Day At The Track
Tiger Tara, harness racing

$750,000 Miracle Mile barrier draw

Harness racing trainer Mark Purdon is confident he can turn champion pacer Lazarus around in time to win Saturday's Ainsworth Miracle Mile. But he knows it won't be easy. The great Kiwi pacer's campaign hit a judder bar at Menangle on Saturday night when he was brave but battling third in his Mile prelude won by Tiger Tara. Beaten off the gate from the ace draw he was then forced to sit parked and it was obvious 500m from home he wasn't going to win, only his huge heart allowing him to claw his way back to third. That still earned him his invite to the Mile but he had clearly been feeling the effects of a slight virus that had gone through the Purdon-Rasmussen stable last week. "We had a few horses get crook but we thought that were well over it," explained trainer-driver Mark Purdon. "We had our vet inform the stewards and take blood tests which came back suggesting he was fine to race and then we even had him scoped him on Saturday morning, and it was fine too. "So I was surprised he raced so flat, as did the rest of the team. He was brave and was running on heart up the home straight but I am glad to get through this and now we have a week to get him back to his best." While that was less than ideal for Purdon and an army of punters, the real blow to Lazarus's Mile hopes came at Sunday's barrier draw where he was saddled with the outside of the front line. Since the Miracle Mile move to Menangle a decade ago no horse has even placed from barrier eight. That saw him drift from $2 to $2.25 with the TAB but he looks certain to get longer as the enormity of the task he faces hits home to punters. The big winners in the draw were Saturday night's two prelude winners Tiger Tara (1) and Anything For Love, who has drawn barrier three but will start from two if the emergencies don't get a start. The field for the A$750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Menangle on Saturday night is: 1: Tiger Tara (1) 2: Atomic Red (2) 3: Anything For Love (3) 4: My Field Marshal (4) 5: Jilliby Kung Fu (5) 6: Soho Tribeca (6) 7: Lennytheshark (7) 8: Charlaval (8) 9: Let It Ride (9) 10: Lazarus (10) Emergencies: Let It Ride, Atomic Red. For Further information contact Club Menangle Racing Manager David Wonson (02) 4645 2200  

Aces And Eights, harness racing

Meadowlands cancels after three races

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Due to an intense snow storm that made for poor track conditions and extremely poor visibility, harness racing at the Meadowlands was canceled after the third race Saturday night. Racing will resume at the Big M Friday night at 6:35 p.m. Yonkers cancels also A persistent snowfall and an unplayable track forced Yonkers Raceway to cancel Saturday’s night (Feb. 17th) program after two races. Note that the first Pick 3 (races 2 through 4) paid the first winner (No. 1) and two ‘alls,’ returning $3.20 for every correct $2 wager Live racing is scheduled to resume Monday night (Feb. 19th) with a first post of 6:50 PM.

Heza Thrill N, harness racing

Heza Thrill N tops night in $24,000 Open

LEBANON, OH. - Saturday night's $24,000 Open Handicap Pace at Miami Valley unfolded just as expected with Night Pro (Dale Decker) exploding to the front and polesitter Heza Thrill N (Trace Tetrick) settling snuggly into the pocket. Following a rather pedestrian :28.2 opening quarter mile (despite a sloppy track), Starlite Kid (Dan Noble) mounted a challenge on the outside and lapped in on the leader at the :56.4 midway station. Positions remained unchanged during a speedy :27.1 third split before Starlite Kid faded just enough to allow Heza Thrill N to angle from the pocket at the head of the stretch. Taking full advantage of the ground and energy saving trip, the 9-year-old New Zealand bred son of Christian Cullen easily zoomed by for an open lengths 1:52 tally, his first in four tries in 2018. Heza Thrill N is trained by Tyler George for owner Majs NY Inc. It was the 32nd victory in his career and pushed his lifetime earnings over the $300,000 plateau. Racing resumes at Miami Valley on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with 2:05 p.m. matinees on each afternoon. Gregg Keidel  

Tiger Tara, harness racing

$750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile field

Sydney's greatest harness racing spectacle was thrown wide open by a crazy qualifying night at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday, leaving plenty of questions over next Saturday's $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile. Both Australasia's best pacer Lazarus and defending Mile champion Lennytheshark were beaten in their $100,000 preludes, needing the discretion of the New South Wales Harness Racing Club committee to secure their Mile invites. The early second favourite for Mile in Heaven Rocks didn't qualify at all while Hunter Cup runner-up Soho Tribeca was beaten by Anything For Love in the 1:48.7 first prelude. The intrigue started when Anything For Love led as Team Tritton suggested he would and held out Soho Tribeca by a nose, with bolter Charlaval third in the first prelude, the $100,000 Allied Express Transport Sprint. All three got invites to the Miracle Mile, as did Lennytheshark who finished fifth, with club officials saying the champion pacer's career record as well as his status as defending champion aiding his cause. But the biggest shock of the night came when Lazarus struggled bravely into third in the $100,000 Canadian Club Sprint won by local hero Tiger Tara over My Field Marshal. Tiger Tara was expertly driven by Todd McCarthy early to keep Lazarus in a pocket and press on to the lead and he was never extended to win in a far slower 1:51.5, with My Field Marshal storming home from the tail of the field for second. Lazarus was clearly below his best and looked gone at the 400m mark but picked himself up to finish third, giving a huge scare to one TAB punter who had bet $50,000 a place on him at $1.04. His trainer-driver Mark Purdon said the Inter Dominion champion was below his best after a slight blood complaint during the week, which his vet had informed stewards of. "I thought he was over it but the way the race panned out and him having to race parked after being crossed it affected him," said Purdon. "So we have a week to get him right and I am just glad he gets into the Mile." The NSWHRC directors said they found the final field decision relatively straight forward, with the first three home in both preludes joined by the defending champion and last Saturday's Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu. The all-important draw for the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile will be held at Club Menangle around 1.30pm on Sunday. The field field for the great race is.-- Anything For Love, Soho Tribeca, Charlaval, Tiger Tara, My Field Marshal, Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Jilliby Kung Fu. Emergencies: Let It Ride, Atomic Red. Anything For Love Tiger Tara Mandy Madern

The barrier draw is set to be crucial to the outcome on this year’s $200,000 New South Wales Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Because the three preludes at NSW’s home of harness racing didn’t throw up a definitive favourite in what shapes as one of the strongest Oaks fields in a decade. Queensland visitor Fame Assured might be the pre-draw favourite after sustaining  a sudden mid-race surge to claim the lead down the back straight to win like a high class filly in the last of Saturday night’s heats. It was the second win for the night for her trainer-driver Grant Dixon after he also won a NSW Derby heat with Colt Thirty One, giving him a great shot at both classics. Another trainer to taste success in both Oaks and Derby heats was Victoria’s Emma Stewart who won two Derby heats then trained Imprincessgemma to down the luckless Soho Burning Love in the second Oaks heat. The opening heat of the Oaks went to young trainer Mark Pitt, who also drove Shez All Rock to a stunning victory. With so many of the 10 starters for the final impressing both bookies and punters will be eagerly awaiting the barrier draw on Monday morning to shed some more light on the 2400m classic. The field for the NSW Oaks is.-- Callmequeenbee, Fame Assured, Ideal Pleasure, Imprincessgemma, Macey Jayde, My Sweetchillyphilly, Nostra Villa, Shez All Rock, Soho Burning Love, War Dan Bad Girl. Emergencies: Redbank Addi, Prophesy. Mandy Madern New South Wales Oaks Heat 1 New South Wales Oaks Heat 2 New South Wales Oaks Heat 3    

Harness racing trainer Emma Stewart is set to dominate the $200,000 APG New South Wales Derby after qualifying four for next Saturday's classic at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Victorian trainer won two of the heats on Saturday night with Maraetai in the opening heat and hot favourite Poster Boy in the second, the latter beating his own stablemate Major Times. Stewart snuck her fourth contender into the classic when Tam Major was the fastest fourth placegetter of the three heats, joining the nine automatic qualifiers who finished placed in the three heats. He was fourth to Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One, who led throughout in the final heat. "It is a special thrill to qualify four for the Derby, it is the race the owners want to be in," said Stewart. Stewart says while Poster Boy is her personal favourite, that won't affect champion driver Chris Alford's choice of who he partners in the final after he reined both of Stewart's heat winners. "I don't need to make a decision now so I will probably wait until after the barrier draw," says Alford. The barrier draw for the Derby will be held on Monday morning, with two emergencies to be drawn in the field. The acceptors for the Derby are: Code Bailey, Colt Thirty One, Higherthananeagle, Little Peanut, Major Times, Maraetai, Poster Boy, Tam Major, The Black Prince, The Devils Own. Emergencies: Divine State, All U Need Is Faith. Derby Heat 1 Derby Heat 2 Derby Heat 3 Mandy Madern

Friday night’s action at The Raceway at Western Fair District saw the Ontario harness racing debut of barn fire survivor Bad Bad Diva. Now owned by Lou Sorella and Katie Miller, the four-year-old ‘pint-sized’ daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven is one of two survivors from a tragic barn fire that left five horses dead last August. Trainer Brittany Bounds, of Seaford, Delaware, lost five horses (My Little Tater Tot, Gangster Granny, In Front Charlie, Ezekiel Kandu and Standtuecemewin) to the blaze, but Mi Six and Bad Bad Diva were able to escape. “Being a survivor – she’s just meant to be with us,” mentions Sorella. “My wife Maria is a breast cancer survivor and this little mare is a great fit for our ‘Team’.” Lou Sorella, aka #LouKnows – a guest handicapping regular at The Raceway, is the director of Team To The Moon – a campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. The ‘Team’ consists of horses, trainers and drivers coming together in support of this most worthy cause through harness racing. Team members donate one percent of their earnings with all proceeds going towards Breast Cancer Awareness.     Bad Bad Diva, leaving from the trailing spot over The Raceway’s half-mile oval, got away in fourth position early – before making the first up move prior to the half. Driver J Harris would ask the mare for more with a quarter of a mile left to go and she would respond in a big way. “J said she was huge,” says Sorella. “When he kicked the ear-plugs out - she was gone!” And gone she was… A going-away winner under wraps - by four open lengths at the finish line - in 2:07 at the added distance of 1-1/16M. “That was a big trip,” stated Sorella. “She was out well before the half mile and what a show of speed when my driver asked for it… Away from the races for well over a month – that was some return – we’re so happy to have her!” Conditioned by young ‘up-and-coming’ trainer Kyle Fellows, Bad Bad Diva had the betting public behind her as she returned $4.20 on a win ticket, but she would still top a massive Super Hi 5 payout worth $5741.47 on a $.20 cent ticket. Racing resumes at The Raceway Monday at 6:15 ET.   By Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Track Announcer at The Raceway

STICKNEY, IL - Harness racing driver Ryan Anderson, a native of Crete , Illinois , scored his 3,000th victory on Friday night at Hawthorne Race Course. Anderson 's victory came in the sixth race, driving Jeff R Halas' Olivia V. who is trained by Tim S. Hall The 37-year-old Anderson started his career in 1998. Through the start of racing on Friday, Ryan has driven 22,177 horses, In addition to his 3,000 winners, he has finished second 2,716 times and third 2,677. His drives have earned in excess of $28,000,000. His biggest year came in 2007 when he won 497 of 3,043 races, with purses earned of $3,692,762. That earnings total narrowly beat his 2006 total when his drives earned $3,644,936, winning 466 of 3,005 races. He was 20 when he drove Popcorn Penny in the Breeders' Crown for 3-year-old filly pacers at Mohawk in October of 2000. He was the youngest, at that time, to ever win a Breeders' Crown race. He also trained 160 winners as well. Mandatory Payout on Jackpot High 5 Saturday at Hawthorne After carrying over throughout the course of the winter harness meet, the Jackpot High 5 at Hawthorne will have a mandatory payout on Saturday night.  The High 5 carryover has grown to $204,195 and will be paid out on the final race Saturday.  The ninth race past performances are available online at the United States Trotting Association website for free in the handicapping section under the Strategic Wagering Program tab. The winter harness meet at Hawthorne continues through February 19.  Thoroughbred racing resumes at the end of March and continues through April.  Summer harness action takes place May through September.  Fall thoroughbreds close out the year October through December.  For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com. Jim Miller

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 16, 2018—Tepid choice Safe from Terror (Eric Goodell, $5.80) was safe from her seven harness racing rivals Friday night (Feb. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Wanting no part of an early pocket, Safe from Terror—from assigned post position No. 2—took over from pole-given Juxta Cowgirl (Mark MacDonald) in what turned out to a paceless race. Early intervals of :28 and :57.3 gave Safe from Terror the hammer, and she not above using it. Jewel Lehigh A tried it first-up from third, offering a mild bid in and out of a 1:26.1 three-quarters. Motu Moonbeam N (George Brennan) was behind that one, not getting close to the leader, either. Safe from Terror, with a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, never saw a serious threat. She won by a length in 1:55.2. Juxta Cowgirl did grab second as the 34-1 rank outsider, with a ground-saving All About Madi (Dan Dube), Jewel Lehigh A and Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) settling for the balance.     For Safe from Terror, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror owned by Big Bad DT Racing and trained by Rob Harmon, it was her second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $98.50, the triple returned $898 and the superfecta paid $4,314. Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Anthony Napolitano and Eric Carlson had the hot hands Friday night at the Meadowlands, as each harness racing driver found their way to the winner's circle three times. After winning five times last Friday, "ANap" kept the winners coming by scoring with Flamingo Pete ($12.60 to win, 1:58.1 for the mile) in the second race conditioned trot, Northern Assassin A ($7.00 as the favorite, 1:53.3) in the ninth race conditioned pace and Star Studded Cast ($6.60 as the favorite, 1:58) in the 12th race conditioned trot. Carlson's winners came with Joyful Game ($15.80, 1:54.2) in the third race fillies and mares conditioned pace, Rossini ($5.20 as the favorite, 1:57.3) in the eighth race conditioned trot and It Really Matters ($29.80, 1:57.1) in the 10th race conditioned trot. A LITTLE MORE: One lucky player hit big in the Pick-5 (Races 3 through 7), as the one ticket that had the winning combination of 9-6,9-5-9-7 was worth $30,385.20 for a 50-cent bet. ... The Pick-4 remained popular as many winners shared in the total pool of $70,580, with each cashing in for $560.85 for a 50-cent wager, despite two favorites and one 5-2 shot winning during the sequence. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five once again failed to result in a single-ticket winner, swelling the carryover to $108,155. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,601,550. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. One lucky player crushed the Pick-5 at the Meadowlands Friday night. After a total of $47,663 was poured into the pool for the wager that spans races 3 through 7, when the dust cleared, one ticket had the winning combination of 9-6,9-5-9-7, good for a payoff of $30,385.20 for a 50-cent bet. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

February 26, 2018 - Today the Quinte+ was at Cagnes-sur-Mer in the Prix de Barcelone (purse €60,000, 2925 meters, 17 European starters) and the 1.13.4kr timed winner was 29/1 Brune des Forges (7f Rolling d’Heripre-Salsa d’Orgeres) with harness racing trainer Nicolas Ensch the pilot. Ecurie Louis d’Aur is the owner. 5/2 favorite Boss du Meleuc (7g Lucky Blue) took second spot for owner/trainer/driver Y-A Briand. Third was 6.6/1 Cathy A Quick (6f Password) for Romain Derieux and trainer Jarma Niskanen. 4.6/1 Cirrus Atout with Gabriele Gelormini and 54/1 Ultimo des Dovet with Dominik Locqueneux completed the top five finishers. The Prix de Jerez de la Frontera (purse €38,000, 2925  meters, eight four year olds) went to 1.16.4kr timed and 2/1 odds Ever Pride (4m Prodigious-Queenly Pride) for Gabriele Gelormini, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Philippe DeWulf. 3/2 favorite Elvis du Vallon (4m Reve de Beylev) rallied nicely for second drive by trainer Nicolas Ensch, while 13/1 Estancia Love (4f Repeat Love-Quelle Aventure) was third for driver Matthieu Abrivard, trainer Yves Boireau and  owner Jean Pierre Dubois. Three year olds contested the Prix de Madrid (purse €30,000, 2925 meters, eight starters) at end of today’s program and victory went to 27/1 Favorite Fligny (3f Rockefeller Center-Africa Fligny) with Sylvain Dieudonne up for trainer Gregory Thorel. Ecurie La Pinsonniere owns the winner that was timed in 1.17.8kr. Second was 16/1 Frisbee d’Am (3m The Best Madrik) for Jerome Chavatte, trainer Richard Westerink and owner Mme. Nicole Jasiejko. 10/1 Fils de Star (3m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-Tata Star) took third for Michael Izzo and owner/trainer Michel Lenoir. Sunday the action at Paris-Vincennes includes four groupe contests and an open event for Coldbloods. The Gr. I Criterium des Jeunes “Prix Comte Pierre de Montesson” leads the way and the field includes top performers Follow You, Fastissime, File Gin, Feeling Cash and others. It’s also a day that celebrates Brasil.  Lot’s of Festivities for sure on Sunday. Thomas H. Hicks    

Mark Purdon isn’t expecting his rivals to simply give champion pacer Lazarus his $100,000 Miracle Mile prelude at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. But he would also still be surprised if his harness racing superstar was beaten. Lazarus is rated a $1.20 chance after drawing the ace in the second of the two preludes which will decide the remaining seven invitations to next Saturday’s $750,000 Mile. After dominant wins in the Inter Dominion, New Zealand and Hunter Cups this summer, Lazarus should win again but Purdon has resigned himself to his rival drivers generally making it tactically tricky for the five-year-old. And with Lazarus not blessed with the same blazing gate speed of some of his Australian rivals, Saturday night’s mile may not simply be a case of lead and win. “Obviously I’d love to be in front from the draw but they can leave the gate very quickly here in Sydney so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of them have a look,” says Purdon. “I think we should be able to hold Tiger Tara, who we have seen quite a bit of this summer, but a horse like Mach Doro could come off hard. “But if we get crossed I think they will have to go so fast to do it we can come off the markers straight away.” Considering Lazarus has sat parked in his two biggest Australian wins this season, he should be able to do so again if needed. Purdon will be in for a very different experience with Heaven Rocks in the first prelude where he could settle near last in a race Soho Tribeca should be able to control either in front or parked, making him the best bet. Saturday night’s meeting also sees heats of the NSW Oaks and Derby, with the barrier draw for the Miracle Mile to be held on Sunday around 1pm.  Michael Guerin

Harness racing driver Lauren Tritton knows what it takes to qualify a horse for the Miracle Mile. There has been only one other female driver that has competed in more Miracle Miles since the race has been held at Menangle and that is Natalie Rasmussen. And this Saturday night at Menangle the 24-year-old Tritton has a chance to earn her spot in next week’s $750,000 scintillating sprint. The first chance is Anything For Love in the Group 1 Allied Express Sprint (1609m). Facing defending Miracle Mile champion Lennytheshark and $2.10 TAB fixed Odds favourite Soho Tribeca, Tritton has her tactic in mind. “I will have to drive him extremely aggressive . . . it’s the way he likes to race,” said Tritton. “He is facing a lot better horses but I can’t let that worry me, he has run 1:49 before and the only way to beat ‘Lenny’ is to make him do the work. “I also think Heaven Rocks is the silent assassin of this race but I just have to focus on my job.” With the removal of the two emergencies, Anything For Love will start from gate three. The gelding overcome barrier nine last week to win at Menangle rating the mile in 1:50.4. “He was super last week and we couldn’t be happier with the way he has come through it,” said Tritton who co-trains the pacer with husband Shane Tritton. The duo also have Yayas Hot Spot engaged in this qualifier with Jack Trainor set to drive. In the Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint (1609m) Tritton not only has to face harness racing’s pin-up pacer Lazarus but her drive Franco Nelson will have to deal with drawing the outside gate. “He’s drawn out wide so it limits what we can do but what I do know is that I’m not going to hand the race to them,” said Tritton. “Often in these big races when the fancies draw well, they get to the front and run a slow quarter which makes it impossible when coming from behind. “I’ll have to play it by ear.” Team Tritton have 13 runners engaged on Saturday night including New South Wales Derby and Oaks prospects and Ladyship Mile hopeful Angel In White which now gains a run in the Group 3 Robin Dundee Stakes (1609m). “I’m really excited about her,” said Tritton. “She showed her presence in the Chariots, she finished seventh but she broke 1:50 for her individual time. “She has come through the run very well and will be all guns blazing for this race.”  Amanda Rando

Trainer Michael Stanley believes Soho Tribeca gets the perfect dress rehearsal for next week’s Miracle Mile in his prelude at Menangle on Saturday night. The Victorian horseman brings the Hunter Cup runner-up to Menangle with the same ambition as all the trainers in the preludes, to snare one of the seven remaining spots in next week’s $750,000 glamour sprint. But Stanley’s bid has a little more edge because his five-year-old is seen as maybe the best chance of upsetting Kiwi champion Lazarus in next week’s thriller. Not only was he enormous coming from the outside of the second line to push Lazarus close in the Hunter Cup at Melton two weeks ago but he led and beat him in the opening heat of the Perth Inter Dominion in late November. Stanley wasn’t training Soho Tribeca then but like everybody in harness racing he realises the best way to beat Lazarus is to get in front of him, especially over a mile. “I don’t think you can come from behind him and beat him unless he has a bit of bad luck,” says Stanley. “So if we are going to beat him next week I think our best chance is to lead and make him do the work.” Which is why Saturday night sets up so perfectly for Soho Tribeca and driver Greg Sugars. They start from barrier four in the first of the two $100,000 preludes, with key rivals Lennytheshark (seven) and Heaven Rocks (out of draw) facing a lot tougher tasks. So Sugars can push the go button early and try and dictate to them, much as Stanley would like to see him do to Lazarus next week. “We get our chance this week to show them what we can do and not being in Lazarus’s heat is a big help. “So I’d love to see him in front, like I would next week.” If he finds that position tomorrow night it will take a stunning effort from any of his rivals to beat the $2 top elect. Later in the night Stanley expects his exciting filly Soho Burning Love to excel in the second heat of the NSW Oaks. “I think she’s got as good a chance as any of not only winning the heat, but the final as well,” he said. “She’s won all three runs really well this campaign and she will definitely be sharper than when she was Hunter Cup night. “She missed a lead-up run at Kilmore before Hunter Cup night and she blew quite hard after the race. “She’s a really good filly this one. Very strong. She’ll love the 2400m and I think it could find some of them out.” Michael Guerin

After missing out on an opportunity to qualify for Saturday’s Ladyship Mile harness racing connections of Group 1 winning mare Don’t Think Twice have quickly re-evaluated their options. Now, a concentrated country campaign is the immediate target for the $211,645 earner, starting at Bathurst this Sunday afternoon. This move is a “blessing in disguise” according to trainer Brooke Wilkins. “She was balloted from the nominations for Menangle on Saturday night so we thought we would give her a run at Bathurst,” Wilkins said. “All we can do is hope for the Ladyship with her for next season. “It’s not a bad thing she missed out as she is only four and taking on the older mares might be a bit hard. “We are considering racing her at a few of the Carnival of Cups meetings coming up with races like the Young and Wagga Cup and then of course there is the Breeders Challenge.” As for Bathurst, Don’t Think Twice is no stranger to this track. Although based at Menangle Park, the daughter of Armbro Operative has had six starts at this circuit for five wins, including her victories in the Gold Tiara and Gold Bracelet. She has overcome the second row to win at this venue before and that will be the case on Sunday in the Orange CYMS Group 10 Rugby League Cup (2260m) where Don’t Think Twice has drawn inside the second row. “It’s a good race and hopefully she can come off the pegs straight away,” Wilkins said. Last start Don’t Think Twice finished eighth, beaten 5.9m in the Group 3 Paleface Adios Sprint at Menangle. That was the first time in a year she has finished outside a top two placing. “We were really happy with her run, they got home in a fast time and it was just too hard to make any ground,” Wilkins said. “Her sectionals were good and she has come through the run really well.” Don’t Think Twice will be driven by Jason Grimson who will also drive Ima Jaymar for Wilkins in race seven. Wilkins has won three races with the gelding since acquiring him. “He’s been going really well,” Wilkins said. “He is really quick off the gate and he is a funny little horse, he likes to do his own thing so we let him do whatever he wants and it seems to be working so far.” Wilkins has been on the sidelines from driving after a trackwork accident resulted in her fracturing her patella and tearing a ligament. She is expected to be back driving in two months’ time. Amanda Rando

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Due to an intense snow storm that made for poor track conditions and extremely poor visibility, harness racing at the Meadowlands was canceled after the third race Saturday night. Racing will resume at the Big M Friday night at 6:35 p.m. Yonkers cancels also A persistent snowfall and an unplayable track forced Yonkers Raceway to cancel Saturday’s night (Feb. 17th) program after two races. Note that the first Pick 3 (races 2 through 4) paid the first winner (No. 1) and two ‘alls,’ returning $3.20 for every correct $2 wager Live racing is scheduled to resume Monday night (Feb. 19th) with a first post of 6:50 PM.
LEBANON, OH. - Saturday night's $24,000 Open Handicap Pace at Miami Valley unfolded just as expected with Night Pro (Dale Decker) exploding to the front and polesitter Heza Thrill N (Trace Tetrick) settling snuggly into the pocket. Following a rather pedestrian :28.2 opening quarter mile (despite a sloppy track), Starlite Kid (Dan Noble) mounted a challenge on the outside and lapped in on the leader at the :56.4 midway station. Positions remained unchanged during a speedy :27.1 third split before Starlite Kid faded just enough to allow Heza Thrill N to angle from the pocket at the head of the stretch. Taking full advantage of the ground and energy saving trip, the 9-year-old New Zealand bred son of Christian Cullen easily zoomed by for an open lengths 1:52 tally, his first in four tries in 2018. Heza Thrill N is trained by Tyler George for owner Majs NY Inc. It was the 32nd victory in his career and pushed his lifetime earnings over the $300,000 plateau. Racing resumes at Miami Valley on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with 2:05 p.m. matinees on each afternoon. Gregg Keidel  
East Rutherford, NJ - Rockin Ron is back in town and the $20,000 Preferred Pace just got a lot tougher on Saturday at The Meadowlands.   The millionaire son of Real Desire was as good as any and better than most FFA pacers last summer, amassing over $500,000 in earnings while winning several top class Grand Circuit events and taking a 1:47.2 mark at Mohawk along the way.   Now embarking on his 2018 campaign, Rockin Ron qualified in a sharp 1:52.3 with a 26.1 final quarter last week, He begins from a handicapped outside post 7 for Yannick Gingras on Saturday. Ron Burke trains for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stable.   Tim Tetrick is in for the night and has the drive on race favorite Christen Me N, who was a winner in his last Meadowlands appearance two months ago. He's had a brief freshening and one under his belt coming in to Saturday's race for trainer Jim King, Jr and owner Richard Poillucci. That combination has an interesting prospect in the opener where they'll send recent import Shartin N out against the evening's top pacing mare class.   In the building there is another World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier and the usual array of guaranteed pools along with a six figure carry-over in the Jackpot Super Hi-5. Free program pages may be downloaded for the Late Pick 4 and Hi-5.   Come on out and win some cash. Post time is 6:35 p.m.   Nick Salvi  
STICKNEY, IL - Harness racing driver Ryan Anderson, a native of Crete , Illinois , scored his 3,000th victory on Friday night at Hawthorne Race Course. Anderson 's victory came in the sixth race, driving Jeff R Halas' Olivia V. who is trained by Tim S. Hall The 37-year-old Anderson started his career in 1998. Through the start of racing on Friday, Ryan has driven 22,177 horses, In addition to his 3,000 winners, he has finished second 2,716 times and third 2,677. His drives have earned in excess of $28,000,000. His biggest year came in 2007 when he won 497 of 3,043 races, with purses earned of $3,692,762. That earnings total narrowly beat his 2006 total when his drives earned $3,644,936, winning 466 of 3,005 races. He was 20 when he drove Popcorn Penny in the Breeders' Crown for 3-year-old filly pacers at Mohawk in October of 2000. He was the youngest, at that time, to ever win a Breeders' Crown race. He also trained 160 winners as well. Mandatory Payout on Jackpot High 5 Saturday at Hawthorne After carrying over throughout the course of the winter harness meet, the Jackpot High 5 at Hawthorne will have a mandatory payout on Saturday night.  The High 5 carryover has grown to $204,195 and will be paid out on the final race Saturday.  The ninth race past performances are available online at the United States Trotting Association website for free in the handicapping section under the Strategic Wagering Program tab. The winter harness meet at Hawthorne continues through February 19.  Thoroughbred racing resumes at the end of March and continues through April.  Summer harness action takes place May through September.  Fall thoroughbreds close out the year October through December.  For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com. Jim Miller
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