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My Buddy Ninkster, a winner in his first start at Miami Valley Raceway four weeks ago, returned to the spotlight on Saturday (March 19) by winning the $20,000 Open Pace in 1:51.3. With the victory the four-year-old altered son of Dali becomes the third repeat winner of the weekly feature race during the current winter meet. Astreo's Love, who finished third this week, has won the Open I on four of the eleven occasions the $20,000 Open I has been presented since opening night on January 9. Mykindachip has also captured a pair of harness racing victories; while the other winners have been Talk Strategy, Fancy Creek Elusiv and Ice Scraper. Driver Kayne Kauffman gave My Buddy Ninkster a textbook drive in his most recent success, sitting chilly behind notorious frontrunner Turbo Mach through fractions of :27.4, :55.4 and 1:23.3 before angling out at the head of the stretch to pass the leader and then hold off Nitro (Chris Page) and Astreo's Love (LeWayne Miller). John and Mary Krasnican own the winner, who now has $133,825 in career bounty ($36,000 of it already this season). It was the 16th win of the current meet for trainer Chris Short. A $15,000 Open II pace was captured by Sports Sinner (John DeLong) in 1:51.2, a tick faster than the Open I. Steve Perkins owns and trains the five-year-old son of Western Ideal, who now has three wins in 2016 but this the first against open competition. King Otra (Randy Tharps) was a lapped-on second place finisher with E R Rudy (LeWayne Miller), who cut the quick early fractions in this mile, fading to third in the lane. Sports Sinner now sports 18 lifetime wins and bounty of $123,366. Favorites prevailed in a pair of divisions of the George Williams Memorial late-closing series for non-winners of four pari-mutuel races or $30,000 lifetime. Startin Something (John DeLong) topped Joel's Legacy (Josh Sutton) and Artistic Blue (Ken Holliday) in the first split, clocked in 1:52.4. Prohibitive favorite Undertaker (LeWayne Miller) dominated American Paradise (Chris Page) and Goodtime Matt (Trace Tetrick) in the second section, returning a meet-low $2.10 payoff for win. The top nine money-winners in the series will line up for a $20,000 championship race next Saturday (March 26). Kayne Kauffman had a handful of wins on the program, two days after returning from several days of rest and relaxation on a New Orleans vacation. His triumphs, in addition to the open with My Buddy Ninkster, came behind Kiasma in a $10,000 claimer, Tyber Tyke in a high condition pace, Cosmicpedia in a $20,000 claimer and Fancy Creek Elusiv in the top condition pace. In addition to Startin Something and Sports Sinner, John DeLong also guided Franzo and Electric Lad to the winner's circle, giving the 27-year-old reinsman a grand slam. Gregg Keidel  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 30, 2015 - So far in 2015, Yonkers Raceway has had four legal-bare-minimum $2.10 win payoffs. Three of time have been by Witch Dali (Tim Tetrick), who again fooled no one Monday night, winning the $54,800 final of the Petticoat Pacing Series for harness racing 3 and 4-year-old fillies and mares. Leaving alertly from post position No. 3, Witch Dali was stung early on a cold, windy Westchester evening. She paid a :26.4 first-quarter price to get around pole-sitting Cheyenne Robin (Dan Dube) before the lone soph in the field relented for the pocket. Cruisinwithmybaby (Tyler Buter) found a three-hole, with Hay Stacked (Eric Carlson) away fourth. Witch Dali then rated a 30-second next interval (:56.4 half) and was sailing toward a 1:25.2 three-quarters when Cruisinwithmybaby made her second move. However, Witch Dali remained unflustered by such an intrusion, taking a 2½ length lead in the lane. She completed her four-race series sweep, winning by a couple of lengths in 1:55. Hay Stacked rallied inside for second, with Cruisinwithmybaby, Royal Mama (Matt Kakaley) and Inside the Glass (Jordan Stratton) settling for the remainder. Cheyenne Robin, Anti Entity (George Brennan) and Always Sunday (Jason Bartlett) rounded out the order. "She went a big first quarter and just held tough," Tetrick said. "Hasn't given me a bad race yet." For Witch Dali, a 4-year-old daughter of Dali co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Brad Grant, it was her sixth win in 10 seasonal starts (13-for-24 lifetime, career earnings a buck under $164,000). The exacta paid $8.70, the triple returned $37.20 and the superfecta paid $144. Series action continues Tuesday afternoon with Yonkers' richest race of the season to date, the $62,200 final of the Sagamore Hill for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers. Friday, it's the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (two, five-horse $40,000 divisions), while Saturday offers the second round of George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (to be drawn Tuesday). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 23, 2015 - "She's just a big, strong (mare) who carries her speed a long way and hums around Yonkers with no problem." Such was the Tim Tetrick Monday night post-mortem after Witch Dali ($2.10) authored a third consecutive public workout, sweeping the Raceway's three preliminary legs in the harness racing Petticoat Pacing Series. Leaving from post position No. 3 in the first of two $12,500 events for 3- and 4-year-old lasses, the 1-20 fave never had an anxious moment (:28.2, :58.2, 1:26.1; 1:54.1). The final margin was wrapped-up six lengths over Always Sunday (Jason Bartlett), with Cheyenne Robin (George Brennan) third. For Witch Dali, a 4-year-old daughter of Dali co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Brad Grant, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.80, with the triple returning $39.20. It was Witch Dali's second consecutive six-length romp in the preps, firmly stamping her as the lass to beat in next Monday's (March 30) $54,800 finale of the Petticoat. Monday night's other series event went to Cruisinwithmybaby (Tyler Buter, $7.80). Series action continues Tuesday afternoon, with a pair $12,500 divisions in the third round of the Sagamore Hill for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers. Friday, the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (two, $40,000 divisions), while Saturday offers the second round of George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (to be drawn Tuesday). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 16, 2015--Yonkers Raceway's 2015 stakes season continued Monday night, with a pair of second-round divisions in the Petticoat Pacing Series for harness racing 3- and 4-year-old ladies. Foolin' no one Witch Dali (Tim Tetrick, $2.40) handily repeated in the opening, $12,500 event, this time wiring from post position No. 4 (:29.2, :57.4, 1:26.2, 1:53.4). The final margin was an as-she-pleased six lengths over Cruisinwithmybaby (Tyler Buter), with Life is a Beach (George Brennan) third. For Witch Dali, a 4-year-old daughter of Dali co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Brad Grant, it was her fourth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8.90, with the triple returning $14.40. Series-debuting Donttellruss (George Brennan, $3) earned it in the second Petticoat posse. Badly impeded by another leaver who jumped it off, "Russ" settled fourth behind Always Sunday (Tetrick) and early intervals of :28.4 of :57.4. Right around the intermission, Donttellruss made front, then took over from there (1:26.2, 1:55.3). She held Always Sunday at bay, winning by a length. My Caroline (Matt Kakaley) was third. For "Russ," a 4-year-old daughter of Panspacificflight co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Frank Baldachino, she--same as "Dali"--is 4-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $5, with the triple returning $12.40 Series action continues Tuesday afternoon, with four, $12,500 divisions in the second round of the Sagamore Hill for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers. Friday, the opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (three, $40,000 divisions), while Saturday offers the opening round of George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (to be drawn Tuesday). Frank Drucker

The promising pacers Witch Dali and Wiggle It Jiggleit are giving a much needed boost to their novice stallions, ten-year-old Dali and nine-year-old Mr Wiggles. Neither one has faced top stock so it’s not the sort of lift McWicked has given to McArdle or Sayitall BB to Tell All, nonetheless it is significant. The lightly raced four-year-old pacing mare, Witch Dali, who breezed to a win in the first leg of the Petticoat at Yonkers the other night for Tim Tetrick and Alagna Racing, previously won the Niagara final at Woodbine and the Worldly Beauty at the Meadowlands, and she was also second in the Burning Point final. Dali is a son of Real Artist, who also produced Ginger And Fred, Kikikatie, Real Nice, Southwind Lynx and Whatanartist. Real Artist, who stands in Pennsylvania, was a flawless yearling who brought $100,000. Ligament issues plagued him throughout his brief career; he won just two of nine starts, one of them being the Wilson. His son Dali won nine times as a colt, capturing, among others, the Wilson, Niatross and Burlington Pace. Dali banked more than $1.4 million. He hasn’t raced regularly since 2010, although he did make one start in 2011 and two more in preferred company in Ontario last spring. Witch Dali is from the Medio family, which has produced top notch pacing mares like Anndrovette, Put On A Show, My Little Dragon, Strike An Attitude and Elegantimage. Her third dam, Bruce’s Lady, is a full sister to Dragon’s Lair and Cole Muffler. And her dam, Whitesand Janice, earned $234,000. Dali, who began his stallion career in Indiana, then relocated to Ontario, and is now back in the Hoosier state, has 136 foals on the ground, 60 of which have made some money. Only a couple of crops have raced to this point. Four-year-olds Weatherly, who raced in the Ontario Sire Stakes, and Blacktree, who earned $85,000 in the OSS and in overnights in Canada, at the Meadowlands and at Yonkers, are probably the best of the rest. Putting aside a small test crop Dali bred in 2010, when he made 26 starts, this is his fifth year of stud duty. The side trip to Ontario probably hurt in the long run, as it worked against him developing an enduring presence in Indiana. Ideally he’ll be battling Always A Virgin and Rockin Image for some of that sire stakes money. Wiggle It Jiggleit has only made a handful of starts; he won a Sonsam preliminary and the first two legs of the Gilmour. He’s been very impressive thus far. George Teague, who is no stranger to quality colts, has been effusive in his praise of the son of his stallion Mr Wiggles and has nominated him to the Meadowlands Pace and the North America Cup. Mr Wiggles had one very good year, at three, when he won 8 of 23 starts and banked almost a millon dollars. He has only sired 21 horses and only one other, besides Wiggle It Jiggleit, has made any money--$648. On the other hand, there are only eight in the current three-year-old class, so the sample size is tiny. Mr Wiggles is a son of the Western Hanover stallion, Badlands Hanover, who won 8 of his 14 starts at two, including the Breeders Crown, Niatross and Bluegrass. He became the sport’s fastest freshman when he broke Artsplace’s mark with a 1:50 mile. Unfortunately he didn’t go on at three, winning only one of 11 starts. Mr Wiggles’ 2015 freshman class is eligible to the Ohio Sire Stakes. Wiggle It Jiggleit’s third dam is a half-sister to the dam of Steinam’s Place, a winner of $1.4 million and the dam of Put On A Show and Showherthemoney. And his second dam was a multiple stakes winner. He is, like Witch Dali, from the Medio family. It’s always nice to see off-brand stallions experience success. The stars of the aged pacing mares division, like Anndrovette, are warming up in qualifiers, and the better three-year-olds won’t be far behind. The connections of Witch Dali and Wiggle It Jiggleit are likely to stay out of their way, but you never know. (Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink)

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 9, 2015 - Yonkers Raceway's 2015 harness racing stakes season began Monday night, with a pair of divisions in the Petticoat Pacing Series. The series, for 3- and 4-year-old ladies who are/were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1, offered those two, $12,500 events. Witch Dali (Tim Tetrick) became the first local 1-20 ($2.10) proposition of the season, handily winning the first division. She negated her outside post position right away, whipping around her six rivals and going the distance (:28, :57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54.1). The final margin was a wrapped-up length-and-a-half over Cruisinwithmybaby (Tyler Buter), with Always Sunday (George Brennan) third. "She was perfectly-gaited and handled the track very well," Tetrick said, without a hint of an Australian accent. For Witch Dali, a 4-year-daughter of Dali co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Brad Grant, it was her third win (first two were series finals of Niagara and Worldly Beauty) in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $7.40, with the triple returning $17.40. Pole-sitting Hay Stacked (Eric Carlson, $7.50) slipped out in the final turn, picking off 7-5 favorite Cheyenne Robin (Dan Dube) and winning the second Petticoat division in 1:54.4. The margin was a neck, with pace-setting (:28.1, :57.3; 1:26.3) Royal Mama (Matt Kakaley) third. For third choice Hay Stacked, a 4-year-old daughter of Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Stephen & Brian Gordon, it was her first win in four '15 tries. The exacta paid $17.20, with the triple returning $34,80. She's a small (mare), but she tries real hard and she's rounding into form at the right time," Carlson said. Series action continues Tuesday afternoon, with five, $12,500 divisions in the opening round of the Sagamore Hill for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers. Frank Drucker

Three harness racing series finals made up the Winter Series Spectacular at The Meadowlands on Saturday night. The Super Bowl, Wordly Beauty and last but not least, the Escort Final with a purse of $56,000 appeared the most competitive of the three series finals on paper. Coming into The Escort Final, Tim Tetrick had what appeared to be a difficult decision to make, between Khan Blue Chip, a Linda Toscano trainee and Company Man. Tetrick decided to sit behind Company Man and it was proven that he chose wisely. Sent off as the 2-1 second choice, Tetrick allowed Company Man to sit third, just off the speed of Khan Blue Chip through a rather soft opening quarter of 28.1. Sensing the light tempo, Tetrick pulled his gelding as they straightened up in the backstretch and made a strong bid for the lead. Company Man hit the half-mile in 56 and three-quarters in 1:23.3, before getting separation on the field and opening up a three length lead turning for home. His main rival, Major Uptrend, was stacked up third over finding himself with five lengths to make up at the top of the stretch. Driven by Corey Callahan, Major Uptrend lengthened his stride late, along with a game JK Patriot and that pair began to close in on Company Man. But Tetrick saved just enough for the final strides and Company Man held on for the score in 1:51.4. Major Uptrend was second and JK Patriot third. Tetrick noted that his horse has the potential to move up the class ladder in the coming months. "He's tough enough," said Tetrick, "he can carry his speed for a long time and he's tough enough and that makes for a good racehorse." Up next for Company Man will be the Sonsam series which gets underway on Saturday February 7th. The top-five finishers from The Escort are all eligible to the Sonsam. Company Man is trained by Virgil Morgan Jr.for Daniel Mitchell. Company Man Tetrick was far from done as he had a major contender, Witch Dali, in the the second winter-series Final contested which was the $47,600 Wordly Beauty for three and four year old filly and mare pacers. Donttellruss was sent off as the 4/5 favorite off her pocket-rocket win over Witch Dali in round two of the series. Tonight, Corey Callahan was intent on the lead, parking out all challengers, especially the first over Just Fine. Donttellruss established a hot-pace of 27, 54 and 1:22.3 before turning for home with the lead, with Empress Deo looming off cover and Witch Dali situated third over as the field entered the stretch. Callahan called on Donttellruss for everything she had, but Tim Tetrick showed his mare, Witch Dali some racetrack and she responded, carving into the margin with each and ever stride. Nearing the wire, Witch Dali wore down a gritty Donttellruss to win the Worldly Beauty in 1:52.2. The win marked the sixth in seven starts since returning from the layoff for Witch Dali and it also made for the second winter series win for the daughter of Dali. Trainer Tony Alagna said he was "licking his chops watching his mare tracking the leaders from third over with the hot fractions up front." Alagna also made reference to a foot issue that kept his mare on the sidelines for one year saying, "we waited on her, but she has come back great and she was super tonight." Witch Dali was driven by Tim Tetrick for Tony Alagna, Alagna Racing and Bradley Grant. Donttellruss saved the runner-up spot with Empress Deo third. The top-three finishers are all bound for the Burning Point series which gets underway on Friday, February 6th. The Super Bowl looked like a four-horse race on paper and on the heels of a defeat in round two of the Super Bowl series as a 3/5 favorite, JL Cruze turned the tables once again on Opulent Yankee when the big money was down, winning the $50,000 Super Bowl Final with John Campbell. Sent off as the 2-1 third choice, JL Cruze left for position and was seemingly moving up to challenge the early lead, but was promptly looped by a three-wide Two Hip Dip going past the opening quarter of 28.4. JL Cruze was hung out on the rim, grinding it first over through a strong 27.2 second quarter. Campbell asked his gelding for speed at this point and JL Cruze responded and took over the lead from Two Hip Dip moving into the far turn. Opulent Yankee was tracking the leaders from third and he elected to remain on the pylons as his entry-mates Blocking The Way and Propulsion moved to the outside. However, Two Hip Dip got aggressive and pulled from the pocket just before the three-quarter pole to challenge JL Cruze, which enabled Opulent Yankee to advance along the pylons as Two Hip Dip flattened out in the stretch. Turning for home off three-quarters in 1:25, JL Cruze accelerated away from the field, with the three-horse entry chasing him home as Two Hip Dip faded, but no one was catching JL Cruze, who streaked under the wire a powerful Super Bowl Champion in 1:54.4. Opulent Yankee was second with Blocking The Way third. The top-five finishers in the Super Bowl Final are all eligible to the upcoming Charles Singer Memorial trotting series which begins on Thursday, February 5th. JL Cruze was driven to victory by John Campbell for trainer Eric Ell who mentioned in a post-race interview that his gelding "was battling a bit of an illness the week before and was not 100-percent, but he had a great week this week and showed up with his best effort tonight." JL Cruze is owned by W Kenneth Wood, W J Dittmar Jr. and S J Iaquinta. The Super Bowl Final was part of a pick 5 sequence that sported a $22,616 carryover, resulting in a total pool Saturday night of $146,934. Darin Zoccali    

TORONTO, December 26 - A pair of Christmas presents were handed out a day late in the Valedictory and Niagara Series finals on Friday afternoon's Boxing Day card at Woodbine Racetrack. A field of seven three-year-old pacing fillies went behind the gate in the $34,800 Niagara Series final, while a group of ten three-year-old pacing colts and geldings battled it out in the $35,000 Valedictory Series final. In the Niagara final, Witch Dali completed the dominating series sweep with a 1:51.2 victory. For the third week in a row, Witch Dali's opponents only saw the back of her and driver Jody Jamieson as they went straight to the front and never looked back. Sent off as the 1/9 favourite, Witch Dali posted fractions of :26.4, :55.4 and 1:23.2, before kicking home in :28 to win by 2 ½ lengths over Artistic Fusion. Double Joy took the show spot, while Saucy B finished fourth. A daughter of Dali, Witch Dali is trained by Tony Alagna and has now won all four of her starts in 2014. Witch Dali did not make her first start of the season until December 5th and has since rattled off four wins in four weeks. She is owned by Alagna Racing LLC. and Brad Grant. Witch Dali now has a career record of seven wins in 14 starts and earnings of $74,220. The clocking of 1:51.2 is a new career mark for Witch Dali and also broke the Niagara Series record by a full second. She returned $2.20 to win. In the Valedictory, Company Man turned in a career best effort to win the series final in 1:51.3. Driven by James MacDonald, Company Man got away in fourth, while the favourite, Kindofabigdeal, made a quick move in the first turn to swing around to the lead from second. Down the backstretch, MacDonald decided not to wait long and sent Company Man hard after the lead and cleared around Kindofabigdeal just after the half of :55. Company Man would continue to keep the tempo honest with a :27.3 third quarter to bring the field into the stretch with Kindofabigdeal following close in behind. In the stretch, Company Man dug in to turn aside Kindofabigdeal, who could only get to his wheel, and held off a late push from So Bad Im Good to win by half a length. So Bad Im Good took the place spot, while Kindofabigdeal and Ransom Demand finished third and fourth respectively. A son of American Ideal, Company Man is trained by Allen Tomlinson for owner Dan Mitchell. Company Man won a first leg division of the Valedictory and followed that up with a third place effort in round two last Friday. Friday's series final victory is his fourth victory from 19 career starts and boosts his career bankroll to over $74,000. The clocking of 1:51.3 is also a new career mark for the three-year-old gelding. Company Man paid $6.50 to win. The final card of the 2014 racing season at Woodbine will take place Saturday night with first post set for 7:25 p.m. Live racing will resume a week later with the first card of 2015 on Saturday, January 3rd. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

TORONTO, December 18 - Witch Dali continued her hot streak Thursday night in the second leg of the Niagara Series at Woodbine Racetrack. Just one $15,000 division was needed for the second round of the three-week series, as ten three-year-old pacing fillies were entered in the box. However, two race-day scratches, including leg one winner Mach Some Noise, left the door wide-open for the other leg one winner, Witch Dali, to score another impressive victory. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Witch Dali, the 2/5 favourite, was sent straight to the front and got to call the shots from start to finish. The daughter of Dali set fractions of :27.2, 56.2 and 1:24.3, before cruising home in :28.1 to score a 4 ¼ length victory in 1:52.4. Saucy B, who got a two-hole trip, finished second, while Double Joy and Artistic Fusion finished third and fourth respectively. Witch Dali is trained by Tony Alagna, who shares ownership with Brad Grant, and has now won her first three starts of the season. The three-year-old filly now has six career victories and has banked over $56,000 in 13 career starts. The clocking of 1:52.4 is a new season's mark for Witch Dali and just missed her career mark by a fifth of a second. She paid $2.90 to win. After scoring victories in the first two legs, Witch Dali can now go for the series sweep in the Niagara Series final on Boxing Day (Friday, December 26). Series action continues tomorrow night at Woodbine with two divisions in the second leg of the Valedictory for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The final of the Valedictory Series will join the Niagara Series finale on the Boxing Day card. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

TORONTO, December 11 - A snow covered Woodbine Racetrack played host to the first leg of the Niagara Series Thursday night. 18 three-year-old harness racing pacing fillies were split into two $15,000 divisions for round one of the three-week series. More than a dozen centimeters of snow blanketed Woodbine Thursday afternoon and into the evening, but the track crew had the surface in 'Good' shape for some fast fillies. In the first division, Witch Dali, the 4/5 favourite, took care of business winning in 1:53. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Witch Dali was sent straight to the lead and posted fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:25 before pacing home handily in :28 to win by half a length over Artistic Fusion. Saucy B, who got on even terms with the winner around the final turn, finished third. A daughter of Dali, Witch Dali is trained by Tony Alagna and was making only her second start of the year. The three-year-old filly won her 2014 debut last week at the Meadowlands after an almost 13 month layoff. Witch Dali is now a perfect two for two this season and five for 12 in her career for earnings of over $40,000. She is owned by Alagna Racing LLC and Brad Grant. Witch Dali paid $3.80 to win. Another favourite would deliver an impressive victory in the second division. Mach Some Noise and James MacDonald made a backside brush to the lead and never looked back scoring a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:54.3. Trained by Tony O'Sullivan, Mach Some Noise came into round one of the Niagara Series after a third place finish in the Autumn Series on November 28 ended her four-race win streak. The daughter of Mach Three has now won all five of her career victories in her last six starts for owners O'Sullivan Racing Inc, Kirk McKinnon and David Goodrow Stable. In her first season of racing, Mach Some Noise has banked over $50,000 in 11 starts. Double Joy got up in a place photograph to take second over Val Di Noto, while Mappos Moenhay finished fourth. Mach Some Noise paid $4.20 to win. In order to be eligible to the Niagara Series, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31. The second leg of the Niagara Series will take place next Thursday (December 18) at Woodbine. Series action continues Friday night at Woodbine with leg one of the Valedictory Series. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

Batavia, NY---On Sunday afternoon (Aug. 31) the New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old pacing fillies come to town to compete for their cut of $119,000 in purses. The group is highlighted by Major Dancer (Art Major-Two Steppin' Sally), who is currently the fourth highest money earning 3-year-old pacing filly in North America with $201,644 in the bank. She is a seven-time winner in twelve attempts and has only finished out of the money once this year. She won the $46,248 Town Pro stake at Mohawk Raceway earlier this year in her lifetime best time of 1:51.2 as well as an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in 1:51.4. She finished second in the $244,875 final to Precocious Beauty in a 1:51.1 mile. Major Dancer will be driven by Jonathan Drury for trainer Casie Coleman. She is listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the third $39,900 NYSS division carded as the eighth race that also features A La Notte Hanover driven by Matt Kakaley and Table Talk with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines. A La Notte Hanover (Art Major-All Night Long) starts for the powerful Ron Burke stable and is a two-time winner in 2014. She won her last outing at Yonkers in NYSS action with an impressive 1:55 wire-to-wire victory that brought her bankroll up to $87,733 for the year. She also competed in the Empire Breeders Classic and finished close despite having a lot of traffic to deal with in both of those races. Table Talk (Bettor's Delight-Place At The Table) took an early seasons mark of 1:51.4 at Mohawk and has competed in the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stake and $212,150 Mistletoe Shallee where she paced back-to-back 1:49 miles for driver Tim Tetrick. She has been plagued with some bad posts and a breaking issue of late but looks to be in a good spot here for trainer Brad Dalious. In the first $39,900 division carded as the fourth race, Ron Burke and Julie Miller have the one-two punch going to post. Burke sends out Jaded Dream and Miller counters with Just Add Vodka. Jaded Dream (If I Can Dream-Jaded Gal) put forth a handy effort at Yonkers in her last, winning a NYSS leg there in 1:54.4. It was a welcome sight after a series of poor post draws and the resulting tough trips. She has three wins in 13 starts and $62,586 in the bank. Matt Kakaley is back in the bike behind her for the first time since June 18. Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) only has two wins this year but has been consistently in the money; 13 out of 16 starts and that made her $74,283 for the year. Her mark of 1:55.3 was at Monticello but she has paced considerably faster than that in defeat on several occasions. Jim Morrill Jr. who has driven her several times over the summer gets the assignment. The second $39,200 division which goes as the seventh race has three very tough competitors going post-ward and looks to be the most closely contested event. It features the first, second and fourth leading points leaders for this sex and gait in the NYSS this year. Blush Hanover (Art Major-Brissonte Hanover) currently tops the leader board and comes into this race sporting five 2014 wins for trainer Linda Toscano. She finished a strong third in the Empire Breeders Classic final after a very rough parked-out trip. She has a 1:52 mark at the Meadowlands and has only failed to hit the board once out of 14 starts this year. Her $168,831 in earnings is tops in this field and she looks to add to that total in here with Jim Morrill Jr. at the helm. Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) is second in points despite also having recorded five victories. This filly can race on the front or from behind and that versatility makes her a formidable foe. Her $115,080 in earnings is also second highest in the field and driver Jason Bartlett who has driven this filly twice before with winning outcomes, opted to driver her today for trainer Paul Zabielski after having been down to steer two horses in this same race. Medusa (Bettor's Delight-Mythical) ranks fourth in points among the group but is not that far behind the leaders. She has seven wins in 14 starts and $102,723 stashed away. The Paul Kelley trainee has a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs and also had two good efforts in the Empire Breeders Classic races. Tioga Downs regular Aaron Byron gets the drive tonight from Tim Tetrick who had been at the lines for her last three starts. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. Batavia Downs also has a special Labor Day matinee 12-race card on tap for Monday (Sept. 1) with a 1:15 post. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Duane Marfisi  has not been that long in New Zealand and he is already off to Australia. He left All Stars on Thursday to look after FOLLOW THE STARS and LINDA LOVEGRACE who  went earlier in the day and it is a measure of the regard in which he is held that there was no hesitation in the assignment. Not that Duane lacks qualifications. In fact he must be the best credentialled stablehand in Australasia. Many with his background might be looking for higher honours and recognition but Duane can't fault life as he has it now. He came here about six months ago because his wife, Janet, had gained a position at the Christchurch Hospital.  Until then Duane had worked with horses in Ontario for many years. In fact he had a star of the tracks some years ago with Dali who had the misfortune to be born in the same crop as Somebeachsomewhere. That didn't stop Dali from winning major events at the Meadowlands as well as in Ontario. when establishing himself as the fastest juvenile in the world. His landmark victory was in the Woodrow Wilson at two a huge performance and he held the world record on a 1000m track at three when Somebeachsomewhere stole all the glory. But Dali still won $C1.4m and took a mark of 1.48.,2 before being retired to stud.  Duane can't get over the changes in training here compared to Canada. "I think they treat them more as horses here than in Canada. I like the variety here too, the different tracks and different distances. We go a mile at home and that is pretty much it. That also makes a difference to the way we train them. We work them up in generally the same way but there are quite major differences." "We couldn't put horses in paddocks up there in winter of course. It does me good to seem them getting out in the paddocks here in midwinter." Duane worked with the leading horsemen in Canada before setting up on his own and spent about 20 years training around 25 horses in Ontario. He was well trained and rarely eased off the workload during the day. "I'd go around the studs each year and look over the yearlings much as here and try and get one who could take you all the way. Dali (Real Artist) was a great horse but he was just born the wrong year." It tells you a lot about the sort of guy Duane is that the former trainer of a champion is just as happy looking after the stars of All Stars without any airs, graces or feeling of superiority. One of his strengths is his people skills, getting on with all the staff with a quiet manner and strong work ethic. "I don't really miss that pressure you have with a top horse or a leading stable. I watch Mark and Natalie on the phone so much of the day and I  know all about that. I am happy just working with the horses" But surely Duane might think once more about his own stable ? "My ideal is to buy a place close by here and have maybe four horses to work when I go home. That is as far as I would want to go. I have done all the rest" "We love it here. The family is a long way away but everything else is just great" It hasn't taken long for Duane and Janet to get involved in one area however. Along with Mark and Natalie they have shares in All Star Angus a young trotter in the stable.  Dave McCarthy (All Stars Racing Stables)

Monticello Raceway's New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) season will kick-off on Friday, June 6 when the 3 year-old pacing fillies come to town. The races will be the second stop for the sophomores en route to the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway in September. On tap are four divisions of Sire Stakes fillies, each for approximately $30,000- and two $12,500 splits of Excelsior "A" events along with two $6000 splits of Excelsior "B" events. Headlining the NYSS paces is the locally- trained Bettor Chill Out from the Bruce Borden barn who won a sire stakes event at Vernon Downs in 1:52 on May 30. Jeff Gregory will handle the driving chores for Borden and owner Joe Meany when Bettor Chill Out leaves from the four-hole in the third race. Another locally-owned filly, Just Add Vodka, figures to be among the favorites in the her NYSS split when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. jumps-up on the bike and starts from post two in race two. A 1:58.4 winner in March on Yonkers Raceway half-miler, and a third place finish last Saturday in a 1:52.4 mile at Vernon Downs, the daughter of Art Major will start from post two. She's owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock, Dr. Herbie Burns, Steve Demeter and Nahuel Agosti. However, Just Add Vodka might encounter stiff competition from Medusa, a Bettor's Choice filly owned by W.J. Donavan, a winner of five of six starts this year. Chris Lems will handle the driving chores from the five-hole. Sweetnsinful, a $219,000 winner with a 1:52.3 mark as a freshman, made an inauspicious debut last Saturday finishing back in a 1:52 mile at Vernon Downs in NYSS action. However, she figures to be better this week now that she's had a race under her belt. Owned by Homer and Connie Hochstettler and James Michaels, the American Ideal filly will be driven by Jimmy Whittemore and they'll leave from the four-hole. But don't put a circle around Sweetnsinful's name yet. She'll have to contend with Scandalicious, a 1.54.3 winner at Harrah's Philadelphia on March 8. Also a daughter of American Ideal she'll have Danny Dube in the sulky when they start from post five. Blush Hanover figures to be the best in a final NYSS split despite leaving from post seven. The Linda Toscano-trained Art Major filly has three wins and two seconds in five starts. Owned by Stake Your Claim Stable, Seth Coen and George Derocker she'll get the driving services of Jimmy Morrill, Jr. In that contest Lotza Matzah will probably get the attention of hunch bettors on just her name alone since the Mighty M is in the former Borscht Belt, but she brings along a 1:52.4 record taken at Pocono Downs on May 20. Trainer Eddie Hart assigned Jason Bartlett to drive and they'll start from post four. Another American Ideal filly she is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Daniel Zucker, Steve Demeter and Christine Sallee. The Excelsior Stakes will make a nice undercard on a day when all the races feature New York-bred sophomore pacing fillies. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Precocious Beauty made her 2014 debut effort a winning one at Vernon Downs on Friday night in capturing one of three $41,300 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies.   Precocious Beauty led through the majority of the mile to post a victory in a final time of 1:52.4. She was driven to victory by regular driver Douglas McNair. She is owned by James Avritt Sr. of Lebanon, Kentucky and trained by Gregg McNair. Blush Hanover led through the early stages of the seventh race, while Precocious Beauty was parked to her outside in second. Precocious Beauty then assumed the lead at the half-mile mark and went on to win by a length at the end.   The other two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes on Friday night featured victories by Better Chill Out and Table Talk. Better Chill Out languished in mid-pack through the opening half-mile of her division. She moved up on the outside into third position and charged through the lane to beat out Scandalicious to the wire by a length. Her final time was 1:52. Better Chill Out is owned by Joseph Meaney of Crestwood, New York, trained by Bruce Borden, and was driven to victory on Friday night by Jeff Gregory. Table Talk was forwardly placed throughout her division, finally assuming the lead in the stretch and held off the charge of longshot Valentina De Vie, who was eighth at the top of the lane and narrowly missed catching the winner. Table Talk paced the mile in 1:52 as well. She is owned by the Wiz Kids Stable LLC of Dover, Delaware, trained by W. Bart Dalious, and was driven by Jim Marohn Jr.   The eliminations of the Empire Breeders Classic also took place on Friday night. The first elimination for three-year-old colts took an unexpected turn when the heavy favorite, Lukas Hall, went on a break past the half-mile mark and finished last in the field of six. The top four finishers in each elimination automatically qualify for the Final on June 8 with the one fifth-place finisher participating in the Final determined by lot. Therefore, Lukas Hall will not participate in the Final. Those horses that did qualify from the first elimination were Karets, Rocky De Vie, Hallanet, and Cashamatic. The second elimination for three-year-old colts went a bit more to form with even-money favorite, Expressive Action, winning with a rally up the inside in the stretch in 1:55.3. Second-choice Mister B's Way led deep into the stretch but broke stride right before the wire and ended up being disqualified from fourth finishing position to fifth. The top four for the second elimination were Expressive Action, Wild And Crazy Guy, Cash For Gold, and Daley Lovin. Mister B's Way will now be in the lot draw with Crazzycrazzy to determine the ninth and final qualifier.   The three-year-old fillies also had their eliminations on Friday night. Avalicious won the first of these eliminations after leading through the opening half-mile and getting passed. She then re-rallied to get up and win by a nose in 1:55.2. The other qualifiers for the Final from the first elimination were Annies List, Cutup Hanover, and Slice Slice Baby. The second elimination went to Crediama, driven by Tim Tetrick, who moved to the lead in the stretch and ended up three lengths clear of the heavy favorite, Glowngold. The final time for the second elimination was 1:55.4. Also qualifying were Winning Pursuit and Driving Miss Crazy. The two fifth-place finishers, Lady With Credit and Beauty Of Gray, will have a lot draw to determine who advances to the Final on June 8.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

Harness racing buyers at this years All Aged sale in Canterbury held the upper hand right from the opening lot. Most of the broodmares for sale had foals at foot by such well-established sires such as Badlands Hanover and McArdle but most failed to even make four figures. Lockerup, the aged dam of champion trotter Sovereignty $678,321 made $5,000 in foal to Monarchy but most struggled to attract interest. Good examples of that lack of interest would be mares such as: Keepalert - A Life Sign half sister to Mach Alert $394,945 with a Changeover filly at foot made a paltry $400 High Tops Hanover - A mare by Western Hanover from a Big Towner half sister to Holmes Hanover with a filly by Tintin in America at foot fetched just $700 Cullen Katching - A striking young  mare by Christian Cullen from a Western Hanover half sister to seven winners including Pacific Flight 1:51 $562,345 and The Unicorn 1:56.7 $488,524, who was not in foal sold for a touch more at $1100. The weanlings were much more in demand. Top price went to the stunning McArdle colt from the 13 win mare Lady Toddy who is already the dam of four in 1;58. He fetched healthy $15,500 which in the context of the sale was a great result for the vendors, Nevele R Stud. Other weanlings to attract interest included *Changeover / Last Port Of Call  colt--$8100 *Monarchy / Lockerup  colt--$6400 * Vintage Master / Joyful Holmes  colt $6200 *Vintage Master / Supreme Classie  colt $4600 *Dali / Tammy Franco  colt $4500 For full results click here. The North Island leg of the All Aged sale will be held at Karaka on May 30th, The day before the Harness Jewels at Cambridge. Harnesslink media

Favourite Cougar Hall earned his second consecutive win over the game Machal Jordan in the featured $34,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Driven by Jack Moiseyev, Cougar Hall matched his 1:51.4 season's mark that he established while winning the top class by half a length over Machal Jordan last Saturday. In this evening's Preferred, J J Shark (Sylvain Filion) forced the leaving post eight starter Lucky Terror (Jonathan Drury) to settle for the pocket spot during a :26.3 first quarter battle. Dali (Luc Ouellette) got away third with 6-5 favourite Cougar Hall following in fourth. As the field headed into the backstretch, Dali moved underway from third and took over the lead before hitting the half-mile marker in :55.3. The stallion was then confronted by Cougar Hall, who cleared to command past the 1:23.4 third quarter station and began to open up multiple lengths on the field to secure the victory. The late-closing Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) narrowed the winning margin to one and a quarter lengths. In Commando (Chris Christoforou), a half-length winner over Cougar Hall in his last outing two weeks ago, finished third.   Cougar Hall now has four wins in six starts during his four-year-old campaign and a seasonal bankroll totalling $60,100. The grey son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by trainer Jeff Gillis, Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol, Thomas Kyron and Carl Jamieson. Cougar Hall paid $4.40 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

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