Day At The Track
Ake Svanstedt, harness racing

Ecurie D is "Coming to America"

One of the trotters that competed in both heats of the 2021 Elitloppet on Sunday (May 30) is headed to North America and into the barn of one of harness racing's top conditioners. Ecurie D, who finished sixth in the final of Europe’s elite race, will fly across the ocean from Frode Hamre’s barn in Norway to the stable of Ake Svanstedt, who famously came across the pond in 2014 with his world champion Sebastian K and has since built a large trotting contingent including several imports from Europe. A winner of 15 races from 21 starts, Ecurie D has banked around $430,000 in his campaign. From his three-year-old season into his four-year-old year, Ecurie D chalked an 11-race win streak including wins in the European Championship for three-year-olds and the Fyraåringseliten, a SEK500,000 Grade II race at Solvalla. He earned an invitation to the Elitloppet with a win in the Dartster F:s Lopp on April 7. Owners Global Glide AB and Götebrg Smart Repair planned to campaign their five-year-old son of former Ontario stallion Infinitif in the North America for the fall stakes season with sights on the Maple Leaf Trot, Dayton Trotting Derby, Allerage Trot and the TVG Final. "It's been a dream ever since we bought Ecurie D as a three-year-old," co-owner Marko Kreivi told Travronden. Once landing stateside, Ecurie D will stand in quarantine for six weeks before moving into the Svanstedt Stable. Because of the quarantine, Svanstedt estimates Ecurie D’s first start will come on Aug. 21, appropriately in the Sebastian K Invitational on Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono. From Travronden Newspaper in Norway

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2021 Elitloppet goes to Don Fanucci Zet

Don Fanucci Zet (5m Hard Livin-Kissed By The West-Western Terror) rallied in the lane for pilot Orjan Kihlstrom to win the 2021 Elitloppet in race record time 1.08.9kr (mile rate 1:50,86). He was off at 3.79/1 odds after finishing second in his elim to Vivid Wise As (7m Yankee Glide). Don Fanucci Zet is owned by Stall Zet and trained by Daniel Reden as he improved his career slate to 13-5-2 in 22 starts, now for 8,413,000Sek earned. Today alone he earned 3,125,000€ and he raced in the finale barefoot. Vivid Wise As set the pace in the finale for Alessandro Gocciadoro and held gamely ahead of third finishing Gareth Boko (8m Make It Happen) for Mats E. Djuse and trainer Jerry Riordan. Gelati Cut (5m Coktail Jet) was fourth after a two-hole trip and Moni Viking (8m Maharajah) was fifth. He others in finish order were Ecurie D, Cokstile and Aetos Kronos. It was quite a fine race day with great online race coverage on this beautiful day without fans. Don Fanucci Zet Orjan Kihlstrom Daniel Reden ATG, Solvalla, Maharajah files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

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Gelati Cut wins Elitloppet Elim #2

Gelati Cut (5m Coktail Jet-Variety Cut-Mambo King) off at 9.5/1 odds took harness racing elim #2 of the 2021 Elitloppet at Solvalla Racetrack in Sweden, timed in 1.09.6kr on the front end. Gabriele Gelormini teamed the Romain Christian Larue trainee for Ecurie de Windcut. This was his ninth career victory in 40 starts now for 5,500,681€ earned. Ecurie D (5m Infinitif-To Soon-Muscles Yankee) was a game parked out second for Ulf Ohlsson and trainee Frode Hamre with 6/1 Gareth Boko (8m Make It Happen-Vanilla Boko-Pine Chip) third for Mats E. Djuse and conditioner Jerry Riordan. Cokstile was fourth. Gelati Cut (inside) Gabriele Gelormini Post positions for the Elite Race finale follows: ATG, Maharajah files/photos by Thomas H. HIcks, for Harnesslink

Joe Bongiorno, harness racing

Bongiorno, Nicholas Beach capture Commodore Barry

CHESTER, Pa. — What a difference a day makes. Not even 24 hours after being involved in a spill at The Meadowlands, driver Joe Bongiorno steered Nicholas Beach ($3.80) to a 1:48.4 score in the $100,000 Commodore Barry Pace, one of three co-headlining invitational harness racing events on the Sunday (May 30) program at Harrah's Philadelphia. Nicholas Beach, who had not finished worse than second in any of his 18 career  starts leading into the Barry, prompted a demanding :26.1 first quarter by stringing double millionaire This Is The Plan out through the first turn before yielding. After ceding control of the terms, Nicholas Beach drafted comfortably through middle sectionals of :54 and 1:21.1 before angling off the pegs midway through the final turn to take aim at American History, who sustained a first-over push out of third to reach the lead. Off the home corner, Bongiorno tipped Nicholas Beach three-wide, and the 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding swelled to the lead under vigorous encouragement, widening his margin to 1-1/4 lengths en route to his 15th career victory. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) battled stoutly for second; Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) ducked from second-over cover to the pegs in the stretch and chased for third.   NICHOLAS BEACH REPLAY   Trainer Jenn Bongiorno co-owns Nicholas Beach, who now has earned $178,400, with John Lengacher and Michael Gagnon. "(Nicholas Beach) is one of the barn favorites and has been a really special horse to us," said Joe Bongiorno. "The horse has overcome a lot in his life, and to be out here and show everybody the real horse that he is, it’s special. ... He’s an easy horse to be around and an easy horse to drive. He’s so versatile, you can leave with him so fast, you can put him in a hole; you can do anything with this horse. That’s what really makes him special." Similarly, three-time Breeders Crown champion Manchego ($4.20) lived up to favored billing in the $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Trot, cascading off third-over cover for a 1:51.3 win, the fastest mile ever trotted by a filly or mare in the 16-year history of Harrah's Philadelphia. Just two weeks removed from her gutsy 1:51.1 triumph in the Arthur Cutler Memorial at The Meadowlands, Manchego was able to benefit from a covered trip and a closer-friendly track bias in the Lee. Fellow millionaire Guardian Angel As controlled a :55.3 first half before facing sustained pressure from 2019 Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade up the backstretch and past three-quarters in 1:23.1. As the duel raged on through the final turn, Dexter Dunn swung Manchego four-wide in preparation for the sprint home. Once given racetrack, the 6-year-old Muscle Hill mare lifted to the lead, scooting away in the final yards to win by a widening two lengths. Lindy The Great (Andy Miller) emerged from traffic for a narrow second over Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure).   MANCHEGO REPLAY   "We changed tactics with her halfway through last year because she was starting to over-race and not finishing the miles off," Dunn explained. "Once we did that, she’s just really been doing what you want her to do. There was speed early and found a good helmet to follow. She really is (spectacular). I’m so lucky to sit behind her, really. She’s just amazing. I moved her over in the stretch and she just took off. For a trotter to have speed like that, it’s really nice to sit behind." Nancy Takter trains Manchego, who has won 35 races and banked over $2.8 million in her career, for Black Horse Racing. Fast fractions and sustained pressure took their toll on 8-5 choice Soho Burning Love A and paved the way for Keep Rockin A ($9.60) and Brian Sears to cascade to a 1:50.1 win in the $100,000 Betsy Ross Mares Pace. After Soho Burning Love A brushed to command beyond a :26.3 first quarter, Sears angled Keep Rockin A into live third-over cover nearing a :53.4 half. The 5-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare was towed into striking range as JK First Lady ground her way alongside Soho Burning Love A through a :28 third split, and then kicked cover off the home turn before lifting to a 1-1/2-length triumph as the pace imploded. Snobbytown (Yannick Gingras), the longest shot in the race at 47-1, rallied from last to claim second over Machnhope (Andy McCarthy), another 1-1/4 lengths in arrears.   KEEP ROCKIN A REPLAY   "It just worked out perfect," said trainer Richard 'Nifty' Norman. "There were great fractions and good cover, and she’s a stone closer. So, it worked out awesome. Jimmy (King Jr.) had her and raced her at Yonkers, and I think she just didn’t like the Yonkers thing. As soon as we got her on the big track, she loved it. I watched her race in Australia before Rich bought her and she showed being a closer. The way it all worked out for her today, it was good." Keep Rockin A, a seven-time winner with earnings of over $156,000, campaigns for Richard Poillucci. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia with a 12-race Memorial Day (Monday, May 31) card; post time is 12:40 p.m. EDT. For full race results, click here. by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, Pa. — After defeating arch rival Perfect Sting at Pocono on May 16, Abuckabett Hanover ($2.40) dodged his divisional nemesis — who was scratched due to sickness — and strode to a decisive 1:51.1 victory in the $76,329 first harness racing division of Sunday's (May 30) Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Harrah's Philadelphia. Southwind Gendry ($5.00) delivered an equally decisive 1:51 score in the $76,729 second division. Abuckabett Hanover stalked patiently from third while Literl Lad Hanover and Chase H Hanover disputed early splits of :27.3 and :56.2. With Literl Lad Hanover in control up the backstretch, Andy McCarthy angled Abuckabett Hanover first-over with three-eighths to go, and the son of Betting Line surged to the lead just beyond the 1:24.2 three-quarter split. Abuckabett Hanover vaulted to a 2-1/2-length advantage through the far turn and passed the winning post under wraps, three lengths better than rallying runner-up Gamblin Mo (Tyler Buter) in 1:51.1. Red Right Hand (Todd McCarthy), who was towed out of last via third-over cover, finished third, another 3-1/2 lengths behind.   ABUCKABETT HANOVER REPLAY   "We were extremely happy with his effort today," trainer Tony Alagna said of Abuckabett Hanover. "We were glad to not have to race against Perfect Sting today, but look forward to an exciting season." Abuckabett Hanover campaigns for Crawford Farms Racing, Alagna Racing, Jablonsky Held Stable and Barber N Wienick Stable. The Betting Line colt now has won seven of his 15 starts to date, and has earned over $230,000 in his career. In the second split, Southwind Gendry and driver Yannick Gingras avenged a May 16 defeat to One Eight Hundred, turning aside a stout challenge from that rival on the far turn en route to a powerful three-length win. The son of Always B Miki rated a :56.4 first half before accelerating up the backstretch in preparation for a challenge from One Eight Hundred, who sustained an uncovered push out of fifth to engage the pacesetter on the far turn. Southwind Gendry responded to his rival's bid off the home turn, kicking clear to record his 12th win in 16 career starts. Hellabalou (Andy McCarthy) rode the pocket to a second-place finish; Billy Clyde (Mark MacDonald) gained off stalling cover for third.   SOUTHWIND GENDRY REPLAY   Ron Burke trains Southwind Gendry for Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, Knox Services and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby. A 1:51.4 mile from South Beach Star (Todd McCarthy) was good for top honors across eight Stallion Series divisions, and was one of two stakes winners for trainer Brett Pelling — the other being Whichwaytothebeach (Andy McCarthy, 1:53.3). Simon Says Hanover (Scott Zeron, 1:52.3) and Rockyroad Hanover (Dexter Dunn, 1:52.4) gave Alagna two further stakes winners on the program, while Always A Miki (Dunn, 1:53.3), Bettor Not Talk (George Napolitano Jr., 1:52.4), Rifleman (Dunn, 1:52.4) and Boiler Maker (Tim Tetrick, 1:53.3) rounded out the octet of Stallion Series winners. Total handle for the Sunday program, which also featured three $100,000 invitational events for older horses, was $1,170,968. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia with a 12-race Memorial Day (Monday, May 31) card; post time is 12:40 p.m. EDT. For full race results, click here. by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Off at 2.83/1 Vivid Wise As (7m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall) easily took the first harness racing elimination of the 2021 Elitloppet at Solvalla. Alessandro Gocciadoro is the trainer/driver of this Scuderia Bivans Srl performer that won for the 22nd time in his 55 race career. Race time was 1.10.0kr off pedestrian fractions as the winner protected his post one start and fought off rivals Don Fanucci Zet (5m Hard Livin-Kissed By The West-Western Terror) for Orjan Kihlstrom and Moni Viking (8m Maharajah-Jeunesse Doree-Coktail Jet) for Bjorn Goop that sat the pocket thorughout. Aetos Kronos made a brave three wide attempt in the last 600 meters and ended fourth for Magnus A. Djuse. Vivid Wise As ATG, Maharajah files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Next Level Stuff and When Dovescry were the winners of their respective $30,000 harness racing divisions of the second leg of the Miss Versatility Series for Open mares on the trot at The Meadowlands Saturday night. Next Level Stuff made it two wins in two Miss Versatility starts in the opening division for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim Campbell. The 4-year-old daughter of Sebastian K S-Nantab sat a four-hole to the quarter, was out and after leader A Fancy Face soon thereafter, made the top at the half in a brisk :54.4, and did not have an anxious moment from there, scoring by a safe half-length over Weslynn Quest in 1:52 over a track rated ‘good’. A Fancy Face was third. “There were two or three leavers being very aggressive,” said Tetrick, “so I settled in. Then we made a move to the front. I was hoping she’d be tight enough after going :54 to the half. It’s good that I got a breather in the third quarter [of :29.1], especially after being off for three weeks.” NEXT LEVEL STUFF REPLAY   Next Level Stuff, a 2020 Breeders Crown champion, returned $3.20 to her backers as the 3-5 favorite in the seven-horse field in lifting her lifetime stats to 15 wins from 26 starts, good for earnings of $683,066. The Brett Pelling-trained When Dovescry scored in the second division in wire-to-wire fashion as driver Dave Miller was permitted to cut out slow fractions on the point after the track was upgraded to 'fast'. “She was coming into the race really sharp,” said Miller. “She got off on the right foot and got [to the lead] real easy.” After reaching the quarter in :27.4, Miller and When Dovescry hit the half and three-quarters in a leisurely :58 and 1:27.3, respectively, meaning the 2019 Hambletonian Oaks champion had trotted her middle half in :59.4. The 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Cedar Dove then sprinted home in :26.2 to easily defeat the pocket-sitting Sorella, the Oaks winner from 2020, by 1½ lengths in 1:54. Felicityshagwell S was third in the six-horse field. WHEN DOVESCRY REPLAY   “They let me get away with cheap fractions,” said Miller. “And I took it. She was very strong at the end and she was happy with herself after the race as well.” When Dovescry’s lifetime bankroll swelled to $1,144,158 in winning for 13th time from 31 career starts. ACCIDENT MARS RACE: The seventh race was marred by a three-horse spill nearing the wire. Joe Bongiorno, driving Pat Stanley N, had to be taken to a nearby hospital with a left arm injury. Doug McNair, driving Yacht Seelster, walked away and continued to drive the remainder of the card. Andy McCarthy, guiding Incredible Shark, had an apparent knee injury and opted off his drives for the rest of the night and went home. Unfortunately, Incredible Shark had to be euthanized. The other horses suffered no apparent major injuries. WARNING: This video shows extensive accident   A LITTLE MORE: All-source handle totaled $3,933,6222 on the 14-race program. When you add in the $3.1 million wagered Friday, it gave the Big M eight weekends when total action topped the $7-million mark during 2021. … Miller led the driver colony with three winners. … Live racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

Wild Love (7f Love You-Twins Vilda-Dreamaster) flew from the clouds in late stretch to win today’s Gr. I International Harper Hanovers at Solvalla (1,000,000SEK first prize, 3140 meters voltstart distance handicap) clocked in 1.11.9kr. Kevin Oscarsson teamed Wild Love for trainer Anders Lindqvist and owner Simbergs Hovslageri AB to her 23rf career victory in 81 starts now for 4,676,061SEK earned. She overcame a 40-meter handicap in this impressive performance at 18.7/1 odds. Who’s Who (7m Maharajah) was second for Orjan Kihlstrom and Digital Dominance (5g Super Photo Kosmos) secured third over Jerry Mom (8m Ready Cash). Wild Love   Anders Lindqvist with driver Kevin Oscarsson In the Lady Snarts (220,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart) the veteran Billie de Montfort (10f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort-And Arifant) led throughout to score in a quick 1.09.5kr for reinsman Gabriele Gelormini and trainer Sebastien Guarato at 4.2/1 odds. This Philippe Dauphin owned mare now has 22 lifetime wins in 125 starts for 25,111,199 earned. Hevin Boko (7f Going Kronos) closed for second with Mika Forss up and Double Exposure (8f Donato Hanover) was third for Orjan Kihlstrom over Willow Pride (7f Love You) and her pilot Jukka Torvinen. Billie de Montfort The annual ASVT Yearling Sale took place May 27 where 74 lots were sold from 92 cataloged. The average was 240,405SEK. Of the top ten sellers two each were sired by SJs Caviar and Muscle Hill, these at 775,000SEK.  The co-sale toppers were lot 16 Limonata Pellini (f, SJs Caviar) and lot 18 Nigel di Quattro (m, Face Time Bourbon). Their pedigrees follow. Catalog - https://www.asvt.se/images/aktuellt/Elitkatalog2021-Web.pdf   ATG, Solvalla, ASVT files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

WASHINGTON, PA  May 29, 2021 — A 23-1 wagering afterthought, You Ato Dream fired through the sloppy Lightning Lane to pull off the shocker in Saturday’s Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows and snap the eight-race winning streak of Anoka Hanover. Love Muffin captured the other division of the $143,132 event for 3-year-old trotting fillies known as the Meadow Bright. You Ato Dream banked more than $217,000 at 2 but suffered occasional gaiting problems. In the Meadow Bright, she rated beautifully in the pocket behind Bella Bellini and poured through late to down Bella Bellini by 1/2 length in a career-fastest 1:53. Lady Chaos completed the ticket. You Ato Dream and trainer-driver Jeff Gregory upsetting at 23-1 (Chris Gooden photo) “She’s a nice filly, and she’s as good as those. It’s just a matter if her manners are up to par,” said winning trainer/driver Jeff Gregory, who owns the daughter of Donato Hanover-Dream Child with William Richardson, George Romanoff and Martin Garey. “She’s been a little grabby, and I’ve been trying some things to keep her quiet. Today she sat in the hole like an angel. I’m tickled to death with that more than winning. “We’ll start her off in Pennsylvania, and then we have her staked to everything. If she shows us she’s good enough, we’ll try her on the Grand Circuit. If she doesn’t, we know we have a good Pennsylvania horse.” YOU ATO DREAM REPLAY   Anoka Hanover, last year’s Dan Patch Award winner who was entering the Meadow Bright off a record mile at Harrah’s Philadelphia, got away fifth for Todd McCarthy and launched a first-over bid that fizzled. She finished last in the field of six, beaten 5-1/4 lengths. “It was always going to be a little tricky to get into it off the times, but I thought she could do it,” McCarthy said. “I think maybe the wet track and a little bit of an off day put a dent in that.” The other Meadow Bright split was more formful as Love Muffin, the 1-5 selection, retook the lead for Andy Miller and prevailed easily in 1:53.3. Andy Miller Stable gave $200,000 at auction last year for the daughter of Andover Hall-Pine Yankee, projecting her as a broodmare. Miller agreed that his investment is starting to look pretty good. LOVE MUFFIN REPLAY   “As of right now I think it is, ‘” he said. “I thought she was the best in that field. I was glad she got away the way she did and the race worked out the way I wanted it to. She’ll stay mostly in Pennsylvania, but she has a couple stakes in Indiana and a couple others at the end of the year.” Love Muffin and driver Andy Miller (Chris Gooden photo) Mazzarati finished second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Melania third. Julie Miller trains the winner. $60,000 PA Stallion Stakes In Saturday’s subfeature, Piper Hanover took her time reaching the point from post 8 before drawing off, handing the field a 9-1/2-lemgth licking in 1:54.4. Alpine and Night Flyer K completed the ticket. Piper Hanover faced top competition at times last year, but winning driver Dave Palone said she might be more comfortable in the stallion series. “That was really an impressive mile, as bad as the track has become over the last few hours,” Palone said. “She’s much better than those stallion series fillies.” Tony Alagna conditions the daughter of Father Patrick-Personal Style for Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Lynn Katz and Al Libfeld. The other stallion series divisions went to May Karp and Above The Clouds. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Ron Burke teamed for three wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday, first post 12:45 PM. For full race results, click here. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA

The butterfly wings have helped carry Tough Tilly to another extraordinary harness racing performance and stunning payday for the charity in whose honour she races, the EB Research Partnership Australia. The brilliant three-year-old Captaintreacherous filly dominated tonight’s $350,000 Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold Final, matching Shartin’s age track record and filling hearts from near and afar with a stirring 12-metre romp. To watch the video click here It was a continuation of an outstanding partnership between trainer Emma Stewart, driver Kate Gath and breeder Benstud Standardbreds, which shares ownership with a big syndicate from EB Research Partnership Australia, including the family of Tilly Wilkes after whom the champion filly is named. “It was fantastic,” Kate Gath told Trots Vision. “Look what she can do and everything she stands for, representing EB. “It was a shame that Tilly Wilkes couldn’t be here tonight and her entire family, I think they booked out upstairs. It was such a shame that it had to be this week that we got locked down, but I’m just rapt that she’s won for them and raised more money to help find a cure for EB. “I’m just so happy for everyone and happy that she got a really big money race (and) that a lot of money will go to EB.” Driver Kate Gath. Photo by Stu McCormick The $150,000 winners’ prize cheque increases Tough Tilly’s career earnings to more than $350,000 and tonight she again did it in style, showing all the dominance of her $1.04 favouritism. Starting from gate five, Tough Tilly had to do plenty early to cross Soho Almasi, coupling an eight-second lead-time with a 28.2-second first quarter. But she got a breather in the second quarter before Gath opened her up again, storming home in a 55.5-second last half that set the record equalling 1:52.5 mile rate. Stablemate Joanna and Anntonia boxed on well to fill out the minor placings, but the spotlight belonged to the winner. “We all know what Tough Tilly can do and she did that tonight,” Gath said. “I’ve got the utmost faith in her. “Once she got that second quarter, that was pretty nice, she was going to throw a really fast half at them so we were happy to let her do that. She felt super sharp last week and she felt good again tonight.” Tough Tilly. Photo by Stu McCormick   By Michael Howard for HRV

They were done in vastly different ways but Irish Black Label (Bettor's Delight) and Lightning Dan (Captaintreacherous) brought further Australian Pacing Gold delight to Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s dominant harness racing stable, sweeping tonight’s two-year-old Gold Bullion Group 1s at Melton. Reinsman David Moran was in the sulky for both and they were also golden moments for some of Victoria’s most prolific owners and breeders, with Lauriston Bloodstock’s Anne and Bill Anderson producing the fillies’ champion and owner Danny Zavitsanos and breeder Benstud the champion colt. “It’s been a big 12 months and another big night tonight, so very grateful and appreciative to the owners for respecting me and putting me on these horses,” reinsman Moran told Trots Vision. “Danny puts a lot back into buying horses. He’s a great guy, very down to earth and couldn’t be more happy. “(Bill and Anne) deserve everything they get. They put a lot of money back into the game and a lot of money into their breed, and they’ve got a great breed. They just keep finding them every year. “I’m sure they will be disappointed they couldn’t be here tonight, but they will be watching from home. I’m sure Anne would have been screaming and they might even have a little champagne now.” Both also look to have much more success in their paths after tonight’s performances. Trainer Emma Stewart was a dominant force in the two-year-old fillies' final, presenting six of the 10 starters and with front runners Playing Up and Fiamma setting a brisk early pace, following a 6.9-second lead time with a 28.4-second first quarter. There was a price to pay the for early burn and it was Irish Black Label who emerged three-wide, stalking the leaders in a moderate 29.2-second third quarter before letting down in a sprint to the line, holding off fast finishing Petillante to win by 1.1 metres. To watch the replay click here “She’s got a pretty bright future I’d imagine,” Moran said of the winner. “Tonight, the race was run pretty genuine for her early. “They went 29 off the back, so we were able to not open her up along the back and really wait until they were three-quarters of the way around the turn, when we knew that Chris (Alford on Petillante) was probably the only danger and we had to make it a 200-metre dash. We had that margin on him, it was probably the winning difference.” Driver David Moran. Photo by Stu McCormick Notably Moran said Irish Black Label “gives you quite a similar feeling” to Ladies In Red, who was a dominant filly for Lauriston Bloodstock, Moran and Stewart in last year’s two-year-old season, before adding “Ladies In Red, I think at this stage, was probably a bit better”. “She was one of those fillies you don’t come by very often. I think her and Tough Tilly will be horses in the future who will go a long way. Not saying this filly won’t whatsoever, she obviously has a hell of a lot of ability.” It wasn’t long before Moran was back in the winners’ circle hugging another prized Australian Pacing Gold trophy, this time to celebrate Lightning Dan’s win in the Gold Bullion two-year-old colts and geldings’ final. He was trainer Clayton Tonkin’s only runner on the night, but partner Emma Stewart had a further two in this race and they filled the placings, with Lightning Dan blazing past Khafaji and Beach Villa late to cause something of an upset. To watch the replay click here Stewart’s pair looked anything but stablemates as Alford (Khafaji) and Kate Gath (Beach Villa) locked horns to try to be the first to the front from their back row draws. From gate eight, Gath followed Lightning Dan through and awaited Brutally Handsome to advance past her on her outside so she could hook out and set out for the lead. Alford saw his opportunity and when a small window opened he pounced, racing Beach Villa to the top. Lightning Dan. Photo by Stu McCormick Once he arrived Moran was happy to cede the lead on Lightning Dan and lay in wait until the final sprint home, with Khafaji and Beach Villa trading blows throughout in a thrilling 57.2-second final half. “There wasn’t a lot on the front row that I wanted to hand up to, so it was going to be one of big guns and Chris’s horse, if I could, I was hoping would be there before Kate and they gave you the run of the race when they were cutting each other in front,” Moran said. “I thought if we were to hand up to Beach Villa we probably couldn’t beat him. The other horse was going to cop heat from Beach Villa, so it worked out perfect in the end.” Lightning Dan crashed the line to claim the Group 1 and Moran’s optimistic there’s still a lot more improvement to come. “He was pretty quick,” he said. “We left the plugs out of him tonight. Last week he proved he didn’t really want to do it too much. I think he’s probably a horse who’s going to come too in a little bit of time. “The penny hasn’t dropped 100 per cent yet, as you saw last week when he got caught outside the leader and he wasn’t gone, he was just happy to go through the motions. We sparked him up a little bit tonight in the warm up and got him up on his toes and it was a perfect trip for him and he finished off well.”   By Michael Howard for HRV

Blake Fitzpatrick has one of the strongest driving records in harness racing across New South Wales and he let his talent shine interstate tonight. Despite COVID-19 restrictions that have seen all of Victoria go into lockdown until next week, Fitzpatrick travelled to the southern state today and for good reason. He claimed the $350,000 Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold Final with Tasty Delight at Melton. To watch the replay click here “It was a great thrill,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m over the moon to win this race . . . I’ve tried a few times and have come close on many occasions but have never won it. “The Australian Pacing Gold has a lot of prestige and it’s great to win it.” Driver Blake Fitzpatrick. Photo Stu McCormick Driven confidently, Fitzpatrick used Tasty Delight out barrier one to push for the lead, which they obtained and remained throughout the 1720m feature. Fitzpatrick let the gelded son of Bettors Delight go through the sectionals in 27, 29.5, 27.8 and 29 seconds which was enough to hold out Act Now by more than two metres and fellow NSW pacer Captain Crusader by a further three metres. The mile rate was 1:52.3. Tasty Delight. Photo by Stu McCormick “I have a really high opinion of this horse – he was a great juvenile and has come back as a great three-year-old,” said Fitzpatrick. “Good horses just give you confidence when driving them. “He’s a really strong horse that will keep on improving and is a future Grand Circuit horse. “Brian Portelli (trainer) has done a great job with him and is a great trainer, don’t underestimate him for one minute.” Tasty Delight has now won 11 of his 17 starts with five placings also to his credit as well as earnings of $320,020. Fitzpatrick has driven Tasty Delight five times for as many wins. As for Fitzpatrick’s record, he has driven 2025 winners since he began driving in the 1999/2000 season. Watch Tasty Delight’s APG victory here.   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Beltassima and Really Fast shrugged off the sloppy conditions on a brutal night weather-wise and utilized high early speed to win their respective $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals for harness racing 3-year-olds on the trot at The Meadowlands Friday night. Beltassima was superb in taking the division for fillies from post 10 in 1:54.1. Andy McCarthy had the daughter of Trixton-Beltane Hanover away quickly from the outside post in the full field but didn’t necessarily have designs on the top. “I figured it would be tough from out there, but I figured I’d leave and take a spot somewhere,” said McCarthy, “but when I saw that there weren’t a lot of horses leaving, I went on with it. I just went into it thinking I’d figure it out as it went.” Beltassima cleared 2-1 favorite Wet My Whistle just after the quarter before ‘Whistle’ immediately moved right back to the top. It was those two around the track until McCarthy found some space from the two-hole inside the eighth pole. “I got squeezed a little bit there,” said McCarthy of being in tight quarters in the stretch, “but I waited until I got clearance.” The Tony Alagna trainee took it from there, reporting home a neck winner over a fast-closing Avenir. Wet My Whistle held third. “I wasn’t surprised [she won],” said McCarthy, “she’s been terrific.”   BELTASSIMA REPLAY   As the fifth choice in the betting, Beltassima returned $29.20 to her backers in winning her second straight and fourth from 10 lifetime starts. Her lifetime bankroll stands at $154,287. In the split for colts and geldings, the Nancy Takter-trained Really Fast scored despite making only his fourth lifetime start. “To race like that in the pouring rain,” said Takter, “it was a good performance. I was really happy with my horse.” The son of Muscle Hill-Stubborn Belle was away alertly from post five in the 10-horse field and was on the point at the quarter in :27.4. Cuatro De Julio then made an authoritative brush to command before the half as the pair raced 1-2 into the stretch. At the eighth pole, driver Yannick Gingras moved Really Fast off the rail and got by a stubborn Cuatro De Julio by a neck in a lifetime-best 1:52.2. Sonofamistery was third. Lindysmusclemania, the 4-5 favorite who was so impressive winning two weeks ago in 1:51.4, sat a four-hole to the half and went off stride while first-over nearing the far turn and finished eighth.   REALLY FAST REPLAY   “He really does not have the experience of any of the other horses [he faced].” said Takter of Really Fast. “My horse was super. I was pretty confident he was going to get by. I’m going to be conservative with him. The first time he’ll race back-to-back weeks will be the Hambletonian elimination and final.” Really Fast, who now has three career victories, paid $15.20 as the fourth choice in the betting and now has $121,750 in his bank account. NON-BETTORS: There were a pair of $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals for 3-year-olds on the pace that were contested as non-betting events weaved in between the pari-mutuel races on the card. Neverendingproject (Great Vintage-Project Terror) took the filly division for driver Russell Foster and trainer Eric Foster in 2:01.1 while Fika Time (a gelding by Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite) ran his winning streak to three winning the split for colts and geldings for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Chase Vandervort in 1:56.2. A LITTLE MORE: Alagna and Nifty Norman both recorded training triples on the card. … All-source wagering totaled $3,130,111, the 17th consecutive program to see wagering top the $3-million mark. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. For results of the non-wagering races, click here. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

Where’s the money?? That is the question that every single harness racing owner/trainer/groom should be asking. Today it was announced that owners of Thoroughbred horses will be receiving an extra $250/horse that is in training to help with the monthly bills. Wow, did this money just magically appear out of the sky, or was it already there? I can tell you that the money was already there from cancellation of live cards of racing. Purse allocations from the GOV’T/OLG has been sitting in an account that is growing every single day that we don’t conduct live racing at any of the Ontario tracks. I will speak from the standardbred side, but will tell you this riveting information came to me from a concerned T-BRED owner, who is as greatly concerned as I am regarding the allotted monies, and distribution of said funds for the owners to help with the training bills. Why aren’t the standardbred owners getting an increase? That is a question that I have asked Bill O’Donnell President of COSA for months. He has told me that the $1000/month/horse we are getting is an amount that OR decided upon to give owners as relief towards their monthly training bills, and the rest of the accumulated monies was going into a pool for future purse increases. Who decided on that amount? Was there a general meeting or did OR just make a calculated decision not realizing that someone, somewhere, would ask for a proper accounting. Let’s get to the phone conversation I had with Bill O’Donnell this afternoon after I found out about the increase to T-BRED owners. I honestly think he didn’t realize that I would overreact in the fashion that I did. We have had a good relationship, sometimes talking 3-4 times / day to try and resolve the racing shutdown, but when I confronted him today thinking it was WEG who was responsible for the purse allocations, he finally told me it was OR that is in charge for purse distribution. For me, I was in total disbelief, as for months, I was under the assumption that it was WEG who handled that part of it, and even through my frustration and cursing towards WEG which I thought was screwing us, he did not tell me it was the very people who we put into positions which are supposed to look after every person in the RACING industry that was. Future purse increases are not what every owner if asked cares about. We live in a today world, not a tomorrow one. Our bills have been accumulating through three separate lockdowns on a monthly basis. He also told me some of the monies were going towards the Sire Stakes programs. That of course is a joke, as most owners don’t own Sire Stake caliber horses, and those that do pay a monthly fee to enter the program, that is added to the already allotted GOV’T funding for the Sires Stakes. The monies that are accumulating everyday need to be shared by the OR-OLG now to us as owners to keep the HARNESS industry vibrant. We, as owners need to request (of which we have every right to) a proper accounting of every dollar that comes in and goes out, so we can see how bad us as owners today, are really getting screwed!! I’m sure that all of the accumulated dollars from previous lockdowns has not yet been distributed, and it’s time for us owners to hold the people who we elect accountable, after all they are supposed to have our best interest in mind RIGHT!! We need a retroactive decision that pays us the amount of money we are entitled to, in other words distribute the surplus dollars to each of us for as many horses we had in training, not 50 cents, EVERY DOLLAR!! by Mike Tanev MT STABLES

Nicholas Beach, This Is The Plan, and American History put on a show last weekend and are set to reunite Sunday for an encore in the $100,000 Commodore Barry Invitational for older male harness racing pacers at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Last Saturday at The Meadowlands, Nicholas Beach overtook American History in deep stretch and held off a charging This Is The Plan to win the Open Preferred Handicap in 1:47.2. The time equaled the season’s fastest mile, which had been established on May 15 by American History at The Big M.           REPLAY   Each of the three horses held the lead at some point in the opening half-mile and were separated by only a half-length when they hit the wire, with Nicholas Beach winning by a nose over This Is The Plan. More fireworks could be on tap at Harrah’s Philadelphia, where Nicholas Beach will start from post five and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. This Is The Plan, leaving from post eight in the eight-horse field, is the 4-1 second choice and American History, starting from post seven, is 9-2. The track record at Harrah’s Philadelphia is 1:47.3, set by Wiggle It Jiggleit in 2016. “I’m sure it’s going to be a good race,” said Andy McCarthy, the driver of Tony Alagna-trained American History. “I drew outside some of the speed, but I’ll try to get him into the race somehow. I’m sure there will be some action and we’ll see how it shakes out.” Nicholas Beach, a 5-year-old gelding, has won 14 of 18 career races and never finished worse than second. Sixteen of those starts have come since turning 4. He joined the sister-brother team of trainer Jenn Bongiorno and driver Joe Bongiorno in March 2020. “When Jenn got the horse to train, he had some issues and we had to work out some kinks, but we knew he had a lot of talent,” Joe Bongiorno said. “It took us three or four months to get him qualified, but I think the patience paid off. Once we got him over the hump, it’s been pretty easy from there.” Nicholas Beach, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Michelle My Gal, was a $110,000 yearling purchase at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale. His full sister Beach Gal won on the Grand Circuit and his family also includes multiple Dan Patch Award winner Jenna’s Beach Boy and millionaire Atochia. “Obviously, he’s got some breeding and he’s definitely got the looks,” Bongiorno said. “He’s a big, long-legged horse with a gait that no other horse has, just an extremely long stride. He’s got a really good attitude. He’s just a happy horse, and when you sit behind him you can tell he has a lot of class.” The Commodore Barry will be Nicholas Beach’s first Grand Circuit start, but he has faced Grand Circuit-level horses in recent weeks. “He’s held his own with every horse he’s faced, and I think that will continue on Sunday,” Bongiorno said. “He’s really done nothing wrong to this point.” American History, a Breeders Crown champion in 2019, has won 23 of 67 career races and $1.21 million. This season, the 6-year-old American Ideal-Perfect Touch stallion has started eight times and hit the board in each of his past five races, winning twice. “He never has a good start to the year,” McCarthy said. “It takes him four or five starts to find his groove. He’s been racing really well, pretty much cutting the miles himself and going some big numbers. He’s always been a very fast horse. He’s still quite aggressive, and he wants to go to work.” This Is The Plan has won 16 of 76 lifetime races and $2.08 million. He has finished no worse than second in seven starts this season, with the MGM Borgata Pacing Series championship among his two victories. The 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-That’s The Plan gelding will have Yannick Gingras in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke. Racing begins at 12:40 p.m. Sunday at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The 15-race card also includes the $100,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers and $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters. For more on all the races, click here. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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WILKES-BARRE, PA – Trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt had a ”double double” during the second prelim of  Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for three-year-old trotting colts on Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, sending out the 1-2 finishers in two of the three divisions while guiding both winners. One of the divisions matched the three first-round Sires winners, but Svanstedt accounted for that with the 17-1 Southwind Frank colt Delayed Hanover in that one's first start of the year, winning in 1:53 for a new mark. Svanstedt vacated the pocket with his charge turning for home, giving stablemate Johan Palema (Dexter Dunn), one of the first prelim winners, a shot in the Pocono Pike from third-in. The pair attacked pacesetter Type A in the stretch, with Johan Palema gaining a short lead before Åke coaxed more from Delayed Hanover to defeat his barnmate by a nose for Melby Gard Inc. and Åke Svanstedt Inc. Favored In Range made a break before the start and was always out of range. DELAYED HANOVER REPLAY   In another grouping, Svanstedt brought out the Googoo Gaagaa colt Captain Corey for his 2021 bow, and the 2020 Sire Stakes champion made this event quite a contrast to its companion photo finish section: pacesetter Captain Corey came home in :27.4 and won by 10½ lengths over stablemate Lepanto (Yannick Gingras), who happened to be the 2020 Stallion Series champion. Captain Corey is owned by S R F Stable, Knutsson Trotting Inc., Midnight Sun Partners Inc., and Åke Svanstedt Inc. CAPTAIN COREY REPLAY   The Creatine colt Jujubee stalked yet another Svanstedter, Capstone, from the pocket, then caught him in the stretch to post a length decision in 1:54.4. Jujubee trotted his own last quarter in :27.2 to win for driver Tony Hall, trainer Greg Wright Jr., and owner Jon Erdner while running his seasonal tally to 6-for-8. JUJUBEE REPLAY   Another stakes double was achieved by the team of driver Bob McClure, trainer Luc Blais, and owner Determination, with one of their winners the 2020 Breeders Crown champion On A Streak, as the Cantab Hall colt won for the first time this year in 1:56.2. Their other success story came from the Bar Hopping gelding Inaminute Hanover, who has now taken five of his last six starts, this one in a lifetime best 1:55.3. The other StS winners have been triumphant in both their PA program starts this year. Cantab Hall got a siring double credit when the gelding The Irishman equaled his mark of 1:55.3 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer George Ducharme, and the ownership of W Donovan, Thomas Dillon, Purnel & Libby Inc., and Joe Sbrocco; the other section saw the Father Patrick colt Sunny Crockett improved his seasonal tally to 4-3-1-0 with a 1:54.4 triumph for driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller, along with the ownership of Willow Oak Ranch and Andy Miller Stable Inc. The Downs will have twin $15,300 features on its 12:30 Tuesday card, one on the trot and one on the pace, with developing younger horses in the spotlight. The program pages for the card are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs
Plainville, MA --- Plainridge Park’s 2020 harness racing dash driving champion Shawn Gray was on fire Monday (May 31) as he won the top three featured paces of the week at The Ridge during the Memorial Day card. In the $20,000 Open Handicap, Gray left with Meadowlands invader My Pal Joe and tucked in second behind No Quarter (Greg Merton) who cut fractions of :26, :54 and 1:21.2, with JK Will Power (Kevin Switzer Jr.) parked outside most of the way. The rim-rider faded before that third station and My Pal Joe tipped to make his move. My Pal Joe cleared at the head of the lane and paced away under a line drive to win by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:50.1. MY PAL JOE REPLAY   It was the fourth win of the year for My Pal Joe ($3.00) and it pushed his 2021 earnings to $63,715 for owner United Process Control and trainer Alex Chartrand. Gray also scored in a pair of $15,000 Winners-Over contests; one for each sex. The distaff pace went to Firstup ($5.80) who Gray pulled first-over from third at the half to chase the front-running The Fun Marshall (Bruce Ranger) up the backstretch to the three-quarters. Firstup caught The Fun Marshall there and then pace stride for stride with her around the last turn before pulling away by two lengths at the line in 1:53.1.   It was the fourth win of the year and a new seasonal mark for Firstup ($5.80) who is owned by the Jesmeral Stable. Sheena Mcelhiney trains the winner. Then in the accompanying event for horses and geldings, Gray sent Passport To Art to the front and never looked back. After getting to the half in :55.4, Passport To Art held off a strong challenge from Our Corelli N (Greg Merton) up the backstretch before opening up a two length lead around the last turn. Coming off that bend, Bettor’s Fire N (Ron Cushing) finally shook loose from the pylons and was pacing up a storm. Bettor’s Fire N gained ground with every stride but Passport To Art had the jump and was able to hang by a nose for a 1:52 win and a new seasonal mark. Passport To Art ($5.80) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spalluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Kevin Switzer Jr. also had a big day at Plainridge on Monday with a natural Hat Trick in the first three races. Switzer won with Bet You (1:52.2, $6.40), Spider Dragon (1:54, $38.20) and Respectable Dream (1:53.3, $6.60). When live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (June 3), there will be an $8,988.56 carry over in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta. Post time for the first race will be at 4 p.m.  For full race results, click here. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts
HARRINGTON, Del. – George Leager’s Slick Tony ($5.80, Corey Callahan) notched his 48th career harness racing win Monday at Harrington Raceway with a 1:52.1 win in the featured $20,000 Open Pace. The 6-year-old No Spin Zone stallion set all the fractions in his narrow win by a head over pocket sitting JJ Flynn and a hard charging Goldberg. It was the seventh victory of the year for Slick Tony, who has banked $815,621 in his career. Slick Tony, a former horse of the meet at Harrington, has continued a successful career long after being a standout at 2 and 3 in the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) program for owner/trainer/breeder Leager. SLICK TONY REPLAY   Pat Berry had a driving triple. Art Stafford Jr., Corey Callahan and Allan Davis each had a driving double. For full race results, click here. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
CHESTER, PA – The Mach Three gelding Gonnahaveonemore, five lengths behind a runaway pacesetter at the three-quarters, lived up to the determination in his name, notching his third straight harness racing win by taking Monday’s $14,400 pacing feature at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 1:52.2. It was Rockin Rocko who was rockin’ on the lead in :27.1, :55.1, and 1:22.4, with Gonnahaveonemore third, then circling the tired pocketsitter to get to the two-hole on the turn. The winner and driver George Napolitano Jr. never gave up hope, catching the tiring pacesetter by a half length for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen and the partnership of Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and Barbara Arnstine – the same ownership team behind feature winner Crazy Cute at Pocono yesterday. GONNAHAVEONEMORE REPLAY   There were a pair of $13,000 paces for fast-class seasoned horses, and in the division for males it was San Domino A who would not be caught, the Somebeachsomewhere gelding setting fractions of :26, :55, and 1:22 en route to a 1:49.3 triumph for Napolitano, trainer Andrew Harris, and the team of Joe P Racing LLC and Oldford Racing LLC. In the event for distaffs, Napolitano completed a sweep of the Memorial Day features, again partnering with the Garcia family as Dance Club used the passing lane to rally for a 1:52.2 triumph for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen and owner Gilbert Garcia-Herrera (who is also Pocono’s leading trainer). The daughter of Arocknroll Dance has now won three of her last five starts. In all, George Napolitano Jr. had four wins on the card, while Doug McNair (reported to be heading back to Canada midweek) came home first three times. The two-year-old trotters make their debut tomorrow morning during Philly’s Tuesday morning qualifiers. Eight of them are entered and split over two divisions, with trainer Clifton Green sending out five of the eight babies in their first racetrack competition. Also on the morning Q card are the talented Luc Blais-trained threesome of Donna Soprano, Macho Martini, and My Abigail. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia
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