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Darren Crowe is a 23 year veteran who feels blessed to have been able to be in harness racing for this long. Darren has been one of the leading drivers at Truro Raceway for many years and has made quite an impact on horsemen throughout his career, including last year's top driver, Ryan Ellis. "The last four years we've been going at it" says Darren about the competition between him and Ryan Ellis for top driver at Truro Raceway. It's definitely about bragging rights and as Darren says "we give it to each other pretty good." One thing all horsemen enjoy is joking and having fun with one another. "I enjoy my job and I love getting out of bed each morning and coming to work and a lot of people can't say that" says Darren about his passion for working with horses. Darren in past years raced in Alberta and in Ontario at Western Fair Raceway and Flamboro Downs. One key race Darren drove in was the Nat Christie in Alberta. "It was pretty cool; I just got there a couple days before I went to work for Meridian Farms. Bill Andrews, he had a couple of horses in it and one of them made the finals, so it was pretty cool to be in it. I think Hawaiian Cowboy won it that year." Darren says. Hawaiian Cowboy won the Nat Christie in 2001 by 4 ½ lengths driven by Luc Ouellette. Darren is currently the Active Director for Standardbred Canada in the Atlantic region and his goal is to voice the opinions and concerns of his fellow horsemen constructively. Darren is a family man with a two-year-old son Brennan and his wife of three years is Robyn. "We weren't going to have any children, but we decided to have one.... I love spending the afternoons with him. We have this little fella and we are happy with him so we are going to quit at one." Darren says with a chuckle. To the point, when it comes to horse racing, Darren's most proud of being able to do what he loves for this length of time. He definitely doesn't take his work for granted. "Once you have a kid your perspective on life changes a bit. Things that used to bother me, like getting parked in a race or a horse going lame... things happen and you move on. I can go home and see my little fella and hangout with him." "For example I grew up on a dairy farm" explains Darren. "My best friend growing up has a dairy farm and in the afternoon if my little fella wants to go do something we'll go hangout there and do some field work or milk some cows, he enjoys it. That's how I unwind." With Darren growing up on a dairy farm, he got into horses through his best friend's dad and grandfather, who both had horses. "I kind of took a liking to them and came up through that way, cleaning stalls and jog their horses."Darren explains. "They were friends with Phil Pinkney who was an O'Brien award winner for Horsemanship and he's in the barn next to me and I grew up around Phil, watching what he did with young horses and shoeing. I shoe horses for Phil now, probably 18-20 years and I learned so much from him in regards to shoeing and looking for soundness." "I've had great owners over the years" says Darren. "Good owners, that's the key. You have to have owners that are going to stand behind you." Through the years, Darren has had quite a few horses pass through his care that have gone on to be quite successful, but the biggest name of all would be Somebeachsomewhere! "I got to shoe Somebeachsomewhere when he was here in the Maritimes." Darren says. "That was cool, going on to be the horse he was. I got to say I got to shoe him as a yearling til his 3-year-old year when he left." "As it turned out now, nobody knew he was going to be the horse he was as a yearling. He is just a nice horse, a little rough to shoe cause he would throw you around a little bit." Darren admits. "Now that he's the sire he turned out to be its pretty cool thinking I got to shoe that horse when he was here." Darren does have a pair of Somebeachsomewhere's shoes left as a keepsake which is pretty awesome, what a piece of horse racing memorabilia to have! Darren plans on getting the shoes chromed and then displayed on a plaque. Darren likes to keep shoeing simple and not make it complicated as others try to make it. It's about having proper angles and keep the levels right. "Horses are horses and you got to keep it simple" says Darren. "A lot of people get hung up on shoeing in regards to different shoes and fancy shoes... messing with their angles. A lot of it has to do with confirmation of the horse. If the horse has good confirmation, chances are you're not going to mess with the shoeing very often. Just keep it simple and he'll be what he's going to be. God made them that way, that's how they're going to be." Darren doesn't get hung up on what races he has won or hasn't with the exception of one given that he's a Truro native. "The Exhibition Cup, that's the free for all race of the year. During the Grand Circuit week and it wasn't for a lot of money, maybe $7,500 but I had the longest shot on the board at 99-1 and the horse ended up winning that race." Darren says. One major aspect to horse racing Darren feels the sport needs is better marketing and more attention. "I always thought the show they had on Monday nights on the Score was a pretty good show. Then they changed it a little to Bet Night Live, I think people like the interaction and interviews with the drivers and trainers talking about their horses. It's not on anymore, probably due to funding." During the discussion with Darren, they idea of company sponsorship came up such as putting company names on numbers or even if Nike got into the business and designed helmets for drivers. Having the Nike logo on the back or side of helmets would be awesome and the ad revenue can go towards purses or even to drivers. With drivers including Sidney Crosby or Steven Stamkos and sporting shirts in ads and being paid to do so. What if Scott Zeron had his race jacket designed by Reebok and in billboard ads you see him sporting the jacket with the Reebok logo and the next big upcoming race featured right beside the logo and which track the race would be taken place? Even t-shirts with the Under Armour logo and the name of top horses like Foiled Again or Vegas Vacation beside it. That could be a fashion trend that could draw potentially millions of dollars for the horse racing industry. Drivers, trainers, owners and race tracks could all draw in funds in sponsorship revenue. All other sports do it, why not horse racing? Start with the biggest races and have it trickle down to the point where all tracks and all races can attract news fans through new trends. Kids might want to sport a pair of Nike Shoes that are nicknamed 'The Captain' and have Captaintreacherous' profile on the shoe, or major stake names that he's won designed in the trainer's or driver's colors. Why not? It's different and new, if it hasn't been done up to now, who says it can't work? "Look at NASCAR and what they do with their sponsorship" says Darren. "It's boring up until the last ten laps but look how much they do." In the TV show Duck Dynasty, the characters are sporting Under Armour camouflage shirts... if hunting can get that type of sponsorship, why not horse racing. "It's a great show" says Darren. "Why not? It would have to be the right sponsor and they'd have to get some kind of bang for their buck right." "There's a lot that can be done promotion wise, but I think TV would be the best route." Darren explains. "If Jody Jamieson won a race on national television and he had Nike on his suit, that's a pretty good plug for Nike." Or after certain races, the winning driver is filmed drinking Powerade or Gatorade or Chocolate Milk. Drinking Milk would help promote another farming industry as well. "Jeff Gural at the Meadowlands, he runs it his way but it seems to be working" according to Darren. "He wants people to bet and he's pretty well on the right track I think." Definitely check out the interview by Standardbred Canada's website featuring Trot Radio host Norm Borg and Meadowlands' owner Jeff Gural, (Episodes 319 and 320). It's a beautiful discussion about open communication and drawing positive attention to the sport. By, Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com  Twitter: ScSupernova

WILKES-BARRE PA - Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs hosts the three remaining $30,000 Championship races in the Bobby Weiss Series this Tuesday and Wednesday, with the late-developing three- and four-year-olds racing for the glory in the male trot and female pace divisions the first day and the lady trotters then closing out the quartet of series finals. It's hard to make a case against a horse who has won all four of his series prelims, each week posting the fastest clocking of all divisions and last week the fastest of all (1:53.3), and no one doubts that the Justice Hall gelding Ray Hall will be the one to beat as he starts from post four Tuesday for trainer Mark Harder and driver Tim Tetrick. His main challengers figure to be You Rock My World (post seven, driver Scott Zeron), who after recording 3-2-2 finishes behind Ray Hall finally got away from him in the post draw and posted his own victory, and Sixteen Mikes (post five, driver Mike Simons), who had won three Weiss prelims before challenging Ray Hall last week and finishing third. Also to get some support will be Time To Quit (post six), who won one series leg, was second to Ray Hall last week, and starts for the powerful Burke/Kakaley team. The filly pace has several intriguing contenders, but based on recent "hotness" one would give the edge to the Dragon Again filly Prima Dragon, who went 2-2-1-1 in her Weiss prelims, including the fastest of all the prelims, 1:52.4, on April 8. She'll begin from post two for trainer Mike Dowdall and hot-driving Brett Miller, who had four wins at The Downs on Saturday. The Burke/Kakaley trainer/driver pairing always seems to have a contender in these series, and they have a good one here in Envious Hanover, who drew just inside Prima Dragon. "Envious" was the only three-time prelim winner, but the one defeat came to Prima Dragon in that April 8 mile, though she was only a head shy at the wire. Wednesday's Weiss Championship for trotting distaffs is thought as a "coronation ceremony" for Perfect Alliance, a daughter of Credit Winner who is eight for eight this year, including the fastest division in all three of the Weiss prelims in which she competed (fastest 1:53). The Julie Miller-trained mare will start from post six for driver Yannick Gingras, who took over her sulky seat last Wednesday after her regular driver (and Julie's husband) Andy Miller was injured in a racing accident the night before at Yonkers. FINISHING LINES - The first Weiss Championship, for male pacers, was held this past Saturday and was won by the Kent's On Nuke gelding A Stitch In Time, overcoming post nine for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Lou Pena in spectacular fashion - making the lead past a 26.1 opener and then posting devastating middle fractions of 53.1 and 1:20.1 en route to a 1:48.3 triumph, only 2/5 off the world record for 4YO pacing geldings on "f"-size tracks (ironically, one of the co-holders of this world mark, Dynamic Youth, won on the Saturday Pocono undercard). From the PHHA at Pocono Downs

Saturday night at The Meadowlands was pleasant weather-wise with temperatures in the 50's and little to no wind while the action on the harness racetrack was hot right from the start. The sixth race was the $63,000 What Baron final, remembering one of the great pacers of the early years at The Meadowlands and it turned out to be a slugfest. Captive Audience and Wake Up Peter were both in line for a sweep and Dave Miller made a bold early statement, flaunting the impressive early speed of Captive Audience through the 26.3 opening quarter while Scott Zeron and Wake Up Peter could not find position from his outside post and were forced to press on for the lead. The pair met at the half in a demanding 53.3 and went toe to toe from that point forward. At the wire, it was Captive Audience prevailing in a close photo while Wake Up Peter had to settle for the place after an absolutely paint peeling effort. The time of 1:48.3 was a new career best for the winner, trained by Corey Johnson for Debbie Element and Mac Nichol of Ontario. The $55,800 Artistic Vision final (race 11) pitted favored American In Paris, questing for a series sweep, against JK Letitgo who had her own reign of terror interrupted by a pair of losses to her rival in the series legs. Jim Morrill, Jr was intent on the lead with American In Paris and set honest fractions as JK Letitgo made a bid around the final bend, taking a bravening tuck passing the 1:21.4 three panels. In the stretch, JK Letitigo emerged from the pocket and wore down the favorite to win in 1:50-. Driver Jonathan Roberts had this in the post-race interview, "I wanted to be close up, the fractions were fast enough that I thought she had enough to win. She actually was good enough last week but had no room in the stretch". The winner is trained by Joshua Parker, he is a partner in the filly with Nanticoke Racing, Barry Spedden and Kevin Evans. On the pari-mutuel front, Saturday's first race offered a Pick 5 carryover of $30,782 which attracted $140,596 in new money and those first few winners were not easy to have. Pierce came into the opener, a $30,000 instant series for Non Winners of 2 races with a perfect record, he had never won in 18 previous races. Tonight would be a different story as driver Scott Zeron, who had spoken to this particular horse's penchant for keeping himself classified in a Friday paddock interview, pressed to the lead passing the three eighths and held on in a photo for the 1:51.2 maiden breaker at odds of 8-1. The second race was the fast class A-2/B-1 pacers going for $22,500 and it was bombs away here when Rockin Wizard scored from off the pace for Mike Wilder in a new personal best of 1:49- returning $75.40 for a $2 win bet. The suspense continued to build when Jamaican Cowboy and Vinny Ginsburg won the fourth race from the clouds at 19-1. The will pays leading into the fifth and final leg of the bet revealed one uncovered combination and every held combination returning either $120,000 or $60,000 on the wager. In the end it was 5-1 shot Moonliteonthebeach scoring in a new record of 1:51 for Jonathan Roberts resulting in a published payoff of $60,140 for each fifty cent wager with the correct combination. The fifth and final preliminary leg of the Legends vs. Phenoms Driver Challenge was contested Saturday night as well. For the Phenoms, it was the same story as Scott Zeron swept each of the five preliminary legs, doing so this time with 79 points. On the Legends side, it came down to the final race as Dave Miller and Corey Callahan were tied after 12 races. Miller won the finale with OK Fame and took the $2,000 prize with 94 points. The 10 drivers qualifying for the Championship Round on Saturday April 26th, which will offer a $15,000 first place grand prize are Dave Miller, Corey Callahan, John Campbell, Jim Morrill Jr., Scott Zeron, Joe Bongiorno, Vincent Ginsburg, Jim Marohn Jr., Steve Smith and Mike Wilder. The championship round will be contested over a limited number of races and all ten drivers will have the same number of drives, giving them all an equal opportunity to take home the grand prize. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

The field for the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship scheduled for Friday, May 9 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont. has been confirmed. The participating drivers are: • Alfie Carroll • Scott Coulter • Billy Davis Jr. • Trevor Henry • Jody Jamieson • James MacDonald • Doug McNair • J.R. Plante The top two drivers from the eight-race competition will join six other drivers at the 2014 National Driving Championship scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. Several drivers declined invitations to take part due to other commitments, including Sylvain Filion, Canada’s Driver of the Year for 2013, Randy Waples and Scott Zeron. To read the rest of the story click here.

Dough Dough and Clementine Dream each controlled matters on the front end as heavy favorites to win races in the Bobby Weiss series at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Wednesday night. There were two Weiss divisions held for three and four-year-old fillies and mares on the trot, each carrying a purse of $15,000. Dough Dough (CR Excalibur-Rising Dough), trained by Gail Wrubel and driven by Mike Simons, won his second straight Weiss race, this one coming in 1:55:4. Clementine Dream (Infinitif-Catch Fortuna), with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Mark Harder, won his split in 1:55:3. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review Although the weather wasn’t always balmy in the past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, at least it was dry on live racing nights. That led to our first week of exclusively fast tracks, and, as you might imagine, the action had a little extra spice because of it. There were a lot of thrilling races and some extraordinary performances, the best of which we’ll now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: DOVUTO HANOVER Saturday night marked the first time this season that we’ve had a Preferred race on the pacing side, and the $25,000 purse brought out an excellent field of six. Among those, Sparky Mark and Blatantly Good had already established themselves at Pocono with three condition wins between them in the meet, and, with inside posts, figured to be strong contenders. Add in Dovuto Hanover, who came in with wins in two of his last three against tough company at The Meadowlands, and it figured to be quite the battle. It’s always nice when a race lives up to the expectations. Sparky Mark went out and set the pace, but faced a stiff first-over test from Blatantly Good on the back stretch. Dovuto Hanover, the 4-5 favorite from the Darran Cassar barn, followed the cover of Blatantly Good on the outside before kicking out three-wide on the final turn. That meant all three horses were in prime spots at the top of the stretch, setting up a thrilling battle. For a moment, it appeared that Sparky Mark would cling to his lead all the way home, as Dovuto Hanover’s momentum seemed to be stilled. Yet driver Tyler Buter coaxed a sudden burst of energy from the favorite, and the 4-year-old gelding came up in the nick of time by a nose in 1:50:4. Great horse, great finish, and a great representation of how the Preferred pacers will compete at Pocono in the upcoming season. Other top pacers this week include: Drive All Night (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), the veteran pacer who scored his second straight $15,000 claiming victory on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:3; Donna Party (Brett Miller-Kent Sherman), a mare who scored her third straight win in a tight claiming handicap battle on Wednesday in 1:53; and Cypress Hill Suds (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who picked up a win against the $10,000 claiming mares on Wednesday, her second straight victory, in a career-best 1:52:3. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FIRST AQUA There hasn’t been a trotter on the Pocono grounds anywhere near as dominant so far in the meet as this seven-year-old gelding. Arriving from Freehold on March 25, he immediately scorched a claiming group by seven lengths in 1:53:3. He followed that up by moving up in class the following week to handle the $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap group, again by a comfortable margin, in 1:54. By that time the secret was out, and First Aqua was claimed from that race. He went from one hot trainer (Gilberto Garcia-Herrera) to another (Rene Allard) in the exchange, but he kept George Napolitano Jr. as his driver to face off with that same top claiming group on Wednesday night as a heavy 1-5 favorite. First Aqua made the same swooping move to take over the lead on the front stretch as he did in his previous two wins. This time out he got a decent challenge from pocket horse Maravich, but he was more than up to that challenge, holding him off to win by a length-and-a-quarter. And although the margin of victory was the smallest of his winning streak, the time of 1:53:2 set a new career mark for First Aqua. That proves he’s still getting better, which is a scary thought for his future competition to entertain. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Smokin Dabra (Brett Miller, Brewer Adams), who rolled on the front end on Tuesday night to his second straight $10,000 claiming victory, this one in 1:54:4; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who took a huge step up in class and won his second straight condition trot at Pocono and his third straight overall, posting a winning time of 1:53:1; and My Leap Of Faith (Simon Allard, Brian Seidel), who rallied late for a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:54:4. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LATE NIGHT JOKE Driver Andrew McCarthy has a way with the long shots, and he showed it by rallying this claiming pacer to an improbable victory Saturday night at 35-1 for a $73.60 win payout on a $2 ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARCUS MILLER Young drivers sometimes struggle to find a place at Pocono, but Miller showed this week that he belongs, scoring driving doubles on Sunday and Tuesday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BREWER ADAMS He’s been a consistent force for several seasons at Pocono, and Adams scored big this week with five training wins, including doubles on Sunday and Tuesday. That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.  by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

If anyone knows Jonathan Dury, aside from always being busy, they know he is truly a student of harness racing. From his time working with his father, Barry Drury, at Mohawk Racetrack, (Campbellville, ON), during the summer to picking up on slight nuisances' at all possible moments is what has driven Jonathan to the level of achievement he is currently earning as one of the top drivers at Woodbine Racetrack. Jonathan would help his dad anytime he was not in school. When Jonathan was very young, his ideal dream job would have been to drive big trucks. Moving several years down the line, when Jonathan was in high school, he contemplated having a career in architecture but due to his on-track success, that venture has been put on hold. If what we have seen of Jonathan the past few years is any indication of what lies ahead, there's a strong feeling he may put a permanent hold on entering the field of architectural design. Jonathan's dad still trains horses and Jonathan noted his dad used to work for harness racing legend Ron Waples back at the old Meadowlands as an assistant trainer. Jonathan started out at Woodstock Raceway and the first horse he drove was "a trotter for Chris Christoforou Sr. "It was my first time start and it was with a trotter" says Jonathan. "I like driving both pacers and trotters and I have had success driving trotters. A lot of trotters are trickier to drive than pacers but I still love driving trotters a lot." Away from the track earlier in his career, Jonathan enjoyed playing golf in the summer and hockey during the winter. "I was playing hockey for a few years for fun, then I broke my arm and called it quits for that..." says Jonathan with a laugh. Jonathan worked for several high caliber stables, such as Anthony Macdonald who had a lot of trotters. "I really learned a lot about how to handle a trotter" says Jonathan. Anthony Montini and Casie Coleman are two other elite trainers Jonathan worked for. "You see different ways of doing things." Jonathan explains. "Anthony Montini is a really nice guy; he even let me drive Primetime Bobcat in one of his last career starts. I can't say I learned one thing from anybody, its things you pick up and expand on when you work for someone else." It's about growing and learning while remaining humble and approachable that can you a long way in every aspect of life. As he progressed Jonathan moved on to drive at Kawartha Downs, (located in Fraserville, ON), "I really dug Kawartha Downs, I love driving on the 5/8th mile track. I spent time last summer driving at one at Pocono Downs. Kawartha was a great experience because I got to drive a lot of the better horses that went down there." Jonathan explains. "I was driving all of Corey Johnson's horses at one point and I was driving a lot of Tommy Riley's horses plus I was driving whatever Casie (Coleman) brought down there." Jonathan notes he learned a lot from driving horses for top notch trainers. How did Jonathan get to the point of driving all of Corey Johnson's horses? Well, Jonathan says he didn't know Corey at first but kept seeing his name listed to drive Corey's horses. "I was having a lot of luck down there and I was one of the top guys there driving for Tommy Riley... then the entries came out one day and I was listed to drive on three of Corey's horses and it was all trotters and I won with all three of them." Take off indeed, what was set in motion at Kawartha Downs truly snowballed for Jonathan, to the point that he was able to make a seamless transition to Canada's biggest racetracks, Woodbine and Mohawk. Winning with Vegas Vacation was special to Jonathan. "I actually spent a lot of time training him when I was working for Casie. I got to qualify him and I won with him on his first lifetime start." It holds a special spot in Jonathan's heart, especially given what Vegas Vacation has accomplished. "Vegas is a wicked horse with a ton of potential, I think he is going to get bigger, stronger and better" according to Jonathan and it is safe to say everyone would agree with his opinion. I certainly do! Jonathan admits it can difficult to get good drives and yes, if it was that easy everyone would be number one on the leader board. "I just try to work hard to get me to where I am" says Jonathan. "Carmen Auciello gave me the opportunity to go down to the Poconos to drive his horses down there and it was a great experience. I think it really helped me to be to where I am at today. It's a different style of racing down (at the Poconos), it taught me a lot and I am able to use that to my advantage now." "I love the Poconos and the track; it's a beautiful facility and a fast track that also gets a lot of good horses down there." I hear the architecture aficionado in Jonathan's voice when he's describing the facility at Pocono Downs. Jonathan was at the Meadowlands for the past three weekends driving Corey Johnson's trotter Hldontghttoyurdrms in the Horse and Groom series and expresses how much the new facility at the Meadowlands has improved. Jonathan's focus is to keep driving and learning more and more so he can better not only himself, but also better the results for the trainers and owners. His approach is to zone in on a team goal, not as an individual. "That's the best thing you can do is know as much as you can" Jonathan says when it comes to learning about other horses. "Knowing your horse, and knowing the rest of the horses, you can find ways to beat them with what you know about them." Jonathan enjoys watching elite drivers like Tim Tetrick and Brian Sears, "they can get so much out of their horse, put them in all the right places." Jonathan says. "I try to learn things from everybody to better myself." "I am very content racing horses; it's something I love doing so how can I complain about something I love?" Jonathan admits. "Horse racing has been a big part of my life, and now it is my life." "I like aggressive horses racing wise, I feel I can keep them calm" says Jonathan. When he's not driving, Jonathan will go out to his dad's barn to give him a hand or in the summers past he would help with Casie Coleman's stable. "If I have time off, I take it easy for the most part; maybe play some golf in the summer. Really I try to get some rest so I am ready to go." Jonathan explains. "I haven't raced since I was at the Meadowlands on Saturday. I had Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off and I was bored out of my mind having so many days off." In his time off, what keeps Jonathan mentally busy is music. "I'm a huge country music fan and also a huge Eminem fan. My favorite country group is Florida Georgia Line. I like all kinds of music depending on the mood I am in, but generally I listen to country." Jonathan says. As any avid music listener, Jonathan has his list of favorite concerts he has attended. The Jay Z and Eminem Home and Home tour concert, which took place in Detroit, is at the top of the list. A close second would be the concert he saw earlier this year that featured Jason Alden and Florida Georgia Line. This August, Jonathan will be rocking out to Linkin Park at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. A group he's been wanting to see live for quite some time. I posed the question to Jonathan, that if he could record a song with anyone or any group, he chose Florida Georgia Line. "Only because they look like they have a wicked time in their music videos." Jonathan says. A twist to his music curiosity is if Jonathan had the opportunity to sit down and talk with any music artist about their career, hands down it would be famed rapper, Eminem. "I've actually sat down and read through the meanings of all the lyrics to a bunch of his songs." Jonathan explains. "He's lived a very different life and gives you the courage not to give up.... He's come from a pretty rough family and battled against everything to get to where he is today. I read a documentary on him and he has boxes of papers with little groups of words scribbled on them that he just randomly has pop in his head." "And (Eminem) kept them in case he could ever use them in a song. It's really amazing what he can do with words and how each song has a meaning deep down inside the lyrics that you may not understand just listening to it." When it comes to interacting with fans, Jonathan truly enjoys the experience He's more than willing to sign autographs or give his whip away. One time at the Meadowlands, Jonathan was set to drive a couple of races and ended up giving away his whip to a fan without realizing he didn't have any more whips, as he only brought one with him to the track. Luckily Scott Zeron was there to help him out. So if you see Jonathan, don't be afraid to ask for an autograph as he is more than willing to oblige. "I wasn't expecting anyone to ask for my whip because at Woodbine the fans are so far away, you don't see them. It was shocking to see the fans up so close at different tracks. Once over a three night period at the Meadowlands, I won one race each night and gave away my whip after each race I won." How many sports can you account where the athletes and players involved give away game used items? Maybe baseball if you catch a foul ball, once in a blue moon an NFL football or a hockey puck, but in no other sport is this possible, only in harness racing where a fan can meet the people they cheer on and get an autograph on a nightly basis. by, Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova      

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 31, 2014-Macharoundtheclock (Scott Zeron) pounced from the pocket Monday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $63,000 final of the Petticoat Pacing Series. The series, for 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares, culminated with a 1-9 parimutuel entry in the form of Doo Wee Rusty (George Brennan, post 1) and Hobe Sound (Brian Sears, post 2). It was "Rusty" outsprinting everyone before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. Macharoundtheclock, leaving from post position No. 4, found himself sequestered In The Pocket, while A Sham of Amber (Jason Bartlett) was adroitly away in third. A soft, :31.1 second quarter (:59 half) figured to serve the leader well as his partner, Hobe Sound, moved from fourth. That one actually poked a head in front at the 1:28.1 three-quarters, with Mattie Terror Girl (Andy Miller) second-over. Doo Wee Rusty battled back to put her nose first turning for home, but no matter...both halves of the entry were toast. Macharoundtheclock, carried the lane, zipped inside and drew off. The final margin was a length-and-a-half in 1:57. Mattie Terror Girl raced very credibly from the eight-hole to grab second, with Road Bet (Dan Dube), So Long My Love (Jordan Stratton) and Cloris Hanover (Tyler Buter) grabbing the final pay envelopes. Hobe Sound, a Sham of Amber and Doo Wee Rusty rounded out the order. "The fractions played to the leader, but at the same time, kept a lot of us in striking distance," Zeron said. "Once she saw the passing lane, she just took off." For Macharoundtheclock, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Mach Three owned by Birnam Wood Farms and trained by Larry Remmen, she returned $22.40 (second choice) for her fourth win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $130, with the triple returning $500. A pair of series consolations, worth $25,000 and $12,500, respectively, were won by It's a Miracle (Brennan, $5.60) in a life-best 1:54.3 and Wednesday's Whim (Brennan again, $10) in 1:55.3 The $67,400 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series, for 3- and 4-year-olds of the male persuasion, goes Tuesday night. Note that since no one took down Monday night's Pick-5, Tuesday's wager-which usually has a $10,000 guaranteed pool----shall now offers a $25,000 guaranteed pool...complete with a $7,907.68 carryover. The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager on races 5 through 9 nightly. Program pages for Tuesday's quintet are available at www.yonkersraceway.com. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway    

On paper, the $83,000 Clyde Hirt Final appeared to be a wide open race. But on the racetrack, it was anything but. Avatartist, sent off as the 9-5 favorite, made the early lead in 26.1 prior to yielding to the pocket. Driver Dave Miller made an aggressive move down the backstretch, reclaiming the lead past a 53.3 half-mile. The Buckeye threw down the gauntlet and opened up a commanding lead heading to the top of the stretch and never had an anxious moment in the stretch winning in a stakes record 1:50.1. Alexa's Jackpot rallied very well off dull cover to be second, while Wake Up Peter came from an impossible spot to be third. The winner is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owners William Hill, Peter Harrisson, Michael Saftic and James Walker. Ironically, Avatartist is not eligible to the upcoming Whata Baron series which begins Saturday April 5th, while Alexa's Jackpot and Wake Up Peter are heading to that series next. In the $60,600 Final of The Horse & Groom, it was a perfect storm for Hldontghttoyurdrms in more ways than one. First, the 3-5 favorite Bambino Glide made a break prior to the start, never to be involved. At the start, round one winner Amigo Ranger went off-stride. Next, turning down the backstretch, with Hldontghttoyurdrms leading through a 27.3 opening quarter, pocket-sitting March Awareness broke stride, leaving the pace-setter with a six length lead heading to the half. Hldontghttoyurdrms got that half in 55.4 and three quarters in 1:24.3, while never facing a challenge and romping to an easy score in 1:53.4 for Canadian based driver Jonathan Drury. The winner had been a bit disappointing in the first two rounds of the series, but with the money down, the gelded son of Muscles Yankee got the job done. He is trained by Corey Johnson for owners Saverio Spagnolo, Frank Schimizzi and Frank Spagnolo. Longshot Magglio was second with Crosbys Clam Bake finishing third. Scott Zeron and Jim Morrill, Jr. were the Winners in Round 2 of the Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge. Scott Zeron continues to make plenty of noise at The Meadowlands as he easily led the Phenoms from gate to wire to win the second leg of the Driver Challenge with 85 points. Zeron also won the "phenom" category last week as well. While Zeron is dominating the Phenoms, the Legends category has been a battle. Tonight, Andy Miller and Jim Morrill Jr. went into the last race each with 83 points, with first round winner Dave Miller right behind with 81 points. In the end, it was Jim Morrill Jr, with 90 points winning round 2 for the Legends. For the tournament, Dave Miller (172) leads the "Legends" followed by Andy Miller (160), Jim Morrill Jr. (158), Corey Callahan (74) and John Campbell (73). Scott Zeron (163) is cruising along in the "Phenoms" category. Joe Bongiorno (90) is a clear-cut second. Rounding out the top 10 are Tony Hall (60), Jonathan Drury (54), Steve Smith (52), Jim. Marohn Jr. (49), Vincent Ginsburg (46), Tyler Smith (45), Jim Meittinis (33) and Eric Abbatiello (22). On Saturday April 26th, the top five Legends and the top five Phenoms will qualify for the Driver Challenge Final, with the winner earning $15,000. Racing resumes on Friday with the first round of the Artistic Vision series for pacing mares, with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

Brad Grant saw winning streaks come to an end last week for Apprentice Hanover and Wake Up Peter, but the harness racing owner is hoping his 4-year-old pacers will return to posting victories Saturday night. Wake Up Peter competes in the $83,000 Clyde Hirt Series final at Meadowlands Racetrack while Apprentice Hanover races in the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers. Also in action for Grant in the Levy is Word Power. Last week, Wake Up Peter saw his four-race win streak halted by a ninth-place finish in his second leg of the Hirt Series. Wake Up Peter, driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Larry Remmen, lost a shoe and went off stride from the second-over position on the final turn. "We were disappointed with his race last week, but you throw it out," Grant said. "Hopefully he'll have a good week." Wake Up Peter has won four of five starts this year and earned $34,250. He won his first-round division of the Hirt Series from post nine in 1:51.3 before losing from post one last week. He drew post 10 for the final. "He drew the inside and didn't have any luck, and the week before he won out of the (nine) hole, so maybe it's a sign," Grant said, laughing. Avatartist, who won both his preliminary divisions of the series, drew post two for the final for trainer Tony O'Sullivan and driver David Miller. O'Sullivan's Ontario Success, who also won a prelim, got post seven with driver John Campbell while Teresa's Beach, who won his second round of the Hirt, got post eight for trainer Johnny Waite and driver Bret Brittingham. At Yonkers on Saturday, Apprentice Hanover will race in the third of four $50,000 second-round Levy divisions. Apprentice Hanover saw a nine-race win streak halted last week by a dead-heat second-place finish behind Foiled Again. "We caught a nine-race win streak, and then you run into the wall," Grant said, with the "wall" being 10-year-old Foiled Again, who is the richest harness racing horse in North American history and the three-time defending Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer. Apprentice Hanover, driven regularly by Jody Jamieson, won just two of his first 15 starts last year, but turned the corner for trainer Ben Wallace after being treated for an ulcer. "He had some health issues and he seems to be over them and responded well," Grant said. "Ben has worked hard at it; his people have worked hard at it. Jody brought him back carefully and drove him carefully. As much as it's good for me as an owner, it's nice to see their hard work rewarded. He's responded and hopefully he'll keep going." Apprentice Hanover will start from post one in his Levy division. His race also includes first-round winners Easy Again and Mach It So. Word Power, trained by Remmen and driven by Jamieson, will start from post four in his second round of the series. His split also includes first-round winner Bettor's Edge. Word Power finished fourth last week, beaten by three lengths by Mach It So, in his first start of the season. "I thought he could have done better the other night, but I understand because it was his first start out," Grant said. "Hindsight is a great thing; maybe if we had a race under his belt Jody would have gotten him into the race a little bit more. I thought we caught one of the lighter divisions that night and maybe it would have been a chance to take advantage of it, but it didn't work out that way. "I think the colt is competitive, but I don't think he matches up against some of the older veterans yet." Apprentice Hanover and Word Power have ample stakes schedules following the Levy Series while Wake Up Peter has the Whata Baron Series at the Meadowlands. "We're just going to race him around and see how it goes," Grant said about Wake Up Peter. "I don't think he's at the level of Apprentice or Word Power or the rest of the horses. He's a horse that this year we didn't plan on staking a lot. He's got one more series after this at the Meadowlands and really that's it for him." Wake Up Peter was winless in 19 races last year, but earned $307,091 while racing out of the stable of trainer Tony Alagna. Grant bought the horse in January. "I'd raced against him for the last two years and I always liked him," Grant said. "He comes out of a great barn and came to us in great shape. "He made a lot of money chasing horses, but he ain't going to make that kind of money chasing them anymore. He's got to get his confidence. Larry and Ray (Remmen) both feel this year we'll pick our spots and race him around and braven him up. Hopefully he'll get stronger and we'll see what next year brings." As for Apprentice Hanover, who has won 16 of 35 lifetime races and $597,105, and Word Power, who has won seven of 19 and banked $382,584, time will tell. "It's all going to depend how they perform as to how far we'll go with them," Grant said. "We're going to give them every opportunity, that's for sure. It's a tough transition year for a 4-year-old; the older horses are lasting longer, racing longer, racing better. "You've got The Captain (Captaintreacherous) coming back, you've got Vegas Vacation coming back, Sunshine Beach coming back, so there's a good crop of 4-year-olds out there plus the older horses that you've got to race against. It's going to be great racing for the fans. "This is a learning year for us. We're going to try to pick our spots and hopefully take home some of the spoils." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

The $47,650 final of the Winter Survivor Series saw Hacienda saved the day for his more highly regarded entry-mate Cane Ridge with a 1:51.2 score for Vinny Ginsburg at the Meadowlands Satuday. Cane Ridge's convincing win in the second prelim drew favoritism and Andy Miller sent him right to the front from the rail, the preferred position based his past performance. The fractions were fast but fair, however when the competition began to engulf the pace setter on all sides, trainer Doug Dilloian, Jr.s focus shifted from the tiring leader to his "other" horse Hacienda who was closing the widest and the fastest. At the wire Hacienda prevailed in a tight photo over Mc Rusty with Malosi N third. Darius Oshidar owns the winner. The six week "Legends vs Phenoms" Meadowlands drivers' tournament kicked off Saturday, with the top point earner of each distinction awarded a $2,000 prize. Scott Zeron was the leader at every call for the Phenoms and had his bounty salted away by race ten. The Legends, though fewer in number, were far more contentious in their competition. The Millers, Andy (who seemed to relish the opportunity to race a few on the lead with Yannick Gingras across the river all night) and David swapped the point lead back and forth several times and as they lined up for the twelfth and final Dave's lead was a tenuous five points. Dave Miller put the favored Pembroke Dewey on the lead and parked out Andy's weak bid with Corey Road to unceremoniously close him out and take home the $2,000 top prize. The competition will continue over the next several weeks with the final for the driver tournament schedule for Saturday, April 26th. The Drivers and Points will be updated at PlayMeadowlands.com throughout the tournament. On the equine front, two $20,000 divisions of the Clyde Hirt pacing series highlighted the card. One was rather formful while the other division resulted in a shocker. In the first split, a pair of leavers from outside posts made for a lively pace with first Avatartist then Burkentine Hanover clearing to the front through a 27- quarter and 54.2 half. Alexa's Jackpot took a bold run at Burkentine past the 1:21.4 three panels and was moving like a winner as Dave Miller desperately sought a seam for Avantartist. Once that fissure appeared, Miller guided him through a tiny opening up the cones to win by the slimmest of margins (and survive an inquiry to his course in the stretch) over Alexa's Jackpot in 1:50.1. Burkentine Hanover was a brave third. That gives Avatartist wins in both legs and he'll merit serious consideration in what shapes up to be a very competitive $83,000 final next Saturday night. Tony O'Sullivan trains the son of Rocknroll Hanover for W. Hill, P. Harrison, M. Saftic and J. Walker all of Ontario. Division two began largely as predicted with a couple of longshots battling away on the front and heavy favorite Wake Up Peter well situated second over around the final bend when he suddenly and unexpectedly went off stride. That left the long uncovered bid by Teresa's Beach well rewarded with a new lifetime mark of 1:50.1 and his backers wallet's a little fatter with a healthy $29.20 return on investment. Bree's Creek was up for the place with a late rush and Stars Above landed third resulting in a trifecta payoff of over $4,000. Brett Brittingham was in for the drive for trainer Johnny Waite and owner Leslie Betts, all of Delaware. In addition, Tyler Smith earned his first career Meadowlands driving victory with Arsenal in the 4th race C-1 Pace. The Meadowlands showed slight gains both on-track and in total handle for the Saturday program. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

Saturday, March 22nd will begin the six week long, Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge. Each race on the next five Saturday programs will be a part of the Challenge, with the following format. · The driver with the most points accumulated for each team will win a $2,000 bonus. · Points are accrued as follows: o Win - 10 points o 2nd - 9 points o 3rd - 8 points o 4th - 7 points o 5th - 6 points o 6th - 5 points o 7th - 4 points o 8th - 3 points o 9th - 2 points o 10th-12th - 1 point On the sixth Saturday, April 26th, the top 5 point earners for The Legends and the top 5 point earners for The Phenoms from the first five weeks will qualify for the Final, where the Overall winner will win $15,000, the runner-up will receive $5,000, third place will receive $3,000 and fourth through tenth will each receive $1,000. For purposes of this coming Saturday, March 22nd, the drivers will be divided as follows: Legends: Dave Miller, Andy Miller, Jody Jamieson and Jim Morrill Jr. Phenoms: Scott Zeron, Tony Hall, Tyler Smith, Joe Bongiorno, Jim Meittinis, Vincent Ginsburg , Jim Marohn Jr., Steve Smtih, Eric Abbatiello and all other drivers on the card. The Drivers Challenge will take place each Saturday through April 26th. Darin Zoccali

With series action heating up and some more recognizable names populating the entries, Saturday nights at The Meadowlands are beginning to feel more event-like. Golden Receiver is back and delivered a gallant 1:49.3 win in the $30,000 FFA, out gaming Dovuto Hanover to the wire after having been headed by that one in mid-stretch. Corey Callahan had Golden Receiver on the good foot off the wings, crossed over before the first turn and was on a clear, comfortable lead past the half in 54.2. Dovuto Hanover had beaten Golden Receiver two weeks ago with an extended hard brush and driver Tim Tetrick attempted to repeat that bull rush strategy tonight. Dovuto won the stretch battle for several strides, poking his head in front temporarily before eventually losing the war. Golden Receiver was winning for the sixtieth time in his storied career for owners Our Horse Cents Stable and Nina Simmonds. Mark Harder has his stable stalwart prepared for another successful campaign. The $20,000 first leg of the Clyde Hirt series split three ways and division one opened the evening's card with a surprise winner in Ontario Success. The two post time favorites dueled through the first turn with Burkentine Hanover wrestling the lead from Sea And Ski just past the 27.4 quarter. When the pace slowed slightly as they neared the half, Sea And Ski got rough-gaited in the pocket and broke. Scott Zeron had placed Ontario Success well back early, moved behind live cover third over and swept by in the shadow of the wire for the 1:51.2 score. The winner returned $15.80 and coupled with 40-1 bomb Summer Smackdown second and mid-priced Stars Above third the $1,447 trifecta got the night off to a lucrative start for the few lucky ticket holders. Ontario Success is owned by Emerald Highlands Farm and trained by Tony O'Sullivan, who came right back to win the second division of the Hirt with another Woodbine shipper, Avatartist. Driver David Miller employed the "Go to the front and improve your position" strategy with Avatartist, clearing quickly from the outside post eight and sent an even pace throughout. Favored Andrew Luck pressed the leader around the final bend and before succumbing and dropped the place photo to Teresa's Beach. Avartist became harness racing's latest 1:50 performer with the win for owners William Hill, Peter Harrison, Mike Saftic and James Walker all from north of the border. The third division of the Clyde Hirt came down to a nose photo and the nose on the wire was Wake Up Peter. The 3-5 favorite, Wake Up Peter, sat a second over trip around the far turn which was paced in 27 seconds flat and used every inch of The Meadowlands stretch to just nail CC Heet Seeker on the wire, who cut the fractions at 17-1. For Wake Up Peter, it was the fourth win in as many starts and the third consecutive since Larry Remmen purchased him for owner Bradley Grant at the January Tatersalls Sale. The driver of Wake Up Peter had a big week as Scott Zeron won seven races over the three-day span at The Meadowlands, including three on tonight's program. Total handle for the Saturday program was $3,354,414 which included slight gains on-track. A reminder that The Meadowlands has added a live racing card and will race this coming Thursday, March 20th, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali  

East Rutherford, NJ: Beginning on Saturday, March 22 The Meadowlands will host a six week tournament for drivers that pits the sport's established stars against the emerging new talent.   Each Saturday night through April 19 (five legs) a point tally determined by each driver's order of finish will be kept over the course of the entire race card and the top point earner for each of those two groups will be awarded $2,000 for their efforts.   The tournament will conclude on April 26 with a final in which the top point earners over the course of the five preliminary legs will compete in a series of races on the card. The winner of the final will be awarded $15,000, second place is worth $5,000, third $3,000 and all other finalists will receive $1,000. This event is jointly sponsored by Jeff Gural and The Meadowlands with no effect on the purse account.   "During the Levy Series at Yonkers I thought this would be an opportunity to reward those drivers who remain loyal to the Meadowlands and at the same time create an opportunity for the younger drivers to earn some extra money," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "With increased competition for the handle looming we feel the need to generate promotions that will hold the interest of our customers.   "I think this is also a great chance for out of town drivers to show off their skills at the sport's most competitive racetrack during a time when there will be increased opportunity for them to get drives. We welcome those young drivers that would like to try their luck at The Meadowlands."   There will be no specifically dedicated races for this contest. All drivers will be competing for their own interests, there is no team element other than to determine the top point earners for the purpose of awarding the prizes.   The contest will consist of all races on each of the Saturday programs and the process will remain as it normally is so far as entering horses and driver selections. The trainers will enter their horses listing the driver of their choice. The drivers will make their choices with the judges by scratch time and trainers will be required to call the judges and react to those choices, then name whomever they wish if their first choice has gone elsewhere. The "Legends" will be comprised of Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Andy Miller and John Campbell (who expects to return to the sulky on March 28).   The "Phenoms" will include Scott Zeron, Andy Mc Carthy, Joe Bongiorno, Marcus Miller, Jimmy Marohn, Jr, and Tyler Smith among others.   Any drivers not listed above who race at The Meadowlands on the tournament Saturdays will compete as members of the "Phenoms" and are eligible for any prize awarded to that group.   The drivers named above and any others will compete of their own volition, as their personal schedule allows. They may compete in as many or as few of the preliminary legs as they choose.   Contact Nick Salvi at (607) 972-5500 with inquiries.      

On a cold and crisp yet windless Friday night at The Meadowlands a couple of new shooters took the $30,000 overnight features, both in front running fashion. The top trot was carded as race two and Twin B Spike Man handled his initial ascension to the Free For All ranks with aplomb. A convincing winner against the B-1 class last week, Twin B Spike Man responded to a confident steer by Mike Simons with a superb 1:51.1 mile, lowering his career best by over two seconds in the process. Sent up hard after by Simons after DW's NY Yank past the 55.1 half, Twin B Spike Man cleared and kept rolling along through the third panel in 27.4 and widened his advantage through the stretch to coast in by a half over Modern Family, who was locked in but finished with very strong trot as the 9-10 favorite. DW's NY Yank checked in third. At age seven Twin B Spike Man has found his best form for the Mike Simons / Gail Wrubel tandem, having eclipsed his 2013 earnings total already this season and is now in excess of $45,000 in just seven starts. Simons owns the stable star in partnership with Daniel Eccleston and Albert Abdella III. The Free For All debut of American In Paris went as well against the finest pacing mares The Meadowlands has to offer. Yannick Gingras wheeled her from an early tuck in third to wrestle the lead from Monkey On My Wheel after a snappy 26.2 opener. From there it was a comfortable pace until very late stretch and the wire arrived just in time to save a 1:50.3 decision over the fast closing Keepers Destiny. Monkey On My Wheel saved third to complete a two / three sweep for trainer Andrew Harris. American In Paris remained unbeaten in 2014 and the win put her over $100,000 in career earnings. She races out of the Burke Stable and is owned in partnership with Weaver Bruscemi. Corey Callahan won three races on the night, while Trace Tetrick, Scott Zeron, Dave Miller and Yannick Gingras shared the wealth, all with driving doubles. Total handle for the Friday card eclipsed $3 Million at $3,181,196 for the 13-race program. Racing resumes Saturday, with a 13-race card featuring Golden Receiver who headlines a Free For All Handicap Pace and the second round of the Buddy Gilmour pacing series. Post time is 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

Yannick Gingras says it will be a challenge for Time To Quit to win the Charles Singer Memorial Series at Meadowlands Racetrack, but for now the Big M's leading driver is focused on Thursday's second round. Time To Quit, who is unbeaten in four starts this season, races in the second of two $15,000 second-leg divisions of the restricted series for 3- and 4-year-old trotters. Trained by Ron Burke, the 4-year-old gelding is joined by entry mate Winbak Sullivan at 4-5 on the morning line. Perfect Alliance, a 4-year-old female trotter racing out of the stable of trainer Julie Miller and undefeated in three starts this season, is the 3-5 morning line choice in the first division. Last week, Time To Quit won his Singer division by a head over Clementine Dream in 1:56.2. Perfect Alliance, driven by Andy Miller, won her division by 7-3/4 lengths over Ray Hall in 1:53.3. This week, both trotters start from post eight in eight-horse fields. The $52,500 Charles Singer Memorial Series final is March 8. "I'm not sure he can go with Perfect Alliance," said Gingras, who leads all Meadowlands drivers with 55 victories this year and a 27 percent win rate. "Thankfully, she's in the other division again. She's done it three (starts) in a row. I think she's the only horse that can win from the outside, the rest need an inside post and a trip. "But there are some nice horses in there. Ray Hall is definitely a nice horse and Cajole Hanover and Clementine Dream have a chance too. It'll be interesting." Of course, Time To Quit first needs to get through this week. Mark Harder's Clementine Dream is the 5-2 second choice in the second Singer division, starting from post two with driver Scott Zeron, and Ross Croghan's Cajole Hanover is 5-1 from post five with driver David Miller. Time To Quit, a son of stallion Chocolatier out of the mare Lovable Truth, won the $46,500 Super Bowl Series final by 1-3/4 lengths over Clementine Dream on Jan. 22, one week after besting Cajole Hanover by a nose in the second round. "He's been really good and he'll be first-time Lasix this week, so that should help too," Gingras said. "He can carry his speed pretty well. He's been on the front a lot so far this year, but he doesn't need to be there. He can do it any way; he's a big, strong horse." In the first division of the Singer, Gingras drives Burke-trained You Rock My World. The horse starts from post one and is joined by entry mate Cocotier, driven by Zeron, at 10-1 on the morning line. You Rock My World, a 4-year-old gelding, won one of 19 starts last season, but finished the year by hitting the board in three consecutive conditioned races. He won a conditioned race in 1:57 at the Meadowlands on Feb. 6, but finished seventh in his first round of the Singer after leading the field to the opening quarter in :27.1. "It was too much early, a little more than he could handle," Gingras said. "But he's good to drive and good gaited." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

2013 was a dynamic year for super horse Captaintreacherous and his trainer Tony Alagna, winning 13 out of 16 races and bagging over $2,000,000 in purse money. It was truly an unbelievable season that saw the 3 year old son of Somebeachsomewhere travel throughout the continent, winning at Mohawk Racetrack in Canada and at Balmoral Park, Pocono Downs, The Red Mile, Hoosier Park, Tioga Downs and The Meadowlands in the USA. After a well deserved break, the 4-year-old Captaintreacherous returned home to Tony Alagna’s farm at the end of January, in anticipation of a great 2014 season. Will Captaintreacherous, driven by Tim Tetrick, win another $2,000,000 in 2014? That’s tough to predict, but even if Captaintreacherous won half that amount, it would be still be an unbelievable achievement which rarely happens.  Captaintreacherous is the Lebron James of horse racing, all they do is win. Trainer Tony Alagna, (Anthony P. Alagna is his full name), has been working with horses his entire life. Tony would help his family after school, on weekends and during the summer when he wasn’t in school. Ever since Tony can remember, his dream was to run his own stable and have a fleet of world class horses. With the wonderful success of 2013, it’s interesting how some in the industry welcome him as a new comer when he’s been here all along. Tony views that opinion as odd and explains, “People view you as you’re an overnight sensation when you’ve been in the business your whole life. My parents trained horses when I was a kid, my mom still trains in Chicago.” “Sometimes people are surprised of the success I’ve had in the last four years on my own…. It’s hasn’t been a four year plan, it’s been a lifetime of work and goals to get to this part.” says Tony. “I like to tell people I’m the oldest new comer around.” Prior to running his own operation, Tony trained horses for other stables for 16 years, including working for Irv Miller and Fox Valley Standardbreds. “It’s been a lifetime of being around the horses and learning to get to the stage I am at now.” Tony admits.  When it comes to a horse’s personality, they’re just like humans, each one is unique. Tony says “They’re like kids, each one has their own learning curve”. As to what it was like when Captaintreacherous joined Alagna Stables and how his learning curve was, Tony said “…he’s really an easy horse who makes us look good.” “He’s very schedule orientated” Tony says. “During the racing season he doesn’t get any days off, we jog him every day. He’s very simple, when he’s done he is ready for lunch. For what he likes to do, he is very ritual like. He is what the doctor ordered, as far as we are concerned, being the first great son of Somebeachsomewhere.” Once Tony and the ownership group saw his pedigree, it was love at first sight. “We only looked at the horse because it was the pedigree we loved. Secondly, when we saw the horse, he was the complete package…. He’s a great individual and a great athlete.” Tony says. Once they brought him back to the farm and turned him out Tony admits “…he had a presence about him. It was something special from the get-go. Whenever he stopped, he would look at you. Like he was looking for you and you weren’t looking for him. There is just a special presence with a great horse. We spent a lot of money, with the hope of, if he showed up the possibilities would be endless and we are blessed it turned out that way.” With a well deserved vacation over, it’s time to get back to the fun of racing. For 2014, Captaintreacherous will not be ready to race until June and as for any races Tony and the ownership are looking to enter Captaintreacherous, it is too soon to say. Tony points out what they’re going to do and states, “Like we did last year, we are going to pick and choose our spots. We haven’t marked down any dates; we want to try (and) win major stake races and continue to add to his already strong resume.” Captaintreacherous came back to Alagna stables “much bigger and stronger.” according to Tony. “He really filled out and he’s more mature…. We had to let out his harness, it’s much bigger than last year’s. He’s a very entertaining horse, that’s one of the reasons why we did the stall camera. I told everybody that this horse is very entertaining during the day…. He’s so playful it’s a lot of fun for people to watch. I know some people who cannot believe his antics throughout the day.” As to who can challenge Captaintreacherous this season, there are a few Tony thinks can have a breakout year which should make this year quite intriguing. Tony notes, “There are a lot of great horses coming back this year. Foiled Again is coming back and (trainer) Ron Burke has some great horses coming back, there’s Sweet Lou…. There is plenty of competition, we hope our horse is going to continue to do the work he’s done and do us proud.” Tony is proud of Captaintreacherous and hopes to one day guide the sons and daughters of Captaintreacherous to the same level of success. There is still a lot of racing to do, but Tony being one for charting things out, has already given some thought as to which mares he would like to breed with Captaintreacherous. “My long term goal with this horse is, someday train Captaintreacherous’ sons and daughters out of fillies I have in the barn right now. I don’t feel like we are setting up ourselves for having 2 or 3 years of success, rather hoping we set up ourselves for 10 years of success. We bought fillies last year and bought fillies this year, with Captaintreacherous in mind as the stallion. American Ideal and Western Ideal fillies, we think, will compliment Captaintreacherous with him being from Somebeachsomewhere.” Getting to know Tony was great. Tony considers his entire home to be his man cave! He has everything spread out so it’s all accessible at any time for convenience. Since Tony travels extensively throughout the racing season, his form of unwinding is coming home to relax. He does enjoy going to New York City to watch a show, but other than that Tony considers himself very low key. For fans, Tony wants to help promote the sport and deliver top class entertainment. Tony asserts, “It’s our responsibility as trainers, owners and drivers to do our part to keep the positive flow going. We need to make ourselves more accessible to the fans, I think we need to bring down all the stereo types we have within the industry. There are so many things we need to try do to bring the fans back to the track because there’s more competition… we need to make it  family orientated, where it’s a fun night out and not just about gambling.” It’s thanks to people like Tony Alagna, Tim Tetrick, Mike Hamilton and Scott Zeron that fans can continue to enjoy great experiences at the races. by Roderick Balgobin for the Supernova Sports Club www.supernovasportsclub.com   Twitter: @ScSupernova

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