Day At The Track

The Tuesday night (August 15) the Running Aces harness racing program saw many stellar performances, one of the impressive miles was turned in by Happy Heath ($77.20) with Trainer/Driver William Hernandez, in a $5,400 conditioned pace.   Happy Heath was making his sixth local start of the season, and was dismissed by the public at 37-1 from the rail. Hernandez sent Happy Heath away sharply from the inside and secured the pocket, which would turn out to be the winning move. The duo sat patiently through a torrid mid-race battle up front, and tipped from the pocket turning for home, with enough pace to get by the leaders and post a lifetime best mile in 1:55.3, in just the 4th career win for the 4 year old gelding by General Aidid. Happy Heath is owned by Jessie Pacheco.   The $10,000 Open Handicap Trot went to Becky Badger Baby ($4.00) once again with Trainer/Driver Nick Roland for a second straight win, this one in 1:57 with a late rally to get up by ½ length at the wire. Becky Badger Baby is owned by Dale Hein and Royal & Barbara Roland and now has 4 wins in 8 starts this season.   The $10,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace was yet another thrilling edition, with a big early speed battle getting the best of Best of Jenna (Rick Magee) who was 3-wide through the opening 1/8 mile and cleared the lead just past the sizzling 26.0 quarter. Gold Star Mysti ($4.20) launched a first-over attack just past the 3/8 pole and took command past the five-eighths checkpoint. From there it was all Gold Star Mysti, as she opened up around the final turn and drew away in the lane to post a 5¾ length romp in 1:51.3 for her 6th win in 9 starts this season. Gold Star Mysti is Trained and Driven by James (J.D.) Yoder for owner Marianne Audley. Kiss On The Lips (Dean Magee) was up for second, and Boom Boom Shaboom (Brady Jenson) checked in third.   The $13,000 Minnesota- Sired 2 year old trot went to Bragginade ($3.40), who kept to task tonight to post an easy gate-to-wire score in 2:02.3 for a new lifetime mark with Trainer/Driver Nick Roland in the sulky for owners Set The Pace Racing LLC.   The $13,000 Minnesota-Sired 2 year old Pacing event went to Giggle Monster ($3.00) who picked up his sixth victory in 7 lifetime starts with Driver Dean Magee in the bike (1:56) for Trainer Denise Maier and Owners Alan & Cheryl Sandbulte.   Drivers Nick Roland and Dean Magee both completed the Hat-Trick tonight with 3 wins apiece, and driver James (J.D.) Yoder completed a driving double.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces this coming Saturday, August 19 with a first post of 6:00 pm CDT and a carryover in the .20 cent Jackpot pick 5 of $36,851.92.   By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer

Watch and Wager LLC harness racing at Cal Expo is proud to announce that the $20,000-guaranteed Alan Horowitz Memorial for pacers has been added to the stakes schedule at the upcoming meeting that is scheduled to begin on Saturday, October 28. The series named for the man who was a major force in California harness racing over the last several decades and a member of the California Harness Horsemen's Association Hall of Fame.Alan Horowitz passed away in April at the age of 73. The eliminations for the Horowitz will be held on Saturday, November 11 with a $5,000 purse, with a $20,000-guaranteed purse for the finale on the following Saturday evening. The series is a starter allowance for horses and geldings that have started for a base price of $5,000 or less since August 15 of this year and have not won for a base claiming price exceeding $8,000 since that date. Also eligible will be fillies and mares who have started for a base claiming price of $6,000 or less since August 15 of this year and have not won for a base claiming price of $10,000 since that date. The top 10 money earners from the eliminations will qualify for the final. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

WASHINGTON PA - The harness racing husband/wife team of driver Tony and trainer Linda Schadel continued their hot hands at the famed Arden Downs oval at the Washington County Fair in this city literally just down the street from The Meadows, including the fastest pacing winners during both Monday's sophomore action and the quickest freshman pacer on Tuesday. Fastest of all Washington performers was the very first horse to return to Victory Lane, the Schadels' Rocknroll Hanover pacing filly Bella Ragaza, who overcame a trailing start spot to post her seventh straight win and eighth of the fair campaign in 2:01.2, also taking over the distinction as the leading pointswinner on the fair circuit to this point of the 2017 campaign. Linda Schadel co-owns the streaking winner with Roxanna Buffington. The freshman gelding by A Rocknroll Dance, Legendary Ron, ran his record to two for three since his recent purchase by Tony and Linda, with a big mile in 2:01.4 to defeat the multiwinner Marvalous Falcon on Tuesday. The trotting star of the meet was the undefeated Explosive Matter two-year-old gelding Hockey Hanover, who became the North American leader among freshman trotters in wins with his eighth straight triumph - five at the fairs, and three in the pari-mutuel Stallion Series. Hockey Hanover was handled by Wilbur Yoder to a 2:05.2 victory for trainer John McMullen and his family's McMullen Stable LLC. Fastest trotter of the meet was the Ron Burke trainee New Heaven, who has now won two straight over the twicearound circuit, this one in 2:03.1; the Yankee Glide gelding is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc., and David Wills, and was driven to victory by Chris Shaw. Shaw, in fact, had five victories during the two-day meet to edge Tony Schadel by one for that honor while increasing his summerlong lead to 44-34 over Roger Hammer. Linda Schadel's four-bagger on the two cards easily put her atop that category, with no other trainer having more than two. The PA Fair Circuit crowd doesn't miss a beat - they'll be off and racing at Dayton on Wednesday and Thursday at noon, with sophomores starting things off, and then the freshmen, led by the exciting Venier Hanover, just three days after having the stretch lead in a pari-mutuel PA Sire Stakes before finishing third against national-class horses. Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association        

WILKES-BARRE PA - First-time Pennsylvania Stallion Series starters won all four divisions of the third preliminary leg for harness racing two-year-old filly pacers Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - with all four of the winners not assured of a Sire Stakes Championship, but close to "on the bubble" for the rich final to be held at Pocono on Labor Day. Matt Kakaley handled two of Tuesday's winners, including the fastest and the only non-maiden, the A Rocknroll Dance-Road Sign miss Sidewalk Dancer, who won her third straight race while lowering her mark to 1:52.3. "Sidewalk" danced to control past the quarter and finished with 27.4 speed to be five lengths clear at the finish for trainer Chris Oakes and owners North Fork Racing Stable, Omar Beiler, and Dennis Coons. Kakaley's other Stallion Series success came behind the Bettor's Delight-Sanabellevalentine filly Belle's Delight, who moved to the lead at the ¾ and drew off by 5¾ lengths in 1:53.3. Belle's Delight, who was second in a division of the Arden Downs stake on Adios Day, is trained by Ron Burke for owner W J Donovan. Both Kakaley winners were mutuel favorites; the horse evaluated as second-best in her division, the Somebeachsomewhere-Shoobeedobeedo (try typing that three times quickly) filly Sandy's Beach, proved the best by two lengths despite going first-over to stop the timer at 1:52.4. David Miller, who had four wins on the card at press time, drove the Nifty Norman-trained filly for owner David McDuffee. The longest-priced of the four winners, She Said So ($17.60), also had the smallest win margin, a head, but her check will be the same no matter the margin of victory. The daughter of Well Said-Dreams Are Great was stepping quickly late to just catch favored pacesetter Krushed Apple in 1:54.4 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Mark Harder, the latter also co-owner with Joseph Jannuzzelli, Deena Frost, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. The only double winner in the first two prelims, Cult Icon, sat out this dance, and obviously with four first-time series starters winning she is still the only filly with two wins. But she is not the pointleader: that distinction is shared by three fillies who had board finishes at Pocono to make their scorecards 3-1-1-1, worth 75 points: Real Fine, Round The Beach, and Some Renditions. And right now 40 points ties a horse for eighth and a shake to get in the 8-horse final; all of Tuesday's winners are tied for 11th - which should make the freshmen's final divisional prelim, August 23 at Philly, quite a spectacle. PHHA / Pocono

The last time Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty) raced at Saratoga Casino Hotel, the George Ducharme trainee got away last in a mile that would be trotted in 1:54 by Ron Burke's Gural Hanover. In that start, Wings Of Royalty made a brief break approaching the half but still ended up finishing fourth after a late surge. Following that start, the five year old trotter finished second in a track record performance by Gural Hanover at Plainridge before competing in and making a break in the $303,050 Cashman Memorial Trot at the Meadowlands. On Tuesday night, it was back to the Spa for Wings Of Royalty who would be the 6-5 betting favorite in the $18,000 Open Trot. Chris Lems was in to drive the talented trotter who was moved out to the early lead. Behind matching halves of 57 seconds, Wings Of Royalty stopped the timer in 1:54 matching Gural Hanover's effort as the fastest of the year for any trotter at Saratoga. The time also serves as a new track record for an aged trotting horse at the Spa. Up The Alley (Mark Beckwith) sat the pocket and finished second in the Open while last week's Open winner Twisted Pretzel (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot. Wings Of Royalty has now earned over $628,000 in 53 lifetime starts by way of 17 career victories. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with NY Sire Stakes action featured. First post time is set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 15, 2017 -- Iluvtomakemoney completed his sweep of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series four preliminary legs with a hard-fought victory in Tuesday's $60,000 leg at The Meadows. The event for harness racing freshman colt and gelding pacers was contested over three divisions, with Like Clockwork and No Easy Day taking the other splits. The Meadows will host all eight stallion series championships, each offering a $40,000 purse, on Saturday, Sept. 2. Hammered down to 3-5, Iluvtomakemoney was expected to make short work of the field. But his competitors had other ideas, as the Well Said-Symphony In Motion gelding found himself widest in a three-ply, 26.4 battle for the early lead. He reached the point for Tony Hall and held off the rallying Someboysomewhere by a neck in 1:54.3, with Dancinat Midland third. "He gets really grabby in a hole, so my instructions today were: do what you have to do to get to the front," Hall said. "I don't know why we had to do a quarter in 26.4 -- it got very confusing. I wasn't sure if he had enough left, but he toughed it out and got the job done." Mark Harder trains the homebred Iluvtomakemoney for Joseph Jannuzzelli. Like Clockwork extended his career unbeaten streak to four, including three stallion series victories, by quarter-poling to the lead for Mike Wilder and scoring easily in 1:53.3. Early leader Aleppo Hanover was second, 3-3/4 lengths back, while Dew A Little Dance earned show. Tim Twaddle trains the Ponder-Macharoundtheclock gelding for owner/breeder Birnam Wood Farms. "He doesn't act like a 2-year-old," Wilder said. "Everything comes easy for him. He doesn't show much greenness. I keep pushing him to the lead to keep him out of trouble, but it doesn't seem to bother him. He has a quiet demeanor but a big motor." No Easy Day was dropping down from PA Sires Stake events; the class relief showed as he rocketed by four horses in the stretch to notch his maiden victory in 1:53.3 for Dan Charlino, trainer Ron Burke and owner Thomas Dillon. Beach Watch was 1-1/4 lengths back in second while Yupper completed the ticket. "Ronnie said he'd be really good, just race him from the back," Charlino said of the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Wish All You Want. "He was kind of 'colty,' just kind of goofing around back there, until I popped the plugs. When I asked him to go, he shifted into a gear these colts don't have." In the $20,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Jewels In Hock enjoyed escort service from her stablemate, Classical Annie, then blew by her in the lane to triumph in 1:54. Wilder drove for Burke and owner Crawford Farms Racing. The 5-year-old daughter of Credit Winner-Jewels Galore extended her career bankroll to $512,955. It was one of three wins for Wilder on the 14-race program. Wednesday's card at The Meadows features a pair of events for 3-year-old filly trotters: a $142,654 PA Sires Stake known as the Meadow Bright and a $100,000 stallion series stake. First post is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

LEWISBURG WV - Ohio horseman Ammon Hershberger won three of the four heats on the Tuesday harness racing card held over the fairgrounds oval of this city in the southeastern part of the State, within the four-day meet conducted during the annual State Fair of West Virginia. Hershberger swept the two $1800 features of the day, one on each gait, including winning for the second straight day with the Royal Palm gelding War Chief, whom he also trains and owns. On Tuesday War Chief made the lead at the quarter and set an even pace en route to his 2:03.3 triumph. Hershberger's victory in the featured pace came with the Stand Forever gelding Stand Your Ground, who lived up to his name by setting the pace under pressure and still going on to a 2:02.3 victory for trainer Darrell Moore and owner Katina Mauldin. Hershberger also trains his third sulky success of the day, the Camluck gelding Red Carpet Dude, home first in 2:03.2 for owner Jamie Coffy of Pathian fame. Trainer Darrell Moore and owner Katina Mauldin also combined for the other winner of the day, the Artiscape gelding Carnoustie. Coming off a 1:55 qualifying victory at Lexington, Carnoustie opened a big lead and coasted home in 2:04. Communicators Hall of Fame announcer Roger Huston takes over the microphone for the final two days of the SFOWV meet, with five hears scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and then a getaway card Thursday, with free-for-alls on both gait, first going to post at 1 p.m. Jerry Connors

Vernon , NY - Top filly trotter Ariana G has been entered to race against harness racing colts in the Open Main Event of the $320,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial (race 10) on Friday night at Vernon Downs.   Ariana G was considered for the Open division of the Hambletonian but her connections chose instead to race her in an elimination and final format against fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks.   Her competition will indeed be stout in the Zweig Memorial. Among the chief contenders are Devious Man coming in off a valiant second place effort in the Hambletonian final, Bill's Man who wound up fourth in that race, Hambo first heat winner International Moni and Stanley Dancer Memorial (div) winner Long Tom.   Ariana G's win in the Oaks pushed her career earning past the $1 million mark for breeder/owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The Muscle Hill filly has won fifteen of eighteen career starts and six of seven this season, her only defeat coming in a third place finish against colts in June's Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono. Jimmy Takter trains and Yannick Gingras will drive from post position five.   Devious Man (PP #7) has been a model of consistency throughout his career for owners Stroy, Inc. and Andy Miller Stable. The best in New York last season, he has taken on both state-bred and Grand Circuit assignments with equal success with four wins and four seconds in as many starts this year. He also edged past $1 million in career earnings with his Hambo Day proceeds. Andy Miller will drive the Julie Miller trainee in the Zweig.   With Ariana G out of the mix, everybody in the $135,000 Zweig Filly trot (race 9) moves up one position.   Celebrity Ruth is the top money winner having collected more than $200,000 this season, largely in the NYSS program for owner White Birch Farm. Trond Smedshammer is the trainer and Jason Bartlett will drive starting from post position two.   Competition will come from a pair of Ake Svanstedt fillies who each won a division of the Duenna stake at The Meadowlands. Evelyn (PP #3) will get Andy Miller who drove her to the Duenna success back in the sulky for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E LLC, Borje Nasstrom and Silva Stable 45 while Ice Attraction leaves from post 7 for the trainer and his partners Doug Sipple Mal & Janet Borroughs and Little E.   There are also consolations for both the colt and filly Zweig and three divisions of New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for freshman pacing colts along with the accompanying Excel A & B races on an all-stakes card.   The races begin at 6:45 p.m. More information is available at the Vernon Downs website.   Nick Salvi    

BOSTON -- Bettors wagered more than ever before at the state's lone slots parlor in July -- approaching $200 million -- helping Plainridge Park Casino post its second strongest month yet. Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, the only gambling facility to open under the state's six-year-old expanded gaming law, generated $15.5 million in gross gaming revenue in July from a record $194.6 million in wagers, according to the company's revenue report. The slots parlor, owned by Penn National Gaming, reported a payout percentage of 92.07 percent. Gross revenues were higher at Plainridge only during the first full month the facility was open, in July 2015. The state is entitled to nearly $6.2 million of Plainridge's July revenue in the form of state taxes intended for local aid and another nearly $1.4 million for the Race Horse Development Fund. That works out to a total tax or assessment hit of $7,566,627 according to the Gaming Commission. Plainridge is taxed on 49 percent of its gross gaming revenue, with 82 percent of the tax levy going to local aid and 18 percent to fund set up with the goal of supporting horse racing, an industry that is struggling in Massachusetts. While Thoroughbred racing is near its all-time low in Massachusetts, harness racing has experienced something of a revival, in part thanks to the track at Plainridge Park Casino. The standardbred track at the slots parlor has seen a $10 million increase in its live handle since 2014 and another $3 million increase from simulcasting, according to the United States Trotting Association. On July 28, the track hosted the Spirit of Massachusetts open trot which was the richest race in Massachusetts standardbred history -- a $250,000 purse awarded to winner JL Cruze, driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Eric Ell. Since the slots parlor opened in late June 2015, gamblers have wagered more than $4.21 billion there and the state has collected more than $166 million in taxes and race horse assessments, according to data provided by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The commission has licensed full-scale restor casinos that are being built in Springfield and Everett. MGM Springfield is expected to open its doors in September 2018 and Wynn Boston Harbor casino in Everett in June 2019. With two casinos complementing the Plainville slots parlor, commission chairman Stephen Crosby has said Massachusetts can expect to collect about $300 million in annual gaming revenue. By Colin A. Young Reprinted with permission of the The Lowell Sun

Trenton, NJ --- Most people try to pick up some extra money in December in order to do holiday shopping. Jason Telfer had no idea it would lead to the start of a new career, harness racing. The 32-year-old Iowan had been around horses most of his life but never had an overwhelming urge to get in the sport. But at the end of last year, he had left his meat packing job and hooked up with the father-son tandem of Paul and Gary Liles. Six months later he began driving at fairs and, shortly after that, he notched his first two driving wins. He is now looking to make a go of it in the sulky. “I didn’t really think this was going to happen,” Telfer said. “It’s been in the family, but I didn’t figure it would be me doing it. I like to go watch and help out but I never figured I’d be behind a horse, racing.” Asked what gave him the impetus, Jason said, “I really don’t know. Some extra side work, some extra money I needed, so I got a job with Gary last December. That was the main reason.” Telfer was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, made famous in the TV show M*A*S*H as Radar O’Reilly’s hometown. Unlike Radar, he grew up in Eldon before moving to his current residence of Selma at age 13. Jason’s parents grew up in Humboldt, Iowa, where his great-grandfather used to race. “It’s in my mom and dad’s blood, but they quit doing it,” Telfer said. He became re-introduced to it when he began dating his girlfriend, Heidi Saner, 14 years ago. Heidi’s dad, John, was racing in Illinois, but moved to Selma after Heidi and Jason began dating. “He started racing over here for Paul Liles; so I just went out to the track to watch and I really enjoyed it,” Telfer said. “I was all around it growing up through my school years, I helped clean stalls and that kind of stuff, but never anything more than that.” It all changed in December when he began helping the Liles family. After getting more involved and jogging horses, Jason got the urge to drive one. He said his first time in the bike was not too excruciating after his jogging experiences. “I really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s something different that I enjoyed. The first time I was jogging I was pretty scared because I was stuck in between horses but after that, the racing is nothing different than the jogging. I was used to it after the first week or so.” His first actual race came in June at the Wapello County Regional Fair in Eldon and was, “pretty good, I felt pretty relaxed out there.” He raced seven more times before getting his first win on July 5 with Hasty I D Claire at the Lee County Fair in Donnellson. It was a three-horse race in which Telfer was second through the first two trips around the track. There was a catch, however. “That track is short down there and you have to go three laps on that track to get a mile,” he said. “The leader thought we were done. He pulled up on the second lap and I passed him. I got a little break there.” He almost got a bad break at the end, but held on to win. “It started raining a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t have gloves on so I couldn’t hold on very much longer. She actually broke right at the wire. So I kept holding on and my hands were slipping. It just slipped right out of my hands pretty much as we came across.” The excitement of the loose reins sort of nullified the elation of winning; but only for a moment. “I was worried hanging on but I enjoyed the win afterward,” he said. “Pictures with my family, my girlfriend and father-in-law (John Saner) that got me started.” Two days later Jason won again at the Keokuk County Fair in What Cheer, when he drove Paul Liles' 2-year-old pacing filly The Real Prize to victory. “That one was a lot easier,” he said. “The horse turned out to be a real prize.” Telfer has not won since, but has hit the board a number of times. “Me and my father-in-law have two horses,” he said. “I got a colt (Perfect Popper) that we lease from a guy. I drove him 12 times and got six seconds. I just can’t win with him, only seconds.” Jason will continue to work for the Liles family and has a nice schedule through August. He is at Humboldt this weekend and will race in the Cyrus Stakes the following Saturday. “We have six more races every weekend,” he said. Telfer is already looking forward to next year. He has some horses with his parents and is getting a few with John Saner, who he refers to as his father-in-law considering how long he and Heidi have dated. “I’m hoping to get out on my own and train and drive on my own,” he said. “I feel pretty good about where I am right now. I feel really good. And I’ll be getting my own horses for next year and try to go against all the big wigs.” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

This past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono featured either Pennsylvania Sire Stakes or Stallion Series competition every racing night. It's always a lot of fun to see these harness racing two and three-year-olds going at it for big purses as they try to establish themselves among the stars of their age groups. It's also a reminder that Labor Day brings the two-year-old Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships to Pocono. In the meantime, here are the finest performances of the past week via the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: HOLD IT HANOVER In general, Stallion Series races are reserved for two and three-year-olds that are a notch below Sire Stakes level; that's reflected in the lower, but still substantial, purses for the Stallion Series races. But, in some cases, the Stallion Series serves as a great location for horses that may have started a bit later in their career than others but are suddenly demonstrating immense talent. That certainly seems to be the case for Hold It Hanover. This filly didn't race at age two, and made her debut in Canada this season as a sophomore, picking up one win in eight starts. But things started to transform when she arrived in Pennsylvania in July and joined the barn of trainer Michael Hall. After finishing fourth in her first start at Harrah's at Philadelphia, Hold It Hanover promptly ripped off three straight victories against non-winners of three fillies and mares. She then came to Pocono on August 8 and beat that same class from an outside post in a career-best 1:51:2. On Sunday night, she took on the Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing fillies for the first time and the domination continued. As the 2-5 favorite from an outside post in a field of seven, she overwhelmed the field on the front end by 5¾ lengths with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike. The winning time of 1:51 was easily the fastest Stallion series time of the night and was comparable to the times of Saturday night's Sire Stakes winners in the same division. With five wins in a row under her belt, the best way to classify Hold It Hanover is as tough to beat. Other top pacers this week include: Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved up in class and grinded out a first-over mile for his second straight condition victory on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:50:1; Scotty Lauxmont (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who scored his second consecutive condition win on Sunday night, moving up in class to win in a career-best 1:52:3; and First Class Horse (George Napolitano Jr. Tracy Brainard), whose condition win on Saturday night in 1:50 marked a career-best and the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: RIDGEWAY SPRINGS One can never tell when the light is going to come on for a struggling horse. In the case of Ridgeway Springs, it looked like he might dwell in darkness all year long. When he arrived at Pocono from The Meadowlands for a non-winners of $6,000 in the last five event on August 6, he was winless this season in 19 races. But the change of scenery must have helped, as the four-year-old gelding, who had just joined the Owen Eiler Jr. barn, made a three-wide back stretch move on his way to a win in a career-best 1:55:2 at 11-1. On Sunday night, Ridgeway Springs took on a different challenge, battling the non-winners of five for a purse of $16,000. Those are much bigger stakes than what he's used to seeking, so it was somewhat understandable that he was let go at 13-1 despite the win in his last start. Driver Anthony Napolitano had the gelding ready to roll, however, pushing him to the front early and then settling into the pocket after race favorite Rosesareexplosive grabbed the lead on the front stretch. Some first-over pressure from Centurion Hanover softened up Rosesareexplosive, all while Ridgeway Springs relaxed in the pocket. In the stretch, Ridgeway Springs uncorked his best move and slid past Rosesareexplosive to win by three-parts of a length. In doing so, he matched his career-best 1:55:2 time from the previous week. After two straight victories at double-digit odds, hope springs anew for this suddenly red-hot trotter. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Up Front Billy (Anthony Napolitano, Mark Ford), who scored a condition win on Saturday night in a brisk 1:53:1; Windsongmusclelady (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), a mare who followed up a win at Harrah's with a victory in Monday night's featured claiming handicap trot in 1:52:3, a new career-best and the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Frac (Anthony Napolitano, Jim Ray), who stepped up the condition ladder to win his second straight on Tuesday night in 1:55. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CAN I SAY With Anthony Morgan in the bike, this trotting mare beat a field of boys to win a condition event at 29-1 on Saturday night, paying off $60 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. On Sunday night's card, which featured some top drivers shipping in for the Stallion Series races, Pocono's top driver asserted his dominance by winning eight of the 14 races on the program. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: NIFTY NORMAN Among Norman's four training victories at Pocono this week were back-to-back Stallion Series wins on Sunday night with sophomore filly pacers Bridge To Tomorrow and Perplexed. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at Jim Beviglia

NICHOLS, N.Y. (August 15, 2017) - Fans of horse racing will be treated to a world-class afternoon of harness racing at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 20 headlined by the $200,000 (est) The Roll With Joe Open Pace presented by Blue Chip Farms and the $500,000 (est) Empire Breeders Classic Finals for the premier New York-sired 3-year-old pacers. Off the track, fans will have a unique opportunity to enter a contest to name a baby horse that will hopefully go on to compete at the sport's highest levels. The foal, a baby horse less than one year old, was bred at Jeff and Paula Gural's Allerage Farms in nearby Sayre, PA. Race fans in attendance on Sunday will have the chance to submit their best name for the filly. The filly is a daughter of the stallion Yankee Glide and her mother is Love Tale. A representative from Allerage Farms will pick their three favorite names and the winner will be the name that receives the most applause from the crowd. The person who submits the winning name will then receive 1 percent of the horse's earnings during its 2 and 3-year-old racing seasons. For complete contest rules visit The Empire Breeders Classic will feature a deep, and talented group of sophomore pacers. In the colts and geldings division, odds-on favorites Miso Fast and Funknwaffles were narrowly defeated in last Sunday's eliminations by In A Single Bound and Art Scene respectively. In the third elimination, Heaven's Gait was a four-length winner and has now won four straight races and six of his last seven. Heavily-favored Clear Idea and Tequila Monday won the pair of eliminations for the fillies and loom as the ones to beat in Sunday's final. Clear Idea, trained by Blake MacIntosh, has won seven in a row and earned more than $188,000 this year. Tequila Monday won her elimination a full second faster than Clear Idea and has had success on the Grand Circuit this season, winning the Lismore Final at Yonkers and finishing third in the $321,200 Fan Hanover at Mohawk. Post time for Sunday's spectacular program is 1:00 p.m. Besides the three headlining stakes, the card also includes the third leg of the Miss Versatility for the sport's top trotting mares and 2-year-old divisions of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. For more information, visit Justin Horowitz

At the Annual Meeting of the Members of the Hambletonian Society held in Rutherford, NJ, in conjunction with the 92nd Hambletonian stakes, two new members were elected to the harness racing board. Ann Straatman of Lucan, Ontario and Linda Toscano of Freehold, New Jersey, were elected to serve on the board of the Hambletonian Society. Both have diverse and long-term involvement in harness racing, and are deeply invested in the future of the sport in North America. Straatman is the Reproduction Manager at Seelster Farms in Lucan, Ontario. With more than 20 years in this position, Straatman and members of the Van Bussel family are the third generation to manage Canada's largest and most successful breeding farm. Seelster Farms encompasses over 600 acres and stands eight of the sports top sires. The farm stood the breed-changing pacing stallion Camluck until his retirement in 2014. Camluck passed away the following year at age 28, leaving an extraordinary legacy of more than $214 million in purses won by his offspring. Straatman is also the current Sale Manager and President of the Forest City Yearling Sale, which Seelster owns in partnership. Straatman has been a Director of Standardbred Canada and was the Chair of the Breeders Committee. Toscano, a native of Brooklyn whose introduction to harness racing came through the metropolitan racetracks of Roosevelt and Yonkers, worked her way through the ranks to become one of the top trainers in the sport today. She was the first female trainer to win the Hambletonian, sending Market Share to victory in 2012. That same year she was voted Trainer of the Year, and another of her charges, Chapter Seven, was voted Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year honors. Toscano has tallied more than $46 million in purses since striking out on her own in 1984. Her first divisional champion was Giant Mermaid in 1995, but she has had multiple stake winners of both gaits, including the free-for-all pacer Jet Laag, who set a world record in 1999 and earned more than $1 million. Most recently her two-year-old trotter Walner was named champion of his division in 2016. "Both Ann and Linda can provide valuable insight to the board," said Hambletonian Society president John Campbell. "They have been long-time contributors to the sport in the most positive ways possible. We look forward to having them assist the Society in our mission." Other business of the meeting included approval of the conditions of Hambletonian No. 95, the stake for the Hambletonian and Oaks of 2020, and the 2021 Hambletonian Maturity. The Hambletonian Society is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1924 to sponsor the race for which it was named, the Hambletonian Stake. The Society's mission is to encourage and support the breeding of Standardbred horses through the development, administration and promotion of harness racing stakes, early-closing races and other special events. The Hambletonian Society services 131 of harness racing's richest and most prestigious events at 14 different tracks, including harness racing's most prominent race, the Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters, a filly division, the Hambletonian Oaks, the Hambletonian Maturity, and the sport's championship series, the Breeders Crown. The organization was responsible for the disbursement of more than $14.8 million in purses last year. John Campbell is president of the Hambletonian Society and Jim Simpson chairs the executive committee.  

Freehold, NJ --- The competition for the top harness racing spot in the Hambletonian Society / Breeders Crown poll heated up this week, with the gap between No.1 and No.2 narrowing to its closest margin of the season. Fear The Dragon remained No. 1 for the ninth consecutive week, but saw his lead over No. 2 Ariana G reduced to eight points. Fear The Dragon finished second to stablemate Downbytheseaside in last weekend’s Milstein Memorial while Ariana G was idle. Huntsville and Hannelore Hanover, also idle, were the next two horses in the poll. Downbytheseaside vaulted from No. 9 to No. 5 in the rankings, representing the largest shift of the week. Agent Q, who won a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division for 3-year-old female pacers, joined the rankings at No. 10. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Fear The Dragon (18) 3pc 11-9-2-0 $999,453 320 1 2 Ariana G (13) 3tf 7-6-0-1 $464,091 312 2 3 Huntsville (3) 3pc 10-7-3-0 $882,303 274 3 4 Hannelore Hanover 5tm 7-4-2-0 $235,299 160 4 5 Downbytheseaside (1) 3pc 10-6-1-2 $686,216 148 9 6 Marion Marauder 4th 5-3-1-1 $443,177 133 5 7 Resolve 6th 6-3-1-0 $327,070 120 6 8 Walner 3tc 2-2-0-0 $83,615 110 7 9 Blazin Britches 3pf 9-8-1-0 $123,392 73 8 10 Agent Q 3pf 9-6-2-0 $414,975 49 --   Also: Manchego (44); Lady Shadow (39); Check Six (20); Devious Man (19); What The Hill (16); Keystone Velocity (12); Crazy Wow (11); Pasithea Face S, Perfect Spirit (10); Foiled Again (8); Clear Idea (6); Fourth Dimension, You Know You Do (5); Bit Of A Legend N (4); Barn Bella, International Moni (3); Nike Franco N, Tequila Monday (2); Holy Trout, Jan, JL Cruze, Magic Presto, Percy Bluechip, Summer Travel, Two AM (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

The first division for harness racing pacing colts/geldings started the night with a stretch duel between a pair of Roger Hans trainees. When the timer tripped at 1:58.1 the pocket sitting Toms Titanosaurus (Cam's Rocket) was a neck in front of I Run The Show. Brian Burton picked up the driving assignment for owner/breeder Thomas Cooke.   Two splits for trotting fillies were up next with the first going to the homebred TV Sensation (T V Show Kosmos) driven, trained, owned and bred by Chris Offutt cutting the mile in 2:06.1. Maryann's A Player finished second.   GooGoo GaaGaa's first crop are hitting the track in style. Corey Callahan sent Gaagaa Gone out from post 6 not getting a clear lead till the quarter but they didn't stop there opening up 2 lengths by the wire over Iron Mine Krystal in 2:02.1. Gaagaa Gone now has 2 wins in 2 starts for owner/breeder Corey Callahan and trainer Richard Hans.   With several lead changes in the second division for pacing colts and geldings, Roger Plante Jr.'s patience paid off when he sent Allie's Finale up the passing lane to catch Charlie J in the 1:59.2 mile. Steve LeBlanc trains for owners Leblanc Racing, Count De Money Stable, Wm. Lutz Jr. and J. Stuart. The breeder is Jacob Ramsburg.   The final stake of the night saw reinsman Art Stafford Jr. send Toms Tyrannosaurus (Cam's Rocket) wire to wire in 1:57 four lengths ahead of Bo Breeze. This gave owner Thomas Cooke and trainer Roger Hans their second stakes win for the night.   Maryland Sire Stake prelims continue Sunday Aug. 20th and Monday Aug. 21.   By Cheri Stambaugh

Lexington, KY - The 2017 edition of the Kentucky Sire Stakes (KYSS) begins on Thursday, August 17 with six divisions of harness racing freshmen trotters split evenly between fillies and colts, each for a purse of $30,000 at The Red Mile.   The big news for the KYSS program this year is that the 2015 foals (2-year-olds in 2017) will benefit from a mare residency policy for the first time. That policy contains language that states the resulting foals of all horses bred during the 2014 breeding season will be eligible for nomination to the KYSS if the horse is out of a mare, even if sired by an out-of-state stallion, that resided in Kentucky during the year of conception for 180 consecutive days and nominated to the fund or by a stallion that stood in Kentucky and nominated to the fund for that breeding season.   In addition to the change in eligibility, funding for the program has seen significant increases, largely due to the pari-mutuel tax on historical horse racing, which is now offered at The Red Mile.   As a result, 52 fashionably-bred freshmen, many from the finest Standardbred nurseries in the Bluegrass, along with many of the sport's top trainers and drivers will compete in the first of three legs leading up to the $250,000 Finals on Sunday, September 17.   The colts will cover the first three races and the new format certainly makes for an interesting mix. Horses have been shipped to The Red Mile from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and Ontario for these races.   Trainer Tony Alagna has brought a pair of colts in with Dawson Springs in what looks like a good spot in the opener and Godspell Hall in the second. Both are beautifully bred colts by sires that stand out of state but were raised on Lexington area ground and fetched hefty prices as yearlings for their breeders and consignors, buoyed in part by the dual eligibility.   Frank Antonacci has a strong presence in the colt divisions, sending out three very diverse contenders. They include Eurobound, a colt by French sire Love You, American Moni, the first and only Muscle Hill from the great Moni Maker and a half-brother to Hambletonian heat winner American Moni and the flashy Hat Trick Habit a Donato Hanover half to the million dollar winner Habitat.   Jimmy Takter has a pair of colts and three fillies to go, led by the Ohio-sired Wolfgang from the first crop of 2012 Kentucky Futurity winner My MVP. Wolfgang was gangbusters over the Meadowlands mile track and it's not a stretch to predict he may love the Lexington clay mile oval.   America's annual leading trainer Ron Burke is represented as well as Lexington native and top trot man Bob Stewart, Pennsylvania-based stalwarts John Butenschoen and Charlie Norris and even the latest sensation in fractional ownership, Anthony MacDonald's TheStable.CA is in the house.   Among the drivers competing at The Red Mile on Thursday are the winningest driver in the sport's history in Dave Palone who recently broke the 18,000 career win barrier, North America's leading dash winner in 2016 and thus far in 2017 Aaron Merriman, 2016 Hambletonian winner Scott Zeron, Ohio stars Ron Wrenn, Jr and Josh Sutton and Meadowlands leading driver Corey Callahan.   Local horsepersons like Jack Gray, Rodney Debeck, Tom T. Tetrick, Randy Jerrell and Anette Lorentzon who have been loyal through the thin and the very thin are here for what are becoming good times for Kentucky harness racing.   The Kentucky Sires Stakes is funded by the Kentucky Standardbred Development Fund (KSDF) and the Kentucky Standardbred Breeders' Incentive Fund (KSBIF).   "The support from the Standardbred community has been phenomenal, we had over 500 mares nominate the first year (2014), and here we are--3 splits in both divisions this Thursday--it's an exciting time for the industry, Kentucky & The Red Mile" said KHRC Executive Director Marc A. Guilfoil   Post time at The Red Mile on Thursday is 7:00 p.m. Greater detail on the races may be accessed on the web.   Nick Salvi For The Red Mile