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The 27-year-old harness racing driver Marcus Miller, who in two weeks will receive the 2016 Rising Star Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association, today was named by the U.S. Trotting Association as America's representative for August's World Driving Championship in Canada. Miller, a native of Illinois now living in eastern Pennsylvania, has won 2,648 races in his career and is coming off a season in which he established a personal best with $5.44 million in purses. His top win came in October when he guided 17-1 longshot Someomensomewhere, trained by his father Erv, to victory in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Drivers from around the globe will compete in the World Driving Championship, which was introduced in 1970 and is now held every two years. The 2015 event, in Australia, was won by New Zealand's Dexter Dunn. "This is a great honor and I'm very excited," said Miller, who for the competition will trade his customary black, white and red driving colors for the United States' traditional stars and stripes. "That's so cool, to get to wear the red, white and blue colors. "Obviously I would love to win. I think it's also a great opportunity to face some drivers that are coming from different backgrounds; a chance to learn some things and have a little fun. But goal No. 1 is to win, to bring the trophy back home." Said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner about Miller's selection, "We're thrilled that Marcus has agreed to represent the United States this summer, and is so excited about doing so. He brings the whole package to the table -- talented, engaging, and with a real respect for the sport of harness racing. He's breaking through in a big way, and the world is about to see why." Miller won't need to go far to get advice about driving in international competitions. His uncle, Andy, has twice represented the U.S. in the World Driving Championship, finishing fourth in 2005 and sixth in 2007. In addition, Miller's sister, Hannah, represented the U.S. in last year's FEGAT World Championship for Amateur Drivers (the World Cup) in Hungary and finished second, one point from the top. She also has competed in numerous amateur events in the U.S. and Europe against drivers from France, Spain and Italy. "I'll definitely be able to get some advice. Andy has done the (World Driving Championship) twice and Hannah's been everywhere for driver challenges," Miller said, adding with a laugh, "She's probably the one to ask first." The World Driving Championship, which coincides with the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada, begins Aug. 12 at Century Downs in Alberta. The second leg is Aug. 14 at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario, followed by the third round a day later at Georgian Downs, also in Ontario. The fourth leg is Aug. 16 at Hippodrome 3R in Quebec before finishing Aug. 18 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino on Prince Edward Island. Dave Magee was the most recent U.S. driver to win the championship, in 1995. The two other winners for the U.S. were Ron Pierce in 1989 and Joe Marsh Jr. in 1974. "A Chicago boy," Miller said about Magee, "just like me." Miller started driving regularly in 2009 and won multiple driving titles on the Chicago circuit before moving to the East Coast in 2013. His victories in the Midwest included a couple American-National Stakes and a number of state-restricted races. Last year, Miller won four open stakes divisions at Lexington's Red Mile in addition to his major stakes breakthrough in the Breeders Crown. "I think the last two or three years have been huge leaps and bounds," Miller said. "I'm a lot more confident, a lot more comfortable, when it comes to higher stakes, just being able to anticipate how those races play out. They take experience. When you're in those races, you're in with the guys who have the most experience. They're hard drives to get, so you want to do as well as you can right away, but it takes experience to do well. "You realize pretty quickly that they are just another race. Once they say 'go' you just have to drive your horse, drive your race. The buildup and the post-race are way different, but during the race, that's all it is -- a race. A long time ago, when I had my first (Illinois) Super Night drive, my dad slapped me on the back and said to just pretend I was at a county fair. I try to remember everything he tells me, but that one really stuck." And while Miller is grateful for the successes he enjoyed in 2016, not to mention the accolades, he is focused solely on continuing his improvement this year. "There was like a little streak last year where it seemed like everything was going right, capped off with the Rising Star Award," Miller said. "It's been unbelievable. I definitely enjoyed it. "But I've hung all the pictures up and now it's 2017 and it's time to work on new (accomplishments). As much as you don't want to dwell on the losses, I don't think when you're doing well that you want to over-celebrate either. You just have to keep moving forward and try to add to it." Ken Weingartner

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (January 26, 2017) - The under-30 Meadowlands drivers stole the show on the first Thursday program of 2017. 20-somethings Drew Monti, Joe Bongiorno, and Marcus Miller combined to win five of the night's nine races with Monti and Bongiorno each winning two. The trio teamed up to sweep the final three races that were part of the debut episode of "Meadowlands Harness Live" that aired on SNY, the regional sports network home of the New York Mets and New York Jets. The show will air for the next six Thursdays on SNY at 9:30 p.m. Thursday's action was headlined by three divisions each in "Dash For G-Notes" series for conditioned trotters and $7,500 claiming pacers. The trotting winners were Bad Day Black Rock, Montalbano Bi, and Stonebridge Idol. The pacing winners were Whatagamble, Mr. Big Load, and May Day. Both series continue next Thursday with the top finishers from the two preliminary rounds advancing to the finals on February 9. Total handle on the nine-race card was $1,325,434. Live racing continues Friday night with a 7:15 p.m. post time. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (January 7, 2017) - Although accomplished in completely different fashions, Saturday's co-featured pacing events at the Meadowlands both ended with harness racing driver Marcus Miller in the winner's circle. Miller, recently named the sport's Rising Star Award winner, put heavily favored Parnu Hanover on the front end past a 27.2 opening quarter and blazed to a 1:50.3 victory in the $13,000 conditioned pace. The time was even more impressive on a cold and snowy night in New Jersey that had the track rated with a -2 track variant. Parnu Hanover won by a length over Sassy Hanover with Mister Truth rounding out the trifecta. "It worked out exactly as I wanted it to," said Miller. "I wanted to move to the front sometime before the half and make them catch me. He went the mile I hoped he would." Parnu Hanover is trained by Erv Miller and shared in ownership by the Erv Miller Stable, Alva Miller, and Sara Miller. His ninth career win moves his lifetime earnings past $100,000. Two races earlier, a wild stretch drive saw 24-1 outsider Preparty slip up the pylons to upset a field of conditioned pacers for Jim Marohn, Jr. However, the judges ruled that Preparty gained an unfair advantage by going inside a pylon and disqualified him. That moved Moonwriter, driven by Miller, into the win spot at 11-1. Millionaire Alexie Mattosie was intent on the lead with Drew Monti and parked out Ontario Success through a half mile in 55.1. At the top of stretch, Pansformative swung three-wide around a tiring Ontario Success. Moonwriter followed that move with Ashley's Husband gearing up with his patented stretch drive. Preparty stayed inside and just got up under the wire first in 1:52.1 before being placed ninth. Moonwriter is trained by Andrew Harris and co-owned by Harris and Michael Gallicchio of Beachwood, NJ. Jackpot Super High Five hit again For the first time in 2017, the 20-cent Jackpot Super High Five was hit in the fifth race for $7,236.80. Stratocaster, at 30-1, stormed to the lead just before the wire to win followed by 3-2 favorite K-Lees Shakenbake, 8-1 Dreamlands Art. 35-1 Sky Is The Limit was fourth and 9-2 Barimah was fifth to round out the single winning ticket. Stratocaster was one of two huge longshot winners driven by Marohn, who finished the night with a hat trick. He came back to win the 11th with 55-1 Baggage Claim for trainer Patti Harmon to become the second $100-plus winner of the weekend after Abbijade Hanover won Friday at 54-1. Greg Merton, Vinnie Ginsburg, and Bill Mann also posted driving doubles. Total handle for the 13-race card was $2,348,381. Live racing resumes next Friday. For more information, please visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz Media Relations Manager Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment

AARON MERRIMAN TAKES TOP DRIVING HONORS

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Marcus Miller vividly remembers his first visit to a Breeders Crown winner’s circle a dozen years ago. There is no doubt he will never forget his most recent trip, either. The 27-year-old Miller on Saturday night teamed with his father, trainer Erv Miller, to win the $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Someomensomewhere won by a flared nostril over Agent Q, being declared the champion after a lengthy photo-finish review. In the process, Erv Miller became the first trainer in history to win a Breeders Crown with a son in addition to having captured a trophy with a brother. In 2004, Erv and his brother, driver Andy Miller, both won their first Breeders Crown trophy with Restive Hanover in the 2-year-old filly pace at Woodbine Racetrack. “I cried in that winner’s circle,” Marcus Miller recalled. “My first cell phone, the ringtone was that race call of her coming down the stretch. I could do it word for word back then. That was amazing.” There were no tears from Marcus on Saturday night, only a big grin. “Heading back to the winner’s circle I was worried about that, but it was all smiles for me,” said Miller, whose win with Someomensomewhere came in his first Breeders Crown drive in a final. “I never pictured it to be any other way than with dad. He works so hard, and he’s taught me so much, it’s just everything coming to fruition.” A native of Illinois, Miller started driving regularly in 2009 and won multiple driving titles on the Chicago circuit before moving to the East Coast in 2013. His victories in the Midwest included a couple American-National Stakes and a number of state-restricted races. This year, Miller has won 258 races, including several open stakes divisions at the recently concluded Red Mile meet, and a career-high $4.75 million in purses. For his career, Miller has won 2,593 races. “It’s been a lot of work, but I can’t say it’s taken a long time,” Miller said about winning a Breeders Crown. “I’m pretty fortunate that way. I feel like I’m pretty young. Sometimes I feel like I’m still green, but I think I’m starting to prove that I can hang out with these guys.” Miller guided Someomensomewhere to victory at odds of 17-1 on Saturday, which might not come as a shock for a driver who has been dubbed “The King of the Longshots” in Pennsylvania. “I would love to be king of the favorites; that’s my next goal,” Miller said with a laugh. “We’ve loved (Someomensomewhere) all along. A couple of the starts in the middle of the year she just wasn’t healthy. We were more disappointed back then than we are surprised now. She’s just a very nice horse.” Someomensomewhere, owned by the Nick Surick Stable and Howard Schneidler’s KDM Stables, has won three of 11 races this year and hit the board a total of nine times on her way to $407,771 in earnings. When Miller brought her on to the track for her Breeders Crown final, he thought there was a good omen in the way she post paraded. “She was pretty grabby compared to last week, which I took as a good thing; she was feeling good,” Miller said. “When they said ‘go’ (Roaring To Go) was the only one inside of us leaving hard and (Idyllic Beach) was the only one outside of us leaving hard. I figured if I landed third, they’re not going to stop in my face. I’m going to have a shot at it. “Whether I could get there for everything from third I wasn’t sure, but I thought it would be good enough to get a big chunk. She just had a lot of go and kept grinding it out. She really raced her heart out.” Someomensomewhere moved from third in the stretch to get the lead just prior to the finish line, and then held off Agent Q to her outside by a nose. “Right when we hit the wire I thought I’d hung on, but (Agent Q) was really pacing hard late so I knew it was very close,” Miller said. “I was ready for a dead heat. When they said ‘six’ I was pretty excited.” Prior to Saturday, Miller had not attended many Breeders Crown races since becoming a regular driver because he was usually working at a track elsewhere. “This is way better, when the work is the Breeders Crown,” he said, grinning. “I feel very fortunate.” So is there a new ringtone in Miller’s future? “I don’t know about that,” he said laughing. “But I’m definitely getting a big picture.”   by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Someomensomewhere, by Somebeachsomewhere from the Western Hanover mare Omen Hanover, angled towards the center of the track into the stretch and rallied by pacesetter and the harness racing 1-2 favorite Roaring To Go to win the $600,000 Breeders Crown 2-year-old Filly Pace in 1:51.2 at odds of 17-1.   Taking command into the first turn, Someomensomewhere soon yielded for the pocket to Idyllic Beach (Yannick Gingras) through a :26.4 first quarter. Roaring To Go (Brett Miller), getting away third, tipped off the pylons and brushed to the top before the half, timed in :55. She maintained control around the far turn and through a 1:24 third quarter before being pursued by Idyllic Beach from the pocket, Someomensomewhere from third, and Agent Q (David Miller) from off cover.   Idyllic Beach reached a narrow lead through the stretch, but Someomensomewhere closed to her outside and grabbed the front. Despite Agent Q gradually gaining ground and drawing alongside Someomensomewhere in the final strides, Someomensomewhere showed the determination of a champion, maintaining a slight advantage in a photo.   Idyllic Beach finished third and Roaring To Go was fourth.   Someomensomewhere, returning $36.00 to win, won her third race in 11 starts, amassing $407,771 in earnings for owners Nick Surick Stable LLC and KDM Stables Corp. She gave trainer Erv Miller his sixth career Breeders Crown win and driver Marcus Miller his first.   "[The trip] worked out, maybe not exactly as I hoped, but as good as it could," Marcus Miller said. "The way everybody drew, she was really sharp tonight. David [Miller on Agent Q] does a good job but he couldn't quite get by me tonight. I wasn't sure and he [David] wasn't sure [who won] either. We decided while we waited for the photo that we would be all right with a dead heat as long as they gave us both a trophy."   "It's unreal," co-owner Nick Surick said. "I never want to sweat a photo like that again in my life . . . [winning is] a good experience."     by Ray Cotolo, Hambletonian Society  

Vernon, N.Y. -- Empire Breeders Classic winner Fresh Cut lends a fair bit of star power to a stakes-laden 15-race harness racing program on Saturday (September 17) evening at Vernon Downs, as he has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite in his $45,000 Excelsior Series final for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, carded as the night's tenth event.   Leading up to his 17-1 upset in the $240,475 Classic at Tioga on August 28, the son of American Ideal enjoyed success on the Excelsior circuit, winning four of eight such events across the Empire State this summer. He looks for a third straight win and the eleventh of his career in Saturday night's event just twelve days after a 1:51.2 victory in a $59,100 New York Sire Stakes event at the Miracle Mile, and Marcus Miller will once again handle the driving duties for the Bay Pond Racing Stable and trainer Erv Miller.   In the $45,000 Excelsior final for 3-year-old pacing fillies, carded as race eight, 12-time winner Rolling Going Gone has been installed the 5-2 early choice after eight wins and a runner-up finish in nine Excelsior events on the year. Jim Morrill, Jr. will drive the capably versatile Roll With Joe filly for owner Ross Bonafield and trainer Erv Miller. Morrill will also take the lines of the other two Excelsior morning line favorites, teaming up with Tracy Brainard trainee Wendy's Girl in the 3-year-old distaff trot (race four) and Trond Smedshammer trainee Credevie in the 3-year-old colt and gelding trot (race nine).   In addition to the Excelsior Series finals, a quartet of $50,000 New York Sire Stakes consolation events are scheduled on the Saturday Vernon card. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Batavia, NY---The 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings who came to Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 14) to compete in the $107,000 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) put on quite a show, but none more than Zack's Zoomer, who set a new track record for age, gender and gait. Zack's Zoomer (Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway) had finished second to division leaders Devious Man and Money Macintosh racing from off the pace his last two starts, but tonight driver Marcus Miller took no prisoners and sent Zack's Zoomer right to the front along with Neon Lights (Chris Lems) and Money Macintosh (Andy Miller) in the first $53,500 division . As they headed into the first turn, favorite Money Macintosh made a break and left Zack's Zoomer to dictate the fractions with Neon Lights parked out right next to him. The two colts continued to battle; one in, one out, through fractions of :29, :58.2 and 1:28.4 before Neon Lights tired and Zack's Zoomer found additional momentum. Rounding the final turn, Marcus Miller was just line driving his horse as they sped away and opened up a three length lead by mid-stretch. At the wire, Zack's Zoomer was a wrapped-up winner in 1:58.1 by a comfortable two-lengths. The time of 1:58.1 was a new lifetime mark for Zack's Zoomer ($5.40) as well as a new track record for 2-year-old trotting colts at Batavia Downs. The old record of 1:58.4 was set by Dejarmbro in 2010. "He has been drawing poorly, but he's just been getting better and better. So when he got the rail, this is pretty much what I had planned tonight" said Marcus Miller. "I think he's a very nice horse." This was also the second track record Marcus Miller has set at Batavia Downs in just over a week. On Saturday (Sept. 3), Miller drove Pointomygranson to a five-length, 1:53.2 win to set a new standard for 2-year-old pacing geldings. This win was the second in six starts for Zack's Zoomer and it pushed his earnings for the year to $71,265. The 50 points earned for the win, moved him up to fifth in the NYSS standings (155) and solidified his spot in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 24). Zack's Zoomer is owned by Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Harvey Elsman and is trained by Erv Miller. In the first $53,500 split, Devious Man (Credit Winner-Miss Garland) displayed why he was sent off 2-5 as he overpowered the field from post six. Stick With Me Kid (Chris Lems), Volare (Mark Macdonald) and Devious Man (Andy Miller) all left the gate. Volare tucked in second behind the front running Stick With Me Kid while Devious Man floated in fourth. Just past the eighth pole, Stick With Me Kid made a break and simultaneously, Devious Man pulled and proceeded towards the front. That march was completed by the top of the far turn and from there, he took total control. Devious Man led the field to the half in 1:01.1 and then proceeded to close out the race. He opened up and immediate three-length lead and with Miller sitting chilly, hit the three-quarters in 1:31 before trotting home in :28.4 to be a gapped winner in 1:59.4. "I was a little worried about the six hole, but he just cruised around there; it didn't really seem to matter" said Andy Miller. "After that horse made a break and he cleared the front, he was pretty much on his own from there." It was the fifth win of the year for Devious Man ($2.90) and the fourth in a row during his current streak. The purse enhanced his coffers to $167,733, making him the richest 2-year-old trotting colt in the NYSS this year. The 50 points gained for the win also made him the highest point-earner (287) for his category. Devious Man, who is a three-quarter brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo, is owned by Story Inc. and is trained by Julie Miller. There were also three divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series on the card. The first $15,000 division was won by American Cheque (Conway Hall-Cheque Lavec) who was driven by John Campbell in 2:00.3. American Cheque ($3.30) is trained by Linda Toscano for owner Michael Keeling. The second $15,000 leg went to Top Flight Angel (Archangel-Top Photo) who was driven by John Cummings Jr. in 1:58.4. Top Flight Angel ($8.60) is trained by Megan Wilson for Legendary Standardbred Farm. The final $15,000 split was won by Barn Winner (Credit Winner-Hallmarker) who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Barn Winner ($4.50) is trained by Steve Pratt who also owns him along with Nancy Pratt and the Out In The Country Stable. Several horsemen had outstanding performances on Wednesday. John Cummings Jr. scored a driving triple while John Campbell, Marcus Miller and Jim Morrill Jr. all had doubles. Trainers Erv Miller and Jim Graham each sent two horses to the winner's enclosure for portraits.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Trainer John Butenschoen took the first three of five divisions of the third preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for harness racing two-year-old trotting colts on a "sloppy" track Sunday at Mohegan Sun Pocono - but he lost his streak in the fourth, ironically with the only baby who had a win in each of the first two legs.   But success comes first, and a Butenschoen trainee was the fastest of the five winners: Giveitgasandgo, a Yankee Glide colt who has now won three in a row, the last two Sires events, Sunday overcoming the outermost post seven by making every pole a winning one in 1:57.1. Corey Callahan, who has been a red-hot teammate of Butenschoen's in stakes events lately, guided the odds-on winner for the ownership of Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc., David Miller, Lawrence Means, and VIP Internet Stable LLC.   Callahan also sulkysat behind one of Butenschoen's two other Sire Stakes winners, both of whom had been Stallion Series winners that have now made the successful stepup to Sire Stakes competition. Corey was handling the Crazed gelding Simply Volo, second choice of the crowd, who parlayed a second-over trip into a new mark of 1:58.4 for owners Miller and Means, giving them a stakes double along with Giveitgasandgo, and their partners in Simply Volo, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eugene Schick.   Mike Simons, Pocono's "Trot Man," drove the third Butenschoen winner, the Andover Hall gelding Wiagram Hanover, and for very good reason - he is a co-owner of the rookie, along with Christopher Giaccio and Albert Abdala III. Simons moved Wiagram Hanover from fifth to first during the second quarter and put a new lifetime mark of 1:58 on the 3-1 third choice.   The stage was thus set when Butenschoen sent out Dover Dan, as noted the only double winner in the Sires to date, but a glance at the tote board which held him as 8 to 5 second choice augured anything but a waltz here. The 1 to 2 favorite was the Muscle Massive gelding Muscles Jared, coming off successive 1:56.1 scores, and the powerful trotter rolled to his third straight win in 1:58, by open lengths over Andy M, with Dover Dan tiring after a first-over trip and finishing third. Trainer George Ducharme and owner Al Ross, part of Team Royalty For Life a couple of years back, look to have a fine one in the making here - and they did well in picking John Campbell as the driver, as not too far back in Muscles Jared's pedigree you'll find Armbro Keepsake, a champion mare whom Campbell guided to a Breeders Crown victory.   Muscle Massive garnered a siring double in the other division, which looked the most competitive having gathered four previous Sires winner, but the chalk prevailed in Snowstorm Hanover, a colt who was on the lead at the ¾ in the Peter Haughton Final before making a miscue. Snowstorm's demeanor was perfect tonight despite the off going, powering home from second-over for a 1:57.3 victory for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke (back in the same winners circle where he stood 24 hours earlier with Southwind Frank after winning the Colonial), and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Frank Baldachino, Phillip Collura, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   As this group of trotters heads to Harrah's Philadelphia for its final preliminary on September 1 (their Championship and Consolation races are also at the Philadelphia oval on September 11), to call the pointstandings "crowded" would be an understatement. With a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 point system based on finish (and an *asterisk indicating two-time winners below), the unofficial standings after three legs are *Dover Dan, 85; *Giveitgasandgo, 80 (giving Butenschoen the top two spots); You Cant Habit, 75; *Muscles Jared, 72; Moonshiner Hanover and *Snowstorm Hanover, tied with 70; Affair Of Honor, 60 (also a Butenschoen); and Box Of Luck, 58. The top eight get into the Championship event; two AEs also are programmed and can draw into the race until 6 p.m. the night before; those two spots right now are occupied by Andy M and Phi Alpha, tied at 55. And with ten horses "on the bubble" at less than 20 points behind the top eight, the action at Harrah's should be fierce the first day of September.   They'll be catching on soon, Marcus.   Marcus Miller, "Mr. Longshot" at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono over the last two years, won the eleventh and twelfth races at the mountain oval Sunday night and rocked the toteboard with a 1-2 punch -- first he guided Soda Pump to an $83.80 victory, and then he followed up in the very next race with $71.20 stunner Goldin Parachute.   For Miller, the "twin bombers" were his seventh and eighth at the 2016 meet -- last year he led Pocono for the entire year's racing with five winners of $50 or more. Since July 1, he's had six of the twelve horses in this price category, two of them coming within three races on Super Stakes Saturday on July 2, giving him two cards with two $50+ winners in 2016. Tom Jackson is his nearest rival at the current Pocono meet with four longshot triumphs.   It should be noted that the trainer of Soda Pump is Clifton Green, who's getting to be the "Mr. Longshot" of the training set. This $83.80 winner gives him three on the meet, tying him at the top of the Pocono conditioners' list with a person that will surprise some -- Ron Burke. On July 26, Miller and Green hooked up to produce $154.20 winner Larson Hanover at Pocono.   PHHA / Pocono  

Vernon, N.Y. -- Fresh off a track-record performance at Tioga Downs in last week's Geers Stakes, Cougar Bait ($5.00, part of entry) proved dominant in Friday (August 19) evening's lone $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary for harness racing 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, carded as race two at Vernon Downs   Marcus Miller brushed the Western Terror-No One Is Alone gelding to the fore after a :27.2 first quarter before rating a :57.3 middle half. Upon turning for home, Cougar Bait felt mild pressure from 3-5 favorite Lindythefourteenth (Scott Zeron), edging clear easily off the corner--Lindythefourteenth broke stride only after he began to regress. Meanwhile, Cougar Bait drew off by 4-3/4 lengths over his stablemate Harry Terror (Andy McCarthy), who rallied belatedly to take second from Manattack (Chris Lems). The 1:51.4 mile time gave Cougar Bait a new lifetime mark in his third consecutive win.   John Butenschoen trains Cougar Bait for the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, Inc., Jeremey Day, Tangie Massey, and the VIP Internet Stable, LLC.   Miller scored a stakes double at the Miracle Mile, making gradual gains with Ameraway ($3.90, part of entry) through the stretch en route to a 1:53 win over Well What's New (Zeron) and V String (McCarthy) in the tenth event, a Kindergarten preliminary for pacing fillies. Trainer Erv Miller co-owns the daughter of American Ideal and Shyaway with Paymaq Racing, the aforementioned Tangie Massey, and Neil Cumsky.   The earlier Kindergarten split for fillies, carded as race six, saw Caviart Ally ($3.80, part of entry) make all the pace and accelerate through the far turn for a 1:53.2 score over pocket rival Someonesomewhere (Miller) and the belatedly-gaining Jenny's Terror (Fern Paquet, Jr.). Andy McCarthy drove the daughter of Bettor's Delight and Allamerican Cool for trainer Noel Daley and owner Caviart Farms.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 20) evening; post time is set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Pocono "King Of The Longshots" struck again in the last race of July, and paid $95.40 to win. Harness racing driver Marcus Miller had five winners pay $50 or more to win during the course of the 139-card 2015 meet at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to top all other members of the local driving colony.   In Sunday's 14th race at the mountain oval, Miller rallied Savannah Sunset out of the pocket for a half-length 1:57.4 maiden victory, with the $95.40 winner his sixth bomber of the meet, in only 74 cards - he already has more longshot victories this year over last, in about half the number of cards!   In July there were seven horses who paid more than $50 at Pocono - Miller had four of them, including two within three races on July 2, which was only Sun Stakes Saturday Championship Night, one of harness racing's best cards of 2016. And just as he got the first two of the month, Marcus also won with the last two bombers: prior to this "mere" $95.40 winner, last Tuesday Miller clicked with Larson Hanover to the tune of $154.20.   One can understand a possible reluctance to wager on Savannah Sunset - the sophomore trotting filly only had one second and one third to her credit in 14 career outings. But area fans had been tipped on July 12 to the magic that Marcus Miller can create when matched with a Neal Ehrhart-trained trotter: that night Sheza Tim Too, who had one win and no seconds in 62 prior career starts, visited Victory Lane to raise her lifetime win ratio from 1.6% to 3.2%, paying "only" $37.40.   The win was the fourth of the Sunday night card at Pocono for Marcus Miller, who has just cracked the top five in meet victories. None of his quartet of Sunday winners was favored; in fact, they grew in price over the evening: $6.00 in the fourth and $12.40 in the ninth, and then a $33.80 shot in the thirteen before combining with Savannah Sunset in the fourteenth - for a $2,445.00 Marcus Miller Late Double, on which a total of $2 was wagered.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Marcus Miller, eastern Pennsylvania's "King Of The Longshots" for the last couple of years, had had four $50+ winners at the current meet at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and he was in sole possession of the lead in that category until Tom Jackson drove a pair of longshots back to Victory Lane last night to equal Miller for the meet high at four.   It didn't take Marcus long to reclaim the top - and in a spectacular way.   Mille reined Larson Hanover to a $154.20 victory in Tuesday's third race at The Downs, sitting a pocket trip behind favored Fashion Winner and catching that one to win by a head and return the boxcar mutuel. For lessee/trainer Clifton Green, the bomber was his second such conditioning success at the mountain oval this season, tying him with Steve Salerno for second, one behind a person who can win with favorites or longshots - Ron Burke, who has three $50+ horses at the meet despite being second in the training standings.   It's not that the two-year-old Larson Hanover hadn't shown some talent while taking a grand tour of Pennsylvania: he debuted at Philly, where he closed for second but was placed fourth for a pylon violation; at Gratz Fair he was second early after five of his eight opponents made breaks before the ¼, but he too then lapsed from trotting; that misbehavior was repeated in his last start at The Meadows, though he was in against Sire Stakes company. Perhaps the red clay surface was just what Larson Hanover needed to win - and light up the tote board.   The longshot triumph came in the middle of a consecutive triple for Marcus Miller, with bookend mutuels of $10.40 and $34.40. The five $50+ triumphs at Pocono now matches Miller's entire output here in 2015, where he led the track in such victories.   After Miller's triple, Andrew McCarthy won the next three races in a row, though with better-regarded horses: $4.40, $8.00, and $8.20.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Summer Wind made a big first-over move into the far turn and blew away her competition in the $15,500 mares featured pace Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning by 6½ lengths in 1:51.1.   Driver Jim Marohn Jr. kept the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover off a three-ply duel to the 26 quarter, then sent her up raw after favored leader Request For Parole before the 55 half.   The chalk still clung to a nose lead at the 1:23.2 3/4s, but the momentum was all behind the winner as she cruised away from the field, with Envious Hanover and Tataria claiming the minor honors. The $5.80 second choice of the Tuesday Pocono bettors, The Summer Wind is trained by Greg White for owners Charles Rowe and Lewis Whitaker Jr.   Marcus Miller continued to burnish his credentials as a master handler of longshots, as he got the most out of Energizer Ivy ($28.60) and Sheza Tim Too ($37.40), the latter a trotter with one win and no seconds in 65 previous career starts, but here a wire-to-wire winner while lowering her mark 2 3/5 seconds to 1:57.1 with Miller in the sulky.   Marcus is the leading producer of $50+ winners at the current Pocono meet with four, including two within three races on Sun Stakes Saturday Championship Night - which puts him in good position to defend his 2015 Pocono "title" in this category, having had five such bombers last year.   From the PHHA Media Department

Drivers Marcus Miller and Tim Tetrick both won three $20,000 first round divisions of Pennsylvania Stallion Series action for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but it was a member of that dying-off “breed,” the trainer/driver – Pat Lachance – who guided the fastest freshman, Fullback, a 1:53.2 winner. Lachance had the early lead with the winning Bettor’s Delight colt, then yielded to favored Jo Pa’s Somebeach. In the stretch, Fullback came home like Jim Brown bulling his way to the end zone, closing into a 27.2 last quarter to beat out the pacesetter by a length and (like all the Stallion Series winners) taking a new mark for Lachance and the ownership of Down Easters Alroy Chow, Stanley Sclar, and “transplant” Del Cote. Fullback returned 8-1 at the mutuel wickets; there was one other non-favorite among the septet of winners, and if given a choice of that horse’s handler between Miller and Tetrick, one would logically go for Miller, who guided two $50+ horses home the previous night. And indeed it was Marcus Miller beating out the chalk Artist’s Ruffles with the Dragon Again gelding Epic Union, also an 8-1 proposition, coming from second-over to win in 1:55.3 for trainer Erv Miller (at Goshen with daughter Hannah as she was honored as Amateur Driver of the Year) and owners David and John Prushnok, Ervin Miller Stable Inc., and Paymaq Racing. Father/trainer Erv Miller and driver/son Marcus also clicked with another son of Dragon Again, the colt Maconupwiththedragon, who led coast-to-coast in 1:53.4, with back fractions of 56.1 – 27.4 for owner Ronald Michelon. Marcus’s third Stallion Series winner was behind the Les Givens-trained Ponder colt Ponderingjacksfame, another who led at every call, coming home in 27.3 to complete a 1:53.3 package fort Nanticoke Racing Inc., Jim Magno, and Joe Fonte. Tetrick’s Stallion Series triple, all behind favorites as the paragraphs above imply, included back-to-back wins for trainer Jo Ann Looney-King and owner Paton Racing Stable Inc., with both timed in 1:54.2. First up was the Well Said gelding Hulk Hanover, who marched to the front in front of the stands en route to victory; the other gave Dragon Again his third siring credit as the gelding Donttellmeagain became the only winner to run his record to two-for-two with an early move en route to the biggest victory margin, six lengths. Tetrick’s third triumph in the stake was behind Outcry, a colt who gave Well Said two winners in the first round action when he went to the lead early, backed off the half, then blitzed home clear in 1:57.3 for conditioner Mark Harder and owners Rick Phillips, Peter Venturini, and Deena Frost. Miller and Tetrick made the Pocono winners circle their own gladiator ring on Sunday, each winning five times in the first 12 races, with one-race visits from Lachance and Andrew McCarthy. Both were on the track trying to score the knockout blow in the 13th and final race, and both were at their “preferred” odds – Tetrick as second choice, Upset King Marcus at 24-1 – but David Miller ruined this showdown by checking home first, with Tetrick and Miller at honors-even with their quintuples. PHHA / POCONO

Although Southwind Frank sports the divisional crown and rightfully so, he is surrounded by harness racing rivals seeking to snatch that glistening accessory on every occasion he places a hoof upon the track. In this Saturday's (June 25) $25,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial eliminations at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Trolley tosses himself into the fray, to not only derail the champion's journey to the Hambletonian, but to launch his own bid to sport the crown. "He already thinks he is the king of the barn," said Erv Miller, the colt's conditioner. "I'm standing in front of his stall right now (Thursday, June 23) and I already had to put three or four boards higher on it than what is normal for the other horses because he always tries to jump over it to get out. He is trying to talk and play with everyone else in the barn to let them know he's there." A son of Donato Hanover and the Duke Of York mare Lakeside Bride, who is a half-sister to stakes-winner King Conch, Trolley was purchased for $30,000 by Paymaq Racing, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger at the 2014 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The royally bred colt, whose granddam, Conch, is a daughter of the legendary Bonefish, may not have acquired a legion of devoted followers due to his brief career (3-2-0-0, $43,501), however, his connections are confident he will stake his claim for the throne when he begins trotting from post position three in Saturday's ninth race with Marcus Miller guiding him. Trolley, despite being lightly raced, is 6-1 on the morning line, but will have to face stiff opposition in Southwind Frank (post position eight, 5-2), Love Matters (post position two, 3-1), Bar Hopping (post position six, 4-1) and Lagerfeld (post position four, 5-1) to advance to the $500,000 final on July 2. The colt certainly merits attention as he defeated 2015 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Lagerfeld in his only performance this season at Pocono and also outlasted Earn And Burn, who is out of a full sister to millionaire Dejarmbro, for his maiden breaking score last year at the same venue. "He has done everything we have asked of him," Miller said. "We also have very high hopes for him. After that race last year, he came out of it with what we thought was a foot abscess. When it did not come out, we found a small spot on his coffin bone that we thought might have been bothering him so we just gave him time. He's a big, strong horse and has came back very well. We have a schedule planned for him, but he will tell us where to go whenever he is ready." Trolley is short on experience but Miller feels his natural ability and mind will allow him to ascend to the elite ranks of his division. His trainer's only question is if he can manage the horse appropriately. That speaks volumes coming from a trainer with Miller's resume. "Our concern is keeping him sound," Miller said. "He's a healthy horse so that's not the issue, but he is just such a good-feeling animal. We worry he is going to tear himself up in the barn with all the energy he has. "The other day he was out running in the paddock and just enjoying what he was doing so much I had to go out there and stop him. He is a well-mannered horse, but he just puts everything into anything that he does. Once he actually starts racing more, rather than take that kind of activity down a notch, I'm wondering if he will go the other way and think even more of himself." The colt is staked to all the engagements his colleagues will be contesting throughout the year, but Miller will be cautious regarding in which spots Trolley performs. "He is eligible to everything," Miller said. "We do believe in him because he is a very nice horse. We put him on the lead in his first (stakes) race and he did it, then finished. In his second race, he sat right in the pocket for us without being asked and made his move on his own. Not many horses, especially trotters, with limited experience have enough of a mind to do that for you. "We are very pleased with him and are very excited for not only this race, but the rest of the season. It's all up to him. We just have to listen to what he says and keep him happy." Below are the fields for the two Earl Beal Jr. Memorial eliminations on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. $25,000 7TH RACE ELIMINATION:   1, Brooklyn Hill by Muscle Hill,  David Miller, Jonas Czernyson;   2, Dayson by Conway Hall,  Jim Morrill Jr., Ron Burke;   3, Milligan's School by Yankee Glide,  Andy Miller, Julie Miller;   4, Jimmy William by Cantab Hall, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter;   5, Jack Vernon by Muscle Hill, Tim Tetrick, Randy Beeckman;   6, Dupree by Andover Hall, Ãke Svanstedt, Ãke Svanstedt;   7, Reigning Moni by Donato Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter;   8, Truemass Volo by Muscle Massive, Eric Goodell, Doug Hamilton;   9, Hollywood Highway by Muscle Massive, John Campbell, Staffan Lind.   $25,000 9TH RACE ELIMINATION:   1, Dice Man by SJ's Caviar,  Ãke Svanstedt, Ãke Svanstedt;   2, Love Matters by Explosive Matter,  Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter;   3, Trolley by Donato Hanover, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller;   4, Lagerfeld by Yankee Glide, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter;   5, Iron Mine Bucky by Explosive Matter, George Dennis, Greg Haverstick;   6, Bar Hopping by Muscle Hill, Tim Tetrick, Jimmy Takter;   7, Promise Delivered by Muscle Hill,  Andrew McCarthy, Staffan Lind;   8, Southwind Frank by Muscle Hill, Gingras also listed, Ron Burke;   9, Leggs Matter by Explosive Matter,  David Miller, Robert W. Clark.   Ken Weingartner  

Stirling Debutant, 1-for-25 in two seasons of harness racing entering the 2016 campaign, completed a clean sweep of the Bobby Weiss Trotting Series for distaffs at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking all four preliminary legs and then romping to a 1:57.3 victory over sloppy going in the $30,000 series Championship on Tuesday night to keep her seasonal record unblemished after those five starts.   Stirling Debutant tucked third late on the first turn, then was moved uncovered by red-hot driver Anthony Napolitano before the half to gain on runaway leader Coherent, a maiden who had had gaiting problems but showed no misbehavior and much speed while posting an astounding 27.1 opening quarter over the offtrack, carrying on to the half in 56.4. But reality in the form of the 1-9 favorite set in late on the backstretch as Stirling Debutant cleared to the lead well before the 1:26.2 3/4s, coasting home to win by 12½ lengths over Squeals Of Delight, with Amorous Flirt, Coherent, and Baba Daba Do picking up the other checks in that order.   The chalkplayers, who had wagered $5165 of a $6708 win pool and $6139 of a $6861 show pool on the favorite, had a few anxious moments after the race, as driver Marcus Miller made an objection against Anthony Napolitano and Stirling Debutant, claiming that they had caused his charge Grandma Jan's Gems, who finished sixth, to go offstride around turn one. If the objection had been allowed, the maintenance department may not have had enough light bulbs for the increased demand from the tote board (Squeals Of Delight 39-1, Amorous Flirt 41-1, Coherent 40-1, Baba Daba Do 60-1), but after reviewing replays the judges let the finish under the wire stand as official.   A four-year-old daughter of Credit Winner, Stirling Debutant had been trained by Christie Collins for owners J M F Racing LLC in the four prelims, but in the week before the final she was purchased by the combine of Randy Bendis, Thomas Pollack, Jack Piatt II, and R. Lewis Hauber, and transferred to the barn of former Downs training leader Steve Salerno. And whatever technique the old team found to turn around Stirling Debutant, it continued in the Weiss Final for her new connections.   Finishing seventh and last in the Weiss Final was 7-1 second choice Ready Any Time, who made a break before the first turn. Her driver was David Miller, and the incident was about the only false step put in by a Miller-driven horse on Tuesday. David entered the night with $199,964,811 in career driving earnings, and was looking to join his fellow Hall of Famers John Campbell ($295.9M) and Ron Pierce ($215.3M) as the only members of the $200 Million Drivers Club.   In his pre-Weiss drives, Miller posted a 7-3-3-1 tally, good for $29,320, putting him at $199,994,131, and if his filly could have lived up to the morning line (and the tote board) and finish second in the $30,000 Weiss Championship, the $7500 check would have put Miller over his goal. Instead, the break took out his best chance at reaching the magic $200M number this night, and despite a second ($2125) and a third ($1020) in post-Weiss drives, he came up just shy, with Miller's nightly earnings $32,465 (10-3-4-2) and his career tally oh-so-close to getting him the keys to the club at $199,997,276 (in hand-kept records to be verified by the USTA). The native Buckeye will be taking his familiar purple and white colors (garnished with a reddish-brown on this card while racing over the sloppy oval) to Harrah's Philadelphia tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon, where the morning line projects him to earn over $8,000 and thus reaching the exclusive $200 Million Club and joining Campbell and Pierce.   **********   Pocono's next racing action will take place on Saturday; while the Thoroughbred world conducts its famous Kentucky Derby, Pocono will feature its only doubleheader program of the year. The first card of ten races is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.; the highlight of the sunshine racing will be three $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars race for state-sired three-year-old trotting colts, headed by last year's two-year-old Sire Stakes champion, Lagerfeld, making his seasonal debut.   After the completion of the early card, the focus will go over to the runners until the Derby is conducted, and then a 14-race evening program will begin soon after the Derby is official, with an anticipated start of 7 p.m. Highlighting the nighttime action will be the inaugural edition of two races for the best Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old pacers, the $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic for males and the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania for females.   The fields for these two races were decided by elimination races held last Saturday, with an open post draw for the finals. Driver Yannick Gingras handled both Classic elim winners for trainer Ron Burke, and he chose to go with the faster elimination winner, Check Six (1:50.4, post four, 5-2), with David Miller picked to guide JK Will Power (1:51.1, post three, 3-1).   Also a highlight of the evening card is the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace, named after the late local harness writer, which brings together some of harness's best free-for-all pacers.   With final drivers and morning line odds announced today, here are the fields for the three Saturday night feature races (post - horse (driver) - morning line odds):   Race 6 -- $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace   1 - Take It Back Terry (Matt Kakaley) - 4-1 2 - P H Supercam (David Miller) - 6-1 3 - Hall Bro (Brett Miller) - 20-1 4 - Luck Be Withyou (George Napolitano Jr.) - 10-1 5 - JK Endofanera (Yannick Gingras) - 5-1 6 - Rockeyed Optimist (Tim Tetrick) - 3-1 7 - Cooperstown (Anthony Napolitano) - 12-1 8 - Bushwacker (Jim Morrill Jr.) - 15-1 9 - Bit Of A Legend N (Andrew McCarthy) - 5-2   Race 11 -- $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania Pace Final   1 - Ivy League (Yannick Gingras) - 6-1 2 - Newborn Sassy (Tim Tetrick) - 5-1 3 - Sail To The Beach (George Napolitano Jr.) - 12-1 4 - Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) - 5-2 5 - Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) - 4-1 6 - Pure Country (Brett Miller) - 3-1 7 - I Said Please (Anthony Napolitano) - 15-1 8 - Save The Treasure (Jim Morrill Jr.) - 20-1 9 - I Said Diamonds (Matt Kakaley) - 10-1   Race 12 -- $561,5000 Pennsylvania Classic Pace Final   1 - Big Top Hanover (Matt Kakaley) - 4-1 2 - The Catamount Kid (Jody Jamieson) - 6-1 3 - JK Will Power (David Miller) - 3-1 4 - Check Six (Yannick Gingras) - 5-2 5 - Lyons Snyder (Scott Zeron) - 5-1 6 - Western Dynasty (Tim Tetrick) - 15-1 7 - JJ Flynn (Brett Miller) - 12-1 8 - Duke Of Delray (Andrew McCarthy) - 20-1 9 - Manhattan Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.) - 10-1   PHHA / Pocono

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