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Rockeyed Optimist worked out an ideal close-to-the-action trip, wore down the leader in deep stretch and held on despite the explosive late charge of Always B Miki to take the $25,000 harness racing Open Handicap Pace at the Meadowlands Saturday night. McArdles Lightning was third. Driver Tim Tetrick hustled the 5-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover into the three hole early behind McArdles Lightning and Atta Boy Dan. After an opening quarter of :27.2, Rockeyed Optimist, the 6-5 second choice, moved to the outside and began to grind away at the leader's advantage at the half in :55.2. By the time the stellar field reached three-quarters, Rockeyed Optimist was up to the wheel of McArdles Lightning while 4-5 favorite Always B Miki, who had raced in a fourth-over flow, was dead last in the field of seven. Rockeyed Optimist continued to inch his way closer to the top and finally got past the pacesetter with a sixteenth of a mile to go. Up on the far outside came the airborne Always B Miki, who won all four of his starts a year ago in sub-1:50, pacing a sensational final quarter of :25.4 only to come up half a length short to Rockeyed Optimist in what was a superb seasonal debut. The winner returned $4.40 to his backers, scoring for the sixth time in eight starts this year and went the mile in 1:50 for trainer Steve Elliott and owners Perretti, Berkner, A&B Stable and Battaglia. STILL CLIMBING: Those hoping to hit the big one will have their chance on the next live race card as the 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five did not get hit again, upping the carryover to $194,741.03. Total wagering on the program was $2,589,150. Racing resumes at the Big M Friday. Post time for the first race is 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Stunning harness racing colt The Storm Inside achieved what for long has appeared his two-year-old destiny and won the Group 1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Emma Stewart’s freak by Rocknroll Hanover out of Spirited Storm appeared to do it easy, with Greg Sugars taking the lead and clearing out on the straight, requiring only a flick of the reins and a tap of the whip to claim the mantle of Australia’s finest. “He’s an absolute pleasure to drive,” Sugars said. “Clayton (Tonkin) and Emma have done a wonderful job with this horse.” The race appeared in The Storm Inside’s keeping throughout, with Sugars driving it to the lead from barrier two while Weona Sizzler took the sit on his back. Chris Alford temporarily put Our Little General, Stewart’s other runner, into the breeze, but an unsettled Three Of The Best kicked up first time down the main straight, looping Alford as Gavin Lang wrestled with the Queensland gelding. He eventually settled in the breeze, but there was little respite with Geoff Webster hooking Wrappers Delight three-wide with almost 1000m to go and there they remained to the final bend. Having raced fiercely, Three Of The Best’s bid appeared done at the final turn, on his tail Alford and  second-favourite Our Little General struggled to find a run while San Domino made ground four-wide and Weona Sizzler moved up on the pegs. The latter two would run into second and third, but removed from the commotion was The Storm Inside, who Sugars urged clear at the turn and who advanced to win by 6.8m in a mile rate of 1:55.6. “Bit of a relief to get it out of the way. I’m sure it’s a big weight off the shoulders of Emma and Clayton,” Sugars said. “He proved the best horse tonight and it all went to plan. He had a good draw and he’d probably already shown before tonight that he was the best horse in the field, but it’s still never as easy as just turning up. You’ve got to earn it.” While it may have appeared oh-so-easy for the bay colt, many hands have gone into crafting The Storm Inside, who improved to six wins from as many starts. That began with Helen Head of Manna Lodge in Congupna, who ventured to America to purchase a filly, which she brought back to Australia and utilised to breed a champion. “I’m thrilled to bits tonight to win,” Ms Head said. And then there were the owners, strong in numbers and bursting with pride, none more so than Justin Baker. “To win a race like this, wow, this is just a dream come true,” Baker said. And, of course, Stewart herself, who not only claimed the night’s grandest crown, but produced five of the card’s 10 winners. “It’s just a fantastic series,” she said. “I know sales time is Clayton’s favourite time and we really appreciate the Australian Pacing Gold.”  Michael Howard

WILKES-BARRE PA - Bushwacker, under full-out assault by Cooperstown down the backstretch in the $25,000 winners-over pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, turned back that rival on the far turn, then held off second-over Badiou Hanover by a neck in 1:49.3.   Driver Larry Stalbaum had no problem w(h)acking out the pace with the altered son of Rocknroll Hanover, passing the first two striped poles in 26 and 54.3. Shortly after the half Cooperstown, gunning for his fourth straight victory, came roaring up to the leader and got a half-length by before the ¾ but could not clear as the timer read 1:21.1, a 26.3 third quarter into an atypical backstretch headwind at Pocono.   Bushwhacker fought off Cooperstown and regained the lead, then had enough left when Badiou (pronounced ("BAD-I-O-U") Hanover circled wide and menaced nearing the finish. Cooperstown settled for third; favored Bettor's Edge raced in the pocket but may have been bottomed out chasing the whirlwind front end duel, as he faded in the last quarter and finished fifth.   Bushwacker posted his first victory since February 20, but he has been facing some pretty mean hombres in the interim: foe one example, he finished third behind Wiggle It Jiggleit and Rockeyed Optimist, arguably the two best pacers at the races at this moment, on March 28 at Dover. Chris Ryder trains the winner, who raised his bankroll to nearly $460,000 lifetime for Henderson Farms.   The Angus Hall mare Allerage Star went the fastest trotting mile year at Pocono in a $15,500 conditioned event, going right to the top for driver Marcus Miller and steaming home in 56 to complete a 1:52.3 victory, also a lifetime mark. Julie Miller conditions the winner of two straight for Little E LLC (also the breeder), Arthur Geiger, David Stoltz, and Jason Settlemoir.   With a temperature reading of 72 degrees at first post time, speed was the order of the day, as three other miles in 1:50 were paced, with Achilles Blue Chip (Marcus Miller), Simply Business (Anthony Napolitano), and Allbeef N Nobull (Mike Simons) all freezing the timer at exactly the new standard for the "magic mile." The Downs seasonal pacing standard of 1:49.1, set by Eighteen on March 26, did stand up to the speed-producing card (ironically, that win came in "nw9000L5," about four classes below the winners-over level).   The third round of the Bobby Weiss Series for pacers highlights the Sunday card at Pocono, which has a post time of 7:30 p.m. Both the males and females will contest three $15,000 divisions; hoping to making their Weiss records 3-for-3 will be, for the males, Options Are Adream (race 10, looking for his ninth win of an undefeated career) and Midnight Leader (race 11, the fastest Weiss winner in 1:51), and for the females, Candy Corn Hanover (race seven, her two Weiss wins the first two starts of her career.)   From the PHHA

The Storm Inside’s reputation as a freak two-year-old was only heightened when the colt produced an outstanding win in the second Australian Pacing Gold semi-final at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s Smythes Creek stable claimed both semi-finals with Our Little General (Mach Three) and The Storm Inside (Rocknroll Hanover) , and it was the latter that again dropped jaws having been tested early before finding the lead and still having plenty in the tank to draw clear and win by 9.5m. “He’s showing start-by-start that he’s an improved horse,” driver Greg Sugars said in the wake of The Storm Inside’s win. “He’s the real deal. He’s a top horse and I’m looking forward to next week.” He’ll likely start a short-priced favourite after Saturday night’s outstanding showing. In the first semi-final, Our Little General, renowned for his sprint, was instead called on to produce a dogged run to win the first of the semi-finals. With heat on in the early going Our Little General was the third of four-wide to the first corner, eventually claiming the lead inside Jilliby Kung Fu. By the bell Geoff Webster’s fancied Wrappers Delight had cornered the field and sidled next to Our Little General in the breeze, and they cooled their heels from a 27.7 first quarter to a 29.3 second. Our Little General and Wrappers Delight gained separation at the final bend but the latter lost touch and $21 shot Three Of The Best was the best of the swoopers, almost pinching the race from Stewart’s short-priced favourite. Driver Chris Alford had Our Little General hold on to win from Three Of The Best by a half-head, with Wrappers Delight third and Weona Sizzler (fourth) and None Bettor (fifth) also qualifying for the final.  “He’s a good little horse and had to earn it tonight,” Alford said. “Being in front is not ideal for him. You never know when they get pressure how they will handle it. He is probably better with the sit. Hopefully next week we can get a draw and a bit of luck.” Our Little General won in a 1:55.4 mile, a time eclipsed by 0.8s in the second semi-final.  Alford, chasing a fourth win from as many races on the night, made The Storm Inside earn the lead by pushing Redbank Blaze along early before handing up to Greg Sugars when they entered the straight for the first time. Sugars settled in on The Storm Inside but was kept honest when Bettor Be Gold loomed into the breeze on the back straight. Any thought that the $1.20 favourite was under threat though was soon erased with Sugars again barely moving as The Storm Inside rattled down the final straight to win in 1:54.3. Redbank Blaze ran second from Atomic Red, Bettor Be Gold and fifth-placed San Domino, who all qualified for Friday night’s $322,000 final. by Michael Howard

Seventy six lots will be on offer at the Alabar Blue Ribbon Sale on Sunday April 24th and there promises to be a horse for every budget. Wrappers Delight has stamped himself as one of Australia’s best two year olds with two victories in as many starts to date including his last start win in a heat of the APG 2yo C&G Series. You will be able to purchase his mother, Charlotte Church, in foal to leading sire Mach Three at the sale. Another of the highlights will be Golden Showgirl 1:55.9 in foal to Art Major. The resultant foal will be a full sibling to the Group One winner Smooth Showgirl 1:52.3 - $210,149. Bruce Edward will be selling six lots including mares by Somebeachsomewhere, Rocknroll Hanover Art Major, Holmes Hanover and Badlands Hanover. Three of his mares will be sold with foals at foot. Jim Connolly will be selling three mares by the leading sires Pine Chip and Skyvalley. Included among these is a half sister to Australian Two and Three Year Old Trotter of the Year Kyvalley Road. Jack Munnerly has one entry and she is a half sister to the Group One winner Secret Desire and in foal to new season sire Heston Blue Chip. There will also be 20 weanlings on offer and these are by such stallions as Art Major, Mach Three, Shadow Play, ,Auckland Reactor Betterthancheddar as well as the first crop stallions Alta Christiano and Caribbean Blaster. This is a sale not to be missed. The sale will be held at Alabar Farm and begins at 1pm. The catalogue can be viewed online ( or please contact us for a hard copy – (03) 5859 2201 or  

The Kilmore, Cranbourne and Stawell pacing cup champion, Yankee Rockstar, has been crowned the harness racing Country Cup Championship winner. Trained by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin at Smythes Creek, 15 minutes south-west of Ballarat, Yankee Rockstar’s three cup wins and a third at Shepparton saw the five-year-old amass 13 points in the series and record a two-point win ahead of Kotare Roland. VIDEO: RELIVE YANKEE ROCKSTAR'S SUPER CUPS SUCCESS Stewart said it was a great result for the horse and the stable. “Safari won it when he was around, so it is good to win because it is hard racing in the cup circuit,” Stewart said. “It is really a feather in his cap. Making the feat all the more remarkable was the depths of illness Yankee Rockstar experienced in the lead-up to the season. “He has had a terrific season. He has really come back well from a bad illness, so that just adds to what has been a terrific job.” Yankee Rockstar suffered from an illness that required a throat operation. Then when returning from Sydney after running seventh in the Chariots Of Fire in March 2015, the gelding was struck with travel sickness owing to his throat alteration. “We nearly lost him,” Stewart said. “It was 50-50 and he was at the vets for a two weeks.” Yankee Rockstar bounced back to not only win the three country cups, but to finish fourth in the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. Yankee Rockstar is now spelling “for a month” before he will resume, with Grand Circuit racing front of mind. Final standings: Yankee Rockstar 13 points, Kotare Roland 11, Almost El Eagle 9, Im Corzin Terror 9, Ideal Sucess 8, Keayang Steamer 8, Barimah 7, Lennytheshark 6, Ohoka Punter 6, Five Star Anvil 6.  For full standings click here. Michael Howard

"O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?" In the case of Rodeo Romeo (Brian Sears, $2.50), try the harness racing winner's circle, which he found with the greatest of ease Tuesday afternoon after Yonkers Raceway's $63,000 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series. The Raceway's annual testament to Teddy Roosevelt-richest local race of the season to date-was open to 3- and 4-year-old gentlemen who were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1. Rodeo Romeo made short of his foes here. In play at the outset from post position No. 2, he easily worked around pole-sitting Toni's Affection (Scott Zeron), making the lead well before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. From there (:56.4, 1:25.2, 1:54), no issues whatsoever. "Romeo" owned a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, then opened to 4¾ lengths at the wire. Toni's Affection held second over a two-move J T (George Brennan), with lone 3-year-old Don'tcallmefrancis (Jason Bartlett) and Secret Delight (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. Sports Bettor (Mark MacDonald), AM Magic Man (Dan Dube) and B Well (Andy Miller) rounded out the order. For Rodeo Romeo, a 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Oompa's Farm, Michael Day and Robert Mondillo, it was his third win in four seasonal/series starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $7.70, with the triple returning $32.60. "He's a good-gaited, handy horse," Sears said. "They did give me a lot of respect up front and there wasn't much to it." A $25,000 series consolation was won by BB's Harley (Dube, $13.80) by open lengths in 1:55.2. Frank Drucker

Harness racing trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman thought he came away with a nice little horse when he purchased Don’tcallmefrancis for $25,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. He now thinks he came away with a little bit more. Named after a popular South Jersey cover band, Don’tcallmefrancis has won five of 11 lifetime starts and hit the board a total of 10 times, earning $64,058 for Norman’s Enzed Racing Stable. On Tuesday, he will be the lone 3-year-old taking on a group of 4-year-olds in the $63,000 Sagamore Hill Pacing Series championship at Yonkers Raceway. Don’tcallmefrancis had two wins and a second-place finish in the event’s three preliminary rounds, which put him in a tie with Rodeo Romeo for the top spot in the series standings. Don’tcallmefrancis will start the final from post six with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. He is the second choice (7-2) on the morning line, behind Chris Ryder’s Rodeo Romeo (2-1), who starts from post two with Brian Sears. “He’s had some decent draws and decent trips and it’s worked out nicely for him,” Norman said. “I didn’t expect him to do that well because it’s mostly 4-year-olds, but he’s done a good job. He’s picked up $25,000 in three weeks, so I’m over the moon. He’s drawn poorly for the final, but he’s honest and he’ll get a piece of it.” Don’tcallmefrancis raced primarily at Freehold Raceway last season, where he won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres championship. He finished third behind Ideal Rocky and Boston Red Rocks in the Lou Babic and also was third, behind Katies Rocker and Ideal Rocky, in the New Jersey Futurity. Boston Red Rocks was the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and Ideal Rocky and Katies Rocker were open stakes winners. “He kind of surprised me,” Norman said. “He went some good miles. He was a little bit of a sleeper because he never does anything flashy, but he’s very consistent and very solid and he’s always got pace. “I was really happy with him. We didn’t stake him a lot; I wasn’t really trying to accomplish anything other than get him some experience. I didn’t think he would be a stakes horse, but now it’s looking like he might be. Not a big-level stakes horse, but he’s turned out to be a handy little horse.” Although the majority of Don’tcallmefrancis’ races have been on half-mile ovals, Norman says the horse is not merely a small-track specialist. “I just raced him at Freehold because of the Green Acres and because it was close to home,” Norman said. “I think he’ll be good on a big track, really, because he’s not a speed horse; he’s more of a grinder type of horse. I think a big track won’t bother him.” Don’tcallmefrancis is a gelded son of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Nanny Withafanny, who was an Open-level competitor on the East Coast and earned $424,323 lifetime. “I just liked the look of him at the sale,” Norman said. “I always try to buy a cheaper horse for myself and he had a real good head on him; he’s got a real Rocknroll head. He’s just a nice tidy little type of horse. His mother was a good mare. And he wasn’t a lot of money, so he was a good little horse for me to buy. “Usually I buy a horse like that as a baby and look to get them going a bit and sell them. I’ll probably do the same with him if I get the right offer. He’s a real sound horse and a real easy horse to train. He’s worked out really good.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Yonkers Raceway hosts its richest races of the harness racing season to date next week, with finals of the Petticoat (girls, $60,200) and Sagamore Hill (boys, $63,000) Pacing Series. Both series were open to 3- and 4-year-olds who were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1. Chivalry has its place, so the ladies of the Petticoat are up first in Monday night's sixth race. Capela (Scott Zeron, post 7), the only perfect (3-for-3) prelim lass, didn't get a whole lot of help with the open draw. The 4-eyar-old daughter of Sportsmaster, trained by Reginald Hazzard for co-owners Reginald Hazzard II and Legacy Racing of Delaware, enters having won her last five starts. Little Miss Sporty (Brian Sears, post 3) won twice in her series legs, while Heavenly Hill (Jordan Stratton, post 8) rolled to a convincing win in her last chance to impress the judges. Brown Brinny (Jason Bartlett, post 1), I'm in Luv (Matt Kakaley, post 2), Rolling Going Gone (Brent Holland, post 4), Special Package (Dan Dube, post 5) and Bin in Heaven (George Brennan, post 6) round out the roster. Tuesday afternoon, it's the finale (sixth race) of Yonkers' annual tribute to Teddy Roosevelt, the Sagamore Hill. Rodeo Romeo (Sears, post 2) and Don'tcallmefrancis (Bartlett, post 6) each spoke softly and carried a big stick, as in a pair of wins and a second in prelim competition. The former-Sears' choice of the two-is a 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Oompa's Farm, Michael Day and Robert Mondillo, while the latter is a 3-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned by Enzed Racing and trained by Nifty Norman. Secret Delight (Kakaley, post 5) and J T (Brennan, post 7) also each won twice in the preps, while Toni's Affection (Zeron, post 1), AM Magic Man (Dube, post 3), Sports Bettor (Mark MacDonald, post 4) and B Well (Andy Miller, post 8) complete the gang. Each series is accompanied by a respective $25,000 consolation as a fifth race. Frank Drucker, Yonkers Raceway Publicity Director, 914-968-4200)    

The $18,500 sixth heat of this years Nevele R Fillies Series was run at the harness racing meeting at Forbury Park on Thursday night and the Southland owned and trained Rakarazor upset a handy field of three year old fillies with a nice staying performance that suggests she is more than a forlorn place chance in the final in May at Addington Raceway. After an early dig for the lead by trainer/driver Clark Barron on Rakarazor which was rebuffed by Scarlett Banner and Gavin Smith, Rakarazor was parked for the first 700 metres before slotting into the one by one behind the well supported RR Sand Dollar. RR Sand Dollar went for home at the 300 metres mark and skipped away by two or three lengths with Love Ova Gold going with her after a wide searching run from back in the field. These two look set to fight out the finish but Rakarazor kept taking ground off the first two all the way up the straight, grabbing first Love Ova Gold and then right in the shadows of the of the winning post RR Sand Dollar. Rakarazor paced the 1700 metres in 2:03, a mile rate of 1:56.4 with closing sectionals of 59 and 28.2 It was the second lifetime victory for the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover from twelve starts but she has also been placed on a further six occasions including a nice third in 1:54.1 only last weekend. Clark Barron felt that RR Sand Dollar having a very hard run had brought his filly into contention. " I knew that RR Sand Dollar was the horse to beat and she had had a hard run so when I got onto her back I knew we wouldn't be far away." " My filly is a really good stayer and she has kept improving with every run lately so with the run we got for the last 1000 metres, we were always going to be a big chance." " I owe a big depth of gratitude for the win to Brent Barclay who has been driving her in her last few starts." " She wasn't really finding the line for me over that last 100 metres or so but Brent has turned her around in that regard so I owe him for getting her to attack the line like she does now," Clark said. Harnesslink Media

The Bathurst Gold Crown carnival will always remain a special event for harness racing trainer John Tapp. When Chariot King won the 2009 Gold Crown, the victory provided Tapp with his first group one win as a trainer, an achievement he could never have imagined when he first became involved with harness racing many years ago. It has been seven years since Tapp has competed at the Bathurst carnival but after his two fillies, Rockonbye and Celebrity Look qualified for Saturday's Gold Tiara, he is hoping to add another group one feature to his impressive training record. "The two different fillies have two vastly different stories, Rockonbye is owned by a syndicate of ten people, has been the most laid back two-year-old filly I have ever had but I can see her starting to change and the penny might have dropped with her while Celebrity Look is owned and raced by Fran Hausfeld and is a true professional," Tapp said. Rockonbye was purchased at the 2015 Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales for $17,000 by Tapp and he quickly went about selling shares in the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. "I got caught in the euphoria for the sons and daughters of Rocknroll Hanover, every trainer was trying to buy them and when she came into the ring she just had this great presence about her, it was like a calmness and a strut you would expect from a broodmare not a yearling walking into a sales ring.' "Seven of her ten owners were members of my tour to the Little Brown Jug in 2014.' 'We all sat down one evening towards the end of the tour and someone suggested we form a syndicate so I went to the sale, looking for something that might suit them." 'Another of Rockonbye's owners is Peter Welsh, the major shareholder in Chariot King.' "Peter hasn't been in a horse since Chariot King so it was nice to see him get involved again and my horse dentist Alan Griffis is another one of the owners in her," John said Rockonbye will be driven by Rebecca Brown on Saturday night in the Gold Tiara. Brown was given the option of driving either filly after she drove them both in their respective heats and will be competing in her first group one race. "Rebecca has made massive improvements as a driver and importantly her best asset is that she is unflappable especially when she's in a bit of traffic." " I gave Bec the choice and informed Jim Douglass he would be driving the other filly." "Jimmy has become my stable driver over the years and drove Chariot King to several wins and he will suit Celebrity Look," John said. Tapp is hoping Celebrity Look can repeat the effort of her great grandmother Wiling Whiz after she won the Gold Tiara in 1988. Both Celebrity Look and Willing Whiz finished second in their Tiara heats. "Dennis Wilson drove Willing Whiz to victory, I'm not sure if this has happened before in the Tiara but it would be an interesting piece for the history buffs." "I hope Celebrity Look runs a great race for Fran Hausfeld, she is a wonderful lady who has bred and raced dozens of horses." "Fran rang me out of the blue one day and told me she had two yearlings, she wanted to race one herself and lease one out to some friends of mine." "Fran was very adamant that I decide which of the yearlings was better and that I lease the better one to my friends and she would race the other. It was a wonderful offer from Fran and it would be great to see her rewarded," John said The other yearling was a colt by Somebeachsomewhere who was named Secluded Beach and he competed in a heat of the Gold Crown on Saturday night. When asked to split his pair, Tapp reluctantly sided with Rockonbye. "Rockonbye might have the edge on Celebrity Look, I gave Rockonbye a hopple up on Sunday and she's always been half asleep in her track work but last weekend she was totally different, I actually thought I might have harnessed up the wrong horse! "The penny has really dropped with Rockonbye, but to get two fillies into the Tiara is a great result for the small team who work with me." "My stable foreman Ross Adams has done a lot of work with both of the fillies, his expertise, skill and judgement have been vital to their results." "My wife Ann continues to be a great help and Katie McGill has been helping out four days a week while at university." "It really has been a team effort," John said. Greg Hayes

Rockeyed Optimist, a 1:49.4 winner in the $36,000 Preferred and Blazing Bobby Sox in 1:51.2 taking the $33,000 Delaware Special were impressive on a windy Monday romping in twin harness racing features on March 21 at Dover Downs. For the fourth consecutive time, Rockeyed Optimist, piloted by Tim Tetrick, proved a powerful winner of the week's top pace for the Steve Elliott Stable and owners Perretti, Berkner, Battaglia and A&B Stables. The five-year-old Rocknroll Hanover-Art Amour gelding, took the lead early and shook off a determined bid from the Vic Kirby-driven Dapper Due on the backstretch before pulling away to his fourth win of the year in five starts with one second. The pacer raised his seasonal earnings to $57,250. He has won 19-times in his career good for a $327,795 bankroll. For the second straight start Bettor's Edge with Yannick Gingras finished second to Rockeyed Optimist. Dapper Dude was third. Abelard Hanover was scratched making it a five-horse field. In the $33,000 Delaware Special, late developing Blazing Bobby Sox and Art Stafford Jr. came out of the pack in mid-stretch to overtake front-pacing Art Mustang and hang up a 1:51.2 victory, his fifth of the year with two seconds in 11 starts. The Panderosa-Liamatters gelding has now won $59,015 in 2016 to up his lifetime total earnings to three digits, $107,098. Mustang Art, as usual took the early lead for Sean Bier, and finished second with Papa Ray and Allan Davis, third. On a power-packed undercard, New Zealand import Go Collect N, steered by Corey Callahan, won for the fifth time this year, third in a row at Dover, notching a 1:52.2 decision in an $18,500 4&5-Year-Old Male pace. Dylan Davis conditioned the Gotta Go Cullet-No Parking N gelding owned by Robert Cooper and J&T Silva stables. Quick Shot (Ross Wolfenden) closed well to finish second in from of Sectionline Rock (Tetrick), third. Smart Rokker, an altered son of Rocknroll Hanover-Sass Newton, made it two-ins-row for owners Peter Venturini, Peter Venturini III and trainer Brian Malone scoring a 1:51win in a $17,000 Winners-Over Male pace. Itrustyou (Gingras) was runner-up. Adventure Bound (A.Stafford Jr.) was the show horse. The win was the fifth in 2016 in 11 starts. The gelding has won $35,185 this year and $160,335 lifetime. In the first of two $16,000 paces, Sentencing Memo, the only sophomore in the lineup among seasoned 4- and 5-year-olds came through again for young driver Russ Foster and his grandfather owner-trainer Arty Foster to score his second straight victory in a $16,000 pace for young horses, and his sixth this season in eight outings, a front-pacing 1:53.3 triumph. The other $16,000 event went to Frank Chick's fast-finishing CS Eye, a 1:53.2 winner for George Dennis and trainer Kevin Lare. The gelding is by Skydance Hanover-Crime Scene and made the winner's circle for the first time this year. Tip It On Back (Bret Brittingham) was a game second. Muscles N Swag (Tony Morgan) was the show finisher. Stake winner Sonofa Sizzle won his second in three starts fashioning a 1:53 victory for trainer Josh Green and owner Mike White A four-year-old by Life Sizzles-JK Lady Like, it was his 12th win in 24 starts. Jetski Louie (Gingras) and Rocknroll Power (Tetrick) were second and third respectively. Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Tony Morgan, George Dennis and trainer Brian Malone won two races each. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs is dark on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays When at the track, watch live races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant's acclaimed Harness Racing Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600.  Marv Bachrad                              

The WEGZ and series finals highlighted harness racing action Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Just a field of five went postward in the $55,800 WEGZ for four-year-old pacers, while a full field of ten four-year-old pacing mares competed in the $54,400 All eyes were on Mohawk Warrior in the WEGZ, as the Richard Moreau trainee aimed for a series sweep and he did not disappoint. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Mohawk Warrior got away third, while Shades Of Bay and Legion Of Boom battled for the early lead. Shades Of Bay posted an opening-quarter of :27, but was quickly overtaken by the heavy favourite. Mohawk Warrior, the 1/5 choice, put up middle-fractions of :55.4 and 1:24.3 to lead the field into the stretch. The Moreau trainee sealed the victory with a :26.3 final-quarter to win by a length and a quarter in 1:51.1. Cajon Lightning finished second, while Shades Of Bay was third. A four-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover, Mohawk Warrior has now won five of eight starts in 2016 for 13 career victories. The WEGZ Series sweep pushes his seasonal earnings to over $75,000. Owned by Brad Grant, Mohawk Warrior missed his career-mark by a fifth of a second Saturday, but paced his final-quarter in :27.1 or faster for the fifth consecutive start. His career earnings now sit at $176,461. Mohawk Warrior paid $2.40 to win. Mohawk Warrior Wanda Bayama followed up her leg two victory with a 1:51.4 score in the final. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Wanda Bayama left hard from post nine and made the front at the opening-quarter in :26.1. The 8/5 second choice, Wanda Bayama continued to call the shots in the middle-half. She posted back-to-back panels of :29 to lead the field into the stretch. Our Hot Majorette, the even-money favourite, paced along fourth and was one of several horses looking to made a stretch bid at the leader. However, Wanda Bayama was clearly the best and paced home in :27.3 to win by a length and a half in 1:51.4. Much Adoo, who won leg one, finished second, while Aniston Seelster and Our Hot Majorette rounded out the top-four. Trained by Stephane Larocque, Wanda Bayama has now won two of three starts in 2016. The four-year-old pacing mare now has nine career victories and over $111,000 in career earnings for owners Bayama Farms Inc. Wanda Bayama equaled her career-mark of 1:51.4 with the victory. She paid $5.40 to win. Wanda Bayama In order to be eligible to the WEGZ and, the four-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. Mark McKelvie

In terms of famous harness racing victories, Yankee Rockstar's $70,575 Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup triumph last night will go down as one of the most memorable. For starters, the race was changed from a traditional standing start event to a mobile start race this year, and was shortened from two miles to 2690m. As a result of the changes a first class field was assembled, headlined by two-time Inter Dominion star Beautide. And as for the race itself, it exceeded all expectations as a contest with trainer Emma Stewart and driver Gavin Lang combining for the win with Yankee Rockstar. The Stewart-trained entire overhauled a brave Ohoka Punter late in the Group 2 feature with Beautide winding up in third place. Many on social media were suggesting the race was one of the best of the season so far with Glenferrie Hood making the early play, holding the front from the pole. Ohoka Punter (Anthony Butt) lobbed the breeze and Jimmy Rattray took Beautide up three-wide. Butt made his intentions clear, the chair wasn’t up for grabs, Rattray having to snag aboard Beautide before squeezing into the one-one. But shortly after grabbing some cover, Beautide was punching the breeze again as Butt pushed to the lead aboard Ohoka Punter, giving Glenferrie Hood the box seat. Registering a lead time of 77.8secs, Ohoka Punter ran along in front before a 62.6secs first half. The Shepparton Cup winning Ohoka Punter, who also recently finished second to Smolda in the Hunter Cup, got down the back in 28.9secs. Beautide, who covered ground the entire trip, was put under some pressure off the back, the early work starting to take a toll. Ohoka Punter slipped away and looked home and hosed at the top of the straight, but even if you were betting in the run you wouldn’t have put the house on at this point because he too had spent significant petrol early. Yankee Rockstar was the fresh horse on the scene, Lang guiding him into clear air out wide before the five-year-old entire by Rocknroll Hanover out of Aston Villa hit top gear. The last 400m was covered in 29.1seccs and Yankee Rockstar had a half-neck on Ohoka Punter at the finish with Beautide 4.4m off the winner in third, 1.1m ahead of Jadahson in fourth with Messini close-up in fifth. Yankee Rockstar has now won over $208,000 in stakes this season so far, with a record of 12 starts for eight wins and three placings. Stewart and Lang both ended up with four winners on the Kilmore Cup program, Stewart also successful with exciting three-year-old filly Heavens Trend (Rock N Roll Heaven/Trend Setter) winning the Kelly Sports 3YO Pace in 2:00.2 over 2180m, talented four-year-old mare Lovelist (Always A Virgin/Lifeline) in 1:55.1 over 1690m in the Doug’s Bakery Pace and impressive two-year-old debutant filly Our Celebrity (Mach Three/Celebrity Ball) in the J & A Mazzetti Sapling Stakes over 1690m in 1:57.8. Lang drove Heavens Trend, Lovelist, Yankee Rockstar and Mick Blackmore-trained Claudys Princess to victory in the McIvor Estate Kilmore Trotters Cup over 3150m from the standing start, the five-year-old Bacardi Lindy/All Finesse mare rating 2:06.8 to score a half-head win over Michael Thomas in second, with Sun Of Anarchy in third. Other winners on the night were four-year-old mare Keayang Ebonyrose (Village Jolt/Secret Twirl) in the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship 14th Heat over 1690m in 1:56.5 for trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee, five-year-old gelding Fiery Blue Chip (by Santanna Blue Chip out of Scarlet Fire) for trainer Sonya Smith and driver Anthony Butt in the Peninsula Meats Eureka Series 2nd Heat over 2180m in 2:00.6, Glory Daze for David Aiken and Josh Aiken in the Hanson Cleaning Vicbred Pace, the four-year-old mare by Bettors Delight out of Dazed And Confused rating 2:00.9 over 2180m with an all-the-way success from the pole, The Sparrow Hawk for Brent Lilley and Butt in the Momentum Gaming Pace over 2180m, the handy three-year-old gelding by Gotta Go Cullen out of Starling rating 2:01.6, and Est Est Est for Neville and Clinton Welsh in the F&M Supplies Vicbred Platinum Country Series M 2nd Heat over 2180m, the four-year-old Majestic Son/Enotheque trotting mare rating 2:07.1. The action continues today with the running of the Boort Cup meeting. Cody Winnell

Mohawk Warrior will aim for a WEGZ Series sweep following a 1:51.3 harness racing victory Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A field of five met up for the second leg of the three-week series. Trainer Richard Moreau sent out a trio of starters, including Mohawk Warrior. Moreau trainee Rafa cut the mile with Mohawk Warrior and Jody Jamieson sitting on his back. After fractions of :27.4, :56.2, Jamieson pulled the pocket entering the final turn and sat just a neck away from the front. The stablemates were nearly on even-terms at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3. In the stretch, Rafa continued to pace strong down, but Mohawk Warrior powered by in deep stretch to win in 1:51.3. Moreau trainee Cajon Lightning got up for third. A four-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover, Mohawk Warrior now has four wins in seven starts this season and has finished no worse than third for earnings of over $55,000. The four-year-old has 12 wins in 34 career starts and earnings exceeding $148,000. Mohawk Warrior is owned by Brad Grant. He paid $3.40 to win. In order to be eligible to the WEGZ Series, the four-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. Mohawk Warrior Also on Saturday, Nickle Bag extended his current win streak to six with a 1:50 victory. The Bill Robinson trainee was put on the front-end Saturday and never looked back. Driven by Trevor Henry, Nickle Bag posted solid fractions of :26.4, :54.3 and 1:21.4, before pacing home in :28.1 for a 3¼ length victory. Owned by Linda and Harry Loyens, Nickle Bag has now won six consecutive starts to sport a 2016 record of six wins in 8 starts. Saturday's victory was his 26th career score and pushes his career earnings to over $575,000. Nickle Bag paid $2.60 to win. Nickle Bag Live racing resumes Monday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Odds-on choice Rockeyed Optimist rolled to the front and never looked back en route to his third consecutive win in Saturday (March 12) night's $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands, and handle exceeded $3 million for the 12th time in the last 13 harness racing cards at the North Jersey harness track.   In the featured $25,000 Open Handicap Pace, Rockeyed Optimist ($3.60) sprinted off from his five rivals after using the first three-eighths of the mile to work clear, earning his third consecutive win and second at the Open level. Tim Tetrick spotted the 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding second-over on the first turn, tracking Bettor's Edge (Joe Bongiorno) through a :27.1 quarter before losing cover and subsequently working clear on the backstretch. Once assuming the lead, Rockeyed Optimist faced no pressure, edging clear off the far turn and powering home in 1:49, using a :26 last quarter burst to evade his foes. Rockeyed Optimist ultimately prevailed by two lengths over Bettor's Edge, while Sunfire Blue Chip (John Campbell) stayed on for third from his stalking trip.   Steve Elliott trains the 18-time winner for the partnership of Perretti, Berkner, the A & B Stable, and Battaglia. For Elliott, it was a sweep of the evening's featured events, as another trainee of his--Art History ($8.20)--captured the night's sub-featured $16,000 upper-level conditioned pace earlier in the program. The 5-year-old Western Ideal gelding sustained a first-over push through the far turn, overtaking 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach in mid-stretch and subsequently staving off a late rally from K-Lees Shakenbake. Scott Zeron drove 12-time winner Art History to his 1:50 triumph.   Anthony Napolitano led all drivers with a grand slam, teaming up with Honey I'm Home ($2.80, 1:51.4), Hoboken Hanover ($7.40, 1:52.2), Last Dragon ($18.00, 1:50.2), and Major War ($4.60, 1:50.3). Tetrick and Bongiorno drove three winners apiece on the 13-race card.   Total betting turnover exceeded $3 million for the 12th time in the last 13 cards at The Meadowlands, with punters wagering $3,088,696 on the Saturday program--$423,919 more than the corresponding Saturday card in 2015.   Racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday (March 18) evening, with post time at 7:15 p.m. EDT, $105,000 in guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools, and a last-race 20¢ Jackpot High 5 carryover of $135,800.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

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