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Plainville, MA --- Manchego put on a display of devastating speed in a gate to wire victory in the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 26) and set a new world record for aged trotting mares over a 5/8th's mile track when she tripped the timer in 1:49.3. Manchego broke her own world record of 1:50.1 set at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 2019. The time also smashed the all-age track trotting record at Plainridge Park, besting the 1:51.2 set by JL Cruze in the 2017 Spirit Trot. Dexter Dunn had Manchego revved up off the gate and shot right for the lead with Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) dropping in the pocket from post seven as the race passed the quarter in a blistering :25.2. The field remained in single file as Manchego marched to the half in :53.3 and the three-quarters in 1:21 with Atalanta in deliberate pursuit. As the pair trotted away from the field around the last turn, Gingras pulled Atlanta off the pylons to take her best shot at the leader. But as soon as she pulled, Manchego accelerated, opened up two lengths and proceeded to the wire under no urging at all to win wrapped-up by 2-1/2 lengths. Atlanta held on for second and Run Director (David Miller) closed fast to finish third.   It was the 31st career win for Manchego ($3.00) and it pushed her lifetime earnings to over $2,342,705. The 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic is owned by Black Horse Racing and is trained by Nancy Takter. One race earlier in the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace, Shartin N made herself right at home again at Plainridge as she broke the all-age track record that she set here just last year. Tim Tetrick put Shartin N on the point immediately as Kissin In The Sand (Yannick Gingras) left from post four and followed closely with the two-hole trip. After the quick :26.2 quarter and with no pressure at all, Tetrick backed down the second panel to :28.1 and the race seemed well in control for him at that point. By the five-eighths, Gingras pulled Kissin In The Sand and tried to draw alongside Shartin N, but never got closer than a length around the far turn. Tetrick eased the lines a bit and gave Shartin N her head and the mare swelled up down the lane, opening up 2-1/4 lengths in a :27 flat last panel and won in 1:48.1. Stablemate Soho Burning Love A (Jordan Stratton) rallied late to finish second and 38-1 shot Philly Hanover (Dexter Dunn) completed the board.   The time was a new all-age track record at Plainridge Park which was set last year in this same stake by Shartin N when she cruised home in 1:49.1, and it was only one-fifth of a second off the world record of 1:48 for an aged pacing mare over a five-eighths mile track that is co-held by her and Somwherovrarainbow. This was the 44th career victory for Shartin N ($2.60) who has now earned $2,244,946 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and Tim Tetrick. The 7-year-old daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin is trained by Jim King Jr. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park  

Plainville, MA --- Some of the best harness racing handicappers in the business give their selections for the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace that will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 26). Gordon Waterstone - Associate Editor - The Horseman And Fair World Spirit Of Massachusetts Trot 7-Atlanta 4-Manchego 6-Lindy The Great Even though Manchego gets a post edge in this battle, I believe Atlanta is a whisker better, so she'll get my nod in the photo finish.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 4-Kissin In The Sand 3-Soho Burning Love A Shartin N missed a start with a tender foot and that was likely the reason behind a narrow loss last time out to a horse that came up the pylons.   Dave Brower - Meadowlands oddsmaker, handicapper and broadcaster Spirit Of Massachusetts Trot 4-Manchego 2-Eurobond 7-Atlanta Manchego figures to take her turn in this epic rivalry with Atlanta this year. I think she's more versatile on the smaller-size track and I just don't see the Takter-trained duo giving up their post position advantage.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 3-Soho Burning Love A 4-Kissin In The Sand Shartin N is pretty hard to go against, after that needed "tightener" in the Dorothy Haughton at M1. She raced her eyeballs out and came up a little bit short. The inner post makes all the difference.   Derick Giwner - Editor - The Daily Racing Form Harness Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 4-Manchego 6-Lindy The Great 7-Atlanta Manchego should take charge and never look back.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 4-Kissin In The Sand 3-Soho Burning Love A Shartin N wasn't quite herself in the Haughton; makes amends.   Lenny Calderon - Race Announcer - Plainridge Park Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 4-Manchego 7-Atlanta 5-Lindy The Great Manchego has been outstanding in all four starts this year with her only loss coming at the hands of arch-rival Atlanta. This aged miss can make no mistakes and should prove best in the drive to wire.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 4-Kissin In The Sand 3-Soho Burning Love A Shartin N is one classy lady who should be up to the task in defending her title.   Ken Warkentin - Race Announcer - Meadowlands Racetrack Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 4-Manchego 7-Atlanta 2-Eurobond Two-time Dan Patch Award & Breeders Crown winner & fastest female trotter in history, Manchego tuned up with an easy Miss Versatility leg. She's tough when in control.   Clara Barton Pace 3-Soho Burning Love A 4-Kissin In The Sand 2-Shartin N The fresh and hot stablemate of Shartin N has emerged as a deadly closer at The Big M. She won't be far off to collar the speed. Bob "Hollywood" Heyden - Freelance Racing Statistical Authority Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 4-Manchego 7-Atlanta 1-Joey Bats The best current rivalry continues. Post position may decide many of these as they vie for the biggest pot since the TVG.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 3-Soho Burning Love A 4-Kissin In The Sand Shartin N comes in off a huge effort after missing a start. No pacer has gone back to back HOY since Cam Fella 1982-83. Ken Weingartner - USTA Media Relations Manager Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 4-Manchego 7-Atlanta 6-Lindy The Great Not much separates Manchego and Atlanta, so it might come down to post position and trip.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 4-Kissin In The Sand 5-Trillions Hanover Shartin N just missed in the Dorothy Haughton after a minor foot issue and should return to her winning ways here.   Garnet Barnsdale - Public Handicapper for the Daily Racing Form Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 7-Atlanta 4-Manchego 6-Lindy The Great Atlanta will likely offer the better price of the two super mares due to post position.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 3-Soho Burning Love A 4-Kissin In The Sand Shartin N returns in eight days this time and it is very doubtful she will be picked off late again.     Michael Carter - USTA Social Media Publicity Coordinator Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 6-Altanta 4-Manchego 3-Muscle M Up Atlanta kicked off her five-year-old campaign with a game second place finish in the Miss Versatility to rival Manchego. She has since won two straight including the Cutler against the boys at The Meadowlands.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 4-Kissin In The Sand 3-Soho Burning Love A Shartin N made her first start after injuring herself at Yonkers on June 30. She was game in defeat in the Dorothy Haughton but don't hold that loss against her.She is a tough mare who may have just needed a start off the bench.   Tim Bojarski - Publicist and Handicapper at Plainridge Park Spirit of Massachusetts Trot 4-Manchego 7-Atlanta 6-Lindy The Great Manchego gets a slight nod over Atlanta for me as she is back in to go in a week where Atlanta has had 15 days off. It's that close.   Clara Barton Pace 2-Shartin N 4-Kissin In The Sand 3-Soho Burning Love A This race is all about speed and with only six drawn in, it's wide open. In that even of a field I will take Shartin N every time.   Consensus: Spirit of Massachusetts Trot-Manchego, Atlanta, Lindy The Great Clara Barton Pace-Shartin N, Kissin In The Sand, Soho Burning Love A   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park  

Plainville, MA --- When the Grand Circuit makes its midsummer stop in Massachusetts on Sunday (July 26), the top three aged mares currently competing in the sport, all who are multi-million dollar winners, will be on hand to compete in the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace at Plainridge Park. The much anticipated third round of the year between Atalanta and Manchego will take place in the Spirit and little separates the two coming into the race after each claiming one win in head-to-head competition. In their first meeting in the $40,000 Ms. Versatility at the Meadowlands on June 19, Atlanta and Manchego got away third and fifth respectively before Yannick Gingras pulled Atlanta and Dexter Dunn followed with Manchego. Atlanta cleared past the quarter and Manchego took control from her by the half. The pair remained one-two until they hit the stretch when Gingras tipped Atlanta and methodically gained ground on Manchego as both drivers heavily urged their mounts. When they hit the wire they were side by side and it took a photo to separate them by a nose, with Manchego getting the nod in 1:50 flat. The win time is the fastest trotting mile of the year to this point. The second meeting came two weeks later on July 4 in the $170,900 Cutler Memorial, also at M1. Atlanta and Manchego both gunned the gate and sprinted away in tandem from the field of 11 to a very hot first quarter of :25.4. Manchego was finally able to clear at that point but Atalanta was right on her back. Chin Chin Hall (Brian Sears) engaged Manchego past the half and pushed her through a 1:23.1 third quarter and around the far turn. Atlanta, who was sitting in the pocket, was able to get out at the top of the lane and tip three-deep turning for home. Atlanta drew even with Manchego in deep stretch and eventually was able to run her down at the wire to win by only 1/2 length in 1:50.1. That time is the second fastest trotting mile of the year (tied with Guardian Angel As). Despite this marquee match up, the 2020 Spirit Trot field has other very strong competitors who can definitely have an effect on the outcome of the race, making this a very bettable event. Lindy The Great (Andy Miller) has yet to win this year but has suffered bad luck in the draws with two consecutive eight holes, forcing him into two hellacious overland trips. However he has still performed outstanding despite those disadvantages, finishing second and third in those races. In the Cutler he was beaten only 1-1/4 lengths by Atalanta and Manchego after being parked out the entire mile. Manchego's stablemate Eurobond (Tim Tetrick) is coming off a powerful 1:51.2 win at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 5 and seems to be peaking at the right time for this race. He has a lifetime best outing of 1:50.1 last year at the Meadowlands and clearly has the ability to contend with these. Joey Bats (Andrew McCarthy) could be a big sleeper here after finishing only 2-3/4 lengths behind the favorites in the Cutler. He had a favorable draw (post one) and McCarthy has already pulled an upset in this stake when he followed fast fractions and snuck up the inside to win 2017 Spirit with JL Cruze at 60-1. Shartin N will make her second trip to the Commonwealth to defend her crown after she won the inaugural Barton in 2019. In that race, Tim Tetrick put Shartin N on the point and went gate to wire, uncontested and under a strong hold to win in 1:49.1, smashing the all time Plainridge track record. This year Shartin N started out winning two straight and taking an early season's mark of 1:50 at Dover Downs before being sidelined with a foot injury. After 18 days off she returned to the Meadowlands on July 18 in the $172,850 Dorothy Haughton Memorial and put in a huge effort, falling short by only a neck. In a first-over trip engaging the front running Kissin In The Sand (Yannick Gingras), Shartin N took the lead in mid-stretch but tired in the final strides to finish second behind Major Occasion (Dexter Dunn) who rallied gamely up the pylons. With that start under her belt, she remains the horse to beat on Sunday and Tetrick will have her on her toes. Kissin In The Sand was pushed extremely hard every step of the mile in that Haughton start and still tired only late. In her first outing of 2020 she scorched the Meadowlands, going gate to wire in a lifetime best 1:47.4, which is also the fastest pacing mile of the year to date. Shartin N's stablemate Soho Burning Love A (Jordan Stratton) won back-to-back races in 1:48.4 and 1:48.1 before finishing third in the Haughton, right between the two morning line favorites. This mare has paced home in :25.4 three times this year and will be in a position to upset. Another mare to watch is Trillions Hanover (George Brennan) who has also exhibited great closing speed. With four solid races in her last four starts, there is not much separating her from the favorites at the end of the day with a favorable trip. Kissin In The Sand, Soho Burning Love A and Trillions Hanover will give Shartin N all she can handle in this very short, six-horse field. The all-time track record on the trot at Plainridge Park is 1:51.3 set by JL Cruze and 1:49.1 on the pace by Shartin N. Both marks look to be under assault on Sunday. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. Post time for the Clara Barton Pace is 3:20 p.m. and the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot is 3:40 p.m. Lasix schedule for Plainridge Park Sunday With the early 2 p.m. post time at Plainrdige Park on Sunday (July 26), horsemen are reminded that the Lasix schedule remains the same as other race days. Lasix horses must be on the grounds four hours before post time of their respective race and non-Lasix horses must be on the grounds three hours before post time of their respective race. Stall assignments will be available when you check in. Also please remember that the barn area will open at 8 a.m.  by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts 

Harness Racing This Week: Spirit of Massachusetts and Clara Barton, Plainridge Racecourse, Plainville, Mass.; Nadia Lobell, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; Tompkins-Geers, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action begins this Friday (July 24) at Harrah's Hoosier Park with the $100,000 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old pacing fillies. The Saturday (July 25) Grand Circuit card at The Meadowlands features the $89,100 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old trotting colts and a pair of $42,700 divisions of the Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Saturday Grand Circuit action also includes three $25,000 Delvin Miller Adios eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers at The Meadows. On Sunday (July 26), Plainridge will feature the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts for open trotters and the $100,000 Clara Barton for pacing mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Tall Dark Stranger is a danger, especially with his back to the wall. Pushed to the max by old rival Papi Rob Hanover, Tall Dark Stranger battled back in deep stretch to win the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace by a neck on Saturday night (July 18) at The Meadowlands. Tall Dark Stranger battled back in deep stretch to win the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace by a neck. Lisa photo. In a gutsy effort, Tall Dark Stranger, the 1-2 favorite, captured the first major stakes of the season for 3-year-old pacers. Normally, the Pace follows the North America Cup, but the ongoing pandemic shuffled the calendar. This time, the Pace was the division's lead-off event, and it was a dandy. Tall Dark Stranger, last year's Dan Patch Award winner, took charge with a strong move down the backstretch. Papi Rob Hanover and driver David Miller ranged up to challenge on the turn and fought their way to a clear advantage in the stretch. Even driver Yannick Gingras thought he and Tall Dark Stranger were finished. "Honestly, at the top of the stretch, I thought he was beat," Gingras said. "This horse is just so gritty. He wants to fight them off. Papi was a half a length by me." Tall Dark Stranger wasn't done in this shootout. He surged again, pushing back to secure the win and give Gingras his second Pace win. It wrote another chapter in a rivalry that dates back to the 2019 Breeders Crown, where Tall Dark Stranger was elevated to victory when Papi Rob Hanover was disqualified for interference. "I said after the Breeders Crown that he was coming back to win that race," Gingras said. "There are a lot of doubters out there, but tonight is the proof that my horse loves to fight." Tall Dark Stranger improved his season mark to 3-for-3 with the 11th win of his 12-race career. Nancy Takter, daughter of Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, got her first Pace victory, following Linda Toscano as consecutive female training winners of The Meadowlands Racetrack's signature event. It was also the second straight Pace win for sire Bettor's Delight following last year's 27-1 upset by Best In Show. Tall Dark Stranger became the sport's latest millionaire for the ownership team of Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. The time for the mile was 1:47.2. Brett Pelling, all-time Pace training leader with four wins, settled for second and third, with Papi Rob Hanover and Allywag Hanover. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 195; 2. Brian Sears - 127; 3. Dexter Dunn - 117; 4. Tim Tetrick - 92; 5. Scott Zeron - 87. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 195; 2. Nancy Takter - 120; 3t. Marcus Melander - 104; 3t. Ake Svanstedt - 104; 5. Tony Alagna - 50. Owners: 1. Courant Inc. - 45; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 38.4; 3. Crawford Farms Racing - 38; 4. S R F Stable - 35; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 33.4. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at The Meadows and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host six Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for four lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian for 3-year-old colt trotters, as well as the Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old pacers and the fourth leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Plainville, MA --- With the draw now complete, two short but stacked harness racing fields are set for the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace, that will be contested on Sunday (July 26) when the Grand Circuit makes a stop at Plainridge Park. The track's signature trot will see the heavyweight battle between Atlanta and Manchego renewed for the third time this year in the Spirit of Massachusetts, with each mare having won once and the two only separated by a combined half-length in those contests. Plus these mares are responsible for trotting the two fastest miles so far this year. Shartin N won the Clara Barton Pace in 2019 in track record time and will return to defend her title. Her stablemate Soho Burning Love A has posted back-to-back 1:48 wins already this year since landing from Australia, but Kissin In The Sand has paced the fastest mile by a mare overall this year (1:47.4). Tracks records are in danger across the board at The Ridge on Sunday. Here are the complete draws for both stakes: $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot - Post Time 3:40 p.m. Post Horse Driver Trainer 1 Joey Bats Andrew McCarthy Andrew Harris 2 Eurobond Gingras/Tetrick Nancy Takter 3 Muscle M Up TBD Ake Svanstedt 4 Manchego Dexter Dunn Nancy Takter 5 Run Director David Miller Andrew Harris 6 Lindy The Great Andy Miller Julie Miller 7 Atlanta Yannick Gingras Ron Burke $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace - Post Time 3:20 p.m. Post Horse Driver Trainer 1 Philly Hanover Dexter Dunn Ron Coyne 2 Shartin N Tim Tetrick Jim King Jr. 3 Soho Burning Love A Jordan Stratton Jim King Jr. 4 Kissin In the Sand Yannick Gingras Nancy Takter 5 Trillions Hanover George Brennan Tom Fanning 6 Kimberlee Dunn/Andy Miller Ake Svanstedt There are 10 races on the card with purses totaling $415,000. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park  

Plainville, MA --- Owners, trainers, driver s and grooms who will be coming to Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 26) for the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace are asked to take note of the following information before coming to the track as much has changed due to state of Massachusetts regulations relating to Covid-19. The draw for Sunday (July 26) will be held on Wednesday (July 22) with the box closing at 9 a.m. Also on Wednesday, you will need to fax to the judges a 2020 negative coggins test, a 2020 EHV vaccination record and an up to date health certificate with Plainridge Park as the destination for each horse racing. There will be limited access to the administration building and as a result, anyone needing a 2020 Massachusetts racing license is urged to apply in advance. Go to the MGC website (https://massgaming.com/licensing/horse-racing-licenses/), download the appropriate form and fax it to the judges prior to coming to Plainridge to keep the number of people who need access to the licensing office to a minimum on race day. If you are unable to do that, print and bring the completed form with a check made out to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to the track to expedite the transaction on site. The fax number for sending health certificates or licensing forms is 508.643.9624. The phone number to contact the judges direct is 508.576.4565. There is no overnight stabling on the grounds at Plainridge Park this year, so you will not be able to get into the track before Sunday morning (July 26) at 8 a.m. All horses in to go must be on the grounds no later than 11 a.m. and then get to the Lasix barn at the appropriate time for your race. All horses will have assigned stalls and must remain in those stalls until the races are over. At the conclusion of the card, all horses must then leave the grounds. No one is allowed in the paddock except for the trainer of the horse and a groom. No owners will be allowed in the paddock. Also no one will be allowed in the winner's circle after any race except the winning horse and the driver. To enter the grandstand you must go to the main casino entrance, have your temperature taken, answer a health questionnaire and then proceed to the racing side of the building. A mask must be worn upon entering Plainridge Park Casino and must be kept on the entire time you are there. Social distancing is also a requirement and will be enforced. Also due to state Covid-19 restrictions, the grandstand will be limited to a maximum of 300 people. If you are planning on attending, tickets will be available the day of the race at the program stand or from any racing services manager for $5 (limit two per person). Please note there are a number of tickets reserved for participating horsemen that day. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

When trainer Anette Lorentzon enters a new year, her hope is to better her harness racing stable's previous season's results. She's accomplished that goal each of the past five years, but acknowledges it gets more difficult as the successes pile up. "You never know," the 36-year-old Lorentzon said. "It's tough. You've got to be lucky in the big races and the horses have to stay sound and not get sick. But I won't be happy if it's not a year like last year. I won't be happy. That's what you work for. You get more horses, people believe in you, you should do better and better. It's tough the better you do every year, but that's what I'm hoping for." Lorentzon established career highs for starts (843), wins (160), and purses ($2.98 million) in 2019. She began her career in 2005 and entered Wednesday with 1,022 lifetime victories. Her stable begins this year with nearly 70 horses, including her largest-ever group of 2-year-olds, a total of 29. Of course, the most recognizable name is a 6-year-old. Homebred male trotter Guardian Angel As has won 23 of 56 career races and $1.31 million. In 2019, the stallion won the Maple Leaf Trot (equaling a Canadian record for the mile), Spirit of Massachusetts (a track record at Plainridge), Cleveland Trotting Classic (world record at Northfield), and Maxie Lee Memorial. He was second in the John Cashman Memorial and third in the TVG Series championship and Caesars Trotting Classic. "I think he raced great," Lorentzon said. "He was in all the big races and he raced tough. He showed he is one of the best ones out there. We always had high hopes for him, and we brought him along slowly. I was very happy with him. "I'm hoping he's going to be as good as he was last year. I trained him for the first time (Tuesday), and he trained as good as always, so that was great." In addition to Guardian Angel As, Lorentzon plans to send male trotter Shake N Bake, a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Maven, out on the Grand Circuit in stakes for 4-year-olds in 2020. He has hit the board in 15 of 20 career races, winning three times, and earned $175,707. The horse joined Lorentzon's stable last summer and won a conditioned race and division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes before being sidelined by an injury. "I hope he can have a good year," Lorentzon said. "He's training back right now. He looks good, but you never know between 3 and 4 years old how they're going to turn out." Lorentzon also is hopeful 4-year-old female trotter Strip It Down As can put her best foot forward this season. Last year, she went off stride in three starts but posted three wins and a second in her remaining five races. "She's very fast," Lorentzon said. "I'm hoping that she will do some good this year. She will be staked lightly. We're still trying to figure her out. We never really found where anything was wrong, but she had issues with the turns. That's what we're still working on. If we can get her through the turns and get her going, I think she can be a nice one. If we can't figure her out, then we have no chance. They have to be perfect if they're going to go the speeds they have to go." Also back for another campaign is 6-year-old male trotter Eye Ofa Tiger As, who makes his seasonal debut in Saturday's open handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The gelding was limited to two starts (the first a win in Sweden) in 2018 because of throat surgery but banked $260,710 in 2019 and $268,746 in 2017. "He's a good horse, but he's not a big-track horse," Lorentzon said. "He's so handy, so that works out great for him at Yonkers." The majority of Lorentzon's younger horses will compete primarily in sire stakes programs. "I never had so many 2-year-olds, so I'm hoping I can have some good ones," Lorentzon said. "I'm very happy for it and I really thank my owners that I have now. I really like (the 2-year-olds). They have a lot to learn yet, but so far so good." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Plainville, MA --- Guardian Angel As lived up to his billing in the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot as he led every step of the way en route to an impressive victory, setting a harness racing new track record in the process. Tim Tetrick wasted no time putting Guardian Angel As on the point, seating everyone else in the process before he hit the quarter in :26.4. Tetrick then slowed down the pace in the second panel to :28.3, forcing an outer flow that brought Weslynn Dancer (David Miller), La Grange A (Andy Miller) and Mambo Lindy (Drew Monti). The field made its way up the backside and Weslynn Dancer eventually drew even with Guardian Angel As before they hit three-quarters in 1:22.4. There Tetrick tapped his horse twice and he shifted gears and opened up by a length. Down the lane Tetrick reminded Guardian Angel As his work wasn't quite finished and he tapped the wheel disk a couple times more and the trotter closed it out on his own, winning by a length in 1:51.3. The time was a new track record for aged trotting horses, smashing the standing mark of 1:53.4 set by Kodak Lindy in 2016 and was only one-fifth of a second off the all-time trotting mark of 1:51.2 set by JL Cruze in the inaugural edition of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot back in 2017. Guardian Angel As ($3.00) has now won five out of his last six races and the winner's share of the purse boosted his 2019 earnings to $312,934 for owners Acl Stuteri Ab and Kjell Johansson. Anette Lorentzon trains Guardian Angel As. Two races before that track record breaking performance, Shartin N put on a show of her own when she broke two standing Plainridge records in the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace. Shartin N Once again the hot-handed Tetrick vaulted Shartin N to the front and took that position unopposed and from there she was simply a pacing machine. As Tetrick had his hands full with his mare on the bit, Shartin N went to the quarter in :26.3, the half in :55.1 and the three-quarters in 1:22.1 with the field just trying to keep pace. When they made their way around the last turn you could see Shartin N starting to pull away. Tetrick was sitting statuesque without urging the mare at all while she was accelerating on her own towards the record book. Shartin N pulled away to a two-length margin and was wrapped up at the wire in 1:49.1. Shartin N broke the aged pacing mare record of 1:50 set by Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) just three races earlier on the card and also the 14-year-old all-time pacing mark of 1:49.2 set by Maltese Artist in 2005. It was the 10th win in a row and 11th of the season for Shartin N ($2.20) and it raised her 2019 earnings to $655,765 for owners Rich Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and her driver Tim Tetrick. Jim King Jr. trains the 2018 Dan Patch Award winning mare. "It was a great day of racing at Plainridge Park and it was good to see such a strong turnout of racing fans throughout the facility," said Steve O'Toole, Director of Racing at Plainridge Park. "It was also great to see Massachusetts native Rich Poillucci and Shartin N win the Barton and also Massachusetts natives Jim Winske, Paul Kelley and Steve Michaels finishing second with The Veteran in the Spirit." by Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, MA --- As post time for the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28) draws near, the excitement of everyone involved in the race continues to grow. But for two Massachusetts owners who have horses entered and have seen the many ups and downs of the sport in New England, the race itself is proof there is a harness racing renaissance in the Commonwealth. Frank M. Antonacci is the president of Lindy Farms of Connecticut and a member of the ownership group Greathorse of Massachusetts. Lindy Farms and the Antonacci's have owned or bred five Hambletonian champions since 1965 and have been racing in Massachusetts just as long. They will be starting Mambo Lindy in the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot on Sunday. Jim Winske has owned many race horses over the years and has partnered with his friends Paul Kelley and Steve Michaels on a lot of them. They all grew up in Massachusetts and started out competing at the old Foxboro Park and have since been at Plainridge Park for a total of over 40 years in the state. They've all experienced every level of the competition and their passion for the sport is unparalleled. Their entry in the stake is The Veteran. Although Antonacci and Winske will be competing against each other on Sunday they've also been working together for years, along with countless other New England horsemen and horsewomen, trying to keep harness racing alive through some very tough times. Now that the sport has made a turnaround on the strength of the state's gaming program and the Horse Racing Development Fund, their participation in this race Sunday holds special meaning. "I grew up racing at Plainridge. I drove horses there when I went to school in Boston and I was even there the first day they opened in 1999; I was 15. At that point it was one of the lowest statured racing in the country. And to see it go from that to having some of the best horses in the country competing now is really a testament to the horsemen and women in New England and their determination and resilience to stick around through all those hard times. I think it's a real success story," said Antonacci. "Racing in Massachusetts has gotten so much better and it's because there is cooperation going on between the track and the horsemen and obviously the casino helped a lot. But the breeding industry has picked up and people have been buying better horses and you're seeing better drivers coming here too. The floor plan is set where people are excited, the track is putting on big races and we just have to keep getting the people here to keep it going strong," Winske commented. These two gentlemen both like what has been going on within the industry in this state, but they also like their chances in the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and had a little bit to say about that as well. Antonacci explained that despite seeing limited action last year, Mambo Lindy has turned a major corner and is finding his old form at the right time. "Mambo Lindy ended 2017 very strong, winning an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot, winning at Lexington in a lifetime best of 1:51.4 and racing in the Breeders Crown. In 2018 we brought him back and got a really brutal trip in the Cutler at the Meadowlands and he got injured. So it basically took the whole year to get him sound and bring him back and since he started racing this season, he's been absolutely super. He's really as good as he's ever been right now," said Antonacci. "He's coming into this race really solid. He's won twice in a row and and came out of both starts with trot left. He has a definite home field advantage at Plainridge as he has won 22 out of 35 starts here and knows how to get around this track. So we're really excited about it because there is no more local horse at Plainridge than Mambo." Mambo Lindy Winske points out there have been some adjustments for his horse to transition from the 3-year-old division to facing older horses. But he points out he's coming along just fine as the year progresses. "He raced successfully at three and we wanted to bring him back as an aged horse because he's just so nice. But when you start back it's against bearcats. The aged division is really tough. But he took a lifetime mark of 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands in May and he just finished second at Saratoga last week in 1:53.4 parked out the entire mile. That was probably his best race of the year so far," said Winske. "All of us guys have been around the track all our lives. Paul (Kelley) trains him and calls the shots but we all decided, what the heck let's take a chance and nominate him for this race because we're all from Massachusetts and when you get a chance to put a horse in there you take it. Yeah, we might be a longshot but it's called horse racing and you never know what can happen." The Veteran Both of these horse have had stellar careers and a number of stake victories to their credit. Mambo Lindy (Donato Hanover-Rum Boogie) has 49 lifetime starts with 26 wins, seven seconds and four thirds and has earned $252,660 in purses. He has drawn post four and will be driven by Drew Monti. The Veteran (Muscle Mass-Tequila Slammer) has 29 starts with 10 wins, five seconds and five thirds and has banked $361,955 in the process. He will start in post five with Yannick Gingras aboard. The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace are part of the biggest card of the summer at Plainridge Park with a total of $465,500 in purses up for grabs on the 10-race program on Sunday (July 28). The race is scheduled to go off at 5:05 p.m. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, Ma --- The draw is complete and Plainridge Park Race Secretary Paul Verrette has released the harness racing post positions for the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace that will be held at Plainridge on Sunday afternoon (July 28). Race Seven $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace Post Time 4:15 p.m. Post - Horse - Sire - Driver - Trainer 1 - Kimberlee -  Rock N Roll Heaven - Andy Miller - Ake Svanstedt 2 - Apple Bottom Jeans - Mr Apples - Corey Callahan - Dylan Davis 3 - Shartin N - Tintin In America - Tim Tetrick - Jim King Jr. 4 - Don't Think Twice A - Armbro Operative - Brian Sears - Andrew Harris 5 - Bettor Joy N - Bettor's Delight - Dexter Dunn -  Jim King Jr. 6 - Baron Remy - Yankee Cruiser - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke 7 - Kaitlyn N - American Ideal - David Miller - Richard Banca 8 - Reclamation - A Rocknroll Dance - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke   Race Nine $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot Post Time 5:05 p.m. Post - Horse - Sire - Driver - Trainer 1 - Weslynn Dancer - Deweycheatumnhowe - David Miller - Richard Banca 2  -La Grange A - Muscle Hill - Andy Miller - Ake Svanstedt 3 - Trolley - Donato Hanover - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller 4 - Mambo Lindy - Donato Hanover - Drew Monti - Domenico Cecere 5 - The Veteran - Muscle Mass - Yannick Gingras - Paul Kelley 6 - Guardian Angel As - Archangel - Tim Tetrick - Anette Lorentzon 7 - Fiftydallarbill - Swan For All - Corey Callahan - Katricia Adams The biggest day of the summer in Massachusetts harness racing features 10 races on the card Sunday with purses totaling $440,500. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, MA --- Guardian Angel As has been on a roll of late and will come into the harness racing $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park razor sharp. He has won four straight stake events against some of the best older trotters in North America before finishing fourth in a trip that saw him parked-out the entire mile from post nine at the Meadowlands. In the $30,000 Great Northeast at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Guardian Angel As dropped in second from post five and then took the lead by the half. From there he trotted away to a four length win in 1:53.1 over a sloppy track. Two weeks later it was the $100,000 Maxi Lee at Harrah's Philly where he once again led most of the way and drew off to an easy seasonal best 1:51 victory defeating Pinkman and Fiftydallarbill in the process. Then in a $40,000 leg of the Mr. Muscleman at the Meadowlands, he was cruising on the lead before digging in to hold off a very gritty stretch drive by Cruzado Dela Noche, eventually hanging on to win by a half length in 1:52.1, with a swift :26.3 final quarter. His next start would make history. On June 29 at Northfield Park in the $175,000 Cleveland Classic, Guardian Angel As turned a trip that left him parked out for 7/8th's of the mile into a wrapped up win, stopping the timer in 1:52 and setting a new world record for 5-year-old and older trotting horses on a half-mile track. That rewrote Crazy Wow's 1:52.3 standard set in 2017. Anette Lorentzon trains Guardian Angel As and after five years of racing him is well aware of his speed and versatility. "We always knew he was a really good horse but what surprised us most at Northfield is the way he did it. He never pulled the plugs after being parked three-quarters of a mile. I wasn't really sure how he would be there because he has such a big gait. But I also knew It's a very good half-mile track at Northfield and he got around it fine," said Lorentzon. The 1:52 clocking on the half was amazing let alone the trip he went to get it, but this horse has always had a lot of speed and he showed it in the 2018 Allerage Trot at Lexington. Guardian Angel As finished second to Homicide Hunter in 1:48.4, which was the fastest trotting mile in the history of the sport. Guardian Angel As came first over at the half and had taken the lead in the stretch before Homicide Hunter blistered home in :26 flat outside of him. Although he finished second, Guardian Angel As still trotted in an unbelievable 1:49.2. The other asset that makes this 5-year-old son of Archangel-Provide As special is his ability to strike from anywhere in the mile. "He's the kind of horse that can race from any position. He likes to be up close but he's good if you also sit behind horses. He'll do what you want but he doesn't really have much patience. He is a stud and he knows it and he wants it his way," Lorentzon explained. There will be over two weeks between his last start and the Spirit Trot but Lorentzon said Guardian Angel As will come in on his regular schedule. "He raced really hard at Northfield and at the Meadowlands he had the nine hole and got away way back so we took it easy with him after that. Now he's been back to training normal this week; he'll go two trips on Thursday to get ready for Sunday. We don't really train him too hard between races." And as far as the outcome of the race on Sunday, a lot depends on where the horses start from according to his trainer. "It's always tough when you go for this kind of money; there are always going to be good horses in the race. What I'm hoping is he gets a good post position so he has a good chance and he races well. A lot of how the race goes will depend on post position." Tim Tetrick, who will be in town to drive Shartin N in the Clara Barton Pace, will be at the lines behind Guardian Angel As. It's interesting to note that coming into the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot, Guardian Angel As seems to do his best work on a three-turn oval. He has won 20 out of 46 starts lifetime, but nine of those wins came in 12 starts on 5/8th's mile tracks giving him a 75% win percentage for those outings. Guardian Angel As also trotted the two fastest winning miles of his life on the 5/8th's surface at Harrah's Philly, going 1:50.4 in 2018 and 1:51 this past May. The current all-time track trotting record at Plainridge Park is a 1:51.2 mile set by JL Cruze when he beat Hannelore Hanover and Crazy Wow in the innaugural edition of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot in 2017. The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28). Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. Both stakes are sponsored by Plainridge Park and the Harness Horseman's Association of New England (HHANE). By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing owners and trainers who have horses nominated to the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and/or the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace that will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28) should be reminded that the draw for both races will be held on Thursday (July 25). Please be sure to call your entries into the race office at 508.576.4485 or 508.576.4486 by 9 a.m. when the box closes. Also please note there will be a detention barn for both the Spirit of Massachusetts and Clara Barton races and all horses for both events must be checked in prior to 9 p.m. on Saturday evening (July 27). All horses racing at Plainridge Park must be accompanied by a current 2019 Coggins, health certificate and evidence of EVH-1 vaccine in order to enter the barn area. All owners, trainers, drivers and grooms must have a current Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) license. The MGC office located adjacent to the paddock entrance, will be open from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays as well as on Sunday (July 28) from mid-morning on. There you can obtain your license and ID tag prior to entering the barn area. The special Sunday afternoon Spirit of Massachusetts card has an early post time of 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE  

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing Owners, trainers and drivers participating in the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot, the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace or any other overnight race at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28), please take note of the following information. The draw for all races on Sunday (July 28) will be held on Thursday (July 25). The box closes at 9 a.m. You can call your entries into the race office at 508.576.4485 or 508.576.4486. There will be a detention barn for both the Spirit of Massachusetts and Clara Barton races and all horses for both events must be checked in prior to 9 p.m. on Saturday evening (July 27). All horses racing at Plainridge Park must be accompanied by a current 2019 Coggins, health certificate and evidence of EVH-1 vaccine in order to enter the barn area. All owners, trainers, drivers and grooms must have a current Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) license. The MGC office located adjacent to the paddock entrance, will be open from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays as well as on Sunday (July 28) from mid-morning on. There you can obtain your license and ID tag prior to entering the barn area. And due to the many events happening in the area during Spirit weekend (including the International Champions Cup soccer game at nearby Gillette Stadium) it is suggested that you make your hotel reservations early to ensure you have accommodations. Hawthorne Suites in Franklin, Massachusetts is Plainridge Park's preferred hotel partner with special rates when you mention "Plainridge". By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park and the HHANE

Plainville, MA - Due to a lack of consent by the Harness Horsemen's Association of New England (HHANE), the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot will not be contested in 2018.   "After a tremendous first running last year we are very disappointed that the HHANE chose not to provide their consent for the 2018 edition," said Steve O'Toole, Plainridge Park Casino Director of Racing.   "Although the race that put Plainridge Park back on the harness racing map will not be part of our 2018 season, Plainridge Park is committed to a racing program that highlights our local participants as well as high quality events," O'Toole added.      

Plainville, MA---The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot that was held at Plainridge Park last Friday (July 28) was the latest in a long list of achievements the resurgent harness racing track just south of Boston has added to its resume over the last three years. With a thriving gaming property established and a solid harness racing program in place as a result of the Race Horse Development Fund, the management and horsemen of Plainridge Park have made the most out of every opportunity to enhance their racing product and do what is necessary to nurture its continued growth in the future. Their efforts to date have seen annual live racing wagers increase by over $10 million, live daily average wagers increase by over $60,000 and annual simulcast wagering increase by more than $3 million. And those numbers have been generated solely through local overnight racing. The tracks mission from the start was to stabilize the racing program for all the horsemen who have raced at Plainridge for almost 20 years, but to also make Massachusetts harness racing vital again nationally and bring it into the consciousness of horsemen across North America. The first step in doing that was rejoining the Grand Circuit and hosting the biggest harness race ever held in the history of the state; the $250,000 Spirit Of Massachusetts Trot. A walk through the property on the day of the race gave visual evidence of the success of the event. A completely full parking lot and ramp, programs sold out, hat giveaway completed in 45 minutes, a full betting area in the grandstand and a packed apron by the track. But the optics weren’t the only proof of the interest in the race. At the end of the day the numbers bore it out as well. The handle on track was four-times higher than the average race card and eight-times greater than the average per race for the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot. And the off-track handle was twice as large as an average overnight card. The handle for the Spirit of Massachusetts race alone was the largest single-race handle since Penn National Gaming took the track over in April of 2014. There were also noticeable increases in casino activity and sales at all the restaurants throughout the property. Steve O’Toole is the Director of Live Racing at Plainridge Park and he couldn’t be more pleased with the event itself and the feedback he received from everyone after the race. “The day in, day out customers loved it. The more casual fans were very happy to have a reason to visit the track. Hosting a Grand Circuit event is a source of pride and as a result, the interest in our racing has been measurable and I feel it has been a direct result of our efforts this year putting together the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot” said O’Toole. “We received positive feedback all around. The horsemen were pleased with the detention barn, condition of the racetrack and the dinner reception for the race connections upstairs. Our patrons loved all the extra activities surrounding the race like the New England Patriot’s End Zone Militia and the Massachusetts Mounted State Police being a part of it all day.” Every member of the track’s team worked tirelessly to ensure a quality experience for their customers and clearly their efforts paid off. “The racing staff worked nonstop all afternoon covering all the bases with the production we had planned and they carried it off pretty much flawlessly.  The race itself was interesting to watch and lived up to the hype as well. There is always room to improve and we can certainly identify those areas, however with everything we had going on I think it went very well” said O’Toole.  By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

Plainville, MA---All eyes will be focused on the $250,000 Spirit Of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park today (July 28) as the best trotters in North America will compete in the newest stake on the harness racing Grand Circuit schedule. Many experts feel the stellar field going postward in the ninth race will produce a new all-time trotting record for the track and that could probably be the case. But the $25,000 "Old North Church" Open Handicap trot, which will be contested one race before the feature, may actually do it first. Gural Hanover (Matt Kakaley), Mambo Lindy (Greg Merton) and Wings Of Royalty (Yannick Gingras) were all Spirit of Massachusetts eligible but didn't make the field based on earnings over the past two years. As a result, their connections opted to enter them in the co-featured event and they have all the fire power needed to smash the existing mark of 1:53. Gural Hanover hasn't been worst than second in his last six starts except for an untimely break at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (June 24). Over his career Gural Hanover boasts 19 wins, $865,224 in earnings and a personal best of 1:51 registered at the Meadowlands on June 2 of this year. The 6-year-old Crazed gelding has five wins in 2017 and is nine out of 12 in the money. Leaving from post eight and being listed as the 9-5 morning line choice means trainer Ron Burke will be starting the favorite in both main events. Mambo Lindy has a definite home field advantage. The 6-year-old gelded son of Donato Hanover has raced over the Plainridge surface his entire life and has excelled in most of his efforts. In 31 lifetime starts Mambo Lindy has 19 wins, 17 of which were at Plainridge. This year he's won five out of six starts at The Ridge, including a 1:53.3 effort by three lengths on Thursday (June 22) where he looked like he had a lot more left in the tank. Trainer Frank Antonacci sends this one to the gate from post six at 2-1. Massachusetts-bred Wings Of Royalty will have some strong backing in the stands on Friday as all of his connections have New England roots. This 5-year-old R C Royalty horse won his first start of the year at Tioga Downs in 1:53.2, setting a new track record for older trotting horses. Then after a short layoff due to a foot issue, he won the Open trot on Friday (July 14) at Vernon Downs in 1:52.4 by five-lengths, which was his best outing to date. Walpole's own George Ducharme trains Wings Of Royalty and is the third choice at 3-1, leaving from post four. Wings Of Royalty set the all-time track trot record of 1:53.2 at Plainridge last year that was broken just last week by Up The Alley, who is also in this race. Up The Alley has four wins this year and is currently on a two-race win streak, scoring at the Meadowlands in 1:52.2 the week before setting the new mark at The Ridge. Trainer Richard Silverman has tabbed Mark Macdonald to drive the 5-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass this week and they will go to work from post seven at 7-1. Please note that coverage and live streaming of the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot will be available Friday at DRF Harness (www.drf.com/harness) and at the Plainridge Park website (www.plainridgeparkcasino.com). Post time for the first race is 4 p.m. The Spirit of Massachusetts Trot is race nine on the card and is slated to go off at 6:40 p.m. There will be some special promotions on tap for fans who attend the Spirit of Massachusetts day card. Plainridge Park will be giving away inaugural edition Spirit of Massachusetts Trot baseball caps starting at 3:30 p.m. in the grandstand. They are limited to one per customer and will be available while supplies last. Live racing fans will also have the opportunity to win tickets to the Super Bowl rematch between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons to be played at Gillette Stadium on Sunday (Oct. 22). In order to win, customers must place losing Plainridge pari-mutuel tickets with their name and telephone number printed on the back in boxes numbered 1-9, corresponding with the nine horses in the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot. After that race, a winner will be drawn from the corresponding numbered box as the winner of the race. Only losing Plainridge tickets can be used for entry. For more information about the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot log onto the Plainridge Park website at www.plainridgeparkcasino.com and click the "Live Racing" tab.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

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