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Columbus, MN - The Sunday afternoon harness racing program at Running Aces hosted a nice field of seven for the $6,700 upper-level conditioned trot which was carded as the feature of the day.    My Uncle Cuz (Don Harmon) was the talk of the tote-board (1-1) while dropping from the $10,000 Open Handicap last out, while Muscle Ave (Dean Magee) was jumping up in class after a sharp win in his last outing, and was also well regarded in the win pool at 8-5.    Track Record holder Pridecrest (Mooney Svendsen) offered lots of value at 7-2 and was fastest off the gate, leading for 7/8 of a mile while taking heavy pressure from Muscle Ave who was looming first-over from the three-eighths marker on. My Uncle Cuz secured the garden seat throughout and emerged with trot in mid-stretch to convert the perfect trip into a half length victory in 1:55.4 over Pridecrest. It's A Horse (Darrell Wright) closed sharply to pick up third money over a Muscle Ave.    My Uncle Cuz ($4.20) is a 6 year old son of Abc Garland and is owned by Krista Harmon and also trained by Don Harmon. It was the first win of the year for the winner of $316,079.    Twilight Tinker (Nick Roland, $3.00) rolled to a new lifetime mark (1:58.4) on Sunday, while racking up her third impressive win in a row, coming from well out of it early to sweep the field and deliver as the heavy favorite.    Drivers Nick Roland, Mooney Svendsen, Pat Berry and Don Harmon all registered two winners on the day, while trainer Jessica Johnson scored two wins. Ariel Alvarez picked up his first career training win when his pacer ER Michael (Pat Berry) posted a 2-1/4 length score in 1:54.1.    Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday, July 7 at 1:00 pm (CDT) and will feature a carryover in the Pick-5 Jackpot Wager of $5,130.26.    By Darin Gagné, for Running Aces 

Columbus, MN - Running Aces hosted a special Friday afternoon card of harness racing on July 3, featuring a full field of 9 starters for the $6,000 Open for sophomore pacers.   It's A Marcs World (Nick Roland) drew post position eight on the gate and was hammered down in the wagering to 3-5 likely based on his recent win in the Minnesota-Sired A pace on June 27 (1:57.1), while Night Delight (Dean Magee) was well supported at 7-2 from post nine and Bunkerhill Phil (Don Harmon) garnered lukewarm support at 5-1 from post three. Bunkerhill Phil came into the race off of two solid second place finishes to start his 2020 campaign, while he earned 10 wins from 13 races last year as the Champion two year old male pacer in Minnesota.   Night Delight fired fastest from the gate from the far outside draw and easily cleared for command, leading the field all the way into the far turn (:27.2, :58.3 and 1:27.4) before facing strong pressure from Bunkerhill Phil who launched a first-over attack just before the half mile.   Bunkerhill Phil cleared the lead turning for home and Nothinbutagoodtime (Darrel Wright) advanced from the outside cover position while heavy favorite It's A Marcs World was blocked behind the tiring pace-setter. Once clear - It's A Marcs World angled back into the open stretch and flew to the wire - but ran out of racetrack as Bunkerhill Phil had gotten home a winner by a head in a sharp mile and new career mark of 1:55.3. Nothinbutagoodtime was a game third.   Bunkerhill Phil ($12.00) now has 11 career wins and has banked $78,424, he is a gelded son of Vlos out of the Keystone Raider mare River Bend Raider, owned trained by Gene Miller who is also the breeder.   It was another stellar day at the track for all-time Running Aces leader Nick Roland, who won four of eight races on the day and completed two milestones - in race one he registered his 1,700th career driving win and in race two he recorded his 800th Running Aces driving win.   Driver Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen also reorded a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday July 5, with first post at 1 pm (CDT) and features a carryover in the Pick-5 Jackpot Wager of $4,096.69.   by Darin Gagne, for Running Aces          

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

Columbus, MN - The Sunday afternoon harness racing program at Running Aces featured a very nice field to contest the top trot of the week, the $10,000 Open Handicap. Magic MVP (Pat Berry) was the 2-1 favorite coming into today's feature off of a sharp Aces debut while nearly taking the field gate-to-wire last week to just get beat a neck at the wire in 1:55.4 by Mandeville (Nick Roland).    Mandeville was second choice today at 5/2 from post nine, and Bordogna (Rick Magee) took some action at the windows at just over 3-1 from post 8 while moving up in class after his big track-record smashing performance last week.    Banker Volo (Brian Detgen) left alertly from post 5 for a short-lived early lead before Berry rolled by with Magic MVP to cut the fractions and Magee also left alertly with Bordogna to find a tuck in third. The quarter flashed up in :27.3 and Berry stepped on the brakes to steal a second panel in just :30 seconds. Bordogna was activated into attack mode and set sail on a first-over grind just past the half mile marker, while My Uncle Cuz (Don Harmon) picked up the live cover.    Magic MVP picked up the tempo in the third split (:28.1) for a 1:25.4 clocking while still 2 lengths clear of the rest, but as they neared the homestretch Bordogna turned up the pressure and forged to even terms. The final sixteenth mile was a ding-dong battle between those two and Bordogna kicked home just a bit faster to score a hard-fought win by a neck in 1:55.1, remaining undefeated in 5 starts in 2020.    Bordogna ($8.60) is a 4 year old stallion by Trixton out of the Credit Winner mare Lima Playmate, he is owned by Cathy Dessert and Ken Stauffer, and trained by Justin Anfinson.    The Sunday card also featured three divisions of the 3 Year old Minnesota-Sired trotters. The 'A' grouping vied for a purse of $11,500 with Teachmehowtotory (Nick Roland) scoring a 13-1 upset ($28.20) in a career best 2:00.3 for trainer Jessica Johnson and Set The Pace Racing LLC. The 'B' split went for $6,900 and was dominated by race-favorite Musclestobragon (Don Harmon, $4.40) for trainer Justin Anfinson and owners Jesse and Ben De Long in 2:01.2 - the same winning connections scored in the $4,600 'C' division with huge favorite Double My Decker (Pat Berry, $2.20) along with additional owner Eric De Long, that mile was also trotted in 2:01.2.    Nick Roland and Don Harmon each turned in a driving triple on Sunday, while Rick Magee picked up a double. On the training side Justin Anfinson led the day with 3 winners and Jessica Johnson picked up a double.    Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday, June 30 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and features a carryover in the Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $2,601.19.      Darin Gagne

The Saturday afternoon harness racing program at Running Aces featured a grand slam performance from all time track leader Nick Roland, who picked up four wins, two seconds and three thirds from eleven trips to the gate, and is quickly approaching his 800th victory at the Minnesota track, no other driver has won more than 600 races here.   The card was also highlighted by two divisions of the sophomore Minnesota-Sired pacers - with seven contenders facing the gate for the 'A' division and vying for a purse of $13,800 and eight contenders lining up for the 'B' grouping with $9,200 at stake.   Bunkerhill Phil (Don Harmon) left alertly from post seven to take the early lead in the 'A' split, with race favorite It's A Marcs World (Nick Roland) yielding for the pocket from post six. Bunkerhill Phil posted very moderate fractions of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:29 and led to the cusp of the stretch before Roland exploded from the pocket with It's A Marcs World and drew away by three lengths in 1:57.1 for his first pari-mutuel win and career best mile, with a sharp final stanza of :27.4.   The gelded son of Marced Card is out of the Life Sign mare Life's Image and is owned by Duane Roland and trained by Jessica Johnson. The smart money poured in on the winner, as he was bet down to even money odds ($4.00) from a lofty morning line of 10-1, while second choice Bunkerhill Phil held second and was well clear of Get My Good Side (Steve Wiseman) who showed in third.   Nothinbutagoodtime (Dean Magee, $21.20) pulled the upset in the 'B' division with an impressive rally from last-to-first to capture his first lifetime win in 1:58. Thegreatestislove (Nick Roland) led most of the way and held a game second, while race-favorite Catchmeinadream (Rick Magee) checked in third. Nothinbutagoodtime is a son of It's That Time and is out of the Cam's Cardshark mare Sweet Repeat. The winning owner is Van Otterloo Stables and the winning trainer is Gordon Graham.   Drivers Rick Magee and Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen each completed a double on the card, and trainers Edwin Quevedo and Jessica Johnson also picked up doubles on the afternoon.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday, June 28 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and features a pair of carryover pools: $1,986.77 for the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot, and $1,010.65 for the 50 cent Hi-5.   Darin Gagne                                                  

Driver Steve Wiseman made headlines from Running Aces last week when he made his return to the sulky in a couple of qualifying races after undergoing chemotherapy treatments over the last several months. He last drove in harness races in early February at Cal Expo before getting a very serious stage 4 cancer diagnosis.   Wiseman immediately vowed that he would fight as hard as he possibly could, and do whatever it takes to beat the disease. He has undergone aggressive treatments since the diagnosis, and in fact just returned from a three day trip home to Sacramento for another round of chemo. He got back to Minnesota on Friday night and drove Greekona to a fifth place finish on Sunday.   He stepped up his workload for the Tuesday afternoon (June 23) program and steered Pedigree Blue Chip to a solid second place finish in race two on the day. Two races later in the fourth - he piloted Queenace Blue Chip to a very good second - beaten only a half length as the race favorite. Later on in the card he guided 9-1 longshot Platinum Time to a fifth while beaten less than 3 lengths.   Just two races after that "The Magician" made the magic happen. Wiseman sent 28-1 longshot Timetplaythegame right to the front from post 8 and wired the field with a sharp looking 3 length score in 1:54.4 in race ten. It was the third win of the year for Timetplaythegame ($58.80), a 7 year old gelded son of Badlands Hanover, owned and trained by his wife, Kathie Plested, and also owned by Mark Benvenga. Wiseman was greeted by cheers and applause on his ride back to the winner's circle, and when he pulled off of the track and into the paddock area, he encountered an emotional embrace by good friend and fellow reinsman Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen. Hearts and emotions soared high today after race ten at Running Aces.   The final tally for the Magician was 4 races, 1 win, 2 seconds and a fifth. Not too shabby at all for any driver, but a spectacular day for a guy that is dealing with the drain and side effects of chemotherapy treatments. He is a beast, he is committed to doing whatever it takes, he is #WisemanStrong and he is indeed the resident "Magician" at Running Aces. Doctors report that he is responding remarkably to the treatments, and has seen a drastic reduction in tumors at each scan. The #WisemanStrong community continues to pray for his full recovery, and marvel at each and every small miracle in his journey. Steve is one of the good guys, and today was a good day for a very good guy.     By Darin Gagné   for Running Aces Casino Hotel & Racetrack

Columbus, MN - The featured harness racing event on the Tuesday afternoon (June 22) program at Running Aces was the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses & geldings, which went to post with a talent filled field of seven. The slight favorite in the field was Heza Real Diamond (Nick Roland) who fired fastest off the gate  from post six and quickly took control.    Keep On Rocking A (Pat Berry) left alertly as well from the outside post seven, and easily secured the pocket position, with Nine Ways (Tim Maier) settling away third and Royale Big Guy (Mooney Svendsen) dropping in fourth. The early pace was moderate (:27.4, :56.3) before Roland asked for more from Heza Real Diamond, throwing down a :27 flat third panel while taking heavy pressure from Keep On Rocking A who vacated the pocket.    Berry took the lead with Keep On Rocking A as they straightened for home and paced strong to the wire, while Royale Big Guy shook free late to secure a clear second over Heza Real Diamond.   The winning margin was two lengths for Keep On Rocking A ($4.80), an 8 year old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover who is owned and trained by Chris Scicluna of Cranberry, NJ. The final time was 1:52 flat. This is the first season at Running Aces for both Berry and Scicluna, each of whom turned in a driving double on the card. Scicluna drove his other part of the owner entry in the Open (Major Pocket A) to pick up the pieces in fourth. Today's victory was career win number 25 for Keep On Rocking A, who has now earned $243,742 lifetime.    She'sgotitgoingon ($3.20) dominated the $10,000 Mares Open Pace event, with a confident steer from owner/trainer/driver Don Harmon. The 4 year old daughter of Tellitlikeitis yielded the lead, then took control just past the quarter and was never in doubt from there while scoring a 1-1/4 length tally in 1:54.4 on season's debut. She is also owned by Krista Harmon. My Kiwi N (Chris Scicluna) was home second, and Juslikeaqueen (Tim Maier) secured third.    Defending Aces champion driver Dean Magee led the Tuesday card with three winners, all of them for trainer Williams Hernandez - Coz And Effect (1:53.4, $21.60), I'm An Athlete (1:52.4, $3.80) and Future Delight (1:54.3, $25.20). Trainer Rick Bertrand also sent out two winners on the card - Night Girl (Kyle Husted, $18.80) and Haulin' Oats (Nick Roland, $2.80).   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, June 27 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and a carryover of $1,404.73 in the 20 cent Jackpot Pick-5.        By Darin Gagné for Running Aces Casino Hotel & Racetrack

The Sunday afternoon (June 21) program at Running Aces was highlighted by a sensational mile from the talented trotter Bordogna (Trixton-Lima Playmate) who dazzled the crowd with a dominant harness racing performance from gate-to-wire.   Driver Rick Magee sent his charge immediately from the gate to the lead, and opened up by two lengths over a talent filled group, posting a fast quarter in :27.2 before relaxing the tempo a bit in the second split (:29.3) to register a half mile in :57 flat. Magee then asked for just a bit more from Bordogna in the third panel to keep a strong 2 length margin around the far turn while hitting three-quarters in 1:25.1 with no pressure at all. Magee sat chilly in the bike as Bordogna floated through the lane in :29.1 to become the fastest 4 year old trotting stallion ever at Running Aces, with a final time of 1:54.2, shattering the previous mark of 1:56 (Ideal Jesse).   It was the second consecutive record-setting mile for Bordogna, who set a state and track record (1:59.1) at Rice Lake, Wisconsin on June 6, during the "Minnesota early race meet" there.   Bordogna ($4.00) is trained by Justin Anfinson for owners Cathy Dessert and Ken Stauffer, and he is now undefeated in 4 starts in 2020, while also recording a new lifetime mark with today's 2-3/4 length victory over My Uncle Cuz (Don Harmon).   Cathy Dessert also had another impressive winner on the card, when her six year old pacer Buzz Light (Nick Roland $5.20) swept through the open stretch to win as the favorite in 1:54.3. Buzz Light is trained by Jessica Johnson.   Nick Roland led the program with his second consecutive hat-trick performance, after he also picked up three wins on Saturday's season opener. He now has the early lead in the driver's race (6) over Rick Magee (3). Brady Jenson picked up a driving double on the Sunday card as well.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday, June 23 with a very nice eleven race program which gets underway at 1:00 pm (CDT).   Darin Gagne                                                

The 2020 Live harness racing season at Running Aces got underway on Saturday (Jun 20) with a sold out crowd, and a strong wagering handle.   It was the first time in the track's history that live racing was offered in the afternoon, which, when coupled with COVID-19 related effects like capacity restrictions made it hard for track officials to know just what to expect for this year's opener. It's safe to say that the day exceeded all reasonable predictions.   The racing on the track was as good as ever, and last year's leading driver Dean Magee served notice immediately that he is here to defend his title after seating the field in behind his first race charge - 3 year old pacing gelding Night Delight (Bettor's Delight). They ripped off an opening quarter in :27.4 before taking a breather (29.4) in the second panel for a :57.4 clocking. Magee then stepped on the gas pedal to keep the rest of the field in chase mode with a :28.4 third stanza and sealed the deal from there, coasting home in :29.4 to post a solid 2 length tally in 1:56.1 over race favorite Bunkerhill Phil (Don Harmon) and Catchmeinadream (Rick Magee). Night Delight ($11.40) is owned and trained by Edwin Quevedo.   All-Time Aces driving leader Nick Roland answered the challenge in race two with a solid steer behind race-favorite Haulin Oats ($3.80) for trainer Rick Bertrand in 1:56. It was the start of a natural double (with Twilight Tinker, in race three $4.20) and contributed to a Hat-Trick on the card for Roland who also scored another win for Edwin Quevedo with Luke's Cowboy in the sixth event ($10.80).   Drivers Rick Magee and Don Harmon both had a good opening day scorecard as well, each recording a double.   Trotting Sire Braggart was extremely well represented on the card, going three-for-three and sweeping all of the days trotting events. With four starters on the program, Braggart prodigies and full siblings Twilight Tinker (Nick Roland, $4.20) and Bragginade (Dean Magee, $13.80) each won their events, while their half-brother Musclestobragon also scored a win (Lemoyne Svendsen, $13.60).   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday, June 21 at 1:00 pm (CDT) and continues on a Tuesday-Saturday-Sunday schedule throughout the summer. There will be a special Friday card on July 3 and no racing on Saturday July 4.   Photo: Night Delight and driver Dean Magee score a solid 1:56.1 win in Aces season opener.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack  

The Minnesota Harness Racing season is set to get underway as Running Aces opens it's thirteenth season on Saturday (June 20). The start of the harness racing season in the north metro area of the twin cities always helps to stamp the official arrival of summer here, and does so this year perhaps more than ever, after the season faced a COVID-19 related delay of over one month.   Despite the challenges of the global pandemic and local unrest over the past few months, Minnesota horsemen and racing fans are ready, and they are excited for the racing season, and that fun summer feeling to get underway. Racing fans have been calling and going online to get their live racing tickets, and making plans to attend the Opening weekend programs.   A total of 21 races have been carded for opening weekend, with 11 on the opening Saturday card which goes to post at 1:00 pm (CDT).   Amid all of the current health and safety protocols and capacity restrictions, Running Aces is conducting all of its Live Racing cards in the afternoons this year, with a 1:00 pm post time on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays. There will be a special Friday card on July 3, and no racing on July 4, and there will be 3 Wednesday cards added in September (16,23,30).   The brand new Running Aces hotel is open and ready to serve guests, and offers special rates and room packages for racing as well. The Running Aces card Casino is also open, with capacity limits and other restrictions currently in place.   On the racetrack, you will quickly be able to spot the regular Running Aces stars - last year's top driver Dean Magee will face off against all-time leader Nick Roland (each has 3 Aces driving titles) and they will battle with other top-5 regulars including Mooney Svendsen, Rick Magee and of course, Steve Wiseman.   Brady Jenson has earned his spot on the list, along with other regulars like Brian Detgen and veteran Gerald Longo. Don Harmon, Jared Seekman and Darrell Wright are all back, each for their second Aces season, while young-guns like Braxten Boyd and Jacob Cutting will try to make their mark. Cutting is a newcomer, as is driver Pat Berry, who will split his summer between The Meadowlands and Running Aces.   It's safe to say the competition will be hot this summer at Running Aces, and the racing will be good.   2019 Minnesota harness horse of the year MD Magic makes an appearance on opening day, and the Open Trot on Sunday features no less than 4 current or former track record holders, including Pridecrest, the fastest trotter ever at Running Aces.   The exotic wagering format is similar to last season, and features early and late Pick-3 and Pick 4 offerings (.50 cent) along with the Jackpot Pick-5 (.20 cent) and the (.50 cent) Pentafeca or 'High-5'. Also returning this year is the popular (.50 cent) late Daily Double.   Racing fans are invited to visit the Running Aces website - www.RunAces.com to get free tickets for live racing, browse information, results, replays, programs and handicapping tips.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel and Racetrack

Quentin Schneider is an Alberta native and he and his brother Rick grew up in the harness racing sport in western Canada, where they helped their dad operate the family farm in Sherwood Park, just outside Edmonton. Quentin ventured out at age 21 and worked for some local trainers and began to drive at age 22, winning just one race in his first year but amassing nearly 500 wins over the next 20 years of campaigning, these days he likes to focus more on the training side of the business, and has chalked up over 600 wins as a trainer. He and his wife Kimberley are the dynamic duo that makes up QKS Racing, and their stable operation is primarily made up of horses owned in whole or in part by them. Kimberley, by contrast was not born into racing or horses but did get exposure to both at a young age, and became hooked on horses and then harness racing. The couple met through Harness Racing and immediately hit it off, they have been working together for 10 years and happily married for 8 years now. They have built a full life together with a large family that is filled out by four-legged, 1000 pound, hay munching 'children' that make up their harness racing stable. They currently have 15 horses on the barn roster. Kimberley and Quentin have raced mostly in Alberta and California in recent years and will be making their Running Aces debut this season. They were ready for a change of scenery this summer and had heard nothing but positive things about Running Aces from fellow horsemen in both California and Canada. With limited stall space available at Running Aces, the Schneider's opted to make their summer base of operations in Rice Lake, Wisconsin at the Barron County Fairgrounds, home to a half-mile harness track with a rich Harness Racing history. That was a decision that Kimberley is extremely happy to have made, and she noted "We absolutely love our setup here in Rice Lake - we are in a beautiful barn which has a rich history, and we have heard so many great stories about the many trainers who have stabled here over the years .. we are so happy to now be a part of its history as well". She also praised the facilities, and noted that the people they have met there as incredibly nice and helpful. Schneider, and her horses also revel in the large turnouts, abundance of green grass, and sunshine too. The QKS cast of equine characters play out their daily routines and shenanigans on the world stage before stepping into the spotlight on the racetrack. Kimberley has made a habit of sharing the daily activities of their 'kids' on her Facebook page and that initiative has turned out to be nothing short of sensational. From live-streams while getting their jogging miles in, to bath time, to turnout time, grass munching, snack eating, begging for treats or just 'smiling' and hamming for the camera, Kimberley gets it all on film. That's right - I said 'smiling' - Kimberley has taught many of her four-hooved children to smile for the camera ! I asked Kimberley what motivated her to share and post so much great stuff on Facebook and she said "I want people to feel like they know them ... so many people enjoy watching horse racing, and gamble on horse racing, but at the end of the day they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. The same is true for people who do not like horse racing, I wanted to give them a real insight into our world and show that there is so much more going on than the 2 minutes that people see in a race. These horses are our family, we love them so much and they are all unique individuals. They have so much personality and I want people to feel that connection with them other than just reading their name in a race program". Fans of QKS racing get to follow the daily exploits of the stable on Kimberley's Facebook page, where she also displays her amazing talents as a photographer, sharing snapshots of her 'kids' and describing each activity while sharing each horse's nickname, and registered name. The cast of characters includes "Twister", who is the undisputed star of the show (Schneider says - " just ask him, he'll tell you he is the star ") and a long list of other fun characters like "Roo-Roo", "Thunder", "Villa", "Dum-Dum", "OJ", "June" and "Nora" to name a few. Roo-Roo is Mystic Ruler, an 8 year old pacing gelding by Camystic, is considered one of the stable's top performers currently. The Schneider's claimed him for $5,000 CDN in 2019 and he has turned a nice profit for them since, while also taking a 1:52.4 lifetime mark this winter at Cal-Expo. “Twister” and Kimberley both smile for the camera Another interesting fact about Kimberley is that she loves to teach her standardbreds to ride, and she does so for two reasons - reason number one is because it is so much easier to find them a new home or a new job when they are done racing if they are trained for, and accustomed to riding. The other reason is that Kimberley believes that it is good for their brains to do something different and get mental stimulation from a variety of activities. The Schneider clan will also be represented by Richard 'Ricky' Schneider, who, like Quentin and Kimberley is also making his Running Aces debut this season and has 12 horses based at Rice Lake as well. Ricky has collected 200 driving wins and well over 500 training wins throughout his years in the sport and will be campaigning horses like Gene Eugene, Therealgoods, Lookslikewemadeit, Chief Saratoga, and Budgie Smugler among others. Keep an eye out for the Schneider's and the QKS Racing cast of characters as they take on Minnesota when The Running Aces season kicks off this coming Saturday, June 20 at 1:00 pm CDT By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

There are many byproducts of the COVID-19 pandemic that are affecting all walks of life, and Harness Racing has had no immunity to the disruptions of normal life. Almost every racetrack in North America was shut down for the better part of three months, and Harness tracks in particular fared worse in terms of shutdowns than other breeds. New health and safety protocols have been put in place at all tracks, and in most cases that has led to new limits on capacities, and distancing requirements of both horses and horsemen on the backstretch at most tracks. Running Aces is no different, and when you factor in the idea that the north-metro Minnesota track already had an under-abundance of stall space to meet yearly demand and interest of trainers seeking to race here, the COVID-19 challenges of 2020 was making it tougher than ever to meet that demand for stalls at the track. Many trainers have found a solution in a quaint little town about 80 miles away from Running Aces and across the Wisconsin border where you can find a great half-mile fair track at the Barron County Fairgrounds in the town of Rice Lake, which has a population of about 9,000 and a rich history in Harness Racing that dates back to the 1800's. In fact, the main racehorse barn was built late in that century, and is currently listed as the oldest standing building in Barron County. And while that historic barn, and the fairgrounds have played host to many famed Wisconsin harness racing stables, it has not been as busy as it is this summer since the very early 2000's. Many of the locals in Rice Lake enjoy walking on the fairgrounds property and love to see all of the racehorses on the track and on the grounds, and many have expressed their delight in seeing so much activity at the barns this summer. The operation of the racetrack and barns at Rice Lake is looked after by Patty Strand, along with Dave Hofacker and Kenny Kolzow. They also operate the Harness Racing meet during the Barron County Fair which typically runs for 5 days in mid-July but will not take place this year due to the pandemic. Patty is also in her second year as Executive Secretary of MHRI, which is the organization that represents harness horsemen in Minnesota. Despite the cancellation of the 2020 fair, Strand and her colleagues at Rice Lake were able to bring some official Harness Racing action to their highly-praised track surface when they hosted the Minnesota early race meets over two weekends from May 30 to June 6, helping Minnesota bred and based trotters and pacers as well as some Wisconsin hopefuls and others to get ready for the Running Aces meet. Harness racing action at the Barron County Fairgrounds in the town of Rice Lake It was a successful undertaking, and the card on Saturday (June 6) saw a new trotting track and state record set when 4 year old trotting stallion Bordogna (Rick Magee) glided across the racetrack with a 1:59.1 victory for owners Cathy Dessert of Minnesota and Badger State native Ken Stauffer. Bordogna also holds a track record at Running Aces, and the Rice Lake track also has the state pacing record of 1:56.3, set on July 20, 2017 by another Running Aces star PV Miracle Mary (Rick Magee) for owner Joe Casagranda, of Michigan. She was 4 at the time of that record mile. This season, there are 70 racehorses that are making their homes at Rice Lake, from about 9 or 10 different trainers. The roster includes Quentin & Kimberley Schneider, Richard Schneider, Melinda Smith & Darryl & Jacob Cutting, Chris Scicluna & Pat Berry, Jenna Cornelison, Greig Watson, Chris Frenzel & Amy Wetzel, Gary & Michael Magee and Tony Succarotte. Most of the 70 standardbreds stabled at Rice Lake this summer will be racing at Running Aces, and making the 80-mile trip on race days, which many would say can be a tedious routine when you factor in the idea that you have to be checked into the grounds at Running Aces by 8:00 am to race. But the overwhelming sentiment this summer is that the advantages and amenities at Rice Lake far out-weigh any disadvantages of the 1 hour and 40 minute commute to the track. Horses at Rice Lake get to enjoy lots of wide open space, with turnouts, paddocks and plenty of green grass, and the track surface has always been considered top-notch. When you visit Rice Lake for the fair, on any given year - you can always feel the excitement in the air for the Harness Racing, and while the pandemic may have taken away the fair this year, nothing can take away the excitement for Harness Racing, certainly not this year, certainly not at this little track. Rice Lake is teeming with Running Aces hopefuls and Harness Racing is alive and strong at the historic Barron County Fairgrounds. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Driver Steve Wiseman is doing 'Whatever It Takes' to beat cancer, and beat the competition on the harness racing track at Running Aces. Steve Wiseman got some very bad news in late winter of last year when he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer with indications in multiple organs. It was a diagnosis that would have rendered most people into defeat, but not Steve. From the very first hints of trouble to the very serious diagnosis, Wiseman was adamant that he would fight the cancer - every step of the 'mile'. With tremendous support from his lovely wife and working partner Kathie Plested, his daughter Tyler and his extended family and with the support of the entire Harness Racing world behind him, Steve has been fighting the battle every day since that fateful diagnosis. Steve and Kathie have expressed how deeply moved they have been by all of the support and love that was shown to Steve during his time of need. So many people reached out to the Wiseman family and offered their love, prayers and financial support. The out-pouring of love and giving came from the far reaches of the Harness Racing community, from casual fans to fellow drivers to horse owners and even Mr. Harness Racing himself - John Campbell. There were support campaigns that sold t-shirts or hats or wristbands. There were Gofundme pages and there were prayer chains, and social media outlets were flooded with the hashtag #WisemanStrong. All of the prayers and positive vibes have helped Steve to fight the fight everyday, and have helped him get to where he is now ... back at the races where he has always belonged. The battles have been tough, but they have been won, the current reports from doctors are extremely positive at this time, and recent scans have detected little to no cancer. Steve indicates that he is feeling good and he is more than ready to get back to racing. He would like to put some weight back on and notes that one of the side effects of his treatments has been poor appetite and weight-loss, but he hopes to be able to put some pounds back on soon. Wiseman was very excited to get back to racing when i spoke to him the day before he would make his first qualifying starts of the summer, and he noted "I'm ready to get back racing, and i feel this is the one way i can give back to all of those who supported me ... to get back out there and drive for them ... that is the one thing that i can do." Well, that is exactly what all of his fans and supporters wanted as well, and he has delivered. On Saturday (June 13) at Running Aces 'The Magician' picked up a nice 1:57.2 qualifying win with Queenace Bluechip after orchestrating a perfect pocket trip, and also steered Royale Big Guy to a solid second from off the pace in 1:58.4 - both horses are from his own barn and trained by wife Kathie Plested. Wiseman looked good on the track, he looked sharp and he looked like someone who was in his element. Prayers do get answered and if you are determined to fight and give it all you've got, you can defeat most any obstacle - Steve Wiseman will tell you that, and he will keep on fighting this fight day after day and race after race. The Running Aces horsemen community is so happy to have the resident 'Magician' back on the stage and doing 'Whatever It Takes' to win against cancer and to win on the racetrack. He will be on the track and competing to try and capture his third local driving title (He was leading Driver in 2017 and 2018) when the Live Racing season opens at Running Aces on Saturday (June 20) at 1:00 pm Central. This summer, amid capacity restrictions and other protocols related to COVID-19, Running Aces will be conducting all of it's Live Racing programs in the afternoons, and due to the season's belated start, will race into the month of October for the first time in the track's 13 year history. Live Racing will take place on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays through the summer with the exception of a special Friday card on July 3 and no racing on July 4. There are also 3 added Wednesday racing days in September on the 16th, 23rd and 30th. The season will conclude on Saturday, October 4. Darin Gagne  

The first session of harness racing Qualifiers at Running Aces are scheduled for this Wednesday (June 10), followed by another Qualifying session on Saturday (June 13). Next week, there will be two more Qualifying sessions offered - Monday, (June 15) and Wednesday (June 17). In all cases, Qualifying entries are due by 10:00 am on the day before. Post time for the pre-season qualifiers is 12:00 noon for all sessions. Please note that due to the afternoon (1:00 pm) Live Racing post times at Running Aces this season, the entry box will close at 8:00 am sharp on draw days. Trainers are strongly encouraged to use the USTA online entry system. Telephone entries will be accepted from 7:00 am to 8:00 am (only) on draw days. For the first week of racing, we will draw on Wednesday (June 17) for Saturday (June 20) and draw on Thursday (June 18) for Sunday (June 21) followed by a Saturday (June 20) draw for Tuesday (June 23). For the remainder of the meet there will be a double-draw on Wednesdays for both Saturday and Sunday race cards, and Tuesday cards will be drawn on Saturday mornings. Live Racing is slated to begin on Saturday, June 20 and continue through Saturday, October 4. In addition to the Tuesday-Saturday-Sunday race schedule, there will be 3 Wednesday cards of Live Racing in September (the 16th, 23rd and 30th). Horsemen are also reminded that strict protocols are in place to ensure everyone's health and safety, please make sure to abide by all of the special 2020 race meet safety and health protocols. Horsemen are also reminded that all paperwork must be filed with MRC on each horse prior to arrival at Running Aces (Coggins and Health Certificates). All racing participants must be licensed in order to race, please secure all licensing prior to horse entry. MRC Licensing office phone is 651-925-3951. For any horsemen related questions you may contact the Judges at 651-925-3943 or the Race Office at 651-925-4532. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack

Forest Lake, MN - Voting took place at the MHRI Annual meeting and Banquet on Saturday, 22 at Vanelli's by the Lake in Forest Lake, MN and MD Magic was chosen as the 2019 Horse of the Year in the sport of harness racing in Minnesota.   MD Magic also took home the hardware as the Champion sophomore male trotter for 2019. The talented gelded son of Braggart is out of the Striking Sahbra mare Magical Debut, and is owned by Set The Pace Racing LLC and trained and driven by Nick Roland.   After picking up honors as the two year old colt trotter of the year in 2018 with 9 wins in eleven starts and setting a seasonal earnings record in the Minnesota program, MD Magic returned to the races in early May of 2019 with an easy qualifying win in 2:05.1 followed by a 2:01.4 victory in a 3 year old open to get his sophomore season rolling in style.   MD Magic made a habit of turning in dramatic performances throughout his 2019 campaign - winning going away (in 2:00.1) from post 10 in the second tier in a $16,000 3 year old MN event on June 23 was one example, but even more dramatic were 3 occasions (July 28, August 18 and September 8) where MD Magic appeared to be hopelessly blocked with no racing room, yet perfect timing and patient handling from trainer/driver Nick Roland got the dynamic duo to the Winner's Circle time and time again.   MD Magic was unbeatable in July and August in 4 starts, and closed out his Running Aces season strong in September as well with a win and two close seconds from three outings. His final tally for 2019 was 16 starts, 7 wins, 4 seconds and 1 third with a mark of 1:59.2 and earnings of $74,950 - yet another seasonal earnings record for the Minnesota program.   Shortly after the banquet festivities, I caught up with Jessica Johnson, one of the principals of Set The Pace Racing (along with Ken Stauffer) and here's what I learned about her star trotter:   "Magic is probably the star of the barn/stable amongst all of the caretakers/owners and guests, and it's not just because he is talented and successful, it's his personality - he loves people and he loves treats, if you are within his reach he will reach out to you and pull you over to him to give him attention and beg you for carrots or treats" Johnson also stated that he loves his outdoor time in the paddock where he runs and jumps and plays. An additional testament to his docile temperament is the fact that when it comes time to give barn guests/race fans a ride on the track in the two-seater jog cart, it's often Magic that is chosen to do so.   One surprising tidbit that Jessica shared is that they (herself, trainer Nick Roland and staff) were not particularly keen on MD Magic's abilities early on, he just seemed average at best during his early work as a freshman, but she said "that all changed after his first qualifying race where he really showed a hint of his abilities" and he indeed continued to show that throughout his two year old season, racking up nine wins in eleven starts. Johnson also added that MD Magic " doesn't require alot of intense training to stay in top racing form, he mostly puts in lots of slow methodical miles to stay in shape, and he benefits from weekly visits from the chiropractor. "   In addition, Johnson expressed that they are beyond thrilled at the Horse of the Year award and stated "we were not expecting this, but are so honored that our fellow horsemen find him to be as special as we do. "   When I asked what we might expect to see from MD Magic as a 4 year old in 2020 Johnson responded by saying " he owes us nothing, but I do know he loves his job, we are just excited to be a part of the horse he continues to grow to be. "   MD Magic, with his $145,250 in the bank is now the most successful offspring of the sire Braggart ($350,949) who took a 3 year old mark of 1:55f in 2009. Glen Sauder of Withee, Wisconsin is the breeder of record for MD Magic, and is the current owner of his sire Braggart.   By Darin Gagne, for Minnesota Harness Racing

On the strength of his second consecutive harness racing record-setting year MD Magic grabs the headline heading into this Saturday's (Feb 22) Annual MHRI meeting and Awards Banquet.   MD Magic will pick up the hardware as the 3 year old colt Trotter of the Year for 2019 with seven wins in sixteen starts and a new record of $74,950 earned in a single season in the Minnesota program. He was the first horse to break the $70,000 barrier when he recorded earnings of $70,300 as the freshman champion in 2018. The talented son of Braggart is owned by Set The Pace Racing and trained and driven by Nick Roland. Major Al Mar (G,M & J Wilson/Alexia Kehl) is the runner-up award winner in the category.   Three year old colt Pacer of the year will go to SB Bodacious (Mikaela Del Giudice/Rick Magee) with runner up Burning Blaze (A,C Sandbulte & E Gutin/Justin Anfinson). On the females side of the sophomore awards it will be pacing filly Windmeupnwatchmego (Richard Davelaar/Gordon Graham) for the top award, with Sweet Vivian (Timothy Lems/Robert Lems) as runner-up. Al Mar Humdinger (Aimes Racing/Elvin Zimmerman) and Lone Pine Shuzy (Wendy Haberburg) will share the award as 3 year old trotting filly of the year.   The two year old filly Trotter of the year goes to Double My Dekker (J,B & E De Long/Justin Anfinson) with Susie's Sister (Lynchris, LLC/Don Harmon) as runner-up. Freshman colt trotter of the year is Hearduwhispermynam (Jenni King) and the runner up award goes to Trotterlicious (Rick Bertrand).   Freshman pacing awards will go to fillies Catchmeinadream (Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte/Justin Anfinson) and Huftalookatdatfany (Van Oterloo Stables/Gordon Graham) as runner-up. The winning freshman colts are Bunkerhill Phil (Gene Miller) and Alright Frankie (J J, A P, K M De Long & T J Carrey/Justin Anfinson) is the runner-up.   The 4 year old & up award winners include All Mar Bon Bon (Cara Hauser/Alexia Kehl) as champion trotting mare with Al Mar Reba Babe (Richard Davis) as runner-up, while Bringoverthemoney (Joshua Horvat/David Ginter) scores the win as top aged male trotter over runner-up French Eclipse (Jenni King). Place N First (Jenni King) is the winner for aged pacing mares with Peekaboo Tattoo (Fabiola Quevedo/Edwin Quevedo) as runner-up, and the final divisional category goes to DeweydiddoneGood (Fredi Herrera/Edwin Quevedo) as top aged male pacer with Buzz Light (Cathy & Bill Dessert/Nick Roland) as the runner-up.   Awards will also be presented for the top performers at the Minnesota Fairs in 2019, with Double My Dekker (J, B, E De Long/Justin Anfinson) as the fairs Trotter of the Year and The Boss' Wife (Cathy Dessert, Set The Pace Racing/Nick Roland) picking up the hardware as the 2019 fairs Pacer of the Year. Brian Detgen will take the fairs Driver of the Year award for the second year in a row and Justin Anfinson is the 2019 fairs Trainer of the Year.   The 2019 Minnesota Harness Racing awards will be presented this Saturday (Feb 22) at the MHRI Annual meeting and Banquet, at Vanelli's by the Lake in Forest Lake, Minn. Check in time starts at 1 pm for the Annual meetings, with Cocktail hour begining at 4 pm followed by Dinner and Awards. There will be a traditional Banquet Raffle as well as a Live Stallion Auction. Banquet attendees will get the chance to nominate and vote for 2019 Minnesota Harness Racing Horse of the Year.   by Darin Gagne, for the Minnesota Harness Racing Industry    

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