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With many Sire Stakes programs yet to commence and little on the Grand Circuit schedule for 3-year-old pacers during the month of May, Yonkers Raceway attracted four divisions of the Reynolds series for the age group on the pace. Carded as races four through seven on the Friday 10-race program, the Reynolds are split evenly, with two races for fillies and a pair for colts and geldings. There is no shortage of talent among the 30 entered, but the two splits for the boys came up especially deep. Perhaps at the top of the heap off 2020 performance is American Courage. The Travis Alexander trainee won seven of eight starts in his rookie year of racing and returns to the races off a strong second-place finish in a qualifier at The Downs at Pocono. He sat third in that mile, before moving into second on the final turn and sprinting home in 27 1/5. "Matt [Kakaley] just put him on Bronx Seelster's back. He had tons of horse left," said Alexander about the qualifier. A three-time winner at Yonkers last year, including the $104,250 Springfield stake, American Courage is right at home over the surface, which will serve him well from post 6 in the $23,750 seventh-race division. "I'll leave that to Matt," said Alexander about how to work out a trip from the outside post. "We are ready and looking forward to getting the year started." The inside is typically the best place to be on any half-mile track and that honor belongs to Shakespeare. The altered son of Somebeachsomewhere has done good work thus far in 2021 with a win and a second from two starts and trainer Brett Pelling felt the 3-year-old's natural speed would serve him well on the smaller track. Todd McCarthy drives Shakespeare. I'll Drink To That also brings a 2-1-1-0 current-year record to Yonkers after two solid performances at The Meadowlands. Dexter Dunn will steer from post 4 for trainer Chris Ryder, who has a horse entered in all four Reynolds divisions. "I wouldn't make the statement that he's as good as American Courage, but he's not that far away. He's certainly sounder this year," said Ryder about the 5-2 morning-line choice. "Last year we sat a two-hole behind American Courage. My horse was no good that night and we only got beat by a half-length." What About Bob (post 2, Jim Marohn, Jr) and Town Gossip (post 8, Joe Bongiorno) both enter the second division of the Reynolds off wins while King James Express (post 3, Jason Bartlett) and Bettor Of The West (post 7, Scott Zeron) make their first starts of 2021 on Friday. Carrythetorchman rounds out the field from post 5 with Marcus Miller in the bike. The $23,250 fourth race first division of the Reynolds includes a trio of horses coming into the race off wins - Crystal Beach (post 1, Miller), Whichwaytothebeach (post 3, McCarthy) and Coalition Hanover (post 5, Dunn). Coalition Hanover is the most accomplished of the group in 2021 with three wins and two seconds from six starts. The Ryder trainee's lone defeat came in the $40,000 Weiss final at Pocono when he made a break late in the mile. "We always liked him but he didn't do as much as we thought he should," said Ryder. "We trained him back free-legged and I always thought we'd put the hobbles back on when he qualified, but he was terrific without them so we qualified and raced him free-legged. I thought he was going to win the Weiss before that break, so it is a lesson learned and we put the hobbles back on. "I'm pretty sure he can get around the half and he deserves a chance to be in there," continued Ryder. Whichwaytothebeach only has one start thus far for trainer Brett Pelling this year but is highly regarded after a strong rookie campaign where he finished off the board just once in eight starts. His résumé has earned him 9-5 morning-line favorite status. Crystal Beach's win on May 1 was the first of his career. The son of Art Major was a regular on the New York circuit in 2020 and should be right at home on the half-mile Yonkers surface. He's A Snob (post 2, Mark MacDonald), third in the Weiss final recently, Mullinax (post 4, Scott Zeron), a Massachusetts Sire Stakes champion in 2020, Imaginary Line (post 6, McCarthy), second in his last two tries, and Major Makover (post 7, Bartlett), a Weiss consolation runner-up, complete the field of seven. Races five and six highlight the fillies. Heart Of Mine starts as the 9-5 program favorite with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Linda Toscano in the first $28,500 division while Podium Girl offers the same morning-line in the $29,000 second split with Dexter Dunn in the bike behind the Chris Ryder trainee. First-race post time is 7:15 PM at Yonkers on Friday and racing continues on a Monday to Friday basis weekly. From Yonkers Raceway  

Harness Racing This Week: Charlie Hill Memorial, Eldorado Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Miss Versatility Series leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit makes its first of three stops this week on Thursday (May 6) at Eldorado Scioto Downs with the $135,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters. Yonkers Raceway returns to the Grand Circuit calendar on Friday (May 7) with two divisions in the $57,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the $47,000 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers. Then on Saturday (May 8), The Meadowlands has a pair of $30,000 first leg divisions in the Miss Versatility Series for open trotting mares. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Off an impressive win in the elimination, expectations were high for Incommunicado in Saturday's (May 1) $115,583 Dexter Cup final at Freehold Raceway. He lived up to all of them, cruising to an impressive 3-1/2 length win in 1:56.3. Incommunicado cruised to an impressive 3-1/2 length win in 1:56.3. Vicki Wright/World Wide Racing Studios. Just like he did in his elimination, Incommunicado drew post position seven in the field of eight. That did not deter the betting public, who made him the 3-5 favorite. At the start, Yannick Gingras immediately pushed the gas pedal, sending his drive up to the front. Without much trouble, Gingras got him to the lead and the inside at the opening quarter, trotting that split in :28.2. Incommunicado slowed things down in the second quarter, trotting the opening half-mile in :58.4, but soon encountered first-over pressure from Believer. Believer moved up to Incommunicado's throatlatch around the third turn, but Incommunicado held firm and would not let his rival by. Turning for home, he pulled clear and left his rivals in the dust in a final time of 1:56.3. Sunny Crockett, Fifty Ways, Ambassador Hanover, Believer, Chapolier, Credit Con, and Share The Wealth completed the order of finish. Incommunicado is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Little E, Arthur Geiger, and David Stolz, and trained by Ake Svanstedt. He made waves last year by sweeping the Massachusetts Sire Stakes at Plainridge Park, winning the final by 17-1/4 lengths. Subsequently, he was second in the Matron at Dover Downs by a half-length. For his career, he's won six times from 12 starts, with earnings of $282,283. "I wanted to get him in the race and when (Credit Con) made a break in the first turn, it made things a little easier for me." said Gingras, who won his second straight edition of the Dexter Cup. "I knew (starting from post seven) wasn't ideal. I knew it was going to be harder than last week, there wasn't going to be a hole or something like that, but he still did it pretty easy. The horse raced good and did the job. He's a nice horse. He does everything you ask of him." Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 5-1-21): Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 90; 2. Andrew McCarthy - 79; 3. George Brennan - 69; 4. Austin Siegelman - 61; 5. Todd McCarthy - 60. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 144; 2. Todd Buter - 55; 3. Noel Daley - 47; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 45; 5t. Jeff Cullipher - 40; 5t. Sheena McElhiney - 40. Owners: 1. Renee Bercury - 50; 2t. Burke Racing Stable - 41.1; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 41.1; 4. Jesmeral Stable - 40; 5. Eric Prevost - 38. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands with the Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the second leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

Harness racing's Grand Circuit rolls back into Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (May 7) as the oval plays host to divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old pacers. Colts and geldings will face off in a pair of splits, worth $23,250 and $23,750, in races four and seven, and the fillies will match up in two flights, with purses of $28,500 and $29,000, in races five and six. Coalition Hanover (post six, Dexter Dunn/Chris Ryder) won a section of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series most recently at The Meadows in 1:51.3 and will look to keep sharp in the first Reynolds test for the boys. He'll face off against the likes of last year's New York Sire Stakes Excelsior A Series and Massachusetts Sire Stakes champion Mullinax (post four, Scott Zeron/Mark Ford), and Whichwaytothebeach (post three, Andrew McCarthy/Brett Pelling), who won a few stakes events as a rookie, including the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes consolation. King James Express (post three, Jason Bartlett/Mark Harder), last year's New York Sire Stakes champion in the 2-year-old colt and gelding pace division, will look to get his sophomore campaign started on the right foot in the second Reynolds tilt for the fellas. He will see two familiar faces from the NYSS program in American Courage (post six, Matt Kakaley/Travis Alexander) and Town Gossip (post eight, Joe Bongiorno/Jenn Bongiorno). American Courage won his elimination and the final of MGM Springfield Stakes at Yonkers and then added four NYSS legs to his ledger, and Town Gossip was the runner-up in the NYSS final and won two preliminary rounds. Heart Of Mine (post one, Scott Zeron/Linda Toscano) was second to eventual 1:48.4 performer Test Of Faith in the New York Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old pacing fillies a year ago, and she tops Friday night's first Reynolds rumble for the ladies. Heart Of Mine, a daughter of Roll With Joe, won an overnight race at Yonkers in 1:55 on April 28. Her biggest competition could come from Let 'Er Buck (post seven, Mark MacDonald/Ray Schnittker), who won three stakes events in Pennsylvania as a freshman and is a Betting Line half-sister to $1.7 million earner Huntsville. MacDonald and Schnittker also have Carrington (post three) in the other section for this group. Carrington, a So Surreal filly, recently finished second in the Bobby Weiss Series final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and was the runner-up in the 2020 New York Excelsior A Series final for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Another stakes winner in this field is Podium Girl (post two, Dunn/Ryder), who collected her triumphs at New Jersey's Freehold Raceway. Also entered is DC Batgirl (post seven, George Brennan/Britney Dillon), who qualified for last year's New York Sire Stakes final and comes in off a fast 1:51.2 qualifier at Harrah's Hoosier Park. In addition to the stakes action, Friday's ten-race program also has a $37,000 $37,000 Open Handicap Trot, (race eight) and a $24,000 Preferred Trot (race nine). Post time is 7:15 p.m. From Yonkers Raceway

Nichols, NY - The $1 million(e) Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) stakes for harness racing 3-year-old New York sired trotters and pacers will be raced without eliminations in 2021. This format was implemented for the 2020 EBC trotting races and the 2020 EBC colt pace went straight to the final with ten declarations.   In 2021, should ten or fewer declare for any of the EBCs, the stake will go as a single division for the total purse. If eleven or more declare the stake shall be raced in divisions with the purse split equally and the entry fee reduced accordingly.   The EBC colt and filly trots are scheduled for Vernon Downs on Friday, June 18 and the pacers will race at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 29.   The 2021 $650,000(e) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial will be raced at Vernon on Sunday, August 28 using the "Main events/consolation" format as it has been for the past several years.   The W.N. Reynolds stakes for 2-year-olds will return to Tioga for 2021 and all divisions are scheduled for Friday, September 3.   Vernon and Tioga Downs are set to begin the 2021 live racing season at the customary starting dates for the pair of Upstate New York venues.   Vernon starts first on Saturday, April 17 while Tioga gets underway on Saturday, May 1.   Contact Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at or (607) 699-7688 for answers.          

When Robert Lindstrom saw the then-yearling Captain Corey in person for the first time, he quickly arrived at two conclusions. First, the harness racing colt was going to cost more than he originally anticipated. Second, he needed to be the one to buy him. Lindstrom was correct about the first assumption and successful in accomplishing the second, purchasing Captain Corey for $150,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. The trotter was the co-sales topper for the session. "It was very exciting," Lindstrom said. "I had some idea how much I could spend for him. When I saw him, I understood it would be impossible. I was much over my limit to buy him, but I couldn't let him go. To me, he was the best horse in the sale at that time." Captain Corey, who is undefeated in four races this year as he prepares for Friday's $61,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands, is by Googoo Gaagaa out of Luv U All. Googoo Gaagaa was a record-setting sensation at ages 2 and 3, with a career mark of 1:50.4 established at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 2012, best known for being the son of a pacing stallion, Cam's Rocket. Lindstrom long admired Googoo Gaagaa and last year brokered a deal with Richard Hans, who was the horse's breeder, owner, and trainer, to buy the stallion and bring him to Sweden. Googoo Gaagaa, through frozen semen transport, had already sired a small group of successful horses in Sweden prior to the move. They include Group 1 winners Bythebook, Hail Mary, and Power. "To pick a stallion, it's good if they have a good pedigree, but it's all about performance, that they are an exceptional horse," Lindstrom said. "Googoo had such a trotting technique, with the way he could go around turns, and he wanted to win. That is what I think you need for a great stallion. "If you're really a nerd about pedigree, if you follow his maternal line way back, he comes from the same maternal line as Muscle Hill. It's there. Some people say that he doesn't have the pedigree, but I don't think his pedigree is bad." Lindstrom's interest in Captain Corey, therefore, was not unexpected. The colt, named in honor of Googoo Gaagaa's driver Corey Callahan, was bred by Carter Duer and when Lindstrom visited the farm and saw Captain Corey in the paddock, he was immediately hooked. "He was such a tremendous horse," Lindstrom said. "Just when you saw him, not only his body, but when you saw him in the eyes, he looked intelligent. He looked right through you. I got such a feeling from the horse." Lindstrom partnered with S R F Stable and Knutsson Trotting Inc. on the purchase of Captain Corey and sent the horse to trainer Ake Svanstedt (who also became an ownership partner). Svanstedt, too, found it easy to admire Captain Corey. "From day one when we hooked him to the jog cart he was like an old horse," Svanstedt said. "He is a very smart horse, never nervous for a race. His gait is very good, a long stride. I don't think he needs to use too much energy to do his job. He has a long stride, and I can never feel the speed of him because he has such a nice gait. It feels like it is easy for him. I'm impressed with everything he does." Captain Corey's four wins this season all came in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, including a track-record 1:54.1 debut at The Meadows, a track-record-equaling 1:55 second start at Harrah's Philadelphia, and a 1:53.3 stakes-record score in the series championship at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "He was so big, I didn't think he was going to be this good so early," Lindstrom said. "Ake has done a tremendous job to make him so good and develop him in the right way." Captain Corey's start Friday will be his first since winning the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final Sept. 5. The colt battled a little sickness after the race and got an extended respite in preparation for the upcoming Breeders Crown. "I think it was good for him to have a break," Svanstedt said. "He was training the whole time and has trained good." Lindstrom said the plan was to limit Captain Corey to 10 or fewer races this season. "The most important thing this year was not to race too much," Lindstrom said. "Next year is important. The 3-year-old season is where we thought he would shine. This season is just a bonus. "We're very excited about what has happened so far, but even more for what could happen. It's very thrilling." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Just because Hambletonian Day is in the rearview mirror doesn't mean there isn't plenty of stakes action to come during the current Fall Meeting at The Meadowlands. When live racing resumes Friday (Oct. 16) at 7:15 p.m., the marquee event will be the $61,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot, featuring the Ake Svanstedt trained and driven Captain Corey, who is unbeaten in four lifetime outings. The Kindergarten Classic - also for juveniles - is up next with its final two legs on Oct. 23 (Leg Three) and Oct. 30 (Leg Four) before the series climaxes with four big-money finals worth approximately $800,000 on Nov. 7. Two weeks after that comes the third-biggest program - after the Hambo and Meadowlands Pace Night - on The Big M's yearly calendar, as eight big-time stakes events take place on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night on Nov. 21. Two-year-olds will be in the spotlight as the Governor's Cup (colt pace), Three Diamonds (filly pace), Valley Victory (colt trot) and Goldsmith Maid (filly trot) make up the Fall Final Four, with total purses of about $1.8 million. Year-end divisional honors - as well as Horse of the Year - could be determined by what happens in the four TVG Finals, which are the Mares Trot, Open Trot, Mares Pace and Open Pace, a fabulous four-pack which will see just over $1 million get doled out. A year ago, Six Pack locked up older male trotter honors by gunning down Manchego - at the time, the best horse in training - in 1:50 in the Open Trot. Despite being beaten in a stretch-battle thriller by Caviart Ally, Shartin N - who finished a nose behind in 1:48.3 - went on to be selected as HOTY. SIMULCAST HEAVEN: Two sets of year-end championships will be offered at The Meadowlands on its simulcast network, one for the star performers of harness racing and the other for the best in the thoroughbred game. Hoosier Park in Anderson, IN will play host to the 2020 edition of the Breeders Crown, harness racing's year-end 12-race extravaganza for horses of all gaits, sexes and age. More than $6 million will be on the table over the course of two race cards, as Friday, October 30 will see the four events for 2-year-olds, before a Saturday, October 31 eight-pack that will include four races for 3-year-olds and four more for open types. Post time each night is 6 p.m. Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY is the site for the 2020 Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will begin with five events on Friday, Nov. 6 and conclude on Saturday, Nov. 7 with nine more races, the last of which is the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic. The first Breeders' Cup race on Friday is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., while Saturday's opener goes at 12:02 p.m. The Classic has a post time of 5:13 p.m. LAST WEEKEND: Threes were wild over the course of last weekend (Oct. 9-10) at The Big M. Three drivers, Corey Callahan, Victor Kirby and George Napolitano Jr., and two trainers, Bruce Saunders and Jeff Cullipher, all won three times over the course of the two programs. Last Saturday's "bookend" 20-cent Pick-5s provided pleasing payoffs for players. The wager that spanned races one through five paid $887. With the exception of race four, where a 14-1 shot brought a challenge for the bettors, the other four winning horses' odds were just 6-5, 5-1, 4-1 and 4-5. The Late Pick-5 returned $13,654, yet, except for one race, the winning prices were not outrageous. The winners' odds for the sequence were 8-1, 9-2, 8-5, 21-1 and 8-5. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, go to, where one can access races nine through 13 for both Friday and Saturday's program. Those races include the 20-cent Late Pick-5, 50-cent Late Pick-4 and 10-cent Late Pentafecta, not to mention the Late Daily Double. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on this link to check out Friday's card: Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: As always look for the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. It begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m. If you want to watch all the action at home, go to to catch every race live. GET YOUR SPORTS ACTION: When at The Big M, be sure and visit the FanDuel Sportsbook, where you can watch and wager on all the NFL, NLCS, ALCS and college football action. The book is open for business from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday. From the Meadowlands Media Department

Harness Racing This Week: John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Courageous Lady, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week commences on Friday afternoon (Oct. 16) at Harrah's Philadelphia with two divisions in the $112,400 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters and three divisions in the $93,602 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Meadowlands on Friday will host the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old trotters. There will be one $61,500 division for 2-year-old colt trotters and one $55,600 division in the 2-year-old filly trot. On Saturday (Oct. 17), Northfield Park will feature the $120,000 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Driver Dexter Dunn secured a pocket seat for Amigo Volo and with several horses making breaks over the "good" surface, had open road to pop and power to a 1:51 victory in the $444,000 128th Kentucky Futurity on Sunday (Oct. 11) at The Red Mile. Amigo Volo posted a 1:51 victory in the $444,000 128th Kentucky Futurity. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Ready For Moni, the 3-1 second choice, lagged from his second-tier starting spot while Amigo Volo pushed for position to the inside. Beads, launching from post 10, swept to the lead before a :27 opening quarter while Amigo Volo settled into second with EL Ideal third and 4-5 favorite Back Of The Neck fourth. Back Of The Neck made his move after the leader passing a :54.2 half and drew closer to the pacesetter into the final turn. Moving towards three-quarters in 1:22.3, Back Of The Neck broke stride, giving Amigo Volo room to tip out of the pocket straightening for the finish. Beads began to gallop while EL Ideal chased Amigo Volo through the stretch, settling for second. Third Shift ripped from the backfield to take third while Chestnut Hill weaved through traffic for fourth. "He was really good here last week -- he was probably just a little bit short," Dunn said after the race of the Father Patrick-Margarita Momma gelding's second-place finish in the Bluegrass. "Nifty knew he was going to be better today and he was. Last year he used to shake his head bad and it cost him a couple of times. He didn't have as good of form when he came back as a 3-year-old -- he was a bit average. We were probably looking after him a little too much -- he just likes to race. You get off the gate hard, that's when he gets excited and puts in good performances. "I did attempt to go (for the lead) -- I came out for a little bit when we hit the back straight, but Beads was a little aggressive and took off so I ducked back into the two-hole there. Back Of The Neck came up outside of us around the last turn, and I was sort of 50-50 (on) whether I'd come out or stay in. And he ran, so that was probably a lucky trip in the last turn to get out, but the horse did a great job." Surpassing $1 million in earnings with the victory, Amigo Volo has won six races from 12 starts this season and 12 from 24 overall, banking $1,206,369 for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains the gelding bred by Kentuckiana Farms LLC and Jorgen Jahre Jr. He paid $10.00 to win. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 915; 2. Dexter Dunn - 648; 3. Tim Tetrick - 526.5; 4. Andrew McCarthy - 484; 5. David Miller - 478. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 833; 2. Nancy Takter - 811.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 622; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 514; 5. Marcus Melander - 383. Owners: 1. Determination - 200; 2. Caviart Farms - 193.8; 3. Brad Grant - 192.3; 4. Burke Racing Stable - 178.7; 5. Courant Inc. - 154.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Harrah's Philadelphia, Harrah's Hoosier Park and The Meadowlands. Harrah's Philadelphia will host the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers and trotters; Harrah's Hoosier Park will have The Circle City for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; and The Meadowlands will feature the third leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

Per Engblom had high hopes for Synergy last year at age 2, and while the colt won the Champlain Stakes and eliminations of the Peter Haughton Memorial and Breeders Crown, the campaign failed to live up to his trainer's early expectations. "We really thought we had a great horse," Engblom said of last year, noting a bout of sickness hampered Synergy during the summer and impeded his development. But as the 2020 harness racing season kicks into gear, Engblom remains hopeful Synergy can emerge as a primetime player among 3-year-old male trotters. Synergy makes his second start Saturday (July 11) in the second of two divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings at The Meadowlands, where he leaves from post seven with Yannick Gingras and is the 3-1 morning-line favorite. The two Reynolds splits for the boys feature a total of 14 Hambletonian-eligible horses; Synergy is No. 6 in track announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian rankings. The Hambletonian, the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, is Aug. 8 at The Meadowlands. Synergy enters the Reynolds off a third-place finish in a 3-year-old open June 27 at the Big M, where he was timed in 1:52.1. It was the colt's debut, following a 1:54 qualifying effort that featured a :26.2 last quarter-mile. "I was really happy with those two efforts," Engblom said. "He needs to get racing, to get going; he's a big, heavy colt. But he's shown that he's a little stronger this year than last year, so I'm happy with that and I'm looking forward to these races coming up." A son of Father Patrick out of Southwind Sauna, Synergy is owned by Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and David Anderson. He was purchased as a yearling under the name Southwind Saranac for $275,000 at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes O'Brien Award winner Federal Flex. Synergy has won four of 11 career races and $164,888. "He had a little bit of trouble carrying his speed last year," Engblom said. "The last sixteenth of a mile he kind of flattened out, but this year so far, going (1):52, he seemed pretty good. Let's hope he can go (1):51 and (1):50 and a piece, too." Engblom also has a starter in the first Reynolds division. Beads, a newcomer to his stable this year, is the 4-1 third choice behind EL Ideal (2-1) and Capricornus (3-1). Beads went off stride in both of his starts this season, but heads to the Reynolds off a 1:52.2 win in a qualifier July 3. Jimmy Takter, who drove Beads in the qualifier, returns for Saturday's race. Last year, Beads won two of eight starts and $22,330. All but one of the horse's races were in Canada. The son of Archangel-Nepentha is owned by Renee Spahr. "He's a little bit of a funny horse, but he's got plenty of ability," Engblom said. "It's more mental issues with him, he gets a little nervous and stuff like that. He's not really stupid or hot or anything, it's just that he gets a little tense. "Going to the lead, so far, has been the model for him. If we can get him to mature, maybe he can race from behind a little bit. But he's showed plenty of ability so far." In addition to the two Reynolds divisions for the boys, there is a single Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters. Shishito is 6-1 on the morning line in a field that includes returning Dan Patch Award winner Ramona Hill (3-1 favorite) in her seasonal debut and 2-for-2 Sorella (7-2). Eight of the 10 fillies in the Reynolds are eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, including Shishito, Ramona Hill, and Sorella. Shishito won her only start of the season, beating male rivals including Hambletonian hopeful Capricornus, in 1:53.3 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Last year, she won four of 11 races and $240,512 for owners Black Horse Racing and John Fielding. "She was a money-maker last year," Engblom said. "She was a very tough girl. She was there the first baby race of the year and she raced in the Breeders Crown final. This year, I've been super happy with her so far. She trotted (1):53 last year and she's been in (1):51.2 (in a qualifier) already this year, so she's developed the right way." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Meadowlands. The 13-race card also includes $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters and a single elimination of the Meadowlands Pace. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Tioga Downs played host to five W.N. Reynolds Memorial races on Sunday (August 25). Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) captures the $38,650 first division of "The Solicitor" for 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Groovy Joe ($2.80) went right to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.1. He used a :30.4 second quarter to lead to the half in :58.0. Columbo (David Miller) went first-over and put some heat on the leader as they traveled down the back stretch. Groovy Joe put Columbo away as he hit the three-quarter mark in 1:25.2. Groovy Joe, who is owned by trainer Blake Macintosh and Hutt Racing Stable, led turning for home. Western Vacation (Andy Miller) popped out of the pocket and came flying in the stretch. Groovy Joe dug down deep and hung on to win in a career best of 1:52.4. Western Vacation had to settle for second money. Columbo finished third. Groovy Joe is a 2-year-old colt by Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk. It is his sixth win in eight career starts. Freedom Warrior (David Miller) wins the $38,650 second division of "The Solicitor". Level Up (Jim Morrill Jr.) was first to the quarter in :27.4. Bombshell Hanover (Andy Miller) took over with one lap to go. He led to the half in :56.2 and to three-quarters in 1:24.2. Level Up came out of the pocket and battled Bombshell Hanover all around the final turn. Freedom Warrior ($3.10), who is owned by Forrest Bartlett and trained by Kevin Lare, went second over after three-quarters. He then went three-wide in the stretch and blew right by to win in 1:52.4. Bombshell Hanover finished second with Level Up getting third place. Freedom Warrior is a 2-year-old colt by American Ideal-Chief Karen. He is three for seven in his career by winning his last three races. Back Of The Neck (Mattias Melander) goes gate-to-wire in "The Judge Moore" featuring freshmen trotting colts and geldings for a purse of $62,400. Back Of The Neck ($3.70) trotted first to the first quarter in :27.2. He slowed down the pace of the race with a second quarter of :31.3 by hitting the half in :59.0. He flew down the back stretch and hit three-quarters in 1:26.4. As they made the turn for home Moon Bridge (Jim Morrill Jr) was the only one with a chance. Back Of The Neck ($3.70), who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, and Judith Taylor, still led as they made the turn for home. Second place finisher Moon Bridge made a late charge but Back Of The Neck was too strong and won in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Coventry Hall (Tyler Buter) finished third. Back Of The Neck is a 2-year-old colt by Ready Cash-Big Barb. It was his second win in four career starts. Common Sense S (Jim Morrill Jr.) wins the "The Meda" for 2-year-old trotting fillies for a purse of $56,800. Common Sense S led to the first quarter in :28.0. Her lead was short lived as Heart N Soul Deo (David Miller) took control as they headed for the stands for the first time. Heart N Soul Deo was first to the half in :56.3 and first. to three-quarters in 1:25.3. Common Sense S, who is owned by trainer Ake Svanstedt and S R F Stable, popped out of the pocket as they reached the stretch and she won easily in a lifetime best of 1:55.4. Thankful For You (Tyler Buter) came up to finished second. Heart N Soul Deo held on for third. Common Sense S is a 2-year-old filly by Trixton-Opportunity. She won for the third straight time. She is three for six in her career. Ideal Dancer (Matt Kakaley) wins the non-betting "The Lorraine" featuring 2-year-old pacing fillies for a purse of $49,600. AP Emily's Dance (Andy Miller) controlled all the early fractions (:27.1, :58.1. 1:27.1). Ideal Dancer, who is trained by Scott DiDomenico for owners Triple D Stables, JFE Enterprise, D Robinson, and RBH Ventures, popped out of the pocket and flew on by to win in 1:57.1. AP Emily's Dance finished second with Bolt Of Speed (David Miller) getting third money. Ideal Dancer is a 2-year-old filly by American Ideal-Shawnee Dancer. It was her first career win in eight lifetime starts. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 30) with a nine race card starting at 6:15 p.m. No racing on Saturday (August 31) because of the Smash Mouth concert. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Downs  

Tioga Downs plays host to the W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for freshmen harness racing trotters and pacers on Sunday (August 25). The Blake Macintosh trained Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) is the 7-5 morning line choice in the $38,600 first division of "The Solicitor" for 2-year-old colts & geldings. The 2-year-old colt by Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk is owned by Macintosh and Hutt Racing Stable. He has won five legs of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) this season in seven starts. In the $38,650 second division of "The Solicitor" the 6-5 morning line favorite is Freedom Warrior (David Miller). The 2-year-old gelding by American Ideal-Chief Karen is owned by Forrest Bartlett and trained by Kevin Lare. He has won twice in six career starts. His victories were NYSS wins at Yonkers and Vernon Downs. The 2-1 morning line choice in the $62,400 "The Judge Moore" for freshmen trotting colts & geldings is Back Of The Neck (Mattias Melander). Marcus Melander trains the 2-year-old colt by Ready Cash-Big Barb for owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, and Judith Taylor. His lone win in three career starts came in the Kindergarten series at the Meadowlands. The Ake Svanstedt trained entry of Winter Olympics (Ake Svanstedt) and Common Sense S (Jim Morrill Jr.) are the morning line even money favorites in the $56,000 "The Meda" for 2-year-old trotting fillies. Winter Olympics (Muscle Mass-Olympic Dreams) is owned by Svanstedt. She is one for two in her career with a win in the Ontario Sire Stakes at Mohawk. Common Sense S (Trixton-Opportunity) is owned by Svanstedt and S R F Stable. She owns two wins in five career starts including a win last time out in a Tompkins Memorial race at Tioga Downs. The $49,600 "The Lorraine" for 2-year-old pacing fillies will be a non-betting race. The only filly with a win so far in the four horse field is the Nik Drennan trained AP Emily's Dance (Andy Miller). AP Emily's Dance (A Rocknroll Dance-Emily Car) is owned by J Davino, Anthony Perretti Farm, and the Drennan Stable. She is one for two lifetime. The 11 race card (plus non-betting race) will start at 1 p.m. For more information go to John Horne, for Tioga Downs

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although Jay Hochstetler works alongside his father training a stable of 22 harness racing horses, it’s rare that he purchases one for himself. However, when Hochstetler was shopping at the 2017 Harrisburg yearling sale, he came across an attractive pedigree in Bro, a Rock N Roll Heaven son out of the Pro Bono Best mare Gro. When Hochstetler laid eyes on the colt, he did a double take.  “I actually watched his mom race a lot. She raced in New York and Chicago and so did the rest of her family. I really liked her. I knew the maternal line was strong from a speed standpoint,” Hochstetler said. “When he came out of the stall, he was just a big, strong, black colt. He just had that presence that people talk about when they first walk out, you take a second look at them because they just have a look to them. There was nothing wrong with him, he had a good conformation, but when he took those first few steps out of the stall, he just had that big, strong look to him.” But Bro’s presence also came with an attitude. He quickly developed a dangerous reputation at the sale and after the hammer fell for $22,000, Hochstetler was surprised to find the staff would no longer enter Bro’s stall. However, when considering Bro’s pedigree, Hochstetler wasn’t put off by the colt’s temper. “He was really mean; the girls at the sale were scared of him,” Hochstetler recalled. “He wouldn’t let you in the stall, he was really territorial. He would try to kick you if you came in his stall. When I went to put him on the trailer, they wouldn’t go in and get him, I had to get him myself. The girl was having a lot of problems walking him to show him to people. He was a rambunctious, tough, big, strong colt. He’s still got an imposing figure; he’s had that since day one. When he is angry, he can toss you around. “The Rock N Roll Heaven’s tend to have that temperament, so it didn’t really phase me,” Hochstetler continued. “I’ve had a few that were alright horses that had that same disposition. I don’t mind my pacing colts being nasty once in a while. They have to have a mean streak in them to go the miles that they have to go.” Hochstetler hoped Bro’s disposition would improve after the sale, but at first, Bro didn’t relent. After some time, however, he acclimatized to his new surroundings and came out of his shell. “I thought maybe he was just being a jerk that day at the sale, but no, he meant it. He took a little getting used to when we first had him,” Hochstetler said. “Once he finally figured out you were the person that fed him and weren’t going to hurt him, he was really good. He hasn’t given me a problem ever since.” Bro proved to be a promising 2-year-old in training and was ready to qualify June 8, 2018. He finished second in his pari-mutuel debut nine days later, pacing a 1:57.0 mile with a :27.1 final quarter with Jay’s father Homer in the sulky. But after another runner-up finish in a New York Excelsior Series “A” split at Yonkers June 26, Hochstetler shut Bro down. “I really liked him last year. He had a little bone cyst that was really hurting him after his second start, so we stopped with him and just let that heal up,” Hochstetler said. “It was one of those things where think if I did a bunch of vet work, I could have pressed him on that year. But from day one, I knew he was a big colt, so I wasn’t afraid to stop with him from that standpoint because he needed time regardless. For his long-term future, I think it’s best that I didn’t race him a lot at 2. He didn’t tear himself up much. If I want a horse for the long run, that might have been the best thing that could have happened.” Bro filled out and matured during his time off. After x-rays came back clean last winter, Bro was ready to begin training back in early December. Sharp from his first training mile, Bro cruised through the winter in Pinehurst, North Carolina. With Hochstetler in the bike, Bro turned heads with a 1:54.4 qualifier at the training facility April 10. “That’s probably my favorite thing about him. Even when he was just a yearling, he’s always been a nice horse to drive,” Hochstetler said. “He’s never loose-lined, but he never pulls too hard. He drives straight. A 1:54.4-mile at Pinehurst is really a big mile, especially with a strong back half. It’s a good track, but you never usually see that type of speed down there.” After shipping back to Hochstetler’s base at Vernon Downs, Bro earned his maiden-breaking win April 27, again with his owner in the sulky. Although the 5 ½-length score in 1:57.0 doesn’t stand out on paper, given the slow conditions that evening, Hochstetler was impressed. “I really enjoy the training side a lot more than the driving side, but I had trained him all year myself. I figured, especially at my home track, I was OK with driving him,” Hochstetler said. “That race at Vernon, I was pretty confident I would win it and it was 1:57, but the wind was absolutely howling that night and it was still pretty sloppy. To come a back half like that, that was a deceivingly fast mile.” Hochstetler hoped for a good learning experience in Bro’s last start in a $15,000 overnight at the Meadowlands. But after being parked from post eight, Hochstetler’s hopes faded. Despite the 1:51.3 clocking with a :26.2 final panel, the eighth-place finish made the 4-hour ride back to Vernon agonizing. “He got thrown to the fire there a little earlier in his career than I wanted him too,” Hochstetler said. “The mile that he went was still pretty impressive to pace that fast for home afterwards. He had every excuse to just call it off and he still came a pretty good back half and last quarter. His own performance wise, I was encouraged.” With two starts under his belt this season, Bro will vie for his first stakes victory Saturday night (May 11) at Yonkers in a $24,250 division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial. The colt drew the inside post and is a 9-1 morning line for driver Brent Holland. “I had a choice between here and the first Sire Stakes leg at Monticello and I chose Yonkers,” Hochstetler said. “It’s seven days back from when he was raced before, and I like that I can go over a good surface like Yonkers. Especially since he had an injury last year, I didn’t want to risk anything, so I figured I’d go to the best surface I could. I thought it was the right way to go, and I got the rail. So far, luck’s on my side, so hopefully it’s the same way when we go to post.” Although Bro hasn’t shown a penchant for a particular style of racing in his four career starts thus far, Hochstetler thinks the 3-year-old can be aggressive from the inside if needed.  “I’ve never really left with him hard, but he has quick speed, so I think he has that in his arsenal. It’s definitely something he’s going to have to learn if he’s going to race in New York,” he said. “This is a spot where if you have to, I wouldn’t be hesitant to try it. He’s going to try no matter what you do. He isn’t one that needs a specific trip from what I can tell. He’s still green, but the way he trained, there wouldn’t be a problem with either way he would have to race.” Saturday night’s card features two divisions of the Reynolds for fillies and two divisions for colts and geldings, along with the regular $44,000 pacing and trotting co-features.  First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Tioga Downs hosted the W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for freshman trotters and pacers on Sunday (August 26). Starita (David Miller) wins the first of two divisions of The Meda ($37,250) for 2-year-old trotting fillies. Starita ($2.80) pranced out to the lead and never looked back. She set down all the fractions (:28.3, :58.3, 1:27.2, 1:55.4). Trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz. she had a two length lead after three-quarters and turned on the after burners in the stretch to win going away by more than five lengths. Fashion Rachel (Corey Callahan) finished second with Cardinale (Andy Miller) taking third money. Starita is a filly by Trixton-Morningstar. It was her second win in seven career starts. Unbeaten Cloud Nine Fashion (Tim Tetrick) took the second division of The Meda ($37,750). After leader Sabrina Deo (Corey Callahan) and follower Explosive Mel (Marcus Miller) each went on breaks, Cloud Nine Fashion ($2.10) led the group to the first quarter in :30.3. Southwind Percy (David Miller) took over the pocket. It was then a two horse race. Cloud Nine Fashion led to a half of 1:00.1 and to three-quarters in 1:28.1. South Percy put on the pressure around the final turn but when they reached the top of the stretch, Cloud Nine Fashion had a lot in the tank and won easily in 1:57.0. Southwind Percy settled for second best while Chardonnay Nay (Tom Jackson) finished third. Cloud Nine Fashion is a filly by Muscle Hill-I'm On Cloud Nine. Owned by Fashion Farms LLC and trained by Jim Campbell, she is now a perfect four for four in her young career. No Drama Please (Andy Miller) easily wins The Judge Moore ($69,300) for 2-year-old trotting colts & geldings. No Drama Please ($8.70) charged straight to the front and never looked back. He hit all the stations first (:28.3, :58.0, 1:26.2, 1:56.0). The betting favorite Holiday Hangover (Tim Tetrick) looked like he had a chance just before the three-quarter mark but he went on a break. No Drama Please then breezed home to get his first career victory by over two lengths in the end. Cheap Tricks (Jim Taggart Jr.) finished second. Sheena's Boy (Marcus Miller), who was racing for purse only was third. No Drama please is a colt by Trixton-Female Drama. Owned by Stoy Inc., and trained by Julie Miller. It was his first win in six starts. Zero Tolerence (David Miller) gets impressive win in The Lorraine ($56,300) featuring freshman pacing fillies. Zero Tolerence ($2.10) went to the front and led from gate-to-wire (:28.1, :57.4, 1:26.0, 1:53.2). She never let them get close in winning her fourth straight race. Prairie Westerngal (Jim Taggart Jr.) finished a distant second with Simone (Homer Hochstetler) getting third. Zero Tolerence is a filly by Heston Blue Chip-feelinglikeastar. Trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz, she won for the fifth time in six starts. It was an owner-trainer-driver double for them on the afternoon. Mangogh (Tim Tetrick) hangs on to win The Solicitor ($66,600) for 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Mangogh ($7.20) went to the front followed by Sweet Troy (Marcus Miller). He led them to the first quarter of :28.0 and then to a half of :56.0. One half of the betting favorite entry, Captain Panko went on a break at the halfway mark. Trained by Bruce Saunders for owners M&L Of Delaware LLC., and M&M Harness Racing LLC., Mangogh was pressured by Saronno (Andy Miller) as he hit the three-quarter mark in 1:24.3. As they were in the stretch, Sweet Troy finally was able to find racing room and charged at Mangogh in deep stretch but it was too late and Mangogh won in a career best time of 1:53.4. Sweet Troy settled for second. Sarrono ended up third best. Mangogh is a colt by Western Ideal-My Little Artist. It was his second win in six career starts. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 31) starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Downs  

Tioga Downs will play host to five W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for freshman pacers and trotters on Sunday (August 26). In the first of two divisions of "The Meda" ($37,250) for 2-year-old trotting fillies, the morning line choice is Starita (David Miller) at 9-5. Trained by Joe Holloway, the filly is by Trixton-Morningstar. She has a win and a second in six starts so far in her career. Mimi'spearloflinday (Mattias Melander) is the second choice in at 5-2. Trained by Marcus Melander, the daughter of Cantab Hall-Lindy's Showgirl has one win in four starts. In the second division of "The Meda" ($37,750), the unbeaten Cloud Nine Fashion (Tim Tetrick) is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The filly by Muscle Hill-I'm On Cloud Nine is trained by Jim Campbell. She is three for three in her young career. Matter Of Fact (Mattias Melander) has been deemed as the second choice at 5-2. Trained by Marcus Melander, the filly by Explosive Matter-Chips N Caviar has a second place finish in three starts. The 2-year-old trotting colts & geldings will participate in "The Judge Moore" ($69,300). The 9-5 morning line favorite is an entry of three colts trained by Ake Svanstedt. The trio is led by Lindy Express (Jim Meittinis) a colt by Trixton-Nashville Lindy. The second part of the entry is Sheena's Boy (Marcus Miller) by Trixton-Sheen's Shadow. The last part of the entry is Galixton (Corey Callahan). He is by Trixton-Spring Gala. Freshman pacing fillies will compete in "The Lorraine" ($56,300). The overwhelming morning line favorite at 8-5 is Zero Tolerance (David Miller). The filly by Heston Blue Chip-Feelinglikeastar is trained by Joe Holloway. She has already earned over $60,000 in her career with four wins in her five lifetime starts. The second choice in "The Lorraine" is Simone (3-1), who is trained and driven by Homer Hochstetler. The filly by American Ideal-Ritascape has reached the winner's circle twice in four lifetime starts. Freshman pacing colts & geldings will vie for a purse of $66,600 in "The Soliciter". The 9-5 morning line favorite is an entry trained by John Butenschoen. The first part of the entry is Captain Panko (Corey Callahan), a colt by Captaintreacherous-P Note Blue Chip. He has won two of five starts so far this season. The second part of the entry is Scirocco Mistysaid (Tom Jackson). The gelding by Well Said-Cold Mist has a second an two thirds in six career starts. The second morning line choice for "The Soliciter" is the Erv Miller trained Sweet Troy (Marcus Miller) at 5-2. The gelding by Sweet Lou-Magestic Blue Chip has a second and two thirds in his four lifetime starts. The 12 race card on Sunday (August 26) starts at 1 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Down    

This Week: Messenger eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation, Casual Breeze and Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and W.N. Reynolds Memorial divisions, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: This Saturday (Aug. 25), Yonkers Raceway will host a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the Messenger Stakes for sophomore pacers, the second leg of the sport's pacing Triple Crown. The top four horses in each elimination will return for the $500,000 final on Sept. 1. Also on Saturday, Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature three divisions in the C$276,381 Nassagaweya for 2-year-old pacing colts, three divisions in the C$251,347 Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacing fillies and a pair of C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters. On Friday (Aug. 24) Woodbine Mohawk will host a single C$136,000 division in the Casual Breeze for 3-year-old filly trotters. On Sunday (Aug. 26), Tioga Downs will card four sets of W.N. Reynolds Memorial events for freshman pacers and trotters of both sexes. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Met's Hall (Andy Miller) won an exciting $350,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot for 3-year-olds at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 17). Met's Hall won by a nose in a personal best time of 1:52. Met's Hall ($27.60) went straight to the lead from the eight hole. He took the first quarter in :26.4. Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt) followed in the pocket with Manchego (Yannick Gingras) following along in third. Andy Miller slowed the second quarter to a crawl of :30.1 as Met's Hall hit the half in :57. Six Pack would pull the pocket just before the half. The two would then battle nose to nose and wheel to wheel all around the final turn. Neither horse would give an inch as they hit three-quarters in 1:25.2. Manchego, who was the only filly in the race, sat in third watching the other two battle it out around the turn. She then went three-wide at the top of the stretch. In an amazing stretch drive, Met's Hall would dig in and get ready for the late charge from Manchego. In the end Met's Hall would win by a nose in a personal best time of 1:52. Magnificent as she was, Manchego had to settle for second best. The gutsy Six Pack would finish third. Met's Hall is a 3-year-old colt by Cantab Hall. Trained by Julie Miller for owners Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc., it was his second win in six starts this season. He now owns seven career victories. Super Girl Riley (Marcus Miller) shocked the field in the $180,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies. The big favorite Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) carved out all the early fractions (:28, :57.2, 1:26.3). Basquiat (Yannick Gingras) followed in the pocket before going on a break at the three-quarter pole. Perfect Summer K (David Miller) would then inherit second. Super Girl Riley ($17.20) came first-over from third in the stretch. She ran down Plunge Blue Chip to win in a career best of 1:54.3. Plunge Blue Chip had to settle for second money. Perfect Summer K finished third. Owned by Paymaq Racing, George Golemes, and Harvey Eisman and trained by Erv Miller, the 3-year-old filly by Muscle Mass won for the second time in 2018. It was her sixth career victory. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 703.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 693.5; 3. David Miller - 374.5; 4. Jordan Stratton - 288; 5. Corey Callahan - 273.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 660.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 504; 3. Tony Alagna - 271; 4. Erv Miller - 220; 5. Jim Campbell - 216. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 144.9; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 139.9; 3. Fashion Farms - 129; 4. Vonknoblauch Stable - 117; 5. Robert Key - 115. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway and Woodbine Mohawk Park. Yonkers will feature the Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. Woodbine Mohawk will offer the Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot, as well as Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A pair of talented trotters hit the winner's circle in two divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot at the Meadowlands Saturday night. In the first division of the final Hambletonian prep, Met's Hall was bet down to 3-5 and made the quarter on the point in a leisurely :28. Another rated fraction followed and Met's Hall was cruising past the half in :57.3. Hockey Hanover, the only non-Hambo eligible in the field of nine, then shocked the favorite (not to mention the bettors), using an authoritative brush to grab the lead, hitting three-quarters two lengths to the good in 1:25.4 at odds of 49-1. But despite closing in :27.2, Hockey Hanover couldn't complete the job. Met's Hall had a burst of speed left in his arsenal, and he used it, battling back along the inside, closing in :26.4, to record a neck win over a fast-closing Fashionwoodchopper. Hockey Hanover held third. With the Hambletonian just a week away, the timing was ideal for Met's Hall (Cantab Hall-Met's Inn) to record his first win of the year in just his third start. The heavy favorite, who was driven by Andy Miller and trained by Julie Miller, completed the mile in 1:53 and paid $3.40 in winning for the sixth time in 14 lifetime outings. Beal Memorial champion Crystal Fashion was a dominant winner of the second Reynolds division. Tim Tetrick had the gelded Cantab Hall-Window Willow product sitting an unhurried sixth in the early going before opting to race in a third-over flow down the backstretch. With an eighth of a mile to go, Crystal Fashion was tipped off his cover and stormed home to record a 1-length victory over Hat Trick Habit in 1:52.4. For A Dreamer was third. As the 1-5 public choice, Crystal Fashion returned $2.60 to win, scoring for the ninth time in 20 lifetime outings while upping his lifetime bankroll to just over $523,000. JL AND JOE CRUZE TO VICTORY: JL Cruze went right to the top and never looked back in the overnight co-feature, the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters. The 7-year-old gelded son of Crazed-Topcat Hall stopped the clock in 1:51.2 and paid $11.40 as the fourth choice in the wagering. Western Joe sat off a speed duel where Miso Fast and Highalator went toe-to-toe to three-quarters in 1:20.3, then used a final quarter of :26.3 to win the $20,000 Preferred for pacers in a sizzling 1:47.3. In lowering his previous lifetime best by two seconds, Western Joe (Western Ideal-Ante Fay) paid $12.60 as the fourth betting choice. A LITTLE MORE: All-source wagering on the 12-race program totaled $2,335,364. ... Next weekend marks the final two race cards of the 2017-18 Meadowlands meeting. Friday's first race gets underway at 7:15 p.m. Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 4, has a special early post time of noon. ... Go to the Meadowlands Facebook page and check out the Hambletonian post position draw live at 2 p.m. Tuesday. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

What The Hill and harness racing driver David Miller didn't get to celebrate his win aboard Fear The Dragon in the $400,000 Adios on Saturday afternoon for long, as he was back to work on Saturday night with a full slate at The Meadowlands. Luckily for him, the good day continued, as he piloted What The Hill to a gate-to-wire victory in the $49,580 Reynolds Memorial. What The Hill darted right to the top from post seven in the big field of eleven, with his stablemate Southwind Cobra (Yannick Gingras) coming away on his back from post one. Those two continued sitting one-two through reasonable splits of 28.2, 56.2, and 1:24.2, and looked poised for a Burke barn battle down the lane, but Southwind Cobra jumped it off stride when angling to the outside at the top of the stretch. What The Hill would inherit a 3 1/2 length lead after the break in stride of Southwind Cobra, and he had plenty left to coast home in 27.4 to win by 3/4 of a length in 1:52.1, in a race that was closer on paper than in reality. Yes Mickey (Ake Svanstedt) had to negotiate heavy traffic from the second tier post eleven, and rallied up to finish second, narrowly besting 6-5 favorite Bill's Man who was first over and held third. What The Hill a Muscle Hill colt now has four wins in six seasonal tries, for the ownership group of Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. What The Hill Giveitgasandgo Picks Up Win What The Hill wasn't the only three-year old trotting colt with an impressive Hambletonian tuneup, as Giveitgasandgo (Corey Callahan) parlayed a perfect pocket trip to edge by Jake (Daniel Dube) to win in 1:52.1 earlier on the card in a $15,000 trot earlier on the card. The winner, a ridgling by Yankee Glide, was adding lasix for the first time, but the medication is not permitted for use in the Hambletonian by rule. Giveitgasandgo Jackpot Super High 5 pays $1,306.34 The mandatory payout of the last race jackpot super high 5 returned $1,306.34 after attracting a total pool of $171,449. Total handle on the 12-race card was $2,570,369. By Gabe Prewitt for the Meadowlands  

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