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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 website under the Horsemen Resources tab, and can be accessed here by clicking the following link:   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   Race Secretary Nancy Byrge can be reached via email at   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 ( 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 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 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  

Columbus, MN.  The featured event on the Saturday night (Sept. 8) Harness Racing program at Running Aces was the $13,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses & geldings with a good field of seven squaring off behind the gate. Bestinthebusiness (James Yoder) was the race favorite, coming in fresh off a huge first-over mile in this event last week where he just missed by half a length to stablemate Whatchyastarinat in a 1:51.3 mile. Again this week Whatchyastarinat (Lemoyne Svendsen) fired right off the gate from post seven to take command after an early battle with Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee), the fractions were solid with a :26.4 quarter, followed by :56.0 and 1:24.1. Bestinthebusiness launched his first-over attack near the 5/8 marker and the two Gene Miller trainees were once again going head to head for the final quarter mile in the top event. Whatchyastarinat was dead-game but Bestinthebusiness and Stuckey Dote were firing on both sides in the final yards and Besinthebusiness would get up to prevail by a neck on the line over Stuckey Dote and Whatchyastarinat was just a half-length back in third in a 1:52.1 mile. Bestinthebusiness ($4.20) is owned by Brett Boyd Racing and trained by Gene Miller, the feature win tonight was the 46th career tally for the winner of $431,130 lifetime. The $14,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old pace event went to Giggle Monster again tonight, for two wins in a row in this division. Driver Dean Magee fired up Giggle Monster much earlier than usual and they cleared the lead just before the 3/8 pole and faced heavy pressure from Frewil Dakota Sven (Corey Larson) through the middle stages, producing a :56.3 middle half. After turning back that challenge near the top of the lane, Giggle Monster ($3.60) cruised home a winner by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:54.3 for his fourth win in fourteen starts this season. The impressive son of Wind Me Up has now won $73,580 in 23 career races for owners Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and trainer Justin Anfinson. Steve Wiseman led the Saturday card with three wins, with Dean Magee picking up a double. Live Racing returns on Sunday (Sept. 9) with first post at 6:00 pm CDT and a carryover in the 20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $36,161.20.   By Darin Gagne  

The Sunday Harness Racing program at Running Aces was jam-packed with impressive performances, but perhaps the most impressive showing of the evening did not come from one of the trotters or pacers, but rather from the meet's current leading driver Steve Wiseman, who dominated the card with 5 wins, 1 second, 1 third and 1 fourth in his 8 trips to the starting gate on the nine race program.   Wiseman got things started early in the card with a sharp looking win with Western Fortune ($3.80) in race two, powering to the front from post 5 and keeping to task to post a 1-length tally in 1:54.3 for trainer Tim Brown. He was right back in the winner's circle after race 3 with Coastal Treasure, who benefitted from a quick-thinking brush from the pocket by Wiseman just before the 3/8 pole, which would prove to be the winning move. Coastal Treasure ($9.80) held gamely to win by a neck in 1:55 for trainer Kathie Plested. After a solid third place finish with 8-1 shot Stonecold Stunner in the Minnesota-Sired 3 year old geldings trot, Wiseman "The Magician" was right back to his winning ways in race 5 aboard Feeling Fancy Free ($7.00) in the maiden pace, guiding that 5 year old mare to her first lifetime win (2:00.2) in 29 starts for trainer Marco Rios.   Next, Wiseman piloted Frenchkissmebaby to a good second in the Minnesota-Sired 3 year old filly trotting event. Defending Aces driving champion Wiseman had a race off before returning to the track for the late daily-double. Race 8 was the featured $13,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses & geldings, and Wiseman stole the show in that contest as well, with a fantastic drive aboard To The Limit, Wiseman was patient through contested early fractions, got into the outer flow past the 5/8 juncture, and angled to the passing lane turning for home to burst through the inside and register a 1-length victory while drawing away in 1:52.3. To The Limit ($7.00) is owned by Alan Cooper and trained by Kathie Plested, and the speedy 6 year old gelding by Panspacificflight now has 2 wins in seven starts this year.   The nightcap was up next, and Wiseman was listed on the race-favorite Lincoln, whom he had piloted to two consecutive wins already and the duo was looking to remain an undefeated 3 for 3 on the Aces season in tonight's contest. After getting away third, Wiseman quarter-pulled Lincoln ($2.80) and swept to the front of the field before the second turn, and they dominated the proceedings from there, getting home first in 1:54.1 to complete the 3 race win-streak and the Wiseman Late-Double. Lincoln is owned by Robin Clements, and trained by Denise Maier, and he now has 7 wins in 20 races this year.   Running Aces offers Live Racing every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday night. Tuesday night June 5 features a $5,000 guarantee in the 50 cent Late Pick-4 wager, and a $2,910 carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager. Visit our website for complete information, upcoming events, promotions and handicapping tools, including a free program download for every Tuesday night's races.   By Darin Gagne', Running Aces Track Announcer

The Minnesota Harness Racing season kicked off on Saturday night, May 19 at Running Aces and Giggle Monster was one of the stars of the show. The now 3 year old gelding pacer by Wind Me Up was a freshman star here in 2017, winning 7 of 9 races with 2 seconds. Tonight, Driver Dean Magee parlayed a rail-draw into an early 3-hole trip during moderate early fractions of 29.3 and 59.3 before launching first over to challenge command. After taking the lead before the 7/8 pole, Giggle Monster kicked home gamely to hold a one-length margin at the wire in 1:57.4 in his 2018 debut, Taking the opening night featured $8,800 3 year-old Open Pace. Giggle Monster is owned by Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte of Iowa, and he paid $4.20 to his pari-mutuel backers. Another sharp winner on the card was Lincoln, a 7 year old gelding by Bettor’s Delight who fired strong from the 6 post on the gate to establish command early, and never look back- leaving his rivals 4 lengths behind in the process. Driver Steve Wiseman completed a double on the card with the 1:56.1 tally for Owner Robin Clements and Trainer Denise Maier. For Lincoln, it was his fifth win in 18 starts this year, and pushed his seasonal bankroll to $12,876. Mooney Svendsen led all drivers on opening night with his 3 wins for a Hat-Trick, and Steve Wiseman and Dean Magee both completed driving doubles. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday night, May 20, 2018 with a first post of 6:00 pm CDT and a carryover in the .50 cent Hi-5 wager of $873 for race 7.   By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

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

Running Aces Casino and Racetrack is set to kick off its 11th season of live Harness Racing this weekend, with opening night on Saturday with a 6:00 pm first post, and live music after the races. The 2018 season will follow our traditional 3 night schedule of Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings with the Tuesday Dollar Night programs getting underway at 7pm and the weekend cards will start at 6pm.  Running Aces offers fun for the whole family, with Trout pond fishing, Family nights, live music, great food and beverage options and plenty of promotions and giveaways. The full schedule of events is available on the Running Aces website ( The 2018 racing season will be highlighted by the $50,000 Dan Patch Free-For-All Pace on July 22, and the $360,000 (est.) Night of Champions on September 15. Other notable races will include the $15,000 Finnegan's Feature Trot and $15,000 Finnegan's Feature Pace both held on Father's Day weekend. July 15 will offer the $15,000 Dan Patch Preview Pace.  New for 2018 at Running Aces is a state-of-the-art infield video board, which will enhance the fan experience and provide easier viewing of the racing action, replays, prices and will-pay information.  Also new for 2018 RA introduces the 50 cent late Daily Double on the last 2 races of the night. All of the very popular multi-race pools are back as well, featuring the 20 cent JACKPOT Pick-5, plus multiple pick-3 wagers each night, and early and late 50 cent Pick-4 wagering.  The 50 cent late Pick-4 wager on Sunday and Tuesday will feature a $5,000 Guaranteed Pool which is sponsored by RA, the USTA's Strategic Wagering program, and MHRI.  The very popular 50 cent Hi-5 wager is back as well, and will be offered on each of the last two races every night.  Also new for 2018, each week Running Aces will offer Free Tuesday past-performance Race Pages available for download from the website, and will also make a download link available on Facebook.  By Darin Gagne' for Running Aces   

The first session of qualifiers went to post on Saturday night, May 12 at Running Aces, signaling the start of the Minnesota Harness Racing season. A total of 10 dashes went to post starting at 6:00 pm, featuring 4 trotting contests and 6 races on the pace. Track record holder Banker Volo (Nick Roland) turned in the fastest time on the trot, with his victory in 1:59.2, while the 5 year old trotting mare Whatevershesgot (Jenni King) turned in a good effort of 2:00.3 to best her qualifying field. On the pacing side, the 7 year old stallion Stevensville (Rick Magee) was a sharp gate-to-wire winner in 1:57.1 (27.3 final quarter) for the fastest mile of the night. Firedrake, last season's Dan Patch Free-For-All champion, and a track record holder as well- took his qualifying assignment with ease, in a 2 ¼ length romp in 1:57.3 with Nick Roland in the bike. The other qualifying winners were: Margin Call (Rick Magee) 2:04.2, SVF Cash Deposit (Elvin Zimmerman) 2:05.2 on the trot, and on the pace we saw Friskie's Angel (Mooney Svendsen) in 1:58.3, Exsqueezeme (Mooney Svendsen) in 1:59.4, Lakota Law (Nick Roland) in 2:00.1, and an impressive win in 1:58.1 by Elusive Image (Tony Huffman) Running Aces will offer qualifying races again on Tuesday Night, May 14 with a 6:00 pm post, and the Live Racing season opener is on Saturday night, May 19 at 6:00 pm CDT. Live Racing will be conducted three nights a week through September 15, on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday nights. By Darin Gagne', Running Aces Track Announcer

Running Aces has changed the draw day for its initial 2018 harness racing qualifier session from Friday morning to Thursday morning 5/10/18 ...entries for Saturday 5/12 qualifiers are now due in the race office by 10 a.m. Central tomorrow morning. Post time for qualifying races is 6:00 pm. Central on Saturday. Qualifiers will also be held on Tuesday, May 15, at 6:00 pm central, and entries for Tuesday's qualifiers are due by 10:00 am central on Monday, May 14. The 2018 Live Racing season kicks off on Saturday, May 19 at 6:00 pm central, and live racing is conducted every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. Darin Gagne

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