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Promising youngster Vouvray Beach is likely to embark on another interstate harness racing campaign. Following her triumph in last night’s Sweepstakes Final in Hobart, trainer Rod Ashwood revealed plans of heading across Bass Strait with the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere. Vouvray Beach made the trip to Victoria for last month’s Australian Pacing Gold series, when an eye-catching fourth in her heat. This time around the two-year-old may tackle the Australasian Breeders’ Crown. “We’d had a lot of problems with her before we went to Melbourne for the APG heats, but she’d gotten passed those before we left,” Ashwood said. “Although she’d missed some work because of it, she did well in her heat. “After that I decided it was best to give her a freshen up for the Sweepstake and it all worked out well.” With Ricky Duggan holding the reins, Vouvray Beach led throughout the Final to score from Ideal Bliss and Class Tells in 1:59.1 over a mile. The fact Vouvray Beach is racing, let alone winning features, is a stroke of luck according to Ashwood. “The same night after she won at Launceston on March 26 she went through the fences at home,” Ashwood said. “We don’t know what happened, she just went mad! “She hurt herself, but thankfully it wasn’t anything serious. “I will give her a few weeks to a month off now, then look at the Breeders’ Crown heat. “Whatever she does this season is a bonus really, as she is a big filly which is still growing into herself. She will be a very nice filly this time next year.” by APG Media

WILKES-BARRE PA - Huntsville, last year's North American two-year-old pacing colt champion coming off a sensational victory in his 2017 bow, will start from post four Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in the eleventh race division of the $148,492 second leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for harness racing sophomore male pacers.   A son of Somebeachsomewhere owned by trainer Ray Schnittker in partnership with Theodore Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo, and Steven Arnold, Huntsville posted an 11-7-4-0 slate last year, good for $689,814, took his Breeders Crown Final and Pennsylvania Sire Stake Championship, and at Lexington paced in 1:49, a clocking which equaled the fastest mile ever by a two-year-old.   Huntsville made his first start of this year in the first Sire Stakes leg at The Meadows on May 6, going a devastating mile to win by ten lengths in 1:50.3 over a "sloppy +2" track in 44 degree temperatures - with none of the other three divisions going faster than 1:52.1. Regular pilot Tim Tetrick handled him in that impressive victory, and he is again slated for Sunday sulky duty.   The duels between Huntsville and a member of the Brian Brown stable were highlights of the late season last year, and again on Sunday there will be a Schnittker vs. Brown showdown - but Huntsville won't be facing archrival Downbytheseaside, who also went in 1:49 the same day Huntsville did and who took his measure in the Governor's Cup in 2016. Downbytheseaside this week will be down by the Hudson River, competing Saturday in an elimination race for the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers.   But if ever a trainer were going to have to send a "second-stringer" against a star like Huntsville, Brown is in as good a position as anyone could be - for his "second-stringer" is Fear The Dragon, a son of Dragon Again owned by the Emerald Highlands Farm. Fear The Dragon defeated Huntsville in 2016, a 1:51.2 Sire Stakes triumph at Philly August 18, was second to him in his 1:49 record mile, and two weeks ago won a Sire Stakes division in 1:52.1 in the off going at The Meadows, the same time as his winning stablemate Downbytheseaside. David Miller will be in the sulky as Fear The Dragon starts from post five.   The other divisional winner at The Meadows in the first leg of the Sires, Filibuster Hanover (1:52.2), appears to be the horse to beat in the tenth race Sires division, beginning from post two for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Ron Burke, and the ownership collective of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Joseph Di Scala Jr., J&T Silva Stables LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The altered son of Somebeachsomewhere showed at the end of last year that he can pace with the best around, finishing third behind Downbytheseaside and Huntsville in the Governor's Cup despite suffering interference.   In the twelfth race Sires division, Gingras may again be behind a favored son of Somebeachsomewhere, Ocean Colony, who won his yearly bow in 1:51.3 - 26.3 over "good going" at The Meadowlands after taking a mark of 1:50.1 at two. Jimmy Takter trains Ocean Colony, who will start from post two for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Hatfield Stables, and MKatz ALibfeld SGoldband.   Also part of the super Sunday show at The Downs will be a pair of $25,000 handicap events, one for pacing mares and one for trotters. The first post for the Sunday card at the mountain oval is listed to go at 7:30 p.m.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, May 6, 2017 -- If there were any doubts that freshman harness racing champion Huntsville would come out smoking for his 3-year-old debut, he quickly dispelled them in Saturday's $151,280 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows when he roared to victory by an eye-popping 10 lengths. His time of 1:50.3 in the slop not only is the fastest this year by a sophomore on a five-eighths-mile track, but it also was at least 1.3 seconds faster than the clocking of any of the other three divisional winners Saturday. Downbytheseaside, runner-up to Huntsville is last year's Dan Patch Award voting, also fashioned a successful if less spectacular seasonal debut, scoring in 1:52.1. Filibuster Hanover and Fear The Dragon also won splits, the latter giving Brian Brown, trainer of Downbytheseaside, a PASS double. Brown also collected a Pennsylvania Stallion Series victory with Kellys Bett. Huntsville had qualified well for his sophomore campaign, but even trainer Ray Schnittker, who owns the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show with Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo and Steven Arnold, wasn't expecting a runaway. "I thought he might win by a length or two," Schnittker said, "but I guess he's right back to where he was last year. He looked really good." Huntsville quarter-poled around Highalator, opened up 5 lengths at the three-quarters and poured it on from there. Highalator, who saw his nine-race winning streak snapped, saved second, with Blood Line third. Winning driver Tim Tetrick had mixed feelings about the huge performance of Huntsville, who now boasts $708,724 in lifetime earnings. "That was all him, that was Ray getting him ready," Tetrick said. "I was hoping I didn't have to go that fast. I wanted to save that for another month. He just dragged me around there -- he's that talented." Huntsville Using Lasix for the first time, Downbytheseaside was efficient in victory, powering to the lead from fifth before the half for Chris Page and holding sway in a business-like manner -- Page never popped his earplugs -- to down the first-over Normandy Beach by 1-1/4 lengths. Boogie Shuffle earned show. "I thought he was a little dull getting out of the gate," Brown said, "but Chris kept him really quiet. Last year we had trouble taking him off the gate. This was perfect for the first start. Everything went as easy as it could." Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing campaign Downbytheseaside, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover who extended his career bankroll to $596,016. Downbytheseaside Their trainers indicated the next starts for Huntsville and Downbytheseaside likely will occur in two weeks in the PASS leg at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Filibuster Hanover defeated both Huntsville and Downbytheseaside early last year. In fact, trainer Ron Burke once regarded him as the most promising 2-year-old in his stable. But the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Fashion Ecstasy became unfocused and willful as the year progressed and so was gelded. He was fast and professional Saturday, moving three wide into the final turn for Matt Kakaley and downing Point Somewherelse by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2, with Candell third. "He's a lot smarter and way more manageable to drive," Kakaley said. "I think he has things figured out now. The front wasn't too good in the early races, so I just tried to get him in the middle where he could make a big move on the end." Filibuster Hanover has earned $133,309 for Burke Racing Stable, Joseph DiScala, Jr., J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Filibuster Hanover $80,000 PA Stallion Series -- 3-Year-Old Colts & Geldings The Derby Day card also featured four $20,000 divisions of a PA Stallion Series event, with wins going to Cougar Bait, Independent One, Southwind Yukon and Kellys Bett. Mike Wilder (Cougar Bait, Kelly Bett) and trainer John Butenschoen (Cougar Bait, Independent One) enjoyed stake doubles. Cougar Bait was impressive in his seasonal debut, moving first over and grinding out a tough win in 1:55.4. Keystone Phoenix shot the Lightning Lane for second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Cinnabar Dragon completed the ticket. "The rail today is real heavy, and he doesn't show a whole lot of gait speed," Wilder said. "I just kind of landed where I did and planned to move when they forced my hand. In the stretch, he just paced right off. That's not the ideal trip, but it sure didn't seem to bother him." Harmony Oaks Racing, Jeremey Day, Tangie Massey and VIP Internet Stable own Cougar Bait, a Western Terror-No One Is Along gelding. Southwind Yukon took the final of a late-closing series at The Meadows in his most recent outing, and he kept on rolling Saturday, retaking the lead for Dave Palone and defeating the hard-used Magritte by 1/2 length in 1:54.4. Iminurblindspot completed the ticket. "He's a big, lazy colt, only does what he has to," Palone said. "That's what I like best about him -- he's very easy on himself." Burke trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Solara for Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, Richard Suda and Weaver Bruscemi. Kellys Bett Southwind Yukon Independent One Cougar Bait The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

HARRINGTON, Del. - Crissman Inc. and Niss Allen Inc.'s Major Uptrend ($3.40, Tony Morgan) recorded his fifth straight win Monday at Harrington Raceway in the harness racing featured $17,500 Open pace in 1:50.3. Remember Me VK was the early leader and set a hot pace with an opening quarter in 26.3 before Poisonous cleared the front at the half-mile marker in 54.4 seconds. Poisonous led the field to the three-quarters in 1:22.1 while 3-to-5 favorite Major Uptrend battled gamely on the outside and eventually surged by at the wire for a narrow win. Im Supersonic A was third. Major Uptrend, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding, earned his 33rd career win for trainer Tim Crissman and surpassed $100,000 in seasonal earnings. Allan Davis won the first three races, including both halves of the daily double with Shellysblockbuster ($5.40) and Shootin To Kill ($3.20) before achieving a hat trick with Big Secret ($5.40). On the undercard, Peter and Antoinette Gray's McKenry ($3, Bret Brittingham) was a wire-to-wire winner in 1:52.1 for trainer Don Brittingham in an $11,000 conditioned pace. Matthew Sparacino  

Stevensville (Somebeachsomewhere) scored in his debut in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday night and completed a rare natural hat trick for his harness racing trainer. Conditioner Ray Schnittker brought three horses to town to compete on Saturday night and his stable went three-for-three. Stevensville pulled off the upset in the $14,500 Open as he picked up cover and followed it all the way en route to the winner's circle. Mark Beckwith piloted the six year old Schnittker trainee to his second win of the season, a victory that came in 1:53.1 while dismissed at odds of 23-1. St Lads Moonwalk (Frank Coppola Jr) was first over on the race's favorite In The Huddle (Chris Long) and served as cover for Stevensville before coming up second best. The 3-5 favorite In The Huddle had to settle for third. Stevensville returned $49.20 to win in the biggest upset in an Open thus far in 2017 at the Spa and started an exacta and triple that paid $212 and $713, respectively. Schnittker's One More Laugh and OK Fantastic went coast to coast to secure their Saturday scores and both did so with Phil Fluet in the sulky. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee set to kick off at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Exciting harness racing freshman Sicario is certainly living up to his price tag and reputation. A $120,000 sales topper at last year’s New South Wales leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Sales, Sicario was purchased by Jean and Bill Feiss, who sent the youngster to New Zealand to be trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Making a successful debut on the Shaky Isles a fortnight ago, Sicario was back in his state of original to capture an APG race series heat at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. Naturally pleased with the son of Somebeachsomewhere, Purdon believes Sicario is capable of maintaining his perfect record during the balance of the rich futurity, which concludes with a $322,000 Final on April 29. “He’s a pretty nice horse,” Purdon said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked of him with ease and he’s still on the way up. “It was a nice run in his heat as he was never fully extended. He will definitely be better for the run and will improve again for the semi-finals.” With Purdon holding the reins, Sicario was settled in the breeze from barrier eight before bursting to an eight-and-a-half metre win from Thisbeachrighthere, with Irish Grit a metre away third. Covering the mile in a slick 1:53.8, the two-year-old’s time was 1.4 seconds quicker than Be Major Threat in the second heat. Trained by Barry Purdon and driven by Darren Binskin, the son of Art Major accounted for Seeuinnashville and Drop The Hammer with a 56.1-second last half. Although the slowest of the heat winners, Maximus Red impressed when leading throughout for trainer-driver Steve Turnbull. Never fully extended, the son of American Ideal stopped the clock in 1:57.8. Further north, Colt Thirty One completed a narrow triumph in his heat at Albion Park with trainer Grant Dixon holding the reins. After working overtime in the ‘death seat’, the son of Mach Three grabbed the lead in the last stride, scoring by a neck from Ark Patrol, with Lucky Unlucky three metres away third. Owned by Solid Earth, Colt Thirty One is unbeaten from two starts. APG Media

Columbus, OH --- When most people possess an exciting 3-year-old pacing colt that could position himself to become a harness racing world champion and a stakes winner they are brimming with pride and joy as the ultimate, yet elusive reward of this business just may be in their grasp. The Dombecks and Biers, however, are well acquainted with the peaks and valleys that are the chief component of this sport and can certainly speak from experience in regards to both sets of circumstances. Although both families are cautiously optimist that Highalator will separate himself as a top competitor in his division, the demoralizing loss of their beloved Modern Family in 2014 remains a shroud cast over their hearts that perpetually inhibits their expectations, hopes and dreams of what will transpire for not only this colt, but all their stock. "I try not to get too excited anymore," said Charles Dombeck, who co-owns this son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher. "We have been fortunate to have Wind Of The North and Bandolito and this colt looks like a nice horse, but we just don't know. The top horses from last year have not returned yet, so he could be a top 10 horse, a top 20 horse or a top 50 horse. "Losing Modern Family the way we did is something that will always remain for all of us, so when my friends ask me why I am not really excited, I explain to them if you remain realistic and take things as they come, then enjoy them if they do, it makes it a lot easier to accept the disappointments." Also co-owned by Daryl Bier, Highalator is a homebred conditioned by Jenny Bier and seeks his seventh consecutive victory on Sunday (April 9) when he leaves from post position four with Victor Kirby holding the lines in the fourth and final division of the second leg of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $15,000 contest but Chillin Matisse (post seven, Corey Callahan, 3-1) and Youcaniknow (post one, Anthony Napolitano, 7-2) are also receiving their fair share of attention. "He received a nice, easy trip in the first leg and we are hoping for the same in the race this weekend," Dombeck said. "We are not sure exactly what we are going to do with him, because the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes begin five days after the Weiss final which is on May 1, so we might end up skipping a leg or the final to take him to the sire stakes. It will be whatever the horse tells us to do with him and whatever is best for him." Highalator, with a resume of 9-7-1-0 and $40,620 in the bank, is the first foal out of his world champion dam Higher And Higher, who Daryl Bier and Dombeck purchased in 2012 from The daughter of Western Terror-Pro Bowl Best earned just under $1 million before being transferred to the breeding shed. While Bier and Dombeck both agreed to keep Highalator, as well as his yearling half-sister Dancin With Jammy (A Rocknroll Dance), the colt's younger full sister, JK Higher Power, was sold to the 3 Brothers Stables for $110,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Demonstrating he had ability as a 2-year-old, Highalator, in rein to Scott Zeron, made a powerful middle move from sixth to sweep the field and reach the wire a half-length over his rivals, several of which were older than him, on July 17, 2016, in a $12,000 non-winners contest upon the very same surface his hooves will grace on Sunday evening. After a fourth place finish on July 31 at the same facility Dombeck and Bier decided the colt had done enough and gave him time to grow for his sophomore season. "When he was training down in Florida he was coming along fine, but had a cough and some allergies," Dombeck said. "As soon as we took him up north they disappeared and he's never had a problem since. His first race, I watched on the computer and he was so far back, then I couldn't even see him until he finished with that rush. The next time I saw him was at the wire and after his next race we just decided to put him away. We don't believe in making 2-year-olds do too much and allowing them some time to mature and fill out." Highalator returned to the racing ranks on Jan. 18 in a $6,000 conditioned event at Dover Downs and was second by a nose. The following week, the colt received the services of Yannick Gingras at the same location and was extremely impressive in a 1:52.2 triumph after a first-over journey from post position seven. "We wanted to know what Yannick thought of him," Dombeck said. "It was around the time we needed to make stakes payments and after he brought him back, he told us we should definitely stake him." Highalator's next engagement was a $10,000 non-winners contest at The Meadowlands on Feb. 4, where he absolutely strode through the lane as much the best, while stopping the clock in 1:52.4 after a :26.2 final panel. Victor Kirby, who will now remain the colt's regular pilot, steered him through the mile, which one again included older horses in the field. The colt started on two more occasions at Dover Downs on Feb. 16 and March 16, again taking on older rivals and collecting two more wins, before returning to The Meadowlands on March 25 with another stellar performance. Competing against older horses in a $12,000 non-winners race, Highalator paced another final quarter-mile split of :26.3 while defeating the 5-year-old Migrate Blue Chip by a neck in 1:52.2. Migrate Blue Chip visited the winner's circle in his next start on April 2 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the same evening Highalator captured a first leg division of the Weiss Series with a wire-to-wire performance in 1:54.4. "Victor said he can be a bit lazy and you have to get into him for the first part of the race, but once you straighten him away and it's time to come home he is all business," Dombeck said. "He has been racing against older horses and defeating them, but like I said we still don't know what kind of horse he is until he faces stakes competition. "He really looks the part though. I had not seen him for a while and when I saw him at Pocono last week, I was impressed because he has turned into such a gorgeous animal. He also has a terrific attitude, unlike his mother, who only Jenny could get near, and hangs his head right on your shoulder." Although Dombeck insists he is maintaining an even keel when it comes to Highalator's future, there is a mere hint of anticipation and enthusiasm when he discusses plans for the rest of the colt's season. "He is staked to nearly everything except Canada and the Jug," Dombeck said. "I have no desire to return to Canada after what happened with Modern Family and I know Daryl feels the same. We didn't nominate him to the Jug because we don't want to put him on a half-mile track, but he is in everything else including the Meadowlands Pace, Lexington and the Breeders Crown. "I hope I will be in the position to be kicking myself for not staking him to the Jug when the time comes, but we are looking forward to seeing what happens with him. It definitely is more special when the horse is a homebred." For the full Sunday card at Pocono, please click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Star Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Scooterwillrev kept his unbeaten record in Tasmania intact when he led throughout to win the harness racing $30,000 Cascade Draught Tasmanian Derby over 2579 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday. Scooterwillrev ($2.20 into $1.95 favourite) went onto the race with 11 wins on home soil with his only two defeats coming in feature races in Victoria last season. It was his seventh outing this time in and the Craig Hayes-trained gelding saved his best for the feature event. Ace Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang took the drive and he made the winning move early in the race when he whipped around the field three-wide to momentarily sit outside of the leader before forging to the front. Once in the lead the gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere settled well for Lang while the other well-backed commodity Usain Jolt ($4) was left to face the breeze but he was never travelling comfortably. When Lang called on Scooterwillrev for the big effort in the home straight the gelding powered clear and went on to score by 11 metres from the Todd Rattray-trained Harjeet with Victorian Laredo Torpedo ($3.40) a half-head away third. "This is a very sweet win for me and all the owners who have been enjoying a good ride leading up to this race but the way he delivered today I am so proud of him," Hayes said. "I identified this horse as having above average ability early in his career but last season he was still very immature and even now he still has a lot to learn. "We took him to Victoria for the Breeders Crown series and he ran fourth in his semi-final and had no luck in the final but the trip did him the world of good. "He has come a long way this season and if everything pans out well then we might head back to Victoria for the 3YO Vicbred series." Lang was full of praise for the gelding and suggested he would be very competitive if he ventured back to Victoria, "This horse could run around in graded races and keep winning but he is god enough to go back to Victoria and mix it with the better ones in good races because he is an above average horse," Lang said. "He's did it easy today and good horses don't appear to be running good times but that's because the just lengthen stride and this horse is a class act." Peter Staples

Petacular and Shezallapples won their Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks heats at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Touted as the best harness racing filly of her age in Victoria, Petacular notched her 12th win at start No.17 in a mile rate of 1:56.3 to take out her heat and will start a short-priced favourite in next Friday night’s $150,000 Group 1 Final at Melton. Tonight's heats showed it will be no procession, however, for the Burrumbeet filly from Michael Stanley’s stable. Sydneysider Shezallapples looked strong winning the second heat, albeit in a slower time of 1:57.7. Trained by David Thorn, Shezallapples (Sportswriter), like Petacular (Somebeachsomewhere), was a Group 1 winner at two via the Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle. Driven by Jim Douglass, Shezallapples controlled the Oaks heat once in front. She had 5m to spare over Sanna Cruza in the finish, the latter handing up the lead to the winner early, while Keayang Secret finished third for Jason Lee. Emma Stewart-trained Miss Graceland finished second to Petacular last night, beaten 2.3m, but driver Chris Alford was pleased with the run and tweeted post-race his filly could potentially turn the tables on the favourite in the big dance. “I thought Miss Graceland went super, hopefully draw better next week and reverse result,” he wrote. If Miss Graceland does defeat Petacular it will be the first time she’s ever been able to do it, the head-to-head record between the pair reading six-zip in favour of Petacular for now. Flying Moth, Beach Garden and Our Lady Madonna rounded out the top six in heat two, while Anybeach Anywhere, Sheza Sharpie, Nomi Malone and Angel In White finished third to sixth in the first heat. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Talented two-year-old harness racing filly Vouvray Beach broke her maiden status in Launceston on Sunday night with an emphatic win in the $10,000 Premier's Blue Bonnet over 1680 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston. it was little more than a procession for the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere as she found the lead soon after the start with Ricky Duggan aboard and went on to score by15 metres from Invest with first-starter Modart Niadh over seven metres away third. It was only her second start but punters didn't miss the filly as she was backed in to start the $1.50 favourite and at no stage did she give her backers any cause for alarm. Trainer Rodney Ashwood said the filly was originally purchased at the Australian Pacing Gold yearling sale in Melbourne by his son Alex Ashwood who on-sold her within an hour to prominent Tasmanian standardbred owners Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt. "We'll try and win another race and then probably look towards the 2YO Sweepstakes in Hobart or go to Melbourne for the Australian Pacing Gold sales series," Ashwood said. Duggan described Vouvray Beach as a nice horse that just needs to learn to settle in her races and if she achieves that goal the future looks very bright. Duggan had no need to release the ear plugs in the home straight which magnified the ease of the win. Peter Staples

LEBANON, OH. - A pair of first leg divisions of the George 'Red' Owens Memorial Series highlighted the Sunday (March 19) afternoon matinee at Miami Valley Raceway. Melodies That Rock (Trace Tetrick) and Lyons Moonlight (Dan Noble) emerged victorious in the event restricted to fillies and mares that are non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $15,000 lifetime. Owens is one of nine deceased former greats remembered annually at Miami Valley with a "Lebanon Legends" series named in his honor. Melodies That Rock controlled her own destiny from start to finish in the first split as Tetrick took the lead early and cruised through fractions of :28, :57.2 and 1:25.1 before finishing just over a length better than Rockin Peggy (Tyler Smith). Hot Cakes (Mike Oosting) earned the show dough in the $8000 race. Jim Ellison conditions the winner for Anna Ellison. The 4-year-old daughter of Rockin Image paid $5.40 as the lukewarm favorite. Lyons Moonlight got away fourth in the second heat until Noble pulled her after the first quarter was reached in :27.4. Racing first-over through middle fractions of :57.1 and 1:26.2, the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere lass finally took control nearing the head of the stretch and proceeded to a two-length victory in 1:55.3. The Jim Arledge Jr. trainee, who paid $7.80 to win, races for owner Pond-A-Acres. OHHA presents Outstanding Groom Award The Ohio Harness Horsemens Association presented its first Outstanding Groom Award on Sunday to Dawn Cunmulaj, wife of Sherif Cunmulaj. The couple relocated to Ohio over three years ago and have single-handedly raced a stable of six to ten horses year around ever since. The OHHA is presenting deserving caretakers with $200 gift cards twice during each meet at each Ohio commercial track. Trainers are encouraged to nominate their full-time helpers with the winner being chosen randomly by draw from among the nominations. 24 grooms were nominated for this award, with a second one to be awarded near the current meet's end. The $200 award isn't enough to head to Disneyland, "but it sure will be nice to have on my next trip to the outlet mall across the street" laughed an appreciative Dawn Cunmulaj. From the Miami Valley Press Box

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 11, 2017 - A closing Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron, $11.80) tagged Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $50,000 Open Handicap Pace. Away fifth from post position No. 3, Guantanamo Bay saw Vegas Vacation (Jordan Stratton) work his way to the lead right at a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. After a :57.2 intermission, 25-1 outsider Sports Bettor (Brent Holland) made his second move, out from third. That didn't do much for those behind him, forcing 7-5 choice Blood Brother-who himself had been used earlier-wide by the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Meanwhile, Guantanamo Bay, from third-up, was gapping down the backside. It was Blood Brother taking a short lead off the final turn, but he wouldn't be able to close the sale as Guantanamo Bay rallied from fifth. That one made up more than three lengths, winning by a nose in a brisk 1:53.4. Vegas Vacation, Soto (Matt Kakaley) and a season-debuting Melmerby Beach (Tim Tetrick) rounded out the payees. For third choice Guantanamo Bay, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Daniel Renaud for co-owners Brian & Ira Wallach and Leonard Sorge, it was his third win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $37.80, with the triple returning $183. A reminder there is racing next two Sundays (March 12th and 19th), with first post each afternoon at 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 4, 2017 - A pocketed Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $17.80) and a down-the-road Caviart Luca (George Brennan, $14) were the melba toasts of the town Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps. In play from post position No. 3, Hemi Seelster nestled into an early pocket behind pole-sitting Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton), with the lass Allerage Star (Andy Miller) diving into a three-hole. Slight 2-1 choice Rose Run Parker (Brennan) tried to leave, but found no room at the inn and took back to seventh. 'Sam' rated soft-enough subdivisions (:28.2, :58.4) before 20-1 shot Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) took her shot, first-up from fourth. Springbank Sam N maintained his lead in and out of a 1:27.3 third quarter, taking a length-and- a-half lead into the lane. Despite seemingly cheap fractions, 'Sam' was powerless to stave off Hemi Seelster, who prevailed by a length-and-a-half in 1:56.1. Allerage Star remained third, with Tweet Me and Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) settling for the remainder. Rubber Duck's pay envelope was compromised when Rose Run Parker broke right in front of him in the stretch. For sixth choice Hemi Seelster, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners Howard Taylor and Abraham Basen, it was his second (consecutive) win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $49.60, with the triple returning $358.50. The weekly featured pace saw Caviart Luca, from post No. 7, pay a stiff price for the privilege of fronting the gang (:27., :55.3, 1:23.3, 1:52.1). A half-length to the good entering the lane, he fought 'em all off, whipping 31-1 Lucan Hanover (Mark MacDonald) by a neck. Bit of a Legend N (Stratton), as the 7-10 fave, eschewed slipping out to race third over and needed room. He wound up a tight third, missing a half-length, with Roland N Rock (Tyler Buter) and First Class Horse (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For third choice Caviart Luca, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura, it was his fifth win in seven '17 tries. The exacta paid $139.50, the triple returned $907 and the superfecta paid $8,717. Frank Drucker

Star reinsman Gary Hall jun. says that Red Hot Roxy is now far more tractable than she was as a precocious and free-spirited two-year-old last season and is confident she has the ability to overcome an awkward barrier at No. 7 and win the $25,000 Clipsal and Schneider Electric WA Sales Classic for harness racing three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Every time she saw the gate as a two-year-old all she wanted to do was whizz out,” Hall said. “But now she is more mature and composed.” Red Hot Roxy, trained at Byford by Katja Warwick, won at four of her seven starts as a two-year-old and she made a splendid start to her three-year-old season with a commanding win over Salacious Gossip and Milliondollarhanova over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. That was her first appearance since she began from the back line and raced three wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front 500m from home and finishing a head second to Doalittlerocknroll in the group 1 Westbred Fillies Classic early last July. “Her latest run was super,” Hall said. “The leader (Milliondallarhanova) fired up, so I didn’t want to go up because Red Hot Roxy can fire up, too.” Hall was quite content to let Red Hot Roxy race without cover, but back in fourth position, some three lengths off the leader. Red Hot Roxy cruised to the front 90m from the line and won by more than two lengths, with a final quarter in 27.9sec. “That run was really good for a lot of reasons --- one was that she settled really well in the breeze and, two, she had push button speed when I wanted it,” Hall said. “She’ll be improved by that run and, hopefully, the way she went is an indication that we’ll get a good campaign out of her. “She is really fast, point to point, and moving forward, hopefully, that’s her main weapon.” Twelve months ago, Red Hot Roxy started from the outside (No. 9) in the group 1 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies. Hall fired her out of the gate, and after racing four wide in the early stages, she burst to the front, set a brisk pace and won by almost two lengths from Beach Goddess. “All she had ever been taught, really, was to run the gate and she had so much gate speed that we just rolled the dice. Now she settles much better and does not have to be driven exclusively as a frontrunner,” Hall said. “On Friday night I’ll go forward at the start, just steady, and hold out the runners on our outside. I’ll then possibly slide forward (in a bid for the lead). But I don’t really have to and I could slot in. I reckon she goes better when she’s sat up.” Red Hot Roxy, by American stallion Somebeachsomewhere, is out of unraced mare Gabrielle Rocks, whose dam At Melrose Place (by Sokys Atom) produced prolific winners Fletcher Christian, Forty Two Grand and Grinjaro, who, between them, won 43 races. Hall won eight races with Fletcher Christian, three with Forty Two Grand and ten with Grinjaro. Red Hot Roxy was sold for $24,000 at the 2015 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale and a win on Friday night would boost her earnings to $112,050. Beach Goddess, a $23,000 yearling who finished second to Red Hot Roxy in the Sales Classic for two-year-olds in April of last year, has drawn out wide at barrier eight in Friday night’s event in which she will be handled by Colin Brown. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed declared that Beach Goddess would “go good.” She notched her fifth win two starts ago when she led from the No. 1 barrier and beat geldings Allmightyjeolouis and Whoswhointhezoo, with a final 800m in 56sec. “I trialled her at Byford on Sunday and she led for the first lap, but got a flat tyre and had to be pulled up,” Reed said. “She’s definitely a stronger filly than she was 12 months ago and she’s got a chance of beating Red Hot Roxy.” Betshes Precious, trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, has won four races and should be prominent from the No. 1 barrier. A severe check in the final lap cost her victory in a race at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. She did well to recover and finish fourth behind Dontch Remember. Ken Casellas

A smart track workout at Gloucester Park last Saturday morning --- combined with a favourable barrier --- are strong pointers that The Beachcomber will prove hard to beat in the $25,000 Clipsal and Schneider Electric Sales Classic final for harness racing three-year-old colts and geldings at pacing’s headquarters on Friday night. Trainer Mike Reed declared that he was optimistic about the gelding’s prospects after he dashed over the final 800m in the workout in 57.2sec. Driven by Mark Reed, The Beachcomber sat behind five-year-old Challenging before sprinting strongly to defeat the in-form gelding who followed two successive wins with a strong-finishing effort to be second to Your Excused at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. The Beachcomber by Somebeachsomewhere, a $33,000 yearling who has won once from ten starts, will begin from the No. 2 barrier on the front line on Friday night with Colin Brown in the sulky.          “I’ve been really happy with him and his work has been good since his latest start (when fifth behind Bob Wheel at Gloucester Park on January 31),” Mike Reed said. “I haven’t started him for a while. He’s had a niggling injury and I’ve been working on curing it.” Bob Wheel, trained and driven by Ryan Bell, is likely to be favourite and looks very hard to beat. The Allamerican Ingot gelding will start from the No. 4 barrier and is sure to be prominent throughout. He notched his third win from 19 starts when he raced without cover before dashing over the final 400m in 27.8sec. to win from Doc Ryan over 2190m at Northam on Thursday of last week. Bob Wheel also raced without cover before winning from All The Whispers at Gloucester Park two starts before that. The Michael Brennan-trained Kasey John (Michael Grantham) cannot be left out of calculations after winning a 2180m trial at Pinjarra in dashing style on Monday afternoon. He led early and then sat behind the pacemaker Bouchee before sprinting the final 400m in 27.7sec. and winning by six lengths from Bouchee at a 2.0.9 rate. However, he faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). He was automatically drawn on the outside after breaking badly soon after the start and then racing at the rear of the field at his latest outing, at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Kasey John has won at three of his six starts this season. Ken Casellas  

Zhukov Leis is the latest in a string of harness racing pacers bred by Trevor and Marjorie Leis to make an impact on the racetrack. The Todd Rattray-trained and driven gelding made an impressive debut at Luxbet Park Hobart last night leading all the way to score impressively after being heavily backed in to start the $2. Zhukov Leis is by Somebeachsomewhere from the Leis' top-producing broodmare Kazakova Leis that also produced the half-brother Jaruzelski Leis (by Bettors Delight) that has so far won 20 with a best mile rate of 1.53.7. The three-year-old gelding stepped well from a wide gate (6) and after a stoush with Memory of Love, Rattray's gelding eventually found the lead and he settled well under a strong hold. Zhukov Leis was given no peace for the last 1200 metres with the second favourite Falcon Harry sitting at his wheel and waiting to pounce heading down the back stretch. But when Rattray called on Zhukov Leis for an effort he dug deep and shrugged off the challenge and forged clear to defeat Falcon Harry by about four metres with Striker Jim over 20 metres astern. "We have always believed this horse could run a bit and he showed us that at two but he developed a bad cough and we had to pull up and tip him out," Rattray said. "I've taken my time with this horse and I think the patience we've shown will pay off. "He takes a bit of work because he's a good doer and he got away from me a bit this time in which is why he will derive a lot of benefit from this run. "I have no doubt he has a bright future and he could have a good race in him this season." Peter Staples

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