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There was no one more surprised than North Canterbury harness racing trainer Bob Butt at Addington Raceway on Friday night by the manner in which Hall Of Fame dealt to his rivals on his raceday debut. Not that Bob didn't have a good opinion of the son of Rocknroll Hanover but the ease of the win and in near New Zealand record time left him with a big smile on his face. " He is still very green and really doesn't know anything about racing." " There is so much upside to this horse it is scary." " We have had to wait for him as it is no use chasing the Chase The Dream and company when they are not ready for it." " Time will be his biggest friend and he is probably twelve months away from being the finished product," Bob said. Bred by Robin and Jackie Butt who are Bob's grandparents, Hall Of Fame has been in Bob's care all the way through. " I was a bit concerned initially because the dam Special Rose never raced due to her poor gait and all the Rocknroll Hanovers I have had anything to do with have had plenty of ability but also gait issues. " So I was holding my breath a bit when I broke Hall Of Fame in but he is just a beautiful pacer with a great attitude so it has worked out fine," Bob said. Win or lose on debut, Hall Of Fame was going for a four week break after Friday night. " If I look after him now, we should reap the rewards later down the road with him." " I am looking at taking him to Auckland at Christmas time for some grade racing." " The trip away and the experience will do him the world of good." " If he keeps on improving like I think he will, then I will probably target something like the Southern Supremacy Series later in the season," Bob said. As to be expected when a horse wins like that on debut, the bloodstock agents have been very active over the weekend trying to buying Hall Of Fame. " Robin has put up the " Not For Sale" sign at this stage which I really appreciate as it is big plus to have a horse of his quality in the barn," Bob said. Bob Butt has been going from strength to strength in the last few months and in Hall Of Fame he looks to have a horse to help him raise his profile even more. Harnesslink Media  

LEXINGTON, KY-- Joe Holloway-trainee Divine Caroline put in the fastest mile of the three harness racing divisions for the $189,400 Bluegrass 3-year-old filly pace, winning in 1:53.2. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Art Major mare Loving Caroline stalked a pace of :29.1, :57.4, and 1:26 set by Band Of Angels. Driver David Miller tipped the even-money favorite first over after the half, and applied pressure to the pacesetter nearing the top of the stretch. The two battled for control through the stretch, with Divine Caroline edging past race leader and forced to fend off the late-pacing Daut Full from off cover. She held Daut Full off, however, winning by about a length over the closer, with Band Of Angels finishing third and Storm Point fourth. Owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables, and Michael Ouriel, the $4.00 winner won the fifth race of her career, pushing her earnings to $396,633.   "She raced really well," David Miller said. "She's been really consistent this year and gives a good effort."   "The rail's very deep, still," Miller also said. "There's a little bit of a wind, and I guess they're [the track crew] working a little too hard on the inside."   "They're [Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline] very good and they're very consistent," Joe Holloway said. "[Bettor Be] Steppin had been the better filly for most of the time, but [Divine] Caroline's been consistent and she may be the fastest. The next three to four weeks may be fun."   "We go here [for the Tattersalls Filly Pace] then to Canada for the Breeders Crown," Holloway also said.   Wicked Little Minx stalked the front for the entire mile until she had an opportunity to pace through a vacant slot in the stretch and sneak to the lead and to a 1:55.3 win in the first division. Bettor Be Steppin set the tempo after circling by early leader Invest In Art for control. Once on the lead, she put up fractions of :28.4, :57.2, and 1:27.1. Pressure came nearing the three-quarter pole from Invest In Art, who popped out of the pocket heading into the stretch. Bettor Be Steppin held her at bay in the stretch, but drifted off the pylons in the process, which allowed for Wicked Little Minx to pace by the 3-5 favorite who attempted to retake the lead approaching the finish, but settled for second. Invest In Art finished third. Wicked Little Minx, owned by Courant A B, paid $11.80 to win. This was the fourth win of her career, earning $193,679 to date. The daughter by Rocknroll Hanover, out of Beachy Lady by Jenna's Beach Boy, is trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by Brett Miller.   "She's gotten her things together from summer and onwards, and now she's going for it again," owner Anders Strom said. "Today's trip by Brett was perfect. And well done by the stable, trainer, groom, and everyone because this horse has a lot to do in the future."   "It's so fun to also be involved in the pacing business," Strom also said. "I'm a trotting person, but a few years back I told my friend Bernie Noren that I would like to get involved in pacing a little bit, and Bernie actually helped me pick this one out [Wicked Little Minx at the 2013 Harrisburg Yearling Sale]."   "Besides the Jugette, there's been many other races so far where I've gotten very bad trips with her," Brett Miller said. "Finally things worked out and we got a good trip."   "It's still tiring," Miller also said talking about the track surface. "They've [the track crew] done a great job with this track. With all the rain we had yesterday and as bad as it was last night, they've done a great job, but it's still very tiring."   Storming from the back of the pack down the center of the track, Bedroomconfessions fulfilled her duty as the 6-5 favorite by winning the second split of the Bluegrass 3-year-old filly pace in 1:54.1. Setting the pace was Devil Child, with fractions of :28.2, :56.3, and 1:26.2. Around the far turn, Triple V Hanover tipped first over, with Moremercy Bluechip and Bedroomconfessions tracking the cover. Triple V Hanover edged into second after pocket-sitter Happiness retreated at the top of the stretch, while Moremercy Bluechip fanned wide of her cover, as did Bedroomconfessions. Once rolling from the back, Bedroomconfessions soon rushed up to and by Devil Child and edged away to a two length victory.   Devil Child held on for second, Triple V Hanover finished third, and Moremercy Bluechip was fourth.   Returning $4.60 to win, Bedroomconfessions is by American Ideal, out of Jenna's Beach Boy mare Turnoffthelights. She's owned by Riverview Racing LLC and Alagna Racing LLC, trained by Tony Alagna, and driven by Tim Tetrick. She obtained her sixth win of her career, earning $372,893.   "My wife made me buy the dam, Turnoffthelights," owner and breeder Myron Bell said. "She's out of a sister to Keystone Horatio; that's a family that goes back to Smooth Fella and Happy Lady, and I always wanted to have a filly in this family. We bred her to American Ideal and Bedroom[confessions] was the first foal, so we're happy to have her."   "We bought her [dam Turnoffthelights] in Lexington about seven or eight years ago," Bell also said. "We raced her as a two-year-old. She had minor ability."   "She'll [Bedroomconfessions] be bred to the Captain[treacherous] either next year or the year after, it depends on how well she wants to race," Bell also said.   Live racing at The Red Mile continues on Wednesday, Oct. 7 with four divisions of the $268,000 International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. Wednesday also begins the week of matinee cards, with first race post set for 1:00pm.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

The trotter Boffin and the pacer Bushwacker went their respective $24,000 featured events Saturday night at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, on a night full of interesting storylines.   Both the feature winners were "pocket rockets" en route to victory.   First up was the 5YO Donato Hanover gelding Boffin, a 7-5 second choice who parlayed a two-hole journey behind 6-5 favorite Ray Hall into a 2¼ length victory in 1:51.1, a national season's record, a personal best, and only 3/5 of a second off his division's world record of 1:50.3, set by Sevruga here three years ago.   Ray Hall, who in one way was the precursor of JL Cruze in that they both run roughshod in their division of Pocono's Weiss Series the last two springs, was making his second start for Team Allard after a claim and a 1:52 victory - and he was timed even faster tonight, 1:51.3, but that wasn't enough to hold off Boffin, driver by George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Anette Lorentzon, also co-owner with ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson.   "George Nap," who had four winners in the first nine races on the card, almost made it five and a sweep of the headliners in the tenth race top pacing event, but tactical turnabout is fair play, as his pacesetting Scott Rocks came home in 54.1 on the engine and yet was overhauled by Bushwacker and driver Andrew McCarthy by a half length in 1:50, another second choice catching a favorite in the lane.   Chris Ryder conditions the altered son of Rocknroll Hanover for Henderson Farms.   Ben Franklin winner Luck Be Withyou made it two straight since returning to Pocono with a 1:50.2 victory in a $20,000 pace.   George Napolitano Jr. was in the sulky of the victorious Western Ideal horse for trainer Chris Oakes and owner John Craig.   It was no surprise when "GNap" returned to the winners circle after the high-price claiming handicap pace with R Gauwitz Hanover, as that veteran has won eight of his last nine starts (all the time driven by Napolitano - that fact's significance will emerge shortly) and is 15-for-27 for the year after a 1:50.4 score.   What is amazing, though, about R Gauwitz Hanover is that on Saturday he was claimed for the eleventh straight start in a string going back to July 11, when Howard Taylor haltered him from Nick Gampietro Jr. after Gampietro had him for a relative "eternity," almost two straight months.   Trainer Jennifer Sabot and the Verrazano Stables LLC benefited from the pacer's talents this week; in his next start, he will be "completing a circle," as the successful claimant tonight was - Nick Gampietro Jr.! (We'd love to hear from anyone who knows of another horse who was claimed in 11 straight races!)   The reference to superowner Howard Taylor above was not gratuitous, but a link to the final newsworthy item at press time - he is the owner of Verdad, who came from last at the ¾ to win and pay $105.40 for driver Joe Bongiorno.   Verdad's trainer is Ron Burke - who now, shockingly, has produced the MOST $50+ winners at BOTH Pocono and Philly this year, with three boxcar winners at each eastern Pennsylvania oval!   He has only one "in the west," at his home base The Meadows, but even that one was newsworthy, because it came with $77 winner Cooperstown in the fastest elimination of The Adios Pace!   Jerry Connors

It was a sweep by offspring of the late, great Rocknroll Hanover in a trio of stakes for New Jersey-sired pacers on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at the harness racing meeting at Freehold Raceway. Rock N' Roll World captured the New Jersey Futurity while Babic Finals went to Ideal Rocky and On Topof the Rock. In a battle to the wire between a pair of Mark Silva trainees, Rock N' Roll World [Rocknroll Hanover] drew off from Dealt A Winner for a length and a quarter victory in the $37,500 New Jersey Futurity for three-year-old pacers, the eighth race, in a sizzling 1:52.3. Rock N' Roll World [$2.80], sent off as the 2-5 favorite, cut the fractions with Daniel Dube driving. Jason Bartlett sent Cane Pace victor Dealt A Winner [Cam's Card Shark], the 8-5 second choice, after his stablemate but had to settle for second. It was 11 lengths to third-place Strut My Stuff [Western Ideal], one of three fillies in the field. Owned by Jeffrey Snyder of New York City and Three Decades Ra of Moorestown, NJ, Rock N' Roll World posted his third win of the year, finishing in-the-money in 10 of 16 starts this year. Lifetime, he has banked more than $270,000. He was bred by MJG Racing & Hill View Enterprises. The New Jersey Futurity is sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Ideal Rocky, who won the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship in July at the Meadowlands, turned in an effortless two and a half-length victory in the $85,400 Lou Babic Final for two-year-old New Jersey-sired pacing colts, the sixth race. Corey Callahan guided even-money Ideal Rocky [$4] to an early lead and held off 6-5 Boston Red Rocks. It was 10 lengths to Don'tcallmefrancis in third. All three are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. Ideal Rocky paced the mile in 1:55.1, picking up his fourth win of the year. He has finished in-the-money in seven of nine starts for earnings of $198,163 for the ownership of William Wiswell of Elkhorn, WI; Janet Goehlen of Aurora, IL and Eugene Schick of Elgin, IL. John Butenschoen trains the colt who was bred by Fashion Farms. It took a photo to separate the top three finishers in the $56,000 Lou Babic Final for two-year-old New Jersey-sired pacing fillies. On Top Ofthe Rock [Rocknroll Hanover], in the middle of the three-way finish, got up for a nose victory over Queenofthedreams [If I Can Dream] with a neck back to LL Jackpot [Philos Hanover] in third. The time of the mile was 2:01 flat. The race was contested prior to the betting program. Steve Smith guided the Karen Garland trainee to her first victory in her third career start. In her first two outings, she finished third and then second to LL Jackpot in New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres events the prior two weeks. Owned by Night Rogue Racing Stable of Hillsborough, NJ; David Rousso of Aventura, FL; Charles Krippendorf of Spring Lake, NJ and Stephen Smith of Freehold, NJ, she has now banked $30,590. Bred by Goldfinger Enterprises, she was a $25,000 Harrisburg Yearling Sale purchase. The Lou Babics are sponsored by the New Jersey Sire Stakes. Carol Hodes            

Vernon, N.Y. -- Following the live cover of Oh My Joepa off the far turn, No Monkeys Allowed ($7.40) vaulted to a two-length harness racing victory in Saturday (September 12) evening's featured $7,000 top-level conditioned pace at Vernon Downs.   Mike Merton settled the 8-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding into midfield, 5-1/4 lengths off pacesetter Lilys Real Boy (Dan Daley) through a :26 initial quarter. Upon exiting the far turn, No Monkeys Allowed advanced nearer the front flight while tracking the cover of Oh My Joepa (John MacDonald), kicking to the fore in upper stretch. No Monkeys Allowed drew off to a 1:52 victory by way of a :27.2 final quarter, edging clear of Oh My Joepa while 6-5 favourite Gratias Deo (Chris Lems) could only muster a third-place finish despite having the winner's cover to follow.   Edgar "Sparky" Clarke trains No Monkeys Allowed for owner Robert Orr.   The win in the featured event was one of three on the 11-race card for Merton, who teamed up with another Clarke trainee in Wheels Ah Smokin ($14.00, 1:58.1) along with Rob Harmon trainee Nathan Feelsgood ($8.50, 1:52.3).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Wednesday (September 16) evening. Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Columbus, OH --- Doo Wop Hanover led all the way to win the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for free-for-all pacers in 1:49.2 on harness racing's Ohio Super Night Saturday (Sept. 12) at Scioto Downs. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. took Doo Wop Hanover off the gate first, followed by All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) and Limelight Beach (Chris Page). Doo Wop Hanover led to the quarter in 26.1 and half in 54.2 before being challenged by Limelight Beach, who was flushed from third by favored State Treasurer (David Miller). Past the three-quarters in 1:21.2 and into the stretch, the 5-1 Doo Wop Hanover paced strongly down the stretch to win by a head over All Bets Off from the pocket. State Treasurer was third. “The one I was worried about was the one behind me, and he almost got me at the wire, but my horse dug in,” said Wrenn. “The front-end wasn’t really a good spot to be tonight—it’s a cold night—but he overcame it and everything worked out.” Trained by Steve Elliott for co-owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks, Doo Wop Hanover is a 4-year-old horse by Rocknroll Hanover. He has won seven of 15 starts, with three seconds and one third. Second trainer Jake “Shorty” Leamon was with the horse, who shipped from his home base at Showplace Farms in New Jersey. It was Wrenn’s first drive on the horse, so Leamon gave him one piece of advice: the more you grab him, the more he goes. “I told him that you can’t really fire him up, because then he won’t come back to you, but he seemed pretty manageable when they got to the half,” said Leamon. “I told him just to keep the bit in his mouth and he will be good for you.” The race is named after Jim Ewart, who worked at 18 different racetracks during his career, serving as race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976-2002. He died on Feb. 14, 2002. The first edition of the race was contested in 2013, with Pet Rock winning in a world-record 1:47.2. Bigtown Hero won the 2014 edition in 1:48.2. Saturday’s “Super Night” card also includes the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for older trotters, won by Wind Of The North in 1:53.2, and eight $225,000 Ohio Sire Stakes championships. In addition, there was a fundraiser for driver Brad Hanners, who was diagnosed recently with kidney cancer. A special Man vs. Horse race, with 1988 Olympic gold medalist Butch Reynolds, was won by the horse when Reynolds pulled up at the sixteenth pole, citing an issue with his shoe. However, more than $800 was raised for the Butch Reynolds Care for Kids Foundation. USTA Communications Department 

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 12, 2015 - Harness racing pacers were on display in New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres action on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. Winning efforts were turned in by Roland N Rock and Smart Zone, both three-year-olds by Rocknroll Hanover, and LL Jackpot, a two-year-old daughter of Philos Hanover. Each division carried a $7,000 purse. Roland N Rock [$2.10], driven by Daniel Dube and trained by Rob Harmon, was the odds-on pick and delivered a length and a half victory over Artsmah [Western Ideal] in the third race. Edward Tech [Rocknroll Hanover] was third by a length in three-quarters. The mile was timed in 1:54.3. The Perretti-bred gelding took the lead at the quarter and was on top at every pole. Owned by Duane and Connie Roland of Grinnell, IA, Roland N Rock has six wins and two seconds in 10 starts this year and has won 20 of 24 career outings for a bankroll now over $160,000. In the three-year-old fillies division, the sixth race, longshot Smart Zone [$29] was a length winner over Lissan [Rocknroll Hanover]. Favorite Strut My Stuff [Western Ideal] cut the mile and faded to third by a length and three-quarters. Smart Zone, driven by Eric Abbatiello, paced the mile in 1:56.2. Bred by Winbak Farm, the filly is trained by Matias Ruiz for Roslyn Delgaudio of Philadelphia, PA. It was her third win with two seconds in 16 starts this year. She has seven wins, four seconds and two thirds in 28 career starts for a bankroll topping $80,000. LL Jackpot, co-bred and owned by his trainer, Ivan Llopez, made it two straight in Green Acres competition for two-year-old filly pacers in a non-wagering event. She finished a half-length ahead of On Top Ofthe Rock and two and a quarter ahead of Rocknroll Palz in third. The runners up are both by Rocknroll Hanover. Jim Marshall III guided LL Jackpot in her 2:02 mile. LL Jackpot has two wins in six starts and earnings of $13,900 for Llopez and Louis T. Ferdinandi's LTF Racing Stable of Clark, NJ. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

Pukekohe harness racing trainer Ray Green is a master with the two and three year olds and it is rare for him not to have a promising youngster going around at the races. This Thursday night at Cambridge is no exception with Ray lining up the three year old filly Lincolns Keepsake for her debut run in race 5. Very impressive at trials and workouts, Lincolns Keepsake is a homebred Lincoln Farms product. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, Lincolns Keepsake is the sixth foal from the top producing Beach Towel mare in Clare De Lune who has already left the champion pacer Sir Lincoln 1:54 ($663,601) as well as Lincolns Megastar 1:57.1 ($64,948) and Lord Lincoln 1:55.9 ($44,756). Ray has a bit of time for the inexperienced filly. " She is a lovely filly to do anything with at home." " She can be a bit lazy in trackwork but that is not a bad thing usually." "Everyone that has driven her has really liked her so it wouldn't surprise me if she went good on debut," Ray said. Safely through Thursday night Ray hasn't got any set in concrete plans for the filly. " She will show us what level she can handle but it wouldn't surprise me if she turned into an Oaks class filly later in the season." "Whatever happens this season I think she will be a very handy racemare in time," Ray said. The way Ray Green continually produces high class two and three year old each season, it may pay to follow Lincolns Keepsake over the next few months. Harnesslink Media

HARRINGTON, Del. - John Cancelliere's Special T Rocks ($4, Allan Davis) notched his sixth win of the year Monday at Harrington Raceway with a 1:51.3 harness racing victory in the featured $16,000 Open. The 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding fought off all comers in his front end triumph over Leyden and Mojo Terror. After assuming command at the quarter mile, Special T Rocks was driven confidently to victory in recording his 32nd career win. Trained by Joe Hundertpfund, Special T Rocks boosted his lifetime earnings to more than $474,000. It was the second win of three wins on the program for driver Davis. Earlier on the program, Kevin Switzer's Letsmakeawish ($3.20, Montrell Teague) won his fourth consecutive race in 1:52.2. Trained by his owner, Letsmakeawish is a 3-year-old son of Western Terror. Jon Roberts and Victor Kirby each had a driving double. Matthew Sparacino    

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 7, 2015 - You can call Don'tcallmefrancis a winner now. The two-year-old pacing gelding posted his first career victory in his third start, the $7,000 opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres - on Monday, September 7, 2015 in the third race at Freehold Raceway. Don'tcallmefrancis, a son of Rocknroll Hanover-Nanny WIthafanny, got up in the final sixteenth of a mile for a three-quarter of the length victory over Perchance To Dream [If I Can Dream] with Nullity [If I Can Dream] in third by four and a quarter lengths. Irish Joe Hanney guided the Nifty Norman trainee who races for Norman's Enzed Racing Stable Inc. of Allentown, NJ. Bred by Stephen P. Dey III of Allentown, NJ, Don'tcallmefrancis was a $25,000 Harrisburg Sale purchase. He now has earnings of $7,460 with a win and a second in three starts. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 5, 2015 - Harness racing driver Joe Bongiorno and trainer Ron Burke teamed to win a pair of New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. Both events were pre-card, non-wagering races and both were $7,000 opening legs for three-year-old pacers. In the event for fillies, Bongiorno guided Lissan to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:57 flat, finishing a length and a half in front of Smart Zone with a nine-length margin to Callacam in third. The colts and geldings split went to Edward Teach who also had the lead at every call and crossed the wire in 1:55.3. He was two and a half lengths ahead of Devils Cut with three lengths back to Rock Of the Ages. Both winners were offspring of Rocknroll Hanover. Lissan, owned by White Birch Farm of Allentown, NJ, picked up her second win of the year in 13 starts and has a career total of four wins, four seconds and four thirds from 20 starts for earnings of $44,538. Edward Teach, who was winless at two, now has three wins, two seconds and one third in 14 starts this year and has finished in-the-money in six of 14 career outings, banking $60,650 for Dale Towle of Leamington, Ontario. All seven entrants in the Charles Smith Trot will advance to the $50,500 final on September 17, 2015 at Freehold. No eliminations will be needed. Three - Crescent Fashion, Natural Kemp and Southwind Mozart - are from the stable of trainer Ake Svanstedt. Both Broken Record and Switchboard Hall are Ray Schnittker trainees. Mountain Top is conditioned by Noel Daley and P Mac Attack by Nancy Johansson. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

After racing the likes of multichampion mare Anndrovette earlier in the month, the Rocknroll Hanover mare Empress Deo has enjoyed some class relief in her last couple of starts and has responded with a pair of victories, with Friday's coming in the $24,000 featured pace for mares at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. First to the quarter in 26.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., Empress Deo relinquished the lead to 2014 Breeders Crown 3PF winner Sayitall BB and sat behind that one through middle splits of 54.2 and 1:22.2.   Turning into the stretch "George Nap," The Downs' leading driver and coming off of consecutive months of 100 or more driving wins, guided "The Empress" to the famed Pocono Pike and the mare used the inner route to maximum effect, winning by a neck in 1:50.4, lowering her personal best by a tick.   Wayne Givens trains the 9-time seasonal winner for Legacy Racing of DE Inc.   Earlier in the card, George Napolitano's brother Anthony, third in the Downs' standings, guided First Impression from the outside post nine to victory at a $141.80 win mutuel, second this year only to the $152.60 ticker generated by Marathon Man (Brandon Simpson) on May 18.   First Impression had a fast first half after which to close, but he was five-wide and probably closer to the paddock judge's office than to the inside pylons swinging for home; still, he came from seventh in early stretch to get the half-length victory for owner Martin Chouinard.   The triumph was only the tenth conditioning success in the still-young career of trainer Jamie Kirin -- but he had already demonstrated his ability to win with a lightly-regarded horse, as in his very first training win, on October 13, 2012 at Pocono, the Kirin-harnessed Artsbred Camotion teamed with driver Matt Kakaley to light up the board to the tune of $96.00!   FINISHING LINES -- Over $1.7M will be on the line Saturday night at The Downs on a card which will feature four $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds, with national-caliber stars such as Wakizashi Hanover, Wild Honey, and Uncle Lasse among the major contenders in their respective events. (None of them are expected to pay $141.80, or even combined or parlayed.)   Jerry Connors

Some of the biggest names in Standardbred racing will be at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 30) for the $120,400 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings division. Fourteen horses are entered to compete in two splits, each vying for $60,200 in purse money. In the first division (carded as race two), Rockin In Heaven (Rock N Roll Heaven-Tropic's Beach Girl) is the 5-2 morning line choice and for good reason. He is coming in off a lifetime best, 1:50 flat win at Tioga Downs in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic. He is a multiple stakes winner this year, having already captured the Somebeachsomewhere and a leg of the Summertime series at Mohawk Raceway as well as the NYSS at Yonkers. And in those races has finished ahead of the likes of $400,000 Adios winner Dudes The Man and $300,000 Art Rooney Pace winner In The Arsenal. Rockin In Heaven leaves from post five and will be driven by Trevor Henry for trainer Dr. Ian Moore. His main competition appears to be American Primetime (American Ideal-Prime Xample A). Having raced the same slate of races as Rockin In Heaven over the past five starts, American Primetime has not had favorable draws. This week he starts from the rail and should be able to put forth his best effort as a result. His lifetime mark of 1:52.4 was taken over the half-mile oval at Yonkers Raceway and that bodes well for this start at Batavia. American Primetime is 3-1 morning line and will be driven by Jason Bartlett for trainer Rick Dane Jr. In the second division (carded as race four), Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) brings an impressive resume to the table and as a result is the 2-1 early choice. Most recently, Betting Exchange finished fourth in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs. After drawing post seven, Yannick Gingras took the colt to the front in :26.2 before getting covered up second by Arque Hanover. They sat the two-hole trip the entire race and fell just short in the stretch once getting loose in the stretch. Betting Exchange finished fourth in 1:50, beaten only three-quarters of a length by Rockin In Heaven. His biggest effort of the year came in the $810,000 Meadowlands Pace final on June 20 where he finished third behind Wakizashi Hanover and Wiggle It Jiggleit (currently first and third in North America for 2015 earnings) in 1:48 flat. He was only beaten by three lengths and was race timed in 1:48.3 in that marquee event. Betting Exchange has drawn post one and will be driven by Jason Bartlett for trainer Tom Fanning. Artistic Major (Art Major-Western Dancer) will be a major stumbling block for the favorite and has been listed as the 5-2 second choice. Having put together as solid a season as anyone could want, Artistic Major is 10 for 10 in the money and that money has totaled $203,351 this year. He was second in the fastest Empire Breeders Classic elimination (1:49.3) and then finished second once again in the final. All three of his wins have come in NYSS competition including his lifetime mark of 1:50.3 taken at Vernon Downs in June. NYSS leading driver Jim Morrill Jr. takes the reins behind Artistic Major and will leave from post 4 for trainer Steve Elliott. There are also two $15,000 NYSS Excelsior Series "A" races slated to go as race one and three. Post time for the matinee card is set for 1:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 

Freehold, NJ --- The test is coming soon. Harness racing trainer John Butenschoen hopes his young student Ideal Rocky is ready to excel. Ideal Rocky is among 23 horses preparing for Saturday’s (Aug. 29) three eliminations for the Metro Pace for 2-year-old male pacers at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. The top three finishers from each division plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot will advance to the C$685,000 final on Sept. 5. The Mohawk card also includes eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby for older male pacers and the She’s A Great Lady Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers. Ideal Rocky, the New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, is in the second of the three Metro eliminations. He is 6-1 on the morning line, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer Butenschoen. Brad Maxwell’s Control The Moment, undefeated in five lifetime starts, is the 7-5 choice. Eight of the last nine editions of the Metro Pace on a fast track have been won with times faster than 1:51, with four triumphs in less than 1:50. None of this year’s 23 Metro hopefuls have been quicker than 1:51.1 so far, and only four have won with times faster than 1:52. Ideal Rocky’s mark is 1:52.4, set in a non-stakes start Aug. 7 at the Meadowlands. “It looks like it’s a real evenly matched group of colts up there,” Butenschoen said. “A lot of these horses are pacing big last halves and quarters. We know they have speed, but when they stretch them out and get to the three-quarters in 1:21 or 1:22 we’ll see which ones get tired and which ones have fight to them. We don’t know. “It will be interesting to see which ones are going to step up. Time will tell. We’ll know in another week for sure. Hopefully when they push them a little harder (Ideal Rocky) will have enough fight left in him to push on and be a good colt.” With a name like “Rocky,” he should show some fight. “Hopefully he’ll be on the right side of the way we’re thinking than on the wrong side,” Butenschoen said, laughing. Ideal Rocky is a son of stallion Rocknroll Hanover, who won the 2004 Metro Pace in 1:49.4, out of the mare Eternity’s Delight, who won the 2006 Jugette. He was purchased for $47,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Bill Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick. His family also includes previous New Jersey Sire Stakes champion colt I Fought Dalaw as well as stakes-winners Emeritus Maximus, Racing Star, and Western Glory. “We spend as much time at the farms as we can,” Butenschoen said. “We probably look at two-thirds of all the horses that are in the sale. He was on Bill’s list of pedigree and my list of conformation, so we went after him. He’s a real well-bred colt. He looked the part. “If he had been New York-eligible or Pennsylvania-eligible, I think he would have been well over a six-figure horse. We got a discount for the New Jersey program. It’s hard to make money there. Hopefully things will get changed around; some legislation (in New Jersey) will prove fruitful. My Pennsylvania colts aren’t eligible to the Metro because they can race for enough money without having to go. But this colt has to go somewhere to get a shot at better money.” Ideal Rocky has won three of six races and earned $82,144. He heads to his Metro Pace elimination off a third-place finish in a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes on Aug. 22 at Mohawk. The Catamount Kid won the race, with Sossy’s King Kong finishing second. “We made a couple little equipment changes on him after his start up there,” Butenschoen said. “He had the rail and was looking at stuff down on the inside. We kind of gave up the race a little bit last week when he wasn’t able to get out of there how we wanted to. Then coming first up into soft fractions wasn’t quite his trip. “But it was a good race for him and a learning lesson for us. We trained him yesterday and he trained good. Hopefully with a start up there over the track he should be ready to roll. We’ll see what we’ve got.” Below are the fields for the Metro eliminations, with drivers, trainers and morning line. Elimination One 1. Bank Shot Hanover by The Panderosa, Corey Callahan, Daniel Renaud, 12-1 2. Blayde Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere, Sylvain Filion, Tony O’Sullivan, 15-1 3. Stonebridge Beach by Mach Three, Stephane Pouliot, Stephane Larocque, 12-1 4. Check Six by Somebeachsomewhere, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 5-2 5. Voracity by Sportswriter, Randy Waples, Tony Alagna, 2-1 6. American Passport by American Ideal, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 4-1 7. Cruise Patrol by Bettor's Delight, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 6-1 8. Nvestment Bluechip by Shadow Play, Jody Jamieson, Dave Menary, 8-1 Elimination Two 1. Carter Beach by Somebeachsomewhere, Jody Jamieson, Carl Jamieson, 10-1 2. Highlandbeachycove by Somebeachsomewhere, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 12-1 3. Sossy’s King Kong by Dragon Again, Doug McNair, R. Nifty Norman, 8-1 4. Ideal Rocky by Rocknroll Hanover, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 6-1 5. Manny by American Ideal, David Miller, Howard Okusko Jr., 10-1 6. Control The Moment by Well Said, Randy Waples, Brad Maxwell, 7-5 7. Racing Hill by Roll With Joe, Brett Miller, Tony Alagna, 5-1 8. Manhattan Beach by Somebeachsomewhere, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 7-2 Elimination Three 1. Mind Trip by American Ideal, Brett Miller, Tony Alagna, 5-1 2. Talk Show by Art Major, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 2-1 3. Betting Line by Bettor's Delight, Steve Condren, Casie Coleman, 3-1 4. Pretty Boy Hill by Somebeachsomewhere, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1 5. Rodeo Rock by Rock N Roll Heaven, Randy Waples, Don Swick, 12-1 6. The Catamount Kid by Well Said, Jody Jamieson, Carl Jamieson, 5-2 7. Real Kid by Real Desire, Doug McNair, Larry Ainsworth, 15-1 by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Harness racing trainer-driver John MacDonald mounted a first-over bid through the far turn with Damon Blue Chip ($5.20) in Sunday (August 23) afternoon's $7,000 upper-level pacing feature at Vernon Downs, and the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding had plenty left to hold off a late charge from Tundra at the end of a 1:50.2 mile.   Damon Blue Chip was used just enough in the early stages to track A Fool For Mark (Chris Lems) and Smile a Little (Austin Siegelman) through a :26 first quarter, maintaining that trip through a :54.1 half before commencing his first-over bid.   On the far turn, the 8-5 second choice made gradual progress, working into the lead in upper stretch as A Fool For Mark began to give way.   Just as Damon Blue Chip opened up in the stretch, Tundra (Truman Gale) began closing in from a midpack stalking trip.   Still, Damon Blue Chip prevailed by 1-1/4 lengths over Tundra, while Smile a Little managed to save third off his pocket trip.   The J P Stables own Damon Blue Chip.   Lems wins seven races   While A Fool For Mark was a beaten favorite in the feature, Chris Lems found success with seven of his drives on the afternoon.   The South Dakota native teamed up with Day to Ponder ($5.90, 1:53.1), Princess Elsa ($3.00, 2:00.1), Ardie B Speed ($3.80, 1:53), RG Riptide ($7.10, 1:54), Yankee Manny ($13.60, 1:55.3), Ashton Seelster ($5.80, 1:52.1), and Leah's Ex ($11.40, 1:56.3).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 28) evening.   Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite

Wiggle It Jiggleit made it look easy, capturing Saturday's (Aug. 22) $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine for 3-year-old male pacers by three lengths over Wakizashi Hanover in 1:48 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Dude's The Man finished third and Artspeak was fourth. The winning time equaled Lucan Hanover's world record for a 3-year-old gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 16 of 18 races this year and pushed his seasonal earnings to $1.43 million. His previous stakes victories this season included the Hempt Memorial, also at Pocono, Meadowlands Pace and Milstein Memorial. For his career, the son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover has won 17 of 19 starts. "You're going to see a smile on my face for the rest of the year with this horse," said Montrell Teague, who drove Wiggle It Jiggleit for his father, owner George Teague Jr., and trainer Clyde Francis. "He's got 19 races under his belt and I can't pick one that makes me more happy." "He never has thrown out a bad mile." "You've got to be happy with that." Artspeak, who started from post eight, went to the early lead with Wakizashi Hanover, who started from post seven, following behind. After reaching the quarter in :25.4, Teague began to move Wiggle It Jiggleit from fourth place to the front. When Artspeak hit the half in :54.4, Wiggle It Jiggleit was 1-1/4 lengths behind, but gaining ground with every stride. By the time he reached three-quarters in 1:21.1, Wiggle It Jiggleit was in front by a length. "I looked over (at the start) and saw a couple of them leaving on the outside; I wasn't right up on them, so I wasn't going to try to retake," Teague said. "He's good from off the pace too, so I try to do that once in a while too. "I was happy. We weren't going enormous fractions. Once I got beside the other horse, he just swelled up. When he looked him in the eye he was determined to go by." George Teague Jr. was unconcerned about Wiggle It Jiggleit's early position and need to make a first-over charge to the front. "I liked his spot there," he said. "We always trained him off the pace and he's got a great set of lungs. If he's on his game, I don't care where he's at. He could be parked the whole mile and I think he could go a great mile from even out there." Wiggle It Jiggleit's schedule includes the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 24 at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. His connections could supplement to the Messenger Pace (eliminations Aug. 29 and final Sept. 5) at Yonkers, but Teague Jr. said he was not inclined to go to that race. "But I reserve the right to change my mind," he said with a laugh. Battle Consolations The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Blood Brother swung wide in the stretch after a cutthroat early duel involving four horses, sprinting clear late to take the $200,000 Consolation I in a personal best of 1:50. David Miller raced the normally-forwardly-inclined sophomore from behind tonight, and the change to second-over tactics worked perfectly as Blood Brother got the decision by a length for trainer Jimmy Takter (yes, this was a pace) and owners Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables LLC. Rollin Ring Afire, left uncovered as Rufo ducked into the pocket at the three-quarters, closed strongly to defeat that rival, who had gotten to the lead using the Pocono Pike passing lane, by a half-length while reducing his mark to 1:50.1 in Consolation II. The son of Rocknroll Hanover gave driver Tim Tetrick half of the first four races on the card while winning for trainer Charlie Norris and owners Leonard Buckner and Rebecca Ewing. (By the way, the phrase "rollin ring afire" does not appear in the famous song by Johnny and June Carter Cash -- but the check for the winner's share of the $100,000 purse will cash very nicely, thank you.) Ken Weingartner

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