivals to spring the upset in 1:58. After the longshot scored in the first of the co-features, the other $9,000 division for New York sired high-steppers went the way of the co-favorite. Living Proof I Am (Prayer I Am) was settling into the pocket when his co-favorite made a break heading to the opening quarter. Once he emerged on the engine, the four year old Andy Byler trainee would not give way. Living Proof I Am lasted on the lead and stopped the timer in 1:59 for his fourth win of the season. Phil Fluet piloted the young trotter who paid $6.80 to win. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12 Noon first post.   Mike Sardella

Justin Parker has a long way to go to equal his father's win total when it comes to harness racing, but that's not a priority at the moment. The son of renowned harness racing driver Billy "Zeke" Parker Jr. has a more modest goal than approaching dad's 11,288 career victories. "Right now I'm just focused on 100 (wins)," said a laughing Parker, who has 55 triumphs. "I'd like to see if I could get enough drives to get 45 more this year and try to build from there." The 34-year-old Parker, a native of Maine, has driven sporadically for the last 17 years. On Thursday night, he will drive Post Time Terror for trainer Lisa Zabielski in the seventh race at the Meadowlands. The race will be the first of three Thursday to be aired on "Meadowlands Harness Live" from 9:30-10:30 p.m. on SNY. Parker enjoyed his best year in the sulky in 2008, when he raced at Pompano Park in Florida and won 10 of 93 starts. He returned home to Maine soon thereafter, taking a track job at Bangor while continuing to drive a modest schedule on the side. Parker also was on the track crew at Pompano and has spent the last year as the lead track superintendent at Harrah's Philadelphia. He hopes to drive as often as his schedule permits. "I'd like to try to break in around here (in Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and make a name for myself," said Parker, who also had a business shoeing horses while in Maine. "I've worked for some class-act horsemen over the years and they helped me as much as they could. I've had some opportunities, but never got a lot of power. "I love driving. I've always had to work, but it's what I've always wanted to do. I'd like to be able to get four, five, six drives a night. Or maybe I could get to the point where I could start my own little stable. Hopefully something might come my way." * * * * * * * * Mark Wasserman is usually one to buy pacers, but one of his earliest yearling purchases when he returned to owning horses in the mid-2000s was trotter Stonebridge Idol. And Stonebridge Idol, now a 9-year-old, is still on the track and still picking up paychecks. The winner of 19 of 134 career races and $205,837 in purses, Stonebridge Idol is in Thursday's eighth race at the Meadowlands, a Dash for the "G" Notes event for trotters. Stonebridge Idol, trained by Travis Alexander, is 4-1 on the morning line with Marcus Miller driving. Detroit Rapper, from the stable of Patti and Rob Harmon, is the 9-5 choice. "He's meant a lot to us," said Wasserman, who races as Fiddler's Creek Stables. "He's been a nice honest horse, and he's pretty good right now." Stonebridge Idol reached the invitational level in 2013 at Hoosier Park, where he finished a dead-heat third behind Fusion Man and Appomattox. Wasserman was looking at pacers when Alexander spotted Stonebridge Idol at the Forest City Sale. Wasserman, who was involved in harness racing in the late 1970s before taking time away from the sport, thinks Stonebridge Idol is one of only three or four trotters he's ever owned. "I'm mostly a pacer guy, but sometimes you get attached to horses," Wasserman said. "I'd say he's one of those horses." * * * * * * * * May Day will be looking for his first career win at the Meadowlands, but co-owner/trainer Randy Ingrassia thinks the 7-year-old gelding is in good form heading into his start in Thursday's ninth race at the Big M. May Day, with Drew Monti in the bike, competes in the third of three Dash for the "G" Notes Series races for $7,500-claiming pacers. The race's morning line favorite is Alexandra Howard's I Do Hanover, at 4-5. May Day is 9-1. "We've had our ups and downs with him, but right now he's pretty good," said Ingrassia, who owns May Day with Dan Gagliardi and Stuart Feintuck. "I like him. I think he's in a class where he could be good. We'll just hope for the best." May Day has won 24 of 118 career races and earned $244,660. He is 0-for-8 lifetime at the Meadowlands, but as a 3-year-old was timed in 1:50 there in a race won by stakes-winner Dovuto Hanover. May Day has won four of his last six starts dating back to November and heads to the Big M off a victory on Jan. 10 at Monticello. "He's a tough horse," Ingrassia said. "He's all heart and he tries every race." May Day was trained previously by Ingrassia's father, Ron, who passed away in August. May Day provided Ron with his final win two days earlier. Randy spends time with the stable's three horses in the mornings and evenings while maintaining a fulltime job in New York City with the iron-workers union. "It's more of a hobby now," Ingrassia said about harness racing. "I'm just trying to keep it going." Ken Weingartner

Lisa Zabielski could be just a 'Hopskipanajump' away from winning Saturday's $60,850 Rags to Riches Final. The 25-year-old harness racing trainer from upstate New York is understandably excited about sending out one of the major contenders in the biggest race of her young career under the Meadowlands Racetrack spotlight.

Leg two of the Rags to Riches was the feature of the final Thursday live harness racing card of the season at the Meadowlands.

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