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After sitting out last week's round in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series because of a numbers crunch, Rockin Ron's connections hope the harness racing gelding can come back this weekend with a performance good enough to maintain a spot in the upcoming $200,000-added final at Yonkers Raceway. The preliminary divisions of the six-week Levy Series for older male pacers conclude Saturday at The Hilltop. Rockin Ron will enter the night holding the eighth-and-final spot for the April 22 championship, but might need nothing less than a win Saturday to keep his position. Rockin Ron holds a five-point edge over Wakizashi Hanover and eight-point advantage over the trio of Long Live Rock, Mach It So, and McWicked in the battle to qualify for the final. He trails both Blood Brother and Provacativeprince N by 22 points, so numerous possible outcomes are in play, but the simplest way for Rockin Ron to roll into the final is by winning his division this weekend. A horse receives 25 points each time he races in the series. He then gets points based on his finish, with 50 points for a win, 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth and five for fifth. The complete standings are available at this link. Rockin Ron, who has a win, second and fourth in the series, sat out last week's action because trainer Ron Burke could enter only three of his five eligible horses. A trainer can have only one horse in each division and last week there were three divisions. There has been a maximum of four divisions in the preliminary rounds. "To be fair we've had to space out who gets to race, which really hurts your chances to get into the final," said Mark Weaver, who is among the owners of Rockin Ron. "I wish we could have raced him because it pretty much would have assured him being in the final. But that's the situation we're in. "If he's good enough to get in, he deserves it. If he's not good enough, then he probably didn't deserve it." Rockin Ron, a 5-year-old son of Real Desire-Im All A Roan, is in the second of three divisions Saturday. He faces a group that includes series leader Missile J, third-place Keystone Velocity, fifth-place Bit Of A Legend (the series defending champion) and Blood Brother. "Fortunately he drew inside," Weaver said, referring to Rockin Ron's post No. 2 starting position with driver Yannick Gingras. "Hopefully we can get a good chunk of it." Last year, Rockin Ron won 11 of 26 races and earned $390,910 for owners Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and RTC Stables. His victories included the Confederation Cup and Prix d'Ete, defeating 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in both. He finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Dorothy Mullin Invitational. "Obviously we were high on him coming into this year and we've got him staked up to pretty much everything," Weaver said. "I think so far his year is starting off well. I think every start he's been pretty good. He hasn't been raced too hard and I think the week off should help. I'm real happy. "For some of these Levy horses, after the Levy they're back to being overnight horses. With Ron and All Bets Off, those are two that I think have a chance to go on and be competitive in the open ranks." All Bets Off, a 6-year-old stallion who has earned $2.21 million in his career, has finishes of second, third and sixth in the Levy. He competes in Saturday's third division, where Somewhere In L A is a slight 2-1 morning line favorite over 5-2 Wakizashi Hanover. All Bets Off and driver Matt Kakaley are 6-1 from post six. "We contemplated standing him at stud last year, but figured we would give him another year of racing," Weaver said. "He qualified great and his first race was super. Then he was sick and drew badly. It's a little disappointing, but at the same time we've got a long year. Matt loves him and still has confidence in him. Hopefully Ronnie can get him straightened out." Burke's other Levy competitors have been Caviart Luca, Always At My Place, and Take It Back Terry. Caviart Luca will race in Saturday's first division and is 4-1 on the morning line. "Ronnie said they all trained great, all the Saturday night horses, especially Caviart Luca," Weaver said. "Hopefully (Caviart Luca and All Bets Off) can do all right and sneak into the consolation." Complete entries for Saturday's races can be found at this link. Ken Weingartner

Yannick Gingras, the 2014 Harness Driver of the Year and a winner of more than 6,300 races, is going to trade in his sulky for a saddle. In a stunning move, Gingras has said he intends to end his driving career following this year’s Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park, which will be held on the nights of Oct. 27 and 28. He plans to begin riding Thoroughbreds around Jan. 1 and will launch his new career at Gulfstream as a 10-pound apprentice. Gingras has already begun the preparations for the career move. Driving sparingly during the winter, he has spent much of the recent months at Palm Meadows in Florida galloping horses for trainer Jason Servis. “I know a lot of people think Yannick is crazy for trying this, but he’s going to prove a lot of people wrong,” Servis said. “He’s a natural horseman, a natural lightweight, has great instincts and greats hands and has already proven he knows how to get a horse to the winner’s circle.” Gingras, 37, said the primary reason for making the shift is he feels his earning potential is a lot greater as a jockey than as a harness driver. While jockeys make 10% of a horse’s earnings, drivers make only 5%. In his best year, 2014, Gingras’s mounts earned $17.3 million, tops in North America, making his approximate earnings $850,000. By comparison, Javier Castellano led all jockeys in earnings in 2016 with $26.8 million, meaning he personally made about $2.6 million. “I have great respect for people like Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, John Velazquez,” Gingras said. “They are great athletes and they deserve what they get. I may not rise to their level, but I firmly believe that I can be a top jockey and that I can earn a lot more money doing that. The system of paying drivers only 5% is ridiculous and it’s something that was devised 75 years ago when the sport was much different.” The primary reason drivers get only 5% of winnings is because up until the mid-to-late 60’s trainers almost always drove their own horses. Therefore, they would get 10%, 5% for driving and 5% for training. However, the game was revolutionized by the concept of catch drivers, drivers who do not train, focus only on driving and are, for the most part, far better at that aspect of the sport than trainers. It is now rare for a trainer to drive their own horse in a race. Gingras is not a neophyte when it comes to Thoroughbred racing. A native of Sorel, Quebec, his grandfather Phillipe Gingras was leading trainer at Blue Bonnets in Montreal three times between 1961 and 1967. He twice won the prestigious Quebec Derby, in 1961 with Poisson d’Avril (Menetrier) and in 1965 with Good Old Mort (Promised Land). Blue Bonnets stopped racing Thoroughbreds in 1975 and converted to a harness racing only. It is no longer in existence. “My family has deep Thoroughbred roots,” Gingras said. “If Blue Bonnets continued to race Thoroughbreds there’s no doubt I would have become a jockey instead of a driver. My grandfather retired when Blue Bonnets stopped racing the Thoroughbreds, but my uncle, Gilles, moved to Woodbine and became an assistant trainer to Jean-Louis Levesque. I’d hang around with him a lot at Woodbine and I did gallop horses there briefly when I turned 16. But it was not home; I struggled with English at the time and I wanted to go back to Quebec. Loving horses, my only real option was to become a harness driver.” Gingras, at 5 foot 5 and weighing 130 pounds, is small for a harness driver. He said he will maintain that weight until finishing his driving career and then hopes to get down to about 112. He knows as a 10-pound apprentice he probably should be lighter, but feels that is the ideal weight for him to succeed as jockey. “I’ll have no problem getting down to 112, 113,” he said. “Anything less and I think I may be too weak.” Gingras said he has been mulling the switch for about three years. He sought the advise of Al and Michelle Crawford, prominent harness owners who also operate a small Thoroughbred stable with Servis and trainer Jorge Navarro and they advised him that Servis would be a perfect teacher for him. Servis rode briefly but had weight problems that led him to became first a valet and then a trainer. “You know why Yannick is going to make this work?” Michelle Crawford said. “It’s simple: he’s a winner.” “I was really skeptical when the Crawfords came to me and asked that I help Yannick,” Servis admitted. “Honestly, I didn’t even know who he was, other than some 37-year-old guy who wanted to become a jockey. But you could see right away that he was different. Horsemanship is horsemanship. Yes, I had to teach him a few things. He had a little trouble getting used to the pace we want in the mornings with our horses because the trotters go so much slower, but he picked it up quickly. Once he gets his weight down, I don’t think he’s going to have any problem making this work. I’m not saying I’m going to put him up on a horse like Sunny Ridge, but I’ll definitely use him. And a couple of trainers have also taken notice down here and asked me about him. They also seem impressed.” Gingras is believed to be the first prominent harness driver to attempt to become a jockey. However, Hall of Fame jockey Manny Ycaza made the opposite move in 1977, converting to a harness driver because leg injuries forced his retirement from riding. He drove briefly at Monticello Raceway before concluding harness racing was not for him. Gingras will be leaving harness racing on top. He is a regular driver for the sport’s two top trainers, Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter, and he was leading driver by earnings in 2014 and 2015. He has 12 Breeders Crown wins and four driving titles at the Meadowlands. “I’m ready for a new challenge in life,” he said. And, of course, every word (except for the part about Ycaza) you just read is pure nonsense. Happy April Fools’ Day. By Bill Finley Reprinted with permission of The Thoroughbred Daily News

YONKERS, N.Y. - Driver Yannick Gingras felt confident in 4-year-old mare Vintage Babe when she faced the starting gate for the opening leg of the Petticoat Series at Yonkers Raceway March 6. The daughter of Vintage Master who Gingras co-owns had won four of her seven seasonal starts and hit the board in the other three, but those races were all out of town on bigger harness racing tracks. Vintage Babe’s first start on Yonkers’ half-mile oval was anything but routine. There was a recall before the race and Gingras could sense his mare was unsettled. When the wings of the gate finally folded, Vintage Babe left hard, but went off stride before the midway point of the first turn. “She caught me by surprise. She got really hot and she went into the first turn pulling hard on me and wanting to go way too fast,” Gingras remembered. “She made a break there and I kind of shrugged it off thinking she was a little too excited, a little too grabby.” Although she lost several lengths, Vintage Babe reset her gait in a matter of strides. Turning into the backstretch, Gingras found himself in a tough spot. Vintage Babe was caught wide in fifth about 6 lengths from the lead. However, as the race’s 1/20 favorite, Gingras’ decision was clear. “As soon as she got back pacing I knew I had to pull back to last or make a move to go to the front. For me, there was only really one option: it was go to the front,” he said. Although Vintage Babe sprinted to the lead and held off her challengers to the wire, she hardly lived up to her odds-on status. She won by a desperate half-length in 1:57.2 and only mustered a :30.3 final quarter. “She was really no good,” Gingras said. “Something was really off with her because once she made the front, she barely held on and that’s not her. That race, even though she made a break, she should have won by 5, honestly.” For week two of the Petticoat, Gingras and trainer Ed Gannon, Jr. made some adjustments they thought would help Vintage Babe negotiate the Hilltop Oval. Instead, she made another break while unhurried at the start from post position five. “She made a break before she even got to the turn. That really raised a red flag for me like something is really up with her. She’s not like that usually. Before she even got to the turn, she was protecting herself,” Gingras recalled. Despite her early troubles, Vintage Babe again reset and made the most of her predicament. Charging from last, she passed a rival on the outside before diving back to the pylons on the final turn. Gingras guided her into the passing lane in the stretch and she rallied to finished third 6 lengths behind winner St Kitts. In doing so, she earned enough points to make the Petticoat Final. “I never really got her going till almost the top of the stretch and from where I was sitting, there wasn’t much of a chance. She paced the stretch really good the second week,” Gingras said. Although Vintage Babe’s path to the Petticoat Final was unconventional, it comes as a pleasant surprise for her connections. Gingras partnered with longtime friends Frank Canzone, Bob Sabatini, and Gannon to buy her out of the 2016 Harrisburg sale for $40,000. “Frank Canzone, we go way, way back. He’s actually the first guy that bought horses with me when I came to Yonkers 15 years ago,” Gingras remembered. “Ed had a horse named Looking Hanover years ago. He owned him already and I was driving for him. I actually tried to buy him to give him to Burke to train, but he wasn’t interested in selling the horse. I ended up buying a piece of him and that’s how we hooked up.” The group hoped Vintage Babe could make money racing in conditioned races at Dover Downs this winter. She exceeded expectations, winning her first six starts at the Delaware speedway and set a new lifetime mark of 1:52.2 January 10. As the wins piled up, so did her earnings. Vintage Babe has already made $49,010 this year, bringing her career total to $99,591. By earning enough points to make the Petticoat Series Final in the first two legs, Vintage Babe was able to skip the last preliminary March 20. Her connections seized the opportunity to make adjustments. Now, she’s primed for Monday’s $61,000 stakes where she’s the 5/2 second choice on the morning line. “The week off will definitely be beneficial to her. She hasn’t been that good on the half and racing her four weeks in a row would have been a little too much for her,” Gingras said. “The day after that second race, we got a lot of vet work done on her and had two weeks to work. There were a lot of positives there. “We were able to train at the farm, do the equipment changes, and try them versus just trying them in a race. That was positive as well,” he continued. “She trains on a half-mile track at home and she trained quite hard at the farm this week. (Ed) said she could not have trained any better. We’re really optimistic.” Even if Vintage Babe handles the track, the Petticoat Final won’t be a walk in the park. The race’s favorite, Cousin Mary, raced in all three preliminary legs and won them by 5 3/4, 5, and 3/4 lengths, respectively. Cousin Mary drew the rail in the final and was installed as the 9/5 favorite. “On paper, the best horse got the rail. Obviously I think she’ll end up cutting the mile,” Gingras reasoned. “As far as I’m concerned, I just have to make it through the first turn and go from there. There’s no plan going in. “I’ll see how she feels in the post parade. I’ll score her down quite a bit to see how she feels. I still think that Cousin Mary is a really nice mare, but I know how good my mare is as well. If she doesn’t struggle on the turns, I think I can go with her. I’m not saying I can beat her, but I do know that my mare is in the same class as her.” The Petticoat Series Final is race 8 on a 12-race card Monday night at Yonkers. The $30,000 Petticoat Series Consolation supports the program two races earlier. Click here to view entries for the card. First post time is 7:10 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

DOVER, DE - 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach won a $30,000 Preferred photo, Blazing Bobby Sox pulled away in the stretch in the $27,500 Delaware Special in top class wins on a chilly and windy Thursday, March 16 at Dover Downs. Yannick Gingras left in a hurry from post 8 to get the early lead and then sat second behind the sharp Major Uptrend until the homestretch when the Somebeachsomewhere-Benear gelding used the passing lane to just get up in 1:52.1 by a long nose in the $30,000 Preferred Handicap pace. Major Uptrend (Montrell Teague) was second ending a three straight win streak while Jet Airway (Corey Callahan) took third money. Ron Burke, the sports leading trainer during the last decade, conditions Limelight Beach, who won for the second time this year and 21st lifetime raising his total earnings to $1,270,279. One race later, Blazing Bobby Sox showcased his usually powerful closing brush to overpower six rivals in the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap. With Sweet Rock (Allan Davis) cutting out the pace, Art Stafford Jr. moved Blazing Bobby Sox up on the outside at the three quarters and sped into the lead reaching the final turn and then was all alone in the lane for a 1:52 triumph. Stafford and his dad, Art Stafford own The Panderosa-Liamatters gelding who won his fourth of the season and 18th lifetime, now a $199,478 career winner. Sweet Rock was second with Poisonous (Ross Wolfenden) closing fast for third. Star Messenger scored his fourth win of 2017 with Tony Morgan driving a 1:52.1 victory in one of two $15,500 Male paces. Claimed early this meet, Star Messenger lifted his seasonal earning to $35,250 for owner-trainer Gary Ewing. Star Messenger, a Jereme's Jet-Manhattan Killean gelding, has now posted 22 lifetime wins and $171,146 in purse monies. A 42-1 hot Framed Art (Stafford Jr.) rolled down the stretch to finish second. Quick Shot (Jonathan Roberts) was third. The second $15,500 division went to Richard Stansbury's All The Cookies and Yannick Gingras in an impressive 1:52.3 performance. The Rocknroll Hanover-Queen Otra four-year-old gelding won his second straight and third in his last four outings for trainer Kenny Mitchell. Tip It On Back (Bret Brittingham) came on strongly to finish second. Denslow Hanover (Davis) was the show horse. Gingras and Time Out I'm Tired came out of the pack nearing the finish line for a 1:53.2 victory in the third $15,500 event. Chris White conditions the Artiscape-Badlands Laura five-year-old for Bill Mears and Janine McIlvain. Wichita Lineman (Davis) and Black Is Back (Callahan) were second and third respectively. Corey Callahan and Yannick Gingras each tasted victory four times, Tony Morgan, Art Stafford Jr. and trainer Dylan Davis had two wins each. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:t30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission at Dover Downs is free. Reservations are suggested for the popular Winner's Circle Restaurant and its acclaimed Buffet. . For reservations, call 302-674-4600. The Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book features simulcasting of top harness and thoroughbred racing from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight daily. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs  

DOVER,DE -- Two newcomers Limelight Beach, a $1.2-million winner, and Rockeyed Optimist lead eight starters in the $30,000 Preferred, while Blazing Bobby Sox is the one to beat in this week's $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap on Thursday, March 16 at Dover Downs. First Post is 4:30 p.m. Yannick Gingras drives Weaver Bruscemi, M1, Wingfield Bros. and Burke Racing's Limelight Beach, who arrives from Yonkers where he had a win and two seconds, whie Rockeyed Optimist, a recent 1:51 winner at Meadowlands, will be driven by Tim Tetrick for owners Perretti, Berkner, Battaglia and A&B Stable. Major Uptrend has been sharp recording three wins in-a-row for Mildred Ventriglio with Tony Morgan driving. Jet Airway and Corey Callahan has been close lately for owners Mike Casalino and trainer Dylan Davis. Following last week's second straight second-place finish Gary Ewing claimed Rangers Sureshot for $30,000. Henderson Farms' Bushwacker is always a contender. Niss Allen's Rockinonby and Tony Morgan has been at the top of his game fast Starsky's Dream N with Vic Kirby raced well last week in his season's debut for Richard Pollucci. Last Thursday Art Stafford and trainer-driver Art Stafford Jr.'s Blazing Bobby Sox closed strongly for second only to lose a tight photo with Reg Hazzard, G.F. Calloway and Legacy Racing's Sweet Rock (Allan Davis), a neck ahead in second by a neck in $27,500 Delaware Special. Josh Green's Poisonous (Ross Wolfenden) steps up after a 1:50.3 win. Remember Me VK (Montrell Teague) has won three of his last six including one in 1:50.2. Max Walton and Greg Papaleo's tough veteran Mustang Art (Callahan) and George&Tina Dennis Racing's Forty Five Red (Jim Morand) moving from the outside to post 1 complete the lineup. in the first of two $15,500 Male paces, Engel and JL Benson stable's Toatsmygoats (Gingras), Sicily (Davis) racing for Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing and the Dennis Racing's Seventh Secret (Morand) head one, in the other, Richard Stansbury's All The Cookies (Gingras)Betty Brittingham's Tip It On Back (Bret Brittingham) and Eric Foster's Baby Kitty (Russ Foster) head the second section. In addition ,there is a hard-hitting undercard on the 15-race card. Monday through Thursday live racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are 'dark days' at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

DOVER, Del.--- For the third straight start, Emeritus Maximus toyed with a sub-1:50 harness racing victory, and this week he did it pacing a 1:49.3 mile to win the $30,000 Delaware Special Handicap on Thursday, March 9 at Dover Downs where fast times were the norm led by a 1:49.3, two in 1:50.1, two in 1:50.2 and a 1:50.3 clocking. Yannick Gingras was in the bike behind the seven-year-old Rocknroll Hanover-Eternity's Delight horse and despite his toughest trip, he posted his seventh win in 10 starts in 2017. Leaving fast from the outside, Gingras elected to back Emeritus Maximus into third during a :25.4 opening quarter. Quickly on the move in front of the grandstand the pacer took over at the half in :54. There was plenty of activity on the backstretch zooming past the three-quarters in 1:21.2. Rounding the final turn, art Stafford Jr. and Blazing Bobby Sox were four wide and coming on strongly. At the wire, Emeritus Maximus held on to beat Sweet Rock (Allan Davis) with Blazing Bobby Sox third. Claimed by Don Marine and Brent Hall on Jan. 19, Emeritus Maximus, trained by Kyle Moore, has started seven times and now has stepped up the ladder winning five times including the last three Del Specials. He now won $65,645 this year. A former expensive yearling and juvenile stakes threat before setbacks. He has now won 21 races in his career banking $470,125 lifetime. Montrell Teague and Mildred Ventriglio's Major Uptrend are also streaking. The Somebeachsomewhere-Tricky Tooshie gelding won for the third consecutive start chalking up a 1;49.4 triumph in the $20,000 Open Handicap. Jet Airway (Corley Callahan) was a strong second in front of Rockinonby (Tony Morgan). Tim Crissman conditions the winner of four of eight starts this year. The win was the 28th lifetime for the $291,333 earner. Richard Stansbury's All The Cookies, trained by Kenny Mitchel and driven by Yannick Gingras, put on a game effort reducing his personal best winning time to 1:50.2 winning the first of three $15,500 4&5-Year-Old Male paces. Tip It On Back (Bret Brittingham) finished second ending a two-race win streak while McJagersonthemove (Tim Tetrick) was the show horse. In the second $15,500 event, Poisonous and Ross Wolfenden came from far off-the-pace to overtake Rangers Sureshot (Gingras) and front pacing Little Ben (Tetrick) for a lifetime best 1:50.2 victory. Josh Green owns and conditions the Art Major-She's Poison five-year old. The third division went to Cloud Speed with Art Stafford Jr in 1:50.1. Stafford hustled the Dragon Again-Cams Exotic gelding, owned by Ben Stafford and Bill Daggett, into the lead before the half and continued on for his fourth win in eight starts this season. Steady Warrior made it four straight wins scoring a 1:50.1 decision in a $12,000 Male Pace. Yannick Gingras piloted the victory for Frank Canzone and owner-trainer Ed Gannon Jr. A six-year-old son of Royal Mattjesty-Latin Liftoff, he held off Toatsmygoats (Pat Berry), second and Smart Rokker (Morgan), third. Gingras had a driving triple, Corey Callahan and owner-trainer Dylan Davis had two wins each. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:t30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission at Dover Downs is free. Reservations are suggested for the popular Winner's Circle Restaurant and its acclaimed Buffet. . For reservations, call 302-674-4600. Simulcasting of top harness and thoroughbred racing is available in the Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book, from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight daily. Marv Bachrad

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 6, 2017-- It wasn't all 'death and taxes' for Yonkers Raceway's first 'death and taxes' proposition of the harness racing season. Vintage Babe (Yannick Gingras, $2.10) did indeed win her fourth and final, $20,000 division of Monday night's opening round of the Petticoat Series, though it was far from attractive. Leaving from post position No. 2, she jumped in the first turn, then righted the ship, Vintage Babe made the lead from Southwind Ion (Joe Bongiorno) right at a :28.4 opening quarter-mile. The 1-20 proposition did complete her appointed rounds (:57.3, 1:26.4, 1:57.2), holding off Southwind Ion by a half-length. Phyllis Jean (Matt Kakaley), as the 47-1 rank outsider, was third in the field of six. "It became more interesting than I wanted," Gingras said of his minus-pool miss. "(Vintage Babe) just seemed to get excited in the first turn and outpaced herself. Fortunately, she caught herself and was able to make the lead. "It was her first start on a half (-mile track), so we're going to have to play around the hopples before next Monday." For Vintage Babe, a 4-year-old daughter of Vintage Mater, co-owned by her driver, her trainer (Ed Gannon Jr.), Frank Canzone and Ronald Sabatini, it was her fifth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $6.90, with the triple returning $49.20. Monday night's other Petticoat events went to... -- Real Diva,4 (by Real Desire); co-owners (as Burke Racing) (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Knox Services/driver Gingras; 1:56.1/$3.70; -- Cousin Mary,4 (by Camluck); owner Jeffrey Williamson/trainer Andrew Harris/driver Jordan Stratton; 1:54.1/$3.50; -- Northern Soiree,4 (by Western Ideal); owner Seth Rosenberg Racing/trainer Scott Blackler/driver Kakaley; 1:56/$9.70. The Petticoat, along with its male counterpart Sagamore Hill (beginning Tuesday night, March 7th), are open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers who are/were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through this past Dec. 1st. Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 4, 2017) - Harness racing drivers Yannick Gingras and Brett Miller combined to win nine of the 12 races at the Meadowlands on Saturday night with Gingras winning five and Miller four. Miller took home the biggest prize of the night, piloting multi-millionaire Clear Vision to an open lengths win in the $18,000 featured event for upper level conditioned pacers. Miller took no prisoners from the beginning and put the Jennifer Lappe trained 11-year-old right on the front. He blazed away through a half mile in :54.4, three quarters in 1:22.3 before drawing away to win by five lengths in 1:51.3. Alberto Contador, who had won back-to-back Big M starts earlier this winter was second. 6/5 favorite Rockeyed Optimist was third. Miller teamed up with trainer Amber Buter for a pair of dominant wins with City Hall and Dateline Hanover. Gingras's five wins included a pair for leading trainer Ron Burke. Jim Marohn, Jr. won two races including the Dash For the G-Notes series final with Prince Palani. Marohn also won the finale with P L Idaho that helped one lucky ticket purchased through the Oregon Hub hit the Jackpot Super High Five for $52,744. Total handle was $2,581,495 on the 12-race card. Live racing resumes next Thursday with a 9-race card. It is the final Thursday program of the season. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz  

DOVER, Del.--- Outside post 8 was no problem for Earl's Speed who chalked up his second straight harness racing featured trot at Dover Downs on March 1. After a win from the rail last week, Yannick Gingras drove Earl's Speeder from the outside this week with the same result, a victory in 1:55.1, over a sloppy track. The Earl Of Stormont-Trapezius gelding made it two wins in his last three starts for trainer Dylan Davis and owner Mike Casalino to give him three wins, two seconds and a third in eight starts this year. Streamsong (Jonathan Roberts) was second best edging Marley's Guy (Tim Tetrick) third. 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share made the winner's circle for the first time in 2017 with regular driver Tim Tetrick piloting a 1:54.1 victory in the sub-feature trot. The victory is the 29th in his career lifting his bankroll to $3,756,576 for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Blueberry Man Bill Augustine. Buddy Hally (Montrell Teague) hustled home second in front of Deacons Valley (Gingras). Tim Tetrick had three wins, Montrell Teague, Yannick Gingras, Tony Morgan, trainer Dylan Davis and owner Mike Casalino had doubles. WAKIZASHI HANOVER, ALWAYS AT MY PLACE, MISSLE J MEET IN $30,000 FEATURE Three starters – Wakizashi Hanover, Always At My Place and Missle J - who won their previous starts collide in this week’s $30,000 Preferred Handicap, the top event at Dover Downs on Thursday, March 2. First Post is 4:30 p.m. Wakizashi Hanover makes his first start since late December as he prepares for his 2017 season with Tim Tetrick driving the five-year-old $1.4-millon winner for Buce Kennedy and Tri County Stable of Nova Scotia. Always At My Place won by a nose for Yannick Gingras from post 8 last start in the seasonal debut for the gelding owned by Weaver Bruscemi, Karr, Collura and Burke Racing Stable. Meanwhile the red-hot Missle J steps up after a 1:49.1 success last Thursday in the $20,000 Open pace. Jonathan Roberts has driven the four-year-old in all four of his consecutive wins. Henderon Farms’ Bushwacker has a history of Dover successes including three already this meet with Corey Callahan at the controls. Hall of Famer John Campbell, the all-time leading money-winning driver who is approaching $300,000,000 lifetime, will drive Lightning Stable’s McCardles Lightning. Cajon Lightning was a solid third in last week’s Preferred with Art Stafford Jr. driving for Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms. Arque Hanover already has three feature race wins this meet and leaves from post 1 with Vic Kirby in the bike for Abe Basen, Tom Lazzaro, and Robert Cooper Stables. Emeritus Maximus (Gingras), fresh from a 1:50 conquest returns in the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap and starts from the outside in an eight-horse field. He has won three of five starts since being claimed by Don Marine and Brent Hall. The fast finishing Blazing Bobby Sox driven and co-owned by Art Stafford Jr. with his dad, Art Stafford, also has a glittering record of three wins and two close-up finishes. Sweet Rock (Allan Davis) won his previous start racing for Reg Hazzard, G.P.Callolway and Legacy Racing. Local favorite Mustang Art (Campbell) usually is a factor in the week’s top pace. Driver George &Tina Dennis’ Seventh Secret with be tough from the rail after several weeks of tough racing luck. Rounding out the starters are Al Carter and Doug Lewis’ Captive Audience (Tetrick) and Jenny Bier’s Im Supersonic A (Sean Bier). Nike Franco N (Tetrick), a highly touted New Zealand import who has won all four of her starts in the U.S. also makes her first start this year for owner Rich Pollucci   in the $20,000 Open Handicap pace. Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing’s Sicily (Davis), a winner last time out, heads the strong opposition. There is a hard-hitting undercard on the 15-race card. Monday through Thursday live racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are ‘dark days’ at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

DOVER, Del---- Tessa Seelster made her first Dover Downs appearance a winning one in the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap pace on Tuesday, Jan.31. Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras had a quartet of winners. With Yannick Gingras in the bike, the five-year-old Shadow Play-Titania Seelster brown mare made her local debut an impressive one turning back six foes in 1:51.2 in the week's top female pace. Gingras had to hold off a strong two horse challenge in deep stretch to beat Mischief Maker N (Ross Wolfenden) and Sweet Bobbie (Art Stafford Jr.) in the photo. Tessa Seelster is owned by Jonathan Newman, Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing Stable and won for the 19th time in her career. A $225-thousand winner last season, she now has banked $399,703 in her career. Elliesjet N was scratched. OTC Stables' Dismissal, reined by Corey Callahan) won her third in-a-row ending Vintage Babe's (Gingras') six straight winning streak in the secondary feature, $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Mares pace. Fresh from a six-length win last week, Dismissal, a four-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Her Mattjesty, won easily again with Vintage Babe second best. In The Shadows (Tony Morgan) took third. Gingras completed the day with four winners. Meet leader Vic Kirby and defending champ Corey Callahan had triples,, Ross Wolfenden won two races while trainer Clyde Francis and owner George Teague along with trainer Brain Malone and co-owner Carrie Malone also had two wins. MOONLIGHT COCKTAIL AIMS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WEDNESDAY Moonlight Cocktail puts her three-race win streak on-the-line in the Wednesday, Feb. 1 feature trot at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Tony Morgan drives Moonlight Cocktail, trained by Linda Toscano, from post 8 in the $13,500 4&5-Year-Old feature  for owners TLP Stable and Richard Gutnick, who is best remember for the outstanding !-million winner Chapter Seven, who completed his career winning the Matron Stake at Dover after winning the Hambletonian. The sharp Streamsong, owned and trained by Bobby Glassmeyer, with Jonathan Roberts in the bike finished second last time a two consecutive wins. Iron mine Branch’s Royal Surprise circled the field to win his previous start and will be driven by George Dennis. Barbara Kirby’s Myclaimtovictory and Kim Vincent has be solid in his last few races. Tom and Gregg Morris’ Doggone Slots handled by Roger Plante must start in the second tier from post 9.Eric Good and trainer Gary Simpson’s Nebraska Jack gets the services of Pat Berry in the bike. Howard and Linda Dege’s Five Below drew the rail with Art Stafford Jr driving. Marley’s Guy with  Vic Kirby driving for Steve Meltzer and Medinah Racing and Don Marine’s Luck Ten K and Ross Wolfenden leave from inside posts. Weekday post time for Monday through Thursday racing is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission are free. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant’s acclaimed Buffet and for the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Top harness and thoroughbred races are featured in the Racing and Sports Book daily for 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Marv Bachrad

East Rutherford, NJ - The Green Hornet returns to work at The Meadowlands on Friday night as harness racing driver Yannick Gingras will don his familiar green and white colors and drive in eight of the thirteen races.   Yannick's on several Ron Burke horses with a chance on Friday including the solid trotting mare Classical Annie in the featured second race and Abbijade Hanover in the top class for pacing mares (race 11).   Classical Annie starts from post six in the $18,000 feature trot, just inside the main competition of Crosby's Clam Bake and Muscle Diamond. The now five-year-old mare was a winner two back and always gives an honest effort for Burke Racing, LLC.   Abbijade Hanover won this same class from well back at long odds last week and remarkably faces exactly none of the mares she vanquished on that occasion. Many in this field are moving up a class making a strong case for the possible repeat, leading to the role as morning line favorite for Abbijade from post six for Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi.   Friday's is another solid card with ample opportunity to continue the current string of $3 million plus handle on that day which has been the case the past few weeks.   Free program pages for the Late Pick 4 (currently averaging over $8,000 in payoffs) are available for those who plan ahead.   More money will be given away as the "Pay Off Your Holiday Bills" promotion continues, though there's nothing in the rules prohibiting the lucky winners from adding those funds to their gambling bankroll.   Pink offers exceptional fare for your culinary pleasure should you wish to make an evening of it. On Saturday night, former NY Knick star Larry "Grandmama" Johnson will host a special Pink dinner and wine pairing and you're all invited to join in the fun. Reservations are suggested.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   The Meadowlands        

DOVER, Del.--- Streaking Enhance Your Mind stepped up in class to score a 1:51.3victory in the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap pace while Vintage Babe lengthened her harness racing win streak to six-in-a-row over a sloppy track on Tuesday, Jan.17 at Dover Downs. Yannick Gingras had five wins. Vic Kirby drove the Delaware-sired Riggins-Enhance The Night six-year-old who loves the front end to an impressive 1:51.3 triumph in the week's top distaff event. Owned and trained by Bryan Truitt, Enhance Your Mind came into her own last season winning nearly $100,000 in purses. She won her third of 2017, fourth straight and seventh win in her last eight starts this meet, turning back seven rivals with a :27.1 final panel. Nat A Virgin (Corey Callahan) was a game second challenging the winner from the backstretch to late in the stretch. The sharp Sweet Bobbie (Art Stafford Jr.) was third. One race earlier, Yannick Gingras guided Vintage Babe home first for the sixth consecutive time to post a 1:52.2 decision in a $13,500 4&5-Year-Old Mares contest. Ed Gannon Jr. trains Vintage Babe and co-owns with Frank Canzone and Bob Sabatini the four-year-old daughter of Vintage Master-Bunkhouse Babe. Barbara's Shadow (Kirby), who has won her previous two races, finished second. Valuable Art (Callahan) was the show horse. Yannick Gingras made the winner's circle five times, Corey Callahan had a triple. George Dennis, owner-trainer Trish Foulk and Foulk Stables had two winners. FROST FREE HANOVER SEEKS 3RD STRAIGHT IN $20,000 OPEN TROT Frost Free Hanover has used consecutive come-from-behind performances to win the last two Tuesday feature races and again is the one-to-beat in the $20,000 Open/Handicap trot at Dover Downs. So far this meet, Rich Pollucci’s Frost Free Hanover’s strong closing brushes for driver Vic Kirby, including three wins, two seconds and a third in eight starts. Previously, CC Racing’s Il Mago with Pat Berry in the bike, had consecutive feature race wins.  Uva Hanover is also razor sharp with two wins, a second and a third in his last four outing with Tony Morgan driving for owners Martin Sternberg and Stake Your Claim Stable. Corey Callahan pilots Mike Casalino’s veteran Tough Mac, who also has two feature trot wins this meet. The other starters are Ed Gannon’s hard-hitting Winbak Charles M with Yannick Gingras. Owner-trainer Antonino Buttitta’s Muscerene, with Allen Davis and Geore&Tina Dennis’ Uwantapieceofme (Dennis), from the rail, complete the starting lineup.  A $15,500 Winners-Over trot for 4&5-Year-olds leads the undercard. Bluebird Reverend (Montrell Teague) owned by Davis,  Johannsen, Holly Case and trainer Bobby Reeser, was a wire-to-wire 1:53.4 winner last Wednesday. Celebrity Pegasus (Art Stafford Jr.) has been a close-up second in his last two for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms. The nine-horse field includes Delbert Cain and Nanticoke Racing’s fast Go Byem (Jim Morand) was a game second last start. Owner-trainer Bobby Glassmeyer’s Tymal Signature (Jonathan Roberts), Chris Giaccio and driver Vic Kirby’s Steel Reserve. Jim Moore’s steady Royal Becca J (Jack Parker Jr.), Jovanni Vilanova’s Gillie The Kid (Morgan), Mike Casalino’s newcomer Earl’s Speeder (Callahan) drew the rail with Gregg and Tom Morris’ Doggone Slots (Roger Plante )leaves from outside post 9  in second tier.  Weekday post time for Monday through Thursday racing is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission are free. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant’s acclaimed Buffet and for the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Top harness and thoroughbred races are featured in the Racing and Sports Book daily for 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Marv Bachrad          

DOVER, Del.--- For the second consecutive day, a Dover Downs harness racing driver had a five-bagger, Monday, Ross Wolfenden, Tuesday, Dec. 6, Yannick Gingras. Meanwhile Empress Deo, who was second beaten a nose last week, won the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap for the second time in three weeks splashing to victory in 1:52.3 over a rainy racetrack. Allan Davis used the passing lane to storm home first in the top distaff event of the week recording her fifth victory of the season with 11 seconds and six thirds for Legacy Racing. She has now won $147,633 in 2016. Consistent Elliesjet N (Jonathan Roberts) closed sharply to finish second ahead of early leader Scandalicious (Tim Tetrick), third. Inittowinafortune (Corey Callahan) was a close fourth. Terrror At Night got up in 152.2 to win the first of two $15,000 female paces with Jim Morand at the controls for trainer Les Givens and owners Ed Maas, Arlene Paisley and Nanticoke Racing. Arts Jem (Tetrick) and On Your Six (Tony Morgan finished second and third respectively. Terror At Night won for the eighth time this campaign moving seasonal earnings for the Western Terror-Enhance The Night filly to $130.555. Set Me up with Tim Tetrick scored a 1:53 conquest in the other $15,000 distaff pace. Ron Burke trains the Shark Gesture-Moccasin Flight mare for Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing. Dublin Rose (Corey Callahan) was runner-up. Enhance Your Mind (Vic Kirby) was the show horse. The Set Me Up win was her eighth of the year banking $132,325. Yannick Gingras made the winner's circle five times; Tim Tetrick had three wins, while owner-driver Vic Kirby and trainer Josh Green chalked up doubles. BOFFIN, AWSOME VALLEY JOIN DOVER $20,000 OPEN, $15,500 TROT SUB FEATURE Veterans Boffin and Awsome Valley are newcomers in the $20,000 Open/Handicap trot, the Wednesday, Dec. 7 feature race at Dover Downs. ACI Stuteri AB, Kjell Johannson and trainer Anette Lorentzon own Boffin who won two of her last four outings and will be driven from the outside by Yannick Gingras. Frank Chick’s Awsome Valley, a career winner of $471,538 makes his first pari-mutuel start since last June and will be driven by George Dennis. The well named Tough Mac also should benefit from a move to post 1. The Mike Casalino owned gelding will be in the hands of Corey Callahan.  CC Racing’s Il Mago with Tim Tetrick also makes a significant post position change, from 8 to number 2. The other starters capable of an upset include Celebrity Pegasus, fresh from a win last time driven by Art Stafford Jr for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta nd Minisink Farms, Tag Up And Go with Tony Morgan. David Miller’s War Cry Hall has been a check-grabbing regular and Robert Key’s homebred Skates N Plates piloted by Yannick Gingras. One race earlier, in a $15,500 Winners-Over trot, Jovanni Vilanova’s Gillie The Kid (Tetrick) looks for a repeat of last week’s win, his second in the last two. Jim Moore’s Royal Becca J (Jack Parker)Rich Pollucci’s Frost Free Hanover (Vic Kirby) and Bobby Glassmeyer’s Tymal Signature (Pat Berry) all finished second in their most recent outings.     Weekday post time for Monday through Thursday racing is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission are free. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant’s acclaimed Buffet and for the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

East Rutherford, N.J. -- After patiently tracking an exacting pace, odds-on harness racing favorite Tessa Seelster ($3.00) was able to chase down pocket rival Inittowinafortune to capture Friday's (November 18) featured $17,500 top-level distaff pace at The Meadowlands.   Tessa Seelster was anxious to move forward when the gates folded in, but Yannick Gingras was able to wrangle the 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play into a tracking spot behind pacesetter Nat a Virgin (David Miller) and the pocket-sitting Inittowinafortune (Corey Callahan) through early splits of :26.3 and :53.4. With five-sixteenths to go, Tessa Seelster angled second-over behind Inittowinafortune, who powered clear of a taxed Nat a Virgin approaching head-stretch. While Inittowinafortune edged away by nearly four lengths in upper stretch, she too began to tire in the final sixteenth, just nosed out in the last yards of a 1:50 mile by Tessa Seelster. Icommandmyspirit (Jim Marohn, Jr.) rallied belatedly to save third, 2-3/4 lengths in arrears of the top pair.   Ron Burke trains Tessa Seelster for the Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Jonathan Newman.   Always B Miki retired in trackside ceremony   World champion Always B Miki made one final visit to the Big M winner's enclosure for a special retirement ceremony after he capped his career with a resounding win in the $400,000 TVG Free-For-All Pace last weekend. The fastest Standardbred to ever set foot on a racetrack concluded his career with 30 wins in 53 career starts, over $2.7 million in earnings, and a career mark of 1:46 taken at the Red Mile in October. Always B Miki will transition from the Jimmy Takter stable to assume stud duty at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania.   Live racing returns to The Meadowlands with an 11-race card slated for Saturday (November 19) evening, and a last-race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover of $38,181.74. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands

DOVER, Del.----Sayulita, the only filly in a field of eight, pulled a surprise to win the $20,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap while harness racing Yannick Gingras registered a driving four-bagger at Dover Downs on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Four $20,000 DSBF 1st leg prelims were also on the female dominated card. Tony Morgan won the first of a double rolling Sayulita, a sophomore daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Fresh Idea quickly past public choice Purrfect Bags after turning for home and streaking to a 1:52.1 truimph for trainer Dickie Lewis and owners David Banks and Layfield Horses. Empress Deo (Allan Davis) rushed from last to finish a close second. Scandalicious (Jim Morand) was third. The first two of four $20,000 elaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) prelims composed the daily double. JoAnn Looney-King's Logan Girl moved from third on the backstretch to take the lead and breezed to a 1:56.2 victory her fifth win in arrow and sixth in seven lifetime races. A Lady Sizzling (Morgan) was second best in front of Spinvisible (Davis). The Roddy's Bags Again-All Italian filly now has won $97,850. Lunar Phase, off at 17-1, came on to overtake early leader Spinpressive (Corey Callahan)to notch a 1:57 score in the second DSBF prelim. Art Stafford trains, drove and co-owns the Roddy's Bags Again filly with Wyatt Starkey. Bedeviled Renegade (Vince Copeland) was the show horse. Later Joel and Dianne Halpern's homebred Westwind Roddylee, a brown Roddy's Bags Again-Lee's Best filly, cruised home in 1:57.2 for Tony Morgan's second winner. Magicinthemoonlite (Gingras) tested the winner heading around the final turn then yielded still finishing second. So Many Friends (George Dennis) took third. Gingras and trainer Josh Green teamed for four triumph; Kissed By A Dragon in 1:56.2, Save The Treasure both owned by Rich Lombardo, L&J Racing and JJ&M Stable, and two owned by Josh Green, Lightning Ride in 1:53.2 for his fifth win in-a-row and Sherry My Sherry, a 1:54.2 winner. Vic Kirby had three wins, Ross Wolfenden, trainers Jim King and owner JoAnn Looney-King had doubles. The $20,000 Open trot and two $20,000 DSBF Filly trot 1st prelims head the Wednesday program. For the second straight Sunday, there will not be live racing. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. No live racing on Fridays and Saturdays. Dover Downs Race and Sports Book features daily racing from major harness and thoroughbred tracks and three-picks NFL football from Noon until 12 Midnight. There is no charge for parking or admission at Dover Downs. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant, call 302-764-4600. Marv Bachrad  

East Rutherford, N.J. - While Yannick Gingras captured both $250,000 Breeders Crown events for harness racing older distaffers on Friday (October 28) at The Meadowlands, teaming up with Hannelore Hanover ($3.40) in the Mare Trot and Lady Shadow ($2.40) in the Mare Pace, all eyes were on the showdown between pacing stalwarts Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $421,000 Open Pace. The much-anticipated showdown between the top two harness horses in the world lived up to the hype as Always B Miki ($3.20) forged ahead by three-quarters of a length to upend 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit to capture his second straight $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at The Meadowlands. Wiggle It Jiggleit stormed to the lead right from the gate and led throughout with Always B Miki right at his heels in second place every step of the way until surging ahead to take the lead right at the wire. Always B Miki won in 1:49 after tracking fractions of :27.1, :55.1, and 1:22.1. Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki have met seven times this year with Always B Miki now leading the head-to-head matchup at 4-3. David Miller drove Always B Miki for the Bluewood Stable, the Roll the Dice Stable, Christina Takter, and trainer Jimmy Takter. After using a middle move to take charge from Bee a Magician, Hannelore Hanover found no serious challengers in a 1:53.3 victory in the Mare Trot, sprinting away from the field in the last eighth of a mile to defeat Bee a Magician (Brian Sears) and Shake It Cerry (David Miller). Hannelore Hanover is trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Jerry and Teresa Silva. Gingras completed his Crown double in the Mare Pace with Lady Shadow, the world-record holder at 1-1/8 miles by way of her Golden Girls win in July. The Ron Adams trainee stalked an early duel before pushing clear upon reaching the backstretch, and held sway for a 1:49.4 score over the late-rallying Sassa Hanover (Matt Kakaley) and staying Frost Damage Blues (Brett Miller) while kept to task. Lady Shadow, now a 27-time winner, is owned by the partnership of Kryway, Atley, Gold, and the BFJ Stable. In the $500,000 Open Trot, Flanagan Memory ($10.60) flushed out heavy favorite Resolve (Ãke Svanstedt) and waited his turn to wear down the field to prevail by a length in 1:52.1. The Rene Dion trainee angled off second-over cover off the far turn and trotted fastest of all to the finish after Resolve briefly headed pacesetter Windsun Revenge (Scott Zeron). Liette Flanagan shares ownership of Flanagan Memory with the winning conditioner. Kindergarten prelims highlight undercard A pair of Kindergarten Classic preliminary events headlined the Friday undercard, with 2-year-old trotting fillies vying for $10,000 in the night's opener and freshman trotting colts and geldings competing for an identical purse in the third event. In the filly division, Feed Your Head ($7.20) pushed to the fore on approach to the backstretch, clearing Overdraft Volo (Andy Miller) just upon completing a :29.1 first quarter mile. From that point, the daughter of Muscle Hill and Flawless Bluestone refused to relinquish control, evading her eight foes by two lengths and earning a lifetime mark of 1:55.4 in the act. Overdraft Volo parried a late bid from Crann Tara (Tim Tetrick) to defend the runner-up spot by another three-quarters of a length. Yannick Gingras once again drove Feed Your Head for Mellby Gard, Inc. and trainer Jimmy Takter. New Jersey Viking ($5.60) similarly made virtually all the pace to capture the Kindergarten split for colts and geldings, edging away from pocket rival Explosive Ridge to prevail in 1:55.3. The son of Muscle Hill and Hall of Wishes achieved the lead after being strung out by Explosive Ridge (David Miller) on the first turn, and New Jersey Viking would subsequently parry a challenge from that foe in upper stretch under moderate encouragement from Andy McCarthy while International Moni (Scott Zeron) rallied belatedly to just miss Explosive Ridge for second. New Jersey Viking scored his fifth career win by three lengths for trainer Ãke Svanstedt and owners Knutsson Trotting, Inc. and Jeff Gural's Little E, LLC. The Kindergarten Classic finals, with trotters vying for a combined $350,000 in estimated purses, are scheduled for next Saturday (November 5) at the Big M. Eight Breeders Crown events remain in the balance on Saturday (October 29) evening's card, with 2- and 3-year-olds in all divisions competing for a combined $4.4 million. First post is slated for 6:35 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands (with contributions from Ellen Harvey and Lou Monaco)  

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