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YONKERS, N.Y. – When Casie Coleman drew up the plans for McWicked’s 2018 campaign, Yonkers Raceway wasn’t among the potential targets for the star pacer. In fact, no half-mile tracks were, in part because Coleman believes McWick d is better on a big track and in part because owner Ed James of S S G Stable doesn’t like to race his horses on half-mile ovals. Coleman was surprised then, when James expressed interest in racing in the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace on the Yonkers International Trot undercard, especially since the timing of the race could upset McWicked’s path to the Breeders Crown. Despite the risk, Coleman changed course with McWicked to make the race, carded as the 11th of 12 on today’s program (October 13). “It wasn’t on the schedule at all. I wasn’t planning to get invited to it. It’s nice we did, obviously,” Coleman said. “My plan was to ship him home to Canada Sunday morning and have a week off to get ready for the Breeders Crown; that was the original plan that I thought was going to be perfect.  “When we got invited, you can’t turn it down. I didn’t think the owner would want to go. If the Breeders Crown goes eliminations, he’s going to be at six races in a row going into that Crown final, so it’s not something I would recommend,” she continued. “I’m really praying the Open Pace will go right to the final and then we’re perfect if that happens, but if they go elims, we’re going to be scared to have a tired horse going into the Crown final. The owner, I told him about it and he wanted to go. He said, ‘we’ll take a chance,’ so we’re going and we’ll hope for the best.” McWicked is the top earning Standardbred in North America this year with $1,053,864 in the bank. Wins in the Ben Franklin Final, Haughton Memorial, Canadian Pacing Derby, and a 1:46.2 lifetime best score in the Allerage Farms Open Pace last time out at the Red Mile October 6 earned him an invitation to the Rooney. It’s the best season the 7-year-old McArdle stallion has enjoyed since his sophomore year and has bolstered his record to 30-for-89 with $3,375,376 in career earnings.  “He was really good last year. He wasn’t this good, but he didn’t get into a lot of those big races because they went by money earned on the year and he didn’t have any money earned on the year,” Coleman said. “Now that he’s got money on his card, he’s been in all the big dances and he’s as strong now as he’s ever been, no doubt. He thinks he’s 3 again.” In his most recent start, McWicked raced off frantic fractions of :26.1 and :52.1 set by Western Fame and Heaven Rocks. He followed Filibuster Hanover around the final turn and tipped wide past three-quarters in 1:19.1. McWicked struck the front with a furlong to pace and held off parked-out rival Lazarus in the final sixteenth to win by ¾ lengths. “I couldn’t have been any happier with the way it set up. ‘Wicked’ seems to get a lot of tough trips, he’s first-over a lot. He seems to respond to it, he always races really well obviously,” Coleman said. “When I saw the fast fractions up front and he was second-over, Lazarus ended up being parked the mile, so that was to our advantage. I was really happy for the way it was setting up. “He’s been pacing some pretty big miles and that track was the fastest track I’ve seen of any track,” she continued. “That track was lightning. I was definitely expecting a big, big mile and with the fractions, it set up to go a big mile.” Despite McWicked’s torrid winning and beaten times – he’s been sub-1:50 in all but one of his 2018 starts at a mile and sub-1:49 in five – McWicked is a lazy horse in training and until recently, was a muted personality in the barn. “He’s always been a cool horse. As a 3-year-old, he was a really quiet horse. He made no noise and you would never even know he was in the barn. Now, he’s doing double duty, he’s breeding and racing, so he’s squealing and roaring and he knows he’s the boss, basically,” said Coleman, who’s trained McWicked for the bulk of his career. “There’s not many horses I’ve had as long as him except for back when I had claimers because the other ones either go to be broodmares or stallions,” she said. “He’s been around a long time. It’s pretty cool. We always call him the mascot. There’s not many mascots that are in the barn that have made $3.3 million. We call him the mascot because he’s been there forever. “To drive he’s an absolute sweetheart. If you want to go a mile in 2:25, he’ll go in 2:40. He’s very, very lazy. When you watch him race, he doesn’t want much part of the race until they’re past the half. He’s always gapped out and that’s just him,” she continued. “As a 3-year-old, he used to leave more, but this year, he’s very lazy. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, he’s a nice horse, he just squeals and roars a lot, makes a lot of noise, makes sure everybody knows he’s there.” Only $180,990 of McWicked’s career earnings have come on the half-mile track. He finished fifth in the Little Brown Jug and third in the Messenger at 3. At 5, McWicked finished third in the Molson Pace before finally winning on the half at age 6; he took a $30,000 overnight at Yonkers in his 2017 debut March 11 and won a leg of the Levy Series a month later. He finished last in the Levy Final April 22 for trainer Steve Elliot and hasn’t raced on the half since. “He gets around the half fine, he’s good-gaited. I haven’t been to the half that much with him,” Coleman said. “When I went to the Jug, I was extremely excited about McWicked. I thought he would fly over the half and he was no good there, I wasn’t happy with him, he was flat. I never really did find out what it was.  “I’m hoping he’s fine,” she continued. “I don’t see why he’ll have an issue with the half because he’s very good-gaited and he’ll get around anything, but he’s definitely not at his best on the half like he is on a big track.” McWicked drew post 2 in the Dan Rooney Pace and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with regular reinsman Brian Sears in the sulky. Nuclear Dragon is 5-2 from the inside off a front-stepping 1:50.2 score at Dayton while Endeavor to McWicked’s immediate outside enters off a similar score at Hoosier.  Bit Of A Legend, who finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in this race in 2015, will start from post 4 off a win in the local $44,000 Open Handicap Pace last out. Evenin Of Pleasure, Mach It So, and Always At My Place complete the lineup after the late sick scratch of Lazarus Friday morning.  “I have no idea what Brian will do on the half,” Coleman admitted. “The rail horse has a ton of speed and the three horse has a ton of speed. I don’t know what Brian will do, but as long as we get away midpack somewhere, I’m happy. I just hope that we can get our picture taken again.” Today’s card also features the $1,000,000 Yonkers International Trot and the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot. First post time is 1 p.m. For entries to the card, click here. For more information on the International Trot and its participants, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

McWicked and driver Brian Sears paced the second fastest mile in the history of harness racing with a 1:46.2 victory over Lazarus in the $179,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at the Red Mile Saturday. The eighth race feature saw Western Fame and driver Brett Miller leave from post nine and take the early lead away from Filbuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley). Also, on the move was Australian import Heaven Rocks and driver David Miller and by the opening quarter mile in :26.1 they were in command of the field. Past the half mile marker in :52.1, Filibuster Hanover and Kakaley started up first-over and was followed on the outside by McWicked and Sears. Following McWicked third over was Lazarus (Yannick Gingras). They raced past the three-quarters in 1:19.1 as McWicked and then Lazarus started to fan out and come after Heaven Rocks. McWicked was able to collar and pass by Heaven Rocks in the stretch and then hold off Lazarus to win by one length in 1:46.2. Filibuster Hanover was third. It was a lifetime record for McWicked and the $89,500 winners share of the purse pushed his earnings over $1 million in 2018 for trainer Casie Coleman and the SSG Stables of North Boston, NY.   McWicked has now tied his rivalry with Lazarus at 2-2. To see the race click here.  Sired by McArdle, McWicked is seven years old and now sports career earnings of $3,375,376. He paid $5.00 to win. “This horse,” said trainer Casie Coleman. “I’ve never had one this old before and wow, 1:46.2, I’ve never had a horse go that fast and that makes him pretty special. “I’ve always liked this big horse,” Coleman added. “When we got him at age 3 he earned $1.5 million and won some of the big stakes races. He still racing now and going strong. “We got invited to Yonkers next week to race for a half a million,” Coleman said. “I didn’t think the owner wanted to go there but he said yes so it looks like we are going to Yonkers.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

Dayton, OH --- Will Take Charge and McWicked have been installed as the morning line favorites in a pair of $150,000 Dayton Derbies which will be contested this Friday (Sept. 28) at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. The favored 5-year-old son of Kadabra comes into the Derby off a win in the Open Handicap Trot at Yonkers Raceway two weeks ago. The Jeff Gillis-trainee also won the $186,000 Crawford Farms Trot at Tioga and was runner-up to Marion Marauder in the $286,650 Cashman Memorial at The Meadowlands last month.Will Take Charge, with Tim Tetrick listed to drive, got the slight nod over Homicide Hunter (Scott Zeron), Ariana G (Jimmy Takter) and JL Cruze (Brett Miller) in the talented Trotting Derby field. The nine trotters entered in the race have combined for 214 wins and $8,866,470 in lifetime earnings. World and Indiana champion Homicide Hunter has won seven of 11 seasonal starts, including the $100,000 final of the Northeast Open Series at Pocono Downs. Dual Dan Patch Award-winner Ariana G, the lone mare in the race, is the richest participant with a $2,292,709 bankroll. She captured the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity earlier this year. JL Cruze is the oldest entrant at age 7 and owns the only sub-1:50 speed badge. He has made just four starts since returning to the races recently and was a fast-closing second in the $200,000 Caesars Trot at Hoosier Park last Friday. Others in the field are Guardian Angel AS (6-1), Moonshiner Hanover (8-1), I Know My Chip (10-1), Bridge To Jesse’s (12-1) and Warrawee Roo (15-1). Despite drawing the post position eight, McWicked will be the likely betting favorite (2-1 morning line) in the Pacing Derby. The 7-year-old son of McArdle will be seeking his 30th career victory while trying to increase his $3,267,876 bankroll. He won the prestigious $462,000 Canadian Pacing Derby earlier this month for trainer Casie Coleman. Other contenders—all stakes winners in their own right--are Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick, 3-1), Western Fame (Andrew McCarthy, 4-1), Split The House (Scott Zeron, 5-1), Rockin Ron (Chris Page, 6-1), Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, 8-1), Beckhams Z Tam (Ricky Macomber Jr., 10-1), All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, 12-1) and Missile J (Kayne Kauffman, 15-1). The Pacing Derby field has produced 215 triumphs and earned $13,997,574 in purses. The $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby will go as the 10th race on a 14-race program, with an estimated post time of 9:26 p.m. The companion $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby is slated two races later with a 10:13 p.m. scheduled start. From Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

MILTON, ON - September 22, 2018 - Stag Party and driver David Miller put on a show to win the $890,000 Metro Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Casie Coleman trained two-year-old harness racing pacing colt came first-up on the final turn from fourth and proceeded to turn the Metro final into a laugher by drawing away with ease in the lane for a 4¼ lengths victory in 1:50.4. "My horse was full of pace the whole way and around the last turn I had a pretty good feeling that he was going to go all the way," said Miller, who had never won the Metro before during his Hall of Fame career. "It's a great feeling, I can't explain it. I had been wanting to win this race a long time too." De Los Cielos Deo blasted from post-ten to claim the early-lead, posting a :27.1 opener. Race-favourite Captain Ahab and driver Andrew McCarthy angled out from sixth heading towards the half, flushing out Stag Party and Miller from fourth. After reaching the half in :55.4, De Los Cielos Deo faced final-turn pressure from Stag Party, while Captain Ahab was situated second-over. De Los Cielos Deo held a length advantage at three-quarters in 1:23.3. In the stretch, Stag Party powered by De Los Cielos Deo and stormed away to the blowout victory. Captain Ahab, who came into the Metro final undefeated, came up empty in the lane after getting the perfect trip and faded to finish ninth. Semi Tough finished second after a two-hole trip, while Shake That House and Lyons Night Hawk finished third and fourth, respectively. "My plan all along was to try and get Andy (McCarthy) in front of me," said Miller about his trip with Stag Party. "He wouldn't take the bait and he ended up following me second-over, which I wasn't happy about." A son of Bettors Delight, Stag Party's dominating effort gives trainer Coleman her second Metro title to go with Sportswriter record performance in 2009. "From day one he's been real special," said Coleman of Stag Party. "He stressed me out a little bit the last couple of weeks. I don't think I've ever had a race where I honestly text the owners and said we might be scratching tonight and go on to win the final the next week." "His issues were all just colt soreness. I literally x-rayed this horse top to bottom two or three weeks in a row...I was ready to tell them we're shutting him down for the season and bringing him back as a three-year-old." A $125,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Stag Party has now earned $642,489 for owners John Fielding, Mac Nichol, McKinlay & Fielding and West Wins Stable. "We've had a lot of luck in this business and we've had a ton of fun and this one is really special because my thoroughbred partner Fred Hertrich actually bred the horse so it makes it extra special," said John Fielding after capturing his first Metro. "I've had horses with Casie for a couple years now and been absolutely thrilled with the job she does. Her and her team have done an amazing job and this colt is really special." Coleman is currently undecided on when Stag Party's next start will be but did note the Metro winner will be pointed towards the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and Breeders Crown. Stag Party paid $5.30 to win. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

MILTON, ON - September 21, 2018 - The $890,000 Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers headlines a $1.9 million harness racing card this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $590,000 Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies and the $255,000 Milton Stakes for pacing mares will also take place on Saturday's stakes card. This year's Metro Pace purse of $890,000 will be the third-highest purse for a horse race in Canada during 2018, trailing only the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup and $1 million Queen's Plate. The undefeated Captain Ahab (PP4) will be looking to repeat history for his trainer Tony Alagna and sire Captaintreacherous. The $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase is seven for seven and the looking to mimic his sire, who won the 2012 Metro Pace in a stakes-record equaling 1:49.2. Driver Andrew McCarthy will sit behind Captain Ahab, the 9/5 morning-line choice, searching for the biggest win of his career. The 32-year-old driver from Down Under has 2,092 wins and $35 million in career earnings. Captain Ahab captured his elimination last Saturday in 1:50.4 by rushing to the top in the second-quarter from fourth and pacing a :55.4 back-half (:28 final-quarter) to secure the victory. The Metro Pace has been the target for trainer Alagna with Captain Ahab, who arrived at Mohawk Park in late-July for the Dream Maker and will be making his sixth start at the Campbellville oval on Saturday. Trainer Casie Coleman will be searching for her second Metro title on Saturday with Bettors Delight colt Stag Party (PP3). A $125,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Stag Party came first-up in his elimination and powered to a career-best 1:51 victory. The Ontario sired standout has won five of seven starts heading into the Metro. Coleman's first Metro victory came back in 2009 with Sportswriter, who established a new event record of 1:49.2. Driver David Miller, who earlier this week captured his fifth Little Brown Jug, will sit behind Stag Party and is seeking his first Metro title. Stag Party, a winner of $197,489, is owned by John Fielding, Mac Nichol, McKinlay & Fielding and West Wins Stable. The $890,000 Metro Pace has been carded as Race 9. Saturday night could be a big night for the duo of McCarthy and Alagna, who also team up with 3-1 morning-line choice Tall Drink Hanover (PP4) in the $590,000 Shes A Great Lady. A daughter of Captaintreacherous, Tall Drink Hanover paced home in :26.3 to win her elimination in a career-best 1:51.2. The $35,000 Harrisburg yearling buy has won four of seven starts, including a division of the Eternal Camnation and final of the Whenuwishuponastar Series. Alagna will send a power trio in the Shes A Great Lady, as Tall Drink Hanover joins Treacherous Reign (PP1, Yannick Gingras) and Odds On St Lucie (PP8, Brett Miller). Ideation Hanover is the other elimination winner in Saturday's final and will start from post-two for driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Dave Menary. A daughter of Bettors Delight, Ideation Hanover converted off a two-hole trip for a 10-1 upset in 1:51.2. The $50,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase has never missed the board in eight starts, reaching the winner's circle three-times. The Shes A Great Lady, featuring a field of nine, is carded as Race 5. Rookie pacers won't be the only stars Saturday, as a deep field of 10 pacing mares will duel in the $255,000 Milton Stakes. Sticking with the trend from the rookie events, McCarthy will drive another morning-line favourite in the Milton, sitting behind dominating elimination winner Caviart Ally (PP5). Trained by Noel Daley, Caviart Ally went coast-to-coast in her elimination for a career-best 1:48.3 victory. The daughter of Bettors Delight is five for 13 this season and is inching towards $1 million in career earnings. The Milton final doesn't expect to be a walk in the park for Caviart Ally, as the field also includes stars Tequila Monday (PP2, B. Miller), Nike Franco N (PP3, Matt Kakaley), L A Delight (PP4, Randy Waples), Bettors Up (PP6, Doug McNair) and Pure Country (PP10, Gingras). The Milton Stakes has been carded as Race 7. To download a free program for Saturday's $1.9 million card, click here. Post time for the Metro Pace card is 7:10 p.m. Track Suface and paddock closed Saturday Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to inform all horsepeople that the track surface and paddock will not be open for training on Saturday morning (September 22). Only horses in retention for Saturday evening's stakes races will be permitted to use the track from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.  by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Every career and every job has this factor. It is the thing that keeps the job going and keeps the consumer interested. It may be a service or a product. It is the reason people do, people buy, and people watch. Harness racing has many different factors that keep the fans in the stands and the horsemen in the barn. It is the lights and camera at the end of the race, the cheers of the crowd in the grandstand, the anticipation and excitement in the paddock at post time. It is watching with tears and screams of joy as the horse you own or the horse you bet on win. More importantly, it is the animal that makes the sport what it is. The horse that is carefully and slowly trained for days, weeks, months, and years. The horse that is cared for on a 24/7 basis with a specific feeding schedule, training regimen, and equipment list. Each horse is treated and cared for individually. The sport of horse racing is plagued by stereotypes that depict the game to be inhumane and cruel. Rumors and lies are spread that convey the sport as abusive to the animal. The uninformed believe the bits and the equipment, the driver and the whip, the stall and the gates, and more are harmful to the wellbeing of the horse. The purpose of each of these and the behind the scenes in the barn is seemingly only known to those who have actually experienced it and lived it. The bit fits comfortably in the mouth where it does not make contact with the teeth. It is used for steering and control. Each piece of equipment is specific to the horse to ensure safety in the race. At a young age, these horses are trained to become accustomed to their harness and equipment. Trainers work slowly with them so that they understand their job and so that they are ready and fit to race. The whip that the driver uses is hit against the numbered saddle pad that the horse wears producing a sound, not pain. The stall a horse sits in is reasonably sized for the animal. It is for the protection and safety of the horse. There is a reason for everything that horsemen do – the only solid and most commonly shared reason is that these are here for the safety of everyone involved (horse, trainer, driver) and for the comfort of the horse. Horses are beasts of power and strength. They are capable of enduring long distances at fast speeds or short distances at even faster speeds. They run courses, go over jumps, race around barrels, and more. They are equally as intelligent as athletic. They have the ability to communicate through movement. Their ears, their eyes, and their nose communicate specific emotions. A simple gesture of the ears forward or back to indicate whether or not best to stay away or come close. The eyes moving directionally or as a retaliation of fear or anger when white. The nose flaring due to activity and motion or fear. They cannot verbally communicate with us but we have the ability to understand them. Harness race horses are individually cared for in the sport. Horsemen do what it takes to adjust them to their stable and their routine. Horsemen understand the personalities and quirks of these animals. They know what the horse’s favorite treat is, whether or not the horse likes a certain grain, how much water they drink, or what allergies they may have. They find the right equipment, right shoes, and right medicine. And, when it is time, they find the right home for the horse after their racing careers have come to an end. These horses power our sport and they have had a significant mark in history while continuing to write it. They are our horses, our pets, our family. No matter if they are a trainer or owner or groom, horsemen do what it takes to ensure the comfort and safety of their horses and a forever home after racing. Hyperion Hanover, now a 15-year-old pacing bay gelding, out of Cam Luck and Hattie. As a two-year-old, Hyperion was purchased out of the Harrisburg sale for $75,000. The trainer lightly raced him and put him back in the sale. Trainer-driver Jim McDonald purchased the colt for $5,500 for SSG Stable. He was shipped to Florida and retrained as 3-year-old. He was a stubborn horse with no good work ethic, according to McDonald. He was schooled multiple times and qualified three times. They started him five times with two wins, one in 54 and last quarter in 27.3 with driver Wally Hennessey. He was shipped to Rob Fellows in Ontario and won his first sire stake in 52. Then, he was shipped to Rod Hennessey in Western Canada where he won the Western Canada Pacing Derby. He made $300,000 as a three-year-old. He continued in Ontario and became an open pacer for another year. He went back to Jim McDonald in Florida and was given the winter off then, qualified, and sent back to Ontario. Once again with Fellows, he won in 1:50 flat. Until 2012, Hyperion continued to be a preferred type horse. He was shipped back to Florida and campaigned with the Open Pace for two more years. At age 12, he began to lose stamina and paced in only 53 and change. Owner Ed James decided rather than putting the horse in a claiming race and continuing to race him, he would retire at age 12. He was turned out in a two-acre paddock at a farm in Florida - Smiley Farms owned by Gary and Caroline Smiley. That farm was sold three years later so the Smiley couple called James and asked him to find the horse a new home. Ed James decided to put him on a truck to a facility in Canada that James is familiar with and has brood mares at already. He paid $1,500 to ship him from Florida to Canada for his new and forever home at Killean Acres in Ingrasall, Ontario. Hyperion Hanover was turned out with other horses upon arriving, the farm owners being wary of how he would act with the others. Within ten minutes he had found himself a buddy. He was never made into a riding horse because of his disposition and because the owners felt he earned his right to retirement. Overall, Hyperion Hanover had 301 lifetime starts (52 wins, 49 seconds, 42 thirds) and over $1.2 million in earnings lifetime with a record of 49.1. Ed James is the owner of Hyperion Hanover and the owner of SSG Gloves and Glasses. He has been involved in harness racing throughout his life, mostly as an owner. He was very active in the Ontario program and is the owner of McWicked. He contributes to the USTA retirement fund and is active in post-racing. He is also supportive in other equine facilities, including the hunter-jumper divisions in West Palm Beach. If a rider is wearing SSG gloves when they win a category in the show, he donates a set amount of money to a charity. A horse with a solid record and an owner with a well-known business, SSG Gloves and Glasses. Despite the large cost to transport the horse from Florida to Canada, Ed James was willing to do whatever it took to bring the horse to his retirement home. Five years ago, Michelle Crawford built her retirement farm. She built it for her love of the horses and great interest in developing a good life after racing for them. “It became this fire in the belly to just make sure they went to good homes,” she said. Michelle has a history of working as an advocate for rescuing and rehoming Standardbreds, including in the involvement of retiring racehorses. She has worked with Standardbred Retirement Foundation and has helped rescuing tons of horses. She had already had some retirees and a breeding farm, but expanded to build the retirement farm. A thousand acres and beautiful facilities that would be forever homes to numerous horses. She has 35 current retirees at her farm, including retired broodmares. It depends on the age, if the horse is young enough and has potential if it is either sold or moved to the retirement farm. “The hardest part is that some of these horses still have purpose, more than to just stand in a field for their lives. Especially, if they are young, but if there isn’t a better option for a better home, it is better they stay in place.” There are Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds at her farm, some that may be broke to ride in the near future with the help of a local woman. Michelle Crawford purchased Fifty Shades Darker as a yearling. He had gotten an injury to his foot that his first trainer rehabbed, but was unsuccessful in getting him back going again. He was finally good enough to be able to race again. The decision was now to race him up and down in the conditions or put him into a claimer. The trainer suggested putting him into a claimer, under the impression that no one would claim the colt. The first race in a claimer and he was claimed. “It broke my heart. I waited a year and a half after that hoping to get the horse back, but he wasn’t in a claimer,” Crawford said. “I watched every race and finally, he was in to go in a claimer at Pocono Downs. I didn’t know anyone there to claim him, but got in contact with trainer Chris Oakes to claim him so I could just retire him.” Chris Oakes convinced Michelle to allow him to try to race him which resulted in winning the first four starts. He made too much money and was back to square one with the decision to jam into the conditions or be put into a claimer again. The decision was made to retire him. He now lives in a paddock with a Clydesdale and four old broodmares. “Everybody loves him. They can just jump on his back. He is just a lovable and wonderful horse. A treat hog and a carrot hog. He was just one of those horses with this distinctive brow line that really set him apart. I just loved him so much and wanted him back for retirement,” Michelle said. Crawford also retired Classic Conway, a horse that she was able to watch being born. It was her “first child coming into this business”. She kept the trotting gelding from birth to retirement, where he now resides at her retirement farm. He is now a nine-year-old pasture mate to other horses at her farm. According to Michelle, Classic Conway had this special personality. He would hear her voice and come running. “He knows he is special,” she said. He won a lot of sire stakes as a two-year-old and had a lot of potential. In his three-year-old year, he hurt himself. Michelle began to nurse him back to health. He was trailered to Morrisville for the spa and towed on the grass for soft footing. He came back and won the final that year. Classic Conway was later retired due to a suspensory. He was and is Michelle’s most special horse with Fifty Shades Darker being right behind him. One horse that could continue racing and one that could not share a great life after racing on the same farm. “I am a huge, professional corporate, but found a place in the horse world to serve a purpose. I want to leave a legacy in making a difference to help animals and to save the Standardbreds or any horse. I hope that we can stop slaughter. I’ve made it my mission to gather troops to promote and do right by the industry and help in the after-racing world.” Michelle was introduced into the business 11 years ago after meeting her husband. She has an owners license and a breeding farm and now, retirement farm. Her farms have 80 broodmares, their 80th mare just being bred and 300 horses of babies, yearlings, and more. She is also a proud owner of Atlanta, the recent Hambletonian winner. Casie Coleman is currently an owner-trainer and former driver in the harness racing business. She was born and raised into it and she says it is all she has ever done. At just the age of 38, her lifetime stats include earning just under 60 million and over 2,000 wins. She has won Canada’s trainer of the year five times. Coleman claimed Our Lucky Killean (“Luck Dog”) when he was three years old out of an allowance claimer that went for $60,000. The pacing bay gelding went on to make over a million dollars in purse money, winning the Molson Pace, Des Smith Classic Pace, and other open events. “He had a mind of his own, a hundred percent,” Coleman said. “He was the boss. If things weren’t done his way or if we fought it, he would tie up easily or just get sour and race poorly.” “When you would walk him to the race track hooked to the jogger, he had days that it would take nearly an hour because he would just stand still, watching the other horses jog by. He wouldn’t move until he was ready to. “Other times he would literally go backwards in the jog cart. One time, he took me up a large hill and tried going backwards. I did my best not to tip over the jog cart!” Casie Coleman retired the gelding when he was ten years old. He was still sound and in great shape, but just wasn’t performing the way he used to. “I didn’t want to cheapen him and I didn’t want him in a claimer,” she said. She found a home with a friend of hers, Jennifer Connor, who worked for Blue Chip Farms at the time. He is now 17 years old and she still has him. “He has an amazing home. I don’t even want to know what stall rent is at the barn he is at, it is gorgeous.” Connor shows “Luck Dog” at Standardbred shows. Coleman found this new and wonderful home with the help of sharing a post about her search on Facebook. Jennifer contacted Casie expressing great interest for the horse. “I knew she would give him this unreal home, so I sent him out to New York,” she said. “He lives like a king now.” Casie is able to see him every him every once in a while, when she is in the area in New York. “Lucky, as I call him, or Luck Dog as Casie calls him is one of the classiest horses I have ever had the privilege to be around,” Jennifer Connor said. “He walked into the indoor arena the day after he arrived and I was able to get right on him. He marched around the arena like he had been doing it his whole life. And he never looked at any of the jumps that were scattered around the arena. “He exudes confidence. He has never refused anything that I have asked of him. He has shown in-hand, under saddle, jumped, been driven, hunter paced, recently went on a camping trip, and was part of a commercial shoot for Chase Bank at Blue Chip Farms. “I love this horse so much. He would jump a table if I asked him to. He walks, trots, and has a pretty decent canter for a pacer. He likes to work and prefers to be stabled with all the amenities like a fan in the summer. He’s always professional. He might not be the most affectionate horse, but he tolerates a lot!” she said. Jennifer Connor grew up in harness racing. She showed jumpers and equitation in most of her childhood. She attended University of South Carolina and rode on the NCAA Division I Team. Lucky is the first Standardbred she has ever retrained for a second career. “He is by far the easiest horse I have trained!” Casie Coleman contributes to retired race horse charities and funds. She even, recently, discovered one of her former horses that she hadn’t owned for years, Rudy the Rock, was located at a slaughter house. She contacted them and sent $1,200 to bail him out. He was rescued and given to Go and Play Stables. Our Lucky Killean is one of many horses Casie Coleman has retired. “Way too many to remember them all,” she said. “I always try to find good homes for them.” Michelle Crawford and Casie Coleman have high profile stables in the racing business. They have done whatever it takes to help provide current and former racehorses with forever homes. Owner-driver-trainer John Hallett and owner-trainer Michelle Hallett are New York and Florida horsemen and, also, my parents. They have both been in the business throughout their entire lives. They began their stable, Hallett Racing Stable, in 1991 and have since raced along the East Coast, more recently out of their stables in Tioga Downs and Pompano Park. Typical New Yorker was short in stature with a thick build. He had a black coat with a small white star in the center of his face. He earned his name as he was a “typical New Yorker”. Across the Tappan Zee bridge, the population of New York City is riddled with the stereotype that they have this overly pompous attitude. They are home to the Bravest and the Finest. New York City is the Big Apple, the land of dreams. The skyscrapers are big, the personalities are big, the attitudes are bigger. If you have ever had the pleasure of traveling across into the city, you understand where all of these notions originate. New York City has definitely earned their title and respect. It is a big and beautiful city. Yet, it is shaded by those ideas that they are better than everyone. A “look at me” attitude surrounded by the fact that they must be the center of the world. Typical New Yorker was nothing short of that. He was small but captured the attention of everyone around him. His name earned him multiple features in Justin Horowitz’s filming of ‘Inside Harness Racing’. If you ever looked into the eyes of this two-year-old colt, you would’ve seen the attitude just flourishing within. His eyes pointed like daggers at everyone around him; except, of course, in the face of a camera or in the presence of Michelle Hallett. New Yorker was her pride and joy. He was spoiled from day one. Of course, all of our horses are spoiled with treats and toys and more; but, this one was different from the start. He had reined her in with his demeanor. He was fed pudding and more. His favorite flavor was Butterscotch. He would eat anything put in front of him. He was extra spoiled when one of his owners, Roger Doire, brought him oranges. He even had a special “New Yorker” lead chain that him and him only could use. John Hallett purchased the yearling out of the Harrisburg Sale in November of 2009. John and Michelle began breaking him to race, trained him, qualified him, and then entered him into the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) once he reached the age of two-years-old in the summer of 2010. He won his first five sire stakes races in a row as a two-year-old. “He was a tough little bugger – fat, but definitely had a lot of heart and strength,” John said. “He was a tough guy until he saw a bird – white birds particularly. He was a perfect gentleman to jog or walk, but once one of those white birds flew by or landed, he was gone. He would take off and throw himself. He was funny like that,” Michelle said. Typical New Yorker was still able to race, but John and Michelle Hallett along with partner Michelle Oglesby agreed that retiring the ten-year-old would be the most beneficial option for the horse, avoiding the possibility that the horse reinjures his leg. He was retired at Tradewinds Park Stables as a trail riding horse for the staff and public. I remember the first time I tried to ride him and, with his attitude, he tried to throw me off. He was, however, a barn favorite at Tradewinds and very well-mannered to ride and go on the trails. “We chose this farm because it was a beautiful facility with practically all-day turn out with a few hours of ‘work’ time as a trail horse. Other Standardbreds were here as well and we knew workers and volunteers at the farm. However, it was the hardest decision to make. It was an easy decision to make to retire him, but so hard to watch him leave.,” Michelle said. From about eight in the morning to four in the afternoon, the horses are pulled from their turnout paddocks and moved into their stalls. They only go on one or two rides on the trail per day, depending on the day. Then, they are moved back to their fields where they spend the rest of the day and night. Their life is easy and comfortable. They have other Standardbreds at the facility. Whenever they have an open stall, they love to get retired Standardbreds due to the ease of transition into saddle. John and Michelle Hallett have shared a lifetime in the business. Michelle Hallett was born into the business with her parents being trainers Bruce and Linda Aldrich. Her brother, Bruce Aldrich, Jr. is a racehorse driver in the tracks of New York. John Hallett was introduced into the racing world at six-years-old and continued throughout his life working for various trainers, primarily Wally Hennessey, until creating his own stable with Michelle. They have two kids, Jonathan (John) Hallett and Jessica Hallett (me). They are currently training this summer at Tioga Downs. Typical New Yorker is just one of numerous race horses they have retired to happy and forever homes. Bruce Aldrich, Sr. is a lifetime horseman in the harness racing business. Since the beginning of his journey into the racing world and the beginning of his stable, he has seen and trained many horses. Of all the horses that every horseman has come across in Standardbred racing in general, there are always the select few being the favorites. For Aldrich, it was the trotting colt named Samsawinner. Samsawinner is a 12-year-old trotting gelding. Throughout his career, the horse had 62 wins with a record of 56. The gelding has always been a goofball with a special kind of personality, according to Aldrich. When he was turned out in the paddock at the top of the hill at Monticello Raceway, he was hard to catch. He would swerve and bounce out of reach to avoid being caught. He thought he was funny. Sam wasn’t racing to par, unable to go anymore, and would be forced into a claiming race, so instead he was retired. He is now at a farm in upstate New York living the pasture life. He had a good card with a lot of wins and a lot of money made. Owner Woody Hoblitzell agreed to retire the colt. Bruce Aldrich, Sr. started in the business when he was 12 years old when he cleaned stalls for Bob Tisbert. He has worked and trained for numerous stables in his career, include Carl Allen and Mickey McNichol among others. He has had his own stable as well for many years. He has trained for Woody Hoblitzell for over 20 years. Samsawinner is his first retired horse. Cheri Clarke and her husband, trainer Edgar (Sparky) Clarke, trained racehorse No Monkeys Allowed. “It’s quite humorous don’t you think? Not your typical tough, regal racehorse name and not your typical racehorse,” Cheri Clarke said. No Monkeys Allowed was originally named Issuer Blue Chip. “Someone must have seen his playful attitude and legally changed it to something to fit his personality,” Cheri joked. They got him at the age of four in 2011 for owner Robert Orr of Deerfield Beach, FL and took a career record the following year of 1:50.3 at Vernon Downs. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding with earnings of $358,624 lifetime was retired at age 11. No Monkeys Allowed, or “Monkey”, was very fat, according to Cheri as well as what other people have told her, too. He ate very well and always knew when treat time and lunch time was. “If you are headed to the paddock and it generally takes about ten minutes to get up there, give yourself 20 with Monkey,” said Cheri. He was a very nosy horse and needed time to stop and look around as they would walk to the paddock. He also had this personality that he would just know when to behave, when to stay calm, when he could get away with acting up, and then when to be a racehorse. He would let you know with his eyes if something was not right. Yet, nothing bothered him. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He was just calm and collected. The Clarkes favorite memory of Monkey was pacing in 49 and finishing second in Vernon. As time went on and Monkey got older, as all things do, his pace grew slower. Instead of putting the gelding in a claiming race, they decided to search for a new home, a new life after racing. They checked local farms with no luck due to no space available. Finally, they discovered a horseman with connections in need of a horse for trail riding. Putting the horse in a claimer and if he had been claimed would have led Cheri to wonder and worry. When any horse is claimed, especially a barn favorite, every horseman agrees to just have this thought in the back of their mind, wondering how they are doing or how they are being treated, what is going on in their new lives, where they are. With the home Cheri and Sparky found, there was no worry or wonder. They are updated regularly with pictures and stories. He is a really good riding horse and goes out on trail rides on his own or with other horses just fine. His new home was on a farm in Texas. “Although my career is short by most standards of horsemen, my husband grew up in the business with his brother, Bruce. He has had 1,500 wins and $6.3 million in purse earnings. His father, Roy (Rod) Clarke, was a predominate trainer in the Maritime provinces of Canada,” said Cheri. Sparky and Cheri are currently training at Tioga Downs for the summer and in the winter, Pompano Park. No Monkeys Allowed is their first retired horse. My Sweet Mandy was racing in her two- and three-year-old years when she was discovered by Mandy Lareau. “I wanted her and I followed her through her early years of racing. She was not a claimer, though. “I had family in the grandstand at Tioga Downs at one point and they saw this mare and her name in the race and knew I should have her. “It was a dream for me to have this horse, to get her. She shared my name and I have always wanted a grey horse,” Mandy said. The grey pacing mare was put into an auction in Delaware where Gaston and Mandy Lareau had planned to buy her, but was later taken out. She was moved to Florida where she was entered into a claiming race for her first start and claimed by the Lareau Stable. They kept her for three years until she injured her foot. The veterinarian had said it was an infection and that the horse would need to be put down, a definite no by Mandy Lareau. Four months were put into rehabilitation by Mandy. The mare was able to be brought back to the track again. Yet, the Lareau’s decided to retire her to avoid re-injury to the foot. They started by talking to Laurie Poulin for turnout at her farm. After some time, the final decision was made and now, at eight-years-old, she is a broodmare at Poulin’s farm in Florida. “She’s a sweetheart. I think she will be a great mother. She has taken care of an orphan baby at Laurie’s farm already. She just has a great personality,” said Mandy. Every horse has their own personality. Their own quirks and traits that make them individual and unique. No different than people, they have this character that makes them, them. According to Mandy, the mare has the greatest personality, just her own personality. She didn’t like anything tough on her. No lead chain over the nose. She would kick and squeal when you put the harness on. She was bad to jog. She loved treats. She didn’t wear any equipment at all, didn’t like it. The less equipment the better she would race. She would fight you to race. The easier you were on her, the better she was to you. She had a record of 53. She was a good race horse. She is good to people she is used to. She did not connect with certain people, but, according to Mandy, she loves Laurie Poulin’s granddaughter. At Tioga Downs, My Sweet Mandy was in the first stall. But, at Pompano Park, she took the second stall so that, as Mandy worked on the cross ties, the mare could play with her. If Mandy was put on the trailer second, she would not go on. She was spoiled and loved attention. She always got her way. If you showed her the lead chain she would talk. “In a way, she was like me. I wanted to be like her. She was a free spirit and just happy all the time. “My Sweet Mandy was just a joy. I loved seeing her in the morning. It would make me smile and I miss her, but I know she is in a better place now at Laurie’s farm,” said Mandy. Gaston and Mandy Lareau have each been a part of the business for over forty years. Gaston has owned, trained, and driven. “He is a horseman who loves horses and tries to figure them out, a real horseman,” according to Mandy. They have been together for thirty-eight years. “When he says something, I already know what he’s going to say.” My Sweet Mandy is their first retired horse. Typical New Yorker, Samsawinner, No Monkeys Allowed, and My Sweet Mandy were equally alike in being the barn pets and favorites for the Hallett, Aldrich, Clarke, and Lareau Racing Stables. John and Michelle Hallett; Bruce Aldrich, Sr.; Sparky and Cheri Clarke; and Mandy and Gaston Lareau did whatever it took to bring their cherished babies to a happy and forever home. Michelle MacDougall, D.V.M., is an active advocate in the race to helping find racehorses homes after retirement. She has helped place horses and has been a member on the board of Futures for Standardbreds. She has had quite a few of her own horses that she had placed in forever homes as well. Handleyourscandal is a ten-year-old mare that was retired from racing due to breathing complications while racing. Since retirement, she has foaled three, but was not being bred for the 2018 season. “In early March of 2018, I learned about a good friend, Laurie Poulin, losing her mare shortly after foaling. “I had Scandal at the farm and was not planning on breeding her this season, so I offered to try inducing lactation. Despite cautious optimism from a colleague, he provided a protocol and Scandal was able to produce milk in only four days,” said Doc MacDougall. On March 7th, Scandal was introduced to her foster filly and there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. “A few nickers back and forth and the filly immediately latched on and successfully nursed,” Doc MacDougall said. “Laurie sent a video of the moment and I actually shed a happy tear or two.” Since then, there hasn’t been a single awkward moment, according to Michelle. The two are inseparable and have joined the broodmare herd. “There are even reports that Scandal has adopted a second colt in the field. Apparently, he prefers to spend time with her rather than her birth mother and Scandal happily nurses both fosters as if they are her own. She is such a wonderful mare.” Michelle MacDougall has also had six other retired horses – Handle My Scandal (4, P, Bay, Mare – $1,830 – Retired 2017), Overseer NZ (15, P, Bay Gelding – $125,296, 1:52.0F – Retired 2013), Twin B Flirt (8, P, Bay, Gelding – $121,080, 1:52.1M – Retired 2017), Surprise Ending (18, P, Bay, Mare – $107,734, 1:54.4 – Retired 2010), Gilbralter (18, T, Bay, Gelding – $129,598, 1:55.3F – Retired 2012), Glors Boy (18, P, Bay, Gelding – $623,421, 1:50.4M – Retired 2012), and To The Point (12, P, Bay, Mare – $80,447, 1:53.0Z – Retired 2012). Handle My Scandal (“Ms. Piggy”) was bred by Michelle MacDougall. A full body scan at the age of two revealed a microfracture in both knees and left tibia and so, the mare did not make the races. Despite the injuries, the only symptom was getting rolly and making breaks at speed in the turns. She was given time off and restarted in her three-year-old year. Another full body scan influenced Michelle to retire the mare. She is now in Maine. She participated in a youth program and graduated and was adopted by one of the youth program kids. Overseer NZ (“Lou”) was a talented racehorse whose career was cut short from a soft tissue injury, according to Michelle. She rehabbed him for over a year before breaking him to ride in the winter of 2014. Michelle set her sights on endurance riding and he was the perfect mount. “He was small, light on his feet, quick, nimble, and would rack and canter when asked,” she said. An injury to Michelle prevented her from participating in her endurance debut, despite tirelessly training Lou. He now serves as “Uncle Lou” in her breeding program where Michelle weans foals from their mothers into the paddock with him. He has raised four years of weanlings for her. Twin B Flirt (“Flirt”) suffered two separate soft tissue injuries. According to Michelle, during her time racing the colt, he was a significantly fun-loving, happy horse with all kinds of spunk and play. He had successful rehabilitation, yet the decision was made to retire him when he faced a Lasix reaction. Michelle decided that best for his health would be to retire him. He is now in a home with a novice reins man, Keith Gordon, president of Blue Star Equiculture that provides home and sanctuary to draft horses at the end of their careers. Flirt enjoys a life of pleasure driving around the farm in Massachusetts; although, at first, Michelle had warned him that driving a draft horse versus a Standardbred is the difference between a Mack Truck and a Maserati. Surprise Ending (“Prize”) suffered a slab fracture in both knees as a 3-year-old, but successfully continued racing for many more years. She was retired when the aches and pains were taking too long to recover after a race. She had a great attitude for life so Michelle decided a second career as a pleasure horse would fit her well. She has been broke to ride and spends many hours pleasure driving down the carriage paths of Arcadia National Park with now owner, Barbara Pretorious. Gibralter (“G-Money”) was a hard-hitting horse with a huge desire to race, but unfortunately was plagued with poor conformation which caused him to interfere at speed one the aches and pains of being an aged racehorse changed his gait. Changing track sizes did not help so the horse was retired. Michelle broke him to ride in 2012 and kept him for two years as a trail horse, riding through the Ocala National Forest. She offered him to New Vocations for placement. He now participates in 25- and 50-mile endurance rides with his new owner. Glors Boy was an incredibly successful racehorse who participated in and won some of the most prestigious races in harness racing. He was well-deserving of a great life after racing and was retired in 2012 as a riding horse for Michelle. She rode him for the next three years through the Ocala National Forest during her winters in Florida. In 2015, she contacted Futures for Standardbreds and Robyn Cuffey to find anyone interested in a “husband horse” because he was so good at being babysitter on the trails. He was placed in a home in the spring of 2015 and even showed and won in a local dressage competition with his new owner. He is now shared as both a trail and show horse throughout southern Maine. To the Point (“Big”) was a super talented free-legged pacer, but was plagued with lameness issues throughout her career. From a young age, she suffered from progressive white line disease and often required significant breaks from racing to allow the hoof to grow out properly. In 2012, she was retired to Michelle’s broodmare program, but, unfortunately, could not carry a foal to term so Michelle broke her to ride. She played around with her in the Ocala National Forest until 2015, when she was donated to Robyn Cuffey to become part of a competitive driving herd. Big was perfect as a singles driving horse, but was unable to relax in the pair due to her competitive nature. She was adopted as a companion to Glors Boy. Doc MacDougall is also a participating member of Racing Under Saddle (the R.U.S) as well as a competitor in the New Jersey National Standardbred Horse Show. She has trained horses to ride under saddle for the RUS and in dressage, hunt-seat, and more for the horse show. Michelle MacDougall, D.V.M., plays an important role in life after racing for harness horses. She has placed her own horses as well as others, contributed as a member of societies for placement, and has trained horses for the transition into new careers after racing. We will be competing alongside each other at the National Standardbred Horse Show in New Jersey at the end of this summer. It is a large venue that gives the opportunity to showcase the talent and flexibility of the Standardbred. It features the transition from harness and race bike to saddle and show ring. From dressage to hunt-seat to jumping, these horses can do it all. Their handlers and trainers do what it takes to ease a transition into a post-racing career. Twelve-year-old trotting gelding Red Victor was claimed to a stable that Rebecca Segal worked for six years ago, at the age of six. During this ownership, the chestnut broke down, taking a year and a half to get back going. Once he was ready to race again, the owner died, causing the horse to be put into the sale. Segal bought the eight-year-old out of the sale and has kept him ever since. She spent six months bringing him back to race ready and qualified him, where he won. “It was the most exciting part of owning him and my favorite memory that he was able to come back after all that time,” Segal said. He was very full of life, according to Rebecca. He had quite the personality, very loving and just cool. “Once the cart was on, he would rear up and just be ready to go,” she said. He didn’t race much and eventually stopped racing due to a broken bone. They were told they would have to put him down. When it came time to actually having to do it, he was moved to the house of a veterinarian and then to another place to actually help him get better. Rebecca got the horse back six months later and has kept him ever since. He travels with her; wherever she goes, he goes. Keeping a retired horse is not entirely cost effective for a groom. Rebecca ensures to keep the utmost comfort for the horse; maintaining up-to-date shoeing, vaccinations, and more. She finds a local farm, within 20 minutes of her at most, where she can board him while she works at the track, from Batavia to Buffalo to Tioga to Pompano. Rebecca finds the farms based off of good references and people that she knows and trusts. She is very specific of where she keeps him and the farm needs to match her views on good horse care, because everyone has their own style and way of doing things. “It is important to me that he has a good life being retired. I have been lucky to have been able to find people that are willing to help us. We have been able to find deals on boarding and shoeing and more that really help us out a lot,” Rebecca said. Rebecca Segal was born into the business and has been in it for all 27 years of her life. Her family is also involved in the harness racing business. She is a groom at Tioga Downs this summer and in Pompano Park in the winter. She just got her owners and trainers license. Red Victor is her first retired horse and she has done whatever it took to keep him comfortable and close-by. His new life involves traveling and a career in casual or pleasure horseback riding on the farm. Regardless if you are a groom, trainer, owner, veterinarian, or anything else, we take care of our horses, our pets, our family.  There are options for racehorses after retirement. From being a trail riding horse to a show horse or a driving horse to a pasture mate, broodmare, or stud, our racehorses have a wide spectrum of opportunity for life after racing. They can be easily broke to ride and are very adaptable to a new environment. Every horse has their own personality, quirks, and traits that make them special, that make them who they are. We, as horsemen, have our favorites. We have small stables and big stables, one horse to a full farm. We are all unique in the way we care for our horses. From the time of day we feed to how we train to how we schedule a race night in the paddock, we all have our own way. But, one thing is for sure, and that is how we treat our horses and that is in the best way possible. We make sure they are comfortable. We show up seven days a week and give them all the attention and care they need. The best part of racing happens behind the scenes. It is when the horseman puts in all the time and effort and does what it takes to keep the animal happy and safe. These horses may or may not be able to continue racing; yet, regardless, their owners and trainers take the time to make the best decision for them whether it be to continue or to sell or to retire. These are only a few of the examples of life after racing and horsemen doing what it takes to give them a forever and happy home for life. by Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (August 30) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Mitchell Cushing, a regular driver on the Maine circuit; Casie Coleman, trainer of champion McWicked, Garrett Bell, General Manager at Winbak Farm; and Darin Gagne, the track announcer at Running Aces Casino and Racetrack Cushing, a regular driver on the Maine circuit, became a household name on Monday when he scored during the Windsor Fair with world-champion Foiled Again. Cushing joins the program to discuss how he got into the sport of harness racing and to take the duo through his trip with the big horse. McWicked was able to score the upset over Lazarus N on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the Canadian Pacing Derby. Trainer Casie Coleman joins the program to talk about her star horse and what may be next for him. Garrett Bell, General Manager at Winbak Farm, will talk about the upcoming Goshen Sale on Saturday, September 9th. Winbak is currently second in wins and earnings for a breeder this season. The Running Aces segment with track announcer Darin Gagne returns this week to talk about the happenings at the Minnesota track. Gagne will highlight some of the big events coming up and recap last week's events. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

AUGUST 15, 2018 - On Wednesday evening the top two-year-old pacing colts and fillies in Ontario made Grand River Raceway their stage for the second straight week, and Stag Party wrote his name in lights with a commanding track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record performance in the second Gold division. Starting from the advantageous Post 1, Stag Party moved smartly off the gate and parked Battle of Waterloo champion Bronx Seelster through a :26.3 quarter. When Bronx Seelster finally backed into the pocket driver David Miller took his foot off the gas and Stag Party cruised to a :55.4 half and a 1:24.3 three-quarters. In the stretch Miller asked the fan favourite to pick up the tempo once again, and Stag Party drew away to a five length victory in 1:52.3. Bronx Seelster finished second and Stag Party's stablemate in the Casie Coleman barn was third. "I wasn't expecting to break the track record with him, but I thought he'd be pretty good," said Coleman. "I wasn't expecting that kind of a mile, but he did it well in hand and Dave hardly had to speak to him much finishing, so I was real happy with him." The 1:52.3 mile shaved two-fifths of a second off the 1:53 track and Canadian record set by two-year-old pacing colt Tarpon Hanover in the 2012 Battle of Waterloo Final and took a full second off the 1:53.3 Ontario Sires Stakes record for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings on a half-mile track established by Warrawee Needy at Flamboro Downs in 2011. Coleman conditions the son of Bettors Delight and My Lady Day for her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, John Fielding of Toronto, Mac Nichol of Burlington and McKinlay & Fielding of Toronto, Ontario. The partners acquired the colt for $125,000 at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale and have watched him record three wins and one second through his first four starts, banking $113,900. Stag Party will make his next start in the August 25 Nassagaweya Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park and, as long as he continues to impress his connections, will follow that up with several more starts against the best young horses in North America. "He's got the four big ones at Mohawk next, the Nassagaweya, Champlain and the Metro, so he'll be gearing up for those ones next," said Cambridge resident Coleman. "I might have to dodge a couple of those Ontario Sires Stakes, just with how busy his schedule is going to be. I'll play it by ear when we get up closer to it." Miller made the trip to Grand River specifically to drive Stag Party, to get a feel for the colt before they head into the open stake events, and the New Jersey resident was pleased with the youngster. "I was really impressed with him. I told them, when I got off the bike, I said I'll be there when he races next week. That's a pretty good stamp of approval," said Miller with a chuckle. "He left the gate very well and his manners were good and I'm excited about him. I baby raced probably 500 babies this year and I had to go all the way to Canada to get one like that." The other $96,400 pacing colt Gold division was captured by Battle of Waterloo runner-up Bettors Wish, who cruised home to a two and one-half length victory in 1:55. Keystone Concrete finished second and Coleman trainee Better Up was promoted from fourth to third when his stablemate Sporty Mcsportster, in rein to Miller, suffered interference in the stretch from eventual third-place finisher Sports Teen. As a result, Sports Teen was placed from third down to sixth, behind Sporty Mcsportster. Guelph resident Paul MacDonell piloted fan favourite Bettors Wish to his second Gold win for trainer Chantal Mitchell and owners Chris Ryder of Allentown, New Jersey, Bella Racing Ltd. of Delaware, Ohio, Fair Island Farm Inc. of Versailles, Kentucky and Kenneth Solomon of Coral Springs, Florida. The Bettors Delight son was a $20,000 purchase from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has posted four wins, one second, one third and earnings of $185,438 in his first six starts. Trainer Dave Menary and driver Jody Jamieson swept the $97,200 pacing filly divisions with Battle of the Belles champion Quebec Blue Cup and runner-up Ideation Hanover. Both fillies controlled the tempo from start to finish, with Ideation Hanover cruising from Post 1 to a 1:55 victory in the first split. Kylie Seelster finished one length behind the fan favourite in second and Menary trainee Blossom Onthebeach was third. Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton and Alan Alber of Thornhill, Ontario share ownership of Ideation Hanover. The Bettors Delight daughter was a $50,000 acquisition from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale and boasts a record of two wins, two seconds, one third and $101,600 through five starts. Quebec Blue Chip romped to her third straight victory over the Grand River oval, pacing under the wire seven lengths ahead of favourite Sweet Young Thing and Crisp Mane in 1:56. Menary Racing Inc., Michael Guerriero, Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown and Bruce Norris of Caledon East own the Sportswriter daughter, who was a $40,000 purchase from Harrisburg. Through six starts she now has four wins, one second and one third for earnings of $167,488. "I kind of figured both fillies would be on the front, and that's the way it worked," said Menary, who will also give the fillies a chance to test their skills against the best in North American in the upcoming Eternal Camnation Stake at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 25. "In the last couple weeks I think they've earned the opportunity," said the horseman. "Hopefully they can carry this, translate it to the bigger track." The two-year-old pacing colts and fillies will return to Gold Series action on September 28 at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the fourth of five regular season events. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, August 27 with the fourth Grassroots event for the three-year-old trotting fillies. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

MILTON, ON - July 21, 2018 - The Woodbine Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5 had just a single-winning ticket Saturday for an incredible payout of $426,370.80 (USD). American Wiggle (#6) turned in a career-best effort of 1:49.2 to win the Jackpot Hi-5 race at odds of 7/1. The winner was followed across the line by several longshots, as race-favourite Fool Me Once (#10), who was 3/2, finished ninth. The top-five finishers from Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 race were as follows: 1st: #6 American Wiggle (7/1) 2nd: #1 Beach House (13/1) 3rd: #9 Bet On Brett (11/1) 4th: #3 Freddy Bear (9/1) 5th: #5 Major Hill (5/2) The single-winning ticket cost just $3, as it was a $3 straight wager 6/1/9/3/5. The carryover entering Saturday's card was $476,868 and had been building since June 18. A total of $96,090 was wagered on Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The wager features a $0.20 minimum and a low takeout of 15 per cent. The Hi-5 will now start from scratch on Monday evening's card. McWicked unleashed an incredible :25 final-quarter to capture Saturday’s $34,000 Preferred at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Casie Coleman trained seven-year-old was returning to the Campbellville oval fresh off a victory in last Saturday’s $471,100 Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands and riding a three-race win streak, which included a score in the $500,000 Franklin at Pocono. McWicked and driver Bob McClure got away fifth in the field of eight. Nirvana Seelster charged out to grab the lead and got to call the shots, posting sensible fractions of :26.4, :56.4 and 1:24.2. McClure angled out on the far turn to situate second-over and just over four-lengths from the lead at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, McWicked paced up a storm on the outside to reach up and edge Easy Lover Hanover, who enjoyed a two-hole trip, by a neck in 1:50.1. Nirvana Seelster finished third, while Rockin In Heaven was fourth. Owned by SSG Stables, McWicked is now six for eight this season with $574,561 earned. The Coleman trainee is approaching $3 million in career earnings and is currently the top-horse in harness racing’s older pacer division. McWicked’s victory Saturday was his 28th career score. He paid $2.30 to win. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a rookie-filled 12-race card. Monday’s card features 10 Ontario Sires Stakes events for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - McWicked continued to turn back the clock, holding off Filibuster Hanover by a half-length to win Saturday's $471,100 William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers in 2:02.2 at the distance of 1 1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. Rockin Ron finished third. McWicked, a 7-year-old stallion, was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3 in 2014. He has won five of seven races this year, including the Ben Franklin Pace on June 30, and earned $543,911 for owner Ed James' SSG Stables. Rockin Ron led the field to the opening quarter, in :25.4, before yielding the top spot to Sintra, who took the group to the half in :55, and three-quarters in 1:22.4. McWicked and driver Brian Sears were sixth through the early portion of the race, but followed the cover of Check Six to work their way to second at the top of the stretch. McWicked took the lead in the lane, but still had work to do to fend off the charge of Filibuster Hanover to his inside. "I was trying to get him someplace in the hunt early and get in some type of flow," Sears said. "The horse has been super sharp his last few starts. I was just hoping to get some kind of trip and it worked out great. "(Filibuster Hanover) was digging pretty good on the inside, but my horse kicked it in right to the wire and was very sharp. He's just a sweet horse, so easy to drive, and gives you everything he's got." McWicked, the 4-5 favorite, paid $3.60 to win. As a 3-year-old, McWicked won 12 of 23 races and earned $1.47 million. He was winless in a combined 14 races at ages 4 and 5 because of breathing issues and multiple throat surgeries, but bounced back last year with seven victories in 27 races and $560,025. For his career, McWicked has won 27 of 81 starts and $2.86 million. "This horse, every single time he races, is absolutely unbelievable," McWicked's trainer Casie Coleman said. "He gives everything he's got every time he's on the track. He's just a pleasure of a horse." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- McWicked, perfectly-placed second-over, swung three-wide late on the far turn and had an overwhelming late kick to come up a 1:49.3 winner while taking the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace final on Saturday (June 30) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Ron Burke-trained threesome of Filibuster Hanover, Rockin Ron, and All Bets Off got away 1-2-3 by the :26.2 first panel, with McWicked fourth early. As the outer tier formed early, it looked like McWicked and driver Brian Sears might have to come first-over, but past the three-eighths All Bets Off pulled from third, giving cover which helped McWicked's chances. The middle splits were pedestrian, :55 and 1:22.2, with All Bets Off continuing his grind against pacesetting Filibuster Hanover, and McWicked readying to mount a wide charge. That charge commenced near the top of the stretch, and when McWicked started his kick, the only thing in doubt was the winning margin, which was 1-1/2 lengths over Rockin Ron, who parlayed prime pocket position for place; 99-1 Mac's Jackpot also used an inside trip to get a high finish, coming home third, just nipped for second. "It was good that I had sort of a 'slow second-over' trip, going up towards the front," Sears noted post-race, confident in the stretch strength of his son of McArdle-Western Sahara, who also won the 2014 Hempt, in a stakes record of 1:47.3 which still stands. In a career of continuing stardom, McWicked, now seven, boosted his earnings to $2,646,362 in only 80 career starts. The Franklin champion is owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, N.Y., and was the only favorite in the night's four major races. Split The House, the 2017 Breeders Crown winner among the older pacers, was given a canny drive by Brian Sears to take the $75,000 Franklin Pace Consolation in 1:49. Sears stayed third-in at the half after Boogie Shuffle had taken the field to the quarter in :26.4 and favored Mach It So moved to the lead and passed the half in :55. Dealt A Winner pulled uncovered and heatedly battled the winner to the 1:21.1 three-quarters; when the second-over couldn't keep up, Sears slipped out then went wide on the far turn and tracked down 55-1 shot Boogie Shuffle, who got the lead midstretch in the Pocono Pike, by a half-length. Spilt The House is a Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Chris Oakes for Crawford Farms Racing. He boosted his lifetime bankroll to $643,833 while victorious in only his second start of the campaign. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Milton, ON - JUNE 22, 2018 - Play The Bell's Grassroots win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening was impressive - digging deep to hang on by a nose in the driving rain - but given what the three-year-old harness racing pacing filly has been through in the last month it was positively inspiring. "When we scratched out of the Gold in London (May 26) it was because she got colitis on the day of the race," explained trainer Casie Coleman. "She was in Guelph University for five or six days and I wasn't sure which way it would go at first, then she snapped out of it." A Gold Series regular at two, Play The Bell had started her sophomore campaign with a fourth-place finish in the May 19 Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stakes, but Coleman felt the filly was not ready for the kind of fast mile that the Gold fillies are expected to deliver in their $125,000 contest on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We decided to go to the Grassroots as she wasn't ready for the Gold with just the one fast mile we could put into her," said the Cambridge resident. "She raced well. That was a big mile in the mud out of Post 9." Play The Bell and driver Bob McClure powered away from Post 9 and led the field of nine through fractions of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.2. Pressured hard in the stretch by pocket-sitting Azure Seelster and fan favourite Neon Moon, Play The Bell found something in reserve and kept a nose in front to claim the 1:53.2 victory over a track rated one second slower than normal. Azure Seelster settled for second, with Neon Moon a head back in third. Coleman shares ownership of Shadow Play daughter Play The Bell with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Mac Nichol of Burlington and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, Ontario. So long as she bounces back well from Friday's start the winner of $211,599 is expected to be back in the Gold Series for the third leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 20. Unlike Play The Bell, Lady Bubbles will be sticking with the Grassroots when it heads to Grand River Raceway's half-mile oval for the third leg on August 6. The Sportswriter daughter picked up her second straight Grassroots win in the first $18,800 division on Friday, contested over a dry, fast track, and would love to make it a three-peat. "She should be good there if she gets a good draw," noted trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario. "She has been a real pleasure so far this year. She always gives a great effort. She has a big heart for a little horse." Guelph, Ontario resident James MacDonald piloted Lady Bubbles to the victory, which saw her hit the wire in a personal best 1:53.1, a neck ahead of the fast-closing Sharks Summrshandy. Startistic Wonder crossed the wire third, but was placed back to fifth due to a late break which elevated Askmysecretary to the third spot. The win was the third of the season for Lady Bubbles and her fifth in Ontario Sires Stakes action; she was a three-time Grassroots winner at two. Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec bred and owns the winner of $86,055. Driver Louis Philippe Roy captured the other two Grassroots divisions, piloting Katniss S BG and Saulsbrook Beauty to their first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victories. In the second division Roy sent Katniss S BG to the front from Post 7, yielded to favourite Lifelong Dream through the central panels and then fired back to the front in the stretch, reaching the wire two and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:53. Lifelong Dream settled for second and Hey Sweetie was third in the last division contested before the track was downgraded from fast to good. Puslinch, Ontario resident Richard Moreau trains Mach Three daughter Katniss S BG for owner-breeders Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. "She is a perfect size mare owned by people from home who raised her," said Moreau. "Thanks to Louis, everybody is happy." Roy made Saulsbrook Beauty's owner-breeders happy with a come-from-behind steer from Post 7. Saulsbrook Beauty circled around the leaders in the stretch to claim a three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:55.3 over the rain-soaked oval. Mittany Nicole was second and Shadow World completed the top three. Brain Lee trains the Shadow Play daughter for Saulsbrook Stables Inc. of Windsor, Nova Scotia and Louis Willinger of Louisville, Kentucky. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 23 with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts (Races 2 and 9) and one for the three-year-old pacing fillies (Race 6). Saturday's program gets under way at 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Not many male pacers have won Dan Patch awards at ages 2 or 3 and returned to capture another trophy against older horses. The list since 1990 features Artsplace, Jenna's Beach Boy, Gallo Blue Chip, Art Major, and Sweet Lou. All with the exception of Sweet Lou were 4-year-olds when they received their honor as an older horse; Sweet Lou was 5. McWicked, who earned a Dan Patch Award at age 3 in 2014, is hoping to add his name to the list -- at the age of 7. And trainer Casie Coleman says the stallion has never been better. "To see him still going, and going as hard as he is, is awesome; normally right now they're getting a little tired and tailing off," Coleman said. "I honestly think this horse seems stronger than he's ever been yet, which I don't even know how is possible, but he seems like a stronger horse right now." The winner of two of four races this year, McWicked on Saturday heads to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the eliminations of the Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers. McWicked is in the second of three eliminations on the card, which also features eliminations for the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. McWicked is coming off a second-place finish to Sintra in the Gold Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park. McWicked got away eighth, 16 lengths off the lead at the quarter-mile point, before pacing his final three-quarters of a mile in 1:18.4 to rally for the runner-up spot. "It was insane the back half he had, but he was just too far back," Coleman said. "He couldn't have raced any better, he was just far out of the race. "Every time we've put him on the track he's raced great." McWicked, owned by Ed James' S S G Stables, won 12 of 23 races at age 3 including the Breeders Crown, Hempt Memorial, Adios, and Progress Pace on his way to $1.47 million in purses. He hit the board a total of 21 times that season and got checks in the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, Messenger, Milstein Memorial, and Matron. He was winless in a combined 14 races at ages 4 and 5 because of breathing issues and multiple throat surgeries, but bounced back last year with seven victories in 27 races and $560,025. McWicked finished the campaign with four consecutive second-place finishes, including the TVG Series championship, Breeders Crown and Allerage Farms Open Pace and might have been in the mix for his second Dan Patch Award with a win or two in any of them. "He kept being the bridesmaid," Coleman said. "He just had a lot of bad luck with traffic. He was pacing harder than any of them at the wire, he just had some bad luck. But saying that, the horse has made over $2 million, so I guess you can't say it's too bad of luck." For his career, the son of McArdle-Western Sahara has won 24 of 78 starts and $2.37 million. "It's not often that he's off the board," Coleman said. "He usually gives you all he's got and he's usually right there. He's had a lot of first-over journeys where he still gets the job done. He can take any trip you give him. "He's staked in everything all summer long. As long as he's sound and healthy he'll be in all the events and hopefully he can win a couple of them." Coleman credited an offseason layoff in Kentucky, the work of trainer Jim McDonald in preparing McWicked in Florida, and the decision to bypass the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series in March/April as reasons for her horse's early-season success. "Hopefully it pays off for us," Coleman said. "He's been sharp, sound, and healthy. We just hope for a little bit of luck on the weekend." For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Columbus, OH --- One of the primary components of the sport of harness racing is the hope of discovering the next champion despite the odds being stacked in the opposite direction. Therefore, when a horse comes along who defies the unwritten legislation of harness racing it is an inexplicable emotion, which Casie Coleman is now experiencing with the Empire State’s defending freshman filly pacing champion, Alexis Faith. “I focus on the horse rather than the pedigree and this filly was just what I was looking for,” Coleman said. “She had the conformation and size as she was not too big or too small, but she didn’t show us much so I only staked her to New York. When we hooked her up to the race bike though something changed and she became a surprise, but a very good one.” A daughter of the Coleman-trained champion American Ideal and stakes winner Cannae Cammie, Alexis Faith is the first foal from her dam, who collected $538,140 during her career and is a half sibling to Cannae Princess (Cambest, $137,729) and a full sister to Shark On Board ($139,131). Purchased for $55,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, this filly is owned by Coleman's West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinlay. “She is by American Ideal,” said Coleman. “And the pedigree is there on her mother’s side so she does have that behind her, but selecting her was on how I felt about her individually.” Although she was a bit on the lazy side when it came to training, Alexis Faith demonstrated her talents in her debut as she dispatched O’Brien Award finalist Kendall Seelster by two lengths in 1:54.2. The young lady accumulated four more consecutive triumphs until she suffered her first defeat at the hooves of Dan Patch Award winner and world champion Youaremycandygirl in an $80,200 division of the New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Aug. 29. Alexis Faith then finished second to a very nice filly in Azreal As It Gets in a $54,500 sire stakes contest at Batavia Downs on Sept. 8 and third behind that rival, in addition to Hurrikane Shorty, under the same conditions at Monticello Raceway on Sept. 19. The filly, however, atoned for those losses by defeating each of the aforementioned colleagues in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final at Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 14 in 1:55.2. In her sole season of competition she amassed a resume of 9-6-2-1, banked $228,810 and took a mark of 1:53.1. “When she was training she did everything we asked of her, but she just didn’t show us the spark the good horses do,” Coleman said. “But having a New York champion was exciting for us all and for her to exceed our expectations was more than gratifying.” Although Coleman acknowledges she did second guess herself for not paying Alexis Faith in to premier stakes engagements last season, she also admits she will not make the same mistake twice. “She is training great and we are looking forward to her season,” she said. “I did stake her so she has an opportunity to go against the top horses in her division. You never know what is going to happen and even if those races do not work for her, I have a fresh horse that will hopefully do well in the New York Sire Stakes again this year. That is more than enough to ask for, so anything else she does is just extra and how could we not be happy with that? As I told her owners, it could be a blessing she did not have to go up against the toughest horses every week last year and could make her a better horse this year. “We don’t ever know what can happen, but she is awfully good on a half-mile track.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- After Rockin Ron (Matt Kakaley) blew by Mel Mara (Dave Palone) like the 2-1 public selection was standing still it appeared the harness racing  trophy for the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial would clearly belong to his connections. McWicked, however, had other plans as he and Brian Sears unleashed a scintillating rally through the passing lane to score by a neck in 1:49.3 on Saturday (Sept. 9) at Eldorado Scioto Downs. “I won the 3-year-old Breeders Crown championship with this horse,” said Sears. “You have to ask him a little more than you used to when he was younger but he still has that speed.” As expected speedster Luck Be Withyou (post five, Aaron Merriman) immediately left the gate to take command. After leading the field of 10 swift older pacers through an opening quarter-mile in :26.1, Palone gave Mel Mara his cue and the stallion responded with a first-over move to take the lead through a half-mile in :54.2. The world champion’s stint on top would be short lived as Rockin Ron was loaded with pace and overhauled Mel Mara from fourth in a flash shortly before 1:21.3 for the three-quarters was posted on the board. In a moment Rockin Ron (9-2) not only passed Mel Mara but left him completely in his wake by several lengths. As the field strode toward the final turn, it seemed Rockin Ron was going to collect an emphatic victory, as Check Six (Chris Page), Boston Red Rocks (Josh Sutton) and McWicked all had plenty of work to do from sixth, third and fourth, respectively. As Rockin Ron disposed of Check Six and Boston Red Rocks, McWicked was winding up along the inside and gaining on the leader with every inch. As Sears urged him on, the 6-year-old stallion edged past Rockin Ron with a :27.2 final panel to annex the race. Rockin Ron held for second while Boston Red Rocks and Check Six dead-heated for third place. Owned by Ed James and conditioned by Casie Coleman, 2014 Dan Patch Award winner McWicked boosted his career bankroll past the $2 million mark and collected the 22nd win of his 68-race career. The stallion suffered from breathing problems as a 4-year-old which caused him to miss nearly all of the 2015 season and abbreviated his campaign last year. In 2017, McWicked has compiled a record of 21-7-3-2 after those issues were rectified. “Casie has trained him on and off throughout his career and she has really done a great job with him,” Sears, who also won the Jug Preview with Downbytheseaside earlier on the card, said. “I’m just very happy I received the opportunity to drive him tonight and that I was able to win with him again.” Introduced in 2013, the race honors the late Jim Ewart, who was the race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976 through 2002. Ewart, who worked as a race secretary at 18 different tracks in North America, plus Australia and New Zealand, died in 2012. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 31 - Back in the care of harness racing trainer Casie Coleman, six-year-old McWicked could surpass $2 million in career earnings with a strong performance in Saturday's $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack. Following his four-year-old campaign, Mcwicked departed from Coleman's barn and was moved to trainer Steve Elliott, who conditioned the son of Mcardle for his five-year-old season and the first part of his current six-year-old season. "He didn't win a race at four with me and the owners just decided to try him with somebody else," Coleman said. "He went away for a little while, but then they asked me to take him back and I did." Mcwicked's five-year-old season was cut short after sustaining an injury in the June 2016 Roll With Joe Pace, where he flipped his palate and underwent corrective surgery. "I thought he could go with [Always B] Miki and [Wiggle It Jiggleit], I really did," Mcwicked's former trainer Steve Elliot said in an interview last year. "He's a fast, fast horse and he's handy. He doesn't ever grab a line. Sitting in the two-hole, drivers want to get him off the fence. Pull the right line and he takes off. You don't know how much horse you've got until you pull and then you have to watch you don't catch a wheel. He's just that kind of horse. He's a very good horse and circumstances didn't dictate that." Mcwicked, a 21-time winner with $1,992,206 earned for owner S S G Stables, made his 2017 seasonal debut on February 12 at Pompano Park, where he won the $12,500 Open Handicap in 1:50.4 devoid of breathing issues from which he had suffered in the past. "I didn't have any issues with him as a three-year-old with his breathing, but as a four-year-old we started having some issues with that," Coleman said. "Like I'll use the laser machine and laser his palette and take the tongue tie out and stuff along those lines. It's a constant thing you've got to work on because once they have a breathing issue you never know when it's going to come up." After racing ten times this season for Elliott, Mcwicked returned to Coleman's barn and proceeded to win the Preferred at Mohawk on June 3, followed by the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup in 1:48.2 on June 17. "I just put him back to the way I had [trained] him," Coleman said. "I don't really know what they were doing with him--I wasn't really concerned with how they rigged him up and trained him because I knew my way worked with him as a three-year-old and he's been seeming to respond." Prior to last Saturday's Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, Mcwicked had finished fourth in three consecutive starts, including in the $325,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park as the 2-1 favourite. "He didn't race badly at Hoosier, but I was expecting more out of him," Coleman said. "He came up with an abscess in his foot, which we've actually been working on for a little while. He's actually been racing in an A-bar shoe right now just because he has some problems with his foot." Finishing third in his 'Pacing Derby' elimination, Mcwicked paced a 1:48.3 mile with a :25.4 final quarter, coming in six-lengths off of elimination winner Rockin Ron. "Everything seems great [heading into the Pacing Derby]," Coleman said. "I wish he was a little bit better on that foot--he trained yesterday (Tuesday); he trained really good. He's sharp and feeling good, but we still have a little bit of an issue with his foot but I think that will be fine by the time we get to Saturday." McWicked will start from the rail in Saturday's big race and will have the driving services of David Miller. "The rail isn't necessarily the best place to be--I mean, I'll take it over the nine or ten any day. Like it's hard for a horse to race on the front-end and get off the rail, so I'm hoping he gets away mid pack, follows some cover and hopefully works out from that spot." Update on Summer Travel After winning the Dream Maker Final in a stakes-record 1:50.3 on August 7, Coleman trained two-year-old Summer Travel was scheduled to race in last Saturday's Nassagaweya Stakes, but was scratched due to sickness. The Western Ideal colt was not the only Coleman rookie to be scratched, as filly Play The Bell, the winner of this year's Battle of The Belles, was also pulled from the Eternal Camnation. "They trained early (last) week and they were awesome--couldn't have been better," Coleman said. "But then on Thursday, the both of them started to snot but were eating good and feeling good. On Friday they were a lot more snotty and started to cough, still seeming to feel fine until Saturday morning we came in and saw Summer Travel had a temperature of 104 [Fahrenheit] and Play The Bell had a temperature of 102, so obviously we had to scratch them." "We've been treating them; they're on antibiotics. They seem to both be responding quite well--their snot pretty much cleared up and their temperatures are fine. Still, they both do have a little bit of a cough, but it is much, much better." The signs of improvement gave Coleman enough confidence to enter both rookies in this Saturday's Grand Circuit events at Mohawk. Summer Travel will compete in a $96,880 Champlain division, while Play The Bell will start in the $169,381 Champlain Filly Stakes. "They're both going to be a touch-bit short because I can't train them as much as I'd like to," Coleman said. "We've got to let them get over the sickness. Obviously, if at all they are not ready by Saturday, we're not going to take a chance and race them, but I think we'll be okay." Saturday's Canadian Pacing Derby card at Mohawk features 12-races and over $1.4 million in purses. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Ray Cotolo

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