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None Bettor A ($6.60), A harness racing newcomer from Down Under continues to take the U.S. by storm, winning the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie in 1:49. The 1:49 clocking tied the all-age track record at Northfield Park. Saturday's victory marks the sixth straight sub-1:50 victory for the six year-old Bettor's Delight gelding. Bettor's Delight had a great racing career in North America and is the dominant sire in Australia. Joe Bongiorno drove None Bettor A for his sister Jennifer Bongiorno, who trains the pacer for co-owners and long-time Billings Amateur Drivers, Joe P Racing LLC (Joe Pennachio) of Florida and Steve Oldford of Michigan. None Bettor A started from post six and fired to the lead from the gate and remained in control the entire mile through fractions of :26.4, :55, 1:22 and 1:49, besting his closest rival by 1¼-lengths. "He (None Bettor A) feels good and does everything on his own," explained Joe Bongiorno. "He puts his head down and really has fun out there." None Bettor A (Bettor's Delight-Limerick Star-Christian Cullen) increased his career bankroll to $229,245 by taking home the lion's share of the healthy $200,000 purse. Completing the 2019 Battle field were Jimmy Freight. Southwind Amazon, The Wall, Filibuster Hanover, Bully Pulpit, Rodeo Rock and Always A Prince. Fans looking to follow the Aussie Phenom need to keep their ears open. "I'm not sure where we go from here. He is not staked at all," stated Joe Bongiorno. "Hopefully he continues to get invited to races like this one, and I'm not even sure how many of these Invites there are." Until they figure out their next move Joe will be happy with Saturday's Battle win. "We work very hard and this horse is giving us a shot that I feel we deserve," said Bongiorno. "This is going to be a special horse." Ayers Ratliff

Both of Northfield Park’s local pacing stars have accepted their harness racing invitations to Saturday’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie.   Dave Bianconi, the track’s Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting, has assigned Bully Pulpit and Southwind Amazon 12-1 and 15-1 morning-line odds.  His customary assignments to them are outside posts in Northfield’s weekly Open Pace. “It is unusual to have two local horses in the Battle, but both of these appear to have the ability to compete on the big stage, explained Bianconi.  “This year’s race is totally wide open.  The local horses just add two more pieces to a very interesting puzzle.” Bully Pulpit is conditioned by Northfield Park leading trainer Brian Loney and owner Brad Schwartz of Chicago, a Cleveland native.  Saturday will mark the first time Loney will harness one of his trainees for a Grand Circuit event, but he feels good about his chances. “The way I see his (Bully Pulpit’s) competition is that I’m not in against them, they are in against me,” said Loney. Bully Pulpit goes to post off a three-race win streak in Northfield’s Open Pace, one of those wins being a 1:49.4 victory from post-8.  That 1:49.4 effort is the fastest clocking on any half-mile track in North America this year.  North America’s leading driver, Aaron Merriman, will guide the six-year-old from the two-hole. Southwind Amazon drew post-5 for trainer Paul Holzman.  The nine-year-old is trained at Sahbra Farms about 15 miles from Northfield, and was North America’s winningest horse in 2018 with 22 victories from 38 races, usually from an assigned outside post.  His regular pilot, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., will drive. “This is a quality field of horses and I wish a had a little better draw than the five-hole,” stated Holzman.  “My horse is very sharp right now and with some racing luck anything can happen.  If Southwind Amazon wins, I don’t know if I would be surprised, but I would sure be ecstatic.” The two local stars will face a stiff onslaught from invaders.  Rodeo Rock drew the rail and has been named the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite.  He was the runner-up in this year’s $664,000 Levy Final at Yonkers Raceway in April and enters this race off another runner-up finish in a $100,000 Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia.  The Robert Cleary trainee has four wins in nine races this year and seasonal earnings of $289,400.  Eric Goodell has been listed to drive.  Rodeo Rock has never raced at Northfield, but is owned locally by Royal Wire Products of North Royalton.    Indiana sired superstar Always A Prince enters this event with 20 victories in 26 lifetime starts.  The four-year-old won 19 of 22 races last year and has not missed the board so far in four starts this season.  He has been given a 7-2 morning line.  Always A Prince has a career bankroll of $515,855 and sports a 1:48.1 (HoP 7/8) lifetime mark, the fastest in this year’s field.  Trainer Tyler George brings Trace Tetrick to drive.     Ontario-based speedster Jimmy Freight drew post-7 and is the 4-1 third choice.  He was second in last year’s $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial in his only other race at Northfield.  Jimmy Freight has finished in the top three in 35 of 37 career races, taking a 1:48.3 (Wbsb 7/8) lifetime mark and earning $950,448.  Trainer Andrew Harris tabs Yonkers standout Jason Bartlett to drive.      The 2019 $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie field – Race 12 – 10:15PM approx. post time:   Post     Horse                          Driver                         Trainer                       Morning Line Odds 1          Rodeo Rock                Eric Goodell               Robert Cleary              3-1  2          Bully Pulpit                 Aaron Merriman          Brian Loney                12-1 3          The Wall                     Brett Miller                  Nick Surick                 9-2 4          Always A Prince         Trace Tetrick               Tyler George               7-2 5          Southwind Amazon    Ronnie Wrenn Jr         Paul Holzman             15-1 6          None Bettor A            Joe Bongiorno             Jennifer Bongiorno     6-1 7          Jimmy Freight             Jason Bartlett              Andrew Harris            4-1 8          Filibuster Hanover      Chris Page                   Ron Burke                   10-1   A $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4 has been added to the eleventh race.  The Battle feature will be the second leg of this wager, which offers a low 14% takeout rate.  Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the sport’s best veteran pacers. Past Battle champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Gallo Blue Chip, Maltese Artist and Foiled Again. In addition to superior racing action, Battle night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck’s clubhouse dining room from 5:30 – 8:30 PM. The buffet is $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. Guests who want to be down close to all the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to visit Barrio, Pasta Tivo, Smash Time, Super Hero food trucks and Crooked Kettle Popcorn.  Live music by Unknown Reason will be part of the apron scene from 6 – 9 PM.  Battle night attendees can win cash, gift cards and more through prize drawings until 8 PM and play Pop-A-Shot from 8 – 9 PM.  First race post time is 6 PM.  Admission and parking are always FREE!   Ayers Ratliff

As the time for stakes nominations for 2019 nears, Northfield Park reminds the connections of top Open Pacers, Open Trotters and Three-Year-Old Pacers that the track's richest three Grand Circuit events in 2019 will all be "By-Invitation-Only". The $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie (Open Pace) on June 8 -- the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic (Open Trot) on June 29 -- and the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial (3YO Pace) on August 10 will all be Invitationals with no nomination or starting fees for the participants. Northfield's Executive Vice President of Racing Dave Bianconi adopted the change for this year's Battle and Trotting Classic (the Milstein Memorial has already been an Invitational for the past few seasons) with the following reasoning, "I simply think that Invitationals are the way that Northfield can attract the best eight horses for each of these great events. When you are handcuffed with only the horses that paid into your stakes races as possible starters, you can often miss a late-bloomer who gets hot leading up to your race. "It isn't uncommon for connections of good horses miss a payment deadline early in the year," Bianconi added. "and then find themselves on the outside looking in come race time. Also, with state-bred Sires Stakes programs across the country so economical to enter and so lucrative to participate in, it has become more difficult to get young horses to stake to numerous Grand Circuit events. That led to the change when the Carl Milstein Memorial became an Invitational, and we have had some great fields for that race since the change. I want that same flexibility for our Open events (The Battle of Lake Erie and Cleveland Trotting Classic)". While Northfield will be actively recruiting the top horses for these races as the year goes on, Bianconi encourages the connections of horses that are interested in participating to reach out to him as well. "I'd love to hear from owners or trainers who think their horse would fit in well in any of our big events. I like to invite horses from different circuits across North America to meet here at Northfield, which is an easy ship from just about anywhere. Please feel free to email me at or call me in the race office at 330-467-4101 ext. 2300." Northfield's feature event for three-year-old pacing fillies, the $125,000 Courageous Lady on October 12, will remain a stakes event overseen by the Hambletonian Society. "The Courageous Lady is late in the year after everyone's Sires Stakes have been completed, so it has been successful as a paid-in event. I'm leaving it alone for now." explained Bianconi. by Aryes Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Bit Of A Legend N lived up to his name on Saturday night when he won the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. The win was the nine year-old's 44th and fastest win of his harness racing career. Bit Of A Legend N (Bettor's Delight - Soky's Legend - Sokys Atom) is owned by Vonknoblaunch Stable LLC of Hampton Bays, New York. He is trained by Peter Tritton and Jordan Stratton had the winning drive. As the gate pulled away from the Battle field, race favorite Rockin Ron and Missile J both tried for the lead, with Rockin Ron prevailing early and leading through fractions of :27, :54.4, and 1:21.4. Bit Of A Legend N pulled first-over approaching the half and continued on the outside the remainder of the mile, eventually overtaking Rockin Ron in the stretch and stopping the timer at 1:49.4. "He went a huge mile tonight," said Stratton. "I was pretty upset with him last week (finishing 5th in the $115,000 Camluck Classic at Western Fair), but Peter (Tritton) said he had him ready and boy was he right." Saturday's win increases Bit Of A Legend N's bankroll to $2,241,131. He returned $7.80 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

This Week: Battle of Lake Erie, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; and Graduate Series second leg and Somebeachsomewhere, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will take place on Saturday (June 2) at two venues. Northfield Park will host the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers and Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature three C$60,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts, a pair of C$63,500 second leg divisions in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and a single C$95,250 race in the second leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters. Complete entries for the Northfield Park race can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The polls have closed and it's officially Trump Nation. The colt by that very same name proved quite the best Saturday night (May 26), winning Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. The 28th Rooney saw six 3-year-old colts and two geldings start, but seven ended up chasing in vain. Trump Nation captured the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. From post position four, Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett, $6.80) was forwardly-placed, as was Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller). The latter made the first lead, before the former played leapfrog. Trump Nation seized the day (night?) just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Trump Nation, who won the second of last week's two elimination races, then rated a :29 next subsection (:56.3 half), which would serve him well. Along came 3-5 favorite Springsteen (Brian Sears), first-up from fifth, and the race was underway in earnest. Kwik Talkin (George Brennan) slipped out to race second-over, but gapped badly. Meanwhile, the leader and his 'prompter' rolled through a :26.4 third quarter (1:23.2), with the people's preference packing it in readily. Trump Nation owned a 1-3/4 length lead in and out of the final turn. Babes Dig Me edged from the pocket, while Minnie Vinnie had room after sitting third. However, Trump Nation was up to the challenge, defeating Minnie Vinnie by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51.3 -- a life-best by a good number. Babes Dig Me was clearly third, with 124-1 rank outsider Major Authority (Mark MacDonald) and Decoy (Dave Miller) rounding out the payees. Kwik Talkin, Springsteen and Jimtastic (Eric Goodell) completed the order. For second choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by Evan Katz and Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. "I couldn't have asked for the race to work out any better," Bartlett said. "I was able to back down the half and pick it up when Springsteen came at me. I thought the two outside horses (Babes Dig Me and Decoy) had to leave, and when I saw Brett (Miller, Babes Dig Me), I let him go and retook. "I have to say that (former trainer) Andrew (Harris) really did the right thing with him last season, wanting to race him from off the pace. He deserves a lot of credit." As does the chauffeur, who won his first Rooney Pace in his 11th try. "It took me long enough," Bartlett said. Complete recaps of all the weekend races, including the Camluck Classic at The Raceway at Western Fair District and a trio of $150,000 invitational events at Harrah's Philadelphia, 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 - 209; 2. Yannick Gingras - 149; 3. Jason Bartlett - 139; 4. Jordan Stratton - 134; 5. Daniel Dube - 75. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 158; 2. Peter Tritton - 102; 3. Jim King Jr. - 99; 4. Richard Banca - 75; 5. Rene Allard - 70. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 87; 2. Richard Poillucci - 44; 3t. Burke Racing Stable - 40.3; 3t. Weaver Bruscemi - 40.3; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 40. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadows, Scioto Downs, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Tioga Downs. The Meadows will card the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters of both sexes, Scioto will host the Charlie Hill for open trotters, Mohawk will feature five stakes eliminations, led by the North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, and Tioga Downs will offer the third leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit


All Bets Off won Saturday's $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park, making him only the second horse to win both a Carl Milstein Memorial and a Battle of Lake Erie, two of the track's prestigious harness racing Grand Circuit events. Wiggle It Jiggleit accomplished the same feat. All Bets Off (Bettor's Delight - Armbro Penelope - Dexter Nukes) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino and Panhellenic Stable. He is trained by Ron Burke. Matt Kakaley had the winning drive. As the gate pulled away from the stellar Battle field, Luck Be Withyou and Aaron Merriman rushed to the front, setting wicked-fast fractions of :26, :52.4 and 1:20.3. "I figured the race would rock and roll early. I thought I should get away mid-pack and cross my fingers," said Kakaley. "The trip worked out perfectly for us." All Bets Off started from post four and made a three-wide bid late in the third panel to make the front and best his competition by 2¼-lengths, stopping the clock at 1:49.2. The time represents a new track record for five and up pacing horses. The former 1:50.4 mark was set in 2002 by Western Millennium and Walter Case, Jr. "All Bets Off is a special horse to me and has really helped further my career to a place I'm not sure it would be without him," offered Kakaley. "This win feels good." Saturday's win marks the 25th score for All Bets Off in 86 career races and increases his bankroll to $2,372,503. All Bets Off Ayers Ratliff  

Saturday's Battle of Lake Erie rivals have a combined 192 victories. Northfield Park's 11th race features a competitive harness racing field of the sport's best open pacers and will reveal who earns the 193rd win. All Bets Off drew post 4 and has been named the 5-2 slight morning-line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting, Dave Bianconi. He attracts national driving star Matt Kakaley and is one of two entries in the field for the harness racing's leading trainer Ron Burke. All Bets Off makes his third local appearance. He won the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial in 2014 and was the runner-up (from post 8) in this event last year. He has career earnings of $2,272,503 and a 1:48.2 lifetime mark at Rosecroft's 5/8th mile oval. Luck Be Withyou enters this event off two consecutive victories and drew post 3. He has been given a 3-1 morning line. Saturday marks Luck Be Withyou's fourth start over the Flying Turns. He finished dead-heated for second in 2014 in the $400,000 Milstein and has been eighth and fourth in his two Battle attempts. Luck Be Withyou has a career bankroll of $1,339,741 and won a $500,000 Breeders Crown in 2013 and the $500,000 Ben Franklin in 2015. Guantanamo Bay drew the rail and is the 9-2 third choice. He and his driver, Vincent Ginsburg, both make their Northfield debuts. Guantanamo Bay has four wins this season and 14 career scores. He paced a lifetime best of 1:51.2 (Meadows 5/8) last year and has earned $278,538. Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the sport's best veteran pacers. Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Gallo Blue Chip, Maltese Artist and Foiled Again. This will be the first year since 2009 that Foiled Again will not compete in this race. However, he is not ready to completely pass the torch and will be leading the post parade after competing in the $20,000 Open Pace on the undercard. Later in the evening he will greet fans from a special stall set up on the grandstand apron. Harness racing's richest horse, with $7,521,128 in earnings and 94 victories, loves people and is accustomed to fans who like to take selfies with him. The 2017 $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie field: Horse Driver Trainer M/L 1 - Guantanamo Bay -  by Somebeachsomewhere - Vincent Ginsburg - Daniel Renaud,  9-2 2 - Soto - by Rock N Roll Heaven - Art Stafford Jr. - Eric Ell,  6-1 3 - Luck Be Withyou - by Western Ideal - Aaron Merriman - Chris Oakes,  3-1 4 - All Bets Off  - by Bettor's Delight - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke,  5-2 5 - Mr Wiggle Pants - By Mr Wiggles - Aaron Merriman - Scott McEneny, 5-1 6 - Night Pro - by Pro Bono Best - Ronnie Wrenn Jr. - Dale Decker, 12-1 7 - Rockin Ron - by Real Desire - Aaron Merriman - Ron Burke,  8-1 8 - Sunfire Blue Chip - by American Ideal - Mark MacDonald - Jimmy Takter,  10-1 *Final driver selections are due by 9PM on Tuesday. Superfecta wagering has been added to Friday's 11th race, the Battle feature. First race post time is 6:00 p.m. In addition to superior racing action, Battle night will also offer guests a sumptuous buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room from 6-9 p.m. The buffet is $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330-467-4101. Guests who want to be down close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to visit Smash Time food truck and Crooked Kettle Popcorn. Live music by The Caliber Band will be part of the apron scene from 6-10 p.m. Scan and win with WGAR's Brian Fowler from 6-8 p.m. and play corn hole toss for prizes from 7-8 p.m. Battle night attendees will receive a bonus entry for the 60th Anniversary Car Giveaway making them eligible to win a 2017 Buick Cascada or a 2017 Honda CR-V. One lucky winner will be drawn randomly on Carl Milstein Memorial Night on August 12. Every summer has a story...start yours at Northfield Park! Ayers Ratliff

Northfield Park reminds harness racing horseman that the Battle of Lake Erie card (raced Saturday June 3) will be drawn on Tuesday (May 30). The box closes at 9AM (Eastern). In addition to the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie, the night card will offer four $20,000 Spring Late Closer Finals, and three $20,000 Opens (Pace, Trot and F&M Pace). Northfield Park accepts entries on line through the USTA, in the entry box or by calling the race office at 330-467-4101.    $1,581.21 Carryover Sparks $7,500 Guaranteed Pick-5 Total Pool Sunday at Northfield Park                         Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $7,500 Pick-5 total pool guarantee on Sunday (May 28th).  Beginning in Race 3, the $7,500 Pick-4 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $1,581.21.  This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association. Northfield’s Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3’s offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent.    Sunday’s post time is 6:00 p.m. Battle of Lake Erie, the night card will offer four $20,000 Spring Late Closer Finals, and three $20,000 Opens (Pace, Trot and F&M Pace). Northfield Park accepts entries on line through the USTA, in the entry box or by calling the race office at 330-467-4101. Northfield Park

Wiggle It Jiggleit has traveled to Northfield Park's Flying Turns on two occasions and has two harness racing track records to prove it. Winner of the 2015 Carl Milstein Memorial in 1:49.3, the fasted mile paced at Northfield Park by a three year-old gelding, Wiggle It Jiggleit is now also the fastest four year-old gelding on the half-mile oval by virtue of his easy victory in Saturday's (May 21) $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie. Wiggle It Jiggleit (Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover-Jenna's Beach Boy) is owned by the partnership of George Teague Jr. Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership. He is trained by Clyde Francis. Montrell Teague had the winning drive. Entering the Battle off two runner-up finishes, many analysts were not eyeing Wiggle It Jiggleit, but rather (#5) Freaky Feet Pete as their selection. Freaky Feet Pete entered the event off a nine-race win streak. "Almost every print I looked in has us picked for second, some even for third," said owner George Teague. "I wondered if I was looking at the same program as them, but it even had me doubting our chances in here." As the gate pulled away from the stellar Battle field, Wiggle It Jiggle left no doubt who would reign supreme. He led his rivals from start to finish. Wiggle It Jiggleit started from the rail and led his competition every step of the way through fractions of :28, :55.4, 1:23 and 1:49.4, besting his rivals by 4-1/4 lengths. Pacing an initial quarter in a leisurely :28, and sprinting his final quarter in :26.4, there was no catching Wiggle It Jiggleit. "My horse was unbelievably grabby and ready to roll," explained Montrell Teague. "Although we went slow early, no one would have had a chance to get the lead anyway." Saturday's win marks the 28th score for Wiggle It Jiggleit in 35 career races and increases his bankroll to $2,478,260. Ayers Ratliff

Freaky Feet Pete won over Indiana --- and then much of North America --- with his winning ways over the past two years. Now the harness racing 4-year-old male pacer is getting ready for his first stakes race of 2016, facing seven foes in Saturday's $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. The Battle of Lake Erie features not only Freaky Feet Pete, who won 15 of 17 races last year including the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers, but harness racing's all-time richest horse, 12-year-old Foiled Again, and the 2015 Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit. Freaky Feet Pete has won 27 of 30 career races and earned $1.14 million for owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer. In addition to the Breeders Crown, Freaky Feet Pete won last year's American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park. Except for the Breeders Crown and American-National, the horse has raced exclusively at Hoosier Park, where he captured two Indiana Sire Stakes championships. The stallion was bred by Mary Jo's husband Larry, who also trains Freaky Feet Pete. The Rheinheimers live near LaGrange, Ind., in the northeast corner of the Hoosier State. Freaky Feet Pete and regular driver Trace Tetrick will start the Battle of Lake Erie from post five. Freaky Feet Pete, who is 3-for-3 this year with all his victories coming in invitational handicaps at Hoosier Park, is 2-1 on the morning line. He is the second choice behind even-money favorite Wiggle It Jiggleit, who drew post one. Freaky Feet Pete won two of three meetings with Wiggle It Jiggleit last season. Larry Rheinheimer recently took time to talk with Ken Weingartner of the USTA's Harness Racing Communications division about the Battle of Lake Erie and the fun of living with Freaky Feet Pete. KW: Let's start by going back to last year when you won the Breeders Crown. What was the reaction like back home? LR: Crazy. I mean he's a hometown hero. If people could watch (the Breeders Crown) on television, they did. If they couldn't, they found it on the computer. Everyone was excited. KW: Do people come up to you a lot to talk about him? LR: Oh yeah. When I go to town or go somewhere, people are always asking when is Pete racing again, or how did Pete do last week. Most of them know how he's done, but they want to know when he's racing again. KW: Are you the most famous duo up in that part of the state? LR: I don't know if I am, but he is. (Laughs.) Everyone knows him. KW: Do you feel any more comfortable now being the center of attention? LR: Not really. (Laughs.) I like to sneak up on them. KW: Well, I don't think that's going to happen anymore. LR: No, we blew that. (Laughs.) KW: But the way it's worked out has been pretty good. LR: It has. It's been a great ride. My wife and I and the kids, we've enjoyed it. And I've got one sister that follows me everywhere we go. KW: What's been the most enjoyable part of it all? LR: Just the fanfare, I think. We've met a lot of very nice people. A super lot. I hear from all over that people watch when Pete races. Now I think the biggest pressure on me is hoping that nothing goes wrong. I've raced enough horses in my life to know they're all going to get beat. That's why we race them. But I'm hoping we go a good race and everything works good. KW: Was it difficult waiting through the winter? Were you anxious to get going again? LR: I was anxious to see how he would come back this year. That was the biggest thing. You go from year to year when you shut them down and you don't know how they're going to come back. You hope for the best, but sometimes it doesn't happen. KW: How long was he off and when did you bring him back? LR: He was off for about six weeks. We didn't let him completely down. One of the reasons we just started back jogging with him was he was so fired up in the paddock. KW: When you started to bring him back did you sense right away that he was good? LR: He did everything handily and never took a bad step or anything. He was feeling good all the time, so we felt pretty good about him coming back. KW: Did you see him change much over the winter? LR: I think he filled out a little more in his chest and a little more in the rump. I think he filled out more this year than he did last year. He feels good. He likes it here at home. He's throwing his head and playing and feeling good. He's enjoying himself and trains nicely. I feel real comfortable with him. KW: What did you think about his performances in his first three races this year? LR: I thought he was good in all three of them. In the last one, Trace came off a helmet with him, which I like, and he was good. To me, that was his best race so far. The qualifiers weren't anything, just qualifiers. The last one, when he raced him from off the pace, that made me feel better. KW: When you saw the draw come out, aside from Wiggle It Jiggleit getting post one, you had to feel better that you didn't get the eight or the seven. LR: (Laughs.) Yeah, I did. I'm not unhappy with the five. You're in the middle of the swing there. But I was happy I didn't have the eight. I was looking for the eight when Wiggle It Jiggleit was the one. (Laughs.) KW: Are you looking forward to your first stakes races of the year? LR: Yes, I am. He's doing good and everything is together and we're ready to go, I think. KW: He trains on a half-mile track, so you're not too concerned about that? LR: Not really. We train him on a half all the time and I think he can handle it. You never know for sure, but I think it will be OK. And with the five hole out there with the banked turn I feel a little more comfortable. KW: What do you think about the race? LR: I'm hoping there are some front-runners out there, but I don't know for sure. And that's Trace's decision. I know when the gate folds, that's when the decision will be made. KW: What's Pete's schedule like this season? LR: I think we're going to go to the Graduate Series at Mohawk next after this race. After that, there are a couple of races out East. KW: It's going to be a fun year watching that (older pacer) division. And a lot of them are Indiana-bred. LR: Indiana has come a long way. These Indiana horses can go anyplace and race. That's what I feel. All of these people brought their broodmares up and everything else and it's paying off for them. Ken Weingartner

If racing fans are looking for a nightcap to Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, Northfield Park has the perfect closing act – the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie.   Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the best veteran pacers the sport has to offer.  Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip and Maltese Artist.     This year, the Grand Circuit one mile dash for veteran pacers has attracted Wiggle It Jiggleit, last year’s Horse of the Year and winner of the Little Brown Jug, Freaky Feet Pete, the 2015 Breeders Crown champ, and Foiled Again, the richest horse in the history of harness racing.   Wiggle It Jiggleit has drawn the rail and has been installed as the even-money favorite. Racing for George Teague and Teague Racing Partnership, the 4-year-old gelded son of Mr Wiggles has won 27 of 34 career starts and $2.3 million.   This will be his second trip to the Flying Turns. Wiggle It Jiggleit won last year’s $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial, the track’s premier event, in 1:49 3/5, establishing a track record for sophomore gelded pacers.   Freaky Feet Pete, who drew the No. 5 post and is the earlybird second betting choice at 2-1, arrives at Northfield with a sparkling record, a winner of 27 of 30 starts and $1.1 million.    The son of Rockin Image will carry a nine-race winning streak to the gate.  His start in the Battle will be his first on a half-mile track.   “He trains on a half-mile track at home,” said Marty Rheinheimer, co-owner of Freaky Feet Pete. “I’m really not worried at all about him getting around the track. I think he will take to it just fine.”   Foiled Again will be making an unprecedented eighth consecutive start in the Battle of Lake Erie, a race he has won three times, including last year’s renewal. Now 12, the gelded son of Dragon Again, another Battle winner (2000), has won 86 of 253 starts and a record $7,372,138.   “Every time he steps on the track it’s history, so it’s cool” said trainer Ron Burke.   Foiled Again’s score in last year’s Battle sent his bankroll over $7 million. No other Standardbred has earned as much as $6 million. Ready Cash, a retired trotter, is second to Foiled Again with a bankroll of $5.7 million.    Dave Bianconi, Northfield’s executive vice-president of racing and simulcasting, who put the race field together, believes the Battle lineup is strong enough to threaten the track record.   “They have a shot at breaking it,” he said. “I can see a sub-1:50 mile if the conditions are right.”   A Rocknroll Dance holds the record, a 1:49 1/5 mile in the 2013 Battle of Lake Erie.   An impressive undercard featuring three $20,000 Opens and three $20,000 late closer finals will support this year’s Battle of Lake Erie.   In addition, Battle night will also offer guests a sumptuous dinner buffet in Lady Luck’s clubhouse. The special Battle of Lake Erie Buffet is just $19.95.  Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330/467-4101.     Guests who want to be down close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to sample the fare of some of northeast Ohio’s most popular food trucks.  Live music by Unknown Reason can also be enjoyed on the apron, and patrons will receive a FREE spin on the Northfield Park Prize Wheel from 8 to 9 p.m.   The Battle of Lake Erie is scheduled as the 11th event on the 15-race program with a first race 6:00 p.m. post time.  A Pick 4 will begin in race eight and offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool, while the Battle will offer a $25,000 guaranteed Superfecta pool. The 2016 $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie Field:   Post Horse Driver Trainer M/L 1 Wiggle It Jiggleit Montrell Teague Clyde Francis 1-1 2 Ideal Cowboy Aaron Merriman Jeffrey Bamond Jr. 8-1 3 Roland N Rock TBA Rob Harmon 25-1 4 Foiled Again Joe Bongiorno Ron Burke 10-1 5 Freaky Feet Pete Trace Tetrick Larry Rheinheimer 2-1 6 Santa Fe Beachboy Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Brian Brown 25-1 7 Luck Be Withyou Dave Palone Chris Oakes 15-1 8 All Bets Off Matt Kakaley Ron Burke 12-1   by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

All Bets Off, third in North America in earnings this year with $221,950 in the bank, heads the probable list of harness racing all-star pacers for the May 21st renewal of Northfield Park's Battle of Lake Erie. The one mile dash also includes Foiled Again, harness racing's all-time money-winner, and Freaky Feet Pete, a horse who wins a staggering 89.6 percent of his starts. All Bets Off, a 5-year-old son of Bettor's Delight, has competed at the highest level for four years, winning 20 of 58 career starts and $1.7 million in purses. A winner of two of eight starts this year, he's off a runner-up finish (beaten a length) in the Apr. 23 $609,000 George Morton Levy Final at Yonkers. No stranger to Northfield, All Bets Off won the inaugural Milstein Memorial in 2014. Harness Racing's longest shining star, Foiled Again, who at age 12, will be seeking to defend his Battle championship as well as seeking his fourth overall victory in the race's 32 editions. His $7,369,138 bankroll, gleaned from 86 victories in 252 starts is the highest in the history of harness racing, both on the pace and trot. Foiled Again's other Battle triumphs came in 2009 and 2011. This will be his eighth start in the tradition laden race. Freaky Feet Pete is ultra-consistent. The 4-year-old son of Rockin Image has won 26 of 29 career starts with two seconds, including last year's Breeder's Crown at Woodbine Raceway. He has banked $1,136,724. Local favorite Ameichi, from the barn of Brian Loney, is pointing for the Battle. He has won two of his last three starts at Northfield Park in the $13,500 weekly feature. The ultra-sharp six-year-old just paced his 1:51 2/5 lifetime mark on April 18 around the Flying Turns. Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the best veteran pacers the sport has to offer. Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip, and Maltese Artist. Official entries for the Battle will be drawn May 17. The card, which will follow Northfield's simulcast of the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course, will also include a trio of $20,000 late closer finals along with three $20,000 opens events. Complete list of horses nominated to the 2016 Battle of Lake Erie: All Bets Off Americhi Beach Memories Cammikey Domethatagain Dreams Beachboy Foiled Again Freaky Feet Pete Gallipolis Ideal Cowboy Let's Drink On It Limelight Beach Luck Be With You Michaels Power Remember Me VK Roland N Rock Santa Fe Beachboy Seventh Secret Sports Sinner Sunfire Blue Chip Twilight Bonfore Wiggle It Jiggleit Ayers Ratliff

(Pequannock, NJ – June 16, 2015)  --  He was named after a cartoon character’s catchphrase, but harness racing world champion Foiled Again has been nothing but serious when it comes to making money. The 11-year-old pacer is the richest Standardbred in history, with purse earnings of $7.01 million following his win last Friday in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. With the victory, Foiled Again also became the race’s first three-time champion. And now this model of consistency on the racetrack has become a real model. Breyer has joined countless fans amazed by Foiled Again’s ability to compete successfully at the sport’s highest level year after year and is honoring the ageless wonder with a portrait model created in his likeness. Most harness racing horses earn the bulk of their lifetime money at ages 2 and 3 – the years during which the greatest number of lucrative stakes are offered – but Foiled Again has defied convention, banking more than $5.8 million after turning age 6. In fact, his earnings during that span alone outdistance the next richest pacer in history by more than $1 million. He is the only harness racing horse to compete solely in North America and earn more than $1 million for three consecutive years, a feat he accomplished from 2011 through 2013. In 2011, at the age of 7, Foiled Again was named the Dan Patch Award Pacer of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers’ Association. He is the only pacer older than the age of 4 ever to receive the honor. In 2013, at the age of 9, he won the Breeders Crown Pace to become the oldest Standardbred to win a Breeders Crown event. In addition to his victory in the Breeders Crown, Foiled Again during his career has won many of the sport’s top stakes for older pacers, including the Canadian Pacing Derby, Ben Franklin Pace, TVG Free For All Series Championship, George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, Bobby Quillen Memorial, and Molson Pace. The bay gelding also holds the record for most miles in 1:55 or faster and at the age of 9 equaled the world record for the fastest mile ever by an older pacer on a five-eighths of a mile racetrack, winning in 1:48 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Born on May 8, 2004 in central New Jersey, Foiled Again is a son of stallion Dragon Again. He was named by breeder Barbara Matthews, who recalled her daughter watching Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons and hearing villain Snidely Whiplash often exclaim, “Curses, foiled again!” Foiled Again has been driven throughout the majority of his career by Yannick Gingras and trained by Ron Burke. He is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and the JJK Stables group of Joseph Koury, Joseph Koury, Jr. and Kevin Koury. Weaver once said he hoped to someday find another horse like Foiled Again, but knows the odds are against it.  “It’s like saying you want to find the next Michael Jordan,” Weaver said. “It’s sort of unreasonable.” Breyer’s Foiled Again Traditional model is available now from Breyer retailers everywhere. Breyer’s special edition Stablemates version of Foiled Again will be the kid’s giveaway item on Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 8, at The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. For additional Stablemates availability call Moira Fanning at  609-371-2211. A “launch party” for the Foiled Again Breyer Model will take place on Sat., July 4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the scene of his historic Breeders Crown triumph.  Foiled Again is scheduled to race in the Ben Franklin Free For All Pace, one of four feature races on the $2 million Sun Stakes race card. About Breyer Animal Creations® For horse-crazy girls, there are only two kinds of horses: real horses and Breyer model horses. The iconic Breyer brand, a division of Reeves International, was founded in 1950, and is the leader in creating the world’s most authentic and realistic model horses for play and collecting. These hand-painted, collectable model horses and animals have a worldwide following, thanks to the incredible sculptures that form the foundation of the line. Today, Breyer has expanded its play lines to include play sets, craft activities and horsey accessories for its younger fans and its collector lines to include resins, crystal and porcelain. To see the complete line of Breyer horses, and to learn more about Breyer events and the model horse hobby, visit us at! Please contact Kathleen Fallon at Breyer: Tel: 973-349-1704; Mobile: 917-592-5185 Email:

Harness racing's longest shining star, Foiled Again, became the first three-time champion of Northfield Park's Battle of Lake Erie when he crossed the wire a winner on Friday (June 12). Approaching the start the 11 year-old was already the richest Standardbred of all-time and became the first horse to earn in excess of $7 million with his triumph. Foiled Again (Dragon Again-In A Safe Place-Artsplace) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, Weaver Bruscemi of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and JJK Stables LLC of Fort Lauterdale, Florida. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Matt Kakaley to drive. Foiled Again started from post five and sat fourth through the :26 opening quarter. Kakaley pulled Foiled Again in the second panel and he remained first over through times of :53.4 and 1:21.3. Foiled again took advantage of his chance when Luck Be Withyou, who had led throughout, went off stride entering the final turn. Foiled Again inherited the lead and fought off his competition in the stretch to win by a neck, stopping the timer at 1:50.3. "I knew if I was close turning for home the he would out grit them," said Kakaley "He is the toughest horse ever in the history of harness racing, for sure." The win pushes Foiled Again's earnings to $7,012,531. Following Foiled Again were Clear Vision, Cammikey, Big Boy Dreams, State Treasurer, Duc Dorleans, Night Pro and Luck Be Withyou. Foiled Again started this year a bit sluggish and many people were calling for Ron Burke to retire the champion pacer. However, Burke discovered that the horse had an entrapped epiglottis and scheduled the minor surgery in early May. Friday's performance was Foiled Again's first start post-operation. "He is as good as ever and still has a lot of racing left in him," said Burke. "He is the horse that has built our barn. I cannot say enough good things about him. I love this horse." Ayers Ratliff

The Battle of Lake Erie, one of Northfield Park's premier races and a Grand Circuit event, is set for its 30th edition on June 12, 2015. The Friday harness racing  feature is scheduled as the 11th of 15 races with a 6:00 p.m. first race post time. This year's Battle carries a purse of $175,000, the largest in its history. The race is the fourth leg of the evening's pick 4, which has a $10,000 guaranteed pool, and Superfecta wagering has been added. Since its inception in 1986, the Battle has drawn the very best veteran pacers the sport to compete on Northfield Park's Flying Turns. Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip and Maltese Artist. In addition to superior racing action, Battle night will also offer guests a sumptuous buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is just $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330-467-4101. Guests who want to be close to the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to visit Seti's Polish Boys food truck. Live music by The Attraxxion will be part of the apron scene from 6-10 p.m. and spin the prize wheel with WMJI's Chip Kullik from 7-9 p.m. The 2015 Battle of Lake Erie Field: #1 Clear Vision is this event's returning champion. He is one of two starters from the powerful barn of Ron Burke. Owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and The Panhellenic Stable Corp. of Oyster Bay, New York, he has won 29 and has been on the board in 95 of 175 career races. His lifetime mark is 1:48.2 (TgDn 5/8) with a career bankroll of $2,346,732. 2015 marks Clear Vision's third Battle of Lake Erie appearance. The gelding by Western Hanover won last year and finished third in 2013. His richest victory was in the $223,500 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in 2013. Burke has named Chris Page to drive this 8-1 morning-line competitor. #2 Cammikey has the highest win percentage of any starter in this year's edition. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has been victorious in 10 of 21 career races, taking a 1:49.4 (Mea 5/8) mark in 2014 and earning $252,037. The four year-old is owned by Cam Land LLC of Washington, Pennsylvania. Cammikey enters this race off three consecutive victories. He is conditioned by William Zendt. The Meadows regular and customary Cammikey driver Brian Zendt has been named to steer the 12-1 morning-line contender. #3 Luck Be Withyou sports career earnings of $738,176. He has 35 lifetime starts and 13 career victories. He is a four year-old son of Western Ideal with a lifetime mark of 1:48 (PcD 5/8). Luck Be Withyou is owned by John Craig of North York, Ontario, Canada and is trained by Chris Oaks. He has won three of his last four races and has been assigned a morning-line of 7-2. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. is making his first Battle appearance. Wrenn is Northfield Park's leading driver and won the national driving title in both 2013 and 2014. #4 Duc Dorleans will start for Canadian owners Gestion C. Levesque 2005 Inc. and Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Quebec. He has 25 career victories in 75 lifetime starts. This five year-old son of Shanghai Phil has career earnings of $487,418 and sports a 1:49 (PPK 5/8) lifetime mark. With eight firsts already in 2015, Duc Dorleans has more wins this year than any of his Battle contenders. This 12-1 morning line selection is trained by Marie Dupont and will be driven by Daniel Dube. #5 Foiled Again is attempting to become the first horse to win this event three times and is making his seventh Battle of Lake Erie appearance. He won in 2009 and 2011, finished third in 2010 and was second in 2012. Ron Burke trains the gelding son of Dragon Again for owners Burke Racing Stable of Fredricktown, PA, Weaver Bruscemi of Canonsburg, PA and JJK Stables of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Foiled Again has garnered 83 career victories and has been in the money 173 times in 228 career starts, earning a mark of 1:48 (PcD 5/8) and earnings of $6,925,031. Those career earnings rank him as the richest pacer in history. Former Northfield standout Matt Kakaley is scheduled to pilot this 4-1 third favorite. #6 Big Boy Dreams is owned by Robert Hamather of Exeter, Ontario, Canada, Rene Allard of Milford, Pennsylvania and Mary Lou Poliseno of Hartly, Delaware. The four year-old son of If I Can Dream has 30 career starts with 12 wins. He earned a 1:49.4 (PcD 5/8) lifetime mark and has career earnings of $517,342. Big Boy Dreams enters this race off two straight wins, posting that lifetime mark in his most recent performance. Rene Allard trains Big Boy Dreams and calls upon North America's leading driver, Aaron Merriman, to pilot. Merriman has won more races than any other driver over Northfield Park's Flying Turns. Big Boy Dreams ships in as a 9-2 morning-line starter. #7 State Treasurer, one of three millionaires in this Battle field, is the 5-2 slight morning-line favorite. He enters off two straight wins, the $120,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair on May 29 being is his most recent victory. State Treasurer has 75 lifetime starts and 23 career victories. The six year-old son of Real Desire brings a lifetime mark of 1:48.1 (Moh 7/8) and career earnings of $1,016,103. He is owned by Sally MacDonald of Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada and Paul MacDonald of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is trained by Ian Moore. Hall of Famer and Buckeye native David Miller drives. #8 Night Pro, 20-1, was the runner-up in the 2014 edition of the Battle. He has a 1:49 (HoP 7/8) lifetime mark and earnings of $510,549. He is the son of Pro Bono Bests (sire of Bono Bests, 2008 Battle of Lake Erie champion). His dam, Midnight Jewel, was an accomplished race mare at Northfield Park and throughout the Midwest. This five year-old has won 30 of 51 career starts and is six of 10 this year. Night Pro won his career debut here in a $2,000 NW1 in 1:57.4 in March, 2013. Dale Decker of Temperance, Michigan owns and trains Night Pro. Greg Grismore has been given the driving assignment. Ayers Ratliff  

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