Day At The Track
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Four year old Live Or Die/Inclination gelding Excuse To Live had everything go right for a change when successful in the $6,000 Community Day Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres at the Stawell HRC meeting conducted on Monday December 30 for those which qualified in the heats held at Terang on Sunday December 22 Trained at Sebastopol (Ballarat) by Colin Holloway and raced by the Holloway family (Colin, wife Heather and son Brett) who drove the horse, Excuse To Live led throughout from the pole to defeat the raging hot favourite Keayang Starzzz from near last by a half neck in 1-57.1, with Dancing Feet running home late from a mile back to finish third. Excuse To Live rarely has any luck in his races and probably should have finished closer in many of them. Popular Sebastian owners Garry and Brenda Jackson finished the year on a high note, when their honest five year old Pegasus Spur/Cassies Miss mare Mosquito Spur landed in the Stawell Windows & Glass Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2175 metres. Trained and driven by Garry, Mosquito Spur began with a wing on every foot from the 10 metre mark to cross Family Decision shortly after the start, with her task being made easier when all of the favoured runners were badly away. Bowling along at her leisure, Mosquito Spur although shortening stride over the concluding stages, scored by 2.5 metres in a mile rate of 2-08.9 over Frances Annie which they away all chance at the start and was meritorious in making up many lengths to get so close at the finish. Rough Voyage (three back the markers) was third. Melton breeder/owner/trainer Charlie DeBono's Safari/Living Angel gelding Another Safari snared the 2nd Heat of the Stawell Veterinary Clinic Platinum Country Series I for Three Year Olds over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-00.5. Driven by Zac Phillips, Another Safari had little difficulty in leading from the pole, just lasting to defeat Always Wantano along the sprint lane after trailing by a half neck, with Notjustanotherlombo (one/one - three wide home turn) third a neck away after racing roughly prior to the post. Another Safari's mother Living Angel a multiple cup winning mare, won the Stawell Pacing Cup in 2001. Peter Manning kept his Stawell record intact by winning the Gold Reef Clothing Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with in-form Art Major/Ananz filly Znana. With daughter Kerryn in the sulky, Znana led throughout from the pole to defeat her stablemate Additallup which raced outside her by 3.4 metres, with Amberlu Angus (one/one) third. The mile rate an easy 2-04.8. It was Znana's sixth victory. Armstrong trainer Brook Hansen's beautifully bred four year old Blissful Hall/My Cherie gelding Blessed IsThe Boy broke his maiden status at start number 12 when successful in the Carey Covers Pace for C0 class over 2175 metres, returning a mile rate of 2-01.7. Driven by Kerryn Manning, Blessed Is The Boy starting from the extreme draw commenced a forward move from last racing for the bell, being accommodated by the favourite Fearless Courage coming out ahead of him from three back in the running line. Making the final bend very wide, Blessed Is The Boy rattled home at a great rate to blouse the leader Urban Shadow by a half head in a tricky finish, with Onlyeconomyclass third after switching down to the sprint lane from mid-field on turning. Another four year old winner on the day was Jet Laag/Pandoras Reign gelding Pandoras Jet for Marong part-owner/trainer Col Latter in the Stawell farm Supplies Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Driven by Terang based "whiz kid" Jason Lee, Pandoras Jet showed blistering speed out of gate four to cross the pole marker Peters Ace on the first turn, defying all challengers to score in a rate of 2-00.7 from Peters Ace which used the sprint lane to no avail and Sir Dasher Dee which followed the pair. Former HRV Board member Peter Bourke now Chairman of Australian Pacing Gold, enjoyed a day of days at Stawell as apart from breeding the main race winner Excuse To Live, also bred and races Garabaldi Union the victor of the Hygain Feeds Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres. Trained by Peter Manning at Great Western, Garabaldi Union a five year old Union Guy/Miss Incline gelding which has been on fire of late, possied three back in the moving line from gate five, with Secret Ruby leading from the pole being shadowed by Metrofromelle. Easing three wide racing for the bell, Garabaldi Union showed plenty of staying prowess to wear down both Suerte (one/one) which shifted down to the sprint lane on straightening by a head and a game Metrofromelle in a mile rate 1-58.3. This is my final column for HARNESSLINK - thank you for all the support over the years and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014. Len Baker                                      

Jimmy Johnstone has landed on the open class scene with a bang, after taking out yesterdays $35,000 Methven Cup (Gr3) at Mt Harding Racecourse. The lightly raced five-year-old, who was superbly driven by trainer-driver John Hay, settled one-one early doors before working to the front and subsequently landing the trail behind Pass Them By. He then emerged in the home straight to narrowly down last year’s winner Fly Like An Eagle, who was super in defeat after being trapped wide on a hot last 800 metres of 56.6. Sleepy Tripp was also good in third, while Pass Them By and Four Starzzz Flash dead heated for fourth. Jimmy Johnstone, a son of P-Forty-Seven, was second up after a fresh-up eighth at Addington last week. Last season he was successful in the Southern Country Cups Final as well as the Winton and Gore Cup. Jimmy Johnstone is currently paying $51 for a win and $15 for a place in the futures market for the New Zealand Cup. He was ranked 29th when the last official Cup rankings were released, but yesterday’s win is sure to see him leapfrog many of his opposition. He is owned by J K McRae, A J O'Donnell, Mrs D J G McRae and Miss I M Lee, and is now verging on $100,000 in stakes. Meanwhile, the feature trot for the day, the $13,000 Pegasus Spur Trotbred Fillies & Mares Handicap Trot, was taken out by Mamselle, who broke through for her fifth win after a string of minor places. Co-trainer and owner Leonne Jones said the Continentalman granddaughter of top mare Tussle is likely to be breed from this season but will carry on racing while in foal. “We will see if she can’t pick up another race or two while in foal,” said Jones. “She is booked to Majestic Son,” she added. The win edged Mamselle’s stake earnings over the $50,000 mark. By Mitchell Robertson

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 18, 2013 — Overcoming a demanding first quarter, Trotslikethewind stayed strong on the front in capturing Wednesday’s $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Trotslikethewind charged toward the point from post 8 but was stuck outside before she could wrest the lead from Chilitodayhotamale in a swift 27.4 panel. Chilitodayhotamale had every opportunity in the stretch, but the 8-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Familiar Goal was resolute, scoring by 3/4 lengths in a sharp 1:54.4. Don’t Blink rallied for show. Andy Rickert owns and trains Trotslikethewind, who now boasts $371,700 in career earnings. Dave Palone and Mike Wilder each drove three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak  

In back-to-back weeks, J J Hall and Chip Noble equaled the Scioto Downs Racino track record for aged trotters when he won again in 1:54.1.  Dunkster (Kurt Sugg) and Hesza Laser (Chip Noble) both set the record back in 2005. This week, in the Open Trot, J J Hall went three-wide around the last turn and like a sling-shot drew off to win by four and a half lengths.  The five-year-old gelding by Jailhouse Jesse has now earned $215,846 for owner Doug Millard of Woodstock, Ontario. The win was the second in a row on the night for trainer Scott Mogan.  Just one race earlier he won with Quick N’ Slick in the NW$7500 trot. Dan Noble took the five-year-old gelding straight to the front and never looked back, hitting the wire in 1:55.1.  Quick N’ Slick, by Pegasus Spur, is owned by Frances Schloss of Cincinnati. Ray Hall and driver Tony Hall equaled another track record Friday, this one for 3-year-old trotting geldings, when they won in 1:54.4.  The mark was set earlier this year by March Awareness and Ray Paver.  Ray Hall (Justice Hall - Comebyrail) switched barns since his win last week and is now trained by Ron Steck for owners Bruce and Patricia Soulsby. In the Fillies & Mares Open Pace, Ginger and Fred cruised to a win, tripping the beam in 1:51.3.  Only three and three-quarter lengths separated the compact seven horse field top to bottom.  Tony Hall took the seven-year-old mare by Real Artist mare from the seven hole straight to the top and never looked back.  Doc’s Hope (Jason Brewer) finished second by a length with Sea Cruise Hanover (Chris Page) only a quarter length further back in third. Ginger and Fred is owned by J&T Silva Stables, LLC, Howard Taylor, Edwin Gold and Robert Feldman.  It was the 30th lifetime win for Ginger and Fred, which pushed her just $10,000 short of $1.9-million earned lifetime. Racing continues Saturday at Scioto with a first post of 6:30 p.m. Submitted by Scioto Downs Racino  

Beautifully bred Dream Vacation/Why Worry filly I Dream It broke her maiden status at start number five by taking the Trots Card 3-Y-0 Trotters handicap over 2100 metres at Charlton in Central Victoria on Monday August 5. Trained at Tatura by David Abrahams who has made several trip to the USA over the years, I Dream It driven by Daryl Douglas led virtually throughout from barrier three to score from the fast finishing Jay Gee (three back the markers) and Our Punt which led out before taking a trail on the winner. The mile rate 2-05.9. Bolinda trainer Kari Males' very honest 4-Y-0 Pegasus Spur/Cookey Charm mare Cookeyslass notched up her 4th success in 44 outings when successful in the Dunlop Superdealers Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2100 metres in a mile rate of 2-04.7. Driven by Chris Alford who is fast closing in on Greg Sugars for the state driving title with four weeks to go, Cookeyslass from the 10 metre mark slotted in three back in the moving line, with the local hope Lochlee Jacob leading easily after pinging away from barrier two. Moving forward three wide racing for the bell, Alford angled Cookeyslass down to the sprint lane on straightening and the mare proved too strong over the concluding stages for the pacemaker, winning by 1.4 metres, with Prettygirl Lassie making up many yards over the concluding stages from five back the markers following an early break to finish third. The Charlton & District Community Bank Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2100 metres went the way of Great Western trainer/driver Kerryn Manning's well performed ex-Kiwi 6-Y-0 Sundon/Cool Yankee mare Knapdale Girl much to the delight of high profile owners Merv and Meg Butterworth. Sent forward from a 20 metre handicap after a smooth beginning to assume control, Knapdale Girl toyed with her rivals, scoring by an untouched 9.7 metres over Miss Eliza who was always handy from a 30 metre equal backmark shared with the third placegetter Baltimore Boy which ran home late from a mile back. The mile rate 2-07. In the pacing ranks, Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore's smart 3-Y-0 Life Sign/Philtra Girl Philtra Phella coasted to victory against his older rivals in the House To Home Decorating Pace for C0 class over 2100 metres with Chris Alford in the sulky. Easily retaining the front running from the pole, Philtra Phella was never out of second gear, defeating No Bettertime from last and Extra off a three wide trail in the final circuit in a mile rate of 1-59.8. by Len Baker  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 29, 2013 — Trotslikethewind survived a four-ply battle for the early lead and held on late to capture Monday’s $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Trot at The Meadows. Trotslikethewind shot out for the lead from post 6 only to find herself four wide before clearing to the front. But when Aaron Merriman was able to give her a 29.4 second-quarter breather, she had just enough to hold off the Lightning Lane charge of Perfect Chance and defeat her by a nose in 1:55. Sheer Glide was third. Andy Rickert trains and owns the 8-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Familiar Goal, who now boasts $348,675 in career earnings. Tuesday’s card at The Meadows features five divisions of a $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak  

Trotslikethewind used an explosive backside burst to grab the lead and roll to an easy harness racing victory - her second straight - in Friday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows.

In the 9-horse Billings trot at Scioto Downs on Friday (June 7) harness racing driver 'Trader Bud' Hatfield sent Brother Gus to the lead from the five hole and played catch me if you can. And nobody could.

Bangholme harness racing owner/breeder who has the most bubbling personality, enjoyed a magic month of May as her home bred Pegasus Spur/Annika filly Fiftyshadesofbrown chalked up two wins - the Bill Morrissey 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile at the Sebastian meeting held at Tabcorp Park Melton on May 19, followed up by the Majestic Son 3-Y-0 Vicbred Trotters Mobile at Lord's Raceway Bendigo six days later.

With at least five months in between starts, local Columbus harness racing trainees Quick N' Slick & Southwind Pepino might not be ready to dominate the open ranks at Scioto Downs Racino today (Friday, May 10) but their trainers believe in their horses' abilities.

Saturday night's Globe Derby Park Gramel Final harness racing meeting includes the Sam & Pauline Spirou & Family Monte for ridden trotters.

Two harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Wednesday April 24 at two of the most popular venues - Maryborough in the afternoon and Ballarat at night.

Bolinda harness racing trainer Paul Males was victorious with 7-Y-0 Brioso Hanover/All Fire N Ace mare Dusty Smiles in the True Value Solar Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres at Shepparton on Tuesday April 23.

King Kenny's form is positively regal, and he gave stand-in harness racing driver Jonny Cox something to smile about too at Winton yesterday.

Kandian Klub shrugged off a serious backside challenge Wednesday at The Meadows and drew away to a comfortable victory - her second in the series - in the Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot.

Once again the Manning harness racing stable dominated at the Ararat fixture held on Wednesday March 13, with Michelle snaring a stable double (Aheadofhistime and G K Galleon) and Kerryn providing a winner as well with Whata Finale.

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