Murderers Row is ready to step to the plate. Or, perhaps more accurately for a harness racing horse, step to the gate. Murderers Row is one of nine 3-year-old female trotters entered in Friday's $39,816 John Simpson Memorial Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The filly - whose name is a reference to the moniker bestowed upon the famed New York Yankees lineup in the late 1920s - will start from post one with John Campbell driving for trainer Brett Bittle. The race also includes stakes-winners Allerage Star, Model Behavior, and Shaqline. It will be the first start of the season for Murderers Row, who last year struggled at the beginning of the campaign but closed out 2014 by winning three of her final four races. "We know she's not top of the hill, but we're hoping she's in the middle somewhere," said Steve Jones, who is among the group that bred and owns Murderers Row. "It took a little while for her to figure it out, but now she seems like she has (figured it out) hopefully. Time will tell." Murderers Row's father is Donato Hanover, who was Horse of the Year in 2007, and her mother is million-dollar-earner Housethatruthbuilt, who received the 2004 Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old female trotter. Murderers Row is a full sister to stakes-winner Real Babe and her family also includes 1999 Dan Patch Award winner Master Lavec. Last year, Murderers Row finished second in a division of the Reynolds Memorial Stakes in her second career start, but was winless in her first five races - going off stride in two. She got her first victory in 1:56.1 in a late-closer at Lexington's Red Mile and followed up with back-to-back triumphs in the preliminary rounds of a series for 2-year-old female trotters at The Meadows. Unfortunately for her connections, the filly returned to her breaking ways and went off stride and finished eighth in the $31,500 final. "The last race of the year she was 1-2 (odds) and made a break for really no reason," said Jones, who named Murderers Row and owns the filly with Mary Kinsey and Ted Gewertz. "She did that a few times last year. It wasn't a soundness issue, it was more maturity; more between the ears and being immature. "John Campbell said he thought her gait is better now. We're hoping she gets off on the right foot. Every time she goes to the gate you wonder about the breaking part, but she didn't break in her qualifiers." Chuck Sylvester trained Murderers Row for much of last year. Jones said Bittle is racing the filly to start this season because Sylvester is still in Florida. He joked that Bittle was an appropriate choice because his grandfather, Charlie Keller Jr., was a star for the Yankees in the 1940s and later founded harness racing's Yankeeland Farms. "I am very close with Charlie Keller (III)," Jones said. "Brett and Charlie's background is pretty much all Yankees." Yankeeland Farms bred 1998 Hambletonian winner Muscles Yankee, who is the father of Murderers Row's dam Housethatruthbuilt. Yankee Stadium is known as "The House that Ruth Built." The Yankees' legendary 1927 Murderers' Row included Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, and Earle Combs. Jones hopes his version can knock out a few victories this year. Murderers Row is not eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, but does have the Currier & Ives Stakes, Landmark, Reynolds, Arden Downs, Tompkins-Geers, and Hudson Filly Trot on her schedule. "She's a well-bred filly, out of a very nice mother, and we're hoping she's going to be OK this year as a 3-year-old," Jones said. "She looks like she's going to be a decent horse." Friday's Meadowlands card also includes the $43,106 Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. The field includes stakes-winners Bettor Be Steppin, Divine Caroline, and Happiness as well as She's A Great Lady runner-up Bedroomconfessions and New York Sire Stakes championship runner-up Bossers Joy. Weeper, last season's Matron Stakes winner, makes her 4-year-old debut in the $27,500 Open for female pacers. The race also includes Breeders Crown champion Sayitall BB plus stakes-winners Gallie Bythe Beach and Fancy Desire. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA
Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford scored his second consecutive victory in the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series when he won the Billings Trot at Northfield Park on Thursday evening, June 18. He scored neck victory with Annie's Master in a very creditable 1:58.4 clocking and that victory came on the heels of the one Oldford had at Buffalo Raceway last Saturday. In the Northfield contest Oldford scooted to the lead from the four-hole with Annie's Master and they led the field by the first stanza in a swift :27.3. On the engine Oldford's trotter passed by the halfway point in :57.1 and they still with a two length lead as they trotted by the third quarter. However, that lead slowly diminished in the lane but the 5 year old Master Lavec mare had enough left in the tank to hold off her challengers to prevail in a three-horse photo. Betting favorite Nordic Venture, driven by Gary "Zoots" Campbell, had a good two-hole journey and rallied late but couldn't catch the winner although they did keep TK's Karma and Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II from getting second money. Oldford naturally felt good about his victory especially since Annie's Master was basically entered to help fill the Billings trot that night. "I can't thank trainer Don Pfister and owner Harold Dick enough for allowing me to drive their mare tonight," Oldford said. "This was the first time I ever sat behind her and though she was a bit fractious at times but we got her all together and once we set sails she trotted like a champ and really hung tough in the deep stretch." It was the first win for Annie's Master since March 24th and her third this year. She paid $14.00, $6.20 and $7.20 across the board. Oldford, last year's National Amateur Driver of the Year, will be leaving for Finland soon to represent the United States in the prestigious World Cup of Amateur Racing which will get underway on July 7th. "I'm really looking forward to competing," Oldford said. "This will be the first time that I have the honor of representing the United States in the World Cup although I have driven abroad in the past in Italy and New Zealand. "My wife Gale is going with me and we may even stop in Sweden before we go to Helsinki. I plan on driving in the preliminaries there prior to the World Cup getting underway and look forward to having a grand time." notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are considered privileged and confidential and may not be used by either party in any pending or future legal proceedings. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driving Championship
Veteran open class trotter Master Pine (10g Master Lavec-Pine Career-Pine Chip) with Helene Gregory aboard won today’s $16,000 Monte/RUS special over a rain-dulled Red Mile surface in 1:58.4. The winner is trained by Julie Miller for owners Mark Moger and Albert Delia Jr. and was bred in Ohio by Double Springs Farm. Gregory used a backstretch brush to pass early contenders Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue-Missymandarine-Malabar Man) with Tina Duer up, for owner Peninsula Farm Inc., and the Balanced Image son Harlequin handled by Riina Rekila. Master Pine opened a five length advantage around the final turn and maintained a steady stretch pace closing in :30.3 for a head advantage on the line to win over fast finishing A Penny Earned (4h Conway Hall-Penny Dream-Dream Vacation ), with Heather Reese aboard. Chinese Cuisine was third. A Penny Earned was 17 lengths back at the half and closed impressively for trainer George Ducharme and owners Ross, Fontaine, Ducharme and Oliva that includes Royalty For Life’s Hambletonian winning connections. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com
Soul Train Cruises In $56,576 Ohio Breeders Championship for 2 Year-Old Colt Trotters With a patient drive from Chris Page, Soul Train cruised to a 7 1/2 length victory in the opening division of the 2 year-old colt trot during Tuesday action at the Delaware County Fair. As the Greg Coon starting gate released the field of six, Mark Headworth sent Happy Go Jamie out of post 2 and went after the early lead. The eventual winner was content to sit fourth through the opening half in 1:01 3/5. When Soul Train was given his orders he quickly took command down the backstretch and never looked back, stopping the timer in 2:00 3/5. Star Chip (Don McKirgan) was second and Fiftyshades Of Nay (David Miller) was third. Soul Train is owned by Parent Racing Stable, R. S. Crynick and J. E. Novak and trained by Scott Cox. In the second division Hooray For Willie went gate to wire to score in 1:58 3/5, a new lifetime mark. The freshman son of Master Lavec is owned by Winchester Baye Acres, Inc. of Ocala, FL and trained by the winning driver Kurt Sugg. Can'tcutthatchip (Dan Noble) and Mainstreet Willy (Chip Noble) rounded out the top three finishers. Millers Team Up To Win OBC 2FT Hall of Fame driver David Miller teamed up with his daughter trainer Devan Miller to score a victory with Rose Run Princess in the second division of Ohio Breeders Championship for 2 year-old filly trotters. The daughter of Trainforthefuture was sent after the early lead set the fractions of :29 4/5, 1:01 2/5 and 1:31 3/5 and cruised home to score a five length victory over Emilene's Future (Ray Paver) in 2:00 3/5. The winner is owned by James E. Keller of New Carlisle, OH and Jerry Allen Bell of Tipp City, OH. The heavily favored In The Grippers (Chris Page) broke at the start and was never a factor. In the first $25,388 division Hush Hush Chip (Chris Page) defeated Emery Jean (Chip Noble) in 2:02 4/5. The freshman daughter of Chip Chip Hooray won for the first time this season for trainer Danny Collins and the ownership team of Lewis, Taylor, Gold and Lombardo. Jay Wolf
Aaron Merriman drove the winner in both features at Northfield Park on Monday (August 26). Merriman scored with PL Dragon the $6,000 Open Pace in race two and again with Norma’s Rose in the $6,000 Open Trot in the evening’s eighth event. PL Dragon was a repeat winner in Northfield’s weekly top-pacing event. Steven Price owns the six year-old pacer. Trainer Ryan Angus again called upon Aaron Merriman, who won with the horse last week. PL Dragon (Dragon Again-Go Wilma Go) started from post seven and was fourth through an opening fraction of :27.1. Merriman brushed to the lead in the second quarter and continued to lead though times of :56, 1:24.1 and 1:53. PL Dragon easily handled his competition and was 6-lengths in front at the wire. Completing the race were Beans And Weenies, Mybrothergeorge, A Bay Bay, Coach Ken, Terror Of Thetrack and Ramember. Monday’s triumph increased PL Dragon’s lifetime win tally to 22 and his career earnings to $204,322. He was heavily favored and returned $2.80 to win. Merriman also piloted Norma’s Rose, who captured the $6,000 Open Trot in the evening’s eighth race for owner/trainer Lee Blodgett of Warren, Ohio. Norma’s Rose (Master Lavec-Lilyad-Armbro Iliad) started from post five and was sent right to the front. She made every pole a winning one, posting fraction of :27.4, :56.2, 1:25.2 and 1:55.2, winning by ¾-length. Completing the race were Victory Is Coming, Saintfrancis, Senator Sam, Buckeye Patty, Yankee Manny, Lady Rev, Tymal Recap and Arianna Hall. Norma’s Rose now has 38 career victories and 10 wins in 2013. This race pushed her bankroll to $283,237. She paid $9.60 to win. by Ayers Ratliff
Tyber Tyke scored in the $6,000 Open Pace in the opening race at Northfield Park on Monday (August 12). Melanie Wrenn trains the four year-old gelding for Delphos, Ohio owner Dorothy Miller. Peter Wrenn was in town Monday and was listed to pilot. Tyber Tyke (Panspacificflight-Artbeat-Artsplace) started from post five and led the field from start to finish. He never experienced an anxious moment and posted fractions of :27.3, :56, 1:24.4 and 1:54.1. He was three-lengths in front and still had his earplug in when he crossed the wire. Completing the race were Lite Me Up, Heza Star Cruiser, Rounding Third and Kiasma. Grandkids Attack was scratched. Tyber Tyke now has seven wins in 2013 and 12 career successes. Monday’s victory pushed his career bankroll to $111,592. She was the overwhelming favorite and returned $2.80 to win. Norma’s Rose captured the $6,000 Open Trot in the evening’s ninth race for owner/trainer Lee Blodgett of Warren, Ohio and driver Aaron Merriman. Norma’s Rose (Master Lavec-Lilyad-Armbro Iliad) started from the second tier was fourth through an opening quarter of :28.2. Merriman brushed her to the front in the second quarter and she never looked back. She set fractions of :57.2, 1:26.2 and 1:56.3, winning by a full length. Completing the race were Calling A Victory, Lookslikefire, Senator Sam, Arianna Hall, Lady Rev, Buckeye Patty, Hello Carlo and Makin Green Lavec. Norma’s Rose now has 37 career victories and nine wins in 2013. This race pushed her bankroll to $279,517. She paid $6.60 to win. Ayers Ratliff
On Saturday, July 20 Northfield Park hosted three divisions of Ohio Sires Stake racing action as highlights to the evening’s Battle of Lake Erie program. Three-year-old colt trotters competed in two divisions and colt pacers in one. On the trotting side of things, Final Breath was a 4 ½-length winner in the $30,000 first division. Final Breath’s 11 triumph in 17 lifetime starts. Hugh Beatty trains and piloted the gelding for owner Malta, Ohio owner Duane Lowe. Final Breath (Victory Sam-First Breath-Hold Your Breath) started from post two and was sitting third through an initial quarter of :29.3. Beatty tipped the trotter approaching the :59.1 half. He took the lead in the third quarter and posted final fraction of 1:28.2 and 1:58.3. Saturday’s win increased Final Breath’s bankroll to $88,197. Finishing behind Final Breath were Annie’s Rocketman, Chet N Spanky, Howdhedothat and Happy Go Manny. Final Breath was the overwhelming favorite, returning $2.10 to win. Heza Rube took the $30,000 second division for three-year old colt and gelding Ohio-breds for Northfield Park Wall of Fame trainer Marty Wollam. Heza Rube (Master Lavec-Rubicella-Awesome Goal) started from post four. He fired off the gate and never looked back, posting fractions of :28.4, :59.1, 1:28.2 and 1:57.4. He never experienced an anxious moment and won by 2 ¼-lengths. Kurt Sugg drove for Middlefield, Ohio owner Bob Troyer. It was the 15 career start and seventh win for the youngster, who now has earnings of $100,399. Completing the race were Buzzin Troubador, Trottin On Over, Masterdream Chaser, Neely Spring and Flash Cash. Heza Rube was the punter’s choice, paying $2.40 to win. On the pacing side, That Friske Feelin (Feelin Friskie-Marquee Event-Mark Johnathan) was impressive winning the $35,000 OSS for sophomore colt and gelding pacers. Tony Hall drove the gelding for trainer Ron Burke and owners Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Edwin Gold of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and Richard Lombardo of Solon, Ohio. That Friske Feelin left the gate alertly from post three and never looked back. He posted fractions of :27.3, :56.2, 1:24.4 and 1:52.2. The clocking was a new lifetime mark for the That Friske Feelin and increased his career bankroll to $92,383. The win marked his seventh in 14 starts. Finishing in succession after the winner was Sassy Osborne, Phantom Flasher, Feelin Lika Winner, Forever Kissed, CC Big Boy Sam, Hanky L, Retrieve Forever, River Valley Pearl and Firetowers Stand. That Friske Feelin returned $3.40 to win.
On Saturday, July 20 Northfield Park will host three divisions of Ohio Sires Stake racing action and the annual George Verban Memorial. These races will highlight the undercard for the $120,500 Battle of Lake Erie 14-race program. This will be the third leg of the Sires Stakes for the sophomore colts. Ohio Sires Stake trotters will start Saturday’s show in Race 1 for the $30,000 first division. Final Breath (Victory Sam-First Breath-Hold Your Breath) is the 3-5 heavy morning-line favorite for owner Duane Lowe of Malta, Ohio. Hugh Beatty is the gelding’s trainer and driver. Final Breath has won 10 of 16 lifetime starts, winning four of seven this year. He has a bankroll of $73,197 and a lifetime mark of 1:57.1 trotted at Scioto Downs on May 27 the second leg of the OSS. Final Breath will start from post two in the short five-horse field. Also competing in the first division will be Happy Go Manny, Chet N Spanky, Annie’s Rocketman and Howdhedothat. Race 2 will be the $30,000 second division Ohio Sire Stakes. Heza Rube (Master Lavec-Rubicella-Awsome Goal) is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for owner Bob Troyer of Middlefield, Ohio and Northfield Park Wall of Fame trainer Marty Wollam. Heza Rube has six victories in 14 lifetime starts. His 1:59.2 mark was taken earlier this year in the first leg of the OSS at Lebanon Raceway. His career earnings are $85,415 Driver Kurt Sugg will start the trotter from post four in a field that consists of last year’s OSS champion Trottin On Over, Buzzen Troubador, Neely Spring, Flashy Cash and Masterdream Chaser. The evening’s eighth race is the $6,000 George Verban Memorial Open Pace. The annual race is dedicated to the long-time sports writer for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. Despite starting from the outside, Lonesome Attack (On The Attack-Lady Lonesome-Nobleland Sam) has been named the 5-2 morning-line favorite. He is owned by the partnership of Gerrie Tucker of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Ciro Gentile of Boca Raton, Florida and Debbie Bird of Harwood, Ontario, Canada. Trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. has called upon Dan Noble to drive. This five year-old gelding has 75 lifetime starts, winning 17 times and bankrolling $299,810, with a 1:51 mark taken this year at The Meadows. Lonesome Attack’s rivals consist of Danny Noonan, Jumpin Jack J, Blueridge Camagot, Royal Morn, Bruisen N Cruisen, Moreland Flash and Lyons Josephjnr. Sophomore Buckeye-bred pacers will take to the stage in Race 10 for the $35,000 third leg and final Sires Stakes event of the evening. That Friske Feelin (Feelin Friskie-Marquee Event-Mark Johnathan) is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a full field of 10. That Friske Feelin is owned by the partnership of Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Edwin Gold of Phoenixville, PA and Richard Lombardo of Solon, Ohio. North America’s leading trainer Ron Burke trains the gelding and has called upon Tony Hall to drive. This three year-old has won six of 13 career races. Despite three runner-up finishes this year, he is still searching for his first win in 2013. His 1:53.4 (ScD 5/8) mark was taken last year, and he has a career bankroll of $77,383. That Friske Feelin starts from post three in a talented field consisting of Feelin Lika Winner, Sassy Osborne, CC Big Boy Cam, Phantom Flasher, Hanky L, Firetowers Stand, River Valley Pearl, Retrieve Forever and Forever Kissed. by Ayers Ratliff
Thousands of people headed out to Scioto Downs Racino for harness racing's "Back to the Track" on Saturday evening. Four Ohio Sire Stakes races, three opens and an invitational race highlighted the racing card, while other activities were going on throughout the racetrack.
On Wednesday, July 3 Northfield Park offers guests the opportunity to start their holiday off right with stakes harness racing action.
Harness racing trainer Scott Mogan had a night to remember getting three wins - with three different drivers - Friday at Scioto Downs Racino.
Starting from post 8 was not a burden for Major Herbie who closed strongly in the stretch to record a 1:57.2 harness racing victory in the $16,500 Winners-Over feature trot on Wednesday, March 6 on a 'sloppy' track at Dover Downs.
Yonkers Raceway's pair of snowflake-themed Friday night $35,000 Open Handicaps--for harness racing distaff pacers and trotters of either gender--were won by Chief Karen (Larry Stalbaum, $21.20) and Master Pine (Jim Pantaleano, $68).
Ohio Sires Stakes harness racing highlighted Northfield Park's Friday (August 31) program where two-year-old filly pacers and trotters squared off. The fillies raced in their final leg of the 2012 juvenile match-ups, presenting their last chance to earn points for the Ohio Sires Stakes Championships. The championships will be held at Scioto Downs in Columbus on Saturday, September 8.
Ohio Sires Stakes harness racing action will top Northfield Park's Saturday (September 1) program, when two-year-old colt and gelding pacers and trotters are featured. They race in the fourth and last preliminary leg of the 2012 Ohio Sires Stakes, their last chance to earn points to be eligible to the OSS Finals. Those championships will be held at Scioto Downs in Columbus on Saturday, September 8, 2012.
Helene Gregory has been in the winner's circle many times as the wife of a leading harness driver and as track photography at Freehold Raceway. The difference on Hambletonian Day [August 4, 2012] was that she was the winner, guiding Master Pine to victory in a Riding Under Saddle [RUS] Trot at the Meadowlands Racetrack.