Day At The Track

Tioga Downs, the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, and the Harness Horse Breeders' of NYS are joining together once again to host its Annual "Scholarship Race" for high school seniors on Sunday (June 24). The students will ride in a double seated jog cart with one of the professional drivers that day. Each student will receive a $1,700 scholarship for participating. The lucky students and their high schools are Paxton Jobson (Newark Valley), Joshua Dolphin (Union Endicott), Angel Keppler (Owego), Audra Jayne (Tioga Central), and Sarah Kasson (Vestal). The scholarship race will be after the second race on Sunday. Post time for the 15 race card is 1:00 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

CHESTER PA - Bill's Man joined the illustrious company of harness racing greats Chapter Seven and Father Patrick by tying their track record time for four-year-old trotting horses, 1:52.1, in winning the $17,000 feature on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. A record was in the works from the 1/8 pole when EI EI O refused to let Arch Credit go by for the lead, forcing the latter to tuck before the 26.1 quarter. EI EI O went on to a 54.3 half, then was pressured by first-over Top Flight Angel to the 1:23.3 3/4s, with Bill's Man in pluperfect position second-over. Top Flight Angel wrested the lead by the top of the stretch, but Corey Callahan then asked the son of Credit Winner to trot on and he did so with power, equaling the track record as well as the season's record for the division (4-up) shared by Marion Marauder and Fraser Ridge. Trainer John Butenschoen saw Bill's Man raise his earnings to $556,229 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, M&L of Delaware LLC, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. Skates N Plates, a career winner of $437,944, extended his recent regaining of form to three straight victories in taking the $14,500 top trot for the older set. George Napolitano Jr. gunned the son of Revenue S away from the outside post eight and didn't have much trouble from there, stopping the timer in 1:54.4 while two lengths clear for trainer Andrew Harris and owner Robert Key. Freshman trotting colts made their pari-mutuel debut at Philly in 2018, with the Explosive Matter - Up Front Annika colt Ginger Tree Skyr trotting away in the stretch to a 4¼ length victory in 1:58.4. The winner came his own back half in 57.4 for driver David Miller, trainer Steven Cook, and the ownership of Ginger Tree Ventures LLC and Don Marean. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

The heart of a horse is approximately eight pounds. The heart of a racehorse can nearly double or triple that with a range of 18 to 22 pounds. A Standardbred harness racing horse trots at just about or over 30 miles an hour. They can pace at about 35 to 40 miles an hour. Every bit of the horse is being used to break barriers of distance over less times. The muscles of the legs are a driven power that pull the horse forward with every thump to the ground. The ears, the eyes, the nose guiding the horse towards the direction of the finish line. The mouth controlled by driver on board to steer to victory. Air is circulated through the nostrils and into the respiratory system, into the lungs. The lungs have a capacity of about 55 liters, which is the equivalent of approximately three water buckets. People naturally have a lung capacity of about 6 liters. These differences are what make a racehorse unique and powerful. Horses have nearly the same anatomical and physiological make-up; yet, one horse paces wire-to-wire in 49.1 while the horse in the same race finishes up the track in over two minutes. The great natural set apart is the heart. Not just the anatomy or conditioning of the heart, but the heart of the horse that drives its behavior – their inner motivation. Horsemen recognize the power and potential of their horses. They can give a biography and stats book for each horse in their barn. There are, too, people who have this power and potential. Strength and resilience that may seem to go unnoticed. However, the success in the end is not, in fact, unnoticed. Horsemen harness this power to share their success and share their hard work by just sending a horse to the track. Thus, this story is about one of those people who possesses that strength and resilience and his name is Mike Deters. “I can go on and on about what a good person and great horseman Mike is. His stats tell it all!” owner, breeder and driver Laurie Poulin said. Mike Deters was born in Ohio and raised in Florida, when his family moved to race at Pompano Park in 1966. In 1975, he moved again to Michigan where he attended high school and college. Ten years later in 1985, Mike moved back down to Florida, where he considers home to be. He was born and raised in the horse business. His father, Bill, was a driver-trainer. “I have known Mike Deters since I was seven years old,” trainer Jake Huff said. “His father did blacksmith work in my father’s stable. They moved to my town. His father became a trainer at our stable and I have been around Mike for most of my life. He is a good worker and a good friend with high principles.” When his dad died in 1985 from cancer, Mike went into the business full time. Deters has been training his own stable since 1985. He has been a driver, trainer, and owner from the beginning. He was involved in the FSBOA for approximately 15 years, being president of the association for around five to six years. Mike used to drive, but decided he was a much better trainer than driver. Today, he drives occasionally with the “problem children” as he puts it. When asked who he looked up to in the harness business, Deters describes his father. “My dad was a great horseman. He could do it all – drive, train, and was one of the best blacksmiths I have ever seen. “He thought to be nice to people and instilled in me a great work ethic. He said, ‘if you are not afraid to work, you will never go hungry’”. Deters says his mother, Marilyn, has been a tremendous supporter of his forever. His wife, Shelly, has been his backbone forever. His son, Michael, has been a huge help both in and out of the horse game. He also has two sisters, Melanie and Liz. Melanie is married to trainer-driver Peter Wrenn and Liz lives in North Carolina and is outside of the racing business, living the “normal life”. Recently, Mike had been diagnosed with cancer. “I went through a pretty brutal bout of stage 4 cancer in the head and neck. I went through eight chemo treatments and 33 radiation sessions and have a clean bill of health now,” Deters said. The sport of harness racing is much more than just that. It is comparable to life. It is the lives of many, if not all, horsemen. As with the races, there are ups and downs in life. One week a stable can hit the board with every horse and the next, not make a dime. It is the long run that counts. The long hours in the barn – early in the morning, first one to show and late at night, last one to leave. Being a part of this business means inviting the horses and the owners into your family. It isn’t just about winning, it is about the relationships you form – with horses and with other horsemen. “I would like to thank my wife, son, family, and all my owners for sticking with me through treatment and hope for continued success. I would also like to thank a couple people for helping along the way. John Spindler, my mentor and a father-like figure to me growing up after my dad died. I couldn’t have done it without him. And Joe Kunkel and his daughter, Betty, who I am still partners with. They both helped my wife and I tremendously along the way.” – Mike Deters Mike would also like to pay tribute to his late father-in-law, Tom Sells. Mike has had a partnership with Laurie Poulin for about eleven years. “The first few years were pretty lean, but she has upgraded her broodmare band and the last few years have been very successful,” said Mike.  “Laurie manages a breeding farm and I just try to make the babies she has go, hopefully fast.” “Mike and I have a great partnership and our families are very close. We both have been around a long time and we understand about having the good and the bad,” said Poulin. “We agree on just about everything, the only difference we have is that I want to keep them ALL,” she laughed. The two have known each other for about twenty years or more. They met through Terry Kerr, still a great friend to both Laurie and Mike to this day. Mike started driving a mare, Lobro Zepher, for Laurie in the open mares whenever Terry had his horse in the same race. Later, Mike started turning horses out at Laurie’s farm. At the time, Poulin was breeding a few mares and had some foals that would need to be broke in the near future. So, the two started to barter and that is how “things started to roll” as Laurie put it. “Joe Pennacchio gave me Arapa Victory to start my breeding operation on one condition,” Laurie recalled. “That I would give his favorite horse, Fox Valley Trump, who Mike drove and gave him his lifetime mark, would have a forever home with me.” “Prairie Big John started our partnership about eleven years ago. We have had a few that didn’t make it but we have had a lot that did and it have been quite a ride!” Laurie said. “Mike is as honest as it gets and cares so much for the well-being of the horses in his care. Believe me, he’ll tell you in a minute if one is not fast enough and not going to make it.” Working in the harness racing business and working with horses, horsemen begin to form relationships with those horses. People begin to understand the horse’s attitude and quirks, how to handle the horse, or their favorite treat. They accommodate the horse and in the long run, benefit themselves and their stable. This form of time-driven observation happens everywhere. Humans are observational animals that make decisions and judgments based on their current observations connected to past experiences. Yet, the only difference here is that this relationship created is made with a different species with no form of solid communication whatsoever. Still, horsemen acquire this ability to read their horse throughout their ownership. They can assign personalities and emotional qualities to each horse. Ultimately, all of these abilities and observations leads to the picking of a favorite. Of course, all horsemen can love and treat their animals equally. However, there is always one, or perhaps more than one, particular horse that stands out among the rest in a ranking of favorites. There are many reasons for choosing this particular horse. Maybe it was a world champion or maybe it was a calm horse with a sensible attitude. Maybe the personality of the horse matched or maybe there was a great length of time of ownership. No matter what – there is always at least one, especially if time working in the business is a great length of time. Mike Deters was readily able to list seven of his favorite horses: Prairie Fortune, Prairie Sweetheart, Prairie Jaguar, Motor City Madman, Jersey Gigilo, Summer Class, and Nononsenseyankee. According to Deters, Summer Class was Mike’s first really good horse that he has ever had. Nononsenseyankee was very fast, Mike’s first 1:50 horse, and bought his wife a new kitchen. Prairie Jaguar was Mike’s first 1:49 horse. Mike says his best horse he has ever had was Prairie Sweetheart. “She was a natural, a freak. Her motor was unbelievable,” he said. “Also, Prairie Fortune. He was as honest as the day is long and shows up every week.” While Deters has owned these and many other fast and powerful racehorses, he says his greatest accomplishment is finding his wife, Shelly, and having a son, Michael. “They are my biggest supporters. Shelly is my rock. She keeps me grounded and my head on straight.” His greatest harness racing related accomplishment is being able to make a living, according to Mike. It is developing young horses and having success. Besides following his lifetime passion of harness racing, Mike says he likes to golf and to bowl. “I am not very good at either, but I really enjoy both,” said Mike. Laurie Poulin recalls three specific moments to be her best moments with the Deters Stable. The first is getting her picture taken eleven times in a row with Prairie Sweetheart. The second, having their first undefeated two-year-old, Owosso Flash, that was undefeated at two and three with Mike doing all the driving. He was big brother to Prairie Sweetheart. “I cannot forget my gentle giant, Prairie Jaguar,” Laurie said. The third best moment so far in their journey and partnership is this horse having the record at Pompano for the most wins of 1:50 or better in a row. “I think it was five!” He is currently training around 30 head at Tioga Downs this summer. “When I was asked to write something down about Mike Deters, I came up with a lot to say, but I will be brief. He is a very good man to work for. He works alongside of us all. He gives 110% all the time. He would make a good role model to all,” Debbie Gagnon, a dedicated groom for Deters Stable, said. Mike Deters is a true horseman for life. He was raised into the business and has worked his way to the top. He has the heart and strength of a racehorse as he has fought off cancer, is now is remission and still goes to the stable every morning. By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink

WILKES-BARRE PA - All three classifications within the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) will have $30,000 divisions this weekend, with the open pacers being the very first race on the big Sun Stakes Saturday elimination card at Pocono this Saturday, while the next afternoon will see open trotters and mare pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia. Considering that the Franklin eliminations drew 20 horses with a combined lifetime bankroll of $22.7 million and an average mark of 1:48.3, the Great Northeast open pacing event got a pretty good field of seven - they have combined earnings of $6.3M, and an average mark of 1:48.4. Rodeo Romeo, currently #1 in GNOS points for his group, has been installed the 5-2 favorite from post four for driver George Napolitano; #3 (Rockeyed Optimist) and #4 (Bettor's Edge) are also in here, along with Pure Country taking on "the boys," in what may be a preview of Manchego vs. the Beal colts. In Sunday's action at Philadelphia, Guardian Angel AS, undefeated in two starts this year and coming off a win in Graduate Series action, had been tabbed a slight favorite starting from post three for driver Tim Tetrick, but non-ignorable are the shadows cast here by two mighty mares, both of whom have won two season's champion awards - Ariana G and Broadway Hall, the latter already a GNOS winner. Blue Moon Stride, with a long series of recent fine efforts including a fist and a second in the GNOS, has been made the 9-5 favorite, with Corey Callahan in the bike from post two. Agent Q, victorious in her only two GNOS starts and #1 in points in her division, is the second choice, and would surprise no one with a top effort on Sunday. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs & Harrah's Philadelphia

"He is a horse that wants to win," Svanstedt said about Six Pack, who is undefeated in three races this year and brings a six-race win streak to his Earl Beal Jr. Memorial elimination Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "He is a little bit lazy, but he wants to have his head before the other horses." The Earl Beal Jr. Memorial is one of the stepping stones on the road to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's top race for 3-year-old trotters. Svanstedt has trained seven Hambletonian starters, including last year's winner by disqualification Perfect Spirit, and said Six Pack is "the best" he's had heading to the event. "I like everything about him," Svanstedt said. Six Pack is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the second of three eliminations of the Beal. Six Pack and Svanstedt will start from post six in a seven-horse field. Five of Six Pack's foes are eligible to the Hambletonian: Missle Hill, Moosonee, Evaluate, Rich And Miserable, and Fashionwoodchopper. The third elimination features three award-winners and a Breeders Crown champion. Manchego, unbeaten in 14 career races and the lone filly to enter the Beal, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for trainer Jimmy Takter. She was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter in 2017. The elim also includes Dan Patch Award-winning 2-year-old male Fourth Dimension, O'Brien Award-winner Alarm Detector, and Crown winner Fiftydallarbill. Manchego, Fourth Dimension, and Alarm Detector are eligible to the Hambletonian. The remaining Hambletonian hopefuls in the third elimination are Gemologist (another Svanstedt trainee), Crystal Fashion, and Fashion Forever. Jim Campbell's Patent Leather is the 5-2 favorite in the first elimination. The colt is eligible to the Hambletonian, as are division rivals Lawmaker and Tito. Campbell also trains Fashionwoodchopper, Crystal Fashion, and Fashion Forever. The top three finishers from each elimination advance to the $500,000 Beal final on June 30 at Pocono. Saturday's card also features eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, Max C. Hempt for 3-year-old pacers and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Six Pack is a Brittany Farms-bred son of Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady. He was purchased for $30,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg. The horse's family includes 1969 Hambletonian winner Lindy's Pride. Last year, Six Pack had one win and a second in four starts before undergoing throat surgery to correct a breathing issue. The colt returned to action with a second-place finish followed by his six-race win streak, which included the 2017 New York Sire Stakes championship and this year's Empire Breeders Classic. He won the EBC in a career-best 1:51.2, pushing his career earnings to $332,555. "After the surgery he was a different horse," Svanstedt said. "He's raced very good this year. He's raced one second faster every time so his form is coming up. "I hope he can go to the (Beal) final; he should go to the final. His training is good and he had a break for three weeks now after the Empire Breeders. He is feeling good the whole time. He looks good. He is a very big horse, one of the biggest I've ever trained, but he handles the short tracks good and on the big tracks he has picked up the speed good." Svanstedt's other Beal hopeful, Gemologist, has won three of 11 career races and earned $37,478 for owner SRF Stable. He is a Diamond Creek Farm-bred son of Cantab Hall out of Formula Bluestone and was purchased for $130,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He battled health issues earlier this season, but enters his Beal elim off a win in a conditioned race at Harrah's Philadelphia. "He is a nice trotter," Svanstedt said. "Last year he was too much colt and not easy to handle. We gelded him and he's a better horse as a gelding." Racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

MONTICELLO,NY- There's an old adage that states "good things come to those who wait" and that expression fits John Calabrese's trotting victory today (Thursday, June 21) at Monticello Raceway to a tee. "I got away fourth along the pylons and just bided my time," Calabrese said after he reined Keenan to a come-from-behind 2:00.2 triumph in the second leg of the NAADA Trotting Series at the Sullivan County oval."As the race progressed I kept moving up after the horses in front of me kept pulling (moving to the outside) and in the stretch my horse was full of trot." When the gate sprung Alan Schwartz hustled Tim Lizzi to the lead from the two-hole as Joe Faraldo found room behind the leader with Tough Get Going after a quick start from post position six. They were one-two as the field passed the first stanza in a soft :29.4 and remained that way past the half in 1:01.2 and by the three quarters in 1:30.4. Meanwhile, Calabrese and Keenan were viewing the front-end action while still some four lengths of the leader. Then midway around the final turn Faraldo moved Tough Get Going to the outside and they raced head-to-head with Tim Lizzi. However, unbeknownst to the leaders Calabrese's trotter kept moving up and was just lengths off Tim Lizzi as the field rounded the final turn. In the lane Tough Get Going was stronger than Tim Lizzi but Keenan was the strongest of all and rallied in the passing lane to a solid one-length triumph in a time of 2:00.3. "When I reached the passing lane I felt confident that Keenan could pass the leaders because he was still strong, even with his left knee-boot down around his hoof ," Calabrese said."But the classy old veteran trotter didn't flinch a bit and just kept to his work." Later Calabrese explained that Keenan's knee boot slipped down the horse's left front leg as they sometimes do. However, when something like that happens a trotter usually goes off-stride but the 10 year old Credit Winner gelding and lifetime winner of over $564,000, shrugged it off and didn't miss a beat and kept going forward as Tough Get Going headed Tim Lizzi for second money. Calabrese owns and trains the winner who paid $47.00 for win. And the trifecta of 6-7-2 returned a whopping $2221.00. by John Manzi, for NAADA

BEDFORD PA - Well, that's no way to begin your harness racing fair season. The Bedford (PA) fairgrounds in southwest Pennsylvania got a hard rain on Tuesday, creating issues with the clay half-mile track, and Wednesday's continued rain forced cancellation of that day's opening of the 2018 schedule and its three-year-old Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes racing. "We had some hope early on Thursday morning," said hardworking Bedford director of racing Jake Hoover. "They were calling for partly sunny skies and a wind of 8-10 mph, which certainly would have given us a chance. But the predicted weather never came - it stayed drizzling most of the day - and all the officials were in agreement that because of the safety factor, we were best to wait for another day." So the two-year-old Fair Sire Stakes group also lost their chance to compete at Bedford. Hoping for a change in luck will come quickly for the Pennsylvania fair horsemen - they draw tomorrow morning (Friday) for racing at the Lycoming Fair in Hughesville PA, near Williamsport of Little League fame, with cards scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. and high noon on Sunday. From the PHHA

Anderson, IN.--June 21, 2018--On Saturday, Aug. 11 and Sunday, Aug. 12, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Fortville-based Kammy's Kause will team up to host the largest 4p- Support fundraiser in the world featuring a two-day music festival, high-end silent auction, 125-mile escorted motorcycle ride, food trucks, live harness racing, family activities, kid zone, and more. Kammy's Kause, now in its 15th year, has raised nearly $400,000 for 4p- (also known as Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome). Tickets for this year's Kammy's Kause, presented by FoxGardin, are on sale now via Ticketmaster and proceeds will directly benefit the 501(c)(3) 4p- Support Group. Kammy's Kause was founded by Jared Hiner, whose daughter Kamdyn was diagnosed with 4p- nearly 16 years ago. Following her diagnosis, Hiner joined the 4p- Support Group. He immediately recognized they were in serious need of funding after learning their annual income was only $800. Hiner then organized the first-ever Kammy's Kause and raised $1,000. What started as an afternoon with five local bands turned into what it is today, with hundreds of thousands of dollars going directly to 4p- Support. The 15th annual Kammy's Kause will take place on Hoosier Park's biggest racing weekend of the year, featuring the 25th anniversary of the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes on Friday, Aug. 10. Kammy's Kause will kick off on Saturday, Aug. 11 with Charity Chariots at 3 p.m. Guests will have an opportunity to ride in a double-seated jog cart with a real race horse and experienced driver for a $20 donation to Kammy's Kause. Live racing will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the Kammy's Kause Music Festival will kick off at 9 p.m. The outdoor music festival, with 22 bands and feature acts like Cliff Ritchey & Josh Kaufman, Rob Dixon Quartet and the Fighting Jamesons, will continue into Sunday, Aug. 12 kicking off with activities at 11 a.m. and all-day performances from 12 pm - 10 p.m. The music lineup also includes popular local bands like Keller & Cole, Breakdown Kings, Audiodacity, Corey Cox, Twin Cats, and Jenn Cristy. A high-end silent auction will coincide with the music festival with items like a gas boulder fire pit donated by Fire Boulder, a Saffire ceramic grill and smoker donated by Family Leisure, and more. "Kammy's Kause is beyond excited to team up with Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for our 15th annual event. We have been working 14 years to achieve this milestone and are looking forward to this new partnership," said Hiner. "The team at Hoosier Park has exceeded all our expectations and has treated us with so much kindness and compassion. We can't thank them enough for their generosity and we cannot wait to make this year's Kammy's Kause the best one yet." Outdoor food vendors will be on-site for both days of the festival, including Hoosier Park's VooDoo BBQ & Grill, presenting sponsor FoxGardin, Dal Forno Wood-Fired Pizza, and Sweet Shack. Ride for the Kause, the 125-mile escorted motorcycle ride benefitting 4p- Support, will take place on Sunday, Aug. 12. The ride and festivities will begin at 9 a.m. in Fortville and will continue on for 125 miles. The trip will come to completion at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino during the Kammy's Kause music festival. 4p- is an extremely rare chromosome disorder which causes mild to severe mental and physical handicaps, organ failure, oral defensiveness, and developmental delays. Early intervention such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy have proven to be vital in the development of children with 4p-. There have been 600+ cases reported since its discovery in the 1960s, thirteen of which are known in Indiana, and one of which is Hiner's daughter. With so few 4p- children and the lack of funding, new research and information is limited. 4p- is one of the 6,000-8,000 rare diseases that affect as many as 30 million people worldwide, 50% of which are children. While Kammy's Kause directly supports the 4p- Support Group, the hope is to increase awareness about rare diseases in general. More information about Kammy's Kause and Ride for the Kause is available at www.kammyskause.org. A complete lineup for the Kammy's Kause music festival will soon be available at www.HoosierPark.com. About Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Hoosier Park Racing & Casino holds multiple awards for customer service, entertainment, gaming, dining, and team member culture. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully-integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live harness racing each year. Simulcast wagering is offered year-round at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the Winner's Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Downtown Indianapolis and Winner's Circle OTB & VooDoo BBQ & Grill in New Haven/Fort Wayne, Ind. For more information on upcoming entertainment and promotions at Hoosier Park visit www.hoosierpark.com. About Kammy's Kause: Kammy's Kause, founded in 2004, is the largest fundraiser in the United States for the 4p- Support Group, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. More information is available at www.kammyskause.org. by Kiersten Flint, for Hoosier Park  

Coming up in this space next week, we'll be providing all of the results and commentary on the eliminations for Sun Stakes Saturday, with the elims on the 23rd of June and the finals coming up the following Saturday. These races will feature a large majority of the sport's finest performers at this time, so there should be a lot to discuss. In the meantime, two horses who know their way around stakes-level competition are at the top of the heap for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ROCKS For the past five years or so, this gelding could be counted on to drop in at Pocono every once in a while to face off against some of the toughest pacers on the grounds, and more often than not he would come out victorious. The difference this year is that his longtime trainer Chris Oakes handed his handling over to his son Hunter. In his first try at Pocono in the 2018 meet on June 9, Scott Rocks, now age eight, came up just short in a $21,500 condition pace behind Boston Red Rocks, who had to pace the fastest mile of the season at Pocono just to beat him. On Saturday night, Scott Rocks was back at it, facing off against a group of $17,500 condition pacers for a slight drop in class. As per usual, Scott Rocks came off the gate well, but others were rushing to the lead as well in the early going and through the front stretch. At one point driver George Napolitano Jr. tipped the gelding to the outside for what would have been a second-over journey around the second turn. But then George decided against it and utilized about a split-second window to tuck Scott Rocks back in at the pylons. Scott Rocks was still sitting third-in as they rounded the final turn, and it looked like there might not be an opening for him to come on late. But the waves of horse flesh parted just in time for him to make a flying rush to the finish line, upending the game pacesetter First Class Horse by a length-and-a-half in 1:48.4, easily the fastest time of the week at Pocono. It was a memorable way to get his first win of the year, and it's a good time for Scott Rocks to be peaking as he heads into the eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace on the weekend. Other top pacers this week include Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who came up a winner in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50.1; Unbeamlievable (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who captured Monday night's featured claiming handicap pace for mares in 1:52.1, her second straight win at Pocono and third in a row overall; and No Easy Day (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a condition win at Pocono on Tuesday night in a new career mark of 1:50.2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: HOMICIDE HUNTER Like Scott Rocks, Homicide Hunter has been a stalwart in the Chris Oakes barn for many years. Unlike Scott Rocks, however, Chris is still the man in charge of Homicide Hunter, and he has witnessed the six-year-old gelding as he has taken off on one of his characteristic hot streaks in recent weeks. It started when he picked up a win in the Great Northeast Open Series at Pocono on June 3 on a sloppy track in 1:55.3. He went much faster than that the following week at Scioto when he captured the Hill Memorial in a world-record-matching time of 1:50.3. Coming off those two victories, it might have seemed like he would be an overwhelming favorite to win another Great Northeast Open race at Pocono on Sunday night. But one of the horses he was facing, Marion Marauder, came in with a record as much if not more accomplished. Marion Marauder had been scratched sick from the Hill, denying fans an opportunity to see a clash of the titans in that race. But they battled on Saturday night, with Marion Marauder taking the early lead and Homicide Hunter getting parked around turn two before he made the front himself. Although there were seven other top-flight trotters in the field, the showdown between Homicide Hunter and Marion Marauder seemed an inevitability. Indeed, in the stretch, Marion Marauder gathered momentum from the pocket and pulled up right alongside the leader in the passing lane. But Homicide Hunter simply found one more burst of energy and hustled to the line a neck in front in a winning time of 1:52.2. His third straight win wasn't a world record, but it was impressive nonetheless for the caliber of trotter he beat in that stretch duel. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to Joey Pro (Matt Kakaley, John Hallett), who picked up his second straight condition win on Sunday night and did so in a career-best 1:55; Haveitalltogether (Eric Carlson, Andy Miller), who followed up a condition victory with a win against the Pennsylvania All Stars for three-year-old colts and geldings on Sunday night in a career-best 1:53.4; and Lindy's Big Bang (David Miller, Nifty Norman), who posted the fastest time among winners of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for sophomore male trotters on Sunday night with a career-best mile of 1:52.2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CARMENS BEST This pacer's first win of the year, with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, proved a surprise, as he beat a bunch of claimers on Saturday night at 20-1, paying off $42 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC CARLSON Carlson's picked up multiple victories three nights in a row this week, highlighted by a surprising win in the Pennsylvania All-Stars with Haveitalltogether. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: NIFTY NORMAN Norman always seems to bring in a high percentage of winners, and he chalked up two more at Pocono this week, including a Pennsylvania All-Stars victory with Lindy's Big Bang on Sunday night. 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 Bevigila, for Pocono Downs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing's pot of gold has been building for some time now, and the next player to cash in will walk away with more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars. The carryover for the Meadowlands' Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five now stands at $258,907, and the next time bettors can take a swing will be in Friday night's ninth and final race. To rake the pot, one must be the only holder of a ticket bearing the winning combination of the official top five finishers. The jackpot has not been hit in quite some time. The last time the pool was paid out was on July 29, 2017, when there was a mandatory payout. The current pot has been building since September 8th of last year. But that will not be the only mega-carryover up for grabs at the Big M. While the Big M's JSH5 carryover is the harness game's biggest, the carryover for Gulfstream Park's Rainbow Pick-6 is now $637,676, while another thoroughbred track, Belmont Park, had a Pick-6 pot that stood at $235,671 entering Wednesday's races before failing to get hit. There are a pair of harness tracks who also have noteworthy carryovers to shoot for: Pocono Downs' Rainbow Pick-5 ($107,831) and Hawthorne Racecourse's Jackpot High-Five ($81,573). All of the action from Gulfstream, Belmont, Pocono and Hawthorne will be simulcast to the Big M, as well as many other tracks that are up "on the bird". Of course, the Big M's popular 50-Cent Pick-4, which usually has a pool in the $80,000 range, will be available, with its low 15 percent takeout. Free program pages for the Meadowlands Pick-4, courtesy of Track Master, are available on the Meadowlands' website (www.playmeadowlands.com) and on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. SPECTACULAR SATURDAY SIMULCAST: In addition to a live 11-race program that gets underway at 7:15 p.m., the Big M will have Pocono Downs as the featured simulcast harness track on Saturday evening (post time, 7 p.m.). The Pocono program is a true gem as eliminations for stakes events that line the 14-race card will serve as a prelude to some huge Meadowlands races that take place on July 14. The Max Hempt for 3-year-old pacers will serve as the final prep before the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace while the Ben Franklin for free-for-all pacers is a prelude to the William Haughton. The James Lynch for 3-year-old pacing fillies tees up the Big M's Mistletoe Shalee while the Earl Beal for 3-year-old trotters preps horses who are entering the Stanley Dancer, and, of course, the Hambletonian a little further down the road. DON'T WHINE, COME TO THE BIG M: The Meadowlands' Summer Wine Festival takes place Saturday with local wineries from New York and New Jersey participating. They'll be more than 25 total producers - wineries. For complete information, go to www.playmeadowlands.com. Still to come.... JUNE 30: College students can enter to win one of ten $1,000 college scholarships sponsored by Jeff and Paula Gural's Allerage Farm. Those showing a valid college ID will receive a voucher good for a $5 wager as well as a free program. They'll also a be a handicapping contest that night for those 18-30 years of age and the guaranteed prize pool of $5,000 is also being sponsored by the Gurals. JULY 7: It's Fan Appreciation Night, and it's also wiener take all, as the Big M hosts its 1st annual Wiener Dog Races. For those who own a dachshund and want to enter, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/wiener_racing_sign-up_sheet.pdf. At the conclusion of the races, stay for a fantastic fireworks display. They'll be beer and food specials all night long. There is a special early post time of 6:35 p.m. The featured event are the eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. JULY 14: The Meadowlands' signature event, the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, takes center stage. Post time is 6:35 p.m. AUGUST 4: Harness racing's signature event, the $1 million Hambletonian, brings the best 3-year-old trotters to not only the Big M, but to a national television audience (on the CBS Sports Network). Post time is noon for harness racing's biggest day. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands    

Goshen, NY - A dramatic original bronze equine sculpture by artist Claudia Steinley Shelhamer will be offered at live auction on Hall of Fame Night, July 1, 2018, at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. From the collection of late Hall of Famer, Norman Woolworth, Claudia Steinley Shelhamer's 1989 detailed equine group "Down on the Farm," is a bold composition which places the unbridled freedom of horses in a field in juxtaposition with the controlled power of a horse in harness. Claudia Steinley Shelhamer, whose work features equine and western themes, first gained recognition as an artist in 1962 when her painting of horses crossing a stream was reproduced for the cover of the All-Breed issue of The Western Horseman magazine. Married to Thoroughbred racetrack developer Lloyd Shelhamer, Jr. in 1989, the artist turned her hand to the interior design of tracks such as Sunland Park and others managed by Shelhamer. Last sold in 2003 at the Harness Tracks of America auction in Lexington, Kentucky for $5,000, the auction of this fine work will benefit the care and conservation of art and artifacts in the historic collections of the Harness Racing Museum. Those who cannot attend the event on July 1 but would still like to bid may contact Museum Director Janet Terhune for possible arrangements. by Janet Terhune, for the Harness Racing Museum

There was no change in the top four of Dave Little's Road To The Meadowlands Pace after last week's North America Cup saw Lather Up (a Pace non-eligible who can supplement if he chooses to) take the hardware. Rank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner(s) Dave Little’s Comments   1 Stay Hungry ($616,384 – 1:50)   D. McNair, T. Alagna B. Grant, I. Samelman   The trip worked out well in The Cup, but there was no explosiveness like there was the week before in his elim. Alagna: “I thought the trip was good but I was not thrilled with the way he raced. After the race, he did not have a clean scope, so I think he’ll bounce right back”. He’ll need to. He’s in the second of two Hempt Eliminations Saturday night at Pocono. Last Race: 6/16 – Wbsb – NA Cup Final – 4th (1:49) 2 Dorsoduro Hanover ($160,168 – 1:50.1) M. Kakaley, R. Burke Burke Racing, Silva, Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, Wingfield Five Took the week off after finishing seventh in his Cup Elim. Burke: “His elim was a total disaster but everything seems fine with him and, hopefully, we can turn it around this week.” He’s drawn post 5 in Hempt Elim 1. Last Race: 6/9 – Wbsb – NA Cup Elim – 7th (1:51.1) 3 Lost In Time ($718,723 – 1:50.1) S. Zeron, J. Takter Diamond Creek Racing, J&T Silva, W. Rufenacht, Ric Flair Stable Was racing 10th at the half in The Cup before storming home to grab the show dough in a superb mile. Takter: “I thought he raced tremendous. It was impossible for him to win from that spot, especially when they are sprinting home like they did. We are taking the Hempt off to get ready for The Pace.” Last Race: 6/16 – Wbsb – NA Cup Final – 3rd (1:48.4) 4 This Is The Plan ($240,372 – 1:50.2) T. Tetrick, C. Ryder C. Ryder, R. Mondillo The plan was to skip The Cup and get ready for the Hempt (Elim 1, Post 1). Ryder: “I’m very happy with him. I think he’s on the Improve. The (four-week) layoff is to his advantage.” It is? How come? His trainer kidded: “Because I told you so!” Last Race: 5/28 – PcD – Pa All-Stars – 3rd (1:50.3) 5 Thinkbig Dreambig ($38,500 – 1:49.2) Y. Gingras, J. Takter Brixton Medical Inc., J. Fielding, G. Anderberg, G. Falk   Takter talks about this colt like a dad would his favorite son: “I love him. That’s why I keep driving him. He raced so well at Pocono (on June 11, when he won in 1:51). He’s so professional. As far as The Pace, we just don’t know yet if he will be there.” The son of Bettor’s Delight followed up that June 11 score with another nine days later. Why wouldn’t Takter love him? Last Race: 6/20 – Phl – NW3 – 1st (1:52.2) 6 Nutcracker Sweet ($190,582 – 1:50.2) D. Miller, J. Takter H. Taylor, Order By Stable, R. Lombardo   Had to rough it first-over in 1:21.3 to three-quarters in The Cup, ended up sixth after being done in by a bad trip. Takter: “I thought he went a helluva race. He had to go four-wide into the first turn. Turning for home, he was side-by-side with the winner (Lather Up). Given the trip he went, he lost seven or eight lengths.” He’s In Hempt Elim 3 from post 4. Last Race: 6/16 – Wbsb – NA Cup Final – 6th (1:49.2) 7 Babes Dig Me ($121,697 – 1:52.3Q) B. Miller, T. Alagna B.J. Grant, J. Sbrocco, J. Leblanc, In The Gym Partners   Nice rebound after a sixth-place finish in his elim, rallying to get second in The Cup Consolation. Alagna: “He showed up and was really good. He’s in a tough division (Post 2 in Elim 3) in the Hempt and will have to bring his “A” game.” Off a nice try, maybe that’s exactly what he’ll have on tap. Last Race: 6/16 – Wbsb – NA Cup Consolation – 2nd (1:50) 8 American History ($94,243 – 1:49.1) Y. Gingras, T. Alagna Brittany Farms, M. Katz, American History Racing   Never saw the rail, ended up in a third-over flow and was never in contention in the Cup. Alagna: “That was a total clunker. There was really no reason why. He scoped a little bit of mucus but I figured there would have been more given how he did. We’ll race him in an overnight at the Meadowlands next week, and if all goes as it should, he will be in The Pace.” Last Race: 6/16 – Wbsb – NA Cup Final – 10th (1:50.3) 9 Captain Deo ($28,867 – 1:50.2) D. McNair, T. Alagna Alagna Racing, J. Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners, Captain Deo Partners   Kicked home in :26.2 to grab a fifth-place check in the Cup Consolation. Alagna: “He raced really good, he was just a little too far back. He’ll go in an overnight next week and then it’s off to the Meadowlands Pace.” Last Race: 6/16 – Wbsb – NA Cup Consolation – 5th (1:50.3) 10 I’m A Big Deal ($110,344 – 1:50.2) G. Napolitano Jr., C. Ryder C. Henderson, R. Mondillo, C. Ryder   The other RTTMP member from the Ryder barn who also did not participate in the Cup. Opted to get a race by facing older foes at the Big M, which resulted in a sixth-place finish. Ryder: “The positive was that he got a tightener. He’s not a good closer, so I’m hoping he gets to the top at Pocono.” He’s in Elim 2, post 5. Last Race: 6/16 – M1 – NW$11,500 – 6th (1:51)   KEY PREP RACES MEADOWLANDS PACE ELIGIBLES IN CAPS – Supplements are permitted per the conditions of the race Date Stakes Site Winner Trainer Driver 2nd Horse 3rd Horse Time                   5/5 PA Sire Stakes   Mea   THIS IS THE PLAN C. Ryder D. Palone BABES DIG ME Record Machine 1:53   PA Sire Stakes   Mea   DORSODURO HANOVER R. Burke J. Pantaleano Wes Delight CAPTAIN DEO 1:50.3                   5/19 PA Sire Stakes PcD I’M A BIG DEAL C. Ryder G. Napolitano Jr. GRAND TETON Whos Better 1:50.2   PA Sire Stakes PcD DORSODURO HANOVER R. Burke M. Kakaley THIS IS THE PLAN PRO BEACH 1:50.1   PA Sire Stakes PcD   Wes Delight M. Harder C. Callahan LOST IN TIME STAY HUNGRY 1:50.4 5/20 OnSS Gold Flm Backstreet Shadow R. McNair D. McNair St Lads Neptune Wind Blast 1:52.3   OnSS Gold Flm Western Passage C. Coleman D. McNair Levis Day SHADOW MOON 1:53.4 5/26 Art Rooney Final YR Trump Nation C. Oakes J. Bartlett Minnie Vinnie BABES DIG ME 1:51.3 5/28 NYSS VD 1 Courtly Choice B. MacIntosh D. Miller Hitman Hill Real Surreal 1:48.4   NYSS VD AMERICAN HISTORY T. Alagna Y. Gingras Rock Lights Heavenly Sound 1:49.1   NYSS VD My Delight H. Hochstetler M. Miller Lyons Steel Ostro Hanover 1:49.4 6/1 NJSS Final M1 Melanie’s Fran K. Mc Dermott D. Miller Hypnotico - 1:56.3 6/2 Somebeachsmwhere Moh Burning Midnight C. Giles T. Henry Simple Kinda Man GRAND TETON 1:50.4   Somebeachsmwhere Moh Lather Up C. Francis M. Teague St Lads Neptune Scouts Report 1:50.3   Somebeachsmwhere Moh Jimmy Freight R. Moreau L. Roy LOST IN TIME When You Dance 1:50.2 6/9 NA Cup Elim Moh STAY HUNGRY T. Alagna D. McNair Done Well HAYDEN HANOVER 1:50   NA Cup Elim Moh Wes Delight M. Harder C. Callahan NUTCRACKER SWEET AMERICAN HISTORY 1:50.2   NA Cup Elim Moh Lather Up C. Francis M. Teague St Lads Neptune Hitman Hill 1:49.2 6/10 NYSS Tioga Springsteen R. Allard D. Miller Real Surreal I Soar Him First 1:51   NYSS Tioga Heavenly Sound B. Saunders A. McCarthy Ideal Feeling Trump Nation 1:50.4   NYSS Tioga Keystone Tenacious P. Kelley M. MacDonald My Delight TWIN B TUFFENUFF 1:52.1 6/16 NA Cup Final Moh Lather Up C. Francis M. Teague Done Well LOST IN TIME 1:48.1 6/18 NYSS MR TOPVILLE OLYMPIAN D. Menary J. Stratton Mr Profeta TWIN B TUFFENUFF 1:55   NYSS MR Ghost Dance E. Adams S. Zeron Rockapelo     ...

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since making her 3-year-old debut at Hoosier Park this spring, Wisdom Tree has been nearly unstoppable. The daughter of Betterthancheddar out of the Artsplace mare Wisdom posted three straight wins in overnight competition in Indiana and at Saratoga before jumping into New York Sire Stakes. In three legs so far, she’s 2-for-3 with another runner-up finish. The only blemish on Wisdom Tree’s 2018 campaign came in her first start of the year when she made an early miscue and finished seventh. “She’s a really nice filly. She’s a doll, I love her,” trainer Ed Hart said. “I think she was a little immature last year. She made the odd mistake. You could never move her too fast, you always had to be a little careful with her. She definitely matured. She’s a sweetheart in the stall, does everything right, just a classy horse.” Jeff Cullipher co owns Wisdom Tree with Tom Pollack and prepared the filly for her 3-year-old campaign before sending her east to Hart. Over the years, the relationship between Hart, Pollack, and Cullipher has proven fruitful. “I started training horses for Tom Pollack. He was also an owner with Randy Bendis and Randy sent me horses from The Meadows when they came out East to race, especially for New York Sire Stakes,” Hart said. “And then Tom branched out to Indiana with Jeff Cullipher and they race together. They do the same thing, when they come out east, they send them to me. “They always send me good horses and they’re good people to deal with. Jeff Cullipher developed this filly and trained her down. I just manage her out here and race her. It’s really nice,” Hart continued. “Jeff has a big stable out in Indiana, he’s a good guy to work with. It really is nice, it works out real well for me.” In her first start in Sire Stakes competition this year May 27 at Saratoga, Wisdom Tree raced from off the pace as the race’s 2-5 favorite Youaremycandygirl cut blistering fractions of :26.3 and :53.3. As the leader’s strides began to shorten nearling three-quarters, Wisdom Tree mounted a first-over bid. She struck the lead at the top of the stretch and powered away with a :28.2 final quarter to beat Alexis Faith by a length in 1:52.2 at odds of 8-1. “That was a pretty wild race,” Hart said. “My filly did it right, she pulled going to the half and she was coming first-over and ground that one down. She raced tough as nails, you can’t take anything away from her.” Wisdom Tree’s victory at Saratoga showed the filly has developed a new dimension this year. In 11 starts at 2, Wisdom Tree won three races, all of which came on the front end. She frequently made breaks in stride when forced to sit in a hole. Now more mentally and physically mature, Hart thinks Wisdom Tree has outgrown her breaking issues and is much more versatile. “Last year, when she was on the lead where you could steady her and keep her on her own pace, she was really good,” Hart explained. “She was never quick to come out of the hole, you could never force her into anything. This year, you can. She can leave, she can sit, she can do it all.” Wisdom Tree proved her efforts at Saratoga were no fluke as she finished second next out, pacing a 1:50.3 mile from post eight at Tioga Downs June 3. In her most recent start, Wisdom Tree posted a 4 ¼-length victory after sitting the pocket trip at Buffalo June 13. “I know Buffalo, I’ve raced there all my life and you’ve got to be really careful up there,” Hart said. “I was happy to see her get around that track and she handled it perfectly. Kevin Cummings said she never took a bad step. And there again, she left pretty quick and sat the hole and sat there nice. That was a nice trip up there for her.” Wisdom Tree will try to score her third NYSS victory of the year Thursday night at Yonkers when she starts in the third and final division of the state bred stakes in race 11. Wisdom Tree will start from post five as the 2-1 morning line favorite and will once again face Alexis Faith, the Casie Coleman trainee who finished second in a Fan Hanover elimination at Mohawk June 9. For complete entries, click here.  “I know Casie Coleman’s horse on the outside of us is a tough horse, I know she’s raced good in Canada. At that level, they’re all good, anything can happen. Hopefully we’ll get a good trip and we’ll see what happens,” Hart said. “I think Wisdom Tree is sharp. That Buffalo trip is tough. It’s a 6-hour trip each way, it’s a 2-day thing, but I think she’s sharp. She feels good.” Hart will also start Medusa in Friday night’s featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. A 6-1 chance from an assigned inside post, Medusa will face the likes of Lispatty, Sell A Bit, Newborn Sassy, and Mach It A Par.  Hart broke Medusa as a yearling, but she campaigned with a host of stables including Paul Kelley, Ron Burke, and Randy Bendis before finally coming to Hart this spring for the Matchmaker Series. She was victorious in one leg and hit the board in three others to make the final, where she finished sixth. I her last start, the 7-year-old finished second beaten a nose in the Filly and Mare Open June 15. In her career, Medusa is 32-for-109 with $732,753 earned. “I had her a long time ago as a baby and she came back to me this year,” Hart said. “She raced tough in that series. Five, six weeks in a row is a tough series. Last week, she was super, but the fractions were a little slower up front, kind of played into her a little bit. That’s a really nice mare. Big, beautiful, sound mare. Pretty much tries every week and just another good horse.” First post time Thursday and Friday at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. For Friday’s entries, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) announces a regular meeting of the Commission on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. EDT. The meeting will be held at the Indiana State Library's History Reference Room 211, located at 315 W Ohio Street, Indianapolis. Some items on the meeting agenda include: · Commission consideration of proposed emergency rules and changes for the Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter       Horse programs, such as the Standardbred claiming procedures and refusal or failure to be tested for all breeds. · A review of commission rulings from March 29 - June 18, 2018 · Hearing, deliberation and issuance of a decision relating to the petition of Caesars Entertainment Company and Caesars Resorts Collection, LLC, for approval to transfer Centaur's permits and licenses. The meeting agenda can be found on the Commission's website: https://www.in.gov/hrc/2336.htm The meeting is open to anyone interested in attending. Any questions can be addressed at thoroughbred@hrc.in.gov. by Megan Arszman, for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, June 21, 2018-For those of who may have missed the first go-round, Yonkers Raceway is offering a redux of the 2016 Yonkers Trot...in 2018. Hey, you buy the premise, you buy the bit. Saturday night's (June 23rd) co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot is highlighted by the return of one Marion Marauder. The Trotting Triple Crown winner and career $2.5 million earner invades Westchester for the first time since a second-place effort in Twister Bi's world-record Yonkers International Trot romp last October. Marion Marauder was remanded behind the eight-ball Saturday night, complete with new escort. Jordan Stratton gets the assignment as regular date Scott Zeron is off to Pocono and eliminations for the Sun Stakes. When Marion Marauder looks to his immediate left, he shall see his nemesis from that Tour de Trot, one Smalltownthrowdown. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Anne Chunko, the pair only opposed one another in the elim and final of the '16 Trot, with Smalltownthrowdown the bridesmaid in both. Marion Marauder won the half-million-dollar finale by a hard-fought head in 1:56.1 (photo accompanies) after winning by a length-and-a-quarter the week before. The third round was supposed to be at Scioto's Charlie Hill Memorial earlier this month, but Marion Marauder came up ill. This season, the now 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill has a win (Philly, 1:52.1) and pair of seconds in three starts. He's 15-for-41 lifetime, hitting the board 33 times. Marion Marauder is co-owned by Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling & trained by the tandem of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling (Ms. Wellwood is listed stateside). Smalltownthrowdown, no slouch he, tries to exact some revenge, albeit with somewhat less riding on this outcome. The 5-year-old statebred Cash Hall gelding has won 19 career races (2-for-6 this season) and more than $700,000. Trained and driven by Dan Daley at 2 and 3, he's now co-owned and trained by Rene Allard. Dan Dube takes a seat. Smalltownthrowdown, the New York Sire Stakes champ as a sophomore, won a local Open Handicap in late May. The weekly trotting features goes as the seventh of a dozen races. First post is the usual 6:50 PM. Oh, and so as not to short shrift the other gait, Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace finds Bit of a Legend N back at it for the first time since his win (life-best 1:49.4) in Northfield's $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie three weeks ago. If you're keeping score at home, this is another outside getaway for Stratton, as in post No. 7. The Open 'Cap Pace goes as the sixth race. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

WASHINGTON, PA, June 21, 2018 -- He was unraced at 2 and enjoyed only modest success on the Ohio fairs circuit at 3. But Stride Of Pride has blossomed as an older harness racing horse. In fact, he'll be seeking his third straight victory in Saturday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. The 5-year-old Manhardt-Apple B gelding leaves from post 6 in race 3 with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., his pilot in both his recent victories. Saturday's card also features a pair of total-pool guarantees -- $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 9-13) -- as well as a $3,949.20 jackpot for the Super High 5 (race 13). In addition, Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred ever with more than $7.5 million in lifetime earnings, tries again for career victory 100 (race 11, post 9). First post is 1:05 PM. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, LLC and RTC Stables purchased Stride Of Pride privately last September a few months after observing him at Northfield Park. Recalls trainer Ron Burke: "We watched him get to the half in 53 and still hang on to win. You don't see that very often. We approached the owners, but they said they had no interest in selling. A couple months later they got back to us, named their price and we were more than glad to buy him. "He got sore, so we gave him a little break. He's been super since then. I don't know if he's racing any better now, but I think he's had more opportunities in better spots." Stride Of Pride won 11 races last year and took his mark of 1:49.3 two weeks go. But perhaps the most pleasant surprise about his development, Burke says, is his growing versatility. "That's the part I really like about him," Burke says. "I thought he might have been a 'full-speed' horse but didn't know if we could race him off the pace. Now that we can, it makes him a little more dangerous." He indicated Stride Of Pride will continue to race at The Meadows in the immediate future but may shift to Yonkers later in the year. Saturday's program offers a number of fan-centric activities. The "Rockin' on the Rail" series of Saturday live concerts continues with a performance by Tony Janflone, Jr. The music begins on the apron at the conclusion of the races. The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will host "Harness Racing Bingo" and offer paddock tours and starting gate rides. Fore more information or to participate, stop by the MSOA information table in the Racebook. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows