Day At The Track
Tough Monarch (right) and McLovin,Harness racing

Farms & families

Monarchy trifecta in FFA The Group 1 $100,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All was a triumph for Monarchy as the harness racing sire of the winner Tough Monarch, McLovin second and Didjabringthebeers third – rather a notable siring feat. On the same day Monarchy sired both trotting winners at Menangle in Princess Kenny and Gold Sovereign, both out of Sundon mares. Monarchy has elevated himself to second on this year’s NZ trotting sire list.   Sisters win at Redcliffe It was no mean feat for the half-sisters Miss Mia and Ima Beach Babe to win on the same day at Redcliffe earlier this week. Miss Mia, a four-year-old, is a daughter of Modern Art, while, Ima Beach Babe is a three-year-old from the first crop of Sunshine Beach. Lets Rocknroll, the dam of Miss Mia and Ima Beach Babe, was out of a top racemare in Impish Princess, who took a record of 1:56.6 in America and earned $276,518. Besides Lets Rocknroll, she was also the dam of the Qbred Triad winner How Will I Know 1:55.9 ($195,159), Mister Natural (1:54.9) and Rocknroll Annie (1:59.9). Another of Lets Rocknroll’s offspring, Corey William, scored in 1:56.7 at Albion Park in December.   Alta Christiano stock firing The Christian Cullen horse Alta Christiano, who stood originally at Alabar and is now at the new Killarney Stud in NSW, is leaving smart three-year-olds from his second crop. Alta Christiano Alta Engen, who is unbeaten in three starts in Western Australia, is a gelding by Alta Christiano from the Million To One mare, Its Karma. Shesskylah, a winner at Bendigo in 1:55, the Vicbred Homegrown Cladssic heat winner Techys Angel (1:58), Woodlands Wonder (1:59.3), Christiano Rose (1:59.4) and Little Bitof Fun (1:59.9) have been other winners from Alta Christiano’s second crop. Alta Christiano, a Group winner in NZ and Australia, established himself as an early speed sire last season when one of his two-yaer-olds, Will The Wizard, hoisted a mark of 1:54.6 at Albion Park.   Blue blooded filly Soho Nolita, who won the 2018 Australian Pacing Gold Final and has won four of her five outings this season, is a four-year-old mare who can claim some worthwhile blood. By Mach Three (son of Matt’s Scooter), she is out of the Art Major mare Pixel Perfect, whose dam, Amarillen, ranked as a sister to the Oaks winner Tenirama and a half-sister to the top Tasmanian juvenile Cody Maverick, their dam, Nellirama, being out of the dual Oaks winner Nellie Robins. Pixel Perfect, the dam of Soho Nolita, has left six winners from six foals of racing age, three of whom – Soho Tribeca, Carlas Pixel and Soho Nolita – have won at Group 1 level.   Ninth winner from broodmare When the Majestic Son four-year-old Regal Appointment won at the Ashburton Trotting Club’s Cup Week meeting, he credited his dam Niamey with her ninth individual winner. The gelding was having only his second start. Others from Niamey to win have been the Group and cup winners Springbank Sam Tr 1:55.2 ($545,702), Sun Of Anarchy Tr 1:58.2 ($277,733), Pocaro Tr 1:57.5 ($232,773) and Daenerys Targaryen Tr 1:58.2 ($143,723) and others in Ugly Betty, Sam Galleon, Arnold, Lord Nelson and now Regal Appointment. Niamey, who is now in her 21st year, has since produced a three-year-old filly by Love You, a two-year-old filly by the same sire and a yearling colt by Sebastian K. A sister to the outstanding racemare Africa, Niamey was a Chiola Hanover mare from Game Flyer, by Game Pride from Flying Bay.   Lazarus in demand Former pacing sensation Lazarus has met with widespread interest from broodmare owners on both sides of the Tasman in his first ‘down under’ season. The $4 million winning son of Bettor’s Delight has more than 220 bookings to date. Lazarus is standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud in Wagga (NSW)     by Peter Wharton Article sponsored by New Zealand Bloodstock

Miss McManus after her maiden win,Harness racing

Michael on the money with big gamble

A wild hunch by Tongala-based harness racing trainer Michael Watt has proved a winning one with stable newcomer Miss McManus. The eight-year-old former pacing mare (Grinfromeartoear-Tasma Walton (Walton Hanover) showed at Cobram on Monday that she should have a bright future as a square-gaiter - just six weeks after switching gait. "She's owned by Norm and Joan Visca and I still remember when I rang and told them I'd decided to give the horse a try as a trotter - to be honest I think they thought I was crazy!" Watt said. "But she had showed me at home that she was quite comfortable trotting so I was confident I was on the right track," he said. Watt's decision was vindicated when Miss McManus didn't put a foot wrong first-up to take out the Cliff Robinson Memorial Trot at Cobram in a handy mile rate of 2.02-6. Driven by Damian Wilson, the mare accelerated nicely at the start to lead, but soon afterwards handed up to $2.60 favorite Bacardi Wood (Gary Pekin). Wilson waited patiently for the sprint lane and zipped through to win by 1.3 metres. Owners Norm and Joan Visca (left) accept the trophy from representatives of the Robinson family, Andrew, Caroline and Debbie As a pacer, Miss McManus had 65 starts for three wins and 14 placings. During her career she has been trained by father-and-son Brian and Matthew Gath, South Australians Kevin Walker and Mark Delaney, and Wilson himself. Watt said there was "a bit of a funny story" in regard to how he initially got the mare. "I had a few trotters in my stable and decided I needed a pacer to train, so I approached Norm (Visca) and he offered me Miss McManus," he said. "So in just six weeks, I jogged her up, switched her to a trotter, got her qualified and won with her with my good mate Damo taking the reins - it's surreal to look back on it," he said. However, Watt did admit he had some early disappointment at the trials when Miss McManus went back to her old habits and paced away in a standing start. "But I gave her a few more trials, including one at Shepparton a few days before the Cobram race and she did everything perfect and ran a close-up second," he said. And the recent victory is not the first time Watt has tasted success by switching gaits with a pacer. In the 1990s, he took on six-year old pacer Grimster, already a winner of three races in his 80 starts. He converted Grimster to trotting and trialled, raced and won with him two months later, going on to a further four wins as a square-gaiter. Watt is related to the renowned Conroy family, of Daylesford, who are noted specialists with trotters. "I grew up with the late Bob Conroy's kids Glenn and Anne-Maree, so I was always going to have a love for the square gaiters," he said. "Bob was an absolute legend and I've written down in a book all the things that he told me. "He was a marvel- a man well before his time. I reckon he would have been chuffed looking down on us last Monday!" Watt said as well, he'd picked up valuable information over the years from his dad John, a long-time trainer, who still prepares one or two as a hobby. He also paid tribute to the Visca couple, adding the industry needed "hundreds of owners like them". "They support their trainers to the max and they just enjoy being part of the sport." Watt works on a 25-acre property with gallops trainer Bluey Thomas. It boasts an 800 metre track, along with other facilities including a swim, walker and treadmill. Watt rates Great Success-sired gelding Dynamic Legacy (five wins, 15 placings for $44,000) as his best horse at present.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Marcoola,Harness racing

Tomlinson has unusual concern

Sheree Tomlinson has an unusual concern leading into today’s $300,000 Dominion with defending champion Marcoola at Addington. She is worried about her favourite horse and her mother. Tomlinson is the new driver of Marcoola, who was jaw-dropping winning this race coming from near last last season and just as spectacular in the Flying Mile at Ashburton last start. Marcoola faces excitement machine Oscar Bonavena as well as the rock-hard fit Australian pair of Tough Monarch and McLovin in New Zealand’s greatest trotting race. But while Tomlinson is excited about steering the brilliant stallion today, she is worried about his stablemate Amaretto Sun, who gave her her greatest moment in harness racing when he won this race at massive odds two years ago. Marcoola starts from barrier one and Amaretto Sun right next to him and Tomlinson says while she loves her old mate she doesn’t want Amaretto Sun, to be driven her mother Amanda, to get in front of her and in her way. “To be honest I’d rather the draws were reversed and Mum was starting from barrier one and me from barrier two,” laughs Tomlinson. “Because he (Amaretto Sun) can get away really fast and I don’t want him crossing us and me getting stuck behind him. “I am not a big fan of barrier one in 3200m standing starts anyway because the horses out wide can get a jump on you but he (Marcoola) is actually very good from behind the tapes early. “So I am hoping if we do great crossed we can get away from the inside early.” Two years ago when Amaretto Sun won Tomlinson had the luxury of driving him for luck but with Marcoola the second favourite and at his most dynamic when he gets a head of steam up, she will launch him at some stage. Exactly when that will be could depend on when Oscar Bonavena makes his move from the back. The latter has been dazzling all season and the last start wins of the pair at Ashburton, both in national records, were comparable. “It is a different situation from two years ago, more pressure this time, but I think the Australians being in the field will help because they should force the pace, which will help us.” Oscar Bonavena might be world class and jogs national record times and sizzling splits and he might simply be too good for his rivals today, even after giving away a start from the unruly. “I am happy to have him back there because I think it should ensure he goes away and then we settle for maybe even the first half of the race,” says his trainer-driver Mark Purdon. As good as Oscar Bonavena is, and he might be the real deal, is Marcoola races up to last year’s form it could be the race of the carnival, especially with the Aussies added to the mix following their group one quinella on Tuesday. While Purdon looks likely to sit and swoop in today’s big trot punters can expect his speedsters to light up early in the $200,000 New Zealand Free-For-All. Cruz Bromac returns to defend the title he won last season when he blasted to the lead and set his own terms and he looks to have the gate speed to cross to the front again but the key to the race will be whether he would hand the pacemaking role to Spankem. Both are dynamic front runners over sprint trips and if Spankem wrests the lead off Cruz Bromac he becomes the one to beat, although that would still give the latter the passing lane late. If Cruz Bromac leads and Spankem sits parked outside him or further back then Tuesday’s Cup winner could claim the dream double.   Michael Guerin

Classie Brigade,Harness racing

A chance for redemption in FFA

By Jonny Turner The burning desire to make up for what could have been in the New Zealand Cup should set up a sensational early battle in today’s Junior Free-For-All at Addington. Few came off the track after Cruz Bromac’s win in Tuesday’s feature with a more agonising hard luck story than the camp that races third placegetter Classie Brigade. Driver John Dunn was seen desperately trying to find clear racing room for the 7yr-old trained by his father Robert. Unfortunately, a gap only came after the horse’s winning hope evaporated before the driver’s eyes. “There was a gap there nicely for him, but with Spankem not quite kicking like he usually does it closed on him,” Robert Dunn said. “Johnny said he though the run was going to be nicely there for him and it closed as quick as it opened.” John Dunn has already told the media this week that he has no plans to be behind any horse when the gate leaves for today’s 1980m sprint. Trying to hold the lead from his ace barrier 1 draw is a plan wholeheartedly endorsed by his father. “You can’t waste a good draw like barrier one and he has got great gate speed,” the trainer said. “So he will be going forward and we will have to see what happens after that.” Not being able to fully let down with his run on Tuesday suggests Classie Brigade should go in to today’s $200,000 feature without any hangover effect from the New Zealand Cup. Dunn confirmed his stable have been thrilled with the way he has come through the race. “He has pulled up super, we are really thrilled with him this week.” Chase Auckland, who starts beside Classie Brigade in barrier 2, could lay claim to the New Zealand Cup’s second biggest hard luck story. The pacer had clear air for all of the run home, but had make his finish wider than any horse in the race. Both San Carlo and Mach Shard lost ground around the home turn, hindering Chase Auckland’s momentum and forcing him around them. “Just the way the race ended up being run, we just didn’t get the brakes that we needed,” driver Tim Williams said. “And when San Carlo got around to being parked that took away the option of going around there.” The All Stars 5yr-old faces a massive turn around from the circumstances that put him back in the field in the New Zealand Cup, when moving from the unruly to barrier 2 today. Chase Auckland will not only avoid having to give his rivals a head start, Williams will be able to make use of his blazing gate speed. “It is an ideal draw for him with his gate speed and it is going to be a big help coming off the unruly to be on level terms,” the driver said. “He seems to have pulled up well and he is probably fortunate the way the race was run on Tuesday that he didn’t have a real gut-buster.” It will not just be the horse drawn beside him that could test Classie Brigade’s early speed and possibly cross him to lead. New Zealand Cup runner-up Spankem gets the chance to show off the early zip that saw him lead and go on to win the Miracle Mile from barrier 7. The cup winner Cruz Bromac, who led and won last year’s New Zealand Free-For-All, adds to the speed of the front line after drawing inside his stablemate in barrier 6. Our Uncle Sam and AG’s White Socks could provide some early pressure if they were asked from barrier 3 and 5, respectively. Nandolo (8) and Thefixer (9) look set to drift off the pace early from their wide draws. The Robert Dunn trained Henry Hubert is also likely to bail out of the early burn despite drawing barrier 4. “He has probably raced better over longer trips and I am just a bit weary that he doesn’t have that really high gate speed some of the others have,” Dunn said. The 4yr-old thrilled his trainer with his effort for sixth on Tuesday when finishing just under two lengths from Cruz Bromac after the horse’s interrupted preparation for the race. “If he hadn’t galloped around the first turn he would have been on Classie Brigade’s back and he might have been a chance.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Australasian harness racing fans can thank Oamaru reinswoman Charlotte Purvis, her love of horses and determined attitude, if an open class trotting star is born when Oscar Bonavena contests today’s Dominion at Addington.  On paper it may look as if the All Stars trotter is set to complete just another perfectly plotted path to big race glory for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. However, a look further back shows the exciting trotter has had to overcome odds exponentially higher than what he will pay to win the 3200m feature just to be in the race. Oscar Bonavena needed a miracle just to be a racehorse and Purvis was the driving force behind making it happen. The Majestic Son trotter was born weak and unable to stand on what vets deemed were legs too crooked for a potential racehorse. Purvis the horse, who was delivered early unexpectedly and started feeding him by bottle, barely showing any signs of life before she quickly began nursing him back to health.  Vets advice to Purvis’s father, John, who bred the horse, was that the foal’s chances of being a successful racehorse were slim because of his crooked legs and his missing out on vital colostrum enriched milk from his dam immediately after being born. Purvis told her father she was not having any of that talk and continued to hand feed the foal. "The vet said because his legs were not that straight and because he had not been fed colostrum straight away he didn’t have much chance of making a racehorse,” she said.  "But I told Dad he wouldn't be worrying about any of that and I kept looking after him.” After helping keep the foal alive, Purvis handed over duties to Nevele R Stud staff, who continued to help Oscar Bonavena get on his feet. “After a couple of days we were able to get the mare and foal to Nevele R and they kept feeding him.” “Eventually he was strong enough to stand on his own and then drink off his mother.” “As he got older his legs got stronger and he was perfectly healthy.” Purvis’ early work with the trotter meant he was almost certain to end up in her care. Her father sent her the trotter and Oscar Bonavena was to be a “project horse” for the horsewoman and her partner, reinsman Matthew Williamson. Oscar Bonavena soon showed the only project he was concerned about was running fast. He went on to win his first start as a 2yr-old before pushing All Stars trotter Enhance Your Calm, who was seen as an unbeatable force at the time, in his Sires Stakes win. That performance led to Oscar Bonavena being sold by John Purvis in a big money deal that saw him transfer from Phil Williamson’s barn to the All Stars stable.  Mark Purdon trialed the horse for his new owners – his father, the former champion trainer, Roy Purdon, and former New Zealand trainer Chris Ryder, who runs a successful stable in New Jersey. The master trainer-driver said Oscar Bonavena gave him the feel of a good horse as soon as he sat behind him. “He just gave me a great feel,” Purdon said.  “Phil is great with the trotters and he had a very high opinion of him, so that gave me a bit more confidence that he was going to be a good buy.” Months later Purdon’s new owners faced similar vets advice about Oscar Bonavena to what  the Purvis family had received earlier – that his legs were not up for racing. More specifically, the horse was diagnosed with a cyst on his knee, a rare condition that ruled out racing.  Purdon admitted there was a time when he Oscar Bonavena’s racing prospects were very bleak. “It was a lot of money to pay for a horse and there was a time when it looked like we could have done our money.” “But everything is back on track now, he is good and sound and we look like we have a very exciting horse on our hands.” Some high level veterinary research coupled with Purdon’s genius horsemanship combined to help Oscar Bonavena’ recover from the potentially career ending injury.   The troubled knee has held up so well since, it has allowed him to catapult to the top of the New Zealand trotting ranks in his seven starts since May.  And apart from one standing start mishap, that did not stop him winning, everything has gone perfectly.   “He had a great preparation and I think when we nominated him he was about 45th in the ranking for the Dominion and now he is right up the ladder and come in to favorite,” Purdon said.  “So, he has had a great prep and I couldn’t be happier with him.” Ryder will fly to be at Addington on Friday, while Roy Purdon is expected to watch on from Auckland. Purvis and her father will also be on hand to watch Oscar Bonavena’s first attempt at open class group 1 racing. The thrill they will get if he is able to win will be just as big as if the trotter was still officially theirs.  “We will be there and it will be very exciting - I still get a huge thrill from seeing him race,” Purvis said.  “Every time I am at the races and he is in I go down and see him, I can’t wait.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Mark MacDonald is still more than a month away from returning to the racetrack as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but the veteran harness rcing driver is feeling good and looking forward to a successful 2020. MacDonald was injured in July when he was unseated from the sulky prior to a race at Saratoga. He suffered a fractured left shoulder joint and is now rehabbing following surgery and three months in a sling. He hopes to return to action sometime in January. "I'm doing really good," said MacDonald, who is working out at the gym daily and getting physical therapy four days a week. "I'm taking it day to day. It was a massive surgery and it takes time. It's just time to stabilize the muscles around it. But I'm feeling good. I feel like I could drive tomorrow. I don't know if I'd want to hit the ground tomorrow, and that's what they're worried about. The surgeon wants me clear for contact. "Strength-wise, it's no problem. But I don't want to mess it up if something were to happen. It's frustrating because it feels really good and they're saying just take it easy. That's easier said than done sometimes but I'm working through it and listening to what they tell me. "They X-rayed it the other day and said it's perfect. They were really happy with the way it looked." In addition to repairing MacDonald's shoulder, the surgeon was able to correct tendon issues MacDonald suffered in a previous accident. "I always had pain in that shoulder for a long time," MacDonald said. "Not horrible, but it always bothered me a little bit. Where he fixed it up, it feels really good. They did a great job and I have a feeling that when I do start driving again it's going to be a lot better than it's been in a long time. "It's hopefully short-term pain for long-term gain." MacDonald has suffered his share of injuries over the years but said this one was the most difficult. "I seem to get myself into these predicaments," MacDonald said with a laugh. "For a while, I was bummed because I couldn't do anything. Shoulder surgery is really tough, the toughest one I've had. "You're just sitting around doing nothing. I had a hard time getting out of bed for a long time, physically; I needed a hand up. I couldn't move my arm for months. It's hard to sleep, hard to get comfortable. I couldn't even put my socks on, it was terrible." A native of Prince Edward Island who now lives in Goshen, N.Y., the 40-year-old MacDonald has won 6,220 races lifetime and $91.6 million in purses. He was Canada's Driver of the Year in 2005 and 2006. "Hopefully I'll get back at it in January," MacDonald said. "Maybe I'll change it up a little this year and go to The Meadowlands a little bit more. We'll see what happens. Hopefully I'll have a real good year. I'm just staying positive now. I have something to look forward to." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

By Garrick Knight Glamour mare Belle Of Montana makes a welcome resumption at Alexandra Park on Friday. Last season’s Filly of the Year has had two workouts in preparation for the race and trainer Barry Purdon says both he and driver Zachary Butcher have been satisfied with proceedings. “Really happy,” he told HRNZ. “I think she may be a little bit vulnerable this week from a wide draw against some good ones, but she is there to win.” After enjoying a good, and well-earned, winter spell, it took some extra work to get the daughter of Bettor’s Delight back in to race trim. “She’s been pretty big in condition and isn’t quite there yet but is looking a picture.” Belle Of Montana strikes a strong field over the mobile mile which includes the likes of Star Galleria, The Devils Own and her own stablemates, Havtime and On The Cards, who are both also resuming from spells. Purdon believes On The Cards is the fittest of his trio and despite drawing the outside alley, probably presents as the best of his hopes in the race. “He’s won both his trials and has gone good in doing so. “He’s pretty forward for this week and it’s just the draw that will hurt his chances.” Belle Of Montana is being set for next month’s Group 1 Queen of Hearts, where she will likely go head to head with her nemesis from last season, Princess Tiffany. “After that, we’ll probably look across to Australia for the Ladyship Mile if she’s going good enough at the time.” Purdon has gotten off to a rampant start this season, training 19 winners and 18 place-getters from just 60 starters and he is six clear of the next best northerner on the trainers’ premiership. Accordingly, he has a very strong team in tonight and could easily go home with another three or four winners. Asked for an indication on perhaps his strongest chance on the night, he looked towards maiden pacer Bettor Listen, who is having just his second start after an encouraging second on debut. “He’s a nice horse and shouldn’t be a maiden for much longer; I expect him to go a good race.” “Little Miss Perfect is fresh-up and might just need the run in what is quite a good field. “We have Some Do in the same race and she’s a really nice filly, just not ideally drawn.” Purdon is in Christchurch this week, firstly for Mach Shard’s New Zealand Cup tilt on Tuesday and now Wainui Creek’s $40,000 Mares Classic tilt today. Mach Shard isn’t backing up after a disappointing run, where we dropped away from a perfect striking position on the point of the turn. “We haven’t had the bloods back yet but he’s feeling a little bit down on himself. “I think he’s just jarred up. “It’s just one of those things you can’t do much about.” The Racing Integrity Unit’s head harness steward, Nick Ydgren, said he was yet to be advised of any other horses having felt the effects of the track from Tuesday’s racing. “We haven’t heard anything, good or bad, about the state of the track.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The final major date for big-time stakes racing in 2019 on the harness racing calendar is just nine days away as the sport's top venue, the Meadowlands Racetrack, will host eight events certain to have impact on many divisional honors - as well as Horse of the Year - on Saturday, Nov. 23. The lineup on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night is a stacked one. The four events for 2-year-olds are the $505,050 Valley Victory for trotting colts and geldings, $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for trotting fillies, $401,850 Governor's Cup for pacing colts and geldings and $411,000 Three Diamonds for pacing fillies. In addition, some of the sport's biggest names will be on the track in four TVG Finals. They include the $350,000 Open Pace, $175,000 Mares Pace, $350,000 Open Trot and $175,000 Mares Trot. Two of the stars expected to compete are presumptive Horse of the Year front-runner Shartin N (Mares Pace) and the top horse in training right now - the great mare Manchego - who is likely to get an invitation to the Open Trot as she seeks a seventh straight score in her quest to beat the boys. Purses for the eight races total $2,843,000. Not only will there be plenty of action on the track, but there will be off it as well. There will be a special early post time of 7 p.m. and they'll also be an enhanced wagering menu, which includes: 20-cent Survivor Pick-6 (Races 1-6) $40,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-5 (Races 3-7)  $75,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-4 (Races 8-11)  Rolling Pick-3s "All of us at the Meadowlands are looking forward to Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night," said Meadowlands' Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Our loyal fans are sure to enjoy our expanded wagering menu on what promises a spectacular card of racing, where divisional honors and Horse of the Year will be decided on the track. In addition, we'll expand our simulcast presence by adding Gabe Prewitt of Pompano Park and the Red Mile and Ft. Erie Racetrack's Ashley Mailloux, who has also done work for TVG, the Breeders' Cup and 'Post Time with Mike and Mike' to our TV team that night." BUILD YOUR BANKROLL: This weekend, the Big M will have its usual live race cards on Friday (Nov. 15) and Saturday (Nov. 16), with post time at 7:15 p.m. Faithful players will have plenty of opportunities to hit big throughout the 26-race weekend, as 17 of the races will have full 10-horse fields, while six others will have nine behind the gate. The three remaining races will have eight-horse fields. The average field size, assuming there are no scratches, will be 9.54 horses per race. BUILD YOUR HAND: "Free Poker Fridays" at the Big M continue Nov. 15. The event, which is sponsored by World Free Poker, begins trackside at 7 p.m. Players must be 21 years of age. GOBBLE, GOBBLE: On Saturday (Nov. 16), enter to win one of 25 vouchers (worth $20) to get a Thanksgiving turkey. Entry forms will be in the live racing program. TOYS FOR TOTS: Come on out to the track on Monday, Dec. 2 and bring an unwrapped toy for a child at Harlem Grown. Not only will you help a youngster have a happy holiday, but you will also get to greet New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa - the honorary Captain of the 2019 Toys for Tots Campaign - as the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Annual Holiday Toy Drive Reception takes place at the Meadowlands. FOX5 sportscaster Tina Cervasio will host the event, where some of Enunwa's Jets teammates are expected to attend. For those who cannot make it but would like to help, they can bring a new, unwrapped toy to the track between Friday (Nov. 15) and the night of the event. MORE ACTION: In addition to the world's best harness racing, Big M fans can also bet all NFL, NBA, NHL and college basketball and football games in the track's FanDuel Sportsbook. This weekend's local gridiron action finds the Jets traveling to take on the Washington Redskins on Sunday (Nov. 17) at 1 p.m. while the Giants have a bye week. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

DOVER, DE - On a freezing, cold evening, a field of seven were set to dethrone the queen of harness racing, Shartin N.  The combined lifetime earnings of the participants was over $6 million dollars. Caviart Ally upset Shartin N in her last two starts.  Trainer,Jim King Jr. could not tell which Shartin N would show up after her warm up drills.  All except Shartin N’s sole driver Tim Tetrick.  As the race unfolded, Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan) left alertly through a 26.4 opening quarter.  Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) lingered on the outside then made her move as Apple Bottom Jeans yielded the lead.  Shartin N settled in fourth through a pedestrian 55.3 half. At the five-eights pole Shartin N took her cue, as Tetrick stormed past Caviart Ally reaching the three quarters in 122.1. It was all over from there for the field as Shartin N glided to a powerful victory in 1.49.4. The well respected field and fans tipped their cap to the queen Shartin N. Kissin In The Sand( Nancy Johansson) and driver Dexter Dunn bravely tested Shartin N, pulling first up took the place spot. Caviart Ally (Brett Pelling) and driver Andrew McCarthy held for third. The next chapter will be in the TVG Classic for Mares at the Meadowlands.   by Al Kraszewski, for Dover Downs

High-priced New Zealand import Gran Chico has settled down well since arriving in Perth a fortnight ago and he looks set for a successful Australian harness racing debut when he contests the Catalano Truck and Equipment Sales Service Finance Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Now in the care of astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, Gran Chico will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, who is happy that the Bettors Delight gelding will be the sole runner off the back line. “From barrier ten there’s no horse on his outside and he’ll have time to relax before being put into the race,” Suvaljko said. “He’s a nice horse who should prove hard to beat. “I’ve watched the replays of all his races in New Zealand. He is a big horse who loves to just come into the race and he should get a good run from barrier ten. “Mike told me that the plan was, with the horse having been here for only a couple of weeks, was not to throw him in the deep end straight away (by racing in the group 2 feature for four-year-olds on Friday night). And after this week’s race, the plan is to go into the $125,000 Four-Year-Old Classic in two weeks and then the Golden Nugget two weeks after that.” Gran Chico, who has been purchased by Jim and Wilma Giumelli, last appeared when he gave a splendid performance to finish a close fourth behind top-flight pacers Chase Auckland, Ashley Locaz and Smokin By in the Group 3 Methven Cup on October 13.  This was a 3000m stand on a rain-affected grass track and Gran Chico galloped briefly at the start before settling down in fourth place. A 5/1 chance, he dashed to the front after about 500m before surrendering the lead after a lap to the 6/4 favourite Ashley Locaz. He finished gamely along the inside. At his previous outing, nine nights earlier, Gran Chico settled in sixth position and raced in the breeze before taking the lead 1000m from home for an easy first-up victory at a 1.57.1 rate in a 1980m mobile event at Addington. That was his first appearance since June 1 when he gave a superb performance on a wet track to finish third behind Mark Purdon’s Jesse Duke in the $150,000 Group 1 Emerald at Addington. He started from the outside barrier (No. 8) on the front line and settled down in 12th and last position before starting a three-wide run from last about 1100m from home. He raced three wide for much of the final circuit and finished with great determination. Gran Chico’s chief rival on Friday night is likely to be the polemarker Dominate The Dojo, who has finished creditable thirds to Bettor Reward and Mighty Santana at his first two starts since resuming from a spell. The Kevin Keys-trained Dominate The Dojo will again be handled by Chris Lewis, who said: “He’s a consistent little horse who is always going to be about the play. He’s got gate speed and we will push forward and see what happens.” Dylan Egerton-Green will drive the Karen Thompson-trained Our Perkins, who is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line. “He is racing really well and will run a bit of a race if I can find the top,” Egerton-Green said. With Suvaljko committed to drive Gran Chico, Byford trainer Courtney Burch had to find a new driver for Sergeant Oats, an impressive winner from Ocean Ridge last Friday night. Burch has engaged Gary Hall Jnr to handle Sergeant Oats, who is sure to be prominent from the No. 4 barrier.   Ken Casellas

Rising star Wildwest is spot on to tackle the three rich feature events for four-year-olds, but champion trainer Gary Hall Snr says that it will be far from a stroll in the park for the New Zealand-bred gelding when he starts from barrier six in the $50,000 Catalano Truck and Equipment 4YO Championship over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But Hall remains optimistic that Wildwest will meet the challenge with his usual zest and retain his unbeaten before he tackles the $125,000 Simmonds Steel Four-Year-Old Classic and the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget over the next month.   “He’s on target for all the big four-year-old classics and he seems to have all bases covered,” said Hall, who added: “From barrier six this week, he faces a real test against some very nice horses. “Wildwest is a bit nervy, light-framed and a very good mover. He can stay and he’s got speed. You don’t have to be a star to win eight in a row, but I think that Wildwest is a star. In saying that, I admit that this is a hard race and he faces a real test this week.” Wildwest, who has the services of the recently crowned winner of the Australian Drivers’ Championship in Gary Hall jnr, won by big margins at his first seven starts before he had his admirers on tenterhooks at his eighth start, in a $25,000 four-year-old feature event over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week, when he began from the outside barrier (five) on the back line. Wildwest settled down in tenth position before he was sent forward, three wide, after 550m and quickly moved to the breeze outside the pacemaker Patrickthepiranha. These two geldings were locked together over the final 250m before Wildwest got up in the final stride to snatch victory by a half-head, rating 1.56.8. “I didn’t have my heart in my mouth; I always thought he was going to win,” said Hall Snr. “I know that he didn’t win by much, but on the line he was surging clear. I’m not really all that apprehensive about watching him on Friday night. But I’d like to see him maintain his unbeaten record.” The Hall stable will also be represented in this week’s event by Robbie Easton (Maddison Brown, barrier 2) and Eloquent Mach (Stuart McDonald, No. 2 on the back line). Robbie Easton has won at nine of his 26 starts and has struck a purple patch with decisive Gloucester Park victories at his past three starts. He charged home, three wide, from sixth at the bell to win easily at a 1.56.2 rate last Friday night. “Robbie Easton will go forward, but I’m not sure whether he can hold out Patrickthepiranha,” said Hall snr. “He goes good in front and we’d like to lead.” Eloquent Mach, who has won at 11 of his 22 starts, was a battling fourth behind Wildwest at Pinjarra after enjoying a cosy trip behind the pacemaker. “He was disappointing,” admitted Hall. Dylan Egerton-Green, who will handle Patrickthepiranha, and Chris Lewis, who will drive Gee Jay Kay, are looking forward optimistically to Friday night’s race. “Patrickthepiranha’s first two runs after a spell have been good and he definitely showed a lot more fitness from his first run to his second run,” Egerton-Green said. “So, I’m hoping he can keep on improving. The draw (barrier five) is a bit difficult, like it was at Pinjarra at his latest start (when the gelding showed explosive gate speed from barrier seven to burst to the front). “I’ll have to assess (my tactics) early, about what’s going on, particularly with Robbie Easton, Sangue Reale and Gee Jay Kay on his inside. They are all racing well and this will be another good test for Patrickthepiranha, who was probably a bit unlucky when beaten a half-head by Wildwest at Pinjarra. “He dropped a knee boot about 150 metres from the finish and this was in a quick quarter (26.7sec.) which didn’t help. The dropped knee boot affected him, but that’s racing. Wildwest has drawn right outside me this week and he’s probably got to do the same amount of work that I’ll need to do to get into the race. “And Wildwest is not the only horse to beat. They are all quality horses and it’s definitely a match race between the whole lot. Since his run at Pinjarra Patrickthepiranha has worked really well, and so has his stablemate Its Rock And Roll. It probably boils down to who gets the most economical run.” Gee Jay Kay, a winner at ten of his 23 starts and trained by Ross Olivieri, looms as a major player in this week’s event in which he is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line. Gee Jay Kay gave an outstanding performance to win a stand over 2631m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week after galloping fiercely at the start. “I reckon he gave the leaders about 60 metres start,” Lewis said. “And I didn’t expect him to do what he did. I thought that I’d just follow them around, but when we were coming in for the bell Gee Jay Kay was travelling a bit and I thought I’d flush a couple out and just track up and see how close we could get. “Nothing came out, so I just kept going and he went on with the job really well. From barrier three this week he’s definitely going to be in play. He feels a different horse at the barrier now from what he was when I drove him at trials. He feels very confident and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets off the gate (begins fast). “It is a very good field and Wildwest doesn’t know when to give up. These horses are all going to go to fast-class. It’s a very impressive field.” The powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable will be represented by extremely smart New Zealand-bred pacers in Ana Afreet and Taroona Bromac, with the stable’s No. 1 reinsman Ryan Warwick handing punters a good tip by choosing to drive the lightly-raced Taroona Bromac, who will start from the outside of the back line. At his debut in New Zealand Taroona Bromac was narrowly beaten before scoring impressive victories at his following seven starts, the latest being last Friday night when he set the pace and coasted to victory by more than four lengths from Robb Stark. Ana Afreet, a winner at 12 of his 17 starts, is in sparkling form and will be driven by Bailey McDonough. However, he faces a stern test from out wide at barrier eight. Ken Casellas

Jaspervellabeach, a star two-year-old last season when his four wins from six starts included the Group 2 Champagne Classic and the Group 1 Golden Slipper, will reappear after a four-month absence when he contests the Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Coolup owner-trainer Kristy Elson has a few concerns about the colt following his roguish behaviour in recent trials. But the style in which he set the pace and coasted to victory in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning was a strong indication that he has sound winning prospects despite drawing the outside barrier in the field of seven. He began speedily from barrier four and charged straight to the front. After a modest pace in the first lap Jaspervellabeach dashed over the final 400m sections in 29.7sec. and 27.8sec. to win, unextended, by a length from Livin La Bamba. “I have trialled him twice (at Pinjarra) when his first trial wasn’t impressive at all,” said Elson. “Then I trialled him again last Sunday when I took the blinds off him because he had the blocks on, and I put him in an open bridle. “He went straight to the front and ran good time. But he was looking around and is getting a bit bully. So, I’m not sure if he is just mucking around and it will be interesting to see how he goes (in race conditions) on Friday night. I’m not sure whether he’s mucking around just because it’s trials and not at the races or whether he’s getting a bit older and a little bit silly. “I’m not sure how he will go on Friday night. It sort of depends on what he does from the outside barrier. It will depend on how Nathan (Turvey) feels after he has warmed up. He’s a lovely horse, but I’m not putting too much pressure on him. I just want to see how he goes.  “He might need to be gelded. But, hopefully, he’s just been mucking around at trials and knows when it’s pay day. We’ll see.” Elson will also be represented in Friday night’s event for three-year-olds by Secret Operation, who will start from barrier six with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. Secret Operation disappointed at his third outing after a spell when, from barrier three, he raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before wilting to finish a well-beaten seventh behind Rock me Over in a fast-run 2130m event on Tuesday evening. That followed easy wins at Gloucester Park over 2130m and 1730m at his two previous outings, after resuming from a spell. It is possible the colt was a little underdone and should be capable of an  improved effort on Friday night when Macz Brother, a half-brother to star mare Maczaffair (63 starts for 21 wins, 19 placings and $507,497) and the speedy Golden State (30 starts for 12 wins, six placings and $146,028) should prove hard to beat at his Gloucester Park debut. Macz Brother, trained by Mike Reed and to be driven by Michael Grantham, has raced three times for wins at Pinjarra and Northam and a third placing behind Hotfoot It at Pinjarra. At his most recent appearance Macz Brother began from the back line in a 1780m event at Northam last Saturday week when he settled in seventh position, was eighth at the bell and charged to the front with 420m to travel before winning by five lengths from Pocketfulofpepper. Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown will be keen to add to Adda Pocket Rinse’s record of three starts for three wins when he drives the Rich And Spoilt gelding. Adda Pocket Rinse possess excellent gate speed, but could find it difficult to cross to the front from barrier five. Adding considerable interest to the race will be the return to action of Some Copper Beach, the only filly in the event who will start from the No. 4 barrier for Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo. Some Copper Beach was a star two-year-old last season when her ten starts produced five wins, two seconds and a third.   Ken Casellas

Exciting five-year-old Bill Haley is capable of a bold harness racing effort in the 2130m $25,000 Pat Cranley Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night despite a steep rise in class, according to the New Zealand-bred gelding’s reinsman Chris Lewis. Bill Haley unleashed a spectacular finishing burst from a seemingly impossible position at the rear on the home turn to get up and snatch a remarkable victory from Hy Leexciting at a 1.55.9 rate over 2130m last Friday night. He was restrained from barrier eight and was eighth at the 250m mark before his whirlwind five-wide charge relieved the strain on the supporters of the odds-on favourite. This week Bill Haley, prepared by the champion reinsman’s wife Debra, will be seriously tested in much tougher company and from out wide at barrier seven in the field of nine. He is undefeated at three starts in Western Australia after winning at four of his final five races in Queensland. “He goes quite a lot in class and it’s another big test,” said Lewis. “It never gets easier. His main asset is his speed, but you have got to be realistic and Mighty Conqueror looks very hard to beat from barrier one. However, I still believe Bill Haley can measure up to this rise in class, whether it is this week or in three or four week’s time. “He’s certainly got a bit of class on his side and he can definitely play a bit in the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. He has a good turn of foot and if he’s close enough, he’ll give them a bit of curry.” Mighty Conqueror, a comparatively inexperienced performer whose 21 starts have produced 14 wins and five placings, looks the winner from the prized No. 1 barrier. He moved to the breeze after a lap in the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup last Friday week and took the lead 500m from home before being overhauled in the final couple of strides by Motu Premier, who finished strongly from sixth at the bell. Chris Voak, who drives Motu Premier for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, said he expected another bold showing from the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old. “Ross has a plan for him to go to the Bunbury Cup in a couple of Saturdays time,” Voak said. “Barrier five is not ideal on Friday night and we will probably have to sit outside Mighty Conqueror and if he beats that pacer he will be putting his hand up to be a real good chance to win a Cup at the summer carnival.” Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by three runners Mighty Conqueror (Ryan Warwick), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Bailey McDonough), El Jacko (Dylan Egerton-Green) and Galactic Star (Colin Brown). El Jacko is in top form and was a splendid second behind stablemate Vampiro in the Stratton Cup last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Major Pocket and was blocked for a clear passage until late when he finished strongly on the inside. El Jacko is awkwardly drawn at barrier six, but Egerton-Green is expecting a strong effort from the seven-year-old. “I was very happy with his performance last week and I hope he can keep earning this week,” he said. Galactic Star is a top-class performer who will be appearing for the first time since finishing at the rear in the WA Pacing Cup last January. A week earlier Galactic Star covered a lot of extra ground when a splendid second to My Field Marshal in the 2536m Fremantle Cup. The Bond stable also has solid winning claims in the $22,000 Catalano Truck and Equipment Sales Kenwick WA Pace, a 2130m event in which Mighty Santana will start from the outside in the field of eight. Mighty Santana, to be driven by Ryan Warwick, has resumed after a spell in fine style and he impressed when he worked hard before scoring a comfortable win over El Hombre last Friday night. Mighty Flying Deal, to be driven by Michael Grantham for Collie trainer Wayne Justins, will be strongly favoured from the prized No. 1 barrier. The seven-year-old is a strong frontrunner who will take plenty of catching. King of Swing, the WA Derby winner two seasons ago, will be having his final start in Western Australia when Gary Hall Jnr drives him from barrier six. King of Swing, a winner of 18 races and $474,977 in prizemoney, has a losing sequence of ten. “Win, lose or draw, this will be his final run for the stable,” said trainer Gary Hall Snr. “He will be going to Sydney where he will be trained by Luke McCarthy. “He is not suited by racing at Gloucester Park unless he leads. He is a winner of two Group 1 races, but I’m not able to get the best out of him.”   Ken Casellas

This wasn’t how November was supposed to go for Sundees Son. The reigning Trotter of the Year was the one-time favourite for both Group 1 trots of Cup week in Christchurch and the Inter Dominion, which starts at Alexandra Park a fortnight from tomorrow. Now he is heading to the spelling paddock with his tail between his legs. The freakishly-talented five-year-old galloped and lost all chance for the third race in a row in the NZ Trot Free-For-All at Addington on Tuesday and was always unlikely to start in tomorrow’s $300,000 Dominion after that. But trainers Robert and John Dunn have surrendered to Sundees Son's niggling issues and also pulled him out of the Inter Dominion and sent him for a two-month spell. “We just can’t get him right,” said John Dunn. “We keep patching him up and while his issue (fetlock joint) isn’t serious at all he has lost his confidence. “He is only a young horse and we have to do the right thing by him so hopefully he can come back for the big races in the autumn.” While Sundees Son is out of the Dominion, hot favourite Oscar Bonavena still faces a huge task starting from the unruly in a capacity field, with his three main rivals in Marcoola (barrier one), Tough Monarch (six) and McLovin (10) all drawn the front line. The Dunns will have two reps in the $200,000 NZ Pacing Free-For-All and luckless NZ Cup placegetter Classie Brigade drawn the ace. “I am not sure he would have won the Cup had we got clearer earlier but he would have got a lot closer,” Dunn says of Tuesday’s third. Dunn says he has the gate speed to try and lead tomorrow’s 1980m Goup 1 and if he was able to hold the front early he would want to stay there, as he did in the Kaikoura Cup 10 days ago. “But it may not be that easy. Cruz Bromac gets off the gate really fast, but I will be trying to hold him.” Cruz Bromac (six) has drawn inside Spankem (seven) and the tactics of that pair, who led and won the NZ Free-For-All and Miracle Mile respectively last season, will play a huge role in tomorrow’s outcome. Aussie raider Our Uncle Sam backs up after missing away in the NZ Cup on Tuesday but Victorian San Carlo will miss the free-for-all and head to Auckland for the Inter Dominion. The fields for the NZ Free-For-All at Addington tomorrow: Race 11, 5.48pm, $200,000, mobile 1980m — Classie Brigade (1), Chase Auckland (2), Our Uncle Sam (3), Henry Hubert (4), A G’s White Socks (5), Cruz Bromac (6), Spankem (7), Nandolo (8), Thefixer (9).   Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner Longtime owners and an emerging trainer combined to score their biggest wins when Oamaru trotter Rydgemont Son rocked New Zealand Cup day punters on Tuesday. Cup day bettors were left wondering why they unusually let a Williamson trained trotter go out at massive odds of 50 to one odds after the 5yr-old powered home from off the speed to win. Rydgemont Son’s effort in middle grade company notched a career best win as a trainer Brad Williamson. Williamson was not among those who under rated the well related trotter going in to Tuesday’s race. “I wouldn’t say I was surprised, I was quite confident he would go a good race, but I wasn’t expecting anything because we all know how hard it is on cup day,”the trainer-driver said. “But, I was confident the horse was good enough if everything went to plan.” “It was a big thrill.” Rydgemont Son showed how much progression he has made in his past three starts with his faultless display in front of a large Addington crowd. The 5yr-old began his campaign with a big win at Forbury Park before making mistakes in subsequent outings. The horse then got his act together in his two starts prior to putting together a perfect performance on Tuesday. “We are still not out of the woods from him yet,” Williamson said. “He still gets himself a bit excited sometimes and that is why he gallops.” “He will win more races, but he has just had a few issues that have kept him from being in good form a bit longer.” Rydgemont Son is by Majestic Son from former 10-win race mare Domination. That makes him a half brother to multiple race winners The Dominator and Rydgemont Milly. The Dominator also raced on NZ Cup day, galloping out of another event early. Rydgemont Son is raced by Ray and Joan Scott, of St. Andrews. Ray Scott told Williamson Rydgemont Son’s win was his biggest thrill in harness racing. “They have been in the game a long time, they raced the mother Domination,” Williamson said. “Ray said that was the biggest thrill he’d had - getting a winner on cup day.” Williamson scored another career highlight at Addington, earlier this year, when Cracker Hill notched a Group 1 second placing at the Harness Jewels. The 3yr-old is back in work and progressing towards a return on the Otago-Southland summer racing circuit. Williamson hopes to bank some Harness Jewels qualifying money before targeting early 3yr-old trotting events with Cracker Hill. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

« Article Archive
New Zealand
Harness racing's biggest stars will battle it out on the track on Saturday, November 23rd in the TVG & Fall Final Four Finals at the Meadowlands Racetrack. This year will be extra special with two of the sport's biggest names - Hannelore Hanover and Six Pack retiring following their starts in their TVG Finals. The great Hannelore Hanover's retirement ceremony will be held following the final start of her career - the TVG Mares Final on Saturday, November 23. The 2017 Horse of the Year has amassed over $3 million in earnings including wins in the Hambletonian Maturity, TVG (2 times), Armbro Flight (three times), Breeders Crown (two times), Maple Leaf Trot (two times) and the Cutler Memorial. A commemorative video will be shown during the ceremony and the first 500 fans will receive a movie-style Hannelore Hanover poster that details her major victories. Her shoes will also be pulled in the winner's circle with one of them being given to the Meadowlands Racetrack for the new "Walk of Fame" that will be unveiled during the 2020 Championship Meet. "Hannelore Hanover is one of the greatest race horses of all time," stated Jason Settlemoir, COO and GM of the Meadowlands Racetrack. "She had so many major victories here - the 2016 Hambletonian Maturity and TVG Final and the 2018 Cutler just to name a few. She created so many great racing memories here and we are honored Ron Burke and her ownership agreed to retire her in our winner's circle." 2018 3-year-old trotting Colt of the Year Six Pack will also retire following his TVG Final on November 23rd. This outstanding trotter had three world record performances including the 1:50 in the 2018 Stanley Dancer, 1:49.1 in the Kentucky Futurity and 1:49.2 in the Allerage Farms Open Trot. He also posted wins in the Yonkers Trot, Empire Breeders Classic and The Matron to earn close to $2 million. Six Packs shoes will also be pulled in the winner's circle with one of them begin added to the Meadowlands Racetrack Walk of Fame. "Six Pack gave us a 1:50 world record performance in the 2018 Stanley Dancer," said Settlemoir. "It's only fitting that he is added to our Walk of Fame." Details about the new conceived Meadowlands Racetrack Walk of Fame will be announced in the coming months. Management will be asking the winning connections of some the track's biggest races including the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, TVG Finals to contribute a shoe to the display. "I would like to thank Dean Hoffman for reaching out to me with an idea about the Walk of Fame," said Settlemoir. "I thought it was a great way to honor the champions that race on our track." TVG night details can be found at From the Meadowlands Media Department
CHESTER, PA - The Credit Winner gelding Ooh Rah didn't have to move out of third until the ¾ for driver Pat Lachance in the $18,000 featured trot Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, and then he was able to sustain a rally to catch favored Mississippi Storm in 1:55.1. Ooh Rah was able to get to the lead early, with millionaire DW's NY Yank going wide early and surging to the lead before a :27.2 quarter. Mississippi Storm had been looped in the early action, but he stayed on and went to the lead in front of the stands, getting a bit of a breather with middle fractions of :57 and 1:26.2. But it was nearing the latter station that Ooh Rah made his move, and he closed determinedly to get past the pacesetting chalk by a neck, raising his lifetime earnings to $210,055 for trainer Kathleen La Montagne, co-owner with Donald La Montagne. In a co-featured $14,500 trotting contest, driver Pat Lachance also reported home first, here with the Italian import Sylvesteramericait, who never looked back from the rail in putting up a winning clocking of 1:54.3 Bob Baggitt Jr. trains the Varenne gelding, now a winner of $297,007 on both sides of the Atlantic, for owner Christine Baggitt. Lachance and George Napolitano Jr. tied for the day's honors with three driving victories apiece. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia
Happy Heart (Woodstock) has been as solid as any harness racing pacing mare at Saratoga Casino Hotel in 2019 and on Thursday, the Melissa Beckwith trainee sprung the upset in the afternoon's feature. Happy Heart was dismissed at odds of 16-1 despite drawing the rail in what wound up being a five-horse Open for distaffers following a scratch. The Fillies and Mares Open featured a 1-9 betting favorite as last week's winner The Charging Moa N (Jay Randall) was back in town to try to defend her title from last Thursday's eye-popping effort in the ladies Open. The Charging Moa N wound up first over this week and took over the lead past three quarters in 1:25. Happy Heart got shuffled back a bit before moving off the rail and fanning three-wide around the final turn. The six year old surged in the stretch and her closing effort was enough to track down The Charging Moa N to prevail in 1:54. Larry Stalbaum catch-drove Happy Heart on Thursday and piloted the mare to what was her third win in the local Open in 2019. Paying $35.20 in the upset, Happy Heart completed a training triple for Beckwith on the afternoon as her Best Honey Hanover and Mach Of Shame won conditional races earlier on in the matinee. The Charging Moa N came up second-best on Thursday to round out a $71.50 exacta. Happy Heart is owned by Tom McTygue and the Masie Stable, both of Saratoga Springs, NY. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm. There will be a Pick Five carryover of $1,361 on Saturday with the Pick Five beginning in race one. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  
MONTICELLO, NY-- A short five-horse field assembled behind the harness racing mobile gate for the first race, a division of the North American Amateur Drivers Series, at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (Nov 14) and when the starter said "go" Bob Hechkoff immediately sent Five Towns to the lead and they led Lady's Big Stormont and driver Alan Schwartz by the first quarter in a soft :29.4. In hot pursuit of the leaders were Muzzy's Muscles (Joe Faraldo); Cheeky Little Miss (Tony Verruso) and ER Shane ( Joe Lee) and once the horses passed the by the first quarter, strangely the order never changed as Five Towns showed the way to the finish line to score a 2:00.3 triumph. Schwartz's trotter was second and Muzzys Muscles took home the show dough.Cheeky Little Miss finished fourth and earned fifth money "It's certainly an oddity when the horses finish in the exact order that they lined-up after the start," acknowledged NAADA president Joe Faraldo. "Obviously the short field played a part." Sent off as the favorite in the race, Five Towns, a 10-year-old Andover Hall gelding, notched his eighth seasonal victory and paid a paltry $3.50 for win. He's owned by RBH Ventures and Spagnola Racing LLC and trained by Kyle Spagnola. by John Manzi, for the NAADA Series

Additional Articles