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Kabu charges late to capture the $6,900 featured harness racing trot at Vernon Downs on Friday (November 1). Jenny Lake (Leon Bailey) took the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :29.1. She used a :30.2 second quarter to hit the half in :59.3. Gettin Serious (Roman Lopez) was the first to challenge. Jenny Lake maintained the lead as they hit three-quarters in 1:28.2. Kabu ($9.40), who is owned by the JP Stables and trained and driven by John MacDonald, was fifth after three-quarters. He looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he went by in deep stretch to win in 1:57.3. Jenny Lake had to settle for second. Getting Serious finished third. Kabu is an 8-year-old gelding by Valley Victor. It was his sixth win this season. He now has 39 career victories. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) wins the $6,900 featured fillies and mares pace. Classic Can Dream (John MacDonald) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :28.0. She continued to lead to the half in :58.2. Ask Queenie (Leon Bailey) took a short lead and hit three-quarters in 1:26.2. She then went on a break. Classic Can Dream reclaimed the lead as they made the turn for home. Love Live Laugh ($7.40), who is owned by Diane Whittemore and trained by Marissa Chairborne, popped out of the pocket and blew on by to win in 1:55.1. Classic Can Dream had to settle for second money. Unusual Clarity (Josh Kinney) was third best. Love Live Laugh is a 9-year-old mare by Hi Ho Silverheel's. It was her eighth win this season. She now owns 43 wins in her career. Jimmy Whittemore drove four winners on the night. Two more were with trainer Marissa Chadbourne. Their other wins were with Pammy Jo ($12.80), and Blameitonthenight ($6.20). His other win came with trainer Kerin Warner with Pearlameri ($30.20). Warner trained three winners on the night herself. Her other wins came with Letsgetintotrouble ($7.70), and So It Goes Hanover ($26.20). With one night of racing left John MacDonald leads Marissa Chadbourne by just one win for the trainer's title. First Call was awarded top trotter of the meet. She had seven wins this season at Vernon Downs. The 4-year-old mare by Credit Winner is trained by Homer Hochstetler for owners Connie Hochstetler, Robert Buddig, and Allen Schwartz. Vernon Downs returns to live racing for closing night on Saturday (November 2). There will be a Vernon Downs tumbler giveaway (while supplies last) as well as a live bugler. They will also feature two "Turn Back the Clock" rewind races as well. The 13 race card starts at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com. by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

Oh My Joepa (John MacDonald) takes the Vernon Downs featured pace ($6,500) on Saturday (September 22). Golden Gun (Josh Kinney) charged to the front and led to a first quarter of :27.0. Oh My Joepa ($5.30) took control just before hitting the half in :56.2. Owned and trained by MacDonald, he led to three-quarters in 1:24.4. Golden Gun popped the pocket at the top of the stretch and went charging late in deep stretch to fall short and finish second by a nose. Oh My Joepa won in a time of 1:53.2. I Am Golden (Ronald Harp) finished third. Oh My Joepa is a 10-year-old gelding by Rocknroll Hanover. It was his seventh win this season and career victory number 52. Kabu (John MacDonald) claims the featured trot ($6,500). Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) controlled the early fractions (:29.0, :57.4, 1:27.1). Kabu ($3.60) went first-over just before the three-quarter mark. Owned by JP Stables and trained by MacDonald, he wrestled the lead away from Sweet Ashley T in the stretch and had to hold off the late charge of runner-up Cantad Kid (Claude Huckabone Jr.) to win in 1:56.4. Sweet Ashley T settled for third best. Kabu is a 7-year-old gelding by Valley Victor. It was his fourth win in a row and 10th of the season. He now owns 31 career victories. MacDonald had four driving wins on the nights as well as three training wins. His third driver -trainer combination victory came with Machmemackie ($6.30). His fourth driving win came with Ladyyouaregorgeous ($8.70). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 28). For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

HARRINGTON, Del. - Frank Chick's Awsome Valley ($13.40, Russell Foster) was a 1:55.4 harness racing winner in the $16,000 Open Trot Wednesday at Harrington Raceway. Awsome Valley took the lead at the opening quarter mile in 28.1 seconds as I Like My Boss relinquished in second. The 1-to-5 favorite, Wind Of The North, got in gear in second over position behind Theresademoninme while the leader marched to the half-mile in 58 seconds and three-quarters in 1:26.4. Awsome Valley drew away from his rivals in the stretch for a dominant win over Theresademoninme and I Like My Boss. Wind Of The North was fourth. It was the 39th career win for Awsome Valley, a son of Valley Victor who is trained by Kevin Lare. Foster drove three winners on the program. In the sub-featured $11,000 Open II trot, Jonathan Newman's Here's The Magic ($6.60, Allan Davis) was a 1:56.4 winner for trainer Josh Green in his first Harrington start after competing most of the summer in New York. Davis joined Foster with a driving triple. On the undercard ($10,000 trot), Louis Catana and Vincent Bradley's Sunset Mike ($11, Tyler Davis) had an auspicious local debut with a 1:57.3 triumph for co-owner/trainer Bradley, who recently acquired the 4-year-old trotter from the Indiana racing circuit. Matthew Sparacino  

HARRINGTON, Del - Frank Chick's Awsome Valley ($14.60, Tony Morgan) notched his 35th harness racing career win in upset fashion Wednesday at Harrington Raceway with a 1:54.1 victory in the $16,000 Open Trot. Awsome Valley led the field of seven through an opening quarter mile of 28 seconds. The 8-year-old trotter marched to the half-mile unchallenged to a half-mile in 57 seconds before Celebrity Pegasus gathered momentum around a tiring Theresdemoninme and got within two lengths to three-quarters in 1:25.3. Awsome Valley drew away with ease in the stretch as Celebrity Pegasus went off stride and Wind Of the North, last week's winner, rallied into second. Five Towns was third. Awsome Valley, a son of Valley Victor trained by Kevin Lare, surpassed the $500,000 mark in career earnings. Matthew Sparacino      

Pompano Beach, Florida...Jan 23, 2017...Bad Angel, handled by Tom Jackson, desperately seeking some racing room when it counted, found some in the final sixteenth to score a narrow harness racing victory as the popular "Over-The-Hill Gang" trotting series continued at Pompano Park on Monday night (January 23.) As stiff westerly winds reaching 30 miles-per-hour continued to pound South Florida, the eight year-old daughter of Valley Victor stopped the clock in 1:56.1 and halted the four race winning streak of My Revenuer (Brad Kramer) by a head with PC's Wildcard (Wally Hennessey) third, a half-length off the winner. The pacesetting She's All In was fourth while Rush N Supreme picked up the final award in the septet. At the outset, Bad Angel, with the wind at her back, left with alacrity from her coveted post five and quickly yielded to the favored She's All In (Rick Plano) around turn one to gain cover from the wind that began to blast at the leader's face at the opener in :27.3 with PC's Wildcard neatly settled in third. Ramzan was an unhurried fourth at this point with My Revenuer next, but out and driving three-eighths into the mile. She's All In reached the half in :57 with Bad Angel content to be drafted along in second and My Revenuer moving alongside but the pace soon picked up with a tailwind at their back during the third quarter. With the third station reached in a picked-up 1:25, She's All In seemed to be on a comfortable lead with My Revenuer challenging and Bad Angel locked up tight along the inside. In the lane and against the strong headwind, My Revenuer stuck his head in front of She's All In with Bad Angel looking for room, first, towards the inside and, when nothing materialized there, shifting on between horses. In a fierce battle to the line, Bad Angel put her nose on the wire first with her :31 second finale conquering that headwind and, more importantly, her six foes. In a post-race interview, driver Tom Jackson related, "Usually, the inside opens up and there's room to get through but, tonight, there was nothing there so I saw a seam between the leader and Brad's horse (My Revenuer) and she really dug in late to get it done. "That wind was fierce tonight, so I was probably lucky that I didn't find anything on the inside because the wind would have hit us that much sooner. "She went a brave trip, alright." Owned and trained by George Coblentz, Bad Angel won for the second time this semester and now has a dozen wins lifetime. She's now banked $96,236--more than half of that during her seven and now eight year-old years. Off as the third choice at 9 to 2, Bad Angel returned $11.40 to her faithful. Racing continues on Tuesday night with a talented sextet of trotters going to the Hummer Starting Gate in the $12,000 Open Handicap Trot. Rockn Stien, fresh off a victory in his Pompano Park debut last week, has been installed as the 3 to 2 morning favorite and will have Peter Wrenn back in the bike. Looking to rebound after a tough journey last week is Tater Twister, whose winning streak was halted by Rockn Stien last week. Mike Simons is expected in the sulky on Tuesday night. Massacaia, Gold Savage, Massive Lightning and Swan Handicap complete the field. The Tuesday program also features a $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...January 17, 2017...Rockn Stien, a recent purchase by the M T Pockets Stables and Wrenn Racing, made his harness racing debut for his new owners at Pompano Park on Tuesday night (January 17) and promptly took top honors in that track's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot, stopping the timer in a lifetime best 1:53.2. The five year-old gelded son of Valley Victor, handled superbly by Peter Wrenn, had to go to "Plan B" early on before pinning a one length defeat on the pacesetting Diamond Dagger, driven by Jason Dillander. Massacaia, making his first start for Jason Robinson after a three month respite from the racing wars, rallied for show honors for Ricky Macomber, Jr. while She's All In, prominent throughout, finished fourth. Gold Savage picked up the nickel in the septet. DC Flashback was next while Tater Twister, looking for his fourth straight win, completed the order of finish after finding himself on the outside looking in through lively first half panels. At the outset, it was a cavalry charge as the Hummer Starting Gate fled the scene with She's All In (post 2), Gold Savage (4), Diamond Dagger (5), Rockn Stien (6) and Tater Twister (7) all left with alacrity with Gold Savage and Rockn Stien taking back and letting the others sort it out. By the time they reached the opening marker--:27--Diamond Dagger had wrestled the lead from She's All In with Tater Twister hung out to dry like wet laundry. At the half in :55.2, Gold Savage had to share the fourth spot with Rockn Stien, who tilted out on turn two to begin his drive forward. On the backside, Rockn Stien was on a first up binge to reach second as Diamond Dagger took the field past the third station in 1:24. In the lane, Diamond Dagger and Rockn Stien were in a fierce battle with Rockn Stien edging to the front a sixteenth from home for the win. After the event, driver Peter Wrenn related, "we just got this one recently and I really didn't know what to expect in his first start back. "He did qualify well and my plan was to get him off the gate and try and land in a good spot up close. But, when they leaving on both sides of me, I had to go to 'plan B' and take back. "He went a very brave trip going first up and he finished nicely...and in a new mark, too. I am very pleased, as you can imagine." The win was number 10 in Rockn Stien's career vaulting his lifetime bankroll over the $150,000 plateau--$151,865 to be precise. Off at the even-money tote-board favorite, Rockn Stien returned a win mutual of $4.20. Wrenn, by the way, now has amassed 9,794 career wins. Racing continues on Wednesday with Miss Mady and OK Heavenly the morning line favorites in the $11,000 Mares Open Pace. Pompano Park will offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Wednesday Pick-4, conducted on races 5 through 8. by John Berry for Pompano Park              

DAYTON, OH. - The ultra-consistent Rockn Stien ran his string of on-the-board harness racing finishes to seven on Monday afternoon (Dec. 5), capturing the $15,000 Open Trot at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 1:54.3. Despite showing three wins, three seconds and one show finish in his last seven starts, the betting public let Rockn Stien get away at 7-1 odds, likely due to his eight hole starting spot behind the starting gate. Driver Josh Sutton left had the 4-year-old son of Valley Victor on the move early, briefly dropping into second along the pylongs but quickly making a "quarter move" to the front as he and early pacesetter Primed N Powerful (Randy Tharps) passed the :28 quarter-mile marker as a team. Setting subsequent middle fractions of :56.2 and 1:25.2, Rockn Stien never got a serious threat through the rest of the mile. Rockinthepines (Andy Shetler), who was last week's winner in the feature trot, closed best of the rest to garner the place payoff, while Becky's Law (Kyle Ater) took full advantage of an inside post position to finish third. Trainer Bobby Brower co-owns Rockn Stien with Debra Garland. Their talented homebred squaregaiter now has nine career triumphs with a bankroll of $145,865. Two races earlier, Sandys Victory established a new track record for aged trotting mares when she scorched the quick five-eighths mile oval in 1:54.1. The clocking shaved two-fifths of a second off the previous track standard of 1:54.3, which belonged to world champion Victory Is Coming. The track record performance was a gratifying family affair as owner-trainer Dan Ater just purchased the mare about a month ago and his son Kyle Ater was in the sulky. Gregg Keidel

Pompano Beach, FL...November 22, 2016...Bad Angel got picture perfect handling from Hall of Fame haqrness racing driver Wally Hennessey to capture the first open trot strictly mares on Tuesday night (November 22) at Pompano Park. The seven year-old daughter of Valley Victor enjoyed a cozy garden journey, tilting out once they straightened away in the lane, and collared the leading Driving Miss Crazy (John Mac Donald) in the final 16th to win by a length in a lifetime best 1:54.4. Driving Miss Crazy was second followed by McKenzie's Star (Fern Paquet, Jr.), she 3½ lengths away. Social Delight was fourth while Jailhouse Jessica picked up the nickel in the field of nine. The even money favorite, She's All In, made a miscue prior to the start to lose all chance. At the outset, Hennessey sent Bad Angel, leaving from post six, blasting off the wings of the Hummer Starting Gate, assuming control around the first turn with Driving Miss Crazy, starting from post eight, on the prowl early and taking command just short of the :28.1 opener. Once on top, Driving Miss Crazy posted subsequent panels of :57 and 1:25.3 with Bad Angel's nose breathing down Mac Donald's helmet. Hennessey continued to sit chilly with Bad Angel throughout the final bend and only left the cozy pocket once they straightened away completely, wearing down the leader late. In a post-race interview, Hennessey remarked, "well, being in with the mares and no boys helped and, when Rick's trotter (She's All In) made a break early, well, that changed the complexion of the race right there. "I really wasn't planning on leaving with her but, like I said, Rick's mare made that break so I thought I'd take a chance. "Once we got cover, I was pretty confident that we'd be, at least, close at the end but she really felt like she wanted to go tonight as her nose was right on the helmet around the final turn. "I didn't have to ask her for much in the lane. She did it all on her own." Owned and trained by George Coblentz, Bad Angel won for the eighth time this semester, sending her seasonal bounty to $47,615, clearly her best season on the racetrack. Prior to 2016, Bad Angel's best season earnings-wise was in 2013, when she won $12,740, establishing a "Q" mark of 1:59. Off of a very fast closing third place finish in a conditioned event last week, Bad Angel was sent off as the 7 to 1 fourth choice in the betting, returning $17.80 to win. In the "better for the bettor" department, Pompano Park's Thanksgiving eve racing program features a carryover in the Pentaafecta fourth $4,666 going in. There is also a $564 carryover in the Pick-6, as well. Post time for the Wednesday program--the first mid-week program of the season--is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

DAYTON, OH. - Rockn Stien, still in the Halloween spirit, was frighteningly good on Monday afternoon (Nov. 21) as he bested eight harness racing rivals in the $15,000 Open Trot at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. The 4-year-old son of Valley Victor, with driver Josh Sutton in tow, got looped out of the gate by Banker Volo (Kyle Ater) and Revenue Agent (Peter Wrenn), but didn't wait long before abandoning the pylons for an outer rim route that resulted in a convincing 1:55.2 first-over score. Trainer Bobby Brower co-owns the lightly-raced winner with partner Debra Garland. Rocknstien now has eight lifetime tallies from just 40 trips to post, but has banked an impressive $136,835 in his limited opportunities. Dispatched at 4-5 odds following a pair of runnerup finishes from outside posts in his most recent outings, Rocknstien bested Revenue Agent, who held for second after setting all the fractions, and longshot Run And Tell Pap (Kayne Kauffman), who rallied well in the stretch to grab the show dough. Hollywood Dayton enjoyed a healthy handle on the 14-race matinee program due to becoming a late addition to the TVG network following weather cancellations at several other venues. The program, featuring full competitive fields and a stellar driver's colony, received a warm reception from the national audience of television handicappers. Gregg Keidel  

DAYTON, OH. - Rockn Stien, a homebred owned by harness racing trainer Bobby Brower and partner Debra Garland, trotted to a new lifetime mark of 1:54.1 to capture the $15,000 Open at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Monday afternoon (Oct. 17). Content to get away fifth in the early going, driver Josh Sutton pushed the accelerator before the field reached the midway point, moving up to third on the rim at the :56.4 half. By the time the third stanza was clocked in 1:24.3 Rockn Stien was stride for stride with Insomniac (Brady Galliers), who had dictated all the fractions. Revenue Agent (Peter Wrenn), who was last week's feature winner, joined the fray briefly by swinging three-wide approaching the head of the stretch, but shortly after the trio straightened out the winner demonstrated his dominance and pulled away to a relatively comfortable victory. Insomniac held for second, with Revenue Agent, Atlas Peak and Parkhill Lancelot picking up the remaining checks. Rockn Stien is a lightly raced 4-year-old Valley Victor gelding who now sports just seven wins in 36 career tries. The lion's share of the open purse increased his lifetime bounty to $122,540. Gregg Keidel

Batavia, NY --- Justgottogetthere was one of the best resident trotters in western New York last year, however 2016 has been a bit of a different story. But it was like old times for the harness racing gelding on Friday night (Sept.30) as he won the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs. Justgottogetthere (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front at the start of the race and remained there until the end. While setting early panels of :28.2 and :58.4, the only challenge the leader got came from Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) who pulled near the half and tried to engage the front. But the closest he could get was a half-length from second seated Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) who was tracking there the whole mile. After they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2, Justgottogetthere got busy and extended his lead around the far turn and just trotted away in the lane to win by three in 1:57.1. Noble Legend was second and Snapshot Springs finished third. It was the fourth win of the year and a seasonal mark for Justgottogetthere ($11.20), and the first trip to the winner's circle with him for new owner Mike Torcello, who privately purchased the son of Valley Victor on September 3rd. Gerry Sarama trains Justgottogetthere. In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Serious George ($5.50) came early to press the front running Socialdelight (Ray Fisher Jr.) before running her down to win in 1:57.4. Serious George is owned by James Palladino and is trained by Richard Mays. John Cummings Jr. won four races Friday night. He had pictures taken with Gun Show ($4.00, 1:56.2), Hez a Buckeye ($5.60, 1:59), V I P ($9.20, 2:02) and Northern Matador ($13.20, 1:59). Shawn Gray and Jim Morrill Jr. both chimed in with two wins apiece. The Batavia Downs early Pick-5 which on Friday was part of the USTA Strategic Wager with a guaranteed $4,000 pool, recorded the track's largest handle ever by 50%. The 3-2-1-2-6 combination returned $202.00. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1) with a guaranteed early Pick-5 pool of $1,500. Post time is 6:15 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Vernon, N.Y. -- An early break in stride by 3-2 favorite A Penny Earned helped pave the way for Twice Too Nice ($6.10) to wire the boys in Friday (June 24) evening's harness racing featured $8,000 Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Trot at Vernon Downs.   Trainer-driver John MacDonald pointed the 5-year-old Valley Victor mare immediately to the fore, out-sprinting fellow distaffer Gimme the Cash (Angus MacDonald) to a :27.2 first quarter before reining back the speed. Twice Too Nice remained uncontested through a :57.3 middle half and edged away a bit at head-stretch. With Gimme the Cash unable to threaten from the pocket and the first-over Pounce K (Claude Huckabone, III) fading off the far turn, Winding Hill (Jimmy Whittemore) challenged from his stalking trip upon cornering, working into second at the eighth pole. Twice Too Nice held sway for a 1:53.4 triumph, keeping Winding Hill a length at bay while Gimme the Cash finished a laboring third.   Brett Crawford owns Twice Too Nice, who took her 12th career win and her fourth on the year.   While MacDonald prevailed in the feature, Jimmy Whittemore led all drivers with three wins on the 11-race card.   Racing returns to the Miracle Mile on Saturday (June 25) with an 11-race card due off at 6:45 p.m.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

HARRINGTON, DE. - Frank Chick's Awsome Valley ($17.80, Ross Wolfenden) overcame post position eight to prevail in 1:56 in the $17,500 Open Handicap Trot Wednesday at Harrington Raceway. The 7-year-old Valley Victor gelding assumed command near the opening quarter mile from Spunky Jack and never relented en route to an open length win over a fast closing I'm So Striking. Spunky Jack finished third. Trained by Kevin Lare, it was the third win of the season for Awsome Valley, who had raced at Dover Downs much of the year prior. Bob Shahan and Don Marine's Six Gun Hall ($3.60, Allan Davis) was a dominant winner on the undercard with a 1:57.1 victory in a $10,000 conditioned trot. Trained by co-owner Shahan, it was the first win of the season for Six Gun Hall who was returning home after a three start stint at the Meadowlands (N.J.). Victor Kirby had three winners on the program. George Dennis and Ross Wolfenden each had a double. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

Gural Hanover, who won only two races last year, turned in his second straight trip to the winner's circle at Dover Downs on Wednesday, May 16 romping to a 1:53 harness racing victory in the $24,000 Open trot. With Andrew McCarthy driving the Crazed-Givemearing gelding, Gural Hanover final took command after a :26.3 opening quarter and proved the best from there. Weaver Bruscemi, Little E, Pahellenic and Burke Racing stables own the classy five-year-old who now has earned $78,124 in his career. War Cry Hall, last weeks winner, charged down the passing lane for Tim Tetrick to edge Somebody AS and Vic Kirby for second money. It ended Somebody AS' two-win streak. In the $18,500 sub-feature, when race-favorite Celebrity Pepgus broke stride early, Jackie Parker took over driving Jim Moore III's Royal Becca J and the four-year-old RC Royalty-Becca J gelding led the rest of a 1:55.3 mile to win for the second time in his last three starts. In fact Royal Becca J has been ultra-consistent in his last six starts with three wins and three seconds. Machuca (Ross Wolfenden) raced on the outside for most of the contest and held on for second. Royal Status (Kirby) was the show horse. Rich Pollucci's Maestro Blue Chip gave Tim Tetrick his second win holding off Spunky Jack (Roger Plante) by a head in 1:54.2 to extend his win streak to five in-a-row in a $17,000 Winners-Over trot. The Credit Winner-Up Front Hotsey four-year-old remains undefeated in 2016 and lifts his season bankroll to $30,750 and $109,173 lifetime. Awsome Valley (Tony Morgan) was third. Steel Reserve got up for his first win of the season, catching Ah Me (Carlo Poliseno) in the final strides for a 1:56 victory in a $14,500 4&5-Year-Old trot. Frank Chick owns the Credit Winner-Iron Lass gelding trained by Kevin Lare. In another $14,500 trot, Bill Cantrell's steady Deacons Valley, off at 8-1, with Ross Wolfenden at the controls scored a 1:54.4 triumph, his second of the year. The six-year-old Valley Victor-Deaconess Hanover horse was in the money for sixth straight time in 2016. Brew Master (Dennis) and Jailhouse Diva (Montrell Teague) finished second and third respectively. Drivers Tim Tetrick and Tyler Davis, trainer Kevin Lare, owner Frank Chick , all had two wins. NOVA ARTIST, MOVIE IDOL, LEYDEN TOP THURSDAY DOVER CARD Nova Artist, Movie Idol and Leyden head a nine-horse field in Thursday, March 17 St. Patrick’s Day feature race at Dover Downs. First post is 4:30 p.m. Nova Artist, a two-time Horse of the Meet, owned by Eddie and Kathy Davis and driven by their son Allan Davis, has a win and two seconds in six starts this year. The nine-year-old approaching the $1-million mark lifetime takes on Breakway Stable’s classy Movie Idol, starting from post 9 in the second tier with Frank Milby in the bike and William Moffett’s steady homebred Leyden (Ross Wolfenden) should profit by a much better post position this week, in the $11,000 Male pace feature. They take on Ben Stafford’s Maximum Terror, who also has an inside post this week, leaving from the rail with Ben Stafford Jr. handling the reins. Blake and Bruce Baker’s veteran Native Art and George Dennis is alongside. Other contenders are Robin and Jay Breasure’s People Are Crazy with Vic Kirby, Ed Walls’ Tug River Prince, piloted by Tony Morgan, Hide Me Away, driven by Russ Foster for Arty Foster III and Wanda May Saulsbury and the dangerous Shiretown Pitbull with Season Bier off a strong qualifying victory last week.   There is no live racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Racing resumes Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. By popular demand the acclaimed Harness Buffet is now back in the Winner’s Circle Restaurant. Call for reservations 302-674-4600. There is no charge for parking and admission at Dover Downs. Harness and thoroughbred simulcasts is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. There is no charge for parking and admission. Marv Bachrad

On a festive Saturday (March 12) evening under clear skies and flags from 11 different nations gracing the Pompano Park winner's circle, the Isle International Amateur Driving Championship got underway with harness racing drivers from nine European countries, New Zealand and the United States in the limelight.   New Zealand's Danny Blakemore, a winner with the eight year-old pacing mare Head First in the second of four divisions, is the current leader in the competition while Germany's Michael Gutsche is next after he drove the 10 year-old trotter Play Fair to a 1:59 win.   Russia's Ivan Serik ranks third after the first night's action after rallying late with the seven year-old trotter Bad Angel for a photo finish victory in 1:59.3 and rewarding his faithful with a $44.60 mutuel.   Hungary's Andrea Fazekas is next after having kicked the amateur series off with a handy win with the the five year-old trotting mare Princess Crown in 1:56.4.   Dein Spriggs (U.S.A.) is next followed by Johann Preinling, Jr. while Jaime Bassa and Enrico Colombino are in a dead-heat for the seventh spot. Denmark's Michael Holmer is next while Norway's Nils Oliv-Holm and Finland's Taipo Hoikka complete the roster in the first of two rounds.   Indeed, the festivities kicked off with Ms. Fazekas giving Princess Crown picture perfect handling to score a two length win over pacesetting Baby Boy Grin (Dein Spriggs) in the aforementioned time of 1:56.4.   Mr Wizard, driven by Spain's Jaime Bassa, finished third, three lengths away. Witty's Winner (Danny Blakemore) finished fourth while Super Duke (Nils-Oliv Holm) finished fifth.   Trained by Jacques Dupont for Dennis Goyette and Paul Andre Lehoux, Princess Crown, a daughter of Elegant Crown, won for the initial time this semester and pushed her lifetime bounty over the $75,000--$75,722 to be precise.   It was the 136th lifetime victory for Ms. Fazekas--first in the U.S.A.--as she rewarded her faithful with a mutuel of $19.40.   Blakemore, a DVD store owner in his native land of New Zealand, followed trainer Gaston Lareau's instructions to a "T" as he took Head First right to the front and defied all challenges through panels of :28.2, :57.4 and 1:27.4 before a :28.2 c=scoot home sealed the deal in 1:56.1.   Internal Check, driven by Johann Preining, Jr., finished second, three lengths away, while Mighty Nice and drirver Michael Guetsche teamed up to be third.   Rock Groupie (MIchael Holmer) was fourth while Country Fresh, handled by Ms Fazekas, rallied for the nickel.   In a post race interview, Blakemore lauded the mare, the track crew and the trainer saying the mare was very willing all the way around and on a track that was so excellent that you could hardly hear the horse's hooves on the track. Just like Mr. Lareau said, 'she'll be sharp tonight if you put her on the lead.' It was a beautiful experience."   Blakemore then said that he expected that the DVD of the race would become the best seller in his store.   Trained by Lareau for Raynald Phaneuf, Richard Robert and Patrick Dillaire, Head First, an eight year year-old daughter of Headmaster, reached a milestone of sorts with her 25th career win--third this year in 10 starts--to push be career bounty to $93,205.   As the even-money favorite on the tote-board, Head First paid $4.20 to win.   Germany's Gutsche, a accountant by trade in his homeland, won the third event with the 10 year-old trotter PLay Fair, a gelded son of Self Professed.   Owned and trained by Darrell Wright, Play Fair led at every marker, stopping the tele-timer in 1:59 after a perfectly rated mile that included panels of :29, :58.3 and 1:29.1.   After the event, an elated Gutsche said, "this is a great thrill for me. I did win a race in the States some years ago but this one is very special, especially against these very talented, world class amateur drivers.   "I was told by Mr. Wright (trainer Darrell Wright) to try and go to the front and then stay there. That was kind of easy for me because, in Germany, I have a reputation of never letting anyone go by once I have the lead. Mr. Wright also warned me not to hit the horse--not even once--because he will stop cold! I followed his orders. This was very gratifying."   Play Fair won for the third time this year in eight starts and now has lifetime earnings of $446,357 on the strength of his 32 lifetime wins.   As third choice in the betting, Play Fair paid $13.00 to win.   The Saturday night finale went to the 21 to 1 outsider Bad Angel, with Russia's Ivan Serik in the sulky.   The seven year-old daughter of Valley Victor, used a furious rally in deep stretch to score by a nose in 1:59.3. over the pacesetting Guilford (Danny Blakemore) with Sorrento Hall (Michael Gutsche) third, 3 1/4 lengths away.   What About Brian was fourth for Italy's Enrico Colombino while Rel Cash Clown was fifth for Spain's Jaima Bassa.   BadAngel won for the initial time in 2016--her scorecard coming in 6-0-0-0.   This win, only her third lifetime in 89 starts, propelled her lifetime bounty to $45,501   Owned and trained by George Coblentz, Bad Angel returned the largest dividend in the series thus far--$44.60 for the $2 investment.   After the event, an elated Serik said, through an interpreter, "This is a great thrill for me. This is my first trip to the United States and everyone has been so very nice and accommodating. This is something I will always treasure and never forget."   Adding to this festive occasion was the appearance of the legendary Roger Huston, who called the entire nine race program.   Huston, who has called some 172,000 races during his career, said of the evening, "Something like this never gets old for me. It's just an honor to be a part of an international event like this!"   The grand finale of the Isle International Amateur Driving Championship concludes on Sunday night with an additional perk being the large carryover in the Super Hi-5--now close to $70,000.   Post time for the Sunday night card is 7:30 P.M.   by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Batavia, NY---It's not too often a horse gets passed at the head of the lane and comes back on to win, but that is exactly what Justgottogetthere did in Friday night's (Dec. 4) $9,500 trotting feature at Batavia Downs. Leaving from post four, Justgottogetthere (Ron Beback Jr.) left quickly to take the lead and provide pylon-starter Leave Your Mark (Kevin Cummings) with a perfect trip. The rest of the field struggled to keep up as the leading pair went to the half in :59.3. After that second station, it became two separate races; Justgottogetthere and Leave Your Mark broke away from the pack by four lengths. Cummings pulled Leave Your Mark at the three-quarter pole and drew alongside of Justgottogetthere before taking a length lead at the top of the stretch. Looking well on his way to victory, Leave Your Mark was quickly rebuffed when Beback urged Justgottogetthere on and the game trotter responded; retaking the lead and eventually winning the race by a length in 1:58.3. The win was the tenth of the year for Justgottogetthere ($7.50), but the first since August 28. The winner's share of the purse pushed his 2015 earnings to $63,402 for owners Antonietta Landi and North Creek Racing LLC. Jerry Nugent Jr. trains the 6-year-old gelded son of Valley Victor. Shawn McDonough had the hot hands on Friday, winning four races driving as well as one as trainer. Drew Monti was right behind with a hat-trick and Ron Beback Jr. doubled up. Trainers Russell Bratt and Alex Giuliani both sent two winners to get their pictures taken. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 5) at 6:15 p.m. There are only 4 cards of racing left in the 2015 meet. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

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