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Harrisburg, PA - A $1.6 million investment in Pennsylvania's harness racing industry will boost purses that strengthen breeding programs and establish a prestigious stakes race, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced today. "Harness racing is a unique agritourism experience," said Redding. "From the sport's tracks and fans to its breeding and training operations, it's an industry that provides an important $92 million boost to our economy - and national bragging rights for our top horses, drivers and trainers." The racing industry supports multiple facets of Pennsylvania's economy including agriculture, Redding added, as owners purchase goods from agribusinesses like hay and feed suppliers, equipment dealers and construction contractors. The industry attracts specialists like farriers and veterinarians and supports other local businesses. Pennsylvania's tracks, casinos and off-track wagering facilities offer multiple employment opportunities because of racing, from the horse barns to the betting halls. Harness racing also takes place at 15 agricultural fairs across Pennsylvania. One half of these monies will be used to increase purses in the 2015 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes finals and consolation races. The Sire Stakes program rewards breeders of Pennsylvania-bred and Pennsylvania-owned stallions and broodmares. Each of the eight finals races will receive an additional $90,000 in purse money, generating a total of $350,000 for each race. The eight consolation races will receive an additional $10,000 apiece for purse money, bringing the total for each of these eight contested trotting and pacing races to $60,000. "With this commitment, Pennsylvania makes our sire stakes finals and consolations the top races of their kind in the country," said Harness Racing Commission Chairman Jonathan Newman. "They're part of North America's top harness horse breeding program - all based here in Pennsylvania." The other $800,000 is earmarked for the newly-established 2016 Pennsylvania Classic for three-year-old pacers. The pair of Pennsylvania Classic races will be open to Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old pacing colts and fillies nationwide. Purses are an estimated $700,000 for the colt race and $350,000 for the filly race. Pennsylvania's three harness racing tracks - The Meadows in Washington, Washington County; Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, Delaware County; and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County - must submit advertising and promotional proposals for the opportunity to host the inaugural event. The commission will review the submissions and select the site for the 2016 event. "These races will be among the top pacing events in the country and a source of pride for the commonwealth," Newman added. "These two races represent some of the highest purses in North America. I'm looking forward to working with one of our state's tracks to host our first-ever Pennsylvania Classics." The added purse monies for these races are from the Pennsylvania Standardbred Breeders Development Fund, established by Act 71 of 2004, which directs a portion of slot revenue to incentivize raising, training and owning Standardbreds in Pennsylvania. This investment within the state's equine industry provides funding that is distributed to the owners of Pennsylvania stallions and broodmares who produce top-level horses that race worldwide. For more information on Pennsylvania harness racing, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search "harness racing." William R. Nichols | Press Aide Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | Press Office 2301 North Cameron Street | Hbg PA 17110 Phone: 717.787.5085 | Fax: 717.705.8402  

WILKES-BARRE PA -- PA-sired three-year-old trotting fillies provide the early week harness racing features at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as the misses will compete in second leg action of a $100,000 Stallion Series event on Tuesday and a $222,867 Sire Stakes contest on Wednesday. All of the races have drawn full fields of nine.   The Stallion Series races will find three of the five first leg winners returning, including two from the ubiquitous, unavoidable Team of Top Trotting, Team Takter. Kirsi Hanover, who won her first Stallion start despite suffering broken equipment, drew the inside in the sixth race fourth division, with Jimmy Takter himself also to drive, while Speak To Me, beginning from post seven in the tenth race last cut, will be handled by Scott Zeron. Manhattan Miss, the other filly looking to make it two straight in the Stallion Series, has the rail for driver Mike Wilder and trainer Marty Wollam in the third race second division; the other Stallion Series races are slotted for races one and four.   In Wednesday's Sire Stakes action, Trotting Team Ubiquitous had two of the four first leg winners, and Takter has them both back in at Pocono. Sarcy will be out first of the pair in the ninth race second division, with Yannick Gingras down to drive, but she will be facing the two non-Takter winners at The Meadows: Livininthefastlane (post five, driver Andy Miller for trainer/wife Julie), the fastest of the four winners in western PA at 1:53, and Magic Marker, who will begin from post seven for driver David Miller and trainer Nifty Norman.   The other Sires winner to date, Wild Honey, begins from post four for Takter and Gingras in the tenth race third division. Wild Honey was rated by many as the second-best filly nationally in 2014 behind the brilliant but mercurial Mission Brief, and she will look to add to her impressive record of 11 wins in 13 career starts.   In the seventh race first division, Takter may again have a favorite in Smexi, who was a neck behind Livininthefastlane in the first leg and has since taken a division of the Curries And Ives Filly stake. But driver Corey Callahan will have to overcome both the outermost post nine and Blessings Counted (post eight, driver Dan Rawlings for trainer Rick Beinhauer), also second, to Magic Marker, in the first Sire Stakes round.   Both nights feature 14-race cards beginning at 6:30 p.m.   Pocono / PHHA

WILKES-BARRE PA - 2014 trotting colt champion Pinkman and Jimmy Takter stablemate Uncle Lasse are now perfect in three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes starts this year after capturing their divisions of the $223,617 three-year-old trotting colt third prelim Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In the third section, Wicker Hanover, the only non-Takterite to win in 10 cuts of this harness racing event in 2015, made it two straight wins with a hard-earned nose victory that prevented a Team Takter sweep.   Uncle Lasse was the fastest divisional Sire Stakes winner for the second straight round of prelims, following up on his 1:51.4 win at The Meadows with a 1:52.2 tally Saturday at Pocono. Driver Brett Miller tucked the son of Donato Hanover in fourth, then quarter-moved him to the top, and a 55.4 last half left the rest of the field far in arrears. The brother to 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners.   Pinkman continued to exhibit championship form, as the Explosive Matter gelding went wire-to-wire for Miller/Takter in 1:53. He won by 1¾ lengths over last year's 2YO Sire Stakes champion Billy Flynn, making his seasonal debut, with Jim Morrill Jr. picking up the drive behind Billy Flynn, whom Miller drove regularly last year. Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Joyce McClelland share ownership of the horse many feel to be the Hambletonian favorite (or is that the male Hambletonian favorite?).   Wicker Hanover took a Sire Stakes cut at The Meadows, and he made a return visit to Victory Lane at Pocono, making a sweeping move off cover to the midstretch lead. But anybody who's seen the TV show Breaking Bad knows there's drama afoot whenever Walter White's around, and indeed that Takter-trained colt, on Wicker's back most of the way, came flying late to be just nosed out. Wicker Hanover, who gave Explosive Matter two of the three Sires siring credits, equaled his lifetime best of 1:53 with the tight triumph for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Noel Daley, and the Christer Haggstrom Racing Stable Inc.   On Sunday at Pocono, there will be five divisions of the $100,000 counterpart event for Stallion Series horses, with the first race listed for 6:30 p.m.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - The third preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for harness racing three-year-old colt and gelding trotters will be the headliner at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night, with three fields of nine entered in the $223,617 event.   So far this year, "3YO trotting colts in PaSS events" has been almost the same as writing "success for Team Takter," as the barn of the Hall of Fame won six of the seven sections offered at Harrah's Philadelphia and The Meadows. The only winner from the "outside world," Wicker Hanover, has drawn post three in the fourth race first division for driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Noel Daley. The son of Explosive Matter followed up a second in the first Sires leg with a 1:53 "pocket rocket" triumph, and he may be a major threat to total Takter dominance.   Walter White will carry the hopes of the Takter barn in this division, although he was off the board in the first two legs. But the son of Cantab Hall refamiliarized himself with trotting hopples in a 1:54.3 Meadowlands qualifying win, and could get going here despite post eight. Brett Miller is listed to drive all four of Takter's entrants throughout the three cuts.   The sixth race second division finds 2014 divisional champion Pinkman looking to run his seasonal tally to 3 for 3, with the altered son of Explosive Matter drawing the midpoint of the starting gate after open-length wins in Sires starts. He will be coupled in the wagering with Whom Shall I Fear, the full brother to Father Patrick, who has drawn post seven.   Making his 2015 seasonal debut in this division is the Cantab Hall colt Billy Flynn, who won all four of his preliminaries and then the Championship in the PA program last year for trainer Staffan Lind. One note of drama - Brett Miller was the regular driver of Billy Flynn last year, and is down on the early sheet to handle him Saturday night. He'll have to get off somebody ...   Miller was behind the Donato Hanover colt Uncle Lasse when that colt exploded to a 1:51.4 win last time out at The Meadows, also making him 2 for 2 in the Sires. The full brother to 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry has drawn post seven; starting one notch inside him is the horse who came within a half-length of beating him at The Meadows, Cruzado Dela Noche (Andrew McCarthy), who is trained by ... Jimmy Takter's daughter, Nancy Johannson!   Any number of scenarios could play out in these interesting Sire Stakes matchups Saturday at Pocono, where the first of 14 races is scheduled to go to the track at 6:30 p.m. The night after, Pocono will host the Stallion Series events for this group.   PHHA / Pocono  

Louisville, KY --- When harness racing trainer John Butenschoen selected Boots N Chains and Suit And Tie from the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale, obviously each yearling possessed their individual appeal, but both colts also satisfied another essential criteria: they were Pennsylvania Sire Stakes eligible. “We focus on the Pennsylvania program and anything else is an additional perk,” said the 52-year-old Illinois native. “Suit And Tie was the first surviving foal out of a Yankee Glide mare (and he is) by Andover Hall. Of course we go with a budget and a list of things we are looking for. He fit perfectly ($30,000 sales price). “Boots N Chains, however, was a bit of a different story. We gave $75,000 for him, which is quite high for us and he was on the smallish side, but we were familiar with the family. The Pinskes had his full older brother (Leave Your Mark 4,1:55.4f, $123,360) down in Florida a couple years ago and we trained him. He was a very nice horse and I really like this family.” Each colt will look to improve upon their career and seasonal records when they leave the gate side-by-side in the $119,565 Currier and Ives Trot for 3-year-old males at The Meadows on Saturday (June 6). In what is carded as the 10th race, Suit And Tie commences his mile from post position four, while his stablemate starts trotting from post position five. Boots N Chains is the 3-1 morning line choice and Suit And Tie is 5-1. “It may not be the biggest of stages, but I’m happy with the opportunity to go for a purse of more than $100,000 if other people decide to take their horses elsewhere,” Butenschoen said. “It’s not like it used to be where if you had a nice horse you knew where to race them. Now it is about managing them correctly and placing them in the right spots so the owners can make some money with them. “It may not sound as exciting as being in some of the big stake races, but if you can stay right in Pennsylvania and race for money like this, why wouldn’t you? I did that with Allstar Partner a couple years back and he made over $200,000 just racing in the sire stakes by winning the final.” As 2-year-olds, Suit And Tie, co-owned by William Wiswell and M and L of Delaware, and Boots N Chains, co-owned by Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Eugene Schick, earned what was proffered for them and more. Suit And Tie collected just shy of $50,000 from 17 performances. He was third in his Breeders Crown elimination, but ninth in the $500,000 final and set his 2-year-old mark of 1.58.1f in his sole victory at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Aug. 13, 2014. “The only thing that held this horse back was his mentality,” Butenschoen said. “He finished out the year very nicely as he was trotting home very strongly in the Kindergarten and I was very pleased with him in the Breeders Crown. He really lost all chance in the final, but still did his best.” Boots N Chains also gave a good account of himself in his first year of competition as he trotted in 1:54.4 and amassed just under $120,000 in purse money with only one triumph from 12 starts. He was, however, second to French Laundry in the $240,500 Kindergarten final and to Muscle Diamond in a $77,120 division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile with a last panel in :27.4. Although their year has just begun, both colts have been promising. Boots N Chains has compiled a record of 4-2-0-1 and $35,767. Suit And Tie has collected $20,080 and possesses a resume of 4-1-1-0. Despite the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit being the primary focus, if either colt should prove they are prepared for another stage, Butenschoen has them staked in order to do so. “They are both Hambletonian eligible,” he said. “They are paid into other races, too and I wouldn’t say they are heavily staked, but they have the opportunity to compete in those races should the case arise. “How I look at it is if they have the ability to go to the Hambo, great, it’s what we all dream of in this business, but if not, I just hope I can spot them correctly in these stakes with good purses to do the right thing by my owners. All of us horsemen are always perpetually reaching for that ring, but we also have to make the appropriate decisions for our businesses so we can afford to continue to do that.” By Kimberly French 

WASHINGTON, PA, May 30, 2015 -- Dan Patch Award winner Pinkman strolled to a workmanlike win in Friday's Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows, but it was his stablemate, Uncle Lasse, who stole the show, blazing to a harness racing track- and stake-record 1:51.4 -- despite losing two shoes in the race. Wicker Hanover captured the other division of the $191,217 event, known as the Super Bowl, for sophomore colt and gelding trotters. Leaving from post 6, Uncle Lasse was three wide through the turn before making the front in 27.2. Winning driver Brett Miller indicated that was not exactly where he wanted the son of Donato Hanover-Solveig, a full brother to 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry. "Three deep around the first turn here -- that's usually disaster," Miller said. "He was a little warm, and I couldn't get him in behind another horse. I kind of had to move him to the front. For that colt to overcome that alone, that just shows you what kind of horse he is." The challenges appeared to mount for Uncle Lasse as he threw the right rear shoe, then the right front shoe. "I was really concerned about it, but he didn't miss a beat," Miller said. "He acted like he still had the shoes on." Uncle Lasse opened a daylight lead and held off Cruzado Dela Noche by 1/2 length, with Soboro Hanover third. Jimmy Takter trains Uncle Lasse, who soared over $400,000 in career earnings, for Solveig's Racing Partners. Uncle Lasse's time eclipsed the stake record of 1:52.4 established by Magic Tonight in 2012. It also is the fastest mile ever trotted at The Meadows by a 3-year-old colt, breaking the previous mark of 1:52.3 set by Valley Of Sin in 2013. Pinkman's win was much less dramatic. In fact, about the only dramatic things about the laid-back Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster gelding are his lifetime statistics -- eight wins in 10 starts, more than $600,000 in the bank. "We always joke around about who's the best one in Jimmy's stable -- he's got a bunch of them," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "His name doesn't always come up in the conversation. He's not flashy. It's not like he trained back down that great. He just goes about his business. He can get a little bit lazy. I didn't try to get his attention. I knew he would be good enough to win." Pinkman relinquished the early lead to Bobs Hope, reclaimed it, and scored under wraps in 1:53.3. Honor And Serve shot the Lightning Lane for second, 2-3/4 lengths back, while Cue Hall earned show. Takter conditions Pinkman for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. David Miller had Wicker Hanover in the pocket behind Walter White, who had been trying to switch to the pace for Brett Miller for much of the mile. Around the far turn, he got his wish and broke stride, but David Miller already had steered Wicker Hanover clear of trouble. "The other horse was having trouble when he went by me going to the half; he wasn't trotting good," David Miller said. "I could hear Brett trying to talk him out of it. So I just edged over, and Brett's horse finally ran. It worked out well. He felt good and strong tonight." Wicker Hanover went on to prevail in 1:53 for trainer Noel Daley and owner Christer Haggstrom Stable, 2-1/2 lengths better than Chef Lee. Shoot The Thrill completed the ticket. The son of Explosive Matter-Won An Done vaulted over $100,000 in career earnings. In the $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Certified Ideal held off the determined challenge of Sand Tilly Lace to defeat her by a neck in 1:51.4. Early leader Phone Terror was third. David Miller drove Certified Ideal, who now boasts $338,772 in lifetime earnings, for trainer Randy Bendis, who owns the 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

There were three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday (May 28). They were each going for a purse of approximately $70,000. In the first division, it was Brian Brown trainee Rise Up Now (Scott Zeron) surviving a furious stretch challenge from Wakizashi Hanover (Tim Tetrick) to win. The son of Somebeachsomewhere remains undefeated in 2015, now a perfect six-for-six. Rise Up Now was able to seize command just beyond the quarter, taking the lead from Ron Burke trainee Cooperstown (Yannick Gingras). After rating the second quarter, Rise Up Now squared off against Wakizashi Hanover. These two battled the rest of the way, with Rise Up Now winning by a neck in a final time of 1:50.2. Tomy Terror (Corey Callahan) finished third. Rise Up Now is owned by Strollin Stable, McNamara, Robinson, & Country Club Acres. He paid $6.40. The second division was taken by Don Emond's Allbeef N Nobull (Brett Miller). The son of McArdle went right for the lead, getting the quarter in :27. Co-favorite Yankee Bounty (Yannick Gingras) brushed to the lead shortly after. The other co-favorite Mcardles Lightning (Scott Zeron) challenged first-over at the three-quarter pole, but faded in the stretch to finish third. Allbeef N Nobull closed up the open stretch to beat Yankee Bounty by one length, stopping the clock in a career best 1:51. It was his sixth win of nine lifetime starts. The Monte Gelrod trainee paid $7.00 to win. Trainer Brian Brown picked up his second PASS win of the day in the third division, this time with Lost For Words (Dave Miller). The son of Well Said left hard from the gate along with Jimmy Takter trainee Blood Brother (Yannick Gingras). These two battled to the quarter in :27.2. Lost For Words took over just after the quarter and went on to a convincing score, stopping the clock in 1:49.3 for his eighth career win. It was a lifetime's best. Blood Brother settled for second, while Lyons Levi Lewis (Matt Kakaley) finished third. He paid $6.20 to win. Lost For Words is owned by Country Club Acres, Robinson, Lombardo, and Strollin Stable. Michael Bozich

There were three divisions of The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (May 21) each going for a purse of just over $71,000. In the first division, it was Miller's Stable's Somewhere Sweet (Dave Miller) scoring an impressive five length victory. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere rolled right to the front, tripping the quarter beam in :27.1. After a rated second quarter of :29.1 (:56.2 half), the Brian Brown trainee began to draw away, getting the back half in :56.2, completing the mile in an in-hand 1:52.4. It was her fourth career win of eleven starts, and her third in the last four. Better Said (Tim Tetrick) was making her 2015 debut after going two for five in the win column as a two-year-old. She rallied on for second, while Moma's Got A Gun (Brett Miller) finished third. The winner paid $6.60. The track was downgraded to good for the second division, in which trainer Brian Brown continued his winning ways with Serious Filly (Tim Tetrick). The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was taken off the early pace, but shifted into gear shy of the half. She mounted a persistent first-over bid, and was able to grind past pace-setter Aria Hanover (Brett Miller) to win by a little more than a length, stopping the clock in 1:53.3. Imagine Dragon (Scott Zeron) shook loose late to close for second, while Doll Fins (Yannick Gingras) finished third. Owned by Emerald Highlands Farm, Serious Filly remains undefeated in 2015, a perfect four for four. The winner paid $14.40. Trainer Brian Brown was looking for the sweep in Division three, as he sent out the heavy favorite Triple V Hanover (Dave Miller). The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was taken off the early pace, but brushed hard towards the top after the quarter (:28), not clearing until the half (:56.2). The tough trip took its toll in the stretch, as Art's Jem (Tim Tetrick) closed fast up the inside to win, stopping the clock in 1:54.2. Southwind Roulette (Yannick Gingras) finished second while Deli Beach (John Campbell) finished third. It was the third seasonal win in five starts for the daughter of Art Official, who is owned by CC Racing. The Joann Looney-King trainee paid $19.60 to win. Michael Bozich

WILKES-BARRE PA - To modify a Southern expression to its current "home," harness racing trainer Brian Brown is "hotter'n a two-dollar Pennsylvania pistol on a Saturday night."   Trainer Brown, trainer of 2014 divisional and Jugette champion Color's A Virgin and a resident of Delaware OH, may be having himself a two-day party late this September at the famed half-miler, as he already has five different Pennsylvania Sire Stakes-winning three-year-old pacing horses, three fillies and now the two colts who continued the hot trainer's winning ways Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, being among the four winners in the $226,168 first leg of their Sires action.   As the track turned "sloppy" for the fifth race Sires division (Pocono is about 150 miles northeast of Baltimore as the crow flies, and the Preakness rain started about two hours before the storms hit northeast PA), Rise Up Now remained undefeated in five outings this year, tucking in the pocket down the back and then catching leader Blood Brother in the stretch to post a 1½-length 1:51.3 over a newly-christened "sloppy" track. Blood Brother had snapped off splits of 26.1, 55.3, and 1:22.2, but the 53 usage in the odd-numbered quarters did not allow him to hold off the Somebeachsomewhere gelding and driver Simon Allard, who piloted the Brown trainee for King McNamara of Florida, the only non-Buckeye in the ownership group which includes the Strollin Stable, William Robinson, and Country Club Acres.   Brown is now two-for-two seasonally with the Well Said colt Lost For Words, who reclaimed the lead down the backstretch, opened up four lengths turning for home, then held off the late charge of the game little Allbeef N Nobull to win by 1½ lengths in 1:51.4 in the night's second division, when the track was still "fast." Lost For Words, a finalist in both the Governors Cup and Breeders Crown last year, was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for the three Ohioans who share in Rise Up Now's ownership and another Buckeye, Richard Lombardo.   For years Brown has done very well in the Pennsylvania program, but this year his numbers are only slightly short of unbelievable. He's perfect in five Pocono starts, and at The Meadows he sports a 13-9-3-0 tally, for a Keystone State total of 18-14-3-0 - which produces a mind-boggling state UTR of .870!   McArdles Lightning teamed with driver Anthony Napolitano to post a 6-1 upset in taking the first division, coming from last at the half in the seven-horse field and blitzing his own back two quarters in 54.2 to equal his lifetime mark of 1:51. Steve Elliott conditions the McArdle ridgling (double thoroughbred Triple Crown racewinner American Pharoah is also a ridgling) for the Lightning Stable.   In the final Sires heat, Wazikashi Hanover was a pocket rocket in catching last year's 2YO Sires champion, Yankee Bounty, by 1¼ lengths, with the time on the sloppy track 1:52. Yankee Bounty overcame the outside "eight-ball" to post splits of 27, 57, and 1:24.4, but "Wazikashi," a Dragon Again gelding, was relentless and gained into the 27.1 kicker for trainer Joann Looney-King and the Tri County Stable. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. joined trainer Brown as a double winner in the Sires races.   ***** Also on the Pocono Saturday card were two $30,000 Open events, one for each gait, which were carded in anticipation of next Sunday's $150,000 Invitationals to be raced at the other track that Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association services, Harrah's Philadelphia.   Last year's divisional champion Classic Martine will have an interesting decision to make about "trying the boys" after taking the $30,000 Open trot by 3½ lengths in 1:53.1 on a fast track for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes. The daughter of Classic Photo, owned by Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Ed Gold, made the lead in 27.3, "stole" a 30-second second quarter, and then dashed home in successive 27.4 panels to defeat Classicality, with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry coming from seventh at the half to claim third, another length behind.   On the pacing side, Van Rose Memorial winner Domethatagain and second-place Alexa's Jackpot met again, but this time, two weeks later, the post position advantage was reversed (1-4, respectively, in the Rose to 8-3 Saturday), as was the result, with Alexa's Jackpot winning in 1:49.3 in the off going. Domethatagain motored to the top in 26 flat from his next-to-outside starting berth Saturday, but Alexa's Jackpot was put on the move soon thereafter by George Napolitano Jr., who took both Opens, and posted splits of 54.1 and 1:21.4 en route to the 1¼-length triumph. Trainer Marty Fine shares ownership in the winner with the Highland Thoroughbred Farm.   ***** The week's racing comes to an end at Pocono Sunday night with four $20,000 divisions of the first leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for the three-year-old colts and geldings. Many horses holding promise of developing into good horses are in the Stallion events; one of the more promising is Gallic Beach, making his first start of the year but showing a half-length loss in 1:50.2 at Lexington last fall. He's a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Western Gallie, a daughter of Western Hanover whose dam is Galleria and whose SBSW half-sister is double Breeders Crown elim winner Galliebythebeach.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, May 16, 2015 -- Livininthefastlane beat the field -- and a raging thunderstorm -- Saturday at The Meadows when she scored in a stake-record 1:53 in a $193,364 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for harness racing 3-year-old filly trotters. The event, known as the Stenographer, was contested over four divisions, with Wild Honey, Sarcy and Magic Marker taking the other splits. Dave Palone and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed for a pair of stake victories with Wild Honey and Sarcy. Livininthefastlane's victory was hard earned. She was looped from the gate and had to step lively for Andy Miller to make the front in 27.2, then hold off the strong late challenge of Smexi to down her by a neck. Matter Hatter finished third. The time erased the old Stenographer mark of 1:53.4 established by Maven in 2012. "I didn't want to use her quite that much early, but she responded. She's a good filly," Miller said. "She's grown up, and she's a lot easier to handle than she was last year. If she has a little luck, she could have a very big year." Julie Miller trains Livininthefastlane, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Nicole's Promise who soared over $300,000 in lifetime earnings, for Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. Andy Miller said Livininthefastlane likely will take several weeks off before her next engagement. Shortly after Livininthefastlane triumphed, a gully gusher inundated the track, forcing a brief delay in the program and costing Wild Honey any shot at breaking the new stake record. Wild Honey, who won 10 of 12 starts and $439,703 at 2, was sharp nevertheless, quarter-poling to the lead and winning geared down in 1:55.1. Sweet Thing was second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Smokinmombo earned show. "She's awesome," Palone said. "I'm just trying to get it done as cheap as I can this early in the season. She finished well within herself -- just a beautiful filly to drive. She's not a real big, stout filly, but she's as quick as a cat and so versatile." Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Jim Fielding campaign Wild Honey, a daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy. Sarcy also quarter-poled to the front for Palone and needed all her determination to thwart the first-over bid of Sky Hanover, who fell a head short. Gatka Hanover completed the ticket. A daughter of Donato Hanover-Southwind Allaire, Sarcy triumphed in 1:54.4 for owners Christina Takter, Oakwood Farms, John Fielding and Jim Fielding. "I had to use her twice," Palone said, "but I really felt the whole way through the stretch my filly would fight (Sky Hanover) off. I was happy with her. That's a good mile in these conditions." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Harness racing trainer Jim Campbell is happy with Honor And Serve's preparation for his 3-year-old season. He is less excited about the way the trotting colt will have to start it. Honor And Serve opens his campaign Thursday by competing in the fourth of four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at Harrah's Philadelphia. He faces a group that includes returning Dan Patch Award-winner Pinkman as well as stakes-winners Walter White and Cruzado Dela Noche. A total of 23 Hambletonian Stakes-eligible trotters will race in Thursday's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at Philly. Trainer Jimmy Takter sends out the morning line favorite in each division: Uncle Lasse in the first, Whom Shall I Fear in the second, The Bank in the third, and Pinkman in the fourth. The $1 million Hambletonian is Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Last year, Honor And Serve won two preliminary divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and finished second to Billy Flynn in the $260,000 series championship. He also finished second to Habitat in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile. He ended the season with six top-three finishes in nine starts and earnings of $164,920 for owner Fashion Farms. Two of his off-the-board finishes came when he went off stride and the other was a fifth-place finish where he was beaten by only 1-1/2 lengths in a division of the International Stallion Stakes. "I was happy with his year," Campbell said. "He raced really good in some of the sire stakes, including the sire stakes final, and he raced good in Lexington too. We had a couple disappointments with him making breaks in the Peter Haughton (Stakes) and the Matron; in the Haughton he just took a bad step and in the Matron he kind of got jammed up a little bit. "But he was the type of horse that never got hurt or anything like that, so hopefully he'll come back and have a good year for us." Honor And Serve is a son of Donato Hanover - the 2007 Horse of the Year - out of mare Honorable Daughter, who received the 2008 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old female trotter. Bred by Valley High Stable, the colt sold for $75,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. "He's matured both physically and mentally," Campbell said. "He showed us some nice speed last year and he's bigger and stronger this year so hopefully he'll be able to carry it further." Honor And Serve prepped for the start of this season with two qualifiers, winning the second in 1:56.2 on May 5 at Harrah's Philadelphia. He will start his Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race from post one with driver Tim Tetrick and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. Pinkman, who is 2-1, also is making his seasonal debut. He will leave from post three with driver Yannick Gingras. Last season, Pinkman won six of eight races and earned $566,960. Named after a character from the television series "Breaking Bad" (as is stablemate Walter White) the gelding's victories included the Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record-equaling 1:53.2, and Valley Victory Stakes. Walter White, Cruzado Dela Noche, and Dapper Don all enter the race 1-for-1 this season. Cruzado Dela Noche won a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars on May 2 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono while Walter White and Dapper Don won conditioned races. "We couldn't have asked him to be any better in his two qualifiers," Campbell said about Honor And Serve. "It's just unfortunate he got into the division he got in, but we have no control over that. "He's staked for everything. What he races in, that's going to be week to week. There are a lot of good horses out there, that's for sure." Whom Shall I Fear, who is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick, is 3-for-3 this year after going winless in five starts last season. He is coming off a victory in the Pennsylvania All Stars and is the 9-5 morning line favorite in the second PaSS division. Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry, last year won a division of the Bluegrass and finished second in the Peter Haughton and Valley Victory. He is making his seasonal debut and is the 2-1 choice in the first PaSS group. The Bank, who also won a Bluegrass division last season, is the 2-1 favorite in the third division. Here is a link to Thursday's entire card at Harrah's Philadelphia. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

WILKES-BARRE PA - $224,000 worth of Pennsylvania All-Stars events for Keystone-sired three-year-old pacers will highlight the weekend harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with three divisions of colts in the Saturday spotlight and four sections of fillies set to go Sunday.   Among the horses to watch in Saturday's colt racing will be the very first horse to set foot on the Pocono track in post parade that night, Yankee Bounty in the first race, who will start from post two for Team Burke (though he will be wearing HN1 as part of a mutuel entry, hence "the first horse to set foot..."). The PA Sire Stakes Champion at two, here making his seasonal bow, Yankee Bounty also shows a second-place finish to divisional star In The Arsenal and a record of 8 wins in 10 starts.   The 2-3 finishers in that 2014 Sires Final are matched up in the fifth race third division: second (by a nose) Tomy Terror, starting from post four for trainer John Butenschoen and driver Mike Simons, and Cooperstown, just inside him for Burke and driver Matt Kakaley (who is listed on both halves of the Burke entry in race 1). The third race division is topped by Blood Brother (post two, trainer Jimmy Takter, driver Yannick Gingras), second in a Governor's Cup elim at two and an impressive winner in his 2015 bow at Harrah's.   The Sunday night patrons may have things a bit easier in handicapping the filly action, as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Pennsylvania Stallion Series both had their first seasonal legs at The Meadows this past weekend, and the winners of all three divisions of both events are in to go Sunday, save one Sire Stake winner, Serious Filly - and her trainer, defending Jugette champion Brian Brown, has ample representation here in Triple V Hanover and Somewhere Sweet, both second last week.   The other Sire Stake winners, Safe From Terror and Storm Point, are both from the Burke Stable, as is Southwind Roulette, who won the Sires divisional championship at two. Stallion Series winners Dobre Povedane, Mezzanine Fashion, and Angel Plus will thus be taking a crucial stepup in company while testing the waters in the All-Stars, whose races will go in the 1, 3, 5, and 10-slots Sunday.   PHHA / Pocono

Harrisburg – Standardbred horse owners must register their stallions and broodmares by the February deadlines for Pennsylvania programs that reward breeders who turn out top racers. Stallions must be registered for the Sire Stakes Fund by Feb. 1. Broodmares but be registered “PA-resident” by Feb. 15 to ensure their foals are eligible for Breeders Fund awards. Stallions must remain in Pennsylvania at a declared facility from Feb. 15-July 4 for their offspring to be considered eligible. Stallions used as racehorses must be approved by the commission and returned to their Pennsylvania facility after each out-of-state race. Broodmares must live in Pennsylvania for at least 180 contiguous days, including foaling, and be in foal to a registered Pennsylvania stallion, for their offspring to be eligible for the award. Registration forms are available by contracting Pennie Dodson at 717-787-5196 or pdodson@pa.gov. For more information, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “harness racing.” From the PA Department of Agriculture    

Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Trainer Frank Antonacci liked what he saw when he purchased Sonic for $155,000 at last fall's yearling sale in Lexington. So much so that he was willing to spend another $155,000 on family member Whataworkout a month later in Harrisburg. On Friday, Antonacci sends the two sons of stallion Muscle Hill into separate Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters at The Red Mile. Both will be making their second lifetime starts. Sonic's mother is Spice On Ice. Among Spice On Ice's other offspring is Southwind Sofia, who is the mother of Whataworkout. "We kind of went all-in on that family," Antonacci said. "We liked it once, so we might as well like it twice." It was actually the third time Antonacci liked the family and its connection with Muscle Hill. On the same day he purchased Sonic, he missed on a Muscle Hill-sired filly named Mission Brief. Her mother is Southwind Serena, who also is out of Spice On Ice. Mission Brief, who sold for $150,000, won this year's Merrie Annabelle Stakes in a world-record performance 1:52.2 performance, then lowered the mark to 1:52.1 in her elimination of the Peaceful Way Stakes. "I loved Mission Brief when I saw her in Kentucky, which is really the same family," Antonacci said. "I didn't get the job done buying her, although we focus more on the colts at the sale anyway." And Antonacci is happy with what he's seen from those colts so far. Whataworkout won his debut in 1:56.4 on Sept. 18 in a division of the Kindergarten Series at The Red Mile. Sonic went off stride from post eight in his Kindergarten split, but Antonacci was unfazed. "Sonic I think got a little lost from the eight hole," Antonacci said. "I'm going to give him a pass on his first performance. Hopefully this week (starting) from the rail he'll be a little more focused. "Whataworkout was kind of in a messed up race (with horses making breaks) but he showed his professionalism and stayed at it and got the job done. "They've both got big speed and big ability. I think they've got a bright future." Whataworkout, owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, is in the first of five Bluegrass divisions for the rookie trotters, where Peter Haughton Memorial winner Centurion ATM is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Sonic, owned by Lindy Racing, is in the fifth division, where The Bank is the 5-2 morning line choice. Antonacci also sends out homebred stakes-winner Iron in the fourth division and Mesmerized in the second division. The twice-raced Iron, a son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Ivory Lindy, is coming off a victory in the American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park. He is in the same Bluegrass split as Haughton runner-up Uncle Lasse, New Jersey Sire Stakes champ Guess Whos Back, and New York Sire Stakes champ Crazy Wow. Iron lost a month of time during the summer because of complications from what was believed to be a spider bite. "That kind of stalled him out just as we were about to get ready to qualify in July," Antonacci said. "It was pretty wild. He's recovered from that and he's starting to put it all together now. "We've liked him from the beginning and we're very happy with him. He's getting better every time we've brought him to the track and hopefully he keeps going that way." Mesmerized is winless in three starts, but the colt's mother, Gift Card, won a Bluegrass division in 2008 and is a full sister to Antonacci's million-dollar-earner Crazed. The homebred Mesmerized faces undefeated Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ Billy Flynn in his Bluegrass division on Friday. "We've got primarily the same people who owned Crazed with us on him, so that's nice," Antonacci said. "He's just been Steady Eddie. He's had some races where racing luck didn't go his way, but he continues to improve. He's a good gaited, good looking horse. We're just looking for him to keep improving." The remaining Bluegrass Stakes division is headlined by Habitat, who won the William Wellwood Memorial on Sept. 13 at Mohawk Racetrack. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Delaware, OH --- Lifetime Pursuit made it six wins in a row by dominating Wednesday’s (Sept. 17) $89,475 Buckette for 3-year-old female harness racing trotters at the Delaware County Fair, crossing the wire in front by 12-3/4 lengths in 1:53.4. Driven by Yannick Gingras, the filly started from post six and raced three wide around the first turn to get the lead from Broadway Socks. Once there, she never looked back through fractions of :28.2, :56.4 and 1:25.1. The winning time was three-fifths of a second off Frau Blucher’s half-mile-track world record for a 3-year-old female trotter, set last year in the Buckette. Sent off at odds of 1-9, Lifetime Pursuit paid $2.10 to win. Bikini So Teeny was second, followed by Yoga and Broadway Socks. “It definitely was a walk in the park today,” Gingras said. “Since Hambletonian Day, she’s turned from being a very good filly to a great filly. She was awesome that day and she’s been awesome ever since.” Lifetime Pursuit started her six-race win streak by winning the Hambletonian Oaks on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands. Since then, she’s added divisions of the Casual Breeze and Simcoe stakes, plus the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. “She is amazing to drive but she is a filly where you can't hurt her feelings,” Gingras added. “Before the Hambletonian Oaks I always drove her behind cover or made sure I got her out of the pocket. But in the Hambletonian Oaks she had the perfect trip, I just pulled the plugs and popped her out. Since then she has been so good she's been the 1-5 or 1-9 favorite so she's needed to be involved earlier. She's probably been on the front a little too much because of that but she really feels tremendous to drive right now.” The daughter of Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Brittany Farms. She has won eight of 13 races this year and $652,054. For her career, she has won 14 of 24 starts and is nearing $1 million. by Ken Weingarter with Kimberly French

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