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Minnesota Harness Racing Inc.  (MHRI) is looking to hire a full-time Executive Secretary who will be responsible for achieving the goals and objectives established by the Minnesota Harness Racing Inc Board of Directors. Responsibilities will include maintaining our social media platforms, managing our county fair program, maintaining QuickBooks for our expenditures, attending racing commission & board of director’s meetings, representing MHRI at all Running Aces events, and any other tasks assigned by the board or its officers. MHRI is a non-profit corporation established to represent the interests of, and provide support to, owners, breeders, trainers, caretakers/grooms and fans of Standardbred horse racing in Minnesota.  Applicants must be willing to relocate within 100 miles of Running Aces Casino and Racetrack. Interested candidates should send a letter of interest, résumé, and at least two letters of recommendation via email to MHRI care of Mark Corless (corlessmark@yahoo.com). Please feel free to contact Mark at the above email address or phone him at (763) 360-5558 should you have any questions. This position will remain open until filled. Compensation details are available upon request. Minnesota Harness Racing Inc.

Columbus, MN -The Sunday evening program of Harness Racing was highlighted by the $15,000 Open Handicap Trot, with a good field of seven squaring off to determine this week's top local trotter. Silverlode (Steve Wiseman) was in search of her seventh-straight victory, and would have to do it from the outside seven post, as the even-money choice. Banker Volo (Nick Roland) was heavily supported at just over 2-1 on the board, and newcomer Muscle Ave (Williams Hernandez) was getting respect at 5-1. Muscle Ave was sent right down the road by Hernandez and made the front from post six, just in time to register the first quarter in :27.4 with Banker Volo finding the pocket. Muscle Ave led the field all the way to the far turn, before Silverlode launched a sweeping move to the front and led into the lane, but Banker Volo was raging with trot towards the inside, and Bringoverthemoney (Tim Maier) was rallying strong on the outside. Banker Volo was fastest to the wire, getting a neck up in front of Silverlode in 1:55, with Bringoverthemoney picking up third, and missing by just a half-length. Banker Volo ($6.80) is now owned by Lucas Roland and is trained by Jenni King. Tonight's victory was his first win of the season, in just his third start. It was career win number 37 for the current track record holder (Aged Trotting Horses) and former multiple category record holder. At age 10, the ultra impressive stallion continues to be competitive at the top-level, perpetuating a stellar racing campaign, while also having entered a second career in the breeding shed. Also on Sunday's card, was the $16,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old Trot, with a full field of nine lining up behind the gate. Last year's two year old male trotting champion MD Magic (Nick Roland) was sent off as the heavy 1-2 public choice from post two, with Dewey's Machine (Steve Wiseman) getting some support at 5-1. But the night would belong to another sophomore gelding, and an upset winner. Ice Storm would steal the show. Ice Storm trotted away alertly from post one, saved ground in third throughout, and angled out willingly for Mooney Svendsen as the field turned for home. It was the second career win for Ice Storm ($41.60) a son of Ice Machine out of the mare Stormont Flambe, owned by Larry Jo Jenson and trained by Brady Jenson. The 1:59 Mike was a new career best. Al Mar Humdinger (Elvin Zimmerman) was a very sharp second, with Dewey's Machine checking in third. Dean Magee led the night with a driving double, while Brady Jenson sent out two winners to lead all trainers. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday, May 28 with first post at 7:00 p.m. (CDT)   By Darin Gagne   for Running Aces

The Saturday night (May 25) Harness Racing program at Running Aces kicked off Memorial Day weekend with a large crowd and some fantastic races. The harness racing card featured $23,000 in purses for the Minnesota-Sired 3 year old pacers, splitting in two divisions by sex. The $11,500 colts & geldings grouping included 2018 Minnesota Harness Horse of the year, Burning Blaze who was sent off at 1-5 in the wagering, with last-out winner SB Bodacious a clear second choice at 4-1. Burning Blaze (Nick Roland), Stay Humble N Kind (Gerald Longo) and Trump Train (Steve Wiseman) all left the gate with early speed and the scramble was on for the front spot, resulting in a very fast 26.2 opening quarter. Burning Blaze emerged with the lead and Roland backed the second quarter down tremendously (31.2) before speeding back up for a 29 flat third panel (1:26.4). Trump Train launched a first-over attack just past the pole and SB Bodacious (Rick Magee) picked up the live cover, with Stay Humble N Kind snug in the pocket. As they rounded for home, the top four were all loaded with pace, and Burning Blaze was under siege. Stay Humble N Kind raged forward in the passing lane, while SB Bodacious tipped wide and turned on the after-burners to nail the victory right on the wire, a nose ahead of Stay Humble N Kind, with Burning Blaze home in third. SB Bodacious, a gelded son of Voracious Hanover and Salsa Hanover is now undefeated in two sophomore starts, and posted a new career mark of 1:55.3 with his third lifetime win. Rick Magee also trains the impressive pacer, for owner Mikaela DelGiudice. The $11,500 filly division went to race favorite and divisional two year old champion Windmeupnwatchmego, in her season's debut. She got away fourth and then surged to the front down the backstretch before easily pulling away from the field to score an impressive 3 ¾ length tally in 1:56.2. Dean Magee was the winning driver, for trainer Gordon Graham and owner Richard Davelaar. Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee) remained razor-sharp, capturing the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace for the second straight week, and three wins in a row. He fired fast from post 8 and posted a 26.1 opening quarter to establish command. From there he was never in doubt and scored a one length tally in 1:52.2 for his fourth win of the year for owner Merlin Van Oterloo. Brett Ballinger is the winning trainer.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces Sunday, May 26, with first post at 6:00 pm (CDT).   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces

About 5 or 6 years ago, Cathy Dessert was pretty new to the Harness Racing game, having just started her foray into the sulky sport, by purchasing shares in a couple of fractional ownership horses at Running Aces. She, along with her husband Bill, quickly caught the bug and jumped head-first into full fledged standardbred ownership, while enlisting the services of one of the top local horsemen - Nick Roland as their trainer and driver. Around that time, she had a chance encounter with a very cool authentic Dan Patch-era High-Wheel Sulky, on display, at (of all places) the local Thoroughbred track Canterbury Park. She recalls that her immediate thought was, what on earth is this magnificent piece of Harness Racing history doing at a facility dedicated to flats racing, as both Thoroughbred and Quarter horses call the Shakopee, Minnesota track home each May through September. Old display at Canterbury Certainly she was not the first Harness Racing enthusiast to spy the historic "bike" there and think it strange. Even I, myself noticed it there not long after her encounter, and also thought to myself, this really, really belongs at Running Aces, where we celebrate the great Dan Patch with a full weekend of activities each year, including a big signature race. I knew that when Canterbury first opened in the 1980's they had a Harness meet, and even after they closed and reopened again later they did offer a few days a year of Standardbred racing. But It has now been sixteen years since a trotter or pacer has competed on the one mile track. For Cathy, the encounter remained in the back of her mind. Years passed, and Cathy and Bill became more and more invested in Harness Racing, both financially and emotionally. They advanced from claimers to private sales - to auctions and into breeding in the fast growing Minnesota-Sired program. They won their first Championship race in 2018 and took year-end divisional honors with the same horse, two year old trotting filly Twilight Tinker. Also in 2018, Cathy became a board member for Minnesota Harness Racing, Inc., which is the Harness Horsemen's association in the state of Minnesota. It was through her involvement in the MHRI board that she would soon have an opportunity to find out more about the Dan Patch-era sulky on display at Canterbury. While participating in routine Racing Industry events, she had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Randy Sampson, President and CEO of Canterbury Park. She admits that it took her a good while before getting up the courage to approach Mr. Sampson to ask about the Sulky. Around the beginning of this year she indeed did speak to him, and asked to whom did it (The Sulky) belong and he replied that it was his. She expressed her surprise to see it on display at the Thoroughbred track, and Mr. Sampson explained that Harness Racing was once a part of the track's activities, and that the city of Savage, where the great Dan Patch lived for most of his life was very close by. Cathy expressed that since Harness Racing was now long gone from there and had a new Minnesota home at Running Aces, it would be wonderful if there were any way to move it there. She asked if she could buy it, and move it to Running Aces. Mr. Sampson shared with her what he had paid for it, and that if he sold it he would want to get that amount back, but he would need time to decide if he wanted to sell it at all. After a short time, Mr. Sampson provided the answer that Cathy had been hoping for, and so much more, he would not only sell the historic Sulky, but he would also donate the proceeds to a local horse racing charity foundation that was recently created by Ben Blum and Taro Ito at Running Aces. That charity is The North Metro Racehorse and Community foundation, which has a goal of creating a facility than can serve as a rehabilitation location for racehorses, assist in transitioning horses from the racetrack to retirement, and offer programs that educate the local public about horse racing and all of its benefits. Another goal of the foundation will be to offer additional stall space and overflow space for the racetrack, As well as providing other local community programs with support and assistance. Cathy and Bill Dessert bought the historic antique sulky, turned over ownership to MHRI, and then immediately spoke with Taro Ito, President and CEO of Running Aces to be sure that he would welcome the piece of history to be displayed at his track. Of course, Mr. Ito was overjoyed with the idea, and so happy that such an important symbol of Harness Racing's past would now have a home at one of the country's newest and most respected Harness facilities. Cathy now had the sulky, she had the place for it at it's new Harness Racing home, but she needed a way to get it from Shakopee to Running Aces in Columbus, which is about a 60 mile trip. She knew just who to call, A.J. !!! A.J. is Alyssa Joy Fetterly, who is one of those types of people you always want to have around, always at the ready to help out fellow horsemen in any way possible. Aside from helping to supply local horsemen with everything from feed to tack and equiptment, A.J. can be found helping on the backside at Running Aces in the barns or in the paddock. Upon hearing the request for help with the Dan Patch Sulky, she was eager to jump in, hook up a trailer and hit the road, and she fully enjoyed the experience. She summed up the day by posting this: "What did you do today? Cathy Dessert and I moved a piece of history." On Wednesday, May 22, the historic Dan Patch-era 1904 Sulky made the pilgrimage from Canterbury to Running Aces. Wheeling it to trailer outside Canterbury Park It would have been fitting if it had been lead there on the highway by the starting gate car or something equally as symbolic. But the sense of history was not lost on any of the participants in this great story. The semi-newbie to Harness Racing who fell in love with the sport and then the sulky; immediately in both cases - Cathy Dessert - who was choked up and teary eyed throughout the pilgrimage and even while discussing the significance with me afterwards. Track Superintendent and Starter John Betts - who was instrumental in helping to get it placed in it's new home, Arriving at entrance to Running Aces The previous owner of the piece - Randy Sampson, who realized that the significance of the Sulky itself was bigger than one person, and The Running Aces CEO - Taro Ito - who not only welcomed it with open arms, but insisted it get displayed in the most prominent place possible - at the Grand entrance of Running Aces, not only home to Harness Racing - but now Harness Racing history.   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces

Columbus, MN -Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack proudly presents the 2019 Dan Patch Free-For-All Pace, with a $50,000 (gtd.) final to be raced on Sunday, July 21, 2019 during the track's Dan Patch weekend. Elimination Races will be held for $15,000 each, on Sunday, July 14. Should Elimination races not be necessary, a $15,000 Dan Patch Preview will be held on 7/14 as the prep for the Final. Nomination forms are now available under the Horsemen's Resources tab on the Running Aces website: RunAces.com The Nomination fee is $500.00 and is payable to Running Aces and due by Monday, June 17, 2019. Nomination forms should be hand delivered to Nancy Byrge, Race Secretary, or mailed to: Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack Attn: Race Secretary - BARN A 15201 Running Aces Blvd., Columbus, MN 55025-9467.   From Darin Gagne  for Running Aces          

Columbus, MN -Despite heavy participation in the Hi-5 wagering pools on Sunday night (May 19), nobody was able to solve the High-5 with all top 5 numbers correct. Longshot winners in both of the final two races triggered a double- carryover for tonight's card. A robust $8,049.09 will be added to the High-5 pool in Race #7 tonight, a $4,600 condition pace for fillies and mares. Exsqueeze Me (Steve Wiseman) has been installed as the 5/2 morning line choice from post 9, coming off a victory right here at Running Aces on opening night. Post time for the Tuesday opener is 7:00 pm (CT) and approximate post time for Race #7 is 9:15 pm (CT).   Darin Gagne For Running Aces

Columbus, MN -The first Sunday card of the 2019 Harness Racing season featured a $15,000 Open Trot event, with a strong field of contenders. Silverlode was making her Running Aces return after a stellar campaign in northern California at Cal Expo over the winter and spring. Banker Volo was making his Running Aces return and just second start of the year, after a winter campaign in western Pennsylvania at The Meadows. Those two were the talk of the tote-board and rightfully so, as they also dominated the action on the track. Banker Volo (Nick Roland) struck the front first, with a burst right off the wings of the gate to challenge the inside entry Doug's Hobby Horse (Rick Bertrand) and take the lead at the quarter in 29.2, while Silverlode (Steve Wiseman) floated away third from her outside eight post, and advanced to challenge and take over the front near the 3/8 marker. The fractions were tepid for the top class trotters as they hit the half in just 1 minute flat and also completed a middle half of one minute flat (1:30). Silverlode faced mild pressure near the 5/8 when Al Mar Reba Babe was advancing first-over on the outside, but was never in jeopardy. Turning for home Silverlode had taken a clear two-length margin and had full benefit of the soft fractions, kicking home in 29.1 to check in 3 ¾ lengths ahead of Banker Volo, with Bringoverthemoney (Tim Maier) picking up the pieces for third. Silverlode ($3.20) is a 10 year old mare by British Sterling and is trained by Kathleen Plested, who co-owns with Medinah Racing. She now has 6 wins in a row and 7 victories in just 10 starts in 2019, and She recently surpassed the quarter-million mark in career earnings and now sport's a tally of $258,072. Four year old pacer Just B Talking ($84.40) became the biggest priced winner of the meet so far in Race seven on the card for Owner-Trainer-Driver Gerald Longo, with an impressive tally on the front end in 1:58.2 to light up the board at more than 41-1, triggering a carryover in the Hi-5 wager. And when 6 year old pacer Buzz Light (Nick Roland) turned in a sharp looking win at 11-1 ($24.20) in the finale in 1:58, that helped to trigger a double-carryover of $8,049.09 for the High Five Wager on Tuesday Night (5/21). Drivers Nick Roland, and Dean Magee both picked up driving doubles on the Sunday program. Post time on Tuesday night (5/21) is 7:00 pm CT.   By Darin Gagne For Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack

Columbus, MN -The Opening night harness racing card at Running Aces featured the $14,000 Open handicap Pace for horses & geldings and promised to be a good contest. Stuckey Dote was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite having just turned in a career best winning mile at El Dorado Scioto Downs in 1:50.3. Stuckey Dote got in gear early with a sweeping move into the first turn to establish the lead over Firedrake (Brian Detgen) who got away quickly from post 6, and secured the pocket through a 27.2 opener. Driver Rick Magee settled his charge down nicely on the front and registered a 30 second breather in the second panel. From there they weathered a good challenge from King of The Crop (Steve Wiseman) through the final half mile, and the 1:26.3 three-quarters, with Firedrake saving ground and closing late to make it close for the place spot. Stuckey Dote paced home strong to register a 3 ¼ length tally over King of The Crop and Firedrake in 1:54.1 for his 30th career win from 90 starts. The winning trainer is Brett Ballinger and winning owner is Merlin Van Oterloo. Longshots dominated the middle part of the Opening-night program, with Brushin Albert (Dean Magee) registering a 16-1 upset in the third contest, paying a $34.20 mutuel. Race four was won by Cenalta Cougar ($44.80) with driver Tim Maier, who would go on to lead the night with 3 wins. The longshot trail continued in Race 5 when Trinitysfancyfilly (Brian Detgen) scored at just under 10-1 for a $21.60 payout. Stuckey Dote delivered in the featured seventh as the favorite, and Tim Maier completed both halves of the late double while favored in both events (Fox Valley Nemitz, paying $3.80, and Crystal Hotspur paying $5.20) Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday, May 19 with first post at 6:00 pm CT.   Darin Gagne

Columbus, MN -Sixteen races have been carded for opening weekend of the 2019 Minnesota Harness Racing season at Running Aces, highlighted by the $14,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday and the $15,000 Open Handicap Trot on Sunday. The Saturday feature will see the return of top pacers Stuckey Dote and Firedrake as headliners. Stuckey Dote, who recently lowered his lifetime mark with a 1:50.3 score at Scioto, is the 6-5 morning line choice from his assigned 7 post, and veteran Rick Magee will be at the controls for trainer Brett Ballinger. Firedrake, who was the inaugural Dan Patch FFA Pace winner in 2017, and close runner up last season, starts from post six for trainer Nick Roland and looks for his first win of the year. Brian Detgen has the drive on Firedrake. Sunday's card is headlined by the Open Trot and the return of Silverlode to the Minnesota oval. The now 10 year old trotting mare is fresh off a stellar meet in northern California, where she dominated the Open ranks, including a North American record on February 23, when she trotted a mile and a half in 2:57.2 Steve Wiseman will steer Silverlode, as usual, for wife Kathleen Plested. Silverlode looks to carry on with a five race win streak and has just surpassed the $250,000 mark in career spoils. Silverlode will square off against a good field of trotters, including fellow track record holder Banker Volo (Nick Roland) and former track record holder Al Mar Reba Babe (Dean Magee). Driver Steve Wiseman is back and ready to defend his driving title from the past two seasons, and he's looking for a track record 3 titles in a row. Running Aces all-time leading driver Nick Roland will be back in full force looking to pick up his fourth title, and top veterans Rick Magee, and Dean Magee will be among the leaders, and Minnesota Hall-of-Famer Lemoyne "Mooney Svendsen" is back and fresh off a fantastic season at Cal Expo where he was just nosed out at the finish for the title. Trainer Kathie Plested is also back with a powerhouse stable to defend her leading trainer title, and is looking for her third consecutive Aces' trophy and her fifth consecutive title on the California-Minnesota Circuit. Saturday night will offer local fans some great beer and wine specials, as Running Aces' popular " Keep it Local Night " is back to spotlight local breweries and wineries with free sampling and prize drawings, as well as free Live Music after the races every Saturday. Sunday's are family day at Running Aces, with free trout-pond fishing for kids, coloring contests plus drawings and contests for the adults and so much more. Tuesday's very popular " Dollar Night " promotion is back as well, offering fans tremendous value and a fun and extremely affordable night out. All of our popular exotic wagers from last season are back, with at least two 50 cent pick-3 offerings each night, plus early and late 50 cent pick-4 wagers, the 20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 and the extremely popular 50 cent Hi-5 wagers on each of the last two races of the night. The 50 cent late Daily Double is also back and starts in the second to the last race. Live Racing spans 53 nights this summer at Running Aces, Saturday, May 18 through Saturday, September 14. Post times are 6 pm (CT) on weekends and 7 pm (CT) on Tuesdays.   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces

Columbus, MN -The Stall Allocations for the Running Aces 2019 Live meet have now been posted on the RunAces.com website under the Horsemen Resources tab, and can be accessed here by clicking the following link:   http://runaces.com/sites/default/files/stall_allocation_040619.pdf   Please note that this is the first posting of the 2019 allocations and may be subject to minor adjustments.   Questions or concerns should be brought to the attention of Race Secretary Nancy Byrge or Racing Manager Ben Blum.   Running Aces staff and management is excited to welcome back all of our returning horsemen and to also welcome a few new faces to our racing family as well as we get set to kick off our 12th season of Live Harness Racing.   It's an exciting time at Running Aces as we continue to grow, with construction well underway on our Hotel adjacent to the Casino and Racetrack at the top of the stretch. Construction is also in full swing to reconfigure our track apron area which will have a brand new look and flow for this season, and will see more changes later on in an effort to enhance the guest experience and offer more options and better hospitality.   Our 2019 season will also offer record purses, with the largest purse package in the track's history up for grabs over the 52 night season.   The Stable area and track will open on Saturday, May 4. The 2019 season will kick off on Saturday, May 18, with racing 3 nights per week through September 14.   The first session of Qualifiers will be held on Saturday, May 11 at 5:00 pm, and entries will be due by 10:00 am on Friday May 10. For the early stages of the meet, qualifiers will be offered on both Tuesdays and Saturdays, as in recent years.   There is a change in the training schedule for 2019: The track will be closed on Wednesdays and will be open on Thursdays.   There is also a change to the draw schedule for 2019 as well, with a double draw taking place on Thursdays for the Saturday and Sunday cards, with driver selections/changes due immediately after the draw is published. The draw for Tuesday cards remains on Saturdays. The box closes at 10 am on draw days.   We thank everyone for their interest in participating in our 2019 season and look forward to seeing everyone very soon.     By Darin Gagne' For Running Aces Casino & Racetrack

Columbus, MN -The Board of Directors of Minnesota Harness Racing Inc. (MHRI) has elected breeder, owner, and trainer Justin Anfinson to serve as President of the association. Anfinson is a second-generation harness horseman based in Kenyon, Minnesota. He trains Minnesota bred and open pacers and trotters for his family, as well as for owners residing in multiple states throughout the Midwest and Northeast. Anfinson trained 2018 Minnesota Horse of the Year, Burning Blaze, for owners Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte of Maurice, Iowa and Edward Gutin of Massapequa, NY. The Sandbulte's also bred the juvenile champion. Burning Blaze, a gelding by Wind Me Up out of the Jet Laag mare Cowgirls N Indians, set a track record of 1:54.1 at Running Aces last summer on his way to a 2YO Divisional Championship. He won 7 times and placed twice in 9 starts for earnings of $53,250. Justin, whose uncle, Ron Banks, previously served as MHRI president and who was inducted last year into the Minnesota Harness Racing Hall of Fame, and his wife Stephanie have two young children, daughter Morgan and a new-born son, Carter. MHRI also welcomes Director Scott Banitt to the Board. Members elected Banitt, a breeder, owner, and trainer based in Cannon Falls, MN, to serve a three-year term. He replaces longtime director Vern Devine, who has retired. Scott and his wife Becki's stallion Fancy Schmansy, by Jenna's Beach Boy, has sired multiple winners including the Minnesota champions Dream Chasin and I'm On A Terror. Scott is a strong advocate for County Fair racing in Minnesota. Following are the results of the MHRI Board of Directors election. At the Annual Meeting which took place on Saturday, February 23, 2019, members elected three directors who will each serve three-year terms.   1. 93 Votes - Rick Magee 2. 79 Votes - Scott Banitt 3. 57 Votes - Mark Corless 4. 47 Votes - Vikki Pfeilsticker 4. 25 Votes - Robin Becklin   The Board of Directors of MHRI gratefully recognizes and congratulates the candidates who have generously offered their time and efforts on behalf of all Minnesota harness horsemen and women. The Board further wishes to thank the members who participated in the election process. Darin Gagne for Minnesota Harness Racing, Inc.  

Reminder to all horsemen that completed Stall Applications for the 2019 harness racing meet are due in one week. Due date for completed Applications is Friday, March 15, and stall allocations will be posted in early April. The stable area and track will open on Saturday, May 4. The Live Racing meet starts on Saturday, May 18 and runs through Saturday, September 14.   2019 will feature the richest purse package for both overnights and Minnesota restricted races in track history.   You can access the 2019 Stall Applications by clicking this link.   For more information, or if you have questions, please contact Ben Blum (651) 925-4514 or via email at bblum@runaces.com.   Race Secretary Nancy Byrge can be reached via email at nbyrge@runaces.com.   By Darin Gagne For Running Aces Casino Hotel & Racetrack

On the heels of the recently held Minnesota Harness Racing Annual Awards Banquet (Feb 23) an emerging pattern became clear - Wind Me Up has proven to be a quite successful sire out of the gate. His first two crops of two year olds have now produced back-to-back Minnesota Horse of the Year winners.   From his very small first crop of foals (just 4 foals dropped with a late start in the breeding season) came the Minnesota horse of the year for 2017 in a colt named Giggle Monster (Wind Me Up - Sportstalk - Sportsmaster) who picked up 7 wins and 2 seconds in 9 starts as a freshman, easily claiming the two year old pacing colt of the year trophy and impressive enough to be voted as the state's overall Horse of the Year as well. (Giggle Monster is owned by Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte and trained by Justin Anfinson).   Giggle Monster - Minnesota horse of the year for 2017     His second crop produced 14 registered foals which included yet another Horse of The Year nod, as Burning Blaze (Wind Me Up - Cowgirls N Indians - Jet Lag) dominated the two year old pacing colts division in Minnesota in 2018, also earning seven wins and two seconds from nine freshman starts, and sporting a 1:54.1f track record at Running Aces. Burning Blaze was voted 2018 Horse of The Year in Minnesota by a wide margin. (Burning to Blaze is owned by Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte and Edward Gutin and is trained by Justin Anfinson).   Burning Blaze - 2018 Horse of The Year in Minnesota     Not only did his prodigy dominate the freshman colt pacing division in 2018, but he was also represented by the top freshman filly Pacer of the year as well, in Windmeupnwatchmego (Wind Me Up - Dangerous Years - Western Hanover) who easily captured her division with six wins and two seconds from eight starts and her own 1:54.1f track record at Aces. (Windmeupnwatchmego is owned by Richard Davelaar and trained by Gordon Graham)   Windmeupnwatchmego - Top freshman filly Pacer of the year   Wind Me Up (Bettor's Delight - Breathe - Northern Luck) was a foal of 2008 and hit the racing scene in 2009. His on track career spanned three seasons, with notable wins in the Thompkins-Geers Stakes and New York Sires Stakes as well as high profile appearances in The Metro Stakes, Adios Pace and The Hoosier Cup. At four, he was a regular competitor at the Open/Preffered level at both Harrington and Dover. He closed out his racing career with a summary of 44-11-10-5, earnings of $349,383 and a 3 year old Mark of 1:50.2 at The Meadowlands.   Wind Me Up was campaigned by the George Teague Jr. Stable, with ownership partners including Teague Jr, Ted Gewertz, Fannin Racing and Robert Feldman.   In the fall of 2013, Minnesota breeder Alan Sandbulte was in search of a new stallion, one to replace Relentless Yankee (Artsplace - Rosey Yankee - Tyler's Mark) who had been a top sire in Minnesota for several years and had been a big part of the Sandbulte's breeding and racing program over the years. Alan was interested in a Bettor's Delight stud as he had taken notice of some of that sire's traits. Sandbulte felt that for Running Aces, you need a slightly bigger horse, stronger and able to handle tough trips - first over moves around the five-eights turns. He had seen two different types of foals in Bettor's Delight - some compact with good shoulders and good hind ends - probably well suited for half-mile tracks. But the other group he had seen had exactly what he was looking for - size and strength.   With the help of son-in-law Brandon Simpson, of the Renee Allard stable, Sandbulte's search was narrowed down, and they had their eyes on a Bettor's Delight stud named Wind Me Up. Alan soon came in touch with George Teague, Jr. and discussed a purchase of Wind Me Up. After some negotiation the two were unable to meet on a price that satisfied both parties, but Teague informed Alan that he would be putting Wind Me Up in an upcoming sale. Sandbulte vowed to watch the horse in the sale. He ultimately was the winning bidder (for less than what the asking price had been privately) and eventually brought Wind Me Up back to his home base in Maurice, Iowa.   Al Sandbulte ran into George Teague Jr. one night at The Meadowlands a year or two later, he told him "George I did buy that stud horse in the auction" to which Teague jokingly replied " I know you did, and you still owe me some money ". Clearly Teague thought he should have brought more at the sale. Based on his early results as a sire, I think we can all agree he was probably right.   Producing the state's Horse of the Year in back to back years in your first two racing crops is extremely impressive.   For Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte Harness Racing is a family affair. It is a part of their daily life. Harness Racing runs deep in their blood and it extends out to the far reaches of the family tree. They are no strangers to success in the racing business either. Breeding and racing champions is what they strive for.   Alan is very pleased with the early success of Wind Me Up as a sire, and with the types of foals he is seeing. He shared that they have great conformation and a great temperment, they are willing to learn, great gated and they love their work. All of his foals exhibit some form of white markings, with alot of diamond markings on the forehead and lots of white feet amongst his prodigy.   To date, his top 5 performers include:   Giggle Monster (g) $77,980 3, 1:53.4f   Miss Sassy Pants (m) $54,180 4, 1:55.1f   Burning Blaze (g) $53,250 2, 1:54.1f   Windmeupnwatchmego (f) $49,950 2, 1:54.1f   Aint No Uppy Girl (m) $33,115 3, 1:55.1f     Wind Me Up covered 33 mares in 2018, which was his largest book to date. Many in Minnesota are eagerly awaiting the next Wind Me Up stars to hit the racetrack, and eager to see what 2018 stars Burning Blaze and Windmeupnwatchmego will accomplish in 2019 when the racing season gets underway at Running Aces in May.   Wind Me Up seen here winning at Mohawk     Wind Me Up stands at Bluff Country Equine in Winona, Minnesota for $850/Live Foal.   By Darin Gagne' For Minnesota Harness Racing  

The Minnesota Harness Racing Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet was held on Saturday, February 23 at Vanelli's by the Lake in Forest Lake, MN. Among the top honorees in the Awards portion of the evening were Burning Blaze and Goody Two Socks. Trainers Nick Roland and Justin Anfinson each had 3 divisional champions, while breeders Cheryl & Al Sandbulte and Glen Sauder each had two divisional champions to their credit in 2018.   "Burning Blaze (Wind Me Up-Cowgirls N Indians-Jet Laag) dominated the two year old colt pacing division with seven wins and two seconds from nine starts, $53,250 in purse earnings and a track record 1:54.1 mark taken on Night of Champions September 15. Burning Blaze, who was bred by owners Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte of Iowa, is also owned by Edward Gutin and is trained by Justin Anfinson, received the 2 year old colt Pacer of the year award and was also voted - by a wide margin - as the overall Minnesota Horse of The Year by the banquet attendees.   Also nominated for Horse of The Year honors were Bringoverthemoney, Firedrake, Windmeupnwatchmego, Place At The Beach, Pridecrest, Dream Chasin, and Here Comes Teddy.   Goody Two Socks (Relentless Yankee-Ms Jordi-Magical Mike) was inducted into The Minnesota Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Saturday, honored for his accomplishments both on and off the racetrack.   Goody Two Socks was a gelded Pacer by Relentless Yankee out of the Magical Mike mare Ms Jordi. He won 24 of 111 career races with 20 seconds and 11 thirds and $98,959 in purses. Goody Two Socks was bred by Beth Dale in Minnesota and owned by Seppo Hakaama of Michigan.   Developed by both Greg Budach and Gene Miller, he was then trained throughout most of his racing career by Alexia Kehl. Goody Two Socks was a fan favorite at Running Aces, he always tried his heart out on the racetrack, and he hit the board in half of his career races. Goody also had an amazing power of connection with people, a trait that will live on as part of his legacy in Minnesota. Goody Two Socks passed away early this year, but now lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone he touched, and lives on in the annuls of Minnesota Harness Racing forever.   During the Annual meeting portion of the evening, voting was conducted to fill three M.H.R.I. board member seats that were up for election. Rick Magee was elected to the board by a wide margin of the votes along with Scott Bannitt and President Mark Corless was also re-elected to another term on the board.   Three special Milestone Awards were presented for accomplishments during the 2018 Season. Nick Roland was recognized for his 1,500 wins milestone on July 8 at Running Aces steering Sing N Sandi to her maiden victory, while Rick Magee was honored for his 1,000 career wins milestone on July 15 at Aces driving Bringoverthemoney to victory in the Minnesota Sired 3 YO Trot. Dean Magee was also honored with a milestone award for his Running Aces track record of 7 wins on one program on Tuesday, July 31.   The Divisional horse of year honors for the Running Aces meet were as follows:   2YO Filly Trotters - Twilight Tinker Owner- Cathy Dessert Trainer- Nick Roland Breeder- Glen Sauder   runner up: Lone Pine Shuzy   2YO Colt Trotters - MD Magic Owner- Set The Pace Racing, LLC. Trainer- Nick Roland Breeder-Glen Sauder   runner up: Dewey's Machine   2YO Filly Pacers - Windmeupnwatchmego Owner- Richard Davelaar Trainer- Gordon Graham Breeder- Richard Davelaar   runner up: Trinitysfancyfilly   2YO Colt Pacers - Burning Blaze Owners- Cheryl & Alan Sandbulte and Edward Gutin Trainer- Justin Anfinson Breeders- Cheryl & Al Sandbulte   runner up: Trump Train   3 YO Filly Trotters - Dekker Owners- Benjamin, Eric & Jesse De Long Trainer- Justin Anfinson Breeder- Al Mar Farms   runner up: Mimi Marguerite   3YO Colt Trotters - Bringoverthemoney Owner- Jasmine Horvat Trainer- Brian Detgen Breeder- Katrina Horvat   runner up: SB Fine and Dandy   3YO Filly Pacers - Peekaboo Tattoo Owner- Fabiola Quevedo Trainer- Edwin Quevedo Breeders- Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte   runner up: I'm On A Terror   3YO Colt Pacers - Here Comes Teddy Owner- Aimes Racing Trainer- Justin Anfinson Breeder- Paul Zimmerman   runner up: Ridonkuloso   Aged Mare Trotters - Whatevershesgot Owner- Jenni King Trainer- Jenni King Breeder- Dennis Bontrager   runner up: Al Mar Bon Bon   Aged Male Trotters - Bringthegold Owner- Jane Carter Trainer- Dave Carter Breeder- Dave Carter   runner up: French Eclipse   Aged Mare Pacers - Place At The Beach Owner- Peg Hoffman Trainer- Gerald Longo Breeder- John Hendricks   runner up: Boom Boom Shaboom   Aged Male Pacers - Forgiveusourzins Owners- Carol Polkowske and Barbara & Royal Roland Trainer- Nick Roland Breeders- Barbara & Royal Roland   runner up: Cuz I'm Happy   The 2018 County Fair awards were also presented on Saturday as follows:   Driver of the Year: Brian Detgen with 14 wins and 1,015 points.   Trainer of the Year: Jenni King with 6 wins and 595 points.   Trotter of the Year: Floatinonthebreeze (3f, Money Talks) owned and trained by Jenni King.   Pacer of the Year: Read Me My Rights (3g, Fancy Schmancy) owned and trained by Scott Bannitt.   Once again, we congratulate all of the award winners on a fantastic 2018 season, and we look forward to great things for all in 2019.   The 2019 Racing season in Minnesota starts on Saturday, May 18 at Running Aces.     By Darin Gagne' for Minnesota Harness Racing  

Running Aces Casino & Racetrack is proud to announce the Live harness Racing dates for 2019, which have recently been approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission.   The 2019 Season will consist of 52 racing nights spanning 19 weeks from May 18 to September 14.   Running Aces will kick off it's Twelfth Season of Live Racing on Saturday, May 18, 2019 and it will offer 3 nights a week of live action throughout the summer, culminating with Night of Champions on Saturday, September 14, 2019. As in recent years, post times will be 7:00 p.m. central on Tuesdays and 6:00 p.m. central on Saturdays and Sundays.   Stall Applications will be made available on the Running Aces website (RunAces.com) beginning on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 and completed applications will be due by Friday, March 15.   Stall Allocations will be announced/posted on Thursday, April 4, and the Stable area and backside will open for the season on Saturday, May 4.   Running Aces is currently in the midst of an exciting period of growth and improvements to it's already celebrated facilities, as construction is underway on a 116-room Hotel adjacent to the Track and Casino. Groundbreaking took place on Thursday, November 21 and the Hotel is scheduled to open in early December of 2019. As we get closer to the start of the 2019 Season, we will release details about our schedule of featured races, as well as general conditions for the meet and a schedule of Live Racing promotions. Stay tuned to our website for periodic updates.   By Darin Gagne' for Running Aces        

The Minnesota Harness Racing Night of Champions program was conducted at Running Aces on Saturday night (Sept. 15), with eleven championship races going for a record $362,500 in purses, with an additional $15,200 in overnights for a total of $377,700 and the richest harness racing card in state history.   Among the Championship contenders was Boom Boom Shaboom, a 7 year old pacing mare by General Aidid who was making her final career start before retirement to become a broodmare. Boom Boom Shaboom had become a fan favorite over the last few years, campaigning in races all the way up to the top level at Running Aces with many appearances in the Mares Open Pace during the past two seasons.   She drew post six for the $20,000 Aged Pacing Mares Championship, coming in fresh off a sharp winning effort (1:54.2) in a mares conditioned pace last out. Trainer/Driver Brady Jenson seized the opportunity to grab the lead right off the gate- surging to command in the first few strides.   Jenson was able to control the affair with moderate and well-rated fractions (:28.2, :58.1 and 1:27) while saving enough in the tank to sprint home in :28 and seal the victory over fast-closing rivals Swinging Again (James Yoder) and Place'n First (Steve Wiseman) with a half-length margin of victory.   The 1:55 Championship win was career tally number 36 for Boom Boom Shaboom ($24.60) and rounded her final career purse tally up to $132,520 for owners Brian and Kim Larson of Canton, South Dakota. Timothy Lems was the winning breeder.   Burning Blaze turned in a dazzling gate-to-wire performance in the $40,000 2 Year Old Colts & Geldings Championship Pace from post three with driver Steve Wiseman in the sulky. Burning Blaze was never in doubt and was well in hand through a moderate early pace of :28.1 and :58.3, but turned on the turbo charge for a third panel in :28.2 and a blazing final quarter in :27.1, giving his rivals little chance to catch him.   His :55.3 final half was the fastest of the night, and secured the victory by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:54.1 for his seventh win in nine career trips to the gate and a new lifetime mark. He also established a new track record for 2 year old gelding pacers, eclipsing the previous mark of 1:54.3.    The impressive son of Wind Me Up is owned by his breeders Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte along with Edward Gutin. The winning trainer is Justin Anfinson. Rounding out the top three were Stay Humble N Kind (Gerald Longo) and SB Bodacious (Rick Magee) Burning Blaze ($2.10) was a heavy 1-9 favorite.   Dream Chasin became a back-to-back Champion by capturing the $35,000 3 Year Old Colts & Geldings Pace in 1:55 flat with Driver Nick Roland in the sulky. Roland sent Dream Chasin quickly off the gate from the outside nine post and swept right to the lead, controlled the pace and was never in doubt with a one length victory over deep-closer Watchmeneighneigh (James Yoder) and Ridonkuloso (Steve Wiseman) was home in third.   Dream Chasin ($33.00) was the 2 year old champion pacer last season, also with Roland in the bike. The big win tonight was number six on the season and ninth career tally for the son of Fancy Schmancy who has now bankrolled $81,415 for Owners and Breeders Michelle and Gregory Budach. The winning trainer is also Greg Budach.   Full-Sisters Al Mar Reba Babe (Dean Magee) and Al Mar Bon Bon (James Yoder) finished one-two and were separated by just a whisker at the line in the $25,000 Aged Trot Championship. The two daughters of Sos Lunar Eclipse out of Golden Victory by Valley Victor hit the line together in 1:56.3 and the photo finish camera was barely able to split the pair.   Al Mar Reba Babe ($6.40) got the victory by the slimmest of margins for her third win in eighteen starts this year and eleventh career tally, pushing her lifetime bankroll to $105,619 for owner/trainer Richard Davis. Al Mar Bon Bon is owned by Cara Hauser and trained by Alexia Kehl.   The other Championship winners were as follows:   $27,500 2 Year Old Filly Trot, Twilight Tinker (Rick Magee) for owner Cathy Dessert, trainer Nick Roland, time 2:04.1 $35,000 3 Year Old Colt Trot, Bekkums Royal Duty (Dean Magee) for owner Sarah Bekkum, trainer David Ginter, time 1:59 $40,000 2 Year Old Colt Trot, MD Magic (Dean Magee) for owner Set The Pace Racing, trainer Nick Roland, time 2:00 $40,000 2 Year Old Filly Pace, Windmeupnwatchmego (Dean Magee) for owner Richard Davelaar, trainer Gordon Graham, time 1:57.2 $35,000 2 Year Old Filly Trot, Mimi Marguerite (James Yoder) Jeanne Marquis and Jesse De Long, trainer Justin Anfinson, time 1:58.3 $35,000 3 Year Old Filly Pace, I'm On A Terror (James Yoder) Brian Anfinson and Jesse De Long, trainer Justin Anfinson, time 1:55 $20,000 Aged Horses & Geldings Pace, Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee) for owner Merlin Van Oterloo, trainer Brett Ballinger, time 1:53.2   Driver Dean Magee had four Championship wins on the program, with James (J.D.) Yoder picking up two Championships and three wins overall.   Trainer Justin Anfinson had three Championship wins, with Nick Roland picking up two Championships on the night. Driver Steve Wiseman and his wife Trainer Kathleen Plested-Wiseman were crowned as the 2018 Leading Driver and Leading Trainer at Running Aces.   Wiseman picked up two wins on the closing night program to bring his final win tally to an impressive 105, his best Running Aces season to date. He had a final advantage of 16 wins over Dean Magee who was very impressive in the last six weeks of the meet pulling to within 7 or 8 wins of the lead with about three weeks to go.   Magee landed at an impressive 89 wins for the season. Kathleen was well ahead of all trainers throughout the season and pulled away from the field in the final month of racing, picking up one win on closing night for an impressive total of 68 wins for the meet, 33 wins ahead of both Gerald Longo and Justin Anfinson.   For both husband Steve, and wife Kathleen it was back-to-back Championships at Running Aces. Daughter Tyler Wiseman was also in the Winner's Circle to help celebrate the fantastic season for the Wiseman stable.   The $100,000 Guaranteed 20-cent Pick-5 wager on closing night marked a record for the largest guarantee in track history, and produced the largest gross pool in the history of our Pick-5, and also contributed to the best Saturday handle in the history of the track.   Running Aces management wishes to thank all of it's loyal fans, staff, and horsemen for another successful and record setting season. Special thanks go out to Xpressbet for the Night of Champions promotional sponsorship, as well as NAHUpicks.com and Harness Racing Replays for season long partnerships as well.   Simulcast Racing is offered year round at Running Aces as well as Casino action 365 days a year. Check our website RunAces.com for news and upcoming events. Information about the next/upcoming season of Live Racing is typically posted around February or March of each year.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces  

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