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I wonder if Balmoral Park is working on a sign to put outside its harness racing office that reads: “Horses Needed.” If that’s the case maybe they should get another that says: “Driver’s Wanted.” (Availability on Saturday’s Preferred). With the opening last night of Hoosier Park it didn’t come as a surprise to see the all-ready shrunken local horse population take another substantial  dip. The lure of bigger purses could make the longer drive to Indiana worthwhile for some trainers. There are at least 20 local horses on Hoosier’s Saturday card and a number of others who competed Friday evening. The reduction of our driver’s colony was a little more than most of us anticipated  The Balmoral Park Driver’s Board listed not available to drive Saturday night: Sam Widger, Dale Hiteman, Kyle Wilfong and Tim Curtin. All are competing at Hoosier Park.   Along with the recent retirement of Dave Magee to become a steward at the Indiana track, the number of drivers available on the Chicago circuit is undersized and will likely remain that way without legislative help from Springfield to bring purses up to somewhat a competitive level with nearby other Midwest states. Saturday’s Taurus Bomber, the first scheduled ICF stake race of the season, is a no-go because of an insufficient the number of entries. Only two 3-year-olds, Dakota Roadster and Dixie’s Boy entered. No word yet if the $8,000 event for ICF pacing colts and geldings will be contested at a later date or is cancelled. Saturday’s “Winner’s Over” for pacing colts and geldings did fill but just barely with five horses going postward in the fourth race co-feature. Trying to stop the 8-5 morning line favorite Fort Silky (Casey Leonard) from a third consecutive triumph in the $9,400 race are Iam Bonasera (9-5, Travis Seekman), runner-up the last two Saturday’s, Firstclassallthway (5-2, Mike Oosting), Best Man Hanover (6-1, Todd Warren) and Ricky Bobbie (12-1, John De Long). The fifth race “Winner’s Over” trot landed seven starters headed up by the outside trio of Justice Jet (programmed 8-5, Ryan Welch), Fox Valley Veto (7-2, John De Long) and Celebrity Hercules (5-2, Mike Oosting), with the 5, 6 and 7 slots, respectively.. Justice Jet’s five-race winning streak was snapped a week ago by the front-stepping Celebrity Hercules with a 1:55 clocking. It was the second straight for the 9-year-old Jim Ellison trained trotter who was put on Lasix three races ago. Justice Jet had missed a month of racing before last week’s outing. The 4-year-old Indiana bred also got off to a sluggish start and was 13 lengths behind at the :28.1 first quarter and 30 seconds later at the half still trailed the winner by almost 10 lengths. The Roger Welch trainee trotted a 55 last half when he came up third, beaten by three-quarters if a length. Curt Grummel’s Fox Valley Veto is riding a streak of four consecutive second place finishers. The now 4-year-old ICF trotter pulled own almost $150,000 as a 3-year-old that included stake victories in the Kadabra, the Mike’s Mystery and at Springfield. Looking to pull off an upset in the first leg of the track’s $1 Pick 3 wager are Fall Creek Bandit (12-1, Casey Leonard), Ants Iner Pants (8-1, Ryan Anderson), Trottin On Over (8-1, Todd Warren) and Master Of Excuses (6-1, Brian Carpenter). By Mike Paradise

A field of six classy mares lined up behind the starter for the opening day harness racing feature from Harrah's Philadelphia, a winner's over $25,000 lifetime on the pace. The wagering public sent Bamond Racing's Venus Delight off as the 7/5 favorite. The daughter of Bettor's Delight was coming off of a solid victory in a division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers.   At the start, it was the public's second choice Radar Contact (Andrew McCarthy) firing quickly off the wings, securing the lead before the quarter (28.1). The 7-year-old held the lead until the 5/8ths. That's when Ron Burke trainee Charisma Hanover (Brett Miller) powered past first-over, with Venus Delight (Tim Tetrick) loosely tracking that live cover. After a 55.1 middle half, Charisma Hanover turned for home well clear as the others battled for minor awards.   It was the 20th career win for Burke Racing & Weaver Bruscemi's 5-year-old daughter of Dragon Again, who went on to complete the mile in 1:51.3. Radar Contact battled back for place, while Venus Delight settled for third. The winner returned $10.00.   In other opening day highlights, driver Tony Morgan picked up career win number 15,000 aboard Lightning Moon in the first race of the new meet. Morgan is now one of three North American drivers with over 15,000 lifetime wins. The first race was also named in honor of Tom Izzo, a former Harrah's Philadelphia employee who passed away last year. Last season's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. had four wins on the program.   Live racing continues at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday, with a first post of 12:40 P.M.   Mike Bozich  

WASHINGTON, PA, March 28, 2015 -- The brief career of Heavenly Knox has been marked by unusual financial situations and tragedy among his harness racing connections. But the 4-year-old The Panderosa - Mystic Tiger N gelding showed Friday what perseverance and faith can achieve, as he captured the $30,500 championship of the Walter Russell Memorial Pace for 3- and 4-year-old colts, stallions and geldings at The Meadows. The track hosted three other series finals Friday, with Wu Long, Keystone Chester and One Over Par also earning titles. Aaron Merriman won two championships behind Keystone Chester and One Over Par. Heavenly Knox was sound enough at 2 and 3 but, according to his trainer, John 'Johnny Z' Zawistowski, he was prevented from racing by an odd glitch. "The original owner was having financial trouble, and he didn't make the stud fee," Zawistowski said. "We kept training him, but he couldn't get papers. This horse didn't have a name until just a day before we qualified him." He got that name in the most heartbreaking way. When Zawistowski's grandson Knox died at birth, the trainer decided to name the horse in honor of the child. "I gotta believe he's watching over us tonight," Zawistowski said. Now campaigned by an ensuing owner, Wolf Creek Farm, Heavenly Knox rewarded Zawistowski's confidence by winning six of his first seven starts. In the Walter Russell final, he retook the lead for Eric Ledford near the half and handily defeated Terror Of The Nite, who won his first three series splits, by 2-1/4 lengths. Big World Of Rock earned show. The Illinois-based Zawistowski said he likely will ship Heavenly Knox east. "He'll probably go to Yonkers, Pocono and a couple other places," he said. "We'll give him a shot out there." In the other finals: $32,600 Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot Wu Long completed her series sweep, but she had to overcome a determined Main Gate Tam and a snow shower that compromised her footing. Wu Long set sail after Main Gate Tam with a first-over move down the backside and finally nailed her in the shadow of the wire, prevailing by 1/2 length in 2:00 for Dave Palone. Seduce A Stranger earned show despite bleeding during the race. "I thought I'd get by, but she really struggled with the track tonight," Palone said. "She was slipping pretty good. I didn't think I could put her in gear and feel 100 percent safe. So I just kind of rode my way up there and, thankfully, we didn't make a mistake." Rob Harmon trains the 4-year-old daughter of Explosive Matter-Strong Tea for Harmon Racing Stable and Knightstalker Stable. $33,200 Ken Weaver Memorial Trot Keystone Chester made it look easy again, drawing off after an uncovered move to score in 1:58 for trainer Andy Rickert and owner Murdock Racing Stable. Flying Muscles rallied for second, 4-3/4 lengths back, with Great Magic third. Rickert called the 4-year-old Chocolatier-Keystone Chickadee gelding "a nice surprise." "We bought him in the sale last May for $6,500," Rickert said. "When I got him, I said, 'What did they bring home?' There wasn't much to him, so we turned him out for four months. When we brought him in, he looked like a horse. He's matured, filled out, and the green grass did him good. He doesn't have many stakes, so we'll try to pick our spots in overnights for him." $28,100 Donna Dunn Memorial Pace One Over Par provided the tote board excitement for the evening, scoring at 13-1 despite finishing no better than third in the three preliminary legs. She followed the first-up cover of Somewhere Fameous to triumph in 1:57, a neck better than Dream Ball. I Plead The Fifth completed the ticket. "I was very confident with her last week, but she made a break," Merriman said. "Her gait was really bad, so we put our heads together and made some changes. She definitely has the talent. The trip helped, and maybe the conditions." Kelly O'Donnell conditions the 3-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Susie Girl for Mark Maynard, KO Racing Stables and Tangie Massey. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - (Friday, March 27, 2015) No Melady's Monet, no problem, that has been the theme for Odds On Amethyst over the past month and that them continued Friday night at The Meadowlands. In his last five starts, Odds On Amethyst has faced Melady's Monet twice, losing both races. In his other three starts, he has found the harness racing winner's circle, including tonight at The Big M. Assigned the outside post in the field of eight, Odds On Amethyst was a 4/5 favorite in the $30,000 Open Trot with Brett Miller in the bike. He showed his customary speed from the onset and took the early initiative through a quarter in 27.1 and a half-mile in 56.1. At that point, the favorite faced a challenge from the Ron Burke trained mare, Handover Belle, making her second start off the layoff. She pressed the tempo with Appomattox drafting in the pocket throughout. Tag Up And Go sat second over on the far turn, followed by Modest Price, who fanned wide through three-quarters of 1:24.2 while commencing a rally. But as the field of open trotters straightened away in the stretch, it was clear this race belonged to Odds On Amethyst as he opened up on the field at will, winning by open lengths in 1:52.3. Appomattox was able to save the runner-up spot, while Modest Prince rallied to be third. Odds On Amethyst is owned by Diamond Creek Racing and trained by Jimmy Takter. He is nominated to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, which kicks off the Championship Meet at the Meadowlands, with the eliminations on Saturday, May 9th and the Final on Saturday, May 16th. The supporting feature was the $25,000 Dash For The "G" Notes Final for filly and mare pacers. The race featured plenty of early action, with HS Open Waters reaching the quarter in 27.3, but Smokin N Grinin quickly grabbed the lead between calls, but yielded to Top Brand at the half-mile in 55 seconds. Brownsville Bomber came up to challenge the leader and took over past three quarters in a strong 1:22.4. That mare was quickly engaged by Crazy On You, who grabbed the lead in mid-stretch, but stumbled and went off-stride as both Beach Granny and Ballineen went by. Those two mares sprinted to the wire together with Ballineen nosing out Beach Granny on the wire in 1:52.1. Crazy On You was off-stride through the finish and was disqualified and placed ninth. Brownsville Bomber finished fourth and was placed third. Ballineen was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Steve Elliot and owner Ernest Hartman. The win by Ballineen sent two lucky fans on a trip to Jamaica. The Meadowlands ran a promotion in which 10 customers were selected and each given a horse in the eighth race. The customer with the winning horse would win a trip for two to Jamaica. That winner was Brenton Rousey of Lawrence Harbor, N.J., who was just as excited to be cashing the winning exacta ticket and wrapped up his interview by exclaiming "The Big M is number one!" The GSY Amateur Series continued on Friday night and this week it was the Robert Krivelin show as he scored a driving double winning both $8,000 events with Current Crisis and Permanent Joy. Krivelin finished second in both amateur trotting events the previous week and has taken a commanding lead in the early part of the series. Hannah Miller had a good showing, finishing second with Jacks To Open and fourth with Rev It Now. The driving stars on the program were Jim Marohn Jr. and Scott Zeron, both scoring driving triples on the card. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-Five went unclaimed with multiple winning tickets connecting. That carryover will be $61,472 into the Saturday program. The last race Super Hi-Five also had multiple winning tickets, resulting in a carryover of $11,841 into 12th race on the Saturday program, which begins at 7:15 P.M. Meadowlands Signal Restored to Mid-Atlantic Customers Simulcast Impasse blacking out The Meadowlands signal has come to an end The simulcast dispute that had prohibited certain bettors from wagering on The Meadowlands has been resolved.  Effective tonight, Friday, March 27, 2015, those customers who wager at Mid-Atlantic sites will be able to bet into the largest pools in harness racing once again. “First and foremost I want to apologize to our customers who have been unable to partake in The Meadowlands product these past four months,” said General Manager/C.E.O. Jason Settlemoir.  “We are very thankful that this impasse has come to an end and we appreciate our customers sticking with us through this difficult time.  We thank them for being fans of The Meadowlands and are elated that they will be able to wager into our pools again.” “We have worked hard over these past few months to do our best at The Meadowlands to help resolve this dispute,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural.  “It was very unfortunate, and we are very sorry that so many people were affected and essentially blacked out from wagering on our product.  We are hopeful that with this impasse being lifted they are eager to return to wagering on the world’s greatest harness racing.  We thank them for their continuous support.” Darin Zoccali

The final winter series' conclude this Saturday at The Meadowlands and it should come as no surprise that the two names that have headlined the winter harness racing meet take center stage once again. JL Cruze (coupled with Razor Ramone) will begin as the 2/5 morning line favorite in the $59,800 Shiaway St. Pat Final, while Rockeyed Optimist has been installed as the 1/5 morning line choice in the $59,000 Clyde Hirt Final. Both are poised to sweep their respective series. For JL Cruze, to say he has exceeded his trainer, Eric Ell's expectations, would be an understatement. Originally a $30,000 Harrisburg yearling, JL Cruze went back through the Harrisburg sales ring this past fall at the mixed sale. In hindsight, the final price this time, $32,000, can be considered a bargain. "I can say now that he has surprised us," said Ell. "When we nominated him to this winter series' (at The Meadowlands) we didn't know if he could go with those, looking back, I guess I wish we would have staked him more for the rest of the season. But when he came to us, there was no way to know he would be this good." As far as this Saturday goes, Ell is expecting another big effort from JL Cruze. "He has had a great week. He has shown a hitch in his giddy-up at times, so we backed off him a bit and he responded. He has been jogging well and is ready to go." After Saturday, the plan is to send his gelding to Pocono for the last two legs of the Bobby Weiss series. "We missed the first two weeks of the Weiss, but hopefully he can do the job in the last two legs and make the Final." The immediate future is more clear than the long term plans for JL Cruze. "After the Weiss, we'll definitely point him to The Graduate series and when The Meadowlands re-opens in the fall maybe we will find something there. He isn't staked too much, but next year will be different." Ironically, the connections of Rockeyed Optimist find themselves in a very similar position as Eric Ell, but are happy with the game plan they have mapped out as well. "(Rockeyed Optimist) just keeps getting better," said trainer Steve Elliot. "With each start he just seems to be more within himself. He's been a pleasure, just a really nice horse." Elliot is not sure why he wasn't more popular went he went through the sales ring as a yearling. "I'm not sure why he didn't sell. At the time everyone was down on Jersey-breds, so maybe that was it. When we first got him he would just sulk in the corner of his stall. We thought he bled, so we put him on Lasix and he went backwards. So we took him off it and turned him out. When we brought him back he was a totally different horse. He's healthier and happier." The long-term future plans for Rockeyed Optimist are still a bit up in the air, but Elliot has no problem with that. "The owners told me to map out a schedule as if I owned the horse, which is just great. They didn't pressure me to stake him into races where he would be going up against gorillas. We've been able to manage him well. He'll go to the Graduate series and then from there we'll see. I wasn't sure if he could go with the Free-For-All types until last week when he paced in 1:48.3. That means he is almost right at that level speed-wise already. He isn't staked much this year, but we'll have a fresh horse as a five year old and as long as he keeps progressing, we'll give him the opportunity to be a Free For All pacer next year." The Clyde Hirt and Shiaway St. Pat headline the Saturday card at The Meadowlands, with post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) officials today praised the announcement by Peter Smith, attorney for the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, concerning the criminal indictment of four racetrack veterinarians with administering drugs to Thoroughbred racehorses within 24 hours of when the horse was entered to race. "Today's indictments are indicative of how racing commissions are teaming up with law enforcement and other government agencies to enforce laws designed to protect horses and the integrity of racing," said RCI President Ed Martin. Racing commissions are quietly working to involve other regulatory and law enforcement entities to pool resources and take advantage of the collective jurisdictional reach of various entities to ensure that all regulations and laws are followed and enforced. Martin said that similar efforts are underway in other jurisdictions and he praised the cooperative work of Pennsylvania racing regulators, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Pennsylvania State Police for their work in building the case for the indictments announced today. RCI will meet in Tampa, Florida on April 21-23, 2015, and of special interest to be discussed are State Veterinary Board requirements that prescription medications be dispensed only upon a valid diagnosis for a specific patient. The American Association of State Veterinary Boards will be participating in the RCI discussions. Today's indictments claim that the defendants allegedly submitted false veterinarian treatment reports to the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission. The indictments also claim that drugs were not administered pursuant to a valid prescription and constituted misbranding of the prescription animal drugs in violation of federal law. In 2012, five state racing commissions formally requested the assistance of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in multi-jurisdictional racing commission investigations. Martin said the FDA has been an invaluable resource and partner since then, as have other agencies that are now working with various state racing commissions. Steve May

ANDERSON, Ind.-March 27, 2015 - Pertty Music and Ed Hensley returned to their winning ways at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino as they captured the featured event, a $21,000 Invitational pace for fillies and mares, on Friday, March 27. Using a powerful rally late in the lane, the five-year-old mare bested her rivals with a final time of 1:54.2 to reach the winner's circle in front of a packed house that turned out for the opening night of the harness racing season. Leaving from post five in the field of eight, Pertty Music was unhurried from the gate and settled along the rail in sixth as the rest of the field battled for early position. Tyler Smith had The Bomb Dottie forwardly place and they were the first to get a call through the opening panel in :27.2. The pace slowed just a touch as Hensley gave Pertty Music the green light and the duo reached the top spot at the half mile mark in :57.4. Their lead would be short-lived as Peter Wrenn and Miss Millie were out and firing approaching the final turn with the rest of the field closing in. With a three-quarter clocking in 1:26.3., the field was tightly packed and the race appeared to be wide open turning for home. Using a :27.2 final panel, Pertty Music exploded from the pocket and was able to hold off a late charge from Blissful Romance and Ricky Macomber Jr. to score the win. American Girl and Sam Widger overcame a tough, first over trip to round out the trifecta as the heavy betting favorite. Pertty Music returned $7.00 to her backers at the window. "I was a little unsure how the trip would work out for us," owner, trainer, driver Ed Hensley noted after the victory. "She's a great mare to drive and the trip ended up working out in our favor. I wasn't sure if we were going to hold them off down the lane but she fought all the way to the wire." The 5-year-old daughter of Jereme's Jet-My Metallica notched her fourth win from just eight seasonal outings. With the victory, Pertty Music pushed her seasonal earnings to $35,235. Live harness racing will return to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, March 28 with a 14-race card that is set to begin at 5:15 p.m. This Saturday night at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will feature drink specials, give-aways and live music at the conclusion of the live racing card. For more information on the live racing season and the upcoming events at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, please visit Photo: Pertty Music and Ed Hensley capture the featured event at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Photo Courtesy of Linscott Photography. Emily Gaskin

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Harness racing trainer JD Perrin scored the 'hat trick' and was assisted by three different drivers in doing so to highlight the Friday night (March 27) program at Buffalo Raceway.   Perrin, who leads the trainer's standings at Buffalo Raceway with a 35-24 edge over John Mungillo, swept the early daily double. Yosemite Camn ($12.80) took the opener with Jack Flanigen in the bike while Retail ($7.80) took the second race with Shawn McDonough aboard. The Perrin-trained daily double returned $93.50.   RA's Shakenbake ($3.40) then completed the thee-bagger for Perrin by taking the sixth race with Ron Beback Jr. in the sulky. It also started a nice streak for Beback Jr. as he also posted wins in the seventh race with Stonebridge Saga ($6.50) and Tsunami Dream ($23.80) in the eighth.   Driver Shawn Gray, who had four wins on the evening, took both halves of the mid daily double. He first guided The Ring King ($11.00) to the victory in the fourth race and then rallied Jettison ($22.60) to the upset win in the fifth. The 'Gray' double returned a healthy $180.00 for a $2 wager.   Big prices continued in the tenth race as Vintage Fenom ($12.00) topped a $4,780 trifecta for $1. Second place finisher Genuine Star N (Ken Koch), sent off at 47-1, helped boost the big trifecta mutuel while McArdle Direct rounded out the winning triple ticket.   Racing will continue on Saturday night with a 13-race card set at Buffalo Raceway starting at 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, replays, upcoming promotions and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 27, 2015--Yonkers Raceway Friday night hosted the second round of the harness racing Blue Chip Matchmaker. A baker's-dozen worth of of Free-For-All pacing mares went it in two, $40,000 divisions. The opening Matchmaker event was an early series two-fer for pole-sitting, odds-on Carolsideal (Dan Dube, $2.80). Outdrawing her rivals for the second consecutive start, "Carol" gave it up to a parked-early Sayitall BB (George Brennan) passing a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. The people's choice then retook in Turn 2, finding a 57-second intermission before Monkey on My Wheel (Brian Sears) took her shot from fourth. Carolsideal held that one at bay in and out of a 1:25.1 three-quarters, as "BB" dropped anchor. "Carol" owned a measured half-length lead into the lane, then widened to close the sale, winning by a couple of lengths in a season's-best 1:53. Monkey on My Wheel held second, with Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) a rallying third for the second week in a row. For Carolsideal, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Ideal trained by Rene Allard for co-owners himself (as Allard Racing), Yves Sarazin and Kapildeo Singh, it was her seventh win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8.10, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $18.20. The second sojourn was won by a first-up Camille (George Brennan, $5.60), snapping pace-setting, 11-10 fave Yagonnakissmeornot (Dube) on the money in 1:53.1, also a season's-best effort. Winning the draw, Camille saw longshot Coffee Addict (Jordan Stratton) grab the first lead before Yagonnakissmeornot worked around that one. The advantage belonged to "Yagonnakissme" through early intervals of :27.4 and :57.1. Camille slipped out from third, just in front of For the Ladies N (Sears). It was Camille prompting a :27.3 third quarter (1:24.4), with Yagonnakissmeornot taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, Camille wasn't ready to throw in the camisole. She engaged the leader in earnest in the late going before sticking her tongue out just in time. The final margin was a head, with For the Ladies N holding third. For second choice Camille, a 7-year-old millionaires daughter of Camluck co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 Stable and Jack Piatt III, she's 2-for-6 this season. The exacta paid $12.40, with the triple returning $59. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM), with the second round (four, $50,000 divisions) of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM, $54,800 final of Petticoat), Tuesday (1 PM, $62,200 final of Sagamore Hill), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Note Sunday matinees are done until November. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

LEBANON, OH. - Rev Me Up, at age eight the oldest harness racing mare in the field, found room up the pylons just in time to zoom by pacesetter Shine N Shimmer and capture the $17,050 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap pace at Miami Valley on Friday (March 27). Driver Randy Tharps left alertly with the winning daughter of Park Place before turning Shine N Shimmer (Chris Page) loose and accepting the pocket just prior to the first quarter beam, tripped in :27.1. The field raced single file through a pedestrian :29.4 second panel until Beat The Beat (Kyle Ater) pulled from fifth and launched an outside attack just past the :57 midway clocking. With Arties Last Party (Jeff Nisonger) and Multiple Sources (Greg Grismore) in tow in the outer flow the classy mares cut through a 25 mile per hour wind and freezing temperatures to the 1:26.2 three quarters station. Double tiered around the final turn and well bunched and fanned four wide at the head of the stretch the field tried valiantly to gain ground through the final sixteenth of a mile, but only Rev Me Up could get by Shine N Shimmer for the 1:55.2 score. Beat The Beat never faltered and held for the show spot. Merl P'pool leases Rev Me Up who notched her sixth win in a dozen 2015 starts for trainer Kathy Millman. Her $41,421 in seasonal earnings brings her lifetime bounty to $575,497. Off at 9-2 odds, Rev Me Up paid $11.80 to her faithful. MIAMI VALLEY & OHHA TO HOST HORSEMENS GOLF OUTING Miami Valley Raceway and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association have announced plans to host a golf outing on Monday, April 27 at Majestic Springs Golf Club in Wilmington, Ohio.  The free outing, open to all harness horsepersons with current Ohio Racing Commission licenses, will include 18 holes of golf with power carts and dinner afterwards.  All owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers, veterinarians, licensed suppliers and track racing department employees are invited to form four-person teams for the ‘Scramble’ format round of golf or to sign up individually.   The golf will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a ‘shotgun’ start.  Those that cannot golf are welcome to sign up and join the group for the dinner at approximately 5 p.m. Interested parties should make a reservation for the free event by contacting OHHA track rep Brett Merkle (614-354-1601)before Sunday, April 19.  Eighteen (18) hole sponsorships are also available at the nominal cost of $50.  The sponsorship money will be used to provide golf skill prizes as well as door prizes. Majestic Springs is located just minutes off I-71 at exit 45 (S.R. 73). Gregg Keidel        

DOVER, Del---- Tony Morgan became the third North American driver and fourth in the world to reach 15,000 wins with a victory on the opening card at Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, Pa. Morgan was a longtime driving champion in Illinois prior to coming to Dover Downs where he made an immediate impact winning a track one-meet record of 447 in 2005-06 and more than 1-thousand wins in one season. Morgan won his 11,000th and later his 13,000th wins at the track. He also has been a standout at Harrington Raceway as well. Only all-time leader, Dave Palone, approaching 17-thousand wins, German driver Heinz Wevering and Herve Filion, both with more than 15-thousand wins are ahead of Morgan. ------------------------------------------- Bandolito and Jebswesternshark became the first sub-1:50 pacers of the meet on the Thursday (3/26) card. Bandolito, who equaled his own the track record of 1:48 last year, which was first set by Heston Blue Chip in 2012, came within one-fifth of a second duplicating the feat. One race later, Jebswesternshark, who started the meet as a $15,000 Claimer, before ascending to top class pacers, scored wire-to-wire, in 1:49.1. ----------------------------------------- The Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) three-year-old stakes have completed its 1st of 2 legs program. As last week, there are three $20,000 2nd leg preliminaries for filly (Monday), two divisions for colt and gelding trotters on Tuesday. Three filly pace sections, Wednesday, and three male pacers on Thursday. the top eight point-getters in each of the four divisions return for $100,000 finals, April 6 through April 9. -------------------------------------------- The DSBF 1st leg winners were I Got Spunk, Dancing Shirley and Penny Paratrooper and Callmemza, in a dead-heat, in filly trots. Political Foe and Go Byem were male trot winners. The filly pace winners were Rusty's For Real and Purrfect Bags while Smoking Joey and Sonofa Sizzle won the two colt and gelding paces. ------------------------------------------- The latest on Delaware horseman and major motor sportscar driver, Al "Rusty" Carter, is he finished in fourth place in the 12-hour race at Sebring. In January, his GTD class driving team victory came in the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Carter, who won North America's biggest endurance race seven years after he started his motorsports career races in the Skip Barber Series. His latest race marks the second round of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and second round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. Al Carter currently leads the GTD class in both competitions. At Sebring, he co-drove the No. 93 TI Automotive /Viper Exchange /B+ Foundation /BarVision / Sideskinz /Stinkerz Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R with his teammates who won at Daytona. Carter's next race is this Summer. --------------------------------------------------- The battle for first place in North America among winning drives continues. Going into this weekend, through Thursday (3/26). Aaron Merriman and Corey Callahan are engaged in a battle for the most wins in 2015. Merriman has forged back into first place with twice-defending champion Ronnie Wrenn Jr., a close third in the standings. Among trainers, Ron Burke, again is leading trainer, in wins and money won. Dylan Davis is fifth and Jim King, 10th, among the top trainers in North America. ----------------------------------------------------- Corey Callahan has upped his win total this meet to 262 winning drives. Allan Davis is second with 136. Vic Kirby is now in third-place with 120 winners. Tony Morgan has moved into fourth place with 102 wins. Ross Wolfenden is fifth, with 99 winners. ---------------------------------------------- Callahan has the highest UDRS (equivalent to a batting average) at .412.Ron Pierce is second at .400. Tim Tetrick is third with a .350 rating, Vic Kirby is fourth at .281 and Ross Wolfenden, fifth, .269. -------------------------------------------------------- Defending champion Dylan Davis continues a late-meet surge with three training wins, Thursday (3/26). Davis has secured first place with 60 wins. Doug Lewis is now second with 55 winners. Jim King with 54 victories has moved into third place. Wayne Givens completes the top 5 with 51 wins. --------------------------------------------- In trainer statistics, Amanda Payson has the highest 'batting average.' She has started 36 horses this meet with 16 winners in 42 starts for a standout .508 percentage. Vic Kirby has haltered 16 wins from 62 starters, good for a .424 rating and third in the standings. Eric Ell is next with a .415 UTRS winning 32 races form 128 starts. Dylan Davis is the only other conditioned over .400. He has won 60 races in 214 starts for a .404 percentage. ------------------------------------------------- There are only two more Thursdays this meet for a "special day' in the Winners Circle Restaurant. This Thursday and the closing day of the meet, April 9, there is a 'two-for-one entrees' special on the menu. Marv Bachrad

Columbus, OH --- The Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association informed the U.S. Trotting Association Friday that the organization will contribute $25,000 to the harness racing industry's social media initiatives being conducted by the USTA in partnership with the award-winning social media agency Converseon from New York. The PHHA becomes the first industry organization to add to the USTA's annual budget of $250,000 and provide additional funding to support the ongoing social media effort. "We're committed to promoting the sport of harness racing," said Sam Beegle, PHHA president, "and for the industry to grow, we need to reach a new demographic. I watch my grandchildren and no matter where they go or what they do, they're on their phones, connecting with friends via Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. The benefits of social media are just so obvious and we're proud to support what the USTA is doing." "We are excited that Sam Beegle and the PHHA are the first ones to step up and assist us with our social media program and are hoping that we can get other racetracks, horsemen's associations and industry organizations interested in contributing, too," said USTA President Phil Langley. "Maybe this will open the dam a little bit and we can make this grow even more." In the first year, the focus of the social media initiative was to build the foundation and develop the required assets to begin a transformation. During this initial phase, the USTA/Converseon program created the Harness Racing FanZone website with a Facebook following of 30,000 and a Social Ambassador program with 1,800 members. There was training for and collaboration with racetracks, horsemen's associations and other industry organizations. Different concepts were tested, analyzed and assessed. Vital content was created and the beginning of sponsorship support was formed. "From our initial conversations with Converseon CEO Rob Key a year-and-a-half ago to as recently as his presentation at the USTA Board of Directors meeting two weeks ago, we have talked about the need for industry collaboration and commitment as well as a mechanism for funding our long-term efforts," said USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner. "As Rob (Key) keeps telling us, 'this is a journey.'" At the recent Board meeting in describing the next steps, Key talked about the need to "Go Over the Top" to become the media, own our assets and distribute through direct channels in 2015. He explained that in the digital world, "the experience of the product is the product," and emphasized the need to enhance that product to provide the highest quality for the digital customer because online is how the consumer will experience harness racing. Further down the road, the goals will be to scale and monetize the social media effort and expand it globally.  USTA Communications Department  

Looking out my window earlier this week and watching about 4 to 5 inches of depressing wet heavy snow come down in the Chicago Northwest suburbs it seemed like the harness racing stake season for Illinois bred pacers and trotters was a long way off. Nevertheless, my calendar said differently. The initial ICF stake of 2015 was scheduled for this Saturday evening at Balmoral. However the Taurus Bomber for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings didn’t fill with its modest $8,000 purse. A quick once-over of the circuit’s stake schedule let me know that the first stake for ICF sophomore trotters—the $8,000 Speedy Rodney—is only two more weeks away. What came next was a phone call to Herman Wheeler, the owner and trotter of Fox Valley Qatar, the 2014 Illinois 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. The 45-year-old Wheeler was still at his farm in Monroe, Louisiana.  And while the weather was much warmer in Louisiana, it was just as wet, maybe wetter, than it was in the Chicagoland area. “I won’t be back to Illinois with Qatar for that first trotting stake,” said Herman. “It seems like it’s been raining every day down here so I’m a little behind with my horse. I’m pointing for the Cardinal with him later in May. “I’d like to qualify him at Balmoral and maybe get in one start before the eliminations (Saturday, May 23). Fox Valley Qatar was nearly perfect for Wheel and the trotter’s driver Todd Warren.     After a winning debut in early June in Springfield with Randy Crisler, Warren guided the son of Pizzazzed to seven more consecutive victories that included the $48,000 Plesac (by 4 lengths), the $30,000 Springfield crown (by 3-plus lengths, a $17,000 division of Du7 Quoin’s Darn Safe (by 7-plus lengths) and his Lincoln Land elimination (by 3 ½ lengths) in a first season fastest time of 1:57. Fox Valley Qatar winning streak came to an abrupt half in the $97,000 Lincoln Land Championship in early October when he was second best to Robert Taylor’s RT Habanero. It was “Qatar’s” last start as a freshman. An $8,000 yearling buy at the 2013 Fox Valley Standardbred Sale, Fox Valley Qatar took home over $84,000 for his owner-trainer in the gelding’s initial campaign. Did the pride of Wheeler’s stable grow much over the winter? “He got a little taller,” Herman replied. “It’s hard to tell how much he filled out because I see him every day but I had to let his harness out so he must have put on some weight, He’s coming along fine and I’m looking forward to coming up to Illinois for those 3-year-olds stakes.” Maybe when Wheeler arrives here at the end of April it’ll really feel like spring in Chicago and my snow shovel will have been put away, this time for good. By Mike Paradise

Pompano Beach, Fl...March 27, 2015...With Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 $70,000 carryover into Saturday's harness racing program gaining significant momentum, the track has added additional "fuel to the fire" by carding the $15,400 Open Handicap Pace as the event host for Saturday's Hi-5. A stellar field of 10 will face the Hummer Starting Gate, including newcomers Doo Wop Hanover (5/2) and Panocchio (9/2), both expected to attract significant interest at the mutual windows. Doo Wop Hanover, a $257,000 winner with a 1:49 mark in his 2014 three year-old campaign and a very fast closing fourth to McWicked in the Breeders Crown in his final start last season, makes his four year-old debut for trainer Peter Blood, who co-owns along with Rick Berks. Mickey McNichol, who handled "Doo Wop" in his 1:50.4 qualifying win last week, will be in the bike and begins from post eight. This son of Rocknroll Hanover is sandwiched between Panocchio, a 1:49.3 winner in his last start at Pompano to close out last year's campaign, and Duc Dorleans, bringing a four race winning streak in Open competition to the table. About Doo Wop Hanover, trainer Peter Blood said, "I'm not too crazy about having drawn the eight post in a bulky field like this, but Doo Wop showed he was tight with that qualifier last week and he can really do some rattling in the lane, so we hope for the best in this, his first start back." Panocchio will have the services of Bruce Ranger in the bike while Duc Dorleans, sporting a mark of 1:49 at Pompano Park, will have regular driver Donald Dupont handling the five year-old's lines. Ranger thinks the event will be an all out war...especially early. "If the weather cooperates, I think we'll see some very fast fractions--some real barnburners--especially early," he said. "Last week, the opener was :25.4, so I wouldn't be surprised if the half was :53 and change and I don't think it would be prudent to mix it up too much with the leader at that point. That could set up for a track record threatening mile." Pompano Park's track record is 1:48.4. While these aforementioned stars have lightning gate speed, their main competition may come from yet another blossoming star, Remissionofsins (7/2), a side-wheeler that can bolt out of the gate with the best of them, as evidenced by his :25.4 opener last week in the Open, only to be nailed in the final stride or two of a 1:50.2 mile. Kevin Wallis will be in the bike back of Remissionofsins for the "Saturday night special." Wallis said, "This is the first time that I will have driven this horse but I understand he does have some 'hellish' (keeping with the 'sins' theme) early. Off his recent performances, he should be competitive in the field." The field also boasts Cruizin K C (post one, 15/1), Freeneasy Hanover (20/1), Northern Companion (15/1), E Z Noah (10/1), P L Hellcat (8/1) and Raji's Blue Line (15/1), starting from the second tier 10 post. Raji's Blue Line will have the driving services of Mike Micallef who said, "I realize that there are a few horses in there that might be a step or two better than mine but, the last time I checked, 'Raji' couldn't read the tele-time on the infield board, so I am hoping to catch some live cover off of a lively half." Post time for Pompano's Saturday night program is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Tony Morgan on Friday afternoon joined Dave Palone and Herve Filion as the only North American harness racing drivers with 15,000 career wins when he guided Lightning Moon to victory in the first race on opening day at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 56-year-old Morgan was joined by a large crowd, including fellow drivers, in the winner's circle. Lightning Moon won by 4-3/4 lengths in 1:53.4 to give Morgan the milestone triumph. Steve LeBlanc trains the 9-year-old gelding pacer for owners LeBlanc Racing, Robert Laham, Gregory Laham and Jeffrey Franklin. "It's nice to be recognized by your peers, but it probably means more to my family than to me," Morgan said earlier this week. "I get my kicks out of just working every day. I like that. I like the daily grind. I like the competition and keeping busy. "It's another feather in my cap, I guess, so it's nice. And it gives my family something to talk about. That's nice too." Morgan, who was born in Ohio, rose to prominence in Chicago and now calls the Delaware circuit home. The son of driver/trainer Eddie Morgan Jr., himself the winner of 4,724 races, Morgan got his first win one month shy of turning 15 in 1973. In 1995, Morgan led all drivers in North America in wins, and captured the title again in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2008. From 1995 through 2009, he was never out of the top 10 and racked up 10,695 wins during that span. Morgan was Harness Tracks of America's Driver of the Year in 2006, 2002, 1997 and 1996. He is one of only three drivers to win more than 1,000 races in a year, totaling 1,004 in 2006. Horses driven by Morgan have earned $117 million in purses, good for 13th place on the all-time list. Palone leads all harness racing drivers in the world in wins, entering Friday with 16,937. Germany's Heinz Wewering is second on the worldwide list, with more than 16,760, followed by Filion and Morgan. Morgan could pass Filion's total of 15,183 wins sometime this summer. The two competed against each other in the mid-2000s, following Morgan's move to Delaware from Chicago, and Morgan said following in Filion's footsteps was special. "Of course, he's been almost every driver's idol forever," Morgan said. "He was a great guy and a great driver and he outworked everybody for years and years. I guess that's kind of the model I've always followed. I've tried to stay as busy as I can, and the more practice you get, the better you get at it." Ken Weingartner  

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