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After 2068 people casted their vote on social media, the Australasian Standardbred Stallion Guide has its new cover foal. Shadow Play colt Max, pictured with dam Maximum Joy and bred by Stephen Cleave and Pat Ward is this year's "cover colt". "Let's hope he can keep his winning form through to his racing," Cleave quipped. Cleave put out a thank you on his Facebook site for all who voted for Max. Harness Breeders Victoria was blown away by the popularity of this year's competition. Max received 790 of the 2068 votes in the competition. For winning the competition photographer and breeder Cleave will receive a subscription to Trackbred magazine and credits for the photo in the 20th edition of the Australasian Standardbred Stallion Guide. Laura Freeman of Werribee is HBV's lucky voter, winning a HBV prize pack including a Bolinda Publishing pack and a Trots Card thanks to the Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs. The new season Guide will be published in August - all members of HBV receive a copy mailed to their door as part of their membership, as well as any active breeders in the last two seasons and a limited number will be available at HQ offices across Australia. Visit Harness Breeders Vic on Facebook CODY WINNELL 

If anyone thought that harness racing super sire Bettor's Delight was coming to the end of his brilliant stallion career, then todays results of the two year old races at Mohawk Racetrack would have dispelled that theory well and truly. Betty Hill, a daughter of Bettors Delight won the first race for the babies in 1:55.3 after a big move to lead midrace. A $40,000 purchase at last years Harrisburg Sales, Betty Hill is owned by Tom Hill of Lancashire in the United Kingdom. A minor highlight of the race was the run of L A Delight who came from well back for a close up third on debut. Another daughter of Bettor's Delight, L A Delight is a half sister to the very smart racemare Somewhere In L A 1:50 ($599,461) and judging by todays run could be one to follow. The second heat was won by the very mature looking Kays Shadow who employed similar tactics to Betty Hill in scooting to the lead midrace and then defying the opposition to run her down, winning in 1:54 flat. The daughter of Shadow Play was a $23,000 purchase at last year Harrisburg sale and looks more like a four year old than a two year old. Nothing in this heat ran on well enough to say they would challenge Kays Shadow in the near future and her meeting with Betty Hill and L A Delight in the near future will be worth going to see. Betty Hill Harnesslink Media

The Canadian harness racing breeding industry had a stellar day yesterday at Mohawk with several of the day's features captured by stock sired by Canadian based stallions. Leading the way was the evergreen Mach Three who had a day to remember. His three year old daughter Wrangler Magic took out the $479,000 Fan Hanover in 1:50.2 and another daughter in Solar Sister flashed home late for an unlucky third in the same race. Physicallyinclined, a son of Mach Three who missed the North American Cup Final after having no luck in his division last week, showed he wouldn't have been out of it in the big dance when he easily won the $75,000 North American Cup consolation in a sharp 1:49 after starting from barrier eight.  Mach Three progeny also won two other races on the undercard in a timely reminder to breeders of what a great stallion he is. The great trotting mare Bee A Magician was her old self once again, completely dominating the $272,000 Armbro Flight, clearing out for an easy victory in a smart 1:51.4. It was the daughter of Kadabra's 37th lifetime victory and took her earnings to $3,174,386 and it looks like there is plenty more to come. Another Canadian based sire to taste victory on the day was Shadow Play. His outstanding daughter Lady Shadow franked her good form this season with a dominant win in the $350,000 Roses Are Red in a very sharp 1:48.3 It was Lady Shadow's 14th career victory and took her earning to $692,679. The other highlight on the day for Canadian breeders was the victory by Hemi Seelster in the $233,000 Goodtimes Final for three year old trotters. A son of the first crop of the Ontario based sire Holiday Road 1:52.4 ($426,200), Hemi Seelster was aided by a couple of the favourites galloping but he still got the job done in 1:54 Those results yesterday at Mohawk were a timely to North American breeders that  the Canadian based stallions can more than hold their own against all comers. Harnesslink Media

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 20...In an ultra-competitive $350,000 Roses Are Red final for harness racing filly and mare pacers on Pepsi North America Cup night at Mohawk Racetrack, it was Lady Shadow, the 2-1 second choice, who prevailed by two and three-quarter lengths in 1:48.3. Driven by Doug McNair for trainer Ron Adams, Lady Shadow had arrived at the final off a blistering front end 1:48.3 elim win last week and was posting her third victory in only five starts so far this year. The four-year-old Ontario-sired daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella came from third and took over before the half in :54.1, buzzed to the three-quarters in a red-hot 1:21.1, then held off the stretch closers, slight favourite Yagonnakissmeornot and Sandbetweenurtoes, for the win. The field also included the consecutive three-time Roses Are Red defending champion and $3 million earner Anndrovette, but a fourth crown was not in the cards. The eight-year-old mare came home seventh, after taking the field through a quick opening quarter in :25.3, then following Lady Shadow in second until mid-stretch. "They were probably figuring on her (Lady Shadow) leaving out of there tonight," explained McNair. "I wasn't sure who was going to take a stab (at the front). I figured (driver) Timmy (Tetrick, driving Anndrovette) would be coming out of there. I kind of let her settle then put her in front. She kind of did the rest on her own. "I had a good mare (Colors A Virgin) first up (around the far turn). Never want to let her get too close. I figured I'd just let her rock from the three-quarter pole and she paced away from them. She's come along from two to three, now three to four. She's just getting better every year. It was great to get this win. I think I've been second or third in this race before. It's a big thrill for me to win it." Said trainer Adams, who only took over the training of Lady Shadow from McNair's father Gregg in mid-May, when the mare was sold, "She's a beautiful filly. She's built awesome. It's a great win to do it on the front at her home track. I was confident after we won last week. We got to pick our post (3). Picking the inside gave Dougie the opportunity to make something happen." It was career win number 14 for Lady Shadow in 26 starts, with her bankroll now nearing $700,000, including the $175,000 for the Roses Are Red. Lady Shadow paid $6.80, $3.60 and $2.90, teaming with Yagonnakissmeornot ($3.50, $2.60) for an $18.60 (3-5) exactor. A 3-5-6 (Sandbetweenurtoes, $5.40) triactor returned $135.50 while a $1 Superfecta [3-5-6-4 (Waasmula)] was worth $466.55. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 13 - Lady Shadow and Colors A Virgin were harness racing victors in their respective $35,000 Roses Are Red eliminations, for pacing fillies and mares, on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. With Doug McNair in the bike, Lady Shadow captured the first elimination in front-stepping fashion. As soon as the starting gate's wings closed, Lady Shadow brushed to the lead and that is where she remained, putting up fractions of :25.4, :54 and 121.3 before stopping the clock in a new lifetime mark of 1:48.3. Yagonnakissmeornot rallied for second and the even-money favorite, Weeper, was third. Anndrovette, a three-time Rose Are Red Final winner, was fourth and Waasmula was fifth. "She has made almost $500,000 as a two and three year old," said McNair. "She has always been a nice mare and she'll go a big trip once in a while on the front end. Tonight I was just planning on racing her from off the pace and I had seen a couple that I thought were going to leave, decided they were taking off so I just let her roll and the rest is history." With the victory, the Ron Adams trainee notched her second triumph of the season from four starts. The 13-time career winner lifts her earnings to $517,679 for owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and Richard Lombardo. The four-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella returned $19.40 to win. Lady Shadow In the second elimination, Colors A Virgin and driver Trace Tetrick finished second but inherited the win after race winner Venus Delight caused interference to Katie Said in the stretch and was placed eighth, according to Ontario Racing Commission judges. Krispy Apple put up fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:22.2, before Venus Delight converted off second-over cover, which was provided by a first-up Colors A Virgin, to get to the wire first in 1:49. Colors A Virgin finished second and was placed first. Sandbetweenurtoes finished third and was placed second and Table Talk was fourth and placed third. The Jeff Bamond Jr. trainee notched her fourth win of the season from seven outings. The 22-time career winner lifts her earnings to $798,572 for owner Emerald Highlands Farm. The four-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin-Full Color returned $17.50 to win. Krispy Apple The $350,000 Roses Are Red Final, which is set for Saturday, June 20 as part of the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup undercard, will be drawn Tuesday. Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

Harness racing trainer Sam Dimarco would have been a very happy man last night when his high class two year old Shadow Runner bounced back from his disqualification at his prior start by winning his semi-final of the New South Wales Breeders Challenge in a manner which suggested that Waikiki Beach won't have it all his own way in the final in a fortnight. Away well from barrier one for driver Michael Formosa, Shadow Runner settled three back on the inner as El Major set the tempo in front. Passing the 900 metres mark, Michael angled the son of Shadow Play into the running line and went up and sat on the wheel of El Major passing the 800 metres mark. When asked for an effort as they turned for home, Shadow Runner found plenty and sprinted away for an impressive victory. What added further merit to his effort apart from the winning time of 1:53.6 in the cool conditions was the closing sectionals of 55.4 and 27.1 which stamped the two year old as one high class race horse. Brought by Marissa Dimarco for her father to train when he was going through a particularly difficult time, the son of Shadow Play was recently the subject of a six figure offer. After much deliberation, Melissa decided to turn the offer down believing that the horse meant to much to the family to sell him.  "I can't sell Shadow Runner, he has been a very special horse for my family and I couldn't bring myself to sell him, he's not for sale." "Dad said with that sort of money I could go out and buy another yearling but it isn't about the money for me, the horses are my hobby," Marissa said The win took Shadow Runners earnings in his two year year to over $95,000 and he is now a live chance in the $125,000 final in two weeks. Harnesslink Media  

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – The center stage will be on the four $35,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers and trotters Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. Culminating the three weeks of preliminary round action will be the top point earners in the month long series. And the very first final on the program is race three for older pacers and it has shaped up to be perhaps the toughest of the four finales. Both Champagne Phil and Atomic Million AM have been battling each other for the past three years and once again meet in the Quebec-Bred Series finale. Champagne Phil comes into the final on a five-race winning streak for trainer Francis Richards and driver Denis St. Pierre. The five-year-old gelded son of Shanghai Phil will start from post five and has been on a tear. Three starts back at Mohawk Raceway he took a lifetime mark of 1:49.4. Meanwhile, Atomic Million AM has been either first or second in his last seven starts for owner/trainer Alan Martin. He has almost never lost at Trois-Rivieres, scoring in 1:55.2 there two starts back. A four-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play, Atomic Million Am starts from post three. With these two high caliber contenders going head and head, the track record of 1:53.1, equaled two starts back by Champagne Phil, could well be broken. “I just finished watching my replays,” said Denis St Pierre Friday, “and I really think I can beat him (Atomic Million AM), I know his weakness. And Champagne Phil is a very very nice horse.” The fourth race is the $35,000 final for older trotters and the overwhelming favorite, who was barred from wagering his last start at 3R, is the undefeated Maximuscle. He starts from post six for driver Mario Charron. Three for three in 2015 for trainer Maxime Velaye, Maximuscle has just bullied his way in the series with no one able to stay close to him. The four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall has led from start to finish in all three of his races this season, the fastest in 1:57.1. The real race will be for second place, which is worth $8,750. There we will see Andovers Touch (post 8), who won two of the three prelimary rounds when not facing Maximuscle, Somoli E (post 2) and George S P (post 4) in a close matchup. “I do not think another horse can keep close to Maximuscle,” said Mario Charron. “They have not been able to this season. I think he could break the track record with ease (1:56), but the trainer and owner do not want me to push him that hard. There is no need to but if I cut him loose he would break the record. I would go for it but they don’t want to. He is that good a horse.” The sixth race finale for older pacing mares features Champagne Shower going for her fifth straight win. She starts from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. The daughter of Santana Blue Chip seeks to make it a clean sweep of the Quebec-Bred Series for trainer Yves Tessier. Last week Champagne Shower and Pierre cruised to a four and three-quarter length triumph in 1:54.3. That mile tied the track record for older mares.  “She is strong,” Denis St Pierre said. “She passed the test last week as she won well within herself.” My Tallia Ideal (post 7) was the hot mare two starts back when she also won in 1:54.3, tying the track record, but last week she was only second best to Champagne Shower. Others contenders include series division winner Canbec Lindor (post 1) and Lutetia Semalu (post 2). Viva Bayama is the strong horse in the eighth race final for older trotting mares. She sports six wins in just nine starts for trainer Sebastian Giroux and starts from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. The Muscle Mass mare has won her last two starts at Trois-Rivieres the hard way, having to race first-over and grind it out as she has no ability to leave at the start of the race. “My plan will be the same,” Denis St Pierre said, “She cannot leave at all. We will have no choice but to be parked out and sit and wait.” Her main rival is just the opposite of Viva Bayama as Canbec Kangourou (post 5) is hot for the lead at the start of most of her races. She won one of the three preliminary rounds, leading from start to finish, but when facing Viva Bayama, she has been just second best. Canbec Kangourou is driven by Jocelyn Gendron and is expected to try and wire the field again. Denis St Pierre celebrates his 52nd birthday Saturday and would like nothing more as a birthday wish then to have a big day Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. “I think that I could have a big day at 3R Sunday,” Pierre said. “After studying the race program and watching replays I could maybe win six of the races. That would make for a great day after my birthday celebration.” Post time Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R is 1:30 pm. For more information visit From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Brussebeach puts his two-race winning streak on the line in the ninth race feature pace at the Hippodrome 3R Wednesday. The four-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play has found new life since coming to the Hippodrome 3R. He has won both his starts for owner/trainer Dr. John Bradbury of Cookshire-Eaton, QC and go from post three on Wednesday. Brussebeach is co-owned by Dr. Bradbury with Harold Duguay of Pabos, QC. Driver Louis-Philippe Roy drove Brussebeach for the first time last week and was impressed with the horse. “Last week he went a huge trip,” Roy said. “I really did not know him before he came to Trois-Rivieres, so I can’t tell you what has changed him into a winner, but he seems to like the half mile track.” Brussebeach has won his last two starts from both on and off the pace. Both times in 1:58.1. “I think our main rival will be Windham Hanover,” Roy said. “He is a horse that loves the front and from post one he might be tough to beat in here.” Another return winner in the race is Charlottes Tazman from post four for driver Denis St Pierre. The 13-year-old veteran was parked out most of the mile last week and still came on for a victory in 1:58.1. Other contenders in the race include Windham Hanover (post 1), Hockey Bum (post 2) and Draft Hanover (post 9). Wednesday racing gets underway at 7:00 pm. For more information contact From the Quebec Jockey Club

WILKES-BARRE PA - What's the surest sign that harness racing is about to enter its "prime time" of the year?   Is it the shipping of stables from warmer climes to the North?   Is it the start of the many classy stakes scattered throughout the season?   Is it the return of the weekly "Top Ten" poll?   No, no, and no.   The surest sign of harness racing's ready to enter the seasonal "fast track" is, ironically, a group of colts or fillies going slowly an extra lap of a racetrack before the beginning of a morning race. Their drivers are talking back and forth, to each other, to the starter, and to their horses, getting them ready for when the starter springs the gate in front of them - and they start out in their first "baby race."   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono offered three races exclusively for two-year-olds during its Thursday morning program of qualifiers.   The first winner was the Shadow Play filly Miss Read, who rallied from the pocket with a 28.2 last quarter (2:01) to defeat another late charger, Nip's Beach Girl, for driver Howard Parker. Trainer Leigh Raymer may have a bargain on her hands here, as the filly cost her and Tyler Raymer only $5500 despite the fact that the mare had produced three $100,000 winners - and now has a promising baby to her credit.   Team Raymer came right back with a Donato Hanover colt, Mr Right, whom Tyler sent to the top after the quarter, then flashed home in 58.3 - 29 to complete a 2:01.3 victory for Leigh, who co-owns with Stephen Moss, Harold Solomon, and Helene Solomon. Mr Right, aptly-named to date, was a $25,000 yearling purchase, and he is out of a dam who is a sister to the $600G winner Somebody To Love.   In the third baby race, driver Brewer Adams stole a 1:05.2 half with the American Ideal colt Gaius Crastinus, then zipped him home in a pair of 29s to hold off first-over Kiss Baby Kiss, wrapping up the package in 2:03.2. Jennifer Sabot conditions the colt, out of a dam whose sister is well-known $1M winner Feeling You, for owner/breeder Marilee Keene. (The winner, by the way, is named after one of Caesar's most trusted lieutenants in the Gallic Wars - yes, I had to look it up.)   PHHA / Pocono              

Despite Mother Nature providing early downpours that left the Hippodrome 3R track in "good" shape with a two second allowance, the harness racing action was top notch on the half mile oval Sunday. In the eighth race co-feature pace, Rainbow Palace once again could not defeat her older rivals as the betting favorite for driver Francis Picard. The lone filly in the race by Royal Mattjesty went out to the early lead but could not hold off G Zattara and driver Steeven Genois, who took command right before the opening quarter mile in :28.3. Then able to back down the pace slightly, Genois and G Zattara to the half mile marker in :59.2, they were challenged first-over by Matts Phil (Pascal Berube) with Reel after a late driver change to Mario Charron, was able to get the second-over trip. By the three-quarters, Berube and Matts Phil cleared to the lead in 1:29.2 and seemingly left Reel parked out and the filly, Rainbow Palace, stuck behind horses with plenty of speed. As they came down to the wire, Reel and Charron would not give up and closed with a burst of late speed to win by a half-length in 1:59.3 over Matts Phil. Rainbow Palace found clearance and was third. It was the second win in ten starts this year for Reel. The four-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play is trained by Maxime Velaye and owned by Guy Corbeil of Mirable, QC. He paid $7.00 to win. The betting public did not allow the off track to change their minds as Miss Jackpot and driver Serge Ouellet were parked first-over for most of the one mile co-feature trot and still were able to win by one and three-quarter lengths in 2:01.4. They paid $5.20 to win. Legendary driver Gaeton Lamy scored his first win in his comeback from retirement on Sunday. Lamy went wire to wire in the ninth race pace with Cliff Drummond, winning with east by two and three-quarter lengths in a quick 1:58.2. The first Wednesday night live program takes place next week with first race post time at 7:00 pm. For more information visit Laurent Sauve

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 9 - J Js Delivery brought his 'A' game Saturday night to Mohawk Racetrack to win a harness racing action-packed final of The Diplomat. A field of nine three-year-old pacing colts and geldings clashed Saturday evening for the $60,000 final of The Diplomat series. Fresh off a victory in leg two, The Wayfaring Man was sent off as the 4/5 favourite, while leg one winner J Js Delivery was the second choice at 5/2. J Js Delivery and James MacDonald were the quickest off the gate and sprinted to the opening-quarter in a speedy :26.2. The Wayfaring Man and Jack Moiseyev wasted no time moving from fifth in the second-quarter to challenge the leader. The pace was hot down the backstretch and The Wayfaring Man did not clear by J Js Delivery until reaching the half in :54.3. The public's choice kept the speed going by pacing a :27.4 third-quarter to get the field down to that station in 1:22.2. In the stretch, J Js Delivery came off the rail for MacDonald to tango with The Wayfaring Man. The two favourites went toe-to-toe down the lane, but J Js Delivery had just a bit more fight and was able to edge by The Wayfaring Man to win in a career-best 1:50.1. The Wayfaring Man finished a game second and was beat by a length and a quarter. American Rock finished third, while Good Friday Three was fourth. J Js Delivery is trained Dave Menary for Robert Hamather and was the only horse in that final that did not race in the second leg. Following the race, MacDonald said he wanted to be near the front. "He's got a lot of speed and I just wanted to get him up close," said MacDonald. "I thought if I could cut it he would be good or if I could find a good hole." A son of Jeremes Jet, J Js Delivery now has four wins from six starts this season. Saturday's victory was the sixth of his career and pushes his career earnings to $98,686. J Js Delivery paid $7.90 to win. J Js Delivery In order to be eligible to The Diplomat, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2014. Cast No Shadow comes up big in Princess final Cast No Shadow turned in a stakes record performance to win the $59,600 Princess Series final Saturday night at Mohawk. A field of six three-year-old pacing fillies lined up to contest the Princess final and on paper it appeared to be a three-horse race between leg one winner Moonlit Dance, leg two winner Maplelea and Cast No Shadow. The top three fillies on paper were the top three fillies Saturday night. Moonlit Dance made a move from second to overtake the lead in the second-quarter, but was quickly confronted by Cast No Shadow and Chris Christoforou from third. Cast No Shadow cleared to the front just after the midway point of :55.2. Around the final turn, Maplelea came first up from fifth to situate the top three fillies in the top three spots at the three-quarter pole in 1:23.2. In the stretch, Cast No Shadow was able to put away the pressure from her rivals and paced on to a 1 ¾ length victory in a stakes record clocking of 1:50.4. Moonlit Dance was able to battle by Maplelea on the inside to finish second. "I wanted to be in control coming around the last turn because I wanted to get away from Rick's (Zeron) filly, Maplelea," said Christoforou following the race. "She can sprint so fast, so when I heard them come he was about two or three lengths behind on the turn and I just pulled the trigger and hoped I could hold on." A daughter of Shadow Play, Cast No Shadow is trained by Nick Gallucci for owner Millard Adams and now has a 2015 record of six wins from eight starts. The Princess Series final victory pushes her bankroll over $80,000. Cast No Shadow returned $5.90 to win. Cast No Shadow In order to be eligible to the Princess Series, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2014. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, April 6 - A pair of harness racing  sophomore pacing fillies continued their dominance Monday night in the second leg of the Blossom Series at Woodbine. Two $15,000 second leg divisions of the series event for three-year-old pacing fillies were contested Monday evening. First round winners Cast No Shadow and Maplelea returned to score victories once again and set up a potential showdown in the series final. In the first division, Cast No Shadow improved her record to five for five in 2015 with a sharp 1:52.2 victory. Driven by Mike Saftic, Cast No Shadow, the 1/5 favourite, sat off the pace early on and would get into the outer flow heading towards the final turn. A fading first up challenger would force Cast No Shadow and her cover to go three-wide, but that wouldn't faze the public's choice. Cast No Shadow would explode off her cover in the stretch and charge by leader Moonlit Dance to prevail by a length and three-quarters. High Fashion Mel and Nippy W Hanover finished third and fourth, respectively. A daughter of Shadow Play, Cast No Shadow paced home in :26.4 to remain undefeated in 2015. She is trained by Des Tackoor for owner Millard Adams and now has over $40,000 in career earnings. The clocking of 1:52.2 knocked more than two-seconds off Cast No Shadow's previous career-mark. She paid $2.50 to win. Cast No Shadow Maplelea, the HPI Series winner, scored her fifth consecutive victory with a 1:56 triumph in the second division. Sent off as the 1/2 favourite, Maplelea and driver Rick Zeron got away sixth and last in the early stages of the race. Little pace was offered in the second-quarter and the field got to the half in just 1:00.1. Maplelea started up on the outside down the backstretch and was situated second-over coming off the final turn. In the stretch, Maplelea powered by her rivals to score a length and three-quarters victory. Her individual final-quarter was a dazzling :26.1. Doctor Terror finished second, while Beyonces Rockn took third. A daughter of Sportswriter, Maplelea has now won seven of nine starts this season for owner/trainer Andrew Moore. Her career bankroll now sits at over $82,000. Maplelea returned $3 to win. Maplelea Both Cast No Shadow and Maplelea will now have a chance at the Blossom Series sweep in next Monday's $36,200 final at Mohawk Racetrack. Mark McKelvie WEG Communications

TORONTO, March 30 - Maplelea and Cast No Shadow scored first leg victories in the harness racing Blossom Series Monday night at Woodbine. A group of 15 three-year-old pacing fillies were split into two $15,000 divisions for the first round of the Blossom Series. The first division saw a familiar horse to series action continue her recent run of dominance. Fresh off a sweep of the HPI Series, Maplelea and driver Rick Zeron picked up right where they left off with a 1:57 victory. Sent off as the 3/5 favourite, Zeron elected to take Maplelea to the back of the pack and paced along seventh around the first turn. Down the backstretch, Maplelea moved off the pylons and would pick up cover to be perfectly placed second-over as the field turned for home. In the stretch, Maplelea cruised by her rivals and paced home in :27.2 to win by two-lengths. Doctor Terror finished up well to take second, while Much Adoo finished third. A three-year-old daughter of Sportswriter, Maplelea has now won four-consecutive starts for owner/trainer Andrew Moore. Her 2015 record now sits at an impressive six wins from eight starts for earnings of over $73,000. Maplelea paid $3.20 to win. In the second division, Cast No Shadow and Chris Christoforou scored an impressive open-length victory at 5/1. Beyonces Rockn, the 3/5 favourite, took control of the lead in the second-quarter, while Cast No Shadow paced along in fourth. Christoforou would get his charge out in moving and came first up around the final turn to challenge the favourite at the three-quarter pole in 1:27.1. In the stretch, Cast No Shadow blew by Beyonces Rockn and stormed home strongly in :27 to win by 5 ¾ lengths. Moonlit Dance just got up for second, while Beyonces Rockn had to settle for third. A three-year-old daughter of Shadow Play, Cast No Shadow is trained by Des Tackoor for owner Millard Adams. After failing to win a race in four starts last season, Cast No Shadow is a now a perfect four-for-four in 2015 and has banked $31,500. Her clocking of 1:54.1 knocked almost two-seconds off her previous career-mark. Cast No Shadow returned $12.90 to win. In order to be eligible to the Blossom Series, the sophomore pacing fillies had to be non-winners of three-races or $15,000 in 2014. The second leg of the Blossom will take place next Monday (April 6). Mark McKelvie

Life has been tough for astute harness racing trainer Sam Dimarco in recent times, but he has every reason to smile at the moment. Battling depression, Dimarco returned to the industry last year and has enjoyed a sensational rate of success. Leading the charge is boom youngster Shadow Runner, which is unbeaten from four starts, including the Bathurst Gold Crown. Driven by Michael Formosa, Shadow Runner worked hard from his second row draw before scoring by a short half-head from Karloo Damajor. In a ‘blanket finish’, Sams The Master was a half-head away third. “It got tight at the finish, but he got there, which is the main thing,” Dimarco said. “I’m rapt, couldn’t be happier. “That’s my first Group One win and to share it with my daughter Marissa, who owns Shadow Runner is amazing.” Covering the last half in 57.2 seconds, Shadow Runner rated a brilliant 1:55.7 for the 1730-metre trip, smashing the race record set by Jaccka Taurus in 1999 by 2.4 seconds. To be given a brief let-up, the gelded son of Shadow Play will then be set for the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge. “He is already bucking around in the paddock and ready to go again,” Dimarco said. “You wouldn’t even know he’d raced on the weekend. “I will give him an easy week, then get ready for the Breeders’ Challenge.” PAUL COURTS

Shadow Runner has certainly created quite the impression in his short harness racing career to date. A winner on debut by over 50 metres, the son of Shadow Play then won in 1:56 at his second start. On Saturday night he could not have been any more impressive when winning the fifth heat of the Bathurst Gold Crown in 1:55.7 – the fastest time of the night. After starting from the outside of the front line, Shadow Runner was taken back by driver Michael Formosa and settled last. Coming home three and four wide, Shadow Runner hit the front half way down the home straight and went on to win comfortably by 11 metres. The Sam Dimarco trainee’s three starts have now resulted in three wins by a combined margin of 71 metres! Bred by K & A Hipkins, Shadow Runner is the third foal of the Astreos mare Ayabacana. He comes from the second Southern Hemisphere crop of the Little Brown Jug winner Shadow Play 1:47.8 - $1,559,822. Harnesslink Media

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the newly-announced official name of the northeast Pennsylvania oval known in the industry as Pocono Downs, kicked off its 50th anniversary year of harness racing on Saturday night, with three $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series for developing male pacers all going against the form as far as the race winners.   The biggest upset was produced in the first division, with Shadow Margeaux (Larry Stalbaum), who had three third-place finishes in this series last year, benefitting from an overcooked pace over the "good" surface to rally from last at the stretch call and tally in 1:52.4. The Shadow Play gelding, trained by many-time Downs champion Steve Salerno for himself, Bruce Potter, and Edward Bardowski, paid $77.00 to win as the longest shot on the board - with second-longest shot Kolt Power second and third-longest shot Red Pine third.   The second Weiss cut saw the second choice win, but it was a $15.60 second choice, as the Well Said gelding Mojito Hanover (Marcus Miller) was a pocket rocket in a 1:53.1 tally, with the 2-5 Burke Stable entry settling for a 3-5 finish. Jim Campbell harnesses "Mojito" for Fred and Shirley Schwartz, Onda Racing Stable LLC, and Shore Thing Stables LLC.   A two-ply Burke force got some measure of revenge in the third division, but Victory At Last (Matt Kakaley), who held off the first-over YS Lotus in 1:52.4, was in an entry that was not the favorite - he paid $4.00 to win, while YS Lotus was 3-5. Victory At Last, an altered son of Quik Pulse Mindale, is owned by the leading combine in the sport, Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   The Weiss Series will feature pacing females and trotting males in first division action on Tuesday, while trotting fillies will be in the spotlight Wednesday, as Pocono opens on a three-night-a-week schedule. The top competitors after four preliminary legs come back for a $30,000 divisional Championship.   The feature for overnight horses, a $22,000 pace, rang true to form as the Cambest gelding Blatantly Best (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.80) rallied from second-over to be clear late in 1:51.3. Larry Remmen trains the winner for owner Bradley Grant.   However, Shadow Margeaux was the first of many longshots to report home first on Saturday - races 11-13 consecutively saw One More Miracle ($41.40), Salevster Stallion ($34.40) and Feels Like Magic N ($48.40) handsomely reward their scattered backers.   George Napolitano Jr., going for his fourth straight dash driving title and record ninth local crown, guided home four winners on the opener, with Matt Kakaley, the last horseman other than "George Nap" to be on top here (2011), had three. Two-time defending North American dash champion Ron Wrenn Jr., in his first-ever night of racing at Pocono, had a respectable 10-1-3-1-.300 sulky tally, despite being named on only one horse at the time of the draw.   Jerry Connors

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