WASHINGTON, PA, July 29, 2016 -- Racing as Lone Wolf Stable, Brian Gillespie has done well at The Meadows, even sending a starter to last week's Adios eliminations. But there was one weapon missing from his harness racing equine arsenal -- a horse to compete in Friday's Edward M. Ryan, a $53,048 Arden Downs Grand Circuit stake named for Gillespie's late grandfather, a former owner of The Meadows. Brocious Racing Stable and trainer Robert Rougeaux III, on the other hand, had just such a horse, a promising 2-year-old gelding trotter named Box Of Luck. The connections talked Thursday and worked out the sale of a share of Box Of Luck to Lone Wolf. The result was pure storybook, as the son of Lucky Chucky-New DVD captured his Ed Ryan division in1:59 for his third win in five outings. Equestrianconxtion was second, 2 lengths in arrears, while Toolbox Tuesday earned show. "It's (Gillespie's) grandfather's memorial race, and he kind of wanted to have a dog in the fight," Rougeaux said. "I understand that. We have memorials for my grandfather at the fairs, and we'll race our rear ends off to try to win that blanket. So we worked out a deal." Muay Hanover and Don Dream also took Ed Ryan splits in identical clockings of 1:57.1. Dave Palone pulled the pocket with Muay Hanover into the final turn and collected a measured victory in 1:57.1. Vegas Chuck was second, 1/2 length back, with Moonshiner Hanover third. "I think the track tonight is actually better if you sit off the rail a little bit," Palone said. "So I just wanted to get him out in the good footing. He felt great in the bit. I thought it would turn into a sprint, and I had plenty of horse." Ron Burke trains Muay Hanover, a son of Donato Hanover-Musetta Hanover, for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables and J&T Silva Stables. Don Dream saved ground before brushing through the stretch for Tony Hall and downing Andy M by 2 lengths. Early leader Monsta Hanover completed the ticket. "He had a little bit of a snafu in his first race, but we can live with that because he's doing the job now," said Todd Rooney, who trains the son of Donato Hanover-Gabbys Dream and owns with Kimberly Farmer. "Tonight we thought we might have to go to the front, but it turned out we didn't have to. This was a good education for him." $49,800 Arden Downs, 2-Year-old Filly Trotters In Friday's co-feature, a Grand Circuit stake known as the Judge Joe McGraw, Dangle Than Deke set a stake record of 1:55.4 while extending her unbeaten streak to four. She erased the old mark of 1:56.1 established in 2013 by Broadway Socks. The other divisions went to Youvegotwhatitakes and EZ Passer. Dangle Then Deke -- her name is a mash-up of a pair of ice hockey maneuvers -- moved first over for Mike Wilder and defeated Temple Ruins by 1-1/2 lengths, with Lovebeinglucky third. "In terms of desire and gait, she's the best 2-year-old filly I've ever had," said Dirk Simpson, who trains the daughter of Cantab Hall-Love My Muscles for James Bafia. "Her desire is unbelievable. She's easy on herself on the off days, but when she gets behind the gate, she's all business." Youvegotwhatitakes enjoyed a second-over trip and tracked down the leader, Trixie Dust, in the lane to down her by 3/4 lengths in 1:57.1. Blue Line Sniper earned show. "The first quarter was 27," said winning driver Dan Rawlings. "These are 2-year-old trotters, so I thought they'd come back to me. I had plenty of time to catch them. She's game." Erv Miller trains Youvegotwhatitakes, a daughter of Yankee Glide-Char Catie Becca, for Ronald Michelon, Paymaq Racing and Louis Willinger. EZ Passer was well back early for Hall, trainer Mark Harder and owner Joseph Jannuzzelli, but Hall indicated he liked his position. "They told me she gets hot and not to do anything too quick with her," he said. "She kind of backed herself off, and I didn't want to force the issue. She was great following cover -- stayed nice and relaxed." The daughter of Crazed-Musclegrad prevailed in 1:57.3, 6-3/4 lengths better than Broadway Photo. Blameitonthealcohl was third. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
DAYTON PA - The two-year-old harness racing trotters continue to put on a speed show on the Pennsylvania fair circuit in 2016, with the track standards at the oval in this westcentral Pennsylvania borough rewritten for both sexes during Fair Sire Stakes action for freshmen on Saturday. First to add his name to the local records was the Great George Two gelding Gee Wizz George, who battled outside of pacesetter Sortie Hanover for over the last quarter mile, then was just along at the wire by a head in 2:04.2, lowering the best time ever posted locally by a baby colt trotter (Albany House, 2012) by a tick while taking a new mark. Trainer Jean Rastetter handles the fast freshman for owners Maryann and Richard Rastetter; for Ron Harvey, now driving only intermittently, his only two sulky successes since 2008 have come behind "George." But the title of "fastest two-year-old trotter ever at Dayton" was then transferred in ... gee wizz, how long was it? ... fifteen minutes, as in the very next race the Lucky Chucky filly Lovebeinglucky dispatched her competition by 8Â¼ lengths, coming home in 29.3 to complete a 2:04.1 mile. That clocking beat both the previous filly standard (2:05, Classical Original, 2003) and the newly-etched mark for overall fastest 2YO trotter ever locally. Lovebeinglucky, who also added a personal speed badge, became the first horse to set two sectional standards at the fairs this year (her first came in a 2:05.4 mile at Butler) for red-hot trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer, who shares ownership in the precocious miss with Regina Beinhauer. A third Dayton record was missed only by a fifth, as the Dragon Again filly Camera Lady sped off to a 28.4 personal last quarter to win in 2:01.2, just a tick off of DVC Jaded Attitude's 2012 local record. Both of these fillies share the link of owner/trainer Dave Brickell, with Brickell also owning Camera Lady, now a winner four times in five starts, with Mitchell York. On the human side of the equation, the day was dominated by 23-year-old driver Shawn Johnston, who had five victorious sulky assignments on the day - after never having had more than a one-day driving double in his 49 previous triumphs. The quintet raises Shawn's fair total to 13 for the season, one behind Chris Shaw, who teamed with brother/trainer Jason for a win with 2PF Gemalous to give them a category-leading 14 fair winners. The three-year-olds take to the track for their PA Fair Sire Stakes races tomorrow (Sunday), with the first of a dozen races set to go behind the gate at 1 p.m. by Jerry Connors for the PA Sire Stakes Fair
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - As a general rule, investing in half-mile track eight-hole trotters is not the soundest handicapping philosophy. Sometimes, however, the risk-reward equation gets tossed on its ear. It was Tuesday afternoon, courtesy of Military Blue (Mark MacDonald), who lit up Yonkers Raceway's tote board to the tune of a $229.50 win mutuel. Beating only a lone breaker early in the $25,000 sixth race, Military Blue improved steadily, eventually operating from second over. Widest turning for home, he not only won, he did so going away. Military Blue defeating pace-setting, odds-on favorite Capt. Serious (Scott Zeron) by a couple of lengths in 1:57.1. Lindylicious (George Brennan) was third. The upsetter, a 4-year-old Lucky Chucky gelding co-owned by (trainer) David Hoover and Albert Abdala III, is now 2-for-11 this season. He led a $575 exacta and $1,970 triple. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
PROSPECT PA - The Big Butler Fair opened a two-day stand as the second stop on the 2016 Pennsylvania fair circuit on Thursday, and the northwest Pennsylvania has never remotely seen a parade of two-year-old trotting speed as it did today, with track records for both sexes obliterated. Butler traditionally races just before the Fourth Of July, so quick baby miles, especially from trotters, could not be expected - the old marks were 2:09.1 for colts and 2:08.2 for fillies. But we're glad nobody showed today's freshmen the record books before they raced. The Broadway Hall gelding Toolbox Tuesday was the first recordbreaker to take to the track, and he left the old divisional Butler standard somewhere over by the Ohio line as he roared home in 2:05.3 - yes, 3 3/5 seconds faster than the male mark established by KT Tag I'm It in 2010. The fast freshman made quite an impression in breaking his maiden for trainer/driver Roger Hammer, who is also the co-owner with Vicki Fair. (A thought should be spared here for the Great George Two gelding Gee Wizz George, who was victorious in another section of the baby colt trot for driver Leo Harvey, trainer Jean Rastetter, and owners Maryann and Richard Rastetter. His time of 2:07.3 would also have shattered the old Butler mark - if his race hadn't come one race after Toolbox Tuesday's.) The fillies weren't about to miss out on the record action on the fine fairgrounds half-miler, and in the race after Gee Wizz George's, the Lucky Chucky filly Lovebeinglucky stopped the stopwatch in 2:05.4, leaving the old mark of 2:08.2, set by Trustworthy Gal in 2014, way up the stretch. Lovebeinglucky, trained and driven , and owned in partnership with his wife Regina, by Rick Beinhauer, continued Beinhauer's assault on the fair record book - in two stops he's had this mile, and he drove the three-year-old Major Matter, who's in at Butler tomorrow (Thursday) , to a 2:04 victory which equaled the fastest trot mile ever during Wattsburg's 2016 seasonal opener. Roger Hammer also trained the fastest winning freshman pacer of the day - and his time too was 2:05.3, just like Hammer's trotter Toolbox Tuesday. The fast pacer was a filly, the Delmarvalous miss Marvalous B T, who was driven here by Steve Schoeffel for conditioner/owner/breeder Hammer. FINISHING LINES - The three-year-olds take center stage on the Friday Butler card, with 12 races starting at 10 a.m. Major Matter is in the third ... Roger Huston said to tell everyone that he really likes the chances of the one horse in the first race at Butler on Friday. By Jerry Connors, for the PA Fair Circuit Apparently the photo of Toolbox Tuesday did not work out -- we apologize, and if we find a remedy, we'll send it along. Here's a photo of 2TF recordsetter Love Being Lucky.
Vernon, N.Y. -- Harness racing trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt swept Sunday (June 19) evening's Empire Breeders Classic finals at Vernon Downs, as Non Stick ($7.50) and Dante ($11.60) both took full advantage of pocket trips en route to victory. In the $234,375 Filly Classic, Non Stick avenged defeat in her elimination, but was anything but conservative in the early stages. The 3-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky circled three other leavers en route to a :26.1 first quarter before yielding to Fad Finance (Trond Smedshammer) on the backstretch. Non Stick never lacked for racing room, drafting behind middle splits of :54.3 and 1:24.2 before vacating the pocket at head-stretch to avoid being boxed by the gradually-gaining Swinging Royalty (Brian Sears). Non Stick vaulted to the lead upon cornering and subsequently parried Swinging Royalty's stout late bid, prevailing by a head in 1:54. Earn Your Wings (Jason Bartlett) stalked live cover and rallied belatedly for third. Svanstedt co-owns Non Stick with Little E, LLC. The $222,975 Classic for colts and geldings likewise saw the victor sprint clear, yield, and retake off the far turn, as Svanstedt sent Dexter Cup winner Dante to the fore from post 9 through a :26.2 initial quarter before stablemate The Royal Harry (Mark MacDonald) charged up from third to control the terms with five-eighths of the mile remaining. Dante angled off the pegs after a :57 middle half to once again take charge from his stablemate, vaulting clear by three in head-stretch. Just For Today (Bartlett) mounted good belated gains from the second flight, working into a clear second but missing Dante's 1:52.3 mile by 1-1/2 lengths. Thats a Bad Boy (Tyler Freese) likewise emerged from off the pace to claim third. Courant AB owns Dante, a 3-year-old son of Credit Winner. A sizable on-track crowd enjoyed camel and ostrich races as part of the Father's Day festivities at the Miracle Mile. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (June 23), with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs ATTACHED: Non Stick (#6, foreground) and Dante (#9, alone) gave trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt a sweep of the Empire Breeders Classic trotting events on Sunday night at Vernon Downs. Fotowon photos.
Vernon, N.Y. -- Commanding favorite Non Stick was handed her first career defeat in her Empire Breeders Classic elimination on Friday (June 10) at Vernon Downs, while Fad Finance ($22.60) and Earn Your Wings ($18.20) copped minor upsets in the harness racing preliminaries for next week's marquee trotting event. In the first $12,500 elimination, trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt sprinted to the fore with 1-10 favorite Non Stick, and the pair were unchallenged through splits of :26.4, :56.4, and 1:25.3. At head-stretch, the then-undefeated daughter of Lucky Chucky faced pressure from the two who most directly tracked her, as Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) emerged from the pocket and Fad Finance (Trond Smedshammer) fanned deeper yet. Fad Finance vaulted to a narrow lead in mid-stretch, battling to maintain a lead over Straight A Student for a 1:54.1 triumph. Non Stick and Lindylicious (Chris Lems) rounded out the top four in the first elimination. Smedshammer also trains Fad Finance, a 3-year-old Credit Winner filly, for the Purple Haze Stables, Marc Goldberg, and the Rojan Stables. In the second elimination, Earn Your Wings (Jason Bartlett) took full advantage of a pocket trip, swinging out at head-stretch to duel clear of pacesetter Swinging Royalty (Lems) for a 1:54.4 win. Open Access (Matt Kakaley) rallied belatedly into third, while Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) held fourth. Anette Lorentzon trains Earn Your Wings, also a 3-year-old Credit Winner filly, for the SRF Stable. Of the two fifth-place finishers in the eliminations, Dazzling Dollars draws into next week's $234,375 final. The following ten 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings advance directly to the $222,975 Empire Breeders Classic final: Dante Just For Today Omaha Set Hut Reve Royale Sir Royson Smalltownthrowdown Southern Palms Sweet Royalty Thats a Bad Boy The Royal Harry. Both finals will be part of a special Sunday evening card at Vernon, on Father's Day, June 19. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (June 11). Post time is set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs
Ake Svanstedt, Inc. and Little E, LLC's Non Stick ($2.70) remains undefeated in eight career starts after a comfortable two-length harness racing win in her $40,600 New York Sire Stakes division on Saturday (May 28) evening at Vernon Downs. Mark MacDonald wasted no time with the 3-year-old Lucky Chucky filly, working clear of Goosebump Hanover (Chris Lems) before exiting the straight. Non Stick was uncontested through splits of :28, :57.2, and 1:26, working clear of her seven foes on the far turn. At head-stretch, Goosebump Hanover vacated the pocket to give chase, but Non Stick maintained her clear lead throughout under just mild encouragement for a 1:55 triumph. Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) circled from the rear of the main group to take second, while Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr.) saved third off her cozy tracking trip. Goosebump Hanover lacked any late burst from the pocket, finishing fourth. Ake Svanstedt trains Non Stick, who has amassed $226,532 thus far in career earnings. Mario Mazza's Stick of Butter ($7.20) prevailed in her Sire Stakes division off an extended first-over bid, dueling clear of pacesetter Straight A Student for a 1:54.3 win. Trainer Francisco del Cid drove the Lucky Chucky filly. Fair Winds Farm, Inc.'s Open Access ($33.80) also found the winner's enclosure, vaulting off cover and collaring Fad Finance and Swinging Royalty for a last-to-first 1:54.1 score. Charlie Norris drove the daughter of Credit Winner for trainer Robert Baggitt, Jr. As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, a carryover of $246.95 will head to Monday (May 30) afternoon's card. Post time for the first of 12 races on Memorial Day is set for 1:25 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs
With the yearling sales just ten days away now, all the vendors at this years sales have long ago finalized all their advertising and promotion of their stock. The photos and videos are up and all the vendors can hope for is that the prospective buyers are as taken with their yearlings as they are. One way that the odd vendor can get a lift in the last ten days or so before a sale is if close relatives to their offerings make a bit of a splash on the racing scene. Last weekend the very successful broodmare Juverna had stock winning races all over Australasia which can only bode well for the sale prospects of her Majestic Son filly on the first day of this years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Selling as Lot 250, The Best Moment Yet had three siblings salute the judge on both sides of the Tasman in the space of 24 hours. First up was Quite A Moment who was ultra impressive winning a $20,000 trot at Melton where she easily accounted for the very smart Maori Time and One Over Da Moon. The daughter of Quite Easy simply bolted in and it was a run that really impressed driver Ricky May. " She won that so easily the other night I think she would be more than competitive against the best trotters going around and I think Greg is considering that option," Ricky told Harnesslink earlier in the week. It was her 14th career victory and took her earnings over the $258,000 mark. Two hours later at Albion Park, Duke Of The Moment kept the momentum going when he took out the trotters handicap. The son of Monarchy was recording his 18th career victory which took his lifetime earnings to just shy of $158,000. Come Sunday in New Zealand and the icing on the cake for Juverna was the performance of her Love You daughter Moment Of Love, who brained them by eight and a half lengths at the Wairarapa meeting at the Manawatu Raceway. Grant Beckett, the vendor of The Best Moment Yet at this years sales is still shaking his head over the three progeny winning last weekend. " With the sales just around the corner, to have three winners from the mare in just one weekend was a huge thrill. " The best advertising you can ever get is the progeny winning races and to have three do it together is a great achievement." " I already thought that The Best Moment Yet would sell well because I think she is best yearling on type that Juverna has produced so the three winners is really a bonus," Grant told Harnesslink earlier today. Grant has a second yearling from the family that he is selling on the second day of the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch as Lot 432 A daughter of Lucky Chucky 1:50.8 ($2,099,973) who sired a Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner from his first crop, the filly is named Luck Of The Moment and is from a Sundon daughter of Juverna. " She has just been a bit behind the other filly all the way through but has closed the gap just lately and has a lot of the family traits of Juverna so I have a bit of time for her," was Grant's opinion of her when talking to us today. Juverna has since produced a colt by Peak but it has already been sold. " Tim Butt was very keen to buy him so he has changed hands already and I put her back in foal to Peak." "Sunny Moment didn't have a foal this year but she is safely in foal to Andover Hall now," Grant said. Juverna is from as good a trotting family results wise over the last twenty years as there is in the New Zealand stud book. The three winners last weekend is just a timely reminder to yearling buyers of how good this family is. Harnesslink Media
Until the late 1990s when the shuttling of stallions between hemispheres started to take off, breeders in Australasia had lagged behind their North American counterparts with no access to the latest successful stallions. However since shuttling became a part of the breeding scene, the siring charts now in both hemispheres have a lot of the same names near the top of those charts. Pacing down under has definitely caught up with it's North American cousins with regards to access to the best but until recently trotting had failed to have the same access to the very best in North America. However that has all started to change in a hurry in the last three or four years and as each subsequent breeding season goes by, trotting breeders are getting spoilt for choice with the quality of the trotting sires now available. Heading the sires available is the brilliant racehorse and now champion sire Muscle Hill 1:50.1 ($3,273,242) who has been a siring star right from the start. From his first crop he sired the brilliant Trixton 1:50.3 ($947,051) who won last years Hambletonian while from his second crop he produced the champion two year old filly Mission Brief 2- 1:50.3 ($1,599,587) who was narrowly beaten in this years Hambletonian. From his third crop this year, Muscle Hill has produced the brilliant Southwind Frank 1:52.2 ($941,811) who won eleven of his twelve starts at two. With just three crops on the track, Muscle Hill already sits third on the all age charts and it seems just a matter of time before before he assumes the mantle of leading trotting sire. Another stallion available down under who is making a slash on the siring charts in North America is Lucky Chucky 1:50.4 (2,099,973) After a good debut year last season with his first crop, Lucky Chucky broke into the top ten with his second crop, currently lying eighth after producing a couple of top two year olds. Dog Gone Lucky 1:54 ($505,841) was his flagbearer winning his last five in a row including the $216,000 Matron Trot and deadheating for first in the $490,000 Valley Victory final. Non Stick 1:56.3 ($185,448) was the other Lucky Chucky to stand up, being unbeaten in six starts. The success of his second crop didn't go un-noticed at this years yearling sales where the Lucky Chucky's sold very well. Another stallion available down under is Andover Hall 1:51.6 ($875,047) who has been an elite level sire from the time his first crop hit the track. As of today he has over $65,000,000 on his card including nine millionaires and 22 in sub 1:53. Andover Hall is still in the top half dozen on any siring chart you care to look at and continues to do an outstanding job. The leading European sires such as Love You and Ready Cash could be just as influential were it not for the issues of supply of semen which has been a bugbear for a couple of seasons now and is affecting their credibility in the marketplace. All up the trotting breeder has plenty to smile about these days and it would not be a surprise to see our trotters close the gap on their Northern Hemisphere cousins in the next few years. Harnesslink Media
Luck Of Macrea (Lucky Chucky) displayed his skills on Wednesday night as the Margaret Spagnola-trained trotter prevailed in the evening's feature for harness racing New York Sired highsteppers. The three year old trotter drew post position one for his try in the $10,500 feature and driver Frank Coppola Jr. moved the favorite out to the early lead. After enjoying a soft first half that went in 1:01, Luck Of Macrea trotted away from his rivals to score in 2:00.4. Keyhole (John Stark Jr), who got the pocket trip behind the winner, was the race's runner up while Royal Conway (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Luck Of Macrea, who was the 4-5 betting favorite, is owned by Mike Polansky of Loudonville, NY. The win was one of three on the card for Frank Coppola Jr. who is second in the local driver standings for the year. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella
Patronus (Lucky Chucky) set a lifetime mark for his new connections on Thursday evening at Saratoga Casino and Raceway while prevailing in the $10,500 feature. The three year old trotter drew post position one but got off to a slow start, getting shuffled back in the sixth horse field for New York Sired trotters. Driver Jimmy Devaux swung Patronus three wide around the final turn and he soared by rival Driving Me Lindy (Stephane Bouchard) who had to settle for second despite building an imposing lead. Patronus trotted to a career best 1:59 for Devaux and trainer Gary Levine who raced Patronus for the first time since acquiring him earlier this month. Devaux piloted three winners on the evening's ten race card. Live racing continues on Friday night with first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Dog Gone Lucky will try to finish his season with a fifth consecutive win when he faces nine rivals in Saturday’s $489,400 Valley Victory Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The colt, who last week won his Valley Victory elimination by one length over Make Or Miss, will start the final from post five with Corey Callahan driving for trainer Chuck Sylvester. For the year, Dog Gone Lucky has won six of 13 races and earned $331,493 while finishing off the board only twice. His victories include the Matron Stakes and Kindergarten Classic championship, plus two preliminary divisions of the New York Sire Stakes series. Dog Gone Lucky is owned by Sylvester’s daughter Amy Lynn Stoltzfus and her cousin Charles Stansley. The colt was bred by Mike Stoltzfus, who is Amy’s husband, and Sam Stoltzfus Jr. Amy named the horse, a son of former Sylvester star Lucky Chucky out of the Stoltzfus’ broodmare Ebbtide Hall, in honor of her late brother Troy Sylvester. Troy, who passed away in 2009, was known by the nickname “Dog.” “He’s our family horse,” Mike Stoltzfus said. “He’s kind of special. We didn’t really expect what he’s been doing the last few starts. We thought we had a nice sire stakes horse, but he seems to have jumped up to the next level. He’s been pretty impressive. He’s beaten some pretty nice horses.” The Stoltzfus family bought Ebbtide Hall, a daughter of Cash Hall, for $8,000 at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale’s Mixed Sale. Dog Gone Lucky was Ebbtide Hall’s first foal. “We bought her to breed to Lucky Chucky because we thought it might be a good cross for Lucky Chucky,” Stoltzfus said. “It’s worked out all right for us. He’s been a pretty good horse all along. He’s got good manners, and that means a lot. We’ve just been enjoying the ride with him.” Dog Gone Lucky is not the only Valley Victory contender from Sylvester’s stable. Waitlifter K also won his Valley Victory elimination, beating Milligan’s School by a neck at odds of 24-1, and will start the final from post three with driver Tim Tetrick. Waitlifter K, bred and owned by Bob Key, has won three of 13 races and earned $105,379. He has gone off stride three times behind the starting gate, but been competitive in his remaining races, hitting the board seven times. “I wasn’t really surprised by his win,” Sylvester said. “He’s had trouble going to the gate. If he gets off on the wrong foot, he gets pacing. He won’t make the gate if he’s on the pace. It’s either over before you start, or he’s going to be competitive. “When I saw him come to the gate on the trot (in the elimination) I knew he was leaving. And once he gets to the front he’s a good horse. Tim, once he got him out of there, he let him roll, which is OK. He needed that. He was very good last week. I was happy with him.” The Valley Victory is part of a busy weekend at the Meadowlands. Other top races Saturday include the $413,000 Governor’s Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, $173,500 Tarport Hap for 3-year-old female pacers, $144,000 Continentalvictory for 3-year-old female trotters, plus $400,000 TVG Free For All Series championships for male pacers and trotters. Elimination winners Big Top Hanover and Katies Rocker lead a field of 10 in the Governor’s Cup, which also includes Breeders Crown champion Boston Red Rocks. In the TVG championship for male trotters, 3-year-old The Bank will face seven older foes for the title. The Bank, trained by Jimmy Takter, accepted an invitation to the event as a Breeders Crown winner. On the pacing side, series points leader JK Endofanera, also trained by Takter, leads a group of six finalists. The Continentalvictory attracted only four starters, but features harness racing’s top money-earning 3-year-old female trotters: Wild Honey, with $1.11 million, and Mission Brief, with $929,317. Mission Brief defeated Wild Honey in last week’s Matron Stakes with a world-record 1:50.2 performance at Dover Downs. Wild Honey had won her two most recent previous encounters with Mission Brief, in the Breeders Crown and Kentucky Filly Futurity. For Saturday’s complete Meadowlands card, click here. Post time is 7 p.m. for the night’s first race. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA
Dog Gone Lucky is proving himself to be doggone good. A harness racing 2-year-old male trotter, Dog Gone Lucky heads to Thursday's $216,300 Matron Stakes at Dover Downs off a win in last weekend's Kindergarten Classic Series championship. He has won his most recent two starts and finished second by a neck to Brooklyn Hill in a stakes race at The Red Mile three races ago. Dog Gone Lucky drew post No. 1 for the Matron. Corey Callahan, Dover Downs' six-time leading driver, will be at the lines for trainer Chuck Sylvester. "He seems like he's getting a little bit better toward the end of the year," said Sylvester, who trains Dog Gone Lucky for owners Amy Lynn Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley. "We prepped him for the sire stakes and took our time with him. He's developed more than we thought he would." Dover Downs also hosts Matron Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters and 2-year-old male and female pacers on Thursday. Post time is 4:30 p.m. for the day's first race. The Matron for female trotters features Kathy Parker and Womans Will, who finished 2-3 in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, and Kindergarten Series championship runner-up Lookin Sharp. Stakes-winners Big Top Hanover, Ideal Rocky, and Autotune Hanover are among the eight horses in the Matron for male pacers while stakes-winner Shezarealdeal leads a field of eight female pacers. Big Top Hanover and Shezarealdeal both finished second in the Breeders Crown. Dog Gone Lucky is a son of former Sylvester star Lucky Chucky out of the mare Ebbtide Hall. He won the Kindergarten from post nine, beating fellow Sylvester-trainee Waitlifter K by two lengths in 1:54.2. Dog Gone Lucky has won four of 11 races and earned $213,343. "He leaves the gate well and he got a nice trip after he went to the front at Vernon," Sylvester said. "Some of the best colts aren't in (the Matron) so he'll be OK I think. Our plans were not to race him so early, but in these late races. If everything goes good he'll be in the Valley Victory." Waitlifter K also is in the Matron and will start from post five with driver David Miller. The colt, who has won two of 11 races and earned $95,379, is owned by Robert Key. Waitlifter K is a son of Muscles Yankee, another former Sylvester standout, out of the mare Treasure Forever. "He's a horse I just couldn't race every week, so we took our time with him," Sylvester said. "Mr. Key said it was OK to do whatever was best and to do it at our own pace. He raced very good last week and he'll be sharper this week. If all goes well, he'll be going to the Valley Victory too." Sylvester is looking forward to seeing how the horses develop over the winter. "I don't think we've over-raced them," he said. "They'll have two more starts and then get a nice rest. We'll keep our fingers crossed for next year." Among the horses joining Dog Gone Lucky and Waitlifter K in the Matron are stakes-winners Milligan's School and Love Matters. For Thursday's full card at Dover Downs, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA
Vernon, N.Y. -- In addition to the annual Turn Back the Clock races and the Four One One for grey pacers, Vernon Downs hosted the harness racing finals of the Kindergarten Classic series--worth a combined $366,000--on Saturday (October 31) evening. The $191,500 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old colts and geldings saw eventual winner Dog Gone Lucky ($4.80) vault clear from his post 9 dispatch, controlling a :57.2 half mile before yielding briefly to a rapidly-advancing Celebrity Express (John Campbell) before exiting the back straight. As Celebrity Express started to struggling upon exiting the far turn, Corey Callahan edged off the pegs with Dog Gone Lucky, pressing to the lead just past reaching the three-quarter mark in 1:25.3. Dog Gone Lucky, narrowly in front on his own accord, inherited two lengths clearance over the others when Celebrity Express broke stride off the far turn. The son of Lucky Chucky and Ebbtide Hall would hold that lead intact over a late-rallying Waitlifter K (David Miller) and Mavens Way (Ã…ke Svanstedt), prevailing in 1:54.2. Chuck Sylvester trains Dog Gone Lucky for owners Amy Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley. In the $174,500 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old fillies, the complexion of the race changed when both halves of the Jimmy Takter-trained 1-10 entry--Haughty and Hollywood Hill--broke stride on approach to the far turn. An extended duel between Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) and Radiant Beam (David Miller), joined at the quarter pole by Lookin Sharp (Callahan), ultimately dissolved as 91-1 outsider Wildflower ($185.50) split foes in the final sixteenth to just prevail in 1:55.4. Trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt shares ownership of the daughter of Muscle Hill and Lightning Flower with Douglas Sipple along with Mal and Janet Burroughs. Earlier in the program, Artic Byrd ($22.40) took advantage of a ground-saving trip to take the Four One One for grey pacers, taking over late in 1:54.2 under trainer-driver Truman Gale. The pair of Turn Back The Clock races, contested clockwise at seven furlogns, went to trotter Mystical Con ($29.40, Claude Huckabone, III, 1:43.1), and pacer Sucrose Hanover ($17.40, Chris Lems, 1:39.3). Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (November 6) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern standard time. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs Attached: Dog Gone Lucky (Corey Callahan up) and Wildflower (#7, Ã…ke Svanstedt in white cap) take their respective Kindergarten Classic finals. Fotowon photos.
Luck Of Macrea (Lucky Chucky) won the harness racing co-featured $10,500 trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Thursday evening. The three year old trotter competed in the Jim Derue Memorial Series in recent weeks but didn't have better than a third place finish to show for it. Frank Coppola Jr. recorded his 5,000th career driving victory last week while sitting behind claiming trotter Diamond Tough for owner Mike Polansky. On Thursday, Coppola moved Polansky's Luck Of Macrea three wide around the final turn before the sophomore highstepper cruised past his rivals in the lane before setting a new lifetime mark of 1:59.4. Dismissed at odds of 7-1, Luck Of Macrea won for the third time this season. Coppola drove the Polansky-owned Turn It Up Loud (Art's Conquest) to an upset win later on the card as the pacer swooped the group in 1:53.4 while scoring at odds of 29-1. Both Luck Of Macrea and Turn It Up Loud are trained by Margaret Spagnola. Live racing continues on Friday with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella
Nichols, N.Y. -- Having taken her past four wins from pacesetting and pocket trips, Non Stick ($3.70) demonstrated increased versatility in her $36,566 New York Sire Stakes win at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 11) evening, sustaining a first-over bid on the backstretch en route to her 1:57.1 harness racing victory. Lucas Wallin eased the 2-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky and Meucci Madness just off the pace, drafting behind Pampered Winner (Mark MacDonald) and Love Crazy Love (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a soft :59 half mile before commencing a bid on the backstretch. Non Stick progressed steadily without the aid of cover, forcing a :28.4 third quarter before working to a clear lead off the far turn. After collaring Pampered Winner, Non Stick held off a late rally from Love Crazy Love, who emerged from the pocket in the final yards to miss by three-quarters of a length. Royal Surprise (Dan Daley) chased her cover to take third. Trainer Ake Svanstedt co-owns Non Stick, now undefeated through five career races, with Little E, LLC. Subsequent $36,566 New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting fillies on the evening's 13-race program went to Posterity ($4.40) and Dizzy Broad ($2.70), both of whom pushed to the lead late to push their respective career win tallies to five. Posterity, a daughter of Lucky Chucky and Vintage Chip, had no part of the early pace, saving ground on the backstretch to pass a parked and beleagured Zette Starlet (Bob Moran) before vacating the pegs and launching a strong bid on approach to the far turn. Posterity collared pacesetter Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) in upper stretch, drawing off to a 2-1/4 length win in 1:57 with trainer Charlie Norris handling the driving duties as well. Carrie Norris, Janine Zito, and Buck Sprinkle share ownership of Posterity. Dizzy Broad likewise worked to the lead late in the mile, but took advantage of a pocket trip behind Franniegetyourgun (Mark MacDonald) before turning up the pressure with just over a quarter mile to go. The two dueled through the far turn, but Dizzy Broad kicked clear with less than a furlong to go, wearing down Franniegetyourgun and staving off an explosive late charge from Dazzling Dollars (Marohn) for a 1:56.4 score. Jim Morrill, Jr. drove the Ron Burke-trained daughter of Broad Bahn and Portia for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Earl Smith. The 2015 live racing season at Tioga Downs concludes on Saturday (September 12), with a 10-race card, car and television giveaways, and a fireworks spectacular on the docket. Post time is 6:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs