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Columbus, OH --- On Saturday evening (Sept. 8) at Eldorado Scioto Downs, Split The House (Aaron Merriman) demonstrated why he is the defending Breeders Crown champion with a 1:49.1 triumph over Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) in the $250,000 Jim Ewart Memorial. Merriman and his charge stated their case when leaving with conviction from post position six. Nuclear Dragon, however, snatched the front to lead the field through a sharp :26.2 first quarter-mile.Filibuster Hanover (Tony Hall) was third, with Western Fame (Tyler Smith) and favored McWicked (David Miller) dead-heating for fourth on the sloppy track. Noble continued to sulky-sit as Nuclear Dragon paced his splits in :53.2 and 1:20.4. It appeared the 6-year-old gelding was on his way to his first Grand Circuit victory. That is until a resurgent Split The House rallied on the rail to win by a neck and collect his second victory of the season in nine starts and 14th in 39 career efforts. Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Split The House is trained by Chris Oakes. He has now earned $306,846 in 2018 and $913,179 lifetime. He paid $12.20 to win, while Nuclear Dragon was $9.20 to place and Filibuster Hanover $17.40 to show. by Kim French, for the USTA

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Rockstar Angel A, to the lead in a 26.2 demanding opening quarter and then in the pocket as the pace continued on at high speed, was able to produce enough of a late move to hold off second-over Monica Gallagher by a neck in 1:51 in winning the $17,500 featured distaff pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Tuesday night. Eric Goodell hustled the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover off the gate to the lead, then yielded past the quarter to Skinny Dipper, who streaked on to a wicked half in 53.4. Gina Grace A came up to pressure the leader through the 1:22 ¾ clocking, and when the top two tired, the two on their backs - Rockstar Angel A on the inside, Monica Gallagher on the outside - fought for the major honor, with Rockstar Angel A taking a new mark in the photo victory. Chris Oakes is the trainer of the winner of $182,492, a six-time winner in 20 starts this season, for the Northfork Racing Stable. George Napolitano Jr. visited Victory Lane four times on the Tuesday card, bringing his weekly total at Pocono to 13 and including Philly to 21. In the last month (August 5 - September 4) he has 96 wins - 58 at Pocono and 38 at Philly. From the PHHA/Pocono Down

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, September 2, 2018-A second-tier Bioness (Brian Sears, $33.80) made one decisive move Sunday afternoon (Sept. 2nd), winning the $120,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's French-American Trotting Club Series. The finale, wrapping a four-race series for imported French-breds, went at the mile-and-a-half and the first of the four added-distance races. Away sixth (fifth after a breaker) from post position No. 9, Bioness made the lead from 47-1 Adagio de la Tour (Jason Bartlett) between the :28.3 opening quarter-mile and the :59.1 half. He then fought off Uhlan Noir (Brent Holland), with Deo (George Brennan) wide behind that one. While this was going on, 6-5 choice favorite Versachet (Jordan Stratton) found himself going wide to nowhere, while second choice Ursis des Caillons (Joe Bongiorno) was done in by an early break. After subsequent substations of 1:28.3, 1:58 and 2:28, Bioness opened to three lengths into the lane. Though tiring, Bioness did hold sway over a handful of pursuers, winning by a length in 2:58. Adagio de la Tour (Jason Bartlett) closed from a loose pocket and wound up second, with Alpha D'Urzy (Louis-Philippe Roy) third. Ursis des Caillions did recover for fourth, with first leader Barry Black (Austin Siegelman) lasting for the last pay envelope. For fifth choice Bioness, a 7-year-old Sam Bourbon gelding owned by Northfork Racing Stable and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his third win in 13 seasonal starts (a second and two thirds in series prelims). The exacta paid $1,004, the triple returned $6,978 and the superfecta paid $43,653 (base $2 payout). The week's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot, at the old-fashioned flat mile, was won by down-the-road Obrigado (Mark MacDonald, $5.90) in 1:55.2 Sunday's final-for-a-while summer stock presentation of the 'New York, New York Double' featured a winning combination of 4-Ruler of the Nile (Saratoga's 1st race) and 6-Lord Cromwell (Yonkers' 3rd race), returning $18.70 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $7,490. The next Sunday matinee is Nov. 4th (post time TBA). Note that the Raceway is dark for live racing Monday and Tuesday nights (Sept. 3rd and 4th), returning Thursday night (Sept. 6th), with the evening norm first post of 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

CHESTER, PA - Special Kay Deo is in the form of her young life, with the sophomore daughter of American Ideal taking a new mark of 1:52 while winning the $16,000 featured pace for distaffs Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. Odds-on favorite Believe In Me brushed to the lead after a 27.4 initial split, and many then thought the race was for place behind a horse who had several decent recent finishes, with Youaremycandygirl and Kissin In The Sand sprinkled in her competition lines. But Special Kay Deo started uncovered by the 56.2 half, and she was within a length of the leader by the 1:24.3 3/4s, having paced her own third panel in 27.1 to get to that point. And the winner kept right on gaining, having another 27.1 quarter in her, to wear down Believe In Me by ¾ of a length; the chalk held for second in a photo over early leader Zutopia. Corey Callahan handled the sulky assignment for trainer Chris Oakes and Northfolk Racing Stable as the developing miss took her second straight victory in similar late-charging fashion. In the $14,500 co-featured distaff pace, the Bettor's Delight mare Heavenly Bet, who as recently as 22 days ago was racing at the bottom level, had enough in the stretch to overhaul million-dollar winner and favorite Regil Elektra to lower her mark to 1:51.2 for trainer Susan Marshall, co-owner with John Marshall. Heavenly Bet's driver was George Napolitano Jr., who recorded his fifth winner of the day, including win prices of $16.80, $13.20, and $37.40 with Heavenly Bet. During the last five Philly cards in which he has driven (since a week ago Wednesday), Napolitano has visited Victory Lane 19 times; he also had 17 successful steers during the most recent four-day race week at Pocono. As of this writing Napolitano is now only nine wins behind Dan Noble, third in the North American win standings, behind 1-2 "usual suspects" Aaron Merriman and Ron Wrenn Jr. Driver Eric Carlson also had a fine day at Philly, guiding home four winners. Harrah's Philadelphia will be back in action on Sunday and then follow that up with a special Labor Day Monday card, both programs starting at 12:40. Monday's racing is headlined by the $320,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships for two- and three-year-olds, colts and fillies, trotters and pacers; former Stallion Series champions include Donttellmenomore, Take It Back Terry, and Sidewalk Dancer. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Homicide Hunter, already #1 in the pointstandings in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) division for fast-class trotters, marked himself as the horse to beat in his $100,000 Championship event next Sunday with an authoritative 1:51.4 triumph in the $30,000 final GNOS prelim round at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The altered son of Cantab Hall has achieved much success racing on the lead, but on Sunday he looked strong coming off the pace, a trait which may help him at the GNOS Championship distance of 1¼ miles. Driver George Napolitano Jr., posting his 17th victory of a memorable Friday-Saturday-Sunday driving weekend, spotted the winner of $1,305,427 early, then put him in second-over position. When "George Nap" tipped him three-wide late on the far turn, the on-the-bit trotter surged forward, with the main stretch question being "How much is he going to win by?", the answer to which was 2½ lengths over 95-1 shot Tight Lines, who also had good late kick. But nobody was in the league tonight of Homicide Hunter, who is trained by Chris Oakes for Crawford Farms Racing. The top ten open trotters in the GNOS preliminaries were: 1. Homicide Hunter, 2. Smalltownthrowdown, 3. Lagerfeld, 4. the mare Broadway Donna, 5. Melady's Monet, 6. Marion Marauder, 7. Sutton, 8. Muscle Diamond, 9. (tie) Guardian Angel AS and Will Take Charge. Since some of the top ten have qualified for the Maple Leaf Trot final next week in Canada, the connections of those "on the bubble" (such as Tight Lines, 11th in the standings) will likely enter and then await with hope the results of the draw for Saturday's card, which takes place Monday (the 27th). The Great Northeast Open Series Championships, with open pacers and mare pacers in the other two GNOS categories, going for $100,000 and all at 1¼ miles, will be joined by the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds, along with their consolations, on a $1.5M card that must not be missed next Sunday at The Downs. There were $21,500 sub-features held for trotters and for mare pacers on Sunday. In the trot, the Majestic Son mare Charmed Life did an unusual thing at Pocono - she came from third-over to win, swinging four-wide into the stretch and just catching pacesetting Dayson by a neck in 1:53.4. Simon Allard got a big late effort out of the winner from the winner of $1,408,882 to achieve the triumph for trainer/brother Rene Allard and the partnership of Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. In the mares pace, the Mach Three mare Windsun Glory looked up and down the starting gate, did not see Shartin N et al., much to her relief, and then posted her third win in her last five starts, this one in 1:51.1. The classdropping winner of $306,898 briefly settled third before the ¼, then was out and moving off the first turn for driver Matt Kakaley to the lead just past the 3/8 and went on strongly, with Penpal firing strongly late but coming up 1½ lengths shy. Ron Burke conditions the winner for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva Stables LLC, and Lawrence Karr. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - It's safe to predict that Rodeo Romeo, the leading pointwinner in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) in the open pacers division, will not get as rough a trip as he did in his last start when he begins from the rail in a $30,000 GNOS divisional event Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Rodeo Romeo, who is featured in this month's edition of Hoof Beats as a horse using recently-developed technology to keep him in consistent peak form, had no chance to show that form in the Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga last time, parked three-wide past the quarter on the half-mile track and then two-wide throughout, ample excuse to tire. The Chris Ryder-trained pacer will be handled by George Napolitano Jr., who had his pick of the three morning line favorites and chose Rodeo Romeo, is quoted at 4-1, and could well be both an early and a late factor. The morning line favorite in the GNOS is Split The House, winner of the Franklin Consolation and then photoed out in his last two races, both in the Great Northeast series. Trainer Chris Oakes will have Tyler Buter, in hot driving form, handle Split The House from post three as the early 5-2 choice. The 2-3 horses in the GNOS pointstandings, had quite different results at the post draw. Bettor's Edge drew post two for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and was tabbed at 3-1; the horse just ahead of him in the current rankings, Rockeyed Optimist, drew the outside post eight and was set at 6-1, with Marcus Miller slated for sulky duty. The top pointwinners in GNOS action after the last August 25-26 prelims will be eligible to draw in for their $100,000 GNOS Championship event, to be held over 1 1/4 miles at Pocono on Sunday, September 2, the same night as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds. From the PHHA/Harrah's & Pocono

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - With an inside post position to work from this week, Jackson K Down easily disposed of seven foes on his way to the winner's circle Thursday evening at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Corey MacPherson engineered the winning trip, while taking a two-hole ride until past the five-eighths pole where he power moved to the front to cruise home in 1:58.2 by a seven-length margin. The five-year-old son of Camystic is trained by Stephen Mason for owner Stephen Downey of Quispamsis, N.B. Race favourite Nogreatmischief (Driven by Walter Cheverie) was second in the $2,200 featured pace while third went to Tempo Seelster (Vincent Poulton). Hop Up claimed the $1,950 Open trot with a 2:01.4 victory also with MacPherson at the lines. The Cornwall driver was in the seat for owner-trainer Keith Campbell of Tyne Valley. Second went to Majian Tango (Jim Ripley) while Professor Gordon (Jason Hughes) completed the $450.90 triactor. MacPherson had a driving triple on the program as he also won with Dusty Lane Artiste in 2:02.1 for trainer Stephen Gass of Cornwall. Meadowbranch Patsy was victorious in her East Coast debut winning a $1,350 trot class in 2:01.4 for driver Cheverie and trainer William Roloson, who co-owns the three-year-old daughter of Explosive Matter with Scott Roloson of Belfast and Princeton Farms Inc., of Ontario. Heavyweights Hit Red Shores Charlottetown Saturday CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – Call it a rematch of the Governor’s Plate or whatever you want but the fact remains that the Saturday night feature at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park will likely be the toughest $2,500 race of the Canadian harness racing season. The 14-dash Saturday program gets underway at 6 P.M. at the capital oval with the $2,500 preferred pace hitting the track in race 13 with some real firepower. Governor’s Plate champion Czar Seelster has drawn post 7 with Kenny Arsenault at the lines for trainer Todd Weatherbee and owner Tammy Johnston of Vernon Bridge. The nine-year-old son of Stonebridge Regal was a dazzling 1:53.2 winner in the $25,000 Governor’s Plate final at Red Shores Summerside on July 14, but went down to defeat last week in the $7,500 Exhibition Cup at Truro Raceway in Nova Scotia. The winner of that race is also in the Saturday preferred field with Rose Run Quest leaving from post 6 for driver Marc Campbell, trainer Bo Ford and owner Blair Hansen of Charlottetown. Mr Irresistible completed the triactor in the Governor’s Plate and gets post 4 this week with Adam Merner in the bike for trainer Jennifer Doyle, who conditions two horses in the race including post 8 starter Winter Blast (Driven by Walter Cheverie). Adkins Hanover has rail control for Ambyr Campbell while Governor’s Plate finalists Cartoon Daddy (Dale Spence) and Do Over Hanover (Jason Hughes) are also in the field. To highlight how competitive the race is, Perfect Escape shows mile in 1:55 and change in three of his last four starts and is listed as the longest shot in the morning line odds. In other action on the Saturday program, race 5 is the Clan MacPhail 2018 Reunion Pace with Dilans Mustang the favourite in the $1,100 class for driver Ken Murphy, trainer Robert Phillips and owner Marc Gallant of Summerside. Stakes Action Fires Up Red Shores Summerside Card SUMMERSIDE, PE – The top rookies of all gaits and sexes as well as the sophomore trotters populate a complete Stakes card Sunday afternoon at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. The 12-dash programs kicks off at 1 P.M. with the two-year-old colt and filly pacers and two-year-old trotters competing in the Callbeck Memorial stakes and the three-year-old trotters facing off in the newly minted Tyndal Semple Memorial Stake. The Semple Memorial stake replaces the former Maple Leaf Trot series as part of the Island Breeder’s series. All races Sunday afternoon will be the first leg of the Island Breeder’s series, which combined with the 85th running of the P.E.I. Colt Stakes set for September at Red Shores Charlottetown, will determine the finalist for the end of year Island Breeder’s championship finals. Two-year-old pacing filly divisional leader Therealdeal headlines the rookie split in race 4 with Walter Cheverie driving the undefeated daughter of  Westwardho Hanover from post 4 in the event for trainer Joe Baxter of Nova Scotia. The other $5,800 two-year-old filly divisions are in races 2, 6 and 11. The rookie pacing colts lines up in races 8, 10 and 12 in George Callbeck Memorial divisions for $6,750 in each race. The undefeated Woodmere Bolt has rail control in race 8 for trainer-driver Earl Smith and owners Peter Smith of Stratford, Gerald Morrissey of Vernon River and Nova Scotia owner Arnold Hagen of Bible Hill. The Callbeck stake for rookie trotters lines up for $5,600 purses in races 1 and 5. Mile Hill Willie (Kenny Arsenault) is favoured in race 1 for trainer Paul Morrison while Ya Boy Bear (Campbell) is the favourite in race 5 with rail control. Stake namesake George Callbeck bought his first horse in 1916 and his involvement, not only in the founding of the PEI Harness Racing Club, but also as a race horse owner, trainer, driver, race official and stallion owner, earned him an induction into the PEI Sports Hall Of Fame in 1965 and into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame in 1978. He won his first colt stakes race in 1935, winning all three heats with Guy Ann, a home-bred, who went on to become a Maritime Champion. The Semple Memorial trots are scheduled in races 3, 7 and 9 for $4,600 purses. Buckaroo leads the way in race 3 with Campbell in the bike for trainer Bo Ford and owners Larry and Kathy Chappell of Marshfield. Mile Hill AJ (Arsenault) is the morning line choice in race 7 while Oceanview Eunomia is selected in race 9 also with Arsenault at the lines. Tyndall Semple, the stakes namesake starting in 2018, was born in Travellers Rest, near Summerside, and had a long and successful 72-year-long career in the race bike including seven Island Futurity wins. For more information on Sunday’s program go to www.Redshores.ca. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Rockstar Angel A established herself as a possible star in her first race since shipping from Australia, taking the $14,000 featured distaff pace on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:52.4 despite sloppy going. A 16-time winner in 54 starts with a bankroll of $160,682 Down Under, Rockstar Angel A tucked fourth early for driver Brett Miller, who then had no hesitation to pull the favorite raw at the 3/8 to go frontward and challenge second choice Scandalicious on the lead. The Rocknroll Hanover mare grinded up while going her own last half in 55 over the off track, then found an even better gear and drew away from a close fight in early stretch to win by three lengths, all the while looking like she could go much more for trainer Chris Oakes and the Northfolk Racing Stable. My Cousin Vinnie snapped a 46-race losing streak dating back to October 30. 2016, overcoming a first-over journey for driver George Napolitano Jr. to win in 1:57.1. The six-year-old Yankee Glide gelding defeated three older horses, three contemporaries, and two relative yutes by 2½ lengths for trainer Karen Fread and Fread Stables LLC. My Cousin Vinnie wasn't totally unproductive during his winless skein - he had four seconds and seven thirds, and earned $28,073 between victories. Two $30,000 contests in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) promise excellent racing at The Downs on Sunday evening. In the mares pace, Shartin N looks to rebound from a fourth-place finish in the Golden Girls Pace as she takes on Diva's Image, who was a 31-1 upsetter in the Golden Girls, and Tequila Monday, a 1:49.4 winner in series competition last week at Philly. In the open trot, Homicide Hunter is the likely choice as he looks to extend his current win streak of five, which includes three GNOS events. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 22, 2018-Odds-on Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $3.10) overcame the impost Sunday afternoon (July 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $54,800 Open Handicap Trot. The weekly trotting feature went as the late-morning opener, the first of four, mile-and-a-quarter, bigger-field 'French' forays. Away sixth from his eight-ball incarceration in the field of 10, Homicide Hunter saw Madhatter Bluechip (Brent Holland) make the first lead. Gural Hanover (George Brennan) and lass NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr.) found seats directly in behind. After early subsections off :28, :57.2 and 1:25.4, there was a second helping of 'Happenstance,' as the mare was first-up. While she began the outer tier, Gural Hanover broke in the pocket. Meanwhile, Madhatter Bluechip was continuing to fight the good fight, with the lead the 1:55.1 milepost. N F Happenstance had backed out, with Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Dube) going wide, Homicide Hunter wider and 34-1 shot Mostinterestingman (Jordan Stratton) even farther out. Smalltownthrowdown took a short lead into the lane, but couldn't sustain it. Homicide Hunter rolled off his rival, then held off a diving-inside Mosinterestingman by a neck in 2:24.2 for the added distance. Buen Camino (Jim Marohn Jr.) was s ground-saving third, with a solidly-closing Bluebird Jesse (Mark MacDonald) and a flattening Smalltownthrowdown settling for the minors. For Homicide Hunter, a 6-year-old Mr. Cantab owned by Crawford Racing trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fifth (consecutive) win in six seasonal starts (career earnings now over $1.28 million). The exacta paid $47.60, the triple returned $511 and the superfecta paid $3,625. Sunday's incarnation of the 'New York, New York Double' featured a winning combination of 1-La Moneda (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 2-Coach Cummings (Yonkers' 5th race) and returning $11.50 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $5,488. The next Sunday matinee is July 29th (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Trainer Chris Oakes will start Agent Q in Friday night’s $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway, but in the daughter of Western Terror’s previous local start, the pair were on less friendly grounds.  Agent Q’s only other races at the Hilltop came in the elimination and final of the Lismore Pace in May 2017. Agent Q captured her elimination and started as the 1-5 betting favorite in the $140,770 final for then conditioner Aaron Lambert. However, Oakes’ filly, Tequila Monday, upset Agent Q with a 4-1 score from post seven. “That was a good one, I don’t think I was supposed to win that race,” Oakes said with a laugh as he recalled the action. “I remember her following Agent Q, Agent Q cleared, and Tequila Monday sat outside of her and pulled right up alongside of her. Probably nobody else could have kept up. She cleared her and was gone. That was a big mile.” Tequila Monday traded blows with Agent Q throughout last year with the latter taking the Lynch Memorial and Matron Stakes. Instead of continuing to race against her, Oakes added Agent Q to his training roster when owners Crawford Farms, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara purchased the filly.  “Quite honestly, it just tells you how much power I’ve got as far as owners go,” Oakes said. “She’s a good horse and instead of having to fight against her, we ended up buying her and putting her on the team. If you can’t beat them, join them. That’s the way I look at it. “I just knew she was solid, she raced from the front, from the back and every time she raced, she put in a really solid effort,” he continued. “I knew coming back at 4, she’d probably be one of the top mares this year and I already had one, so they complement each other. Although Agent Q vetted out with a chip in her left hind ankle, Oakes and the ownership went through with the purchase. Agent Q underwent successful surgery to remove the chip over the winter and came to Oakes’ Florida barn in February to prepare for her 4-year-old campaign. Although she wasn’t a physical standout, her attitude signaled her talent. “Nice mare, she could have been a little bigger and stronger,” Oakes said. “She wasn’t an overly powerful looking horse, but definitely has the spirit and the heart, you could tell she’s real feisty. Definitely a really good horse. “Right off the bat, she got down to Florida for the winter and she was fine, there was never really any problems with her,” he continued. “She was eating decent. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a great caretaker. I’ve got Therese Pierce and she’s amazing. She got the filly and just loves on her all day long. It’s personal with them, they work all day long and they love what they do.” Agent Q won her first two starts for Oakes in the Great Northeast Open Series at Pocono Downs and Harrah’s Philadelphia May 13 and 20, respectively. Her debut effort came as a shock to her trainer as Agent Q raced last of eight around the racetrack before riding cover three-wide to the top of the stretch. Still in last with a furlong to pace, Agent Q quickened under urging from David Miller and streaked past the field to record a 1:52.3 score at odds of 5-2. “First win was actually a big surprise,” Oakes said. “She sat last pretty much the whole mile and Dave Miller, who had been driving her for the previous connections, I just told him, ‘just take care of her, first start, race her easy,’ and he did and she still won. She was dead last turning for home and just flew by them.” After her quick double to star the year boosted her record to 15 wins from 32 stars and $1.2 million in the bank, Agent Q recorded three straight losses, including a ninth-place finish in her Roses Are Red elimination where she was beaten 15 ¾ lengths at Mohawk June 9. Oakes took time to regroup. “It’s just weird how you take a wrong turn and you’re just trying to get back to where you were,” he said. “The horse had a bad night and we had to straighten her out and we’re back on track now.” Agent Q qualified back at Pocono Downs July 11, finishing second to 3-year-old star Springsteen. She was individually timed in 1:53.3 with a :27.1 final quarter. The effort gave Oakes enough confidence to enter Agent Q into the distaff feature Friday night. Starting from a drawn post six with Eric Goodell in the sulky, Agent Q is a 10-1 morning line. Agent Q’s six rivals include Magic Forces, who won two straight Filly and Mare Opens June 29 and July 6 before finishing eighth from post eight last out July 13. The Burke trainee drew post five and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Caviart Cherie is the 5-2 morning line choice off a win in the Filly and Mare Preferred last week while Newborn Sassy is 3-1 from post seven off a win in last week’s feature. Bronze Over, Lispatty, and Medusa complete the lineup. Oakes admits this is a difficult spot for Agent Q to make her return. “I think she’ll race well. She’s in a little bit of a tough spot, there’s speed inside of her. I think she’ll race well, but is she going to go the mile of her life? No, she’s coming off a little bit of a layoff in a qualifier, so I think she’ll be better off another race or two.” First post time Friday at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo oversaw the selection of the 24 trotters for the French American Trotting Club, even he was surprised when Alpha d’Urzy showed up to qualify Saturday (July 7) at Yonkers wearing only an open bridle, an ear hood, and trotting boots with no overcheck or poles. The trotter wears less equipment than any horse in trainer Rene Allard’s stable. I said, ‘Joe, it’s because we understand each other. I speak French to him,” Allard said. “He just laughed.” With his minimal equipment, Alpha d’Urzy led at every call of the 1 ¼-mile trial with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. He stopped the timer in 2:32.4 and posted a :29.1 final quarter, besting Aladin du Dollar by 4 ½ lengths. “He trotted a good back-half. He’s good-gaited, he’s straight, and he gets around the turns perfect,” Allard said. “I barely have any equipment on him and he gets around Yonkers perfect. Maybe I just got really lucky. Jason said he was even better on the turns than in the straightaways.” Alpha d’Urzy is an 8-year-old son of Opus Viervil out of Amazone River and sports a 6-for-56 record with 118,550€ earned. He’s one of 22 French geldings who shipped to New York last month for the SOA of NY’s new series, which begins August 5. Two of the 24 trotters were unable to make the trip to America as they got sick and were unable to pass the stringent quarantine testing requirements for importation. The series required 24 participants to buy in at $28,000, with $25,000 allocated to purchasing the horse and $3,000 to travel. Trainers Ray Schnittker, Ron Burke, and Mike Lachance hand-picked the trotters and the horses were distributed to their new connections in a random draw. “I was the first one that sent the check in, as soon as I heard about it,” Allard said. “I’m always into progress and love to see new things happen and be involved in it. I thought it was a great to have a chance to get horses from a different place. I went to the Prix d’Amérique with my father for his 60th birthday and I went to all the farms. I was excited about it, especially knowing they were going to do races just for them.” Although Allard kept his expectations in check, he’s been pleasantly surprised by Alpha d’Urzy so far. The trotter arrived at his stable in great shape and was eager to get to work. “He looked really healthy, really good, he had a nice coat on him, he was in great shape. His front-end is a little narrow, but other than that, he looked good. When I trained him the first time, he looked like he was really fit, really in great shape,” Allard said. “Whoever took care of him for the few weeks before we got him, obviously they did the right thing and kept the horses in good form.” Since Alpha d’Urzy’s arrival in mid-June, Allard has trained the gelding two 1 ½-mile trips. Both times, the trotter impressed without exerting himself. “I trained him the first time and he did it really effortless and he was really fit,” Allard said. “I came back the week after, I trained him faster. I gave him a good back-half, good last quarter and he wouldn’t blow a candle out. He was really fit and really in great shape. I figured there was no sense in waiting, I’d just put him in to qualify.” The quick turnaround came to Allard’s surprise. Accustomed to horses arriving from Australia and New Zealand underweight, stressed, and sick due to the change in seasons from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere, Allard was happy to see Alpha d’Urzy handled his trip across the Atlantic well. “My horse never got sick, never missed a meal. He adjusted really well,” he said. “When he got here, I could have raced three days later, he was perfect. When they got here, I thought it was going to take a while before they were ready. I was even concerned about being ready in the beginning of August for the series, but surprisingly, mine came really great.” Allard’s experience has been shared by trainer Chris Oakes, who received 7-year-old trotter Bioness. The son of Sam Bourbon and Quiradelle D'hilly earned 119,590€ in 40 European starts before shipping to the U.S. When he arrived at Oakes barn, Bioness drew comparisons to Oakes’ $1.2 million earning trotter Homicide Hunter. “I love him, I absolutely love him, loved him right from day one,” Oakes said. “Big strong good-looking horse. I have a horse called Homicide Hunter and that’s who he reminded me of. Even when I trained him I told people, this horse reminds me of ‘Homicide.’ It’s funny because nobody knows what horse you’re going to get, you know nothing about any of them, other than you’re getting a horse. Rene came up and looked at him in the paddock at the qualifiers and he said, ‘this thing looks just like Homicide Hunter.’ ” Oakes found Bioness to be good-gaited, good-mannered, and intelligent. Like Alpha d’Urzy, the trotter wears minimal equipment. “I had no equipment card of any kind. Just a horse: four legs and a tail. You just feel them out as you go,” Oakes explained. “I could see he was sensible, so I ended up going with an open bridle. I could see the way he traveled, he didn’t need any boots at all. I just put a light set of trotting boots on and that was it. He’s very clean-gaited and wears next to nothing. I think we drew a nice horse.” Oakes put Bioness into an American style of training and the gelding responded. Oakes also thinks ample time spent turned out has helped the trotter adjust to his new surroundings. “I basically put him into our American style of training. I’ve got my own farm, so he’ll train and then he gets turned out a lot. I’m sure they’re used to that, they like that and I’m fortunate enough I’ve got my own farm, so they spend a lot of time out in the field just to keep them happy,” Oakes said. “He seems to have adapted really well. I’ve only had him here two or three weeks. I put him right to work and he didn’t skip a beat. He’s happy with his new home and seems to have adapted to our style. It’s going to be a little different than what he’s used to, but he shows he’s got speed.” Bioness qualified last Wednesday (July 4) at Pocono Downs with Oakes’ 20-year-old son Hunter in the sulky. It was Hunter’s first time in a charted race and he made his father proud. Bioness tracked in third throughout the 1-mile trial. Although he was 4-lengths behind Allard-trainee Gruden at the three-quarters, Bioness came home in :28.1 to finish second beaten just a neck. He was individually timed in 1:56.1. I just told him, ‘be careful out there. Make it a good experience for the horse and yourself.’ He’s very conservative with the horse and said if he had asked him he would have won it easy,” Oakes said. “(Hunter) has been training and schooling behind the gate, but never in a real charted race. I’m really very proud of him because he did a really nice job and it went really well and I’m going to let him qualify again this coming week.” Yonkers will host qualifiers exclusively for the French Trotters at the 1 ¼-mile distance July 14 and 21 ahead of the start of the French American Trotting Club Series August 5. The second and third legs of the series will be held August 19 and 26, respectively and the $100,000 final is set for September 2. For more information, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Monticello, NY - The marque division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) featuring 3-year-old pacing colts will be showcased on Monday June 18 at Monticello Raceway. 3 divisions of Sire Stakes will race for $140,00, spilt into 3 heats of $39,200, 2 heats of the Excelsior A class - $15,000 and 1 division of the Excelsior B -$6,800. In the first division Real Surreal (PP4) has been installed the 5-2 favorite with Scott Zeron in the bike, the game son of So Surreal has been knocking on the door to the winner's circle for trainer Mark Steacy. Real Surreal finish second at Tioga Downs last start and a 3rd place third place at Vernon Down the prior week. Topville Olympian, who took his lifetime mark of 1:56 at Monticello as a 2-year-old has drawn the rail for trainer David Menary, the son of American Ideal is making his first seasonal start in Sire Stakes company and is seeking his first win of the year. Jordan Stratton. will handle the driving chores. Jersey Jim, the winner of the NYSS Final at Yonkers last fall drew PP 6 in the 1st division, racing for a purse of $39,200. The son of Artiscape has yet to regain his 2-year-old form, Jim Devaux will drive. The 2nd heat is a 7-horse field, the morning line favorite Trump Nation will start from the far outside from post position 7. The son of Betterthancheddar was the winner of $300,000 Rooney Final winner at Yonkers in 1:51.3 and was 2nd in his division of the Reynold Stake also at Yonkers. The Chris Oak trainee is owned by Crawford Farms and Evan Katz of Seaford NY. Ostro Hanover is a Monticello Raceway pupil for trainer Frank Yanoti. The son of Betterthancheddar will be driven by Jim Taggart Jr. Already a 6-time winner this year, he has picked up checks in his last 2 Sire Stake starts, looking impressive in his 3rd place finish at Vernon Downs in a blanket finish, pacing his mile in 1:50. Rockapelo (PP5) is moving up in class from the Excelsior A group, he scored an impressive win last start out at Tioga Downs were he jogged in 1:51.4 to win by 5½ lengths, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven is trained by Linda Toscano for owner. Enviro Stables. My Delight (PP4 - Marcus Miller) highlights the final heat, the bay son of Betterthancheddar has won a Sire Stakes event this year at Vernon Down in 1:49.4, he is coming off a second-place finish in the same company at Tioga Downs. My Delight sports impressive tally this year with 2 wins and 3 thirds in 5 starts and $44,895 in 2018 earnings. Rock Lights (Rock N Roll Heaven) will benefit from the 2-post position, Scott Zeron at the helm. In the Excelsior A class, first division race 2, Casual Cool is being brought along very slowly this year by trainer Linda Toscano, the America Ideal filly has 4 qualifiers under her belt. A 5-time winner at 2, she will start from post 7, with owner Ken Jacobs favorite driver, Tim Tetrick. 2 local connections in this group, Rocknroll Delight (Gary Messenger - PP5) and Prophet Blue Chip (David Dziengiel PP6) Trainer George Ducharmes Rocksapatriot is the favorite in the other Excelsior A dash. The son of Rockincam will start from the rail, he has been first or second in his 4 seasonal starts, with Scott Zeron in the bike. The track record for 3 YOPC is 1:52.1 set by Kenneth J in 2007. by:Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway               All emails from Empire Resorts, Inc. and its subsidiaries, and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are considered privileged and confidential and may not be used by either party in any pending or future legal proceedings. Empire Resorts, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-807-0001  

Columbus, OH --- Homicide Hunter and driver Aaron Merriman moved to the lead following the halfway point of Saturday’s (June 9) Charlie Hill Memorial and never looked back, winning the $200,000 event for older trotters by 4-1/2 lengths over In Secret in 1:50.3 on a track labeled good at Eldorado Scioto Downs. Charmed Life finished third. Defending champion Crazy Wow and two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Marion Marauder were scratched sick, reducing the field to seven horses. Race favorite Will Take Charge went off stride at the start and finished sixth.The winning time equaled the world record for an older gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile track and was a stakes and track record. I Know My Chip took the early lead in a :26.3 opening quarter-mile before seeing Smalltownthrowdown get the top spot prior to the half-mile point. Driver Sam Widger moved I Know My Chip back to the lead at the half, reached in :54.2, but faced pressure from Homicide Hunter, who was in front by the time he reached three-quarters in 1:22. Homicide Hunter is a 6-year-old gelding by Mr Cantab out of Evening Prayer. He is owned by Crawford Farms Racing of New York and trained by Chris Oakes. The horse was bred by Patrick Graham. For the year, Homicide Hunter has won two of three races and earned $116,500. For his career, he has won 32 of 65 starts and banked $1.22 million. The Charlie Hill Memorial honors Hall of Famer Charles Hill, who was the founder and former president and chairman of the board of Scioto Downs. Homicide Hunter went off at odds of 3-1 and paid $8.60 to win. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 26, 2018-The polls have closed, and it's officially Trump Nation. The colt by that very same name proved quite the best Saturday night (May 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. The $300,000 28th Rooney saw six 3-year-old colts and two geldings start, but seven ended up chasing in vain. From post position No. 4, Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett, $6.80) was forwardly-placed, as was Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller). The latter made the first lead, before the former played leapfrog. Trump Nation seized the day (night?) just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Trump Nation, who won the second of last week's two elimination races, then rated a 29-second next subsection (:56.3 half), which would serve him well. Along came 3-5 favorite Springsteen (Brian Sears), first-up from fifth, and the race was underway in earnest. Kwik Talkin' (George Brennan) slipped out to race second-over, but gapped badly. Meanwhile, the leader and his 'prompter' rolled through a :26.4 third quarter (1:26.2), with the people's preference packing it in readily. Trump Nation owned a length-and-three-quarter lead in and out of the final turn. Babes Dig Me edged from the pocket, while Minnie Vinnie-the scourge of Iowa-had room after sitting third. However, the Trumpster was up to the challenge, defeating Minnie Vinnie by a length-and-three-quarters in 1:51.3...a life-best by a good number. Babes Dig Me was clearly third, with 124-1 rank outsider Major Authority (Mark MacDonald) and Decoy (Dave Miller) rounding out the payees. Kwik Talkin', Springsteen and Jimtastic (Eric Goodell) completed the order. Decoy, the other elim winner, had a no-chance trip after the open draw buried him behind the eight-ball. For second choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned (as of this past Monday) by Evan Katz & Crawford Racing and trained (as of this past Monday) by Chris Oakes, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $113.50, the triple returned $731 and the superfecta paid $6,643. "I couldn't have ask for the race to work out any better," Bartlett said. "I was able to back down the half and pick it up when Springsteen came at me. "I thought the two outside horses (Babes Dig Me and Decoy) had to leave, and when I saw Brett (Miller, Babes Dig Me), I let him go and retook "I have to say that (former trainer) Andrew (Harris) really did the right thing with him last season, wanting to race him from off the pace. He deserves a lot of credit." As does the chauffeur, who won his first Rooney Pace in his 11th try. "It took me long enough," Bartlett said. ALEXA'S POWER TAKES LISMORE FINAL YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 26, 2018—If there isn’t talk about changing the name the Lismore to the Tetrick, perhaps there ought to be. Driver Tim Tetrick has made the race his own personal playground, winning Yonkers Raceway’s Saturday night (May  26th) edition with the homebred Alexa’s Power ($3.70). The $111,444 companion event to the Art Rooney Pace attracted eight 3-year-old lasses after one was given lovely parting gifts in last week’s lone elimination. As for Alexa’s Power, she—from post position No. 6—was away third, behind Pass Line Bluechip (Jason Bartlett) and Believe in Me (Brian Sears). Her position was secured after Python Blue Chip (George Brennan) and elim winner Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube) both made early breaks, the latter ending up racing inside the cones. Pass Line Bluechip found a 28-second opening quarter-mile, before Alexa’s Power moved again. It took her just about a quarter-mile to wrest the lead, eventually doing so before a :56.2 intermission. Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald), as the 69-1 bombardier, went first-up from fifth, not getting close to the leader and her 1:25.2 three-quarters. Alexa’s Power held a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, then held off her two pursuers. Pass Line Bluechip took her shot from the pocket as did Believe in Me from the three-hole. The leader hung tough, however, Alexa’s Power won by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4. Pass Line Bluechip photoed Believe in Me for second, with a ground-saving Reign on Me (Brett Miller) and Solitary (Brent Holland) grabbing the minors. Python Blue Chip, Checker Past and Jewels Forreal rounded out the order.     For Alexa’s Power, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere owned by Jeff Snyder and trained by Jim Campbell, is was her third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8.40, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $29.4 and the superfecta paid $231. Tetrick won this race for a fifth time, including Tyra’s stakes-record 1:52.1 four seasons ago.   For Alexa’s Power starting nose-to-gate was refreshing after second-tier getaways here in a division of the Reynolds Memorial and last week’s elimination race. “I thought I’d end up second-over,” Tetrick said. “I wound up getting away third, and from there, I wanted to put her on the lead. “Jordan (Stratton, last week’s driver) told me she was loaded then, so I had all the confidence in her. She dug in when she had to. “It takes a special sort of filly to win the Lismore,” he said. “You need one that can handle an audible if the plan changes.” It doesn’t hurt to have Tetrick calling the plays, either.   Saturday night’s $44,000 Open Handicaps were won by Theartofconfusion A (Miller, $40.80) and DW’s NY Yank (Brennan, $8.20), taking the pacing and trotting events in 1:51.1 and 1:54.3, respectively. The evening’s last race resulted in the fastest local mile of the season, a 1:51 beat down by odds-on Bettor Memories (Bartlett, $3.20) in the $27,500 pacing finale.     The Raceway now goes AWOL for live racing and evening simulcasting until Friday, June 8th. Afternoon simulcasting continues each day except Tuesday. by Frank Drucker, for Empire City @ Yonkers

ANDERSON, Ind. - Split The House made his second move worthy of winning the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Hoosier Park Saturday night in a sparkling 1:48.1. Harness racing driver Brett Miller drove the winner, who hit the finish one length in front of McWicked. Split The House (Rocknroll Hanover-Shake That Junk) left alertly but settled for second as All Bets Off soared from the outside nine post to take the early lead. The first quarter came up in a sizzling :25.4 as the shuffling began. From the second tier the first takeover came when Keystone Velocity went to the outside and brushed to the lead, putting All Bets Off in second, but not for long. Split The House retook the lead with another brush, passing those two. The battles were not over as All Bets Off returned to the outside and took on Mach It So, one of the early leaders shuffled, as the lead exchanged through a half in :53.4 and three-quarters in 1:21.1. Into the stretch, the duelers were Mach It So and All Bets Off, but neither could handle the second move by Split The House, as he passed the battling duo and took the win. McWicked took advantage of the late duel and flew by the pair to take second. Mach It So earned the show spot. Both were sent to the gate at odds of 2-1, with Mach It So the slight actual favorite. Fair Winds Farm bred Split The House, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing. Chris Oakes trains the 5-year-old gelding, who won his second race of the season in only his sixth start of the year. Split The House paid $18.40 to win. By Frank Cotolo, for Breeders Crown

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Jereme's Jet gelding Alta Jerome N, who won his last start at Yonkers, shipped back to the "home track" of his harness racing trainer Chris Oakes and promptly made it two in a row, taking the $20,000 featured conditioned pace Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.3. Top driver George Napolitano Jr., noted for his aggressive steering of horses, played a well-timed waiting game in the feature, sitting just behind pacesetting favorite Bushwacker, who led through early splits of 25.4 and 55.1, and Archangel Three, who popped the pocket to challenge the leader in a huge third quarter, with the third marker reached in 1:22. "George Nap" kept his pacer to the inside, ducked into the famed Pocono Pike, and went on to get a half-length decision over Bushwacker while equaling his lifetime best (North American, anyway). Alta Jerome N went over the quarter-million dollar lifetime earnings plateau for Northfork Racing Stable and Sam Dalia. On a generally-bad night for chalk at Pocono, two favored horses owned at least in part by the VIP Internet Stable LLC won the $16,500 co-featured paces, with both cuts going faster than the feature event. First out, in the very first race, was the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Allstar Partner, who never looked back for driver Anthony Napolitano while lowering his lifetime mark over two seconds to 1:49. Andrew Harris trains the winner $543,126, and VIP owns him outright. In the other feature, the Sportswriter gelding Maxdaddy Blue Chip was a pocket rocket, getting home first in 1:50 for the brother team of driver Simon Allard and trainer Rene Allard. The late-developing speedster is co-owned by VIP with Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, and How's That Stables Inc. PHHA / Pocono

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