Day At The Track

A tall, powerful stallion with extraordinary conformation, named after a Presbyterian Minister, is about to make an impact on the harness racing breeding Industry throughout North America and the Southern Hemisphere. Pastor Stephen, the 2010 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year in North America, has been purchased from Europe for an undisclosed price by Taylor Made Stallions and will be standing in Indiana for the upcoming 2021 breeding season. His race record of 1.52.4 and $1,058,188 in earnings, together with his pedigree makes him one of the most impressive prospects available to Breeders in recent years. The fact that he is a full brother to the $2.6m winner Father Patrick is even more appealing.  Now standing at US$30,000 Father Patrick has been an instant hit at Stud in North America with the sensational trotter Greenshoe t3;1.49.4 emerging from his first crop. Pastor Stephen is by one of North America’s leading sires in Cantab Hall, the sire of winners of just under $100m in North America. Pastor Stephen is from the Broodmare gem Gala Dream, who in turn is a half-sister to World Champion trotter Chocolatier 1.53 ($1.3m). Pastor Stephen’s pedigree is loaded up with two year old speed, aside from his own record; Father Patrick  -  the USTA Two and Three Year Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Cantab Hall  -   the USTA Two Year Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Chocolatier  -   the USTA Two Year old Trotting Colt of the Year Pastor Stephen, the Dan Patch two-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year and a winner of more than $1m as a two and three year old was exported to Europe after his brilliant race career ended in his 3 year old season upon suffering a broken coffin bone.  Pastor Stephen Pastor Stephen has been very successful in the breeding shed all across Europe with a more than 70% rate of his foals making it to the races, all despite the fact that he was held up in a court case and losing two full breeding seasons. With his progeny making a good impact early on the European breeding scene American interests had fixed their eyes on the grand circuit super star Pastor Stephen. They entered into an agreement early 2018 to purchase the “Dan Patch two year old of the Year” and bring him back to North America. However, there were disagreements in connection with the purchase contract, and after almost two years of legal fighting, the case was finally heard in the Uppsala District Court, Sweden. The case has now been resolved with the American interests winning the case. Pastor Stephen has now arrived back in the USA!  “He was a really good gaited colt, easy horse to be around and to race. He was top three of his class as a three-year-old. Unfortunately he got injured in a transport incident before the Hambletonian where he finished third in his elimination and fifth in the final from post 10. After that a coffin bone injury put an end to his career in the USA and was sold to Europe. I am glad he is back in the USA. He will be a big asset to the Indiana Breeding Industry as he is the full-brother to Father Patrick, as a matter of fact I reserved two breeding rights to Pastor Stephen myself.” Jimmy Takter on Pastor Stephen Pastor Stephen was recently purchased by Taylor Made Stallions, adding to their exceptional group of Standardbred stallions, What The Hill, Lazarus and Lather Up, Pastor Stephen will no doubt enrich the Taylor Made Standardbred stallion portfolio with influence throughout the breeding world. Pastor Stephen will be standing at Premier Acres in Indiana for a fee of $7,500. Dennis Bontrager of Premier Acres says he is really excited about Pastor Stephen standing in Indiana. For the first time he says, Indiana breeders have a chance to breed to the best ever and most high profile stallion to stand in Indiana. For enquiries phone Dennis Bontrager (260) 585 4927 by Steve Wolf

Officials of the Lexington Selected Sales Co. have announced COVID-19 protocols for both consignors and those planning to attend the upcoming yearling and mixed sales, to be held Oct. 5-10 at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Paddocks in Lexington, Ky.   "We're fortunate to follow Fasig-Tipton's own successful Thoroughbred yearling sale, which was held here Sept. 9 and 10," sale co-manager David Reid said. "Both Randy (co-manager Randy Manges) and I were in attendance and able to see firsthand the measures they had in place. Everyone adhered to the regulations and the yearling shows and the sale went very smoothly.   Reid said the Thoroughbred sale utilized two large tents for expanded seating and gathering areas, and those will be kept in place. They are located alongside the pavilion and in the lot behind the back walking ring.   The company's statement regarding protocols follows:   In advance of the upcoming Lexington Selected Yearling and Mixed Sales, the company has announced the following COVID-19 protocols will be in place in accordance with Kentucky regulations: Screening measures, including temperature checks and health screening questions, will be in place to gain admittance to the sales grounds for all staff, participants, and attendees. Cloth face coverings are required in accordance with U.S. CDC recommendations.Participants will not be allowed to congregate. At least six feet of distance must be maintained between people.Seating capacity in the sales pavilion will be reduced below 60% of capacity. Buyers are encouraged to enter the arena just before they are ready to bid on a horse.No food service will be available in the sales pavilion. Food service will be available in the restaurant and back bar. Valet parking will not be available. Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures will be implemented with regular sanitation of high touch surfaces at least every two hours. Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is recommended for all attendees. Sales company management requests that anyone showing symptoms of the virus--or if they are not feeling well--not attend the sale, and stay home. The health and safety of sale participants is of paramount importance. These guidelines are intended as a supplement to assist with safe operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and are subject to change.   Those who would like further information are asked to call Randy Manges (859-255-8431) at the sales company's Lexington office.   From Lexington Selected Sales Co.  

Anderson, IN--- They had eight high quality harness racing rivals including world champion Guardian AS, Breeders Crown victor Fiftydallarbill, Indiana champions Custom Cantab and Bridge To Jesse’s and defending champion Lindy The Great but it all came down to Atlanta and Gimpanzee on Friday (Sept. 5) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in the $150,000 Caesar’s Trotting Classic. The mare and stallion did not disappoint as two of the most talented horses in the sport engaged in a scintillating stretch duel in which Gimpanzee narrowly prevailed.  Immediately subsequent to the wings of the gate unfolding, Guardian AS (Tim Tetrick) assumed control from post position nine but he would only remain in that position after a first quarter in a spritely :26.3. That is when David Miller decided to steer Atlanta from sixth straight to the lead. The 5-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven appeared to relish the opportunity to obtain the lead and did not demonstrate any evidence of relinquishing that advantage as she led the field through fractions of :55 and 1:22.4 through the final turn.   Atlanta, however, was about to realize Gimpanzee and Brian Sears had other plans.    Gimpanzee was the slight favorite over the 2018 Hambletonian winner and settled in third for the first quarter mile after starting from post position six. When Atlanta moved to the front, Gimpanzee followed her hoofprints and around the track, biding his time based on Sears’ guidance as to when he should find his best stride.   As these two horses made trotted their way to the finish line it appeared Atlanta would preserve until with roughly a 1/16 of a mile remained Gimpanzee began to inch ever closer. Would he catch the $425, 600 Maple Leaf Trot winner? After all, she had got the best of him in that event when he came home third.  As the mare dug in it seemed she would do so once again. Yet Gimpanzee continued to advance as did Lindy The Great (Andy Miller), but it was clearly a two-horse race. Gimpanzee then drew alongside Atlanta and in a flash was in front. On this occasion, it would be he and not the mare who would visit the winner’s circle at the Anderson oval. Gimpanzee recorded a final time of 1:51.2 as did Atlanta but his :28.1 final panel compared to her :28.3 final quarter mile proved to be the difference.   Lindy The Great held off a fast closing Crystal Fashion (Jordan Stratton) for the show spot.  “He wasn’t 100 up in Canada but he wasn’t as sharp as he was all year,” said Marcus Melander, Gimpanzee’s trainer. “I wanted to qualify him last week to see if he was back to normal and I brought him here because he was. This worked out for his schedule. He has Lexington in two weeks and then the Breeders Crown. The track was good here today and I’m thrilled to be back in a month or so. He always gets the job done, he can race down Atlanta like he did today. She’s an amazing filly but today we beat her and we’re happy about that.”  Officials with Harrah's Hoosier Park present the winning trophy to the connections of Gimpanzee.    -- Photo courtesy of Dean Gillette Photography. Owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, Dan Patch Award winner and dual Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee now has collected $2.48 million during his career and after an undefeated freshman campaign his record is now 31-21-2-3.   He paid $3.60 to win with Atlanta providing $3.20 to place. Lindy The Great was $3.40 to show.   Live racing will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, September 26. 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 21, highlighted by the return of the Breeders Crown October 30 & 31.  For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com.     By: Kimberly French, for Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino

Crucial edges stablemate Sister Sledge for Moni Maker Triumph   Anderson, IN --- Crucial with David Miller holding the lines was the first to enter the harness racing winner’s circle in Grand Circuit action at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Friday (Sept. 5) when the 3-year-old filly captured the $105,000 Moni Maker Stakes. The daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene collected the first of eight trophies on Breeders Crown Preview evening. The sensational 15-race card disseminated $1.2 million in purse money.   Leaving from post position five in a field reduced to five after the scratch of the No. 2 horse Princess Dubai, Crucial floated from the gate and went straight to the lead with Sister Sledge (Brian Sears) tracking in second. The Ron Burke trainee established the first fraction of :27.1 with ease as the field went around the first turn in single file. Crucial established the pattern of the entire contest as she went by the half-mile pole in :57.4 and the three-quarter marker in 1:27. Her rivals appeared content to allow the filly her own way on the front.   Shortly after the field rounded the final turn, Sister Sledge, who is also Crucial’s stablemate, and Sears made their bid for victory as they came on through the inside. It appeared Sister Sledge may trot past Crucial shortly before the wire but when asked the leader kept to her task and hit the wire in front with Indiana champion Rock Swan (Trace Tetrick) in third. The final time was 1:54.1.  Owned by Burke Racing Stable, William Donavan, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi, the filly lifted her career bankroll to ____ and improved her overall record to 22-8-2-5. She most recently finished third in the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final at Red Mile and was crowned a Pennsylvania Sire Stake champion after winning the $252,000 final in her previous trip to the post. Crucial was also fourth in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and has been an extremely consistent performer throughout her career.   “She has flown under the radar for us just a tad,” said co-owner Mark Weaver. “Sister Sledge was just so good at two I guess I can understand why. Crucial just continues to improve and David Miller really seems to get along with her. She’s raced great for him every time he’s driven her, included a locked-in fourth in the Hambletonian Oaks.”  Sent off as the second choice behind the favored Sister Sledge, Crucial paid $4.20 to win. Sister Sledge provided her supporters with $2.20 to place and Rock Swan’s backers received $2.20 to show.    Test Of Faith hands Somethingbeautiful her first defeat in Kentuckiana Stallion Management  Fresh off her score in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final, Test Of Faith (David Miller) easily passed the previously undefeated Somethingbeautiful (LeWayne Miller) to collect her sixth consecutive victory in the $220,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management for freshman pacing fillies.   A daughter of Art Major-Cannae Cammie, Test Of Faith was the slight favorite over Somethingbeautiful at post time. The Brett Pelling pupil began her journey over the Anderson oval from post position seven and settled in fourth position through the first split of :27.1 established by Continualou (Joe Bongiorno). After the first quarter mile, Miller moved Somethingbeautiful to the lead while Test Of Faith continued to remain in fourth. Somethingbeautiful hit the half in :57 and passed the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1 while Test Of Faith moved into third. As the fillies hit the top of the stretch Test Of Faith advanced into second and hit her best stride midway through the stretch.   Somethingbeautiful did not offer much resistance and Test Of Faith powered home to win in 1:51.3. Gd Rockin Kay Trace Tetrick picked up the show spot.   “She was very relaxed out there,” Miller said. “And did it very easily.”  Owned by Melvin Segal, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran, Test Of Faith improved to 7-6-1 lifetime and now sports a bankroll of $367,750.   Test Of Faith paid $4.40 to win with Somethingbeautiful paying $2.60 and Gd Rockin Kay $4.80.     Brookview Bolt takes the Madison County  Sam Widger placed Brookview Bolt on the lead immediately after their departure from post position four and the duo never afforded their other eight competitors with the opportunity to gain that advantage in the $40,000 Madison County for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi, the son of Swan For All-Witty’s Winner is now has a resume of 8-4-2-1 and has earned $86,950.   Swingforthefences (Peter Wrenn) was second and Bridge To Success (John De Long) closed stoutly to be third.   Brookview Bolt paid $7.40 to win while Swingforthefences paid his backers $3.20 and Bridge To Success $3.40.     Iteration impresses in Kentuckiana Stallion Management  Already attracting attention in her young career as the younger full sister to world and Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee, Iteration (Brian Sears) demonstrated she has plenty of talent of her own with a gate to wire victory in the $221,000 in this contest. Big City Pearl (Verlin Yoder) was second and Swift Swanda (Trace Tetrick) was third.   Iteration, a daughter of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows, was sent straight to the front after starting her mile from post position five and that is where she remained. The filly clicked off fractions of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:26.2 before stopping the clock in 1:55 well in hand.   “She is a lot like Gimpanzee,” said Sears. “Not much bothers her and she has real ability. She is also very easy to drive.”   Trained by Marcus Melander for owner Courant Inc., Iteration now has a record of 6-4-1-1 and a bankroll of $258,194. She paid $4 to win. Big Pearl was $5.40 to show and Swift Swanda paid $4.20.     No Lou Zing shows a new dimension in Jenna’s Beach Boy  After a freshman campaign in which he only raced on three occasions and failed to hit the board in all three attempts, No Lou Zing (Dexter Dunn) collected his sixth victory from 10 starts this season and has not failed to hit the board in any event he has competed in. Splash Brother (Trace Tetrick) was second and Allywag Hanover (Tim Tetrick) was third in this $100,000 race for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings.   No Lou Zing, a son of Sweet Lou-Terroronthebeach, broke alertly from post position four and Dunn was not about to impede his momentum. The gelding went straight to the lead and played “catch me if you can” with his nine rivals. Obviously they could not as No Lou Zing appeared to only grow stronger as the mile went on. He established splits of :26.1, :55.2, and 1:23 prior to hitting the line in 1:49.3. It was a lifetime best for a horse that had never been on the front in that fashion and on this occasion, it was not quite by design.   “He was really immature last year, he had no concept of what being a racehorse entailed,” trainer Nancy Takter said. “We gelded him and turned him out. Really was babying him racing off the pace. I was nervous when he went to the lead. Probably not the plan for him to be on the front but it was really rewarding to see his maturity and how much he’s become a racehorse. We actually didn’t have him staked very much this year because he didn’t race much last year but it has been very rewarding watching him progress this season.”  Owned by 3 Brothers Stables, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms, No Lou Zing now has a career record of 13-6-3-1 and has amassed $322,418 in purse money.   He paid $4 to win with Splash Brother providing $5.60 to place. Allywag Hanover paid $2.20 to show.     Southwind Gendry sails home to win The Elevation  It required every inch of the long Hoosier Park stretch but favored Southwind Gendry (David Miller) got the job done in this $120,000 event for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Virgo (Tim Tetrick) was second and What’s Your Beef (Trace Tetrick) was third.  A son of 2016 Horse of the Year Always B Miki’s first crop, Southwind Gendry is out of the Cam’s Card Shark Mare Gambler’s Passion. He commenced his journey from post position four in fourth place while What’s Your Beef paced through fractions of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:23.2. When the field of 10 entered the top of the stretch it appeared What’s Your Beef’s efforts where beginning to take their toll and Southwind Gendry began to move from fourth place on his outside.   Just when it appeared What’s Your Beef may hold on, Southwind Gendry provided one final burst to surpass the leader just prior to the finish line. The winning time was 1:50.4.  Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Philip Collura, Joe Sbrocco, Knox Services, Weaver Bruscemi and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Southwind Gendry’s record now stands at 8-6-0-0 and he has earned $299,369.   Southwind Gendry paid $2.70 as the public’s top choice. Virgo paid $9 to place and What’s Your Beef $8.40.    by Kim French

ANDERSON, Ind.—September 24, 2020— On a night filled with stakes harness racing action, This Is The Plan made Hoosier Park history as he became the first ever back-to back winner of the $140,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, September 26. With Dexter Dunn in the bike, This Is The Plan utilized a pocket trip to score the victory by three parts of a length in 1:49:1. Dismissed at odds of 7-1, the Ron Burke trainee left alertly for position then utilized the passing lane to capture his third win from ten seasonal starts. A power-packed field of ten lined up behind the wings of the gate and it was American History with Joe Bongiorno who protected their rail position and took the early lead through the opening quarter in a snappy :25.4.This Is The Plan left just enough from post three to grab a pocket seat while Backstreet Shadow and Tim Tetrick were next in line third. The field remained in straight formation through the half in :54:4. Backstreet Shadow was given the green light just before the three-quarters in 1:22 and he quickly ranged up to take command. When the field turned for home, the race appeared to be wide open. Backstreet Shadow clung to the lead and braced for the cavalry charge to the wire. Dorsoduro Hanover and Matt Kakaley fanned out across the track with a full head of steam but it was Dunn who urged This Is The Plan into the passing lane to get the victory. He was followed by stablemates Filibuster Hanover with Chris Page in second and Dorsoduro Hanover with Matt Kakaley in third. This Is The Plan paid $17.80 to win at the betting windows. “I wanted to get him out of there and he responded well,” driver Dexter Dunn noted in the winner’s circle. “Ronnie (Burke) told me before the race that this horse has been racing well so get him out of there early and then give him a shot late. This track takes a bit of getting used to. I had to work him through that long stretch but he really dug in well late.” With the victory, This Is The Plan now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $1,555,412 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi,  J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby and Lawrence Karr. The victory was one of three wins on the evening’s 15-race card for driver Dexter Dunn and one of three training wins for Ron Burke. This Is The Plan also gave Ron Burke his fifth victory in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-That’s The Plan was bred by Moni Market Breeders. 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 21, highlighted by the return of the Breeders Crown October 30 & 31.  For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com.    Rose Flood  |  Race Marketing & Operations Admin

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Fire Start Hanover, Commanding Officer and Summa Cum Laude all remained perfect through two harness racing legs of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-olds at The Meadowlands Friday night. Fire Start Hanover had an easy time of it in the first race filly pace, sailing down the road in a lifetime-best 1:52.1 to win by 1¾ lengths with driver Victor Kirby calling the shots. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Fit To Frame, who is trained by Nifty Norman, paid $3.20 to win as the 3-5 favorite and ran her overall winning streak to three. Commanding Officer completed an all-chalk Early Daily Double for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Scott Zeron. The 2-5 favorite cleared to the lead before the three-eighths on the way to a 1½-length romp in 1:52.1 in a division for colt and gelding pacers. The son of Captaintreacherous-Turnoffthelights returned $2.80 to win. Summa Cum Laude stayed unbeaten in taking another division for male pacers in race nine. Driven by Simon Allard for trainer Ron Burke, Summa Cum Laude took over the lead after Bettor Not Talk went off stride while racing on the point on the way to the half. The winner, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate, scored by a length in 1:52.2 and returned $4.00 as the even-money post-time choice. A LITTLE MORE: Allard was the top driver of the night. Currently fifth in the standings at Pocono Downs, Allard won three races on the night, two of them for Burke. … Kirby guided a pair of winner’s circle visitors for Norman. … Mark MacDonald and Zeron also steered two to victory lane. … Big M TV personality Jessica Otten correctly selected the $267.40 Early 50-cent Pick-4. She also gave out best bet Mazzarati, who returned $9.80 to win. … Despite the 4-5 favorite scoring easily, the 13th race Pentafecta failed to yield a winning ticket. The next Late 10-cent Pentafecta will start out with a carryover of $14,331. … All-source wagering totaled $1,878,489. … Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

WILKES-BARRE. PA -- The carryover pool for the Rainbow Pick 5 will be $218,268 going into the Saturday afternoon harness racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   To score the big money, a player must have a unique ticket containing the winners of the last five races at Pocono on a given card. If there are multiple winners any given day, a portion of what was bet that day is divided among those multiple winners, and a portion enters the carryover; if no one picks all five winners in a given day , the entire amount bet is added to the carryover jackpot.   The first race at Pocono on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. The Rainbow Pick 5 races will include a pair of $14,000 events, one trot and one pace, for the fastest seasoned performers at the track.   From the PHHA /The Downs    

WOODSTOCK, VA --- The14-year-old A Fool For Mark, the 2011 Horse of the Meet at Colonial Downs, put a punctuation mark on his return to Virginia by wiring the harness racing field for his 81st win today (Friday) at Shenandoah Downs.   Dustin Ingraham's Western Ideal gelding beat six other pacers in a $4,000 claiming handicap in his 414th career start.   With Jim Meittinis in the sulky, the veteran gelding held off Lyons Johnny in deep stretch to win by one-half length. He cut fractions of :28.0, :57 4/5 and 1:26 2/5 and finished in 1:55 4/5, second fastest time of the day. The runner-up, a 12-year-old Mach Three gelding who was making his 265th start, stalked in second through most of the last half.   A Fool For Mark has bankrolled $322,863 from 39 seconds and 68 third place finishes in addition to the 81 wins. His life mark of 1:49 3/5 came as a 7-year-old at Pocono. He finished second last Friday on the Woodstock oval's opening day, his first start in Virginia since 2014.   Fastest time of the day was authored by another of Ingraham's horses --- Movie Star --- also driven by Meittinis. The four-year-old Ponder gelding crossed in a lifetime best 1:54 1/5 after passing Fritzie Pic Up Man and Cirrus De Vie in the stretch. He crossed one-half length the best for his sixth lifetime win.   Shenandoah Downs presents a 15-race card Saturday with first post at 1:00 PM. Live streaming is available at shenandoahdowns.com.   by Darrell Wood, for Shenandoah Downs

Jenny Lake (Leon Bailey) rolls to an easy win in the $5,200 featured harness racing  trot at Vernon Downs on Friday (September 25). The 2020 Vernon Downs Horse of the Year, Jenny Lake ($2.40) jumped right to the front and led to a first quarter of :27.2. She was followed in the pocket by American JJ (Michael Miller) and she used a :29.1 second quarter to hit the half in :56.3. She trotted to three-quarters in 1:25.4. As they made the turn for home Amercican JJ gave everything he had but Jenny Lake found another gear and was much the best as she equaled her lifetime best of 1:54.1. Amercan JJ put in a valiant effort but had to settle for second best. Haveitalltogether (Chris Long) finished third.   Jenny Lake is a 4-year-old mare by RC Royalty. She is trained by Paul Minckler for owners Ed Namiotka Jr. and Carol Namiotka. It was her eighth win this season all at Vernon Downs. She now has 15 career victories. Leading driver Leon Bailey had a driving double on the card. He got his other win with the Kerin Warner trained Bet Big On Blue ($5.90). With Just one night of racing left, Kerin Warner leads all trainer with 19 wins. George Ducharme is second best with 17 tallies. Claude Huckabone III is just three back with 16 victories. David Dewhurst is fourth with 15 wins. Jennifer Lappe, and Brandy Wine are tied for fifth with 14 wins each. Vernon Downs returns to live racing with closing night for the 2020 season on Saturday (September 26) starting at 3:00 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs  

CHESTER, PA - Three-year-old fillies were spotlighted in $150,000 worth of Liberty Bell stakes series action during the Friday afternoon harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia, with two divisions for pacers and three for trotters. The first pace saw the ultraconsistent Rocknificent, competitive not only within the state but with the North American elite, handle a late pocket charge from Drama Act to win in 1:51.3. Scott Zeron sent the daughter of Captaintreacherous out of the $2M+-winning Rocklamation, who was second choice at 3-2 to Drama Act's 1-2, to the lead from post six, with Drama Act from the rail maintaining the pocket through pedestrian fractions of :27.1, :56.4, and 1:24.3.   When both the fillies' pedals were pushed to the metal, however, they dueled home in :27, with Rocknificent holding off her rival by a neck to run her seasonal record to 10-5-2-3-$242,530 and her lifetime tally to 23-10-4-7-$524,036 for trainer Linda Toscano and the partnership of Enviro Stables LTD, South Mountain Stables, and Little E LLC. The second pacing section also saw the second choice win, though the positional tables were turned, as the A Rocknroll Dance miss Dance Club made Going Gone Hanover, favored at 4-5 to Dance Club's 7-5, work through early numbers of :26.4 and :54.4, and then sat watching the 1:22.4 battle to the three-quarters between the favorite and first-over Wayside. George Brennan then steered the Ron Burke trainee up the inside, and Dance Club, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc. and David Wills, went past by a length and a half , with Going Gone Hanover beating Wayside by a half length for second. Turning to the trotters: Next Level Stuff raised her lifetime win record to 10 triumphs in 19 starts by posting a 1:55 victory in her division. With main foe Fifty Cent Piece eliminating herself early, the daughter of Sebastian K S quarter-moved after a :27.3 opener, got a breather to the half in :58.1, then tripped the three-quarters in 1:26.4 and held safe Electrapedia by 1¾ lengths. Todd McCarthy, quickly adapting to top-level North American competition, drove the winner of $328,816 for trainer Jim Campbell and Runthetable Stables. A similar scenario developed in another Liberty Bell trot, as Dune Hill made an early misstep, leaving the path clear for the Muscle Massive miss Miss McKee to head down the road for driver George Napolitano Jr., with fractions of :28.1, :58.1, and 1:26 leading to an open length triumph in 1:54.2. The Jack Baggitt Jr.-trained filly now has seven wins in twelve seasonal starts and over $110,000 on her card this year for J L Sadowsky LLC. The Hall of Fame is not likely to be calling for a copy of the third division. After the Andover Hall filly SVF Blushingbride made the lead in :27.4 and got to the half in :58.1 ahead of her five opponents, the following happened in this order: 1) first-over Impressive Fashion made a break just past the midway point, leaving Cover Girl uncovered; 2) pocketsitter Aldebaran Revani made a miscue off turn two, causing 3) I'm Winin Hanover right behind her to suffer an "ix," which let Cover Girl take the pocket and left favored Molto Bene uncovered; 4) the "first-up" horse broke at the 1:26.3 three-quarters, leaving a two-horse breakaway until 5) Cover Girl misbehaved past midturn. That left driver Simon Allard and the Lou Pena-trained filly all alone to trot out in 1:57, with SVF Blushingbride's margin over the recovering Cover Girl 9 1/2 lengths. The subsequent inquiries into the breaks caused the red lighting on the tote board to use more electricity than a Christmas display, but only Aldebaran Revani, for causing interference, was placed lower. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Freehold, NJ --- Watching Kasha V win has become a Friday tradition at Freehold Raceway. He continued his dominant harness racing streak this Friday (September 25), completing a sweep of the New Jersey Sire Stakes- Standardbred Development Fund Final for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.The purse was $56,000.   Austin Siegelman was aggressive with his drive, putting him on the lead just after the quarter. He controlled the pace most of the way, and was clear at the top of the stretch. However, he had to hold off the surge of second choice Kyrie Deo, who was flying for Corey Callahan. Fortunately for Kasha V, the wire came just in time, and he held on to win by a head as the 7/5 favorite. The final time was 1:58.       That's the fourth win in a row for this gelding, who won all three legs of the NJSS-SDF series, plus the Garden State Trot. Of his $78,000 in lifetime earnings, $60,500 have come within those four races. He's owned by Theologos Moutafis and trained by Tom Corelli.   Friday's card at Freehold also featured several divisions of the NJSS-SDF for 2-year-old trotters. Ake Svanstedt swept both divisions of the first leg of the series for fillies, winning division one with Illuminata and division two with Wet My Whistle.   Two divisions of the series for colts and geldings were held as well. The first division was held as a non-betting affair, and was won by Torrey Pines, for trainer/driver Dan Daley. Division two went to Canadian invader Muscle Dynasty, for trainer Paula Wellwood and driver Jim Marohn Jr.   Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday, with a scheduled first post time of 12:30 PM.   From Freehold Raceway    

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 25, 2020 -- Western Tyrant followed live cover, then brushed wide through the lane to capture his third straight harness racing victory in Friday's $10,800 co-feature at The Meadows, a $20,000-$25,000 Claiming Handicap Pace. Western Tyrant was fifth when Dave Palone positioned him behind the first-over Bugger Bruiser. The 6-year-old Western Terror-Fans Bikini gelding moved three wide through the final turn and scored in 1:51.4, matching his lifetime best. Early leader Butter Bay Hanover was second, 3/4 lengths back, with Border Control A third.   Kevin Johnson conditions Western Tyrant, who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $196,886, for Richard Briskey. In Friday's co-feature, also a $20,000-$25,000 Claiming Handicap Pace, Kingstons Bad Boy was first over forever before prevailing for Aaron Merriman and giving Johnson and Briskey a sweep of the day's top races. Palone piloted five winners on the 13-race card, including a pair for trainer Ron Burke, while Merriman fashioned a four-bagger. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the 13-race program features a $36,480.30 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3). First post is 12:45 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA  

Humboldt, Iowa will host the "Championship Weekend" for Iowa Harness racing. The seasonal points leaders will compete not only for bragging rights, but increased purses from 2019. Consolation races will be held on Saturday (9/26), competing for $9,000 per division. The race purses are also increased to $3,000 per division. Sunday (9/27) will highlight the season leaders in the Championship Final. All divisions of two and three-year-olds (trotters and pacers) will compete for $18,000. Aged Iowa horses will also race to secure their position as the "2020 Champions" on Sunday. Post time both days is 12:30pm CDT. Races will be broadcast live on Facebook. by Tara Spach, for the Iowa Harrness Horseman's Association

Columbus, MN - So many things have been significantly different about the 2020 harness racing season, not only at Running Aces in Minnesota, but at so many venues across North America and likely across the world as well.   One difference this year at Running Aces that has been fun to see develop over the summer season is the leaderboard for our top ten trainers. On this year's list there are many rising stars, joining stalwart top trainers like Kathie Plested-Wiseman, Justin Anfinson, Gene Miller and Tim Maier.   Today we want to shine the spotlight on those rising stars and highlight some of their impressive accomplishments over the current racing season.   Jessica Johnson jumped out to a big early lead in the standings by posting lots of early success in both June and July. Johnson is in her first year as head trainer for Roland racing stable - she has been a key figure in the operation for many years but this is the first season that she has been listed as the trainer of record.   After her very fast start she has been able to maintain her lead in the standings all the way into the final week of the season, and currently holds a five win lead at the top with 36 wins, and is sporting an overall win percentage of 20.4% and a U.T.R.S. rating of (.354). Headliners in the Johnson barn this summer have included sophomore trotting filly Teachmehowtotory and sophomore pacing colt It's A Marcs World. Both are the current seasonal leaders in their respective divisions of the Minnesota-Sired program.   Richard Bertrand is in the midst of his best season ever both at Running Aces and overall. The Michigan native has been a regular at both Cal-Expo and Aces for many years and credits improved stock and loyal owners as key factors in helping him become one of the top trainers in Minnesota this season.   Heading into the final 6 days of the meet he is sitting second in the standings with 31 wins and has a win percentage of 13% and a rating of (.238). Top performers for Bertrand include upper condition level pacer Mystery Dragon, 4 year old pacer Haulin' Oats, and veteran 14 year old pacer Best Dream Seeker to name a few.   Edwin Quevedo is a trainer that came onto the scene at both Cal-Expo and Running Aces about five years ago and has proven to be a solid horseman. He has steadily advanced up the rankings over the past three seasons, hitting the top five for the first time at Aces last year, followed by a close second place finish at Cal-Expo last winter and is currently a close third in the Aces standings with 29 wins and a solid winning percentage of 21.3% and a solid rating of (.326).   Quevedo is on pace to record his highest career seasonal win total to date. The star of the Quevedo barn this season is the standout Open pacer Heza Real Diamond, who has won ten of nineteen starts this year.   Williams Hernandez has followed the same Cal-Expo and Aces circuit since becoming a full-time trainer in 2016 and has also ventured to New York and New Jersey in the past couple of years. He has proven himself as a solid horseman as well and is currently among the top 10 trainers in Minnesota with 19 wins and a strike percentage of 16.2% with a (.299) rating. He is also on pace to post career best totals this year across the board. Top horses for Hernandez include Open trotter Muscle Ave and Open level pacers Paklane Jet and Prologue.   Edward Hernandez, (brother to Williams) is a relatively new trainer - in just his second year as a full time trainer, and ranks among the top trainers this summer with very impressive numbers. He leads all trainers at Running Aces in win percentage at a stunning 33.3%, and U.T.R.S. rating with a phenomenal (.511) and he has 15 wins to his credit so far at the meet. He has posted standout performances with sophomore pacer So So De Vie and 8 year old pacer PH Kenny.   Chris Scicluna made his Aces debut this season and has also posted solid numbers to rank amongst the top ten. The Australian native has racked up 19 wins in Minnesota so far and shows an impressive win percentage of 27.5% and a very strong rating of (.420). He is also on pace to post his career best seasonal win total and U.T.R.S. rating. Scicluna's top performers at Running Aces have included Open-level pacers Keep On Rocking A, Hoo Nien A and top pacing mare My Kiwi Lady N.   Ariel Alvarez is one of the newest trainers at Running Aces. The 25 year old secured his full trainers license this July and has posted very impressive early numbers. Alvarez has picked up 9 wins from his first 43 starts, with 24 top-three finishes. His win percentage so far is an impressive 20.9% and he sports a current U.T.R.S. rating of (.388). The star of the Alvarez barn has been six year old pacing mare Lakota Law, who recently won four consecutive races.   The Minnesota Harness Racing season is beginning to wind down, with just six racing days to go before the curtain call on October 4. Live Racing is conducted every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm CDT. By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces 

Delaware, OH — Captain Barbossa found the perfect time to visit the winner’s circle for the first time this year, capturing Thursday’s $335,400 Little Brown Jug final for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:49.1 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. Cattlewash was second and Catch The Fire finished third. The win was Captain Barbossa’s first in 13 races this season. The gelding, who finished second in his Jug elimination, was driven to victory in the final by Joe Bongiorno, who celebrated his 27th birthday Wednesday. Captain Barbossa gave Bongiorno his first Jug trophy, as well as the first for trainer Tony Alagna. He paid $15.00 to win. Captain Barbossa, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Swinging Beauty, is owned by Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson, and the partnership of Alagna, Martha Frank, John Fodera, and Steven Wienick. He was bred by Steiner Stock Farm. His winning time was one-fifth of a second off the stakes and world record for a 3-year-old pacer on a half-mile track. The margin of victory was 1-1/2 lengths.   Catch The Fire, Sandbetweenmytoes win Little Brown Jug eliminations Catch The Fire won the first $111,800 elimination of the Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers Thursday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, overtaking pacesetter Seeyou At Thebeach on the last turn on his way to a 1:49.3 triumph. Seeyou At Thebeach was second, followed by Later Dudes and Genius Man. Those four horses advanced to the $335,400 Little Brown Jug final.   Catch The Fire was the 4-5 favorite in the field of seven. He was driven by Mike Wilder for trainer John Ackley and owner CT Stables. Sandbetweenmytoes scored a 7-1 upset in the second of Thursday’s two eliminations, using a three-wide move entering the last turn to get past leader Capt Midnight on his way to a 1:49.3 victory. Captain Barbossa finished second, with Capt Midnight third and Cattlewash fourth. Those four horses also advanced to the $335,400 Little Brown Jug final.   Sandbetweenmytoes was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Delaware, OH — Plunge Blue Chip on Thursday trotted the fastest harness racing trotting race mile in history on a half-mile track, winning the $87,500 Miss Versatility Series championship for trotting mares in 1:51.3 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Pure Chance finished second, followed by Grand Swan and Manchego, the 3-5 favorite who went off stride in the second turn while in second place behind Plunge Blue Chip. Following Manchego’s break, Plunge Blue Chip was never pressured. She set all the fractions — :27, 54.4, and 1:22.3 — on her way to eclipsing Maven’s previous all-time race best on a half-mile oval, 1:51.4 set at Delaware in 2013. Plunge Blue Chip’s winning margin was 5-1/4 lengths.   “She did it on her own,” driver-trainer Ake Svanstedt said. “I didn’t feel her pick up the speed after the first quarter, but that’s good when you don’t feel the speed on a horse. She raced without shoes, and that made her faster.” Plunge Blue Chip was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock, which shares ownership of the mare with Svanstedt and Tomas Andersson. She has won three of eight races this year and 22 of 46 in her career, with earnings of $1.43 million. Plunge Blue Chip is a 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA