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A determined Ab'sattitudexpress held off Sorella, Canada's 2020 female three-year-old harness racing trotter of the year, to take the second of two $30,000 divisions of the Miss Versatility Series first leg on Saturday night at The Meadowlands.   Tim Tetrick gave Ab'sattitudexpress her marching orders from post six, and they reached the front at the quarter in :27.3. The four-year-old mare continued on to hit the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. Sorella (Yannick Gingras) loomed in the pocket turning for home and angled out as the two entered the straight.   Sorella chipped away at the leader's advantage in the stretch and found another gear in the final yards, but Ab'sattitudexpress was a nose too good and found the line in time for a 1:52.3 victory. Sorella settled for second, and Miss McKee (Mark Macdonald) was third in the seven-mare field. The winner paid $3.40.   AB'SATTITUDEXPRESS REPLAY     Ab'sattitudexpress has won nine of her 18 career starts, and she surpassed the $300,000 mark in career earnings with Saturday's win. Lucas Wallin oversees the homebred four-year-old Trixton mare for owner Stop The Jade Farm LLC of Pemberton.   Next Level Stuff shone in a star-studded first division field of seven and gave Tetrick the stakes double.   The mare dropped in fourth leaving the gate and Tetrick was content with that spot though the opening splits of :27.4 and :56.3. Tetrick fished out the cover of When Dovescry (Dave Miller) at five-eights and assumed second-over position before completing three quarters in 1:24.4.   When Dovescry had no trouble dispatching the leader, but her problem arose when Next Level Stuff barreled up in the final 1/16th. Next Level Stuff was brimming with trot and rolled past When Dovescry for a 1:52.2 score. The latter was second, and Felitiyshagwell S (Ake Svanstedt) battled for show.   NEXT LEVEL STUFF REPLAY     Next Level Stuff is a four-year-old Sebastian K mare with 14 wins and more than $665,000 in bankroll across 24 career tries. Jim Campbell trains her for owner/breeder Runthetable Stables of Montvale. The horse paid $3.40 to win.   The Big M also hosted a $30,000 Preferred Handicap in which Wheels On Fire caught a spark late and shot past the leader to prevail in a mild upset.   Wheels On Fire grabbed front-end control from the five-hole going into the first turn for driver Yannick Gingras but was soon relegated to the pocket as Nicholas Beach (Joe Bongiorno) drove on to the lead. The latter maintained the top spot through :26:4, :54.2, and 1:21.3 splits and attempted to kick away as the field of 10 angled for the lane.   Nicholas Beach was flat out in the final eighth, but Wheels On Fire pulled out mid-stretch with a surplus of pace and bore down on him. Nicholas Beach laboured late and surrendered several yards short of the wire to Wheels On Fire, who won by half a length in 1:48.1.   Nicholas Beach was second, and Angers Bayama (Andrew McCarthy) easily took show. A correct $2 win ticket returned $17.40.   WHEELS ON FIRE REPLAY     Wheels On Fire is now 26-for-75 lifetime with more than $450,000 in earnings. Ron Burke conditions the six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding for Brad Grant of Milton.   McCarthy was the most successful driver of the evening, piloting a quartet to victory lane: Abuckabett Hanover (1:49.1) in the first, Keep Rockin A (1:51.1) four races later, American History in 1:48, the quickest mile on the card, and Western Redhot (1:53.3) in the getaway pace.   The second leg of the Miss Versatility is set for Saturday, May 29. The Meadowlands will return on Friday, May 14 with a 6:20 p.m. EDT first post.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink    

It’s Academic and driver Yannick Gingras had little trouble handling the field as they led from start to finish in winning the $135,000 Charlies Hill Memorial for older trotters Thursday at Eldorado Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio. Leaving from post two in the ninth race feature, Gringas settled It’s Academic on the lead and pretty much let the trotter do his own thing from there. With stablemate race favorite Mission Accepted (Chris Page) sitting in second place, It’s Academic cut fractions of :28, :56 and 1:25 before pulling away in the stretch to win by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:52.3. Mission Accepted held for second with Majestic Player A (Brett Miller) third. IT’S ACADEMIC REPLAY   A four-year-old stallion by Uncle Peter, It’s Academic is trained by Ron Burke for owner Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario. It was the third win in seven starts this year for It’s Academic, who paid $6.00 to win. “Obviously, I liked the fractions,” said winning driver Yannick Gingras. “They were in my favor. When Chris (Page) at us I thought we would have a good run to the finish but my horse is too good right now. “I drove him once last summer,” Yannick added. “And I really liked him. I’m lucky to get back on him. He is just beautiful to drive. You can drive him with two fingers.” In the sixth race $30,000 Open Trot, Lane Of Stone and driver Jeff Nisonger pulled off the mild upset at nearly 5-1 odds. It was Icanflylikeanangel (Dan Noble), the favorite in the race, shooting to the lead from post five and taking the field to the opening quarter mile in :27.3. Jeffery P (Chris Page) took a tuck in second place with no one else in the field yet to challenge. Then going to the half mile marker, Nisonger came first up slowly from seventh place as the field past the half mile marker in :56.2. Nisonger had Lane Of Stone in full stride and they were able to move into second place on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:25.2. Finally able to collar Icanflylikeanangel by the top of the stretch, Lane Of Stone easily held off the race favorite to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.3. Jeffery P was third. LANE OF STONE REPLAY   It was the third win in ten starts this year for Lane Of Stone, a five-year-old stallion by Wishing Stone. He is trained by Mark Winters for owner Henry Horowitz of Brooklyn, NY and paid $11.40 to win. For full race results, click here. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Freehold, NJ --- Off an impressive harness racing win in last week's elimination, expectations were high for Incommunicado in Saturday's $115,583 Dexter Cup final at Freehold Raceway. He lived up to all of them, cruising to an impressive 3 1/2 length win.   Just like he did in his elimination, Incommunicado drew post position seven in the field of eight. That did not deter the betting public, who made him the 3/5 favorite.   At the start, driver Yannick Gingras immediately pushed the gas pedal, sending his drive up to the front. Without much trouble, Gingras got him to the lead and the inside at the opening quarter, trotting that split in 28 2/5 seconds.   Incommunicado slowed things down in the second quarter, trotting the opening half-mile in 58 4/5 seconds, but soon encountered first-over pressure from Believer. Believer moved up to Incommunicado's throatlach around the third turn, but Incommunicado held firm and would not let his rival by. Turning for home, he pulled clear and left his rivals in the dust. The final time was 1:56 3/5.   INCOMMUNICADO REPLAY       Incommunicado is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc, Little E LLC, Arthur Geiger, and David Stolz, and trained by Ake Svanstedt. He made waves last year by sweeping the Massachusetts Sire Stakes at Plainridge Park, winning the final by 17 1/4 lengths. Subsequently, he was second in the Matron at Dover Downs by half a length. For his career, he's won six times from twelve starts, with earnings of more than $250,000.   "I wanted to get him in the race and when (Credit Con) made a break in the first turn, it made things a little easier for me." said Gingras, who won his second straight edition of the Dexter Cup. I knew (starting from post seven) wasn't ideal. I knew it was going to be harder than last week, there wasn't going to be a hole or something like that, but he still did it pretty easy. The horse raced good and did the job. He's a nice horse. He does everything you ask of him.   Sunny Crockett, Fifty Ways, Ambassador Hanover, Believer, Chapolier, Credit Con, and Share the Wealth completed the order of finish.   Each of the two $36,000 divisions of the Lady Suffolk trot at Freehold Saturday featured an odds-on favorite. In both cases, the odds-on favorite went down in defeat, as Izzy Demsky and Spruce Creek prevailed in their respective divisions. In the first division, Illuminata, for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, was the 3/5 favorite in the seven-horse field. Izzy Demsky, a three-time winner in the Excelsior A series last summer, was 7/2. Svanstedt put Illuminata on the lead early as she cruised through fast fractions. Although she looked clear turning for home, she grew leg-weary in the last eighth, and Izzy Demsky surged by her tired rival to win by two lengths in 1:58.4. IZZY DEMSKY REPLAY   Izzy Demsky is owned by Courant Inc, trained by Marcus Melander, and driven by Mattias Melander. In her career, she's now won four times from nine starts, with earnings of over $50,000. Jula Shines On, also trained by Svanstedt, got up for second, while Illuminata was third. The Queen B, Victoriana, Just Joshing, and Lilybet completed the order of finish in the first division. In the second division, Ron Burke trainee Hot As Hill was the overwhelming 2/5 favorite in the field of seven. However, while on the lead at the three-eighth point, she made a costly break. While Joe Bongiorno quickly got her back trotting, she was parked on the outside and lost precious ground. Julie Miller-trained Alpine, with driver Andy Miller, inherited the lead as a result, and turned for home with the lead. However, 15/1 longshot Spruce Creek, who was rated on the pylons the whole way by Dan Dube, stormed up the outside late to win by 2 1/2 lengths, in 1:58. SPRUCE CREEK REPLAY   Spruce Creek is owned by Robert Don and Yolanda Fellows, and Erna Corbeil, and trained by Ron Coyne Jr. She's now won four times from eleven career starts, with earnings of more than $60,000. Three of those wins have come at Freehold. Alpine, Insured Am S, Move Over Some, Hot As Hill, Presto, and Big Sky Suprise rounded out the order of finish.   Live racing resumes at Freehold on Friday (May 7), starting at about 12:30 PM. For full race results, click here.   From Freehold Raceway      

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Just call them "The Road Warriors". With things at a standstill at their home track due to a COVID-19 shutdown, a pair of harness racing horses who call Woodbine Mohawk Park home ruled The Meadowlands Saturday night as trotter It's Academic and pacer Sintra scored in the co-featured $30,000 Preferreds. It's Academic benefited from a third-place, once-over-the-track effort from a week ago to score in 1:51.3. The 4-year-old son of Uncle Peter - Annapolis was sent to the gate as the 3-2 second choice in the betting and on a typical night that favored speed, left quickly from post five in the eight-horse field and led at every call through fractions of :26.3, :56.3 and 1:24.4 on the way to recording his 15th win from just 30 lifetime starts. Scirocco Rob (Tim Tetrick), the 6-5 favorite, challenged the eventual winner at the three-quarter-mile mark, but was put away off the far turn as It's Academic rolled to a convincing 3-length score. Scirocco Rob finished second with Buck Dancer (Andrew McCarthy) third. ITS ACADEMIC REPLAY   A Ron Burke trainee who is owned by Brad Grant, It's Academic returned $5.00 to win in lifting his lifetime earnings to $493,188. "It just did not really work out last week when he got shuffled," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "Tonight, he proved he's a nice horse. He can leave super-fast and he can go :26 [to the quarter], so I was able to get a good second-quarter breather [of :30]. He was full of trot late." Sintra was nothing short of scintillating in overcoming post 10 to score in 1:48.4. The 8-year-old gelded son of Mach Three - Dancin Barefoot left hard from the outside in the 10-horse field and got a spot fourth at the rail out of the first turn. The 8-5 favorite came first-over at the five-eighths and made his way toward leader American History (McCarthy), who blazed fractions of :54.4 to the half and 1:21.4 at three-quarters after wrestling control away from the early leader, 5-2 second choice Ana Afreet N (Tetrick), at the three-eighths. Continuing to chip away at the leader's edge, Sintra, who paid $5.40 to win, grabbed the front with less than an eighth to go before holding off a fast-closing-along-the-inside Ana Afreet N by a neck in 1:48.4. American History held third. SINTRA REPLAY   Driven by Todd McCarthy and trained by Brett Pelling, Sintra not only overcame the outside post but also a 27-day layoff to register his 36th career victory from 83 starts. His earnings now stand at $1,150,360 for owners Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo. "I was concerned with where he was going to be at," said Todd McCarthy, whose hot hands guided five winners on the card. "You try to be as conservative as you can. I knew we'd have to go first-over at some stage. He showed his class tonight. I was a little worried as to how much we had left [in the stretch] but he got there." SPEEDY SORTS: Last Saturday, the Jennifer Bongiorno-trained Nicholas Beach rocked the clock to the tune of 1:48.2 to become the second fastest performer of the year in harness racing. Last night, her Stars Align A became the fastest horse of the year, recording a 1:48 clocking in the seventh race high-end conditioned pace, besting Let It Ride N's Jan. 2 mile time of 1:48.1. All three miles took place at The Big M. AN EARLY START: Before the beginning of the betting card, there were two non-betting divisions of the New Jersey Breeders Maturity contested for 4-year-olds on the trot. In the $12,500 event for mares, 2020 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Ab'sattitudexpress went wire-to-wire for trainer Lucas Wallin and driver Tim Tetrick in 1:54.2. The daughter of Trixton - Abbie'sgotattitude sprinted home in :26.1 to best her only opponent, Spoiled Princess, by 2¾ lengths. The Ake Svanstedt-trained and driven Back Of The Neck, who won a division of the 2020 Stanley Dancer, proved best of five horses in the $15,000 split for horses and geldings in 1:55.4 after leading at every call. The son of Ready Cash - Big Barb hit the wire two lengths in front of Play Trix On Me, the NJSS champion from a year ago. A LITTLE MORE: There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick-6, setting up a carryover of $9,992. Those with five correct collected $64.00. ... For those who want to jump into what no doubt will be a big Pick-6 pool Friday night, free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. ... All-source wagering was typically strong for a Saturday at $3,552,966, the eighth straight program to see betting of over $3 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

Freehold, NJ --- Rather than accept a bye and guarantee himself two Dexter Cup final starters, harness racing trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt decided to let Incommunicado compete in Saturday's (April 24) Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway. The gamble paid off, as Incommunicado cruised under the wire 2 3/4 lengths in front and established himself as one of the favorites for next week's Dexter Cup final.   When the entry box closed on Wednesday, ten horses were entered for the Dexter Cup. Svanstedt was offered two byes with his pair of Ambassador Hanover and Incommunicado, and while he accepted the bye with the former, he decided to race Incommunicado. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes champion was made the 8/5 second choice in the field of eight.   The complexion of the race changed dramatically in the opening eighth, when favored Ethan T Hanover and Royson's Punch both went off stride. Ethan T Hanover was pulled up by Todd McCarthy, while Royson's Punch got back trotting. Incommunicado stayed trotting and rated in fourth place in the early stages.   Just before the half-mile, Yannick Gingras pulled Incommunicado off the pylons and moved him first over after early leader Share the Wealth. The leader put up a good fight, but Incommunicado took charge entering the stretch and drew off. He trotted the mile in 1:57, a sharp time for his first pari-mutuel race of the year.   INCOMMUNICADO REPLAY     Incommunicado is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Little E LLC, Arthur Geiger, and David Stolz. He's now won five times from eleven starts, with earnings of almost $220,000. Along with his stablemate Ambassador Hanover, he gives Svanstedt a formidable pair for next week's final.   The following horses also advanced to the final: Credit Con, for trainer Todd Buter, Fifty Ways, trained by Joe Columbo, Believer, for trainer Randy Taft, Chapolier, for trainer Trond Smedshammer, and Share the Wealth, trained by Ray Schnittker. Sunny Crockett, trained by Julie Miller, also received a bye and will compete in the final.   The post positions for the Dexter Cup final, along with its filly equivalent, the Lady Suffolk trot, will be drawn next Wednesday.   Joe Faraldo and Tony Beltrami each reined a winner in their respective splits of the American Harness Drivers Club trotting series today at Freehold. Faraldo guided Always A Good Time to a 1:57.1 victory over seven others in his split while Tony Beltrami was victorious with Big Smoove in 2:00.1 the other 7-horse division. Both were raced for a purse of $9,000. Faraldo scored an easy victory with the 4-1 shot Always A Good Time. After getting away third he moved first- up as Bob Hechkoff showed the way as Pound Sterling got first call when he passed the quarter in :29.3. “Just as soon as I saw Hechkoff grab leather I was out and moving with Always A Good Time and when we passed the half we were heads apart. We were still side- by- side by the three quarters but on the final turn Hechkoff's trotter began to fade and my horse then got real brave and we cruised home an easy winner, “ Faraldo said. At the wire the margin of victory was opened to six lengths as Joe Pennacchio hustled Keystone Blade home second best. Masster Blue, the betting favorite, finished third for Tony Verruso. The winner is owned by Triple D Stables and trained by Scott Di Domenico. He paid $10.40 for win. In the first AHDC trot Tony Beltrami took no prisoners and sent Big Smoove immediately to the front from post three and once on top he had an easy time of it. Big Smoove showed the way by the first quarter in a soft :30.2 and was still in command as the Beltrami-driven trotter passed the half in 1:00.4. Then up the backside Southwind Frost (Bob Hechkoff) and Swipe Right (John Calabrese) began to move from far back. But Presidente Zette (Joe Faraldo) was still second best and he remained that way all to the wire. Swipe Right beat out Southwind Frost for the show dough. Big Smoove is owned by Joseph Scanio and Bart Fooden and trained by Williams Hernandez. He returned a $17.20 win payoff.   Live racing resumes at Freehold next Friday, April 30, with a first post time of about 12:30 PM.   For full race results, click here.   From John Manzi and Freehold Raceway      

This Is The Plan was able to overcome starting from the outside post eight with a blitz off the harness racing starting gate and then never let anybody get close to him after that in winning Monday night's (April 19) $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final at Yonkers Raceway in 1:50.4. This Is The Plan, driven by Yannick Gingras and one of three in the final sent out by trainer Ron Burke, was dispatched at odds of 11-1. Rockapelo (George Brennan), Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.), Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno), Western Joe (Dexter Dunn), Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick), and This Is The Plan all showed speed at the start of the race, but it was This Is The Plan who was able to go from six-wide early on the bend to leading over stablemate Rockapelo by the time they entered the backstretch for the first time. Everybody else then got down to the cones except for Backstreet Shadow, who was left on the outside as the first quarter rang up in 26.4. On the second turn, 6-5 favorite Western Joe, who had landed in fourth, flushed Hesa Kingslayer N out of third, and they made some progress towards This Is The Plan at the 55.1 half, but then the pace dramatically quickened past that marker as Gingras stepped on the accelerator and This Is The Plan responded by opening up a gap on the rest of the field in a third quarter that went on the board in 27 seconds flat. After building up that advantage on his pursuers, This Is The Plan was not about to relinquish it, as he paced home in 28.3 to seal the deal by a length and a half over Rockapelo, who went off at 13-1. Mach N Cheese saved ground on the inside and finished third at 32-1, and 26-1 offering Lyons Steel (Corey Callahan) also stayed on the pylons and wound up fourth. Leonidas A, the 5-2 second choice, got away last from post seven, could never get involved, and had to settle for fifth. THIS IS THE PLAN REPLAY   "That was the plan for sure, at least plan A. I wasn't going to sit eighth. Maybe I was going to be parked the whole mile, but I was going to leave as hard as I could. The horse has great gate speed, and I thought I had the best horse, so I had to get him into the race somehow," said Gingras. "I was four-wide for a ways there, and I was just telling Ronnie (Burke), 'the plan became catch me if you can at the half.' I knew the backfield would be coming, but I figured I'd just take off and make them try to catch me." A 6-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, This Is The Plan is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. This Is The Plan is now a 16-time winner in his career, and the winner's share of the purse made him harness racing's newest double millionaire, as his lifetime earnings now stand at $2,073,700. This Is The Plan paid $24.40 to win and was atop a $240.50 exacta and a $2,020 trifecta. This Is The Plan's victory also triggered a $3,493 and change carryover in the Tuesday night's (April 20) Pick 6 sequence. "When they came out with the nominations for the series, I thought 'this is the best horse.' He's got $2 million made. He's a true free-for-aller," said Burke. "Even before the race, I was like, 'I think he can make the top from the eight-hole,' and [co-owner] Mark (Weaver) was like, 'Do you think he can clear from there?' and I was like, 'I think he can clear from there.' The only thing that almost stopped him was Backstreet (Shadow) having a leg underneath him when he hit the turn. When you come away with first and second out of that, it's a lot of money." Western Fame (Dan Dube), who won the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final the last time it was held in 2019, was victorious in tonight's $100,000 consolation event. He pulled out of the pocket going to the 1:22.4 three-quarters, wore down leader San Domino A (Todd McCarthy) and prevailed by two lengths in 1:51.2. Mac's Jackpot (Tim Tetrick) was the runner-up from second-over, and Raukapuka Ruler N (Jordan Stratton) got up for third. WESTERN FAME REPLAY   Purchased in an online auction earlier this month, Western Fame, an 8-year-old Western Ideal stallion, scored in his second start for trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Dune Road Stables LLC. Western Fame is now a 30-time winner in his career, and he has banked $1,882,775. Western Fame returned $4.80 to win as the favorite and keyed a $33.60 exacta and a $260.00 trifecta. Monday night's card at Yonkers Raceway drew plenty of attention on the wagering front from start to finish, as the handle on the 10-race program went into seven-figure territory, ending at $1,121,424. Stakes action resumes at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday night (April 21) with the $69,000 John Brennan Trotting Series final and $30,000 consolation. Get Legs is the favorite on the morning line in the final, as he looks to add to his two victories in the preliminary rounds. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

The Meadowlands hosted a harness racing qualifying card filled with major stakes contenders and champions on Apr. 17, including Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown winners.   The second qualifier saw four $100,000+ earning sophomore trotting fillies go for their spin, including Pennsylvania Sires Stakes winner Insta Glam. Love Muffin (Andy Miller) went wire-to-wire in 1:55.4. Presto (Sarah Svanstedt) sat the three-hole and split horses late for second. Avenir (Yannick Gingras) finished third after a pocket ride, and Insta Glam (Dexter Dunn) went first-up around the turn and finished fourth. Illuminata (Ake Svanstedt) broke in the late stages.   LOVE MUFFIN REPLAY     Matron Winner Type A (Gingras) headlined the third qualifier for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters, and he brushed and crushed to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:58.2. Zenith Stride (Brian Sears), another stakes winner, put in a :28.1 final quarter to take second. Ambasssador Hanover (Ake Svanstedt), a New York Sires Stakes contender, rode the pocket and got third. Valedictory winner Bee Forever (Victor Kirby) was fifth and well behind the leading four.   TYPE A REPLAY     Liberty Bell winner Lepanto (Ake Svansdedt) finished sixth in 1:57.3 in the fourth qualifier for three-year-old male trotters. Locatelli (Gingras), the place finisher in last season's New Jersey Sires Stakes two-year-old trotting colt final, went first-up to nab third. Rattle My Cage (Tim Tetrick) won it in 1:56.1.   RATTLE MY CAGE REPLAY     The open trot in the fifth was unquestionably the highlight of the card; every horse in it made more than $100,000, including Canadian Trotting Classic, Beal Memorial, Hambletonian Maturity, Cashman, and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion Crystal Fashion.   Beads (Sears), the 2020 Kentucky Sires Stakes three-year-old colt trot final winner, went all the way, much like he did in the KYSS win. Play Trix On Me (Scott Zeron), a multiple stakes winner and place finisher in the Breeders Crown final, rode the pocket and took second. Crystal Fashion (Jordan Stratton) trotted well and held off Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella (Gingras) to finish third. Sermon (Kasper Foget) and Smart As Hill (Tetrick) were fifth and sixth, respectively. The qualifier went in 1:54.2.   BEADS REPLAY     Peaky Sneaky (Zeron), winner of the 2020 Breeders Crown Final for three-year-old pacing fillies, went first up in the sixth qualifier for three and four-year-old females to win in 1:54.2. Sires stakes performers Thebeachiscalling (Andrew McCarthy) and Podium Girl (Patrick Ryder) finished second and third, respectively.   PEAKY SNEAKY REPLAY     Pennsylvania Sires Stakes winner Grace Hill (Dunn) worked for her win in the seventh for three-year-old pacing fillies and mares. She put Dresden (Ryder) in the pocket going into the first turn and battled with Jk First Lady (McCarthy), the 2019 Three Diamonds winner, down the stretch in a 1:54.1 effort. Jk First Lady was second, and Dresden held third. Champlain Stakes winner Caviart Audrey (Gingras) was a quiet fourth.   GRACE HILL REPLAY     The eighth qualifier was a nine-horse field of three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Each horse earned less than $100,000, except Southwind Gendry (Gingras), the 2020 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion for freshman pacing males. He won after sitting third through the first five-eighths, going first-up around the final turn, and grinding down the leader in the stretch. Southwind Gendry clocked the fastest mile of the day to that point.   SOUTHWIND GENDRY REPLAY     Breeders Crown champion Summa Cum Laude (Dunn) took a solid second in the ninth qualifier for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers behind winner Lou's Pearlman (Gingras). That one went in 1:53.3.   SUMMA CUM LAUDE REPLAY     2017 Little Brown Jug winner and Confederation Cup champion Filibuster Hanover (Gingras) featured in the 10th for aged male pacers and improved on his first qualifier of the season, winning in 1:51.4 to take the best time of the day at that point. He took position in the pocket, slid out in the stretch, and easily went by to score. Imarocnrollegend N (Joe Bongiorno), a $300,000+ earner, passed million-dollar horse Dealt A Winner (Dave Miller) in the stretch for second. The latter was third. Tulhurstsantanna A (Zeron) finished fourth, and Jumping Jake (Bob McClure) was fifth.   FILIBUSTER HANOVER REPLAY     Ruthless Hanover (McCarthy) upset several high-level stakes contenders in the finale for aged pacing males, as he brushed to the front on the backside, briefly lost the lead in the stretch, but got home to tie the day's best time in 1:51.4. 2020 Little Brown Jug victor Captain Barbossa (Bongiorno) paced a :26.4 final quarter to get up for second, and The Greek Freak (Gingras) was third. Allywag Hanover (Dave Miller) paced a similarly timed final split to take fourth, as did De Los Cielos Deo (Dunn) for fifth. Noch Ten was sixth, and Hurrikanekingjames (Kirby) trailed the field.   RUTHLESS HANOVER REPLAY     Though the races were non-competitive, Gingras certainly won the day among reinsmen, piloting four high-class winners. McClure, who left Canada for the Big M yesterday, made his first appearance of the season at the track in the qualifying session.   The Meadowlands resumes live racing on Apr. 17 with 13 races beginning at 6:20 p.m. EDT.   For full qualifier results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink  

Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series concluded on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $40,000 divisions that were won by Backstreet Shadow, Mach N Cheese, and Leonidas A. It was also another well-received program on the wagering front, as the handle on the ten-race card checked in at $951,089. Backstreet Shadow (Yannick Gingras) took full advantage of the pole position in the first split, going to the lead and putting up fractions of 27.3, 56.1, and 1:24.1 over a surface that was rated "good" and a second off. Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) took up the chase by going first-over out of third in the backstretch, but he couldn't make any headway on the outside, allowing Backstreet Shadow to turn into the lane with a clear advantage. Once they hit the stretch, Western Joe suddenly hit top gear and began to gain on Backstreet Shadow, but Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire half a length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. BACKSTREET SHADOW REPLAY   A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., Larry Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Backstreet Shadow, who won twice in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, now has a record of 26-12-6 from 64 starts, and he has earned $910,162. The 3-5 favorite, Backstreet Shadow paid $3.40 to win and was atop an $8.90 exacta and a $107.50 trifecta. In the second grouping Semi Tough (George Brennan) cut out panels of 27.3, 57, and 1:25.1, but Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno), who had come first-over from fourth before the half, made steady progress on the rim into second on the far turn. In the lane Mach N Cheese forged his way by Semi Tough, then held off a three-wide bid from pocket-sitter Western Fame (Dan Dube) to score by three-quarters of a length in 1:54 flat. Semi Tough held third over Mac's Jackpot (Dunn). MACH N CHEESE REPLAY   Mach N Cheese, who picked up his first triumph in the series, is trained by Edwin Quevedo for owner Save The Day Stable. A 6-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar, Mach N Cheese is now a 16-time winner in his career, and he has put away $283,512. Sent off at 9-2, Mach N Cheese returned $11.20 to win and keyed a $56.50 exacta and a $138.00 trifecta. Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) left from post one and lined up the field in post position order right out of the gate in the last section, then led through an easy tempo of 28.4, 57.4, and 1:25.2. Leonidas A's two main rivals in the field, Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) and This Is The Plan (Gingras) were in fifth and sixth, respectively, until beginning to advance first-over and second-over in the third turn. Though they made gains after pulling, Leonidas A had the jump on them and stayed in front, prevailing by a length and a quarter in 1:53.3. This Is The Plan kicked home widest in the stretch to get up for second over Hesa Kingslayer N. LEONIDAS A REPLAY   Finishing four-for-four in the preliminary rounds of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, Leonidas A is a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Sheena Mcelhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A now has 29 career wins, and he has banked $311,848. He was the 3-5 favorite and paid $3.20 to win. The exacta kicked back $6.10, and the trifecta was worth $11.80. Unofficially, the eight horses that advanced to the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final were: Leonidas A (300 points), Western Joe (283), This Is The Plan (275), Hesa Kingslayer N (262), Backstreet Shadow (250), Rockapelo (230), Mach N Cheese (220), and Lyons Steel (192). Both the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final will take place next Monday (April 19), and the draws for those two races will occur on Tuesday afternoon (April 13). Stakes action continues this week at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday (April 14), as three $20,000 splits of the final leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series will go behind the gate in races six, seven, and eight. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

This Is The Plan, Western Joe, and Leonidas A scored harness racing victories in the trio of $40,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series on Monday night (April 5) at Yonkers Raceway. In addition to the on-track action, betting was also brisk on Monday's 10-race card as the handle entered seven-figure territory at $1,037,217.95. After finishing second in all three of his appearances in the series coming into this leg, This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) broke through for the first time in style, taking the opening split in 1:51.1. Gingras fired This Is The Plan to the top from post four, and he would put up fractions of 27.2, 56.1, and 1:23.3 before he closed in 27.3 to win by three lengths over pocket-sitter Raukapuka Ruler N (Jordan Stratton). Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno) held third over favorite Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn). Ron Burke trains This Is The Plan, a 6-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. This Is The Plan is now a 15-time winner in his career, and he pushed his earnings to $1,806,700. This Is The Plan, the 3-2 second choice, paid $5.00 and was atop a $51.50 exacta and a $126.50 trifecta. THIS IS THE PLAN REPLAY   In the second section, driver Todd McCarthy put the hammer down with None Bettor A and roared through stations of 26.3, 55.1, and 1:23.1. On the far turn Sheriff N (Daniel Dube) attacked the leader two-wide from the pocket, with favorite Rockapelo (George Brennan) picking up cover from third to sit second-over. Even though Sheriff N and Rockapelo had first dibs on the tiring leader, it wound up being a cavalry charge through the stretch after the hot tempo, and taking advantage was Western Joe (Dunn), who sat inside in sixth and rallied through a gap on the pylons on his way to the win by a neck in 1:52.4. Rockapelo wound up second, with Sheriff N back in third. Western Joe, a 7-year-old gelded son of Western Ideal, scored his second straight victory in the series for trainer Chris Choate, co-owner/breeder Anthony Ruggeri, and co-owner Richard Tosies. Western Joe now has a record of 33-16-11 from 105 starts, and he has banked $781,858. Western Joe, who was the second choice at odds of 5-2, returned $7.70 to win and keyed a $15.60 exacta and a $54.50 trifecta. WESTERN JOE REPLAY   Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman), returning after a one-week break, ran his MGM Borgata Pacing Series record to an unblemished three-for-three in the final flight. Leonidas A settled in third behind Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter) and Lyons Steel (Corey Callahan) in the early going, but Siegelman had him out and on move before the 28-second opening quarter went on the board, and he would take command after that marker. Leonidas A would go on to put up a 56.4 half and a 1:24.4 three-quarters, and a 28.3 final kicker gave him the victory by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:53.2. Lyons Steel was second after a first-over try, narrowly bettering Ostro Hanover. A 6-year-old Mach Three gelding, Leonidas A is trained by Sheena Mcelhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A posted his 28th career victory, and he has now put away $291,848. Leonidas A, hammered down to 1-9, paid $2.30 to win and led a $7.90 exacta and a $19.20 trifecta. LEONIDAS A REPLAY   There is one more leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series to go, and that will be held next Monday (April 12). The final will take place on Monday, April 19. Stakes action resumes at Yonkers on Wednesday night (April 7) when the track plays host to four $20,000 divisions of the second leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series. Opening round winners Guilty Desire (race five/post six, Jordan Stratton/Betty Clegg), Hunting AS (race six/post one, Todd McCarthy/Jenny Melander), Look In My Eyes (race six/post eight, Jordan Stratton/Anette Lorentzon), and Lady Jeter (race seven/post four, Scott Zeron/Ed Gannon Jr.) are all back in action. Then, on Friday (April 9), Yonkers has a couple of $35,000 splits of the final preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares. The first of those races will take place as a non-wagering contest, and the second one is race two on the pari-mutuel program. In the non-wagering tilt, Blue Ivy (post one, Tyler Buter/Todd Buter) and Machnhope (post three, Andrew McCarthy/Noel Daley) will both shoot for their third win in the series, and in the other Blue Chip Matchmaker match-up, Alexa Skye (post four, Todd McCarthy/Jeff Cullipher), currently three-for-three in the event, meets up with one of last Friday's victors in Siesta Beach (post three, Matt Kakaley/Nick Devita). For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Hunting AS was the only favorite to prevail as the John Brennan Trotting Series began with four $20,000 harness racing divisions on Wednesday night (March 31) at a soggy and sloppy Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Todd McCarthy, Hunting AS worked out a pocket trip behind Halo Its Me (Yannick Gingras) in the third flight and watched as that foe clicked off fractions of 30.2, 1:00.1, and 1:28.3. Halo Its Me was still in command as they turned into the stretch, but McCarthy had Hunting AS finishing well two-wide, and Hunting AS surged by the pace-setter on his way to a one and a quarter length decision in 1:57.3. Blue And Bold (Jason Bartlett) finished third after sitting on the inside in fourth. A 4-year-old gelding by Lionhunter, Jenny Melander trains Hunting AS for owners Melander Racing Inc., Clark Stables LLC., and Robert Bernaski. Hunting AS has a record of 6-11-2 from 32 starts, and he has now earned $81,956. Sent off at even-money, Hunting AS paid $4.20 to win and led an $18.40 exacta and a $112.00 trifecta. HUNTING AS REPLAY   While second-best in that split, Gingras had already collected a win in the event after he guided Lady Jeter to a 10-1 upset in the opening section. Lady Jeter went straight to the top from post five, laid down panels of 28.4, 58.2, and 1:27.4, and kicked home in 29.3 to win by a length and a quarter in 1:57.2. Impulse Buy (Bartlett) was the runner-up, followed by Windsong Pioneer (Brent Holland). Heavy favorite Some Chapter (Dexter Dunn) made a break while advancing first-over on the third turn. Lady Jeter, a 4-year-old Muscles Yankee mare, is trained by Ed Gannon Jr. for owner Zippett Racing Stable. Lady Jeter is now a seven-time winner from 37 tries, and she pushed her bankroll to $98,668. Lady Jeter returned $22.00 to win and keyed a $246.00 exacta and $556.00 trifecta. LADY JETER REPLAY   Another surprise came in the second of the four series tilts when 21-1 offering Look In My Eyes (Jordan Stratton) darted to the engine from post eight, put up stations of 29.1, 58.4, and 1:28, and couldn't be caught in a 30 second final panel, as he kept a first-over McMatters (Mark MacDonald) at bay to win by a length and a half in 1:58. Manhattanup No Ice (Bartlett) wound up third from the pocket. The second winner for sire Lionhunter, Look In My Eyes is a 4-year-old gelding bred, owned, and trained by Anette Lorentzon. Look In My Eyes picked up his seventh lifetime victory, and he has now pocketed $98,215. Look In My Eyes paid $44.20 to win and was atop a $136.00 exacta and a $786.00 trifecta. LOOK IN MY EYES REPLAY   Gingras then toppled the apple cart again in the final flight with 11-1 Guilty Desire in a 1:58.2 mile. Guilty Desire yielded to sit in the pocket behind 1-20 favorite Get Legs (Andy Miller) after the 29 second opening quarter, but Get Legs miscued on the second turn, putting Guilty Desire back in command. He didn't relinquish it again, as a 58.3 half and a 1:28.1 three-quarters was followed by a 30.1 final panel to secure the victory. He downed a closing Bazillionaire (Austin Siegelman) by half a length, with Get Legs recovering and finishing full of trot for third. Betty Clegg trains Guilty Desire, a 6-year-old gelded son of Deweycheatumnhowe, for owner Nick Clegg. Guilty Desire collected his 15th career win, and he has now pocketed $109,866. Guilty Desire paid $25.60, the exacta was worth $726.00, and the trifecta kicked back $1,136.00. GUILTY DESIRE REPLAY   The John Brennan Trotting Series has two additional preliminary rounds on Wednesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 14, and the final is scheduled for Wednesday, April 21. As a result of all the upsets on Wednesday, there will be carryovers in both the Pick 5 and Pick 6 at Yonkers on Thursday (April 1), in addition to a guaranteed pool in the Pick 5. The Pick 5 carryover is $6,863.85, which triggered a guaranteed pool of $20,000, and the Pick 6 carryover stands at $2,928.24. The guaranteed pool in the Pick 5 is being offered as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. Free past performances for the Pick 5, courtesy of TrackMaster, are available here. The Pick 5 and Pick 6 both have a takeout rate of 20 percent, as do the nightly Pick 4's. Stakes action at Yonkers resumes on Friday (April 2) with two $35,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares and continues on Monday (April 5) with three $40,000 splits of the fourth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for free-for-allers. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The potent pair of trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras were up to their usual tricks this weekend at The Meadowlands, as after teaming up to take the Friday night feature with April Ava they came right back to take Saturday's marquee event with Dojea Gizmo. Since debuting for the Burke barn on Nov. 13 of last year, the 4-year-old gelded son of Tellitlikeitis-Postmark has been perfect in six starts, visiting the winner's circle at Hoosier Park, Yonkers and Harrah's Philadelphia before his authoritative win at The Big M in a $22,500 high-end conditioned pace. "He is a really nice horse," said Gingras. "He could not have qualified any better [last week]. I was confident coming into tonight." DOJEA GIZMO REPLAY   Dojea Gizmo, who last raced on Dec. 20, was away quickly from post nine in the nine-horse field but was pushed wide into the first turn and had no spot to fall into as J M Mandamin sprinted to the lead at the quarter in :26.2. So the eventual winner had to go on with it. "It's not the way I wanted to race him in his first start of the year," said Gingras, who used a burst of speed to make the top while parked at the half in :54.4. "I wanted to get a spot mid-pack, but I didn't want to be first-up, so I moved to the front." Shortly after clearing the top, Dojea Gizmo was challenged by the first-over 8-5 favorite U S Captain, who won an easier assignment one week ago at The Big M in 1:50.2. Around the far turn, 'Gizmo' gave the chalk the cold shoulder and opened a 2¼-length edge as they straightened up before reporting home a safe neck winner in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. J M Mandamin, displaying speed at both ends of the mile, rallied well along the pylons to get second, with Yacht Seelster, who won this race a week ago, finishing third. "At the wire he was a little tired," said Gingras. "But I knew he was a winner." Dojea Gizmo paid $7.00 to win as the 5-2 second choice in the wagering. He now has 11 victories from 30 starts, good for earnings of $161,273 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Phillip Collura. BEFORE THE BETTING CARD: In a pair of non-betting events before the start of the 13-race program, the John Balzer trained and driven Sound Idea took the $30,000 New Jersey Breeders Maturity for 4-year-old mares in a walkover (a one-horse race) in 2:05.4 while Rockin Jukebox, a Megan Foster trainee who was driven by Russell Foster, was 2¼-lengths better than his lone foe Bourbons Courage in 1:55.4 in the $30,000 NJBM for 4-year-old horses and geldings. A LITTLE MORE: Andy McCarthy, Gingras and Tim Tetrick led the driver colony with three winners apiece while the red-hot Stacy Chiodo trained a pair to victory lane. ... All-source wagering on the program totaled $2,928,308. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - When April Ava won a week ago at The Meadowlands against mid-range harness racing conditioned stock despite not having raced in almost seven months, it wasn't a total surprise since she had performed credibly in her last two starts against similar late last summer. But Friday night at The Big M, the Ron Burke trainee took a considerable bump up in class and won again, taking the featured $22,500 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in 1:52.2. "It just worked out tonight," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "The mare responded when I called on her, so you have to give her credit for that." April Ava (post 3) blasted away from the gate, along with Marloe Hanover (post 7), Tango Dancer N (post 2), Betalady (post 6) and Wingding Hanover (post 1) in the nine-horse field. After making their way around the first turn, Marloe Hanover and driver Andy Miller settled in on the lead with April Ava opting for the pocket and Wingding Hanover the three-hole. For the second time in the last three weeks, Betalady, the 3-1 second choice, was left first-over and had to grind it out on the rim while inching closer to Marloe Hanover by the time they reached three-quarters, which was timed in an unspectacular 1:24. Then, the entire look of the race changed. Betalady went off stride, and in the process, took out the second-over Tango Dancer N, as well as the 6-5 favorite, Demeter N, who was in the flow third-up. "I was at the right place at the right time when that horse broke and scattered the field," said Gingras. Gingras and April Ava vacated the pocket as they swung into the stretch and needed every inch of the final three-sixteenths to record a nose victory over a stubborn Marloe Hanover. Wingding Hanover was third.       "I knew I had it at the wire," said Gingras. "The last 100 feet is not Marloe Hanover's strongest, but she kept on pacing. But mine was just a little bit better." As the 7-1 fourth choice in the wagering, April Ava, a 5-year-old daughter of Delmarvalous-Jenava, returned $16.20 to win. She now has 16 wins from just 47 career starts and earnings of $135,806 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. MUCH MORE THAN SO-SO: Driver Jim Foley blasted So So De Vie away from post 10 and led at every call in the $14,000 GSY Series Final on the pace for amateur drivers. On a night where whipping winds were unkind to horses on the point, the 4-year-old gelded son of American Ideal-Place Your Best had little trouble going wire-to-wire in 1:55.3 for trainer Williams Hernandez. Preppy Art (John Calabrese), who was seeking his third straight victory, finished second - three-quarters-of-a-length behind the winner - as the 3-1 second choice with 3-5 favorite Sugartown (Tony Beltrami) getting the show dough.       "I thought being up closer would be the best option," said Foley. "I thought about getting away maybe fourth or fifth and making a brush down the backside, but he got up on the front really easy and all I had to do was rate him. If you can rate him good, he'll give you all he's got." As the 5-1 third choice in the betting, So So De Vie returned $13.60 to win. A LITTLE MORE: Tim Tetrick, who will be the guest Saturday night on The Big M's pre-game show segment "In the Sulky" at 5:50 p.m., drove the winners of both ends of the late daily double, joining Dexter Dunn and Gingras as pilots with two victories on the card. ... Chubby Stallworth and Stacy Chiodo both had training doubles. ... All-source handle totaled $2,637,320. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With real-feel temperatures that got as low as 12 degrees, it was tough to stay warm at The Meadowlands Saturday night, but harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and The Big M betting faithful were unaffected by the winter chill. The 41-year-old Gingras was scalding hot at the start of the card, winning four of the first five races. While Gingras has had many four-winner nights at the mile oval it's hard to imagine he's had very many with the kind of prices his followers collected Saturday. Ollie's Ztam got Gingras' night off to a good start with a wire-to-wire win at odds of 9-1 in the opener before 8-1 chance Big City Bud came from off the pace to complete the Gingras Early Daily Double that returned $163.40. "The Green Hornet" guided Pogey Beach to a 10-hole score to complete a natural hat trick at odds of 11-1, before Gingras completed his grand slam with 5-2 Warrawee Unique, who went gate-to-wire in race five. Three of Gingras' winners hailed from the Ron Burke barn. All-source wagering continued to show huge Saturday night returns, as a total of $3,404,537 was put in play, marking the fourth consecutive Saturday in 2021 (and fifth straight dating back to 2020) where betting topped the $3.4-million mark. During all of last year, betting reached the $3-million plateau 11 times, only once during January. Warrawee Unique As usual, the two Pick-4 wagers proved popular, as a total of $182,844 was put in play on the preferred puzzles. The 20-cent Pick-6 had a carryover of just under $7,300, which led to a total pool of $36,159. The sharpies who had all half-dozen correct collected $6,365.90. ONTARIO STANDOUTS  While the COVID-19 shutdown continues at Woodbine at Mohawk Park, trainer Carmen Auciello won twice on the card with a pair of Ontario shippers. Buck Dancer, who last raced on Dec. 21 at WMP, impressed going wire-to-wire in the $15,500 featured trot for non-winners of $11,500 in their last five starts. Andy McCarthy guided the 7-2 second choice, a 5-year-old gelded son of Guccio-Shaken Not Stirred, who stopped the clock in 1:53.4. Auciello's Points North took the $22,500 pacing feature for non-winners of $15,000 in their last five outings. Mark MacDonald, who broke an oh-fer at the meeting with a driving double, guided the 6-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Northwest Hanover - who was sent to the gate as the 6-1 sixth choice - to his fourth straight score after hitting the wire in 1:51.3. The Jeff Cullipher barn is out of its early-meet slump. The Big M's second-leading barn at the Fall Meeting equaled the "Burke Brigade's" three wins on the Saturday card. A LITTLE MORE Simon Allard recorded his second consecutive driving double. ... Dexter Dunn also won twice, giving him six winners for the weekend and 21 at the current meeting, which leads all Big M drivers. ... George Napolitano Jr. also guided a pair to victory lane. ... Chalk players took it on the chin, as only three public choices emerged victorious on the card. Before both favorites took the Late Daily Double, only two chalks had won over a 21-race span. ... Free past performances for every race of every Big M card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

CHESTER PA - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras was the star of a cool and dank day at Harrah's Philadelphia Friday, piloting six winners, including a "grand slam" of a sweep of the four $11,200 feature races, two on each gait. In the first of the trots, Gingras positioned the Kadabra sophomore filly Kombucha right behind pacesetter Alyvia Deo, then moved out to challenge on the turn and got by for a length victory in 1:58.2 over the sloppy track. After several near-misses in the shadow of New York City, Kombucha found the Philly winners circle in her first start here for trainer Scott Di Domenico and the ownership of Bottom Line Racing LLC and Triple D Stables Inc. The other trot feature winner was the Cantab Hall three-year-old gelding Hall It Off, who won in this class last week and repeated here in 1:58 with an easy four length score for Gingras. Trainer Bill Mullin, also co-owner with Carver Racing LLC, may have found the key to this trotter's occasional fractiousness. After Kombucha proved a pocket rocket, Hall It Off won on the engine; Gingras' pacing headline victories also saw one win from the front and one from the two-hole. The Bettor's Delight three-year-old gelding Aces Rock was the only non-favorite in the Gingras feature quartet - he was 1.90-1 vs. Rockin Medicine's 1.80-1 - and he held off that pocketsitter by two lengths in a nice 1:53 mile under messy conditions. Trainer Trish Adams brought the winner down from The Meadowlands, and he was not caught for owners Ronald Perone, Thomas Maloney, and Donald Keyser. The two-hole rallier was the Sweet Lou gelding Lou's Sweetrevenge, who sat in the golden chair behind General Ward, then thundered off late to a 4½ length win in 1:53. Gingras piloted the Ron Burke trainee for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Phil Collura, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Lou's Sweetrevenge was the only Burke trainee to win on Friday; Gilbert Garcia-Owen harnessed a pair of winners, and reduced Burke's advantage in the trainer's win derby to 82-81. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras has won numerous Grand Circuit stakes, including 23 Breeders Crown finals, in his career. That can only be done with some great horses. Thus, it's an impressive declaration when Gingras says of Tall Dark Stranger, "He's the most complete horse I've ever driven." "For pure blazing speed, maybe I've driven horses that are a bit quicker than him; not a lot, but a bit quicker," he added. "But for a horse that can absolutely do it all, I don't really think I've driven one like that and I don't think many other people have, either." Gingras will have perhaps his final chance to drive harness racing's No. 1-ranked horse Saturday in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old male pacers at Harrah's Hoosier Park. In September, Hanover Shoe Farms announced that Tall Dark Stranger will join its stallion roster for the 2021 breeding season. Tall Dark Stranger will start the Breeders Crown final from post one and is the 3-5 favorite on the morning line. A Breeders Crown winner at age 2, Tall Dark Stranger is looking to become the first male pacer to add a trophy at 3 since Artiscape in 1997-98. "I don't mind the pressure," Gingras said. "If I did, I'd be in the wrong business and maybe being a driver wouldn't be the right thing to do in my life. This week, he's the horse to beat and everybody knows that. "I think that's what makes it fun. I'd rather have the pressure of having the best horse than not having any pressure." Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor, Tall Dark Stranger is trained by Nancy Takter and has been driven by Gingras in every lifetime start but one. He enters the race with 11 wins in 12 starts and $1.19 million in earnings this year; and 19 wins and one second in 21 career starts with $1.90 million in earnings. Sired by Bettor's Delight out of Precocious Beauty, Tall Dark Stranger is the only horse to ever win the Metro Pace and Breeders Crown as a 2-year-old and the Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup as a 3-year-old. He was the Dan Patch 2-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year in the U.S. and earned the same honor in Canada. "He's the total package," Gingras said. "It would be hard to pick just one thing I liked. He's big, he's strong, he's fast, he's got heart. He can do it all, there's really no flaws in his armor." Those qualities were not completely apparent as a baby, but Takter and Gingras have cultivated all the potential over two years. "I really loved him from the start but to say he was the most complete horse, I'd be lying if I was saying that at the beginning," Gingras said. "I think he's developed to be that. When I baby raced him I absolutely loved him. He showed then he had tremendous speed and he had a great gait to him. "But until you really test them once or twice you don't know what the heart is. You could have an idea whether they're going to be game or not. Two-year-olds, they're a little dumb in a way. They do things sometimes that they physically can't, but their brains are not telling them not to do it. That's why you have to be careful not to ask a 2-year-old to do too much really early. "We took it easy a little bit on him in the beginning, but when it was time to put the money on the line we raced him and he showed up every single time. He's proved to be a tremendous, tremendous horse." Coming off his Dan Patch-winning year, expectations were obviously high for Tall Dark Stranger. But not so great that he couldn't go even higher. "It would be hard to say he didn't surpass expectations," Gingras said. "Of course I was super confident in the horse, I thought he could win it all and he hasn't lost a race of any major importance. Every big race Nancy put him in the box, he's won them all. It would be hard to say he could do anything more than he's done so far. Now the Breeders Crown is the last little check mark." Gingras feels the colt's breakout race was last year's Metro Pace, when he got out in front and held off a late challenge from Papi Rob Hanover. "He just exploded," Gingras said. "Up until that point we really hadn't raced him too hard. We didn't have to dig until then, and that's when I actually raced him pretty hard. That's when I knew he was better than just a very good horse, he was a great horse, and he hasn't disappointed me since." As for Tall Dark Stranger's best race, Gingras opted for the Meadowlands Pace, when the horse overcame an off day. "He wasn't maybe at his best, there were other races where he's been a little sharper than that," the driver said. "That day he really had to dig deep. Papi Rob took it to him. That day he just showed all the grit I knew he had, and he showed the world how tough of a horse he was." In fact, it is emblematic of how Tall Dark Stranger likes to race. He can get out in front or come from behind, but seems content to always make it a battle. "He likes to fight," Gingras said. "He's not a horse that's going to come home at :25 flat like some of the others. He likes to race, he likes the fractions to be fair. I don't think he's quite the sprinter that many others can be. "Other than that, this week if they mix it up fast the first three-eighths, I could definitely come first up, second over or I could be in the front, and have no worries. I'm not looking to be too far back, so he's going to be put in play one way or the other." In looking at the field, Gingras feels that Cattlewash, Warrawee Vital and Captain Barbossa are among the horses that can give Tall Dark Stranger a challenge. Cattlewash, trained by Ron Burke, won the other Breeders Crown elimination in a track-record 1:47.2 and has a world-record-equaling 1:46.4 mile to his credit. "It's definitely not a one- or two-horse race," he said. "It's a complete field of horses and it goes to show how great of a horse he is because he's beaten them every time." And he will look for one more victory to cap a memorable career. "It actually got into my head about two starts ago, once I got to Lexington. I thought, you know what, there's not much left," he said. "Realistically this weekend could be his last lifetime start. There's a chance he goes to TVG, but it's not official, it depends on how this weekend goes and how he comes out of the race. "I've enjoyed the run, but I think he would be a tremendous aged horse. He's the kind of horse that keeps getting better and tougher. If he came back at 4 and 5, I think he would dominate. Selfishly, I'd love to have him for a couple more years and I think the fans would love to have him. But I understand the breeding part of the business. I totally get it. I know the horse is worth a fortune as a sire." He has already been worth fortune in memories. Harrah's Hoosier Park hosts four $600,000 Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds on Friday. The remaining eight finals, for 3-year-olds and older horses, are Saturday. Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The 2020 Breeders Crown, presented by the Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, is the 37th edition of the $6 million event. Harrah's Hoosier Park will provide a free live high-definition streaming of the races on YouTube. Following is the field for Saturday's Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt-and-gelding pace final. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1-Tall Dark Stranger-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Takter-3/5 2-Manticore-Jordan Stratton-Bruce Saunders-20/1 3-Cattlewash-David Miller-Ron Burke-5/2 4-Warrawee Vital-Tim Tetrick-Robert Fellows-6/1 5-Save Me A Dance-Andrew McCarthy-Andrew Harris-20/1 6-No Lou Zing-Dexter Dunn-Nancy Takter-8/1 7-Captain Barbossa-Joe Bongiorno-Tony Alagna-20/1 8-Sandbetweenmytoes-Scott Zeron-Jim Campbell-30/1 9-The Greek Freak-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-30/1 10-Elver Hanover-Chris Page-Ron Burke-30/1 Elver Hanover starts from the second tier. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA    

LEXINGTON, KY-- Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras launched 7-5 favorite Peaky Sneaky from the pocket and hustled to a 1:48 victory in the second of two divisions for $225,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial--sponsored by the Sweet Lou Syndicate & Diamond Creek Farms--on Sunday (Oct. 11) at The Red Mile. Peaky Sneaky pushed for the lead but settled for the pocket as New Year strode to the top by a :27.1 first quarter. She continued on the lead unchallenged to a :54.3 and rolled unpressed into the final turn until Peaky Sneaky began to emerge from the pocket by three-quarters in 1:22.1. Within a matter of strides Peaky Sneaky surged to the front and widened her lead sprinting to the finish while Perfect Storm scooted through the inside to take second. Rocknificent rallied for third while New Year settled for fourth. Owned by Howard Taylor, Judith Taylor and Order By Stable, Peaky Sneaky won her fifth race from 12 starts this season and her seventh from 21 overall, earning $313,749. White Birch Farm bred the Bettor's Delight filly while Nancy Takter trains the $4.80 winner. Lyons Sentinel skirted around rough-gaited pacesetter Reflect With Me to score as the 6-5 favorite in the first division of the Glen Garnsey Memorial. Reflect With Me motored for the lead while Lyons Sentinel secured the pocket. Marloe Hanover raced third to a :28.2 opening quarter, where JK First Lady tipped first over from last. She flushed cover from Baby Your The Best moving to a :56.3 half, but Reflect With Me remained uncontested to the far turn. Nearing three-quarters Reflect With Me began to stumble in stride, quickly recorrecting but also forcing Lyons Sentinel to zip out of the pocket. JK First Lady came rolling three wide by three-quarters in 1:23.4 but Lyons Sentinel got the jump. Through the stretch the Jim King Jr. trainee held firm on the lead in progress to a 1:49.2 win with JK First Lady settling for second. Hen Party closed for third while Marloe Hanover finished fourth. Owned by Threelyonsracing, Lyons Sentinel won her second race from 11 starts this season and her 11th from 25 overall, earning $1,103,639. Tim Tetrick drove the Hanover Shoe Farms-bred Captaintreacherous filly who paid $4.40 to win. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

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