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Now that the 2018 harness racing season is drawing to a close, the debate over whether McWicked or Shartin N should receive Horse of the Year honors is boiling over. Both are incredible racehorses coming off of career seasons. Both are deserving. Only one will win the honor!   What is amazing is that in a year in which the 3-year-old trotting filly Atlanta (by Chapter Seven) achieved the rare feat of beating the colts in the Hambletonian, and the 2-year-old trotting filly and colt champions both went undefeated and appear to be budding superstars (both by Chapter Seven), that it is a foregone conclusion that Horse of the Year honors will go to Shartin N or McWicked.   Shartin N (by Tintin In America who is by McArdle) raced 24 times in 2018, winning an amazing 19 times against a stellar group of North America's best pacing mares. No horse or mare won more races in 2018! She won over US$1,098,000, an amazing feat for a natural 4-year-old until late October of the year! This is even more special given Shartin N only arrived in North America from New Zealand in December 2017. She raced from mid January thru late November, always at top form....a training achievement that should afford the Jim King Jr. and Joanne Looney King training duo accolades they richly deserve.    In two of the five losses,  Shartin N broke at the start, in another race she choked - each time fighting early driver restraint. So  Shartin N was only beaten twice in 2018 races in which she got away cleanly!   McWicked (by McArdle), a 7-year-old, raced 19 times in 2018, with 11 wins, for 2018 earnings of over US$1,662,000. He raced and won on all size tracks against the best free for all horses in North America. He dominated much like Shartin N dominated! He raced from mid May thru late November, a shorter season than Shartin N's but a full and tough campaign. Trainer Casie Coleman managed him exceptionally. Shartin N's best winning time was 1:48.2 at Lexington, McWicked's was 1:46.2 at Lexington.   So which horse deserves more the award that each deserves??   McWicked wins Allerage Farms Open Pace ($179,000) in 1.46,2 at Red Mile. Lazarus 2nd   Shartin N winning the Allerage Farms Pace in 1:48.2 It is so hard to say! Perhaps the slight edge goes to  Shartin N because, as a true 4-year-old mare racing against more seasoned and accomplished North American mares, she did what few have been able to do.    Perhaps also the level of competition that  McWicked faced was unusually light compared to typical North American FFA years. Lazarus N was only himself for a few starts and beat McWicked twice and the rest of the group had seen their best days or were just not truly top class....perhaps what Shartin N did was historic, while what  McWicked did was merely dominant....But FFA is more high profile than is the pacing mare division and historically voters favor the FFA Star, renowned trainers like Casie Coleman, and horses with prior records of stardom!        Close call!   Great subject for debate!   Two world champions!      WHICH WAY WOULD YOU GO??

Batavia, NY --- Undoubtedly the most exciting race of the year occurred at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 17) when Lucky McTrucky parked out all comers before driving home a winner in the $11,000 Open Handicap harness racing pacing feature. I'm So Handsome (Kevin Cummings), Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) and Iyq Yqr (Denny Bucceri) left the gate together and paced three-deep around the clubhouse turn and up the backstretch until I'm So Handsome relented, letting Lucky McTrucky and Iyq Yqr continue to argue at the quarter in :26.4. And argue they did. Lucky McTrucky refused to let Iyq Yqr take the front and Iyq Yqr refused to take a seat behind Lucky McTrucky so the pair paced in unison to the half in :55.1. The fanatical feud continued around the third turn before Iyq Yqr said nighty-night, but there was still no rest for the weary. Go Collect N (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled from fourth and drew alongside Lucky McTrucky past the five-eighths and a new battle ensued. Monti and Davis rocked and knocked, high-lined and bounced from the three-quarters all the way to the wire with inches between them left to right and front to back and it took a photo to call the winner. The winner was Lucky McTrucky who closed the deal by a head in 1:54.3 while the sold out clubhouse roared in appreciation. It was the 12th win of the year and 54th of his career for Lucky McTrucky ($4.90) who now boasts $85,815 in earnings this year. The uber-game 9-year-old gelded son of McArdle is owned by Tessa Roland and is trained by JD Perrin, The $9,900 Open II pace was won by Upfront Countryboy (Billy Davis Jr.) who sat third to the quarter before pulling to take the lead by the half and then pulled away by four lengths in the lane to win in 1:54.3. It was the 13th win of the year for Upfront Countryboy ($6.30) who is trained by James Clouser Jr. for owner William Emmons. Drew Monti the top teamster on Saturday scoring a Grand Slam on the card. Besides the big win with Lucky McTrucky, Monti also had pictures taken with Hardts Or Bettor (1:55.2, $10.80), Foreign Officer (1:56.2, $4.80) and Linkjack Hanover (1:56.4, $7.40). All four of Monti's wins were trainees of JD Perrin that are owned by Tessa Roland. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 21) at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

CHESTER, PA - When archrival Bettor Trix N was scratched from the $17,000 distaff featured pace at Harrah's Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon, the A Rocknroll Dance filly Scuola Hanover looked like she would have fairly smooth sailing to her fifth straight harness racing victory. But the favorite came up short in the stretch, and Jaye's A Lady sprang a $23.40 upset for driver Andy Miller in 1:52.3. Big City Betty gunned away to the lead in 26.2 despite the outside post seven; early pocketsitter Cuts Like A Knife moved and gained the lead well before the cutthroat 54.3 half. Scuola Hanover led the outer tier, with Jaye's A Lady and Believe In Me behind her, and when Big City Betty tired from her early efforts, Scuola Hanover was able to tuck into the pocket before the blistering 1:22.2 3/4s. Jaye's A Lady, covered to this point, grinded up to take the lead in the lane, then held off Believe In Me by a half-length, with Cuts Like A Knife another length back and a neck ahead of Scuola Hanover. The victory was the first of the year for the McArdle mare after a $100,000+ season turned in during 2017. Nancy Johansson trains the winner for Caviart Farms. The Camluck gelding Feeling Cam Lucky turned in the fastest mile of the day in a $12,500 pace for driver George Napolitano Jr., going wire-to-wire in 1:50.4, but it's just as likely that people were talking about the second-place finisher afterward. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Duplicated N, another of the "New Zealand pipeline horses" for Team King/Looney King/Poillucci of Shartin N fame, got away second-last from his outside starting position, was ten lengths out at the half, then negotiated his own back half in 53.4 while also shifting stretch course to avoid the drifting winner to finish second, beaten 1¼ lengths. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who owns and trains Feeling Cam Lucky, had three conditioning wins on the day, using three different drivers. Tim Tetrick topped the sulkysitters with a trio of successes. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Wilkes-Barre, PA - Favored McWicked ($3.80) moved to the lead at the five-eighths pole, easily putting away Lazarus N and then opening to win by four comfortable lengths in 1:49.3. Brian Sears drove McWicked for trainer Casie Coleman, as he won his second Breeders Crown trophy. Early leader Filibuster Hanover rallied for second, while Donttellmeagain finished third. Mcwicked has now earned over $3.7 million in his career after posting his 24th career win. "He's real easy to drive and he does everything you want. It's great to have the opportunity to drive such nice horses," said Sears, who won three Breeders Crown races Saturday night. "I always think he's gonna be good, but to think he is going to do what he did this year... I think he is better now than he was at three. He is a big team effort no doubt. I hope he is going to race next year, but that is not my call. It is up to Mr. James (owner Edward James of the SSG Stables.) I think he will be at stud, but I hope he will race, our team would really like that," explained trainer Casie Coleman. Filibuster Hanover took the field to the quarter in 26.1, but Lazarus N was immediately out and winging, taking the field past the half in 55.2. McWicked pulled up the backside and easily disposed of his challenger, rolling past three-quarters in 1:21.2 before Sears took his foot off the gas in the stretch. McWicked is a seven-year-old bay horse by McArdle, out of the Western Ideal mare Western Sahara. He was bred by Andray Farm of Punxutawney, Pennsylvania. By Keith Gisser, For The Breeders Crown      

It was a big harness racing day for driver Brian Sears at Yonkers Raceway Saturday afternoon. After capturing the $1 million International Trot with Cruzado Dela Noche, Sears then came back in the 11th race $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace to win with ease with McWicked. It was Mach It So (Jason Bartlett) who flew out of the starting gate to take command and then Nuclear Dragon and driver Tim Tetrick came right after Mach It So to control the pace at the first quarter in :27. As they came past the grandstand the first time, Sear came out with McWicked and started to grind his way towards the leaders at the half mile in :55.3. Following second-over was Bit Of A legend with driver Jordan Stratton. Then in the backstretch, McWicked was able to overpower Mach It So and take command with ease going to the three-quarters in 1:22.4. From there is was all McWicked as he pulled away in the stretch to win by four open lengths in 1:50.4. Bit Of A Legend was second with Evenin Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) third. “He always gives a great effort,” Sears said after the race. “I was OK with getting away third and I knew we would have to come first up and he just makes it look so easy. I don’t want to always come first up with him, but today he was OK. He is just so easy to drive.” A seven-year-old stallion by McArdle, it was the ninth win this year for McWicked. He is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by Ed James SSG Stable of North Boston, NY. He paid $2.90 to win as the race favorite with the scratch of Lazarus from the race on Friday. McWicked now sports 31 career wins in 90 starts and lifetime earnings of $3.500,376. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

McWicked and driver Brian Sears paced the second fastest mile in the history of harness racing with a 1:46.2 victory over Lazarus in the $179,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at the Red Mile Saturday. The eighth race feature saw Western Fame and driver Brett Miller leave from post nine and take the early lead away from Filbuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley). Also, on the move was Australian import Heaven Rocks and driver David Miller and by the opening quarter mile in :26.1 they were in command of the field. Past the half mile marker in :52.1, Filibuster Hanover and Kakaley started up first-over and was followed on the outside by McWicked and Sears. Following McWicked third over was Lazarus (Yannick Gingras). They raced past the three-quarters in 1:19.1 as McWicked and then Lazarus started to fan out and come after Heaven Rocks. McWicked was able to collar and pass by Heaven Rocks in the stretch and then hold off Lazarus to win by one length in 1:46.2. Filibuster Hanover was third. It was a lifetime record for McWicked and the $89,500 winners share of the purse pushed his earnings over $1 million in 2018 for trainer Casie Coleman and the SSG Stables of North Boston, NY.   McWicked has now tied his rivalry with Lazarus at 2-2. To see the race click here.  Sired by McArdle, McWicked is seven years old and now sports career earnings of $3,375,376. He paid $5.00 to win. “This horse,” said trainer Casie Coleman. “I’ve never had one this old before and wow, 1:46.2, I’ve never had a horse go that fast and that makes him pretty special. “I’ve always liked this big horse,” Coleman added. “When we got him at age 3 he earned $1.5 million and won some of the big stakes races. He still racing now and going strong. “We got invited to Yonkers next week to race for a half a million,” Coleman said. “I didn’t think the owner wanted to go there but he said yes so it looks like we are going to Yonkers.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 20, 2018-Pocket-sitting fave Lispatty (Joe Bongiorno, $5.50) picked off pace-setting Caviart Cherie (Jason Bartlett) Friday night (July 20th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Alertly away from post position No. 2, Lispatty took that early seat behind her rival as that one threw down early intervals of :27.3 and a flat 56 seconds. Down the backside the second time, Medusa (Dan Dube) moved first-up from fourth, offering just token annoyance in and out of 1:23.4 three-quarters (:27.4 third quarter). Caviart Cherie owned a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane when Lispatty took a peek from the pocket. She then ducked back in waiting to Medusa to back away, then edged out and by. Lispatty whipped 'Cherie' by a widening length-and-a-quarter in 1:52. Bronze Over N (Brent Holland), Medusa and Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton) came away with the minors. For Lipatty, a 5-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilbert Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her sixth win in in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $23.60, the triple returned $120 and the superfecta paid $544. Special Friday props to Safe from Terror, whose second-place finish in the $29,000, 12th-race pacing finale made her the sport's newest milliionairess.  The 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror has earned $1,006,077 with a resume of 128 starts, 53 wins, 18 seconds and 15 third-place finishes. The mare, driven by Holland, is owned by Big Bad DT Racing Stable and trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Columbus, OH - It was Queen Of The Pride who turned in the fastest (1:54) of a quartet of $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for 2-year-old harness racing pacing fillies, on a cool July 6 evening at Scioto Downs. Driven by Tony Hall for trainer Kevin Lare and owner Frank Chick of Harrington, DE, the McArdle lass was never headed throughout the one-mile test, and upped her career earnings to $26,500 with her second career triumph. Rose Run Uptowngal, at 3-5, was second for Chris Page, while Sugar And Spite, an 85-1 longshot, finished third in rein to Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., in the fourth OSS division. Sent off at odds of 7-2, Queen Of The Pride had previously won a $13,000 baby race at Pocono Downs in 1:56 on June 26. Bred by Brad Wallace, this speedy lass is the fourth foal out of the Western Ideal mare Lionness Hanover p, 2, 1:53M ($21,280), and has half-siblings in Roaring To Go (by Art Major) p, 2, 1:50.4 ($421,999); Well Lets See (by Well Said) p, 4, 1:54.4h ($88,782) and Well Excuuuse Me (by Well Said) p,4,1:53f ($76,035). In the third OSS division, Twinsburg used similar tactics as Queen Of The Pride to prevail for Anthony MacDonald in 1:54.4 as the public's even-money favorite, over 6-1 rival Pappy Rocks (Chris Lems). Mach The Rock with Jeremy Smith aboard finished third at 9-1. A daughter of McArdle, Twinsburg is trained by Jason McGinnis for Brock Obrien, and now has $21,260 in her coffers. She won a Woodbine qualifier on June 9 in 2:00.4 before finishing third in 1:54.4 in a $10,500 Woodbine baby race on June 25. Twinsburg is out of the Life Sign mare Fastidious Hanover p, 4, 1:54M ($24,286) and is a half-sister to Right Right (by Cole Muffler) p,3, 1:52.4 ($497,370); Sunken Treasure (by Somebeachsomewhere) p, 3, 1:52f ($121,330) and Someonesomewhere (by Somebeachsomewhere) p, 3, 1:56.4h ($11,538). Bred by Steve Stewart and John Carver, Twinsburg was a $12,000 purchase at the Ohio Select Yearling Sale last fall. Lofty Beach captured the first OSS test in a snappy 1:55 for driver Aaron Merriman. The 4-5 favorite was a wire-to-wire winner for her driver and trainer Scott McEney, and an enthusiastic crowd greeted them in the Scioto Downs winners circle, for owner Bradley Grant, of Ontario, Canada. Mi Nina Bonita and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., were second at 9-1, while Pink Dragon, at 7-1 was third for Dan Noble. Lofty Beach is the seventh foal out of the Western Hanover mare Lofty Yankee (p, $920), making her a half-sister to: Shadow Moon (by Shadow Play) 2, 1:51.4s ($165,444); and Ontario Blue Chip (by Shadow Play) p,4,1:56.4h ($34,977), among others. Finally, in the second OSS division, Carmen Ohio overcame the dreaded eight-hole to win handily in 1:55.2. Steered by Ryan Stahl for trainer Brian Brown, the daughter by The Panderosa went off at 3-1 odds, besting 9-2 High Reward (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) in another gate-to-wire effort by a length, with Bad Sammie (Chris Page) back in third. Owned by Milton Leeman (also the breeder), along with S. Manning, B. Meizlish and W. Calvert, Carmen Ohio is out of the unraced Dragon Again mare Hufflepuff, and on June 27 won a Scioto Downs maiden in a front-stepping 1:57.1. She is a full sister to Slick Mick p,3,1:51.4f ($106,040) and has half-siblings in: Hannah Abbott (by Dave Panlone) p,3, 1:53s ($86,502); Buckeye Battle Cry (by Woodstock) 3, 1:56f ($23,297) and Olympe Maxime (by Real Desire) p,4,1:56f ($ Ohio Sires Stakes action continues tonight at Northfield Park with 3-year-old colt pacers going postward in a pair of races featuring purses of $50,000 each. by Kimberly Rinker, OSDF Administrator

Thirty-eight Ohio-bred pacing fillies are set to line up behind the Scioto Down starting gate tonight in four $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes, with a first race post time of 6:30 pm, ET. Of the Ohio-registered stallions represented this evening, Pet Rock has the most foals in attendance with ten, while Dragon Again has five, McArdle four, and Big Bad John and Rockin Amadeus with three youngster each competing. Those stallions with two foals each in these events include: Beachtrea, The Panderosa, Western Vintage and Yankee Cruiser. Allamerican Native, Art Official, Charley Barley and Feelin Friskie all have one foal each in OSS competition. Of the 38 fillies going postward tonight, a full 16 are homebreds. Conditioner Brian Brown has the most distaffs vying with six, while Virgil Morgan has three in these events. Gypsy Merlot heads up the first OSS test (Race 1), for breeder/owner/trainer Al Tomison from post eight. This Feelin Friskie lass won a Hoosier Park baby race on June 30, clocked in a wire-to-wire 1:55.4. This speedy homebred is out of the Western Maverick mare Bronwen Seelster p,3, 1:56 ($31,279) and has half-siblings in: Dublin Rose (by Major In Art) p, 3, 1:52.2s ($279,486) and Annihilator (by Woodstock) p, 5, 1:52.1f ($81,002). Mi Nina Bonita, a Yankee Cruiser lass, leaves from post nine in this same event. Owned by R.D. Siegelman, R.I. Horowitz and J.P. Vasquez, Mi Nina Bonita hails from the Brian Brown stable. A $7,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg last fall, she won a Meadowlands baby race on June 23 in 1:56.4. Bred by Barry Rubenstein Farms, Mi Nana Bonita is out of the prolific Jate Lobell mare Cheyenne Adrienne p, 2, 1:53.1M ($128,614) and is a half-sister to Cheyenne Jeffrey (by Bettor's Delight) p, 9, 1:52.3h ($478,885); Yo Cheyenne Rocky (by Rocknroll Hanover) p, 4, 1:50f ($284,557); Boogiewoogiebrian (by Rocknroll Hanover) p, 7, 1:53.2h ($158,140), Yo Apollo Creed (By American Ideal) p, 3, 1:51 ($35,965). Blueaintmycolor starts from post five in this first OSS division for trainer Kent Sherman and owners Ryan Stahl and Robert Dubovec. An $18,000 yearling purchase from the Ohio Select Sale, this daughter by The Panderosa won a Northfield Park qualifier on June 28 in 1:58.2 by ten lengths for these connections. Bred by Spring Haven Farm, Blueaintmycolor is out of the unraced Jate Lobell mare Bolera Athena, and is a half-sister to the 52-race winner Keemosabe (by Squaw's Fella) p, 3, 1:51f ($310,336); Gleneagles (by Mysticism) p, 5, 1:54f ($128,832); Gold Star Smokin (by Life Sign) 3, 1:53.2f ($80,719); Faithful Friend (by Artistic Fella) 2, 1:55.2s ($62,558) and to Chiricahua (by Squaw's Fella) p,2,1:55.4f ($11,131), etc. Carmen Ohio heads up the second OSS test (Rae 3) from the eight-hole for trainer Brian Brown and owners Milton Leeman (also the breeder), along with S. Manning, B. Meizlish and W. Calvert. Sired by The Panderosa, out of the unraced Dragon Again mare Hufflepuff, Carmen Ohio won a Scioto Downs maiden on June 27 in a front-stepping effort in 1:57.1. She is a full sister to Slick Mick p,3,1:51.4f ($106,040) and has half-siblings in: Hannah Abbott (by Dave Panlone) p,3, 1:53s ($86,502); Buckeye Battle Cry (by Woodstock) 3, 1:56f ($23,297) and Olympe Maxime (by Real Desire) p,4,1:56f ($20,746). Officially My Way, an Art Official daughter, hails from post four in this same race for owner/trainer Ron Randall. This filly has won three starts in a row, including a pair of Ohio county fair stakes and a Scioto Downs qualifier on June 18 in 1:58.1. An $8,000 yearling purchase from the Blooded Horse Sale, Officially My Way was bred by Frank Dettore Horse Racing, and is the third foal out of the Dream Away mare Eagle Way p, 5, 1:52.3f ($601,973). Twinsburg certainly looks like the one to beat from post three in the third OSS test (Race 10). This McArdle lass, who is conditioned by Canadian-based trainer Jason Mcginnis, won a Woodbine qualifier on June 9 in 2:00.4 before finishing third in 1:54.4 in a $10,500 Woodbine baby race on June 25. Owned by Brock Obrien and bred by Steve Stewart and John Carver, Twinsburg was a $12,000 purchase at the Ohio Select Yearling Sale last fall. She is out of the Life Sign mare Fastidious Hanover p, 4, 1:54M ($24,286) and is a half-sister to Right Right (by Cole Muffler) p,3, 1:52.4 ($497,370); Sunken Treasure (by Somebeachsomewhere) p, 3, 1:52f ($121,330) and Someonesomewhere (by Somebeachsomewhere) p, 3, 1:56.4h ($11,538). My Hearts Rockin leaves from the nine-hole in this same race for owner/breeder James Joyner and trainer C. Brian Loney. This Rockin Amadeus lass has won a pair of Northfield Park qualifiers: on June 14 (in 2:00.3) and June 21 (in 2:01.1) by ten lengths in a gate to wire effort. My Hearts Rockin is the first foal out of the Nobleland Sam mare My Sweet Lorelei p, 4, 1:55.2H ($121,751). The fourth and final OSS division (Race 12) is perhaps the most competitive of this quartet. Rose Run Uptowngirl hails from the powerful Ron Burke Stable and is a Dragon Again lass, out of the Western Terror mare Victoria Gallery ($2,400). Owned by Burke Racing, P. Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi, Rose Run Uptowngirl won a maiden race at The Meadows in wire-to-wire fashion on June 19 in 1:53.4, with a :27.3 final brush by 11¾ lengths. She starts from post three. Queen Of The Pride starts from post five for trainer Kevin Lare and owner Frank Chick. Bred by Ohio's Brad Wallace, this McArdle lass won a $13,000 baby race at Pocono Downs in 1:56 on June 26. She is the fourth foal out of the Western Ideal mare Lionness Hanover p, 2, 1:53M ($21,280), and is a half-sister to Roaring To Go (by Art Major) p, 2, 1:50.4 ($421,999); Well Lets See (by Well Said) p, 4, 1:54.4h ($88,782) and Well Excuuuse Me (by Well Said) p,4,1:53f ($76,035). Adorabella is another with a solid shot in this race, who starts from post seven for trainer/driver Danny Noble. This homebred daughter by Pet Rock, who is owned by Vincent Costa, Jr., has won three straight races thus far in her brief career: two Scioto Downs qualifiers (in 1:57.1 and 1:56.2) and an Ohio fair stake at Circleville, when she was clocked in 2:02.3. Adorabella is the second foal out of the Art Major mare Bella Marta p, 4, 1:53.2f ($122,499) and is a full sister to Rock Noble Artist p, 3, 1:53 ($40,303). Ohio Sires Stakes action continues Saturday night, July 7 at Northfield Park with 3-year-old colt pacers going postward. by Kimberly Rinker, OSDF Administrator

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- McWicked, perfectly-placed second-over, swung three-wide late on the far turn and had an overwhelming late kick to come up a 1:49.3 winner while taking the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace final on Saturday (June 30) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Ron Burke-trained threesome of Filibuster Hanover, Rockin Ron, and All Bets Off got away 1-2-3 by the :26.2 first panel, with McWicked fourth early. As the outer tier formed early, it looked like McWicked and driver Brian Sears might have to come first-over, but past the three-eighths All Bets Off pulled from third, giving cover which helped McWicked's chances. The middle splits were pedestrian, :55 and 1:22.2, with All Bets Off continuing his grind against pacesetting Filibuster Hanover, and McWicked readying to mount a wide charge. That charge commenced near the top of the stretch, and when McWicked started his kick, the only thing in doubt was the winning margin, which was 1-1/2 lengths over Rockin Ron, who parlayed prime pocket position for place; 99-1 Mac's Jackpot also used an inside trip to get a high finish, coming home third, just nipped for second. "It was good that I had sort of a 'slow second-over' trip, going up towards the front," Sears noted post-race, confident in the stretch strength of his son of McArdle-Western Sahara, who also won the 2014 Hempt, in a stakes record of 1:47.3 which still stands. In a career of continuing stardom, McWicked, now seven, boosted his earnings to $2,646,362 in only 80 career starts. The Franklin champion is owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, N.Y., and was the only favorite in the night's four major races. Split The House, the 2017 Breeders Crown winner among the older pacers, was given a canny drive by Brian Sears to take the $75,000 Franklin Pace Consolation in 1:49. Sears stayed third-in at the half after Boogie Shuffle had taken the field to the quarter in :26.4 and favored Mach It So moved to the lead and passed the half in :55. Dealt A Winner pulled uncovered and heatedly battled the winner to the 1:21.1 three-quarters; when the second-over couldn't keep up, Sears slipped out then went wide on the far turn and tracked down 55-1 shot Boogie Shuffle, who got the lead midstretch in the Pocono Pike, by a half-length. Spilt The House is a Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Chris Oakes for Crawford Farms Racing. He boosted his lifetime bankroll to $643,833 while victorious in only his second start of the campaign. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 22, 2018 - It was nary more than a qualifier for money for odds-on Lispatty (George Brennan, $3.40), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The lone leaver from assigned post position No. 4, Lispatty worked around pole-sitting Medusa (Brian Sears). She then effectively ended the suspense (:28, :57.2) at the intermission. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fifth, but a :27.1 third quarter (1:24.3) made sure the outer tier did not figure. Lispatty owned a length-and-three-quarter lead in and out of the final turn, then easily held her pocketed pursuer at bay. She defeat Medusa by a length-and-a-half in 1:52. The ground-saving trio of Lovineveryminute (Mark MacDonald), Freakonomics (Eric Goodell) and Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For Lispatty, a 5-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilbert Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her fifth win (third consecutive) in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.60, the triple returned $55 and the superfecta paid $267. Saturday night's (June 23rd) dozen-race program features the return of 2016's Trotting Triple Crown champ, Marion Marauder. Second in last fall's million-dollar Yonkers International Trot, Marion Marauder was banished behind the eight-ball in the $44,000, seventh-race co-featured Open Handicap Trot. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Not many male pacers have won Dan Patch awards at ages 2 or 3 and returned to capture another trophy against older horses. The list since 1990 features Artsplace, Jenna's Beach Boy, Gallo Blue Chip, Art Major, and Sweet Lou. All with the exception of Sweet Lou were 4-year-olds when they received their honor as an older horse; Sweet Lou was 5. McWicked, who earned a Dan Patch Award at age 3 in 2014, is hoping to add his name to the list -- at the age of 7. And trainer Casie Coleman says the stallion has never been better. "To see him still going, and going as hard as he is, is awesome; normally right now they're getting a little tired and tailing off," Coleman said. "I honestly think this horse seems stronger than he's ever been yet, which I don't even know how is possible, but he seems like a stronger horse right now." The winner of two of four races this year, McWicked on Saturday heads to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the eliminations of the Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers. McWicked is in the second of three eliminations on the card, which also features eliminations for the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. McWicked is coming off a second-place finish to Sintra in the Gold Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park. McWicked got away eighth, 16 lengths off the lead at the quarter-mile point, before pacing his final three-quarters of a mile in 1:18.4 to rally for the runner-up spot. "It was insane the back half he had, but he was just too far back," Coleman said. "He couldn't have raced any better, he was just far out of the race. "Every time we've put him on the track he's raced great." McWicked, owned by Ed James' S S G Stables, won 12 of 23 races at age 3 including the Breeders Crown, Hempt Memorial, Adios, and Progress Pace on his way to $1.47 million in purses. He hit the board a total of 21 times that season and got checks in the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, Messenger, Milstein Memorial, and Matron. He was winless in a combined 14 races at ages 4 and 5 because of breathing issues and multiple throat surgeries, but bounced back last year with seven victories in 27 races and $560,025. McWicked finished the campaign with four consecutive second-place finishes, including the TVG Series championship, Breeders Crown and Allerage Farms Open Pace and might have been in the mix for his second Dan Patch Award with a win or two in any of them. "He kept being the bridesmaid," Coleman said. "He just had a lot of bad luck with traffic. He was pacing harder than any of them at the wire, he just had some bad luck. But saying that, the horse has made over $2 million, so I guess you can't say it's too bad of luck." For his career, the son of McArdle-Western Sahara has won 24 of 78 starts and $2.37 million. "It's not often that he's off the board," Coleman said. "He usually gives you all he's got and he's usually right there. He's had a lot of first-over journeys where he still gets the job done. He can take any trip you give him. "He's staked in everything all summer long. As long as he's sound and healthy he'll be in all the events and hopefully he can win a couple of them." Coleman credited an offseason layoff in Kentucky, the work of trainer Jim McDonald in preparing McWicked in Florida, and the decision to bypass the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series in March/April as reasons for her horse's early-season success. "Hopefully it pays off for us," Coleman said. "He's been sharp, sound, and healthy. We just hope for a little bit of luck on the weekend." For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 27, 2017 - Favored Lispatty with harness racing driver George Brennan in command was first to the lead and first to the wire Friday night (Oct. 27th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from 'inside' post position No. 5 (after winning 5-thru-8 draw), Lispatty stung Newborn Sassy (Tyler Buter), releasing that rivals after a :26.3 opening quarter-mile. 'Sassy' then found a :55.3 intermission before Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) tried it first-up from fourth in and out of the 1:23.4 three-quarters. Newborn Sassy put away that stubborn miss, but she was vulnerable. Lispatty ducked inside, then defeated a second-over Betabcool N (Eric Goodell) by a length in 1:52.4. Newborn Sassy, Mach it a Par and 44-1 rank outsider Certified Ideal (Brent Holland) settled for the remainder. For Lispatty, a 4-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilberto Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her sixth win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $35.60, with the triple returning $213. Lispatty Frank Drucker

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 5, 2017 -- Shuffled to fourth at the three-quarters, Shesasmokinlady found late racing room and captured Tuesday's harness racing $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Even when trainer/driver Ray Paver found that path to victory for the 4-year-old daughter of McArdle-Smokin Pistol, her work wasn't finished, as she had to hold off the late charge of Yankee Moonshine to edge her by a nose in 1:52.2 over a "good" surface. Early leader Tessa Seelster finished third. Iris Horowitz bred and owns Shesasmokinlady, who extended her career bankroll to $244,775. The victory came the same day Paver was honored for collecting career driving win 4,000 last month. Dave Palone and trainer Ron Burke teamed for a pair of victories on the 13-race card, as did Jim Pantaleano and trainer Rich Gillock. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 31 - Back in the care of harness racing trainer Casie Coleman, six-year-old McWicked could surpass $2 million in career earnings with a strong performance in Saturday's $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack. Following his four-year-old campaign, Mcwicked departed from Coleman's barn and was moved to trainer Steve Elliott, who conditioned the son of Mcardle for his five-year-old season and the first part of his current six-year-old season. "He didn't win a race at four with me and the owners just decided to try him with somebody else," Coleman said. "He went away for a little while, but then they asked me to take him back and I did." Mcwicked's five-year-old season was cut short after sustaining an injury in the June 2016 Roll With Joe Pace, where he flipped his palate and underwent corrective surgery. "I thought he could go with [Always B] Miki and [Wiggle It Jiggleit], I really did," Mcwicked's former trainer Steve Elliot said in an interview last year. "He's a fast, fast horse and he's handy. He doesn't ever grab a line. Sitting in the two-hole, drivers want to get him off the fence. Pull the right line and he takes off. You don't know how much horse you've got until you pull and then you have to watch you don't catch a wheel. He's just that kind of horse. He's a very good horse and circumstances didn't dictate that." Mcwicked, a 21-time winner with $1,992,206 earned for owner S S G Stables, made his 2017 seasonal debut on February 12 at Pompano Park, where he won the $12,500 Open Handicap in 1:50.4 devoid of breathing issues from which he had suffered in the past. "I didn't have any issues with him as a three-year-old with his breathing, but as a four-year-old we started having some issues with that," Coleman said. "Like I'll use the laser machine and laser his palette and take the tongue tie out and stuff along those lines. It's a constant thing you've got to work on because once they have a breathing issue you never know when it's going to come up." After racing ten times this season for Elliott, Mcwicked returned to Coleman's barn and proceeded to win the Preferred at Mohawk on June 3, followed by the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup in 1:48.2 on June 17. "I just put him back to the way I had [trained] him," Coleman said. "I don't really know what they were doing with him--I wasn't really concerned with how they rigged him up and trained him because I knew my way worked with him as a three-year-old and he's been seeming to respond." Prior to last Saturday's Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, Mcwicked had finished fourth in three consecutive starts, including in the $325,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park as the 2-1 favourite. "He didn't race badly at Hoosier, but I was expecting more out of him," Coleman said. "He came up with an abscess in his foot, which we've actually been working on for a little while. He's actually been racing in an A-bar shoe right now just because he has some problems with his foot." Finishing third in his 'Pacing Derby' elimination, Mcwicked paced a 1:48.3 mile with a :25.4 final quarter, coming in six-lengths off of elimination winner Rockin Ron. "Everything seems great [heading into the Pacing Derby]," Coleman said. "I wish he was a little bit better on that foot--he trained yesterday (Tuesday); he trained really good. He's sharp and feeling good, but we still have a little bit of an issue with his foot but I think that will be fine by the time we get to Saturday." McWicked will start from the rail in Saturday's big race and will have the driving services of David Miller. "The rail isn't necessarily the best place to be--I mean, I'll take it over the nine or ten any day. Like it's hard for a horse to race on the front-end and get off the rail, so I'm hoping he gets away mid pack, follows some cover and hopefully works out from that spot." Update on Summer Travel After winning the Dream Maker Final in a stakes-record 1:50.3 on August 7, Coleman trained two-year-old Summer Travel was scheduled to race in last Saturday's Nassagaweya Stakes, but was scratched due to sickness. The Western Ideal colt was not the only Coleman rookie to be scratched, as filly Play The Bell, the winner of this year's Battle of The Belles, was also pulled from the Eternal Camnation. "They trained early (last) week and they were awesome--couldn't have been better," Coleman said. "But then on Thursday, the both of them started to snot but were eating good and feeling good. On Friday they were a lot more snotty and started to cough, still seeming to feel fine until Saturday morning we came in and saw Summer Travel had a temperature of 104 [Fahrenheit] and Play The Bell had a temperature of 102, so obviously we had to scratch them." "We've been treating them; they're on antibiotics. They seem to both be responding quite well--their snot pretty much cleared up and their temperatures are fine. Still, they both do have a little bit of a cough, but it is much, much better." The signs of improvement gave Coleman enough confidence to enter both rookies in this Saturday's Grand Circuit events at Mohawk. Summer Travel will compete in a $96,880 Champlain division, while Play The Bell will start in the $169,381 Champlain Filly Stakes. "They're both going to be a touch-bit short because I can't train them as much as I'd like to," Coleman said. "We've got to let them get over the sickness. Obviously, if at all they are not ready by Saturday, we're not going to take a chance and race them, but I think we'll be okay." Saturday's Canadian Pacing Derby card at Mohawk features 12-races and over $1.4 million in purses. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Ray Cotolo

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 4, 2017 - Lispatty (George Brennan, $6.20) bottomed 'em out Friday night (Aug. 4th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Going right down the road (:27.1, :55.3, 1:23.2, season's-best 1:52.2) from assigned post position No.4, Lispatty showed no love to 11-10 favorite Regil Elektra (Jason Bartlett). The former hung the latter, who eventually threw it in reverse, finishing seventh. Lispatty opened four lengths passing the three-quarters, aided by pocket-sitting Sail to the Beach (Brian Sears) tiring badly. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) slipped out from behind that one, but had too much ground to make up. The lead was 3½ lengths in the out of the final turn, more than enough as Lispatty lasted by a length-and-a-quarter. Delightful Dragon was second, with HP Siddy (Dan Dube), Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) and Sail to the Beach completing the cashers. For second choice Lispatty, a 4-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilberto Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her third win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $46, with the triple returning $1,186. Lispatty Note that the Raceway is open for simulcasting a half-hour earlier (11:30 AM) Saturday (Aug. 5th) to accommodate Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands as well as the Meadows (first posts for both at 12 Noon).  YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $2,700 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Aug 5th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,780.45.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

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