Day At The Track
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Input sought by USTA about Newlook website

Columbus, OH -- The U.S. Trotting Association announced the launch of a "NewLook" website that invites members, industry participants and fans of harness racing an all-new way to provide feedback on the organization's redesign of its website on Monday (March 18). A landing page for all information about the redesign project, http://NewLook.ustrotting.com is the place where USTA website users will be able to provide feedback on specific functionality and features that currently exist or that they would like to see included during the planning phase of the website's redesign. "The USTA web redesign team is seeking input on elements of the current website and the new website, as it is developed so that feedback can provide ways to improve the user experience," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. In addition, the NewLook website will allow the public to view updates about the design work as it progresses and the ability to interact with the USTA in order to give feedback on the concepts and design elements prior to the release of the new website. Visitors will be invited to participate in a survey to indicate whether they were able to achieve their goals and if they were satisfied with the amount of effort required to accomplish those, rate areas that need improvement and compare the USTA website to other websites that they visit. Other areas of interest are opinions on the ease of navigation and what additional information users would like added to the new site. At first, the survey will be available only to users that already have or sign up for a USTA myaccount, who simply need to sign in and navigate to "NewLook" to take the survey. Later, it also will be available to guests without a login. In addition, visitors will be offered the opportunity to sign up in order to participate in focus groups to add further input on the website's redesign. The NewLook website was unveiled in a demonstration to the USTA directors at a special IT Education working session at the Annual Meeting last Saturday (March 9) in Columbus, OH. The NewLook page will also include a help option for additional information. From the USTA Communications Department

Donna Castles,harness racing

Sofala set to chase ‘gold’ in the city

The small New South Wales township of Sofala, near Bathurst, is regarded as Australia’s oldest surviving gold town because it remarkably still attracts prospectors and fossickers more than 70 years since the last gold mine closed down.   And now a five-year-old harness racing gelding, named after the tiny township nestled in the Turon River valley, is about to chase his own riches.   Prepared by enthusiastic Shepparton training-driving couple Doc Wilson and Donna Castles, the in-form Sofala (Safari-Sass And Bling (Falcon Seelster USA) will take the next big step soon with a tilt at Melbourne’s Tabcorp Park Melton.   “The horse has certainly hit his straps in recent weeks on country tracks, so we think he deserves a chance at city racing,” Castles said.   And there’s certainly been a touch of class about his impressive recent victories at Swan Hill (mile rate 1.56-8) on March 7, then eight days later at Cobram with a 13m runaway win in 1.55-9.   While he has an impressive seven wins and six placings from 20 starts for over $30,000, it hasn’t all been down easy street for Sofala, raced by keen stable client Greg Corbett, of Sydney. Sofala will be accompanied to the “big smoke” by his stablemate, trotting mare Fatouche (Yankee Spider-U R Whatu Eat NZ (Frugal Gourmet USA), who was a last start Melton placegetter.   Donna Castles returning to scale with stable star Sofala after his recent win at Swan Hill.   Castles said the pacer had been a work in progress since her partner Wilson broke him in.   “He was so difficult to gait up and would spend six weeks in training, then go out for a bit of a spell, and then back in and out, and so on,” she said.   “Fortunately, Greg is very patient and just leaves it all up to us.”   Castles said his early ill-gaited habits still presented a chink in Sofala’s armour on occasions.   “I’ve got to watch him now and again when driving him in races because he can get his rhythm a little skewiff and lose momentum - but he’s getting better and he’s still learning,” she said.   “It could easily be a bit of a confidence thing now. I think one of the tricks to him is he loves to be out and free-running.   “A few months back at a Shepparton meeting, we drew the inside of the back row and he wasn’t comfortable one bit. He paced terrible and was a handful.”   Castles, who is a daughter of legendary Sydney horseman Jim Castles, and his wife Monica, moved to Shepparton with Wilson 16 years ago.   “We had a smart pacer at the time called Awaba, who we’d raced successfully in three States – NSW, Victoria and Queensland – and we thought he’d be our breadwinner,” Castles said.   “But it wasn’t to be as the horse broke down and that was the end of that.   “We were shattered and couldn’t call off our relocation plans because we had sold our home in Sydney!”   Before going sore, Awaba won nine races and had four placings in 14 starts during a 10-month period from May, 2002. He finished his career with 13 wins and nine placings from 35 starts for over $70,000.   Awaba now lives his life in retirement, apart from serving a few mares, at the Wilson-Castles property.   Despite being around horses all her life, Castles said that while growing up, she and her sister Sandra preferred to play sport.   “We actually hated the horses. We were right into basketball, netball, softball and swimming,” she said.   “Mum and dad would drag us off to the trots meetings and we would just lay on the floor of the car during the trips.   “Dad recently gave up driving because he’s in his 80s, but he still enjoys the training side and has one in work at the moment.   “In my early days with Doc at Shepparton I did harness them up for him and help clean boxes and that sort of stuff.   “Then I found that it was a necessity that I turn my hand to training as big WA breeder Mick Lombardo sent quite a few down to be broken in.   “So, it progressed from there and I’ve had a driver’s license for seven or eight years. I still remember my first drive was at a non-TAB meeting at Cobram because I didn’t want too many people watching in case I stuffed up! But it was all good and I finished in the placings.   “Of course, these days I do enjoy it, particularly when I can get a winner for our stable clients.”   Sixteen-year-old daughter Georgia, who is studying Year 11 at school, gives a helping hand whenever she has the time.   “And it’s much-appreciated because we have a team of 28 at the moment, which can get pretty full on,” Castles said.   “Georgia did the mini pony trots for a while with a lot of success, but she’s devoted to doing well at school now.”   The Wilson-Castles combination has been ticking along nicely this season, but it’s probably no secret they’re hoping there’s another Awaba just around the corner.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Frost En Ice,Harness racing

Rasmussen praises master trainer

Kylie Rasmussen can read a race better most, but even she had given up all hope of getting her $61 outsider home in Saturday night’s inaugural Changeover At Burwood 2yo Classic at Albion Park. “I honestly thought I was running for second at the top of the (home) straight,” the talented Stanmore reinswomen said. Rasmussen was referring to her drive – the Vic Frost trained Frost En Ice, who was situated in the one-one down the back straight before they had to set out after the runaway $1.85 shot, Millwood Tilly. “The favourite had gapped us and had too much of a roll-on. She (Millwood Tilly) showed an immense turn of speed (400m) which I thought was the winning of the race. “Turning for home I thought the best Frost En Ice could do was finish second,” Rasmussen said. Millwood Tilly was several lengths clear of Frost En Ice at the 200m, but at the 150m mark she had too much momentum for her young head and rolled out of her gear. Driver, Peter McMullen then did a great job of getting her back down to run second. Frost En Ice had 1.2m over Millwood Tilly (Peter McMullen) at the line. Two metres back in third was the third favourite, Xaviers Hurrikane (Nathan Dawson). The Frost trainee paced the mile in two minutes flat with a 1:56.3 mile rate. Her sectionals were 28.5, 30.9, 28.1, and 29.1. She banked $12,534 for the triumph and has now amassed $18,273 for her two wins and a second from three starts. The older of the three highly regarded Rasmussen sisters (also Natalie and Vicki), couldn’t believe the Hurrikane Kingcole filly was the fifth favourite of eight - and paid $61 to win on the fixed odds market. She then reminded people who trained, owned and bred Frost En Ice. “Vic (Frost) has always been a master trainer and it’s great to see he has another nice horse. He has done an unbelievable job with this filly. “She hadn’t raced for a month and Vic has done a splendid job to get her where she is. Two-year-olds can be flighty and unpredictable at the best of times, but this girl already feels foolproof. She is very clean-gaited and has super manners. That won her the race,” Rasmussen said. “It all comes down to the training. Vic knows all about ringcraft. That’s why he’s had so many good horses over the years, and that’s why he is highly regraded everywhere in harness racing. It’s a pleasure to drive for him,” she added. Frost said he had liked Frost En Ice since day one. “Her mother, Frostiness, won 12 races and her sire was an absolute freak and superstar. The best I have ever had anything to do with in my long career," the 78-year-old Hall-of-Famer said. Of course the New South Wales horseman (Tweed Heads) was referring to the mighty Westburn Grant (1:55.6), who he trained and drove to win 38 of his 67 starts and placed in 18 others for $2,074,916 in stakes between July 1988 and March 1993. "But this girl is a big filly and has a lovely big pacing stride on her. I really like the Hurrikane Kingcoles. They have a lovely gait on them and he seems to be able to produce good horses that go early,” Frost said. For his training efforts Frost also won a ‘Rio Cobra” sulky courtesy of race sponsor – Garrards. Other highlights came in races five and eight from Callmequeenbee and Slice Of Heaven. The Gemma Rue (Bathurst NSW) trained Callmequeenbee sat three-wide and then parked to win the WCF Team Teal Female Drivers Challenge. Race winner, Chantal Turpin, said the 4-year-old Shadow Play mare felt the winner a long way from home. “I thought she would be too tough for this field and I drove her that way. She’s a nice mare all right. Hopefully she will be back next week for one more race. She’s quality,” Turpin said of the $1.40 favourite. Three races later the Donny Smith trained and Nathan Dawson driven Slice Of Heaven won his second race in four days in the Hyperstat Open Pace. That’s now 11 from 19 on the track and 18 from 40 overall ($108,708).   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Ryley Major,Harness racing

Hillier says Ryley Major is the best

“Ryley Major is by far the best horse I’ve ever trained,” declared Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. “That’s nothing new, I’ve been saying that since day one, his mum Shez Ryleymak was a star for us and this bloke would pick her up and tow her.” Ryley Major ($1.30) returned to the track last night in Launceston after nearly three years in the paddock after suffering a serious tendon injury in 2016. “It’s been a long road back, we’ve has a couple of setbacks with him along the way, he’s been back in work for six months now and we spend a couple of hours with him everyday treating him and getting him right so it’s been a concerted effort to get him back but it was all worth it to see him return the way he did last night,” said Rohan. “He felt good in the run, I just let him find his rhythm early settling just worse than midfield before bringing him into the race out three-wide just inside the bell,” said Rohan. “Ryley Major cruised to third at the 400-metre mark and I had a good grip on him when he coasted to the front halfway down the stretch before going on to win four or five metres, recording a 1:59 mile, I was confident his class would carry him through last night and if everything goes to plan we will look at the Easter Cup with him.” Ryley Major completed a winning treble for the Hillier stable with Rohan’s first starter Dusty Martini ($1.70), a Betterthancheddar-Smiling Angel three-year-old strolled to an effortless win on debut and Dufrense ($1.40) made a successful return from a 10-month lay-off to score a convincing five-metre victory.   Shane Yates

LEBANON, OH - All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) dominated the $25,000 Open I Trot at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday afternoon (March 17), establishing a new lifetime mark in the process. The 6-year-old Ken Rucker-trainee grabbed the front end during a :27.1 first quarter, then proceeded to trip the subsequent timing beams in :56.1 and 1:25.2 before scooting home in :28.1 to record the 1:53.3 victory. The gelded son of Swan For All towed pocket sitter Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) through the finish line in second with Andy Ray (Elliott Deaton) rallying from fifth to third in the stretch. The triumph was the 16th in 91 career starts for All About Cowboys, who blew past the $200,000 earnings plateau with the win. Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas of Illinois own the ultra-consistent winner who has banked $58,180 in eight 2019 starts at Miami Valley. A $20,000 Open II Trot was captured easily by Mugshot Man (Chris Page), who was open lengths better than Pass The Vape (Derek Watiker) and Impressive Chief (Brett Miller) in 1:54.4. It was just the second win in the last two seasons for the 6-year-old son of Jailhouse Jesse, but was the quickest of his ten lifetime victories. Fred Morgan Jr. trains Mugshot Man for owner John Holman. The Red Owens Memorial late-closer for green fillies and mares got underway on Sunday as well. Heavily-favored Ben's Jenna (Trace Tetrick) lived up to the public's expectations, but only narrowly. The Mach Three-sired sophomore won for the third time in just six lifetime starts in 1:56.3. Delight Kate (Tyler Smith) and Respect (Kyle Ater) were next best in a tightly bunched field at the finish. Tyler George conditions the winner for David Kryway and the Ontario LTD stable.   Gregg Keidel

Aileron (7g Scarlet Knight-Quacelle-Jackpot de Relais) took today’s featured Janos Brody Memorial (purse 1,500,000Huf, 1960 meters distance handicap, 12 entrants with one scratch) timed in 1.16.1kr.   The recent harness racing import from France (last start at Vincennes February 21) was reined by Imre Fazekas for trainer Jozsef Rutkai for owner Prolongo. Aileron, off at 2.2/1 odds, overcame a 20 meter penalty, quickly caught his rivals and raced in the death seat before moving to the front entering the final turn from which he moved to an eventual three length score.   The 20 meter handicapped and 11.4/1 Victory Knick (7g Cantab Hall-Lapponia Knick-Lindy’s Crown) rallied late for second with Joze Sagaj aboard for trainer Emil Csordas.   Third was 2/1 Timoteo (7m Abano As-Ghirlanda As-Diamond Way) reined by Veljko Mazsity up. Milliondollar Lux and game pacesetter Sanger Ms took the fourth and fifth purse checks.   Unfortunately this classic race resulted in fines and suspensions for irregular whipping and failure to comply with post parade instructions.   The winner was ordered to inspection for doping.   There were two interesting races on the undercard. The Koppany DIJ (purse 600,000Huf, 1900 meters autostart) went to 1.6/1 favorite Urzulina (6f Maximus Lindy-Cicciolina Fling-Supergill) from post one timed in 1.20.6kr with Csaba Lakatos up. Kabala Menes Kft bred this winner.   Urzulina         -Kincsem Park photo   On a sad note, the exceptional Supergill (1985 by Super Bowl-Winky’s Gill-Bonefish) died this week in Italy at age 34. He was a US$500,000 yearling in 1986 and stood at stud for six years at Castleton Farm before export to Italy. Supergill (3, 1:53.3; US$664,194), an eight time winner in 22 starts at age two and three (at two, winner of Peter Haughton Memorial, second in E H Harriman Challenge Cup; at three, second in Breeders' Crown, Stanley Dancer Trot, third in World Trotting Derby), was a sire titan.   He sired sons who also were successful in the breeding barn, like Malabar Man, Toss Out, the sire of Robert Bi, and Current Cast, but also the world record filly Giant Diablo, dam of D’One.   Supergill is probably one of the best broodmare sires in recent years, with horses like Mosaique Face, Blur, Civil Action, Corleone Kosmos, More Chips, Look MP, Jalopy (dam of Panne de Moteur), Egon Lavec, Tycoon Conway Hall, Ravenna, Occhione Jet, First Lavec, and Couch Doctor.   Supergill at his Italian Home Stud Allevamenti Toniatti   Earlier in the Ali DIJ (purse 400,000Huf, 2400 meters autostart) saw 4.9/1 Iago d’Amore (3m Mago d’Amore-Indyran-Uronometro) score an impressive 1.16.5kr victory in his first 2019 appearance. Mitja Slavic teamed the Zoltan Ozvar trainee that Branislav Mukity bred in Szerbia. He was away second behind the previously unbeaten Longines (5f Conway Hall-Kentucky Love Song-Valley Victor) that Andrea Fazekas drove for trainer Imre Fazekas, also making her first 2019 start, after recording ten straight wins in 2017-2018. Longines led until mid-stretch when Iago d’Amore powered past for a four length score.   Thomas H. Hicks

Saturday’s V75 harness racing card in Sweden was at Mantorp. The big races were the STL Gold worth 200,000SEK to winner of the 2140 meters autostart event contested by seven upper level campaigners.   The 1.13.1kr timed winner was 3.4/1 Handsome Brad (6m Brad de Veluwe-Ulrica M-Red Xing) with Carl Johan Jepson aboard.    This was the first 2019 appearance for the now 11 time career winner of 2,212,543SEK. Second was 7.3/1 Vasterboonthenews (11g Credit Winner-Sandra Dime-Alf Palema) with Orjan Kihlstrom up and third was 3.7/1 Milligan’s School (6m Yankee Glide-Tori Ann-SJs Photo) for Ulf Eriksson.   This one was bred in the USA (Ohio) by Dick and Joyce McClelland.   The co-featured Kjell P Dahlstroms Minne (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, nine starters) saw the 1.8/1 favorite Zack’s Zoomer (5m Deweycheatumnhowe-Passageway-Angus Hall) score timed in 1.14.1kr.   The Stall TZ owned and Stefan Melander trained winner secured his 15 th career victory with Orjan Kihlstrom up this day, in 37 starts now for 2,712,260SEK earned, with this first 2019 start.   Brittany Farms bred Zack’s Zoomer last raced in the USA for Erv Miller in October 2017. 12.9/1 Catch My Love (5f Symphonic Hanover-Give Me Your Love-Pine Chip) took second ahead of 4/1 Transcendence (5g Maharajah-Full Authority-Scarlet Knight).   Thomas H. Hicks

Bobs Hope (Donato Hanover) started from the rail in Sunday's $15,000 Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Amanda Kelley trainee spent his winter racing in Florida and returned to town on a two-race win streak. Jay Randall got the driving assignment on Sunday and situated Bobs Hope into the pocket spot in the early going. Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray), a three-time winner of Spa Opens last year, was making his first local start of the season and moved out to an easy lead on the chilly Sunday afternoon. Bobs Hope tracked the top one throughout and popped the pocket around the final turn. The seven year old surged by in the stretch before drawing away to win in 1:58. The race's favorite Cash Me Out (Phil Fluet) got up for second while Wings Of Royalty held on for third. Bobs Hope, whose earnings from Sunday's score moved him over the $200,000 for his career, was dismissed at odds of 5-1 in his return to Saratoga. Bobs Hope paid $12.80 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $33.80 and $114, respectively. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:00pm.   Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 16, 2019 - Saturday night's (March 16th) opening round of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series offered a fair amount of form and a fair amount of 'huh?' among the Free-For-Allers, A half-dozen, $50,000 groups were contested in succession. Here's the 'wrap' sheet... First division  Say this much for Dan Dube...he appreciates timing. Approaching his latest driving milestone for a while, Dube coordinated it just right, stylishly winning Saturday night's (March 16th) opener of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. His open-length romp with favored Western Fame ($4.40) not only served as the 9,000th win of his career, but threw down the Free-For-All series gauntlet as the fastest local mile (1:51.1) of the season. From post position No. 4 Western Fame gave nothing else a shot through intervals of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:24.1. The two-length lead off the final turn became 5¾ lengths at the wire, helped by his fast feet and a scattering behind after a nasty break by Windsong Leo (George Brennan). Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) avoided the happenstance to end up second, with Mach it So (Brent Holland), Lyons Steel (Mark MacDonald) and Don Domingo N (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For Western Fame, a 6-year-old son of Western Ideal co-owned by Go Fast and B&I Stables, Stephen Klunowski & Gilbert Short and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, the triple returned $110 and the superfecta paid $967. The Quebec-born Dube, turning 50 this June, was the main driver of Horses of the Year Gallo Blue Chip (2000) and Rock N Roll Heaven (2010). His career purse earnings exceed $119 million. :"He (Western Fame) was ready for this mile," Dube said. "I thought he'd race well. I heard something behind me (field scattering), but I was in front by a few lengths so I wasn't worried about it. "I'm obviously happy to get to this (9,000) number. When I came down from Canada, I never thought I'd have the success I've had." Second division Odds-on Anythingforlove A (Joe Bongiorno, $2.70)-from post No. 3-who'd been doing his damage up front, sat pocketed to the returning Rockin' Ron (Kakaley). The latter led through intervals of :27.4, 57.2 and 1:25.1, with his stalker pulling early. Anythingforlove A finally dispatched the leader, then held off Somebaddude (Andy McCarthy) by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4. Luciano A (Brennan) was third, with a tiring Rockin' Ron and Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton) rounding out the payees. For Anythingforlove A, a 7-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Wish Me Luck Stables and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.80, the triple returned $45 and the superfecta paid $228. "I was happy to sit behind Rockin' Ron," Joe Bongiorno said. "(Anythingforlove A) can't be on the lead every week against these horses, so if I could get him an easier trip, I did." Third division Pole-sitting Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, $20) went the distance (:27.4, 57.2, 1:24.4; 1:52.4) while 3-10 favorite Beckham's Z Tam (Tim Tetrick) never seemed comfortable, winding up a non-factor fourth. 'Beckham' was away second, not wanting to take the lead while losing pocket contact down the backside. "Tim (Tetrick) said the horse just sort of fell asleep in the pocket and he probably should have put him on the front and let him pace," trainer Bruce Saunders said. "He seemed fine, but we're going to scope him anyway." Mac's Jackpot (Kakaley) closed for second, beaten a length at 38-1, with Micky Gee N (Scott Zeron), Beckham's Z Tam and Sam's a Champ A (Jim Marohn Jr.) earning the minors. For third choice Ideal Jimmy, a 6-year-old homebred Western Ideal gelding owned by D R Van Witzenberg and trained by Erv Miller, it was his fourth win in seven '19 tries. The exacta paid $373, the triple returned $2,388 and the superfecta paid $5,031. Fourth division "He's the reason I came here tonight." Such was the pre-race assessment of driver McCarthy, who launched Rodeo Rock ($4.40) from second-over to win handily. From post No. 4, Rodeo Rock watched 9-10 polester Duplicated N (Tetrick) take over from longshot Rodeo Romeo (Bartlett), then lead through soft (and flat) intervals of :28 and :57 before a 1:24.4 three-quarters. Rodeo Rock worked from behind I'm Some Graduate (Kakaley), then went wide after his target. Duplicated N owned a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn, but Rodeo Rock picked him off. The margin was three-quarters of a length in 1:52.4, with Rodeo Romeo, JJ Flyin' (Brennan) and I'm Some Graduate coming away with the smaller envelopes. For second choice Rodeo Rock, a 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Royal Wire Products and trained by Robert Cleary, it was his second win in as many seasonal efforts. The exacta paid $7.80, the triple returned $82.50 and the superfecta paid $473. Rodeo Rock Fifth division Just-over-even-money favorite I'marocnrollegend N (Kakaley) literally and figuratively hit The Wall (Bongiorno, $41.60). Winning the draw and sitting a three-hole through fractions of :26.3; 56.3 and 1:24.2, The Wall waited for a first-up Always at My Place (Brennan) to retreat before hanging a sharp right turn for clearance. The Wall won a three-horse scrum by a head in a season's-best 1:53, with I'marocnrollegend N second and a pocketed Bettor's Fire N (Ron Cushing) third. Endeavor (Tetrick) and Rockathon (Stratton) also made coinage. For rank outsider (sixth choice) The Wall, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding owned by J L Benson Stables and trained by Nick Surick, he's now 2-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $92.50, the triple returned $325.50 and the superfecta paid $2,230. "They were getting out of there quickly, so I had no choice but to be third," Bongiorno said. I wasn't going to come first-up and I was fortunate when (Always at My Place) tired to have room. This horse had had some bad draws and been in some bad spots, so it was good to save ground for once." Sixth division A gritty (though not Philadelphia Flyer Gritty) first-up effort by favored More the Better N (Zeron, $4.70). After pole-sitting Mar Nien A (Greg Merton) rebuffed quarter-move advances of Gokudo Hanover (Brennan), the former led through early substations of :27.1 and :56.4. From post No. 3, More the Better N hooked Mar Nien A through a :27.4 third quarter (1:24.3), eventually putting that one away early in the lane. More the Better N held off a crisply-rallying Mach Doro A (Cushing) by a neck in 1:53.2. Gokudo Hanover, Bellow's Binge (Bartlett) and Ballerat Boomerang (Tetrick) fell into line for the remainder, while Mar Nien A backpedaled to last among the octet. For More the Better N, a 6-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Ross Croghan, it was his first win in a trio of '19 tries. The exacta paid $45.40, the triple returned $257.50 and the superfecta paid $862. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a down-the-road Eye Ofa Tiger AS (Bartlett, $7.60) in 1:56. Frank Drucker

Former AFL star Rhys Palmer is reportedly in a critical condition after a motorbike accident in Perth last night. The former Fremantle and Carlton player was riding in Perth last night with his partner on the back of the bike when they were hit at an intersection. Nine News Perth reported the 30-year-old is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of Royal Perth Hospital after requiring surgery. Palmer plays for Swan Districts Football Club and the team’s operations manager Phil Smart said he had visited Palmer in hospital this morning and revealed he’d been placed in a coma, according to Perth Now, after having his spleen removed and losing a lot of blood. “It’s more positive than it was last night, but he still has a fair way to go,” Mr Smart said. “They (doctors) said he had been responsive to different things.” It is understood his passenger was not badly hurt. Palmer plays in the WAFL for Swan Districts and the club issued a statement this morning about the crash. “The club is of the understanding that Rhys was driving the motorbike and was not to blame for the accident,” the statement said. “It must be noted that the accident was not related to any of the events of the previous 48 hours.” Former AFL star hurls shoe onto race track Swan Districts Chief Executive Jeff Dennis said his thoughts are with Palmer, his partner and their families. “The health and wellbeing of Rhys and his passenger is of utmost importance to the club,” he said. “There is no consideration of anything else at this point in time.” The news comes a day after Palmer was involved in a bizarre incident at the harness racing at Gloucester Park, where his shoes were “thrown” at a horse mid-race. Footage from a race showed the trotters making their way down the straight before getting the final lap underway when a shoe can be seen hurling through the air before landing on the track. Palmer issued a statement late yesterday saying he had been “wrestling” with a mate when the shoe was flung, and apologised for the incident. “No shoe was deliberately thrown at a horse during any race and I have the utmost respect for the racing community and all those involved,” he wrote. “It was simply unfortunate timing. I was having a light hearted wrestle with a young teammate, oblivious to what was happening around us. “What transpired was a shoe being thrown which unbeknown to us was unfortunately at the same time the horses had made their way around the course.” Palmer won the 2008 NAB rising star and made a name for himself as a member of the Fremantle Dockers before joining the GWS Giants. After being delisted by Carlton following the 2017 season, Palmer returned to Western Australia where he signed with the Swan Districts in the West Australian Football League. The club struggled throughout the 2018 season finishing eighth on the ladder of nine teams and winning only six out of 18 games. Reprinted with permission of News.com.au

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 16, 2019 -- Say this much for harness racing driver Dan Dube...he appreciates timing. Approaching his latest driving milestone for a while, Dube coordinated it just right, stylishly winning Saturday night's (March 16th) opener of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. His open-length romp with favored Western Ace ($4.40) not only served as the 9,000th win of his career, but threw down the Free-For-All series gauntlet as the fastest local mile (1:51.1) of the season. From post position No. 4 in the first of a half-dozen, $50,000 divisions, Western Ace gave nothing else a shot through intervals of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:24.1. The two-length lead off the final turn became 5¾ lengths at the wire, helped by his fast feet and a scattering behind after a nasty break by Windsong Leo (George Brennan). Somewhere in L A avoid the happenstance to end us second, with Mach it So (Brent Holland), Lyons Steel (Mark MacDonald) and Don Domingo N (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For Western Fame, a 6-year-old son of Western Ideal co-owned by Go Fast and B&I Stables, Stephen Klunowski & Gilbert Short and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, the triple returned $110 and the superfecta paid $967. Western Fame The Quebec-born Dube, turning 50 this June, was the main driver of Horse of the Year Gallo Blue Chip (2000) and Rock N Roll Heaven (2010). His career purse earnings exceed $119 million. :"He (Western Fame) was ready for this mile," Dube said. "I thought he'd race well. I heard something behind me (field scattering), but I was in front by a few lengths so I wasn't worried about it. "I'm obviously happy to get to this (9,000) number. When I came down from Canada, I never thought I'd have the success I've had." Frank Drucker

Former Kiwi pacer Shelby Bromac turned around a disappointing heat run to win the $75,000 Tasmania Cup harness racing final in Hobart on Saturday night. Now trained in Victoria by David Aiken, Shelby Bromac was confidently driven by junior reinswoman Kima Frenning to land a decisive victory over War Dan and Star Chamber. The two favourites, Sicario and Scooterwillrev, both missed the start and took virtually no part in the race while co-backmarker Harjeet faded after a torrid run. Shelby Bromac had been unbeaten in Australia until he missed a place in his Tasmania Cup heat in a performance that Frenning said left connections "scratching our heads." "We made a few gear changes and, because he didn't pace great last week, I drove him aggressively tonight to find the fence," she said. Frenning went forward three wide early to find the death and rolled to the lead with 1-1/2 laps to go. Shelby Bromac looked to control the race from then on but War Dan closed strongly late to get within 1.7m on the line, with Star Chamber 6m further back after another gallant run. ............................................................. VICTORIAN favourite Enchanted Stride sat in the death to win the $30,000 Tasmanian Oaks - but only just. The David Miles-trained and driven filly took until the last stride to run down local Spoilt Sport whose driver Alex Ashwood tried to pinch the race coming off the back straight. "The second horse went super but my filly was great because the race wasn't run to suit her style," Miles said. "It's not her go not to have a helmet in front of her." ...................................................... OATLANDS trainer-driver Matthew Cooper was overjoyed after his class mare Call Her Julie outstayed her rivals in the $20,000 George Johnson. "This is my biggest thrill in harness racing," said Cooper who also owns the seven-year-old. Call Her Julie settled near the rear but sustained a strong three wide run over the last lap to score by 4m. .................................................... DEVONPORT-owned Max Delight gave trainer David Aiken a feature double when he made a one-act affair of the $30,000 Tasmanian Derby as $1.04 favourite. By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Racing luck usually plays a part when one wins a race. Getting an expert steer doesn't hurt, either. Those two factors were on display in the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, as Caviart Luca and Big M leading harness racing driver Yannick Gingras nailed favorite K Ryan Bluechip at the wire in the featured Preferred for pacers. Speedsters Castle Flight and New Talent were on the go early. Castle Flight led at the quarter in :27.3 while New Talent, fresh off his Big M season's-fastest 1:49.2 score last week, then brushed to the top at the three-eighths and hit the half in :55.1 as the 2-1 chalk K Ryan Bluechip was gradually chipping away at the leader's edge racing first-over. All the while, Caviart Luca was sitting in what appeared to be an impossible spot - third at the rail - with four horses in the outer flow. K Ryan Bluechip inched his way past New Talent with a little less than three-sixteenths of a mile to go. Enter racing luck and Gingras. Finding a seam just big enough as the field spread out in the stretch, Gingras moved Caviart Luca off the rail to get directly behind KRB with an eighth to go. Inside the sixteenth pole, Caviart Luca swung to the outside and managed to get up by the smallest of noses at the wire. New Talent held on for third. "I just got lucky to find a seam in the middle," said Gingras, "my horse was sharp and ready." Making just his second start of the year, Caviart Luca, eighth and last in his 2019 debut at Yonkers, returned $10.40 as the third choice in the wagering for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Phillip Collura. The 8-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Caviart Sierra, who completed the mile in 1:51.1, has now won 29-of-141 career starts and earned $742,535. ANDY'S DANDY: Andy Miller piloted four winners on the card, giving him seven for the weekend. Gingras was right behind him with six, after winning three times on both Friday and Saturday. On the training side, the red-hot Jennifer Bongiorno made two Saturday winner's circle visits, giving her three victories for the weekend. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering continued to be strong as all-source betting totaled $2,919,538. ... 50-Cent Pick-4 cashers walked away with $903.80 by using 9-1 shot Pepper Guy and driver Dexter Dunn in the ninth race. The winner's odds of the other three horses in the sequence were 4-1, 9-2 and 3-2. ... Dunn and Vinny Ginsburg each drove a pair of winners. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. Bettors will have a new wager to try as that evening will see the debut of the Can-Am Pick-4, a wager that requires players to pick two winners at the Meadowlands and two at Woodbine Mohawk Park. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The weather may have been cold and windy for the opening night of the 2019 harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but one place where it was hot was near the claiming box, as no fewer the fifteen horses were haltered in the five claiming events at the mountain oval Saturday night - including Urban Renewal, the winner of the featured $20,000 claiming handicap pace on the opener. With two speedy favorites drawing posts one and two, driver Eric Carlson raced out and accepted a 4-tuck with the altered son of Cam's Card Shark, then came uncovered on a night when the speed was winless in the first nine races. That figure soon went to 0-for-10, as Urban Renewal grinded right to the lead on the turn, then drew off to win by 3¼ lengths in his farewell for trainer Mike Watson and Clifford Grundy, who saw the horse taken for a $35,000 claiming price. Each of the five claimers had at least two horses changing hands - the $30,000/$35,000-tagged feature saw half of the field of eight entering new barns, with hopeful owners laying out an amazing $297,500 trying to get a sharp horse for the early-season campaigns. In the race after the feature, a $17,500 conditioned pace, a horse was finally able to last wire-to-wire, and appropriately it was a horse backed by the noted front-favoring team of driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Hunter Oakes, the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Epaulette A, who took a North American mark of 1:51.3 for the ownership of the Northfolk Racing Stable. Epaulette A had favored Soho Wallstreet A coming at him late, but withstood that rival in crossing the beam ¾ of a length to the good. Both feature winners went over the $200,000 mark in career earnings with their triumphs. Jim Morrill Jr., who had made his first sulky appearance since October 26 on the Wednesday card at Buffalo, was in mid-season form on the Saturday Pocono program, guiding three winners, including $61.00 winner Western Alumni (who also was promptly claimed). Simon Allard also posted a driving triple. The trotters and pacers next take to the Pocono oval on Tuesday, when a 16-race card featuring several hopefuls for the upcoming Weiss Series goes postward at 4 p.m. - Pocono will race at 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays this year in trying to garner the "simulcast gap" money, while the Saturday and Sunday cards will stay at 7 p.m. PHHA / Pocono

The Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha has shown yet again why he’s the horse to beat for next month’s WA Derby, following an eventful running of the Sales Classic (2130m) for the three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park last night. In a race marred by an incident where two spectators threw shoes on to the track, all six horses managed to get around safely and it was Patrickthepiranha that outlasted the rest. Brown also had Its Rock And Roll in the $50,000 event, which he drove, while Dylan Egerton-Green took the drive on Patrickthepiranha. The veteran reinsman tried to find the front on Its Rock And Roll, but Shockwave was able to hold the front from barrier three. The early speed allowed Patrickthepiranha to settle behind the leaders and gain the perfect run throughout. Patrickthepiranha hit the front with 100m left, before $91 outsider Walsh flashed down the outside late to almost cause a major upset. The Four Starzzz Shark gelding held on to win by a head and ran home in 58.9. Egerton-Green said he was impressed by Patrickthepiranha’s performance and was fortunate to avoid a serious accident after the incident. “We actually didn’t see it, so he was fine,” he told RWWA Harness. “The horse went good and he’s probably got a bit of room for improvement off that run. “I don’t think he saw Walsh coming. “He always finds the front then switches off a bit, so I’ve probably got a bit of training to do there.” Egerton-Green said he was confident Patrickthepiranha could go to the WA Derby on April 6 without another run, but said the Group 2 Western Gateway next week could be a suitable option. Brown said he would consider running Its Rock And Roll in the Western Gateway next week as well. In the filly’s edition of the Sales Classic, Has No Fear proved too classy for her rivals in scoring a 7.4m victory. Elsewhere on the night, Eloquent Mach and Major Trojan continued to enhance their WA Derby claims, running first and second respectively in the WA Derby Prelude (2130m). The pair finished produced a repeat of the result from the Battle Of Bunbury last Saturday night. Meanwhile, Handsandwheels justified his short-priced quote to take out the Group 2 4&5YO Championship (2130m) for the Andrew De Campo stable. Handsandwheels was able to control the race from barrier one and never looked like being beaten. Vincenzo Peruggia and Lord Willoughby filled the minor placings. In the Free-For-All event of the evening, consistent pacer The Bucket List made a well-deserved return to the winners circle, storming home to beat Whozideawasthis and Vultan Tin.   Tim Walker

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Columbus, OH -- The U.S. Trotting Association announced the launch of a "NewLook" website that invites members, industry participants and fans of harness racing an all-new way to provide feedback on the organization's redesign of its website on Monday (March 18). A landing page for all information about the redesign project, http://NewLook.ustrotting.com is the place where USTA website users will be able to provide feedback on specific functionality and features that currently exist or that they would like to see included during the planning phase of the website's redesign. "The USTA web redesign team is seeking input on elements of the current website and the new website, as it is developed so that feedback can provide ways to improve the user experience," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. In addition, the NewLook website will allow the public to view updates about the design work as it progresses and the ability to interact with the USTA in order to give feedback on the concepts and design elements prior to the release of the new website. Visitors will be invited to participate in a survey to indicate whether they were able to achieve their goals and if they were satisfied with the amount of effort required to accomplish those, rate areas that need improvement and compare the USTA website to other websites that they visit. Other areas of interest are opinions on the ease of navigation and what additional information users would like added to the new site. At first, the survey will be available only to users that already have or sign up for a USTA myaccount, who simply need to sign in and navigate to "NewLook" to take the survey. Later, it also will be available to guests without a login. In addition, visitors will be offered the opportunity to sign up in order to participate in focus groups to add further input on the website's redesign. The NewLook website was unveiled in a demonstration to the USTA directors at a special IT Education working session at the Annual Meeting last Saturday (March 9) in Columbus, OH. The NewLook page will also include a help option for additional information. From the USTA Communications Department
LEBANON, OH - All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) dominated the $25,000 Open I Trot at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday afternoon (March 17), establishing a new lifetime mark in the process. The 6-year-old Ken Rucker-trainee grabbed the front end during a :27.1 first quarter, then proceeded to trip the subsequent timing beams in :56.1 and 1:25.2 before scooting home in :28.1 to record the 1:53.3 victory. The gelded son of Swan For All towed pocket sitter Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) through the finish line in second with Andy Ray (Elliott Deaton) rallying from fifth to third in the stretch. The triumph was the 16th in 91 career starts for All About Cowboys, who blew past the $200,000 earnings plateau with the win. Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas of Illinois own the ultra-consistent winner who has banked $58,180 in eight 2019 starts at Miami Valley. A $20,000 Open II Trot was captured easily by Mugshot Man (Chris Page), who was open lengths better than Pass The Vape (Derek Watiker) and Impressive Chief (Brett Miller) in 1:54.4. It was just the second win in the last two seasons for the 6-year-old son of Jailhouse Jesse, but was the quickest of his ten lifetime victories. Fred Morgan Jr. trains Mugshot Man for owner John Holman. The Red Owens Memorial late-closer for green fillies and mares got underway on Sunday as well. Heavily-favored Ben's Jenna (Trace Tetrick) lived up to the public's expectations, but only narrowly. The Mach Three-sired sophomore won for the third time in just six lifetime starts in 1:56.3. Delight Kate (Tyler Smith) and Respect (Kyle Ater) were next best in a tightly bunched field at the finish. Tyler George conditions the winner for David Kryway and the Ontario LTD stable.   Gregg Keidel
Bobs Hope (Donato Hanover) started from the rail in Sunday's $15,000 Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Amanda Kelley trainee spent his winter racing in Florida and returned to town on a two-race win streak. Jay Randall got the driving assignment on Sunday and situated Bobs Hope into the pocket spot in the early going. Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray), a three-time winner of Spa Opens last year, was making his first local start of the season and moved out to an easy lead on the chilly Sunday afternoon. Bobs Hope tracked the top one throughout and popped the pocket around the final turn. The seven year old surged by in the stretch before drawing away to win in 1:58. The race's favorite Cash Me Out (Phil Fluet) got up for second while Wings Of Royalty held on for third. Bobs Hope, whose earnings from Sunday's score moved him over the $200,000 for his career, was dismissed at odds of 5-1 in his return to Saratoga. Bobs Hope paid $12.80 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $33.80 and $114, respectively. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:00pm.   Mike Sardella
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 16, 2019 - Saturday night's (March 16th) opening round of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series offered a fair amount of form and a fair amount of 'huh?' among the Free-For-Allers, A half-dozen, $50,000 groups were contested in succession. Here's the 'wrap' sheet... First division  Say this much for Dan Dube...he appreciates timing. Approaching his latest driving milestone for a while, Dube coordinated it just right, stylishly winning Saturday night's (March 16th) opener of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. His open-length romp with favored Western Fame ($4.40) not only served as the 9,000th win of his career, but threw down the Free-For-All series gauntlet as the fastest local mile (1:51.1) of the season. From post position No. 4 Western Fame gave nothing else a shot through intervals of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:24.1. The two-length lead off the final turn became 5¾ lengths at the wire, helped by his fast feet and a scattering behind after a nasty break by Windsong Leo (George Brennan). Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) avoided the happenstance to end up second, with Mach it So (Brent Holland), Lyons Steel (Mark MacDonald) and Don Domingo N (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For Western Fame, a 6-year-old son of Western Ideal co-owned by Go Fast and B&I Stables, Stephen Klunowski & Gilbert Short and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, the triple returned $110 and the superfecta paid $967. The Quebec-born Dube, turning 50 this June, was the main driver of Horses of the Year Gallo Blue Chip (2000) and Rock N Roll Heaven (2010). His career purse earnings exceed $119 million. :"He (Western Fame) was ready for this mile," Dube said. "I thought he'd race well. I heard something behind me (field scattering), but I was in front by a few lengths so I wasn't worried about it. "I'm obviously happy to get to this (9,000) number. When I came down from Canada, I never thought I'd have the success I've had." Second division Odds-on Anythingforlove A (Joe Bongiorno, $2.70)-from post No. 3-who'd been doing his damage up front, sat pocketed to the returning Rockin' Ron (Kakaley). The latter led through intervals of :27.4, 57.2 and 1:25.1, with his stalker pulling early. Anythingforlove A finally dispatched the leader, then held off Somebaddude (Andy McCarthy) by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4. Luciano A (Brennan) was third, with a tiring Rockin' Ron and Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton) rounding out the payees. For Anythingforlove A, a 7-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Wish Me Luck Stables and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.80, the triple returned $45 and the superfecta paid $228. "I was happy to sit behind Rockin' Ron," Joe Bongiorno said. "(Anythingforlove A) can't be on the lead every week against these horses, so if I could get him an easier trip, I did." Third division Pole-sitting Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, $20) went the distance (:27.4, 57.2, 1:24.4; 1:52.4) while 3-10 favorite Beckham's Z Tam (Tim Tetrick) never seemed comfortable, winding up a non-factor fourth. 'Beckham' was away second, not wanting to take the lead while losing pocket contact down the backside. "Tim (Tetrick) said the horse just sort of fell asleep in the pocket and he probably should have put him on the front and let him pace," trainer Bruce Saunders said. "He seemed fine, but we're going to scope him anyway." Mac's Jackpot (Kakaley) closed for second, beaten a length at 38-1, with Micky Gee N (Scott Zeron), Beckham's Z Tam and Sam's a Champ A (Jim Marohn Jr.) earning the minors. For third choice Ideal Jimmy, a 6-year-old homebred Western Ideal gelding owned by D R Van Witzenberg and trained by Erv Miller, it was his fourth win in seven '19 tries. The exacta paid $373, the triple returned $2,388 and the superfecta paid $5,031. Fourth division "He's the reason I came here tonight." Such was the pre-race assessment of driver McCarthy, who launched Rodeo Rock ($4.40) from second-over to win handily. From post No. 4, Rodeo Rock watched 9-10 polester Duplicated N (Tetrick) take over from longshot Rodeo Romeo (Bartlett), then lead through soft (and flat) intervals of :28 and :57 before a 1:24.4 three-quarters. Rodeo Rock worked from behind I'm Some Graduate (Kakaley), then went wide after his target. Duplicated N owned a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn, but Rodeo Rock picked him off. The margin was three-quarters of a length in 1:52.4, with Rodeo Romeo, JJ Flyin' (Brennan) and I'm Some Graduate coming away with the smaller envelopes. For second choice Rodeo Rock, a 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Royal Wire Products and trained by Robert Cleary, it was his second win in as many seasonal efforts. The exacta paid $7.80, the triple returned $82.50 and the superfecta paid $473. Rodeo Rock Fifth division Just-over-even-money favorite I'marocnrollegend N (Kakaley) literally and figuratively hit The Wall (Bongiorno, $41.60). Winning the draw and sitting a three-hole through fractions of :26.3; 56.3 and 1:24.2, The Wall waited for a first-up Always at My Place (Brennan) to retreat before hanging a sharp right turn for clearance. The Wall won a three-horse scrum by a head in a season's-best 1:53, with I'marocnrollegend N second and a pocketed Bettor's Fire N (Ron Cushing) third. Endeavor (Tetrick) and Rockathon (Stratton) also made coinage. For rank outsider (sixth choice) The Wall, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding owned by J L Benson Stables and trained by Nick Surick, he's now 2-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $92.50, the triple returned $325.50 and the superfecta paid $2,230. "They were getting out of there quickly, so I had no choice but to be third," Bongiorno said. I wasn't going to come first-up and I was fortunate when (Always at My Place) tired to have room. This horse had had some bad draws and been in some bad spots, so it was good to save ground for once." Sixth division A gritty (though not Philadelphia Flyer Gritty) first-up effort by favored More the Better N (Zeron, $4.70). After pole-sitting Mar Nien A (Greg Merton) rebuffed quarter-move advances of Gokudo Hanover (Brennan), the former led through early substations of :27.1 and :56.4. From post No. 3, More the Better N hooked Mar Nien A through a :27.4 third quarter (1:24.3), eventually putting that one away early in the lane. More the Better N held off a crisply-rallying Mach Doro A (Cushing) by a neck in 1:53.2. Gokudo Hanover, Bellow's Binge (Bartlett) and Ballerat Boomerang (Tetrick) fell into line for the remainder, while Mar Nien A backpedaled to last among the octet. For More the Better N, a 6-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Ross Croghan, it was his first win in a trio of '19 tries. The exacta paid $45.40, the triple returned $257.50 and the superfecta paid $862. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a down-the-road Eye Ofa Tiger AS (Bartlett, $7.60) in 1:56. Frank Drucker
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