Columbus, OH --- After the Finn Stable sustained a loss that left them reeling, the family is hoping Rockin Racer, who has demolished her harness racing opposition in three trips to the post this year at Hoosier Park, may alleviate some of the sorrow residing in their souls and demonstrate her own prowess at overcoming significant obstacles to even compete. “We suffered a tragedy when we lost ($283,564 winner) Rockin Good,” said JD Finn. “We took her to Ohio to race and she came down with a bad case of the strangles. She immediately went to Ohio State and they provided her with the best of care. Even with their efforts it was very serious and after being there for some time, she was finally able to come home. She was doing really well and was healthy until one day she just couldn’t get up. We tried everything we could to save her, but we knew what we had to do for her. We think now she may have had EPM, but it still hurts every day she is not with us. “Rockin Racer reminded us of her as a yearling and is the reason we bought her. We trained her down in 2:07 and she broke her splint bone in two places in her right front leg, so we had to wait on her. We knew she had talent but we didn’t think she would be winning like this.” Rockin Racer seeks to extend her record to a perfect four-for-four when she takes on nine other rivals in the $15,000 Miss Windfall final on Saturday (April 29) at Hoosier Park. Conditioned by JD Finn, the 3-year-old pacing filly will leave from the rail as the 3-2 favorite in the seventh race on the card with his son Jared holding the lines. Not only has the daughter of Rockin Image-Portia Blue Chip amassed the highest seasonal earnings in the field ($12,500), but her speed badge of 1:52.4 is nearly a full two seconds swifter than the other contestants have paced. “Everything she has done has been well within herself,” the elder Finn said. “We have never asked her and have been very surprised by how she has been racing.” Despite displaying immense promise at this early stage of her career, Rockin Racer has much more to achieve before she can rival the likes of her former stablemate Rockin Good. Rockin Good was purchased for $9,500 at the 2013 Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale. The daughter of Rockin Image-Do Me Good was an Indiana champion, a stakes victress and collected $283,564 for the Finns during her two-year career. Rockin Racer, who is co-owned by Finn Racing and Hinshaw Homestead Farms, was selected from the 2015 Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale for $7,500 and is a full sister to Undertaker ($129,807). Unraced at age two, the filly has been simply dominant in each of her 3-year-old engagements. Her first start was a powerful performance coming from off the pace to stop the clock in 1:54.3 in a $10,000 Rosie Harness Memorial contest on April 8. The following week she went to the top at the half-mile marker and never looked back, lowering her mark to 1:53.1 in the first leg of the Miss Windfall Series. In her latest foray last Saturday (April 22) in the second leg of the Miss Windfall, she decimated 11 other fillies and mares with a wire-to-wire victory while setting her new lifetime mark of 1:52.4. Although she will be extremely short odds at the windows this weekend, Rockin Racer defeated exceptionally long ones to even place her nose upon the starting gate in a pari-mutuel contest, which makes these performances all the more rewarding for the Finns. “Well first we had that splint bone,” said Finn, who conditions his horses at the Jasper County Fairgrounds. “All we could do was take it out and wait to see what would happen. Fortunately, the leg healed beautifully and we have not had one problem with it; it came out just perfect. “But we had another issue and even if the leg had not happened, we would have been embarrassed to take her anywhere because her tail fell out. The vet said it was some type of fungus and it came out in hunks; she had no tail at all and we would never want to take a horse around looking the way she did. It grew back and is black now except for about four inches from her tail bone; that is all gray.” Although she obviously possesses speed and relishes her work, Rockin Racer has quite the personality when she is not on the track pacing. “She is a rip around the barn,” Finn said. “She is very professional when it is time to race or train, but we could not get hobbles on her. She would lay right down whenever we would try to put that last leg in. We have to lay them on the ground for her to step into. She likes to do her things her way.” Like Rockin Good before her, Rockin Racer will target the lucrative Indiana Sire Stakes program and other stakes over the Anderson oval. “She will stay at Hoosier and race in the sire stakes,” Finn said. “That is our plan for the season and of course we always have to consult with our partners on her. She will also tell us where to go herself. We bought her because she reminded us so much of Rockin Good as a yearling and we like Rockin Image as a sire, plus Undertaker’s career was another reason for buying her. “We are very surprised with how this filly has already went in (1):52 and the way she has done it, but Undertaker has been in (1):51, so we are looking forward to the year with her. “It still stings with what happened with Rockin Good and I think it is one of those things that will never really go away; that pain will always be there, but maybe this filly can help ease a little bit of that sting.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor
YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 28, 2017 - Freeze Out (Jordan Stratton, $8.90) was first-up and first home Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth from post position No. 2, Free Out saw Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) leaving around 9-10 choice Windsun Glory (George Brennan), the latter shoehorning herself into a pocket. Call Me Queen Be set early intervals of :27.3 and :57.4 before Freeze Out took out after her. She engaged the leader in and out of the third turn, dispatching her in and out of the (1:25.4) three-quarters. Freeze Out, continuing her form spree, opened to 2¾ lengths into the lane. The final margin was a length-and-a-half in 1:54. Motu Moonbeam N (Mark MacDonald) rallied into second, with a second-over Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) third. Apple Bottom Jeans (Brian Sears) and Keystone Riptide (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For third choice Freeze Out, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, it was her sixth win (fourth consecutive) win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $57, the triple returned $361.50 and the superfecta paid $2,203. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (April 29th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,110.41. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 28, 2017) - Longshots stole the show during the Late Pick Four on Friday at the Meadowlands, triggering a massive $61,958 carryover into Saturday's harness racing program. Friday's Late Pick Four attracted a total pool of $97,193, the second largest pool of the year. Rock of Cashel set the tone when he upset an all-star cast of trotters in the $20,000 Preferred Trot including JL Cruze, Rubber Duck, Rose Run Parker, and Maestro Blue Chip, all of whom are eligible to next week's $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial. Opulent Yankee took his customary spot on the front through fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:23.4. Into the stretch, Opulent Yankee still held a two-length lead and looked home, but Corey Callahan had the 26-1 Rock of Cashel rolling and just prevailed by a nose in 1:51.3. JL Cruze was third in his seasonal debut. "He is such a nice little horse," said Callahan. "He has a good move and it worked out perfectly for him tonight." The longshot parade continued in the next race when Up The Alley, a stakes-nominated trotter making his second start of the year for trainer Richie Silverman, surged past 2-5 favorite B Yoyo in deep stretch to score at 28-1. After Sudden Change scored a $17.60 upset in the ninth race, the stage was set for a possible carryover or a huge score for the few horseplayers still alive. In the end, Anthony Napolitano aggressively put Lauderdale on the front end from his outside post and took the field gate to wire to win at $24.60 and trigger the first Pick Four carryover of the season at the Meadowlands. With the large carryover and low 15-percent takeout, the effective takeout for horseplayers will be negative with up to $413,053 in new money wagered. The Late Pick Four covers Races 7 - 10 and free past performances are available courtesy of TrackMaster on the Meadowlands website http://bit.ly/2oRtwIU. The Pick Four fireworks only set the stage for the final race of the evening. Co-favorites Joyful Game and Rock Me Gently both finished out of the top five. That allowed one lucky player to take down the Jackpot Super High Five for $51,321. The winning combination of 4-1-8-7-2 included 10-1 winner Amanderosa followed in order by 7-2 Blush Hanover, 28-1 Twice An Angel, 11-1 Keene Olivia, and 32-1 Mac's Secure in fifth. The ticket was purchased through the Oregon Hub. Total handle on the 11-race card was $2,539,723. First post time on Saturday's 11-race card is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- After posting 13 victories and putting over $82,000 in the bank last year, Kahoku was in search of his first win of the 2017 campaign after 10 unsuccessful tries. The dry spell ended on Friday night (April 28) as Kahoku took the harness racing featured $10,000 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway by turning back Empire Earl N by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:57.0. It was a three-way war to the opening quarter as Empire Earl N, Noble Legend and Kahoku all had a taste of the lead through the first panel of 28.1. Things finally settled down on the front end as Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) gained the lead and stepped off fractions of 57.2 and 1:27.2. But it was going to get interesting again as Kahoku locked horns with the first over Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) around the final turn. Midway down the stretch, Kahoku ($4.30) managed to slowly pull away from the stubborn Empire Earl N and stopped the beam in 1:57.0, the quickest trotting time of the season. Noble Legend (John Cummings Jr.) finished in third. With the victory, the 9-year-old gelded Kahoku (SJ's Caviar-Tags Goal) moved his seasonal earnings to $16,914 and $226,391 lifetime. He is owned by Colleen Girdlestone and trained by Mark Laidlaw. In addition to the Open Trot driver Ron Beback Jr. and trainer Mark Laidlaw paired to win two additional races. Racing will continue on Saturday night at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program scheduled. A two day carryover of $2,217 awaits in the Pick 5 that starts in Race 2. For more information including upcoming promotions, the latest news, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
LEBANON, OH. - Safe From Terror (Dan Noble) returned to her customary winning ways on Friday night (April 28) in the $20,000 Mares Open I Handicap at Miami Valley Raceway. It was the 18th win in 2016-17 and 30th of her harness racing career, boosting her lifetime bankroll to $715,207. The 5-year-old Western Terror lass worked hard to get the front end during a :27.3 initial quarter, then cruised through middle fractiions of :55.2 and 1:23.3 before closing in :28.2 and holding favored Jerseylicious (Chris Page) at bay in 1:52 flat. A Little Starstruk (Aaron Merriman), who was last week's winner, rallied for a show finish. Winchester Baye Acres LLC owns Safe From Terror, who was sidelined for a month recently. She is trained by Mike Conklin. Town Temptress (Jason Brewer) captured a $16,500 Open II for mares on the same program. The 5-year-old Artiscape mare enjoyed a second-over trip through a driving rainstorm until tipping three-wide for the stretch drive and passing Shesasmokinlady (Ray Paver Jr.) and holding off Kiss Me Onthebeach (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) in 1:53.3. Steve Bauder conditions Town Temptress for Gail and Robert Sanders. The talented lass won two of her last three starts at Dayton Raceway in 2016 and has now won two of her first three 2017 starts at Miami Valley. Due to severe weather, including major lightning in the area for a prolonged period, the final five races on the Friday night program were cancelled. Gregg Keidel
WILKES-BARRE PA - Three $30,000 Championships in the Bobby Weiss Series for the different sexes and gaits will be the highlights of the coming week's harness racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with both male and female pacing Championships on Monday night and the trotting females set for Tuesday. (The trotting males began their preliminary Weiss action a week later, so they will have their fourth and final prelim this Tuesday, and then go in their $30,000 Championship next Tuesday.) No Weiss horse in any division will be able to pull off a "sweep" - wins in all four preliminary rounds and then a capturing of the Championship. But the prelim action has certainly marked several horses as likeliest to get the major share of the respective Championship purses. In Monday's Championship for pacing males, Highalator has been made the 5-2 morning line favorite from post four for driver Victor Kirby after taking an unusual path to the final: he paced to easy wins in the first two Weiss prelim legs, then skipped the third week and raced last week in an overnight rather than bump heads with the tough Weiss crew, posting his eighth straight victory in easy fashion. One horse who looked like he may have been in a position to "sweep" was Dash Of Danger, who had three wins to start his Weiss campaign, but then last week was caught by Talent Soup in 1:51.1, fastest of all Weiss prelims. Dash Of Danger will look to get back on the winning trail Monday (post one, driver Matt Kakaley, 3-1); Talent Soup, who had only a win and a fourth to his Weiss credit, stood "on the bubble" in tenth in this division's standings, but a couple of defections above him finds him coming back for the Weiss Championship (post five, driver David Miller, 6-1). Among the pacing females, another long winning streak will be on the line as Cousin Mary looks for her eighth straight victory. To be driven by Anthony Napolitano from post four and 5-2 on the morning line, Cousin Mary did not compete in the first Weiss prelim, but has raced strongly since coming to the mountain oval, winning last week in 1:52.3, fastest prelim clocking in her section. Her major rival may be her stablemate in the shedrow of Andrew Harris, Itty Bitty (post one, George Napolitano Jr., 7-2), who won twice in the Weiss prelims. On Tuesday in the Weiss Championship for trotting females, Sunrise Avenue, starting from post one for driver Eric Carlson, had the best Weiss prelim record with three wins and a second, but it seems likely she'll be second choice to Checkmate Time (post four, driver John Campbell), who in her first start of 2017 and only her fourth lifetime outing, trotted effortlessly in 1:53.3, over a second faster than any other Weiss prelim in this category. In the trotting male side's two last round prelims Tuesday, two of last week's three winners, Tech Titan and Uncle Leroy, are back in to go, as are all three horses who won their first two Weiss starts in this section but couldn't stretch their win streaks last week - Hilarious Hero, Bend In The River, and Ooh Rah. Fast overnight horses dominate the Pocono cards on Saturday and Sunday. "Starting off the racing week" on Saturday, that day's $20,000 pacing feature finds a well-matched field of eight headed by Book Binge, Phil Your Boots, and Barimah A, all of whom have won in sub-1:51 time already this year. Sunday's $18,000 featured pace features the return of the three-year-old Miso Fast after having qualified in 1:52.2 - 26.4 at Philly; Miso Fast was third in his Breeders Crown Championship at two en route to winning over $250,000 as a freshman. PHHA / Pocono
Scarborough, Maine – April 28, 2017 … Horse supply issues in the state of Maine have made necessary the decision to cancel the Scarborough Downs harness racing card that had been scheduled for Thursday May 4th. Live harness racing will be conducted this weekend on Saturday (4-29) and Sunday (4-30) with post time set for 1:30 PM. The following weekend, the Downs will race on Saturday May 6th (Kentucky Derby Day) with a special post time of 2:00 PM, and on Sunday at the normal 1:30 post. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On Saturday, May 6th, join Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment - for an exciting day and night of simulcast & live harness racing action, including the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will open at 9:30am with free parking and free admission. Before a full day of racing and partying, get in a complete meal at Victory Sports Bar. Victory will be serving a Derby themed buffet beginning at 11:30am for $49.95. Dishes will include sides and starters like Mashed Sweet Potatoes, home-made Mac & Cheese, and Sweet & Spicy Chicken Wings, entrees like Southern Fried Chicken and Pulled Pork Sliders, and assorted pastries and cookies for dessert. For reservations call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446). All day, enjoy Woodford Reserve bourbon, the "Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby," and bourbon specials including mint juleps for $9. Ladies are welcome to express their fashion sense and style by entering the $850 Derby Hat Contest with no boundaries on how over-the-top the headwear can go. The most outrageous hat wins the $500 grand prize. Signup between 2:00pm to 4:45pm with the judging at 5:00pm in the Winner's Circle. Plus all guests over 18 years of age can enter the $100 Derby Win Wager contest. Ten lucky contestants will be selected to place a $100 win wager on any horse of their choice in the Kentucky Derby. After the Derby, guests are welcome to enjoy a night full of live harness racing at the Meadowlands with the first post time set for 7:15pm. Pink, the tiered dining room with perfect views of the live racing action, will feature a few Southern inspired options on their $54.95 buffet menu created by Executive Chef Dennis Sammarone. Pink will open at 4:30 pm and reservations are strongly recommended as space is extremely limited. To reserve a table call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446). Prizes continue into the night with ten $100 win wagers on live harness racing beginning at 6:00pm. To make reservations or book your private event, call (201) 843-2446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anderson, Ind.; - April 27, 2017 - The 2017 BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC) will bring together the top harness racing horseplayers from across North America to compete for a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000 at The Meadowlands on Saturday, April 29 and when the players take their seat, Indiana will be well represented. The WHHC is harness racing's premier handicapping tournament and allows players from across the U.S. and Canada the chance to qualify through both live and online events, in addition to buying a seat for $800. Tony Fannin and Derek Thurber emerged victorious in the $3,500 WHHC qualifier held at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, April 8. Fannin, who lead the qualifier from start to finish, won the contest by accumulating a total of $65.70 from a mythical bankroll of $40. As a result, the Indianapolis native won $2,000 and advances to the WHHC final. "I play in all of the handicapping tournaments and the entry fee was only $50, so I played with two entries," Fannin commented. "I've never been to The Big M, so I'm looking forward to going. I've been watching the races from both The Meadowlands and Hoosier Park to get ready for the trip and one of the designated races in the contest is from Hoosier Park, so I'm hoping to get an advantage there." Thurber, who is also headed to The Meadowlands for the WHHC final, finished behind Fannin with a final bankroll of $58.80, earning $1,000 in prize money. After trailing for much of the contest, the Frankton native made a comeback in the final two races of the contest to secure his second place spot. Vern Glenn finished third to take home $500 in prize money. "I've never been to the Meadowlands so I am really excited for this opportunity," Thurber noted. "This will really test my handicapping skills. I enjoy coming to Hoosier Park and this will be a chance for me to apply everything I've learned over the years. It will be a lot of fun and I am excited to represent Hoosier Park." The BetAmerica WHHC is a one-day tournament (April 29, 2017), with a welcome reception the evening prior. The BetAmerica WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of six Meadowlands races, plus four designated mandatory races from partner tracks. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts are to the Top 10, with a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. For the contest entry form and complete rules, visit playmeadowlands.com. With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 17. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. Emily Gaskin
On April 27th the contracts put out for bid for the administration and promotion of the NY Sire Stakes program were awarded to Capitol Hill Management Services by the Agriculture and New York State Breeding and Development Fund (Fund). A contract for both services was previously held by the Harness Racing Horse Breeders of New York State (HHBNYS). While the HHBNYS is disappointed that the "Fund" has made this change for the promotion and marketing part of the program it remains optimistic that new ideas and a bigger financial commitment by the Fund Trustees will result is a positive impact on the vested interests we all have in the Standardbred breeding industry. The HHBNYS board is hopeful that the Fund is correct in their decision and we will see an increase in breeding, handle and track attendance. HHBNY's commitment to the NY breeding program is unwavering. The Board feels this is the best program in the nation and that some of the world's best horses are produced here. The purse structure is solid and reliable. The administration of the program does concern us; but the HHBNYS will continue to monitor the changes that are occurring. We truly appreciate all of the support in our time of change. We ask everyone in the industry to continue to support the NY Breeding program and have confidence in the knowledge that HHBNYS is still active and will remain on duty to serve the Breeders and Owners who chose to breed and compete in the New York Sire Stakes Program. The Harness Horse Breeder's of New York State own and manage the Zweig Memorial Trot. There will be no changes to this race and it is in no way affiliated with the New York Program. The Harness Horse Breeders website (hhbnys.com) is also owned and managed by HHBNYS. That said, going forward all NYSS race replays belong to the NYSS program and will be removed from hhbnys.com site. The HHBNYS anticipates that the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund or Capitol Hill Management Services (CHMS) will put out a statement in the near future. CHMS will be taking control of all functions on May 1st, 2017. You should contract them for all your needs. All 2 and 3-Year-old payments have been entered by HHBNYS and those horses are all listed on the NYSS website. Yearling nomination payments can be sent to the address as listed on the forms and our office will forward them to the address provided by the Fund. The following people are currently providing direction for the program. If you have problems or concerns in the upcoming months please reach out to them for assistance. Peter Arrigenna- Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, 585-721-4869 Mike Kimelman- Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, 845-249-5693 Ronald Ochrym- Agriculture Fund Acting Executive Director 518-388-0178 The office will remain open and will continue to provide services for members. The HHBNYS will continue to solicit your suggestions and comments for the program and will submit them to the Fund for consideration. Our office will also continue to work with Farm Bureau to protect the Agriculture aspects of the breeding industry and lobby on your behalf. It will continue to advocate for the New York wholly owned bill with the hope to obtain its passage this year by the Legislature. As we move forward and become a true breeder representative for those who choose to breed and participate in the NY Breeder's award program we will be providing promotional opportunities on our website. Please check hhbnys.com in the near future for more information. Finally, our board and staff expect to see all of you at the tracks as the racing season gets underway and at the sales in the fall. We thank everyone who has supported the organization throughout the years and continues to do so today. Harness Horse Breeders of New York State
East Rutherford, NJ - Several more harness racing stakes stars of last season will make their return to the races on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. With the first of three Graduate Series pacing legs set for May 6, Boston Red Rocks, Check Six and Western Fame gather in the evening's eighth race to get their four-year-old seasons underway with an eye on that target. Boston Red Rocks was the top freshman of the 2015 class and had a successful if not spectacular sophomore season, picking up over $400,000 and edging past $1 million in career earnings for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Trainer Steve Elliott put three qualifiers into him, the most recent a solid closing 1:50.1 win from off the pace for regular driver Tim Tetrick. Check Six had a million dollar season last year, dominating the Pennsylvania program while winning eleven times including the PASS final and PA Classic and having a presence on the Grand Circuit for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Switala and Martin. He's had two preps going in for trainer Ron Burke with Yannick Gingras at the lines, his latest a 1:52.2 score with a 26 flat kicker. Western Fame was virtually unraced at two but blossomed into a major stakes winner last summer for trainer Jimmy Takter. He won a heat of the Jug and a division of the Bluegrass, earning nearly a half million dollars for Brittany Farms with Mark Mac Donald doing the bulk of the driving. They'll sort it out on Saturday while gaining form toward future Grand Circuit engagements Saturday also marks the $50,000 final of the World Harness Handicapping Challenge and it is not to late to enter the competition. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Nick Salvi
Plainville, MA---Class relief was the difference for Just Make Believe, who stepped down from last week's Open to take this week's $10,000 feature race for harness racing conditional trotters at Plainridge Park on Thursday (April 27). Just Make Believe (Eddie Davis Jr.) out-charged Old Oak (Steve Nason) off the gate for the lead before settling into that position by the eighth pole. The remainder of the field followed in post-position order to the quarter in :27.4. Approaching the half, One Swan For All (Wally Watson) pulled first over in the outer flow but broke shortly after that move. This left Keystone Ace (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) next in line to pressure the leader. As the race proceeded up the backside, Keystone Ace drew within a half-length of Just Make Believe and the two trotted in step by three-quarters in 1:26.1. But the battle was just beginning. With less than a length advantage, Just Make Believe was trotting strong near the pylons with Keystone Ace closing incrementally outside. With the wire closing in, It looked as if the leader was in reach but just Make Believe held sway and hung on to a neck victory in 1:56. It was the second win in eight starts this year for Just Make Believe ($6.20) and the winning time was a new seasonal mark. The 7-year-old gelded son of Kadabra is owned by Linda Kenney and Di Stefano and Son Stable and is trained by John Di Stefano. It was payoffs-a-plenty again at Plainridge Park on Thursday, led off by the first winning ticket on the new Wicked Hi-5 wager in the sixth race. The owner of the 20-cent straight ticket on the combination of 5-1-7-9-6 was rewarded with a $7,996 payout. In the fifth race, What A Hooligan (Michael Stevenson) paid $37.80 for the win and in the ninth race Southwind Inferno (Matthew Athearn) rewarded his backers with a $52.60 mutual. The $2 superfecta combination of 4-3-7-8 in that race returned an instant jackpot of $9,039.80. Greg Merton had a driving hat-trick and Elisha Lafreniere scored a conditioning double. With three weeks of the meet in the books, Bruce Aldrich Jr. maintains the dash driving lead with 22 victories and has Greg Merton right behind him with 20. After Thursday's action, Elisha Lafreniere took over the training lead with eight wins, one ahead of Heidi Gibbs with seven. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (May 1) at 4 p.m. Please note that starting next week; Plainridge will now race four-days a week (Monday-Tuesday-Thursday-Friday) with post time all four days at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts
Thursday afternoon featured two divisions of the first leg of the Virginia O'Brien Memorial Pacing Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The series in the honor of the longtime ambassador for local harness racing began in 2015 for fillies and mares. The third annual installment of the O'Brien for five year olds and younger featured two six-horse fields. Nashurallability (Ameripan Gigolo) was the fastest of the leg one winners on Thursday as the Joe De Carlo-trained four year old went coast to coast in career best fashion. Nashurallability scored in 1:55.4 with Chris Long in the sulky in her $10,000 division of leg one. Longshot Constant Factor (Jay Randall) upset at odds of 17-1 in the other division of the O'Brien as the Maureen Salino trainee stopped the timer in 1:57.3 en route to the upset. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 27, 2017) - Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is proud to announce the appointment of Andrea Lokshin to the position of Vice President of Marketing and Sales. Ms. Lokshin began her role on April 25. Ms. Lokshin comes to the Meadowlands with more than 25 years of experience in the retail, consumer products, spirits and automotive industries. Ms. Lokshin has had extensive experience in marketing, sponsorships, promotions, event planning, social media, sales, budgeting and creative execution. "Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is a spectacular venue that needs to be shared and experienced by everyone," said Lokshin. "Not only can you enjoy a night at the races, watch sporting events or dance the night away at Victory, but we have endless opportunities to create customized private, corporate and public events. Once you see our venue, you won't go anywhere else!" In her previous position, Ms. Lokshin worked for Experience Six of Drive Shop USA, an experiential marketing agency, where she led and managed events across the Northeast for the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group. Prior to Experience Six, she worked at Bacardi USA, representing the company's most prestigious liquor brands (Bacardi, Grey Goose, Bombay, Dewar's & Martini) and was responsible for launching new brands to market, creating/executing events and developing partnerships across the Tri-State. She has also worked for Unilever as well as Toys "R" Us, where she was part of the founding team that led the marketing efforts behind the International flagship store in Times Square. "Andrea has considerable knowledge of marketing, and event planning," said Jason Settlemoir, Meadowlands COO/GM. "We are looking forward to her brand new ideas and thoughts on how to better our top line revenue as well as our bottom line. Andrea has an extensive network of professional relationships that she can leverage in helping us with our goals here at the Meadowlands Racetrack in bringing in new customers to our state-of-the-art facility. Andrea came highly recommended to Mr. Gural and I, and her resume speaks for itself." In addition, Ms. Lokshin will work to establish new branding and messaging so Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment becomes a destination, and maximize existing partnerships to enhance consumer experience. Ms. Lokshin lives in Woodcliff Lake, NJ with her husband Jeff and 13-year-old twins Matthew and Rachael. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz
Known in the Billings Series as "the Headhunter" because in his professional life he's an executive recruiter, Bob Hechkoff added another harness racing victory to his amateur driving credentials when he reined The Franchise to a 1:59.4 victory in a Billings Trot eastern region event which was contested as a non-wagering affair at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, April 27. After starting from the seven-hole Hechkoff eased his trotter to the pylons and fell into third position. "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo took early command with Signal Hill OK only to relinquish the lead to "Coach Paul" Minore and Wygant Prince who then led the seven-horse field past the first stanza :29.2. As they headed to the halfway point Hechkoff moved The Franchise first-up and they cleared Minore's trotter before the three quarter timer flashed 1:29.4. "I had The Franchise in high gear and we opened up two lengths," Hechkoff recalled. "As we straightened for home Minore came at us with Wygant Prince but horse was up to the challenge and dug in and was strong right to the wire." Three trotters came to paydirt just necks apart but The Franchise got last call which gave "The Headhunter" his third seasonal driving victory, a neck winner over Wygant Prince in the 1:59.4 mile.. The other horse in the three-horse photo, Landonfitz, came from far back for Dave "Steady as" Yarock and each of the top three finishers were individually timed in 1:59.4. The Franchise, a 7-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding, is owned by RBH Ventures and trained by Kyle Spagnola. For Hechkoff, the victory was his 92nd of his amateur driving career. Next Bilings action will be in the mid-west region at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday, May 7. By John Manzi for the Billings Series
On Thursday afternoon at Monticello Raceway in the 4th race, the three longest harness racing shots on the board finished 1-2-3. Starting from post 8 and going off at 100 to 1, Art Retreat was considered a write off. The son of Artzina had other plans, he got away last in the 9 horse field, at the ¼ pole he was 16 lengths behind the pace setter, at the half he closed the gap to 12 lengths. By the time the filed hit the ¾ mile marker he was 7th and 2 deep, he continued the overland route to score by a head in 1:58.1 for owner/trainer Gerald Decker and paid $202.00 to win, $103.50 for place and $43.00 to show. Trottown King finished 2nd and returned $44.20 for place to his supporters, and TKR'S Metro Specs garnered the show position and rewarded those who had faith with him with a $10 show payoff. The exacta for the race paid $3,770.00, the trifecta returned $9,689.00, pick 3 payoff $1,925 and the Superfecta paid $73,124.00.