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Mooney Svendsen guided some serious harness racing horsepower into the winner's circle on opening night at Cal Expo Harness, with Allmyx'sliventexas and Capitol Hill taking bows after impressive performances to kick off the stand. Allmyx'sliventexas has a slew of Sire Stakes trophies on his mantle for owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson and dropped into a pretty sweet conditioned spot for his return from Indiana. Sent off at 1-2 from the cozy rail slot, he made two moves to the lead at the quarter and turned out the lights into the lane, eventually coming to the line with four and a quarter- lengths to spare in a 1:52 4/5 performance. "I hadn't driven him since the end of the last meet here, but he's one of my favorites and I was certainly keeping tabs on him at Hoosier," Svendsen said. "I had a big hold of him when we were in the pocket coming to the quarter, then I had to pull him out because I was worried he would choke down if I didn't let him go. "Once I pulled the plugs, it was over. He was really strong and it's great to be driving him again." While Allmyx'sliventexas was a heavy favorite in his contest, Capitol Hill was 16-1 in the Filly and Mar Open for trainer Kathie Plested with Legio X Equestris going off the 1-9 chalk in the contest. Mooney was able to sit in the two hole behind that favorite, was out for the stretch and easily motored by for the upset. "I was surprised I was able to circle (Luke) Plano's mare away from there and then we just settled in behind her," Svendsen related. "To be honest, I could feel I had a lot of horse and was 95 percent sure she was the winner pretty early on. They really had her ready." Misspanderosajones heads distaff main event Pacing fillies and mares will be in the spotlight at Cal Expo Friday evening with Misspanderosajones heading the $4,800 conditioned feature and a solid field doing battle in the Annette Funicello Prep. Misspanderosa will leave from the outside slot in the headliner while carrying the banner of Tip That Bucket Stable. The 8-year-old mare is trained by Rocco Giambrocono with Dean Magee in the sulky. The bay miss made her Cal Expo debut on last weekend's opening night card and had her work cut out in the Filly and Mare Open, checking in fourth behind Capitol Hill and heavily-favored Legio X Equestris in that 1:55 2/5 mile. She should be very much at home in Friday's line-up, which will see her taking on Awesum World for trainer Robin Clements; the Junior Wilkinson-conditioned Directing Traffic; Perfect Pitch from the Bob Johnson barn and the Jessie Pacheco-trained Along Came Jane. Perfect Pitch was a runner-up on the opening program of the meet after doing her work in first-over fashion. Mooney Svendsen will once again guide the daughter of Hi Ho Silverheel's and she sports a 1:513/5 mark that was established three years ago. A contentious cast of eight distaffers will face starter Ken Fowler in the co-featured Funicello Prep, with the final being decided next week. The Annette Funicello is named for the famous actress/singer who was married to horseman Glen Holt for 27 years until her death in 2013 and was a major fan and proponent of harness racing. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Columbus, MN - The Sunday night (Sept. 2) harness racing feature at Running Aces was the $11,000 open Handicap Pace for horses and geldings, and trainer Gene Miller sent out two of the six contenders in the field. Whatchyastarinat and Bestinthebusiness would deliver the one-two punch for Miller to cap off a pretty good week for the stable.   Whatchyastarinat (Lemoyne Svendsen) was fastest from the gate and had early command at the blistering :26.2 quarter clocking, with race favorite Holdingallthecards (Dean Magee) applying the heavy pressure from the outside and then taking over the front end through the middle stages.   Holdingallthecards led past the :55.4 half and the 1:24.1 three-quarters but was being hounded by Bestinthebusiness (James Yoder) who was pouring it on from the first-over position.   As they straightened for home, Whatchyastarinat joined the battle at the inside for a three-way charge to the wire, with Whatchyastarinat surging fastest of all to the line for a half-length tally over his stablemate Bestinthebusiness in a lifetime best mile of 1:51.3 with Holdingallthecards home third by one length in a game effort.   Whatchyastarinat ($7.00) is a 6 year old Minnesota-Sired son of Up Front Brad, owned by Wolfswinkel Pacers, he now sports 19 career wins and $104,623 in career earnings. The Miller trained exacta combination of 5-2 paid $35.00.   Bringoverthemoney (Rick Magee) picked up his 9th win of the season in the $8,500 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old boys Trot, with a solid 2 1/2 length victory over SB Fine And Dandy (Tim Maier) and Bragginade (Dean Magee).   Bringoverthemoney ($2.60) is owned by Jasmine Horvat and trained by Brian Detgen. The impressive son of Money Talks is certain to be the favorite in this division on Night of Champions on September 15.   Mimi Marguerite (James Yoder) broke through for her first Running Aces win in the $8,500 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old filly Trot with a front-running score from post six, she was never in doubt in a solid 1:59.2 career best performance.   The daughter of Braggart had been runner up in this division five times this season, but was finallly able to find her way to the winner's circle tonight for owners Jeanne Marquis and Jesse De Long and trainer Justin Anfinson.   Live Racing continues at Running Aces three nights per week through September 15. The 20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager now has a carryover of $32,959.05 for this coming Tuesday night (Sept. 4) with first post at 7:00 pm CDT.   By Darin Gagne', for Running Aces  

Columbus, MN - The Saturday night (July 21) Harness Racing program at Running Aces featured two big races for Minnesota Sired or Owned horses. he $25,000 Trot event was dominated by Doug's Hobby Horse, a 6 year old mare by Claudius Augustus who is owned by Rick Bertrand and Doug Flores. Driver Lemoyne Svendsen wasted little time with Doug's Hobby Horse, firing quickly from post six in the nine horse affair, to engage in an early battle with French Eclipse (James Kennedy) for the lead, but Doug's Hobby horse had the most speed and cleared for the front, with outsider Majestic Lady Jo (Steve Wiseman) getting away sharply to drop into the pocket spot. Doug's Hobby Horse ($8.20) was never in doubt, as she maintained a solid lead throughout and coasted home a two length winner in 1:56.4 with a 29.1 final stanza. The winner now shows 6 wins in 23 starts and earnings of $35,718 for the season. Al Mar Bon Bon (Brian Detgen) closed well for second, and Al Mar Reba Babe (Gerald Longo) was a solid third. The $25,000 MN Preferred Pace event went to heavily favored Stuckey Dote, a 5 year old gelding by Voracious Hanover who made a pilgrimage back to Running Aces for this event after spending the last two seasons racing primarily in Ohio. Stuckey Dote was Champion 3 year old pacer here in 2016, and is no stranger to the local winner's circle. From post three in the nine horse contest, Driver Nick Roland floated his charge away in third position, and got rolling just past the fast 26.4 quarter pole clocking. Stuckey Dote swept right to the front and controlled things from there, well in command of the field as they completed the half in 55.3 and the three-quarters in 1:24.2. In the lane, a late challenge came from Swagasaurusrex (Gerald Longo) but Stuckey Dote ($3.00) was able to fend off that rival by a neck in 1:52.2 for his sixth win of the season for owner Merlin Van Oterloo and trainer Brett Ballinger. Early race leader Make It Big (Steve Wiseman) was a game third, and Whatchyastarinat (James Kennedy) closed sharply for fourth money. Sunday (July 22) at Running Aces features the $50,000 Dan Patch Free-For-All Final, sponsored by Watch and Wager. Post time for the 10 race program is 6:00 pm CDT and also offers a $10,000 Guaranteed Late Pick-4 wager, which kicks off in the featured event in race 7. by Darin Gagne', for Running Aces 

Columbus, MN - The Tuesday evening (July 17) Harness Racing card at Running Aces featured the weekly Mares $12,000 Open Handicap Pace, and Delightfully Wild remained razor sharp by delivering a gate-to-wire winning performance in 1:53.4 for her 10th victory of the season. Delightfully Wild was sent off as race favorite, as part of a 2 horse entry and she drew the outside seven post in the talented field of 7 distaffers. Driver Lemoyne "Mooney" Svendsen sent her charging hard from the gate, engaging in an early battle with last week's winner Kiss On The Lips (Nick Roland). Delightfully Wild was able to establish command quickly and remained on top throughout the fractions of 27.1 and 57.2 before facing strong pressure from her stablemate Bettor Lady (Dean Magee) as they rounded the final bend and registered 1:26.2 at the ¾ pole. Delightfully Wild still had command turning in, but Kiss On The Lips was ready to pounce from the pocket, and Whatitdo Babyboo (Steve Wiseman) had followed the outer flow and tipped three-wide coming for home, she took a split-second lead with 70 yards to the wire but Delightfully Wild would not relent and Kiss On The Lips was surging along the inside. It was a 3 horse battle to the line, and Delightfully Wild ($4.60) kept her neck in front at the wire, with Kiss On The Lips checking in second, just in front of Whatitdo Babyboo. The winner is a 5 year old by Bettor's Delight, owned by Richard Morita and David Yamada, and trained by Jessie Pacheco. The two year olds invaded the track on Tuesday night at Running Aces, kicking things off with Burning Blaze delivering on his promise showed in two sharp qualifying wins. The impressive gelding by Wind Me Up turned in an eye opening gate to wire tally in 1:57.3, in his $8,500 Minnesota-Sired event, checking in over 6 lengths ahead of his rivals. Burning Blaze ($2.40) is owned by Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and Edward Gutin and is trained by Justin Anfinson. MD Magic ($9.80) converted a pocket trip into a debut victory in the $14,000 Minnesota-Sired 2 year old Trot, trotting home in 30.2 to stop the timer in 2:04 for trainer/driver Nick Roland and owners Set The Pace Racing, LLC. MD Magic is a gelding by Braggart. Lone Pine Shuzy (James Yoder) was a very sharp second, after setting the fractions. WindmeupNwatchmego (Dean Magee) closed from off the pace, posting a sharp 28.0 final quarter to capture the win in the $8,500 Two year old filly pace, in 1:59.4, with Trinitysfancyfilly (Brian Detgen) posting a strong second, beaten just a half-length. The winning filly is by Wind Me Up and is owned by Richard Davelaar and trained by Gordon Graham. This coming weekend at Running Aces is Dan Patch weekend, with The Dan Patch Historical Society on-site on Saturday, July 21, and also featuring a Horse & Driver bobble-head giveaway and Live Music. Saturday's featured races are the $25,000 Minnesota-Preferred Trot and $25,000 Minnesota Preferred Pace. Sunday (July 22) is a huge day for Minnesota Harness Racing, featuring the $50,000 Dan Patch Free-For-All Final and also featuring a Live broadcast by NAHUpicks.com and a day full of fan giveaways with a Grand Prize of a Trip for Two to the 2018 Hambletonian Stakes at The Meadowlands. by Darin Gagne', for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The Tuesday night (July 3) card of Harness Racing at Running Aces was loaded with exciting and competitive races, and the $11,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace was no exception.   A talented field of 6 went to battle for weekly top honors. The talk of the tote-board was Whatitdo BabyBoo (Steve Wiseman), who was sent of as 3/2 favorite, after an impressive season debut 3rd last week at this top level. Second choice at 2/1 was Kiss On The Lips (Nick Roland), who has already recorded two wins at the current meet, and also heavily backed was Delightfully Wild (Lemoyne Svendsen) at 5/2.   Nick Roland fired up Kiss On The Lips to be fast off the gate and charging hard from her outside six post, but Delightfully Wild was also pacing strong in the opening stages, and Kiss On The Lips would have to settle for the pocket. Abbijade Hanover (Rick Magee) floated out in fourth position on the outside but could not find a seat at the pylons, and was forced to press the pace and try to clear the leader, that resulted in a very fast 26.4 opening fraction.   The battle at the top continued for more than half a mile, (55.4 and 1:24.2) and eventually took its toll on the first-over challenger. The leader, however, appeared to get stronger as the race got longer, and widened her lead around the final bend. Whatitdo Babyboo had rallied three-wide into the final turn to take over second and Kiss On The Lips was third along the pylons.   Delightfully Wild ($7.20) paced strong in the lane to keep everyone at bay and record a solid two length tally in 1:52. She is owned by Richard Morita and David Yamada and trained by Jessie Pacheco. tonight's victory was the 9th win in 19 starts for the 5 year old daughter of Bettor's Delight.   The $12,500 Top-Level Claiming Handicap pace ($12,500 - $15,000 tags) went to Hard Cold Cash (Dean Magee) once again for three wins in a row, the last two both in 1:52.2, and both in gate-to-wire fashion. Hard Cold Cash ($3.20) is a talented 6 year old stallion by Dali, he is owned by Antonia Storer and trained by Denise Maier.   Drivers Nick Roland and Lemoyne (Mooney) Svendsen both picked up driving doubles on the card.   The 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot has a carryover of $2,380.42 for Saturday night (July 7). Coming up on Sunday (July 8) we will host the eliminations for the $95,000 (total) Dan Patch Free-For-All Pacing series sponsored by Watch and Wager. The top 5 finishers in each elimination will advance to the Dan Patch Preview Pace (July 15) and the $50,000 Dan Patch FFA Final (July 22).   by Darin Gagne', for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The $20,000 Running Aces featured trot was the top-billed event on the Saturday night (June 16) Minnesota Harness Racing card, and it would turn out to be another thrilling and record setting contest. Overall Track Record holder Banker Volo (Brian Detgen), flew off the gate from post 8 to establish command, with Silverlode following suit from post seven to drop into the pocket. Banker Volo posted a fast early quarter mile of 27.3, and led through the middle panels of 57.1 and 1:26.0 before facing a strong challenge from Ideal Jesse (James Yoder), with Silverlode saving ground along the pylons in third. As they straightened for home, Banker Volo was facing challenges from all sides, and could not hold off the late challengers, fastest of all was Silverlode (Lemoyne Svendsen) who utilized the passing lane to her advantage to sweep by the field to score by one length in 1:54.3 and establish an impressive new track record for aged trotting mares, and just one-fifth of a second off of the overall track trotting mark of 1:54.2 held by Banker Volo. Ideal Jesse completed a very impressive effort to get second, while Pridecrest (Steve Wiseman) rallied past Banker Volo for third money. Silverlode ($10.00) is a 9 year old mare by British Sterling, and out of the productive mare Charlotte's Web (Website). Tonight's impressive victory completed three wins in a row for Silverlode, and secured lifetime win number 39, while pushing her career purse earnings to $202,187. She is currently under lease to Emilio Cisneros, from the Desomer Stables, and she is trained by Richard Bertrand. One Lucky patron solved the 20 cent Pick 5 Jackpot wager to collect $8,382.04, and a pair of longshots in the final two races spurred a carryover in both the Pick-3 and Pick-4 wagers for Sunday night, June 17. Driver Steve Wiseman picked up three wins on the evening, while Lemoyne "Mooney" Svendsen completed a driving double. Tomorrow's program features a $7,500 Guaranteed Pool in the Late Pick-4 wager, and is headlined by the $20,000 Running Aces Featured Pace. by Darin Gagne', for Running Aces  

The harness racing champion driver of Running Aces will be back for his 10th season, starting Saturday.  Some 40 years ago, Lemoyne "Mooney" Svendsen took a job at a gas station. It was the first time the Albert Lea native pursued work that didn't involve horses, and it would be the last. "I was 19 years old, and I was there for six weeks," Svendsen said. "I really never wanted to do anything but race." After more than 3,400 career victories as a driver, that fervor hasn't faded. Svendsen, 59, is back in the bike for his 10th season at Running Aces Harness Park, which begins a 52-day meet Saturday. Though he has wintered in California for the past 18 years, the Columbus track has become his summer home, allowing him to spend time with family and reconnect with his racing roots. When he was still in diapers, Svendsen began going to the races with his father, Lorenz, who trained some of the fastest horses on the county-fair circuits in Minnesota and Iowa. Mooney began driving his dad's horses as a teen, and both Svendsens built careers that landed them in the Minnesota Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Horses and family have always been inseparable in Svendsen's mind, leaving him "crazy excited" when Running Aces opened in 2008. He has raced all over the country, but he's happiest at the home-state track where his siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces can join him in the winner's circle. "As soon as I heard they were getting a track in Minnesota, I couldn't wait to get there," said Svendsen, who has 3,421 victories and $11.38 million in career purse earnings as a driver. "My whole life, I knew what I wanted to do. But when I was young, I had to leave (Minnesota), because there was no racing. "I was so glad to get to come back home and race. Horses have kept my family so tight over the years, and they still do." Svendsen has been driving harness horses since he was 16, not counting the three races he sneaked into a year earlier while posing as his older brother. He spends six months a year at Cal Expo in Sacramento, where he won 61 races and $213,447 in purses this year before returning to Running Aces. His career has taken Svendsen all along the East Coast, West Coast and Canada, but none of those places are as dear to him as the tracks of his native state. He learned horsemanship from his father at little race meets in places such as Cannon Falls and What Cheer, Iowa. Even now, Svendsen gets teary-eyed when recalling those days alongside his dad, caring for the family's horses at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds. Lorenz Svendsen raced for 32 years and trained multiple champions in Minnesota and Iowa. Mooney has trained on and off for 30 years, but he found his true calling as a driver. His first victory came when he was 16, with a horse named Miss Lasko; 39 years later, in 2014, he drove Meritage Hanover to his 3,000th win at Running Aces. "I've been lucky to have good horses and good people to work with," Svendsen said. "And I've been lucky to stay healthy. But when I hit the 3,400 (victory) mark five or six weeks ago, I couldn't hardly believe it. I never dreamed I'd get to a number like that." Svendsen's plan is to keep charging toward 3,500 victories, a milestone he could reach next year. He expects to stay in the sulky another five years or so, then open a small training stable or work with another trainer. This summer, he will keep his hand in that part of the business, training two pacers at Running Aces. He's known since that short, long-ago stint at the gas station that he would never leave the racetrack again, a feeling that has only grown stronger over time. "I'll never quit," Svendsen said. "If I didn't have a horse around me, I'd go crazy.'' By Rachel Blount   Reprinted with permission of The Star Tribune

On the Sunday harness racing card at Running Aces, the 6 year old gelding Ideal Art ($20.20) paced to a new 1:52.2 lifetime best in a talented field of conditioned pacers, he is owned by Kathy Plested, Mark Benvenga, and Tyler Wiseman, and was driven to victory by his trainer Steve Wiseman. The talented son of American Ideal got away from the gate sharply from post four and found the two hole early, waited patiently until the stretch and converted the pocket trip into his 4th win of the season and pushed his seasonal bankroll to $15,316. The featured $11,000 Open pace was another sharp win at the top level for Jazzmanian Devil ($4.60) pacing in 1:53.1 with Lemoyne (Moonie) Svendsen aboard, for Owner William Condon and Trainer Steve Wiseman. This was his second win in a row and 9th win in 19 starts this year. Comes Home First (Jim Marino) was second best tonight, while Del Rio Seelster (Nick Roland) checked in third. The $7,500 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old filly Trot went to Whatevershesgot (by Sos Lunar Eclipse) driven to a 2:00.4 new life’s mark by Gerald Longo for Owner/Trainer Jenni King, she paid $3.40 to win. The $7,500 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old Gelding Trot went to The Winnin Dollar (Nick Roland), for his second consecutive score, this one in 1:59.4. He paid $6.80 to his backers, and is Owned by Jesse DeLong and trained by Justin Anfinson. Steve Wiseman had a driving double on the card, and three training wins as well, and Gerald Longo posted his second double of the season. The next card of live Harness Racing at Running Aces Casino & Racetrack will go to post on Tuesday night, June 14 at 7:00 pm CDT, with a carryover in the .50 cent Jackpot Pick-6 wager of $8,323.10. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

COLUMBUS, MN. - Al-Mar Skip Bo and Texakota scored harness racing upsets in their respective $8000 divisions for Minnesota-sired sophomore trotters at Running Aces on Sunday night. Driver Rick Magee rushed Al-Mar Skip Bo directly to the lead in the colts split and never looked back, besting favored Go See Lo Go (Nick Roland) and Drakensberg (Luke Plano) in 2:01.4. The same bunch will be joined by a few others when they chase a $21,000 purse on Minnesota State Championships Night next Saturday (September 12), which is closing night on the 2015 Running Aces summer meet. Magee also owns and trains the winning son of Abra who was notching his fourth career victory and pushed his lifetime earnings to just over $30,000. Texakota (Lemoyne Svendsen) notched her first-ever pari-mutuel win in 2:01.3 over a sloppy track in the fillies division for owners Cynthia Ivey and Ryan Lems. The daughter of Abra collared Al-Mar Reba Babe (Gerry Longo) in the final stride with Marisa's Lady (Tim Maier) third in the seven-horse field. Bob Lems trains Texakota, who has shown speed all season but had problems staying on stride until this final tuneup for Championship Night. Heavily favored Becky Badger Baby made an uncharacteristic break when driver Nick Roland's sulky wheel tube popped and resulted in racing with a flat tire for more than the final half mile. El Azteca (Gerry Longo) won the meet's final $9600 Open Trot by two lengths over Thekeptman (Luke Plano) and Jimmy Shin (Steve Wiseman). It was the 34th lifetime score in just 74 career starts for the six-year-old stud owned by Marco Rios and trained in Minnesota by Bob Johnson. Both Rick Magee and Gerry Longo scored driving doubles on the ten-race program. Leading drivers Nick Roland and Steve Wiseman each had one win, giving them 71 and 69 tallies respectively with three nights remaining to determine the local dash title for this season. Gregg Keidel

Trainer Bob Johnson and driver Lemoyne 'Mooney' Svendsen teamed for a trainer-driver triple on the Tuesday harness racing program at Running Aces. Johnson's own Frank's Best took full advantage of his first drop from the open class to capture a top condition trot for his first Minnesota win in six tries. It was the 35th career win for the eight-year-old who topped Margin Call (Rick Magee) and Forceful Gale (Luke Plano) in 1:58.3. Frank's Best clocked his lifetime best mile (1:56.2) at Running Aces three years ago. In the very next race, Native's Revenge from the Johnson Stable copped a top condition pace, beating Art Genta (Steve Wiseman) and Beckys Dreamboat (Nick Roland) in 1:54.1. It was the 13th lifetime success for the five-year-old from just 58 starts. Owned by Harold Actkinson, Native's Revenge's best-ever effort also came at Running Aces when he scorced the five-eighths mile oval in 1:51.4 in the summer of 2014. Svendsen and Johnson completed the triple in the nightcap by pulling an upset in a full field of bottom level pacers. Off at 10-1 odds, Live A Little made a quarter move to the front and never looked back to top Star Of The Game (Dean Magee) and Little Nicky B (Tim Maier) in 1:55.3. Johnson also owns the seven-year-old who now has 27 career triumphs. A compact field of five went postward in an $8000 Open Pace on Tuesday with Headsup Yankee (Nick Roland) taking advantage of a perfect pocket trip to upset favored Show Runner (Tim Maier) by a head in 1:52.4. Coopers Beach (Luke Plano) finished a close-up third. Minnesota-sired Headsup Yankee (by Relentless Yankee) now has two wins and three place finishes since moving up to the open ranks. Roland owns, trains and drives the winner who now boasts 18 wins and 14 place finishes in just 60 career starts. The first two-year-old Minnesota-sired trot of the season also went postward for an $11,000 bounty. Favored Margin's Echo (Rick Magee) was impressive winning gate-to-wire in 2:04. Mikaela Delgiudice owns the freshman son of Abra who topped Mr Jackpot (Brett Ballinger) and Hall Of Riches (Tim Maier). Gregg Keidel

The way Hi Ho’s Little Rev has been picking up his game with each start, he’s likely a force to be reckoned with when the first Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing males rolls around next week. The son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s races for Vannessa Gilliam, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and has been handled in each of his appearances by Mooney Svendsen, who is high on the gelding. “He’s a little guy, but he’s growing and he’s definitely got the right attitude,” said Svendsen. Hi Ho’s Little Rev went a mile in 2:04 1/5 in his first qualifier, took a second off that time in his second practice mile, was third with a 2:01 4/5 clocking in his first official start and then romped home by five and a half lengths at most recent asking while stopping the clock in a snappy 1:57 1/5 that evening. “Bob wanted us to go about 2:04 in that first qualifier and that’s what we did,” Mooney noted. “He was green that day and also pretty much all over the track in the second qualifier when he cut out all the pace. “For the first start under the lights, Bob put some cheater cups on him and he went right to the front, got covered up and then finished real well. We were real happy with the effort.” In last week’s tour, Hi Ho’s Little Rev sat a pocket journey, ignited in the stretch and shaved a full four and three-fifths seconds off his standard in a race where he admittedly had some trouble behind him. “He was absolutely flawless that night,” his pilot related. “He couldn’t be coming up to next week’s first stakes any better.” With a few other newly-turned sophomores showing some promise of late, it figures to be interesting. Guarantee increased on low-takeout Pick 4 Watch and Wager LLC, the operator of Cal Expo Harness, has increased the guarantee on the 16% takeout Pick 4 from $20,000 to $30,000 for the remainder of January. A 10-race card is on tap Friday with first post set at 6:40 p.m. Racing is now being conducted three nights a week with the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.  The Pick 4 is one of four wagers offered on each program with that reduced 16% takeout rate. In addition to the 20-cent Pick 4; there is the 50-cent Pick 5; the 10-cent Jackpot 6 and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the nightcap. To help players get a head start, announcer Gary Seibel and handicapper Dave Brower do an informative and entertaining simulcast seminar prior to the Pick 4 that has proven to be very popular. Friday’s feature is a conditioned pace that finds the multiple stakes-winning King Of The Crop from the Gordie Graham barn taking on a strong field while doing his work from the No. 7 post with Bruce Clarke at the controls. Looking ahead to Saturday, El Azteca and Its Not Over, who have divided up all the top dances for the trotting set at this meeting, go at it once again in the featured Open Trot. El Azteca is a 6-year-old son of Panama Hanover who comes into this assignment with three victories from the seven Open Trots during this stand, while arch-rival Its Not Over has posed following the other four. El Azteca is owned, trained and was bred by Marco Rios and James Kennedy once again has the assignment. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

COLUMBUS, MN. - The curtain fell on the 2014 season at Running Aces Harness Park on Saturday night, but not before eleven Minnesota State Champions were crowned. Leading driver and trainer awards were also presented before the capacity crowd on closing night.   Jason Ryan, a 26-year-old Prince Edward Island native, captured his first Minnesota driving title in just his second summer at Running Aces. The talented reinsman, headed to New York in the coming days, won the dash title with 90 wins during the 53-night meet to outdistance reigning champion Nick Roland, who finished second with 81 victories.   Tim Maier garnered his second straight training title at Running Aces, defending his 2013 championship with 35 winners. Five trainers still had an opportunity to win the hotly-contested title going into the final two nights. Steve Wiseman and Nick Roland deadlocked for second with 33 triumphs from their respective stables, while Dave Flinn and Jesse DeLong notched 32 winner's circle trips each.   Becky Badger Baby (Nick Roland) won the $20,000 Minnesota State Championship for two-year-old trotting fillies, despite a break in stride behind the gate. It was the fifth win in a dozen freshman starts for the tiny filly, owned by Dale Hein and Royal and Barbara Roland, who beat Al Mar Reba Babe (Gerry Longo) and Sweet Nola Kate (Brett Ballinger).   Moonshinenmonkeys (Rick Magee) upset stablemate Queen Of Denial (Nick Roland) and Dancin Debby (Jason Ryan) to earn the lion's share of the $20,000 two-year-old filly pace division. Mark King bred, broke and owns the champion filly who more than doubled her rookie season earnings with her second career win in 1:57.   Go See Lo Go (Nick Roland) continued his domination of the two-year-old trotting colts ranks with an easy 2:02.1 front-end score over Al Mar Skip Bo (Rick Magee) and Lunar Trouble (Dave Flinn). It was the ninth win in twelve starts and eighth in a row for the pride of the Lorenzo Gooch stable.   Toatsmygoats (Jason Ryan) was tons the best in the freshman pacing event, sailing to a 1:56 victory over Gooch's Hot Rod (Gerry Longo) and Holla At Ur Boy (Rick Magee). Now seven out of eight, all at Running Aces, the winner's share of the $20,000 purse pushed Toatsmygoats earnings to $47,000 for the Van Otterloo Stable.   Al Mar Pizzazz (Tim Maier) produced the only serious longshot win on the evening, shocking the three-year-old filly trotters at odds of 17-1. Trainer Ulf Holm-Johansen and partner Vern Devine was ecstatic with the 1:59.1 score, her fifth of the season but first against the best sophomore distaff trotters in the state. She's A Foxie Lady (John DeLong) was second with another longshot, Country Cheerio (Jason Ryan) getting up for third.   Delco Voracious (John DeLong) duplicated her 2013 Minnesota State Championship with a 1:54.3 clocking to capture the 2014 title. It was the tenth win in just 17 starts for Jesse DeLong's top filly who now has over $75,000 in earnings as she topped slightly-favored Flick A Fly (Rick Magee) by a nose with Dakota Law (Nick Roland) awarded the show dough.   Driver John DeLong was back in the winner's circle with his brother Ben's three-year-old trotting colt, Chewy Dunkerton, in the very next race. With 14 wins over two years of racing at Running Aces, the colt is rapidly approaching $100,000 in earnings. His 2:00.1 final time was just over a length better than T-U-R-B (Nick Roland) and Lo Rail Crossing (Gerry Longo).   Favored Bunkerhill Bill (Gerry Longo) did not disappoint in the $20,000 final for sophomore pacing colts. Gene Miller's homebred won for the third time in his most recent four starts, topping V Mack (Kim Pluta) and Black Hammer (Tim Maier) in 1:54.3.   Out of the former claiming mare River Bend Raider, who toiled at Running Aces for several years before heading to the breeding shed, Bunkerhill Bill has earned $45,285 thus far in his first season of racing. The final three races on the closing program were $10,000 events for aged Minnesota-sired horses.   Blazing Fury (Rick Magee) bested the pacing mares with a 1:54.4 success over stablemate Cheese Plumper (Tim Maier) and Place At The Beach (Kim Pluta). The Van Otterloo Stable owns the first two finishers and trainer Dave Flinn conditions all three of the top finishers.   Skeet Thunder (Kim Pluta) proved best in the division for older trotters, beating RA's Shakinthtbacon (Rick Magee) and No Recess (Brandon Jenson) in 1:59.3. Andrew Anfinson owns the winner.   The final race of the season went to Headsup Yankee (Nick Roland), who has enjoyed a very good season with a dozen top three finishes in 15 starts against top condition and open horses. Owned by the Trot-Away Stables, the five-year-old gelding paced away from I'm Blue Too (John DeLong) and Peanuts (Lemoyne Svendsen) to bring down the curtain on the 2014 Running Aces season.   From the Running Aces press box  

With Super Night right around the corner it got me thinking about the last time the biggest night in Illinois racing was contested at Sportsman’s Park when it was still a five-eighths oval. The year was 1991 and just weeks after that gala evening the racetrack straightaways were torn up so it could be extended to a seventh-eights oval to accommodate the thoroughbreds the following spring. Some 23 years ago there were only six major Super Night stakes. The 3-year-old trots (Lady Ann Reed and Su Mac Lad) hadn’t been added yet to the annual Illinois bred championships. The older ICF mare pace was the Ann Vonian, later renamed the Lorna Propes, and the Tony Maurello for colts and geldings was the Dan Patch. A packed Grandstand and Clubhouse was at the Cicero, IL facility for the 12-race card and saw the 1990 Illinois Horse of the Year Plum Peach win her second consecutive Super Night title by taking the third race $210,000 Grandma Ann Final with Walter Paisley in 1:56.1 for trainer Mark Fransen. Two races later Panic Attack rolled to her eighth straight triumph in the $342,000 Filly Orange and Blue with Dave Magee in 1:56.3 for trainer Tex Moats. The Masquerade filly would go on to be named the 1991 Illinois Harness Horse of the Year for owners Don Stevens and Norman Levine.   The seventh race $60,000 Dan Patch went to the favorite Dirty Deeds in 1:54 with Dale Hiteman in the bike behind the 7-year-old Robert Black trainee owned by DTN Stable, Roger and Dawn Sampson Stable, Irwin Kay and Stan Williams. The $225,000 Pete Langley Memorial Final was next and the surprise winner was the speedy, but erratic road gelding Rana Diablo, trained and driver by George Kramer for Chicago owner Frank Calabrese, The front-stepping pacer reported home in 1:55.4. The $396,000 Orange and Blue Colt Final was the tenth (and not the final) race on the Super Night card and it was Wicked Brew proving best in 1:56.2 for driver Homer Hochstetler. Mickey Rodriguez trained the 2-year-old son of Gold for owner Ralph Sergio of Riverside, I, beating the likes of Woolly Bully, Broadway Circuit and Kavitsky. Before the 12th race finale, the Grandma Ann Consolation, the sixth and final Super Night championship was decided when the 7-year-old mare Jerrah Belle, with less than $100,000 in career earnings, took the $60,000 Ann Vonian with Lemoyne Svendsen driving for trainer Todd Crone. The Solar Storm mare was owned by Bobbie Harper, who was the proprietor of an automobile dealership in the far southern Illinois town of Tunnel Hill, about 35 miles north of Paducah, Kentucky. Before the Ann Vonian Harper told the Sportsman’s Park publicity department: “I named the filly after my granddaughter Jerrah. It’s a six-hour driver to Chicago from Tunnel Hill, but we’ll all be at Sportsman’s for Super Night. I have to be return home early Sunday morning because I’m frying fish for the annual church picnic.” I bet that was one memorable “Fish Fry” for the town of Tunnel Hill which had a population of 685 at the turn of this century. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

COLUMBUS, MN. - With the 2014 season rapidly winding down, R Gauwitz Hanover won the final weekly $8000 Open Pace at Running Aces on Sunday night.   There are just two overnight race programs left on Tuesday and Wednesday nights of the coming week, both at 7 p.m. (CST), then the curtain comes down on the successful 53-night summer session next Saturday night with the annual Minnesota State Championships card worth a total of $190,000 in purses. Post time for the special final 11-race program is 5:00 p.m. (CST).   Driver Rick Magee sat R Gauwitz Hanover fourth along the pylons until the head of the stretch, then found a seam of racing room and clocked a :27 final panel to just edge Headsup Yankee (Nick Roland) and Silver Spir (Jason Ryan) in 1:51.4. It was the fifth win at Running Aces for the five-year-old gelded son of Modern Art, three coming in open company. Laurie Patistas owns the classy gelding who will be returning to New York to race very shortly.   A handful of the leading drivers at Running Aces have agreed to join the groundswell of support the harness industry is showing for A.L.S. through the "Ice Bucket Challenge." Jason Ryan, Nick Roland, Steve Wiseman, Tim Maier, Kim Pluta, Gerry Longo and Lemoyne Svendsen have all agreed to make an ALS donation and get doused with a water bucket full of ice and water at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday night, just prior to the races.   From the press box at Running Aces

COLUMBUS, OH. - Harness racing driver Lemoyne 'Moonie' Svendsen reached the coveted 3,000 wins plateau at Running Aces on Sunday night.   The 55-year-old Minnesota native (born in Albert Lea) drove his first winner at an Iowa county fair at age 16 in 1975 and has won races each of the 39 years since then. The likeable green and yellow-clad reinsman is also approaching the coveted $10 million earnings mark with horses he has steered in his career.   Svendsen's best year was 2011 when he guided 266 winners and just lost the dash title at Cal Expo (to Luke Plano) in the waning weeks of the meet. Lemoyne has been a mainstay in California harness racing circles for the past 15 years and has been making his summer home at Running Aces for the past five years.   He also won 206 races in 2009 and over 100 times in ten other seasons. Earlier in his career Svendsen won dash titles at both Quad City Downs and Thunder Ridge.   The milestone triumph came with Meritage Hanover, fittingly owned and trained by fellow native Minnesotan Mark Anderson, for whom Svendsen has driven regularly over the past couple years.   An adept passing lane move allowed Svendsen to gain a thrilling half-length 1:54.3 victory over Gencor's Z Tam (Jason Ryan) and Nancy's Skyscape (Gerry Longo) in a bottom claiming class event. Off at 7-1 odds, Meritage Hanover rewarded $2 backers with a $16.40 win mutuel.   The elated newest member of the 3,000 Wins Club was joined in the winner's circle by his immediate family--wife Jodi, son Sonny and daughter Kaitlyn.   "My dad got me started in this business as a kid and its all I've ever done," chuckled Svendsen after the race. "I'll never forget the thrill that my first win with a horse called Miss Lasko forty years ago gave me. For that matter, this one was pretty darned thrilling, too. I must say every win between those two has been exciting as well. Winning never gets old!"   Gregg Keidel        

COLUMBUS, MN. - Running Aces Harness Park, now in its seventh season, established a new handle record on Sunday night when $270,252 was bet on the 11-race program which featured fuller-than-normal fields and highly competitive races.   Over one-half of the races were decided by a half-length or less and only one winner had more than a two length advantage at the wire.   Only two favorites prevailed on the night with win prices ranging from a low of $5.80 to a high of $21.80.   The weekly Sunday feature, a $10,000 Open Pace, was captured by Headsup Yankee in 1:52.3.   The five-year-old Minnesota-sired gelding has made steady progress since joining the open ranks three weeks ago, finishing third and then second before Sunday's victory.   The son of Relentless Yankee is owned by Ken Stauffer's Trot-Away Stable and was trained and driven by Nick Roland.   He beat Silver Spir (Jason Ryan) and Del Rio Seelster (Lemoyne Svendsen).   The win was one of four on the night for Roland, who also scored with Justthewayitis, Split Ticket and Gift Of Honor.   A Running Aces newcomer, Native's Revenge, shocked a group of conditioned horses and optional $5000 claimers with a nine-length dominating performance clocked in 1:51.4 for new trainer-driver Steve Wiseman.   A recent arrival from Hoosier Park, where the four-year-old Allamerican Native gelding was no better than fourth in his last six outings, Native's Revenge went directly to the lead in his initial Minnesota appearance and never looked back throwing an impressive :54 final half.   The winner, who beat Peanuts (Rick Magee) and Peyton's Troubador (Kim Pluta) is owned by Harold Actkinson.   Leading driver Jason Ryan visited the winner's circle three times on Sunday, guiding She's A Foxie Lady, Terror Time and R Gauwitz Hanover to narrow victories.   Only four weeks remain in the Running Aces season with live racing presented each Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday through August 30.   Gregg Keidel - Running Aces

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