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As the country looks to progress in the COVID-19 reopening phase, more jurisdictions are giving race tracks the green light to start or resume their horse racing meets, albeit with restrictions to keep a second wave of coronavirus cases from happening. On Wednesday, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) announced that Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley received permission from the Alameda County Health Department to resume racing next Thursday (May 14). On Thursday, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission announced that racing can resume as of June 14, with Indiana Grand Racing and Casino set to officially unveil the date for its opening day sometime next week, according to a track press release. It’s possible the Indiana Grand may allow fans to watch racing as soon as July 4. Last week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gave the state’s tracks the OK to resume racing. On Wednesday, Charles Town Races confirmed it will restart racing next Thursday. Charles Town halted its meet on March 24. I miss the team, the entire team at the track. It’s been lonely and trying months, but I promise you better times are ahead of us right now,” said Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races Vice President of Racing and Sports Operations Erich Zimmy said in a video statement posted Wednesday on Twitter. Mountaineer Park, West Virginia’s other horse track, will start its meet on May 31. Santa Anita Hopeful to Resume Next Week More tracks may soon receive permission to resume racing, including Santa Anita Park. The southern California track suspended its meet on March 27 after receiving an order from the Los Angeles County Health Department to comply with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order. Newsome initially gave that order on March 19, but racing continued at the track as questions circulated whether racing could be considered an essential business. The Stronach Group (TSG), owners of the track, stopped allowing fans to at the track on March 13. Even as Santa Anita and Golden Gate, also owned by Stronach, stopped racing, Newsom’s order was not universally applied by every county health department in California. That allowed Los Alamitos Race Course, located just 23 miles south of Santa Anita, to continue holding races because it is located in Orange County. Santa Anita last gave an update about its situation to the TOC last week. At that time, Aidan Butler, TSG’s executive director for California racing, told the owners the track was prepping for a May 15 reopening but that was contingent partially on the county letting its stay-home order expire on that date. Massachusetts Commission Extends Delay Indefinitely While some states are allowing their tracks to move forward with reopening plans, other states are still pushing their reopening schedules further into the year. On Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 5-0 to extend indefinitely the suspension of harness racing at Plainridge Park Casino. Previously, the plan had been to allow racing activities to start at the track, located about 25 miles southwest of Boston, on June 1. However, in a memo to the commission, state Director of Racing Dr. Alexandra Lightbrown said that neither she nor Chris McErlean, the vice president of racing for Plainfield-owner Penn National Gaming, felt a June 1 opening was realistic considering the state’s current stay-home order has been extended to May 18. Lightbrown said that she and McErlean will review a reopening plan the state plans to release on May 18 and use that information to put together a plan for the harness track. The Harness Horsemen of New England have raised concerns about the extended delays, noting that racing – although not harness racing – is going on in several other states. In particular, the group opposes any plan that would tie the resumption of racing to the reopening of the track’s casino. However, Commissioner Gayle Cameron supported extending the postponement, noting it will be a challenge to reopen the track in a manner that’s safe for everyone. “Doesn’t mean an insurmountable challenge, but it will be a challenge,” she told her colleagues Thursday. “And I know that’s difficult for the horsemen and women to hear because they would love to get back to their livelihoods sooner rather than later. I certainly understand that, but safety is a key piece.” By Steve Bittenbender  Reprinted with permission of

Plainville, MA --- Eight divisions of Massachusetts Sire Stake (MASS) finalists went postward to compete for the $800,000 up for grabs at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Oct. 28) in what turned out to be some of the best championship races the state harness racing series has ever seen. Trainer George Ducharme had an outstanding day winning four MASS stakes with two seconds and one third out of the eight starters he sent to post. Driver Shawn Gray led all his peers in the series by winning three stakes and five races total during the afternoon. Here is a summary of the championship day of racing in Massachusetts.   $100,000 2-year-old trotting colt and gelding champion: Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) There was never any doubt in the mile for Life Is A Feast (Howard Parker) who grabbed the lead and ran away with the race. After trotting fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:25.2 well in hand, Parker came off the last turn and extended his lead to six at the top of the stretch before coming to the wire a wrapped-up winner in 1:55.4. The time matched Life Is A Feast's lifetime mark and also tied the MASS stake and Plainridge Park track records for 2-year-old trotting geldings. Life Is A Feast ($3.00) scored his fifth win of the year, all at Plainridge Park, for owners Al Ross and Paul Fontaine and the MASS champion has now earned $113,475 in only nine starts during his freshman campaign. Karen Carroll bred Life Is A Feast. Ross and Fontaine were also part owners of Life Is A Feast's sire, Royalty For Life, who won the 2013 Hambletonian.   $100,000 2-year-old trotting filly champion: Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) RFL's M London (Jim Hardy) took a quick lead but soon gave it up to the 1-9 favorite Without A Warning (Shawn Gray) who pulled at the eighth pole and hurried to the front by the quarter in :28.4. The field stayed in single file to the half before Sophia's Express (Jimmy Whittemore) came first over and tried to move forward. After passing three-quarters in 1:28.2 it was clear the competition was not going to catch Without A Warning as she rounded the last turn with a strong lead that she held to the wire where she won by 3-¾ lengths in 1:58. Without A Warning ($2.10) remained undefeated in the MASS with her fourth straight win in the series and it pushed her earnings to $186,160 in her first year on the track for owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains Without A Warning.   $100,000 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding champion: Finnbar (Real Desire-Unbeachable) Favorites R Maddy Blue Chip (Drew Monti) and Han Solo (Kevin Switzer) took turns with the lead, twice by the quarter in :26.3 and one more time at the half in :55.2. There R Maddy Blue Chip finally settled on the front heading up the backstretch. Finnbar (Ivan Davies) who had been drafting fourth, pulled first over at the five eighths and made his way to the front on the outside. He hooked up with the leader and it became a match race for the next quarter mile. R Maddy Blue Chip and Finnbar paced side by side around the last turn and into the stretch where Finnbar swelled up and opened up a tow-length lead. Davies kept Finnbar to his task and paced strong to the wire, winning by 1-¾ lengths in 1:54.4. The win was the third of the year and a new lifetime mark for Finnbar ($14.40) who has now earned $75,670 this year for owner Nancy Longobardi and trainer Ivan Davies. Steve O'Toole bred the winner.   $100,000 2-year-old pacing filly champion: Odds On Orlando (Captaintreacherous-Lindys Old Lady) Ry's Red Rocket (Matt Athearn) took control of the race and set fractions of :28.1 and :57.1 to the half with no movement behind her. Then at the five-eighths marker, 1-9 favorite Odds On Orlando (Drew Monti) pulled first-over and came alongside the leader where a real battle ensued. Ry's Red Rocket would not relent and Odds On Orlando could not get by. The two tangled around the last turn and traded leads in the process. But as they made their way into the head of the stretch, Odds On Orlando took the lead for good and ended up one-half length in front under the wire in 1:54.4. The time was the fourth consecutive new lifetime mark taken by Odd On Orlando. Sweeping her MASS division to become champion and pushing her bankroll to $112,416 during her month in Massachusetts, Odds On Orlando ($2.20) is owned by Odds On Racing and trained by Tony Alagna. Lindy Farms of Connecticut bred Odds On Orlando.   $100,000 3-year-old trotting colt and gelding champion: Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia) Simple Kaos (Jimmy Whittemore) flew off the wings and took a four-length lead before they hit the quarter in :27.4. The Fixer (Howard Parker) and Jake G's Champion (Shawn Gray) settled in second and third with the rest of the field having trouble coping with the pace. Positions remained unchanged from there as Simple Kaos stopped the clock in :55.3 and 1:25.1. When they turned for home Simple Kaos was on cruise control and won by 1-¾ lengths in 1:54.4. With The Fixer finishing second and Jake G's Champion finishing third, trainer George Ducharme swept the board in this division. It was the fourth win of the year, all in the MASS, for Simple Kaos ($2.40) who is now a two-time MASS champion. On the strength of the final win, Simple Kaos has now earned $126,070 is 2019 and $249,820 lifetime for owners the George Ducharme Stable and Michelle Larson, who bred the gelding. Ducharme also trains the winner.   $100,000 3-year-old trotting filly champion: Crystalline (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) After Mother Teresa (Drew Monti) made a break at the start, Ev's Girl (Andy Miller) became the commander of fractions, taking the lead ahead of Just Dreamin (Mike Stevenson) and Crystalline (Shawn Gray). After a handy :57.1 half, Gray pulled Crystalline at the five-eighths, drew alongside Ev's Girl in the turn and then trotted away from the field in the stretch. Under a line drive, Crystalline opened up a 6-¼ length lead at the wire where she won in 1:55.2. The time was a new lifetime mark for Crystalline and a new MASS stake record for 3-year-old trotting fillies. It was the seventh win of the year for Crystalline ($4.40) who on the strength of her MASS competition ran her earnings up to $134,025 this year and $171,186 lifetime for breeder/owner Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner.   $100,000 3-year-old pacing colt and gelding champion: CBF Bantam (Baron Biltmore-Cohenucopia) Levi (Scott Renz) and Hollywood Deemon (Drew Campbell) left hard and pushed a swift quarter of :26.2 before the dust settled. Levi ended up on top and kept that position until the half in :55. That's where Victorias Maverick (Heath Campbell) came flying on the outside, took the lead and opened up a four-length advantage heading into the last turn. But the race was far from over. CBF Bantam (Shawn Gray) was pacing up a storm on the outside after tipping from mid-pack and caught Victorias Maverick in the last turn. The two hooked up at the top of the stretch and paced stride for stride all the way to the wire where CBF Bantam got a narrow advantage and won by a neck in 1:53.3. It was the ninth win of the year for CBF Bantam ($3.60) and pushed his winnings to $148,765 this year and $189,952 lifetime for owners Glenn Harris and Marion Phelps, who also bred the winner. David Crochere trains the winner.   $100,000 3-year-old pacing filly champion: Karan's Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) In the lone non-betting event of the day, Karan's Choice (Jim Hardy) took command of the race at the start and controlled the pace the entire way. After cutting fractions of :28.2, :59.1 and 1:28 to the three-quarters, Karan's Choice saw Secure The Boarder (Ivan Davies) draw near around the last turn trying to mount an attack. But the leader switched gears and turned back the challenge heading into the lane. Hardy gave Karan's Choice her head and let her stride-out down the stretch where she pulled away to a 6-¼ length win in 1:56.4. It was the fourth straight win in the MASS for Karan's Choice who is now a two-time MASS champion. On the strength of her eighth win of the year, Karan's Choice has now earned $129,624 in 2019 and $253,968 lifetime for owner Al Ross, who also bred the filly. Driver Jim Hardy also trains Karan's Choice.     By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- A stormy day and sloppy track was the backdrop for harness racing in Massachusetts on Friday (Oct. 11) but Nows The Moment made the most of it, taking full advantage of a strong front-end bias the conditions provided and coasted to an easy win in the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot at Plainridge Park. Driver Mike Stevenson fired Nows The Moment off the gate and took command before the quarter in :27.1. With the field widely gapped behind him, Nows The Moment continued to dictate the fractions at the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:25.1. At that station Nows The Moment opened up a two-length lead that he extended to 3-1/2 under the wire where he won in 1:54.1. It was the third straight win, second win in a row at Plainridge and seventh win overall for the year for Nows The Moment ($3.60) who has now inflated his bankroll to $83,573 for owner Sonya Mac Donald. Allison Mac Donald trains the winner. In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned trot, Whiskey Lindy (Drew Monti) didn't mind the weather and remained undefeated while destroying the field in a romp. After leaving in :26.4 in the slop, Monti backed down Whiskey Lindy to a moderate :56.3 half before stepping on the gas and smoking to the three-quarters in :28.4. From there he was all alone and opened up a 7-1/4 length lead under no urging at all to win in 1:55.3. It was the fifth straight win in only five starts this year for Whiskey Lindy ($3.00) who is owned by Greathorse of Massachusetts and trained by Domenico Cecere. Monti scored a driving double on the day along with Drew Campbell and Wally Watson. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 13) with post time set for 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- The second leg of the $1.8 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) got underway on Sunday (Oct. 6) at Plainridge Park with the second-year class competing in four harness racing divisions. 3-year-old trotting filly Crystalline (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) stole the show as she set a new stake record for her group in her $38,500 contest. Crystalline (Shawn Gray) got away fourth and watched as Ev's Girl (Steve Smith) flew to the quarter in :27.4. Gray pulled the 2-5 Crystalline past that station and rushed to the front midway through the second turn. The field bunched up on the backside with Mother Teresa (Drew Monti) coming first-over with Just Dreamin (Mike Stevenson) behind her and Ev's Girl on the pylons just a length off. After they hit the three-quarters in 1:26 flat, Crystalline opened up a length lead over the competition and as she made her way through the last turn, continued to extend the gap. Heading down the stretch Gray was a mere passenger as Crystalline just cruised home to a 3-3/4 length win in 1:55.4. The time was a new lifetime mark for Crystalline and it also broke the MASS stake record of 1:56.1 that was set by this filly just last week. It was the second straight MASS win and sixth win of the year for Crystalline ($2.80) who has now earned $74,575 for owner Ray Campbell Jr., who also bred the filly. George Ducharme trains the winner. There were no surprises in the three other divisions either as the favored horses finished on top.   MASS $39,200 trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings Driver Jimmy Whittemore left strong from post six with Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia) and then had his way with the field. He cut fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:26.3 while Jake G's Champion (Shawn Gray), The Fixer (Howard Parker) and RFL's Lord Command (Jim Hardy) tried to mount an assault. But Simple Kaos was just too good and pulled away in the lane to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:56.4. After scoring his second win of the stake, Simple Kaos ($3.20) has now earned $56,820 this year for owners the George Ducharme Stable and Michelle Larson. Ducharme trains the gelding that was bred by Larson.   MASS $39,200 pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings Sent off at 1-9, CBF Bantam (Baron Biltmore-Cohenucopia) settled in fifth while Levi (Scott Renz) took the field to the quarter in :28. Driver Shawn Gray then pulled CBF Bantam and took the lead while passing the stands before the half. The pace increased up the backside and so did the heat, as Victorias Maverick (Heath Campbell) came calling during the :28.4 third quarter and got within a length of the leader around the far turn. The race headed into the stretch with Victorias Maverick and Levi both in hot pursuit and gaining ground, but CBF Bantam would not relent and won by a half-length in 1:55.1. CBF Bantam ($2.10) remains perfect in the MASS this year and has pushed his earnings to $79,223 as a result for owners Glenn Harris and Marion Phelps, who also bred the gelding. David Crochere trains the winner.   MASS $37,800 pace for 3-year-old fillies The lone non-betting event of the day saw driver Jim Hardy push Karan's Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) off the gate to take an early lead. He then stacked up the field by backing off the half to 1:00.1 and then let Karan's Choice sprint home in back to back quarters of :28.3 and :28.1 to win by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:57 flat. Karan's Choice is now two for two in MASS action and has banked $60,724 for owner Al Ross, who also bred the filly. Driver Jim Hardy also trains Karan's Choice. The second leg of the MASS for all 2-year-old performers will be held at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Oct. 7). There is one non-betting race with a post time of 1:30 p.m. and then four more events carded as race one through four on the regular pari-mutuel program. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Patience was a virtue for Nick Graffam on Friday afternoon (Sept. 20) as he waited until the right time to shake free and win the $12,000 conditioned trotting harness racing feature at Plainridge Park. Count On Rosey (Todd O'Dea) and Hs Marcia (Drew Campbell) took turns on the lead before and after the first quarter that went in :27.4. Once seated on the point, Hs Marcia looked strong through subsequent panels of :56.1 and 1:26 flat. By that last station, Graffam pulled Happy Hooligan off the pylons and started a forward march. Although still 2-1/2 lengths off the lead, Happy Hooligan continued to work and methodically shortened the distance between himself and Hs Marcia. Heading into the lane, Graffam continued to drive and Happy Hooligan continued to gain ground and eventually nipped Hs Marcia at the wire by a neck in 1:57.1. Happy Hooligan ($6.80) scored his third win of the year for owner Francis Healy and Natalie Michaud. Mike Graffam trains the winner. Graffam also scored a driving double with Shorething Fashion ($4.20) in the $10,500 conditioned trot after tripping-out behind Namesmuscle (Mark Athearn) who led the entire race until they hit the stretch. It was the third win in a row and fourth in the last fifth for Shorething Fashion and owners Mike Eaton and Bob McHugh. Mike Eaton trains the winner. Drew Monti led all drivers on Friday with three wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Sept. 23) at 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Not only did Fargo Hanover score her fifth win of the year in the $12,000 conditioned feature for 5-year-old and younger fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 15), she did it in style with a lifetime best effort for the mile. Driver Shawn Gray got away third with Fargo Hanover and tracked the leading Artspell (Mitchell Cushing) past the quarter from there in :27.1. But as the race approached the half Gray pulled right line and Fargo Hanover moved outside, rolled up the rim and took the lead past that station before settling in for the rest of the mile. As the race went up the backstretch, She's A Maverick (John Nason), who followed Fargo Hanover on the outside, drew alongside the leader and that set up a hearty challenge to the finish. The two girls were pacing together by three-quarters in 1:23.4 and then around the turn when Fargo Hanover got an advantage at the top of the stretch that she would extend to 2-1/4 lengths at the wire where she won in 1:52.4, which was a new lifetime mark by 1-1/5 seconds. Fargo Hanover ($6.00) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spalluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Aug. 16) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Shartin, the champion harness racing daughter of Yirribee Pacing Stud sire Tintin In America, hoisted new track records at Plainridge Park's five furlong track when she captured the $US100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace on Sunday (July 28). Her time of 1:49.1 was 0.2 inside the 14-year-old all-time standard set by Maltese Artist in 2005 and 0.8 inside the aged pacing mare's record set by Youaremycandygirl set three races earlier. Sent straight to the top, Shartin reached the quarter in 26.6, the half in 55.2 and the three-quarters in 1:22.2 before careering away to win untouched by 1-3/4 lengths. It was her 10th win on end and her 11th for the year and increased her 2019 stake tally to $US655,765, making her easily the richest standardbred in North America for the year. She boasts lifetime earnings of $US1,785,118. Meanwhile, Million Dollar Cam, Tintin In America's studmate, received a significant boost to his stocks when Romero, a three-year-old gelding bred by Yirribee Pacing Stud who stand his sire, took out a NSW Breeders Challenge Regional heat at Bathurst in a career-best 1:56.6. Our Mista Kalle, who completed a hat trick at Bunbury in 1:59, and Kiss Cam (Redcliffe), were other recent winners sired by Million Dollar Cam. Million Dollar Cam has left 82 individual winners in Australia to date for progeny earnings of almost $3.4 million, an average of $25,275 per starter. He is the sire of 42 winners this season. By Peter Wharton                      

Plainville, MA --- Some of the top harness racing handicappers in North American give their selections for the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace and the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot that will be contested when the Grand Circuit rolls into Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28). Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. Gordon Waterstone - Associate Editor, The Horseman And Fair World $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N - Easy finding the winner here as the Queen of the division isn't relinquishing her crown. 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - Has the tactical speed to be in position to get a nice piece. 5 - Bettor Joy N - Been chasing her star stablemate all year and will likely do so here again. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 6 - Guardian Angel As - Has been on a roll of late, could not overcome the tough post last time out at Meadowlands. 7 - Fiftydallarbill - No chance last two starts against trotting stars, but has been right there for the most part. 1 - Weslynn Dancer - Lone mare in the field should get a great trip from the inside post position.   Dave Brower - Oddsmaker and Broadcaster - Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N - It is virtually impossible to go against this mare. She's been invincible all season and handles all size tracks. Post is a plus as well. 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - This one looks to be the next best since she can sprint off the car and look to follow the favorite. 5 - Bettor Joy N - She figures to pick up the pieces from the rest, provided she's not trip or pace compromised. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 3 - Trolley - I'll take a shot with Trolley to upset. Erv and Marcus Miller have him good again, and with post edge on the favorite, he might be able to steal away at a price. 6 - Guardian Angel As - He might be the best older trotter in North America, but he will have to bounce back from a tough post in a race that hasn't been kind to favorites. 1 - Weslynn Dancer - The lone mare in the race is in a nice spot to step up and showcase her talent if she sits, saves and rallies late.   Michael Carter - Social Media/Publicity Coordinator USTA $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N - Who has been better than Shartin N in the mare division as of late. She enters the race having won 10 of 11 starts in 2019 and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - Has really shown a lot of promise as of late and while her most recent form shows her not winning, she does have five wins to her credit this year with over $200,000 in the bank. I think she has a sneaky chance to possibly upend the favorite. 6 - Baron Remy - Recently tied a world-record at Northfield Park on July 19 having won by 4-3/4 lengths. She draws a little tough, but has proven she can handle an outside draw. That effort last week is really hard to ignore, she seems to be on the upswing. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 1 - Weslynn Dancer - I had the luxury of calling her qualifier at The Meadowlands where she was prepping for this race after making a break in the Cleveland Trotting Classic. I want to say that maybe she just didn't take to the track that night. Plainridge is a bigger surface and should be more suited to her capability. 3 - Trolley - This talented horse has been sneaky good as of late against some really good company. This field came up just to his liking I believe as there is a good amount of talent, but I think they are all on the same playing field. He is as versatile as they come and should be able to get into a good stalking spot. 6 - Guardian Angel AS - Won the Cleveland Trotting Classic at Northfield Park and after a couple week hiatus, just did not take to The Meadowlands surface. That effort that night is making me shy away, but he is a talented horse who shouldn't be over looked.   Garnet Barnsdale - Public Handicapper for DRF Harness $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N - is simply too good for these and is sure to go off at 1 to 9 in this field. It's best to seek value underneath here. 1 - Kimberlee - comes off a lifetime- best score and she may offer some exacta value with the step up in class. She could trip out here. 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - is always in the mix and she sit a nice trip and hit the board again. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 1 - Weslynn Dancer - is likely to get overlooked here coming off a break in stride, but her strong 2nd to Atlanta in the Armbro Flight puts her right there with these; call to upset. 6 - Guardian Angel As - had a perfect tightener for this and he is sure to be put into action much earlier here. He's the horse to beat. 3 - Trolley - has been solid most of the year and he can get a trip and take a share in this spot.   Mike Bozich - Track Announcer at Harrah's Philadelphia - Post Time with Mike and Mike $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - was a bit out of range her last two efforts vs. Shartin N. She is the likely pocket-sitter. 3 - Shartin N - is the queen, but gives back little value to the punter. We'll try to beat her. 5 - Bettor Joy N - will need striking position and a pace breakdown to score the upset. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 4 - Mambo Lindy - has home court advantage and has proven he can go with these in the past. 6 - Guardian Angel As - had no chance from poor position in his most recent, but the world-record holder has been ultra sharp this season. 1 - Weslynn Dancer - nearly beat the great Atlanta in the Armbro Fling at Mohawk a few starts ago. She's more than capable with the right journey.   Derick Giwner - Editor - DRF Harness $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans 5 - Bettor Joy N Shartin N is the best pacing mare in North America and perhaps the best horse. It is difficult to imagine her losing. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 3 - Trolley 6 - Guardian Angel As 5 - The Veteran Trolley isn't the best horse in this race but he has a post edge on Guardian Angel As which should provide a tactical edge if driver Marcus Miller gets uber-aggressive.   Tim Bojarski - Racing Media Relations - Plainridge Park $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N - The Queen is simply the toughest pacing mare I have ever seen. She has no quit in her and doesn't know where the wire is. I don't see her changing her ways today. 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - Should get the perfect trip and has won at Plainridge in the past. I think she has the only chance of an upset. 5 - Bettor Joy N - Would be the star in anyone's barn, but will have to watch stablemate Shartin N win again. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 6 - Guardian Angel As - Comes into this race off four straight tough wins and an even tougher parked outing. He is tight and right so say good night! 3 - Trolley - Had a very successful campaign at the Meadowlands this year and seems to be peaking at the right time. He will be dangerous. 4 - Mambo Lindy - Knows this track very well and the short field plays right into his hands. Could be the price play of the day!   Bob "Hollywood" Heyden - Historian-Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N - doesn't carry her track around and loves what she's doing-we may be looking at the #1 earning female of all time when done. 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - can sprint with the best of them and that should help secure position here. 5 - Better Joy N - is the down under stablemate to the HOY runnerup; she has all kinds of ability herself and can pace with the rest of these ladies for sure. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 7 - Fiftydallarbill - was originally thought of as some kind of Indiana fluke (Breeders Crown winner at 2) He's spent about a year and a half showing that is NOT the case. 6 - Guardian Angel - has been one of the better stories of the year and will have to keep on improving to better this talented bunch. 3 - Trolley - went well on both ends last out-likely with an eye on this one. He's been sharp pretty much all year long and his best days are still in front of him.   James Witherite - Race Caller / "Trip Note Master" $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - SHARTIN N - remains the class of the division after victory over nine furlongs in the Golden Girls. She's gone some monstrous miles this season and has tackled all comers. Once again, she's the mare to beat. 2 - APPLE BOTTOM JEANS - emerged from traffic to just miss Shartin N By a length in the Golden Girls after consistently good showings in series and stakes action. Expect her to be close to the action with ease. 7 - KAITLYN N - has been out of action since April, but her Yonkers qualifier last Friday indicates fitness. Forgive her effort in the Matchmaker final given she chased without cover into a pretty stout middle half. $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 6 - GUARDIAN ANGEL AS - should have a more direct journey here than he did in New Jersey behind JL Cruze and Trolley. He showed ability to absorb and deliver pressure alike in May and June stakes assignments. 3 - TROLLEY - has been just a cut below in marquee events, but that has largely been a byproduct of unfavourable journeys. Note his first-over push in the Maxie Lee and excess cover three back. He can threaten if more directly involved. 1 - WESLYNN DANCER - takes on the boys after chasing for second behind 2018 Hambletonian winner Atlanta in the Armbro Flight and the Miami Valley Distaff. Her qualifier a fortnight ago indicates fitness.   Consensus $100,000 Clara Barton Pace 3 - Shartin N 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans 5 - Bettor Joy N $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 6 - Guardian Angel As 1- Weslynn Dancer 3 - Trolley To see the full program for this day's racing click on this link. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE  

Plainville, MA --- It's been 20-days since Lindy's Crazy Hall scored a convincing gate to wire harness racing victory at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a $30,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stake event. But the time off did nothing but make him sharper as he ran away with the $10,000 featured trot for 5-year-olds and under at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (July 26). Lindy's Crazy Hall (Drew Monti) blasted off the gate from post eight and found himself on the point by five lengths in an extremely peppy :26.3. Monti reined in the colt in the second panel but gave him his head again in the third as he went three-quarters in 1:26. Still gapping the competition, Lindy's Crazy Hall rounded the last turn already wrapped up, and trotted home in :29.4 to stop the clock in 1:55.4 in the 3½ length victory. It was the fourth straight win for the 1-9 Lindy's Crazy Hall ($2.10) who has now banked $40,000 in five 2019 starts. The 3-year-old colt by Cantab Hall-Lindy's Gone Crazy is owned by Greathorse of Massachusetts. Mitchell Cushing led all driver for wins on Friday, scoring a Hat Trick on the card. Those wins vaulted him back into the driving led for the meet now with 89 wins, one ahead of Shawn Gray who had the lead going into the day. The next live card of racing at Plainridge Park will be Sunday (July 28) when the track will host the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace. Post time for the first race Sunday is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- As post time for the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28) draws near, the excitement of everyone involved in the race continues to grow. But for two Massachusetts owners who have horses entered and have seen the many ups and downs of the sport in New England, the race itself is proof there is a harness racing renaissance in the Commonwealth. Frank M. Antonacci is the president of Lindy Farms of Connecticut and a member of the ownership group Greathorse of Massachusetts. Lindy Farms and the Antonacci's have owned or bred five Hambletonian champions since 1965 and have been racing in Massachusetts just as long. They will be starting Mambo Lindy in the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot on Sunday. Jim Winske has owned many race horses over the years and has partnered with his friends Paul Kelley and Steve Michaels on a lot of them. They all grew up in Massachusetts and started out competing at the old Foxboro Park and have since been at Plainridge Park for a total of over 40 years in the state. They've all experienced every level of the competition and their passion for the sport is unparalleled. Their entry in the stake is The Veteran. Although Antonacci and Winske will be competing against each other on Sunday they've also been working together for years, along with countless other New England horsemen and horsewomen, trying to keep harness racing alive through some very tough times. Now that the sport has made a turnaround on the strength of the state's gaming program and the Horse Racing Development Fund, their participation in this race Sunday holds special meaning. "I grew up racing at Plainridge. I drove horses there when I went to school in Boston and I was even there the first day they opened in 1999; I was 15. At that point it was one of the lowest statured racing in the country. And to see it go from that to having some of the best horses in the country competing now is really a testament to the horsemen and women in New England and their determination and resilience to stick around through all those hard times. I think it's a real success story," said Antonacci. "Racing in Massachusetts has gotten so much better and it's because there is cooperation going on between the track and the horsemen and obviously the casino helped a lot. But the breeding industry has picked up and people have been buying better horses and you're seeing better drivers coming here too. The floor plan is set where people are excited, the track is putting on big races and we just have to keep getting the people here to keep it going strong," Winske commented. These two gentlemen both like what has been going on within the industry in this state, but they also like their chances in the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and had a little bit to say about that as well. Antonacci explained that despite seeing limited action last year, Mambo Lindy has turned a major corner and is finding his old form at the right time. "Mambo Lindy ended 2017 very strong, winning an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot, winning at Lexington in a lifetime best of 1:51.4 and racing in the Breeders Crown. In 2018 we brought him back and got a really brutal trip in the Cutler at the Meadowlands and he got injured. So it basically took the whole year to get him sound and bring him back and since he started racing this season, he's been absolutely super. He's really as good as he's ever been right now," said Antonacci. "He's coming into this race really solid. He's won twice in a row and and came out of both starts with trot left. He has a definite home field advantage at Plainridge as he has won 22 out of 35 starts here and knows how to get around this track. So we're really excited about it because there is no more local horse at Plainridge than Mambo." Mambo Lindy Winske points out there have been some adjustments for his horse to transition from the 3-year-old division to facing older horses. But he points out he's coming along just fine as the year progresses. "He raced successfully at three and we wanted to bring him back as an aged horse because he's just so nice. But when you start back it's against bearcats. The aged division is really tough. But he took a lifetime mark of 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands in May and he just finished second at Saratoga last week in 1:53.4 parked out the entire mile. That was probably his best race of the year so far," said Winske. "All of us guys have been around the track all our lives. Paul (Kelley) trains him and calls the shots but we all decided, what the heck let's take a chance and nominate him for this race because we're all from Massachusetts and when you get a chance to put a horse in there you take it. Yeah, we might be a longshot but it's called horse racing and you never know what can happen." The Veteran Both of these horse have had stellar careers and a number of stake victories to their credit. Mambo Lindy (Donato Hanover-Rum Boogie) has 49 lifetime starts with 26 wins, seven seconds and four thirds and has earned $252,660 in purses. He has drawn post four and will be driven by Drew Monti. The Veteran (Muscle Mass-Tequila Slammer) has 29 starts with 10 wins, five seconds and five thirds and has banked $361,955 in the process. He will start in post five with Yannick Gingras aboard. The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace are part of the biggest card of the summer at Plainridge Park with a total of $465,500 in purses up for grabs on the 10-race program on Sunday (July 28). The race is scheduled to go off at 5:05 p.m. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, MA --- Guardian Angel As has been on a roll of late and will come into the harness racing $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park razor sharp. He has won four straight stake events against some of the best older trotters in North America before finishing fourth in a trip that saw him parked-out the entire mile from post nine at the Meadowlands. In the $30,000 Great Northeast at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Guardian Angel As dropped in second from post five and then took the lead by the half. From there he trotted away to a four length win in 1:53.1 over a sloppy track. Two weeks later it was the $100,000 Maxi Lee at Harrah's Philly where he once again led most of the way and drew off to an easy seasonal best 1:51 victory defeating Pinkman and Fiftydallarbill in the process. Then in a $40,000 leg of the Mr. Muscleman at the Meadowlands, he was cruising on the lead before digging in to hold off a very gritty stretch drive by Cruzado Dela Noche, eventually hanging on to win by a half length in 1:52.1, with a swift :26.3 final quarter. His next start would make history. On June 29 at Northfield Park in the $175,000 Cleveland Classic, Guardian Angel As turned a trip that left him parked out for 7/8th's of the mile into a wrapped up win, stopping the timer in 1:52 and setting a new world record for 5-year-old and older trotting horses on a half-mile track. That rewrote Crazy Wow's 1:52.3 standard set in 2017. Anette Lorentzon trains Guardian Angel As and after five years of racing him is well aware of his speed and versatility. "We always knew he was a really good horse but what surprised us most at Northfield is the way he did it. He never pulled the plugs after being parked three-quarters of a mile. I wasn't really sure how he would be there because he has such a big gait. But I also knew It's a very good half-mile track at Northfield and he got around it fine," said Lorentzon. The 1:52 clocking on the half was amazing let alone the trip he went to get it, but this horse has always had a lot of speed and he showed it in the 2018 Allerage Trot at Lexington. Guardian Angel As finished second to Homicide Hunter in 1:48.4, which was the fastest trotting mile in the history of the sport. Guardian Angel As came first over at the half and had taken the lead in the stretch before Homicide Hunter blistered home in :26 flat outside of him. Although he finished second, Guardian Angel As still trotted in an unbelievable 1:49.2. The other asset that makes this 5-year-old son of Archangel-Provide As special is his ability to strike from anywhere in the mile. "He's the kind of horse that can race from any position. He likes to be up close but he's good if you also sit behind horses. He'll do what you want but he doesn't really have much patience. He is a stud and he knows it and he wants it his way," Lorentzon explained. There will be over two weeks between his last start and the Spirit Trot but Lorentzon said Guardian Angel As will come in on his regular schedule. "He raced really hard at Northfield and at the Meadowlands he had the nine hole and got away way back so we took it easy with him after that. Now he's been back to training normal this week; he'll go two trips on Thursday to get ready for Sunday. We don't really train him too hard between races." And as far as the outcome of the race on Sunday, a lot depends on where the horses start from according to his trainer. "It's always tough when you go for this kind of money; there are always going to be good horses in the race. What I'm hoping is he gets a good post position so he has a good chance and he races well. A lot of how the race goes will depend on post position." Tim Tetrick, who will be in town to drive Shartin N in the Clara Barton Pace, will be at the lines behind Guardian Angel As. It's interesting to note that coming into the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot, Guardian Angel As seems to do his best work on a three-turn oval. He has won 20 out of 46 starts lifetime, but nine of those wins came in 12 starts on 5/8th's mile tracks giving him a 75% win percentage for those outings. Guardian Angel As also trotted the two fastest winning miles of his life on the 5/8th's surface at Harrah's Philly, going 1:50.4 in 2018 and 1:51 this past May. The current all-time track trotting record at Plainridge Park is a 1:51.2 mile set by JL Cruze when he beat Hannelore Hanover and Crazy Wow in the innaugural edition of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot in 2017. The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28). Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. Both stakes are sponsored by Plainridge Park and the Harness Horseman's Association of New England (HHANE). By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing owners and trainers who have horses nominated to the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and/or the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace that will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28) should be reminded that the draw for both races will be held on Thursday (July 25). Please be sure to call your entries into the race office at 508.576.4485 or 508.576.4486 by 9 a.m. when the box closes. Also please note there will be a detention barn for both the Spirit of Massachusetts and Clara Barton races and all horses for both events must be checked in prior to 9 p.m. on Saturday evening (July 27). All horses racing at Plainridge Park must be accompanied by a current 2019 Coggins, health certificate and evidence of EVH-1 vaccine in order to enter the barn area. All owners, trainers, drivers and grooms must have a current Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) license. The MGC office located adjacent to the paddock entrance, will be open from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays as well as on Sunday (July 28) from mid-morning on. There you can obtain your license and ID tag prior to entering the barn area. The special Sunday afternoon Spirit of Massachusetts card has an early post time of 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE  

Plainville, MA --- Mach Doro A took an early lead he would never relinquish and then cruised to an easy harness racing victory in the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (July 22). Driver Ron Cushing floated Mach Doro A off the gate and took command by the quarter in :26.4. He then set unchallenged fractions of :55.1 and 1:22.4 as horses behind him tried to attack, but could not. The leader then turned for home and with no urging at all paced away to a three length win in 1:50.2, which was a new lifetime mark. Mach Doro A ($3.40) scored his fifth victory of the year and pushed his earnings to $64,000 in 2019. For his career it was the 25th win in only 76 lifetime starts, pushing his bank to $321,246. The 8-year-old son of Mach Three-Three Eagles is owned by Kevin Sywyk, his driver Cushing and Frank Rinaldi. Heidi Gibbs does the training. There were two $10,000 divisions of the Baystate Series for Plainridge-based male pacers contested on Monday with the top four finishers of each advancing to the $12,500 final on Sunday (July 28) as part of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot card. The first division went to Rock On The Hill (Drew Monti) who came first over past the half to draw even with the leading Bamski (Drew Campbell) and then out-duel that one to the wire to win in 1:51.2. Rock On The Hill ($41.60) is owned by Alfred Lang and John Sears who also trains the horse. The second division saw Sailor Jerry (Nick Graffam) surrender the lead to Buckeye N (Mitchell Cushing) only momentarily at the quarter before retaking the lead and keeping it all the way home as he won well in hand in 1:52.1 Sailor Jerry ($3.00) is owned by Mike Graffam and Chris Hamilton. Mike Graffam is the trainer. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (July 25) with post time at 4 p.m. And don't forget the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff pace will be held on Sunday (July 28) with a special early post time of 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Rich Poillucci lives a short distance from Plainridge Park in North Easton, Massachusetts and raced his first horses at Foxboro Park in 1986. Now 33 years later, after completing a dream harness racing season with his Dan Patch Award winning mare Shartin N, he will bring his prized pacer back to where it all started for him for a homecoming as she makes a start in the innaugural $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace at Plainridge on Sunday (July 28). Poillucci got into the business by walking into Steve Mancini's barn and telling him he wanted to buy a horse. It wasn't long after that he started winning races at Foxboro and tracks in Maine with cheaper claimers before improving his stock over the years and winning races at the Meadowlands with horses like Bold Hope (1:51.1, $178,090), Natchez Gambler (1:52.2, $566,363), Modern Family (1:51, $575,925) and Maestro Blue Chip (1:51.3, $366,538). In 2016 Poillucci started importing horses from Australia and New Zealand and routinely spends about 40 hours a week researching them. His entire stable is currently made up solely of horses from Down-under. The time and effort he puts in has paid fast dividends with buys like Nike Franco N (1:48, $839,454), Barimah A (1:49.1, $415,920), Christen Me N (1:49.2, $2,274,204), Duplicated N (1:49.2, $213,199) and Bettor Joy N (1:50.4, $456,330). But despite the great performances put in by many of his horses over the years, they all take a back seat to the Queen of his stable. "When I first came across Shartin N I liked her immediately because of her breeding. No one knew who Tintin In America was as a stallion but he was by Mcardle, and he was super fast. I have always been a fan of Mcardle mares and Timmy (Tetrick) has been as well. So we talked about it and went back and forth and it took me a whole year to buy her because she wasn't fully developed yet," said Poillucci. "Then she raced against a top horse down there and won in 1:52. So I sent my trainer in Australia Emmett Bronson to go a trip with her and when he called me after he said "Rich, she has more gears than a Porsche". So Poillucci purchased Shartin N in December of 2017 and shipped her to the states. She made her first start at Dover Downs a month later and went on to become the 2018 Dan Patch Award aged pacing mare of the year on the strength of 19 victories in 24 starts and earnings of $1.053 million. Jim King Jr. has trained Shartin N since she stepped off the plane in New York. But how did a New England owner get hooked up with a Delaware conditioner that has never raced anywhere in New England? "I bought a horse named Dapper Dude about four years ago and he was having some trouble beating the upper echelon Opens he was racing in and I thought Dover might be a good fit for him. Kelvin Harrison who was training him for me suggested I call Jim (King) to see if he would take him for me," Poillucci explained. All of a sudden Dapper Dude was doing fantastic! And I got to know Jim well and Jo Ann was very friendly to my wife and our families really clicked. So I continued to buy horses with him." Poillucci praises King's ability and patience for Shartin N's North American acclimation and development and is never surprised with the efforts she puts forth, enjoying her career one start at a time. He is also quick to point out that it's a total team effort at every step to find and develop high end stock. "My driver (Tim Tetrick) looks after my horses like gold. He's extremely intelligent and takes care of my horses and I can't thank him enough for what he's done for my stable. And I give a lot of credit to my agent John Curtin in New Zealand because without him, I wouldn't have the success I have right now," said Poillucci. "Shartin N is a once in a lifetime horse and next Sunday she'll be racing in my home state. If she's got it in her and she's close to it, I would love to see her re-write the track record at Plainridge." Jim King Jr. shares Poillucci's admiration for their amazing mare, saying sometimes it feels surreal. "She is a trainers dream for sure, she's amazing to me. Sometimes I wake up at night and think about it. Her longevity is as impressive as her ability. She comes out of a race and recovers so fast that the next morning you wonder if she even raced. Even after long ships, when she gets home she just wants to go in the field and the next morning she's ready to go to work. It's hard to take the smile off her face; she's different I'll tell you," said King. "She's always right up on her toes and it's no picnic out there until she gets settled in behind the gate. She requires someone that knows what they're doing. But once she gets going it's all business. It's almost like in a race when someone comes along side her, she sticks her arm out and says "That's as far as you can go!" She just won't let anyone by her." King explained they've been lucky with Shartin N staying healthy and sound since coming to their stable and despite sometimes being over exuberant, she's a perfect mare. However there is one downside to Shartin N. "We have a really tough job shoeing her; she just doesn't like the blacksmith. She has to be medicated and it's just not a fun day," laughed King. King holds his partner in high esteem as well and noting their time spent both on and off the track has been very meaningful to his family. "Our relationship with Rich has been great over the past several years. He's all about the horses and keeping them racing well. And he's a great guy to deal with too. We've imported several horses over the years, mostly mares, and if we want we can buy into them at any point of their development. He's been so generous it's been unreal," said King. Shartin N will be joined by stablemate Bettor Joy N in the Barton. Another selection of Poillucci's, Bettor Joy N joined their operation in January of 2019 and has been developing well ever since. After winning three legs of the Blue Chip at Yonkers and finishing second to Shartin N in the final, Bettor Joy N has now won a total of five races and $240,876 in purses this year. The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace are both sponsored by Plainridge Park and the Harness Horseman's Association of New England (HHANE) and will be held on Sunday (July 28) at Plainridge with an early post time of 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, MA --- Mambo Lindy braved a tough first over trip to win the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap harness racing trot in workmanlike fashion at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (July 19). Driver Drew Monti left with Mambo Lindy from post six and dropped in third behind Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) and Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray) who led the group to the quarter in :27. AS the race progressed and Wings Of Royalty backed the half down to :56.3, Mambo Lindy got out and got down to business. He trotted up alongside the leader and pushed that one to a :27.4 third panel and then continued to grind on the rim around the far turn, eventually getting past Wings Of Royalty at the head of the stretch. But the race was still not won. Nows The Moment who had been sitting the pocket trip was now three wide and charging, trying to make his late bid count. But Mambo Lindy was not to be denied as he crossed the line under a hand drive in 1:53.3 to score his second consecutive win. It was the 26th win in only 49 lifetime starts for Mambo Lindy ($2.60) and the winners share of the purse pushed him over the quarter-million dollar mark lifetime with $252,660 now on his card. The 8-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Rum Boogie is owned by Greathorse and is trained by Domenico Cecere. Shawn Gray had another driving triple on Friday while Drew Monti and Drew Campbell each had a double. Trainers Domenico Cecere and Ivan Davies each had a conditioning double as well. The Wicked Hi-5 Jackpot was finally hit after a record carryover of $46,238 kicked off the sixth race wagering. One single unique 20-cent combination of 4-5-7-2-1 returned a whopping $48,370 to the lucky ticket holder. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (July 22) at 4 p.m. And don't forget the Grand Circuit returns to Plainridge Park with the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace that will be held on Sunday (July 28) with a special post time of 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- A pair of $8,500 races topped the harness racing card at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon and the winner of each found victory by small margins. In the mid-level condition event for distaff pacers Rockin Ruby N (Nick Graffam) cut the mile and walked to the half in :58 flat. Having enough of that, Jaded Dream (Mitchell Cushing) and Bye Bye Felicia (Drew Monti) pulled out by the half and applied heavy pressure from there to the head of the lane. When they straightened out for home, Rockin Ruby N maintained a length advantage but Bye Bye Felicia was flying at her on the outside and closing with every stride. However Rockin Ruby N held her lead to the wire to win in 1:53.4, with a swift :55.4 back half. It was the fifth win in 24 starts this year for Rockin Ruby N ($7.20) and 29th win in North America, now with over $270,000 in earnings. Rockin Ruby N is owned by Kathleen Brewer and trained by Artie Brewer II. Four races later it was a non-winners event for the 5-year-old and under set that saw Lyons Beachboy (Drew Monti) take an early lead before finding Stroman (Mitchell Cushing) at his side by the half. These two then paced stride for stride to three-quarters in 1:24.4 when Stroman took over the front on the outside and looked to be in good shape. But Monti kept working Lyons Beachboy down the stretch and he was game and responded well to came back to win by a nose in 1:54. It was the second straight win and fourth of the year for Lyons Beachboy ($7.60) and his connections Lases Racing. Jaymes Mcassey trains the winner. Shawn Gray scored a natural Hat Trick in races two through four and ended up leading all drivers for wins on the card as a result. The Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta jackpot continues to grow. With no winners once again in races six or nine, the carryover pool for race six at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 19) will be a record $46,238. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts    

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