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Always B Miki, the reigning harness racing 'Horse of The Year', is now booked full for 2018.  Once again, his book contains a list of the top pacing mares in the industry. “We are not surprised by the attention Miki has received, in both the Northern Hemisphere and now the Southern Hemisphere,” says Diamond Creek’s Adam Bowden.  “Besides being a champion on the track, Miki is a beautiful, big horse that leaves an impression on you.” The 2017 Older Pacer of the year is best known for setting the world record 1:46 during the Allerage Pace, but also chalked up victories that included the Ben Franklin, Haughton Memorial, and was a two time Breeders Crown Champion.  "We have had great support from both breeders and the owners of the horse, "says Bowden, "having that backing behind a stallion is an important component to their success."  Always B Miki’s first foals are set to hit the ground this season, with great anticipation from breeders and racing fans alike.   Always B Miki Retirement 2016      

Pure Country has already proven herself a star, but she might have to start sharing space in the family scrapbook with younger harness racing sibling Grand Teton. Grand Teton, a half-brother to two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Pure Country, has won five of six races this year and is a neck from being undefeated. The 2-year-old male pacer is owned by Diamond Creek Racing, which also owns 4-year-old female pacer Pure Country. Both horses are out of the mare Western Montana and were bred by Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. Pure Country's sire is Somebeachsomewhere; Grand Teton's sire is Diamond Creek Farm-based A Rocknroll Dance. "You hope a mare ends up giving you something like Pure Country, but to have more than one look like they're a star is always really cool," Diamond Creek's Adam Bowden said. "Especially being a homebred from our stallion too. It's a full-circle thing for us. "These are the kinds of things you dream about." Pure Country and Grand Teton, both trained by Jimmy Takter, will be in action this weekend. Pure Country competes Saturday at Ontario's Mohawk Racetrack in the C$256,000 Milton Stakes for older female pacers. Grand Teton races Sunday at Lexington's Red Mile in the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers. Grand Teton and Key Advisor both won two preliminary rounds of the Kentucky Sire Stakes series and finished second in the remaining leg. The draws for all eight Kentucky Sire Stakes finals are Thursday. "At this point he really hasn't beaten any of the top colts, but from what he's done so far, I think he's shown that kind of ability," Bowden said about Grand Teton. "I think he's the type that will take the next step. At least we hope so." Grand Teton has twice won in 1:52.1, which is his best victory time so far, and has flashed ample finishing speed with three consecutive final quarter-miles of :26.2 to go with a :26.1 in his second start. "From what I hear from Jimmy, he's not quite as good gaited as Pure Country, but I think he has that same ability and same desire to win," Bowden said. "He's scary fast. I think he's shown that turn of foot you like to see in good horses. "I think he's got as good a shot as any on Sunday night to win." Pure Country enters the Milton off a win in her elimination last weekend. It was Pure Country's third consecutive victory after going winless in her first six races of the season and pushed her career earnings to $2 million. On Saturday, Pure Country and driver Mark MacDonald, who has been in the sulky for the mare's past four starts, will start from post three. Blue Moon Stride, the remaining Milton elimination winner, will start from post two and returning champion Lady Shadow leaves from post one. "There was a little bit of circumstantial stuff early in the year; bad posts or bad trips or something like that," Bowden said. "She's the type of filly that clearly wants to be involved in the race. As Mark said in the winner's circle the other night, she can take a lot of air. I think she's shown how good she is and that she can compete at this level against these older mares." In the last nine years, the only 4-year-old mare to win the Milton was Rocklamation in 2012. The 4-year-olds in this year's 10-horse field are Pure Country, Blue Moon Stride, LA Delight, Darlinonthebeach, and Lyons River Pride. Rocklamation also was the last mare to win the Milton in consecutive years (2012-13), a feat 6-year-old Lady Shadow will try to accomplish. "Those are good mares," Bowden said. "Lady Shadow, Darlinonthebeach, LA Delight; there's a whole herd of them that are good. I think it shows these 4-year-old mares can compete at this level. I think it's been a great crop. They've proved it this year. Other than Lady Shadow and Nike Franco, the best mares are 4-year-olds." For Saturday's complete card at Mohawk, which also includes finals of the Maple Leaf Trot, Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage plus eliminations for the Metro Pace, click here. Ken Weingartner

It has been announced today that Diamond Creek Farm in the USA and Oakwood Stud in Ireland have become the sponsors of Sire Stakes Ireland for the 2018 season. Sire Stakes Ireland is a new racing series for Standardbred horses that was first started in 2014. The objective of Sire Stakes Ireland is to encourage breeding mares, increase prize money and to promote harness racing in Ireland and the UK. The series is open to horses bred and foaled in Ireland and the UK, and sired by stallions nominated into the program. Diamond Creek Farm has two locations in the USA in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. They currently stand world champion stallions A Rocknroll Dance, Always B Miki, Creatine, Father Patrick, Ponder, Southwind Frank and Sweet Lou. "Our involvement with the Vincent Delaney Memorial has created a great relationship between Diamond Creek and Oakwood Stud," Said Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm. "We are excited to partner with them to offer Sweet Lou to the UK and Ireland. As sponsors of the VDM, we are also big fans of Irish racing and are pleased to be able to support the stakes racing through our sponsorship." Oakwood Stud in Ireland has emerged over the past five years as one of the top breeders of yearlings in Ireland and the UK. Currently they stand Foreclosure N and Rachmoninov Seven and have frozen semen shipped from Sweet Lou in the USA. "We recently were at Diamond Creek Farm in Kentucky," said Sire Stakes Ireland founder, James Delaney of Oakwood Stud. "And sealed the sponsorship with Adam Bowden. "What a great boost this will be for Sire Stakes Ireland in 2018," Delaney said. "Now breeders and owners have something extra to look forward in racing opportunities in 2018. All yearlings that were foaled in either Ireland or the UK from the stallions eligible for Sire Stakes Ireland, need only to fill out the nomination form and make the payments to be eligible. And now with the Diamond Creek Farm and Oakwood Stud sponsorships, the purses will be greater than ever in 2018. "We are also introducing a Breeder's Premium for the Breeder of the winning horse in all divisions," Delaney added, "The person(s) who owned and bred the foal at conception will receive a trophy in all divisions plus a cash bonus too. We hope this will help stimulate more people to breed horses. We feel it's our duty to honor and reward the breeders who have been loyal to our stallions. "We are so thankful to Adam Bowden and Diamond Creek Farm and Oakwood Stud for coming on board with Sire Stakes Ireland with their generous sponsorships." Delaney said. For the nomination forms, payment schedule and list of stallions eligible for Sire Stakes Ireland, visit their website at www.sirestakesireland.com. Here is the list of Sire Stakes Ireland nominated stallions. 1) Ayr Glory 2) Armbro Duece 3) Arts Conquest 4) Arts Professor 5) Check On Jack 6) Connors Dragon 7) Crown Manhattan 8) Doonbeg 9) Eagle Luck 10) Forafewdollarsmore 11) Foreclosure N 12) Hasty Hall 13) Kiki Kolt 14) My Pan Mar 15) No Pan Intended 16) Stonebridge Galaxy 17) See And Ski 18) Total Truth 19) Yankee Lariat. From Sire Stakes Ireland  

Adam Bowden is never quite sure what to expect from Blood Line. Last weekend, the colt finished second to award-winning Huntsville in the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace elimination, completing the mile in 1:49.1 with a :26.3 last quarter. In his previous start, Blood Line went off stride at odds of 2-1 in his elimination of the Hempt Memorial and failed to advance to the final. Needless to say, Bowden is hoping for more of the former than the latter in Saturday's $738,550 Meadowlands Pace final for 3-year-old pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. Blood Line, co-bred by Bowden's Diamond Creek Farm and owned by Bowden's Diamond Creek Racing, will start from post No. 1 with Mark MacDonald driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. Blood Line is 5-1 on the morning line, third choice behind even-money favorite Huntsville and 4-1 Downbytheseaside. "If he puts it all together, you get a mile like the other night," Bowden said about Blood Line. "If not, then you get a horse that makes a break in an elimination that he's got a chance to win. He's frustrating in that sense, but he's clearly got high speed and if he's in the right spot he's going to challenge (Saturday). "He's kind of shown the ability to go with the top horses. I'm not sure he's in the same league as Huntsville, Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside, but I think that next group of horses is wide open and on any given day he's as good as they are. I was happy with the way Mark raced him in the elimination and put him in a good spot and kind of followed Huntsville all along. He gave himself a chance and then drew well for the final. I think we're in a good spot." The Meadowlands Pace is part of a stakes-packed card at the Meadowlands on Saturday, with an earlier-than-usual 6:30 p.m. post time for the first race. The Meadowlands Pace will air live on cable's SNY from 9-10 p.m., with the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters also part of the broadcast. Blood Line is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the lightly-raced mare Blood Diamond. He is a full brother to Blood Brother, who has earned $613,613 in four seasons of racing, and his second dam is Hall of Fame broodmare Arterra, the mother of millionaires If I Can Dream and Western Terror. Third dam Delinquent Account was a Dan Patch and O'Brien award winner and the mother of similarly awarded Artiscape. "(Blood Diamond) got injured before she could really show anything, but she comes from one of those top-class families and the intention always was to keep everything out of her," Bowden said. "She's bound to produce a great one based on her pedigree and the way these horses look. Whether it's Blood Line or the next one or the next one, she's going to do it. "She's produced two talented horses. I don't know where the limit is for this horse, but I guess we'll find out Saturday and the rest of the year." Blood Line has won three of 17 career races and earned $165,119. Last year he won divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. So far this season he posted one win on the sire stakes circuit. MacDonald has driven the horse four times, posting a win among three in-the-money finishes and never being worse than fourth. "Mark seems to be the perfect fit for him, for whatever reason," Bowden said. "His skill set and the horse just seem to mesh well together and they've raced well together. Finger's crossed. I can't imagine that he's not going to drive him aggressively and get him in a good position. If the horse is talented enough he'll be there." Takter has sent seven horses to the Meadowlands Pace final, with his best finish coming in 2009 with runner-up Vintage Master. Blood Brother is not Bowden's only hope to win the Meadowlands Pace. Diamond Creek Racing is among the owners of Downbytheseaside. The remaining owners of the Brian Brown-trained colt are Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco and Richard Lombardo. Downbytheseaside was among three horses, with Classic Pro and Miso Fast, to receive byes to the Meadowlands Pace final. For the year, the colt has won five of seven races and earned $323,500. He won the Art Rooney Pace and was third in the North America Cup, behind Fear The Dragon and Huntsville, and fifth in the Hempt Memorial. "The Hempt final was a little bit of a disappointment but Brian said he scoped sick, so that sort of explains that," Bowden said about Downbytheseaside, who has won 13 of 20 career races and finished worse than third only once while earning $900,606. "It's kind of nice that he got a bye and I think he's coming into this race as good as he's been all year. I would expect he would be right there at the end. I'd be disappointed if he wasn't." Huntsville, trained by Ray Schnittker and driven by Tim Tetrick, has won four of six races this year and 11 of 17 lifetime. He has never finished worse than second and counts the 2016 Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands among his career victories. He was second in the North America Cup. Schnittker won the 2010 Meadowlands Pace with One More Laugh. Tetrick has won four Paces, tied with Ron Pierce for the second most in history. John Campbell holds the record with seven trophies. Following is the field for the $738,550 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Blood Line-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-5/1 2-Mac's Jackpot-David Miller-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Boogie Shuffle-Scott Zeron-Mark Harder-30/1 4-Huntsville-Tim Tetrick-Ray Schnittker-1/1 5-Downbytheseaside-Brian Sears-Brian Brown-4/1 6-Miso Fast-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-10/1 7-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1 8-Santafe's Coach-Corey Callahan-Leo Iordan-20/1 9-Classic Pro-Trevor Henry-Dr. Ian Moore-15/1 10-Talent Soup-Eric Abbatiello-Bruce Saunders-30/1 by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Offaly, Ireland - Management at Oakwood Stud have announced that they have reached an agreement with Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farms in Pennsylvania in the USA, to have semen shipped over from Sweet Lou, for breeding to pacers in Ireland and the UK. Sweet Lou is sired by Yankee Cruiser out of the mare Sweet Future. As a two-year-old, Sweet Lou set, and still holds, the world record on all sized tracks at 1:49. Sweet Lou currently holds the world record for older horses and the all-age mark on a five-eighths mile track in 1:47 with lifetime earnings of $3,478,894. In the summer of 2014 he won 10 consecutive races, with six consecutive wins in sub 1:48. He is the only pacer in harness racing history to achieve this feat. “It’s an honor for us at Oakwood Stud to be able to work on such a milestone project with Diamond Creek Farms,” said Derek Delaney of Oakwood Stud. “and make World Champion Sweet Lou available to breeders in Ireland & the UK via frozen semen for the 2018 Breeding season. Sweet Lou will be the fastest and richest stallion ever to stand in Ireland and the UK. “The timing of this could not have been better with the juvenile stakes racing at an all-time high with record purses in the Vincent Delaney Memorial, the Sire Stakes Ireland Program and the Breeders Crown UK/IRE in 2017,” Delaney added. “This has encouraged breeders to import record numbers of broodmares from USA in 2016, bred to top US studs and now they will have the opportunity to breed their mares to World Champion bloodlines in their own back yard. This in turn will make for a very exciting and competitive racing opportunity in the future for both Ireland and the United Kingdom. “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Adam Bowden and all the team at Diamond Creek Farms,” Delaney said. “For their shared vision and forward thinking for the future of racing in both Ireland and the UK as we do at Oakwood Stud.”  There is no price yet set on how much breeding’s in Ireland and the UK will cost to Sweet Lou. For more information contact www.oakwoodstud.ie.   From Oakwood Stud

Diamond Creek Farm threw it’s 3rd annual open house on June 3rd, at their Wellsville, Pennsylvania location.  “The Open House is a way for us to welcome the community and all the fans to our farm,” say Diamond Creek’s Adam Bowden, “Many people never get a chance to see what happens behind the scenes at a breeding farm, or they are curious about what goes on here when they see all the fences and barns from the road.” The day was a huge success with well over 400 attendees largely from the community, and with some visitors as far as North Carolina.    Visitors were able to get up close and personal to stallions such as Southwind Frank, as well as watch two different breeding demonstrations, in which Always B Miki and Sweet Lou were artificially collected.  They were then welcomed into the lab, as the farm’s resident vet, Dr. Courtney Pink, processed the semen and answered questions from the group. Down in the mare barn, visitors were welcome to walk around on their own or take a hayride tour around the farm.  They had a chance to submit names for a new foal, as well as pet a few, and feed some carrots to some very willing mares.  The “guess the weight” game proved to be popular, with guesses to win a t-shirt ranging from 100 pounds to 700.  In the end, the colt weighed 500 pounds on the dot. Guests also got to meet Sweet Karen, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation’s spoke horse, and learn more about the program from director Ellen Taylor and her group of volunteers, as well as spin their wheel to answer some harness related questions for some of the new 2017 HHYF Harness Hero cards. Pacing For The Cure, represented by the founders, Jeff and Janine Gesek, were present as well, speaking about their work for MS research and raffling off some really great baskets, as well as a trip to the 2017 Hambletonian. With great weather, the farm served close to 600 hamburgers and hotdogs, and Bootleg Creamery gave out over 400 bowls of ice cream. “We look forward to doing this event every year,” says Rachel Keeney, Diamond Creek’s Administrator Director, “We are already planning on how to make it bigger and better in 2018.” Caroline Vazquez    

YONKERS, N.Y. - Early in the spring season, Adam Bowden paid a visit to harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter’s farm to see his star mare Pure Country. After being away from her for several months, Bowden was impressed by how much his homebred matured over the winter break. “She came out of the barn and I could have sworn she was a colt,” he remembered. “She’s always been a bigger filly, but she’s added mass to her. Just broader, she looks stronger. I remember watching her train that day, I was like, ‘ooh, she looks scary good.’ ” Pure Country is the great mare that Adam and his father, Chris, had in mind when they created Diamond Creek Farm. After winning the Breeders Crown at 2, Pure Country earned $1,082,430 last year in 21 starts with victories in a host of Grand Circuit events, including the Fan Hanover, the Lynch Memorial, the Simcoe Stakes, the Glen Garnsey Memorial, and the Matron Stakes. Pure Country’s accomplishments earned her the Dan Patch Award for 3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies. “After her first season, it was one of those things where you kind of hoped she would have a season like last year, but you never expected it,” Bowden said. “It was more of a blessing than anything else and we were really proud of her.” Sired by Somebeachsomewhere, Pure Country is out of Western Montana, one of the first horses Bowden purchased. Along with his father, Bowden was confident the Western Hanover mare would produce a champion, but he grew weary and impatient after her first three foals failed to stand out. “The mare was pregnant with Pure Country at the time and I remember calling my father and saying, ‘I don’t know if I want to wait. I think we need to get rid of the mare. She hasn’t really given us what we thought she’d give us,’ ” he recalled. “I remember him telling me, ‘just be patient, be patient. She’ll come through for us,’ and she did and did it in a big way, so it was worth it.” Pure Country will make her 4-year-old debut as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the sixth race $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway Friday, May 19. In preparation for her first start of the year, Pure Country qualified twice at the Meadowlands, winning the latest in 1:50.1 April 29. She then scratched sick from the $100,000 Noble Memorial at Miami Valley May 8 before being entered back at Yonkers. “I was anxious to see her race at Miami Valley and she came up with a little  bit of a fever, so we had to wait, scratch her. She got better pretty quick,” Bowden said. In her first local start, Pure Country and driver Brett Miller will start from post five, surrounded by Yonkers veterans Mach It A Par and Regil Elektra, who are each 5-1 from posts four and six, respectively. Mackenzie A will make her first start since winning the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final from post eight at odds of 7/2. “Yonkers is tough and she drew in the middle of the field, but those are tough mares to have to race against. They’ve all been racing and they’re sharp and this is her first start of the year,” Bowden said. “I think we’re expecting a good performance, but you can’t guarantee victory in any race, especially over there against those mares.” Although this is her first start at the Hilltop Oval, Pure Country has half-mile track experience. She finished third in the first heat of the Jugette individually timed in 1:51.2 before placing fourth in the final. She also endured a tough trip to finish second to Betting Line in the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park last summer. “I think she’s versatile enough,” Bowden said. “I think her preference is a bigger track, but she’s got to get a start in somewhere. She got invited to the Betsy Ross at Chester on the 28th, so she needs a race before that and we’re running out of options if we wait any longer.” Lispatty, Medusa, Delightful Dragon, and last week’s winner, Freeze Out, complete the field of eight pacers in Friday’s feature. First post time is 7:10 p.m. Click here for entries for the card. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

The partners and trainer of Downbytheseaside have announced today that the champion harness racing pacing colt by Somebeachsomewhere will bypass the sire stakes this season and instead plans on next racing in the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway.   "We believe that the Art Rooney is the best preparation for our eventual goal of the Pepsi North American Cup " says partner Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm. "We plan to give him the best possible opportunity going into the first big goal of the season, and we feel this is the right path to do so."   Downbytheseaside set the world record for two-year-old pacing colts on a half-mile track in 1:50 at the the Delaware County Fair last year, and then followed it up by equaling the record for a two-year-old pacer on a mile track, winning his International Sire Stake division in 1:49 at the Red Mile.    "He came out of his first start looking good," says trainer Brian Brown. "Eased into it as planned, and now he's primed and ready for what comes next." 

For the 3rd consecutive year, the former US Pacer of the Year has booked full before the start of the harness racing breeding season.  His book includes impressive race mares such as Loyal Opposition and Naughtytilltheend, millionairess Carolina Sunshine and West Side Glory, dam of See You at Peelers. Sweet Lou recently returned from Down Under where he also served an impressive book, including 3 and 4 year old champion Adore Me, winner of A$1,677,032 and 1:47.7 mile-track record holder. Adore Me was bred to Sweet Lou last year as well and had an impressive filly this year. “A stallion’s third year at stud is often a tricky year,” says Diamond Creek owner Adam Bowden.  “Often breeders are waiting to see the results of the yearling sales or how the 2 year olds do on the track.  It goes to show the confidence the breeders have in him as a sire.” Sweet Lou’s first weanling at sale, a colt out of Whetstone Hanover, sold in Harrisburg for $80,000. Sweet Lou stands at Diamond Creek Farm for a fee of $7,500. Sweet Lou’s debut crop of "baby blazes" will be on display at the yearling sales this fall.

Westfield, IN - Adam Bowden, the innovative leader of Diamond Creek Farm, has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF). The Maine native cut his harness racing teeth at Scarborough and Lewiston Downs in Maine, but he is now active on a far larger stage. Bowden's involvement and support of HHYF are just part of that larger picture, as he explains, " Not too long ago I was a kid growing up going to the track with my father and now that I am a dad with two young girls, I can only hope they inherit the same love and passion I have for the sport. Due to the opportunities that the Harness Horse Youth Foundation has developed, more and more young people have access to the sport we all know and love. I am told over and over that my generation is the future of the sport but I think we are the sport's present and the kids today represent the future. It is our job to expose them to it. No other organization does a better job. I am truly honored to be part of the future." HHYF Board President Marlys Pinske remarked, "I am very pleased that the board of Harness Horse Youth Foundation has chosen to appoint Adam Bowden as a member. In his capacity at Diamond Creek Farm, he has been an ardent benefactor of Harness Horse Youth Foundation." The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org.   For more information on this press release, contact HHYF Project Manager Keith Gisser at 216-374-1392 or keith@hhyf.org   From the Harness Horse Youth Foundation

Dublin, Ireland - Two of the harness racing world's top drivers, Aaron Merriman of the USA and Dexter Dunn from New Zealand, both found their own pots of gold on day one of the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend at Portmarnock Raceway Saturday. Merriman, the world's top dash winning driver in 2015 and the current world leader this season, had to wait until the last race on the program to get his first victory outside of North America. It came in the 11th race Free-For-All Pace sponsored by PJI Engineering and Lee Edwards, a bulky nine-horse field where only four horses can have their nose on the starting gate. Merriman was in post nine, thus starting from the third tier for the one-mile race. "I really wanted to get a win today," Merriman said, "and it may have taken until the last race but man is this awesome. My horse was a little aggressive and once we had clearance I just let him do it." Driving the six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere stallion, Sepia Sands, for owner/trainer Geoff Dunne, Merriman was able to swing wide of the field after the opening quarter mile and then came first-over, clearing to the lead at the half mile. From there they were home free, coasting to the wire four lengths up on the field. Their time of 1:58.1 was not only the fastest mile of the day on Portmarnock's half mile oval, but a lifetime mark for Sepia Sands. "I'm loving it here," Merriman added. "I have never been on this type of track before and might of have been a bit nervous at the start of the day, but after a couple of races I was into the swing of things. The people here are so friendly and outgoing, coming up to me just to say hello and welcome me to Ireland. It's all awesome!" There were four elimination divisions Saturday for the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial for two-year-old pacers. Two divisions for fillies and two for colts. The first two finishers from each division plus the fastest six other horses from either division, return and race on Sunday in their respective finals for colts and fillies. It was in the two filly divisions where Dexter Dunn rose to the occasion, winning one division and finishing third in the other, thus now having to choose between the two fillies on which one to drive Sunday in the final. The first division (sixth race) saw the unbeaten Rhyds Mystique and driver Vicky Gill post their fifth straight victory with a five length wire-to-wire romp in 2:02.1, the fastest of all four elimination divisions. In doing so, Rhyds Mystique also posted a lifetime mark for trainer John Gill (Vicky's dad) and owner Victoria Elvin of the UK. Second in the mile was Greenhillbebatable (Mick Lord) with Newtown Amber (Dexter Dunn) third and also making the final, She's Royal (Billy Roche). Then in the second division (seventh race), Dexter Dunn came first-over with IB Coyote (by Dark Bay), cleared to the lead at the half mile and then went on to win by one length in 2:04.9. It was Dunn's second winner on the day. IB Coyote is trained by Tadhy Murphy and is owned by Bill Donoan and the IB Stables. Second was Jennifer Camden (Aaron Merriman), third went to Crosshill Ace (William Greenhorn) and also making it to the final was Theladieslovejim (Andrew Cairns) in fourth. The first colt division was the third race where Share A Smile (Hugh Menzies) went right to the early lead from post two with Frankie Camden (Rock Laidler) right on their back through easy opening fractions as the favorite, Tyrion Hanover (Richard Haythornthwaite) made an early bobble around the opening quarter mile. But then surging to come back into contention, Tyrion Hanover and Haythornthwaite came sweeping three-wide before the final turn and flying on the far outside near the fan's fence, collared the race leaders and blew by them to win by three lengths in 2:03.2. It was the second win this year and a lifetime mark for Tyrion Hanover, a gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, who is trained by Samboy Howard and owned by John James Howard, Sr. Frankie Camden was second with Share A Smile third and also making it to the final Sunday was Dragon's Den (John Richardson) and Rodney Camden. In the fourth race second colt division, Benny Camden and driver Alan Richardson were seemly trapped in the two-hole early in the mile behind pacesetter Talavary Motivator (John Richardson) and All Good Hanover (Andrew Cairns) who was first-over early, but then went off-stride. Picking up the chase first-over at the half mile and locking Benny Camden in once again was Harrison Camden (M. Loughran), but after the three-quarters in 1:34, Richardson was able to find clearance with Benny Camden, swing to the outside and gun down Rhyds Rival (Billy Roche) to win by one length in 2:04.2. Harrison Camden held game for third place to make it to the final. A son of Pro Bono Best, Benny Camden is trained by Richardson and owned by the Kavanagh and Forari Stables. Sunday's action-packed program not only features the finals of the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial for colts, but also the inaugural VDM filly final that is being sponsored by Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farm from the USA, the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace that is sponsored by Joe Bellino and the Elvin-Delaney French LeTrot FFA. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend    

DUBLIN, Ireland - The biggest and richest race weekend in all of Ireland and Great Britain, the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial, is set to go Saturday and Sunday (August 13 & 14) at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin. With a record number of 180 horses set to compete over the two days, the limelight will be on the Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM), which is for two-year-old pacers. For the first time colts and fillies each have their own divisions to compete in. Both divisions drew 14 entries so two elimination divisions will take place Saturday with the top four official finishers returning Sunday afternoon for their respective finals. "It is the biggest and toughest challenge for any two-year-old in the sport." Said Derek Delaney, head of the VDM committee. "No other race weekend requires 2yos to race back to back days. But every year since 2012 our entry numbers increase by more than 10 percent. The VDM has become the race that everyone wants to win in Ireland and the UK." The race was developed by Derek and his brother, James Delaney, who own and operate Oakwood Stud, one of the top up and coming breeding facilities in Ireland, to honor the memory of their younger brother, Vincent, who tragically died of a massive heart attack at age 27 in 2011. The first colt division is the third race Saturday and is headed by recent Breeders Crown UK & Ireland winner Share A Smile (Pro Bono Best), Rhyds Rock Star (Hasty Hall) and Tyrion Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere). The second division is the fourth race featuring the super tough Rhyds Rival (Hasty Hall) taking on Benny Camden (Pro Bono Best) and Talavary Motivator (Crown Manhattan). The fillies get underway in the sixth race with Breeders Crown UK & Ireland winner Rhyds Mystique (Hasty Hall) the big favorite going against Greenhilldebatable (Well Said) and Coalford Honey (Coalford Laag). The Share The Delight filly, IB Coyote heads the seventh race second filly division against Cross Hill Ace (Cam's Card Shark) and Theladieslovejim (Big Jim). "We have many of the leading owners, breeders, drivers and trainers from around the world coming to Ireland this weekend." Derek Delaney said. "Our feature drivers are Aaron Merriman from the USA, who led the world with the most wins in 2015 and currently leads all drivers in 2016. Also here for the second straight year is New Zealand's Dexter Dunn, who wowed the crowd at the VDM last year and has been racing in Wales at Tir Prince Raceway the last ten days. "We also have Adam Bowden from Diamond Creek Farm in the USA," Delaney explained, "and they are sponsoring the inaugural VDM Filly Final. Top owner Joe Bellino of Rocknroll Heaven and Pet Rock fame is here from the USA with his entire family, Alan Galloway, the owner of Alabar Stud, the biggest breeders in all of Australia and New Zealand is here. World renowned trainers John McDermott from New Zealand and Joann Looney-King from the USA are all here for the VDM weekend." Additional major stakes events over the weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace that is sponsored by Joe Bellino, the Lee Edwards/PJI Engineering Junior FFA Pace and the Elvin-Delaney French FFA Trot. In the Oakwood Stud Derby, all eyes will be on last year's VDM winner, Miraculous and driver Patrick Kane, Jr. This year Miraculous has become the top three-year-old pacer of the year with five straight wins and last week set the track record at Tir Prince and prior to that took his lifetime mark of 1:55.9 at Portmarnock Raceway. "We have full fields in nearly every race," Delaney added, "which should make for some great action and odds for the fans and the bookies on site. Both race cards are very competitive and I know the fans coming out and our special guests from around the world are going to have a super time. "And for the third straight year our special guest announcer is USA Hall of Famer Roger Huston joining Darren Owen in the booth." Delaney added. "It is just amazing how this weekend has grown into such a special event. Both James and I know that our brother Vincent would be so proud of what we have done in his memory." By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial

When his homebred harness racing champion Pure Country crossed the finish line to notch her 11th lifetime triumph on May 7 in the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Adam Bowden was obviously grinning from ear to ear. Obviously his facial expression was the result of pure joy due to the victory, but Bowden acknowledged it was also directly associated with a tremendous weight being lifted off his shoulders. “When she won that race I breathed a huge sigh of relief,” he said. “Jimmy (Takter, her trainer) had told me after she suffered her first loss in the eliminations the week before that she might have been a little short for that start. There is always some concern when you have an undefeated horse and they lose their first race coming back. You wonder if maybe they did not improve from last year or other horses may have improved, but she erased all those doubts that night. “I thought it was a terrific race for her. It was a very tough first-over trip on a night when the weather was less than ideal. Not only did she establish a new lifetime mark (1:50.3), but she beat some very nice fillies in Darlinonthebeach, I Said Diamonds, Newborn Sassy and Call Me Queen Be. She illustrated her quality and demonstrated she is prepared to pick up right where she left off last year.” Pure Country will be facing one of the toughest tests of her career this Saturday (Aug. 6) at Meadowlands Racetrack when she tackles the boys, including Meadowlands Pace winner Control The Moment, in the $320,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown. The race attracted 11 entries, so it will be contested at the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles. Pure Country was last year’s Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer and has won 16 of 19 career races. She will start from post position 11 in the second tier and is 4-1 on the morning line. Only one filly has ever captured the Cane Pace and that happened way back in 1960 when Countess Adios won the race at Yonkers Raceway. By Somebeachsomewhere and out of the Western Hanover mare Western Montana, Pure Country was bred and is owned by Bowden and his father Chris’ Diamond Creek Farm. Western Montana was one of the very first horses the duo purchased when they began their operation. Father and son paid $50,000 for her as a yearling in 2005 because they were enamored with her pedigree. Western Montana is a half-sister to LCB (Jate Lobell, $906,348) and a full sibling to Allamerican Ingot ($1,141,193) and Allamerican Inca ($889,090). Western Montana competed for the Bowdens for two years. During her racing career she earned $175,010 and won on five occasions from 16 trips to the gate. She even finished fourth in the Breeders Crown final as a 2-year-old, but her ability was limited by her attitude. “She was crazy,” Bowden said. “She was very high strung and had a goat in her stall as her constant companion to settle her down. We ended up retiring her when I received a call from Kelly (trainer O'Donnell) saying she was getting to the point where she was dangerous. She would just run off and bolt away even when she was jogging. That is when we decided it was time to breed her, which was always the plan for her anyway.” Western Montana’s first foal, Live Wire, was by Rocknroll Hanover and amassed just under $64,000 in her days on the track. Her second foal, Homestake, was sired by Ponder and the gelding only managed to accumulate $13,041. The mare’s third offspring was Hunger Games, who is a full sister to Pure Country. The Bowdens kept this filly and raced her for almost two years before selling her in 2014. She banked nearly $70,000. “All of Western Montana’s foals have had ability but they all had her temperament,” Bowden explained. “That is what limited them as racehorses. Hunger Games also had talent but she took after her mother. Linda Toscano, who trained her, always told us how much she believed in her and that she could be a very nice horse. The Crawfords have her now and they have done fairly well with her. “My dad and I debated back and forth on selling Hunger Games, so I told him we should sell her and keep Pure Country. In this business you never know what can happen and you are often taking a chance. I’m just glad in this situation I made the right choice.” From the very beginning Pure Country seemed to stand apart from her older siblings. “She was a little bit bigger, a little more correct and was never sick or had any physical issues,” Bowden said. “The thing that was different about her was she always had a great mind. Thankfully she did not inherit her mother’s personality. She is a very intelligent horse and with that as well as her speed, it makes her an excellent racehorse.” Pure Country debuted on June 30, 2015 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a $30,000 Pennsylvania All Stars event with Brett Miller in the bike. She broke her maiden at first asking and served notice she would be a force to be reckoned with thanks to a blistering :26.3 final quarter panel. Her next four engagements, all victories, were in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and the filly captured the $350,000 final on Sept. 11 at The Meadows to run her record to a perfect six-for-six. After dominating her competition in the Keystone State, Pure Country took her show on the road where she took an $81,000 division of the Bluegrass Stake and a $74,700 division of the International Stallion Stake at The Red Mile in Lexington. The filly completed her freshman season with wins in her $20,000 Breeders Crown elimination and in the $600,000 final at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 24. Pure Country was 10-for-10, earned just shy of $700,000 and was nearly the unanimous selection as the Dan Patch 2-year-old pacing filly champion. “Jimmy said she could be a great racehorse or it could all blow up in our faces shortly after she began training,” Bowden said. “She has been just perfect all along and has done everything we have ever expected of her. I also think she is in the right hands because Jimmy has been around so many top pacing mares. He knows how to get along with them and he keeps her happy. “She is very special to us,” he continued. “We have won Breeders Crown races before but this was our first one with a homebred. Words cannot really explain how rewarding and satisfying that feels. It was something we always looked toward accomplishing and she did that for us.” Bowden admitted Pure Country’s third place finish on April 30 in her $20,000 Miss Pennsylvania elimination was a bit disconcerting, but the powerful fashion in which she rebounded in the following week leads him to believe the filly is primed to defend her crown this season. “I’m not taking anything away from the other fillies in this division,” he said. “Honestly, I think it’s one of the deepest divisions we have seen in years and it’s unfortunate these fillies do not receive the same kind of attention as the 3-year-old pacing colts and the older horses. It’s just the way it is, but we feel she is prepared for another outstanding year and we are really looking forward to watching her perform.” The filly enters the Cane Pace on a five race winning streak, including triumphs in the Fan Hanover and James Lynch Memorial in a new lifetime best of 1:49.2. When her time on the track draws to a close, Pure Country will take up residence with her dam and become a broodmare for the Bowdens. “We are definitely keeping her and raising all her foals,” he said. “We always thought Western Montana would produce at least one championship caliber baby. Pure Country is it and she proves all our faith in the mare was justified. She has a home for life and we think she will carry on the family tradition without her mother’s quirks.” $320,000 Cane Pace Race 7 – Post time 2:32 p.m. PP-Horse-Sire--Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Check Six – Somebeachsomewhere - Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke-3/1 2. Manny – American Ideal - Andy Miller–Jessica Okusko-30/1 3. JK Will Power – Somebeachsomewhere - David Miller–Ron Burke-10/1 4. Control The Moment – Well Said - Brian Sears–Brad Maxwell-2/1 5. Adrian Hanover – Somebeachsomewhere - Eric Goodell–Chris Oakes-15/1 6. Manhattan Beach – Somebeachsomewhere - Matt Kakaley–Ron Burke-8/1 7. Highlandbeachycove – Somebeachsomewhere - Tim Tetrick–Tony Alagna-25/1 8. Ideal Rocky – Rocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan–John Butenschoen-15/1 9. American Passport – American Ideal - Scott Zeron–Tony Alagna-12/1 10. Big Top Hanover – Western Ideal - Joe Bongiorno–Ron Burke-20/1 11. Pure Country – Somebeachsomewhere - Brett Miller–Jimmy Takter-4/1 by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

After Hambletonian Week is over, a large number of owners, breeders, trainers, drivers, caretakers, journalists and race fans from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe will all be boarding planes and heading to of all places, IRELAND! They will all be coming to Dublin as part of a new age Mecca of harness racing called the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14.   But two very prominent owners and breeders in the industry, Joe Bellino, of Rocknroll Heaven, Pet Rock and Bellino Racing stardom and Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm, Pure Country, Creatine and Divine Caroline fame are coming to Dublin for more than just a great vacation.   They are also sponsoring races that weekend at Portmarnock Raceway and are big time excited to feel the passion for harness racing that the Irish and UK horsemen and women have for the sport.   The reason that both of these men are not just coming over on holiday, but sponsoring races, came about because of their Facebook friendship with Derek Delaney, the chairman of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend (VDM). Derek, along with his brother James, run Oakwood Stud, a prominent breeding and training facility in Ireland and where they stand the former top racehorse, Foreclosure N.   Back in 2011, Derek and James lost their younger brother, Vincent, age 27, after a massive heart attack. Young Vincent was helping run the farm, working with the yearlings and showing great promise in the sport. To honor their late brother, they developed a race in his memory that has grown to become the richest and biggest stakes weekend in all of Ireland and the UK.   To Joe Bellino, his Facebook friendship with Derek Delaney has grown to the point where barely a day goes by that they are not in contact with each other via FB messenger. "I have become great friends with Derek through Facebook." Joe Bellino explained. "We have a lot in common, we both lost our brothers, and I think that has some special meaning to me.   "I am always looking to help (sponsor) groups that help promote harness racing," Joe explained when asked what prompted him to sponsor the Rocknroll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace at Portmarnock Raceway that weekend.   "Derek has a lot of the same love that I do for harness racing," Joe said, "We speak almost every day about racing. I have never met the guy face-to-face, but we are like best friends. It will be so great to finally meet him." "I have never been to Ireland," Joe said. "My mother is from the Dublin area. Maybe I will meet someone who knew her family.   "We are so excited about this trip." Joe explained, "That my wife and I are bringing her mom and most of our team over with us. Maybe eight to ten of us are coming to Ireland.   What does Joe Bellino look forward to most on this trip? "Meeting Derek and his family and then the two race days," Joe said. "I'm ecstatic about all of this. I don't go much to the races here in America. Even for the big races as we feel it is taboo, but I can't wait to come to Portmarnock Raceway for Derek's big weekend."   "I've never been to Ireland and am really excited about going." Adam Bowden said. "My wife Lindsay and I are looking forward to this trip and we are even leaving the kids are home.   "It was Heather Vitale who first came to me to consider sponsoring a race in Ireland at the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend." Adam said. "I wanted to make sure if I was sponsoring a race that I would be to come over and attend. I could not do it last year but made it a priority for this year and it's all come together nicely." Adam and Diamond Creek Farm are the name sponsors of the inaugural filly final of the VDM.   "The story that Heather told us about the VDM weekend was really intriguing," Adam explained, "Then I started reading about it online and then got a hold of Derek. He and others from Ireland and the UK have purchased horses from us over the years and this is a great way to give back and what Derek and his brother James are doing is inspiring in memory of his brother.   "Derek has developed this race and made it really big." Adam said. "They are promoting our sport and Derek has pretty much accomplished all the goals he has put to his committee. Their ability to get this race weekend so popular it is attracting people from all over the world is pretty neat and I wanted to be part of it."   Is there any Irish blood in the Bowden family? "Probably." Adam laughed. "I would have to say yes figuring if you go back far enough we would find some Irish blood.   "Everyone I have ever talked to about this race weekend has said what a wonderful place it is." Adam said, "We're really excited to experience whatever comes our way. Hopefully I will love it so much I will want to come back again next year. It's really shaping up that way." Joining Joe and Adam on this special adventure to Ireland will be Hall of Fame announcer Roger Huston and social media extraordinaire Heather Vitale, each of whom, along with this reporter, are making our third straight trip for the VDM.   Newcomers this year include North America's leading driver in 2015, Aaron Merriman, USA's Heather Wilder from the Meadows, Hanover's Murray Brown, Heather Vitale's mom (Joanne Looney-King) and sister Susan and Canada's darling owner, breeder and journalist, Sydney Weaver and her family.   Returning for his second year at the VDM is Dexter Dunn, the reigning world trotting council driving champion along with an entire tour group from down under. Other prominent breeders, owners and horsemen from down under include Alan Galloway, John McDermot, Bill Hutchison, Clive Dalton, Peter Ferguson, Peter Larkin and Steve Phillips.   "It is just so grand that Joe and Adam and everyone is coming to Ireland for the VDM," Derek Delaney said. "My brother James and I and the VDM committee are so thankful to Joe and Adam for their sponsorships and for their friendship. And for sure we will be showing everyone a great time, great racing and hopefully everyone will go home and tell their friends how they must come over to Ireland next year. That's the impression we love to leave with our guests." Just by this VIP guest list alone, Portmarnock Raceway, on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, is THE place to be the second week of August.   For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com.   By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend          

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 18... Pure Country, driven by Brett Miller, showed she has off-the-pace power when she captured the $438,000 Fan Hanover final for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack, part of the Pepsi North America Cup undercard. The Jimmy Takter pupil followed mid-pack as elimination winner Good Will Hanover laid down fractions of :26.1, :54.3 for the half and 1:22.2 for three-quarters. Into the final turn, a first-up Lindwood Beachgirl put pressure on the tempo-setter as Newborn Sassy followed second-over. Pure Country, the 2-1 favourite, found live third-over flow after being shuffled back to seventh. Pure Country angled off cover at the head of the lane, and once the pacing miss was fed open racetrack, she marched past her foes to capture the rich final in a new lifetime mark of 1:49.3. Darlinonthebeach finished second, one length behind the victress. L A Delight got up for third. "There is nothing better than owning and breeding, and then ending up winning one of these races like this," said Diamond Creek Racing's Adam Bowden. "He [Brett Miller] was third-over coming off the final turn. She looked like she was full of pace and I was confident." Pure Country notched her second victory of the season and 12th lifetime. With the win, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere and Western Montana earns millionaire status, lifting her career earnings to $1,178,953 for owner/breeder Diamond Creek Racing. Pure Country paid $6.10 to win. Mark McKelvie

Addington are excited to announce renowned stallion proprietors, Diamond Creek Farm, USA are the proud new sponsor of the Group One $200,000 New Zealand Derby. Adam Bowden, CEO of Diamond Creek Farm is delighted to be partnering with Addington. “We are a firm supporter of the breeding industry in the Southern Hemisphere and sponsoring the prestigious New Zealand Derby is an excellent fit for us as our stallion ‘A Rocknroll Dance’ is the first pacer in the harness racing history to be the winner of 3 consecutive sub 1:48 races, with two of these being Canadian Derby’s.”  Adam continued to state “after A Rocknroll Dance served a full book in 2014 in the Northern Hemisphere, he was then able to stand in the Southern Hemisphere at Nevele R/Alabar Studs. There he was bred to over 300 mares between New Zealand and Australia, making him an in demand stallion. Upon returning to the states for the 2015 year, ‘Dance’ has once again been fully booked. With such an outstanding first crop in both hemispheres, ‘A Rocknroll Dance’s’ continued success and popularity looks bright.”  This year Sweet Lou followed his stable mate and travelled down under, joining the roster at Woodlands Stud. “By partnering with studs in the Southern Hemisphere, the potential reach of these great champions will be limitless.” stated Adam. ‘A Rocknroll Dance’ New Zealand Derby will be held at Addington on Friday, 8 April.  For more details on nominations and conditions of ‘A Rocknroll Dance’ New Zealand Derby please visit addington.co.nz/racing/promotions-incentives/. Alternatively, please call Brian, Richard or Colin of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.  Keryn McElroy

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