Canada's reigning Horse of the Year made his season debut Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, but Nickle Bag spoiled the party with the nation's fastest harness racing mile of 2016. A strong field of nine older pacers competed in the $34,000 Preferred Handicap pace. State Treasurer, last year's Canadian Horse of the Year, was making his 2016 debut and started from the outside post-nine. Driven by Chris Christoforou, State Treasurer was able to float out and drop in sixth as the even-money favourite. Nickle Bag, the 8-5 second choice, left hard from post-six for Trevor Henry to grab the front and post an opening-quarter of :26. Nickle Bag kept the pace honest in the second-quarter and reached the half in :54.3. Christoforou started up State Treasurer nearing the half and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee was sent first up entering the final turn. However, cover did develop for State Treasurer rounding the final turn, as stablemate Arthur Blue Chip angled out from third at five-eighths. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3, Nickle Bag brought the field into the lane and waved goodbye. The Bill Robinson trainee finished off his mile with a blazing :26.2 final-quarter to win by 4¾ lengths in a career-best 1:49. State Treasurer came off cover in the stretch, but was unable to gain any spots and finished fourth in his season debut, pacing home in :26.4. Mohawk Warrior came from sixth at the top of the lane to finish second, while The Rev turned his two-hole trip into a third-place effort. A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag secured his ninth victory of the season Saturday. The Robinson trainee has picked up seven of his nine victories this year in the Preferred. Owned by Linda and Harry Loyens, Nickle Bag surpassed his 2015 earnings total with Saturday's victory. The veteran pacer has banked $167,860 in 15 starts this year, compared to $162,790 in 26 starts last year. Nickle Bag's victory Saturday was his 28th career triumph and it brings his career earnings to $627,490. He paid $5.30 to win. Nickle Bag Although State Treasurer was unsuccessful in his season debut, history shows that may not be a bad thing. The Dr. Moore trainee finished sixth last year in his debut (May 2, 2015 - Preferred Pace) before going onto divisional and Horse of the Year honours. Also on Saturday, the second leg of The Diplomat Series was contested. A group of 13 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $20,000 divisions. War N Munn continued his WEG Series success with a 1:52 victory in the first division. The Carmen Auciello trainee got away fourth in the field of six for driver Jonathan Drury. Mach Power posted an opening-quarter of :28.3, but was quickly passed in the second-quarter by Shocking Image. The new leader reached the half in :57.2 and led the field around the final turn, while War N Munn charged first up to pull to within a length of the lead at the three-quarter pole. Shocking Image reached the third marker in 1:25.3, but quickly surrendered the lead in the lane to War N Munn. The 2-5 favourite rocketed home in :26.1 for a 2 ¼ length victory. Shocking Image was second, while Mach Power finished third. A son of Stonebridge Regal, War N Munn now has five wins in nine starts this season. The sophomore pacing colt has signature victories this season in The Count B and Youthful Series finals. War N Munn now has seven career victories and earnings of $119,261 for owner George Munnuiksma. His mile of 1:52 knocked three-fifths of a second off his previous career mark. The Auciello trainee paid $2.80 to win. War N Munn In the second division, Gerries Sport got his own way in the middle-half and finished up strong for an impressive victory. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Gerries Sport, the even-money favourite, left from post-seven and touched down on the front just after passing the opening-quarter in :26.1. Flaherty, the 7-5 second-choice, got a two-hole trip behind the favourite. Gerries Sport went unchallenged in the middle-half and posted panels of :55.4 and 1:25.1. The soft middle-half was the turning point, as the public's choice left his rivals behind and charged home in :26.4 for a 3½ lengths victory in 1:52. Flaherty maintained his position to finish second, while Worthy Art was third. A son of Mach Three, Gerries Sport is trained by Richard Moreau for Gerrie Tucker. The three-year-old colt is now two for two to start 2016 after posting three wins in 12 starts as a rookie. Just like War N Munn in the first division, Gerries Sport lowered his lifetime mark by three-fifths of a second. The son of Mach Three now sports a career bankroll of $56,845. Gerries Sport paid $4.20 to win. Gerries Sport The first leg of The Diplomat did not fail, therefore the 10 horses that earned money Saturday night have landed spots in next Saturday's $57,600 final. In order to be eligible to The Diplomat, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2015. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie
Slick Chapel, a $30,000 bargain from New Zealand, will reappear after an absence of five and a half months at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should prove one of the best bets on the ten-event harness racing program when he starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the Australian Visa Specialists Pace over 2130m. The Mach Three six-year-old, trained by Gary Hall sen., is a talented frontrunner and Clint Hall will be aiming for an all-the-way victory. “His fitness is a bit of a worry, but he’s working quite well and should prove hard to beat,” Hall sen. said. “He’ll roll along and whatever sits outside of him will have a bit of pain. He’s had a lot of leg problems, but he has none at the moment.” Injuries have restricted Slick Chapel to 29 starts in Western Australia in just less than four years --- for 12 wins, seven placings and stakes of $133,353, a good return for his $30,000 purchase price. Slick Chapel has not raced since he started from the No. 8 barrier and was restrained to the rear before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst which carried him to victory over Change Stride at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park last November. Adding further interest to the race will be the return of American Ideal five-year-old Billies A Star, who will be driven for trainer Michael Brennan by Michael Grantham from the inside of the back line. Billies A Star, a winner of 11 races from only 25 starts, has not raced since finishing last behind Lovers Delight and Lennytheshark in an interdominion championship heat at Gloucester Park on December 4. He has not been produced in recent trials, but is capable of a bold showing from his favourable draw. Four-year-old Ima Connoisseur is well drawn at barrier two and he is sure to be prominent. He led from barrier four last week when a close second to stablemate Denny Crane over 2130m. He possesses sparkling gate speed, but it is doubtful whether he will be able to cross Slick Chapel. Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016
Leading harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand in the $18,000 Westforce Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he leans slightly in favour of Mach Time, who faces a stern test from the outside barrier in the field of eight over the 2130m journey. Hall’s other runners are Chok Chai (barrier one), Campora (two) and King Lebron (six). Clint Hall looks set to drive Mach Time, with Justin Prentice in the sulky behind Campora and Morgan Woodley driving King Lebron. Standing firmly in the path of an easy Hall victory is the Gary Elson-trained star Ideal Tyson, who will start out wide at barrier seven. Ideal Tyson notched his tenth win from 19 starts when Nathan Turvey brought him from seventh at the bell with a powerful three-wide burst to hit the front 60m from home and hold on to beat the fast-finishing Alfs Odyssey. Ideal Tyson sprinted over the final 800m in 57.2sec. This was Ideal Tyson’s first appearance since he started from the No. 1 barrier and raced three back on the pegs before finishing powerfully, out wide, to be third behind Chicago Bull and Lets Chase The Dream in the WA Derby last Friday week. Mach Time, who raced wide early and then in the breeze before obtaining the one-out, one-back trail, was a fighting fifth. “Mach Time is the most efficient of the stable’s four runners on Friday night,” Hall sen. said. “I thought the son of Mach Three's run in the Derby was just a bit better than that of Ideal Tyson.” Chok Chai, a gelding by Washington VC, is a most interesting runner. He made his debut at Pinjarra on Sunday afternoon when he led from barrier five and scored an effortless seven-length victory over The Tornado, rating 1.57.9 over 2185m in an R0 event. He rises considerably in class on Friday night. Campora, a winner in 1.56.2 over 1609m at Bunbury in January, has maintained his sound form and has sound claims from his favourable draw. King Lebron has won four races, including easy victories at his past two outings over 2100m at Bunbury on the past two Saturday nights. Scoobys Delight, a stablemate of Ideal Tyson, has won only once from 14 starts, but has been placed nine times. He worked hard when a good second to My Platinum Belle at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. Lightning Jolt and Destined To Rule complete a strong field. Lightning Jolt notched his sixth when he finished boldly to score over 2185m at Pinjarra on Sunday and Destined To Rule also produced a strong finishing effort to win over 1780m at Northam on Thursday of last week. Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016
The Storm Inside’s reputation as a freak two-year-old was only heightened when the colt produced an outstanding win in the second Australian Pacing Gold semi-final at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s Smythes Creek stable claimed both semi-finals with Our Little General (Mach Three) and The Storm Inside (Rocknroll Hanover) , and it was the latter that again dropped jaws having been tested early before finding the lead and still having plenty in the tank to draw clear and win by 9.5m. “He’s showing start-by-start that he’s an improved horse,” driver Greg Sugars said in the wake of The Storm Inside’s win. “He’s the real deal. He’s a top horse and I’m looking forward to next week.” He’ll likely start a short-priced favourite after Saturday night’s outstanding showing. In the first semi-final, Our Little General, renowned for his sprint, was instead called on to produce a dogged run to win the first of the semi-finals. With heat on in the early going Our Little General was the third of four-wide to the first corner, eventually claiming the lead inside Jilliby Kung Fu. By the bell Geoff Webster’s fancied Wrappers Delight had cornered the field and sidled next to Our Little General in the breeze, and they cooled their heels from a 27.7 first quarter to a 29.3 second. Our Little General and Wrappers Delight gained separation at the final bend but the latter lost touch and $21 shot Three Of The Best was the best of the swoopers, almost pinching the race from Stewart’s short-priced favourite. Driver Chris Alford had Our Little General hold on to win from Three Of The Best by a half-head, with Wrappers Delight third and Weona Sizzler (fourth) and None Bettor (fifth) also qualifying for the final. “He’s a good little horse and had to earn it tonight,” Alford said. “Being in front is not ideal for him. You never know when they get pressure how they will handle it. He is probably better with the sit. Hopefully next week we can get a draw and a bit of luck.” Our Little General won in a 1:55.4 mile, a time eclipsed by 0.8s in the second semi-final. Alford, chasing a fourth win from as many races on the night, made The Storm Inside earn the lead by pushing Redbank Blaze along early before handing up to Greg Sugars when they entered the straight for the first time. Sugars settled in on The Storm Inside but was kept honest when Bettor Be Gold loomed into the breeze on the back straight. Any thought that the $1.20 favourite was under threat though was soon erased with Sugars again barely moving as The Storm Inside rattled down the final straight to win in 1:54.3. Redbank Blaze ran second from Atomic Red, Bettor Be Gold and fifth-placed San Domino, who all qualified for Friday night’s $322,000 final. by Michael Howard
Seventy six lots will be on offer at the Alabar Blue Ribbon Sale on Sunday April 24th and there promises to be a horse for every budget. Wrappers Delight has stamped himself as one of Australia’s best two year olds with two victories in as many starts to date including his last start win in a heat of the APG 2yo C&G Series. You will be able to purchase his mother, Charlotte Church, in foal to leading sire Mach Three at the sale. Another of the highlights will be Golden Showgirl 1:55.9 in foal to Art Major. The resultant foal will be a full sibling to the Group One winner Smooth Showgirl 1:52.3 - $210,149. Bruce Edward will be selling six lots including mares by Somebeachsomewhere, Rocknroll Hanover Art Major, Holmes Hanover and Badlands Hanover. Three of his mares will be sold with foals at foot. Jim Connolly will be selling three mares by the leading sires Pine Chip and Skyvalley. Included among these is a half sister to Australian Two and Three Year Old Trotter of the Year Kyvalley Road. Jack Munnerly has one entry and she is a half sister to the Group One winner Secret Desire and in foal to new season sire Heston Blue Chip. There will also be 20 weanlings on offer and these are by such stallions as Art Major, Mach Three, Shadow Play, ,Auckland Reactor Betterthancheddar as well as the first crop stallions Alta Christiano and Caribbean Blaster. This is a sale not to be missed. The sale will be held at Alabar Farm and begins at 1pm. The catalogue can be viewed online (http://bit.ly/1VhBLvg) or please contact us for a hard copy – (03) 5859 2201 or email@example.com.
A pair of Queensland harness racing rookies will venture to Melbourne this week chasing gold. Following their one/two result in the Australian Pacing Gold qualifier staged at Albion Park last Tuesday, both Three Of The Best and Maestro Bellini are due to fly south to contest the semi-finals this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. In the Brisbane qualifier, Three Of The Best overpowered Maestro Bellini in the latter stages in a slick time of 1:55.0 while covering the final half in 56.6 seconds. Three Of The Best is prepared by husband and wife combination of Scott Miller and ,Shannon Price no strangers to success in the garden state while Maestro Bellini belongs to the Chris Petroff stable. “We’re booked on a flight on Wednesday night at this stage and that will give us a few days to settle in before racing on Saturday night. We were always keen to go and after speaking with Chris, it made sense to book the flights and travel together.” Miller said. Three Of The Best, a $45,000 purchase from the Sydney sale last year was a beaten favourite on debut when 7th behind his stablemate Statement Made after making an early error before making amends last week. Handled by Adam Sanderson, Three Of The Best sat parked outside Maestro Bellini before outstaying him over the concluding stages that was having his first start back in Brisbane following his Bathurst Gold Crown campaign. The Mach Three – Snug Harbor (by Bettors Delight) gelding has thrived following his triumph and connections are optimistic about their chances. “We’re in with a chance and the fact we’re heading south and prepared to take on this series proves we think we have a show of getting some of the good prizemoney on offer. We’ve always rated this horse from the start and he continues to improve, anything can happen in juvenile racing. “It appears to be a fairly open series with the Victorian trained performers looking the most likely with the likes of Emma Stewart and Geoff Webster both having impressive types while it’s rare for Mark Purdon to not have one of the top ranking colts. “Our guy is going to be based with Alan Tubbs and as long as he handles everything, I think we’re in with a good chance. When you break down his winning effort last week, it was very impressive and he’s trained on a treat since.” Champion reinsman Gavin Lang has been booked to drive during the Melbourne campaign. The $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Final is scheduled for April 22 Chris Barsby.
Macharoundtheclock, a mare who won more than $500,000 in her career and thrilled crowds with her patented "Silky Sullivan" rallies, was retired from harness racing following her start Monday at The Meadows and will begin her career as a broodmare with a booking to Sweet Lou. Tim Twaddle, who trained the 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Summers Soul, said her owner, Seth Rosenfeld's Birnam Wood Farms, actually planned to breed her last year to Sweet Lou, transfer the embryo and return Macharoundtheclock to racing. Unexpected complications prevented the mating from taking place, resulting in a prolonged layoff for Macharoundtheclock. "She came back off her game," Twaddle said. "She wasn't winning at the top levels like she had been. I think they were waiting for her to hit the half-million mark to retire her. "I knew my time with her was borrowed time, but I'm grateful for the time we had with her. It's been a treat racing a horse like her. I'll miss her." He said this retirement is final, as plans are for Macharoundtheclock to carry her foal. Macharoundtheclock couldn't write a storybook ending to her racing days, finishing seventh in a conditioned event. She completed her on-track career with 22 wins in 91 starts, 51 in-the-money finishes, $501,013 in earnings and a fine mark of 1:51.1 taken at Mohawk at 3. Rosenfeld and Twaddle have a concrete reminder of Macharoundtheclock in their barn. They're partners with Don Tiger in a 2-year-old half sister to the distinguished retiree. In Monday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Set Me up overcame post 9 with a second over trip that carried her to victory in 1:52.1 on a "good" surface, 1/2 length better than early leader Show Runner. Do Me Honor was third. Dave Palone piloted the 7-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture-Moccasin Flight, who boosted her lifetime bankroll to $413,255, for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Aaron Merriman and Palone each fashioned a triple on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Harness racings South Merbein filly Flojos Gold won her sixth race at start No.9 on Saturday night, taking out the South Australian Oaks at Globe Derby. The reigning Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series two-year-old winner from the Ian Watson stable secured an economical trip from inside the back row, three-back-the-pegs for Ian’s son, reinsman Luke Watson, before pushing out at the 600m and moving three-wide at the quarter pole. Once in the clear Flojos Gold (Mach Three/Jasper Jo) rounded up the frontrunners to overhaul Queen Of Sharkz (Wayne Hill) and Emma Stewart-trained long odds-on favourite Celebrity Guest (Mark Billinger) for a 1.4-metre win. WATCH FLOJOS GOLD WIN SATURDAY NIGHT'S SOUTH AUSTRALIAN OAKS The last half-mile of Saturday night’s 2230-metre race was covered in 57.6, but Flojos Gold made up several lengths, her winning mile rate 1:59.9. Flojos Gold is likely to be chasing back to back Vicbred Super Series success in coming months. by Cody Winnell
The second $18,700 Sires Stakes heat for two year old fillies was held at the Easter harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway last night and in a surprise upset for many on course, the very well performed Delightful Memphis lost her unbeaten record. Driver Blair Orange was very bullish about the chances of Delightful Memphis prior to the race, stating he thought she had an edge over the four All Stars runners in the heat. " On what I have seen around the trials and on raceday, I think Delightful Memphis has got an edge on the competition and should win," Blair said. When Mark Purdon was going through the chances of his four runners in the heat on Trackside, he made the observation about how pleased he was with the run of Renske B at Invercargill when she ran second to Delightful Memphis. " Renske B was parked the whole way at Invercargill with Delightful Memphis on her back." " I thought if you switched the runs the two fillies got, that Renske B would have come out on top, Mark said. And that is exactly what happened last night. Flying Miss Mac and Dexter Dunn worked to the lead after 300 metres and that left Delightful Memphis facing the breeze, which she had to do for the whole race. Hard on her back was Renske B and Tim Williams and as they turned for home, Tim eased her out and slowly but surely took ground off Delightful Memphis and grabbed her just short of the winning post for a memorable victory. The margin of half a neck could have been a lot healthier if Renske B hadn't laid in badly a couple of times in the straight, costing her ground and momentum both times. The daughter of Mach Three has been a model of consisitentcy throughout her brief racing career with last nights win her second from just four starts and along with two placings took her stake earnings over the $29,000 mark. She paced the 1950 metres last night in 2:25.2, a mile rate of 1:59.9 with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 27.8 Delightful Memphis lost no friends in defeat with such a game effort while Smiley Sophie made a promising debut in running into third late. At this stage there doesn't appear to be a lot between Delightful Memphis and Renske B and as last night race showed, it may be the draw that decides a lot of their clashes in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media
An ambitious and targeted approach saw three-year-old Blackbird Power show great improvement and capture a prized purse. Harness racing trainer Ross Sugars’ gelding, which is by Mach Three out of Power Play, won the George Croxford Tribute Final at Shepparton on Tuesday, when Greg Sugars placed him in front and the $2.40 favourite held off fast-finishing Showgun Thomas and Code Black. The victory delivered Blackbird Power’s connections the bulk share of the $25,575 purse, just reward for owner Gavin Kelly who Ross Sugars said “picked the race out a couple of months ago and we set him for it”. “We weren’t expecting it to be an easy shot, but this horse has been getter better, has good manners and improved a lot from when it was a two-year-old,” Sugars said. Blackbird Power was a maiden when he resumed racing as a three-year-old on Christmas Eve and placed at Maryborough, and was then fourth at the VHRSC 3YO Cup at Melton and seventh in his VHRSC Victoria Derby heat. “He never looked a contender, but got a good education,” Sugars said. “He had a month away from any racing after that and we just kept working him and he blossomed as we worked out a bit of a training routine that suited this guy.” Blackbird Power returned to run second in the first International All Star Series race at Melton on March 7, having been beaten 1m by Spiritwriter, who went on to break a track record at Hamilton. Next up for Blackbird Power was the third heat of the George Croxford Tribute at Wangaratta on March 13. “He drew well at Wangaratta, although we were a little worried about Code Black who come across from New South Wales,” Sugars said. Code Black started the heat a $1.90 favourite, but Blackbird Power led and Code Black was trapped three-wide for much of the early running before finding the breeze. In the straight it was Blackbird Power who had more in the tank. “He went pretty good at Wangaratta, and we thought if he gets a good draw in the final then it could work out well. If he gets that nice run he is capable of running a very quick last quarter. For once it unfolded well.” From gate two Blackbird Power led well from the mobile start to take the lead and soon enough Code Black swept three-wide and took the breeze, mirroring their heat. Come the straight it was a race in three, with Greg Sugars managing to drive Blackbird Power to the line, holding off second-placed Showgun Thomas, who used the sprint lane, by 1.8m with Code Black a further head back in third. Sugars said Blackbird Power would now be considered for the $40,000 VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 1, with a likely tilt at Breeders Crown to follow. Michael Howard
The first crop of yearlings by the harness racing superstar Auckland Reactor have hit the yearling sales throughout Australasia over the last six weeks and have been very well received by buyers on both sides of the Tasman. Mark Purdon has no sentimentality at all when it comes to buying horses, often overlooking close relatives of horses that have been superstars for the All Stars barn. Therefore to see Mark purchase three Auckland Reactors at the yearling sales in New Zealand was a very positive endorsement of the son of Mach Three as Mark Purdon is widely regarded as the best judge in the yearling sales market in Australasia. Today at the Bathurst Gold Crown Sale at the Bathurst Showgrounds, Auckland Reactor has three yearlings for sale and we will do a quick review of all of them. LOT 75 - Colt by Auckland Reactor from The Warp Legacy by Legacy Of Power The dam is a half sister to a former topliner in The Warp Drive 1:56.7 ($464,971) and she is from a very strong New Zealand family in Norice. This branch of the Norice family has been incredibly strong over the last 40 years and continues to produce elite level juveniles season after season who go on to be stars as aged horses. Two of the latest would be Caesars Folly 1:52.4 ($350,335) and O' Baby 1:54.8 ($333,034) and another three year old close up in this pedigree in Code Black 1:54.8 ($79,082) looks to have a very bright future. LOT 76 - A colt by Auckland Reactor from the Northern Lights mare in Lady Lara Lombo($51,120) The dam Lady Lara Lombo already has already produced three winners including Lord Lombo1:56 ($211,961) and she is a half sister to ten winners including the outstanding Lombo Skyrider 1:50 ($841,611) The third dam is none other than the former Australian Broodmare Of The Year in Misty Maiden who is the dam of course of Lombo Pocket Watch 1:53.6 ($1,522,638) and the grand-dam of Suave Stuey Lombo 1:49.6 ($598,332) As a maternal family on a pedigree page it just doesn't read any better than Lot 76 and he should be keenly sought after by buyers. LOT 77 - A colt by Auckland Reactor from the Panorama mare Aldebaran 1:55.6 ($154,289) The first foal from Aldebaran in The Hairy Huntsman 2:00.8 has already won three races to date so the mare is on her way in the broodmare barn. Aldebaran was a high class racemare in her own right and was a half sister to another speedy mare who raced in Queensland in Rodandthe Nights 1:55.4 The third dam Casino Wiper produced another very talented type in Play The Line 1:56.8 ($133,360) who won the Queensland Triad at four (Group 2). His pedigree page is not in the same league as that of Lot 76 but it has shown the ability to leave $100,000 winners which is a big plus. There are two other yearlings by first season sires in the Bathurst Gold Sale. LOT 119 - A filly by We Will See 1:47.4 ($2,553,948) from the Artiscape mare I'M Off Limits. I'm Off Limits only has four foals old enough to race and has produced three winners to date including the high class race filly in Sally Fletcher 1:56.1 ($92,690) The grand dam Miss Burnside comes from a prolific New Zealand family which is noted for producing elite level fillies and mares. As you can see on the pedigree page another elite level filly in Carpenters Daughter 1:56.1 ($293,378) is closely related to Lot 119 LOT 28 - A colt by Smiling Shard from the race winning Sports Town mare in Mylady Tess This colt is only the second foal produced by Mylady Tess who is a half sister to nine winners including such standout types as Heathbern Diamond 1:55.4 ($201,830), Turbo Tyson 1:56.4 ($143,527) and Mac Strike 2:00.6 ($126,195) to name just three. With all those winners up close in his pedigree, you would imagine that lot 28 has a big chance of adding to the great record his maternal family have established in the last 25 years Harnesslink Media
Yonkers Raceway's harness racing Blue Chip Matchmaker series began Friday night, with the sport's best pacing mares embarking upon a six-week odyssey. Three consecutive, $40,000 events comprised the opening round. The series starter saw Al Raza N (Jordan Stratton, $15.20) snap 9-10 fave Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) right nearing the wire in a season's-best 1:52.3. Hazmatt (Brian Sears) was third, with Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) and Skippin' By (Yannick Gingras) settling for the remainder. It was a certified scrum early with Krispy Apple making the lead by looping Regil Elektra (Tim Tetrick). Regil Elektra was out again, winning the :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Soon after, Sandbetweenurtoes (Jody Jamieson), having dropped in third, made her second move, leading at a :55.4 intermission. Down the backside, Krispy Apple took out and third and went by a defenseless Sandbetweenurtoes with the greatest of ease. The people's preference opened 3¼ lengths by the 1:23.4 three-quarters and had a couple of lengths entering the lane. However, she couldn't close the sale. Al Raza N, unhurried from post position No. 2, moved from third-over (second-up after Krispy Apple cleared the lead), continuing to make up ground. Advancing to third in and out of the final turn, she wore down her target by a half-length. The roster was rounded out by a shuffled-out Regil Elektra and a dropping-anchor Sandbetweenurtoes. For fifth choice Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durazzano Stable and trained by Agostino Abbatiello, it was her second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $44, with the triple returning $316. Friday's second Matchmaker event saw rank outsider Mach it a Par (George Brennan, $81) do her best Middle Tennessee State impression, picking off defending series champion Venus Delight by a nose in 1:53.2. Venus Delight had engaged, then overhauled, 4-5 fave Secrets Out N (Sears). That one, after getting away third, controlled the crowd (:27.4, :57, 1:25.2) until early in the lane before faltering. Mach it a Par, from post No. 6, operated from second-over. She and Venus Delight battled for the tiara, with the former just getting to the latter. Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube) lost some contact in the pocket but managed third, with Sell a Bit N (Stratton) and Cheyenne Robin (Corey Callahan) settling for the minor moolah. Secrets Out N faded to sixth. For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmine Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $721, with the triple returning $1,699. Mach it a Par, off a sale/barn change, had been off nearly four weeks (with a "sick line" in between). The evening final series event was won by a down-the-road Lady Shadow (Callahan, $7), who overcame an outside post No. 7 and widened late. Lady Shadow had to wait her turn, finally getting around 7-5 favorite Gallie Bythe Beach (Matt Kakaley). From there, she had little issues (:27.4, :56.3, 1:25, 1:53.4), prevailing by 2¼ lengths. "Gallie" chased from the pocket and saved second, with Jungle Genie N (Bartlett), first leader Inittowinafortune (Tyler Buter) and For the Ladies N (Stratton) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For second choice Lady Shadow, a 5-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold & BFJ Stable and trained by Josh Green, it was a season-debuting victory.. The exacta paid $17, the triple returned $74.50 and the superfecta paid $568. Saturday night's card brings the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Six, $50,000 divisions (races 4,5,6,7, 9 and 10) each feature seven Free-For-Allers. YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $3,500 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday night’s (March 19) Pick 5 wager begins with a tidy carryover of $3,500.50. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program (or earlier if less than 11 races). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Saturday’s gimmick includes the last three divisions in the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (races 7,9 and 10). Frank Drucker
The $25,000 Caduceus Club of Southland Pace for Two year old fillies at the harness racing meeting at Ascot Park in Invercargil yesterday is a highly sought after race each year by South Island trainers and yesterdays field of twelve runners was indicative of that interest. The Leonard Memorial winner Delightful Memphis from the Mark Jones barn was a warm favourite even though she had drawn awkwardly at two second line. Her main competition was expected to come from the Mach Three filly Renske B from the All Star barn who had shown plenty of promise in her brief career to date and had pleased trainer Mark Purdon with her work leading into the race. Kotare Yarra and John Dunn flew the gate from barrier seven to lead early from Ariadne Lavra who trailed and Renske B who ended up in the one out position in the open. Hard on her back after getting a lovely run through from her second line draw was Delightful Memphis and Ricky May. With Kotare Yarra setting a good tempo in front there were no mid race moves and the order remained the same as they went past the 400 metres. On the point of the turn, Delightful Memphis peeled three wide and slowly but surely worked herself past Renske B who fought hard but had no answer to the Bettor's Delight filly who went on to make it two from two in her career to date. A very game Renske B held second from Ariadne Lavra who never left the inner at any point of the race in running third why Kotare Yarra impressed once again by doing a power of work and sticking on for a game fourth. Delightful Memphis impressed Ricky May with her effort. " She gave me quite a few worries in her preliminary by running about something terrible." " I had been told she was still very green but the degree did surprise me." " However to be fair to her, when she turned to follow the mobile at the start, she was a lot more tractable and didn't do anything seriously wrong during the running." " With the run she got she was always going to win that race but she did give me a very nice feel and felt like a filly that could develop with further experience into a high class racehorse, "Ricky told Harnesslink post race. Raced by Wayne Higgs and Simon Doull amongst others, Delightful Memphis will shortly come up against the likes of Spanish Armarda and Casino Belle but on her two race starts to date ,she looks more than up to the challenge. Delightful Memphis Harnesslink Media
Favored Secrets Out N (Brian Sears, $5.40) was the only leaver and the only mover for three-quarters of mile Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Pointed from assigned post position No. 5, Secrets Out N easily worked around pylon-assigned Caribbean Rose N before a :28.3 opening quarter-mile. None one felt the need to challenge this miss, who was making her first purse try in nearly two months. She then made them pay (:58.4 intermission, 1:26.4 three-quarters), with nary a peep from a pursuer until rank outsider Jaded Dream (Eric Carlson) moved from fourth. She never came near the leader, who opened a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn. An unasked Secrets Out N beat Caribbean Rose N by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2, with For the Ladies N (Jordan Stratton), Jaded Dream and Gallie Bythe Beach (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For Secrets Out N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Mach Three owned by Andrew Herzog and trained by Tom Milici, it was her second win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41.80, with the all-Kiwi triple returning $160.50. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (first post 7:10 PM) and a "French" Sunday afternoon (first post 1:10 PM). Frank Drucker
Feature race winning juvenile Maestro Bellini has already arrived for his next assignment. Fresh from his success last weekend in the $30,000 Gurney Group of Companies Wayne Wilson Paleface Adios Classic at Albion Park, the Chris Petroff prepared rookie has made it safely to Bathurst in preparation for the harness racing Gold Crown series. The time honoured $100,000 series commences on Saturday week (March 19). “We arrived on Monday night and everything went well, he handled the trip really in good shape and so far he’s settled into his surroundings at the old track (showgrounds) like he’s been here before. He’s a smart colt in that respect and he travelled with Machvicar who came along for the trip with him and they’ve buddied up well.” Petroff said. Maestro Bellini led throughout in his debut performance and scored by a half neck margin from Clintal Do while rating a respectable 1:58.4 for the 1660m event while covering his final 800m in splits of 28.4 and 29.2 seconds. The track was a touch sticky given showery activity throughout the night. The Bettor's Delight – Santuzza youngster started at short odds following his blistering trial success three weeks earlier at Albion Park where he rated 1:56.3 defeating older rivals. Bred and raced by Alf La Spina and his family, the precocious talent was always headed to Bathurst for the feature series. “Alf is a great supporter of the Bathurst series and was keen to support it again this year, we’ve been lucky enough to win it before and we’re hoping to do it again this year. We’ve always had a good opinion of this colt since he broke him and he seems like a real professional with the way he goes about his business. My partner Bec (Croghan) does plenty of work with him and deserves plenty of credit too but she has stayed home to look after the rest of the team but hopefully she can come down for the final. “I was happy with the victory first-up because it was the first time he’s led and although he wanted to stargaze and wait for his rivals over the finals stages but he still knuckled down and finished it off. The time was more than comparable to other times throughout the night plus his sectionals were solid and his race was late in the program where the track had plenty of use by then. “I’m confident there is plenty of upside with him heading into the Gold Crown series, I wanted to get down early and have him settled in and I’m glad we made the early move. I might even take him to the new track before the heats next week so he can have a look at the facilities, it’s always a strong series and I’m sure there will be plenty of talent around for this series but my guy is pretty good too.” And Petroff is hopeful the travelling companion can pay his way during the trip. The big striding Mach Three gelding looked impressive winning last weekend at Albion Park after overcoming a tricky second-line draw while rating a sharp 1:55.4. “He just keeps improving and I was thrilled with his winning effort last week, his time was just outside his personal best and he did his fair share of work in running but felt strong throughout. “His current form warranted a trip away and I think he should keep improving, we might even look at the Smooth Satin Cup with him next week, it will be a rise in grade but he deserves his opportunity.” The La Spina family will also have San Domino lining up in the Gold Crown series next week, the Somebeachsomewhere colt is prepared locally by Ben Settree. by Chris Barsby
Atta Boy Dan on the inside and Phil Your Boots on the outside wagered a side-by-side battle the length of the stretch before harness racing driver Andrew McCarthy got Atta Boy Dan’s nose first to the finish line in 1:50.to win the $36,000 Preferred/Handicap pace on the big Monday, March 7 card at Dover Downs. After twice being handicapped to post 8, Atta Boy Dan finally had a better post position starting from number 3 in the week’s top pace. The Ron Burke trained Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot gelding responded with his second win in six starts this season for Weaver Brucsemi and Burke Racing Stable. Phil The Boots, steered by Tim Tetrick was a game second for the second consecutive start losing by a nose in the Yonkers feature a week ago. Phil Your Boots is also from the same barn as last week’s winner Lucan Hanover, trained by Andrew Harris. Third place in this week’s feature belongs to the Tony Morgan driven good closer, Doctor Butch. Sean Bier Mustang Art steamed from the outside to take the early lead and set fast fraction before Atta Boy Dan finally took the lead on the final turn. In the last of 15 races, 13-1 Casey At Bat never got a call until late in the stretch when Allan Davis got him off the rail fifth and closed with a rush nearing the wire in time to catch apparent winner Apollo Seelster (Tetrick) in the finals strides for a 1:53.1 win in a $18,500 4&5-Year-Old Male Winners pace. Skyway Gladiator (Mike Rossi) finished third. Soto found the passing lane to his liking to catch front-pacing favorite Just A Jolt (Tetrick) at the wire in 1:51 for his second straight victory and third in four and fourth in six starts for trainer Eric Ell and ‘Big Three’ owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta. A brown four-year-old by Rock N Roll Heaven-Incredible Beauty, Soto won for the fifth time this year in eight starts with a second for $38,875 and $151145 lifetime. Sicily (Allan Davis) took third money, Swapportunity finally broke through consecutive seconds to score a 1:52.1 triumph in a $16,000 race for young pacers with Jim Morand winning of his two decisions. The Mach Three-Swap Blue Chip four-year-old gelding held off a fast finishing Grantland (McCarthy) in a photo. Owned by Arlene Paisley, Ed Maas and Nanticoke racing, the former Woodbine Raceway regular made the winner’s circle for the first time in 2016. Big Secret (Jonathan Roberts) was the show finisher. Tim Tetrick scored a four-bagger. George Dennis had a triple. Montrell Teague and Tony Morgan had two wins while trainer Kevin Switzer, Dylan Davis and Brian Malone had trainer doubles and owner KDK Standardbreds had a owner double. FASHION SHOWDOWN GOES FOR THIRD STRAIGHT IN $20,000 MARES OPEN Fashion Showdown, a winner of two-in-a-row, is the one to catch in the $24,000 Mares Open Handicap faces seven rivals on Tuesday, March 8 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p m. Chris White's Fashion Showdown has been an impressive winner of the last two female Opens. This week, in the absence of Corey Callahan, Allan Davis will be at the controls for trainer Craig McInnis. Owner-trainer Bob Bailey's Duneside Chella with driver Tony Morgan has been in the money with two wins, two seconds and two thirds in his last six starts. Jeff Clark's Springforth piloted by George Dennis, has been right there in recent starts with a win, three seconds and a third is another starter with a standout record and has not been off the board in her last eight starts. Scandalicious, owned by JFE Enterprises, with Tim Tetrick in the bike, finished a good-closing second last time following a win the week before, starts from post 4 this time, and improvement from outside posts. John McGill's No Respect draws the rail with Ross Wolfenden driving. Returning following a short respite is The Cheyenne Gang's fast Cheyenne Robin with Jim Morand holding the rains. Thus far in 2016, the only four-year-old in the lineup has already had two wins, a second and close-up fourth in her first starts of the New Year. Lou Catana and Vince Bradley's Matinee Dragon and Jonathan Roberts also has an excellent record this meet. There is a strong undercard on a top female pacing loaded card. Dover Downs races Monday through Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m. No Live racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Watch the races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad