Day At The Track

CHESTER PA - The sensational Australian import None Bettor A goes for his ninth consecutive harness racing victory on Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia as the 9-5 morning line favorite in a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) contest for fast-class open pacers. None Bettor A, an altered son of Bettor's Delight trained by Jennifer Bongiorno for owners Joe P Racing LLC and Oldford Racing LLC, opened his U.S. account with a pair of good thirds, then has been untouchable since his win streak started on April 27. During that time, he has won his only two starts in the GNOS, and he equaled the all-time track record at Cleveland's Northfield Park with a 1:49 victory over the half-mile oval. Jen Bongiorno's brother Joe is to drive None Bettor A as the pair begins from post two in Sunday's seven-horse field. The last time the GNOS open pacers were at Philly, Keep On Rocking A and Our Max Phactor N were a nose apart at the wire, and they again figure to be in the thick of the action this Sunday. Keep On Rocking A, who closed from eighth at the stretch call to win that race, his second after a brief layoff, will begin from post four for trainer Chris Scicluna and driver Pat Berry, while Our Max Phactor N, who had to go first-over in that contest and almost hung on, will begin from post five for "Team Andrew" - trainer Andrew Harris and driver Andrew McCarthy. Also in the field are The Wall (PP1, trainer Nick Surick, driver George Napolitano Jr.), I'm A Big Deal (PP3, trainer Chris Ryder, driver Dexter Dunn), Decoy (PP6, trainer Gary Candell, driver Jimmy Takter), and Mister Ohanzee A (PP7, trainer Jim King Jr., driver Tim Tetrick). The GNOS contest is slated for the seventh race on Sunday's fourteen-race Philly card, which is scheduled to begin at 12:40 p.m.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono racetracks

The gallant veteran Swedishman (13m Gogo-Volgana-Myoto Barbes) took the Trophee Vert Suisse at Avenches, his 37th career harness racing victory in 106 starts.    Ten trotters were at the start in this 2750 meter autostart event for a total purse of 17,722€.   Patrica Felber trains and reined the million euro plus career winner for owner Carlo Pavone, as Swedishman won for the fourth time in five 2019 starts, He was off as the 4/5 favorite in this race.   The 2.7/1 Tabrouk de Payre (12g Meaulnes du Corta) took second with M.A. Bovay aboard and 26/1 Univaldi d’Aval (11g Vivaldi de Chenu) was third.   Thomas H. Hicks

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The Quebec Jockey Club is hosting a rare three-day weekend of harness racing at the Hippodrome 3R, featuring stakes and special events this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The weekend has been billed as a Festival of Racing. Breeders Cup For Trotters Friday The big weekend kicks off Friday evening with the opening round of the $470,000C Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies. There will be three weeks of preliminary action culminating with the top eight-point earners in the series returning on Sunday, September 8 for their respective $65,000C finals. The opening round features trotting fillies in the second race where rivals Cho Choo Blue (post 2) takes on Kinderunbelievable (post 8). The trotting colts are in action in race five as $141,000C career winner Only For Justice (post 1) and stablemate Clevisse (post 8) race as an entry for trainer Dany Fontaine and the Gaetan Bono Stable of Montreal, who bred and owners both horses. First race post time is 7:00 pm Quebec Regional Fair Saturday On Saturday, the Quebec Jockey Club hosts the Quebec Regional Fair which will feature a family fun day at the track with 13 races beginning at 1:00 pm. Special activities on Saturday for the race fans include drawings for rides in a two-seat sulky on the racetrack, rides in the starting gate, plus drawings for dining-room packages and betting vouchers. There will be a live horse on display at the entrance to the track for fans to take photos with and specially for the children there will be balloon sculptors and face painting, etc. And all the events are FREE for the patrons. On the racetrack will be many two-year-old trotters and pacers competing for the first time. There is also a unique half-mile race (10th) featuring top pacers Surf Report (post 6) and Allstar Seelster (post 1). Since there is no record of a half mile race at the Hippodrome 3R, the winner will automatically become the track record holder. In addition to the live racing, the track will also have a special Monte Race (racing under saddle) with trotters. There will be no wagering on the exhibition race that has a purse of $600C donated by Demers Excavation Company. $120,000C Quebec-Bred Series Finals Sunday The Quebec-Bred Series for older horses culminates on Sunday with four $30,000C final for the trotters and pacers plus the opening round of the $470,000C Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacers. There are two trotters and one pacer who could become the first ever to win four Quebec championships. They are Capteur De Reve, Maximuscle and Atomic Million AM. Capteur De Reve goes for his fourth straight title in the seventh trot final. Now age 5, the son of Muscle Mass will have a very tough task as he starts from the outside in post seven for driver Stephane Gendron. Last week he beat the odds-on favorite, Seeyou Men, who drew post one. Maximuscle goes from post three for driver Louis Philippe Roy in trying for his fourth straight title. Other contenders in the race include track record holder Wildwild Men (post 8) and Kinnder Dangerous (post 2). Then in the tenth race, Atomic Million AM heads the final for older pacing horses and starts from post five for driver Guy Gagnon. Undefeated at H3R this season, Atomic Million AM goes for his fifth straight win this year for trainer, owner and breeder, Alain Martin. Now age eight, the son of Million Dollar Cam boasts four wins in six starts this year, his fastest mile coming last week with a 1:54.1 triumph, the fastest mile at H3R this season. Other standouts in the race are Kinnder Jackson (post 3), HP Patriote (post 8) and Major Lou Beka (post 2). The mares do battles in the third race trot final headed by Eau Naturelle (post two) against Lucky Promesses and Kascara Rosa. The pacing mares go at it in race eight featuring YS Tallia (post 7) going for her fourth straight win, Lit De Rose (post 6), Lune Bleu (post 1) and All You Can Dream (post 5). The opening round of the Breeders Cup Series for the pacers takes place in races 2, 4, 9 and 11. Featured will be top colts and fillies Cooking Up The Speed (race 2), Ashleysbest (race 4) who goes for her fourth straight win, YS Sunshine (race 4), GA Speed Gaby (race 9), HP Napoleon, who comes to H3R off a 1:51 win at Woodbine and Bettor Now (race 11). First race post time Sunday is 1:00 pm. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Shortly after the first race, a thunderstorm descends on Arlington International Racecourse, just north of Chicago. An hour before post time, families toting coolers had streamed into the track, paying $10 apiece for admission, less for kids and extra to reserve spots alongside the final stretch, a football field or so from the finish line and safe distance from the tawdry business of gambling, without which no one would be here. It is Renaissance Faire Family Day, with pretend jousting, pony rides, a petting zoo and more, alongside a sold-out picnicking area where a staggering amount of sandwiches, potato chips and bottled water, with an occasional birthday cake, were unpacked an hour ago in preparation for a day at the races. Now, this. As clouds approach, folks repack and scurry to the grandstand, but a dozen or so make it no farther than a large tent where draft beer costs $7.50 and Bloody Marys come in plastic cups. Men in drenched suits and ties appear through the deluge, not running but certainly hustling, and throw canvas covers over electronic terminals that gobble money from bettors. The tent’s frame and guy wires and stakes are made from metal, which shrieks and grinds in the wind as parts rub against each other. No reach is spared rain – it’s not clear whether it is blowing in from the side open to the track, through a billowing roof or both. “It’s not safe,” a guy dressed security-guard in navy blazer and grey slacks tells us, advising that everyone flee, through the deluge, to sturdier shelter. He offers free plastic garbage bags that can be turned into ponchos. They charge 50 cents for a pencil if you lack means to take notes from the race program, which contains records of horses, records of jockeys, records of trainers, selling prices, pedigrees, times in recent workouts, etc. Two betting terminals remain uncovered and beckoning while flat screens show races from tracks elsewhere with sunny skies. There is a rumor of half-price beer. How bad can this be? I head to the bar, where Kurt Kresmery, who owns an Elgin property management firm, is nursing a Coors Light. What, I ask, is a guy like you doing in a place like this? He tells me a story. A few years ago, stumped for a Father’s Day gift, a friend who was into horse racing suggested that Kresmery buy his dad a share in a racehorse. Such so-called fractional ownership of horses spreads risk and has become common in a sport where upkeep is expensive and returns uncertain. Thoroughbreds created a point of connection between father and son, neither of whom had been race fans, that endured to the end. Even today, his father gone, Kresmery owns part of a horse that is racing this afternoon at Ellis Park in Kentucky. Before it happens, a horse race can generate endless speculation, with determined bettors considering such esoterics as heat and humidity to help guess how a horse will perform on any given day. The action lasts a minute or two, and it takes four hours to run a program. There is plenty of time for conversation, and Kresmery recalls his dad enjoying afternoons at the track and occasional forays to off-track-betting parlors to watch horses that were partly his. In hospice, Kresmery recalls, his dad held his hands as if grasping reins, trying to mimic a jockey’s bounce when his son told him about an upcoming race. “He died the next day,” Kresmery says. It’s not the sort of tale one hears in video gambling joints. An industry in crisis If video slots are the crack cocaine of gambling, horseracing is Geritol, and that’s part of the challenge facing horse racing as the fan base shrinks and ages. There are just seven races today at Arlington, three short of a traditional 10-race program. “Look at this,” Kresmery says, pointing to a stat sheet for the fifth race, which will be contested for an $11,500 purse. “It’s nothing. Our horse ran third in Kentucky a few weeks ago and we got $10,000.” Even that, Kresmery maintains, isn’t enough to break even, at least for long. Purses are the heart of racing, which, at its core, is all business. Arlington is the state’s premier track, where the grounds are spotless, landscaping is immaculate and neither shorts nor athletic shoes are allowed in the Million Room restaurant, the fanciest of nine eateries. In 1981, Arlington became the first thoroughbred track in the world to offer a $1 million purse. With Bill Shoemaker aboard, John Henry won the inaugural Arlington Million and was named Eclipse Horse of the Year. They still run the Arlington Million each August, but it is a rare bright spot. Purses elsewhere are lower and crowds smaller, with statewide attendance at tracks dwindling from 3.9 million in 1995 to less than 909,000 last year.   Unlike slot players, horse bettors can spend hours analyzing races before laying down bets.   Locally, the amount bet last year at Capitol Teletrack in Springfield, one of two dozen off-track betting sites in Illinois, was less than half what was wagered at a Lucy’s Place gambling parlor with five video machines a few blocks away on Wabash Avenue. Racing at the state fair also has declined. In 2018, a quarter-million dollars was wagered during four days of harness racing at the fair. In 1995, $1.3 million was bet on 82 races run over six days.  Downward trends are statewide and national. Since 1990, when more than $1.25 billion was wagered on horses in Illinois, the amount bet on horses, or handle in racing’s parlance, has fallen to $573.5 million, including bets placed outside the state by gamblers who can watch races across the land via simulcast broadcasts. In 2018, just 11 percent of money wagered in Illinois on horses ran their races in the Land of Lincoln. The state is down to three tracks, two fewer than in 2015, when a pair of Chicago-area harness tracks shut down. That same year, an East Moline track that last held a live race in 1993 gave up after years of simulcasts, ending resurrection hopes. “The horse racing industry in this state is about to fall and crumble and deteriorate and go away – that’s just how drastic it is,” state Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan told state senators during a budget hearing last spring. It’s an industry worth saving, Sullivan argued. Since 2000, the number of state-issued licenses for occupations ranging from grooms to owners has shrunk from 11,000 to 4,000, but still, Sullivan testified, horse racing generates $1 billion a year in economic activity, considering grooms, blacksmiths, feed stores, veterinarians and scores of other jobs. “The jobs generated by this industry, they’re very real,” Sullivan told legislators. “Anything you can do to help them would be appreciated.” Legislators and Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered with an expansion of gambling that includes sports betting at tracks and the potential for racecourses to become full-fledged casinos. There’s a provision for a new standardbred track, despite closures in recent years. Fairmount Park in Collinsville could have as many as 900 video gambling machines and seats at blackjack tables and other table games. Arlington and Hawthorne Racecourse, both in the Chicago area, could each have as many as 1,200 spots for gamblers to make bets on machines, cards or other table games. By comparison, no existing casino has 1,100 video gambling terminals, according to the most recent report from the Illinois Gaming Board, and 317 table games operate in the state’s 10 casinos, most of which are operating fewer gambling machines than authorized. Video gambling has not previously been allowed at tracks, where millions of dollars in wagers are accepted on nothing but horse races.   Gamblers at Fairmount Park line up to risk money.   A share of the take from casino-style gambling at tracks would go toward purses to help the state’s racing industry, but there is a string: Tracks with casinos can’t abandon horse racing and might have to increase the number of races in exchange for slot machines and casino games. The law requires 700 races annually at Fairmount Park if the track wants video gambling and table games; last year, the track’s season lasted 36 days, with many dates including fewer than 10 races, and so the number of races might double. Arlington and Hawthorne together would need 174 thoroughbred racing dates each year if both tracks got casino gambling; last year, the tracks combined had 125 thoroughbred dates. Harness racing tracks, where comparatively stocky standardbreds pull wheeled carts called bikes, would have to have 100 race dates each year, a threshold already met by Hawthorne, which last year held 105 harness racing dates. Minimum race date provisions can be waived by the Illinois Racing Board if horse owner associations agree, the law says, so long as the integrity of the sport isn’t affected. The board also could waive race-date minimums if there aren’t enough horses or if purse levels aren’t sufficient. All this gambling at tracks would come in addition to six new standalone casinos authorized by state legislators, more video gambling terminals in bars and restaurants and more video gambling and table games at existing casinos that now don't have all the tables and video gambling terminals previously authorized. The law also includes provisions for online sports gambling.  “It’s a lot of money” The new law is the talk of the backstretch at Hawthorne the day after the governor signs the bill. It is, folks say, salvation. “You can just feel the mood of the people around here,” says trainer Steve Searle, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather also trained horses. “We were about flat-lined. Seriously. It was as bad as it could get.” By definition, horses anchor the sport, but the number of Illinois-bred animals has plummeted, from nearly 4,500 foals born in 1985 to 300 last year. Lawmakers have adjusted by changing the definition of Illinois horses eligible to compete in races limited to animals born and bred here. A 2018 law made possible by artificial insemination removed a requirement that standardbreds in races limited to Illinois-conceived-and-foaled livestock must come from mares that were impregnated in Illinois and that gave birth within the state. “They got a little creative with the born and bred,” observes trainer Angie Coleman, who’s made her living with racehorses for seven years. Before that, she lived in downtown Chicago. She once sold cars and also has worked for a credit card company. The backstretch, she says, is a more welcoming environment for women than other places she’s worked where men were in charge. “I had those kinds of challenges when I had a real job, but not here,” she says. Plenty of kids – the track provides housing for workers and families – and women inhabit the backstretch. Drivers wear overalls, some in need of washing, instead of silks and are of normal shape and size. Weight doesn’t much matter in harness racing, where bikes bear the load. A three-legged black cat named Trifecta roams the barns. If folks who earn their livings from racehorses don’t care about animals, someone forgot to tell trainer Rob Rittof, who found the cat in a parking lot with a mangled paw and took it to a vet. “It’s a community back there,” says Jim Miller, Hawthorne publicist and race analyst. “You’d be surprised to see the school bus roll up every morning.”  It’s a grueling schedule. Races start at 7:30 p.m. and can last until midnight, but horses don’t sleep late and need to be brushed and fed and exercised and treated for any medical issues. The track provides the stage, backstretch folks put on the play. They don’t appear rich as they prep horses for races, water down ones fresh from the track and watch races unfold on 25-inch box televisions from an era before flat screens. “The labor side, the horse owners, need to have a chance to make money on it, or at least break even,” says David McCaffrey, executive director of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Racinos in Indiana, Kentucky and other states have sucked jobs directly from the Illinois horseracing industry, McCaffrey says. Last year, purses at Illinois racetracks totaled $34.5 million. Slots and casino games, McCaffrey figures, could boost purses by $20 million at each of the two Chicago-area tracks. “It’s a lot of money,” he says. “It’s going to be a terrific boon.”   Horse racing is a family affair at Arlington International Racecourse.   While hopes are high for more foals and bigger purses and more races, no one seems to know whether the expected surge of slots at tracks will create more horse bettors. Playing horses is as easy or difficult as you want to make it. While some go by names or odds alone, the serious horse player can spend hours studying racing forms, videos of past performances and weather forecasts. A horse might appear a dog, but wait a minute: He broke late from the starting gate and was bumped in his last race but still gained ground at the end, plus he’s got a new owner and trainer with a reputation for turning also-rans into contenders. Never worn blinkers before? Hmm. And he does better on a synthetic surface than natural dirt. You can hit the “play” button on a video gambling machine every few seconds, but racing runs on a more relaxed schedule, with starts every 30 minutes. Small-time bettors can spend an afternoon at the track and lose less than $50. “It’s a thought process, but that’s the beauty of it, by the way,” McCaffrey says. No one seems to know whether casinos at Illinois tracks will create horse bettors. In Ohio, the handle has gone down since the state legalized racinos to subsidize racing. The Buckeye State’s first racino opened in 2012. In 2014, $166.8 million was wagered at Ohio race tracks; last year, with seven racinos in full swing, the handle dropped to $150.8 million. Death hurts Past efforts to bolster racing in Illinois haven’t met with universal acclaim. “I was probably the only guy who was completely against simulcasting,” says Clark Fairley, a standardbred trainer at Hawthorne who remembers when tracks began broadcasting races from afar to increase betting pools and revenue, with off-track betting parlors opening so gamblers no longer needed to visit tracks like Sportsman’s Park. The Cicero venue closed in 2002, shortly after War Emblem won the Illinois Derby there, then captured the Kentucky Derby as an improbable 20-1 longshot. A TV screen can’t match live racing, Fairley says, and horse racing needs fans at tracks. While he doesn’t like simulcasts, Fairley is a fan of casinos at tracks, which he calls a game changer. “It’s a business for us,” Fairley says. “We need to make a living.” Image is to blame for part of horse racing’s woes, according to a 2011 report commissioned by The Jockey Club. Fewer than 25 percent of the public had a positive impression of horse racing, according to the report, and just 46 percent of fans who attended at least three races annually said they’d tell others to follow the sport. By contrast, 55 percent of poker players said they’d recommend the game to friends; more than 80 percent of football and baseball fans said they’d promote their preferred sport to other people. Attitudes are reflected in the handle, which peaked, nationally, in 2003. “Racing has a serious brand problem, a diluted product and insufficient distribution,” McKinsey and Co., the consulting firm that authored the study, reported. The 2011 nationwide study, which predicted that the amount wagered on horse racing would drop 25 percent by 2021, proved overly dire. Nationally, the handle has stabilized at slightly less than $11 billion wagered each year, according to a follow-up study by McKinsey that was released last year, with the number of races dropping but purses increasing. The best and biggest tracks have made progress, with the number of races and wagers increasing, but those gains have been offset by trouble at smaller venues, where handles have gone down and the number of races has dipped. The number of horses continues to drop, the consultant reported last year, resulting in an average field of 7.7 horses for races, not good from the perspective of fans who want more contestants. Myriad issues account for the sport’s shaky health. Bettors are disheartened by the rise of computers and near-instantaneous wagering – odds change depending on amounts bet, and when well-financed interests from who-knows-where throw big money at races less than a minute before post time, what seemed a shrewd call on a longshot can suddenly become an even-odds bet. Tracks, also, have caused consternation among the most loyal racing fans by taking, some might say skimming, from winners who don’t collect the full amount on successful bets. Instead, tracks take a percentage of winning wagers to help cover overhead, a proposition that goes over as well at a racetrack as it would at a video gambling parlor that paid out $1.90 when the ticket says you won $2. Animal welfare, long a concern, has mushroomed with tragedies at Santa Anita Park, a California track where 30 horses have died since December, prompting calls to ban racing. The Jockey Club says equine deaths, calculated on a per-thousand-start basis, have declined since 2009, when the organization began publishing racetrack death statistics. Reporting is voluntary, and while almost every track provides numbers to allow a national perspective, most tracks don’t allow the Jockey Club to publish statistics showing the number of deaths at their venues. Hawthorne, which allows the club to post statistics, stands out in the 2018 report, recording a higher death rate of thoroughbreds – the track hosts both thoroughbred and harness racing – than any track that voluntarily reports save Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Miller says the track allows The Jockey Club to publish details because transparency is important. “We understand that, if something does happen, if there’s an injury, a death, we want to look into it, we want to understand why and we don’t want to hide it,” he says. Thoroughbreds go down more frequently than standardbreds, and there have been no tragedies during the current harness racing season, Miller said. While numbers from the Illinois Racing Board, which regulates horse racing, show that Hawthorne has had more deaths per 1,000 starts than the state’s other two tracks in eight of the past 11 years, Miller says Hawthorne considers last year’s numbers an anomaly. Death hurts, McCaffrey says. Before becoming director of the thoroughbred horsemen’s association, McCaffrey trained standardbreds. “You do it because you love the animal – that’s the basis for entering into the sport,” he says. Enzo The Baker was McCaffrey’s star. At two years old, the horse named after a character in The Godfather never finished out of the money in nine races, winning seven times, placing once and showing once. It all ended in 2008 at Maywood Park, a harness track near Chicago that closed four years ago. While warming up, Enzo The Baker collapsed prior to a race, victim of a heart defect. “You see this perfectly healthy horse, the next minute, he was on the ground, dead,” McCaffrey says. “It affected me. I was never the same trainer afterward.”     By Bruce Rushton Reprinted with permission of The Illinios Times

Over the past 40 years, only three female trotters have earned at least $300,000 at age 3 after being unraced at age 2. Harness racing trainer Jim Campbell trained one of the horses in that group, Stage Show, in 2008. He hopes to add another to the list this season. Millies Possesion is 6-for-6 this year for Campbell and breeder/owner Fashion Farms after sitting out her 2-year-old campaign because of soundness issues. She won four times on the Pennsylvania stakes circuit before notching her first Grand Circuit victory last week in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands, pushing her earnings to $107,267. On Saturday, she competes in the second of two divisions of the Del Miller Memorial at The Meadowlands. The $126,500 race is expected to be her final prep for the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations July 27 at the Big M. "I can't say enough about her; she kind of speaks for herself," Campbell said. "She made a great transition last week stepping up with tougher horses and her first time at The Meadowlands. She took to it like a true professional. "It's a small percentage of the ones that don't race at 2 that come back and do what she's done. Am I surprised? Nothing surprises me in this game anymore. You think you know something and then it goes the opposite way. With her, the more she's raced, the more she's shown that she knows what she has to do. She's just a true professional. She gives you everything she's got." Only one 3-year-old filly over the past 40 years has earned more than $564,000 after missing her 2-year-old season, pacer Yellow Diamond, with $1.31 million in 2009. In addition to Stage Show, who won the Matron Stakes and finished third in the Oaks and Breeders Crown on her way to $394,279, the trotters to surpass $300,000 were Ontario standouts China Pearls (with $511,856 in 2011) and Donven Promise (with $456,350 in 2001). Both were O'Brien Award winners. Campbell considered Millies Possesion, a daughter of Possess The Will out of Fashion Athena, one of his top 2-year-olds last season before shutting her down. This season, she is the sport's fastest 3-year-old filly trotter thanks to her 1:51.1 win in the Reynolds. Millies Possesion, with regular driver Dexter Dunn, started from post nine and raced on the outside the entire mile. "It's hard when you're training them to say this one is going to be our best one because you never know what they're going to do when they go behind the starting gate," Campbell said. "I'm really impressed with her gait and the way she gets over the ground, and her determination and attitude. She knows she's a racehorse and she loves doing it. There's nothing negative to say about her, that's for sure." Among the fillies joining Millies Possesion in the second Del Miller division are Starita, who also won a Reynolds division last week, as well as The Ice Dutchess, who won last year's Peaceful Way and Jim Doherty Memorial stakes, and multiple Pennsylvania stakes winner Asiago. The $124,000 first division includes Reynolds division winner Cloud Nine Fashion, also from Campbell's stable, and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Evident Beauty. Also in action Saturday will be Hambletonian-eligible 3-year-old male trotters in two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. The fields feature seven of the 10 horses in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian rankings: No. 1 Greenshoe, No. 3 Green Manalishi S, No. 4 Pilot Discretion, No. 5 Don't Let'em, No. 7 Super Schissel, No. 9 Swandre The Giant, and No. 10 Osterc. Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager    

The elimination races for the 2019 Dan Patch FFA Pace will headline a blockbuster card of Harness Racing on Sunday, July 14 at Running Aces. There are two elimination races with a total of 14 pacers vying for the chance to line up behind the starting gate in the $50,000 Final on Sunday, July 21. Each elimination heat carries a purse of $15,000 - bringing the total purse for the 2019 Dan Patch to $80,000. The top five horses in each elimination heat will advance to the final. The first elimination field will see many of the top speedsters among this year's participants, with Fox Valley Gemini (Steve Wiseman) drawing the rail and morning-line favoritism at 6/5, while Rockin Speed (Travis Seekman) is the second choice on the morning line (7/5) from post two. The former arrives in Minnesota with a six race win streak at Chicago's Hawthorne Racecourse, and sports a brand new career mark of 1:50.1 last out. Three starts ago on June 7th, Fox Valley Gemini paced a final quarter in :25.1 to sweep the field and win handily. The latter ships in to Running Aces from Indiana, where he just posted a career best win on 1:49.1 at Hoosier Park on June 21. During the month of May, Rockin Speed campaigned in Canada, finishing fourth in the $139,490 Confederation Cup, and second in the $116,180 Camluck Classic. He leads the Dan Patch contenders with $90,327 in earnings in 2019. Local speedster Urgointohearmeroar (Lemoyne Svendsen) is the 3/1 third choice in elimination #1 (Race 9) and is currently riding a four race win streak at Running Aces, equalling the track's fastest mile ever (1:50.4) on June 29. The 4 year old Mystery Chase gelding has won 16 of 20 career races, and will start from post three. The lone mare in this year's Dan Patch squad is Juslikeaqueen (Dean Magee), who has reigned supreme here since her arrival from Pennsylvania in late June. She has dominated the Mares Open Pace for three straight weeks, and posted a dazzling 1:51.1 mile on Tuesday (July 9) to just miss a track record by one-fifth of a second, despite an off track (good, -1). She has been installed at 4/1 on the morning line from post four. The final three horses in the first elimination heat are: (in post position order) (5) Annihilator (Don Harmon) 10/1, (6) Major Legacy (Nick Roland) 20/1, and (7) Top Notch (Rick Magee) 8/1. Elimination #2 (Race 10) includes the two horses that have previously won the Dan Patch FFA Pace, 2017 winner & 2018 runner-up Firedrake (Nick Roland) who is 9/2 on the morning line from post two, and sports two wins in his last four starts, and 2018 winner Nine Ways (Dean Magee), who is the even-money (1/1) favorite on the morning line, and looks to extend a three-race win streak in Sunday's elimination race. Nine Ways is the second highest money earner this season, with $85,360, and has dominated the Horses & Geldings Open ranks since arriving in Minnesota in late June. Nine Ways drew post position five. Bettor's Promise (Lemoyne Svendsen) rounds out the top three favorites at 7/2 from post seven, and was the winner of the $20,000 North Metro Pace at Running Aces on June 16. Completing the field for the second elimination are: (in post position order) (1) Better Watch Out (Don Harmon) 12/1, (3) Ideal Ace (Stephen White) 6/1, SF Donttellonme (Rick Magee) 10/1, and To The Limit (Steve Wiseman) 8/1. Post time for Sunday's elimination night program is 6:00 pm (CDT). By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Eight of the horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown weekly Top 10 Poll will be in harness racing action on the Saturday (July 13) night program at the Meadowlands, and a slightly different wagering menu - which promises to create big pools - will also be offered on the highly-anticipated Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace Night card. Top-ranked Shartin N seeks her ninth win in a row in the Golden Girls for free-for-all mare pacers. Her last Meadowlands appearance came on November 24th of last year when she won the TVG Mares pace in 1:50.3. No. 2 Atlanta, who a week ago recorded the fastest trotting Big M mile ever of 1:49.1 in the Graduate Series Final, will look to stay perfect in seven seasonal starts in the Hambletonian Maturity, an open event for 4-year-olds at a mile and an eighth. In the evening's feature, Captain Crunch (No. 3) and Bettor's Wish (No. 5) will go head-to-head in a second consecutive major event in the glamourous 3-year-old male pacing division, the $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. Four weeks ago, 'Crunch' bested 'Wish' by three-quarters of a length in the North America Cup. No. 4 Greenshoe, whose explosive late rally left him a head short at the wire in the June 29th Beal, will try to make it six wins in nine lifetime tries in the second of two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters. Speaking of polls, Greenshoe is currently the top-ranked horse in Meadowlands' track announcer Ken Warkentin's weekly 'Road to the Hambletonian' Top 10. Last Saturday, in the Graduate Series Final for pacers, sixth-ranked Lather Up became only the second horse in harness racing history to complete a mile in 1:46. He'll take on defending Horse of the Year McWicked in the William Haughton Memorial at a mile and an eighth. No. 9 Warrawee Ubeaut, who was upset two weeks ago in the Lynch, takes on the horse that beat her - Stonebridge Soul - in the Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old pacing fillies at a mile and an eighth. Finally, Hannelore Hanover (No. 10) takes on Darling Mearas S, one of only four horses to ever break the 1:50-barrier on the trot at the Big M, in the second leg of the Miss Versatility for open mares. WAGERING MENU: The Saturday card will feature an extra 50-Cent Pick-4 as well as an extra Pick-3 as compared to a normal 13-race card. There will be Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta wagering on all 13 races; Daily Doubles will be offered on races 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 8-9, 9-10 and 12-13; the 50-Cent Pick-5 will begin with Race 1, but will have a $50,000 guaranteed pool instead of the usual $25,000; the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 will be offered starting with Race 3 while the pair of 20-Cent Jackpot Super-High Fives will be in their usual spots, Races 5 and 13. Fans of the track's signature wager, the 50-Cent Pick-4, will get to double their pleasure. There will be two rounds of the bet on Saturday. The first - which will be made up of the Golden Girls, Hambletonian Maturity, Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace and Haughton Memorial - takes place on Races 6-9 and will offer a guaranteed pool of $100,000, while the second will be on Races 10-13 with a $50,000 promise. Keep in mind that the Survivor, Pick-5 and Pick-4 all offer a low 15 percent takeout. CHECK YOUR WATCH: The Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace field will head to the gate at 10:10 p.m. ... Racing on Friday and Saturday night will get underway at the usual 7:15 p.m. ... For the remainder of the meeting, racing will be conducted on a Friday-Saturday 7:15 p.m. basis, except for Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 3, when the card gets underway at noon. Meadowlands Media Relations  

YONKERS, N.Y. – When harness racing trainer Kevin Lare purchased Freedom Warrior off trainer Jimmy Nickerson in mid-June, the freshman gelding came with a warning. Although he already qualified twice with Tim Tetrick in the sulky, including a 1:52.4 second-place finish with a :26.4 final quarter, the American Ideal son had yet to race and was still green. “When I bought him, I had been told by Timmy Tetrick and the gentleman I bought him from that he’s just a 2-year-old, that he hadn’t learned yet and it didn’t take much for him to get really hot-headed, run away, stuff like that,” Lare said. However, to Lare’s surprise, he experienced no issues with Freedom Warrior leading up to the gelding’s first start in the eliminations of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace last Saturday (July 6) at Yonkers. Freedom Warrior was two fingers when training with cotton-stuffed ears and an ear hood. However, for his first race, Lare opted for pop-out ear plugs. “The other night, I warmed him up, he was fine,” Lare said. “I passed somebody warming up, somebody passed me. I actually had to tap him with the whip because I wanted to go a good last quarter warming him up to make sure he was OK to get around that track. “I made an equipment change,” the trainer continued. “Now I’m in a race going for money, I go to the pop-out earplugs. I know he can hear through the ear plugs some from putting them in him at the farm; they’re not completely soundproof.” Just before the start of Freedom Warrior’s elimination, the last of three that evening, fireworks went off near the racetrack. Freedom Warrior heard them and became a runaway with Jordan Stratton in the sulky. As the race began, the fireworks went off again, and Freedom Warrior took off. “They set off some fireworks about 30 seconds before he went to go to the gate and Jordan said he lost his mind when he heard that,” Lare explained. “Jordan put him to the gate, and as the gate folded, Jordan said they set some more fireworks off as they hit the first turn, and he lost his mind again and Jordan was just a passenger.” Freedom Warrior pulled Stratton along, unratable and barely controllable. He was 3 lengths clear of the field past a quarter of :27.1 and after a half-mile in :54.4, the first-time starter was 10 lengths ahead of his nearest rival. Lare watched from the paddock, bracing for the worst. “I knew he was going to stop and that he was getting ready to come home in 40 seconds if he doesn’t fall. I’m thinking that he’s going to fall because he’s going to choke him off,” Lare recounted. “I thought he was going to choke, flip a palate, hopefully he doesn’t fall, but I just know he’s coming home in :35 tops. I just know he’s getting ready to pull up to a walk.” However, Freedom Warrior stayed on top by 7 lengths through three-quarters in 1:23.4. But fatigue soon began to set in. Waiting in the wings, a trio of rivals – Columbo, Hunter Hill, and Roll With JR – took their aim. Columbo took the first shot, edging to the outside at the top of the stretch as he appeared poised to go past the tiring leader. Meanwhile, Hunter Hill and Roll With JR loomed close behind. With only the top two finishers guaranteed to advance to the final, Lare was ready to pack his bags. “I know at that point in time the best he’s going to be is fourth, that these three are going right by him,” Lare said. “But when the first one got to him, he took back off and raced that horse. That was awfully impressive to me. I couldn’t believe it and Jordan couldn’t believe it either.” Freedom Warrior dug in, only letting Columbo past in the final sixteenth. The others never got to him and Freedom Warrior finished second by 1 ¼ lengths to earn a place in the $120,250 Sheppard Final this Saturday (July 13).  “Is he fast? Yeah, he’s fast. We saw that the other night. Without a doubt, he is a nice horse, but he doesn’t need many trips like that, for sure,” Lare said. “Jordan never did pull the plugs on him or touch him with the whip. He felt bad for the horse, as I did. I definitely was not coming back for the final at the half. I thought he was getting ready to walk across the wire. I did not see that coming at all. “I hope it’s that easy of a fix, that I can just go back and put the cotton in his ears. I can only hope,” Lare said. “You jog him without the cotton, the stone hits the wheels, here where we’re at, trains hook up right behind us and he does freak out. But when he’s got his ear hood on and the cotton in his ears, I can send my 12-year-old kid out to jog him and he wouldn’t be a problem.” Bred by Curran Racing, Adam Michael, and Heidi Rohr and trained down by Rohr’s husband, Freedom Warrior came onto Lare’s radar after being contacted by an agent. Lare and owner Forrest Bartlett have been searching for a talented 2-year-old for several years, and the pair felt Freedom Warrior was that horse. “I’ve been telling an agent for the last couple years that I’ve been looking for a top-notch 2-year-old if they could find one. The owner, Forrest Bartlett, we’ve actually tried to buy a few in the last couple years here,” Lare said. “He was always willing to step up to the plate. Forrest wasn’t interested in one that just looked OK, he wanted one that had a chance of being a top-ten horse. (The agent) called me and that was it, we got the job done from there.” Although one might pass Freedom Warrior by on looks alone, Lare was immediately impressed by the gelding’s gait and his ease of motion. “He’s not a big, strappy-looking horse or anything like that. He’s a gelding, so he’s not built like a stud horse or anything,” Lare said. “He’s not a looker, he’s not one that you’re going to turn your head and say, ‘wow, look at that horse.’  “But on the racetrack, he covers so much ground,” Lare continued. “When I sat behind him and trained him, I was impressed because he covers the ground so easy and he covers so much of it. When he picks them up and puts them down, horses that wear a longer hopple than he does, he’s covering more ground than they are every stride. He does it very easily and effortlessly. I really like that about him.” After purchasing Freedom Warrior, Lare took the gelding to Ocean Downs to qualify June 27. Although the heavy half-mile track was not ideal for the 2-year-old, it was the trainer’s last chance to get a trial in before the Sheppard. Lare expected a slow mile, but got more than he bargained for when finishing second a half-length behind Breeze Away B in a 1:56.2 mile. “The track was really deep. Jonathan said that was a 54-and-a-piece mile at Yonkers. So, I was very impressed with him that day,” Lare recalled. “I did have to make a couple equipment changes after qualifying that day, but that’s why I went down there, to find out exactly what I needed to do.” Freedom Warrior drew post six in the Sheppard Final and will again have Stratton in the sulky. Elimination winners American Rebel, Columbo, and Save Me A Dance drew posts two, four, and five, respectively while elimination runner ups Han Solo and Manticore will start from post one and post eight, respectively. Hunter Hill and Level Up, the two fastest third-place finishers in last week’s eliminations, drew posts three and seven, respectively.  “Of course, I would have liked to draw the rail in the final too. After what happened last week, I think he would have gained a lot of respect leaving the gate. I’m sure he’s going to be headed in the same direction anyway, we just hope it isn’t as fast fractions,” Lare said. “Of course, the six hole is no advantage there, but with his gate speed, it’s not going to hinder him that much. He is quick off the wings, but we just want to be able to settle him back down. “I think he’s got a huge chance. Personally, I think he’s the best, I really do,” Lare continued. “They’ve got him to beat in my opinion. All he’s got to do is get some honest fractions. He can pace as fast home as he was leaving the gate last week, he just can’t do it off those fractions.” For Lare, a victory in the Sheppard Final, the first open Grand Circuit stakes final for 2-year-olds this year, would be especially meaningful. The trainer hopes to see owner Bartlett rewarded for his purchase. “It would be great for Forrest Bartlett. He stepped up to the plate, he spent money buying this horse. He’s been a great owner for me,” Lare said. “I’ve had great horses before; he’s not the first one, nor do I hope he’s the last one, nor do I hope he’s the last one that Forrest buys. It would be great to win the first major stakes race the horse is in. That would be great for Forrest and great for me.” Saturday night’s card also features the weekly $46,000 Open Handicap Trot and Open Pace, along with the $37,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace. First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

WASHINGTON, PA, July 11, 2019 -- Air Force Hanover, a proven harness racing 3-year-old stakes performer with $215,888 in his bank account, will pop up Saturday in an unusual spot -- an $11,200 overnight at The Meadows. But there's method to trainer Brian Brown's seeming madness: If the colt performs well and exits the race well, he'll punch his ticket to the $400,000 (est) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids, which kicks off with Saturday, July 20 eliminations. Air Force Hanover leaves from post 3, race 8, for Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. First post is 1:05 PM. A son of Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Cognac who races for Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and William Donovan, Air Force Hanover won an elimination of the Art Rooney at Yonkers before finishing a strong third in the final. He also was second in a Hempt elimination at Pocono. Despite that success, Brown indicates his colt has been less than a picture of health. "He's been scoping sick lately," Brown says, "and we don't want to put up all that money and be no good on Adios Day. We'll see how well he finishes and how he comes out of it. If he scopes good, we'll enter him." For most of the season, it appeared that Brown would have a three-headed monster in the Adios. Now, Air Force Hanover is on the bubble, although Brown says he's "leaning towards" the Adios with Workin Ona Mystery, who'll compete in Saturday's Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace final. The news is far worse for Proof, the third member of the troika, who has been diagnosed with a cracked knee and likely will miss the balance of the year. "It's tough to take, but it is what it is," Brown says. "We hope he heals up and comes back as good as he's been for us next year." Also of interest Saturday: Carolina Beach, a recent purchase by owner Renee Bercury and trainer Bill Bercury, seeks his third straight win in the $20,000 Open Handicap Pace. He goes from post 7 in race 1 with Aaron Merriman piloting. The Bercurys' program is to acquire proven commodities, improve them if they can and reap the rewards. So far, Carolina Beach, who had been performing at Saratoga, fits the formula. The couple gave $68,000 for the 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Laughandbehappy gelding and changed his shoeing and hopples. The results have been little short of spectacular -- consecutive sub-1:50 wins, the first with Merriman, the second for Dan Rawlings. On each occasion, he outkicked the venerable Windsong Leo in the Lightning Lane. "He was pacing in 1:51.1 on the half-mile track, which I think is about the equivalent of what he's doing here on the bigger track," Bill Bercury says. "So I'm not sure there's been much improvement." And how will Carolina Beach fare if he has to rough it, a distinct possibility with Windsong Leo posted inside of him Saturday? "When Dan got off the horse last week, he said, 'If you had let me cut the mile with him, I'd have won in 1:48.' So I'm looking forward to the race very much." Saturday's card offers a pair of carryovers -- $916.43 in the Pick 5 (races 2-6), $2,345.80 in the final-race Super Hi-5. In addition, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will sponsor a number of fan activities, including paddock tours, starting gate rides and "Spin to Win." By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

ANDERSON, Ind.-July 10, 2019- It was the freshmen pacing fillies' turn in Indiana Sires Stakes harness racing action at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday, July 10. Four $36,500 divisions for freshmen pacing fillies highlighted the evening's 14-race card as the fillies took to their first round of stakes action. After heavy rains in the area, the track was rated sloppy and the divisions provided a mix of favorites and prices with victories from Priceless, Foxy Rigger, Mystical Carrie and Flirtinwithtrouble. Kicking off the stakes action, post time favorite Priceless with Brandon Bates made her career debut a winning one after she turned in a gate to wire performance. Priceless went right to the front, closely followed by Rocksann with John De Long while Princess Sharktank with James Yoder sat along the rail in third. The field remained in single file order through fractions of 27:4, 57:4 and 1:26:1. With a final quarter of 27:0, Priceless coasted on to the wire with a five length lead and stopped the timer in 1:53:1. Rocksann finished second and Princess Sharktank rounded out the trifecta. "I figured I was going to step out and see how the race unfolded," trainer,driver Brandon Bates stated after the victory. "I put her on the front and she did the work. She does everything right and acts like an aged horse." "Kevin Miller trained her down this winter and then contacted me about taking her because he wanted her to be centrally located," Bates continued. "He did a great job with her." In her first lifetime start, Priceless paid $3.20 to win, and brought her lifetime earnings to $18,000. The daughter of Rockin Image-Btwnyurheartnmine is owned by Kevin Miller and Bert Hochsprung. In the second division, the betting public was backing Foxy Rigger with Trace Tetrick and they were able to deliver a victory. Once the gate opened, Western Sierra with Brandon Bates went for the lead with Passionate Tigress with Odell Cross in second and Foxy Rigger following in third. By the first quarter in 27:2, Western Sierra came first-over and moved to the lead. Once the horses hit the half in 56:1, Foxy Rigger wanted her turn on the front and had taken the lead, leaving Passionate Tigress in second and Western Sierra in third. At the third quarter in 1:25:4, Foxy Rigger began to bolster her lead, two lengths ahead of the field. Stopping the clock at 1:54:1, Foxy Rigger had a five length lead on the rest of the field, while Western Sierra finished second and Elite Five with Kyle Wilfong finished third. "She can be a little tough at times," trainer Brian Brown expressed after the race. "We're going to add some equipment and go from there. I have to give credit to Tim Lane who trained her down all winter. He and his girls did a great job with her. We purchased her after her second qualifier. She's my kind of filly. She's a big, strong, beautiful filly." Post time favorite Foxy Rigger paid $2.60 at the betting windows. The daughter of Riggins-Foxy Angel is owned by Country Club Acres & L&H Management Services & Lombardo, Green Racing and Tim Lane, and now boasts $23,250 in lifetime purse earnings. Tonight's Sires Stakes card proved to be a good night for trainer James Eaton, who swept the final two divisions. Mystical Carrier and driver Mike Oosting staged a big rally late in the lane to find the winner's circle in 1:54.2 in their split of the stakes action. When the gate, opened, Kickin Up My Heels with Trace Tetrick went right to the front from post seven, while Seventimesacharm with John De Long followed in second. The field remained in straight alignment through fractions of 28:3, 58:2 and 1:27:2 with Mystical Carrie and Oosting waiting patiently in third. Once the pack reached the stretch, Mystical Carrie was given the green light and she ranged up to challenge the leaders. With a final quarter of 26:3, she paced strong to the wire to get the win over Kickin Up My Heels. Mystical Carrie paid $8.40 for the victory. Mystical Carrie rallies late at the wire       ----Linscott Photography. "Last week was her first start, so we were just getting a feel for her," driver Michael Oosting noted after the victory. "I couldn't have asked for a better trip-it was the perfect trip. She's a very nice filly." Mystical Carrie is trained by James Eaton. The homebred daughter of Tellitlikeitis-Mystical Victress brought her lifetime earnings to $20,500 for owners Mystical Marker Farms. Eaton would find the winner's circle once more on the evening in the last division of the stakes action as Flirtinwithtrouble and John DeLong bested their rivals in 1:54. Once the race began, Molon Labe with Dale Hiteman went right to the lead, followed by Townline Adios with LeWayne Miller and Always In Motion with Trace Tetrick occupying the third spot. When the field reached the first quarter, Always In Motion made a bid at the leaders and reached command by the half in 57:1. By the time the horses passed the three-quarter mark, Delong had Flirtinwithtrouble out and firing and she secured the lead turning for home. Flirtinwithtrouble paced strong to the wire to finish three lengths in front of a hard-charging Odds On Madison and Peter Wrenn. Slightly dismissed at the betting windows, Flirtinwithtrouble returned $8.40 at the betting windows. The daughter of Tellitlikeitis-Rock N Roan now sports a lifetime bankroll of $21,750 for owners Mystical Marker Farms, F Langley, James Eaton and John Schwartz. Flirtinwithtrouble is now two for two this season. Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Thursday, July 11 with four $36,500 divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts & geldings. The 14-race card will also feature the $10,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 beginning in race 3 and a $10,000 Guaranteed Hoosier High-5 in race 14. With a daily post time of 6:30 pm, live racing at Harrah's Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 9. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com.   Rose Flood Race Marketing & Operations Admin

Auckland Reactor harness racing gelding The Great Buzz, formerly trained in Southland by Clark Barron is creating a bit of a stir in North America. “He was always a pretty nice maiden. While he didn’t win we threw him into a couple of Nugget Finals and he was never out of the money. I thought he’d get better as he got older. He was a big overgrown horse,” Barron said. The Great Buzz raced eight times for Barron finishing second three times and third twice before he was sold. He’s out of the unraced Bettor’s Delight mare Risonanza and was bred by Kakukuri Bloodstock Limited and Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock Limited. He was bought by Barron for $7,000 at the 2017 Sale of the Stars in Christchurch. Elmer Gantry (18 wins), Dillon Dean (20 wins) and Dillion Dale (17 wins) feature further back in his pedigree. In America, The Great Buzz won his qualifier in 1-56.2 on 15th June. “The horse that ran second (Starznheaven) has won 41 races and nearly $400,000,” said Auckland Bloodstock Agent John Curtin who sold him to regular American buyer Kevin Quinn. He won his first race in America at Saratoga, New York, on the 26th of June recording his lifetime mark of 1-53.3  The Great Buzz “53 on a half mile track is a hell of a run,” stated Curtin, who also sold Nerve Of Steel (5 wins) and Kiwi Tintin (9 wins) to Quinn. “That’s (The Great Buzz) the dearest horse he’s bought. I said to him it’ll be the best horse he’s ever bought. He said ‘no chance it’ll be Kiwi Tintin.’ He’s changed his mind now.” The Great Buzz is trained by Paul Zabielski and was driven on both occasions by James Devaux. “The owner rang me quite a few times. They’ve liked him from day one,” Barron said. The gelding is due to start at Saratoga again on Thursday where he’s drawn the outside of the gate. Because of his impressive form the Saratoga Club officials have also taken him out of the betting market and placed him on the outside. Curtin is not impressed. “He’s drawn seven on a half mile track. That’s brutal, it’s just a joke. The owner’s upset. This horse has only won $6,000.” Bruce Stewart

With nowhere to go and nowhere to be, a day at the beach is just what you need, so the saying goes! And that certainly sits nicely at the moment with crack Victorian harness racing colt Lochinvar Art, who is enjoying a working holiday frolicking in the sun, surf and saltwater of the Pacific Ocean at Redcliffe, north of Brisbane. "l gave him a nice hit-out at the Redcliffe track and then we decided to head to the beach - it was his first-ever dip in the sea and he absolutely loved it," trainer Laura Crossland, of Kialla, near Shepparton said. "He was walking around without a worry in the world. But we did get a bit concerned at one stage when he looked like he wanted to enjoy a roll in the water! "Thankfully I wasn't leading him at the time. Our friend Alex Alchin had that job, but he had it all under control." Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA) is lining up in the Group Three 2019 Egmont Park Stud South East Derby at Brisbane's Albion Park on Saturday night. The promising youngster, owned by a keen supporter of the sport Kevin Gordon, has drawn barrier three, but is likely to start from the two hole with the race emergency on his inside. It will be the first time the pacer has competed at the track, commonly known in the industry as "the creek", and Crossland and her partner-reinsman David Moran are looking forward to it immensely. "We've never been here before and I have just got the surprise of my life with news that I'm driving at the meeting now as well as David," Crossland said. "There's an invitational race for female drivers and I got a guernsey there. I have also got the pick-up drive on one of my old favorites in Hashtag in another event," she said. "I've had to ring David and tell him to bring up my driving pants and boots when he catches the plane on Friday. It's exciting." Crossland said the pacer had now spent a week up north, after his close second ten days ago in the Group One Vincent Alabar NSW Breeders' Challenge. "He came up not long after that run at Menangle and he pulled up unbelievably," she said. "He's thriving on the change of scenery and hasn't been unsettled at all by the different surroundings, so we couldn't be happier." Lochinvar Art has a remarkable record, never finishing further back than third (12 wins and 11 placings) in his 23 starts. Saturday night's derby at Albion Park has some depth, particularly with the Purdon-Rasmussen All Stars team having the brilliant Self Assured and Jesse Duke. "There are a couple of locals in Trojan Banner, Star of Montana and We Salute You who all go really nice, too," Crossland said. "Then we will be in the big one, the $100,000 Queensland Derby on the following Saturday, July 20." Lochinvar Art will then fly home and after three or four days enjoying paddock life, the young Crossland-Moran team have the rich Breeders Crown series at Melton in their sights. While Crossland is enjoying the winter sunshine up north, albeit spending a huge amount of time with their 3yo sensation, it's left a busy schedule for Moran and 15-year-old Cody who've kept the big team going at home. In addition, there have been race meetings at Melton and Cobram where Moran was in demand as a driver. "Being busy is just all part of the game. But I can say Cody and myself are looking forward to Friday when we fly up to Brisbane to join Laura and the horse," Moran said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Groovy Joe ($8.40) stamped himself as one of the top 2-year-old male pacers on the New York Sire Stakes harness racing circuit on Wednesday night (July 10) as he rolled to a dominating 5-1/4 length triumph over the highly-touted Sandy's Bolt in 1:54.3 at Buffalo Raceway.   It was the third consecutive win for Groovy Joe in the NYSS. He just missed the 2-year-old colt track record of 1:54.2 in capturing the first $52,000 division.   Oreo Dream Xtreme ($3.40) used the long Buffalo Raceway stretch to his advantage and rallied past the pace-setting Teton Sunset in 1:57.1 to take the second bracket.   In what was expected to be an early career showdown between the two undefeated colts, Groovy Joe got the upper hand over Sandy's Bolt in their first meeting with the impressive win.   "He's good on a half mile track," winning driver Matt Kakaley said of Groovy Joe (Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk). "He's just a very nice colt."   Setting the hot fractions of :27.4, :57,1 and 1:26.3, Groovy Joe braced for a move by the pocket-sitting Sandy's Bolt (Jason Bartlett) with a final panel to race but that never materialized. Groovy Joe instead unleashed a final mark of :28 which dashed Sandy's Bolt's hopes of the win. Major Asset (Mike Simons) took third.   "I wasn't worried the last quarter mile," Kakaley said. "I knew he (Groovy Joe) was that good."   Co-owned by trainer Blake MacIntosh and the Hutt Racing Stable, Groovy Joe is now a perfect 3-for-3 with $58,925 in earnings thus far.   In the second division, Oreo Dream Xtreme (Bartlett) let Teton Sunset (Mark MacDonald) do all the dirty work on the front end then cruised on past in the lane to take the victory. Major On The Beach (Kakaley) grabbed the show position.   "The race went as planned," Bartlett said of the journey with Oreo Dream Xtreme. "He was a little 'steppy' around the final turn but once he straightened out, I wasn't worried."   Teton Sunset put up reasonable fractions of :29.1 :59 and 1:28.4 but couldn't answer the bell when Oreo Dream Xtreme roared on by in the lane.   Oreo Dream Xtreme takes second division of NYSS in 1:59.1   Co-owned by Crawford Farms Racing, J. Crawford, Happy Hour Racing and R. Preziotti, it was the first career win for Oreo Dream Xtreme (American Ideal-Spotlight On). The decision upped his season earnings to $38,842.   In the two $15,000 Excelsior A events, American Mojo blew up the tote board with a $62.00 win for driver Kevin Cummings in 2:01.4 while Sunsetboozecruise ($2.80) covered the mile in 1:56.1 for Jim Morrill Jr.   Redemptionbluechip (Bartlett) captured the $6,500 Excelsior B race with a 1:59 and returned $2.80 for the popular victory.   Cummings finished the program with three victories while Ray Fisher Jr. and Bartlett each had doubles. Trainers Ryan Swift and John Butenschoen conditioned two winners.   Racing will resume on Friday evening at 5 p.m. with an 11-race program set. There's a $1533 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, upcoming promotions and simulcast schedule, go to www.buffaloraceway.com     by Brian J. Mazurek for Buffalo Raceway  

Atlanta secured her place in harness racing history last August when she became the first filly in 22 years to defeat the boys in the Hambletonian Stakes. Over the past month, though, the mare has served notice that she is not finished making history. On June 15, Atlanta won the Armbro Flight Stakes in 1:50.2 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, setting the record for the fastest trotting mile in Canadian history. Last weekend, she added to her legend by winning the Graduate Series championship in 1:49.1 at The Meadowlands to become the fastest female trotter of all time. The time also was the fastest in the 43-year history of the Big M. "There is no doubt that every time she races, you think you've seen the best of her, and she shows you something else," said Brad Grant, one of Atlanta's owners. "She actually continues to amaze." Atlanta's next opportunity to dazzle is Saturday in the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity at The Meadowlands. The Hambletonian Maturity was created by the Hambletonian Society and The Meadowlands as a race solely for 4-year-olds previously eligible to the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. This year's event attracted a field of 11. The distance of the race is 1-1/8 miles rather than the traditional mile. Atlanta, who is undefeated in six starts this year, will attempt to become the second Hambletonian winner to capture the modern version of the Hambletonian Maturity. Marion Marauder first accomplished the feat in 2017. She also will try to become the third mare in the past four years to win the race, joining Ariana G in 2018 and Hannelore Hanover in 2016. Eight of Atlanta's rivals in the Maturity also competed in the Graduate final, which Atlanta won by a neck over Six Pack by rallying from fifth place with a quarter-mile to go. The others from the Graduate are Custom Cantab, Manchego, Crystal Fashion, Muscle M Up, Mission Accepted, Phaetosive, and Fiftydallarbill. Atlanta will start the Maturity from post four with regular driver Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. "It's mostly the same field of horses," Grant said. "I take nothing away from any of the horses in there, the slowest horse in the Graduate went a mile in (1):50.4 and five of them were under 1:50, so it's a great bunch of horses and they're all there to win. Nothing is going to come easily for anybody." Atlanta won eight of 14 races last year and earned $1.01 million on her way to being named Trotter of the Year at the Dan Patch Awards banquet. In all but one of her victories, she led at the half. This year, she has won three times when no better than fifth at the half. "The last couple years, the safest spot to be was on the front," said Grant, who shares ownership of Atlanta with Crawford Farms Racing and Howard Taylor. "This year she is showing that she can come from off the pace, or in this case trot, and get up there and win. Ronnie and Yannick have done a great job racing her off a helmet and keeping her calm. She seems to be a very versatile mare. I like that." So, what is Atlanta's full potential? "I don't know that answer," Grant said. "I'm not even sure if you talk to Yannick or Ronnie whether they know that answer. Every night she surprises us. She just seems to find a way to win." Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, two divisions of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

The Buckeye Stallion Series was in full swing the end of June and early July, each racing for the $17,500 purse. The harness racing 3-year-old colt pacers competed June 28th in their second leg at Eldorado Scioto Downs. The 2-year-olds began their series in July, kicking off the 4th of July week. On July 1st the 2-year-old filly trotters competed their first leg at MGM Northfield Park. The 2-year-old colt trotters raced at Eldorado Scioto Downs on July 2nd. The 2-year-year-old colt pacers began their series at MGM Northfield Park July 6th. On July 9th the 2-year-old filly pacers started at Eldorado Scioto Downs. June 28, 2019 - Eldorado Scioto Downs 3-Year-Old Colt Pace Dashing To Da Wire (Charley Barley - Flower Pot) won in 1:53.3 with Josh Sutton in the sulky in Race 3. Larry Finn trains the Charley Barley colt who is owned by Brian Witt (Cedarville, OH). Native’s Sweetlou (All American Native - Windsong Filou) took the win in the 8th Race with driver and trainer Dan Noble, finishing in 1:52.0. He is owned by Thomas Cave (KY). Levi (Pet Rock - Beam Of Joy) and driver Kayne Kauffman won Race 10 in 1:53.1. Levi is trained by Jim Pollock Jr for owner Stephen Richard (MA) Two oclock Johnny (Big Bad John - Real Ravishing) was the winner in Race 12 with Shawn Barker II in the sulky with a time of 1:53.3. He is trained by Eric Nesselroad for owners Ryan Householder (Junction City, OH) and Richard Householder (Junction City, OH).   July 1, 2019- MGM Northfield Park 2-Year-Old Filly Trot Delaware Ave (Triumphant Caviar - A Moment Too Soon) took the win in Race 3. She and driver Aaron Merriman finished in 1:59.1. Christopher Beaver (Radnor, OH) trains and co-owns the filly with Donald Robinson (Cardington, OH), RBH Ventures Inc (NY) and Steven Zeehandelar (Worthington, OH). Dream Change (Winning Fireworks - Economic Change) won in 1:58.3 in Race 4. Greg Grismore drove for trainer Pamela Young. The filly is owned by Big Dog Racing (Thornville, OH).     Delaware Ave               (JJ Zamaiko Photography)   July 2, 2019 - Eldorado Scioto Downs 2-Year-Old Colt Trot Jamahl Chip (Deep Chip - I’m A Ridge Girl) was the winner in Race 2, finishing in 2:00.4 with driver Hugh Beatty. Steve Moore trains the colt for owner Steve Charles Moore (Washington Court House, OH). Timestorm (Stormin Normand - Tymal Sonata) and driver Charles Taylor finished in 2:01.0, winning Race 4. Kent Hess is the trainer and Ted Boschma (MI) owns the colt. Somtimsthingshapen (Cash Hall - Charlize Hall) won Race 6 with driver Brett Miller, finishing in 2:01.1. He is trained by Jason Mcginnis and owned by Thestable Thingshapen Grp (ON). Hercomescharlie B (Full Count - Jetterbug) was the winner in Race 10. He and driver Ryan Stahl made it to the finish in 2:00.0. Dan Venier is his trainer and he is owned by Daniel Venier (Pemberville, OH) Timestorm                                   (Conrad Photo) July 6, 2019 - MGM Northfield Park 2-Year-Old Colt Pace Ocean Rock (Rockin Amadeus - Ocean Pearl) finished in 1:54.2, winning Race 4 with driver Aaron Merriman. The colt is trained by Dan Noble and owned by Sandra Burnett (Wilmington, OH). Bargain Shopper (Big Bad John - One Stop Shopping) was the Race 7 winner. He was the second Buckeye Stallion Series winner of the evening for the driver/trainer combination of Aaron Merriman and Dan Noble, finishing in 1:57.0. Chuck Gibbs (KY) is his owner. Pound Sign (Pet Rock - Thatcher Bluechip) finished the series of the evening winning Race 10. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. drove him to the wire in 1:56.1 for trainer Brian Brown. Pound Sign’s owners include Country Club Acres (Findlay, OH), W Donovan (FL) and Joe Sbrocco (Brecksville, OH). Pound Sign                       (JJ Zamaiko Photography)        July 9, 2019 - Eldorado Scioto Downs 2-Year-Old Filly Pace    Pj’s Legacy (Big Bad John - Walstan’s Lady) finished in 1:57.1 with driver Chris Page, winning Race 2. She is trained by Brian Brown and her owners include Jennifer Brown (Ostrander, OH), Hutchison Harness LLC (North Ridgeville, OH), Joelyn Ridder (Urbana, OH) and Mark Kantrowitz (FL). Penpaperpaige (Pet Rock - Park Lane Paige) was the winner in Race 4, finishing in 1:55.1 with driver Tyler Smith. Jeff Smith trains for owner Shirley Levin (IL). T Degengold (Pet Rock - Goldie’s Cam) won Race 6 in 1:53.2 with driver Chris Page. Jeff Nisonger trains the filly and Johnny Kearns (Cardington, OH) is her owner. Escape The House (Big Bad John - Chicascape) was the final series winner of the evening when she won Race 8 in 1:55.2 with driver Tyler Smith. She is trained by Jim Arledge Jr for owner Winchester Bay Acres Inc (FL). The Buckeye Stallion Series continues tonight (July 10th) at MGM Northfield Park with leg 2 for the 2-year-old colt trotters. By Regina Mayhugh, OHHA Communications Director

GOSHEN NY - Tom Charters, Jeff Gural, Bill Popfinger, and Tim Tetrick have been selected by the Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) as ballot candidates for this summer's election vote toward harness racing's highest honor, membership in the sport's Hall of Fame. The chapters of USHWA, the sport's leading media organization, nominate deserving candidates based on prepared biographical information and discussion within the chapters. This list of names is then considered by the USHWA Screening Committee, with consultation with several Hall of Fame members, on Hall of Fame Day, the first Sunday in July at Goshen, and they then select the candidates for that year's balloting, with the provision that anyone connected to a candidate is excluded from the discussion of and vote on that candidate's viability. A person must receive 75% of the yes-no voted of the USHWAns eligible to vote and the current Hall of Fame members in order to join the Goshen pantheon. Tom Charters worked his way through the ranks in harness racing, starting out as a caretaker (among his charges was Horse of the Year Delmonica Hanover) before becoming a racing secretary. In 1984 the Hambletonian Society hired Charters as executive director of the Breeders Crown, a newly-created series of season-end championship races, and his work in establishing the Crowns as signature events led to his being named executive director of the Society in 1994, then being promoted in 1998 to president and chief executive officer. Charters' tireless work in such diverse fields as increasing racing handle, simulcasting and television production, international racing, and brand name establishment, plus the temperament to juggle all of these jobs along with dealing the wide range of personalities at the highest levels of the sport, firmly established him as one of the captains of the industry. Tom Charters Jeff Gural was a longtime racing fan, owner, and breeder, associated with Allerage Farms, Little E LLC, and other equine partnerships, along with proprietorship of New York's Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs racetracks, when he undertook the monumental task of leading the privatization of the sport's flagship track in North America, The Meadowlands, away from a state-run operation of New Jersey. Enlisting the aid of many of the sport's top figures in addition to large investments of his own money, time, and expertise, Gural has been the directing force of the revitalization of the mile oval, with a new grandstand built on the old backstretch side of the track, a facility and the parallel racing program aimed squarely at maximizing revenue for all of racing's interlinked parties in today's changing, challenging gaming environment. Jeff Gural Bill Popfinger has been a horseman for over 50 years, going from success at smaller tracks to operating a powerful Grand Circuit stable, and he continues his winning tradition today - a trainee of his won at Pocono on Monday. Popfinger first hit the harness limelight 50 years when he guided Lady B Fast to an upset win over the great trotters Fresh Yankee and Nevele Pride at Yonkers, and he cemented his stardom with his famous daring early move to the lead with Happy Escort, "the lights on, the horn honking, and the pedal to the metal," to defeat heavy favorites Falcon Almahurst and Flight Director in the 1978 Little Brown Jug raceoff. That quote also cemented Popfinger's nickname of "Showbiz," and over the years he campaigned such marquee horses as Happy Motoring, Praised Dignity, Spellbound Hanover, Say Hello, and Spicy Charlie. Bill Popfinger Tim Tetrick, at age 37, has already become one of only four drivers to have driven the winners of over $200 million in his career, and few doubt he will contend for the top spot, John Campbell's $299M+ career total, before all is done - after all, any possible mishaps may not slow a man who already has two "bionic hips" after replacement surgery. Also the single-season money recordholder for a driver with $19.7M in 2008, Tetrick also produces quantity with quality, driving his 11,000th winner earlier this year, putting him ninth all-time, fifth among active drivers, and second in the 2019 dashwinning standings. The list of top horses associated with Tetrick is too long to mention here, but it is fairly safe to say that when it comes to Breeders Crown time and the selection of year-end awardwinners, the name "Tetrick" will be associated with several of the champions. Tim Tetrick Charters, Gural, Popfinger, and Tetrick will be joined on the ballot by Phil Pikelny, former author and publicist, and Ken Weingartner, media relations manager for the USTA, the two ballot candidates for the Communicators Hall of Fame selected by USHWA directors at their annual meetings this past February. United States Harness Writers Association