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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Philip Antonacci grew up in one of the most prominent harness racing families, but he has always been fascinated by the world of Thoroughbreds. His father, Frank Antonacci, whose Lindy Farms has won five Hambletonians, has been inducted into the Harness Hall of Fame's Hall of Immortals. Yet, the 26-year-old Connecticut native has opted for a change of pace and embarked on a quest to succeed as a thoroughbred trainer. Antonacci, who has worked for several of the world's most respected Thoroughbred trainers to achieve that goal, notched his first major milestone as a Thoroughbred trainer Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where he saddled his first winner, Advanced Strategy, in the mile optional claiming allowance feature on turf. Owned by Lindy Farms, Advanced Strategy was Antonacci's fifth starter. "He'll definitely have a home forever, being my first winner," said Antonacci, who has 15 horses stabled at Payson Park. Although he has become focused on his Thoroughbred career, Antonacci has hardly left the Standardbred world behind. In fact, he is teaming with Jimmy Takter, the retired Harness Hall of Fame legend who has ventured into Thoroughbred racing to assist Antonacci. "He's like the D. Wayne Lukas of Standardbred racing. He retired three years ago. He always had an interest in Thoroughbreds, so when I decided to go on my own, he said, 'I'd like to come along and help and assist. We can put our minds together and come up with our own training plan,'" said Antonacci. "He's at the barn quite a bit. It's been a great team effort." Unfortunately, Takter was unable to attend the races Saturday. "I was on the phone with him. He's won a lot of Hambletonians, but he said he was relieved to get this one across the line," Antonacci said. Antonacci, a graduate of Godolphin's Flying Start program, became interested in Thoroughbred while attending the races at Saratoga and went on to work for trainers Wesley Ward, Australia's Gai Waterhouse and Todd Pletcher. "I grew up summers in Saratoga, so that's when I started to get into it," said the University of Pennsylvania graduate. "I actually started off working for Wesley at Saratoga. He helped me a lot getting started, and he's the one who introduced me to Gai Waterhouse, who put me in touch with the Flying Start program. If it wasn't for them, I never would have gotten started in the Thoroughbred game." by David Joseph, for Gulfstream Park

Thanks to Thomas H. Hicks, treasurer and national director of the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), who this past week hand delivered the remaining trophies to their respective award winners. Due to Covid-19 the annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame dinner was cancelled last year and could not be held this year, and the chapter members decided to go to the racetrack, training centers and breeding farms to deliver the awards in person. This past week, Thomas H. Hicks, with his wife/photographer Kathleen, traveled first to Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village and presented Frank “The Elder” Antonacci with his Hall of Fame induction trophy. Then it was off to Pompano Park, where the Hicks presented long time horse owner, breeder and amateur driver Laurie Poulin with her Hall of Fame induction trophy. The final stop of the week was again at Pompano Park. Tom Hicks made the last presentation to Kim Sears at her training center and breeding farm. Kim was presented with the William Popfinger Award for her excellence in training young pacers. The members of the Florida Chapter of USHWA appreciate the above and beyond efforts by Thomas H Hicks traveling to deliver the awards in person. By Steve Wolf, for the Florida Chapter USHWA

Frank M. Antonacci is more than happy with Ready For Moni as the colt heads to Friday's (Aug. 21) $330,000 Harry M. Zweig Memorial for harness racing 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs, and only a length separated Antonacci from being ecstatic. Ready For Moni finished second in the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 8 at The Meadowlands, where filly Ramona Hill captured the sport's top event for 3-year-old trotters with a stakes-record-equaling 1:50.1 performance. Ready For Moni, making only his third start of the season, was a length back in 1:50.2, a time that would have won 93 of the previous 94 editions of the Hambletonian. The Antonacci family, which bred and is among the owners of Ready For Moni, has won the Hambletonian five times and now finished second on seven occasions. Ironically, the family bred Ramona Hill's dam, Lock Down Lindy. "I jokingly said after the race that we got beat by our own recipe," Antonacci said. "But we're pretty proud of that, too. To see them first and second like that is pretty remarkable. "Only one thing could have happened that would have made (Ready For Moni's year) better, if we got to the finish line first in the Hambo. But what I like to see in a horserace is everybody gets their nose on the gate and there's really no excuses for anybody in the race and whatever happens, happens. "You saw two really top horses battle it out from the top of the lane and she won. She was great, and I thought he raced great. I look forward to seeing more of that." Ready For Moni, who is 2-for-3 this season and has won six of 11 lifetime races, is a son of French star Ready Cash out of Nothing But Moni. His grandam is the legendary Hall of Fame mare Moni Maker, who dazzled in North America and Europe while racing for the Antonacci family, David Reid, and trainer Jimmy Takter. Nancy Takter trains Ready For Moni, who wintered in Florida with the Antonacci family's Lindy Racing team in preparation for the campaign. In addition to the Antonaccis, the colt is owned by John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Bud Hatfield. "I'm really happy about this horse for a lot of reasons," Antonacci said. "To have John Fielding and the rest of the partners, we've had great relationships for a lot of years, so to have a horse like this is fantastic. "To be back working as a team with the Takters and us having the horse in Florida, it was such a collaborative effort. Everybody that's been involved has been true professionals. I give a ton of credit to Domenico (Cecere) and our team down in Florida and Nancy and her team. There are a lot of egos in this game, like any sport or business, but everybody here has checked their egos at the door and are doing their best for the horse. It's good to see it pay off. "And the icing on the cake, I think my dad's initiative with bringing the French pedigrees into the sport again here over the last 10 years, to see it kind of culminate in these horses, and it seems year after year that's becoming a more successful formula, it's really rewarding for me to see that for my dad," Antonacci concluded, referring to his father Frank, aka Frank The Elder. Ready For Moni is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Zweig. He will start from post four with Matt Kakaley in the sulky (regular driver Yannick Gingras is in Canada). Hambletonian third-place-finisher Back Of The Neck is the 5-2 second choice from post one, with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Ake Svanstedt. "It will be exciting to see how he goes through the rest of the year," Antonacci said about Ready For Moni. "Obviously, he's fast. And when I spoke with Domenico over the winter, he always spoke about how efficient his gait is. He's very good gaited. "You talk about French pedigrees, and how they get better with time, to think he could mature even more is pretty exciting." Friday's card at Vernon also includes the $160,140 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, where Ramona Hill is the 3-2 favorite over Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella, who is 8-5. Racing begins at 3 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries for Friday's races at Vernon Downs, click this link. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager  

Columbus, OH — is reporting that the Antonacci Family Foundation has donated $125,000 to launch the Millions of Meals food drive with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $125,000 donation was announced by representatives of the foundation and the Food Bank at Trinity United Methodist Church on Tuesday morning (May 5). To read the full story, click here. from the USTA Communications Department

Coral Springs, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced the 2019 inductees to the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame. The four new human inductees are Anthony "Tony" Alagna, Frank Antonacci, Tom Merriman and Laurie Poulin. There was one equine inductee, the pacing stallion McWicked. Their induction will take place on Friday, March 27 at McDivot's at the Carolina Country Club in Margate. Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ has been a prominent Florida figure in harness racing, spending every winter training upwards of 80 two and three-year-old trotters and pacers at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village in Delray Beach. This season Tony has the most expensive yearling ever sold, Maverick, for $1.1 million in his stable, along with a slew of promising two-year-old's and some great three-year-old's that includes Ramona Hill, the Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year last season. Frank Antonacci, of Somerville, CT, is no stranger to Florida harness racing. He has had his Lindy Farm Stable wintering at Sunshine Meadows for nearly 30 straight years. Frank and the Antonacci Family have a great passion for the sport of Harness Racing and have been actively involved in promoting the industry for decades. Tom Merriman, of Delray Beach, is one of only a handful of people who can boast of being at Pompano Park when the track first opened in 1964, but that's where Tom Merriman was driving that night. The top trainer of three million dollar winning horses, Civil Action, Monte Hall and Energy Burner are just a few of the many great horses he has handled over the years. His trademark warming smile is always there to greet friends and it is just this year that Tom has hung up the lines and no longer is training horses after 60 plus years in the sulky. Laurie Poulin, of Okeechobee, continues to have very successful racing seasons for decades in Florida. The former trainer/driver has bred, foaled and owned numerous Florida Sire Stakes champions from her farm in Okeechobee. Current and past champions include Diamond Goal ($586,000), Prairie Jaguar ($408,000), Prairie Panther ($332,00) and many more top 'Prairie' horses over the years. McWicked was the 2018 Harness Horse of the Year in both Canada and the USA. In 2019 he was voted the Aged Pacer of the Year and is now retired to stud duty in Canada. His career was amazing and every winter he was in Jim McDonald's stable at Pompano Park. McWicked's lifetime mark was 1:46.2 and he earned more than $5 million(CA) in purses. This year there will be two President's Awards presented by Florida Chapter President Steve Wolf. The President award winners are Eric Cherry and Maurice Chodash, of Boca Raton, for the development of The second President's Award goes to Myron Bell of Boynton Beach, for his part in the development of On The Deck at Sunshine Meadows. Other award winners who will be honored at the dinners are: The Bill Popfinger Award for pacing goes to trainer Kim Sears of Osteen, the first person ever to win this award three times. The Stanley Dancer Award for trotting goes to driver/trainer Peter Wrenn of Carmel, IN, who trains at Sunshine Meadows. The Francis Dodge Van Lennep Award to an outstanding female in the industry goes to Casie Coleman-Herlihy of Cambridge, ON. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award goes to John Hallett of Margate. There are two Lifetime Achievement Awards that will go to farrier Phil Cable of Pompano Beach, and trainer Mike Murphy of Otisville, MI. The Caretaker of the Year Award will be presented posthumously to Joe Kroll, who died this past year. Joe was an outstand caretaker during his career. He took care of two world champions in McWicked and Tarport Frenzy, plus many other stake champions. Accepting his award will be his widow, Shawna Kroll of Lake Worth. Tickets are $80 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:30 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. There is free parking at McDivot's at the Carolina Country Club, located just off Sample Road West on N. Rock Island Road. The address is 3011 N Rock Island Road, Margate, FL 33063. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or email From the Florida Chapter USHWA

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 2 - The regally-bred International Moni showed his grit to win Saturday's $165,838 Simcoe Stakes for harness racing sophomore trotters at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of 12 three-year-old trotting colts and geldings competed in the annual Grand Circuit event. International Moni, a son of Love You-Moni Maker, was made the 3/5 favourite and lived up the hype. The Frank Antonacci trainee and driver Scott Zeron got away fifth in the early going, while R First Class pocket-pulled and secured the lead heading to the half. R First Class posted a half of :57.1 and led into the far turn, while International Moni came first up and grinded his way up to the leader at three-quarters in 1:26. The stretch drive was a duel between R First Class and International Moni, as neither wanted to give in. At the wire, International Moni prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.3. Magic Night finished third, while Dunbar Hall was fourth. "Heading into the first turn I didn't know what was going to happen," said Zeron post-race. "We had a lot of us heading into there, so I just protected my position, was able to control when I came first up with him and he had to work today coming first up and coming home in :27.3, it was big." Owned and bred by Moni Maker Stable, International Moni is now five for seven this season to bring his career totals to six wins and over $500,000 earned. The Lindy Farms star will now prepare for next Saturday's Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations. International Moni paid $3.20 to win. Mark McKelvie

Plainville, MA---With competing in the New York Sire Stakes, Empire Breeders Classic and having just won the Zweig consolation already this year, Ostrich Blue Chip came into today's race at Plainridge Park with a solid harness racing resume. And her class showed as she won the $12,000 conditioned trotting feature at The Ridge on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 29). Ostrich Blue Chip (Greg Merton) got away fourth as Shorething Fashion (Chris Long) took the lead. But as that one cleared the quarter in :28, Merton pulled Ostrich Blue Chip and went to the front and that would be the final lead change of the race. Ostrich Blue Chip was motoring along comfortably up the backstretch when Back Stage (Ivan Davies) tried his luck and performed admirably for a while, trotting stride for stride with the favorite to the three-quarters in 1:27.1. But past that station, the curtain came down on Back Stage and Ostrich Blue Chip started trotting away from the field. With a sizable lead heading for home, Merton had her wrapped up early and she cruised to a one-length victory in 1:55.3. It was the fourth win in six starts for Ostrich Blue Chip ($3.20) and also her third in a row. The 3-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven is owned by the Fred Monteleone Stable LLC and is trained by Frank Antonacci. In the $10,000 co-featured condition trot, Tuff Lil Tune (Jim Hardy) tracked the heavy favorite Donomoni (Greg Merton) from third until the three-quarter pole when Hardy pulled the big trotter and drew even with the leader. From there the two trotted side-by-side down the lane before Tuff Lil Tune got the edge and won by a head in 1:56.3, which was a new lifetime mark. It was the second win in three starts this year for Tuff Lil Tune ($23.20) and also his second win in a row. The 4-year-old Muscle Mass gelding is owned by Tony Gruppo and Tim Bojarski and is trained by Scott Rollins. Greg Merton had another Grand Slam at Plainridge on Tuesday winning with Muscana (1:56.2, $3.20), Fast N Victorious (1:54.1, $3.40), The Date Rocker (1:54.4, $3.80) and Ostrich Blue Chip (1:55.3, $3.20). Jim Hardy also had a driving triple and trainer Scott Rollins sent two of his students to the winner's enclosure for pictures. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.   From the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---The old saying "there are horses for courses" couldn't be proven more right than by Mambo Lindy who scored yet another decisive harness racing victory in the $15,000 Open Handicap trot at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 24). Seeking Steven (Chris Long) appointed himself dictator of fractions as he took the front without argument from anyone off the gate. He then led the field to a modest :57.2 half before Mambo Lindy (Greg Merton) pulled from fourth and started his trek to success. With little effort and looking like he knows what to do, Mambo Lindy drew alongside Seeking Steven and continued on by as they rounded the final turn. At the head of the stretch, Mambo Lindy was clear and trotting his hips off while opening up a five-length advantage at the wire to win in 1:53.4. Mambo Lindy ($2.20) has now won seven races this year, every one of them at Plainridge Park and those efforts have earned him $64,000. It was also his 21st lifetime win in only 35 starts. The 6-year-old gelded son of Donato Hanover is owned by Greathorse of Massachusetts and is trained by Frank Antonacci. In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned trot, Tag Up And Go (Greg Merton) chased down the front-running Guiltywithanexcuse (Jim Hardy) from the three-eighths all the way to the wire and just got up in the final strides to win in 1:55.4. It was the seventh win of the year for Tag Up And Go ($2.80) who has now enriched his owners Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro with $86,660 in proceeds this year. Greg Merton and Mark Beckwith both chimed in with three driving wins on Thursday while trainer Monique Cohen also watched as three of her students entered the winner's enclosure. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon with the first race post time set for 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---After finishing second and third in new track record times in back to back weeks, Mambo Lindy got back to his harness racing winning ways taking the $17,000 Open Handicap trot at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 10). Mambo Lindy (Greg Merton) got away sixth while Guiltywithanexcuse (Jim Hardy) and Black Broadway (Mark Beckwith) took turns with the lead going to the quarter, the latter winning that tussle before slowing the half to a moderate :57. Realizing the brakes were on, Merton pulled the Donato Hanover gelding first-up and started a methodical approach towards the leader. Fourth, third, second; Mambo Lindy could smell blood in the water as he drew alongside Black Broadway at the three-quarter pole and at that moment he dug-in and took off. Mambo Lindy opened up a five-length advantage by the head of the stretch and with Merton deciding his best side for the picture, Mambo Lindy cruised away to a seven-length win in 1:53.2; last quarter in a sparkling :27.2. It was the sixth win in nine starts, all at Plainridge Park, for Mambo Lindy ($4.00) and it enhanced his bank to $55,000 for owner Greathorse of Massachusetts. Frank Antonacci trains Mambo Lindy. In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned trotting event, One Swan For All (Wallace Watson) took the overland route to victory, scoring a 1:56.2 win and blowing up the tote board in the process. Owned by Joel Wheeler and trained by Lisa Watson, One Swan For All was disregarded at 23-1 and paid $49.00. It was tag-team Thursday at The Ridge as three sets of driver/trainers combined for two wins apiece. Greg Merton doubled with two Frank Antonacci charges, Mark Beckwith scored with two Elisha Lafreniere trainees and Wallace Watson won with two of Lisa Watson's students. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday with a Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta carryover of $10,976.45 in the sixth race. Post time for the first race is at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

It was two years ago during a dinner in Lexington when harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci and driver Scott Zeron first discussed the idea of Zeron wearing the Antonacci family's Lindy Farms colors sometime in the future. Antonacci and Zeron both thought it would be a fun idea with the right horse at the right time. International Moni proved to be the right horse. The Hambletonian Stakes trail proved to be the right time. And on Saturday, Zeron will put aside his own blue, white and red colors for the black, blue and white of Lindy Farms and sit behind International Moni in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations as the 5-2 morning-line favorite at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. "A lot of times it doesn't work out this way," Antonacci said with a laugh, "but so far it's been OK." International Moni, who is undefeated in three races this year, is a son of French stallion Love You out of the two-time Horse of the Year Award-winning mare Moni Maker. Moni Maker was a star for the Antonacci family and owned by the Moni Maker Stable until her passing in 2014. International Moni is also owned by the Moni Maker Stable, which bred the colt. The Moni Maker Stable includes Antonacci's father, also Frank, Gerald Antonacci, and David Reid. The Antonacci family and/or its Lindy Racing have been involved in the ownership of five Hambletonian winners: Lindy's Pride (1969), Speedy Crown (1971), Probe (1989), Harmonious (1990) and Victory Dream (1994). "This horse means so much to them, he's such a global horse," Zeron said about International Moni. "We both agreed (wearing the Lindy colors) would be something cool. It was never an issue. I don't mind representing them. I'm racing for them and they've been so good to me over the years. I love driving for them and this means a lot to them." Said Antonacci, "This is a collaboration. Scott has been a great sport about it and is willing to try new things. This is a fun endeavor that I think is one worth talking about as a sport and put out there as an option for owners. Not everybody has to do it, but it should be something that's on the table for people, especially with their very good horses." Harness racing drivers typically wear their own colors, unlike Thoroughbred jockeys who wear the colors of each horse's owner. The Lindy colors worn by Zeron are similar to jockey silks in that they are skin tight rather than the looser fitting colors worn regularly by drivers. "(Antonacci) said our racing colors are like parachutes, and they are kind of baggy," Zeron said. "He's looking for every inch he can get on that racetrack. He said, if this will give us one extra inch, it's worth it." Of course, the first time Zeron wore the Lindy colors with International Moni, the colt won his elimination for the Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk by a neck after charging through the stretch to overcome a six-length deficit. "That was irony," Zeron said with a laugh. International Moni won the Goodtimes Stakes final on June 17, but suffered a bout of colic in early July that forced him to miss the Stanley Dancer Memorial, expected to be the colt's final Hambletonian prep, at the Meadowlands on July 15. He bounced back with a career-best 1:52 win July 22 in a 3-year-old open at the Meadowlands. He will start his Hambletonian elimination from post five. "It's nice to be in the middle of the pack," Antonacci said. "I think we're in a good spot. He's a really handy horse, so whatever Scott is going to want to do he's going to be able to do from there, which is nice. "He's just a really, really good horse, hopefully on his way to being a great horse. The great ones, and the very good ones, they overcome adversity. He did that. I think that bodes well for his future." Zeron won last year's Hambletonian, and eventually the Trotting Triple Crown, with Marion Marauder. He is attempting to become the first driver to win the Hambletonian in consecutive years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Antonacci also sends out Shake It Off Lindy, in the second Hambletonian elimination. Shake It Off Lindy and driver Brett Miller will start from post four and are 20-1 on the morning line. "He's just an honest, good horse," Antonacci said. "He's never really gotten a spot where he's gotten a trip. I think he's the type of horse that if he trips out he could grab a big piece. Hopefully we make the final and get a good trip worked out and maybe surprise people or pick up a bunch of pieces." The Hambletonian format calls for eliminations to be contested the same day as the final. A total of 19 horses entered this year's event, requiring two $100,000 eliminations from which the top five finishers in each division advance to the final. Elimination winners draw for inside posts 1-5 and all other finalists will then be placed in an open draw. The winner of the $1 million final is the Hambletonian champion. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The Sam McKee Memorial (formerly U.S. Pacing Championship) and Hambletonian Oaks also will be featured during the 90-minute broadcast. First race post time on Hambletonian Day is noon. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   Ken Weingartner

Plainville, MA---Nothing succeeds like success and that is what Only Passing Through has had at Plainridge Park this year since returning from Florida in May. Today (July 25) he registering his sixth consecutive harness racing victory in the $12,000 conditioned trotting event at The Ridge to remain perfect in 2017. After being taken off the gate and narrowly avoiding a breaking Just For Today (Mark Beckwith), the 3-5 betting favorite Only Passing Through was then quickly rousted to the front by driver Greg Merton to avoid any further interruptions to their day. From there the race became uncomplicated for the pair and that gave the betting faithful a sigh of relief. Only Passing Through then comfortably registered fractional times of :29, :59.4 and 1:28.3 with only minor challenges from the trailing bunch. Around the last turn and with the plugs flailing in the wind, Merton sat stoic as Only Passing Through trotted away to a four-length advantage in 1:56.4 win to remain perfect in 2017. Only Passing Through has now bankrolled $30,100 this year for owners Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert Rudolph. Frank Antonacci trains the winner. In the co-featured $10,000 conditioned trot, Earl's Last Shot (Chris Long) was a gate to wire victor, registering a new lifetime mark of 1:57.3 in the process. Earl's Last Shot ($4.20) is owned by William Mc Elvain Jr. and trained by James Dunn. Leading driver Greg Merton added four more wins to his insurmountable meet dash win total of 117 while Trainer Frank Antonacci, who sports a .696 UDR for the meet, saw two of his students cross the wire in front. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (July 27) with post time at 4 p.m. Don't forget, the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot is this Friday (July 28) at The Ridge with the best aged trotters in North America going postward.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

As harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci says, the best way to make plans for horses is to plan to make new plans on a regular basis. George Ducharme would agree. Both trainers had plans in place for Hambletonian hopefuls in their stables only to see those plans require unexpected alterations. Antonacci's stakes-winning International Moni suffered a bout of colic and was scratched from a July 8 prep for last weekend's Stanley Dancer Memorial, which he also missed as a result of the health scare. Ducharme, on the other hand, got his hopeful --- Muscles Jared --- to the Dancer only to watch the gelding go off stride prior to the start and never get back to proper form. Ducharme had hoped to use the Dancer as a gauge whether to enter the horse in the Hambletonian. International Moni and Muscles Jared will be back in action Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack, competing in a $15,000 trot for 3-year-olds. Seven of the eight horses in the race are eligible to the Hambletonian: International Moni, Muscles Jared, Thisguyisonfire, Giveitgasandgo, Sir John F, Di Oggi, and Enterprise. The $1 million Hambletonian, the sport's premier event for 3-year-old trotters, is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. International Moni, who is 2-for-2 this year and won the Goodtimes Stakes at Mohawk on June 17, qualified last weekend in 1:53.3 at the Meadowlands. The colt is a son of French sire Love You out of two-time Horse of the Year Moni Maker. He was bred by the Moni Maker Stable, which retains ownership. "Knock on wood, crossed fingers, whatever you want to say, he's doing very well," Antonacci said. "He was going into that qualifier with no work of any real substance since the Goodtimes. I was very happy with how he performed that day. It seems like he recovered fully." International Moni's bout of colic passed without the need for surgery. "Fortunately we didn't have to intervene and everything rectified itself," Antonacci said. "It was one of those oddball, unexplainable kinds of incidents. For him to recover the way he did and a week later go out there and qualify the way he did I think is indicative of what a good horse he really is." So is the way International Moni raced in his Goodtimes elimination and the final. In the elim, the colt came from eight-lengths back at three-quarters to win by a neck in 1:54. In the final, he rallied from fifth at the half to win in 1:52.4. "Horses don't come from last and swoop the field to win anywhere, let alone at Mohawk," Antonacci said, referring to the elimination. "He's just a really, really good horse." The "plan" for International Moni is to race Saturday and then get a week off before the Hambletonian. "That would be the most logical plan at this point, but like I've said, plans change every day," Antonacci said. "There's no such thing as plans with live animals. You make plans and then you adjust every day." Muscles Jared won multiple state-restricted stakes last year including the Massachusetts Sire Stakes championship. This year he suffered a setback because of sickness after returning north from winter training in Florida. He was edged out for a spot in the final of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and finished second by a nose in the consolation on July 1. Ducharme was at loss to explain Muscle Jared's performance in the Dancer. "I wish I had an explanation, but I don't," Ducharme said. "He's never done that before. I guess we'll just say he had one of those nights. That's why we put him right back in (to race)." Muscles Jared is owned by Al Ross, who bred 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life and was among the horse's owners. Ducharme trained Royalty For Life. Ducharme said Muscles Jared's Hambletonian future rested in his performance Saturday. The son of Muscle Massive-Tetiana has won six of 17 races, finished second on five occasions, and earned $191,765 in his career. "He's going to have to trot and show us something," Ducharme said. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes the Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters, which also features a number of Hambletonian-eligible horses. They are Wutan, Perfect Spirit, Dover Dan, Southwind Cobra, Southwind Woody, Earl Variera, Fly On, Southwind Hydro, and Catch The Game. ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 6 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Lord Cromwell - Gustavo Fring - Southwind Cobra May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Long Tom - Yes Mickey - Deacon Tony May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - What The Hill - Southwind Cobra - New Jersey Viking May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Sortie - Giveitgasandgo - High Glider May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Andy M - Gustavo Fring - Stealth Hanover May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Common Parlance - Brown Bear - Brand New Key May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Stick With Me Kid - Bill's Man - Top Flight Angel May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Devious Man - Lord Cromwell - Aces And Eights May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Enterprise - Swell Chap - Meetmeinthemiddle June 2 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Long Tom - King On The Hill - What The Hill June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Fraser Ridge - Meme Hanover - Muay Hanover June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Moonshiner Hanover - Giveitgasandgo - Lars Perry June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Sortie - Dover Dan - Always A Good Time June 9 - Mohawk - Goodtimes Elim - International Moni - Guardian Angel As - Jake June 9 - Mohawk - Goodtimes Elim - Enterprise - AWOL Hanover - Shake It Off Lindy June 9 - Vernon - EBC Elim - Bill's Man - Such An Angel - Stick With Me Kid June 9 - Vernon - EBC Elim - Devious Man - Swell Chap - Lord Cromwell June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Rubio - Muscles Jared - Di Oggi June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Dover Dan - Moonshiner Hanover - Sir John F June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Giveitgasandgo - President Lindy - Andy M June 17 - Mohawk - Goodtimes - International Moni - Mass Production - Seven And Seven June 18 - Vernon - Empire Breeders Classic - Devious Man - Bill's Man - Stick With Me Kid June 24 - Pocono - Beal Elimination - Long Tom - Sortie - Lucky Matter June 24 - Pocono - Beal Elimination - Perfect Spirit - Devious Man - Dover Dan June 24 - Pocono - Beal Elimination - Ariana G* - Bill's Man - Moonshiner Hanover July 1 - Pocono - Earl Beal Jr. Memorial - Devious Man - Long Tom - Ariana G* July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Two AM - Moonshiner Hanover - Di Oggi July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Dover Dan - Andy M - Shake It Off Lindy July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Giveitgasandgo - Explosive Ridge - Common Parlance July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Thisguyisonfire - Sir John F - Ataboy Hanover July 15 - Meadowlands - Stanley Dancer Memorial - Walner - Devious Man - Bill's Man July 15 - Meadowlands - Stanley Dancer Memorial - Long Tom - What The Hill - Meteoric July 22 - Meadowlands - Tompkins-Geers - July 29 - Meadowlands - Reynolds - Aug. 5 - Meadowlands - Hambletonian - Hambletonian eligible in bold *Filly; also eligible to Hambletonian Oaks Ken Weingartner

Plainville, MA---As the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot draws near only nine of the 38 eligibles will go postward based on the highest combined money earnings from 2016 and 2017 from those who declare. One horse that is looking to make the field is Plainridge Park regular Mambo Lindy, whose harness racing connections look forward to the opportunity. Mambo Lindy (Donato Hanover-Rum Boogie) had no juvenile stake engagements and as a result was unraced at two and lightly started at three. However the time taken to bring him along has paid dividends now, as he has developed into a first-class Open trotter. Frank Antonacci trains Mambo Lindy and he is no stranger to good trotters. His Lindy Farm lineage includes 50 years of harness racing tradition that includes ownership of Hambletonian winners Lindy's Pride, Speedy Crown, Probe, Harmonious, and Victory Dream. The 33-year-old Antonacci has been training since 2004 and has 499 conditioning wins, a lifetime UTR of .342 and just under $10 million in purses as a result. He is responsible for developing a host of top trotters including millionaire Crazed and most recently International Moni. He is hopeful Mambo Lindy gets the chance to take on the best older trotters right in his own backyard. "Mambo Lindy started out as a non-winner of nothing at Plainridge and worked his way up the ladder there. He was unstaked at two and three so we had the forced luxury of having nothing to get him ready for, so we kind of just let him come along as he would. We have always raced him every other week and he has turned into just one heck of a horse" said Antonacci. In 31 lifetime starts Mambo Lindy has 19 wins, 17 of which were at Plainridge. This year he's won five out of six starts at The Ridge and the one he lost was by a nose in his first outing of the year. Consistent success in overnight events is tough enough; taking on the best trotters in North America is another issue. But it doesn't seem to be one for this trainer. "I think he would be more than competitive especially on his home track; I think he would stack up very well against those horses. We have a short ship from the farm so his daily routine would not be affected and he knows that paddock and the track, so to him it would just be another day at work. I wouldn't want Mambo Lindy sitting on my back turning for home at Plainridge" said Antonacci. If he did start in the Spirit Of Massachusetts he could face very tough competition like Resolve, Crazy Wow and Obrigado, who are all likely participants. But it wouldn't be the first time Mambo Lindy competed against the best trotters around. In 2016, Mambo Lindy raced in the Vincennes Invitational on Hambletonian day at the Meadowlands and was second guessed from the draw to going off at 75-1. But Antonacci knew he would be more than a formative opponent and the trainee backed up his mentor 100 percent. After getting away seventh and then shuffled back to eighth by the top of the stretch, Mambo Lindy had a wall of horses ahead of him with nowhere to shake loose. But his driver Tim Tetrick was able to find an opening behind eventual winner Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett) in deep stretch and followed him right across the wire. Although Mambo Lindy was raging with trot, he never got the opportunity to advance on open track and finished a locked-in third, with his chin over Bartlett's shoulder. The race went in 1:51.4 and Mambo Lindy was timed in 1:52, the fastest he has ever trotted. Plus in that race he beat Hambletonian champion Pinkman and Natural Herbie as well as Wings Of Royalty and Centurion ATM who are both eligible for the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot. "I am looking forward to racing Mambo Lindy in the biggest harness race in the history of Massachusetts but we have to see if he makes the cut first. It would be an awful shame if he didn't qualify because he is definitely a hometown hero at Plainridge. It would be nice to see a Plainridge regular compete in that race" said Antonacci. "The Spirit of Massachusetts Trot is just one example of the whole harness racing success story in Massachusetts and it's exciting. I hope we can build on that momentum and have more events like this in the future. New England harness racing has such a storied history; it's nice to see the sport here become relevant nationally once again." For more information and updates on the Spirit Of Massachusetts Trot visit and hit the "Racing" tab.     Tim Bojarski

Plainville, Ma---To say that Lindy Farms had a big day at Plainridge Park on Monday (July 10) would be an understatement as harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci sent four of his students to the winner's circle and driver Greg Merton registered a grand slam sitting behind them, led by local trotting star Mambo Lindy who scored his fifth straight win at the Ridge this year in the $17,000 Open Handicap trot. Exhibiting normal racing procedure, Mambo Lindy (Greg Merton) was taken off the gate and settled in last while Guiltywithanexcuse (Jim Hardy) and Black Broadway (Chris Long) battled for the lead. That contentious bout continued past the half where Mambo Lindy pulled behind Karets (Steve Nason) who took air first and was advancing. With the field three in and four out heading to the three-quarters, Black Broadway started to fade and Karets tipped three-deep around him. Mambo Lindy followed that cue momentarily, but Merton already had Mambo Lindy in overdrive and elected to go four-high onto highway 425 to take advantage of his momentum. Before they straightened out for home, Mambo Lindy had cleared and Merton sat chilly in the bike as the leader trotted away effortlessly to win by five lengths in 1:54.2. It was the 19th win (17 of them at Plainridge) in only 31 lifetime starts for Mambo Lindy ($2.40) who now boasts earnings of $129,560 for owner Greathorse of Hampden, Massachusetts. "It's something to watch him (Mambo Lindy) trot his last half-mile. You set him on auto-pilot and he just gobbles up ground; he knows where that finish line is and he's going to get there first. He's just a cool little horse" said trainer Frank Antonacci after the win. Mambo Lindy is eligible to the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot to be held at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 28). Rounding out the Antonacci/Merton four-bagger were Only Passing Thru ($2.60, 1:55.3), World Of Lindy ($3.60, 1:59.1) and French Press ($4.20, 1:57). In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned pacing event, Midnite Craze (Kevin Switzer) took the lead just past the eighth pole and never relented the position en route to a handy one-length victory over a pesky Money Mayweather (Wally Watson) in 1:55.2, which was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Midnite Craze ($2.60) is owned and trained by G. Richard Mason Jr. Jim Hardy had a very productive day at Plainridge too as he was responsible for three driving and two training wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (July 11) with post time set for 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

BOSTON -- Key players in the state's horse racing industry want to keep their hands on state fund that they say ignited a "very swift renaissance" and positioned the state's harness racing industry as a competitive player in the Northeast. Frank Antonacci, president of a racing stable in Connecticut, said the Massachusetts harness racing industry is an "overwhelming success story." For proof that the Race Horse Development Fund is a boon for horse racing, Antonacci said legislators should look to Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. "There have been a lot of headlines regarding the validity of the fund and what the future of the fund should be and that horse racing is dying, is dead in Massachusetts," Antonacci said. "Though thoroughbred racing has come upon hard times, ... there's a much greater story of harness racing that's alive and well and burgeoning in the commonwealth of Massachusetts." The Harness Horseman Association of New England briefed lawmakers about the state's harness racing industry and the impact of the Race Horse Development Fund, which was created under the 2011 expanded gambling law and draws its revenues from wagering. The Senate proposed sweeping $15 million from the fund for programming and operations for the Department of Agricultural Resources and the Department of Conservation and Recreation in its fiscal 2018 budget. Right now, the fund fuels harness racing, also known as standardbred horse racing, at Plainridge Park Casino. The track saw a $10 million increase in live handle since 2014 and another $3 million increase from simulcasting, also known as live broadcasting, according to the United States Trotting Association. "Every metric from handle to the amount of horses in the state to the amount of racing days in the state, all of these have grown in multiples," Antonacci said. The fund is expected to grow when casinos open in Everett and Springfield and contribute a percentage of revenues like Plainridge Park Casino does. In harness racing, the horse is driven by a driver in a two-wheeled cart referred to as a race bike or a sulky. In thoroughbred racing, a jockey rides the horse in a saddle. Antonacci breeds both thoroughbred and standardbred horses at Lindy Farms in Enfield. "Right now with the infrastructure and the way things are in Massachusetts we made the decision our investment in the standardbred industry is where we want to be currently in Massachusetts," Antonacci said. According to Antonacci, the state's harness racing industry directly employs 621 workers. Massachusetts-based horse breeders are on the rise -- the total number of breeders in the state increased from 56 to 74 in 2017. The state's population of female breeding horses, called Broodmares, nearly doubled from 65 horses in 2016 to 111 horses in 2017. Antonacci said predictability in the gaming fund is important because a race horse is a five-year commitment for investors. If a breeder were to purchase a female horse at auction in November, that horse would be bred in April 2018. The horse would give birth in March 2019 after an 11-month gestation period, and the baby horse would not be ready to race until it is two years old in the summer and fall of 2021 and again at three years old in 2022. If the fund were to be split up or used for another purpose, it could topple the state's growing harness racing industry, Antonacci said. "It's dollars in, dollars out. It's pure economic supply and demand if there are less dollars to be had, we're going to look seriously at how we deploy our assets in Massachusetts. I think that's going to be lost jobs. I think you're going to be moving horses out of Massachusetts instead of in and I think you're going to see a contraction of the entire industry," Antonacci said. The harness racing industry is based in Northeast and exists primarily in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Ontario, Antonacci said. Plainridge Park will host the first Spirit of Massachusetts event July 28 which features a $250,000 open trot, the largest purse ever offered for a standardbred race in the state. The purse will triple the $81,000 Colonial Trot at Foxboro Park in 1995 and the $75,000 Beckwith Memorial at Plainridge in 2009, the United States Trotting Association said. The nation's largest horse track operator last week expressed interest in bringing thoroughbred racing back to Massachusetts. Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer at the Stronach Group, told the News Service that his company has talked with George Carney, the owner of a former dog racing track in Raynham, about a potential partnership or lease. "We're very, very early in preliminary discussions," said Ritvo, whose company is also a supplier of pari-mutuel wagering technology. "There's no plans other than to say we're interested in the Boston market." Stronach officials, who run Santa Anita Park, Pimlico Race Course and Gulfstream Park, have talked with Massachusetts Gaming Commission Executive Director Ed Bedrosian and Commissioner Gayle Cameron, Ritvo said. By Stephanie Murray Reprinted with permission of The Lowell Sun

Plainville, MA---It's the same old story, but one his connections won't soon tire of. Mambo Lindy spotted the field seven lengths before roaring back to notch another harness racing victory at Plainridge Park as he won the $17,000 Open Handicap on Thursday (June 22). Mambo Lindy (Greg Merton) got away last in the field of seven as Mistress Valentine (Mark Eaton) rolled down the road in :27 and :55.2 with her followers strung out behind. At that station, Tag Up And Go (Chris Long) pulled first-over and Mambo Lindy followed in step. Halfway up the backstretch Mistress Valentine got foul-gaited and broke stride, leaving the pocket-sitting Guiltywithanexcuse (Jim Hardy) with the lead. Outside of him, the tiring Tag Up And Go had enough forcing Mambo Lindy to tip three-deep. When Merton made that move, Mambo Lindy was flying and took that momentum down the stretch. As Merton had already tucked the whip, Mambo Lindy cleared and drew off by three to the easiest kind of win in 1:53.3. It was the fourth straight feature trot win for Mambo Lindy ($3.40) at Plainridge Park and it expanded his bank account for the year to $32,000. The 6-year-old gelded son of Donato Hanover is owned by Greathorse of Hampden, Massachusetts and is trained by Frank Antonacci. Mambo Lindy is eligible to the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 28) and would certainly have the home field advantage in that race as a starter. Mambo Lindy was only one highlight of Merton and Antonacci's day as both horsemen put up lofty numbers on the afternoon. Greg Merton posted another six-win day, extending his dash driving lead over Kevin Switzer to 31. Merton finished first with Only Passing Thru ($2.40, 1:55.4), World Of Lindy ($4.60, 2:00), Mambo Lindy ($3.40, 1:53.3), Northern Nandi ($9.40, 1:58.1), City Pie ($3.40, 1:53.2) and Waiting On A Woman ($4.60, 1:56). His 1:55.4 win with Only Passing Thru in the second race tied the track record for 3-year-old trotting colts set by Backstage Pass (Eddie Davis Jr.) on May 4 of this year. Merton now boasts a gaudy 86 wins for this meet, 31 ahead of his 2016 total to this point when he won a track record 229 times. If he were to keep up this pace he would end up with 314 wins at this session. Frank Antonacci started three of his Lindy Farm trainees (Only Passing Thru, World Of Lindy and Mambo Lindy) and watched as all of them bested their fields. Antonacci now has 18 training wins out of 26 starts this meet, giving him a 65% win percentage. Other horsemen with notable performances were Chris Long with a driving double and Kyle Spagnola that had a training pair of wins. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (June 23) at 4 p.m. The Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta carryover for Friday is $2,265.42 and that wager is available only in the sixth race.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

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