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Louisville, KY --- Like most of us, he has a very specific outlook on life and throughout the duration of Stacia Hanover’s career harness racing trainer Steve Elliott has adhered to his primary philosophy. “It’s the same whether it walks on two legs or four,” he said. “The colts you can bull them down a little bit, but not the fillies. You need to let them do what they want to do, because if you don’t they will make you pay for it. There’s just no sense in fighting with any woman. All you can do is say, ‘Thank you honey’ then try again the next day.” That’s why if Stacia Hanover decides to buck and generally just be high maintenance while being harnessed for her $20,000 James Lynch Memorial elimination at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday (June 27) the filly will most certainly have her way. Once she is prepared for her mile, Scott Zeron will guide her to the sixth spot on the gate in the evening’s fourth race where she is the 7-2 morning line third selection behind Nancy Johansson's Wicked Little Minx (5-2) and Joe Holloway’s Bettor Be Steppin (3-1). “It’s been a battle with her, but Scott has done a great job with teaching her how to race,” Elliott said. “She just wanted to go 100 mph and would not relax in a hole, but now she is much more comfortable racing that way. We’ll see what we have this weekend. The goal is to have a nice, consistent horse that goes on next year. I think she has the ability to do just that.” Stacia Hanover is a daughter of Western Ideal and the Art Major mare Stolly Up Bluechip. She is the second foal out of her dam and a half-sister to Seashell Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere, p,3,1:51.4f, $99,245). Owned by David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio, Stacia Hanover was a $35,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. She definitely showed promise as a 2-year-old as one of her three triumphs was in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final. From five starts she amassed earnings of $94,225 and a mark of 1:53.4. “She is a tiny thing,” Elliott said. “We stopped on her last year because she was sick and then I tried to qualify her when I should not have. She just was not over that illness. That is when I realized my mistake and figured we would just get her ready for this year. She is still very small, but she is much stronger.” The filly returned to work this season with her fourth visit to the winner’s circle after reigning victorious by a head in a $15,500 non-winners contest on April 24 at the Meadowlands. She was then fourth in a $16,000 event under similar conditions, but her last quarter was in :26. Her next three races resulted in second place finishes in a pair of New Jersey Sire Stake legs and the $100,000 final. The Show Returns is the filly who beat Stacia Hanover by a neck in the NJSS final and showed her performance at 40-1 odds that day was no fluke as she finished second in the $387,990 Fan Hanover final on June 20 at Mohawk. “We are just being patient and taking our time with her,” Elliott said about Stacia Hanover. “TheWestern Ideals seem to improve as they get older so that is also what we are keeping in mind. The owners are having fun and bringing people to the races to see her. They are happy and the situation with this filly is what harness racing is really all about as people are enjoying themselves with friends as well as family.” Although, Van Dusen and Cimaglio are reveling in their filly’s accomplishments they were a little shocked at the balance on the stakes sheet after Elliott plotted her course for 2015. “They were like, ‘Geez, when did you get so high on her?’” Elliott said. “Those stakes payments can really put things in perspective, but with each race she improves as she continues to learn. We have to give her the opportunity to prove herself. I think she belongs and that she will be worth the wait. There is an old saying, ‘If you don’t wait on them, they will make you wait.’ I’m just fortunate I have owners like this that allow me to have patience with a horse like her.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

A field of eight lined up behind the starter for the featured event at Wednesday afternoons harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia, a pace for non-winners of $15,000 in their last 5 starts. The favorite at post time was Joe Pavia Jr. trainee Steelhead Hanover. The 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight was looking to rebound after a last place finish from post nine at Pocono in his last start. At the start, the favorite was put into play immediately, settling for pocket position behind the speed of Jodi Siamis' Eighteen (Geo. Napolitano Jr.). They remained first and second past the half (:54.3). Morning line favorite Mcardle's Lightning (Scott Zeron) drove up to challenge for the lead, as they reached three quarters in 1:22.1. Eighteen was able to quiet the bid of the first-over challenger, but was unable to stop the stretch surge of Steelhead Hanover (Tim Tetrick). With a last quarter of :26.3, Steelhead Hanover won by a length, stopping the clock in 1:49.1. Eighteen did finish second, while Mcardles Lightning finished third. It was the 20th career win for Steelhead Hanover ($4.40) in his 80th career start. He is owned by Dijo Racing, Agc Stables, J. Barbera, and Pint Size Racing. Driver Tim Tetrick continued his hot hand with 5 wins in the card. Michael Bozich

There were two opens valued at $30,000 each at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon (June 14). The open pace was race six on the fourteen race program. It featured two of the top three finishers from the Jerry Taylor Invitational, including winner Great Vintage (Dave Miller) and third place finisher Mach It So (Jason Bartlett). The race favorite however was Doctor Butch (Scott Zeron). The 5-year-old son of Art Major finished fifth in the Jerry Taylor two starts back, winning his last start in 1:48.2 at the Big M. He was forwardly placed at the start, leading at the quarter-pole (26.4). Mach It So quickly vacated the pocket to take the lead, hitting the half in :55.1. Long shot Big N Bad (Eric Carlson) made mild headway first over, but was unable to gain past three-quarters (1:22.4). In the stretch, Doctor Butch was able to close home in :26.3 to win for the 25th time in his career, stopping the timer in 1:49.2. Mach It So finished second, while Great Vintage closed for third. Doctor Butch is owned by Kenneth Jacobs, and trained by Linda Toscano. He paid $5.00. In the open trot (race 10), Tom Fanning trainee Possessed Fashion (Jason Bartlett) was the lukewarm favorite. The son of Donato Hanover left well for early position from post 3, settling in behind battling leaders at the quarter (:27.3). Linda Toscano trainee Uva Hanover (Dave Miller) and Jimmy Takter trainee Not Afraid (Corey Callahan) battled for the lead with the latter being used hard to clear from post 8. After the tempo settled down at the half (:56.1), Jim Raymer trainee Rossini (Andrew McCarthy) mustered up a first over challenge. They battled to a three-quarter time of 1:24.3. Not Afraid put away the long shot's challenge in the turn, but could not hold off Uva Hanover down the stretch. The 4-year-old won by a little more than a length, stopping the clock in 1:53.2, a lifetime's best. Possessed Fashion got up for second, while Not Again tired to third. Uva Hanover is owned by Stake Your Claim Stables and Martin Sternberg, and paid $8.40 to win. Driver Dave Miller had five wins on the program. Michael Bozich

The featured event on Sunday (June 7) from the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia was a pace for non-winners of $27,500 in the last 5 starts going for a purse of $25,000. The wagering public put their support behind 8-year-old gelding Dream Out Loud N. The son of Bettor's Delight was coming off of a fast closing third against similar at Yonkers. Driver Tim Tetrick settled into forth in the early stages, as Teddy Baker trainee Getitoffyourchest (Marcus Miller) and Ron Burke charge Outrageous Art (Yannick Gingras) battled for the early lead. After a fast opening quarter (:26), the tempo slowed, with Outrageous Art on top at the half (:54.3). That's when the race favorite got in gear, as Dream Out Loud N moved confidently first-over to challenge for the lead. He was on even terms with the pace setter at three-quarters (1:21.3). He was able to wear down the leader in the stretch, going on to a two length victory, stopping the timer in 1:50.1 Abelard Hanover (Scott Zeron) closed up the inside for second, while Outrageous Art faded to third. It was the nineteenth career win for Dream Out Loud N, moving his career earnings close to the $400,000 mark. The winner ($4.20) is owned by Muscara Racing Stables, and was one of three training wins for Darran Cassar. Tim Tetrick had five driving wins on the afternoon. Michael Bozich

The USTA website provides periodic glimpses at some of harness racing’s stars throughout the season. Today, they look at award-winning 3-year-old male pacer Artspeak. ARTSPEAK Western Ideal – The Art Museum – Artsplace Owners: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners  Breeders: Brittany Farms, Melvin Hartman Trainer: Tony Alagna Driver: Scott Zeron 2015 Record: 2-2-0-0; $60,000; 1:48.4m 2014 Record: 10-8-0-2; $742,185; 1:50.2s Career: 12-10-0-2; $802,185; 1:48.4m Honors: Dan Patch and O’Brien awards for best 2-year-old male pacer in 2014. Top wins: 2014 Metro Pace, 2014 Governor’s Cup, 2015 and 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championships. The last time: Artspeak won the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male pacers from post eight at the Meadowlands in a career-best 1:48.4 on May 30. Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron settled into fifth place on the first turn, then made up a double-digit deficit in lengths in less than a quarter of a mile to take the lead just beyond the halfway point. Wrapped up in the stretch, Artspeak went on to win by three lengths. “His first start he was wrapped up in (1):49 and that was really visually impressive to see,” trainer Tony Alagna said. “But the other day he made a huge move with the (earplugs) still in. That was a monster effort for his second start back. He came out of the race great. He actually put weight on this week, which after a mile like that is phenomenal. It means he’s on a good program right now. I’m very happy with him. He’s in good shape; we just have to keep him that way.” The next time: Artspeak will get the weekend off before heading to Ontario to compete in the June 13 eliminations for the C$1 million North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack. The final is June 20. It could be the start of a six-week stretch that brings Artspeak to the Max C. Hempt Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Meadowlands Pace at the Meadowlands. Former Alagna Stable star Captaintreacherous swept all three events in 2013, but received a bye to the Meadowlands Pace final and avoided having to race six consecutive weeks. “If you can save yourself a start now, hopefully you can make it through that series of races,” Alagna said. “That’s why I’m so glad to give him this week off. He’s fit, I just have to keep him fresh and happy and he’ll take care of the rest. If the horse seems like he’s in good shape, we’ll certainly take (all three races) into consideration. He’s going to tell us if he’s ready to do it.” No regrets: Alagna and Artspeak’s owners decided to skip last year’s Breeders Crown in late November in favor of an extra month of rest for the colt to prepare for this season. “Of course I think he could have won the Breeders Crown if we went, and I didn’t want to turn down the chance for $250,000 for the owners, but I really felt in my heart it was the right thing to do. I knew he’d lost weight; he’d been going since June and I thought enough was enough. I knew if I put him away he’d get an extra 30 days at Brittany (Farms) in the green grass. “When he came off the truck from Brittany, I said we did the right thing. Win, lose or draw, the horse looked amazing. He wouldn’t have gotten that with five weeks. It was that extra month that really did the trick. I’m really happy with how he’s come back this year.” Stride right: Artspeak made breaks twice last year, finishing third on both occasions, and went off stride in his first qualifier this year. Alagna attributed the break in the qualifier to the length of the colt’s hobbles, which he believes he corrected by resetting them to last year’s length. “I’m never going to say it will never happen again, but he’s been phenomenal,” Alagna said. “We trained him after he made the break -- before I qualified him back (the second time) -- and I knew that we were set. From that point on, I didn’t give it a second thought. “He qualified fantastic (finishing fifth in 1:53.4). Everyone thought the line wasn’t that impressive but nobody saw what he did after the wire. After the wire he circled the field and was up by five (lengths) by the time I walked outside from the paddock. Then his first start told the tale. He was exactly where I told everybody he was at. And he came back with an even more incredible performance in the (New Jersey Sire Stakes) final.” In focus: Artspeak lacks the personality of Captaintreacherous, but he seems to know what it is all about when it comes to racing. “Captaintreacherous had personality plus. He was like a big clown,” Alagna said. “(Artspeak) is a great-feeling horse, but he doesn’t have the big kid mentality that Captain did. This horse has got a lot more focus, even in the barn. But he’s got a really good personality. He doesn’t have bad days in the barn. He doesn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed. He’s very cut and dry. He’s not a quirky horse. He really takes care of himself.” Looking out for No. 1: “Everyone wants to be No. 1,” Alagna said. “That’s understandable. But all I do is focus on my horse. I know if I bring my horse ready to race he’ll take care of the rest. I don’t have to worry about the other horses. I just have to worry about doing my job with mine and what’s going to be will be. There are plenty of horses out there that look good, but as long as I do my job and he does his thing on the track, then I feel like we’re in good shape.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications   

On the racetrack, the Saturday harness racing program at The Meadowlands featured four $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for three year olds, with big names making big headlines. On the track apron, over 15,000 patrons enjoyed the Jerseyfest festivities and the Food Truck Mash-up at the East Rutherford oval. There are certain performances in any sport that warrant somebody standing up and saying "wow, did you see that?" That is the best way to explain the turn of foot shown by Artspeak in the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three year old pacing colts on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Sent off as the 3/5 favorite, Artspeak was allowed to settle well off the speed off the gate and into the first turn as the 8/5 second choice, Hurrikane Ali sprinted to the lead past the opening quarter in 26.3. As the field turned down the backstretch, Artspeak appeared to be nearly 10 lengths off his main competition, a margin that Scott Zeron acknowledged in a post-race interview "seemed to be too far back." But, that didn't last long. As soon as Zeron showed his champion colt racetrack, Artspeak grabbed the bit and "took off all on his own," showing a turn of foot that you don't see every day, to say the least. In just an eighth of a mile, Artspeak made up all the ground on Hurrikane Ali and blew past him, taking the lead past the half in 54.3, while settling into a high-cruising speed. At this point, Hurrikane Ali was asked to keep up with the favorite, but Artspeak was well within himself as ripped through three-quarters in 1:21.3 while opening up on the field. The lead continued to expand through the stretch and Artspeak reached the wire in a lifetime best 1:48.4. Gokudo Hanover finished well to be second with Revenge Shark third. Winning trainer Tony Alagna spoke to how well his champion wintered. "When he came off the truck from Brittany Farms, he looked like a million bucks," said Alagna. "When I saw him, I knew we made the right move skipping the Breeders Crown. Those extra 30 days really helped him." Artspeak's driver Scott Zeron was very impressed with his effort tonight. "That move was vicious," claimed Zeron. "He did it all on his own. He was always professional, but now as a three year old, he is bigger and stronger." In addition to being trained by Alagna and driven by Zeron, the colt by Western Ideal is owned by Brittany Farms, Katz, Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners. With the win, his career earnings have surpassed $800,000. Two weeks from the North America Cup eliminations, Artspeak is the presumptive favorite. Artspeak The other star on the program was Mission Brief, who was making her second start of her three year old campaign. Ron Burke reported to Harness Racing Update that Mission Brief is "not perfect right now," but that did not prevent the betting public from sending her to the post as the 1/5 favorite. Yannick Gingras allowed his world champion to float away to the gate and ease her way on the outside of horses as Marion Millionair established a tepid 28.4 opening quarter. As the field straightened up on the backstretch, Mission Brief assumed command and led past the half-mile in just 58.2. A challenge would soon follow as Tim Tetrick launched Model Behavior after the favorite as the field reached three-quarters in 1:27.1. Model Behavior put a head in front under strong urging, while Gingras remained motionless behind Mission Brief, not asking her for any more speed than he had to. Mission Brief fought back to win by a measured length in 1:54.3. Model Behavior was a very good second with Riley's Dream third. Driver Yannick Gingras was happy to win, but recognized there is room for improvement for his filly. "She warmed up really good," said Gingras. "But honestly, I was going as fast as I could with her on the turn. She wasn't having it. Time is on our side, but there is work to do." The daughter of Muscle Hill is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J & T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. With the victory, her earnings have now eclipsed $650,000. Mission Brief While the favorites did what was expected in the first two Sire Stakes finals, there was an upset by a familiar name in the three year old filly pace. At post time, the bettors had a difficult time separating Stacia Hanover and Happiness, with less than $600 separating them in the win pool. Happiness would get the first call as she led the field past the quarter in 27.2, but she relinquished that lead to Lindys Old Lady down the backstretch, who reached the half-mile in 56.1. At that point, Stacia Hanover committed first over and she launched a move around the far turn, challenged for and assumed the lead past three quarters in 1:23.4. From there, Stacia Hanover opened up a lead in the stretch, but an upset was looming as The Show Returns who was well-back early hit her best stride and showed the kind of speed we saw from her at times last year and she rolled through the stretch to nail Stacia Hanover on the wire to spring the 40-1 upset for John Campbell. Stacia Hanover was second with Wicked Little Mix third. John Campbell spoke about the acceleration his filly showed. "Chris (Ryder) made some changes to her bridle and some shoeing changes tonight and it definitely worked," said Campbell. "Obviously that's the best finish she has shown this year." The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is a sister to world-champion Put On A Show who also raced for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Richard and Joanne Young. The 1:51 clocking was a new lifetime mark. The Show Returns The New Jersey Sire Stakes for the trotting colts looked like a bit of a Hambletonian preview with the big three, Guess Whos Back, French Laundry and Canepa Hanover taking center stage. However, one of the three, Guess Whos Back wouldn't survive the first turn as he made a break while pressing the pace nearing the first quarter. That pace was established by Canepa Hanover who reached the lead in a 28-second opening panel, with French Laundry four lengths off the speed in third. Canepa Hanover would hit the half-mile in 56.2 before stretching his legs around the far turn and trotting a back half-mile in 54.4 to dominate the Sire Stake Final, hitting the wire in 1:51.1, a lifetime mark for Yannick Gingras, who replaced Jimmy Takter in the bike as Takter conditions Maven for her Elitlopp attempt in Sweden. French Laundry was second with Aldebaran Eagle third. Gingras was very impressed with his colt. "Last year training down he (Canepa Hanover) looked like the best one. Everyone liked him," said Gingras. "Before Jimmy left for Sweden he told me he had this horse as good as he could be. He got a little playful in the stretch, so I popped the plugs just to give him a reminder and he found another gear." It will be interesting to see if Gingras continues to drive Canepa Hanover, of if Takter will get back in the sulky upon his return from Sweden. Gingras also drives Mission Brief who is being pointed to The Hambletonian as well but while speaking about Canepa Hanover he stated that with Mission Brief "there are concerns for sure, but she's go trot and she wants to do it." It could be an interesting 10 weeks leading up to The Hambletonian. Canepa Hanover Handle for the Saturday program was $3,053,853 with over 15,000 people attending the Jerseyfest Foodtruck Mash-up event. Both Jackpots in the Super Hi-5 went unclaimed. The fifth race Jackpot carryover grew to $141,175 while the last race carryover will be $115,348 into the Friday program, when racing resumes at 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

There were three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday (May 28). They were each going for a purse of approximately $70,000. In the first division, it was Brian Brown trainee Rise Up Now (Scott Zeron) surviving a furious stretch challenge from Wakizashi Hanover (Tim Tetrick) to win. The son of Somebeachsomewhere remains undefeated in 2015, now a perfect six-for-six. Rise Up Now was able to seize command just beyond the quarter, taking the lead from Ron Burke trainee Cooperstown (Yannick Gingras). After rating the second quarter, Rise Up Now squared off against Wakizashi Hanover. These two battled the rest of the way, with Rise Up Now winning by a neck in a final time of 1:50.2. Tomy Terror (Corey Callahan) finished third. Rise Up Now is owned by Strollin Stable, McNamara, Robinson, & Country Club Acres. He paid $6.40. The second division was taken by Don Emond's Allbeef N Nobull (Brett Miller). The son of McArdle went right for the lead, getting the quarter in :27. Co-favorite Yankee Bounty (Yannick Gingras) brushed to the lead shortly after. The other co-favorite Mcardles Lightning (Scott Zeron) challenged first-over at the three-quarter pole, but faded in the stretch to finish third. Allbeef N Nobull closed up the open stretch to beat Yankee Bounty by one length, stopping the clock in a career best 1:51. It was his sixth win of nine lifetime starts. The Monte Gelrod trainee paid $7.00 to win. Trainer Brian Brown picked up his second PASS win of the day in the third division, this time with Lost For Words (Dave Miller). The son of Well Said left hard from the gate along with Jimmy Takter trainee Blood Brother (Yannick Gingras). These two battled to the quarter in :27.2. Lost For Words took over just after the quarter and went on to a convincing score, stopping the clock in 1:49.3 for his eighth career win. It was a lifetime's best. Blood Brother settled for second, while Lyons Levi Lewis (Matt Kakaley) finished third. He paid $6.20 to win. Lost For Words is owned by Country Club Acres, Robinson, Lombardo, and Strollin Stable. Michael Bozich

There were four divisions of Pennsylvania Stallion Series action contested at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (May 27) for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. In the first division, it was Tony Alagna trainee Trading Up (Scott Zeron) winning under-wraps. The son of Somebeachsomewhere brushed to the lead just beyond the quarter and went on to an easy 3 length victory, stopping the clock in a lifetime's best 1:52.2. It was his second career victory, and his first of the season in three starts. Long shot That's My Harley (Montrell Teague) finished second while Aberdeen Hanover (Tony Morgan) finished third. Trading Up ($3.40) is owned by Alagna Racing, John Fodera, Alan Alber, and Aaron Waxman. Division two saw Ray Schnittker trainee Well Well Well (Tim Tetrick) spring the mild upset. The son of Well Said came from off the pace to pick up his second victory in a career best 1:52.4. Jo Pa's Well Said (David Miller) closed solidly for second, despite being used in the early going. Colorful Speech (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) finished a game third. Well Well Well ($8.40) is owned by Schnittker and the Well Well Stable. In the third division, Shirley Le Vin's Parklane Eagle (Dave Miller) was able to narrowly hold off the competition. The son of Somebeachsomewhere was three-wide to the quarter-pole, but still had enough to hold off a late challenge from long shot Guantanamo Bay (Corey Callahan). Reggiano (Yannick Gingras) finished third. It was the third straight win for the Peter Foley trainee, who paced the mile in 1:52.1. He paid $3.00 The fourth division saw This Time (Scott Zeron) picking up his second career win. The son of Well Said seized command and was geared down the final sixteenth, winning by a length in 1:53.1. Lyons Geoffjnr (Yannick Gingras) held pocket position throughout to finish second, while Techtor Hanover (Corey Callahan) finished third. This Time ($6.20) is owned by Peter Blood and Rick Berks, and is trained by Steve Elliott. Mike Bozich

There could come a time when Hurrikane Ali can be called the greatest, but for now he is just out to prove himself on the harness racing scene. Hurrikane Ali is 3-for-3 this season as he prepares for Saturday's $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old male pacers at the Meadowlands. Among the horses standing in his way of winning the crown is Artspeak, who defeated Hurrikane Ali by 1-3/4 lengths to capture last year's NJSS title and also received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer. "We've got Ali here, who would like to be the champ," said John McDermott, who trains the colt with his son John Jr. "But to be the champ you've got to beat the champ, and we ain't beat him yet." Hurrikane Ali, whose three victories this season include two preliminary rounds of the New Jersey Sire Stakes, and driver Yannick Gingras will start from post four in the NJSS final. Artspeak, who has won nine of 11 career starts and never finished worse than third, leaves from post eight with Scott Zeron at the lines for trainer Tony Alagna. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also features $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championships for 3-year-old female pacers as well as 3-year-old male and female trotters. Dan Patch Award winner Mission Brief headlines the race for female trotters, but will have to overcome starting from post 10. Stakes winner Happiness and Lindys Old Lady, unbeaten in her only two career starts, are among the 10 finalists among female pacers while French Laundry and Guess Whos Back will try to stay unbeaten this year in the final for male trotters. Hurrikane Ali is a son of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare She's The Greatest. He is a half-brother to stakes winners Driven To Win and Latte Lady and his family includes Dan Patch Award winner She's A Great Lady. He was purchased under the name He's So Great for $63,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale. "I don't spend that kind of money, but after watching Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance against 'Cole' I said I've got to give it one more shot," McDermott said, referring to his now retired world champion Hurrikane Kingcole. "I really liked this one. He's really nicely put together, a solid horse with a great head. His conformation is real good and his body, he just has mass to him. He's a strong, strong horse." Hurrikane Ali raced five times at age 2, finishing second on three occasions, including the New Jersey Sire Stakes final. But the colt would get on the right line while racing - to the point of going off stride in his final start of the campaign - and McDermott decided to shut down the horse in August after he was unable to find any physical ailment causing the trouble. The issue resurfaced again earlier this year, but a bridle change corrected the problem. "He came off the line and he hasn't touched it since," McDermott said. "I guess it was just dumb luck, but I'll take it." Hurrikane Ali has won all three of his starts this year by at least 1-1/4 lengths, with a best time of 1:50. McDermott knows the horse can go faster, the question is how much faster. "I've yet to see him tired," McDermott said. "He doesn't blow after the races. He's got a huge set of lungs on him and he loves what he's doing. He comes out of the race sharper than he goes in. "He's just a happy-go-lucky colt. He doesn't know he's working right now, which is absolutely great. There's no stress to him at all. He's got some great manners and a great head on his shoulders. I just hope he has the speed." Hurrikane Ali - owned by Kuhen Racing, Jonathan Klee Racing, Kenneth M. Rucker, MD, and Robert Pucila - is eligible to a number of major stakes, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, and Breeders Crown. For now, though, his connections are focused on Saturday. "I think it's going to be a great race," McDermott said. "I think my horse is really sharp. Artspeak is a wonderful horse and I just hope we get to have a great battle. Either way, I just want it to be a really wonderful race. There are a few other real nice ones in there, too, but Artspeak is the one to beat. "If we have a great race and they go on the wire together, I'm thrilled with that. Win or lose I'll be thrilled with that kind of mile." For a look at the entire Meadowlands card, including the four New Jersey Sire Stakes finals, click here. Ken Weingartner  - ken.weingartner@ustrotting.com

Harness racing three-year-old fillies were in action at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (May 20). They competed in four divisions of The Stallion Series with each going for a purse of $20,000. Bay Pond Racing's Angel Plus (Scott Zeron) was a wrapped up winner in the first division. The daughter of Quik Pulse Mindale picked up her sixth career win of sixteen starts for trainer Steve Cook. She was the heavy post time favorite, and went on to make every call a winning one, with fractions of :27.1, :56.3, 1:24.1, 1:52.3. It was a lifetime's best performance. Dobre Povedane (Corey Callahan) was second, while Somewhere Fameous (Dave Miller) finished third. The winner paid $3.00. It was a bit of an upset in the second division as Doug Lewis trainee Cover Model (Corey Callahan) went on to a two length win. The daughter of Dragon Again showed tactical early speed from post six, landing in the third spot off the gate. She made her move just past the half, and was able to grind past the race favorite Rumor Mill (Tim Tetrick) for the win. It was the fourth win in her career and the first of the season. She stopped the clock in 1:53.1, a lifetime best. Rumor Mill secured second, while the previously undefeated Repeat Please (Andrew McCarthy) finished third. The winner, owned by Fred Hertrich and CTC Stable's, paid $10.80. Driver Scott Zeron struck again in division three, this time with Ted Gewertz's Apricot Sour. The daughter of Well Said was able to draft in the pocket behind favorite Tucson Breeze (Tim Tetrick) until the head of the stretch. She had to hold off late charges from Alexa Said (Brett Miller) and My Girl Friend (Yannick Gingras) who finished second and third respectively. The Anette Lorentzon trainee now has three lifetime wins out of ten starts. She paced the mile in a life's best 1:55, and paid $5.80. In the final division, Tom Kemp's Mezzanine Fashion (Tim Tetrick) dominated the final half for the victory. The daughter of Well Said drafted in the three spot until the half, when she moved to the outside and easily swept by. She won by three in the end, pacing her mile in a wrapped up 1:53.4. Lean On Yourself (Andy Miller) moved up the passing lane for second, while Official Belle (Scott Zeron) rallied mildly for third. Mezzanine Fashion is now three out of four in the win column this season for trainer Joann Looney-King. She returned $4.00 to win. Michael Bozich

MANALAPAN, NJ - May 16, 2015 - Artspeak, the Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year in 2014, coasted to a three and a half-length harness racing victory in his season's debut, a $20,000 first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes, the fourth race on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the Meadowlands. Scott Zeron tipped the 3-2 favorite out and brushed to the lead before the half, hand driving the son of Western Ideal to a career best 1:49 flat. Gokudo Hanover [Cam's Card Shark] is second best with five and a half lengths to Dealt A Winner [Cam's Card Shark] in third. Artspeak, winner of the Governor's Cup and Metro Pace at two, lifted his bankroll to $752,185 with nine wins and two thirds in 11 career starts. The Tony Alagna trainee is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners. Artspeak Hurrikane Ali, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by John McDermott Jr., won the second of the two $20,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the ninth race, in 1:50 flat on a surfaced rated good. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Hurrikane Ali claimed the lead before the half and held off Rock N' Roll World by two lengths. Rock Of The Ages was third by seven and a quarter lengths. All three are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. Hurrikane Ali now has two wins in two starts in 2015 after going winless in five starts at two. He has earned $55,575 for the partnership of Kuhen Racing LLC, Jonathan Klee Racing, Dr. Kenneth Rucker and Robert Pucila. The card began with victories by daughters of Rocknroll Hanover in both of two $20,000 divisions of New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. In the first race, 3-5 favorite Lindys Old Lady, unraced at two, posted her second straight victory, drawing away to a two and a half-length victory over Cheyenne Robin [Rocknroll Hanover] with three and three-quarter lengths to Wicked Little Minx [Rocknroll Hanover] in third. Lindys Old Lady, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Frank Antonacci, paced the mile in 1:51 flat. Lindy Farms of Connecticut owns and bred the filly who has now earned $19,200. In the second race, 1-9 favorite Happiness by Rocknroll Hanover, controlled the pace and repelled the late challenge of Stacia Hanover [Western Ideal] to win by a length and a quarter. Hollyrocker [Rocknroll Hanover] was third by three lengths in the 1:50.4 mile. Yannick Gingras drove the Ron Burke-trained Happiness for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She won three of six starts at two and now has two wins and one third in three outings this year. Overall, she has banked $67,765. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

Mission Brief returned to the races at Friday nights harness racing meeting at The Meadowlands where we expected to see her, in the winners circle. The fastest two year old trotter of all time made short work of her Sire Stakes competition in the lone $25,000 division for the filly trotters, winning in 1:53.4. The World Champion took off the speed early in the mile, but made a controlled move to the lead and cleared before the half-mile pole through fractions of 27.3 and 56.2. She led the field past three quarters in 1:25.3 and turned for home with a two length lead. Mission Brief drifted a touch in the stretch, but finished the mile well within herself while never being asked by her driver Yannick Gingras. It is worth noting that shortly after the finish, Mission Brief appeared to bobble and went off-stride, but she remained on-stride until the teletimer stopped. Her driver Yannick Gingras was pleased with her effort. "She had a ton of trot," said Gingras. "She went in 1:53.4 and it was a walk in the park for her. We still have some work to do before the second Saturday in August but she is on the right track." Mission Brief became the fastest two year old trotter of all time when she romped to a 1:50.3 performance at The Red Mile last year. She is conditioned by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J & T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. With the victory, Mission Brief's career earnings surpassed $600,000. On the colt-side of the Sire Stakes action, Guess Whos Back put forth a performance worth of his name, with a dominant 1:54 score in the first of two New Jersey Sire Stakes divisions for the three year old trotting colts. Sent off as the slight favorite over Canepa Hanover (both were 4/5), Guess Whos Back settled off the speed through the first quarter of a mile, before making a power move to the lead down the backstretch for Brian Sears. The Muscles Yankee colt would clear the top with ease, hitting the half-mile in just 58.1. He would face no pressure from that point of the mile all the way to the wire, sailing past three-quarters in 1:27, before leveling out in the stretch and drawing clear to a convincing 1:54 triumph. As a two year old, Guess Whos Back won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadowlands en route to earning $92,350 for Nikolas Drennan. Drennan expressed delight with how his Hambletonian hopeful performed. "Overall I was very happy with him," said Drennan. "It looked like he got a little steppy on the first turn, so we may make a few small changes going forward. But I was happy with him." Guess Whos Back sent his earnings past $100,000 with the winners share of $20,000 purse. He is owned by Davino, Shackman, T L P Stable and J&T Silva Stables. The other division for the sophomore colts pitted an intriguing matchup of Muscle Diamond and French Laundry. That pair finished second and third respectively in the Breeders Crown last year. Muscle Diamond was sent off as the 4/5 favorite with French Laundry the 3/2 second choice. The latter established the lead early on and took the Sire Stakes field through fractions of 28, 57.3 and 1:26.2. Muscle Diamond sat along the pylons in third, tracking the early speed and was guided off the pylons in the stretch and showed dramatic acceleration. However, nearing the wire, Muscle Diamond lost his momentum while getting a little steppy, seemingly because he was trotting so fast in the stretch and French Laundry was able to hold on for the win in 1:53.1. Both colts were very imopressive in their three year old debuts. French Laundry added to his lifetime earnings, which now stand at $323,119 for Jimmy Takter. Brett Miller drove the talented colt for Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding Al Libfield and Marvin Katz. There were some new faces that comprised the talented field in the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, but the result was one that we have come to know well. Radar Contact, who has not been worse than second since February 6th, was the 6/5 favorite and she would dictate the terms after wrestling the lead away from Inittowinafortune, who reached the opening quarter in a sharp 26.2. From there, Radar Contact would clear the lead and reached the half-mile in 55.2 with Inittowinafortune close behind in the pocket, a scenario we have seen week in and week out at The Meadowlands. These two mares remained that way through three quarters in 1:23.1 and the two sprinted away from the field, but this time Inittowinafortune was able to chase down Radar Contact to score in 1:49.4, a lifetime best effort. Radar Contact was a clear second with Jerseylicious third. The winner was one of two on the card for trainer Michael Russo, who conditioned the mare for Michael Pagonas. Scott Zeron was in the sulky. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed and the Jackpot swelled to $118,474 for the Saturday program. The last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 also carried over again, with that carryover pool now standing at $91,803. Total handle for the 12-race Friday card was $2,773,591. That marked a 15-percent increase from the same day in 2014 despite one less race. The on-track handle yielded a 20-percent gain as well. Saturday night features the $183,650 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, where Bee A Magician will attempt to become the first mare in the 17-year history of the race to emerge victorious. Also on the program is New Jersey Sire Stakes action for the three year old pacers, both colts and fillies. Last year's two year old pacing champion Artspeak will headline one of two divisions for the colts and geldings. There is a $50,000 TVG Invitational on the program as well. Post time for the Saturday program is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali  

A field of eight open pacers lined up behind the starting gate for the featured event at the harness racing meeting on Sunday afternoon (May 10) from Harrah's Philadelphia, going for a purse of $30,000. The wagering public made Bamond Racing's Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) the even money favorite. The 5-year-old son of Mach Three was coming off of a fifth place finish in the Levy final at Yonkers. He was forwardly placed from post six, powering his way to the lead just after the quarter (26.2). Canadian shipper Alexa's Jackpot (Scott Zeron) sat the pocket, while Bank's and Layfield's Getitoffyourchest (Brett Miller) supplied the first-over challenge. After Mach It So put away the challenge of Getitoffyourchest, he had to deal with the fresh legs of the pocket-sitter. Mach It So battled Alexa's Jackpot down the stretch, with the latter narrowly winning, stopping the clock in 1:49.3. It was a lifetime's best performance for the Marty Fine trainee, who is also part-owner with Highland Thoroughbred Farms. The 5-year-old son of Million Dollar Cam picked up his eleventh career win out of fifty-six starts. He paid $13.00. Ron Burke trainee Clear Vision (Matt Kakaley) finished third. Michael Bozich  

EAST RUTHERFORD (May 9, 2015) - If the first two starts of her 2015 harness racing campaign are any indication, Bee A Magician will be a force to be reckoned with once again. On Saturday night at The Meadowlands, she not only defeated the boys in the $50,000 prep for the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, she destroyed them. Escaping at 12-1, despite coming off a track record performance at Yonkers, Bee A Magician was dismissed by the punters from post position 10. Off the gate, Zeron asked his champion mare for a little speed, but his plan wasn't to make the lead. "I figured we would float out there and I would try to set her up second or third over," said Zeron, "but nobody else really pushed out there, so she brought me to the top rather easily and then we let Yannick go, sat behind him and that was perfect." Bee A Magician did lead at the first point of call, which she reached in 27.4, but she would relinquish that lead to DW's NY Yank, who briefly went off-stride at the start. The Burke-trainee entered tonight riding a four race win streak and he would lead the field past the half-mile in 55.4. Meanwhile. The even money favorite, Melady's Monet was taken back off the speed and would commit first over as the field moved down the backstretch. Hambletonian Winner Market Share would ride his cover around the far turn. Bee A Magician continued to draft in the pocket behind the leader past three quarters in 1:24.3. But from there, the mare made her move. "She pulled me out of the pocket," added Zeron. "She wanted to go and once she made the lead she kicked in even more." Bee A Magician opened up daylight in the stretch and was a geared down and ultra-impressive winner in 1:51.3. Wind Of The North rallied well to finish second, with Melady's Monet holding onto third despite a tough first over trip. In 2013, Bee A Magician completed an undefeated campaign, that included a Hambletonian Oaks win. That campaign led to her being voted the Horse of the Year. She will look to become the first mare to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in the 17-year history of the race in the $175,000 Final on Saturday, May 16th. The magnificent mare by Kadabra is owned by Melvin Hartman, Marvin Katz and David Mc Duffee and trained by Nifty Norman. For Queen Bee, it was her 33rd victory from 49 starts. Her earnings continue to close in on $2.8 Million. The win capped off a big night for Scott Zeron, who won four races on the card. Bee A Magician Earlier on the racing program, the top pacers contested the $27,500 Open Handicap which was scratched down to a field of six. Newcomer Ellis Park was a 9/5 favorite at post time, but both Dovuto Hanover and Doctor Butch were not far behind in the pari-mutuel wagering. Doctor Butch was asked for speed off the gate and would be guided to a pocket spot behind Fool Me Once who would lead the field for the first three quarters of a mile, establishing fractions of 26.2, 54.2 and 1:21.2 but the lead would not last the length of the stretch as the field closed in, none more so than Doctor Butch. The five year old son of Art Major ripped out of the pocket in the stretch and scampered away from the field to win impressively in 1:48.1, establishing a new lifetime mark and sending his lifetime earnings past $900,000. Dovuto Hanover rallied from off the pace to finish second, while Ellis Park, who roughed it first over, held on for third. Doctor Butch won for the 23rd time in his career for Linda Toscano and Kenneth Jacobs and was driven to victory by his usual partner in the sulky, Tim Tetrick. Doctor Butch In other action, Rock Of The Ages scored a victory over a trio of Meadowlands Pace-eligibles, winning in 1:51 for Brett Miller. Trading Up, Sicily and Jo Pa's Well Said, all on the road to The Meadowlands Pace finished behind the 7-1 upset winner. Rock Of The Ages Tony Alagna had a good night on Saturday at The Meadowlands. In addition to his Trading Up finishing second in his three year old debut, he won a pair of races with Shades Of Bay and Odds On Equuleus, both with Scott Zeron in the sulky. The former is a Meadowlands Pace-eligible colt who was making his three year old debut. He was victorious in a very sharp 1:50.3. The Meadowlands Pace theme would continue in the very next race, as Edward Teach, another Pace-eligible colt scored in a condition event in a lifetime best 1:51 for the Burke/Gingras connection. Shades Of Bay Odds On Equuleus Art History won for the third consecutive time, taking a tough condition even in 1:51.1 capping what was a very good night for Scott Zeron. Art History There were two winning tickets in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5, so that jackpot pool carried over once again and will feature a $112,844 carryover into Friday night. The last race jackpot also went unclaimed and that carryover will be $87,837 into the Friday program. The handle of just over $2.8 Million was virtually flat compared to this night in 2014, with one less race. Racing returns on Friday which features the New Jersey Sire Stakes for thee year old trotters and the eagerly anticipated three year old debut of Mission Brief. Post time is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

Hot Shot Blue Chip has returned. Where he goes from here remains to be seen, but harness racing trainer Jonas Czernyson is happy to have the mercurial trotter back in his barn. It is a much better place for the 9-year-old gelding than out in his fields. Hot Shot Blue Chip, a multiple-stakes-winner with $1.20 million in career purse earnings, last raced in August 2013 and was retired in early 2014 because of a knee injury. But Hot Shot Blue Chip failed to enjoy his newfound leisure time, so Czernyson decided to bring him back for some work on the training track. "He was getting mean to the other horses he was turned out with, he was kicking at people," Czernyson said. "I said let's bring him in and put him back in training and see what happens. We did that in the beginning of February and slowly I got him trained down. He kept on going and kept on going. "It started out just as something to do because he was so bored being at the farm. That's why I brought him in. I saw that he was sound before I brought him in; the others were galloping in the field and he was trotting in the field. I said we'd give him a chance." Hot Shot Blue Chip, owned by Tom Dillon, progressed so well that Czernyson put him in a qualifier Thursday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. With Scott Zeron handling the driving, Hot Shot Blue Chip sat in sixth place for most of the mile before coming home with a :28.2 final quarter-mile to post a 1:56 win. "He qualified pretty good and he came out of it OK," Czernyson said. "Now we're going to see what the next step is. We haven't gotten that far yet because we didn't know what he was going to do. "He likes to be a race horse, so whatever class we have to race him, that's where he's going to go," Czernyson added. "He's not staked to anything, so he's not going to make it back to be a stakes horse. He's going to tell us where he should race. But I'm never going to put him in a claimer and he's never going to leave my barn. Me and Tom have an agreement on that. He's going to stay here and be our pet." Hot Shot Blue Chip did not require surgery for his injury, but needed time to heal. "It was a bone in the knee, it wasn't in the joint or anything, and everyone just said he needed more time," Czernyson said. "But when you have an 8-year-old, it's tough to give him time. So we gave him a year off and it looks like it's healed." Hot Shot Blue Chip, a son of Revenue S-Hustle N Muscle, has been known for his inconsistent performances on the racetrack. He went off stride in nine of the 20 most lucrative starts of his career - including the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity and two editions of the Breeders Crown - but was talented enough to win the 2012 Credit Winner Stakes and 2012 Pride In Progress. He defeated Chapter Seven, Arch Madness and Mister Herbie in the Credit Winner while establishing his career mark of 1:51.2. In addition, he finished second in the 2010 Breeders Crown Open, 2011 Pride In Progress and two editions of the Allerage Farms Open Trot. He also finished third in several stakes, including two editions of the Maple Leaf Trot. "He always gives all he has - or runs," Czernyson said with a laugh. "But that's Hot Shot. I took the hobbles off of him (for Thursday's qualifier) because he runs with them too. There was no need to have him running in hobbles. And he looks nicer that way." For his career, Hot Shot Blue Chip has won 21 of 82 races. Time will tell whether he can add to that total. "He filled out nicely; he looks as good as he did before," Czernyson said. "He's a nice horse to have around. I'm excited about it. I'm happy to have him back." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Joe P Racing's million-dollar earner Sevruga (Andy Miller) took the first of two co-featured events for upper-conditioned level trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday. The son of Sj's Caviar took command shortly after the quarter-pole, when Razor Ramone (Yannick Gingras) went off stride. Sevruga was able to hold off the late challenge of Joe Smith's Possessed Fashion (Brett Miller) to pick up his 32nd career win, and his second straight. The mile was completed in 1:53.2. Sevruga paid $4.00 in a field that was scratched down to five. In the second division, it was Christy Markos and Greg Peck's Stan The Man (Scott Zeron) winning his fourth straight. The son of Credit Winner drafted patiently in the pocket behind favorite Uva Hanover (Tim Tetrick) until the top of the stretch, when he won the sprint home by a quarter-length, stopping the clock in 1:54.4. It was his 11th career win and his 4th of 2015. He paid $7.00. Uva Hanover finished second, while My Love Bi (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) was third. Michael Bozich

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