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CHESTER PA – The Jim Campbell stable was certainly primed for the Tuesday morning qualifiers at Harrah’s Philadelphia, as four of its members won their a.m. events, all owned by Fashion Farms. Last year’s million-dollar winner Crystal Fashion, now four, went his own third quarter in 27.4 to sweep his field in 1:57 for driver Tim Tetrick. The Cantab Hall gelding had won a qualifier a tick slower last week. Two three-year-old trotting fillies won for Campbell. An intriguing one is Millie’s Possession, a daughter of Possess The Will out of Fashion Athena, a $300,000+ winner who won in 1:53.2 at two. Millie’s Possession did not race at two, and went in 2:03.1 in her first line last week, but today she came home in 28.3 for Dexter Dunn to win in 1:56.2. Her likely stakes compatriot is the Donato Hanover miss Jazzy Fashion, home in 1:57.1 for David Miller  Miller also handled the fourth winner for Campbell, the Chapter Seven sophomore gelding Chapter Fashion, who opened a big lead and reported home first in 1:56.1. Other qualifiers of note: --        The Heston Blue Chip filly Zero Tolerance, second in the Breeders Crown and Three Diamonds last year, who came his own last split in 27.2 to win in 1:53.1, with Miller up for trainer Joe Holloway; --       Another sophomore pacing filly, the Somebeachsomewhere distaff Trillions Hanover, who caught New York Sire Stakes champion Money Shot Hanover at the end of a 1:54.3 mile for Miller (he had four wins on the day) and trainer Tom Fanning;  --      The Muscle Hill colt Prospect Hill, at one point a winner of seven of eight in his freshman form before tailing off at the end of the year, looking good with a 1:57 wire-to-wire win for Andy and Julie Miller; ·        And the Mach Three mare Shebang N, winner of her last five starts in 2018, and today rallying from the two-hole in 1:53.4 for Dexter Dunn and trainer Nifty Norman.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

YONKERS, NY, Monday, April 15, 2019-After five preliminary rounds, post positions have been drawn for Yonkers Raceway's harness racing finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Both go this Saturday night (Apr. 20th), worth $401,600 and $662,800, respectively, by far 2019's richest North American races to date. Post time for the 12-race card is the usual 6:50 PM, with the co-features presented as race 9 (Matchmaker) and 11 (Levy). The 11th edition of the Matchmaker autodrew as such for the Free-For-All pacing mares... 1-Kaitlyn N (Matt Kakaley), 2-Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan), 3-Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan), 4-Don't Think Twice A (Jason Bartlett), 5-Bettor Joy N (Dexter Dunn), 6-Shartin N (Tim Tetrick), 7-Ideal Lifestyle A (Driver TBA), 8-Seaswift Joy N (Jim Marohn Jr.). Shartin N is the defending champ. It's the 32nd Levy, a Free-For-All for the boys again honoring the memory of the Hall of Fame Founder of Roosevelt Raceway. The roster reads as such... 1-Anythingforlove A (Joe Bongiorno), 2-More the Better N (Scott Zeron), 3-JJ Flynn (Tetrick), 4-The Downtown Bus (Tetrick also listed), 5-Western Fame (Dan Dube), 6-Rodeo Rock (Andrew McCarthy), 7-The Wall (Andy Miller), 8-Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland). Dube goes for a Levy hat trick, having won (with trainer Rene Allard) the last couple with the now-retired Keystone Velocity. All 16 finalists race uncoupled. Saturday's card also includes series consolations, going for $75,000 (Matchmaker, 8th race) and $100,000 (Levy, 10th race), along with a pair of $50,000 events for Levy eligibles (races 4 and 6).   Frank Drucker Director of Publicity Yonkers, NY 10704

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 6, 2019-Ideal Jimmy and Western Fame have raced with distinction throughout the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Saturday night (Apr. 13th) was no exception. The tandem were advertised, each handily winning its respective Yonkers Raceway harness racing event. All told, four, $50,000 Free-For All forays were carded. Here's the electronic pen to electronic paper compendium... First division-In a race without a series round winner to date, Bettor Memories (Jason Bartlett, $13.60) rolled from second-over as 7-5 favorite I'm Some Graduate (Matt Kakaley) wilted in the lane. The pole-sitting fave took over from Dr. J Hanover (Tim Tetrick), who immediately vaulted over his six inside rivals. I'm Some Graduate led through intervals of :26.2, :56 and 1:24. Control Tower (Joe Bongiorno) offered some first-up heat, but the fractions should have worked for the leader. They didn't...he wound up last. Meanwhile, Bettor Memories-from post position on No. 4-went by, whipped a third-over, 30-1 Mar Nien A (Greg Merton) by a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:52. Dr. J Hanover was an unlucky, trapped third, with Don Domingo N (Jordan Stratton) and Control Tower settling for the remainder. For fourth choice Bettor Memories, a 6-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding owned by Gus Dovi and trained by Nifty Norman, it was his second win in eight seasonal starts (1-for-4 in Levy). The exacta paid $315, the triple returned $790 and the superfecta paid $29,362 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket worth $1,468.10).   Second division-Polester The Downtown Bus (Scott Zeron, $9.10), a week after being involved in an insane :53.3 half-mile, found the teletimer a bit more forgiving this time around. After yielding to Always at My Place (George Brennan), he fronted the fray (:27.4, 57.4, 1:24.3, season's-best 1:52), defeating a second-over Major Croker A (Dan Dube) by a neck. Lyons Steel (Stratton) arrived late as the 17-10 choice, with I'marocnrolllegend N (Kakaley)-uncovered into that :26.4 third quarter-and Always at My Place coming away with the minors. For The Downtown Bus, an 4-year-old Mach Three gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Gillis and Ellen Ott, he's now 2-for-5 this season/series. The exacta paid $40.40, the triple returned $116 and the superfecta paid $464.   Third division- Odds-on Western Fame (Dube, $2.30)-from post No. 4-stole a cheap second subsection (:27, 56.2, 1:24, 1:51) en route to victory. He disposed of a gallant Rodeo Rock (Andy McCarthy) by a length-and-three-quarters. That one tried to leave, was forced to settle third, then fought the good, first-up fight into a :54.3 back half. More the Better N (Zeron), Pacing Major N (Stratton) and Endeavor (Bartlett) picked off the small change. For Western Fame, a 6-year-old son of Western Ideal owned by Go Fast and B&I Stables, Stephen Klunowski & Gilbert Short and trained by Rene Allard, he's now 4-for-6 this season (4-for-5 in Levy). The exacta paid $5.40, the triple (three wagering choices) returned $10 and the superfecta paid $35.40.   Fourth division-At no point in the eight furlongs did Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, $5.60) look anything except the easiest of winners. From post No. 6, he aired (:27.2; 57.1; 1:25.1, season's-best 1:52) by open lengths, while under severe restraint. 'Jimmy' took down Ballerat Boomerang (Tetrick) by 3½ lengths. Rockin' Ron (Kakaley) was third after missing four weeks, with a pocket-tiring, 7-5 choice Anythingthingforlove A (Bongiorno) and Somebaddude (Brennan) also earning appearance coin. Ideal Jimmy      -Mike Lizzi photo For second choice Ideal Jimmy, a 6-year-old son homebred Western Ideal gelding owned by D R Van Witzenburg and trained by Erv Miller, it was his sixth win 13 '19 tries (3-for-5 in Levy). The exacta paid $22.20, the triple returned $92 and the superfecta paid $160. The Levy final series standings, as dutifully compiled by Bob (OUTP) Miecuna, accompany this release. The final is set for next Saturday night, Apr. 20th (approximate purse $630,000). Note that the leaders are not necessarily the finalists until 'finalized' by the race office after an examination of the series conditions. Open draw for both the Blue Chip Matchmaker and Levy take place Monday afternoon (Apr. 15th). Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by the lass Weslynn Dancer (Kakaley, $15.80) in a season's-best 1:54.2, also the fastest local trot mile of 2019.   Frank Drucker

CHESTER PA - The $16,000 featured races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday were a study in contrasts: on the pace, War Crimes made it look really easy as she won her fourth straight harness race in 1:55.1, while on the trot Armageddon Seelster was extended to grind down pacesetter Lucky Shiela by a neck in 1:56. The Western Terror mare War Crimes made two moves in achieving her victory, making the top, forcing a tuck, then surrendering the lead to A Oliveinmymartini to a 27.3 quarter, only to be right out and reclaiming command, then slowing the half to 58.2. Successive 28.2 quarters coming home were enough to keep War Crimes 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Dance For Kisses at the wire for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Josh Green, and Green Racing Inc. as the four-year-old ran her record to 8-for-13 lifetime. There were no fewer than five lead changes before the second turn of the highlighted trot, with Lucky Shiela winding up in front and Armageddon Seelster on her back. In the stretch driver Pat Berry ducked the victorious Muscle Mass gelding to the inside lane and just edged out the gritty leader by a neck for trainer Ron Coyne Jr. and the partnership of Ron Coyne Stables Inc., Blair Corbeil, and Mike Mcallister. The $14,500 co-featured pace for fast-class distaff pacers had an exciting four-across-the-wire finish, with the American Ideal mare Jag Out proving most photogenic in a 1:53.4 mile. Jag Out had the tough first-up grind to surmount, but she proved best by a nose over potential pocket rocket Brazuca, who in turn was a neck ahead of the fast-closing Arts And Flowers, with pacesetting Sweet Bobbie just another neck in back of those three. The meet's leading trainer, Nick Surick, conditions the winner, who pushed her lifetime bankroll to $405,214 for the Nick Surick Stable LLC and J L Benson Stables Inc.; Tim Tetrick again had the winning sulky assignment during a card where he visited Victory Lane five times.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - Driver Tim Tetrick was at the top of his game on Tuesday morning at Harrah's Philadelphia, winning five times in ten qualifiers, including a sweep with four quality-proven performers. Donttellmeagain, as good as the best harness racing FFA pacers when at his best last year, won his second straight 2019 qualifier, this one in 1:51.4. The Jim King Jr. trainee, an altered son of Dragon Again, moved out of the pocket down the backstretch and covered each of the last two panels in 27.1 to be 2¾ lengths clear of Closing Statement, third as a baby in his Breeders Crown event and on the comeback trail. Caviart Ally, a consensus second-best in the 2018 aged mare ranks behind Shartin N (ironically another Tetrick/King horse), came from last to be third, with her own last quarter in 27. Three-year-old stakes fillies who had had six-figure campaigns at two put in some sharp miles in other events, all under the guidance of the green, yellow, and white. The So Surreal filly So Awesome, a nose shy in her New York Sire Stakes final last year, came home in 27.4 to win in 1:54.1 for Tetrick and trainer Scott DiDomenico, while the "hometown horse," Rockin Philly, lowered her freshman record by a tick, the A Rocknroll Dance filly reporting home first in 1:53.1 - 27.2 for the Donttellmeagain team of Tetrick and King. Tetrick's mastery also extended to the trotting fillies, as the Cantab Hall miss Magical Beliefs, a neck shy in her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship, came out to win at first crack in 1:57.2 for Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 6, 2019-Fourth round, four divisions, go 'fourth'. Get the picture? Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (Apr. 6th) hosted the next-to-last preliminary get-together of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four, $50,000 Free-For All harness racing events were carded, one fewer than a week ago. Here's the vivid re-enactment... First division-There weren't many styles point for odds-on JJ Flynn (Tim Tetrick, $3.80), but he did last (:26.4, :57, 1:24.2; 1:52.2) from post position No. 4. After looping Endeavor (Jason Bartlett) early, he held off a second-over Major Crocker A (Dan Dube) by a neck, with a first-up Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton) said third. I'marocnrollegend N (Scott Zeron) and Always at My Place (George Brennan) settled for the remainder. Endeavor lost touch and finished sixth of seven. For JJ Flynn, a 6-year-old Western Ideal gelding co-owned by (trainer) Josh Green, Richard Lombardo and Charles Cochran III, it was his seventh win in 10 seasonal starts (2-for-4 in Levy). The exacta paid $17.60, the triple returned $54 and the superfecta paid $204.50. "I had to use (JJ Flynn) more than I wanted," Tetrick said. 'Even last week, as soon as I made the lead, they came at me, but he raced well. They went in (1):50 and change (Lyons Steel's 1:50.4), so I've been very happy with him."   Second division-A week after some noticeable traffic issues, Bettor's Fire N (Ron Cushing, $19.40) was left to his own devices, and promptly made 'em play. From post No. 5, he went the distance (:27.4, :57.4, 1:25.4, 1:53.2), whipping pole-sitting, 2-1 choice Anythingforlove A (Joe Bongiorno) by a three-quarters of a length. More the Better N (Zeron) and Nocturnal Bluechip (Tetrick) came away with the minors For sixth choice Bettor's Fire N, an 11-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding co-owned by his driver, Kevin Sywyk & Frank Ranaldi and trained by Heidi Gibbs, he's now 2-for-9 this season (1-for-4 in Levy). The exacta paid $67.50, the triple returned $508 and the superfecta paid $4,631.   Third division-The last time there were equally-insane early substations of :26.4 here? Hard-pressed to remember one, so it was no surprise that after a :53.3 intermission, neither tepid 2-1 fave The Downtown Bus (Zeron) nor Lyons Steel (Stratton) were around to tell about it. The former, after getting trapped in the pocket a week ago, was bent on taking no prisoners this time. The speed summarily surrendered around the 1:22 three-quarters, as Mar Nien A (Greg Merton) took his turn as a short-term leader. When the stonedust settled, a from-last The Wall (Bongiorno, $31.60)-from post No. 5--snapped Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland), winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.2, matching a life-best effort. Somebaddude (Brennan), Bettor Memories (Bartlett) and Mar Nien A also made appearance fees. For fifth choice The Wall, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding owned by J L Benson Stables and trained by Nick Surick, it was his second win in a 11 seasonal starts (2-for-4 in Levy). The exacta paid $146.50, the triple returned $1,977 and the superfecta paid $2,602. "I couldn't believe how fast they were going," Bongiorno said. "No way I could even keep up. The way the race developed, I thought I'd be second to Ideal Jimmy. I didn't know how he'd do after competing in non-winners of $20,000, but he's been solid the whole series."   Fourth division-Odds-on Western Fame (Dube, $2.40) restored some normal to the gathering with an as-expected romp (;27.2, 56., 1:23.4, 1:50.4). From post No, 3, the series points leader drilled his foes by 5½ lengths, a personal '19 best and matching Lyons Steel for the fastest Westchester mile of the Levy and season. Western Fame                              -Mike Lizzi photo Gokudo Hanover (Brennan) was a very loosely-pocketed second, with Rock the Nite (Mark MacDonald), Somewhere in L A (Bartlett) and Ballerat Boomerang (Bongiorno) earning the minor moolah. For Western Fame, a 6-year-old son of Western Ideal owned by Go Fast and B&I Stables, Stephen Klunowski & Gilbert Short and trained by Rene Allard, he's now 3-for-5 this season (2-for-4 in Levy). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $5, the triple returned $45.80 and the superfecta paid $109. The series standings, as dutifully compiled by Bob (OUTP) Miecuna, accompany this release. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by an odds-on In Secret (Brennan, $3.30) in a season's-best 1:54.4, matching the fastest local trot mile of 2019.   Frank Drucker Director of Publicity Yonkers

CHESTER PA - A pair of $16,000 contests for developing younger harness racing horses, one on each gait, were the headliners at Harrah's Philadelphia on a dank Friday afternoon. In the pacing co-feature, which was for mares, War Crimes came home in 55.3, moving from third off the second turn to the lead at the 5/8 and running off to a 4 ½ length victory in 1:53.1. Josh Green conditions the winner of three straight and 7 of 12 starts lifetime for Green Racing Inc. And speaking of "running off," that's exactly what driver Tim Tetrick did after his fourth visit to Harrah's winners circle on the program, going on the dead run in an effort to meet transportation to reach his scheduled commitment in the first race at Yonkers tonight. In the trot, the developing Wishing Stone gelding You Need Stones won his second straight contest, and 11th in 36 career starts, by fronting his field and then holding off the late charge of Northern Credit by a length in 1:56. The winner, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Carr, and Phil Collura, gave the teaming of driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke its second winner of the afternoon - Gingras had three sulky successes in total on the card, as did Tony Morgan. In the $14,500 top event for fast-class mare pacers, Ella Christina pulled off a rarity at the still-young Harrah's meet - she came off of cover to overhaul the favored pacesetter Slick Artist A in 1:53.3. Tim Tetrick tipped the daughter of Western Ideal three-deep late on the far turn, and she built enough of a head of steam to outclose the chalk by two lengths for Louis Willinger, William Daggett Jr., Lawrence Vukovich, and the J L Benson Stables Inc. The win also gave Nick Surick his second training triumph of the day - he leads Burke by a 7-5 score in the early going here, not quite the 57-win lead over the #2 trainer Surick enjoys at his Freehold base.     PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, April 4, 2019-We're getting down to both the nitty and the gritty. This weekend, Yonkers Raceway hosts the fourth-or penultimate-rounds of both the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Friday night (Apr. 5), the lasses go in three, $40,000 Matchmaker harness racing events, consecutively carded as races 7 through 9. The opening division cries out 'two-speed number' with pole-sitting Don't Think Twice A (Jason Bartlett) and Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan, post 3). The former owns a Matchmaker win and pair of seconds, while the latter-just in time for the NHL playoffs-eyes a hat trick. The second event sees another three-peat wannabe in Bettor Joy N (Tim Tetrick, post 7), starting outside her foes. Ideal Lifestyle A (Brennan, post 1) has chased home Bettor Joy N the last couple of tries. The final Matchmaker grouping rolls through defending champion Shartin N (Tetrick, post 4) as the millionairess is looking for her third prelim victory. Seaswift Joy N (Jim Marohn Jr., post 8), yet another series two-fer, has won four of her five local starts. Saturday evening (Apr. 6th) fourth foray of the Levy was drawn and quartered into $50,000 divisions (races 5,7,8 and 10). The first get-together asks the musical question, 'Can Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton, post 2) do it again?' Fresh off last week's 67-1 stunner-and first board finish of the season-the Major hooks other round winners in Endeavor (Bartlett, post 3) and JJ Flynn (Tetrick, post 4). Saturday's second event fins More the Better N (Scott Zeron, post 6) in search of a third series win, but stuck with a first poor draw. Anythingforlove A (Joe Bongiorno, post 1) was an opening-round winner and figures to cut this mile. The third group is led by Lyons Steel (Stratton, post 6), who threw down the fastest mile (1:50.4) of the local season a week ago. Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, post 8) won his first two series tries, but ran out of racetrack a week ago. The Downtown Bus (Zeron, post 4) and The Wall (Bongiorno, post 5) also have preliminary wins to their credit. Saturday night's final division is led by two-round winner Western Fame (Dan Dube, post 3), who convincingly whipped Dr. J Hanover (Tetrick, post 6) on the square when they opposed one another a week ago. Standings and finalized program pages accompany this release, with first post for both cards the usual 6:50 PM. https://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/bluechipstandings.pdf https://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/levystandings.pdf   Frank Drucker

Chillaxin Away is the defending champion on Delaware's harness racing circuit for state-bred male pacers, but Goldberg is ready to try to wrestle the title from him. The two horses meet in Thursday's (April 4) $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund final for 3-year-old colts and geldings at Dover Downs, with "Chilly" a slight 8-5 favorite on the morning line. Last season, Chillaxin Away won both DSBF championships for 2-year-old male pacers, in October at Harrington Raceway and November at Dover, and was two neck defeats from being unbeaten in six races in the series. Goldberg did not race in Delaware last year as he was instead pointed to the Grand Circuit. The colt was limited to only four starts because of a virus but hit the board three times in open stakes action. Chillaxin Away enters Thursday's final off a half-length win over Goldberg in 1:51.2 in the second preliminary round of the DSBF. Both horses were winners in their first-round races. Chillaxin Away starts the final from post four with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Jim King Jr. while Goldberg, who is 9-5 on the morning line, leaves from post three with Montrell Teague at the lines for trainer Brenda Teague. "We think we've got a pretty good chance," King said about Chillaxin Away, a gelding known as "Chilly" around the barn. "We have to deal with Goldberg. They were extremely high on him. They had some issues, but now they seem to have him squared away. I'm concerned about him. We were able to handle him last week but he out-drew us and is definitely a concern." Chillaxin Away is by Roddy's Bags Again out of Shake Away, a mare who raced at the top levels of the Delaware circuit for King in the mid-2000s. Chillaxin Away was bred by King's wife, Jo Ann Looney-King, who remains the owner of the horse. For his career, Chillaxin Away has won eight of 15 races and earned $170,600. His past five starts away from the DSBF series have all come against fields with older horses. "All of (Shake Away's) male babies have been pretty good horses and this one is as good as any of them," trainer King said. "He's stepped up pretty good. Like all of them, he's got little quirks and little issues here and there but nothing we haven't been able to correct by the next start and go again. "He's a fun little horse. He's got plenty of ability and I like his determination. His raw speed is really good; he can really sprint. For where he's got to go, I don't think there are any that can pace a quarter faster than him or anything like that. Barring anything really silly, I think he's going to be OK in the final. He gets home in 26 and a piece after being first over, that's pretty good anywhere you go let alone for a Delaware-bred." Chillaxin Away will not be doing a lot of traveling, though. He is not staked outside of Delaware. "I'm a little bit stingy," King said with a laugh. "I still don't think he's one of those. He's just a really nice little horse. He doesn't have the size to him, that was the biggest thing. He just didn't appear to be stout enough. I've been close enough to it to know that it's not very likely we're going to bring one out of our backyard to (compete on the Grand Circuit)." Montrell Teague hopes he can eventually return to the Grand Circuit with Goldberg. Teague bred and owns the colt, who is a son of Mr Wiggles out of Chausettes Blanche. The colt has won two of seven career races and earned $47,070. Last year, Goldberg finished second to eventual Dan Patch Award-winner Captain Crunch in a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes and was third behind Captain Ahab and De Los Cielos Deo in his elimination of the Metro Pace. A virus knocked the colt out of the Metro final and sidelined him the remainder of the year. "I just turned him out because I didn't want to ruin him," Teague said. "He showed a lot of promise last year. I was very big on him, but you never know how they're going to come back after catching a virus like that. I'm just happy he came back. "(The timing of the DSBF) is kind of a gift and a curse. I wanted to give him a little more time in the field, but at least I can see what I've got. I staked him up pretty good to give myself options. The main thing is to see how he comes out of Thursday's final." Teague is happy with Goldberg's return so far. "He's a little bigger, stronger," Teague said. "He's a lot smarter, he's quieted down a lot. Last year he was pretty rank and this year I've opened him up a little bit and it's worked pretty good so far. He's letting me drive him; last year he was a little more aggressive and didn't really know what he was doing." The DSBF championship is race 10 on Dover's card. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). For Thursday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com      

CHESTER PA – Donttellmeagain, the last horse to have won a race against 2018 Harness Horse of the Year McWicked (at Dayton in late September), came out sharp in his 2019 bow at Harrah’s Philadelphia in a Tuesday morning qualifier, coming his own back half in 53.4 to trip the timer in 1:52.2. Tim Tetrick was behind the Jim King Jr. harness racing trainee, and the pair got away fifth from the outside seven post, then moved with a backstretch flow and retucked third as Sicily brushed to the lead. Donttellmeagain moved out again in the stretch, but the $500,000+-winning Sicily proved hard to overhaul, but overhauled he finally was by the five-year-old Dragon Again gelding, a neck to the good for Paton Racing Stables Inc. Among the three-year-olds who qualified impressively were: -- The McArdle filly Queen Of The Pride, who won her Ohio Sire Stakes Championship last season, coming home in 27.4 to post a 1:52.4 victory for driver David Miller and trainer Kevin Lare; -- Practical Cat, a Muscle Hill $230,000 yearling, who won handily in 1:55.2 for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Per Engblom; -- And the “Philly fillies at Philly,” Pennsylvania Sire Stakes misses Philly Hanover and Rockn Philly, with the former edging the latter by a half-length in 1:56.3 for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Ron Coyne Jr.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia Jerry Connors

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - After settling for a close second in each of his first two starts of the season coming from off the pace, harness racing driver driver Tim Tetrick thought he'd try something different with Beckhams Z Tam in the $25,000 featured Preferred Handicap for pacers at the Meadowlands Saturday night. And Tetrick was right on the money. Beckhams Z Tam, the 2017 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt and gelding pace champion, has come back sharp as a 5-year-old, and after racing eighth and last most of the way a week ago, Tetrick had the son of Always A Virgin-Sara's Lucky Charm on the go from the start this time around. After Rodeo Romeo reached the quarter in a snappy :27, Beckhams Z Tam took over shortly thereafter and hit the half in :55.1. Mindtrip, a recent $50,000 claim by trainer Dylan Davis, was now creeping his way toward the leader while parked out as Beckhams Z Tam continued to cruise on the point at three-quarters in 1:23.1. It was blowout city from there. With minor urging from Tetrick, Beckhams Z Tam sprinted his final quarter in :27 to hit the finish 3¼ lengths in front of Rodeo Romeo. K Ryan Bluechip rallied for third. "Timmy asked me if I cared how he drove him," said winning trainer Bruce Saunders, "and I thought it would be a good opportunity to see if he had any gate speed. Leaving the gate was Timmy's idea. Really good horses can race any way and win, and Beckhams Z Tam can be competitive with any field right now." Beckhams Z Tam, who is on his way to next week's Levy Series at Yonkers, returned $3.40 as the 3-5 public choice after completing the mile in 1:50.1. He now has 16 victories from 47 lifetime starts and earnings of $727,597 for owners Z Tam Stables. A LITTLE MORE: Sams Triple Crown and driver Tyler Buter lit up the toteboard while rocking the clock in the eighth race. The 25-1 chance scored in 1:49.4, becoming the third horse in 2019 to break the 1:50 barrier at the Big M. ... Just two races later, New Talent flexed his class muscles from post 10, scoring in 1:49.2 with Tetrick calling the shots in the fastest Meadowlands mile of the year. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 pool surpassed the $100,000 mark for a fifth straight race card. ... Tetrick and Yannick Gingras were the kings of the driver colony, with Tetrick winning five times on the program and Gingras four. ... All-source wagering was $3,175,007, the second-highest total of the year and the fourth time betting has gone past the $3-million mark. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman won 1141 races in 2018 to post the second-highest single-season total of all-time.   As this is written (Sat 6 p.m.), the USTA computer has Merriman second in North America in 2019 with 11 wins.   Ahead of him is a driver who won 14 races at Dover Downs earlier this week ... Tim Tetrick, who is the only driver to have eclipsed the 1141 figure posted by Merriman last year, with 1189 in 2007!   ... If only the horses were that easy to handicap! ...   Jerry Connors Jr

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - She's done all she can do. Now, she hopes the Horse of the Year voters are in her corner. Shartin N became the first older pacing female to earn $1 million in a single season by taking the $175,000 TVG Mares Pace in 1:50.3 in a dominant performance over a sloppy track at the Meadowlands Saturday night on the biggest night of racing on the fall calendar, as four TVG Finals as well as the Fall Final Four for 2-year-olds were contested. The 5-year-old daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin was used hard into the first turn by driver Tim Tetrick, putting 2-1 second choice Caviart Ally in the pocket. Shartin N was permitted to rate the second fraction in :29.2 as Blue Moon Stride made progress racing first-over, getting within a neck of the eventual winner nearing three-quarters, which was timed in 1:23.2. The 4-5 favorite then turned it on, sprinting clear of Caviart Ally as Blue Moon Stride faded. At the wire, Shartin N was 1¾ lengths clear of a fast-closing Apple Bottom Jeans, who was 55-1 on the tote board. Pure Country was third. "She's been great. It's been a great trip with her," said Richard Poillucci, who owns the horse with Jo Ann Looney-King, wife of trainer Jim King Jr. "It was a little tough in the beginning with (her going off stride) when we got her here but she's just been an incredible mare." "McWicked has been a tremendous horse," said Poillucci when the subject of Horse of the Year was brought up. "I'm just happy that she's done what she's done." Shartin N, who won the Breeders Crown four weeks ago, paid $3.60 as the 4-5 public choice and has won 19-of-24 starts this year, good for earnings of $1,053,236. Earlier in the evening, in the $175,000 TVG Mares Trot, Breeders Crown champion Emoticon Hanover sealed up divisional honors by holding off the late-charging Hannelore Hanover by a neck in 1:52.4. Celebrity Ruth was third. Driver Daniel Dube hustled Emoticon Hanover to the lead in the abbreviated five-horse field with Hannelore Hanover racing right behind. Over a track rated 'good' as heavy rains fell, the moderate fractions of :28, :56.3 and 1:25.4 set the stage for a sprint to the wire. "Everything went well with those fractions," said Dube in the winner's circle. "But I was not sure I had it won because (Hannelore Hanover) is a great horse, but my horse was good to the wire." Emoticon Hanover trotted her final quarter in :27, and it was just enough, as Hannelore Hanover - who started the year six-for-six but is now six-for-13 - was in tight quarters in mid stretch. Nearing the wire, Ice Attraction started to flatten a bit after grinding toward the leader during the final half-mile, allowing Hannelore enough room for one final surge. But she would come up just short. Trained by Luc Blais, Emoticon Hanover, a 5-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Emmylou Who, returned $4.00 as the even-money favorite. She has now won 22-of-53 lifetime starts and earned $1,454,576 for owners Determination of Montreal. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations    

YONKERS, N.Y. – A few hours before the start of the Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, trainer Jeff Gillis found himself stuck in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike. Sleet, snow, and freezing rain made the typical 3 ½-hour drive to Dover Downs a 5 ½-hour ordeal and Gillis was in a race against the clock to get The Downtown Bus to the track in time to avoid scratching out of the $193,750 stakes. “The turnpike was a disaster,” Gillis said. “I wasn’t even sure I was going to make Lasix. Anything after that was a bonus.” Gillis and The Downtown Bus arrived at the track with just 30 minutes remaining in his window to receive the race day medication. Three hours later, Gillis stared up at a television screen in the paddock as his 19-1 longshot charged into a blistering pace and ended up on the far outside in a three-way photo finish with This Is The Plan along the pylons and Jimmy Freight between horses.  “The announcer called the two on the inside, (This Is The Plan) and Jimmy Freight, so I said to someone under the TV, ‘is there an inside bias here,’ because to the naked eye, I thought he might have gotten up,” Gillis said. “And then, when the announcer called it that way, I thought we were third.” The Downtown Bus did get up in time, but so did This Is The Plan. The pair tied for a dead heat victory in 1:49.1 over the sloppy track, a lifetime mark for both horses. The victory improved The Downtown Bus’s record to 11-for-25 with $287,837 earned. Gillis bred The Downtown Bus with longtime owner Ellen Ott and was overjoyed to see the Mach Three gelding win his first start outside Canada. “I was ecstatic,” he said. “We go back a couple generations with this horse and it was a big thrill.” The Downtown Bus is out of Slimsplace, a mare who has special meaning to Gillis. She is named after his father, Raymond “Slim” Gillis, who was killed in a car accident in June 2007. The mare by Artsplace out of the Jennas Beach Boy mare She’s Beachy earned $139,019 on the track for Gillis and became a part of the family. “I don’t desire to be in the breeding industry, but there’s some sentimental value. She was born six weeks before my dad was tragically killed in a car accident,” Gillis explained. “I always liked her, I liked the family, she’s quality, so it made it easier as well.” The Downtown Bus is Slimsplace’s second foal to race and the first to win a stakes race. The gelding is similar to his dam in temperament and complexion. “She was kind of relaxed. He’s got kind of a hair-trigger almost. To jog him, you have to take a whip or pack a lunch, one or the other because he mopes along as slow as can possibly be,’ Gillis explained. “He wears earplugs in a race because once you stir him up, he’s gone. He’s a little bit funny like that. Build-wise, they’re a little bit similar. They’re not very tall, but they have a lot of substance to them, they’re thick and muscular.” Gillis kept The Downtown Bus in Canada at 2 and 3, racing in Ontario Sire Stakes. He was winless in seven starts last year after suffering a series of minor setbacks, but put everything together this season. After finishing third in the Ontario Sire Stakes Final in October, Gillis tried his luck abroad. “I would have to be absolutely, supremely over-the-moon, in love with a horse that’s Ontario bred to pay him into stakes in the United States prior to the Super Final in Canada,” the trainer said. “You almost have to bypass a goal and I don’t particularly see the value in it, so I didn’t stake him that way.” After his successful stateside debut in the Matron, The Downtown Bus will test the waters on the half-mile track at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (November 24) in the $35,000 3- and 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace. He drew post seven and with Tyler Buter in the sulky, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The start worked out as Gillis is in the area to start Yonkers International Trot participant Will Take Charge in the TVG FFA Trot at the Meadowlands. “He’s not an overly big horse, he should get over a half pretty good and I do plan on racing him there in the future. This is intended to be his final start of the year,” Gillis said. “I thought it was worthwhile to see how he liked the track and whether there was something there for him in the future, just to see how he gets over it and have a bit more info before I put him away for the year.” The Downtown Bus’s rivals include Mac’s Jackpot, a winner of two straight including a wire-to-wire score in this class last time out. He is the 7-2 second choice from post eight. Air Strike finished second to Mac’s Jackpot two weeks ago and is 5-1 from post five for Brent Holland and Erv Miller. Machiavelli, The Wall, Pretty Boy Swag, Maroma Beach, and Avatar J complete the field. “I don’t really know a lot of those horses very well. The seven-hole on a half is never ideal, but he is the morning line favorite,” Gillis reasoned. “He looks like he should be competitive in there, we’ll see how it turns out. He’s pretty versatile. Tyler can leave with him or take back. If we take back, obviously we’re at the mercy of the pace, so we’ll see. “I am curious to see how he gets over the track,” Gillis continued. “It’s maybe something that we’ll look to down the road, maybe he’ll be a Levy-type horse. Who knows?” Saturday’s 12-race card also features a $44,000 Open Handicap Pace and a $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Harness racing's top-ranked horses, No. 1 McWicked and No. 2 Shartin N, head to their respective TVG Series championships Saturday at The Meadowlands Racetrack looking to bolster their Horse of the Year credentials while closing out historic seasons. The Meadowlands hosts four TVG Series finals Saturday, with events also for male and female trotters, and four stakes races for 2-year-olds - the Governor's Cup for colt and gelding pacers, Valley Victory for colt and gelding trotters, Three Diamonds for filly pacers, and Goldsmith Maid for filly trotters. McWicked faces six foes in the $350,000 TVG Series final for male pacers. He starts from post one with Brian Sears driving for trainer Casie Coleman. Shartin N meets seven rivals in the $175,000 TVG Series final for female pacers. She also starts from post one, with Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Jim King Jr. Shartin N, who has won 18 of 23 races this year, has already set the record for single-season earnings by an older female pacer, with $968,361, and is attempting to become the first pacing mare to reach $1 million. The New Zealand-bred 5-year-old is owned by Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King. McWicked has won 11 of 18 races and earned $1.40 million in 2018. The 7-year-old stallion leads all horses in North America in purses and will be the first horse older than the age of 5 to finish atop the annual money standings since 7-year-old trotter Savoir in 1975. He is owned by Ed James' S S G Stables. Last week, McWicked won the five-horse preferred handicap at The Meadowlands by 2-1/4 lengths over Filibuster Hanover in 1:47.3. He brings a four-race win streak to his TVG final. "I couldn't be any happier," Coleman said. "He was off for three weeks and when we drew the five hole in a five-horse field I expected they would go slow fractions trying to get away on him late. When they hit the half in :53.4 I was pretty happy. I wasn't expecting that fast a mile out of him, but he did it real easy. "He came out of it really good. He was feeling good the next day. Everything seems good. Hopefully we can have a little bit of luck with him on Saturday." McWicked, who was a Dan Patch Award-winner at the age of 3, counts the Breeders Crown Open Pace, Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, Canadian Pacing Derby, Dan Rooney Invitational, and Allerage Open Pace among his wins this year. Two fourth-place finishes are his only off-the-board results in his 18 starts. If he were named Horse of the Year, McWicked would be the oldest pacer to ever receive the honor. "To think he was going to do what he did this year would be impossible," Coleman said. "I felt confident he would have a big season, but he's made almost $1.5 million and barely missed the top three. In the starts he got beat, he only got beat from the way the trip went. I've never seen anybody as consistent as he's been week in and week out. "It's not like he has easy miles and he's been at the top of his game since the time he started the season. The horse is 7 years old and racing against the best of the best in the open (class) every week. It's fun every time he goes to the gate. As long as he's healthy and sound we're definitely planning to race him next year." Shartin N prepped for her TVG final with a 1:52.2 win in a qualifier Nov. 14 at Dover Downs. She last raced Oct. 27, winning the Breeders Crown Mare Pace. She also brings a four-race win streak to her TVG event. "She qualified really good the other day, very pleasing," King said. "She doesn't seem to mind the time between races. I think she's OK." In addition to the Breeders Crown, Shartin N's victories this year include the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship, Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty, Artiscape, Betsy Ross Invitational, Chip Noble Memorial, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. If she were named Horse of the Year, Shartin N would be the first pacing mare to ever receive the honor. "I think that's a pretty tall order; McWicked is so sharp right now," King said. "A few weeks ago, I thought it was going to be all about (3-year-old trotting filly) Atlanta, but people have short memories. It's really something just to be even considered, to be in the running. She's gone all year since the Matchmaker (beginning in March) and she hasn't missed yet where she didn't have an excuse or real good reason. Every time she didn't win, something went wrong. "There are so few things through the year that didn't make me smile. It's just a thrill to be around one like her and to think you were a part of it. I'd really love to get over that million-dollar mark; that would be something. You never want to see a year like this end, but she's had quite a year. She's just a horse of a different color. She's pretty damn special." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. First-race post time is 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

CHESTER, PA - Mr Houdini needed little magic to win the $16,000 trot at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon - he just needed his native ability, which enabled him to come home in 57 over a "sloppy +2" surface to take a new mark of 1:56. Andrew McCarthy quickly had the altered son of Kadabra on the lead, and the winner of three straight rattled off splits of 29.1, 59.1, and 1:27.3 on the engine. Girl Talk had stayed close to the winner throughout and tried to rally from the pocket late, but Mr Houdini saw that one's late bid off by 3/4 for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The top pacing event of the day was an event for distaffs worth $14,500, and heading to the wire three of the four involved in the drive were New Zealanders, with the import Nike Franco N (handled by Flora IL's Tim Tetrick, the lone non-Kiwi) withstood a big late charge from Delightfulmemphisn and the "Down Under Wonder," driver Dexter Dunn, to prevail in 1:52.4 in the off going. Tetrick had moved the victorious daughter of McArdle past early leader Oceania past the 27.1 quarter, put up middle fractions of 56.3 and 1:24.2, and looked free and clear at headstretch. But Delightfulmemphisn angled four-wide and cut into the lead with every stride in the lane, only to come up a half-length short on the money. The winner, trainer by Scott Di Domenico, recorded her second straight win, and now has lifetime earnings of $822,029 while raising her career win ratio to 43% (32 for 75). She is owned by William Hartt, Foulk Stables Inc., JFE Enterprise LLC, and Triple D Stables Inc. From the PHHA/Harrah's Chester

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