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LEBANON, OH - Our Majordan A, who took a record of 1:47.3 at The Meadowlands in 2020, made an impressive 2021 haness racing debut at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday (March 20). The nine-year-old altered Australian bred son of Art Major, following three qualifying race tighteners for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr., topped a stellar field of Open pacers, as 8 of 10 in the field owned sub-1:50 records. Driver Brett Miller was confident that with three qualifiers under his girth the 35-time winner was fit enough to play catch-me-if-you-can in the featured $22,500 event. Despite an assigned outside post position, Miller set sail from the moment the gate opened but needed the entire :26.4 first quarter before finally securing the front. The race was likely won with a :29.2 second quarter breather before stablemate Turbo Hill (Dan Noble) took up chase and moved up to second at the 1:24 third timing station. With Turbo Hill fading in the stretch, a slew of other challengers fanned out down the lane in a futile effort to catch the leader. My Hero Ron (Josh Sutton) and Jet Rock (Trevor Smith) got perilously close to the winner at the wire. Unfortunately, Jet Rock made a late break in stride and was placed officially fifth as GD Western Joe (Chris Page) and General Dolan (Tyler Smith) were lapped on to the show finisher at the finish line. OUR MAJORDAN A REPLAY   Our Majordan A is owned by the Enviro Stable, Ned Hodkinson and Milton Leeman. He paid $5 to win. Trainer Virgil Morgan Jr., who was recently inducted into the Ohio Harness Racing Hall Of Fame, harnessed a total of four winners on the Saturday card. His other winners were Howmacsblackjack (Noble, 1:52.3, $6.40), Rock N Jo Z (Trace Tetrick, 1:51.4, $4.60) and The Great Buzz (Tetrick, 1:52, $6.80). Two first leg divisions of the Tom Tharps Memorial Series were also contested. Winners were Louie Louie (Page) in 1:52.1 over Thrasher (Cam McCown) and third place dead-heaters No Quarter (Mitch Cushing) and WF Eeyore (Noble), with Velocity Poprocks (Josh Sutton) topping Shvaiko (Miller) and Lou's A Pansy (John DeLong) in the second split. Drivers Dan Noble and Trace Tetrick each scored hat tricks on Saturday, while Chris Page and Josh Sutton managed driving doubles. Noble joined Tetrick during the night as the only $1 million purse winners in North America thus far in 2021. Racing will resume at Miami Valley on Sunday afternoon with a 2:05 p.m. post time. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

Ned Hodkinson didn't need to be asked twice if he wanted to buy an interest in Our Majordan A. Hodkinson was familiar with the harness racing pacer from watching races from Australia, and had a horse he once owned, My Alpha Rock N, compete against him. "I made my mind up in 30 seconds," Hodkinson said with a laugh. Hodkinson and Milton Leeman each bought an interest in Our Majordan A when owners Gordon Banks and Marc Hanover of Florida-based Enviro Stables decided to bring the horse to North America last spring and turn him over to trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. Our Majordan A won 30 of 94 races and $370,543 during his career Down Under. His six lifetime wins in 1:50 or less were an Australasian record and his final triumph in Australia came in a track-record performance in the Group 1 Newcastle Mile. Last year in the U.S., he won four of 14 races and $105,957. His top victory came in the $123,100 consolation division of the William R. Haughton Memorial, which he captured in a lifetime-best 1:47.3 at The Meadowlands. On Saturday, the 9-year-old gelding will make his 2021 debut in the $22,500 Open Handicap at Miami Valley Raceway. Our Majordan A, with Brett Miller driving, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the field of 10. "If you observed him (in Australia) you would have thought that he would acclimate to our style of racing," Hodkinson said. "He's got unbelievable gate speed and he's acclimated relatively well. "When he came over here, he was kind of a nervous, high-strung horse. Virgil found a routine that really suits the horse. As time went on, he put weight on, and going the miles he was going, that normally doesn't happen. He really adapted well. He was in fine shape when we stopped with him." Our Majordan A competed in several Grand Circuit stakes last year and is being staked again to some events this season. The 59-year-old Hodkinson, an insurance agent who has enjoyed success as an amateur driver, trains a small stable of horses at Morgan's training center in central Ohio and gets to see Our Majordan A regularly. "He's a professional," Hodkinson said. "He trains well every time he trains, no matter how fast you go. I don't see all the training sessions, but I've seen probably 80 percent, and he's always the same. He likes his work. "I'm pretty sure he's the first horse I've ever had to win in sub-1:50," he continued. "I've had some nice horses, but I'm the odd man out in this partnership. Milt has had way more nice horses than me and Enviro has had Breeders Crown winners. This is the nicest horse I've ever owned. Seeing him going to the gate every time, particularly if he has a decent chance of winning, is very exciting." The Open Handicap is race No. 12 Saturday at Miami Valley. Gd Western Joe, trained by Ron Burke, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line with Chris Page in the sulky. The 6-year-old stallion has finished worse than second only once in eight starts this year, winning four. Racing begins at 4:05 p.m. (EDT) at Miami Valley. For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Virgil Morgan, Jr., arguably the greatest trainer in Ohio history, has been elected as the 47th member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame by a vote of the members of the Ohio Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. Morgan, 55, was the first conditioner to win 5,000 races and has now won more than 6,700 races and $60 million in earnings. He has career Universal Training Rating of .350 and has won the training title at Eldorado Scioto Downs for an astonishing 26 straight years. He was introduced to the sport of harness racing through his uncle, Emory Lewis, and his father, Virgil Morgan, Sr. He bought his first horse at the age of 17 and later started working for trainer Randy Owens before striking out on his own in the late 1980s. He has trained some tremendous performers including Mister Big, Pet Rock, Allamerican Captor, Action Broadway and this year's Ohio divisional champion's Street Gossip and Action Uncle. He has won six Jerry Kaltenbach Memorial Trophies. This award is given annually to the trainer who has earned the most dollars competing in Ohio Sires Stakes. He trained 22 Ohio Sire Stakes champions. Despite his past success, Morgan also has his eye on the future of the sport. His daughter, Kiara, is an aspiring driver and his son, Tre, is an owner. In the spring of 2018, Morgan opened the Winner Circle Training Center, the state's premier harness facility. Morgan will be honored at the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association's virtual banquet on Saturday, January 16. A more formal ceremony will occur during Scioto Downs' 2021 meet.   Jay Wolf

Grove City, Ohio – It was an action-packed year for the 2019 Ohio 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year as Action Uncle made the most of his three wins in 2019.  Action Uncle, the son of Uncle Peter – Action-Broadway by Broadway Hall hit the board in all six of his starts in 2019 for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and owners the Kenneth A. Sommer Trust.  Action Uncle earned $225,575.  Action Uncle, an Ohio Triple Crown winner, set a new stakes, track and world’s record by winning the second division of the Ohio Breeder’s Championship at Delaware County Fair in 1:54.  The Ohio Triple Crown consists of the Ohio Sire Stakes Final, the Ohio Breeder’s Championship and the Ohio State Fair Stakes.  Action Uncle was bred by Kenneth A. Sommer of Sheffield, Ohio. Trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. trained Action Uncle’s Dam Action-Broadway, “It was special to have the mom and break her and then have the first foal and start from scratch with him.”  Morgan says he knew Action Uncle was going to be special, “He’s very athletic, he’s not the biggest trotter but he was very handy last year and I’m just glad I have him.” Action Uncle will be honored at the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and United States Trotting Association’s District 1 Annual Awards Banquet January 18, 2020 at the University Area Marriott in Columbus, Ohio.  Tickets to the banquet are $30 each and can be purchased by calling the OHHA office at 614-221-3650.  Reservation forms are also available on the OHHA website at www.ohha.com.  The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA) is a non-profit organization serving Standardbred horse owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and fans who participate in the sport of harness racing in the Buckeye State. OHHA was founded in 1953. The mission of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association is to preserve, protect, promote and serve the entire Standardbred industry in Ohio and beyond. From the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association  

DAYTON, OH. - The curtain fell on the annual Hollywood Dayton Raceway meet on Saturday night (Dec. 28), its sixth consecutive year of handle growth.   "Our overall all sources handle was up over $2 million for the meet," exclaimed first year Director Of Racing Jason Bluhm, "resulting in a 14% increase in our daily average. I'm especially excited about the strong finish to the 2019 meet and the prospects for the future."   Leading driver and trainer awards were presented to Brett Miller, who drove 151 winners during the 78-day meet, and Virgil Morgan Jr., who harnessed 52 winners during the session. Miller, a winner of 8,450 races in his career, sported a .316 UDRS during the Dayton meet and banked over $1.2 million with his mounts.   Morgan Jr. won races at a 23% clip, flashing a .343 UTRS while his stable earned over $370,000 in purses.   Rounding out the Top Ten among reinsmen were Jeremy Smith, Tyler Smith, Josh Sutton, Dan Noble, Kayne Kauffman, Chris Page, Trevor Smith, Cameron McCown and Shawn Barker II.   Top Ten trainers, in addition to Morgan Jr., were Peter Redder, Dan Noble, Ron Burke, Charles Stewart, Kayne Kauffman, Jessica Smith, Tyler George, Jeff Brewer and Adam Short.   Hollywood Dayton Raceway would like to wish a happy and prosperous New Year to all the horsemen who raced over the acclaimed five-eighths mile oval in 2019.   From Hollywood Dayton Raceway

On Friday (Nov. 8) , Young adults in harness racing from across the country gathered in Columbus, Ohio, for the inaugural USTA Youth Delegate Summit. Seven USTA Youth Delegates participated in the two-day event, which included an evening of team-building activities, a tour of Virgil Morgan's Winners Circle Training Center, and a visit to Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. On Saturday, delegates spent the morning learning about social media and event coverage from the USTA social media team. They then took turns practicing what they'd learned in a simulated reporting exercise with caretakers from the Brady Galliers stable. The group spent the afternoon discussing social media etiquette and the efficacy of the Youth Delegate program and heard presentations from social media coordinator Michael Carter, USTA director Gabe Wand and HHYF Executive Director Ellen Taylor. The summit concluded with an action-packed trip to Dayton Raceway. Delegates were given a special tour of the facility, met with race office personnel, and interviewed several top drivers including Chris Page, Tyler Smith, and Dan Noble. Following his interview with District 9 Youth Delegate Colin Boyle, Brett Miller gave his helmet to the young harness racing fan--a generous reward for a job well done. Serendipitously, the delegates also met and took a photo with State Representative J. Todd Smith who was visiting the racetrack, as well. "My favorite part of the summit would have to be the evening at Dayton Raceway," said 17-year-old Scarlett Wilder, the Youth Delegate Chairperson. "I'm really proud of our group and I think we performed very well. Everyone stepped up and went outside of their comfort zone, which helped this group grow tremendously." Launched in 2018, the USTA Youth Delegate program is designed to raise up young leaders in the sport of harness racing, encourage them to participate in local and regional racing-related events, and give them an opportunity to influence and shape the future of racing. The USTA Youth Delegates will next convene at the annual USTA Board of Directors meeting in Columbus, Ohio, March 13-16, 2020. From the USTA Communications Department

Trenton, NJ — Harness racing driver Kiara Morgan’s biggest problem wasn’t winning her first race, but what to do after she won. “I pulled around and I was like ‘I don’t even know what to do. Where’s the winner’s circle? Where do I go?’ Morgan said. “So, I finally pulled around and got our picture and it was cool. I was happy.” This all occurred July 17 at the Washington Court House Fair in Ohio, when the daughter of renowned trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. drove Action Metro Max to victory. It was only her third start and she had taken second in her first two. It didn’t take long to get her second win, which came later in the day with Tail Gunner Hall. Morgan wasn’t too surprised at winning the second, but taking first with Action Metro Max was a bit unexpected. “Max was a little bit lazier and you have to get after him,” she said. “The second one, he’s just a little bit classier of a horse. He’s older too but he wants to race, whereas Metro Max is more of a surprise. But Tail Gunner is really good.” Which might say something about Morgan’s driving skills in that she brought Actin Metro Max from behind and got him to win easily. “He’s 9, so as you would imagine he’s pretty laid back, he’s not going to do anything more than he has to,” Kiara noted. “He wasn’t real quick off the gate. I got away fourth or fifth, it wasn’t a big field and I was pretty far back there. “A little bit after the half, someone right in front of me kind of pulled out to pull up a little bit. I was pulling out at the same exact time. They pulled back in and I went around him. I had qualified that horse at Scioto, I really think after he realized it was a half-mile track instead of a mile, he liked it. He literally just took off. After I pulled him he just said ‘Hey wait a minute’ and he just took off.” From there, Morgan could smell the victory. “I got up next to the person leading,” she said. “I kind of grabbed him up a little, by that time we were almost up to the three-quarter pole and I just let it go. He was real good. After I pulled away, he was just cruising. I was kind of grabbing him up a little because I don’t really like to win by that much, I don’t like to blow him out more than I have to. I remember I got done I was kind of like ‘I didn’t mean to win by that much, but I didn’t want to walk him either.’ I just kind of grabbed him up and let him go at a comfortable pace and he was ahead by quite a bit.” And just like that, the newbie was the winner. It was 20-year-old Kiara Morgans’s first driving win as she took a condition pace with Ken Sommer’s 9-year-old gelding by Metropolitan Action Metro Max in 2:01h for her dad, trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. Our RWTS winner Bill Holley of WCH joined them for the photo. Ohio Harness Horseman Association Photo “Before last year I’d been in a jog cart a handful of times growing up helping my dad,” she said. “Other than that, it’s all really new to me. So, it all happened quick.” It was an eventful day for the 20-year-old, who only began working with dad in December. Virgil Morgan Jr. is No. 2 in training history with 6,411 wins, trailing only Ron Burke. He is No. 8 in purses with $56 million. Despite Virgil’s success and notoriety in Ohio, Kiara wasn’t immediately sold on the harness racing game. But she got her first horse at age 7. “I always had a huge passion,” she said. “I’d ridden and shown horses my whole life, so I’ve always been around them, but I’ve always been riding and showing them and going to all kind of shows and stuff. I would come out maybe in the summer, my dad would jog with me and my brother (Trey). His training center is 12 minutes from the house and I’d maybe been there a handful of times.” By last November, however, she began to feel the urge to see what harness racing was all about. Virgil was reluctant at first but when he got a few more horses he relented in December. “I just started jogging, gradually he would put me on the training sheets,” Kiara said. “Every day I got more experience. It happened really quick. The reason I decided to try to get my license was we had heard about the (Ladies Driving Series); I thought that would be cool with all girls. I qualified a few and now I’m doing the lady pace thing. That’s where that all started.” Once again, Morgan was back in the world of racing. Only this time, someone else was doing the running. As a student at Grove City High School, Kiara was a standout on a formidable track and field team that was Southwest Ohio’s top team during her time there. She ran the 100, 200 and 400 and had success, but is modest about it. “I’m not going to say too much about that,” she said. “I won some races, but I don’t remember the specifics.” Kiara just knew she was having fun, because she was competing. “I’ve always loved to race,” she said. “I remember being a little kid, we’d get all the neighborhood kids together, and my dad would literally have a race around the house. Ever since I was little I liked to race. Track became a big part of my life in high school.” Upon graduation she attended Columbus State College and this summer she transferred to Fortis College in order to study radiology. While she would love to make a career of harness racing, Virgil has made her understand she needs something to fall back on just in case. But rest assured, racing is in her blood at the moment. When asked to equate the thrill of running a 400-meter event or driving a horse on a fairgrounds track, Kiara said there’s no comparison. She came to that realization after her Ladies Driving Series debut race at the Wilmington (Clinton County) Fair on July 9. “When I got off the track from my first race, I didn’t win, I got beat by a neck,” she said. “Those girls are extremely competitive. I remember I got off the track and I was so happy. It’s like a high you don’t get from anything else. I was parked the whole mile and I still came out and I was smiling from ear to ear. It’s a feeling like really no other I ever felt before. You’re controlling an animal, you’ve got to make decisions in split seconds and stuff. It’s really a different feeling.” As much as she loves it, Morgan knows she has to get that college degree in order to have security. “I’m going to be honest, I don’t really like school and I have to force myself to do it,” she said. “I thought about not doing it before and just trying to do the horses. But school’s really important to my dad so I always have a safety net. It takes a lot to be extremely successful with the horses, I want to have a fallback, a definite career income. “But racing pulls my heart a lot. Everyone’s always like “Aww you’ll find something that you want to do, what you love.’ I tell them ‘I know exactly what I want to do!’ I’ve known this all while I was growing up, but it’s just the fact you never really know how successful you’re going to be. I don’t want to jump into horses and end up having nothing.” So instead of diving into the pool, she is wading into it slowly. Her mindset is that she will see where driving takes her, but always have an alternate plan. In the meantime, Morgan has one of the best tutors a girl can find in her father. “Oh gosh, everything I know, it all comes from him,” she said. “He says every time I go on the track just learn something new. Obviously I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. He says every time you’re out there, learn from my mistakes, learn something new especially. Me and my brother claimed one ourselves, I’m learning all about what to do to help the horse itself. He’s always telling me to watch the grooms and ask questions. We have the greatest help in the world, they’ve all made an impact on me and are teaching me new things.” And while Virgil is a little cautious about throwing his girl right into the fire, that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying her early successes in the sulky. “It’s funny, after my first win somebody said ‘How many pictures are you going to get,’” Kiara said. “My dad never gets pictures of himself, but he got four win pictures that day just to make sure everybody had one.” Thank goodness she found out where to go. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Perfect conditions and ultra-competitive harness racing led to the biggest betting night of the year at the Meadowlands, as a total of $3,166,920 was pushed through the windows during the 13-race Saturday night program. It was the second time during 2019 that wagering exceeded $3 million. The night got off to a fast start at the industry's handle leader as $303,044 was wagered in the first race, with $79,108 of that poured into the 50-Cent Pick-5 pot. Not surprisingly, the second most money was wagered in the eighth race - $299,848 - with $115,218 wagered into the 50-Cent Pick-4 pool. The total bet in both the Pick-5 and Pick-4 were yearly bests. The month of February has seen six racing programs at the Big M. On those programs, a total of $17,529,832 has been wagered, for an average per card of $2,921,638. In the featured $21,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers, K Ryan Bluechip got back in the win column for the first time in six weeks, pulling off a surprise at odds of 7-1 in 1:50.4. The red-hot Tuxedo Bay, sent to the gate as the 4-5 favorite in search of a third straight score in the weekly feature, had a rough go of it. Pushed four-wide into the first turn, driver Eric Carlson had to use his horse hard to reach the quarter on the front end in :26. A rated second panel of :28 would follow, but K Ryan Bluechip, who was away early in fifth, was now making good progress while racing first over. KRB got to within a half-length of the public choice at three-quarters before powering past to lead by 1¼ lengths with three-sixteenths of a mile to go. Through the stretch, the Virgil Morgan-trained, Andy Miller-driven K Ryan Bluechip maintained his edge as Tuxedo Bay weakened, and after a leisurely final quarter of :28.4, K Ryan Bluechip had his second victory in the Preferred ranks in seven tries. It was 1¾ lengths back to Castle Flight in second. New Talent finished third while Tuxedo Bay was last in the field of six. K Ryan Bluechip, who is owned by Carl T Howard and Brian Witt, returned $17.60 as the fifth choice in the wagering. The 7-year-old gelded son of Art Major-Fool That I Am now has 32 wins in 104 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $410,484. A LITTLE MORE: Andy Miller drove three winners on the card while Corey Callahan and Dexter Dunn had two each. ... Two bettors cashed in for $6,103 after lasting seven legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10. ... Mindtrip destroyed his foes as the 3-5 choice in the eighth race non-winners of $16,000 pace in a lifetime-best 1:50.1 for trainer Patti Harmon and driver Mitch Cushing. ... When racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m., a carryover of $50,930 awaits those playing the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 5). By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

DAYTON, OH. - Jeremy Smith and Virgil Morgan Jr. were recognized as Top Driver and Top Trainer, respectively, on Saturday night (Dec. 29) at Hollywood Gaming At Dayton Raceway as the curtain fell on the track's fifth 75-program season of live harness racing. Smith set a new standard for wins during a Dayton meet with 154 victories, good for $1.1 million in purse earnings. It is Jeremy's first dash crown in the post-VLT era in Ohio as his only other title came at old Lebanon Raceway prior to the commencement of the impressive racing renaissance in the Buckeye state over the last five years. Previous dash champs at Dayton have been Josh Sutton (2014, 2015 and 2016) and Kayne Kauffman (2017). Morgan Jr. is no stranger to training titles as he is the perennial champ at Scioto Downs over the past two decades. This title marks his third award at Hollywood Dayton, having won previously in both 2014 and 2016. The only other training winner has been Jeff Brewer, who captured the crown in both 2015 and 2017. Morgan managed 45 wins during the 2018 campaign from 197 starts-earning over $325,000 in purses and sporting a .345 UDRS. On the track, the closing night Open Handicap Pace was won by My Hero Ron for the second straight week. Despite being assigned an outside post in a full field of nine, driver Tyler Smith managed to get away sixth along the pylons during the :26.4 opening panel. Shuffled further back on the way to the :55.2 half, Smith managed to squeeze My Hero Ron into second-over position in fifth by the time the leader and eventual runnerup Night Pro (Dale Decker) tripped the third quarter beam in 1:23. Smith was on a mission through the stretch and used a :27.3 closing kick to nail the leader in the final two strides. Despite his ultra-consistent 2018 scorecard, which read 33 7-11-7 $153,090 going into the race, My Hero Ron returned $10.60 to win. He is trained by Danny Dubeansky for owners Brian Witt and Cory Atley. The quick 1:51.2 clocking of the Open was one of six sub-1:52 races over the five-eighths mile oval on the card. Other amazing miles were turned in were by Full On Rocknroll (Jeremy Smith, 1:51.4), Fan Of Terror (Trace Tetrick, 1:51.4), Just Toyin With Ya (Josh Sutton, 1:51.2), Migrate Blue Chip (Tyler Smith, 1:51) and Evergreen Elite (Kyle Ater, 1:51.2). Hollywood Gaming wishes to thank every owner, trainer, driver, caretaker, official, employee as well as its racing patrons for making Dayton Raceway their home for harness racing over the past four months. Gregg Keidel

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - K Ryan Bluechip used an amazing final half-mile to win the Saturday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands - an $18,500 conditioned pace - for a second straight week. Driver Brett Miller was in no hurry early with the Virgil Morgan Jr. trainee, but the fans who bet him as the 2-1 favorite probably wish he'd been closer at the half. K Ryan Bluechip was last in the field of seven past the quarter- and half-mile markers, as the pace-setting Bell I No was being pressured on the front end, setting the stage for an off-the-pace winner. K Ryan Bluechip, a 6-year-old gelded son of Art Major-Fool That I Am, was activated by Miller with just over three-eighths to go, using a quick burst of speed to get into a third-over flow around the far turn and past three-quarters. Instead of opting to stay in the fast lane, KRB swung three-wide for the drive to the wire and that proved to be the right move, as K Ryan Bluechip sprinted past the field during his :26.3 final quarter, recording a three-quarter length win in 1:50.1. A determined Bell I No and Clouseau Hanover - who had plenty of late pace - finished in a dead heat for second. The winner, who is owned by Carl Howard and Brian Witt, returned $6.00 to his backers, and now has seven victories in 31 starts this year. Lifetime, he's won 30-of-97 and banked just over $378,000. PICK-5 TURNAROUND: After Friday night's 50-Cent Pick-5 paid $60.15 as favorites won every leg of the wager, things went much differently Saturday evening. In the third race on the program (Leg one of the Pick-5), Too Much Hanover and driver Vinny Ginsburg scored at odds of 29-1, paying more to win ($61.00) than the Pick-5 returned on Friday. After the next four winners in the sequence were sent off at 'useable' odds of 8-1, 3-5, 6-5 and 2-1, the Saturday Pick-5 came back a handsome $21,640.30. A LITTLE MORE: In addition to getting the Pick-5 off to a good start, Ginsburg also had a big hand in the Early Daily Double ($194.80), scoring with 14-1 chance Rock Star in the opener. ... Andy McCarthy made three winner's circle visits, raising his meet-leading dash-win total to 30. ... All-source handle totaled $1,943,975 for the 11-race program. ... Racing resumes Thursday at 7:15 p.m. ... Live action will be conducted on a Thursday-Saturday basis at the Big M during December, with one exception. There will be no live racing on Saturday, Dec. 15, with the New York Jets hosting the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Kickoff is 4:30 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Off a pair of respectable tries, it was clear that K Ryan Bluechip could be competitive at the harness racing non-winners of $15,000 level at the Meadowlands, but what remained uncertain was, could he beat them? Now we know. In the Saturday night conditioned pacing feature at the Big M, Maroma Beach was the slight 8-5 public choice and hit the quarter first in :27. K Ryan Bluechip, fourth in the early going, was up to engage the leader at the half (:55) and the pair continued to battle to the three-quarter mark (1:22.4). But instead of caving in after going first-over, K Ryan Bluechip continued to find more, powering away from Maroma Beach through the stretch to record a 1½-length win in the $16,000 event. Tact Tate N (the 9-5 second choice) rallied for second while Maroma Beach settled for third. K Ryan Bluechip, who paid $7.00 to win as the third choice in the wagering, is trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., was driven by Brett Miller and is owned by Carl Howard and Brian Witt. A veteran with a lifetime mark of 1:49.2 taken last year at the Red Mile, K Ryan Bluechip is a 6-year-old son of Art Major-Fool That I Am who completed his mile in 1:50.2 in winning for the sixth time this year in 30 starts. Lifetime, he's 29-for-96 and has earned $368,804. A LITTLE MORE: All-source handle on the 12-race card was $2,113,898, the fifth straight Saturday where wagering topped the $2 million mark. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 pool came close to reaching six figures for a second straight Saturday, coming up just short at $98,454. ... Driver Corey Callahan had three winners on the program while Mike Merton, Brett Miller and Dexter Dunn had two apiece. ... The Big M's schedule will change slightly for the month of December as the track will add Thursdays to its race week, effective immediately, with the usual 7:15 p.m. post time. Take note that there will be no live racing on Saturday, Dec. 15, with the New York Jets hosting the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Whether you are a driver in the race, the trainer of a horse in the race or just an armchair harness racing quarterback, the race scenarios for Sunday's $200,000 Prix D'Ete for four-year-old pacers is a tough one to handicap. The Prix D'Ete was the most prestigious race in all of Canada from 1966 through 1992. World champions Bret Hanover, Albatross, Niatross, Hot Hitter, Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Ralph Hanover, Matt's Scooter and a host of other top pacers have won the Prix D'Ete. It was in 2011 that the Quebec Jockey Club was formed and purchased the Hippodrome 3R and the Prix D'Ete was brought back as a four-year-old only pace and the first revival was held in 2014. In the past four editions of the Prix D'Ete at H3R, the all-age track record was set and then tied as both Sunfire Blue Chip (2014) and All Bets Off (2015) both won in 1:50.3. Then in 2016, Harness Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, came to 3R for the Prix D'Ete and after a dramatic neck and neck battle the final half mile of the race, was second in an upset by Rockin Ron (1:52) over a sloppy track. Rockin Ron made it two straight Prix D'Ete victories for the Ron Burke Stable. Last year's Prix D'Ete saw the Jimmy Takter Stable win for the second time (Sunfire Blue Chip was the first), with Western Fame and driver Trevor Henry wiring the field in 1:53.2. For 2018, ten entered the Prix D'Ete with Hurricane Beach and Wildriverbumblebee eliminated as the race conditions only allow the first eight highest money winners in 2018. The Ron Burke Stable faired very well in the post position draw for 10th race feature on Sunday. The entry of Eddard Hanover (post 1) and Filibuster Hanover (post 3) loom the morning line favorites at odds of 5/2. Eddard Hanover has H3R's leading driver, Stephane Brosseau, in the sulky. In his last start he won at Pocono Downs in 1:51.1, his first win of the year for the gelded son of Dragon Again. He has great gate speed to insure either cutting the mile or getting a pocket-trip. Eddard Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Lawrence Karr and Weaver-Bruscemi, LLC. Million-dollar winner Filibuster Hanover drew post three and will be driven by Canada's leading driver and local favorite, Louis Philippe Roy. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has $1.269 million in career earnings, $408,000 of that won this year. He can handle a half mile oval as he won the Confederation Cup earlier this year and has a record of 1:48.3 taken at Harrah's Philadelphia. Filibuster Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Joseph Di Scale, Jr., T Silva Stables and Weaver-Bruscemi, LLC. Second choice at 3-1 in the field is Western Joe, who drew the far outside post 8. This son of Western Ideal is in peak form for trainer Chris Choate, having just won the $260,000 Sam McKee Memorial in 2:02 (1 1/8th mile) and prior to that won at the Meadowlands in a lifetime best 1:47.3. Western Joe has nine wins this. He will be driven by Doug McNair, who has driven him in the past, Western Joe likes coming from off the pace and shows the gate speed to overcome his bad post position. He was bred and is co-owned by Anthony Ruggeri of Mamaroneck, NY with Richard Tosies of Hamilton, NJ. Miso Fast at odds of 7/2 also, drew poorly for trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr. and starts from post seven for Trois-Riviere native Daniel Dube in the sulky. This son of Roll With Joe has $789,000 in earning, did not fare well in the Sam McKee, but also has the early speed to try and find cover. He is owned by Winchester Baye Acres of Lancaster, OH. Beckhams Z Tam has shipped in from Indiana for trainer Jamie Rucker Macomber and husband/driver Ricky. This Breeders Crown winner last year drew post two which is a perfect spot for him to get into the flow of the race. He is listed at odds of 4-1 and two starts back took a lifetime mark at Hoosier Park in 1:49. Sired by Always A Virgin, Beckhams Z Tam is owned by the Z Tam Stables of New York, NY. Blood Line is at 5-1 for trainer Jimmy Takter, who, like Burke, is going for his third Prix D'Ete win. Last year he scored with Western Fame, driven by Trevor Henry. Takter has gotten Henry to come back again and drive Blood Line. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has not fared well that well this season with just one victory, a 1:49.3 lifetime mark at the Meadowlands earlier this season. But, as most know, Jimmy Takter places his horses where they can win and he would not have shipped Blood Line to Trois-Rivieres unless he was ready to go a strong mile. He is owned and was co-bred by Diamon Creek Racing, of Wellsville, PA. Rounding out the field are two trainees of Richard Moreau. They are American Wiggle (post 4) at 6-1 and Modern Reflection (post 6) at 7-1. American Wiggle will be driven by Guy Gagnon and four starts back found his winning form with a 1:49.2 lifetime mark victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Since then the American Ideal gelding had a decent second place finish and will need to find live cover to keep him in contention. He is owned by Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy with Daniel Martin of St Barnabe Nord. Modern Reflection has five wins this year and will have the driving services of Pascal Berube in the bike. The gelded son of Rockin Image is owned by Adriano Sorella of Milton, ON and was third in 1:50.4 last week at Mohawk Raceway. Just last month Modern Reflection posted back-to-back victories at Mohawk, the fastest in 1:51. He also shows great early gate speed when called upon. There is the field for the fifth revival of the Prix D'Ete. Now, who will win it? Also, on the race card Sunday are two $10,000 divisions of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacers. Play Jet Ray was a game second place finisher in the opening round of the series back in July and will be tough from post two for driver Guy Gagnon in the third race. Also, in the race is Kinnder Jackson (post 5) who has won his last two starts and six of his seven starts this season. The fillies do battle in the ninth race where Sharks Summrshandy (post 6) is the slight favorite facing All You Can Dream (post 4) and the entry from trainer Maxime Velaye of Lit De Rose (post 2) and Lune Blue (post ten). Post time is 12:50 pm Sunday. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

Dan Dube will return to his hometown for Sunday's C$200,000 Prix d'Ete for 4-year-old pacers at Quebec's Hippodrome 3R and is hoping Miso Fast can add to the numerous winning moments he's enjoyed at the half-mile racetrack during his career. Dube grew up in Trois-Rivieres and began his career at Hippodrome 3R, which was then known as Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres. He was a top driver and trainer in Quebec before making a name for himself as a driver in the U.S., first with the 1997 Rising Star Award and later with Horse of the Year winners Gallo Blue Chip and Rock N Roll Heaven. The 49-year-old Dube, who ranks 16th in history with $116 million in purses and 24th in wins with 8,912, has made it a point to compete at Hippodrome 3R every year since the facility reopened in 2012 following a four-year hiatus. He is making his fifth appearance in the Prix d'Ete, which was resurrected in 2014, and is the only driver to appear in all five editions of the event. His best finish came in 2014 when he was second with Quebec-bred star Duc Dorleans. "It's fun to go back home and see my friends and family," Dube said. "It always brings back good memories, for sure. It would be fun to win (the Prix d'Ete). You want to win every race, and it is always fun to win big races, but that's my hometown so it would be extra special." Dube has driven Miso Fast once previously, finishing fifth in a division of the Graduate Series at The Meadowlands. Miso Fast started from post 11, in the second tier, in a 12-horse field that raced 1-1/8 miles. He was beaten by 1-1/4 lengths. "I was locked in, but when I got room late he was flying," Dube said. "I really like him. He's a nice little horse." Miso Fast, trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. for owner Winchester Baye Acres, will start the Prix d'Ete from post seven and is 7-2 on the morning line. The stallion has won 10 of 46 career races and earned $776,867. Two of his three wins this season came in preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series and he finished second in the final. The Ron Burke-trained entry of Filibuster Hanover and Eddard Hanover is the 5-2 favorite in the Prix d'Ete. Western Joe, coming off a win in the Sam McKee Memorial, is 3-1. Burke and trainer Jimmy Takter both have won the Prix d'Ete twice. Takter captured last year's race with Western Fame, who was driven by Trevor Henry. The duo reunites Sunday with Blood Line, who is 5-1. "We got the seven hole, but other than that I like his chances," Dube said. "He should be good for that track. He's quick and he's fast. Not every horse takes the turns good, but I think it won't be a problem for him. "I hope he lives up to his name." Following is the field in post-position order for the Prix d'Ete, which is race 10 at Hippodrome 3R with a planned 3:50 p.m. (EDT) post time. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Eddard Hanover-Stephane Brosseau-Ron Burke-5/2 2-Beckhams Z Tam-Ricky Macomber Jr.-Jamie Macomber-4/1 3-Filibuster Hanover-Louis Roy-Ron Burke-5/2 4-American Wiggle-Guy Gagnon-Richard Moreau-6/1 5-Blood Line-Trevor Henry-Jimmy Takter-5/1 6-Modern Reflection-Pascal Berube-Richard Moreau-7/1 7-Miso Fast-Dan Dube-Virgil Morgan Jr.-7/2 8-Western Joe-Doug McNair-Chris Choate-3/1 Coupled entry: Eddard Hanover (1) and Filibuster Hanover (1A) by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

This photo was taken by Hall of Fame Communicator Carol Cramer at Virgil Morgan's new "Winners Circle Training Center" ..just south of Scioto Downs... A massive breath of fresh air...wonderful facility...many things still under construction but what a super place to train and stable...(and yes, take photos...)  These two trotting youngster are sired by Dontyouforgetit (Scott Mogan in red) and Uncle Peter (Danny Collins on the inside) as they were coming to the finish.  From Carol Cramer    

LEBANON, OH. - Latest Desire made it three-in-a-row in O-hi-o on Saturday night (Feb. 18) at Miami Valley Raceway, capturing the $22,000 Open I Pace again despite being assigned the outermost post position in the harness racing field of nine. Knowing that his horse is in exceptionally good form driver Simon Allard set sail from the get-go, managing to clear to the front as the first quarter beam was reached in :27. The winner was afforded a :29 second breather in the second quarter, reaching the midway point of the race in :56. With Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater) moving up to second on the outside and My Buddy Ninkster (Tyler Smith) enjoying a tight pocket ride, Latest Desire had to step it up in the third panel, stopping that teletimer in 1:23.4. With Lucky Lime still pressing on the outside and runnerup My Buddy Ninkster finding racing room along the stretch pylons, Allard and Latest Desire paced a confident :28.1 closing quarter to win by a measured 'neck' margin. A recent purchase by the partnership of AWS Stables, Fairway Stables and Milton Leeman, Latest Desire eclipsed the $400,000 earnings plateau with his third straight win, including a 20% bonus as Ohio owners winning from a nine-hole start. Virgil Morgan Jr. trains the 7-year-old Real Desire gelding. Latest Desire (S.Allard/V.Morgan Jr.) Miami Valley Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - A "neck" separated the top four finishers in Saturday's featured $22,000 Open Pace at Miami Valley Raceway, with Latest Desire pushing a "nose" in front at the wire. As the 3-5 favorite off an impressive 1:50 triumph a week ago, driver Simon Allard was able to coax a 1:51 mile from Latest Desire this week to down nine rivals in 1:51. Fancy Creek Elusiv (Mike Oosting) got the first quarter mile marker call in :27.3 with Latest Desire right behind and Sparky Mark (Dan Noble) and Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater) in hot pursuit. Sparky Mark was able to clear to the front and trip the halfway beam in :55.1. Noble was able to keep his charge in front at the 1:22.2 three-quarters, but Latest Desire had pulled the pocket and was lapped on and gaining on the leader. At the head of the stretch Meadowbrookthunder (Trace Tetrick) found a seam and the four horse stampede to the wire was underway. The quartet raced on even terms in a thrilling stretch duel that wasn't decided until Latest Desire stuck his nose in front in the final stride. Lucky Lime, Meadowbrookthunder and Sparky Mark-who all raced very gamely--followed him through the wire. Virgil Morgan Jr. trains Latest Desire for the AWS Stable, the Fairway Stable and Milton Leeman, all of Ohio. It was the 31st lifetime win in 93 starts for the 7-year-old Real Desire gelding, who now has $390,936 in earnings. Miami Valley Raceway, in conjunction with the U.S.T.A. Strategic Wagering platform, announces an instant $7500 total pool guarantee in Sunday’s Lucky Pick 5 wager, covering races 10 through 14.  The matinee program begins at 2:05 p.m. with estimated post time for the 10th race at 5:00 p.m.  When the Lucky Pick 5 went unsolved for the fourth consecutive program on Saturday night, it resulted in a carryover of $2,883.57 into Sunday afternoon’s wager, prompting the $7500 guaranteed total pool. Gregg Keidel      

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