Day At The Track
Dexter Dunn,Harness racing

Champion driver confirmed for Butt stable

2015 world champion driver Dexter Dunn has this morning confirmed he will drive at Saturday’s $500,000 UBET Blacks A Fake meeting at Albion Park. Dunn, who has driven more than 2000 winners in his decorated career, will guide either My Field Marshal or Let It Ride in the Group 1 UBET Blacks A Fake for trainer Tim Butt. He has also been invited to take part in the $20,000 Driver’s Invitation Race. Dunn won the 2015 World Driving Championship in record-breaking fashion. He scored an unprecedented 200 points across 20 heats, more than 50 points ahead of his nearest rival. Dunn is no stranger to the Albion Park circuit, with his most recent visit coming in 2017 when he guided My Field Marshal to finish second behind Hectorjayjay in the G2 Sunshine Sprint.  His recent successes at 'The Creek' include a 2016 Queensland Oaks with Nek Time.    Racing Queensland

Harness racing

Down Under in NA - On The Rail With Sydney Weaver

Christen Me N, Nike Franco N, Kept Under Wraps A, Anythingforlove A, Sky Major N, Lazarus N, among many other champions who raced in Australia and or New Zealand before making their way to North America. Aside from their gifts of gait speed and racing racing ability they also brought with them an incredible power,  they united two harness racing industries in two hemispheres. I am have been fortunate to see some of these now North American harness racing champions and sit along the rail to watch them race. I am always captivated by their racing ability. I have even had the chance to meet a few of them up and I am always a little star-struck when I do. I find it inspiring how people have been brought together because of these horses. I wonder if in adjusting to a new climate, new people and new routines if these champions realize how they have positively impacted the global harness racing industry? Personally, I have made new friends and made existing friendships stronger because of these champions. Here are my stories on some of the former  “Down Under” champions, racing in North America and the amazing friendships I made because of them. He was known as the “the Prince” when he faced Terror To Love, at tracks across his native New Zealand. Chances are you do not who I am talking about, unless you are involved in New Zealand racing or are like me and follow it. But, in the barn and with those that knew him best, he was “CC”. When the news broke that Christen Me N would be coming to race in the United States, I have to admit I was both thrilled and disappointed.  I have a soft spot for Christen Me N because he was the first New Zealand bred horse I took an interest in after I met his former driver Dexter Dunn in Ireland in 2016. I was thrilled because this meant I would have the opportunity to watch him race, but I also knew that he would be greatly missed by many in New Zealand. Then, I remembered that him coming to the North America meant friendships would be created and that was a good thing. He would be showcasing the very best of New Zealand racing talent, in the place some argue is the pinnacle of harness racing- the United States of America. Upon arrival in the United States, Christen Me N was placed in the care of Jim King Jr. and Joann Looney -King. I looked forward to the day that I would get to meet the famous “C.C”. One day in early summer of 2017, I got my opportunity because he was entered to race at what was at that time Mohawk Racetrack .That afternoon, I stopped by the farm where the King’s were stabling to see him in addition to some other horses they had racing in Ontario. As I arrived, Christen Me N was coming in from the paddock. He was so regal, standing there in the warmth of the sunshine while I admired him. I was at a loss for words and he looked like he knew what I was feeling. I got a little closer and he bowed his head, allowing me to stroke his face, and give him a kiss. Meeting him is an experience I will remember and cherish. That night he raced at what is now Woodbine- Mohawk Park, and of course I cheered. However, I was cheering him on for his fans in the southern hemisphere too. He unfortunately did not win that night, but just to be able watch him race live was a thrill for me.  When I posted the pictures from our visit and of him racing the following day; my social media buzzed. I received comments about how he was doing and how his race went and a few friend requests from people in New Zealand. The photos were also shared by people in New Zealand. Knowing that the small gesture of posting a few pictures meant a great deal to so many people warmed my heart. Next is my story of the horse who inspired this story- Nike Franco N. Nike Franco N is also is the care of Joann and Jim King Jr. I first met her on that same visit that I met ¨C.C” and she also raced on that same night. When she began racing in North America, a person by the name of Amanda Grieve was always tagged in many posts on Twitter (tweets) about Nike Franco N. So, after I met Nike Franco and posted the pictures of us, I decided to send her a message and find out she loved this mare. It turned that when Nike Franco N raced in Australia, Amanda was the caretaker for top mare and trained her for a period of time too.  Now Amanda and I talk every couple of weeks.Our friendship is all thanks to Nike Franco N. If it was not Nike Franco N being sold to American interests there is a very good chance that Amanda and I never would have met.  Earlier this season, when Nike Franco N raced in Canada in the Roses Are Red elimination and final, I video chatted with Amanda from the rail at Woodbine- Mohawk Park and I turned the camera so she could see the race, even though she lives on the other side of the world we were both cheering on Nike Franco N who she affectionately calls “Darling”.  It was truly a special opportunity for me and one I will cherish forever. In a recent conversation with Amanda,  she said something that tugged at my heartstrings and I felt was fitting for the sentiment of this very story. She said, “You get very attached to them. Especially working with them every day. And travelling with them too. Yes, I do miss her. But, I am still watching her race now.”  I can sympathize with how she feels, I would feel the same it was a horse I cared about. But, that is the great thing about social media. Nike Franco N may be across the Pacific [ocean], but the two of them are still connected through people in North America. Amanda is able to stay updated on Nike Franco N’s racing career and receive pictures is because of the friendships that Nike Franco N racing in North America has prompted. The horses that have crossed the Equator that I have also made friendships that I had before their move much stronger. Sired by Bettors Delight and foaled in 2011, Kept Under Wraps A was voted the two-year-old of the year for the state of Victoria. My friend Marcus Kirkwood owned a part of him, before Kept Under Wraps A was sold to North American interests.  I became friends with Marcus through Twitter, and when I went to Australia in February of 2017, we met in person. So, now that Kept Under Wraps A in racing in the United States, I periodically check the entries and results pages on the United States Trotting Association website to see how he is doing and then I send Marcus a message with an update. Anythingforlove A (spelled Anything For Love when racing in Australia) was bred by my friend Paul Humphreys. We became friends through social media and I also met him when I went to Australia in 2017.  When the horse had his first couple of starts in the United States, Paul and I messaged back and forth. I remember watching the race on my laptop. It was neat to be able to say “I know who bred that horse”. Anythingforlove gave us one more thing to talk about.  The story of how I got to meet Sky Major N is unique. My dad was talking with the trainer of Sky Major N, Duane Marfisi, and he it came up in conversation where he happened to be stabled, turns out we were at the same training center. When my dad told me I was elated. My filly, a future champion, was stabled steps away from a former New Zealand champion. Trevor Casey owns Sky Major N. I talk with his partner Kate Marriott often. I truly consider her a friend. During my visits with Sky Major N I gave him treats and kisses and my mom would take pictures. When I returned home I always sent Kate the pictures as soon as I could and told all about our visit.  Similarly, Trevor Casey also owned a share of the world-renowned champion, Lazarus N. Now that Lazarus N is in the United States being trained by Jimmy Takter, I send Kate all of the news and pictures I see of Lazarus. It always makes my day to send her updates of both of these champions. Every time the name of an overseas champion is printed in a North American [racing] program or their name graces a headline an “N” or an “A” is placed after their name to symbolize to everyone reading the program or the article they mentions them,  this horse is from Australia or New Zealand. I think of it as a symbol of pride.That extra letter also symbolizes the countless hours of care, hard work and dedication that the team of people looked after them in Australia or New Zealand put in that made them into the champion that now races in North America. I will forever be grateful for the friendships I have gained because of these horses. They have added so much joy to my life. I also look forward to creating many more friendships through these horses in the future. To everyone who has ever loved, taken care of, trained, owned or driven one of these now North American champions, thank you. Thank you for making these champions who they are. Without you they would not have broken the records they did, had the jaw-dropping victories they did. In addition, thank you for sharing your your champions with us here in North America. You will always be a part of who they are, no matter where in the world they race. To everyone in North America who has a horse who previously raced in Australia and New Zealand, know that these horses are extra special. I encourage you to find out who the connections were when the horse raced in Australia and or New Zealand and connect with them, if you have not already. I hope through these dual hemisphere champions you will make friendships like I have. These champions that have etched their names into greatness in both hemispheres make the big world seem a little smaller by bringing people together who are passionate about the same sport, but are oceans apart that is the power of these dual hemisphere champions. Sydney Weaver is 18 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals. She will be attending Carleton University this fall in their Communications and Media Studies Honors Program. Footnote: Since I began writing this piece, Christen Me N, “C.C.” is no longer in the care of the Jim King Jr. and Joann Looney-King, he is now with other caring connections.

Tact Tate,Harness racing

Sunshine Sprint winner in drivers seat

Pint-sized pocket rocket Tact Tate is in the box seat. The dual Group One winner landed a knockout punch when he rattled along the Albion Park sprint lane last Saturday night to secure the Gr.2 $50,540 Garrards Sunshine Sprint defeating Celestial Arden and Ohoka Punter in 1:53.0. This weekend, he will take his place in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship and look to complete the big Sunshine State double. And recent history is on his side. Twelve months ago, millionaire pacer Hectorjayjay landed both features while champion pacer Im Themightyquinn also did the double back in 2014. Im Themightyquinn set a track record of 1:50.4 when successful in the Sunshine Sprint, the record still stands. “The Albion Park Harness Racing Club has a proud and rich history; the names on the rolls of honor are a clear indication of the champion qualities required to succeed at this high level. The fact that Tact Tate has the chance to complete the double only adds to the excitement of the night.” APHRC Chairman David Fowler said. The feature this week will be staged over the staying distance of 2680m and Tact Tate boasts strong credentials at the distance range. Prepared by Amanda Turnbull, the McArdle gelding scored a great victory in the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal FFA at TABCORP Park, Menangle over the distance of 2400m while he also scored a victory in the Gr.2 $50,000 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown over the distance of 2540m last year. If successful, connections will pocket an extra $50,000 while a $15,000 bonus will be paid out if he is placed second or third courtesy of Racing Queensland and UBET. Following the barrier draw, Tact Tate will start from gate six and looks the likely early leader again after crossing from the outside gate last week. Gambling giant UBET has installed Tact Tate as a $4.80 chance. The Steve Turnbull trained Atomic Red is listed as the punters elect at $3.20.   Chris Barsby

Harness Racing Victoria

HRV RAD Board Hearing – John F Ryan

On 12 July 2018, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board considered charges issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 190(1) and 190B(1) against licensed trainer John F Ryan. AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under AHRR 190(1) related to a urine sample collected from the horse ‘Diamond Grace’ after it finished first in Race 2, the ‘Egmont Park Stud Pace’, at the Cobram harness racing meeting on 5 February 2018. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of that urine sample revealed the sample to contain arsenic in excess of the allowable threshold. Mr Ryan was also charged with a breach of AHRR 190B(1) being that he failed to keep and maintain a log book in accordance with the rules. Mr Ryan pleaded guilty to both charges before submissions on penalty were heard from HRV Stewards and Mr Ryan. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Mr Ryan’s guilty plea and cooperation throughout the investigation; Mr Ryan’s excellent record in regard to prohibited substance matters over 37 years in the industry; both general and specific deterrence; the circumstances of the matter; the significance of prohibited substance matters; and the onus being on participants to be aware of industry issues. Mr Ryan was subsequently fined $3000, of which $1500 was suspended for a period of 12 months. In relation to the log book charge, Mr Ryan was fined the sum of $250. Harness Racing Victoria

WASHINGTON, PA, July 16, 2018 -- Adios Week, the annual extravaganza at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino that features Grand Circuit harness racing, giveaways, gastronomic delights and other fan-centric activities, kicks off Saturday, July 21 with eliminations for the 52nd edition of the $450,000 (est) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids. Adios Week culminates with the July 28 final of the Adios, one of harness racing's marquee events for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Post time for Adios day, which includes five Grand Circuit stakes in addition to the Adios, is 12 noon. The Meadows and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will present Adios Week activities both traditional and new. Here's the schedule: Saturday, July 21 -- Adios eliminations highlight a card that also includes a $165,000 (est) Pennsylvania Sires Stake and a $60,000 (est) PA Stallion Series event -- both for freshman pacing colts and geldings. The Meadows will give away Adios travel mugs and offer a BBQ Pit and a bar on the apron. After the races, the "Rockin' On The Rail" series of live Saturday concerts continues with a performance by Bon Journey on the apron. First post is 1:05 PM. Tuesday, July 24 -- The draw for Adios post positions takes place at 12:30 PM and can be seen on Meadows Live! Festivities include Harness Racing Bingo, with a $50 wagering voucher up for grabs. The live card follows at 1:05 PM. Wednesday, July 25 -- During the live card (first post 1:05 PM), mycash members can compete for mycash bonus points in handicapping contests at the track and its Harmar facility. Friday, July 27 -- Live racing begins at 5:30 PM, headlined by two $50,000 (est) Grand Circuit stakes: the Ed Ryan for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters and the Judge Joe McGraw for freshman filly trotters. Fans can observe the assembly in the Racebook of the blanket of orchids bestowed on the Adios champion, and they can enjoy the BBQ Pit and outside bar, food trucks and live music from DJ AJ. The MSOA will stage a "Family Fun Night" including a petting zoo and a bounce house. Saturday, July 28 -- The Pace for the Orchids is set for approximately 4 PM while the five supporting Grand Circuit stakes are headed by the $125,000 (est) Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers. Exciting wagering opportunities include three with pool guarantees: $15,000 for the Adios Pick 4 (races 9-12), $10,000 for the Early Pick 4 (races 4-7) and $10,000 for the Pick 5 (final five races). The MSOA will continue its family-friendly activities, and fans may enjoy food trucks and a VIP Trackside Tent. (Visit www.meadowsgaming for details.) DJ AJ will spin records, and the featured "Rockin' On The Rail" band is NOMAD. The draw for Adios eliminations post positions takes place Tuesday, July 17. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Trois-Rivieres - With sunny skies and warm temperatures, the conditions were perfect for a harness racing track record to be set at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday and Hudson Phil made it happen. In the opening round first division of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacing colts, Hudson Phil put on a show of speed with a four-length romp in 1:53.2 for driver Stephane Brosseau. The third race got underway with Kinnder Jackson (Justin Filion) and Play Jet Hay (Guy Gagnon) battling for the early lead. Filion was able to clear to the front with Kinnder Jackson and then Gagnon came right back to take control with Play Jet Hay in :26.4 for the opening quarter mile. Then it was Hudson Phil's turn to speed things up. As they came off the second turn, Play Jet Hay bared out and made a slight break in stride and allowed just enough room for Brosseau to squeeze between the two horses and take the lead to the half mile marker in :55.2. With Kinnder Jackson in second place, Gagnon continued on the outside with Play Jet Bay and pressed Hudson Phil to the three-quarters in 1:23.4. Then by the stretch drive, Play Jet Bay had enough and began to fade as Hudson Phil went on to win by three and one-half lengths. Play Jet Bay held for second with The prior record for a three-year-old colt was 1:54.1, set by Eveil Dun Champion in 2014. The gelding record was not broken as that is still held by Duc D'Orleans at 1:52.4 in 2013. This was the first track record to be broken this season at H3R. A son of Shanghai Phil, Hudson Phil is trained by Mark Steacy and was bred and is owned by the Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson. Hudson Phil paid $2.70 to win. He was a winner of $171,000 last year and this was his second win in eight starts this year. The 1:53.2 clocking was the fastest mile this year at H3R. The ninth race second division of the Breeders Cup Series for colts saw last year's champion, Stock, wire the field with ease for driver Stephane Brosseau. Stock went right to the lead from post five and held the field at bay through the opening quarter mile in :27.4 and to the half mile in :57. Then in the backstretch, Brosseau asked Stock for a little more and the son of Sportswriter pulled away to a ten-length lead after the three-quarters in 1:25.2 and then went on to win in a huge romp by 15 and three-quarters lengths in 1:54.2. Big Mach (Guy Gagnon), who made a break at the start, then rebounded, came first-over in vain but held for second place with Challenge Magic (Jocelyn Gendron) third. It was the second win in nine starts this year for Stock. He is trained by Dany Fountaine and was bred by Sotirios Anastaspoulo of Sainte-Therese and co-owned with Ecurie Gaetan Bono of Montreal. He paid just $2.10 to win. The first division of the Breeders Cup for fillies was the fifth race that started off with Lune Bleu (Pierre Luc Roy) parking out Butterfly GB (Guy Gagnon) until nearly the opening quarter mile in :27.4. Then Butterfly BG led the field past the half mile in :57.4 as D Gs Shadowsbell and driver Jonathan Lachance came after them first-over and the two horses sped to the three-quarters in 1:26.4. D Gs Shadowsbell could not give up and pressed Butterfly BG on the outside until they started down the stretch. It was then that Butterfly BG proved to be the stronger filly, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.2. Lune Bleu was third. It was a lifetime mark for Butterfly BG and the daughter of Sportswriter's second win in nine starts for Gagnon, who also trains the filly. She was bred and is owned by Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy and paid $2.50 to win as the wagering favorite. In the second division, eighth race for the fillies it was all Katniss S BG and driver Pascal Berube. They led from start to finish, had Lit De Rose (Pierre Luc Roy) come first-over and challenge but never was able to collar the leader. Katniss S BG won by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:57 with Miss Rockadale (Guy Gagnon) second with Lit De Rose third. It was the second win in eight starts this year for Katniss S BG. She is sired by Mach Three, trained by Richard Moreau and was bred and is co-owned by Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau or Sorel-Tracy. Katniss S BG paid just $2.30 to win. Pascal Berube led all drivers with a triple on the afternoon and Dany Fontaine sent two winners out from his stable. Track Notes: The opening round of the Breeders Cup for three-year-old trotters kicks off Tuesday evening. There is a full field of ten colts that will battle it out in the fifth race, while only three fillies entered the first race and will compete in a non-wagering race between the 4th and 5th races on the program. First post is 6:30 pm. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

When Lazarus stepped foot upon American soil at the start of June this year it officially began the next leg of the great pacer’s remarkable journey. It was also the beginning of a growing hype from the North American and international harness racing media. Since arriving at Jimmy Takter’s East Windsor Farm in New Jersey, the enquiries have been constant. The reputation and expectation that preceded his arrival would put pressure on any trainer. But his new trainer seems extremely calm about it all. With 45 starts, 35 wins, 9 placings (he was only once out of the top three) and $3.8 million (NZ)  in earnings, Lazarus has already won two editions of his home country’s most prestigious race, the New Zealand Cup, and a staggering 15 Group One races in Australasia. But his ultimate challenge still lies ahead of him. Lazarus has been purchased by Taylor Made Stallions, who up until last year have been thoroughbred stallion owners, and are based in Kentucky. One of four brothers who own Taylor Made Stallions, Duncan Taylor grew up in the Standardbred game and decided that branching back out into the harness racing world would be a sentimental move and also a lucrative opportunity for their company. His new trainer, US Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Takter, is a Swedish native that has tasted success at the very highest level in Europe and North America. Takter trained Elitlopp winner Moni Maker and also the world’s fastest pacer, Always B Miki, and he now has his sights set on translating Lazarus into an international star. “My main goal with Lazarus is the Breeders Crown in October,” says Takter. “He has been working very well here, last week he paced a mile at home in 1.56 and did it very handily.” “I intend to go a bit quicker with him this week but I am very pleased with him. You can tell he’s a legend.” The horse has recovered from his trip and has adapted well coming from winter to spring reported Takter. “He’s been tremendous so far. There is a lot of stress that is put on a horse coming to this hemisphere. Different food, different environment, but my farm is very quiet and relaxing.” “He arrived looking great but with a little winter coat. His body was a bit confused so it took a little bit for him to adapt.  In the last two weeks I would say he has really blossomed and he is starting to look really good now.” For Takter the weight of expectation from the international racing community is nothing new, and he thrives on the challenge. “It’s not intimidating for me. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I took on Moni Maker years ago and that was the best decision I ever made,” laughed Takter. “I like the idea of taking on great horses. That’s what we work for right?” “A lot of people are asking about the horse at the moment, hopefully we are able to live up to the expectation.” Since joining the team Lazarus has made a unique impression on Takter. Who fondly refers to the horse’s characteristics during his work. “He’s got personality, he’s very cool. We train him on the straight track with a team of eight horses and he is very vocal,” he said. “He screams the whole way. He’s a funny horse.” The biggest challenge in adapting to the racing style in North America Takter feels is gate speed. “I know his racing style at home is varied and over different distances, but up here you have to have gate speed. That will be the biggest thing he will need to have to make it here but it feels like he has it. I don’t think it will be a problem.” Takter knows you can’t compare Champions from different hemispheres against each other. “I have been asked if Lazarus compares to Miki (Always B Miki) and I don’t think you can really put them up against each other. They are such unique horses.” “And that is not to put Lazarus down of course. It’s just hard to compare at this stage.” “Lazarus is more laid back and more humble. And Miki was more stallion-like. But I was so proud to be associated with that horse and the world record.” The next task will be to find a suitable catch driver for the Down Under wonder. “We don’t know who will drive him yet,” admitted Takter. “Yannick Gingras does a lot of driving for me and I think the horse would fit Yannick’s style.” “I’m not one hundred percent sure but the owners are great people and basically leave it up to me to make the best decision for the horse which I appreciate.” So what would Takter deem as a success in North America for Lazarus? “Pocono Downs is not a track where you can go under 1.46. But if he does win the Breeders Crown this horse will go down as one of the greatest of all time, not only in the Southern Hemisphere but in the Northern Hemisphere as well.” But to even get to the Crown the horse will need to trial and show he’s ready for it. Lazarus will attempt to qualify at the Meadowlands in four weeks’ time, coinciding with the close of the Meadowland racing season and their Hambletonian Day meet. “I hope we can accomplish success at the highest level,” said Takter. “I am very happy to have this horse.” “We all know how difficult it is for horses to travel and keep at their peak form.”   by Jess Smith, for Harness Racing New Zealand

Just days after being installed one of the favourites for the NZ Cup, Aussie superstar Soho Tribeca will undergo surgery for a broken leg. In a horrible aftermath to last night’s messy Group 2 Sunshine Sprint won by Tact Tate, owner-breeder Rob Watson confirmed the severity of the injury sustained when trainer-driver Mick Stanley was looking for a clear run rounding the last bend. “That’s where it happened, when Mick was desperately trying to get into the clear after being stuck in a pocket the whole race,” Watson said. “Messy is the right word for the race and it ended very badly for us. His leg was badly swollen straight after it, he was rushed to the vet and they confirmed the break. “They say the break is in a ‘good’ spot if you know what I mean. They say if the surgery goes as planned he’ll need six months off then can start his rehab.” Watson said he had already been contacted by stud farms asking about Soho Tribeca standing as a stallion, but the plan is to focus on a racetrack return. “I feel like there is unfinished business. He’s just now getting to his prime and those last two races aren’t the way we want hi to go out,” he said. Soho Tribeca galloped at the start of last month’s Group 1 Len Smith Mile and took no part in the race as a $1.40 favourite. He was $1.60 favourite in last night’s Sunshine Sprint. Soho Tribeca’s injury and a mystifying flop by Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal has thrown next Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Ubet Blacks A Fake at Albion Park wide open. My Field Marshal was trapped wide and worked hard, but failed to beat a runner home and left trainer Tim Butt shaking his head. “We don’t know what to make of it,” he said. “Sure he had a hard run, but he still should’ve finished fourth or fifth in a race like that. “He can do that, throw in a bad one, but we thought we had him spot on. “He seemed good after the race and is fine today, but I’ll get him scoped tomorrow (Monday) just to be sure before we press on to the Blacks A Fake.” The drama of the Sunshine Sprint has left Butt contemplating a change of plans with his exciting four-year-old Let It Ride, who sparkled winning a support race at Albion Park last night. “He was headed to the 4YO feature next Saturday, but, yes, we are weighing-up things up now. It’s a $200,000 race the Blacks A Fake and not as deep as we first thought,” he said. “We’ll make a decision tonight (Sunday), but there’s a real chance he could run in the big one.” Amanda Turnbull’s comeback pacer Tact Tate won the Sunshine Sprint by bursting to the lead from a wide draw, taking a trail, then out-sprinting them late to beat Celestial Arden and 2016 Blacks A Fake winner Ohoka Punter. The final field and barrier draw for the Blacks A Fake is decided at 5pm tomorrow (Monday). Adam Hamilton

Trainer Gary Hall Sr wants to set the record straight, on two fronts, Firstly, he’s aware of varying reports about NZ Cup plans with his stable star Chicago Bull. Bottom he’ll be there unless something unexpected happens between now and November. Secondly, the driving force behind the planned Addington raid is itch left to scratch after three aborted trips across with Hall Sr’s former champion pacer Im Themightyquinn. “No doubt, that’s part of the fire in the belly. The fact I’d set Quinny for race so many times only to have things go wrong,” he said. “I’ve been to the NZ Cup, it’s such a great event and raceday, and I’d always wanted to be part of it. Quinny would’ve been the perfect horse, but this little guy will give it a real shake if we can get him there at his top. “It’s just about arranging the travel. I want to get across early to have a lead-up run, they all say it’s crucial. “So it’s likely I’ll go the Victoria Cup at Melton a month before the NZ Cup then go across to Christchurch from there.” It’s pretty clear. This is no “possible” trip. It’s happening unless anything derails. Judging by Chicago Bull’s arrogant first-up win at Gloucester Park last Friday night, he’s come back as well as ever. And Hall Sr estimated he was “only about 75 per cent” wound-up. Chicago Bull settled back, buzzed around the field early to take the lead, and cruised home to win as he liked, albeit against B-graders. “It’s just the sort of run we hoped for first-up. He’s come through it well,” Hall Sr said. “I got a call last night asking if I’d whiz him across to Brisbane for the Blacks A Fake this week after all the drama of the Sunshine Sprint, but that’s a definite no. He’s not ready and it’s not part of the plan. “There are no feature races here for him. He’ll just go through the free-for-alls, there’s another one next Friday, then we’ll work out if the Victoria Cup fits the travel plans to get him to NZ.” The inevitable comparisons come between Chicago Bull and Imthemightyquinn, but Hall Sr shuts them down pretty quickly. “Put it this way, when I took Quinny to the races I expected to win most of the time, with this little guy I hope to win,” he said. “But, what I will say is that Chicago Bull is still on the up and he’s done more at this stage of his career than Quinny had done so it’s exciting to see where he can end up.” Adam Hamilton

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Plunge Blue Chip, driven by Ake Svanstedt, nipped 1-2 favorite Manchego in a world-record performance to win the second of two $128,500 divisions of the Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old harness racing trotting fillies at the Meadowlands Saturday night, and in the process, became the fastest 3-year-old trotter in history, regardless of sex. The 2-1 second choice, who hadn't raced in three weeks and was only making her second start in a month and a half, went after leader Manchego at the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.1 and after a stirring stretch duel, gunned down Manchego and driver Yannick Gingras by a nose in 1:49.4, equaling the fastest trotting mile in Meadowlands history. On July 11 of 2015, JL Cruze became the first sub-1:50 performer in Big M history, when he went 1:49.4 in the Graduate final. "It's unbelievable, but this is a very good horse. (1):49.4 was a surprise, but she is a good horse. She has not raced on the big tracks so much, that is why she has not raced so fast. In two weeks, she has the Hambletonian (Oaks)," said Svanstedt. Plunge Blue Chip, a daughter of Muscle Mass, paid $6.20 to her backers. Live Laugh Love finished third. In the first division, Phaetosive, driven and trained by Trond Smedshammer, grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and never looked back, trotting clear at the wire by 2¾ lengths. The daughter of Explosive Matter, who last week scored in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia, took the lead at the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.4 and romped home in 1:51.3. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Phaetosive paid $3.60, 2.80 and $2.20. "She was very good last year as a 2-year-old and has gotten a bit bigger and stronger this year," said Smedshammer, who won the Del Miller for the first time. "She will be off next week, then it's the Hambletonian Oaks elimination and, hopefully, the Oaks final." Longshot Perfect Summer K, who went off at odds of 137-1, finished second ($59.40, $18.20) and Hey Blondie rounded out the top three, paying $3.60 to show. by Lou Monaco, for Hambletonian Society    

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - David Miller flashed a wide smile as he guided Courtly Choice to the winner's circle after winning the $701,830 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. The monkey was off the Hall of Famer's back. After 19 failed efforts, Miller finally owned a harness racing victory in the Meadowlands Racetrack's signature event for 3-year-olds. Courtly Choice rallied to win the Pace by 1¼ lengths on Saturday night. "That was sweet," Miller said. "Really sweet." The Pace was an obvious omission on Miller's glittering resume. "The Buckeye" is second on the sport's all-time money list with $222 million in the bank. His best previous Pace finish was a second with Always B Miki in 2014. The sweetness of the moment spread in many directions, including trainer Blake MacIntosh, who also savored the victory in his Pace debut. "I believed in this horse," said McIntosh, the former assistant to Casie Coleman. "He just had some back luck earlier in the year." And it was a winning gamble for the ownership group that ponied up $61,690 to enter last week's eliminations. The faith of Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe and Touch Stone Farms was rewarded with the $350,915 first-prize check. Most importantly, it was moment of redemption for Courtly Choice, who failed to make the finals in the North America Cup and the Hempt. The colt served notice his moment was at hand with a sharp first-up victory in last week's Pace elimination. And then he finally put it all together for the richest victory of his career. The race seemed primed for a 57-1 upset when a dead-game Dorsoduro Hanover, handled by Matt Kakaley, battled his way to the front at the top of the lane. But Courtly Choice was tracking his every move and angled wide under Miller's urging to score the victory. "The trip worked out good," Miller said. "The couple of horses I thought would leave from the outside left. I was able to get Matt in front of me and nobody else moved. On the last turn, I was real happy with my spot." The time was 1:47 1/5 on the warm evening. Courtly Choice paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.80 as the 6-5 favorite. Dorsoduro Hanover returned $28.20 and $8.80. Stay Hungry paid $3.20 to show as the best finisher among trainer Tony Alagna's trio in the race. Jimmy Freight, the other supplement, was fourth followed by Thinkbig Dreambig, Nutcracker Sweet, This Is The Plan, Babes Dig Me, Hayden Hanover and American History. by Mike Farrell, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - McWicked continued to turn back the clock, holding off Filibuster Hanover by a half-length to win Saturday's $471,100 William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers in 2:02.2 at the distance of 1 1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. Rockin Ron finished third. McWicked, a 7-year-old stallion, was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3 in 2014. He has won five of seven races this year, including the Ben Franklin Pace on June 30, and earned $543,911 for owner Ed James' SSG Stables. Rockin Ron led the field to the opening quarter, in :25.4, before yielding the top spot to Sintra, who took the group to the half in :55, and three-quarters in 1:22.4. McWicked and driver Brian Sears were sixth through the early portion of the race, but followed the cover of Check Six to work their way to second at the top of the stretch. McWicked took the lead in the lane, but still had work to do to fend off the charge of Filibuster Hanover to his inside. "I was trying to get him someplace in the hunt early and get in some type of flow," Sears said. "The horse has been super sharp his last few starts. I was just hoping to get some kind of trip and it worked out great. "(Filibuster Hanover) was digging pretty good on the inside, but my horse kicked it in right to the wire and was very sharp. He's just a sweet horse, so easy to drive, and gives you everything he's got." McWicked, the 4-5 favorite, paid $3.60 to win. As a 3-year-old, McWicked won 12 of 23 races and earned $1.47 million. He was winless in a combined 14 races at ages 4 and 5 because of breathing issues and multiple throat surgeries, but bounced back last year with seven victories in 27 races and $560,025. For his career, McWicked has won 27 of 81 starts and $2.86 million. "This horse, every single time he races, is absolutely unbelievable," McWicked's trainer Casie Coleman said. "He gives everything he's got every time he's on the track. He's just a pleasure of a horse." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Six Pack and Wolfgang won Saturday's $181,000 divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters at the Meadowlands, stamping themselves as top contenders for the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 4. Six Pack, the No. 2-ranked horse in Meadowlands' announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian, won his division in a world-record 1:50. The time eclipsed the previous mark for a 3-year-old of 1:50.1, which was shared by Donato Hanover and Muscle Hill. Six Pack, driven and trained by Ake Svanstedt, won by 2¼ lengths over You Know You Do. Alarm Detector was third. Alarm Detector set the early fractions, leading to an opening quarter in :26.2 and half in :54.4. Six Pack and Svanstedt were third, but went on the attack and were alongside Alarm Detector as they came around the final turn. Six Pack pulled away in the stretch on his way to his fifth win in six starts this year. "He's a tough horse," said Svanstedt, who won last year's Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit. "I had a lot of power when we came into the stretch. I hope he can be sound and healthy (for the Hambletonian). I'm looking forward to that." Six Pack, a son of Muscle Mass-Pleasing Lady, has won nine of 14 career races and earned $557,840. He is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF and Lars Berg. Sent off at odds of 3-5, Six Pack paid $3.40 to win. Wolfgang, the No. 1 horse in the Road to the Hambletonian rankings, won his Dancer division by 2-3/4 lengths over Classichap in a career-best 1:51.2. Zephyr Kronos finished third. Driven by Yannick Gingras, the Jimmy Takter-trained Wolfgang sat behind an early battle for the lead between Evaluate and Hat Trick Habit before moving to the front on the backstretch. He was unthreatened the rest of the way. Wolfgang, a son of My MVP-Summer Savory, has won all three of his starts this season and earned $200,415. For his career, he has won six of 13 races and $516,690. Wolfgang is owned by Brixton Medical Inc., Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables and Fair Island Farm Inc. The 4-5 favorite, Wolfgang paid $3.60 to win. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ariana G, the 1-5 favorite driven by Yannick Gingras, led wire-to-wire before drawing clear late to a 2¾-length victory in the 27th edition of the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity for harness racing 4-year-old trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Ariana G completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 2:05 and cruised to her third win in five starts this season, posting her 24th victory in 31 career starts. Coming off a world-record 1:50 2/5 score in the Graduate Series final just a week ago, Ariana G also joins 2016 winner and Gingras-driven Hannelore Hanover (who won earlier on the Saturday card in the Miss Versatility), 1964 winner Elma and 1963 winner Spry Rodney as mare winners of the Maturity and also hits the record books as the first mare to complete the Hambletonian Oaks-Maturity double. As the prohibitive favorite, Ariana G returned $2.60 to win. "I was so happy with her performance. I was a little nervous with her nine post. She cut it close a bit down the stretch, but she is just an amazing horse," said trainer Jimmy Takter, who took home his first Maturity win. "We should not compare great horse with others. She has been so good. She is just a perfect horse." Takter said Ariana G will next race on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 4) in the John Cashman Memorial. Bill's Man, driven by Corey Callahan, was second, with Top Flight Angel and Andy Miller grabbing the show dough.   by Lou Monaco, for the Hambletonian Society

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Hannelore Hanover and Broadway Donna each won a $30,000 division of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands, with Hannelore's 1:50.2 score coming up just one-fifth of a second off the year's fastest trotting mile. Hannelore Hanover, the defending Horse of the Year, was sent off at 1-9 and led from start to finish for driver Yannick Gingras. Ice Attraction, who tried to reel in Hannelore Hanover along the inside in the stretch, finished second while Celebrity Ruth, who tried to challenge for the lead on the final turn, was third. The margin of victory was a half-length. "I was just measuring it in the stretch," Gingras said. "I don't want to go more than I have to. She was really good." Hannelore Hanover, a daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety, has won all six of her starts this year and has earned $233,338. For her career, she has won 42 of 64 races and $2.7 million. The 6-year-old mare is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva Stables. Hannelore Hanover paid $2.10 to win. Broadway Donna won her Miss Versatility division in 1:51.1, equaling her career mark. The 5-year-old mare took the lead from Emoticon Hanover on the backstretch and never looked back on her way to victory by 1½ lengths over Caprice Hill. Emoticon Hanover, the 1-2 favorite, finished third. "I expected a little more speed early in the race," winning driver David Miller said. "When I saw (the opening quarter) in :28, I thought I better make a move. I had to go a good second quarter, but she relaxed and had plenty left on the end of it. She seems really good right now. She's getting pretty wise to racing, she knows what it's all about." Broadway Donna has won three of five races this year and earned $43,750 for owner Fashion Farms and trainer Jim Campbell. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner has won 20 of 37 career races and $1.32 million. Sent off at odds of 2-1, Broadway Donna paid $6.60 to win as the second choice in the wagering. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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Plainville, MA---Although Eddie Davis Jr. hasn't had as many starts at Plainridge Park this year as he's had in the past, there's no question he is still one of the craftiest reinsmen to regularly compete in the Commonwealth. One Monday (July 16) Davis illustrated that point when he scored a driving triple that included wins in both feature races. In the $16,000 Winners-Over pace, Davis directed Bet You from post four and hit the pylons while One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) left hard in :26 flat. But his passive attitude was short-lived as he rolled Bet You to the outside past the three-eighths and motored up towards the leader. In a grinding fashion, Bet You inched his way towards One To Draw To and by the 1:22.3 three-quarters was dead even with him. The two shadowed each other around far turn but by the head of the stretch, Bet You had taken the lead and extended it to two lengths. He hit the wire by himself and stopped the clock in 1:51, which equaled his seasonal mark. It was the fourth win of the year for Bet You ($3.00) who is owned by Scott Dillon and trained by Joe Nelson. And in the $12,000 conditioned undercard pace, Davis took control at the start with Attention Please and never let go. Attention Please set fractions of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:22.3 while never letting anyone get closer than a length. Rounding the final bend and heading down the lane, Davis provided some moderate urging to keep him on task but Attention Please didn't really need it as he cruised home an easy winner in 1:51.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Attention Please ($15.40) also registered his fourth win of 2018 for owner Kathleen Brewer and trainer Timmie Griffith. Davis's also won with Rapid It Up Art (1:54, $5.20) who completed the hat trick. Once again, no one hit the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager in the sixth race and as a result, there is a large carry over pool of $10,931 in the sixth race on Tuesday afternoon (July 17) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  
Christen Me N, Nike Franco N, Kept Under Wraps A, Anythingforlove A, Sky Major N, Lazarus N, among many other champions who raced in Australia and or New Zealand before making their way to North America. Aside from their gifts of gait speed and racing racing ability they also brought with them an incredible power,  they united two harness racing industries in two hemispheres. I am have been fortunate to see some of these now North American harness racing champions and sit along the rail to watch them race. I am always captivated by their racing ability. I have even had the chance to meet a few of them up and I am always a little star-struck when I do. I find it inspiring how people have been brought together because of these horses. I wonder if in adjusting to a new climate, new people and new routines if these champions realize how they have positively impacted the global harness racing industry? Personally, I have made new friends and made existing friendships stronger because of these champions. Here are my stories on some of the former  “Down Under” champions, racing in North America and the amazing friendships I made because of them. He was known as the “the Prince” when he faced Terror To Love, at tracks across his native New Zealand. Chances are you do not who I am talking about, unless you are involved in New Zealand racing or are like me and follow it. But, in the barn and with those that knew him best, he was “CC”. When the news broke that Christen Me N would be coming to race in the United States, I have to admit I was both thrilled and disappointed.  I have a soft spot for Christen Me N because he was the first New Zealand bred horse I took an interest in after I met his former driver Dexter Dunn in Ireland in 2016. I was thrilled because this meant I would have the opportunity to watch him race, but I also knew that he would be greatly missed by many in New Zealand. Then, I remembered that him coming to the North America meant friendships would be created and that was a good thing. He would be showcasing the very best of New Zealand racing talent, in the place some argue is the pinnacle of harness racing- the United States of America. Upon arrival in the United States, Christen Me N was placed in the care of Jim King Jr. and Joann Looney -King. I looked forward to the day that I would get to meet the famous “C.C”. One day in early summer of 2017, I got my opportunity because he was entered to race at what was at that time Mohawk Racetrack .That afternoon, I stopped by the farm where the King’s were stabling to see him in addition to some other horses they had racing in Ontario. As I arrived, Christen Me N was coming in from the paddock. He was so regal, standing there in the warmth of the sunshine while I admired him. I was at a loss for words and he looked like he knew what I was feeling. I got a little closer and he bowed his head, allowing me to stroke his face, and give him a kiss. Meeting him is an experience I will remember and cherish. That night he raced at what is now Woodbine- Mohawk Park, and of course I cheered. However, I was cheering him on for his fans in the southern hemisphere too. He unfortunately did not win that night, but just to be able watch him race live was a thrill for me.  When I posted the pictures from our visit and of him racing the following day; my social media buzzed. I received comments about how he was doing and how his race went and a few friend requests from people in New Zealand. The photos were also shared by people in New Zealand. Knowing that the small gesture of posting a few pictures meant a great deal to so many people warmed my heart. Next is my story of the horse who inspired this story- Nike Franco N. Nike Franco N is also is the care of Joann and Jim King Jr. I first met her on that same visit that I met ¨C.C” and she also raced on that same night. When she began racing in North America, a person by the name of Amanda Grieve was always tagged in many posts on Twitter (tweets) about Nike Franco N. So, after I met Nike Franco and posted the pictures of us, I decided to send her a message and find out she loved this mare. It turned that when Nike Franco N raced in Australia, Amanda was the caretaker for top mare and trained her for a period of time too.  Now Amanda and I talk every couple of weeks.Our friendship is all thanks to Nike Franco N. If it was not Nike Franco N being sold to American interests there is a very good chance that Amanda and I never would have met.  Earlier this season, when Nike Franco N raced in Canada in the Roses Are Red elimination and final, I video chatted with Amanda from the rail at Woodbine- Mohawk Park and I turned the camera so she could see the race, even though she lives on the other side of the world we were both cheering on Nike Franco N who she affectionately calls “Darling”.  It was truly a special opportunity for me and one I will cherish forever. In a recent conversation with Amanda,  she said something that tugged at my heartstrings and I felt was fitting for the sentiment of this very story. She said, “You get very attached to them. Especially working with them every day. And travelling with them too. Yes, I do miss her. But, I am still watching her race now.”  I can sympathize with how she feels, I would feel the same it was a horse I cared about. But, that is the great thing about social media. Nike Franco N may be across the Pacific [ocean], but the two of them are still connected through people in North America. Amanda is able to stay updated on Nike Franco N’s racing career and receive pictures is because of the friendships that Nike Franco N racing in North America has prompted. The horses that have crossed the Equator that I have also made friendships that I had before their move much stronger. Sired by Bettors Delight and foaled in 2011, Kept Under Wraps A was voted the two-year-old of the year for the state of Victoria. My friend Marcus Kirkwood owned a part of him, before Kept Under Wraps A was sold to North American interests.  I became friends with Marcus through Twitter, and when I went to Australia in February of 2017, we met in person. So, now that Kept Under Wraps A in racing in the United States, I periodically check the entries and results pages on the United States Trotting Association website to see how he is doing and then I send Marcus a message with an update. Anythingforlove A (spelled Anything For Love when racing in Australia) was bred by my friend Paul Humphreys. We became friends through social media and I also met him when I went to Australia in 2017.  When the horse had his first couple of starts in the United States, Paul and I messaged back and forth. I remember watching the race on my laptop. It was neat to be able to say “I know who bred that horse”. Anythingforlove gave us one more thing to talk about.  The story of how I got to meet Sky Major N is unique. My dad was talking with the trainer of Sky Major N, Duane Marfisi, and he it came up in conversation where he happened to be stabled, turns out we were at the same training center. When my dad told me I was elated. My filly, a future champion, was stabled steps away from a former New Zealand champion. Trevor Casey owns Sky Major N. I talk with his partner Kate Marriott often. I truly consider her a friend. During my visits with Sky Major N I gave him treats and kisses and my mom would take pictures. When I returned home I always sent Kate the pictures as soon as I could and told all about our visit.  Similarly, Trevor Casey also owned a share of the world-renowned champion, Lazarus N. Now that Lazarus N is in the United States being trained by Jimmy Takter, I send Kate all of the news and pictures I see of Lazarus. It always makes my day to send her updates of both of these champions. Every time the name of an overseas champion is printed in a North American [racing] program or their name graces a headline an “N” or an “A” is placed after their name to symbolize to everyone reading the program or the article they mentions them,  this horse is from Australia or New Zealand. I think of it as a symbol of pride.That extra letter also symbolizes the countless hours of care, hard work and dedication that the team of people looked after them in Australia or New Zealand put in that made them into the champion that now races in North America. I will forever be grateful for the friendships I have gained because of these horses. They have added so much joy to my life. I also look forward to creating many more friendships through these horses in the future. To everyone who has ever loved, taken care of, trained, owned or driven one of these now North American champions, thank you. Thank you for making these champions who they are. Without you they would not have broken the records they did, had the jaw-dropping victories they did. In addition, thank you for sharing your your champions with us here in North America. You will always be a part of who they are, no matter where in the world they race. To everyone in North America who has a horse who previously raced in Australia and New Zealand, know that these horses are extra special. I encourage you to find out who the connections were when the horse raced in Australia and or New Zealand and connect with them, if you have not already. I hope through these dual hemisphere champions you will make friendships like I have. These champions that have etched their names into greatness in both hemispheres make the big world seem a little smaller by bringing people together who are passionate about the same sport, but are oceans apart that is the power of these dual hemisphere champions. Sydney Weaver is 18 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals. She will be attending Carleton University this fall in their Communications and Media Studies Honors Program. Footnote: Since I began writing this piece, Christen Me N, “C.C.” is no longer in the care of the Jim King Jr. and Joann Looney-King, he is now with other caring connections.
WILKES-BARRE, PA - Future Life swept from sixth just past the ¾, steadily coming on three- and four-wide through the turn and in the stretch to catch Unbeamlieveable by a half-length while taking the $14,000 claiming handicap distaff pacing feature Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Unbeamlieveable, the 9-5 favorite and winner of four of her last five, was parked well past a hot 26.4 quarter by LK's Nancy Lee, who finally ceded the lead to the chalk, and Unbeamlieveable could get a bit of a rest to the 56.1 half. With Sew Psyched advancing first-over, and Cinder Rita and Future Life right behind her, Unbeamlieveable stepped it up to a 1:24.4 ¾. Early in the stretch it looked as if the pacesetter might've gotten away from her opposition, but Future Life continued her strong rally under Tyler Buter's guidance to take the decision in 1:53.4 while returning a $35.20 mutuel. Andrew Adamczyk trains and owns the victorious daughter of Life Sign, who certainly has been able to find the winners circle in her career - this was her 66th lifetime victory, boosting her earnings to $265.040. Tomorrow two-year-old pacing fillies get the spotlight at Pocono, with four $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for this group. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs
Monticello, NY - Go down the road as fast and far as you can go seemed to be the tactic of the day as many of the afternoon participants of Monticello Raceway's Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colts tried to follow that pattern, some were successful, others not. The first division of NYSS raced for a purse of $38,500, the short 5 horse field saw Don (Andy Miller) first away from the gate from the rail, Dan Daley and Purpose Blue Chip also left hard but were content to let Don cut the fractions and tucked in the 3 hole. Don lead the pack thru every fraction of 28.4, 58.2. Purpose Blue Chip pulled at the half and never saw the rail after that and continued grinding his way towards the leaders on the outside. Don was still on top at the ¾ in 1:27.3, by now Purpose Blue Chip was at his throat latch. At the top of the lane, Don and Purpose Blue Chip were trotting in unison but Purpose Blue Chip held on over Don by a length, a fast closing On The Ropes (Svanstedt) finished 3rd. The son of Chapter Seven notched his 3rd win of the season for owners Daley, Crawford and Lombardo. A happy Dan Daley said in the winner's circle "I put the trotting hobbles on him a month ago to help steady him out and it really worked, he can really trot the turns fast now" Babylons Bridge (Credit Winner) completed the Dan Daley daily double, scoring in the second half of the early Daily Double in 2:01.3 in Excelsior B ranks. In the second division worth $39,200, 14-1 Lindsey's Pride and Marcus Miller cut the early fractions without any pressure in 29, 59.1, the 1-9 favorite The Veteran was the first to start the outer flow at the half followed by Winning Shadow. Lindsey's Pride still had the lead at the ¾ pole in 1:28.1 but The Veteran was gaining even but the effort soon stalled near the paddock turn., Winning Shadow who followed live cover fanned out in the lane and passed The Veteran to win in 1:57.4 by a diminishing length. Winning Shadow picked up his 3rd win of the year for owners Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva. The son of Credit Winner is trained by Jake Huff and was driven to victory by Mike Simons. Not respected by the betting public, Winning Shadow paid $27.80 to win, the 2-5 exacta was worth $58.50 The Veteran was second and Cruising In Style was third. The early trt setter Lindsey's Pride faded to 5th. In the 3rd and final division of Sire Stakes ($39,200) starting from post 5 Clive Bigsby and Scott Zeron lead at every stanza 28.3,58.0,1:27.2 with the heavy favorite Chasin Dreams sitting the pocket. Perlucky and Trond Smedshammer were content stalking the leaders in 4th. At the ¾ pole Perlucky was the first to move, the son of Lucky Chucky tried to pull up passing the paddock draw gate, Smedshammer barked at his mount to pay attention and he quickly responded and trotted home strong to win in a tight 3 horse photo in 1:57.2 over Clive Bigsby and Chasin Dreams. It was the first seasonal win for Perlucky and his owner Purple Haze Stable LLC of Fairport NY. Excelsior A The 2-5 favorite, Lunar Credit and Scott Zeron beat up the Excelsior A bunch again and picked up his 5th consecutive win for trainer George Ducharme in 1:59.1, the son of Credit Winner is owned by Little E, Geiger, Stolz and Living The Dream Racing. Im the Muscle was second, followed by Massamillion. Seven Iron ($8.50) lead from start to finish to win by 3 lengths in 1:57.4 for driver Jason Bartlett, recent Hall of Fame nominee Linda Toscano trains the son of Chapter Seven for owner Ken Jacobs. Troller (Marcus Miller) also scored a wire to wire win in 1:58, trotting the fastest last quarter of the afternoon in 28.3 for trainer Paul Kelly for his third win in a row. Excelsior B Pappagiorgio (Muscle Mass) and Dan Cappello scored a wire to wire win in 1:59.1 for his 4th seasonal win. Babylons Bridge (Credit Winner) completed the Dan Daley daily double, scoring in the second half of the early Daily Double in 2:01.3 Blue Chip Farms, Credit Winner led all Sires with 3 winning sons. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway
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