Search Results
1 to 16 of 1135
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Nichols, N.Y. -- Oldford Racing, LLC's Stratocaster ($7.60) worked to fend off pressure though the far turn in Sunday (July 17) afternoon's featured Open 2 Pace at Tioga Downs, subsequently edging clear of a belated rally from Dee's Rocketman to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths.   John Cummings, Jr. floated forward with the 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover entire, letting Winyard Hanover (Jim Meittinis) clear from post 9 through a :27 first quarter before pushing to the fore with a circuit remaining in the one-mile event.   Stratocaster subsequently faced stern pressure on the backstretch from the first-over Vangura (Corey Braden), who forced a :56 middle half. Stratocaster repelled that challenge off the corner, sprinting off as Dee's Rocketman (Fern Paquet, Jr.) mounted a late charge off third-over positioning. Stratocaster's lead was never threatened in the straight, and he went on to a convincing 1:52 victory.   Dee's Rocketman charged into second, while an all-out Winyard Hanover checked in a beleaguered third from the pocket. Favorite Rollin Ring Afire (Jim Marohn, Jr.) failed to fire from a second-over trip, finishing eighth in the field of nine.   Allen Sisco trains Stratocaster, now a 23-time winner. For Cummings, the driving win was one of three on the 13-race card. Jim Marohn, Jr. also recorded a hat trick on the afternoon.   Buoyed by the defeat of two odds-on favorites in the day's first five races, the 50¢ Pick 5 returned $557.75.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (July 22) evening, with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Blue Moon Stride might not attract the same attention as some of her division rivals, such as Pure Country, L A Delight, and Darlinonthebeach, but the 3-year-old female pacer draws plenty of admiration from her trainer, Mark Harder. "Because I train her and I like her, I think she can win a big one," said Harder, who trains Blue Moon Stride for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati of Australia. "I think somewhere along the line, I don't think it will be a surprise, but I think one day she can win a big race. We'll see. She'll show up and race them. Who knows what can happen. "She's a little unnoticed, but she's been pretty consistent and been a real nice filly. I just look at her having a great solid year; being exciting, being fun, and hopefully we can beat those good fillies. There are some really good fillies out there. Pure Country has shown that she's the best. But maybe we'll get our turn." Blue Moon Stride is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday's $157,400 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Dan Patch Award-winner Pure Country and stakes-winner Darlinonthebeach are absent, but the six-filly field also includes Canada's O'Brien Award-recipient L A Delight, Skinny Dipper, Shezarealdeal, Lindwood Beachgirl, and Penpal. Andrew McCarthy will drive Blue Moon Stride, who starts from post five. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, Hambletonian Maturity, and divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and Delvin Miller Memorial. For her career, Blue Moon Stride has won seven of 19 races and earned $444,362. In addition to her seven victories, she has finished second on seven occasions. This year, the filly opened her campaign with a sixth-place finish against older horses, but was beaten only 1-3/4 lengths. She then swept three races in the New Jersey Sire Stakes series, culminating with a victory in the $100,000 championship on June 4 at the Meadowlands. She also was the series champion in 2015. From there, it was on to the James M. Lynch Memorial, where she finished second by a neck to Pure Country in her elimination and second again to Pure Country, this time by a half-length, in the $300,000 final. Last season, Blue Moon Stride's wins also included divisions of the Arden Downs and Tompkins-Geers stakes. She finished second in the Three Diamonds and divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes. "I always liked her," Harder said. "She was not that great gaited early, but when you got her in top gear she was pretty clean going. She always showed talent right from the get-go." Blue Moon Stride was purchased as a weanling for $27,000 as part of the Perretti Farms dispersal sale at the 2013 Standardbred Mixed Sale. She is a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Classic Star. Mom is a full sister to Dan Patch Award-winners Bettor's Delight and Roll With Joe and a half-sister to 2003 Horse of the Year No Pan Intended. "We went to buy (Blue Moon Stride's) yearling sister at the sale, but we passed on her," Harder said. "Even though (Blue Moon Stride) was a little bit on the small side, we took a chance on her. As soon as we got her home, she just took off (growing). She's just one of those horses that grew more later than early. She's a big filly now." A big filly with a little bit of attitude. "She's got a little fight to her," Harder said. "She's got that little nastiness to her and it shows up on the racetrack. Nothing seems to bother her too much. "She's just a big strong filly sort of right on top of her game right now." PP - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line 1 - Skinny Dipper - Scott Zeron - Ross Croghan - 8/1 2 - L A Delight - John Campbell - Robert McIntosh - 5/2 3 - Shezarealdeal - Marcus Miller - Ross Croghan - 9/2 4 - Lindwood Beachgirl - Yannick Gingras - Mark Steacy - 3/1 5 - Blue Moon Stride - Andrew McCarthy - Mark Harder - 2/1 6 - Penpal - Pat Lachance - Pat Lachance - 10/1 by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Summer Wind made a big first-over move into the far turn and blew away her competition in the $15,500 mares featured pace Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning by 6½ lengths in 1:51.1.   Driver Jim Marohn Jr. kept the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover off a three-ply duel to the 26 quarter, then sent her up raw after favored leader Request For Parole before the 55 half.   The chalk still clung to a nose lead at the 1:23.2 3/4s, but the momentum was all behind the winner as she cruised away from the field, with Envious Hanover and Tataria claiming the minor honors. The $5.80 second choice of the Tuesday Pocono bettors, The Summer Wind is trained by Greg White for owners Charles Rowe and Lewis Whitaker Jr.   Marcus Miller continued to burnish his credentials as a master handler of longshots, as he got the most out of Energizer Ivy ($28.60) and Sheza Tim Too ($37.40), the latter a trotter with one win and no seconds in 65 previous career starts, but here a wire-to-wire winner while lowering her mark 2 3/5 seconds to 1:57.1 with Miller in the sulky.   Marcus is the leading producer of $50+ winners at the current Pocono meet with four, including two within three races on Sun Stakes Saturday Championship Night - which puts him in good position to defend his 2015 Pocono "title" in this category, having had five such bombers last year.   From the PHHA Media Department

Ideal Rocky hasn't found himself in many ideal situations this season, but trainer John Butenschoen remains a fan of the 3-year-old pacer and hopes his luck can change in Saturday's lone Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace elimination at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The top nine finishers in the elimination will advance to the $736,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace final on July 16 at the Big M, where they will join bye-recipient Racing Hill. Saturday's card also includes the Graduate Series championships for trotters and pacers as well as two Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old female trotters. Ideal Rocky's luck certainly was no good in the draw for the Pace elimination, as he got post 10 in the 10-horse field. In his previous start, he had post eight in a conditioned race at Mohawk and got stuck on the outside for most of the mile. Before that, he had post eight in his North America Cup elimination and failed to advance to the final. And he had post six in the six-horse New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, where he finished third despite a :26.1 last quarter-mile. "It is what it is," Butenschoen said. "That's part of horseracing. "The horse is a good horse. It's a long season and hopefully he'll get his chance to show it somewhere down the line here. You just hope things will turn around at some point." Ideal Rocky, a son of stallion Rocknroll Hanover --- the 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner --- out of the stakes-winning mare Eternity's Delight, was purchased for $47,000 under the name Rocabybaby Fashion at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is owned by William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick. Last year, Ideal Rocky won a division of the International Stallion Stakes and defeated future Dan Patch Award-winner Boston Red Rocks in both the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers and the Lou Babic. For his career, Ideal Rocky has won five of 20 races and earned $263,873. Ideal Rocky heads to the Meadowlands Pace elimination off a qualifier on July 2 at the Meadowlands. He finished second, sandwiched between Pace hopefuls Good Living and Check Six. "I was real happy with his qualifier the other day and (driver) Corey (Callahan) was real happy with him," Butenschoen said. "We figured we'd throw our hat in the fire again. The only silver lining (to the Pace elimination draw) is that he only has to beat one horse, and if he can't beat one he doesn't deserve to be in the final." Ideal Rocky wasn't eligible to last week's Max C. Hempt Memorial, which was won by Racing Hill. Following the Meadowlands Pace, the colt is eligible to the Adios and New Jersey Classic. "The schedule is impossible," Butenschoen said. "Everyone asks what you have to do to get owners or keep owners in the business, and staking is one of the major obstacles. It's expensive as all get out if you were to pay them into every week, and they're not easy miles. "Do you pay them into everything and then pick your races as you go? Or do you just opt to take out something? We picked our spots. The horse has been good on a mile track. We know if he's healthy he's going to have several weeks in a row, so it might not hurt to skip a week." The Meadowlands Pace elimination includes, from post one through nine: Talk Show, Lyons Snyder, Another Daily Copy, JK Will Power, Boston Red Rocks, Manhattan Beach, Good Living, Check Six, and Control The Moment. Check Six, from the barn of trainer Ron Burke, won this year's Pennsylvania Classic, where stablemate JK Will Power finished second. JK Will Power also finished second in the Hempt Memorial. Control The Moment, last year's O'Brien Award winner in Canada, finished third in the North America Cup, behind Betting Line and Racing Hill. Betting Line wasn't eligible to the Meadowlands Pace. "It's very rare that these horses can go out there and be good from beginning to end," Butenschoen said. "They're going to trade blows as they go along. Hopefully (Ideal Rocky) is right at the right time if we do draw inside. "We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best." By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

Vernon, N.Y. -- The return to two turns suited Damon Blue Chip ($14.80) well on Independence Day, as the harness racing 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding took advantage of a pocket trip to capture Monday's (July 4) featured $8,000 Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs in going-away fashion.   Damon Blue Chip was prominent from race's outset, out-sprinted only by Pantheon Hanover (Chris Lems) through a :26.2 first quarter. Despite Pantheon Hanover's best attempts to sprint off at head-stretch after middle splits of :54.1 and 1:22.1, trainer-driver John MacDonald and Damon Blue Chip kept up their pursuit before pulling the pocket at the eighth pole. Damon Blue Chip sped by to a two-length lead in the end, capturing his second Vernon win in as many local starts in 1:49.3. Memory Game (Jimmy Whittemore) rallied up the pegs to take second from a fading Pantheon Hanover, while Modern Gesture (Truman Gale) stayed on to save third.   The J P Stables of Ontario own Damon Blue Chip, now a 33-time winner. For Damon Blue Chip, the 1:49.3 mile was good for a lifetime mark, and for MacDonald, the driving win was the foundation for a hat trick on the day. Chris Lems shared top billing among drivers, also winning three of the afternoon's 12 races.   No one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, resulting in a $261.58 carryover to Thursday (July 7) evening's card. Post time for the first of 10 races at the Miracle Mile is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Harness Racing trainer/driver Bob Butt may have won the feature at Phar Lap on Sunday but his second win of the day was the most satisfying. Butt topped off a big weekend by winning the Timaru Winter Cup when driving Easy Rider to victory for his parents David and Catherine Butt who train the winner of four races at their Woodend Beach base. However, Hall Of Fame's win in the last race, a c1 pace, gave Butt a race-to-race driving double but more importantly a training win of his own. An eight length winner on debut at Addington in October, Half Of Fame went to Alexandra Park for the Christmas carnival but was never able to show his best.  "I took him up north and he got really crook so I had to give him a long spell," Butt said. The Rocknroll Hanover three-year-old was a one and three quarter length winner in a c1 pace on Sunday - his first start since December 18. Sunday's win was a major relief for Butt as the talented pacer returned to form. Butt said Hall Of Fame is likely to have one or two more starts before being sent for a spell in preparation for a cup week campaign. Easy Rider was quick away from the front tape in the Timaru Winter Cup and Butt drove him hard to beat Well Armed to the lead but with just over a lap to run he give it away when Blair Orange sent Highview Freddy, who started off 20m, forward. "Highview Freddy's always better in front so I knew if I could hold the lead he would be coming around at some point." Easy Rider was then able to sit in the trail until he was let loose up the passing lane. "He's just that sort of horse, if he gets that perfect run he's always dangerous," Butt said.  Easy Rider, raced by Tony McGrath, beat home Highview Freddy by a head with a further length back to Well Armed. The Art Official four-year-old made it back-to-back victories after winning a c1-c2 junior drivers race at Rangiora in the hands of Matt Anderson on June 19. Hall Of Fame's win was Butt's second training win over the weekend with Matatoki winning a c1-c2 trot at Addington on Thursday night to give him a 100 per cent success rate with just the two runners being lined up. Matatoki was Butt's third driving win at Addington with earlier wins coming in Breeders Crown heats behind the Paul Nairn-trained pair of Conon Bridge and Wilma's Mate. Matatoki is likely to have another start before also being spelled for cup week. Matt Kermeen

Rock N Roll Xample (Rocknroll Hanover) parlayed the pocket ride to victory in Friday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Billy Dobson piloted the Rene Allard-trained mare in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open and got a two-hole trip for five year old distaffer. Rock N Roll Xample road the coattails of frontrunning rival Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr) throughout before cruising up the passing lane to win in 1:54.1 over a sloppy track. Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey), the race's even money favorite, came from last in the six horse Open before getting up to finish second. Bettorhaveanother earned the show spot. Rock N Roll Example, who was the race's 9-5 second choice in the wagering, led an exacta and triple that returned $9.20 and $40.20, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Long Live Rock (Rocknroll Hanover) made his local harness racing debut a winning one in Saturday's Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard-trained seven year old dropped in fourth in the early going in the $15,000 feature that was contested at a distance of 1 1/16 miles. Billy Dobson moved Long Live Rock first over on fellow Yonkers invader UF Rockin Dragon (Jim Devaux) and overpowered that rival en route to an impressive win that covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:57.3. UF Rockin Dragon held on to win a photo for place while Artful Way (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. Long Live Rock was the 5-2 co-favorite in Saturday's Open returning $7.00 to win. The exacta and triple came back $87.50 and $432, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Nichols, N.Y. -- Rockeyed Optimist ($5.80) used a strong late turn of foot to reel in mid-race pacesetter All Bets Off for a 1:49.2 harness racing victory in the $179,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace on Sunday (June 19) at Tioga Downs.   The 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding slid second-over on approach to the clubhouse turn, slipstreaming the cover of Always At My Place (Yannick Gingras) after All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) brushed clear of McWicked (Tim Tetrick) into a :53.3 initial half mile. Rockeyed Optimist enjoyed live cover on the backstretch, but was left to face the breeze after Always At My Place ducked to the pegs when McWicked gapped the pocket. Despite All Bets Off turning for home with a 2-length lead, Rockeyed Optimist was able to reel him in, driven out by Brett Miller for a 1:49.2 score. Defending champion State Treasurer (David Miller) circled from last on the far turn to take third.   Steve Elliott trains Rockeyed Optimist, now a 24-time winner, for the partnership of Perretti, Berkner, the A & B Stable, and Battaglia.     A pair of late-closing series for 3-year-old trotters culminated with $25,000 finals earlier in the card. The M&J Oil and Lube series for fillies went to Dream Child ($6.30), a Linda Toscano trainee who drew clear at will for a 1:56.1 victory in rein to Mike Simons. John Cummings, Jr. drove Makers Mass ($2.70) to victory from well off the pace, circling three-wide and drawing clear in 1:57 to take the Williams Auto Group final for trainer Megan Wilson.   Jim Taggart, Jr. led all drivers with three wins on the 11-race program.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (June 24), with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Im Rockaria, or “Nelson” as he is known at the harness racing stables of Brennan Racing, repaid the faith installed in him by reinsman Chris Voak on Friday with an impressive victory in the 2016 Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic. WATCH: 2016 Princi Pearl Classic Replay + GPTV Interviews Chris Voak qualified Im Rockaria and Our Zak Whitby for the final but chose to steer the Rocknroll Hanover colt who was purchased at the APG sales in Melbourne for $16,000. After lobbing the one-out-one-back from barrier 4, Im Rockaria led the three-wide line at the 750 meter mark and found a position outside the leader within a few hundred meters. He did battle with the favourite Wesley in the run to the line but outstayed him to take home the largest share of the $100,000 Group 1 Prizemoney. Chis Voak was full of praise for the horse and his Pinjarra based trainer Michael Brennan who has nursed the colt through soundness issues throughout his 5 start career. “You really don’t understand what this horse has gone through to get here tonight… I thought he had the ability to do what he did tonight, and he proved to me he did” he said. Next on Im Rockaria’s hit-list is the July 15 Golden Slipper. “We’ll be heading to the Golden Slipper next and if he goes well enough in that, we’ll look at heading over for the Breeders’ Crown” said trainer Michael Brennan... “We bought him at the APG Sale and he has turned out to be a great buy, he is a lovely horse, which has the looks, manners and engine…there is plenty of upside to him”. Scott Hamilton

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 11... Betting Line and Boston Red Rocks head into Saturday's $1-million Pepsi North America Cup final after defeating the finest harness racing three-year-old pacers on the continent in a pair of eliminations, Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Betting Line used a first-over trip to capture the first $50,000 elimination in 1:49.1. The Casie Coleman-trainee, who was the 8-5 second choice, tracked from fifth in the early going then made a bid for lead at the midway point as Lyons Snyder took the field to the quarter in :27.2, half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.2. Into the stretch, Lyons Snyder veered off the rail and gave a pocket-sitting Racing Hill room to sneak up the inside, but Betting Line was on the outside and used a :26.2 final quarter kick to breeze by his rivals and score the victory by three-quarters of a length. Lyons Snyder finished second, while Racing Hill was third. Also advancing is fourth-place finisher Control The Moment and Beast Mode, who finished fifth. "I have been fortunate enough to have some unbelievably great horses over the years, but he never usually gets a good trip," Coleman added. "I don't know why, but he always seems to not be in the right place and he just keeps digging--first-over, on front with tough fractions from way off, like he's done it every way. I can't wait to get that second-over toe into it coming down the lane." Betting Line notches his third victory of the season from four outings and ninth lifetime triumph. With the win, the son of Bettor's Delight and Heathers Western lifts his career earnings to $619,922 for owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington. Betting Line paid $5, $3.20 and $2.40, combining with Lyons Synder ($4.10, $3.50) for a $15.10 (6-4) exactor. A 6-4-9 (Racing Hill, $8) triactor returned a $120.40, while a $1 Superfecta [6-4-9-3 (Control The Moment)] was worth $205.40. Betting Line In the second elimination, the Steve Elliott pupil Boston Red Rocks used an off-the-pace trip to win by half a length in 1:50.3. Boston Red Rocks and driver Tim Tetrick followed from fourth as Nvestment Bluechip posted the opening panel in :26.4 and Nocturnal Bluechip clocked the half in :54.4. While the sophomores were passing the three-quarter marker in 1:22.4, Boston Red Rocks had advanced first-up and was stalking Nocturnal Bluechip from second. When the pacers entered the stretch, Boston Red Rocks, the 3-5 favourite, struck the front and held off a late surge from Big Top Hanover, who finished second and third-place finisher Michaels Victory. Magnum J, who went from last to fourth and fifth-place finisher Manhattan Beach also advance to the final. "I'm a firm believer in this horse," said Tetrick. "I know he's a nice horse. Every time he got beat, he got beat by a head, a nose. He got beat, but he raced good enough to win. Just horses sitting in the pocket beat him. He's a little lazy and he kind of loses focus sometimes and you got to stay after him, but he got the job done. He finds ways to win so that's what I like about him." Boston Red Rocks scored his second triumph of the season from four outings and sixth career victory. With the win, the son of the late Rocknroll Hanover and McGibson lifts his career earnings to $735,418 for Floridinans Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Boston Red Rocks paid $3.50, $2.80 and $2.10, combining with Big Top Hanover ($5.60, $3.10) for a $15.70 (2-6) exactor. A 2-6-5 (Michaels Victory, $3.20) triactor returned a $53, while a $1 Superfecta [2-6-5-9 (Magnum J)] was worth $221.60. Boston Red Rocks The top five finishers in each $50,000 elimination advance to the 33rd edition of the $1-million final on Saturday, June 18. Each winner earns his connections the right to select a post position before the balance of field is drawn at a press conference on Tuesday. $1-million Pepsi North America Cup starters in no particular order; Betting Line by Bettor's Delight Boston Red Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover Big Top Hanover by Western Ideal Lyons Snyder by Well Said Michaels Victory by Rocknroll Hanover Racing Hill by Roll With Joe Magnum J by Big Jim Control The Moment by Well Said Manhatten Beach by Somebeachsomewhere Beast Mode by Rock N Roll Heaven Mark McKelvie

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Bushwacker prevailed after a length-of-the-stretch duel with even-money favorite Melmerby Beach to take the harness racing featured $17,000 conditioned pace at the Meadowlands Saturday night by three-quarters-of-a-length in 1:48.4, a lifetime best. After Melmerby Beach grabbed the lead at the quarter in :26.2, Odds On Equuleus made the top at three-eighths before Bushwacker quickly brushed to command at the half in :53.2. The eventual winner still had the lead at three-quarters (1:21.4) as Melmerby Beach crept closer from first-over after vacating the three hole at the five-eighths. Melmerby Beach poked a head in front at one point as the duo battled through the stretch, but Bushwacker, who won a week ago in 1:49.3, repelled his challenger to go on to a dead-game victory. Alexie Mattosie, a 68-1 longshot, finished third. As the 8-5 second choice, Bushwacker returned $5.20. The 5-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover was driven by Daniel Dube and is trained by Chris Ryder for the Henderson Farms of Chicago. HIGHER AND HIGHER: Neither of the Big M's 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five wagers had a single-ticket winner, setting up one big and one enormous carryover for the next live program. The fifth-race wager now has a carryover of $15,884.81, while the 12th race JSH5 now sports a $253,827.71 jackpot. ... Greg Merton drove three winners on the night, including the 4,000th of his career with Major Buddy A in the 11th race. Andy Miller also scored three times. ... Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Speedy frontrunner Wesley is certain to be installed a warm favourite for the Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the $100,000 group 1 2130m feature event for two-year-olds. But Harness Racing reinsman Chris Voak is in no mood to concede that Wesley has an unbreakable grip on the race and he considers that he has sound winning prospects with the Michael Brennan-trained Rocknroll Hanover colt Im Rockaria. Voak’s decision to drive the lightly-raced Im Rockaria in preference to Our Zak Whitby, the most experienced runner in the event, will surprise many keen followers of the light harness racing sport. Voak drove Our Zak Whitby and Im Rockaria to impressive victories in qualifying heats of the Pearl on Tuesday of last week. Im Rockaria was untroubled to set the pace from barrier three and was not extended in winning from American Dynasty, covering the 2130m in 2min. 40.2sec. Our Zak Whitby was smartest into stride from the No. 1 barrier in his heat in which he led for the first 600m and then trailed the pacemaker Michael Joseph before unwinding a sparkling late burst to win convincingly from Writing On Thewall and Allmightyjoelouis. His time for the journey was 2min. 35.9sec. Voak has disregarded the considerable difference of 4.3sec. in opting for Im Rockaria. Wesley simply coasted to an all-the-way heat win in 2min. 39.7sec. Voak said that a better barrier (No. 4) had swayed him to choose Im Rockaria ahead of Our Zak Whitby, who will start from the No. 6 barrier on the front line. “Our Zak Whitby, from six, might have to go back at the start,” Voak said. “Wesley looks sure to lead, but I’m hoping to get a good sit in the one-out, one-back trail with Im Rockaria, who is an improving horse. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen him if I didn’t think he could win.” Im Rockaria has raced four times for two wins and two seconds, while Our Zak Whitby has been driven by Voak in all his 12 starts for three wins, five seconds and two thirds. Wesley, a Sportswriter colt who will be driven by Reon Tither for young Bunbury trainer Sarah Wall, is a brilliant frontrunner who has had seven starts for five wins and one third. When Voak opted for Im Rockaria, Ed Dewar, the breeder, part-owner and trainer of Our Zak Whitby, wasted no time in securing champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive the WA-bred Mach Three colt on Friday night. Dewar prepared Henry Te Whitby when Rod Chambers drove him to victory over Tempestuous Whitby in the 1998 Pearl Classic. Lewis will be seeking to win the Pearl for the fourth time, after scoring with Lombo Laredo in 1994, Mitemptation in 1995 and Argent Treasure in 2007. Byford trainer David Thompson, who won the Pearl in 2014 with the frontrunning Isaiah Artois, holds a strong hand in Friday night’s classic with Allmightyjoelouis and Whoswhointhezoo, who will start from barriers one and two, respectively, on the back line. “Allmightyjoelouis is my pick of the two,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s going. He needed the run when he was third in his heat which was run considerably faster than the other two heats. “He did all the work in the heat and I wouldn’t swap him with any other runner in the final. There’s not much of him and he’s not much to look at, but he’s a lovely little horse with a great attitude.” Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. will continue as the driver of Allmightyjoelouis, who settled in seventh place in his heat before starting a three-wide move 1200m from home and getting to the front at the 250m mark before wilting slightly to be third to Our Zak Whitby. He led and won by just under three lengths from The Real Ideal in the $100,000 group 1 Sales Classic at his previous outing. Whosewhointhezoo, a gelding by Major In Art, is not as advanced as Allmightyjoelouis, but Thompson expects him to be prominent. He will be handled by Peter Tilbrook and is likely to have the perfect trail behind the likely pacemaker Wesley. He was bred and is owned by Thompson’s wife Karen. “He’s a big horse and is just a work in progress,” Thompson said. “But he is coming along quite nicely.” Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said that Writing On Thewall (placed at four of his seven starts) was capable of a strong effort from the favourable No. 3 barrier. “He worked nicely this (Tuesday) morning and I’m very happy with him,” he said. Writing On Thewall was fifth at the bell and after getting off the pegs at the 450m mark he went three wide on the home turn and took a narrow lead 50m from the post before finishing second to Our Zak Whitby in a qualifying heat. Olivieri won the Pearl with Lombo Laredo (1994) and Argent treasure (2007).    Ken Casellas

Rocker Band’s greatest performance may have been her last. The dazzling Jewels winner came from a seemingly hopeless position on Saturday to give harness racing driver Samantha Ottley her first group one victory and kick off a day of drama for some of those who got locked up on the markers.   Favourites like Dream About Me and Pacing Major were luckless and stormed into minor placings after being locked away, but Lady Luck smiled on Ottley and Rocker Band after they were pushed to four back on the inside.   She unwound in a style her NZ Cup-winning dam Mainland Banner would have been proud of but trainer Mark Jones fears he now has nowhere to go with the mare.   “She comes back a class eight mare next season and there are really only three major races for her to be aimed at, and even they mean taking on The Orange Agent and Dream About Me,” says Jones.   “There just aren’t enough mares races for the best mares and most of them aren’t good enough to race the male cup horses.   “So she might be better off in the broodmare paddock, with her record and breeding.”
 Jones owns Rocker Band, a Rocknroll Hanover mare, but leases her racing right to Greg Brodie of Courage Under Fire fame.   “I am thrilled she won for Greg because he has been with me all the way along and also for Sam.   “Some people ask me why I don’t drive her myself but if I did I would have been worrying all week about what she needed in the race, instead of just training her.   “And I have been given plenty of opportunities so it is nice to give them to somebody else.”   While Jones is a former World Driver’s Champ, current title holder Dexter Dunn was also a winner on Saturday with both Donegal Bettorgretch and Field Marshal.   Field Marshall was typical Dunn, off the gate fast then controlling the tempo of the race, easing to his third group one on end for trainer Tim Butt.   Butt will bring him back next season for the Cup meeting but he may not be an ideal New Zealand Cup horse, with the plethora of mobile races in Australia appealing more.   Dunn’s drive on Donegal Bettorgretch was aggressive and broke the heart of leader Missandei before hot favourite Marcoola galloped when challenging her in the home straight.   His trainer Clint Ford said his case wasn’t helped by Marcoola having no lead up races and being too fresh, the problem causes by him winning his way through to class six in late April, making suitable races hard to find.   Donegal Bettorgretch has strengthened into a good filly and is a rarity on two counts --- being by champion pacing sire Bettors Delight and one of the few squaregaiters trained by Cran Dalgety. MIchael Guerin

The salute said it all as Rocker Band and harness racing driver Sam Ottley came flying down the outside to take the $100,000 NRM Evolve 4yo Diamond. For her first Harness Jewels drive, Ottley produced an absolute special to manoeuvre the Rocknroll Hanover mare off the pegs coming into the back straight. It was that move that would secure Ottley her biggest victory to date. “This is right up there with the greatest day of my life, infact I think it is the greatest day of my life” said Sam Ottley Owned by Greg Brodie of Australia, Rocker Band took her record to a handy 9 wins and 5 minor placings from just the 24 starts. Early speed from Miss Daisy (John Dunn) and Lusty Mac (Phil Butcher) is exactly what the Mark Jones trained mare asked for. Todays win was Mark's first Jewels training victory. Mark Jones said “I've trained horses for Greg for years, but i've never actually met him before. It was a great drive from Sam, she deserved a shot at it and she delieved". Winning Time & Margin: 1-53.39MR, with a neck back to Expressive Victor (Blair Orange) in 2nd and ½ length back to favourite Democrat Party (Nathan Williamson) in 3rd. Rocker Band Andrew Fitzgerald

It's only been two weeks since Wanna Rock N Roll arrived in Western New York from Yonkers Raceway but she has learned quickly that harness racing on the front end is the right thing for her to do.   In her second start of the season at the Buffalo Raceway, Wanna Rock N Roll ($3.60) again made every step a winning one in taking the featured $9,000 pace for the mares on Wednesday night (May 25).   In her seasonal debut last week at Buffalo Raceway, Wanna Rock N Roll went wire-to-wire in 1:56.1 in scoring a 1-1/4 length victory. She went even faster this start over the fast track with a 1:55.2 time in easily winning by 4-1/4 for catch driver Jim Morrill Jr.   Blasting from the five hole off the gate, Wanna Rock N Roll had no trouble in reaching the lead and posting splits of 28.1, 56.3 and 1:26.3. In the stretch, the race was all but over as Wanna Rock N Roll went uncontested to the finish line. Who Says That (Drew Monti) won the battle for second place while Passion R Virginie (Shawn McDonough) took third.   Owned by Rose Campbell and trained by Mike Carrubba, Wanna Rock N Roll (Rocknroll Hanover-Cams Leading Lady) is a 5-year-old mare that now has won six times in 16 appearances this season. The victory upped her earnings to $45,475 in 2016 and $205,732 lifetime.   Kevin Cummings had a four-bagger while Todd Cummings, Jim McNeight and Morrill Jr. all had two wins in the sulky. Trainers JD Perrin, Carl Surdyk and John Mungillo each doubled.   Racing will continue on Friday night at 5 p.m. with an 11-race card set.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

1 to 16 of 1135
1 2 3 4 5 Next »