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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Mike Merton may not know how to play the guitar, but he knows how to drive a Stratocaster. Stratocaster, a 7-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover-C D's Girl, proved his 10-hole win in last week's elimination was no 13-1 fluke, as he scored as the slight 3-1 favorite in Saturday night's feature at the Meadowlands, the $17,500 Dash for the "G" Notes Pace final. The Allen Sisco trainee got away fourth in the early going, as Pumped Up Kicks hit the quarter in :26.3. Merton swung Stratocaster off the rail from fourth at the three-eighths and gradually made his way toward the front. He poked a head in front approaching three-quarters after racing uncovered, got clearance at the head of the stretch, and had little trouble holding off the late-closing Roger Mach Em by 1¼ lengths in 1:52.3. Credit Risk finished third. Stratocaster won for the fifth time this year in 30 tries for owners Oldford Racing LLC, and has now won 36 of 169 lifetime, with earnings of just over $218,000. THE WONDER FROM 'DUNN' UNDER: Driver Dexter Dunn, a native Australian, recorded three wins on the card. ... Twenty-year-old Mitch Cushing, who won once during the entire 2017-2018 meeting, also made three visits to the winner's circle. A LITTLE MORE: Merton, Pat Berry and Vinny Ginsburg all recorded driving doubles, meaning five drivers accounted for all 12 winners on the card. ... It was a big weekend for Ginsburg, whose three-bagger Friday gave him five winners over the course of the weekend. ... All-source wagering totaled $1,822,040. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Rodeo Romeo used his vaunted early foot and propelled his 2018 earnings over the $150,000 mark when he led at every call in winning the $21,500 pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.3. The son of Rocknroll Hanover cleared to the lead just after a 26.2 opening quarter, and then driver Eric Carlson was able to get him a rest to the 55.2 half. From there, favored Stormont Czar A came up first-over, with Rodeo Rock hot on his bumper at the 1:23 3/4s, but Rodeo Romeo was kept alive at crunch time, holding off Stormont Czar A by a nose, with Rodeo Rock just another neck back in third. The Chris Ryder trainee, owned by Oompa's Farm Inc. and Robert Mondillo, has now bankrolled $154,080 this season and $335,029 lifetime. Pembroke Wildcat won his second straight race when he was victorious in the $18,000 claiming handicap pace in 1:51.4. Driver Anthony Napolitano got the winning Western Maverick gelding away in the two hole behind Polak A, stepping up in company in search of his fourth straight win, but after fractions of 26.2, 55.3, and 1:23.2, Polak A could not sustain, and Pembroke Wildcat was able to make the lead and then resist 42-1 shot Onlythetuffsurvive, second for the fifth straight start, by a head. Brittany Robertson trains and owns the career winner of $345,227. For 46-year-old trainer Michael Seddon, making his career debut as a conditioner, certainly will have the Pocono patrons remembering his name - not too many trainers have a lifetime profit generation of 11410%. The very first horse Seddon ever sent out, Some Gold, rallied from an inside trip for trainer Vinnie Ginsburg to tally in an $11,000 pace and return $230.80 for a $2 ticket - despite winning his last start at Freehold. Of the eight horses who have paid in excess of $50 at Pocono since August 11, five of them have lit up the board for $100+, including season's leader College Hanover ($336.60) on September 9. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Oh My Joepa (John MacDonald) takes the Vernon Downs featured pace ($6,500) on Saturday (September 22). Golden Gun (Josh Kinney) charged to the front and led to a first quarter of :27.0. Oh My Joepa ($5.30) took control just before hitting the half in :56.2. Owned and trained by MacDonald, he led to three-quarters in 1:24.4. Golden Gun popped the pocket at the top of the stretch and went charging late in deep stretch to fall short and finish second by a nose. Oh My Joepa won in a time of 1:53.2. I Am Golden (Ronald Harp) finished third. Oh My Joepa is a 10-year-old gelding by Rocknroll Hanover. It was his seventh win this season and career victory number 52. Kabu (John MacDonald) claims the featured trot ($6,500). Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) controlled the early fractions (:29.0, :57.4, 1:27.1). Kabu ($3.60) went first-over just before the three-quarter mark. Owned by JP Stables and trained by MacDonald, he wrestled the lead away from Sweet Ashley T in the stretch and had to hold off the late charge of runner-up Cantad Kid (Claude Huckabone Jr.) to win in 1:56.4. Sweet Ashley T settled for third best. Kabu is a 7-year-old gelding by Valley Victor. It was his fourth win in a row and 10th of the season. He now owns 31 career victories. MacDonald had four driving wins on the nights as well as three training wins. His third driver -trainer combination victory came with Machmemackie ($6.30). His fourth driving win came with Ladyyouaregorgeous ($8.70). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 28). For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Rockstar Angel A, to the lead in a 26.2 demanding opening quarter and then in the pocket as the pace continued on at high speed, was able to produce enough of a late move to hold off second-over Monica Gallagher by a neck in 1:51 in winning the $17,500 featured distaff pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Tuesday night. Eric Goodell hustled the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover off the gate to the lead, then yielded past the quarter to Skinny Dipper, who streaked on to a wicked half in 53.4. Gina Grace A came up to pressure the leader through the 1:22 ¾ clocking, and when the top two tired, the two on their backs - Rockstar Angel A on the inside, Monica Gallagher on the outside - fought for the major honor, with Rockstar Angel A taking a new mark in the photo victory. Chris Oakes is the trainer of the winner of $182,492, a six-time winner in 20 starts this season, for the Northfork Racing Stable. George Napolitano Jr. visited Victory Lane four times on the Tuesday card, bringing his weekly total at Pocono to 13 and including Philly to 21. In the last month (August 5 - September 4) he has 96 wins - 58 at Pocono and 38 at Philly. From the PHHA/Pocono Down

The Mahoning County Fair hosted the Canfield Trotting and Pacing Derbies Friday morning and Kurt Sugg piloted the winners of both heats. In fact, Sugg won three of his four drives on the card, with a second, place finish in his other drive, for a UDRS of .889 on the day. The day started with the $4,250 Canfield Trotting Derby, which saw Star Chip, a seven-year-old Chip Chip Hooray gelding, lead at every call while posting a 1:59.3 win, his sixth of the season. Star Chip is an all-Sugg project, as Kurt also trains for owner Rebecca Sugg. Thanks For Plain was second, six and three-quarters lengths back, and Annie's Rocketman finished third, losing the place photo. The five horses in the $4,250 Canfield Pacing Derby had amassed an impressive $1.24 million in career earnings heading into the race and once again Sugg went to the lead and dared the field to catch him. He drove the Herman Hagerman owned and trained Roll'em Up to a 157.3 victory, after reaching the half in a leisurely 59.2. The 10-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding defeated Blue Spanx by two lengths, while Don't Tell Rusty was three-quarters of a length further back in third. Racing continues at Canfield Saturday with an eight race card starting at 11 AM and concludes on Monday with a noon post. Those ten races will be followed by mule races and draft horse races. by Keith Gisser, for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association      

HARRINGTON, DE - Nanticoke Racing, Josh Parker, Barry Spedden and Prestige Stables' Robbie Burns N ($3.40, Montrell Teague) made his harness racing Delaware debut a winning one Monday with a 1:51.2 win in the $15,000 Open pace at Harrington Raceway. It was one of four wins on the card for driver Teague who joined Victor Kirby with a grand slam. Trained by co-owner Parker, Robbie Burns was the beneficiary of a pocket trip behind pacesetter Blazing Bobby Sox. Robbie Burns finished with a flourish in the stretch to prevail. Blazing Bobby Sox was second, while Q's Cruise was third. A son of Live or Die, it was the fifth win of the season for Robbie Burns N, who had been competing in New York and Pennsylvania most of the summer after his arrival from New Zealand. One race earlier, venerable pacer Special T Rocks (Art Stafford Jr.), recorded his 54th career win in his 190th career start with a 1:52.1 triumph in an $11,000 conditioned pace. The 10-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding staved off a fierce charge from 3-year-old Slick Tony to pick up his second straight win for trainer Joe Hundertpfund and owners Bill Sartin and Mark Salerno. by Matt Sparachino, for Harrington Raceway    

Oh My Joepa (John MacDonald) hangs on to capture the Vernon Downs featured pace ($6,000) on Saturday (July 21). Oh My Joepa ($8.20) laid down all the fractions going gate-to-wire (:26.3, :56.4, 1:24.4, 1:52.2).  However it was not easy.  Skip Jive (Jimmy Whittemore) was third after three quarters and gave everything he had battling all the way down the stretch losing by a nose at the wire.  JDs Brent N Sheree (Truman Gale) finished third. Oh My Joepa is a 10-year-old gelding by Rocknroll Hanover.  Owned and trained by MacDonald, he won for the third time this season and for the 48th time in his career.  MacDonald had a triple double on the night, by driving and training three winners.  The other wins came with Weapon To Win ($8.40) and Kabu ($3.10). Adam Capizano had two wins on the night with big long shot Dark Prince ($101.50), as well as Banacek ($38.00). Vernon Downs returns to live action on Thursday (July 26) with a post time of 6:10 p.m..  There will be no live racing on Friday (July 27) due to Wynonna and The Big Noise concert. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

MILTON, ON - July 7, 2018 - The popular pacer Nickle Bag surpassed $1 million in career earnings with his 38th career victory Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Known for his gritty performances, Nickle Bag did it all on the front to score a 1:52.2 victory in a $13,000 event. James MacDonald guided the classy pacer, who was just $2,120 shy of $1 million, for trainer Bill Robinson. A gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag was making his 198th career start Saturday with his racing debut coming back all the way back on August 24, 2012 at Mohawk Park. All 198 starts have taken place at Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Park. Nickle Bag has spent a large portion of his career racing in the Preferred and took on the sport's heavyweights in the 2016 Canadian Pacing Derby, finishing fifth. A true warrior, Nickle Bag has hit the board in 118 of his 198 starts. His career-mark is 1:49, taken on April 30, 2016 at Mohawk Park. Nickle Bag continues to grind away at the age of eight and now has four wins and nine "on the board" finishes in 23 starts this season. The Robinson trainee paid $2.60 to win Saturday. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

Chester, PA - Rockeyed Optimist ($5.20) proved strongest of all in Sunday afternoon's (July 1) featured $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series pacing event at Harrah's Philadelphia, using an extended first-over push to wear down Emeritus Maximus for a 1:49.2 score.   Brett Miller put the 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding in play from the far outside as the gates folded, and the pair were able to land in third behind the pacesetting pair of Emeritus Maximus (Andy Miller) and Sunfire Blue Chip (Andy McCarthy) through a blistering :26 first quarter. On approach to the bridge turn, Rockeyed Optimist angled off the pegs and worked into a narrow second through a :54.3 half before turning up the pressure on the backstretch.   After Rockeyed Optimist forced a :26.3 third split, it appeared as though Emeritus Maximus would be able to parry his threat nearing head-stretch, but the longtime pacesetter was engulfed a sixteenth from home. Rockeyed Optimist surged to the fore in mid-stretch, holding off a late bid from pocket rival Sunfire Blue Chip by a length in 1:49.2. Robbie Burns N (Corey Callahan) rallied down the grandstand to finish third.   Jake Leamon trains 32-time winner Rockeyed Optimist for the partnership of Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, the A and B Stable and Joseph Battaglia.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Following a pair of runner-up efforts since arriving in North America, the third time was a charm for Heaven Rocks A ($2.60), who stubbornly held his ground to parry Bettors Edge a quarter mile from home en route to a 1:50 score in a $30,000 Great Northeast Series event on Sunday afternoon (June 3) at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The six-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding began his brush from midfield, as Sicily (driven by Montrell Teague) completed a :27 first quarter, put in motion by David Miller to slipstream the cover of Bettor Memories (Tim Tetrick) off the first turn before pushing clear with a circuit to go. After maintaining a stout pace through a :54.3 half, Heaven Rocks A faced a stern first-over challenge from Bettors Edge (Andy Miller) up the far side. Bettors Edge — a winner last week — worked to within a head of the leader, but was sternly rebuffed at the conclusion of a :28.1 third quarter. Heaven Rocks A powered clear off the far turn and handily maintained three and a half lengths of clearance over Always At My Place (Corey Callahan), who circled three-wide off cover to just nab Bettors Edge for second. Heaven Rocks A, who defeated Australian sensation Lennytheshark earlier this year, increased his career record to 13 wins from 30 starts.Ross Croghan trains Heaven Rocks A for Let It Ride Stables Inc., Dana Parham, and Misty Miller. by Michael Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

HARRINGTON, DE. - Empress Deo ($4.40, Montrell Teague) registered her third win of the meet with a powerful 1:52.3 triumph in the $15,000 Mares Open Tuesday at Harrington Raceway. The 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare led virtually wire-to-wire over Shesarocker and I'm Won Rum Wiser for trainer Wayne Givens. It was the 29th career win for "Empress," who is owned by the Legacy Racing of Delaware Stable. Jason and Susan Skinner's BJ's Sweetheart ($7, Victor Kirby) recorded her 31st career win with a front end score in 1:53.4. It was part of a training double for Jason Skinner. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway  

Top-flight harness racing reinsman Ryan Warwick is poised to take full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier and make use of the sparkling early speed of Rock Diamonds by attempting an all-the-way victory in the $50,000 Westral Four-Year-Old Championship over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Rock Diamonds (Rocknroll Hanover), prepared by leading trainer Skye Bond, warmed up for this group 2 feature event with a solid third behind star New Zealand pacer Ultimate Machete in the Group 1 Yes Loans Classic last Friday night in which he began speedily from barrier five to burst to the front after 150m. Warwick then took the sit 250m later when Mark Purdon urged the outstanding New Zealand pacer forward. Rock Diamonds fought on determinedly to be third behind Ultimate Machete, who dashed over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28sec. Rock Diamonds has set the pace and won four times in a 24-start career of 11 wins and seven placings. His most dangerous rival looms large as smart Victorian performer Motor Meteor, who is trained and driven by Kerryn Manning. Motu Meteor caught the eye in last Friday night’s classic when he was 12th and last at the bell before finishing with a spirited burst, out wide, to be sixth which took his record to 25 starts for ten wins and nine placings. “The run was really good,” said Manning. “He’s more of a stayer, generally, than a sprinter. But he certainly had to go pretty quick last week. He just kept coming on in the straight. We will need a bit of luck, but if he gets it, he’ll be running on.” The lightly-raced Ross Olivieri-trained Space Junk has sound prospects from an ideal barrier at No. 2 on the front line. His driver Chris Voak has guided him to victory at his first three starts in Western Australia, at Pinjarra, Narrogin and Northam, and has a high opinion of the gelding. Trainer Michael Brennan has engaged star Victorian reinsman Chris Alford to driver Im Rockaria, a speedy pacer who is handily drawn at barrier two on the back line. Im Rockaria has won at 14 of his 25 starts and is capable of a bold showing. The Bond camp has a second runner in the well-performed Mighty Mr Sharkey, who will be driven by Todd McCarthy from barrier three on the front line.   Ken Casellas

WILKES-BARRE PA – Scott Rocks reclaimed the lead approaching the second turn, then held off the long first-over bid of Maxdaddy Blue Chip to take Saturday’s $25,000 winners-over handicap pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:49.4. George Napolitano Jr. sent the Rocknroll Hanover gelding to the lead in quick order, then kept Bushwacker outside until releasing him nearing the wire for the first time. But Scott Rocks was quick to reclaim the lead, then dug in to battle against the uncovered Maxdaddy Blue Chip. Scott Rocks had the advantage of the inner position and paced his last half in 53.4, but he needed all his talent to hold off the stubborn and game Maxdaddy Blue Chip by a head. Chris Oakes trains the winner of 42 career races and $657,754 for the Northfork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. In the $16,500 co-feature pace, it was George’s brother Anthony entering Victory Lane after putting a new mark of 1:50 in the Western Ideal gelding JJ Flynn. The career winner of $254,048 rode cover second-over, then came home sharply to overhaul favored Luck Be Withyou (and brother George) by a neck for trainer Josh Green, also co-owner with Richard Lombardo, Carl Alley, and Charles Cochran III. George Napolitano Jr. won six on the program. PHHA / Pocono  

Batavia, NY--- Don'tcallmefrancis competed against Racing Hill in the $500,000 Messenger at Yonkers Raceway last year and beat Boston Red Rocks in the $150,000 Abbatiello Classic at the Meadowlands as well. On Saturday evening (Sept. 30) he took on the best resident harness racing pacers in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs and showed that back class in victory. Leaving from post one, Don'tcallmefrancis (Jim Morrill Jr.) let In Runaway Bay (Ray Fisher Jr.) have the lead for about an eighth of a mile before coming back out to regain the front by the quarter in :27.4. In single file, Morrill backed down the second panel to :57.1 and from there the race was effectively over. There still was no movement from behind until the five-eighths pole when the pocket-sitting In Runaway Bay pulled and gave it his best shot. In Runaway Bay got within a head of Don'tcallmefrancis around the far turn but Morrill was still hanging on at that point. He went to work at the head of the lane and Don'tcallmefrancis responded in kind. In Runaway Bay would not go away but Don'tcallmefrancis wouldn't let him go by either. The two argued all the way to the wire but Don'tcallmefrancis was clearly the best and hung on to win by a neck in 1:53.1. It was the sixth 2017 win for Don'tcallmefrancis ($3.00) who has now surpassed the quarter-million dollar mark in lifetime earnings. The 4-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is owned by Blindswitch Racing Stable and is trained by Al Annunziata. The result of the $9,000 Open II pace was never in doubt once the gate released the field as Lucky McTrucky (Drew Monti) was a strong front-runner that led the whole race, opened up two-lengths at the head of the stretch and cruised home under mild urging to win in 1:53, which was a new seasonal mark. Lucky McTrucky ($8.10) is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by JD Perrin. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 4) with post time at 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Rocknroll Hanover mare Tipitina found just the right level of competition on Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as she triumphed in a lifetime best of 1:51.3 over "sloppy" going in the $14,000 harness racing featured distaff pace. Tipitina had faced better in her last four starts, finishing second twice, but the last time she was below the level of her recent outings, she had gone wire-to-wire at Saratoga in her previous best of 1:51.4. And with tonight's class relief, Tipitina again showed frontstepping winning ways, putting up numbers of 27.3, 55, and 1:22.3, then gamely holding off the late charge of 26-1 shot Bettorhaveanother by a head, while reducing that Saratoga clocking by a tick. Simon Allard guided the winner of $385,959 for trainer/brother Rene Allard and the ownership of Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. Tipitina returned $5.60 as the public's choice. PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON PA - The harness racing husband/wife team of driver Tony and trainer Linda Schadel continued their hot hands at the famed Arden Downs oval at the Washington County Fair in this city literally just down the street from The Meadows, including the fastest pacing winners during both Monday's sophomore action and the quickest freshman pacer on Tuesday. Fastest of all Washington performers was the very first horse to return to Victory Lane, the Schadels' Rocknroll Hanover pacing filly Bella Ragaza, who overcame a trailing start spot to post her seventh straight win and eighth of the fair campaign in 2:01.2, also taking over the distinction as the leading pointswinner on the fair circuit to this point of the 2017 campaign. Linda Schadel co-owns the streaking winner with Roxanna Buffington. The freshman gelding by A Rocknroll Dance, Legendary Ron, ran his record to two for three since his recent purchase by Tony and Linda, with a big mile in 2:01.4 to defeat the multiwinner Marvalous Falcon on Tuesday. The trotting star of the meet was the undefeated Explosive Matter two-year-old gelding Hockey Hanover, who became the North American leader among freshman trotters in wins with his eighth straight triumph - five at the fairs, and three in the pari-mutuel Stallion Series. Hockey Hanover was handled by Wilbur Yoder to a 2:05.2 victory for trainer John McMullen and his family's McMullen Stable LLC. Fastest trotter of the meet was the Ron Burke trainee New Heaven, who has now won two straight over the twicearound circuit, this one in 2:03.1; the Yankee Glide gelding is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc., and David Wills, and was driven to victory by Chris Shaw. Shaw, in fact, had five victories during the two-day meet to edge Tony Schadel by one for that honor while increasing his summerlong lead to 44-34 over Roger Hammer. Linda Schadel's four-bagger on the two cards easily put her atop that category, with no other trainer having more than two. The PA Fair Circuit crowd doesn't miss a beat - they'll be off and racing at Dayton on Wednesday and Thursday at noon, with sophomores starting things off, and then the freshmen, led by the exciting Venier Hanover, just three days after having the stretch lead in a pari-mutuel PA Sire Stakes before finishing third against national-class horses. Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association        

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