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The mutuel payouts may have been small, but the purses were spread around in the 3-year-old filly pacing division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at the harness racing meeting at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 2). A different sire, driver and trainer won each leg of the series as they represented the best New York State has to offer for this sex and gait. In the first $39,200 division, Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) left the gate and took a methodic path to the front in 27.4. Leading the single-file group and still unchallenged to the half, Morrill kept a tight grip on the filly with an eye on closing out the deal. When they rolled towards three-quarters, Morrill popped the plugs and Mosquito Blue Chip responded in kind, quickly pulling away to a four-length advantage. With Morrill stretched out like he was in a recliner, the pair scurried home in 28.2 with no one even close, to win in 1:54.2. "She felt like her old self today." "She was on cruise control the entire mile" said driver Jim Morrill Jr. of the filly who is now two-for-two lifetime at Batavia Downs. Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover) was sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite and paid $2.30 for the win. Paul Jessop trains and co-owns the filly with Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio. As most expected in the second $39,900 leg, Band Of Angels (Matt Kakaley) and Moremercy Bluechip (Andy Miller) left from post three and four respectively and got away 1-2 before sauntering to a pedestrian 29-second first quarter. With the rest of the field still in post-position order behind the two favorites, Kakaley continued to grab leather in an even slower 29.4 second panel. From there it was all Band Of Angels who was given her head and quickly opened up a five-length lead before Kakaley lowered the lines and stored the whip. Band Of Angels ($2.50) paced the back half in 56.2, winning in 1:55.1 with Moremercy Bluechip closing ground on the wrapped-up winner to finish second. After the race, winning driver Matt Kakaley pointed out "She did it as easily as a horse could do it and had plenty left coming down the stretch". Band Of Angels (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) is conditioned by North America's leading trainer, Ron Burke for owner W.J. Donovan. The final $39,900 split featured a speed duel between two unrelenting contestants and it started as soon as the gate pulled away. As the field headed into the first turn, they were spread three-wide across the track; Jag Out (Andy Miller) on the pylons, Nippy W Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) in the middle and Artiawitchtoyou (Doug McNair) out widest of all. Off the turn, Nippy W Hanover settled in second but Artiawitchtoyou opted to go on. As she drew next to Jag Out at the quarter in 27.1, it was clear the leader had no intentions of giving up that spot. As they contentiously passed the half in 55 flat, Jag Out and Artiawitchtoyou were seemingly pacing in tandem heading into the third turn, but then Artiawitchtoyou had taken all the air she could and by the 1:24.3 three-quarter split, started to show the effects. As she started to fade off, Jag Out continued to drive on to an impressive two-length victory in the fastest time of the day (1:53.4). The winner paid $8.00. "She was awesome! I know we went fast early but she's that good" said driver Andy Miller about the speed duel between his charge and Artiawitchtoyou. Jag Out (American Ideal-Impertinent) is trained by Erv Miller, who co-owns her with Paymaq Racing and Mystical Marker Farms LLC. There were also two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior A series on the card for $30,000 in purses. The first went to Yes You Can (If I Can Dream-Cantbuymehappiness) went gate to wire in 1:56.2 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Heidi Rohr. Yes You Can, who paid $2.40 is owned by the Holland Racing Stable. The second division was won by Hey Kobe (Bettor's Delight-American West) who also led the entire mile for driver Mark Macdonald and trainer Marthe Drolet. Hey Kobe is owned by Stephen Schneider and William Siegel. The winner returned $4.00. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. notched four victories on the card with Kevin Cummings adding two more wins to his meet-leading total. Racing resumes on Wednesday at Batavia Downs when two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings go postward for a total of $110,000 in purses. Post time is set for 6:35 p.m. Tim Bojarski

WILKES-BARRE PA - The chalk took it on the chin Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as non-favorites won all five harness racing divisions of a $100,000 Stallion Series third preliminary leg for sophomore trotting colts.   Driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Frank Antonacci teamed to take two of the five divisions, the first one and the last one held, and in the Stallion opener their horse posted the fastest time of the Sunday stakes, with Mesmerized scoring in 1:53.4. The son of Cantab Hall went wire-to-wire in winning by seven lengths and taking a new mark for owners K R Breeding, Robert Rudolph, Gary Hoffman (these three were also the breeders) and Barry Guariglia.   Kakaley also tallied with another Antonacci trainee, the Cantab Hall gelding Paging Doctorlindy, who has now made two house calls to the winners circle in but three starts in 1:57.2, a personal best. The good Doctor was up by a neck after a pocket trip for the Lindy Racing Stable (also the breeder), Elizabeth Caldwell, and repeat winning owner Robert Rudolph.   Two winners took maiden victories in the Sunday Stallion competition. They were the Yankee Glide colt Pierre, making every pole a winning one in 1:55.2 for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Jonas Czernyson, and the Consus Racing Stable Inc., and Colbert, giving Cantab Hall a third siring credit with a 1:55 victory for trainer/driver Ã…ke Svanstedt and owners Courant A B and Knutson Trotting Inc.   The other section went to the Explosive Matter gelding Jacksons Minion, exploding out of the pocket to win by open lengths in a personal best of 1:55.4 for driver/trainer/namesake/part-owner Tom Jackson and fellow owners Howard and Judy Taylor.   PHHA / Pocono

Harness racing's longest shining star, Foiled Again, became the first three-time champion of Northfield Park's Battle of Lake Erie when he crossed the wire a winner on Friday (June 12). Approaching the start the 11 year-old was already the richest Standardbred of all-time and became the first horse to earn in excess of $7 million with his triumph. Foiled Again (Dragon Again-In A Safe Place-Artsplace) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, Weaver Bruscemi of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and JJK Stables LLC of Fort Lauterdale, Florida. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Matt Kakaley to drive. Foiled Again started from post five and sat fourth through the :26 opening quarter. Kakaley pulled Foiled Again in the second panel and he remained first over through times of :53.4 and 1:21.3. Foiled again took advantage of his chance when Luck Be Withyou, who had led throughout, went off stride entering the final turn. Foiled Again inherited the lead and fought off his competition in the stretch to win by a neck, stopping the timer at 1:50.3. "I knew if I was close turning for home the he would out grit them," said Kakaley "He is the toughest horse ever in the history of harness racing, for sure." The win pushes Foiled Again's earnings to $7,012,531. Following Foiled Again were Clear Vision, Cammikey, Big Boy Dreams, State Treasurer, Duc Dorleans, Night Pro and Luck Be Withyou. Foiled Again started this year a bit sluggish and many people were calling for Ron Burke to retire the champion pacer. However, Burke discovered that the horse had an entrapped epiglottis and scheduled the minor surgery in early May. Friday's performance was Foiled Again's first start post-operation. "He is as good as ever and still has a lot of racing left in him," said Burke. "He is the horse that has built our barn. I cannot say enough good things about him. I love this horse." Ayers Ratliff

On Monday June 8, the harness racing glamour division of the New York Sire Stakes, 3 Year Old Pacing Colts will be at Monticello Raceway. A total of 10 New York Sire Stake events are on tap for the days 14 race card, 4 divisions of Sire Stakes, 4 divisions of the Excelsior A, and 2 dashes of the Excelsior A series. The Sires Stakes events race for a purse of $30,450 per race, the Excelsior A's purses are $15,000 and the B division purse is $6,000. In the first race, also the 1st division NYSS, showcases Cartoon Daddy, the son of Art Major, who has already won this year in 1:51:4 in a NYSS event at Tioga Downs for trainer Ron Burke. He has 3 pari mutual starts under his belt thus far into the year, he comes back after an impressive 2 year old season, where he earned $282,523, and taking a mark of 1:50:1 at the Red Mile. Matt Kakaley will handle the driving chores for trainer Ron Burke. Bet You will start from PP 6 for trainer Jimmy Takter, the son of Bettors Delight, is out of the great mare Armbro Amoretto. Race 5, 2nd division of NYSS, highlights Lone Survivor and J Eagle Feature. Both were victorious last week at Buffalo in their respective divisions. In the 3rd division, K Ryan Bluechip (PP1) and K-Rock (PP2) are pitted against each other. K Rock easily won his last NYSS race at Buffalo in 1:54, K Ryan Bluechip took his lifetime mark last start in 1:50:3 for trainer driver Joe Pavia Jr. Final NYSS race is carded as race 13, My Spirit Soars, on paper he seems to be much the best, starting from the rail for trainer Tom Fanning, the son of Bettor Delight has been in the money in all 7 starts this year. He comes into the race fresh off a 1:50:4 win at Pocono Downs and a second place finish in Sire Stakes action at Tioga Downs. In the 10 race, the Excelsior A series highlights the much heralded White Bliss, a celebrity from birth, due to him being a rare equine Albino. The son of Art Major was a $240,000 yearling. He is trained and driven by Swedish trotting specialist Ake Svanstedt. The Excelsior A divisions are in races 3, 7, 10, & 14, each race is worth $15,000, The B divisions are in race 2 & 12, for a purse of $6,000. Monticello Raceway continues its Monday - Friday schedule with a 12:50 Post. By Shawn Wiles

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- "I expected him to do this," driver Brett Miller after he guided Lone Survivor to the fastest time in the three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at the harness racing meeting at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday night (May 27).   Lone Survivor (Art Major-Wenditone) cruised to an easy six-length victory in 1:53.4 in taking his $39,900 leg.   In other Sire Stakes activity, K-Rock was nearly as impressive after notching a 3-1/4 win in 1:54.0 while J Eagle Feather found the winner's circle for the first time in his brief four-race career by covering the mile in 1:56.0.   Miller took the blame for Lone Survivor's fifth place finish last week in Sire Stakes competition at Tioga Downs and was more than ready for redemption.   "I drove this horse so bad last week," Miller said. "He's a nice colt and I knew he was ready tonight."   Sitting fourth headed down the backstretch, Miller went three-wide and paced away from the field. Quickly opening up a five-length edge at the top of the stretch, Lone Survivor ($5.40) finished with a six length advantage over runner up Artistic Major (Pat Lachance) and Americanprimetime (Rick Dane Jr.) at the wire.   "I wasn't worried at all going up the backstretch," Miller said about the final half-mile. "I was feeling good about him. I just let him go and he did his thing," added Miller about Lone Survivor's big backside move.   Trained by Sam De Pinto, it was the first victory in three seasonal starts for Lone Survivor, now a winner of $21,532 this year and $86,491 lifetime.   K-Rock had to tussle with We Think Alike in the opening panel scrum and that proved to be the right move.   Posting fractions of 27.0, 56.1 and 1:24.2, K-Rock never looked back and disposed of the remaining six entrants easily by 3-1/4 lengths.   "I didn't want to sit third and get caught in traffic," winning driver Matt Kakaley said of the decision to send K-Rock to the top.   Enjoying a four-length advantage at the top of the lane, Kakaley admitted that K-Rock was throttled down in the drive for the wire. "He was kind of spent but still raced good. I think a 1:24.2 mark to the three-quarter pole is a pretty good time for this track."   Southwind Masimo showed some good closing speed to take the place position while Masterson (Jim Morrill Jr.) rallied for the show spot.   K-Rock (Rock N Roll Hanover-Sunduel A) is a 3-year-old gelding that is owned by Eugene Kurzrok and trained by Ron Burke.   It was his second win in four starts in 2015 and pushed his seasonal winnings to $38,862 and $74,688 lifetime.   J Eagle Feather went gate-to-wire and held on to beat the highly-regarded Sicily by a neck in 1:56.0. A final sizzling quarter-mile of 26.4 secured the win for J Eagle Feather.   Using some soft splits of 29.3, 59.2 and 1:29.2, Morrill Jr. said in the winner's circle, "We got away with some cheap fractions. He's never cut the mile before and still is very green. The only time I asked of him was in the last quarter mile and he responded."   Sicily (Kakaley) took the hard-luck second place position while Maurice (Lachance) was third.   Trained by Linda Toscano and owned by Kj Stables LLC, J Eagle Feather (Bettor's Delight-Town Feather) picked up a nice check for $19,600 his first place effort.   He has been in the money three times in four career appearances.   In the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series, Nobettorplacetobe tripped the timer in a solid 1:54.3 time to register the $7.20 decision for driver John Cummings Jr.   In the other leg, Coaster (Kakaley) posted a popular $2.20 score in 1:58.1.   Tonite We Rock covered the mile in 1:57.4 for driver Jack Flanigen to take the $6,800 Excelsior 'B' Series event.   Kakaley and Morrill Jr. each finished the evening with driving triples.   Racing continues on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with a 13-race program scheduled for 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   Brian Mazurek

London, May 25, 2015 --The post position draw for this year’s  harness racing $150,000 Molson Pace was conducted earlier this evening at The Raceway in London during the pre-game show. Local CTV Sports Anchor, Brent Lale, joined the broadcast team in studio to perform the duties. Defending champion State Treasurer will start from the trailing post eight behind recent Confederation Cup winner All Bets Off who drew the coveted rail position. All Bets Off will be handled by Matt Kakaley while Chris Christoforou will once again be up behind State Treasurer. The remaining starters, along with drivers, in position order include; All Bets Off (p.p. 1, Matt Kakaley), Lucan Hanover (p.p. 2, Trevor Henry), P H Super Cam (p.p. 3, Jason Bartlett), Night Pro (p.p. 4, Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Evenin Of Pleasure (p.p. 5 Sylvain Filion), Duc Dorleans (p.p. 6, Daniel Dube)  Lets Drink On It (p.p. 7, Billy Davis Jr.) State Treasurer (p.p. 8, Chris Christoforou) The Molson Pace will go as the final race on this Friday night’s 12-race program at the London oval. The powerful undercard will feature Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions, a quartet of City of London Series finals and classes for Preferred pacers. For more details on this year’s event, visit www.molsonpace.com.  

DUNDAS, May 17 - All Bets Off lived up to his 3/5 favourite status to win the $226,575 Confederation Cup for harness racing four-year-old pacers Sunday night at Flamboro Downs. Driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Ron Burke, All Bets Off followed up his track record performance in last week's elimination with a 1:51.3 front-end score in Sunday's rich final. The Burke trainee got away in third and was parked through the opening-quarter, as stablemate Limelight Beach and driver Yannick Gingras were the quickest off the gate to grab the lead. Ideal Cowboy and driver Tim Tetrick, who got away in second, appeared to be tipping out to challenge at Limelight Beach in the opening-quarter, but Tetrick opted to drop back inside and follow Limelight Beach by the first panel in :26.2. In the second-quarter, All Bets Off and Kakaley did not sit on the outside long and powered by the leader to take the lead as they field of nine paced into the stretch and by the half in :54.4. Tetrick tipped out from third with Ideal Cowboy, as the field paced by the grandstand, to challenge first up at the public's choice. However, Tetrick and his charge would only reach the wheel of All Bets Off, who turned up the tempo to post a three-quarter time of 1:22.3. In the final quarter, All Bets Off put aside the first up bid and created separation on Limelight Beach to cruise home and score a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:51.3. Bettorever came from eighth at the three-quarter pole to finish second, while Big Boy Dreams finished third. Limelight Beach and Ideal Cowboy picked up the final two cheques, as they finished fourth and fifth. Following the race, Kakaley talked about the action in the opening three-eighths of the mile. "I just kind of eased back a little bit going into the first turn and let Yannick (Gingras) make front and kind of let the dust settle," said Kakaley. "Then Timmy (Tetrick) popped the two-hole, so Yannick had to drive on a little bit more and it took me obviously a lot farther (to clear to the lead) than I wanted it to, but he's a really good horse and he showed that tonight." A son of Bettors Delight, All Bets Off now has two wins in three starts this season for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stb Corp and the Estate of Rosemary J Shelswell. The four-year-old pacer picked up his 17th career win Sunday evening and pushed his bankroll to over $1.2 million. All Bets Off has now been driven by Kakaley to 12 of his career victories, including triumphs in the 2013 Matron Stakes and last year's Art Rooney and Messenger Stakes. "I love driving him and it's been a fun ride," said Kakaley. "He's a good little horse." The biggest victories of his racing career have come on half-mile tracks, but Mickey Burke Jr., the assistant trainer for the Burke stable, believes that All Bets Off has the make up to be a solid racehorse over any track. "I think he'll be fine everywhere we take him," said Burke Jr. "He wants to win. He's got quickness, he carries his speed, he just wins races." A $2 win ticket on All Bets Off returned $3.40. The 2015 Confederation Cup was the 37th edition of Canada's signature half-mile race, but was the first to be contested by four-year-old pacers. Last held in 2012, the Confederation Cup was reintroduced this year with a new format. All Bets Off made history Sunday evening, as he became the first four-year-old Confederation Cup champion and joins an illustrious list of past winners, including On The Road Again, Jate Lobell and Somebeachsomewhere. Mark McKelvie

WASHINGTON, PA, May 2, 2015 -- Melady's Monet bounced back from a 55-length loss to capture the inaugural $62,100 The Meadows Maturity for harness racing stallions and geldings four and up Saturday at The Meadows and reclaim his spot as one of the sport's top older trotters. Melady's Monet was rolling along on a three-race winning streak -- all in the Open Handicap at The Meadowlands -- when things went awry on April 10 and John Campbell was forced to ease him. "He's an incredible animal; he's a weird horse," said Kevin McDermott, who trains the 6-year-old Revenue S-Keystone Melady gelding for Melady Enterprises. "If you take him out of his program, he ties up . . . He could have lost by 10 lengths that night, but John is a pro. He did what was best for the horse." The connections withdrew Melady's Monet from consideration for an Elitlopp invitation because of the long trip. But they risked the journey to the Meadows, and all systems were go. "We shipped him out here yesterday," McDermott said, "and we made sure his tie-up numbers were great." Leaving from post 4, Campbell waited for the field to settle before moving Melady's Monet to the front. He easily deflected the first-over challenge of Rose Run Parker, a 4-year-old conditioned by Ron Burke, and drew off to triumph by 4 lengths in 1:53. Classicality rallied for second while Madewell Hanover earned show. Burke's other contender, the 2014 New York Sires Stakes champion sophomore Gural Hanover, who was making his seasonal debut, never got involved and finished sixth. With the victory, Melady's Money boasts $497,508 in career earnings. $183,216 Adios Betty The Kentucky Derby Day card also featured the Adios Betty, a $183,216 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for sophomore filly pacers, with Safe From Terror, Storm Point and Serious Filly each taking a division. Burke enjoyed a stakes double with Safe From Terror and Storm Point. Safe From Terror clocked the fastest split when she charged from the pocket in the lane for Matt Kakaley to overtake the leader, Triple V Hanover, and defeat her by a neck in 1:52.1, a lifetime mark. Ginger Tree Alexis earned show. Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, and J&T Silva Stables campaign Safe From Terror, a daughter of Western Terror-In A Safe Place who is a half-sister of the venerable Foiled Again. "She has a long way to go before she's like Foiled Again," Kakaley said, "but she's a little sweetheart. With a trip like that, she'll get the job done." Storm Point rated patiently in fourth for Dave Palone and Black Horse Racing, brushing in the stretch to score in 1:52.3, fastest of her career. Somewhere Sweet raced well first over for second, with Seeking Nirvana third. "She has a little bit of greenness," Palone said, "but she's very intelligent in a race." Serious Filly was just that, launching a serious uncovered bid from fifth that carried her to victory for Mike Wilder in 1:53.2. Arts Jem finished second, beaten a head, while Southwind Roulette, Pennsylvania's 2014 freshman champion, paced awkwardly through the Lightning Lane and settled for third. "She can grind for a long way," said winning trainer Brian Brown. "She's better at grinding than sprinting. You saw her put in a few steps today. When I get that straightened out, she'll be a good filly." Emerald Highlands Farm bred and owns the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Seriously. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, May 1, 2015 -- Though harness racing stablemates and 4-year-olds, Gural Hanover and Rose Run Parker have taken different geographic paths to stardom. Gural Hanover captured the New York Sires Stake championship last year; Rose Run Parker achieved the same feat -- in Indiana. Together, they've earned just over $1 million for trainer Ron Burke, and they'll lead the field in Saturday's inaugural edition of the $62,100 The Meadows Maturity for 4-and-up stallion and gelding trotters. The event, part of a special Kentucky Derby Day card that begins at 11:25 AM, goes as race 9. "They're very similar," Burke said of his dynamic duo. "They dominated their sires stakes programs, and they have big chances this year to move up." Gural Hanover (post 1, Matt Kakaley) has won 11 of 15 career starts and will be launching his season after a sharp 1:55.3 qualifier at Harrah's Philly. "That was a vicious qualifier," Burke said of the Crazed-Givemearing gelding owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Little E and Panhellenic Stables. "I'd like to have one more work in him, but it is what it is." Rose Run Parker (post 2, Dave Palone), had a 3-race winning streak snapped April 18 when he broke stride in Hoosier Park's Invitational. "I didn't like that break last week, but that's out of character for him," Burke said. "I don't expect it to be a problem. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and William Haas, Jr. campaign the Jailhouse Jesse-Centergy gelding. Burke said he hasn't plotted specific schedules for Gural Hanover and Rose Run Parker. "When they finish one race, I think about the next race," he said. "I never assume they'll be ready for this race or that race. I take it week by week." The road to victory may go through the Burke pair, but Melady's Monet (post 4, John Campbell) may be just the contender to speed down that road. The 6-year-old Revenue S-Keystone Melady gelding already has won five of eight outings this year, including three straight in the Open Handicap at the Meadowlands, for trainer Kevin McDermott and owner Melady Enterprises. Last week's distaff division of The Meadows Maturity was a showcase for local talent, as Bill Bercury's Daylon Miracle blew past 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry to lead a 1-2-3 finish for The Meadows-based horses. Bercury will be looking for a stakes sweep Saturday when he sends out Tamarind, (post 8, Aaron Merriman), who has banked $624,484 in his career but needed a drop to conditioned company to get his most recent victory. Completing the local contingent are Classicality (post 5, Brian Zendt), an easy winner in The Meadows' top trot last week, and Sixteen Mikes (post 7, Eric Goodell), campaigned and bred by Bob Key and conditioned by Rich Gillock. Saturday's 13-race card also features three splits of the $183,216 Adios Betty, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake for sophomore filly pacers. The field for The Meadows Maturity, in post position order, with drivers and morning line odds: 1. Gural Hanover, Matt Kakaley, 9/2 2. Rose Run Parker, Dave Palone, 7/2 3. Madewell Hanover, Chris Ryder, 6-1 4. Melady's Monet, John Campbell, 5/2 5. Classicality, Brian Zendt, 8-1 6. Possessed Fashion, Tony Hall, 8-1 7. Sixteen Mikes, Eric Goodell, 10-1 8. Tamarind, Aaron Merriman, 10-1 The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

The Howard Taylor-owned harness racing gelding has won six of 11 races this year, good for $75,475 in purses, and heads into Saturday's $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers off victories in his two preliminary rounds of the event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Major Uptrend, a 4-year-old, won both of his starts in the series by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:51.3. His first triumph came over YS Lotus, who has posted two wins in the series to go with two second-place finishes, and his most recent score came over Victory At Last, who was unbeaten in three previous series starts. Trained by Ron Burke and driven by Matt Kakaley, Major Uptrend will start Saturday's Weiss final from post two. "He's just blazing fast," said Taylor, who purchased Major Uptrend in December. "I don't know how good he is class-wise, but he's got great speed. He's far exceeded what I thought I was getting. "What I'm looking forward to is when he gets to where he has to go with horses that can go with him how much guts he's got. I don't know. We'll find out." Major Uptrend is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the million-dollar-earning mare Tricky Tooshie. He sold for $177,000 as a yearling, under the name Toronto Hanover, and won six of 19 starts and $26,352 prior to Taylor purchasing the horse on the recommendation of Doug Lewis. Taylor was interested in Major Uptrend because the gelding fit the conditions of a number of winter series. "That's what I always look to, what I can do with them -- not what they've done," Taylor said. "What they've done wasn't for me and doesn't help me any, but it's where I can go from here. This horse had all kinds of late-closers he was eligible to, so I thought it was a no-brainer." After finishing second by a neck for Taylor in his first start, Major Uptrend closed 2014 with a win in which he rallied from the back of the pack with a :25.3 last quarter-mile. This year, Major Uptrend has finished no worse than second in any race in which he remained pacing. He went off stride once in a preliminary round of the Escort Series at the Meadowlands and twice in the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers Raceway. "I don't think he's a real big fan of a half-mile track," Taylor said, referring to Yonkers. "He's a funny horse. I've seen him enough and I think I've learned a lot about him. He's one of these horses that if you're going to do something, you've got to do it. You can't start and then change your mind. If you change your mind he just gets mad and jumps." Major Uptrend finished second to Company Man in the final of the Escort Series and finished second to Rockeyed Optimist in the final of the Sonsam Series. He handed Rockeyed Optimist his only loss of 2015 in a preliminary round of the Sonsam. Following the Weiss Series, Major Uptrend is eligible to the Whata Baron Series at the Meadowlands. The Whata Baron begins with two divisions Saturday and concludes May 2. "I still don't know what I have," Taylor said. "I know I have a horse that's as good as anything in these series. We'll probably give him some time off after these series - he's been going hard every week - and then bring him back and find out what we have in open company. "But it's been a fun ride so far." YS Lotus, trained by Rene Allard, drew post No. 1 for the Weiss Series final and will have Simon Allard at the lines. Shadow Margeaux, who has a win and three second-place finishes in the event, got post five for trainer Steve Salerno and driver Larry Stalbaum. Victory At Last, also from the Burke stable, got post eight with George Napolitano Jr. listed to drive. Napolitano also is listed on Burke-trainee Coaster, who drew post seven. By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

WILKES-BARRE PA - Major Uptrend overcame post eight and snapped the harness racing streak of Victory At Last, who had won in the first three legs of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, by posting a 1:51.3 triumph in one of two $15,000 cuts of the fourth and final preliminary for male pacers Saturday. In the other division, YS Lotus posted the fastest Weiss clocking all year, 1:50.2, to stamp himself as a major danger in next Saturday's $30,000 Championship.   Major Uptrend went up to challenge his barnmate in the Ron Burke stable, Victory At Last, past the 27 opener, and from there the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere was in control, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 while 1¾ lengths to the good of Victory At Last, for owner Howard Taylor. It is interesting that driver Matt Kakaley, who had driven Victory At Last to his three previous Weiss wins, choose to go with Major Uptrend, whom he had also won with last week, and the decision proved to be a Weiss wise one.   YS Lotus, whose last six races had taken place in an 18-day span (competing in both Yonkers Sagamore Hill Series and the Weiss), seemed to like this week's having seven days between starts, as he made an early move to the top and stayed in front, defeating Shadow Margeaux by ¾ of a length. The If I Can Dream gelding earned a new speed badge with the 1:50.2 clocking while winning for driver Simon Allard, trainer/brother Rene, and owner Yves Sarrazin. In all, the Brothers Allard had an extraordinary night at Pocono, teaming up for victory seven times on the 14-race card.   In $22,000 overnight events, the Classic Photo gelding Zooming zoomed home from next-to-last at the half to handle the trotters in 1:52.4 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Amber Buter, and owners Steve Oldford, Oldford Farms LLC, and Tyler Buter. On the pacing side driver Jim Morrill Jr. rallied Mustang Art out of the pocket to hang a nose defeat on frontstepping Somethinginthewind in 1:50 (the new "even time" at Pocono?), the Artiscape gelding parading back to Victory Lane for trainer Jim McGuire and owners Max Walton and Greg Papaleo.   Pocono hosts its first Sunday card of the year tonight/(tomorrow night), with the first race set for a 6:30 start. The mountain track now will have live racing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Dress For Success remained undefeated in Bobby Weiss Series competition with an easy harness racing victory in one of two $15,000 divisions of the third leg for trotting females Wednesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono; in the other cut, Passing Jetta finds herself moving in the right direction after posting successive third, second, and now first-place finishes in her Weiss outings.   The Infinitif mare Dress For Success had little trouble taking her third straight Weiss win, leading at every call while tying her lifetime mark of 1:55.1, first set last week. The heaviest of favorites at 1-20* odds, the Christopher Freck-trained mare was driven by Matt Kakaley for owners Stacey Ruddick and Denis Dennis.   The chalk also held sway in Wednesday's other Weiss action, but just barely, as the Lear Jetta mare Passing Jetta rallied out of the pocket to hang a head defeat on pacesetter Fashion Zoomalot in 1:57.1.   Jim Morrill Jr. handled sulky duties for Passing Jetta, trainer Robert Bresnahan Jr., and owner J L Sadowsky LLC.   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be adding Sunday racing to its 2015 regular menu beginning this Sunday, April 12. The trotters and pacers will be going to the gate weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, with the first race each night scheduled for 6:30 p.m.   PHHA / Pocono

Harness racing owners Stacey Ruddick and Denise Dennis said yes to the dress and ended up with a horse. It happened in 2012. Ruddick and Dennis were interested in buying a yearling trotter named Panthere Dream at the Lexington Selected Sale, but worried the filly might not fall in their price range. A friend asked if they saw a dress they really liked, would they look at the price tag or simply buy the dress. Ruddick said she was unsure while Dennis said without hesitation that she would buy the dress. Their friend responded, referring to the yearling auction, "When you get in there, go buy your dress." Ruddick and Dennis came away with Panthere Dream for $18,000 and renamed the filly Dress For Success. "I wanted a Kentucky (Sire Stakes eligible) horse, but I didn't know if she would fall into my price range," said Ruddick, who operates a farm in Indiana that breeds, boards, trains and races Standardbreds. "I ran into my friend Denise and she was interested in buying the horse too. We loved her. There was something about the look in her eye that Denise really liked and we loved her video." Dress For Success, now a 4-year-old mare, has won six of 38 career races and earned $96,254. She has captured back-to-back starts in the Bobby Weiss Series for 3- and 4-year-old female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and is the 8-5 morning line favorite in Wednesday's second of two third-round divisions. A daughter of stallion Infinitif out of the mare Padme Hanover, Dress For Success was winless at age 2, but finished third in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship and second in the Kentucky Fair Stakes final. Last year, she won a preliminary round of the Kentucky Sire Stakes series, but went off stride in the championship. She again finished second in the Kentucky Fair Stakes final and earned checks in the Buckette and a division of the Circle City Stakes. Ruddick, who trained Dress For Success at ages 2 and 3, decided to send the trotter to New Jersey at the end of last season and put the horse in the stable of trainer Chris Freck. Since arriving on the East Coast, Dress For Success has won four of 10 starts and hit the board a total of six times. "She was very athletic from the beginning," Ruddick said. "She never did anything wrong. She was really more laidback than any good trotting filly that I've ever had; she took everything in stride. She never had been on the track with another horse until her first county fair. And she was like 'whatever.' Usually they're scared. "She wastes no motion when she trots. When you sit behind her you don't feel you're going nearly as fast as you are because she covers so much ground. Chris says she's gotten a little bit more fired up on the track since she's been going faster out there, but at the barn she's an absolute sweetheart." Dress For Success finished second in an opening-round division of January's Super Bowl Series at the Meadowlands, defeated by a half-length by Blocking The Way in 1:54.1, before going off stride in the second round and turning up sick in the final. She followed with two conditioned wins at the Big M and got her first chance this season against female-only competition when she headed to the Weiss Series at the end of March. "She won a couple races at the Meadowlands, and that was exciting," Ruddick said. "A lot of people think she's surprised us, but she really hasn't surprised me and my dad (Harold) because I knew what she was. She always had bad luck last year. Stupid things would happen that weren't her fault. "Chris found (the Weiss) series for us and it's worked out nice. She was super in the first leg of the Super Bowl and then in the second leg she had some problems and she was sick in the final. She fizzled out in that series, but we always thought she was nice so we wanted to give her a chance in this series." Dress For Success and driver Matt Kakaley won their opener in the Weiss Series by a half-length in 1:57.1 over a "good" track and won last week by 5-1/2 lengths in 1:55.1. "I think Matt Kakaley has been a really nice fit for her," said Ruddick, who might keep Dress For Success on the East Coast for some overnight races before bringing her home for a layoff and then a trip to Lexington's Red Mile followed by a return to New Jersey. "He has a lot of confidence in the horse. A lot of people would have questioned whether she belonged, but he has confidence in her and drives her with confidence, which is really nice." Passing Jetta is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first division of Wednesday's Weiss Series. Two-time series winner Classic Belisima, who won her second-round start in 1:53.3, is off this week. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley swept both $15,000 divisions of the third leg of the Bobby Weiss Series for pacing males Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Victory At Last now 3-for-3 in the series and Major Uptrend making his initial Weiss start a winning one.   After winning by a head in the first two legs, the Quik Pulse Mindale gelding Victory At Last had it relatively easy in the third, coming out of the pocket and gaining into a 55.4 final half to defeat Shadow Margeaux, the only other previous Weiss winner in his division, by ¾ of a length while taking a new mark of 1:52.1 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   Major Uptrend, a big factor in the winter series at The Meadowlands, had made breaks in his last two outings, in the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers, and the switch to the more spacious oval proved a good tonic for the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere and Tricky Tooshie, who won over $1M on the racetrack. The Major marched to the lead past the ¼, then threw twin 27.4 splits on the end of his mile to complete the handy triumph in 1:51.3 for owner Howard Taylor, defeating four previous Weiss division winners, including second-place YS Lotus, making his sixth start in 18 days (racing in the Sagamore and Weiss three straight weeks).   One other interesting note: both winners sold at Harrisburg as yearlings - Major Uptrend for $177,000, Victory At Last for $7500.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Quik Pulse Mindale gelding Victory At Last became the first two-time winner in his section of the Bobby Weiss Series for late-developing pacing males, winning one of the three $15,000 second round Weiss events Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Last week Victory At Last led at every call and lasted over the late charge of a Rene Allard-trained horse, YS Lotus, by a head; this week the winner sat the pocket behind another Allard trainee, Vance Bayama, and rallied in the Pocono Pike to win in 1:54.2, last quarter 27.3, with the victory margin a head this week as well. Matt Kakaley again handled Victory At Last for trainer Ron Burke and the powerful combine of Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Rene Allard, the leading trainer at Pocono last year, sent out the fastest winner in the two rounds of competition when YS Lotus, mentioned above, made a sweeping move around tired foes to the 3/4s and won by five lengths in a personal best 1:52 (on a 26 degree night). Rene's brother Simon was in the sulky behind the altered son of If I Can Dream, an "iron horse" racing for the fourth time in 11 days, for owner Yves Sarrazin. Both Victory At Last and YS Lotus were the crowd choices; such was not the case in the third Weiss event, as 13-1 shot Weapons Dealer angled wide in the stretch and caught Shadow Margeaux, a $77 win bomber last week, by a neck, taking a new speed badge of 1:54.1. Anthony Napolitano handled sulky duties behind the Western Ideal gelding for trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Robert Di Mozzi. Jerry Connors for PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Trotting males and pacing females were featured in first leg harness racing action of their divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with two $15,000 sections for each group contested. In the first trotting cut Two Hip Dip set the pace, then blasted home in 1:55.4 - 56.2 - 27.1 for driver David Miller and trainer/owner Nick Salenetri. The son of Glidemaster was the slight favorite in a race where two horses were sent off at 4-5 - his co-"odds-on" rival Bourbon Bay was outfooted late for second by Raise The Curtain. The other diamondgaited division also went to driver David Miller, again on the engine, this time with Walk The Walk. Walk The Walk trotted the trot about five lengths better than anyone else in the field until the shadow of the wire, where he ran the run, but was not in violation of the breaking rules. The son of Muscle Hill, owned by trainer Chris Ryder in partnership with Sidney Korn, Robert Mondillo, and Max Wernick, posted a new personal speed badge of 1:55.1 despite the bobble, with back timings of 56.3 - 28. Miller and Ryder again teamed in a division of the female Weiss action, using "pocket rocket" tactics into a 28 kicker with the Rocknroll Hanover filly Crescent City to get a nose up in a new mark of 1:54 for Diamond Creek Racing. This event also featured an unusual betting pattern, with three horses at less than 2-1 - the winner was 7-5, place horse Hollyrocker was 9-5, and first-over Caviart Shelly (fourth) was 3-2. The other distaff division also saw a nose separate the top two, as a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Life Is A Beach, maintained an early brush to command to the wire over The Beach Nextdoor in a personal best 1:53.1, with twin 28.1s the last half. Matt Kakaley had sulky duty for trainer Ron Burke and the omnipresent Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi partnership. David Miller and Kakaley had three wins on the card; doubles were recorded by George Napolitano Jr. and, on his birthday, Mike Simons, with the latter win for "The Trot Man" the appropriately-gaited Magnum Kosmos. As opposed to opening night this past Saturday, where the average win mutuel was over $21, 7 of 13 chalks clicked this evening. Jerry Connors for PHHA/Pocono             Spam Not spam Forget previous vote

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