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WILKES-BARRE PA - The well-traveled Rock Me Baby made a stop at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Tuesday night and promptly took a new lifetime mark of 1:50.4 in the $18,000 featured pace for harness racing distaffs.   Driver Corey Callahan put the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, racing at her fifth track in her last seven starts, on the lead, and none of the opposition could summon enough speed to get by the fleet mare, with Pittstop Danika closest at the wire, 3½ lengths back. Rock Me Baby, a winner of $195,708, is trained by Heidi Rohr for owner Scott Dillon.   The two-year-olds made their 2017 pari-mutuel debut at The Downs Tuesday - and confirmed that the night at the mountain track belonged to daughters of Rock N Roll Heaven, as the pacing filly Silk Reed was victorious in 1:53.4, dropping five seconds off her winning time in a Pocono qualifier last week. Driver Matt Kakaley sent the Jean Drolet-trained miss, owned by Stephen Schneider, William Siegel, and Jay Lieberman, to the top early, then laid off a contested pace, finding room in the Pocono Pike to edge Yankee Will Dance, who had made two moves to the lead, by a nose.   Silk Reed's dam, Fantasy Jet, has already produced three six-figure winners, and her second dam produced world champion Stand Forever, so there is plenty in her pedigree to suggest that Silk Reed may be capable of even better.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Pacing distaffs ascending the class ladder got the harness racing spotlight on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the $18,000 "nw 7 races" feature going to the Rock N Roll Heaven mare Angels Rockn Pink in 1:53.   Driver Marcus Miller made every pole a winning one with the John Butenschoen trainee, defeating favored I Wish You Well by a length while raising her lifetime earnings to $218,454 for Crawford Farms Racing.   There were also two $16,000 races for the "n/w 5 races" set, with both winners taking new marks of 1:52.4. In one, the Sportsmaster mare Frog Pond Princess, who had a seasonal mark of 9-0-4-3 vs. "nw 6" types at Yonkers, found the drop, the switch in track, and scratching in from the AE list just the ticket for her 2017 breakthrough, winning by 1¼ lengths for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Lance Hudson, and owner William Hartt. In the other, the Western Ideal filly Ideal Plan took the lead from favored Beach Club late on the first turn, set the pace, then used a 28 last quarter to come home strongly and foil the potential pocket rocket by a half-length for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Casie Coleman, and the partnership of West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, and Kevin McKinlay.   Finally, a mention should go to Meteoric, a three-year-old gelding who conquered a $14,000 "nw 3 races" field of trotters in 1:52.4, winning by 11½ lengths for driver Joe Bongiorno, trainer Richard Johnson, and owner Mahlon Martin. The sophomore certainly has the pedigree to stand him well in stakes action, as a son of Explosive Matter and having a third dam who produced the ill-fated Hambletonian favorite Dancer's Crown.   PHHA / Pocono

HARRINGTON, Del. - Arque Hanover notched his third win of the harness racing season Monday at Harrington Raceway with a 1:52 win in the $17,500 Open Pace. Owned by Thomas Lazzaro, Robert Cooper Stables and Abe Basen, Arque Hanover was sent for the lead from post position six at odds of 3-5 to an opening quarter of 27.1 seconds. Arque Hanover led the field of eight through remaining fractions of 56.1 and 1:24.1 while Take It Back Terry battled first over. In the stretch, Arque Hanover held off "Terry" for a one length win. Framed Art was third. Trained by Dylan Davis, it was the 16th career win for the Rock N Roll Heaven stallion. Victor Kirby, who was involved in a racing accident Thursday night, wasted no time in getting back to the winner's circle. Kirby captured both halves of the daily double with Allwillworkout ($3.60) and Almost Cut My Hair ($7). Venerable veteran Dancin Yankee ($12.80, Allan Davis) recorded his 56th career win in an $11,000 conditioned pace in 1:52 for owners Richard Lombardo and L&J Racing LLC. The Josh Green-trainee has banked nearly $1.6 million in his career. Driver Jim Morand, who was injured in the aforementioned accident on May 25, is home recovering after surgery on his shoulder. Morand, who has enjoyed a successful career in racing for more than three decades, has won 9,404 races lifetime, ranking him among the sport's winning-est drivers all-time. Matthew Sparacino

Beyonces Rockn crossed the finish line faster than any other harness racing mare in the history of Northfield Park when she won the $14,000 F&M Open Handicap in 1:51 on Saturday (May 27). The clocking formally broke the 1:52 record for five and up pacing mares, which was held by three different horses: Hidden Land (Don Irvine Jr.) from 2015, and Devil Child (David Miller) and Love Forbidden (Aaron Merriman) in 2016. The partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable LLC and RTC Stables Inc. own Beyonces Rockn. Ron Burke is her conditioner and Ryan Stahl was in the sulky for the winning drive. Beyonces Rockn (Rock N Roll Heaven-Im Betting On You-Bettor's Delight) started from post seven. She left from the gate and sat fourth through the initial :27.1 quarter. Stahl moved her coming to the half. She brushed to the front and never looked back through times of :56.1, 1:23 and 1:51, besting her competition by 12 ¾-lengths. Beyonces Rockn now has seven wins in 19 starts this year. Saturday's victory represents her 16th career score and bolstered her bankroll to $178,492. She was heavily favored and returned $2.60 to win. Beyonces Rockn Ayers Ratliff

Leading harness racing driver Mike Simons pilots Amateur Hour to gutsy win in Gail's Diner Pace final ($23,400) at Tioga Downs Saturday night (May 27). The 3 year-old filly by Rock N Roll Heaven took over the lead from entry mate Under The Bus (Fern Paquet Jr.) at the three-quarter mark. At the top of the stretch Amateur Hour would be attacked by Playing Favorites (Mike Merton) and Dr J's Kiss (Tom Jackson). Just when it looked like Playing Favorites was going to go by Amateur Hour battled back to hang on for the victory. Trained by Linda Toscano for owners Fred Wallace, Camelot stables and Kenneth Jacobs, Amateur Hour ($3.70) scored the mile in 1:51.4. Paying Favorites took second and Dr J's Kiss finished third. Tioga Downs hosts the New York Sire Stakes for 3 year-old filly trotters at a special post time of 6:50 Sunday night (May 28). For more information please go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs.  

Benjor Maddy Lombo hardly set the world on fire during a modest harness racing career on the racetrack, but she has burst into prominence in recent months as the dam of WA Derby winner Handsandwheels and the highly-promising two-year-old colt Rock Me Over. Rock Me Over, purchased for $28,000 at the Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale early last year, has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line and looks set to fight out the finish of the $50,000 Retravision Champagne Classic over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Rock N Roll Heaven colt, trained at Byford by Katja Warwick, warmed up for this week’s assignment in excellent style with a fast-finishing second to Play The Boys in the group 1 $100,000 Sales Classic final last Friday night. Driven by Gary Hall jun., Rock Me Over raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move at the 500m. He charged home to finish a half-head behind the pacemaking Play The Boys. Rock Me Over was successful at his two previous starts, finishing strongly to beat his stablemate Mistersandman over 1684m at Pinjarra and then setting the pace and dashing over the final 400m in 27.7sec. to beat Kohli by more than two lengths over 1730m at Gloucester Park. Benjor Maddy Lombo, by American sire Perfect Art, began her career in Western Australia before being relocated in Victoria where she won three times, as a three-year-old in moderate company at Mildura, Gunbower and Charlton. She was retired with those three wins from 34 starts for stakes of $21,510. She is an elder half-sister to Miss Trickin Lombo (109 starts for 15 wins and 29 placings for earnings of $230,312) and to star performer Suave Stuey Lombo, who amassed $587,032 from 33 wins and 23 placings from 110 starts. Rock Me Over has already earned $24,310 from his two wins and a second placing from four starts, while Handsandwheels has raced 20 times for six wins, six placings and $165,099. Rock Me Over is sure to meet plenty of stiff opposition, particularly from the New Zealand-bred gelding Pocket More For Less and Cott Beach, one of three fillies in the race. Pocket More for Less, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, will have many admirers from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line. He was seventh in the one-out, one-back position at the bell before starting a three-wide move at the 700m and running home determinedly to be second to the pacemaker Warriors Code over 1609m at Bunbury last Saturday night. Pocket More For Less gave a sample of his ability at his only other starts, for wins over 1730m at Gloucester Park in March. He overcame severe interference before finishing strongly from fourth at the bell to win from Universal Major and then worked hard in the breeze before winning from Kohli. Cott Beach, a filly by Advance Attack, has been most impressive in her short career for trainer Gary Elson and reinsman Nathan Turvey. After a strong-finishing second to Tenniele Erin on debut at Bunbury she was successful at her next three starts, two at Pinjarra and one at Gloucester Park, when she revealed excellent gate speed and then made all the running. She rated 1.57.6 (with final quarters of 28.8sec. and 27.7sec.) over 1730m at Gloucester Park two starts ago when she scored by nine lengths over Cheeseacracker. And then she led from barrier No. 6 and won by just unde3r four lengths from Princess Major at Pinjarra when she rated 1.55.2 over 1684m after dashing over the final two quarters in 27.9sec. and 27.8sec. Cott Beach fared badly and will need to be at her top to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) on Friday night. The Champagne Stakes was first run in 1970 and since then the fillies to have won the classic have been Jidaley (1971), Deep Décor (1974), Chrysou Mou (1976), Whitby Tolez (1991), Whitbys Merit (1993), Nowuseemenowudont (2000), Sheza Clout (2006), Arma Xpress (2012) and Tricky Styx (2014). Elson and Turvey combined to win the Champagne Classic in 2015 when Sprinter defeated Lightning Jolt and Rich Yankee. Ken Casellas

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - When the 92-year-old boss flies in from San Diego, you don't want to disappoint him. Good thing Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) held up her end of the bargain Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $310,600 harness racing final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, Mackenzie A watched as Lispatty (Brian Sears) leave hard from the pylons, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) second and 9-10 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) third...all three away in post position order. Meanwhile, Regil Elektra (Yannick Gingras) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) tried to leave, only to get parked for their troubles (the latter badly compromised by the former). It was Lispatty leading at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile before Mach it a Par move to take the baton approaching the :55.1 intermission. Down the backside, Shesjustadelight N took out of third, with Mackenzie A third and Medusa (Matt Kakaley) staying in. Mach it a Par was seemingly in control in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with the uncovered rival pacing in place, forcing Mackenzie A wide. It was Mach it a Par owning a length-and-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. Mackenzie A blew on by, widening to win the ninth Matchmaker by 2¾ lengths in in life-best 1:53.1. Medusa, who had left the cones, failed to match strides with the winner but was a rallying second, with 81-1 rank outsider Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno) a closing third. That one found her way into the final after original eight-holer Empress Deo came up ill. Mach it a Par faded to fourth, with Shesjustadelight N fifth and Lispatty, Regil Elektra and Bedroomconfessions bringing up the rear. For co-second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by the nonagenarian Harry von Knoblauch (a fine TV interview) and his daughter, Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $167, the triple returned $6,251 the superfecta paid $19,960 (base $2 payout). "I thought I have to race her from off the pace," Stratton said. "The trip worked out perfect for us. I knew there were horses behind and I wanted to move." Stratton won the inaugural edition of the race in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels. Mackenzie A A $75,000 series consolation was won by Hidden Land (Bartlett, $9.50) in 1:54.1. Hidden Land Saturday night's $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.70) in 1:56.4. Barn Doll Frank Drucker

Pompano Beach, FL...April 9, 2017...Rockntouch, driven by Mickey McNichol, scored a decisive two length win in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace, stopping the harness racing tele-timer in 1:52.1. The five year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven pinned the defeat on the pacesetting Arsenal, handled by John MacDonald, with Sing For Me George, with Kevin Wallis in the bike, third after dawdling near the back of the pack for most of the journey. Pointsman was fourth after applying first-over pressure on the leader from turn two through turn three while E R Melvin picked up the minor award in the classy octet of side-wheelers. At the outset, Arsenal blasted off the wings into the early lead with Winyard Hanover settling in the garden spot while St Lads Lotto was away in good order the rail through an opening panel of :27.1. Three-eighths in, things started heating up as Pointsman pulled from fifth with Rockntouch catching his live cover and, half-way through the mile in :56, Pointsman was just a length away with Winyard Hanover sitting chilly in third and Rockntouch second over and E R Melvin third over. The pace quickened on the backside and, when Arsenal hit the third station in 1:24, Pointsman was looking him in the eye with Rockntouch surging on a double-bubble binge that swept him to the lead once they straightened away and widening his advantage to the wire. In a post-race interview, driver Mickey McNichol related, "Well, in every race, there is an element of skill and an element of good luck. "Dave (Ingraham) pulled fairly early and I was lucky enough to get a very good journey behind his horse (Pointsman). I kind of drafted along behind him and, around the final turn, I gave my horse room to roam and he was his usual strong self. "Rockntouch made me look good tonight, so I was just a passenger on a very good horse." Owned by Salvatore Promuto along with the Fred Monteleone Stable, Rockntouch notched his fourth win of the year in 13 starts, good for $25,775. Lifetime, Rockntouch has banked $132,195 to go along with his mark of 1:51.2 set earlier this year at Pompano Park. As fourth choice in the betting, Rockntouch paid $14.80 to win. Speaking of "good luck," McNichol also drove the pacer Good Luck to a 29 to 1 upset victory in a conditioned event the race prior sparking a Pick-6 carryover of $7,281 going into Monday night's program. Trotters will be in the spotlight on Monday as Boli looks for a repeat win in the $10,000 Open Handicap. The five year-old gelded son of Kadabra has been installed as the 8 to 5 morning line favorite and will have the driving services of Wally Hennessey.   PICK-6 CARRYOVER OF $7,281 FOR MONDAY NIGHT POMPANO CARD With Pompano Park's Pick-6 unsolved on Sunday night, the carryover for the Monday night Pick-6 is a healthy $7,281. Gabe Prewitt, Director of Racing at the South Florida oval, related, "Usually, we're bragging about our weather here in Pompano Beach but, on Monday night, it's the weather and the carryovers that make Pompano Park 'better for the bettor.' on Monday night." The Pick-6 is conducted on races 3 through 8. Yet another healthy carryover is on the Super Hi-5 finale, which now stands at $62,573.79. That wager challenges a player to select the first five finishers in order with the entire jackpot claimed when there is only one 20 cent ticket sold on the winning combination. In the event of multiple winners, half of that night's betting pool is shared by those winners with the remaining half rolling over and added to the next night's carryover. Sunday night's 7-5-6-1-8 winning combination had multiple winners with each receiving $613.94 for their 20 cent ticket. Post time for the Monday program is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL...April 2, 2017...Drachan Hanover, given perfect rating by harness racing driver Wally Hennessey, scored a repeat victory in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (April 2), stopping the tele-timer in 1:51.2. The five year-old son of Jereme's Jet out-rushed Heart Felt (Bryce Fenn) when the wings folded and went on to post panels of :26.4 and a well-rated :56.1 before livening up the pace on the backside with a third panel in :28.2 and sealing the issue with a :26.4 finale. Heart Felt did finish second while Sing For Me George (Kevin Wallis) finished third. Pointsman was next in the mile while Alta Jerome picked up the nickel in the classy sextet of pacers. In a post-race interview, driver Hennessey remarked, "This is a very classy racehorse and he showed that tonight. He's very smart, too. "He was all business leaving out of the gate and then had the sense enough to relax during the second quarter. Once we reached the half in soft time (:56.1), I felt very confident that he could get home. "He really accelerated midway on the backside and he was full of race in the lane. "He won in a bit faster time last week but I thought he may have even been a bit sharper tonight with that final quarter." Trained by Marcel Barrieau for owners by Llyod Maclean along with Kenneth Rankin, Drachan Hanover won for the fourth time this year to send his earnings to $30,440 in 10 starts. Lifetime, Drachan Hanover has earned $374,417 to go along with a 1:50.1 mark in South Florida. Off at 1 to 2, Drachan paid $3.00 to his multitude of backers. Drachan Hanover The $8,000 Open 2 Pace went to Rockntouch, under the direction of driver Mickey McNichol. This five year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven got picture perfect handling from McNichol by stalking Winyard Hanover (John MacDonald) through fractions of :26.3, :55.3 and 1:23.4 before using his customary burst home-in this case :27.3-to score by 1¼ over that that paacesetter with St Lads Lotto (Wally Hennessey) third, two lengths away. Fritzie Pic Up Man, last for the first five-eighths of the journey, rallied for fourth while Rock N Row finished fifth after a mild first-over backside bid. Rockntouch won for the third time this year to push his 2017 earnings to $20,775. Lifetime, Rockntouch, owned by Salvatore Promuto along with the Fred Monteleone Stable, has banked $127,195 on the strength of a 16-10-9 in 69 starts to go along with a Pompano Park mark of 1:51.2. Off at 6 to 5, Rockntouch returned $4.60 to win. In other Sunday night action, American Hustle, the lightly raced three year-old American Ideal colt, stretched his winning streak to four for Kevin Wallis on Sunday night, overcoming the outside eight post to score in 1:51.3, a new lifetime mark. Coming into the 2017 season with one win on his card and a qualifying mark of 2:00.4 as a two year-old with meager earnings of $1,368, American Hustle now has produced new lifetime marks in each of his five wins this semester, lowering his 1:55.1 mark, set in his seasonal debut six weeks ago, to the aforementioned 1:51.3 on Sunday night. Owned and trained by Bryan Lawrence of Hanover, Ontario, Canada, American Hustle now has earnings of $14,656 while steadily moving up the ladder. As the 4 to 5 tote-board favorite, American Hustle paid $3.60 to his multitude of backers. Racing continues on Monday night with Sailer Eddie looking to extend his winning streak to three in the featured $10,000 Open Handicap for Trotters. Sooo Handsome, just a nose away from Sailer Eddie last week, is also in to go along with Boli, Tater Twister, Dog Gone Lucky and Prairie Fortune, returning to the racing wars after a week off. Pompano Park will offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick-4 as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program on races 6 through 9. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Eight years ago, Frank Bellino bought a harness racing colt from the first crop of stallion Rocknroll Hanover. The pacer's name was Rock N Roll Heaven and at age 3 the horse won 16 of 21 races, earned $2.15 million in purses, and was named Horse of the Year in the United States. Two years ago, Bellino bought a colt from the final crop of Rocknroll Hanover. The pacer's name is Stealth Bomber and he is a full brother to Rock N Roll Heaven. Now a 3-year-old, Stealth Bomber will try to follow in the footsteps of his renowned sibling. Stealth Bomber was unraced at age 2 because of soreness, but the Bellino family believes the sky's the limit this season. "I've had some special horses and so has dad," said Frank Bellino's son, Joe. "He doesn't over-react to things. But when he saw this horse win in his first start, he said this could be a special horse. We've got very high hopes. I'm as high on this horse as any we've had. "He is just something special, in my opinion. We're really looking forward to this year." Stealth Bomber won his career debut Feb. 16 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Sent off at odds of 3-5, the colt won a $10,640 conditioned race by 3-1/4 lengths from post eight in an eight-horse field with Doug McNair driving for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. The time for the mile on a 24-degree night was 1:53, which is tied for the fourth-fastest clocking of the season by a 3-year-old pacer. "He looked pretty good," O'Sullivan said. "For his first lifetime start, well, that's kind of what good horses do, isn't it? He did it well in hand." On Thursday night, Stealth Bomber returns to the same class for his second start. He will leave from post five in a seven-horse field, with McNair again at the lines. "He's been remarkable training down," Bellino said. "He's big and strong and does everything right. He can sit if you want to sit. He can leave if you want to leave. When you pull, he's right on the bit. He's never done anything wrong. He's just so smooth; you'd think he's an older horse. He acts like he's been there before." Stealth Bomber, purchased for $125,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, is out of the mare Artistic Vision and was bred by Steve Stewart, Charles Nash, Julie Nash and Francene Nash. In addition to being a full brother to Rock N Roll Heaven, the colt is a half-brother to multi-millionaire Clear Vision. Last year, Stealth Bomber was training well, but started dealing with sporadic soreness. There were no signs of injury, but the connections decided to shut down Stealth Bomber to give him time to mature. "It took a lot for us to shut him down, but we didn't want to push him to get to the races," Bellino said. "We didn't want to discourage him." Stealth Bomber will have every chance to compete at harness racing's top level this year. He is staked to all the sport's major events for pacers, with the exception of the races at Lexington's Red Mile. It is similar to the stakes schedule that was prepared in 2010 for Rock N Roll Heaven, who was later supplemented to race in Lexington. "He's got a full plate if he's up to it," O'Sullivan said. "He's put together like a good horse. He's not a tall horse, but he's got a lot of muscle on him and he looks after himself." O'Sullivan plans to race Stealth Bomber every three weeks or so as he prepares the horse for the stakes season. If all goes well, his first stakes test will come on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit in early May. "I don't want to race a lot, but at the same time, he hasn't raced," O'Sullivan said. "He's going to need to be versatile. We need time to see what makes him tick." The Bellinos are looking forward to hopefully returning to the Grand Circuit with a 3-year-old pacer. "You want to make those races," Joe Bellino said. "The last time we were there was with Pet Rock (in 2012). It's not easy sitting on the sidelines. "I think everything is aligning for us," he added, referring to coming full circle with a colt from the final crop of Rocknroll Hanover. "We hope it's going to be a special year." Ken Weingartner

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 25, 2017 - Saturday night offered any number of harness racing entrants for Yonkers Raceway's upcoming George Morton Levy Memorial Series (nominations close this Wednesday, March 1-hint, hint), including favored Soto (Matt Kakaley, $4.50), winner of the featured $50,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 4, Soto then gave up the baton to Somewhere in L A (Mark MacDonald) just before a moist :26.4 opening quarter-mile. After a 56-second intermission and moving down the backside, First Class Horse (Tyler Buter) took out of fourth, That one towed Guantanamo Bay (Jason Bartlett) while moving into a :27.4 third quarter (1:23.4). Somewhere in L A owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, was good, though not quite good enough. Soto dipped inside, edging past by a neck in 1:52.1. Third was a best-of-the-rest Guantanamo Bay, with Roland N Rock (Jordan Stratton) and Caviart Luca (George Brennan) rounding out the payees. For Delaware-based Soto, a 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Eric Ell for co-owners Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $27.40, with the triple returning $147. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. - Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton sat behind 5-year-old mare Mackenzie for the first time last Friday (Feb. 17) as she faced the starting gate for a qualifier at Yonkers Raceway. Starting from post position six, she paced evenly in the early stages before sprinting home late. She posted her final quarter in :27.1 and finished fourth. Although it was her first outing since finishing second in the Breeders Crown for 3-Year-Old fillies at Australia’s Tabcorp Park Melton August 28, the effort pleased Stratton. “I was happy with it. Pete just wanted to run her home a little bit. She did it pretty easily,” he said. “She seems like the real deal to me. It’s tough to tell off one qualifier, but she seems good.” The latest import to join to ranks of trainer Peter Tritton, Mackenzie is already an accomplished mare. She won eight of 19 starts Down Under, including the Group 2 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and placed in another seven races en route to A$121,861 in earnings. The November 18, 2012 foal by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Kept For Pleasure took her mark of 1:52.4 at Tabcorp Park Menagle last May. Now, her connections are eager to launch her North American campaign in Friday’s sixth race $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers. “She’s probably not 100 percent, but Jordan said to put her in,” Tritton said. “He was very excited about (the qualifier) and said she’s a real good mare. That was pleasing. I haven’t done a lot with her, but she does feel very impressive driving her.” Mackenzie first caught Tritton’s eye when he noticed her in a replay. Soon, he got a call from a friend tipping him off that she was for sale. Tritton purchased Mackenzie and shipped her to the United States just before Christmas. Two months later, she will make her stateside debut. “She looked like a nice horse and looked like she could go around Yonkers, which is the main criteria,” Tritton explained. “She’s a big mare, but she seems to get around the tracks good. She’s got plenty of class. She’s fairly young. It’s a shame she’s got to start up in the top class, but she’s won so much money that she has to start up there for a while.” Preparing a horse for her first races in such short order after crossing the Equator is challenging, but Tritton’s experience training in both Australia and the United States gives him an advantage. He understands horses must cope with drastic changes in seasons and differences in training methodologies. Above all, the process takes patience. “The seasons are exactly the opposite. When we get one in the middle of winter here like we did with her, it was completely in summer there, so it was pretty hard,” Tritton explained. “I just let the horse tell me. You just have to do the best with them that you can during that time and be prepared to back off of them and not work them too hard. “I’m a little bit fortunate because I know how they’re trained there and I know how they’re trained here, so I can sort of put them together a bit,” Tritton continued. “Whereas some guys who haven’t trained over there just train them the way they know here and it’s not really the same.” While Tritton says it takes a horse a full year to fully acclimatize after changing hemispheres, the experience they gain in their first few starts is pivotal to ensuring a smooth transition. In this way, patience in the sulky pays off as well. Stratton will employ a proven strategy in handling Australian horses for the first time: take them off the gate and let them finish strongly. As he puts it, “get the most money the easiest I can do it. “It’s all new to them. New country, new weather in the different hemisphere,” Stratton said. “One or two bad experiences in their first start and it kind of screws them for the rest of their career, but once you get past the first few starts, they’re usually ok.” Tritton is eager to see how Mackenzie fares in Friday’s Filly and Mare Open Handicap, where she’ll start from post position four as a 15-1 outsider on the morning line. A good effort could land her a chance in the upcoming Bluechip Matchmaker Series alongside stablemate Sell A Bit. “I think I’ll put her in the Bluechip,” he said. “I think she has the ability to go in it no problems at all, I just hope that I don’t tap her out the first season because she’s a young mare, but we’ll see how it goes.” While last week’s Filly and Make Open Handicap winner Bedroomconfessions is absent this week, Mackenzie will still face a full field in the distaff feature. Mach It A Par, the 3-1 morning line choice, will make her second start of the year after finishing third in last week’s feature. Last week’s preferred winner Tessa Seelster will start from post eight and is 7-2. Filly and Mare Open runner up last out, Empress Deo is 4-1 and starts from post five. Lispatty, For The Ladies, Regil Elektra, and Shesjustadelight complete the field. First post is 7:10 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for SOA of NY

DOVER, DE---- Soto won the $30,000 Preferred Handicap, Rockinonby took the $21,000 Open while Mustang Art won his second in-a-row in the top three races on the Thursday, Jan.26 at Dover Downs. For the second straight day, Art Stafford Jr. drove the winner of the feature race on the card. This time, Soto, who drew the rail, took command at the start and never looked back in a decisive victory. For the second time, Sweet Rock and Allan Davis, were runner-up with veteran Clear Vision driven by Yannick Gingras third. The Soto win for the brown son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Incredible Beauty, was his second in three races for trainer Eric Ell and Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta, who also owned Wednesday feature winner Celebrity Pegasus. Tony Morgan used the passing lane driving Rockinonby to a 1:51.2 triumph in the $21,000 Open pace. Niss Allen Inc. owns the Rockin Image-Stan's Ann gelding. Cajon Lightning (Jonathan Roberts) was second with Screaman Seaman (Kirby) third. Mustang Art made it two in-a-row posting a 1:52 victory in one of two $15,500 Male paces. Vic Kirby guided the 10-year-old Artiscape-Paula Seelster gelding to his 46th lifetime win while earning $08,872. The sport's richest Standardbred Foiled Again (Gingras) finished second in front of Star Messenger (Morgan). Gingras came right back to pick up his third win guiding Bad Gamer, four-year-old son of Badlands Hanover-Kattimon whom he owns with trainer Ed Gannon and Frank Canzone and Bob Sabatini, to a 1:52 triumph in another $15,500 Male pace for 4&5-Year-Olds. Caviart Skyler (Montrell Teague) and All The Cookies (Tyler Davis) were second and third respectively. In a third $15,500 event for Young male pacers, 13-1 shot JW Renegade got up at the wire to catch Fashionbythebeach in the last step in 1: 52.4. John MacKinnon drove the win for his father Russ MacKinnon. JW Renegade is a four-year-old by Pacific Renegade-Honey winning for the first time in 2017. Suchasensenceofhumor (Jim Morand) was the show horse. Sharon Wyatt, and breeders Robin West and Ron Benton's Remember Me VK made it two straight trips to the winner's circle for drover Montrell Teague. The Art Director-All Memory gelding was never challenged en route to a 1:51.3 clocking in a $12,500 Male pace. The former Delaware-sired champion ow has won $260,576 lifetime. Smart Rocker (Gingras) was second in front of Quick Shot (Roberts). Yannick Gingras won three races, Corey Callahan, Art Stafford Jr., trainer Eric Ell and owner-trainer Dylan Davis had two wins. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission at Dover Downs is free. Reservations are suggested for the popular Winner's Circle Restaurant and its acclaimed Buffet. . For reservations, call 302-674-4600. Simulcasting of top harness and thoroughbred racing is available in the Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book, from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight daily. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

The waters are still very much muddied for star harness racing filly Park Life. Her brilliant rookie season was prematurely cut short owing to injury, initial reports was shin soreness before further investigation revealed issues with her knees. Park Life claimed the Gr.1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Fillies Final at TABCORP Park, Menangle in record time (1:53.2) for a juvenile filly last season. The Rock N Roll Heaven filly hasn’t raced since that triumphant night last April. And the filly still hasn’t returned to work. “No, under the advice of the vets we still haven’t attempted to bring her back into work because it’s still very unclear of what is causing the lameness issues. It has been revealed the issues are stemming from the knees but there is no clear explanation on why she isn’t healing.” Regular driver Shane Graham said. The chances of returning for a three-year-old campaign are looking less likely by the day meaning she will miss all of the major events including most Oaks Classics which connections were thinking last season. Following all scans and tests being carried out at the Gatton Equine Centre here in Queensland, connections then sent their star filly to Melbourne for further testing. Park Life underwent a series of exhaustive tests at the Ballarat Equine Centre. “It was more hope than anything else in sending her to Melbourne, it’s still very strange why the healing process isn’t happening and it’s very frustrating because time is ticking and it’s looking very unlikely she will not race this season. “Even if she returned to work within a month, that’s really puts us on the back foot to have her ready for the Brisbane winter carnival and that’s all that will be left by that stage of the season. “As it stands, Nelly is a valuable broodmare in the waiting so is it worth bringing her back if she isn’t going to produce her best again. Her next scan is due within three weeks and hopefully we will get a clearer indication if she is healing or not.” Park Life has a record of 3 wins and 3 minor placings from 6 career starts to date while banking more than $168,000. Chris Barsby

Rocknroll Turbo was one of last season's better two-year-old pacers in Tasmania and from what the well-bred colt showed first-up at Luxbet Park Hobart last night he will be very competitive in feature three-year-old harness racing events this year. The Paul Hill-trained colt won at his first two starts as a two-year-old and ended that campaign with a second to Usain Jolt in the Dandy Patch Stakes final. Hill confirmed the colt suffered a stifle injury during his last start as a two-year-old and required plenty of time in the paddock to recover. "This Rock N Roll Heaven colt is the real deal so when he suffered the stifle problem we just topped him straight out and gave him all the time he needed to fully recover," Hill said. "I've taken my time with him since he came back into work because he's still growing into himself. "Tonight was just a glorified trial really because he's certainly capable of running really good times if required." Driver Rohan Hillier allowed Rocknroll Turbo to fall off the gate from barrier five and settled last but when Hillier called on him to sprint heading into the back straight the last time he hauled in the leaders quickly. However, Hillier halted his progress by slotting into the one-out-one-back position so as not to have the colt punching into a headwind. When they hit the home straight Hillier let the colt loose and he went on to score by over 15 metres from Safari Sunshine that faced the breeze for the last lap with Shesastandout a close-up third. Rocknroll Turbo clocked a mile rate of 2.02s over 1609 metres but it could have been a lot better had the driver so desired. Peter Staples

The fastest mile of the harness rcing meet belongs to Mysharona Bluechip, who made his Cal Expo debut a memorable one two weeks ago when he covered the journey here in a sparkling 1:51 4/5 with Tony Succarotte in the sulky. The 4-year-old pacing son of Rock N Roll Heaven is owned by A Piece Of The Action LLC and trained by Gene Vallandingham, and was coming in from the East where he had a 1:49 3/5 tour at Pocono Downs earlier in the season. "He had trained giant and I expected that kind of mile from him," Vallandingham related after the score. "Before the race, I told Tony that he just might be the best horse he'd ever sat behind, and he didn't disappoint us. "I can tell you one other thing, there's a lot more where that came from and it's going to be a lot of fun." Gene, who celebrated his 76th birthday in September, is currently training 30 performers and while he has over 3,500 victories in his career as a driver, he hasn't seen evening action in the sulky for over a year and a half. "I broke my hand and had it operated on, and it really hasn't come back 100 percent," Vallandingham explained. "To be honest, the training has become a full-time job so I don't know if I'll get back to driving as long as I have this many horses." Gene was asked if he gets more nervous watching a race from the sidelines, as opposed to be being in the bike. "I don't get nervous," he said without missing a beat. "If something happens and the horse ends up in trouble, it could have just as easily happened if I was driving." Mr. Pearl eyes encore in featured pace Mr. Pearl, who overcame the No. 10 post to win at this level last week, heads the cast for Friday night's $4,200 pacing feature. There will be 13 races conducted under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10. p.m. The headliner goes as the 10th race on the evening with a full field set to face the starter. Mr. Pearl is a 4-year-old son of Always A Virgin who races for A Piece Of The Action LLC with Gene Vallandingham training and James Kennedy once again handling the lines. He closed from last to win by a head with this group last weekend and leaves from the No. 7 slot for this assignment. Prodigal checked in third that night and has to be respected for owner Mark Anderson, trainer Gordie Graham and pilot Mooney Svendsen. He was a 1:53 4/5 winner at Running Aces this summer. **** Both the 20-cent Pick 4 and 50-cent Pick 5 here at Cal Expo feature a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, and looking at last Saturday night's Pick 5 payout shows just how much value that equals. The winners of the Pick 5 that kicked off the program were 6-5, 5-1, 9-5, 17-1 and 5-1, respectively, with each winning ticket returning a hefty $10,336 for the 50-cent investment. Using the regular takeout rate, the payoff would have been $9,229, a difference of a cool $1,007 for each ticket holder. Now that's value. The 50-cent Pick 5 will once again get the card started here Friday evening, while the 20-cent Pick 4 is decided on the penultimate four contests on the 13-race program. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

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