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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Nike Franco N handed award-winning Lady Shadow her first loss of the year, battling through the stretch to wear down the harness racing even-money favorite and win Saturday's $201,000 Golden Girls for pacing mares by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.2 for the mile and an eighth distance at the Meadowlands. The 2-1 second choice and driver Tim Tetrick led the 11-horse field to the opening quarter in :26.1 before yielding the top spot to Lady Shadow, a returning Dan Patch and O'Brien Award winner who was unbeaten in five starts this season, who set fractions of :54.2 to the half, 1:22 to three-quarters and 1:48.1 for the mile. In the stretch, Nike Franco N moved to the outside and methodically cut into Lady Shadow's lead until reaching the front as the duo neared the wire. She paid $6.80 to win. It was 4¼ lengths back to third-place finisher Call Me Queen Be. Nike Franco N, a New Zealand-bred 7-year-old, has won eight of 13 races since arriving in North America last October. The Golden Girls was her first U.S. stakes triumph. "We knew she was capable of this and when I saw she was getting a trip behind that great Lady Shadow, I said, 'This is our night'," said Jo Ann Looney-King, who trains Nike Franco N for owner Richard Poillucci. "Richard has been buying us some of the top pacers from Down Under. He picks his own horses out, he sends them to us. We simply go with the wonderful horses he buys for us." Nike Franco N, a daughter of McArdle-Nearea Franco, has won 26 of 46 career races and earned $571,672. Her North American earnings are $250,279. Nike Franco N By Ken Weingartner  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Walner did not disappoint. The 1-9 favorite and defending Dan Patch and Breeders Crown winner cruised to a 3¼-length victory over Devious Man in a stakes-record 1:50.2 in the first division of the $159,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for harness racing 3-year-old male trotters at the Meadowlands Saturday night. Walner eclipsed the previous stakes mark of 1:50.4, set by Royalty For Life in 2015. Driven by Tim Tetrick and starting from post eight in an eight-horse field, the likely Hambletonian favorite took control early after a :28 opening quarter and is now 2-for-2 in his 3-year-old campaign, extending his win streak to seven dating back to September of last year. The colt has also won nine of 10 career races for owner Ken Jacobs and trainer Linda Toscano. "He's an amazing animal, that's all I can say. He really does (love what he's doing). He thinks it's fun. Timmy said he was really good and he just gets sharper every week," said Toscano. "(The Hambletonian) is a horse race. I'm going to fly under the radar as best I can and take care of the horse and hope he takes care of us." Tetrick and Toscano have each won one Hambletonian, which came as a team with Market Share in 2012. "Absolutely no racing (prior to the August 5 Hambletonian). We will probably have a real easy week for him this week and then take it week to week," added Toscano. "I train him like a Thoroughbred. He seems to get ready and responds off very little work and that's the way we are going to keep it." Walner paid his backers a modest $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 for his efforts. Bill's Man finished third and Common Parlance finished fourth. Walner Long Tom, the 3-5 favorite, took to the rail in mid-stretch and drove past What The Hill by a length to take the $161,500 second division, giving Tetrick a Dancer sweep. Long Tom has won four of his last five starts and is a Hambletonian contender. Long Tom paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10 for the win. Meteoric, a 50-1 long shot, was third, while Shake It Off Lindy rounded out the top four. Long Tom By Lou Monaco, for the Hambletonian Society  

Walner is ready to start on an abbreviated road to the Hambletonian. The returning Dan Patch Award winning trotter makes his delayed 2017 debut Saturday in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands, where he and regular harness racing driver Tim Tetrick will face seven rivals. Walner won seven of eight races last year and finished the season with a five-race victory streak that included triumphs in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters, Kindergarten Classic Series championship, and a division of the International Stallion Stakes in a world-record 1:51.3. His return to action this year was hampered by a now-resolved issue with genital discomfort. He qualified twice last month, winning in 1:51.2 in the rain on June 17 and winning in 1:53 on June 24. His time of 1:51.2 is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old male trotter and second to only filly Ariana G's 1:51.1 clocking on June 2 in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands. Following Saturday's race, Walner's schedule has the colt heading to the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters on July 15 at the Meadowlands and then the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters on Aug. 5 at the Big M. "He needs the race," said trainer Linda Toscano, adding with a laugh, "I thought at first he might have too many starts going to the Hambo and now I'm worried there may be not enough. "I remember being told a long time ago, man plans and God laughs." Toscano contemplated sending Walner to the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, which was won by Devious Man last weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but did not want to push her colt into a difficult spot right off the bat. Walner's seven foes Saturday are two 5-year-old females, three 4-year-old males, one 3-year-old colt and one 3-year-old filly. The colt, Fly On, is also eligible to the Hambletonian while the filly, Ice Attraction, is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks. "I did not want to go to the Beal because I thought it was asking a lot of him because those horses have been seasoned at this point," Toscano said. "I don't like racing him against aged horses, but so be it." Walner is a son of stallion Chapter Seven, the 2012 Horse of the Year, out of the O'Brien Award winning mare Random Destiny. He is owned by Ken Jacobs. "He has a real good foundation under him," Toscano said. "He seems to have been well in hand every time he goes. It's not the same as racing, so we'll get a much better read on how fit he is on Saturday night." Ken Weingartner  

He might not be the same beast he was in the past, but Mach It So still has a little King Kong in him. Mach It So, an 7-year-old harness racing gelding with 36 career wins and $1.81 million in earnings, faces eight foes in Saturday's $500,000 Ben Franklin Stakes for older male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Trained by Jeff Bamond Jr. for owner Bamond Racing, Mach It So starts from post five with driver Tim Tetrick and is 12-1 on the morning line. "He's kind of under the radar," said Bamond Jr., who with his father has owned Mach It So since September 2012. "I guess I'd rather be under the radar and making $2 million than everyone talking about you and not doing anything. I'll take it. He's not flashy, but he gets the job done." When Mach It So was younger, then-trainer Nifty Norman said the horse wasn't the biggest or strongest, but thought he was King Kong. It's a description that has stuck with Mach It So. "I always remember that quote," Bamond said. "He doesn't look like that much, but he kind of still has that to him, which is kind of cool. Around here, he thinks he's the king of everything. He's a cool horse. "He'll always try. He always gives you an effort. Whether he's good enough or not, he doesn't pack it in. He'll always give you a shot." The Franklin is one of four stakes finals Saturday at Pocono, with the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. for 3-year-old trotters, $500,000 Max C. Hempt for 3-year-old male pacers and $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Ariana G, the Dan Patch Award-winning filly who is 3-for-3 this season, is the morning line favorite in the Beal as she looks to take down eight male rivals; North America Cup champion Fear The Dragon and stablemate Downbytheseaside are the top choices in the Hempt while the top four finishers in the Fan Hanover Stakes - Bettor's Up, Agent Q, Tequila Monday and Idyllic Beach - are ready for a rematch in the Lynch. Mel Mara, who is a nose from being undefeated this year in four starts, is the 5-2 morning line choice in the Franklin. Mel Mara, Keystone Velocity and Dealt A Winner were elimination winners last weekend. Mach It So finished third in the elimination won by Keystone Velocity, but was beaten by only a half-length. "I thought he raced well," Bamond said. "He drew good for the final. He's kind of a trip horse; I don't think he's going to cut the mile and win. Right in the middle, it seems like you can do whatever you want. It'll be an interesting race. "These finals sometimes get crazy. Hopefully they mix it up a little bit." Mach It So's biggest career victory came in the 2015 William R. Haughton Memorial, where he defeated a field that included Foiled Again and State Treasurer. He also won the 2015 Bobby Quillen Memorial and finished second in the 2016 Quillen, behind Wiggle It Jiggleit. He was second in both the 2015 and 2016 TVG Free For All Series championships, losing last year to Always B Miki, and was third in the 2015 Breeders Crown. This season Mach It So has won two of 11 races and hit the board a total of seven times, with his two victories coming in his last four starts. "I think it took him a little bit longer to get going than he normally does, but I think he's getting good at the right time," Bamond said. "Hopefully Saturday is the best time." Racing at Pocono begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The night's stakes finals are races nine through 12. Following is the field for the Ben Franklin, which is race 11. For the complete card, click here. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Keystone Velocity-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-3/1 2-Mel Mara-Corey Callahan-Dylan Davis-5/2 3-All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-4/1 4-Rockin Ron-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6/1 5-Mach It So-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Bamond Jr.-12/1 6-Rock N' Roll World-Brian Sears-Jeff Cullipher-20/1 7-Dealt A Winner-David Miller-Mark Silva-5/1 8-Boston Red Rocks-Brett Miller-Steve Elliott-10/1 9-Shamballa-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-15/1 Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- She and her husband already have Delaware champion Logan’s Girl, stand-out Newborn Sassy, the top-class Purrfect Bags, the 2015 North America Cup winner in Wakizashi Hanover and a former New Zealand Horse of the Year in Christen Me, but there is one other horse in the care of Jo Ann Looney-King and Jim King Jr. who is intent on accumulating her own accolades rather than linger in the shadows of her harness racing barnmates and that is Nike Franco N. The New Zealand-bred, who competed in Australia, collected $321,393 from 33 trips to the post, with 18 victories, established several track records and has defeated males on multiple occasions. She has yet, however, to capture her first stakes final on her new continent and will seek to accomplish that task on Saturday (June 17) in the C$365,000 Roses Are Red final at Mohawk Racetrack. “She is just her own woman,” said Looney-King. “That is about the best way to size her up and she knows she is her own woman. She just takes everything as it comes and goes about her business.” Like Christen Me, Nike Franco is owned by Richard Poillucci and will be steered by her regular reinsman, Tim Tetrick, on Saturday. The duo will leave from post position three in the field of 10. Although the formidable Lady Shadow is the morning line favorite at 6-5, Nike Franco is the second selection at 2-1 off her powerful 1:49.2 performance in her elimination last week. “We knew she would race well like she always does, but we did not expect that,” said Looney-King. “Just watching her was impressive and Timmy always puts her, like he does with all the horses he drives, in the right spot to win. She certainly was ready last week and we hope to see that again from her, but this is a tough group of mares, especially with Lady Shadow in there, so she will need to be at her best. Nike raced great at Chester against her (second in the Betsy Ross Invitational) but she just could not catch her.” In fact, one of the reasons Tetrick is so enamored with this mare is directly related to the determination she demonstrated in that event to finish a swiftly-charging second. “I love Nike Franco,” he said. “I think she’s a great mare. I don’t think people in America have seen what she can do yet. I’m a very firm believer in her and I don’t think anybody knows (how good she can be). All I know is when I ask her to do something, she does it. Even at Chester when I was in a terrible spot she kept digging. She made up five lengths at Chester in a (1):49 mile being three-wide around the last turn. I race there all the time and horses do not do that.” Since her intercontinental transition, Nike Franco has compiled a record of 10-7-2-0 and earned $131,625. The only time she has failed to hit the board was a seventh place finish in the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on March 17, but she certainly had an excuse. “We were really looking forward to racing her in that series, but she ended up being pretty sick and we just weren’t going to push her,” Looney-King said. “It’s a long season and that’s what we try to do is keep the horses happy and healthy as they go through it.” Nike Franco also has regal blood flowing through her veins as the daughter of McArdle's dam, Nearea Franco, was a New Zealand champion and her granddam No Paba, is a half-sibling to 1990 Horse of the Year Beach Towel. King claims the 7-year-old mare even has her own fan club. “She attracts attention wherever she goes,” Looney-King said. “In fact, there are still people in Australia that are watching her over here and the girl who used to take care of her, Amanda Grieve, makes sure she is plugged in to her every move. She’s just a bay mare with her own way about her. Jim and I are just very lucky to have horses like her and all our horses this year. We remind ourselves every day how fortunate we are with them and for our family.” As her fans prepare to witness Nike Franco's second performance North of the Border, her driver is counting on her to illustrate just why those that come in contact with her become so attached. “Last week she won in (1):49 just as easy as you would want a horse to win,” Tetrick said. “It’s a very tough group. Lady Shadow is the horse to beat, but in my heart, if I can keep close to her, I think mine (this mare) can out-kick her; if I can just stay close to her.” * * * * * * Two-time defending champion Lady Shadow heads to this year’s Roses Are Red final off a 1:50.2 victory in her elimination last week, pushing her win streak to six races dating back to last year. She has won 14 of her last 16 races, a stretch that began with her triumph in her Roses Are Red elim last June. She won last year’s final in 1:48.1, just one-fifth of a second off Anndrovette’s stakes record. With a victory Saturday, Lady Shadow would join Anndrovette as the only three-time winners of the Roses Are Red. Anndrovette accomplished the feat from 2012-14. “She’s vicious,” said Lady Shadow’s driver Yannick Gingras. “I think she’s the one to beat. I’m very confident in her. She’s got big lungs. She can go those :27 quarters all day long. She’s got six of them in her. She never gets tired.” Lady Shadow was fifth at the opening quarter of her elimination before embarking on a first-over march to victory. “Sometimes you over-think stuff,” Gingras said. “I was trying to race her easy and get her a covered-up trip and it kind of worked against me. She had to work harder coming first up than if I’d just put her on the front. She was really good.” Lady Shadow, a 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella, has won 31 of 58 career races and earned $1.72 million. She is owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Ed Gold, and BFJ Stable and trained by Ron Adams. “Let’s face it, Lady Shadow has been tremendous,” said Tom Fanning, who trains Frost Damage Blues, the winner of the first of last week’s three eliminations. “Nike Franco is really good. I think there are a couple other ones, us included, that if things work right can be very competitive in there. It’s a competitive bunch this year.” Frost Damage Blues, owned by blueberry magnate Bill Augustine, won her elimination in 1:50.1 with a rally from mid-pack at the race’s midpoint. James MacDonald handled the driving and will be back in the sulky for the final. “She got a great trip,” Fanning said. “She likes those trips; she’ll fire off of that for sure.” A 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Art Matters, Frost Damage Blues has won 14 of 28 career races and earned $180,938. She finished third in last year’s Breeders Crown Mare Pace. “She’s been good,” Fanning said. “She’s filled out. I’m happy with how she is. The best thing about her is she just tries hard. Most of them don’t try as hard as they can. She is one of the few that does.” Following is the field for the Roses Are Red. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Bernadette-David Miller-Ron Adams-20/1  2-Frost Damage Blues-James MacDonald-Tom Fanning-6/1  3-Nike Franco N-Tim Tetrick- Jo Ann Looney King-2/1  4-Lady Shadow-Yannick Gingras-Ron Adams-6/5  5-Wrangler Magic-Louis-Philippe Roy-Rene Allard-8/1  6-Call Me Queen Be-Scott Zeron-Tony O'Sullivan-10/1  7-Witch Dali-Doug McNair-Richard Moreau-20/1  8-Penpal-Patrick Lachance-Patrick Lachance-15/1  9-Pure Country-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-8/1  10-Prairie Sweetheart-Matt Kakaley-Tony O'Sullivan-20/1 by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor  Ken Weingartner also contributed to this report

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Tim Tetrick knows Huntsville will face challenges in Saturday’s C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup. His goal is to make the race even more challenging for those that oppose him. “It’s like a chess match,” said Tetrick, who will drive 8-5 morning line favorite Huntsville in the season’s first major open stakes event for 3-year-old male pacers. “I try to drive three or four horses in a race all the time. I know where everyone is, and where I can put them. I always try to put them where they don’t want to be. That’s the name of catch driving. “And you’ve got to think about speed and time and who’s leaving and who you want to follow. You’re looking for a little bit of an edge, where you can get a jump on somebody or keep them locked in.” Huntsville is trying to become the fifth horse this century to receive a Dan Patch Award at age 2 and capture the North America Cup the following year. He would join Captaintreacherous, Sportswriter, Somebeachsomewhere and Bettor's Delight. All but Sportswriter, who retired midseason because of injury, went on to claim a Dan Patch Award at 3. The 35-year-old Tetrick won the North America Cup with Captaintreacherous in 2013 and Wakizashi Hanover in 2015. In addition to the 34th edition of the North America Cup, Saturday’s card at Mohawk Racetrack includes the C$440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, C$365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers, C$253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters, and C$251,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters. Post time for the first of the 15 races Saturday is 6:30 p.m. Huntsville, a son of  Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Wild West Show, has won 10 of 15 career races and never finished worse than second. Last year he enjoyed a six-race win streak that included victories in the Breeders Crown, divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. His 1:49 mile in the International Stallion equaled the world record for a 2-year-old pacer. He is trained by Ray Schnittker, who bred the colt with Charlie Iannazzo and owns the horse with Iannazzo, Ted Gewertz, and Steven Arnold. Huntsville has earned $764,093 in his career. Last week Huntsville won his North America Cup elimination by 4-1/4 lengths over Classic Pro in 1:49.1. Fear The Dragon, the 2-1 second choice, won his elim by 1-1/2 lengths over Filibuster Hanover in 1:50 and Downbytheseaside, who is 3-1, won his elim by two lengths over Western Hill in 1:50.4. Four of Huntsville’s second-place finishes have come to either Fear The Dragon or Downbytheseaside. The other, in his first career start, was to Filibuster Hanover. In fact, three of Huntsville’s five lifetime runner-up finishes came in his first four races. “I think I’ve got one of the best horses, if not the best,” Tetrick said. “I’m very confident. He was super last week and I think I’ve got a great shot. When he’s on his game he’s very hard to catch. “He’s a big strong horse and he can take air and he’s very, very fast. He’s had some (steering) issues, but other than that he’s got all the attributes of a great horse. He’s got tons of speed. I’ve never gotten him tired. He’s been beaten, but never tired. Once you get him in high gear he can carry his speed a long way.” Huntsville will start the North America Cup from post No. 3, with Fear The Dragon and driver David Miller in post four and Downbytheseaside and driver Brian Sears in post two. Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside are trained by Brian Brown. Jimmy Takter’s Ocean Colony, with driver Yannick Gingras, in post No. 1 completes the list of horses with inside starting positions. “It’s all going to play out there in the first eighth (of a mile) or first quarter and we’ll see what happens,” Tetrick said. “I think the best four horses are 1-2-3-4. I’m sure someone on the outside is going to take a flyer. “Mohawk is a very fair track; you can win both ways (from the front and from behind). But I’m just really super happy with my colt. It should be a great race.” Following is the field for the Pepsi North America Cup. The race, scheduled for 10:40 p.m., will be part of a live broadcast from 10-11 p.m. on TSN3 and TSN5. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Ocean Colony - Somebeacsomewhere - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-10/1 2 - Downbytheseaside - Somebeacsomewhere - Brian Sears-Brian Brown-3/1 3 - Huntsville - Somebeacsomewhere - Tim Tetrick-Ray Schnittker-8/5 4 - Fear The Dragon - Dragon Again - David Miller-Brian Brown-2/1 5 - Sports Column - Sportswriter - Chris Christoforou-Blake MacIntosh-25/1 6 - Classic Pro - Shadow Play - Trevor Henry-Ian Moore-20/1 7 - Ozone Blue Chip - Bettor's Delight - Brett Miller-Ron Coyne Jr.-25/1 8 - Filibuster Hanover - Somebeacsomewhere - Louis-Philippe Roy-Ron Burke-15/1 9 - Western Hill - Western Ideal - Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-20/1 10  - Miso Fast - Roll With Joe - Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-20/1 by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Marcus Melander hopes Long Tom is a big man in the big races this year. After opening his 2017 harness racing campaign with a 1:52.1 win in the first round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes series for 3-year-old male trotters, Long Tom is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in Friday's $100,000 championship at the Meadowlands Racetrack, with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. The colt's win time is the fastest this season for a 3-year-old trotter. "I couldn't be happier with him after the first race he did," said Melander, who trains Long Tom for owner AMG Stable Oy of Finland. "He's been training great. I was very happy he won because we didn't have to race the week after (in the second round of the Sire Stakes. It was perfect for him to have a week off and go into the final." What The Hill, who won last year's New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old male trotters and the Peter Haughton Memorial, is the 6-5 favorite in Friday's championship. The colt is undefeated in three races this season for driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke. Returning Dan Patch Award-winner Ariana G is the even-money favorite in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters. She won her only start this season for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras in 1:52.2, which is tied for the second-fastest win time for a 3-year-old trotter behind only Long Tom. Every Way Out, who is 2-for-2 this year, is the 1-5 morning line favorite for driver Tetrick and trainer Dylan Davis in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male pacers. Colorful Jasmine, from the stable of trainer Tom Cancelliere, is the 3-5 choice in the $100,000 final for 3-year-old female pacers. Corey Callahan is the driver. Long Tom, who arrived from Europe to Melander's stable in April 2016, won three of seven races last year and earned $60,950. He had three wins and a second in his first four starts, capped by a 1:55.2 victory in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile. He was third in a division of the International Stallion before finishing off the board in his Breeders Crown elimination and the Matron Stakes. "He raced very good before Lexington and he raced very good at Lexington, but then we had some bad luck in the Breeders Crown and Matron," Melander said. "He got a little sore, but he's a very good horse. We knew that when we shut him down last year. "He came back very good. He grew a lot over the winter. He's a very big boy now. He put a lot of muscle on him over the winter. He looks really good. I can't be happier with him." Following the New Jersey Sire Stakes, Long Tom is eligible to the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, and Hambletonian Stakes. The $1 million Hambletonian is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. "That's the plan with him at least," said Melander, whose uncle Stefan won the 2001 Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight. "It's going to be tough to beat (returning Dan Patch Award winner) Walner, that's for sure, but behind Walner it's pretty open. I think Long Tom is one of those horses with the potential to race in the big races. It's horseracing, so you never know what might happen." In addition to Long Tom, Melander has a Hambletonian hopeful in Enterprise. The colt raced only once last year after a late arrival from overseas, but is undefeated in four career starts for Melander. His most recent triumph was a 1:53.4 score in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. "He's been very good too," Melander said. "I'm very happy with my 3-year-olds. The main thing is to keep them sound and healthy and we could have a good year for both of them." Ken Weingartner

WILKES-BARRE PA - Huntsville, last year's North American two-year-old pacing colt champion coming off a sensational victory in his 2017 bow, will start from post four Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in the eleventh race division of the $148,492 second leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for harness racing sophomore male pacers.   A son of Somebeachsomewhere owned by trainer Ray Schnittker in partnership with Theodore Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo, and Steven Arnold, Huntsville posted an 11-7-4-0 slate last year, good for $689,814, took his Breeders Crown Final and Pennsylvania Sire Stake Championship, and at Lexington paced in 1:49, a clocking which equaled the fastest mile ever by a two-year-old.   Huntsville made his first start of this year in the first Sire Stakes leg at The Meadows on May 6, going a devastating mile to win by ten lengths in 1:50.3 over a "sloppy +2" track in 44 degree temperatures - with none of the other three divisions going faster than 1:52.1. Regular pilot Tim Tetrick handled him in that impressive victory, and he is again slated for Sunday sulky duty.   The duels between Huntsville and a member of the Brian Brown stable were highlights of the late season last year, and again on Sunday there will be a Schnittker vs. Brown showdown - but Huntsville won't be facing archrival Downbytheseaside, who also went in 1:49 the same day Huntsville did and who took his measure in the Governor's Cup in 2016. Downbytheseaside this week will be down by the Hudson River, competing Saturday in an elimination race for the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers.   But if ever a trainer were going to have to send a "second-stringer" against a star like Huntsville, Brown is in as good a position as anyone could be - for his "second-stringer" is Fear The Dragon, a son of Dragon Again owned by the Emerald Highlands Farm. Fear The Dragon defeated Huntsville in 2016, a 1:51.2 Sire Stakes triumph at Philly August 18, was second to him in his 1:49 record mile, and two weeks ago won a Sire Stakes division in 1:52.1 in the off going at The Meadows, the same time as his winning stablemate Downbytheseaside. David Miller will be in the sulky as Fear The Dragon starts from post five.   The other divisional winner at The Meadows in the first leg of the Sires, Filibuster Hanover (1:52.2), appears to be the horse to beat in the tenth race Sires division, beginning from post two for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Ron Burke, and the ownership collective of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Joseph Di Scala Jr., J&T Silva Stables LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The altered son of Somebeachsomewhere showed at the end of last year that he can pace with the best around, finishing third behind Downbytheseaside and Huntsville in the Governor's Cup despite suffering interference.   In the twelfth race Sires division, Gingras may again be behind a favored son of Somebeachsomewhere, Ocean Colony, who won his yearly bow in 1:51.3 - 26.3 over "good going" at The Meadowlands after taking a mark of 1:50.1 at two. Jimmy Takter trains Ocean Colony, who will start from post two for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Hatfield Stables, and MKatz ALibfeld SGoldband.   Also part of the super Sunday show at The Downs will be a pair of $25,000 handicap events, one for pacing mares and one for trotters. The first post for the Sunday card at the mountain oval is listed to go at 7:30 p.m.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, May 6, 2017 -- If there were any doubts that freshman harness racing champion Huntsville would come out smoking for his 3-year-old debut, he quickly dispelled them in Saturday's $151,280 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows when he roared to victory by an eye-popping 10 lengths. His time of 1:50.3 in the slop not only is the fastest this year by a sophomore on a five-eighths-mile track, but it also was at least 1.3 seconds faster than the clocking of any of the other three divisional winners Saturday. Downbytheseaside, runner-up to Huntsville is last year's Dan Patch Award voting, also fashioned a successful if less spectacular seasonal debut, scoring in 1:52.1. Filibuster Hanover and Fear The Dragon also won splits, the latter giving Brian Brown, trainer of Downbytheseaside, a PASS double. Brown also collected a Pennsylvania Stallion Series victory with Kellys Bett. Huntsville had qualified well for his sophomore campaign, but even trainer Ray Schnittker, who owns the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show with Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo and Steven Arnold, wasn't expecting a runaway. "I thought he might win by a length or two," Schnittker said, "but I guess he's right back to where he was last year. He looked really good." Huntsville quarter-poled around Highalator, opened up 5 lengths at the three-quarters and poured it on from there. Highalator, who saw his nine-race winning streak snapped, saved second, with Blood Line third. Winning driver Tim Tetrick had mixed feelings about the huge performance of Huntsville, who now boasts $708,724 in lifetime earnings. "That was all him, that was Ray getting him ready," Tetrick said. "I was hoping I didn't have to go that fast. I wanted to save that for another month. He just dragged me around there -- he's that talented." Huntsville Using Lasix for the first time, Downbytheseaside was efficient in victory, powering to the lead from fifth before the half for Chris Page and holding sway in a business-like manner -- Page never popped his earplugs -- to down the first-over Normandy Beach by 1-1/4 lengths. Boogie Shuffle earned show. "I thought he was a little dull getting out of the gate," Brown said, "but Chris kept him really quiet. Last year we had trouble taking him off the gate. This was perfect for the first start. Everything went as easy as it could." Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing campaign Downbytheseaside, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover who extended his career bankroll to $596,016. Downbytheseaside Their trainers indicated the next starts for Huntsville and Downbytheseaside likely will occur in two weeks in the PASS leg at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Filibuster Hanover defeated both Huntsville and Downbytheseaside early last year. In fact, trainer Ron Burke once regarded him as the most promising 2-year-old in his stable. But the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Fashion Ecstasy became unfocused and willful as the year progressed and so was gelded. He was fast and professional Saturday, moving three wide into the final turn for Matt Kakaley and downing Point Somewherelse by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2, with Candell third. "He's a lot smarter and way more manageable to drive," Kakaley said. "I think he has things figured out now. The front wasn't too good in the early races, so I just tried to get him in the middle where he could make a big move on the end." Filibuster Hanover has earned $133,309 for Burke Racing Stable, Joseph DiScala, Jr., J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Filibuster Hanover $80,000 PA Stallion Series -- 3-Year-Old Colts & Geldings The Derby Day card also featured four $20,000 divisions of a PA Stallion Series event, with wins going to Cougar Bait, Independent One, Southwind Yukon and Kellys Bett. Mike Wilder (Cougar Bait, Kelly Bett) and trainer John Butenschoen (Cougar Bait, Independent One) enjoyed stake doubles. Cougar Bait was impressive in his seasonal debut, moving first over and grinding out a tough win in 1:55.4. Keystone Phoenix shot the Lightning Lane for second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Cinnabar Dragon completed the ticket. "The rail today is real heavy, and he doesn't show a whole lot of gait speed," Wilder said. "I just kind of landed where I did and planned to move when they forced my hand. In the stretch, he just paced right off. That's not the ideal trip, but it sure didn't seem to bother him." Harmony Oaks Racing, Jeremey Day, Tangie Massey and VIP Internet Stable own Cougar Bait, a Western Terror-No One Is Along gelding. Southwind Yukon took the final of a late-closing series at The Meadows in his most recent outing, and he kept on rolling Saturday, retaking the lead for Dave Palone and defeating the hard-used Magritte by 1/2 length in 1:54.4. Iminurblindspot completed the ticket. "He's a big, lazy colt, only does what he has to," Palone said. "That's what I like best about him -- he's very easy on himself." Burke trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Solara for Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, Richard Suda and Weaver Bruscemi. Kellys Bett Southwind Yukon Independent One Cougar Bait The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Eleven time Australian group one winner Christen Me made his stateside harness racing debut a winning one Tuesday morning in a qualifier at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Driver Tim Tetrick came away third, patiently drafting until just past the half. The 2015 New Zealand horse of the year brushed on the backside, and was able to secure the victory in a qualifying time of 1:53.4.   "Chris is staked heavily but we need to get his lines and get him in an overnight for starters", said Trainer Jim King Jr. "He's not only fast but hes highly intelligent. Glad to have this qualifying monkey off our backs and of course he qualified with lasix," King continued. "We are thrilled with him and Nike (Franco) too..Hoping we can get in gear now and get owner Rich Pollucci some money back."   In 68 starts down under, Christen Me won 32 times, was second on 21 occasions and won nearly $2.5 million.   Michael Bozich

Allentown, NJ --- Before Tim Tetrick was a world-renowned harness racing driver, he was a member of the FFA. On Thursday night (April 20), Tetrick returned to those roots when he visited the Allentown High School chapter of the organization, which was formerly known by its full name, Future Farmers of America. Tetrick participated in FFA all four years at Fairfield High School in southern Illinois. He served as the group’s vice president and received a college scholarship for agricultural business through his involvement with the organization, although he decided to pursue a career in racing. “I think FFA is a great thing,” Tetrick said at Allentown’s monthly chapter meeting. “It helps introduce people to the agricultural world and it gives you a lot of opportunities. I had the opportunity to get my college education because of FFA if I wanted to go that way. I hooked on with the horses and so far it’s been a great career choice for me. “I’ve been very fortunate. If I could do it again, I would probably go to school to get my education and have that part of my life. But I can’t regret what these horses have given to me, and to my family, providing for us.” Among the benefits of FFA participation, Tetrick said, is meeting new people and learning to interact with others. The lessons he gleaned through FFA were helpful as Tetrick moved from an eighth-grade class with eight people to eventually living and racing in Chicago and later the New York metropolitan area. “I lived in Chicago for eight or nine years,” Tetrick said, adding with a laugh, “I remember showing up in Chicago with my cowboy boots and belt buckle and when I left I had regular clothes on. “When I first moved to the East Coast and I was racing at Yonkers and New York City, it was kind of the bright lights. It kind of scared me. But I’ve been able to fit in wherever I go. People are what you take from them. Everybody has good moments. I’m easy-going.” Allentown High School is home to one of the nation’s top FFA programs. The group’s current president, Joanna Ricci, also comes from a family involved with Standardbred breeding and racing. She presented Tetrick with an FFA T-shirt at the conclusion of his talk. Prior to Tetrick speaking, the students watched a video detailing some of Tetrick’s numerous accomplishments on the racetrack. The 35-year-old Tetrick has already driven the winners of $178 million in purses, good for fifth most in harness racing history, and won 9,647 races, which is 15th best all time in North America. “I’ve gotten to travel to Sweden, Australia, New Zealand with these horses,” said Tetrick, a four-time Driver of the Year Award winner. “It all starts with agriculture, whatever field you’re in. I caught on with the Standardbred business because of my family and FFA and it’s been very good to me. I’ve been very, very fortunate.”   by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

DOVER, Del--- Bags To Riches is living up to his name. Tim Tetrick drove the Only Money Inc. harness racing home bred to his second $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF). After winning the two-year old final last November he completed his double scoring an impressive 1:51.4 victory  on April 13 at Dover Downs. Blazing Bobby Sox took the $27,500 Delaware Special. Corey Callahan, Dylan Davis and Enhance Your Mind won season ending awards. Tetrick and Bags To Riches the lead from post 1 and took no prisoners en route to his fourth victory of the year and eighth in 13 lifetime starts - only one time out of the first three – to earn $165,062 for owners Only Money Inc. and Jason Skinner, his trainer. Henry The Dragon (Jim Morand), second wagering favorite, broke stride going the first turn while driver Tetrick was turning in on. After a :27.1 opening stanza, Bags To Riches reached the three quarters in 1:22.4 and the Roddy’s Bags Again-Paint The Sky Blue cold was a convincing winner in 1:51.4. Tony Morgan rallied James Isaac for a fast-finishing second and 54-1 Automatic Dragon came on for Vic Kirby for third.   Daiymir, the only horse to beat Bags To Riches this season, was scratched sick. Blazing Bobby Sox was at the top of his game in the $27,500 Delaware Special recording a lifetime best 1:49 triumph. Trainer Art Stafford Jr. who owns The Panderosa-Liamatters gelding with his dad Art Stafford,  sat alongside Remember Me VK (Montrell Teague) for most of the last half and pulled away after the final turn to victory. Poisonous (Ross Wolfenden), last week’s event winner, streaked down the lane to finish second with Captive Audience (Corey Callahan) third. Callahan drove Mike Casalino and Dylan Davis’ Jet Airway, son of Jereme’s Jet-Aromatic, to his second win in his last three, and fourth win of 2017. He registered his 20th career success lifting his bankroll to $495,430. Te Kawau N (Tetrick) was runner-up. El Bloombito (Sean Bier), the early leader, was the show horse.  During the program, Bryan Truitt, owner, trainer of the track’s top female pacer, Enhance Your Mind, accepted the Horse Of The Meet award. Corey Callahan won his eighth straight Leading Driver Award and with two wins during the closing program, Dylan Davis made it four consecutive Leading Trainer titles. This was final program of Dover Downs’ 48th season. Many thanks to all those who helped make the 2016-2017 meet arguable the finest season in track history. Delaware harness racing now moves Harrington Raceway which begins a week from Monday. At Dover Downs top harness and thoroughbred races are featured in the Racing and Sports Book daily for 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Marv Bachrad    

Barimah A's overall lack of strong early speed was a non-factor in the featured event on Sunday (April 9, 2017) at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 7-year-old harness racing gelding by Bettor's Delight was making his third start for Trainer Scott Di Domenico, in what figured to be his toughest test to date, a pace for non-winners of $20,500 in their last 5 races. Starting from post 8, Barimah A lumbered up wide of leavers Bettor Memories (Dave Miller) and Bushwacker (Brett Miller), but eventually got the lead after being parked the quarter (:26.2). After Driver Tim Tetrick rated the half (:55.1 / :29) a fresh challenger emerged in the form of Blaise MM Hanover (George Napolitano Jr.). The 4-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding pulled to within a head of the leader, tripping three-quarters in 1:23.1. The duel continued until the eighth-pole, when Barimah A edged away to win by one length, stopping the clock in 1:50.4. Blaise MM Hanover settled for second, while Bushwacker finished third. It was the gelding's 16th career win, and 4th of the season. "He raced really well I thought," said Di Domenico. "It looked like he was going to get collared in the last turn, but fought off the competition which was really good." Barimah A is owned by Brian Carsey, John McGill, and Adam Friedland. He paid $4.00. There were also two divisions of a non-winners of $15,000 in their last 5 races. The first division (race 4) was taken by Joe Trice's Hall Bro (Brett Miller). The gelded son of Blissfull Hall was driven aggressively past the quarter. He brushed to the lead and held on gamely for the win in a day's fastest 1:50.1 for his 30th career win. He is trained by Brewer Adams. Hall Bro returned a handsome $18.20 to his pari-mutuel supporters. The second division (race 8) went to Lou Frascella's Phil Your Boots (George Napolitano Jr). The 7 year old gelded son of Shanghai Phil made the top before yielding to the speed of Trading Up (Dave Miller). As the outer flow started to labor, The Andrew Harris trainee abandoned his pocket position and out dueled the leader to win by a head in 1:50.3. He paid $2.80. Both division winners went over the $300,000 mark in career earnings with their respective victories. Live racing continues Wednesday with a post time of 12:40. There is no live racing on Easter Sunday (April 16th). Michael Bozich

DOVER, Del.--- Breeder, owner, trainer Gordon Barrett put Donnie Long in the bike to drive Willow Mill Anna and the combination clicked for a 2:02.3 triumph in the first of two $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) 2nd leg Three-Year-Old Filly Trot preliminaries with Spoonful notching a 2:00.2 victory in the second division. Hollywood Highway won the $15,000 trot on the Wednesday, April 5 harness racing card at Dover Downs. For the second straight card, Tim Tetrick drove four winners. Long left with Willow Mill Anna and began her front-end journey to the finish line reducing her lifetime speed record to 2:02.3. Faith On The Hill (Tim Tetrick) left from post 1 and sat behind the leader all the way. Black Magic Mist (Art Stafford Jr.) fought off Ohtobetheone (Tony Morgan) to finish third. Jim Morand took Spoonful right to the lead and never looked back for his second straight $20,000 DSBF prelim win. Owned by Delbert Cain and Nanticoke Racing and trained by Les Givens, the Political Briefing-Sanctions filly won for the sixth time in her career banking $124,512. Luv Is Blind (Vic Kirby), another prelim winner last week, challenged the winner heading to the final turn but had to settle for a second-place finish. Gogh Cinorita (Ross Wolfenden) was the show finisher. Next Wednesday the top eight point-getters after the two prelim divisions return for the $100,000 DSBF Championship Final. Tom Dillon's Hollywood Highway streaked away to get the lead for Corey Callahan and fought off Celebrity Pegasus (Art Stafford Jr.) on the backstretch and pulled away in the lane for a 1:53.2 lifetime record in the $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over trot winning for the fourth time in seven starts this meet. It was the Muscle Massive-LA Freeway gelding's seventh career win pushing his total to $197,1 44. Marley's Guy (Tetrick) took third. Tim Tetrick had a second-straight four win day. Corey Callahan, Tony Morgan and Ross Wolfenden won two races each. FOUR $20,000 DSBF SOPH PRELIMS; $30,000 PREFERRED, $27,500 DEL SPECIAL THURSDAY  The last four $20,000 1st leg preliminary Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Three-Year-Old Male Paces plus a $30,000 Preferred Handicap and a $27,500 Delaware Special headline a standout April 6 card  at Dover Downs. First Post is 4:30 p.m. One of the most sought off DSBF prelims lead off the program. Two top George Teague-owned sophomores will match strides in the first race. Henry The Dragon, driven by Jim Morand, a 1:52 winner in last week’s prelim takes on lightly raced Daiymir with Montrell Teague, who startled with a wire-to-wire 1:52.4 in his first pari-mutuel start. Also in the event are Forrest Bartlett’s Art Of Fire handled by Vic Kirby, from the rail, with Cavalli Pazzi Stable’s Casino Director and Vince Copeland, alongside. Mike Casalino and Dylan Davis’ Unbroken Vision, second last week for Corey Callahan and Brian Wright’s Pop’s Romeo with Jason Green completing the strong line-up. In the second $20,000 division, Dan Keeler’s James Isaac (Tony Morgan) drew post 1. River’s Crest (Art Stafford Jr.), a prelim winner last week, Brenda Teague’s Kaaya (Morand), George Teague’s Whispering Witch (M.Teague), Leigh Louthan’s Suspinder and Shawn Hanley’s Takeittotheface (Ross Wolfenden) are contenders. Only Money and Jason Skinner’s Bags To Riches (Tim Tetrick), winner of last November’s  $100,000 DSBF Final, heads to third $20,000 DSBF prelim. Among his opponents are two George Teague-bred geldings, Rat Tail (Tetrick) and Daylen (M.Teague). Speedy Hallie’s Comet (Pat Lachance), KDK Almost Cut My Hair (Kirby), Olivias Grand Slam (Morand) and Tommy N Dakota Stable’s Painter’s Edge (Stafford Jr.) from the rail fill out the field. A pair of Clyde Francis-trained George Teague-breds head the fourth and final $20,000 DSBF prelim. Stay In Your Place (M.Teague) drew post 2 for Teague and K&R Racing while Ain’t It Fun (Morand) starts from post 6. Automatic Dragon (Kirby), a winner last week for Tina and Brian Clark, Wake Up And Go (Callahan) owned by Charles Winbrow and Jimmy Lunn, leaves from the rail. Ron Davis’ Giddy On Down (Wolfenden) and Sharon White, L.J.Paglierani and Legacy Racing’s B’s Yankee are the other participants.  Crissman and Niss Allen’s recent purchase, super sharp, Major Uptrend (Morgan) is the one to beat in the $30,000 Preferred Handicap while driver Art Stafford Jr. and his father Art Stafford’s Blazing Bobby Sox, and Dan Marine and Brent Hall’s Emeritus Maximus (Yannick Gingras) drew the outside posts in the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap. The Dover Downs’ 2016-2017 season comes to a close next week with a $100,000 DSBF final headlining each day. Monday through Thursday live racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are ‘dark days’ at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 1, 2017-- Horses aren't supposed to win races from where Missile J was situated Saturday night (Apr. 1). He didn't get that memo. Missile J  and harness racing driver Tim Tetrick, unleashed a filthy stretch move, winning his third race in as many tries during Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Round 3 featured another quartet of $50,000 divisions, with Missile J completing his own personal three-peat. After fifth from post position No. 4 the second event, the cause appeared hopeless. Sitting third-over in a stagnant outer tier, Missile J was sixth--3¾ length behind Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald)--after that pole-sitter led through intervals of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24. Missile J couldn't be bothered with such impediments. He not only won, he measured it off, the final margin over Great Vintage a head in 1:51.3. Third went to Clear Vision (Brett Miller), with Dr. J. Hanover (Scott Zeron) and Santa Fe Beachboy (Jason Bartlett) relegated to the remainder. For Missile J, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico (big props for 1,000 career training victories) for Hoosierland co-owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, it was his seventh win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $50.50. "He wants to chase horses," Tetrick said. "Winning three races from the off the pace the way he has is a plus in a grueling series like the Levy." Defending series champ Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $4.90) did get off the seasonal and series schneid, using a solid, two-move effort in the evening's final Levy event. An early fourth from post No. 6, he watched as polester Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron) offered some rare early foot (:28.2, :57.3, 1:25.3). Despite those rather comfy fractions, Guantanamo Bay was powerless to stave off Bit of a Legend N. The people's choice took over early in the lane, then edged away by a length in 1:52.4. Second went to an improved McWicked (Matt Kakaley), with Always at My Place (Yannick Gingras), a tiring Guantanamo Bay and Blood Brother (Bartlett) settling for the minors. For Bit of a Legend N, an 8-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight trained by Peter Tritton for owner Harry von Knoblauch, it was his first win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $31.40, with the triple returning $117. "Tonight was the first time this season he resembled his old self," Stratton said. "Scoring down, he wanted to kick me out of the bike. He had a lot left at the wire." Saturday night's first Levy grouping had Soto (Kakaley, $10) work out his third pocket trip in the series and earn his second series win. From post No. 2, he conveniently slid in behind 19-10 choice Somewhere in L A (Bartlett). That job was made easier when Bettor's Edge (Miller) and his inside speed broke early and vacated the course. Somewhere in L A laid down the law (:26.3, :55.4, 1:23.4) while being pestered by a second move of Rockin' Ron (Gingras). 'L A' owned a length lead in and out of the final turn, and held well, but not well enough. Soto stuck his tongue out on the money, getting the decision in 1:51.4. Wakizashi Hanover (Stratton) closed for third, beaten a neck, with Rockin' Ron and Mach it So (Tetrick) earning small coinage. For third choice Soto, a 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Eric Ell for co-owners Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta, it was his sixth win in 11 '17 starts. The exacta paid $29.20, with the triple returning $121.50. As was the case with Soto, Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $3.10) grabbed his second series win. Pocketed from the pole in the third event, he was both lucky and good, getting the passing lane after Caviart Luca (George Brennan) tired (:27, :55.1, 1:23.1). P H Supercam (Miller) cleared first-up, with Provocativeprincen (Stratton) slipping out from behind Keystone Velocity to grab third tow. Provocativeprincen made his had 'first run,' but Keystone Velocity was raging. He zipped up the cones, whipping the 'Prince' by a half-length in 1:51.3. P H Supercam, Caviart Luca and Texas Terror N (Mark MacDonald) rounded out he payees. For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned (as Allard Racing) by trainer Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr and VIP Internet Stable, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13.20, with the triple returning $48.80. Saturday night's $55,00 Open Trot was won by Lady's Dude (Brennan, $3.80) in 1:55 for a second consecutive featured-trot win. Frank Drucker

DOVER,DE -- Two newcomers Limelight Beach, a $1.2-million winner, and Rockeyed Optimist lead eight starters in the $30,000 Preferred, while Blazing Bobby Sox is the one to beat in this week's $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap on Thursday, March 16 at Dover Downs. First Post is 4:30 p.m. Yannick Gingras drives Weaver Bruscemi, M1, Wingfield Bros. and Burke Racing's Limelight Beach, who arrives from Yonkers where he had a win and two seconds, whie Rockeyed Optimist, a recent 1:51 winner at Meadowlands, will be driven by Tim Tetrick for owners Perretti, Berkner, Battaglia and A&B Stable. Major Uptrend has been sharp recording three wins in-a-row for Mildred Ventriglio with Tony Morgan driving. Jet Airway and Corey Callahan has been close lately for owners Mike Casalino and trainer Dylan Davis. Following last week's second straight second-place finish Gary Ewing claimed Rangers Sureshot for $30,000. Henderson Farms' Bushwacker is always a contender. Niss Allen's Rockinonby and Tony Morgan has been at the top of his game fast Starsky's Dream N with Vic Kirby raced well last week in his season's debut for Richard Pollucci. Last Thursday Art Stafford and trainer-driver Art Stafford Jr.'s Blazing Bobby Sox closed strongly for second only to lose a tight photo with Reg Hazzard, G.F. Calloway and Legacy Racing's Sweet Rock (Allan Davis), a neck ahead in second by a neck in $27,500 Delaware Special. Josh Green's Poisonous (Ross Wolfenden) steps up after a 1:50.3 win. Remember Me VK (Montrell Teague) has won three of his last six including one in 1:50.2. Max Walton and Greg Papaleo's tough veteran Mustang Art (Callahan) and George&Tina Dennis Racing's Forty Five Red (Jim Morand) moving from the outside to post 1 complete the lineup. in the first of two $15,500 Male paces, Engel and JL Benson stable's Toatsmygoats (Gingras), Sicily (Davis) racing for Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing and the Dennis Racing's Seventh Secret (Morand) head one, in the other, Richard Stansbury's All The Cookies (Gingras)Betty Brittingham's Tip It On Back (Bret Brittingham) and Eric Foster's Baby Kitty (Russ Foster) head the second section. In addition ,there is a hard-hitting undercard on the 15-race card. Monday through Thursday live racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are 'dark days' at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

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