Day At The Track

Macheasy A (Mach Three) made it look easy winning for the second consecutive Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rob Harmon trainee came to the Spa for the first time last week with two harness racing wins to his credit in 2021 but with no evidence that he could thrive in an Open Pace. The eight year old pacer proved otherwise last week when he parlayed a pocket ride to victory with Jay Randall at the controls. This Tuesday, Macheasy A once again got a two-hole trip behind a Jackie Greene-trained pacer. Moonshine Kisses (Billy Dobson) raced against top-flight competition at Yonkers this winter and spring and wound up going off at even money in the wagering in his return to the Spa. Moonshine Kisses cut the mile and set fast fractions on the engine on Tuesday before having Macheasy A cruise past him in the stretch. Macheasy A, who was the public's 3-5 betting favorite, stopped the timer in a 2021 Saratoga-best 1:51.3 in his second straight win in the $11,000 Open for pacers with Randall in the sulky. MACHEASY A REPLAY   The back-to-back Open champ is owned by the Harmon Racing Stable of Milford, PA. The exacta in the five-horse feature paid a chalky $3.90 while the triple with Olde Broadside (Alek Chartrand) third returned $12.60. Live racing continues on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for Noon. For full race results, click here. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

WASHINGTON, PA -  April 13, 2021 -- The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2021-22 MSOA Collegiate Scholarships. Thanks to the help of many harness racing partners, this year will feature one of the most lucrative scholarship pools in the lengthy history of the program, with nearly $20,000 available to the winners. New contributors include Burke Racing, The Meadows and Diamond Creek Farm. "At a time when many families have been dealing with the loss of racing opportunities due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are very happy to be able to offer this type of financial assistance to our college students," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. This year's scholarships include: $5,000 MSOA Board of Directors Collegiate Scholarship; $5,000 Burke Racing Scholarship; $4,300 Andover Hall Scholarship (donated by Hanover Shoe Farms); $2,500 CSC Insurance Options Scholarship; $1,100 Bolt The Duer Scholarship (donated by Winbak Farms); $1,000 The Meadows Racetrack Scholarship; $1,000 Diamond Creek Farm Scholarship. Applicants must be a son or daughter of an owner, trainer, driver or groom who has participated in harness racing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on a regular basis over the two years preceding the application. Said parent must be a member of the MSOA, and the applicant must be at least a senior in high school. One application covers all available scholarships. Applications, which must be postmarked by May 14 and returned to the MSOA office, can be found at this link: MSOA Scholarship Application 2021. An independent committee at the Harness Horse Youth Foundation will review the applications and determine the winners of each individual award. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA

CHESTER, PA - It's not very often, if not unprecedented, that a track's "Late Double" in Tuesday morning qualifiers is won by a pair of Breeders Crown champions, much less Crown champion stablemates, but such was the case here with four-year-olds Sandbetweenmytoes and Next Level Stuff for trainer Jim Campbell at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Somebeachsomewhere - Galleria gelding Sandbetweenmytoes, last seen at the pari-mutuels beating Horse of the Year Tall Dark Stranger while paying $409.80 to win in their Crown event at Harrah's Hoosier Park, followed up on a 1:55.3 qualifying triumph here last week with a 1:53 victory despite a "good +1" surface Tuesday. Driver Scott Zeron was a three-time winner on the morning; Campbell, who sent out four winners during the a.m. session, looks to have this one ready for facing the older stock for Fashion Farms LLC. The Sebastian K S distaff Next Level Stuff stepped her own last half in :57.2 in a 1:55.4 win for Campbell, Zeron, and the Runthetable Stables in her initial racetrack appearance since her Indiana victory. Her dam Nantab got a production double credit as the sophomore Creatine gelding Take All Comers, a 1:52.3 winner at two, came home in :56.4 to draw away in a 2:00.3 mile for Campbell, Runthetable, and driver David Miller. Another sophomore worth noting was the Somebeachsomewhere - Swinging Beauty gelding Whichwaytothebeach, who stepped his own last half in :55.4 in a 1:55.4 triumph. Andrew McCarthy guided the Brett Pelling trainee, who won in 1:51.1f at two, for owners Alan Johnston and John Craig. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

HARNESS RACING PACER OF THE WEEK: BABES DIG ME This six-year-old gelding was coming off a win in a lower claiming handicap group in his last start at Pocono when he moved up on Saturday into the $30,000 to $40,000 group. He also switched barns, with Darren Taneyhill taking over as trainer. Leaving from a #2 post in a field of eight as the 4-1 second choice, Babes Dig Me sat third early in the mile. On the back stretch, driver Jim Pantaleano got him going with a first-over move. Babes Dig M easily sped by pacesetting Sunset Braydon and kept extending the lead from there. The end result was a romping win, his second straight, in 1:49:4, a new career-best for him and the fastest pacing time of the 2021 meet so far at Pocono. HONORABLE MENTION PACERS Aflame Hanover (Marcus Miller, Linda Schadel), who moved up in class for his second straight condition win on Saturday at Pocono in 1:50. So Irresistible (Scott Zeron, Bruce Saunders), whose victory in the Bobby Weiss series for three-year-old pacing fillies in Monday in 1:53 was her second straight win in the series and third straight overall. Straight Talk (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who picked up his second straight win in the Weiss series for male pacers on Saturday and did so in a career-best 1:51:4. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TOP ME OFF This three-year-old ridgling trained and driven by Todd Schadel has been one of the stars of the Bobby Weiss series through the first two legs. After tuning up with an impressive maiden win on March 22 in a sharp 1:54:2, Top Me Off conquered the first leg of the Weiss for male trotters on April 3 at Pocono in 1:54:4. He was back at it on Sunday night, leaving from post position #5 in a field of six as a 1-2 favorite. Killer Instinct, who had taken Top Me Off right to the finish in their last matchup before losing by a neck, set the pace. Schadel sat confidently behind in the pocket with the favorite and then cut him loose in the stretch. Top Me Off blew past Killer Instinct and won going away, trotting the mile in 1:57:1 on a good track for his third straight victory. HONORABLE MENTION TROTTERS Try Try Again (George Napolitano Jr., Tee Wine), who won his second consecutive claiming handicap trot on Tuesday at Pocono, getting it done in 1:56:1. Hoolie N Hector (Anthony Napolitano, Andrew Adamczyk), who won his second straight in the Weiss series for male trotters on Sunday night at Pocono, delivering in 1:57. Ching Ching Lucky (George Napolitano Jr., Norman Morford), a mare who followed up her maiden victory with another condition win at Pocono on Tuesday, trotting the mile in 1:57:2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ROCKIN IN THE HILLS Driven by Anthony Napolitano, this pacer, who won at 86-1 earlier in the meet, delivered a rallying win in a claiming handicap on Saturday at 24-1, paying $51.60 on a $2 win wager. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. The meet's leading driver had a typically massive week at Pocono, as George Nap was particularly effective during the weekend cards, winning a combined nine times on Saturday and Sunday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RON BURKE All there of Burke's wins at Pocono this week came in the Bobby Weiss series, including a pair of victories in the three-year-old colts and geldings pacing group on Saturday. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs                    

Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series concluded on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $40,000 divisions that were won by Backstreet Shadow, Mach N Cheese, and Leonidas A. It was also another well-received program on the wagering front, as the handle on the ten-race card checked in at $951,089. Backstreet Shadow (Yannick Gingras) took full advantage of the pole position in the first split, going to the lead and putting up fractions of 27.3, 56.1, and 1:24.1 over a surface that was rated "good" and a second off. Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) took up the chase by going first-over out of third in the backstretch, but he couldn't make any headway on the outside, allowing Backstreet Shadow to turn into the lane with a clear advantage. Once they hit the stretch, Western Joe suddenly hit top gear and began to gain on Backstreet Shadow, but Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire half a length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. BACKSTREET SHADOW REPLAY   A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., Larry Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Backstreet Shadow, who won twice in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, now has a record of 26-12-6 from 64 starts, and he has earned $910,162. The 3-5 favorite, Backstreet Shadow paid $3.40 to win and was atop an $8.90 exacta and a $107.50 trifecta. In the second grouping Semi Tough (George Brennan) cut out panels of 27.3, 57, and 1:25.1, but Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno), who had come first-over from fourth before the half, made steady progress on the rim into second on the far turn. In the lane Mach N Cheese forged his way by Semi Tough, then held off a three-wide bid from pocket-sitter Western Fame (Dan Dube) to score by three-quarters of a length in 1:54 flat. Semi Tough held third over Mac's Jackpot (Dunn). MACH N CHEESE REPLAY   Mach N Cheese, who picked up his first triumph in the series, is trained by Edwin Quevedo for owner Save The Day Stable. A 6-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar, Mach N Cheese is now a 16-time winner in his career, and he has put away $283,512. Sent off at 9-2, Mach N Cheese returned $11.20 to win and keyed a $56.50 exacta and a $138.00 trifecta. Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) left from post one and lined up the field in post position order right out of the gate in the last section, then led through an easy tempo of 28.4, 57.4, and 1:25.2. Leonidas A's two main rivals in the field, Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) and This Is The Plan (Gingras) were in fifth and sixth, respectively, until beginning to advance first-over and second-over in the third turn. Though they made gains after pulling, Leonidas A had the jump on them and stayed in front, prevailing by a length and a quarter in 1:53.3. This Is The Plan kicked home widest in the stretch to get up for second over Hesa Kingslayer N. LEONIDAS A REPLAY   Finishing four-for-four in the preliminary rounds of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, Leonidas A is a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Sheena Mcelhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A now has 29 career wins, and he has banked $311,848. He was the 3-5 favorite and paid $3.20 to win. The exacta kicked back $6.10, and the trifecta was worth $11.80. Unofficially, the eight horses that advanced to the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final were: Leonidas A (300 points), Western Joe (283), This Is The Plan (275), Hesa Kingslayer N (262), Backstreet Shadow (250), Rockapelo (230), Mach N Cheese (220), and Lyons Steel (192). Both the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final will take place next Monday (April 19), and the draws for those two races will occur on Tuesday afternoon (April 13). Stakes action continues this week at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday (April 14), as three $20,000 splits of the final leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series will go behind the gate in races six, seven, and eight. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

TALLAHASSEE, FL (AP) — Florida's jai alai frontons, quarter horse and harness horse racing tracks could choose not to conduct live events and still be able to operate poker and slot machine rooms under a bill unanimously approved by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Monday. Thoroughbred horse tracks would still have to conduct live racing under the bill, and while greyhound racing is now illegal in Florida, permit holders could still run card rooms and slots. Permit holders wouldn't be able to move their licenses to new locations. There was little debate on the bill, though some in the pari-mutuel industry expressed concerns. Mike Rogers, president of racing for the Stronach Group, which owns the Gulfstream Park thoroughbred track in Broward County, said there should be some sort of financial penalty for pari-mutuels if they stop live events. “The net affect of this decision places that thoroughbred industry at a serious competitive and economic disadvantage,” Rogers said.   Because pari-mutuel facilities would be able to lower their operating costs, they'd be able to spend more on marketing and player rewards incentives to attract gamblers. He suggested that permit holders who decide not to hold live events contribute to a common purse pool to help the thoroughbred industry conduct a full racing schedule. “Putting our casino at a disadvantage would seriously jeopardize this schedule, directly impacting one of the world's most coveted thoroughbred racing and breeding markets,” Rogers said. Slot machines are allowed at Miami-Dade and Broward County pari-mutuels. Other pari-mutuels in Florida can operate poker rooms but not slots. Florida voters approved a ban on greyhound racing in 2018. The ban took effect at the end of December. From the Associated Press

Grove City, Ohio - Ohio horsemen are mourning the death of Dr. Albert Gabel. Gabel, a former president of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association passed away April 12 at the age of 91. Gabel graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1954. After a two-year stint in the Air Force, Gabel returned to Ohio State where he earned a master's degree in veterinary anesthesia. He served on the faculty at Ohio State's College of Veterinary Medicine for 33 years. He served as head of the Clinical Equine Section from 1971 until he retired in 1989. Dr. Gabel trained and drove Standardbred racehorses for 11 years and was named the United States Amateur Driver of the Year in 1995. He was elected president of the Ohio Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association in 1992 and was instrumental in initiating its merger with the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association. Dr. Gabel passed peacefully at his home with his beloved wife Lucille by his side. Funeral arrangements are pending. by Frank Fraas, for the OHHA  

Pompano Beach, FL - April 13, 2021 - Rebellious, superbly handled by harness racing driver Wally Hennessey for trainer Mike Deters, took top honors in Pompano Park's $11,500 Open Handicap Pace, stopping the timer in 1:51.1. The grand seven year-old gelded son of Mach Three led every long stride of his mile, posting fractions of :26.4, :55.2 and 1:23.1 along the way, in garnering his 45th career win vaulting his bounty to $352,006 for Deters, who co-owns with Joel Warner. Ideal Feeling (Kevin Wallis), closed fastest of all to be second, less than a length away, with Lyons Night Hawk next. Wes Delight and Skip To My Lou earned the minors in the classy sextet. REBELLIOUS REPLAY   It was a classic from start to finish as Hennessey sent his charge to the front, out-footing Lyons Night Hawk and La Rockin Sampson early and leaving Wes Delight, Skip To My Lou and Ideal Feeling, seeking his third straight Open win, well back of the leader. Positions remained unchanged much of the way as only Skip To My Lou tried to dent the leader's lead on the backside with Ideal Feeling second over but still last, 5 1/4 lengths away. As driver Hennessey explained, "There are a lot of factors in any race from post positions to pace and one horse might seem better than another. If, say, one is better than another on a particular night, the questions is 'how much better?' Kevin's (Wallis) horse might have been five lengths better but six lengths back so that's the difference right there--post positions and the start. "He was Rebellious tonight and determined and Mike's (trainer Deters) expertise as a horseman and his caretaker's dedication certainly came through. I just handled the lines!" With this fourth win of the season in eight starts, Rebellious sent his 2021 bankroll to $28,050 and rewarded his faithful with a $4.40 mutuel as the 6 to 5 choice. The $10,000 Open II Pace went to War-N-Munn, driven by Kevin Wallis. The eight year-old altered son of Stonebridge Regal used a "Hail Mary" pass three-eighths into the mile--the pass being from third to first in, roughly, 50 yards to secure the lead and hold on late for the neck triumph over the pocket-sitting Darling's Dragon (Donald Dupont) with a very fast closing Saulsbrook Deputy (Ken Holliday) third, 1 1/4 lengths away. Agedchedar Hanover was fourth while Kinnder Jackson picked up the nickel. Unlike last week when War-N-Munn led start to finish in a conditioned event, he tried to use these same tactics on this night but with three other "leavers" was forced to take back early as, first, Darling's Dragon and, then, Agedchedar Hanover got in an early war as Kinnder Jackson also decided to relent and tuck in fourth. After a hot opener of :26.1, Wallis sent War-N-Munn on that "Hail Mary" pass and did secure the lead prior to the half in a sizzling :54.1. He then used a :27.4 backside panel to reach the third station in 1:22 and held gamely late for the win--his second straight and 30th lifetime win. Also trained and owned by Wallis, War-N-Munn now has $375,184 in career bounty. As fourth choice in the betting at 5 to 1, War-N-Munn paid $12.40 to win. Though Hennessey and Wallis took the feature events, the driving star of the night was Joe Chindano, Jr., who hit a grand-slam while getting to the winner's circle with Rural Art ($7.00), Don't Chip Me ($3.20), Endeavors Pride ($12.20) and Neptune ($16.00). Racing continues on Tuesday with mares in the spotlight in the $11,500 Open Pace. That event is carded as the sixth race and kicks off the Pick-4 with a $20,000 guaranteed pool with ann industry low 12% takeout. There is also a $13,222.65 carryover in the Super Hi-5 finale. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. by John Berry, for Pompano Park

The Blooded Horse Sale is currently taking entries for its Spring Sale May 11, in Springfield, OH. Racehorses and breeding stock are in high demand and this sale is one of the few remaining opportunities to utilize a live venue. With buyers coming from 27 states and Canada, it's obvious that they crave the chance to see a variety of horses in person. Enter online at bloodedhorse.com. Entries close Friday, April 16. by Dot Morgan, for the Blooded Horse Sale      

East Rutherford, NJ - The greatest two minutes in sports - the Kentucky Derby - takes place on Saturday, May 1st and the Meadowlands Racetrack is the best place to watch and wager. Racetrack doors open at 9 am with first Churchill Downs post at 10:30 am. Live harness racing kicks off at 6:20 pm and the Kentucky Derby post time is set for 6:57 pm. Guaranteed seating for this exciting day is now on sale at PlayMeadowlands.com/derby Due to limited attendance capacities and COVID protocols, onsite attendance is limited to the following: Café table seating Backyard BBQ & Grill seating Lounge dining West Deck & Promenade dining 500 hundred pre-paid general admission indoor Grandstand tickets 3,000 Backyard only FREE general admission 25 Café picnic tables are available for purchase. The Café will have waitress service and be tented for guest comfort. Guests can dine on racetrack staples including chicken wings and French fries, cheese steaks, burgers, pretzels, popcorn, ice cream and more. Reservations must be pre-paid and are $100 per table. Each table seats up to four people. The $100 is also a food credit that can be used at the outdoor Café on Kentucky Derby Day. The credit is valid on Saturday, May 1st only. Outdoor Backyard guaranteed seating is limited for Derby Day. The Backyard BBQ & Grill opens at 11 am will have waitress service. Guests can dine delicious spring-time grilled fare including burgers, sausage and hot dog along with brisket, ribs and mac & cheese. Each table seats up to 4 people. The $100 is a food credit that can be used at the Backyard BBQ & Grill and Backyard Bar on Saturday, May 1st only. Additional seats can be purchased for $25. All Backyard diners should enter via the Backyard entrance. The West Deck has a $39.95 pre-fixe Derby lunch menu featuring a variety of cold salads, grilled items along with a selection of pre-packaged desserts will also be available. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling 201-TheBigM or emailing mrefinski@playmeadowlands.com. Please keep in mind seating is limited and begins at 11am. Hot food service is 11am - 4:30pm. If additional food is ordered after 5pm, each additional diner will be charged $29.95 for the evening food service. The Promenade will open for outdoor dining at 5pm featuring salads, grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken along with desserts. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling 201-TheBigM or emailing mrefinski@playmeadowlands.com. There is no better place to watch and wager on all the Derby Day racing action, than the 2nd floor Lounge. Guests can dine on delicious Victory Sports Bar fare including chicken wings and loaded French fries, paninis, burgers, loaded nachos, popcorn shrimp, cheese steaks and more. The seating cost is a food credit that will be applied to the food and beverage bill. Tax and gratuity are not included in this credit and are additional. Available Seating/Dining Options for purchase include: Grandstand Lounge Table: Reservations must be pre-paid and are $80 per two person table and $160 for a four person table. Grandstand Lounge Couch: Reservations must be pre-paid and are $150 per four person section complete with couch. These sections are premium seating directly in front of the HD Tvs. Additional Seats: Seats can be added to any of the above options for an additional $40 per seat. Guests not interested in dining can purchase a General Admission ticket for $10. It guarantees track entrance through the Simulcast Entrance from 9 am - 7pm. After 7pm admission is free. There is also the free Backyard admission option. Guests are able to enter the track via the Backyard entrance and watch and wager on all the racing action at the outdoor mutuel tellers. Due to COVID attendance restrictions Backyard admissions will not be granted access to the Grandstand. All guests will have their temperature checked and must complete a brief health questionnaire before entering via the Clubhouse entrance. No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. Guests can download and complete the required questionnaire at PlayMeadowlands.com to help speed up the check-in process. All must wear masks while not actively eating or drinking at their table. More detailed information on dining and Derby Day admission can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com/derby From the Meadowlands

WEBINAR REMINDER: Is there a Better Way to Assess the Science Behind Racing's Anti-Doping and Medication Policies WEBINAR: Thursday, April 15 (TOMORROW!) - 1:00 pm Eastern Anyone who witnessed yesterday's ARCI Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee meeting has to be asking themselves if there is not a better way to manage and assess the relevant science pertaining to anti-doping/medication policy. Racing has three science groups - the RMTC SAC, the USTA HRMC, and the RCI SAG (a blend of the other two). One operates under a non-disclosure policy, the other two don't. The RMTC analyzes data using a 95/95 statistical model, the USTA uses the GCM (General Circulation Model). Each model generates a different possible threshold recommendation. Trying to determine who is right and who is wrong is daunting. For regulators, there are obvious questions: Should publicly sanctioned entities make policy based on data that is not permitted to be released? Do non-disclosure agreements limiting transparency undermine confidence in the policies ultimately enacted? Should data be analyzed using 95/95 or GCM statistical model? Would it not make sense to crush the existing process and create a new, linear one? In human sport, there is the Partnership for Clean Competition (PCC). Thursday's webinar features Michael Pearlmuter, the Executive Director of the PCC. We encourage you to hear what he has to say about all this. This is an important topic and you are urged to register if you have not already done so.. (Suitable for: Commissioners, Executive Directors, and Veterinarians. Open to the industry and press.) CLICK TO REGISTER FOR ASSESSING THE SCIENCE The ARCI (RCI) is the only umbrella organization of the official governing rule making bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America, Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, and Riyad, Saudi Arabia. ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, as well as off-track wagering entities. ARCI's members are the only independent entities recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARCI.   From the Association of Racing Comissioners International  

Plainville, MA --- Plainridge Park's harness racing Trainer of the Year in 2020 wasted no time flexing her muscle on the opening day of the track's 2021 meet. Melissa Beckwith sent newly acquired Keystone Dakota to post in the $15,000 conditioned pacing feature for 5-year-olds and under and the son of Art Major - Keystone Dawn responded with a win and a new lifetime mark in his first start at Plainridge. Despite drawing post eight in the full field of starters, driver Bruce Ranger sent Keystone Dakota right to the front and never looked back after clearing. With Wyatt J (Ron Cushing) sitting on his back, Keystone Dakota snapped off quarters of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.2 before rounding the last bend to head down the lane. It was there Cushing pulled the right line on Wyatt J and got the big horse in gear, trying to chase down the leader. Although Wyatt J was able to make up some of the deficit in deep stretch, Keystone Dakota was just too much on this day and cruised home in :28.3 and stopped the timer in 1:52, which was a new lifetime mark. KEYSTONE DAKOTA REPLAY   It was the second consecutive win for Keystone Dakota ($4.60) and owner/trainer Melissa Beckwith, who privately purchased the gelding on March 24 at Saratoga Raceway. Beckwith and Ranger teamed up earlier in the day to win with Vodka On The Beach ($2.80), giving each a double on the card. In the secondary featured $12,500 condition for male pacers, Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) shipped in from Yonkers Raceway and scored his first win of the year after a gutsy effort from off the pace. Rock Diamonds N got away third and watched as Sports Obsession (Drew Monti) led to the half in :55.3. Cushing pulled Rock Diamonds N at that station and quickly drew alongside the leader. Rock Diamonds N got a short lead on the outside but was not able to clear as Sports Obsession continued to fight. The two horses matched strides around the last turn and into the stretch and after pacing dead-even all the way to the wire, Rock Diamonds N finally wore down Sports Obsession and won by a head at the beam in 1:52.1. Rock Diamonds N ($11.40) is owned by Kevin Sywyk and Ron Cushing and is trained by Heidi Gibbs. Drivers Drew Monti, Greg Merton and Mike Stevenson all had three winners on the day as did trainer Scott Renz. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (April 15) at 4 p.m. For full race results, click here. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

HARRINGTON, DE - Michael Casalino Jr. and Rodney Long's Itsrocknroll A ($7.80, Jon Roberts) was a 1:53.1 winner in the featured $20,000 Open Pace at Monday's opening day of harness racing at Harrington Raceway. The 6-year-old A Rocknroll Dance gelding who sat in the pocket, out-kicked pacesetter and race favorite JJ Flynn through the stretch for a narrow win. Drinkin Again was third. It was the 3rd win of the year for Itsrocknandroll A, who is trained by Dylan Davis. ITSROCKNROLL A REPLAY   Owner/trainer Gary Simpson had a double with two longshots Wichita Lineman ($65.80, Allan Davis) and I'll Play It Alone ($34.20, Art Stafford Jr.). Jason Lynch's Mcboogity ($6, Jason Lynch) scored a 1:55.1 in the sub-featured $25,000 to $30,000 claiming handicap. Pat Berry, Montrell Teague and Victor Kirby each had a driving double. Live racing will continue on a Monday through Wednesday schedule. Post time nightly is 4:30 p.m. For full race results, click here. By Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

Gruden (Muscles Yankee) scored for the second consecutive week in the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Monday afternoon. Harness racing driver Billy Dobson pilots the Monica Krist-trained trotter and wasted no time moving him to the front in this week's $12,000 feature. Enjoying comfortable fractions on the engine, Gruden didn't face much of a threat before powering away to win in 1:57.3 while the favorite at odds of 4-5. Stone In Love (Brian Cross), who finished third in last week's Open, sat the pocket to the winner on Monday and finished second. Local legend Cash Me Out (Phil Fluet) had to settle for the show spot. GRUDEN REPLAY   Gruden, who has been a picture of consistency at the Spa early on in the campaign, has now vaulted himself towards the top of the group of local trotters after his second consecutive score in the Open. For the second straight week, Dobson piloted Krist trainees Gruden and Lazzaro to Monday scores. Both trotters are owned by Rick Dobson of Howell, Michigan. The win completed a natural hat trick for Billy Dobson who piloted three straight winners on the card. Gruden took the bulk of the public's money in the wagering this week despite the fact that Cash Me Out was back in town to compete. The exacta in the six-horse feature paid $9.70 and the triple with Cash Me Out third came back $19.80. Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon starting at Noon. For full race results, click here. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Special Graduate was in command in the first of three conditioned harness racing co-features at a muddy Monticello Raceway on Apr. 12.   Driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. pushed the Art Major mare to the top through the quarter in :29.2. He sliced out middle fractions of :59.4 and 1:29.4 while maintaining a length-and-a-quarter gap to first-over Delilah De Vie (Jim Taggart Jr.).   Special Graduate pulled away with ease and was wrapped up crossing the finish line in 2:00.2. Rella Tivity's (Drew Chellis) pocket trip landed her the place spot, and Delilah De Vie stayed on for third. The winner paid $3.20.   SPECIAL GRADUATE REPLAY     Special Graduate's win was her 10th on 35 lifetime attempts, and it increased her bankroll to more than $45,000. David Dziengiel trains and co-owns with Robert Sholes and Edward Davis, all of whom are residents of Bloomingburg.   Quick Summer took the second co-feature in similar fashion, though she was under duress for the entire back half and won a close photo.   Quick Summer sprinted out to the lead and enjoyed opening splits of :30.4 and 1:02.1 under the guidance of Michael Merton. Er Betty (Taggart) went first up going past the half and attacked the leader, drawing level at one point but backing off as they approached three-quarters in 1:32.1.   Er Betty persisted through, and Mayfair Well (Cory Stratton) slid up the inside as they straightened for home, setting the stage for a three-across finish. Mayfair Well went strongly on the inside, but Quick Summer was too determined and edged the victory by a neck in 2:02.4. The former was a game second, and Er Betty fought on for third.   QUICK SUMMER REPLAY     Quick Summer is now 12-for-87 lifetime with just shy of $85,000 in earnings. Barbara Schlosser of The Bronx owns the seven-year-old Prayer I Am mare and employs Dennis Laterza as the trainer. The horse paid $5.60 to win.   Best Choice captured the final co-feature, going first-up in a double move effort.   She pressed on from post six, vying for early position and settling for the third spot on the rail just past the quarter in :29.3. Merton kept her on the inside going by the half in 1:00.3 as the outer flow got moving. That choice paid off as the first-over contender backed up on the final backside trip, allowing Best Choice to make a first-up move of her own to go after leader The New Americana (Justin Huckabone).   Best Choice was at the leader's bridle at three-quarters in 1:30.3 and went by, but she was unable to clear turning for home, allowing The New Americana to re-rally up the pylons. They dueled down the lane, but Best Choice earned the victory and won by a half length in 2:00.1 The New Americana settled for place, and Realistic (John De Simone Jr.) followed the winner's cover for show.   BEST CHOICE REPLAY     Best choice won first off the claim for Mo Coo Inc of Merrick and Andew Adamcyzk of Middletown. Adamcyzk also trains the five-year-old Ponder mare that has won 13 of her 58 starts and earned more than $55,000 lifetime.   Monticello Raceway will return on Tuesday, Apr. 13 with nine races kicking off at 12:10 EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

LEBANON, OH - The first of four $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship races for Ohio-sired sophomore harness racing trotters and pacers was featured on Monday (April 12) at Miami Valley Raceway. Swizzle Hanover (Mike Wilder), a daughter of Uncle Peter, was impressive winning in 1:55.4 over Ozma (Aaron Merriman) and Magic Credit Card (Brett Miller). Despite a second place finish in last week's elimination heat, the public sent Swizzle Hanover to post as the 3-5 favorite and she looked the part throughout the championship tilt. Wilder patiently marched his filly forward before clearing to the front as the :28.2 first quarter beam was tripped. From there he rated a mile with splits of :57.3 and 1:26.1 while elimination winner Ozma (Aaron Merriman) sat nose-to-helmet on his back. Despite his attempt to rally Ozma in the stretch, Merriman couldn't get any closer as the winner crossed the finish line in 1:55.4 with a margin of just over a length on the runnerup. SWIZZLE HANOVER REPLAY   As a two-year-old Swizzle Hanover won two races and earned $75,575 for her owner-trainer Randy Bendis and his partner Reed Broadway. To start her sophomore season, she has won three races out of four, plus the second in the Hackett elimination, and has pushed her earnings to $108,125. In addition to Swizzle Hanover, Ozma and Magic Credit Card, I Am Winning (Chris Page) also earned an automatic berth in the $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational at Miami Valley on Friday, April 23. The remainder of that field will be announced when it is determined. The $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship race for state-bred sophomore trotting colts will be featured on Tuesday (April 13) as the ninth race on a 14-race program that starts at 2:05 p.m. Elimination heat winners Winning Ticket (Merriman) and Panzano (Dan Noble) have been installed as morning line favorites, followed by Tango With Me (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Credit Ace (Brett Miller) and Lockbox (Chris Page). Three of the five favorites hail from the Chris Beaver stable, while the other pair are members of the Ron Burke brigade. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway