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WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 19, 2014 -- Dave Palone, the "winningest" driver in North American harness racing history, padded his total considerably Monday at The Meadows when he won eight races -- including the feature -- on the 15-race card. Palone collected a pair of victories for his brother, trainer Mike Palone, and three for trainer Ron Burke. He also earned one place finish and two thirds in his 14 assignments. While a great day for Palone, it wasn't his biggest. That occurred April 21, 2008 at The Meadows when he piloted 11 winners. That's the record for most wins on a single program, a mark Palone shares with Bruce Ranger, Roger Hammer, J.D. Perrin and George Napolitano, Jr. In the feature, an $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace, Continual Velocity was used hard twice in the mile but still was the strongest in the lane as she scored in a swift 1:50.3, a tick off the track record for older pacing mares. Continual Velocity left from post 7 and found a spot fourth at the pylons but soon was out again first over. The 6-year-old daughter of Real Artist-Extreme Velocity wore down the leader, Certified Ideal, and held off Do Me Honor in the Lightning Lane by 1-1/4 lengths. Certified Ideal saved show. Burke conditions Continual Velocity, who boosted her career bankroll to $481,775, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

Since Tony "the Capo" Verruso assumed the presidency of the CKG Billings Harness Racing Driving Series he has made a few changes in the format, and all seem positive. One major change is instead of one lengthy series in both the midwest and eastern regions there are now two individual series in each region along with one in the travel division. That way it will to allow participants a better chance at being among the region leaders and hopefully keeping stronger interest, especially for those who may have started slowly as the season began. But make no mistake, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series will, as always, culminate in the Delvin Miller Gold and Silver Cup Championship Finals, this year in late November. The east region series #1 final went to "Coach Paul" Minore and Wygant Prince when they defeated Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff and Get Packin by a nose. Marvelous Marvin: Raber won the Midwest region Series #1 Final at the Meadows with Catching Katie in 1:57.2 by five over Good Friend driven by "Lawbook Larry" Farley. With the third leg of the east region series #2 presented at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday, August 17 Hechkoff made amends of sort when he won his $6,000 split with Tagmaster in a very credible time of 1:57.4 and defeated "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio and Quantum Lightning by four lengths. Third place in the mile went to Rebel Strike with "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello aboard. "Joe had the favorite in the race from the four hole and I had post seven with my horse so I left strongly and made the front before the quarter (in :28.4) and the farther we went the stronger my horse was and we won it by four lengths," Hechkoff related. "I got Tagmaster in April and he's raced good for me since then." The victory currently finds Hechkoff atop the standings in east region series #2. Virgil Morgan Jr. trains Tagmaster who retuned a $14.20 mutuel payoff. The other division went to Billing's newcomer James Marshall IV whose family is no stranger to harness racing. His dad Jim III currently has driven 3276 winners and his granddad dates back to the golden years of the Standardbred sport. And is mom Donna Marshall is the daughter of long-time horseman, Bill Aiken. After doing diligence in a series of qualifying races Jimmy IV jumped up behind his 3-yearold Chocolatier filly, Coin Collector- trained by his mom-- and made those who wagered on him happy after they gained command at the quarter pole and then traveled unchallenged on the fron- end to score as two-length victory over "The Capo" with Sam's Honeybee in a time of 1:58. Third place went to Keystone Sadie, driven by Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry. Jimmy Marshall IV he made his first pari-mutuel drive a winning one and his filly Coin Collector paid $3.80 for win. John Manzi

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 16, 2014 -- Southwind Roulette and Well Hello There won Pennsylvania Sires Stake divisions Friday at The Meadows, giving harness racing duo Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke a sweep of the $223,960 event for 2-year-old filly pacers. Although Southwind Roulette captured her third PASS split and assured herself a spot in the championship, her trip Friday wasn't as memorable as her July 18 victory here, when she had to negotiate her way through a flock of angry geese. Gingras remembered -- and was afraid his filly would, too. "No joke -- I looked for them at the half," Gingras said. "Even though she didn't get scared the first time, I wanted to make sure they weren't there." But there was little drama Friday, as Southwind Roulette quarter-poled to the lead and scored comfortably in 1:53.1, 3/4 lengths ahead of her stablemate, Kays Dragon Lady. Aria Hanover finished third, snapping her streak of PASS victories at three. "I didn't want to be first up, so I made my move to the front and said beat me if you can," Gingras said. "She's not the biggest filly, but she does have a big engine. Every time I've called on her, she's always answered. Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor own the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Rio. Gingras employed different tactics with Well Hello There, rushing her to the lead from the rail. The daughter of Well Said-Helen Of Leda easily controlled the mile, prevailing in 1:53 for Burke Racing Stable, Blue Chip Bloodstock and Our Horse Cents Stable. Ginger Tree Alex was 1-3/4 lengths back in second while Doctor Terror rallied from last for show. "I didn't want to sit third, so I left hard the first eighth," Gingras said. "There are a lot of good fillies around, but she fits right there with them." In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Visible Gold shot the Lightning Lane to score in 1:51.2 for Dave Palone, Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables. The first-over Giant Sculpture was second, 3/4 lengths in arrears, while Sam Hill completed the ticket despite finishing with a flat tire. Visible Gold, a 6-year-old Bettor's Delight-Gabrielle gelding, soared over $300,000 in career earnings. Brian Zendt drove four winners on the 15-race card. Evan Pattak  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 13, 2014 -- Momas Got A Gun grabbed the lead with a backside burst and found the wire just in time to score in 1:55, fastest division in Wednesday's $120,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for freshman filly pacers at The Meadows. The event was contested over six divisions, with Dobre Povedane, Cover Model, Half Past Seven, Hillary's Style and Hot Chica Boomba also taking $20,000 splits. Tony Hall (Half Past Seven, Hillary's Style) and Aaron Merriman (Dobre Povedane, Hot Chica Boomba) each fashioned a stake double. Momas Got A Gun hadn't been on the front in either of her two previous starts, but she moved quickly to the top for Jason Brewer and opened a daylight lead. While that margin diminished rapidly as she tired, she held off Alexa Said, who rallied from last, by a nose. Chaxiraxi Hanover was third. "I was hoping the wire was coming pretty soon," Brewer said. "She was getting tired -- we went a big third quarter. Her last line at Pocono looked pretty good, so I figured to try and give her a chance." Virgil Morgan, Jr. trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Benear for Geoffrey Martin. Hillary's Style overcame a brutal trip -- parked out the first quarter, first over from fourth -- to down Mayela Hanover by a neck in 1:55.3, with Dew It Again third. Did winning trainer Danny Collins think the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Style could prevail after such a rugged journey? "No. She was all over the racetrack and sideways here and there," Collins said. "She showed a little bit of guts in the lane. I've been babying her a little bit. I considered putting her in the sires stakes but decided we needed to make sure we were in the final of the stallion series." Lisa Ezzo campaigns Hillary's Style, a $35,000 yearling purchase who captured her Third Straight in the stallion series. Although it wasn't necessarily his game plan, Merriman gunned Dobre Povedane to the lead from the rail, where she was good enough to hold off the pocket-sitting Terror Ain't A Fool by 3/4 lengths in 1:55.2. Terracotta Hanover earned show. "No one really left," Merriman said. "The only horse I wanted to follow was Terror Ain't A Fool. If someone else made the front, I would've made a quarter-pole move. She waited on them a little bit, and I was a little concerned because she made a break on the front last week. I got her attention, and she won easily." Casie Coleman conditions the daughter of Well Said-Vysoke Tatry for West Wins Stable and Adriano Sorella. In the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot, Daylon Miracle was dismissed at 8-1 as one of only two mares in the field, but she moved smartly first over for Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury and scored in 1:53.2 over Major Athens and Cowgirl Hall. The 5-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Daylon Marvel extended her career bankroll to $374,227. Merriman drove five winners on the 16-race card while Mike Wilder and Hall each enjoyed a three-bagger. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the program features the Meadow Cheer, a $223,960 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON PA - The rain went away from this southwestern PA town close to The Meadows for Tuesday fair harness racing at the Washington County Fair and the famed Arden Downs oval, allowing for a full day of racing two-year-olds, as opposed to the previous day, when only two heats for sophomores got in. The attention Wednesday focused on two-year-old pacing colts, and especially three babies trained by "The King of the PA Fairs," Roger Hammer, even though Hammer drove only one of them. That one would be R N Nate, a Nuclear Breeze gelding who was won his last six starts at the fairs (plus throwing in a Stallion Series victory for good measure, in 1:55.4) for breeder-owner-trainer-driver Hammer. The circuit's top dashwinner, Chris Shaw, deputized for Hammer on the two other horses, including the day's (and meet's) fastest, Given Up Terror, an altered son of Western Terror who won here in 2:01.2 for trainer Hammer, with Mississippian Chad Parker on the paperwork as the owner. This precocious youngster has been twice second in the Stallion Series and won an overnight in 1:55.4. Those two races came among the four divisions of the PA Fair Sire Stake 2PC event; driver Brady Brown and trainer Mike Gillock clicked to take the other two, with Firm It Up (2:09.1- 30.2) and Moonshine Road (2:06.3). We talked about three Hammer 2PCs - the third is racing in the Quaker State Stakes, and Rustlercafe is now 7-6-1-0 in that series after a 2:02.2 score. Hammer is the owner/trainer/breeder of the altered son of Rustler Hanover, with Chris Shaw again in the bike. Other highlights included Ohioan Marty Wollam capturing three races on the day, from three different trainers, including two of the three Fair Sire Stakes 2TC winners: the Andover Hall colt Andover Express and the SJ's Caviar colt Itza Rube; and the recent local addition of Crist Hershberger, who had two sulky scores Wednesday and has already posted his best overall moneywinning season - and it's only mid-August. Mid-August means plenty of PA fair racing, and indeed the trotters and pacers will be back in action today and Thursday at Dayton PA, where first post is noon; a recap will be posted at the end of the meet. ................................................ Your correspondent had the privilege of filling in at the microphone for the peerless Roger Huston, returning from Ireland, during the first two days of the four-day meet at the State Fair of West Virginia (NOT the West Virginia State Fair, as you will be told), track #187 in his personal collection. On Tuesday, day two, it looked like a boxing slugfest out there: driver Chuck Perry won the first race, J D Wengerd the second, then Perry, then Wengerd, then Perry - so that the scorecard after the first two days reads 4-4, with three of Wengerd's winners coming from the barn of top trainer Shane Heasley. The SFOWV track crew again did an excellent job with the surface after more lashing with rain, and the meet's fastest pace, 2:02.1, was put up by the veteran campaigner Spudcam, a gelded son of Camluck trained and driven by Wengerd for J M F Racing. Publicity Office, PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 12, 2014 -- So impressive in capturing the Hambletonian Oaks, Lifetime Pursuit was just as dazzling Tuesday at The Meadows when she matched the world record of 1:51.3 in a division of a $199,994 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters. Her harness racing stablemate, Shake It Cerry, may not have been as flashy, but she took the other division of the event known as the Meadow Bright while under wraps. The weather cooperated beautifully with Lifetime Pursuit, as a hot sun baked off the moisture from morning rains but kept the air steamy. Moreover, storms forecast for the region would hold off for another hour. Lifetime Pursuit didn't need more help. She brushed to the front past the quarter for Yannick Gingras and drew away them there, reeling off fractions of 28.2/56.2/1:23.1/1:51.3. That time equals the world record, held jointly by Check Me Out and Designed To Be, for sophomore filly trotters on a five-eighths-mile track. It also matches Tall Cotton's all-age trotting mark at The Meadows and is the fastest mile ever trotted by a filly or mare at The Meadows. For good measure, Lifetime Pursuit shattered Classic Martine's stake record of 1:53.2. Broadway Socks was second, 11-1/4 lengths back, with Donatella Hanover third. Gingras said he's sure the daughter of Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace could have gone faster. "I still had the plugs in, and I was holding her up the whole stretch," Gingras said. "The track is really fast today, and she kind of got away from me. I went 26-and-change up the backstretch just sitting on her. She was trotting more than I thought she was. "We always thought she was that kind of filly from the time we baby raced her last year. She wasn't disappointing because she's been really good, but I always thought she had more than what she showed. We raced her a little more aggressive last week. I put her on the front today, and she was scary." The homebred Lifetime Pursuit now has banked $657,613 for Brittany Farms. Lifetime Pursuit Off her fourth-place finish in the Oaks, Shake It Cerry made an easy lead for Ron Pierce and prevailed effortlessly in 1:53.1, 1-3/4 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Cantabs Fortune. Struck By Lindy earned show. Pierce indicated he never cut loose the daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig, who is campaigned by Solveig's Racing Partners. "I just hung onto her," Pierce said. "I guess she heard someone coming that third quarter, so she just took off on her own. Nobody was even close to me, so I just let her coast home. She's getting bigger and stronger -- she's still growing." Shake It Cerry, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for her division, extended her career bankroll to $1,147,805. Prior to the stake, trainer Jimmy Takter said he doesn't expect his two star fillies to go head to head again anytime soon. "One of them will head off to Canada, and one will stay in Pennsylvania for the sires stakes final," Takter said. "I'm not sure yet which will go where." Dave Palone drove four winners and Eric Ledford three on the 16-race card. Stake racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the card features a $120,000 PA Stallion Series event for freshman filly pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. Evan Pattak

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association teamed with The Meadows Racetrack & Casino this past Friday night (August 8) for a special evening to benefit the harness racing Horsemen's Emergency Fund.   The MSOA and Meadows Racing donated each group's commission of all wagers on Race 7 on the card, designated as the Horsemen's Emergency Fund Race.   Additionally, The Meadows Casino then added a separate donation to the cause.   "We are very thankful that everyone came together in support of this cause," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "It's a fund that we hope to never need to use, but over the years we have had to step in to help several of our fellow horsemen. Thanks to the support of the horsemen, the track and the casino, we are able to help when needed."   The night also featured a special match race among local legislators, who, led by PA State Senator Tim Solobay, were also on hand to show their support for the Horsemen's Emergency Fund.   by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 11, 2014 -- Ballare Hanover garnered her first harness rcing career stake victory by following cover and brushing through the slop late to score in 1:58.1, fastest division in Monday's $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for 3-year-old filly trotters was contested over three divisions, with Mariah De Vie and Silent Opera K taking the other splits. Tony Hall enjoyed a stake double behind Ballare Hanover and Silent Opera K among his five wins on the 16-race card. Although Ballare Hanover had won four of 11 previous starts, she had come up short in stakes. That ended Monday when she used the first-over cover of Czech It Out to get into striking position, then erased a 2-length deficit in the lane to overtake the leader, Steppin Out, and down her by a neck. Donato's Dream was third. "If you can get her through the first quarter, she's pretty versatile; she can take the air," Hall said. "Adios Day, I got her to the gate a step too quick, and she ran, so I really had to feed her in. She started to shorten up late -- I was worried halfway down the stretch -- but it all worked out." Marcus Marashian trains Ballare Hanover, a daughter of Broadway Hall-Box Of Dreams, and owns with Michelle Amric, and Lou DiPaolo. Mariah De Vie's cover wasn't quite so accommodating. She and Dave Palone were following Nitro Nittany when the 1-5 favorite tired suddenly into the final turn, forcing Mariah De Vie wide prematurely. "I thought, 'I can't screw up this game plan -- just follow Nitro Nittany because she looks to be the best,'" Palone said. "I loved the game plan at the quarter, I loved it at the half. When my cover stalled, I didn't know if my filly could handle it. But she gave me a good fight, and I was happy with her." The daughter of Cantab Hall-Nordicdish persevered and prevailed in 1:58.4 for trainer Henrik Lundell and owner Joie de Vie farm. The pocket-sitting Westfiftyfirst was second, 2-1/2 lengths back, while Passing Jetta earned show. Silent Opera K wore down Outsourced Hanover in a stretch-long duel and edged her rival by a nose in 1:58.2. Super Swifty rallied for show. "We were racing her in bigger races, and she needed a little class relief," said Rich Gillock, who conditions the homebred daughter of Broadway Hall-American Frost for Bob Key. "Fortunately today, the mile was to her liking, and everything worked out. We'll try to pick some spots and do some good with her." Dan Rawlings and Palone each fashioned a three-bagger on the program. Tuesday's card features a $199,994 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters headlined by the stablemates Lifetime Pursuit, upset winner of the Hambletonian Oaks, and Shake It Cerry, last year's Dan Patch Award winner who has banked more than $1 million in her career. First post  is 12:55 PM. Evan Pattak

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 11, 2014 -- Hambletonian Oaks winner Lifetime Pursuit and harness racing millionaire Shake It Cerry, the glamor girls of the Jimmy Takter stable, lead a group of 14 sophomore filly trotters into Tuesday's Meadow Bright, a $199,994 Pennsylvania Sires Stake, at The Meadows. The event will go as two divisions, with Yannick Gingras guiding Lifetime Pursuit for Brittany Farms from post 2 in the first division (race 8) and Ron Pierce and Shake It Cerry leaving from post 3 in the second split (race 10) for Solveig's Racing Partners. It will be the first action for both since the Aug. 2 Hambletonian Oaks when Lifetime Pursuit outkicked Shake It Cerry in the lane to upset her stablemate at 10-1 -- and give Takter a mild surprise as well. "I knew she was good, and I expected her go give a good performance, but I didn't know she would win it," Takter said. "Cerry is a better horse, but Ronnie (Pierce) said he went too fast with her. He didn't know he was going that fast." Each of Takter's fillies has fared well at The Meadows; each won a Currier & Ives split here while Shake It Cerry also notched a PASS victory. Lifetime Pursuit (Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace) must deal with Harley Momma, who finished fifth in the Oaks despite a troubled trip, and local favorite Broadway Socks, who has captured six of eight this year but steps up to tougher company. In addition, Takter will send out Donatella Hanover, who collected a dead-heat win in an Aug. 1 Duenna split by making up 10 lengths over the back half. For her part, Shake It Cerry (Donato Hanover-Solveig) -- last year's Dan Patch Award winner who now has banked $1,097,807 -- will face Take The Money, who passed her late in the Hambletonian Oaks to earn show. Takter indicated his girls are poised for big efforts. "They both came out of the race super and have trained really nice," he said. "They could be ready for a good performance." Exciting as the Oaks was for Takter, it served as prelude to an even bigger thrill in the Hambletonian, where Takter trainees Trixton -- driven by Takter himself -- and Nuncio finished 1-2. Does that triumph mean we'll see more of Takter in the bike? "No, no, no," he insisted. "I'm almost retired. I've been out of that (driving) for many years, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do." First post Tuesday is 12:55 PM. MEADOW BRIGHT NOTES:  On the wagering side, the card features a $5,000-guaranteed pool for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), a regular feature of Monday and Tuesday programs that The Meadows offers in association with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. Evan Pattak

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 9, 2014 -- Hammered down to 1-5 off his surprising fourth in the Hambletonian, Il Sogno Dream lived up to expectations Friday at The Meadows when he dominated his Currier & Ives division and scored in a stake-record 1:53.2. Wheelsandthelegman took the other split in the $120,000 stake for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Il Sogno Dream caught the public's attention with his Hambletonian rally at 90-1, and they deemed him much the best. So did winning driver David Miller, who moved the son of Cantab Hall-Le Reve to the front at the quarter. He jogged from there, lowering the previous Currier & Ives record of 1:54.1 established by Vivid Photo in 2005. "I was very impressed with him," Miller said. "He was very easy to get along with and just raced super. He felt strong in the stretch. He felt like he had enough to finish it off." Chris Beaver trains Il Sogno Dream, who vaulted over $300,000 in career earnings, for Bill Manes, Dan Manes. Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. Wheelsandthelegman had to work much harder for his victory, first repelling Amped Up Hanover and forcing him back to the pylons past the quarter, then thwarting him again when he challenged anew near the three-quarters. The Donato Hanover-Carmita gelding triumphed for Dick Stillings in 1:55.1, a neck better than the game Amped Up Hanover, with Frost Free Hanover third. It was the seventh win for Wheelsandthelegman in nine career outings. "He's a real tough guy, but there's something not quite right about him," said Walt Carroll, who trains Wheelsandthelegman for Beth Carroll. "He got bit by a spider or something after he raced here Adios Day. There's just something missing. But he's a real competitor. I thought he was beat a couple times today, and he hung in there and did what he had to do." He attributed much of the youngster's success to trainer/driver Jim Raymer, who helped develop him. Carroll said Wheelsandthelegman likely will remain in Pennsylvania stakes for the balance of the season. $231,260 PA Sires Stake, 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Yankee Bounty stretched his career unbeaten streak to five with his most impressive performance yet, a 1:50.4 mile that erased the stake record of Johns Polyview and is the fastest mile this year by a freshman pacing gelding on a five-eighths-mile track. Lyons Again was second, 3-1/4 lengths back, while Lost For Words earned show. Blood Brother and Tomy Terror captured the other splits in the event known as the Tyler B. Yannick Gingras enjoyed a PASS double behind Yankee Bounty and Blood Brother. Making his initial start in the Ron Burke stable, Yankee Bounty was under wraps late, making Gingras wonder how fast the son of Yankee Cruiser-Bootleg Yankee ultimately can go. "He can go faster than 1:50.4, that's for sure. He had plenty left," Gingras said. "He certainly is impressive. He's the best 2-year-old I've driven so far this year, probably the best 2-year-old in the country." Yankee Bounty Partnership and Frank Chick campaign Yankee Bounty, who soared over $100,000 in lifetime earnings. A three-race maiden entering the race, Blood Brother was dismissed at 18-1 but found the Lightning Lane in time to score in 1:51.3. Wakizashi Hanover, the 3-5 favorite, was second by a nose, while Dragon Eddy completed the ticket. "He always could go, but he shakes his head the whole race," Gingras said. "He has the ability, but he just doesn't pay attention. Today he was a little bit better as far as that goes, and he got a good trip and got it done. We're working with different bits, and hopefully someday we'll find one he likes." Jimmy Takter trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Blood Diamond for Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables. Tomy Terror snapped his bridesmaid streak of three consecutive seconds by shooting the Lightning Lane to down Cooperstown by 1/2 length in 1:52.2, with Badiou Hanover third. Mike Simons drove the Western Terror-Mib Hanover gelding for trainer John Butenschoen and owners William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, Eugene Schick and VIP Internet Stable. "He's been on the front the last two times and just got caught, but we always thought he would be better off a helmet," said assistant trainer Tyler Butenschoen. "He got the cover he needed and exploded through there real good." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 9, 2014 -- "Marvelous" Marvin Raber and Catching Katie waltzed to a convincing victory in Friday's $10,000 final of the C.K.G. Billings Midwest Series amateur trot at The Meadows. Raber was sitting In The Pocket down the backside when he pulled Catching Katie, a 6-year-old daughter of Revenue S-She's Queenie owned by John Schlabach, and easily gobbled up the leader, Richard Roach and Margarita Man. Raber, who trains Catching Katie, went on to score in 1:57.2, 5-3/4 lengths better than "Law Book Larry" Farley and Good Friend. Jerry "The Jet" Mihelich and Texas Ridge -- also conditioned by Raber -- earned show. "I have a lot of faith in her." Raber said. "She got a good trip and closed well. I was waiting foe right time to mover her. I thought the leader was slowing up a little bit, so I decided to go on the straightaway instead of around the turn." Raber, who at 37 is at least 17 years younger than every other competitor in the finals, indicated he doesn't necessarily view his victory as a triumph for youth. "The other drivers have a lot more experience and probably know a lot more about racing than I do," he said, "but it doesn't really matter who I'm driving against. It's a horse race, and it's all about fun." Evan Pattak

WILKES-BARRE PA - The fourth and final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies was held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Friday night, with all three favorites winning and some idea of the Stallion Series Championship qualifiers developing. In the first cut, Somenicebeach made easy work of her career stakes debut by leading at every call en route to taking a new mark of 1:52. McVita Bella who *preliminary* calculated to be the Stallion Series pointsleader (*all official figures will come from the Harrisburg office of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission*) was second to the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, who was guided by Pocono's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes. Jim Morrill Jr. was in the sulky behind the other two winners, first with the Real Desire filly Real Drama, who was a pocket rocket in reducing her speed tab to 1:52.3. Kelly O'Donnell conditions the winning filly for the Bay Pond Racing Stable. Real Drama won her cut by three lengths; Morrill had much harder work in the third division, as he and the Well Said filly Lucy's Pearl rallied gamely from the two-hole to edge stubborn pacesetter Beach Body by a half-length in the fastest time, 1:50.3. "Trotting Guru" Ron Gurfein may train more pacers if he continues to bring out tough misses like this one, who is owned by Gurfein in partnership with Elizabeth Novak. After careful math (and again we STRESS these are NOT official figures), the following pointstandings (based on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 distribution) for the PAStS 3PFs emerge: 1. McVita Bella, 120; 2. Lucy's Pearl, 105; 3. Eiffel Tower, 4. Real Drama (both had 95 points, but Eiffel Tower wins the money tiebreaker $25,000 to $21,600); 5. Do Your Job, 6. Stucklikeglue (both with 70 points, Do Your Job with more money $20,000 to $12,200); 7. Beach Body, 65; 8. Baby Cat, 64; tie 9. Marathon Day and Oogle Google (both tied at both 60 points and $15,000 in earnings; if needed to split them, there would be a shake of the pills). The top nine declaring in will advance to the Stallion Series Championship, to be held at The Meadows on September 9.

Louisville, KY --- Even before they purchased him for $13,000 at this past January's Tattersalls Winter Mixed Sale, the 3-year-old trotting gelding Wheelsandthelegman had made quite an impression on Beth and Walter Carroll. Unraced at 2, Wheelesandthelegman jumped it off at the top of the stretch in his first qualifier as a 3-year-old on Jan. 10 at the Meadowlands, but still managed to come home third ahead of trainer Walter Carroll’s horse Spectator K. Carroll took note of that performance and although Wheelsandthelegman broke behind the gate in his second qualifier the following week, he and his wife, Beth, still thought enough of the gelding to purchase him at the Sale last January. “Walter had his eye on him ever since he qualified and when we saw him at the sale, we both liked him,” Beth Carroll said. “We didn’t know why he had not raced last year but he had absolutely no issues.” The Carrolls did not have super high expectations for the son of Donato Hanoverand the Malabar Man mare Carmita, but after two qualifying contents at Spring Garden Ranch in March and April, they brought him back to Pennsylvania to get his career started. That was when the couple began to realize their horse possessed some serious ability. “The winter was horrible here (in New Holland, Pa.) so we missed a lot of time with him,” Carroll said. “So we sent him down to our good friend Jim Raymer at Spring Garden Ranch for five weeks. Then when he won his first race we started to get really excited about him.” With Raymer in the irons, Wheelsandthelegman, named after the alter ego crime fighting duo from American Dad, captured his first three races, all non-winners events, before triumphing in a $74,900 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes contest at Harrah’s Philadelphia on May 15. His next engagement, a third to Hambletonian second place finisher Nuncio in another Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race on May 30, would be his first time tasting defeat. After a little time off, Wheelsandthelegman got back to the winners’ circle on July 17 in a $13,000 non-winners race at Harrah’s Philadelphia prior to another victory in a $32,855 division of the Arden Downs stake at The Meadows on July 26, where he defeated Il Sogno Dream, the fourth place finisher in the Hambletonian, in 1.54.1. Although he did not compete in the Hambletonian, the gelding did make an appearance on that day in a $50,000 Townsend Ackerman division where he finished off the board for the only time in his short career. Wheelsandthelegman was sixth but placed 11th after leaving from the nine hole and he seemingly was not particularly fond of the Meadowlands oval. “It was a tough trip for him against some really nice horses and that fast first quarter (:27.1) certainly did not help him, but he does have really good gate speed,” Carroll said. “He also didn’t seem to be getting over the track very well and he had been sick the week before. He got stung by something and we don’t know how or by what, but he was all swollen. That might have still been affecting him a little bit.” The gelding, however, will attempt to return to his winning ways when he leaves from post position two in a $60,000 division of the Currier and Ives Stake on Friday (Aug. 8) at the Meadows. Dick Stillings will be holding the lines rather than Raymer for the card’s eighth race. Wheelsandthelegman is the 3-1 morning line second choice. His lifetime mark of 1:53.4 and bankroll of just over $88,000 is tops in the field of six. “We are very good friends with Jim Raymer,” Carroll said. “He and his wife Terry are wonderful people and we are very grateful every time Jim drives him for us. We also feel lucky for all they have done for us. Jim really likes this horse and I think he likes driving him more than some of his own horses.” Named for a television character, Wheelsandthelegman definitely has some personality to him. “He’s bossy,” Carroll said. “But he’s not mean at all. He’s really just a very busy horse and is always in motion. He’s always doing something and is never still for a second.” After the Currier & Ives is in the books, the Carrolls will keep Wheelsandthelegman in Pennsylvania for the remainder of the year and then shut him down in the fall. “He has the PA Sire Stakes and hopefully he makes the final,” Carroll said. “Then he has the Keystone Classic. After that we are just going to give him a nice, long break over the winter and take it from there. “We were really surprised by him and are just thrilled. Although we didn’t name him, it is something to have a horse that even has his own ringtone.” Below are the fields for Friday's Currier & Ives divisions. $60,000 Currier & Ives First Division Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Amped Up Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5-2  2-Wheelsandthelegman-Richard Stillings-Walter Carroll-3-1  3-Jett Star-Dan Rawlings-Steve Owens-5-1  4-Choco Sun-David Miller-Orjan Torstensson-6-1  5-Frost Free Hanover-Brian Zendt-Leslie Zendt-7-2  6-Axios-Dave Palone-Rich Gillock-4-1 $60,000 Currier & Ives Second Division Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Tea Party Politics-Brian Zendt-William Zendt-5-1  2-Skates N Plates-Yannick Gingras-Trond Smedshammer-4-1  3-Sarcastic Man-Tony Hall-Rich Gillock-8-1  4-Il Sogno Dream-David Miller-Christopher Beaver-2-1  5-Southwind Spirit-Dave Palone-Ron Burke-7-2  6-Andover The Gold-Brett Miller-J C Miller Jr.-10-1 by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 6, 2014 -- Parklane Eagle squeezed off the cones, roared through the stretch and scored in 1:53, fastest division in Wednesday's harness racing $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers was conducted over five splits, with UF Larry Alltheway, R N Nate, Lyons Geoff Jnr and Letsmakeawish taking the other divisions. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake triple behind Lyons Geoff Jnr, Letsmakeawish -- both for trainer Ron Burke -- and UF Larry Alltheway. Parklane Eagle got away first for Tony Hall but gladly accepted cover from PV Dragon. The son of Somebeachsomewhere - River Hanover was stronger in the lane, defeating his rival by a length, with Bee Happy Dan third. Hall had never before driven Parklane Eagle but got some advice from Peter Foley, who conditions the colt for Shirley LeVin. "He said to get him in the race if I could, so that's what I tried to do," Hall said. "Once I showed him racetrack, he really took off." Aaron Merriman, who piloted R N Nate to victory, also got some advice -- in the form of voicemails from Roger Hammer, the youngster's owner/breeder/trainer. "He told me, in effect, this is a stake race, so race him," Merriman said. "I was a little concerned that we wouldn't get room." Merriman had to wait for the Lightning Lane to implement Hammer's counsel, but he steered the Nuclear Breeze-R N Artist gelding to a 1-3/4-length victory over the rallying Wild Again in 1:54.1. Cabo Sunshine earned show. UF Larry Alltheway was a leisurely fifth before Palone edged him off the pylons to follow cover. Once he shed that cover, he drew off to triumph in 1:54, 6 lengths better than Final Gesture. Mandalay Spur completed the ticket. "He's a big, green, snaky horse," said Kelly O'Donnell, who trains the Dragon Again-Varbo gelding for Up Front Racing. "Last week in the Arden Downs, once he cleared, he didn't know where he was going. He ran in, he ran out and got beat. So we thought we'd teach him something today." Merriman drove five winners and Palone three on the 16-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday with a powerhouse card that includes a $231,260 PA Sires Stake for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, the $120,000 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters and the Midwest Series Final of the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Trot. Il Sogno Dream heads the Currier & Ives field on the strength of his fourth-place Hambletonian finish. First post is 6:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 5, 2014 -- Piercewave Hanover, who already owned the national season's record for 2-year-old gelding trotters on a five-eighths-mile track, lowered that mark with a facile front-end victory in 1:56.1 in Tuesday's Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The $233,008 event, known as the Florida Pro, was contested over four divisions, with Billy Flynn, Lima Pride and Walter White taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake double with Piercewave Hanover and Walter White among his five wins on the 16-race card. Piercewave Hanover established the former mark in a July 15 PASS split at The Meadows, when he was ahead at every call. He duplicated that feat Tuesday, meaning that he never has been behind in his two-race career. Will the son of Donato Hanover-Passionate Glide be as effective off the trot? Palone thinks he will be. "Every time you ask on him, he's got more trot for you," Palone said. "I think he'll be even better chasing. He's very lethargic on the lead -- you have to talk to him the whole way. But he's always willing to give you more. The first time he has to track down a really good horse, he'll love it. Big future, I think." Explosive Drama was 1-1/2 lengths back in second, with Keystone Bodacious third. Chris Oakes trains Piercewave Hanover for Hauser Brothers Racing and J&T Silva Stables. Billy Flynn extended his career unbeaten streak to four when he jogged on the front end for Brett Miller in 1:56.4, 3-1/4 lengths better than My Cousin Vinnie. Bighandsbiggloves earned show. As is his custom, Billy Flynn bore out in the stretch, but Staffan Lind, who trains the son of Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones for Bender Sweden Inc., continues to regard that as a non-issue. "He still had the ear plugs in. This was easy for him today," Lind said. "He trots perfect. When we get on a big track, we'll gear him a little bit differently, and he'll be straight." Lima Pride atoned for a break in the Arden Downs when he vaulted to the lead for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt and triumphed in 1:57.2. Shoot The Thrill was second, 1-1/2 lengths in arrears, with Pierre third. "I don't know why he broke last race," Svanstedt said, "but in his first race, he hit the sulky, and I thought he did the same last race. So today we had a higher and wider bike, and he didn't hit it." Top Ten Racing Stable owns Lima Pride, a son of Muscle Massive-Pacific Legacy who has captured both his PASS starts. In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, converted claimer Boytown made it four straight with a 9-1, Lightning Lane victory for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Chelsey Wibert in a career-best 1:52.4. Tall Cotton finished second, 1/2 length back, while Better Caviar completed the ticket. The 5-year-old American Winner-P Town Girl gelding now boasts $254,658 in lifetime earnings. Stake racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday with a $100,000 PA Stallion Series stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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