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The annual Harrisburg yearling sale has turned up its fair share of diamonds in the rough, for John Bax, it was HIP #558 in 2014. Now he is sending out tough contender Danish Darby, HIP #558, in Saturday's S.B.O.A. Final for harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies at Mohawk Racetrack looking to upset the probable favourites. "We were looking for an Ontario bred and it was the third day," said Bax. "The pedigree was all racehorse, she's a Majestic Son so we thought she would be a good fit and the price was right at $20,000." Danish Darby is the third foal from Danish Diamond, an SJ's Caviar mare who traded in racing for a second career after only three starts. The Majestic Son filly is her second foal to take a mark under 1:55, the other being Andover Hall sired Danish Durango, who has become a steady competitor at the Meadowlands. "She was all business right from the get-go when we were breaking her, a little aggressive. A little bit of a bully but always went ahead as she started training. She seemed to have her own agenda sometimes." While her two-year-old season was hardly lacklustre, she failed to set the trotting world alight. A regular on the freshmen Sires Stakes circuit, Danish Darby only hit the board twice in eight starts and retained her maiden status coming into 2016. "Physically, I thought she could play in the Gold but mentally she wasn't mature enough," noted Bax. "It cost her...she broke a few times, self-destructed behind the gate. Something as simple as her not getting her own way." Fast forward to April, where she promptly got off the wings to grab the lead and refused to relinquish it in her first qualifier of the year at Mohawk. This set the tone for her next three starts, with back to back wins and a second. "She's better this year; last year she didn't capitalize on her talent. The talent was there but she was a bit hard on herself and hard on us as far as the manners part. She wanted sometimes to go more than she should or could at the time, so it cost us a little." Bax is quick to note that she has become a bit more agreeable since, much to the appreciation of those around the barn. Though she still has her competitive edge, she has grown both physically and mentally, developing an essential maturity coming into this season. Danish Darby will start from post seven in the S.B.O.A Final on Saturday at the Campbellville oval, having put up an impressive second-place finish in her elimination for driver Paul MacDonell. After Rick Zeron trainee Radiant Beam broke prior to the half, MacDonnell capitalized on the situation from the pocket and held the lead to the three-quarter marker. 2015 O'Brien Award winner Caprice Hill trotted home in 28 seconds flat to steal a 1:53.1 victory, but Bax is confident his filly is poised to be a tough contender in the final. "I was real happy with her, she had to do most of the work in that race. Any time you trot in 1:53.3 in your third start of the year, I think it's impressive. I guess we will find out if she can come back to that. I'm hoping in the final that one of those two other really nice fillies will do the work." The $174,329 final is stacked with a group of tough trotters, featuring Caprice Hill, Celebrity Eventsy and second Bax trainee Moonlight Cocktail. Finishing fourth in her elimination, she will team up with Steve Condren from post position eight alongside her stablemate. "She's come a long way as well from last year; she's been dropping in time and she's always done it right. She's been very well mannered and it's a matter of her learning to go faster. She trotted in the 55 range which is new territory for her and I'm hoping that she'll keep progressing, get a trip and pick up a cheque." Danish Darby will be pointed next to Ontario Sires Stakes Gold engagements in June, with her connections optimistic about what the 2016 season has in store. "You always hope to see the best from them," Bax said. "I'm hoping that she can trot consistently in the 1:54 range because that's what it's going to take to play in the big leagues. "If she can do that we'll have a lot of fun this year. The Anderson family are already having fun...it's always nice to have a group of owners who take as much enjoyment in their horses as they do." Saturday night's card at Mohawk also features the S.B.O.A. Final for three-year-old filly pacers headlined by last year's O'Brien Award winner L A Delight. The first race goes to post at 7:30pm. Here are the fields for the S.B.O.A Finals. (PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer) Race 5: S.B.O.A Filly Trot - Purse: $174,329 1. Tymal Tempest (Phil Hudon - Mark Etsell) 2. Caprice Hill (Randy Waples - Tony Alagna) 3. Celebrity Eventsy (Sylvain Filion - Staffan Lind) 4. Major Muscle (Mario Baillargeon - Mark Etsell) 5. Dottie (Chris Christoforou - Jerry Duford) 6. Flowers N Songs (Doug McNair - Paul Reid) 7. Danish Darby (Paul MacDonell - John Bax) 8. Moonlight Cocktail (Steve Condren - John Bax) 9. Jangone (Dagfin Henriksen - Dagfin Henriksen) 10. P L Jill (Mike Saftic - Matt Dupuis) AE: Treasure Gifts K (Doug McNair - Paul Reid) Race 8: S.B.O.A Filly Pace - Purse: $173,329 1. Tonightimlovingyou (James MacDonald - Jimmy Takter) 2. Good Will Hanover (Chris Christoforou - Dr. Ian Moore) 3. Lay Lady Lay (Doug McNair - Chris Matthews) 4. L A Delight (Randy Waples - Bob McIntosh) 5. Free Show (Jody Jamieson - David Menary) 6. Lady Marina (Trevor Henry - Stacy Reinsma) 7. Thatsoveryverynice (Sylvain Filion - Tony Alagna) 8. Noone To Depend On (Phil Hudon - Carl Jamieson) 9. Mayhem Seelster (Jack Moiseyev - Tony O'Sullivan) 10. Divas Image (Jonathan Drury - Mark Steacy) AE: Maniana (Trevor Henry - David Menary)   Mark McKelvie  

Grand Circuit harness racing trotting mares capped off an eventful May long weekend Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The first leg of the Miss Versatility Series featured two $30,000 divisions. The series for older trotting mares stops at Mohawk twice, The Meadowlands and Tioga Downs before wrapping up with the final on Little Brown Jug Day at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. A scratch in each division left fields of seven to battle in first round splits. Four-year-old Jewels In Hock and driver John Campbell took care of business in the first division with a 1:54.2 victory by 4½ lengths. The Linda Toscano trainee took command of the race on the way to the half with a fourth to first move. After posting fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.2, Jewels In Hock kicked clear from her rivals and trotted home comfortably in :28 to win as the public's choice. White Becomes Her, the leader at the opening-quarter, finished second, while MissysGa Ga crossed the wire third. A daughter of Credit Winner, Jewels In Hock won 9 of 17 starts last season and was the New York Sires Stakes champion. She finished her sophomore season with over $353,000 in earnings. The four-year-old trotting mare picked up her first win in her second start of the season Monday. Owned by KJ Stables LLC, Jewels In Hock now has 12 career victories and over $382,000 in career earnings. The Toscano trainee paid $3.80 to win. Jewels In Hock In the second division, Rockin With Dewey just held off a late surge from Charmed Life to win in 1:53.3. The Ben Baillargeon trainee flashed some early speed for driver Mario Baillargeon and got away in the two-hole behind longshot Second Sister. There was little movement throughout the opening-half with Second Sister posting panels of :28.1 and :56.3. Baillargeon angled Rockin With Dewey out of the pocket nearing the three-quarter pole, while Charmed Life was moving up towards the front on the outside. In the stretch, Rockin With Dewey took the lead and was trotting up a storm. Charmed Life was sitting a few lengths back of the leader, but in the final strides closed in to make it a photo finish. At the wire, Rockin With Dewey came out on top by a narrow margin. Charmed Life now has four runner-up finishes in five starts this season. Elegant Serenity finished third. A six-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Rockin With Dewey now has two wins in five starts this season. She is owned by Ben Baillargeon and Diane Ingham. Rockin With Dewey has had success previously in the Miss Versatility. The Baillargeon trainee won two legs of the series last year. The six-year-old trotting mare now has 16 career victories and earnings of over $523,000. Rockin With Dewey paid $5.70 to win. Rockin With Dewey The next leg of the Miss Versatility Series is set for Canada Day (July 1) at Mohawk. Also on Monday, Flanagan Memory was a repeat winner in the $34,000 Preferred Trot. Driven by Chris Christoforou, Flanagan Memory came first up around the final turn to draw even with the leader Rubber Duck turning for home. The Rene Dion trainee marched by to take the lead in the lane and score a length and a half victory in 1:53.3. Intimidate got up to finish second, while Rubber Duck was third. A six-year-old son of Kadabra, Flanagan Memory now has two wins in three starts this season after winning two of 15 starts last year and banking $299,769. He paid $3.10 to win Monday evening. Flanagan Memory Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

"From great harness racing action, plus fun and educational activities for both kids and adults, this is what harness racing is all about and should be," said Celebrity Farms Sam Stathis about Mohawk Raceway's Family Fun Night Saturday. "What a great job WEG did on this night." "From the race paddock to the track apron and the clubhouse, it was nothing but big smiles and thousands of people having fun." Stathis said. "It did my heart good to see so many people exposed to harness racing the way it should be and having my horse win her division of the SBOA Stake was icing on the cake!" Stathis's Celebrity Eventsy brought him from South Florida to Ontario to watch his top three-year-old trotting filly win her 2016 debut at Mohawk. She won her $25,000C elimination division of the Ontario SBOA Stakes by three and one-half lengths in 1:54.1, equaling her lifetime mark. "Coming up here to Ontario and seeing my filly win her first start of the year was overwhelming," Stathis said, "But to have witnessed the show that the management and staff at Mohawk Raceway did was even more impressive." It was Family Fun Night at the track and in addition to free parking and admission, there was live music throughout the night, exotic animal demonstrations, a mini carnival and arcade games, children's decorating horse cookies, photo booth, mini horses on the track with children and leading Mohawk drivers, a mare and foal on display, balloon art by clowns, and to conclude the night, a fantastic fireworks show at the end of the races. "And from what I could see," Stathis said, "the betting pools were doing very well and that is important too. "I was in the race paddock and got to meet with some of the kids who were going out on the track with mini horses," Stathis said, "and each child had one of the tracks top drivers with them. This is what we need to have our young kids be able to experience the thrill of sitting behind a horse, whether it be a mini horse or a racehorse. "Seeing them on the track for everyone to check out was tremendous and very emotional for me." Stathis said. "These are experiences these children will never forget and when they go back to school on Tuesday, they will be telling all their friends about it." Stathis with his World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) is embarking on the WCRF pre-Olympic road to Rio world tour with the WCRF again this coming week as he is heading over to Sweden for the Elitloppet. Stathis has already been to both Greece and Italy this month, setting the stage to help reintroduce chariot racing back into the Olympics. "It was chariot racing," Stathis said, "that was the founding father of harness racing, and was the main attraction of the first Olympics ever held in Greece. With the WCRF we are working to bring racing back to the Olympics." "We will be bringing our special exotic chariots to Solvalla Racetrack in Sweden," Stathis said. "To not just show them off but educate race fans around the world. We are also raising funds for two major charities, the Special Olympics and Horses Healing Hearts and the WCRF is designing special chariots for the Paralympics too." For more information, visit www.worldchariot.org. "It is important for every track in harness racing around the globe to see what they did at Mohawk Raceway Saturday," Stathis added. "If we all can work together on projects like this night and what the WCRF is doing, our sport can come back from being in a declining recession and rebound to where it was 50 years ago as one of the leading sports world-wide." From the World Chariot Racing Federation

A crowd of thousands packed Mohawk Racetrack Saturday night for Fireworks and Family Fun Night and got to enjoy an action-packed ten-race harness racing card. The eliminations for the S.B.O.A Stakes for Ontario sired three-year-old fillies highlighted the card and featured the return of a pair of divisional champions. A total of 21 three-year-old pacing fillies were split into two $25,000 eliminations. The second pacing elimination featured the return of O'Brien Award winner L A Delight and she did not disappoint. The Bob McIntosh trained filly left from post-nine and dropped in fifth in the early stages. Driven by Randy Waples, L A Delight came to the outside entering the far turn and eventually was situated second-over at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, L A Delight ripped off cover and marched by her rivals to win by a three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. Thatsoveryverynice, who was third-over around the final turn, finished second, while Lady Marina battled hard after leading throughout the middle-half to finish third. Free Show and Noone To Depend On finished fourth and fifth to qualify for next week's final. A daughter of Bettor's Delight, L A Delight was making her season debut Saturday after winning 11 of 12 starts as a rookie. The McIntosh trainee won the Shes A Great Lady and OSS Super Final last season and finished with earnings of over $704,000. L A Delight paid $2.40 to win. L A Delight Good Will Hanover delivered an impressive performance to win the first elimination in a career-best 1:51.1. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee left hard to grab the early lead, but was overtaken in the second-quarter by Mayhem Seelster. Good Will Hanover stalked behind the leader and made her move in the stretch to surge by for driver Chris Christoforou to score the victory by a length and a quarter. Mayhem Seelster finished second, while Lay Lady Lay was third. The final two horses to qualify for the final were Tonightimlovingyou and Divas Image. A daughter of Big Jim, Good Will Hanover is trained by Moore for owners GLB Stable. Saturday's victory was her first win in two starts this season and fifth overall. Good Will Hanover pushed her career earnings to over $177,000 with the victory. She paid $12 to win. Good Will Hanover A group of 22 sophomore trotting fillies were split into two $25,000 eliminations. O'Brien Award winner Caprice Hill looked impressive in winning the first elimination in 1:53.1. The Tony Alagna trainee got away fifth from post-nine and was sent first-up by driver Randy Waples heading into the first turn. Danish Darby held a length-advantage over the first-up challenger at the three-quarter pole in 1:25. In the stretch, Caprice Hill cruised home in :28 to overtake the lead and secure the victory by a length and three-quarters in 1:53.1. Danish Darby finished second, while Tymal Tempest was third. P L Jill and Moonlight Cocktail rounded out the top-five to qualify for next week's final. A daughter of Kadabra, Caprice Hill is trained by Alagna for owner Tom Hill. The sophomore trotting filly was making her season debut after a stellar seven wins in ten starts as a rookie. Caprice Hill pushed her career earnings over $600,000 with Saturday's victory. She paid $3 to win. Caprice Hill Celebrity Eventsy was an easy winner in the second elimination. The Staffan Lind trainee took the lead in the second-quarter and never looked back en route to a 1:54.1 victory. Sylvain Filion guided Celebrity Eventsy to the 3½ length victory Saturday. She finished off her mile in :28.2 to secure the victory over runner-up Flowers N Songs. Jangone finished third, while Dottie and Major Muscle rounded out the top-five. A daughter of Manofmanymissions, Celebrity Eventsy was making her season debut Saturday after posting four wins in 10 starts last season. She is trained by Lind for owners Celebrity Farms LLC. Celebrity Eventsy has earned over $239,000 in 11 career starts. She paid $2.80 to win. Celebrity Eventsy Also on Saturday, the popular older pacer Shamballa not only posted his first victory of 2016, but also the nation's fastest mile of the year. The Rick Zeron trainee took the lead on the way to half and posted fractions of :54.1 and 1:21.1 before sizzling home in :27 to win by six-lengths in 1:48.1. Shamballa was making his second start of the season and competing in a $25,000 conditioned event. A six-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, Shamballa has become a popular horse on the WEG circuit due to his signature closing speed. The Zeron trainee opted to do all the work on the front-end Saturday and picked up his 21st career win. Shamballa pushed his career earnings over $500,000 with his first win of 2016. He banked over $358,000 last season. Shamballa Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Miss Versatility first leg ,featuring two divisions, highlight the 11-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Just a week away from the start of the Ontario Sires Stakes season, three-year-old pacing colt Gerries Sport put his harness racing rivals on notice with a sizzling 1:49.2 performance Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Richard Moreau trained colt competed in a non-winners of three-races or $75,000 lifetime event Friday night, which featured three Pepsi North America Cup eligibles, Arsenic, Bettor Memories and Nocturnal Bluechip. Gerries Sport entered Friday's race with two victories in three starts this season. His only defeat was a gritty fourth-place effort in The Diplomat Series final on May 7. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Gerries Sport left from post-five and found a spot in third, while four-year-old Asap Hanover blasted to the front just ahead of Arsenic. There was little movement early on, as Asap Hanover posted solid fractions of :26.3 and :54.2. Approaching the three-quarter pole, Filion pulled on the right line to send Gerries Sport after the leader. The challenger pulled to within less than two-lengths of the lead at the third-marker, as Asap Hanover reached that station in 1:22.1. In the stretch, Gerries Sport powered by Asap Hanover to grab clear command with an eighth of a mile to go. The Moreau trainee cruised home confidently in :26.4 to win by two-lengths in 1:49.2. Asap Hanover finished second, while Arsenic was third in his season debut. Pepsi North America Cup eligibles Bettor Memories and Nocturnal Bluechip finished fifth and seventh, respectively. A son of Mach Three, Gerries Sport competed primarily in the OSS Grassroots as a two-year-old, but appears more than ready to tackle the Gold level this season. Moreau trains the sophomore pacing colt for owner Gerrie Tucker of Montreal, Quebec. Gerries Sport's third win in four starts this season brings his career record to six wins in 16 starts for earnings of $71,453. The son of Mach Three is now North America's fastest three-year-old of 2016. His clocking of 1:49.2 lowered the previous mark of 1:50.2 set by War N Munn in The Diplomat Final on May 7 at Mohawk. Gerries Sport paid $5.90 to win. Live racing continues Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack with a special post time of 6:45 p.m. in place for Fireworks and Family Fun Night. Mark McKelvie

Mohawk Racetrack's annual May long weekend Fireworks and Family Fun Night is set to return this Saturday evening. A fun-filled night of entertainment for all-ages will rock the Campbellville harness racing oval Saturday. Doors open to the Mohawk Grandstand at 5 p.m. and fans will be welcomed to the facility by live music from singer Gillian Nicola. The Brian McIntyre Trio will be performing throughout the evening on the outdoor stage located at the east-end of the Grandstand. Live racing will get underway 45 minutes earlier than usual, as a special Post Time of 6:45 p.m. is scheduled for Saturday evening. Fans will be able to enjoy ten-races of some of the world's finest harness racing. The final-race of the evening is scheduled for around 10 p.m. with the fantastic fireworks show set for approximately 10:30 p.m. An LED show will entertain fans between the final-race and the start of the fireworks. There will be an abundance of entertainment options for families throughout the evening, including an exotic animal demonstration, decorate a Horse Cookie craft station, carnival and arcade games, a photo booth, glitter tattoo station and balloon twisting clowns. The always popular strolling acts will be back and features an Acro-Contortion dancer, illusionist and stilt walker. A special kid's meal will be offered Saturday evening. The $5.99 meal includes a kid's pizza or hot dog, juice, chips and a Glow-In-The-Dark wristband. Racing fans will be able to enjoy live racing and coverage of Saturday's Preakness Stakes. The second-leg of the Triple Crown will be shown on the infield screen just prior to the evening's first race. As always, admission, parking and activities are free. For more information, visit www.MohawkRacetrack.com Mark McKelvie

Like many residents north of the border harness racing trainer David Menary is a huge hockey fan and also was a participant in the game. Therefore, it is certainly not surprising he employs jargon stemming from the sport when he describes Charmed Life. “She is a franchise player,” he said. “She is not Bee A Magician but she is one of the top three horses in my barn and I am grateful every day for my lovely wife, my two beautiful daughters and Charmed Life.” The now 6-year-old daughter of Majestic Son and the Muscles Yankee mare Christina M seeks her first victory of the season and continues her quest to reach millionaire status when she lines up behind the gate on Monday (May 23) in the second of two C$30,000 divisions of the Miss Versatility Series at Mohawk Racetrack. Owned by Menary Racing Inc., Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero, the mare will be in rein to Jody Jamieson in the evening’s ninth race against seven rivals, including Harley Momma, Rockin With Dewey, Stormont Kate and Second Sister, who will be vying against her to claim their own spot in the winner’s circle. Charmed Life enters this contest fresh off three consecutive second place finishes. She was directly behind the very talented mares Muscle Baby Doll (on April 25 in a conditioned race at Mohawk) and Hannelore Hanover (on May 8 in the $100,000 Miami Valley Distaff) and then came home the bridesmaid to the classy stallion Flanagan Memory on May 16 in the Preferred Trot at Mohawk. “Every time she goes out there you can expect her best effort,” Menary said. “Any time she loses it is not her fault and she always has a valid excuse. Like last year when we raced her in the Fresh Yankee on Hambletonian Day and she threw in the worst race of her life (10th place finish). She had the thumps that day and then it happened again when we shipped her up to Vernon Downs for the Muscle Hill right after that (eighth place finish). That was the only bad month she has ever had and all she needed was just some extra fluids because it was so hot out. She is low maintenance and requires no vet work. She is so easy to handle, she could probably live out of the back of a truck.” Charmed Life has competed in 83 trotting miles with 18 wins, 20 second place finishes and 15 thirds. She has collected $923,532 during her career and kept company with the likes of elite mares such as Bee A Magician, Maven, Classic Martine and D’One. She was third in last year’s Breeders Crown final, nearly set a track record in her very first start at age two and has banked more than $175,000 in each of the four full years she has raced. This year’s edition of the Miss Versatility will be her third attempt to take home the series title. She was fourth in the $100,000 final last year at the Delaware County Fairgrounds and second the previous year. For both her appearances in Central Ohio, Charmed Life was saddled with the outermost post, which can be notoriously difficult to overcome at that venue. “They say the third time is a charm, so we are going to try and get that win for her again this year,” Menary said. “When she finished second she came from way back at the top of the stretch and passed Bee A Magician and Maven. I really thought she was going to win but she came up just a neck short (of Classic Martine). Even when she finished fourth (last year) she still raced well and never had a pylon in her line of vision the entire way around the track. You couldn’t ask anything more from her and we are hoping this year we draw a little bit better. We would really like to see her in the winner’s circle for this series.” Prior to Menary and his partners purchasing her in March 2014, Charmed Life was under the watchful eye of John Bax and was owned by John Houston, Parkhill Stud Farm, Goin To The Show Stable and Dale Debnam. Menary worked with an agent to broker the deal and remains thrilled he has the opportunity to own Charmed Life. “John (Bax) was the one who made her,” he said. “He was the one that taught her to trot and I just had to learn about her. It took a couple of races for us to figure her out. We raced her the same way John did with leaving with her, then moving her twice during the race. She didn’t seem to be finishing as strongly as I thought she should be so I kept scoping her and found she was full of mucus and was bleeding a little. “To be honest with you, He’s Watching had an impact on the longevity and success of her racing career. I took her down with us to the Meadowlands when he raced in the Meadowlands Pace and she was in the Miss Versatility. That is when I decided to put her on the lightest dose possible of Lasix because I do that in New Jersey without having to sit out of racing her. She was terrific that day and finished a neck behind Bee A Magician, but she came home her final quarter in :25.4. “I don’t really believe in giving my horses anything and am very straightforward, but with his mare it really helped her. In fact just about six weeks after that she had what I think is the best race while I have had her in a Miss Versatility leg at Tioga Downs. She beat Classic Martine and Maven and set her lifetime mark of 1:52.2. Jody (Jamieson) was driving her and he said she literally was coming out of the bridle down the stretch. He was impressed.” Charmed Life will follow a similar schedule to her two previous campaigns with Menary. “I lightened up her stakes schedule some this year but not much,” he said. “We’ll do the Miss Versatility series and I can put her in some races here at home while maybe giving her a week off here and there. We also decided not to go to the Muscle Hill this year and we’ll be skipping the Allerage down in Lexington with her. I want her to be a fresh horse for the end of the year. “Also her groom should be credited for how she has turned out as well. His name is Mark Cecile and he has spent a lot of time with this mare making sure she is in the best of health. I can’t say enough about the work he has put in with her and he’s been with her right from the beginning. “We are just so lucky to have her. She may not be the fastest or the strongest, but she is a grinder and she will wear you down. Horses like her don’t come along often and that is why she is the backbone of this barn.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

In the Billings Series first venture north of the border this season "Hurricane Hannah" Miller showed why she was named harness racing's National Amateur Driver of the Year during 2015 when she took Canada by storm winning both divisions of the CKG Billings trots at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday night, May 16th. The talented miss won the first event when she rallied to a 1:58.4 victory with Domitian Hall and followed that with a hard charging come-from-behind 1:59 triumph with Princess Crown in the other Billings split. After starting from post seven with the weak (5-2) betting favorite Miller and Domitian Hall left softly from the seven hole as she looked for a spot down along the pylons. But that never materialized so she slowly kept going forward and at the halfway point she was in fifth place on the limb, some five lengths off the leader, Lexis Rocky who was driven by "Dynamite Dave" Drew. As the field neared the third stanza "Racin' Jason" Sgrignouli moved Fashion Goddess out from behind Drew and Lexis Rocky and they got first call as the field headed into the final turn. But when they headed for paydirt Miller moved Domitian Hall three-deep and under mild urging the veteran trotter responded and they caught Lexis Rocky to score a neck victory. Fashion Goddess faded and finished third in the 1:58:4 mile. Domitian Hall is owned and trained by Michael Vanderkemp. He paid $7.40 for win. In the second division Hannah and Princess Crown started on the far outside from post nine and when the starting judge said "go" Hannah again floated out softly and was in seventh position as Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and JC's Jake led the field by the first quarter in :28.1. Still among the trailers, Princess Crown was seventh at the halfway point some seven lengths off Oldford's trotter. As the field passed the half "Yankee Joe" Lee moved Schrader Hanover off the pylons and Miller used that cover until she had to go three-deep on the final turn to get a shot at the leader. Heading into the homestretch Princess Crown was still some six lengths off the lead but one by one she began picking up horses and with a final surge Miller's charge nailed Oldford's JC's Jake at the wire to win by a head. Third went to Lets Leavem, driven by Dave Drew. Princess Crown, sent off at odds of over 14-1 paid $30.50 for win. She is owned by Paul Andre Lehoux and trained by Jacques Dupont. Miss Miller was contacted after her driving victories and she was understandably jubilant and when asked about her success, she said, " I am beyond thrilled! This was not my first time driving at Mohawk but it was my first time winning here. Yes, I did have outside posts but I used the long stretch to my advantage and was patient with both of horses. "The first horse was a very classy horse and my focus was to keep him flat. He was solid the whole mile and finished strong. The second race I was longer odds coming from the outside and I got away farther back but coming around the last turn she exploded and got up just in time. It was definitely a night to remember and I can't thank the trainers enough for letting me By John Manzi for the CKG Billings Series  

A top-notch group of seven older pacers put on a harness racing show Saturday night in a thrilling edition of the $34,000 Preferred at Mohawk Racetrack. Plenty of action and hot fractions on a chilly and windy May evening led to Nirvana Seelster coming through for a 17-1 upset victory The Bill Budd trainee left quickly from post-six to grab the lead and post an opening-quarter of :26.3. State Treasurer, who was the 8-5 favourite, was parked around the first turn and charged up to try and wrestle command away from Nirvana Seelster. State Treasurer ultimately cleared to the front approaching the half, but grabbing clear command forced him to pace a :53.4 opening-half. There was no breather for the public's choice, as Nickle Bag, the 9-5 second choice, popped out from fourth and came charging first up to engage in a final turn battle. The two favourites waged war to the three-quarter pole in a hot 1:21.1. In the stretch, Nickle Bag took the lead and showed tremendous grit trying to hold off several challengers. Nirvana Seelster and driver Phil Hudon never left their spot along the rail and shot up late to steal away the victory from Nickle Bag by half a length in 1:50.3. Reverend Hanover got up for third in his four-year-old season debut. State Treasurer dropped back to finish fifth, while the popular Shamballa finished seventh in his season debut. A five-year-old gelded son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster scored his fifth win in 16 starts this season on Saturday night. His 1:50.3 victory gives him 21 career visits to the winner's circle. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster has earned $128,000 this season to bring his career bankroll to over $434,000. The Budd trainee now has three victories in the WEG Preferred this season. Nirvana Seelster paid $37.70 to win. Also on Saturday, a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes notable three-year-olds turned in solid performances. Sophomore pacing colt Betting Line came off cover to finish second in his season debut. The Casie Coleman trainee was competing against older horses and used a :26.3 final-quarter to come up half a length short in an impressive first start. Betting Line won six of 12 starts last year and earned over $540,000 in his rookie season. The son of Bettor's Delight is a top contender for next month's Pepsi North America Cup. On the trotting side, Will Take Charge crushed his opponents in a non-winners of three event by six-lengths. The John Bax trainee bounced back beautifully from a break last week for his second win in three starts this year. A gelded son of Kadabra, Will Take Charge had just a single win in 13 starts last year at age two, but his lone victory came in an OSS Gold event at Mohawk. The Bax trainee followed up his only win with a second-place finish in the OSS Super Final. Will Take Charge hit the board in eight of his 13 starts last year and banked over $196,000. He is expected to be a top contender on the OSS scene once again and is eligible to several Grand Circuit events. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Nirvana Seelster   Mark McKelvie

The final sustaining payment to the Pepsi North America Cup and all major WEG stakes is due this Monday (May 16). Decision time is almost here for the connections of the 49 eligible three-year-olds pacers to the Pepsi North America Cup. The final sustaining payment will keep a three-year-old eligible to the Cup eliminations on Saturday, June 11. The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup final is set for Saturday, June 18 at Mohawk Racetrack. A final sustaining payment is also due on Monday for the following events: Canadian Trotting Classic Fan Hanover Elegantimage Goodtimes Fall Four (Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds, Goldsmith Maid) Metro Pace Shes A Great Lady William Wellwood Memorial Peaceful Way Nassagaweya Eternal Camnation Canadian Pacing Derby Maple Leaf Trot Roses Are Red Milton Armbro Flight Champlain Open/Filly (Foals of 2014) Monday's deadline is also the final day for nominations to several Mohawk Summer Series events. The Dream Maker, Whenuwishuponastar, Pure Ivory and Define The World offer great racing opportunities for two-year-olds this summer. The Summertime and Town Pro Series are for three-year-old pacers. Also on Monday, nominations are due for yearlings (foals of 2015) to the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes. A yearling nomination fee is also due for the 2018 SBOA Filly Stakes. All conditions and regulations can be found in the WEG Stakes Booklet. All stakes payments can be made online by clicking here. If sending payments by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than May 16 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. Any questions or concerns regarding the May 16 deadline can be directed to the Mohawk Race Office, 905-854-7805. Mark McKelvie

The streak and buzz surrounding Musical Rhythm continued to grow after another dominating harness racing victory Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Ben Baillargeon trainee squared off with eight rivals in the $34,000 Preferred Trot and once again was a no doubt about it winner. Musical Rhythm left from post-four and quickly crossed over to the pylons to get away fourth for driver Mario Baillargeon, while Fearless Man cut a quarter of :27. The tempo slowed down in the second-quarter and that was Baillargeon's cue to fire the heavy-favourite to the front. Musical Rhythm trotted by the half in :56.4 and raised the tempo around the final turn to reach to the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2. In the stretch, Musical Rhythm bid farewell to his opponents and quickly opened up a six-length lead with an eighth of a mile to go. Under no urging from Baillargeon, the four-year-old son of Cantab Hall cruised by the wire in 1:53.2 for a 6¾ lengths victory. O Narutac Perfetto finished second, while Windsun Revenge was third. Musical Rhythm extended his current win streak to 11 with Monday's victory. The Baillargeon trainee was making his first start since winning the Don Mills Series final on April 23. The four-year-old standout has now won 13 of 14 starts since being purchased for $33,000 last November by Santo & Nunzio Vena, Claude Hamel and Ben Baillargeon. Musical Rhythm has been a great investment for his connections, as he has earned them $169,300 in 14 starts. Monday's Preferred victory was the Baillargeon trainee's second win in two cracks at the WEG Circuit top trot. His previous Preferred win was a career-best 1:52 performance on March 7 at Woodbine. Musical Rhythm is expected to make his next start against Grand Circuit four-year-olds in The Graduate Series opening leg on May 21 at The Meadowlands. A $2 win ticket on Musical Rhythm Monday evening returned $2.70. Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

The much anticipated harness racing match up between State Treasurer and Wiggle It Jiggleit developed around the final turn Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, but neither horse came away with a victory. Nickle Bag spoiled the Horse of the Year showdown with his 10th victory of the season in Saturday's seven-horse $34,000 Preferred. State Treasurer showed good early speed and cleared to the front ahead of Nickle Bag heading into the first turn. The 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year posted opening-fractions of :26.2 and :55. Wiggle It Jiggleit left alertly, but was quickly dropped into fourth by driver Montrell Teague. The 2015 U.S. Horse of the Year got his cue to charge first up heading into the final turn. State Treasurer and Wiggle It Jiggleit went toe-to-toe by the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4, but waiting patiently in behind the superstars was Nickle Bag and driver Trevor Henry. Wiggle It Jiggleit wrestled the lead away from State Treasurer and had a few lengths on Nickle Bag with an eighth of a mile to go, but the classy veteran tracked down the Teague stable star to win the Preferred by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.1. State Treasurer battled hard to finish third. A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag scored his eighth Preferred victory of the season Saturday. The Bill Robinson trainee has now won two of his last three starts to improve his overall 2016 record to 10 wins from 16 starts. Nickle Bag has earned $184,860 in 2016 for owners Linda and Harry Loyens. His latest Preferred victory gives him 29 career wins and pushes his career earnings over $640,000. Nickle Bag paid $14.90 to win. Nickle Bag Wiggle It Jiggleit's second-place finish was just his sixth loss in 33 career starts and trainer Clyde Francis admitted he was disappointed. "We thought he would race a little better than he did," said Francis. "He didn't look as good as he did when we trained him the other day. I hope there is not much to it." Francis indicated that Wiggle It Jiggleit never really found comfort during the course of Saturday's race and at moments appeared to be close to going off stride. "He's always had a little funny way of going, but he was worse tonight." Wiggle It Jiggleit's next start is just a week away in the Confederation Cup on Sunday, May 15 at Flamboro Downs. Francis has full confidence the 2015 U.S Horse of the Year will bounce back. "You just back up and regroup and try to find out what the problem is." Wiggle It Jiggleit last start at Mohawk before Saturday's contest was a second-place finish in last year's Pepsi North America Cup. Also on Saturday, War N Munn recorded the WEG Series hat-trick with a huge performance in The Diplomat final. A field of nine three-year-old pacing colts and geldings battled in the $57,600 Diplomat final and it was action packed from start to finish. Dreamfair Mesa fired out from the middle of the gate to grab command and post a hot opening-quarter of :25.3. Several rivals began to charge up on the outside in the second-quarter, including the 1/5 favourite Gerries Sport. Dreamfair Mesa surrendered the lead to Worthy Art moments after posting a half-mile time of :54.3. Gerries Sport and Sylvain Filion were left first-over, while War N Munn, who had yet to see the pylons after leaving from post-nine, sat second-over. Gerries Sport took a narrow lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:22. The heavy-favourite tried to seal the deal in the stretch, but War N Munn and driver Jonathan Drury fired off cover and grabbed the lead midway down the lane. War N Munn finished the job in a career-best 1:50.2 for a two-length victory over Shocking Image and Worthy Art. Gerries Sport dropped back to finish fourth. Trained by Carmen Auciello, War N Munn turned in a massive parked-out effort for his sixth win in 10 starts this season. The three-year-old son of Stonebridge Regal has now scored victories in The Count B, Youthful and The Diplomat Series finals this season. "He shows up every night," said Auciello following the victory. "I knew tonight was going to be tough with the nine-hole, but J.D. (Jonathan Drury) couldn't have done a better job at working out a trip." War N Munn pushed his seasonal earnings over the $100,000 mark with the victory for owner George Munniksma. The sophomore pacer now has career totals of eight victories and earnings exceeding $148,000. War N Munn paid $11.50 to win. War N Munn Pacing fillies and mares also shared the spotlight on Saturday night. Chris Matthews trainee Lay Lady Lay went gate-to-wire to win the $57,400 Princess Series final for three-year-old fillies in 1:54. Doug McNair guided the daughter of Up The Credit to her first win in three starts this season. Lay Lady Lay is owned by 1posse2steves3brothersstb of Guelph, Ontario. She paid $5.60 to win. Lay Lady Lay Waasmula posted the fastest mile of the night in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred. The Bruce Goit trainee stopped the clock in 1:49.3 for her fifth win of the season. Driven by Trevor Henry, Wassmula has now recorded victories in three of her last four starts. She has banked $88,240 this season for owner Brent Vincent. Waasmula Henry finished the night with four driving victories. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Warm May temperatures, clear skies and a slight breeze set the scene for Friday morning's nine harness racing qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Many notables took to the track Friday and turned in solid performances in preparation for their upcoming campaigns. Ontario Sires Stakes champion Betting Line delivered a fantastic 1:52 effort in his second qualifier of 2016. The Casie Coleman trainee inherited the lead rounding the first turn, following a break by the original leader, and posted an opening-quarter of :28.3. After middle fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.1, Betting Line fired home in an eye-catching :25.4 for driver Jonathan Drury to win his qualifier by 11-lengths. The three-year-old son of Bettor's Delight won six of 12 starts and banked over $540,000 last season. Betting Line is a top contender for June's Pepsi North America Cup. Another Coleman trainee turned in an impressive performance Friday, as Reverend Hanover cruised around the Campbellville oval in 1:51.1. The four-year-old gelded son of Sportswriter was making his second qualifying appearance of 2016. Driven by Steve Condren, Reverend Hanover posted fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:24.2 before charging home in :26.4. Rick Zeron trainee Shamballa, who was making his first appearance of the season, used his signature final-quarter kick to come from fourth to finish second and pace his mile in 1:51.3. The six-year-old gelding was charted with a :26 final-quarter. Reverend Hanover, a winner of over $507,000, and Shamballa, a winner of over $488,000, are expected to be heavy hitters in the older pacing category this season. On the trotting side, Flanagan Memory won his qualifier in a sharp 1:54.2. The Rene Dion trainee was forced to qualify after making a break in his season debut on April 25. Flanagan Memory and driver Chris Christoforou went coast-to-coast for the victory, posting fractions of :28, :58, 1:26.4 and a final-quarter of :27.3. The six-year-old son of Kadabra is looking to build of a solid 2015, which saw him bank $299,769. Sharp efforts from three-year-olds was a reoccurring theme Friday morning. Dave Menary trainee Sintra paced home in :26 to win his qualifier in 1:55.2. The sophomore gelded son of Mach Three made just three starts as a rookie and was shut down following the Battle of Waterloo eliminations. Three-year-old trotting fillies Majestic Presence and Jangone used good final-quarter speed to win their respective qualifiers. Trained by Issac Waxman, Majestic Presence rallied from fourth with a :27.4 final-quarter to win by a nose in 1:58.1. The daughter of Majestic Son raced primarily in OSS Grassroots events as a rookie. Dagfin Henriksen trainee Jangone was a very good-looking 1:56 winner. The three-year-old daughter of Johnny William went gate-to-wire and trotted home in :27.3 for a 16-length win. Jangone was last year's OSS Grassroots champion in the two-year-old filly trot division. Twin B Thong made it three winners from the Casie Coleman barn Friday morning. The three-year-old daughter of Sportswriter took the lead in the third-quarter and shot home in :26.3 for a 1:55.2 victory. Twin B Thong finished second in last year's OSS Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Good Will Hanover won the final qualifier of the day in 1:57.3. The three-year-old daughter of Big Jim used a :27.3 final-quarter to win the qualifier by three-quarters of a length over OSS rival Southwind Shania. Good Will Hanover started in last year's OSS Super Final, while Southwind Shania finished third in the OSS Grassroots Championship. The next qualifying session at Mohawk is scheduled for Monday morning (May 9). Here is the full list of winners from Friday's qualifiers. Q1: Sintra - 1:55.2 (Jody Jamieson/Dave Menary) Q2: Flanagan Memory - 1:54.2 (Chris Christoforou/Rene Dion) Q3: Betting Line - 1:52 (Jonathan Drury/Casie Coleman) Q4: Majestic Presence - 1:58.1 (Trevor Henry/Issac Waxman) Q5: Jangone - 1:56 (Dagfin Henriksen/Dagfin Henriksen) Q6: Reverend Hanover - 1:51.1 (Steve Condren/Casie Coleman) Q7: Twin B Thong - 1:55.2 (Steve Condren/Casie Coleman) Q8: Silence Son - 1:57.4 (Anthony MacDonald/Anthony MacDonald) Q9: Good Will Hanover - 1:57.3 (Dr. Ian Moore/Dr. Ian Moore) Mark McKelvie

It is not every day that a pair of Horse of the Year recipients meet up, but harness racing fans will receive a rare treat Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. State Treasurer, 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year, and Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2015 U.S Horse of the Year, will square off for the first time in the $34,000 Preferred Pace. A four-year-old son of Mr Wiggles, Wiggle It Jiggleit's next start was expected to be in the Confederation Cup eliminations, but after no eliminations were necessary for the May 15th final, the George Teague stable star will now tune-up with a start at Mohawk. Trained by Clyde Francis and driven by Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggleit won 22 of 26 starts last season and earned over $2.2 million. He recorded victories in the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug and Progress Pace over the course of his Horse of the Year campaign. The four-year-old gelding has won four of five starts to begin his 2016 season. Wiggle It Jiggleit will start from post-six in a field of seven. A seven-year-old son of Real Desire, State Treasurer will be making his second start of 2016 Saturday night. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee won nine of 19 starts last season and banked over $986,000 to earn Canadian Horse of the Year honours. State Treasurer's signature victories last season included the Canadian Pacing Derby and U.S. Pacing Championship. The veteran pacing stallion is nearing double millionaire status with over $1.9 million in career earnings. State Treasurer will leave from post-four with driver Chris Christoforou in the sulky. Both award-winning pacers sport sub-1:48 career-marks. Wiggle It Jiggleit took his 1:47.4 mark in the Meadowlands Pace, while State Treasurer's 1:47 mark was taken in the U.S. Pacing Championship. While the Horse of the Year winners will be in the spotlight Saturday, a strong group of five older pacers will be looking to steal the show. Nickle Bag (PP1, Trevor Henry) enters Saturday's contest with plenty of momentum. The Bill Robinson trainee won last week's Preferred in 1:49 and has won two of his last three starts. A six-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag has nine victories in 15 starts this season, with seven of those scores coming in the WEG Preferred. Nirvana Seelster (PP2, Rick Zeron) and Boomboom Ballykeel (PP3, Sylvain Filion) also have victories this season in the WEG Preferred. Idole Duharas (PP5, James MacDonald) and Mohawk Warrior (PP7, Sylvain Filion) round out the field of seven. The $34,000 Preferred Pace is carded as the ninth-race on Saturday's 12-race card. Saturday's card also features the $57,600 Diplomat Series (race-four) and $57,400 Princess Series (race-eight) finals. A special post time of 7:05 p.m. is scheduled for Saturday's card. Fans can arrive early at Mohawk to watch the Kentucky Derby on the infield LED screen (approximate post time 6:34 p.m.). $34,000 Preferred Pace (Race 9 - Saturday, May 7) 1. Nickle Bag (Trevor Henry -Bill Robinson) 2. Nirvana Seelster (Rick Zeron - Bill Budd) 3. Boomboom Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion - Richard Moreau) 4. State Treasurer (Chris Christoforou - Dr. Ian Moore) 5. Idole Duharas (James MacDonald - Sean Mehlenbacher) 6. Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis) 7. Mohawk Warrior (Sylvain Filion - Richard Moreau) Mark McKelvie

Trotters young and old were in the harness racing spotlight Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack and fittingly trotting master Per Henriksen recorded a milestone victory. Bee In Charge, the three-year-old half-brother to $3.8 million winner Bee A Magician, gave Henriksen a very special victory Monday at Mohawk. Not only was it the youngster's first lifetime win, but it was also the 1,000th North American training victory for Henriksen, who was also in the sulky for the milestone. In the second-race, $14,000 Maiden Trot, Henriksen put Bee In Charge on top by the 1:01.4 half, was two lengths the best by the 1:31 three-quarters and had more than three lengths on their foes by the wire reached in 1:58. It was just the fourth lifetime start for the Manofmanymissions son, who sold as a yearling for $130,000. Richard 'Nifty' Norman started out with the colt, who had difficulty making breaks as a rookie and was sent to Henriksen at the end of his two-year-old season. A native of Norway who came to the US in 1980 and Canada, specifically Norwood, Ontario, 20 years later, Henriksen qualified Bee In Charge in early April and then guided him to a third place finish two weeks later. The trotter is owned by Mel Hartman of Ottawa and David McDuffee of Florida, two of the partners on his famous big sister. Bee In Charge is the latest talented trotter to emerge from Henriksen's care. Other standouts include Hambletonian winner Nuclear Kosmos, Hambletonian Oaks winner Oolong, Breeders Crown winner Southwind Serena and $800,000 winner Clerk Magistrate among many others. Bee In Charge Also on Monday's card, Henriksen's Asa Farm got a victory with Exemplar in the $34,000 Preferred Trot. A solid group of seven competed in the weekly top trot and Preferred mainstay Fearless Man found his usual spot on the front and led the field by the half in :56.2. The Rick Zeron trainee reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, but several rivals were ready to challenge in the lane. In the stretch, Fearless Man battled tough, but O Narutac Perfetto edged by in deep stretch and appeared to have a victory in sight. However, Richard Moreau trainee Exemplar and driver Sylvain Filion trotted up a storm on the far outside and powered by late to win by a neck in 1:54.1. Fearless Man held on for third. Exemplar, who was sixth turning for home, now has two wins in 11 starts this season. The six-year-old gelded son of Andover Hall has earned $47,440 this season for owners Andrea Lea Racingstables Inc. and Asa Farm Monday's victory was the 12th career triumph for Exemplar, who has spent time in both the Henriksen and Moreau stables this season. The veteran trotter has career earnings of over $237,000. Exemplar paid $19.60 to win. The $24,000 Mares Trot also saw an upset winner, but this time in gate-to-wire fashion. Seven-year-old Can I Say went coast-to-coast through fractions of :27.1, :56, 1:24.2 and 1:53.4 for a 25-1 upset. The daughter of Fourth And One was returning to the WEG circuit after four starts at Flamboro. Co-owned and trained by Jim Whelan, Can I Say was guided to her second win of the season and 28th overall by Jody Jamieson. Monday's victory pushes her career earnings over $400,000 for owners Whelan and Terry & Clarence Devos. Muscle Baby Doll, who was the 1-5 heavy favourite, finished second in her second start of 2016. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee trotted along fourth throughout the early going and was situated second-over on the back of Rockin With Dewey turning for home. A four-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass, Muscle Baby Doll tried her best to track down the leader, but ultimately came up a length short. Can I Say paid $55.30 to win. Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie (With Henriksen files from Kawartha Downs)

Canada's reigning Horse of the Year made his season debut Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, but Nickle Bag spoiled the party with the nation's fastest harness racing mile of 2016. A strong field of nine older pacers competed in the $34,000 Preferred Handicap pace. State Treasurer, last year's Canadian Horse of the Year, was making his 2016 debut and started from the outside post-nine. Driven by Chris Christoforou, State Treasurer was able to float out and drop in sixth as the even-money favourite. Nickle Bag, the 8-5 second choice, left hard from post-six for Trevor Henry to grab the front and post an opening-quarter of :26. Nickle Bag kept the pace honest in the second-quarter and reached the half in :54.3. Christoforou started up State Treasurer nearing the half and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee was sent first up entering the final turn. However, cover did develop for State Treasurer rounding the final turn, as stablemate Arthur Blue Chip angled out from third at five-eighths. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3, Nickle Bag brought the field into the lane and waved goodbye. The Bill Robinson trainee finished off his mile with a blazing :26.2 final-quarter to win by 4¾ lengths in a career-best 1:49. State Treasurer came off cover in the stretch, but was unable to gain any spots and finished fourth in his season debut, pacing home in :26.4. Mohawk Warrior came from sixth at the top of the lane to finish second, while The Rev turned his two-hole trip into a third-place effort. A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag secured his ninth victory of the season Saturday. The Robinson trainee has picked up seven of his nine victories this year in the Preferred. Owned by Linda and Harry Loyens, Nickle Bag surpassed his 2015 earnings total with Saturday's victory. The veteran pacer has banked $167,860 in 15 starts this year, compared to $162,790 in 26 starts last year. Nickle Bag's victory Saturday was his 28th career triumph and it brings his career earnings to $627,490. He paid $5.30 to win. Nickle Bag Although State Treasurer was unsuccessful in his season debut, history shows that may not be a bad thing. The Dr. Moore trainee finished sixth last year in his debut (May 2, 2015 - Preferred Pace) before going onto divisional and Horse of the Year honours. Also on Saturday, the second leg of The Diplomat Series was contested. A group of 13 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $20,000 divisions. War N Munn continued his WEG Series success with a 1:52 victory in the first division. The Carmen Auciello trainee got away fourth in the field of six for driver Jonathan Drury. Mach Power posted an opening-quarter of :28.3, but was quickly passed in the second-quarter by Shocking Image. The new leader reached the half in :57.2 and led the field around the final turn, while War N Munn charged first up to pull to within a length of the lead at the three-quarter pole. Shocking Image reached the third marker in 1:25.3, but quickly surrendered the lead in the lane to War N Munn. The 2-5 favourite rocketed home in :26.1 for a 2 ¼ length victory. Shocking Image was second, while Mach Power finished third. A son of Stonebridge Regal, War N Munn now has five wins in nine starts this season. The sophomore pacing colt has signature victories this season in The Count B and Youthful Series finals. War N Munn now has seven career victories and earnings of $119,261 for owner George Munnuiksma. His mile of 1:52 knocked three-fifths of a second off his previous career mark. The Auciello trainee paid $2.80 to win. War N Munn In the second division, Gerries Sport got his own way in the middle-half and finished up strong for an impressive victory. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Gerries Sport, the even-money favourite, left from post-seven and touched down on the front just after passing the opening-quarter in :26.1. Flaherty, the 7-5 second-choice, got a two-hole trip behind the favourite. Gerries Sport went unchallenged in the middle-half and posted panels of :55.4 and 1:25.1. The soft middle-half was the turning point, as the public's choice left his rivals behind and charged home in :26.4 for a 3½ lengths victory in 1:52. Flaherty maintained his position to finish second, while Worthy Art was third. A son of Mach Three, Gerries Sport is trained by Richard Moreau for Gerrie Tucker. The three-year-old colt is now two for two to start 2016 after posting three wins in 12 starts as a rookie. Just like War N Munn in the first division, Gerries Sport lowered his lifetime mark by three-fifths of a second. The son of Mach Three now sports a career bankroll of $56,845. Gerries Sport paid $4.20 to win. Gerries Sport The first leg of The Diplomat did not fail, therefore the 10 horses that earned money Saturday night have landed spots in next Saturday's $57,600 final. In order to be eligible to The Diplomat, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2015. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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