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Columbus, MN - The Sunday evening harness racing program at Running Aces played host to the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot, with seven talented square-gaiters lining up for battle in the featured event on the card.   Winning Lyric (Dean Magee) was in search of a third straight win in the top Open class, and was heavily favored in the betting at 3-10. Longshot Bordogna (Darrell Wright) was quickest away from the gate and took command of affairs through a quick :27.3 opening panel, while Pridecrest (Steve Wiseman) came away second in the early stages.   The fractions from there were sensible (:58.0 and 1:27.2) and Bordogna continued to lead, with It's A Horse (Tim Maier) launching a sustained first-up rally from near the half mile, and Winning Lyric was looming large from three wide rounding the final bend.   It's A Horse ($48.80) gradually drew on even terms with the Bordogna, then took over, and the field began to fan out as they straightened for home. Winning Lyric (Dean Magee) charged hard on the outside and tried hard to get past the new leader as they battled right down to the line, but It's A Horse was ultra game, and held on for a neck victory in 1:56.2 over Winning Lyric and a late closing Scramble Camp (Nick Roland).   The 6 time winner this season is a six year old gelded son of Full Count, owned by Ray Alan Miller and trained by Marco Rios, who had 2 winners on the program.   Real Gorgeous ($3.80) with owner/trainer/driver Jared Seekman rolled to another impressive win in 1:52.3 in a $7,500 conditioned pace to extend his winning streak to four in a row. The five year old gelded son of He's Gorgeous is in top career form, and is unbeaten at Running Aces since arriving in early August.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (September 3) with first post at 7:00 pm Central.   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces                          

Columbus, MN - The Sunday evening (Aug 11) harness racing program at Running Aces featured the $17,000 weekly top pacing event, headlined by Nine Ways who was sent off as the 1-2 favorite from post nine in the ten horse Open Handicap field.   Driver Dean Magee fired up his ultra talented 5 year old pacer early and utilized his early speed to settle an early skirmish with Firedrake (Nick Roland) who also peeled off the gate quickly from post eight, the result was a sizzling opener of :26.2 with Nine Ways clearing the lead just at the quarter.   Nine Ways kept the bulky field in chase mode throughout, posting solid fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.3 through the middle stages, with Fox Valley Nemitz (Brian Detgen) braving the first-up trip but never drawing on terms with the leader.   As the top pacers straightened for the wire, Firedrake was raging with pace in the pocket, and charged at the leader on the inside, but Nine Ways remained game to the wire, getting home 3/4 of a length ahead in 1:52 to post his eighth consecutive win, and remain unbeaten on Minnesota soil this summer.   Fox Valley Nemitz held gamely for third.   Nine Ways ($3.00) is owned by Antonia Storer, and trained by Tim Maier and has now earned $134,360 this season and $286,904 lifetime, with 26 career wins.   Major Al-Mar posted his second career win in eleven starts and highlighted a huge night for trainer Alexia Kehl, who won 3 races on the program. Rick Magee was patient in the early stages with Major Al-Mar and then got the son of Money Talks rolling around the far turn, before sweeping by the field in the stretch to capture the $16,000 Minnesota-Sired three year old Trot in 2:00.1 to equal his career best time.   Major Al Mar ($4.00) was unraced at age two, but is having a fantastic sophomore campaign, with earnings of $34,160 for owners Glen, Marlene and Jodi Wilson.   Lone Pine Shuzy (Jesse Yoder) was second, and Gregory John (Tim Maier) picked up third.   Driver Brett Erickson picked up his first pari-mutuel win in the night's opener, steering Princess Legacy ($7.80) to victory in a $5,500 conditioned trot event.   Drivers Jesse Yoder, Rick Magee, Dean Magee and Steve Wiseman all completed doubles on the Sunday program.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (Aug 13) with first post at 7 pm central.   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces: 

The Tuesday night (May 28) program of Harness Racing at Running Aces featured the $15,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace as the main event. Cenalta Diamond was heavily backed as the top choice in the wagering at 2-5, on the strength of her 8-length romp over the top mares a week ago.  The 6 year old daughter of Allamerican Merlin did not disappoint her backers, turning in another dazzling performance from the outside eight post. Driver Tim Maier got her moving early, and briefly dropped in fourth while their other rivals skirmished for the front. Capitol Hill (Steve Wiseman) from post five, and Place N First (Rick Magee) from post two emerged from the pack, with Alwaysalittlemore (Williams Hernandez) dropping in third, as the quarter mile flashed up in :28 seconds. After the dust settled, Maier wasted no time in making his move with Cenalta Diamond, sweeping to the front in a flash and establishing command before the three-eighths pole. The early fractions were reasonable (56.4 at the half), but Maier called on his mare to strut her stuff in the third panel, and she responded with a :27.1 stinger that left her rivals five lengths in arrears. Alwaysalittlemore showed late interest and Pull The Shade (Dean Magee) closed impressively from the back, but the winning move was made going into that final turn. Cenalta Diamond ($2.80) coasted home and checked in 1 ½ lengths ahead at the wire in 1:53. Tim Maier is also the owner and trainer of the winner, who now sports 6 wins in 18 trips this year, and notched career victory number 25 with her second straight Mares Open tally at Running Aces. Also on the Tuesday card, Urgointohearmeroar (Dean Magee) made his local season’s debut in a $9,400 conditioned pacing event, looking for his eighth win in nine starts on the year, and twelfth career score in just fifteen tries. The public took close notice of the 4 year old Mystery Chase gelding’s resume and sent him off as the overwhelming 1-5 choice. The public was right, as he dominated the night’s closing affair, holding gamely to the wire and keeping Ohio invader Mcpansy (Williams Hernandez) at bay, to score a ¾ length tally in 1:54.1. Urgointohearmeroar ($2.60) is owned and trained by Mark Anderson. Driver Dean Magee posted another driving double on Tuesday night, extending his current streak of multiple win nights to 5, and securing the early spot atop the season’s leaderboard. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, June 1, 2019, with first post at 6:00 p.m. (CDT)   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces

The $16,500 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old Trot was one of the featured events on the Sunday night (Aug 21) harness racing card at Running Aces, and it would see a 12-1 upset winner as the Sos Lunar Eclipse filly Al Mar Bon Bon with Tim Maier in the sulky posted another upset win in the division. They got away fourth from post 2 and launched a sweeping attack just past the ½ mile pole, surging to the lead and trotting strong from there, holding off a late rally in the stretch from big longshot Abra’s Momentom (Gerald Longo) and part of the favored entry Bombshell Betty (Jim Marino) was home third in the 1:59.3 mile. This was the third win of the season, and 12th lifetime win for Al Mar Bon Bon, who is owned by Cara Hauser and Trained by Alexia Kehl. She paid $26.20 at the windows. The $11,000 Open Handicap Pace for Horses & Geldings would be another mild upset (5-1) and a sharp win for HoldingAllTheCards with Dean Magee, they benefitted from a perfect pocket trip this evening to rally up the inside in the lane and post a 1¾ length tally in 1:52.0, the fifth win of the season in 11 starts for the talented 7 year old gelding by Cam’s Card Shark. He is owned by William & Richard Mc Intyre and Trained by David Ginter, and he paid $12.00 to his backers. Another notable performance this night came from Pa’s Corn Squeezin, a 4 year old General Aidid pacing mare who posted a career mile tonight, her second lifetime win in a fast 1:56.3 clocking with Driver Brian Detgen aboard, leaving her rivals far behind. She is Owned and Trained by Dale Lagerquist, and she delivered $5.40 for every $2 ticket as the race favorite in the $4,500 conditioned event. Driver Rick Magee posted his second consecutive driving triple this evening, while Brian Detgen and Tim Maier both scored doubles on the program. The next card of Live Harness Racing at Running Aces goes postward on Tuesday, August 23 at 7:00 pm CDT with a $6,493.62 carryover in the eigth Race .50 cent Hi-5 wager, and $5,000.00 Guaranteed in the .50 cent Late Pick-4 pool. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

The Saturday night harness acing card at Running Aces featured the $15,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old pacers in action, and Freedom Reigns with Tim Maier in the sulky was looking for his 6th straight win, and he left very quickly from the gate and had to work hard to clear the lead from Swagasaurus Rex (Rick Magee) who sprinted away from post two and stopped the timer in 27.4 at the quarter pole, before yielding to Freedom Reigns at the 3/8 pole. The big favorite then led all the way to head-stretch after posting 56.4 and 1:25.3, but it would be Cyrax (by Intrepid Seelster) who would pull the upset and put an end to the winning streak. Cyrax was guided away in the 3rd position from the inside post by Driver Brian Detgen, who waited patiently until the top of the stretch to angle out, and charge down the center of the track, pacing away from his rivals, and posting a 2½ length win, in 1:55.0 with Freedom Reigns holding second, and Stuckey Dote (Jim Marino) up for third. Cyrax lowered his lifetime mark by nearly 4 seconds with tonight's win, he is owned by James Springer and Trained by Robert Lems, and paid his backers handsomely at the windows, delivering $34.40 for every $2.00 wager. And In The $11,000 Open Handicap Trot, a talented field of 6 went to battle, with Banker Volo (by Yankee Glide) looking for his 5th straight win, and he stepped lively from the outside post for Trainer/Driver Nick Roland, easily clearing the field and posting a 29.0 quarter time, he trotted confidently from there, throwing up 58.2 and 1:27.1 fractions, before sprinting home in 28.1 to post another new Track Record for aged Trotting Stallions of 1:55.2, lowering the mark that he had just set a week ago. Banker Volo paid $3.60 to win for his many backers and He now has won 5 in a row, and 6 of 7 starts this year, and has earned $27,217 this season for Owners Daniel and Jeralene Roland. Flameon (Dean Magee) was home second, with Big Expense (Moonie Svendsen) checking in third. Drivers Nick Roland and Steve Wiseman both posted driving Triples on the card, and Luke Plano posted a driving double. Darin Gagne

Tim Maier had a big night on Saturday at Running Aces, taking his first win of the night in the $7,500 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old geldings pace with Freedom Reigns (by Up Front Brad) in a new life's mark of 1:55 for owners Janice Molgaard & Nancy Jenson of Iowa and harness racing trainer Brady Jensen. He paid $5.40 to win. Maier picked up his next win with his trainee Rock n Row,(1:56.4 life's mark) owned by Denise Maier and A Piece of the Action LLC, paying $6.40, he followed that up with a win aboard another from his barn, Silver Spir who posted his 5th win of the year in 1:54.4 for owner Robin Clements, and he topped it off with another of his trainees Gorilla Monsoon in the nightcap pace, in 1:55.1 for Owners A Piece of The Action LLC. Gorilla Monsoon paid $17.40 to his backers at the window. The Saturday Feature was the $11,000 Open Handicap Trot, and Banker Volo ($3.20) with Nick Roland aboard showed his back-class again tonight, taking his second straight gate-to-wire win, trotting in 1:56.4 tonight and delivering as the 3/5 favorite. The classy 7 year old Stallion by Yankee Glide had not raced since 2014 before making his 2016 debut at the Humbolt Iowa Fair track, then invading the ranks at Running Aces, where he has now won 2 of 3 starts. He is owned by Daniel and Jeralene Roland of Iowa. Nick Roland also scored a hat-trick on the card, winning with Dag In My Stockings ($11.00) in the 3 year old Minnesota Filly pace in an eye-opening 1:54.1 for Duane and Connie Roland, and scoring with You’llseemeupfront ($4.40) in 1:58.1, (first lifetime win) for Trainer Robert Lems and Owners Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte, of Iowa. Driver Lemoyne (Moonie) Svendsen picked up a driving double on the card as well. The next card of live Harness Racing at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack will go to post on Saturday night, June 11 at 6:00 pm CDT, with a carryover in the .50 cent Jackpot Pick-6 wager of $6,767.80. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

The California Harness Horsemen’s association held their annual meeting Sunday April 3rd at Cal Expo where divisional sires stakes champions were crowned and the husband and wife team, Tim and Denise Maier were inducted into the harness racing California Hall of Fame. Jim Perez, executive director for CHHA emceed the event and announced that current board directors, Bob Johnson, Robin Clements and Steve Wiseman would retain their seats on the board. CHHA president David Neumeister also spoke about the current changes to the workman’s comp, increased purses of 20 % for the current meet, increase in handle and the positive outlook for racing in our state. Tim and Denise Maier were inducted into the hall of fame for their contribution to the sport spanning over 35 years. Tim a native of Michigan moved to California in the early 80’s while Denise comes from a family spanning 5 generations of harness horsemen. Team Maier has collected several driver and trainer honors while either training, breeding and conditioning many sires stakes champions over the years. Partnered with the late Alan Kirschenbaum, Team Maier conditioned horses like Little Steven p,5, 1:49.4m $579,833  British Sterling T,7, 1:56.2m $232,714 and Show Runner p,4, 1:50.3f $319,705 . Sires stakes divisional champions were also announced with personalized halters awarded to: Cadet: 3 year old trotting colt, owned by Desomer Stables Sandy’s Song: 3 year old trotting filly, owned by Henry Weisneck and Bob Johnson Speak English: 3 year old pacing filly, owned by Frank Neverez Uringoodhands: 3 year old pacing colt, owned by Mark Anderson The CHHA horse of the year was awarded to Sandy’s Song out of the stakes champion mare Ahh Saundra by Claudius Augustus. Owned by Robert Johnson and Henry Weisneck. California stallion awards were given to the stallions who’s progeny achieved the best in the sires stakes. Pacing Stallion: Little Steven, owned by Shari Burns Trotting stallion: Claudius Augustus, owned by Debra Budahn Leading stakes trainer went to Bob Johnson while Mooney Svendsen received the leading stakes driver award. By Robin Clements: CHHA  

A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes and the Terry Kelly Memorial Distaff Open Pace are the main events on Sunday evenings program at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races Sunday and the action gets underway at 4:55 p.m. The Sire Stakes go as the third and fifth events on the card, while the Distaff Open is slated for the fourth race. Speak English is the one to beat in the Sire Stakes for the pacing fillies with two big-money victories to her credit in as many starts for owner/breeder Frank Nevarez, trainers Gordie Graham and pilot Tim Maier. She was 15-1 when she made her debut in the March 15 stakes gathering and went a powerful, first-over mile to prevail by two and three-quarter lengths that night. It was another game victory for Speak English in the most recent Sire Stakes two weeks, recorded a three-quarters of a length tally while lowering her mark to 1:55 2/5 in the process. Smash was her most immediate victim in that affair and has three stakes trophies on her mantle, with the most recent coming by five lengths on March 1. The homebred daughter of Little Steven races for Junior Wilkinson and Billie Schwartz, is conditioned by Wilkinson and will once again have Luke Plano at the helm. Taking on this pair are Pips Valentina and Little Cher Amo from the George Reider shedrow; the Bob Johnson-trained Avila Beach; and Could Be Dancing, who takes her lessons from Junior Wilkinson. Sandys Song has made a clean sweep of the first six Sire Stakes for the sophomore trotters. Hank Wieseneck owns the daughter of Claudius Augustus with Bob Johnson training and Steve Wiseman handling the lines. She will be challenged by Zoeys Delight, Cadet, Dougs Hobby Horse and JK Journey. Reduced takeout wagers spice up the action Fans are reminded that there are four bets offered here each night that come with a reduced 16% takeout rate, including the 10-cent Jackpot 6 that returned a cool $65,456 on March 21. The other wagers with lower takeout are the Hi-5, which like the Jackpot 6 has a 10-cent minimum; the 50-cent Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program. Speaking of the Hi-5, last Saturdays nitecap saw the two favorites both making breaks and the result was healthy prices filling out those first five positions. Each winning 10-cent ticket was worth a nice $15,790. To put the reduced takeout in perspective, using the normal takeout rate, that ticket would have returned $14,098, a difference of $1,692 a copy. ........................................... Love Live Laugh, who has spent much of the latter stages of this meet dealing with the likes of Show Runner and Part Time Lady, escapes the long shadow of those rivals in Sundays co-featured Filly-Mare Open Pace. The Denise Maier owned-and-trained, Tim Maier-driven daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels got her most recent snapshot on February 7 at this level in a powerful performance and was assigned the outside slot for this assignment with a couple of the big guns now missing from the line-up. Rag Doll has been runner-up in her last two starts at this level and leaves just inside Love Live Laugh with Mooney Svendsen guiding for owners Larry and Carol Parlin and conditioner Lino Pacheco. She scored back-to-back victories with softer company in her previous two appearances and set her 1:54 mark earlier in this session. By Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo Harness

It had been some time between drinks for the trotter K D Nicol when he suited up for owner/trainer Keith Willey and harness racing pilot Tim Maier last weekend, but the 9-year-old came through with his first victory of the year at Cal Expo and lowered his mark to 1:58 2/5 in the process. K D Nicol was named in honor of our good friend Nicol Trembaly, who passed away the same year this horse was born, related Willey. Earlier in his career, he came with throat problems, so we had surgery done. The first time did not do the job, so we did it again and that time it was successful. Next came the problem of getting him to finish down the stretch, as he had gotten into the habit of giving up due to his breathing problems. While he hadnt reached the winners circle in nine starts on the year, K D Nicol had been dropping some hints and a class drop and cozy rail draw put him over the top last Saturday night. This year, Patrick Galbraith did a good job of getting him to finish and he started picking up some checks, Keith continued. When Patrick left to take care of some family matters, we turned to Tim, who has been giving him some very aggressive drives. In that last assignment, K D Nicol made a strong brush at the quarter to take command past the half, showed the way to the lane with a clear advantage and didnt give an inch while returning $16 to his backers. We felt that he had been racing well and with the right post and trip, he would be able to pull it off. Tim gave him the perfect drive and he was able to hang on down the stretch. I always felt he was better than what he was showing and heres hoping he can continue. Program features Sire Stakes, Distaff Open Pace A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes, including a very contentious event for the sophomore pacing fillies; and a Distaff Open Pace will be the highlights on Sunday evenings program at Cal Expo under the Watch and Wager LLC banner. There are 11 races scheduled with a first post of 4:55 p.m. The Distaff Open is the 3rd event on the card, while the Sire Stakes for pacing fillies is the 5th event on the evening and the Sire Stakes for the trotters will be a non-betting affair prior to the regular program. The five Sire Stakes events for the sophomore pacing fillies have resulted in four different winners, with Smash being the one with two trophies on her mantle. The Little Steven homebred races for Junior Wilkinson and Billie Schwartz with Wilkinson the conditioner and Luke Plano in his usual spot in the bike. After finishing second in the first stakes clash back on January 18 and missing the next one due to a sick scratch, Smash accounted for the February 15 and March 1 big-money clashes in sharp style, setting her 1:56 1/5 mark in the latter event. She had to settle for third as the 3-5 choice in the most recent stakes gathering two weeks ago. It was Speak English who got the job done that evening at 15-1 while making her debut for owner/breeder Frank Nevarez, trainer Gordie Graham and driver Tim Maier. She rallied from last to win going away by two and three-quarter lengths in an impressive unveiling. Rounding out the line-up are Little Cher Amio, Pips Valentina, Avila Beach and Hold For Gold. Sandys Song has made a clean sweep of the Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old trotters, dominating her rivals on each occasion. Henry Wieseneck owns, Bob Johnson trains and Steve Wiseman has guided the bay miss to all her victories. Taking her on are Zoeys Delight, Jk Journey and Cadet. ******** Next week will find the trotters and pacers in action on Friday and Saturday night, April 3 and 4, with no racing Easter Sunday. The following week racing returns to the Saturday and Sunday schedule. By Mark Ratzky, Publicity Cal Expo Harness

Saturday night will find a $62,206 carryover in the 10-cent harness racing Jackpot 6 at Cal Expo, which means one lucky person could walk away with an awfully sweet payoff. The Jackpot 6 is one of four wagers on the program that come with a reduced 16% takeout rate. The others are the Hi-5, which like the Jackpot 6 is a 10-cent minimum bet; the 50-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4, which has a $25,000-guaranteed pool. Taking a closer look at the Jackpot 6, the wager finds 70% of the net pool paying out to tickets with the most winners, with 30% of the net pool designated for the carryover. If there is one unique ticket selecting six winners, the entire pool and the carryover is paid to the holder of that ticket. If that should happen Saturday night, they would receive the entire net pool and a $62,206 bonus. With the 10-cent minimum, putting together healthy-sized tickets without spending a lot of money makes the Jackpot 6 even more attractive. Jump right in, the pool is going to be fine. ********* The trotters and pacer will be in action on Saturday and Sunday this week, as well as next week on March 28 and 29. The first week of April will find one week of Friday and Saturday night racing, April 3 and 4, with no racing on Easter Sunday. The schedule will revert back to Saturday and Sunday beginning with the second week in April. Franky Provolone, Fort Valley As head feature Franky Provolone and Fort Valley As, who chased home division kingpins El Azteca and Its Not Over last week, get the top billing in Saturday nights featured Open II Trot at Cal Expo. A 13-race program is on tap Saturday evening under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and first post is set for 6:10 p.m. The main event will go as the third race on the card. Franky Provolone is an 8-year-old son of Armbro Scribe out of the Donerail mare Simply Royal who is owned by Robin Clements, is conditioned by Vickie Desomer and will have Tim Maier at the controls. The hard-hitting sidewheeler comes into this assignment with $160,000 in earnings and a 1:55 4/5 career standard that was established last season at Running Aces. Franky Provolone suits up this weekend off three straight strong efforts and is a real nice fit under these conditions. The Clements colorbearer picked up his first snapshot of the year when he took the measure of a conditioned group on February 28, then came back the following week with a solid runner-up finish at this Open II level. Up to the top rank for his most recent try, Franky Provolone was a good third behind the two big trotters on the grounds. Fort Valley As looms large in this field after finishing fourth in that El Azteca affair last week in what was his first start since November. The 7-year-old Tom Ridge offspring races for Jennifer Sabot and trainer Gene Vallandingham. An earner of nearly $490,000, Fort Valley As has a 1:55 career standard and figures to take a nice step forward off last weeks fourth-place finish. No matter how things shake out early, he should be right in the thick of it with that last mile under his belt. Completing the field are Franks Best, Winsom Kelly, Jimmy Shin and Vari Forgetful. By Mark Ratzky, Publicity Cal Expo Harness        

Live Love Laugh, fresh from two powerful victories for Tim and Denise Maier, looks to keep the momentum going in Sundays nights Open II Pace for fillies and mares. She will do her work from the assigned No. 10 post position. An 11-race program is on tap Sunday and things will get underway at 4:50 p.m. There will also be a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes that will be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card. Live Love Laugh is a 5-year-old daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels out of the Little Steven mare Prettylittlerebel who is owned and trained by Denise Maier with husband Steve handling the lines. She was a 1:52 2/5 winner at Pocono Downs last season. The bay mare proved in the January 30 Open while doing her work from the No. 7 slot that evening. She was hard used to the early lead, did the give-and-go by the half and went on to a two and a quarter-length score. Wheeled back with this group last week, Live Love Laugh was bet down to 50 cents on the dollar and did not disappoint her many backers. Maier left into a tracking trip with his protege, attacked once straightened away for the drive and proved clearly best while once again coming a :27 1/5 final quarter. Looking for an upset this weekend are Blue Gem, who leaves from the cozy rail slot for trainer Harold Herrera; Internal Check, who gives the Maier barn two looks at the outcome; My Little Bit and Someislandsomewhere from the Gene Vallandingham shedrow; the Lino Pacheco-trained Lexies Delight; High Bet Hanover from Tim Browns barn and the Steve Wiseman-trained Part Time Lady. ******* For this week and the next, the trotters and pacers will be in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, Feb 13-15 and 20-22. Antoniades lends expertise On Windy City simulcasts Mike Antoniades, who was a Cal Expo visitor last month, is the racing analyst at both Balmoral and Maywood Park and was asked for some handicapping tips when it comes to navigating the Chicago simulcasts. Balmoral is a mile track like Cal Expo, while the other harness racing in the area is conducted over the sister half-mile track Maywood Park. Both are offered to Cal Expo players as part of the simulcasting package. As far as Balmoral and Cal Expo are concerned, they are very similar when it comes to handicapping the races, Antoniades explained. Balmoral is one of the few East Coast tracks where you dont have a distinct speed bias and you can close from far back in the six or seven path and win. Thats something the track has in common with Cal Expo, where speed isnt always golden. Mike also had a handicapping tip when it comes to comparing horses who are racing at Balmoral and those who are doing their work on the smaller Maywood Park layout. Generally speaking, the horses who are racing at Balmoral have to be athletic, because they have to race the entire mile, while the Maywood races are more about racing early and late. Having said that, Antoniades tends to give horses moving from Balmoral to Maywood an extra look. They get extra credit, and conversely, those who last raced at Maywood Park have a bit more to prove to me when they come to Balmoral. ****** A reminder that there are four wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the 20-cent Pick which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool; and the Jackpot 6 and Hi-5, which are both 10-cent minimum bets. By Mark Ratzky        

COLUMBUS, MN. - The curtain fell on the 2014 season at Running Aces Harness Park on Saturday night, but not before eleven Minnesota State Champions were crowned. Leading driver and trainer awards were also presented before the capacity crowd on closing night.   Jason Ryan, a 26-year-old Prince Edward Island native, captured his first Minnesota driving title in just his second summer at Running Aces. The talented reinsman, headed to New York in the coming days, won the dash title with 90 wins during the 53-night meet to outdistance reigning champion Nick Roland, who finished second with 81 victories.   Tim Maier garnered his second straight training title at Running Aces, defending his 2013 championship with 35 winners. Five trainers still had an opportunity to win the hotly-contested title going into the final two nights. Steve Wiseman and Nick Roland deadlocked for second with 33 triumphs from their respective stables, while Dave Flinn and Jesse DeLong notched 32 winner's circle trips each.   Becky Badger Baby (Nick Roland) won the $20,000 Minnesota State Championship for two-year-old trotting fillies, despite a break in stride behind the gate. It was the fifth win in a dozen freshman starts for the tiny filly, owned by Dale Hein and Royal and Barbara Roland, who beat Al Mar Reba Babe (Gerry Longo) and Sweet Nola Kate (Brett Ballinger).   Moonshinenmonkeys (Rick Magee) upset stablemate Queen Of Denial (Nick Roland) and Dancin Debby (Jason Ryan) to earn the lion's share of the $20,000 two-year-old filly pace division. Mark King bred, broke and owns the champion filly who more than doubled her rookie season earnings with her second career win in 1:57.   Go See Lo Go (Nick Roland) continued his domination of the two-year-old trotting colts ranks with an easy 2:02.1 front-end score over Al Mar Skip Bo (Rick Magee) and Lunar Trouble (Dave Flinn). It was the ninth win in twelve starts and eighth in a row for the pride of the Lorenzo Gooch stable.   Toatsmygoats (Jason Ryan) was tons the best in the freshman pacing event, sailing to a 1:56 victory over Gooch's Hot Rod (Gerry Longo) and Holla At Ur Boy (Rick Magee). Now seven out of eight, all at Running Aces, the winner's share of the $20,000 purse pushed Toatsmygoats earnings to $47,000 for the Van Otterloo Stable.   Al Mar Pizzazz (Tim Maier) produced the only serious longshot win on the evening, shocking the three-year-old filly trotters at odds of 17-1. Trainer Ulf Holm-Johansen and partner Vern Devine was ecstatic with the 1:59.1 score, her fifth of the season but first against the best sophomore distaff trotters in the state. She's A Foxie Lady (John DeLong) was second with another longshot, Country Cheerio (Jason Ryan) getting up for third.   Delco Voracious (John DeLong) duplicated her 2013 Minnesota State Championship with a 1:54.3 clocking to capture the 2014 title. It was the tenth win in just 17 starts for Jesse DeLong's top filly who now has over $75,000 in earnings as she topped slightly-favored Flick A Fly (Rick Magee) by a nose with Dakota Law (Nick Roland) awarded the show dough.   Driver John DeLong was back in the winner's circle with his brother Ben's three-year-old trotting colt, Chewy Dunkerton, in the very next race. With 14 wins over two years of racing at Running Aces, the colt is rapidly approaching $100,000 in earnings. His 2:00.1 final time was just over a length better than T-U-R-B (Nick Roland) and Lo Rail Crossing (Gerry Longo).   Favored Bunkerhill Bill (Gerry Longo) did not disappoint in the $20,000 final for sophomore pacing colts. Gene Miller's homebred won for the third time in his most recent four starts, topping V Mack (Kim Pluta) and Black Hammer (Tim Maier) in 1:54.3.   Out of the former claiming mare River Bend Raider, who toiled at Running Aces for several years before heading to the breeding shed, Bunkerhill Bill has earned $45,285 thus far in his first season of racing. The final three races on the closing program were $10,000 events for aged Minnesota-sired horses.   Blazing Fury (Rick Magee) bested the pacing mares with a 1:54.4 success over stablemate Cheese Plumper (Tim Maier) and Place At The Beach (Kim Pluta). The Van Otterloo Stable owns the first two finishers and trainer Dave Flinn conditions all three of the top finishers.   Skeet Thunder (Kim Pluta) proved best in the division for older trotters, beating RA's Shakinthtbacon (Rick Magee) and No Recess (Brandon Jenson) in 1:59.3. Andrew Anfinson owns the winner.   The final race of the season went to Headsup Yankee (Nick Roland), who has enjoyed a very good season with a dozen top three finishes in 15 starts against top condition and open horses. Owned by the Trot-Away Stables, the five-year-old gelding paced away from I'm Blue Too (John DeLong) and Peanuts (Lemoyne Svendsen) to bring down the curtain on the 2014 Running Aces season.   From the Running Aces press box  

COLUMBUS, MN. - With the 2014 season rapidly winding down, R Gauwitz Hanover won the final weekly $8000 Open Pace at Running Aces on Sunday night.   There are just two overnight race programs left on Tuesday and Wednesday nights of the coming week, both at 7 p.m. (CST), then the curtain comes down on the successful 53-night summer session next Saturday night with the annual Minnesota State Championships card worth a total of $190,000 in purses. Post time for the special final 11-race program is 5:00 p.m. (CST).   Driver Rick Magee sat R Gauwitz Hanover fourth along the pylons until the head of the stretch, then found a seam of racing room and clocked a :27 final panel to just edge Headsup Yankee (Nick Roland) and Silver Spir (Jason Ryan) in 1:51.4. It was the fifth win at Running Aces for the five-year-old gelded son of Modern Art, three coming in open company. Laurie Patistas owns the classy gelding who will be returning to New York to race very shortly.   A handful of the leading drivers at Running Aces have agreed to join the groundswell of support the harness industry is showing for A.L.S. through the "Ice Bucket Challenge." Jason Ryan, Nick Roland, Steve Wiseman, Tim Maier, Kim Pluta, Gerry Longo and Lemoyne Svendsen have all agreed to make an ALS donation and get doused with a water bucket full of ice and water at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday night, just prior to the races.   From the press box at Running Aces

COLUMBUS, MN. - Trot Fudge Sundae continued the rotation of winners of the weekly $8000 Open Trot on Wednesday night at Running Aces.   In the process the four-year-old American Native mare broke the track record for her age, sex and gait by four-fifths of a second. Her 1:55.2 clocking eclipsed the previous best of Heartsaregonnaroll established in 2013.   Driver-trainer Rick Magee was content to sit in the pocket through fractions of :28.2, :58.3 and 1:26.2 before collaring frontstepping Wilamar Valley (Tim Maier) and holding off third place finisher Franky Provolone (Steve Wiseman).   Again the entire field was less than three lengths apart at the wire. Trot Fudge Sundae is owned by the partnership of James Bafia, Eugene White and the Dirk Simpson Stable.   Toatsmygoats continued his domination of the Minnesota-sired two-year-old pacing ranks with his sixth win in seven tries in an $11,500 race for the state's best freshmen. As a prohibitive favorite, leading driver Jason Ryan (who was celebrating his 26th birthday), was able to control the throttle through a pedestrian first half then accelerate through a fast final half to triumph in 1:56.2 over Queen Of Denial (Nick Roland) and Moonshinenmonkeys (Rick Magee).   Toatsmygoats has now earned $37,000 in seven starts for the Van Otterloo Stables and will be one of the headliners when the Minnesota State Championship races for $20,000 purses go postward on closing day, August 30.

COLUMBUS, MN. - Flick A Fly established a new harness racing track record for sophomore pacing fillies on Sunday night at Running Aces, shaving two-fifths of a second off the old record established a year ago by Show Runner.   The daughter of Voracious Hanover, owned by the Van Otterloo Stables, sat the pocket and took advantage of quick early fractions set by favored Delco Voracious, then closed with a :28.3 final panel to win the $13,000 race for Minnesota-sired colts and fillies in 1:52.1.   Regular reinsman Rick Magee was in the sulky for trainer David Flinn. Stablemate Gravelsinmytravel (Steve Wiseman) finished second with Bunkerhill Bill (Gerry Longo) garnering the show dough.   Country Jewel (Nick Roland) captured the $8000 Fillies and Mares Open pace for the second straight week, edging Love Live Laugh (Tim Maier) and Blazing Fury (Magee) despite an outside post position.   Owner-trainer George Reider purchased the Minnesota-sired six-year-old mare privately two months ago and returned her to Minnesota where she has earned the bulk of her $100,000-plus career bankroll. She has responded with two wins and three place finishes in recent open class competition and looms as a favorite in the aged mares division when Minnesota State Championships night brings the curtain down on the 2014 Running Aces season on August 30.   Veteran driver Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen won a $4000 overnight race on Sunday with owner-trainer Mark Anderson's colt Prodigal. It was the 2,999th victory in the 55-year-old Svendsen's career. The Minnesota native, who has plied his trade on the Cal Expo-Running Aces circuit for the past several years, has seven drives as he seeks to reach the coveted 3,000 wins plateau when racing resumes Sunday night.   From the press box at Running Aces

COLUMBUS, MN. - Country Jewel and harness racing driver Nick Roland zoomed up the passing lane to capture Saturday's $9500 Open Mares pace at Running Aces, narrowly besting Love Live Laugh (Tim Maier) and Kiss On The Lips (Gerry Longo).   In doing so, she became the sixth different winner in the eight distaff opens staged thus far during the 2014 meet.   For the second straight week, the top seven mares were all within 2-1/2 lengths at the finish in the highly-competitive weekly feature.   Owned by trainer George Reider, Country Jewel now has 19 career victories and eclipsed the $100,000 earnings plateau with Saturday's victory.   She is the likely favorite in the aged division for Minnesota-sired pacing mares when Minnesota State Championship night is staged on closing night, August 30.   Gregg Keidel

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