Day At The Track
Jody Jamieson, harness racing

Jody Jamieson notches 8,000th win

MILTON, ON - December 13, 2019 - Harness racing driver Jody Jamieson became the newest member of the 8,000 win club on Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The two-time World Driving Champion entered the weekend opener just a win shy of 8,000 for his career and found the winner's circle in the evening's fourth race with sophomore pacing filly Highmoon Sunshine ($11.20) for trainer Isabelle Darveau. Jamieson, 43, has enjoyed tremendous success during his racing career, having won prestigious events such as the Pepsi North America (twice), Maple Leaf Trot (twice) and Little Brown Jug. The Moffat, Ontario resident made his debut in 1994 and is currently on pace to post his 16th consecutive $4 million-plus season. Jamieson's highest single-season win total came in 2009 when he won 796 races. The latest milestone adds to Jamieson's incredible career resume, which includes having driven the winners of more than $130 million. A three-time O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Driver of the Year (2007, 2009, 2011), Jamieson is a fan-favourite at Mohawk Park and across the country, known for his signature post-race high-fives with fans along the rail. Jamieson currently ranks seventh in the Woodbine driver standings and sports 2019 numbers of 174 wins and $3.9 million earned. Live racing continues Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Jody Jamieson notches 8,000th win by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment            

Tell Me Tales takes victory in the VHRSC Make Mine Cullen,Harness racing

Stalwart Helen cheering for Aussie win

At 92 years of age, harness racing stalwart Helen Head is still as passionate about the sport as she has ever been. And the Shepparton local makes no secret that when she is trackside at another Inter Dominion Final at Alexandra Park in Auckland tonight, she will be cheering for her hometown hero San Carlo. Nine-year-old "Murray" as he's known around the stables, is prepared by joint trainers Steve O'Donoghue and Bec Bartley at Morley Park, Kialla, just outside Shepparton. "It would be wonderful if they could pull it off, but I'll be barracking for all the Aussies," Helen said. "I've been over here in New Zealand as part of a tour group and we've all had a ball. We've been taken here, there and everywhere. The winery visits have been a lot of fun," she laughed. "At my age, you may as well enjoy things when you can, you know!" And after a lifetime of racing a host of quality horses and breeding many of the country's best, it's most fitting that Helen Head is sitting back to enjoy tonight's "big dance" in Auckland. Helen, who was honoured as a recipient of the Angelique Club's Pearl Kelly Award in 2016, recalls attending her first Inter Dominion Championship back in 1974. "I sort of got hooked on them because there's really been very few that I've missed since," she said. Helen and her late husband Graham developed a reputation over decades as one of harness racing's best known and most successful names in breeding and ownership. Helen shared the couple's remarkable story a few years ago with harness racing scribe Gus Underwood, recalling that as a young dress designer in Melbourne in the 1950s, she'd always dreamt of one day owning her own horse. Graham had started his working life as a structural engineer at the age of 16 and after the couple shared a trip around the world in a converted Volkswagen, they purchased their first farm at Sunbury, 40 kms north-west of Melbourne and their harness racing story began. After trying their hand at running cattle and sheep, Helen saw her dream of horse ownership come true with the purchase of a mare as a pleasure horse - but before she even got to ride it, the mare was put in foal! Selling their farm to developers, the couple moved to Seymour, then to nearby Mangalore, on the Goulburn River. This was to become the renowned Grenada Park and over the next 20 years, Graham and Helen got fully involved with standardbred breeding. They had the support of a close friend in Graham Cochran, then Chairman of the Victorian Trotting Control Board, who was a keen breeder, but owned no property. Their first foray into breeding was with the Bachelor Hanover matron Madame Han, who left 10 foals and established a great winning line. A decision to downsize in 2000 saw the couple purchase Manna Lodge from Gerald Farrell at Congupna and they continued their breeding pursuits, although now as a partnership, after the death of Cochrane. The couple considered renaming the property Grenada Park, but to prevent any confusion, left it as Manna Lodge, but adding to the title: 'Home of Grenada Park'. Countless top horses were bred at both Mangalore and Congupna, and in 2007 the Heads were named Victorian Breeder of the Year. Sadly, Graham passed away in 2009, but, after 57 years of marriage, Helen's upbeat approach to life saw her commit to continuing the couple's breeding program. "I think there's now been 24 of our breed who have each won over $100,000 in stakemoney," Helen said yesterday. "And there's also been two-Safari and Garnet River- who passed the half a million dollars mark. Safari was trained by Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart, and won 28 races while Hughie Cathels had Garnet River, who later ended up over in America with Noel Daley." Choosing a favorite among recent topliners is no mean feat, but youngster The Storm Inside (bred from Spirited Storm, a filly Helen travelled to America to buy) must surely rank highly, with the stunning colt recording 14 wins from only 16 starts for Tonkin and Stewart. Helen Head with Emma Stewart after The Storm Inside’s APG win But it's the sensational Tell Me Tales (Tell All-Soaring Falcon (Falcon Seelster) that Helen names as her first choice. Tell Me Tales put together a string of 11 consecutive wins during her 3yo season in 2018 before serious injury two months ago. Her record stands at 20 wins and seven placings from 32 starts for $360,000 in stakemoney. "Tell Me Tales is definitely my favorite, and I was very sad when she broke a bone in her hind leg," Helen said. But this optimistic nonagenarian always has an eye to the future and a positive outlook. "We've had it pinned and she's doing well - and we've taken an embryo as well, so she might also get a foal and that would certainly be lovely," Helen said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A G’s White Socks,Harness racing

Barry Purdon could hold the key

Training legend Barry Purdon may not win either Inter Dominion final at Alexandra Park tonight but his horses might hold the keys to who does. Purdon rivals his brother Mark for trainer of the carnival as he has three in tonight’s $500,000 pacing final and Marcoola in the $150,000 trotting group one. That is a fair leap from just a month ago when he didn’t even train Marcoola or dual series heat winner A G’s White Socks, while Mach Shard was jarred up after a New Zealand Cup shocker and his other pacing finalist On The Cards had just started his campaign with a third in a moderate race. So Purdon has taken two stable newcomers and two $150 chances and squeezed the absolute best out of them to give them a shot at the title. That, after all, is what horse training at its most basic level is all about. To turn that training genius into something a little more spendable Purdon’s trio in tonight’s $500,000 pacing final are going to need to be in the right place at the right time and for that A G’s White Socks, Mach Shard and On The Cards all have a very valuable weapon: gate speed. They are all on the front line surrounding hot favourite Ultimate Sniper and while anything could happen inside them it looks better than even money one of Barry’s horses will lead early. On The Cards, from barrier four, is the most likely to cross to the pegs but he could easily be joined by Mach Shard and/or A G’s White Socks if they can beat Ultimate Sniper off the gate. That is very possible as Natalie Rasmussen is often neutral for the first 400m of major races. The other side of that coin flip is Ultimate Sniper attaching itself to On The Cards, following it straight across and pretty much waltzing to the lead, which would give it the luxury of a $100 chance on his back and maybe seal the fate of Ultimate Sniper’s rivals. Purdon says his three are all well, have handled the rigours of the series and are ready to run up to the best form. “We know it is going to be hard to beat Ultimate Sniper, when horses start racing like he has during an Inter Dominion they tend to hold that form and I think he will too,” says Barry. “So maybe he will be too good but our horses should be up there and handy and that will give their drivers options.” If an A G’s White Socks or Mach Shard is given free rein to charge forward and can cross Ultimate Sniper then they get their chance to lead and almost certainly trail after so any one of Purdon’s three could sneak into a quinella or trifecta spot. But while it is hard for the master trainer to be too confident of beating Ultimate Sniper, he is more upbeat about an upset in the trotting final. Marcoola was always likely to be a better horse for tonight than in the heats, with the week off a chance for him to put on weight and Purdon to train him, rather than just look after him. He has worked well this week and after driver Sheree Tomlinson impressed Purdon with her patient handling of Marcoola in his heats, the boss is happy for her to power up the big boy tonight. “I will tell Sheree I am happy for her to drive him forward if he feels like that,” says Purdon. “He is fit and ready and we realise if we let Winterfell get his way in front then he might get it too easy so we will probably be rolling forward. “I couldn’t be happier with him and with a horse like Majestic Man fast off the gate too there could be some pressure early.” Purdon has trained 31 winners in just 101 starts this season, giving him a higher strike rate than even the All Stars, and should snare another group one before the Interdom Finals are even run tonight. He has speed freak mare Belle Of Montana headlining a four-pronged attack on the $100,000 Queen Of Hearts and even though she has drawn the second line it shouldn’t matter. Belle Of Montana is so fast she almost certainly would have made the pacing final had she contested the Interdom series and she is racing horses tonight who wouldn’t have. She sat parked to beat most of them last Friday and Purdon says she will be fitter tonight. “She will definitely come on from last week and while she has the second line she is the only horse starting there so Zac (Butcher) has options. And she is probably good enough she could parked and win if she had to.”   Where: Alexandra Park When: Saturday night, first race 5.45pm What: $500,000 Interdom Pacing Final, $150,000 Interdom Trotting Final, $100,000 Queen Of Hearts, $100,000 Peter Breckon Memorial, $50,000 Alabar Classic, $40,000 Lincoln Farms Classic. Support card: Oscar Bonavena, Enhance Your Calm and Tickle Me Pink in the free-for-all trot, Miracle Mile favourite Self Assured in race nine. The Punt: Tote and Fixed all races, $10,000 included in First4 pools for Interdom Finals, head to head markets and special bet options, all at tab.co.nz Watch: Live on Trackside 2 (Sky 63) from 5.14pm including live interviews with drivers in pre-race warm ups. On track: Free admission, dining packages sold out but Macs Bar (Party Zone) open on the infield as well as seating still available in stand, Lyell Creek and Alex Park. After party after racing programme finishes.   by Michael Guerin

Garrards Horse And Hound.JPG

Weekly Spotlight on Breeding

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   Half-brothers win at Cambridge   It was no mean feat for the half-brothers The Lone Ranger and Cruzee Mach to win consecutive races at Cambridge Raceway last week.   The Lone Ranger, a six-year-old gelding by Sportswriter, won for the fifth time, while Cruzee Mach, a three-year-old Mach Three gelding, notched his maiden success.   Cruzee Lass, the dam of The Lone Ranger and Cruzee Mach, was a smart racemare in her own right, winning nine races, earning $99,544 and taking a mile record of 1:58.4. At the stud she has left eight individual winners – six inside 2:00 – from nine foals of racing age including Rocknroll Princess 1:54.6 ($94,153), Sweet Art (1:56.6) and Ace Strike, who won at Manawatu last Tuesday in 1:57.8.   By Christian Cullen, Cruzee Lass was out of the Holmes Hanover mare Shivna (1:57.2), the winning dam of the exported Freespin 1:52.2 ($253,744) and the Gloucester Park winner Cruzee Princess (1:57.4).   Shivna, who won the Great Northern Breeders Stakes at Auckland, was a half-sister to five winners including the Hannon Memorial winner Derby (1:58.1), being out of Anna Pavlova, by Armbro Del from the grand producing mare Coo Doo.   Other members of this family have been the NZ Derby winner Captain Peacock, Life Of Luxury (1:51), a Stakes winner in America, Extender (1:49.2), Moscow (Bunbury Cup), Elegant Christian (WA Western Gateway) and Shoobee Doo (NSW Tatlow).   The Lone Ranger winning at Cambridge     Inter Dominion lineups   Bettor’s Delight will be represented by five runners in the 12-horse field for next Saturday’s $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final.   The quintet are Ultimate Sniper, Thefixer, Ashley Locaz, On The Cards and My Kiwi Mate.   Mach Three is the only other sire with multiple representation – Mach Shard and San Carlo.   Five other stallions have a single runner.   In the trotters’ section, Majestic Son has three runners including the two leading pointscorers, Winterfell and Majestic Man. His third rep is Valloria.   Monarchy, Love You, The Pres and Muscle Mass all have two finalists, while Sundon has a single entrant, Marcoola.       Treble for Woodlands Stud   Woodlands Stud bred the first three winners on the third night of the Auckland Inter Dominion carnival in Some Do (Bettor’s Delight-Dream Offer) and the three-year-olds Need You Know (Bettor’s Delight-Lady Antebellum) and Copy That (American Ideal-Lively Nights).   Some Do winning at Alexandra Park     Country Cups King   A double winner on the Victorian Country Cups circuit this season is the Ballarat pacer Phoenix Prince, who is expected to be Grand Circuit material.   Only a six-year-old, he showed up last season as a five-year-old above average when he won twice in Free-for-all company at Melton.   Phoenix Prince                                                          photo by Stuart McCormick   Phoenix Prince is by a champion American pacer in Somebeachsomewhere from Classic Cathy, by Classic Garry from the broodmare gem Sans Pareil. This is the family that left a grand juvenile in Part Of Glory, a cups class pacer in Swishinon and an Oaks winning filly in Doug’s Courage.   The 10th foal and sixth winner of his dam, Phoenix Prince was bred by Bacchus Marsh enthusiasts Shannon and Meaghan Nixon, who part-own him.     Gabbana the top banana!   Gotta Go Gabbana, a grand looking Gotta Go Cullect mare, is rated Western Australia’s top female pacer this season, particularly after her success in the Group 1 $125,000 Westral Mares Classic, one of the season’s major feature races.                                                                                         -- photo by Jodie Hallows   She has now won 13 races with 19 placings from 49 starts for $228,614 in stakes.   In the Mares Classic, Gotta Go Gabbana was never really extended in running out the 2536 metres in a 1:57.3 rate, the last 800 in 56.1 and the final 400 in 27.5 – figures which she could have sharply improved.   She is a six-year-old by Gotta Go Cullect, a top colt pacer in NZ by Christian Cullen out of Elect To Live, a champion filly who won 19 races – five at Group 1 level – and a record $535,800.   On her dam’s side, Gotta Go Gabanna has a good deal in her favour than most. She is out of Lady Gabbana (2:02), a WA Sires Stake 2YO Final placegetter, by Kinney Hanover from Whitby’s Beachbabe, by Beach Towel from Whitby Bay, by Tarport Adios from Appro Bay.   Gotta Go Gabbana is the best winner from this family in recent years but in an earlier decade it produced a top flight youngster in Henry Te Whitby, who won nine races.     Noted family of trotters   Maorishadow, who has won four races this season including two at Melton, was bred in Victoria and is a member of Australia’s most successful family of trotters.   By Pegasus Spur, Maorishadow could well have distinguished herself as a pacer as her dam, Maoris Lass, was out of the Romeo Hanover mare Lauretta, who won as both a pacer and trotter.   Lauretta’s dam, Maori Mia, a daughter of leading pacing sire Kentucky, left five winners including the Group 1 winning square-gaiters Maori’s Glory ($109,366) and Maori Demon, and was the ancestress of top trotters Broke As Usual, Kyvalley Kyrie, Master Maori, Vincennes, Kinvara Sue and others.   Maori Mia, who was only lightly raced, was out of Maori Miss, a dual-gaited mare who left eight individual winners including the legendary Maori’s Idol and was awarded Broodmare of the Year on three occasions.     Bettor’s Delight trifecta   The Group 3 Northern Breeders Stakes, run at Auckland, was a triumph for Bettor’s Delight as the sire of the first three placegetters, Belle Of Montana 1 st , Wainui Creek 2 nd and Bettor’s Heart 3 rd – rather a notable siring feat.     Bettor’s Delight was also the sire of the dam of the fourth placegetter, Havtime.     Tiffany Rose is classics material   The New Zealand bred filly Tiffany Rose is proving herself a smart three-year-old – she is unbeaten in four starts on Australian soil – and could develop into one of the best her age this season.   A filly by Somebeachsomewhere, Tiffany Rose ranks as a half-sister to a top flight pacer in Code Black 1:50.8 ($338,235), who ran a close third in the Cranbourne Cup last Saturday, the exported Lovin Miss Daisy 1:50.4 ($199,695) and Nakuru (1:55.2), a winner of three races in NZ to date.   Their dam, Christian Watch, who was only lightly raced, was by Falcon Seelster from the Christian Cullen mare Turkana 1:58.3 ($112,148), whose six successes included the 2004 Queensland Oaks and the Nevele R DB Filly Series. At the stud Turkana became the dam of four winners – three in 2:00 – headed up by the recent NSW provincial winner Dark Side 1:57.6 ($93,554).   Turkana was out of Kisumu, a NZ Sires Stakes 2YO champion by Nero’s B B from Kinshasha, by Armbro Del from Hindu Star, a daughter of the NZ Oaks winner Petro Star.   Bred by Graeme Iggo, Tiffany Rose looks a three-year-old with the potential one would expect of her breeding.     First winner for Franco Jamar   Franco Jamar, a well performed Courage Under Fire horse from a strong NZ family, and who is standing in Bridgetown (WA), was represented by his first winner in the three-year-old gelding Keptain Courageous.   The gelding had been placed in five of his previous eight starts. Franco Jamar has only eight foals of racing age.   Franco Jamar         -- James Jubb photo   Keptain Courageous is the fourth foal of his dam, Switch Me On (2:01.9), a Safely Kept half- sister to the prolific Gloucester Park winner Black As Knight (1:58).     Last foal of Our Sir Vancelot   The six-year-old Pensare Princess, who notched her second win at Wagga, is the last foal of the triple Inter Dominion champion Our Sir Vancelot.   The mare was bred and is raced by the Junee-based Allamby family who owned Our Sir Vancelot throughout his stellar racetrack career.   Pensare, the dam of Pensare Princess, is a granddaughter of champion racemare Sabilize, who twice won the NSW Ladyship Mile and was twice placed in the Miracle Mile.   Our Sir Vancelot, who died in 2017, sired 244 individual winners and almost $11 million inprogeny earnings.         By Peter Wharton

Race 6, 8.19pm: $150,000 HR Fisken And Son Inter Dominion Trot Final, 2700m mobile: If he races up to last Friday’s national record performance then this looks Winterfell’s  (2) race to lose. After a mainly disappointing year since a superstar three-year-old season he has bounced right back during this series and has looked safer with every start. If, and it is still a very small if, he behaves he should get the lead and can trot a sub 3:20 time for 2700m. That will take an awful lot of beating. Majestic Man (4) is the obvious danger. He has been wonderful all series and could cross to the lead, trail and await the passing lane. The mid-race pressure could determine his chances but is a winning threat.  Most on the second line have been good to very good during this series so the runs they get probably decided who gets closest out of Temporale (9), Paramount King (12), Massive Metro (13) and Tough Monarch (11). Temporale looks the best place chance of those taking the short way home but Paramount King has been the big mover so it wouldn’t surprise to see him fly home. That, of the winning chances, leaves Marcoola (8) who has been driven cold all series and has been good but not his startling best. Don’t be surprised to see him do something incredible tonight. Selections: Winterfell, Majestic Man, Temporale, Marcoola. Suggested bet: The $1.90 for Winterfell looks fairer by the day while Temporale a place is tempting as he should sit four fence and the TAB pay back to fourth fixed odds.   RACE 8, 9.35pm: $500,000 IRT Inter Dominion Pacing Final, 2700m mobile: Sometimes when a horse is $1.45 you go looking for value to beat it, but really, what is the point? Ultimate Sniper (5) should win. He has been three wide for at least a lap of every race during the series and savaged the line. He might be turning into a great horse and hard to imagine any of his rivals parking him should be look for the lead. From there only a drop in his performance level or a lack of concentration can beat him. If a favourite is expected to lead and dominate you want to be on those in his slipstream and that looks a race between stablemates On The Cards (4), Mach Shard (6) and A G’s White Socks (7). The latter is the better performed of the trio and if was able to work across to the markers that would make him a huge quinella chance to cap his comeback series. Cruz Bromac (11) has been brave in a stellar last month and as the NZ Cup winner should beat most of these but faces sitting parked or one-one last lap. His best chance is if they burn early.  Thefixer (13) is in a similar position but probably not racing as well and Chase Auckland (9) will probably jump on the three wide train with his stablemates at some stage so who beats who home out of them could depend on how those cards are shuffled. Of the bolters few can win but My Kiwi Mate (1), On The Cards (4), who might be the best chance of leading early and Mach Shard (6) could all sneak some stake money and make your First4 juicier. Selections: Ultimate Sniper, A G’s White Socks, Cruz Bromac, Thefixer. Suggested bets: Ultimate Sniper should win so if you betting big take the shorts. But the best value might actually On The Cards at $8 a place at with the TAB paying back to fourth on fixed.   INTERDOM NIGHT SUPORT CARD MADE EASY R1, 5.45pm:  Three-year-olds coming out of stronger races should dominate but Down To The Bone (3) is better odds than Dina Bolt (4) so worth an each way play. R2, 6.15pm: Copy That (2) beat all of these last week after he got the lead and if he does so again should double up. The trick is Flying Even Bettor (1) drawn the ace but that still give Copy That the trailing option. So he has two shots at repeating with your biggest concern being Flying Even Bettor holding the lead until Copy That trails and THEN handing up. But David Butcher might be too smart for that. R3, 6.45pm: Oscar Bonavena (9) is the real deal and has won right-handed. Should win although Enhance Your Calm (4) was a close second to him at the workouts two weeks ago and Tickle Me Pink (3) is a class mare. Three very good four-year-olds who should be too fast for the Interdom left overs. R4, 7.15pm: Amazing Dream (5) sat parked and was a huge third last week but tonight gets a far better draw and should get the lead off Need You Now (4), who was very good beating her last Friday. They look a certain quinella with Spellbound drawn the second line. R5, 7.46pm: On a night when not many winners will come from the second line Belle Of Montana (9) should be the exception. Looks the best pacing mare in Australasia and should be able to sit parked if she has to and still win. Multi anchor. R7, 8.56pm: The Interdom Consolation and Another Masterpiece (3) looks beautifully placed from the draw after a luckless series. He is no superstar but finds himself in the right race, albeit at shorter odds than you really want. Solid Gold (4) is a chance to lead and get the trail so looks a great place bet while if there is tempo Colt Thirty One (11) and Classie Brigade (12) come into play while Our Uncle Sam (6) is the blow out. R9, 10.05pm: Self Assured (8) might be as good as the best Interdom horses so even from his draw should win as he heads toward the Auckland Cup. Bettorstartdreaming, Ball Of Art, Mr Kiwi and Double Rocket your best trifecta includes. R10, 10.33pm: The mobile start helps Havehorsewilltravel (3) and on his best behaviour could take some catching. Puma Road (7) is racing at his peak and Ace Commander (6) can be one paced but small field helps. Resonate (9) has the talent to win but if you considering backing him wait until as late as you can before the race because last Friday he got terribly stirred and was no chance by start time.   Michael Guerin

The GP Royal Mares (purse 88,000€, 1600 meters autostart) at Napoli Agnano saw Sharon Gar (8f Varenne-Geneve Gar-Lemon Dra) score in record time 1.10.7kr with Roberto Vecchione aboard for trainer Holger Ehlert. The previous record was 1.11.1kr set by Trendy OK. A half-length off Sharon Gar was second finishing Ua Huka (6f Muscles Yankee-Fancy Bi) with Andrea Farolfi up with third to Tersa OB Sonic reined by Antonio Di Nardo. A day earlier at Siracusa was the PR Mediterrareo (Gr. III, purse 40,040€) and victory went to Aramis EK (3m Nad Al Sheba-Freedom EK-Bon Vivant) timed in 1.13.1kr with Alessandro Gocciadoro up. Anthony Leone (3m Lebessio Grif-Gasping Ferm) was second and third went to Akela Pal Ferm (3f Maharajah-Remilla di Palle). by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

New Zealander Sarah O'Reilly emerged victorious in the 2019 Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship after the final heat was run and won at Alexandra Park on Friday night. It was a combination of relief and excitement for Sarah following the race, ''I was relieved that I crossed the finish line in the last race because I knew I had won the series. I just wanted to drive the best I could in the series and get one winner and have fun.'' O'Reilly led the series by eleven points over NSW representative Cameron Hart leading into the tenth and final heat and only a win or second from Hart would have caused an upset victory. It was not to be for Hart with his drive Johnny Mac finishing 6th, one position behind O'Reilly's drive, M T Pockets. The race was won in great fashion by The Paua Diver for Sheree Tomlinson for trainers Josh and John Dickie over Dina Brown for South Australian, Brodie Webster and Pekeson for the Tasmanian representative, Conor Crook. Sarah's victory in the 2019 AYDC was a result of brilliant and consistent driving for the entire series. Her two wins and four second placings from her ten drives earned her a total of 101 points, 12 points in front of Cameron Hart who won three races, and third was kiwi Sheree Tomlinson who finished with 68 points.   Final 2019 AYDC Points Score:   Sarah O’Reilly (NZ) 101 Cam Hart (NSW) 89 Sheree Tomlinson (NZ) 68 Corey Peterson (WA) 65 Matt Elkins (QLD) 64 John Morrison (SI, NZ) 60 Benjamin Butcher (NI, NZ) 57 Brodie Webster (SA) 49 Zac Phillips (VIC) 46 Conor Crook (TAS) 42     Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

By Garrick Knight    It’s been a whirlwind six months for New Zealand’s most promising junior driver, Sarah O’Reilly. After a thrilling week of competition against the best of her peers from here and in Australia, she was crowned Australasian Junior Driving Champion at Alexandra Park in Auckland on Friday. It comes just five months after she secured the New Zealand title at Addington during the winter. The attention and fanfare that comes with such accomplishments has proved daunting for the quietly-spoken teenager from Rakaia. And it’s fair to say having a virtually unassailable lead for the past 24 hours weighed heavily on her shoulders. “I woke up a couple of times last night because I was so nervous,” she said. “But I was trying not to overthink it. They told me last night what I said to do in the last race to stay in front so I was just focused on that.” After reining M T Pockets in to fifth place – enough to secure the title – she finally let herself enjoy the moment, joined by her horseman father, Gerard, and mum, Jane. “It’s pretty amazing, I can’t believe it. I didn’t expect any of this. “I was just happy to drive 20 winners last season.” Gerard taught her everything she knows, she reckons, but she made special mention of another lady driver who has become a mentor and role model for her. “Sam Ottley has been really good to me. She’s been there for me since my very first workout drive.” With the two big goals already ticked off her ‘to-do’ list, O’Reilly has a rather modest target moving forward. “I just want to keep going the way I am, keep driving winners and, hopefully, beat last season’s total.” One thing’s for sure – she’s a lifer in the game.  “I just want to keep driving as much as I can for the rest of my life.” Sydney’s Cam Hart finished second after a very hot and cold series where he drove the first three winners only to have his next two drives pulled up without taking any serious part. O’Reilly’s fellow Cantabrian, Sheree Tomlinson, who won the final heat with The Paua Diver, rounded out the podium finishers, unable to defend the title she won 12 months ago. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Inter Dominion runners Solid Gold and The Devils Own have been sold and will do their future harness racing in North America according to John Curtin of JC International Bloodstock. Solid Gold and The Devils Own were both to race in the $40,000 Lincoln Farms IDOM Classic on Saturday after failing to qualify for the ID19 Grand Final to be run on the same night, but have been scratched from that race. "The Devils Own has already left the Country and is on his way to Kelvin Harrison's barn in New Jersey," Curtin said. Solid Gold could not make the flight but will be on his way to Jim King's barn (Trainer of 2019 possible "Horse Of The Year" Shartin N and winner of over $2 million) in Delaware next month. In the mean time Solid Gold will have a short break from racing to recover from his four runs over the last two weeks. “Solid Gold with his gate speed and ability to run good sectionals in front will do a great job over there as will The Devils Own. “The mile racing will suit them both," he said. Also on the plane just gone and also going to Kelvin Harrison's barn is smart young pacer Claytons Bettor who has struck form in the past month winning a double at Manawatu before upsetting a good field at Cambridge last week. The four-year-old son of Betterthancheddar raced in New Zealand out of the Phil Fleming barn and is out of Live Or Die mare River Liffey, a daughter of another of the Fleming family's horses, three race winner Isle Of Inishfree Harnesslink Media

Plenty of people will tell you they feel lucky just to involved in a group one race. Tony Cameron, the super sub driver for Saturday’s $150,000 Interdom Trot Final, doesn’t just feel lucky. He feels blessed. Cameron was looking forward to heading to Alexandra Park to work and watch until trainer Phil Williamson tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he could partner Monty Python. The Oamaru trotter sneaks into the Final after Habibi Inta and Bonnie Highlander were both scratched with injuries on Friday, Bonnie Highlander’s suspensory tear sending her to the broodmare paddock. For 32-year-old Cameron it is the pinnacle his career but the reality is for him every day is a second chance. A decade ago the personable young horseman was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma after a tumour was found in his chest. Nine months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation treatment followed. “It was a pretty tough time but I got my five years clearance a long time ago now and am still in remission,” says Cameron. After his fight with the demon Cameron joined champion driver Tony Herlihy and with the boss’s support he has grown in confidence and now looks at home in the big time of Alexandra Park racing. “But this is still a big deal for me, you never think you will pick up a driver in an Inter Dominion Final, especially the day before the race. “So I am going to enjoy it. Go out there and hope they go hard and give him his chance.” Monty Python probably won’t win. Cameron already has.   Michael Guerin

A lot of harness racing fans were glued to Dover Downs Thursday as their 12th race $25,000 Open Pace featured the once again return of 2015 Harness Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit. Most fans would be very disappointed. As Bo Mach (Corey Callahan) and Larry Karr (Mike Cole) left out of the starting gait along with Wiggle It Jiggleit (Jim Morand in the bike as Montrell Teague was away) trying to leave some and then Morand snatched him up into fourth place. Larry Karr took the lead away from Bo Mach by the opening quarter mile in :26.4. Then they raced to the half mile in :55.3 and just as you would think that Morand would come first-over with Wiggle It Jiggleit, they sat in as Rock Lights (George Napolitano, Jr.) came first-over with Billy Badger N (Dexter Dunn) second-over. As they raced down the backstretch it looked as if Wiggle It Jiggleit almost went off-stride as they backed to the back of the pack. Meanwhile, Larry Karr was strong on the lead with Bo Mach in the pocket at the three-quarters in 1:23.4. Off the final turn, Callahan moved to the outside with Bo Mach and gunned down Larry Karr coming to the wire, winning by a long neck in 1:51.1. Billy Badger N was third.   As for Wiggle It Jiggleit, he finished seventh, race timed in 1:52.3. Sent off at odds of 38-1, Bo Mach scored a lifetime mark and his eighth win of the year. The four-year-old gelding by Mach Three is trained by Dylan Davis and owned by Howard Taylor and Thomas Lazzaro. He paid $79.00 to win. In the 10th race $27,500 Blue Hen Open Handicap, Late Mail N and driver George Napolitano, Jr. sat the pocket trip as Sicily (Victor Kirby) cut fractions of :26.2, :55.3 and 1:23 to the three-quarters. Race favorite, Slick Tony (Dexter Dunn) had come up first-over at the half but could not really gain ground on the leaders. Blazing Bobby Sox (Art Stafford, Jr.) was second-over and then fanned out three-wide on the final turn.   As soon as they could, Napolitano sent Late Mail N into the passing lane and in deep stretch collared Sicily and went on to win by a half-length in 1:50.4. Sicily was second with Slick Tony nosing out Blazing Bobby Sox for third place. It was a lifetime mark for Late Mail N. The six-year-old gelded son of Bettor’s Delight is trained by Michael Hall for the Claim To Fame Stable of Dagsboro, DE. Sent off at 28-1 odds, Late Mail N paid $59.20 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

By Jonny Turner    The waiting is over at Addington on Friday night for punters who jotted down Sweet Mary’s name in their black-books following her impressive effort at the New Zealand Cup Carnival. Trainer Brad Mowbray has had the 5yr-old one ice since she scorched down the Addington track to run an eye-catching third to Wainui Creek in the Sires Stakes Southern Mares Classic. Sweet Mary was buried deep on the inner with no racing room, then was relegated to a clear last after the field turned for home, before she produced a booming finish to just be nosed out of second by Change Is Good. Mowbray was naturally delighted with the effort, but was also left wondering what might have been if his mare had been able to get in the clear sooner. “If she was a spot or two closer, she would have given Wainui Creek a shake,” the trainer said.  “And if she had come out a bit cleaner, that would have helped, because she just wanted to run down the track a bit.” “We would have loved to get first or second, but we were really happy with the way she went.” It will be one day short of a month since Sweet Mary produced her fast finishing effort when she again clashes with Change Is Good in a 1980m mares feature on Friday night. The gap between races has not been a case of Mowbray needing to freshen his pacer following her cup carnival tilt. The trainer has been waiting patiently for a suitable race for Sweet Mary and he thinks he has found the perfect fit. “We just look for the right races for her and this race suits her right down to the ground.” Mowbray has kept Sweet Mary’s fitness levels up by giving her a trial at Rangiora last week. Driver Matthew Williamson did not ask the mare for a serious effort, just letting her sprint home from last in the straight. “I gave her a quiet trial last week, just to keep her ticking over, so she should be where she needs to be for this race,” Mowbray said. Change Is Good followed up her second to Wainui Creek by winning the Timaru Cup when leading all of the way for trainer Mitchell Kerr and driver Matt Anderson. The 5yr-old has had Sweet Mary’s measure in their last two meetings after the pair finished first and second at Ashburton Flying Stakes day. Sweet Mary (7) has a slight draw advantage, starting one spot inside Change Is Good (8) on Friday night. Cheezel (2) looks the best of the runners drawn handily under the preferential barrier draw. The Regan Todd trained pacer reeled of a stunning 25.8sec last 400m when running second to Franco Niven at Addington last weekend. Kendra (6) looks the main threat to Sweet Mary and Change Is Good. The Greg and Nina Hope trained 4yr-old looked set to let down with a good finished when she was wiped out by the galloping Jazzy Star of the Pacers’ Green Mile at Methven last weekend. Jazzy Star will attempt to get back to the kind of brilliant form he was in before his mishap in Friday night’s feature 1980m pace for entires and geldings. The Brent White trained 5yr-old clashes with Green Mile fourth placegetter, Smokin By, and Mongolian Cavalry, who won the trial Sweet Mary competed in at Rangiora. Memphis Tennessee also starts in the race after producing a brilliant 25.9sec last 400m to run third behind Franco Niven and Cheezel at Addington last weekend. Trainer-driver Terry Chmiel said he expected further improvement from the 4yr-old after his good fresh up effort. “He is still on the way up and he should improve a bit more with this race.” “If things go to plan we will look at the Ashburton Cup and then maybe going down to Omakau for the cup down there.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    The first batch of race-ready juveniles will step out at Alexandra Park tonight in a $25,000 Young Guns heat. For Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon, it’s a chance to step out a colt they have very high hopes for as perhaps their next stable star. His name is Krug and at $155,000, he was the third highest-priced colt out of the Christchurch yearling sales earlier this year. Money well spent according to Purdon. “He’s probably right up there with some of the best two-year-olds that I’ve driven,” he declares. “He’s definitely got a lot of ability and this trip away is doing him the world of good. “A typical Bettor’s Delight; has got a great attitude and is very versatile.” After being unbeaten in two trials in his home province, Krug came north and immediately made an impression winning at Pukekohe on November 30, over most of the horses he meets tonight. But First Class, co-trained by Purdon’s father, Mark, turned the tables on Krug in a workout between races at Alexandra Park last Friday night, and that has him a little weary tonight. Especially with Krug drawn wide and First Class in the two-hole. “First Class looks the one to beat on what he showed last week. “Blair Orange drove our guy last week and was very happy with him; he didn’t ask him for too much and just came out at the top of the straight. “He got in a wee bit on the journey so we’ve put a rein pole on him tonight to help that.” Purdon just wants to see Krug do everything right and hit the line well tonight, to confirm that they are on track for richer upcoming assignments. “The main aim is for him just to do everything right. It would surprise me if he didn’t because he’s got great manners. “He’s grown a lot in the last six weeks and hasn’t copped a lot of hard work. “We’ve given him four or five days off here and there to manage him through it and he seems pretty bright at the moment. “He’s a horse that we think has a big future, but he’ll tell us how far he wants to go this season.” Also tonight, Dalgety and Purdon line up three-year-old trotting filly Chevron Action against the older horses over a mile. “She’s a lovely trotter and one that has really matured since she’s been up here. “I think she’s thriving on the trip but as far as the race tonight goes, she’s against the older ones and I wonder whether the mile might be the undoing of her.” The team has Gemma Mac and Dr Susan in the Group 1 Ladyship Stakes tomorrow night and Purdon says the latter is the stable’s better chance of running in the money. “She’s a lovely filly and is probably thriving fractionally more than Gemma Mac up here. “The other filly has squeezed up a bit, which isn’t uncommon in Art Majors, but just the way they’ve been going I think Dr Susan is our better hope. “Probably can’t beat Amazing Dream but wouldn’t surprise me if she ran in the money.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Watching a free-legged pacer in action is one of the most exciting and exhilarating spectacles of our harness racing sport today. And on Wednesday, two horses competing in different States, gave faultless exhibitions to post impressive victories within two hours of each other. South Australian-based youngster Sir Roman is destined for a bright future and made it two wins from two lifetime starts when he trounced his rivals at the Victorian fixture in Mildura. Then evergreen nine-year-old gelding Magic Oats stepped out at Sydney's Menangle venue to take the honors in the Schweppes Claiming Pace. Only a small percentage of pacers are capable of maintaining gait without hopples under race conditions. But it can bring satisfying results for astute trainers with a level of confidence in their horse to make the leap of faith. Adelaide horseman David Harding said he decided to ditch the hopples from his imposing youngster Sir Roman after realizing the horse wasn't happy. "I gave him a couple of trials last season when he was a two-year-old and I had him in a 63 inch hopple length because he's a big boy," Harding said. "But they were flapping about a bit and he just didn't seem comfortable," he said. "I persevered for a while and actually got him qualified with them on, but when I jogged him on the training track, he'd almost immediately just swing into a free-legged pace. One day I just thought I had nothing to lose by trying him without the hopples. We started to push him along and he didn't miss a beat." Harding had to re-trial Sir Roman satisfactorily before stewards after notifying them he was removing the hopples. "He actually had two trials because I wanted to be sure and we drove him out of the gate hard to really put him to the test," he said. Harding, who works a team of eight with his father, highly-respected veteran trainer Les, said he had never previously trained a free-legged pacer. "And I don't think I ever even drove one in a race, either, back in my days when I was a race driving," he said. Sir Roman (Somebeachsomewhere-Morgan Abby (Aces n Sevens) was bred by Benstud Standardbreds and bought at the SA yearling sales by Bill Hartwig and his sons Scott and Chris (former Chairman of HRSA). Harding, said in the early days the horse was "all arms and legs". "He's still like a big baby and can be highly-strung at times. I'd describe him more like a thoroughbred, but he's getting better," he said. "We think he has the makings of a very nice horse. At this stage his next run may be in St Leger series. He's also paid up for the Southern Cross." Sir Roman has been handled in both his runs by Harding's partner, champion driver Dani Hill. In his debut at Globe Derby on November 23, the three year old raced in the death-seat for most of the trip before winning in a decent 1.58-5. At Mildura, it was even better, as they were spotting the leaders 40m at one stage. Hill made her move at the bell and let down with 400m to go, sweeping to the lead. Sir Roman was unextended in winning by 20 metres and getting his Vicbred bonus. He was one of three winners on the program for Hill, a regular visit to Mildura. Watch Sir Roman's barnstorming win here. And while Sir Roman's career is just getting started, the second free-legged pacer to win on Wednesday night was a veteran who's been racing without hopples for the past two years. Magic Oats had won 17 races before he had the hopples taken off as a seven year old - and has gone on to win a further seven races, most recently at Menangle for trainer Paul Russo and driver Anthony Butt. Although it's not common practice, throughout history there have been some speedy free-legged competitors, perhaps the fastest being Zooka who paced a mile in 1.49-3 on July 23, 2007, at Kawartha Downs, Ontario, Canada. Of course, back in the 1930s, Lawn Derby showed fans he was something special from the beginning of his career with then-champion reinsman George Gath (father of Bendigo legend Brian) claiming he was the finest of all pacers he'd ever seen. Lawn Derby went on to make history as the first horse to better two minutes outside America when he paced a mile free legged in 1.59-4. His major wins included NSW Pacers Derby (1934), Easter Cup, Ascot Pacers Cup, Ascot 500 and Presidents Handicap (all in 1937). He set records in five States and NZ. Robalan was labelled the best free-legged pacer seen in NZ since Lawn Derby when he won the 1974 NZ Cup. From 123 starts over seven seasons, he won 40 races (17 at Addington) and gained 39 placings for $190,820. Robalan's sire Lumber Dream, also a free-legged pacer, won 12 of his 30 races. In more recent times, Art Major-sired pacer Avonnova thrilled fans with some breath-taking free-legged performances in NSW and Qld. From mid-2009 to late 2013, the gelding recorded 23 wins. Then Qld horseman Ian Gurney claimed him for a modest sum in a Goulburn race and a rags to riches tale began. Over the next five years, the pair won 32 races. The old warrior finished with 55 wins and 57 placings for $967,000.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

By Garrick Knight    When you talk to Brad Williamson, it quickly becomes apparent that he has an aptitude for race tactics. He’s a student of the game. Does his research. Knows his opponents and what he needs to do to beat them. So, it’s no surprise that he has a clear idea in his head ahead of Saturday night’s $150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final at Alexandra Park. Williamson drives second-favourite Majestic Man for his father, Phil and they face a rather daunting task trying to beat the even-money pop Winterfell, and Mark Purdon. “Just at the moment, Winterfell appears to be in the zone and I don’t think any trotter could sit outside him and beat him,” Williamson says. With that statement he’s justifying what was a meritorious effort by Majestic Man to run third after sitting parked outside Winterfell in a New Zealand record in the final heat last Friday night. This week is a different kettle of fish though – both horses are drawn well and Williamson fancies his chances of finding the markers first. But it’s not as much of a formality as many might think. “It’s a tricky one because obviously Majestic Man has super gate speed, but Winterfell is also a lot quicker than people realise. “I had trouble crossing him in the Northern Derby and I wasn’t able to get across him when we were drawn side by side in another race. “That being said, Majestic Man is in the zone and the markers are the place to be so I have to get there.” Williamson confirmed his father had given him a clear directive accordingly. “Dad mentioned to me that he does want me to cross and, realistically, looking at the race, that’s the only way I could see us winning.” But the lead isn’t something Williamson wants, either. In fact, he wants the trail. “I don’t think he’ll be able to lead and win in this race.” So, does he hand to Marcoola and put Winterfell three back, or is he expecting Purdon to immediately come out and challenge for the front? Honestly? he doesn’t especially care. “Both Winterfell and Marcoola are stayers and when they find the front won’t be giving it away. “So, we’ll be handing up to which ever is the first of them to come looking. “And I’m 90 percent sure that will be Winterfell.” Williamson is banking on his horse’s sheer speed coming to pass in one last stretch battle. “Majestic Man is as fast as anything in the race over a quarter but I’m picking Mark is not going to leave it to a sharp sprint home. “It’s not going to be a slowly run race, that’s guaranteed being an Inter Dominion Grand Final. “Winterfell broke the New Zealand record under a hold last week and probably had a couple of seconds up his sleeve, too.” Even then, it will be out of Purdon’s hands anyway as a bevvy of decent trotters try and get in to the race from wide or second line draws, primarily Marcoola. “It’s not really going to affect me, what the other horses do, because the markers are the place to be in this race. “But, being a Grand Final, I don’t think everybody is going to be sitting back and not moving.” Outside of the big three, Williamson reckons Temporale, who maps to sit four pegs for most of the race, could be the blowout option. “Looking for an outsider, Temporale has got the best draw of the others outside of Winterfell, in my opinion. “He’s drawn to sit on the markers on a likely record run and all he’ll need is a wee bit of luck of the last 800 metres. “And you’d back Tony Herlihy, out of anyone, to find a path through them. “He knows the track better than anyone and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him take advantage of a cold shot at them.” With all the planning and thinking done ahead of time, Williamson was looking forward to getting up to Auckland and just taking it all in. After all, he’s a live chance of joining the greats of the game – Anthony Butt, Mark Purdon, Gavin Lang, Tony Herlihy, Barry Purdon, Doody Townley, David Butt, Peter Jones – as the winning driver in an Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final. The annals of harness racing history await the lad from Oamaru. “There is just something about it that I’m really looking forward to. “The Inter Doms are all anyone is talking about at the moment and I’m privileged to be a part of it.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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DAYTON, OH. - Team Northfield Park harness racing drivers Kurt Sugg and Greg Grismore both scored driving doubles to lead their squad to a convincing 507-445 triumph in the initial "Buckeye Battle" at Hollywood Dayton--benefitting the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund.   Sugg captured the sixth and seventh legs of the eight-race contest, while Grismore won leg two and the eighth and final leg to secure the victory for the Northern Ohio quintet. Aaron Merriman also won a leg to give Team Northfield a 5-3 advantage over Team Hollywood Dayton in the win column.   Tyler Smith, Jeremy Smith and Josh Sutton won "Buckeye Battle" races for the home team, who had a narrow 364-350 lead after six of the eight races.   Overall point leader was Kurt Sugg who accumulated 130 points. Greg Grismore was a close second with 119, followed by Jeremy Smith 112, Tyler Smith 96, David Lake 95, Aaron Merriman 94-1/2, Josh Sutton 84, Brett Miller 83, Kayne Kauffman 70 and Chris Lems 68-1/2.   Winning horses were Fancy Footwork (Tyler Smith, 1:54, $9.00), Colonys Best (Greg Grismore, 1:54.1, $8.00), Parkin In Heaven (Aaron Merriman, 1:53.3, $3.00), Vegas Again (Jeremy Smith, 1:53.2, $8.00), Imajean Rocks (Josh Sutton, 1:52.2, $5.80), Risk N (Kurt Sugg, 1:53.2, $16.60), Sportsmuffler (Kurt Sugg, 1:53.2, $10.00) and Arrival (Greg Grismore, 1:52.3, $28.40). $3000 was donated to the Disaster Relief Fund, which is being used to repair buildings as well as families following a horrific tornado that swept through Dayton last Memorial Day.   "It is just wonderful that people who weren't effected by the devastation keep coming together to help those that were," said the Dayton Foundation's Carrie Dalrymple. "We can't thank the horsemen enough for chosing to make a positive difference in total strangers lives tonight. Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association are to be commended for creating this fun event to raise awareness that this is a long term relief project that will take years to finish and more help is still needed."   Although Josh Sutton had the misfortune of having two horses scratched during the Buckeye Battle, he still lead all drivers on the overall 14-race program with a Grand Slam--four trips to the winner's circle on the night.   by Gregg Keidel, for the Buckeye Battle
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Southwind Chrome shrugged off a late challenger once again on the way to winning a second straight Friday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands, the Preferred for trotters. Last week, the Jeff Cullipher trainee had to deal with Muscle M Up from the far turn to the finish but dug in determinedly to win in a snappy 1:51.4. On Friday night, the 4-year-old son of Chapter Seven-Counter Pointe had to deal with Melady's Monet in the latter stages, but once again proved up to the challenge. Southwind Chrome was asked for speed from the gate from driver Dexter Dunn and provided it, racing wide around the first turn before tucking into the three-hole as JL Cruze hit the quarter in :27. Shortly thereafter, Southwind Chrome was back on the outside moving toward the leader, clearing the top just after the three-eighths and leading at the half in :55.1. Melady's Monet, the 9-5 favorite, was activated first-over at this point and gradually made up ground on the leader but was still 1½ lengths behind when they turned for home. Through the stretch, Southwind Chrome maintained his edge in a thoroughly dominant performance, hitting the wire 1¼ lengths in front of Melady's Monet. JL Cruze held on for third.   Southwind Chrome paid $7.40 to win as the second choice in the wagering after completing the mile in 1:52.1. He now has 11 wins from 31 lifetime starts and earnings of $196,085 for owners Pollack Racing and Cullipher. "I would say he was better tonight than last week," said Cullipher. "When he broke three starts ago, we'll just leave it as a driver's error. He's a little funny with his mouth. He can't stand to be pulled on too much." As for Southwind Chrome's future, Cullipher has high hopes. "(Owner) Tom (Pollack) and I are going to sit down at the beginning of the year and discuss what we are going to do. I think we are going to try many of the older trotting events, races like the Graduate, during 2020." A LITTLE MORE: Leading driver Dunn upped his win total at the meeting to 37 after winning five times on the program. ... The Ettore Annunziata-trained Mister Truth pulled off a 78-1 shocker in the eighth race with Vinny Ginsburg driving, keying a 50-cent Pick-4 that came back $3,528.40 in the first of two Toys For Tots Finals (this one for a TrackMaster rating 74.5 or less on the pace) on the program. Piercewave Hanover took the other (for non-winners of $6,500 on the trot). ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,210,198. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations
Batavia, NY --- Two top class races highlighted the second to last harness racing card at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 13) and both winners rewarded their backers with premium mutuels. In the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot, Fox Valley Veto was overlooked at 11-1 and pulled the upset with a strong closing effort. Saratoga invader Golden Kronos (John Cummings Jr.) flew to the lead and rattled off fractions of :29 and :59.2. At the half Wheels A Turning (Shawn McDonough) pulled first up and Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) followed his cover. Positions remained the same until the top of the stretch when Davis tipped Fox Valley Veto clear and matched strides with Golden Kronos all the way to the wire where he got a slight advantage and won by a head in 1:58.4. It was the third win in a row and 12th of the year for Fox Valley Veto ($24.80) who has now earned $72,317 for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. Then in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace for fillies and mares, Blue Bell Bonnie turned some heads as she breezed the fastest mile of the night. Driver Dave McNeight III burst through the gate with Blue Bell Bonnie, went right to the front and never looked back for a second. Posting furious fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.2, Blue Bell Bonnie rounded the final bend and took a two length lead into deep stretch where he won in a shocker time of 1:54.3. It was the 10th win of the year for Blue Bell Bonnie ($10.60) and it pushed her total for 2019 to $75,258. Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi own and James Clouser Jr. trains. The Downs 2019 driving champion Billy Davis Jr. was the top dog again on Friday after winning four more races on the card. Besides the already mentioned Fox Valley Veto, Davis also won with Expensive Toy (1:58.4, $3.00), Traverse Seelster (1:59.3, $13.60) and Are You In (2:00.4, $8.70). Drew Monti also scored a driving hat trick and Shawn McDonough doubled up both as a driver and a trainer. Live racing resumes for the final time in 2019 on Saturday night (Dec. 14) with post time at 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  
WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 13, 2019 -- Rising MVP pounced on the tiring leaders in the Lightning Lane to pull off a 7-1 upset in Friday's co-feature at The Meadows, a $13,500 Conditioned harness racing trot. As Bluebird Jesse and White Tiger swapped the lead, Rising MVP found himself pinned inside and shuffled to fifth. But when the Lightning Lane beckoned, the 4-year-old My MVP-Nutmegs Winner gelding poured through for Wilbur Yoder and triumphed in 1:55.3 over a "good" surface. Bluebird Jesse saved place, 3/4 lengths back, with Bank Guard third. William Daugherty, Jr. trains Rising MVP, who boosted his career bankroll to $243,067, for Susan Daugherty. In Friday's companion feature, a $13,500 Conditioned Pace, Statham N prevailed in 1:53.3 for Tony Hall, trainer Sarah Andrews and owners Jeffrey Fought, Brian Carsey, David Fought and Casey Myers. Mike Wilder collected five wins on the 13-race card, including a pair for trainer Paul Corey. With three wins, Tony Hall lifted his career total to 5,995. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the program features a $97,281.02 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $2,666.54 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 2-6). First post for the 13-race card is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association
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