Day At The Track
Harness Racing Victoria

Inter Dom hosts agree to prizemoney until 2020

Harness Racing Victoria today announced prizemoney for the 2018 Inter Dominion (ID) series of races.   For pacers, the prizemoney will be distributed across three rounds of three heats ($30,000 per heat), a $50,000 Consolation Final and a $500,000 Group 1 Grand Final, while for trotters there will be three rounds of two trotting heats ($20,000 a heat) and a $150,000 Group 1 Grand Final.   Harness Racing New South Wales and Harness Racing New Zealand confirmed the same prizemoney for Inter Dominion finals over the following two years.   The ID hosts acknowledged the importance of maintaining the Inter Dominion’s position as Australasia’s premier harness racing series, while also committing to a financially sustainable model that ensures its survival.   Speaking on behalf of the ID hosts, HRV CEO David Martin said: “By working together we have ensured the future for the Inter Dominion series at a level that the three jurisdictions can afford.   “The Inter Dominion brand and tradition is an essential part of the Australasian harness racing industry. Our collaboration means we can all continue to celebrate our champions and feature their battles to hold the illustrious title of Inter Dominion champion.   “From the first night of heats this year on 1 December through to the final on 15 December, HRV will deliver an event that re-engages past trots-lovers and attracts new fans to our international sport.”   For the first time in 10 years Victoria will host the Inter Dominion, with both trotters and pacers being featured.   Cody Winnell 

Andrew Seabrook,Harness racing

Breeders welcome NZB entry into Standardbred market

The New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Association welcomes the arrival of New Zealand Bloodstock into the harness racing community.   You read that right.   Last Thursday the New Zealand harness racing industry was delivered the news that New Zealand’s leading bloodstock company was entering the Standardbred market.   The feedback since has been overwhelmingly positive. Breeders, vendors, purchasers and horsemen and horsewomen have all been quick to rejoice.   This comes as no surprise given in recent years, many breeders had voiced concerns surrounding the direction and future of the only platform they had to sell young bloodstock in New Zealand.   Marketing of the sales, health & safety concerns, along with a declining buyer bench were some of the pertinent issues at hand for vendors.   The future is now a lot clearer, and that future looks to be with NZB Standardbred.   “We have plans to take this to a whole new level – it won’t just be business as usual,” said New Zealand Bloodstock’s Managing Director Andrew Seabrook this week.   “Sir Peter Vela (one of two brothers who established New Zealand Bloodstock in the mid-90s headquartered at the world-class Karaka Sales Centre) is really excited by the challenge and the opportunity to grow the company.”   With access to a range of proven bloodstock, finance, airfreight and insurance services, and increased promotion to domestic and international markets, the harness racing community is assured of a company working in their best interests on several fronts.   Seabrook says NZB prides itself on its lease-to-own scheme and its in-house finance division.   “All I know is our business got a huge shot in the arm in 1997 when, after being purchased by the Vela brothers, we opened up a credit arm and started financing both short and long-term.   “We see it as a pretty significant part of our thoroughbred business, giving people an opportunity to secure their future breeding stock, and it has been a very successful endeavor for us.   “For young trainers, especially, this will significantly change their approach to the sales,” commented Seabrook.   “After the 2017 Sales, breeders asked the NZBSA to advocate for changes with PGW,” said NZSBA Chairman John Mooney.   “The primary concerns were around the lack of marketing and the diminishing small buyers bench. We are confident that the NZB ‘machine’ will address these issues aggressively.   “They are a company whose sole focus is selling horses. Andrew Seabrook and his team have made it clear to ‘The Breeders’ that they will leave no stone unturned when supporting vendors.”   New Zealand Bloodstock has an illustrious track record of success as the source of New Zealand champions to the global thoroughbred market.   The New Zealand Standardbred is a world class equine athlete capable of dominating on the world stage.   The Australians know it, so too the North American industry.   NZB’s Andrew Seabrook is also aware of the dominance of the New Zealand Standardbred.   “Obviously, the thoroughbred breeding industry is much more aligned to international markets and the yearling sales rely heavily upon those buyers.   “But when one market dries up you have to try and develop other markets and we have people employed to do that.   “I think the New Zealand Standardbred has probably been more successful than the thoroughbreds in Australia in recent times and that’s something which should be promoted.   “The American market especially, looks to have been neglected in recent years.   “But with some good New Zealand-bred horses up there like Lazarus, we plan on making a splash in that market, too.   “We are quite excited about the future of this and are not going in to this lightly.”   Highlights   Yearling Sales: Yearlings will sell in their traditional February timeslot at both the Karaka and Christchurch venues. The entry fee will slightly increase by $50 (+GST) at each venue, however entries will be invoiced in January and deducted from the yearling sale proceeds.   There is a confirmed commitment to holding a Christchurch Sale.    Payments to vendors will be received within 30 days of sale.   Yearling, Weanling & All Age Sale: A big change to the current market will be the ability to sell yearlings at the Christchurch Yearling, Weanling & All Age Sale in late April – with all yearling stock going through each ring to be Sales Series eligible.   Breeders have been wanting this concept for years, and it can only be positive. Yearlings that need time or may suffer an injury close to February now have another opportunity to be sold for their vendors.   Two-Year-Old Sale: September 2019 will see a return of the Ready-to-Run format. This could potentially open a speculative buying market at both the Yearling and Weanling Sales. Particularly with NZB’s finance facilities such as pin hook funding.   Horsemen and horsewomen, and breeders have another platform to chance their arm on stock purchased or retained with a view to get them up and going for a sale at the 2YO Sale.   Finance Facilities: Through NZB’s own finance arm, pin hook funding and lease to purchase facilities on fillies and mares, purchasers will find life much easier to secure bloodstock at the Sales.   Marketing: The NZB marketing machine have already hit the ground running with digital media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram already in use with the Standardbred handle.   Sales Calendar   2019 New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling Sale: Auckland Sale 17 & 18 February at Karaka Christchurch Sale 19 & 20 February at Canterbury Agricultural Park Entries Open: 01 July Entries Close: 01 August   2019 New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling, Weanling & All Age Sale: Christchurch Sale, 29 April   2019 New Zealand National Standardbred Weanling & All Age Sale: Auckland Sale at Karaka, May - date tbc   2019 New Zealand National Standardbred 2YO Sale: Christchurch Sale, September - date tbc     Brad Reid New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Association  

Gary Hall Jnr,Harness racing

Hall plans to lead with One Off Delight

Catch me if you can will be champion reinsman Gary Hall Junior’s mantra when he plans to take full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier with One Off Delight in the $100,000 Westbred Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “The last time he led was four starts ago at Gloucester Park when he won pretty convincingly,” said Hall. “So, setting the pace will be my intention on Friday night.” One Off Delight warmed up for this week’s assignment with a sound third behind Major Pocket and Slick Artist last Tuesday fortnight when he finished solidly after enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. One Off Delight is the first foal out of New Zealand-bred mare Tiger Su, who won once from 11 starts in New Zealand and three times from nine starts in WA in 2012. Tiger Su’s dam Tigerish was an outstanding juvenile performer in New Zealand and retired with earnings of $491,957 from 15 wins and 21 placings from 79 starts. The main dangers to One Off Delight appear to be Thisbeachrighthere and Murphys Bettor. Thisbeachrighthere (barrier five) was a winner at Ballarat and Melton as a two-year-old and he has impressed with three wins and a third placing from five starts in WA for owner-trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Thisbeachrighthere was untroubled to set the pace from barrier two and win by 8m from Arma Rich Girl over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago when he dashed over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 28.1sec. Murphys Bettor, an inexperienced gelding with two wins from eight starts, will begin from barrier four with Chris Voak in the sulky. He resumed after an absence of four months when he made most of the running and won easily from Kamendable Joe over 2190m at Northam on May 29. “Murphys Bettor has had a bit of an interrupted campaign, but is certainly capable of winning,” said Voak. “He is one of those horses who does just what he needs to do. He’s a casual, cool dude.” Murphys Bettor is prepared by Ross Olivieri, who has trained 98 winners this season and has several good each-way prospects among his ten runners on Friday night. Highroller Joe, trained in Busselton by Jamie Howlett, has shown promise with three wins from nine starts and has each-way prospects from the inside of the back line. He impressed when he scored an easy win in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, with final quarters in 27.1sec. and 27.8sec. Ken Casellas

Tony Herlihy,Harness racing

Herlihy not returning just yet

New Zealand’s most successful ever horseman is finally over one of the worst injuries of his career. But don’t expect to see champion driver Tony Herlihy back at Alexandra Park tomorrow night or any time in the next month. Herlihy resumed driving fast work at his South Auckland training established this week, over five weeks after a race smash at Alexandra Park left him with ribs broken in a particularly nasty place. That ruled Herlihy — who has won more races than any other New Zealand-based driver or jockey —out of the Harness Jewels and a spectator at his own stables for much of the first month. “It took a while to get over, longer than last time I had a similar injury, but it is good to be back driving fast work,” he said. “But I am not going to rush back into race driving. I am going on holiday in a few weeks and I rather give the injured ribs that extra time to recover. “So I probably won’t be back driving on racenight for another three or even four weeks.” That will see his stable’s young reinsmen Tony Cameron and junior Luke Whittaker do the majority of his driving at what is admittedly a quieter time of the season. But Herlihy still has some major winter goals with juvenile trotter Tickle Me Pink, who is being set for an Australian campaign. The previously unbeaten filly broke for no apparent reason at the start of her Jewels final but is heading to Victoria in early August. “We are still keen to take her to the Breeders Crown, especially as there is a separate juvenile filly trotting section which she is eligible for. “So she might also go to the Redwood at Maryborough before that and could even contest her Breeders Crown heat over there in Victoria depending on how the timing works out.”  Herlihy’s stable star Temporale has also rejoined the stable after a huge season which saw him win the National Trot and finish second in two of Australia’s biggest races. That form plateaued toward the end of the season but Temporale raced like a horse still growing into his big frame and could be even better next season. “He looks like he has put a bit of muscle on and all going well we will give him a shot at Cup week in Christchurch this time in.” Michael Guerin

When owner Gary Iles reflects on Lather Up's win in last week's Pepsi North America Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park, he cannot help but feel blessed. Iles and his wife Barbara watched their homebred colt overcome a number of obstacles and horses to reach the top of the 3-year-old pacing ranks with his win in the C$1 million race. "There is one horse a year that gets to do this," Iles said. "I'm 79 years old; I thought I was running out of time. Thank God it worked out and I had my opportunity and we succeeded. I'm humbled by it. I'm humbled by the whole thing. We're very fortunate. "There were 79 horses nominated (to the North America Cup) and 29 started and to think that out of that you end up being the best of the best. It's a wonderful situation. You have to be blessed." Montrell Teague drove Lather Up, the 3-5 favorite, to victory for trainer Clyde Francis and the George Teague Jr. training stable. Montrell Teague and Francis finished second with Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2-5 favorite, in the 2015 North America Cup. "It made me want it more since I lost it with Wiggles," the 27-year-old Teague said. "It's a million-dollar race, the first million-dollar race I ever won, so to be added to that list and add that to my accomplishments, it feels great." Added Francis, "We went up there with Wiggles and were the best going into the race, but anything can happen. It's horseracing. Going to the final (with Lather Up) I really thought we had a good shot at it. But I wasn't going to say anything before, just keep it to myself. When it was over, it was a great feeling." Iles, Teague and Francis all were happy with Lather Up's trip in the North America Cup, which saw him get to the front in a :26.3 opening quarter, yield the top spot briefly to Done Well, and retake the lead prior to reaching the half-mile point in :54.1. From there, Lather Up led to three-quarters in 1:21.3 before winning by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:48.1. "I got the trip that I didn't expect to get, but the trip that I wanted," Teague said. "I was happy when (Done Well) came and Montrell retook and no one else came," Iles said. "I thought we had a shot at it then because I know (Lather Up) has that good speed coming home. That's the way it worked out. I'm just amazed he has that kick at the end. But you don't take it for granted until he crosses that wire because a lot can happen." Said Francis, "When he moved him back to the front I thought he was in a good spot there because they were going to have to come after him. (At the top of the stretch) I was still pretty confident; Montrell hadn't urged him. When he popped the plugs, it was over. They weren't getting to him. Every start he raced, when they came off the turn and hit the lane he was ready to roll. Everything worked out well." All that remained was a trip to the winner's circle, where the Iles were joined by family and friends. "There were all those (camera) shutters going off and everyone saying, 'Look here, look here, look here.' It was quite amazing," Iles said. "It was a wonderful feeling. I was really thankful for the support we had. "More than that, the horse is down in history. That's something quite exciting." Lather Up will look to remain undefeated in 2018 Saturday when he competes in the third of three Max C. Hempt Memorial eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Lather Up, who is 6-for-6 this season, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in his elim, which also includes North America Cup runner-up Done Well. The top three finishers from each elimination advance to the $500,000 Hempt final on June 30 at Pocono. Saturday's card also features eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. "It's a tough field, a very tough field," Iles said about the Hempt. "I'm happy to be there. When you're doing this shipping, a lot of horses come down with some kind of sickness. Fortunately, it hasn't hit us. Hopefully, it doesn't hit anybody. But it's always a concern." "I think he will be all right," Francis said. "He's in with a bunch of the same horses he raced (last) Saturday night. He trained good today and came out of it well. We're just hoping for the best." Following the win in the North America Cup, Lather Up moved up to No. 2 in the sport's weekly rankings, trailing only 6-year-old female trotter Hannelore Hanover, the defending Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada. Lather Up was the only 3-year-old male pacer among the top 14 horses in the poll. "It's still early," Teague said. "Mine looks the most exciting so far, but any of them can step up at any time. That was the first big race, but there are plenty more. You never know who is going to step up. "But so far it's definitely fun. He's looking like the good horse we thought he was going to be. Even more." For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

ANDERSON, IN.- Driver Peter Wrenn joined elite company as he became the 14th driver in harness racing history to reach 10,000 career driving wins at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, June 19. A winner of more than $72 million in lifetime purse earnings, Wrenn joins harness racing greats Herve Filion, Cat Manzi, Dave Palone, Tony Morgan, Walter Case Jr., and Dave Magee in the elusive 10,000 win club. Wrenn needed three wins coming into Tuesday's card and with five scheduled mounts, he found the winner's circle three times to reach the milestone. Wrenn collected win 9,998 with Skyway Jewel in race three and win 9,999 in the very next race behind Mr Gorgeous for trainer Larry King. Win number 10,000 came as Wrenn steered Blue Power to a gate to wire maiden breaking victory for trainer Ron Otto. Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager, Rick Moore, along with Wrenn's family and friends, were in the winner's circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment. "What an accomplishment," Moore noted. "On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Centaur Gaming, I would like to congratulate Peter on this monumental milestone. He now joins elite harness racing company and we are honored to have Peter as part of the driving colony at Hoosier Park." The Michigan native recorded his first win in 1978 and by the mid-1990s was winning driving titles all over the country. Wrenn has competed in nearly every major race to date and included in his impressive array of major stakes wins are two prestigious Breeders Crown wins and a victory in the Jugette with Paige Nicole Q. Wrenn won a career-high 634 races in 2007 and has surpassed the $2 million mark in purse earnings seven out of the last ten seasons. "First and foremost, I would like to thank all the owners and trainers that have given me the opportunity to drive so many great horses over the years," Wrenn noted after the victory. "I've been very fortunate throughout my career and I've had a lot of fun doing it." "I didn't feel very confident coming into tonight," he continued. "But, the horses showed up and we got lucky. I am really glad my family was able to be here tonight and to have that one under my belt." For the year, Wrenn has won 62 races with 36 of those victories coming at Hoosier Park, which lands him eighth in the leading driver standings at Hoosier Park for the 2018 season. Wrenn and his wife, Melanie, have three children, Tyler, Billy, and Courtney. The Wrenns relocated to Indiana in 2009 and have a successful training operation based out of Central Indiana. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Wednesday, June 20 with a 13-race card. With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 10. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park

WILKES-BARRE PA - Here are the fields for Saturday's elimination races to determine the various Championship finalists on June 30's $2,000,000 Sun Stakes Saturday supercard at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Listed are the post position, horse, trainer, driver (in italics if changed at scratch time today), and the morning line odds. The elimination purses are: $35,000 for the Franklin, $25,000 for the Beal and Hempt, and $20,000 for the Lynch. The Championships are $500,000 for the Franklin, Beal, and Hempt, and $300,000 for the Lynch. The top three from each of the three eliminations will return for their Championships except for the Lynch - it has only two eliminations, so the first four and the faster fifth-place horse will come back for the big money. BEAL TROT (3YO OPEN) BEAL ELIMINATION RACE 3 - 1, Patent Leather, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick, 5-2; 2, Tito, Erv Miller, Marcus Miller, 8-1; 3, Lawmaker, Andrew Harris, Anthony MacDonald, 6-1; 4, Mission Accepted, Jeff Conger, Ryan Stahl, 3-1; 5, Winning Shadow, Jake Huff, David Miller, 12-1; 6, Whats The Word, Rene Allard, Simon Allard, 7-2; 7, Voss Volo, John Butenschoen, Corey Callahan, 9-2. BEAL ELIMINATION RACE 5 - 1, Missle Hill, Tony Alagna, Doug McNair, 5-1; 2, Moosonee, Chris Beaver, Aaron Merriman, 7-2; 3, Evaluate, Marcus Melander, Tim Tetrick, 3-1; 4, Rich And Miserable, Todd Buter, Tyler Buter, 10-1; 5, Fashionwoodchopper, Jim Campbell, David Miller, 6-1; 6, Six Pack, trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt, 2-1; 7, Scirocco Rob, John Butenschoen, Corey Callahan, 12-1. BEAM ELIMINATION RACE 11 - 1, Alarm Detector, Benoit Baillargeon, Trevor Henry, 3-1; 2, Gemologist; trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt, 15-1; 3, Crystal Fashion, Jim Campbell, Tim Tetrick, 4-1; 4, Mississippi Storm, Tom Fanning, David Miller, 12-1; 5, Manchego, Jimmy Takter, Yannick Gingras, 2-1; 6, Fashion Forever, Jim Campbell, Corey Callahan, 10-1; 7, Fiftydallarbill, Bill Crone, Brett Miller, 8-1; 8, Fourth Dimension, Marcus Melander, Brian Sears, 5-1. FRANKLIN PACE (FFA) FRANKLIN ELIM RACE 2 - 1, Easy Lover Hanover, Ben Wallace, Doug McNair, 8-1; 2, Check Six, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras, 9-2; 3, Missile J, Scott Di Domenico, Matt Kakaley, 6-1; 4, Heaven Rocks A, Ross Croghan, David Miller, 5-2; 5, Western Fame, Jimmy Takter, Andrew McCarthy, 3-1; 6, Split The House, Chris Oakes, George Napolitano Jr., 7-2; 7, Donttellmeagain, Jim King Jr., Tim Tetrick, 12-1. FRANKLIN ELIM RACE 4 - 1, Rockin Ron, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley, 5-2; 2, Scott Rocks, Hunter Oakes, George Napolitano Jr., 7-2; 3, Waikiki Beach A, Ross Croghan, Scott Zeron, 6-1; 4, McWicked, Casey Coleman, Brian Sears, 2-1; 5, Mach It So, Jeff Bamond Jr., Tim Tetrick, 5-1; 6, Mac's Jackpot, Jeffrey Smith, Brett Miller, 10-1. FRANKLIN RACE 10 - 1, Sintra, David Menary, Jody Jamieson, 3-1; 2, Boogie Shuffle, Mark Harder, David Miller, 8-1; 3, Christen Me N, Jim King Jr., Tim Tetrick, 12-1; 4, All Bets Off, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley, 7-2; 5, Dealt A Winner, Mark Silva, Brett Miller, 9-2; 6, Filibuster Hanover, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras, 5-2; 7, Funknwaffles, John Butenschoen, Corey Callahan, 6-1. HEMPT PACE (3YO COLTS) HEMPT ELIM RACE 6 - 1, This Is The Plan, Chris Ryder, Tim Tetrick, 5-1; 2, Daddyofemall, Dan Altmeyer, Mike Wilder, 12-1; 3, Cinnamack, Brian Brown, Scott Zeron, 4-1; 4, Keystone Tenacious, Paul Kelley, Mark MacDonald, 6-1; 5, Dorsoduro Hanover, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley, 5-2; 6, Springsteen, Rene Allard, Simon Allard, 3-1; 7, Stendahl Hanover, Eddie Sager, Marcus Miller, 20-1; 8, Decoy, Jimmy Takter, David Miller, 10-1; 9, Closing Statement, Joe Holloway, Brian Sears, 15-1. HEMPT ELIM RACE 9 - 1, Whos Better, Brian Brown, Tim Tetrick, 15-1; 2, Sometimesawinner, Rene Allard, Simon Allard, 10-1; 3, Shnitzledosomethin, Dylan Davis, David Miller, 6-1; 4, Hitman Hill, Chris Oakes, Brett Miller, 3-1; 5, I'm A Big Deal, Chris Ryder, George Napolitano Jr., 4-1; 6, Points North, Nifty Norman, Andrew McCarthy, 9-2; 7, Grand Teton, Jimmy Takter, Scott Zeron, 12-1; 8, Stay Hungry, Tony Alagna, Doug McNair, 5-2. HEMPT ELIM RACE 12 - 1, Rock Lights, Katricia Adams, George Napolitano Jr., 15-1; 2, Babes Dig Me, Tony Alagna, Brett Miller, 12-1; 3, Heavenly Sound, Bruce Saunders, Andrew McCarthy. 10-1; 4, Nutcracker Sweet, Jimmy Takter, David Miller, 8-1; 5, Wes Delight, Mark Harder, Corey Callahan, 4-1; 6. Done Well, Brian Brown, Tim Tetrick, 3-1; 7, Lather Up, Clyde Francis, Montrell Teague, 2-1; 8, Courtly Choice, Blake MacIntosh, Mark MacDonald, 5-1. LYNCH PACE (3YO FILLIES) LYNCH ELIM RACE 7 - 1, Carlo's Superstar, Rene Allard, Simon Allard, 12-1; 2, Youaremycandygirl, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras, 5-2; 3, Alexa's Power, Jim Campbell, Tim Tetrick, 3-1; 4, Double A Mint, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley, 9-2; 5, Hypnotic Tale, Linda Toscano, David Miller, 4-1; 6, Pass Line Bluechip, Wayne Givens, Montrell Teague, 6-1; 7, Majorsspeciallady, Ron Burke, Brett Miller, 10-1; 8, Ideal Talker, Noel Daley, Andrew McCarthy, 15-1. LYNCH ELIM RACE 8 - 1, Python Blue Chip, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras, 10-1; 2, I'm Trigger Happy, Tony Osullivan, David Miller, 9-2; 3, Kissin In The Sand, Nancy Johansson, Scott Zeron, 5-2; 4, Solitary, Nick Surick, Marcus Miller, 12-1; 5, Cuts Like A Knife, Bruce Saunders, Tim Tetrick, 15-1; 6, Sansovia Hanover, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley, 6-1; 7, Serene Stride, Mark Harder, Corey Callahan, 4-1; 8, Sidewalk Dancer, Chris Oakes, Brett Miller, 3-1. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

Star pacer Ohoka Punter still has the glint in his eye. The multiple feature race winner made a stylish debut for his new connections at Albion Park this afternoon (Tuesday) winning his 1660m trial with relative ease. Recently purchased by leviathan couple Kevin and Kay Seymour and placed in the care of leading horseman Grant Dixon, the rising nine-year-old entire led throughout in his public workout defeating Hughie Green and Lucifers Legend in a time of 1:55.7. The mile was covered in 28.3, 29.9, 30.2 and 27.4 seconds. It was his first public outing since finishing second behind his former stablemate Chicago Bull in the Gr.2 $50,000 Governor’s Cup at Gloucester Park on February 23. The millionaire pacer is winless to date this season from 16 starts. “I’m really happy with that effort; he felt really good and ran through the line strongly. It’s a good start point for this campaign and hopefully we can build on that.” Dixon said. And the Racing Queensland winter carnival is the immediate focus and a tilt at winning the main event, the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 21 is again a distinct possibility. Ohoka Punter won the event two years ago (2016) when prepared by young Nathan Purdon, son of Mark. The Gr.2 $50,540 Garrards Sunshine Sprint on July 14 is another key target. As it stands, the Sunshine State is lacking a genuine open class star and Ohoka Punter could easily fill the void if he remains fit and healthy while a plethora of interstate talent is on the way to plunder the riches. Connections of both My Field Marshal and Soho Tribeca are keen on the Albion Park features. The Seymour couple purchased Ohoka Punter as a dual threat, a racing and breeding proposition. As soon as his racing days are completed, he will stand at their Egmont Park Stud property on the Darling Downs of Toowoomba alongside the likes of Mr Feelgood, Hurrikane Kingcole and Gotta Go Cullect. Chris Barsby

Not many male pacers have won Dan Patch awards at ages 2 or 3 and returned to capture another trophy against older horses. The list since 1990 features Artsplace, Jenna's Beach Boy, Gallo Blue Chip, Art Major, and Sweet Lou. All with the exception of Sweet Lou were 4-year-olds when they received their honor as an older horse; Sweet Lou was 5. McWicked, who earned a Dan Patch Award at age 3 in 2014, is hoping to add his name to the list -- at the age of 7. And trainer Casie Coleman says the stallion has never been better. "To see him still going, and going as hard as he is, is awesome; normally right now they're getting a little tired and tailing off," Coleman said. "I honestly think this horse seems stronger than he's ever been yet, which I don't even know how is possible, but he seems like a stronger horse right now." The winner of two of four races this year, McWicked on Saturday heads to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the eliminations of the Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers. McWicked is in the second of three eliminations on the card, which also features eliminations for the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. McWicked is coming off a second-place finish to Sintra in the Gold Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park. McWicked got away eighth, 16 lengths off the lead at the quarter-mile point, before pacing his final three-quarters of a mile in 1:18.4 to rally for the runner-up spot. "It was insane the back half he had, but he was just too far back," Coleman said. "He couldn't have raced any better, he was just far out of the race. "Every time we've put him on the track he's raced great." McWicked, owned by Ed James' S S G Stables, won 12 of 23 races at age 3 including the Breeders Crown, Hempt Memorial, Adios, and Progress Pace on his way to $1.47 million in purses. He hit the board a total of 21 times that season and got checks in the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, Messenger, Milstein Memorial, and Matron. He was winless in a combined 14 races at ages 4 and 5 because of breathing issues and multiple throat surgeries, but bounced back last year with seven victories in 27 races and $560,025. McWicked finished the campaign with four consecutive second-place finishes, including the TVG Series championship, Breeders Crown and Allerage Farms Open Pace and might have been in the mix for his second Dan Patch Award with a win or two in any of them. "He kept being the bridesmaid," Coleman said. "He just had a lot of bad luck with traffic. He was pacing harder than any of them at the wire, he just had some bad luck. But saying that, the horse has made over $2 million, so I guess you can't say it's too bad of luck." For his career, the son of McArdle-Western Sahara has won 24 of 78 starts and $2.37 million. "It's not often that he's off the board," Coleman said. "He usually gives you all he's got and he's usually right there. He's had a lot of first-over journeys where he still gets the job done. He can take any trip you give him. "He's staked in everything all summer long. As long as he's sound and healthy he'll be in all the events and hopefully he can win a couple of them." Coleman credited an offseason layoff in Kentucky, the work of trainer Jim McDonald in preparing McWicked in Florida, and the decision to bypass the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series in March/April as reasons for her horse's early-season success. "Hopefully it pays off for us," Coleman said. "He's been sharp, sound, and healthy. We just hope for a little bit of luck on the weekend." For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Hightstown, NJ --- North America Cup champion Lather Up surged to No. 2 in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, but was unable to overtake Hannelore Hanover in the top spot. Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada, increased her points (plus-13) and first-place votes (plus-6) thanks to her third consecutive Armbro Flight Stakes victory last weekend. Lather Up, undefeated in six races this year, added 117 points and received four first-place votes. He was ranked No. 5 last week. Roses Are Red winner Shartin N gained 49 points this week, despite dropping her lone first-place vote from a week ago, and remained No. 3 in the rankings. Filibuster Hanover, who was idle, dropped 61 points and slipped from second to fourth while idle Atlanta rounded out the top five. Goodtimes Stakes winner Wolfgang added 93 points this week to join the Top 10, at No. 7. He was the only newcomer to the Top 10. Rockin Ron dropped from the group. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 4 – 6/19/2018 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Hannelore Hanover (30) 6tm 4-4-0-0 $208,338 338 1 2 Lather Up (4) 3pc 6-6-0-0 $458,165 297 5 3 Shartin N 5pm 14-11-1-0 $560,923 269 3 4 Filibuster Hanover (1) 4pg 5-5-0-0 $202,225 224 2 5 Atlanta 3tf 3-3-0-0 $127,284 191 4 6 Manchego 3tf 2-2-0-0 $43,240 143 6 7 Wolfgang 3tc 2-2-0-0 $112,630 96 -- 8 Bit Of A Legend N 9ph 9-3-4-1 $330,775 89 7 9 Will Take Charge 5tg 12-6-3-1 $205,268 52 8 10 Keystone Velocity 10ph 6-2-2-0 $320,000 49 9 Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

WILKES-BARRE PA - The elimination races for the $2,000,000 Sun Stakes Saturday supercard at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono have been drawn. The elimination races will be conducted this Saturday (June 23), with those advancing to the Championships going for the big money on Saturday, June 30. A tremendous amount of subplots already suggest themselves from the elimination draws: the undefeated filly Manchego taking on the boys in the Beal Trot; arguably the three best colts drawing posts 6-7-8 in the same elimination of the Hempt Pace; Filibuster Hanover again testing older stock as he looks to keep his seasonal tally unbeaten in the Franklin Pace. Here is a brief preview of the four major races, with a listing of the field containing horse, post position, trainer, and probable driver at the end of each section. EARL BEAL 3YO OPEN TROT (this Saturday $25,000 eliminations in races 3, 5, 11; top three advance to June 30's $500,000 Championship) Manchego, perfect in 14 starts thus far in her career, with both her starts in 2018 winning ones at Pocono, will test the boys in this important stepping stone towards the Hambletonian and the rest of the sophomore riches. Manchego has done well in the barrier draw, getting post five, by far the winningest starting slot at Pocono, for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras. (It was that team that tried the filly Ariana G in the Beal last year, and she gave a great race but wound up third over an off track in the Championship.) Manchego will have to face champion colts at two from both sides of the border, and here the gate, in this race 11 elim: Alarm Detector, 7 for 9 last year and coming off a third in the Goodtimes Final for trainer Benoit Baillargeon and driver Trevor Henry. He has the inside post; stuck with the outside post eight is Fourth Dimension (trainer Marcus Melander, driver Brian Sears), 8 for 11 in 2017 and second in his recent seasonal bow. New York star Six Pack, undefeated in three seasonal outings including the Empire Breeders Classic final, will go in race 5 from post six in a field of seven for trainer/driver Ã…ke Svanstedt. Two top Pennsylvania horses going against him are Moosonee (post two, trainer Chris Beaver, driver Aaron Merriman), a double stakes winner this year, and Fashionwoodchopper (post five, trainer Jim Campbell, driver David Miller), the 2017 Sire Stakes Champion. The Beal action starts from race 3, with Patent Leather (post one, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick) back on the track after winning a Pennsylvania All-Stars race in 1:52.3 yesterday (Sunday), just six nights before the Beal elims. Sire Stakes winners in Ohio (Mission Accepted, post four, trainer Jeff Conger, driver Ryan Stahl) and New York (Voss Volo, post seven, trainer John Butenschoen, driver Corey Callahan) certainly figure as contenders. BEAL ELIMINATION RACE 3 - 1, Patent Leather, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick; 2, Tito, Erv Miller, Marcus Miller; 3, Lawmaker, Andrew Harris, Anthony MacDonald; 4, Mission Accepted, Jeff Conger, Ryan Stahl; 5, Winning Shadow, Jake Huff, Corey Callahan; 6, Whats The Word, trainer Rene Allard, Callahan also listed; 7, Voss Volo, John Butenschoen, Callahan also listed. (A release with late driver changes and morning line odds will be sent out Tuesday afternoon.) BEAL ELIMINATION RACE 5 - 1, Missle Hill, Tony Alagna, Doug McNair; 2, Moosonee, Chris Beaver, Aaron Merriman; 3, Evaluate, Marcus Melander, Tim Tetrick; 4, Rich And Miserable, Todd Buter, Tyler Buter; 5, Fashionwoodchopper, Jim Campbell, David Miller; 6, Six Pack, trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt; 7, Scirocco Rob, John Butenschoen, Corey Callahan. BEAM ELIMINATION RACE 11 - 1, Alarm Detector, Benoit Baillargeon, Trevor Henry; 2, Gemologist; trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt; 3, Crystal Fashion, Jim Campbell, Tim Tetrick; 4, Mississippi Storm, Tom Fanning, David Miller; 5, Manchego, Jimmy Takter, Yannick Gingras; 6, Fashion Forever, Jim Campbell, Corey Callahan; 7, Fiftydallarbill, Bill Crone, Trace Tetrick; 8, Fourth Dimension, Marcus Melander, Brian Sears. MAX C. HEMPT 3YO COLT PACE (this Saturday $25,000 eliminations in races 6, 9, 12; top three advance to June 30's $500,000 Championship) The racing gods left no margin for error in the 12th race elimination of the Hempt. Only the top three horses in the eight-horse elim will advance, and the threesome many would rate as the top trio in the land drew the three outermost slots: Done Well (post six, trainer Brian Brown, driver Tim Tetrick), Lather Up (post seven, trainer Clyde Francis, driver Montrell Teague), and Courtly Choice (post eight, trainer Blake MacIntosh, driver Mark MacDonald). Lather Up, a perfect 6-for-6 this year, will likely emerge as the chalk off his easy win last Saturday in the North America Cup final; a win might not come so easily in this collection. In the race six elim, New York Sire Stakes winners Keystone Tenacious (post four, trainer Paul Kelley, driver Mark MacDonald) and Springsteen (post six, trainer Rene Allard, driver David Miller) will be challenged by fast Ohio Sires winner Cinnamack (post three, trainer Brian Brown, David Miller also listed) and Dorsoduro Hanover (post seven, five, trainer Ron Burke, driver Matt Kakaley), who was the early leader pro tem in this division until getting a horrible trip in his NA Cup elim and not making the final. Race nine sees Stay Hungry trying to rebound from a fourth-place finish in the NA Cup Final after getting a golden second-over trip. To come back to winning ways, he'll have to overcome the outside post eight for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Doug McNair, along with foes such as I'm A Big Deal (post five, trainer Chris Ryder, driver George Napolitano Jr.), an impressive Sire Stakes winner here a couple of starts back. HEMPT ELIM RACE 6 - 1, This Is The Plan, Chris Ryder, Tim Tetrick; 2, Daddyofemall, Dan Altmeyer, Mike Wilder; 3, Cinnamack, Brian Brown, David Miller; 4, Keystone Tenacious, Paul Kelley, Mark MacDonald; 5, Dorsoduro Hanover, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 6, Springsteen, Rene Allard, David Miller also listed; 7, Stendahl Hanover, Eddie Sager, Marcus Miller; 8, Decoy, Jimmy Takter, David Miller also listed; 9, Closing Statement, Joe Holloway, Brian Sears. HEMPT ELIM RACE 9 - 1, Whos Better, Brian Brown, Tim Tetrick; 2, Sometimesawinner, Rene Allard, Simon Allard; 3, Shnitzledosomethin, Dylan Davis, David Miller; 4, Hitman Hill, Chris Oakes, Brett Miller; 5, I'm A Big Deal, Chris Ryder, George Napolitano Jr.; 6, Points North, Nifty Norman, Andrew McCarthy; 7, Grand Teton, Jimmy Takter, Scott Zeron; 8, Stay Hungry, Tony Alagna, Doug McNair. HEMPT ELIM RACE 12 - 1, Rock Lights, Katricia Adams, George Napolitano Jr.; 2, Babes Dig Me, Tony Alagna, Brett Miller; 3, Heavenly Sound, Bruce Saunders, Andrew McCarthy; 4, Nutcracker Sweet, Jimmy Takter, David Miller; 5, Wes Delight, Mark Harder, Corey Callahan; 6. Done Well, Brian Brown, Tim Tetrick; 7, Lather Up, Clyde Francis, Montrell Teague; 8, Courtly Choice, Blake MacIntosh, Mark MacDonald. BEN FRANKLIN FFA PACE (this Saturday $35,000 eliminations in races 2, 4, 10; top three advance to June 30's $500,000 Championship) Filibuster Hanover, who has handled the often-difficult stepup from age three to age four quite well so far, will try to run his seasonal undefeated string to six as he starts from post six in the 10th race Franklin elim for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Filibuster has already shown he could handle older company with a win in the Commodore Barry Pace at Philly at the end of May. Sure to attract support is Sintra (post one, trainer David Menary, driver Jody Jamieson) off a 1:48 victory in the Mohawk Gold Cup last week. The horse who finished second to Sintra, McWicked, just might be the most intriguing horse in all of these Franklin elims. Last week he was sixteen lengths out at the quarter, yet rallied to be beaten only 2 3/4 lengths, which calculates to a last 3/4s in 1:18.4 - and three-wide on the far turn! The career winner of more than $2M starts from post four for trainer Casey Coleman and driver Brian Sears in the race 4 elimination. Heaven Rocks A, a champion in Australasia who was second to Filibuster Hanover in the Commodore Barry and then came back to win in 1:50 at Philly, may be getting better and better with each start; in his race 2 elimination, he'll try to sustain his improvement from post four for trainer Ross Croghan and driver David Miller. Western Fame (post five, trainer Jimmy Takter, driver Andrew McCarthy) will draw respect off a 1:49.1 - 26.1 win last week at The Meadowlands. FRANKLIN ELIM RACE 2 - 1, Easy Lover Hanover, Ben Wallace, driver TBA; 2, Check Six, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 3, Missile J, Scott Di Domenico, Tim Tetrick; 4, Heaven Rocks A, Ross Croghan, David Miller; 5, Western Fame, Jimmy Takter, Andrew McCarthy; 6, Split The House, Chris Oakes, George Napolitano Jr.; 7, Donttellmeagain, Jim King Jr., Tim Tetrick also listed. FRANKLIN ELIM RACE 4 - 1, Rockin Ron, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 2, Scott Rocks, Hunter Oakes, George Napolitano Jr.; 3, Waikiki Beach A, Ross Croghan, Scott Zeron; 4, McWicked, Casey Coleman, Brian Sears; 5, Mach It So, Jeff Bamond Jr., Tim Tetrick; 6, Mac's Jackpot, Jeffrey Smith, Andy Miller. FRANKLIN RACE 10 - 1, Sintra, David Menary, Jody Jamieson; 2, Boogie Shuffle, Mark Harder, David Miller; 3, Christen Me N, Jim King Jr., Tim Tetrick; 4, All Bets Off, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 5, Dealt A Winner, Mark Silva, Brett Miller; 6, Filibuster Hanover, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 7, Funknwaffles, John Butenschoen, Corey Callahan. JAMES LYNCH 3YO FILLY PACE (this Saturday $20,000 eliminations in races 7 and 8; top four and the faster fifth-place finisher advance to June 30's $300,000 Championship) The main question to be asked ahead of the Lynch is "Which Youaremycandygirl will show up this week?" The one who won 9 of 11 at two and was divisional champion, or the one who has won only one of three seasonal starts? Trainer Ron Burke has been diligently working to get the most successful answer to that question, as the filly starts in the race 7 elimination from post two for driver Yannick Gingras. Lismore champion Alexa's Power (post three, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick) and New Jersey Sires final winner Hypnotic Tale (post five, trainer Linda Toscano, driver David Miller) will be among the many seeking out the answer to that puzzle. In the race 8 elim, Kissin In The Sand (post three, trainer Nancy Johansson, driver Scott Zeron) may become the public's choice after a very good second in the Fan Hanover final last Saturday. Two of Pennsylvania's best had the misfortune to draw outside posts in the eight-horse field: Serene Stride (post seven, trainer Mark Harder, driver Tony Hall) and Sidewalk Dancer (post eight, trainer Chris Oakes, driver Brett Miller. LYNCH ELIM RACE 7 - 1, Carlo's Superstar, Rene Allard, Simon Allard; 2, Youaremycandygirl, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 3, Alexa's Power, Jim Campbell, Tim Tetrick; 4, Double A Mint, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 5, Hypnotic Tale, Linda Toscano, David Miller; 6, Pass Line Bluechip, Wayne Givens, driver TBA; 7, Majorsspeciallady, Ron Burke, Brett Miller; 8, Ideal Talker, Noel Daley, Andrew McCarthy. LYNCH ELIM RACE 8 - 1, Python Blue Chip, Ron Burke, Yannick Gingras; 2, I'm Trigger Happy, Tony Osullivan, David Miller; 3, Kissin In The Sand, Nancy Johansson, Scott Zeron; 4, Solitary, Nick Surick, Tim Tetrick; 5, Cuts Like A Knife, Bruce Saunders, Tim Tetrick also listed; 6, Sansovia Hanover, Ron Burke, Matt Kakaley; 7, Serene Stride, Mark Harder, Tony Hall; 8, Sidewalk Dancer, Chris Oakes, Brett Miller. One final note - you won't want to miss the first race, a $30,000 open pace in the Great Northeast Open Series, with two $2M+ winners: Bettors Edge (post one, trainer Jennifer Lappe, driver Scott Zeron), and another Takterite taking on "the boys," Pure Country (post three, driver Yannick Gingras). Add Rockeyed Optimist, Rodeo Romeo and others to the mix, and you have a field with 151 lifetime wins and a combined bankroll of $6.3M, with an average mark of 1:48.4. This curtainraiser at Pocono on Saturday is slated for 7 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs                

Australians are increasingly using mobile phones to place bets - but fewer are taking a punt, according to a study by Australian research company Roy Morgan. Some 3.4 million Australians bet on a sporting event, horse racing, harness racing (trots), greyhound racing or some other event in the 12 months ending in March 2018, Roy Morgan said in figures released on Monday. That figure was down from more than 3.7 million Australians six years ago.  More than one-third of Australians (34.1%), make their bet using the Internet compared to 15.7% six years ago. Tabcorp Holdings was used by 17.4% of bettors, while Sportsbet.com.au was second with 12.9% of users. Crownbet had 6.5% of users. While fewer Australians are gambling, those who do place a bet are using their mobile devices more often. "The growth is clearly being driven by the increasing use of mobile phones to place bets," Roy Morgan said, adding that 22.7% use their mobile phone now compared to 5.6% in 2012.  Most bets are not placed online, however. “A majority of Australians who bet still don’t bet via the Internet. Over two-fifths of Australians who bet have not used the Internet to place a bet and these are the key market companies offering online betting need to target to grow their revenue," Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, said in a statement after the results were released. The Australian market has significantly changed over the years.  Tabcorp merged with Tatts Group in late 2017, Sportsbet was bought by the Irish Paddy Power Betfair, and 80% of Crownbet was acquired by the Canadian gaming company, the Stars Group, in March.  By Nicole Gheller Reprinted with permission of The Gambling Insider 

WILKES-BARRE PA - Three-year-old colt trotters who may have been eyeing the Earl Beal Trot, with its $500,000 final on Saturday, June 30, had their final pretest six days before the harness racing eliminations, as they contested three $30,000 divisions of their Pennsylvania All-Stars event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Patent Leather came a long way uncovered from midpack, collaring pacesetting (27, 55.4, 1:24.2) favorite Whats The Word in midstretch and drawing away to a 2¼-length victory in a personal best of 1:52.3. The Broadway Hall colt, driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC, indicated his fitness for meeting the best of his division with a very strong victory, raising his bankroll to $117,271. The Cantab Hall gelding Haveitalltogether got all the "breaks" in posting a 1:53.4 victory. After Rich And Miserable got the top past the 27.3 and kept favored You Know You Do parked until that foe broke at the 56.1 half, Eric Carlson moved the Julie Miller-trained trotter out second-over behind his stablemate Max's Beast down the back, but they went back inside before the 1:24.2 3/4s. Around the far turn pocketsitting For A Dreamer lost his gait, allowing Haveitalltogether another life, and the winner of $106,680 took full advantage, catching the beleaguered Rich And Miserable by a neck. The Pinske Stables, the Andy Miller Stable, Kentuckiana Racing Stable, and Eddie Gran saw their sophomore run his 2018 tally to four wins in six starts. The third cut provided a three-way drive to the wire, with Lindy's Bang Bang taking the bang-bang-bang finish while lowering his mark over two seconds with a 1:52.2 victory. The Explosive Matter gelding yielded to Make It A Double and sat behind him through fractions of 27.1, 56, and 1:23.4, at the last station the pacesetter battling with first-over favorite Donatover and Crystal Fashion, who had picked an early 3-tuck, second-over. Donatover tired around the turn and Crystal Fashion quickly ducked in, and when Lindy's Bang Bang vacated the pocket, he had a chance up the Pocono Pike, but the winner was able to stave off Crystal Fashion by a nose, denying the Jim Campbell stable a double; just a half-length back in third was Make It A Double, who was trying to make it a double for Team Orange Crush. But Lindy's Bang Bang got the nod, making the Nifty Norman trainee's 2018 scorecard 5-for-7 and his lifetime earnings $153,108; driver David Miller also co-owns the winner with Melvin Hartman and David Mc Duffee. There was also a $30,000 division of the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters on the Sunday card, and in it George Napolitano Jr. was in constant motion through most of the mile as his drive, Homicide Hunter, held off the 2016 Trotter of the Year, Marion Marauder, by a neck in 1:52.2. Those two had been among those battling for the lead in early numbers of 27 and 55.3 before Homicide Hunter finally got control around the Marauder at the half, then turned back the first-over bid of Melady's Monet just past the 1:23.3 3/4s. In the Pocono Pike Marion Marauder launched a strong thrust and looked like he might catch the leader, but Homicide Hunter responded to "GNap"'s urging to preserve the victory. Homicide Hunter, an altered son of Mr Cantab, holds the world for 5/8-mile tracks for both four-year-olds (1:50.1, 2016, here) and older performers (1:50.3, last week, Scioto). He ran his career total to $1,240,907 while getting the nod in the hard-fought contest for trainer Chris Oakes and Crawford Farms Racing. George Napolitano Jr. had four wins on the Sunday night Pocono card after three in the afternoon at Philly, which came after winning eight times at Pocono on Saturday night, giving him 15 winners in 28 hours …   ...after guiding his 9000th career victory here on Monday night. PHHA / Pocono

The Father's Day Sunday (June 17) Harness Racing program at Running Aces got off to a soggy start, and saw a one and a half hour delay that forced the cancellation of race one. Heavy rains pelted the track surface on multiple occasions during the hour before scheduled post time, and forced the track maintenance crew to go into beast mode in order to facilitate the evening's racing program. A large holiday crowd waited patiently for the track to be restored to safe conditions, and once the racing began, the action did not disappoint. The first event of the night went to Scramble Camp ($2.40), who posted an impressive sweeping victory from the back of the pack to blast by his rivals in the lane and win by 4 lengths in 1:58.2 with driver Mooney Svendsen. The eye-opening win came in the $8,800 three-year old open trot, and Scramble Camp now remains undefeated in 4 starts in 2018. He is a gelding by Weight Lifter and is owned by Daniel and Jeralene Roland. As a testament to the hard work of the track crew, the 7 year old gelding pacer Prodigal ($8.20) posted an impressive 1:52.4 lifetime best victory in the third contest of the night, with driver James Yoder for owner/trainer Mark Anderson. That victory coming in a $6,800 conditioned event. The $20,000 Running Aces Featured Pace was the drawing card on the night, and it indeed drew a field of talented pacers. Hawk's Red Chief (Dean Magee) was the post time favorite at 8-5, fresh off a near miss by a neck in his last start. Second wagering choice Stevensville (5-2) fired fastest from the gate with Rick Magee to take an early lead from the other fast leaver Firedrake who was also (5-2). Nick Roland yielded with Firedrake to sit the pocket, while Stevensville posted the early fractions of 26.3 and 56.1. In the second half, Bestinthebusiness got rolling as driver James Yoder sent him first-over and on the attack, he grinded along-side the front runner Stevensville down the backstretch, and was able to stick a neck in front at three-quarters in 1:23.3. From there, the 10 year old gelding by Another Mile stayed ultra-game, fighting off strong late rallies from a pair of longshots to post a one length tally in 1:52.2 over To The Limit (Tim Brown) and Make It Big (Steve Wiseman), with Hawk's Red Chief and Firedrake completing the top 5. Bestinthebusiness ($14.00) is owned by Brett Boyd Racing, Inc. and trained by Gene Miller. The talented pacer has very impressive career numbers with 43 lifetime wins and 103 top 3 finishes, while bankrolling $410,330. Winning driver James Yoder completed a Hat-Trick on the program with the feature-race tally. Driver Lemoyne "Mooney" Svendsen also completed a Hat-Trick on the program. By Darin Gagne', Running Aces Track Announcer          

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today officially announced the return of the time-honoured Inter Dominion (ID) Trotting Championship.   The ID Trotting Championship was placed in a period of hiatus after the win of I Can Doosit at Tabcorp Park Melton in 2012, no longer forming part of the annual Inter Dominion carnival in following years in New South Wales and Western Australia.   However, the recent decision by Harness Racing Australia (HRA) to rescind a previous motion “preventing the use of the term and conduct of the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship” paved the way for the current Inter Dominion hosts – HRV, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) and Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) – to reinstate the ID Trotting Championship.   “It is a wonderful outcome for the trotting gait, to have the Trotting Inter Dominion reinistated alongside the pacers’ Inter Dominion,” HRV CEO David Martin said.   “There has been significant growth in trotting in recent years and the 2018 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale produced strong results.   “The Inter Dominion Trotting Championship has a rich history and has been won by some famous horses, including Sundons Gift, who went back-to-back at Moonee Valley in 2009 and 2010, Lyell Creek, Pride Of Petite, True Roman and Scotch Notch.   “We’re proud to announce the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship will feature as a key part of our ID18 line-up of races and we look forward to hosting the best trotters in Australasia as they target this illustrious series.”     Victorian Square Trotters Association (VSTA) President Nick Youngson celebrated the decision.   “The promotion of the squaregaiter through the Inter Dominion series has always been enormously important and the VSTA wishes to thank HRA and the Inter Dominion hosts HRV, HRNSW and HRNZ for this action,” Mr Youngson said.   “We can’t wait to see the best trotters vying it out for the Inter Dominion trophy at Ballarat, Cranbourne and Tabcorp Park Melton later this year.”     CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA

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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- A pair of 2-year-old filly pacers started their harness racing careers off in fine fashion on Wednesday night (June 20) by winning their respective $52,500 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes at Buffalo Raceway.   Brooklyn Lilacs began the evening with an impressive 4-1/2 length score over Apple Tina K in 1:57.1 while Meghan Lynn took the second leg with a 1-1/2 length victory over Ladybeluckytonite in 1:58.3.   Both wins by the freshmen fillies were well short of the Buffalo Raceway track record of 1:56.2 established in 2016 by Shes A Billionair.   While the Sire Stakes failed to produce a new standard, there was a new barrier established for the aged (5+) pacing mares as Sportsmuffler ($3.50) toured the Buffalo Raceway oval in 1:53.4, breaking the previous record of 1:54.1 set by Sarah Cola in 2017.   Brooklyn Lilacs ($2.90) started the card by cruising to the win for driver Jim Morrill Jr. After settling in second to the opening quarter pole, Brooklyn Lilacs was in command at the half and never looked back.   "I took it easy on her in the first turn," Morrill Jr. said of Brooklyn Lilacs. "She was kind of banging the bike around that first turn. But when I popped the plugs on her, she switched into another gear and was gone." Apple Tina K (Jody Jamieson) was second and Eos N Rock (Ray Fisher) was third.   Co-owned by Gerald Stuchbury and the Sombodythatiustono Stable and trained by Gareth Dowse, Brooklyn Lilacs (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sombodythatiustono) earned a win check for $26,250 in her debut.   It was safety first for driver Jason Bartlett as he guided Meghan Lynn to a $7.30 win in the second bracket.   "I played it safe with her in the beginning and let the race develop," Bartlett said.   Sitting third behind the pace-setting Ladybeluckytonite at the half, Meghan Lynn pulled to the outside and got the lead turning for home.   "I wanted to brush and clear to the lead at the five-eighths pole just like we did in her qualifier," Bartlett said of Meghan Lynn. "Once she got to the lead, I knew we weren't going to be beat."   Ladybeluckytonite (Drew Monti) took the place money with She's Da Boom (Jamieson) taking third.   Owned by the Crawford Racing Farms and conditioned by Chris Oakes, Meghan Lynn (American Ideal-Ladyotra) also earned a big payday of $26.260 in her first career try.   In the $15,000 Excelsior Stakes, Heavens Challenge ($6.00) took her leg in 1:59.1 for Morrill Jr. while Final Escape posted a $17.20 upset in 1:59.3 with Jamieson in the sulky.   Its Only Livie ($4.30) won the $6,700 Excelsior B event with a 2:00.1 for driver Shawn McDonough.   Sportsmuffler made her way into the record book with a 1:53.4 mile in the $10,000 Filly and Mare Open I-II pace. Sportsmuffler used a 27.4 final panel to help establish a new barrier, beating Hey Kobe by 2-1/4 lengths.   Owned by Rose Campbell and trained by Steve Kiblin, Sportsmuffler (Sportsmaster Whatifthere'smore) is a 6-year-old mare that has earned $26,053 in 2018 and $238,909 lifetime.   Racing will continue on Friday night at 5 p.m. with a 10-race card set.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com    by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  
HARRINGTON, DE - Round two of Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) eliminations for 3-year-old harness racing trotters wrapped up Wednesday at Harrington Raceway with one $20,000 division per sex. In the colts and geldings division, Leigh Raymer, Stephen Moss and Stacy Johnson-Stafford's Super Fly ($2.10, Art Stafford Jr.) continued his dominance in the DSBF ranks with a 1:59.2 victory over Sky Marshal and Bosston Cruiser. It was the 8th career win for the Super Punk gelding. In the filly division, Shirley Shand and Serendipity Stable's Star Sapphire ($13, Russell Foster) prevailed in 1:59.2 over Deja Vu Blue and Ms. Smash. The Anders Bluestone filly surged by the leader off a pocket trip for her sixth career win for trainer Tui Stone. In the $15,000 Open Trot, Bob Shahan, Jimmy Parsons Jr. and Ashley Parsons' I Like My Boss ($10, Allan Davis) prevailed over Theresademoninme and Murmur Hanover in 1:56.3. The Don Boss Vita 7-year-old gelding registered his 37th career victory for co-owner/trainer Bob Shahan. In the $10,000 Open II Handicap, Midsize Construction's Blownoutofthewater ($3.00, Tony Morgan) was a 1:55.4 winner over All Shoes On Deck and Royal Becca J. The Jenny Bier-trainee notched back-to-back wins. Driver Ross Wolfenden took both halves of the daily double with Bryan Truitt's Bobbies Powerplay ($12.60) and Rich Ashley, Mark Salerno and Brent Ashley's Scotch Sour ($2.20) who improved to 2-for-2 locally for trainer Joe Hunderptfund Jr. with a 1:56.2 triumph. Wolfenden and Art Stafford Jr. each had three wins on the program. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
CHESTER PA - Maching Me Zilly and Lifetime Trust slugged it out through the stretch of the $17,000 harness racing pacing feature for distaffs Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, and in the end the first-over Maching Me Zilly found the reserves to keep her rival at bay late in a lifetime best of 1:52.2. A daughter of Mach Three driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Scott Di Domenico, Maching Me Zilly came coverless off the second turn, with Lifetime Trust on her tail, and "Zilly" could not clear pacesetting Jaye's A Lady around the far turn, with Lifetime Trust tipping three-deep past midturn to launch her bid. But that bid would come up a neck short against the game winner, who is owned by John McGill, Brian Carsey, and the Triple D Stables Inc. The two-year-olds made their first pari-mutuel appearance at Harrah's for 2018; winning the contest for baby trotting fillies was Cardinale, a daughter of Cantab Hall - Mississippi Beauty, who made every pole a winning one in 1:59.1 as the chalk. Andy Miller, only nine wins away from 9000 career victories after visiting Victory Lane three times Wednesday, was in the sulky for trainer/wife Julie Miller; the Andy Miller Stable is co-owner with Willow Oak Ranch and O'Donnell Equine. Yannick Gingras also had a triple on the card, while Eric Carlson, Andrew McCarthy, and David Miller steered home a pair of winners. FINISHING LINES - The Great Northeast Open Series will gather together trotters and pacing mares on Sunday at Philly, each group competing for $30,000. The trot, an open event, is topped by a formidable pair of females, Ariana G and Broadway Donna, while the mares pace should see Blue Moon Stride and Agent Q getting their fair share of the betting attention. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia
When owner Gary Iles reflects on Lather Up's win in last week's Pepsi North America Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park, he cannot help but feel blessed. Iles and his wife Barbara watched their homebred colt overcome a number of obstacles and horses to reach the top of the 3-year-old pacing ranks with his win in the C$1 million race. "There is one horse a year that gets to do this," Iles said. "I'm 79 years old; I thought I was running out of time. Thank God it worked out and I had my opportunity and we succeeded. I'm humbled by it. I'm humbled by the whole thing. We're very fortunate. "There were 79 horses nominated (to the North America Cup) and 29 started and to think that out of that you end up being the best of the best. It's a wonderful situation. You have to be blessed." Montrell Teague drove Lather Up, the 3-5 favorite, to victory for trainer Clyde Francis and the George Teague Jr. training stable. Montrell Teague and Francis finished second with Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2-5 favorite, in the 2015 North America Cup. "It made me want it more since I lost it with Wiggles," the 27-year-old Teague said. "It's a million-dollar race, the first million-dollar race I ever won, so to be added to that list and add that to my accomplishments, it feels great." Added Francis, "We went up there with Wiggles and were the best going into the race, but anything can happen. It's horseracing. Going to the final (with Lather Up) I really thought we had a good shot at it. But I wasn't going to say anything before, just keep it to myself. When it was over, it was a great feeling." Iles, Teague and Francis all were happy with Lather Up's trip in the North America Cup, which saw him get to the front in a :26.3 opening quarter, yield the top spot briefly to Done Well, and retake the lead prior to reaching the half-mile point in :54.1. From there, Lather Up led to three-quarters in 1:21.3 before winning by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:48.1. "I got the trip that I didn't expect to get, but the trip that I wanted," Teague said. "I was happy when (Done Well) came and Montrell retook and no one else came," Iles said. "I thought we had a shot at it then because I know (Lather Up) has that good speed coming home. That's the way it worked out. I'm just amazed he has that kick at the end. But you don't take it for granted until he crosses that wire because a lot can happen." Said Francis, "When he moved him back to the front I thought he was in a good spot there because they were going to have to come after him. (At the top of the stretch) I was still pretty confident; Montrell hadn't urged him. When he popped the plugs, it was over. They weren't getting to him. Every start he raced, when they came off the turn and hit the lane he was ready to roll. Everything worked out well." All that remained was a trip to the winner's circle, where the Iles were joined by family and friends. "There were all those (camera) shutters going off and everyone saying, 'Look here, look here, look here.' It was quite amazing," Iles said. "It was a wonderful feeling. I was really thankful for the support we had. "More than that, the horse is down in history. That's something quite exciting." Lather Up will look to remain undefeated in 2018 Saturday when he competes in the third of three Max C. Hempt Memorial eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Lather Up, who is 6-for-6 this season, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in his elim, which also includes North America Cup runner-up Done Well. The top three finishers from each elimination advance to the $500,000 Hempt final on June 30 at Pocono. Saturday's card also features eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. "It's a tough field, a very tough field," Iles said about the Hempt. "I'm happy to be there. When you're doing this shipping, a lot of horses come down with some kind of sickness. Fortunately, it hasn't hit us. Hopefully, it doesn't hit anybody. But it's always a concern." "I think he will be all right," Francis said. "He's in with a bunch of the same horses he raced (last) Saturday night. He trained good today and came out of it well. We're just hoping for the best." Following the win in the North America Cup, Lather Up moved up to No. 2 in the sport's weekly rankings, trailing only 6-year-old female trotter Hannelore Hanover, the defending Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada. Lather Up was the only 3-year-old male pacer among the top 14 horses in the poll. "It's still early," Teague said. "Mine looks the most exciting so far, but any of them can step up at any time. That was the first big race, but there are plenty more. You never know who is going to step up. "But so far it's definitely fun. He's looking like the good horse we thought he was going to be. Even more." For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA
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