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FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Keystone Velocity set a new standard at historic Rosecroft Sunday evening when he set a harness racing track record while winning the second running of the $100,000 Potomac Pace in 1:47.3. Defending champion All Bets Off was 1½ lengths behind the winner in second and Dealt A Winner was third. Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old gelding trained by Rene Allard and driven by Daniel Dube, shattered the previous track record of 1:48.2 set in 2007 by Nuclear Breeze and equaled in last year's Potomac Pace by All Bets Off. Purchased by Allard, VIP Stable, Earl Hill Jr., and Kapildeo Singh in 2016 after being off the track for nearly two years due to an ownership dispute, Keystone Velocity won for the eighth time in 22 starts this year, adding to wins in the $529,000 finals of the Levy Memorial Pacing Series and $500,000 Ben Franklin at Pocono. The Western Hanover gelding has now earned $800,000 this year. Keystone Velocity returned $14.80. "I had the perfect trip," Dube said. Indeed. While Breeders Crown winner Split The House shot to the front and set an opening fraction of :25.3, Dube paced fourth behind a :53.1 half before picking up the cover of Dealt A Winner down the backstretch. All Bets Off took the lead around the final turn while entering the stretch, but Dube guided Keystone Velocity to the outside and shot past the defending champion inside the final 50 yards. "Second over with those fractions," Dube said. "My horse was really strong today and feeling good. He's a nice horse and he likes that kind of trip. You can tell. At the end of the year to go [1:47.3], that's a nice horse." The Potomac, which boasted three of the top six aged earners this year and three of the first four finishers from last weekend's Breeders Crown, was created just two years ago shortly after The Stronach Group, owners of Rosecroft, purchased the historic Standardbred track from Penn National Gaming. Earlier in the evening, Rocktavius made a bold move to take the lead past a :54.2 half to win the $20,000 Maryland Invitational for driver Matt Kakaley. It was the 4-year-old gelding's second consecutive win and sixth in 20 starts this year. David Joseph

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- French-Canadian harness racing driver Simon Allard, who knew the late Herve Filion well, paid tribute to his early idol after winning the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pacing Championship with Keystone Velocity in 1:49.1. He stood in the sulky a la Herve and Hot Hitter, then unzipped his colors to show a Superman T-shirt underneath on Saturday (July 1) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Keystone Velocity, the 2016 Pocono Horse of the Year, certainly raced like a Superhorse in the Franklin, quarter-moving in front of favorite Mel Mara then letting one go to sit on his back. Through the stretch, Keystone Velocity went to the Pocono Pike and inch by inch gained on the chalk. He went past in the last few yards and won by a head.   Keystone Velocity is himself a remarkable story. Purchased as part of the last crop of supersire Western Hanover - for $3,000, the lowest-priced of the publicly-sold crop - he raced only sporadically through most of his career; this being only the 99th lifetime start for the 9-year-old.   He was purchased by the Allard connections last year, and this year he has already earned $618,000 - more than he did in his career prior to this year - and is second in 2017 money-winnings only to the horse winning the previous race, Fear The Dragon.   Keystone Velocity now has a career bankroll of $1,158,971, with Rene Allard handling the training for Allard Racing Inc., Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stables LLC.   "He can race either way, up close or from behind, but I can remember talking to Herve and him telling me, 'Just do it!', so I raced him up close," Simon recalled after the race. "I wasn't sure if I could catch (Mel Mara), but the horse reacted like the other horse had a target on his back, and he just did it, went by."   Keystone Velocity     Ben Franklin Consolation   Scott Zeron, behind Lyons Snyder, alertly defended the pocket leaving and sat the trip behind the noted Pocono lover Luck Be Withyou, the winner of the 2015 Franklin and its 2016 consolation. The duo pulled out nearing head-stretch and overwhelmed the front-runner, stepping off to a 1-1/4 length triumph in 1:49.2 to a $63.40 win mutuel. The son of Well Said, trained by Jimmy Takter, boosted his earnings to $362,758 for owners Jeffrey Snyder and Geoffrey Lyons Mound. Freaky Feet Pete, in his second start of the year, tucked midpack then moved second-over, but was devoid of pace in the last quarter and finished ninth.   Lyons Snyder     Ken Weingartner

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 1, 2017 - Harness racing favorite Clear Vision (George Brennan, $4.30) went the distance Saturday night (July 1st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from assigned post position No. 5, Clear Vision made his way around Betterlatethnnever (Eric Goodell) as the race turned into a two-speed number (:27.2, 56.3, 1:24.2, 1:52). The final margin was a length-and-three-quarters, with Dream Out Loud N (Shaun Vallee) a three-hole third. Betting Exchange (Brent Holland) was a four-hole fourth, while Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) was a badly-compromised fifth. For Clear Vision, an 11-year-old Western Hanover gelding co-owned by Robert Santagata & Jennifer Lappe and trained by John Kokinos, it was his sixth win in 16 seasonal starts (career earnings over $2.7 million). The exacta paid $23.30, the triple returned $112.50 and the superfecta paid $346. Sunday matinees return tomorrow (July 2nd), with an all-trot, dozen race card and a first post of 12:30 PM. Races 3 through 6 are 'French'-themed, all with large fields at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. There's also the 'New York, New York Double,' comprised of Belmont's third race (post time 2:37 PM) and Yonkers' seventh race (post time 3:15 PM). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 17, 2017 - Turns out this season's model was a tad faster than last season's model. A third-over Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $14.20) rolled over a second-up, 9-10 fave Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) Saturday night (June 17th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Open Handicap Pace. From post position No. 6, it was Keystone Velocity, the 2017 George Morton Levy Series champ, working out a trip right behind the '16 Levy winner, Bit of a Legend N. Both had their sights set on Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) after that one threw down a rather swift gauntlet (:26.3, :55.4, 1:23.4). Western Fame held a short lead in and out of the final turn, only to get passed by the potent pair. Widest and fastest, Keystone Velocity outgamed Bit of a Legend N by a half-length in 1:52, the highlight of Dube's four-win night. Western Fame held third, with a from-last Mach it So (Brent Holland) and Artful Way (Greg Merton) rounding out the payees. For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Kapildo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stable, it was his fourth win (as the fourth choice) in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $55, the triple returned $152.50 and the superfecta paid $2,021. Yonkers returns to Sunday matinees tomorrow (June 18th), with a first post of 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

London, May 25, 2017 -- John Kokinos is the first to admit that coming up with that 'special' horse isn't easy and that's why he feels blessed to have a horse like Molson Pace starter Clear Vision in his harness racing stable. The son of Western Hanover has banked more than $2.7 million and at age 11 shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he's earned more than $130,000 this season with a 4-3-3 record from 13 starts. "He's a horse that I would have never imagined ending up in our barn," said Kokinos, who trains the veteran pacer with wife, Jennifer Lappe. "He's a horse that will have a home for a lifetime. He's easily the best horse I've ever been around." Clear Vision spent the majority of his career in the Ron Burke barn, before ending up with Kokinos and Lappe. "We put a deal together to purchase Bettors Edge through agent Marc Reynolds and I kept asking him if Clear Vision was for sale. To be honest, I thought it would never happen, but I got a call a month later from Marc starting that Clear Vision was available. We quickly jumped at the chance and were overwhelmed to get a horse of his calibre." The speedy pacer made 201 starts prior to moving into the Kokinos barn with the majority of those races at the highest level. "There have been times that I have gone back and watched some of his replays and I still have a hard time believing he's in our barn," he said with a chuckle. "When you see the big trips he's gone and the horses he's raced against - it's unbelievable. He's raced in pretty much every stake race that has been offered in North America." Kokinos and Lappe own the 37-time winner with first-time owner Bob Santagata. "I'm a large animal veterinarian by trade and Bob and his wife own and operate a horse ranch and are a client of mine," the 53-year-old said. "Bob has always sounded interested in standardbred racing and decided to come on board with Bettors Edge and Clear Vision." It didn't take long for Santagata to enjoy the thrill of winning. "It was their first trip to The Meadowlands and they were in the dining room and Bettors Edge won in 1:49.4. They were hooked after that. It's great to see new owners enjoying our sport." said Kokinos. As for Clear Vision, Kokinos says the 11-year-old couldn't be coming into the Molson Pace much better. "He had a really good week, but he doesn't do much in between starts," he said. "He's pretty easy on himself and we're easy on him. He won't impress you when he's jogging, but when you put the hopples on him he shows you a completely different side of him. He's all business." Kokinos has also studied the program for Friday night and likes what he sees on paper. "It's hard to say how the race is going to unfold because the eight horse trails and that could change the complexion a little," he said. "I like that we drew inside (post three) and we'll likely race from off-the-pace. Brett Miller has told me that he's the type of horse that likes to be first-over and that doesn't bother me. I wouldn't be surprised if that happened. I do feel Bit Of A Legend is the horse to beat." The field for the Molson Pace will line up as follows: The field for this years Molson Pace will line up as follows: 1. Bit Of A Legend N ($1,525,011) - Jordan Stratton 2. Rockin In Heaven ($548,971) - Trevor Henry 3. Clear Vision ($2,703,859) - Brett Miller 4. Fool Me Once ($963,778) - Doug McNair 5. Evenin Of Pleasure ($773,857) - Sylvain Filion 6. Sunfire Blue Chip ($1,181,939) - Mark MacDonald 7. Rockin Ron ($665,988) - Matt Kakaley 8. Night Pro ($738,432) - Bob McClure First race post is 7:05 p.m. For more information, visit Greg Blanchard

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $24.80) was hard-used early and hard-headed late Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $529,000 final of the harness racing George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The sport's richest race of the season to date again honored the memory of the Hall of Fame founder of Roosevelt Raceway. At the outset of the 30th Levy, pole-sitting McWicked (Matt Kakaley) was-not surprisingly-put into play. He was joined by Keystone Velocity, who from post position No. 4, forged to the lead just after a spiffy :26.1, opening quarter-mile. Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett), leaving right outside of Keystone Velocity, was caught three-wide and forced to wrangle back to fourth. McWicked, who had retaken the lead in the second turn, found a :54.4 intermission before longshot Blood Brother (Brian Sears) moved from third. He uncoupled stablemate Somewhere in L A latched from second-over, with even-money choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick) and last season's champion, Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton), at the back of that train. McWicked maintained his advantage through a 1:22.3 intermission three-quarters (:27.4 third station), taking a tenuous lead into the lane. However, his night was about to come to a unsatisfying conclusion. McWicked was done early off final turn, but not before taking Keystone Velocity to the promised land of the passing lane. It was Keystone Velocity fighting off the race's other tough mile, beating Somewhere in L A by a head in 1:51.2. Missile J settled for third, beaten a length, with a very-wide Bit of a Legend N fourth and 107-1 proposition Soto (Brett Miller) grabbing the final pay envelope. Blood Brother, Pcovocativeprincen (Yannick Gingras) and McWicked completed the order. For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned (as Allard Racing) by trainer Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr and VIP Internet Stable, it was his third win (as the fifth choice) in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $135.50, the triple returned $593 and the superfecta paid $2,406. "Rene (Allard) and I talked before the race and we decided we had to leave the gate," Dube said. "I was just hoping Matt (Kakaley, with McWicked) could get me to the lane. My horse felt very strong, but I did see the other one (Somewhere in L A) coming." The driver/trainer combination won this race two seasons ago with Domethatagain, also with a two-hole trip. Keystone Velocity A $100,000 series consolation was won by Clear Vision (Miller, $8.40) in 1:51.3. Clear Vision Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA - Dash Of Danger kept his Bobby Weiss Series record after the third preliminary round for harness racing male pacers on Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, scooting up the Pocono Pike and reducing his mark a fifth to 1:51.3 to take his $15,000 section.   The Western Hanover gelding fled the gate quickly from his outside post six for driver Matt Kakaley, but met a determined railstarter in Dakota Jack, with the latter forcing the winner to take the pocket seat by the quarter in 26.4. Dakota Jack (2-1 odds) put up middle splits of 54.3 and 1:23.1 (the slowish third split explained partially by a headwind), with Dash Of Danger (the 9-5 second choice) in the two-hole and even-money favorite Rough Odds swinging three-wide off cover turning for home   The race was on among last week's three winners in the Weiss, and it was Dash Of Danger who emerged victorious, largely through track geometry, as he could duck into the Pike and then held off Rough Odds, who suffered a good deal of ground displacement while wide then straightening and, though closing perhaps strongest of all, missed by a length, with Dakota Jack third.   The victory was the fourth in succession, all at Pocono, for Dash Of Danger, who is trained by Ron Burke for the combine of Burke Racing Stables LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Marc Reynolds.   Also finding the inside route the winning one over the red clay surface was the Somebeachsomewhere colt Magritte, who lowered his record four seconds to 1:51.4. Matt Kakaley also had sulky duties behind this winner and handled him the same way as Dash Of Danger, getting him into the pocket, then tipping him down into the Pipe, er, Pike, making the lead, then holding off the deep inside bid of Ascaryone Hanover by a head for trainer Anette Lorentzson and owner Ted Gewertz.   Also getting a new speed badge was the third winner among the males, the Bettor's Delight gelding A Bettors Risk, lowering his mark to 1:52.2 for driver Simon Allard, trainer/brother Rene, and owner Robert Hamather. A Bettors Risk made the lead, got a 58 middle half breather, then withstood Western Tyrant, who was sixth at headstretch but blasted home, only to miss by a half-length.   On the female pacers side of the Weiss, the Camluck mare Cousin Mary rang up her sixth straight win and boosted her Weiss record to 2-for-2 with a seemingly-effortless wire-to-wire victory in 1:53.2 - the only one of tonight's Weiss winners to not take a new mark, as she went a fifth faster upon coming to Pocono last week. But Cousin Mary won with what looked like plenty of reserve for driver Anthony Napolitano, as she ran her 2017 record to 9-for-11 and her seasonal bankroll to $112,500 for trainer Andrew Harris and owner Jeffrey Williamson.   Also raising her Weiss tally to 2-for-2 and taking a new record was the Bettor's Delight filly Miss Jones, who made a quick brush to the lead early in the backstretch and then won handily in the fastest female sector, 1:52.4, for driver Corey Callahan and trainer Joe Holloway. Owner Ted Gewertz, who also owns a piece of Monday Weiss winner Magritte as noted above, racked up an owning double, as he is in partnership on this promising miss with Crawford Farms Racing and Val D'Or Farms.   Trainer Scott Di Domenico, who recently reached the 1000 career training wins plateau, is well on his way towards 2000 with a talented barn that includes Angel's Pride, a Roll With Joe filly who made a sweeping late move en route to an open-length victory for driver Jim Marohn Jr. while lowering her mark two seconds to 1:53. Triple D Stables Inc. shares ownership of Angel's Pride with JFE Enterprise LLC, and with only six lifetime starts under her girth, it's logical to think that this filly can improve even further.   Trotters take over the Weiss Series spotlight on the Tuesday card at Pocono, with the third preliminary round for females and the second prelim for males each filling three divisions.   Jerry Connors   Pipe, er, Pike   And to explain the part in highlighted in bold in the fifth paragraph, here is a copy of the most famous painting of the Belgian artist Rene Magritte; the French translates to "This is not a pipe."        

YONKERS, N.Y. - Last October, harness racing trainer Rene Allard closed the deal on a racehorse he had been eyeing for a long time when he bought Keystone Velocity, a then 8-year-old son of Western Hanover with $487,252 in the bank who had just set a lifetime mark of 1:48.2. While he retained an interest in the pacer, Allard sought partners and approached VIP Stable’s Ed O’Connor. Expecting a consistent older pacer and a George Morton Levy Series prospect, O’Connor was surprised when he examined Keystone Velocity’s record. The stallion had just 82 starts and missed almost two years of racing; he won his final start of 2014 at Yonkers July 5 and resumed his career May 14, 2016 at Pocono Downs. “It was not what we were expecting,” he said. “I looked him up and he had been racing a while, but he missed a lot of time and for 8, he just didn’t have a lot of starts. I was assuming injury and kind of soured on him, but (Rene) said that wasn’t the issue.” Keystone Velocity was sound and hadn’t suffered any serious injuries. Instead, an ownership dispute kept him away from the races. The circumstances were unusual, but put O’Connor’s mind at ease. VIP Stable invested in Keystone Velocity, along with Kapildeo Singh and Earl Hill, Jr. “An expensive older horse is fine, but we were a little hesitant until we found out it wasn’t an injury,” O’Connor explained. “The fact that he had much less racing on him than his age indicated made us feel pretty good. He had been racing lights out at Pocono, he was training pretty fast. Rene was pretty sure that he could get around a half no problem. All the way around we were pretty happy with getting involved.” VIP Stable, one of harness racing’s most recognizable fractional ownership groups, sold their share of Keystone Velocity to a handful of partners, helping to make the dream of owning a stakes-caliber pacer affordable. “There’s nobody who walked in and handed us their last $5 and turned it into a lotto ticket, but everybody involved is pretty happy,” O’Connor joked. Offering horses like Keystone Velocity is critical to the success of VIP Stable, whose goal is to bring new owners into the sport and allow them to experience everything racehorse ownership has to offer while receiving expert advice without breaking the bank. “It’s probably the best advertising that a group like ours can get. We can go out and buy commercials at the tracks, on social media, or where ever and it doesn’t say as much about us as seeing horses of ours win big races like the Levy,” O’Connor explained. “We’ve done pretty well in past years racing in this event and this is one we’d really like to get some more cash out of. It’s pretty prestigious.” Keystone Velocity’s first start for his new owners came in the $250,000 Invitational Pace on Yonkers International Trot Day, where he finished seventh. He finished second in his next three outings, all in Open company at Yonkers, before closing the year with a hard-charging fourth place finish in the Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway. “Clearly it would have been nice to get the first victory right out of the gate, but we understood he was racing some big horses,” O’Connor reasoned. “He was racing really well and Rene was really happy with him. He looked at it as a good opportunity to give him just a little time off. Not that he was tired or anything, but to have him 100 percent ready for the Levy. That was the goal all along even when we first bought him.” Keystone Velocity started in the first round of the Levy Series March 18. After settling into third early, driver Dan Dube guided the stallion to the outside and brushed to the lead past the three-eighths pole. On a sloppy and tiring surface, Keystone Velocity finished fifth beaten 3 1/2 lengths. Still, his connections were impressed. “Keystone Velocity had to race really hard to get to the front. It’s not like he made an easy lead and faded,” O’Connor said. “He raced his guts out on a track that was really playing against speed horses and I think finished better than a lot of the horses who did get an easy lead, so we weren’t discouraged at all. We knew he was much, much better.” The second round of the Levy Series March 25 proved O’Connor right. While rival Bettor’s Edge set a reasonable pace, posting fractions of :27.3, :56.1, and 1:24.0, Keystone Velocity faced a first-over journey. He edged out of fourth with a half-mile to race and effortlessly glided within 2 lengths of the lead. Urged on by his driver and with the plugs out, Keystone Velocity turned into the stretch on even terms with the race’s longtime leader. Dube slapped his wheeldisk once, twice, then Keystone Velocity felt the whip on his back as he and Bettor’s Edge accelerated away from the field. Inside the final sixteenth, Keystone Velocity put his neck in front determinedly to defeat Bettor’s Edge. Dr. J Hanover finished third by another 3 1/2 lengths. Keystone Velocity stopped the clock in 1:51.3 and posted a :27.1 final quarter in his first victory for his new connections. “Last week, he was super. He went first-up at them and put in a huge back-half. That was a really nice mile. He’s good on the front end, but he’s done ok for us coming from behind,” O’Connor said. This week, Keystone Velocity is the 8/5 morning line division in the third of four $50,000 Levy splits Saturday night at Yonkers. Starting from the rail, he’ll face Provocativeprincen, Caviart Luca, and four other rivals. “I think he fits really well. There isn’t an easy spot in any of these, but he drew away from a couple of the other really nice ones. We’re just going to hope he can get out there, get a good position, and with any luck, be in front at the end. That would be super,” O’Connor said. “We’re hoping for the best, especially drawing the rail this week,” he continued. “If he can get a little bit of an easier trip this week, we think we’ll be in really good shape for the next couple of weeks and the final.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here to view entries for Saturday’s card. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

WILKES-BARRE PA - Keystone Velocity, the lowest-priced yearling from the last crop of champion harness racing sire Western Hanover, continued to raise his profit ratio further into the stratosphere by winning the $20,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night.   Keystone Velocity, starting from the rail in the field of seven, left swiftly despite a six-week layoff and utilized track geometry to maximum effect for driver Andrew McCarthy, as the pair hung $2.5M-winner Clear Vision out on the rim through splits of 26, 53.4, and 1:21.1, with Southwind Amazon keeping the pocket shut behind the pacesetter. Around the final turn Clear Vision fell back, and Southwind Amazon took his shot in the Pocono Pike, but Keystone Velocity had more than enough to the wire, winning by a length over the potential pocket rocket in 1:48.4 for new trainer Barry Probber.   Owner Lauretta Galm haltered Keystone Velocity for $3000 when he sold at Harrisburg in November 2009, and sometimes it's just a matter of timing - the next year Keystone Velocity's dam Venus Killean produced 2015 older pacing mare champion and $1M winner Venus Delight. (By the way, the highest price given for one of the last crop of "Western" was the $140,000 paid for the daughter of $2.6M winner Loyal Opposition, Royal Opportunity - who earned less than $6000 on the racetrack, and her two foals never got to the races. To be fair, the second highest-priced yearling, at $130,000, was Jug winner, millionaire, and emerging sire Big Bad John.)   Keystone Velocity has always shown high speed since his colt days, but a variety of situations has kept him away from the track for long periods of time - this was only his 81st career start, 18 of which are now wins. And the $3000 yearling boosted his bankroll to $474,721 for Galm, his only registered ever since his purchase as a yearling.   FINISHING LINES - The $320,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships will be held during the next two racing cards at the Downs, with four divisions of three-year-olds divided by sex and gait headlining the Sunday card starting at 7:30 p.m., followed by the two-year-olds on the Monday card, which starts at 4:30 p.m., Monday starting time at Pocono for the rest of the season.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA -Harness racing driver George Napolitano Jr., the all-time leading driver at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, took the Saturday spotlight by "storm," visiting Victory Lane in seven of the 13 races in which he drove.   Napolitano actually has his seventh win by race nine, having taken the first four races on the card over a track brought by rain to "sloppy" condition, then after the rain went drying out to "good" towards midcard. (There were no 1:47 miles, but even with two trots, the average time on the card in off going was 1:51.2.) Napolitano thus showed himself to be a real "mudder," but at times he looked like he didn't want to be out on the racetrack very long - he won four races by 5 lengths or more, including a 15 length victory with the trotter Fortunista.   "George Nap," who finished the evening with a 13-7-3-2-.684 tally, also doesn't much like looking at the racetrack scenery - in seven of his Saturday drives he was first at the ¾ pole, and incredibly in the other six, he was first-over (winning three times after using the overland route).   Napolitano tried to make the evening a "great eight" by sending 3-5 favorite Bushwacker, coming out of the Franklin competition, to the lead in the $18,000 tenth race featured pace, but they were caught in the stretch by Keystone Velocity, who came first-over with his own third quarter of 26.1 to argue with the leader, then drew away in the lane to win by 1½ lengths over the chalk in 1:49.3.   The victorious son of Western Hanover, now a winner of $453,471, is owned by Lauretta Galm, and is trained by Austin Brubacker, who earlier in the day, at the Gratz Fair, had the first purse drives of his career. Austin will long remember his first drive, and imagine this scenario: you have post six on a six-wide half-mile track, with a two-year-old trotter, in a field of eight - two trailers. Your horse has a horse break in his face on the first turn, and your horse suffers an "ix" - and is 39 lengths behind at the quarter! But Brubacker acquitted himself well, making up 23 lengths in the last ¾ and going three-wide at the ¾ to come back for a fifth-place check. It'll have to get easier for the young horseman.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Keystone Velocity, taking advantage of a classic harness racing second-over trip behind live cover, moved three-wide headstretch and was the strongest in the lane to take the featured $20,000 pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday in 1:50.2.   Badiou Hanover was three-wide leaving and took the lead around Starlite Kid before the 26.2 quarter, then got to the half in 54.4. Keystone Velocity pulled out from sixth in the seven-horse field on the second turn then got cover at the half from Nitro Seelster, who hit high gear and advanced on the leader through the 1:22.3¾ and then around the turn - just the trip Keystone Velocity wanted.   Driver Andrew McCarthy tipped the son of Western Hanover three-high at the top of the stretch, and as Starlite Kid took to the Pocono Pike to challenge Badiou Hanover, Keystone Velocity was reaching maximum velocity out in midtrack, sweeping by late to win by ¾ of a length over Starlite Kid, who was in turn a half-length ahead of Badiou Hanover.   The win with Keystone Velocity is the second for newly-minted trainer Austin Brubacker, who conditions the winner of $446,471 for owner Lauretta Galm.   Broadway Donna, 2015's Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year, makes her 2016 debut Sunday night in one of three divisions of the second preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes here at Pocono. On Monday, the sophomore trotting misses' Stallion Series compatriots will take the local center stage.   PHHA / Pocono  

Kelly Ford's Something For Doc ($7.60) repelled a stout challenge from even-money favorite All Stienam to capture Sunday (May 8) afternoon's $8,200 top-level harness racing pacing event at Tioga Downs.   Justin Huckabone secured the pocket early with the 8-year-old Western Hanover gelding, brushing with a circuit to go to overtake Golden Gun (Tyler Freese) after a :27.2 initial quarter. After rating a :29.2 second split, Something For Doc was forced to accelerate by the favored All Stienam (Jim Marohn, Jr.), who applied stern first-over pressure on the backstretch. Something For Doc would not be worn down, edging away off the far turn and defeating All Stienam by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.1. All Golden Gun just stayed on for third from his loose pocket trip.   Jennifer Lappe trains Something For Doc, now a 22-time winner.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (May 14) evening, with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Driver Jim McNeight tossed out the usualy front-running tactics of Western Alumni and tried something new in the $10,000 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (April 9). The new strategy worked to perfection as Western Alumni notched a 3/4-length victory over Babe's I Scoot in 1:56.3 over the fast track.   After trying to cut the mile unsuccessfully in three of his last four races, Western Alumni ($4.80) went back to the drawing board and gave the come-from-behind method a chance.   Watching from third place as Mr Perserverance set the tempo with times of 28.3, 59.0 and 1:27.2, driver Jim McNeight started Western Alumni on his winning move just before the three quarter pole. Slowly but surely cutting into the lead, Western Alumni took command midway in the home stretch and held off the mild threats of Babe's I Scoot (Todd Cummings) and In The Clear (David McNeight III) who finished in second and third respectively.   Owned by North Creek Racing LLC and trained by Jerry Nugent Jr., Western Alumni (Western Hanover-Countryview Miss) has now scored three victories in 12 tries in 2016. The win upped his seasonal earnings to $24,310 and $284,294 lifetime.   Jim McNeight had four victories on the evening while David McNeight III finished with a triple. Trainers Mike Carrubba and Rose Russo each posted two wins.   Racing will resume on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with an 11-race program scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Western Alumni had a bit of a tussle to get to the front end in Buffalo Raceway's $10,000 Open Pace on Saturday night (Feb. 20) but that battle ended up winning the harness racing war.   Facing a stubborn Listowel to the opening quarter, Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) managed to set the fractions and hung on late to register a neck victory over Youwillwishyouhad (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) in 1:56.0 over the fast track.   It was the featured event on the 13-race card that completed a three-day race week where the handle was over $900,000.   Buffalo Raceway Chief Operating Officer Jim Mango said, "It is nice to see the numbers like that for our operation in Hamburg. It was a week of hard work for the track crew with the rising temperatures playing havoc. The race secretary (Tom Agosti) has put together full competitive fields and it is starting to make a difference resulting in exciting racing in Western New York. The measure of it is more wagering. I think it will continue throughout the meet."   Back to the Open, Western Alumni ($9.30) posted fractions of 28.0, 57.4 and 1:26.3. The 8-year-old gelding then had to rebuff the late charges of Youwillwishyouhad and China Dream (Jack Flanigen) who both missed by a neck and head respectively.   It was the second straight win for Western Alumni (Western Hanover-Countryview Miss), now a winner of $12,060 this season and $272,044 lifetime. He is owned by North Creek Racing LLC and is trained by Jerry Nugent Jr.   The finals of the Niatross Knockout Claiming Series are set for next Saturday night with a purse of $24,000. Notching victories in the semi-finals were Flashy Trick (1:58.0) and Beechwood Wayne (1:59.3). Along with the winners, also earning a spot in the finals were Mach It Paid, Delightful Caitlin, M G Jade, Midas Blue Chip, First Of Fun and Tymal Torch.   Horses not reaching the finals will battle in the $10,000 consolation.   Racing will continue at 5 p.m. on Wednesday night with a 13-race card on tap.   For more information including the latest news, results, race replays and upcoming promotions, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

The find of the stallion scene in North America this year has been the son of Western Hanover in Big Bad John. A high class two and three year old, Big Bad John is the leading first season sire in North America this year even though he stood in Ohio which put him at a disadvantage over his contemporaries. Every time Lemon Tree Stud proprietor Ross Gange checked the statistics this year the smile on his face grew wider and wider. That was due in no small part to Ross being able to look out the window at Lemon Tree Stud and see the dam of Big Bad John in Trulyawork Of Art in the paddock outside. Ross is over the moon with how it has all turned out. "I was having lunch back in mid 2012 with a dear friend of mine (the late Bruce Richards) & his daughter Belinda when  we began talking horses." "Bruce, well into his eighties,  had only recently retired from the farm he had all his life & was talking about the his use of draft horses & how the stallions used to travel the roads breeding mares for farmers in order to replace/increase farm harness working horses." "I got around to telling him about what I did & how I bought a lot of mares & stallions from the USA." "He became interested in what I had done in that area over the years & offered to lend me a considerable sum of money to buy a highly credentialed broodmare for myself." "I bought Trulyawork of Art in 2012 from the famous USA nursery 'Brittany Farms'. "I had previously bought the most famous Little Brown Jug winner of all time in Life Sign from Brittany Farms a few years before," Ross said. Ross have been very active in Southern Hemisphere breeding for 40 years, owning dozens of  top grade American stallions & mares. He has a long association with the Jug, having owned 3 Little Brown Jug winners ( Life Sign [1993]  Laverne Hanover [1969]  & Henry T Adios [1961] )  plus his ill fated stallion French Chef  that sired the 1990 Jug winner in Beach Towel. Ross and his wife were invited to the Jug by French Chefs previous owner Norman Woolworth (then owner of Stoner Creek & Meadow Skipper) & his trainer Stanley Dancer. Ross anticipated that Beach Towel would win the Jug so he had an Australian victory rug made for him & presented it at the Jug.   Years later he bought a Beach Towel daughter in Paige Nicole Q who had actually won the 3yo females Jugette. About 1997 he bought  Armbro Caprice that produced 2 world Champions incl a Senior Jug winner in Hi Ho Silverheels. Back to Trulyawork Of Art  who arrived in Australia in January 2013 and went straight to Lemon Tree Stud which has an AQIS approved facility to foal pregnant mares arriving in Australia. Trulyawork Of Art subsequently had a Rocknroll Hanover filly on April 30th, 2013. Since then Trulyawork Of Art has had a Bettors Delight colt that is Lot 112 at the Melbourne APG sale in 2016 but it has been far from smooth sailing since then. " She slipped her foal at 4 months in 2014 so  not wanting to miss having a foal from her in 2015  I bred her to Life Sign &  had a late embryo transfer done." "A surrogate mare now has an embryo transfer foal which is due in late Feb 2016." "Trulyawork Of Art is back in foal herself to a Little Brown Jug winner in Rock n Roll Heaven &  is due in late September 2016," Ross said. Ross has four other yearlings entered in the APG Melbourne sales and all have the stamp of quality about them. * Lot 164 - A Bettors Delight - Contapan colt who is a full brother to Border Control 1:50.6 ($515,435) and a half to Chasin Racin 1:51 ($763,977) * Lot 53 - A Art Major filly from Paige Nicole Q 2 1:53.8  3:1:52 ($712,801) who has left seven winners with two in 1:50 including Cue The Paige 2:1:54.2, 4:1:49.3 ($326,973) and Teenage Paige 1:50 ($379,,619) * Lot 72 - A Somebeachsomewhere filly half sister to Major Cruiser 1:56.2 ($56,970 from a half sister to It Is I - 1:56.4 ($208,575) and La Speranza 1:59 ($155,828) * Lot 123 - A Somebeachsomewhere filly from a full sister to All American Raquel 1:51.4 ($149,400) who is the dam of Honky Tonk Woman 1:50.2 ($560,138) and is a half sister to Island Fantasy 1:50.1 ($1,371,525) However at the end of the day all eyes will be on the Bettors Delight half brother to Big Bad John 1:49 ($1,000,559) when he enters the ring, none more so than those of his breeder Ross Gange. Harnesslink Media

Batavia, NY---The weather was clear but Western Alumni made it rain Saturday night (Nov. 14) at Batavia Downs when he went worst-to-first at 12-1 in the field of seven to capture the $10,000 Open pace feature. It was a jailbreak off the gate as Adversary Seelster (Ron Beback Jr.), Jokerman (Jim McNeight) and post time favorite Cobble Beach (Kevin Cummings) went three deep for the first two furlongs, tripping the timer in :26.4. The field settled itself just in time for Western Alumni (Ray Fisher Jr.) to pull from seventh and start his outside trek towards the leader. At the half, Button Fly (Shawn McDonough) pulled out in front of Western Alumni and provided a windshield for him to the top of the lane. From there, Western Alumni tipped three-deep and Fisher proceeded to rock-n-knock to a length victory over a fast-closing Best Ears (Jack Flanigen) in 1:54.3. It was the fifth win of the year for Western Alumni ($26.20), pushing his earnings to $49,986 for 2015. Jerry Nugent Jr. trains the 7-year-old Western Hanover gelding for North Creek Racing LLC. Trainer JD Perrin widened his lead as the top dash-winning trainer of the meet by sending four horses to the winner's enclosure. Barn stars for the night included Dancin Thea ($8.40), Meadowlandcampbell E ($2.50), Youwillwishyouhad ($2.50) and Veto Hanover ($5.00). Drivers Drew Monti, Kevin Cummings, Jim McNeight and Ray Fisher Jr. all won two races. Live racing at Batavia Downs resumes on Wednesday night (Nov. 18) with post time at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs 

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