Prix d’Amérique

Prix d’Amerique field – Five spots remain

January 16, 2017 - Five starting spots remain for harness racing's 2017 Prix d’Amerique. The earned invitations to date are listed below. Sweden’s trainer Daniel Reden has three on the list (Lionel, Call Me Keeper and Wild Honey) that will line up against favorite Bold Eagle. 1- Anna Mix – 1st Prix de Bretagne (Gr.II) 2- Propulsion – 2nd Prix de Bretagne (Gr.II) 3- Princess Grif – 3rd Prix de Bretagne (Gr.II) 4- Bold Eagle – 1st Prix du Bourbonnais (Gr.II) 5- Lionel – 2nd Prix du Bourbonnais (Gr.II) 6- Voltigeur de Myrt – 3rd Prix du Bourbonnais (Gr.II) 7- Belina Josselyn – 1st du Ténor de Baune (Gr.II) 8- Treasure Kronos – 1st Critérium Continental (Gr.I) 9- Timoko – 2nd Prix de Bourgogne (Gr.II) 10- Booster Winner – 3rd Prix de Bourgogne (Gr.II) 11- Briac Dark – 1st Prix de Belgique (G.II) 12- Call Me Keeper – 2nd Prix de Belgique (G.II) 13- Wild Honey – 3rd Prix de Belgique (G.II) Thomas H. Hicks

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€90,000 Prix de Roubaix at Vincennes

January 16, 2017 - 15/1 Verveine du Mont was victorious in today’s Gr. III Prix de Roubaix (purse €90,000, 2175 meters, 13 starters) at Paris-Vincennes. Mlle. Audrey Laroche was in the irons for Ecurie AB Trot and harness racing  trainer Franck Blandin. The winner scored timed in 1.12.7kr to defeat 10.6/1 A Mery de Chahains (7f Password-Nuit de Plainville) and jockey Florian Prioul for owner/trainer Cedrik Megissier. Third was 75/1 Ardelot (7g Hello Barbes-Kora de Montfort) with Mlle. Lolita Balay aboard. The co-featured Prix de Brionne (purse €54,000, 2700 meters, 18 European starters) this day went to 3.1/1 Afghan Barbes (7g Meaulnes du Corta-Nuance Barbes), racing barefoot, for driver Ch.J. Bigeon, trainer Christian Bigeon and owner Andre Francis Bigeon. 6.9/1 Bily de Gueriniere (6g Prodigious-Haldane) was second for trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard and for breeder/owner Pierre Gypteau. 7/1 Sylvester America (6g Varenne-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell) raced close-up throughout and ended third for Franck Nivard and owner/trainer Jerry Riordan. 18.6/1 Spirit Real closed quickly from far back to be fourth for Eric Raffin and owner/trainer Riordan. Time Machine (8g Super Arnie-Union Highness) was fifth at 109/1 for Dominik Locqueneux and owner/trainer Jorgen Westholm. Thomas H. Hicks

Harness racing

Jamie Hurley takes top honors at Ballyguteen Meet

WEST CORK, Ireland - Jamie Hurley took the riding honors riding a first and last race double IB Tweedy in the opener and Maithi Buachaill in the finale of the Grade A trot at the annual Ballygurteen road trotting races on Sunday. Maithi Buachaill was looking for his third win on the bounce in the Grade A. Here he locked horns with his old rival Rhyds Ponder, who has finished second to him in their previous two outings . As always Deirdre Goggin set the fractions on Rhyds Ponder leading at the three turning points but Hurley did not let his arch rival get too far away and overtook her with three furlongs to go. Rhyds Ponder to his credit, battled back but Maithi Buachaill was not for catching and eventually had four lengths to spare. IB Tweedy had earlier impressed in the Novice. Here Hurley sent the winner to the front after two furlongs and never looked in any danger of defeat and will race in Grade E the next time out. Saunders Paris has swept all before her in her two previous outings and despite the step up to Grade D, this daughter of Play With a Full Deck continued to impress, making light work of her five rivals to record a six length rompn .Deirdre Goggin was in the plate and "Paris" is owned and trained by her father Micheal. Tactician Du Lys also remains undefeated this term.This imposing French bred trotter made his debut in the Grade B a winning one. When Favorite Democrat made a mess of the opening turn and was pulled up, this left Rhyds Artist with a commanding lead nearing the final turning point.  "Cool Hands" Timmy O'Leary had cut the advantage on the leader and coming off the sand at the last turn swept to the front to win by eight lengths. Already the talk has started of Tactician Du Lys taking on the big boys in the Grade A . The large partisan local crowd roared on Hillside Mustang to victory in the Grade E Race. Owned by the five strong Cuigear Racing syndicate, this son of Harmony P was given the office by Jason O'Reilly to lead home Big Jim by five lengths. David Brickley's season has been slow by his terms, but he got the ball rolling with a win on Meadowbranch Kiki in the Grade C, who had a titanic battle with race favorite Lakeview Walter eventually getting up to win by a head . The next meeting is the annual Memorial Day in Skibbereen on Jan 29th by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS NOVICE (Donal McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1.One For The Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE Marie Moloney 3. McCarthy/ Daly SHANES INCOME Grade E (Denis Dullea Memorial Cup) 1. Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J O'Reilly 2. G Kane BIG JIM T O'Leary 3. C Brickley MILLERS BOY Owner Grade D (Jeremiah Keohane Memorial Cup) 1. M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. R Joyce BEAUTYS HARMONY M O'Reilly 3.H Bennett WELLFIELD DAMIAN Marie Moloney Grade C (William O Donovan Memorial Cup) 1. Shanahan / Brickley MEADOWBRANCH KIKI D Brickley 2. R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O'Reilly 3. P Manning SPRINGHILL JAZZ Deirdre Goggin Grade B (Sean McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 2. L O Brien RHYDS ARTIST Grade A (Paddy Keohane Memorial Cup) 1. Hegarty / Hurley MAITHI BUACHAILL J Hurley 2. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. N Forbes MOUNTAIN DEW LAD J O'Reilly                                                          

Mark Purdon talks Ballarat Cup with Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden.

Draw can't douse confidence for Lazarus

Kiwi superstar Lazarus has drawn widest on the front row, outside fellow top liners Smolda and Lennytheshark, but retains harness racing favouritism for the $120,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. Lazarus opened a $1.30 favourite with tab.com.au and trainer-driver Mark Purdon said while the champ might not be quite at his peak first-up in Australia he would take some beating. “Lazarus had 10 days off after the NZ Cup week,” Purdon said. “I don’t think he’s back to where he was in the NZ Cup, but he’s going to be hard to beat.” Purdon revealed at Monday’s barrier draw he would pilot Lazarus and Anthony Butt would be offered the drive on the Inter Dominion champion Smolda, who opened a $6.50 shot. “(Smolda) could be a chance. He’s certainly going very well, he trained very good this morning,” Purdon said. “He is going well coming off the SA Cup and Inter Dominion and won the Hunter Cup last year, so we all know how good he is.” Good Form analysts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden agreed it was a race in three, with Smolda drawn in three and Lennytheshark four. “Mark Purdon holds the key,” Bonnington said. “Lennytheshark and Smolda get away very quickly, but I still think Lazarus will be a fairly dominant favourite.” Those at the pointy end may have been a deterrent for some and leading to the less than capacity field, but it did little to dampen Ballarat and District Trotting Club chief executive Paul Rowse’s excitement. “We are very happy to have the top quality that we have in the cup and when I heard Lazarus was going to be in there I almost jumped out of my seat,” Mr Rowse said. The Good Form analysts broke down the field in the wake of the barrier draw. This is a summation of their thoughts. Young Modern (Gate 1): Probably racing for place money. Could try to hold the lead initially to get leader’s back when the big guns come across. Racing well and likes the distance. It Is Billy (Gate 2): If he can get across Young Modern early that’s a big plus. Every opportunity to run into the money, just wants to get the front and then hand over to one of the big guns. Smolda (Gate 3): He’s constantly put below a couple of more glamorous horses, but his last 12 months have been extraordinary. He’s a wonderful horse who loves the trip. He’s drawn to advantage and has to be a winning hope. Lennytheshark (Gate 4): He might lob one-one behind Lazarus. He does have terrific gate speed and could put the pedal to the mettle to find the front, but it’s just a fitness issue. There’s a really big chance he will keep going until he finds the front and is one of three winning chances. Major Secret (Gate 5): Not an ideal draw, will probably be playing for luck. A very, very good horse, but he is most effective when he can use his gate speed and find the front. He couldn’t be racing in any better form. Can he win on Saturday night? Probably can’t but will give a good account. Adam Cartwright (Gate 6): Ran a great race at Shepparton. He’s a good consistent horse, potentially a top four hope but probably not much more than that. If he has any luck he’ll be hitting the line. Lazarus (Gate 7): He is an outstanding pacer. He’s progressed and progressed and to see what he’s done in New Zealand he is the best horse in Australasia, and could be the best horse we’ve seen in Australasia for several years. It’s great he’s chosen the big dance and Ballarat and should win, but Smolda is constantly underrated and Lennytheshark is reigning horse of the year. It’s great for the race that he’s drawn seven, but he's still the one to beat. Savesometimetodream (Gate 8): He should get a good cheap run early from the eight and be an outside place chance at big odds.  Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Race programme for Ballarat, Saturday 21 January 2017

Harness racing trainer Ryan Hryhorec came away with a winning treble at Saturday’s Globe Derby Park meeting but it was an emotional night with two of his winners leaving the stable. Hryhorec’s winners were Crafty Old Fox, Star Brutus and Glenferrie Bunter but post-meeting the trainer revealed the latter pair were both headed for New South Wales. “Star Brutus and Glenferrie Bunter are both special to the stable, each in different ways, but realistically they need to head interstate for their own careers,” Hryhorec said. “Kerry (partner Kerry Stauwer) and I love Star Brutus – he was basically the first horse to come into the stable when I set up at Angle Vale. “Tonight’s win was his 21st for me so there is no doubt he has been a wonderful part of my training career.” Ironically, the six-year-old came into Hryhorec’s stable when he was setting up at Angle Vale, now the trainer is in the process of moving to a new stable he is building at Two Wells so will be looking for another Star Brutus to kick off his new venture. On Saturday, Hryhorec drove hard from gate two on Star Brutus ($3.40 fav) to take the lead in the Modbury Junior Football Club Claiming Pace (22340m) and ultimately lead throughout for a four-metre win from My Man Dan ($4.80) with Soho Monza ($8.30) a half-head win away third. “The owners are keen for him to go to Sydney for claiming races and while he has been a great horse for us, I felt he had earned a chance at the better prizemoney,” the trainer said. Hryhorec stated last week he felt Glenferrie Bunter would be better suited around bigger tracks with the gelding having trouble getting around the home turn when out wide and, after discussion, the owners decided to send him to Rob Morris in Sydney. However, Hryhorec had one more run and Glenferrie Bunter came up with gate one in the PFD Food Services Pace (1800m). He was a well-backed $1.10 favourite and led comfortably before dashing away for a 13-metre win from The Commander ($9.70) which chased him throughout with Whata Escape ($38.20), five metres away third. Hryhorec set comfortable quarters of 30.8, 30.7 and 29.3 before dashing home in 28.1 for a 1:58.4 mile rate. “It is sad to lose this bloke because he is potentially a star,” Hryhorec said. “What I am so pleased about with him is that early on he beat himself some times by over-racing and proving hard to control but now he leaves at the top of his game and a much more mature. “Realistically he was always going to race his way out of South Australia but losing him is going to leave a massive hole in my stable – I guess I just have to try and find a good one to replace him.” His first winner was Crafty Old Fox, driven by his niece Kaela. A $3.10 chance, Crafty Old Fox was well driven by the teenager to drop down behind the leader Jennas Fling ($11.20) early in the Ubet Pace (1800m). Wayne Hill rated the leader perfectly and dashed for home at the top of the straight but Crafty Old Fox was able to use the sprint lane and come through to score by a metre with Hardly A Grin ($26.50), four metres away third. “He came to us as a maiden and now won three of his last four, including picking up a Vicbred bonus, so has been a good buy for the owners. “He’s no star but still has as few more wins as he goes through the classes.” Graham Fischer

Pompano Beach, FL...January 15, 2017...For the ninth time in 10 tries since his return to harness racing at Pompano Park, Panocchio won the top pace on Sunday night (January 15)--the $12,000 Open Handicap Pace. The seven year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended, handled again by Wally Hennessey and assigned the outside post in his quintet, zoomed out of the gate into the lead before yielding to Drachan Hanover (John MacDonald) at the opener in :26.3. A stride of two later, Panocchio brushed up to regain the top spot and carded subsequent panels of :55.1 and 1:24.1 before a :28 finale sealed the deal by 1 ¾ lengths over the late charging Bluehourpower (Corey Braden). Legal Spike (Ricky Macomber, Jr.) finished another neck back in third while Fritzie Pic Up Man garnered fourth money. Drachan Hanover picked up the nickel. After the event, Hennessey, once again, had high praise for Panocchio saying, "Jim (trainer Mattison) and his wife, Vicki, keep this horse in such great condition week after week. It's just amazing that he can keep sharp for this extended period of time...just amazing. "He just does what he has to do to win. Being 'handicapped' with the outside post when it's the five post actually helps this horse as he is ready to go when the gate springs. "He got to the top easily enough and, when MacDonald came at me, I thought it best to let him go and retake, hoping that I wouldn't get in a war with him since his horse missed last week. "When we got to the half in a reasonable (:55.1), we didn't really have any threats on the backside, although I did give him one tap to keep him interested. When we hit the third quarter in 1:24.1, I was confident he could get home." In keeping his 2017 record unblemished--now 3-for-3--Panocchio sent his seasonal bounty to $18,000 and $415,368 career-wise with 51 wins, including the track record at Pompano in 1:48.3 for Emile Johnson, Jr., who co-owns with trainer Jim Mattison. Off at a dime-to-a-dollar in the betting, Panocchio paid $2.20 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Mystic Desire, handled by Aaron Byron, stopped the clock in 1:50.4 to score his initial win of the year in just two starts. The classy nine year-old son of Real Desire used that coveted five post to push the Hummer Starting Gate out of the way at the start and scorched panels of :26.1, :53.2 and 1:22 before stepping home in :28.4 to seal the issue over the late charging Respectable Dream (Rick Plano) with First Of Itskind (Tom Jackson) a stout closing third after trailing throughout the first five-eighths of the journey. The Optimist finished fourth while Duc Dorleans picked up the minor award in the field of six. Trained by Don Campbell for owner Tony Maione, Mystic Desire won for the 39th time in his stories career with his earnings vaulting to $843,851. As the 6 to 5 favorite on the tote-board, Mystic Desire paid $4.60 to win. Also, Wally Hennessey was honored as the leading driver during the 2015-2016 season. Hennessey claimed the title with 224 driving wins during the 126 night racing season. Hennessey also leads this year's driving colony at Pompano Park with 122 wins over the first 52 nights of the 2016-2017 season. Racing continues on Monday night with My Revenuer seeking his fourth straight win in the popular "Over-The-Hill Gang" Trot. The nine year-old gelded son of Revenue S will have Brad Kramer in the bike for owner-trainer Tom Petri. The million dollar quintet of eight year-olds and up are responsible 150 lifetime wins. The Monday card also features a Pick-6 carryover of $1,113 and a $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 Pool. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park                  

After no shortage of drama and intrigue Hectorjayjay unleashed the shackles and produced a stirring Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup win. And David Aiken's superstar pacer did it in style, rattling off a 56.4-second final 800m to cruise to the harness racing Group 2 $60,000 crown, giving connections a night to remember. If Hectorjayjay’s triumph wasn’t impressive enough, with the speed machine defeating his rivals by more than 8m, then the drama that preceded the victory fortified its mystique. In a story unfamiliar to the traditions of racing, Hectorjayjay’s place in the Shepparton Cup was put in serious doubt just 33 hours before its renewal after tests revealed an elevated white cell count. Fearing the presence of a virus, Aiken advised Harness Racing Victoria stewards of his concerns and by Friday night the dominant consensus was that the $1.10 favourite would not run. By Saturday morning, however, Hectorjayjay’s clinical presentation had improved and after a clean bill of health by HRV vets he elevated Eynesbury Victoria Cup anticipation to new levels with an awesome, arrogant win for driver Josh Aiken. “He (Hectorjayjay) gave us a scare but I knew when we went on track tonight what he was capable of and what you saw tonight was just how naturally talented he is,” Josh Aiken said. “I’d hate to think what he could do with a perfect preparation. “I think right now when you look at the top six free-for-allers in Australasia we are going through a golden era but he is capable of mixing it with anyone, anytime. Bring on the Victoria Cup. Bring on Lazarus.” Hectorjayjay delivered Aiken the last of four consecutive winners, with outstanding four-year-old Roll With It outclassing his rivals, Vics Cheval regaining her best form at giant odds in The George Gath and classy stable recruit Magic Oats also saluting. The victory propelled Hectorjayjay to the top of the $25,000 Trots Country Cups Championship, one point clear of Geelong and Horsham cups winner Major Secret and two clear of Cobram and Hamilton cups winner Cruz Bromac. by Jason Bonnington Harness Racing Victoria

The $400,000 Group 1 Eynesbury Victoria Cup is the next scheduled stop for exciting harness racing five-year-old Cruz Bromac after his all-the-way Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup win yesterday. Moments after his 4.7-metre victory over gun mare Berisari in the south-west Victoria club’s annual pacing feature, Braun said  Cruz Bromac (Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender) would be set for the Summer of Glory’s night one jewel on Saturday, January 28, at Tabcorp Park Melton. Driven by Chris Alford, Cruz Bromac toyed with his rivals yesterday to lead from barrier three, delivering Braun back-to-back Hamilton Cups, the Lara horseman having won the race last year with Im Corzin Terror. Cruz Bromac rated 1:57.3 for the 2660-metre trip, reeling off sectionals of 30.4secs, 30.3secs, 27.5secs and 27.3secs. Braun said Cruz Bromac, a winner of 12 of his 21 starts for stakemoney in excess of $152,000, was still learning the caper at the top level but was an exciting prospect moving forward. “I’ve always said I’ve got a big opinion of him,” Braun said. “He’s still got plenty to learn. He’s a big baby out there. He’s very immature and plays around.” Alford said Cruz Bromac travelled sweetly in the run yesterday and added he was confident Cruz Bromac would continue to improve as he matures. “If you have a look through the other runners in the field today they’ve all had plenty of starts, but he’s only had 21. He’s still learning. He’s untapped really at this level and he’ll keep getting better.” Yesterday’s win moved Cruz Bromac into outright third place on the $25,000 Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship ladder, two points behind Hectorjayjay and one behind Major Secret. The winner of the Trots Country Cups Championship at the end of the Country Cups season picks up $25,000, with $15,000 going to the winning connections and $10,000 to the winning trainer. Six-year-old mare Berisari from the Emma Stewart stable was game in second place yesterday and will likely head towards the $100,000 Alabar Ladyship Cup on Hunter Cup Night (which doubles as a qualifier for the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle). Idea Success was beaten 7.9m by the winner in third place for reinsman Grant Campbell, that six-year-old from the Kerryn Manning camp at Great Western now in equal fourth place for the Trots Country Cups Championship on six points. Meanwhile, Matthew Craven prepared El Paco (Yankee Paco-Kellybrooke) scored a tough win in the Mountain View Stud Hamilton Trotters Cup over 2660m. Driven by Glen Craven, El Paco moved to the breeze in the early stages of the race outside favourite and stablemate Uncas. El Paco softened up the leader during the third quarter, applying the pressure for a 28.1secs split, and kicked to a clear lead at the top of the straight before fending off fast-finishing Zedalite (Rod Petroff) in second, with Ainthatrightmacca third beaten 4.1 for Denbeigh Wade. “This is a terrific result for the stable and I’m really thankful for the whole team and the work they put in,” Matt Craven said post-race. “(El Paco) had run a nice race off 30m in Adelaide last week but wasn’t able to get the job done there, so to win today and for mum to own this one is pretty special.” El Paco is likely to head to Sydney to contest the NSW carnival features, with Craven saying “he is probably just a rung below the really top ones in Victoria”. The Hamilton Club slashed admission costs and had local market traders on track in a bid to attract new people to their big day. It worked, a strong crowd enjoying the action throughout the eight-race card, with plenty of positive feedback coming from happy patrons. The Trots Country Cups spotlight turns to Ballarat now for the running of the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on Saturday night. Check out http://www.trotscountry.com.au/ for the videos. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 15, 2017- Harness racing favored Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno, $3.50) did not disappoint Sunday afternoon, handily winning Yonkers Raceway's $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Forwardly-placed from post position No. 6, in his featured trot debut (three of the 11 starters broke early), Rubber Duck was actually beaten to the early punch. Red Hot Herbie, starting directly outside of 'Duck,' had the first lead before yielding to the subject of this story. Rubber Duck made his lead just at a :29.4 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :59.3 half and 1:29.2 three-quarters. There was a minimal challenge from Luck O The Irish (Matt Kakaley) going toward the 1:58.2 milepost, but Rubber Duck disposed that and opened a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He widened in the lane, defeating 'Herbie' by 2¼ lengths in 2:27.3 for the mile-and-a-quarter. Lily's Swan Pond (George Brennan), Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the payees. For Rubber Duck, a now-5-year-old son of Muscle Mass co-owned by Albertans Blair and Erna Corbeil and trained by Richard Johnson, he's won both of his season starts. The exacta paid $17.80, the triple returned $65.50 and the superfecta paid $405. Sunday's Pick 5 wager, beginning with a double-carryover of $6,426.84, attracted $11,029 of fresh investments. The winning quintet (1/2/2/7/3) returned $14,698.75 for the single winning half-a-buck selector. Sunday also offered the first 'New York, New York Double' of the season, with the winning combination of 5-Lockdown (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 1-Lo Rail Crossing (Yonkers' 6th race) returning $14.70 for every correct $1 wager (total pool $6,553) Frank Drucker

January 15, 2017 - Briac Dark (6m Prince Gede-Queen des Charmes) rallied three wide and then tracked outside of pacesetting Call Me Keeper (7m Pine Chip-Eliza Keeper) and Bjorn Goop, and with harness racing driver David Thomain’s urging the 23.1/1 outsider, trained by Thierry Duvaldestin for owner Guy Barou, rallied past the 3.4/1 leader to score by a length in the Grand Prix de Belgique (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2850 meters, 17 starters). Call Me Keeper held bravely for second as stablemate Wild Honey (5f Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy) closed well for third, driven by Franck Nivard for trainer Daniel Reden and Stall Zet. This trainer/owner pair also campaign Call Me Keeper. 7.9/1 Lionel (7m Look de Star-Aurora Sun), trained by Reden for Goran Antonsen of Norway, was fourth with Matthieu Abrivard driving and 110.3/1 Trebol (10m Hot Blue-Sally Can Wait) was fifth for trainer/driver Gabriel Angel Pou Pou of Spain. Trinity Zet, Akim du Cap Vert and Oasis Bi were next in a contest in which six horses were dq’d and Propulsion, another Reden trainee, was scratched. Race time was 1.13.8kr off slow fractions in heavy rain (1.14.3kr at 1500 to go; 1.14.3kr at the 1000; 1.14.6kr with 500 meters remaining). The top three finishers received Prix d’Amerique invitations. Discours Joyeux and Val Royal Wins Gr.III Paris-Vincennes Contests Discours Joyeux (4m Goetmals Wood-Quelle Copine) rallied at 6/1 odds for driver Eric Raffin to win the Gr. III Prix Riberac (purse €78,000, 2700 meters, 11 starters) at Vincennes on Prix de Belgique Day. Thierry Raffegeau trains this winner for owner J-Y Roze. 3/2 Dream Life (4f Royal Dream-Union Of My Life) held second for breeder/driver Jean Philippe Dubois, trainer Philippe Moulin and Ecurie Victoria Dreams. 12/1 Dokha Vedaquaise (4f Prodigious-Sestriere) was third for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire and driver Yoann Lebourgeois. Race time was 1.14.6kr with modest fractions. The Prix Toulouse (purse €78,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) went to 1.14.2kr timed, 2/1 odds Alphea Barbes (7f Look de Star-Lova Barbes) by open lengths for driver Ch.J. Bigeon, trainer Christian Bigeon and breeder/owner Andre Francis Bigeon. 13/1 Alamo du Goutier (7g Quido du Goutier) and 12.1/1 Arthuro Boy (7m Le Retour) were next to the line on this undercard event. 4.4/1 odds and barefoot Val Royal (8m Capriccio-Quanda du Rib) secured a 1.13.1kr timed victory in the Gr. III Prix Djerio (monte, purse €110,000, 2200 meters, 12 starters). Alexandre Abrivard was the pilot for trainer J-M Bazire and owner Ecurie des Charmes. 12/1 Adelia de Melodie (7f Lilium Madrik-Piccola Stella) was second for David Thomain (trainer St. Meunier) and 19.4/1 Tripolia (10f Sancho Panca-Garivane) was third for jockey Mathieu Mottier (trainer J.Ph. Mary). Thomas H. Hicks

BEDFORD PA – The annual Pennsylvania Fair Harness Racing awards banquet was held on Saturday (January 14) in this southwest PA town, with the top performers receiving awards and generous sponsors continuing to make this PA Fair banquet one of the best values in harness racing (ticket price = $40; value of doorprizes divided by number of attendees = $65) through the hard work of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Shawn Johnston, a 24-year-old driver who had posted 30 victories in limited chances during his first six years of driving, showed rapid development this summer with 37 sulky triumphs to rank fourth on the fair circuit, earning the second Walter “Boots” Dunn Memorial Rising Star Award. Boots had presented the first Rising Star Award to Brady Brown in one of his last public appearances before his passing early in 2016; this year, Brown and Boots’s daughter Lisa Dunn conferred the honor to Johnston. “Boots was someone around here always admired,” Johnston noted. “And he drove horses for my grandparents. When we would talk, he might say something about learning driving – ‘Be more patient with a trotter’ – but we also talked about the horses he remembered driving for my grandparents.” The Pa Fair Circuit’s “Blues Brothers,” driver Chris and trainer Jason Shaw (so named because of their colors), earned the Top Gun Awards during the 2016 fair season, as Chris posted 65 sulky victories and Jason harnessed 57 winners circle visitors to lead their fellow horsemen in the winning column. Also honored were the divisional pointwinners during the 20-stop fair circuit, and those horses who visited Victory Lane after winning in October 8’s PA Fair Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadows: POINT WINNERS 2TC – Toolbox Tuesday, owned by Roger Hammer and Vicki Fair 2TF – No Not Yet, owned by Dr. William Solomon 2PC – Marvalous Artist, Roger Hammer and Vicki Fair 2PF – Camera Lady, owned by Dave Brickell and Mitchell York (the top pointwinner in all classes)   3TC – Major Matter, owned by Rick and Regina Beinhauer 3TF – A Little Laid Back, owned by Roger Hammer (won her point championship at 2 and 3) 3PC – Star Of Terror, owned by Fortunate One LLC 3PF – Unbeamlieveable, owned by Mason Shaw during the fair season (top pointwinner of 2 and 3)   CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS 2TC – Photo Bomber, owned by Tony and Linda Schadel 2TF – All Set Lets Go, owned by the McMullen Stable LLC 2PC – Cruiserwillwin, owned by Todd and Christine Schadel 2PF – Gemalous, owned by Mason Shaw   3TC – Shady McCoy, owned by Dave and Delores Wade 3TF – Waterview Hanover, owned by Susan Daugherty (only the third fair filly to win both of her Championships in the 20-year history of the Fair Finals, following trotter Rosebud Sioux in 2004-2005 and pacer Big City Hanover in 2006-2007) 3PC – Captain Dinger, owned by James Dodson and Ron Lineweaver 3PF – Unbeamlieveable, sold to Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi LLC before the Championship (the only 2016 point champion to also win the divisional Championship.) Jerry Connors

January 15, 2017 - Today’s Prix de Belgique festivities began with harness racing monte action and the Gr. II Prix Gelinotte. Cenora (5f Blue Dream-Nalara) took today’s opener, the Prix de Castera-Venduzan (monte, purse €46,000, 2175 meters, eight starters). Mathieu Mottier was in the irons for this 1.13.6kr timed victory. Dominique Mottier is owner/trainer/breeder of the fine mare. Second was 2.9/1 Cannelle de Pipan (5f Singalo-Pour d’Aube) with Adrien Lamy up for trainer Bruno Marie, and third was 2.3/1 Calypso Queen (5f Scipion du Goutier-Dan’s Girl) with Franck Nivard aboard. The co-featured Gr. II Prix Gelinotte (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, nine starters) went to 1.15kr timed rallying 9.4/1 Elea Madrik (3f Goetmals Wood-Ouelea Madrik). William Bigeon reined and trains the winner that Cl. Ghedj owns and Emmanuel Leclerc bred. Even-money favorite Erming d’Oliverie (3f Scipion du Coutier-These d’Oliverie) held second for Franck Nivard, trainer Franck Leblanc and breeder/owner Ecurie de l’Oliverie. 10.7/1 Elisione Mag (3f Qualker Jet-Perla du Ravary) was third for David Thomain. The Prix Jura (purse €75,000, 2100 meters autostart, 18 starters) producing a driving finish with the victory to 22.7/1 odds Tamisso (10g Nobody du Chene-Hastavissa). David Thomain teamed the R. Jaffrelot trainee that is owned by breeder Patrick Gerard Cavey. 11/1 Venus de Bailly (8f Chaillot-Oceane de Bailly) was second for Franck Ouvrie and 3.8/1 Ultra de Vindecy (9g Jasmin de Flore-Nora The Best) took third for Eric Raffin. The 7/2 favorite Unbridled Charm was unplaced. Thomas H. Hicks

TORONTO, January 14 - Modern Legend became harness racing's newest millionaire with a 1:50.4 victory in Saturday's $34,000 Preferred at Woodbine Racetrack. The Dave Drew trainee was able to reach the career milestone by capitalizing off a second-over steer from driver James MacDonald. Modern Legend was able to power by American Virgin, who had led the field from the start, in the stretch to get the job done by a neck. Company Man finished third, while Nickle Bag was fourth. A nine-year-old son of Modern Art, Modern Legend has been a top performer for several years on the WEG Circuit and scored his biggest victory to date in the 2014 Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack. Modern Legend recently returned from an 18-month layoff in December and the Drew trainee appears on the right path to returning to competition against the older pacing heavyweights. Saturday's victory gives Modern Legend, who has a career mark of 1:47.2, 23 wins from 71 career starts. He paid $5.80 to win. Mark McKelvie

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (January 14, 2017) - Jim Marohn, Jr. and Brett Miller stole the show on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, but when the 13-race harness racing program concluded, the final tally read Marohn - 5 and Miller - 4. "These are the types of nights you dream about having when you race at the Meadowlands," said Marohn, who won four races in one night at the Big M last September. "It looked like I had some horses in good spots tonight and it was very satisfying that they raced up to their abilities. It always helps to have some good horsepower." Marohn's five wins were highlighted by an upset win by The Rock in the $15,000 featured pace. The Rock paid $19.80 to win and was the only double-digit win payout of the night. In the feature, Parnu Hanover took over from Elrama after a 27.1 first quarter and continued to front the field through three quarters in 1:23.2 as he looked to win his second straight with Marcus Miller. As the field straightened into the stretch, Marohn tipped The Rock four-wide and won by a length despite drifting slightly. The Rock is owned by Travis Henry and trained by Andrew Harris, but is consigned to Monday's Tattersalls Mixed Sale as hip 224 beginning at 11:00 a.m. in the Meadowlands back paddock. "He raced giant tonight," explained Marohn, who won three of his five races on Saturday for trainer Patti Harmon. "He exploded when I pulled him off a helmet. Andrew told me he was coming into this race sharp so I drove him with confidence." Total handle on the 13-race card was $2,802,711 which was nearly flat compared to last year's comparable card that included 14 races. The Pick Five that included $10,000 in seed money from the Meadowlands returned $178.70 and attracted a total pool of $77,301. Matt Zlotkowski won Saturday's World Harness Handicapping Contest qualifying tournament at the Meadowlands. He turned his $100 bankroll into $630 to top the field and earn a spot into April's $50,000 Final. Live racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 14, 2017- Roland N Rock and harness racing driver Jordan Stratton launched a decisive backside move Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth-from assigned post position No. 2-among the half-dozen, Roland N Rock watched as 11-10 choice Limelight Beach (George Brennan) made the lead around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). Early intervals of :27.1 and a flat 57 seconds should have served the leader well, but alas, nope. Roland N Rock moved at the leader by the 1:25.1 three-quarters, meeting no pushback whatsoever. 'Roland' opened a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, then held off the rival he dragged in-a last-early Blood Brother (Scott Zeron)-by a neck in 1:53.1. P H Supercam was a trapped third, with Sports Bettor (Dan Dube) and Somewhere Fancy (Matt Kakaley) rounding out the payees. Limelight Beach retreated to last. For second choice Roland N Rock, a now-5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding co-owned by Connie & Duane Roland trained by Rob Harmon, it was a season-debuting victory and it was win 39 from 71 lifetime starts. The exacta paid $57, with the triple returning $319.50. Saturday's Pick 5 wager did not get hit, so Sunday's gimmick begins with a double-carryover of $6,426.84 (50-cent base wager, races 6 through 10). Reminder first post for the 'French' 10-race card is 11:30 AM. Frank Drucker

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Pompano Beach, FL...January 15, 2017...For the ninth time in 10 tries since his return to harness racing at Pompano Park, Panocchio won the top pace on Sunday night (January 15)--the $12,000 Open Handicap Pace. The seven year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended, handled again by Wally Hennessey and assigned the outside post in his quintet, zoomed out of the gate into the lead before yielding to Drachan Hanover (John MacDonald) at the opener in :26.3. A stride of two later, Panocchio brushed up to regain the top spot and carded subsequent panels of :55.1 and 1:24.1 before a :28 finale sealed the deal by 1 ¾ lengths over the late charging Bluehourpower (Corey Braden). Legal Spike (Ricky Macomber, Jr.) finished another neck back in third while Fritzie Pic Up Man garnered fourth money. Drachan Hanover picked up the nickel. After the event, Hennessey, once again, had high praise for Panocchio saying, "Jim (trainer Mattison) and his wife, Vicki, keep this horse in such great condition week after week. It's just amazing that he can keep sharp for this extended period of time...just amazing. "He just does what he has to do to win. Being 'handicapped' with the outside post when it's the five post actually helps this horse as he is ready to go when the gate springs. "He got to the top easily enough and, when MacDonald came at me, I thought it best to let him go and retake, hoping that I wouldn't get in a war with him since his horse missed last week. "When we got to the half in a reasonable (:55.1), we didn't really have any threats on the backside, although I did give him one tap to keep him interested. When we hit the third quarter in 1:24.1, I was confident he could get home." In keeping his 2017 record unblemished--now 3-for-3--Panocchio sent his seasonal bounty to $18,000 and $415,368 career-wise with 51 wins, including the track record at Pompano in 1:48.3 for Emile Johnson, Jr., who co-owns with trainer Jim Mattison. Off at a dime-to-a-dollar in the betting, Panocchio paid $2.20 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Mystic Desire, handled by Aaron Byron, stopped the clock in 1:50.4 to score his initial win of the year in just two starts. The classy nine year-old son of Real Desire used that coveted five post to push the Hummer Starting Gate out of the way at the start and scorched panels of :26.1, :53.2 and 1:22 before stepping home in :28.4 to seal the issue over the late charging Respectable Dream (Rick Plano) with First Of Itskind (Tom Jackson) a stout closing third after trailing throughout the first five-eighths of the journey. The Optimist finished fourth while Duc Dorleans picked up the minor award in the field of six. Trained by Don Campbell for owner Tony Maione, Mystic Desire won for the 39th time in his stories career with his earnings vaulting to $843,851. As the 6 to 5 favorite on the tote-board, Mystic Desire paid $4.60 to win. Also, Wally Hennessey was honored as the leading driver during the 2015-2016 season. Hennessey claimed the title with 224 driving wins during the 126 night racing season. Hennessey also leads this year's driving colony at Pompano Park with 122 wins over the first 52 nights of the 2016-2017 season. Racing continues on Monday night with My Revenuer seeking his fourth straight win in the popular "Over-The-Hill Gang" Trot. The nine year-old gelded son of Revenue S will have Brad Kramer in the bike for owner-trainer Tom Petri. The million dollar quintet of eight year-olds and up are responsible 150 lifetime wins. The Monday card also features a Pick-6 carryover of $1,113 and a $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 Pool. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park                  
LEBANON, OH. - Longshots prevailed in the first leg of the "Claim To Fame" series for $30,000 claimers at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Three divisions of ten horses went to the gate chasing first leg purses of $25,000 and earnings towards a spot in the $37,500 (est.) harness racing final in two weeks. $2 win ticket payoffs in the three highly-competitive divisions were $32.20, $75.00 and $8.40. Cosmicpedia (Kayne Kauffman) copped the first heat in 1:54, topping Stormy West (Tyler Smith) and Prince Bayard (Chris Page). The 9-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark, dispatched at odds of 15-1, now sports 29 career wins and over $340,000 in lifetime earnings. He is owned by John McGill and Brian Carsey and conditioned by Walter Haynes Jr. Speed Trap (Mike Oosting) upset Sir Mammo (Randy Tharps) and Rocknroll Jewel (Jason Brewer) in 1:53.3, despite going off at odds of 36-1. Owner Perry Smith has entrusted the training of the 6-year-old son of United Ace to Steve Bauder since sending the horse to Ohio. The gelding now has 13 wins and almost $225,000 on his card. Sonofa Sizzle (Kayne Kauffman) captured the quickest division, topping Dalhousie Dave (Simon Allard) and Rock Out (Tyler Smith) in 1:53.1. Still a stud, the 5-year-old son of Life Sizzles has accumulated 17 wins and over $300,000 in his relatively short career. Danny Dubeansky is his trainer for owner Carl Atley. While there were five successful claims in the first leg of the $30,000 series, none of the three winners changed hands via the claim box. Next week all entrants will carry a base $37,500 tag. The nine finalists the third week, when there will be no claiming, will be those horses with the most earnings in the first two legs. Ties for the final spot(s) will be broken by a random draw by the judges. Racing resumes Monday afternoon at Miami Valley with a 2:05 p.m. post time. Featured will be first leg "Claim To Fame" action for both $8000 pacing mares and $8000 trotters, each in two divisions. Gregg Keidel
YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 15, 2017- Harness racing favored Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno, $3.50) did not disappoint Sunday afternoon, handily winning Yonkers Raceway's $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Forwardly-placed from post position No. 6, in his featured trot debut (three of the 11 starters broke early), Rubber Duck was actually beaten to the early punch. Red Hot Herbie, starting directly outside of 'Duck,' had the first lead before yielding to the subject of this story. Rubber Duck made his lead just at a :29.4 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :59.3 half and 1:29.2 three-quarters. There was a minimal challenge from Luck O The Irish (Matt Kakaley) going toward the 1:58.2 milepost, but Rubber Duck disposed that and opened a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He widened in the lane, defeating 'Herbie' by 2¼ lengths in 2:27.3 for the mile-and-a-quarter. Lily's Swan Pond (George Brennan), Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the payees. For Rubber Duck, a now-5-year-old son of Muscle Mass co-owned by Albertans Blair and Erna Corbeil and trained by Richard Johnson, he's won both of his season starts. The exacta paid $17.80, the triple returned $65.50 and the superfecta paid $405. Sunday's Pick 5 wager, beginning with a double-carryover of $6,426.84, attracted $11,029 of fresh investments. The winning quintet (1/2/2/7/3) returned $14,698.75 for the single winning half-a-buck selector. Sunday also offered the first 'New York, New York Double' of the season, with the winning combination of 5-Lockdown (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 1-Lo Rail Crossing (Yonkers' 6th race) returning $14.70 for every correct $1 wager (total pool $6,553) Frank Drucker
DOVER, Del...Gratian Hanover, 1:50.3 winner last week leads one of two Male pace harness racing co-features on the Dr. M.L. King Holiday card, Monday, Jan. 16 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Tony Morgan will again drive Jen Bongiorno's Gratian Hanover who took the lead after the quarter and cruised to victory a week ago. Two other starters won their previous outing as well. Barry Rubinstein Farms' Cheyenne Jeffrey closed with a rush to an easy win with Ross Wolfenden in the bike and George&Tina Dennis' All Star Preview from post 8 with Art Stafford Jr. driving. Former track champion, $1-million winner Nova Artist handled by Allan Davis gets a big post change moving from the outside to the rail. Also with an inside post Robin and Jay Breasure's People Are Crazy and Vic Kirby should be tough from post 2. Skyway Gladiator, leased by driver Mike Rossi, Jim, Phil Mango and driver Bryan Truitt's Bobbies Power Play are fast leavers and should be contenders. Russ Foster will drive Bob Coryea's I Wanna Go Fast completes the lineup. George&Tina Dennis and Ask W Stables' Roddy's Hot Again (Kirby), won his previous start in the eight horse field. Quick Shot, steady this meet though without a win for owner-trainer Kathleen Brewer cannot be overlooked. Forget an unfortunate break at the start should be dismissed this week for owner-trainer Bob Stevenson's Singing Saint (Morgan). CTC Stable's Zoeez Boy Henry.(Corey Cllahan) drew the rail. Heather Malone's DCs Better Life (Russ Foster) finished well last start. In Treatment, owned trained and driven by Ross Wolfenden, is due for improvement, Idealbeach Hanover (Jim Morand), makes his second start for owners Ed Maas, Arlene Paisley and Nanticoke Racing while Jeff and Dave Clark's Extreme Machine N (Allan Davis) drew outside post 8 for the second straight time Streaking Enhance Your Mind, Sweet Bobbie and Lightning Mach N match strides in the $20,000 Mares Open a hard hitting Tuesday feature race. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing and NFL three-game wagering is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. There is no charge for parking and admission. Early reservations are suggested for the acclaimed Winner's Circle Buffet Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad  
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