Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 38
1 2 3 Next »

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Beautiful weather, big crowds, and great harness racing led to record handle figures at the recently completed state fair in Springfield. The four day Springfield fair saw handle numbers easily surpass prior years to the tune of a nearly $200,000 increase in handle off last year's races. DuQuoin unfortunately was a washout, but all 25 DuQuoin events are being brought to Hawthorne on August 30. The Illinois State Fair at Springfield saw the first two days of eliminations as Illinois-bred two-year-old and three-year-old trotters and pacers positioned themselves for the week two finals. While the youngsters raced through eliminations, it was an older state-bred pacer who stole the show on day two. The Brett Wilfong trained You'remyhearthrob paced a huge mile to a career best mark of 1:49/4 for driver Kyle Wilfong, posting the only sub-1:50 of the racing week. While You'remyhearthrob's time was fast, career marks were set for the winner of each of the 12 races on Championship day. The first of the eight finals was for two-year-old trotting fillies as a pair of Steve Searle trainees would finish 1-2 in the $32,500 event. Leading the way was Bee See for driver Kyle Husted, winning in 1:56.2 over Lous Abigail. Lauren Hall went on to finish third. Bee See is owned by Molly Baldes, Michael Paloma, Chris Paloma, and trainer Steve Searle. Two-year-old filly pacers followed next for $32,500 as another upset took place. This time it was Kyle Wilfong guiding home the Erv Miller trained Sleazy Gal in 1:54.1. She was a length ahead of Ashlees Fine Girl while Amazon Princess finished third. Sleazy Gal was the first of two winners on the day for Engel Stable of IL, LLC. Next up were two-year-old colt and gelding trotters in the $32,500 final. Another upset was in store as Ridge Warren drove On Higher Ground to a length and a quarter score over favored Fox Valley Quest. Desert Sheik would finish third as Mike Brink trained the winner and third-place finisher. On Higher Ground won in 1:55.1 for owner Bill Wright and trainer Mike Brink. Juvenile colt and gelding pacers faced off in the next $32,500 final as a favorite was able to get the job done. The win came for Fox Valley Ren as Kyle Wilfong grabbed his second finals win, this time for trainer Nelson Willis. Fox Valley Ren won in 1:52.3, a neck ahead of Rg's Tracer as Western Perch was third. Fox Valley Ren is owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc. Three-year-old filly trotters followed as trainer Steve Searle and driver Kyle Husted grabbed their second finals win. The win came with another favorite as 1-5 shot Louzotic didn't disappoint. A two-length winner, Louzotic was followed by Heidi High and Joe Joes Violet, winning in 1:54.3. Louzotic is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC. Favorites strung together three wins in a row in the $31,500 final for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The win came from Lousraptor as he won impressively by four-lengths for driver Casey Leonard and trainer Roshun Trigg. The win in 1:54.4 came over Lourhianon, who was followed by Prince Cassis. Lousraptor was the second finals score for owners Flacco Family Farms LLC. Three-year-old filly pacers competed for $31,500 and led back to an upset and also the third finals win on the day for the fair's leading driver Kyle Wilfong. Wilfong was able to work out a trip from the outside with Jay Garrels trained Perch, rallying to win by a length and a quarter. The speedy 1:51.1 time was good enough to best Fox Valley Torrid and Fox Valley Halsey. Perch is owned by Jay Garrels, Susan Garrels, and Del Insko Training Stable, Inc. The championship card concluded with three-year-old colt and gelding pacers in the $31,500 final as Kyle Husted grabbed his third finals win on the card. This win came impressively as Husted drove home Meyer on Fire to a two and a half-length score over Fox Valley Triton and Maximus. The win was in 1:51.2 and was the second finals win on the card for owner Engel Stable of IL LLC. With less than a month before Night of Champions at Hawthorne Race Course, many of these winners will be looking to position themselves for their best effort of the year in the state's biggest night of harness racing Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

Du Quoin, IL - As the county fair and state fair season winds down in Illinois, major harness racing took place over the past two weeks at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield before moving this weekend to the Du Quoin State Fair. Mother Nature tried to put a damper on the racing in Springfield, forcing the cancellation of one card and another to be shifted, but stakes eliminations and finals were able to be contested when the skies were clear. After the completion of elimination races during a hot Friday afternoon on August 12, over five inches of rain fell in a matter of hours in Springfield, forcing the cancellation of the Saturday card on August 13. A couple of dark days included more rain, forcing the postponement of the card on Tuesday, August 16 as that card was moved to the following Thursday. Round the clock work by the Springfield track crew had the surface ready for the finals though on Wednesday, August 16 as the top Illinois-breds took to a fast track. The following were the winners of the Illinois State Fair Championship races: Two-year-old filly trot - Annas Lucky Star Two-year-old colt & gelding trot - Polar B Two-year-old filly pacers - Artemesia Two-year-old colt & gelding pacers - Fox Valley Inferno Three-year-old filly trot - Praise Singer Three-year-old colt & gelding trot - PJ Boy Three-year-old filly pace - Bucklegirl Bobette Three-year-old colt & gelding pace - BS Tyriffic This Saturday and Sunday the Du Quoin State Fair takes place as many of the two and three-year--olds that squared off in Springfield will meet once again. While live wagering is available on-site at the Du Quoin State Fair, races can be viewed online at www.duquoinstatefair.net under the "Entertainment" and "Harness Racing" tab. Post time each day is Noon. Jim Miller  

Louisville, KY --- His record stands at a perfect 14 for 14, he’s paced in 1:51.2 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and ended his freshman season with a triumph in the $86,000 American-National Stake over Earndawg, the Orange and Blue victor, so it’s pretty difficult to imagine getting Roland N Rock on stride was no simple task. “He always wants to trot and we just let him do it now,” said his co-owner/trainer Duane Roland. “He’ll even trot right up until the gate, but once he’s racing he’s all pace. We have never had one problem with him breaking so we allow him to do whatever he wants.” Born in Iowa, a son of Rocknroll Hanover and the Cambest mare Hank’s Chip, Roland N Rock competed primarily on the fair tracks in his native state and is the product of Duane and Connie Roland’s Harrisburg excursion in 2011. The couple, whose entire family has been heavily involved in the sport since 1969, were hoping to cash in on the Perretti Farms dispersal of their broodmare band. After spending $6,000 for Hank’s Chip, who was already in foal, it appears the Rolands did just that. “We have about 75 to 80 horses out here, with about 25 foals a year,” said the Grinnell resident, who owns, conditions and steers all his own stock. “We were looking for some mares in foal to Rocknroll Hanover, but we have a budget as we own a 1,500 acre farm that produces soybeans and corn. That is how we make our living and our horses are just for pleasure. We were able to purchase two mares, as we paid $9,000 for another, but her foal turned out nothing like Roland.” As Roland N Rock paced his way through the Iowa fair circuit, offer after offer came through to buy him, but there was not even the most remote possibility they would sell. “I am 47 years old and I’ve waited a lifetime for a horse like this,” Roland said. “My entire family is in this business and we have had some nice horses. My father Roger sold Panaramic Art for $60,000 and that was one of them, but I think this one is even more special. “Ones like these sometimes never come along. I knew we had something different on my hands in July when he paced the fastest half in Iowa history (:57.2) at Oskaloosa. When John Delong got off him at Springfield, he said he could have went much faster and was very impressed with him. All the way back to the paddock after that race, people were asking me how much they could buy him for, while I just kept shaking my head.” The Roland family certainly is a mainstay and/or cornerstone of the Iowa harness industry, as cousin Dan has grabbed headlines for his driving and brother Royal is no slouch in the sulky either. Royal is also a director for the United States Trotting Association and the treasurer for the Iowa Harness Horsemen’s Association. Duane is the secretary and Dan is on the board. “We all have our own places, half-mile tracks and training facilities,” Roland said. “We race against each other because when we tried keeping our horses together, no one could agree on anything. We all have our own ideas on how things should be done and no one is willing to change that.” There is, however, an alteration in the Roland family’s agenda for the summer of 2015. “We think he is the real deal and we are taking him out East to race against the best,” Roland said. “We are coming with him as I want to do all the work on him myself. I could ship him out there to someone else, but this horse means a lot. Connie and I are looking forward to the journey. “In fact, I just finished staking him and he’s in just about everything. There’s the Meadowlands Pace, the Progress Pace, the Matron and the Messenger. He will have to earn his way into the Jug or Lexington, but I think he will give a good account of himself. We just used the money he made to give him the opportunity. I don’t know about the Breeders Crown right now. That depends on how well he races. “We are just very excited to have this kind of opportunity with him and to be on the road all summer long. I can’t explain the kind of thrill this horse has provided us with. He was so much better than these other horses, some guys were wondering if it would take the heart out of them having to chase him all the time and never being able to catch him. “Also, you just can’t describe the feeling of holding a horse back for a half behind the entire field and just waiting for the chance to let them loose because you know he is going to go by them all. It’s absolutely unbelievable.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

For the second time in the last three years veteran Prairie State harness racing trainer Tom Simmons has returned from the mid-January Meadowlands Sale to his Springfield based farm with a highly regarded 4-year-old pacing colt purchased by his primary owner Illinoisan Dave Clinard. In 2013 it was Time To Roll, a well-bred stakes champion who has won 21 races over the past two seasons for Clinard, including a bevy of Midwest Invites (six at Balmoral). The son of Rocknroll Hanover out of the Real Artist mare Kikikatie was a $105,000 purchase, who has hauled in almost $223,000 since for his Mt. Sterling owner, This past Monday at the New Jersey Clinard dished out $90,000 for Somestarsomewhere, one of the many elite pacers from the powerful Ron Burke Stable. The colt is one of the many recent successful pacers sired by world champion Somebeachsomewhere. His dam is Lovely Assistant, an unraced daughter of Art Major. Burke and three of his owners bought Somestarsomewhere for $110,000 as a yearling at the 2011 Harrisburg Sale. “Dave wanted another good horse and hopefully he’ll have it in Somestartsomewhere,” said Simmons. “We missed on 3 or 4 of them at the sale before we got him. The horse is now at by farm and he is a big, good-looking colt. “We’re hoping he turns out to be a very good horse for us. You never know how these things will work out but he the breeding, the looks and the potential to do very well racing in Illinois and Indiana for us.” The new Clinard purchase certainly arrives in Illinois with the credentials to be a force in the Midwest Invitational ranks. Somestarsomewhere was the first two-year-old colt pacer to go a sub 1:50 mile when he won his Breeders Crown elimination at Pocono Downs in 1:49.4 for Burke. He went on to finish third in that $500,000 Final Two weeks earlier in early October that year the well-regarded pacer won a division of the International Stallion Track at The Red Mile in a track record time of 1:49.2. Somestartsomewhere was the early favorite to capture the 534,500 at The Meadowlands in 2013 but was scratched by Burke because a minor industry, ending his freshman season with over $137,000 on his card. “He pulled a curb training,” Burke told the news media, adding: “With a horse like him I wasn’t going to take a chance and race him.” As a three-year-old he added another $138,893 to his purse account, facilitated by victories in a $66,783 PASS stake and the $50,000 Monument Circle Stake at Hoosier Park. To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Going into the Du Quoin State Fair it appeared that a couple of the upcoming Super Night championships pretty much looked like slam-dunks but in horse racing things can change in a hurry, and they did in the ICF 3-year-old colt and gelding trotting division. Fox Valley Veto had dominated the group, winning every major ICF stake including the Mike’s A Mystery against older ICF foes but the Curt Grummel trainee was passed at Du Quoin in the stretch by the 9-1 longshot Nino Marino, raising the hopes his trainer, and others in the division, for the upcoming Su Mac Lad Final on Super Night. “I have to admit I’m more optimistic about our chances for Super Night now than I was going into the State Fairs,’ said Randy Tuftie, the trainer of Nino Marino. “I knew we had a good trotter but I didn’t know if we could beat Fox Valley Veto but we did.”   In his freshman season Nino Marino won over $26,000 for his owners Ron Marino of Ft. Myers, Florida and Dave Herman of Ottawa, winning his Lincoln Land elimination but the gelding began his 3-year-old season winless in his first 12 starts. “He started off as a 2-year-old slowly going through some growing issues but he got good as the season went on.” continued Tuftie. ‘”Nino Marino is a big horse and he also started slowly this year. He raced better at Springfield when he was fourth and I thought he would be good for Du Quoin. “It turned out he was better than just good. Nino Marino can leave pretty well and he’ll settle into a hole and race well that way. At Du Quoin he got a good trip behind Fox Valley Veto and when Dean pulled him, Nino Marino looked that horse right in the eye and went pass him. “As I’ve told my owners, if we stick around you never know what’s going to happen. Going into Du Quoin Fox Valley Veto looked unbeatable but you never know what’s going to happen in a horse race.” The ICF 3-year-old colt division may be of the eight Super Night championships that may not be need eliminations next weekend. Elims weren’t necessary at Springfield and only seven trotters went postward in the Pronto Don Championship at Du Quoin. A $1,500 starting fee is needed to enter Wednesday morning for the Su Mac Lad and the Lady Ann Reed for 3-year-old ICF trotting fillies. The starting fess for the 2 and 3-year-old championships is $2,000. The Tony Maurello and Lorna Propes for older ICF pacers both have $1,250 starting fees. The circuit’s leading driver Casey Leonard brought home five winners last night. Trotter Bought: The ICF 3-year-old trotter Big Bill Breeze, successful in his last 10 straight races on the Illinois Fair Circuit, was sold last week by Amy and Derek Jacobus and trainer Nick Prather to Donald Edmond of Taunton, Massachusetts. Big Bill Breeze, winner of 17 of 25 lifetime starts, is eligible for the $100,000 Su Mac Lad on Super Night (September 13). Entries for Illinois most anticipated night of racing will be taken this Wednesday morning at Balmoral Park. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

This Week: Review Stakes, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Ill.; Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes, Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Ind.; Carl Milstein Memorial, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Joe Gerrity final, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ont.; and Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Monday (Aug. 11) at the Illinois State Fair with the $35,900 Review Stake for 2-year-old trotters, the $21,450 Review Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $18,800 Review Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Tuesday (Aug. 12) program features the $30,500 Review Stake for 3-year-old pacers and the $28,600 Review Stake for 3-year-old trotters. The Indiana State Fair will host one day of Grand Circuit racing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) with the feature being the $55,462 Fox Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers. The co-featured event is the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds will see two divisions each in the $26,920 2-year-old colt pace, the $26,632 2-year-old filly pace, the $25,928 2-year-old filly trot and the $22,404 2-year-old colt trot. The Horseman Stakes for 3-year-olds features single divisions in the $36,028 3-year-old colt pace, the $33,664 3-year-old filly pace, the $32,728 3-year-old filly trot and the $32,156 3-year-old colt trot. Then on Friday (Aug. 15), Northfield Park will host the $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers and a $100,000 (est.) consolation in the same event. Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host the C$60,000 (est.) Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers on Saturday (Aug. 16) and a C$20,000 (est.) consolation on Friday (Aug. 15). Also on Saturday, Saratoga Casino and Raceway will feature the $260,000 Joe Gerrity for open pacers and Mohawk Racetrack will contest the C$245,000 (est.) Nassagaweya for 2-year-old colt pacers and the C$215,000 (est.) Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Tioga Downs with Tompkins-Geers stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as the 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. These events carry purses estimated from $53,000 for the 3-year-old filly pacers to $85,000 for the freshman colt trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday (Aug. 8). Sweet Lou defeated stablemate Bettor's Edge in 1:47.2 in the Dan Patch. In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing, but stablemate Bettor's Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25. Carol's Comet and Aaron Merriman were well-placed In The Pocket second with the 1-5 favorite, Sweet Lou, next in line in third. Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4. Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader's wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field. Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a half-length to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor's Edge was a game second while Carol's Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window. Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, 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 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 646; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 369; 4. David Miller - 290; 5. Brian Sears - 245.   Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,016.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 233.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 211.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. Mohawk Racetrack with contest eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Metro for 2-year-old colt pacers and the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old filly pacers on Saturday (Aug. 23). The Sunday (Aug. 24) card at Tioga Downs will offer eliminations for the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds and the second leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Through the years fast miles have been the norm on the mile clay oval at Springfield. The fastest in a pari-mutuel race was eight years ago when My Boy David sped to a 1:47.4 clocking with Andy Miller in 2006. While many may remember My Boy David’s fastest mile in Springfield history that came in his Illinois State Fair Stake elimination race, most fans may not know that the 3-year-old Homer Hochstetler trainee didn’t go on to win that $50,000 Final four days later. Fox Valley Tribal, driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Bob Sanders, took the championships in 1:49 flat, a half-length ahead of Thisbigdogwilfight. My Boy David settled for third (1:49.2), beaten two lengths. My Boy David would bounce back to take the Dudley Hanover title at Du Quoin and the Pete Langley Memorial Championship on Super Night and would go on to compete into 2012 at the age of nine, amassing over $1.3 million for owner Shirley Le Vin of Barrington Hills. My Boy David winning at Balmoral The great Mack Lobell holds the Springfield record for a trotter when he motored to a 1:52.1 clocking with John Campbell in the 1987 George Alexander Memorial as a 3-year-old. The fastest mile ever paced on the Springfield big track came in a time trail in 1993 when Cambest (Bill O’Donnell) stopped the timer in a sizzling 1:46.1. The oldest Springfield track record goes back to the year 2000 when the Erv Miller Stable’s Incredible Tillie (Andy Miller) took the 3-year-old filly pace in 1:49.2 some 14 years ago. The newest track record belongs to PQ Three, another Erv Miller trainee.  Last year Mike Oosting drove PQ Three to a 1:50 flat victory in the 2-year-old colt pace championship, bettering the old mark by 2/5’s of a second shared by Hot N Sporty (2005) and Lucky’s Z Tam (2006). To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here     County Fair Report   EFFINGHAM COUNTY FAIR AT ALTAMONT   Tuesday Afternoon-1 pm FIRST: $1,125 2 and 3-Year-Old Pace: Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Fast) Perfectly Clear (Kyle Wilfong)                       2:00.2  Trainer: Bob Rittof. Owners: Angela Coleman and Bob Rittof. SECOND: $1,125 2 and 3-Year-Old Pace: Togetherforver (Michael Johnson)                  2:02.4 Trainer: Michael Johnson. Owner: Rhonda Manship. THIRD: $1,300 Open 3-Year-Old Trot: Morgans Majestic (Ladarrius Whitaker)         2:0.2 Trainer: Ladarrius Whitaker. Owner: Gloria Gillis. FOURTH: $1,300 Non-Winners of $7,500 LT Pace: Ava Destruction (Darla Martin)                      2:00.3 Trainer: Joan Brown. Owners: David and Joan Brown. FIFTH: $1,900 ICF Maidens Trot: At Risk (Darla Martin)                                    2:06.4 Trainer: Darla Martin Owner: Darla Martin. BOONE COUNTY FAIR AT BELVIDERE   Tuesday Afternoon-Noon FIRST: $3,575 NICA 2-Year-Old Filly Pace: Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Slow) Rockin Cassinova (Jay Garrels)                      2:15.1 Trainer: Jay Garrels/ Owners: William and Wm. Pat De Long. SECOND: $3,496 NICA 2-Year-Old Colt Pace: Miss Mascoutin (Robert Yohn)                      2:25.1 Trainer: Robert Yohn. Owners: Philips Krogman and Robert Yohn. THIRD: $6,039 NICA 2-Year-Old Trot: New Achiever (Orval Bronkhorse)                 2:21.3 Trainer: Orval Bronkhorse. Owner: Orval Bronkhorst. FOURTH: $3,300 ICF 4-Year-Olds and Up Trot: Fall Creek Bandit (John Roberts)                   2:13 Trainer: Don Brown. Owners: Don and Vicky Brown. FIFTH: 1,000 Non-Winners of $1,500 Trot: Foxiesbandofgold (Robert Yohn)                  2:14.4 Trainer: Robert Yohn. Owner: Richard Thompson. SIXTH: PACE, 2 and 3-Year-Old Pace: Elusive Return (Gary Rath)                            2:11.1 Trainer: Gary Rath. Owners: Gary and Kathryn Rath. WILLIAMSON COUNTY FAIR AT MARION     Tuesday Afternoon: 1 pm FIRST: $5,852 ECS 3-Year-Old Pace: Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Fast) Cypress Hill Rose (Clay Simpson)                  1:59.2 Trainer: Donald James. Owner: Donald James. SECOND: $5,752 ECS 3-Year-Old Trot: Battleshoe King (Clay Simpson)                    2:04.3 Trainer: Clay Simpson. Owners: Buddy and Clay Simpson. THIRD: $800 Non-Winners of $3,500 LT Trot: Hoosier Jared (Cleon Woods)                         2:03.4 Trainer: Cleon Woods. Owner: Cleon Woods. FOURTH: $800 Free For All Pace: Smoke Rings (Larry Ward)                             2:00.3 Trainer: Larry Ward. Owner: Larry Ward. FIFTH: $6,700 ICF 4-Year-Old and Up Trot: Hong Kong Kwyne (Dennis Gardner)           2:04.4 Trainer: Dennis Gardner. Owner: George Knackmuhs. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

This Week: Dan Patch Invitational, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind., Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. and Gold Cup and Saucer trials, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (Aug. 8) at Hoosier Park with the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational for older pacers. On that same evening, The Meadows will host two $60,000 divisions in the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters. Then on the weekend, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host two days of trials for the Gold Cup and Saucer for older pacers. Twelve horses have been nominated, thus setting the stage for trials on Saturday (Aug. 9) and Monday (Aug. 11). The top finishers in the trials will advance to the final on Saturday (Aug. 16). Complete entries for the Hoosier Park and Meadows races are available at this link. Entries for the Red Shores Racetrack & Casino races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack closed out their Championship Meet this past Saturday with several lucrative Grand Circuit races led by the $1,006,125 Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Trixton edged stablemate Nuncio to win the Hambletonian. Trixton and trainer/driver Jimmy Takter bested a stubborn stablemate Nuncio (John Campbell) in a stretch drive down the lane to win the Hambletonian in 1:50.3. The time was the second fastest in the history of the race, behind his sire Muscle Hill, who won the 2009 Hambletonian in 1:50.1. With three horses making breaks at the gate, including the favorite at 3-5, Father Patrick, the picture changed abruptly as the field turned in to the :26.3 first quarter with Nuncio (John Campbell) in the lead, with Royal Ice (Ron Pierce) behind him. Those two led the field to the :54 half when Royal Ice and Pierce tipped out alongside Nuncio past the half-mile mark. Royal Ice could not get by and when the field entered the turn, following the 1:23 three-quarter clocking, Trixton was three wide around a tiring Royal Ice and was up to engage Nuncio and Campbell. Those two went stride for stride down the stretch, with Nuncio not giving ground until the final strides, when Trixton got a half-length in front for the win. Trixton is owned by Brixton Medical Ab of Sweden and Christina Takter. The Muscle Hill-Emilie Cas El colt won for the seventh time in nine starts this year and increased his season's bankroll to $786,917. The $360,000 yearling has now banked $840,604 lifetime. A Jimmy Takter-trained filly won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, but not as expected. Lifetime Pursuit, sent off at odds of 10-1 with driver Yannick Gingras, won the Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters by 2-1/2 lengths over favorite Designed To Be in a world-record 1:50.4. Take The Money finished third, followed by Lifetime Pursuit's better-known stablemate Shake It Cerry, who was the second choice in the betting. Lifetime Pursuit, leaving from post seven, got the early lead and led the field to the first quarter in :26.3. Shake It Cerry, who started from the second tier in post 11, took the top spot on the backstretch as the group reached the halfway point in :55.1. Coming off the final turn, Shake It Cerry led, with Lifetime Pursuit sitting behind her and Heaven's Door on the outside. Lifetime Pursuit powered to the front and pulled away, with Gingras punching the air triumphantly well before the finish line. The time broke the world record for a 3-year-old filly trotter, which was 1:51, set in 2013 by Bee A Magician. Takter became the second trainer to win the Oaks and Hambletonian in the same year. Armbro Goal and Nan's Catch were trained by Jan Johnson in 1988. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, 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 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 626; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 349; 4. David Miller - 270; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 961.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 220.55; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 201.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield with the Review Stakes; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes; at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial; at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino with the Gold Cup and Saucer final; at Saratoga Raceway with the Joe Gerrity final; at Mohawk Racetrack with the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation; and at Tioga Downs with the Tompkins-Geers. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director  

Jubilation quickly turned to heartbreak in a pair of trotting events at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, July 9th as a pair of diamond gaiters looked to be home free only to have late miscues cost them what looked to be sure victories in these state-bred stake events.   In what looked like it was going to a replay of their last two encounters Macie Rae (Ryan Anderson) carved out splits of 28.0, 58.1 & 1:27.3 and appeared to be holding firm to the wire before going off stride with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go. That allowed the pocket sitting Bailey's Wish and driver Dave Magee to capitalize on their good fortune as they zipped right on by for the victory in the $10,000 Fox Valley Diva Stake for state-bred three-year-old trotting fillies. Macie Rae settled for the place spot while Lora Lee Breeze (Matt Krueger) was a distant third.   The three-quarter-length triumph in a career best of 1:56.1 pushed the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen's career record to 7-6-3 in 22 starts for owners James Bafia and Eugene White. The good looking brown filly has also banked a hefty $151,983 while under the guidance of conditioner Dirk Simpson who is zeroing in on the 1,000 victory plateau.   In the first of two $5,000 divisions of the Psychic Spirit Stake for ICF two-year-old trotting colts Southrncomfortzone (John De Long) looked to be home free after a pocket sitting journey behind Captain Greedy and driver-trainer J.D. Finn. That's when disaster struck for that colt as he "jumped it off" allowing Captain Greedy, who had put up splits of 29.3, 1:00.2 & 1:31.2 to reclaim the lead and cruise to a six-length triumph in 1:59.4. Cardinal Yankee (Mike Brink) rallied to be second while Pizzalicious (Dale Hiteman) was moved from fourth to third because of the disqualification of Southrncomfortzone.   The win was the third in four starts for the son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie who now has $6,692 in career earnings.   The second division of the Psychic Spirit proved to be far less dramatic as the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar made it three in a row to open his career posting an impressive 2 ¾ length victory in a career best of 1:58.3.   After saving ground while Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) put up splits of 30.1, 1:00 & 1:29.2, driver Todd Warren eased Fox Valley Qatar through the passing lane and the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain responded beautifully as he charged right by the tiring pace setter for an easy score. Allpowernoemotion held on for second while RT Habenero (Robert Taylor) rallied to be third.   Fox Valley Qatar now sports career earnings of $5,625 and looks like he'll be the one to beat heading into the State Fair Stakes at Springfield in August.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

One of Alexandra Park’s most frequent patrons and founder of the Anzus Standardbred Agency passed away in Te Aroha last Sunday night. John Coll of Morrinsville was 66. John, a prolific breeder and owner, was renowned for the ‘Springfield’ name. He also pioneered the shuttling of American standardbreds to New Zealand in 1991. John Geiger, of Geiger Bloodstock, bought his company two years later. John’s foundation shuttle stallions were In The Pocket and WRH, a full brother to Ok Bye, who was named after the legendary American trainer driver W.R. (Billy) Haughton. He was a committee member of the Morrinsville Trotting Club and was a past president of the Waitaki Trotting Club. His friend Malcolm Mulligan who travelled to and from Morrinsville to Alexandra Park more than 100 times, said John was an avid trotting fan. “He was a die-hard fan of harness racing, especially the squaregaiters. He really loved breeding from Armbro Invasion. “He was extremely knowledgeable when it came to trotting bloodlines. What he didn’t know about them wasn’t worth knowing. “He sat at his same little seat every week at ‘The Park’. The place won’t be the same without him,” Mulligan said. John was born in Southland and farmed sheep, beef and crops in Pleasant Point before moving north to Morrinsville in 1990. The best horse he bred was the 10-win ($94,320) Brylin Boyz gelding Springfield Hero. Other horses of note were Springfield Yankee (10 wins - $58,960), Springfield Master (7 wins - $34,211), Springfield Rocket (4 wins - $20,688). Springfield Countess, who won six races and $28,250, finished third behind Chipaluck and Maddie in the 1985 Group One New Zealand Oaks for 3yo fillies. John also bred Adios Springfield (1:53.8) – the fastest son of Sharvid Adios. He also had success in Australia, the best being his Sundon – Make No Mistake gelding named Springfield Alonzo. He won eight of his 52 starts and placed 11 times for $41,881. He also recorded a 1:58.6 mile when winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 14 2012. John also briefly owned Speedy Summit before selling him to Australia. That son of Speedy Crown later raced in the United States. John’s latest claim to fame is the promising Armbro Invasion gelding, Foray. That 5-year-old trotter has won five of his 18 starts, including a last start Manawatu win (February 6) for Woodville trainer Mathew Hickey. John’s death notice read: Coll, John Gilbert. – Passed away peacefully at the Te Aroha Community Hospital, after a courageous battle. Loved father of Robert of Pleasant Point. John was the dearly loved eldest son of the late Daniel McLaughlin and Kathleen Cyrilla Coll. He was the loved brother and brother-in-law of Cedric (Timaru), Alwyn and Sue (Christchurch), Gerard and Sue (Cheviot), and Pat and Donna (Timaru). Also a much loved uncle and great-uncle. A funeral service for John will be held at St Patrick's Catholic Church, 625 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu, on Wednesday February 12,at 1.30pm, followed by private cremation. All communications please to the Coll Family, c/- PO Box 137, Te Awamutu. By Duane Ranger

Illinois legislators will reconvene in Springfield on Wednesday to hear Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State address. It also is imperative that they pass legislation allowing Advance Deposit Wagering. ADW allows horse racing fans to bet on horse races online. This is not a new law. ADW has been legal since 2009 but is due to sunset Jan. 31. A percentage of ADW wagers fund the Illinois Racing Board, which regulates horse racing. Without ADW funds, the IRB cannot sufficiently carry out its responsibilities. Consequently, harness racing would see a 95 percent reduction in racing dates, going from racing 251 days in 2013 to 13 days in 2014. Such dramatic cuts will effectively kill Illinois horse racing and the thousands of jobs it creates. We simply want to do what we love and earn an honest paycheck. But this bill, which is supported unanimously in the horse racing industry, must pass first. Illinois horse racing employs more than 15,000 men and women, including drivers, trainers, bartenders, blacksmiths and more. These are real jobs throughout Illinois. It is reasonable to assume then that the Illinois General Assembly would be eager to promote and nurture an industry that provides revenue and jobs in a state that is hungry for those things. Our racing season is scheduled to begin Feb. 5. We urge all lawmakers to encourage leadership to call this critical piece of legislation on Wednesday and show your support with a “yes” vote. Casey Leonard Harness driver, Harvard Dave McCaffrey President Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association 

Hinsdale, IL --- The Mike Brink Stable’s King Mufasa, who dominated last season’s 3-year-old ICF colt and gelding trotting division, was named the 2013 Illinois Horse of the Year at last Saturday’s USTA District 5 awards banquet in Springfield. The son of Powerful Emotion, out of the Muscles Yankee mare Foxy N Diamonds, joined Brink after a modest 2-year-old campaign where he won two of eight starts and banked under $10,000 for owners H H Wright and Mystical Marker Farms. King Mufasa was absolutely sensational under the care of Brink, winning every major Illinois bred stake -- including the $50,800 Cardinal, the $51,000 Kadabra, both State Fair crowns at Springfield and Du Quoin and the $124,000 Su Mac Lad on Super Night -- along with open added money triumphs in Balmoral Park’s $37,000 Hanover and the $31,000 Circle City at Hoosier Park. At one time King Mufasa rattled off 12 consecutive victories when he earned $238,590 racing out of Brink’s barn. And to the surprise of many, the ICF star wasn’t sold out east after his huge season and will be back to campaign in Illinois and Indiana in 2014. “His owners like him so well that they didn’t want to put him in a sale. They’re letting me race him in the Midwest for another year,” said Brink, who turned 61 earlier this month. The veteran Springfield based conditioner concluded his most successful year in 2013 with career highs in winners (68) and money earned ($717,414) from his barn. King Mufasa was also voted the Illinois 3-year-old champion male trotter. Other sophomore division winners honored at the banquet were Mystical Walter (1:50, $195,259) as the male pacer for owners Paymaq Racing, D & M Trading of Illinois and Mystical Marker Farms; Auniqueaquistion (1:52.2, $249,235), owned by John Carver and Dandy Farms Inc., as the pacing filly; and Trot Fudge Sundae as the top trotting filly for the Illinois trio of James Bafia, Gene White and Sam Daddono. The 2013 ICF freshmen divisional champions were PQ Three (1:50, $111,899), owned by Obermeier & Quaid Stables as the male pacer; Thesleazyprincess (1:54, $159,615), owned and bred by the Marty Engel Stable of Illinois as the filly pacer; Jerry’s Graham’s Photo Surprise (1:57, $96,825) as the male trotter; and Bailey’s Wish (1:59, $112,710), co-owned by Illinoisans James Bafia and Gene White, as the top filly trotter. John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler’s Fort Silky (1:49.3, $269,075) took ICF older horse pacer honors. Jesse De Long’s Let’s Go Higher (1:50.3, $198,236) was the older mare pacing winner. Randall Bendis’ Zumba Mouse (1:54, $103,474) was best among the older trotting mares and Run And Tell Pap (1:53.2, $126,510) took the top spot for older trotting horses for owners Burke Racing LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The state’s 2013 champion pacing stallion was Yankee Skyscaper while Powerful Emotion was named the trotting stallion division titleholder. Shesoluvabull was voted the champion pacing broodmare for a second consecutive year while Just Having Fin took that honor in the trotting broodmare division. District 5 Director and Chairman Sam Lilly was the Master of Ceremonies at the well-attended banquet and dinner where USTA Executive Vice-President Mike Tanner was a special guest. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

Quantity and quality is often a successful combination and that’s what trainer Dirk Simpson has going for him in Wednesday’s $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Championship at Balmoral Park. The Springfield based trainer has 4 of the 10 finalists in the richest stake race of the season for ICF 2-year-old trotting fillies; including the 7-2 second morning line favorite Bailey’s Wish in the fourth race feature. Owned by James Bafia of Minooka, IL and his co-worker Gene White of Chicago, Bailey’s Wish was much the best in last week’s Lady Lincoln single elimination for the two brokers at the Chicago Board of Trade. Bailey’s Wish led at every pole and was more than four lengths the best at the end of her winning 1:59.4 mile. National Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee was all smiles talking about the Simpson trainee. “She was really good the other night, probably as good as she has ever been,” said Dave. “Bailey’s Wish was straight and she was solid. She really raced well and she comes into this championship very sharp. “The filly is great gaited. While she’s not big she’s filling out nicely. I think she has the potential to be a very good trotting filly.” Bailey’s Wish didn’t draw well, landing the 8-slot in the 10-horse field, but she has shown she has the gate speed to leave for position if asked. Du Quoin champion Fox Valley Hosanna leaves (8-1) from the middle of the pack for driver Mike Oosting, while Bands Pippa and Say No Mo, two fillies that Dirk also shares ownership with have the one and three slots, respectively. Casey Leonard will be behind Bands Pippa (6-1) for the first time after the filly drew a bye into the Land Lincoln land Final. John De Long (10-1) is back to guide Say No Mo, who had a big effort in last week’s elimination. Say No Mo left from the 10-hole and got good up-close position, She raced third on the inside most of the way, following her two more successful stable-mates Bailey’s Wish and Fox Valley Hosanna but when the latter stalled in the lane, Say No Mo was pushed back before finishing strong. All four fillies Wednesday will race un-coupled. The Roger Welch Stable’s S V Spirit (Todd Warren), moves to the inside two-slot for the championships where she looks very dangerous for her driver Todd Warren and opens as the 3-1 morning line favorite. She didn’t have the easiest of trips when she was third in last Wednesday’s elimination. Also looking for pull off an upset in the Lady Lincoln Land are Green Acres (15-1, Jon Anderson), Lora Lee Breeze (15-1, Matt Krueger), Graceful Spirit (12-1, Brian Carpenter, Fox Valley Skylar (9-2, Dale Hiteman) and Fox Valley Flan champion Vienna (8-1, Kyle Wilfong) who has the 10-slot. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Elimination races for both the Cardinal and Violet two-year-old ICF stakes will be contested Friday night at Maywood Park. With all six-horse fields, a freshman pacer only needs to beat out two horses in an elim to advance to next week’s finals. With division leader PQ Three and Orange and Blue Colt winner Cotton Eyed Joe absent, the Nick Prather trained Unlocked will likely be a heavy favorite for next Friday’s $55,000 (est.) Cardinal Championship. Unlocked will open as the 7-5 morning line choice in race nine, the second Cardinal elimination division. The Duneside Perch colt was not eligible for Super Night and hasn’t competed since he dropped a photo to PQ Three on August 25 in the Governor’s Cup at Du Quoin. However, Unlocked drew off in a Springfield qualifier on Tuesday by 21 lengths, pacing a :26.4 last quarter at the end of a 1:54.4 mile for trainer Nick Prather. The colt has also showed a fondness for Maywood’s half-mile oval.  Earlier in the summer he breezed to victories in the $12,000 Enzo The Baker and Fox Valley Barzgar stakes and then pulled away by 11 lengths in a Illinois Stallion Stake at the Charleston Fair in late July. Even though Unlocked has 6 season victories in 8 starts and a pair of seconds at both State Fair Championships, his $51,587 earnings are only third best among the 12 horses entered for the Cardinal. The Dirk Simpson trained Traffic Cop (9-5, Todd Warren), the fifth race first Cardinal elim favorite, has $60,735 on his card, and Fox Valley Cupid (2-1, Ryan Anderson) has made $53,355 for the Mike Schufler Stable and the Yankee Skyscraper gelding has done it despite going winless in his first 10 career starts. Fox Valley Cupid earned a hefty $44,000 with his game second place finish in the O&B Final, losing by only a neck to Cotton Eyed Joe for his quartet of Illinois owners. My Little Bit and Thesleazyprincess, the top two leaders in the ICF freshman filly division, renew their rivalry in the first race initial Violet elimination and both are making their half-mile debuts Thesleazyprincess (9-5, Mike Oosting) has annexed both the Orange and Blue Filly and Loyal Opposition crowns at Balmoral for trainer Nelson Willis, while the Erv Miller Stable’s My Little Bit (8-5, Casey Leonard) took both the Springfield and Du Quoin titles. The fourth race second Violet elim brings out Molly Go Lightly (9-5, Oosting) and Fox Valley Shiver (8-5, Todd Warren); two talented fillies who didn’t get a chance to show what they can do on Super Night. Molly Go Lightly won her Orange and Blue elimination but had to be scratched in the final because of sickness. The Willis trainee bounced back with an easy triumph in the Thrifty Way stake at Balmoral. Fox Valley Shiver, the runner-up to My Little Bit in the Springfield Final, wasn’t eligible to the Orange and Blue. She’s been off a month but she also qualified impressively Tuesday morning at Springfield when she was 19 lengths the best in 1:56 with her trainer Dirk Simpson in the bike. Both Fox Valley Shiver and Kiwi Party (4-1, John De Long) are making their Maywood Park debuts however they spent the summer on the County Fair Circuit and should get around the half-mile turns just fine. Oosting drove six winners and De Long had four winning drives on Maywood’s 12-race Thursday evening card. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

It’s been an extraordinary summer for the De Long family and it isn’t over yet.  They have three of their horses in Super Night championships Saturday, energizing the whole Wisconsin based clan of horsemen. John De Long drove Let’s Go Higher to an impressive 1:50.4 clocking when the mare was eight lengths the best in her Lorna Propes elimination, propelling her to the 5-2 second choice behind Mystical Victress (programmed 9-5) in that $130,000 Championship. The 24-year-old De Long was second with both Party Hangover Two and Kiwi Party in their Orange and Blue Filly elims, moving each of his father Jessie De Long trained freshmen into that $200,000 Final. “John and I were so proud to have a Super Night winner last year (Party Hangover). It was a dream that came true,” said Jesse. “Now to have three of our horses in finals this year has the whole family pretty excited.” Let’s Go Higher spend most of the year out east under the care of trainer Heidi Rohn, posting 7 wins and over $66,000 in earnings, before coming back to the Clinton, Wisconsin Farm for a shot at a Super Night stake. “Heidi and her people did a phenomenal job with Let’s Go Higher,” said Jesse. “The mare is on fire right now. She came back to us just super-sharp. “We had a heck of a (super night elimination) weekend and John drove really well. He was bringing everybody’s horses’ home.” The proud papa was right-on with that statement. Besides the De Long three finalists John brought home six other horses (Monopoly Man, Cole Heat, Uncle Smoothie, Schmatie, Fox Valley Van and I Bizel The Shizel) into Super Night championships with either a second or a third place finish. During the spring Jesse wasn’t sure which of his yearling filly purchases, Party Hangover Two or Kiwi Party, would be bound for the Illinois fair circuit and which would compete on the Chicagoland tracks. “We bought Party Hangover Two privately and we bought Kiwi Party at a sale,” continued Jesse. “Kiwi trained better all spring. At that time Party Hangover Two was a little behind her and we had a decision to make. It was a toss-up as to what to do. One filly was going to race on the Chicago circuit and the other on the fair circuit. It was a tough decision and it turned out really well for us. “My son John took his time with Party Hangover Two and the filly has gotten just better and better. “My son Austin did a great job with Kiwi Party on the fair circuit. She won a number of races including the County Fair championship at Springfield and she showed last weekend she’s good enough to race in the Orange and Blue championship. “I have four boys and all have had a great summer. “My youngest Eric goes to Iowa and he just had the 2-year-old champion there which is awfully good for a 17-year-old. My son Ben (19) pretty much campaigned our horses up in the Minnesota fairs and had three of his horses went on to win championships on closing night at Running Acres. “Austin (23), who also owns a part of Kiwi Party, takes care of all three our horses who are racing in Super Night championships and of course, John is driving just great. He went up to Minnesota and drove the winner in four championships there and has done a terrific job with our Chicago horses. “I’m proud of them all.” A “Super” ending would put an exclamation point on this memorable summer for the De Long family. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Plans for a slot parlor in Plainville got a boost from voters Tuesday, while residents in West Springfield rejected a casino proposal for their town. Plainville residents voted in favor of Penn National’s plans for a slots parlor, with 76 percent approving a host agreement with the gambling company. With a 37 percent turnout, 1,582 Plainville residents supported having a slots parlor in their community, while just 502 opposed, according to results read by Town Clerk Ellen Robertson. Separately, West Springfield voters on Tuesday defeated a casino proposal by Hard Rock, by a vote of 4,165 to 3,413. That leaves only MGM in Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer the remaining alternatives in Western Massachusetts. In Plainville, if Penn wins the state’s sole slot parlor license and is also permitted to continue harness racing, the company would acquire the 89-acre racetrack property in town at Interstate 495 and Route 1, about 5 miles south of Gillette Stadium. The track would be renovated and expanded to fit as many as 1,250 slot machines and other amenities. In Plainville, the results were read at the Beatrice Wood School, the town’s lone polling location to a loud cheer from about 25 townspeople, many of whom said the promise of more than $4 million a year in taxes, and a strong desire to keep harness racing alive in the state swayed public opinion. “We got our votes out, this town needs this,” said Dale Bergvine , a lifelong Plainville resident and member of the pro-slots group People for Plainville. Plainridge track spokesman Bill Ryan said the vote reflects a tremendous amount of confidence in the project. “It’s not bad considering we were dead three weeks ago,” he said, grinning, referring to the company’s losing effort to persuade Tewksbury to back a slots parlor. Mary-Ann Greanier, a member of No Plainville Racino said her group is considering it’s next move, which could include a lawsuit. “The process isn’t working,” she said. “The safeguards we were told to expect are not taking place.” Tuesday night, a spokesman for Penn described the next steps in the process, from the company’s standpoint. “We’re grateful for the overwhelming support expressed today for expanded gaming at Plainridge Race Course. We’re excited to continue to work with the community, and to build upon the great work that has been done thus far here in Plainville. Our next step will be to file our harness racing application on October 1, followed by our formal submission to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on October 4 for a category two gaming license,’’ Eric Schippers, senior vice president of Penn National Gaming said in a prepared statement. By Ellen Ishkanian (reprinted with permission by www.boston.com)

1 to 16 of 38
1 2 3 Next »