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CHESTER, PA - The trotter Freshette Hanover and the pacer Tango Dancer N were victorious in the $16,000 feature races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday, the next-to-last day of the 2019 harness racing meeting. First up was the Andover Hall sophomore trotting filly Freshette Hanover, who overcame some recent camera shyness (three straight seconds) with an authoritative 3¾ lengths victory, reducing her mark by 4 2/5 seconds in a 1:55.2 victory. David Miller sent the three-year-old first-over and cleared to the lead before the three-quarters, finishing out strongly for trainer Christopher Freck and owner Susanne Kerwood. In the pacing feature, Tango Dancer N was limbed to the quarter, then maintained control of the throttle from there, holding off pocketsitter Windsong Parisian by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:53.2, last quarter :27.4. The daughter of A Rocknroll Dance, favored by $4 in the win pool over third-place finisher Betcha Baby, was driven by Dexter Dunn for trainer/owner Kelvin "Red" Harrison. In a $14,500 distaff pace, Islay N left for position, was shuffled during some early moves to the lead and had to attack first-over, but the Stonebridge Regal mare was able to wear down favored Lincoln's Girl N to post a ¾ length decision in 1:51.3, equaling her North American best. George Napolitano Jr. drove the winner of $216,332 for owner/trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen, who is winning his first Philly seasonal training title this year. The 2019 season at Harrah's Philadelphia comes to a close this Sunday, with the first of twelve races set to begin at 2:05 p.m. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Trois-Rivieres, QC - R Rkadabra, who had not been able to go gate-to-wire in his last four harness racing starts, was able to return to winning form, holding off Jamigo to win the Preferred Trot at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday afternoon. The sixth race feature saw R Rkadabra and driver Pierre Luc Roy shoot out to the early lead by four lengths. Holiday Party (Pascal Berube) was the race favorite and got away in second place as R Rkadabra cut a :28.1 opening quarter mile. R Kadabra and Roy were in easy command of the race approaching the half mile mark as Daniel Laflamme came first-over with Jamigo into a half in :59.2. Jamigo and Laflamme kept inching their way towards R Rkadabra at the three-quarters in 1:30.1. R Kadabra and Roy were now hard pressed by Jamigo as Holiday Party and Pascal Berube came three-wide to mount a challenge. Once starting down the stretch it looked as if Jamigo would be able to catch and beat R Rkadabra, but that was not happening today as R Rkadabra kicked in another gear and held off Jamigo by a neck in 2:02. Holiday Party was third. It was the fifth win on the year for R Rkadabra, a ten-year-old gelding by Kadabra, who is trained by Isabelle Binet and is owned by Gestion Mark Lemay, Inc. of Quebec City and he paid $13.60 to win. The long shot of the day came in the 8th race pace when Clever Thing and driver Tyler Jones was able to grind it out first-over against Allstar Seelster (Stephane Brosseau) and then held off D J Power (Pierre Luc Roy) to win by a half-length in 1:58.1. Sent off at odds of 16-1, Clever Thing paid $34.70 to win in posting his tenth win of the year for trainer Francis Guillemette. Jones and Gullemette co-own the eight-year-old gelding by Stonebridge Regal. Track Notes: Starting next week at H3R the drivers will forgo their whips as the last two days of the race season will be competed without whips. First race post time is 12:50 pm. For more information, visit From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Bye Bye Michelle (Stonebridge Regal) has been a force since coming to Saratoga Casino Hotel a couple years back. Thriving out of several different harness racing stables over her time at the Spa, Bye Bye Michelle has done most of her damage locally while competing in the high level claiming ranks. At times, the veteran mare has raced in the Fillies and Mares Open and has had some solid showings against the track's top distaffers. The eight year old mare had yet to record a win in the local Open this season when on Friday night she started from post three in the six-horse feature. Bye Bye Michelle moved first over on the race's 1-5 betting favorite Lady Shadow (Wally Hennessey) who has been the Open's star over the last month plus. Bye Bye Michelle ground the leader into submission and wound up stopping the timer in 1:53 to record the win in the $14,500 Open on Friday. Invader Roll With Sparky (John Macdonald) came from off the pace to finish second while the heavily favored Lady Shadow had to settle for third. Bye Bye Michelle, who was driven to victory by Jimmy Devaux, paid $15.00 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $89 and $261, respectively. With the earnings from the Friday score, Bye Bye Michelle moved her career bankroll to over the $300,000 mark. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Bye Bye Michelle (Chris Lems) wins the fillies and mares harness racing featured pace ($9,000) at Vernon Downs on Friday (October 13). Bye Bye Michelle (Stonebridge Regal) would put up all the fractions, :27.1, :57.0, 1:25.2, 1:53.1. Owned by Melissa Beckwith with Thomas Mc Tygue and trained by Andy Gardner, the 7 year-old mare would hold off the charge by the big favorite Drea's Good Powow (John MacDonald) and Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore). Those two would end up in a dead heat for second. Bye Bye Michelle ($7.10) would win for the seventh time this season and for the 32nd time in her career.   Lems would win two more on the night. He would win with Give Angel Credit (Credit Winner) in 1:55.3, paying $32.60. His other victory came with Fox Valley Photog (Vaporize) getting the mile in 1:57.3 while paying $11.20.   Vernon Downs returns to live action on Saturday (October 14) with a 10 race card starting at 6:45 p.m.   For more information go to   John Horne for Vernon Downs          

Regal Roxy (Shawn McDonough) would take the Fillies and Mare feature of the two harness racing co-features,Thursday night (July 27) at Vernon Downs. Regal Roxy (Stonebridge Regal) would have the lead at the first quarter but would yield to Major Millie (John MacDonald) before the first half. Major Millie (Art Major ) would then control the race all the way to the top of the stretch. Regal Roxy ($17.80) who is owned by Kathleen Lauer and trained by Misty Carey, would come out of the pocket in the stretch and wear down Major Millie (second) to win by a head in 1:54.1. Finishing third was E R Rhonda. Regal Roxy would pick up her fourth win on the season and her 20th career victory. The 13 year-old veteran Gelato Man (Chris Lems), would win the featured trot. Choke Hold (John MacDonald) would control the first half of the race with fractions of :27.1 and :57.2. Gelato Man (Incredible Abe) would work hard but eventually get the lead before the three-quarter mark. Owned and trained by Angus Macdonald, the gelding would hold off a late drive by Yankee Manny (Fern Paquet Jr.) to win the mile in 1:56.1. Yankee Manny (Yankee Glide) would settle for second best. Engagedatlexington (Jimmy Whittemore) finished third. Choke Hold ($7.30) would win his fifth time this season and would notch his 56th lifetime win. Vernon Downs returns to live action with another eight race card Friday night (July 28) starting at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs.

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Gallant Seelster got his first taste of harness racing Open competition at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (March 11) and he found it to be delicious.   Rising up through the ranks successfully the past four weeks, Gallant Seelster ($6.20) landed in the $10,000 Open Pace this time around and led at every marker in scoring the three-quarter length win over China Dream in 1:55.3 over the fast track.   Just a few weeks ago, Gallant Seelster was in $15,000 optional claimers and after stringing together three impressive wins in four tries, it was time to tackle the best.   Using the same tactics that got Gallant Seelster into the Open event, driver David McNeight III sent the 7-year-old gelding right to the lead.   After putting up splits of 28.0, 57.4 and 1:26.4, the lukewarm favorite Gallant Seelster was primed to take on any callers through the stretch. There was just one taker, that being China Dream (Shawn Gray).   While in perfect striking position, China Dream couldn't make up any ground in the stretch as Gallant Seelster had more than enough pace to withstand the challenge. Believe This Bob (Drew Monti) took the show position.   Co-owned by Pete Kibler, James Costa and Courtney McNeight, Gallant Seelster (Stonebridge Regal-Gold Not Silver) is trained by David McNeight Jr. Now a winner of five races this season in 10 tries, Gallant Seelster has put $25,578 in the bank in 2017 and $414,507 lifetime.   Jim Morrill Jr. remained on fire as he notched five wins in the sulky while Larry Stalbaum had a double. Gerry Sarama posted a training triple and David Russo had two.   Racing will resume on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. when an 11-race card is set. There will be a $848 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Bye Bye Michelle (Stonebridge Regal) scored in the Thursday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The seven year old pacing mare has frequently been claimed in the last year and on Thursday made her return to the Melissa Beckwith stable following a win last week. Dan Cappello Jr. piloted Bye Bye Michelle who got away third behind the race's co-even money favorites Velocity Vespa (Jim Devaux) and last week's Open winner Milky Way Rae (Billy Dobson) and powered past them heading to the three quarter pole. Bye Bye Michelle, a nine-time winner in 2016, stopped the timer in 1:56.4 for her second victory in '17. Velocity Vespa finished second while Milky Way Rae rounded out the triple in the $10,000 feature for fillies and mares. Bye Bye Michelle was again claimed on Thursday and returns to the Andy Sardella stable who had her previous to last week's claim. Live racing continues on Friday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The thermometer at Buffalo Raceway read a brisk 19 degrees on Saturday night (March 4) but Gallant Seelster sure did make the mercury rise with an impressive harness racing victory in the featured $8,600 pace.   Tying the fastest mile of the 2017 meet with a 1:54.4, Gallant Seelster (David McNeight III) went gate to wire and beat Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) by solid 2-1/4 lengths. A scorching 56.4 second half mile including a 28.0 last panel was more than enough for Gallant Seelster to register the $5.50 win.   Starting from the five post, Gallant Seelster faced little resistance in setting the pace. After putting up splits of 29.1, 58.0 and 1:26.4, Gallant Seelster was waiting for some challengers in the lane, but there were no takers. Shady City managed to hang onto second place while Babe's I Scoot (Ray Fisher Jr.) was third.   Gallant Seelster (Stonebridge Regal-Gold Not Silver) is co-owned by Pete Kibler, James Costa and Courtney McNeight. David McNeight Jr. handled the training duties for the 7-year-old gelding, now a winner of four races this season in nine appearances.   Gallant Seelster has earned $20,578 in 2017 and $409,407 lifetime.   Shawn Gray and Ray Fisher Jr. had triples in the bike with Kevin Cummings and McNeight III each getting a double. Sabrina Clevenger, Maria Rice and Gerry Sarama each had two training victories.   Racing will resume on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with 11 races scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

The highly successful stint of Whenmechief with South Australian harness racing trainer-driver Darren Billinger has come to an end. Whenmechief was on a float home to Mildura only an hour after scoring yet another impressive victory at Globe Derby Park on Saturday night. A six-year-old gelding who came to Billinger for three weeks and stayed for three months, left having won seven races, including the Christmas and Whyalla Cups, plus finishing third to Smolda in the SA Cup and picking up about $45,000 in stakes. In the Hopkins Saddlery Pace (2230m) on Saturday night, Billinger urged Whenmechief ($1.70 fav) forward from gate four but found Kerry Green on Magic Trump ($36.40) keen to hold the early lead from gate one with the result a sizzling lead time of 44.3 seconds was recorded. “I can’t remember a quicker lead over the 2230m,” Billinger said. “Once I got to the front I thought I had better be a bit careful or he could have proved a sitting shot.” However, with quarters of 30.0, 30.0, 30.5 and 29.7, the gelding by Stonebridge Regal scored easily by 7-1/2 metres from Bettor Party ($3) with Crazy Dave ($24.90), three metres away third. Part-owners Rhett Smythe and Gavin Peters said their goal with Whenmechief was to have the gelding contest the hometown Mildura Cup in April. Unfortunately, Billinger will be away on a pre-booked holiday, so it was decided to return the gelding to part-owner and former trainer “Pud” MacDonald. “He will be given a short break then Pud can get him ready for the Cup,” Smythe said. “We can’t believe the improvement he has made for Darren. “Ideally, Whenmechief could have stayed with Darren but he had booked his holiday and we really want to see him in the Mildura Cup. We wouldn’t rule out a return to Darren later in the year.” However, connections brought Whenmechief’s half-brother Freddy Fudpucker down to Billinger to see if he could add to the gelding’s one win from 17 starts. Billinger was disappointed to lose Whenmechief but understood the owners’ thoughts. “I’ll have to take out an ad for a free-for-all performer,” Billinger said. “Losing Frank (the recently retired Come On Frank), and now Whenmechief, I need a new horse to race in the free-for-alls.” Graham Fischer

Quality pacer Finn Mac Kee returned to harness racing in the best possible way with an outstanding win at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. The Tommy Jackson-trained five-year-old had not started since early July but he made light of his task despite having to face the breeze for the entire journey outside of the well-backed These Days that showed good speed to lead from the pole position. Finn Mac Kee started on the second row but driver Paul Hill was quick to weave his way through the field to land in the "death". The leader looked to be travelling as well as Finn Mac Kee turning for home but when Hill released the reins and called on the son of Stonebridge Regal to sprint he forged clear and then held all challengers at bay to score by 2.4 metres from Moto Kenny with Lord Jones storming home late to grab third a metre astern. Jackson has always rated the gelding highly and has been intent on allowing the gelding time to fully mature and from what he showed first-up this could be his season to shine. Peter Staples  

Bye Bye Michelle (Stonebridge Regal) prevailed in the $10,600 feature for harness racing filly and mare pacers at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night. Dan Cappello Jr. piloted the Andy Sardella-trained mare who drew the rail in the optional $20,000 claimer for distaffers and powered the six year old out to the early lead. Despite setting fast fractions throughout, Bye Bye Michelle scooted away from her rivals late in the mile before stopping the timer in 1:53.3 on a chilly night in the Spa City. The three mares other than the winner that showed Open lines on the program finished second, third and fourth as Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr), Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson) and Dilly Dali (Bruce Aldrich Jr) finished behind Bye Bye Michelle who recorded her eighth win of the season. Sardella went two-for-two on the night as his Ella V Horse (Royal Mattjesty) went coast to coast in 1:54.4 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky in the optional $10,000 claimer for fillies and mares on Friday night. Both Bye Bye Michelle and Ella V Horse are owned by Mike and Bill Pozefsky and Myron Ekstein. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

One of the most impressive winners on the nine-event harness racing program in Tasmania at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night was the Tommy Jackson-trained Finn Mac Kee (Stonebridge Regal-Scarlett Finn) who led throughout to easily win a C2 event over 1609 metres. It was Finn Mac Kee’s fifth win from only 13 starts but arguably his most impressive. The four-year-old is expected to have one more start in a C-2C3 in Launceston in a couple of weeks before being sent for a spell. “I’ll most likely give him one more start and then spell him but when I bring him back I’ll get him qualified from a standing start because I’d like to aim him at a few of the country cups over the Christmas-New Year period next season,” Jackson said. Finn Mac Kee has been a model of consistency this season winning four and being placed as many times from his 11 starts this time in. “I said early on that this horse could be the best I’ve had and he’s done nothing to change that opinion. “I don’t think he’ll have any problem with qualifying for standing start races and if I’m right he will be very compeitive in a few of the country cups. I’m not saying he’s up to the best but he is improving all the time and he loves to race,” he said. ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Veteran Tasmanian harness racing trainer Paul Hill has always had a knack with producing top flight young horses and this season has been no exception with his star filly Playing Arkabella scoring an emphatic win in the $30,000 Evicus Stakes final over 1609 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Hill won the race last year with his filly Chica Bella and while she was impressive throughout her two-year-old season there was as much to like about how Playing Arkabella went about her business in the last major feature juvenile race of the season. With Ricky Duggan aboard, Playing Arkabella ($1.50) was forced to work hard early from her outside front-row draw but eventually she was sent around the field to face the breeze outside of Harshali with the well-tried El jays Mystery on the back of the leader. When Duggan called on his filly for the big effort in the home straight she sped clear and went on to score by over 10 metres from El Jays Mystery ($7.80) with Harshali ($7.70) a short half-head away third. It was the filly’s fourth win from eight starts this season and she filled minor placings at her other four starts with this prizemoney from this latest win taking her career earnings to almost $46,000.. Hill prepared the favourite Rocknroll Turbo in the Dandy patch final but he had to settle for second to the highly promising Usain Jolt, depriving Hill of a record of preparing the winner of the Dandy Patch and Evicus two years in succession as he trained Hillview Jake to win last season's Dandy Patch. ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ A Tasmanian harness racing star may have emerged at UBET Park Hobart last night when Usain Jolt, a well-bred two-year-old prepared by astute horseman Tony Petersen, delivered a brilliant performance to win the $30,000 Dandy Patch Stakes over 1609 metres. Usain Jolt (James Austin) went into the race having not won from four previous starts while the favourite Rocknroll Turbo was aiming to keep his unbeaten record intact having won at his only two outings, including an effortless win in the Dandy Patch Prelude two weeks earlier. But Petersen was able to iron out a couple of little problems that were impeding the gelding to race truly and it made all the difference. Harjeet showed brilliant early speed to lead but he was then taken on by the second-favourite Williamtell (Gareth Rattray) that rolled to the front and set a slid tempo while the favourite Rocknroll Turbo faced the breeze. Rocknroll Turbo hung badly throughout the race and that didn’t help his cause but when Ricky Duggan gave Usain Jolt his head racing down the back the last time he loomed as a genuine contender. But when the gelded son of Village Jolt balanced for the run home he powered past the leaders and went on to defeat Rocknroll Turbo by eight metres with a similar margin to Williamtell. “This horse has always shown us good ability but he’s just been a little bit wayward in is action but I sorted that out leading up to this race,” Petersen said. “He is very well bred and his breeding goes back to Chamfer Star and that’s really solid.” Austin was thrilled with the win and predicts a bright future for gelding. “The way this horse ravelled into the race tonight he was never going to lose. Tony has been able to straighten him out and I reckon there’s still plenty of improvement in him,” Austin said. Usain Jolt is owned by Jacinta Webb, Deb Carlton and life partners Tammy Carlton and Sam King. Peter Staples

Early last week talented harness racing trainer Broke Hammond was unsure whether her well-bred three-year-old filly would take her place in the $30,000 bandbox final in Launceston on Sunday night but thankfully she was able to work through some issues and deliver her on race night. While she drew the pole position it was no advantage because she has no great gate speed so she was always going to need her share of luck to emerge triumphant. With Troy Hiller in the sulky the daughter of Stonebridge Regal-Cam River settled three-back the fence on a hot speed set by Tisu Bombelle and at the top of the home straight the last time she was going to need a minor miracle to secure a run. But Hillier believed the leaders might get up the rack a bit when the pressure was applied and he was right which allowed Ordinaire Jane to motor home along the rails to emerge the winner by a narrow margin over Little Bit of Big and the well-tried Itz Gemmas Delight. "I've had so many little problems with this filly, particularly with her feet, so I must thank Michael laugher a lot for helping her out in that department and a lot of other people who have played a hand in her getting to the races this time in," Hammond said. "There was one stage there that I was convinced she might not get to the Bandbox series but she got there and after she flashed home to run second in a prelude I was quietly confident she had the ability to win the final but she was going to need a lot of luck from the pole (inside front-row draw) and that went her way. "She hasn't grown much because she still only about 14 hands high but she tries her heart out and she has this terrific turn of foot as she showed to win tonight. Hammond was also leased that Ordinaire Jane has won a race that her mother won. "You don't often win a race with a filly that was also won by the4 dam and Cam, River was a terrific mare for us and hopefully this daughter can be the same." Peter Staples

You won’t miss John McDermott’s smile over the next few weeks, because it’s one of the largest anyone in Harness Racing has at the moment. The past few weeks have been some of the best for the Prebbleton based trainer and amateur driver. It all started with the win of She’sa Tricky Bridge, on Premier day at Addington back on the 14th of May. The 3yo Stonebridge Regal filly cracked her maiden victory and gave McDermott one of his biggest victories’s to date. A week later and McDermott was down to drive Sheza Springfield and Shantahlia Knight in the first two heats of The Dexion New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship. That night saw John salute the judge on both occasions and head to Rangiora leading the pack on maximum points. Luck continued when John was drawn to drive Franco Exeter in the third heat. “I could never have dreamed of picking up two wins at Cambridge, I drew a couple of nice horses and the luck went our way on the night” said John Apart from a failure at Forbury Park back at the end of April, the 5yo Lis Mara gelding hasn’t missed a top two finish for Burnham trainer Mark Jones. Sent forward from a wide draw, Franco Exeter took up his customary leading role and McDermott let the Wayne Higgs owned gelding roll along at a steady tempo. “The Dominator John McDermott” as commentator Mark McNamara called him, was off and gone at the 500m and had most of the field off their feet. Franco Exeter managed to hold on and win by ½ length over a fast finishing As Kiwi As (Gavin Cook), with 2 ¼ lengths back to Going Going Gone (Sheryl Wigg). “The connections weren’t that confident after his last start failure, but his previous form had been so good” said McDermott. One punter was that confident that John would go 3/3 that they placed a whopping $3,500.00 to win on Franco Exeter. Somehow even with maximum points from the first 3 heats, there was a chance that John could be pipped at the post, but that was put to bed when he took inside runs on outsider Midfrew Tarpediem to finish strongly for 5th and secure a maiden NZ amateur title. “They told me coming into the last I had to either beat Sheryl home or if she won, it would turn into having to beat four home to win, and three home to win on a count back." "It’s been a wonderful competition; having four heats this year has been great. Last year they only managed to get the 3 heats and some drivers only got to have two drives, but thanks to all the trainers and connections at Cambridge and Canterbury, we had full fields and several of those trainers backed their horses up from Friday night which really helped.” Sheryl placed 3 times and won the last heat, usually that sort of form would win most drivers series in New Zealand but nobody could begrudge McDermott’s victory, nor the smile on his face after achieving his career highlight (to date). She’sa Tricky Bridge Sheza Springfield Shantahlia Knight Franco Exeter Andrew Fitzgerald

The much anticipated harness racing match up between State Treasurer and Wiggle It Jiggleit developed around the final turn Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, but neither horse came away with a victory. Nickle Bag spoiled the Horse of the Year showdown with his 10th victory of the season in Saturday's seven-horse $34,000 Preferred. State Treasurer showed good early speed and cleared to the front ahead of Nickle Bag heading into the first turn. The 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year posted opening-fractions of :26.2 and :55. Wiggle It Jiggleit left alertly, but was quickly dropped into fourth by driver Montrell Teague. The 2015 U.S. Horse of the Year got his cue to charge first up heading into the final turn. State Treasurer and Wiggle It Jiggleit went toe-to-toe by the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4, but waiting patiently in behind the superstars was Nickle Bag and driver Trevor Henry. Wiggle It Jiggleit wrestled the lead away from State Treasurer and had a few lengths on Nickle Bag with an eighth of a mile to go, but the classy veteran tracked down the Teague stable star to win the Preferred by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.1. State Treasurer battled hard to finish third. A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag scored his eighth Preferred victory of the season Saturday. The Bill Robinson trainee has now won two of his last three starts to improve his overall 2016 record to 10 wins from 16 starts. Nickle Bag has earned $184,860 in 2016 for owners Linda and Harry Loyens. His latest Preferred victory gives him 29 career wins and pushes his career earnings over $640,000. Nickle Bag paid $14.90 to win. Nickle Bag Wiggle It Jiggleit's second-place finish was just his sixth loss in 33 career starts and trainer Clyde Francis admitted he was disappointed. "We thought he would race a little better than he did," said Francis. "He didn't look as good as he did when we trained him the other day. I hope there is not much to it." Francis indicated that Wiggle It Jiggleit never really found comfort during the course of Saturday's race and at moments appeared to be close to going off stride. "He's always had a little funny way of going, but he was worse tonight." Wiggle It Jiggleit's next start is just a week away in the Confederation Cup on Sunday, May 15 at Flamboro Downs. Francis has full confidence the 2015 U.S Horse of the Year will bounce back. "You just back up and regroup and try to find out what the problem is." Wiggle It Jiggleit last start at Mohawk before Saturday's contest was a second-place finish in last year's Pepsi North America Cup. Also on Saturday, War N Munn recorded the WEG Series hat-trick with a huge performance in The Diplomat final. A field of nine three-year-old pacing colts and geldings battled in the $57,600 Diplomat final and it was action packed from start to finish. Dreamfair Mesa fired out from the middle of the gate to grab command and post a hot opening-quarter of :25.3. Several rivals began to charge up on the outside in the second-quarter, including the 1/5 favourite Gerries Sport. Dreamfair Mesa surrendered the lead to Worthy Art moments after posting a half-mile time of :54.3. Gerries Sport and Sylvain Filion were left first-over, while War N Munn, who had yet to see the pylons after leaving from post-nine, sat second-over. Gerries Sport took a narrow lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:22. The heavy-favourite tried to seal the deal in the stretch, but War N Munn and driver Jonathan Drury fired off cover and grabbed the lead midway down the lane. War N Munn finished the job in a career-best 1:50.2 for a two-length victory over Shocking Image and Worthy Art. Gerries Sport dropped back to finish fourth. Trained by Carmen Auciello, War N Munn turned in a massive parked-out effort for his sixth win in 10 starts this season. The three-year-old son of Stonebridge Regal has now scored victories in The Count B, Youthful and The Diplomat Series finals this season. "He shows up every night," said Auciello following the victory. "I knew tonight was going to be tough with the nine-hole, but J.D. (Jonathan Drury) couldn't have done a better job at working out a trip." War N Munn pushed his seasonal earnings over the $100,000 mark with the victory for owner George Munniksma. The sophomore pacer now has career totals of eight victories and earnings exceeding $148,000. War N Munn paid $11.50 to win. War N Munn Pacing fillies and mares also shared the spotlight on Saturday night. Chris Matthews trainee Lay Lady Lay went gate-to-wire to win the $57,400 Princess Series final for three-year-old fillies in 1:54. Doug McNair guided the daughter of Up The Credit to her first win in three starts this season. Lay Lady Lay is owned by 1posse2steves3brothersstb of Guelph, Ontario. She paid $5.60 to win. Lay Lady Lay Waasmula posted the fastest mile of the night in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred. The Bruce Goit trainee stopped the clock in 1:49.3 for her fifth win of the season. Driven by Trevor Henry, Wassmula has now recorded victories in three of her last four starts. She has banked $88,240 this season for owner Brent Vincent. Waasmula Henry finished the night with four driving victories. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Canada's reigning Horse of the Year made his season debut Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, but Nickle Bag spoiled the party with the nation's fastest harness racing mile of 2016. A strong field of nine older pacers competed in the $34,000 Preferred Handicap pace. State Treasurer, last year's Canadian Horse of the Year, was making his 2016 debut and started from the outside post-nine. Driven by Chris Christoforou, State Treasurer was able to float out and drop in sixth as the even-money favourite. Nickle Bag, the 8-5 second choice, left hard from post-six for Trevor Henry to grab the front and post an opening-quarter of :26. Nickle Bag kept the pace honest in the second-quarter and reached the half in :54.3. Christoforou started up State Treasurer nearing the half and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee was sent first up entering the final turn. However, cover did develop for State Treasurer rounding the final turn, as stablemate Arthur Blue Chip angled out from third at five-eighths. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3, Nickle Bag brought the field into the lane and waved goodbye. The Bill Robinson trainee finished off his mile with a blazing :26.2 final-quarter to win by 4¾ lengths in a career-best 1:49. State Treasurer came off cover in the stretch, but was unable to gain any spots and finished fourth in his season debut, pacing home in :26.4. Mohawk Warrior came from sixth at the top of the lane to finish second, while The Rev turned his two-hole trip into a third-place effort. A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag secured his ninth victory of the season Saturday. The Robinson trainee has picked up seven of his nine victories this year in the Preferred. Owned by Linda and Harry Loyens, Nickle Bag surpassed his 2015 earnings total with Saturday's victory. The veteran pacer has banked $167,860 in 15 starts this year, compared to $162,790 in 26 starts last year. Nickle Bag's victory Saturday was his 28th career triumph and it brings his career earnings to $627,490. He paid $5.30 to win. Nickle Bag Although State Treasurer was unsuccessful in his season debut, history shows that may not be a bad thing. The Dr. Moore trainee finished sixth last year in his debut (May 2, 2015 - Preferred Pace) before going onto divisional and Horse of the Year honours. Also on Saturday, the second leg of The Diplomat Series was contested. A group of 13 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $20,000 divisions. War N Munn continued his WEG Series success with a 1:52 victory in the first division. The Carmen Auciello trainee got away fourth in the field of six for driver Jonathan Drury. Mach Power posted an opening-quarter of :28.3, but was quickly passed in the second-quarter by Shocking Image. The new leader reached the half in :57.2 and led the field around the final turn, while War N Munn charged first up to pull to within a length of the lead at the three-quarter pole. Shocking Image reached the third marker in 1:25.3, but quickly surrendered the lead in the lane to War N Munn. The 2-5 favourite rocketed home in :26.1 for a 2 ¼ length victory. Shocking Image was second, while Mach Power finished third. A son of Stonebridge Regal, War N Munn now has five wins in nine starts this season. The sophomore pacing colt has signature victories this season in The Count B and Youthful Series finals. War N Munn now has seven career victories and earnings of $119,261 for owner George Munnuiksma. His mile of 1:52 knocked three-fifths of a second off his previous career mark. The Auciello trainee paid $2.80 to win. War N Munn In the second division, Gerries Sport got his own way in the middle-half and finished up strong for an impressive victory. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Gerries Sport, the even-money favourite, left from post-seven and touched down on the front just after passing the opening-quarter in :26.1. Flaherty, the 7-5 second-choice, got a two-hole trip behind the favourite. Gerries Sport went unchallenged in the middle-half and posted panels of :55.4 and 1:25.1. The soft middle-half was the turning point, as the public's choice left his rivals behind and charged home in :26.4 for a 3½ lengths victory in 1:52. Flaherty maintained his position to finish second, while Worthy Art was third. A son of Mach Three, Gerries Sport is trained by Richard Moreau for Gerrie Tucker. The three-year-old colt is now two for two to start 2016 after posting three wins in 12 starts as a rookie. Just like War N Munn in the first division, Gerries Sport lowered his lifetime mark by three-fifths of a second. The son of Mach Three now sports a career bankroll of $56,845. Gerries Sport paid $4.20 to win. Gerries Sport The first leg of The Diplomat did not fail, therefore the 10 horses that earned money Saturday night have landed spots in next Saturday's $57,600 final. In order to be eligible to The Diplomat, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2015. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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