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Punters fared well at the harness racing meeting at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night with the exception of the Geoff Goodsall Appreciation Stakes (2200m) which was the third event on the eight-race program. Musselroe Bay started as one of the rank outsiders in the field 12 but he won like a short-priced favourite. The Andrew Rawlings-trained eight-year-old started at $81 on fixed odds with UBET but paid $136 on the NSW Tote and $132 on SuperTab. Veteran claimer Sky Tower began brilliantly from outside of the front row to lead while driver Alistair Woods was able to slot Musselroe Bay in behind the leader where he enjoyed a charmed run throughout. When Woods eased the gelding by Metropolitan out to challenge nearing the home turn he quickly assumed control and then had enough in reserve to stave off all challengers over the final 100 metres. Sky Tower ($41) stuck on gamely to finish second with Future Promises closing late to grab third ahead of the favourite Mavis Merle ($2.40) that was set a difficult task having to come from last 300 metres from home. On UBET the quinella was not won but surprisingly the exacta was won and paid $255 with the first four also jackpotting. Muselroe Bay doesn't win often with his lifetime statistics revealing only nine wins from 88 starts peppered with 19 minor placings for $51,600 in stakes. Peter Staples

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 23, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway's pair of Saturday night $45,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps were annexed by Undercover Strike (Tyler Buter, $43.60) and Sapphire City (Brent Holland, $8). Undercover Strike, from post position No. 5 in the weekly featured trot, closed from third-over in the lane to pick off a solid, first-over Shake it Cerry (Dan Dube) by a half-length in 1:54.1. Invading Muscle Up the Goal (Brian Sears) led through early stations of :27.2 and :56.3 before 'Cerry' upended him. She owned a length lead into the lane, only to be nailed late. Resolve (Ake Svanstedt), in his first local start since the 2014 Yonkers Trot, was third. It wasn't the smoothest of trips for the 3-5 choice. Assigned outside his six rivals, he floated from the gate, but found no seat and took back to last. Out and moving by the half, he wound up second-over behind Shake it Cerry, who left the cones right at the same time. Resolve wound up gapping the lass, then flattening late to be beaten two lengths, with E R Ellie (Larry Stalbaum) and Lady's Dude (George Brennan) rounding out the payees. For sixth choice Undercover Strike, an 8-year-old Striking Sahbra gelding owned by Gerard Stuchbury and trained by Tom Milici, it was his ninth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $164, with the triple returning $622. The week's featured pace saw Sapphire City, put in play from post No. 6, stalk Great Vintage (Dube). After subsections of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.1, Great Vintage was about to wear out his welcome. Before he did, he towed Sapphire City to the passing lane, which he used to whip a second-over, slight 2-1 choice Keystone Velocity (Sears) by a nose in 1:52.2. Polak A (Andy Miller) was a credible, first-up third off the layoff, with Dream Out Loud N (Buter) and UF Rockin' Dragon (Eric Abbatiello) settling for the remainder. For second choice Sapphire City, an 8-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stables and Jordan Sklut, he's now 5-for-20 this season (50 career wins). The exacta paid $38.40, the triple returned $153 and the superfecta paid $852. Frank Drucker

ANDERSON, Ind.-July 1, 2016 - White Metro returned to her winning ways as she pulled the slight upset to capture the featured event, a $21,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, July 1 at odds of 6-1. After a third place finish at this level last week, White Metro and harness racing driver Jason Dillander staged a big rally in the late stages of the mile to stop the timer in 1:51.3, just missing her lifetime mark established earlier this season. Sparks were flying early as Tyler Smith sent Rock The Look away from the gate firing but a host of others also left aggressively. Rock The Look got the first call but her lead would be short lived as Trace Tetrick had the post time favorite, American Girl, dialed in and aimed to the front. American Girl grabbed the lead just past the quarter in a brisk :25.4 and would continue to call the shots through middle fractions of :55.2 and 1:24.2 while the field remained in single file order. Unable to wait any longer, Dillander gave White Metro the green light and she began the long first-over grind with Wild Wanda and Ricky Macomber Jr. in tow. As the field turned for home, American Girl looked strong on the front but would have her work cut out for her down the long Hoosier Park stretch with the rest of the field closing in. Just as White Metro reached the leader, Wild Wanda tipped off her back and fanned out across the track. Dillander asked his mount for more and White Metro dug in gamely to wear down American Girl and hold of Wild Wanda to prevail in a tight photo. Despite her best efforts, American Girl was forced to settle for second place honors while Wild Wanda rounded out the trifecta. White Metro returned $14.80 to her backers at the betting window. Trained by Jeff Cullipher, White Metro scored the fifth victory from 12 starts this season while bankrolling $208,107 lifetime. Owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeff Cullipher, the four-year-old daughter of Metropolitan-Bye Bye Peachy Pie notched her 15th career victory from 49 outings. The evening also featured three divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations for two and three-year-old pacing fillies on the 14-race card. It was the opening round of stakes action for the two-year-old competitors and second round for the sophomores. Each filly was aiming to earn a spot in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for their respective division slated for Friday, July 8 at Hoosier Park. Can't Touch This and Dan Shetler turned in the fastest division for the three-year-old pacing fillies as they took their split in 1:51.2. Trained by Roger Welch, Can't Touch This notched her second win of the season from four starts and established a new lifetime best in the process. The daughter of Rockin Image-Fox Valley Monika has now earned $213,354 lifetime for her owners W.C. DeLong, W.P. DeLong, D.A. Riccolo. Hah ChaChaCha produced the fastest mile of the three splits of eliminations for two-year-old pacing fillies after using a near gate-to-wire effort to score in 1:55.1 with LeWayne Miller in the bike. It was the second consecutive victory from two starts for the homebred daughter of Always A Virgin-Miss Atm. Trained by Erv Miller, Hah ChaChaCha has now earned $15,000 lifetime for her connections at Shim Racing, LLC. It was also one of four victories on the evening's card for driver LeWayne Miller. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Saturday, July 2 with a 14-race card that is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. Saturday's 14-race card will be highlighted by a $21,000 Invitational Pace and three divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations for the sophomore pacing colts. In conjunction with the live racing action on Saturday, the 2nd annual Hoosierfest Community Carnival returns to Hoosier Park for three fun-filled, action-packed days of rides, games, fair food and amusement. The carnival is located in the South parking lot at Hoosier Park and all ages are welcome. Guests can enjoy full-day, unlimited ride passes for only $25. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit . Emily Gaskin

Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton Terang once again proved a town rich in trots horsepower. Harness racing trainer Darren Cole, based in the western Victorian town, produced classy seven-year-old Exciteusinthecity first-up to win the Alabar Captain Sandy Free-for-All over 1720 metres. Rated perfectly by driver Tim McLean, Exciteusinthecity punched through from the pole gate to hold out fast starter Maximan early, withstood a challenge from It Is Billy at the bell and went on to score a gritty win by a metre in a mile rate of 1:55.7. The Metropolitan gelding joins guns such as Lennytheshark (2015) and Smoken Up (2009) on the Captain Sandy FFA honour roll. Not giving much away in his post-race interview, reinsman McLean said leading was the key to unlocking success for the gelding by Metropolitan out of Safely Kept mare Excite. “He loves getting to the front. He fought well to hold them off (tonight),” he said. When asked what was next for the 2014 Casey Classic and Gammalite winner, McLean borrowed a line from an old coaching manual. “We’ll just take it one race at a time.” Exciteusinthecity has now won 20 races, his stakemoney exceeding a quarter of a million dollars. VIDEO: EXCITEUSINTHECITY WINS THE ALABAR CAPTAIN SANDY FFA McLean has piloted the pacer to eight city victories. It Is Billy finished second to Exciteusinthecity, his vocal fan club appreciative of the Michael Barby-trained pacer’s efforts – cheering him hard with a lap to run and giving him another cheer post-race, while Metro Mike ran third. Dalvui Raceway Terang will host a seven-race program on Tuesday night, featuring the running of the 2016 Terang Guineas. McLean will be chasing another feature victory in that race aboard The Big Show, but Im Wrongly Accused from the Terang stable of Matthew Craven, exciting Sebastopol-trained King Of Rocknroll and Group 1 winning local Jilliby Jitterbug – one of five Marg Lee Terang-trained runners on the program – will all draw support from punters. Cody Winnell

When it comes to purchasing quality mares it appears that harness racing owner Tom Pollack hit the jackpot when signing the checks for Hoosier Park stalwarts Montenegro and White Metro. “I have about 65 horses right now and would like to get up to 100,” said Pollack. “I can’t say enough about the luck we have had with these mares. We are so fortunate to have them in our barn and really cannot wait to get them both started this year. “We were trying to get White Metro in the Invitational this week and Montenegro in the non-winners of $15,000, but the track decided not to go with those races so we are on the sidelines for opening night (April 1). All systems are go for both of them so we will have them racing again as soon as possible.” Montenegro, who is co-owned by Randy Bendis and conditioned by Jeff Cullipher, is an 8-year-old daughter of Camluck and the Fighting Major mare Cyber Wave. She is a half sibling to Mach Pride (Mach Three, $595,665) while her dam earned more than $700,000 with one of her stakes triumphs being the prestigious Orange and Blue final. Montenegro has emulated the success of her mother by compiling a record of 169-38-30-22 and banking $661,314. She set her lifetime mark of 1:50.2s at age five and she seems to relish any trip over the Hoosier Park oval where she competes frequently in Invitational events. In the 2-1/2 years she has belonged to Bendis and Pollack, the mare has collected nearly $300,000 and is a formidable foe over the Anderson surface on every occasion her name is dropped in the box. “Not only is she consistent and sound other than some small maintenance issues, but she is a sweetheart,” Pollack said. “She really is the perfect horse as you know every time you take her over she is going to give it her all. Randy and I try to concentrate on horses in the $40,000 to $80,000 range that will do well for us in Open events. We watched her for quite some time and thought she would be an excellent fit for our program. She has not only exceeded our expectations with all the money she has made, but has been a joy for us. When you have a horse that finishes first or second nearly every time she races, how can you ever say a bad thing about her? Actually we think she is a gem and wish they all could be that way.” White Metro is a 4-year-old daughter of Metropolitan and the Threefold mare Bye Bye Peachy Pie. While not as prolific as her older stablemate, the mare is an Indiana Sire Stakes victress and is a half sibling to Peachy’s Noble Sam (Nobleland Sam, $216,651), Noble’s Grand Slam (Nobleland Sam, $682,720) and All Got In (Allamerican Ingot, $112,013). Jell Cullipher, who co-owns the horse with Pollack, is the trainer of record and has been responsible for guiding her career. After just one victory from nine starts at age two, White Metro took 28 trips to the gate in 2015 with nine wins, two seconds and five third place finishes. Her lifetime earnings stand at $148,192 and her total record at 37-10-5-5. Pollack feels she will only continue to improve this year and is excited to witness her perform after a powerful qualifying effort at Hoosier Park on March 26. “Jeff has done such a terrific job with this horse,” he said. “She has been such a pleasant surprise with the way she came on last year and her qualifying races were outstanding. She finished up in the last one in 1:53.1 and came home her last quarter in :27.2 so you can’t get much better than that. It looks like she did it quite easily too. We are anxious to getting her rolling this year to see what she can do, but are already more than satisfied with what she has accomplished so far.” While seemingly blessed with a plethora of riches, Pollack is quick to point out how blessed he feels and how fortunate he is that Lady Luck dealt him such a strong hand. “I got hooked on this business in the late 1980s,” he said. “I was working at a golf course and was very into golf, when I kept being asked to go to the racetrack. I said no several times and really knew nothing about horse racing. Finally I gave in and after winning on some bets that evening I was hooked on the sport. “I have been ever since and I always say it is Doug Snyder’s fault because he just dominated the Meadows that night. He won like six races and one of them from the nine hole. I did not know him or anything about betting, but my friend told me whenever I saw his name on the program to put some money on him. I did and here we are years later. Doug and I are friends now and laugh about that night all time. “We have other mares that are doing extremely well besides Montenegro and White Metro. We realize how tough this business can be and not many people experience this kind of success. It is so sweet to be in this position with all these mares. “The reason we don’t have more male horses, is these ladies just seemed to fit the bill and we haven’t seen many of the other gender that we felt would work out this way. I can’t wait to see these two mares get into their 2016 season. We think it is going to be another outstanding year and we look forward to competing in the Indiana program. Hoosier Park is the right fit for both horses and trust me, I never imagined I would ever be in this kind of position two decades ago.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Speed maps that have Major Crocker and Mossdale Conner dicing for the lead in Saturday night’s harness racing showcase may be blown away by a local with lofty ambitions. Metro Mike, trained at Smythes Creek by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, drew barrier one for the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, a starting point connections will endeavour to capitalise on. "The barrier helps, he’s got a lot of gate speed, we will look to hold the front and see how he goes,” Stewart said. “It is our home cup, he has to take a step up against the other horses, but he is a quality racehorse.” She said the gelding by Metropolitan had a “freshen up” since finishing last when favourite in the Melton City Council Sprint on July 4 last year, only returning this month for one run at Ballarat before tackling the cup. On January 8 Metro Mike placed third behind Changing Code and Jaccka Art, battling on well after coming from the tail mid-race to finish within 4m of the winner. “He also had a few trials and he trialled pretty well. He had a pretty hard race first up, but did a good job,” Stewart said. “Now we’ve thrown him in the deep end, but he is a quality horse and if things fall right he should be a good chance to run a place.” The cup represents a step-up for the seven-year-old, whose 70 starts have yielded 20 wins and $189,000 in stakes, but Stewart is confident he can compete in this class. “It’s his first taste against a couple of the better ones. It’s not an outstanding field, I’ve seen stronger and he’s definitely got a chance,” she said. Key to any success will be Metro Mike’s ability to hold the front, or near to, amid a succession of likely challengers. “There’s definitely going to be pressure, because everyone will be working to be on the fence. It will be up to (driver) Jason (Lee) to sum up, but I’m confident we’ll be able to hold the front.” Also front of mind is the fact some challengers may be wary of burning too many petrol tickets ahead of the Victoria and Hunter cups. “We can afford to run along a bit stronger than they may want to, which is probably in our favour,” Stewart said. Should the cards fall their way, it would be the third time the Stewart and Tonkin stables have held the cup, following Restrepo in 2014, Safari in 2008 and Robin Hood in 2006. “It is always a race that we want to win. We have won it three times before and it’s a race we want to win again on Saturday.” by Michael Howard

Sapphire City (Jason Bartlett, $8.60) and Backstreet Hanover (Larry Stalbaum, $10) shared the glory Saturday night at the harness racing meeting at  Yonkers Raceway's winning the co-featured $48,000 Open Handicaps. Pole-assigned Sapphire City won the weekly pacing feature, chasing Forty Five Red (Mark MacDonald) before whipping him in a two-speed number (:27.4, :56.1, 1:24, 1:51.4). The final margin was a medium-sized nose a season's-best effort. The Real One (Pat Lachance) was a belated third as the 7-5 favorite, with Frankie's Dragon (Dan Dube) and E Z Noah (Brian Sears) completing the cashers. For second choice Sapphire City, a 7-year-old millionaire Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stables and Jordan Sklut, it was his fifth win in 26 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $35.20, with the triple returning $150. The week's marquee trot saw the lass Backstreet Hanover-from post position No. 5-move from seventh turning for home to win going away. The margin was 2¼ lengths in a season's-best 1:55.2. Rock of Cashel (Tyler Buter) rallied for second with ABC Muscles Boy (Eric Carlson), Skates N Plates (MacDonald) and Tober (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. The latter two mixed it up early (:27.4, :57.1, 1:25.4), helping the cause of the closers. Tepid 7-2 fave Theraputic (Joe Bongiorno) was a non-factor seventh. For third choice Backstreet Hanover, a 7-year-old daughter of Andover Hall trained by Chris Marino for owner David Hamm, it was her fourth win in 19 '15 tries. The exacta paid $115, the triple returned $744 and the superfecta paid $4,716. The Raceway's live season continues Monday (first post 7:10 PM), a "French-centric" Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

Ballarat based Jaimie-Lee King had the last laugh on her rivals when four year old Major In Art/Laughing Meadow gelding Major Laugh blitzed his rivals in the Fishers IGA Pace at the Arrat trots on Tuesday. Trained at Smythes Creek by “boss” Emma Stewart, Major Laugh raced and driven by Jaimie-Lee starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, with polemarker Under Your Thumb kept honest all through the race by the favourite Four Starzzz Fella outside him. Send forward four wide in the last lap, Major Laugh followed Zermanion three wide in the back straight, before sprinting like a gazelle four wide to lead on the home turn, scoring by 9.5 metres over Our Sir Ivanhoe along the sprint lane after trailing the pacemaker and being held up at a vital stage, with Nobetterthanthis (one/one) third. The mile rate was 1-58.1. A winner at Mildura on June 3 when making his Victorian debut after racing mostly around the Hunter Valley, Major Laugh returned a mile rate of 1-58.1. Two relatively unknown participants of the sport were successful on the night – Bunkers Hill (Ballarat) based owner/trainer Alan Holman combining with Zac Steenhuis to land the Hygain Feeds Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres with $61.80 chance Blude Master and Gordon’s Larry Lynch the Eastick Homes Pace for C1 class over 1790 metres with Graceful Art at $40.60. Blude Master a five year old gelded son of Attorney General and Bludegirl having start number 23 and first since April 2014 after taking a lift, was taken back at the start from outside the front row to settle at the tail of the field. Under pressure in the final circuit to follow Extra three wide, Blude Master hard driven gradually made ground and when Go Betweens four wide outside him joined in approaching the home turn, grabbed the bit and went with him to set sail after the leader Blissful Spanker. In a race than changed complexion over the concluding stages, Blude Master prevailed by a nose from Go Betweens in a mile rate of 2-01.7, with Blissful Spanker 1.6 metres away in third place.  Five year old Metropolitan/Private Affair mare Graceful Affair trained by Larry Lynch racing under the banner of Lynch Harness Horses, possied mid-field in the running line from the extreme draw with local Michael Bellman in the sulky. Held up in the last lap with horses all around her as the leaders Our Bedrock and Bellas Jet kicked clear appearing to have the race to themselves, Graceful Affair came with a withering burst of speed down the centre of the track to score by 1.2 metres over Bellas Jet which raced in the open for the majority of the journey, dropping in for a breather approaching the home turn. Saab Magic flashed home late from three back the markers after also being held up prior to the home turn to be 1.5 metres away in third place. The mile rate was 1-59.4. Great Western’s Peter Manning combined with Glen Craven aboard 4-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Precious Delight gelding Precious Cullen to snare the Ararat RSL Red Poppy Bistro Pace for C0 class over 2195 metres in 1-59.2. Sent forward three wide out of gate four to cross Space Keeper running into the first turn, Precious Cullen coming off a fifth at Horsham on June 17 when badly held up on debut, ran his rivals ragged in defeating Mister Untouchable which faced the breeze for the final circuit, with Eyesrromin (four wide last lap) third.  Huntly (Bendigo) trainer/driver Anthony Crossland has Kiwi bred 4-Y-0 Love You/Sun Goddess gelding Dieu De Lamour racing in peak form, bringing up his third victory in the last four starts by taking the Ararat Vet Clinic Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2195 metres. Biding his time four back in the moving line from the extreme draw, Dieu De Lamour when eased three wide in the last lap exploded to the front prior to the home turn, scoring by a huge 56.5 metres in 2-03.3 over Copa Comaida which led from the pole, with Truscott Sun 5.8 metres away in third place after racing in the open for most of the trip. Terang’s Matty Craven experiencing his best season ever, had an armchair drive aboard Grinfromeartoear/Classic Malibu five year old gelding Roy George in the AME System Pace for C4 to C6 class over 1790 metres, leading all of the way from gate two in accounting for Xavier Jack which trailed and Myrniongfirecracker (one/three) in a rate of 1-58.8. The winning margin was 11.8 metres. Burrumbeet trainer Ash Herbertson took advantage of a concession for Bolinda’s Josh Duggan aboard in-form 6-Y-0 Metropolitan/Ellovalooka mare Metrofromelle to capture the David O Jones Mitre 10 Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2195 metres. Settling three back in the running line from a solo second line draw, Metrofromelle was soon off and running to park outside the pacemaker Forced Out (gate two) where Duggan was content to dictate the tempo. Taking a slender lead on the final bend, Metrofromelle outstayed her rivals to score by a neck over Our Supreme Guy along the sprint lane after following Forced Out who finished 2.9 metres away in third place. Great Western trainer Brad Hunt who assists at Peter Manning’s stable, was successful with Grinfromeartoear/Big Time Babe gelding If The Mood Suits in the E. W. Bulte Timber & Hardware 3-Y-0 Pace over 2195 metres when making his third appearance at the races. Driven by Glen Craven, If The Mood Suits (gate six) was restrained as gate sped away, going back to the tail of the field. Still a long way off the leader Katsina which had crossed the pacemaker Second Hands approaching the home turn, If The Mood Suits came from the clouds on straightening to record a 1.4 metre victory in advance of Sisulu Success (one/three – three wide last lap) and Lavish Smile (one/two) in a rate of 2-02.7. Perhaps the biggest winner of the night was Gotta Go Cullect/Princess Of Stars colt Rockstar Confusion on debut for Armstrong duo Brooke Hansen and Tim O’Brien in the Chally’s Bar & Bistro 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2195 metres. Driven by Maryborough’s Ash Matthews, Rockstar Confusion although rocky in the score-up, led from the pole only to gallop running into the first turn appearing to throw away any chance of figuring in the finish, which allowed Uwouldntbelieverit to take over. Still a mile off the leader Strazeele which had crossed to lead for the final circuit, Rockstar Confusion showed a terrific turn of speed in the last lap to get close to the front runner on straightening and in a ding-dong duel all the way up the running, gained the judge’s nod by a half head in 2-05.7. Hanging On A Dream finished 35.6 metres away in third place off a mid-field passage. Len Baker  

HARRISBURG PA - Example A of why never to say "Oh, he (or she) is 'just a fair horse'" is the pacer Sapphire City, a seven-year-old son altered son of Metropolitan, winner of his Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship at age 2 - and the sport's newest millionaire following victory in Saturday's $100,000 Levy Series Consolation at Yonkers.   Just over two years removed from their Vivid Photo Hambletonian fame, Pennsylvania horsemen Roger Hammer (by the way right now just two wins short of 4000) and Todd Schadel purchased the baby from his breeder, the late Dr. John Hurtgen. As is the case with many Hammer/Schadel copurchases of yearlings in a given year (Vivid Photo would be one), they divvied up the horses between them to train, and Schadel got Sapphire City.   At two, Sapphire City got checks in the "big" Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and was undefeated in five starts at the fairs, after which he posted a wire-to-wire victory in his Fair Championship at The Meadows. At three, Sapphire City got checks in p/m Sire Stakes competition and even won a Stallion Series event, so a late-season flurry of 5-3-2-0 fair activity wasn't enough for him to get to the Final, soon after which he was sold to Illinois' Centaur Stable and Indiana's Jordan Sklut, who still own him, and has been under the shedrow of trainer Paul Blumenfeld the vast majority of that time.   Sapphire City won over $200,000 in each of his 4, 5, and 6YO years, and $773,895 combined in those three seasons, taking a mark of 1:49.4 at Tioga Downs. This year he had two early wins in Yonkers' Open handicaps, which triggered his campaigned in the Levy, where he had two seconds (one a half-length loss to Levy champion Domethatagain), a third, and two fourths to earn him a spot in the Consolation. Ironically, he was never higher than 8-1 in his Levy prelims, but he was 13-1 in the Consolation, where - for the sixth straight week against top-level horses - he used his early speed, perhaps learned in his fair days, to work out a pocket trip, then rallied in the passing lane to win in 1:52.2 and go over seven figures in earnings.   Schadel and Hammer purchased Sapphire City for $27,000 as a yearling and made almost $80,000 with him at two and three, and undoubtedly got a good price when he was sold to the Midwesterners, who obviously have gotten a great deal as well. Sapphire City, new millionaire, is the embodiment of why using the dismissive term "He's just a fair horse" is a risky choice of words for anyone.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

Popular Tasmanian harness racing trainer Marc Butler took a break from the industry a few years ago, but the lure of spending time with horses was too great. Since returning to training he has had only a handful of horses in work but, in his words, enough to keep him busy. In recent times he has been preparing winners on a regular basis, and in Hobart last night, Anothermetro delivered an impressive all-the-way win that suggests he has more to give. The son of Metropolitan is a lightly raced four-year-old formerly in the care of Rodney Ashwood. He joined Butler’s stable six months ago and it appears the change of environment and a different approach to training has worked for this gelding. Ashwood is an excellent trainer but sometimes a horse will respond to different methods and Butler seems to have found the right recipe for success with Anothermetro. With Mark Yole in the cart, Anothermetro showed good early speed to roll to the front from gate three and settled into a good rhythm to lead comfortably to the home turn. The pressure was applied turning for home by Bobby Jo and Iden Mister Ed, which emerged from the pack to challenge. Iden Mister Ed looked set to grab the leader halfway up the home straight, but his run ended 50 metres out, as did Bobby Jo’s, and Anothermetro went on to defeat Bobby Jo by a metre-and-a-half, with Iden Mister Ed a short head away third. Another Metro rated 2.04 for the 2090 metres, covering his last half in 59.9 seconds. PETER STAPLES

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 7, 2015 - Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $2.80) and a repeating Sapphire City (Eric Carlson, $10) grabbed the gusto Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing co-featured $35,000 Open Handicaps. Not Afraid made it three wins in his last four featured trot tries. Outsprinted--from post position No. 6--at the outset by outside number Count Me In (George Brennan), the odds-on choice settled fourth. After early intervals of :27.4 and 58 seconds flat, Not Afraid took off after the leader, engaged in and out of the 1:26.3 three-quarters. Not Afraid took over early in the lane, then held off a trio of closers to prevail in 1:55.4. On the Podium (Carlson) grabbed second, beaten, three-quarters of a length, with Awesome Valley (Jason Bartlett) third. A from-last Struck By Lindy and Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) completed the cashers. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, he's 3-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $34.80, with the triple returning $200,. Sapphire City, from post No. 3 in the pacing feature, made the first lead before Michael's Power (Dube) went by. That one, from an assigned eight-hole, cleared and led early (:27.1, :57.1). Invading Dapper Dude (Brian Sears) tried it first-up from fifth, prompting past a 1:25.1 three-quarters. The leader remained so, with a length-and-a-half in and out of the final turn. However, he began to tire as Sapphire City ducked in and went by. In a virtual carbon copy of last week's race, he was able to whip a closing 2-1 choice Take it Back Terry (Brennan). The margin was a half-length (same as last Saturday) in 1:52.4. Dapper Dude held credibly for third, with Michael's Power and BJ's Guy settling for the minor spoils. For third choice Sapphire City, a 7-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, it was his second win in five seasonal starts (career earnings now over $900,000) The exacta paid $39, the triple returned $292.50 and the superfecta paid $699. The Raceway's live season continues (weather permitting) Monday (7:10 PM), then a French-centric Tuesday (1 PM) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 31, 2015 - Sapphire City  and harness racing driver Eric Carlson, and Count Me In (George Brennan, $4.80) divided Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night glory, winning the co-featured $35,000 Open Handicaps. Sapphire City annexed the Open Handicap Pace in rallying fashion. Working out a second-over trip from post position No. 6, he was chasing 4-5 choice Doctor Butch (Brian Sears). That one had to wait his turn before making front (:28.2, :58.1), getting around second choice Mickey Hanover (Dan Dube) Sapphire City, towed in behind Classic Gent (Stephane Bouchard), was able to slip to the cones when "Mickey" dropped anchor before a 1:27 three-quarters. Doctor Butch owned a short lead into the lead, but was in trouble from both sides. Sapphire City ducked inside, getting the jump on a from-last Take it Back Terry (Brennan). The former whipped the latter by a half-length in 1:55.1. Doctor Butch faded to third, with Flem N Em N (Jason Bartlett) and Classic Gent rounding out the payees. For fourth choice Sapphire City, a 7-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, it was his first win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $108, with the triple returning $334.50. Second choice Count Me In left nothing to chance in the week's marquee trot, going the distance from post No. 3 in equal halves (:27.3, :58, 1:26.4, 1:56). With pole-assigned In Nomine Patri (Jim Marshall III) doing just enough to keep the pocket, two-time defending champ Not Afraid (Dube) was wrangled back in third. The 4-5 fave saw Count Me In widen down the backside, taking a four-length lead in and out of the final turn. Count Me In was a safe winner, holding off Not Afraid by a never-threatened half-length. In Nomine Patri, Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) and Dancehall Mistress (Sears) settled for the remainder. For Count Me In, a 6-year-old Full Count gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 Stable and Michelle Yanek, he's now 3-for-4 this season. The exacta paid $10.80, the triple returned $36.60 and the superfecta paid $109.50. The Raceway's live season continues (weather permitting) Monday (7:10 PM), then Tuesday (1 PM) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). YONKERS RESCHEDULES FRIDAY DRAW Due to more impending bad weather supposedly descending upon the greater New York area, Yonkers Raceway has rescheduled its draw for the Friday (Feb. 6) program. That draw, originally going Monday (Feb. 2), is now taking place Sunday (Feb. 1). Box closes at 10 AM. Please be advised that as of this writing, there are no other changes to the live racing and draw schedules (updates if/ when necessary). For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. Frank Drucker

Stowport harness racing trainer Andrew Rawlings celebrated his biggest win this season when Musselroe Bay stormed home to capture the Norske Skog New Norfolk Cup over 2950 metres at Kensington Park yesterday. With premier reinsman Gareth Rattray in the cart, the son of Metropolitan settled worse than midfield despite stepping cleanly from his front two, while a hot pace was set by Put Mback, while The Dip faced the breeze ahead of Whisper Jet, which began brilliantly from his 20-metre handicap. It was Rattray’s second New Norfolk Cup win in succession having been successful with Put Mback the previous year. Put Mback started at $31, while Musselroe Bay was more fancied starting at $9. When the tempo quickened at the bell, the back markers struggled to get into the race down the back straight the last time, and turning for home it looked likely the leaders would fight out the finish. But Musselroe Bay emerged from the pack to set sail after the leaders, and once balance at the top of the straight, he powered home to overhaul the leaders close to home to score narrowly from Whisper Jet, Damitsam and The Dip. A big crowd ventured to New Norfolk for the club’s only meeting for the season that boasted seven races, with the Cup and the Ted Plunkett Memorial the features on the card. The Ted Plunkett was won by the David Pennicott-trained Strange Conduct which also was driven by Rattray. Strange Conduct powered home to score by 10 metres from Grinable, with Helen Wheels, which started off a 10-metre handicap, three-and-a-half metres away third. PETER STAPLES

Having taken a break as he relocated properties, astute trainer Tony Peacock is ready to rebuild his harness racing operation. In 2014 Peacock moved from Kilmore to Moama, which saw him scale his team right back. Settled into his new stable – complete with a mile fast work track – Peacock is ready to increase his crew “to around 20”. “We’ve had a bit of a break and now it’s time to get cranking again,” Peacock said. “The new place is coming along well. “I’ve got a mile fast work track, 1200-metre sand track, pool and there’s treadmill on the way. “Everything is coming along well, including a few winners off the bat.” Peacock has cut a regular path to the winners’ circle during the past few weeks, including a double at Cobram yesterday. Racing in sensational form, Jay Dee Zed completed a hat-trick when scored with Damian Wilson in the cart. Given time to settle from his second row draw, Jay Dee Zed was sent forward three-wide during the middle stages to find the lead in what proved a winning move. Digging deep along the home straight, the son of Metropolitan staved off a late charge from Call Me Spartacus, with Barney Fella third. “He’s coming along well and is unbeaten from three starts this time in,” Peacock said. “He’s no superstar, but he’s going to get through the grades. “I can’t see any reason why he can’t string a few more together.” Peacock and Wilson also combined for victory with promising pacer Barimah. Named after former world champion boxer Azumah Nelson, Barimah extended his unbeaten record to three. First-up since last August, the son of Bettors Delight completed a four-and-a-half metre win from Calcavado, with Ess Prefontaine six-and-a-half metres away third. “He is still very dumb and green, but he’s a nice horse,” Peacock said. “He’s taking his time to understand what’s going on, but will get better with experience and maturity. “I really like him and think he will be a big improver as he goes along.” PAUL COURTS

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 6, 2014- Sapphire City (Eric Carlson) snapped Ronny Bugatti (Tyler Buter) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Open Handicap Pace. Those two had some "sloppy" numbers to chase, as 11-10 choice Beach Memories (George Brennan) rolled through intervals of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:22.4. He opened to two lengths turning for home, but was about to hit the skids. Ronny Bugatti, who had come first-up, slipped in for a breather after pocket-sitting Orillia Joe (Brent Holland) quit. Right behind "Ronny" was Sapphire City who, from post position No. 3, had advanced down the backside. Those two had the length of the lane to decide it, with Sapphire City winning by a desperate head in 1:52. It was a from-last P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett)--again on display late--grabbing third, with Beach Memories and E Street Plan (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For slight second choice Sapphire City, a 6-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, he returned $11.40 for his eighth win (fourth consecutive) in 37 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $57.50, with the triple returning $323.50. The Raceway's five-program-per-week live schedule continues through Dec. 14, with first post every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM, and the fifth of six Sunday matinees (replacing Tuesday evenings) next weekend just after 11 AM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Astute harness racing trainer Darren Cole is hoping the connection between his rising star Exciteusinthecity and former champion Gammalite can extend beyond their place of residence. One of the greatest pacers produced in the Southern Hemisphere, Gammalite thrilled onlookers with his brilliant mix of speed and seemingly endless supply of stamina during the 1980s. Gammalite raced 179 times in Australia and New Zealand for 94 wins, 33 seconds and 19 thirds, picking up a record $1,386,480 in stakes. The stallion’s biggest victories include two Inter Dominions, fourth South Australia Cups, the Queensland Pacing Championship and the A G Hunter, Western Australia and Fremantle Cups. A son of Thor Hanover, Gammalite was prepared throughout his career by the late Leo O’Connor at his Terang stable, which is where the connection to Exciteusinthecity begins. Following O’Connor’s passing, Cole purchased the horseman’s property, with Exciteusinthecity domiciled in Gammalite’s former box and yard. As such, Cole entered Exciteusinthecity in tomorrow night’s The Gammalite at Tabcorp Park Melton for sentimental reasons. “I became close friends with Leo’s wife, Maureen before her passing after moving up here and The Gammalite just seemed like the right race to try and win,” Cole declared. “He isn’t flash from the stand, but I’d like to win it given he know lives and relaxes exactly where Gammalite did during his wonderful career and retirement." The feature will mark Exciteusinthecity’s second attempt from the tapes, however, Cole isn’t concerned about the gelding’s lack of experience. The son of Metropolitan’s previous standing start was in last season’s Stawell Cup when he began roughly before finishing eighth behind Arber. “We’ve been working on his standing start manners to prepare for this and I’m sure he will go away safe enough,” Cole said. “As long as he can go away safely and be in touch with the field early, I think he will be a real winning chance.” Following his 2760-metre appearance – during which he will begin from a 10-metre handicap – Exciteusinthecity will be given a brief freshen up as Cole selects suitable targets. “At this stage he will have a few light weeks to brighten him up,” Cole revealed. “He has been up for a while and a break will do him good. “I haven’t really got any plans picked out for him as I just like to take it one step at a time. “If he can keep racing like this and be competitive against the better ones, then I guess we will have to look at some of the main races down the track.” PAUL COURTS

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