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Vernon, NY - The 47th Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, an open event for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies and colts, will be raced on Saturday, August 28.   A release from January 4 contained an incorrect date.   Long a test of the top of the crop, last year's Zweig featured Hambletonian winner Ramona Hill winning the Zweig Filly and Hambo runner-up Ready For Moni winning the Open division.   Payment information may be found on the HHBNYS website.            

Nichols, NY - The $1 million(e) Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) stakes for harness racing 3-year-old New York sired trotters and pacers will be raced without eliminations in 2021. This format was implemented for the 2020 EBC trotting races and the 2020 EBC colt pace went straight to the final with ten declarations.   In 2021, should ten or fewer declare for any of the EBCs, the stake will go as a single division for the total purse. If eleven or more declare the stake shall be raced in divisions with the purse split equally and the entry fee reduced accordingly.   The EBC colt and filly trots are scheduled for Vernon Downs on Friday, June 18 and the pacers will race at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 29.   The 2021 $650,000(e) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial will be raced at Vernon on Sunday, August 28 using the "Main events/consolation" format as it has been for the past several years.   The W.N. Reynolds stakes for 2-year-olds will return to Tioga for 2021 and all divisions are scheduled for Friday, September 3.   Vernon and Tioga Downs are set to begin the 2021 live racing season at the customary starting dates for the pair of Upstate New York venues.   Vernon starts first on Saturday, April 17 while Tioga gets underway on Saturday, May 1.   Contact Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at or (607) 699-7688 for answers.          

Vernon Downs played host to the Harry M. Zweig Memorial races on Friday (August 21). The $160,140 Zweig for 3-year-old trotting fillies and the $330,000 Zweig for 3-year-old open class for trotters. Also, included on the 15-race harness racing card was two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshmen trotting colts & geldings. Ramona Hill (Andrew McCarthy) is supreme in the Harry M. Zweig Memorial for fillies. The Hambletonian Oaks winner, Sorella (Dexter Dunn) went on a break right at the start. Ramona Hill ($2.40) easily took the lead heading for the first quarter followed by Hypnotic AM (Brian Sears), Fortune Starlet (Walley Hennessey), and Tricky Sister (Jason Bartlett). Ramona Hill hit the first quarter in :28.0. She was firmly in control using a :28.3 second quarter to coast to the half in :56.3. The order was unchanged with a third panel of :28.0. Ramona Hill led easy as could be to three-quarters in 1:24.3. As they made the turn for home Hypnotic AM was all-out with the chase but McCarthy never moved a muscle and Ramona Hill glided to an easy win in 1:52.0. Hypnotic AM had to settle for second money. Tricky Sister moved up to finish third. Ramona Hill Ramona Hill is a 3-year-old filly by Muscle Hill. The Hambletonian winner is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brad Grant, Robert LeBlanc, Crawford Farms Racing, and In The Gym Partners. She is four for five as a sophomore and 10 for 12 in her career. Ready For Moni (Matt Kakaley) sets track record in the Harry M. Zweig Memorial open class for 3-year-old trotters. King Alphonso (Dexter Dunn) left the gate first bu Big Oil (Andy Miller) gained control just before hitting the first quarter in :26.4. As they reached the backstretch Back Of The Neck (Scott Zeron) was the first to make a move going first-over to lead to the half in :56.0. Ready For Moni ($3.30) followed the move second over and swooped to the lead as they headed for the final turn. He was strong on the lead using a :27.1 third quarter to get to three-quarters in 1:23.1. As they reached the stretch second place finisher Back Of The Neck gave it everything he had in the chase. Ready For Moni had a lot in the tank and easily won setting a track record for 3-year-old trotting colts in 1:51.1. King Alphonso was a distant third. Ready For Moni Ready For Moni is a 3-year-old colt by Ready Cash. He is trained by Nancy Takter for owners John Fielding, Herb Liverman, Lindy Farm Of Conn, and Bud Hatfield. It was his third win this season with his only loss of the year to Ramona Hill in the Hambletonian. He now has seven career victories none faster than tonight's win. Ambassador Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) and Ahundreddollarbill (Jason Bartlett) each nab NYSS wins. Unbeaten Ambassador Hanover ($3.10) wins the $51,300 first division. Ambassador Hanover went straight to the front but Black Tie Bash (Brian Sears) took over the top spot and led to the first quarter in :28.0. He slowed things down using a :30.1 second quarter to hit the half in :58.1. He continued on the lead and hit three-quarters first in 1:26.1. As they made the turn for home Ambassador Hanover popped out of the pocket and came charging at Black Tie Bash in the stretch. The two were slugging it out it all the way down the stretch and were joined by a late bid from Dee's Red Delicious (Corey Callshan), who came flying three-wide in deep stretch forcing a three-way photo finish with Ambassador Hanover picking up the win in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Dee's Red Delicious finished second. Black Tie Bash had to settle for third. Ambassador Hanover is a 2-year-old colt by Chapter Seven-Angel Eyes Hanover. He is owned by Howard Taylor, Judith Taylor, Order By Stable, and trainer Svanstedt. He is a perfect four for four life time. Ambassador Hanover Ahundreddollarbill ($2.80) takes the $52,200 second division. Incommunicado (Ake Svanstedt) charges to the front and put up the early fractions (:28.0, :57.0). Ahundreddollarbill made his move first-over from fourth going around the final turn. Incommunicado remained in front hitting three-quarters first in 1:26.2. Ahundreddollarbill flew to the front as they made the turn for home. The colt just cruised down the stretch to win easily in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Special Prosecutor (Brian Sears) came up to finish second. Incommunicado held on for third. Ahundreddollarbill is a colt by Chapter Seven-Swinging Royalty. He is trained by Dan Daley for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Ann-Mari Daley, and James Crawford IV. He is now two for four in his young career. Ahundreddollarbill Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 22) with a 13-race card starting at 3 p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs

Frank M. Antonacci is more than happy with Ready For Moni as the colt heads to Friday's (Aug. 21) $330,000 Harry M. Zweig Memorial for harness racing 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs, and only a length separated Antonacci from being ecstatic. Ready For Moni finished second in the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 8 at The Meadowlands, where filly Ramona Hill captured the sport's top event for 3-year-old trotters with a stakes-record-equaling 1:50.1 performance. Ready For Moni, making only his third start of the season, was a length back in 1:50.2, a time that would have won 93 of the previous 94 editions of the Hambletonian. The Antonacci family, which bred and is among the owners of Ready For Moni, has won the Hambletonian five times and now finished second on seven occasions. Ironically, the family bred Ramona Hill's dam, Lock Down Lindy. "I jokingly said after the race that we got beat by our own recipe," Antonacci said. "But we're pretty proud of that, too. To see them first and second like that is pretty remarkable. "Only one thing could have happened that would have made (Ready For Moni's year) better, if we got to the finish line first in the Hambo. But what I like to see in a horserace is everybody gets their nose on the gate and there's really no excuses for anybody in the race and whatever happens, happens. "You saw two really top horses battle it out from the top of the lane and she won. She was great, and I thought he raced great. I look forward to seeing more of that." Ready For Moni, who is 2-for-3 this season and has won six of 11 lifetime races, is a son of French star Ready Cash out of Nothing But Moni. His grandam is the legendary Hall of Fame mare Moni Maker, who dazzled in North America and Europe while racing for the Antonacci family, David Reid, and trainer Jimmy Takter. Nancy Takter trains Ready For Moni, who wintered in Florida with the Antonacci family's Lindy Racing team in preparation for the campaign. In addition to the Antonaccis, the colt is owned by John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Bud Hatfield. "I'm really happy about this horse for a lot of reasons," Antonacci said. "To have John Fielding and the rest of the partners, we've had great relationships for a lot of years, so to have a horse like this is fantastic. "To be back working as a team with the Takters and us having the horse in Florida, it was such a collaborative effort. Everybody that's been involved has been true professionals. I give a ton of credit to Domenico (Cecere) and our team down in Florida and Nancy and her team. There are a lot of egos in this game, like any sport or business, but everybody here has checked their egos at the door and are doing their best for the horse. It's good to see it pay off. "And the icing on the cake, I think my dad's initiative with bringing the French pedigrees into the sport again here over the last 10 years, to see it kind of culminate in these horses, and it seems year after year that's becoming a more successful formula, it's really rewarding for me to see that for my dad," Antonacci concluded, referring to his father Frank, aka Frank The Elder. Ready For Moni is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Zweig. He will start from post four with Matt Kakaley in the sulky (regular driver Yannick Gingras is in Canada). Hambletonian third-place-finisher Back Of The Neck is the 5-2 second choice from post one, with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Ake Svanstedt. "It will be exciting to see how he goes through the rest of the year," Antonacci said about Ready For Moni. "Obviously, he's fast. And when I spoke with Domenico over the winter, he always spoke about how efficient his gait is. He's very good gaited. "You talk about French pedigrees, and how they get better with time, to think he could mature even more is pretty exciting." Friday's card at Vernon also includes the $160,140 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, where Ramona Hill is the 3-2 favorite over Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella, who is 8-5. Racing begins at 3 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries for Friday's races at Vernon Downs, click this link. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager  

Harness Racing This Week: Zweig Memorials, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y.; North America Cup and Fan Hanover eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ont., and Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (Aug. 21) as Vernon Downs will host the $330,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters and the $160,140 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters. On Saturday (Aug. 22), Woodbine Mohawk Park will host a pair of C$50,000 eliminations in the North America Cup for 3-year-old open pacers and a pair of C$35,000 eliminations in the Fan Hanover for 3-year-old filly pacers. Also on Saturday, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host the C$60,000 Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers. Complete entries for the Vernon races are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian races are available at this link. Last time: Last year's Indiana Sire Stakes champion, Odds On Osiris, left the Hoosier State for the first time to compete, and made it count by winning the $250,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at MGM Northfield Park on Saturday night (Aug. 15). Odds On Osiris won the $250,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at MGM Northfield Park. JJ Zamaiko photo. Odds On Osiris left from post two to take the initial lead before relinquishing the top to Ocean Rock (Dan Noble). "My plan was to try and hold position around the one (Catch The Fire), but he didn't get out that strong," explained driver Peter Wrenn. "Then I had the lead and controlled the decision from there." Odds On Osiris was content receiving the garden trip through fractions of :26, :55 and 1:22.1. Wrenn pulled Odds On Osiris in the final turn and he battled Ocean Rock to the wire, eventually besting him by a quarter-length in 1:50.1. The clocking represents a new lifetime mark for Odds On Osiris. Odds On Osiris (Rockin Image-Antigua Hanover) is owned by Odds On Racing. Saturday's victory was the ninth career score for Odds On Osiris. The win brings the Melanie Wrenn trainee's lifetime earnings to $500,395. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 327; 2. Tim Tetrick - 244; 3. Andrew McCarthy - 237; 4. Dexter Dunn - 229; 5. Brian Sears - 219. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 316; 2. Nancy Takter - 250; 3. Marcus Melander - 203; 4. Tony Alagna - 192; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 164. Owners: 1. S R F Stable - 82.5; 2. Brad Grant - 82.4; 3, Courant Inc. - 67; 4. Burke Racing Stable - 66.3; 5. Crawford Farms Racing - 59.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park with the North America Cup final for 3-year-old open pacers, the Fan Hanover final for 3-year-old filly pacers, the Roses Are Red for open pacing mares and the Armbro Flight for older trotting mares leading a busy week of stakes action. Mohawk will host a total of 10 stakes over three days. bu Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

Vernon, NY - The 2020 version of the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, a Grand Circuit stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies and colts has drawn a single harness racing division of each (races 10 & 11) to be contested on Friday, August 21 at Vernon Downs.   In what is clearly a case of quality making up for what the 2020 Zweig does not possess in quantity the cream of this year's sophomore square-gaited crop are among the entrants. The first three across the finish line in this year's Hambletonian have been declared for the Zweig.   The $160,140 filly division features the extremely rare match-up of the Hambletonian winning Ramona Hill versus Oaks winner Sorella.   Both were nothing short of spectacular in their respective victories with Ramona Hill (PP 1 Andy McCarthy driving for trainer Tony Alagna) equalling her sire Muscle Hill's stakes record of 1:50.1 in her tour de force over male rivals.   Sorella (PP 3), to be driven for the first time on Friday by Dexter Dunn for trainer Nancy Takter, was a handy 1:51 winner in the ladies only division of the stake.   Just for good measure, the Queen of the New York Sires Stakes program and place finisher to Sorella in the Oaks, Hypnotic AM, is in the field as well. Fortune Starlet and Tricky Sister round out the quintet of trotting debutantes.   Ramona Hill races for the partnership of Brad Grant, local owners Crawford Farms Racing, Robert Leblanc and John Fodera and Steve Wienick as In The Gym Partners. Crawford Farms is also a partner in Sorella, sharing ownership with her breeder Elmer Fannin and his son Brent.   The $330,000 Zweig open main event counts the Hambo place and show finishers, a pair of colts by Ready Cash, among the nine entrants.   Trainer Nancy Takter sends out the talented Ready For Moni (PP 4 Matt Kakaley) who was a good Hambo second while Back Of The Neck (PP 1 Scott Zeron), one of four entered by trainer Ake Svanstedt, was a solid third.   John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Herb Liverman and Bud Hatfield own Ready For Moni while Howard & Judith Taylor share ownership on Back Of The Neck with Stefan Balazsi's Order By Stable.   Also on the card is a potential preview of the 2021 Zweig in the form of a pair of $51,300 New York Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt trotters and the usual accompaniment of Excelsior divisions.   Owners interested in details regarding attending the races may reach Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at   Post time is 3:00PM on Friday at Vernon Downs and the entries my be viewed here.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs  

Vernon, NY - Vernon Downs will host the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, a Grand Circuit stake for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters on Friday, August 21.   This is a date change from the originally scheduled Saturday, August 22 due to the reshuffling of stakes due to the pandemic.   Please check for the draw information on the condition sheet as the date for the Zweig draws near.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs

Greenshoe (Brian Sears) wins the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old harness racing trotters at Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 17). Front runner Marseille (Ake Svanstedt) jumped out to the lead and led to the first quarter in :27.1. Don't Let'em (Yannick Gingras) followed in second with Brian Sears content to put Greenshoe ($2.30) in the third spot. Marseille led to the half in :56.3. After the half Greenshoe made his move going first-over as they headed for the final turn. Marseille lead was just a head as they hit three-quarters in 1:25.1. Greenshoe, who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., Morten Langli, Hans Backe, and Lars Granqvist, blew right by as they made the turn for home. He looked like a rocket in the stretch as he won by six lengths in the end. The Melander trained Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) came up to finish second. Marseille held on for third. Greenshoe is a 3-year-old colt by Father Patrick. It was his sixth win in eight starts this season. He now has eight career victories. The Ice Dutchess (Yannick Gingras) captures the $135,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Starita (Dexter Dunn) jumped to the front out of the gate. The Ice Dutchess ($5.80) took control just before hitting the first quarter in :27.1. She continued to lead hitting the half in :56.2. Evident Beauty (David Miller) would be the first one to make a move going around the final turn but couldn't get to The Ice Dutchess who led the way to three-quarters in 1:25.1. The Ice Dutchess, who is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms and trained by Nancy Johanson, just breezed in the stretch. Evident Beauty gave one last charge in deep stretch but it was The Ice Dutchess winning in 1:52.4. Starita held on to finish third. The Ice Dutchess is a 3-year-old filly by Muscle Hill. It was her fourth win this season. She now owns nine career victories. American Rebel (Tyler Buter) wins the $53,000 first division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshmen pacing colts & geldings. Major Betts (Dexter Dunn) led to the first quarter in :27.2. Cigars And Port (Tim Tetrick) would soon take control and led to the half in :56.4 and to three-quarters in 1:26.2. American Rebel ($7.90), who is trained by Patti Harmon for the Harmon Racing Stable and Robert Robinson, went first over as they made the turn for home. As the hit mid-stretch Major Betts found an opening on the inside and battled American Rebel in deep stretch. American Rebel was too strong in the end to win in a lifetime best of 1:53.4. Major Betts earned second money with Cigars And Port settling for third best. American Rebel is a 2-year-old colt by American Ideal-Restive Hanover. It was his fourth career victory. Freedom Warrior (David Miller) wins the $54,000 second division of the NYSS. Teton Sunset (Tyler Buter) led to first quarter in :27.0. Stable mate Splash Brother (Tim Tetrick) then took over and led to the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. Freedom Warrior ($6.10), who is owned by Forrest Bartlett and trained by Kevin Lare, went first over just before three-quarters. He went to the front as they reached the stretch and held off the late charge by second place finisher Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) to win in a lifetime best of 1:52.3. Hurrikanekingjames (Yannick Gingras) fired late to finish third. Freedom Warrior is a 2-year-old gelding by American Ideal. It was his second win in six lifetime starts. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 23) at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

After giving Hanna Dreamgirl the opportunity to boost her confidence, owner Ken Jacobs and trainer George Ducharme will give the filly the chance to reestablish herself on the Grand Circuit. Hanna Dreamgirl will bring a three-race win streak to Saturday's (Aug. 17) $135,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters at Vernon Downs. All three of the filly's recent victories came in the New York Excelsior "A" Series, which is the tier beneath the state's top sire stakes level. In the start prior to her win streak, Hanna Dreamgirl finished 10th in a division of the Reynolds Memorial. She had not won a New York Sire Stakes division since her 2019 debut in early May. Last year, while in the stable of trainer Linda Toscano, she had a win in each the NYSS and Kindergarten Classic Series and finished third in the James Doherty Memorial. She also picked up checks in the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. "Ken wanted to drop her down (to the Excelsior Series) and I fully agreed," Ducharme said. "She was just chasing along in the sire stakes and was losing interest. She needed that (change). It seems to have really pumped her attitude up. "This is going to be a pretty good jump for her, but Ken was willing to take the chance and see how she does back in the company we thought she would be able to go with." The Zweig's main event for fillies includes Evident Beauty, whose four wins this year include a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial and the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, as well as Reynolds Memorial division winner Starita and Continentalvictory division winner The Ice Dutchess. Jacobs purchased Hanna Dreamgirl, then named Empress Crown, for $125,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale. The filly is by Chapter Seven is out of Shipps Empress. For her career, Hanna Dreamgirl has won seven of 24 races, hit the board a total of 15 times, and earned $176,972. "We should get a better read on whether she can go forward the rest of the year after Saturday," Ducharme said. "Against the competition she's been in, it's hard to tell where she is, but right now she seems mentally more prepared than she was even a month ago. "I really believe a lot of it with these horses is mental. They get chasing every week and they get discouraged. She seems better around the barn and on the track. She seems happier." Hanna Dreamgirl is eligible to several stakes in the coming months, including the Hudson Filly Trot, Bluegrass, Kentucky Filly Futurity, and Breeders Crown. "She is a good solid gaited filly and you can leave with her or you can race her from behind," said Ducharme, who trained Hanna Dreamgirl in Florida during the winter. "The biggest thing is can she make this next step up to go with the top fillies. If we can get her turned around, there is plenty of money left in the fall for her. That was our goal." Racing begins at 6:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Vernon Downs. The card also includes the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, featuring Hambletonian runner-up Greenshoe and his stablemate Green Manalishi S. Beal Memorial winner Marseille also is part of the nine-horse field. For complete Saturday entries for Vernon Downs, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Vernon, NY - Vernon Downs will host the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial trot for 3-year-old colts and its $135,000 filly companion Grand Circuit harness racing stakes on Saturday, August 18.   The Zweig (race 9) has drawn the two Hambletonian elimination winners in Greenshoe and Green Manalishi S, both of whom reside in the Marcus Melander stable.   Green Manalishi S (PP#2 Tim Tetrick) has won half of his six starts this season for owner Anders Strom's Courant, Inc. including a 1:50.3 career best when his prevailed after a long uncovered bid in his Hambo elim. He made his way to the front in the final, eventually succumbing to winner Forbidden Trade.   The enigmatic Greenshoe (PP#6 Brian Sears) came into the Hambletonian as the heavy favorite. He won his elim in 1:50.2 and looked for all intents and purposes to be the final winner despite an eventful trip when he trotted boldly up to Forbidden Trade mid-stretch, but did not go by. Greenshoe has amassed $586,500 in seasonal earnings for Courant, Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli.   The $135,000 Filly Zweig (race 8) is a very strong and competitive field led by NJSS final winner Evident Beauty (Dave Miller). She's won four of seven and is leading money winner in the field at over $200,000 this season for owners Mel Hartman, Little E, LLC and R A W Equine. Nifty Norman trains the filly.   Both of the Zweig races will be housed in a stakes barn where they must be checked in by 8:00pm on Friday evening. Call the Racing Office at (315) 829-6825 for details.   The NYSS for 2-year-old pacing colts supports the feature with a pair of divisions racing for a purse of more than $50,000.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs

Vernon NY - The 2019 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial colt trot has drawn 10 horses (9 to race with the 10th horse to have his 3-year-old payments refunded) that include several of the harness racing sophomore trotting division headliners.   Among those entered are the potent Marcus Melander pair of Hambletonian first heat winners Greenshoe and and Green Manalishi S along with Beal Memorial winner Marseille. They will compete in a single division of the stake to be raced at Vernon Downs on Saturday, August 18.   The companion filly stake drew 14 including NJSS final winner Evident Beauty and 2018 Jim Doherty Memorial winner The Ice Dutchess. There is the possibility of a consolation race to accommodate the fillies that will not draw into the main event.   Further details and the draw for post positions will be available later this afternoon.   Saturday card will also include New York Sires Stakes for the 2-year-old colt pacers.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs            

Met's Hall (Andy Miller) wins exciting Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot ($350,000) for3-year-olds at Vernon Downs on Friday (August 17). Met's Hall ($27.60) went straight to the lead from the eight hole. He took the first quarter in :26.4. SIx Pack (Ake Svanstedt) followed in the pocket with Manchego (Yannick Gingras) following along in third. Andy Miller slowed the second quarter to a crawl of :30.1. Met's Hall hit the half in :57.0. Six Pack would pull the pocket just before the half. The two would then battle nose to nose and wheel to wheel all around the final turn. Neither horse would give an inch as they hit three-quarters in 1:25.2. Manchego, who was the only filly in the race, sat in third watching the other two battle it out around the turn. She then went three-wide at the top of the stretch. In an amazing stretch drive, Met's Hall would dig in and get ready for the late charge from Manchego. In the end Met's Hall would win by a nose in a personal best time of 1:52.0. Magnificent as she was, Manchego had to settle for second best. The gutsy Six Pack would finish third. Met's Hall is a three-year-old colt by Cantab Hall. Trained by Julie Miller for owners Stoy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc. It was his second win in six starts this season. He now owns seven career victories. Super Girl Riley (Marcus Miller) shocks field in Zweig Memorial Fillies Trot ($180,000) for 3-year-old trotting fillies. The big favorite Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) carved out all the early fractions (:28.0, :57.2, 1:26.3). Basquiat (Yannick Gingras) followed in the pocket before going on a break at the three-quarter pole. Perfect Summer K (David Miller) would then inherit second. Super Girl Riley ($17.20) would then come first-over from third in the stretch. She would then rundown Plunge Blue Chip to win the mile in a career best of 1:54.3. Plunge Blue Chip had to settle for second money. Perfect Summer K finished third. Owned by Paymaq Racing, George Golemes, Harvey Eisman and trained by Erv Miller, the 3-year-old filly by Muscle Mass won for the second time in 2018. It was her sixth career victory. Zephyr Kronos (Yannick Gingras) wins the Zweig Memorial Consolation Trot ($80,000) for 3-year-old trotters. After Missle Hill led them to a first quarter of :27.0, Zephyr Kronos ($3.50) took control of the rest of the race (:56.2, 1:24.4, 1:52.0). Zephyr Kronos, who is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Al Libfeld, Perry Soderberg, and Christina Takter, held off onelast late charge from second place finisher Missle Hill. Mississippi Storm (Tim Tetrick) was third best. Zephyr Kronos is a 3-year-old colt by Ready Cash. He won for the fifth time this season and his career. None faster than tonight. Zero Tolerance won the first division ($52,500) of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshman pacing fillies. Zero Tolerance is trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz, the 2-year-old filly by Heston Blue Chip-Feelinglikeastar flew in the stretch to win 1:51.3. So Aweome (Tim Tetrick) finished second with St Somewhere (Yannick Gingras) getting third money. Zero Tolerence ($3.60) is now four for five in her career. Money Shot Hanover (Tyler Buter) wins the second division ($53,500) of the NYSS. Money Shot Hanover ($5.40) out dueled JK American Beauty (Yannick Gingras) in the stretch to win in 1:53.0. Brooklyn Lilacs (Jim Morrill Jr) was third. Money Shot Hanover is a 2-year-old filly by Art Major-Marinade Hanover. Owned by Rick Phillips, Deena Frost, and trainer Mark Harder, she won for the first time in five starts Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 18) with a post time of 6:10 p.m. For more information go to by John HOrne, for Vernon Downs

The public's faith in 3-year-old female trotter Manchego wavered ever so slightly earlier this month in the Hambletonian Oaks, when for the first time in her career she was not the favorite, but she looked to restore confidence with her stakes-record 1:50 win in the event. Now, she will try to bolster her status by taking on the boys in Friday's $350,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Open Trot at Vernon Downs in upstate New York. Manchego is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the Zweig, where she will face a field of eight male rivals. Manchego, who has won 17 of 19 career races, will start from post No. 2 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. She will try to become the first filly since Moni Maker in 1996 to win an open division of the Zweig. The card also includes the $180,000 fillies-only division of the Zweig, which features stakes-winner and world-record-holder Plunge Blue Chip and Frank Zanzuccki Trot winner Basquiat. In addition, there is an $80,000 Zweig consolation division for the colts. Racing begins at 6:10 p.m. (EDT). Prior to wins in her Oaks elimination and the final, Manchego saw her career-opening 15-race victory streak snapped when she went off stride in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on June 30 and got beat by a nose by Plunge Blue Chip in her world-record 1:49.4 mile on July 14 at The Meadowlands. The 2017 Dan Patch Award-winner also saw a streak of 20 consecutive appearances in the sport's Top 10 dating back to last season come to an end. She returned to the Top 10 following her win in the Oaks. "She showed up (in the Hambletonian Oaks) and she was huge," said Barry Guariglia, whose Black Horse Racing is among Manchego's owners with John Fielding and Herb Liverman. "I thought the elim and the final was what she's all about. If you take a step back and look at the disappointment when she made that break in the Beal, there are no other blemishes to speak of. I'm very pleased with her." Guariglia knew Manchego's win streak would come to an end at some point, and to see it happen when she made the break on the final turn of the Beal while challenging for the lead softened the blow. "I knew it would happen eventually," Guariglia said. "To do it that way was almost better because you had no shot instead of getting nosed out on the line. It wasn't for lack of ability." As for missing by a nose the honor of being the fastest 3-year-old trotter in harness racing history, Guariglia said, "That other filly went the race of her life. It happens. That's the only thing missing, that mark by a tick, but I've got a funny feeling somewhere down the road maybe we'll get a shot at it again." Manchego's connections bypassed the opportunity to race the boys in the Hambletonian, preferring instead to compete in the all-filly Oaks. It paid off, with Gingras and Takter teaming for their fifth consecutive win in the event. On Friday, Manchego will see a number of colts from the Hambletonian, including second-place finisher Met's Hall, Alarm Detector, Classichap, Evaluate, Fashionwoodchopper, Patent Leather, and Six Pack. The Hambletonian was won by another filly, Atlanta. She was not eligible to the Zweig. "It's one heat, so we thought we would try it again," Guariglia said about facing the boys, which Manchego also did in the Beal. "We'll see what happens. We drew well. It looks like a pretty competitive race. "I take every week as a challenge. You're kind of expected to win week to week, so it's a little bit harder maybe mentally. But I don't take anything or anybody for granted because it's a horserace." Guariglia, a financial advisor, has enjoyed harness racing for more than 40 years. He was at the Meadowlands Racetrack when it opened in 1976 and got into racehorse ownership at the age of 27. Winning the Oaks was a thrill. "I never won anything like the Oaks, never a race that big, on Hambo Day," Guariglia said. "That was a lot of fun. It was a little chaotic in the winner's circle but that's OK too. It was a nice crowd, a nice spot to be. "It's wonderful. It doesn't get any better." Following are the fields for the $350,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Open Trot and $180,000 Zweig filly division. The main event is race No. 9, with a planned 8:50 p.m. (EDT) post. It will be preceded by the filly race at 8:30. Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Open Trot PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Patent Leather-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 3-Evaluate-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 4-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-6/1 5-Alarm Detector-Scott Zeron-Ben Baillargeon-8/1 6-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-7/2 7-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-12/1 8-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-9/2 9-Clive Bigsby-Corey Callahan-George Ducharme-8/1 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Filly Trot PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-The Russian Spy-Corey Callahan-Paul Kelley-8/1 2-Supergirl Riley-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller-9/2 3-Cherry Peep-Dan Daley-Dan Daley-10/1 4-Basquiat-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-7/2 5-Perfect Summer K-David Miller-Andrew Harris-6/1 6-Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-5/2 7-A Gift For You-Scott Zeron-George Ducharme-8/1 8-Mooshka Stride-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder-10/1 by Ken Weingartner, the USTA 

This Week: Zweig Memorial and Zweig Memorial filly trot, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y.; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Artiscape, Roll With Joe, and Miss Versatility, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; and Prix d'Ete, Hippodrome 3R, Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Schedule of events: A busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Friday (Aug. 17) at Vernon Downs with the $350,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters and the $178,000 Zweig Filly Trot for 3-year-old filly trotters. There will also be an $80,000 consolation in the open division. Saturday's (Aug. 18) Grand Circuit action will be featured by Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, which will host the C$60,000 Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers. On Sunday (Aug. 19), Grand Circuit racing will be contested at Tioga Downs with the $175,000 (est.) Artiscape for older pacing mares, the $175,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for older pacing males, and a $40,000 (est.) leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Also on Sunday, Hippodrome 3R will contest the C$200,000 Prix d'Ete for 4-year-old pacers. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: On a gorgeous Friday evening (Aug. 10) in which it appeared a presence from above intervened to provide perfect conditions, Lazarus N, the Wonder from Down Under, anointed himself as a true superstar with an impressive 1:48.4 performance in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino before a legion of admirers in his first pari-mutuel engagement in the U.S. Lazarus N anointed himself as a true superstar with an impressive 1:48.4 performance in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. He also owns the distinction of being the only horse to pace sub-1:50 miles in two different hemispheres. "One of the reasons I decided to buy this horse with my brothers was because we are devoutly Catholic," said Duncan Taylor, whose Taylor Made Farms owns the 6-year-old stallion. "First of all his name is Lazarus which represents a miracle, and his dam's name is Bethany, which is the location where the resurrection took place. Then Bethany's sire is Christian Cullen. These factors made it appear as if (purchasing the horse) was meant to be a gift from God." Guided by Yannick Gingras and conditioned by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, Lazarus N, a son of Bettor's Delight, left alertly from post position nine to settle into second behind fellow New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend N before the teletimer posted the first quarter-mile split of :26.1. Shortly after the two frontrunners glided around the first turn, Gingras brushed the stallion to the lead and the duo hit the half-mile marker in a measured :54.2. As Lazarus N continued to lead the field of nine to the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4, he placed a bit of separation between himself and his rivals. As he rounded the final turn, it seemed the horse would pull away in the stretch to post a facile victory. Halfway down the lane, however, Breeders Crown victor Split The House (Brett Miller) mounted a furious rally which drew him nearly alongside Lazarus N. Proving he already has established a passionate fan base, those in attendance were cheering so loudly for Lazarus N to hit the wire first the words of announcer Steve Cross could scarcely be heard. As the noise of the crowd drowned out all sound, Gingras asked his horse for more. He responded in kind to spurt away from Split The House, as well as a closing McWicked (Brian Sears), to stop the clock in 1:48.4. The stallion paced his last quarter-mile in a stellar :26. "Yannick said this horse only does what you ask of him," Taylor said. "In Thoroughbred racing we would refer to it as not getting to the bottom of them, but in Lazarus' case he is just a very relaxed horse. Jimmy (Takter) keeps telling us how intelligent he is and that characteristic definitely is a part of why he is a special horse. All I know is he is a blessing." After his first U.S. victory, Lazarus N, New Zealand's defending Horse of the Year and that nation's Pacer of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2017, now improves his record to 36 wins from 46 starts. The stallion has now earned more than $2.8 million. As the 1-2 favorite, Lazarus N provided his backers with $3 for their support. Split The House paid $7.20 at odds of 19-1 for his second place finish while McWicked offered his supporters $2.20 for third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 681.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 668.5; 3. David Miller - 364.5; 4. Jordan Stratton - 288; 5. Corey Callahan - 273.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 655.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 484; 3. Tony Alagna - 266; 4. Jim Campbell - 216; 5. Erv Miller -200. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 143.6; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 138.6; 3. Fashion Farms - 129; 4. Vonknoblauch Stable - 117; 5. Robert Key - 110. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Tioga Downs. Yonkers will contest eliminations for the Messengers Stakes and Yonkers Trot, the second legs of the Pacing and Trotting Triple Crown, along with eliminations in the companion Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot. Woodbine Mohawk Park will contest the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacers, along with eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers and the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters. Tioga Downs will offer Reynolds Memorial divisions for 2-year-olds. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit  

Vernon, NY - Rival filly trotters Manchego and Plunge Blue Chip, two of the season's top sophomores as well as the fastest 3-year-olds in the long history of the breed, will both race at Vernon Downs on Friday in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial trot but, in a somewhat surprising development, not against one and other.   The connections of Manchego have picked up the mantle of Hambletonian winning filly Atlanta and entered their star filly into the $350,000 Open division (race 9) where she'll face eight colts.   Manchego (PP #2) deftly handled her competition in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks two weeks past with a tour de force 1:50 stakes record, marking the fifth consecutive winner of that race for the trainer/driver team of Jimmy Takter and Yannick Gingras. She is the highest money earner in the Zweig field with $362,222 in seasonal earnings and over $1.2 million career for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman.   She'll meet a solid group of colts led by Hambletonian final second place finisher Met's Hall (Andy Miller) and the Hambo favorite Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt) whose magical mystery tour trip in his elimination heat resulted in his elimination.   Plunge Blue Chip (Svanstedt) will certainly have the favorite's target on her back in the surprisingly light group of eight in the Zweig Filly race (race 8). She became the fastest 3-year-old trotter ever with her epic 1:49.4 nose win over Manchego in the Del Miller stakes a month ago, followed up by a third in the Hambletonian Oaks final. She races for the partnership of Svanstedt Stable, Blue Chip Bloodstock, Thomas Andersson and Rick Zeron.   The Zweig also fields a nine colt $80,000 second tier division and the all stakes card is completed by New York Sires Stakes events for freshman filly pacers.   It's a grand program that will begin at 6:10 pm on Friday. Entries for the entire card may be seen here.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs      

VERNON, NY-- Sitting off a contested front, Yes Mickey snuck up the pylons to edge past harness racing 6-5 favorite Ariana G and upset at 34-1 in the $320,000 Dr. Harry Zweig Memorial on Friday, August 18 at Vernon Downs. Long Tom grabbed the front from Yes Mickey before a :26.4 first quarter. Ariana G, sitting third, edged outside and brushed to the lead off a :55.1 half. Devious Man, behind International Moni stalled first over, loomed wide and trotted towards Ariana G's wheel, pressuring the leader through a 1:23.3 third-quarter while Long Tom drifted off the rail, giving room to Yes Mickey. Yes Mickey gradually approached the leader up the inside, getting his nose in front within the final sixteenth and edging away to win by a neck over Ariana G in a lifetime-best effort of 1:51.4. Devious Man finished third and International Moni finished fourth. A three-year-old gelding by Muscle Hill from the Pine Chip mare My Favorite Chip, Yes Mickey won his second race in ten starts, earning $223,087 for owner Mellby Gard Inc. Trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, he paid $71.00 to win. "He's a very nice trotter, but it has been hard for him to win races -- he always finishes second -- but today was the right race to win," Svanstedt said. "He was very good the whole race and when I [got] free on the inside, he did it easy." Yes Mickey Svanstedt completed a sweep of the Zweig finals when Evelyn shook loose off a pocket trip to win the $135,000 Filly Final in 1:54.1. Sitting behind a tempo of :27, :57, and 1:25.4 set by Feed Your Head and pressure from Sunshine Delight parked first-over, Evelyn managed to weave through the dueling leaders midway through the stretch to win by a length over Sunshine Delight, with Feed Your Head faltering to third and Glitzey Gal recovering from an early break to take fourth. Racing for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, Borje Nasstrom, and Silva Stable 45, Evelyn won her fourth race in 20 starts, pushing her career earnings to $192,166. Driven by Andy Miller, she paid $16.00 to win. "I felt really good except I was a little claustrophobic looking for a little room," Andy Miller said. "She felt really good, I was just kind of waiting, biding my time to get a little room there, and when she got room, she took off." Evelyn New York-sired freshmen colt pacers competed on the undercard of the Zweig Memorial, competing in three $37,266 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) divisions as well as two splits of the Excelsior A and B Series. Lagging off a hot pace set by Courtly Choice, Hitman Hill struck around the far turn, brushing to a two-length lead over Keystone Tenacious and Topville Olympian rallying late in a 1:50.4 mile in the first NYSS division. Owned by Tom Hill and North Fork Racing Stable, trained by Chris Oakes, and driven by Brett Miller, he paid $12.80 to win. Casual Cool took the second NYSS split after taking the lead before the half, winning in 1:52.2 over Paprike Blue Chip and I Soar Him First. Owned by Kenneth Jacobs, trained by Linda Toscano, and driven by Jason Bartlett, he paid $6.70 to win. Mr Profeta snagged the final NYSS division, sitting off a slow pace set by odds-on favorite Jimtastic and rallying to a 1:54 score over American Vision and My Delight. Owned by Anatolia Farm LLC, trained by Roland Mallar, and driven by Scott Zeron, he paid $14.00. Rockapelo, by Rock N Roll Heaven from the Camluck mare Capelo Rose, won his division of the Excelsior A Series going wire to wire in 1:53.1, while Prophet Blue Chip, a gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Artsplace mare Weeping Wannabe, won off a pocket ride in 1:55.3 Rockapelo, owned by Enviro Stables LTD, trained by Linda Toscano, and driven by Jason Bartlett, paid $5.80 to win. Prophet Blue Chip, competing for trainer David Dziengiel with partners Robert Sholes and Edward Davis, was driven by Andy Miller and paid $16.80 to win. Brinks Job, by Roll With Joe from the American Ideal mare Exclamation, and Buckeys Brat, by Quick Pulse Mindale out of the Real Artist mare Artists Jewels, won their Excelsior B divisions going wire to wire, doing so in 1:54 and 1:54.1 respectively. Brinks Job, paying $3.60, races for owner Rick Berks, is trained Michael Deters, and was driven by Brett Miller. Buckeys Brat, returning $6.20, is owned by trainer Lawrence La Page and was driven by Jason Bartlett. Live racing at Vernon Downs resumes Saturday, August 19 with a 13-race program that kicks off at 6:45pmET. By Ray Cotolo, for Vernon Downs        

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