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We have a great weekend of stakes and overnight action throughout North America. Saturday is chock full of top events that will take us to the Meadowlands for the $175,000 Cutler Memorial Final at the Meadowlands, plus NJSS action and a great FFA Pace. Earlier in the day it’s the debut of Shake It Cerry in the PASS at the Meadows and there is PASS 3YO Colt Pace action at Pocono Downs. Good Luck! $99,000 Trot PA Sire Stakes 3YO Filly The Meadows 8th race SATURDAY AFTERNOON – Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year, Shake It Cerry, makes her 2014 debut in a tough situation going against a few decent other fillies, but she is in a total class class above this group and figures just float on out to the lead and wire the field. Use Take The Money and Harley Momma in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace The Laverne Hill Memorial Mares FFA Scioto Downs 7th race SATURDAY – This is not the field they were hoping for as it seems somewhat weak for such a nice purse this time of year yet most of those from the Matchmaker Series at Yonkers didn’t want to make the trip out west. Camille can outshine this group as she is the lone mare to come west after the Matchmaker Series. Only millionaires in the field, she can take the goose egg off the win column this year by laying over this group. Use Igottafeelinfran and Radar Contact in exotic plays. $38,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – If not for P H Supercam being so razor sharp this season this would be a very competitive field. P H Supercam is on a three-race win streak and does not look like anyone can stop him now. Gets tested with first start from bad post in nearly two months. Use Heston Blue Chip and Statesman N in exotic plays. $175,000 Trot Arthur J. Cutler Memorial FFA Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – What a great lineup for this rich final. Every horse in this field has a legit shot at winning. But after his ultra impressive grind it out world record tying 1:50.1 mile last week you just gotta love Sebastian K. If driver/trainer Ake Svanstedt has gotten after his horse last week they would have shattered the world mark and maybe they will do it in here. Sebastian K is the real deal. Use Market Share and Modern Family in exotic plays. $66,763 Pace PA Sire Stakes 3YO Colts Pocono Downs 8th race SATURDAY – There are four great divisions today but I think this is the toughest of them all. Four standouts that can win it. I’m going with Let’s Drink On It who was a stakes winner last season and he just romped by five at Hoosier Park in 1:50.1 last quarter mile in :26.3. That’s impressive. Use McWicked and Allstar Partner in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Woodbine 10th  race SATURDAY – Strong field of top pacers do battle here and I like Apprentice Hanover. Has returned to stomping grounds from the Levy Series where he just got nipped at the wire in the S567,000 final. Rested and will make the most of starting from the rail. Use Lucan Hanover and Captive Audience in exotic play. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – This will be a great race with plenty of action. Rockin Amadeus is on a roll, Allstar Legend is hot, Golden Receiver is the class of the field but Bandolito get a slim call in here off super strong miles at Pocono and Dover Downs. With any cover or first-over he can grind it out against these. Use Golden Receiver and Warrawee Needy in exotic plays. $50,500 Pace NJSS 3YO Colts Meadowlands 12th race SATURDAY – Big field with some top horses in it. The big question is which Western Vintage will show up. The one that can win going away or the one that will break stride and be distanced as we saw last week. I’m betting what ever happened last week was a fluke and he will rebound and make amends. Has too much class to lose in here. Use Doo Wop Hanover and Rock Out in exotic plays.

MANALAPAN, NJ - April 30, 2014 - Western Vintage, who swept last year's New Jersey Sire Stakes for harness racing two-year-old colt pacers, is among the 22 eligibles for the $250,000 estimated Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic while 29 fillies were nominated to the $125,000 estimated Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey. Both stakes, which will be contested on August 2, 2014, Hambletonian Day at the Meadowland, are restricted to New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers and are sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Perry Soderberg of Hightstown, NJ, who owns Western Vintage in partnership with Marvin Katz of Toronto, is pointing his son of Western Ideal toward a return to the races in the New Jersey Sire Stakes, which begin on May 17 at the Meadowlands. "Western Vintage qualified last Saturday [April 26] and was awesome," said Soderberg, a bloodstock agent. "Yannick [Gingras] just sat with him and then let him roll a bit down the stretch. He won in 1:52.4 with a 26.1 at the end, in to a pretty strong head wind. His heart rate was low afterwards and Yannick was very happy with him. "The plan is to skip a week, then qualify again, then do the New Jersey Sire Stakes [May 17, 24 and 31] at the Meadowlands," Soderberg explained. "After that, we take it as it comes and let the horse tell us the schedule. He has been strong, happy and loves to race, so we are aiming for the big ones. The New Jersey Classic is on his stakes schedule, but we make more plans after the New Jersey Sire Stakes and see what suits us the best." Swedish-born Soderberg, who has been evaluating horses since 1986, usually picks out yearlings for others, primarily trainer Jimmy Takter and his owners. But when no one wanted Western Vintage, he purchased the colt for himself for $7,000. Katz bought an interest last October. Western Vintage completed his two-year-old campaign with five wins and one second [in the Metro] from eight starts for earnings of $316,838. "The horse jogged 1:49.4 at two [winning a stakes at Lexington's Red Mile] and feels a lot stronger this year, so we are optimistic," Soderberg noted. "We, as all others, need some racing luck and the three-year-old pacers this year are good and many of them could show up. So we have to wait and see how it plays out." This year's New Jersey Classic eligibles represent 15 sons of Rocknroll Hanover, three by Cam's Card Shark and two each by Tell All and Western Ideal. The Miss New Jersey includes 19 by Rocknroll Hanover, seven by Western Ideal, two by Tell All and one by Cam's Card Shark. 2014 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic Eligibles Account Rollover, Beat The Drum, Bushwacker, Card Shock, Dancin Hill, Doo Wop Hanover, Earthshaker, Gold Rocks, In The Clear, Papa Fra, Rediscovery, Rock Fame, Rock Out, Rockeyed Optimist, Rocknroll Reality, Rockstar Stride, Say Uncle, Spanishtown, Sweet Rock, This Is Bill Byrne, Western Vintage, Whisky N Pie. 2014 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey Eligibles Act Now, Atsallrite Hanover, Beautiful Lady, Blixtra, Color Palette K, Cut A Deal, Fiyonce, Gettingreadytoroll, Highland Rockstar, I Need Hotstuff, Ideal Helen, Kate Can't Wait, Magnifique, Mako Wish, Mona Mona, My Lady Day, My Sweet Clara, Nikites, Poppies Pride, Rock N Roll Meg, Rockin Smile, Rockingcam Park, Rocknroll Queen, Rosie De Vie, She's Dangerous, Surfside Sexy, Val Di Noto, Wishfor Rocknroll, Zip Zip Boom. Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ  

TORONTO, April 30 - The harness racing connections of 62 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings have kept their charges eligible to the 31st edition of the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup by making the April 15 sustaining payment. Eliminations for the NA Cup are scheduled for Saturday, June 7 at Mohawk Racetrack, while the rich final is scheduled to be raced Saturday, June 14 at the Campbellville, Ont. oval. Headlining this year's group of nominees is the Dan Patch Award winner and undefeated Hes Watching, who set two world records last season along with six track records for trainer and co-owner David Menary. The son of American Ideal boasts a 1:50 speed badge along with $291,722 in earnings. According to Menary, the talented pacer is set to make his 2014 debut this Friday or Monday in a qualifying appearance at Mohawk Racetrack. Luck Be Withyou, the 2013 Breeders Crown champion, is also on the list and one of the early favourites for the race. National Debt, who remains undefeated in his career after capturing the lone division of The Diplomat this past weekend at Woodbine, is also on the list of nominees. The list of horses whose connections made the April 15 sustaining payment appears below. ALWAYS B MIKI ARI ALLSTAR AVALANCHE HANOVER BEAT THE DRUM BONDI HANOVER BOOMBOOM BALLYKEEL BRODYS SCRAPPER BUGGER BRUISER CABANA BOY HANOVER CAPITAL ACCOUNT CARRACCI HANOVER CRAFTY MASTER DANCIN HILL DOO WOP HANOVER EWALD HANOVER FOR A BETTOR TIME FORT KNOX GOLD ROCKS HERE COMES WILLIAM HES WATCHING IDEAL COWBOY IDEAL MAGIC IM DRINKIN DOUBLES JACK ATTACK JET AIRWAY JIGGLE IT JK ENDOFANERA JOURNEYMAN LETS DRINK ON IT LIMELIGHT BEACH LUCK BE WITHYOU LUCKY KING LYONSSOMEWHERE MAJOR DEAGAN MAJOR TRICK MCWICKED MELMERBY BEACH MOLIERE HANOVER NAKED CITY NATIONAL DEBT ODDS ON RHODONITE PARNU HANOVER PLAY IT AGAIN SAM SILVERHILL SHADOW SMACK TALK SOME MAJOR BEACH SOMESTARSOMEWHERE SOMETIMES SAID SOMEWHERE FANCY SURPRISE HANOVER SWEET BEACH SWEET TALKIN CLYDE TELLITLIKEITIS THATS MY OPINION THREE OF CLUBS UNLOCKED WACO BRUISER WEATHER HANOVER WELL WRITTEN WESTERN VINTAGE WHISKEY N PIE WINDS OF CHANGE Total Horses after the following payments. Feb. 15 - 77 March 15 - 70 Greg Gangle WEG Communications - Standardbred

Rock Hill, NY – With so many harness racing Dan Patch champions and Grand Circuit hopefuls in-to-go at the Meadowlands for Saturday (April 26) morning qualifiers, East Rutherford, New Jersey was the place to be.   As I left for my nearly 300-mile journey, police were preparing to close the roads all around my local hamlet of Rock Hill for the Empire State Performance Rally, the only car racing Tarmac event in the United States.  Traveling down the Wurtsboro mountain on the Route 17 “Quickway”, I passed several dozen street-legal speedsters who seemed very eager to test the limits of the law and machine en route to the start—which is just a stone’s throw from my house.  I could not help but thinking that my Harness Racing road rally—Meadowlands to Freehold to Yonkers­—would be similar in style and substance. Upon my arrival to the M1 paddock, I delivered an Energy Vitamin Water to the ever-vigilant Shelly Grieco, who was checking-up Market Share for Linda Toscano to go out for his warm-up.  Team Toscano brought eleven horses to the big track Saturday.  Out by the draw gate I ran into “Markie’s” co-owner/manager, Richard Gutnick, and followed his black Porsche over to the front side to watch the first race.  For a guy who is semi-retired, he moves pretty quickly! On the apron, the USTA’s Ken Weingartner had already set-up shop on a portable teller station, and was preparing his laptop and camera for rapid-fire uploads to Nick Salvi who was upstairs in the super box with Myron Bell.  “On the Road with” Nick Salvi wrote the color commentary and utilized Ken’s great shots for seamless, up-to-the minute internet blasts of the action. As it turns out, I was not alone in my sojourn.  Although we took separate cars, Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce also chewed much of the same highway, as he was driving horses at all three venues.  Mountain Man Ron’s first win at The Meadowlands came aboard Dan Patch champion Shake It Cerry, who looked solid during her first qualifier.  Her 1:58 effort into a strong headwind was one of fourteen starters from the always-powerful Jimmy Takter stable. International Trotting stars Sebastian K and Åke Svanstedt made their Meadowlands debut.  The Swedish icon has moved his entire operation to the U.S. and has his star 8-year-old and US$2.2 million earner looking as fit as a fiddle.  A big, strapping horse, Sebastian K is another top older trotter that we will be keeping an eye on this season.  He is by Korean, a sire with predominantly French lineage, but whose second dam is by Super Bowl; from the Probe mare Gabriella K. Another Dan Patch champion coming of age and making his first appearance since winning the Breeders Crown was Father Patrick.  Leaving from post 7, the anointed-one charged into the first turn surrounded by a strong group of Hambo disciples.  Content to sit third, His eminence let a hot-under-the-collar Odds On Amethyst do the heavy lifting to a 1:24.3 third panel.  Yannick Gingras let Takter’s star pupil trot home strongly over the last eighth. During the break, I ran into the lively Michelle and Al Crawford who were on a whirlwind tour of their own.  Having just arrived in town from down South, they had several of their own horses to watch, and an Alagna party to attend that night.  Then it was back to their farm near Vernon Downs to put the finishing touches on a new 30-stall barn.  They bought me a coffee and we chatted at length about the sales and New York racing.  Both passionate about harness racing, their commitment to the industry is strong and their modern ideas are refreshing—evidenced by the farm’s attractive new sponsorship of the starting car at Vernon. The likelihood of Derick Giwner from the Daily Racing Form being at M1 Qualifiers is as sure as the sun coming up tomorrow morning.  Despite 20 mph gusts during low-50 degree temps, Mr. DRF was shooting photos in a T-shirt.  He must stay warm by perpetual motion.  Not only did he hook me up with program proofs, but he also told me that Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician, may be qualifying next Saturday, Derby Day at The Meadowlands.  I guess there will be a sequel to today’s story! Following the break, Maven and Market Share hooked up for a date that is sure to be more than just a one night stand.  We can only speculate when and where these two 5-year-olds will be spotted hanging out together the next time, but rest assured that it will be EPIC!  Tim Tetrick had ‘Markie’ acting like a perfect gentleman and let the lady lead for this dress rehearsal dance.  Who knows what will happen when they “up the tempo” on the Roarin’ Grand. Perry Soderberg seems to have, or to have picked-out, a top horse every year.  This season is no exception.  Western Vintage appears to be a force to be reckoned with in the glamour boys division.  Yannick Gingras had the Western Ideal colt out and rolling and posted a :26.1 fastest last quarter of the day, into a brutal headwind.  Trained by Nancy Johansson, this colt is the real deal and is razor sharp, just like his co-owner. On my way out of the paddock, I ran into the Lomangino clan, partners on Lindy’s Pride.   Great guys--father and sons who have been in the business FOREVER!  I remember selling horses to, and for Frank, Sr. at the Old Glory Sale during the 1970s.  They have owned and bred hundreds of horses over the last 4 decades, and always stop me to say hello. For the second leg of my journey down the NJ Turnpike to Freehold, I picked up an unlikely hitchhiker via Bluetooth.  Hollywood Heyden always regales me with colorful accounts of race days gone by.  He noted that only two Horses of the Year have come back to race in the last decade:  San Pail (2011) and Rainbow Blue (2004).  Google Glass has nothing on Holly!  Our lively and informative conversation got me from Elizabeth to Mom’s Peppermill on Route 33. There were two reasons for me to go to Freehold, not only to watch the Dexter eliminations, but also to meet up with Ellen Harvey, the director of Harness Racing Communications.  Her highly-anticipated forth-coming book, Standardbred Old Friends is at the printer and we are reviewing marketing tools for the big book signing event at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame on Friday, July 4.  She and co-author, multiple eclipse-winning photographer Barbara Livingston, have created a breathtaking tribute to 43 horses of distinction.  This is a volume that will make the entire industry proud.  I was especially grateful to get a sneak-peek at the printer’s proof, and mark my words, you will want to own a copy! While watching the undercard on the new benches by the winners circle, Moira Fanning, publicity director for the Hambletonian Society joined us.  Her husband, Tom Fanning had Sumatra in the $38,460 Dexter precursor.  Christina Takter was also on the Freehold apron, watching the trotting action, and rooting for her stable’s Dave Briggs.  The Ray Schnittker stable had three in. Only one horse was to be eliminated from advancing to the $130,000 Dexter final.  A costly break by betting favorite Well Built caused half the field to be scattered just past the quarter pole.  The judges placed the Chris Ryder-trained, John Campbell-driven colt back to ninth due to interference.  Ultimately the race was won by Sarcastic Man from post 7.  Driven by fellow road warrior, Ron Pierce and trained by Gail Wrubel for breeder/owner Robert J. Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania, the Tom Ridge colt paid a whopping $26.40 to win. Karen Fagliarone, racing secretary at the Afternoon Delight, noted that the USTA’s new online entry system has helped her race office, however, not all of her horsemen have embraced the digital age as of yet.  We shall see, but this may be just the catalyst that is necessary to turn phone calls into uploads. From here the trip got a little dicey as it rained up the Garden State Parkway, the NJ Turnpike, and on to the George Washington Bridge.  By the time I hit ‘Martha’ it was a downpour, coupled with a bottleneck at the entrance.  The Cross Bronx to the Major Deegan could be one of the least pleasant paths horseman take.  Nonetheless, if you stable in New Jersey and race at the Empire, this is your route.  And it wouldn’t feel like the hilltop if I didn’t get scolded by at least two Yonkers Raceway policemen while finding a parking spot by the paddock. From the trailer parking area to the apron is a quick jaunt, and while double-stepping I ran into "The Manager".  Anyone who has been to Empire City in the last year or so has seen him, dressed in all white, chasing Brian Sears down the stretch during each race.  He is part showman, part street hustler, part groupie...and he is obsessed with The White Knight.  Overall he seems pretty harmless, and now he has his own twitter at the very least, he is progressive. Speaking of social media, I was on my way up to Pinch, the groovy 2nd floor eatery over the casino, to meet with Jane Quigley and her team from Converseon.  Rob Key has assembled a dynamic group of tech savvy entrepreneurial wunderkinds.  Each of the eight specialists I met has amassed well over 10,000 fans on their respective social media platforms.  The “Ambassadors” were at the Levy to learn more about Harness Racing and help promote the sport through social media this race season.  Following a fun and delicious dinner, complete with a wagering overview from Alex Dadoyan and Joe Faraldo, the entire group went to the paddock to check out the horses and take some pictures.  Some of the professional photographers got to ride in the starting car, I went to find Foiled Again.  I ran into PR man Frank Drucker and took his picture with the six million dollar horse.  Then I showed another photographer the colorful numbers washing area, and introduced him to Noel, who has been washing bikes and handing out numbers at Yonkers for the last 20 years.  He always smiles and has something positive to say. From there it was a mad dash back to the winners circle to get ready for the big event, the Levy.  Ran into The Manager again, and he performed a little singing and dancing for the Converseon crew.  They snapped lots of pictures and video.  The White Knight’s self-appointed fan club president may not be Harness Racing’s best public relations persona, but what he lacks in talent, he makes up for with enthusiasm. Mike Lizzi, the primary track photographer was on hand for all the key moments, and he let me shadow him out on the racetrack for the Levy final.  It never gets old being out on the edge of the track shooting pictures of top horses.  As the field approached the leisurely half, it appeared as if Foiled Again had things his own way, but that is not how the race unfolded.  The road warrior hung on tough for third, beaten less than a length at the wire. Jason Bartlett drove a masterful race, seemingly boxed in and buried on the rail fifth at the three-quarter pole.  When PH Supercam did see daylight, squeezing up the inside passing lane, he responded admirably.  Jody Jamieson was absolutely flying up on the outside with Apprentice Hanover to be second. With that event in the record books, it was time to call it a night and head up the NY State Thruway back to the Catskills.  276 miles, 3 tracks, 37 races. by Chris Tully, for

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