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Columbus, MN - The featured event on the Wednesday afternoon harness racing program at Running Aces was the $9,000 Open Handicap Trot, headlined by heavy 2-5 favorite Mandeville (Nick Roland) who was looking to extend a two race winning streak and was returning to action off of 22 days rest.   After two scratches reduced the field to five, Mandeville got to move in two spots on the gate and was fastest off the car from the outside spot. Justlikehim (Jacob Cutting) also left alertly from post four and got away second, but after sensing the slow early tempo (:29 and :58.3) went on the attack before the half mile.   Justlikehim was parked and pressuring the leader all the way to deep stretch, but Mandeville ($2.80) was able to fend him off and post a gate-to-wire victory by one length in 1:55.3 with Magic Mvp (Chris Scicluna) getting up right at the wire to snag second away from Justlikehim.       Mandeville now has seven wins in twelve outings this year. He eclipsed the quarter-million dollar mark in career earnings ($254,169) with today's victory. Gerald Longo is the winning owner and trainer.   Trainer Alexia Kehl swept both divisions of the two year old Open Trot, scoring in the first $4,500 division with filly Sunny P (Dean Magee, $8.40) in 2:08.2 for her first lifetime win for owners Neil Goldstein and Mercedes Cabrera.   In the second $4,500 division, Kehl was victorious with her own gelding Oh Danny Boy (Darrell Wright, $9.80) who also picked up his first lifetime win with a one length tally in 2:03.2.   Driver Nick Roland led the Wednesday program with three winners and Dean Magee registered a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday (September 19) with first post at 1:00 pm CDT and will feature a carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager of $10,993.47.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The featured event on the Wednesday afternoon (September 9) harness racing program at Running Aces was the $11,500 Minnesota-Sired freshman colt & geldings trot with a field of seven square-gaited rivals lining up behind the gate.   The overwhelming 1-9 favorite in the race was a Rush To The Bank (Nick Roland) who was coming into the event with two wins in a row, and five wins in ten career outings.   Driver Nick Roland sent the favorite straight to the front and dominated the affair with moderate fractions of :30.1, 1:02 and 1:32.2 over the rain-soaked oval, which was rated as good.   There was never an anxious moment for Rush To The Bank ($2.10) as he kept his rivals well behind throughout the mile, and kicked home in :30.2 to check in 7-3/4 lengths ahead in 2:02.4.       Half-brother Hide Your Banker (Brandon Jenson) got up for second over Oh Danny Boy (Darrell Wright) to complete the Banker Volo-sired Exacta that returned a handsome $71.40.   The winner is a gelding out of the Valley Victor mare Vacation Valley, owned by Jeralene Roland and Vikki Rush and trained by Dan Roland.   Trotstyle Takeover (Mooney Svendsen, $13.60) scored her first career win in the $11,500 freshman filly trot in 2:07 - closing late to just get up over the Banker Volo filly It's So Fluffy (Dean Magee) by a nose. Sunny P (Darrell Wright) was home third.   The winning filly is by Braggart and is owned by trainer Brett Ballinger, along with Darren and Suzanne Taylor and Benvenga Racing.   PH Kenny (Darrell Wright, $7.20) extended his winning streak to five in a row in a $12,000 claiming pace with another sharp mile in 1:55.4 over the surface that had been down-graded to sloppy. Gerald Longo is the winning owner and trainer, having claimed the horse last time out. Previous connections Jose Cervantes and Edward Hernandez claimed the 8 year old Lis Mara gelding back today.   Driver Mooney Svendsen led the program with his second consecutive Hat-Trick day, and owner Benvenga Racing had two winners on the program.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, September 12 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and will feature two carryover pools - $7,374.18 for the Pick-5 Jackpot, and $1,458.55 for the Early Pick-4.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces 

Columbus, MN - The Saturday afternoon harness racing program at Running Aces offered a pair of featured events.   The $11,500 Minnesota-Sired sophomore filly pace drew a field of six and was headlined by heavy favorite It's Pacific Time who was sent off as the 1-9 favorite from post six.   Driver Rick Magee sent It's Pacific Time ($2.10) quickly off the gate and surged to an immediate lead, putting two lengths on pocket-sitter Huftalookatdatfany (Nick Roland) as they registered the first quarter in a quick :27.3.   Magee orchestrated a middle-half breather of :59.2 before pacing home in :28.2 to widen the margin to 3-3/4 lengths at the wire over Huftalookatdatfany and Scarlett Ruby (Dean Magee) in 1:55.2.       The winning filly is by It's That Time and is trained by Joel Mc Danel for owner John Hendricks. She has now won eight of eleven starts this year.   Heza Real Diamond (Nick Roland) dominated the Open Handicap Pace for horses and geldings for the second straight week, and for three wins in a row - posting a sharp 3-1/4 length score in 1:52.3 for his tenth win in eighteen starts this year.   After working hard to get to the front from post seven in a :27 second first stanza, Heza Real Diamond ($4.20) was never in doubt once on the lead, and also benefitted from a textbook middle-half breather of :58.4 worked out by Roland.   Stuckey Dote (Darrell Wright) rallied for second and Prologue (Tim Maier) was home third.       The winner is owned by Orlando Nevarez and trained by Edwin Quevedo.   Drivers Rick Magee and Jacob Cutting dominated the Saturday program with three wins each.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (September 6) with first post at 1: 00 pm CDT and will feature a carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager of $4,988.21.   by Darin Gagne, for Running Aces  

Columbus, MN - The Saturday afternoon (August 29) harness racing program at Running Aces featured the $9,500 Open Handicap Pace for horses and geldings, and the betting public quickly zeroed in on last week's winner Heza Real Diamond as the overwhelming 1-5 favorite.   Driver Nick Roland floated away from the gate in fourth with Heza Real Diamond while Elusive Image (Rick Magee) was quickest off the car and Stuckey Dote (Darrell Wright) surged toward the front early. As they approached the 3/8 marker Roland got moving with the favorite and began a first-over attack that would persist for more than half a mile - gradually wearing down the front runner as they turned for home.   As they straightened for the wire, Heza Real Diamond ($2.60) drew away from his rivals with authority and the battle was on for second - with Hoo Nien A (Chris Scicluna) rallying from well off the pace to just beat Elusive Image at the line for second, 2-1/2 lengths behind the winner in the 1:52.2 mile.       Heza Real Diamond now shows 9 wins in 17 starts this year, and has banked $41,698 on the season. The impressive four year old gelded son of Allamerican Native is owned by Orlando Nevarez and trained by Edwin Quevedo.   Driver Braxten Boyd led the Saturday program with a double on the card, and trainers Tim Maier and Edwin Quevedo each registered doubles on the day.   Live Racing continues at Running Aces every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday, and beginning on September 9, Wednesday racing will also be offered. All post times are at 1:00 pm (CDT). The 2020 meet will conclude on Sunday, October 4.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The featured event on the Tuesday (August 11) harness racing program at Running Aces was the $9,500 Open Handicap Trot - with a field of eight talented square-gaiters going into battle.   The talk of the tote-board was Bordogna, who was looking to extend an eight-race winning streak and was sent off at 4-5 from the outside post.   Mandeville (Nick Roland) fired fast from the gate from post seven, and Bordogna (Rick Magee) fired even faster from post eight - surging to the lead well before the quarter and seating Mandeville into the pocket with a sharp opening stanza of :27.1, while Banker Volo (Tim Maier) also showed early speed to sit third.   Bordogna trotted strong on the lead and was not pressured through the middle stages, posting :56.1 and 1:24.3 for a middle half in :57.2. Mandeville enjoyed the garden seat throughout while Pridecrest (Mooney Svendsen) came first-over. As they straightened for home Mandeville shook free from the pocket with plenty of trot and was able to surge past Bordogna for a 1-1/4 length tally in a career best winning time of 1:54, which was just one-fifth of a second off of the overall track trotting record. Pridecrest, (the record holder) edged out Banker Volo for the third spot.   Mandeville ($6.40) is an 8 year old gelding by Majestic Son and has now won 27 career races, while bankrolling $244,919. The winning owner/trainer is Gerald Longo.   The Tuesday program also featured the Minnesota-Sired two year old events for both trotters and pacers.   The $9,200 "B" division of the freshman pacers went to Doubleontherocks (Nick Roland, $4.40) who scored a 1-1/4 length victory on career debut with a mile in 1:58.1 over She's A Showstopper (Jacob Cutting) and Twisted Bliss (Brandon Jenson). The winner is a filly by Lettherockbegin, owned by Nikki Hudson and trained by Jessica Johnson.   The $15,000 freshman trot went to The Royal Queen (Rick Magee, $5.60) for her fourth straight win, with a new career mark in 2:01.2 over Rush To The Bank (Nick Roland) and It's So Fluffy (Dean Magee). The winner is a filly by Tom Ridge, owned and trained by Justin Anfinson.   The $13,800 freshman "A" pace went to Twilight Sunset (Rick Magee, $3.40) for his second straight win in two career starts. The colt by Twilight Bonfire edged by Mayday Maggie (Mooney Svendsen) late for a 1:56 win, with Mibwest Kid (Dean Magee) home in third. The winner is owned by Janna Lee Rucker and trained by Brady Jenson.   Driver Nick Roland led the program with a Grand Slam of four winners, while Rick Magee, Darrell Wright and Dean Magee each scored driving doubles. Trainers Jessica Johnson and Edward Hernandez each registered a double on the day.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, August 15 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT).   by Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - The Sunday afternoon harness racing program at Running Aces featured three divisions of three year old trotters, with a total purse of $23,000.   The $11,500 "A" division had a field of eight lining up behind the gate and the talk of the tote-board was Teachmehowtotory at 1-2 in the wagering from post four with driver Nick Roland in the bike, and fresh off a last out win at the same level.   Trotterlicious (Rick Bertrand) fired fastest off the gate from post two and SB Madame Secretary also left sharply from the outside eight post to set up a front-end battle that lasted from just past the 3/8 marker to the far turn, where SB Madame Secretary finally cleared the lead. They set torrid fractions up front (:28.3, :56.3 and 1:26.3) while Teachmehowtotory benefitted from the intense battle from the garden seat in third, then angled out of the pocket at just the right moment to get rolling as they rounded for home.   Teachmehowtotory ($3.00) was full steam ahead as they straightened away and easily drew away from the competition to score a 3-1/4 length tally in a sharp mile of 1:57 for a new career mark, while Passion In Paris (Jacob Cutting) closed late to pick up the pieces for second just ahead of SD Eliminator (Brian Detgen) in a tight place photo.   Teachmehowtotory now has three wins on the season and six career tallies for owners Set The Pace Racing LLC and trainer Jessica Johnson. The sharp Braggart filly has now bankrolled $57,497 to date. The 1:57 clocking was just one-fifth of a second off of the track record for three year old trotting fillies.   The $6,900 "B" division went to Hearduwhispermynam (Brian Detgen, $3.00) also delivering as the 1-2 favorite as part of the Jenni King owned entry. Hearduwhispermynam took control just past the quarter and was never in doubt with a solid 1-3/4 length tally in 1:57.4 for a new lifetime mark.   The $4,600 "C" division went to Al Mar Why Not (Rick Magee, $3.20) who was also the public choice and scored a convincing gate-to-wire victory by three lengths in 2:00.1 for a new career mark, and first pari-mutuel win. Bryce Jenson is the winning owner and the winning trainer is Brandon Jenson.   Driver Braxten Boyd led the Sunday program with three winners on the day, including a sharp 1:52.2 score with Bestinthebusiness ($3.60) in a nice $6,700 conditioned pace for owner Brett Boyd Racing and trainer Gene Miller.   Driver Nick Roland added two wins on Sunday, while trainer Jessica Johnson also picked up two wins.   A track record $2 exacta payout was registered on Sunday when Queen of Marcs (Darrel Wright, 23-1) combined with Pathologist (Michael Magee, 50-1) in the fifth race of the day to return a whopping $1,892.60 for the biggest exacta return ever at Running Aces.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday, July 28 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and will feature a Carryover in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager of $15,760.48.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - Harness racing driver Nick Roland was on fire at Running Aces on Tuesday (July 14) adding 6 winners to his already impressive win total (now 34) from 116 drives across the first twelve programs of the 2020 meet.   The numbers that Roland currently shows are nothing short of incredible. He is winning races at just shy of a thirty percent pace (29.31%), hitting the trifecta at over sixty-eight percent, carrying a UDRS of .475 and is on pace to re-write the track record for most wins in a single season by a single driver - (his own record) of 112 from 2016. He is also on pace to eclipse his career best mark of 140 wins in a single year (2012).   Horses from his own stable, trained by longtime girlfriend Jessica Johnson, are also posting incredible numbers - Johnson is the current leading trainer with a leading margin of 5 wins (16), winning at nearly thirty-one percent (30.77%), and Johnson currently carries a UTRS of .520 and a top-three percentage of over sixty-nine (69.32%).   Roland won the first two races of the day, each of them $11,500 events for two year old Minnesota-sired horses, kicking off his stellar day with a 2:06.2 score in the first aboard trotter Rush To The Bank ($5.20) for trainer Dan Roland. In the second he piloted Rockin Louie ($3.60) to a sharp win in 2:00.3 for trainer Duane Roland.   After going 4th, 2nd, 3rd and second in the next four events, Roland reeled off four winners in a row starting with Hottieonthehorizon ($3.80) in 1:56 for trainer Jessica Johnson, then Pull The Shade ($8.20) in 1:53.4 in the Mares Open Pace for trainer Tim Maier. Next up was another sharp win - and 4 in a row for Twilight Tinker ($5.20) in 1:58.4 also trained by Jessica Johnson. Roland then steered Brian's Magic Girl ($4.20) from last-to-first in 1:57.1 for trainer John Rogers.   Roland was third the final two races of the day, to complete a summary of 12 starts, 6 wins, 2 seconds and 3 thirds, while only missing the top three once - a fourth place finish aboard two year old trotter Rockin The Rails (18-1) who made a break due to broken equipment in his race.   As the track's all time leading driver, Roland recently drove his 800th Running Aces winner on June 30 and has a 150 win lead over Rick Magee on the track's all time list. Those two are also the current leaders for 2020.   Bordogna (Rick Magee) remained undefeated in six outings in 2020 after capturing the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot with a gutsy effort to hold off a strong late rally by Mandeville (Nick Roland) - just a neck separated those two at the wire in 1:56.1. Bordogna ($5.60) is trained by Justin Anfinson for owners Cathy Dessert and Ken Stauffer. The 4 year old Trixton stallion has now won seven races in a row going back to last fall, and has bankrolled $73,075 with nineteen wins from 35 starts.   Pull The Shade (Nick Roland, $8.20) captured the $9,000 Mares Open Pace by converting the perfect pocket trip into a 1-3/4 length tally in 1:53.4 for her first win of the season. The winning owner is Ferrell York and the winning trainer is Tim Maier.   Rick Magee also had a big day on Tuesday, piloting 3 winners on the card for a driving Hat-Trick. Trainers Justin Anfinson and Jessica Johnson led with two winners each.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, July 18 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and features a pair of Carryovers - $9,796.21 in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot, and $1,032.05 in the 50 cent Hi-5 wager.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces   

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

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

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

The $20,000 Alan Horowitz Final headlines the Friday night harness racing action at Cal Expo, with last week's elimination winners Giggle Monster and Al's Briefs figuring to get plenty of attention. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post at 6:10 p.m. The Horowitz Final will go as the eighth event on the program. Giggle Monster was extremely impressive winning his division last Saturday night in the slop, storming home for the easy win. Edwin Quevedo owns and trains and Nick Roland will once again be in the sulky. Al's Briefs is a 4-year-old son of Party At Artsplace who is owned by Nikki Hudson and reined and trained by Luke Plano. After finishing second in his previous two outings, he broke through with his first Cal Expo victory in last weekend's Horowitz elimination. Sent off the 2-1 second choice that evening, Plano made two moves to the lead at the half, took complete control of things from that point and came home with two lengths to spare over the sloppy going. Dewaydiddonegood had to settle for the exacta completion as the even-money favorite in that contest off back-to-back victories here for owner Fredi Herrera and trainer Quevedo, who has two nice looks at the outcome. Mooney Svendsen takes the assignment. Rounding out the field are Wildcat Bobby with Dean Magee; Fly Away with Steve Wiseman; Mystic Ruler for James Kennedy; Youroldlovletter, Jacob Fox; Rocknroll Jewel, also with Magee named; and Rolling Sea, who will have John Roberts at the controls. Horowitz, Goldschmidt remembered with races Cal Expo is proud to present the Alan Horowitz Final on Friday night and the Dave Goldschmidt Free-for-All Pace on Saturday, honoring these two individuals who meant so much to the sport in California. Alan Horowitz was a major force in California harness racing over the last several decades and a member of the California Harness Horsemen's Association (CHHA) Hall of Fame who passed away in 20017 at the age of 72. Dave Goldschmidt, who passed away of natural causes last year at the age of 62, was born in New York City and developed a love of harness racing in his early teens. More on his career follows in this article. Alan Horowitz, who wore many hats in the business, started out as a partner with longtime friends Donald and Barbara Arnstine and Steve Desomer with a $25,000 claimer named Quaker Byrd. Quaker Byrd won his first race for the partners and Alan was hooked. Moving on, Alan would eventually become a board member and president of CHHA. In 1994, Mr. Horowitz was instrumental in bringing harness racing back to Cal Expo in the form of Capitol Racing and was also its successful general manager. He was serving as the Executive Secretary of the CHHA at the time of his retirement in 2013 and continued to stay in touch with the sport that he loved so much. "It is impossible to overstate Alan's importance to the harness racing industry in California," said David Neumeister. "Simply put, if it were not for Alan, the sport would no longer exist in this state. "Between his time as executive director of Western Standardbred Association (now CHHA) and owner/ manager of our only yearling sale company when racing was flourishing in California, and his decision to retire from CHHA a few years ago, against all odds and some very powerful adversaries, Alan almost single-handedly took us from the brink of extinction in the mid-90s and formed and led Capitol Racing in Sacramento to several very successful years of harness racing in that city. "Were it not for his quiet determination and tactical brilliance, we would not be racing here today," said Neumeister. Dave Goldschmidt, who passed away of natural causes last year at the age of 62, was born in New York City and developed a love of harness racing in his early teens. He attended the University of Denver where he was a sports writer on the newspaper, but after hearing about the new Race Track Management Program at the University of Arizona, he knew he had to transfer to that school and was in that first graduating class. Among Dave's extensive resume in the sport, he was racing secretary at Los Alamitos and Cal Expo and co-racing secretary at Bay Meadows; assistant racetrack manager at Hollywood Park and a founder, president and major financial backer of the Premier Harness Meet at Los Alamitos in the 1990s. After his retirement, Dave concentrated on betting on the trotters and pacers and occasionally quarter horses while also developing a keen interest in politics. Dave met his wife Suzy in the late 1990s and they began dating in 2006. They completed building their dream house in 2014 and were married that year. Among their shared passions were a love of tennis, world travel and volunteer work. Eunice Morrow, who worked closely with Dave at the Premier Harness Meet, explained how important he was to harness racing in California in the early 1990s "Harness racing was in trouble maintaining a meet at Los Alamitos and thankfully Dave came to our rescue with a large monetary donation needed to keep harness racing active," Eunice said. "A few months later the industry found more funds were necessary and again Dave came to our rescue. He did not want it known that he had donated these deposits and volunteered the information that his mother in New York had loaned the organization funds. "Later, when Premier II Harness Racing was formed, Dave became Racing Secretary, spending many hours in several positions helping the sport he loved stay alive. Without Dave, I wonder if harness racing would have been able to continue." Eunice added, "There is no doubt David Goldschmidt will now be in Heaven with so many other of the great Harness Racing enthusiasts." Joel Lesser was best friends with Goldschmidt for over 40 years, playing hours and hours of tennis and golf, and also worked alongside Dave at the Premier Harness meets. "When he was president of Premier, he said that the fans and the horsemen came first, and management came last," Joel recalled. "I can say Dave Goldschmidt is the fairest and most honest person I have ever known in my life and wanted everyone to do well." By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness          

Tabbat Mcrey, who came from out of the clouds to record her first Cal Expo harness racing victory last week, gets the top billing in Saturday night's $8,500 Funicello/Holt Final for pacing fillies and mares. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races Saturday with first post at 6:10. The co-features will be a $7,200 Open Pace featuring the streaking Allmyx'sliventexas and two divisions of the Alan Horowitz Eliminations. Getting back to the Funicello/Holt, Tabbat Mcrey is a 5-year-old daughter of McArdie who goes about her business for owner David Watson and is reined and trained by Rene Goulet. After closing for the place spot in her local debut two weeks ago, the long-fused came back to get the job done by two lengths in last week's Prep for this event at 7-1 odds. Lakota Law completed the exacta in that affair and will be looking to turn the tables this weekend for owner Peter Jesh and driver/trainer Nick Roland. She was a 1:54 3/5 victress last season at Hoosier Park and fits very nicely with this group. Casey N Grinegan had to settle for a fourth-place finish as the 3-2 choice last week after being parked first-over to the lead in the stretch. Darryl Cutting conditions the Alberta-bred miss for Melinda Smith and Steve Wiseman will be at the helm. Completing the field are LLuli, Palmona Ruiz, That's How It Goes, Nightgirl, June Morning and Brooklyn Moonshine. Saturday night's third race is named for the Orangutan Foundation International. Nick Roland hoping to lay down the Law Nick Roland is making his presence felt here as both a driver and trainer with another California invasion, with his most immediate concern being Lakota Law in Saturday night's Funicello/Holt Final. The 5-year-old mare, who carries the banner of Peter Jesh, spent her summer at Running Aces and was runner-up behind Tabbat Mcrey in last week's Prep. She will be looking to turn the tables with conditioner Roland guiding from middle of the nine-horse line-up. "She's getting better," her mentor noted. "She had some soundness issues when she first got her, but we've been able to work on those and she's improving." Nick arrived with 16 racehorses and two babies, and is expecting six or seven more youngsters to join the barn shortly. He tips that some of the better performers are set to turn up in the entries, including the trotter Scramble Camp, who was scheduled to suit up on Friday night. In the meantime, Roland enjoys getting involved in the evening frays and is always open to catch drives. "It's always nice to have people put you up behind their horses. When the weather is nice, I certainly don't mind being out there every race. On the other hand, when it's colt and rainy, I have no problem sitting out some races." Nick hopes to stay here for most of the meet, which runs through April, with one caveat. "If the weather back home turns nice sooner rather than later, that could mean we leave a few weeks earlier than planned." In the meantime, look for Nick Roland to make his share of appearances in the Cal Expo winner's circle. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness                        

Columbus, MN - A total of 111 Minnesota-Sired horses have been carded over fourteen races for the 2019 Night of Champions program at Running Aces, a number that is a testament to the continued growth of the Minnesota harness racing program. The total purses on Night of Champions is $543,500 which is a record amount, by a large margin and also indicates the success of Minnesota harness racing and the success of Running Aces as a growing multi-faceted Casino, Racing and Entertainment destination. Heading up the Night of Champions program is MD Magic, who was the dominant two year old male trotter in Minnesota last season, and set a record for single-season earnings in the Minnesota program with his $70,300 in freshman purses earned. MD Magic (post #3 in his final) has a big chance to re-write that record again this year as he heads into Saturday night's program with 2019 earnings of $62,550 and will be the favorite to win his $40,000 Championship race. MD Magic is owned by Set The Pace Racing, LLC and is trained and driven by Nick Roland, he has been posted as the 6-5 morning line favorite. The $40,000 Minnesota-Sired three year old colts & geldings pace event will feature eight talented starters and is headlined by 2018 Minnesota Horse of The Year Burning Blaze (Steve Wiseman) who is also looking for his second consecutive championship title and comes into this year's title event with eleven wins in twenty-two career starts and $97,220 in purse earnings, He is the 2-1 morning line favorite from post three. Also among the favorites in the eight horse field will be SB Bodacious, set at 5-2 on the morning line from post four for Trainer/Driver Rick Magee, who leads the division in seasonal earnings ($46,311) and is coming in fresh off a recent 1:55.1 win, and has the fastest winning mile of the year in the group (1:52.2). The $40,000 three year old filly pace has 9 starters and is headlined by last year's two year old champion filly Windmeupnwatchmego (post three,Dean Magee) who shows six wins in nine outings this year, and twelve career wins in just seventeen starts, is the 5-2 favorite on the line, and her chief rival in this group will be Sweet Vivian (post one, Mooney Svendsen) who has won three races this year, and has hit the board in the top three in twelve of seventeen races as a sophomore, she is listed at 3-1. The $50,000 two year old filly Trot Championship has a field on nine and features both of the current track record holders in the category with (#2) Susie's Sister (Don Harmon) being installed as the 8-5 favorite from post position 1, and co-record holder (#8) SB Madam Secretary (Darrell Wright) billed as the 3-1 second choice from post eight. The $50,000 two year old colts & geldings pace is headlined by the very sharp freshman Bunkerhill Phil, who has dominated the division for most of the year and has nine wins in twelve starts at Running Aces to claim the title of the winningest horse of the season. Bunkerhill Phil is driven by Don Harmon, and has been installed as the 6-5 favorite from post three in the nine horse field. The $40,000 four year olds & up pace event promises to be an exciting contest, with last year's champion (#7) Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee) back at Running Aces and in top form to defend his title, and (#1) Whatchyastarinat (Don Harmon) poised for battle after a huge effort in the Open Pace on Sunday night, finishing a close second in the fastest mile ever at Running Aces (1:50.1). Stuckey Dote is the 9-5 favorite on the morning line, while Whatchyastarinat has been installed as second choice at 5-2. The other Championship events promise to be exciting contests as well, the overall card of races is by far the best and most competitive group of horses we have ever seen on Finals night, we are excited to see the races unfold and she which Minnesota-Sired Trotters and Pacers shine brightest on the biggest night of the year. The 20 cent Pick-5 wager will comprise the last 5 races of the night, and features full competitive fields and a $20,000 Guaranteed Pool, as well as a carryover of $8,139.20. Last year's Night of Champions Pick-5 pool exceeded $50,000. There will be Mandatory Payouts in all pools on Saturday night. The entire Night of Champions card will be broadcast live from the track apron, with Track Announcer Darin Gagne, and special guests Rod Allums, Jr, Mike Pribozie, and Ray Cotolo of NAHUpicks.com, as well as Ken Terpenning from Harness Racing Replays 2.0. In addition to traditional race analysis and handicapping, the team will provide additional content such as interviews and biographical information. Fans will have many chances to win prizes during the program, with losing ticket drawings being held between races from the broadcast table. Prizes will range from hats to Running Aces gifts and promotional items, to dining certificates and betting vouchers. Post time for the 12 race betting card is 6 pm (Central), and there are two undercard (non-wagering) races starting at 5:10 pm. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces    

Columbus, MN - The Tuesday night (September 10) harness racing program at Running Aces featured a trio of Open Handicap pacing events, one for Mares, one for Horses & Geldings, and one for two year olds.   The $14,000 Horses & Geldings Open was an action-packed affair with Firedrake (Nick Roland) firing fastest off the gate to the early lead before releasing the front to Top Notch (Rick Magee) who was immediately confronted by Who'szoomingwho (Darrell Wright) who took over the front just before the half mile in a solid :56.1.   Who'szoomingwho dominated the affair from there, and withstood strong pressure from Skim The Top (Don Harmon) throughout the final half. Firedrake angled out near the three quarters and was charging hard outside at the wire but ran out of racetrack to fall a half-length short of the leader as they crossed the line in 1:52.3. Skim The Top fought hard to the wire as well to check in third and was only beaten by 3/4 of a length.   Who'szoomingwho ($12.60) is an 8 year old gelded son of Palone Ranger, and out of the No Pan Intended mare Southwind Tiki, he is owned by Mariah Wright and trained by Darrell Wright.   The $15,000 Mares Open Pace went to Amasa Arion ($4.20, Rick Magee) who converted a perfect pocket-trip into a new lifetime mark in 1:52.4 for Owner Kristy Casagranda and Trainer Rick Magee. The ultra-sharp 4 year old daughter of Western Thorn has now won eight of eleven starts this year, and has bankrolled $80,609 on the season. Juslikeaqueen (Dean Magee) was home second and Strings (Nick Roland) checked in third.   The $10,000 two year old Open Pace went to heavy favorite Bunkerhill Phil (Don Harmon), who scored his 9th win of the season, and became the winningest horse this season at Running Aces with a 1:57.3 tally over longshots Grace N Honor (Rick Magee) and Thegreatestislove (Darrell Wright). The winning Owner/Trainer is Gene Miller. Bunkerhill Phil has now banked $44,349 in eleven career starts.   The 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot has a carryover of $8,139.20 and is expected to be guaranteed at $20,000 (pending regulatory approval) for Saturday night (September 14). There will be mandatory payouts in all pools on Saturday night as well, as the season closes out with the huge Night of Champions program that will offer purses of nearly $500,000. Post time on Saturday is 6:00 pm (Central).   By Darin Gagne for Running Aces

Columbus, MN - Harness racing trainer Edwin Quevedo posted a big night at Running Aces on Saturday (August 24) with 3 winners from 4 starters, catapulting him into the top-5 trainers standings with nine programs left to go in the 2019 Aces season.   Quevedo teamed up with driver Nick Roland on Deweydiddonegood to score a 1:54.4 win, and two in a row, in a $9,500 Claiming Handicap Pace. After securing the pocket early, and saving ground throughout, Roland surged up the inside lane with Deweydiddonegood ($5.80) to deliver a narrow victory over a game Johnny Gun (Darrell Wright) to get things started for Quevedo. Fredi Herrrera is the winning owner.   Next, Quevedo teamed up with driver Steve Wiseman in the very next race, on Western Devil who orchestrated a two-move trip and emerged from the pocket with big late pace to nail a 3/4-length tally in 1:54.1 over Musician (Tim Maier). The victory was a new lifetime mark for Western Devil ($28.40) for owner Santiago Quintana.   Two races later, Quevedo sent out Peekaboo Tattoo in a $6,500 Mares Claiming Handicap Pace with the services of driver Rick Magee, who put together a beautiful second-over trip for Peekaboo Tattoo and stormed home on the outside to sweep by the front runners and score her 5th win of the season for owner (and wife) Fabiola Quevedo. Peekaboo Tattoo delivered as the favorite ($6.20) in a final time of 1:55.2.   Nick Roland led the Saturday program with a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (August 25) with local post time at 6:00 pm.   By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces  

Columbus, MN -Driver/Trainer Nick Roland led the Harness Racing program at Running Aces on Sunday (August 18) with three winners on the program, including two dramatic wins in two of the evening's featured events.   Roland steered his superstar 3 year old gelding trotter to victory in the $16,000 Minnesota-Sired sophomore Trot from post seven, getting away quickly for the early lead before yielding to Major Al-Mar (Dean Magee) for the pocket. Ice Storm (Mooney Svendsen) came from second over and battled late with Major Al-Mar, with MD Magic looking to be blocked nearing the wire, but Roland was able to thread the needle and surge in between his two rivals to get up right on the money in a three-way photo as they stopped the timer in 2:00.3.   For MD Magic ($4.00), it was four wins in a row and his sixth victory in eleven outings in 2019, for seasonal earnings of $50,550. The winning owners are Set The Pace Racing, LLC.   Roland sent out Firedrake in the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses and geldings, and again had to face his chief rival Nine Ways (Dean Magee) who was in search of his ninth consecutive win and was heavily favored at 2-5. Both Firedrake and Nine Ways flashed their customary gate speed, with Firedrake getting to the front first from post six, then yielding to the big favorite near the 1/8 mile mark as they ripped off an opening stanza of :26.4.   Nine Ways led through the middle stages in :56.1 and 1:24.2 but faced strong first-over pressure from Fox Valley Nemitz (Brian Detgen). Nine Ways had the lead as they straightened for home, with Fox Valley Nemitz still pressing on, and Bettor's Promise tipping wide with pace. Firedrake was looking for room and found just enough to squeeze through the inside lane and make it a four way go at the line. After a lengthy photo finish examination, Roland and Firedrake had gotten home just in front of Nine Ways in an absolute thriller in 1:53.   Set The Pace Racing, LLC. are the proud owners of Firedrake, the now 6 year old gelded son of Dragon Again, out of the Artsplace mare Everything's Easy. Firedrake ($14.40) now has 3 wins and $50,780 on the season.   Running Aces honored and remembered horseman Tim Brown on Sunday, with the $15,000 Open Trot being named the Tim Brown Memorial Race. The field of eight was deep with talent, and the public honed in on Winning Lyric as the 3-5 favorite.   Silverlode (Steve Wiseman) got the early lead with a strong brush from the gate, with Banker Volo (Nick Roland) leaving from post seven and finding the pocket, while public choice Winning Lyric (Dean Magee) got away last before getting into the outer flow near the half.   Silverlode led them into the far turn but began to shorten strides as Winning Lyric had quickly advanced all the way up to the leaders wheel, and took over near the 3/4-mile marker. French Eclipse (Rick Magee) had saved ground throughout and was a clear second, with It's A Horse (Tim Maier) closing late for third money.   Winning Lyric ($3.20) is a 5 year old son of Credit Winner and out of the Yankee Glide mare Naked Lyric, he now has four wins in twelve starts in 2019 with earnings of $49,995. He is owned by Terrence Smith and trained by Edward Hernandez.   Nineteen year old driver Braxten Boyd picked up his first career pari-mutuel driving victory on Sunday at Running Aces, when he steered his family-owned pacer Bestinthebusiness ($13.60) to his 47th lifetime win in 1:53. The winning trainer is Gene Miller.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday night (August 20) with local post time at 6 pm.   Photo: Running Aces all time leading trainer and driver had a big night on Sunday, including dramatic wins with MD Magic and Firedrake.     By Darin Gagne for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack

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