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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

Nichols, N.Y. -- Saratoga invader So Nice ($7.30) led a driving hat trick for Mike Merton on Friday (August 19) evening's 11-race harness racing card at Tioga Downs, holding off all comers in the co-featured $13,000 Mares Open 1 Pace.   The 6-year-old Ponder mare sprinted clear authoritatively from post 6 before reaching the first turn before controlling terms through early splits of :28 and :56.3. Up the far side, So Nice was forced to accelerate by 1-2 favorite Stacia Hanover (Mike Simons), whose first-over pressure prompted a :26.4 third quarter. So Nice withstood the challenge in kind, edging away at head-stretch and holding off a late bid from Heart Major (Jim Meittinis), who lunged from the pocket to just miss. So Nice prevailed by a neck over Heart Major in 1:51.3, while Shutthefrontdoor (Scott Coulter) rallied off stalling cover to save third.   Amber Buter trains 22-time winner So Nice for the Gene Oldford Farms, LLC, Steve Oldford, and Tyler Buter.   Merton also prevailed with Brandos Muscle Man ($4.30, 1:56.2) and Lisa On Top ($17.80, 2:00.1).   The $13,000 Open 1 Trot saw Prairie Fortune ($6.60) rally off cover to capture his fifth win in seven tries, drafting behind Its Payday Friday before vaulting three-wide at head-stretch and lifting to collar Swishnflick in 1:55. Jim Meittinis drove the 4-year-old Arapa Victory gelding for Mike Deters--who trains the 22-time winner--and Laurie Poulin.   A pair of Italian American Friendship Series events for amateur drivers were contested early on the card, and Otello Zorzetto swept them both. Zorzetto posted a gate-to-wire win with Gary Messenger trainee Superiorcourt ($5.30) in 1:58.2, and used more patient tactics to prevail with Surge Seelster ($5.60) in 1:55.3 for trainer Stacey McLenaghan.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 20) evening, with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Star reinsman Gary Hall jun. has driven brilliant harness racing four-year-old American Boy 11 times for ten wins. But he has decided to drive four-year-old stablemate Ricimer in preference to American Boy in the 2130m Central Fruit Sales Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. What swayed Hall was the fact that the gelding by Ponder, a splendid frontrunner, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier, with American Boy drawn out wide at barrier eight. Hall has driven American Boy at each of his past five starts for five impressive victories, but he believes that the more favourable barrier will enable Ricimer to beat American Boy on Friday night. “If I thought that American Boy could go straight to the outside of the leader I’d probably change my mind,” Hall said. “But I’m not sure he can do that. “Ricimer has relished leading in his recent races and he’s been running good times which suggest he should win again. And he doesn’t mind copping a bit of pressure. I can’t see the need for Ricimer to go much better than he has been for him to win.” Trainer Gary Hall sen. said that there was no doubt that American Boy was a better horse than Ricimer. “But from barrier one Ricimer will run about 1.55 which means he will be hard to beat,” he predicted. “I don’t think that Our Jimmy Johnstone is out of it. His win last Friday week was very good.” Our Jimmy Johnstone, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. The seven-year-old overcame the disadvantage of barrier eight when he charged home from eighth at the bell to win easily by two lengths from stablemate Ima Connoisseur over 2130m last Friday week. The Bond stable also has good prospects in the opening event, the 2536m Taylor Sulky Repairs Pace for three-year-olds, in which Vanquished makes strong appeal from the No. 1 barrier. Vanquished has resumed after a spell in good style and has won at his past two outings, over 2185m at Pinjarra and over 2130m at Gloucester Park. However, Vanquished is sure to receive stiff opposition from the Hall-trained Harry Hoo, who will start from the No. 6 barrier. Harry Hoo started from barrier nine before finishing strongly from seventh at the bell to be a close third behind Kiwi Legend and the pacemaker Gaz Wannabet in fast time over 2130m last Friday night. Gaz Wannabet will start out wide at barrier eight in Friday night’s race, with stylish last-start all-the-way winner Franco Rayner, the only metropolitan-class three-year-old winner in the field, on the outside at No. 9. The Hall and Bond camps also look set to fight out the finish of the York and Districts Community Financial Services Pace in which the Hall stable will be represented by Big Spook and Avalon Bromac and the Bonds by the ultra-consistent Holy Grail and the in-form Ima Tragedy.     Lauren Jones will drive Big Spook, who should lead from the No. 2 barrier prove very hard to beat. Big Spook set the pace from barrier two and fought on grandly when second to stablemate American Boy over 2130m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

So Nice (Ponder) pulled off the mild upset in Friday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Amber Buter-trained mare recorded her fifth win on the season and it came in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open as she parlayed her pocket ride to victory. Super Soph (Frank Coppola Jr) charged out to the early lead and parked out the race's favorite Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) in sizzling first half fractions of 26.3 and 54.2 over a track labeled 'good.' Super Soph still led turning for home but was faced with a two-pronged challenge as rivals So Nice and Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson) closed in. So Nice, the track's current record holder for aged pacing mares behind a 1:52 score late last season, rallied up the rail to prevail in 1:52.1 with Mark Beckwith in the sulky. Longshot Bazooka Terror was the runner up in the Friday feature while Super Soph held on for third. It was victory number twenty in the career of the six year old distaffer So Nice who returned $14.00 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $118 and $449.50, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Vernon, N.Y. -- Odds-on favorite All Charged Up ($3.70) took full advantage of a pocket trip in Thursday (July 7) evening's featured $8,000 Mares Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs, vaulting to the fore in the final sixteenth to lead a John MacDonald driving grand slam.   MacDonald protected the pocket with the 5-year-old Ponder mare, drafting behind Southern Girl (Chris Lems) through early splits of :27.1 and :55.3 before the pace heated up. With three-eighths to go, the first-over Super Soph (Brett Derue) forced the hand of Southern Girl, and as they accelerated through a :26.4 third quarter, All Charged Up hooked three-wide for the stretch drive.   While she had to work to achieve the lead in the last sixteenth, All Charged Up not only wore down the battling pacesetters, but also held off a late rally from Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who mounted a four-wide stand to take second. Super Soph checked in third after her uncovered push was outdone in deep stretch.   For All Charged Up, the 1:51.2 victory equalled a lifetime mark. Jan Gahagan and Peter de Rooy's J P Stables own All Charged Up, and driver MacDonald also trains the now 17-time winner.   MacDonald's four driving wins led the Miracle Mile colony on the 10-race card. In addition to his featured win with All Charged Up, "The Prime Minister" also teamed up with Always Flash-n ($9.90, 1:53.2), Stirling Electra ($2.90, 1:54), and Jinxy's Delight ($5.00, 1:52).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs with a nine-race program on Friday (July 8) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

The Sunday July 3rd harness racing card at Ocean Downs opened with a non-wagering event for trotting colts/geldings with a purse of $27,400.    Hybrid Henry another Cam's Rocket trotter out of the mare Give Em The Boot circled the field out of the gate and never looked back. Driver Brian Burton, in a stakes record time of 2:01.1 for two-year-old trotting geldings, crossed the wire 9¼ lengths in front of Midnight Zette (Credit Winner-Your Word Is Good). Richard Hans owns, trains and bred the winner.   The first division for pacing colts/geldings opened the wagering card. A light rain didn't stop the big crowd from cheering on the multiple lead changes, with Toms Tarzan (Cam's Rocket-Radiant Breeze) gaining the lead at the ¾ pole and charging to an 8 length victory in 1:56.3. Brian Burton was in the bike for his second stakes win of the night with a purse of $14,650. Thomas Cooke owns and bred the colt and Roger Hans trains. Im The Director held off Giddy On Down for place.   Reinsman Frank Milby gave May River (RC Royalty-Darby's Delight) the perfect pocket trip behind Spoonful and Les Givens, waiting til the head of the stretch to challenge and take a ¾ length lead in 2:02.4 in race 3. John Roach trains for owner/breeder William E. Miller II. The purse for the 2 yo trotting fillies was $ 28,100. Spoonful held on for second.   Race 5 was the first division for pacing fillies going for a purse of $16,500. Miss Valerie (Allie's Western-Flannel Yankee) was content to follow Cheap Aint Fast until the head of the stretch. The loud crowd cheered the stretch drive with Miss Valerie getting the ½ length victory, stopping the clock in 2:00 for owners Leblanc Racing Inc., Count De Money Stable and William Lutz. Roger Plant Jr drove the Steve LeBlanc trainee. Tom and Linda Winebrener are the breedrs.   Corey Callahan and Richard Hans teamed up in race 6, the second division of filly paces going for $16,500 as co-owners, driver and trainer. It was an explosive combination when Gigi From Fiji (Ponder-Odds On Arttoheart) made her first lifetime start. Corey sent her out of the gate and just blew away the rest of the field in the 1:56.3 winning by 10½ lengths over Liberty School.   The final stake of the night was the second division for pacing colt/geldings going as race 9 with the purse of $14,650. The favorite Almost Cut My Hair (Barber Pole-Sally Pansen) didn't disappoint her followers increasing her lead at every pole over the field for owners/breeder KDK Standardbreds and trainer Kevin Switzer. Victor Kirby was in the bike for the 1:59.1 mile. Evolution Rise Up came back from a break in the first turn to take the place position.   Maryland Standardbred Fund stakes for 3 year olds will be contested on Thursday night July 7th starting at 7:20 at Ocean Downs   By Cheri Stambaugh

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 25, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway had its harness racing version of Old Home Week Saturday night... ...provided "Old Home" was Chicago. All that was missing was deep-dish pizza and Oprah. Tony Morgan-making his first Westchester appearance since September of 2012-and Brent Holland each had three wins during the dozen-race card. Morgan, he of the 15,400-plus career victories, earned a place in the local record books when pole-sitting Go Daddy Go ($13) won the $30,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace in a spiffy 1:50.1. The Ponder gelding, co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Bruce Soulsby, became the fourth member of the all-age-track-record club, joining Crombie A, Forty Five Red and Limelight Beach. It was also the swiftest local mile of the season. Morgan also won the co-featured $45,000 Open Pace with favored Doctor Butch ($5.30) in 1:51.2, and the $26,000, 11th race trot with a left-alone Major Athens ($4.10) in 1:53.3. That effort matched the fastest Westchester trot mile of the season with E R Ellie. Connecting the dots, "Ellie" (Larry Stalbaum, $14.40) won the co-featured $45,000 Open Handicap Trot from the pocket in 1:55. As for Holland, he upset the apple cart with American Venture ($57) in the $18,000, second-race pace (1:52), then escorted Mah Sish N ($9) in the $18,000, third-race pace. The Holland Hat Trick was completed with Moonliteonthebeach ($23.80) was a first-up winner in the $26,500 pacing finale (1:52.2). Frank Drucker

Harness Racing aficionados will be licking their lips at the thought of next Saturday night’s four-year-old entires and geldings’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final after tonight’s semis and barrier draw. Heat winners Ideal For Real and Tee Cee Bee Macray have drawn five and 13 respectively, while reigning Vicbred champ and horse of the year Menin Gate, a fierce warrior when in front, has drawn well in barrier three. Murranji Track in gate two has good gate speed and can run along also, so he will surely create headaches for speed mappers. Tee Cee Bee Macray was ultra-impressive in winning his heat tonight, and while barrier 13 is never ideal, he does his best work when winding up with a big finish. Trained by Alan Tubbs, Tee Cee Bee Macray (Ponder/Way Mya Macray) sprinted powerfully through the final 400m to overhaul pacemaker Solarsonic in the run to the line. Driven by Greg Sugars, Tee Cee Bee Macray rated 1:56.9. “There’s a lot of depth in the (four-year-old) field … but he’s very fast,” Sugars said. “He’s a very good horse.” The win clearly meant plenty for the Tubbs team, who received plenty of congratulations trackside. Ideal For Real (American Ideal/Tamara Hall) was also super-impressive, the Emma Stewart-trained star winning its 10th race from 18 starts with a 1:56.2 run to score by 14.2m over runner-up Sevens Hope with Mister Wickham third. Despite the ease of the win and the high expectations being placed on Ideal For Real, Lang said the entire still had a bit to learn. “He’s got to learn to go straight or he’ll have to cover more ground than the others … he’ll get beat doing that,” he said. “He’s got a good record but it won’t be an easy race next week.” The continued dominance of the Emma Stewart stable was on full display in the four-year-old mares’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals tonight. The Smythes Creek trainer qualified five mares for next Saturday night’s final, giving her almost half the field. Stewart-trained Starburst Girl (barrier two for the final), Brighty Valentine (three), Lovelist (seven), Delight Me (nine) and Stay And Play (11) will all line up in the big dance. Delight Me (Bettor's Delight/Cornsilk) impressively won her semi-final with Gavin Lang in the sulky, defeating stablemates Lovelist and Starburst Girl in the first semi-final, working wide in the run before finding the line strongly. Stay And Play (Live Or Die/Play Ball) posted a mile rate of 1:56.2 in her 8.3m win over Snip Of Grand in the second semi-final, with third placegetter Brighty Valentine also hailing from the Stewart stable.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Mares Final barrier draw 1: Diamond Castle 2: Starburst Girl 3: Brighty Valentine 4: Soho Tokyo 5: Boadiceas Fury 6: Snip Of Grand 7: Lovelist 8: Glory Daze 9: Delight Me 10: Morton Plains 11: Stay And Play 12: Keayang Mercedes (em) 13: Miss Dreaming Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires & Geldings Final barrier draw 1: Repeat After Me 2: Murranji Track 3: Menin Gate 4: Sevens Hope 5: Ideal For Real 6: Lucky Lombo 7: Mister Wickham 8: Solarsonic 9: Stagger Lee 10: Soynwasabi 11: Rule Of Thumb (em) 12: Blacknbrown 13: Tee Cee Bee Macray ............................................................................................................................................................................... Tingira Beach has emerged a frontrunner in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series' two-year-old colts and geldings for New South Wales team Shane and Lauren Tritton, dominating his semi-final and drawing well. Things only got better for the Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Western Tingira after he won his class's second semi-final by 12.9m, having then drawn barrier four in the final. Conversely, fellow semi-final winner Jilliby Kung Fu will start from barrier 12 and will have to do things the hard way in the final on Saturday, July 2. Lauren Tritton, driver of Tingira Beach, warned there was more improvement to come from her colt, who found the front and comfortably beat highly-fancied Victorians Our Little General and Wrappers Delight into second and third place. “(Tingira Beach) is still really green, he still had a look around, but tonight he raced a lot better," Tritton said post-win. "He still had a good look around in the race and was on and off the bit. Next week he might run a bit better and could get the best of them." Tritton said Tingira Beach's favourable draw, albeit with Geoff Webster's Wrappers Delight inside her, would not be a huge factor. “He’s very versatile and the barrier doesn’t really mean much too him," Tritton said. "He hasn’t got that much gate speed in him, it’s always good to draw a good barrier but that’s not much of a worry.” It could be a worry for Jilliby Kung Fu, though the talented Terang colt is only too happy to run them down from behind. In his semi-final, Jilliby Kung Fu found the front and, though he “gets a bit lonely out there on his own”, according to driver Jason Lee, he had enough of a buffer to win by 2.5m from Geoff Webster’s fast-finishing Misterfreeze. The two-year-old colt by Four Starzzz Shark out of Slip Slop Slap, trained at Terang by Marg Lee, produced a fifth win in 10 starts when from barrier 10 he looped the field to find the front. “I think he’s a better chaser and I probably got a bit of itchy feet and thought I should jump around to the front, but he didn’t really want to go on with the job,” Jason Lee said. “He had a little bit left in the tank.” Misterfreeze kept him close company at Tabcorp Park Melton in the semi-finals and Somebeachshadow, trained by Craig Demmler and driven by Jodi Quinlan, surprised with a third placing having started a $59 shot.   Barrier draws: Two-year-old colts and geldings pacers 1: Wrappers Delight 2: Ruthless Armbro 3: Misterfreeze 4: Tingira Beach 5: Form Analyst (emg) 6: Island Specialmajor 7: Canada Bay 8: Our Little General 9: Bundy Playboy 10: Albarock 11: Somebeachshadow 12: Jilliby Kung Fu 13: Classic Maker (ODM) Cody Winnell & Michael Howard

WILKES-BARRE PA - As announcer Jim Beviglia put it, "So Nice made it look so easy," and the daughter of Ponder indeed dominated the $15,500 pacing mares feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Tuesday night, with a 6½ length harness racing triumph in 1:51.   Although established as the 3-5 chalk coming off a lifetime best 1:49.3 last week here, So Nice was given hard early argument for the lead by Tipitina, who finally wrested the top after a searing 25.4 opener. But So Nice reclaimed the top quickly thereafter, posted middle splits of 55 and 1:22.1, and the last quarter became merely a decider of the winning margin and who would get the minor awards (Tipitina held for second, 1½ lengths in front of Show Runner).. was again in the sulky behind the Amber Buter-trained winner, who boosted her lifetime earnings to $350,218 with the win for the Gene Oldford Farms LLC, Steve Oldford, and Tyler Buter. George Napolitano Jr   Napolitano, the Downs' all-time leading driver and again far ahead in the win column during 2016, also reined the winner of the co-feature, a $14,000 mares pace, the I Scoot Hanover mare Velocity Vespa, who continued to show her fondness for the local red clay oval by raising her 2016 local tally to 3-for-3 with a 3¼-length triumph in 1:51.3 for trainer Chris and owner Susan Oakes.   In all, "George Nap" piloted home eight winners on the Tuesday night card at the mountain oval.   PHHA / Pocono    

Harness racing's flashy grey Adam Cartwright produced a barnstorming finish to win last night’s Country Clubs Championship Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Driven by Jodi Quinlan, the five-year-old by Ponder out of Lombo Regalia (a daughter of Jet Laag) bloused runner-up Emmanuel and race favourite Murranji Track to score a thrilling victory by a half-neck in a rate of 1:56.4 over 2240m. Amazingly at the 100m though, Adam Cartwright was last. Quinlan eased the South Australian from the Greg Norman stable to the extreme outside and when he hit top gear Adam Cartwright savaged the line, grabbing victory in the shadows of the post. Last time out at Shepparton Adam Cartwright pulled hard and almost choked down, finishing fifth, but he settled much better last night from his second-row draw and benefited from a solid tempo up front. “He over-raced last start … but tonight he settled much better,” Quinlan said. “Greg was very happy with him leading in the race. He said if he settles he’ll run a really good race, and Greg’s always been a good trainer so you’ve got to respect his horses.” WATCH ADAM CARTWRIGHT GO FROM LAST TO FIRST Norman has trained 418 winners in a 30-year trots career, with punters sure to remember some of his stable stars such as Ti Vogliobene, Indicative, Preferential and prolific winner Rosco Robust. Quinlan said Adam Cartwright had overcome several injuries and last night’s win as “a real credit to Greg”. Emmanuel finished second for Matthew Craven after sprinting early to find the lead from gate four, while Sunraysia star Murranji Track finished close-up third, just ahead of Stagger Lee and Animated. Connections said Adam Cartwright would now go to the Strathalbyn Cup, where he will clash with another recent South Australian Melton winner in Whats Emma Got. Cody Winnell

Smart mare Miasblaze made it three wins from four starts this preparation with an all-the-way win in the Gowans Homes & Renovations Harness Racing Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Backed from $2.20 into $1.80 favourite, Miasblaze by Ponder from Christianity exploded from gate five to cross and lead before the first turn and had a comfortable 4-1/2 metre win from Amightyfinehorse ($5.40) with Regal Lager ($17.60), 5-1/2 metres away third. Father and son owners Cec and David Wills are enjoying the ride with trainer-driver Peter Borrelli. “All credit goes to Peter,” Cec Wills said. “He has taken his time before bringing her to the racetrack and she is proving he has made the right decisions. “We bought Miasblaze from Alabar Bloodstock as a yearling but we found she had a soft palate and she had an operation to correct the problem. “I put her up on my property at Eudunda in the mid-north for a while before taking her back to Peter.” Borrelli is delighted with Miasblaze’s form and said he will just try to keep her going through her classes. “She has good gate speed but also can do it a bit tough,” Borrelli said. “Her run last week was very good coming off a back row draw and finishing second (to Hit Maka in 1:59.9 on a slow track) and I think she could have been even more competitive from the front.” Graham Fischer  

IT would appear a year of harness racing against top quality opposition has played a hand in Melolyn's impressive win in a heat of the Easter Cup in Launceston last night. Melolyn enjoyed a lot of success as a two and three-year-old in Tasmania but in March last year his owner Mick Maxfield opted to send him to Darren Hancock where he stayed for almost a year. He enjoyed a lot of success in the first two months he was with Hancock but in recent times his form waned so Maxfield decided to have him sent home to tackle the Easter Cup. Melolyn began safely from his sole back mark of 10 metres to settle third behind the leader Macho Comancho that began like a flash to find the front ahead of the favourite Jaruzelski Leis. Jaruzelski Leis' driver Todd Rattray was prepared to allow his charge to face the breeze and waited until the home turn the last time to make his move. But the leader found plenty when placed under pressure and Jaruzelski leis struggled to reduce the margin while driver Paul Ashwood opted to persevere with rails runs. Melolyn (Ponder-Mi Shaette) finished strongly and hit the line a metre clear of Macho Comancho with Jaruzelski Leis a close-up third ahead of Queens Advocate who was slowly away from th4e standing start but ran home well. Jerrys Jet ($3.50) galloped soon and driver Rohan Hillier was unable to get him back into a pace leaving him to tail out last and took no active part in the race. The Easter Cup will be run at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Easter Sunday, March 27. Peter Staples

It was the horse no one wanted to buy as a yearling and the horse that almost died on the operating table as a three-year-old. Tonight, only 12 months on from major surgery, it may well be the horse that wins a Group 1 and books a ticket to the nation’s richest race for harness racing four-year-olds, the Chariots Of Fire. Tee Cee Bee Macray, who will contest tonight’s Nestle Professional 4YO Bonanza, is fast becoming a favourite of co-owner and breeder Ian Kitchin. “We are very fortunate we got him to the racetrack, because a couple of serious issues could have meant the end of his life,” Kitchin said. “The horse is a miracle horse in a lot of ways. A lot of these things come back down to the attitude of the horse itself.” Tee Cee Bee Macray suffered a bad viral infection in his neck early last year, which threatened to spread to his lungs. That spread would have killed him, but a “major procedure” was successful and after a stint on the sidelines he returned to racing last October. After a 10-month lay-off, Tee Cee Bee Macray produced four consecutive wins before a fast-paced third at Melton. “He’s not a horse that will quit on you, he’s been a fighter all his life and that’s something you bottle up and it comes out on the racetrack,” Kitchin said. The illness has meant the four-year-old gelding, which is trained at Alan Tubbs’ Bacchus Marsh stable, has to date been lightly raced in comparison to tonight’s rivals. His nine starts have produced six wins and $23,902, an amount that could be quadrupled in tonight’s $100,000 feature race. It’s a far cry from Tee Cee Bee Macray’s timid entry to racing. He was the first foal of metropolitan class winner Way Mya Macray, which Kitchin had sired by Ponder, a medium-priced US stallion that the breeder considered a good bloodline cross with the mare. “By being the first foal (of Way Mya Macray), I wanted to see what type of foal she would have,” Kitchin said. “The first foal has a tendency to be on the small side. I wanted to see what type of foal dropped before pulling the trigger on a bigger costing stallion.” At the APG sales Kitchin found little interest in the yearling and so it was led back into his float and returned to Macray Lodge. “No one seemed to like him and so I took him home,” Kitchin said, but he didn’t give up, instead organising a syndicate to race the horse with him. During a US tour, where Kitchin – a big Elvis Presley fan – attended Graceland in Memphis, he was drawn to the name of the King’s back-up band TCB, an acronym for Taking Care of Business. And the name Tee Cee Bee Macray was born. “He’s turned out to be a very nice horse indeed,” Kitchin said. After last year’s surgery, Tee Cee Bee Macray followed four wins in October and November last year with a short spell before returning at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 22, when first-up he ran into The Culture and Itz Bettor To Win. “I watched the race with a number of co-owners not quite knowing what to expect,” Kitchin said. “At one stage I thought he’s going to win this. He then tired off in the last 100m and I thought that was a bit disappointing. “Then I realised they ran a 1:51.6 (mile rate) and he was first up from a spell. It was three or four seconds faster than anything he’d run in his life. “It was unbelievable, and that’s the sort of level he will be running against in the Group 1.” The mile rate was just half-a-second outside the track record set by superstar pacer Smoken Up, unheard of in a C4-5 class with $6325 stakes. Both The Culture and Itz Bettor To Win are entered for tonight’s return bout, in which Tee Cee Bee Macray’s chances were done no harm when he drew barrier one. “It’s good that he is getting the opportunity to show his wares,” Kitchin said. “He’s a baby and is still on a learning curve. He does what he does at the moment on pure adrenaline and is just learning the craft as he goes along. “Everyone can see the ability, it’s just a matter of can he take it the next step.” The winner will be granted entry into the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle, which Kitchin said was one of “the great races you watch over the years and to have a runner would be incredible”. “That’s one of the big reasons you breed horses, to follow their careers like they are your babies,” Kitchin said. “I have horses racing in Western Australia, New South Wales, and I still follow their careers, it’s like they are vital cogs in your machine. “It’s a huge buzz, when I breed a horse and see it then going into racing. If it manages to win a Group 1 race it’s a fantastic feeling.” Michael Howard Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 06 February 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 06 February 2016

Pompano Beach, FL.January 31, 2016 - Arthur Blue Chip, driven byharness racing driver Wally Hennessey, led every step of his mile, wiring together halves of :55.3 and :54.3, to win the enriched $15,000 Open Handicap Pace at Pompano Park on Sunday night in 1:50.1. Four Socks, handled by John Cummings, Jr., finished second, one length away, while Johnny Grippa, with Dave Ingraham in the bike, finished third. Rock On Moe was fourth while Brees Creek picked up the nickel in the field of seven. In a confident move, Hennessey sent Arthur Blue Chip winging out of the gate, putting Johnny Grippa in the garden spot with Four Socks, longest shot in the field at nearly 40 to 1. With an opening quarter in :27.1, Arthur Blue Chip strolled over to the half in :55.3 with a :27.2 third panel thwarting any developing threats. In the lane, Johnny Grippa angled out and Arthur Blue Chip drifted out a tad allowing Four Socks clear sailing along the pylons into second but the outcome was never in doubt. In a post-race interview, Hennessey related, "Doc Moore (trainer and co-owner Dr. Ian Moore) has him razor sharp-I mean razor sharp. Out in :27.1 and home in :27.1, why I hardly even spoke to him during the mile. "And this group was no pushover, either, with a few of 'em owning sub-1:50 marks. "I wanted to put my horse on the front end because I know how much Dave's (Ingraham) horse likes the front end and didn't want to give him a chance to get away with soft fractions, especially having confidence that my horse could go a good mile tonight." Dr. Ian Moore shares ownership in Arthur Blue Chip with R G McGroup and Serge Savard, with their five year-old son of Shadow Play equaling his lifetime best mile with the win-his second of the year in four starts and 12th lifetime in only 29 starts. The victory, incidentally vaulted Arthur Blue Chip's lifetime bounty over the $500,000--$503,742 to be precise. As the 1 to 5 tote-board favorite, Arthur Blue Chip paid $2.40 to his multitude of backers. Bandolito lit up the tele-timer in the $11,000 Open 3 Pace with a near wire-to-wire win for George Napolitano, Jr. in 1:49.4, this after scorching panels of :26, :53.1 and 1:20.3 along the way. Next Thing Smoke'n closed fast to finished second for Rick Plano while Maddysonofagun finished third with John MacDonald in the bike. Danishdujour finished fourth while Southern Winds picked up the minor award in the octet. Bandolito, a six year-old son of Ponder owned and trained by Jenny Bier, won for the 25th time during his splendid career to send his lifetime bounty to $434,535 to go along with a splendid mark of 1:48. As the overwhelming 1 to 5 tote-board favorite, Bandolito paid a $2.60 dividend to his many investors. After the race, the soft spoken Napolitano simply said, "He was on his game tonight!" The $12,000 Open 2 Pace went to Northern Companion, with Dave Ingraham in the bike, in 1:51.4 Trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, Northern Companion was dead last in his octet around the final turn but swept up widest of all on the strength to a :27.3 final panel to nail the win in the final stride-the official margin being a head. Whogoesfirst, driven by Wally Hennessey, finished second in the photo while Martial Bliss finished third for Aaron Byron, three-parts-of-a-length away. Teranadawn finished fourth while pacesetting Danger Hi Joltage finished fifth. In this action packed mile, there were several lead changes with Whogoesfirst away quickest of all and taking the field through an opening panel of :26.3 before yielding to Danger Hi Joltage, escorting the field half way through in :56.1. On the backside, Heart Felt rushed up from fifth to stick his nose in front past the third station in 1:23.1 with Danger Hi Joltage fighting to reclaim the top spot turning for home before Whogoesfirst rallied to stick his head in front in deep stretch, only to be nailed by Northern Companion on the wire. For Northern Companion, an eight year-old altered son of Cambest, it was his 46th lifetime win-38 of those at Pompano Park-with his career earnings edging closer to $300,000--$297,282 to be exact. Off at 10 to 1, Northern Companion paid $23.00-only the fourth time he's been double-digit odd in winning. In the popular "Over The Hill Gang" Series, featuring nine year-olds and up, a field of seven with combined earnings of well over $2 million and 236 lifetime wins went post-ward and it was the 11 year-old Zorgwijk Impact, driven by George Napolitano, Jr. for owner-trainer Jack Sheehan, home first in a lifetime equaling best effort of 1:54.2. Leading at every pole through panels of :28.2, :58 and 1:26.1, Zorgwijk Impact, a son of Armbro Ricochet, strolled home lengthening his margin to 7½ lengths at the wire over On The Tab (Wally Hennessey) with I'll Tell You What third. Go Jesse Go was fourth over Mad Cow Lisa, picking up the final award in thee septet. Zorgwijk Impact now has 43 lifetime wins in his career stretching 272 starts, good for earnings of $350,409. As the 4 to 5 favorite on the tote-board, Zorgwijk Impact paid $3.80 to win. Other notable performances on the Sunday program in South Florida were carded by Grande Seelster in the $10,000 pace for $20,000 claimers, Officernagentleman in the $8,800 pace for $15,000 claimers, King Royalty in a conditioned event and Thebestofjoel, also in a conditioned event. Grande Seelster ($17.60) brushed up on the backside from fourth to score a photo finish victory over Fall Toy and Buddha Blue Chip in 1:51.1 for Kevin Wallis. Owned by Enos Van Stanhope III along with trainer Tony Dinges, Grande Seelster won for the 26th time career-wise to send his bounty to $232,411. Officernagentleman ($4.80) won his fourth straight, this time for Joe Pavia, Jr., who was in the sulky for trainer Paul Holzman and the J L Benson Stables-the time of 1:50.3 being a new lifetime mark. Fritzie Pic Up Man was next in the mile followed by Hopiesdragininthedo. Officernagentleman pushed his career bounty to $286,349 with the win-his 29th career-wise. King Royalty ($10.80) lowered his mark to 1:51 by getting picture perfect handling from trainer Matt Romano in pinning a photo finish defeat on Real Catch with Aloneinspades next. Owned by C & F Associates, King Royalty now has a career bankroll of $156,601. Finally, Thebestofjoel ($2.60), handled by George Napolitano, Jr., enjoyed his class drop this night and scored a gate to wire win 1:51.1 off of hot panels of :26.3, :54.3 and 1:22.4. Trained by Tim Maier for owner Denise Maier, Thebestofjoel now has $375,416 in lifetime earnings to go along with his 32 career wins. Racing continues on Monday night with post time set at 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

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