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WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 13, 2017 -- Valley Of Sin quarter-poled to the lead and hung tough late to score in 1:55.4, fastest this year by an older harness racing stallion on a five-eighths-mile track, in Friday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Valley Of Sin was third when trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder sent him to the point. The 1-1 favorite needed some encouragement late, but he held off Trustworthy Kid, who was racing off a four-month layoff, by a length. The first-over Nothinbutanallstar earned show. John Ducharme campaigns Valley Of Sin, a 7-year-old Yankee Glide-Anklet Hanover ridgling who extended his career bankroll to $267,659. Dave Palone collected three wins on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

John Ducharme has enjoyed a varied career in harness racing, from attorney to racetrack presiding judge, to breeder, trainer, driver, and owner. And as he approaches his 90th birthday, in March, he considers himself fortunate. "When you get the chance to live out your passion," Ducharme said, "it doesn't get any better than that." Right now, it doesn't get any better than the ride Ducharme is on with 7-year-old male trotter Valley Of Sin. Ducharme bought Valley Of Sin privately in October 2015 with the idea of breeding him to his small band of broodmares, but has put those plans on hold after watching the horse's successful return from injury. Last year, Valley Of Sin won eight of 28 races and earned $87,240. The son of Yankee Glide-Anklet Hanover was at his best as the year came to an end, capturing four of his final five starts of 2016, all at The Meadows. On Saturday, he is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $22,000 Preferred Handicap at The Meadows, leaving from post No. 9 with trainer-driver Wilbur Yoder. For his career, Valley Of Sin has won 18 of 48 races and earned $256,899. He has won six of nine races lifetime at The Meadows, finishing worse than second only once. "He's a nice horse," Ducharme said of Valley Of Sin, who at age 3 was a multiple winner on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit and also won the Townsend Ackerman at the Meadowlands Racetrack. "When he was young and sound, he raced well wherever he was." Ducharme is no stranger to success with trotters. He bred, trained and co-owned 1995 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt champion Abundance (who also won a Hambletonian heat before finishing second to Tagliabue in the final); bred, trained and owned stakes-winner High Tech (a Breeders Crown runner-up in 1999); and trained 1975 Elitlopp runner-up Quick Work and 1982 Canadian Trotting Classic runner-up Crowntron. When Ducharme watched Valley Of Sin win a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in a track-record 1:52.3 at The Meadows in 2013, he decided to keep an eye on the horse. Unfortunately, Valley Of Sin suffered a suspensory injury and was limited to only four starts (three wins and a second) in the ensuing two years. "I saw that (sire stakes) race and thought he was the best I'd seen in a while," Ducharme said. "I followed his career because I thought I might like to buy him, and I finally did. I was going to breed him to a few of my mares, but he seemed to be sound, so while we were waiting to breed him we decided to see how he would hold up in training. Wilbur has done a great job with him. He's showing the type of horse that he was, and is." Said Yoder, "I like everything about him. The minute he walked in the door, he was just a nice horse. You can do whatever you want with him. He's got a lot of speed and he's got a lot of manners. He handles nice, he's quiet, he does his work, his ears are always up; he's just hap py to be a racehorse." For now, Valley Of Sin, who is a ridgling, will remain a racehorse. Ducharme has 10 mares, but wants to keep Valley Of Sin "in racing mode" as long as the horse is healthy. "I'm an older man, so I enjoy having him race," Ducharme said, laughing. "Of course, racing horses is race to race. I think he's capable of racing at the top level and I'd like to maybe give him that opportunity (this year) on a limited basis. It's a management issue, but hope is eternal. "We're just enjoying this," he added. "It's been a good ride." by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications/USTA

December 26, 2016 - Vivid Wise As (2m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall) scored an impressive front-trotting 1.14.7kr victory in today’s Gran Premio Allevatori (purse €187,000) at Capannelle Roma’s 1000 meter harness racing track. Enrico Bellei teamed the open-lengths winner over the 2100 meter autostart course. Second was Vessillo As (2m Mondiale OK-Yankee Dapple-Donerail) driven by Edoardo Baldi and third was Vampire Dany (2m Conway Hall-Illusion Dany-Varenne) reined by Roberto Andreghetti. The Filly Division (purse €66,000, 1640 meters autostart) went to 1.14.2kr clocked Vale Capar (2f Conway Hall-Madame Capar-Supergill) for Antonio DiNardo. A length off in second was Villa Santina Jet (2f Igor Font-Lunigiana Jet-Supergill) for driver V.P. DellAnnunziata and third place was Victoria Luis (2f Conway Hall-Danae del Ronco-Lemon Dra). The aged performers met in the classic Gala Internazione del Trotto (purse €110,000, 2100 meters autostart). The very impressive 1.12.8kr timed victory went to Trendy OK (4f Varenne-Annette Hanover-Sierra Kosmos) with Alessandro Gocciadoro aboard. She literally wide circled the field in the last turn and motored clear in late stretch to defeat Rocky Winner (8m Credit Winner-Level Fortytwo-Arnaquer) with Roberto Andreghetti up. Third home was Sharon Gar (5f Varenne-Geneve Gar-Lemon Dra). Positano d’Ete and Divisionist were fourth and fifth respectively as pacesetter Pascia’Lest was eighth after fading badly in the lane. Thomas H. Hicks

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 21, 2016 -- Abandoning his customary rallying style, Valley Of Sin zipped right to the front, thwarted his lone serious challenger and captured his third straight harness racing victory in Wednesday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. In his most recent six starts, Valley Of Sun never held the lead until the final call. On Wednesday, however, trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder hustled him to the point and gave him a comfortable 59 opening half. That left the 6-year-old Yankee Glide-Anklet Hanover ridgling with enough pop to turn back the first-over bid of Sixteen Mikes and triumph in 1:55.3. The pocket-sitting Classicality finished second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Sixteen Mikes was third. John Ducharme campaigns Valley Of Sin, who now boasts $256,899 in career earnings. Dan Rawlings collected three wins on the 12-race card.   The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Under The Stars (Yankee Glide) came from the clouds to win the harness racing 2016 Holiday Trot Final at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday evening. Frank McMahon trains the nine year old veteran campaigner whose second place finish in leg one of the series propelled him to Thursday's final. Phil Fluet piloted Under The Stars who got a second over trip behind the race's favorite Golden Stroke (Stephane Bouchard), the only trotter to score victories in each of the legs of the series heading into the $15,450 final. When Golden Stroke was tiring, Fluet guided Under The Stars to the far outside as front-running Tagmaster (Tony Ciuffetelli) was started to falter on the lead. Under The Stars got up to win in 2:00.1 on a cold December evening in Saratoga and did so at odds of 8-1. My Friend Charlie (Mark Beckwith), dismissed at odds of 10-1 came charging hard for second while Tagmaster held on to earn the show spot. Under The Stars returned $19.60 to win and started an exacta that paid $147 and a triple that came back $570. There are three race cards remaining in the 2016 campaign at Saratoga with racing on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6:45pm and on Sunday with a matinee that kicks off at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Last into the final turn, Valley Of Sin roared wide through the lane to capture Wednesday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Not only did Valley Of Sin trail late, but he also had excess cover that guaranteed him a wide journey in the stretch. When trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder angled him to the middle of the track, however, the 6-year-old Yankee Glide-Anklet Hanover ridgling blazed by them all to score in 1:56.1. The pocket-sitting Classicality shot the Lightning Lane for second, a neck back, while Explosive Leggs earned show. John Ducharme campaigns Valley Of Sin, who won for the third time in his last four starts and extended his career bankroll to $247,899. Dave Palone, Dan Rawlings and Mike Wilder each collected three wins on the 14-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

The 2016 Holiday Trotting Series kicked off on Thursday at Saratoga Casino Hotel for harness racing trotters who had compiled seasonal earnings of $12,500 or less as of 10/31/16. There were two divisions of the series each going for a purse of $6,000. Golden Stroke (Yankee Glide) worked hard early and moved to the lead while aggressively piloted by Stephane Bouchard in the first division on Thursday. The Eve Bergeron-trained trotter held on late to win in 1:59.3 for his second victory of the year. Golden Stroke had finished second or third in four of his previous six starts before becoming the public's 6-5 favorite in leg one of the newly contested series at the Spa. Tony Ciuffetelli's Tagmaster (Tagliabue) was the fastest of the leg one trotters as the 12 year old circled the field to prevail going away in 1:59.1 in the second division. Ciuffetelli owns, trains and drives the veteran high-stepper who surged past his rivals after making a big three wide move en route to his fourth win of the year and third in his last four starts. Leg two of the Holiday Trotting Series will take place next week with the final being contested during closing week of the '16 racing season. The Holiday Pacing Series kicks off on Friday night. First post time on Friday is set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 30, 2016 -- Valley Of Sin used a relentless uncovered move in the slop to wear down the leader and capture Wednesday's harness racing $15,500 Winners Over $10,000 Life Trot at The Meadows. Valley Of Sin was fifth near the half when trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder sent him after I Know My Chip, who had worked hard to reach the front. The 6-year-old Yankee Glide-Anklet Hanover ridgling put away I Know My Chip at the top of the lane and held off Nothinbutanallstar by 3/4 lengths to prevail in 1:54.4. Cantab Lindy finished third. John Ducharme campaigns Valley Of Sin, who pushed his career bankroll to $237,899. Aaron Merriman piloted three winners on the 14-race card. With two victories, Mike Wilder extended to five his streak of multiple-win programs; his win total during that stretch is 21. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 16, 2016 -- At 3, Valley of Sin trotted to a track record in a Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows but paid a terrible price -- a suspensory injury that cost him his entire 4-year-old harness racing campaign and limited him to four starts the following year. On Wednesday, the 6-year-old Yankee Glide-Anklet Hanover ridgling again graced The Meadows winners' circle, scene of his greatest triumph and despair, when he stormed from worst to first to capture the $20,000 Preferred Trot. Valley Of Sin trailed by 5 lengths at the three-quarters but at the urging of trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder brushed wide through the lane to score in 1:54.2. Early leader Nothinbutanallstar finished second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Tall Cotton third. John Ducharme owns Valley Of Sin, who pushed his career bankroll to $229,149. Jim Pantaleano piloted four winners, including a pair for trainer Rich Gillock, on the 14-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

October 30, 2016 - Today’s Grand Premio Anact Finale for colt and fillies (each with a purse of €100,100. Distance 100 meters autostart) produced reported record timed winners for these harness racing contests. The colt division went to 1.13kr timed Vivid Wise As (2m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall-Down Goes Debbie-Andover Hall) with Marco Smorgon driving. The five length winner scored his fifth win in six seasonal starts. Driver Smorgon took the winner from the back and circled up to gain the pocket with 500 meters to go. The pair then exploded to the lead and drew clear. Varden Baba (2m From Above-Nenya Baba-Varenne) was second and third was the Pippo Gubellini teamed Vitruvio (2m Andrian Chip-Tigre OM-Zebu). The filly division was timed in 1.13.kr for the post four winning Vale Capar (2f Conway Hall-Madame Capar-Supergill-Foxy’N Rowdy-Rowdy Yankee) with Antonio Di Nardo teaming. Vanesia EK (2f Explot Café-Nike EF-Varenne) was a fast closing second for Pietro Gubellini and third was Vanatta (2f Pascia’Lest-Classic You-Malabar Man-Nina toy Eden-Arnie Almahurst) handles by Roberto Vecchione Thomas H. Hicks  

Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Giveitgasandgo is certainly creating his own VIP experience leading up to this weekend's harness racing Breeders Crown. Trained by John Butenschoen, Giveitgasandgo had won seven straight races prior to finishing third in last week's Breeders Crown elimination, in which he qualified for the $600,000 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot final this Saturday at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Scheduled as race six on the stacked 16-race card, Giveitgasandgo starts from the rail in the 10-horse field, with Corey Callahan in the sulky. Post time is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. ET. "He's a very nice colt that's done everything we've asked of him so far this year," said Callahan, who is seeking his first Crown trophy. "Last week was his first start on a big track for me and it was great acclimating mile for him. We drew a great spot and think he'll give a good showing of himself in the final." The Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover ridgling is owned by Harmony Oaks Racing Stable (Sorrento, FL), David Miller (Lake Wylie, SC), Lawrence Means (Camp Hill, PA) and VIP Internet Stable. VIP Internet Stable, based out of Piscataway, New Jersey, is a racehorse syndication group that was started by co-partners Ed O'Connor and Tom Janes in 1999. The concept was that anyone from any location could now get involved with harness racing ownership, with the goal of offering fractional ownership in order to get as many people as possible involved in the game. "In 2009 we were fortunate enough to take an interest in a horse by the name of River Shark. This eventual million-dollar earner took us to various stakes events (including the Little Brown Jug) and got us interested in the excitement surrounding 2 and 3-year-old stakes racing," Janes said. "At the time we were also introduced to John (Butenschoen). John had relocated from the struggling Illinois horse program to Pennsylvania. He enjoyed the baby game, so we started buying a few pieces of yearlings with him and some of his partners." From there, the relationship between the two expanded and grew. "We then started getting seven to eight yearlings with John each year and were again introduced to the exciting world of stakes racing. We started winning a sire stakes leg here and there as well as few other events. The interest and excitement continued to build when in 2012 we won the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes with Duel In The Sun. That continued in 2013 when we won the $260,000 PA Sire Stakes with Allstar Partner," Janes said. "We fell a little short in 2014, but finished a close second in the PA Sires with Tomy Terror, and last year we were back in the loop with a nice trotter by the name of Hititoutofthepark, who has earned over $300,000 for us." Enter Giveitgasandgo in 2016. "We took an interest in Giveitgasandgo at last year's Lexington Sale where he was purchased for $32,000. John looks at hundreds of horses prior to the sale and then provides his owners with his overall ratings based on several factors. We then walk the sale grounds with John and review his top selections as well as any that we might like. We've had some luck with some fairly priced Yankee Glides in the past, so certainly were keeping an eye on any that John had rated as an 'A'," Janes added. Back track to two weeks ago at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, where Giveitgasandgo had a statement performance. In the $103,800 Keystone Classic 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot, Giveitgasandgo (with driver Scott Zeron) won his seventh straight in a career-best 1:54 4/5, eclipsing the old stakes record of 1:55 2/5 set by Keystone Activator and Pilgrim's Taj and equaling Sutton's track record. Thus far, he has set the fastest time on a five-eighths-mile track in the division this year and for his efforts, raised his earnings to $264,240. "We are of course thrilled to have Giveitgasandgo in the Breeders Crown. Our members are extremely excited to own a piece of such a nice horse and many of them have only dreamed of owning a horse like this and we're excited to give them that opportunity," Janes said. "We realize that it's going to be very tough going up against Linda's (Toscano) horse, Walner. However, Giveitgasandgo is pretty talented and has been prepped nicely for this." RACE 6 - Meadowlands - NJ - October 29, 2016 BREEDERS CROWN - FINAL 2 Year Old Colts & Geldings Bill Weaver Memorial Trophy Planned Post Time: 8:46 PM 1 - Giveitgasandgo - Callahan - Butenschoen- 5/1 2 - Walner* - Tetrick - Toscano- 7/5 3 - Snowstorm Hanover - Kakaley - Burke-15/1 4 - Sortie* - McCarthy - Daley-8/1 5 - Dover Dan - S. Zeron - Butenschoen- 15/1 6 - Sir John F - Kakaley - Takter-20/1 7 - Moonshiner Hanover - S. Zeron - Beaver-12/1 8 - What the Hill - D. Miller - Burke-8/1 9 - Fly On - A. Miller - J. Miller-12/1 10 - Jake - Filion - Blais-6/1 by Lou Monaco for Breeders Crown      

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 11, 2016 -- She Wore Red zipped to the front for harness racing driver Tony Hall, easily withstood a mild challenge and scored an in-hand victory in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Rebounding from a tough trip last week when she was used hard twice and tired late, She Wore Red easily dispatched the only challenger she faced -- the first-over RV Janet. She prevailed in 1:53.4, 2-1/4 lengths better than the ground-saving Unefoisdansmavie, with Mistress Valentine a rallying third. John Melsheimer trains the 4-year-old daughter of Yankee Glide-Tori Ann, who extended her career bankroll to $187,525, for owner and co-breeder Joyce McClelland. There was more good news on the card for She Wore Red as her full brother Yankee Fashion, a 5-year-old gelding, earned show in a claiming trot. Mike Wilder piloted four winners on the 15-race program while Dave Palone, trainer Ron Burke and Hall each enjoyed a triple. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features four Keystone Classics -- all for 2-year-olds -- worth an estimated $425,000. First post is 1 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

CHESTER, PA - The state of Pennsylvania's star 2-year-old pacers and trotters were in action on Sunday afternoon (September 11) at Harrah's Philadelphia. They were competing for purses that totaled over $1.2 million, with the finals going for $252,000 each. In the 2-year old filly trotting division championship, John Butenschoen trainee Fine Tuned Lady went down the road for owners William Wiswell and M &L of Delaware Inc. The daughter of Cantab Hall set fractions of 28.1, :27.2, and 1:26.2, before completing the mile three parts of a length better than race-favorite Can't I (John Campbell), in 1:55.3. Temple Ruins (Yannick Gingras) rallied on for third. It was the third win of the season for Fine Tuned Lady (Corey Callahan), boosting her career earnings to over $200,000. In the consolation for 2-year-old filly trotters, it was Fashion Farm's Donato Fashion (Tim Tetrick) scoring a huge upset to take the $50,000 affair. The daughter of Donato Hanover drafted behind live cover, before taking aim in the stretch to win in 1:57.1. It was the first career win for the Jim Campbell trainee. She returned $48.40 to win. The Butenshoen/Callahan connection struck again in the 2-year-old colt and gelding trotting championship, as Giveitgasandgo lived up to his name. The son of Yankee Glide powered to the front end just past the quarter, and led every step after. The fractions were :28.1, :56.4, and 1:26.1. The Butenchoen trainee was able to hold off the upset bid of the pocket-sitter Moonshiner Hanover (Scott Zeron) to win by a head in 1:56. Affair of Honor (Tim Tetrick) finished third. It was the sixth career win in eight starts for the talented freshman trotter. He as now bankrolled over $215,000 in his career. He is owned by Harmony Oaks Racing, David J. Miller, Lawrence Means, and VIP Internet Stables. Perhaps the show stealing performance of the card, however, occurred in the 2-year-old colt and gelding consolation. Todd Rooney and Kim Farmer's Don Dream (Dave Miller) set a track record for 2-year-old colt trotters in a stunning display. Taking command off the wings, Don Dream rated the half in :58.4, before trotting the back half in :56.3 to stop the clock in 1:55.2, breaking a 9-year-old track record. The previous mark of 1:55.3 was held by Lear Jetta, and accomplished in 2007. The 2-year-old filly pacing championship saw Aaron Lambert trainee Agent Q (Dave Miller) avenge her two straight losses to race-favorite Idyllic Beach (Yannick Gingras). The daughter of Western Terror had to brush, after longshot Someomensomewhere (Marcus Miller) found the front early. Agent Q was immediately challenged by Idyllic Beach, releasing her before the half. At the top of the stretch, Agent Q took aim, and powered by for a two length win, stopping the clock in 1:52. It was the third career win for Agent Q, as she boosted her bankroll to near $280,000. She is owned by Martin Scharf, Robert Muscara, and Bill and Tanya Rochetti. The freshman filly pace consolation went to a grinding Gotthisone Hanover (Yannick Gingras). The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was able to hold off the fast-closing favorite Miss Jones (Dave Miller) to win for just the first time, in 1:54.1. She is owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, Aws Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. The 2-year-old colt and gelding pacing championship was taken in front-end fashion by Ray Schnittker trainee Huntsville (Tim Tetrick). The son of Somebeachsomewhere brushed past early leader (and eventual second place finisher) Downbytheseaside (Matt Kakaley) and was able to hold off a host of challenges to win in 1:51.1. Race-favorite Fear The Dragon (Dave Miller) settled for show. It was the third win of Huntsville's career, vaulting his lifetime earnings to over $215,000. He is owned by Ray Schnittker, Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo, and Steve Arnold. The consolation for the freshman colt and gelding pacers went to R J P (Marcus Miller). The son of Somebeachsomewhere was able to work out a cover trip after tucking early. He swept by in the stretch to win by a little less than a length, holding off the 80-1 longshot Bellows Binge in a furious stretch drive. It was his first career win. R J P is owned by Dave and John Prushnok, David J. Miller, and Lawrence Means. He is trained by Erv Miller. by Michael Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Gianni (Yankee Glide) matched his lifetime mark in Thursday's harness racing  feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Chris Marino trainee followed the cover of the race's favorite Up The Alley (Billy Dobson) before tracking him down in the stretch in the $10,000 feature for trotters. Gianni, who returned $10.20 to win, recorded his fourth victory of the season when he stopped the timer in a career best-matching 1:56.2. Up The Alley won the place photo with Sweet Thing (Bruce Aldrich Jr) who had to settle for third. Gianni completed a training double for conditioner Chris Marino whose Hezabluechipboy N (Santanna Blue Chip) prevailed in a career best 1:55.3. The New Zealand invader was making his first start in the US when he wired the field in Thursday's non-winners of two race lifetime pace for colts and geldings. Hezabluechipboy N was driven to victory by Mark Beckwith. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

WASHINGTON, PA, July 26, 2016 -- She Wore Red moved three wide into the final turn and rolled home to score in a career-best 1:53.2 -- her second straight harness racing victory -- in Tuesday's $22,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. She Wore Red was fourth when Tony Hall moved her behind the first-over cover of Princess Pablano. When that cover stalled, the 4-year-old daughter of Yankee Glide-Tori Ann brushed widest through the lane to defeat the hard-used Smokinmombo by 2 lengths. Whata Donato earned show. John Melsheimer trains She Word Red, who extended her lifetime bankroll to $156,575, for Joyce McClelland. Hall collected five wins -- including a pair for trainer Jimmie Ritter -- on the 14-race card while Aaron Merriman fashioned a triple. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

A word of advice to Julie Miller's friends. As the harness racing trainer gets Milligan's School ready for his final Hambletonian prep event, don't post anything on her Facebook wall because you won't hear back until at least next week. Milligan's School is competing in Sunday's (July 24) $300,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial main event for 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs, and he has the complete attention of his trainer. "Not that I'm older or I'm wiser, I don't know about those kind of things, but I really try to just stay off social media at this point," Miller said. "I don't read a bunch of stuff. I need to focus on my horses, not what everybody else is doing. I really just try to zone in and let the external noise figure itself out." She also tries to keep things simple as the stakes grow higher. "I try not to over-think things," Miller said. "I just really try to stay on track. We have our goal and mission. When things are going right in my stable we do the same things, and it's the same when things are in a rough patch. I try not to let other things distract me from my goal and my purpose with my horses." The purpose on Sunday is not just for Milligan's School to compete, but to win his final race before the $1 million Hambletonian, which is Aug. 6 at the Meadowlands. A son of Yankee Glide out of the mare Tori Ann, the horse has won three of six starts this year and earned $85,166. He has taken two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Consolation division, after a shoeing incident caused him to go off stride in his elimination. He was sixth last weekend in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, which was won by Marion Marauder. Milligan's School had a tremendous freshman campaign, with five wins, three seconds and two thirds, good for $302,560 in earnings in 16 starts. He won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at Red Mile in Lexington; was second to Dog Gone Lucky (by a head) in the Matron Stakes; third in the Valley Victory final; and fifth in the Breeders Crown. "I would say things are pretty much status quo this year (compared to last)," Miller said. "He raced excellent last year. With how his schedule was this year he hasn't had many starts yet. We had a hiccup in the Earl Beal eliminations and that was kind of a missed opportunity, but we're looking forward." One thing that has changed is the horse's physical stature, which makes the trainer happy considering the competition. "Obviously I do think he's a little bigger and stronger than he was last year and he's going to have to be," Miller said. "That's a great division. Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder, they're just excellent horses. You're going to have to be not just 100 percent, but 110 percent because Frank and Marion are so dominant right now. I hope I can still compete with them. I don't want to race just for the money I want to race for the win." Milligan's School drew post four Sunday, which puts him in a good starting point. He is 5-1 on the morning line. The four-horse entry of Love Matters, Bar Hopping, Hollywood Highway, and Lagerfeld is the 9-5 favorite. Love Matters, Bar Hopping, and Lagerfeld are trained by Jimmy Takter while Hollywood Highway is from the Staffan Lind Stable. The horses are an entry because of common ownership. "It's that time of year, it's getting to be crunch time, this is why we work hard all winter long," Miller said. "He feels good, he's healthy. I feel like I've got him at the best that he can be. Hopefully we can count on that and make good. "Like everybody else, I don't know what's going to happen. The goal here is the Hambo, this is going to be a really good determination if he fits in there. I'm hoping for a good effort. There's a lot of money on the line. We've got a good position so I'm hoping he can make good on it. I hope he's at his best and he can work on a good trip." If it results in a trip to the Hambletonian, then things will be right on schedule for the Millers and Russia-based owner Natalia Stroy of Stroy Inc. When Julie and her husband Andy, the horse's driver, picked Milligan's School out at the Standardbred Horse Sale they did so with high hopes. He sold for $120,000. "I explained to Natalia that I think he's a stakes horse," Miller said. "That was the whole goal when we bought him, was to make him a stakes horse and so far he's fulfilling that promise. I told the owner I thought he'd be a top contender and at least a sire stakes horse and hopefully a Grand Circuit horse. He's blossoming into what we wanted him to be." Miller considers herself "pretty fortunate," noting that Milligan's School is a mild mannered horse that can lead or come off cover. "That's really one good thing about him," she said. "He's two fingers to drive and he's honest and he'll give you his best chance." And how does Andy like driving him? "I think he likes to drive anything that's winning," Julie said with a laugh. "I do think it's more special, because it's one we train in the barn. So that's a little bit more special. Andy gets on really well with the horse. We're just hoping for some good things." Following is the field for the Zweig: PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Love Matters-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-9/5 2. Hititoutofthepark-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-6/1 3. Bar Hopping-Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-9/5 4. Milligan's School-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/1 5. Trolley-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller-2/1 6. Hollywood Highway-John Campbell-Staffan Lind-9/5 7. Lagerfeld-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-9/5 8. Blenheim-Chris Christoforou-Per Henriksen-8/1 9. Smalltownthrowdown-Dan Daley-Dan Daley-10/1 ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 7 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Dante - Cufflink Hanover - Credevie May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Tyson - Edinburgh - Will Self May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Mikkeli Hanover - Granite State - Marion Gondolier May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Hititoutofthepark - Lagerfeld - Cloud Nine Hanover May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Cufflink Hanover - Love Matters - Southern Cross May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Truemass Volo - Marion Gondolier - Hanks Tank May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Milligan's School - Hititoutofthepark - Desert Runner May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Lagerfeld - Tyson - Hollywood Highway May 20 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Southwind Frank - Brooklyn Hill - Bar Hopping May 21 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Iron Mine Bucky - Steed - Hititoutofthepark May 21 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Cufflink Hanover - Hollywood Highway - Truemass Volo May 27 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Mavens Way - Jack Vernon - Double L Lindy June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Hollywood Highway - Taco Tuesday - Sliding Home June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Lagerfeld - Truemass Volo - Dupree June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Milligan's School - Reigning Moni - Iron Mine Bucky June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Love Matters - Tight Lines - Alexander Hanover June 4 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Southwind Frank - Brooklyn Hill - Mavens Way June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Love Matters - Taco Tuesday - Desert Runner June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Trolley - Lagerfeld - Cufflink Hanover June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Hititoutofthepark - Hollywood Highway - Dupree June 18 - Mohawk - Goodtimes - Marion Marauder - Will Take Charge - Blenheim June 19 - Vernon - Empire Breeders Classic - Dante - Just For Today - Thats A Bad Boy June 26 - Buffalo - NYSS - The Royal Harry - Crazycat - A Jersey Contract July 1 - Tioga - Tompkins-Geers - Dominion Beach - Cufflink Hanover - Waitlifter K July 1 - Tioga - Tompkins-Geers - Hititoutofthepark - Blownoutofthewater - Steed July 2 - Pocono - Beal Memorial - Southwind Frank - Trolley - Bar Hopping July 14 - Yonkers - NYSS - Dante - The Royal Harry - Credevie July 16 - Meadowlands - Dancer Mem. - Southwind Frank - Sutton - Love Matters July 16 - Meadowlands - Dancer Mem. - Marion Marauder - Bar Hopping - Iron Mine Bucky Hambletonian eligible winners in bold by Rich Fisher, USTA Senior Correspondent

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