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CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Battling to the opening quarter, Imagine Speed took control of the front end and never relinquished it in the Saturday afternoon harness racing feature at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Drive Dale Spence hustled the daughter of Ponder off the gate from post 4 in the $2,550 Open Mares pace and was strung to the first fraction by post 3 starter Dancers Pass (Driven by David Dowling). Imagine Speed then cleared to the lead in the 28.1 opening panel and proceeded to cut out splits of 57.4 and 1:27.2 without seeing a challenger then closed out the mile in 1:57.3 for the one-and-a-half length decision over Jordies Hope (Jason Hughes) and West River Ambyr (Steven Shepherd). Nicholas Oakes trains Imagine Speed for owners Jessica Hawkins of Warren Grove and Doug Matheson of Cornwall. The "King" of Island racing was on top of his game during the 12-dash card as Marc Campbell made four trips to the winner’s circle. Campbell captured the $2,300 Open Trot with Freddie in 2:00 from his own stable while stablemate Buckaroo won his trotting assignment in 2:01.1. The Winsloe driver also won with Paythelinebluechip in 1:58.3 for trainer Jay Noye of Pleasant Valley and with Better Be In Love in 1:59.4 for Brendan Mullen of Mount Stewart for the quadruple. For complete results and payouts go to redshores.ca By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

Freehold, NJ - The New Jersey Sire Stakes-Standardbred Development Fund (NJSS-SDF) series wrapped up at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, with a pair of finals for 3-year-old pacers. There was one logical result, and one big upset.   Ponder the Odds completed a sweep of the NJSS-SDF series for 3-year-old fillies, winning the final by 1 1/4 lengths. Sent off as the 1/20 favorite, driver Pat Lachance put her on the lead heading around the second turn, and never relinquished it, winning it easily with minimal challenges in 1:56.2.   This was the fifth win in a row for the Kathleen La Montagne-trained filly. The daughter of Ponder has now earned more than $106,000 in her career.   A Beach Cowgirl, fourth in the second leg last week, rallied well down the stretch to finish second. Stood Up, Surreality, Hurrikane Lori Ann, and Fear No Evil completed the order of finish.   Prince of Tides was also 1/20 in the final for 3-year-old colts & geldings. For the first seven-eighths of a mile, everything was going to plan: driver George Brennan put the Ross Croghan-trained gelding on the lead on the second turn, and was holding steady turning for home.   However, Admiral Ballsy, who sat in the pocket most of the way, popped out as they turned for home, and Prince of Tides could not pull away. In the last few strides to the wire, the 15/1 shot got up over the favorite, winning by a head.   Admiral Ballsy, a son of Captaintreacherous, is trained by Michael Hall, and was driven to victory by Joe Bongiorno. He went the mile in a career-best 1:53.2, pushing his career earnings over $70,000.   Trente Deo, Reigning Deo, Black Dan, Just Plain Loco, and Cool Your Heels rounded out the field.   Admiral Ballsy's upset win helped trigger a pick 5 carryover into Friday's card. The sequence will feature a carryover of $1,525.76, and begin in Friday's fifth race.   The first race at Freehold on Friday is scheduled for 12:30 PM EDT.   From the Freehold Raceway Media Department

Freehold, NJ --- Ponder the Odds and Prince of Tides will look to cap off their respective dominant harness racing streaks at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, when they compete in the New Jersey Sire Stakes-Standardbred Development Fund (NJSS-SDF) Finals for 3-year-old pacing fillies and colts and geldings, respectively.   Ponder the Odds, sired by Ponder and trained by Kathleen La Montagne, has reeled off four consecutive victories, including the first two legs of the NJSS-SDF series. Like she did the past two weeks, she drew the inside post. This will play right into her front-running style of racing. Pat Lachance will be the driver.   Surreality and Stood Up look to have the best chance to upset among her five rivals. Stood Up, trained by Michael Hall, almost pulled it off last week, losing to Ponder the Odds by just a neck. She drew the outside post in the field of six, with Joe Bongiorno in the bike. Surreality has hit the board at long odds in each of the first two legs, most recently finishing third at 42/1. Austin Siegelman will drive her from post five, for trainer Nicholas Devita.   Hurrikane Lori Ann, A Beach Cowgirl, and Fear No Evil round out the field. The final has been scheduled as the third race, with an approximate post time of 1:10 PM EDT.   Meanwhile, Prince of Tides, sired by Somebeachsomewhere, has been nothing short of a beast in his two starts at Freehold this meet. He won the Homegrown pace by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:52.3 two starts back, then won the first leg by three lengths in 1:53.4 last out. The Ross Croghan trainee bypassed the second leg of the series, to stay fresh for the final. He drew post position three in the field of seven, and will be driven by George Brennan.   Nick Surick will send out two, including Trente Deo, the winner of the second leg. Andy Miller will drive from post position six. Surick's other horse, Black Dan, drew directly to his inside. He'll seek to improve off a fourth and a fifth in the first two legs.   Reigning Deo, Admiral Ballsy, Just Plain Loco, and Cool Your Heels, the latter two both trained by Tom Fanning, complete the ensemble. It will go as the fifth race, with an approximate post time of 12:30 PM EDT.   The first of twelve races at Freehold on Saturday is scheduled for 12:30 PM EDT.   From the Freehold Raceway Media Department  

Gigi From Fiji easily captures the $11,000 fillies & mares open 1 at Tioga Downs on Friday (August 30). K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart Jr.) led to the first quarter in :26.3. Gigi From Fiji ($4.10) took control as they went by the stands for the first time. She led to the half in :55.2 and to three-quarters in 1:22.4. Gigi From Fiji, driven by Wally Hennessey, is owned by trainer Mike Deters along with L Barnett, J Warner, and J Spindler, found another gear as they reached the stretch. She would win going away with a seasonal best time of 1:51.1. Persistent Better (Jim Meittinis) came up to finish second. K J's Caroline was third best. Gigi From Fiji is a 5-year-old mare by Ponder. It was her eighth win this season. She now owns 17 career victories. Wally Hennessey drove four winners on the night. His other wins came with Check Mach ($3.10), Odds On Cheddar ($5.10), and Tap Tap Tap ($4.90). Hennessey has a commanding lead for the 2019 top driver at Tioga Downs. With just eight live racing dates left he has 112 wins. Last year's drivers champion Mike Merton is second with 66 tallies. Mike Simons is in third with 40 wins. Fern Paquet Jr is fourth with 33 trips to the winner's circle. The trainers title is still wide open. Mike Deters leads with 36 victories. Joe Skowyra is right on his heels with 34 wins. Patti Harmon is in third with 30 triumphs so far this season. Rick Dane Jr (27) and Jim McDonald (23) round out the top five. There will be no live racing on Saturday (August 31) due to the Smash Mouth concert. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Sunday (September 1) with an 11 race card starting at 1 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns .com . by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

MILTON, ON - August 7, 2018 - Bob McIntosh trainee Undefiable turned in a game performance to win Tuesday's second leg of the Whenuwishuponastar Series at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of eight rookie pacing fillies competed in the $14,000 second round of the three-week event. Round one winners Tall Drink Hanover and Key West were given the week off after impressive victories a week ago. Undefiable, who didn't compete in the first leg, was fired out to the lead by driver Bob McClure to post a :28.1 opener. Abuelita Hanover rushed from third to first in the second-quarter and led the rookies by the half in :56.3 and would carry the lead to three-quarters in 1:24.4. McClure pulled from the two-hole before reaching three-quarters to get a strong-looking Undefiable up alongside the leader and ahead of a rushing Deb. In the stretch, Undefiable grinded away to regain the lead and paced to the wire first to defeat a late-splitting Beach Bar by a neck in 1:52.2. Deb finished third, while Abuelita Hanover was fourth. Undefiable entered Tuesday's contest off a 1:55 maiden-breaking score on July 27. She now has two wins and two runner-up finishes in four starts for $21,000 in earnings. A daughter of Ponder, Undefiable is a homebred for Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, C S X Stables and Dave Boyle. She paid $15.60 to win. The $37,000 Whenuwishuponastar Series final will take place next Tuesday. Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Imagine Speed and her young pilot, Tyler Jones, upset the opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old harness racing pacers, scoring a dramatic neck victory at odds of 15-1 over Skyfall Sena and race favorite HP Sissy. The fifth race co-feature for mares saw Jones, the son of top horseman, Dustin Jones, leave with Imagine Speed, but also on the move from the outside was HP Sissy and driver Stephane Brosseau. Brosseau and HP Sissy took command from Imagine Speed before the opening quarter mile in :28. HP Sissy sat comfortably in front past the half mile marker in :58 and it was then that Skyfall Sena with Jonathan Lachance started up first-over but could not gain ground on the race leaders. Then, right at the three-quarters in 1:27.3, Jones pulled out from the pocket-trip with Imagine Speed and came after HP Sissy as Skyfall Sena found another gear and was three-wide going after the leaders. It was a three-horse battle down the stretch as HP Sissy began to fade with Imagine Speed getting up at the wire by a neck over Skyfall Sena with HP Sissy third by only three-quarters of a length. The time of the race was 1:57.4. It was the second win in just four starts this year for Imagine Speed. The five-year-old mare by Ponder is trained by Michel Allard of Saint-Esprit, who co-owns Imagine Speed with Michel Lefebvre of Longueuil. She paid $33.90 to win. The eighth race was the horse division of the Quebec-Bred Series first round. It was Cyclone Joe (Sylvain Lacaille) shooting to the early lead with Noplay (Melanie Plourde) following in second place. As they went around the first turn, Cyclone Joe went off-stride and then Noplay did the same. That allowed C L Sportaction and driver Jonathan Lachance to inherit the lead and they never gave it up. With Majo Lou Beka (Mario Lachance) sitting right on their back, C L Sportsaction led to the quarter in :28.3 and the half mile in :58.4 before the race favorite, Dance With Joe (Richard Simard), who was going for his fourth straight win, came first-over. Down the backstretch as Dance With Joe tried to gain ground, Lachance pulled away a little more with C L Sportsaction. Past the three-quarters in 1:27, Dance With Joe could not longer keep up and C L Sportsaction went on to win by one and one-half lengths over Majo Lou Beka with Dance With Joe third. Wildriverbumblebee (Stephane Brosseau) was making his 2018 debut, but never got into the hunt and finished sixth. For C L Sportsaction, a four-year-old gelded son of Sportswriter, it was his third win in six starts this year for trainer Mario Lachance and the C Leblanc Stable of Saint-Eustache, who also bred C L Sportsaction. He paid $5.80 to win. The Quebec-Bred Series continues with two more legs and then on Thursday, August 9 will be the $30,000 finals for both the pacers and trotters. TRACK NOTES: Not one trainer or driver on the ten race program Sunday were able to score more than one win. On Tuesday night at H3R the trotters start the Quebec-Bred Series with two divisions. The mares are headlined by Y S Suzanne, HP Run Like Mom and Lucky Promesses. The horses feature Holiday Party taking on Kinnder Dangerous and Capteur De Reve. Post time Tuesday is 6:30 pm. For more information and a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

Pompano Beach, FL...December 27, 2017...All Charged Up, driven by John MacDonald, took home top honors in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Pace for harness racing mares on Tuesday night (December 26), covering the distance in 1:53.3. The six year-old daughter of Ponder got picture perfect handling in scoring the half length decision over Northern Dali, catch-driven by Rick Plano. Wild Wands, making her seasonal Debut at Pompano Park, finished a very fast closing third, just a length off the winner. Sue's Night Out finished fourth while Galarina picked up the nickel in the classy octet. At the outset, All Charged Up, leaving from post seven, left with alacrity and took command at the first quarter from Galarina (Andy Santeramo) in :27.2--but not for long. Just past that opening station, Galarina forged back to the front with All Charged Up on the helmet of the leader through subsequent fractions of :56.2 and 1:24.4. At this stage, Galarina continued to show the way with pressure being applied by Machin Marley on the outside with All Charged Up chilly along the pylons patiently awaiting for a seam and Wild Wands, last early, on a double-bubble binge which took her flying four wide and just a couple of lengths away. Once they straightened away, All Charged Up did find that seam , charged up to take command from Galarina before holding Northern Dali and Wild Wanda safe on the wire. In a post race interview, trainer-driver John MacDonald related, "She got another great trip tonight. When Ricky's (Macomber) mare (Wild Wanda from post 8) didn't leave, that helped my cause a lot because I knew I'd be seven or eight lengths up on her early--and that turned out to be the difference. "My mare likes to race off the helmet anyhow and, once Andy (Santeramo) re-took, I got that helmet trip. "All Charged Up has been through a lot since she was injured and had to go through several months of rehab to try and make it back to the track. Not only did she make it back, she's seems better than ever now." Owned by J P Stables, All Charged Up won for the ninth time in 18 seasonal starts to push be 2017 earnings to $51,660. The win also vaulted her career bankroll over the $275,000 plateau--$275,082 to be precise. As the lukewarm 8 to 5 favorite, All Charged Up paid $5.40 to her many faithful. MacDonald also won three other events on the card giving him a grand slam on the Tuesday night card. Major Master Piece ($3.80), Always A Tiger ($8.80) and Iced Out ($14.40) also reached the winner's circle for MacDonald sending his yearly total to 306. Racing continues of Wednesday Night with a special Thursday night card also on the agenda. Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 swelled over the $25,000 on Tuesday night--$25.082.20 to be precise. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 31, 2017...All Charged Up, catch-driven by Wally Hennessey, took top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's pacing feature for mares on Monday night, covering the standard distance in 1:54.3. The six year-old daughter of Ponder, trained by John MacDonald for his JP Stables, took command at the :27.3 opening marker and then produced a well rated second panel of :29.4 before two straight :28.3 subsequent quarters led to the final clocking--her final margin on the line a half length over the late charging Goldstar Rockette (Bryce Fenn). Red Hot Hill (Andy Santeramo) finished third while A Wish For Wings closed fastest of all to finish fourth. Dee's Golden Joy picked up the nickel in the sextet over Stirling Electra, who loomed boldly around the final bend before faltering in the lane. In a post-race interview, catch-driver Wally Hennessey remarked, "This is the first time I drove this mare but I know how tough she is because she beat my great mare (Godiva Seelster) the last time we were together in a race a couple of weeks ago. "This mare (All charged Up) is tough as nails and she dug in late, as she always does. She's a quality mare, all right." All Charged Up now is 6-for-14 this year, good for earnings of $35,660. The win, incidentally, was the fourth straight for All Charged Up, who now has 29 career wins in 114 starts with earnings of $259,082 to go along with her Vernon Downs mark of 1:51.2. Off at 1 to 5 on the Pompano tote-board, All Charged Up paid $2.40 to win. Racing continues on Tuesday night with the finals of the Sunshine State Stakes for three year-olds. Sponsored by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, each of the four final for sophomore Florida breds carries a purse of $12,000. Post time for the pari-mutuel card is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park        

So Nice (Ponder) recorded her third consecutive victory on Wednesday night as the star distaffer prevailed in the harness racing Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. So Nice won the local Open in mid July, the last time the Amber Buter trainee came to town. Following a victory at Yonkers in her last start, it was back to the Spa for the seven year old mare who last year was the Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga. In Wednesday's $14,000 feature, So Nice sat the pocket to the race's odds-on favorite Godiva Seelster and blasted by in the final furlong before scoring in 1:53.3. Godiva Seelster was the runner-up while last week's Open winner Stylish Beachwhere came on for third. So Nice, who moved over the half million dollar mark in career earnings with last week's win, paid $8.20 in her most recent victory. The exacta with the favorite second paid $18.40 while the triple in the six-horse feature returned $42.60. Jimmy Devaux, who drove Twisted Pretzel to a win in Tuesday night's Open Trot, piloted So Nice to the score in the Wednesday feature. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella  

The harness racing track's defending Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year So Nice (Ponder) has been at it again of late at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Amber Buter-trained distaffer got off to a bit of a slow start in 2017 but in recent months has straightened things right back out. So Nice scored her first victory of the year while competing in Pennsylvania in late May and since returning to the Spa in June has reestablished herself as a top flight mare. The seven year old was the 3-5 betting favorite in the $14,000 Fillies and Mares Open on Friday night and moved out to the early lead after putting up a first quarter in a speedy 26.4. After getting a brief breather, So Nice was tested throughout the majority of the second half but proved to be up to the task. The veteran mare, who was driven to victory by Jimmy Devaux, stopped the timer in 1:52.1 to set a new seasonal mark in her fourth victory of the campaign. Tataria (Mark Beckwith) finished second in the feature while Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) came on for third. With the earnings from the Friday score, So Nice is now just a couple thousand shy of reaching the half million dollar mark lifetime. Devaux piloted three winners on Friday night after securing five victories on the Thursday card at the Spa. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

The track's defending Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year So Nice (Ponder) won the Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the first time this season on Friday night. The Amber Buter-trained distaffer recorded eleven victories in 2016, several of which came in the local Fillies and Mares Open. After her award-winning '16 campaign, So Nice got off to a bit of a slow start this year before turning things around in late April. On Friday, Stephane Bouchard put the seven year old mare on the front end and after enduring a first quarter in 27 seconds flat, fought gamely while tested in the final quarter. A two-pronged challenge came for So Nice in the stretch as pocket-sitter Her Own Land (Mark Beckwith) closed up the inside while the race's 1-5 favorite Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) came charging hard from the back of the pack. So Nice won the three-horse photo while Godiva Seelster had to settle for second. Her Own Land earned the show spot in the $13,000 Open that went in 1:52.2 over a track labeled 'good.' So Nice paid $11.60 to win and started an exacta with Godiva Seelster second that returned $19.80. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

Freehold, NJ --- The manner in which Cousin Mary found her way to owner Jeff Williamson’s harness racing stable --- not to mention the Petticoat Series at Yonkers Raceway --- could best be described as fortuitous. Especially given the way she has frequently found her way to the winner’s circle. Williamson bought Cousin Mary, the 9-5 morning line favorite in Monday’s $61,000 Petticoat Series final for 4-year-old female pacers, in 2014 as part of a two-horse package. Williamson’s initial interest was in the other horse, a filly named Wild Blue Ponder, but Cousin Mary was thrown into the deal. Before agreeing to the purchase, though, Williamson wanted to talk with his wife Becky. They agreed to go through with the transaction under one condition. The couple had purchased a horse several months earlier and the horse was racing that night. If the horse won --- which he had yet to do for the Williamsons --- they would complete the Cousin Mary deal. Of course, the horse won. It was his only win for the Williamsons. Cousin Mary, a daughter of Camluck-Chianti Seelster, has won 10 of 24 career races, hit the board a total of 19 times, and earned $86,543 in purses. “She’s definitely the best horse we’ve had so far,” said Williamson, an Ontario hog farmer who lives 125 miles northwest of Toronto. “It’s been a thrill. You need a horse like Mary to get you to the next level. For a guy like me and my wife, who are newer to the business, being in the Petticoat is a big thing to us. We’re proud of that. I know it’s not one of the bigger races, but for us it’s like the Little Brown Jug. Hopefully we get lucky on Monday.” Interestingly, Cousin Mary ended up at Yonkers only after Williamson saw a deal to sell the horse fall through last year. J Harris, who was driving Cousin Mary in Canada, suggested to Williamson that he send the horse to his brother, trainer Andrew Harris, in New Jersey to compete at Yonkers. Cousin Mary has won six of eight races this year, all at Yonkers. She won her three preliminary Petticoat divisions by an average of nearly four lengths and will start the final from post one with regular driver Jordan Stratton in the sulky. “There are some fillies in there that make me nervous, but the rail helps big time,” Andrew Harris said. “I think she likes Yonkers. She’s still a little green, but she’s getting the hang of it now and she doesn’t want to let anyone pass her and will pass anyone in front of her. She’s just come around and is peaking at the right time.” Following the Petticoat Series, Cousin Mary is expected to head to the Bobby Weiss Series for female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “I’ll probably skip the first leg (April 2), give her the week off, and then she’s got three more legs to try to get into the final there,” Harris said. “We’ll probably give her a little time off after that and then she’s a racehorse.” Williamson got into harness racing seven years ago but stepped up his involvement only recently. The Williamsons rent a horse farm with 45 stalls and a half-mile track near their home farm. They are involved in all aspects of the sport now, from breeding to racing. “My grandfather used to race before I was born so I wanted to learn how to do it,” Williamson said. “I wanted to learn the business. We’ve got 45 horses at the racing farm now.  “I like to give horses a chance. Some people give up on them; I like those horses.” Williamson owns Cousin Mary’s dam, Chianti Seelster, and has a Big Jim-sired 2-year-old filly out of the mare named Eataams Payday. Many of the Williamsons’ horses have Eataam in their name, which is a reference to the hog business, Eataam Pork. Eataam comes from the initials of the couple’s children at the time the name was created --- Evan (age 17), Alyshia (16), Tyler (14), Amy (12), Allan (9) and Matthew (7). Another son, the now-5-year-old Parker, was born afterward. “We didn’t think we should call him Pork,” Williamson said, laughing. He added about the horse business, “Our kids are involved now. It’s been a lot of fun so far.” For the complete list of entries at Yonkers Raceway on Monday (March 26) please click here. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

So Nice (Ponder) continued her late season dominance of the harness racing distaffers at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night. The Amber Buter-trained mare was the race's 2-5 favorite in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open and despite being assigned the outside post in the five horse feature made the lead in a matter of strides. After having things her own way in lap one, So Nice powered away from her rivals in the final half to win in 1:52.1 by three and a half lengths. Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson) added another to her tally of second place finishes in the feature this year as she rounded out a $12 exacta in the five-horse Open. The win for So Nice, who was driven to victory by Mark Beckwith, was her fifth in the local feature this year, second only to Velocity Vespa who has recorded six victories in the Friday feature for distaffers in 2016. So Nice is owned by Tyler Buter of Middletown, NY and Stephen Oldford and the Gene Oldford Farms of Michigan. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

So Nice (Ponder) continued to bolster her credentials for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night as the Amber Buter-trained distaffer prevailed in the harness racing feature. So Nice was the 1-5 betting favorite in the five horse Fillies and Mares Open and moved out to the early lead in a sizzling 26.4 opening quarter. Driver Mark Beckwith gave So Nice a bit of a breather in the middle half but around the final turn, pocket sitter Milky Way Rae (Billy Dobson) powered out of the two hole. The race's longshot at 15-1, Milky Way Rae actually poked a nose in front midway through the stretch but the gutsy veteran So Nice rallied back just before the wire and emerged with a victory by the slimmest of margins. So Nice paced in 1:52.4 to record her tenth win of the year to go with eight second place finishes in what has been a sensational 2016 season for the six year old mare. Milky Way Rae had to settle for second in her debut in the Open while Dilly Dali (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. So Nice has certainly emerged as the favorite for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year while in the midst of what has been an extremely consistent campaign for the Buter trainee. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

So Nice (Ponder) shook her bridesmaid status on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Though the six year old harness racing mare had recorded eight wins this season as she headed into the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open, her last local victory came in the mid-July. The Amber Buter trainee has still been a force in the local feature for distaffers, though, despite not having earned a win in the previous three months. So Nice was the runner up in five consecutive tries in the Open before a third place finish last week. In Friday's installment of the Open, So Nice blasted out to the early lead and never looked back. Mark Beckwith piloted the mare who cruised through first half fractions of 27 and 56 before sprinting a back half in 55.4 on a chilly Friday night in the Spa City. So Nice stopped the timer in 1:51.4 as the race's second choice in the betting, flipping the script on Velocity Vespa (Jim Devaux) who had to settle for second place. Velocity Vespa had defeated So Nice in their last three meetings but rounded out an $11.80 exacta on Friday night in the five horse feature for lady pacers. So Nice moved her seasonal earnings to over the $100,000 mark for the '16 campaign with the win. The Buter-Beckwith combo also teamed up for a victory on Friday with pacing mare Cracker Coffee (Six Of Diamonds) who scored in 1:54 to prevail in her local debut. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

Nichols, N.Y. -- So Nice ($3.50) made easy work of her five rivals in Friday (August 26) evening's $13,000 Mares Open 1 Pace at Tioga Downs, posting a 1:50.2 victory to follow up her successful local harness racing debut last week.   The 6-year-old Ponder mare had no trouble forcing My Spring Fling (Corey Braden) into the pocket early on, finding a clear path to establish the lead as both K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart, Jr.) and Truth and Liberty (Aaron Byron) broke in the initial stages of the one-mile race. So Nice controlled the pace through sectionals of :27 and :55.3 before using a :27 third quarter to accelerate clear up the far side. So Nice ultimately prevailed by seven lengths over Shutthefrontdoor (Scott Coulter), who rallied belatedly for runner-up honors. Heart Major (Jim Meittinis) gained mildly off the far turn to take third over the fading My Spring Fling.   Amber Buter trains So Nice for the Gene Oldford Farms, LLC, Stephen Oldford, and Tyler Buter. For winning driver Mike Merton, the featured score was the first leg of a hat trick on the nine-race card. Merton would later team up with Windsong Illusion ($40.40, 1:55.3) and Futuristic Bride ($18.20, 1:57.2).   As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, a carryover of $479.48 will head to Saturday (August 27) evening's card. The first of nine races is slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

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