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The Running Aces Harness Racing Season opener went to post on Saturday night, May 20, and while the weather gods didn’t exactly cooperate with us, an exciting card of harness racing went to post nonetheless despite an all day long deluge of rain. The opening night $10,000 Open Trot feature went to Flameon (by Angus Hall) who was confidently driven by Moonie Svendsen, they sat in the pocket behind rival Banker Volo (Luke Plano) who was the 8-5 choice in the wagering. Flameon powered past in the lane to beat Banker Volo by ¾ of a length in 1:58.0 and post his first win in 3 starts this season for owner/trainer Mark Anderson. Flameon ($8.40) is no stranger to the Aces winners circle, as he has been a top contender at the Open Trot level here for the past couple of seasons. Tonight’s tally was the 21st lifetime score for the 7 year old gelding, and pushed his career bankroll over the century mark to $100,570. The fastest mile of the night over the sloppy surface was turned in by Tornado Henry ($14.80), a 6 year old gelding pacer by Henry Clay, who kicked off a natural driving hat-trick for veteran reinsman Steve Wiseman with a ½ length tally in 1:56.4 from a second over trip. He also shared in the fastest winning final quarter time of the evening (29.0). Tornado Henry is owned by Scott Ehrlich and trained by Kathie Plested Wiseman. Hairway to Heaven, a 4 year old pacing mare by Barber Pole, posted the biggest upset of the evening with a 30-1 shocker for owner/trainer/driver Gerald Longo. It was the 4th win of the season in 15 starts for Hairway to Heaven who delighted her backers with a $63.40 win mutuel. Wiseman’s hat-trick topped the charts on opening night, while Moonie Svendsen picked up a back-to-back double in races 5 & 6 to take second honors. Live Racing returns on Sunday, May 21 with a first post of 6:00 CDT, and will be held every Tuesday at 7:00 pm CT, and Saturdays and Sundays at 6:00 pm CT now through September 16. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

The $12,000 Open Handicap Trot was the featured event on the Saturday night Harness Racing Card at Running Aces, and the very sharp 6 year old gelding Flameon (by Angus Hall) picked up his eighth win of the year in just his 13th start, by posting a dominant performance in the contest. It was a 3-wide early battle for the lead, and Flameon with driver Dean Magee charged through the middle of two rivals to take command of the field just before the 28.0 quarter mile, he then benefitted from a 30.0 second stanza and led through the rest of the fractions of 58.0 and 1:26.4 before trotting home in 29.1 to secure the win over a hard charging pocket-sitter Big Expense (Mooney Svendsen) and longshot Where’s The Clicker (Brian Detgen) was third in the 1:56 mile. Flameon is owned and Trained by Mark Anderson, and now sports a 2016 bankroll of $39,310. He paid $10.60 at the windows. In the $6,000 Minnesota-Sired B Pace for $6,000 Cyrax (by Intrepid Seelster) with Brian Detgen in the sulky posted another impressive win, lowering his lifetime mark to 1:54.3 this evening with a 2¾ length tally, his sixth lifetime win in 8 lifetime starts for Owner James Springer and Trainer Robert Lems, he paid $2.60 as the heavy race favorite. The $9,000 class A split went to Stuckey Dote (by Voracious Hanover) with driver Jim Marino for two in a row, he also lowered his lifetime best tonight with his two length score in 1:55. It was the 9th lifetime win in 13 career starts for Stuckey Dote, who is Owned and Trained by Merlin Van Oterloo. In a $6,000 conditioned Trot, the 3 year old filly My Little Susie (by Claudius Augustus) posted her 14th lifetime win, and 11th of the season with Trainer/Driver Steve Wiseman in the bike, by just holding off last year’s 3 year old Minnesota Champion Filly Becky Badger Baby (Nick Roland) in a 1:57 lifetime best mile, she paid $3.60 and is owned by A Piece of The Action, LLC. Driver Nick Roland posted a Hat-Trick on the card, while Luke Plano and Dean Magee both had driving doubles this evening. The next card of Live Harness Racing will go to post on Sunday, July 24th with a post time of 6:00 PM CDT. Running Aces will be adding Wednesday Live Racing starting this coming Wednesday, July  27th. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

A nice crowd was on hand for the Preakness Stakes simulcast on Saturday, and they were treated to some fantastic live harness racing to compliment the triple crown action. Flameon kicked off the harness action in race 1 , trotting to a big win in 1:56.2 with Dean Magee aboard for Mark Anderson. It was a big night for Rick Magee, who posted a driving triple on the 8 race card, and delivered with his mare Trot Fudge Sundae ( 1:58.2 ) in race 4 for his owner James Bafia of Illinois. Mr Jackpot made his 2016 debut in race 5 for 3 year old Trotters with big expectations, and he did take control of the race at the 3/8 pole but was out-trotted after the three-quarters by the sharp mare Margins Echo, another Rick Magee charge for owner Mikaela Delgiudice of Minn. And Whatevershesgot rallied past for 2nd in the 2:01.2 mile.  The final race of the night looked on paper to be a face-off between Track record holder Linkjack Hanover (Rick Magee) from the rail, and seasoned gelding Stonebridge Lyric (Nick Roland) from post 8, who opened the Running Aces season with a 1:53 romp on Tuesday night, and Stonebridge Lyric powered away from post 8 to beat Rickybrnthegaragdwn to the lead, and he never looked back from there in a 1:53.4 score. Cantholdmebackmack ( G.Longo ) made a late charge to nose out Restless Yankee ( J.Marino) for 2nd, while Linkjack Hanover ( R.Magee ) made a move at the leader at the top of the lane but was out-kicked home tonight, taking fourth. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

Last Sunday evening was one to remember for both driver Eddie Hernandez and the Sal Wenceslao-trained Laissezmoipicoler, as they recorded the first wins of their respective careers in the eighth race at Cal Expo. The icing on the cake came 47 minutes later in the nightcap, when Hernandez guided Lasissezmoipicolers full brother Laissez Moi Passer to victory, once again posing for pictures with owner/breeders Sal and Georgette Wenceslao. The Wenceslao performers are by Disco Devil out of the Nirvana mare My Passing Fancy. Laissez Moi Passer, who set his 1:52 2/5 mark this summer at Vernon Downs, was winning for the seventh time this year, while his younger brother was getting the job done for the first time after 12 previous attempts. I was so happy for Eddie, said Sal, noting that he has also had success with Hernandez younger brother William. Ive known him for a lot of years and it was special to get two wins the other night with him driving. Wenceslao had high hopes for Laissezmoipicoler before he made his debut last year, especially in light of his older brother being an accomplished Sire Stakes hero. He admits its been a work in progress. Its just been a matter of his maturing and putting it all together, which hes starting to do, his mentor noted. I actually took him with me to New York over the summer and qualified him, but after looking at the competition I figured it would too much for him and it was better to let him grow a little. Laissezmoipicolor gave an indication of things to come when he set the pace in his November 22 outing, then kept the momentum going in last weeks diploma earner as he made every pole a winning one at 6-1 with two and a half-lengths back to his nearest competitor. Not to be outdone, his older brother countered in the finale. Main event lures At Last, Quality Sport At Last, who has used his patented late charge to win two of his last three appearances, gets the top billing in Saturday nights $6,000 Open I Handicap Pace. There will be 12 races on tap with a first post of 6:15 p.m. The headliner is set to go as the ninth on the evening with a field of seven facing starter Ken Fowler. There will be also be an Open Handicap Trot headed by Jessesjo to be decided as the third contest on the evening. At Last is a 9-year-old Florida-bred son of Western Ideal who comes into this assignment with $196,000 in his bank account and a 1:52 1/5 mark. He carries the banner of Mark Anderson, resides in the Gordie Graham barn and will be handled by Mooney Svendsen. The hard-hitting veteran recorded his first win of the meet when he flew home at 22-1 to captured a conditioned affair on November 14 with Chip Lackey at the controls. After missing by a neck to Im Real Good at next asking, he returned to his winning ways in the top dance for the pacing set last weekend. Sent off 3-1 with Svendsen in the sulky, At Last trained the field until the stretch, exploded when the question was asked in the stretch and won going away by a length and a quarter in a 1:54 1/5 tour. Quality Sport was his most immediate victim that evening and comes into the feature having posed for pictures following two of his last four outings. Ron and Tammy Wells own the son of Sportsmaster with Steve Wiseman reining and training. Like At Last, Quality Sports victories at this meeting have come from off the pace and at juicy 9-1 and 10-1 odds. He was first over in last weeks try, finished well but could not contain At Last when push came to shove while finishing clear of the rest in another solid mile. By Mark Ratzky, Publicity Cal Expo Harness

Jailer comes into harness racing at Cal Expo this weekend riding a two-race winning streak for Rick Bertrand, who drives, trains and co-owns the 4-year-old trotter with Doug Flores. The sharp trotter suits up in Saturdays sixth race, where he has the outside slot in the field of six with Rick doing the honors in the conditioned affair. Bertrand and Flores are also represented in the fourth race with the aptly-named Winonefordoug, who also drew the outside post. Jailer has been a punctual favorite in his last two appearances, overcoming the demanding No 10 post on March 28 and returning last week to work out a pocket trip from the cozy rail slot en route to a length and a half decision. Doug and I purchased Jailer from Ken Booher and Chuck Taylor in Michigan, Bertrand related. Ken really liked him and said he was a really nice horse and probably wouldnt even sell him, but at this time in his life he only wants one horse and had just bought a 2-year-old. Doug Flores is a California native who retired a few years ago from a hobby shop he owned and operated with his wife Lorraine. He always enjoyed coming out to the races and eventually Rick asked him if he wanted to go 50-50 on a horse. By now, weve owned a couple dozen horses, Bertrand explained, including the pacer we decided to rename Winonefordoug. That said, I know Jailer has become one of Dougs favorites. ******* A reminder that there are four wagers offered each night that come with a reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the Jackpot 6 and Hi-5, which are both 10-cent minimum bets; the 50-cent Pick Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which has a $25,000-guaranteed pool as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program. Sire Stakes brings out talented sophomore pacers A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing colts featuring Uringoodhands, Lodi Machette Man and Hi Hos Little Rev gets the marquee treatment at Cal Expo Saturday night. A 12-race program is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Sire Stakes occupies the 5th-race slot on the card. Uringoodhands has accounted for four of the six stakes races decided at the meet for this group and gets the top billing this weekend. The son of Kents On Nuke races for Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again have the services of James Kennedy. Uringoodhands won the first Sire Stakes for this group on January 17, just missed in the next one and then rattled off three straight big-money scores, including his March 14 romp where he set his mark of 1:55 flat. He had to settle for the runner-up prize in the most recent stakes dance two weeks ago behind upsetter Lodi Machette Man. The latter is a Little Steven offspring who iks owned by Mary Harris and Pierre Girard, takes his lessons from Girard and will have Luke Plano in the sulky. Plano was guiding the colt for the first time in that last stakes dance on March 28, gave him a perfect pocket trip and he responded with a length and three-quarters tally. He returned with another conditoned victory last weekend. Hi Hos Little Rev earned his stakes trophy on January 31, holding off Uringoodhands by a neck that night for the decision. Vanessa Gilliam owns, Bob Johnson trains and Mooney Svendsen will guide. Rounding out the field are Shotgun Rider, who gives the Johnson barn two looks at the outcome with Steve Wiseman in the sulky; Laissezmoipicoler with Williams Hernandez; and Sounion, who has the services of Tim Maier. By Mark Ratzky

Little Cher Amio has been something of a challenge for harness racing trainer George Reider, but the work is starting to pay off with Rick and Marlene Thomas Little Steven homebred as she guns for her second stakes victory on Sunday evening. The bay miss took advantage of a couple of key scratches from the most recent stakes clash on January 30 and scored a coast-to-coast score that evening with James Kennedy guiding her through a 1:58 1/5 tour of Cal Expo. I raced her mother, Beast Coast, who had a lot of heart and we are hoping for that with her, Reider informed. Shes also a full sister to Full Moon Rising. When she came to the barn as a yearling, my assistant Kimberly Hines named her Lola and thats what she goes by at the barn. She reminds me more of a thoroughbred than a standardbred. Shes tall with long legs and very high-strung. She was a tough one to get to the races, but once she made it I knew she was going to be ok. Reider credits groom Juan Pacheco with doing a great job working with Little Cher Amio. She takes a lot of patience, her mentor noted. Its going to be fun to watch her race and see how much she can improve as she gets older and more experienced. If George is right and the Thomas homebred is only going to get better with age and experience, she could be adding quite a few more trophies to the mantle before her racing days are over. This week and the next, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, Feb 13-15 and 20-22. Sire Stakes, Open Pace atop marquee A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing colts headed by Hi Hos Little Rev and Uringoodhands; and an Open Pace that has lured a solid cast share the spotlight Saturday evening at Cal Expo. There will be 10 races and first post is set at 6:40 p.m. The Sire Stakes is the second event on the card and the Open Pace immediately follows in the third-race slot. Hi Hos Little Rev is a 3-year-old son of Hi Ho Silverheels out of the Little Steven mare Prettylittlerebel who is owned by Vanessa Gilliam, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. The bay performer scored a dominating victory at second asking on January 4, then was runner-up to Uringoodhands in the first stakes engagement for this group. Hi Hos Little Rev was able to turn the tables in the most recent Sire Stakes clash two weeks ago, as he carved out the fractions and then had enough left to hold safe by a neck over the pocket-sitting Uringoodhands. The latter is by Kents On Nuke and the homebred carries the banner of Mark Anderson with Gordie Graham the conditioner and James Kennedy in his usual spot in the sulky. He was a powerful winner of the first Sire Stakes for the division on January 17 in a 1:57 1/5 performance, the just missed after tracking his arch-rival in that last big-money gathering two weeks ago. Completing the field from the rail out are Sounion with Tim Maier at the controls; Lodi Machette Man for Pierre Girard; Back Dor, who will have the services of Chip Lackey; and Laissezmoipicoleer with Williams Hernandez in the sulky. Looking at the Open Pace, the well-regarded invader Windsong Jack and China King will represent the Gene Vallandingham barn and be challenged by A Real Miracle, JC Onthebeach and St Lads Lotto. By Mark Ratzky, – Cal Expo Harness

Vanessa Gilliam is the owner of the promising 3-year-old pacing colt Hi Hos Little Rev, the Bob Johnson trainee who was runner-up in the first stakes race for his division earlier this month and will suit up once again in Saturday nights harness racing opener. She is also the operator of Second Wind Rescue, Inc., doing a terrific job giving horses the second chance they deserve. I didn't grow up with horses, Vanessa explained. I was a competitive volleyball player, and my parents encouraged me to pursue athletics instead of equines, because they felt horses were not only dangerous, but wouldnt pay for college. Gilliam ended up playing college volleyball for five years and for a short period some professional volleyball in Greece, eventually buying her first horse in 2007. It was a 4- year-old Overo APHA mare, she related. In March of 2008, I starting rescuing by purchasing three unbroken 2 year olds Quarter Horse type horses for $150 apiece. Fast forward to the summer of 2010, when Vanessa met veterinarian Dr. Audrey Clifton in Paso Robles at a restaurant where she was working a couple of nights a week. She vacations at Lake Nacimento every summer with her family. We got to talking about our occupations and instantly become friends. She offered to help me with dental work and stock me with essential medical supplies at cost when she was down here. We stayed in touch and I went up to Cal Expo to visit her in 2011. During my visit, I got to jog two horses around the track on a Saturday morning and I was hooked! Later that year she called me to see if I had room for three pregnant mares at my ranch. I was able to take two of them, Prettylittlerebel and Sharps and Flats. Both mares were bred to Hi Ho Silverheels. Hi Ho's Little Rev, who is out of Prettylittlerebel, was born at Second Wind Rescue, Inc. in 2012. When he was getting close to turning 2, Gilliam contacted Clifton to help her get the ball rolling with his harness training. Audrey has been very instrumental in making this journey possible, Vanessa noted. She got him a spot in Leon Smith's barn for the first half of training. With all the groundwork I did with him at my place, Rev was ground driven his first day there and hooked up to a cart by the end of the week. It also goes to show the great minds that this breed possesses. Being part of this process has been a huge learning experience which will help me better understand the industry and also the horses that are involved. It's stressful being a racehorse owner, but I'm enjoying the excitement of the journey. As for Second Wind, it has been a 501(c)3 non-profit organization since 2011. Vanessa has had 62 horses, representing 20 different breeds, come through the rescue facility over the last seven years. After owning a few Standardbreds, she noted, I'd put them as one of my top three favorite breeds, along with Friesians and Mustangs. In addition, she currently owns a cleaning business called Mo Betta Cleaning Services, waits tables a couple nights a week, and runs the rescue. I care for 15 horses, four llamas, two sheep, two goats, a potbelly pig, three dogs, two cats, nine chickens and 14 ducks, pretty much all by myself. On occasion, I have volunteers here helping with ranch chores and training. Our goal at Second Wind is to take unwanted, abused, and/or neglected horses, get them healthy, add value to them with training, and adopt them out to forever homes. Noble work, indeed. Introducing Second Wind Rescue Open Pace, sophomore Sire Stakes in spotlight An Open Pace that rematches St Lads Lotto and China King and a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing colts get the marquee treatment Saturday night at Cal Expo. The Sire Stakes goes as the first and the Open Pace as the fourth event on a 14-race card that is scheduled to get underway at 6:10 p.m. Four wagers are offered at a reduced 16% takeout rate, including the Pick 4 that comes with a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool. Looking at the Sire Stakes, Urungoodhands, a powerful winner of the first added-money event for the 3-year-old males pacers; and Hi Hos Little Rev, his most immediate victim that evening, loom the major players. Uringoodhands is a homebred son of Kents On Nuke who campaigns for Mark Anderson, is trained by Gordie Graham and will once again have the services of James Kennedy.After finishing second in his debut, the dark-hued performer suited up for the first stakes engagement for the division two weeks ago. He sat a tracking trip for Kennedy, exploded off the final bend and won going away by three lengths in a 1:57 1/5 mile. Hi Hos Little Rev is a son of Hi Ho Silverheels who is owned by Vanessa Gilliam with Bob Johnson the conditioner and Mooney Svendsen in his usual position in the sulky. He was a powerful winner of his second trip to the post on January 4, then had to settle for second in the aforementioned January 17 Sire Stakes after looming large at midstretch. Racing will be conducted this week on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1. Next week, there will be Saturday and Sunday night programs, February 7 and 8. Following that, there will be back-to-back three-night weeks with cards on Friday through Sunday, February 13, 14, 15; and Friday through Sunday, February 20, 21, 22. Mark Ratzky

COLUMBUS, OH. - Harness racing driver Lemoyne 'Moonie' Svendsen reached the coveted 3,000 wins plateau at Running Aces on Sunday night.   The 55-year-old Minnesota native (born in Albert Lea) drove his first winner at an Iowa county fair at age 16 in 1975 and has won races each of the 39 years since then. The likeable green and yellow-clad reinsman is also approaching the coveted $10 million earnings mark with horses he has steered in his career.   Svendsen's best year was 2011 when he guided 266 winners and just lost the dash title at Cal Expo (to Luke Plano) in the waning weeks of the meet. Lemoyne has been a mainstay in California harness racing circles for the past 15 years and has been making his summer home at Running Aces for the past five years.   He also won 206 races in 2009 and over 100 times in ten other seasons. Earlier in his career Svendsen won dash titles at both Quad City Downs and Thunder Ridge.   The milestone triumph came with Meritage Hanover, fittingly owned and trained by fellow native Minnesotan Mark Anderson, for whom Svendsen has driven regularly over the past couple years.   An adept passing lane move allowed Svendsen to gain a thrilling half-length 1:54.3 victory over Gencor's Z Tam (Jason Ryan) and Nancy's Skyscape (Gerry Longo) in a bottom claiming class event. Off at 7-1 odds, Meritage Hanover rewarded $2 backers with a $16.40 win mutuel.   The elated newest member of the 3,000 Wins Club was joined in the winner's circle by his immediate family--wife Jodi, son Sonny and daughter Kaitlyn.   "My dad got me started in this business as a kid and its all I've ever done," chuckled Svendsen after the race. "I'll never forget the thrill that my first win with a horse called Miss Lasko forty years ago gave me. For that matter, this one was pretty darned thrilling, too. I must say every win between those two has been exciting as well. Winning never gets old!"   Gregg Keidel        

COLUMBUS, MN. - Flick A Fly established a new harness racing track record for sophomore pacing fillies on Sunday night at Running Aces, shaving two-fifths of a second off the old record established a year ago by Show Runner.   The daughter of Voracious Hanover, owned by the Van Otterloo Stables, sat the pocket and took advantage of quick early fractions set by favored Delco Voracious, then closed with a :28.3 final panel to win the $13,000 race for Minnesota-sired colts and fillies in 1:52.1.   Regular reinsman Rick Magee was in the sulky for trainer David Flinn. Stablemate Gravelsinmytravel (Steve Wiseman) finished second with Bunkerhill Bill (Gerry Longo) garnering the show dough.   Country Jewel (Nick Roland) captured the $8000 Fillies and Mares Open pace for the second straight week, edging Love Live Laugh (Tim Maier) and Blazing Fury (Magee) despite an outside post position.   Owner-trainer George Reider purchased the Minnesota-sired six-year-old mare privately two months ago and returned her to Minnesota where she has earned the bulk of her $100,000-plus career bankroll. She has responded with two wins and three place finishes in recent open class competition and looms as a favorite in the aged mares division when Minnesota State Championships night brings the curtain down on the 2014 Running Aces season on August 30.   Veteran driver Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen won a $4000 overnight race on Sunday with owner-trainer Mark Anderson's colt Prodigal. It was the 2,999th victory in the 55-year-old Svendsen's career. The Minnesota native, who has plied his trade on the Cal Expo-Running Aces circuit for the past several years, has seven drives as he seeks to reach the coveted 3,000 wins plateau when racing resumes Sunday night.   From the press box at Running Aces

COLUMBUS, MN. - Both Gerry Longo and Tim Maier scored driving triples on the Saturday night program at Running Aces plus a pair of full sisters won back-to-back races, including the $11,000 Fillies and Mares Open pace.   Longo made three consecutive trips to the winner's circle in the second through fourth races. His success started with his own Kiss On The Lips who scored a 1:53.4 tally in a $6000 conditioned race with optional $7500 claimers.   She bested Free Girl (Rick Magee) and Save My Dragon (Kody Massey). He also triumphed with Jenni King's Caseofthesillies and John Rogers' Razzle Be Dazzled. Caseofthesillies defeated distaff maidens Maidamess (Clark Whitney) and Whata Smoothie (Tim Maier) in 1:56.3; and Razzle Be Dazzled topped $4000 claiming mares Lil Miss Nyalation (Rick Magee) and Blazin With Pride (Rob Dinning) in 1:56.2.   Maier won the final three races of the card with full sisters Love Live Laugh and Diva Las Vegas, both owned by his wife Denise, and Pamela Buergi's Fancy Too. Love Live Laugh managed a nose decision over Country Jewel (Nick Roland) and That's Mara (Kim Pluta) in 1:53.1 in the night's featured Open event.   The top six finishers were all within two lengths at the finish in the hotly-contested event. Sister Diva Las Vegas, also a daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels out of the Little Steven mare Prettylittlerebel, beat Keystone Christa (Nick Roland) and Ha Jung (Jason Ryan) in a $4500 race combining $5000 claimers and condition mares.   Fancy Too captured the nightcap, a $3000 race for bottom conditioned mares, topping Britash Redcoat (Rob Dinning) and Five Stars Queen (Jason Ryan) in 1:56.4.   Sandwiched between the two driving triples was a second straight impressive victory by the two-year-old gelding URCutoff, who beat a full field of older horses in a non-winners of two races for a $4500 purse. Owned and trained by Mark Anderson and driven by Lemoyne Svendsen, the colt stopped the timer in 1:55.4 to follow up on his 1:54.3 maiden voyage last week.   From the Running Aces Press Box  

COLUMBUS, MN. - It took eleven programs for a continually growing number of bettors to solve the Running Aces Harness Park 50-cent Pick-6, but when they did they did it in large numbers.   The total pool reached $88,814 on Wednesday night with a total of 40 players each punching perfect tickets which were worth $1,719.90 each. The balance of the pool was paid out to a huge number of consolation winners who picked five out of six and received $14.25.   A total of four off-time favorites combined with a 5-1 shot and a 7-2 shot which made the wager easier to solve than it had been in two weeks. The winners were Capital Wiz (Rick Magee) who paid $3.80, Sgt Charlie (Jason Ryan) $4.00, Ras Shakinthtbacon (Ryan) $12.40, Emery Vern (Tim Maier) $5.80, Sharpshootennorris (Steve Wiseman $9.20 and Haroun Hanover (Ryan) $4.20. The winning numbers were 1-3-6-8-5-2.   Earlier on the program Urcutoff smashed a track record for two-year-old pacers with a stunning 1:54.3 performance. It was the first lifetime start for the altered son of Brandon's Cowboy, although he was coming off an outstanding qualifier a week earlier winning in 1:57 with a back half in :56 flat.   The new track record holder is owned and trained by Mark Anderson, who makes a habit of getting outstanding juveniles ready for successful racing careers at Running Aces each summer. Lemoyne 'Moonie' Svendsen, who is closing in on his 3,000th career win, was in the sulky for the track record performance.   From the Running Aces Press Box

Fraser Downs' biggest weekend of harness racing in 2014 kicked off with the $200,000 British Columbia Sires Stakes Finals on Friday night. A BCSS champion at two, sophomore pacing filly Run And Tell defended her divisional title with a 1:57.4 score in the $75,000 final for trainer Debra McCarthy and owner/breeder Mark Anderson of Willows, California. Driver Kevin Anderson sent the Power Of Art-Muddy Waters filly from third to first after a :28.4 opening panel and cruised through middle splits of :58.1 and 1:28.4 before holding off pocket-sitter T Squared (Rick White) in the passing lane by a neck for her first win this year. Run And Tell paid $3.30 to win as the favourite. Early leaver Go To The Windows (Dennis Johnston) finished over two lengths behind in third. To read the rest of the story click here.

A Stitch In Time has won 13 of his 19 starts, with a growing number of harness racing stakes trophies on the mantle, but his runner-up finish in last week’s Open Pace impressed pilot Lemoyne "Mooney" Svendsen as much as any of those victories. The 4-year-old homebred son of Kent’s On Nuke, who carries the banner of Mark Anderson and hails from the Gordie Graham barn, flew home for Svendsen in last week’s assignment but came up short of catching the free-wheeling front end favorite One And Only that evening. “That was as a good a race as he’s ever gone for me,” Svendsen related. “He came that final quarter in :26 2/5 and he would have definitely won if we would come first over and not had a roadblock ahead of us. “This is one of the best horses I’ve driven since I’ve come out here and an amazing California-bred. I knew he was something special right off the bat, when he broke his maiden at Running Aces last year in 1:54 and absolutely flew by everybody once I pulled him out.” A Stitch In Time has rattled off four straight Sire Stakes victories since the middle of November, proving clearly best on each occasion as the prohibitive favorite. “He just stands out with that group,” Mooney noted. “You can pretty much do anything you want with him. I just want to make sure I don’t make any mistakes and he’s going to do the rest. “You have to remember that he’s only just turned 4 and is lightly raced, so his best races figures to be still ahead of him. He’s a real nice one to have and it should be a lot of fun down the road.” Open Trot, Distaff Pace, Sire Stakes set An Open Trot that pits El Azteca versus a strong Bob Johnson pair; an Open Distaff Pace and a trio of $10,000 California Sire Stakes are the featured attractions on Friday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo. First post for the 14-race program is 5:20 p.m. The Open Trot will go as the third; the Distaff Open occupies the fourth-race slot; the Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing fillies is set as the eighth and the other two Sire Stakes will be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. Freedombird looks for another trophy and headlines the 4-year-old trotting stakes, while Snuff N Beer eyes an encore in the 3-year-old trotting contest. Looking at the sophomore pacing fillies Sire Stakes, De Valeria edged out odds-on J’s Littlerockstar in the first added-money clash for the division two weeks ago. De Valeria is daughter of Little Steven and the Cr Fandango Fella mare Princess Kiara who is owned by Eugene Afentoulis and is reined and trained by Luke Plano. She sat a stalking trip in that first stakes gathering, rallied second over to the lane and overpowered the pace-setting J’s Littlerockstar. The latter is another by Little Steven and she is owned, trained, driven and was bred by James Kennedy. She carved out all the fractions in that event two weeks ago as the 3-5 chalk, dug in late but could not quite hold off the winner’s rally. She was a sharp 1:57 4/5 victress on January 3 to earn her maiden diploma. Looking at the Open Trot, El Azteca is a 5-year-old son of Panama Hanover and the Jonathan Lobell mare Jonathan’s Girl who made a very impressive 2014 debut in the most recent gathering for the head of the class. Marco Rios owns, trains and bred the performer and Luke Plano will handle the lines. Sent off the 3-2 favorite in the most recent Open Trot despite the fact that he was making his first start since June at Hoosier Park, El Azteca was a solid first-over victor and had a length and three quarters advantage at the wire. A multiple Sire Stakes winner here in California, he is working his way to the $100,000 earnings plateau and sports a 1:55 mark. by Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness

They say age is just a number, but sometimes those numbers can really add up. As the field passed the opening quarter in last Friday nights ninth race, Tour Guide showed the way with Rather Be Playing In The Pocket and Early Boy looming in third. Nothing really unusual there as the field straightened for the backstretch in the conditioned trot. However, trackman Marty Bridges pointed out something interesting about the three drivers who were guiding these leaders Steve Desomer, Pierre Girard and Gene Vallandingham. If you add their ages together, thats 219 years and that might be some kind of a record. We checked Marty's math and he was right on. Steve Desomer is 77, Gene Vallandingham turned 73 in September and Pierre Girard had 69 candles on his last birthday cake. By the way, Gene ended up winning the race while relative youngster Luke Plano completed the exacta and 20-year-old driving sensation Tyler Smith finished in the show spot. Vallandingham comes into this weeks action needing just 22 victories to reach the 3,000 plateau while sporting over $13 million in earnings. He was asked what its like to come down the stretch with a 20-year-old who could easily be his grandson whipping and shouting in the sulky next to him. It doesnt make any difference, Gene related. Heck, I only feel about 29 when Im out there, so I dont mind driving against somebody whos only nine years younger. By the way, the kid (Smith) is doing a very good job. A Stitch In Time headlines Sire Stakes A Stitch In Time, a romping winner of the last two big-money gatherings for the division, looks to add to his reputation in Saturday nights $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the newly-turned 4-year-old pacing males. A 15-race card is on tap with first post set for 5:20 p.m. The headliner will go as the second race on the evening, with the co-feature being a $5,000 Invitational Pace that occupies the third-race slot on the program. A Stitch In Time is a son of Kents On Nuke who is owned and was bred by Mark Anderson, takes his lessons from Gordie Graham and has Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. He comes into this contest having posed for pictures in 11 of his 16 starts, including a 1:53 3/5 lifetime-best performance at Fraser Downs in October. The dark-hued pacer was a prohibitive favorite in the two stakes decided so far as this meeting and did not disappoint on either occasion. He waltzed home with 10 lengths to spare in the November 16 affair, then came back two weeks later as the 1-9 choice and had six and a quarter lengths on his nearest rival when all was said and done. Lining up against him this weekend are Hi Ho Disguise, who will have Dave Siegel at the controls; Kablooie with Luke Plano; Orlandos Express, who has the services of Chip Lackey; Bit Player, Steve Wiseman; and Me Tarzan with James Kennedy giving directions. Looking at the Invitational Pace, One And Only has been assigned the outside slot after posing a convincing victory at this level two weeks ago. The 5-year-old son of Bettors Delight carries the banner of Richard Morita and David Yamada with Lino Pacheco training and Luke Plano in the bike. One And Only was able to work out a pocket journey behind pace-setting Steuben Jumpinjack in that last Invite clash, engaged that rival at the top of the stretch and drew off to a five-length score in a sharp 1:52 2/5 tour. Stueben Jumpinjack will again be among his rivals along with Docs Zippy, Its Getting Hairy and Party Cove.  By Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness  

One And Only is in receipt of a little class relief in Saturday night’s co-feature, getting away from the razor-sharp It’s Getting Hairy, and could very well be posing for pictures for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and trainer Lino Pacheco. The 5-year-old son of Bettors Delight has gone a number of big miles over this layout during his career, but his career standard came in August during a Vernon Downs invasion when he stopped the timer in a snappy 1:52 4/5 under Luke Planos direction. We bought Only and Only at the Meadowlands sale in January 2011, Morita related. He had tried to qualify twice at Freehold, but made breaks in both starts. We figured Steve Elliott was a top trainer back east, so he was brought along the right way and one of those not destined for stakes. Just the kind of horse my partner Dave and I could take a chance on. One And Only had spent his entire racing career in California up until the end of the last meet, when Morita and Yamada decided the time was right to hit the road with the gelding. We hooked up with Luke, who had done well driving the horse and was headed to Running Aces. Luke's dad, Rick, was the one who was at the sale and did the inspection of One and Only and made the winning bid. One And Only got sick at Aces and just raced okay. Luke wanted to try Vernon Downs, so we went for the ride. In August, he found a field to his liking, and Luke gave him a winning drive, stopping the timer in a lifetime best of 1.52 4/5. Right before he left Vernon, we were coming strong first over in a fast mile, and I think he would have been right there. Unfortunately, he made an uncharacteristic break when clearing the leader in a mile that went 1.51 flat. One And Only was given a few weeks off following his return to California, and according to his co-owner enjoyed being home and in the care of Pacheco. He has recorded two seconds and a third in his three trips to the post at this meet and gets away from one of his main rivals in Its Getting Hairy for this weekends assignment. We have been bringing him back slowly, Morita noted. I thought his last mile was a very good one on a track where front speed was not holding at all and he was meeting a very sharp horse in Its Getting Hairy. A Stitch In Time solid Sire Stakes favorite Saturdays Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo features a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacers with A Stitch In Time looming the overwhelming favorite in that affair. A 14-race card is on tap Saturday evening, with the Sire Stakes going as the ninth on the program. The co-feature is an Open 2 Pace with Phantom Dan and One And Only among the major players and it will be the third race on the card. A Stitch In Time is a homebred son of Kents On Nuke out of the Power Of Art mare Sheza Gimmie Girl who is owned by Mark Anderson, conditioned by Gordie Graham and will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He is looking for his 11th win from 16 career trips to the post. The dark-hued performer set his lifetime standard of 1:53 3/5 last month at Fraser Downs, and suited up for the first Sire Stakes here for the division two weeks ago having captured four of his previous five outings. Sent off at 1-5 in that affair, he sat a tracking trip for Svendsen for a half, brushed to a clear advantage on the final bend and went on to a 10-length romp. Bit Player was along for second that night while no threat to A Stitch In Time. The Desomer Stable homebred son of Moxie is a multiple stakes winner with a 1:55 standard that was set here earlier in the season and Steve Wiseman will handle the lines for trainer Vickie Desomer. Completing the field are Orlandos Express with James Lackey at the controls; Hi Ho Disguise, to be handled by Dave Siegel; Me Tarzan with James Kennedy; and Kablooie, who leaves from the outside with Luke Plano at the helm. Looking at the Open 2 Pace, One And Only has completed the exacta behind Its Getting Hairy in his last two miles and should appreciate getting away from the razor-sharp performer. The Richard Morita and David Yamada colorbearer is conditioned by Lino Pacheco with Luke Plano guiding and established his 1:52 4/5 mark this summer at Vernon Downs. Phantom Dan should be the main rival for driver/trainer James Kennedy.   By Mark Ratzky,for Cal Expo Harness  

COLUMBUS, MN. - Drivers Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen and Ridge Warren both scored hat tricks on the Saturday night program at Running Aces. Svendsen won a $7250 race for Minnesota-sired three-year-old colts with Reds Place in 1:55.4.  The colt, owned by Ron Emerson and Mark Holtan and trained by Bob Lems, now has seven wins and two place finishes in nine seasonal starts.  The green and gold clad reinsmans other two triumphs were behind the trotter Flameon and the pacer A Stitch In Time, both owned and trained by Mark Anderson. Warren won a pair of races for trainer Joe Mapes when he scored behind Taffy Towne and Allusive Annie.  Between those two races he guided Love My Terror to an impressive maiden victory for trainer Scott Banitt. Gregg Keidel  

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