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Washington, PA, Feb. 10, 2020 -- Explosive Magic let Cherry Peep do the heavy lifting, then roared passed her in the lane to capture Monday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,500 Conditioned Trot. Cherry Peep cut three-quarters in 1:58, a moderate tempo under ordinary circumstances but one that left her vulnerable on the sloppy surface. The pocket-sitting Explosive Magic and Dave Palone took full advantage, pouncing on Cherry Peep and downing her by 1/2 length in 1:57.2. Tequila Talkin rallied for show.   Ron Burke trains Explosive Magic, a 4-year-old Explosive Matter-Magical Paige gelding who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $106,974, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Aaron Merriman and Palone each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $13,851.10 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5; a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the Pick 4 (races 3-6); a $1,783.16 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 2-6). First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Cream Ridge, NJ - 2/10/2020 - Seventeen of the 27 Standardbreds remain at risk to ship for slaughter, thankfully, they have been given a 4-day reprieve. A deposit from the funds raised as of this morning was used to negotiate more time for Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) to help them.   Leaving them in a kill pen longer is very concerning, as they are crammed in and fighting for something to eat. It's fairly clear in the photo that this one horse is not only in need of such, but he is also frightened. Their deadline is now Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, ironically it is Valentine’s Day.   As of today, the following is needed to help the remaining 14 to be saved from that horrific fate at the Canadian slaughterhouse, these are:   1. Individuals to contact the kill pen and privately purchase and offer a good home. The contact information can contact them directly at 717-360-8558, and can Paypal the funds to them directly for the kill pen fee   2. HOMES, to offer a safe place to land for LIFE, or a foster home, contact Tammy at SRF 609-738-3255 or email   3. Horse sponsors full or partial, an individual or a group or team sponsorship will provide SRF with the expense of care based on $350 per month.   4. Help for one which includes the fee for the kill pen, shipping to quarantine, quarantine, hoof and dental care, and ship again to SRF approximately $4,500 -5,500. Contact Tammy at SRF 609-738-3255 or email or visit our website at to donate.   5. Tax-deductible donations enable SRF to take one or many into the program. WIth nearly 400 under SRF's care and expense today, taking on new horses cannot be done without financial support.   6. Without any homes, rather than shipping for slaughter, euthanasia may be an option, not an option anyone wants to consider, but sadly better than the alternative. The average cost per horse to purchase from the pen is $700, ship to a facility, a few days of board, and euthanasia by a licensed Veterinarian along with renderer fees ($500) is $1500. This is an absolute last resort.   "This can't keep going on," says Judith Bokman, Executive Director. Either the racing industry steps up and creates a safe way for every one of these animals starting from the day they are bred, or this will fall into the hands of legislators and the general public who will leave racing in the dust.   To help these horses in such a desperate situation with a tax-deductible donation, or any other way noted, contact Tammy at 609-738-3255 or via email at, use SRF's GoFundMe, or the website, and see the list of horses on the website at   SRF is Different: * Is the largest Standardbred adoption program in the U.S. * Helps Standardbreds exclusively, young, aged, injured, neglected, or abused. * Is feeding and caring for more than 400 trotters and pacers. * Is providing lifetime homes for more than 200 retirees and provides lifetime follow-up for every adopted horse, never to be at risk again.   From the Standardbred Retirement Foundation  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 10, 2020--The second Monday of the month (Feb. 10th) resulted in another admirable Yonkers Raceway harness racing handle. A week after the single-season high ($1,025,349) figure, a total of $982,740 was wagered. The soggy dozen-race card included wins by P L Munson (Renaldo Morales III, $6) in the $16,000, sixth-race pace (1:54.3) and Weona Sizzler A (Jason Bartlett, $3.60) in the $14,500, 10th-race pace (1:54.2). Monday night began the Raceway's $7,500 guarantee Pick 5 pools, which continue each Monday and Tuesday. A total of $11,256 was invested, returning $272.25 for every correct (2/3/3/4/5) combination. Yonkers' Pick 5 remains a 50-cent base wager (races 5 through 9). The Raceway's live schedule continues every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with first post at 7:05 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

The best harness racing pacers in the Midwest compete in the $16,000 Open Pace on Monday (February 10) at MGM Northfield Park.  Southwind Amazon is the 2-1 slight favorite over 5-2 Carolina Beach and 3-1 Windsong Leo in the evening’s featured ninth race. Southwind Amazon enters the race off two wins in a row against Northfiled’s Open competition.  He has won three of four starts already this year. The 10-year-old gelding has 90 lifetime wins and recently pushed his career bankroll in excess of a million dollars. Ronnie Wrenn Jr will be steering Southwind Amazon from post five for trainer Paul Holzman. Carolina Beach shakes a string on 7-holes to start from post-3 for trainer William Bercury and driver Aaron Merriman.  The 6-year-old gelding finished second, beaten by only a neck in his most recent race in Northfield’s Open. He has two wins and two seconds in five races this year and has won 30 of 90 career starts. Windsong Leo shows six straight wins in the program, all against Open Company at The Meadows near Pittsburgh.  The Pennsylvania Invader starts from the outside and is a perfect four-for-four this year. He has 54 lifetime successes with over $630,000 in earnings.  Ron Burke harnesses this 8-year-old contender for driver Chris Page.  Other horses starting in this featured event is #1 Derecho (Davis Lake), #2 Lancaster Park (Keith Kash Jr.) and #4 Just Toyin With Ya (Chris Lems). Monday’s post time is 6PM.  by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park        

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Pacing Series, which will offer rich paydays to those who can claim the harness racing throne as best in the respective price divisions, continued on Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with two sections each of first round preliminaries, offering $7,500 for $7,500 claimers and $10,000 for $10,000-tagged horses. Remarkably, six of the eleven horses in the $10,000 action will be racing for new barns next week after being claimed, including divisional winner Charger Blue Chip, who won his debut as a 10-year-old in 1:58 over a tiring track rated "good." The Rocknroll Hanover gelding rallied from the pocket to overhaul pacesetting favorite Midnight Dylan N for driver Tom Jackson and owner/trainer Emily Bost. No claim was entered on the Mach Three gelding Mr Carrotts despite his being the second choice, and trainer Dan Morrissey and owner Leona Morrissey got to "walk him home" after he one-geared up raw and held off Master The View in 1:57.4. No one was haltered out of either division of the $7500s first prelim - so the claiming count stopped at 24 horses changing hands for $410,000 during the opening weekend. Emerging first at this level were the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic, a pocket rocket in 1:56.3 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Alexa Renaud while emerging victorious for the first time in 613 days, and the Rambaran gelding Speedling, who was quarter-moved by driver Jim Morrill Jr. and held on in 1:58 for trainer Lou Pena and Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. The top purse events were a pair of $15,000 paces. The first, for females, went to perhaps the most impressive winner of the night, the Sweet Lou four-year-old mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who followed up on a 1:51.2 Meadowlands victory with a 1:54 victory here, coming her last quarter in 28.1 on a night when only one other race beat 29.2 home to be 6¾ lengths to the good for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nik Drennan, and Yankeeland Partners LLP. Darn Tootn Hanover paid $2.20 to win; in the male sector of this class, Ben Rockin, an altered son of A Rocknroll Dance, motored home from last to win in 1:55.4 for driver Eric Goodell and return $171.40 to the scattered backers of the Robert John Becker-owned horse. The key to this one may have been the history of trainer Bill "Moon" Mullin - his Trixar paid $166.80, which stood as the 2019 local high payoff, in the second week of last year, and now Ben Rockin is another early-season toteboard demolisher for Mullin! From the PHHA/Pocono Downs      

LEBANON, OH. - Hilary Barry N (John DeLong) stamped herself as the harness racing favorite in the George "Red" Owens Memorial series for green pacing fillies and mares, winning the quickest of three first round divisions on Sunday (Feb. 9) at Miami Valley Raceway. The late closer is limited to non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $20,000 lifetime and attracted 27 nominations. Heavily favored Hilary Barry N, a 4-year-old New Zealand bred daughter of Bettor's Delight, glided over Miami Valley's damp five-eighths mile oval in 1:56.1 for DeLong to easily defeat Crowntimerockette (Brett Miller) and Vinecancruise (Chris Page) without an anxious moment. Trainer Trent Stohler also owns the winner who looked every bit the part of a 1-9 favorite, paying just $2.10 to win. Big Bad Mosa (Tetrick) captured a split of the Owens Memorial in 1:57.1 over Jazzie Babe (Trevor Smith) and Rockinattheryman (LeWayne Miller). Ronnie Roberts trains the winning sophomore filly by Ohio stallion Big Bad John for owner Watson Stable of Illinois. She paid $3.60 to her backers. Pray The Rosary (Luke Ebersole) was the other winner, besting Lookintomyeyes (Tyler Smith) and Model Number Five (Tetrick) in 1:59.1. Ebersole found a seam in deep stretch to gain the nose victory, the third in five lifetime tries for the 3-year-old daughter of Art Official. Robert Boggs owns the winner, who kicked back $6.80 to her backers at the betting windows. Racing resumes Monday afternoon (Feb. 10) at Miami Valley when four $6000 divisions of the second elimination round of the popular Survivor Series for $5000 male claiming pacers will go postward; plus three $10,000 first round divisions of the Omar Hiteman Memorial series for non-winners of two or $20,000 lifetime colt and gelding pacers. Tuesday's action at Miami Valley will feature a $24,000 Open Trot, second round eliminations in the Survivor Series for $5000 claiming mares, and three second round splits in the Robert J. Brown Memorial series for non-winners of two or $20,000 lifetime trotters. From Miami Valley Raceway    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Trump Nation benefitted from aggressive Yannick Gingras handling Saturday night to take the $37,500 featured Preferred for harness racing pacers at the Meadowlands. The 5-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N was in a first-turn scrum with Sicily and Endeavor and raced second while parked to the quarter as Sicily led in a snappy :26.2. Trump Nation then sped to the top, but led only briefly, as Endeavor, the 3-5 favorite who was in search of a second straight score in the weekly feature, went past Trump Nation and hit the half in :54.1. The pocket trip worked to perfection for Gingras and Trump Nation, as the duo ducked to the inside nearing the wire to nail a super-game Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Franco Totem N was third. "He raced big," said Gingras of Trump Nation. "That's the trip I was looking for tonight, but he can win no matter what the trip. He's just a nice horse." Trump Nation, who races out of the Ron Burke barn, returned $7.80 to his backers as the second choice in the wagering. He's now won 14-of-38 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $414,246 for owners Burke Racing Stable, E. Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby. Trump Nation CHANGES WORKING WELL Based on the big action that was taken on the 13-race program at the industry's handle leader, it appears that the new earlier 6:55 p.m. post time and extensive wagering menu changes will be around for some time to come. A total of $2,856,554 in bets were taken, the third-highest handle during 2020 at the mile oval. Wagering has now gone past the $2.5-million mark for five straight programs. The action was hot and heavy from the get-go as a season's-best $72,364 was put in play in the 20-cent Pick-5, serving as the catalyst for the first-race total pool of $293,871. The sequence saw but one 5-1 shot and four other winners that went off at 7-2 or less yet still came back a giant $3,548.36. The 20-cent Pick-6 pool saw an increase of 36 percent from its first offering Friday. Total play Saturday was $24,474, and one shrewd player who used 10-1 shot Americanfirewater in the payoff leg (race nine) walked away with $20,797.76. Adding a second 50-cent Pick-4 appears to be a hit with the racing faithful. The Early Pick-4 saw a total pool of $86,015 while the Late P4 saw $61,934 in action, meaning that a total of $147,949 in Pick-4 bets were taken. Big M TV's Dave Brower gave out the Early Pick-4 on the track's live in-house simulcast show, investing just $30 before cashing in for $291. The big action wasn't limited to the multi-leg wagers, as the fifth race was the only one on the evening to push past the $300,000 mark in total play. A huge exacta pool of $88,403 led the way to the total wager of $301,002. A LITTLE MORE Dexter Dunn led the driver's colony by scoring five times. Marcus Miller, Andy McCarthy and Corey Callahan all had two apiece. Dunn has 32 winners at the winter meeting, tops at the track. Callahan is next with 24. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 8, 2019 -- Popular propositions Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett, $3.60) and Swansea (Austin Siegelman, $2.70) did not disappoint Saturday night (Feb. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of harness racing $40,000 Open Handicaps. Jack's Legend N took down the weekly adult-table pace in first-over fashion. From post position No. 3 (in one notch after a defection), he saw Tookadiveoffdipper (Brent Holland) pocket Ostro Hanover (Dan Dube) through intervals of :26.2 and :55.3. Jack's Legend N then moved from third, assaulting in earnest at the 1:23.3 three-quarters. Tookadiveoffdipper gave way gradually in and out of the final turn, with Jack's Legend N grinding by. The latter edged away, whipping Ostro Hanover by a length-and-a-half in a season's-best 1:51.4. San Domino A (George Brennan) loomed but flattened, finishing third, with Tookadiveoffdipper and Bettor Memories (Eric Goodell) settling for the remainder. For Jack's Legend N, a 6-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca and James & Barbara Boese, it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.80, with the triple returning $46.40. Jack's Legend N The week's marquee trot offered minimal suspense, with Swansea--from post No. 4 (also in one place after a scratch)--taking it the distance (:28, :57.4, 1:26.2, 1:54.3). His job was made much easier after Yes (Holland) was totally devoid of trot and Eye ofa Tiger AS (Bartlett) broke. Swansea whipped Melady's Monet (Brennan) by a length, with newly-minted millionaire Smalltownthrowdown (Dube) third. Eye ofa Tiger AS crossed the line fourth, but flipped placings with Yes after the former's extended transgression. For Swansea, a 5-year-old Swan for All gelding co-owned (as Triple D Stables) by (trainer) Scott DiDomenico and Dana Parham, it was his second win in four '20 trues. The exacta paid $13.60, with the triple wagering cancelled due to the abbreviated number starters. Swansea Frank Drucker

LEBANON, OH. - After a winless month of January, Fan Of Terror (John DeLong) returned to his winning ways on Saturday night (Feb. 8) at Miami Valley Raceway. The 8-year-old Western Terror gelding, whose 18 victories in 2019 fell just one short of being the most in the country, captured the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:52 despite being saddled with a second tier start in the full field of ten of the Midwest's finest older harness racing horses. DeLong got Fan Of Terror away fifth during the :26.4 first quarter and remained there until the halfway point in the mile was reached in :55. Swinging three wide down the backside and around the final turn, the winner was able to move up to third when the three quarters timer flashed 1:23.1. Fan Of Terror proved strongest during the stretch drive when a cavalry of closers came calling from near the rear of the field. 18-1 longshot Beyond Delight (Chris Page) came closest to catching the winner while 5-2 I'm A Big Deal (Brett Miller) got the show dough. Fan Of Terror, owned by Therl Hensley and trained by Peter Redder, paid $13.40 to win. Coupled with Beyond Delight, the exacta payoff was a hefty $254.60. The 50-cent trifecta return was $476.45. Fan Of Terror holds off Beyond Delight to capture Miami Valley’s $25,000 Open on Saturday Three divisions of the first leg of the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley late closer were also contested on the program. The series began with the contestants squaring off in a trio of $12,500 five-eighths mile dashes. Week two next Saturday will feature one mile races for $17,500 purses; while the $25,000 championship will be decided over a mile and a quarter distance. First leg winners were American Dreamer (Kayne Kauffman, 1:09.1, $4.80), Lifeonthebeach A (Chris Page, 1:08.3, $2.40) and Dave And Dennis (Sam Widger, 1:09.2, $7.00). The Dailey Memorial Medley honors the memory of James "Bill" Dailey, one of the finest conditioners of young horses in Ohio's storied harness racing history. Dailey won seven of the eight divisional Ohio Sires Stakes championships offered for two and three year old Buckeye breds during his career and had a prime contender for the only one missing on his impressive resume at the time of his sudden and unexpected passing in 2018. Gregg Keidel

WILKES-BARRE, PA -- The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono opened on Saturday night, the earliest seasonal start in the 55 years of harness racing at the track, but while the temperature hung around the freezing mark, the competition on the oval was hot, mainly in the first preliminary leg of two sections of the track's Game Of Claims Pacing Series. Action for horses entered at various claiming prices, with three preliminaries determining those who will race for the throne as their Game Of Claims divisional champion, provided two divisions of $25,000 base-price horses going for $25,000 each and three cuts of $15,000 base-price horses going for $15,000 (the base price in each grouping goes up slightly with each preliminary) opening night. With $50,000 and $30,000 Championship purses respectively, it's no surprise that a total of eighteen horses were claimed in Saturday's first round action, including four of the five divisional winners, for a total of $350,000. The only Game Of Claims winner on Saturday not changing barns will be the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding This Is My Song, who moved after a blistering half, made the lead easily to the ¾, and defeated his field of $25,000 horses handily in 1:51.2, fastest mile of the opening card for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Dan Maier, and Racing To Win Stable. The other winner at that level was the Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Deo, who never looked back for the brother team of trainer Rene and driver Simon Allard in 1:53.4, last half :55.4, for Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr. Team Allard also won the first division for the $15,000 horses, with the Delmarvalous gelding Machine Team benefiting from a fast pace to score a closing victory in 1:55.4 for A 1 Racing as the only Game Of Claims favorite to win. The other two sectors for $15,000 horses were taken by Darren Taneyhill- trained horses coming off two-month layoffs, and they won by a combined 14¼ lengths for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and owner Eric Prevost - the Cheyenne Rei gelding Cheyenne Reijane coming out of the pocket for a 7½ length win in 1:53.3, and the Make My Day gelding Ancle on the engine to finish 6¾ lengths to the good in 1:54.1. The 11-year-old Western Terror gelding Atta Boy Dan, 2019's Pocono Pacer of the Year while posting a United States-high win total of nineteen seasonal triumphs, readjusted quickly to northeast Pennsylvania, capturing a $14,000 conditioned pace in 1:51.4 for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Peter Pellegrino, and owner Stephen Larkin. Rock Diamonds N did not want to surrender the early lead, so Buter put "Dan" in the pocket, then came again after the leader in the stretch and went by for a half-length triumph, the 73rd win of the pacer's distinguished career while moving his lifetime bankroll to $974,002. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It was hardly 'beach' weather in Western New York on a frigid Saturday night (Feb. 8) but Santana Beach (David McNeight III) topped the harness racing ticket in a 'tropical trifecta' by scoring the victory in Buffalo Raceway's featured $11,000 Class AA pace.   Santana Beach ($5.90) registered a neck win over Catch The Wave (Jim McNeight Jr.) in 1:56.3 while Beachy Dream (Kevin Cummings) was third to complete the seaside sequence.   Andy's Ideal took early command of the race as he notched splits of :28.3, :57.1 and 1:27.0. Santana Beach in the meanwhile started his first over journey just before the half mile marker and took over at the top of the stretch.   It was nervous time late for Santana Beach, however, as Catch The Wave and Beachy Dream made serious bids late but came up just short.   "He hung in there well late," McNeight III said of Santana Beach. "Trainer Richard Roth has his horses sharp right now and this one is really good."   Owned by Jason Newell and trained by Roth, it was the second straight win in as many tries for Santana Beach (Santanna Blue Chip-Chips Beach). The 8-year-old gelding has now produced $10,500 in earnings in 2020 and $146,573 in his career.   In the first of two $10,000 Class A pacing events, the cold weather didn't stop Hold The Gold ($30.20) posting the fastest mile of the meet as he covered the mile in 1:55.4 over the good track in beating Im So Handsome (McNeight III).   With Southwind Torque (Billy Davis Jr.) setting scorching fractions of :28.0, :57.0 and 1:26.3, those torrid splits were perfect for the closers as Hold The Gold (Denny Bucceri) took full advantage of the situation.   Driving widest of all in the lane, Hold The Gold easily swooped on by the front runners and took the length win over Im So Handsome while Casimir Oops (Mike Baumeister) was third.   Owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr., it was the first win in two appearances this year for the 6-year-old gelded Hold The Gold (Allthatgltrsisgold-Village Jay). The victory bumped his season winnings to $5,800 and $93,261 lifetime.   The other Class A division saw Burning Shore (Kevin Cummings) sneak by Southwind Onyx in deep stretch to take the head decision in 1:56.4 Iluvtomakemoney (Ray Fisher Jr.) took third.   Southwind Onyx set the tempo with panels of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:27.3 but Burning Shore ($8.30) wore down the pace setter and got up in time to secure the win.   Owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama, the 10-year-old gelded Burning Shore (No Pan Intended-Fine Line increased his career bankroll to $249,279 with the victory.   Racing will resume on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. with a 13-race scheduled. There is a $10,000 guarantee in the Pick-5 starting in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, simulcast schedule and upcoming promotions, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Freehold, NJ --- The Preferred Handicap Trot and the Preferred Handicap Pace served as the co-features on the 13-race Freehold Raceway harness racing card on Saturday (February 8). One proved a tale of continued dominance, another was an underdog story.   The Big Muscle won his sixth start in a row in the Preferred Handicap trot, scoring as the 8/5 favorite for new connections. Driver Pat Berry put his drive where he likes to be: on the front end. He cleared to the top without much trouble from post three, and set mild fractions of 29.3 for the quarter and 58.3 for the half. He tried to get away nearing the three-quarter point, but Dan Dube poured the first-over pressure on with What Chapter. At the top of the stretch, The Big Muscle's chances looked dicey, but he managed to hold on and win by a head in 1:57.     Since making his local debut back in December, The Big Muscle has been on a dominant streak, winning at four different class levels. In his last start, he equaled the trotting track record for older geldings, winning in 1:55.4. Originally owned by Bain Racing Stable and trained by Nick Surick, he was claimed out of that race by owner William Emmons and trainer Armand Bernard. On the year, he's now earned $21,850.   What Chapter held on for second, while Dot Dot Dot Dash closed for third. Drazzmatazz, Rock of Cashel, Northern Credit, and Chasin' Dreams completed the order of finish.   The Preferred Pace, meanwhile, saw a surprise winner, in 12/1 Drinkin Again. Employing a change of tactics from his usual come-from-behind style, driver Jack Baggitt elected to send him to the front, and dropped him in the pocket off early leader Another Daily Copy. As they turned for home, Baggitt shot him out of the pocket for a clear shot at the leader, and powered by to win by half a length. The final time was 1:54.4.     That was Drinkin Again's second win in a row, after a 34/1 win in a NW $8,000 pace last week. He's owned and trained by Phil Jasper. His win means there will be a pick 5 carryover into Thursday's card, worth $1,229.85.   Another Daily Copy held second at 9/1 after setting the pace. Caviart Max, Ginger Tree Marty, Lyons Steel, Rancousy, Declan Seelster, and Vapour rounded out the order of finish.   Live racing continues at Freehold Raceway on Thursday, beginning at 12:30 PM EST.   From Freehold Raceway  

HARRISBURG, PA--North American Harness Update (NAHU) has announced a weekly harness racing handicapping contest presented by Bow River Jewelry that will run through most of the 2020 season. Every week people can enter into a drawing to compete in this contest by sharing the contest announcement post on either Twitter or Facebook. A random person from every week's post will be drawn to compete in a 10-race handicapping contest against a NAHU host of their choice. The drawn contestant and their competitor of choice will pick one horse in each of the 10 selected races, with the winner determined by the total points accrued by their selection's win-place-show returns. For those who do not beat a NAHU host, they will still win a consolation prize. If they do beat a NAHU host, they will win a bigger prize to be determined the week of the contest. All who compete in the weekly handicapping contest will earn a spot into a semi-final round to be held on Jugette Day (Sept. 23). The top 5 point-earners from Jugette Day will then compete in a championship on Little Brown Jug Day (Sept. 24). The top point-earner from that contest will win the grand prize to be determined closer to the date. The handicapping contest will run every week starting on Friday (Feb. 14). Those who wish to enter into that week's drawing can find North American Harness Update on Facebook or Twitter and share the contest announcement post. Additional sponsors for the handicapping contest are welcome. For more information, contact By Ray Cotolo, for North American Harness Update

YONKERS, N.Y. – On any given day when Soho Lennon comes off the track after training, harness racing trainer Doug Dilloian, Jr. knows there could be a delay in getting back to the barn. Dilloian has trained Soho Lennon since early 2016 and the horse has developed a bond with his conditioner. “He’s easy to fall in love with,” Dilloian said. “When he comes in off the racetrack, when I hook the lines up and go to take the jog cart off, he’ll stop and he’ll rub his head all up and down my back and he’ll do it for four, five, six minutes to the point where sometimes his bridle will come right off.” Around the barn, Soho Lennon rules the roost. He lets his connections know at lunch time he’s ready to eat and he wants to be fed first. Each morning, Soho Lennon goes out in the paddock with barn mate Runrunjimmydunn, and if they aren’t the first two horses out the door, Soho Lennon starts banging on his stall gate and flipping his feed tub over. “He knows he runs the barn,” Dilloian said. And with good reason. Since arriving in the U.S., the Australia-bred Mach Three son has earned $441,380 in Dilloian’s barn for owners David Linker and Howard Perlmutter’s Pit Bull Stable. Soho Lennon had six-figure seasons in each year since his arrival except for 2017, when he only made 20 starts due to sickness. Now at 10 years old, the gelded pacer will try to earn his first victory in the Yonkers Raceway Open Handicap Pace Saturday night (Feb. 8). “We bought him to be a high-level condition horse. His consistency over a long period of time has been more of a surprise. A lot of horses peak and once they get to 9 or 10, start tailing off a little bit classification wise. But for four years, especially in the wintertime, he’s been anywhere from a non-winners of 20 (thousand dollars last five) to an Open pacer consistently every year,” Dilloian said. “He gets a limited amount of starts. He’s a 20- to 25-start per year horse, which is probably why he’s remained as sharp as he has for all these years.  “He’s no world-beater by any means and he’s not the fastest horse, he’s just one of those horses that gives you 110 percent every week.” Soho Lennon showed promise in his home country, winning the Group 2, $50,000 West Australia Nights of Thunder Final over 1,730 meters at Gloucester Park January 2, 2015. However, one year later, Soho Lennon was out of form, finishing sixth or worse in his last four Australian starts. The horse became available for sale and Dilloian saw the opportunity. Dilloian connected with Perlmutter on Facebook via a mutual friend. After the pair had success with Australian import Bettor Reason, a solid partnership had been formed. David Linker later sent Dilloian a text indicating he would like to get involved with a foreign horse. He joined the group and they imported Soho Lennon in Feb. 2016. “We bought him at a very reasonable rate,” Dilloian said. “He’s just been an absolute blessing since.” “Since that time, those two are the two greatest owners I’ve had,” Dilloian said. “They don’t aggravate you; they don’t bother you. Whatever is in the best interest of the horse, that’s what they’ll do. If one needs a month off or two months off, if they need week of from racing, do it. Since I only have eight to 10 horses most of the time, we generally try to take care of our horses and not over race them. We try to get longevity. “We bought Soho Lennon and then we’ve had a bunch of them since then. It’s just really been a good rapport. With those guys, it’s usually anywhere between seven and nine horses in the barn at any given time,” Dilloian continued. “And we just try to focus on quality. If they don’t go a half, I’d rather move them along or send them to other trainers, because I just want to focus on Yonkers. The purses are amazing and I really believe if you just week in and week out stay there, the horses will reward you.” Of Soho Lennon’s 102 U.S. races, 95 have come at Yonkers. One rare exception came at the end of the gelding’s 2019 campaign. After the pacer had a tough trip in a local $22,000 overnight Dec. 14, Dilloian pointed him to a $10,500 race at Freehold. Soho Lennon drew the inside and led gate-to-wire; the win put Soho Lennon over the $100,000 mark in earnings for the year. Soho Lennon returned to Yonkers Jan. 11, posting a 2 3/4-length victory in 1:52.2 in a $20,000 overnight. He continued to climb the class-ladder in his next two starts and posted two more wins over off tracks to run his streak to four, all with Jim Marohn, Jr. in the bike. “Going into the final week before Christmas, he had gotten roughed up at Yonkers, had gotten a tough trip and got parked. We wanted to take care of him the next couple starts, so I entered him at Freehold and he finished out the year over $100 (thousand),” Dilloian said. “It got his confidence back. And then we gave him a little break and since Yonkers reopened, he’s been drawing well, but he’s been earning it. He’s been very sharp.”   Soho Lennon continues to step up in class Saturday night (Feb. 8) as he will make his first start at the Open level since Dec. 15, 2018. Soho Lennon drew post one in the $40,000 feature and will again have Marohn in the sulky. The pair are 4-1 on the morning line. Soho Lennon will face seven rivals, including Jack’s Legend. The Rich Banca trainee impressed in the Open ranks last fall and enters off consecutive placings in the Preferred Handicap from outside posts. He was assigned post four this week and is the 3-1 morning line favorite with Jason Bartlett slated to drive. Ostro Hanover also rides a 4-race win streak into this week’s pacing feature, but has missed three weeks. Dan Dube will drive the Rene Allard trainee from post six. Bettor Memories enters off an upset win in the local Preferred Handicap Feb. 1, but drew post eight. San Domino was the runner up in last week’s Preferred Handicap and the Andrew Harris trainee will start from post seven in his second start of the year. Tookadiveoffdipper is 2-for-3 this season and upset the local Preferred Handicap Jan. 25. Brent Holland will drive the Virgil Morgan, Jr. trainee from post five. Somebaddude and Don Domingo complete the lineup. “The rail is obviously a great equalizer,” Dilloian said. “I don’t know that (Soho Lennon) is a true Open horse and Banca’s horse looks like he’s the real deal. Soho Lennon is one of those horses that when I watch him race, I never count him out, but things will have to go his way for sure to beat this kind of field. He trained good this week and I really believe when horses are sharp in their head, they don’t know who they’re racing against, so I definitely wouldn’t count him out.” Dilloian expects Marohn to utilize the inside advantage and Soho Lennon’s speed to secure a good position early. “He’s probably not the fastest leaver, but he leaves fast enough to where I hope he can protect. His best races are on the front. I don’t see that happening in there because he’s not going to be the favorite and I don’t know that he has enough speed to cut the corner and seat everybody,” Dilloian said. “It looks like he’s hopefully going to get away in the two-hole, but probably third. I’ll let Jimmy Marohn take it from there. Things will have to go his way, but if he has any kind of opportunity where he gets a decent trip, if he’s got to win on heart, he’ll do it. “I’ve had him long enough now where he’ll forever have a home with me. I’ll never race him in a claimer and he’ll retire with me,” Dilloian said. “He kind of started the whole thing with the higher-level condition Yonkers horses, so I’m forever grateful for him. He holds a special place in my heart.” Saturday night’s card also features the $40,000 Open Handicap Trot.  Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 7:05 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. by Brandon Valvo, fo the SOA of NY

Columbus, OH - In his Op-Ed column in Saturday's (Feb. 8) Star-Ledger/, "Vets want what's best for the horse, not their pocketbooks," Veterinarian Dr. Andy Roberts explains that he, like every veterinarian in America, took an oath of practice to protect animal health and welfare. He says that for politicians to claim that thousands of equine veterinarians are violating this oath by opposing the misnamed "Horseracing Integrity Act" on economic grounds is insulting and false. Equine veterinarians oppose the legislation because of the harm it will do to horses by banning the race-day use of Lasix, not because of the harm to our pocketbooks. To read the complete story on, click here.      

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - A new post time of 6:55 p.m. and new betting choices highlighted the harness racing action at the Meadowlands Friday night, and despite no horse paying off at double-digit odds through the first nine races, the payoffs for the 20-cent Pick-5, 20-cent Pick-6 and Early 50-cent Pick-4 were all extremely attractive. The Pick-5, which saw its base bet decrease from 50 cents, saw a typical pool of $55,082, which is more than double the wager's $25,000 guarantee. But with bettors "spreading" their tickets further, the resulting payoff of $1,335.10 was superb given that the odds of the winners during the sequence were 4-1, 9-2, 3-2, 8-5 and 6-1. The horses in the third and fourth legs were the post-time favorites. The Pick-6, which will no doubt offer attractive carryovers on occasion in the coming weeks, paid off on six-for-six to the tune of $3,056.56. All the winners were 6-1 or less - with one exception - as Muscle Fashion won the seventh race, paying $20.80 to win. The Big M's "signature" wager - the Early 50-cent Pick-4 - now begins in race six, and after Say You Do sat a perfect pocket trip to surge past Rubber Duck to win at 5-1 in the payoff leg, those who hit cashed in for $758.90. The key to hitting was Leg One, when players included 4-1 shot Resita, who upset 2-5 favorite Max. Say You Do The Late 50-cent Pick-4 also yielded a solid payout despite favorites winning the last two legs. A 16-1 shot started the sequence followed by a 6-1 leading to another four-figure payoff, at $1,130.90. All-source wagering on the 13-race card surpassed the $2.5-million mark for a fourth straight program as $2,534,709 was put in play. A LITTLE MORE Corey Callahan, Andy Miller, Tyler Buter and Dexter Dunn all recorded driving doubles on the program. ... Windy conditions made things tough on horses racing on the front end all night long. Handicappers should take that into consideration when looking at those horses who raced on this card and showed speed. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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