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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was one for the harness racing chalk players and one for those who like bombs in the two $17,500 Play Meadowlands Series Finals at The Meadowlands Friday night. In the division for pacing fillies and mares, Its Mesmerise N completed a two-race sweep of the event for trainer Darran Cassar and driver Scott Zeron. Sent to the gate as the 1-5 public choice for a second straight start despite facing a tougher field this time around, Zeron had the 7-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Cullens Charm in the three-hole early before brushing to the top at the half, which was clocked in a quick :54.2. Windsong Parisian, the 10-1 fourth choice in the 10-horse field, applied pressure to the leader while first-over past the half and three-quarters (1:22.1) and appeared to be done off the turn as they straightened away in the stretch, but she kept on digging all the way to the wire through a slow final quarter of :30.2 to come up a neck short of pulling off an upset. Misty Memory N was third.   "I wish I could have bided my time a little more," said Zeron of moving Its Mesmerise N to the lead. "She raced unbelievably given the pressure and the fractions. When I had to move as early as I did at the half, it was a bit of a concern and the immediate pressure didn't help. [Windsong Parisian] raced well. Both fillies cruised around the last turn and both hung in there down the lane. I think my horse is classier than these horses. I had been racing her from off the pace because she likes a target but had been a victim of being too far back. She showed tonight she can do it any which way." Its Mesmerise N paid $2.60 to win after completing the mile in 1:52.3 for her 18th lifetime win from 69 starts. She now has earnings of $117,364. Longshot lovers got their way in the Play Meadowlands for trotters as driver Steve Smith saved ground with Take A Wish from start to finish before bursting through between rivals late to score at 30-1 in 1:55.2. After racing Take A Wish at the rail in eighth in the 10-horse field in the early going, as the flow developed on the rim, Smith advanced the Dawn Anderson trainee to the four-hole along the inside at the half. Remaining glued to the cones around the far turn, Smith waited until there was room and came with a rush in deep stretch to score the upset by a head and return $62.40. Life Well Lived closed well on the far outside to get second while third-place finisher Gruden, the 2-1 favorite, failed in a second straight attempt to go wire-to-wire.   Take A Wish, a 6-year-old mare by Wishing Stone-Take A Taste, won for the 12th time from 85 lifetime outings and upped her earnings to $210,836. A LITTLE MORE: Handle topped the $3-million mark again as a total of $3,080,321 was put in play on a 13-race card conducted over a sloppy track that saw snowy conditions for the first third of the program. Wagering has now surpassed $3 million on three straight Fridays, and 10 times overall for the 14 cards conducted thus far in 2021. ... Driver of the Week Dexter Dunn kept on rolling, racking up three winners to up his Big M leading-driver victory tally to 42. He's scored 15 times over the last four programs. ... No one hit the 20-cent Pick-6, setting up Saturday's wager with a carryover of $7,222. .... First-race post time on Saturday is 6 p.m. The Pick-6 begins in race eight. Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. For full race results, click here. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Despite Tall Dark Stranger's most valiant effort, his absolute reign among 3-year-old harness racing pacing colts and geldings came to an end in Saturday night's (Oct. 31) $500,000 Breeders Crown, as 200-1 shot Sandbetweenmytoes lifted down the grandstand side to narrowly record a 1:48.3 win over the divisional leader. Sandbetweenmytoes got away ninth in the field of 10 while Cattlewash (David Miller) and Warrawee Vital (Tim Tetrick) threw down through a :25.3 first quarter. Upon reaching the backstretch, Yannick Gingras moved Tall Dark Stranger out from third to brush for the lead, and they cleared after being strung out by Cattlewash through a punishing :52.3 half mile. Tall Dark Stranger controlled an uncontested lead through the far turn, but after reaching three-quarters in 1:20.3 and turning for home, the odds-on favorite looked vulnerable as the outer tier had finally caught up to him. The first-over No Lou Zing (Dexter Dunn) worked to within striking range at the eighth pole, Cattlewash launched for the open stretch, and Captain Barbossa (Joe Bongiorno) took a solid shot off cover as well -- but as he had done on numerous occasions this season, Tall Dark Stranger dug deep to find more while under siege. Game as Tall Dark Stranger was, though, one of the unlikeliest of rivals had his number. Scott Zeron fanned Sandbetweenmytoes -- who was towed into contention from fourth-over -- to the five-path in upper stretch, and they found their best gear in the final sixteenth. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere lifted to collar Tall Dark Stranger by a neck, with Cattlewash finishing third and Save Me A Dance fourth. The $409.80 win mutuel yielded by Sandbetweenmytoes was the highest ever in the 37-year history of the Breeders Crown. Trainer Jim Campbell felt the race set up perfectly for his gelding, and that he had the potential to contend: "He had a good week, and before the race, Scotty and I talked it over," he said. "Where we were at, we had to hope for a hot pace up front. We got it, and Sandbetweenmytoes took advantage of it." Despite the faith he had in Sandbetweenmytoes, Campbell was just as surprised by the end result as anyone: "I wasn't confident [in the result] until they flashed his number up, because I watched one angle and thought we had a shot," he said. "Watching the race live, I couldn't tell ... it was tight; he just happened to go the right way at the wire to get his nose up." The Fashion Farms homebred has now won seven of 15 races and $487,135 in purses this season.   by James Witherite, for the Breeders Crown

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing driver Scott Zeron was all business at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Oct. 26) as he won four of the eight Massachusetts Sire Stake finals, including three straight to start the day. Trainer George Ducharme and owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. also combined for three stake wins and five in-the-money placings during the afternoon. There were eight $90,000 divisions combined for a total value of $720,000. Zeron struck first with the 2-year-old trotting gelding Incommunicado (Chapter Seven-Gran Cavalla) who took an early lead and marched on the point by 1-1/2 lengths all the way to the three-quarters. At that station Incommunicado kicked-away from the group and opened up six lengths around the last turn and stretched that advantage to 17-1/4 at the wire where he stopped the timer in 1:56.2, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner.   It was the third straight MASS win for Incommunicado ($2.60) who is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz. Ake Svanstedt is the trainer. The Moni Maker Stable bred Incommunicado who was an $80,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2019. Next in the 3-year-old male pacing division, Zeron sat behind the heavily favored Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) and similarly called the shots on the front. When the race got to the half, Spatterdash (Mike Stevenson) moved alongside and presented a real threat as the pair matched strides to the three-quarters and halfway around the last turn. There, Wyatt J pulled away by a length but still had to quell a late charge from R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer) and Han Solo (Shawn Gray) to win by 1/2 length in 1:52.1. Now undefeated in four starts in Massachusetts, Wyatt J ($2.20) has also won eight straight starts this year for owner Ken Jacobs. Linda Toscano is the winning trainer. Wyatt J was bred by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and was a $245,000 yearling purchase at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale. Zeron's natural Hat Trick was completed in the 2-year-old male pacing division with Mullinax (American Ideal-Up Front Kellie Jo) who took an early lead to the quarter in :26.4 before Maui (Shawn Gray) tipped and took control. At the five-eighth's pole Call Me Maverick (Mike Stevenson) and Bumpah Stickah (Jim Hardy) drew even with Maui and Mullinax and the foursome paced away from the field. At the top of the stretch Bumpah Stickah tipped three deep and Mullinax went four wide and got the best of the insiders by only a neck at the light in 1:53.4. The time was a new stake record and tied the existing track record that Mullinax set himself earlier this month. It was the sixth win of the year and second straight for Mullinax ($5.00) who is owned by William Varney and trained by Mark Ford. Mullinax was bred by his namesake, Ed Mullinax. Zeron completed the Grand Slam in the 3-year-old trotting filly division behind Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who took the lead off the gate and was never headed after that. The filly trotted through quarters of :28, :58 and 1:26.2 when Zeron let Without A Warning out a notch and she swelled up down the stretch with a 6-1/4 length lead at the beam, timed in 1:55. Without A Warning ($2.10) swept the MASS for the second straight year and is now a two-time champion for owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Without A Warning has also never lost a race in the state of Massachusetts and is a perfect nine-for-nine lifetime. The 2-year-old filly pace went to Purameri (American Ideal-J K Pure Pearl) who got away sixth behind the front-running So Amazing (Bruce Ranger). At the half Suzie Blue chip (Shawn Gray) was out and rolling and driver Nick Graffam followed that cover with Purameri all the way to the top of the stretch where they swung wide and paced up a storm passing So Amazing. Once in front, Purameri opened up a 2-1/2 length lead and won in 1:54.1 in a 7-1 upset. Purameri ($17.00) scored her second and biggest win in Massachusetts for owner the Purple Haze Stable and trainer Jessica Okusko. Next was the 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings and Double Dealing (RC Royalty-Heather Spur) dug deep to get the win. After getting away third behind Life Is A Feast (Scott Zeron), Shawn Gray pulled Double Dealing at the half and motored up the rim towards the leader and engaged him on the backstretch. The two trotters tangled to the three-quarters, around the last turn and into the stretch where Double Dealing opened up a two length lead and cruised to the wire under a line drive in 1:57.1. It was the third MASS win and seventh overall of the year for Double Dealing ($4.60) and owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) won her fourth straight MASS race after capturing the 2-year-old trotting filly division. Me Too Baby (Matty Athearn) opened up a quick three-length lead on the field while Royal Envy sat fifth. But that was short lived as Shawn Gray came early behind Moni For Lindy (Scott Zeron) who was on the move in front of the stands. Moni For Lindy cleared at the half before Royal Envy crossed over for the lead past the five-eighths. With no serious challenge from behind, Gray line-drove Royal Envy from that point all the way to the wire where she won in 1:57.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Royal Envy ($4.00) now has four wins out of six lifetime starts for owners/breeders Al Ross and Ray Campbell Jr. The filly is also trained by George Ducharme. Finally in the 3-year-old pacing filly group, Ry's Red Rocket (Sunshine Beach-Mo Molly Blue Chip) took no prisoners as Matty Athearn sent her to the front and she never looked back. Ry's Red Rocket tripped the timer in :26.4, :56.1 and 1:24.4 with Rojas Blue Chip (Drew Monti) right on her back, but her back was all the competition would see as Ry's Red Rocket turned for home and paced smartly to the wire on top by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54. Ry's Red Rocket ($3.60) got her second stake win and sixth of the year for owner/breeder Linwood Higgins. Gretchen Athearn trains the winner. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Standardbred Canada's Trot Insider has learned that 2016 Triple Crown winner and triple millionaire trotter Marion Marauder has been retired from racing. The decision was announced on Friday (Oct. 23) by his connections, trainers Paula Wellwood & Mike Keeling, and owners Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. "After consultation with some top equine veterinarians, we have accepted that he will not be able to compete at the elite level. We have also during this period of time explored the possibility of him standing stud, unfortunately his lack of fertility worsened with age and he his not able to breed. "He is a member of the family and will have a home for life. We have reached out to the Kentucky Horse Park in hopes that he may live out his days in their Stable of Champions, he certainly has earned it," said the connections. "It is not without some emotion we make this announcement but we have been so proud and thankful for his accomplishments. He truly is the Horse of a lifetime." With $3.5 million-plus in the bank -- more than any other active Standardbred -- and 21 trips to the winner's circle, Marion Marauder boasts the resume of a racehorse that few can match. He won the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity in 2016 to become just the ninth trotter to win trotting's Triple Crown. The son of Muscle Hill - Spellbound Hanover also won the Goodtimes Stakes and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial at three en route to a season that amassed more than $1.5 million in purses, topping the North American earnings charts for all trotters. As an older competitor, his stakes scores included the 2017 Graduate Final and the Hambletonian Maturity, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, 2018 John Cashman Memorial and the 2018 Caesars Trotting Classic. The majority of those wins came with regular driver Scott Zeron. Marion Marauder was also named the 2016 O'Brien Award winner for Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts/Geldings and 2016 USHWA Dan Patch Award winner for Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts before repeating that honour stateside as the 2017 USHWA Dan Patch Award winner for Older Trotting Horses. He retires with a mark of 1:50.2, taken this year at the age of seven, and sits as the eighth richest North American-based trotter in harness racing history. From Standardbred Canada's Trot Insider

Plainville, MA --- The third session of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for 3-year-old contenders met at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 19) to compete for the $112,500 in available purses with two early harness racing favorites ending the day three-for-three in the stake. The 3-year-old male pacers saw Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) successful for a third straight week after hanging on for the win. Wyatt J (Scott Zeron) took early command and led a single file field through five-eighths of a mile without movement. The first one to flinch was R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer) who moved towards the leader up the backside and got within a length at the 7/8th's pole. There, Han Solo (Shawn Gray) pulled from fourth and swung three-deep into the lane and looked like he would take the prize. But Wyatt J was tougher and hung on to a neck victory in 1:52.3.   Owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano, Wyatt J ($2.20) should head into the final as the prohibitive favorite. Bred by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Wyatt J was a $245,000 yearling purchase at the 2018 Lexington Selected sale and drew the highest sale price of any American Ideal yearling that year. The other undefeated participant was Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who bested the 3-year-old trotting fillies for the third straight week in a non-betting event. Without A Warning (Scott Zeron) followed RFL's M London (Jim Hardy) for a quarter mile before Zeron tipped, took the lead and ran off with the money. The filly stayed close to the field until the top of the lane where she kicked away to a 2-1/2 length win in 1:57. After tangling with the likes of Love A Good Story and Hypnotic Am in the New York Sire Stakes all year, Without A Warning has shown her class in this series with three easy wins for trainer George Ducharme. Without A Warning was bred by her owner, Ray Campbell Jr. In the 3-year-old male trotting division, Dazzling Lindy (Crazed-Lindy On The Rocks) got his first MASS win and did it with a career best effort. Dazzling Lindy (Drew Monti) took no prisoners and went right down the road with hectic fractions as the favored Life Is A Feast (Scott Zeron) following closely. Dazzling Lindy cut quarters of :27, :55.2 and 1:24.1. At that last station, Life Is A Feast pulled the pocket and tried to advance, but Monti popped the plugs and Dazzling Lindy trotted on. He opened up two lengths at the top of the stretch and held off a late lunge from Double Dealing (Shawn Gray) to win by 1/2 length in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Dazzling Lindy ($10.20) scored his fourth overall win of the year for his owner the Lindy Farms of Connecticut, who also bred the gelding. Domenico Cecere is the trainer. Finally the sophomore pacing fillies were tamed by She's A Fireball (Western Maverick-Fire Can Fly) on the strength of a big three-quarter move. Rojas Blue Chip (Drew Monti) stepped to the half in a swift :55.3 with Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) and Shes A Fireball (Ron Cushing) right behind her. As they hit the 5/8th's, Cushing pulled Shes A Fireball and went right around Rojas Blue Chip and opened up two lengths on a fast approaching Ry's Red Rocket. Those two fillies broke away from the field heading into the stretch but Shes A Fireball was wrapped up and not to be caught, winning by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:54.1, tying her lifetime mark. Shes A Fireball ($5.80) has now won two of the three MASS legs for owners Ron Cushing and Adams Racing. Lucia Les and Kenneth Clairmont bred the winner. The $720,000 (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will be held on Monday (Oct. 26) at Plainridge Park with post time for the first race at 2 p.m. All eight finals will be held on that day. Live racing at Plainridge Park will resume on Thursday (Oct. 22) at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

CHESTER, PA - Three-year-old fillies were spotlighted in $150,000 worth of Liberty Bell stakes series action during the Friday afternoon harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia, with two divisions for pacers and three for trotters. The first pace saw the ultraconsistent Rocknificent, competitive not only within the state but with the North American elite, handle a late pocket charge from Drama Act to win in 1:51.3. Scott Zeron sent the daughter of Captaintreacherous out of the $2M+-winning Rocklamation, who was second choice at 3-2 to Drama Act's 1-2, to the lead from post six, with Drama Act from the rail maintaining the pocket through pedestrian fractions of :27.1, :56.4, and 1:24.3.   When both the fillies' pedals were pushed to the metal, however, they dueled home in :27, with Rocknificent holding off her rival by a neck to run her seasonal record to 10-5-2-3-$242,530 and her lifetime tally to 23-10-4-7-$524,036 for trainer Linda Toscano and the partnership of Enviro Stables LTD, South Mountain Stables, and Little E LLC. The second pacing section also saw the second choice win, though the positional tables were turned, as the A Rocknroll Dance miss Dance Club made Going Gone Hanover, favored at 4-5 to Dance Club's 7-5, work through early numbers of :26.4 and :54.4, and then sat watching the 1:22.4 battle to the three-quarters between the favorite and first-over Wayside. George Brennan then steered the Ron Burke trainee up the inside, and Dance Club, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc. and David Wills, went past by a length and a half , with Going Gone Hanover beating Wayside by a half length for second. Turning to the trotters: Next Level Stuff raised her lifetime win record to 10 triumphs in 19 starts by posting a 1:55 victory in her division. With main foe Fifty Cent Piece eliminating herself early, the daughter of Sebastian K S quarter-moved after a :27.3 opener, got a breather to the half in :58.1, then tripped the three-quarters in 1:26.4 and held safe Electrapedia by 1¾ lengths. Todd McCarthy, quickly adapting to top-level North American competition, drove the winner of $328,816 for trainer Jim Campbell and Runthetable Stables. A similar scenario developed in another Liberty Bell trot, as Dune Hill made an early misstep, leaving the path clear for the Muscle Massive miss Miss McKee to head down the road for driver George Napolitano Jr., with fractions of :28.1, :58.1, and 1:26 leading to an open length triumph in 1:54.2. The Jack Baggitt Jr.-trained filly now has seven wins in twelve seasonal starts and over $110,000 on her card this year for J L Sadowsky LLC. The Hall of Fame is not likely to be calling for a copy of the third division. After the Andover Hall filly SVF Blushingbride made the lead in :27.4 and got to the half in :58.1 ahead of her five opponents, the following happened in this order: 1) first-over Impressive Fashion made a break just past the midway point, leaving Cover Girl uncovered; 2) pocketsitter Aldebaran Revani made a miscue off turn two, causing 3) I'm Winin Hanover right behind her to suffer an "ix," which let Cover Girl take the pocket and left favored Molto Bene uncovered; 4) the "first-up" horse broke at the 1:26.3 three-quarters, leaving a two-horse breakaway until 5) Cover Girl misbehaved past midturn. That left driver Simon Allard and the Lou Pena-trained filly all alone to trot out in 1:57, with SVF Blushingbride's margin over the recovering Cover Girl 9 1/2 lengths. The subsequent inquiries into the breaks caused the red lighting on the tote board to use more electricity than a Christmas display, but only Aldebaran Revani, for causing interference, was placed lower. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Here are the horses and drivers/trainer of week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. PACER OF THE WEEK: BELL I NO The $30,000 to $40,000 claiming handicap harness racing pacers represent the best of the best in the claiming ranks at Pocono. And Bell I No has been hard to beat in that class of late. The eight-year-old gelding came into a start in that class on Saturday having picked up back-to-back victories in that group, with winning times of 1:51:3 and 1:50:2. Bell I No was the pacesetter in those previous two wins, but, on Saturday, driver George Napolitano Jr. was forced to come first-over with him to challenge Lachie MaGuire N. In this first start for new trainer Chuck Crissman Jr., Bell I No took the lead in the stretch and held off closing Rangers Sureshot to win by 1 ¼ lengths. His third straight win came as the 7-5 second betting choice and in a time of 1:50:4. Honorable Mention Pyro (Simon Allard, Ron Burke), who followed up two straight wins at the Meadows with a condition victory at Pocono on Saturday in 1:49, a new career-best. Ruthless Hanover (George Napoliotano Jr., Thomas Cancelliere), who scored his third consecutive win at Pocono with a victory in Stallion Series action for three-year-old male pacers on Tuesday with a career-best mile of 1:51. Doubleoffthewall (Matt Kakaley, Tom Fanning), who followed up her maiden victory at Pocono with a Stallion Series win on Monday against other 2-year-old fillies in a career-best 1:54. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MISSISSIPPI STORM Trained by Tom Fanning, this 5-year-old gelding was impressive in a victory in a $14,000 condition trot on July 18 at Pocono, as a 7-5 second choice, in 1:53:1. He struggled to a 7th place finish in tough company at the Meadowlands in his next start. On Saturday, Mississippi Storm returned to Pocono to face the $14,000 conditioners once again, leaving from the inside post in a field of nine as a 2-1 second choice. Driver Anthony Napolitano stayed patient with Mississippi Storm in a third-in position, even on the back stretch when it looked like he might be boxed in. But the inside opened up nicely around the final term. Full of trot at that point, Mississippi Storm powered through the passing lane past the leaders for the win in 1:52, a new career mark and the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. Honorable Mention Kinetic King (Tyler Buter, Rob Harmon), who came off two straight victories at Tioga to capture a claiming trot at Pocono on Monday in 1:56:1 Theresademoninme (Tyler Buter, Dylan Davis), who handled a tough group of condition trotters on Saturday in 1:54:2. Alexandria Hanover (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who moved up in class to pick up her second consecutive condition won on Tuesday, doing so in a career mark of 1:56:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SUMMER ROCK More like Long Shot of the Year, as this pacing mare driven by Mark MacDonald rallied for a win on Monday in a claiming handicap at 170 to 1, paying off $342.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ZERON Zeron was all over the stakes action this week, going to town on Sunday and Monday with three Stallion Series and two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes victories. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LINDA TOSCANO The Toscano barn is full of talented pacing fillies, as evidenced by three stakes wins at Pocono on Monday and Tuesday, including a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes victory with two-year-old Marsala Hanover. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs                

Ake Svanstedt believes Back Of The Neck has got it all, which is everything a harness racing horse needs in the Hambletonian. Back Of The Neck is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations at The Meadowlands. The colt is a nose from being unbeaten in three races this season and will start from post one with Scott Zeron in the sulky for trainer Svanstedt. The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million Hambletonian final Aug. 8 at the Big M. Elim winners draw for post one through five for the final. The Hambletonian is racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. Svanstedt will send out a total of four horses in the eliminations, with Third Shift joining Back Of The Neck in the first, followed by Jula Trix Treasure and Moon Bridge in the second. First post is at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) and the Hambletonian eliminations are races six and eight on the 13-race card. Back Of The Neck, trained by Marcus Melander in 2019, won three of nine races last year, including a division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial and an elimination of the Willliam Wellwood Memorial. He finished third in the Wellwood final. This year, the colt was second in a 3-year-old open before winning divisions of the Reynolds and Stanley Dancer Memorial, both in 1:52. All three starts were at The Meadowlands. "He has won with power left every time," Svanstedt said. "He feels good and he trains good. I think he's in good condition. "He is a strong horse. He has a big engine and is good gaited. I think he has a good head also. I think he has everything. But for a horse to have a chance to win the Hambletonian, they must have everything. They must have the power, they must have the speed, and they must have the heart. They must want to win." Back Of The Neck raced on the lead in his first start in 2020, but from off the pace in his most recent outings, winning with strong stretch drives. "Scott said he was grabby the first time, but the last two races he hasn't been grabby," Svanstedt said. "It was no problem to back off. He is very nice to drive and he can come home very fast." Zeron is already a two-time winner of the Hambletonian at the age of 31. He won in 2018 with Atlanta and in 2016 with Marion Marauder, who went on to sweep the Trotting Triple Crown (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity). Back Of The Neck is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and breeder Order By Stable. The colt is a son of French star Ready Cash out of Big Barb. Ready Cash also sired the favorite in the second Hambletonian elimination, Ready For Moni. Third Shift heads to his Hambletonian elim off a second-place finish behind Back Of The Neck in the Dancer. In his other two starts this season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes and a division of the Empire Breeders Classic. Last year, the son of Chapter Seven-Overnight Command won three of eight races, including the New York Sire Stakes championship. He will start from post two in his Hambletonian elim, with Svanstedt driving. "I think Back Of The Neck is a better horse, but Third Shift is not so bad," said Svanstedt, who owns Third Shift with Mellby Gard Inc. "I raced him (on the lead) last time, drove him tough, because I wanted to stretch him out before the Hambo. I think he can do better." Svanstedt also will drive Jula Trix Treasure in the second Hambletonian elimination. Jula Trix Treasure, by 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Victory Treasure, won a division of the Reynolds on July 11 in 1:51.2, which is tied for the second-fastest victory time by any of the 17 horses entered in the Hambletonian. For his career, he has won four of 10 races for owner Jula Racing. He enters his Hambletonian elim off a fifth-place finish in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes last week. He will start from post three and is 6-1 on the morning line. "The last race he wasn't a hundred percent gaited and lost ground in the last turn," Svanstedt said. "We're going to do some small changes to try to make his gait better. He's always been strong and comes home good. He's a fighter." Moon Bridge, who will have Andy Miller in the sulky, has a win and a second in three starts this year. His triumph came in his most recent race, July 17, by 12-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2. The Hambletonian elim will be his first Grand Circuit race of the season. Last year, he won two of eight races, including the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. Moon Bridge, a son of E L Titan-Classic Belle, will start Saturday from post nine and is 20-1. He is owned by Esa Lahtinen, Janne Korpi, and Jussi Hietalahti. "He's good gaited and he always does the job," said Svanstedt, who won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit as the result of What The Hill's disqualification for interference. "I think he's as good as he can be. We'll see how far he can go." Eliminations for the Aug. 8 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters were unnecessary, but eight Oaks finalists will be in action in an open for 3-year-old filly trotters. Also in action will be Meadowlands Pace champ Tall Dark Stranger in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here.  Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Southwind Chrome was sent on a mission by his driver Scott Zeron in the Friday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands. And he completed it in spectacular fashion. The 5-year-old son of Chapter Seven-Counter Pointe won a second straight start in the Preferred for trotters, as the razor-sharp Jeff Cullipher trainee scored in 1:50.4 after going a less-than-ideal trip. There were horses leaving the gate from the outside, so Zeron had a decision to make early on from post eight. "I think given the circumstances, it worked out the way it had to," said Zeron. "There were not a lot of leavers mid-pack, so it was either sneak into the four-hole or go to the front. Midway around the first turn, I decided to go to the lead. He was so good tonight. I figured I'd make the front and then rate from there." But it would not be easy. JL Cruze, the 5-2 favorite, grabbed the lead at the quarter in a wicked :26.3 as Southwind Chrome continued his march to the top while uncovered. He did not clear until the three-eighths. The half was reached in :55 and Southwind Chrome was moving well on the point, then Zeron asked for more in an effort to seal the victory on the far turn. "I figured if I put space between Dex [Dunn, driving JL Cruze] and I at the five-eighths, I would be able to cruise down the lane." He did just that. Southwind Chrome opened up a 1¾-length edge at three-quarters after rating the third fraction in :28 and upped his lead to 2½ at the head of the stretch. Southwind Chrome's advantage diminished in deep stretch as JL Cruze was closing in, but still held on by a safe neck. Kenziesky Hanover was third. "When you have a good horse, you just want to know the other horses' form," said Zeron. "I knew my horse was at the top of his game." Southwind Chrome, who is heading for next week's $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Big M, paid $9.20 to win as the second choice in the betting and now has 13 wins from 36 career starts and earnings of $230,210 for owners Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher. NJSS WRAP UP The second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds saw four divisions on the Friday card, and filly pacer Odds On Sarasota (Rock N Roll Heaven-Odds On Charmaine) stayed perfect in two sire stakes starts this year by finding room late along the pylons to win in 1:55 as the 4-5 favorite for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ross Croghan. Odds On Sarasota Rockin The Aces (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mattaroni) came from way back at odds of 17-1 to gun down 1-9 public choice Rock Me Hard in deep stretch in the colts and geldings pace in a lifetime-best 1:51.2 for Brian Sears and Robert Cleary. Ab'sattitudexpress was sent to the top by Yannick Gingras and blew away the field at odds of 7-1 for Lucas Wallin in the filly trot. The daughter of Trixton-Abbie'sgotattidtude stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:52.4. Abbie'sgotattidtude After racing wide around the first turn, 2-5 favorite Play Trix On Me was a dominant winner in the colts and geldings trot. The son of Trixton-Lima Playmate equaled his lifetime best of 1:53.2 for Zeron and Linda Toscano, the Hall of Famer who was celebrating a birthday. A LITTLE MORE Former Meadowlands leading drivers Sears and George Brennan, who were winless in 39 and 22 starts, respectively, both won for the first time at the meet. ... The Big M's "Big 4" multi-leg wagers were popular, as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($74,907), 20-cent Pick-6 ($32,872 with some help from a $8,948 carryover), Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($78,906) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($78,087) all took big play. Wagering for the 13-race card totaled $2,837,178, upping the Big M's streak of at least $2.5 million in handle to 14. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Lake Worth, FL - Harness racing driver Scott Zeron stole the show at the qualifying races Wednesday morning at Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center. Zeron won all four of the qualifying races on the five-eighths mile oval. The first race trot saw Zeron wire the field with Celebrity Liberty, winning by one length over Tribeca Blue (Dan Daley) in 2:02.3 with Celebrity Titan (Sam Stathis) third. Then in the second race trot, Zeron once again cut all the fractions with Celebrity Serena, :29, :58 and 1:27.4 to the three-quarters, then pulled away from Celebrity Bianca (Sam Stathis) to win by four and one-half lengths in 1:57.3. That was the fastest mile of the four races. The third race trot was a classic matchup between Celebrity Farms two top horses, Celebrity Miracle (Scott Zeron) and his sire (father) Celebrity Maserati. Both horses were on three-race winning streaks. Celebrity Maserati and Stathis were first on the lead to the opening quarter mile in :30.2, but by the half mile marker in 1:02, Zeron had Celebrity Miracle on the move and they blew by Celebrity Maserati, opened up at the three-quarters in 1:30.3, coming home a five-length winner in 1:59.2. Celebrity Maserati was second with Baby Maker Hanover (Ken Holliday) an early breaker at the start. All of the Celebrity horses are bred and owned by Sam Stathis's Celebrity Farms. The fourth race on the program was a pace and Zeron made it a driving quadruple, wiring the field with Roll With Angel, kicking in a :28.1 last quarter mile to beat Doyoukissfirstday (Dan Daley) by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:58.1. It was the fastest mile ever for Roll With Angel, a three-year-old filly by Roll With Joe, trained by John Mungillo, who won $43,730 last year on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. She is co-owned by Finish Line Investors and Thatsideofthefence Stables with J. Papiemik and L. Wiler. "The track was in great shape," Scott Zeron said. "and I was able to sit behind some nice horses. For me it's nice to qualify and get back in form. It gets me excited for competitive racing when we all start back up. Celebrity Serena was pretty impressive today. 1:57:3 is a quick mile on that track. With that said hopefully sooner than later we can all get back to racing." Qualifiers, two-year-old's behind the gate and 2:25 mile races for two-year-olds will continue at Olympia of Palm Beach next Wednesday, April 22 at 11:00 am. Horse people interested in entering the qualifiers, please contact Kathy Breedlove at 954-654-0129 by 1:00 pm on Tuesday, April 21. There will be only three horses per race and, if possible, horses will be split into divisions by gait. Anyone planning on shipping in with their horse(s) for the qualifiers must call Ann-Mari Daley at 315-225-4992 as special arrangements have been made for ship-ins. By Steve Wolf, for Olympia of Palm Beach  

Lake Worth, FL - It was an exciting morning at Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center (formerly the South Florida Trotting Center) as five qualifying races were held with two race finishes decided by a head and a neck. The first race trot saw driver Fern Paquet, Jr. cut slow fraction as the pocket-sitting Celebrity Titan (Sam Stathis) went off-stride at the half mile. Paquet then just needed to keep Hall OF Faith on-stride and they won by 20 lengths in 2:10.1. It was only the second qualifying race for Hall Of Faith. The three-year-old filly by Conway Hall is trained by Jennifer Sansone for owner Reuben Graber of Sugarcreek, Ohio. Paquet was greeted in the winner's circle with some rolls of toilet paper. Each winning driver will receive a 12-pack of the hard-to-get item. Paquet, whose daughter Meghan was the outrider for the qualifying races, made a return trip to the winner's circle in the second race trot. It was Sam Stathis going right to the lead with Celebrity Bianca with Paquet was content to sitting the two-hole trip with Celebrity Miracle, who had just won on March 16 at Pompano Park in a lifetime best clocking of 1:54.3. Stathis widened his lead with Celebrity Bianca trying to bottom out Celebrity Miracle and Paquet, going to the first quarter in :29.2, then past the half mile in :59.3. Paquet began to gain ground with Celebrity Miracle, closing to within two lengths of Celebrity Bianca at the three-quarters in 1:30.1. Racing neck and neck around the final turn, Paquet put a nose up over Celebrity Bianca and the pulled away in the stretch to win by two lengths in 2:01. A four-year-old gelded son of Celebrity Maserati, Celebrity Miracle is trained by Sam Stathis and is owned by his Celebrity Farms of New York, NY. It would turn out that Celebrity Miracle's mile was the fastest of the day. The third race all belonged to Sam Sathis and his stallion, Celebrity Maserati, but it was a tough mile at the finish wire. Stathis started off the show going right to the lead with Celebrity Maserati. Also, in the race was Celebrity Serena (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who is sired by Celebrity Maserati, so the race was father against daughter. Celebrity Serena (who is named after the tennis star) was content with the pocket trip as Celebrity Maserati cut all the fractions. Starting around the final turn, Paquet pulled the pocket and started to come after her sire, Celebrity Maserati. Those two horses dueled neck and neck down the stretch with Celebrity Maserati winning by a head in 2:05. A $198,000 career stakes winner at age two and three, Celebrity Maserati is a ten-year-old stallion by Andover Hall. Due to injuries he was unable to race for years, but still was able to service numerous mares for Celebrity Farms and will return to the races once the tracks are able to reopen. Celebrity Maserati is trained by Stathis and owned by his Celebrity Farms. The fourth race was for pacers with trainer/driver Dan Daley sitting a pocket trip with Sweet Deisel while Jimi Wind Ricks and driver Scott Zeron cut the mile. Through fractions of :31.3, 1:02.2 and 1:32, Jimi Wind Ricks was strong on the lead, but Dan Daley kept Sweet Deisel right in the pocket until the final turn and then came after Jimi Wind Ricks. It looked as if Jimi Wind Rocks and Zeron would be able to hold on, but Sweet Deisel kicked in a :28.4 last quarter mile and nipped Jimi Wind Ricks by a neck in 2:01.1. It was the second fasted mile for the day. Daley, an inductee to the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame, trains Sweet Deisel, a four-year-old gelding by Sweet Lou who is co-owned by his wife, Ann-Mari Daley and Crawford Farms. Sweet Deisel last year scored seven wins and won $43,000. Due to scratches, the fifth race pace featured just one starter, Roll With Angel and driver Scott Zeron. They cut fractions of :32, 1:02.1, 1:32 and won the race in 2:01.4. Trained by John Mungillo, Roll With Angel is a three-year-old filly by Roll With Joe and is co-owned by Finish Line Investors, Thatsideofthefence, J. Papernik and L Wiler. She started 12 times last year at age 2, earned over $43,000 in the New York Sire Stake and had never won a race until Wednesday's qualifier. "This was just a super day," Said Sam Stathis, who owns Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center. "We tried to make this event something special for people to watch. We had some Facebook Live and the video and droning of the races will be on our Olympiapalmbeach.com website later today. I want to thank everyone that came out today and made things happen and kept proper social distances. "We hope to do more events like this in the future," Stathis added. "I know this virus is a terrible thing, but we will beat it and come back and be strong again. Video of each of the five races and the droning that took place will be available to view at www.olympiapalmbeach.com. By Steve Wolf, for Olympia of Palm Beach  

In a classic stretch battle, Senorita Rita and driver Scott Zeron nosed out pacesetter Sister Sledge at the wire to win the $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old harness racing trotting fillies Saturday at the Meadowlands. The time of the race was a lifetime mark of 1:53 for the daughter of Chapter Seven despite rains that started at the track. Senorita Rita posted her fourth straight victory for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, NY. She paid $4.20 to win. Finishing third was Hall Of AM S. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

After a four-week respite, Captain Crunch is ready to get back to work. The award-winning harness racing pacing colt's layoff followed a seven-start first half of his campaign, which saw the Nancy Johansson trainee post five wins including the North America Cup and Cane Pace. Captain Crunch's most recent race was the Cane, which he won by a neck over Bettor's Wish in 1:48 on Aug. 3, Hambletonian Day, at The Meadowlands. With many of August's remaining top events for 3-year-old pacers on half-mile ovals, such as the Milstein Memorial and Messenger Stakes, the colt's connections opted for the opportunity to refresh for the second half of the season. This weekend, Captain Crunch returns to action when he meets six rivals in Saturday's C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A trip to The Meadows on Sept. 7 for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship is expected to follow. "We didn't have many options after the Cane," said Alan Katz of the 3 Brothers Stables, which shares ownership of Captain Crunch with Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "We knew the situation. We didn't want to race him in the Messenger or the Milstein on a half, so we decided to race him in the Simcoe. "That was basically the game plan right from the get-go. A little break in the schedule can only help him." Captain Crunch, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, has won 11 of 17 career races and earned $1.26 million. His top victories last season came in the Breeders Crown and year-ending Governor's Cup. This year, he opened with back-to-back wins in divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes before going off stride in his elimination for the North America Cup. The colt jumped a shadow in the first turn but rallied to finish fifth and advance to the $750,000 final, which he won as the fourth choice at odds of 4-1 in 1:47.2. The time is the fastest in history by a 3-year-old pacer on Canadian soil. "The fans got off him pretty quickly when he made that break," Katz said. "You're not going to get $10 (for a win payout) on him anymore this year, that's for sure. That $10 was a gift for people who bet him. "That to me was his best start. He came back to show you what kind of horse he is." Captain Crunch followed with a win in his Meadowlands Pace elimination and then finished fourth in the final, beaten three-quarters of a length, after setting fractions that culminated in reaching three-quarters of a mile in 1:19.3. Three weeks later, he rebounded with his triumph in the Cane Pace. "He's a dream come true," Katz said. "He's just one great horse. He always shows up, gives it all he's got. He's so game. "We couldn't ask for anything better than this. He's lived up to all our expectations, and more. He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse. It's hard to get horses like him. We've been in this business a long time, since 1975, and to get a horse who's going to be a stallion like him, it hasn't occurred for us before. Not this type of quality. He's been great." In the Simcoe, Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron will start from post two. Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show leaves from post one while Century Farroh, the winner of nine of 11 races this season, begins from post three. The remainder of the field is Better Up, Stag Party, Tyga Hanover, and Bronx Seelster. "Scott loved (Captain Crunch) from day one and has done a tremendous job driving the horse," Katz said. "Nancy and Marcus (Johansson) have done a fantastic job with him. A lot of horses don't come back at 3 as good as they were at 2. He came back even better. Nancy has done a great job managing him. "To have a horse like him is just a pleasure. And the partners, we all get along great. What more can you ask? I wish we had more like him. You can only hope." Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In addition to the Simcoe (race nine on the card), the track hosts the C$600,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters (race five) and C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers (race eight). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

East Rutherford, NJ -- Captain Crunch tracked down pacesetting Bettor's Wish in the final strides to win Saturday's (Aug. 3) $285,362 Cane Pace for 3-year-old harness racing pacers by a neck in 1:48 at the Meadowlands. Semi Tough finished third.   Captain Crunch, the slight 9-5 favorite over Bettor's Wish, was second throughout the mile as Bettor's Wish led the way through fractions of :26.2, :54.4 and 1:22. The two dueled down the lane with Captain Crunch sticking his neck in front at the wire.   "He's a good colt," winning trainer Nancy Johansson said about the Scott Zeron-driven Captain Crunch. "He gives 110 percent effort every time he races. He lays it out on the track for us every time.   The Cane Pace is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, followed by the Messenger Stakes on Aug. 31 at Yonkers Raceway, and the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio on Sept. 19.   Captain Crunch is not eligible to the Messenger but is eligible to the Jug.   "I think we're going to have to have a little bit of a discussion where we are going to go from here," Johansson said about Captain Crunch's future. "He has a few options and we have to pick the best one for him."   Captain Crunch, who captured the North America Cup in June, has won five of seven races this year and 11 of 17 lifetime. The son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika has earned $1.26 million in his career for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Gimapazee (Brian Sears) wins the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) final ($215,200) for sophomore trotting colts and geldings at Vernon Downs on a special Memorial Day matinee (May 27). He won his 3-year-old harness racing debut and is a perfect 10 for 10 in his career. Mr Vicktor (Tyler Buter) went to the front and was followed in second by Cavill Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) with Gimpanzee ($2.10) in third. Mr Vicktor put up all the early numbers (:28.0, :57.3, 1:25.1). Gimapanzee, who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant inc. and S R F Stable, went first over from third just before the final turn. He would be second after three-quarters and battle Mr Vicktor for the lead. He would take over in the stretch but Mr Vicktor would battle back gamely. Gimpanzee found another gear and put him away to win easily in a lifetime best of 1:54.0. Mr Vicktor would settle for second as Travel Winner (Trevor Henry) came up to finish third. Gimpanzee is a 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven. Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) captures EBC final ($209,500) for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) led the way to a first quarter of :27.3. Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer) took over just after the first quarter. She would lead to the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Quincy Blue Chip ($3.40), who is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. and trained by Gareth Dowse, went second over as they went around the final turn. She went three-wide at the top of the stretch and flew home to a win in 1:55.0. Sensibility (Scott Zeron) charged late to finish second. Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) was third. Quincy Blue Chip                                         --Fotowon photo Quincy Blue Chip is a 3-year-old filly by Chapter Seven. She picked up her third win of the season. She now owns seven career victories. St Somewhere (Matt Kakaley) and Zero Tolerance (David Miller) each won legs of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Both divisions raced for a purse of $58.700. In the first division St Somewhere ($10.00) came charging late to nip the late rush of second place finisher, Meghan Lynn (Joe Bongiorno) to win in 1:52.1. JK American Beauty (Scott Zeron) was third best. St Somewhere is a 3-year-old filly by American Ideal. Trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing, P Collura, J&T Silva-Purnell&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. It was win number two of 2019. She now owns seven career victories. In the second division Zero Tolerance ($2.10) went flying in the stretch to overtake second place finisher DD Delicious (Matt Kakaley) to win in 1:51.3. So Awesome (Brian Sears) picked up third money. Zero Tolerance is a 3-year-old filly by Heston Blue Chip. She is trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz. It was her second win this season and career win number nine. Zero Tolerance                                  -Fotowon photo David Miller won three more on the card. He got his other wins with Sports Column ($2.70), Gussy's Realdeal ($22.60), and Fool Me Again ($5.80). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 31) with 13 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   John Horne for Vernon Downs

CHESTER PA - All three defending champions will be on hand Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, as the southeast Pennsylvania track hosts its Super Stakes Sunday of $100,000 Invitationals - the Betsy Ross Pace for mares, the Maxie Lee Trot, and the Commodore Barry Pace, going as races ten through twelve respectively on the 12:40 card. Each of these races will also count towards the pointstandings for the summerlong Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS), in which many of these harness racing stars have been competing. The giant card also has three divisions of the third preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts. Here is a look at all four groups: $100,000 BETSY ROSS MARES PACE (12th edition; stakes record 1:48.3, Southwind Tempo, 2009.) Combined earnings of field: $7,202,760. Average lifetime mark: 1:49.3 (five in 1:50 or less). The defending champion in the Betsy Ross is the great New Zealand import Shartin N, last year's North American mares divisionwinner who is carrying on in final style so far in 2019 - five wins in six starts, including the Blue Chip Final, and earnings of $319,500, second only to Levy Final winner Western Fame. And it's hard to imagine Shartin N having more solid connections, especially in this race - trainer Jim King Jr. trained Shartin N to victory last year, and in 2017 wife Jo Ann Looney-King conditioned the victorious Nike Franco N. And their driver (and Shartin N's co-owner) Tim Tetrick has won the Betsy Ross six times: more than all others drivers combined. He also guided Southwind Tempo to the stakes record. Two potential liabilities for Shartin N: drawing post seven in the eight horse field, and not having raced for 22 days, and only twice in 53 days. The mare has seemed to thrive on an intermittent schedule in the past, however. Starting just inside Shartin N will be Tequila Monday, who is merely six-for-six this year and the only double winner in the Great Northeast Open Series so far, with Brian Sears driving for trainer Hunter Oakes, whose father Chris conditioned 2013 Ross winner Economy Terror. Add in the likes of hard-hitting veteran Caviart Ally, last year's top three-year-old filly, Youaremycandygirl, and other fast distaffs, and the Betsy Ross figures to be an interesting chess match. $100,000 MAXIE LEE TROT (12th edition; stakes record 1:50.2, Market Share, 2014.) Combined earnings of field: $9,424,706. Average lifetime mark: 1:51.1 (three sub-1:51, one sub-1:49). The defending champion of the Maxie Lee, a race honoring the superb area trainer for many years, is Will Take Charge, who will be guided from post five by Scott Zeron for trainer Jeff Gillis. Will Take Charge looks to be coming up to peak form right now, fresh off a win at Yonkers, but it is likely others will draw more mutuel attention than he will. Take, for instance, The World's Fastest Trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington last year), who this season is guided by the Burke Brigade (who has won this race four times: once by patriarch Mickey, and the last three by the recordsetting Ron). Homicide Hunter just won his second start of the year, at Pocono, last week, taking a GNOS contest in 1:52.3, and the early sheet says he will be getting a driver change to George Napolitano Jr., with whom Homicide Hunter won the 2018 Breeders Crown (Yannick Gingras will be in Sweden this week, competing in the World Driving Championship). Guardian Angel AS, starting from post two, has also been a GNOS winner this year, and his chances will be helped by the sulky presence of Tim Tetrick, who has won the Maxie Lee five times, including with stakes recordholder Market Share. $100,000 COMMODORE BARRY PACE (5th edition; stakes record 1:47.3, Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2016.) Combined earnings of field: $5,318,913. Average lifetime mark: 1:49.1 (3 sub-1:48). Filibuster Hanover, the highest moneywinner in the Commodore Barry with just north of $1.5 million in career earnings, is the defending champion in this event, and if victorious would make trainer Ron Burke the first horseman to have two Barry titles - no driver or trainer has won twice in the race's four-year history. In his last start Filibuster Hanover set the pace in a GNOS event here, but was caught up the inside by the upstart Kiwi Tiger Thompson N; this week the "Tiger" has post six and "Filibuster" post seven, difficult assignments in a talented field. Rodeo Rock won last week's GNOS race at Pocono, defeating Tiger Thompson N and posting the fastest clocking of the year at Pocono, 1:49. Last year's highly-regarded sophomore Courtly Choice is in the Barry, and on this Harrah's day you can't ignore a Tim Tetrick-driven horse (though he has yet to win this race); Tetrick will drive the hardhitting Donttellmeagain. PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES 3YO PACING COLTS ($57,218 each in races three, seven, and thirteen). The defending champion in this group is also competing at Philly in Sunday: Proof, a winner of $450,000 and never worse than fourth in thirteen career starts, with six wins and four seconds. But Proof is unlikely to be the favorite in his thirteenth race cut - that honor will go to Captain Crunch, who was the 2018 freshman colt pace champion, and who made his 2019 debut last Sunday at Pocono, winning over a sloppy surface in 1:49.1, fastest mile of the year by a three-year-old regardless of size of track, and with a stinging last quarter of 26, with driver Scott Zeron mostly an interested passenger late. The third race division is topped by Southwind Ozzi, who won a Sire Stake two starts back and then was second behind Captain Crunch last week, only 1¾ lengths back, and Wild Wild Western, a PaSS winner last week. In the seventh race division, you can make a good case for most of the entrants to record their first 2019 Sire Stakes win. With 27 horses who have won in 1:50 or less on the card, plus 30 winners of over $500,000 lifetime, including eight millionaires, the entire Sunday card at Harrah's Philadelphia is an outstanding one.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

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