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Pompano Beach, FL...May 23, 2015...Johnny Grippa teamed up with harness racing driver Bruce Ranger to score a handy win measuring 2 1/2 lengths in Pompano Park's $8,500 "Winner's Over" handicap pace on Saturday night in 1:51.4. The seven year-old son of Cam's Card Shark led at every junction in the mile, clocking fractions of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:25.3 before exploding home in :26.1 to pin the defeat on stablemate Hillybilly, handled by Ben McNeil, with Northern Companion, with Tom Sells handling the lines, third. Shamderock and Who's Your Maddy picked up the final awards in the quintet. At the outset, Johnny Grippa was sent right to the front from his advantageous post five with Northern Companion, one slot in, also on the engine early and settling in the garden spot with Shamderock, Who's Your Maddy and Hillybilly completing the order through the early going and over to the half. On the backside, driver McNeil sent Hillybilly winging from the back of the pack and, with no interruptions, brushed up into second around the final turn. In the lane, Johnny Grippa was doing some serious brushing of his own, scorching the last panel to seal the deal. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger, having just celebrated lifetime win number 8,888 just last Wednesday, smiled and said, "Well, that's the first of my 'next' 8,888." He continued, "This is just a hard hitting, solid performer. He loves to be in the thick of the action from the get-go and the five post here is the perfect spot to do so. He was sharp last week finishing second and he was sharp again tonight with the 'soft' fractions helping him the middle half of the mile." Trained by Stewart Nemiro for Mc Trade Enterprises, Johnny Grippa won for the fifth time this year in 18 starts, good for $40,600 so far in 2015. Lifetime, Johnny Grippa now owns 42 wins with career earnings of $194,170. As the 1 to 5 chalk on the tote-board, Johnny Grippa paid $2.40 to win. Also of interest on the Saturday night card was the winning debut of Bring On The Beach, a three year-old full brother to the great Somebeachsomewhere, Trained by Jim Mc Donald for the Mardon Stables, Paradox Farm and Dan MacIssac, Bring On The Beach scored for Wally Hennessey in 1:54.4, holding off the late surging pair of Marion and Motorcity Pawnstar in the process. Bring On The Beach was away cautiously in this, his first career outing before brushing from third around the opening turn and taking the lead right at the first marker in :29. He then proceeded through panels of :57.4 and 1:26 before holding on to score by three-parts-of-a-length on the strength of his :28.4 finale. Unraced at two--sans a Mohawk qualifier in which he made a miscue early--Bring On The Beach came into the action off of a 1:56.4 qualifying win three weeks ago. After the win, Hennessey said, "He's a nice colt, no doubt about that...but he's got about 40 lengths to make up to catch his brother...$3,000,000, too. He's got some talent. I hope he goes half as far as his brother!" As the 4 to 5 tote-board favorite, Bring On The Beach paid $3.80 to win to his many followers. Racing continues on Wednesday night with first post tabbed at 7:30 p.m. Correction: In our last report, it was erroniously stated that the handle for last Wednesday's program was a record $1,381,817. While the single race handle of $1,299,038 proved to be a record, the aforementioned total handle was not a record as $1,435,549 was wagered on Isle of Capri night in 2003 and $1,403,907 was the total handle on Isle of Capril night in 2000. by John Berry for Pompano Park

There were three divisions of The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (May 21) each going for a purse of just over $71,000. In the first division, it was Miller's Stable's Somewhere Sweet (Dave Miller) scoring an impressive five length victory. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere rolled right to the front, tripping the quarter beam in :27.1. After a rated second quarter of :29.1 (:56.2 half), the Brian Brown trainee began to draw away, getting the back half in :56.2, completing the mile in an in-hand 1:52.4. It was her fourth career win of eleven starts, and her third in the last four. Better Said (Tim Tetrick) was making her 2015 debut after going two for five in the win column as a two-year-old. She rallied on for second, while Moma's Got A Gun (Brett Miller) finished third. The winner paid $6.60. The track was downgraded to good for the second division, in which trainer Brian Brown continued his winning ways with Serious Filly (Tim Tetrick). The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was taken off the early pace, but shifted into gear shy of the half. She mounted a persistent first-over bid, and was able to grind past pace-setter Aria Hanover (Brett Miller) to win by a little more than a length, stopping the clock in 1:53.3. Imagine Dragon (Scott Zeron) shook loose late to close for second, while Doll Fins (Yannick Gingras) finished third. Owned by Emerald Highlands Farm, Serious Filly remains undefeated in 2015, a perfect four for four. The winner paid $14.40. Trainer Brian Brown was looking for the sweep in Division three, as he sent out the heavy favorite Triple V Hanover (Dave Miller). The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was taken off the early pace, but brushed hard towards the top after the quarter (:28), not clearing until the half (:56.2). The tough trip took its toll in the stretch, as Art's Jem (Tim Tetrick) closed fast up the inside to win, stopping the clock in 1:54.2. Southwind Roulette (Yannick Gingras) finished second while Deli Beach (John Campbell) finished third. It was the third seasonal win in five starts for the daughter of Art Official, who is owned by CC Racing. The Joann Looney-King trainee paid $19.60 to win. Michael Bozich

The weather is heating up and so is the harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. This past week saw the first appearances of both the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and The Stallion Series, those showcases for younger horses which bring the finest horses and horsemen to the Downs to strut their stuff for big purses. We also saw Open pace and Open trot action on Saturday night for the first time in 2015. It all leads to a jam-packed edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK:  RISE UP NOW If you follow sports, it's likely you're familiar with the term "meteoric rise." It's often used (maybe overused, to be frank) when an athlete ascends from anonymity to great success in a short period of time. In the case of Rise Up Now, a 3-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding, he's got a name that seems to fit that term, and he's lived up to it and then some this season. In his 2-year-old season, he picked up just one win in seven races. Yet he started the season off sizzling in overnight races at The Meadows, ripping off three straight victories right away. His next start was on May 9 in Pennsylvania All Stars action at Pocono, a tough test that he passed in stellar fashion by gutting out a win by a nose in a career-best time of 1:50:2. On Saturday night in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, Rise Up Now, trained by Brian Brown, was a 2-1 second choice behind Blood Brother, who also won an All Stars race last week and set some nasty fractions on the lead. Driver Simon Allard provided a canny drive for Rise Up Now, sending him first-over on the back before sliding into the pocket behind Blood Brother. In the stretch, Rise Up Now wore down Blood Brother by a length-and-a-half in 1:51:3 on a sloppy track. Five wins in five races while soaring from the lowest condition ranks to Sire Stakes action: I do believe we can freely use that "meteoric rise" term in this case. Other top pacers this week include: Alexas Jackpot (George Napolitano Jr., Marty Fine), who followed up an Open win at Harrah's at Philadelphia by winning Pocono's first Open pace of the 2015 meet in 1:49:3, which matched a career-best and was fastest of the week at Pocono despite coming on a sloppy track; Catalea Seelster (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), a mare whose victory in a $15,000 claimer on Sunday night in 1:52:3 was her fifth in a row, with the last four of those victories coming at Pocono; and Caviart Shelley (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), a mare who gutted out her fourth consecutive condition win on Wednesday night in 1:51:3, a new career mark. TROTTER OF THE WEEK:  CLASSIC MARTINE In the first $30,000 Open trot of the season, a pair of distaffers shared the pre-race spotlight. This was by no means a slight on the male horses in the race, all of whom were accomplished veteran trotters with many big wins and copious earnings to their credit. But Classic Martine and Shake It Cerry are no ordinary mares; they rank among the finest in the world. In their previous meeting on May 3 at Miami Valley Raceway in Ohio, Classic Martine, the 5-year-old Classic Photo star from the Chris Oakes barn, overcame a #9 post and 15-1 odds to upend heavily favored Shake It Cerry, who struggled to sixth. This time around, Classic Martine got the betting love at 1-5. Driver George Napolitano took her to the front end and rated the pace very well, making it very unlikely that anyone would run her down in the stretch. Classicality, who had the pocket trip, and Shake It Cerry, who started slow but moved up aggressively around the final turn, both attempted to rally. But Classic Martine never looked worried, keeping a nice margin all the way to the line as she won by 3½ lengths. Her winning time of 1:53:1 was achieved without much urging at all. Right now, it doesn't matter the age or gender facing her, because Classic Martine is going to be a handful for anyone lining up to take her on. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Razor Ramone (Anthony Napolitano, Eric Ell), who arrived from Harrah's and powered his way to a condition win on Saturday night in a career-best 1:53:3; Scorcher Hall (Tom Jackson, Greg White), who moved up in class and racked up his second straight condition won on Tuesday night in 1:55; and It's Not Over (Jim Morrill Jr., Matias Ruiz), who, despite being laid off for two months since a victory in his previous start in California in March, returned strong with a condition win on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK:  MARATHON MAN When a couple of leaders broke stride late, this trotter with Brandon Simpson in the bike came storming home to win a condition on Tuesday night at 75-1 for a $152.60 payoff on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK:  SCOTT ZERON Zeron made the most of his lone appearance at Pocono for the week, ripping off four victories on Sunday night, more than any other driver on the card that evening. TRAINER OF THE WEEK:  BRIAN BROWN Brown, whose base is in Ohio, continues to win big in Pennsylvania, following up success last week in the Pennsylvania All Stars races with a pair of Sire Stakes winners on Saturday night. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE PA - For a track with a 47.8% winning favorites rate heading into Sunday's harness racing program, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono offered some tasty win mutuels on well-pedigreed horses in the first three of the four $20,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing colts.   The chalkplayers finally had their moment in the spotlight in the fourth and final division, and even in that event favored Parklane Eagle had a couple of anxious moments before winning in a personal best 1:51 for driver David Miller and trainer Peter Foley. The son of Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Shirley Le Vin, had controlled the early pace with fractions of 26.4 and 55.1, but 47-1 shot Kwik Mac gave the frontstepper something to think about as he got to within a neck at the 1:23.1 3/4s. Parklane Eagle shrugged off that challenge though, and by the wire he had that rival 3¾ lengths in arrears of him.   Hall of Fame driver Miller also brought the “best bet for the odds” winner of four, a horse with impeccable connections making his first start of the year for trainer Jim Campbell. Gallic Beach is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Western Gallie, whose dam Galleria (herself a champion racemare) has also produced the unlucky Gallie Bythe Sea, a Breeders Crown elimination winner at two and three who through misfortune got to start in neither final. And Gallic Beach was ready right out of the box, setting the pace and blazing home in 54.3 to earn a new speed badge of 1:51.4 for owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC - and returning a generous $15.40.   Sire Somebeachsomwhere had a third Stallion Series winner in Guantanamo Bay, who overcame the first-over route to hang a head loss on Jo Pa's Well Said, flying late after coming from sixth at the half, to take a new mark of 1:52 for driver Mike Simons, at 11-1 odds, highest return on the four winners. Trainer Fred Grant, a native of Nova Scotia, conditions the winner for owners from his native province, James Bagnell and Ann Smith.   It's rare to get 5-1 at Pocono on the track's eight-time driving champion George Napolitano Jr., and even rarer if "GNap" is teaming with top trainer Chris Oakes. But the backers of the McArdle gelding Mckenry got just such a windfall in his division, as the pacesetting winner got a nontaxing half in 57, then flew home in 55 for "GNap" to hold off "ANap" (his brother Anthony) and hard-charging Angelo J Fra by a half-length, with the 1:52 final package giving each series winner a rewritten speed mark. Mckenry won for Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, and the Wheelhouse Racing Stable.   The Stallion Series' four winners reflect the purpose of Pennsylvania's "little brother" to the Sire Stakes - it gives a chance for horses not quite yet at the top a chance to race competitively for good money. Parkland Eagle had three lifetime wins coming into his race - which was the exact total of the other three winners combined. But after four miles in 1:52 or better, one of more of the visitors to Victory Lane Sunday at The Downs could be stepping up to battle the "big boys" as they develop.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - To modify a Southern expression to its current "home," harness racing trainer Brian Brown is "hotter'n a two-dollar Pennsylvania pistol on a Saturday night."   Trainer Brown, trainer of 2014 divisional and Jugette champion Color's A Virgin and a resident of Delaware OH, may be having himself a two-day party late this September at the famed half-miler, as he already has five different Pennsylvania Sire Stakes-winning three-year-old pacing horses, three fillies and now the two colts who continued the hot trainer's winning ways Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, being among the four winners in the $226,168 first leg of their Sires action.   As the track turned "sloppy" for the fifth race Sires division (Pocono is about 150 miles northeast of Baltimore as the crow flies, and the Preakness rain started about two hours before the storms hit northeast PA), Rise Up Now remained undefeated in five outings this year, tucking in the pocket down the back and then catching leader Blood Brother in the stretch to post a 1½-length 1:51.3 over a newly-christened "sloppy" track. Blood Brother had snapped off splits of 26.1, 55.3, and 1:22.2, but the 53 usage in the odd-numbered quarters did not allow him to hold off the Somebeachsomewhere gelding and driver Simon Allard, who piloted the Brown trainee for King McNamara of Florida, the only non-Buckeye in the ownership group which includes the Strollin Stable, William Robinson, and Country Club Acres.   Brown is now two-for-two seasonally with the Well Said colt Lost For Words, who reclaimed the lead down the backstretch, opened up four lengths turning for home, then held off the late charge of the game little Allbeef N Nobull to win by 1½ lengths in 1:51.4 in the night's second division, when the track was still "fast." Lost For Words, a finalist in both the Governors Cup and Breeders Crown last year, was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for the three Ohioans who share in Rise Up Now's ownership and another Buckeye, Richard Lombardo.   For years Brown has done very well in the Pennsylvania program, but this year his numbers are only slightly short of unbelievable. He's perfect in five Pocono starts, and at The Meadows he sports a 13-9-3-0 tally, for a Keystone State total of 18-14-3-0 - which produces a mind-boggling state UTR of .870!   McArdles Lightning teamed with driver Anthony Napolitano to post a 6-1 upset in taking the first division, coming from last at the half in the seven-horse field and blitzing his own back two quarters in 54.2 to equal his lifetime mark of 1:51. Steve Elliott conditions the McArdle ridgling (double thoroughbred Triple Crown racewinner American Pharoah is also a ridgling) for the Lightning Stable.   In the final Sires heat, Wazikashi Hanover was a pocket rocket in catching last year's 2YO Sires champion, Yankee Bounty, by 1¼ lengths, with the time on the sloppy track 1:52. Yankee Bounty overcame the outside "eight-ball" to post splits of 27, 57, and 1:24.4, but "Wazikashi," a Dragon Again gelding, was relentless and gained into the 27.1 kicker for trainer Joann Looney-King and the Tri County Stable. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. joined trainer Brown as a double winner in the Sires races.   ***** Also on the Pocono Saturday card were two $30,000 Open events, one for each gait, which were carded in anticipation of next Sunday's $150,000 Invitationals to be raced at the other track that Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association services, Harrah's Philadelphia.   Last year's divisional champion Classic Martine will have an interesting decision to make about "trying the boys" after taking the $30,000 Open trot by 3½ lengths in 1:53.1 on a fast track for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes. The daughter of Classic Photo, owned by Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Ed Gold, made the lead in 27.3, "stole" a 30-second second quarter, and then dashed home in successive 27.4 panels to defeat Classicality, with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry coming from seventh at the half to claim third, another length behind.   On the pacing side, Van Rose Memorial winner Domethatagain and second-place Alexa's Jackpot met again, but this time, two weeks later, the post position advantage was reversed (1-4, respectively, in the Rose to 8-3 Saturday), as was the result, with Alexa's Jackpot winning in 1:49.3 in the off going. Domethatagain motored to the top in 26 flat from his next-to-outside starting berth Saturday, but Alexa's Jackpot was put on the move soon thereafter by George Napolitano Jr., who took both Opens, and posted splits of 54.1 and 1:21.4 en route to the 1¼-length triumph. Trainer Marty Fine shares ownership in the winner with the Highland Thoroughbred Farm.   ***** The week's racing comes to an end at Pocono Sunday night with four $20,000 divisions of the first leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for the three-year-old colts and geldings. Many horses holding promise of developing into good horses are in the Stallion events; one of the more promising is Gallic Beach, making his first start of the year but showing a half-length loss in 1:50.2 at Lexington last fall. He's a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Western Gallie, a daughter of Western Hanover whose dam is Galleria and whose SBSW half-sister is double Breeders Crown elim winner Galliebythebeach.   PHHA / Pocono

Delaware OH resident Brian Brown is the defending harness racing training titleholder in the Jugette, having won last year with divisional champion Color's A Virgin - and he's giving every sign that he's looking to take his second straight come September 23.   In a 3PF Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows last week, Brown sent out winner Serious Filly along with second-place finishers Somewhere Sweet and Triple V Hanover.   So for Sunday's $128,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars divisional event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Brown decides to keep out Serious Filly but enter the other two - and those fillies accounted for half the four All-Stars divisions, with both handled for Brown by Hall of Famer David Miller, the all-time leading driver at Delaware.   First up was Somewhere Sweet, like her stablemate a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, whom Miller rallied from the pocket into a 55 back half to take a head decision over pacesetting Southwind Roulette, last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, in 1:52, a new mark, for Miller's Stable Inc. of Kentucky.   Then it was Triple V Hanover's turn, and that filly tucked, brushed to the lead by the 55 half, and went on to win by 1¼ lengths in 1:50.3, also a personal best and by far the fastest of the four All-Stars divisions.   King Mcnamara of FL and the Strollin Stable of OH, part of the partnership behind Brown's All-Star colt winner Rise Up Now last night, share ownership in the victorious miss with Buckeye Donald Robinson.   Doctor Terror, who made a break in the Sire Stakes last week, atoned this week from the outermost post seven in her cut, making the lead past the quarter and coming home in 55 to win by a neck over Storm Point, a Sires winner last week, while lowering her personal best to 1:52.3.   The daughter of Western Terror is owned by two Ontarians, trainer Blake Macintosh and Stuart Macintosh, and had another "Mac" in her corner --- driver Mark Macdonald.   In the other divisions Arts Jem, beaten a neck by Serious Filly last week, enjoyed the lack of Brown competition, rallying quickly deep in the Pocono Pike, two inside the pacesetter, to edge Macarena Mama, in the Pike to her right, in a mark of 1:52.1.   The Art Official miss stepped her personal back half in 54.3 to win for trainer Jim King Jr. and two Lincoln Staters, driver Tim Tetrick and the CC Racing LLC of Ray Kusinski.   Oh - and Serious Filly? She's in a tough overnight race at The Meadows on Tuesday, and has the outside post nine to boot. Good thing Brian Brown's UTR in Pennsylvania is currently .867 for the year.   Wednesday's feature at The Downs is a $30,000 Open handicap mares pace, placed conveniently 11 days before the $250,000 Betsy Ross Invitational at the PA Harness Horsemen Association's other track of representation, Harrah's Philadelphia.   Handicapped outside in the field of eight is Anndrovette, four-time defending Pacing Mare of the Year and last year's Betsy Ross winner; to her immediate inside is recent Chip Noble Pace winner Yagonnakissmeornot.     Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. took the first two divisions of the $96,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old colt pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, putting new marks on Wakizashi Hanover (1:50.2) and Blood Brother (1:51), before missing the "sweep" by a nose when Rise Up Now (1:50.2, driver Simon Allard) edged Allbeef N Nobull.   Wakizashi Hanover, an altered son of Dragon Again trained by Joanne Looney-King for the Tri County Stable of Nova Scotia, kept his seasonal tally perfect in two starts in winning by 1¼ lengths. Wakizashi took the early lead in 27, saw first 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Yankee Bounty and then Dragon Eddy brush by him to the 54.3 half, which necessitated his moving first-over ahead of the oncoming Cardiac Fashion, who already had skirted trouble at two points in the mile. The winner took the lead past the 1:22 3/4s, with Yankee Bounty vacating the collapsing pocket when Cardiac Fashion tipped wide, but Wakizashi Hanover already had the jump, with Yankee Bounty able to clear back to the winner's inside to edge Cardiac Fashion by a neck for second.   Blood Brother paced his own last half in 54 flat to be up by a neck over a stubborn Rufo in the second cut. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding was taken off the gate and was rambunctious back in fifth as Joe Hill and Rufo were the prime disputers in the 26.4 opener, and was still seven lengths behind at the 55.3 half. Morrill had to take the uncovered route as Rufo was going unmolested on the lead, and had gained to within three lengths by the 1:23.2 3/4s. Taking the far turn very well, Blood Brother showed great ability to go up by a neck over his rival in early stretch, but Rufo never let the margin get bigger than that as he put up a fierce struggle down the lane. The talented winner still looks like he'll learn from (and improve with) more racing, and with Jimmy Takter training him for Diamond Creek Racing and the J&T Silva Stables LLC, it seems likely he'll build on his 2 for 2 2015 start.   Morrill had Allbeef N Nobull on top twice before the 3/8 in the third cut, but the deck reshuffles more on the Pocono racetrack than it does in the casino, and after the 26.3 quarter Rise Up Now and driver Allard were following their main rival to the top, hitting the half in 55.2 and the 3/4s in 1:23.1. The stretch duel boiled down to these two, with "Allbeef" gaining in the famed Pocono Pike, and might have taken it all were he bigger than the smallish sophomore he is, but Rise Up Now, also an altered son of Somebeachsomewhere, held gamely and won by the smallest margin to give him both a perfect yearly record after four starts and a new mark. Trainer Brian Brown, the defending Jugette champion with Color's A Virgin and who has a Pennsylvania UTR this year of (no typo) .821 at the moment, may find himself with a ticket to the Thursday big race at the Delaware dance for the Strollin Stable, King McNamara (the Floridian is the only non-Buckeye in the ownership group), William Robinson, and Country Club Acres Inc.   '********* "The girls" would have to put on quite a show Sunday to match the colt fireworks tonight, but there's lots of talented in tomorrow night's $128,000 All-Stars sophomore distaff pace, including 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Southwind Roulette, fellow Breeders Crown finalist Well Hello There, and first-round Sire Stakes winners Safe From Terror and Storm Point - all of whom come from the ubiquitiously-victorious barn of Ron Burke.   Brian Brown? His PASS winner of last week, Serious Filly, is sitting this one out, but he has Somewhere Sweet and Triple V Hanover, both second last week, in Sunday night. Maybe he'll be in both big Delaware dances - and can you think of anything better for a "hometown boy"?   PHHA / Pocono  

WASHINGTON, PA, May 4, 2015 -- Tall Cotton lulled the field with a sleepy second quarter, then scorched the back half in 56 to capture Monday's harness racing $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Tall Cotton, who shares The Meadows' all-age trotting record of 1:51.3, made an easy lead and enjoyed comfortable fractions of 28/57.4. Dave Palone turned him loose down the backside, and the 9-year-old Revenue S-B Cor Peatra gelding blew the race open, scoring by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.4. TSM Photo Bugger rallied for second while the first-over Trustworthy Kid earned show. Ron Burke trains Tall Cotton, who now boasts $637,131 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Edwin Gold and Howard Taylor. Elsewhere on the card, Roger Hammer collected career driving victory 3,999 with Camturo Beach, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Camturo gelding he owns and trains. Mike Wilder piloted three winners on the 14-race program. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Emerald Highlands Farm and Burke Racing Stable LLC among others are bringing strong consignments to the Blooded Horse Sale May 11 in Delaware, Ohio. Warp Factor Three, p,4,1:51.1f that broke the Miami Valley track record for aged geldings in his last start will be featured by Emerald Highlands Farm along with royally bred young prospects that include three Somebeachsomewhere fillies. Big money earners Southwestern Dream p,4,1:48.2 $1,061,721 and Transcending p,8,1:48.2f $906,328 highlight the Burke Racing Stable LLC consignment along with ultra-consistent The Ladies Man that has finished second in his last three starts in top company at Yonkers and Harrahs. “We have a lot of competitive racehorses and very attractive green horses in this sale,” said Blooded Horse Sale Manager Jerry Haws. “There is also a nice selection of broodmares, some with foals, among the 382 horses catalogued.” Visit or call (859) 858-4415 to order a catalogue. Dot Morgan

Australia’s best three-year-old harness racing pacer Menin Gate is ready to go again. The last start winner of the Group One  $200,000 Victoria Derby at TABCORP Park, Melton on February 7 was sent straight to the paddock with connections bypassing the New South Wales Derby the following month. Following his freshen-up, the strapping son of Somebeachsomewhere is set to trial this weekend. Trainer Larry Eastman will venture to Maryborough on Sunday where his stable star will commence his latest campaign. “He will trial this weekend," Eastman said. "He’s in very good order and everything looks good for a big campaign ahead. I actually rolled him after the trial session last weekend at Maryborough and he felt great, he’s very well within himself." Menin Gate is being prepared for the Vicbred Super Series and a possible Queensland Derby campaign before ending the season with the Australasian Breeders Crown series. The Vicbred Super Series Final is scheduled for July 4 at Melton. Eastman is looking at Vicbred Super Series heat on May 22 at Ballarat. “The Vicbred is the first priority for him this campaign," Eastman said. "The Queensland Derby is definitely on the radar because of two reasons, Lynette and I love going to Queensland and we have some very good friends up there, plus the prizemoney has been boosted greatly this year. “In fact, the whole carnival up there has been bolstered and we were looking at the $100,000 Nursery Fly race, but it is scheduled for the same night as the Vicbred Final. If things don’t go plan with the Vicbred series, at least we have a back-up plan. “The Queensland Derby is scheduled two weeks after the Vicbred series, so it fits in well. We’re planning on being there and we might even look at the Oaks with Morton Plains too because that prizemoney has also gone up.” Menin Gate has amassed close to $200,000 in stakes to date after winning seven of his nine starts. - CHRIS BARSBY

Australians haven’t seen the last of New Zealand’s latest harness racing star Our Waikiki Beach. Following the freshman’s effortless Australian Pacing Gold victory at Menangle just moments ago, trainer Mark Purdon confirmed the son of Somebeachsomewhere will remain on the mainland during the next couple of months. Instead of heading home for the Harness Jewels, Our Waikiki Beach will stay on this side of the Tasman for the New South Wales Breeders' Challenge. “We are very happy with the way he has come along during this trip to Australia,” Purdon said. “With that in mind, he will stay with Belinda and Luke McCarthy for the Breeders' Challenge. "He also has the Breeders' Crown later in the season." Driven by Natalie Rasmussen, Our Waikiki Beach began swiftly to lead from barrier one, with the remainder of the $322,000 Group One a formality. Never seriously challenged, the colt cruised to a soft 14-and-a-half metre win from Born To Rocknroll, with the quinella provided by Empire Stallions’ sires. Kingofthestars was two-and-a-half metres away third. “From the draw he was always going to be hard to beat, and once he led, the race was well in his keeping,” Purdon said. “I’m very impressed with the way he came away from them up the straight.” With the final 800 metres run in 55.2 seconds, Our Waikiki Beach covered the mile in 1:54.3, extending his unbeaten record to five. PAUL COURTS

New Zealand’s latest exciting harness racing star Our Waikiki Beach appears to have been ‘gifted’ Sunday’s Australian Pacing Gold Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Not only has the unbeaten youngster drawn perfectly in barrier one, his main danger – Goodtime Sammy – has been scratched. Goodtime Sammy is yet to experience defeat from four starts for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Also successful at his four outings, Our Waikiki Beach appears certain to lead throughout the 1609-metre sprint. To be driven by trainer Mark Purdon, the son of Somebeachsomewhere is blessed with gate speed, which has Purdon oozing confidence. “I couldn’t have asked for more from the draw,” Purdon said. “From there he should be able to hold the lead and will be very hard to beat. “He is a beautifully-gaited pacer and just does it so easily. He’s very laid back and takes everything in his stride.” Purdon is hoping for a Group One double on the program, with talented pacer Smolda engaged in the Len Smith Mile. Victorious in last week’s Renshaw Cup at Penrith, Smolda hasn’t fared as well as his stablemate in the draw and will begin from gate six. Defending title holder Beautide is the raging $1.30 favourite from four. Smolda is the only other runner under double figures at $7.50. “I was very happy with his run last week and his work has been solid since,” Purdon said. “I don’t know if we can beat Beautide, but we will certainly let him know we are there.” PAUL COURTS

Alabar, in association with Blue Chip Farms and the Sunshine Beach Syndicate, are thrilled to announce that they have entered into a long term agreement to stand the world champion son of the great Somebeachsomewhere – Sunshine Beach at their New Zealand farm. Broodmare owners will surely agree that the timing couldn’t be better for the arrival at stud down under of a glamour son of Somebeachsomewhere. That Somebeachsomewhere is the most commercial pacing sire in North America is a given. However, it is the momentum swing with his progeny in Australia and New Zealand that is making breeders sit up and take note. It started with Menin Gate’s victory in the Victoria Derby and has just kept building. However, it was on Saturday night that Somebeachsomewhere made his biggest statement to date in this part of the world. His two star two-year-old sons - the unbeaten Waikiki Beach and Goodtime Sammy oozed class and were simply in a different league to their rivals in the APG Semi-Finals at Menangle. Breeders will be especially interested that Waikiki Beach is from a daughter of Bettor’s Delight. Intriguingly, there are only 6 foals of racing age in North America by Somebeachsomewhere out of mares by Bettor’s Delight – all 6 have won in sub-1:55 and 4 have already won over $100,000. The sires that can cross well with the burgeoning number of quality daughters of Bettor’s Delight going to stud are the sires that will have a huge head start for success.  The early indicators point to a son of Somebeachsomewhere being a very worthy candidate for this role.   Next to the $3 million winner Captaintreacherous, Sunshine Beach is the greatest son to date of Somebeachsomewhere. In fact his crowning glory is that he is the first horse ever to defeat the great Captaintreacherous. He did so as a three-year old in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine where he led with Captaintreacherous sitting outside him. At the end of a titanic stretch duel Sunshine Beach had his nose in front in a world record equalling 1:47.8. Two months later in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Final at the same Pocono Downs venue the two outstanding sons of Somebeachsomewhere met again. This time, after starting from barrier eight it was Sunshine Beach’s turn to sit outside Captaintreacherous. Another stirring stretch duel ensued, both pacers were accorded the same time but it was Captaintreacherous that got the decision. In what was an outstanding three-year-old season, Sunshine Beach also won an elimination of the Meadowlands Pace in 1:48 (third in the Final), a division of the Bluegrass at The Red Mile in 1:48.4, an elimination of the Matron Stakes in 1:50.2 (second in the Final) and, in his final start of the season, the Progress Pace in 1:50.6. Remarkably, less than 48 hours after winning the Progress Pace, Sunshine Beach went into surgery to have a four and a half centimetre stone removed from his bladder. Following this surgery he was, however, still left with a kidney stone that continued to trouble him through, and ultimately ended, his four-year-old campaign. After having been allowed time to strengthen and only lightly raced as a two-year-old (although he did win in 1:52.2 at this age), Sunshine Beach won over $900,000 as a three-year-old with fourteen sub-1:50 performances. Trainer Mark Steacy described Sunshine Beach as “a tough, gutsy horse with a big heart". He added that "Most people don't realize that Sunshine Beach raced through an extremely painful bladder stone. Even with this he was a world champion. He narrowly missed winning the Breeders Crown after being parked with no cover from the eight hole for the whole mile. Two days after winning the Progress Pace he had major surgery to remove the bladder stone. Unfortunately he was still left with a kidney stone which he was forced to race with as a four-year-old." There is a nice symmetry in Sunshine Beach coming to stand at Alabar NZ – as the champion trotter Majestic Son was also trained by Mark Steacy. So the greatest trotter and the greatest pacer he has trained will now stand alongside each other. A spectacular individual, Sunshine Beach is the best performer from the prolific Artsplace mare Light Up – the dam of five in 1:53 and four $350,000+ winners that also include Warrawee Flare (1:50.6, $609,019), Safe Harbor (1:50.2, $502,688) and Western Moonlight (p, 2, 1:52.6, $366,091). This is the incredible Golden Miss family that has already produced many successful sires including Rocknroll Hanover, Panorama, Safely Kept, Real Desire and Grinfromeartoear. Blue Chip Farm bought into Sunshine Beach at the start of his four-year-old season. He was a horse that met all their requirements as a sire and they were excited about Sunshine Beach continuing to prove himself “against any and all competition." It wasn’t to be though, luck and health deserted Sunshine Beach as a four-year-old. Even so, he did still win in 1:49 and was timed in sub 1:50 in eight of his ten starts (he also won a qualifier by 23 lengths with a 25.4 last quarter) – but if you’ve ever had a kidney stone you’ll appreciate what he had to endure and just how tough this horse must have been. However, as we all know, sometimes adversity creates opportunity. Sunshine Beach will stand at Alabar NZ for NZ$4,000 (plus GST) and will also be available in Australia for A$4,000 (incl GST).   

With the harness racing action around the two year olds just starting to heat up, one of the most eagerly awaited clashes between the two unbeaten sons of Somebeachsomewhere In Our Waikiki Beach and Goodtime Sammy will now not happen this season after Goodtime Sammy sustained a major leg injury in his Australian Pacing Gold semi final on Saturday night.   Goodtime Sammy gave a powerhouse display in his semi final, charging to an early lead and holding the opposition at bay with ease in a very quick 1:54    That win took Goodtime Sammy's record to four from four and looked to have set up a great final against the other unbeaten colt in Waikiki Beach who is also four from four.   However part owner Ian Slater confirmed the worst when spoken to yesterday.   " After the race we were concerned about him and took him to Sydney University and had his foot x-rayed and that showed that he has a broken pedal bone," a disconsolate Slater said.   " We think that he sustained the injury with 350 metres to go yet he still ran his last 400 metres in 27   "They have told us that Goodtime Sammy has a 60-70% chance of racing again."   "If he does race again it won't be for at least twelve months," Ian said.   As Ian is also the breeder of Goodtime Sammy, he has taken the setback quite hard but he remains optimistic about the future of his star pacer.   "I think he is a very good horse and thought he had the potential to be the best two year old in Australasia this season."   "I'm convinced if he gets back to the track, he will be a star," Ian said.   Harnesslink wishes Goodtime Sammy a speedy recovery and looks forward to seeing him back on the racetrack in the future.   Harnesslink Media  

Tonights harness racing meeting at Menangle was the centre of attention for a lot of harness racing fans in Australia as the two Group 3 $30,000 semi finals of the Australian Pacing Gold for two year old colts and geldings were run. The first semi pitched two unbeaten colts in the form of the Sportswriter colt Kingofthestars and the son of Somebeachsomewhere in Our Waikiki Beach against each other and it was a two horse race from the moment the gate folded. Our Waikiki Beach with Mark Purdon in the bike flew the gate from barrier five to grab the early lead with Kingofthestars and Nathan Jack sliding across from barrier eight to settle in the trail. Mark Purdon was able to dictate the tempo in front with Our Waikiki Beach until the 500 metres mark when Nathan angled Kingofthestars out into the running line and attacked Our Waikiki Beach. Just when it looked like Kingofthestars was going to make a race of it, Mark Purdon pushed the go button and Waikiki Beach scooted away from Kingofthestars for an easy victory by eight metres with Herehecomes a further eighteen metres back in third. Our Waikiki Beach paced the mile in 1:56.1 with the last 800 metres in 56.9  and 400 metres in 26.6. It was another super impressive run from Our Waikiki Beach and he looms as one of the two main chances for the final. Our Waikiki Beach The second semi final was billed as a match race between the unbeaten son of Somebeachsomewhere in Goodtime Sammy and the son of Village Jolt in Christmas Jolt who had won five of six this season. Goodtime Sammy and Nathan Jack lead easily from barrier two with Christmas Jolt and Kerryn Manning going forward from barrier six to sit on his wheel. Nathan backed the speed off in the second quarter before applying the blowtorch from the 800 metres with a quarter down the back in 28.3 which had Christmas Jolt struggling on the corner. The talented son of Rocknroll Hanover in Born To Rocknroll with John McCarthy in the bike had been sitting in the trail the whole way and came out as they turned for home to challenge the leader. But try as he might, Born To Rocknroll couldn't take any ground off Goodtime Sammy who went on to win the semi final in a smart 1:54.1. Born To Rocknroll held second with the son of Major In Art in Brallas Pass running on well for third. The closing sectionals of 55.6 and 27 .3 by Goodtime Sammy were impressive and he looked to still have some petrol in the tank at the finish. The final of the Australian Pacing Gold for two year old colts and geldings on April 26th looks a two horse race after tonights semi finals. The two sons of Somebeachsomewhere in Our Waikiki Beach and Goodtime Sammy look a class above the rest of the opposition and the outcome may be decided by who draws best in the final. Goodtime Sammy Harnesslink Media      

A field of eight harness racing upper-conditioned level filly and mare pacers took the stage for the feature on Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The wagering public got behind 4-year-old mare Gallie Bythe Beach (Tim Tetrick) installing her as the 4/5 favorite. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere is coming off of a successful 3-year-old campaign, in which she banked just shy of $200,000 in 17 starts. At the start, long shot Star Keeper (Marcus Miller) left best for the lead, with the favorite being urged along to drop in fourth, by an opening quarter in :27.2. That lead was short lived however, as second favorite Twin B Elite (Andy Miller) brushed to the top, by the half in :55.2 (:28). Pressure arrived just beyond 5/8ths, as Chris White's Fashion Showdown (Corey Callahan) muscled her way to the lead by three quarters 1:23 (:27.3). Fashion Showdown went on to an easy four length win, stopping the clock in 1:51.2. Bazooka Terror (Yannick Gingras) closed up the inside for second, while Gallie Bythe Beach was third. It was Fashion Showdown's 10th career win, and 7th of the year. The 1:51.2 clocking was a lifetime best for the trainee of Craig Mc Innis. She returned $16.00 to win, keying a $97.80 exacta and a $433.80 trifecta. Michael Bozich

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