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Harrah's Hoosier Park kicked off their 2021 harness racing season with a $20,000 Open Pace feature and Family Recipe needed every inch of the long stretch Friday to get up by nose over Ana Malak N. Trained and driven by Lewayne Miller, Family Recipe was the first off the gate in the seventh race main event. Then, after getting the lead, gave way to Americanprimetime (Peter Wrenn) to the opening quarter mile in :26.3, happy to grab the pocket trip.The race favorite The First Step (Ricky Macomber, Jr.) was sitting in third place. Then after a half mile clocked in :54.4, The FIrst Step came first-over to challenge Americanprimetime and was stuck outside, unable to get the lead past the three-quarters in 1:23.3 and giving Ana Malak N (Sam Wiidger) second-over cover. In the stretch, The First Step had the lead most of the way down the stretch, but was off the rail, allowing Family Recipe and Miller to shoot up the inside and into the lead, barely holding off Ana Malak N at the wire to win by a nose in 1:51.3. Ana Malak N was second with The First Step third by only a half length. FAMILY RECIPE REPLAY   It was the third straight win and fourth triumph of the year for Family Recipe. The four-year-old gelded son of Always A Virgin is co-owned by Lewayne Miller, W Manders, A J Vieira and the Never 2 Late Stable. He paid $8.00 to win as the second choice in the race. For full race results, click here. After a successful opening night of the 2021 live harness racing season on Friday, March 26, Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has announced a $45,000 Guaranteed Hoosier High-5 pool for Saturday, March 27.  The Hoosier High-5 went unsolved on Friday as longshots prevailed and put an interesting spin on the opening night action. A $15,707.75 carry-over will kick-start the $45,000 Guaranteed Pool set for Saturday. In partnership with the Unites States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering program and the Indiana Standardbred Association, Harrah’s Hoosier Park will offer this signature wager for Saturday’s 14-race card. The Hoosier High-5, also known as the pentafecta, is featured in the last race of every program at Harrah’s Hoosier Park and features a reduced takeout of 12%. The Hoosier High-5 is responsible for one of the biggest payouts to date last season with a $15,157.36 winning ticket paid out. Free past performances for Saturday’s live racing card, including the Hoosier High-5 sequence, will be available on Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s website. Expert selections and handicapping tools are also available on the handicapping section of Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s website. Harrah’s Hoosier Park kicked off the 2021 live racing season and did it with a bang as the bettors came out in full force on the opening night of the season. Handle increases were felt both on track and through export wagering to produce $703,202 in all sources handle for the evening. All sources handle was up an impressive 7.5% over opening night in 2019 with the same number of races carded. With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s 2021 season will feature 160 live racing days and not only offer an extended racing season but will also bring back Sunday live racing cards.  Racing will be held on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule through mid-May before adding Sunday evenings. The full schedule continues through September before dropping back down to a Wednesday through Saturday schedule through December 4. For the first time ever, Harrah’s Hoosier Park will also offer live racing on both the night before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving night. For more information on the upcoming live racing schedule, please visit  by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink with files from Harrah's Hoosier Park  

Tookadiveoffdipper will find himself in an unfamiliar spot when he lines up for his opening-round division of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for older male pacers at Yonkers Raceway on Monday (March 15). He will start from post one for the first time in 26 career starts at The Hilltop. In fact, it will be only the third time he leaves from anywhere inside of post four. The first round of the six-week Borgata series, formerly the George Morton Levy Memorial, attracted 40 horses, which were split into five divisions. Tookadiveoffdipper is in the third division and 6-1 on the morning line for trainer-driver Pat Lachance. During his career, Tookadiveoffdipper has won seven times at Yonkers and hit the board a total of 14. His most recent victory at the half-mile oval came Jan. 18 in his second start for Lachance after being trained previously by Virgil Morgan Jr. The 7-year-old gelding was the 2018 Indiana Sire Stakes champion for older male pacers. "He's a nice horse," Lachance said. "We're still working on some things, just getting to know him, really. We've had a couple little issues with him, but I think he's getting better. He's going into (his race) very good. "He's got the rail this week, so we'll put him in play. He can leave really good, so I expect him to race good." Last year's Borgata series was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was, though, a November invitational for Borgata-eligible horses, and Tookadiveoffdipper finished third behind This Is The Plan and Ostro Hanover. Tookadiveoffdipper, who began his career at the Iowa fairs, is a son of Always A Virgin out of Onceinabluemoon. He has won 38 of 114 races and $478,826. He is owned by Jane Cross and Mark Cross. "He's a nice horse to be around, all the way around," Lachance said. "He's a nice drive, very quiet in the barn. He does nothing wrong." Western Fame, who won the 2019 series, is in Monday's fifth division of the Borgata. Leonidas A, last year's Potomac Pace champion, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in that division. The morning-line favorites in divisions one through four are Let It Ride N (9-5), American Mercury (3-1), Rockapelo (3-1), and Hesa Kingslayer N (5-2). Fourteen horses in the Borgata have earned more than $500,000 lifetime -- led by millionaires Western Fame, This Is The Plan, and American History -- and an additional 10 have earned at least $370,000. "There are a lot of good horses in there," said Lachance, who is making his first appearance in the series since 2016. "We'll see if (Tookadiveoffdipper) fits in there or not. He's showed that he can go in the Open before, so I don't see why not. "It's an exciting time." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Yonkers. The Borgata divisions are races three through seven. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Friday's stakes-filled card at Harrah's Hoosier Park features many of harness racing's big names - including Top 10-ranked Gimpanzee and Atlanta - but it includes only one undefeated harness racing horse. That's Somethingbeautiful. Somethingbeautiful is 6-for-6 this season for trainer Dylan Davis and driver LeWayne Miller, winning every start by a minimum of a length. She has faced Indiana-sired foes exclusively to this point, but on Friday tries the Grand Circuit when she competes in the $220,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers. Test Of Faith, the once-beaten Brett Pelling-trained New York Sire Stakes champion, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Somethingbeautiful is the 5-2 second choice. "There are some nice fillies in there, but I think she can go with them," Miller said. "It will be a nice test for her. But she's been facing some good fillies here too. She's been very nice. Her versatility and her maturity for being a 2-year-old, she's very good that way." Somethingbeautiful is by Always A Virgin out of Summer N Sand. She is a half-sister to Shnitzledosomethin, a now 5-year-old who was a Breeders Crown runner-up in 2017 and has earned $778,503 in his career. She was purchased for $30,000 at the Hoosier Sale and is owned by Howard Taylor, Ed Gold, Abraham Basen, and Richard Lombardo. The same group owns Shnitzledosomethin. The filly opened eyes when she qualified for the first time, winning in 1:58.3 with a last quarter of :25.4. In her six races, Somethingbeautiful has won from both off the pace and gate-to-wire, and kicked home in 27 seconds or faster in every start. "She really impressed me from the start," Miller said. "The only thing that surprises me is how easily she does it sometimes. She's a fighter. Her last start, I thought she was going to get beat, but when those fillies came to her she just took off again. "I think her potential is very high. I feel like she can compete with the best fillies out there." In addition to the Kentuckiana for 2-year-old filly pacers, Hoosier hosts the $150,000 Caesars Trotting Classic for older trotters, the $140,000 Harrah's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, $100,000 Jenna's Beach Boy for 3-year-old male pacers, $105,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, $221,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, and $120,000 Elevation for 2-year-old male pacers. Atlanta, coming off her win in the Maple Leaf Trot, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the Caesars Trotting Classic. Gimpanzee, who has won five of seven starts and been no worse than third in any race this season, is 9-5. Gimpanzee is ranked No. 4 in the sport's current Top 10 poll while Atlanta is No. 6. Century Farroh, who won the Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier in August, is the 3-1 favorite in the Harrah's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Dorsoduro Hanover, who won the Canadian Pacing Derby earlier this month, is 7-2. Other stakes favorites are Elegantimage runner-up Sister Sledge (8-5) in the Moni Maker, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion No Lou Zing (2-1) in the Jenna's Beach Boy, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Southwind Gendry (8-5) in the Elevation, and New York Sire Stakes champion Iteration (3-1) in the Kentuckiana trot. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday at Hoosier. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Columbus, MN - Hoo Nien A (Jacob Cutting) rallied from off the pace to take the $8,500 harness racing feature at Running Aces on Saturday afternoon (September 12).   Stuckey Dote (Darrell Wright) and Heza Real Diamond battled up front through a torrid opening half mile (:25.3, :54.4) while Jacob Cutting bided his time at the back of the pack with Hoo Nien A.   Parklane Jet (Dean Magee) launched a first-over attack down the backside and Cutting picked up the cover before rolling three-wide around the final turn with Hoo Nien A ($7.00) who surged to the front and drew away late to win by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:51.3.   Heza Real Diamond held second and Stuckey Dote was third.       The winner is an 8 year old gelding by Always A Virgin. He now has 22 career wins and $167,548 in the bank. Chris Scicluna is the winning owner/trainer.   The $11,500 Minnesota-Sired sophomore filly pace went to It's Pacific Time (Rick Magee, $2.10) who dominated in gate-to-wire fashion from post eight with a 1:56.4 mile for her ninth win of the season for owner John Hendricks and trainer Joel Mc Danel.   Huftalookatdatfany (Nick Roland) was second and Catchmeinadream (Jacob Cutting) was third.   The $6,900 sophomore colts & geldings pace went to Bunkerhill Phil (Braxten Boyd) in 1:58 for four wins in a row. The winner is a gelding by Vlos, owned and trained by Gene Miller.   Driver Jacob Cutting led the Saturday program with three winners - scoring a natural Hat-Trick in races 5,6 and 7. Rick Magee posted a double.   Live Racing continues at Running Aces through October 4, with action four days a week at 1:00 pm (CDT).   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces                                

Hightstown, NJ — Virgo won the $57,235 Fox Stakes for 2-year-old male harness racing pacers and Swingforthefences captured the $33,530 Ralph Wilfong Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters Wednesday (Aug. 12) at the Indiana State Fair. With Trace Tetrick in the sulky, Virgo was sixth through the first three-quarters of the 11-horse Fox Stakes before unleashing a :28.1 final quarter to win by five lengths over JK Going West in 1:52. TJ’s Indy Pacer finished third. “I was very happy with him,” trainer Dylan Davis said. “He went a big trip, came from a long way back.” Virgo is by Always A Virgin out of Star Of The Show. He was purchased for $13,000 at the Hoosier Sale and is a three-quarter brother to stakes-winner American Passport. He is owned by Davis, Howard Taylor, and Jeff Billings. He was bred by Dustin Miller. “Just looking at his videos, he’s not a real big, flashy-looking colt, but he looked very athletic, very light on his feet,” Davis said. “I’m really impressed how smart he is. I was a little worried about him getting hot most of the winter but the more he does it the more he’s relaxing. He’s got a lot of ability and he’s fast.” Virgo has three wins and a second in four races. He has earned $52,742. Swingforthefences won the Wilfong Memorial by 2-3/4 lengths over Breckenridge in 1:57.2. Jessie’s Swan was third. Peter Wrenn drove Swingforthefences for trainer Melanie Wrenn and owners David McDuffee and L&L Devisser. The son of Swan For All out of Sunday Yankee was bred by Concord Stud Farm. He was purchased for $100,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. Swingforthefences has won three consecutive races after a second-place finish in his debut. He has earned $57,890. Virgo and Swingforthefences are both eligible to the Breeders Crown, which will be held at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in October. For Wednesday’s complete charts from the Indiana State Fair, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 11, 2020 -- Refreshed after a grueling opening panel, Always Giggling shot the Lightning Lane to capture Tuesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace. The win contributed to a huge day for Mike Wilder, who piloted six winners on the 15-race card. Always Giggling was parked throughout that 26 first quarter before crossing over but picked up much-needed cover when Summer Charm took the point at the quarter pole. Always Giggling kicked by her late to triumph in 1:51.2, 1/2 length better than the rallying Greenhill Hanover. Summer Charm saved show.   Sarah Andrews trains Always Giggling, a 6-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin-Giggles The Clown who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $472,402, for Jeff Fought Racing. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the 15-race program features a $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for freshman colt and gelding trotters and an $8,892.16 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. Wednesday's action also includes two off-the-card races beginning at 12:15 PM, each a division of the $204,720 Florida Pro for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post for the pari-mutuel program is 12:45 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA

Columbus, MN - The Saturday afternoon harness racing program at Running Aces featured the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace with a very talented field of nine horses and geldings lining up behind the gate to square off for weekly top honors.   Prologue (Tim Maier) was first to strike the front from post six and led through the :28 second opening stanza before Hoo Nien A (Chris Scicluna) swept by just past the quarter mile and took control of affairs.   Once on top, Hoo Nien A served notice that he was boss of the field, posting an honest :28.3 second panel and then throwing down :27 seconds flat in the third to open up by two lengths and keep the field chasing.   Hoo Nien A ($8.20) closed out his dominating performance with a final quarter in :27.3 to seal the deal and stop the timer in 1:51.1 for his second straight win. Prologue crossed the wire a length back in second, but was placed last for a pylon violation - bringing lonshots Elusive Image (Jacob Cutting, 31-1) and Whatchyastarinat (Braxten Boyd, 14-1) onto the board for second and third, respectively.   The feature race win was the second of the season and twenty first career victory for the gelded 8 year-old son of Always A Virgin, who is also owned and trained by Chris Scicluna.   The $10,500 Minnesota-sired sophomore filly pace went to It's Pacific Time (Rick Magee, $2.40) delivering as the heavy-favorite for three in a row, and posting a new career mark of 1:53.4 in her twelfth lifetime win for owner John Hendricks and trainer Joel Mc Danel.   The Minnesota-sired sophomore male pacers also went for $10,500 with a field of seven facing the gate and heavy-favorite It's A Marcs World (Nick Roland, $2.10) posted another sharp win in 1:53 for a career best mile while Bunkerhill Phil (Dean Magee) was a very sharp second once again. The winning owner is Duane Roland and the winning trainer is Jessica Johnson. It was also three in a row for It's A Marcs World.   Dean Magee led the Saturday program with a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday, August 2, with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and will feature a Carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager of $18,701.66.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces  

Columbus, MN - One of the featured harness racing events on the Tuesday afternoon program at Running Aces was the $10,000 Mares Open Pace, with a talented field of eight distaffers going into battle.   The talk of the tote-board (6-5) was Amasa Arion (Rick Magee) who drew post seven and was up in class after a decisive win in conditioned company last out. Last Flight In (Chris Scicluna) was well supported at the windows (2-1) from post eight and Always Be Lucy (Nick Roland) took some action as well and was sent off at 7-2 from post four.   Amasa Arion blasted fastest from the gate and took immediate control while registering a very fast early pace in :26.4 with Always Be Lucy leaving fast and easing into the pocket in front of Pull The Shade (Brady Jenson) and Last Flight In.   Rick Magee slowed things down just a bit in the next panel to turn in a half mile in :55 seconds while keeping the field lined up behind his mare. There were no challengers for Amasa Arion as they rounded for home and stopped the timer in 1:23 with a 2 length cushion, but as they turned into the lane Always Be Lucy was inching closer in the pocket.   In deep stretch it was Always Be Lucy ($9.40) pacing strongest to the wire, just enough so to get up right on the line by a neck over Amasa Arion in 1:52., establishing a new lifetime mark. Last Flight In was home third over Pull The Shade who took fourth. The winner is a five years old daughter of Always A Virgin, owned by Karma Racing Inc. and trained by Don Harmon. Tuesday's victory was career win number fourteen and boosted her earnings to $97,486.   The $10,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses and geldings was also a featured event on Tuesday, and saw heavy-favorite and part of an entry (with Hoo Nien A) Keep On Rocking A (Pat Berry, $2.40) score for the second straight week in the top pace, leading every step and fighting gamely through the lane to keep a neck in front of Heza Real Diamond (Nick Roland) at the wire in a sharp 1:51.2 mile. It was the fifth win from 8 starts in 2020 for Keep On Rocking A, who is owned and trained by Chris Scicluna and now has career earnings of $248,742.   Other impressive winners on Tuesday included last year's three year old Minnesota-Sired pacing colt of the year SB Bodacious (Rick Magee, $8.20) who powered to the front early and never looked back to score a one-length tally in 1:52.4, while perennial top Minnesota aged pacer Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee, $2.80) picked up his first Aces win of 2020 in 1:52.4 as well. Haulin'Oats (Nick Roland, $3.60) became the first horse to win three races this year at Running Aces - with his third consecutive dominating performance, stopping the timer today in 1:55.1.   Rick Magee led all drivers at Running Aces on Tuesday, with 3 wins, while Nick Roland scored a double. On the training side both Rick Bertrand and Don Harmon had two winners on the day.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces with a special Friday card on July 3 at 1:00 pm (CDT). There is no live racing on Saturday July 4. Friday's program will feature a carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot Wager of $3,509.87.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

A pair of harness racing Opens headline the Saturday night action at Cal Expo, with Pridecrest leaving from the assigned No. 10 slot in the $7,000 Open Trot and Alwaysalittlemore doing her work from the same challenging post in the $6,700 Distaff Open. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races with a first post of 6:10 p.m., with the Filly and Mare Open as the second race and the Open Trot occupying the third-race spot on the evening. Alwaysalittlemore has posed for pictures following four of her last six trips to the post and is now being asked to keep the momentum going while leaving from the extreme outside post in the Distaff Open. A 6-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin, Alwaysalittle more carries the banner of Maria Alvarez and Terrence Smith, hails from the Edward Hernandez shedrow and will once again have the services of Luke Plano. The bay miss has actually crossed the finish line first in five of her last six starts, but was set back to second by the stewards on February 29 after racing inside two pylons. Alwaysalittlemore rebounded last week with a victory as the 7-5 choice, opening a large lead turning for home and then holding safe by a head over a hard-charging Bertha Vanation that evening. The latter is a Voracious Hanover mare who is coming off back-to-back big efforts for owner Cathy Dessert and driver/trainer Nick Roland. Bertha Vanation flew home to handle a conditioned crew two weeks ago, then came home smartly once again in last week's Open to just fall short. Low takeout wagers, Single 6 featured There are two wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate in the 20-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. In addition, the Pick 4 comes with a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and a $30,000 guarantee on Fridays. There was a Single 6 carryover of nearly $24,000 going into Friday's program, so if that went unhit, it would be a worthwhile stab on Saturday at only 10 cents a ticket for the shot at a nice prize. To show the value in the lower takeout, last Saturday night's 20-cent Pick 4 returned $1,008 for each correct 20-cent ticket. Using the regular takeout rate, it would have paid $907, a difference of $101 for each winning prognostication. The only favorite in the aforementioned sequence was the victory by Blue Star Maverick at 7-5 odds. The Lorne Duffield-owned, Steve Wiseman-trained and Luke Plano-driven son of As Promised obviously enjoyed the class relief as he responded with a clear-cut score in coast-to-coast fashion. Things got off to an auspicious start in that Pick 4 when the Gerry Longo owned/trained/driven Key Word posted a $30 upset, with Free Radical ($9) rounding out the sequence. By the way, the victory behind Blue Star Maverick was the fourth on Saturday's card for Plano, who had a triple on Friday and padded his lead in the driver standings. by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

A $6,700 filly and mare Open Pace and a pair of $7,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-olds get the marquee treatment Friday evening at Cal Expo. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races and first post is 6:10. The Sire Stakes are the first and fifth events on the evening, while the Distaff Open occupies the sixth-race slot. Alwaysalittlemore will look to get back to the winner's circle after being disqualified from victory last weekend for going inside the pylons in the stretch in that clash at the top for the female pacers. A 6-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin, she carries the banner of Maria Alvarez and Terrence Smith with Edwin Hernandez training and Luke Plano at the helm. Alwaysalittlemore has posed for pictures following three of her seven starts this season, including a 1:52 3/5 lifetime best performance, and two of those scores have come at this Open level. Looking at the Sire Stakes, Its Pointless is a standout in the male division after dominating his rivals in coast-to-coast fashion in the initial stakes dance two weeks ago. The Mark Anderson homebred is by Kent's On Nuke, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again be piloted by James Kennedy. Prom Queen accounted for the first distaff Sire Stakes two weeks ago, upsetting favored Debit Or Credit that night. Prom Queen is a daughter of Little Steven who was bred by Robin Clements and Desomer Stables Inc., is owned by Clements and has Nick Roland on a return assignment. Its Pointless leaves little doubt Its Pointless got right to the point in the first California Sire Stakes of the year for the sophomore pacing males, motoring directly to the front for James Kennedy and reporting home with five and three-quarter lengths to spare in a snappy 1:57 4/5 debut. A Mark Anderson homebred who hails from the Gordie Graham barn, Its Pointless had showed some promise in his two qualifiers and this was not lost on the crowd, who bet him down to 1-5 in what proved to be an overlay. The son of Kent's On Nuke was on cruise control from the very beginning, never having less than a two and half-length lead once the gate rolled and widened when the field hit the stretch. "For this being his first start, he was very professional," Kennedy related. "He's pretty smart and I was very impressed with his effort." Its Pointless is back to work Friday night in hopes of landing another Sire Stakes trophy on the mantle for the Anderson/Graham combination. There is a carryover of $19,269 in 10-cent Single 6 Friday night, with the sequence beginning on the fifth race. There are also two wagers offered here with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, the 20-cent Pick 5 and 20-cent Pick 4, and the Pick 4 comes with a $40,000 guaranteed gross pool on Saturdays and $30,000 on Fridays. by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness        

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two harness racing horses who had been in very sharp form during the preliminaries in their respective Game Of Claims series - Charger Blue Chip and Always B Magic - continued their winning ways right to the throne as the winner of their Championships, with the former taking his $20,000 event for $10,000 base-priced horses and the latter victorious for the $15,000 bounty offered for $7,500-based priced pacers at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs. Considering he had two wins and a third in his only three seasonal starts, all in the GOC Series, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Charger Blue Chip was overlooked by the bettors at 9-1, probably because of his difficult outside post nine. But driver Jim Marohn Jr. hustled the quick veteran to command, yielded but was on the retake before the second turn, and from there kept favored Grandpa Don at bay by an easy 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1. Claimed for $10,000 in the first leg of the series, Charger Blue Chip has already earned $16,200 in just three starts for trainer Marc Mosher and owners Edward and James Hall Jr. Trainer Susan and co-owner John Marshall may have been denied a Game Of Claims sweep on Sunday with Grandpa Don's second, but earlier they had kept driver Marohn from that same double victory, as their Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic was always off the pylons throughout the GOC finale, but still dug in to hold off Naked City (Marohn) by a nose in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr. The timing was good for the connections and the horse. The Marshalls claimed Always B Magic for $9000 out of the second leg, and with two wins and a finals place assured, they kept him out of the third prelim so he wouldn't get claimed - and the week off did nothing to take off his edge. As for Always B Magic, before the Game Of Claims he had amassed a 60-race losing streak, back to June 18, 2018; he then went three-for-three in the series, all the series wins for Napolitano. (Who drove him on June 18, 2018? George Nap, of course!) Driver Matt Kakaley visited Victory Lane five times on Sunday, three times with a Ron Burke trainee, including the Yankee Glide gelding Max in a $17,500 fast-class trot. Leaving from post six, Max got the entire field in behind him before the quarter, then put in twin :28.2 back splits to win handily in 1:54.3 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Frank Baldachino. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Alwaysalittlemore, a dominating front-end victress the last time the top harness racing pacing fillies and mares got together, gets the marquee treatment in Saturday evening's $6,700 main event at Cal Expo Harness. The Filly and Mare Open will go as the third on an 11-race Watch and Wager LLC card that gets underway at 6:10 p.m. Alwaysalittlemore is a 6-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin who carries the banner of Maria Alvarez and Terrence Smith with Edward Hernandez training and Luke Plano once again at the helm. The hard-knocking bay miss closed out 2019 with romping conditioned victory and has ended up in the charmed enclosure following three of her six trips to the post this season. She recently went over the $100,000 earnings mark and set her 1:52 3/5 standard here on January 18. Her most recent appearance came two weeks ago in the Distaff Open and she made 3-1 look like a gift as she made every pole a winning one with Plano while coming to the wire with four and a half lengths on her nearest rival. Taking her on are Royal Mistress, Dancingonthesand, Delightfully Wild, Virgin Eyes and Surprisingly Sweet. James Marshall IV charting his course James Marshall IV is another new face in the driver's room here this season, with the highlight thus far being his Open victories behind the Jenna Cornelison-trained Bright Your Life. "I got the opportunity to drive for Jenna and I wanted to see California," said the 34-year-old New Jersey native. Even though James came to the sport full time at a bit older age that many, he certainly has a harness racing pedigree as his mother and father are heavily involved as were his paternal grandparents. "I've driven over different-sized tracks, but I would have to see I prefer the mile ones like Cal Expo because those are the tracks I've raced over the most," he noted. "Having said that, just give me an inside post and I'm happy to be driving over any size." The biggest change for James has been driving mostly pacers, where he previously did a lot of his steering behind the trotting set, including several Billings competitions. The 7-year-old pacing mare Brighten Your Life has certainly been the highlight to this point in the stand, including a coast-to-coast victory on January 10 over the best disaffers on the grounds. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness                            

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 22, 2020--The next time Melady's Monet (George Brennan, $3.90) throws in a bad race would probably be the first time Melady's Monet throws in a bad race. It was harness racing career win No 63 (in start No. 207) for 'Melady' Saturday night (Feb. 22nd), taking down Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Preferred Handicap Trot. Melady's Monet--the odds-on favorite from assigned post position No. 7--left around both Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Dube). Once on the point, Melady's Monet finished what he started (:27.2, :57.3, 1:26, season's-best 1:54.3). Pappy Go Go (Jason Bartlett) tried it first-up from last among those trotting, but tired. Meanwhile, Melady's Monet owned a pair of lengths in and out of the final turn, then whipped Lean Hanover by a length. Third went to Mostinterestingman (Austin Siegelman), with Smalltownthrowdown and Money Maven (Brent Holland) rounding out the payees.   For Melady's Monet, an 11-year-old homebred Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Hermann Heitmann, it was his second win in seven seasonal starts (career earnings in excess of $1.63 million). The exacta paid $17.80, with the triple returning $101.50. Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Pace saw outsider Tookadiveoffdipper (Jordan Stratton, $37.80) beat both the gate and his half-dozen rivals. From post No. 6, Tookadiveoffdipper left to immediate command, well before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Season-debuting Mac's Jackpot (Holland), as the 19-10 second choice, was able to get into a chasmic pocket. It was an antsy two-hole that 'Mac' tried to vacate between a :56.2 intermission and 1:24 three-quarters. However, Tookadiveoffdipper stood his ground, taking a length-and-a-three-quarter lead into the lane. He held Mac's Jackpot at bay, the final margin a half-length in a '20-best 1:52.2. San Domino A (Dube), the 17-10 choice was a belated third, with Jack's Legend N (Bartlett) and Rockapelo (Brennan) settling for the smaller envelopes.   For sixth choice Tookadiveoffdipper, a 6-year-old Always a Virgin gelding co-owned by Jane &Mark Cross and trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., it was his third win in six '20 tries. The exacta paid $92, the triple returned $433 and the superfecta paid $850. Saturday props as well to 12-year-old, $1.4 million number Great Vintage (Holland $8.30), who earned his 53rd career win in the $22,000, fourth-race pace (1:53.1). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

As the Indiana harness racing industry embarks on a new decade, the Indiana Standardbred industry paused to take a look back at the year that was 2019. A night of champions was celebrated as Hoosier horsemen honored the top Indiana-sired harness racing horses in Indianapolis during the Indiana Standardbred Association's annual banquet held in January. Every year, the Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA) recognizes the year's top pacer, trotter, aged pacer and aged trotter, determined by total earnings in Indiana throughout the year. Two-year-old pacer Odds On Osiris took home the Pacer of the Year award after amassing earnings of $343,895 at Harrah's Hoosier Park. The colt's record included seven wins in 10 starts, including the Indiana Sire Stake Super Final and the Fox Stake. Bred by Merlie Schwartz, the Rockin Image colt is owned by Odds On Racing, trained by Melanie Wrenn and was driven by Peter Wrenn. The Odds On Racing crew also took home the Indiana-Sired Two Year Old Colt Pace Championship for the horse. Glorious Nite was named the Aged Pacer of the Year after earning $74,397 at Harrah's Hoosier Park in 2019 in 20 starts and nine wins. The 4-year-old Always A Virgin mare was bred and owned by Phyllis Grozich and Paula Kind and trained by Charles Morgan. Grand Swan earned the Indiana Sire Stakes Three Year Old Filly Trot Divisional Championship, the Indiana-Sired Three Year Old Filly Trot Championship and the Trotter of the Year title after earning $411,232 in 2019 at Harrah's Hoosier Park. The Swan For All filly had 15 starts with ten wins during the year for trainer/driver LeWayne Miller. Bred by Larry Miller, the filly is owned in partnership with Grand Swan Racing, Go Fast Stable and Never 2 Late Stable. The Jailhouse Jesse gelding Bridge To Jesse's repeated as the Indiana Sire Stakes Super Finals and Divisional Champion in the Aged Stallion/Gelding Trot, which netted him the Aged Trotter of the Year Award. After a season where Bridge To Jesse's had seven wins in 22 starts, he earned $131,650 for owners William C. DeLong, William P. DeLong, Roger Welch and Ray DeLong. He was bred by Michael and Randy Wilt and trained by Roger Welch. Divisional Champions for the Indiana Sired Fair Circuit were announced for the horses who earned the most points up until the Indiana State Fair in August. The Indiana Sired Fair Circuit is the racing circuit for Indiana-sired and -bred two and three year olds throughout the summer. During that time, a total of $1,628,250 was awarded in purse money, including eight $20,000 championship races during the Indiana State Fair. The emotional portion of the banquet was the honoring of the four new inductees into the Indiana Standardbred Hall of Fame. Harold Barnes and Lynn Wilfong were the human inductees. A pair of Breeders Crown Champions, Freaky Feet Pete and Hannelore Hanover, were also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Inductee and fan favorite Freaky Feet Pete, 2015 Breeders Crown 3 Year Old Pace Champion recently retired to Ivy Lane Farm in Goshen to stand his first season as a stallion in 2020. "This is more than just our horse, he's everyone's horse," Marty Rheinheimer stated when accepting the Hall of Fame trophy on behalf of Freaky Feet Pete and the Rheinheimer family. Super mare Hannelore Hanover, two-time Breeders Crown Champion and 2017 Dan Patch Horse of the Year was also inducted. "She's the type of horse that if anyone is lucky enough to get to own, you can appreciate her presence," said a teary Frank Baldachino, owner of Hannelore Hanover. Victory Hill Farm in LaGrange, Indiana, repeated as the Large Breeder of the Year while Larry E. Miller, Jr., was named Small Breeder of the Year. Victory Hill Farm earned more than $2,891,000 in Indiana alone with more than 91 starters bred by the farm. While Miller only had two starters in 2019, those two earned more than $402,000 racing in Indiana. With 55 Indiana Sire Stakes starters earning more than $1,741,000, including champions Priceless, Rockin Nola and Odds On Osiris, Rockin Image earned the Indiana Sire Stakes Pacing Sire of the Year. Swan For All was named the Indiana Sire Stakes Trotting Sire of the Year. The repeat winner sired 53 Indiana Sire Stakes starters who earned more than $2,273,000 in earnings. Champion progeny from Swan For All included Grand Swan, Rock Swan, TJ's Top Pick and Swandre The Giant. Both stallions stand at Victory Hill Farm. "As always, it was a wonderful night celebrating the best of Hoosier Horsepower," says Jessica Barnes, Director of Racing and Breed Development for the IHRC. "Every year is exciting when it comes to horse racing in Indiana, but with the return of the Breeders' Crown to Harrah's Hoosier Park this year, the level of excitement has been elevated as we hope to see more Indiana-sired horses taking the spotlight." A comprehensive list of the award winners can be found on the ISA website ( From the Indiana Horse Racing Commission'   

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The second preliminary rounds of two of the levels in the Game Of Claims Series took place on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and sharp horsemen looking for potential thronetakers in the Game Of Claims Championships two weeks hence claimed all three of the night's series winners. The Game Of Claims pacing horses who went for a basic price of $12,500 drew one division of ten horses (scratched down to nine), making for a rare trailing starter at Pocono. At the wire, the field was trailing the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Grandpa Don, who after being last at the half made a huge looping move on the far turn and paced past everybody in 1:56.2 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Susan Marshall, the latter co-owner with John Marshall - and was then claimed out of the race. Both horses who won last week in the Game Of Claims group that started for a basic price of $9000 on Sunday were again victorious, but as opposed to last week both horses headed to new barns after Sunday's successes. First to Victory Lane was the Rambaran gelding Speedling, now 2-for-2 in 2020 after a 1:56 win for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Lou Pena and his Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. Then it was the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic who was again to parlay a pocket journey into a victory, here in 1:55.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud, and owner Alexa Renaud. With two claims from each of the $9,000 fields, four $12,500 purchases from that event, and three horses haltered out of a claiming handicap trot (perhaps looking towards the trotting Game Of Claims Series in March), 11 horses went through the box for a total of $124,125, running the totals over the four days of 2020 Pocono racing to 47 claims and $812,900 - keeping horsemen and handicappers on their toes to be in the right place at the right time. One place you didn't want to be at Pocono on Sunday was on the front end, as the speed held up only once in thirteen races. The lone horse making every pole a winning one was the very impressive four-year-old Sweet Lou mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who was sent to the top in a $15,000 distaff pace by Tyler Buter in :27.3, got a rest to a :57.1 half, then motored home in :55.3-:27.2, needing all that speed to hold off the invading Tango Dancer N by a neck in 1:52.4. Darn Tootn Hanover entered the year with only one victory to show in 17 starts as a freshman and sophomore, but this year she's turned things around and is now 3-for-3 for trainer Nik Drennan and Yankeeland Partners LLP. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Breedings to Trixton, Always A Virgin, Andover Hall, Courtly Choice, Jimmy Freight, JK Endofanera and Racing Hill are among the 75+ offered in the 22nd Annual New Vocations Stallion Auction that is currently in progress via Visit to view breedings and bid until 2:00 p.m. Thursday Feb 6. The auction is held in an open-ended-format that allows for bidding up to two minutes after the last bid on breedings with high activity at the 2:00 p.m. cut off. All proceeds go to rehab, retrain, and rehome Standardbreds retiring from the track. For more information call (937) 947-4020 or email by Dot Morgan, for New Vocations  

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