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Temperatures weren't the only thing sizzling on July 4th, as the harness racing public got a look at some of the Buckeye State's finest 2-year-olds for the first time.   Eight $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting and pacing colts went postward on a blistering hot afternoon at Scioto Downs in a special matinee program, beginning at 2 pm, ET.   Trainer Ronnie Burke harnessed four OSS winners (two trots and two paces), while driver Chris Page piloted five OSS victors, including four for team Burke, winning a total of three trotting events and two pacing events in OSS competition.   Five of the 2-year-old winners were first time starters at the pari-mutuel level, with three favorites taking home first prize and five longshots prevailing at the wire. Three of the OSS winners were homebred, while Hanover Shoe Farms was the breeder on three of the contestants. Stallions represented by OSS winners include two by Uncle Peter and one each by Dejarmbro and Wishing Stone (trotters), and one each by pacing stallions Dragon Again, Pet Rock, Rockin Amadeus and Yankee Cruiser.   Opportune Hanover posted a 1:52.3 clocking for Burke Racing, Chris Page, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi in the last of the four OSS pacing tests--just one fifth off the track record. The son of Dragon Again is the fifth foal out of the Artsplace mare Ozmopolitan p, 4, 1:53.2f ($185,025) and is a half-brother to Ostro Hanover (by Betterthancheddar) p, 3, 1:52.1f ($161,076) and Lyons Sands (by Somebeachsomewhere) p, 3, 1:52.2s ($60,786). Opportune Hanover--the even money favorite with Page in the sulky--was a $15,000 yearling purchase at the Ohio Select Sale last fall and this was his second start for his connections. Mr D's Rock was second for Aaron Merriman at 4-5, with Dancin Wayon L (Hank LeVan) third at 27-1.   Burke also harnessed Elver Hanover to a 1:53.4 triumph for Burke Racing, B. Jablonsky, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby. Another Hanover Shoe Farms product, the son of Yankee Cruiser is the seventh foal out of The Panderosa mare Edra Hanover p, 2, 1:51 ($171,753) and was a $50,000 yearling purchase at the Ohio Select Sale. He is a half-brother to Eddard Hanover (by Dragon Again) p, 5, 1:49.3 ($508,397) and East Side Hanover (by Somebeachsomewhere) p, 3, 1:51 ($63,801), among others. Elver Hanover--the 9-1 choice, was steered by Chris Page, besting second place 9-2 finisher Stanford Court (Wrenn, Jr.), with 6-1 Hot Shot McJeffers (Kyle Ater) nailing down show honors.   Page was back in the sulky to steer the trotting-bred It's Academic to a 1:58.4 winning clocking for Burke Racing, Bill Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and the Hatfield Stables. The win was the son of Uncle Peter's second career victory. Bred by Gbw Breeding Farms, It's Academic is the first foal out of the Muscle Hill mare Annapolis p, 3, 1:55 ($49,594) and was a $50,000 yearling purchase at the Ohio Select Sale.     "We liked the look of this colt and so Bill (Donovan) and I bought him together initially," offered co-owner Sbrocco. "We sent him to Ronnie (Burke) to train and he thought so much of him he bought in and later the Hatfields became a partner as well."   It's Academic used wire-to-wire tactics to nail down the win, finishing 2½ lengths ahead of 22-1 Attache' (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) with 9-1 Howyadoingbub (Brett Miller) third.   Burke's other trotting victor was the 7-5 homebred favorite Wading Boots, who scored a 1:57.4 clocking with Page at the lines. The son of Wishing Stone, who is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura was making his pari-mutuel debut in his first career win. He is the third foal out of the SJ's Caviar mare Sequin Hanover and is a full brother to U Need Stones 4, 1:53 ($205,920) and Well I'm Fancy 2, Q1:59.3f ($34,355). Exhibit Class and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., were second at 7-2 while 6-1 Expect The Sweep was third for Aaron Merriman.   Rocknthatafterparty surprised everyone as he slid up the rail to win the first pacing division in 1:55, besting six rivals with a crafty drive by Kyle Ater. The son of Rockin Amadeus is trained by Dan Ater for Ivy Holdings and is out of the unraced Cambest mare Cameo And Lace, making him a half-brother to Commander Ruff (by Stand Forever) p, 4, 1:54.4s ($56,557).   "I owned his dam and turned her over to Hickory Lane Farm," said breeder Rebecca Ewing. "When he went through the sale, I thought he looked so good that I bought him for $10,000."   Rocknthatafterparty was a 27-1 longshot, returning $52.00 on a two-dollar ticket and finishing half a length in front of 4-5 favorite Nvrpopdaplugs (Ken Holiday), while 5-1 One Last Laugh (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) got up for third.   Garnering his first career victory was 13-1 Rock Smart, well-driven by Danny Noble in a come-from-behind effort to prevail by 1½ lengths in 1:54.3 over 8-5 favorite Big Bad Whamo (Ryan Stahl) with 9-1 One Rock (Greg Grismore) getting up for third. This Pet Rock youngster--who brought down the gavel for $30,000 at the Ohio Select Yearling Sale--is out of the Camluck mare Smartygirl and is a full brother to Smarty's Filly p, 3, 1:54.2f ($37,795). Rock Smart was bred by Dr. David Fisher and is trained by Bret Schwartz for Stephen Sexton of Xenia, Ohio.   Also winning his first career start was the trotting youngster Jarmbalou, who stopped the clock in 1:57.3 with Chris Page at the lines for trainer/owners/breeders Rick and Reginal Beinhauer. Sent off at 11-1, Jambalou bested 20-1 Stonefire US (Dewayne Minor), with 6-1 Willing Spirit (Kurt Sugg) third. Jambalou is out of the Chip Chip Hooray mare Chiptomylou, making him a half-brother to Imallthatmatters (by Explosive Matter) 2, 2:00f ($38,298).   Finally, it was Big Box Hanover who gave a fine effort in his first official start--posting a 1:57.4 clocking for driver Trevor Smith and trainer Dalton Walls, who owns the colt in partnership with Bruce Soulsby. Purchased for $13,000 at the Ohio Select Sale, Big Box Hanover bested 2-1 Doubleyellowline (Danny Noble) and third-place finisher 9-1 Upfront Stone (Aaron Merriman).     This well-named youngster is a son of Uncle Peter and the ninth foal out of the Donerail mare Box Of Dreams 3, 1:58.1f ($86,100), and is half-brother to Boadicea Hanover (by Andover Hall) 5, 1:53.1 ($113,287); Ballare Hanover (by Broadway Hall) 5, 1:55 ($98,552); and By Chance Hanover (by Cantab Hall) 3, 1:59f ($34,811).   Ohio Sires Stakes action continues Friday, July 5 with four, first-round divisions of 2-year-old pacing fillies going postward at Northfield Park at 6 pm, ET.   by Kimberly Rinker Ohio Standardbred Development Administrator

GUELPH, ON --, horse racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable, added a harness racing training triple to its impressive start to the 2019 stakes season. Jason McGinnis conditions the Ohio freshmen and sophomores for On July 3, he sent four two-year-olds postward in four $40,000 divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes at Northfield Park. Spend That Money wired the field to win her second race in as many outings in 1:58.3. James MacDonald drove the Uncle Peter filly. She was an $11,500 yearling purchase for at the Ohio Select Sale and is currently owned by 24 clients of the fractional ownership operation. McGinnis missed a fourth win by less than a length in division three when 12-1 Alesund cut the mile and fought to hold on for the win but succumbed to Delovely Hall and finished second. The 1:57.3 mile in that division set a new North America season's record for a half-mile track, but's Manofmanymissions daughter Globetrotting quickly matched the mark in division five. Anthony MacDonald drove the trotter to a one-length score, her second win in as many starts. She was a $21,000 yearling purchase for clients of at the Ohio Select Sale and is currently owned by 18 clients. Compass Rose DC is owned by 15 clients of and was a $16,000 yearling purchase. She won her first outing by nearly three lengths in 1:59.4 with James MacDonald. Earlier in the day, won a division of the PA Stallion Series at The Meadows. Ill Play It Alone hung on to win by a nose with Anthony MacDonald for trainer Tim Twaddle in the $20,000 dash. The 1:54.4 score was the pacer's first win in two ties for 32 clients who own the Somebeachsomewhere gelding which was purchased for $14,000 as a yearling in Harrisburg. In the past week, has campaigned 46 starters (including 33 freshmen) at 11 tracks throughout Canada and the U.S., recording nine wins and 24 top-three finishes while tying a world record and setting or equaling a trio of season's records for its 680 clients located in 11 countries wordwide.   Kelly Spencer Director Of Business Development

The Canadian-based partnership of trainer Jason McGinnis and harness racing drivers James and Anthony MacDonald teamed up to capture three of five $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes contests for 2-year-old freshman trotting fillies on a hot and steamy Wednesday evening at Northfield Park. Thirty-nine diagonally-gaited distaffs battled over the half-mile "Home of the Flying Turns," as temperatures hovered in the mid-80's, giving fans a first glimpse of future Ohio-bred champions, many of them making their first career starts. McGinnis and James MacDonald scored their first triumph with Spend That Money, the 1-5 favorite, who was first off the gate to prevail in a wire-to-wire effort in 1:58.3. The Uncle Peter lass was making just her second career start for Thestable Spend Thatmoney of Guelph, ON. Bred by Cornerstone Stock Farm of Indiana, Spend That Money is out of the Muscles Yankee mare Spend It In and now has $23,100 in career earnings. She had won her debut at Northfield on June 26 in similar style, timed in 2:01.1 for that first career outing. Spend That Money finished 3¾ lengths ahead of 15-1 Evita (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), with 60-1 longshot Pearls N Coins (Tony Hall) garnering show honors. The McGinnis-James MacDonald team returned to the winner's circle with 7-5 Compass Rose DC, another Uncle Peter filly making her career debut. Owned by Thestable Compass Rose Dc, she also used front-stepping tactics to secure a 1:59.4 victory. Bred by Ohio's Steiner Stock Farm, she is the fourth daughter of the Andover Hall mare Pacific Legacy 2, Q2:02.3F ($13,727) and is a half-sister to: Lima Playmate (by Credit Winner) 2, 1:57s ($265,755) and Lima Pride (by Muscle Massive 3, 1:56.4f ($105,746), among others. Electric Rose (Aaron Merriman) was also sent off at odds of 7-5 and was second best, while 4-1 Sabia Dream (Charlie Norris) survived an early break to garner a third-place check. The McGinnis-Anthony MacDonald team saved the best for last, however, as Globetrotting powered to a 1:57.3 victory. This Manofmanymissions lass was impressive not only in stride but had a knowing presence upon entering the Northfield winner's circle as the 7-2 choice. James MacDonald again his charge right to the top, winning by a comfortable length with a :28.1 final brush over 3-5 Kikimora (Aaron Merriman), while 7-2 Guinever Hall (Peter Wrenn) got up for third. Globetrotting was also bred by Steiner Stock Farm and is the fifth foal out of the Andover Hall mare Celebrity Deville, 3, 1:54.3s ($338,744). She now owns a bankroll of $24,700 for Thestable Globetrotting and has half-siblings in: Lima Cadillac (by Yankee Glide) 3, Q1:54.4f ($93,210); Lima Charisma (by Muscle Hill) 3, 1:55.1f ($75,960); Iwantmytwodollars (by Muscle Hill) 4, 1:57.1h ($47,456); and Cruella DeVille (by Yankee Glide) 2, 1:57.3f ($31,126). Trainer Chris Beaver captured the other two OSS divisions, with Lima Gold and Delovely Hall. Lima Gold, sent off at 5-2 with driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., in the sulky, was making her pari-mutuel debut, trotting easily to a 1:58.3 effort. On the front end throughout the mile, Lima Gold held off 6-1 Jogging Ms Lucy who was given a perfect 2-hole trip by driver Kurt Sugg, as 6-5 favorite Miss Stunner (Chris Page) got up for third. Owned by Spaaaartners and bred by Willis Miller, Lima Gold is a daughter of Coraggioso, out of the Jailhouse Jesse mare Lima Halo 3, 1:59.3F ($16,268). North America's leading reinsman, Aaron Merriman, then steered Renee Bercury's Delovely Hall to a 1:57.3 triumph as the 4-5 favorite. The big filly overtook and bested 12-1 rival Alesund (Anthony MacDonald) in the final strides by three-quarters of a length, as 6-1 Champagne On Ice (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) finished third. Bred by Walnut Hall Limited, etc., Delovely Hall now has $21,550 in her career coffers. This hefty and long-striding daughter by the ill-fated Cash Hall is the fifth foal out of the Amigo Hall mare Daylon Mystique 4, 1:56.4f ($310,162) and is a half-sister to Dancer Hall (by Deweycheatumnhowe) 4, 1:52.2f ($313,650).   Kimberly A. Rinker Ohio Standardbred Development Administrator  

Thirteen freshmen filly trotters will begin their legs of the Buckeye Stallion harness racing series on July 1 st .   The 3-year- old filly trotters will race their first leg at MGM Northfield Park in races 3 and 4.   Christopher Beavers trains two in race 3, Delaware Ave (Triumphant Caviar-A Moment Too Soon) and Bella Lugosi (Full Count-Action on George). He also trains Cs Sugar Babe (Southwind Spirit-MI Brown Sugar) in race 4. This will be Cs Sugar Babe’s second start. She won at the Putnam County Fair (Ottawa, OH) on June 26 th.   Desert Storm As (Stormin Normand-Savanah Dream), Fatimas Secret (Southwind Spirit-Stroke Me Strokeme), Overdue Mission (Manofmanymissions-Northern Lucy), Easy Victory (Uncle Peter-Broadway Victory) and Justdontforgetme (Dontyouforgetit- Just For Fun) will also make their first starts in Race 3.   Race 4 will see two second time starters besides Cs Sugar Babe, Embrace The Rust (Stormin Normand- Hooray For Mom) and Dream Change (Winning Fireworks-Economic Change). Dream Change won her first start at the Pickaway County Fair (Circleville, OH) on June 17 th .   In Race 4 Susiek (Climb Higher-Nickie K) and Kiss On Fire As (Lionhunter-Winds On Fire As) will make their first starts.   On July 2 nd Eldorado Scioto Downs will host the 2-year-old colt trotters. Jarmin Jimmys Gto (Dejarmbro- Timelesswinner Two), Banzai As (Lionhunter-Provide As) and Fireyoucantputout (Muscle Network-Maple Grove Smoky) will make their first career starts in this race.   Race 3 the first-time starters are Crazy Mission (Manofmanymissions-Venice Holiday), Holton (Dontyouforgetit-Mama’s Brokn Heart), Rockin Roy (Triumphant Caviar-Kick Em Up Kate) and Don’t Fire (Dontyouforgetit- Breath of Fire).   First time starters in Race 6 are Look In My Eyes (Lionhunter-Guilt Free), Somtimsthingshapen (Cash Hall-Charlize Hall), Uncle Donald (Uncle Peter-Donato’s Peach), Mj’slibertyvalance (Wishing Stone- Taveta) and Almighty Dollar (Cash Hall-Becca J).   Race 10 will see newbies Trottotown (Broadway Hall-It’s A Diamond), Gabby’s Wild Child (Triumphant Caviar-Gabby’s Creditcard), Klubot (Full Count-Callmepinkalicious), Mission to Mars (Manofmanymissions-Jesse’s Messenger) and Bold Strategy (Break The Bank K-CC Cupcake).   Timestorm (Stormin Normand-Tymal Sonata) in Race 4, Dontyousayit (Dontyouforgetit-Mystic Magician) in Race 6 and Herecomescharlie B (Full Count-Jetterbug) in Race 10 all have a win from Paulding County Fair (Paulding, OH) on June 10 th.   The Buckeye Stallion Series will provide two exciting nights of racing at both MGM Northfield Park and Eldorado Scioto Downs. Don’t miss watching the series kick off the summer for 2-year-old trotters!     By Regina Mayhugh

When harness racing trainer Ben Baillargeon discusses his trotter Musical Rhythm, it is easier for him to list the things the horse cannot do rather than all he can. "He doesn't talk," Baillargeon says with a laugh, "and that's about it." A playful 7-year-old stallion ("You give him a ball, he plays soccer with it; you put him in the field, he throws it and goes and gets it," Baillargeon says), Musical Rhythm's big personality is outsized only by his big heart. The horse nearly died last year as the result of complications from an infection, but after several months and multiple medical procedures at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, he recovered and was able to return to Baillargeon. Baillargeon, who is among the stallion's owners, was grateful to simply have Musical Rhythm home. He thought the horse might perform stud duty, but his racing days were in the past. Then one day, Baillargeon told his daughter Sara to put the harness on Musical Rhythm so he could walk him around the track. "As soon as we hit the track, he said: I'm home; this is where I live, on the track," Baillargeon said. "He's been on the track since. He's just a gritty horse. He loves to race. "We were just happy to get him back. It was a blessing. But he doesn't want to give up. It's unbelievable." On Saturday, Musical Rhythm will bring a six-race win streak to the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic at Ohio's Northfield Park. For his career, the son of Cantab Hall-Musical Victory has won 36 of 89 races and $694,107. His victories include the 2016 Graduate Series championship, which he won from post 10 at The Meadowlands. Guardian Angel As, who brings his own three-race win streak to Northfield, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Cleveland Trotting Classic, with Jason Bartlett driving for Anette Lorentzon. Musical Rhythm is 10-1 with Northfield Park regular Ronnie Wrenn Jr. in the sulky. "He's got everything you need in a horse," Baillargeon said about Musical Rhythm. "He's such a smart horse and he can do it any which way. He's got lots of gate speed and he's got guts. He's got lots of grit. Everyone that's come at him lately, he puts them away. "Ronnie knows the track there real good. He'll figure out what he wants to do. The horse will do what he wants to do, that's for sure. The horse will give a tremendous effort. He always does. Whatever happens, happens." Baillargeon bought Musical Rhythm as a 3-year-old for $33,000 at the Standardbred Mixed Sale. He owns the horse with Santo Vena, Nunzio Vena, and Claude Hamel. The group bred Musical Rhythm to a handful of mares this year, and three are in foal. Baillargeon expects Musical Rhythm to get more opportunities in the future, but for now is enjoying watching the stallion compete again. "He's on quite the roll right now," Baillargeon said about the horse who is known around the stable by the nickname Marty. "Everybody loves him. He's got a fan club and he's done a lot for us, my family and my partners. Marty is there for us. We can always count on him. We are lucky to have him." Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) at Northfield Park. Following is the field for the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic Invitational, which is race 12 on the card.   PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Guardian Angel As-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-2/1 2-Weslynn Dancer-Dave Palone-Richard Banca-6/1 3-Emoticon Hanover-Jody Jamieson-Luc Blais-8/1 4-Pinkman-Brett Miller-Per Engblom-4/1 5-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-7/2 6-Musical Rhythm-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 7-Dayson-Chris Page-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Plunge Blue Chip-Aaron Merriman-Ake Svanstedt-12/1   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

It was an exciting Saturday evening on June 22 nd when twenty charities participated in the 7 th annual Charity Night at the Races, held at Eldorado Gaming at Scioto Downs hosted by the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA).   The participants of each charity were invited to join OHHA trackside for a meal and enjoy an evening of racing.   Ohio horsemen and many OHHA Board members hosted each charity, explaining harness racing, sharing about the industry and guiding the participants through their evening events.   Following the meal, participants took turns touring the paddock where they had their photo taken with the horse they were paired with. USTA’s Wendy Ross interviewed each charity in the winner’s circle.   One participant from each group also had the opportunity to ride in the starting gate.   The charities that attended include: ALS- The ALS Association Central & Southern Ohio Chapter, Alzheimers Association Central Ohio Chapter, Canine Companions For Independence, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Crohn's, Colitis Foundation of Central Ohio, Girls on the Run of Central Ohio, Haven House of Pickaway County Inc., JDRF Central Ohio, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Ohio 4-H Youth Development, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, Ohio FFA Foundation, Inc., Pacing For the Cure, PBJ Connections, Inc., Pickaway County Special Olympics, St. Vincent dePaul Society- St. Denis/Holy Family/Immaculate, St. Patrick School, American Red Cross, Tread Lightly and USO of Central and Southern Ohio.   This year the event was held under a tent which allowed the groups to be all together as well as giving them a full view of the track. A teller was also stationed in the tent, which was convenient for the participants to place wagers.   The charities were coupled with horses in either the 6 th or 8 th race. Depending on the placing the horse came in determined the amount each charity would take home. Two charities, Haven House of Pickaway County with Coal Hanover and Ohio 4-H with Wondrous Sport each took home a donation of $10,000 as their horses crossed the finish line first. The next big winners were St. Vincent DePaul Society with Indiana Cam and Ohio FFA with Bottom Deals, who each took home a donation of $5,000 from placing 2 nd . Alzheimer’s Association with Arch Hanover and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium with Shakerattlenrock each took the 3 rd place donation of $2,500. The charities that placed below 3 rd will each receive a $2,000 donation. A total of $63,000 was donated by Ohio horsemen.   For many who attended this was their first experience at a racetrack, while others have watched harness racing before or were veterans to this event, such as Tim McCarthy. He has attended with Big Brothers Big Sisters for many years. This year he is attended with Tread Lightly, a new charity to the event.   Debbie Adamdzak, the principal of St. Patrick School attended Charity Night in 2018. She commented,   “The St. Patrick staff and parents who attend this charitable event absolutely love every aspect: Visiting the paddock and seeing our horse, riding in the pace car, the wonderful table hosts and food and of course the exciting horse races. The proceeds we are given help our students give back to others with our service-learning projects”.   Allan Helber, Haven House of Pickaway County Board President shared about his evening experience.   “Thank you so much for allowing Haven House to participate in Charity Night at the Races.  My wife and I really enjoyed the evening.  The dinner, host, backstage tour and the race itself was all very well done.  Of course, we didn't mind winning the $10,000.  I can assure you it will make a huge impact on our shelter this year,” commented Helber.   The Columbus Zoo has been a part of the event for a few years now. Colby Falconer, the zoo’s Annual Giving Manager shared   “We were delighted to be a part of such an informative and educational evening with other organizations in Ohio. Not only did we learn about the great work other organizations do for our state, we were able to learn about OHHA and what they do in serving all things associated with harness racing. We hope to participate again next year – it has become a highlight of our philanthropic events!”   OHHA would like to thank the many horsemen and OHHA Board members who volunteered their time to help make the evening a success. Thank you to Eldorado Scioto Downs for their hospitality and service.   Due to the generosity of Ohio horsemen, this has become an annual event that the OHHA looks forward to offering. Any charity interested in participating next year, send an email to with your contact information or call the OHHA office at 614-221-3650.     By Regina Mayhugh

Northeast Ohio's premier harness racing trotting race, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, will go to post Saturday (June 29) at MGM Northfield Park. This will be the fifth edition of the Classic and it carries a purse of $175,000. The Grand Circuit event has again attracted the best veteran trotters in North America. It has been slated as the 12th event on a 16-race program. First race post time is 6 PM. Guardian Angel AS drew the rail and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi. The favored trotter tries to deny last year's winner, Marion Marauder's attempt at defending his title. Guardian Angel AS goes to the gate in Saturday's feature, putting his three-race win streak on the line. His trio of wins includes the $100,000 Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia. Trainer Annette Lorentzon calls upon Yonkers standout Jason Bartlett to drive. Marion Marauder, winner of the 2018 Cleveland Trotting Classic, drew post-5 and has been named the 7-2 second choice. The six year-old attempts to be a repeat a triumph in this event and looks to add to add to his $3.1 million bankroll for trainer Paula Wellwood. Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion, will be handled by Canadian superstar Scott Zeron. Local driving standouts Aaron Merriman and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr have both received assignments in this year's field. Wrenn, begins from post-6 with Canadian sensation Musical Rhythm, a winner of six consecutive races and almost $700,000 in earnings. Merriman drives Plunge Blue Chip from the 8-hole. This trotter has over $1 million in earnings and carries a 1:49.4 lifetime mark, the fastest in the race. The 2019 $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic field: Post    Horse                           Driver                         Trainer                                   M/L 1          Guardian Angel As    Jason Bartlett              Annette Lorentzon                 2-1  2          Weslynn Dancer          Dave Palone                Richard Banca                    6-1  3          Emoticon Hanover      Jody Jamieson             Luc Blais                             8-1  4          Pinkman                      Brett Miller                 Per Engblom                         4-1 5          Marion Marauder        Scott Zeron                 Paula Wellwood                   7-2 6          Musical Rhythm          Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.       Benoit Baillargeon               10-1 7          Dayson                        Chris Page                   Ron Burke                          15-1 8          Plunge Blue Chip        Aaron Merriman          Ake Svanstedt                      12-1 This year's Classic program undercard is highlighted by two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes divisions for sophomore pacing colts, three $25,000 late closer series finals, and two Open events. A $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool begins in race 11. Three of the four races in the guaranteed Pick 4 are comprised of the Opens and the Trotting Classic. Beginning at 5 PM, the first 1,000 guests will receive a coupon good for one Northfield Park Ball Cap, one $2 Match Play and one FREE live program good any Friday evening through September 29. These coupons will be distributed until 9 PM or while supplies last to all guests 18 years of age or older, strictly limited to one per person. In addition to superior racing action, the night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. For those who want to be close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron for an array of free fanfare activities. Activities include Northeast Ohio's food trucks from 6 - 9 PM and live music by Time Trax on the outdoor apron from 6 - 9 PM. Guests can try their luck at Ball Toss 7 - 8 PM and the Northfield Park Putting Challenge from 8:30 - 9:30 PM where you can win cash and prizes. Admission and Parking are Always FREE at Northfield Park!   Ayers Ratliff

Northfield, OH -- A deep and accomplished harness racing field of the sport's best Open trotters have tentatively accepted invitations to MGM Northfield Park's premier trotting event, the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic next Saturday (June 29). Marion Marauder, winner of the 2018 Cleveland Trotting Classic, is expected to defend his title for trainer Paula Wellwood. Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion and winner of over $3.1-million in purses, will likely face-off against 2015 Hambletonian champion Pinkman and his $2.8-million career bankroll next weekend at Northfield. Two-time Breeders Crown champion Emoticon Hanover, who sports a lifetime bankroll of over $1.5-million; Homicide Hunter, with a lifetime mark of 1:48.4, a Breeders Crown win and $1.7-million in earnings; and multiple stakes winner Plunge Blue Chip with her $1,000,000 bankroll, are also expected to head to Northeast Ohio. Guardian Angel AS, victorious in his last three starts, including the $100,000 Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia, is also pointed to Cleveland for trainer Annette Lorentzon. Weslynn Dancer, who has collected over $187,452 in purses this season, will head to Northfield off a place finish in the $192,000 Armbro Flight Final at Woodbine/Mohawk Park, outside Toronto. Also coming in from Canada is Musical Rhythm, who is riding a six-race winning streak against Open company at Woodbine/Mohawk Park. The draw for the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic is set for Tuesday morning, June 25, entries for the invitation only event will not be finalized until then. First race post time is 6:00 on Cleveland Trotting Classic night. The undercard features multiple divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers and the Finals of Northfield's Spring Late Closers.   By Ayers Ratliff for MGM Northfield Park

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (May 30) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Dave Bianconi, Brian Loney, Mark McKelvie, and Jim Miller.. Bianconi, the Director of Racing at Northfield Park, joins to talk about Saturday's $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie. He will discuss what it takes to put together a prestigious Invitational and who he feels the contenders are in the race. Saturday night's harness racing program also features Ohio Sire Stakes action. Loney, trainer of Bully Pulpit, will discuss his Open pacer and how he feels he will handle the step up to the Grand Circuit Stage. Bully Pulpit, who comes off a win against the Open pacers at Northfield has put in some impressive miles and looks to continue that progression to the main stage. The pair will also discuss with Loney his career in the business and how he became involved in the sport. McKelvie, Director of Communications at Woodbine Mohawk Park, helps the pair get ready for the 2019 Pepsi North America Cup next Saturday, June 15. The trio will discuss the contenders, what fans can expect during the evening, and some great wagering opportunities that will be available. Expanded gaming appears to be coming to Illinois racetracks and Jim Miller will join to discuss the legislation that is head for the Governor's office which could help promote the sport in the state for years to come. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website or on the archive at   Michael Carter Social Media and Publicity Coordinator U.S. Trotting Association

After a month-long spell of inclement weather that has gripped the area the Harness Horse Youth Foundation/Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s Ohio Grand Tour 2019 was greeted by pristine skies and temperatures in the low 70’s at the Crawford County Fairgrounds on Monday, June 3rd as they began their 10-day trek through Ohio . Fair Official David Staats welcomed the small entourage with their six Trottingbreds and did a fine job of hosting HHYF director Ellen Taylor’s crew and their guests as he had the stalls and track ready and in tip-top shape. The morning’s activities included hands-on demonstrations with question and answer sessions about horse anatomy, temperament, care, and equipment which was all very informative and entertaining. We all got to know what each part of a horse is called and why their height is measured in “hands.” As one older observer said : “I’ve been around horses for fifty years and I didn’t know that!” Everyone double-checked the equipment trying to find which piece had been purposely put on wrong. With a break for lunch the kids and their instructors then got the animals ready to jog. As they shared the specially-built two seat jogcart with a licensed Standardbred trainer, they took a five-minute lap around the half-mile track, and really enjoyed being out in the fresh air. A leisurely jog past the Bucyrus water tower. When they finished rubbing the horses down and put away with a well-earned flake of hay and fresh water, the youngsters were treated to a virtual reality headset experience of driving in a race. It was just like being behind a fast pacer in the middle of eight other horses as they went a mile in a minute and :55 seconds. The only thing was that you can’t say “oh my,” “wow,” or “oh boy” when you’re in a real race as that kind of “distracts” the other drivers especially if one yells “there’s a horse right behind me!” Everyone had a good laugh. Before anyone realized it, the day was over and we started packing up. Plaudits to Bucyrus and the Crawford County Fairgrounds and appreciative “thank you” for having us and we’re already looking forward to next year. Now on to more of "The Ohio Country!"   By Thom Pye for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association

Both of Northfield Park’s local pacing stars have accepted their harness racing invitations to Saturday’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie.   Dave Bianconi, the track’s Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting, has assigned Bully Pulpit and Southwind Amazon 12-1 and 15-1 morning-line odds.  His customary assignments to them are outside posts in Northfield’s weekly Open Pace. “It is unusual to have two local horses in the Battle, but both of these appear to have the ability to compete on the big stage, explained Bianconi.  “This year’s race is totally wide open.  The local horses just add two more pieces to a very interesting puzzle.” Bully Pulpit is conditioned by Northfield Park leading trainer Brian Loney and owner Brad Schwartz of Chicago, a Cleveland native.  Saturday will mark the first time Loney will harness one of his trainees for a Grand Circuit event, but he feels good about his chances. “The way I see his (Bully Pulpit’s) competition is that I’m not in against them, they are in against me,” said Loney. Bully Pulpit goes to post off a three-race win streak in Northfield’s Open Pace, one of those wins being a 1:49.4 victory from post-8.  That 1:49.4 effort is the fastest clocking on any half-mile track in North America this year.  North America’s leading driver, Aaron Merriman, will guide the six-year-old from the two-hole. Southwind Amazon drew post-5 for trainer Paul Holzman.  The nine-year-old is trained at Sahbra Farms about 15 miles from Northfield, and was North America’s winningest horse in 2018 with 22 victories from 38 races, usually from an assigned outside post.  His regular pilot, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., will drive. “This is a quality field of horses and I wish a had a little better draw than the five-hole,” stated Holzman.  “My horse is very sharp right now and with some racing luck anything can happen.  If Southwind Amazon wins, I don’t know if I would be surprised, but I would sure be ecstatic.” The two local stars will face a stiff onslaught from invaders.  Rodeo Rock drew the rail and has been named the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite.  He was the runner-up in this year’s $664,000 Levy Final at Yonkers Raceway in April and enters this race off another runner-up finish in a $100,000 Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia.  The Robert Cleary trainee has four wins in nine races this year and seasonal earnings of $289,400.  Eric Goodell has been listed to drive.  Rodeo Rock has never raced at Northfield, but is owned locally by Royal Wire Products of North Royalton.    Indiana sired superstar Always A Prince enters this event with 20 victories in 26 lifetime starts.  The four-year-old won 19 of 22 races last year and has not missed the board so far in four starts this season.  He has been given a 7-2 morning line.  Always A Prince has a career bankroll of $515,855 and sports a 1:48.1 (HoP 7/8) lifetime mark, the fastest in this year’s field.  Trainer Tyler George brings Trace Tetrick to drive.     Ontario-based speedster Jimmy Freight drew post-7 and is the 4-1 third choice.  He was second in last year’s $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial in his only other race at Northfield.  Jimmy Freight has finished in the top three in 35 of 37 career races, taking a 1:48.3 (Wbsb 7/8) lifetime mark and earning $950,448.  Trainer Andrew Harris tabs Yonkers standout Jason Bartlett to drive.      The 2019 $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie field – Race 12 – 10:15PM approx. post time:   Post     Horse                          Driver                         Trainer                       Morning Line Odds 1          Rodeo Rock                Eric Goodell               Robert Cleary              3-1  2          Bully Pulpit                 Aaron Merriman          Brian Loney                12-1 3          The Wall                     Brett Miller                  Nick Surick                 9-2 4          Always A Prince         Trace Tetrick               Tyler George               7-2 5          Southwind Amazon    Ronnie Wrenn Jr         Paul Holzman             15-1 6          None Bettor A            Joe Bongiorno             Jennifer Bongiorno     6-1 7          Jimmy Freight             Jason Bartlett              Andrew Harris            4-1 8          Filibuster Hanover      Chris Page                   Ron Burke                   10-1   A $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4 has been added to the eleventh race.  The Battle feature will be the second leg of this wager, which offers a low 14% takeout rate.  Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the sport’s best veteran pacers. Past Battle champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Gallo Blue Chip, Maltese Artist and Foiled Again. In addition to superior racing action, Battle night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck’s clubhouse dining room from 5:30 – 8:30 PM. The buffet is $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. Guests who want to be down close to all the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to visit Barrio, Pasta Tivo, Smash Time, Super Hero food trucks and Crooked Kettle Popcorn.  Live music by Unknown Reason will be part of the apron scene from 6 – 9 PM.  Battle night attendees can win cash, gift cards and more through prize drawings until 8 PM and play Pop-A-Shot from 8 – 9 PM.  First race post time is 6 PM.  Admission and parking are always FREE!   Ayers Ratliff

Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $12,500 Pick-3 and $40,000 Pick-4 total pool guarantee to it’s card on Wednesday (May 29) Beginning in Race 5, the $12,500 Pick-3 guaranteed total pool, includes a carryover of $3,129.06. The Pick-4, beginning in Race 7, will feature a $40,000 Pick-4 guaranteed total pool, which includes a carryover $12,734.19. Northfield’s Pick-5, Pick-4’s, Pick-3’s, and Super High-5 offer a reduced takeout of just 14 percent. The Northfield Single Six went without a single winner on Tuesday (May 28) night, it will have a carryover of $9,272.84.  The wager begins in Race 9. Wednesday’s post time is 6:00 p.m.   by Ayers Ratliff for Northfield Park

Mary K. Coven, 75, beloved mother of trainer Sam Coven and ex-wife of the late notable Ohio driver-trainer Herb Coven Jr., died May 26 following a battle of several months against lung cancer.   Mary and Herb ran a powerful stable at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Ohio, for almost 20 years.   Among the stable patrons at the height of their success were Blue Chip Farms and the partnership of Pacey Mindlin and Kenneth Cohen.   The Covens campaigned numerous great horses. Among them were Pointer Hanover, who participated in the Breeders Crown, open pacing mare Norma Ruth Hanover and the invitational star Lusty Fella.   While Herb drove and trained the large majority of the horses, hard-working Mary also possessed licenses as both a driver and trainer.   She won 45 races in the sulky from 1983-1995. Her best year was 1984, when she won a dozen races and fashioned a .450 UDRS average.   She was particularly proud of victories behind Lusty Fella at Lebanon, Latonia, Louisville and Scioto Downs.   From 1991-1997 she accumulated 146 training victories, then earned three more during a one-year return to the trainer's ranks in 2008. Mrs. Coven was also well known for mixing a special leg paint tightener, which she was pleased to share (except the recipe) with fellow horsemen who sought her successful potion.   Mary was born Mary Goldman in October of 1943 in Dayton, Ohio. She met Herb at an after-school event at the Dayton Fairgrounds during high school.   Mary is survived by her only son Sam; four grandchildren--Sabrina, 21, Justine, 12, Brooklyn, 5, and Trotter, 2; as well as a brother Sam Goldman.   Gregg Keidel

Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $10,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee on Tuesday (May 28). Beginning in race two, the $10,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $3,229. This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association. Northfield's Pick-5, Pick-4s, Pick-3s, 20¢ Super High Five and 20¢ Northfield Single Six offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. Tuesday's post time is 6 p.m.   Ayers Ratliff

Columbus, Ohio--Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, was on the move again Friday night (May 24) traveling to Columbus, Ohio for a trotting contest over the five-eighths mile oval at Scioto Downs. And when the judges posted the official sign after the race was contested Unbanji, driven by longtime Billings member Bob "the Lumberman" Troyer, emerged victorious . Sent off at odds of over 10-1 the 11-year-old French-bred gelding rallied in the deep-stretch to collar the betting favorite, Undercover Strike and driver Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel for a 1:571 victory, his second of the season. Troyer started from the five hole and settled in fourth as Alesha "the Hoosier Hotshot" Binkley grabbed the lead with Body Of Work and they showed the way past the first stanza in :28.3. With the field all settling in along the pylons Ms Binkey tapped the breaks and led the Indian-file trailers by the half in :58.2. At that point Troyer and Ubanji were third as Keidel and Undercover Strike were the first to take a shot at the leader and they were head-to-head with Body Of Work at the three quarters in 1:27.4, as the trailing horses began to move at the leaders. Undercover Strike gained command off the final turn and although the gelding appeared to be home free Troyer's trotter came with a rush in the final strides to collar Keidel's charge and get the final call. Despite a covered trip the entire mile Sterling Bodica, and driver Steve "You're Never Too"Oldford, had to settle for third place just a length behind the top two finishers. The race winner, Ubanji, is in America as a result of a international promotion last year by NAADA. Now owned by his driver and trained by John Wengerd the altered son of French sire, Jag De Bellouet, returned a $23.20 win mutuel. The Billings Series will move on to the Meadowlands on Saturday night then to Flamboro Downs on Sunday, and to Woodbine Mohawk on Monday.   by John Manzi for the Billings Series    

Northfield Park's Pick 5 offers an exciting $80,000 total pool guarantee on Wednesday (May 22). Beginning in race two, the $80,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a large $23,617 carryover. This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association. The 20¢ Northfield Single Six begins in the ninth race with a $2,908 carryover. Northfield's Pick 5, Pick 4s, Pick 3s, 20¢ Super High Five and 20¢ Northfield Single Six offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. Wednesday's post time is 6 PM.   Ayers Ratliff

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