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Batavia, NY---In the featured $10,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24), the only race was for second as the heavily favored invader, Scott Rocks led at all stations en route to registering the fastest pacing mile of the year at the Genesee County harness racing oval. John Cummings Jr. left with Scott Rocks and after easing him through a brutally sunlit first turn, got his horse in gear on the back straight and took the lead by the quarter in :27.4. As soon as he crossed over to the pylons, Cummings popped the plugs and took a reclined posture in the bike as he became a passenger for the rest of his ride. Scott Rocks was up by one and one-half lengths at the half in :56.2 and by two at three-quarters in 1:23.4. With the rest of the field scrambling to keep up at that point, the leader opened up three lengths under mild urging from Cummings and won wrapped-up in 1:52. China Dream (Shawn Gray) closed strong to catch second and Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings), who followed the winner the entire mile, hung on for third. It was the ninth win of the year, including three straight most recently for Scott Rocks ($2.50) and the purse increased his 2016 bank to $133,374 for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. The 6-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Chris Oakes. John Cummings Jr. had a driving grand slam on Saturday winning with Scott Rocks ($2.50, 1:52), Keystone Dalton ($3.10, 1:55), Foreign Officer ($4.30, 1:54.1) and Untouchable One ($3.40, 1:56). Drew Monti had a driving triple while Ray Fisher Jr. doubled up. Trainer JD Perrin conditioned three winning horses on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 28) with the first post at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Nowuseemegirl did not win from eight starts as a two-year-old and it took her 18 starts to break through for her first harness racing victory. But she has blossomed into a smart three-year-old, with six wins this year, three at Bunbury and one each at Bridgetown, Albany and Wagin. She will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the $18,000 Westralian Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and has sound prospects. Trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo and driven by his son Aiden, Nowuseemegirl notched her third win from four starts after a spell when she gave a splendid performance to win from Legendary Lou and Sea Me Smile in 1.54.6 over 1609m at Bunbury last Saturday night. She started from barrier five and raced wide early before bursting to the front after 200m. The 400m sections whizzed by in 28.2sec., 29.9sec., 28.3sec. and 28.2sec. She began fast from the No. 7 barrier and set the pace before winning over 2100m at a 1.58.9 rate at Bunbury a week earlier. Nowuseemegirl is by American stallion Rocknroll Hanover and she is following a strong family tradition. She is the first foal out of Christian Cullen mare Nowuseeme, who earned $287,234 from 23 wins (13 at Gloucester Park) and 25 placings from 88 starts. Nowuseeme’s dam Nowuseemenowudont (by Holmes Hanover) was also a smart performer who had 65 starts for 16 wins (nine at Gloucester Park), 20 placings and stakes of $116,931 from 65 starts. Nowuseemegirl looks assured of breaking through soon for her first Gloucester Park success. She has raced on that track five times for two seconds, one fourth and two fifths. There is plenty of exposed form in Friday night’s race in which the inexperienced and lightly-raced Ladys Are Ideal appears hard to beat. She will start from the inside of the back line and should enjoy a favourable passage behind Nowuseemegirl, the likely pacemaker. Ladys Are Ideal won once from two starts in New Zealand in June and impressed with her stylish pacing action and natural speed at her Australian debut, when she led and won convincingly from Eyes On The Money and Gunna Get Lucky over 2130m on Tuesday of last week. “She’s a bit light on, but I think she’s a winning chance if she can get a clear crack at them,” said trainer Gary Hall sen. “There’s quite a few chances and I think she is a better horse with a sit.” Trainer Ross Olivieri’s noted frontrunner Sheer Rocknroll has been an odds-on favourite at her past two starts in which she began from the No. 2 barrier and set the pace over 1730m and 2130m at Gloucester Park. She will be at a reasonable quote after drawing awkwardly at the No. 6 barrier on the front line. But the filly with a record of ten wins and eight placings from 29 starts cannot be underestimated.     Eyes On The Money (Shane Young) and The Shadow Knows (Ron Young) have drawn favourably at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively and should be prominent.  A case can be made for all 12 runners in an event which should get the ten-event program away to an exciting start. Ken Casellas

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, August 20, 2016 - Without the other "Big Three" to contend with this weekend, Wiggle It Jiggleit could very well have an easy time Sunday in the $200,000 Prix D'Ete Sunday afternoon at the Hippodrome 3R.ham Racing fans throughout Quebec will have the rare chance to see this world champion performer in their backyard. The Prix D'Ete is just for four-year-old pacers and Team Teague is taking full advantage of the opportunity for what many consider to be an easy payday. Just don't try and tell that to the other four contenders in the race. Wiggle It Jiggleit comes into the Prix D'Ete off a dramatic comeback victory in the $325,000 Dan Patch at Hoosier Park where he defeated rivals Always B Miki, All Bets Off, Shamballa and Freaky Feet Pete. None of those rivals are in the race on Sunday. The 2015 Harness Horse of the Year is the current money winner leader in 2016 with more than $1 million bankrolled this season. He sports 11 wins in 17 starts, four seconds and two third place finishes, thus he has never finished off the board this season. Owned by George Teague, Jr. and the Teague Racing Partnership of Delaware, WIJI starts from the rail on Sunday in the 10th race feature with George Teague's son, Montrell, handling the lines as he has done all season long. Most figure that WIJI, a son of Mr. Wiggles, will go off at odds of 1-9 and rightly so off his past performances and uncanny ability to dig in when most horses would back off. "What I am most pleased about him right now," said owner George Teague, Jr. "Is that he has settled down into a groove and is relaxed more when he races. It took a few starts but I think he is at his best now and last week really showed it." "He (WIJI) arrived in good shape," said trainer Clyde Francis. "It took us around 12 hours to get to Quebec (I got a little lost finding the training center outside of Montreal) but once we arrived, WIJI was feeling pretty good. He ate up all his feed and this morning I jogged him and he was ready to go a mile. He will be in top shape for tomorrow." Is WIHI a sure bet? Perhaps, but then again, the other four rivals in the short field cannot read a program. Rival Rockin Ron from post five, beat WIJI back on May 15 in the Confederation Cup final at Flamboro Downs. At that time the son of Real Desire was undefeated in ten starts this season. Trained by Ron Burke and part of an entry in the race with Rock N Roll World, Rockin Ron starts from post five. The gelded son of Real Desire has yet to win a race since beating WIJI, but still has earned $324,000 this season and was fourth to WIJI in a leg and the final of the Graduate Series. "There are not many horses that can beat Rockin Ron out of the starting gate," said his driver, Yannick Gingras. "Starting from post five I plan on leaving hard and seeing how it develops. I really want to be on the lead early. With a five-horse field strategy is the key and I think the race will be won or lost by position by the opening quarter mile. Stablemate Rock N Roll World goes from post four for driver Daniel Dube. Dube is a native of Trois-Rivieres and Gringras also grew up in Sorel, Quebec. Both are world class drivers and will have the home town crowd rooting them on. Rock N Roll World is sired by Rocknroll Hanover and just pasted the $100,000 mark in earnings this season with just two wins. He was third to WIJI three starts back in the Graduate Final, pacing his mile in 1:48, so he is also a contender in this race. In peak form coming into the Prix D'Ete is Rockin In Heaven from post three for driver Jody Jamieson. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven is trained by Dr. Ian Moore and in his last two starts at Mohawk Raceway he was victorious in 1:50.4 and 1:51.2. He has $105,000 in earnings this year. "He (Rockin In Heaven) has picked the perfect time to come into form," said Jamieson. "He won his last two starts both on the front end and from behind and we did not enter this race to go for second place money. If he feels good enough behind the gate, we might leave and see how the race goes early on, but WIGI or not, we came here to win it." The long shot of sorts in the field is ASAP Hanover. This son of Somebeachsomewhere drew post two in the Prix D'Ete for local driving sensation Louis-Philippe Roy, made only one start at age 3 and has but two wins this year, one of them coming three starts back at Mohawk Raceway in a lifetime best clocking of 1:50.2. He is trained by Sean Mehlenbacher of Ontario, who decided to take a chance with young driver Louis-Philippe Roy. "I had read some stories of how Roy was driving very well at 3R and Rideau Carlton," Mehlenbacher explained, "but last week he impressed me a lot with his win in the Gold Cup & Saucer and I like having the leading driver at a track drive my horses. "We did not come all the way from Ontario to race for fifth place money," Mehlenbacher said. "I was real pleased my horse drew post two and despite finishing 10th last week as he was never able to get into the race, he is feeling good and I think he will be heard from on Sunday." The Hippodrome 3R track announcer, Guy LaFontaine, sees the short field capable of breaking the all-age track record of 1:50.3 that is co-held by Prix D'Ete winners Sunfire Blue Chip (2014) and All Bets Off (2015). "I think the forecast for rain will hold off until after the races Sunday afternoon," Lafontaine said. "And with a fast track and a rich purse, they will be flying around the 3R oval and will break the track record. I predict it will be Wiggle It Jiggleit by a nose over Rockin In in 1:49.2." TRACK NOTES: There are four divisions, two for colts and two for fillies, of the third leg of the Future Stars Series for pacers on the Sunday program. Standouts include Makasi (race 3) for driver Yannick Gingras, who despite being winless in two starts, was race timed at Mohawk Raceway in 1:52.3 and 1:53.4. He takes on Wildriverbumblebee, who in his last start won a leg of the series at 3R in 1:57.4. The fourth race for fillies features Yaris Bayama for trainer Yves Filion. She will be driven by Yves son, Sylvan Filion, and last week won the $105,000 final of the Grassroots Series at Mohawk in a lifetime best 1:52.4. Most simulcasting outlets and ADW's will be carrying the 3R race program Sunday with first race post time at 1:30 pm. For a free race program for Sunday, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club          

The regular Sunday night harness racing feature at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack is the $13,000 Open Handicap for Horses & Geldings, and tonight's edition was another great contest, with a very talented field of nine facing the gate, but there would be one horse who would steal the show on this night, "Rocky", a 4 year old by Rocknroll Hanover who goes by the official name of Roland N Rock ( his more intimate fans call him Rocky ) would take command of this field and serve immediate notice to the field that this was His night to shine at Running Aces, as he put forth a never-in-doubt, commanding gate-to-wire performance (his best ever locally), in 1:51.4, missing the track record for 4 year old gelding pacers by just a tick of the clock. Rocky is no stranger to success, in fact he won his first 18 lifetime races and took the Midwest by storm. He spent his 3 year old campaign knocking heads with the best horses in the sport, including Freaky Feet Pete and Wiggleit Jiggleit, and while he did not rise to the very top of that group, he certainly did not shame himself, earning $132,705 at 3 and counting a Grand Circuit win at Goshen and a 1:51.1 mark at Hoosier Park amongst his accomplishments. As a four year old, he started his campaign out east once again, facing the toughest 4 year old pacers around before making the pilgrimage back home to Iowa and his adoring Owners Connie & Duane Roland. Since his Midwest return he has raced at Aces 4 times now, with 2 wins, and a close third (by a neck) to his credit, but tonight's performance really was a shining display of his immense talent, and add that to back-to-back Track Record smashing performances at three Iowa fairs this summer and you have an idea of just how great this horse really is. The final tally tonight was a 4¼ length win, over I'm An Athlete (Jim Marino) and Bettormeboy (Rick Magee), the betting public made no mistake here, as Roland N Rock delivered as the 4-5 choice, with Nick Roland in the sulky, returning $3.80. The $10,200 Minnesota-Sired Class-A Trot went to post and it would be The Winnin Dollar ($7.20) returning to his winning ways this evening, posting a 1 length win off of a pocket trip tonight with Nick Roland in the bike for Trainer Justin Anfinson, and owner Jesse De Long, tonight's win was the 6th of the season and 13th lifetime for the gelding by Sos Lunar Eclipse. The $6,800 Class-B division would go to Bombshell Betty (Nick Roland), as she also returned to her winning ways this evening, posting her 5th win in 9 starts this year in 2:00.2, she is also owned by Jesse De Long, in partnership with Tabatha Canaar and Trained by Justin Anfinson, she paid $2.60 as the overwhelming choice in the field. Chewey Baca ($3.60) looked very sharp again, posting his 2nd consecutive win in the nightcap race tonight, with Luke Plano in the sulky. Tonight's score in 1:53.2, topping a decent conditioned pacing field for horses & geldings, was his 4th win in 13 starts this year. Chewy Baca is owned by Dr. James Findlay, and trained by Sean Lancaster. Driver Nick Roland had a Grand Slam with 4 winners on the card, and drivers Steve Wiseman and Luke Plano both posted doubles. The next card of Live Harness Racing action will go to post on Tuesday, August 2nd, at 6:00 pm CDT, with a $5,000 Guaranteed Pool in the Late Pick-4 wager. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer  

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 30, 2016 - The Future Stars Series for two-year-old harness racing pacing colts and fillies are the feature attraction at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday with four divisions of the second round of the series. Sunday's program is the last live racing at 3R as the track goes on a two-week hiatus for another form of horse power, auto racing, as the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres comes to town and uses part of the racetrack for their two-week event. Live harness racing will resume on Tuesday evening, August 16. The pacing fillies are first on the track Sunday with an early, non-wagering race at 1:15 pm. World class harness racing driver, Daniel Dube, a favorite son and native of Trois-Rivieres, takes on a new roll in this race, that of the owner and breeder of Queen Elsa, who starts from post five. While Dube will not be in town to drive, Steeven Genois will be in the sulky for trainer Guy Boulianne. Although winless in two starts in the New York Sire Stakes, Queen Elsa (by Rocknroll Hanover) started off her career with an impressive 1:57.4 triumph with Dube in the sulky back on June 20 at Gaitway Farms mile oval in Englishtown, NJ. The second filly division is the third race where Kinnerruntouchable looks for a repeat winning performance in the series. She led from start to finish last week for driver Justin Filion, just holding on by a head in 2:03. This daughter of Allamerican Native was bred and is owned and trained by Denitza Petrova of Les Cedres, QC. Kinneruntouchable will start from post two. Starting from post five is the Shanghai Phil filly, D G's Elsa. She was just a step away from defeating Kinneruntouchable last week for driver Jonathan Lachance. The first division for pacing colts takes place in the second race where the morning line favorite is the Ontario invader, Doc Semalu, in post two. This gelded son of Mach Three hails from Yves Filion's Bayama Farms and has been competing in the Ontario Sire Stakes where he has been race timed in 1:54.4. Second choice in the race is Histoire Enchantee from post three for driver Mario Charron and trainer Maxime Velaye. This son of Shanghai Phil just held on to the lead from start to finish in the series last week in 2:01.1. Another return winner in the field is C L Sportsaction in post six. A son of Sportswriter, C L Sportsaction is coming off the Quebec Fair Circuit where last week he was victorious in 2:02. There are no return winners in the sixth race second colt division, but five of the six horses in the race were either second or third in the series last week. The early favorite is Majo Lou Beka for driver Jonathan Lachance, who with trainer Marie Lachance, have three contenders racing in the series. This son of Badlands Hanover goes from post five and last week closed with a :28.4 last quarter mile to lose by just a neck to Histoire Enchantee. Other contenders include Wildriverbumblebee (post 4), Brave Magic (post two) and Chaleurs Magic (post one). Sunday's program features a unique two-mile pace in the tenth race with ten starters. Strokin is the favorite in the four lap event for driver Louis-Philippe Roy after setting a Quebec Fair track record two starts back at a 1.5 mile distance race. From the Quebec Jockey Club

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

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